September 24, 2011

"They’re still throwing them in there... I wish he just would have dropped it, that’s all."

A life dramatically altered by one penalty flag, now over, after only 40 years.

A very entertaining dance.

You will not be disappointed:

(Via Metafilter.)

"Most vegetarians look so much like the food they eat that they can be classified as cannibals."

Finley Peter Dunne, quoted in "From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present."

Meade just read that out loud to me, and it caused me to do a search for the word "cannibals" in the book I had open in Kindle, Kurt Vonnegut's "Welcome to the Monkeyhouse." I was delighted to find that old Kurt had used the word in his delightful collection of stories, and the line is even one that other readers — 3 to be precise — have highlighted. (Kindle lets you see other people's highlighting.)
But he faced the problem that complicates the lives of cannibals — namely: that a single victim cannot be used over and over.
The "he" is not, of course, a cannibal, just a man with a problem that cannibals have, the need to look for more victims.

As for that Finley Peter Dunne quote, Meade said it puts a different spin on the old saying "You are what you eat." If you are what you eat, you're a cannibal. That seems like something that's been said before, but the closest I get, Googling that, is somebody at Yahoo Answers asking "If you are what you eat then are Cannibals the only True Humans?" Before answering that yourself — assuming you feel so inclined — please read Michel de Montaigne's "On Cannibals":
I am not so concerned that we should remark on the barbaric horror of such a deed, but that, while we quite rightly judge their faults, we are blind to our own. I think it is more barbaric to eat a man alive than to eat him dead, to tear apart through torture and pain a living body which can still feel, or to burn it alive by bits, to let it be gnawed and chewed by dogs or pigs (as we have no only read, but seen, in recent times, not against old enemies but among neighbors and fellow-citizens, and--what is worse--under the pretext of piety and religion.  Better to roast and eat him after he is dead.
Recent times... in 1580.

Judges and law students experience a free market... or as the NYT calls it, "a lawless terrain."

It's clerkship time. I mean, it was, when it was, which was not when they said it was. Which was oh-so-stressful for some really terribly elite characters in the legal world. The NYT empathizes, unsurprisingly.

Why stop with Boltage? I recommend Voltage!

Citizen Dave (formerly Madison's Mayor Dave) thinks children could be helped with their "incredible... obesity" if the government would fit them with a product called Boltage:
Boltage is... a chip that can go in a kid's backpack or helmet. When the child crosses in front of a reader at school it sends a message to mom or dad letting them know that their kid has arrived safely. But the system also works as an exercise incentive by keeping track of how much kids walk and bike, letting them know exactly how much they've helped the planet by reducing CO2, and giving them small rewards and recognitions along the way. 
... We could get it started here at a school in Madison for as little as about $5,000. 
Why not new Boltage with Voltage? An electric shock when the little plumpsters slow down or stop for too long. That'd give them some incentive to run around.

ADDED: You know, Boltage is not a joke. It's a real product. This is not satire:
So what's with the flying bunny?

Prof. Donald Downs demands answers from the University of Wisconsin about the Doubletree protest against Roger Clegg.

Noting the university's vaunted devotion to "sifting and winnowing," he writes:
There is a key First Amendment distinction between protest and disruption...

Disruption is a problem for at least two reasons. First, it violates the rights of speakers and listeners. Second, it sends a message that the topic under discussion is taboo, and, therefore, not a proper subject for public discussion...

What do University of Wisconsin leaders have to say about what happened at the press conference? Are they prepared to support and espouse the rules that make free speech possible? Did some administrators play a role in encouraging protests? If so, were they acting consistently with their professional responsibilities?

Only by seriously addressing these and related questions can we proceed together as a community bound by a common commitment to legal speech, counter-speech and protest.
Downs ought to get answers to these questions, but I tend to doubt that he will.

I'm creating a new tag, "Doubletree protest," so click there if you want to go back to those old posts to get up to speed. That protest is a sub-issue to 2 major issues — with very specific Wisconsin content — which I am covering, long term, on this blog: 1. protests and 2. affirmative action. I'm trying to control tag proliferation, but I'm glad I made a "Wisconsin protests" tag last winter instead of relying solely on my old "protest" tag. But to make a sub-category out of one Wisconsin protest... that seemed ridiculous... until it didn't.

At the Meadhouse Harvest Café...

... have you gathered anything yet?

"With so many ways of performing blackness, there is now no consensus about what it is or should be."

Writes Orlando Patterson:
One of his goals, Touré writes in “Who’s Afraid of Post-­Blackness? What It Means to Be Black Now,” is “to attack and destroy the idea that there is a correct or legitimate way of doing blackness.” Post-blackness has no patience with “self-appointed identity cops” and their “cultural bullying.”
Here's Touré describing skydiving, which he was told black people don't do.

Righties and lefties get together at Harvard Law School to make common cause over the notion of a constitutional convention.

Boston Herald reports:
Speakers representing a broad swath of American political thought are coming from the Green Party, the Cato Institute, Progressive Democrats of America and the American Freedom Agenda, among others.

Agenda items will include term limits, expanding state rights and limiting private money in politics.

Attendees aren’t likely to agree on many of those issues, said keynote speaker Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor and founder of the influential conservative libertarian blog Instapundit. But, he said, “There is a widespread sense that things aren’t right and we should talk about fundamental changes instead of incremental changes — sort of like a reboot.”
That makes me want to dig out my favorite quote from Edmund Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France":
In states there are often some obscure and almost latent causes, things which appear at first view of little moment, on which a very great part of its prosperity or adversity may most essentially depend. The science of government being therefore so practical in itself, and intended for such practical purposes, a matter which requires experience, and even more experience than any person can gain in his whole life, however sagacious and observing he may be, it is with infinite caution that any man ought to venture upon pulling down an edifice, which has answered in any tolerable degree for ages the common purposes of society, or on building it up again, without having models and patterns of approved utility before his eyes.
Plus I'm having a flashback to 1980...

The night the Milwaukee fans rooted for the Chicago Cubs.

The Brewers had already won the game the fans came to see....
And then thousands of jubilant fans, eager to celebrate the Brewers' first divisional title in 29 years, remained in the stands and crammed the concourses.

And Brewers' players gathered on the field.

All eyes were on a giant screen and everyone was transfixed by the final outs of the game beamed in from St. Louis, the game the matched the second-place St. Louis Cardinals against the Chicago Cubs.

When the Cubs won, 5-1, the Brewers, at last, were champs, fireworks going off beneath the closed stadium roof and streamers raining down.
Clinching, in the NL Central division.

I have listened to the video several times, and I stand by my perception that only one person audibly yells "boo."

I hear a loud "boo," then a difficult to decipher noise — which could be an ugh response to the booer — and then a little more of a boo, which sounds like the original guy.

ADDED: From Jim Geraghty (who faults Rick Santorum for failing to thank the soldier for his service):
Sarah Rumpf, who was in attendance, writes:
... There was audible booing after his question . . . however, please note that it was not the crowd booing. It was only one or two people.

I was at the debate, in the audience on the right hand side about halfway back...  The person who booed was just a few rows in front of us. The booing got an immediate and angry reaction from nearly everyone sitting around him, who hissed and shushed at him. Lots of loud gasps, “Shhhh!” “No!” “Shut up, you idiot!” etc.
See, that's my point. The sound after the loud boo was not more booing or any negativity directed at the soldier. It was hostility to the booer.
Also, Santorum says:  "I did not hear those boos . . . If I had, I would have said, 'Don’t do that, that man is serving his country and we ought to thank him for his service.'" As I said in my original post on the subject, these inferences about how the candidates responded to the audience "assumes they hear the sounds and can immediately correctly interpret whether it's an approval or disapproval sound and what it refers to."

In fact, if Rumpf is correct, most of the people watching at home were failing to correctly interpret the sounds they heard. If only one guy booed, and all the other voices were people trying to shush him, and the candidate had launched into some righteous chastising of the the audience, it would have opened that candidate to criticism about how he assumed the people were intolerant and ungrateful.

September 23, 2011

James Taranto: "Rick Perry was awful in last night's debate. Just awful."

