May 28, 2011

At the Allium Spacecraft Café...

... don't take off just yet.

(That's my photo, animated by Chip Ahoy, according to instructions by Penny.)

"Obama Signs Patriot Act Extension with Autopen..."

"... Odd Clauses Watch Gets Hundreds of Hits."

At the Bumblebee Café


... just be yourself.

"I'm sure I'm not the only one who read this and thought of one of the greatest movies ever made."

Yeah, I did too. And thanks for posting that 36-year-old trailer. I haven't gone to the movies in many months. I never see that there's anything coming out that I'm even slightly moved to think about seeing.* I thought maybe it was that I am getting old, and I no longer feel the way film needs you to feel to work as film. But seeing that old trailer now... I don't think it is me. It's the pictures that got small.

* Not a fiction movie anyway. I do care very much about seeing "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," and I will see this documentary about Bill Cunningham.

Crack plays Instapundit...

... with Instapundit. There's a funny but NSFW image at the link. BTW, I think Crack is wrong about why Glenn doesn't link to him. I think Glenn's mind and Crack's mind are just far enough out of sync that... well, maybe one day, one of them, all of a sudden will realize he's on the wrong page or on the right page but the wrong note, and he's got to get in sync with the other one to understand what’s happening in this country. And it will be blogged.

ADDED: Crack, could you take a look at this?

AND: The link in the "ADDED" section was wrong for many hours yesterday, I apologize. Corrected.

ALSO: Instapundit acknowledges that his site was sending out malware vibes yesterday. Sorry I passed that along. I kept noticing a nasty window popping up when I tried to go to his site, but it took me a long time to notice that I'd entered it here.

"'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,' that was about the fact that the first change that takes place is in your mind..."

"... You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and the way you move. So when we said that 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,' we were saying that the thing that’s gonna change people is something that no one will ever be able to capture on film. It will just be something that you see, and all of a sudden you realize I’m on the wrong page, or I’m on the right page but I’m on the wrong note, and I’ve got to get in sync with everyone else to understand what’s happening in this country."

Gil Scott-Heron, RIP.

Why did Cornel West call Obama "a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats"?

What set him off? Glenn Loury and Joshua Cohen try to figure it out:

"I love the opening thump thump of the drums..."

"... and once hit a dashboard so hard that it made the cassette eject."

"Scott Lemieux's Spencer Ackerman moment."

Actually, I think this is unfair, but I'm not going say why or distinguish Scott Lemieux from Spencer Ackerman, because I swore off linking to Lawyers, Guns and Money when they deleted all Meade's comments. I'm not going to interact with people who have deliberately and finally cut of my channels of interaction with them.

Restore everything and apologize and I will.

May 27, 2011

Margo Dydek, the tallest WNBA female basketball player ever, has died of a heart attack at the age of 37.

She was 7'2" tall.
Despite Dydek’s prowess in Europe, American scouts were lukewarm before she arrived in the United States in 1998 for a predraft camp. There was a reason: because of a clerical error, her height was listed as 6-6 in the advance materials they had been given.

Then Dydek walked through the door. The scouts scrambled.

Lech Walesa rejects meeting with Obama...

... as Obama arrives in Poland.

At the Indoor-Outdoor Café...


... are you in or out?

Gallup poll: Democrats estimate that 28% of Americans are gay.

Republicans are much closer to reality, at 20.2%, but still far off. (The actual percentage is more like 3.5.)

What accounts for this discrepancy? Perhaps Democrats are more likely to live in places where there are larger concentrations of openly gay people. Perhaps those with liberal views are more likely to hear the news that people they know are gay. Maybe Dems are dumber. The poll does also show that less educated people have the highest estimate. Or maybe it's that women tend to be Democrats and women estimate high (29.7% to men's 19.4%). Why would women estimate high? It might be that they are more likely to key into talk about private lives, and thus hear more about various people being gay, and then they extrapolate a ridiculous number. Younger people estimate high too, and younger people tend to be more liberal.

Whatever. Why are people so ill-informed? It's embarrassing. Would people be more likely to support equal rights for gay people if they knew how small the number is? But of course, we don't really know exactly what the number is. We're all only estimating.

Are you more likely to support gay rights if you think there are very few gay people?
Yes, because then they're more of a minority and more subject to discrimination.
Yes, because then giving them rights won't have much effect.
No, because it's worse if a larger number of persons are denied equality.
No, because rights are what they are regardless of how many people are being denied those rights. free polls

"Althouse is shrewder."

Says Andrew Sullivan. Thanks. He's saying I'm shrewder than Byron York, referring to this post, earlier today, which is up to 249 comments (on the Friday afternoon before the long holiday weekend.) Of course, the topic is Sarah Palin. Sullivan connects my post, which tweaked the "serious people," with something Rush Limbaugh said:
'The Inside the Beltway’ ruling class — the elite — they’re more oriented toward candidates they can attach the word ‘serious’ to — which is another way of saying someone who is boring, who doesn’t ruffle feathers, someone who exudes an air of formal education and sophistication — she doesn’t exude that, and I think it’s going to shake a lot of people up ... You know the effect that she has on establishment Republican people.
Later, Sullivan put up another post on the Sarah Palin/seriousness theme. Asking "Does this sound like someone not running?," he posted Palin's bus tour ad:


"Death from Dehydration Is Usually Serene."

An ABC News article, from 2005, back when people were agonizing over Terri Schiavo.
"The process of starving to death seems very barbaric but in actuality is very peaceful," said Dr. Fred Mirarchi, assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.

"The patient's experience is really pretty benign," said Dr. Joanne Lynn, a hospice physician associated with Americans for Better Care of the Dying, a group working for improved end-of-life care. "Overwhelmingly, what will happen is nothing."...

"Patients [become] uremic -- filled with bodily toxins -- and are unaware of their surroundings," Mirarchi said. "They develop electrolyte imbalances that eventually cause an abnormal beating of the heart."...

"The heart will then stop and the patient will die," said Mirarchi....

"Going without water makes it more gentle," Lynn said. "Allowing chemicals [in the blood] to cause arrhythmia is more merciful."
That came up first when I Googled "patients die of dehydration," which I did because I was trying to find this news article I'd read yesterday. Here it is: "Elderly patients dying of thirst: Doctors forced to prescribe drinking water to keep the old alive, reveals devastating report on hospital care." That's in the Daily Mail, reporting on the situation in the UK:
The snapshot study, triggered by a Mail campaign, found staff routinely ignored patients’ calls for help and forgot to check that they had had enough to eat and drink.

Dehydration contributes to the death of more than 800 hospital patients every year.

Another 300 die malnourished.
Am I wrong to suspect there is a form of euthanasia going on?

"Married couples have dropped below half of all American households for the first time..."

"... the Census Bureau says, a milestone in the evolution of the American family toward less traditional forms. Married couples represented just 48 percent of American households in 2010.... What is more, just a fifth of households were traditional families — married couples with children — down from about a quarter a decade ago, and from 43 percent in 1950, as the iconic image of the American family continues to break apart."

(NYT link.)

"Less than three years into the job, first lady Michelle Obama is on her third chief of staff and third social secretary."

