June 4, 2011

Scott Walker replaces artwork in the Governor's mansion — a painting of 3 children of different races, blowing soap bubbles.

And the artist, one David Lenz, is "deeply disappointed":
"This seems symbolic," said Lenz, referring to Walker's proposed cuts in state funding for Milwaukee schools and city and county services, something he said would have a disproportionate impact on low-income youngsters. "You would think we could all agree on the need to support the hopes and dreams of children."
See, I think we could all agree that Lenz's painting is atrocious and that this seems symbolic of nothing more nefarious than good taste. But the linked article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is insinuating that Walker is a racist and doesn't care about children. Can you imagine having that maudlin nonsense hanging over your mantle and feeling like you can't get rid of it without people thinking you're a terrible person?

Here's another Lenz work, the portrait of Eunice Shriver referred to in the article.

Grilled cheese and cows.

That's all we've got here: the cooking of mass quantities of grilled cheese sandwiches and a brief interview about a Guernsey Jersey calf named Haley.

Meade shot this video at the "Cows on the Concourse" event today near the Capital Square in Madison, Wisconsin. There was a grilled cheese sandwich eating contest later, but we didn't catch that. It's just cooking sandwiches in the first half of this clip, and, then, in the second half, it's that calf, with Meade's voice in the audio track, asking questions.

Meade shot the video, and I did the edit. I hope you enjoy seeing these ultra-wholesome things that took place in our beautiful city, which is not all protests and tent cities.

Nice Cobra!




Nice Matra!


Meade chats with the owner...


An impromptu fashion show occurs...


The "Walkerville" tent-city protest was supposed to start at 7 a.m., but that's not what Meade found on the Capitol Square this morning.

"All the assholes are over on the other side," says a man on the street, beginning my edit of what Meade caught on camera as he biked around the square a couple hours ago.

I think the anti-asshole man is anticipating the Walkervillians — Walkervillains? — but the closest thing to anybody camping out is that one guy at the very end, but he might not be protesting Scott Walker. But you know, nobody's ever taught you how to live on the street, and now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it.

UPDATE, 2 p.m.: Absolutely no sign of Walkerville. Lots of action around the Capitol today, though, with the Farmers' Market (which is there every Saturday) and the annual Cows on the Concourse event, both of which are seen in the video. There was also "Cars on State," which is an exhibit of classic cars on State Street. That's not in this video, but I'll have some photos of it soon.

UPDATE, 10:25 p.m.: We went over to the square around 8:30 and saw plenty of tents set up for the night, including directly in front of the hotel on the square and right next to a restaurant's sidewalk café. The protesters were completely mellow. There was a group of people standing in a circle at the foot of the Forward! statue and they were singing "We Shall Overcome" and other civil rights/labor movement songs. I shot some video and photographs, which I'll put up in a new post soon.

"It wouldn't be advertisement after advertisement after advertisement."

"They've talked about a lot of ways to ease people into it, and not just slam people with advertising."

Why not give people more reason not to use public transportation? And once everyone who can avoid the bus stops taking the bus, what products will be advertised on the bus? The bus riders will not only have to listen to ads, they'll have to hear about products that remind them how poor they are.

In the future, everyone will wear earbuds.

"Fluoridated water. Artificial sweeteners. Genetically modified foods. Power lines. Vaccines"

"Now cellphones have officially been served with their own baseless indictment, by no less than the World Health Organization."

Those who pollute science with politics, emotion, and other things that are not science deserve our contempt. Expose them. Criticize them. They are great malefactors.

Everybody's talking about...

... Paul Revere.

Let me help you with the real "Legend of Paul Revere":
In a little town in Idaho
Way back in '61
A man was frying burgers
Gee - it seemed like lots of fun
But to his friend the bun boy
He confessed his misery
I think I'd like to start a group
So come along with me...
Wow. In the list of greatest songs telling the story of the singer(s), that's so far below...

... "Creeque Alley."

But I know, you want the real story of the real Paul Revere, which every jackass knows, is the poem by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, so here, listen carefully, because there will be a quiz:

June 3, 2011

At the Lakeside Café...


... everyone can have a beautiful evening.


"It would be like Charlie Sheen confessing that it was a body-double under the bevy of hookers and suitcase of coke."

Mark Steyn contemplates my Weiner theory.

The Government Accountability Board "said politics played no role in its decision" but "it was able to get through the [recall] petitions against Republicans faster than the ones against Democrats."

Hmm. So the Board has certified the 6 Republican recall elections (for July 12), but it has needed an extension to finish up on certifying the elections against the 3 Democrats for whom petitions have been filed. Consequently, the recall elections against the Democrats, assuming they are certified, will happen a week later.
The Democrats have submitted more than 200 affidavits that they say show fraud was committed. The board has said it is obligated to review all that material, which will take more time.

In contrast, the Republicans made a purely legal argument that paperwork was filed improperly. The same argument was made in all six cases, so once the board got through one of them, there was comparatively little work to do on the others.
So that — rather than partisanship — seems to explain the speed difference.
Republicans argued if the deadlines were delayed for Democrats, the recall elections should be delayed by a week for the Republicans.
Is it really disadvantageous to go a week later? At that point, Republicans will know if any Democrats need to get ousted to preserve their majority in the state senate. Or will it light a fire under Democrats? If on the other hand, the Democrats fail to oust enough Republicans to get a senate majority — they need 3 of the 6 — then voters may blow off the elections against the Democrats.

Chancellor Biddy Martin on the UW budget compromise.

"We are pleased that the deal struck by lawmakers..."

Here's the report in the State Journal.

"Chaos erupted at Thursday night’s budget committee meeting as lawmakers tried to start debate on funding cuts to cities and counties money for 'choice schools; and recycling programs."

The State Journal reports:
As the meeting began at about 7 p.m., some six hours later than expected, protesters tried to speak over lawmakers and began chanting “Whose house? Our house!” Some argued with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Others tried to give speeches about the budget and were carried out by police to the chants of “police state” and “shame!”

“You could be doing more harm than good,” Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, warned them as the pandemonium continued.
They're starting to get nervous. Will the protests screw up the recalls?

"It's not that we're against raccoons and skunks."

"We'll go through the proper channels now."

Just another gun rights issue here in Wisconsin.

There's also: "Walker says concealed carry bill should require training, permits."

Why should Madison allow a tent city  — "Walkerville" near the Capitol Square? Because it's unique and because it's going to happen anyway.

