November 6, 2010

At the Tangled-Up-in-Purple Café...

... there's music tonight and revolution in the air.

"I did not want to run as a black candidate; I did not want to run as a military candidate..."

"... I wanted to run as an American candidate and win the respect of the people."

Allen West, one of the 2 new members of Congress who are black and Republican... and Tea Party. The other is Tim Scott. They're from South Florida and South Carolina, respectively.

ADDED: Will they join the Congressional Black Congress?



Keith Olbermann seems to be some sort of authority on the expression of anger... or at least Joe Biden thinks he is.

Submitting to Deborah Solomon's questions — in bold — he says:
One of the big flaws now is that there is all this noise on the right. When I yell there is a reason for it. There is a political and factual discernment behind it. I am not doing it gratuitously...

I once had a conversation with the man who is now the vice president when he was still in the Senate, who asked me for advice about how to turn anger into righteous inspiration.

Joe Biden took you to lunch to ask you for tips on getting angry?

He said, ‘‘I just come across like I’m angry and out of control, and you seem to focus it and make it look useful and expressive.’’
Controlled, useful-looking anger. Yes, exactly how does one give that appearance and when is it appropriate? And more importantly, how do we on the receiving end of anger defend ourselves against speakers who would love to leap into the primal dimension of our minds and manipulate us by tapping the feelings we felt when we were children, inspired and intimidated by our parents?

Our #1 defense, it seems, is that we've learned to perceive the angry speaker as having taken leave of his senses. Biden sought the secret — which he imagined Olbermann possessed — for getting around that defense. He wanted to know how to seize the power of the patriarch.

In the middle of writing about pessimism, David Rakoff finds out that the burning pain in his shoulder, that pinched nerve...

... is a tumor. Here he is — bald and hilarious — talking about his book. Watch for the reference to the Roberts Court...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
David Rakoff
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

You can buy the book — "Half Empty" — here. I highly recommend the audio version. His reading style is very funny — and also easy to sleep to (which is 2/3 of the reason why I buy audiobooks).

I discovered that book after watching David Sedaris on "The Daily Show" and going off to buy "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk" — which you can buy here. Again, the audiobook is highly recommended — but "Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk" isn't easy to sleep to because it's tricked up with a lot of music... and also actors read some of the stories and actors try so hard. It's wakefulness-provoking.

That time George Bush — at the dinner table with his wife and parents — said "What is sex like after 50?"

From an interview to air Monday:
"So I'm drunk at the dinner table at Mother and Dad's house in Maine. And my brothers and sister are there, Laura's there. And I'm sitting next to a beautiful woman, friend of Mother and Dad's," says Bush. "And I said to her out loud, 'What is sex like after 50?' "

After that, one could hear a pin drop. It was "total silence," says Bush. "And not only silence, but like serious daggers" from my mom and my wife.

He says that, with a case of "after-dinner remorses," he later called the woman to apologize. But she got the last laugh. Bush says that on his 50th birthday, when he was Texas governor, the woman sent him a letter reading: "Dear Governor, Well, what's the answer?"
Why can't adults talk about sex? This is only a story about the depredations of alcohol... but why? Why must conversation be so boring that an interesting question draws "serious daggers"?

You think you have a problem with U.S. News...

... but U.S. News has problems of its own.

"He's a figment of her imagination. An eggment of her imagination."

He doesn't have ego. He has eggo.

ThinkProgress festoons itself with updates of shame.

I'm willing to believe there's something screwy about MSNBC's suspension of Keith Olbermann, but Think Progress's eagerness to blame a conservative resulted in an elaborate post that is now so studded with backtracking updates as to be unreadable.

November 5, 2010

The Arkansas Supreme Court orders a new hearing in the case depicted in the documentary "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills."

"While there is a significant dispute in this case as to the legal effects of the DNA test results, it is undisputed that the results conclusively excluded Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley as the source of the DNA evidence tested," wrote the court.

Here's the trailer for the (excellent) film:

"The first generation of children born with H.I.V. are now entering adulthood."

"What is it like to be a child with H.I.V.? How does it affect your relationships and your outlook?"

"An Unmarried Woman" — the most annoyingly 1970s movie I can name.

Really, it pains me to watch this clip. I remember exactly how this felt at the time and how important this portrayal of womanhood was imagined to be:

The actress is Jill Clayburgh, who died today — after 21 years of chronic leukemia — at the age of 66. Her husband was the playwright David Rabe.

"I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary."

Said Valerie Jarrett:
He knows exactly how smart he is. ... He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability — the extraordinary, uncanny ability — to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them...
So this "sense" you refer to.... it's the end result of a digestive process?
... and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. ... So, what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy. ... He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.
Oh, my lord. This is the way the people have buttered him up his whole life, I'm afraid. How will he deal with the rude affront he received last Tuesday? Is there an Obama that fits the changed circumstances or was his entire being formed through relationships with sycophants?

"Honestly Monica, the web is considered 'public domain'..."

"... and you should be happy we just didn't 'lift' your whole article and put someone else's name on it!"

Via Instapundit.

The stolen article begins with the line: "'As American as apple pie' isn’t." Ah, funny! Just yesterday, I was saying: "Americans say: as American as apple pie."

IN THE COMMENTS: Paddy O says:
The Cooks Source Facebook page is hilarious now.
Ha! Poetic justice.

"It isn’t irrational to accept the testimony of eyewitnesses to miracles," said Justice Scalia.

"What is irrational ... is to reject a priori, with no investigation, the possibility of miracles in general and of Jesus Christ’s resurrection in particular — which is, of course, precisely what the worldly wise do."

"[I]t is absurd for any government to prevent people from growing a naturally-occurring plant that requires no processing to provide humans with pleasure."

"It's pretty basic, actually. This is a core freedom for human beings and requires an insane apparatus of state control and police power to prevent it from occurring. All you have to do is burn a plant and inhale the smoke. If humans are not free to do this in the natural world in which they were born, what on earth are they free to do?"