"She is on her second communications director, the White House chief usher recently departed, and her press secretary’s last day is Friday."

But why? Politico delves:
Sources familiar with the East Wing, who asked not to be named discussing internal dynamics, described the first lady’s office as a challenging workplace, where grueling hours and the expectations of a formidable boss intensify the demands of managing a popular first lady’s schedule, image and agenda.

“The first lady is a lovely woman, but she’s tough as nails, and that can be hard for some people,” said a source familiar with the office. “She has really high expectations.”...

“For whatever reason,” said one source familiar with the office, the first lady’s staff just hasn’t “gelled.”

“You don’t take these sorts of jobs unless you love the principal [figure],” the source said. “And you can deal with a principal who has high expectations when you’re all gelling as a group, but that just wasn’t happening.”
Read between the lines.

"When Obama Imposed a No-Touch Zone on DSK."


At the Allium Café...


... I wouldn't hesitate at all.

Rudy Giuliani leads in the new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll.

Something has gone terribly wrong.

"Lang told a Madison police officer at the Motel 6, 1754 Thierer Road, that he had a gun 'to lay out abortionists because they are killing babies.'" reports on the arrest of Ralph Lang, who was arrested here in Madison, about a mile from a Planned Parenthood clinic, after he "reported to the front desk he had accidentally shot a bullet through his door at the motel and was worried that it might have struck someone in the room across the hall."  He reported the gun shot, and he (apparently) told the police about his plan:
Lang told a Madison police officer at the Motel 6, 1754 Thierer Road, that he had a gun "to lay out abortionists because they are killing babies"...
Lang said he planned on shooting the clinic's doctor "right in the head," according to the complaint. Asked if he planned to shoot just the doctor or nurses, too, Lang replied he wished he "could line them up all in a row, get a machine gun, and mow them all down," the complaint said...
Lang had a history of targeting Planned Parenthood buildings. Court documents said he was arrested in 2007 outside a Madison branch, telling officers that everyone in the building deserved to be executed and that police were failing in their jobs by not carrying out the executions....
He said that on Thursday he intended to find out who the abortion doctor was and "do what I feel police officers fail to do."

Asked what that was he said, "Take a gun, drop the abortionist."

"Take a picture of my pie. I need a picture."/"No. You’ll write that my rhubarb cobbler sucked and your pie was great."

Penelope Trunk writes about what do do if you think you're getting fired — and, most bloggishly — includes a lot of rhubarb, interpersonal dramedy, goat cheese, home repair, absurd photography, and career advice like: "wait for the words, 'You’re fired.' And then, no matter what words lead up to that phrase, say, 'I’m sorry you feel that way. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me.'"

"The bottom line is Sarah Palin is not going to run for president... She's making money, she's moved on..."

"... she's kind of an entertainer rather than a politician. She still has some sway with the grass roots, but she is not going to run."

So says somebody close to Romney, according to Byron York. Somebody close to Pawlenty says something similar: "I don't think she's going to run... She has faded a lot in the last few months. I look at what she's doing now and say that she's found a way to get back in the story."

These people are in the middle of raising money and attracting attention to their candidate, so it's in their strong interest to diminish the rise of Palin. York acknowledges that his unnamed confidantes may be "just spinning." But he says, these are "serious people," and they point at her "lack of a campaign operation."
"Watch what she has done," says the Republican close to Romney. "Has she contacted one major donor across the country about putting together an organization? Has she talked to one member of the Republican National Committee about working for a campaign, or one governor, or one former governor about working for a campaign? The answer is no."
Maybe these "serious people" should be called conventional people. What did these "serious people" say when Palin was doing most of her communication via Facebook? Did the serious people say that serious people do not talk to the press and the public by writing Facebook updates? Because that would be conventional. Conventional people saying you're not serious because you're not conventional. But what if Palin is out ahead of them, and they can't see it? I wonder what these serious people thought about the Tea Party as it emerged?

York sees this, sort of:
It's possible Palin is in fact running and believes she can do so in a way that's never been done before. Maybe she can. It's certainly been tried; in 2007, former Sen. Fred Thompson and a small group of aides conceived of a campaign that would rely on Internet videos, social media and lots of buzz to gain support, with less reliance on old-fashioned things like shaking hands, begging for money and courting state party chairmen. It didn't work.
Strange contradiction there: "never been done before"... it's been done before and it didn't work. If Palin has a another new way, then it hasn't been done before, and you can't say it didn't work, based on the fact that "it" didn't work. We'll have to see what Palin's new way would be. But suppose it is essentially the same as what Thompson tried. The fact that it didn't work the first time it was tried doesn't mean it won't work the second time. And, obviously Sarah is not Fred.

York sees that:
Of course, Palin is a far more ambitious politician than Thompson. 
Yet the whole point of Fred was that he was the serious person. He was the adult in the room. Palin is the one so many people like to think of as a lightweight. Fred had an old-fashioned sort of gravitas, melded, perhaps, with some new ideas about how to campaign for President. It's 4 years later and Palin is a different person, with a different relationship to new (and old) media.

The serious, old-fashioned people are saying that there's a conventional, old-fashioned way to finance a campaign, and if Sarah Palin isn't using it, then she must not be running. And York is adding: If she is running, she will fail. But there may be a new way, despite what happened to Fred, and she may be doing it, and it may very well work. The Tea Party worked.

Things have changed since the days of Fred Thompson.

May 26, 2011

Allium with sunspots.


At the Dark Wright Café...


... are you feeling uneasy?

There's something a bit absurd about a billionaire killing a goat...

... and congratulating himself about sustainability.
Zuckerberg's guide on this strange journey has been a well-known Silicon Valley chef named Jesse Cool. She lives in Palo Alto, eight houses away from Zuckerberg, and owns a local restaurant called Flea Street Café. Cool has introduced Zuckerberg to nearby farmers and advised him as he killed his first chicken, pig, and goat. "He cut the throat of the goat with a knife, which is the most kind way to do it," says Cool.
At the Flea Street Café... you can talk about Jesse Cool. You can talk about Zuckerberg Nerd. You can think you're quite fine for needing to see an animal die in order to imagine that animals die in order for there to be meat, and you can claim that your seeing what you found it hard to imagine makes it somehow better for you to consume the product that everyone knows comes from animals.

"Sarah Palin is launching a nationwide bus tour starting Sunday in Washington..."

"... Palin will also be stopping at other spots of symbolic national significance on the East Coast, including the Civil War battlefields at Gettysburg and Antietam, and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.... In addition to the tour, Palin’s camp recently announced a two-hour promotional film about the former governor set to premiere in Iowa next month."

So... does that mean she's going to run for President?

Is Sarah running?
She's testing the waters, as they say.
Probably not. Just grabbing attention.
No. Being President is not her thing. Wise up, America. Ignore this woman. free polls

ADDED: That film — according to the Guardian — "will present her as a Joan of Arc-like figure beset at every turn by vicious leftwing enemies seeking to thwart her ambition of reviving the conservative legacy of Ronald Reagan." Somehow I doubt that the film actually mentions Joan of Arc. If not, the linked article has quite a deceptive headline: "Sarah Palin likened to Joan of Arc in two-hour documentary film." The title of the movie is "The Undefeated," which sounds more like the title of an American western than any reference to Joan of Arc. But the British website comes up with Joan of Arc, who was not undefeated. She was captured, purchased by the British and then tried — unfairly — and executed — brutally — by the British.

