October 16, 2010

Madtown revelry — after the victory.

Guys exiting the stadium after the Badgers crush the erstwhile #1 team:


Female fans exult:


They try to congratulate every passerby...

... for the delightful victory.

Out and around in Madison, Wisconsin on the day of the big football game...

... which maybe you're watching right now.

It was a perfect day for biking, clear, low 60s. We biked around the Capital City Trail and turned right instead of left as we came across Monona Bay, under Monona Terrace, where we locked up our bikes so we could scarf down some burgers and frites at Sardine:


Well-fed and well-rested, we pedaled over to the square and then down State Street and over to the Memorial Union Terrace, where we got some Babcock Hall ice cream and went to sit outside and soak up the pre-game atmosphere:


It was a bit of a wreck. I blame the Buckeyes!


What the hell! Did they bring their own beer — in bottles! — Miller Lite and Coors Lite?! Come on! It's pitchers and plastic cups on the Terrace. And what's this?


Look closely! They drink beer and guzzle 5-Hour Energy in berry and grape flavors. Run yourself down with alcohol and then pep yourself up again with that awful glop?

That was more than an hour before game time. I hope whatever energy is left is on the Badger side. So far, it looks good, but we're not there yet.

UPDATE: YAY!!!!!!!!!!! We won!

"They're All Bullies and Whores!"

Ha! Emily Bazelon and I talk about the election, the gay rights cases, the gender card, what you can say about women, Christian fundamentalism and anti-gay harassment, and all the complexity that doesn't fit into your ideological templates. Feast your eyes and ears on 28 minutes of bullies and whores:

"Great Expectations, the Miss Havisham Cake" — banned from the Melbourne Cake Show.

In bad taste?

But it's literary!

A reading, from Charles Dickens:
The most prominent object was a long table with a tablecloth spread on it, as if a feast had been in preparation when the house and the clocks all stopped together. An epergne or centre-piece of some kind was in the middle of this cloth; it was so heavily overhung with cobwebs that its form was quite undistinguishable; and, as I looked along the yellow expanse out of which I remember its seeming to grow, like a black fungus, I saw speckle-legged spiders with blotchy bodies running home to it, and running out from it, as if some circumstances of the greatest public importance had just transpired in the spider community.

I heard the mice too, rattling behind the panels, as if the same occurrence were important to their interests. But the black beetles took no notice of the agitation, and groped about the hearth in a ponderous elderly way, as if they were short-sighted and hard of hearing, and not on terms with one another.

These crawling things had fascinated my attention, and I was watching them from a distance, when Miss Havisham laid a hand upon my shoulder. In her other hand she had a crutch-headed stick on which she leaned, and she looked like the Witch of the place.

"This," said she, pointing to the long table with her stick, "is where I will be laid when I am dead. They shall come and look at me here."

With some vague misgiving that she might get upon the table then and there and die at once, the complete realization of the ghastly waxwork at the Fair, I shrank under her touch.

"What do you think that is?" she asked me, again pointing with her stick; "that, where those cobwebs are?"

"I can't guess what it is, ma'am."

"It's a great cake. A bride-cake. Mine!"

"Barbara Billingsley, TV’s June Cleaver, Dies at 94."


I was 6 years old when the show "Leave It to Beaver" began in 1957 and 12 when it ended in 1963. I watched an unbelievable amount of television in those years, but, without question, the TV family that impressed me most deeply was the Cleavers. June and Ward were, for me, the perfect parents. From this long distance, it now seems that were not really that different from June and Ward, but back then, how I longed for a family like the Cleavers. I can still make the theme music play in my head and open a flood of memories of childhood feelings of what a family should be. How profoundly affecting were the gender differences between the 2 parents! Ward and June were a beautiful team, and they were not even all that dissimilar. Both were tough and principled and at the same time caring and sensitive. But I can hear June in my head, echoing for all the ages, urging Ward not to be too severe with the boys. And Ward always listened and hesitated before he proceeded with his fatherly role.

Here's some video.

At the Bright Orange Café...


... you're here with the folks who choose not to plunge into the orange that blazes everywhere out there in the 3-dimensional world.

"One never truly knows what a lousy job the blogosphere is capable of until one is at the center of a story."

"NPR experienced the dark side of the blogosphere this week after management sent a memo to staff reminding them that journalists may not participate in political activities of any kind... NPR is not restricting its staff’s freedom. It’s protecting its credibility as a news organization that tries to give its audience fair, non-partisan coverage."

Carl Paladino's "Cuomo Land" ads.

There's this spoof of the children's game:

What is he accusing Cuomo of there? The Daily News says:
Paladino, who staunchly opposes gay nuptials, accused Cuomo of being a hypocrite for touting his support for same-sex weddings now - but being "all but invisible" when the issue was before the Legislature last year.

"He was asked by those pushing for the measure to call three wavering senators," the Paladino campaign said in the first of what it promises will be daily "Cuomo Land" attacks.

Political pros were puzzled that Paladino would attack Cuomo on gays, given that the Tea Party darling's campaign unraveled this week after he delivered an anti-gay diatribe.

Veteran Democratic operative Hank Sheinkopf called it a "bad choice of a first issue" for the "Cuomo Land" attacks.
Well, look at the illustration. The whole "Cuomo Land" idea seems to be some crazy fantasy about luring children into homosexuality.

Christine O'Donnell drives the liberals nuts.

Bill Maher has put together a video montage — intended, of course, as an attack...

1. Does this really work as an attack? I mean, as an attack on O'Donnell? Is it not instead or also an attack on the gaggle of liberals who gang up on and mock her? Maher brings on one woman — undoubtedly partly because she's pretty — and makes a punching bag out of her. They are so cocksure of themselves — both of their politics and of their funniness. It's really rather creepy and embarrassing for them.

2. O'Donnell is charming and game and she's stirring them up, that is, doing what she was brought on the show to do.  She holds up bravely, while they have each other, and they knew when they went on that they'd have each other to make things easy for them. They'd even have the fun of bashing a pretty woman. Look at all these guys — ugly guys — getting ugly on her. That was the entertainment model, a turnaround from normal social life. She had her reasons for doing the show, but I want to give her credit for doing it bravely and well. The courage of the comedian-liberals was not tested. And the show was structured to guarantee that.

3. We should take note of who drives people on the other side nuts. That person has a special power. It's not witchcraft, but it is power that they are afraid of. The more they deride her, the more those who agree with her politics should notice how desperately they want you to reject her. Think about what that means. (As Rush Limbaugh loves to say: They will tell you who they are afraid of.)

4. Remember when it was oh-so-terrible to take a person's statements out of context? In particular, in the montage, we hear the author Clive Barker say "You have to tell me about the ex-homosexuals." But what does she say? Obviously, the notion of curing homosexuals is highly inflammatory, but why are we hearing Barker's words and not hers? Did she say sexual orientation can be changed by some sort of therapy or did she refer to the religious belief that homosexual behavior is sinful and say that it is possible to refrain from conduct? (I'm not suggesting that the idea that gay people should refrain from engaging in sexual activities isn't also a problem, but it is a belief widely shared by many people, especially religious people, and if they are not hypocrites, they will also reject all sexual conduct outside of a marriage.)