That's the gist of the argument presented to the Street Use Staff Commission hearing this morning by the "We Are Wisconsin" group. They got their permit, and Walkerville will begin tomorrow, June 4th, and continue until June 20th. Meade was there, and I edited his video. The first speaker in this clip, representing We Are Wisconsin, is David Boetcher. After him comes Jeremy B. McMullen, who represents the Madison Fire Department on the Commission, and then Peter Rickman, who, according to this recent student newspaper editorial byline, is a University of Wisconsin "Law & Graduate Student," chair of the TAA Political Education Committee, and chair of the Democratic Party of the 2nd Congressional District.

0:00 — Boetcher likens the historical concept of Hooverville to the current protests over the Wisconsin budget, which is supposed to explain why camping on the street says something that people carrying signs does not say. (Click on that Hooverville link to see that the real "Hoovervilles" were makeshift places of residence for people who were actually homeless during the Great Depression. The thousands of people who want to come to Madison to protest are not homeless. They are protesting on behalf of employed people who are losing some of their benefits and collective bargaining rights.)

0:21 — McMullen clearly states the crucial legal principle: The nature of the message to be conveyed is irrelevant to the commission, which is mainly worried about setting a precedent that might require granting other permits in the future for other protesters.

0:30 — Rickman says this event is "unprecedented," and if anyone in the future tries to rely on it as a precedent "distinctions — differentiations — will be able to be drawn." He says he's sure there are "plenty of capable city, uh, city, uh, staff who are law trained, who can go ahead and help you all make that distinction and difference." Yeah, don't worry about the precedent. Let it go and when the time comes you all can go ahead and distinguish the precedent. Rickman adds that he's "not a real lawyer yet" and has only had "a few years of law school." (Law school is only 3 years. If you've done "a few years," aren't you done? Maybe there's some distinction that I should have my staff go ahead and figure out for me. I don't have time for that now.)

1:36 — Boetcher takes over with less legalistic idealism and more hardcore reality. These thousands of people are going to come to town anyway, permit or no. But if We Are Wisconsin doesn't have a permit, they can't provide port-o-potties. Even though he's leading the group that is promoting the rally, he's acting as if he's just passively expecting the crowds and trying to help out the city out with crowd control. If you don't give them the permit, you'll still have people camping out... but — what? — pissing in the street?

2:05 — Boetcher says that if you put restrictions in the permit, then you're forced to decide what to do if it's violated, "and what is that going to do to the whole rest of the trust" with respect to everything else that you might want to try to get people to do. Once people are in violation of one thing, they'll lose interest in avoiding violating other matters. (I would  note that as a general principle, this is a good reason to regulate sparingly: It preserves respect for the law and increases compliance. If the rules are too picky and constraining, people scoff at rules and become rule-breakers, and maybe they lose track of the value of a system of rules. But does that general principle really apply to this tent city?)

2:42 — "It would be a bit of a sham to create a permit that basically automatically goes against what's going to happen and then expect people to follow any of the rules that are in the permit." Think about what that means. There's a huge crowd about to descend on the city, to do something they will do whether or not there is a permit — Boetcher keeps referring to the "mindset" of this descending crowd — so the city ought to grant a permit that accepts those things that are going to happen, in order to preserve respect for the rule of law. As a law professor, I find this notion fascinating. Make the law embrace the things people are going to do regardless of the law, or people won't follow even the rules that they would follow if you didn't undermine their desire to comply with the law.

"I just want this to be over," says Weiner-pic recipient, posing, yesterday, for a picture in the NY Post.

Is anyone interested in this person? The focus is on Weiner, a politician of some significance. I can see why Gennette Cordova has stepped forward to make a statement and why she might want to pose for a more dignified photograph than the one that had been making the rounds, but I am not hearing anyone saying anything negative about her. Melt back into private life. Close the door.

At the Street Use Staff Committee meeting about setting up "Walkerville" campsite near the Wisconsin Capitol.

(Background on the Walkerville proposal here.) WKOW reporter Colby Robertson tweets:
Resident just spoke. Says, "We've patiently endured horn blowing, drumming. It seems incomprehensable to allow ppl to camp outside my home"

Speaker in favor of permit. Says its a great opportunity for Madison to help us express voices since they can't be in Capitol.

Another in support says the protests are going to happen with or without permit, but tents give more structure.

Alderwoman Lisa Subick speaking in support of permit. Asks committee to show Walker Administration you stand behind ppl of Madison.
So Alderwoman Lisa Subick wants the government to exercise its discretion for the purpose of agreeing with this particular group of protesters?! If Robertson's tweet is accurate, Subick is advocating the violation of core free speech principles. Government discretion over permits should be viewpoint neutral, not a way for the government to express itself.
Member from board asks why is a tent with a sign more powerful than people holding signs? Organizers want constant present of ppl at Capitol
UPDATE: Robertson tweets:
Commission approves motion. Tents will be allowed between 9 pm-7 am Sat-Thurs. 9 pm-4:30 am Friday overnights...

Mayor Soglin isn't here but spokesperson just came in and said he was under the impression SOME tents would be allowed to stay up during day....

So three designated areas (not determined yet) will allow tents up 24 hours. Areas will not interfere with businesses or buses
Oh, okay. Wouldn't want to interfere with businesses or buses!

Stay tuned! I have exclusive video from the meeting. 

UPDATE 2: Here's the edited video with commentary.

"The case of USA v. Johnny Reid Edwards contains six counts..."

"... including conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements..."

ADDED: Gregory Craig, Edwards's lawyer said: "John Edwards has done wrong in his life — and he knows it better than anyone — but he did not break the law... The Justice Department has wasted millions of dollars and thousands of hours on a matter more appropriately a topic for the Federal Election Commission to consider, not a criminal court."

What? The FEC isn't enforcing law? When John Edwards was a Senator, did he not vote for laws that made campaign finance matters into crimes? Is Craig trying to say that some kinds of crimes aren't really crime crimes?

Politico says: "Sarah Palin's bus tour leaves GOP cold."

While Palin has reveled in giving an extended one-fingered salute to the national press, refusing to give out details about her travel schedule and forcing reporters to literally chase her vehicle up I-95 in order to cover her, she reached out to precious few activists and party leaders in the states she visited.
So "leaves [them] cold" means that she was cold to them? In normal English usage, when you say X leaves Y cold, it means that Y isn't responding to X's overtures. It's not another way of saying X cold-shouldered Y.
Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason, whose state hosted Palin on visits to Gettysburg and the Liberty Bell, voiced a common exasperation about Palin’s tour: “I don’t think theater wins elections.”

“Running for president is a very serious thing and you need to deal with it as such,” Gleason said. “I’m looking for party builders.”
How far down on the list did Politico go to get a GOP politico to give the quote it wanted for an article disparaging Palin's bus tour? (And I love the locution "whose state hosted." Americans have a right to travel from state to state. We don't need the state to extend any invitation or hospitality. )
In New York – where Palin stopped at Ellis Island – GOP Rep. Peter King mused that the Alaskan “probably has more hardcore support than any other candidate.”