"The swaggering Texas governor kept scrapping with the chipper Mitt Romney, and he kept losing.... The low point came when he seized on Romney's greatest vulnerability and ended up babbling:"
"I think Americans just don't know sometimes which Mitt Romney they're dealing with. Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of against the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment? Was it--was before he was before the social programs, from the standpoint of he was for standing up for Roe v. Wade before he was against Roe v. Wade? He was for Race to the Top, he's for ObamaCare, and now he's against it. I mean, we'll wait until tomorrow and--and--and see which Mitt Romney we're really talking to tonight."
Yeah, when I heard that I said: "Perry has a long 'he was for it before he was against it' routine to recite about Romney, but his delivery is slow and halting, like he's getting tired."

ADDED: William Kristol says: "Yikes...  no front-runner in a presidential field has ever, we imagine, had as weak a showing as Rick Perry.  It was close to a disqualifying two hours for him. "

Chris Christie may run for the GOP nomination.

A decision is forthcoming.
"I think what the country is thirsting for, more than anything else right now, is someone of stature and credibility to tell them that and say, 'Here's where I want us to go to deal with this crisis,'" Christie said.

Christie continued: "The fact that nobody yet who's running for president, in my view, has done that effectively is why you continue to hear people ask Daniels if he'll reconsider and ask me if I'll reconsider."
Do you want Chris Christie to run?
Yes, because I want him to win.
Yes, because I think it will hurt the GOP.
No, because I think it will hurt the GOP.
No, because I don't want him to win. free polls 

The Meadhouse harvest continues.

The "parent trigger" law lets 51% of parents petition to change a failing school and replace all the teachers or close it or turn it into a charter school.

A strange experiment going on in a California, Texas, Ohio, and Connecticut (and under consideration in many more states):
In essence, the law creates a parents’ union, which advocates say will provide powerful and needed counterweight to teachers’ unions and district bureaucracies....

[W]ith opponents and skeptics arguing that parents lack the expertise to make important policy decisions better left to career educators, the Compton case is a prime example of how challenging it can be to create change.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a very long time,” said Gregoria Gonzalez... “We are very tired of being told if we want to help we simply should stand outside watching recess or making something for a bake sale.”

"California Jury Convicts 10 Muslim Students of Interrupting Campus Speech."

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:
The students interrupted a February 2010 speech by Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, by taking turns standing up and shouting their objections to Israeli-government policies...

Both prosecutors and lawyers for the defendants said they were protecting the principle of freedom of speech. The prosecutors accused the students of deliberate censorship, while the students' lawyers argued that their clients were conducting a common campus protest and should not have been prevented from expressing their views....
The protest took place at the University of California at Irvine. Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school there said it was a "terrible mistake" to prosecute the students. But he's also written that it does not violate free speech rights to ban the disruption of a speech:
[T]here are now posters around campus referring to the unjust treatment of the "Irvine 11" and saying they were just engaging in speech themselves. However... [t]he government, including public universities, always can impose time, place and manner restrictions on speech. A person who comes into my classroom and shouts so that I cannot teach surely can be punished without offending the 1st Amendment. Likewise, those who yelled to keep the ambassador from being heard were not engaged in constitutionally protected behavior.

Freedom of speech, on campuses and elsewhere, is rendered meaningless if speakers can be shouted down by those who disagree. The law is well established that the government can act to prevent a heckler's veto -- to prevent the reaction of the audience from silencing the speaker. There is simply no 1st Amendment right to go into an auditorium and prevent a speaker from being heard, no matter who the speaker is or how strongly one disagrees with his or her message.
Do you think Dean Chemerinsky would be impressed by the argument that Oren was an outsider who made an antagonistic deliberate transgression on a community?

A Meadhouse harvest.

Sara Goldrick-Rab imposes a racial critique on last week's affirmative-action protest at the Doubletree Hotel.

Remember last Tuesday: Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity had a press conference to announce 2 studies that, he said, showed the University of Wisconsin—Madison has engaged in "severe racial discrimination." A protest took place. Peter Wood, at the Chronicle of Higher Education, writes:
The fracas was covered by the local newspapers and television; featured on The O’Reilly Factor as part of an interview with CEO chairman Linda Chavez; written about by several essayists; and subject to considerably blogging, notably by University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse and Brooklyn College history professor KC Johnson. Instapundit Glenn Reynolds linked to the story, which is now widely known though, interestingly, it was not covered by The New York Times, or other major news outlets....
There's been a lot of writing the last few days about what really happened, and Wood puts together this account:
The press conference was held at 11:00. By then, word had already reached the organizers of the event that a group was planning a disruptive protest. They alerted the hotel, which closed its front doors as well as the doors of the conference room and posted staff to guard them. The protestors gathered outside the hotel where they remained for a period chanting slogans. One of their number, however, sneaked into the building through the kitchen and made his way to the hotel entrance, where he opened the front doors from inside. The protesters surged into the lobby.

At that point their chanting became audible in the conference room but wasn’t loud enough to disrupt the closed-door proceedings. At about 11:45, however, someone opened the doors to the conference and the sound of the chants drowned out attendees who were trying to ask questions.

Roger Clegg at that point had finished the formal part of the press conference and was talking with some students who had attended it. But just as the event was adjourning, the students outside pushed past the hotel staff, some of whom were thrown to the ground. The mob poured into the room, and Clegg, accompanied by University of Wisconsin Professor Lee Hansen and two members of the hotel staff, struggled through it to the exit, and, accompanied by protestors, to the hotel elevator. Several of the protestors prevented the elevator doors from closing until the two hotel staff members pushed them back.
Wood relied on various eyewitnesses, but I want to concentrate on this blog post by eyewitness Sara Goldrick-Rab, a UW—Madison professor. Goldrick-Rab seeks to enlighten us about how race affects "how we understand and interpret" the incident, in which — her words — "a large group of mostly brown folks came into contact with a much smaller group of mostly white folks and it freaked out some of those the white folks."

Go to the link to read her full description on the incident. Here's the part where she employs self-critique presumably to teach us all about how race (and gender) influence perception and interpretation:
I admit it: there was a fraction of a second in that lobby, when I saw the people run by and I heard the loud sound, that I experienced fear. At first, I thought it was surprise. Then I realized that I had caught myself anticipating violence and momentarily panicking as I saw men of color move fast and loud. I recognized it, I checked it, and I questioned it. I was angry with myself... And it took me no more than 30 seconds to chastise myself for it, get over it, and then experience the protest as it really was: peaceful, bold, and uplifting.

I had experienced another moment of fear not 30 minutes earlier, when I watched Clegg address a young African-American woman, responding to her question about his report with a smug, paternalistic smile that to me conveyed absolutely no understanding of the powerful hand he had in intimidating her. I reacted to him, in that moment, as a white man with no sense of his own privilege. It was the whiteness of his skin combined with the Southern in his voice and his hyper-masculine demeanor that made my hands shake. I was afraid of his evidently barely-repressed disdain for this woman. The Jewish ancestry in me felt it to my toes.
Somehow, Goldrick-Rab refrains from chastising herself for seeing Clegg through the lens of his Southern white maleness. She doesn't catch herself mid-emotion and rethink her way to a more charitable interpretation. Quite the opposite! Clegg's smile gets a negative interpretation. She has a physical reaction that runs down into her fingers and toes, she says. She attributes the loathing of Clegg to an ethnic memory born into her body, and she does not stop and question that prejudice either within 30 seconds of feeling it or a week later writing about it.

And yet Goldrick-Rab calls us to "come clean" and "admit that we are race conscious every day."
What distinguishes us from the racists is our honesty, candor, and willingness to learn. Race matters. And that's why the Doubletree event was no "disruption" but rather a necessary protest against an antagonistic deliberate transgression of outsiders on a community.
What? It wasn't a disruption because it was necessary? How does the perceived necessity of opposing someone's press conference make what happened not a disruption? Why not just say: I can't stand what the speaker was saying so I'm glad he was disrupted? Perhaps because you think that would sound badly antagonistic to free speech. But if you care about speech — and honesty and candor — don't redefine words. Speak clearly and straightforwardly.

As for the phrase "an antagonistic deliberate transgression of outsiders on a community." Wow. Just take that out of context and look at it with honesty and candor and willingness to learn. It's blatantly xenophobic and closed-minded. You don't want to hear an opposing viewpoint. Someone who criticizes the university's admissions policy is an outsider trangressing on the community?! So... what? The community is right to defend itself, physically, against the evil intruder? Step back and contemplate that, since you are inclined toward self-critique. That attitude is reminiscent of what historical analogues?