5. As Bill Maher admits, introducing this montage, he has no more clips that will be "earthshaking." He's reached the end of the treasure trove archive he bragged about a few weeks ago. So, he got a lot of publicity for himself, but in the end, pretty much all he had was her assertion that she "dabbled into" witchcraft when she was a kid. Ha. He made us look.

How the downward spiral begins.

"I was too timid to buy a 'DiGiorno for One' at the store because I didn't want the cashier to think I was a dork so I bought full sized one and now I'm stuffing my face."

ADDED: Here's what to do next time. Chat up the cashier, saying: "These things are great, but you know, they say 'for one' and it's actually plenty for me and my wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend." And if the cashier is attractive to you, say: "They say 'for one,' but which 'one' are they talking about? I only want to eat like half of this." If she/he smiles, say: "You want half?" Etc. etc.

"Her Majesty. Brenda."

How Keith Richards referred to Mick Jagger, who, he writes, became "unbearable," beginning in the early 80s.

In other celebrity tidbits... Richards was in the presence of Johnny Depp — a friend of his son's — for 2 years before he recognized that the guy was Johnny Depp. One night, he looked across the dinner table and suddenly thought "Whoa! Scissorhands!"

October 15, 2010

Fall color...


... reflected in the devil's lake.

(Enlarge for better color.)

Talk about whatever you wan in the comments.

UPDATE: Woke up Saturday morning and saw the typo. Was going to correct it but it seems like a pun in a post about color.

"The modern life is a danger that we feel is against the siesta."

"When you sleep la siesta everyone has the image that your life is calm, you have a good life. And then, the modern life is a direct attack."

"What will the web do to content, in terms of high-cost, expensive, time-consuming content?"

Charlie Rose descends into an existential void...

ADDED: Judging from most of the comments to this post the answer to the question above is that time-consuming content will be ignored or assumed to be whatever it appears to be at first glance. In case you're using a device that won't play embedded video: here's the link to the YouTube page. Now, please. Take the time to watch.

This evening on the lake...




"Attorney General Eric Holder... said that legalizing recreational marijuana in California would be a 'significant impediment' to the government's joint efforts with state and local law enforcement..."

I'm picturing the Washington Post editors high and dorkily giggling.

"She is a Harvard-trained lawyer who broke the law."

Oh, come on. Why would someone who went to Harvard Law School know what all the piddling little statutes and ordinances are? Elite law schools are for teaching high level concepts. Specific rules are for the little people.

Remember, Obama said: "I do have an obligation to make sure that I’m following some of the rules." Some of the rules. He went to Harvard Law too. Don't you see? You pick some rules that it will serve your interests to follow, follow those, and then preen about your amusing law-abidiness.

(Thanks to Insty for the first link.)

"Environmental Variation Prompts More Sex."

I'll let you people make the jokes.

What happens when females start doing bike tricks?

They end up doing stuff like this.

The lameness of Obama's stance on Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Here he is at the MTV "townhall" yesterday:

First, I can't believe he said "you look like a student" to a woman who identified herself as a member of a university faculty. That is an irrelevant and, I would say, sexist remark. Not only is it equivalent to saying "gee, you're pretty," but it's revealing that you have a picture of what professors are supposed to look like and you don't mind derailing the conversation to say she doesn't look like one. I know it's supposed to be a compliment, but it's really clueless. Believe me, I've had people say "you don't look like a law professor" or some such thing to me thousands of times over the last quarter century, and I remain superficially polite, but I can tell you it is not appropriate in a professional setting. Unless we are in a social context where it would be welcome for you to say "you look beautiful," then you should not say "you look like a student." Okay?

Now, to the substance: The woman, Bridget Todd, asks the President:
I know that you’ve mentioned that you want the Senate to repeal it before you do it yourself.
My question is — you as the President can sort of have an executive order that ends it once and for all as Harry Truman did for integration of the military in in '48. So I wonder, why don’t you do that if this is a policy that you are committed to ending?
Obama responds with a lot of words:
First of all, I haven’t “mentioned” that I’m against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. 
Oh, lord, he begins by getting all pedantic about words. I'll get pedantic back. She didn't say he mentioned that he was against DADT. She said he mentioned that he wanted the Senate to repeal it instead of doing something that he might be able to do on his own.
I have said very clearly, including in a State of the Union Address, that I am against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and that we’re going to end this policy. 
Fine, so he's repeating the promise that some people feel very bad that he has not kept.
That’s point number one. Point number two, the difference between my position right now and Harry Truman’s, is that Congress explicitly passed a law that took away the power of the executive branch to end this policy unilaterally. So this is not a situation in which, with the stroke of a pen, I can simply end the policy.
Now having said that, what I have been able to do is for the first time get the Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff, Mike Mullen, to say he thinks the policy should end. The Secretary of Defense has said he recognizes that the policy needs to change. And we, I believe, have enough votes in the Senate to remove to go ahead and remove this constraint on me as the House has already done so that I can go ahead and end it.
But, as the linked blog post (by Jane Hamsher) indicates, he doesn't have the votes in the Senate and he hasn't put the weight of the presidency behind getting Senators to vote for repeal. He seems like he's using the statute as an excuse, so that he can play both sides on this issue. I understand the political motivation for that, but it amounts to breaking his promise to end DADT.
Now we recently had a Supreme Court — a district court case — that said DADT is unconstitutional. I agree with the basic principle that anybody who wants to serve in our armed forces, and make sacrifices on our behalf, on behalf of our national security, anybody should be able to serve. And they shouldn’t have to lie about who they are in order to serve.
So don't appeal the case! Say you think the court got it right! Or say that you think DADT isn't unconstitutional. It's just bad policy, and you object to the judiciary taking over in this area.
And so we are moving in the direction of ending this policy. It has to be done in a way that is orderly because we are involved in a war right now. 
That's pretty much a cloaked statement that he thinks the court was wrong and that the policy is constitutional. It's not "orderly" for the court to strike it down. The judiciary shouldn't be supervising the military. I'm going to assert with confidence that that is his opinion.
But this is not a question of whether the policy will end. This policy will end, and it will end on my watch.
The arc of history is long! Keep waiting, oh captive voters. Who else are you going to vote for?
But I do have an obligation to make sure that I’m following some of the rules.
Some of the rules?! Man, if you are only following some of the rules, why not give gay people a break?
I can’t simply ignore laws that are out there. I have to work to make sure they are changed.
Pssst. The Constitution is law.

The right to carry a concealed weapon: "It’s not a left or right type of thing quite frankly. It’s a liberty thing."

