August 18, 2012

On the Going-to-the-Sun Road...

... it's truly amazing (and terrifying!):

We were in Glacier National Park. Keep your eyes peeled for the glacier cameo.

"Dad's accused of boiling people alive – but Googoosha... just wants to be a star."

"Amazingly rhythmic sounds of torture... I never knew the sounds of children labouring in the hot sun for 12 hours a day could be so relaxing and Enya-esque."

Obama goes positive: "We've come too far to turn back now."

"I still believe in you, and if you still believe in me.... we will finish what we started...."

I'd like to see him (and Biden) stay positive like this. The campaign has been putting out some terrible negative material — like "put y'all back in chains" — and I hope this is a change of course. This ad seems very strongly oriented toward women. The crowds are nearly all women. I'm guessing their internal research shows women have been put off by the negative campaigning. (I know I am.) Also, it may be an effort to counter Paul Ryan, who's the new guy, channeling the feeling of hope and change that used to be Obama's. He wants it back.

At the Alpine Café....


... keep it cool and fresh.

"Walnuts 'improve sperm health.'"

Some study reported by BBC.

Oh, come on. Why did they look specifically at walnuts? Here's a clue: an old Woman's Day article titled "Foods That Look Like Body Parts They're Good For."

Hey, wait. That says walnuts are good for the brain and clams are good for the testicles! I thought clams were good for the vulva....

Shirtless Paul Ryan.

This is before the P90X workout. We're still waiting for the "totally transformed" abs he's got now.

(Here's our previous "Paul Ryan shirtless" discussion.)

Senator Schumer "is known to cajole, nag, and outright pester his staff" about getting married and having babies.

The NYT seems to be celebrating the man for using his position in the workplace to harass underlings about their private lives:
Cupid’s arrow lands where it will, but many of the couples say that Mr. Schumer, a New York Democrat, has an unusual knack for guiding its journey. He keeps close track of office romances, quotes marriage-friendly Scripture (“God to man: be fruitful and multiply”), and is known to cajole, nag, and outright pester his staff (at least those he perceives as receptive to such pestering) toward connubial bliss.
Religion too! He sounds like the Steve Carrell character in "The Office" — the inappropriate boss, who doesn't know the normal boundaries.
Forget Master of the Senate. This is the Yenta of the Senate.

“What’s the holdup?” the senator asks couples who are dillydallying on an engagement. “Did you get a ring yet?” Other could-be-marrieds receive a simple instruction: “Get moving!”
The NYT thinks this is cute, but you know damned well that if a conservative politician were doing this he would be accused of making the workplace a hostile environment.
[H]is focus, like many a politician’s, never strays far from his legacy: first comes Schumer Marriage, then come Schumer Babies.

“Have kids; have a lot of kids,” Mr. Schumer, who has two daughters, is known to intone. “Start early and keep having them.”
Jeez, he's appropriating their marriages and their babies.
Sometimes, Mr. Schumer greets a former staff member, “So, is your wife pregnant again?” Other times, he does not even bother with the question. One former aide, who asked not to be named, recalled seeing the senator bump into a recently married couple, both Schumer alumni. “He just stared down at her midsection and said, ‘Well?’ ”
Staring at a woman's belly as a way to convey the desire that she get pregnant? War-on-women warriors would be calling for his head if he were a Republican.
“Our staff is a family,” Mr. Schumer said, his voice often taking a paternal tone. “I want them to be happy. I get worried that they’ll be lonely. So I encourage them. If I think it’s a good match, I try to gently — as gently as I can — nudge it.”
Picture Steve Carrell saying that directly into the camera.
“It brings him joy,” said Risa Heller, a former communications director, one of more than a dozen former aides who recounted his sayings, often while imitating his voice. “He picks good people to work for him, and when they pick each other, it’s even better.”
You want to get ahead in the Democratic Party power structure? Submit to the matchmaking... and make some babies. I'd like to know more about how this picking of "good people" is carried out. Are good looking women chosen to provide wives for the men? Do the women continue climbing in the party hierarchy or do they retreat into babymaking and husband supporting?

I'd like 10 years of data.

"We expect Mitt Romney and the Republicans to outspend us. What I will not abide..."

"... is getting outspent by a margin that negates all the hard work our volunteers are doing."

Email from Barack Obama. I read it out loud and repeat I will not abide. Meade says "The dude abides."

Here's a discussion from English Language & Usuage:
I'm unfamilar with the word "abide" which is famously used the the movie quote "The Dude abides" (The Big Lebowski).

Looking it up in a German/English dictionary makes me believe it's "The Dude lives on", but I heard the word used on a way that makes it seem to be a variant of "approve," as in "The Dude does not abide this behavior."

I hear it used as "to obey" a lot, as in "we must all abide by the rules".

Can someone shed some light into the meaning of "The Dude abides" in the context it's been used?
Here's the top-rated answer:
Some discussions of the movie reference a peaceful, almost zen acceptance, as well as the idea that
The Dude will always be around.
A discussion on Reddit of what "the Dude abides" means has some consensus that it's an
Intentionally vague phrase hinting at the fact that The Dude Lives, in his unperturbable state of dudeness, somewhere.
and that the definitions "accept" and "continue" make sense in this context.

As @wfaulk points out, today we usually use abide transitively to mean things like trusting in, accepting or obeying; so it doesn't mean The Dude accepts or endures a particular thing, but I agree that the phrase still can imply a sense of patience or toleration, even if it's just the way someone waits or continues.