Are those toes tingling at all?

A very sneaky viral ad, starring Cheech and Chong and playing with the misty memories of aging Boomers...

(Thanks to ndspinelli for emailing me this.)

What should the Republicans do about their problem with boos?

That was ugly! TPM leans heavily on the GOP for the sounds that emanate from various audiences. There was the booing of the soldier and...
... On Sept. 7, the biggest applause line of the night went to the then-234 executions that had occurred during Rick Perry’s time as governor. At the CNN/Tea Party Express debate a few days later, members of the audience voiced their support for letting an uninsured man die.
Settling in to write this post, I said out loud: "The Republicans need to get their audiences under control." And Meade said:
"No, they don't. They're the party of free speech. Anyone can come in and say what they want to say. It's just like your blog. You're not responsible for what people say in the comments."
There's no real way to control the audience, other than to strictly limit who gets in, which will look repressive and cowardly. And who knows who is booing or applauding in this way that's harmful to the Republican cause? It could just as well be somebody who hates the GOP, trying to generate bad press and distract attention from what the candidates actually say.

The booing in that clip above comes from one very loud guy. Maybe he could be identified. I'd like to know whether he's on the Republican side or he's a dirty trickster. Am I being repressive to suggest that audience members at the next debate ought to pay attention in the future and look when somebody boos or applauds in this way that is useful to Republican opponents?

I don't think so. I think it's similar to going to a protest and photographing people with offensive signs. Let's say someone who hates the Tea Party is thinking of going to a Tea Party rally and holding up a blatantly racist sign in the hope of stoking the belief that the Tea Party is a bunch of racists. If this prankster realizes he will be photographed (or confronted by the people he's hoping to hurt), he probably won't do it.  

A separate matter is whether the candidates should overlook the inappropriate sounds in the room. (This assumes they hear the sounds and can immediately correctly interpret whether it's an approval or disapproval sound and what it refers to.) The candidates have to be smart about what will be used against them and, if they are sharp, they could find opportunities to leverage the moment for their own benefit with a good spontaneous remark. But I don't think that every jerk in the audience, like that guy last night, ought to have the power to command attention in place of whatever response the candidate had brewing in his head as he listened to the question. There lies chaos.

ADDED: I have listened to the video several times, and I stand by my perception that only one person audibly yells "boo." I hear a loud "boo," then a difficult to decipher noise — which could be an ugh response to the booer — and then a little more of a boo, which sounds like the original guy.

"Over the decades, teams falling apart during a pennant race have always made for darkly compelling viewing."

"If the Red Sox and the Braves continue their descents, this September could produce two historic collapses. No team... has ever squandered what Boston and Atlanta are close to giving up: leads of eight or more games in the race for a spot in baseball’s postseason in the final month of the season."

"Was Random House aware that [Joe McGinniss] was making a desperate overtime bid to save face?"

"And if so, why did it allow him to come forth with most of those tawdry accusations without proof or proper sourcing?"

McGinniss's sleaziness has been well understood. Let's focus on Random House, the venerable publishing house.
In the email [at the link], McGinniss reveals that his manuscript, then under legal review at Crown/Random House, could not prove its most headline-grabbing allegations. And yet, many of these “salacious stories” that lacked “proof” (in McGinniss’s own words) ended up in the book, and on televisions everywhere during the author’s current media tour … without proper sourcing, and without any apparent new evidence to support them.
It's hard for a public figure to sue for defamation in the United States, but this email may be the proof of reckless disregard for the truth that Sarah/Todd/Bristol Palin would need.

That doesn't mean they should sue. It would boost the profile of McGinniss and his book and shine a spotlight on his various allegations.

September 22, 2011

Live-blogging the GOP debate.

Hang out here!

8:02 — Watch it live here. Questions from around the world. This is the Google/YouTube aspect of the debate. The questions were voted on.

8:03 — The small businessman seeks the confidence to hire new employees. Perry has a message for lawyers: "Don't come to Texas."

8:05 — You want a more specific jobs plan? Look at Texas. That's my plan, Perry says. So far... it's all about Perry. "Governor Romney, you have a specific plan..." I'm sensing Fox leaning toward Romney.

8:07 — Romney won't define who's rich. He wants everybody to be rich!

8:08 — Out of every dollar you earn, you deserve to keep one dollar, says Michele Bachmann... but then she says we have to pay some taxes... so... I guess it's some ideological thing.

8:13 — "What? You don't call your wife a 'human being'! That's disgusting!" says Meade when Huntsman calls his wife the greatest "human being" he's ever known (which, by the way, was completely nonresponsive to the question asked).

8:15 — Herman Cain, is it just a coincidence that all those 9s just matched up in your 999 plan? Also, if we turn that upside down...

8:16 — Yesterday, Meade and I saw a guy wearing a yellow tie, and we were all: Yellow tie? Who wears a yellow tie? If you wore a yellow tie to a presidential debate, people would not take you seriously. Wearing a yellow tie tonight: Huntsman and Cain. [ADDED: And Ron Paul.]

8:17 — The question that got the most votes on YouTube: The 10th Amendment! How would you restrict the federal government to its original enumerated powers? Ron Paul answers and then — finally! — Gary Johnson. He does a prepared speech. My first impression of his looks: He's kind of like Harrison Ford. Meade says: "Look at his left thumb... It's like he's constantly pushing a 'Jeopardy' button."

8:22 — Commercial break. I'll go see what my son John is live-blogging.

8:29 — You old people, don't worry about Social Security. The rest of you people... worry! (Paraphrasing Rick Perry.)

8:30 — "You'd better find that Rick Perry and get him to stop saying that," says Mitt Romney, doing some sort of "humor" thing. Then Rick Perry gets to respond to Romney's charge that he's deviating from his book, and he points to some discrepancy between Mitt's book in the hard cover and the paperback edition. When Mitt gets a chance to respond to that, Perry calls the back and forth "badminton," which sounds like "Bad Mitt(on)." Mitt responds, but we're distracted by Perry, who looks super-happy. We laugh, and agree Perry looks like Reagan.

8:34 — Romney makes a joke I think we'll be hearing more than once: "I only spent 4 years as a governor. I didn't inhale." That's done with a glance at Perry, who, presumably, is a habitual governor, toking on power like a maniac.

8:36 — Eliminate one department of the federal government, one questioner demands. Cain says: EPA. (But then he's going to "rebuild" it, so... not really responsive.

8:47 — Lots of talk about education, and just about everyone seems to think the federal government ought to get the hell out of it.

8:52 — Romney slams Perry on in-state tuition for Texas students in the country illegally. Why should they get what is a  $100,000 discount compared to what non-Texan American citizens pay? Romney just doesn't understand what Perry is arguing.

8:54 — Yeah, well, try being a governor of a state with a 1200-mile border with Mexico, Perry says. "I don't think you have a heart."

8:56 — Perry: "Have you ever even been to the border of Mexico?" You can't build a wall, he says, in a head-to-head battle with Santorum, who asserted that Perry doesn't understand "sovereignty."

8:59 — The answer on illegal immigration, Ron Paul says, is to take away all the benefits.

9:05 — Romney hits Obama for going around the world apologizing for the U.S. and for failing to "stand shoulder to shoulder" with our ally Israel.

9:16 — Doesn't Michele Bachmann believe in a "wall" between church and state? She praises free expression of beliefs in "the public square" — which doesn't say anything about what the government should or shouldn't be doing.

9:18 — Santorum thinks it's "tragic" "social experimentation" to allow gay people to serve openly in the military. He argues that sex just shouldn't be an issue in the military. "Just keep it to yourself." So, he'd bring back Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

9:23 — Cain is revealed as a survivor of liver and colon cancer, and he speaks passionately against Obamacare, which would, he believes, have killed him, with the delays of bureaucracy.

9:28 — Michele Bachmann gets an opportunity to deal with her statement about the HPV virus and mental retardation. She says she was just relaying a comment someone made to her, but the real issue is Rick Perry's signing an executive order forcing "little girls" to get a shot to protect them from a sexually transmitted disease. She also accuses him of acting in response to lobbying from the drug company. Perry says he was lobbied, lobbied by a young woman with cervical cancer. (I wrote about that here, and Perry didn't meet that woman until after he'd signed the executive order.)

