July 28, 2012

Liking and hating Obama.

Here are 2 articles on the front page of washingtonpost.com right now:

1. "Romney’s problem? Americans don’t like him as much as Obama, polls say."

2. "What drives the Obama doubters and haters?"

There's an inane amount of talk about liking/hating Obama. What's going on? Is it a struggle over race at some deep psychic level? Is it the media talking about race without talking about race?

More context, from the second article:
What drives [the haters]? Some of it can be attributed to the give-and-take of today’s harsh ideological divide. Some of it can be explained by the way misinformation spreads virally to millions of like-minded people, reinforcing preconceptions. And some of it, I believe, arises out of fears of demographic changes in this country, and out of racism.
It's no accident that the last word of the article is "racism." If you read that paragraph quickly, the impression left in your mind — or maybe not your mind but many minds — is: "What drives [the haters]... blah blah blah blah ... racism!

Race isn't mentioned in the first article, but there's talk of that "it's okay" ad:
Sounding a bit like a sympathetic psychotherapist, a recent Republican National Committee ad acknowledged Americans’ affection for Obama and offered them permission to move on.

“He tried. You tried,” the announcer said. “It’s okay to make a change.”
Is the "it's okay" message massaging our racial sensitivities?

"John Kerry was made to look effete in 2004 by Republican mockery of his windsurfing, his Turnbull & Asser shirts and his French fluency."

"Now Democrats have a chance to do something similar to Romney, with his Swiss bank account, his Grand Cayman and Bermuda tax havens, his multiple homes, his $10,000 bet, his friends who own NASCAR teams, and now the six-figure horses his wife imports from Europe. Nothing says 'man of the people' quite like horse ballet."

Dana Milbank — hey, isn't "Dana" an effete name for a man? — says it's payback time.

Want to see/hear Romney speaking that "fluent" French?

How fluent can that be? I could understand every word!

ADDED: Won't they backfire at some point — all these petty attacks on Romney... and his wife... and the horse she rode in on?

"I really like about Barack that he’s obviously kindling something in me — my voice to myself."

"He encourages it and w/ o knowing what it says, leaves room for it.… On Sunday I woke up, waiting for Barack to wake, writing a bit more — feeling severed from him through b’fast (lack of physical connection— it means so much more than lust, after all)… and then reading Neruda’s poetry— excellent translation — powerful words, the truth in existence so much prettier for the poetry— and reading it really transfigured my thoughts, emotions, mood— and I just lay, w/ my head on Barack’s lap and my eyes closed, w/ words and words and words lapping, lapping through my tongue and soul and I felt older, wiser, in harmony w/ things; the calm after the storm."

Excerpt from the diary of Genevieve Cook, February 20, 1984, reprinted in David Maraniss's book "Barack Obama: The Story," at page 471.

Is Barack Obama kindling in you your voice to yourself? He encourages it and leaves room for it. Now, you may feel severed from him, but perhaps after reading some poetry, your thoughts, emotions, and moods may be transfigured. Or do you feel older and wiser after all those words and words and words lapping, lapping through your tongue and soul?

Remnants of protest.

The view from the top of State Street at noon yesterday.

The "Solidarity Singers" were there, as they are now only once a week. I kept my distance, except with the zoom lens. At one point, you'll be able to read the sign that says "Gun Nuts R Nuts." I can't make out the song from the audio track, but it was one of those old civil-rights spirituals that seem — to this outsider to their religion — out of place applied to the present-day economic issues that affect unionized public employees. I considered walking over to get some better pics, but decided to do a video panorama that emphasizes the context. It was a calm and beautiful day, and many people were enjoying the sidewalk cafés. I don't want you to get the wrong impression of this place.

At the Cloud Café...


... you can float along all day.

"O HAI Ann Althouse!"

"Now you know how to greet people in Lolspeak."

On Flickr, just now, where they keep changing the "language" they use for the greeting.

Kinda makes me nostalgic for the old days when people were into lolcats and the like. Where did that all go? And what are the many web trends we've already forgotten?

"For those who insist they've located the least essential, or least sport-y Olympic discipline..."

"... may I present — via Kon Ichikawa's essential 1965 documentary Tokyo Olympiad — 50 kilometer Olympic race-walking?"

Wait! That was grueling. And in the rain? And wearing a straw fedora?

ADDED: Here's the Ichikawa movie. And here's a straw fedora.

"The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen - more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?"

A member of Parliament tweets.

Renting... at $60,000 a month.

"Will they get any takers? Especially when the undulating window design by the starchitect Frank Gehry lets you see and be seen by your penthouse neighbor, and possibly even by a neighbor below?"
“There is the whole vertical living thing here,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, an executive vice president of the Forest City Ratner Companies, the building’s developer (and the developer of The New York Times building). “There are a lot of social connections in the building. There are little pieces and slivers of the building where you are looking into other units.”

To each his own, but to me that seems the biggest downside of the Gehry penthouses, along with interior finishes that, while supposedly designed by Mr. Gehry himself, don’t seem quite up to the standard of the top-flight condo buildings Ms. Gilmartin says they are competing with.

"There are no boundaries. There are no corrals."

A fascinating Bill Cunningham video this week.


Want one?

It's not that often that I do something new, but I did something new yesterday: stand-up paddleboarding. I managed to stand up, didn't fall in, and paddled around Lake Wingra as the sun set. It was cool. Cool enough to invest in all the equipment? I don't know. We rented: here.

No photos. We don't have a waterproof camera. Yet. Okay, I bought this one. And a wristband flotation device.

"Michelle Obama remained true to her patriotic fashion theme today in a dazzling white top and skirt for this evening's events in London."

So begins the Daily Mail:
The U.S. First Lady, who has stuck to a palette of red, white and blue since she arrived in the city this morning, opted for an ensemble from the resort 2013 collection of American label J Mendel for an early evening reception at Buckingham Palace.
Oh? But what's this, further down:
Mrs Obama performed a further outfit change right before the Opening Ceremony began. She was seen viewing the dazzling spectacle (above) wearing a lime green blazer over the top of a simple white blouse.
Lime green! Lime green, you say? Unpatriotic!

Speaking of fashion colors and the opening ceremony... why was the Queen of England wearing black gloves? (Photo at the link.) She had this brocaded pink/peach-colored dress and a matching feathery hat, but black gloves. In summer! She also looked incredibly grouchy. I found it hard to enjoy the show, myself, because I was constantly distracted by thoughts about how the Queen must feel about it. All those people, all those flashing lights, and loud music, including Queen blasting "just gotta get out... just gotta get out..." And then those black gloves. It's as if she thought the place was going to be grimy — too dirty for her — and the gloves were a precaution against the attachment of any commonness.

"Unfathomably, the programme notes for the Harry Potter author, who read from the opening of Peter Pan, declared her to be 'a great philanthropist, praised by the Government as a tax angel – one of the few who willingly pays her tax bill.'"

From the long, photo-filled Daily Mail article about last night's opening ceremony for the London Olympics.

Unfathomably? Oh, come on. It must be at least possible to fathom it!

The OED tells us that to fathom means "To encircle with extended arms." So: Can you get your arms around it? Can the government get its arms around you?

The opening ceremony also had a giant production number celebrating the National Health Service, replete with hundreds of dancing doctors and nurses in period costumes, and children in pjs bouncing on oversized hospital beds.

Socialized medicine will encircle you with its extended arms.

J.K. Rowling (the "Harry Potter" author) read from J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" — video — and we were told that Barrie donated the royalties from "Peter Pan" to GOSH (the Great Ormand Street Hospital).  We saw "GOSH" in big lights along with "NHS" in that production number.