"Barack Obama was probably not aware that he was doing anything unusual when making a toast 'to the Queen' and then continuing with a short speech."

BBC explains:
According to protocol, however, he should have stopped after the toast.

The band, taking its cue from the word Queen, struck up with the national anthem leaving the president struggling to make himself heard.

What happens when the Queen is toasted is all part of protocol, an elaborate set of customs and rules that govern interactions with the British royal family....

[I]t stems from a time when monarchs were accorded an almost divine status and had to be treated accordingly....
Whatever the original or the details, the President intended and wanted to follow the protocol, and somebody on his staff did him a grave disservice by not making absolutely certain he was getting it right. 

"Spectator removed from Wisconsin Senate gallery, purportedly for wiggling fingers and bouncing shoulders, during Voter ID debate."

Interesting video at the link. Watch it and tell me what you think.

If you think the finger-wiggling guy looks familiar, he appears in a New Media Meade video that I blogged here on March 23rd. He comes up to Meade at 1:49 in the first video. The second video is a 14-minute discussion with him in the rotunda. The discussion covers some of the free-speech issues that are shouted about in the finger-wiggling video.

ADDED: I just rewatched the old 14-minute video and thought this part was interesting:

He talks about refusing to do things the police asked him to do: "I was never arrested... I wasn't breaking the law enough for them to be able to...." Indeed, for whatever reason, the police were extremely tolerant of the protesters. Now, this young man who enjoyed that tolerance is surprised to find himself escorted out of the Senate gallery, and we see the belligerence the police encounter after all their tolerance. Or maybe that is the reason they were so tolerant. It creates a big scene when they are not. But how are they supposed to maintain order if people come to think they don't need to show respect for them?

"It's not that Obama can't speak clearly. It's that he employs the intellectual stammer."

"Not to be confused with a stutter, which the president decidedly does not have, the intellectual stammer signals a brain that is moving so fast that the mouth can't keep up. The stammer is commonly found among university professors, characters in Woody Allen movies and public thinkers of the sort that might appear on C-SPAN but not CNN. If you're a member or a fan of that subset, chances are the president's stammer doesn't bother you; in fact, you might even love him for it (he sounds just like your grad school roommate, especially when he drank too much Scotch and attempted to expound on the Hegelian dialectic!)."

Meghan Daum explains it in the LA Times. And, righties, quit mocking:
[T]he godfather of the intellectual stammer is arguably none other than the paterfamilias of the conservative movement, William F. Buckley Jr.... In fact, if the people critiquing Obama's meandering speech patterns were to see an old "Firing Line" segment, I daresay they would think Buckley was drunk or otherwise impaired.

Judge Sumi strikes down the Wisconsin collective bargaining law.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
[Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, a Democrat] sued to block the law after Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) filed a complaint saying that GOP legislative leaders had not given proper notice in convening a conference committee of lawmakers from both houses to approve Walker's budget-repair bill....
Comments at the Sentinel:
What a surprise, coming out of Dane County....

Thanks to the Democratic Party, We now have a 3rd Legislative Party.
THE COURTS!!!!!...


Time to recall activist judges in this state. Send this liberal wacko packing. Tommy Thompson had it right, there is Madison, a radius of 30 miles and then there is reality. Time to send this through the legislature again!  Go Scottie Go! The majority of Wisconsinites support you!...

Its about time. She's only sat on this for a couple of months stalling with the worst kept secret of all time. Now, appeal it and also put it in the budget bill.

Supreme Court upholds Arizona law that requires employers to check the immigration status of job applicants.

Announced, just now, on the SCOTUSblog live-blog of the Court. Here's how SCOTUSblog described the issue in the case, which is called Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting:
Whether an Arizona statute that imposes sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized aliens is invalid under a federal statute that expressly “preempt[s] any State or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions (other than through licensing and similar laws) upon those who employ, or recruit or refer for a fee for employment, unauthorized aliens”; whether the Arizona statute, which requires all employers to participate in a federal electronic employment verification system, is preempted by a federal law that specifically makes that system voluntary; whether the Arizona statute is impliedly preempted because it undermines the “comprehensive scheme” that Congress created to regulate the employment of aliens.
According to the live-blog, the decision was 5-3 (with Kagan recused). Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor are the dissenters.
The Chief Justice's opinion explains that the licensing provision falls squarely within a savings clause in federal immigration law and that the Arizona statute does not otherwise conflict with federal law.
Here's the PDF of the opinion.

I don't think Bill Clinton and Paul Ryan were caught in a secret conversation that they didn't want overheard.

Here's the tete-a-tete, beautifully filmed, by ABC News, with excellent sound quality.
"So anyway, I told them before you got here, I said I’m glad we won this race in New York," Clinton told Ryan, when the two met backstage at a forum on the national debt held by the Pete Peterson Foundation. But he added, “I hope Democrats don't use this as an excuse to do nothing.”

Ryan told Clinton he fears that now nothing will get done in Washington.

“My guess is it’s going to sink into paralysis is what’s going to happen. And you know the math. It’s just, I mean, we knew we were putting ourselves out there. You gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving,” Ryan said.

Clinton told Ryan that if he ever wanted to talk about it, he should “give me a call.” Ryan said he would.
Watching that clip, I felt that was staged for the camera. They're savvy enough to know where the media are. It was ABC News, backstage with them. So my question is, why did each of the 2 men decide that was what they wanted people to overhear? I'd say, first, that both men see themselves as the serious thinkers, trying to face and solve a real problem. The setting frames the message as: This is what the most serious and knowledgeable men from the 2 political parties say to each other when they are not playing politics for the camera.

Now, Bill Clinton has chosen to criticize the Democrats for falling into complacency, coasting into the next election. He's displaying himself as the real man of action, who would rise above politics and work hard to forge solutions. (Of course, this display is politics.)

Ryan makes a corresponding display: He too is a man of action, rising above politics, putting himself out there. But he's also purporting to speak for his whole party. The Republicans are acting. The Democrats are digging in and resisting. Clinton then says "give me a call."

So, is Clinton selling out the Democrats, making them look bad and giving Ryan a boost? If he is, why would he do that? Does he somehow seem to represent the Democrats, saying, for them, that they don't or shouldn't want the paralysis, lighting a fire under them to act or at least giving them some cover, making it seem as though they do care about action?

Or is Clinton out there on his own, peeling away from some or all of the Democrats, perhaps creating some kind of opening for Hillary?

"Saudi Facebook Campaign Calls on Men to Beat Women Drivers."

Says Gateway Pundit.
A facebook campaign launched in Saudi Arabia is urging men to beat women who are caught driving. The page already has 6,000 “likes.”...