If you look at the etymology of abide, you can see how some of these meanings emerge:
O.E. abidan, gebidan "remain, wait, delay, remain behind," from ge- completive prefix (denoting onward motion; see a- (1)) + bidan "bide, remain, wait, dwell" (see bide). ... Meaning "to put up with" (now usually negative) first recorded 1520s.
and going back to bide:
O.E. bidan "to stay, continue, live, remain," also "to trust, rely" (cognate of O.N. biða, O.Fris. bidia, Goth. beidan "to wait"), apparently from PIE *bheidh-, an extended stem of one root of O.E. biddan (see bid), the original sense of which was "to command," and "to trust" (cf. Gk. peithein "to persuade," pistis "faith;" L. fidere "to trust," foedus "compact, treaty," O.C.S. mmi>beda "need"). Perhaps the sense evolved in prehistoric times through "endure," and "endure a wait," to "to wait."
I think you're right: The Dude endures; The Dude lives on.
But The Dude will not abide... or will he? And will he abide Biden?

Should I not call the President "The Dude"? Obama is famous for calling a little boy "dude" when he said "Touch it, dude." And Jon Stewart famously called him "dude." That was back in 2010. It was much debated at the time. Here's Parker and Spitzer — remember them? — batting it around. And here's a WSJ blog:
Was it disrespectful for Stewart to address the president using a term that’s more commonly exchanged between two college guys sharing a bong?
Since the days of George Washington, America’s top leader has been addressed as “Mr. President.” Even Martha Washington called her husband “Mr. President.” Congress at one point considered the loftier title of “His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties.”...

Then again, Thomas Jefferson once said that he hoped that “the terms of excellency, honor, worship and esquire will forever disappear from among us.”
Yes, it's really not too American to worship the President.

Odd that "The Big Lebowski" has become our prime association with "abide." There was a time, not so long ago, when it would have been the great hymn"Abide With Me":
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.....

August 17, 2012

"Actually, I heard from a close friend of Harry Reid’s that Obama flunked Econ 101 three times at Columbia."

"With such significant rumors out there, the burden should be on Obama to release his transcripts and disprove this serious charge."

At the Rosy Paintbrush Café...


... show us something.

Romney and Ryan, "They really like each other and they feed off of each other."

Says campaign manager Matt Rhoades. “There’s an energy, there’s a chemistry."

Should they campaign together or separately?
Romney and Ryan had planned to go their separate ways before meeting up at the end of the month at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. But then campaign strategists saw how much of a psychic boost Romney got from Ryan — and how much more animated Romney appeared on television with his younger running mate at his side.

"Two young girls were driven home after being reported for stacking 50 rocks on railroad tracks."

"A railroad representative wanted the girls charged with trespassing."

It's the law enforcement roundup from the interlake region of Montana.
A woman called, requesting to speak with a particular deputy to ask him why he had left her son, “as sick as he was,” lying in the ditch earlier that day....

Several residents near the fairgrounds called to complain that the music was too loud, drowning out their televisions and keeping their children awake.

A man was removed from a supermarket on Third Avenue East North after he picked up several food items and went to the bathroom to eat them.

A man so drunk he did not know if he was a guest was reported vomiting in the parking lot in front of a hotel on U.S. 2 West....

A Memory Lane resident received a call from an unidentified person who called the resident a “Hitler” and told the resident to “meet me at Whitefish bank tomorrow, and if you don’t, I will come to your house and kill you.”...

An Eighth Street West resident cornered a badger in their backyard. The resident was advised to leave it alone.

A man was given a ride home after being found sitting in a ditch near the intersection of Northwest Lane and Three Mile Drive.
So the big question is: When does sitting in a ditch turn the police into your taxi service? No questions on the topic of badgers: Leave them alone!

Tommy Thompson is 11 points ahead of Tammy Baldwin in the Senate race in Wisconsin.

Tommy didn't win Tuesday's GOP primary by much. The old man had to fight off a handsome newcomer — Eric Hovde — and a lot of negative advertising was thrown around. But he's nevertheless way out in front of Baldwin already. This was utterly predictable, as is his ultimate victory over Baldwin in November.

The excitement in Wisconsin will have to be of the presidential political kind. Obama will have to show up here, and I wonder how much he will bother to help the predictable loser Baldwin. Remember, Obama did not stop by Wisconsin to try to help the Democratic challenger to Governor Scott Walker in the recall election last June. I think he didn't want his lack of magic to show and knew Tom Barrett was going to lose. But now Obama faces his last election — or so he says.* The polls showing Baldwin's dreary prospects are and will be much worse than what the public saw about Barrett. (But I believe Obama was looking at internal polls that show Barrett doing far worse than what the public saw before the recall election.)

Now, Obama needs to come to Wisconsin. These 10 electoral votes matter... a lot. They could determine the outcome of the presidential election. He must come to Wisconsin. Will he stand by Baldwin and promote her lost cause? It's a risk! It's not just the problem of getting loser on him, which we know from the recall he has an aversion to. It's that Baldwin is a lefty liberal, whose career has been based in Madison, and Obama needs to win voters from those parts of the state he's avoided in the past. He likes to show up for adoration in Madison and Milwaukee, but he won't win Wisconsin that way, and showing up in Madison/Milwaukee pushing Tammy Baldwin is not the way to talk to the rest of Wisconsin.

The rest of Wisconsin — including many Democrats — are going to vote for Tommy Thompson. Obama must talk to these people. Think about it:

Tommy has coattails!