Says the lawyer who won a motion to dismiss — on 2d Amendment grounds — a case against a man who was carrying a knife in his waistband.

Via Instapundit.

Another Wisconsin case.

"They tried like hell to squeeze some drama out of the last few moments of competition."

"Instead we got 'I learned that I'm strong'-style monologues that only made us feel embarrassed for the people forced to utter them."

[Spoiler alert if you haven't watched and care about the new episode of "Project Runway."]

"I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of Snooki this year."

What's your Halloween costume? Surely, you're not going as Snooki. So lazy!

"Sean Hannity in my back pocket, and I can go on his show and raise money by attacking you guys."

Bragging and threatening, Christine O'Donnell-style. Wait. Did she really say that? Howard Fineman, in HuffPo, says that 2 "top GOP insiders" told him she said that. I'm skeptical, especially about the verbatim quote. What sort of top insiders hurt their party's candidate so badly?

If there really are such people and O'Donnell has to deal with them, maybe it's good that she has the balls to push them back like that. Who are they? What was the whole context of the discussion? Hey, remember when it was oh-so-horrible to take quotes out of context?

And isn't it funny, now that the Democrats are over-the-top desperate, that the GOP is desperate too? Could somebody please remain calm and sane? We're going to need some folks left with enough mental stability to govern. It can't be the tea partiers, can it? They've always been so crazy and angry. I read it in HuffPo.

"It's not that I want to prevent someone from having a beverage, but there were mugs, Super-Slurpee kind of things with straws coming out."

The judge will have order.
[Judge Gene Gasiorkiewicz] bought two big boxes of custom-printed plastic travel mugs. The silver mugs have the scales of justice in black on two sides, with the words "RACINE CIRCUIT COURT BRANCH 2" printed

[He] paid about $300 for the roughly 100 mugs - all "made in the U.S. of A." - and said he will give every lawyer who comes before him their first mug free. If it gets lost, he said, the attorney's on the hook for the replacement.

"They can put whatever they want inside it," he said. "When it sits on the counsel table, it's
It's good that a judge has a strong feeling for uniformity. It has something to do with being consistent and treating people as equals... doesn't it? In any case, people look totally unprofessional drinking from straws. In fact, I hate to see any adult drinking from a straw, and I loathe when a restaurant serves your water or other drink with a straw already stuck into it. Do you just go ahead and drink from the straw when that happens? Do you realize that the person you'rewith may see you as looking childish — as if you'd worn shorts out to dinner? When there's a straw in my drink, I have to take it out and put it on the table, not that I'm trying to punish the bus boy. But it's really those fat plastic straws that I hate. If a drink came with with 2 paper-wrapped paper straws, I'd be tempted to use them and perhaps drift off into all sorts of straw-prompted nostalgia. Oh... sorry. I'm ranting. But then, I never portrayed myself as a person with judicial temperament.

October 14, 2010

Asked to name a Supreme Court Justice he admires, Harry Reid says Antonin Scalia.

At the big debate tonight:

"He is a masterful, masterful mind. He does good things."

Sunset cranes.

This evening on the prairie.



Federal district judge rules that the states' lawsuit challenging health care reform can go forward.

The claims that survive are based on Congress lacked power under the Commerce Clause and that the act commandeers the states.

ADDED: I'm reading the opinion. Judge Roger Vinson rejects the argument that the individual mandate is actually a tax and therefore that the Anti-Injunction Act is an obstacle to the lawsuit. Key point:
[I]t is inarguably clear that Congress did not intend for the exaction to be regarded as a tax...
Congress didn't call it a tax and "the defendants are wrong to contend that what Congress called it 'doesn’t matter.'"
Congress did not state that it was acting under its taxing authority, and, in fact, it treated the penalty differently than traditional taxes.
The failure to call it a tax was especially important because the act was so controversial:
One could reasonably infer that Congress proceeded as it did specifically because it did not want the penalty to be “scrutinized” as a $4 billion annual tax increase, and it did not want at that time to be “held accountable for taxes that they imposed.” In other words, to the extent that the defendants are correct and the penalty was intended to be a tax, it seems likely that the members of Congress merely called it a penalty and did not describe it as revenue-generating to try and insulate themselves from the potential electoral ramifications of their votes.
Because it is a penalty and not a tax, the act cannot be upheld with the taxing power. The question must be the scope of the Commerce Power.

AND: Judge Vinson upheld the standing of the individual plaintiffs and the state plaintiffs, and he held that the claims were ripe. Even though the mandate doesn't go into effect until 2014, it is "certainly impending" and "responsible individuals, businesses, and states will have to start making plans now or very shortly to comply with the Act’s various mandates."

Finally, the judge considered the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. He dismissed some of the claims relating to state sovereignty, and I won't bore you by attempting to paraphrase this part. If you don't know the law in this area, you'd be better off trying to read pages 41-58 of the opinion. So let me confine myself to the individual mandate. Judge Vinson rejects the due process argument, because the scrutiny in this area is minimal and Congress had a rational basis for the mandate. But the Commerce Clause challenge survived.
At this stage in the litigation, this is not even a close call. I have read and am familiar with all the pertinent Commerce Clause cases... This case law is instructive, but ultimately inconclusive because the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause have never been applied in such a manner before.... There are several obvious ways in which Heart of Atlanta and Wickard differ markedly from this case...  Those cases... involved activities in which the plaintiffs had chosen to engage. All Congress was doing was saying that if you choose to engage in the activity of operating a motel or growing wheat, you are engaging in interstate commerce and subject to federal authority....
... The individual mandate applies across the board. People have no choice and there is no way to avoid it. Those who fall under the individual mandate either comply with it, or they are penalized. It is not based on an activity that they make the choice to undertake. Rather, it is based solely on citizenship and on being alive....

"Rich Whitey" — a misspelling that just happened to get onto the electronic voting machines in 23 wards in Chicago.

"I don't want to be identified as 'Whitey.' If this is happening in primarily African-American wards, that's an even bigger concern. I don't know if this is machine politics at play or why this happened."

Rich Whitney is the Green Party candidate for governor in Illinois (where the race between the Democratic and Republican candidates is close). And the problem is not going to be corrected!

Patti Smith nominated for a National Book Award.

For her memoir "Just Kids" about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe.
The boy I had met was shy and inarticulate. He liked to be led, to be taken by the hand and enter wholeheartedly another world. He was masculine and protective, even as he was feminine and submissive.
And  Franzen's frozen out! 
What should we make of this surprising refusal to shower acclaim on Freedom, the most acclaimed novel of the millennium? Is it a snub, an injustice, a petty backlash? Or is it a brave act of rebellion against the PR-driven literary-industrial complex that wants us all to bow down to King Franzen?

Valerie Jarrett has to apologize for the heresy of calling homosexuality a "lifestyle choice."