"The call comes as activists are demanding the release of Manal al-Sharif, a Saudi woman who was jailed for defying the ban."
I'm a bit freaked out by this. When did that Facebook page start? Because I'd never heard of it before this morning. I'd heard of Manal al-Sharif's campaign, which involved a Facebook page, and my reaction, written Tuesday morning, included a hypothetical in which a Saudi man starts a Facebook campaign calling on men to beat women drivers. I wrote:
Isn't the real question is whether women should be allowed to drive, not whether organizing on Facebook incurs harsher punishment when you commit a crime? Think about some other crime — some crime that obviously should be a crime. I hesitate to describe a crime, but let's say some Saudi man thinks women who drive should be dragged out of their cars and beaten. He sets up a Facebook page to promote that opinion and gets 12,000 supporters. Then — twice — he drags a woman out of a car and beats her. Now, he is arrested. Let's say that in Saudi Arabia men who beat women for driving are normally just asked to promise not to do it again. Would you object to making an example out of the man who used Facebook?
Note that I hesitated to describe this crime, because I did not want to give anyone any ideas. I'm not saying I think the new Facebook is a result of my suggestion. I'm just saying I'm freaked out by the coincidence.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn confined to $14 million apartment in Tribeca.

"It's a three-story, 6,800-square-foot palace with a movie theater, antique French oak floors, a gym and a terrace - and $50,000-a-month rent."

Beautiful restaurants in that area. But he can't go out. Had to order in. Got $242.790 worth of "steaks and salad" delivered last night.
The bill was put on 26-year-old daughter Camille's credit card, and deliveryman Ramon Leal walked away with a handsome $25 tip.

"It's a good tip considering I just walked around the corner," Leal said, dismissing reporters' questions about serving Strauss-Kahn. "I'm just doing my job."
Actually, that's not a good tip. It's about 10%. Leal is rationalizing and refraining from bad-mouthing the rich man. And, by the way, the place may be huge and well-located, but — see the pictures at the link — it's in pretty bad taste. Aptly bad taste. Feh.

May 25, 2011

"A 1-hour elementary school lesson on gender diversity featuring all-girl geckos and transgender clownfish caused a stir in Oakland..."

"... with conservative legal defense organizations questioning the legitimacy of the topic and providing legal counsel to parents who opposed the instruction. On Monday and today, Redwood Heights Elementary School students at every grade level were being introduced to the topic of gender diversity, with lesson plans tailored to each age group...  'That's a lot of variation in nature,' Gender Spectrum trainer, Joel Baum, told the students. ..."

Scotty wins. Seems to be having a love affair with Lauren.

Beyonce appeared to be in hell while singing a hellishly awful song. Steven Tyler got to follow Bono. Jennifer Lopez's husband had a whole big number because he's Jennifer Lopez's husband. Tom Jones showed up and sang "It's Not Unusual." Besting him in the oldest man competition, Tony Bennett was there. He's 85! He sang with Haley. Like they're a couple. Judas Priest deigned to appear. "American Idol" is not something they scorn. Who can scorn "American Idol" now? They sang with James Durbin. And Jack Black sang with Casey Abrams. That was ugly. Jacob Lusk got Gladys Knight and they sang about Heaven. Lovely. Scotty McCreery did a duet with Tim McGraw who, we're told, is the most-played artist on the radio of the last 10 years. And Lauren Alaina did her duet with Carrie Underwood. And Lady Gaga sang about being "on the edge" while standing on a scenery cliff, which I was worried she'd fall off of, and then she did intentionally fall off in the end, onto some hidden foam, no doubt. I'm sure she'll be back to howl at us on future occasions.

Off the top of my head, that's what I remember from tonight's big "American Idol" results show.

"I used to worry that Sarah Palin would be the Barry Goldwater of 2012. My bad. Paul Ryan is the Barry Goldwater of 2012."

Frum yanks your chain.

"Thank you for the freak show. She died in front of me. You’re treasonous." Jared Loughner yelled....

... just before Judge Larry A. Burns found him incompetent to stand trial.
At his first courtroom appearance shortly after the shootings, Mr. Loughner had his head shaved clean and stood absolutely erect. On Wednesday, his hair was long and sticking out in all directions, he had a scraggly beard and he slumped during the proceedings like an old man. He put his head in his hands for some time just before his outburst, which he shouted at full throttle as the judge was talking.

At the Back Alley Café...


... you can get past the facade.

"Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?"

Suddenly the girls sat up again, with renewed energy, and Krista reached for a cup with a straw in the corner of the crib. “I am drinking really, really, really, really fast,” she announced and started to power-slurp her juice, her face screwed up with the effort. Tatiana was, as always, sitting beside her but not looking at her, and suddenly her eyes went wide. She put her hand right below her sternum, and then she uttered one small word that suggested a world of possibility: “Whoa!”

I find toast-botch too painful to mock.

What if you gave a toast and nobody raised their glass with you, because they were in the middle of a solemn ritual that you had thought was the solemn ritual that is your toast but was their national anthem and the elderly queen was queenly enough to say gently to you "that's very kind"? You would carefully place your glass on the table and stand stiffly like everyone else and hope that the wide frown on your face expressed not your nightmare experience but some simulacrum of the "national anthem face" you should have had there all along, when you were blabbing that Shakespeare — Shakespeare! — to try to butter them up about what a great country they think they have. Oh! The rigidity of this horror!

Raising money for Bloggingheads by auctioning the censorship of Ann Althouse.

In the words of the Marx Brothers...

... tomorrow, I leave! That's worth about... a million dollars!

There's a comment signing-in problem...

... which Blogger is working on.

Sorry if you're having trouble. I've gotten a lot of email about it. I'm sure it will be fixed relatively soon. Meanwhile, you needn't harangue me about leaving Blogger, because I am leaving Blogger. It will happen soon.

"I think Beyonce is a great pop songwriter. Still, the lyrics to this song are classic faux empowerment..."

"... as she's literally suggesting women run the world by being very persuasive with our vaginas."

Amanda Marcotte wrings her hands over a song that mostly consists of saying "Who run the world? Girls" over and over. I saw this video when it played on "American Idol" last week, and I couldn't really make out what her literal argument was. It seems to me, you hear that one line over and over and you're distracted by vivid images of the singer (which could be characterized as "being very persuasive with [her physical presence]").

Oh, what do you want to talk about here? Feminism? What is the real feminism? Whether Marcotte misused the word "literally"? How songs affect the mind? Is it with the lyrics, read literally, or in some more complicated way?

"Justice Department plans to indict John Edwards."

"The Department of Justice plans to argue that two wealthy supporters donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Edwards campaign — money that went to support Rielle Hunter, a videographer for Edwards' campaign with whom Edwards had an affair.  The government will claim the funds were illegal campaign contributions."

Worst affair ever?

Requiring patients to sign over copyrights to reviews of doctors so the doctors can make websites take down bad reviews.

If you've chosen a doctor based on all the good reviews in Yelp, and he won't treat you unless you sign a form that gives him ownership of whatever you might write about him, then you need to know how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act works, so you can see that the doctor has seized the power to remove his patients' bad reviews.

Or maybe doctors are just adopting this standard-form Medical Justice agreement and they're not really monitoring and censoring the on-line reviews... in which case they are unwittingly making savvy patients suspicious of what are genuinely good reviews.

(Via Matt Yglesias.)



Drudge, linking only to a general article about the season, purports to know the results.

