May 26, 2012

It's the People's Brat Fest...

On the Library Mall, here in Madison, Wisconsin, today. It's "brat" as in "bratwurst." Please spare me your sausage-based wisecracks.

The Industrial Workers of the World were there, with their "Abolition of the Wage System" flag, under the "God" banner:

DSC02314 - Version 2

You could "Stand with Women"...

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... and listen to the "Mighty Wind"-ish band, with the iconic Wisconsin Blue Fist image on the back of the stand-up bass:

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You can run, but you can't escape the politics:

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Can you convict a man of murder when all you have is a confession?

There's nothing corroborating his statements. He just said he did it, 33 years ago, and he's a man with [perhaps?] mental illness. This is Pedro Hernandez, arrested in the Etan Patz case. People want to believe that at long last, we have the answer and a man to punish, but do we really know?
“You want to make sure he’s not a chronic confessor,” the [unnamed] detective said. Many books are about those who confessed to crimes they did not commit...

Mitt Romney journals his "feelings" on his iPad.

Feelings? The Romnster has feelings? What feelings?
"The only time I'm unhappy is if I've done something that hurt the prospects for the success of our effort," he said of his frame of mind, adding that his errors "make me want to kick myself in the seat of my pants."

"I've had a couple of [gaffes] during the campaign, which have haunted me a little bit, but I'm sure before this is over will haunt me a lot," he said.
I await the memoir.

By the way, have you heard of the 8 ghosts that haunt "Dreams From My Father"?

The Pope's butler has been arrested!

"His job included handing out rosaries to dignitaries and riding in the front seat of the 'Popemobile,' a vehicle used for public papal appearances..."

Did you just get a Mardi Gras image from that job description, like I did? Picturing the Popemobile, with the butler tossing out rosaries?

Anyway, the butler, Paolo Gabriele, 46, is one of the few individuals who has access to the Pope's desk, and there have been leaks of "hundreds of personal letters and confidential documents" to a journalist who published them in a book called "His Holiness."

It seems absurd that the butler did it. Here's a Straight Dope inquiry into the old phrase, supposedly based on hackneyed mystery novel plots.

"Unless you revive it by rereading it, re-imagining it, performing it, it’s a dead thing..."

"You have to reread it to make it live again."

Except we're not rereading it. It's a movie: "On the Road," which, oddly, has never been made into a movie (despite many abortive efforts over the last 6 decades).

If you actually want to read it — would it be a reread for you? — buy it here. Amazon suggests making a triple feature out of "On the Road," "Howl," and "Naked Lunch."

Dutch prostitute twins... in their old age.



It's a new documentary movie:
"You did the work, you've been a whore," [says Louise]. "You'll never get rid of that name. They'll always call you names, so be one."...

"This is the story we wanted to tell," directors Gabrielle Provaas and Rob Schroder said in a statement. "Louise and Martine are real old-fashioned Amsterdam hookers: liberated, cheerful and not scared of anybody."
Is that their real name: Fokkens?

"People, this is TOTALLY FAKE. The '80' year old is a stunt guy."

"Heavy make up, etc. It's a total stunt to try to draw people to their business. We'll hear this is fake, probably in about less than a week."

Why would that help their business?

Why did the UW frat Delta Upsilon get a 2-year suspension after 2 guys yelled at 2 trespassers?

Was it because the trespassers were black?
Delta Upsilon fraternity members said they'd had a problem with trespassers prior to an encounter...

According to an evidence packet released Friday morning, two members said they'd found heroin syringes on the property, 644 N. Frances St., and a Bose speaker had been stolen that night....

According to a letter from one of the women, she and a friend decided to take a walk to the lake in the early morning of March 16 and unintentionally walked on the fraternity's property. The members told the women to get off their property.

At least one of the members asked them, "how did it feel to be peasants?" and "How did it feel to be poor," the letter said. The members also told the women that they were among the one percent of the rich and the women should leave....
A bottle was heard to break, but the committee that imposed the suspension did not determine that the bottle was thrown (or aimed at the women). Note that there were no racial epithets: It was social-class taunting.
Originally the university said the fraternity members used racial slurs in addressing the women, but the committee said it could not corroborate that allegation.
Why did the university make it racial? (And why did the women even report this incident? If I were walking on someone's private property and they told me to get off, I'd quickly say "I'm sorry" and leave, and feel embarrassed.)

"Thinking outside the box may solve problems in the real world."

"But in the political realm, creative noodling will get you cast into the outer darkness. No matter which way you lean, The Machinery requires cogs, not cognizance."

Kathleen Parker, talking about Cory Booker.

Detroit police and EMS determine that a man died of natural causes, and it's the mortician that finds the gunshot wound.

Which also means that the police did not preserve the evidence needed to investigate.
Police technicians did not scour the room or take photos until later. There was no immediate preservation of possible clues. Visitors tracked in and out. His family took Brooks' cell phone. And, unless this was a suicide, a killer had precious hours to elude capture.

Even the clothes Brooks wore had been stripped off and discarded, as is customary when a funeral home picks up a body. The clothing was retrieved, but also is now most likely tainted as evidence.

"I am pissed off," Shakira Bonds, 20, one of Brooks' daughters, told the Free Press on Tuesday. "I don't know who to go to."
The dead man, Leslie Brooks, was 59.

ADDED: This seems vaguely relevant:

Whatever happened to Thaddeus McCotter?

Oh, no!
According to the Secretary of State's website, McCotter had turned in 2,000 signatures, the maximum allowable. Congressional candidates must turn in at least 1,000 and no more than 2,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

The Secretary of State didn't say how many signatures McCotter could be short by, but spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau said Friday night that duplicate signatures were among the problems with McCotter's petitions. When duplicates are found, both signatures are bounced from the petitions.
He's trying to get on the ballot in the Republican primary for reelection in his congressional district. This is a screwy problem to have. We loved McCotter as a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, but he never had a high enough percentage of support to get into the debates, where — I imagine — he would have been fabulous.

One of the alternate jurors "has been spotted smiling at Edwards and flipping her hair..."

"... in what seems to some to be a flirtatious manner. On Friday, she wore a revealing red top with a single strap and an exposed right shoulder."

Sounds like the reporters waiting for the jury verdict don't have enough to do.

"[I]f the court overturns Obamacare 5 to 4, Roberts’s 'stated goal of presiding over a less divisive court will be viewed as an irredeemable failure.'"

"Oh? Viewed by whom?"

George Will, pushing back Jeffrey Rosen (the source of the internal quote).

In case you're wondering why I never blogged about that Jeffrey Rosen article (which got a lot of attention), I thought it was the usual propaganda, quite boring to someone who's very familiar with all the law.

Did I fail you? Did you want me to pick it apart... explain everything... because it's being talked about... because it was in The New Yorker?

I have an interestingness standard, not an it-was-in-The-New-Yorker standard.

Oh, wait! I'm mixing up my Jeffreys. Jeffrey Toobin wrote the article in The New Yorker that I thought was the usual propaganda. Jeffrey Rosen's usual propaganda was in The New Republic.

Seriously, tell me if you want me to do more dissecting of the Jeffreys. They talk about law to the general public and thus have a lot of influence. Should I be more vigilant? Please advise.

"Center of gravity in oil world shifts to Americas."

WaPo reports.
From Canada to Colombia to Brazil, oil and gas production in the Western Hemisphere is booming, with the United States emerging less dependent on supplies from an unstable Middle East....

Oil produced in Persian Gulf countries — notably Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq — will remain vital to the world’s energy picture. But what was once a seemingly unalterable truth — that American oil production would steadily fall while the United States remained heavily reliant on Middle Eastern supplies — is being turned on its head....

Production has risen strikingly fast in places such as the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, and the “tight” rock formations of North Dakota and Texas....