Oh, life is so unfair!
“I meant no disrespect to the LGBT community, and I apologize to any who have taken offense at my poor choice of words,” Jarrett said. “Sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice, and anyone who knows me and my work over the years knows that I am a firm believer and supporter in the rights of LGBT Americans.”
I remember back in the 1980s, in the radical enclaves of the University of Wisconsin Law School and similar places, when it was heresy to say that sexual orientation was inborn. I remember getting snapped at by a very prominent left-wing lawprof for referring without scorn to research that showed some evidence that sexual orientation was innate. It was all about choice back then, and the choice model was deemed to be the framework upon which gay rights would be built.

(If it was inborn, I was told, then it will be perceived as a disease that might be cured, and therefore there can be no talk among decent people about the possibility that it is inborn. But what about science? What about discovering what is true? The official left-wing answer to that question, I learned, is: shut up.)

By the way, are you aware that Justice Kennedy spoke of the "homosexual lifestyle" in his opinion for the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas?
The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle.

Watch Christine O'Donnell dominate debate, even as Wolf Blitzer tries to control her.

She is not susceptible to pushback by people who imagine themselves her superiors. Extremely well done.

More on the debate here.

ADDED: I think this clip — I haven't watched the rest of the debate — will resonate with women. A lot of us have had experiences with men trying to control us like this, and we instinctively root for the woman in this situation. I was reminded of the famous Hillary Clinton-Rick Lazio debate, in which the male, Lazio, invaded the zone of personal privacy of the female, Clinton.

AND: You can really feel the disrespect for O'Donnell in that clip. Whether it's because she's a woman or not, I think it stirs something instinctive in many women. It's dangerous for men even to seem to give off the vibe that they're really saying: You don't really belong here, little lady. Hillary has often tried to get us to feel that vibe, and it's worked for her quite few times.

Obama met with black bloggers, who "essentially told the White House that we are not willing to be 'pimped.'"

"Oh, we used better articulation, but it was direct and could not be taken out of context, misunderstood or ignored."

What it was really like in that Chilean mine.

Surprisingly different from what I'd pictured:
The men... were not confined to the “rescue chamber,” the size of a Manhattan studio apartment...

“They had the run of the mine,” said Jeffery H. Kravitz, acting director for technical support at the United States Mine Safety and Health Administration. With half a mile of tunnels open, he said, “they had places to exercise and to use for waste.” One miner ran several miles a day.

“They even had a sort of waterfall they could take a shower under,” Mr. Kravitz said. “They requested shampoo, and shaved for their families.”

Also, fresh air was pumped in, so asphyxiation was never a danger.... The air was nearly 90 degrees and humid, but it contained about 20 percent oxygen, like outside air. The men dug three wells, and had potable water....

Eventually, all sorts of comfort goods were going down three narrow tubes: dismantled camp beds, clean clothes, letters, movies, dominoes, tiny Bibles, toothbrushes, skin creams. The smokers were first allowed only gum and nicotine patches, but doctors eventually relented and let 40 cigarettes a day go down.

The tubes also accommodated fiber optic cables and, by the end, each miner was getting a daily video consultation with a doctor. They also had jobs to do, including reinforcing walls and clearing debris from the rescue drills.
Meanwhile, Chris Matthews is an idiot:
If the trapped Chilean miners had subscribed to the tea party’s “every-man-for-himself” philosophy, “they would have been killing each other after about two days,” MSNBC host Chris Matthews said on his “Hardball” show Wednesday night....

"You know these people, if they were every man for himself down in that mine, they wouldn't have gotten out.... They would have been killing each other after about two days.”
What that shows is that Matthews — in stereotypical liberal fashion — has forgotten the way private individuals cooperate and help each other. The government and only the government must be the source of all beneficence. If you don't want the government to solve all your problems, you must think you and everyone else can be 100% self-reliant.

ADDED: I've seen some people defending Chris Matthews. First, they ignore the part where he predicts the miners would just start killing each other. Then, they assert with smug confidence that the government saved the miners. They are wrong: The rescue took place the way it did because of the Center Rock drill bit — "a piece of tough technology developed by a small company in it for the money, for profit."

Michelle Obama: "It means all the world to us to know that there are prayer circles out there and people who are keeping the spirits clean around us"

Keeping the spirits clean?

She's out doing politics. Fine. She drags in prayer. I don't like that, but I'm used to the political appropriation of religion in America. But what is this notion of "keeping the spirits clean"? The "spirits... around us"? Does she think we all have spirits around us, spirits that can be unclean?

What religion is that? Is she dabbling in... New Age? Is she a witch?

Now, she does pause and chuckle/scoff between the words "keeping" and "spirits," and that might suggest an ironic distance from the common folk who believe in such things. Or — listen and judge — it might mean that she's aware that it's a bit daring to let it slip that she believes we are surrounded by clean and unclean spirits that influence our fate.

October 13, 2010

"I had sex with [the] girl once . . . maybe twice."

How do you lose count between 1 and 2?

Fall flowers.


"I’ve been near God, but I’ve also been near the devil."

"God won."

"As election day approaches, Wisconsin is beginning to wonder what life would be like under its two choices for governor: Democrat Tom Barrett and Republican Scott Walker."

"A set of ads offers a clue."

In Barrett’s Wisconsin, there's sunshine and acoustic guitar softly strumming. In Walker's Wisconsin, there crackling fire, sirens, and annoying buzzers.

A long way from San Francisco/Nancy Pelosi.

A Democratic candidate's anti-hippie/anti-Pelosi ad:

Ha. I hadn't seen scary hippies — outside of Halloween — in quite some time.

"I was in the middle of eating a kosher pastrami sandwich."

"While I was eating it, they come running and they say, 'Paladino became gay!' I said, 'What?' And then they showed me the statement. I almost choked on the kosher salami."

Chip Ahoy photoshops the details out of the shadows...

Here's the original from the "What are you doing down there?" post:


And here's what Chip discovered after a few adjustments:

In the email: "From: Barack Obama Subject: I want to meet Ann."

Kind of creepy, no? It gets creepier:
Ann --

Two years ago, I met 10 of you.
10 of me? An army of Althouses — is that really what you want?

Actually, as his "10 of you" locution suggests, his view of me is completely generic. He wants me to give $3 and be entered in a raffle be one of 3 winners of trips to Las Vegas (of all places) to meet him. That's not what I call "want[ing] to meet Ann."

"I want to meet three supporters like you backstage at a rally in Las Vegas." I don't think you even what to meet "supporters like [me]." That would be sad.

Click to read the whole email.

At the Smooth Café...

... mix it up.

"I know Arianna doesn’t like it. But I like taupe."

Obama stands up to his critics in the press.

"'I go around and I talk about abstinence and then I'm here in my underwear doing a dance about sex and stuff, so hopefully it goes well -- hopefully I can pull it off."