But, he's right of course. Everyone who checks out DialIdol knows it and has known it for weeks. It's not some special inside knowledge. The finale show last night was terrible, mainly because they were desperately trying to make us believe it was a close competition. And they weighed Scotty down with 2 songs that had him speaking like a child — the original song "I Love You This Big" (ugh!) and some other song about schoolchildren. The guy is only 17, but his main feature is a deep voice that makes him seem much older. Why fight that with lyrics from the point of view of a child?

Anyway, speaking of old and young, the show tried to rejuvenate this season, with Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler (and without Simon Cowell), but somehow it ended up even more old fashioned. Maybe that's what happens when you don't have Simon there insulting the kids for seeming old and old fashioned.

"It has long been the supreme fantasy of establishment guardians in general, and David Brooks in particular..."

"... that American politics would be dominated by an incestuous, culturally homogeneous, superior elite 'who live in [Washington] and who have often known each other since prep school.'  And while these establishment guardians love to endlessly masquerade as spokespeople for the Ordinary American, what they most loathe is the interference by the dirty rabble in what should be their exclusive, harmonious club of political stewardship, where conflicts are amicably resolved by ladies and gentlemen of the highest breeding without any messy public conflict."

Glenn Greenwald (sounding like Rush Limbaugh).

"How Kathy Hochul won, and why it spells trouble for the GOP in 2012."

Jerry Zremski in the New Republic:
The Hochul message—the one that was a winner for her—could be seen on signs all around New York’s Twenty-Sixth District, from the sprawling strip malls of Buffalo’s wealthiest suburbs to the faded farms of Genesee County to the lawns of neat old houses to the west of Rochester. “Save Medicare/Vote Hochul,” the signs said.

The Democrats won because they had the right message and the right candidate and the blessing of weak opposition. Hochul won by 48 percent to 42 percent over Republican Jane Corwin, a self-funded millionairess delivering an austere 2010 message a few months too late. “Tea Party” candidate Jack Davis drew 9 percent of the vote, but, given that two late polls showed voters abandoning Davis for Hochul, it’s fair to assume that Hochul would have won regardless of whether Davis, a former Democrat, had run.

May 24, 2011

Best paragraph in the obituary of the 104-year-old heiress Huguette Clark.

"For the quarter-century that followed [her mother's death], Mrs. Clark lived in the apartment in near solitude, amid a profusion of dollhouses and their occupants. She ate austere lunches of crackers and sardines and watched television, most avidly 'The Flintstones.' A housekeeper kept the dolls’ dresses impeccably ironed."

17 lost Egyptian pyramids spotted from space.

"More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements were also revealed by looking at infra-red images which show up underground buildings."

"So far, B-cycle bike-share program is glitchy."

It's Madison’s bike-share program. We were out biking — on our own bikes — yesterday, and we noticed one of the "stations." Meade took some pics.

These guys were trying to figure it out:


Here's what they were reading. Here are the bikes, waiting for release by credit card:


They look heavy, though easy to mount (what with that "girl bike" styling). They don't look like something people would want to steal, but stealing is a bad idea, because they've got GPS devices embedded in them.

I hope the glitches are worked out and that people use them, because we've got them.

"The tanned Duchess of Cambridge blew Michelle Obama out of the water."

Insane Daily Mail headline. It's supposed to relate to the fashion:
For their first meeting yesterday, Kate wore a simple but stylish £175 bandage dress in fashionable ‘nude’ from Reiss, one of the few truly British fashion brands left on the planet....

Michelle Obama, on the other hand, looked like a little girl in a too short pink bolero (I hate boleros – and only six-year-olds should wear pink!) that my fashion spies tell me is not even vintage, it’s just old. Ouch.
Fashionable nude and impossible pink... apparently.

"U R the lowest common denominator. 30+ Bernie statues??? Your greed disgusts me more than your profile picture."

Milwaukee Brewers promotion goes predictably wrong.

At the Square Events Café...


... you can be hip or square.

(Enlarge enough to read the 2011 Calendar of Events for Monroe, Wisconsin.)

"Are you supposed to be Suzie Doozie, the fearsome litigator during work, then put on an apron and magically transform into Suzie Homemaker at nights and weekends?"

"What's the point of that schzoid existence? Will your kids be better adjusted because you share daddy's name? Shouldn't they respect you for your independence?"

Vivia Chen on the trend of women keeping their maiden name professionally but adopting their husbands' names for social/personal matters.

I've gotten married twice, and both times I kept my original name. The first time, it was 1973, and my reasons were: 1. I strongly identify with my name, 2. I imagined myself becoming a significant artist with that signature, 3. "Althouse" was more distinctive and more balanced with "Ann" than my then-husband's last name,  4. Feminism, and 5. I thought keeping your name was the wave of the future, and I didn't want to be stuck on the end of the old wave. My ex-husband's name was also highly expressive of a tradition that was not mine, but I would have been offended if anyone had accused me of rejecting the name for that reason. In the years of that marriage, which continued until 1988, I rankled at being called Mrs./Ms. + [presumed married name], and I did not always completely hide my disdain for the (to me) backward individuals who assumed a mother's last name is the same as her children's.

The second time I got married, in 2009, I seriously considered adopting my new husband's last name, but once again, I did not. I saw good reasons on both sides. For keeping Althouse: 1. I'd been Althouse for so long, it would be weird to be anyone but Althouse, 2. It would be a lot of work changing my name on everything (when you can still call me Mrs. Meade whenever you want), 3. I have done a lot of writing with the name Althouse on it, and 4. Having failed to align my name with my sons' name, it seemed wrong to take my husband's name the second time around. But I came close, because I'm not starchily ideological about names. It's more about feelings and aesthetics right now. "Meade" is an aesthetically pleasing name, but "Ann Meade" is too plain, and Meade is Meade, not me. But I did feel that it would be a unique and thrilling expression of love to take the name! And I'm perfectly happy to be called Mrs. Meade — or Ms. Meade or Professor Meade — by anyone, at any time. It wouldn't make me feel "schzoid" (or schizoid!) or make me worry about overly housewifely or whatever it is Ms. Chen is concerned about.

Manal al-Sharif, the woman leading the right-to-drive campaign, is arrested by the Saudis.

Was she arrested for driving or for speaking out about the driving ban?
Ms. Sharif was arrested after two much-publicized drives last week to highlight the Facebook and Twitter campaigns she helped organize to encourage women across Saudi Arabia to participate in a collective protest scheduled for June 17.

The campaigns, which had attracted thousands of supporters — more than 12,000 on the Facebook page — have been blocked in the kingdom. Ms. Sharif’s arrest was very likely intended to give others pause before participating in the protests in a country where a woman’s public reputation, including her ability to marry, can be badly damaged by an arrest.

“Usually they just make you sign a paper that you will not do it again and let you go,” said Wajiha Howeidar, who recorded Ms. Sharif while driving on Thursday. “They don’t want anybody to think that they can get away with something like that. It is a clear message that you cannot organize anything on Facebook. That is why she is in prison.”
If she drove to promote the right to drive, that is the form of speech that is civil disobedience. It draws attention to the commission of the crime, and it's not surprising that it attracts arrest. Isn't that the purpose of conspicuous violation — to get arrested and make everyone notice and want to help you? This is working for Manal al-Sharif. But Howeidar's point is that she's really arrested for speaking out on Facebook, not for the driving per se. She wasn't treated like other female drivers, who are let off easily. And there's something wrong with targeting the person who used Facebook to organize.

Isn't the real question is whether women should be allowed to drive, not whether organizing on Facebook incurs harsher punishment when you commit a crime? Think about some other crime — some crime that obviously should be a crime. I hesitate to describe a crime, but let's say some Saudi man thinks women who drive should be dragged out of their cars and beaten. He sets up a Facebook page to promote that opinion and gets 12,000 supporters. Then — twice — he drags a woman out of a car and beats her. Now, he is arrested. Let's say that in Saudi Arabia men who beat women for driving are normally just asked to promise not to do it again. Would you object to making an example out of the man who used Facebook?

Should psychiatrists offer opinions about the mental conditions of various characters in the news?

The official rule of the American Psychiatric Association is that they can speak generally but it's unethical to give a professional opinion about an individual. The rule grew out of a case involving Barry Goldwater:
Just before the 1964 election, a muckraking magazine called Fact decided to survey members of the American Psychiatric Association for their professional assessment of Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, the Republican nominee against President Lyndon B. Johnson....

The survey, highly unscientific even by the standards of the time, was sent to 12,356 psychiatrists, of whom 2,417 responded. ... Half of the respondents judged Mr. Goldwater psychologically unfit to be president. They used terms like “megalomaniac,” “paranoid” and “grossly psychotic,” and some even offered specific diagnoses, including schizophrenia and narcissistic personality disorder....

There were several attempts at a psychodynamic formulation of Mr. Goldwater’s character. One unsigned comment called the candidate “inwardly a frightened person who sees himself as weak and threatened by strong virile power around him,” and added that “his call for aggressiveness and the need for individual strength and prerogatives is an attempt to defend himself against and to deny his feelings of weakness.”...
Goldwater sued for libel and won, which led to the APA rule barring opinions. Obviously, it brings psychiatry into disrepute when ordinary people can see it used dishonestly to promote a political goal. But I don't see why it's so bad for psychiatric experts to speculate and opine about public figures. We the people need to think about the events in the news, and some expert opinion is helpful. Let us decide which experts are worth hearing from. The political hacks will be enjoyed or condemned as we see fit. But some analysis is going to be good. Frame it as speculation and hedge appropriately: I would need to meet with the individual to make a professional diagnosis, but here's what I can say....

If the experts don't do it, the pseudoexperts will. As for the fear of lawsuits, libel law is constrained by free speech values. Mere opinion in not libel. And public figures have to meet a high standard to prove libel.

Why then did Goldwater win his lawsuit? The linked article, by psychiatry professor Richard A. Friedman and published in the Science section of today's New York Times, says:
The Supreme Court awarded the senator $1 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages — and, more important, set a legal precedent that helped change medical ethics for good.
Of course, any lawyer knows that the Supreme Court doesn't award damages. It only affirms the lower court's decision. But what is this Supreme Court case and how did it deal with the free speech issue? Hello? New York Times? Don't you wonder how this case would square with New York Times v. Sullivan (second link, above)? So did Justices Black and Douglas, dissenting from the denial of certiorari in Ginzburg v. Goldwater! Justice Black wrote:
This case perhaps more than any I have seen in this area convinces me that the New York Times constitutional rule is wholly inadequate to assure the 'uninhibited, robust, and wide-open' public debate which the majority in that case thought it was guaranteeing....
This suit was brought by a man who was then the nominee of his party for the Presidency of the United States. In our times, the person who holds that high office has an almost unbounded power for good or evil. The public has an unqualified right to have the character and fitness of anyone who aspires to the Presidency held up for the closest scrutiny. Extravagant, reckless statements and even claims which may not be true seem to me an inevitable and perhaps essential part of the process by which the voting public informs itself of the qualities of a man who would be President. The decisions of the District Court and the Court of Appeals in this case can only have the effect of dampening political debate by making fearful and timid those who should under our Constitution feel totally free openly to criticize Presidential candidates. Doubtless, the jury was justified in this case in finding that the Fact articles on Senator Goldwater were prepared with a reckless disregard of the truth, as many campaign articles unquestionably are. But, even if I believed in a balancing process to determine scope of the First Amendment, which I do not, the grave dangers of prohibiting or penalizing the publication of even the most inaccurate and misleading information seem to me to more than outweigh any gain, personal or social, that might result from permitting libel awards such as the one before the Court today. I firmly believe it is precisely because of these considerations that the First Amendment bars in absolute, unequivocal terms any abridgment by the Government of freedom of speech and press.
So the jury found that the New York Times standard was met, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court declined the case, with Justices Black and Douglas arguing for greater free-speech protection.

And when I say "the New York Times standard was met," I mean the legal standard from the case New York Times v. Sullivan. I do not think the New York Times standard of journalism was met for this article!

"I grew up in a meatpacking town. My mom died when I was young. My dad was a truck driver."

"He lost his job not too long after my mom died for a while and he got promoted later to dispatcher. My brothers and sisters couldn't go to college, not because they didn't have the capability, they just didn't have the opportunity. And I've lived the American dream, and through hard work and a lot of other help and a loving family and many other things, but when you share that story, I know when people say, 'Hey, you Republicans, you don't know what it's like not to be able to afford gas in your car or pay your health care or worry about college costs or how you're even gonna pay the mortgage,' I said, 'Yeah, I can, because I've walked in your shoes,' and that gives me the chance then to convince them why being a conservative, why joining our team is better, 'cause they just don't stiff arm us right out of the gate."

Which Republican candidate is that? Do you know before looking?

Bob Dylan turns 70.

Thanks for staying alive, Bob!

IN THE COMMENTS: Shouting Thomas said: "Well, shit, Althouse, I was expecting a more expansive Dylan Hullabaloo."

I don't find birthdays and aging that interesting. I write about Dylan all the time, and most of the people here don't even appreciate it. I'm supposed to hold a birthday party? Does Dylan care about birthdays? The word "birthday" appears but twice in all the Dylan songs.  One is in "Desolation Row":
Now Ophelia, she’s ’neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic...
That's not about celebrating birthdays. "Birthday" is just there to say the woman is 22. She's old at 22. Being older when younger is a theme in at least 2 Dylan songs that spring instantly to my mind. If they don't spring instantly to your mind, then you probably don't care what they are anyway.

The other Dylan song with the word "birthday" tells us something about what he thinks of birthdays. It's "She Belongs to Me":
She’s got everything she needs
She’s an artist, she don’t look back...
You will start out standing
Proud to steal her anything she sees
You will start out standing
Proud to steal her anything she sees
But you will wind up peeking through her keyhole
Down upon your knees... 
Bow down to her on Sunday
Salute her when her birthday comes...
I don't think Dylan likes getting down on his knees or bowing down, and I think we can infer that he scorns birthday celebrations. That's what I think, and I've been interpreting Dylan songs for 45 years.

May 23, 2011

At the Cheese Café...


... bask in the glow of warm yellow cheese.



Monroe, Wisconsin.


Audio. From a Fastrip walk-in refrigerator.