Andrew Sullivan, pushing back Josh Marshall, who writes:
... I just don't know if I think marijuana should be legalized at all. Maybe it's that I'm getting into my 40s. And maybe I'm a hypocrite.... But [my Dad] had this very contradictory and hard to rationalize position which was that he was fine with people smoking pot but keeping it at least nominally illegal kept public usage in some check. Again, how to rationalize that in traditional civic terms? Not really sure. But frankly, I think I kind of agree.
So, for Marshall, it all comes down to who's skittish or formal about law? This is a pleasure that is open to everyone except those who adhere to the law. Everyone else can go ahead, but — perhaps as a sop to the rule-followers — they'll have to feel uneasy about it.

"This film understands jihadists as human beings and understands human beings as innately ridiculous."

"Within that context, terrorism is about ideology, but it’s also about imbeciles."

"Olbermann Suspended from MSNBC for Campaign Donations."

What a screwup!

"Obama Recasts Asia Trip as Jobs Mission."

The NYT headlines:
“The primary purpose is to take a bunch of U.S. companies and open up markets so that we can sell in Asia, in some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, and we can create jobs here in the United States of America,” Mr. Obama told his cabinet Thursday, with the cameras rolling.

“My hope is, is that we’ve got some specific announcements that show the connection between what we’re doing overseas and what happens here at home when it comes to job growth and economic growth,” he said....

“On the trip that I’m about to take, I’m going to be talking about opening up additional markets in places like India, so that American businesses can sell more products abroad in order to create more jobs here at home,” Mr. Obama said.
If that's recasting the point of the trip, what was it previously supposed to be about? And whatever the original purpose, why didn't Obama figure out that this would be a good thing to say before the elections?

Is it surprising that 31% of self-identified gay/bisexual voters voted Republican?

This doesn't surprise me. I think the split between the parties should be about the same as it is in the heterosexual population. I'd expect it to be somewhat skewed because the Democrats give the impression that they will do some things to advance gay rights.

But that shouldn't have too great an effect because: 1. Gay people are interested in all the issues, not just who purports to care about specific gay-related issues, 2. There isn't much reason to trust the Democrats to do more than pretend to care, and 3. If the GOP seems libertarian, it may appeal to those who mainly want the government to leave them alone to live their lives according to their own values.

The 31% figure is probably also skewed by who is willing to tell pollsters that they are gay. It may be that more conservative respondents are less likely to convey the information and, especially in the case of religious conservatives, less likely to admit to themselves that they have a homosexual orientation.

"How would you feel if some dude you knew was out to get you moved 15 feet away from your kids? How would you feel?"

Sarah Palin's reality show:

ADDED: I must say... Palin ought to move to a more secluded house. I'm not saying Joe McGinness isn't a jerk, but even assuming perfectly nice neighbors, she ought to have more privacy. Also, I love that she calls her patio "the cement slab."

AND: The nugget of propaganda delivered by this homey reality show is that Sarah Palin regularly sits down and does her own independent, studious research and writing.

IRONY: McGinniss's lawyer accuses Palin of invading his privacy:
Mr. McGinniss was not asked if any production crew could videotape him as he read a book on the secluded deck of the house he was living in at that time. He was not aware that any camera crew was in fact videotaping him. Mr. McGinniss had a reasonable expectation of privacy under those circumstances. The mere taking of the video therefore gives rise to an actionable claim for invasion of his privacy. The publication of the video on your website and in the television show constitutes an additional wrong – the unauthorized use of the likeness of Mr. McGinniss. Finally, the manner in which Ms. Palin describes Mr. McGinniss in the episode is defamatory: Mr. McGinniss has never invaded the Palins’ privacy, contrary to the many statements made by Ms. Palin and her husband, both prior to this television production, and now repeated in the episode referenced above.

"The Republicans won by default. And their prize is nothing more than a two-year lease on the House."

"The building was available because the previous occupant had been evicted for arrogant misbehavior and, by rule, alas, the House cannot be left vacant."



The 1-person Halloween costume. [I'm trying to link to the 9th picture in the slideshow, the one with the woman inside the mattress, with an inflatable man on the mattress.)

From Freakfest, which officials regard as a success this year solely on the metric of fewer arrests.

Small portions.

Really small.

November 4, 2010

"Fat Studies."

The college course.

"I think laziness has changed."

"[T]he new laziness has nothing to do with physical labor and everything to do with fear. If you're not going to make those sales calls or invent that innovation or push that insight, you're not avoiding it because you need physical rest. You're hiding out because you're afraid of expending emotional labor."

Technical advice sought.

A reader emails:
Internet Explorer is blocking my access to your blog as a virus threat. That is, I've been warned, and can click through if I want to (against their recommendation), but they cite
This website has been reported to contain the following threats:
  • Malicious software threat: This site contains links to viruses or other software programs that can reveal personal information stored or typed on your computer to malicious persons.
Any ideas?

With President Obama going to Mumbai — where he will be protected from coconuts — I've started reading the Mumbai Mirror.

Here's "Coconuts removed from trees in preparation for Barack Obama's India trip." But searching for the story — I'd heard Rush Limbaugh exclaim about it — I ended up at a Mumbai Mirror article about the special dishes the local chefs were cooking up in honor of the visit.
O’Barry Pie

This recipe is as rich as Obama’s biography. It uses 44 ingredients in honour of the 44th American president’s life.

There’s nothing quite as American as an American pie.
Maybe people who hear the song or see the movie titled "American Pie" think there's a dessert we call "American pie." Americans say: as American as apple pie.
But this pie combines elements from the various places he’s lived in.

Cocoa and coffee from Kenya, of which Obama’s father was a native, Polynesian fruits like banana and pineapple because he spent his childhood in Hawaii, and a coconut-and-rice pudding from Indonesia, where he lived with his stepfather for a few years.... 
The result is new and unusual. A single bite brings on a rush of many separate elements and, at the same time, has its own overall personality, just like the person it’s named after. The attractive pie is garnished with hazelnuts and rice crispies.
Rice Krispies for the time he spent in Kansas?

So now, I'm really getting into the Mumbai Mirror. What's its explanation of why Obama is coming to town:
Unlike his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton, who came to India and charmed Indians, President Obama will be here physically, but his mind is likely to be on what he can carry back home from this country.
Most notably, his eyes will be set on creating jobs, which he can accomplish to some extent if he can wangle some of the multi-billion-dollar contracts, especially in the defence sector, that US firms are keen to sign. But this would not be easy as India is not yet ready to sign the agreements for ensuring sale of defence ware to New Delhi.
He's not coming here to slather us with love like Bill did. He just wants our money, they're thinking?