Oh, Bristol.
By week four, we can pretty much say that Bristol has never looked happy to be here and we're beginning to suspect that somebody else talked her into doing this gig to serve, well, somebody else's ambitions. Bristol keeps bringing up the Big Contradiction in the Room, and she does it again tonight, in a rerun clip from Monday: "I go around and I talk about abstinence and then I'm here in my underwear doing a dance about sex and stuff, so hopefully it goes well -- hopefully I can pull it off," she's heard to say as we see her, wearing only a large white shirt and opaque stockings, preparing for Monday's dance. We can see her future speaking engagements: "Don't be like me girls. Don't get pregnant -- and don't go on celebrity dance competitions!"
I'm here in my underwear...  hopefully I can pull it off...

By the way, I really wish I'd titled this post "Let's take a closer look at that fleshy display."

"As a policy matter, the President has made clear that he believes DOMA is discriminatory and should be repealed" — but his Administration must continue the fight against gay rights.

The Obama administration will appeal the decision from a district court in Massachusetts that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
The appeal comes at a tough time for Obama, who has been trying to shore up his liberal base ahead of the contentious congressional elections when his fellow Democrats are expected to lose many seats to Republicans. Democrats could lose control of the House of Representatives.

A key concern has been whether those who have supported Obama in the past will show up to vote in the November 2 midterm elections. He has opposed same-sex marriages but supported civil unions and extended some benefits to gay partners of federal employees.
To be fair, in his 2008 campaign, Obama said he was opposed to same-sex marriage. But, of course, people who wanted to believe he embodied the hope that they wanted to hope believed that he really, secretly, supported same-sex marriage. And he opposed DOMA:
As your President, I will use the bully pulpit to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws. I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment. But I also believe that the federal government should not stand in the way of states that want to decide on their own how best to pursue equality for gay and lesbian couples — whether that means a domestic partnership, a civil union, or a civil marriage. Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate
If you brightened at that February 2008 statement, did you perceive that if a court said the same thing — that DOMA is antithetical to federalism principles and to equality — that Obama would fight against that court decision? Obama only supports Congress repealing DOMA — did you notice that at the time? — and if Congress — the new Democratic Congress — applies its first burst of power in 2009 to other matters...  well, too bad. Vote for them again in 2010 and maybe they'll do something for you some day. The arc of history is long!

But heaven forbid that the courts rouse themselves to the point where they strike down the statute. Did Obama ever give you the impression that he believed that courts should be in the forefront, protecting the rights of the oppressed and downtrodden — that courts ought to have "the empathy to recognize what it's like to be ... gay"? Did you take that empathy remark the wrong way? To say a judge should "recognize what it's like" is not to say the judge should perceive that you have rights and actually enforce them. You silly voter!

Remember how it felt in '08 when Obama won? Remember stuff like "Barack Obama: America's First Gay President"?
Because if Barack Obama follows through with even half of the promises he made to the LGBT community during his campaign, he'll have done more to advance gay rights in this country than any President before him – combined.
Remember how it felt in 2009, in the first spring of Obama's power? The NYT had an article titled "As Gay Issues Arise, Obama Is Pressed to Engage." My reaction was:
How can he rake in votes just by seeming to care about the rights and interests of gay people? Not even seeming all that much — he's against same-sex marriage! — but just by stirring hopeful feelings and looking like somebody who cares. Well, he's already done it once. Why shouldn't he believe that what worked once will work again?
That was written in May 2009 — Springtime for Obama — and now it's Fall 2010. Things aren't so warm and sunny anymore, and now is when he needs to maximize the votes. Most Americans oppose gay marriage, and he can't alienate them, so won't you gay people (and you people who support them) continue to do what you're supposed to do and vote for those Democratic candidates? You know the Republicans won't help you. That's the grubby argument.


A reading from the word of Obama:
I will never compromise on my commitment to equal rights for all LGBT Americans. But neither will I close my ears to the voices of those who still need to be convinced. That is the work we must do to move forward together. It is difficult. It is challenging. And it is necessary. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike.

A "CSI effect" in the Supreme Court?

From an oral argument about the right to counsel:
"If someone were moved from the bed, taken to the living room couch, you would have expected to see a trail of blood from the bed, and there wasn't that," said Justice Ruth Ginsburg.

Chief Justice John Roberts asked whether "he could have dragged him from the pool to the couch because there were drops along the way."

"Let's say there really was a gun fight, and Klein [the victim] fell someplace else," speculated Justice Samuel Alito. "Why is it so valuable to him to move Klein's body?"

Justice Sonia Sotomayor posed a hypothetical in which "one of those blood spots absolutely had to be Klein's near the bedroom."

"Why wouldn't he wipe up the blood?" Justice Antonin Scalia wanted to know. "I mean, what good is it to simply put him on the couch when you leave a pool of blood showing that that's where he was shot?"

October 12, 2010

What are you doing down there?


Me, up here, I'm using the binoculars to check out the new semi-circular backyard lawn...


At the Country Drive Sunset Café...


... just roll your window down...


... and merge with the sky.

"Teach Me How To Bucky."

"All these other schools or people are asking how can we be as cool as U-W, so i guess that's what Teach Me How To Bucky is," said co-creator Quincy Kwalae.

"You could hear it, when it premiered at Randall, the stadium went nuts, it got such a great response," said co-creator Logan Cascia.

U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips has enjoined the enforcement of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

It violates free speech and due process, she wrote, rejecting the arguments made by the Department of Justice lawyers who fought against the change... change that President Obama promised a year ago that he would deliver. Here, watch him — it's chilling to witness now:

"It's important to be honest among friends," he says at 0:24 and then literally puts his tongue in his cheek. He was lying and he knew it. Lying about being honest.

But what damnable luck for the Democrats to have this thrown at them 2 weeks before the election! It's such a bad issue for Obama. He hasn't done what he promised, and he's fought against constitutional rights that he ought to be actively pursuing, whether he'd made promises or not. He's going to have to rest on the argument that he was always all about Congress making the change. But why hasn't his Congress gone his way? And do Democrats in Congress want this issue forefronted now? They've only made everyone unhappy — people who want DADT repealed and people who don't. And then there's the additional issue of "activist" judges.... (Phillips was appointed by President Clinton, who, of course, signed the original Don't Ask Don't Tell statute.)

ADDED: Andrew Sullivan:
So once again, we will have the political prospect of the Obama administration simultaneously legally defending the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell in court, while politically saying they oppose both...

Yes, the GOP is the main party to blame. But no, this does not excuse the extra-cautious, gays-are-radioactive mindset of the Obama administration...
The GOP is convenient, and the Obama and the Democrats have taken advantage of that. I think they are deeply responsible for the failure here. Obama's administration is actively fighting against gay rights.

UPDATE: The Obama administration, continuing its active fight against gay rights, will appeal the decision in the case about the Defense of Marriage Act.

"To know what Ann Coulter writes in her books, they’d have to know what’s in her books."

"That would require reading Ann Coulter’s books — and worse yet, admitting it in print, which no self-respecting Timesian would do. Far better to make a major embarrassing error... and thus actually score points when busted by Mickey, since this makes it clear to the NYT crowd that your mind is unpolluted by contact with Coulter’s writing."