Perhaps the biggest development in the worldwide realignment is how the United States went from importing 60 percent of its liquid fuels in 2005 to 45 percent last year. The economic downturn in the United States, improvements in automobile efficiency and an increasing reliance on biofuels all played a role.
What will the world be like when we don't depend on the Middle East anymore? They depend on our dependence. What will they be like if/when we don't particularly care?

And what will South America be like 10 years from now?

And what's stopping you from moving to North Dakota?

ADDED: Romney should make oil independence a big issue. This is a very exciting development — economically and geopolitically — and Obama is vulnerable.

"These people are Keynesians. Why can't they say so?"

David Weigel is annoyed by the argument — seriously pushed this week — that Obama is a spending-cutter.

"The locksmith told him that locks are on doors only to keep honest people honest."

"One percent of people will always be honest and never steal. Another 1% will always be dishonest and always try to pick your lock and steal your television; locks won't do much to protect you from the hardened thieves, who can get into your house if they really want to. The purpose of locks, the locksmith said, is to protect you from the 98% of mostly honest people who might be tempted to try your door if it had no lock."

We're only relatively honest. So don't tempt us!

Lots of great material at the link, various studies and so forth. Also this joke:

Obama's "Choom Gang."

Everyone's reading this, so I thought you might like to talk about it.
Excerpts from David Maraniss' Barack Obama: The Story dealing with the elaborate drug culture surrounding the president when he attended Punahou School in Honolulu and Occidental College in Los Angeles. He inhaled. A lot.
(The Maraniss book doesn't come out until June 19th. You can buy it here.)

ADDED: Here's a long excerpt from the book, covering Obama's college years:
Most of Obama's classmates could not see how hard he was working to reconcile the contradictions that life threw at him. They thought he was cool, smart without being pedantic, and seemed to have his act together. To Mark Parsons, who came to know him mostly because they both smoked and spent a lot of time together huddling outside the student union, Obama seemed "almost Zen in walking through all the chaos in our dorm". He displayed one trait that showed he wanted to be a player though: he wore a lot of "stupid hats". He usually wore them cocked, to look cool. Obama also had a peculiar smoking style, a little affectation. He turned his wrist up and cupped the cigarette between thumb and index finger. He smoked a cigarette the same way he smoked a joint. "I have a sense that he smoked because he was addicted, as I was," Parsons said. But, Obama told Parsons, there was another reason. "I remember him telling me he would quit after he got married. He didn't want to quit smoking because he said he would gain weight, but after he got married it would be OK to gain weight. I think it was mostly a joke."

May 25, 2012

Live-blogging the Scott Walker/Tom Barrett Wisconsin recall debate.

It starts at 8. Central, of course. It's Wisconsin, baby. The center of the American political universe. The center, where time is Central. So hang on for 15 minutes. The crazy, recall fun is about to begin.

8:00: Live stream here.

8:03: We're going to get "an educated and civil debate focused on the issues" to "move this state forward," says a man in a 3-piece suit. Blah blah blah about the rules. The moderators are from Sturgeon Bay, Green Bay, and Milwaukee Bay... I mean, Milwaukee.

8:05: Walker won the coin-toss, gave the first opening statement. Now, it's Barrett, slowly and dramatically telling us — as scripted — about how Walker "tore this state apart." He assures us this isn't just "a do-over."

8:08: The first question is: Why are we here? (I.e., isn't this just a do-over?) Barrett says Walker started "a political civil war" and now they want an end to it. Walker says: It's about our reforms, which are working.

8:11: Should we can the recall? (I certainly think we should.) Walker says "absolutely." It's a "horrible waste of money." He thinks voters will want it changed.

8:12: Walker says if he could do it all over again, he'd have explained what he was doing, and most people would have agreed. He fixed it [the budget], then talked about it. Barrett says: "Scott, you started this by saying you were going to 'drop the bomb'... and you would use 'divide and conquer' to go after the workers... and tear this state apart... You decided to use a budget crisis to try to divide and conquer this state... and you succeeded." (A strong challenge from Barrett.)

8:16: The question is about how to count whether we've lost or gained jobs. Barrett is using the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate, which says Wisconsin has lost the most jobs of any state. If Walker's numbers are right, it would mean the Bureau of Labor Statistics has made the greatest mistake ever. Walker says, those numbers are based on a sample of 3%. Walker is using the actual numbers from 97% of the employers in Wisconsin, submitted as required by law. (Walker should take some time to respond to Barrett's "divide and conquer" attack.)

8:19: What counts as a tax increase? Walker touts his caps on property taxes and the "change in attitude" affecting business. "I believe in getting government out of the way." Barrett brings up "divide and conquer" again and brings up Walker's record as Milwaukee County Executive (before he became governor). He talks about trust and says Walker pushed some debt onto our children (but I can't understand what he is referring to).

"It's a felony to tweet photo of your ballot, Government Accountability Board says."

In Wisconsin.

"Wisconsin recall: DNC’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz sees no national impact if Democrats lose."

Ha.

Translation: Debbie Wasserman Schultz knows the Democrats are going to lose.

The Supreme Court's new double jeopardy case divided 6-3 on gender lines: was this "some sort of gender-related 'empathy'"?

Lawprof Mark Tushnet wonders, noting the dissent limited to the 3 female Justices — Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor — and expressing the belief that "this is the first case in which the Court has divided along gender lines." I don't think he's taking account of instances when Justice O'Connor (or Justice Ginsburg) was the only woman on the Court and dissented alone. It is striking to see the 3 women segmented off, but really, what is the big deal? They are the liberal wing of the Court, so it's just a matter of whether or not Justice Breyer joins them. I suppose one might wonder whether there's something male about Breyer's defection from the usual group of liberals.

The case in question, Blueford v. Arkansas, found the 3 women championing the rights of a man accused of murder after a 1-year-old boy died of a severe head injury while in his care. Nothing particularly appealing to females there, as Tushnet notes.
Perhaps what's at work is some sort of gender-related "empathy" triggered by the prosecutor's decision to "overcharge," as the three justices might have thought, and then to continue to try to obtain a conviction on an unjustified charge. (I can also imagine -- I stress the word, because I have absolutely no inside information -- Justice Kagan thinking the case close on the merits and deciding that it would be neat to have the Court line up along gender lines. For what it's worth, I note my personal judgment that Justice Sotomayor's dissent is tighter than the Chief Justice's opinion for the Court.)
Tighter?! I hope that's not a gender-related notion, professor. I've read both opinions, and I think the Chief Justice's majority opinion is plenty tight.

Anyway... neat to have the Court line up along gender lines. Tushnet can imagine Kagan thinking that. I can't.  (And why is Kagan running the show? It's Sotomayor's opinon.)

"Literally, it’s called ‘he who is inserted by his fellow man into his throat,’ about oral sex between two men."

"It doesn’t say it is permitted, but it doesn’t use the word ‘abomination’... and I was so happy, I called my friends in Baltimore. This was the first time I had ever seen a loophole that allowed me to have a sex life within a halachic framework.”

Says Y-Love — Yitz Jordan — "who decided to become Jewish at 6 years old, after seeing a 'Happy Passover' announcement on TV." Jordan is black (and a rapper) and says he's always known he is gay. 

I'd like a link to that powerful ad, and I have not done my own research on that text with the loophole. 

Twice in 2 days, Obama says "my sons" when talking about the birth control mandate.

He was relying on the Teleprompter, which isn't really odd. It's the kind of mistake you make when the words aren't coming out of your own head.

I wonder if perhaps Obama is a bit tired. You know, unlike Mitt Romney, he has a whole other job in addition to presidential campaigning.

The question I'd ask Tom Barrett at tonight's debate (and one for Scott Walker).