(Wikipedia: "When the copyright originally expired at the end of 1987, 50 years after Barrie's death, the UK government granted the hospital a perpetual right to collect royalties for public performances, commercial publication, or other communications to the public of the work.... GOSH has been in legal disputes in the United States, where the copyright term is based on date of publication, putting the 1911 novel in the public domain, although the Hospital asserts that the 1928 version of the play is still under copyright in the U.S.")

Rowling tied it all together. Like Barrie, she's an author of children's literature. (The production number more generally celebrated Britain's children's literature, e.g., "Mary Poppins.") Like Barrie, Rowling represents giving up one's money to the greater good. Barrie voluntarily donated a specific flow of money — "Peter Pan" royalties — to a specific cause — a children's hospital. Rowling is just a very rich person who — visibly and graciously — submits to taxation.

This year's Forbes magazine rich list showed that Rowling "has dropped out of the world's exclusive billionaires' club as a result of Britain's high tax regime."

So, fathom that: The government has gotten its arms around her fortune.  Unlike the charitable giving of yore — exemplified by Barrie — the modern-day secular saint need only sit still for taxation, and the government will decide exactly where it goes. It's the way things are done now, and it's massively celebrated as part of the Olympics spectacle about what makes Great Britain so great. The spectacle notably took us through the phrases of history, and those wonderful children's authors have been giving children reading material and vast donations of wealth, in their own way and in their own time. And in our time, the government has an immense role.


"No man ought to graspe more then he can well fathome." Bp. J. Hall Horæ Vacivæ 71 (1646)(via OED).

July 27, 2012

"Look, if you colonists have been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own."

I didn't write this on my own. In fact, I didn't write it at all. Meade wrote this:
Lord North: Look, if you colonists have been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by colonists and yeomen who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.

George Washington: Without our consent, we reject your taxes.

Lord North: There are a lot of smart people out there in the New World. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking British subjects of the Crown out there.

Thomas Jefferson: Stop coercing us, Lord North. Your Acts are intolerable.

Lord North: If you yankees were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great King somewhere in your life. Some members of Parliament helped to create this unbelievable Royal Navy system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in French and Indian Wars and the East India Company.

Today at the Orpheum.

The State Street landmark has gone dark.

One of 2 building permit signs in the window says: "Remove all components of Stage Door theater." The Stage Door theater is the claustrophobic place around in the back where I've seen quite a few movies over the years, not the original, ornate theater that rarely showed things I wanted to see (or that I wanted to see but couldn't see under better conditions). But somehow I can only remember one movie I ever saw at the Stage Door theater: "Sling Blade."


The old marquee gives shade to the dobro-and-harmonica player. "Marquee" is a funny word. It originally meant "A tent large enough to hold many people (now usually one used for social or commercial functions)." The OED has that going back to 1690. The meaning we know — which is "chiefly U.S." — is "A canopy projecting over the main entrance to a building; spec. such a canopy at a theatre, cinema, etc., on which details of the entertainment or performers are displayed." That only goes back to 1926. For some reason, one of the examples given in the OED, from 1993, is:
Daily Tel. 15 July 21/3 At the Hubbard Dianetics Foundation there's an electric marquee that goes through this routine: Low Self Esteem? Failed Marriage? Tired Of Losing? Relationship Difficulties? Come In Now!
The marquee at the Orpheum today is pushing nothing. Which is always a good show.

"Ann changed her Religious Views."

The absurdity of Facebook:

Brian Lamb asks Justice Scalia why he's "so sensitive."

Why are you judges so sensitive about what they say when they have life tenure?

Scalia says everything he has to say is in the opinions, and it's fine for people to "paw over" the opinions, but he doesn't need to be there while us animals do that.

And here he is on cameras in the Supreme Court:

Basically, his point is the public would get "educated" if they'd look at the video the right way, which is watch all of the arguments on all of the cases, including all the really boring things about ERISA and so forth. But since the video would end up in edited sound bites, that would not be educational, and therefore we shouldn't be allowed to get our hands — should I say paws? — on it.

My position, you may remember, is that video would impose some accountability on the Justices, who do, as Lamb noted, have life tenure and may very well stay beyond the point of competency. Obviously, the written opinions aren't much good in this regard, since the Justices have excellent help writing the opinions.

"RAT is an anagram of ART. Do you think that inspired them, perhaps subconsciously?"

Asks Dr Weevil.

"A weevil is any beetle from the Curculionoidea superfamily. They are usually small, less than 6 millimetres... and herbivorous." Sounds delicious!

Dr Weevil. A nice portmanteau pseudonym. Combines Dr. Evil with our theme-of-the-day: pests.

Let's listen to Tex Ritter and Mantan Moreland:

10 things I judge to be interesting:

1. The term "portmanteau" originated in "Through the Looking-Glass," as Humpty Dumpty explains "Jabberwocky," within which, for example, "slithy" combines "lithe and slimy" and "mimsy" combines "flimsy and miserable." "You see it's like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word." (The word "portmanteau" already meant suitcase.)

2. "Portmanteau" comes from French — combining words for "carry" and "coat" — but the French don't say "portmanteau" to refer to "suitcase words." They say mot-valise — which they came up with by making a literal translation of the English term "suitcase word." That makes "portmanteau" something that's called a "false friend" (a term I did not know).

3. Tex Ritter's real name was Woodward Maurice Ritter. You'd think if he needed a nickname, Woody would have popped up. Think of all the Woodys that that had to stretch to get to "Woody." Woody Allen, for example, was named Allan Stewart Konigsberg. I can't discern how he got to Woody from his Wikipedia entry, which says: "It the age of 17, he legally changed his name to Heywood Allen." That sounds like he was setting up a knock-knock joke: "Heywood who?"

4. Now Woody Guthrie got to Woody quite directly. He was named Woodrow Wilson Guthrie. Born in 1912. You might say: Woodrow Wilson! Woodrow Wilson didn't even become President of the United States until 1913. Yes, but he was Governor of New Jersey. No matter that Woody Guthrie was born in Okemah, Oklahoma. It would be like somebody today living in some state that's not New Jersey naming their new baby Chris Christie Smith or Chris Christie Jones or whatever.

5. Back to Mantan Moreland, the other guy in the Tex Ritter "Boll Weevil" video. Looking at his Wikipedia page, I see he was in a surprising number of movies, including many movies I'd never heard of like "Freckles Comes Home" (1942) and "King of the Zombies" (1941). "He is perhaps best known for his role as chauffeur Birmingham Brown in Monogram's Charlie Chan series. (The lyrics of The Coasters' 1963 song 'Bad Detective' are sung from the first-person perspective of Birmingham Brown, Mantan Moreland's character in the Charlie Chan movie series.)" There's some very heavy racial context here. Spike Lee's movie "Bamboozled" appropriates some things about Moreland. And the Beastie Boys sampled something of his about mashed potatoes, and you can listen to the original (NSFW) here.

6. Moreland "was briefly considered as a possible addition to the Three Stooges when Shemp Howard died in 1955." And he was in the 1957 Broadway stage production of "Waiting For Godot." He played Estragon, the role played by Bert Lahr in the original production of the play.

7. In the "Waiting for Godot" with Moreland, Geoffrey Holder played the character Lucky.

8. You may remember Geoffrey Holder from 1970s-era 7-Up commercials.

9. The New York Dolls recorded "Bad Detective" — replete with the opening notes that you may well recognize as the music that was always used in the past to signify: This is Chinese.

10. Mantan Moreland was known for his "Incomplete Sentences" comic routines. They went like this (from some Charlie Chan movies):

"There may be blood-sucking monsters under your bed."

A screen-shot of this blog taken just now, after I put up one and then another posts about rats:

The web knows. It knows what you've been reading. It knows what pests really worry you. No, I'm not worrying about bedbugs out here in Wisconsin. But I am wary of them when I go to hotels... especially in NYC.

If you imagine yourself in the market for pest control services in the near future... what pest do you picture? And I mean some kind of animal (including insects and arachnids and so forth). I'm not setting up your lame political jokes.

"[T]he only thing preventing these giant swamp rats from destroying all of Louisiana are our very own Rat B*stards and their crafty hunting tricks...."

It's the new reality show — "Rat Bastards" — with "larger-than-life characters in extreme situations, facing down these rodents with everything from hunting weapons to dynamite."
Nutria are considered such a problem in Louisiana that the state offers a $6 bounty on each tail. Ray said the money is nice, but he calls that program it waste of good meat.

"I catch'em, kill'em and put them in the pot. They are darn good eating," Ray said.
 Here's Ray:

Can we get a reality show where Ray barges into that NYC art show "Tomorrow We Will Feast Again on What We Catch" and takes over the cooking and serving? Let it be one of the competitive shows where we eliminate contestants one by one. Each week the least interesting human being goes home. We could have a Heidi Klum-like arbiter of interestingness who, along with 2 other judges, would assemble the 3 least interesting contestants each week, critique them, and ultimately select one to be told "I'm sorry — you bore me — goodbye."

But who could be the judges of interestingness? Who specializes in that? I mean other than bloggers....

Gallery-goers eat rats at the art show "Tomorrow We Will Feast Again on What We Catch."

And the NYT gives the show 2-pages of glowing description (and warnings that — ooh! — you may be disgusted).
Twenty people, mostly friends of [the artist Laura] Ginn or the gallery owner, [Allegra] LaViola, nibbled on goat cheese bruschetta topped with rat leg tenderloin, and rat-pork terrine encircled with beef fat, prepared by a chef after much trial and error with his proteins. The rats were shipped from a United States Department of Agriculture-approved West Coast processor that supplies pet owners with humanely killed, individually flash-frozen rodents, in classifications ranging from “jumbo” to “fuzzy.” Seventy five rats were skinned and cooked — and broiled and smoked and grilled — for the dinner, and most guests paid $100 each to attend, signing a liability waiver, some not entirely willingly.

“If I see an entire carcass, I might throw up,” said Clifford Owens, a performance artist. Mr. Owens, who had an exhibition at MoMA PS1 this spring, invoked the daredevil spirit of the performance artist Marina Abramovic, to get himself through the evening. “This is about risk,” he said.
It's like a Tony Robbins fire-walking event... for the sophisticated, arty crowd.
“I don’t care about it as art,” [said "artist and video editor" Timothy Hutchings.] “I care about it as something that makes me a more interesting human being.”
So another artist doesn't care about it as art. He cares about it as something that makes him a more interesting human being.

But isn't that what art is all about? Being the artist who is the most interesting human being? I can just imagine what was reeling through the brains of the artists who submitted to Ginn's art performance — and what's still reeling now that there's this drooling write-up in the New York Times. Why her?! Why not me! Look how interesting I am. This is all about me displaying myself as a more interesting human being. It can't be that she played me into her getting the recognition as more interesting.

I don’t care about it as art.

July 26, 2012

"As London prepares to throw the world a $14 billion party, it seems fair to ask the question..."

"What does it get out of the bargain aside from some shiny medals, pleasant memories, and an excess of David Beckham bobblehead dolls?"

"Some of the sadness and frustration following Aurora has to do with the fact..."

"... that no one thinks anyone can, or will, do anything to make our culture better. The film industry isn't going to change, the genie is long out of the bottle...."

"Five guys take same photo for 30 years."

Here. Via Metafilter, where one commenter says:
Holy crap, I know one of these guys. He was the founder and CTO of a company I worked for for 7 years. Knowing him, this is exactly the kind of thing he'd do.
Another says:
Holy shit. I'm going to get old and die.

"Romney book: Britain is a tiny island that makes stuff nobody wants."

That's the headline in Foreign Policy, which is getting attention (according to Memeorandum), especially after Romney supposedly said something that upset the Brits today. (Surveying the London Olympics, Romney saw "a few things that were disconcerting." The Brits are keen to mock, and the mockery is magnified here in the U.S., because American media is inclined to boost Obama whenever the opportunity arises.)

Let's look at the paragraph Foreign Policy highlighted:
England [sic/[FP's sic]] is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn't make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn't been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler's ambitions. Yet only two lifetimes ago, Britain ruled the largest and wealthiest empire in the history of humankind. Britain controlled a quarter of the earth's land and a quarter of the earth's population.
Oh, there's where they cut it off? Well, obviously he was in the middle of making a point. But you know the rule in journalism: Taking things out of context is okay when you do it to hurt conservatives. But I happen to have my Kindle copy of Romney's book "No Apology: Believe in America," so it's easy for me to give you the context. Here are the next 4 paragraphs:

"Life of Pi."

The movie trailer.

ADDED: I adore the book. If you don't already know it, read it!

Rand Paul's anti-abortion campaign.

"Whereas: Science is clear that human life begins at conception...."

NY Mayor Bloomberg endorses Massachusetts Senator Brown — over his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren.


1. Wait. I forget... Is Bloomberg a Democrat or a Republican? He's an "independent" now. He was a lifelong Democrat, until he ran for mayor (in 2001) as a Republican. He came out as an independent in 2007.

2. What does the mayor of New York have to do with Massachusetts? He was born in Massachusetts, grew up there, and went business school there.

3. Why did he pick Brown over Warren?
[T]he mayor had chosen to support Mr. Brown... for opposing a “national concealed-carry reciprocity amendment,” which would have required states to honor concealed-weapons permits issued by other states.
Concealed-carry reciprocity "would let people with gun permits from rural states like Arkansas and Kentucky carry hidden handguns in New York City," according to the mayor's spokesman.

It's not as though Warren opposes gun control, but when you "take a tough stand and buck party orthodoxy that helps the city of New York, the mayor would like to support you."

Interesting. By the way, why specify "rural states like Arkansas and Kentucky"? That has a bigot-y feeling to it. I suppose they might mean that in a system of decentralized gun regulation, what's right for a rural state is different from what a place like NYC needs/prefers. Federally imposed reciprocity undercuts the federalism values inherent in letting the states decide for themselves. But "rural states like Arkansas and Kentucky" — to my ear — sounds more like disgust for hillbillies.

"She was adamant that... it was not possible that she mistook the drum sticks for his penis."

"Ayers told deputies that he is a drummer who commutes between Jacksonville to Daytona Beach and he frequently simulates playing the drums while driving by hitting his steering wheel with drum sticks.... 'The drum sticks were a natural wood color and closely resembled Ayers's own skin color'...."

Another he said/she said case.

"My grandmother believed in wearing a uniform. She would go to work every day wearing a very similar type of outfit."

"It might have been a very cropped cashmere sweater, a pair of pants – she always had a certain look to her...."
She really believed that we all have style and that we needed to find that. She didn’t talk a lot about herself, her legacy or how people will think about her, that wasn’t really her approach....

She would invite me sometimes to have lunch with her. And she’d set up a card table in the middle of the office and the two of us would sit down and have our lunch. She always had a peanut butter and marmalade sandwich and a long shot of scotch and we would always have ice-cream afterwards.
The grandmother was Diana Vreeland.