9:36 — Perry has a long "he was for it before he was against it" routine to recite about Romney, but his delivery is slow and halting, like he's getting tired.

9:37 — Romney is not tired, and he gets out the quote of the night: "I'm going to stand by my positions. I'm proud of them. There are a lot of reasons not to elect me. There are a lot of reasons not to elect other people on this stage. But one reason to elect me is that I know what I stand for, I've written it down, words have meaning, and I have the experience to get this country going again."

9:48 — Closing statements, apparently. I'm drifting off. Santorum, waving his finger in the air, says "Reagan," which makes me realize they haven't been saying "Reagan" over and over too much tonight. And then Gary Johnson says something about his neighbor's dogs' poop and "shovel-ready jobs" and cracks up at his own prepackaged humor. The audience loves it. Mitt Romney loves it. Santorum loves it. Hear that? Dog poop! Ha ha ha.

9:52 — They're asked to pick one of the other candidates for VP. Johnson picks Paul, because the country is "about freedom." Santorum picks Gingrich, and Gingrich has no idea who he'd pick. Paul won't pick. Perry wants to take Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich and "mate them up." And Mitt says, "There are a couple of images I'm going to have trouble getting out of my mind" — Cain and Gingrich mating and Johnson's neighbor's dogs pooping. And he's not picking his VP on stage right now. But any one of these people would be better than what we've got in Obama. Bachmann wants a "constitutional conservative." Herman Cain says this is a game, and he'll play the game, and he says he'll pick Romney, if he adopts 999, and otherwise Gingrich. Huntsman says Romney and Perry may not be around because they're going to "bludgeon themselves to death." So he picks Herman Cain because of the yellow tie. So... color.

Shut up!

(Strangely, this is my second "shut up" post of the day. The first one was law-related. This one is via Andrew Sullivan. This is also my second post of the day with substantial "Big Lebowski" content. Just by chance. Luck of the draw.)

"Elizabeth Warren Video: One of the Great Teaching Tools on Liberalism."

Here's how Rush Limbaugh presents the video everyone seems to be watching right now.

"Global Meltdown: Investors Are Dumping..."

"...  Nearly Everything."

"When scientists discovered that the particles were arriving 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light... they freaked out."

"I don't blame them. Imagine someone comes to you to tell you that a new observation shows that planet Earth is actually flat."

"It's of absolutely no agricultural or economic significance, but it is a previously unrecognized biological entity and, as such is intellectually interesting."

University of Wisconsin–Madison botanist Robert R. Kowal, talking like a professor about the new flower he found on an island in Lake Superior. Kowal is an expert on the genus Packera, which sounds like something that belongs in Wisconsin, but it's simply the sunflower. The new species is Packera insulae-regalis ("the Packera of Isle Royale"):
"The species is known only from one population along the trail used by hikers moving along the ridge that forms the spine of the island... The plants are probably saved by the trail. If the area was allowed to go to forest, this species would probably be shaded out and go extinct."
And here are the beautiful illustrations of the flower, by Kandis Elliot, an artist in UW–Madison Botany department (who won the 2010 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge for a poster called "Introduction to Fungi").

I'm so sad they let Gary Johnson into the GOP debate but not Thaddeus McCotter.

And now McCotter is withdrawing, saying, "It was sort of death by media."

James Taranto comments:

[Gary] Johnson, who served as governor of New Mexico from 1995 through 2003, is ideologically similar to Rep. Ron Paul, which is to say that he is a hard-core economic conservative whose foreign-policy views tend toward isolationism....

His speaking style is as bland as his ideological views are astringent....

That doesn't mean Fox is wrong to include him in its debate. True, his chance of being the Republican nominee is so low as to be indistinguishable from zero. But that's true of a majority of the other candidates who'll be on stage with him. His ideas deserve a hearing, and a presentation from someone who doesn't seem wild-eyed.

But if Gary Johnson is allowed in the debate, for goodness' sake, why wasn't Thaddeus McCotter? The representative from Michigan's 11th District is the most entertaining political speaker we've ever seen, with the possible exception of Sarah Palin. We don't agree with him on everything--he's one of the few Republicans to support forcible unionization by "card check"--but again, his ideas deserved a hearing. And he has the added advantage of being great fun to watch....
But it's not about fun, and it really isn't fair to the frontrunners for the characters to be playing a different, distracting game.

And hang out with me here when the debate starts this evening at 9 ET/8 CT. We're back to Fox News, so... presumably, more attention to what's wrong with Obama and fewer of those wedge issues that seem designed to stoke anti-GOP loathing.

"More Voters Considering Romney Than Obama, Perry."

A new Gallup poll.
Though Romney currently receives the highest level of consideration among voters, more say they would "definitely vote for" Obama (33%) than say this about either Romney (21%) or Perry (20%). That may reflect the virtual certainty that Obama will be the Democratic candidate for president, while Republicans' loyalties are divided between their two leading contenders.
This means that Romney also has a much smaller "definitely not vote for" number than either Obama or Perry.

How to run for president of the 6th grade student council.

Advice from Chris Christie:

"You can hear the 'thwack' when Chief Judge Jones smacks her hand on the table — a benchslap, quite literally. DIVA-LICIOUS!"

When 5th Circuit Chief Judge Edith Jones told Judge James. L. Dennis to shut up.

Hey, settle down. It's not like she strangled him.

Al Gore blabs inside information about Apple — that the iPhone 5 will go on sale next month.

CNN reports:
Gore has been an Apple board member for more than eight years, and this is the first time we've seen him let slip even the slightest detail on an upcoming product. Given the company's code of secrecy, such an unwarranted statement in a prepared talk -- he wasn't even being interviewed -- counts as a major breach of discipline.
ADDED: Poor Gore! What must he do to get attention? You know he tried that "24 Hours of Reality" thing and virtually nobody watched:
Not content with having invented the internet, the great Climate Science communicator Al Gore appears to have developed still more miraculous skills of late: the ability to turn 17,000 into 8.6 million – just like that.

The figures refer to the number of "views" for Gore's special "24 Hours Of ManBearPig" which this column helped celebrate the other day. Gore claims that as many as 8.6 million flocked to his thrilling festival of climate fear; but a nasty cruel man called Charles the Moderator at Watts Up With That? has "done the math" and reckons the figure is probably more like 17,000. And that, he believes, is a generous estimate...
What? He cooked the numbers? Is that something he would do?

"Not everyone on the UW-Madison campus is a fan of the university's 'holistic' admissions policy."

"That's the gist of a strongly worded email I received over the weekend from UW-Madison physics professor Marshall Onellion," writes Cap Times reporter Todd Finkelmeyer, somewhat mischaracterizing Onellion's point. But the email is reprinted in full — we can read it — and Finkelmeyer spoke by phone to Onellion and includes a quote:
"I don't actually object to any admissions policy as long as I know what it is.... Right now, I don't believe you or I know what the UW admissions policy is. If [UW-Madison Interim Chancellor] David Ward says [the Center for Equal Opportunity's] report is wrong in some way, then tell us what is wrong and tell us what the actual facts are. And then you and I and everybody else can form our individual opinions about what we agree and disagree with. But right now, we don't know what the facts are."
A lack of transparency is, of course, inherent in the process of performing the "holistic" style of admissions that the U.S. Supreme Court found constitutional in Grutter v. Bollinger. That's what Justice Ginsburg complained about in dissent in the companion case, Gratz v. Bollinger, where the majority rejected an insufficiently holistic form of admissions:
The stain of generations of racial oppression is still visible in our society... and the determination to hasten its removal remains vital.  One can reasonably anticipate, therefore, that colleges and universities will seek to maintain their minority enrollment–and the networks and opportunities thereby opened to minority graduates–whether or not they can do so in full candor through adoption of affirmative action plans of the kind here at issue. Without recourse to such plans, institutions of higher education may resort to camouflage. For example, schools may encourage applicants to write of their cultural traditions in the essays they submit, or to indicate whether English is their second language. Seeking to improve their chances for admission, applicants may highlight the minority group associations to which they belong, or the Hispanic surnames of their mothers or grandparents. In turn, teachers’ recommendations may emphasize who a student is as much as what he or she has accomplished.... If honesty is the best policy, surely Michigan’s accurately described, fully disclosed College affirmative action program is preferable to achieving similar numbers through winks, nods, and disguises.
Boldface added to make my point. The clarity the physics professor longs for is exactly what the Supreme Court's doctrine disincentivizes.