Look how the Mumbai Mirror covers our elections:
Americans awoke on Wednesday to a vastly different political landscape, with Republicans retaking the House of Representatives as US voters punished Democrats over high unemployment and a sluggish economic recovery, delivering a divided Congress in Tuesday’s midterm poll.

Resurgent Republicans, led by the ultra-conservative Tea Party insurgency, steamrolled Democrats, taking at least 60 seats and a commanding majority in the House. It was one of the chamber’s largest political swings of the past century.
Ultra-conservative? I've never thought of the Tea Party as ultra-conservative.

Then there's "Indian-American Nikki Haley scripts history in US politics":
Daughter of Punjabi Sikh immigrants from Amritsar, Namrata Nikki Randhawa Haley who has become the first Indian origin woman to become the governor of a US state has been propelled to centre stage of American politics after her baptisation into politics in 2004.

She is the second Indian-American leader after Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana to have caught the attention of the Americans.
I'd never put that together. Two Indian-American governors now. Interesting. Both Republicans, for what it's worth.
It has not all been smooth sailing for the tall Haley, 38, mother of son Nalin, 9, and daughter Rena, 12 as she had to overcome allegations of extra-marital affairs and racial digs  to become the first Asian woman to don a US governorship.
What were the "racial digs"? I don't know, and I don't like Indians thinking we were awful to Haley.

A dubious theme: "Independents Turn on One of Their Own: Feingold."

This — by Katharine Q. Seelye of the NYT — seems a bit off:
The irony was lost on no one. Senator Russ Feingold, a liberal with a fierce streak of independence who crusaded against the influence of money in politics, was toppled Tuesday in a campaign awash in the kind of unregulated cash he had struggled to keep out of the system.

And in a poignant twist, the loss came, in part, because independents flocked to his opponent, despite Mr. Feingold’s record of one maverick vote after another.
It's not the same kind of independence. Feingold's independence was to the left of the Democrats in Congress. The independents who determined the outcome were voters — including me — whose politics lie in between Republicans and Democrats. Feingold made no effort to get in that zone. 
He was the sole senator to oppose the Patriot Act after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He also broke with President Obama on several occasions, opposing the expansion of the war in Afghanistan, the bailing out of financial institutions in 2008 and the regulation of Wall Street this year, saying the restrictions did not go far enough.
See? That's my point.
Most prominently, he battled his colleagues to overhaul the campaign finance system...
A few paragraphs separate that from this:
...Mr. Feingold raised and spent more money than Mr. Johnson...

Mr. Feingold had raised $18.2 million and spent $16.2 million by the middle of last month, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Mr. Johnson raised $12.8 million, and spent $10.5 million, pumping in more than $8.2 million of his own money.
Feingold's campaign finance law wasn't a limit on a candidate spending his own money. In any case, Feingold spent much more money than Johnson.
It is not clear what he will do next. In a brief speech Tuesday night, he told the 300 supporters gathered in a hotel here in his hometown, “It’s on to the next fight, it’s on to the next battle, it’s on to 2012 and it is on to our next adventure, forward.”

He then raised his fist in the air and left the stage.
"Forward" is the state motto and the informal name of the 15-foot sculpture on top of the state Capitol building and the official name of another statue at the east entrance to the Capitol. I've watched the video of Feingold's concession speech, and his hand is a little off-screen at this point, but I bet that's not a fist but an outreaching hand meant to invoke the "Forward" statues.

ADDED: Here's a photo of the "Forward" gesture:

AND: Ron Johnson ran a pretty effective ad saying that Feingold is not the "maverick" he claims to be.

Space peanut.

Bet you weren't ready for that.

In the Theme-Day-on-the-Blog Café...

... come and rest in the shade of the Pandanus tectorius — the screwpine.

"Lawsuit exposes royal prince's bizarre sex statues — of HIMSELF."

That Daily News front-page teaser got me to click, and it was well worth it. The pictures of the statues are absolutely hilarious. (No nudity revealed in the cropped photos.)
Photographs of the pieces obtained by the Daily News show an endowed, muscular prince in a series of sexual positions with the woman, one of many at his beck and call. [Prince Jefri] Bolkiah has multiple wives and a harem of lovelies.
The prince is suing over the price his ex-advisers took for selling an estate — where he stored the statues. They only got $11 million for it. The prince's lawsuit and his efforts to exclude the statues as evidence at trial led to this complete exposure of the embarrassing statues.

People, think before you sue!

We had no thoughts at all about about Prince Bolkiah before he sued, and now his name is associated only with this one thing. And by "thing," I don't mean his cock. But he is well-endowed. In the statues!

"Obama wants to take our penises."

One of many out of context quotes — 2 of which are from me — in this montage of sexy highlights from the last 5 years of Bloggingheads:

ADDED: Here's the context of my reference to "masturbating boys":

How did Althouse get to be #1 on the ranking of law prof blogs?

(Here are the rankings.)

So, then, how did this happen? Instapundit would unquestionably be #1, but Glenn had to take his public Site Meter down because it was interfering with ads. If you look at my Site Meter, Instapundit boosts my traffic. The other thing is that the first chart ranks by the number of page views, but if you scroll down, there is a second ranking by the number of visitors. On that second chart, I'm second (to The Volokh Conspiracy ). That has something to do with clicking into the comments threads. Not that the comments at Volokh aren't good, but there's a bit more action in the comments here, so a special thanks to the commenters here — along with all the readers who don't comment. You make blogging great fun for me.

November 3, 2010

At the Graffiti Bridge Café...


... you can write anything you want.

What's with the GOP's "utter lack of triumphalism"?

"In 1994, riding their previous tsunami, Republicans literally danced in the Washington streets and partied for 48 hours. In 2008, Democrats wept and sang. There was none of this last night, even though the GOP victory might have been larger and more decisive than either of those."

Why so somber?
They know they aren't really popular. Just the alternative to something despised.
Jubilation has a way of biting you in the ass 2 years later.
Things are so bad that it would be in bad taste to look all happy.
They won't really be able to do anything and want to keep expectations low.
The Rally to Restore Sanity restored sanity.
These people are genuine adults, acting like adults. free polls

If the government gives tax credits for donations that may go to religion, is that essentially the same as government spending on religion?