ADDED: What does your idealized grandma wear to work and eat for lunch?

"The essence of dressage is we’re trying to show the power of the horse and the balance of the horse in total relaxation."

"You have to look powerful, but it cannot look forced. That’s our problem sometime. The good riders that make it look easy, that’s the point."

A very nice, long article in the NYT about Ann Romney's horse Rafalca, which will compete in the Olympics on August 2d.
“I know it sounds crazy. But she is so loving and sweet. She is so kind and knowing. You look into her eyes and you can see her soul. I don’t know if we’re ever going to have another horse like this again.”

"Five 'jealous' wives rape Nigerian man to death."

They were — according to this news from Nigeria — jealous of the 6th wife. (Via Drudge.)

At the Good Dog Café...


... you don't have to beg.

It's Comrade Ri Sol-ju.

Suddenly identified as the wife of Kim Jong-un.
A singer with the same name has starred in several concerts in the past – in one case, performing a song with the apt title Do Not Ask My Name. But she is not the singer previously rumoured to have been Kim's companion, Hyun Song-wol, known for her hit Excellent Horse-like Lady.
There's some ear-shattering audio at all 3 of those links. I was alarmed at the first link by the forceful vocalizations of the female news reader.

The Greek "system ... literally exterminates, for paltry reasons, whoever dares to express a different opinion, even in jest."

Says Golden Dawn.

"I know this doesn’t sound very liberated, but I find women over 40 with very long hair unsettling..."

"... particularly if it is straight and hangs more than a few inches below the shoulder. (And don’t get me started on straight, blond long hair on women over a certain age!) They look rather sad and dated to me — as if they’re desperately trying to rechannel Joni Mitchell in her heyday."

Romney in London.

NBC reports:
Romney’s press-corps faux pas: During his meeting with Miliband, according to the pool report, Romney answered questions from British reporters but did not take any questions from the American reporters, which isn’t protocol. In fact, it’s considered a bit of an insult... [F]olks, those of us that have traveled overseas and been involved in these VERY limited press avails have rarely seen heads of democracies TOTALLY ignore their own press corps but answer ANOTHER press corps’ questions....
Drama! I hope you were stamping your feet and balling up your little fists to go along with the all-caps shout-y stuff.

ADDED: Protocols of the Journalists of London... I was moved to look up "protocol" in the OED:
1b. Ancient Hist. The first sheet of a roll of papyrus, bearing the manufacturer's official mark; such a mark.
1885 Encycl. Brit. XVIII. 233/1 The first sheet of a roll was named πρωτόκολλον... On the Arab conquest of Egypt in the 7th century, the manufacture was continued, with the substitution of Arabic in marking the protocol....
The meaning used in the NBC article is #6:
a. The official rules of etiquette to be observed by the head of state and other dignitaries in ceremonies and relations with the representatives of other states; the procedure governing diplomatic occasions, affairs of state, etc.; the observance of this....

c. In extended use: the accepted or established code of behaviour in any group, organization, or situation; an instance of this.
I think it's good for journalists to be fussy and adamant about the accepted or established code of behaviour for their group. Is it protocol to accuse a presidential candidate of a breach of protocol when upon arrival in a foreign country he gives exclusive preference to the reporters of that country?

Did you just receive a high LSAT score?

Go ahead and try to get into one of the very best law schools, to begin in Fall 2012. Don't worry about the official deadlines. There's some bizarre desperation out there, apparently, so act now. It's a buyer's market.

If all the high-LSAT folks spring for open positions now, what will happen in the new round of applications next winter? A lower LSAT score will go further, presumably. Or will the schools wait to pounce on the best June 2013 scores?

If you're at a safe distance, enjoy the theater of the popping law school bubble.

"What I think is funny is that if you have the same view on gay marriage that Obama had when he was elected, now you’re an enemy of humanity or something."

"It’s some sort of, I don’t know, Liberal Fascism or something...." — says Instapundit, aptly, re Chick-Fil-A and Chicago.

And here's Eugene Volokh on the obviousness of the First Amendment violation.

"Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values," said Rahm Emanuel, ironically demonstrating that Chicago values are not American values.

ADDED: Right now, at Drudge:

(Click image to enlarge. The small text in the upper left says: "Rahm Rejects CHICK-FIL-A: 'Not Chicago Values.'"

Quick sex.

Sorry, ladies, it's a survival strategy.
The noises can attract predators, the male is distracted and he has less energy to fight off an attacker or to run away. Perhaps that is why males almost always attempt to finish so quickly. Surprisingly, however, there has been little evidence to support this hypothesis until recently.

Wolf hunting.

Wisconsin is having a harvest. We're looking to cull 201 wolves.

Scott Walker is going to Harvard.

To give a speech about education. 

Walker, who never graduated from college.

That's a credential, no?

Sandra Day O'Connor says attacks on John Roberts "demonstrate only too well a lack of understanding that some of our citizens have about the role of the judicial branch."

She was testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on civics education, which doesn't sound as though it was about airing grievances about her old colleagues on the Supreme Court, but Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy — the chairman of the committee — used the occasion to express his concern "about some of the rhetoric about the chief justice. He’s been called everything from a traitor to having betrayed President George W. Bush."

But watch the video at the link. O'Connor is almost robotic as she steps carefully through a bland transition back to her prepared text — watch her look down at her notes — which seems to the usual civics lesson about the framers and the Constitution:
“It’s unfortunate. Because I think comments like that demonstrate only too well a lack of understanding that some of our citizens have about the role of the judicial branch, and I think the framers of our federal Constitution did a great job in understanding themselves that the judicial branch needed to be able to make independent decisions and the legitimacy — the lawfulness — of actions at the state and federal level...."
But the news media got their sound bite: Unfortunate!

She was also prompted give the other side a sound bite:
Once Leahy was done, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the committee's senior Republican, wondered whether the real threat to judicial independence came from Obama's remarks in early April, after the court heard arguments in the health care case but nearly three months before it was decided.

"If there's a pending decision at the Supreme Court and the president was to express his views along those lines it would be surprising," O'Connor said. "I guess it could happen, but it's not what we expect and it's not ideal."
Not ideal! Take that!
Grassley also wanted to know what O'Connor thought about Obama's criticism during his 2010 State of the Union speech, with several justices in attendance, of the court's 5-4 decision in the Citizens United case that freed corporations and labor unions of most limits on political spending.

"I don't know if it threatens judicial independence. It's just not what a citizen expects to hear," she said. "It's unusual. It's not how that time is usually spent by presidents."
It's unusual... not how that time is usually spent....

I'm guessing Justice O'Connor thinks it's unfortunate that her time, when called upon to testify about civics education, was used by politicians to extract politically useful statements from her, but that is how the time of politicians is usually spent, and it is exactly what a citizen expects to hear.

Ironically, that's a civics lesson.

The GOP's "most dangerous" ad: "He tried. You tried. It’s OK to make a change."

"It’s not OK to ignore this pro-Romney ad," says WaPo's Jonathan Capehart. What's the big deal? It gets at the problem of people liking Obama. In spite of all — polls show — people keep just liking him.

What the ad does is say:
It’s OK to like the guy personally but not vote for him again. This is not a popularity contest. It’s OK to vote against the black guy. You gave him a shot. He gave it his best shot. He failed. And the most effective message is: “It’s OK to make a change” — and not be thought of as a racist.
That's Capehart's between-the-lines reading. (Capehart is black.)
Throughout Obama’s presidency, I’ve received more than a few e-mails and tweets from folks complaining that they are branded racist if they disagree with anything the president says or does. And it doesn’t help matters that I have seen more than a few e-mails and tweets from ardent Obama supporters doing exactly that. I have also seen instances of this on television and in print.
[T]he “It’s OK to make a change” ad... give[s] those few, yet crucial, undecided voters the pass they might be looking for to vote against Obama....