Mitt Romney might win the presidency riding on Tommy's coattails.

It's all about Wisconsin, baby.

* I'd like to see him show his commitment to American politics by running for Governor or the Senate after he leaves the presidency. (But in/from which state? Is he going to go live in Illinois when he's done being President? I doubt it.)

"Who is to blame for the performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and for our being put on trial after the concert? The authoritarian political system is to blame. What Pussy Riot does is oppositional art or politics."

"Who is to blame for the performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and for our being put on trial after the concert?"

Political argument in defense at the criminal trial of Pussy Riot in Russia. Also: "To my deepest regret, this mock trial is close to the standards of the Stalinist troikas."

The protesters got a 2-year sentence for "hooliganism." They've gotten a lot of international support, because the government seems to be coming after them for their free speech and their music, but — as the NYT puts it — they "have never released a song or an album, and they do not seem to have any serious aspirations to do so." And the prosecution accused them of acting out of "religious hatred" (as well as "committing 'moral harm' and even of practicing Satanism"). They did "prance around in front of the golden Holy Doors leading into the altar, dancing, chanting and lip-syncing for what would later become a music video of a profane song in which they beseeched the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Mr. Putin."

August 16, 2012

Cherries & Hucks.



Today, near Hungry Horse, Montana.


"For him to come home and just cry and go to his room and say, 'I give up,' I'm not going to let him give up."

"This is his dream. This is what he wants to do. And I'm going to make it happen."

At the Continental Divide...


... you can all get together.

Stirring up rumors that Obama may replace Biden with Hillary Clinton.

It's the Weekly Standard... conspicuously promoted by Drudge.

It would be a great "game change" — to use the term applied 4 years ago to Sarah Palin.

And — amusingly — it would be Obama taking advice from Sarah Palin, who just a couple days ago said:
[T]he strategists there in the Obama campaign have got to look at a diplomatic way of replacing Joe Biden on the ticket with Hillary. And I don't want to throw out that suggestion and have them actually accept the suggestion because then an Obama-Hillary Clinton ticket would have a darn good chance of winning.
Don't you love the role of Sarah Palin in American politics? On the sidelines... looming...

Romney is now up by 1 in Wisconsin, and by 2 in Florida.

According to new Rasmussen polls. In Wisconsin, it's Romney 48%, Obama  47%...
In late July, it was Obama 49%, Romney 46%.  This is the Republican’s largest level of support yet in the Badger State. Prior to this survey, the president has earned 45% to 52% of the vote, while Romney has picked up 41% to 46% of the vote.
In Florida, it's Romney 45%,  Obama 43%.
Last month, it was Romney 46%, Obama 45%...

Retirees are a sizable bloc of voters in Florida, and Democrats are already criticizing Ryan’s Medicare reform proposal in an effort to win those voters. But 48% of the state’s voters fear the president’s health care law more than Ryan’s proposal when it comes to the future of Medicare. Just 41% fear Ryan’s proposal more.

Among seniors, 54% are more fearful of the president’s plan.
Horrible to think that this election turns on who can scare old people more.

ADDED: Proposal for a satirical essay: The 2 parties realize that the election will turn on who can scare old people more. They run scarier and scarier ads, and old people start dying. They're scared to death! Genius ad-makers have reached into the deep core of the elderly brain and hit the mortal terror button. Ironically, so many old people kick off that they no longer determine the outcome of the election. At the last minute, the candidates realize that they need to speak to the young, but they are so deeply mired in scare-the-oldies campaigning that they can't find a way...

"These are our mountains... I look at what we have, and I think, why ruin it over an oil rig?"

The NYT quotes Cheryl Little Dog — "a recently elected member of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, the reservation’s governing body" — in an article about the decision of the Blackfeet Indians allowing oil drilling on their 1.5-million-acre reservation, which is within view of Glacier National Park. Fracking has made drilling in this area economically practicable, and the tribal leaders — as the NYT puts it — think "oil wealth could be more lucrative and reliable than any casino — a resource whose royalties could transform a reservation scarred by poverty and alcoholism."

Those are the tribal leaders, but:

"The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a person pulling a horse trailer with a truck on Montana 82 traveling at 80 miles per hour or more in a 45-mile-per-hour zone."

Meade reads the newspaper out loud, here in Flathead County, Montana:
A resident of White Rabbit Lane reported she was being harassed by her neighbor. She reported someone put a trash bag full of fish guts in the bed of her pickup truck.

A man reportedly head-butted a woman in a vehicle on U.S. 2 East in Columbia Falls.

The windshield of an animal control officer’s vehicle was struck by an owl on North Somers Road.

An employee at a business on Hungry Horse Boulevard in Hungry Horse reported a group of four teenage boys kept coming in, being obnoxious and inappropriate, spitting everywhere and making obscene gestures.

A woman called with a question about how to deal with the fact that her 15-year-old son was using drugs....

A group of teenagers were reported drinking heavily....

The Whitefish Police Department received a call from a man who said he had been told by an officer that he could not have his guitar case open on the street downtown without a permit.
I'm most concerned about the owl, specifically targeting animal control. The animals do not want to be controlled. It could get ugly. Also: Teenagers. They are getting obnoxious and inappropriate. Things are collapsing all around.





We arrived in Glacier National Park and took a walk on a trail that ended at a fabulous lake: Avalanche!

August 15, 2012

At the Caffe Dolce...


... life is sweet in Missoula.

(Caffe Dolce is a real place. We practically lived there for 3 days.)