For Tom Barrett: Can you articulate, clearly and specifically, what the standard is for removing a governor in the middle of the term for which he was elected? Why exactly are the people of Wisconsin being put through this recall exercise? Can you commit to the proposition that the recall device should be used in the future — including, perhaps, against you — under the circumstances that we are currently experiencing in Wisconsin?

For Scott Walker: If you win this special election — particularly if you win by a sizable margin — will  you see yourself as having a new mandate, and what will you do with that mandate? What, if anything, will you have to offer your many adversaries, who may feel quite demoralized and bitter?

(The debate is tonight at 8 Central Time, and I will be live-blogging.)

Tonight's the first of 2 debates in the Wisconsin recall election.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will square off against Governor Scott Walker and you'll be able to stream it here. I'll be live-blogging it, so join me in the comments at 8 Central Time.

Also at that link are links to "Raw Barrett" and "Raw Walker" interviews. Very stark difference in style between the 2 men. It might give you an idea of what they'll be like debating each other. I won't describe the difference myself, but if you watch those 2 videos, I'd love to hear you contrast them in the comments.

Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley both travel to Wisconsin to campaign for Scott Walker in his recall election,

The headline in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reads "Walker, Barrett pick up national endorsements." But who's traveling to Wisconsin for Barrett? Anybody big?

The news on Barrett is that the National Association of Police Organizations just endorsed him. But the Milwaukee Police Association just endorsed Walker. Barrett is the mayor of Milwaukee. And there's some nasty news this week about Milwaukee police crime data: "500 serious assaults...  were misclassified by the department as lesser offenses":
The Journal Sentinel found enough misreported assault cases in 2011 alone that violent crime would have increased 1.1% instead of falling 2.3% from the reported 2010 figures, which had their own errors.

"What if I want to feel like I have udders?"

"This woman doesn't care what I want."

Let's take a closer look at those porn stars.

Bill Clinton's does a new photo op... that reminds us folks here at the Althouse blog of that old photo op.

Feminists, please weigh in.

ADDED: One of the porn stars, Brooklyn Lee, according to Wikipedia, "appeared in Pink's music video for 'Raise Your Glass' in 2010 with three other LA Direct Models. They were shown blindfolded and being milked to fill a bottle to feed a calf." You can watch that video (after a commercial) here. The image in question looks like this:



Cows!

Feminists, please weigh in.

Where can the Althouse commentariat talk about the S.E. Cupp flap?

Here.

Wherein I call bullshit cowpie of distortion.

"Do you agree or disagree with this statement: The most frightening words you could hear are 'I’m from the government and I’m here to help'?"

Goofy poll question requires people to puzzle over whether to take jokey hyperbole literally. But 32% of likely U.S. voters did agree with the famous Reagan remark. Rasmussen, the rascally pollster, says "Ronald Reagan would be disappointed."

When you're polled, you don't get to explain. Among those who disagree with the statement, what is the percentage of people who thought things like "Actually, I think the government is often quite helpful," and what is the percentage of people who thought things like "It would be much more frightening to hear 'I'm afraid you have 3 weeks to live' or 'Your child has been in a terrible accident'"?

This is the same point I was making the other day about that poll where 31% of Republicans said they thought Obama is Muslim: "They might simply have thought that he was Muslim by inheritance through his father, a cultural matter, which would be quite true. Why make fun of the people who are stuck within the constraints of a poll question?"

This is how pollsters can crank out raw material for propagandists. I'm calling bullshit. I mean, it's a cowpie of distortion.

For at least 6 years, during Elizabeth Warren's tenure at Harvard Law School, Harvard University reported that there was a Native American woman at the law school.

Boston Globe reports on documents Harvard filed with the federal government:
The US Department of Labor requires large employers to collect diversity statistics annually and suggests they be based on employees’ classification of themselves. In cases in which employees do not self-identify, federal regulations allow some administrators to make judgment calls on the correct categories using “employment records or observer identification.’’

The administrator responsible for Harvard Law School’s faculty diversity statistics from 1996 to 2004, the period in question, was Alan Ray, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation who, like Warren, has fair skin, blue eyes, and Oklahoma roots.

But Ray, now president of Elmhurst College in Illinois, said in a statement that he “did not encourage the Law School to list any faculty member as one particular race or ethnicity, including Professor Warren.’’ He further said through a spokeswoman that he “never encouraged any faculty member to list himself or herself in a particular way.’’ Ray added that Harvard “always accepted whatever identification a faculty member wanted to provide,’’ a characterization another highly placed former Harvard administrator backed up.
The linked article also recounts the history of Harvard Law's perceived diversity problem circa 1990, just before Warren arrived. Lawprof Derrick Bell had gone on "strike" (unpaid leave) to protest, some students brought a lawsuit (unsuccessful), and the U.S. Department of Labor audited what the article calls "Harvard's diversity practices" and found 10 violations. Warren arrived in 1992 (as a visiting professor), at which point she "had been listing herself for seven years as a minority in a legal directory often used by law recruiters to make diversity-friendly hires." She was still on that list when Harvard Law gave her a permanent position in 1995.
In 1996, law school news director Mike Chmura, speaking to the Harvard Crimson, identified Warren as a Native American professor.

In 1997, the Fordham Law Review, citing Chmura, referred to Warren as Harvard Law’s “first woman of color.’’
I find it hard to believe that — after all the uproar over diversity in 1990 — that the law school could quietly pass off Warren as its "first woman of color." There were so many people who were genuinely angry over the lack of diversity. Why would they have tolerated the school making such a lame assertion? Wouldn't they have wanted to keep up the pressure? If you were at Harvard in the 1990s, what do you remember about this?

The Globe article has more detail about Harvard's "affirmative action plan," a 1999 document, which "lists one Native American senior professor at the entire university," and, in a section on the law school, specifies that there is "a single Native American senior professor." This must be Warren, right? But this document also defines Native American in a way that would not include Warren: "a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition."

The inference is that Harvard itself lied on diversity documents filed with the federal government (and posted on line for years).  Note that this information is used to recruit students, some of whom may care a great deal about whether there are faculty who seem as though they will be special mentors. I wonder whether there were students who chose Harvard and sought out Warren as a mentor because of her perceived status as a Native American.

There's something very odd here. A lot of things, actually. This isn't just about whether Elizabeth Warren is a worthy candidate for the U.S. Senate. This is about more general chicanery about diversity at Harvard and even more general deception and manipulation in the politics of diversity.

Obama and the "cowpie of distortion."



Thanks for calling attention to that, Drudge.

Now, why did Obama say that? He was in Iowa, talking about a speech Romney had just given in Iowa, and I'm picturing Obama's speech-writing team brainstorming about how to insult Romney appropriately:

Speechwriter #1: Romney's speech was bullshit.

Speechwriter #2: Yeah, it would be great if Obama could just say: Bullshit!

Speechwriter #3: Here we are out in farm country. Just a lot of farmers. They know bullshit. There's bullshit, cowshit everywhere on farms. So I've heard. Cowpies everywhere. This state is wall-to-wall cowpie. Get me outta here.

Speechwriter #2: Romney's speech was a big cowpie. A cowpie of...

Speechwriter #1: Distortion! Cowpie of distortion!

All: Ha ha ha ha.

Speechwriter #2: Seriously, he should just say that.

Speechwriter #1: Yeah, because Iowans love all the endless visits from politicians who try to suck up to them with Iowa-related humor and can never think of one damned thing except that Iowa is farms, farms, farms.

Speechwriter #3: And are these really even cattle farms? Dairy farms, whatever? I thought Iowa was more: corn.

Speechwriter #2: Shut up. Cowpie of distortion. It's hilarious. The college kids will love it. He said bullshit, but he didn't say bullshit. Grandma and college dork alike will titter.

Speechwriter #3: They'll titter their udders off. But could you please just Google to see if cows are an Iowa thing, because I'm afraid cows are more Wisconsin, and, you know, cattle, like steers and shit, they're more Nebraska. You've got Iowa right there in the middle...

Speechwriter #1: You win the National Geography Bee, now shut up.

Speechwriter #3: Iowa right there in the middle, but with the corn. Corn, so....

Speechwriter #1: Corn is too obvious. They hear corn all the time. It lacks subtlety.

Speechwriter #2: Subtlety?! What the fuck are you talking about? We're in Iowa. There's no subtlety. Subtlety is a nonissue. Focus on the topic at hand. We need an Iowa-appropriate joke, and the joke on the table is "cowpie of distortion."

Speechwriter #1: The cowpie is on the table. Now, get out your knife and fork and dissect this thing. Dig in!

Speechwriter #2: I say cowpie of distortion is the perfect joke for these fucking farmers, and kids and grandmas all over the country are gonna laugh their asses off if it's the last thing I do for our very cool POTUS.

Speechwriter #3: Cowpie of distortion isn't cool. Who talks like that? Cowpie of distortion? It's like Ball of Confusion.  [Sings:] Evolution, revolution, gun control, sound of soul, shooting rockets to the moon, kids growing up too soon, politicians say more taxes will solve everything.... Ball of confusion!

Speechwriter #1: Ha ha. You Googled those lyrics.

Speechwriter #2: Yes, and by the way, more taxes will solve everything.

Speechwriter #3: Ha ha. Now, could you please Google and make sure they have cows — in addition to corn — in Iowa? Because the joke on the table is cowpie of confusion... I mean, distortion.

May 24, 2012

At the Stars of Persia Café...

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... you can shine all night.

"This is barack-let's get this started!"

Obama tweets.

Should Romney get credit for job creation through Bain, if "any job creation was accidental"?

A NYT op-ed says no, but Jaltcoh implies that the answer is yes:
As [Thomas] Sowell points out [in "A Conflict of Visions"], we have a word for things in the "unintentional" + "harmful" quadrant: "negligence." We generally blame people for acting negligently. So, why shouldn't we praise people for doing the opposite — causing unintended benefits?

"The discovery of the original Barnabas Bible will now undermine the Christian Church and its authority and will revolutionize the religion in the world."

"The most significant fact, though, is that this Bible has predicted the coming of Prophet Mohammad and in itself has verified the religion of Islam, and this alone will unbalance the powers of the world and create instability in the Christian world."

So reports Iran's Basji Press, referring to a leather-bound text, written on animal hide, confiscated by Turkish authorities in 2000.

"Detroit, whose 139 square miles contain 60 percent fewer residents than in 1950, will try to nudge them into a smaller living space..."

"... by eliminating almost half its streetlights. As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city....  can’t afford to fix them."
“You have to identify those neighborhoods where you want to concentrate your population,” said Chris Brown, Detroit’s chief operating officer. “We’re not going to light distressed areas like we light other areas.”

Elizabeth Warren accuses Scott Brown of having "launched attacks on [her] family."

These "attacks" consist of the questions about her claimed Native American ancestry (and whether she has sought or received special benefits because of that). How do these questions constitute "attacks on [her] family"? Here's the quote, answering the question how she knows she is Native American:
"Because my mother told me so. This is how I live. My mother, my grandmother, my family. This is my family. Scott Brown has launched attacks on my family. I am not backing off from my family.”
So it seems the argument is: She believes something she heard from her family, and if you question the factual soundness of what she believes — or ask additional questions about the consequences of the fact believed — that you are attacking her family.

Does that make any sense? It makes a little sense to say: Hey, this is a family story, and it means a lot to us, among ourselves, and it's unkind of you to intrude into our very personal intimacies. You are attacking the cozy warmth within our home. That would make sense if it were irrelevant whether she were Native American or not. It could just be something you believe, like you believe your father loved your mother or that you were the cutest little baby in the world. You're not arrogant or a fool for believing things like that and never inquiring more deeply, and a political opponent or a reporter that gets all pushy about the factual content of such beliefs is a big clod and could be told so.

But... if you sought career advancement by making a claim that was not factually grounded, then it is relevant as you seek political office. It goes to your character, your honesty, your fairness. Now, it might nevertheless be something of an answer to the question to say: You know, I now realize that I didn't have an absolutely sound basis to believe what I believed, but I did genuinely believe it. And I know that I did expose this belief in a way that could have attracted benefits, and I did come to regret it. I've forgiven myself, and I ask you to forgive me, because my mistake was a daughter's belief in what her mother told her was true, a granddaughter's belief in her grandmother's knowledge and honor.

If she came that far, and Scott Brown were to respond: Your mother and your grandmother were either liars or fools — that would be an attack on her family.

That hasn't happened, and who can imagine it would? Thus, the inappropriate attack here is on Scott Brown, because he has not attacked her family.

"Too bad the dems are such pathetic whipped (or complicit) losers they didn’t even have..."

"... a ‘roided has-been adulterous sex-harrasser movie star to step up to the guvship like the pukes did in CA."

Wound-licking — over the impending Wisconsin recall election — in the comments at Firedoglake.

"It's certain the woman was not dead when buried."

Say Chinese police, in the case of a couple accused of hitting an elderly woman and then burying the (not dead) body.

"Former high school football standout exonerated in rape case."

The L.A. Times reports:
[Advised by his lawyer to] take a plea deal rather than having the "he said-she said" case go to trial... [Brian] Banks pleaded no contest to one count of forcible rape, was incarcerated for about six years and had to register as a sex offender.

In a movie-worthy twist, his former accuser got in touch with him via Facebook after he left prison. The two eventually met in person.

According to court papers, she admitted to him she lied but later refused to tell prosecutors the same thing lest she have to give back the $1.5 million she and her family won in a civil suit against Long Beach schools.`
ADDED: "I will go through with helping you but it’s like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don’t want to have to pay it back."

"This case demonstrates that the threat to individual freedom from reprosecutions that favor States and unfairly rescue them from weak cases...

"... has not waned with time. Only this Court’s vigilance has." 

So ends the dissenting opinion in Blueford v. Arkansas, written Justice Sotomayor and joined by Justices Ginsburg and Kagan. It's quite an interesting double jeopardy problem, where a mistrial was declared after a report from the jury that there had been a unanimous vote of not guilty on the capital murder charge and the first degree murder charge.

The jury got hung up at the manslaughter charge. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority, the jurors were instructed to decide one charge at a time and only to move on to consider the next, lesser charge after they'd found the defendant not guilty on the more serious charge. Roberts writes that despite the report from the jury, mid-deliberation, that revealed that there had been a unanimous not guilty vote on the 2 highest charges, he hadn't been "actually acquitted" of them.
The foreperson’s report was not a final resolution of anything. When the foreperson told the court how the jury had voted on each offense, the jury’s deliberations had not yet concluded. The jurors in fact went back to the jury room to deliberate further, even after the foreperson had delivered her report. When they emerged a half hour later, the foreperson stated only that they were unable to reach a verdict. She gave no indication whether it was still the case that all 12 jurors believed Blueford was not guilty of capital or first-degree murder, that 9 of them believed he was guilty of manslaughter, or that a vote had not been taken on negligent homicide. The fact that deliberations continued after the report deprives that report of the finality necessary to constitute an acquittal on the murder offenses....

But even if we assume that the instructions required a unanimous vote before the jury could consider a lesser offense—as the State assumes for purposes of this case, see Brief for Respondent 25, n. 3—nothing in the instructions prohibited the jury from reconsidering such a vote. The instructions said simply, “If you have a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt on the charge of [the greater offense], you will [then] consider the charge of [the lesser offense].” App. 51–52. The jurors were never told that once they had a reasonable doubt, they could not rethink the issue....

"This is Obama chortling with Jimmy Fallon about lower-class people."

"Do we believe, even for a second... that if Obama had been busted for marijuana, under the laws that he condones, would his life have been better? If Obama had been caught with the marijuana that he says he uses, and maybe a little blow — blow, cocaine, blow — this casual attitude toward drugs — a casual attitude toward drugs — that makes him really cool on Jimmy Fallon, makes him the hip President. I'm the cool President! I'm the happenin'est President! I say "weed." I say "blow." It's all a big deal. Ha ha ha. Huge laugh from the college students. And if he had been busted, under his laws, he would have done hard, fucking time, and if he had done time in prison, time in federal prison, time for his weed and a little blow, he would not be President of the United States of America, and he would not have gone to his fancy-ass college, he would not have sold books that sold millions and millions of copies and made millions and millions of dollars, he would not have a beautiful, smart wife, he would not have a great job. He would have been in prison. And it's not a goddamn joke."



Says Penn Jillette, who has never used any drugs (or had any alcohol) and doesn't generally have a problem with hypocrisy.

ADDED: The last sentence of this post isn't sarcasm. Penn states at the beginning of the video that he  doesn't generally have a problem with hypocrisy. He's not a stickler about mere hypocrisy. It's this particular hypocrisy by Obama that bothers him deeply. He states at the end of the video that he himself has never used any substances, which is useful to know: He's not speaking from a position of self-interest.

"I would just like to state that the law is written in black and white."

"It should not and cannot be enforced in the gray for those who are in the thin blue line."

A modest ruby ring for Mrs. Zuckerberg.

Priscilla Chan models taste.

"City truck runs over sunbather at Madison park."

A 28-year-old woman was lying on the grass. The truck was delivering bark.
A crash reconstruction team from the Wisconsin State Patrol worked at the scene to try to determine what the driver of the city Parks truck may or may not have been able to see as she came over a small hill and struck the sunbather....

Those who sunbathe at the park said they are shocked by the incident.

"A lot of times I come laying out here. I'm pretty relaxed, kind of in nap mode, so a public place where you can lay down -- it's kind of scary to think about," said [one woman].
UPDATE: The sunbather died from complications from the injuries.

"What happens when all the things we based our icons on don't exist anymore?"

"Do they just become, ahem, iconic glyphs whose origins are shrouded in mystery?"

"When is the last time you stared at an hourglass while waiting for something?"

ADDED: A commenter, at the second link, answers the question: "Last time I played Boggle (real-life, shake-up-the-cube Boggle, not some online facsimile)."

I would have said: Last time I watched "The Wizard of Oz," and the "something" I was waiting for was: Dorothy to die.

"Has recall election made Scott Walker a GOP hero?"

Asks Politico:
All the big GOP players now know Walker’s story by heart. Republican billionaires and megadonors are suddenly well-acquainted with him as well.

And if he wins in the June 5 recall against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) — which polls suggest he’s likely to do — his trajectory will very likely be even higher.

Not only will Walker be lionized by his GOP colleagues for embarrassing Big Labor and forcing the left to pour cash down the drain in a presidential election year, he’ll be credited with making the state more competitive for Mitt Romney.

Not bad for a rookie governor who has never been known for his charisma or burning political ambition....
The recall has put Walker in the position where he must advertise and promote himself, which might have been awkward before — and it was never his thing. TV viewers are getting barraged with Walker ads — and almost nothing for his cash-strapped opponent, and we're tolerating it because he was forced into having to defend himself. What a nice opportunity for him!

I don't watch all the TV shows, but this week, I've watched "American Idol" and part of a couple Brewers games, and I've seen ad after ad for Walker. I saw one ad against Walker, and it was a confusing complaint about how Walker is a "rock star." Idiots! They made him a rock star.

Ah! I found the "rock star" ad:



What do you think of the "rock star" ad?
  
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"Neil Diamond…yes, here he is, Neil himself, who, in his old age, has adopted the talking/singing style of Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins."

For some reason, that's what I found to be the most entertaining part of the final "American Idol" results show last night.  That and the way Jennifer Holliday looked like she was going to devour Jessica Sanchez. I also like the part where Phillip Phillips, having won, and being left on the stage to sing a final song, realized he didn't have to sing and just cried a little, then walked over to his mom for a hug, which became a big old family hug (until Jennifer Lopez trotted over to infuse the hug with her extraordinary beauty and talent without which the season could not properly end).

Rush Limbaugh's ratings plunged last month.

Which thrilled some Rush haters. But it turns out the ratings were only down relative to the previous month... when they spiked because of all the attention Rush got from the haters who were trying to drive him off the air.

And here's Rush yesterday:
We do not, on our side of the aisle, attempt to rid the world of our enemies by personally impugning them or destroying them or shutting them down.... [I]f we don't like a radio or TV show, we turn it off.  If they don't like it, they try to shut it down.  If we don't want to eat vegetables, we don't eat 'em.  If they want to eat vegetables, they want everybody else to do what they do and not do what they don't do....

All I know is... that success is the sweetest revenge.  When they try to wipe you out, when they try to shut you down, just like this last time they tried to.  They thought they had me.  It was nirvana. They thought the day had finally come, and they are now so discombobulated that they failed, that they don't understand it.  Their days were ruined.  And of course I take satisfaction in that.  Another way I deal with it.  "Well, I chose to do this. I chose to be public about what I believe and who I am."

What watching porn does to a woman's brain.

A study "showed that far less blood was sent to the primary visual cortex, while the women were watching the most explicit porn."
The same thing happens in the brain when a human conducts a non-visual task—like memorizing a list of words—while being shown some sort of visual "distractor" stimuli. Interestingly, when watching normal, non-smut films, extra blood is sent to the visual cortex.
Now, why would this be? Sex is nonvisual for women — that seems like the working theory. If so, porn movies don't make sense: watching causes not watching.

"Why is so much ire aimed directly and uniquely at Citizens United, out of the entire body of campaign finance law?"

Asks Howard Wasserman at PrawfsBlawg (via Instapundit):
Some of it is that the Court had to overturn precedent, but... this was not a particularly venerable precedent and it was only one in a broader body of case law. Some of it is the process — relisting, ordering new briefing, etc.... Some--and I suspect a lot — of it is recency bias — the most recent case is the most important case and the one to praise or criticize....
Another theory: Criticism of that case merged nicely with the pervasive liberal rhetoric scaring us about the power and influence of corporations.

67% of college students can't go more than an hour without using some digital device.

And 40% can't go more than 10 minutes.

"A man is in custody for the 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz..."

Police say.

ADDED: The man, Pedro Hernandez, has been a suspect in the past, but "it was not immediately clear when he became the object of their interest nor what prompted his arrest."
The development came weeks after what had appeared to be a break in the decades-old death when detectives honed in on a Soho basement in search of human remains...

At the time the boy vanished, the basement housed the workshop of Othniel Miller, who has recently come under scrutiny in the case....

The police have long had a prime suspect in the case, Jose A. Ramos, a convicted child molester who lived on the Lower East Side and was an acquaintance of a woman who worked for the Patzes as a baby sitter. Mr. Ramos remains imprisoned for molesting a boy in Pennsylvania, but has denied kidnapping or killing Etan.

May 23, 2012

At the Salad Garden Café...

Untitled

... you can eat all you like.

"State and local leaders called Wednesday for independent audits of the Milwaukee Police Department's crime numbers..."

"... citing a Journal Sentinel investigation that found more than 500 cases in which serious crimes were misclassified as lesser offenses."

"Bill Clinton's glamorous fundraiser called 'worst party ever' by angry guests."

The U.K. Telegraph reports:
Attendees complained the underground venue “stank”, with perspiration “dripping off the walls” and the rooms too crowded to even see the former president.

One, who called it the “worst party ever” described how “angry people” were waiting in the queue outside while high-profile guests were admitted, and another condemned the event as “unpleasant."

NYT digs back 3 years into the photo files to find something super-sentimental...

... in a touching effort at boosting the Obama reelection campaign.

Kudos, NYT! You've made it all very clear.

"Artist released after 'I Love NY' bags cause bomb scare."

"'I am not sure they understood what it is,' said a beaming Takeshi Miyakawa, who was locked up last Saturday. 'They understood it's not a bomb at least.'"

"Would all jurors with last names beginning with the letters A through Z please turn in your forms?"

"Great moments in verbosity."

"Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s latest squeeze, actress Cheryl Hines, had been flaunting their relationship online in the weeks before his wife hanged herself."

The NY Post reports:
Hines also had struck up friendships with two of Mary’s best friends, Kerry Kennedy and Glenn Close, according to her tweets.

The “Curb Your Enthusiasm” blonde even tweeted about talking football with Mary and Bobby Jr.’s 11-year-old son, Aiden....
Throughout Hines’ Twitter tear, Mary was isolated in her Bedford mansion, drowning in sorrow, alcohol and debt....
“She faced losing her kids, and his relationship with Cheryl Hines was humiliating. At an event last month, he walked the red carpet with Cheryl as a couple and took the kids,” a source told The Post last week, referring to the Riverkeeper Annual Fisherman’s Ball in late April.
She didn't curb her enthusiasm.

Do you want Nik Wallenda to wear a safety harness when he does what is supposed to be a "death-defying" tightrope walk over Niagara Falls?

Because ABC is moderating the death-defiance thusly.

What do you think of Wallenda wearing a safety harness?
  
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"No, the Supreme Court is Not Poised to Adopt a Radical Libertarian Agenda..."

"... and Certain Commentators Should be Embarrassed for Suggesting Otherwise."

And from Randy Barnett:
President Obama’s two statements urging the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act came the week after the vote was presumably taken by the justices in conference.  Since then we have been subjected to a seemingly endless stream of pundits, professors, and politicians urging the Court for “nonlegal” reasons... to uphold the Act.  All of these statements presuppose that the conference vote was to invalidate the mandate, or there would have been no reason to speak now.  Hence, the specific pressure on Chief Justice Roberts by Senataor Leahy and Jeff Rosen is implicitly urging him to change his vote from that which he cast in the conference.
I think Randy is implying that the news of the vote leaked from the conference.

In Janesville, Wisconsin, an anonymous flier lists teachers' salaries and tells parents to ask for a "non-radical teacher" next year.

The flier names the 321 highest-paid teachers and tells readers to check on line to see if they signed the Scott Walker recall petition.
The flier angered teachers, who were already targeted by a flier earlier this year accusing them of having a "Marxist, globalist agenda," said Ted Lewis, regional union representative for Rock County teachers.

"It's trying to intimidate them and make them feel guilty for earning salaries," Lewis said. "They're creating this witch hunt for people who engaged in their civic duty."...

Chris Kliesmet, executive administrator of Citizens for Responsible Government, said his organization isn't responsible for the content of the flier, but said... "The question in the back of a lot of people's minds is, 'Are my children being indoctrinated?'"
ADDED: I've lost count of how many times pseudonymous lefties at the Isthmus forum have put up my name and my salary along with some argument that I ought to suffer some negative consequence. (Isthmus is the Madison, Wisconsin "alternative" newspaper.)

"Tom Barrett wants to spend $100 million on a trolley for Milwaukee..."

It's the new Scott Walker video.

He's hitting the train button again. Here's his ad from August 2010, aimed at the high-speed rail line between Madison and Milwaukee: "I will put a stop to this boondoggle the day I take office." This was the single issue that got my vote back then.

And Walker beat Tom Barrett and won his 4-year term. But we're back, less than 2 years later, deciding between Walker and Tom Barrett again. It's the boondoggle known as the recall, and it's costing Wisconsin taxpayers $18 million.

"I gave my word that I would treat the taxpayer’s money as my own," says Scott Walker in an op-ed published today in the Cap Times. He says a bunch of other things, making his case for June 5th election.

The Cap Times also has an op-ed from Tom Barrett, who says he is "pulling up a lawn chair and listening and talking with people" while Scott Walker is "flying around the country raising money and playing right-wing rock star to the extreme conservative elite."

Yeah, Scott, stop flying around and get into that lawn chair like Tom Barrett. And Tom, I know it's rough getting around without trolley or train-tracks everywhere you go, but come on... lawn chair?



ADDED: Please take the folksinger viewpoint into account:

"Investors File Suit Against Facebook, Underwriters."

"The suit follows reports Tuesday that analysts at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut their revenue forecasts on Facebook amid the investor roadshow, a change that wasn't widely disseminated."

"[A]n innocent little girl pushing a doll stroller on a sidewalk on a Sunday afternoon... suddenly... almost mortally wounded by an arrow falling from the sky."

"Aryanna's condition has been upgraded to fair, said John Densmore, the pediatric surgeon who removed the arrow from Aryanna during a 2 1/2 hour surgery Sunday at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin."
If there had been a difference in the trajectory of the arrow by 2 centimeters, "there could have been a very bad outcome....

"She could best be described as a 7-year-old bundle of strength... She was composed, she was calm and she was quiet."

Aryanna suffered wounds to her left lung, diaphragm, spleen, stomach and liver. All of her organs were preserved, and she is expected to experience no permanent dysfunction, Densmore said.
They haven't found out who shot the arrow.

UPDATE: Arrest: "The sheriff said a 16-year-old boy shot the arrow, saying he was shooting at a squirrel.

Read more: http://www.wisn.com/news/south-east-wisconsin/ozaukee-washington/Arrest-made-in-arrow-shooting/-/10151118/14423842/-/14h4otoz/-/index.html#ixzz1wYvYJaZf."

"If I could turn back time, I would have not chosen Gloria Allred as my lawyer."

Regret about choice of lawyer expressed in Cher lyrics.

Via Instapundit, who notes that the client Debrahlee Lorenzana learned what was always mind-crushingly obvious, that Gloria Allred is in it to get attention for herself.

But then, so was Lorenzano. It takes one to know one is not always true. Look at the photo at the first link. Was Lorenzano fired because of her looks or because she declined to dress in a manner appropriate to the business in which she was employed?

Teach your children that sex is "a beautiful thing, and it is magic, and it’s when you connect with somebody."

Says Miley Cyrus — who's 19, and therefore able to display her insight into intercourse.

"For decades, Democratic politicians have found ways to win Catholic swing voters despite taking positions that are at odds..."

"... with the Catholic Church’s views on abortion, same-sex marriage, and yes, contraception. But it will be considerably harder for this White House to win over those same voters if it seems to be picking a fight with American Catholicism as a culture — with the local Catholic hospital, the local Catholic soup kitchen, and yes, the Fighting Irish."

Says Ross Douthat, who is good at political analysis, but a bit slapdash about the law at issue in the suit that was filed by the Catholic bishops.
Whether [they] win in court will presumably depend on how the judicial branch weighs the public health concern involved. It’s true that religious institutions can’t be exempt from every regulation they don’t like, and maybe the courts will accept the argument that it’s worth sacrificing a measure of religious liberty in order to marginally expand the number of insurance plans covering contraception.
At least he says "presumably," and perhaps he's trying to express the view that the courts don't follow legal rules but approve of laws that seem like a pretty good idea in relation to how troublesome they are to people who like to think they have rights.

Google celebrates the 78th birthday of Robert Moog.

Play it!

More here: "Google Crafts Playable Bob Moog Synthesizer Doodle."
The playable doodle features his signature Moog synthesizer, with all the accompanying bells and whistles. A quick-start guide on moogmusic.com provides details on how to play the doodle, which also allows users to record their creations and share them with friends. A demonstration is also available in the video below.
So record something and tell us about it in the comments.

"No regulator in the United States has ever seen the information that Google’s cars gathered from American citizens."

The NYT presents Google in a sinister light for its failure to open itself up to the government that wants to regulate it.
The tale of how Google escaped a full accounting for Street View illustrates not only how technology companies have outstripped the regulators, but also their complicated relationship with their adoring customers....

People willingly, at times eagerly, surrender this information....

Although Google thrives on information, it is closemouthed about itself....

“We don’t have much choice but to trust Google,” said Christian Sandvig, a researcher in communications technology and public policy at the University of Illinois. “We rely on them for everything.”

That reliance has built an impressive company — and a self-assurance that can be indistinguishable from arrogance. “Google doesn’t seem to think it ever will be held accountable,” Mr. Sandvig said. “And to date it hasn’t been.”
Google rivals government. Government would like us to willingly, eagerly surrender information, to have no choice but to trust it, to be relied on for everything, to never be held accountable... and — with all that — to be adored.

How frustrating for the government!

The Green Bay Packers win...

... "Dancing with the Stars."

"Natalia Juarez, a philosophy professor who is running as a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, rolled out a billboard recently showing her posing topless..."

"... with six other female members of the party. The billboards were posted around Guadalajara, the mostly conservative capital of the western state of Jalisco and Mexico's second-largest city."

You say you want a revolution...

May 22, 2012

"[B]asically hallucinating... he kind of reached out to me, kind of in a zombie-like fashion."

"At that point, there’s not a lot you can do for somebody that’s dying and frozen to death."

On Mount Everest, last Saturday, it was a "traffic jam" as 150 people tried to take advantage of a window of good weather. With the crowding, it took longer, and they hadn't carried enough oxygen. 4 died.

"Hot and smoky, almost irreverent"/"Distinctly bitter aftertaste"/"Bold and unrelenting."

Entomologist samples 150 insect stings, describes them, and ranks them.

Do you think the worst is a bee, a hornet, a wasp, or an ant?

The "flashed face" distortion effect.

Strange! Watch:

That video might get "picked up by tea partiers, maybe even [Nikki] Haley herself, to attack labor again."

"Do you think we can get this video pulled?"

It's not down yet: here.

In the Foxglove Café...

Untitled

... it's a digital café and a digitalis café.

Do not brush your teeth right after eating.

Wait at least 30 minutes. Seriously!

"Black Mormons and the Politics of Identity."

Another NYT article about Mormons and the presidential election.
The conversion of blacks in this country has been a challenge, given the church’s turbulent history of excluding people of black African descent. Until 1978, black males were not allowed to become priests or bishops; dark skin was considered a biblical curse. During the 1960s, when Mitt Romney’s father, George, made civil rights a personal priority during his time as Republican governor of Michigan, his progressive views put him at odds with church doctrine. Over the last decades, however, there has been an aggressive campaign to diversify, and racism in the church — which was itself once powerless and persecuted as a cult — has been repeatedly denounced...
And here's a joke that, according to the NYT, is "making the rounds" with black Mormons:
Mr. Obama calls Mr. Romney to say he thinks it is time the country had a Mormon president. But just as Mr. Romney is thanking the president for the apparent concession, Mr. Obama interrupts him to say, “My baptism is on Saturday.” 

The chief investigator in the John Doe investigation into Scott Walker's administration had a Recall Walker sign in his yard.

And Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is "defends" him:
In a statement Monday, Chisholm said [David] Budde told him his wife, who is a county employee, put the sign in the couple's yard about a week ago.

"I do not regulate or control the constitutional freedoms of my employees' families in their private lives," the district attorney said. "They have the right, under state law, and in this case, county civil service rules, to express their political views as does any other citizen."
I put "defends" in quotes because it's the Wisconsin State Journal's word and because I don't think it really is a defense. It's more just Chisholm saying he can't do anything about it. He's more disconnecting himself from Budde than defending him.

This John Doe proceeding is one of Tom Barrett's main arguments against letting Scott Walker continue to serve his term in office. You know, Tom Barrett, the Democrat challenging Walker in the recall election, Tom Barrett, who doesn't want to be held responsible for what his wife does either.

What were we talking about just before Cory Booker became the topic of the moment?

See, there is the question you need to ask if you want to figure out whether the gaffe was really a gaffe. Stop and think. Do you even remember?

I had to look back at my stream of blog posts. The topic of the moment was: Obama seems to have claimed to have been born in Kenya: Why did he do that?

Just before that it was gay marriage.

So, you tell me: Do you think Booker was serving a deliberate purpose, in league with the Obama campaign, and not — as Chris Matthews put it — sabotage and betrayal?

What was Booker really doing?


  
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Josh Marshall says Cory Booker did not make a gaffe.



Is Booker in this for himself? Are media folk like David Gregory actually conservative when it comes to financial matters?

ADDED: Chris Matthews accuses Booker of "sabotage" and "betrayal."

AND: Ana Marie Cox endorses Obama's "vampire" metaphor:
[I]t's pretty accurate: private equity firms exist to squeeze liquidity out of companies, then syphon off that profit to investors. The metaphor works on a deeper level as well. Just as with vampires, Americans are morbidly fascinated by hyperbolic success. We have an uneasy relationship with late, post-bailout capitalism: it's sexy, it's parasitical, it's dangerous, it's the product of unseen forces, it carries the promise of immortality at the cost of one's soul.
 Let's remember Booker's word: nauseating.  That appeal to emotion and unreason — seen vividly in Cox — is nauseating.

Mick Jagger in the role of a loser watching other guys do karaoke versions of Mick Jagger.



The SNL guys doing the imitations are very funny, and I just loved Mick submitting to the role, particularly accepting closeups on his fascinatingly ugly face (without the familiar hairstyle/wig that keeps us seeing him as the rock star and not a regular human being).

Oddly, to me, in this clip, he look like Joe E. Brown, a comic actor with a very distinctive mouth characterized by — of all things not associated with Mick Jagger — liplessness:

"Bain and Financial Industry Gave Over $565,000 To Newark Mayor Cory Booker For 2002 Campaign."

That's a headline over at ThinkProgress, and it's getting a lot of attention, but let's look at the detail:
Contributions to his 2002 campaign from venture capitalists, investors, and big Wall Street bankers brought him more than $115,000 for his 2002 campaign. Among those contributing to his campaign were John Connaughton ($2,000), Steve Pagliuca ($2,200), Jonathan Lavine ($1,000) — all of Bain Capital....
So 3 guys who work at Bain gave Booker a total of $5,200.
[Booker] and his slate also jointly raised funds for the “Booker Team for Newark” joint committee. They received more than $450,000 for the 2002 campaign from the sector — including a pair of $15,400 contributions from Bain Capital Managing Directors Joshua Bekenstein and Mark Nunnelly. 
So there's another $30,800, for a total of $36,000. Just doing the math. Does Think Progress think that contributions from the financial industry taint the opinions of the politicians? Because... what's the number for Obama?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to win the 5 June 2012 recall election: 93.8%.

It's just Intrade, but still. That's a high percentage. Too bad we still have to dump $18 million in taxpayer money into conducting the special election. Thanks, petition signers.

How many people signed the petition because they were afraid of being detected as supporting Scott Walker's budget reform? Thanks, protesters, for the atmosphere of intimidation that led so many to drag us into this wasteful exercise.

And while I'm at Intrade: Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012: 58.8%.

"40% Now Say Trayvon Martin Shot in Self-Defense; 24% Say It Was Murder."

In late March, 33% called it murder. It was 30% in early April.
Forty percent (40%) now think George Zimmerman, who has been charged with second degree murder in the Martin shooting, acted in self-defense. That’s up 25 points from 15% in March and up 16 points from 24% last month. Thirty-six percent (36%) remain undecided, compared to 55% two months ago.
It's heartening to see the capacity of people to receive new information and to reassess their beliefs. I was impressed even back in March that people resisted — as much as they did — the efforts in the media to stamp public opinion with a crude, racialized template.

Unsurprisingly, the opinion among black people is different, but it's not that different: 47% say murder, but the number is going down. 55% said murder in March. And 40% of black adults now say self-defense — exactly the same as percentage for adults Americans generally. Note that this means that black people are much less likely to be undecided or uncertain.

"[M]ost voters' knowledge of economics is so shallow that not only is Mitt Romney attacked for being successful in business..."

"... but Romney doesn't even seem able to defend himself."

Can Mitt educate us?

This seems related to my earlier post today, about whether people learn better taught by robots.

Let me snip a clip of the clip at the link:



More importantly, here's Glenn Loury — whose academic field is economics — critiquing our economic illiteracy (and he's "not a Romney guy"):

Ambiguity.



Do you need an explanation?

Sterling Hall bomber Karl Armstrong arrested after state troopers find $800,000+ in his motor home.

The bombing, which killed a man, happened here at the University of Wisconsin in 1970. Armstrong served 7 years in prison and has been free for more than 30 years. According to the court document filed yesterday, Armstrong was stopped for a traffic violation while driving on I-90, and, according to the state trooper, Jose Alvarez, seemed nervous. Alvarez "asked whether Armstrong had any drugs, guns or large amounts of cash, and Armstrong answered no."
Alvarez asked if he could search the motor home, and Armstrong said no.

Armstrong agreed to wait for a police dog to be sent to the scene, but while waiting for the dog Armstrong approached Alvarez and said he had changed his mind and agreed to the search.

Inspecting a bed in the motor home, Alvarez noticed a plywood plank with scratched and tool-marked screws and removed the screws and plank. He found two duffel bags, a brown paper bag and a black cooler pouch. Each contained heat-sealed bags of cash, which was later found to total about $815,000. Investigators who processed the money said it smelled strongly of cannabis.

Armstrong was arrested but denied knowing anything about the money, only that he had $4,000 in traveling money and was returning home to Madison.

"[S]tudents assigned randomly to statistics courses that relied heavily on 'machine-guided learning' software -- with reduced face time with instructors -- did just as well, in less time..."

"... as their counterparts in traditional, instructor-centric versions of the courses. This largely held true regardless of the race, gender, age, enrollment status and family background of the students."

Why are you better than a robot?
The robotic software did have disadvantages, the researchers found. For one, students found it duller than listening to a live instructor. 
Duller than a live instructor! Good lord, we teachers provide some mild amusement. But the students are fooling with the internet or at least daydreaming, so it may only be the illusion of relatively less dullness.
Some felt as though they had learned less, even if they scored just as well on tests. 
We make you feel you've learned, even when we haven't. It's the empathy, I bet. Robots don't care. But I'm sure they could pretty easily tweak the robotics to give comparable cues to the student and stimulate the same feeling of having learned.
Engaging students, such as professors might by sprinkling their lectures with personal anecdotes and entertaining asides, remains one area where humans have the upper hand.
Oh, come on, you could program the robots with much better jokes-n-anecdotes than the professors. I mean, the one thing we professors have is that we might say anything — the spontaneity. If that's a human being up there, then she might be saying what she's saying now not because she's programmed, but because she just thought that. She responded to something that a student said. But I think you could program a computer to have lots of material and to put things together spontaneously. What's different is that the student knows it's just built into the program, but the human-being teacher actually had a human experience with the student.

How precious is that?

Why are you better than a robot?

"A former law student has won a bid in bankruptcy court to discharge nearly $340,000 in education debt..."

"... because her diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome rendered her unable to repay the loans."
[Carol] Todd, who received her high school general equivalency diploma during the late 1980s, at the age of 39, began attending law school in 1992 but did not finish, according to the opinion. She went on to obtain a master's degree from Towson University and a Ph.D. from an unaccredited online school in 2007. She filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009. At the time of her trial, she was 63 and owed $339,361 to three student loan creditors....

"[T]o expect Ms. Todd to ever break the grip of Autism and meaningfully channel her energies toward tasks that are not in some way either dictated, or circumscribed, by the demands of her disorder would be to dream the impossible dream," [wrote U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gordon.
It's extremely unusual for student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy. This is one individual's case, but it makes me wonder about the many people with mental disabilities who take on education debt. Does the judge mean to send them the message that they are dreaming an impossible dream?

IN THE COMMENTS: Patrick answers my question:
No, but it sends the banks a message that they risk losing their money if they don't discriminate against people with mental illness.

May 21, 2012

Peonies, today.

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George Lucas: "I’ve been surprised to see some people characterize this as vindictive."

"I wouldn’t waste my time or money just to try and upset the neighbors."

Very funny. The liberals of Marin County blocked his expansion of his film studios, and he gave up and said he'd sell the land to a developer to bring "low income housing" to the area.

Ha ha ha. Whatever you do... don't call them "hot tubbers."

"Nonlegal Arguments for Upholding the Individual Mandate."

Ilya Somin describes and refutes arguments based on enhancing the Court's "legitimacy," avoiding the appearance of "partisanship," and avoiding "judicial activism." Actually, calling these arguments "nonlegal" is part of the refutation.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to win the 5 June 2012 recall election: 90%.

It's just Intrade.

Men are turning to jobs in fields long dominated by women.

The NYT reports:
[T]he trend has spread among men of nearly all races and ages, more than a third of whom have a college degree. In fact, the shift is most pronounced among young, white, college-educated men...

To the extent that the shift to “women’s work” has been accelerated by recession, the change may reverse when the economy recovers. “Are boys today saying, ‘I want to grow up and be a nurse?’ ” asked Heather Boushey, senior economist at the Center for American Progress. “Or are they saying, ‘I want a job that’s stable and recession proof?’ ” 

In interviews, however, about two dozen men played down the economic considerations, saying that the stigma associated with choosing such jobs had faded, and that the jobs were appealing not just because they offered stable employment, but because they were more satisfying....

Several men cited the same reasons for seeking out pink-collar work that have drawn women to such careers: less stress and more time at home. At John G. Osborne Elementary, Adrian Ortiz, 42, joked that he was one of the few Mexicans who made more in his native country, where he was a hard-working lawyer, than he did in the United States as a kindergarten teacher in a bilingual classroom. “Now,” he said, “my priorities are family, 100 percent.”

"Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker... [t]he articulate, reform-minded, anti-partisan urban legislator..."

"... known for his chummy relationship with Republican Gov. Chris Christie and heat-of-the-moment heroics, looks to have found himself tangled with Democratic Party elite over the last 24 hours."
Why did the two-term mayor, who many considered the likely first African-American president pre-Obama 2004 convention speech, draw the ire of his fellow Democrats? During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday, Booker called the Obama campaign’s attack against private equity “nauseating,” going on to compare the strategy to planned media attacks on the president by outside conservative groups referencing Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Within hours the mayor put together a nearly 4-minute Youtube soundbite clarifying his support for the president and the vetting of presumptive GOP-nominee Mitt Romney’s business record, but still reiterated his frustration with negative campaigning and his feeling of nausea. Many have speculated that Booker’s video explanation came following immediate behind-closed-door rebukes from DNC and Obama campaign headquarters, as the Morning Joe men have since compared the footage to a ‘hostage video.'
ADDED: Allahpundit asks the key question: Why did Booker do it? Why did he go so "wildly, wildly off-message, so much so as to draw a public rebuke from Axelrod and a thinly veiled one from The One himself"?
I assume his thinking was that, since he’s planning to run for higher office sooner or later, he should take advantage of his MTP spotlight to make a splash with potential Wall Street donors. He was bound to tick off a bunch of Obama campaign staff and other powerful Democrats in the process, but he knows they’ll forgive him soon enough if he looks primed to beat Christie or replace Lautenberg in the Senate.
Isn't he better off now than he was before?