July 25, 2012

"Today, the race for the highest office in our land was diminished to a sad level when the Vice President of the United States used an anonymous and false quote..."

"... from a foreign newspaper to prop up their flailing campaign... The President’s own press secretary has repeatedly discredited anonymous sources, yet his political advisors saw fit to advance a falsehood."


"Why gun sales spike after mass shootings..."

"It's not what you might think."

Oh? But what did you think? Answer before you look. I mean, I guessed right.

If you make a highly unusual request...

... it increases the likelihood that someone will do the next thing you ask for.

$137+ million spent on Wisconsin recall elections.

$81 million of it was blown trying to oust Governor Walker.

What a waste! Is anyone up for the new elections, the normal elections, this fall?

Best Cities for Young Adults: #1 Madison, Wisconsin.

From Kiplinger.
Madison is an educated, tech-savvy city, filled with recent grads who have enough energy to launch a dozen start-ups and still have time to check out that brewpub down the block.

With the University of Wisconsin's flagship campus front and center, there's no shortage of smart people in town. Engineers, computer programmers and other eggheads work in academia or for Epic Systems, a health care software developer. An entrepreneurial community fosters homegrown start-ups.

"Back in the '70s, I asked Orson Welles what he thought was happening to pictures, and he said, 'We're brutalizing the audience.'..."

"... We're going to end up like the Roman circus, live at the Coliseum.' The respect for human life seems to be eroding."

At the Tablescape Café...


... you don't have to extend your perspective.

Scott Walker on the Romney campaign: "I think there’s a lot of caution."

"I think the mistake that they’ve made is the feeling like it can just be a referendum on the president... It’s certainly a part of it for any incumbent; it’s got to be a referendum on, do you like or dislike, not just the president, but his policies … but there’s got to be something more. People don’t just vote somebody out; they’ve got to vote somebody in."

This was on "Morning Joe" and reported in Politico, which mentions that Walker "recently survived a recall election," but not that one of the reasons he won was that his opponents tried to make it a referendum on him.
The Wisconsin governor... cited Boston’s “big dig,” a massive, problem-laden infrastucture project as a time when Romney “came in, rolled up his sleeves and said, ‘I’m taking control.’... I’d like to see him do that,” he added.

"I remember when my family became pretty wealthy, and some people tried to make us feel bad about being wealthy."

Says Patti Scialfa (Mrs. Bruce Springsteen) to The New Yorker's David Remnick:
"Here’s the bottom line. If your art is intact, your art is intact. Who wrote ‘Anna Karenina’? Tolstoy? He was an aristocrat! Did that make his work any less true? If you are lucky enough to have a real talent and you’ve fed it and mined it and protected it and been vigilant about it, can you lose it? Well, you can lose it by sitting outside and drinking Ripple! It doesn’t have to be the high life."
Who's trying to make them feel bad about being wealthy? Obama?
Springsteen admires Obama for the health-care bill, for rescuing the automobile industry, for the withdrawal from Iraq, for killing Osama bin Laden; he is disappointed in the failure to close Guantánamo and to appoint more champions of economic fairness, and he sees an unseemly friendliness toward corporations—the usual liberal points of praise and dispraise. He’s wary about joining another campaign. “I did it twice because things were so dire,” he said. “It seemed like if I was ever going to spend whatever small political capital I had, that was the moment to do so. But that capital diminishes the more often you do it. While I’m not saying never, and I still like to support the President, you know, it’s something I didn’t do for a long time, and I don’t have plans to be out there every time.”
The capital diminishes? Not if you're a good capitalist. Interesting that you build "political capital" by not using it at all... not in the realm of politics anyway. Or... what am I saying? You didn't build that political capital. Somebody else made that happen. Rock and roll didn't get invented on its own. Government created the conditions for the music industry so that all the pop stars could win the love of the people and they owe a hunk of that burning love back to the politicians who created this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed them to thrive.

"By the time Mitt Romney meets with Israel’s leaders on Sunday, the Republican Jewish Coalition will have kicked off an unprecedented political campaign..."

"... back in the U.S. to pick off Jewish American voters in traditional Democratic strongholds in three battleground states."
The RJC campaign comes down to four numbers: 11, 16, 19, and 24. That is the percentage of Jewish voters who went Republican in presidential elections between [1992] and 2004, [Ari] Fleischer said, noting the upward trend. The backward slide to roughly 21 % in 2008 can be attributed to factors such as the popularity of Mr. Obama.

If Republican Jewish voters can push the number closer to 25 % this time, Mr. Fleischer said, “that’s huge.” But the number if 30%, the election’s over, he said, based on gains in his voter group in those three swing states.
Here's the pitch:

Tommy Thompson, coming at you on his motorcycle...

... and Tammy Baldwin's gigantic face is part of the highway...

... the highway to repeal of Obamacare.

"Let her make any miserable 'jokes' on social media while watching the games on TV."

"She definitely cannot represent Greece in London."

Keep smiling!


The 14-year-old girl who looks 40... with good reason!

How is Paris Jackson supposed to handle her situation? She's doing really well so far, it would seem.

Obama takes a new tone.

Apparently, he's gotten the message that nastily attacking Romney isn't working. Here's his new ad, in which he actually seems kind of like Romney:

Over the next four months you have a choice to make. Not just between two political parties or even two people. It's a choice between two very different plans for our country. Governor Romney's plan would cut taxes for the folks at the very top, roll back regulations on big banks, and he says that if we do our economy will grow and everyone will benefit. But you know what? We tried that top-down approach. It's what caused the mess in the first place.
Top-down? I think "top-down" is a better descriptor of the Obama preference for using the federal government to solve problems. A preference for the free market is bottom up.
I believe the only way to create an economy built to last is to strengthen the middle class. Asking the wealthy to pay a little more so we can pay down our debt in a balanced way. So that we can afford to invest in education, manufacturing, and homegrown American energy for good middle class jobs. Sometimes politics can seem very small. But the choice you face, it couldn't be bigger.
This feels like making the argument for Romney: an economy built to last... the middle class... pay down our debt... invest in education, manufacturing, and homegrown American energy....

Snuck in there is the old Obama theme: tax the rich. It's camouflaged within a lot of Romneyesque pro-capitalism talk. I think the Obama people have decided that lefty edge is a loser. Americans will chose capitalism over socialism if you make it stark. So he's repackaging himself as moderate. He's still saying "two very different plans for our country," but not pick capitalism or socialism, which is about what it was sounding like when he resorted to the "you didn't build that" rhetoric.

Carter Eskew says:
The extra expense to buy time to air a 60-second ad — instead of the usual 30-second unit lengths — usually means a campaign has a pressing need. What is Obama’s? Is it that his negative ads have reached the end of their usefulness, and it is time to present the alternative? Or did the ads overstay their welcome and begin to backfire? The campaign’s own polling — vastly more regular and extensive than the media’s — likely has the answer.

You could have been a YouTube star.

I see this 3-year-old girl is an international celebrity for climbing up the inside of a door frame... just like my son Chris used to do:


"What’s behind the shocking suppression of free speech at U.S. political conventions and the London Games?"

Asks Dahlia Lithwick.

Word that I searched for in her piece and did not find: Munich.

"Just as the Russian aristocracy of the 19th century could be described as living upon a stage, our story unfolds in a dilapidated theatre."

"We shot almost all of the film in this single location, over 100 sets were built within the theater, creating a kind of fluid linearity. You can walk from one house under the stage, straight onto the horse-training ground, or go through a door and there's a Russian landscape."

The important-film packaging for "Anna Karenina" includes a 6-minute clip.

Does Keira Knightley seem like Anna Karenina? We're also getting a "Great Gatsby" this fall, and we'll be invited to contemplate whether Carey Mulligan seems like Daisy? I'm going to go out a limb and predict that Carey Mulligan is more like Daisy than Keira Knightley is like Anna Karenina.

The left/right split on the question who invented the internet.

1. President Obama — in his notorious "you didn't build that" riff — said "The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet."

2. Gordon Crovitz — in the WSJ — said that's a myth: "The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens—and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way."

3. Farhad Manjoo — in Slate — says: "Crovitz’s entire yarn is almost hysterically false. He gets basic history wrong, he gets the Internet’s defining technologies wrong, and, most importantly, he misses the important interplay between public and private funds that has been necessary for all great modern technological advances."

"Along with her new Catholic school, the 6-year-old daughter of Katie and ex-husband Tom Cruise will have a uniform..."

"... when she's in school, and 'normal kid' clothes when she's out and about."

This is the 6-year-old "fashionista" with $3.2 million worth of designer clothes and custom-made shoes.

Previously, the child was home-schooled within a Scientology milieu.

"For a few years now, I’ve been drawn toward paying more attention to sabbath observance."

"Though my faith’s expectation of communal worship has always been an important part of my approach to the day, of late I’ve been trying to sort out for myself what more I might want to make a part of my observance. Going to Mass and brunch, calling my family, then jumping right back into ordinary work just hasn’t been cutting it for me. Something’s been missing."

July 24, 2012

At the Capitol Café...


... you can take the long view.

"You have the heart of an arctic night. Your soul is as barren as dark space."

Said the judge.

"I heard some Indian people eat with their hands still?"

Oprah offends.
"Using our hands to eat is a well-established tradition and a fact none of us are ashamed of," blogged Rituparna Chatterjee of the CNN-IBN news channel...
ADDED: More here: The video is hilarious. Oprah is sitting down to what the Indian family obviously think of as a beautiful feast, and Oprah hardly attempts to conceal her puzzlement and near disgust. "Is there anything here that you recognize," the man asked her, perhaps to give her a prompt to say something nice. He has to give another prompt: "Okra?" Okra... Oprah... maybe he meant to nudge her toward a Lettermanesque joke.

The man shows Oprah how to eat properly using one hand, noting that they don't use the other hand (without being indelicate enough to specify the reason), and Oprah tries it, then says she's going to use 2 hands or they'll be there all night. Which is ridiculous because: 1. After insinuating her distaste for their eating with their hands, she proceeds to do something that must look gross to them, and 2. She's fat and they are thin, so maybe there's a good diet tip there in a technique that slows you down.

When Antonin Scalia met David Foster Wallace.

"As co-Snoots, we got along very well...."

"There is now a live stream of bears gathering to eat salmon at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park."

Lovely! It's not dark yet in Alaska, so you can see the bears right now.

"President Obama's newest campaign commercial was filmed inside the West Wing of the White House..."

"... an act that campaign finance experts and good government groups generally agreed was legal if not particularly commendable."
Staffers for President George W. Bush say they expressly avoided filming campaign ads within the West Wing itself....

Previous presidents saw no such lines. When President Bill Clinton ran for re-election in 1996 he was featured in the Oval Office... President Ronald Reagan's 1984 convention documentary featured the Oval Office and the Roosevelt Room....

In 1976, President Gerald Ford was filmed working with his top advisers in the Oval Office itself and speaking directly to camera in an interview with a tell-tale curving wall behind him....

Four years later, President Jimmy Carter was filmed in the Oval Office for a reelection ad....
So what's the big deal? Must a President live up to the George Bush standard? That's awfully rigorous!

"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, en banc, ruled that it violated the First Amendment’s no-religious-establishments rule..."

"... to hold high-school graduation ceremonies in a particular church building because of that particular building’s 'proselytizing environment.'"
There was no dispute that the reasons for holding the ceremonies in the building had nothing to do with evangelism and everything to do with space and comfort. But, because the building is “indisputably and emphatically Christian,” the court majority concluded that holding the ceremonies in this building both “endorsed” religion and “coerced” religious exercise....
Here's the opinion. In dissent, Judge Easterbrook says: "It is easier to justify graduation in a church than voting in a church." I agree. My voting place is in a church, and I don't think that should be allowed.
No one should feel obliged by conscience or faith to give up his influence in governance—and that’s what voting represents. A rule of neutrality between religious and secular sites permits government to use religious venues for graduation and voting alike, though I do not think it wise to use a church for either function.
So Judge Easterbrook agrees with me.
But acting inconsiderately toward persons whose sincere views disfavor conducting public business in religious venues differs from establishing a religion.
Now, Judge Posner — also dissenting — writes with confident expectation that the Supreme Court will pay attention:
The case law that the Supreme Court has heaped on the defenseless text of the establishment clause is widely acknowledged, even by some Supreme Court Justices, to be formless, unanchored, subjective and provide no guidance....

The concealed carry/open carry distinction in Wisconsin.

The gun rights activist wins a jury verdict..
The Milwaukee nursing student and firearms safety instructor made national news in 2010 when she was arrested after openly wearing her gun to a Brookfield church service. No formal charges were filed and Sutterfield later won a $7,500 settlement from the city on her false arrest claim.

The current case boiled down to Sutterfield's word against an officer's. Sutterfield testified that she wasn't concealing a weapon, but rather openly carrying, because her jacket was tucked behind her holster from the time she left home that night.
This is America, and we've got our gun rights... and our jury rights.

Popularity is a "poof of air... Principles are enduring..."

Said George Bush, who is trying to "reclaim anonymity."

"Butt cracks eventually appeared in Lamb's public persona..."

A typo for the ages.

Goodbye to Sherman Hemsley.

Here's an obituary. I was looking for a great "All in the Family" or "Jeffersons" clip, but I found this "Twilight Zone" performance — "I of Newton" — where he plays a math professor who gets involved with selling his soul to the Devil:

(Notice how the saying on the Devil's T-shirt keeps changing.)

"Exactly who in the White House betrayed these secrets? Did a superior authorize it?"

Romney asked.
"These are things that Americans are entitled to know — and they are entitled to know right now. If the president believes — as he said last week — that the buck stops with him, then he owes all Americans a full and prompt accounting of the facts."

Democrats lose their majority in the Wisconsin senate!

After the Democrats just edged out the Republicans by winning one closely fought seat in last month's recall elections:
State Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, said Tuesday he plans to leave the Democratic caucus and may become an independent....

Cullen, who was among the 14 Democratic senators who left the state during the historic protests at the Capitol in 2011 but had sought compromise with GOP governor Scott Walker on collective bargaining, said he was insulted by not being named chairman of any Senate committees after the Democrats regain control of that chamber.
There are many paths to power. When one is cut off, another opens up.

Meade said: "They're all such sore losers!"

ADDED: This is being discussed over at the Isthmus forum (where Meade participates). I was interested in this remark by jjoyce:
Cullen has a right to be angry. He could have tubed the whole 14 thing easily. Some reports say he wanted to.
Now, "the whole 14 thing" refers to the Great Fleebagging of 2011. But "tubed"? I had to look it up in the Urban Dictionary. "Tube" is a mean way to say "vagina." Interestingly, "tubed" means "fucked." (I think it's interesting because sex slang doesn't normally put the vagina in the aggressively active role.) So Cullen... he coulda been a fleebag fucker.

Like Ralph Nader in 2000, Gary Johnson could throw the election.

Nader's 97,000 votes in Florida represented the difference between winning and losing Florida for Al Gore, and Gary Johnson could tip Arizona/Colorado/New Hampshire/New Mexico, where he's polling 9%/7%/7%/13% (if the pollsters are including him).

Unlike Nader, Johnson could hurt either of the 2 major-party candidates. It's more likely that he'll hurt Romney, but possibly not in Colorado and New Mexico. He could draw off erstwhile Obama supporters. If you're in a swing state, you have to want to make the point of giving no help to either of the 2 individuals who have an actual shot at winning. It's not enough to simply prefer Gary Johnson. (Take the I Side With test and see if you do align with him.)

Who are these people who not only want to say I prefer Johnson but also I decline to have any effect on the outcome? In 2000, the people who voted for Nader — did you know Meade was one? — perceived no significant difference between Al Gore and George Bush. Many of them went on to view that perception as quite inaccurate.

It's hard to believe the potential Johnson voters will think like that about Obama and Romney, which is why I think swing staters won't go third party this year. But I think the presence of Johnson in the race might affect how Obama and Romney fight in the swing states. Johnson is there as a refuge if the candidate we feel we're supposed to vote for offends us.

"A sociologist whose data find fault with same-sex relationships is savaged by the progressive orthodoxy."

"Many sociologists view higher education as the perfect gig, a way to be paid to engage in 'consciousness raising' through teaching, research, and publishing—at the expense of taxpayers, donors, and tuition-paying parents, many of whom thoughtfully believe that what those sociologists are pushing is wrong...."
It is also easy for some sociologists to lose perspective on the minority status of their own views, to take for granted much that is still worth arguing about, and to fall into a kind of groupthink. The culture in such circles can be parochial and mean. I have seen colleagues ignore, stereotype, and belittle people and perspectives they do not like, rather than respectfully provide good arguments against those they do not agree with and for their own views.

At the Big Nose Café...

... hey!


Is something happening here?!

"A man says he blocked his 4-year-old daughter’s Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World..."

"... because she’s cancer-free after two years of treatment, and the group should use its limited funds on a child who’s sick."

And the NY Post names the man and refers to him as "a Grinch"!

The message: Take whatever handouts you can get. Be a submissive, thankful little receiver.

"I spent my 20s going to weddings, being in weddings, shopping for weddings, helping to plan weddings."

"In my early 30s they finally started tapering off, and I was like, ‘Oh, thank God, we’re over the hump.’... Nope. Here come the Gays.”

"Imagine playing with your toy soldiers in this: a 1/84th scale miniature model of Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan..."

"It features a wealth of tiny details, including a Hot Wheels–sized red moving van parked out front and true-to-life foliage in the compound’s inner courtyard."

"Shopping for a new car, I see that they all look bloated and sloppy, bulkier than need be."

"Restaurants serve mega-portions, sodas are bigger. And have you been on a NYC subway lately? The number of people taking up two seats has increased exponentially. There's nothing patriotic about eating and drinking yourself sick, but our cars and toasters have that same look. America the insatiable. And those of us lucky enough to have health insurance are paying the brunt of other people's overindulgence."

A comment on a NYT column about the proposed NYC ban on extra-large sodas. The column takes the attitude of mocking the "American soft-drink industry" for making "appeals to patriotism" in its lobbying against the ban. The column sounds the anti-business and pro-good-health themes the NYT typically finds fit to print. The comment reveals the dark side of those themes: lowly disgust for citizens with obesity and an irrational fear that the overweight are intruding on the rest of us and draining us of our wealth.

"As an authority figure, you have to impose the rule of law..."

"... but don’t ignore the possibility that the rule you’re imposing is flawed."

ADDED: From the comments at the link (which goes to a NYT "ethicist" column):
Why are people are so moved by a man weeping, and assume that, because a guy is crying, he must be truly remorseful? Or even that he’s being deliberately manipulative? He's most likely weeping out of fear for his job.
By the way, the second letter over there is also interesting. What if your dear friend — who suffered so over the breakup of her own marriage — is expressing her delight about how she's about to break up some other lady's marriage? The answer given is:
Tell A. that you disagree with what she’s doing and that her behavior will alter the way you view her character.... But don’t blow up your friendship because someone pursued a romance you find abhorrent.
Seems like the ethicist is fond of calling these perplexing case right down the middle.

"It’s too bad this is such a big deal."

"It’s too bad our society isn’t further along."
The CBS News reporter Diane Sawyer asked [Sally Ride] to demonstrate a newly installed privacy curtain around the shuttle’s toilet. On “The Tonight Show,” Johnny Carson joked that the shuttle flight would be delayed because Dr. Ride had to find a purse to match her shoes.
ADDED: "The pioneering scientist was, a statement from Sally Ride Science announced, survived by 'Tam O'Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years.' With that simple statement — listed alongside her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin and nephew, Whitney — Ride came out." Link.
"The pancreatic cancer community is going to be absolutely thrilled that there's now this advocate that they didn't know about. And, I hope the GLBT community feels the same," Bear Ride, who identifies as gay, said....

Of Sally Ride's sexual orientation, Bear Ride said, "Sally didn't use labels. Sally had a very fundamental sense of privacy, it was just her nature, because we're Norwegians, through and through."

"Well, I'll give up my gun when everybody does. Doesn't that make sense? If there were guns here, would you want to be the only person without one?"

Says Ice-T to the news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy who asks: "So do you carry guns routinely at home?" 
Ice-T: Yeah, it's legal in the United States. It's part of our Constitution. You know, the right to bear arms is because that's the last form of defense against tyranny. Not to hunt. It's to protect yourself from the police.
From the police.

"Like a marble through a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra’s nose through her brain."

"It turns slightly several times, and comes to rest at the rear of her brain. And in the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain."

"People don't stop killers. People with guns do."

A column from 2007, after the Virginia Tech murders.

Instapundit has been calling attention to it, including the way it's now #1 on the “Most Popular” list at the New York Daily News.  I'm especially glad to see that, because it was the Daily News that published the editorial with the despicable (and titillating headline) "Blood on hands of Obama, Mitt and NRA!"

The subheadline was "Condolences are empty words - what actions are you gonna take?"
We can see actions Instapundit recommends.

July 23, 2012

"[M]ost divorced people identify the same top five regrets...."

Which translates into these 5 points of advice:
Boost your spouse's mood....

Talk more about money....

Get over the past....

Blame the relationship
. The divorced individuals in the study who blamed ex-spouses, or even themselves, had more anxiety, depression and sleep disorders than individuals who blamed the way that they and their partners interacted....

Reveal more about yourself

"[T]hree fried-egg sandwiches, three chocolate chip pancakes, a five-egg omelette, three sugar-coated slices of French toast, and a bowl of grits..."

Breakfast for Michael Phelps. Come on. It's not easy scarfing down 12,000 calories a day.

"Where miracles are made. Not in Washington, D.C."

At the Gayfeather Café...


... bloom.

Mariah Carey becomes an "American Idol" judge.

Which means Randy Jackson is staying (since he is her manager).

Carey was a guest mentor on "American Idol" in 2008, and she did an excellent job. I see I wrote: "Kudos to Mariah for doing the show the Barry Manilow way." The link goes to a post of mine that criticizes Dolly Parton for not guest-mentoring the Barry Manilow way. Here's the really old post, from 2006, praising Barry Manilow:
I just want to say how much I like Barry Manilow. Not his music, which isn't to my taste, but him as a person. Unlike Stevie Wonder and various other guests, he did not do the show to get the kids to sing his songs, and he took his role as a music teacher seriously. He really analyzed each performance and came up with concrete help and never seemed to be at all about self-promotion. I know you could say that this nice-guy thing is just his gimmick, but if it is, it works well, and maybe more people ought to try it.
I don't know who the third judge is going to be in the new "American Idol," but I'd be perfectly happy to have Barry Manilow.

The 13-year-old girl who tried to save the life of the 6-year-old who died in the Aurora murders.

"What's happened to intellectual life on the right?"

"In their flight from elitism, [conservative intellectuals] end up in a populist swamp peopled by autodidacts and fundamentalists. They become cheerleaders for a world without intellectuals, hastening a future in which they themselves will be irrelevant."

"One-Third of Colleges Are on Financially 'Unsustainable' Path..."

"... and an additional 28 percent are 'at risk of slipping into an unsustainable condition.'"

"Dear Katharine Hepburn, My daughter is having a graduating party in the rented house next door to you, (the one with the dog)..."

"... it will be from 7:30 to 10 — if you could stop by, you'd be most welcome. Bob Dylan."

"This election is about values. It's about what kind of people we are and what kind of country we want to build."

Says email I just received from Elizabeth Warren (the Harvard lawprof and candidate for one of the seats in the U.S. Senate that do not represent my state). The Democrats are fundraising. I don't give money (to any political cause), but I do get the email.
Mitt Romney and the Republicans believe in an America that says, "I've got mine, and the rest of you are on your own."

We believe in an America that pays it forward -- that puts the conditions in place so that the next kid can get ahead, and the kid after that, and the kid after that.
So that's how the Democrats are talking to each other right now. I thought you should know.

When did Romney ever say "I've got mine, and the rest of you are on your own"? And Obama just put out an ad attacking Romney for making a "false attack" by quoting something Obama said word for word.

But let's be fair. Warren doesn't say Romney said "I've got mine, and the rest of you are on your own," but that he believes in an America that says "I've got mine, and the rest of you are on your own." But when did America ever say that? Who's accused of thinking like that?

"A second Obama term could kill the Second Amendment."

Says James Taranto, inviting Obamans to make gun control a big campaign issue. The Supreme Court's recent cases finding an individual right to bear arms were decided by a 5-man majority, 2 of whom (Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy) are in their late 70s. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who's 79) and Stephen Breyer (who's 73) dissented. We don't know whether any (or all!) of them will leave the Court in the next 4 years or whether the Court will revisit its Second Amendment jurisprudence, but the point is, if gun control becomes an issue, those who care about gun rights might be induced to get quite excited over Supreme Court appointments.

Now, it's my perception that the gun control issue has already played out. There had to be that clamor that we heard over the weekend, but it was a clamor without legs.

Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat —
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

"Three teenagers accused of killing a 62-year-old father-of-12 in West Rogers Park were playing a game called 'Pick 'em out and knock 'em down' when they videotaped themselves punching him in the face..."

They were caught after they posted the video on Facebook.
Similar attacks — some resulting in death — have previously been reported in Missouri, New Jersey and Decatur. The game also goes by the name “Knockout King,” and experts say it is a grab for attention....

“We know that juveniles don’t think out consequences clearly,” Beth Huebner, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, told the Associated Press after a 72-year-old Vietnamese immigrant was killed in another “Knock ‘em out” case in St. Louis last year.

“They see something on YouTube and say, ‘I want to get that sort of attention, too.’ They don’t think about the person they’re attacking maybe hitting their head."

Let's say you're 18...

... you can change your image.

Sexology, 1960s.

More disturbing Sexology covers here.

For relief from this 1960s-style sexual oppression, look at these refreshing 1960s paintings — book cover illustrations — of women.

"What is the fair market value of an object that cannot be sold?"

"The object under discussion is 'Canyon,' a masterwork of 20th-century art created by Robert Rauschenberg that Mrs. Sonnabend’s children inherited when she died in 2007."
Because the work, a sculptural combine, includes a stuffed bald eagle, a bird under federal protection, the heirs would be committing a felony if they ever tried to sell it. So their appraisers have valued the work at zero.

 But the Internal Revenue Service takes a different view. It has appraised “Canyon” at $65 million and is demanding that the owners pay $29.2 million in taxes.

“It’s hard for me to see how this could be valued this way because it’s illegal to sell it,” said Patti S. Spencer, a lawyer who specializes in trusts and estates but has no role in the case.

"This guy is the Bob Ross of brick laying."

"They do not show us his face, because he is all of us on the inside."

"It's oddly mesmerizing to watch a pro at work. (In this case, masonry blocks.)"

"Seinfeld isn't talking to the media about his new [web-only] show..."

"But the premise sounds a bit like his TV show, which focused on the minutiae of life....."
In the promo for the new webseries, Seinfeld's old partner Larry David affirms that connection: "It's comedy in cars with coffee. What does that mean? ... You have finally done a show about nothing!"
Here's the first episode of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee." Nice attention to the car (a 1952 split-window Volkswagen). The episode title is "Larry Eats a Pancake."

I'm a big fan of the 2-guys-talking-in-a-restaurant genre. My favorite movie is "My Dinner With Andre."

"I come to them not so much as president as I do as a father and as a husband."

Well, what was he supposed to say? If you think Obama has exploited the Aurora murders, you have to posit an alternative response that would have been both nonexploitative and duly presidential.

ADDED: Romney says Obama did "the right thing." And saying that is also the right thing. What else could he possibly have said?

Now, the candidates need to get back to normal. Life goes on, and their work is with the living.

The Tony Robbins fire-walkers who got burned must have slowed down and stopped.

Just keep moving and you won't get hurt. Don't blame Tony Robbins. Blame those losers who didn't do it right.
Thousands participated in the walk, which stretched down 24 lanes, each around eight feet long.
The linked NYT article — "A Self-Improvement Quest That Led to Burned Feet" — doesn't mention the number of people who "reported second- or third-degree burns" until the very end. (The number is: 20 (out of 6,000).) The article stresses the positive:
“It transformed people’s lives in a single night,” said Carolynn Graves, 50, a real estate agent from Toronto, who crossed the coals without injury. “It’s a metaphor for facing your fears and accomplishing your goals.”

Ms. Graves suggested that the people who burned their feet “were out of state,” a term that participants said meant having the proper mental attitude.
Out of state? Great phrase. In my line of work, it's what we say about people who will have to pay much more tuition. The state you need to be in to not get burned is Wisconsin. In this self-confidence cult business, the "state" you need to be in is — what? — really believing that you won't get burned?

The sister of one of the burn victims "said Mr. Robbins had 'worked all night to prepare people' before the walk. If some people were injured, she said, 'it’s not his fault.'" Now, now, let's think about this. People are responsible for themselves. If you got a poor outcome, it's because you didn't do it right. You were given an education, and then it was up to you. Think about the people who did walk across the coals without getting burned. Are you going to say it wasn't really them? It was their teacher that did that? It was Tony Robbins? They didn't walk across those coals? Tony Robbins gets credit for that?

"Porn, stripping get Octomom Nadya Suleman off welfare."

"There's really nothing I won't do to support them or care for them.... Every good mom or dad can identify with that, providing for their safety, their well-being."

July 22, 2012

At the Retriever Café...


... what have you got for me there?