"It's asinine," said J.J. Putz...

... who likes to drink 1 Red Bull in the 7th inning. "What are they going to ban next, coffee? Soft drinks? It's so bizarre."

"If one day passes without me writing any more vagina jokes, my career is blown... Vagina jokes paid for my house."

Laughs one network TV writer.

"Each season the competition is so stiff over who you can get to watch," a professor says analytically and probably without intending double entendre. "That’s why you’re getting more explicit, or more explicitly inferential, use of language."

Via Adam at Throwing Things, who says:
YES, THEY DON'T LIKE HEARING IT AND FIND IT DIFFICULT TO SAY, WHEREAS WITHOUT BATTING AN EYE A MAN WILL REFER TO HIS DICK OR HIS ROD OR HIS JOHNSON: Apparently not any more, Maude: the new fall tv season chock full of people saying the word "vagina."
Pop culture reference help. "Maude" is not the old TV character played by Bea Arthur, who may have talked about her vagina. It's Maude Lebowski, of the old movie — yeah, it's old too! — "The Big Lebowski."

(Sorry, YouTube only yielded up the Italian version.)

After the "disgusting... union busting," the largest state employees unions in Wisconsin fail to meet the recertification deadline.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
Marty Beil, executive director of the 23,000-member Wisconsin State Employees Union representing largely blue-collar workers, said none of the units in his group will seek recertification....

To win the recertification election, unions must get 51% of the vote of all the members of their bargaining unit, not just the ones who take the time to cast ballots - a much higher bar than state elected officials have to clear to win their offices.

A spokesman for Walker had no comment.

Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), a vocal critic of unions, hailed the news.

"It means that in the future decisions will be made in the best interest of the public and the best state employees, but the radical employees or the underperforming employees will have much less say," he said.
Here's the old "What's Disgusting/Union Busting" chant as recorded by Meade in the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda, originally posted on February 16th:

Althouse posits the Anti-Scott Walker religion.

At last night's a Federalist Society event at the University of Wisconsin Law School. I'm talking about Establishment Clause law with Prof. Patrick Garry of the University of South Dakota School of Law:

Richard Posner says a judge in a hard case may properly "fall back on some strong moral or even religious feeling."

From an interview in the NYRB that you won't be able to access in full if you are not a subscriber:
If a case is difficult in the sense that there is no precedent or other text that is authoritative, the judge has to fall back on whatever resources he has to come up with a decision that is reasonable, that other judges would also find reasonable, and ideally that he could explain to a layperson so that the latter would also think it a reasonable policy choice. To do this, the judge may fall back on some strong moral or even religious feeling. Of course, some judges fool themselves into thinking there is a correct answer, generated by a precedent or other authoritative text, to every legal question.
Via Christopher Shea in the Wall Street Journal, who characterizes Posner's approach as "an unspeakable opinion these days."

Unspeakable? Really? I hear it all the time... often from the same leftish professors who've made a point of loathing Posner. I've heard a lot of that loathing because my law school lies within the 7th Circuit, where Judge Posner sits... and where he will remain, because the place where his opinion really is unspeakable is (as Shea notes) before the Senate Judiciary Committee, if you want to get confirmed to a new judicial appointment.

And thus are we deprived of the very best minds, as Posner — about as good as we can get in a judge — bluntly points out:
One shouldn’t exaggerate the quality of judges and justices. Law isn’t the calling of geniuses. The Supreme Court today is composed of competent lawyers, and one should probably leave it at that.
ADDED: Here's the book the NYRB interview is based on: "How Judges Think." It's excellent. (But it's not available on Kindle, annoyingly.)

I would prefer a court like this.

Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas

September 21, 2011

At the Carrot Café...

... no, you eat the Brussels sprouts.

Rick Perry's intense new ad.

Too theatrical?/Nicely Reaganesque?

The ad is...
Absurdly over the top.
Intense and theatrical, but not really terrible.
Passionate and Reaganesque... in a good way.
A brilliant, strong, and well-deserved attack on a failed President. free polls 

"Early example of crystal-meth-influenced chair construction."

A drawing... to accompany an essay on civility.

Question — "What accounts for the differences between these 2 fliers?" — answered.

Asked here, 2 days ago. The advertised event is this evening (7:15, Room 3253). From the comments thread:
I assume you objected to the original "Pissing Match" poster planned for your event?
That's basically it, from Ignorance is Bliss. When I was invited to participate, I didn't want to commit to being on the other side of whatever our guest might decide to say. I prefer conversation and commentary, drawing out questions that somebody else might not be asking. I'm not going to promise to put up a fight. Maybe I'll agree with Professor Garry.

The last holdout protesters at the Wisconsin Capitol are not helping their cause.

I've been saying this for a long time, but here's Clay Barbor in the Wisconsin State Journal:
Thousands of people descended on the state Capitol in February and March, crowding the streets and filling the rotunda in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining bill. But in the past six months those crowds have given way to a small but dedicated band of 20-something protesters who routinely disrupt meetings, harangue individual Republican lawmakers, stage publicity stunts and take video of nearly everything they do.

The group -- led unofficially by about a half-dozen "regulars" -- has exasperated Capitol law enforcement and Republican lawmakers. But they also have frustrated Democratic lawmakers, interrupting their speeches and getting into shouting matches with them during committee meetings....

"But the clergy were critical of MLK, too," [said Jeremy Ryan.] "Not that I'm comparing myself to MLK, but I think it fits in this case. Some Democrats can't see far down the road."
This is the problem with prolonged protests. There have been waves of participants, and the personnel evolves over time. If you make a big deal about continuing the protests day after day, week after week, as was done back in February and March when the crowds were gigantic, some people are going to fixate on the idea of never stopping. As the crowd thins, who will remain and why? What will they say to each other to harden their resolve? It becomes a cult, with some strange ideas about how to act.
[Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau] is a frequent target of protesters. They follow him during parades and videotape him in an effort to catch something controversial. Once, a protester even chased him into a bank, blasting a horn in Fitzgerald's ear the whole way.

"I think they're trying to get a lawmaker to take a swing at them," he said. "And it's really hard to not take a swing at someone when they're blowing a horn in your ear."
I know exactly what he is talking about.

"I think there's a reason that the AP and the New York Times are lining up against Obama."

Said Rush Limbaugh yesterday, looking at AP's "Are rich taxed less than secretaries?" and David Brook's "I'm a sap" column in the NYT. So what's the reason? It's got "nothing to do with taxes and who pays and who doesn't," he says:
I think there's a whole other reason why that's happening...  And that is, they see their ideology on the line here.  This guy is going to sink liberalism if he is not propelled to victory or if somebody doesn't take his place.  They have figured out on the left that Obama's not worth saving if it means bye-bye liberalism....  And they were ecstatic, finally got somebody in office that they thought was gonna be the standard-bearer to take 'em to utopia and, instead, we have a country on the prospect of ruin.  And they cannot allow for people to associate the ruination of this country with liberalism...

The New York Times is leading it; the others have caught onto it. Even the Chicago Tribune had a column yesterday -- the Chicago Tribune! ["Why Obama should withdraw."] The best thing he could do for the party and the country, just not run. The only way the party is gonna stand a chance of winning under current circumstances is if Obama's not on the ticket.
Is it really such a strong phenomenon — liberal media turning against Obama? And, if it is, is it that they're trying to bring in a new Democratic candidate? The Chicago Tribune piece assumes that new candidate would be Hillary Clinton. But, I'm sorry, I can't see the Democratic Party thriving by ousting Obama. What chaos! And Hillary would have to compete in the primaries. Presumably, other Democrats — those characters who are otherwise waiting for 2016 — would jump into the fray. (But who are those other Democrats? What is the next wave of presidential-seeming Democrats?) I think it would be an awful mess if he were publicly hounded into withdrawing.