ADDED: A second view... showing a more crowded time of day:


This place was great as a café for hanging out with our laptops, but it becomes a real restaurant with table service at lunch and dinner. There's breakfast too, but you order at the counter. The French doors open out onto a nice walled patio — it's a corner in a mostly residential area — and we ate dinner there last night: Montana steak, wonderfully tender. The place seems both elegant and completely casual, the food and the coffee are great, and everyone who works there is really nice.

On the Kootenai Creek trail.

In the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.



Yesterday in Montana.

"Why Moderates Should Like Paul Ryan."

I feel like Ross Douthat has written a column aimed right at me.
[A]n honest assessment of Ryan’s record requires acknowledging that he’s made his own party substantially more responsible and rigorous, while also challenging some of the self-deceptions that are endemic on the Democratic side of the aisle....

Against this backdrop, Romney’s choice of Ryan looks a lot like Ryan’s own policy positioning: It was more politically risky than the alternatives, but it was also more responsible.
The word "responsible" appears 3 other times in Douthat's short column.

"The next openly gay member of Congress will almost certainly be Wisconsin State Rep. Mark Pocan..."

"... a progressive small business owner who won the Democratic primary tonight in the Congressional District that has been represented by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin for the past 14 years."

He'll be my Congressman. Here's an old post of mine where Pocan makes a strong appearance: "WI Assemblyman Mark Pocan confronts CEO president Roger Clegg, calling him 'some guy' who 'came all the way from Virginia' to tell us what 'all us flyover country folk don't know.'" (The topic was affirmative action.)

"Ryan should stop being so lovable. People who intend to hurt other people should wipe the smile off their faces."

Writes Maureen Dowd, smiling.

The Daily Caller gets jazzed up about something Michelle Obama wrote in law school in 1988.

Go over there and read the gasping about how racist and left-wing it all was, but to me, having lived through Critical Race Theory, every single thing she wrote looks completely banal by the standards of 1988. She said exactly what you'd expect someone in her place and position to say at that time to please her superiors and to gain favor. I'd only knock her for a lack of originality and daring. To uncover this dreary student work and declare a-ha is embarrassing and silly.

"Mr. President, you did not kill Osama bin Laden, America did."

"The work that the American military has done killed Osama bin Laden. You did not."

IN THE COMMENTS: Dennis Howell said:
I sincerely hope this turns out to be Obama's "Swift Boat" moment!
I'd be a lot more circumspect here. The Swift Boaters were in a different position. They were coming forward with specific information that was within their knowledge and not yet available to the public. They may have been motivated by opposition to Kerry, but their possession of new information gave them cover from the accusation that they were simply political operatives, leveraging their military status. I don't think that's the case here.

"For the first time since he began running for president, Republican Mitt Romney has the support of over 40% of America's youth vote..."

"... a troubling sign for President Obama who built his 2008 victory with the overwhelming support of younger, idealistic voters."
[Pollster John] Zogby speculates that Romney's selection of 42-year-old Rep. Paul Ryan helped turn more younger voters to him. "It could be his youthfulness," said Zogby of Ryan. Plus, he said, more younger voters are becoming libertarian, distrustful of current elected officials and worried that they are going to get stuck with the nation's looming fiscal bill.

"They want change," said Zogby.

"I wish my mother had aborted me."

"This is no 'I wish I'd never been born' howl of angst. I love my mother, and having an abortion would have given her a better life."

"Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago."

Romney responds to some sheer idiocy from Biden.
"They’ve said it. Every Republican’s voted for it. Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they’re proposing. Romney wants to let the — he said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules — unchain Wall Street," Biden said. "They’re going to put y’all back in chains. He’s said he’s going to do nothing about stopping the practice of outsourcing."
I'm saying idiocy, but perhaps it is "anger and hate." Anger and hate... from loveable little Joe?

"They're going to put y'all back in chains" is.... free polls 

Different levels of involvement.

At tonight's Bob Dylan concert in Missoula. The man in the chair with the electronic device at another point in the concert implored a security guy to make the people in front sit down. He'd brought his chair, and so... so what?

Bob Dylan at the Big Sky Brewery in Missoula.


And now you know why Althouse and Meade chose Missoula as a destination.

Bob Dylan in Missoula

August 14, 2012

On winning the GOP Senate primary, Tommy Thompson says: "Ladies and gentlemen, Wisconsin is on a roll."

"Coming down the steps, Congressman Paul Ryan called me and he said, we're going to take the state back and we are going to take our country back, ladies and gentlemen."

ADDED: I had thought Eric Hovde was an interesting newcomer, but he was also a bit of a risk for the GOP. Thompson was a sensible choice, and it's hard to imagine him not winning in the fall. He's so well-known and liked statewide, and the Democrat, Tammy Baldwin, is a Madison character (with the leftish politics that implies).

At the Dragon's Mouth Café...


... don't get too comfortable.


(Photographed at Yellowstone National Park in the Mud Volcano Area. The man in the second photograph — who's nobody I know — is doing something that is absolutely forbidden and potentially fatal.)

Primary day in Wisconsin.

Low turnout expected. You know what that means: Extra weight to your vote if you vote.

Meade and I took advantage of early voting — which is officially called "in-person absentee voting." I don't like having to do that. I like the theater of going to the polling place on Election Day, but we just couldn't do it this time.

Limbaugh says his prayers are answered: The campaign is now about ideology.