Lyle Denniston reports on the oral argument today in Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn. This is a case about tax credits for contributions made to private tuition funds that make grants to students who go to private schools. Many of those schools are religious and some of the qualified funds only make grants to students who go to religious religious schools. Denniston begins his description with a claim that he detected Elena Kagan's purchase on the mind of Tony Kennedy (a subject we were just talking about the other day). Denniston says Kagan and Kennedy — the 2 Ks (sounds like trouble!) — "took crucial, reinforcing roles." I don't see much support for that point.

This case has a substantive Establishment Clause issue — whether government is subsidizing religion — and a threshold issue about standing — whether taxpayers can sue over this. These issues are linked because they both may depend on whether a tax credit turns the privately donated money into money from the state.

The lawyer defending the Arizona program said it was like tax deductions. People take tax deductions for their contributions to religious organizations all the time. What's different about tax credits? The lawyer arguing against the program "said that the money that is involved in the Arizona program is money raised by a tax; without a tax, there would be no tax credit."

If we view the tax credit as coming from the state's money, amassed by taxing, then the taxpayers who brought the suit probably have standing. But does that also answer the Establishment Clause question? Private citizens decide whether to contribute to a fund and pick from the qualified funds, not all of which exclusively fund religious schools, and the children getting the grants are choosing which school they want to go to. So there are 2 levels of private choice. And the definition of the funds is neutral and not religion-based.

Here's the complete transcript of today's argument.

UPDATE, April 4, 2011: The Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs lack standing. 

"Real World" reality TV star wins a seat in Congress — from Wisconsin's 7th District.

Sean Duffy... who is married to Rachel Campos, also of "Real World" fame.

"Kanye West 'connects' with George Bush."

"I definitely can understand the way he feels to be accused of being a racist in any way because the same thing happened to me. I got accused of being a racist. With both situations, it was basically a lack of compassion that America saw."

Meade uses a Japanese digging knife — a hori hori — to plant a lot of allium bulbs really quickly.

He laughs at my "city girl" questions a couple times, and we discuss the results of a local election here in Madison, which demonstrated a Madisonian level of conservatism by picking the Democrat over the Green Party guy.

ADDED: All those tiny bulbs....

I only helped by looking admiringly and taking photographs...

As Meade planted 2,000+ bulbs....

"Tea party Republicans were elected to go to Washington and save the country—not be co-opted by the club."

"So put on your boxing gloves. The fight begins today."

Says Jim DeMint.

Obama speaks.

The press conference.

"They lost! Losers compromise!... They were wiped out!"

Rush is raging this morning. Message: The GOP must be boldly conservative and not compromise.

ADDED: Emailed notes from the Rush organization, summarizing the first segment:
LOSERS compromise; Winners compromise nothing!  ((Beach Music: Wipe Out))  ((More Music:  Ding, Dong;   the Witch is Dead.))  It is amusing how pessimism surrounds me.  When Obama had the House and the Senate, that was a reason to be pessimistic, and I wasn’t.

Conservatism was not on the ballot in 2008.  Now we see.  1994 was BIG because it was unexpected;  the win last night was expected.  Republicans hoped to pick up 17 and they picked up 60.  Compromise is off the table;  they didn’t want to compromise with us. Losers compromise; this Agenda has to be stopped!

60 seats in the House of Representatives is almost unprecedented.
The previous record was 55 seats in 1932 when Hoover was tossed.
((More oldie-but-goodie-music that Rush loves, this time with satire lyrics.))

And it’s bye, bye, Pelosi and Republican Boehner takes the gravel. 

As long as the Democrats control the Senate, what better face than Dingy Harry to represent them.  The country is asking, “How in the Heck can this happen, other than unions, fraud, and deceit?”  Chuck-U Schumer is unhappy and mad-as-Hell that he doesn’t get the gravel.  He and Dick Turbin were going to have a drag-out battle for it.
AND: Here's the full text of the opening monologue.

No! We voted no on the high-speed rail!

Transportation officials have confirmed that Wisconsin and federal administrators have signed a deal to commit the state to spending all $810 million of its federal stimulus cash on a proposed Milwaukee-to-Madison high-speed rail line.
Intensely undemocratic underhandedness on the day we voted for the candidate, Scott Walker, who promised to shut down this project.
But Cari Anne Renlund, executive assistant to state Transportation Secretary Frank Busalacchi, said Gov. Jim Doyle's administration was only following its original plan....

Renlund said state and federal staffers worked out the deal over the weekend because they were busy with other duties and that was the only time they could meet. She said the agreement was not publicly announced because it had just been reached, but it could be announced later.

When heads just don't understand.

I appear twice in this montage of communications breakdowns — it's not always the same — on Bloggingheads (which is doing montages this week in celebration of its 5th anniversary). And it's actually not the most-talked-about Althouse-on-Bloggingheads breakdown. I guess that just wasn't sufficiently montage-able....

Even California didn't want to legalize non-medical marijuana.

Prop 19 failed. In yesterday's Bloggingheads — the "Non-Obsolete Edition" — Matt Welch and I talked about the effort to legalize the so-called "recreational" use of marijuana, which is far less popular than the "medical" use. You can watch the whole segment here, but — I know these Bloggingheads things are long — I don't want you to miss the part where I connect the favoring of medical legalization to left-wing values that I despise. It's only 80 seconds:

Note that the "medicinal" use of alcohol — "self-medicating" — is considered especially bad. The good alcohol use is for personal pleasure — one might say the pursuit of happiness — and most certainly not out of a physical need. Isn't it odd that it's the other way around for marijuana?


If you watch the whole segment — 16+ minutes long, sorry — there's a lot of discussion of the way the federalism problem would work out if the state stopped criminalizing marijuana. It's a misnomer to say that would "legalize" marijuana, because the federal crimes still apply. It would still be a crime to possess, grow, or distribute marijuana. The federal government can't force state officials to carry out the enforcement of the federal law. (It can lure them into that role with conditions on spending, but it can't commandeer the state law enforcement personnel. That's Printz.)

As Matt notes, Eric Holder announced a few weeks ago, that if Prop 19 passed, federal drug agents would "vigorously enforce" the federal law in California. California's a huge state, and that would be damned hard to do. I suggest that Holder may have only said that to try to influence California voters to reject Prop 19, and Matt seems certain that was the reason. And that seemed to work.