If some powerful alliance of liberals really wanted Obama to withdraw, they would — I imagine — be operating in private. It would be handled in a way that would preserve Obama's ability to come forward and present his withdrawal in a very grand and lofty style, as a matter of his own decision and not out of desperation and for highly altruistic reasons.

ADDED: Who are the Democrats for 2016? The Mayors Emanuel and Bloomberg? Andrew Cuomo? Janet Napolitano, Claire McCaskill, Kathleen Sebelius, Mary Landrieu, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sonia Sotomayor, Gabby Gifffords?

"Marines Hit the Ground Running in Seeking Recruits at Gay Center."

The NYT reports:
The Marines were the service most opposed to ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but they were the only one of five invited branches of the military to turn up with their recruiting table and chin-up bar at the center Tuesday morning. Although Marines pride themselves on being the most testosterone-fueled of the services, they also ferociously promote their view of themselves as the best. With the law now changed, the Marines appear determined to prove that they will be better than the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard in recruiting gay, lesbian and bisexual service members.

If you cut 3,500 calories, you'll lose 1 pound.

Not so!

Obama's bogus "Buffett Rule."

"Chart of the Day: 'Buffett Rule' Wouldn't Bring In Much Revenue."

"The Buffett Alternative Tax: The rich don't pay lower average tax rates."

"[T]he feds have been creating various animated characters for materials intended to 'prepare' kids for disasters..."

"... and Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) reports that Washington could save $2.6 million over 10 years if the bureaucrats could simply settle on one mascot."

In 1997, Lottie Williams "felt a tap on her shoulder" and looked, but no one was there.

"I think I was blessed that it doesn't weigh that much..." I mean, that was one of the weirdest things that ever happened to me."

The weirdest thing that ever happened to her?! She is unique in all of humanity: the only person to have been hit by a piece of falling space junk.

But the junk that will fall from the sky later this week is the size of a school bus. It won't hit the ground (or, more likely, the water) the size of a school bus. It will break up and burn, with the biggest piece weighing maybe 300 pounds, which won't feel like a tap on the shoulder if it hits you, but there's only a 1 in 3,200 chance that it will hit a human being, and if it hits a human being, it's terribly unlikely to be you.

"God puts you where you need to be and you just need to listen and take care of business if you get tapped on the shoulder."

Folk wisdom from a man who saw a school bus moving, apparently without a driver.

Via Dan Collins, who notes that this "Guy in Wisconsin" rejected the label "hero."

September 20, 2011

Mendota sunset.

This evening. Photo by Meade.

"You need to ask yourself why you want to do this... What are you hoping to uniquely accomplish, Barack?”

Michelle Obama asked her husband back in 2006, according to Ron Suskind's new book, "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President."

And he said: "This I know... When I raise my hand and take that oath of office, I think the world will look at us differently. And millions of kids across the country will look at themselves differently."

Yellowstone Park couple "provoked" the grizzly bear that killed the man..

It seems.
Park authorities decided to let the animal remain free as its reaction was deemed normal for a surprise encounter.

Park authorities had previously thought the couple reacted correctly...

But after an investigation, bear researchers and wildlife agents say the pair's running and screaming helped spur the bear into "a sustained pursuit of them as they fled".
If you run and scream... you're asking for it. Remember: The bear is a bear.

"Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen was asked months ago to assist in a growing secret investigation...

"... of former and current aides to Gov. Scott Walker, but Van Hollen's office declined, sources familiar with the request said Tuesday."


The greatest dance record of all time.

And the greatest dance craze of all time.

At the Flowers Café...

... you have your pick of subjects.

Christina Romer, the woman who was taken aback when the man (Obama) said "It’s clear monetary policy has shot its wad."

It was Romer's first meeting with the President-elect in November 2008. According to Ron Suskind's book "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President," Obama had "a woman problem: too few of them in key jobs" and he was trying to bring in Christina Romer. And "It’s clear monetary policy has shot its wad" is what Obama said to her before even "hello." Is that how you talk to a woman?

Remember the old movie line "You had me at hello"? According to Suskind, "For Christina Romer it was love at first sight." What woman in love wants to say "You had me at shot its wad"?
It was a strange break from decorum for a man who had done so outstandingly well with women voters. The two had never met before, and this made the salty, sexual language hard to read. Later it would seem a foreshadowing of something that came to irk many of the West Wing’s women: the president didn’t have particularly strong “women skills.” The guy’s-guy persona, which the message team would use to show Obama’s down-to-earth side, failed to account for at least one thing: What if you didn’t play basketball or golf? Still, for the moment, the comment didn’t faze Romer. She was curious to hear what he thought.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

Obama extended his hand, now ready to greet her. “I guess we need to focus on fiscal policy,” he said.

“No, you’re wrong,” Romer corrected him. “There’s quite a bit we can still do monetarily, even with the historically low interest rates.”
Isn't that just like a woman... not understanding that the need for a refractory period?

IN THE COMMENTS:jakebadlands said:
Not only does this phrase have other, non-sexual meanings, is the sexual meaning even the primary one?

Though being in the presence of Mr Obama, I imagine Ms. Romer's thoughts could not help but turn to the sexual.
X said:
says more about Romer and her dirty mind that lacks knowledge of guns.
EDH said:
Musket Love?

"The two had never met before, and this made the salty, sexual language hard to read."

I wonder if that "salty" part was a Freudian slip in Suskind's part?

The actual origin of "shooting your wad" is from musketry.

In some current American slang it is a reference to male ejaculation; however the phrase has a very long history covering most of the time that muskets have been in use up to the present. The wad is a piece of paper put in the muzzle along with the projectile and gun powder. If the shooter is too hasty -- say in a tense battle -- they may not include the projectile. The result is a fire without the intended bullet; only the wad will fly out...a wasted shot. Hence, "shooting your wad" can mean expending your energy fruitlessly. The OED also references the wad as in a roll of paper money; in this case "shooting your wad" means blowing all your cash at once. [Link.]

"Illinois Bombshell: Class of 2014 Median LSAT/GPA Is 163/3.70, Not 168/3.81."

Outrageous U.S. News game-playing.

Illinois got itself up to #23 with what it claims was a "mistake."

And one must wonder how many of these other schools have cheated/erred.

"Gay men and lesbians in the military no longer have to hide who they are, and the servicemembers who were discharged under this policy can re-enlist."

Says email titled "It's officially over" from "It" is, of course, Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

The email includes this video:

ADDED: Is the right to re-enlist really enough for the individuals who were discharged?

Sometimes I think academia is a containment pen for the smartest individuals...

... so they don't interfere with the efforts of the rest of the people.

But if they're so smart, why don't they step out of the pen? Because the people are actually pretty wily, even if technically less smart than the academics. They've designed a comfy pen!

"Obama’s Middle East Is in Tatters, Utter Tatters."

"It is not actually his region. Still, with the arrogance that is so characteristic of his behavior in matters he knows little about (which is a lot of matters), he entered the region as if in a triumphal march...."

It's Martin Peretz, railing against our battered President.

The return of hot pants.

I remember the first time this happened. The people who succumbed to the trend were very embarrassed later, to the point that they couldn't even understand how they could have made such an egregious fashion blunder. But I'm old, and these kids today don't remember. They will have to go through their own cycle of enthusiasm and shame. Have fun!

"Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Apologizes to Susette Kelo for his Vote to Uphold the Condemnation of Her Home..."

"... But then Lets Himself off the Hook Too Easily."

ADDED: The old Kelo controversy reminds me of one of the most-overused Wisconsin protest chants: "Whose house? OUR HOUSE!"

(LOL. I never noticed that video before. Or if I did, I'd managed to blot out the memory. Smell the cheeseball entitlement.)


... not so melt-y.

Today's protesters "have no understanding of civil disobedience."

Says Matthew Knee:
To far too many young leftists, “civil disobedience” is a get-out-of-jail-free card that should allow people to break the law so long as they are really, really, self-righteous about it. The idea of evoking sympathy through the moral power of passively enduring suffering for a just cause is foreign to many safe, middle-class, revolutionary wannabees who want a free lunch out of their rebellion as well as their government.
Yes, the Wisconsin man who poured a beer on a legislator he didn't like enjoyed himself and basked in the love and encouragement he got from the other protesters. (And speaking of "free lunch," our Wisconsin protesters got lots of free pizza.)

My test for the defenders of the protesters is: Think through a reverse hypothetical. Make the protesters an exemplar of the ideology you oppose and the target a proponent of what you love.  See my post yesterday about the Doubletree incident, in which I challenged someone who supported a pro-affirmative action protest: "Picture a press conference by a beloved advocate of civil rights stormed by a group of racist skinheads... Make all the actions exactly the same, but change the political viewpoints. Would you then use the words 'mob' and 'physically violent.'"

Those who cheered the beer-pourer need to picture a Tea Partier dumping a glass of beer on... You know, I'm too averse to violence to name a particular individual who is embodies the ideology of the left. I don't want to put the picture of an attack in anyone's head. That's why I wrote "a beloved advocate of civil rights" in my reverse-Doubletree hypothetical. To me, whatever the politics of the target, pouring a beer is physical violence. It's not cute. It's nothing to be celebrated.

It's not just that people lack an understanding of civil disobedience. They don't understand what principles are. In the previous post, I wrote about the French ban on covering your face in public and linked to a Metafilter thread. I just noticed that someone over there wrote:
Once again, I find myself not having sympathy for any parties involved. This French approach is simply antithetical to my American sensibilities. On the other hand, I just can't relate at all to these women, and I can see why French people don't like the niqab.
I responded to that:
If you really care about freedom and equality, you should move beyond the question of what kind of people you can "relate" too. The test of your principles is whether you can apply them to people you don't even like at all, who are making what you think are bad choices.
Is critical thinking a lost art?

It's now 5 months since France banned the full-face veil.

How's that going?
Kenza Drider, a 32-year-old mother of three, was famously bold enough to appear on French television to oppose the law before it came into force. She refuses to take off her niqab – "My husband doesn't dictate what I do, much less the government" – but she says she now lives in fear of attack. "I still go out in my car, on foot, to the shops, to collect my kids. I'm insulted about three to four times a day," she says. Most say, "Go home"; some say, "We'll kill you." One said: "We'll do to you what we did to the Jews." In the worst attack, before the law came in, a man tried to run her down in his car.

"I feel that I now know what Jewish women went through before the Nazi roundups in France. When they went out in the street they were identified, singled out, they were vilified. Now that's happening to us."
Via Metafilter, where my son John quotes what I wrote about it back in April.

David Brooks: "I’m a sap, a specific kind of sap. I’m an Obama Sap."

"This is a campaign marker, not a jobs bill."

I wasn't going to link to that. Because everybody's linking to that, and it doesn't seem right to give so much attention to someone who's realizing that so late in the game. (For example, Rush Limbaugh knew the "jobs" bill was a just a campaign marker the instant it was announced that Obama was going to give a speech about the jobs bill.)

But I think it is kind of a big deal that David Brooks is saying this so clearly and conspicuously from his perch at the NYT. Obviously, Obama will see it, and it matters that even the people who dearly want to believe in your sincerity don't believe anymore.

September 19, 2011

"BlueCheddar melts, pulls video confession of 'beer pouring' guy..."

"... but the internet never forgets."

Via Instapundit, who connects that with something I said earlier today.

At the Heirloom Café...

... your flaws get counted as beautiful.

Justice Thomas wonders why he even needs to say he's a textualist.

"It’s a Constitution that’s written in words... What, do people think it’s written in symbols? You need to say you’re a textualist[?] What else am I supposed to do, use a Ouija board, chicken bones?”

There's also this:
Thomas criticizes elite law schools for leaning left and breeding cynicism. He says his travels, especially in the Midwest, give him hope.
That amuses me, here in the Midwest... that special little corner of the Midwest we call Madison, Wisconsin. Thomas was speaking from western Iowa, whither he absconded to get away from Washington, D.C. where they "only talk to each other in a sort of cynical, smarmy way."

"Shut up, you old bag!"

"Frances Bay, Actress Known for ‘Old Lady’ Roles, Dies at 92."

Comparative Federalist Society fliers.

Here's the flier for the event I'm participating in this week:

And here's the flier for last week's event (which went big after the CEO charged the UW with "serious racial discrimination"):

What accounts for the differences between these 2 fliers? Please speculate. I'll tell you the answer later. [Both events were put together and sponsored by the Wisconsin Law School's Federalist Society, which made both fliers.]

UPDATE: Answer here.

Tommy Thompson is running!

Papers filed.
When asked why he would want to be a freshman senator, he said, "Because the country is in terrible shape."

"Milwaukee recognized for urban farms, aquaponics."

"International team recognizes Milwaukee's 'high potential' to improve access to healthy food, revitalize neighbor hoods and create jobs."
Many cities, including Milwaukee, have "food deserts," or large areas without traditional grocery stores because poverty is high, and supermarkets choose not to operate there. As a result, residents have less access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. Neighborhood corner stores and convenience stores typically don't offer quality fresh produce....
Hence, "high potential" for urban farms and aquaponics. I sense high potential for boondoggle-ponics. There aren't enough grocery stores, so you want people in the city to farm? You want the poor to become farm workers... subsistence farmer workers? Is that really a good use of city space and human labor? Who benefits?

By the way, inserting a space in the word "neighborhoods" — see above — creates the wrong impression.

Obama: "This is not class warfare... It’s math."

He vows to veto any deficit plan that doesn't have new taxes.

Is this class warfare or math?
Class warfare.
Neither. (See? Sometimes I give you a "neither" option!) free polls 

"[S]he suddenly understood the meaning of the rule that the pillow must not touch the back of the bedstead."

"The pillow, she said, had always been a woman to her and the upright wooden back a man. Thus she wanted—by magic, we must interpolate—to keep the man and woman apart—that is, to separate her parents from each other, not to allow them to have sexual intercourse...."
If a pillow was a woman, then the shaking of the eiderdown till all the feathers were at the bottom and caused a swelling there had a sense as well. It meant making a woman pregnant; but she never failed to smooth away the pregnancy again, for she had for years been afraid that her parents' intercourse would result in another child and so present her with a competitor. On the other hand, if the big pillow was a woman, the mother, then the small top-pillow could only stand for the daughter. Why did this pillow have to be placed diamond-wise and her head precisely along its centre line? It was easy to recall to her that this diamond shape is the inscription scribbled on every wall to represent the open female genitals. If so, she herself was playing the man and replacing the male organ by her head....
Did you know Freud wrote about OCD? As did Locke, Johnson, Kierkegaard, and lots of others.

Do you have a good relationship with your pillows and bedposts?

Professor at the Doubletree incident says: There was no "mob" that was "physically violent."

Michael Olneck, Professor Emeritus of Educational Policy Studies and Sociology at UW-Madison, has a letter in The Daily Cardinal, about the reaction to the reports from the Center for Equal Opportunity (which found racial discrimination in  UW-Madison's admissions).

Olneck takes issue with the way Linda Chavez — the CEO founder — characterized the incident that took place at the CEO press conference announcing the reports. (We talked about the Chavez op-ed here, yesterday.)

Olneck says:
Ms. Chavez takes at face value, and further publicizes, the Doubletree's manager's description of what occurred at the hotel. The press release issued by the Doubletree described the large group of student protesters as a "mob" that "became increasingly physically violent when forcing themselves into the meeting room where the press conference had already ended." And, it alleged that "staff were then rushed by a mob of protesters, throwing employees to the ground."

I attended the press conference, and was in the main lobby of the hotel afterward. There was no "mob" that was "physically violent." There was an organized group of protesters whose loud chanting forced an end to the press conference, and which attempted to enter the conference room after the doors were open. Two hotel employees attempted to physically prevent the group from entering the room, and the group pushed through them. 
Pushed through them?! So, you're saying you know they did not fall to the ground or simply that you did not see anything more than that they were "pushed through"? And that's not violent because... why? You can go into a private business place, decide you get to go where you want to go, and push through the employees that try to guard a door and that's not violent? And it's not a "mob" because... why? You described a mob!
Members of the group attempted to confront Mr. Clegg, and made his exit difficult. 
Deliberately depriving someone of his ability to leave a place is a crime. You don't think it's physically violent? Go to that link: It's a felony in Wisconsin. Thanks for the description of what you saw, but your account reinforces the press report that Chavez relied on. You may deny the characterizations "mob" and "physically violent," but you, an eyewitness, describe the details, stating facts that would lead me to characterize it as a physically violent mob.
Some followed him as he headed toward what I presume was the elevator bank. While this experience was clearly unfamiliar and unnerving to Doubletree staff, for the manager and Ms. Chavez to depict what occurred as the actions of a "mob" is an egregious slur on the students. While the protest may well have broken decorum, its well-motivated participants do not deserve to be characterized as a "mob."
Incredible! Or perhaps not so incredible here in Madison, Wisconsin where people seem to have acquired the idea that the usual rules don't apply if you're propelled by righteous anger against a demonized a political opponent. You're "well-motivated" so what would otherwise be crimes become mere breaches of "decorum."