He wants — he says he prays for —  a campaign of "ideology... not just policy analysis, not just Electoral College analysis, but principles and ideas." And he thinks that now, with Paul Ryan, that's what we've got.
We're gonna take it straight to [the American people] and we're gonna win or we're gonna lose articulating exactly who we are and exactly what we believe and exactly what our vision for America is....
Going back to a CPAC speech Paul Ryan gave in 2008, Rush gets very excited about converting voters to conservative ideology. He uses that word, "ideology," over and over again. Go to that second link and read the whole thing. I'm making a big deal out of this because, listening to the podcast, I got worried about ideologues.

"50% Now View Paul Ryan Favorably; 43% Say He Was Right Choice."

A new Rasmussen poll.
Eighty-three percent (83%) of Republicans view Ryan favorably, and 72% think Romney made a good choice in picking him as his running mate. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Democrats give Ryan unfavorable marks, and only 18% view Romney’s selection as a good one.
The choice is now sharply defined.
Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters regard Ryan as ideologically conservative, including 40% who say he’s Very Conservative.  That’s more conservative tha[n] voters think Romney is and puts Ryan nearly as far to the political right as voters think the president is to the political left.
It's rough for people like me who fear both the right and the left. 

As many as 1.7 million illegal immigrants may "apply for a temporary reprieve from deportation that the Obama administration is offering."

The NYT uses the (politically incorrect?) term "illegal immigrants" and says:
The program is President Obama’s most ambitious immigration initiative by far, a sweeping exercise of executive authority after Congress failed to pass the Dream Act, legislation he supported that would have given legal status to the young immigrants. It is a major bid by Mr. Obama to win back Latino voters who were souring on him after his administration deported nearly 1.2 million immigrants, most of them Latinos, in the last three years.
Interesting that the NYT forefronts: 1. Obama's power grab ("sweeping"!), and 2. that Obama was in trouble with Latinos ("souring"!), and 3. that the executive-power version of the Dream Act is motivated by raw political self-interest ("a major bid... to win"!).

Buried a few paragraphs down:
Because deferrals are temporary and must be renewed after two years — when Mr. Obama may no longer occupy the White House — administration officials have been uncertain how many illegal immigrants would come forward to apply.
So it might not be anything like 1.7 million. What's the psychology here? If you've seen 1.2 million deported in the last 3.5 years, would you come forward, identifying yourself as illegal, for only 2 years of immunity? Would you take the bait? If not, then Obama's political power grab is pure gesture, but why would the gesture work? If people think he's luring us out of the shadow to make easier targets of us, it doesn't. It's even counterproductive if people think he's using us any way he wants, blowing hot and cold, not because he cares or even out of a coherent plan, but according to his own transitory interests.

Commercial architecture.



In Missoula, Montana.

"The film 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' was released 30 years ago today..."

"... and if there's a better line reading in the history of American cinema than Sean Penn's 'You dick' to Mr. Hand, I don't think I know it."

Says Throwing Things.

"At her most radical, [Helen Gurley] Brown was a subversive rather than a revolutionary..."

"... a sexual libertarian rather than a liberator; and an unapologetic partisan of free enterprise." 
(She once called Margaret Thatcher a “Cosmo Girl.”) “How could any woman not be a feminist?” she wondered, in 1985, in an interview on her twentieth anniversary at Cosmopolitan. “The girl I’m editing for wants to be known for herself. If that’s not a feminist message, I don’t know what is.”

Feminists come in every bra size, and what feminist would deny or belittle Brown’s achievements? But, whoever her reader was, the dewy model or celebrity who appeared on the cover of her magazine every month for thirty-two years never resembled Mrs. Thatcher, and, indeed, looked suspiciously like a bimbo to the older generation of militants for women’s rights....
Via the Metafilter discussion of Brown's death.

August 13, 2012

Facebook is watching you.

It can recognize you when you walk into a store.

We have uploaded the information that makes this surveillance possible.

I discovered the etymology of "skedaddle."

The Etymological Dictionary doesn't know. It just says:
"to run away," 1861, American Civil War military slang, of unknown origin, perhaps connected to earlier use in northern England dialect with a meaning "to spill." Liberman says it "has no connection with any word of Greek, Irish, or Swedish, and it is not a blend." He calls it instead an "enlargement of dial. scaddle 'scare, frighten.'"
What I discovered is that it's a compression of the phrase "Let's get out of here." I discovered it by saying it quickly and interacting with someone who didn't at first catch what I'd said.

By the way, the phrase "Let's get out of here" is extremely common, and I heard, back in the 70s, that it actually is spoken in every single movie. I don't know if that's true, but it was a folk belief that interested me, and I've seen a lot of movies since then, and it might be true.

I climbed a mountain!

In Missoula.


Sentinel Mountain.


There's a big old concrete "M" up there.


We took the steep path up, and I got scared of the heights, but the intrepid Meade was there...


... making everything beautiful.

"You know, he’s pretty low-maintenance.... Paul is someone who goes with the flow..."

"... and has one of the sunniest demeanors and most positive outlooks of anyone I’ve ever met. So I’d say Mitt’ll probably have a lot of fun with him."

Venn diagrams can get extreme.

They're not just circles.

Details here.

Looking for the soul of Missoula.





Taking the high road.


The view from the Big Horn Scenic Byway in Wyoming, where we were the other day.

(You can talk about whatever you want in the comments.)

"As a member of the House Budget Committee, I've seen firsthand just how extreme Paul Ryan is..."