It would have been quite chaotic if Prop 19 had gone the other way. In the 16+ minute clip, you can see that Matt loves the idea of the chaos that would destabilize everything with, perhaps, the ultimate result that the federal government would give up on its marijuana crimes. I, on the other side, resist the chaos. I don't think it would work well to have something appear to be legal and at the same time be a very real federal crime. Much as I like decentralized law and the benefits of federalism, where there is valid federal law, it supersedes state and local law. That is the constitutional structure.

"I don't believe in magic..."

Waking up in a red state, the lyric "The dream is over" played in my head. That song, that John Lennon song, you may know, is called "God." It begins: "God is a concept by which we measure our pain" — and that seems like an apt rebuke in a political world in which we imagined our President to be some kind of God. Idolatry is not a good thing, and we — not just the President, but we — got our comeuppance. Lennon's song continues...
I don't believe in magic
I don't believe in I-ching
I don't believe in Bible
I don't believe in tarot
I don't believe in Hitler
I don't believe in Jesus
I don't believe in Kennedy
I don't believe in Buddha
Maybe, like me, you exclaimed: But maybe I believe in Aqua Buddha!

Let's hope last night's revolution was a revolution toward reality, away from government, and a return to belief in what individual human beings can do on their own, without magical dreams about government.

Yesterday afternoon, Matt Welch and I tried to talk non-obsoletely about last night's election.

Topics, as framed by Bloggingheads:
Why Ann voted against her old pal Russ Feingold
Just a pendulum swing, or something fundamentally new?
Will the Tea Party take over the GOP, or vice versa?
Matt vs. Ann on Prop 19
Advice for Obama (which he probably won’t take)
The GOP’s possibly futile attempt to stop Sarah Palin
ADDED: Matt Welch is the editor-in-chief of Reason magazine.

Waking up in a red state.

Good morning, from Wisconsin.

My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over....

Or maybe just... The dream is over...And so, dear friends, you'll just have to carry on...

November 2, 2010

TV on! Election night! Liveblog!

1. It begins:

2. "... Rand Paul projected by CNN to win his Senate race in Kentucky and another conservative, Dan Coats, projected to win the Senate race in Indiana."

3. "I'm more comfortable with Fox," say I, after watching CNN for a while and then switching.

4. Oh, CNN is better. Better graphics. Lots of people saying things. Annoying much of the time, but more detail. Mary Matalin enthusing about Portman winning in Ohio, a state Obama won.

5. DeMint already making his victory speech. Kitty Dukakis in trouble for seeming like "a walking billboard."

6. CNN says Coons wins. We won't have Christine O'Donnell to kick around anymore.

7. Rubio! David Gergen enthuses about "a Republican Latino with star power."

8. "Wow, the first time one of the fictional Althouse characters actually had a complete story arc! Bravo!" (Scroll up.)

9. It's so sad for the Democrats. They gave us so many things. Gifts. Expensive gifts. That we didn't want. That they bought with our money.

10. Tim Kaine blabs on and on, making a happy face. Eventually, Wolf Blitzer cuts hims off with "It's going to be a long night for you.

11. CNN's music for tonight is the same (or just close) to what was used in the HBO John Adams series. It's about the Framers, no? As the Tea Party clinches it.

12. Drudge says: "REPUBLICANS WIN SENATE SEATS: AL, FL, GA, IN, OH, KY, MO, NH, SC... DEMS WIN: CT, DE, MD... TOO CLOSE TO CALL: PA, IL..." Hey, what happened to California? Earlier he was calling it for Boxer.

13. Manchin. "Huge win" for the Democrats, says Wolf Blitzer, about the hot West Virginia race.

14. The GOP takes the House. It's outside of the margin of error, says NBC. Pelosi is gone. Ding dong. [UPDATE: Now MSNBC is calling that "a mistake." MSNBC is awful.]

15. NBC says Wisconsin is "too close to call," as the polls close.

16. Rand Paul victory speech: "I have a message! A message from the people of Kentucky! A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words! We've come to take our government back!"

17. MSNBC is hilarious. They're near meltdown. Rand Paul will destroy America. The Republicans "salivate at the thought" of worldwide economic collapse.

18. O'Donnell conceding. Very cheerful. Chirpy. I listened to Marco Rubio's victory speech a few minutes ago, which was, by contrast, very mellow.

19. Scott Walker has, it seems, won the Governorship here in Wisconsin. That's supposed to mean — that must mean — no to the high-speed train boondoggle.  Also in Wisconsin, Russ Feingold is way behind.

20. Feingold has lost, quite decisively. I'm sorry to see him go. He's a good man. But I should admit that I voted against him. I had to vote for the Party of No.

21. Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin appear side-by-side on Fox News, analyzing the elections, denouncing sexism, and then ending on this adorable, ultra-girlie note:

22. Screen shot:

23. I just thought that was amusing, the way YouTube inserted my face into the Fox News. By the way, did you notice, at the end of the clip, when Geraldine said she wanted to go on "Dancing with the Stars," Sarah said "I'll hook you up"?

24. John Boehner tears up talking about American values, which he's chased all his life. Then, talking about his business, he sobs. Keep it together, Boehnsy!

25. That got a little... weird. I hope Boehnsy is ready to lead. Anyway, here in Dane County, Feingold's campaign manager George Aldrich is not giving up: "Russ is down by 80,000 votes, but...up to 1.4 million votes haven’t been counted." None of the Madison votes were in when he said that: "We are confident that this race is going to tighten, it is going to tighten quickly, and we may be in for a long night here."

25. Over at Drudge, it's the 3 Rs:

Rubio, Rand, and Ron.

26. Charles Krauthammer on Fox News: "The Obama agenda is dead." The Democrats have retained the Senate, apparently, but, looking forward to 2012, they will, self-defensively, distance themselves from Obama — says the Kraut.

27. Feingold has conceded. NYT:
Quoting Bob Dylan, he said, "My heart is not weary, it's light and free, and I've got nothing but affection for those who have sailed with me."

It is not clear what he will do next, but Mr. Feingold, 57, told the crowd: "It's on to the next fight, it's on to the next battle, it's on to 2012 and it is on to our next adventure, forward." He raised his fist in the air and left the stage.
The Times misses that "Forward" is the state motto. And maybe that "fist in the air" was posing as the Wisconsin "Forward" statue.