Is this the Madison mind-set? Is this what passes for liberalism around here? It seems to me that a true liberal would never say that what is a crime (or a tort) depends on one's political orientation. Picture a press conference by a beloved advocate of civil rights stormed by a group of racist skinheads, Professor Olneck. Make all the actions exactly the same, but change the political viewpoints. Would you then use the words "mob" and "physically violent"?

September 18, 2011

An 80-year-old stands his ground impressively.

Watch HBO's Larry Merchant not flinch as Floyd Mayweather Jr. tries to intimidate him.

ADDED: The WSJ has a spiffy description of the controversial end of the fight:
Deep into the fourth round, Ortiz, already in a hole against his more experienced opponent, tried to work on the inside. He drove Mayweather into a corner and sent his head into Mayweather's chin. Referee Joe Cortez jumped into the fray, stopped the action, and signaled for a point deduction on Ortiz. 
They tapped gloves. An embarrassed Ortiz stepped forward to hug Mayweather – a move quite common after a foul in boxing. Mayweather leaned forward, as if to acknowledge the apology, and then plastered Ortiz with a short left hook. Ortiz flew back and glanced toward the referee in protest. As Ortiz looked away, Mayweather drove a straight right to Ortiz's chin and he crumpled to the canvas and was counted out.

Asked about hitting Ortiz as Ortiz went to embrace him, Mayweather commented, "First he does me dirty, and then he wants to be nice, then he wants to do me in again. You have to protect yourself at all times." 
Most of the crowd erupted in boos after the knockout, and a great debate began. Everyone agreed that Mayweather's final punches were legal. Boxers are indeed instructed always to protect themselves....

At the Overture Café...

... you can tune up.

"Why have so many people in the Obama administration vented to Mr. Suskind in the first place, when the president was only partway through his first term?"

Asks Michiko Kakutani:
Like many of Bob Woodward’s sources a lot of them are motivated by spin, score settling and second-guessing. Given the stalled economy and the president’s sliding poll numbers, some former staff members are playing the blame game early, while others seem to be hoping to goad the president into a reboot and a more aggressive stance before the 2012 election....

The president’s own assessment of his first two years in office?... “Going forward as president,” he said in the February 2011 interview, “the symbols and gestures — what people are seeing coming out of this office — are at least as important as the policies we put forward.”

(Buy the book — "Confidence Men" — here.)

"Cowards run from challenges, while warriors run to the sound of battle."

Allen West, explaining why he's staying in the Congressional Black Caucus, quoted in an article that is most prominently about CBC Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver insinuating that if Obama were not President, under the current economic conditions, black people would be marching on the White House.

Obama defended with an argument that was used many years ago — lamely — to defend Ross Perot.

Oh, how I fulminated in 1992, when Ross Perot was challenged for not having women in his inner circle of advisors and he said:
But in terms of being influenced by women and being a minority, there they are right out there, my wife and my 4 beautiful daughters, and I just have 1 son, so he and I are surrounded by women, giving -- telling us what to do all the time.
My son John remembers, because we've watched the great documentary "The War Room" together many times, and when that part comes up, I've always gone into my rant that looks a lot like the rant I did over the new Ron Suskind book about Obama's inner circle when Anita Dunn tried to roll back her attack on Obama for the lack of women in his inner circle by saying "The president is someone who when he goes home at night he goes home to house full of very strong women... He values having strong women around him."

Is President Obama, traveling about pushing his jobs bill, on "the campaign trail"?

I had to laugh watching "Meet the Press" today. David Gregory was doing the "roundtable" section of the show, talking to Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Helene Cooper of The New York Times, and Mark Halperin of Time magazine.

Castellanos said:
[T]he president is running, I think, a very strange campaign for re-election.  He is running around the country, in fact declaring his own impotence, saying that, "I'm weak.  I can't get anything done in Washington. Mommy, mommy, please make these Republicans play fair."
Gregory turned to Cooper and said:
I talked to some Republicans and Democrats on the Hill this week who said, "This seems like more of a political exercise, this jobs bill, than anything else." They haven't dropped the bill, by the way.  They haven't introduced the legislation yet; and yet, former President Clinton is saying, "Well, no.  This is really the key.  He's got a good plan." The chances of it passing are not very high.
And Cooper — who, we're told, is reporting on the White House every day — said:
[O]ne of the reasons they haven't dropped the jobs bill yet in Congress is because President Obama decided that he needed to go out and try to sell it first to the American public.
So... presumably, it's about drumming up public support for the jobs bill, which really is a jobs bill and not — as Gregory just put it — "more of a political exercise... than anything else."

Then Gregory dragged in Granholm — the super-polished Granholm, and she says:
[Obama has] got to put stuff out there that work--that works. ... So he's doing--he's adopting a plan that will create American jobs, both in the public and the private sector.  And that's exactly what he needs to trumpet.  And I just say, if the Republicans continue to say no to this reasonable plan, game on.
Game on? So... it is a political exercise?

Castellanos breaks in to say:
There's a little bit of a problem.  The American people have televisions and the Internet, and they can see what's going on....
Then there's an interlude about the new Ron Suskind book — which I just pre-ordered here — and Gregory lifts out a quote...
 "Over the past few months, [National Economic Council Chair Larry] Summers had said this, in a stage whisper, to [OMB Director Peter] Orszag and others as they left the morning economic briefings ...  `I mean it,' Summers stressed.  `We're home alone.  There's no adult in charge. Clinton would never have made these mistakes.'"
Wow! That's hot. But Halperin lamely obfuscates, and Gregory goes back to Helene Cooper and asks her if "there [is] a broader vision for the economy that the president goes out and, and runs on?" And here's the part that made us laugh here at Meadhouse. Remember Cooper is the one who was careful to say: "President Obama decided that he needed to go out and try to sell [the jobs bill] first to the American public." And remember Granholm had bolstered that with her rejection of the notion that the jobs bill is "more of a political exercise... than anything else." And Cooper says:
I think there is, and he's, he's, he's, he's put that [broader vision] out there with his, his jobs proposal. And he said, "These are the things I think we need to do." But he's, he's very much hampered by the political reality of where we are right now. That said, I wouldn't--I, I was out on the--not the campaign trail, that's a very--but I was out with him this week as he went to try to pass his jobs bill in Columbus, Ohio, and in Raleigh, North Carolina....
Ha ha. It's all about Obama's reelection! As  Castellanos said: The American people have televisions and the Internet, and they can see what's going on. 

"[N]ot the campaign trail, that's a very..."... Cooper couldn't come up with the right euphemism for "campaign trail" or even the right words to follow "that's a very" that would express, with appropriate euphony, the reason why she's sorry she said "campaign trail."

Game on!

"We have had several Texas presidents, but none so deeply, intensely Texas as this guy would be."

Man, Rick Perry is freaking out the New York Times. Gail Collins is all:
You think of Rick Perry, you think of Texas. And more Texas. Perry the cowboy coyote-killer, the lord of the Texas job-creation machine, the g-dropping glad-hander with a “howdy” for every stranger in the room. He barely exists in the national mind outside of the Texas connection.
And Maureen Dowd is all over the place talking about Perry with references to an obvious and old Hollywood movie.

Do these New York women realize that this kind of elitist contempt makes Rick Perry more appealing... to a lot of people... including me?


Well, do they?
No, and if they'd widen their perspective on America, they'd be more successful.
No. But their blinkered view works well to serve the interests of the NYT.
Yes. But their goal is to feed the prejudice of the kind of folks who subscribe to the NYT.
Yes, and they're great at stirring up trouble and getting links from friend and foe alike. free polls