"... so I'm not going to mince words: Paul Ryan in the White House would be a nightmare for the middle class," emails Debbie Wasserman Schultz, implying unconvincingly that under other circumstances she would mince words.
Not only does Congressman Ryan want to end Medicare as we know it and raise taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, but he also supported a bill that could ban birth control and all abortions -- even in cases of rape and incest.

This isn't the kind of leader we can afford to have a heartbeat away from the presidency....
A bill that could ban birth control? Can I get a citation for that? I found this on marshaling the facts about Ryan:
Paul Ryan is severely conservative...

Paul Ryan would take us backward on women’s health:

Ryan cosponsored a bill that could ban in-vitro fertilization, as well as many common forms of birth control, including the pill. It could also ban all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. He supported letting states prosecute women who have abortions and doctors who perform them.
Can we get a cite to the text of that bill? Banning "many common forms of birth control, including the pill" — really? I'm just going to assume this is a lie until the Obama people prove to me that it's not a lie. That's the way we're doing things now, right?

Paul Ryan, heckled in Iowa, said "We're used to this in Wisconsin."

Ha ha.

Having seen Wisconsin protesters in action, I appreciate the humor.

Speaking of humor, remember that "civility" bullshit?

Helen Gurley Brown — the magnificent Cosmopolitan editor — has died at the age of 90.

Goodbye to a great lady.
"Helen Gurley Brown was an icon. Her formula for honest and straightforward advice about relationships, career and beauty revolutionized the magazine industry," said Frank A. Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst Corporation. "She lived every day of her life to the fullest and will always be remembered as the quintessential 'Cosmo girl.' She will be greatly missed."
I was never the Cosmo girl type, but I respect the media genius, even one who speaks mostly to other people. Though I never bought a copy of Cosmo for myself, I read every issue of the magazine for 2 years in the mid-70s, when I had my pre-law school job in a market research company, analyzing magazines, and Cosmo was one of the magazines.
It was her 17th job, at the advertising agency Foote, Cone, and Belding, that launched her future success. As executive secretary to Don Belding, Gurley Brown's work ethic and witty notes impressed both her boss and his wife, who suggested she try her hand at writing advertising copy. She proved her talent, winning prizes for her copy. By the late 1950s, she had become the highest-paid female copywriter on the West Coast and one of the few to be listed in Who's Who of American Women. (She is also recognized in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in The World, and the World Book of Facts.) 
In 1959, at the age of 37, Gurley Brown married Brown, 43, then a film executive at 20th Century Fox Studios, and later an independent producer. During their marriage, Brown was a partner behind many of Gurley Brown's projects, even writing Cosmo cover lines. It was he who persuaded her to write a book about her life as a single woman. The result, Sex and the Single Girl (1962), took the nation—and then globe—by storm....

The Browns... worked together to keep Helen in the public eye. She wrote a syndicated newspaper advice column and made record albums and radio spots. The pair pitched plays, television shows, more books, and new magazines for single women. One, a magazine called Femme, attracted the interest of Hearst Magazines. But instead of a new title, they agreed to let her try to revive Cosmopolitan magazine.
She was a famously single woman and a brilliantly married woman. There's lots more at the linked article, which ends with the quote:
"Before I wrote my book, the thought was that sex was for men and women only caved in to please men. But I wrote what I knew to be true—that sex is pleasurable for both women and men."
Here's the ultra-famous book. (And here's the movie they made out of it — with Natalie Wood.)

How will Biden prepare for the VP debate with Ryan?

Leading off the comments over at the "Paul Ryan shirtless" post this morning, Brennan says:
Joe Biden will subsequently start the "Insanity" workout since he has to have completed the repairs on his Firebird -[link to the Onion] by now.
Great shirtless pictures of Biden at that Onion link. And suddenly I pictured it: What Biden must do to prepare for the VP debate! Everyone's been saying Ryan's so smart and knowledgeable and articulate and this is going to make it so tough for poor Joe "much higher I.Q. than you" Biden. Maybe you're picturing him boning up on all the substantive talking points. I say no. No boning up. Pumping up!

When the big debate day comes, the broad-shouldered, slab-o-meat Paul Ryan steps onto the stage and the crowd explodes with admiring applause. And then Joe Biden is announced. Out he comes. It's unbelievable. He's done it. He's huge. He's more massive than Paul "the torso" Ryan!

"A man who reported to police that he was beaten outside the Missoula Club early Sunday morning because he was gay..."

"... has been cited for making a false report to law enforcement."
“The decision to file criminal charges was due in part to the sense of fear and anger that quickly developed after Baken had identified a specific business and possible suspects in his allegations,” Missoula Police Lt. Scott Brodie said in a statement.
The terrorism of a false report when people don't know it's false.
“Joseph Baken was contacted by Missoula police detectives and during a subsequent interview he admitted that the alleged assault against him did not occur as it was reported,” the statement said.
I wonder why he did it. He had a beat-up looking head, acquired attempting to do a back flip off a street curb. Why take that to the police and make up a story that "three men had beaten him outside the Mo Club at about 1:30 a.m. after he asked where to find a gay bar"? (Wait. The Mo Club isn't a gay bar?!) Was this guy an idiot? Since there was video of the back flip — which the police later received — signs point to stupid. But another motivation could be to promote political interests through creating fear, and that's arguably the definition of terrorism.
Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir credited community cooperation in quickly resolving the case.
Thanks for sending the video. Nice anti-terrorism from the community.
That resolution “will hopefull[y] allow the GLBTI community some needed relief from the fear that was virally spreading across the country,” Muir said.
(GLBTI? The "I" is for "intersex," in case you are wondering.)