“But she needs to show that she can go beyond that, and this tour doesn’t accomplish that,” said King, who is urging Rudy Giuliani to enter the 2012 race.
So... King is pushing another candidate.
To former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, Palin’s visit to his state seemed more or less irrelevant. Asked for his thoughts on her arrival Thursday, the Republican shrugged: “I don’t think she’s running.”
Because nobody's more relevant than John Sununu.

Conclusion: The evidence in Politico's article is best seen as evidence of Politico's desire to undermine Sarah Palin.

"In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth." — The NYT deletes that quote!

Whoa! That quote was the centerpiece of my blog post linking to the NYT story about Jill Abramson taking over as the new executive editor of the New York Times. I thought it was rich material for contemplation. The new editor grew up idealizing the newspaper, and now she's in control of it. What will happen? Will we get more truth?

I didn't expect such a sharp slap in the face! The first thing that happens is the quote about truth disappears down the memory hole! Not a word about the excision appears at the site.

I wasn't the only one who called attention to the now-missing quote. James Taranto did:
It may be the most revealing quote ever published in the New York Times.... The Times has of late acted a great deal like a corrupt religious institution. This column has chronicled its often vicious and dishonest attempts--both on the editorial page and in the news sections, which Abramson will head--to shore up its own authority by trying to tear down its competitors....
Instapundit did:
SO IF READING THE NEW YORK TIMES IS A RELIGION, then does that make Jill Abramson pope?
Jay Nordlinger at the National Review did:
I was just writing a column for tomorrow. I was going to say something — not worth getting into the context right now — about not belonging to “the Church of the New York Times.”... 
Wanting to take a break from writing... I checked the news. I was reading about Jill Abramson, just tabbed to be the new chief editor of the New York Times. I read this: “In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth.”
Deleting the quote is so pathetic. Abramson held the newspaper in such high esteem, then takes over, and behaves as if the story announcing her ascent is some sort of accidental tweet to be taken down before anybody sees it. But everybody already saw it! We're in the middle of talking about it! How about contributing to the dialogue? But no, we get coverup. As if the lesson hadn't be learned long ago: It's the coverup that gets you.

The instinct to delete... is that what Abramson would like us to think of as the mark of her leadership?

The Church of the New York Times seems to be one of those shame-based religions.

IN THE COMMENTS: Meade said:
The NYT was hacked!
Maybe it was a prank. Can't say with certitude.

ADDED: In Politco, Burgess Everett carries water for the NYT"
Of the quote’s removal... Taranto wrote that the editing process was the likely culprit for the quote’s removal, but added: “It's obvious that an editorial decision was made to ‘rectify’ a quote that made the Times look foolish.”

Not so, Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told POLITICO. “Space was clearly a consideration,” as the story was used in the newspaper, Murphy said, adding that because the original version of the story was online all day, it needed to be freshened for the paper edition, which did not contain the quote.

“The entire story was rewritten after Jill, [publisher] Arthur Sulzberger [and editors] Bill Keller and Dean Baquet addressed the newsroom, swapping out nearly all of their old quotes for fresh quotes that came from their speeches. Everyone’s quotes in the second version of the story differed considerably from their quotes in the first version of the story,” Murphy said.

Murphy said the “religion” quote was on the Times’s webpage for nearly 12 hours before being replaced by the newspaper version. “This is just the revising, updating and condensing for space that happens every day at The Times,” she said.
But if that were true, wouldn't the version with the quote still exist in the archive? I searched for the quote, using the NYT's archive search function, and what came up was:
IHTPressEngine v. 1.3.12 2011-06-02T12:49:18-0400 A legal fight ...
"In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion,” she said. “If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth." ...
Click on the link for a page full of code gibberish, not the original version of the article with the quote.

Dr. Death dead.

Jack Kevorkian, 83, "claimed to have assisted in at least 130 suicides. Convicted of second-degree murder in the late '90s, he spent eight years in prison."

June 2, 2011

Police enforce a rule against dancing in the Jefferson Monument.

This is the long version.

Short version and background here.

Rush Limbaugh goes after Krauthammer.

On the occasion of Krauthammer's disrespect for Sarah Palin:
Krauthammer was on Fox the other day, I happened to see it. He said that Sarah Palin still doesn't cut it for him.  She's got good instincts but she's just not properly schooled.  And he said I don't mean schooled in the right places.  She's just not learned.  She's had two and a half years to school herself on matters of policy.  She hasn't done it.  She can't demonstrate it.  She's just not properly schooled.  And Tom Rowan, "Analyzing the Analyst" in the American Thinker, says why in the world do we sit here and bow down at the opinion of somebody that used to write speeches for Walter Mondale. 

Now, Rowan's theory is that people's pasts matter.  So here you have Dr. Krauthammer, who was a speechwriter for Mondale who obviously at a point in his life thought Ronald Reagan was a total idiot, you know, probably not schooled.  So Rowan's theory is, analyzing the analysts, that Krauthammer sees Reagan in Palin.  Wasn't particularly enamored of Reagan.  George Will was not an early Reaganite, for example, became a good friend and associate later on.  But this got me to thinking about this whole notion of who earns respect and why.  And Mr. Rowan, the American Thinker, said, why is it that everybody stops what they're doing and when Krauthammer issues an opinion that's it?...

Now, Krauthammer in many ways has acquired this respect because in many of the venues he appears he's the only conservative....
The segment at the link begins and ends with thoughts on Weinergate, by the way. Read the whole thing if you want to see how he weaves these themes together.

Wisconsin protesters want to set up a "Walkerville" campsite around one corner of the Capitol Square.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports:
The city’s Street Use Staff Commission will have a special meeting Friday to consider the permit application for a state budget rally that would begin Saturday and continue through June 20....

[Gov. Scott] Walker’s proposed budget is being debated by the Legislature’s powerful budget committee this week and is expected to be sent to the full Legislature by the weekend....

The city, which granted a permit for a smaller camp on the terrace of Pinckney Street across from the Capitol in March, is working to balance the rights of free speech with the needs of local businesses, said Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, who represents most of the Downtown area.

Kelly Lamberty, community events coordinator for the city’s Parks Division, said concerns also include the impact on other permitted events, including the Dane County Farmers’ Market, and licensed vendors assigned to the area.
Go ahead, Madison politicians. Grant that permit. Let the whole state know how hostile Democrats are to business interests. That campsite is right next to a hotel.

And if you actually care about free speech, you'd better be ready to hand out camping permits in a viewpoint neutral way in the future. It can't be that the budget protesters get special privileges.

ADDED: Here's the agenda for the special meeting (PDF). 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 3. Parks Conference Room 210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Room 108 (City-County Building). "Tent city rally with art, music, teach-ins and food. Discuss set-up, schedule and activities."

UPDATE: Tweets from the meeting.

"Suddenly it appears that there may be enough accessible hydrocarbons to power industrial civilization for centuries, if not millennia, to come."

"So much for the specter of depletion, as a reason to adopt renewable energy technologies like solar power and wind power."

Adorable brown swirls on the pictures...

... of penguins.

"Criminals in Wisconsin can turn to family members to hide murder guns, bloody clothes and other evidence..."

"... and prosecutors are powerless to punish those family members under current state law.... Wisconsin's version is among the most liberal harboring felon laws in the country.... A dozen other states have exceptions for family members, but Wisconsin exempts more family members and allows them to even plant false evidence without fear of prosecution."

Drudge finally shows interest in the Weiner.

Let's check out the display. Closeup:

The links are:

'This Could Be The End For Him'... — the quote is something some "political consultant" said.

'I was a little bit stiff yesterday' — this is something Weiner himself actually said, intentionally making a penis joke!

'Have You Ever Taken A Picture Like This Of Yourself?'...


Done in by the social network...

Probe could give Weiner more headaches...
A longer view:

Is the proximity of the hog an intentional juxtaposition?

Mitt in.

WaPo reports:
Romney’s announcement was a marked contrast to his presidential rollout four years ago. Then, he delivered a soaring speech before some 800 supporters at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., that covered an array of issues from jihadism to American ingenuity. Then he flew by private jet to campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida before staging a major fundraiser in his hometown of Boston.

This time, Romney aimed for a lower-key rollout, with a simple gathering on a rolling hayfield in New Hampshire.... Tickets to the kickoff event say, “A Cookout with Mitt & Ann,” and indeed campaign volunteers were serving his wife Ann Romney’s favorite chili recipe from a line of crockpots.
The announcement this time, compared to last time is:
Touchingly modest and down home.
A bigger steaming pot of phony.
An equally ham-handed effort at seeming in tune with the times.
As before, Mitt strikes just about the right note.
pollcode.com free polls

"In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion. If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth."

The true believer is Jill Abramson, the new executive editor of the New York Times, replacing Bill Keller (who replaced).

Let's analyze the analogy. A newspaper is like religion, believed in, and taken, unquestioningly, as true. Then what happens when you are in charge of it?

1. You have a deep moral obligation to insure that it is absolutely true, to respect the faith that others put in it and to preserve and grow the community of believers because of your dedication to truth, or...

2. You are embedded in the faith, carrying on the commitment to the idea that it is the truth and impressing that faith that it is the truth on readers, so that they keep looking to you as the mouthpiece of truth and don't go wandering off looking for some other viewpoints.

It could be #1 or #2 or both or neither.

Happy birthday to the 2 people in our family who have birthdays on the same day.

Do you have a co-birthdayist in your immediate circle? What's that like for you?

Of course, everyone has celebrities born on their birthday. For example, born today, were the Marquis de Sade... and Cornel West!

"Snigdha Nandipati is up first. Her word is 'meridienne' and she gets it right!"

"She likes collecting coins and reading mystery novels. I love her geeky cheer."

It's time for the National Spelling Bee again, and that means the best place to hang out — other than in front of ESPN — is at Throwing Things, where they are bursting with knowledge... and geeky cheer.

I appreciated the prompt to go set the DVR. I hate when I find out from the news that the spelling bee was on because so-and-so spelled some word. The whole point is to live through the dramatic emotions of young kids who really care about doing something difficult really, really well. I'll watch it on HDTV, pores and all. Are the kids self-conscious about the close inspection they're getting? They never seem like they are, which is cool.

Please don't tell me I should watch one of those movies about the spelling bee. I've seen them and find them tedious, in part because they skip over the tedium that you need to live through to feel the highs.


A newly coined word for people who've gone all obsessive about the size of their pores.  And speaking of words...
High-definition television has arguably upped the ante. Consider the celebrity with glistening teeth and yogic arms, but a jarringly pock-marked nose in close-ups. Viewers think, “If her pores look like that, what do mine look like?” said Dr. Mary Lupo, a clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine.
... somebody needs to tell the New York Times that pock marks are not pores.

And maybe somebody needs to show these porexic whiners what real skin damage looks like.

"I can’t say with certitude" ranks "somewhere below ‘no controlling legal authority’ and above ‘wide stance.'"

Said Chris Lehane, according to the Washington Post, which called him a Democratic "crisis-management specialist." (Cool job title.)

Lehane was comparing Anthony Weiner's statement about whether the notorious panties-pic depicts himself to "the infamous phrase that Vice President Al Gore used in 1997 to describe questionable fundraising activities, and then the one that then-Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) used in 2007 to explain how he came to be arrested for lewd conduct after tapping the foot of an undercover officer in a restroom stall in the Minneapolis airport."

Ah, yes! It's a new entry in The Annals of Ineffective Denials.

June 1, 2011

Steal a laptop and have the worst pictures of your ugly mug up on the web for all to laugh at.

And then the police arrest you for theft... all because the laptop was spying on you the whole time.

At the Rainbow Café...

... this is reality.

"The blood drive at the state Capitol was cut short Tuesday because American Red Cross workers decided it was too loud inside the rotunda to continue."

What the hell? We've quit monitoring the protests at the Capitol. What is going on these days? Stopping a blood drive?!

This is why it was the right decision to vote for Paul Soglin for mayor.

He's actually using his brain to make real decisions. Not bullshit gestures to pander to Madisonians... like Mayor Dave.

"Do the alleged benefits of eating vegetables outweigh the terrible cost of having to eat them?"

"In a word, no."

"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."

Somebody at Metafilter is reminded of that Steinbeck quote after reading an AdAge white paper saying that "mass affluence" is over.

"Sunday's travel theme here in Rome was death."

"OK, for an anthropologist you have to imagine this is more cheerful than it sounds...."
It is not the distance of time that touches me about these people. I study bones that are tens or hundreds of thousands of years old, distances so vast as to be unimaginable in human terms. Yet the bone persists. The individual is marked in it, and touching her bones creates an immediacy of connection, like traveling through time.

"Alice Mullholland, 18, convicted of stealing some boots, sentenced to 3 months."

From a collection of photographs of Newcastle criminals, 1871-1873.

At the Lilac Café...


... it's truth we lack, not lies.

"We would all joke to Joe 'Arnold’s your dad' because he just looks so much like him."

"Joe would just laugh it off. But we never had any idea, we thought it was a funny joke. But it was real. When we said it to Mildred she would brush it off and just say 'you guys are funny.'"

"Rep. Anthony Weiner follows only a select 198 of his nearly 49,000 Twitter fans — and a surprising number of them are total babes."

The NY Post does some investigative journalism.

And includes this video, where Weiner looks so uncomfortable that I'm feeling pretty sorry for him... and then he up and calls CNN's Capitol Hill producer Ted Barrett a "jackass."

The man is stressed. Would it really be so bad to check out who's following you on Twitter and — there's always a little picture — click "follow" if the follower looks cute?

IN THE COMMENTS: johnroberthenry questions the veracity... of the pie scenario:
Weiner talked several times about a guy in the back of an audience of 145,000 people throwing a pie at him.

I would be amazed if he could attract an audience of 145,000 people. Where would he make this speech? I suspect that only a NASCAR track would be big enough.

And then a guy in the back throws a pie at him? I'd like to meet that guy. He must have one HELL of an arm.

Jon Stewart is gentle...

... to his friend Anthony Weiner.

See, this is why comedians shouldn't have friends.

"Wisconsin Dems 6. Wisconsin Republicans 0."

Greg Sargent explains.

"Matt Drudge's disgusting race war awareness campaign."

As perceived and presented by Alex Pareene.

"A Curious Case Of Foreign Accent Syndrome."


ADDED: Listen to the audio so you can hear the accent — some British-Scottish-Irish concoction. The woman likes the new accent and says it's made her "more outgoing." Compare it to the case of the Norwegian woman during WWII who acquired a German accent and was ostracized.

May 31, 2011

"Sarah Palin's bus tour treats reporters like paparazzi."

Ha ha. Great headline.

Quit distracting Anthony Weiner.

"Unpopular Freshman GOP Governors Could Help Obama’s Reelection Bid."

Says TPM.

When Daddy is too scary, we run to Mommy.

James Wolcott, a 59-year-old man, purports to empathize with Piper Palin and...

... tries to enfold her in his flabby old arms with the pretense that he is somehow cooler than her parents:
Piper in that shot looks like Grace, the elder daughter played by Ruby Jerins in Nurse Jackie....

My "sources" tell me is that a future stop on Palin's bus tour will at Randy's Rodeo in San Antonio, Texas, the site of the Sex Pistols' infamous gig in 1978. Todd Palin intends to stand on the very spot where Sid Vicious staggered. I had no idea Todd was so "into" punk history, and wish I could be there when he explains to Piper what Sid and Johnny Rotten meant to America, and from there they'll all be heading to the Alamo to find the basement where Pee Wee Herman's bike is reputed to be.

Wolcott is...
Hip and cool.
Sweetly empathic.
pollcode.com free polls

Let's talk about morality.

America has a strong consensus about a lot things even as we are divided on others:

What surprises you the most here? Are you surprised that 80% of Americans say suicide is morally wrong? I've often had to struggle with commenters on this blog when I have taken the firm position that suicide is murder, but I think America mostly agrees with me. There is generally an outpouring of sympathy when someone commits suicide. Why don't we express our moral opprobrium toward the self-murderer? I think it's because that person is gone, and we feel sorry for those who are left behind. They are the victims.

Doctor-assisted suicide is an important subcategory of suicide, and the Gallup report says that it "emerges as the most controversial cultural issue in Gallup's 2011 Values and Beliefs poll." But what is notable is that support for assisted suicide has been dropping and has reached its lowest level of support in 8 years.

"Ohio State officials will argue that the school should be spared, in part because they got rid of Tressel..."

"... the head of the program that has been so tainted by wrongdoing. For years, Ohio State benefited from Tressel's choirboy image. Now, the university is likely to paint him as a huge problem that has been eliminated for the betterment of the athletic department. It is not the noblest of tactics, but it adheres to an axiom of big-time college football, one that Jim Tressel has heeded for years: You do whatever it takes to win."

Sports Illustrated investigates.

You can be a great lawyer when the judge doesn't have access to the case law.

"A BAT who fell upon the ground and was caught by a Weasel pleaded to be spared his life. The Weasel refused, saying that he was by nature the enemy of all birds. The Bat assured him that he was not a bird, but a mouse, and thus was set free. Shortly afterwards the Bat again fell to the ground and was caught by another Weasel, whom he likewise entreated not to eat him. The Weasel said that he had a special hostility to mice. The Bat assured him that he was not a mouse, but a bird, and thus a second time escaped."

That's an Aesop fable. The official moral is: "It is wise to turn circumstances to good account."

"Perhaps it was Zeppo’s ardent pursuit with dinner invitations and flowers or the new Thunderbird convertible he bought for me."

"Or was it the time he stood behind a group of strangers in an elevator and pulled faces until I was laughing so hard I had to get off? Not only did Zeppo have the caustic wit of the Marx Brothers but he made fun of himself rather than of those around him. I think that may have been why he was always given the role of romantic lead while his brothers insulted him."

Am I the only person who bought Barbara Sinatra's "Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank" because I wanted to read what she has to say about about Zeppo Marx?

ADDED: After Chico Marx's funeral:
Crammed into the living room with scores of mourners, I noticed a strange woman staring at me. Zeppo noticed too and asked someone who she was. It was his first wife, Marion, a former Ziegfield girl he’d divorced seven years earlier, five years before he’d married me. A week later, I was playing tennis with Dinah Shore at the Racquet Club when I spotted Marion watching me in the same eerie way. I asked Dinah to introduce us. Marion was a little strange, but I think she just wanted to check me out. I felt sorry for her. She’d raised their adopted sons alone, and Zeppo showed little or no interest in them or her, it seemed. What really bothered me though was that he hadn’t even recognized the woman he’d been married to for twenty-seven years. 

"I simply do not know how the brutal torture of children can be surpassed as an example of pure evil."

"What is happening in Syria has become morally intolerable even under the standards of the Middle East."

"A senior Egyptian general admits that 'virginity checks' were performed on women arrested at a demonstration this spring..."

"... the first such admission after previous denials by military authorities," CNN reports:
"The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine," the general said. "These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs)."...

"We didn't want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren't virgins in the first place," the general said. "None of them were (virgins)."
IN THE COMMENTS: Freeman Hunt said:
That sounds like he's saying that they did assault and rape them.

Rush Limbaugh is 6 minutes into his show without mentioning Weiner.

It's all about the economy, people. The man is not distracted. Not yet, anyway.

I'll keep you updated.

UPDATE #1: 9 minutes into the show, Rush brings up the top Drudge story about "Teen Gangs Unleashed on Boston Beach." Something about green energy in the UK. Wait times in emergency rooms. But all of this is tied into Obama-economics. "Listen to some of these headlines at Drudge." Now, I don't think Drudge has picked up the Weiner Hacker Incident. But it's hard — really hard — to believe that Rush hasn't heard about it. Does he go entirely by Drudge? If he brings up "Woman Takes Attacker's Penis To Police" — a Drudge headline — then we will know. He's seriously Drudge-dependent.

UPDATE #2: After the break, 20 minutes into the show: Have you noticed how much better Sarah Palin looks in a helmet than Michael Dukakis? Then on to more talk about the economy — specifically the real estate market. Still no Weiner.

UPDATE #3: 40 minutes into the show, still no Weiner. Rush goes to the break with the teaser that he's got lots of sound bites about Sarah Palin... and then on to your phone calls. So, apparently, he's got no monologue about Weiner. My theory: He wants to make a show of not being distracted by the Weiner story, and it will come up in the context of a phone call. Deniability. Mr. Snerdley imposed this caller on him, he'll say. I predict an excellent caller laying out the story, with Rush acting exasperated by the distraction, but then doing a great job talking about it.

UPDATE #4. My lord! I'm live-blogging the Rush Limbaugh show! 50 minutes into the show, he's taken the first call, and it was about real estate woes.

UPDATE #5: An hour and a half into the show, still no Weiner. He's talking about Sarah Palin, comparing her bus tour to the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour," which, he tells us, was "an experimental movie." He's playing clips of MSM folk talking about how it's hard for them to follow the tour. But why should Sarah Palin "give them anything" — after the way they've treated her? A nice clip of Sarah saying she's owes mainstream media nothing, and let them do their "investigative work" if they want to know where to find her.

UPDATE #6: Beginning the third hour, Rush says he's just hearing about this "I guess we're calling it 'Weinergate.'" Weiner's story, he says, "seems like it's hard to swallow."

UPDATE #7: "Somebody tell me why it's a big deal... some bulging package to a babe in Seattle...." Now, he's saying he got some email before the show about it. "Who in the world has time" to write about this? Is it that people "are captivated by the Twitter thing?"

UPDATE #8: He's indulging in some double entendre: "Is he giving his constituents the shaft?" He makes a reference to how Republicans are treated: "All I know is that Larry Craig was drummed out of Congress for tapping his foot." Back to the double entendre: "I had my hands full before we even got to the Weiner story."

Kloppenburg concedes!

At last! Good decision. Thank you.

"I've really never understood the business... of sending these pictures to women."

Can someone please explain to Mark Schmitt — and everyone else with this comprehension problem — why some men send pictures of their genitalia to women?

AND: Here's an even more awkward effort by a Blogginghead to talk about erections. I especially love the way this clip — which I edited to enhance the humorous effect — begins with the diavloggers being all out of synch talking about how lovers can be out of synch. (Warning: the phrase "morning wood" pops up.)

The most likely innocent explanation for the Weiner Hacking Incident.

Yesterday, I said:
But I think it is news when a politician mishandles his internet communications. Minor news, but worth noting.

And it's really news — serious news — if either: 1. the internet accounts of a politician have been hacked in an effort to destroy the man, or 2. the politician makes the false statement that he has been victimized by a crime. One or the other has occurred in this case (unless I'm failing to see some other option).

Should we all be closing our Twitter accounts lest some devious prankster destroy our reputation? Or has Weiner — for his own purposes — maligned Twitter's business and undermined the Twitter-user's sense of security? I want to know!

AND: If Weiner is lying about his accounts getting hacked, he could be sued by Twitter (and the other companies) for defamation.
This morning, looking at a new NYT article, I thought of another option. This article goes on at length about what a prolific tweeter Weiner has been and how clever his Tweets are.
His first real Twitter post used a play on the title of Ms. Palin’s book to declare his intentions to embrace the new medium: “Going rouge over here. Starting to twitter w/o telling my minders. But what if nobody hears me? Did it happen.”
Going "rouge"? You'd think a man whose name could be misspelled to be the name of a sausage would be more careful. But he has been going rouge these last few days.

The funny thing is, the innocent explanation for what happened requires me to suspect that his first post was a something of a lie. The innocent explanation is: He doesn't write his own tweets. He's got a ghost-tweeter.
Mr. Weiner’s Twitter tone is strikingly punchy and personal, and sometimes juvenile....
Maybe because he's got some cheeky Harvard Lampoon-type guy tapping out the wisecracks.
He often posts several messages a day... Many are about national politics, with cheeky hashtags, like “Newt running for Prez. Mitt running from Mitt. Where to begin? #TargetRichEnvironment.” And there was “Ok let’s start with Newt. He’s the brains of the field, right? #TallestPygmy.”
So terribly clever and edgy. Why does a Congressman have time for that? Why does a Congressman have a mind for that?
The number of members of Congress who are on Twitter has more than doubled, to more than 400, since the start of this year, but the actual involvement of those members in the crafting of their messages varies widely.
So who's writing all that junk?
Mr. Weiner, a technophile, has clearly considered the role of Twitter in honing his public image, and he said in an interview earlier this month that while his Twitter stream “is usually something about the national conversation or a five- or 10-degree pivot from the national conversation,” his Twitter personality is all him. 
So he doesn't want to admit he's not writing it. You know, there's another meaning to the word "hack." There are hack writers. It's normally a noun, but I'm sure I'm not the first person to say it could work as a verb.

My Twitter account was hacked could mean: The hack writer I hired wrote the tweet.

To use this explanation, Weiner would have to concede that his clever tweets were not — or not always — his. I note that he could use this explanation even if it isn't true. Get some 21-year-old fall guy to say he got drunk and let his crush on that cute girl in Seattle go to his head.

Where's Meade?


He's out with the chickens! And the tent and the bikes. In Nashville, Indiana. And it's time to get home.

The Weiner Hacker Prize

"As much as I admire Congressman Weiner's Gandhi-like forgiving attitude toward his assailant - as well as his world class ninja programming skills - I'm afraid this incident doesn't just involve him. For, after all, what Internet user is safe when the person who hacked this unsuspecting Weiner remains at large? Okay, maybe not "large," but still, come on man. Who's to say this same criminal hasn't somehow hacked my last 5 federal income tax returns with fraudulent deductions for alcohol-related blogging expenses?"

Iowahawk puts up $1000.

May 30, 2011

At the Althouse Alehouse...


... it's a madhouse.

A boy and his otter.


... Surrealism.

"Before he started making movies, Stanley Kubrick was a star photojournalist."

"In the summer of 1949, Look magazine sent him to Chicago to shoot pictures for a story called 'Chicago City of Contrasts.'"