" Inc.’s one-day, 99-cent promotion of Lady Gaga’s highly anticipated second studio album..."

"... 'Born This Way,' is resulting in downloading delays on the Internet retailer’s website due to high volume, the company said Monday."

Join the traffic jam: download here.

"I’m Barack Obama, from the Moneygall Obamas."

"And I’ve come home to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way."

Ohio is losing 2 districts, including Kucinich's, and Kucinich might run for a seat in Washington state...

... which is picking up a district:
... Mr. Kucinich figures his aggressive brand of antiwar, pro-working class politics could sell well in a solidly blue state where he has ideological allies and was popular during his unsuccessful White House bids in 2004 and 2008. It is a somewhat novel idea that could be summed up as: Have seniority, will travel...
Mr. Kucinich’s attempt would certainly be unusual. In the early days of Congress, a few House members won election years apart in two different states. But Ed Foreman, now a motivational speaker, was the last to do so more than 40 years ago; elected as a Republican from Texas in 1962, he lost his re-election attempt in 1964, then won one term in New Mexico in 1968...

Should he decide to go ahead, Mr. Kucinich is certain to face charges of carpetbagging and confront questioners like a woman on Saturday who pressed him on whether political candidates should be homegrown or not. He had a ready answer.

“Where people live is always interesting,” Mr. Kucinich said. “Where they stand is quite instructive.”
Ha. Cool. Why not?! In case you're wondering about the Constitution, the relevant clause is Article  1, Section 2, Clause 2:
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
So all Kucinich needs to do is start inhabiting Washington by election day.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor pushes Paul Ryan to enter the 2012 presidential race.

"Paul’s about real leadership. I think that that’s what this public so desperately wants to do right now. They don’t want to see individuals that just dismiss problems that we can just sweep under the rug."

Here's that poll I took on the blog a couple weeks about about whether Ryan should run. People were pretty evenly split, but the paucity of candidates has become more obvious since then.

"Sarah [Palin] quickly tossed the beloved hat in the trash, explaining to me that it was 'icky.'"

Frank Bailey tattles on Sarah. Apparently, she referred to some elderly male supporters as the "crazy old men's club." One of them gave her his old hat. It's not like she threw it in the trash in front of him. What would you do if an old man who loved you presented you with "his lucky fedora festooned with campaign buttons"?

You're Sarah Palin. An old man gives you his hat. You:
Wear it proudly!
Display it on a shelf in campaign headquarters.
Box it, tissue-wrapped, for display in some future presidential library.
Auction it on e-Bay.
Toss it, Mary Tyler Moore-style, up in the air.
Have someone else toss it in the air and shoot it.
Throw it in the trash in front of other people.
Discreetly slip it into the trash. free polls

"Today the Court affirms what is perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our Nation’s history..."

"... an order requiring California to release the staggering number of 46,000 convicted criminals."

Writes Justice Scalia, dissenting today in Brown v. Plata:
...  My general concerns associated with judges’ running social institutions are magnified when they run prison systems, and doubly magnified when they force prison officials to release convicted criminals....
The majority opinion in this 5-4 case is written by Justice Kennedy:
This case arises from serious constitutional violations in California’s prison system. The violations have persisted for years. They remain uncorrected....

After years of litigation, it became apparent that a remedy for the constitutional violations would not be effective absent a reduction in the prison system population....
The central dispute was about the requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), which was designed to reduce the role of federal courts in supervising state prisons.

"Older bin Laden widows think younger wife tipped off US."

See, that's the thing with polygamy. There's always the intrigue... the jealousy....

At the Beer Factory....


... it's a little early for that sort of thing.


American exceptionalism "is infused with racialized hierarchies — normative whiteness and masculinity still marking the 'worthiest' inheritors of the American dream."

Writes lawprof Patricia J. Williams, in a collection of essays in the NYT responding to a new study indicating that white people think discrimination against white people is more of a problem than discrimination against black people.
Through much of American history, blacks have been viewed as low on the competence index (negative feelings), but warm enough to be pitied (which is usually felt not as a negative but a protective, “pro-black” fuzzy emotion). As blacks have made greater symbolic strides in the last few decades, that ranking seems to have shifted: there is envy, suspicion, resentment — despite numbers, despite empirical documentation to the contrary — that blacks are “taking over” as the recipients not of due process but of undue “favoritism.”

This projected fear is a danger to the nation.
ADDED: Williams is applying this template:
1. Those stereotyped as high competence and high warmth are met with pride and admiration (like most white people).
2. Groups who rank as high warmth and low competence are treated with pity, sympathy, paternalism (like the elderly).
3. Those stereotyped as high competence and low warmth are met with envy (like Jews and Asians).
4. Those perceived as low competence and low warmth are greeted with contempt, anger and resentment (like the homeless).
You've got to admit that's provocative. Think deeply about it before you comment.

"What happened after the Obama election, I think, is that Fox morphed into something that isn’t even recognizable as a form of media."

"It looks more like a political committee than what it looked like pre-Obama, which was essentially talk radio on television. It’s more dangerous now; it’s more lethal. And so as Fox has doubled down, we’ve doubled down."

We  = David Brock and his Foxophobic enterprise Media Matters for America.
Brock has used his buck-raking ability to turn Media Matters into a political force. What began in 2004 as a ten-person shop with a $3 million annual budget now has around 90 employees and plans to spend $15 million this year. In a fancy office building on Massachusetts Avenue, the organization’s researchers work in six-hour monitoring shifts, from five in the morning till one at night, watching Fox or listening to talk radio in the hope that Rush or Sean or some other conservative yakker will step in it. They’re seldom disappointed. “I knew that as soon as you started shining a light on these people,” Brock says, “there was enough outrageous and despicable and offensive and false commentary that you could make a splash.”
I appreciate their work! Keep clipping those clips and serving them up. As you monitor FoxNews and Limbaugh, I'll monitor you and whatever the hell you've morphed into. To me, it's all recognizable as media. And I'm always looking for juicy bits to chew on.
Part of Media Matters’ strength is its staff’s almost unfathomable endurance. “People who work here have to have a personality that enjoys getting angry watching Fox for six hours every day but then being patient enough to want to fact-check every second of it,” explains Ari Rabin-Havt, Media Matters’ executive vice-president. 
Ha. I love the way New York Magazine, writing this lengthy piece, goes to the Media Matters executives. I'd like to hear from those employees who do the detail work, "getting angry" for the rich execs. They're supposed to be all about truth and anger and for the left...  always for the left. How does that feel, as you comb through all those video files, looking for trouble truth — but only one perspective of the truth — and cull the clips that make the truth that your bosses want to tell as truthy as possible? Are you angry enough all the time, angry in the right way, angry about truth as you do the bidding of guys who are raking in money to get at the people you're paid to hate for them? What are you paid?
The group demands accuracy from those staffers. Last year, according to Rabin-Havt, Media Matters produced 20,000 pieces of content and issued only 24 corrections. “There’s the expectation that you can’t get something wrong,” he says. “There are consequences for mistakes. One person was fired for an error last year.”
Oh! How ineffably virtuous of you! Get to work, staffers! Stay angry, stay truthy, cut clips that stoke hatred of the right, but don't cut them to the point where we have to issue a correction, or we will cut you.

