June 9, 2012

Brick and stone.

Seen today, in West Lafayette, Indiana:

Untitled

This detail shows the charming placement of 2 stones to make a chevron:

Untitled

"It’s unclear how Apple and Google will respond to Posner’s surprise pounding of them. .'"

Says WaPo noting Judge Posner's decision to dismiss the patent case and his related blog post:
In his remarkable ruling, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner stated that there was no point in holding a trial because it was apparent that neither side could show they had been harmed by the other’s patent infringement.....

Posner’s decision to descend from the 7th Circuit to oversee the Google-Apple trial suggests he wished to step in and do something directly about the patent system. (Ordinarily, Posner would never hear a patent case as all patent appeals are sent to the DC-based Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; that court has maintained an ideological bias in favor of patent owners despite repeated rebuffs by the Supreme Court).
And this is from the blog post, which spoke generally about capitalism and included the phrase "dysfunctional patent system":
We have a huge public debt, dangerously neglected infrastructure, a greatly overextended system of criminal punishment, a seeming inability to come to grips with grave environmental problems such as global warming, a very costly but inadequate educational system, unsound immigration policies, an embarrassing obesity epidemic, an excessively costly health care system, a possible rise in structural unemployment, fiscal crises in state and local governments, a screwed-up tax system, a dysfunctional patent system, and growing economic inequality that may soon create serious social tensions. Our capitalist system needs a lot of work to achieve proper capitalist goals.

The GOP's "Doing Fine" ad evokes the opening titles to "The Terminator."

We were just talking about the way that ad is closely modeled on an anti-McCain ad from 2008. You can see the McCain ad at the Politico link where the similarity was noted. At my post, my son Chris dropped by to say the GOP ad "uses the main theme beat from The Terminator."

Here's the new "Doing Fine" ad:



And here's the opening title sequence from "The Terminator." Sorry I can't embed that. Anyway, the beat is used throughout the movie to make the viewer feel anxious about the relentless approach of the horrible robot from the future.

Scott Walker says "The mayor could have had $50 million more, it wouldn't have made a difference."

"I think if you ask most voters today, everybody knew what was at stake. Everybody knew where I was, they knew what the mayor offered. There was no confusion. One of the positive things I looked at, this was one of those few elections where it wasn't based on some goofy sidebar issue. It wasn't based on some personality issue. It was fundamentally, here's where this side stands, here's where that side stands. Who do you pick?"

Lots more here, including the fact that Scott Walker has got a lot of yard work and painting around the house to catch up with.

Why would any meat-eater criticize someone for eating a roasted pig fetus?

Some people are shocked that Nigella Lawson said: "When I was in Spain, they aborted a pig for me and roasted the foetus. Soooo good.”

If women have a right to abort a human fetus, but killing a born human being is an extremely serious crime, and if we kill born animals for food all the time, and very few of us call that murder, why would extracting a pig fetus and using it for food be a problem at all?

At the Bookstore Café...

P1050981

P1050978

... you can read all day. And write some comments!

Obama's effort at explaining why he said "the private sector is doing fine."

Let's see if it makes as much sense as Romney's explanation of "I like being able to fire people," which, actually always made sense if you were allowed to see the whole quote, not clipped short. The explanation was right there in the next sentence: "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If someone doesn't give me the good service I need, I'm going to go get somebody else to provide that service to me." Romney was using what actually often works great in a speech: a provocative, short, surprising sentence, followed by something that convinces the listener that what sounded counterintuitive is really true.

But "The private sector is doing fine" wasn't that kind of remark. It was made in response to a question after he read a prepared statement, which had made the same point and purported to back it up with facts, and it was a point he wanted to make to justify a government jobs plan:

6 pitchers — for the Seattle Mariners — throw 1 no-hitter.

Yesterday, against the Los Angeles Dodgers — "the 10th combined no-hitter in MLB history."

June 8, 2012

GOP goes after Obama exactly the way Obama went after McCain.

A new ad, modeled closely on one from 2008.

"By laughing out loud on the radio, they gave permission for you at home to laugh too."

The "Car Talk" guys are retiring. Did you like them or did they annoy you? If you liked/didn't like them, was their constant laughing part of the reason why?

"The third and smallest of the family of Red-Tailed Hawks nesting on the roof of Weeks Hall on the UW-Madison campus finally left the nest..."

"... [yesterday], a few days after his siblings. He/she may return to the nest for a day or two, so we'll leave the webcam up for another few days at http://hawkcam.ssec.wisc.edu."

At the Zen Custard Café...

P1050947

... turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream.

"Making Mormons look bad helps others feel good."

"By imagining Mormons as intolerant rubes, or as heretical deviants, Americans from left and right can imagine they are, by contrast, tolerant, rational and truly Christian..."
Contemporary anti-Mormonism tends to emerge either from the secular left or from the evangelical Protestant right. For the left, Mormonism often functions as a stand-in for discomfort over religion generally... Any religion looks weird from the outside, but the image of Mormonism seems caught somewhere between perpetual strangeness and strait-laced blandness....

For the right... many rank-and-file evangelical Protestants call Mormonism a cult... or a “non-Christian religion.".... Anti-Mormon attacks by evangelicals have betrayed anxiety over the divisions in their movement and their slipping cultural authority as arbiters of religious authenticity.

"For the president of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history as an extraordinary miscalculation."

Said Mitt Romney.
Romney also addressed the president's argument that the federal government should help state and local jurisdictions hire more employees...

"Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time to cut back on government," Romney said....

"I think he's defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people."

"Sorry. No Snakes — Or Snake-Based Drinks."

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A sign.

P1050954

At the Frozen Custard stand.

Justice Scalia "was not only gregarious and engaging but seemed to get the joke and seemed to get the absurdity of what I was doing..."

Says Kevin Bleyer, a "Daily Show" writer, who — writing his book "Me the People," got Scalia to do an interview.
I was a little bit nervous that he wouldn’t suffer me and my foolishness. It was a relief when he... seemed to understand the intention of what my book is.
He's good at discerning the intention of the drafters of various documents. 

"My husband is a good person: hard-working, committed to social justice. But I’ve come to a startling truth about myself..."

"I might be happier with a less ambitious partner, someone less focused on his career and curing the ills of the world and more focused on me, actually, and the piddling details of our family life."

A striking sentence in an essay that, as I started reading it, I decided to blog with a different quote, but I switched. I rarely switch!

The other sentence was: "Sara’s bridegroom read his vows, shivering a little as he promised to always listen, to make her goals his goals, to constantly improve his mind to remain interesting to her."

"Put me in a room with a pad and a pencil and set me up against a hundred people with a hundred computers - I'll outcreate every goddamn sonofabitch in the room."

Said Ray Bradbury, in a 1998 interview, quoted in a new NYT op-ed, by the writer Tim Kreider, who says:
[Bradbury] opposed the kind of technology that deadened imagination, the modernity that would trash the past, the kind of intellectualism that tried to centrifuge out awe and beauty. He famously did not care to drive or fly, but he was a passionate proponent of space travel, not because of its practical benefits but because he saw it as the great spiritual endeavor of the age, our generation’s cathedral building, a bid for immortality among the stars.