City of Contrasts... what a horrible travel-book cliché. I'm assuming it already was a horrible cliché in 1949. But check out the thrilling photographs! I love the smoking (literally) lingerie model:

"This isn’t a campaign bus. This is a bus to be able to express to America..."

"... how much we appreciate our foundation and to invite more people to be interested in all that is good about America and to remind ourselves we don’t need to fundamentally transform America, we need to restore what’s good about America."

Oh! So that's what kind of a bus it is.

Palinspeak. It's apt to drive the media mad.

"Things that I never imagined people would care about are now being plastered all over blog sites..."

"... including pictures of me from when I was 17 and tweets that have been taken completely out of context. I tweeted once (it was reported that I said it twice) that 'I wonder what my boyfriend @RepWeiner is up to.'"

ADDED: Imagine if Anthony Weiner were a Republican. (I know, it's such a hackneyed visualization, but it's important here.) The liberal/lefty blogs would be shredding him mercilessly. I'm not saying Weiner's not getting his hair mussed. But if he were a Republican, the feeding frenzy would be of a different magnitude entirely.

IN THE COMMENTS: Freeman Hunt writes:
So the media is just accepting this absurd assertion that all his accounts were hacked? They were all hacked for the purpose of sending a boner photo to some woman in Seattle? And he hasn't bothered to contact law enforcement?


Must be nice to be a Democratic politician.
Nevadabob writes:
1) Weiner hasn't reported the alleged hack to the FBI.

2) Facebook hasn't announced any investigation of Mr. Wiener's allegedly hacked account.

3) Twitter (the company) knows the IP address of the computer that really sent the tweet. However, Twitter hasn't announced any investigation. They also haven't released the IP address of the person who actually sent the tweet so we can see if that IP address belongs to the Democrat Rep. Wiener
yfrog knows the IP address of the person that actually uploaded the obscene photograph Mr. Wiener's yfrog account. Thusfar, yfrog has not released that IP address so that we can track down the nefarious hacker who did that. Also, Mr. Wiener could request that they release that IP address to the public so we could help him track down the hacker. But he hasn't.

Mr. Wiener so far refuses to tell us what his own IP address is. And, he is refusing to answer detailed questions that would allow us to determine if the IP address which sent the tweet is at his home in New York.

It's trivially easy to determine if his accounts have REALLY been hacked. Is the FBI investigating? He is, after all, a sitting member of Congress and it is a felony to impersonate a member of Congress. It's also a felony to hack people's Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I'm left to wonder why hasn't Mr. Wiener reported this breach of Homeland Security to the proper authorities? Is it because falsely reporting this would itself be a felony?
ADDED: Is it news if a politician is unfaithful to his wife? It's not important (unless there's some big hypocrisy involved, as there is with politicians who have made their careers spouting "family values"). But I think it is news when a politician mishandles his internet communications. Minor news, but worth noting.

And it's really news — serious news — if either: 1. the internet accounts of a politician have been hacked in an effort to destroy the man, or 2. the politician makes the false statement that he has been victimized by a crime. One or the other has occurred in this case (unless I'm failing to see some other option).

Should we all be closing our Twitter accounts lest some devious prankster destroy our reputation? Or has Weiner —  for his own purposes — maligned Twitter's business and undermined the Twitter-user's sense of security? I want to know!

AND: If Weiner is lying about his accounts getting hacked, he could be sued by Twitter (and the other companies) for defamation.

ALSO: NBC News reports "Lewd Photo Sent Over Rep. Weiner's Hacked Twitter Account... his Twitter account was hacked." Not that Weiner makes that claim, but an outright assertion that his account was hacked. Twitter is getting slimed here. Does it deserve it?

"Everybody is a brother. Everybody is a sister."

"We can all love one another."

"Sarah Palin and her family sneaked out in Washington on Sunday night for what she called an 'incognito' tour of the national monuments..."

Reports the NYT:
Details of the visit were posted Monday morning on her Web site, along with pictures that show her, her husband, Todd, and her daughters enjoying stops at the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and the World War II Memorial.

In one picture, Ms. Palin and Mr. Palin are sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looking out toward the Washington Monument, like any other couple might. In another, the whole family is seen standing below a part of the World War II Memorial that says “Alaska,” their home state.
Beautiful, innovative unrolling of what is presumably her candidacy for President.

Sarah, she's just like you, visiting the monuments, posing by the name of her state, wearing a visor and a baggy black T-shirt. I love the way she's slouching as if she's not thinking about her looks at all, while the other women are doing the photo-pose-y thing and the husband takes the figure-flattering 3/4 position and sucks in his gut.

Did you know "how important the personal innovation lifestyle is becoming"?

What's your personal innovation lifestyle? Is it focused on "ordinariness and ... the capacity... to take on roles that involve higher levels of personal responsibility"? Are you "deploy[ing] new values (like sharing)"? Do you "want aut0nomy" — whatever that is?

"Head of patron saint of genital diseases sold to Los Angeles buyer."

Only $5,000, in an antique case.

I'd never heard of the patron saint of genital diseases, Vitalis of Assisi.
St Vitalis was born in Umbria, Italy, and is said to have lived an immoral and licentious youth. In an attempt to atone for his early sins, he later undertook pilgrimages to shrines throughout Europe, eventually entering the Benedictine monastery at Subiaco.

After leaving the monastery, he lived the remainder of his life as a hermit near Assisi. It is said that he wore only rags and shunned all material wealth, with the exception of a basket which he used to fetch water from a nearby stream.

He died in 1370, and word of his sanctity soon spread due to reports of numerous miracles performed on those with bladder and genital disorders.
Fetching water in a basket?  I don't believe a word of it. I don't even believe that is Vitalis's head. And if Vitalis is the name of the patron saint of genital diseases, how did the name Vitalis come to be used more famously for a product to be applied to the head?

"The People’s Bratfest was designed to be an alternative to the World’s Largest Brat Fest, but it was not meant to be an anti-Johnsonville event..."

Inane Madison politics rages on, in the form of a sausage.

"When Patti Davis posed nude for Playboy in 1994, she was twice as old as the typical Playmate."

"Now 58, she’s posing for us — and telling the naked truth about her motives."

"Us" = More, which is a magazine. So is Us, but this is More. If you want Less, maybe that's also a magazine. Or should be.

"Memorial Day was a response to the Civil War, and it sits where it does on the calendar for a perfectly good reason."

"It was originally called Decoration Day - a day to honor the (Union) war dead by decorating their graves with flowers, which are most abundant in late May. While we now have annuals that bloom into autumn, they have been introduced into American gardens primarily over the last century; the native perennials bloom mostly in the spring."

May 29, 2011

Palin posts her Rolling thunder pics.