28. Karl Rove exclaims that he's "exhausted." I was just saying he looked tired.

29. Speaking of tired, it's interesting that Harry Reid will be sticking around. There's something so dreary about him. Does his victory cheer Democrats? Or would they have had more fun kicking Sharron Angle around?

30. I'm tired too. See you in the morning.

"50% of Voters Say They Don't Plan to Vote for Obama in 2012; 57% See This Election as Obama Referendum."


When does the bloodbath start?

Is it time to turn on the TV yet?

At the Koi-Ahoy Café...

... rouse yourself from last night's serenity and move.

(Last night's koi were activated by Chip Ahoy.)

"Kennedy-Sorensen Dems Wouldn't Recognize Obama-Reid-Pelosi."

"[Sorensen] gave voice to America's historic aspiration for greatness and achievement. He believed in an America that was 'second to none,' and that dared to dream of doing big and important things."

Says John R. Guardiano.

Oh, but Obama-Reid-Pelosi did plenty of big and important things. That's what really hurt.

Make a prediction: What will be the biggest upset?

You can get a good snapshot of what all the polls are saying here. Here's the closeup on the Senate.

"I probably should have used the word 'opponents' instead of 'enemies.'"

Obama repositions.

What media characters are repositioning out in front of today's elections?

Well, there's Chris Matthews, who suddenly finds Obama to be a big old "elitist"....

... and Bill "Proud Westerner" Maher:

("[I'm] someone who believes in the values that Western people believe in that a lot of the Muslim world does not.")

Should all the many elections around the country today be seen as one big referendum on Obama and his Congress...

... and will you cast each of your votes accordingly?

Well, is it and will you?
Yes, it is and I will vote no (that is, Republican).
Yes, it is and I will vote yes (that is, Democrat).
Yes, it kind of is, but I'll still vote for individual candidates on their individual merits.
No, it's not. It's a whole lot of separate elections that should be viewed individually.
No, it's not one big referendum, but I'll still vote a straight party line: Democrat.
No, it's not one big referendum, but I'll still vote a straight party line: Republican.
I'm not voting. free polls

"This is not an election on November 2. This is a restraining order."

"Power has been trapped, abused and exploited by Democrats. Go to the ballot box and put an end to this abusive relationship. And let’s not hear any nonsense about letting the Democrats off if they promise to get counseling."

Says P.J. O'Rourke.

What's this election about?

An amazing number of words are spoken in this 9 seconds — mostly by Bob Wright — but it's Mickey Kaus who's answering the question:

November 1, 2010

At the Koi Café...


... let go... serenity... sleep... there will be plenty of excitement tomorrow.

Politico, Mike Allen, and Jim VandeHei need to "man up," says Sarah Palin.

"They're jokes... they're making stuff up again."

Here's the article that's annoying her: "Next for GOP leaders: Stopping Sarah Palin."
Interviews with advisers to the main 2012 presidential contenders and with other veteran Republican operatives make clear they see themselves on a common, if uncoordinated, mission of halting the momentum and credibility Palin gained with conservative activists by plunging so aggressively into this year’s midterm campaigns....

"There is a determined, focused establishment effort … to find a candidate we can coalesce around who can beat Sarah Palin," said one prominent and longtime Washington Republican. "We believe she could get the nomination, but Barack Obama would crush her."

A 9th Circuit panel keeps Don't Ask, Don't Tell in place.

"[T]he public interest in ensuring orderly change of this magnitude in the military – if that is what is to happen – strongly militates in favor of a stay...."

9th Circuit Judge John T. Noonan Jr. can't understand the Justice Deparment's argument that the Arizona immigration law is preempted by federal law.

At oral argument today:
"I've read your brief, I've read the District Court opinion, I've heard your interchange with my two colleagues, and I don't understand your argument," Noonan told deputy solicitor general Edwin S. Kneedler. "We are dependent as a court on counsel being responsive. . . . You keep saying the problem is that a state officer is told to do something. That's not a matter of preemption. . . . I would think the proper thing to do is to concede that this is a point where you don't have an argument."

"With respect, I do believe we have an argument," responded Kneedler, who said the Arizona law is unconstitutional and threatens civil liberties by subjecting lawful immigrants to "interogation and police surveillance.''
Yeah, well, but that's not preemption.

Here's my old post trying to make sense of the preemption argument. I came up with this (admittedly strange and politically inadvisable) argument:
The federal government has responsibility for immigration, and it has expressed, through written law and real-world efforts, an extremely lax policy toward illegal immigration. Given that federal policy and the supremacy of federal law, one could argue that it is not within the state's proper power to dictate a different policy and impose it on the federal government (by referring a lot of new cases of individuals violating federal law).
I really need to see the whole transcript. Ah! Here's today's oral argument:

"Obama = Keynesian?" sign makes Rally for Sanity folks insane...

... and stupid:

Via Weekly Standard.

Bleh. I don't like saying Rally for Sanity folks. Help me pick a better coinage:

What should we call the Rally to Restore Sanity folks?
Sane Freaks
Reasonable People
The Enemy
Sanity's Little Elves free polls


... smelled.

Obama: "We’re gonna punish our enemies..."

People hear echoes of Richard Nixon and his notorious "enemies" list.

Compare and contrast:

"A Vote Against Dems, Not for the GOP."

Says Rasmussen.

The theory is, the Republicans will win big because people want to say "no" to the Democrats. If so, the Democrats should be kicking themselves — stomping themselves — for going all-out defining the GOP as "the party of 'no.'" These days, no is what people are for.

Rasmussen makes the argument that we will see a lot, that the GOP victory shouldn't be understood as a preference for conservatism:
[I]t would be wise for all Republicans to remember that their team didn't win, the other team lost. Heading into 2012, voters will remain ready to vote against the party in power unless they are given a reason not to do so.
Elected politicians also should leave their ideological baggage behind because voters don't want to be governed from the left, the right, or even the center. They want someone in Washington who understands that the American people want to govern themselves.

"Republicans Appear Poised to Win Big on Tuesday."


A legal discussion declines to "I'll see you in court!"

Keep going. It's Bob Wright and Mickey Kaus in the big 5th anniversary edition of Bloggingheads, which began with just Bob and Mickey. Great election week topics:
How Bob was won over by the Stewart/Colbert rally
Why Mickey is rooting for a Republican rout
Are Tea Partiers right about creeping socialism?
Is Obama’s biggest problem Obama?
ADDED: I love the Tom Toles caricatures. Funny that Bob and Mickey — men who don't look at all alike — both end up with pinched-together temples and eyes and exaggerated mouths. Their heads are both super-wide at the mouth level to accommodate their giant mouths. Both have tiny eyes. The main distinctions are: eyebrows (tiny and giant), eyes (bagged and tiny), and lips (frowny and smirky).

"Russ Feingold received a suspicious package on his doorstep in Middleton Saturday, which police deemed a prank..."

It turned out to be a board game and a letter signed "Thomas Jefferson."
The Dane County Bomb Squad searched the package...

Although the sender of the package has yet to be found, police traced the return address to a postal office in Illinois. The incident came on the heels of the recent interception of explosives headed for Jewish organizations in Chicago....
So it came in the mail? It was on his doorstep because that's where the postal worker left it? Who is supposed to call the bomb squad when an unsolicited package comes in the mail? (I get packages in the mail from addresses I don't recognize. Should I call the police?)

How is it even a prank? Someone sent him a joke gift. If Feingold shouldn't be getting packages delivered to his house, why does the Post Office deliver them? What does this have to do with "the recent interception of explosives"? It wasn't an inception. It was a delivered package. And there were no explosives. 

Is this a nonstory, the sort of non-"incident" that happens all the time, which we're hearing about because of the election? 

By the way, what board game was it? It was supposed to be funny in combination with Thomas Jefferson.

October 31, 2010

At the Ducks-in-Duckweed Café...

... I guess that's the way you like it...

... there is open water over there you know...

... and here you are, lining up in the shadow of a tree.

Is it fair for Bush (and Bush, elder) to be on camera in such a glowing light, for hours on end?

We're watching the World Series, and I'm wondering if the Bushes are making a profound subliminal impression on American minds, drawing us toward the stability of the past. Bush and baseball — is that a political argument against which the mind cannot defend?

Halloween... we just got the tiniest little Spiderman...

... coming to the door by himself. There was a parent back there in the dark somewhere. Earlier, the bell rang and there were 3 kids: a clown, a ketchup bottle, and a witch.

ADDED: I'm less sentimental now than when I wrote that — 10 minutes ago. We've been holding out a bowl with 6 different kinds of full-size candy bars and saying "Take one." There were 3 kids and one boy took 2. Meade said "Take one!" He said that 3 times, and the boy didn't put one back. Nor did the parents, 15 feet away do anything to rectify the situation. The next group came, and Meade held out the bowl and said "Take one," and a parent, standing back 15 feet, called out "Take one or 2." The hell? Full-size candy bars cost 89¢ at Walgreen's. You don't take 2. My faith in kid-humanity is shattered. Now, we have to switch to choosing for them and handing out one apiece.


What's worse?
The boy who took 2 and didn't put one back when Meade repeated "Take one."
The parent who called out "Take one or 2" after Meade said "Take one." free polls

IN THE COMMENTS: Meade said:
Hey, we just finished up the night with a great bunch of seven kids - looked to be about 10-12 years-old - and they all sang us a song! They were great! And polite.

Faith in kid-humanity restored! Thanks, Obama!

Dave Weigel went to Wisconsin to see Russ Feingold flailing.

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Ask whether the Democrats can win one for the Sorensen.

Ted Sorensen, JFK's brain, has died at age 82.
He held the title of special counsel, but Washington reporters of the era labeled him the president’s “intellectual alter ago” and “a lobe of Kennedy’s mind.” Mr. Sorensen called these exaggerations, but they were rooted in some truth.

Let's talk about Joe Lieberman.

It seems to me that the Senate is likely to end up 50-50. Did you notice California is considered a toss-up now? But that 50 for the Democrats assumes the inclusion of Joe Lieberman, who's an independent. Why wouldn't he switch to the Republicans?

Brian Beutler takes a cheap shot at Sarah Palin: "Sarah Palin Calls Joe Miller A Lost Cause, Quotes Scopes Monkey Trial Attorney."

Beutler is either shameless or ignorant:
There are probably better ways to inspire confidence in a candidate's prospects when he's in free fall than to call him a lost cause. But that's exactly what Sarah Palin did to one of her favorite tea partiers last night.

"Joe Miller - do not give up. It's you against the machine. This is it. 'Lost causes' are the only ones worth fighting for,'" Palin tweeted, quoting famed Scopes Monkey Trial attorney Clarence Darrow.

It seems unlikely that Palin is aware that Darrow was a big wig at the American Civil Liberties Union given her penchant for scoffing at...civil liberties. And one wonders whether Palin knows that, in the Scopes trial, Darrow defended John Scopes, who violated Tennessee law by teaching evolution. But there you have it.
Is there any evidence, anywhere, that Sarah Palin would like to criminalize the teaching of evolution? Is there any evidence, anywhere, that Sarah Palin doesn't love our constitutional free expression rights? Is there evidence, anywhere, that Sarah Palin would not admire a lawyer who fought to defend free speech rights against the oppressive government use of criminal law against a science teacher?

In her memoir, Palin explains her views on evolution. Confronted with the statement "science proves evolution," she said: "Parts of evolution... But I believe that God created us and also that He can create an evolutionary process that allows species to change and adapt." That is what an awful lot of people think, and I think most American politicians if pressed on the question, would interweave God with the theory of evolution.

In any case, you don't even have to accept evolution to oppose criminalizing the teaching of evolution. The issue about evolution today isn't about barring teaching evolution. It's only about whether creationism or "intelligent design" can be taught alongside evolution if that's what schools want to do. The restriction on freedom of expression, then, is pro-evolution. Not anti-evolution. And who knows what Clarence Darrow would think about that?

But even assuming Clarence Darrow should be anathema to Sarah Palin, the quote — " 'Lost causes' are the only ones worth fighting for" — isn't from Clarence Darrow. It's from the book that became the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Here:

ADDED: Sarah Palin does name Clarence Darrow in her tweet, so clearly she had the wrong source for the quote too.

AND: "The restriction on freedom of expression, then, is pro-evolution. Not anti-evolution." Is that too concise to understand easily? I usually resist verbosity, but let me expand. Let's assume someone — Palin, Beutler, the ACLU, whoever — cares about freedom of expression and would like to oppose restrictions on it. Now, they look at the current issues that have to do with the teaching and evolution. They will not see a restriction on teaching the theory of evolution, which is generally required. The restrictions that exist today limit a public school teacher who would like to introduce alternate theories like creationism and intelligent design. The key case is Edwards v. Aguillard (1987):
[Louisiana's "Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction" Act] is designed either to promote the theory of creation science which embodies a particular religious tenet by requiring that creation science be taught whenever evolution is taught or to prohibit the teaching of a scientific theory disfavored by certain religious sects by forbidding the teaching of evolution when creation science is not also taught. The Establishment Clause, however, "forbids alike the preference of a religious doctrine or the prohibition of theory which is deemed antagonistic to a particular dogma." Because the primary purpose of the Creationism Act is to advance a particular religious belief, the Act endorses religion in violation of the First Amendment.

"Clearly the reporters were conspiring to set up some type of smear of Joe Miller."

A shocking report at Big Journalism:
With glee, they even cite a recent controversy over an incident involving the Rand Paul campaign, while discussing how they would spread the story via social media after whatever incident they had in mind came off.
The Washington Post casts a critical eye at the report:
[I]t's unclear from the recording precisely what, if anything, was being plotted. And now the station is adamantly denying the charges, claiming the audio was clipped and taken out of the fuller context. KTVA general manager Jerry Bever sends over a statement claiming the "complete recording was about what others might be able to do to cause disruption within the Miller campaign."...

"It's unfortunate that this recording has happened....

"While the recording is real, the allegations are untrue. The recording was the result of a cell phone not being hung up...."
Thanks for the info that it is unfortunate and real.

The Meadhouse jack-o-lantern.

I picked out the white pumpkin, found the black candle, and sharpened the knife. Meade did all the design work and carving.

"When I was a kid, Halloween was strictly a starchy-vegetable-only holiday, with pumpkins and Indian corn on the front stoop..."

"... there was nothing electric, nothing inflatable, nothing with latex membranes or strobes. I do remember the first time I saw bright orange lawn trash bags decorated with smiley pumpkin faces, which was about ten years ago; I thought they were kind of clever and festive, if a bit commercial. Now they seem quaint, compared to, say, yard decorations like Demonica Zombie Baby ('a latex skin foam filled child with sound and motion activated flashing eye lights,' in stock and ready to ship for $39.99) or a life-sized Hellraiser Pinhead Animatronic (a big investment at $279.99)."

That's Susan Orlean, who also bemoans the trend toward Halloween as a time for adult revelry: "when I was young, Halloween was a holiday celebrated only by children." That made me look up Orlean's age — 54 — and city of origin — Cleveland. The trend toward Mardi Gras-style street parties and parades for adult revelries goes back to the 1970s. That's when Freakfest began here in Madison, Wisconsin and the time of the first Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in NYC. I remember those parades in the late 1970s, when I lived in Greenwich Village. It was a continuation of the counter-culture of the 60s, isn't it? They called us Baby Boomers, and we internalized the concept of "baby." You'll just have to deal with it now.

ADDED: Orlean... Mardi Gras... Maybe that has something to do with her annoyance at the migration of adult revelry to the autumn holiday. That and the fact that — as she reveals in the article — Halloween is her birthday.

Maureen Dowd speaks of Obama's "righteous self-regard."

In context:
At first it was exciting that Obama was the sort of brainy, cultivated Democrat who would be at home in a “West Wing” episode.

But now he acts like he really thinks he’s on “West Wing,” gliding through an imaginary, amber-lit set where his righteous self-regard is bound to be rewarded by the end of the hour.
I've never watched "West Wing," and that reference doesn't make me regret my avoidance of it.
His arrogance led him to assume: If I build it, they will understand. He can’t get the gratitude he feels he deserves for his achievements if no one knows what he achieved and why those achievements are so vital.
People liked him. And we liked the idea of ourselves liking him. The mistake was for him ever to think that made us want the things on the Democrats' wish list.
We want the best people to govern us, but many voters are so turned off by Obama’s superior air that they’re rushing into the arms of disturbingly inferior pols.
No. We hate the policies, and we're voting for the people who will undo them. It doesn't matter if they aren't as sleek and pretty. We want out of the place where the glamorous hero led us.

"Her womb was a barren desert in which my seed could find no purchase."

April finally comes up with the quote that my quote from Larry Tribe reminded her of. I was riffing on "Neither Steve Breyer nor Ruth Ginsberg has much of a purchase on Tony Kennedy's mind." The quote that had found purchase in April's brain was from from "Raising Arizona."

What if the odd and arch use of the word "purchase" gained purchase in Larry Tribe's brain because he'd watched "Raising Arizona." Suddenly "the idea of the image Tribe had of Kennedy's brain" is funny in a whole new way. "Justice Kennedy's brain/womb was a barren desert in which Breyer/Ginsburg's seed could find no purchase." Tribe thought Elena Kagan would be much better at.... what?

But it's not such an odd image. We speak of fertilizing minds and seminal ideas and gestating thoughts and mindfucks.

Greil Marcus, asked what's the best piece of advice he's actually followed, gives some teaching advice.

It's really good:
When teaching a seminar, and there's a point that rises out of the discussion that you think absolutely has to be made, wait. In five minutes someone in the class will say what, if you, the teacher, had said it, would have killed the discussion - but coming from a student, it will push the discussion forward, into richer territory than your own sterile interruption could ever have found. That was my own advice to myself, and every time I teach a seminar, I have to remind myself of it about every 15 minutes.
Ah! The temptation to just say it (which I yield to all the time).

I found that because of my Google alert on "Bob Dylan." Here's what he said about Dylan:
The greatest album, ever?

Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" (1965) No matter how many times you might have heard it, a different song will appear as primary, the star around which everything else revolves - it could be "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry," one day, "Ballad of a Thin Man" the next, the title song for the next year, "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" a year later, each different song casting all the others into a different relief. Then "Desolation Row" might make you forget that there's anything else on the album at all. But if the album were simply "Like a Rolling Stone" and 30 or 40 minutes of silence, I still might pick it.