(Hey, that guy who got cut should write an exposé of what goes on inside Media Matters.)

The Obama administration will challenge Indiana's attempt to defund on abortion.

Reports the NYT under the headline "U.S. Objects to New Law on Clinics in Indiana":
If a state Medicaid program is not in compliance with federal law and regulations, federal officials can take corrective action, including “the total or partial withholding” of federal Medicaid money...

Administration officials said the Indiana law imposed impermissible restrictions on the freedom of Medicaid recipients to choose health care providers.

Indiana is one of at least a half-dozen states that have taken aim at Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions, about one-fourth of those performed in the United States.
But we heard over and over, as the Democrats pushed health care reform, that federal law prohibits funding abortion. How then could Indiana's attempt to withdraw funding abortion violate federal law? How could federal law require states to fund abortion?
Asked for comment on the Indiana law, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provided this statement, cleared by the White House: “Federal law prohibits federal Medicaid dollars from being spent on abortion services. Medicaid does not allow states to stop beneficiaries from getting care they need — like cancer screenings and preventive care — because their provider offers certain other services. We are reviewing this particular situation and situations in other states.”

Medicaid is financed jointly by the federal government and the states, which must comply with federal law as a condition of getting federal money.
So a key point seems to be that Planned Parenthood offers plenty of services other than abortion, and Indiana's law isn't limited to withholding funds for abortion.

It seems unavoidable that abortion will be a central issue in the 2012 presidential campaign. Perhaps this is the real reason Mitch Daniels is avoiding running. He wanted "a truce the so-called social issues," but his signature is on that Indiana law, and he would have to defend it over and over again.

"It was a rain-wrapped tornado."

"When it is obscured by rain, you can’t tell what the danger is."

May 22, 2011

At the Farm Toy Café...


... let's play!

There's this weird slough of no applause near the end of Obama's remarks to AIPAC.

From the transcript, all these lines go by without applause:
But even as we do all that’s necessary to ensure Israel’s security, even as we are clear-eyed about the difficult challenges before us, and even as we pledge to stand by Israel through whatever tough days lie ahead, I hope we do not give up on that vision of peace.  For if history teaches us anything, if the story of Israel teaches us anything, it is that with courage and resolve, progress is possible.  Peace is possible.

The Talmud teaches us that, “So long as a person still has life, they should never abandon faith.”  And that lesson seems especially fitting today.

For so long as there are those across the Middle East and beyond who are standing up for the legitimate rights and freedoms which have been denied by their governments, the United States will never abandon our support for those rights that are universal.

And so long as there are those who long for a better future, we will never abandon our pursuit of a just and lasting peace that ends this conflict with two states living side by side in peace and security. This is not idealism; it is not naïveté.

"You can pile packages of 100w bulbs against the wall and save on energy costs too."

Says rh.

May I recommend?
48-pack of "basic" bulbs for only $31.99
48-pack of "reveal" bulbs for $89.99
And lots of 4-packs of "soft white" bulbs at $7.49

The writer of "the #1 song of the 70s" — "You Light Up My Life" — has killed himself.

"Joseph Brooks... 73... was found near a helium tank with a tube attached into a dry cleaning bag and a towel wrapped around his head and neck... Brooks had been charged two years ago in connection with the rapes of 11 women...."

In the future, all the therapists will be women. And then what?

As the NYT presents the problem:
Some college psychology programs cannot even attract male applicants, much less students. And at many therapists’ conferences, attendees with salt-and-pepper beards wander the hallways as lonely as peaceniks at a gun fair.

The result, many therapists argue, is that the profession is at risk of losing its appeal for a large group of sufferers — most of them men — who would like to receive therapy but prefer to start with a male therapist....

The impact of this gender switch on the value of therapy is negligible, studies suggest. A good therapist is a good therapist, male or female, and a mediocre one is a mediocre one. Shared experience may even be a impediment, in some cases: therapists often caution students against assuming that they have special insight into person’s problems just because they have something in common.
Hmmm. I'd like to see more about those studies. We're supposed to believe that the emerging problem is that men who need help won't seek it because they have a prejudiced preference for a male therapist. We're not supposed to think that when the profession is thoroughly dominated by females, it will change in all sorts of subtle ways, conceiving the female norm as the norm. That's funny. When the field was male-dominated, feminists (and others) critiqued it as imposing the male norm on females. But it's always the females who are wronged. First, the female patients were oppressed by male therapists who enforced patriarchy, and now, the female therapists are oppressed by the male patients who discriminate against female psychologists.

At the Lion's Head Café...


... you can let your hair down.

"32 Pictures You Should Have Seen Before The World Was Supposed To End."

I'm for #30. Or 29. Oh, I don't know. Animals are cool, except when they're not.

Frontyard, backyard.

In front, we've got a "fence" of alliums where the hedge used to be. Photo — enlarged — by me:


In back, after 25 years of my back-to-nature approach, it's been a lot of work getting to blank-slate level, and Meade has drawn a semi-circle on the slate. Meade took this picture too. (Enlarge.)


Is it unconstitutional to impose a 5-year sentence on a 19-year-old for distributing child pornography?

Judge Weinstein's 400-page opinion says it's too long.

"John [Lindh] was a scapegoat, wrongly accused of terrorism at a moment when our grieving country needed someone to blame because the real terrorist had gotten away."

"Now that Bin Laden is dead, I hope President Obama, and the American people, can find it in their hearts to release John, and let him come home. Ten years is enough."

A NYT op-ed by Frank R. Lindh, a lawyer.

"What the academy is doing, as far as I can tell... is largely of no use or interest to people who actually practice law."

Said Chief Justice John Roberts, in a quote that sprang to mind when I read this from Gordon Smith (via Instapundit):
[Some old lawprof once said:] "To become a great law professor, one must write a casebook, a treatise, and a Restatement ... Seavey never wrote a treatise."

... It is impossible to imagine anyone giving Scott's advice to a young professor today. The sort of doctrinal synthesis that lies at the heart of casebooks, treatises, and Restatements is not highly valued among today's law professors, even though it has real-world value.

What is the measure of a great law professor today? The highest achievement of a law professor today is creating a new concept or theory that is used widely by other academics in the field....
Lawprofs injecting other lawprofs with theories. It sounds unsanitary, but it's a closed system, so what could go wrong? It's not as if a law professor is going to break out and grasp massive power in the actual real world. Imagine a lawprof as President! It's absurd!

Aw, come on. Seriously. Barack Obama wasn't a law professor law professor. Did he ever try to create a new concept or theory for other lawprofs to use in the sickly circulatory system of academia? Absolutely not. He was always organizing and operating in the political world.

After getting slammed in the head, Mitch Daniels realizes he shouldn't run for President.

Attributes the condition of his head to his wife.

Not to reading the Althouse blog.

Or listening to Rush Limbaugh....
If you're trying to be of good cheer and nice and warm and sunny and all that simply to prove to people that you're not the other way, then all you've done is grant their premise, and you're forever on the defensive. And I'll tell you this, nobody ever persuades anybody else when they come at it from a defensive posture.
Speaking of defensive... the man lost a fight with a door.