More here.

ADDED: "'I love that smell of the emissions,' she said, donning sunglasses and a Harley Davidson skullcap-style, black helmet."

At the Picnic Café...


... you can hang out all day.

Palin's Rolling Thunder photo op.

The NYT emphasizes that she couldn't really ride anywhere because of the crush of photographers. I will emphasize the utter gorgeousness of the photograph at the link (and, presumably, all the other photographs that got taken as the bike went nowhere).

Wiener and Weiner are 2 different words.

Learn spelling if nothing else.
A photo of a man’s bulging gray boxer-brief underwear was posted to [Rep. Anthony] Weiner’s account with yfrog — an online image-sharing site — on Saturday night, according to biggovernment.com, which is run by Andrew Breitbart. The photograph is from the waist down, and shows no face.

“The weiner gags never get old, I guess, ” the veteran lawmaker emailed a POLITICO reporter in response on Saturday.

“This evening a photo surfaced on Congressman Weiner’s yfrog account and in his verified Twitter timeline of a man in his underwear with an erection,” Publius, the handle for the site’s editors wrote...

Earlier this week in Weiner’s home state, a special election was held to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of married Republican Rep. Chris Lee, who sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist....
You've got your special election and your special erection. 2 completely different things. But they can be linked.

ADDED: FedkaTheConvict the convict recommends this absurd interview Weiner gave to Megyn Kelly (back in March). Let me pinpoint the part I found especially funny, when he grants her time to speak, then immediately talks over her.

Ray Davies...

... back, with friends. Listen to the 11-minute audio at the link. Lots of music on it. The one thing I definitely dislike is Ray singing with Bruce Springsteen. The notion that their voices blend together... ridiculous. Bring back Dave. There's a voice that goes with Ray's.
"If I perform again with my brother, it will not be in a position of peace and harmony, because that's not a great situation for us... The fire and energy is the important thing. It's the thing that made us fight and punch our way into a career."
Yeah, who needs friends? But the new album is called "See My Friends" — and you can buy it here.

"This is the last bathroom in the city anyone would ever want to use..."

The "Drug Loo."

"Model plunges to her death after falling through hotel window while 'play wrestling' with female friend."

"Lashawna Threatt... crashed into a window and fell five storeys onto a slanted glass ceiling above a sun room at the W Midtown Hotel" in Atlanta, Georgia.

The other woman fell through the window too, so it's not a case of the survivor telling her version of the facts.
Passionate Chonvill, who is friends with both women, said both women had just got to the hotel and were 'having a good time'.

'They are two small girls and I am trying to figure out how the hell two small girls could break a window like that.'

Machete, the Cane Corso that killed a boy, "had showed no sign of aggression."

Said the mother of the dead 4-year-old. The neighbors tell a different story:
"Those dogs were vicious," said building superintendent Kenny Risher, 50. "They stink and they are nasty. The same dog ate their (pet) rabbit."...

Risher and other neighbors said [the boy's stepfather Damian] Jones would wear a protective arm guard while training the fierce dogs outside the family's Brownsville apartment.

"They looked mean," Risher said. "Nobody would want to go near them. They were trained to fight."

Some recalled the dogs foaming at the mouth as Jones worked the dogs into a street-clearing frenzy.

"It was a violent dog," said neighbor Anthony Brown, 35, of Machete. "Dangerous. A big dog. The whole block is scared of that dog."...

Great-grandfather Jamaal-Uddin said Machete was typically laid-back. "I guess it's just like humans," he said. "It's the quiet ones you have to watch."

Making a big deal out of a baby's sex in the guise of attempting to make nothing out of it.

"A Toronto couple are defending their decision to keep their infant's sex a secret in order to allow the child to develop his or her own gender identity."
In an e-mail, Ms Witterick wrote that the idea that "the whole world must know what is between the baby's legs is unhealthy, unsafe, and voyeuristic".
Hey, lady, no one would even be thinking about — ugh! — what's between your baby's legs if you hadn't made a media event out of it.

And as for performing an experiment in gender identity, even assuming it's okay to perform a socio-political experiment on a baby, you haven't controlled the conditions. By calling special attention to the child, you've made his environment abnormal. Why didn't you quietly and seemingly casually do all these gender-neutral things and then, later, reveal what you learned?

"Since taking office as a wartime president in 2009, Obama has struggled at times to surround himself with military commanders whom he trusts and feels personally comfortable with."

WaPo reports:
Supporters of [Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright]...  said he ultimately paid a political price for giving independent military advice to Obama that sometimes conflicted with counsel provided by Gates — his civilian boss at the Pentagon — and Mullen....

“He was very aware he was providig [sic] guidance that was not in alignment” with the rest of the Pentagon, said a military officer close to Cartwright who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations with the White House. But Cartwright felt compelled to give an independent assessment to the president, even if it risked alienating Gates and Mullen, the military officer said. “He was told [by Obama], ‘No, don’t just give me the old line, Hoss. Give me your opinion.’”

Designing althou.se.

Did you know I'm going to bust out of blogspot soon? When the Althouse URL isn't althouse.blogspot.com but althou.se — what do you expect to see? I'm talking design. I've been using this very minimal template — Minima — for so long. Are you picturing something fancier? Something with more columns? A distinctive image in the banner? Would it bug you if things changed or do you want change? Change but not too much? And in which direction?


I'd like to see:
... things not to change at all.
... somewhat fancier.
... things to get really different in exciting new ways.
... even more simplicity.
pollcode.com free polls

"The excuse that you're not breaking new gossip you're just helping to spread gossip seems like a pretty lame excuse."

Jack Craver — the Isthmus writer who did that hit piece on me — takes some heat for writing "Oh, and Herb Kohl is long-rumored to be gay." That came in the context of talking about whether Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin — who is openly gay — could run successfully for Herb Kohl's Senate seat.

If the question is what counts as outing? then it's not outing to report the existence of well-known rumors. How well-known are the rumors about Herb Kohl?

But the question isn't really how to define the term "outing." It's whether it's whether a journalist should bring up the subject of rumors in a particular context. Here, the context is whether an openly gay candidate will be successful running for an political position now held by a rumored-to-be-gay person. Another context where it might seem justified is reporting the rumored-to-be-gay person's vote on the repeal of Defense of Marriage Act or Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

I think the mainstream norm is to avoid mentioning the rumor and to wait until the person identifies himself as gay — even in those special contexts. Perhaps it depends on how obvious the rumors have been balanced against how gay-related the context is. And the thumb on the scales is: How edgy/mainstream do you want to be?

Isthmus is our "alternative newspaper." We could talk about what that term means. And Craver's on-line writing self-identifies as a "blog," whatever the hell that is.