His visions of a better world weren’t high-tech but archaic, bucolic. In “Fahrenheit,” Montag remembers “a farm he had visited when he was very young, one of the rare few times he had discovered that somewhere behind the seven veils of unreality, beyond the walls of parlors and the tin moat of the city, cows chewed cud and pigs sat in warm ponds at noon and dogs barked after white sheep on a hill.” His utopia isn’t some flying city or exotic planet but prewar, small-town America — specifically, Waukeagan, Ill., circa 1928, a town of porch swings and bandshells, dandelion wine stored up in cool cellars and fire balloons on the Fourth of July. His Martians are not alien like Heinlein’s or futuristically evolved like Welles’s but a premodern people akin to the ancient Egyptians or American Indians (or a boy’s idealized conception of them), our superiors not technologically but spiritually. He was, like most of my favorite artists, a misanthropic humanist.
That's nice. I respect the art and aesthetics. But back away from the government. Do not lay your hands on the people's money to pay for your nostalgic, utopian trips to Mars. Keep dreaming your dreams and penning your stories, but do not use tax money to make these things real. Trips to Mars belong in the same category with the high-speed rail.

"But I was an integral part of that band... I put more of myself into that band than anything else I've ever done."

"It basically comes down to the fact that they don't like me anymore." 

An old quote from the Fleetwood Mac member whose name you might not remember, who shot himself to death yesterday.

About Cory Booker: "He’s dead to us."

The NY Post quotes a "ranking [Obama] administration official."

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton, who presumably doesn't want to be dead, is "very sorry."

Post-recall progressive regrets: We should have escalated the protests instead of ceding our ground to the Democratic Party.

Here's Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive, writing in Isthmus:
[T]he movement -- a real giant grassroots movement, which flooded the Capitol Square with more than 100,000 people.... began to disintegrate the moment the leaders (and who were they, exactly?) decided to pour everything into the Democratic Party channels rather than explore the full potential of the power that was latent but present in the streets back in February and March of 2011....
It was a mistake, Rothschild says, to retreat into the recall effort instead of fighting Governor Walker "with mass civil disobedience." Think of the "creative strategies" that were not tried:
The Teamsters with their 18 wheelers, whose support was so emboldening, could have driven down Interstate 90 and 94 at 45 mph all day long for a week's time to demonstrate that workers in Wisconsin weren't going to take this lying down.
Okay, let's be creative! Let's imagine what would have happened, if Teamsters with their 18 wheelers had driven down down Interstate 90 and 94 at 45 mph all day long for a week. Rothschild — he's so creative! — seems to imagine that the public would become enraged at Scott Walker and demand political change. That's the progressive fever dream.

I would have thought that the recall election was a reality slap in the face for progressives. But no, they plunge more deeply into a self-marginalizing fantasy, from which they cannot speak to ordinary people.

But I do agree with Rothschild about one thing: The Democratic Party appropriated the passion and idealism of the protesters and turned it into a hackish pursuit of partisan power. They sucked the life out of it, and the protesters should feel abused.

ADDED: About that Teamsters on I-90/I-94 protest: I love the way lefties totally forget about global warming and carbon footprints whenever anything distracts them

NYT/CBS poll shows low approval rating of the Supreme Court... but why?

A poll of 976 adults shows 44% approve of "the way the Supreme Court is handling its job," 36% disapprove, and 20% judiciously opine that they don't know. When asked if "the current U.S. Supreme Court Justices decide their cases based on legal analysis without regard to their own personal or political views, or do you think they sometimes let their own personal or political views influence their decisions?," 76% give the answer that is obviously prompted by the question: They sometimes let their own personal or political views influence their decisions.

You really have to be naive or to restate the question in your head before answering to resist the "sometimes" and say legal analysis only, but 13% did. 7% had the wits to quibble with or qualify the question and say that some of the Justices do or "it depends." The restrained "don't know" crowd dwindles to 4% at this point (which I think suggests that they took advantage of the "sometimes" prompt in the question and jumped on the obvious "yes").

Here's the analysis in the NYT by Adam Liptak and Allison Kopicki, who stress that the approval level is as low as it's been in a quarter century. But why is approval on the decline? Is it because of the new Obama appointees and what's going on with the liberal wing of the Court? Or is it John Roberts and the coterie of conservatives that the NYT would like to push back? The poll questions do not attempt to extract this particularity.

They don't ask, for example: 1. Do you think that the Supreme Court should strike down statutes that exceed the Framers idea of limited, enumerated powers?, 2. Do you think that the Court should define constitutional rights to accord with evolving notions of equality and individual autonomy?, 3. Can you name a Supreme Court Justice who is accurately applying legal analysis without regard to his or her own personal or political views?, 4. Can you name a Supreme Court Justice who has allowed his or her personal or political views to influence decisionmaking?

Different answers to questions like that could take us in quite different directions. But Liptak and Kopecki seem to assume that the conservatives are the problem:
The decline... could reflect a sense that the court is more political, after the ideologically divided 5-to-4 decisions in Bush v. Gore, which determined the 2000 presidential election, and Citizens United, the 2010 decision allowing unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions....
But:
On the highest-profile issue now facing the court, the poll found that more than two-thirds of Americans hope that the court overturns some or all of the 2010 health care law when it rules, probably this month. There was scant difference in the court’s approval rating between supporters and opponents of the law.

The court’s tepid approval ratings crossed ideological lines and policy agendas. Liberals and conservatives both registered about 40 percent approval rates. Forty-three percent of people who hoped the court would strike down the health care law approved of its work, but so did 41 percent of those who favored keeping the law.
You can hope for the outcome that you like politically, but still think that the Court ought to do its work in accordance with a purely legal methodology, and you should worry that the Justices are imposing their own political and policy notions as they decide cases. That combination of attitudes is perfectly sensible. In addition, it's natural for human beings to perceive that the judges who aren't doing it right are the ones who are reaching the outcomes that they don't like. That's how the mind works. It's so banal I'm a little embarrassed to put it down in plain words.

And yet, I expect you to argue with me about it. I expect comments that will demonstrate exactly the thing that I just said was natural for human beings to perceive.

Goth/emo boy from Austin surprises everyone... but is it real?



How is it his parents never heard him sing? Is this phony? Did the producers style and script this?

June 7, 2012

At the Chamomile Café...

Untitled

... may the conversation flower.

"Who are these people? They're not even from Wisconsin... and they're calling it over?!"

The day after the recall election, protesters show their spirit... confronting the CNN bus....



The Solidarity Singers shall not be moved... but the CNN bus is leaving.

"Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind?"



"Did you feel like going like that?"

Via Metafilter.

"CNN Poll: George W. Bush only living ex-president under 50%."

He's at 43%. Carter's at 54%. Clinton's way up at 66%. H.W. has 59%.

I don't trust CNN polls. They had Walker and Barrett dead even as the polls closed on June 5th. So, let's just do an Althouse poll:

Best and worst living ex-Presidents?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

"The Romney Campaign's 'Route to 270' Doesn't Get to 270."

The Atlantic's Molly Ball asserts.
So I did the math: If Romney flips those six states [Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia] and no others, how many electoral votes would he end up with? Romney starts from a baseline of 179 electoral votes -- McCain actually won 173 electoral votes, but Census-based reapportionment has added electoral votes to red states and subtracted them from blue states. Add to that Colorado's 9 votes, Florida's 29 votes, Iowa's 6 votes, Nevada's 6 votes, Ohio's 18 votes and Virginia's 13 votes, and you get 260. 
So you need 10 more electoral votes? Hmmm.... can we think of a state that has 10 electoral votes? Let me think really hard, because for the last year and a half, I've just been so distracted by....

Wisconsin.

By the way, do we usually shift over to talking in Electoral College terms this early in the election season? It seems to me that June 7th is really early for ruminating over how the challenger to the incumbent gets to 270.

My post-recall question: What did Rahm Emanuel say to Tom Barrett to get him to run against Scott Walker?

Here's what things looked like on March 28th, before Barrett declared his candidacy for governor in the recall election:
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel helped raise money for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett during a luncheon at the Italian Community Center Wednesday – a strong sign that Barrett will enter a likely recall race against Gov. Scott Walker.

Tickets for Wednesday’s luncheon ranged from $400 each to $2,500 for a table. The luncheon was closed to the media, and outside, there were about 75 demonstrators.

Barrett is running for re-election as mayor. He has said he’ll announce whether he’s jumping into the governor’s race sometime between Friday and Tuesday. Earlier this month, Barrett said: “I’m seriously considering that office, but again, I love being the mayor of the city of Milwaukee, so that’s what I’m focusing on right now.”
On March 30 — 2 days later — Barrett announced his candidacy. His message at that point was that he would support collective bargaining, but he wanted to get to a compromise, bringing in all sides. "I'm going to try to heal the state. I'm going to try to restore the trust." This contrasted to what was being said by his rival for the Democratic Party nomination, Kathleen Falk — who'd announced her candidacy back in January. Falk had captured the unions' endorsement by pledging to veto any budget that did not restore public unions' collective bargaining powers.

Now, I think the polling numbers showed all along that Scott Walker was going to win the recall election, so something else was at stake that drove Emanuel to Milwaukee to propel Tom Barrett into the race. The real interests had to do with the national Democratic Party and the fall elections.

"Fox went with GloatFest 2012... MSNBC went with MSN be sad."

Cutest animal pic I've seen in a long time.

"The couple were moving their old washing machine when they discovered the tiny animals curled up in dead leaves trying to keep warm."

"Foie-mageddon: California in one last foie gras binge before statewide ban."

"... There have been protests, warnings of future black market bootlegging, and even death threats against non-compliant chefs."
... California's only foie gras producer is Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras, which is going out of business, despite business booming with clients placing bumper orders at $60 a pound in the weeks before the ban starts.

Owner Guillermo Gonzalez told The Daily Telegraph: "Our farm is being forced to shut down at the end of June, and the most unfortunate fact is that science has not been given a chance to play a role in this debate.

"Ultimately, chefs' and consumers' freedom of choice is being taken away. Who knows what food product is next?"

"Did President Obama Just Make A Blowjob Joke?"

He was speaking at a gay and lesbian fundraiser at L.A.'s Beverly Wilshire. (The "wonderful friend" is Ellen DeGeneres, who once engaged in a pushups contest with Michelle Obama.)
I want to thank my wonderful friend who accepts a little bit of teasing about Michelle beating her in pushups -- (laughter) -- but I think she claims Michelle didn’t go all the way down. (Laughter.) That's what I heard. I just want to set the record straight -- Michelle outdoes me in pushups as well. (Laughter.) So she shouldn’t feel bad. She's an extraordinary talent and she's just a dear, dear friend -- Ellen DeGeneres. Give Ellen a big round of applause.
Take the poll. (Does that sound dirty to you?!) But before you do, consider that Obama has a bone to pick — does that sound dirty to you? — with Bill Clinton right now, and given the strong association between Bill Clinton and blowjobs and the suspicion that Obama is currently pissed at Bill Clinton, he may have been engaging in some subtle jousting with Bill Clinton — does that sound dirty to you? —about the  sexual proclivities of their respective wives.

Did President Obama make a blowjob joke? What's most likely?

  
pollcode.com free polls 

ADDED: Now, I'm seeing the video, and the analysis — difficult from the text alone — becomes easy:



The look on his face, after he says "That's what I heard," shows very clearly, to me, that Obama did not realize there was a double entendre. He looks troubled in a way that is incongruous with his previous expression. This audience is laughing, and they are laughing too much for the context as he had understood it. He now knows why, and he is imagining other audiences hearing this and attacking him. When I saw that expression on his face, I genuinely felt sorry for him.

ALSO: As several commenters have noted, if it is a joke, it is more of a female-on-female oral sex joke, so the term "blowjob" — used by Buzzfeed at the link — is off.

June 6, 2012

The anti-Walker "rhetoric wasn’t just hyperbolic. It was strategically suicidal."

Writes Charles Lane (at WaPo):
The unions and their various apologists whipped progressive Wisconsin into such a frenzy — falsely claiming, for example, that Walker was about to unleash the National Guard — that the anti-Walker forces could no longer perceive political reality.

Even after they lost a crucial state supreme court election in early 2011, Walker’s foes persisted in state legislature recall elections, also futile, that summer. Still not getting the message, they went ahead with the recall of Walker, and lost, yet again. Now it’s hard to see how the state Democrats can recover in time for the 2012 general election, or even the next gubernatorial race in 2014.
Lane goes on to argue that progressives should be glad Walker won. I'm seeing that opinion here and there: If government is more efficient and financially sound — in this case, because of Walker — then it can be used to do the things that people who like government to do things like. 

But speaking of the predictable futility of the Walker recall, completely by chance today, I ran across a Public Policy Polling article from last October, which made it clear, before the signature-gathering even began, that the recall effort should not have been attempted: "Wisconsin Recall Prospects Dimming."

(And by the way, what if the presidential election is so close that the Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes make the difference for Obama? And what if this year of recall fighting has alienated Wisconsin voters from the Democratic Party?)

At the Meadhawk Café...

meadehawk

... Meade was there...

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... and got a close-up.

"There’s no sugarcoating what this loss means for organized labor."

Writes WaPo's Greg Sargent, whom I normally don't link to because he's such a sugarcoater.
Unions invested heavily in this battle in order to make an example of Walker. The goal was to show that Republican governors who attempt to roll back organizing rights will pay the ultimate political price. That effort failed, and the failure will have major repercussions for labor groups as they gear up for future fights over bargaining rights in states.
Okay so far, but then he descends into the kind of writing that is why I don't normally link:

"Awwww, someone is mad because they look worse than someone who wasn't born a woman. That's jealousy, and it's uuuugly."

"She might want to try some Preparation H for all that butt hurt."

= top-rated comment at Think Progress.

Get bent: "When [the progressive faith] prevails, Wisconsin bends the arc of history toward justice."

Sentimental pap from John Nichols at the Cap Times, the morning after the recall election.

"Mysterious Buddhist Retreat in the Desert Ends in a Grisly Death."

NYT reports on a couple who were expelled had been "had been expelled from a nearby Buddhist retreat in which dozens of adherents, living in rustic conditions, had pledged to meditate silently for three years, three months and three days." In a cave in the Arizona desert, Christie McNally was near death from thirst, and her husband, Ian Thorson, was already dead. Their "spiritual leader was a charismatic Princeton-educated monk whom some have accused of running the retreat as a cult." You think?!

California voters have "buyers' remorse" over over a $68.4 billion high-speed "train to nowhere."

"The project is still $54.9 billion short of what is needed, raising fears that the state will be unable to find the funds to finish later sections, and could be left with a futuristic rail line linking minor cities and farming communities."
A new poll shows almost three fifths would oppose the bullet train and halt public borrowing if given another chance to vote.

Almost seven in 10 said that, if the train ever does run between Los Angeles and San Francisco, they would "never or hardly ever" use it.

Not a single person said they would use it more than once a week, and only 33 per cent said they would prefer the bullet train over a one hour plane journey or seven hour drive. The cost of a ticket, estimated at $123 each way, also put many off. Jerry Brown, California's Democrat governor, has championed the project as a way to create jobs and is backed by unions.
Democratic governor... backed by unions... Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, we rejected the Democratic gubernatorial candidate who wanted the high-speed train. We rejected him in November 2010, and we re-rejected him yesterday.

Here's Tom Barrett in October 2010, just before his first loss to Scott Walker, touting high-speed rail — "a defining issue" — where "Wisconsin was the biggest winner" — bigger even than California — in getting an offer of federal money to pay for a leg of a rail system.



And here is one of the most effective political ads I've ever experienced, the ad from Scott Walker, in late summer of 2010, rejecting the high-speed rail:

"F*ck Me, Ray Bradbury, the greatest sci-fi writer in history..."


Some people really love reading.

Via The Pathetic Earthling.

Disappointed Barrett voter: "The end of the U.S.A. as we know it just happened."

"Every single one of you out there in the nation, if you're watching, democracy died tonight."

Also at the link: The Barrett supporter who slapped Barrett in the face (for conceding).

And check out Adam Schabow — here he is in happier times — emoting late last night:



Time for Republicans and conservatives to act mature... even if you don't think Democrats and liberals would be acting very dignified right now if the election had gone the other way.

What happened in the Wisconsin senate recall elections?

There were 4 other elections yesterday (beyond governor and lt. governor), and in one of them, the Democrat seems to have won:
But Democrat John Lehman of Racine defeated Republican incumbent Van Wanggaard in a fourth state Senate contest. Mr. Wanggaard hasn't conceded yet, and the result is close enough—Mr. Lehman won by fewer than 800 votes out of more than 70,000 cast, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel—that a recount may be warranted. If Mr. Lehman's win holds, Democrats will have a 17-16 majority in the Senate.

That would give the Democrats bragging rights but little else given that the Wisconsin Senate is out of session for the rest of the year. Moreover, elections are in November, and 16 of the 33 Senate seats are being contested. The new district maps that have been drawn give Republicans an advantage in the fall. So even if Democrats now control the state Senate due to yesterday's results, few political observers expect them to hold it for long.
So is a recount worth doing? What do you think of this as a standard: If the numbers were the other way around, and the Republican had won by 800 out of 70,000 cast, would the Democrats be seeking a recount?

Ray Bradbury has died.

He was 91.

Instapundit says: "People are mostly talking about The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, but I liked Dandelion Wine."

I think I was assigned "Fahrenheit 451" to read in high school, and I was impressed by it, but for some reason what I most remember of his is "The Veldt." Plot summary:
A family lives in a house with the latest technology. It is called the “Happylife Home” and its installation cost $30,000. The house is filled with machines that do everything for them from cooking meals, to clothing them, to rocking them to sleep. The two children, Peter and Wendy, become fascinated with the "nursery," a virtual reality room that is able to connect with the children telepathically to reproduce any place they imagine.
That was written in 1950, long before video games, etc.

Top 5 Wisconsin Protests That In Retrospect Sound Like Pro-Walker Protests Against the Protests.

5. "Shame!"

4. "Recall Walker." (Yes, we recall him very well... and like him.)

3. "What's Disgusting?

2. "Don't Stop Believing."



1. "This is what democracy looks like."

"I adore all the news agencies declaring #wirecall being too close to call. DUH! Did we expect anything else?!? #madvote" — a typical entry...

... on the Isthmus "live-blog" that came at 8:31p.m. last night. Isthmus is our local "alternative" newspaper, and the readership over there pervasively left-liberal — Madison style (which is to say they are people steeped in the cloying belief that they are the good people, the people who care about people... and loathe anything tinged with conservatism).

Isthmus had one of those "CoverItLive" gadgets embedded, and it picked up a steady stream, including lots of stuff redirected from Twitter, with more than one post per minute. The polls had closed at 8, at which point the news media had declared — based on exit polling — that it was too close to call. But at 9 pm, all the news media called it for Walker. Between 8:31 and 9:00, the actual vote was coming in, and we were seeing — in stark contrast to the exit poll — that Walker was getting 15 or 16 percentage points ahead of Barrett. So let's dip into the Isthmus feed and see how the confrontation with reality played out. I'm excerpting from the copious flow:

"The Whupping in Wisconsin: Seven Key Conclusions."

'It's time to reflect. My own instincts are to enjoy the security of knowing things have not been upset. We're not going back. Peace has arrived. It's a beautiful morning. Or, as Meade just said: "It's morning in Wisconsin." But if the recall election had gone the other way, there would have been lusty gloating and aggressive interpretation of what it all means. What a stern repudiation of conservative politics it would have been!

So I want to look at some things like Erick Erickson's 7 conclusions. (The parentheticals are my reactions.)

1. "[D]efense of public sector unions is now a non-starter..." (This was known after the primary, when Barrett defeated Falk. Then Barrett had nowhere, really, to go. But he tried, with vague themes like bringing back "Wisconsin values" and making it possible for neighbors to speak to neighbors. The whole idea of the recall stopped making sense. )

2. The "coalition of disaffected independent voters, tea party activists, and Republicans held together." (Disaffected? I'd say the independent voters — e.g., me — coolly assessed the situation in Wisconsin and decided it's best to keep going in this direction.)

3. "[T]he Republican Party’s use of technology in its GOTV efforts really paid off.... The Democrats handed the GOP a marvelous gift of a recall that went on and on and on. By the time everyone got to the gubernatorial recall, the GOP had its GOTV tweaked perfectly." (Interesting. I kept hearing about how amazing the Democrats were on getting out the vote. The GOP never contacted us. We got 2 in-person visits from Democrats in the days before the election — in addition to Dem robo-calls — but on election day, we got nothing. I think one of the individuals who encountered Meade at the door — I never answer the door — figured out we were people who shouldn't be gotten out.)

4. We can discern that "Barack Obama is extremely nervous." (He was nervous and he showed it. That tweet-only contact with Wisconsin was an embarrassing display of nervousness. It made me think of that old 2008 theme: He voted present.)

5. "[E]xit polling does not work well for recall elections." (I'd say exit polling is so deeply defective that it should be ignored. I saw CNN using exit polling to make a show out of the night, to push ratings. They have these spiffy displays, to show numbers, which John King purports to explain to Wolf Blitzer, but the numbers are — I will presume from now on — bogus. It's like finding out "American Idol" doesn't count the phoned-in voters. No. It's worse. At least "American Idol" contestants are actually singing. But John King explaining the meaning of things that are not real? Why are we watching that? Is that independently entertaining? I can imagine a reality show where contestants are given ridiculous and false factoids and then they are judged by how much we enjoy their efforts to explain them. Actually, I used to play a little game like that with my sons when they were little. It was called "What if you had to argue...?")

6. "Barack Obama is still the favorite" in Wisconsin. (Is he relying on the exit polls?! I think the Obama people are completely freaked out now. And the better Walker does over the next 5 months, making things work — or making us feel that things are working — without the static or protests and recall and with economic numbers improving, the more the people of Wisconsin may get the impression that Romney can do things like that at the national level and save us from the depredations of liberal policy.)

7. "MSNBC is consistently the most entertaining news network in America when things go badly for the left.... I was actually concerned that Ed Schultz might have a medical episode on live television last night. It was … surreal." (I didn't watch much MSNBC. I get my fill of lefty acting-out in real life here in Madison. But maybe it is a fun TV show. Lord knows the CNN attempts at explaining nonexistent things are useless.)

Erickson has an 8th item, but he won't fully commit to it as a conclusion: "Anger does not win elections." (Anger... what exactly are we talking about? Dumb rage is unappealing, but some kind of fervor is needed. I think Barrett was a bad candidate because he was basically bland on the issues, he claimed he would restore good feeling, but he would rear up with angry talking points intermittently. This doesn't convince people that it's worth ousting somebody who's in the middle of doing a job that seems to be working and who seems reasonably steady and competent.)

June 5, 2012

Governor Walker.

Live-blogging the Wisconsin recall election.

6:40 Central Time: Hang out here.

6:42: We just drove by our polling place, and I could tell by the lack of cars in the parking lot and along the street that there were very few people inside. This morning, when we voted (at 8:15 or so), there were cars, and inside there were people but no line. We were also up at the Capitol Square, where there was an "Occupy Madison"-style group at the State Street end, but not much else. A guy was banging a drum, and someone had put an "Anonymous" mask on the "Forward!" statue. I'll have some photos and video soon.

7:00: This was the scene at the Capitol at about 6:20 this evening:

Untitled

Untitled

"Eat The Rich"... "Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité!"...

7:48:



7:52: Neil Cavuto, on Fox News from Madison, Wisconsin, shows a shot of the Transit of Venus, and I say "What does this have to do with Scott Walker?" and then Cavuto actually connects it to Scott Walker, using the segue "Imagine the history being made here. Right? You have the third governor in U.S. history being recalled, Venus passing through the sun, and people in the middle of what could be a revolution in Wisconsin, dining casually outside. The great confluence of events that you only get here on Fox Business Live."

8:00: The polls are closed. There's no litigation to keep any polls open late. And Fox Business News reports that it's too close to call at this point.

8:03: CNN's exit poll has 56% of men for Walker and 56% of women for Barrett. But there are more women for Walker (44%) than there are men for Barrett (43%). Independents favored Walker 50% to 49%. By the way, if these are exit polls, they obviously don't include all the early absentee voters, but perhaps they do a calcuation to account for that. The early voting efforts seemed to be done by Barrett supporters.

8:13: No actual vote counts yet, but they will appear here.

8:31: I get the feeling the TV shows are being theatrical with their "too close to call" announcements. Looking at the HuffPo "Election Dashboard," linked in the previous update, which is an actual vote count, we've got 58.3% for Walker and 41.1% for Barrett, with 7.4% reporting. Nearly the same spread between Kleefisch and Mitchell.

8:35: Intrade has Walker at 93.7%. I guess nobody believes the TV exit polls.

8:39: 60.6% Walker. 38.8% for Barrett. 11.4% reporting.

8:42: If you click on the counties at the HuffPo link, you can compare the current percentages to the percentages in 2010, when Walker beat Barrett in the regular election. So, for example, you expect the Democrat to win by a lot in Dane County (which includes Madison), and Barrett won with 68% in 2010. But right now, with 15.5% of the vote reported, Barrett is only winning with 55.8%. That's a HUGE step down from 2010.

8:51: Intrade's spiked to 98.7%.

8:54: Here's my edited video from the Capitol Square done around 6 p.m. this evening:



9:00: "NBC is full of shit!!! Dane County and Milwaukee haven't reported their results yet, and NBC called it for Walker?!?!" The outrage at Democratic Underground.

9:02: Fox News calls it for Walker.

9:03: CNN calls it for Walker. Man, the exit polling was pathetic. I just don't believe it was ever real. It was like the cable news channels colluded for the first hour and held off until 9 to tell us what we all knew. The question is how huge the victory is. We're looking at some numbers -- actual vote counts -- that are in the 60%/40% range.

9:06: Paul Begala is emoting like mad on CNN about how the Wisconsin recall has absolutely nothing to do with what will happen to Obama this fall.

9:11: Kleefisch wins too, CNN projects.

9:21: Meade gloats at Isthmus: "I hope somedaaaay you'll join us. And the state of Wisconsin can live as one."

9:39: Here's the Wall Street Journal: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived a recall election Tuesday, dealing a blow to organized labor, unsettling President Barack Obama's re-election strategy and signaling to Republican lawmakers across the nation that challenging government unions could pay political and fiscal dividends."

9:39: Larry Sabato on Fox Business says if the exit pollsters can't improve their techniques, the news shows shouldn't even use them.

9:42: Rebecca Kleefisch is giving her victory speech. She wants to thank everybody who never lost faith. A short speech, and those 2 little daughters seem to want to get off stage as quickly as possible.

9:49: Mitt Romney congratulates Walker: "Governor Walker has demonstrated over the past year what sound fiscal policies can do to turn an economy around, and I believe that in November voters across the country will demonstrate that they want the same in Washington, D.C. Tonight’s results will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin. Governor Walker has shown that citizens and taxpayers can fight back – and prevail – against the runaway government costs imposed by labor bosses. Tonight voters said ‘no’ to the tired, liberal ideas of yesterday, and ‘yes’ to fiscal responsibility and a new direction. I look forward to working with Governor Walker to help build a better, brighter future for all Americans."

9:56: "Well, Russ Feingold said it’s not over till we win, which is kinda like the German position in Stalingrad. . . . But comparing one’s opponents to Hitler is right out. Right, Russ? Oh, never mind. . . ." 

10:02: Bloomberg editorial:  "Recall elections have their place: generally, in cases of serious breaches of the public faith or morality, or of extreme incompetence. The effort to recall Walker, however, stemmed from a political disagreement over his support for a law that, among other things, limited the collective-bargaining rights of public-sector employees.We have mixed feelings about the legislation...."

10:06: Walker is missing the prime time audience for his victory speech because BARRETT IS CHOOSING not to concede. Barrett, who said HE would end the "civil war" in Wisconsin. What hypocrisy!

10:09: Look at the blue-red balance on the map for last year's state supreme court battle. Now look at tonight's map.

10:12: Finally, Barrett is conceding. "Please, please, please, remain engaged, remain involved, because we will continue to fight for justice and fairness in this city and this state."

10:15: He continues with his bland banalities. Let us continue to do what is right. Tom Barrett. Epic fail. And then he — who said he'd end the "civil war" in Wisconsin — ends it with "Let's go get 'em." So... continuing the war. Ridiculous!

10:24: Walker's victory speech. "First of all,  I want to thank God for his abundant grace...." And the people in factories and farms have "sustained" him. He loves his wife, Tonette. "Tonette's just been a rock." (Women love that, being called "a rock.")  This must be so immensely rewarding to him. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks. He's praising The Framers. "What has made our country unbelievable... what has made the United States arguably one of the greatest countries in the history of the world"... is that there have been men and women who have stood up. There have been "good and decent people" who had "courage." I know he's trying to say that about himself, even though he won't say "I." But: I was courageous and I made the tough decisions....

10:36: "Talking together... solutions... prosperity for all our people..." Walker is talking about ways to "bring all our people together": with brats and beer! "Now is the time for us to come together."

10:39: A very satisfying evening. I was touched to see Scott Walker, speaking in such a selfless, public-spirited way, after all the abuse he's taken for well over a year. He must feel so relieved and so vindicated, but there wasn't a shred of gloating or even basking. What a moment!

"Early exit polling in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election suggests that union household comprise roughly a third of all voters..."

"... a share of the vote that is higher than either of the last two presidential or gubernatorial elections held in the state."
Voters in the recall also tilt positively toward public sector unions in general, but not by a huge margin. Voters split about evenly in their support for changes to state law that limited the collective bargaining ability of government unions, an issue at the heart of recall effort.

Drawing broad conclusions about the shape of the electorate remains difficult due to the fact that these early exit poll reflect only morning and afternoon voters and can (and likely will) shift before polls close at 9 p.m. eastern time.
That's in the Washington Post. I'm not seeing any info on where or how the exit polling was done, but if true — as we say in Wisconsin — that sounds scary for Walker supporters.

ADDED: A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article that went up 15 minutes ago says:
No statewide figures were available, but local election officials offered fairly similar accounts of a heavy turnout in communities large and small, in both Democratic and Republican areas.

In many places, election officials said turnout was as strong as, or stronger than, it was for the 2010 gubernatorial election. A few even compared it to the 2008 presidential election.
There was a very strong turnout in Milwaukee and Madison, the Democratic stronghold.
But Walker's base also appeared to be turning out strongly, particularly in several Waukesha County communities that favored him by more than a 2-to-1 margin in his 2010 victory over Barrett. Shawn Lundie, Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas' chief of staff, believes voter turnout in his county will exceed the state Government Accountability Board's estimate of 60% to 65%.
UPDATE: Drudge is headlining: "EXIT POLLS SHOW WALKER HOLDING SEAT."
WI EXIT POLLS: REMATCH SIMILAR TO ELECTION 2 YEARS AGO, SOURCES TELL DRUDGE... '5 POINT MARGIN'... DEVELOPING...

"What The Sun Really Does To Your Face."

Check out the Unilateral Dermatoheliosis — caused by driving a truck for 28 years, with the sun always hitting one side of the face.

"MASSIVE TURNOUT IN MADISON."





Anti-Walkerites on the eve of the recall performed an "Om the Dome" ritual at the Wisconsin Capitol.

"Oma Vic McMurray, who runs a home childcare center and has been active in the effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker, instructed the crowd on breathing techniques and led a practice group 'Om.'"
McMurray says the community chant was meant to be a time to "consciously connect on a spiritual level so that we could raise the energy and have faith that this will be a good week for Wisconsin."

Connie Nadler says she felt the symbolism of the moment. "It was quite touching. I was at the connecting point where we were stretching to reach and connect to the other end of the line. The Capitol police were there and were real encouraging. People rushed from the street to help" complete the circle.
Reminds me of Allen Ginsberg at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago 1968:



And, especially since a building was involved, it takes me all the way back to 1967 and "Levitate the Pentagon"....
[A] group of hippies was trying to exorcize the Pentagon. The brainchild of Abbie Hoffman, the plan was for people to sing and chant until it levitated and turned orange, driving out the evil spirits and ending the war in Viet Nam. The Pentagon didn't move.
Related: "What do you think Abbie Hoffman would do to stop the Koch brothers?"

2 new ideas about why Barack Obama didn't come to Wisconsin to campaign for Tom Barrett.

From Tobin Harshaw:
The first is that Barrett in recent weeks has attacked Walker for becoming a "rock star" in the national conservative movement, and may have felt that bringing in his own party's rock star would have undermined that effort.

The second, and more likely, is that Barrett made his criticisms of Walker's job-creation record -- not collective-bargaining rights -- the focal point of the race. Given Friday's May jobs report that showed national unemployment on the rise and the fewest jobs added in a year, perhaps the "efficacy" of a presidential visit really was called into question.

"It'll be a fahntahzztic evahnahng, ahnnd you cahhhnn join us."

I know this is a few days old, but I've been laughing at it for a few days, and I'm convinced now that it is ageless, so embed I must:



I could swear that at 0:22, she says "We're saving the 2 best teats in the house for you," but Meade won't agree.

I'm just trying to imagine the life a person would have to live to develop these mannerisms and affectations. Perhaps Anna Wintour came upon this personal style through hard work and wonderful creativity, but it's just so freaky! Why did the Obama campaign folk imagine this wasn't horribly, embarrassingly out of touch with Americans? That's the question.

By the way, is Wintour American? Because if she is, what the hell is that accent? Some kind of Jackie-Kennedy-gone-mad inflection? Okay, she was born in England. So I can't fathom depth of the phoniness. It's a mystery. And I think she is an American citizen now, so it's not that ridiculous for the campaign to want to use her as a lure for donors. But... someone in that campaign should have realized how mockable this would be and said no.

Now, I'm seeing that Media Matters is boldly coming to the rescue by accusing "Right-Wing Media" of "Unleash[ing]" a "Sexist" attack.

Here's a feminist clue from me to Media Matters: If you think it's "sexist" to make fun of how a particular woman looks and talks, but you don't have an equivalent principle with respect to making fun of how a particular man looks and talks, then you are being sexist. No special protection for the ladies — especially when they step into the political arena.

Bad engagement rings.

Yikes. This one is upsetting me:

"52 percent of the English lexicon.... consists of lexical ‘dark matter’ undocumented in standard references."

Should we just go ahead and make words up? Or does the notinthedictionary problem stop you?

"The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Tuesday declined to rehear arguments over California's ban on gay marriage..."

"... which the court invalidated in February. The decision sends the case on a trajectory to the U.S. Supreme Court."

There were 3 dissenting votes on an "en banc" panel of 11 judges. Here's a PDF of today's order.  The dissenting opinion, from O'Scannlain, Bybee, and Bea said:
A few weeks ago, subsequent to oral argument in this case, the President of the United States ignited a media firestorm by announcing that he supports same-sex marriage as a policy matter. Drawing less attention, however, were his comments that the Constitution left this matter to the States and that “one of the things that [he]’d like to see is–that [the] conversation continue in a respectful way.”

Today our court has silenced any such respectful conversation.

"The case against single-sex schooling."

Rebecca Bigler,  a professor of psychology and women’s and gender studies at the University of Texas,  and Lise Eliot, a professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School, push back against what they call the "pseudoscience" of single-sex education:
The sex differences that have been identified are small and statistical... Scientists agree there is much more overlap than difference between boys and girls in their brains and behavior...

"Police Stop, Handcuff Every Adult at Intersection in Search for Bank Robber."

ABC News reports:
Police said they had received what they called a “reliable” tip that the culprit in an armed robbery at a Wells Fargo bank committed earlier was stopped at the red light.

“We didn’t have a description, didn’t know race or gender or anything, so a split-second decision was made to stop all the cars at that intersection, and search for the armed robber,” Aurora police Officer Frank Fania told ABC News.

Officers barricaded the area, halting 19 cars.
The search went on for about 2 hours, and when they got to the last car, they found was a person they arrested for the crime. 

It's very odd that they would have the tip in that form, with absolutely no detail other than the person was stopped at a particular red light. And the evidence found — according to the article — was 2 loaded firearms.

"Bill Clinton Does Not Want Barack Obama to Win."



Let me point back to this post of mine: "Bill Clinton did not come to Wisconsin to help Tom Barrett win the recall election."
I'm not convinced Clinton is devoted to the short game of reelecting Obama. I think he might be playing a long game: Hillary 2016.

Voter suppression by "Walker allies" or last-minute, uncheckable smear by Barrett people?

Salon reports:
With both sides counting on dramatic turnout, Tom Barrett’s campaign is charging Scott Walker supporters with dirty tricks. In an e-mail sent to supporters last night, Barrett for Wisconsin Finance Director Mary Urbina-McCarthy wrote, “Reports coming into our call center have confirmed that Walker’s allies just launched a massive wave of voter suppression calls to recall petition signers.” According to Urbina-McCarthy, the message of the calls was: “If you signed the recall petition, your job is done and you don’t need to vote on Tuesday.”

Last night I talked to a Wisconsin voter who says she received just such a robo-call. Carol Gibbons told me she picked up the phone and heard a male voice saying “thank you for taking this call,” and that “if you signed the recall petition, you did not have to vote because that would be your vote.”
There's a dirty trick in here somewhere, but whose? Somebody said she received this junk? Prove it. Who was it from? All the Barrett campaign is on the hook for saying is that they've heard reports from people who say they've gotten these calls. Why would Walker people do this? They aren't the desperate ones.
Urbina-McCarthy’s email requested donations to fund a new round of phone calls to all recall petitioner signers to make sure they know they still need to vote. 
Oh, they raised money off this completely deniable allegation?
Reached over e-mail, Barrett spokesperson Phil Walzak said, “If true, this shows the desperation of Walker and his right wing allies in the final hours of the campaign, and the depths to which they will sink to maintain their grip on power at the expense of the people and values of the great state of Wisconsin.”
This shows desperation, all right, but the Walker campaign isn't the one that's desperate. I love the egregious deniability here: If true... Great intro phrase for the sleazy rumor-mongers of the world.

ADDED: David Prichard — a journalism professor at U.W.-Milwaukee — has this May 2012 article in Wisconsin Lawyer about prosecuting false political speech in Wisconsin:
Wisconsin has three misdemeanor statutes that may be used against people who make intentionally false statements in political campaigns. The statutes prohibit false representations affecting elections, criminal defamation, and giving false information for publication. This article reports how the Wisconsin statutes have been used – and, in some cases, misused – over the past two decades....

Political speech is not automatically protected by the First Amendment. Intentional, calculated lies may be punished; at least 17 states have laws that forbid various kinds of false campaign speech. But the wisest course of action is to save criminal prosecution for the most egregious cases. The statutes discussed in this article should never be used against a sincere critic, a confused or careless partisan, or the perpetrator of a juvenile prank.

"Shame on Obama for abandoning Wisconsin during the recall."

Writes Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive (which is a Madison-based publication):
Obama and his team don't want to risk anything for Tom Barrett. Well, they risked a lot by not risking anything.

They've alienated their base in Wisconsin. People here are furious at the White House, and that won't help Obama come November.
Oh, don't be so tough on poor Obama. Look, he's trying:



Hey, Wisconsinites. Hey! Hey! Makes me think of this Brian Regan routine.

Civic duty accomplished: We have voted.

Too late to try to influence us with late-breaking indictments and 25-year-old love children. We took a nice walk — er — over to the First Congregational Church where they'd made a polling place out of the big downstairs auditorium instead of the usual little ground-floor room. There was no line, but I was #220 at 8:15 a.m. The polls opened at 7, so maybe there were lines earlier — citizens who'd moved on into the workplace.

"Did you absentee vote?" I was asked as I checked in.

"No, I prefer the theater of in-person voting," I said, and the woman checking me in said that she did too.

The mood in the place was somber. I didn't bother to take a blue folder that's provided to hide the ballot as you go from the place where you draw a black marker line completing the arrows that point at the names of the candidates you like to the machine that sucks in the ballot and makes that reassuring noise that tells you the ballot is now truly and securely collected. But the young woman after me wielded the blue folder with great care as she approached the machine. So secretive! You know what that means.

Here in Madison, Wisconsin.

Time to go vote in the big recall election.

Who are Althouse and Meade voting for?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

The Walker recall election is more important than the presidential election.

Mickey Kaus says:
1) Tomorrow’s recall may not be the “second most important election this year,” as some observers have claimed. It may be the first; 2) The ramifications for American government, which are profound, vastly outweigh ramifications for the Obama/Romney presidential campaign, which are secondary at best, even though national reporters like to go on about them, perhaps because doing so avoids … 3) The union issue: It’s a “referendum on the future of public sector unions” and maybe unions generally....
Well, somebody should have told Tom Barrett. He didn't want to talk about the unions, and he didn't want to talk about it because he knew the people were on the other side. So what if he wins? He won by ignoring the unions. He was not their candidate. So the unions have already lost. They lost in the Democratic primary. A Barrett victory will only mean that the Dems scampered away from the unions in time.
4) Previously unthinkable: The important lesson, if Walker wins, is that it’s possible to cut back on what the Left terms “collective bargaining rights” and get away with it.... 5) I’m for Walker. Even if you support private sector unionism, I don’t think public sector unionism makes sense–if the unions win too much, we can’t let the government go broke the way we cqn let GM go broke [bad example-ed you get the point--the market's restraints aren't there]. Democrats who believe in affirmative government should want it to be as efficient and affordable as possible–so we can afford more of it, if necessary. The combination of official bureaucracy plus labor adversarialism plus dues-fueled political contributions has not been a happy one.. …

A handful of Recall headlines.

"How Pundits Are Misreading Wisconsin's Recall." (Dithering over what it means for Obama. Because that's what everything is really always about: Obama. Sorry, here in Wisconsin, it's actually about Scott Walker. And, yes, I know that, for the national pundits, it's sounds like I'm saying a Walker win/loss doesn't mean much for Obama.)

"Wisconsin recall: Democrats prepare for recall recount." Oh, lord help us. Let the win be decisive.

"Intrade Has Walker’s Chances over 90%; NY Times in Panic Mode."

It's Recall Day, come 'round at last.

As the Solidarity Singers sang at the Capitol last evening, "Walker won't be Governor/Walker won't be Governor/Walker won't be Governor, some day-ay-ay-ay." I'm guessing that day is years in the future, but who knows? Get out and vote!

June 4, 2012

Twas the night before Scott Walker Recall Day, at the Capitol Square.

Not a protester was stirring, but the media were there.
The microphones were set up next to the CNN tour bus...

Untitled

In the hope local politicos would soon kick up a fuss.
When out by the monument, there arose such a clatter,
Meade sprang from his B-Cycle to see what was the matter.
He grabbed for his iPhone and opened the app,
Looked for the shutter and started to snap.

Untitled

With a lovely lady driver, so lively and quick,
She was smoking what some folks call a cancer stick.

Untitled

So up to Heg's statue the Freedom Van drew,
With flowers and angels and a militant capitalist smoker too.

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It was Lynda all in blue from her head to her foot,
And these clothes were not tarnished with ashes and soot.

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Her friend wore Clay Matthews' number 52 on her back,
Who is Clay Matthews? He's one of The Pack!

The stump of a cigarette Lynda held in her teeth,
And the smoke it encircled her head like a wreath.
She had a sweet face and a cute little belly,
That shook when she laughed, like a bowl full of jelly!

Untitled

"The truth shall make you free," the van bumper said.
And that gave Meade to know he had nothing to dread.

Untitled

"Vote Walker for Governor" — then, 'cause she's one of those jokers,
She wrote: "But Walker, please keep promises to smokers."
Meade sprang to his bike, and he rang the little bell,
And away Meade then flew like a bat out of hell.

Untitled

Lynda heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
"Let Walker finish his term, and to all a good-night!"

Dutch artist turns his dead cat into a helicopter.

Sorry, this has nothing to do with Scott Walker.

Or does it?

"Wisconsin voters essentially have been asked to cast ballots every 60 days for more than a year..."

"... and they’ve been exposed to a relentless barrage of television and radio advertisements, mailers, phone calls, yard signs, stump speeches and debates."
All told, close to $110 million in political advertising has been spent through May 21, according to Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which tracks such spending, and it’s left residents with a bad case of election fatigue.

“And that leaves a good three weeks of spending not accounted for yet,” McCabe cautioned. “Just a ton of money for a relatively small state. Insane.”
Yes, it is insane. Too much politics. It's really unfair to normal people.

"Should President Obama have gone to Wisconsin?"

Asks WaPo's Chris Cillizza:
The majority of Democratic strategists we spoke to over the weekend, however, insisted that the combination of Obama’s personality (and that of his political team) as well as the unique dynamics in the Badger State lessened not only the likelihood of a presidential visit but also its potential efficacy.

“If a recall race becomes purely partisan, there is a strong backlash from independents,” said Steve Murphy, a leading Democratic media consultant. “Obama was smart to stay away, for both himself and Barrett.”
That's too vague. What's wrong with "Obama's personality" (and the "personality" of his "team") that  would have been bad for Barrett?

"Better-educated citizens improve government by complaining more."

"Educated people are more likely to complain about official misconduct and report crimes, even in autocratic regimes."

"Goggles that trick the wearer into thinking the plain snack in their hand is a chocolate cookie, or make biscuits appear larger..."

... research at the University of Tokyo.
In experiments, volunteers consumed nearly 10 percent less when the biscuits they were eating appeared 50 percent bigger.

They ate 15 percent more when cookies were manipulated to look two-thirds of their real size.
It's all in the mind.

"The car hit cheese bacon mushroom face."

Face... pasta... it's not that different.

"32 inventions that will change your tomorrow..."

Or not.

Is a mobile fresh-fruits-and-veggies vendor in a city's so-called "food desert" a good idea?

Madison is full of grocery stores, but it has a neighborhood that that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has labeled a "food desert," because there's no grocery store within walking distance. There was one, but it closed, for whatever reason. I'd imagine most people drove to that one anyway, but now the people in the area have to drive (or bike?) to do their grocery shopping. So now the owner of a campus area grocery story comes up with the idea of "a grocery store on wheels called the Freshmobile."

Something like this...



... but with a jaunty instrumental version of this. And you can just picture the desert dwellers running after it waving dollar bills, can't you?
Ald. Brian Solomon, 10th District, represents the Allied Drive neighborhood [says] “I know a lot of people in Allied that want to eat healthy food, they just don’t have access to it"...

According to Mayor Paul Soglin, the city’s vending ordinances are “not designed to encourage this kind of activity.”
But they're changing the ordinances. And the Freshmobile guy (Jeff Mauer) has "raised most of the $125,000 needed to buy the trailer, truck and equipment thanks to grants from local foundations and donations." So Mauer has all this free publicity for his downtown grocery store, people are changing laws for him, and giving him thousands of dollars to tool around town in a mobile billboard for his business... which will presumably make it all the more unfeasible for a real grocery store to want to open in the area where the old one closed.
[Mauer] said the nonprofit Freshmobile Initiative can provide low overhead costs that would help keep food prices low.
You have to know how to work the "green" liberal minds of Madison, Wisconsin. Throw enough buzzwords at them — nonprofit, under-served, affordable, access — and no one will think about your carbon footprint.

Huge turnout at the Racine Tea Party rally yesterday.

And James Norton took some great photographs, including this one of Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. And this one of Paul Ryan. (I don't know... I seem to enjoy pictures of right-wingers flinging their hands in the air.)

Here's an article about that rally (which drew about 4,000 people).
Noting the national prominence of the recall election, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said: “You know what? On Tuesday we save Wisconsin, and on Nov. 6, Wisconsin saves America.... This recall, it doesn’t make any sense ... what governor or legislator will ever take on these reforms if the recall succeeds?”

Ryan also said of Democratic recall challengers Tom Barrett, Mahlon Mitchell and John Lehman: “They’re not even offering another solution. They’re not saying how they would fix our problems a different way.”

Anecdote in "What Couples Want to Know But Are Too Shy to Ask" seemed much more interesting at first.

It's in the Wall Street Journal, which does sometimes have articles about sex:
About 10 years ago, Ms. Madsen started to feel unhappy and unfulfilled....

Ms. Madsen went to bed around 8:30, woke up at 5 and liked to have sex at night. Mr. Madsen went to bed at midnight, woke up at 7 and liked it in the morning. When his wife asked him to come to bed earlier, he explained that he was still working. "I acknowledged that we needed to schedule time to have sex more often, but realistically, not much changed," he says.

Some of Ms. Madsen's friends were having extramarital affairs and encouraged her to do the same. "I wanted to feel sexually alive again, too," she says. Instead, she decided to try sex therapy, and several therapists helped her explore her desires. She read erotic books....

It took six months, though, for Ms. Madsen to get up the nerve to talk to her husband about her realization....
Then I read "Pamela [is] an author and blogger about topics including female sexuality" and I wasn't interested in her story anymore. It's not that I'm against blogging (or against other bloggers). It's that I'm reading an article that seemed like it was on a general topic and now it looks like it was built on that anecdote and that anecdote was concocted as material to flesh out a blog. What's all this stuff doing on a blog? Of course, I can answer that question, but the story loses authenticity. What is this relationship, if it was blogged about? Actually, looking at the details of the story, it seems pretty screwy. Or is it banal? She goes to a sex therapist for 6 months before talking to her husband? And she's someone who writes about sex?

(And, by the way, if you like to go to bed at 8:30 — 8:30! — and your husband likes to stay up until midnight, you need to learn about first sleep/second sleep. The interval between the 2 sleeps is a traditional time for having sex.)