Debate moderators announced... and include Candy Crowley, who reacted to the Paul Ryan VP announcement with the phrase "some sort of ticket death wish."

Drudge aptly assembles the links:
PBS Jim Lehrer, first Pres debate, Oct 3 Denver...
CNN Candy Crowley, town hall, Oct 16, Hempstead NY...
CBS Bob Schieffer, third Pres debate, Oct. 22, Boca Raton...
ABC Martha Raddatz, VP debate, Oct 11, Danville KY...
FLASHBACK: CROWLEY: Some Think Ryan Pick 'Some Sort of Ticket Death Wish'...
60 MINS edits out Ryan talking about Medicare mom in Florida...
That last link might seem less apt, a bit off topic. But think about it. It's not. Drudge knows what he's doing. This is about media bias.

So all the moderators will be liberals. Can't help that — you say? — all the big media people are liberal. Couldn't we get one Fox News person — Chris Wallace, for example? But Fox News is somehow known to be biased in a way that those other networks are not. Ironically, the reason that factoid is known is that we learned it through all those other media outlets. Their voices corroborate the view that Fox News is biased. Perception of bias is a numbers games.

ADDED: Why Crowley? They needed a woman... and it was the best they could do?

Paul Ryan shirtless.

The headline "Top Ryan Google searches: 'vice president,' 'shirtless" made me skeptical. What about the other Ryan — the Ryan whose fame as the Ryan of the Moment got overshadowed and whose Ryan-fame was heavily torso-related — Ryan Lochte? But getting to the article, I see they were looking at "Paul Ryan" searches, not mixing up the Ryans.

It's really not that odd that people are searching the internet for Paul Ryan shirtless. For one thing, people are always searching the internet for named individuals naked or in some degree of nakedness. Remember all the fuss about Sarah Palin in a bikini?

But interest in the bare-chested version of Paul Ryan is not merely the usual interest in naked and semi-naked celebrities. From the day he was announced at Romney's VP pick, there have been articles about Paul's fitness routine, how rigorous it is, how wide his shoulders are, and how little body fat he has*:

"Paul Ryan's workout: Is P90X for you?" says CNN.
"I'm kind of a workout guy. I've always been into it. [Former Mich. Rep.] Bart Stupak and I lead [P90X classes] — there's about a dozen of us that do it," Ryan told Politico. "It works because it hits your body in many different ways: pull-ups, sit-ups, lots of cardio, karate, jump training, yoga. It pushes your body...and gets you out of your plateau."
"Paul Ryan’s Extreme Workout Plan" — that's the Daily Beast.
The Wisconsin congressman has been a devotee of the brutal P90X workout for about four years, and frequently leads workouts with other members of Congress. P90X is a 90-day workout plan that involves intensive cardio combined with yoga, karate and other fitness staples for 60 to 90 minutes a day, six days a week. Created in 2005 by Santa Monica, California-based fitness guru Tony Horton and sold as a $140 package of DVDs, the workout bills itself as “extreme home fitness.”...

Horton said that former Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner used the P90X plan, and anyone who saw the accidental Twitter pictures that were his political downfall has seen the evidence firsthand. “He’s hardcore,” Horton said.
Hardcore... Anthony Weiner.... With prodding like that — if you weren't interested based on Ryan's own advertisement of his physical fitness — how can you not Google "Paul Ryan shirtless"? We're human beings and the internet is the internet and he kind of asked for it,** didn't he?

"Paul Ryan's 'Insane' Workout Routine" — at Something Awful (with a clever illustration using the familiar torso from the cover of "Atlas Shrugged." (Paul Ryan is said to like Ayn Rand, but I have not explored the extent of the devotion.)
"Not every man is strong, but every man can be strong through hard work," explains Ryan. "So long as government is not allowed to encroach on our Second Amendment liberties, you maintain the right to bare arms, legs and an insanely chiseled torso. Get your pump on and sell as many tickets as you want to the gun show."...

Begin run. Visualize shining city on the hill because it is easily defended from shiftless bloato wrecks, carb-diners, milk chuggers and gay-married pizza princes. Surrounded by the land of unwanted workers and broken pleasure robots, only our guns and our incredible lithe bodies will protect us from corrosive morality.
Humor. Deal with it.

* Is it healthy to have only 6 to 8% body fat? You doctors out there, what do you say to patients with such low body fat? I've read — in the New York Times — "Too Little Fat Can Be as Bad as Too Much." ("Researchers have found that life with too little fat can be as fraught with medical complications as life with too much fat and, bizarrely, the complications are often exactly the same....") [ADDED: Ryan's father and grandfather died young from heart attacks. If "the complications are often exactly the same," is Ryan's intense pursuit of fitness — perhaps motivated by fear of the same fate — dangerous?]

** Don't use that phrase in reference to a woman!

Find Bella.

"If we could get a big group of people looking for her, then we’ll get her back to her boy, and that was the biggest thing... They already have lost so much and have had such a tremendous tragedy, we just wanted to get their dog back to them."

August 12, 2012

At the Black Sheep Café...


... you can't go too far astray.

"Starting now, we can expect even more wealthy, right-wing ideologues lining up to support the Romney-Ryan ticket."

Emails Joe Biden.
The people on the other side who are trying to buy this election are putting nasty, deceptive TV ads on the air right this very minute. They're not going away. They're getting worse.

If we don't do what we can to keep this close, right now at this crucial moment, we risk letting the other side run away with it.
"Keep this close?" I say. "They're posing as if they think they are already behind."