Mashed-up mascara'd Olbermann.


These would be lovable if they were moles...


... but they are mice. "Inadvertently raked up" — Meade IM's from the garden.
ME: Ouch

MEADE: I didn't hurt them

I even ushered the mother to where I moved them

And then I boiled and ate

All three of them
At first, Meade thought he'd raked up baby moles, but when he found the panic'd mother searching for her lost children, he knew they were mice. But let the topic now be moles. Because, yesterday, we were talking about squirrels, and NotYourTypicalNewYorker said:
Squirrels aren't bothering me.

It's the moles, I can't abide the cursed moles.

I put the trap here, they go over there...

It's the moles I tell ya.
And Meade offered some gardenly wisdom:
The moles are your friends. They aerate the soil and eat pest larvae. It's a misconception that they eat bulbs and other desirable garden plants - they're completely carnivorous.

Set your mower blades higher and/or walk down their feeding runs before firing up the mower. Also, where the female mole pushes up a mound of soil, spread it with a rake or with your boot heel so the mower doesn't hit it. It's the mower that does the damage, not the mole.
Adding tags to this post, I knew I already had the tags "mice" and "rodents." I thought it would be excessive to make a tag "moles." Too narrow! But are moles rodents? No, they are Insectivora. And that underlines Meade's point. Moles don't eat plants. Don't worry about moles. Worry about Meade... eating boiled mice. And me, out there in Meade's grass with the squirrels...

... levitating.

(Thanks to Palladian for the TrANNscendentalism.)

"A kind of Marfa-meets-ganja art retreat north of San Francisco and a new economic engine for art philanthropy."


I love the way the paragraph I took that quote from has one hot link  — you know those links the NYT throws in that take you to other NYT articles? — and the link is on the word "marijuana." I know and you know what marijuana is, but what about Marfa? Eh. You either get the joke or you get that it is a joke... and move on.

Move on to the odd news about what would otherwise not be news — that you can make a lot of money growing and selling marijuana. But look! There's art in there. And pretty people. And it's medical marijuana...
At a going wholesale rate of $200 or more an ounce in the Bay Area for high-quality medical marijuana, it’s a lot simpler than raising money the traditional way, the project’s organizers point out. And — except for the nagging fact that selling marijuana remains a crime under federal law — it even feels more honest to the people behind Life Is Art. They see it as a way of supporting the cause with physical labor and the fruits of the land instead of the wheedling of donors, an especially appealing prospect in an economy where raising money has become more difficult than ever.
The nagging fact that selling marijuana remains a crime under federal law... which is so unenforced that pretty people pose in the New York Times with their pitchforks in American Gothic japery in the company of their big, sunlit marijuana plant. Tell me, how will it ever be possible to enforce those laws again? And if they are not going to be enforced, how can we accept the continual degradation of respect for the idea that it means something for an activity to be a crime?

"Any father who would take his children to such things is not really thinking of the fatherly perspective and is more interested in politics."

Said Paladino about Cuomo. Cuomo found that "reckless" and "divisive.”

"But the ousting of a wide swath of Democratic women Nov. 2 would chip away at a generation of female politicians inspired by the 1992 election..."

"... which saw a surge of Democratic women inspired to break up the boys’ club of Congress after Anita Hill’s testimony in then-Judge Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings the previous year."

Will you shed a tear for the departure of that generation of women politicians? What did they do, what did they change, and what will we think about women — what will the press say about women — when the women in politics are — gasp! — Republicans?

Christopher Hitchens, meet Ron Johnson.

So Christopher Hitchens is expatiating in Slate about the dearth of decent political candidates in U.S. elections. He talks about talking to his "hosts in Connecticut" and his friends in Washington D.C., where he's lived for 3 decades. And he casts his eyes about to the states of New York and California. Having thus surveyed the American landscape, he opines that the "enthusiastic and intelligent people" are no longer "willing to give up potentially more lucrative careers" because of the risk to "their career and their family life" and "the incessant barrage of intrusive questioning about every aspect of their lives since well before college." You just can't get "normal" people to run for office anymore.

What about Ron Johnson? Here's Politico, presenting the GOP Senate candidate in Wisconsin as emblematic of the new sort of politician who has emerged from the Tea Party movement:
Until last fall, Ron Johnson was just an intensely private guy with a good business and a nice house on Lake Winnebago. He kept a stack of Wall Street Journals next to his bed, folded just right so he wouldn't forget to read columnist Dan Henninger on this or Paul Gigot on that. A trim, silver-haired businessman, he was rich but unknown, even in this, his hometown, despite big donations to Lourdes High School and his thriving plastics company here.

Running for office never crossed his mind...
The Tea Party of Oshkosh was pulling together a rally for a fall event, featuring Joe the Plumber, the working man who emerged as a folk hero to small government conservatives in 2008. They needed a businessman to talk about what they saw as the scary, Big Brother approach to ObamaCare - and Johnson was happy to oblige. His daughter Carrie was born with a heart defect and saved by two doctors - a story anyone following this campaign has heard many times in ads and speeches ever since. So, he let loose with an attack on the demonization of doctors and, more broadly, the mortal threat to American exceptionalism.

The new law “will destroy our health care system,” Johnson said in an interview. “I am totally convinced of that.”

In hindsight, Johnson, in that speech, was capturing a major mood change in American politics that swept up not only business owners but also anti-government conservatives and skeptical independents. These groups, by late summer of 2009, had turned against the president and his party – and never returned.
Read the whole thing. You too, Mr. Hitchens.

Oh, it's not as if Hitchens didn't think of the Tea Party. After telling us about his elite circle of people who are so smart and informed but disinclined to enter the political fray, he does acknowledge that there is much more going on these days: his observation "may seem to discount or ignore the apparent flood of new political volunteers who go to make up the Tea Party movement." You can see the gears turning in his brain as he tries to get to the end of this article that began so easily, built on what looks to me like dinner-table conversations with his friends. How to dismiss these pesky teafolk of the flyover realms? Ah! He proclaims:
They come from a long and frankly somewhat boring tradition of anti-incumbency and anti-Washington rhetoric, and they are rather an insult to anyone with anything of a political memory. 
They are an insult. These people aren't worth talking to or about. Why, they aren't even people at all. They are an insult
Since when is it truly insurgent to rail against the state of affairs in the nation's capital? How long did it take Gingrich's "rebel" forces in the mid-1990s to become soft-bottomed incumbents in their turn? 
Questions. Questions. Speaking of untoned asses, shouldn't you have to get off yours and go out and talk to Americans in places like Wisconsin? One answer is that Hitchens is gravely ill, but he's still pouring out political commentary, and he's not asking for pity or showing any. He's as imperious as ever, and the respect he deserves for that bravery and effort ought to come in the form of serious engagement with his actual words he is... spewing.

"Cheese" — a powder made from heroin and crushed Tylenol PM — will kill you... apparently because of the Tylenol.

The drug is marketed to teenagers — with appropriated brand names like Mickey Mouse, Lady Gaga, Looney Tunes and Lion King — and they snort it many times a day, ingesting way too much acetaminophen.

October 11, 2010

Andrew Cuomo vs. Carl Paladino = Fredo Corleone vs. Fredo Corleone.

... says Nick Gillespie, who's allowed to say things like that because his mother is Italian.

(Sloppily video'd from the Eliot Spitzer CNN show tonight.)

Do you see her?


It's Sarah Palin, in the audience on tonight's "Dancing With the Stars":

P1040079 copy

The end of the love grass...

Meade had to cut it down...


... to get to the places where he's planting allium bulbs. And look! In the love grass stubble: an acorn stuck right in:


A squirrel must have thought that would keep it for the winter. And I had Googled for solutions to the problem of the squirrels digging all those little acorn-holes in the new lawn. I was sitting on the stoop at the time, but I relocated to the incredibly soft — spongy! — new turf grass:


"I like gays. I like all gays. And not just the ones who are Ann Coulter drag queens."

Said Ann Coulter in 2006, quoted today, by Mickey Kaus, who's defending her against the NYT, which has a big article on her saying she's "taking some surprising new positions" now that "the Tea Party movement have stolen much of her thunder." One of the supposedly "surprising new positions" she's taken is pro-gay. Mickey says:
Coulter has a whole chapter in her [2007] book If Democrats Had Any Brains They'd Be Republicans on why gays should join the GOP. The chapter is called "No Gays Left Behind!"... Pretty shrewd of her to realize in 2007 that in two years the Tea Parties would rise up and steal her "thunder"—so she'd better start going for the gays!
Ha ha.

"How do I stop a squirrel ruining my lawn?... I’m in the u.k so i do not have access to guns or explosives before I get tons of killing suggestions."

... "The problem is not the squirrels. It is your attitude. I’m not trying to be mean.
Squirrels have just as much right to your yard as you do. Maybe more. The
animals of the world do not see property lines. They are doing what they need
to do in order to survive. The fact that you are upset by their behaviour only
makes you look self absorbed and petty. Please leave them alone. Take a
different approach and laugh at their antics. They are funny once you can let
it go. Chili powder might blind them. Do not use it."

Oh, I'm just out here on the front stoop, helping Meade with the gardening, by doing the part of the gardening that you can do on Google. Squirrels keep burying acorns in the otherwise lovely new lawn.

In the Groggy Autumn Afternoon Café...


... the goldenrod is way past gold.

"If billionaire Alki David is an honest man, the man who streaked in front of Barack Obama at the president’s rally today in Philadelphia will be paid $1 million for his stunt."

The Weekly Standard scoops:
As the The Sun reported on August 17: "A WACKY billionaire has offered $1million (£638,700) to the first person who streaks in front of US President Barack Obama... providing the streaker writes the name of his website... across their chest"... within “eye-shot and ear shot of the president, they have to scream the name [of the website] six times, and they have to be nude.”
Not sure if I hope he got the 6 screams or not.

Mitch Daniels? Not glamorous?

Via Instapundit, Michael Barone profiles Mitch Daniels and ends on a predictable downbeat:
You can almost see the green eyeshade as he speaks. It's been noted that Daniels is short, balding (with a combover), that he speaks with just a bit of a Southern country twang (he moved to Indiana from Tennessee and Georgia at age 10): hardly a glamorous candidate.
I say he defines the new glamour!

"Best to assume that we're under surveillance of one form or another most of the time."

Some advice from a professor in an article about that Duke student whose 42-page sex diary went viral on the internet. It's really sad. You know, in the old days people had God — or even just a conscience — to create that sense that they were under surveillance. And some people fretted that the government would be watching us all the time. And now, in our spiffy but impoverished age, we're supposed to manufacture responsibility out of the idea that anything can leak out into the internet.

I found that article via Instapundit, whose teaser was "INSTITUTIONALIZED SEXISM: Duke Contacting Those Affected by Sex 'Thesis.'" Sexism, eh? Maybe you can explain that to me. Are we supposed to think the university would celebrate or excuse a male student who wrote up the details of a lot of sexual encounters with female students? I get the impression Duke is trying to be equal toward the sexes by figuring out what they'd do if a bunch of female students got their privacy invaded this way and then applying the same treatment to the men.

And I still find it hard to believe that the woman — Karen Owen — wrote out her 42-page sex diary just to share it with a few friends. I imagine her laughing over the professor's advice. It may be in her interest to look like the poor girl whose friends opened her diary to the world. Look at the publicity and the readership she's getting for what was substantial literary work (plus field work!). My hypothesis is she's savvy.

Tweeting your weight automatically..

... from a WiFi scale — after promising — via stickK — to keep your weight below X pounds.

That's what Ian Ayres did. And you can buy his Right To Gain Weight on eBay.

It's all about incentives... and you've got to have accountability.

Things you may have missed if you didn't hang out here over the weekend.

1. "Witch! Whore!... Nazi!" How evil is it for a candidate to play the role of a Nazi in war reenactments? How evil is it for a journalist to write about that and bury — in the 13th paragraph — the news that the same man — Rich Iott —  has also done reenactment as a Civil War Union infantryman, a World War I doughboy and a World War II American infantryman and paratrooper?

2. It's sexist to worry about calling Meg Whitman a whore. If women are going to join men in politics, they deserve to be called whores like the rest of them.  

3. Woeful/wilful metaphor deafness: Some people just don't/won't understand what it means to say "some people are just born to be slaves."

4. "Watch Russ Feingold confidently assert that he represents Tea Party values."

5. The story of a pregnant woman who had to pee invokes an old memory of the time I was persecuted by Episcopalians. 

I "toast or roast" Andrew Sullivan.

At Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Daily Dish.

I'm one of a bunch of bloggers invited to "toast or roast" Sullivan's blog. As he explained yesterday, today is his blog's 10th anniversary. He reflects on the occasion:
I'm a Catholic, so let me start with the things I am sorry for and even, in some cases, ashamed of. When you blog in real time, day by day, hour by hour, emotions can get the better of you. The blogosphere is awash in examples of invective, abuse, cruelty, accusations of bad faith, or just bluster - in part because blogging is so much more like speaking than writing and also because it addresses people in the abstract, not face to face. I am not innocent in this, and wish I could take back a few barbs, especially in the early days, when we were all discovering what this medium could do....
His greatest failure, he says "was giving in to my legitimate but far-too-powerful emotions after 9/11 and cheer-leading for a war in Iraq that remains one of the most disgraceful, disastrous and murderous episodes in the history of American foreign policy." He reaffirms that he is a conservative:
I remain deeply skeptical of government's ability to solve most human problems, but have never denied its necessity or importance in tackling the profound questions of the common good no other institution can replace. I'm a Whiggish Tory, not a pure libertarian....

I remain very proud of a few things: of my early recognition of the anti-conservative nature of the Bush administration in almost every respect - fiscal, constitutional, social...
And he reaffirms the value of unseriousness:
From '80s music video contests to our now constant Mental Health Breaks; from mischief and blasphemy and black humor, from Road Runner videos to ghetto mashups, the Dish has always had an anarchic streak, what Bodenner calls "Dishness". The sardonic awards; the reader threads that became riveting - the "cannabis closet" which will soon be a book; the wonder of that simple idea - The View From Your Window - that then became a weekly puzzle; the dialogue with Sam Harris on faith and reason; the countless faces of the day that can convey things no words ever can; the Poseur Alerts; the randomness of bear culture, beard disasters, straight anal sex, South Park out-takes, Hathos Red Alerts, baby panda sneezes ... we've created an institution here that remains alive because we really don't know what the fuck we are going to do next. And yes, I used the word "fuck". Because I fucking well can, if I want to.
Ah, yes. There are so many blogs that are no fun at all. 

October 10, 2010

Early evening on the Wisconsin River.





Today. Near Spring Green.



... I saw a frog. 2, actually. Not sure if the other pic — of a frog inside an old springhouse — came out.

"I Can Afford Higher Taxes. But They’ll Make Me Work Less."

Professor Mankiw explains how things work.

A ride in the country...


... come on. It's a perfect afternoon.

"Pamela Geller's apartment, in the fashion of the blogosphere, doubles as her office."

"It is a modern full-floor unit in a high-rise on the East Side of Manhattan that could belong to a socialite or the editor of a lifestyle magazine. There is ample light and a tasteful lack of clutter. The kitchen appliances are made of brushed steel; the countertops are slate. In the earth-toned living room hangs a painting, in vibrant colors, of a woman in a swimsuit."

Ha ha. The NYT has its ideas about how to draw in its readers. The article is about blogging — hardcore, political blogging — but ... check out her apartment!

In spite of this lavish attention, Geller is unhappy.

Another classic case of hardass New Yorkitude.

From the comments section of the NY Post:
this story actually makes me furious. she peed her pants and she's suing a club. another classic case of an "entitlement cvnt".

last time i checked pregnancy was a personal choice. you aren't bestowed with any special powers, knowledge, or freedoms.

don't like being pregnant in big bad ny -- then leave, and go the burbs where you and giant stroller belong.

i have a country house in CT. they'll let you pee anywhere here. get out of ny, spoiled whining cow.
This story makes me furious too, by the way. I'm furious that a newspaper reports on a lawsuit without stating what the legal claim is. Is there a tort claim in New York for failing to give special treatment to pregnant women? "She blames Hammerstein management for the humiliation of wetting her pants"... but isn't this publicity, brought on by the lawsuit, humiliating? Or is she trying to "humiliate" the Hammerstein Ballroom into paying her off to undo the bad publicity she's giving them — with the help of a lawsuit and NY Post?

ADDED: I'm removing the "lawsuits I hope will fail" tag, because I don't understand what really happened here. My criticism is of the journalism, and my reason for writing the post was the hilariously unsympathetic comment. I'm not entirely unsympathetic myself. I remember being pregnant in New York City — twice — and wanting people to be spontaneously helpful to me — giving me a seat on the subway or offering me a place to nap at the law firm — and feeling sad about humanity because I didn't get that help. But I never asked for special concern.

Except once, actually. It was 1982, and I was going on a religious retreat with a group of individuals from a Manhattan church. It was about a 3-hour drive to the place, and a woman in the van lit up a cigarette. Would you please not smoke? I asked. She said she would continue to smoke, so I said that the reason I felt I had to ask is that I was pregnant. The woman and everyone else in the van rejected my request. I was told that smoking is only bad for the smoker — as if I were dumb to think otherwise. I said I couldn't go with them, and they stopped the van and gave me my luggage. As they left me there on the wrong side of the West Side Highway, which I would have to cross, at night, before hiking a couple of unfamiliar blocks to get to a place where I could begin to try to hail a cab, one young woman detained me for a little lecture: I was being selfish and not considerate of others, and therefore I was not a good Christian. I used to feel chastened by criticisms like that, and it wasn't until I was in the cab, crying, heading back toward Brooklyn, that it occurred to me that I might have said to her that I was concerned for others, because I was concerned about my unborn child.

CORRECTION: That was the NY Post, not The Daily News. Sorry.

Solomon Burke...

"Solomon Burke, the larger-than-life "King of Rock and Soul," whose songs blended soul, gospel, country and R&B, died early Sunday at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport at age 70."

ADDED: Another great gospel singer — Albertina Walker — died on Friday. She was 81. "I wanted to stand up before audiences and deliver the message, win souls for Christ. I wanted to touch dying men and slipping women."

And when I reach the pearly gates, He will remember me.

Suddenly, Wisconsinites are so conservative!

How did that happen?!!

Who called Meg Whitman a "whore"? And who cares?

"The person who said that word is someone who can't be fired... Jerry's wife can't be fired" — according to an anonymous source.

By the way, who cares if the word "whore" is used in private conversations to refer to politicians who sell themselves in one way or another? Virtually all politicians take money and much of that money is given by people that are hoping/expecting to get something. In that sense, they are all whores. It's unremarkable that rough language is used. So what's the problem with calling Meg Whitman a whore? Jerry's a whore too, isn't he?

This fuss is phony. The only way it has any substance is if you think there's something especially wrong with using the standard rough language against a woman. If you think that, you don't believe in the full equality of the sexes. And it would mean that women don't belong in politics or wielding great power in the public sphere. If we can't criticize women the same way we criticize men, then we shouldn't trust them with power.

When I wrote "Jerry's a whore too, isn't he?" maybe you started thinking about the substance of the charge. Who has Jerry taken money (or other support) from and how has he, in the past, served the interests of the people who helped him? Well, the same thing goes for Meg Whitman! What was the substantive criticism? Why aren't we talking about that? Let's treat male and female politicians the same.

IN THE COMMENTS: YoungHegelian said:
If Prof Althouse thinks that politicians are "whores" because they take others' money, shouldn't Ms Whitman get a pass because her campaign is self-funded?

I mean, she may be a political masturbatrix, but she's not a whore!

I think apologies are owed here, Professor!
I said, the discussion should shift to the substance of it, and I agree that, with so much of her own money, Whitman has more chance of winning on the substance than most politicians.

Dave points me to PJ O'Rourke's "Parliament of Whores." O'Rourke wrote:  "Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us."

"Kent State tape indicates altercation and pistol fire preceded National Guard shootings."

What really happened at Kent State, back in 1970?

The perfect day is here at last: 10/10/10.

What are you going to do about it?

Gizmodo says: "In binary, that's 42. And 42 is The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. Or at least, that's what Douglas Adams says."