Meade says: "Do you think they're posing?"

I say: "I see what you mean. I'd like to see their internal polls."

Buffalo in the mist.



Yesterday, in Yellowstone.


Lots more men are the stay-at-home parent in marriages these days.

"But no one really talks about what that means for their identity as men."

In fact, the linked article, doesn't really talk about it!

Shell Falls.

In the Bighorn National Forest:



(That's the fisheye lens on both photos, the second of which was taken by Meade.)

Is the caricature of Romney as "hollow, cynical and inauthentic" attributable to downplaying Mormonism?

Ross Douthat seems to think so.
... Romney clearly does have deep convictions: the evidence is in his intense commitment to his church, as a local leader and as a philanthropist. Between the endless hours of unpaid, “love thy neighbor” efforts required of a Mormon bishop and the scope of his private generosity, the caricature of the Republican candidate as a conviction-free mannequin mostly collapses....

Conservatism sometimes makes an idol of the rugged individual, but at its richest and deepest it valorizes local community instead — defending the family and the neighborhood, the civic association and the church. And there is no population in America that lives out this vision of the good society quite like the Latter-day Saints....

"I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God...."

Somewhere in America, I stopped to take a photograph of a collection of signs...


I wanted to take a photograph of the café itself, and I needed to ask this man if it was okay if I included his motorcycle in the picture, and he was happy to pose for the picture...


... to display his vest for closeup photography...


... and to tell me he is not ashamed of the gospel.

Here's the website for the Black Sheep, a Christian ministry to bikers.

"Have I mentioned that David Plotz constantly tells me that Paul Ryan bears a resemblance to my husband?"

Says Emily Bazelon, as she tries to cast Paul Ryan as another Sarah Palin. He's "a cute young thing with bright blue eyes." Good looks... must be like Sarah Palin...??? And her husband... says one Plotz. (To plotz is to faint from excitement.)
Of course, Ryan's deep grip of the specifics is not at all Palin-like. No one will be worrying about whether he knows how far away Russia is, even though he has no foreign policy experience, or can handling the prep for his debate with Joe Biden. Come to think of it, odds are that he will ice Biden, right? 
It's so hard to say what you want to say! Oh, well, my husband's really cute!

Hey, imagine if Sarah Palin had written a post as flighty and disconnected as Bazelon's.

Somewhere in America.



(Yesterday, lunchtime.)

Romney and Ryan are "two look-alike white guys with aggressively groomed hair."

Says Robin Givhan — whose stock in trade is observation but who failed to observe that Ryan had an unruly tuft of hair sticking up at the back top of his head.
Romney took the stage wearing a formal white shirt, blue tie and no jacket. Conveying the ease of a man wearing a cervical halo, Romney greeted the audience and after brief remarks, and a slip-of-the-tongue that had him referring to Ryan as the next “president” of the United States, the congressman bounded forth.
I had to look up "cervical halo." (Clue: It's not something religious— nothing about Mormons! — and it's not something uterine — nothing about the war on women.)
Ryan wore a dark suit—of the extra-roomy variety—and an open-collared white shirt. A rather large flag pin decorated his jacket lapel. He was dressed in the uniform that President Barack Obama popularized during the 2008 campaign. Obama wore the tieless black suit whenever he was looking to convey authority and gravitas in an informal situation. It was his go-to look for late night talk shows, for instance. Obama accessorized this look with cool, with nonchalance. Ryan prefers the aw-shucks understatement of an earnestly furrowed brow.
Aw-shucks? What's aw-shucks about Paul Ryan? "Shucks" — according to the Urban Dictionary — is a "backwoods" interjection. Obama has "authority and gravitas" wearing exactly the same thing as Ryan, because Obama brings "cool," but Ryan brings "aw shucks." Givhan is subtly approaching the line of racial stereotypes, isn't she? No, she's not. She's already labeled Romney and Ryan "white guys" (and she'll end the column by calling them "white guys" again). 
[A]s a pure visual, the image of the two men on stage in Norfolk, Virginia lacked dazzle or texture. It was a bit like seeing double.
These white guys all look alike. Oh? Am I being unfair? Givhan already called them "look-alike white guys." They don't look much alike to me. Ryan has strikingly blue eyes, a 5-o'clock shadow, a young man's cropped haircut, and an earnestly furrowed brow that reminds me of John Roberts. Romney has hazel eyes (not so striking, since I had to look that up),  a very clean-shaven face, and an older man's long-on-top, combed-straight-back hair.
The combination of their matching white shirts and black trousers—plus one jacket and one tie—meant that any hint of personal style was lost in a mish-mash of menswear remnants. 
Givhan wants to say they are over-controlled in their hair and their clothes, but the facts don't fit the preferred template. Neither man wore a business get-up, and each man stepped down from that level in his own way — Romney by leaving off the jacket and rolling up the sleeves and Ryan by not wearing a tie and opening the collar. It was a nice, casual coordination, but political preference grips Givhan and she won't admit it.

Givhan complains that the TV cameras didn't let us see Ryan's children:
The moment could have benefited from a loose shot of a tow-headed kid making a silly face or flashing a charming grin—an image that would connect something unscripted and personal to Ryan. 
And what would Givhan have said about those kids if only she could have seen them? Would she have enthused about their charm and silliness? Or would she have seen them as over-controlled, stiff conservatives? Recall how she treated the children (and wife) of now-Chief Justice John Roberts, back in 2005: