September 1, 2012

"A chair is still a chair, even when there's no one sitting there...."

An old song, with new currency after the GOP convention. Here are the lyrics to "A House Is Not a Home," if you'd like to work on an election 2012 parody. And, by the way, Althouse is not a home.

IN THE COMMENTS: I was surprised to read Tyrone Slothrop's comment:
Tell me, Althouse, are you able to manipulate world events in order to provide fodder for your blog? Did Hal David pass away just to give you a segue to this post?
I didn't know Hal David had died the day this post went up. He was 91. I and maybe you thought: Burt Bachrach. But Bachrach wrote the music. "A chair is still a chair, even when there's no one sitting there" and many other memorable lyrics were written by Hal David.

I intended a comical reference to the Clint Eastwood incident, not anything mournful about an empty chair symbolizing death.

Remember the "Field Of Empty Chairs"?

"Ann — To thank you for your support of this campaign..."

"... we'd like to give you your choice of one of our bumper stickers," says email, just now, from the Obama campaign (not that I've ever given them any money):
Take a look, pick which design you'd like, and we'll send it to you -- for free.

Ha ha. There's the Hispanic one, the gay one, and the "regular" one. It's like a sitcom.

UPDATE: Now, the campaign is spamming me with multiple emails saying "Thanks for claiming your free bumper sticker. We'll ship it to you soon." I never "claimed" a sticker. I only went to the site. I did initially link to the site, however, and my name and email address were in the URL (which is why I deleted the link and, instead, embedded the image). So maybe the spam to me is a fluke. But jeez, I get so much email from the Obama campaign, throughout every day. I guess if I really were a contributor and also pretty dumb, I might feel enthused that they appreciated me so much.

By the way, I've never put a bumper sticker of any kind on any car that I've ever had. But if I were willing to use my car to advertise a candidate, I'd assume the campaign would want to give me the sticker free. What's with this notion that I'm special because I get it free?

"Reefer Madness."

Ever notice the name of the screenwriter?

The challenge of running a blog comments section.

Instapundit writes:
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD GETS RID OF COMMENTS ON HIS BLOG: “To make the comments section work in its present form we would have to edit and curate much more aggressively than we do now and in our current judgment the effort needed to do that is better spent improving other features of the blog.”

I toy with the idea of opening comments now and then, but the above has always been my feeling, too.
Mead announces the end of comments effective immediately. No comments on the end of comments. I think he should have had one more comments thread on that post. The previous post, the last post with comments, is saying that the blog hit a new traffic record. That got 11 comments. 11 comments! Is it really that hard to "edit and curate"?

I like Instapundit as it is, without comments, mostly because it's all about sending people to other blogs, so all the other blogs stand in for comments. But if you're not a blog that's about linking to a lot of other people, it feels like there ought to be comments. Maybe it's just because that's what I'm used to.  I don't know. I love the comments section around here.

The next day... at the Pioneer Café...

"The Pioneer Family"

... bring the whole family.


Here's the closeup of the sculpture, which you were commenting on last night, saying things like:
I'd rather see people representing that ideal than statues. But perhaps those two figures were as close to a Romney/Ryan photo as Althouse could get.
In the wider view, you can see the 2 figures are father and son. (Romney and Ryan do look a bit father-and-son when they stand side-by-side, not that Ryan seems in any way under the tutelage of Romney.)

The sculpture, called "The Pioneer Family" stands on the grounds in front of the North Dakota State Capitol, which you see in the background. It's rather unusual architecture for a state capitol. The old capitol burned down in 1930....
North Dakota Secretary of State Robert Byrne was able to save the original copy of the state's constitution, but he suffered cuts and burns on his hands while breaking a window to reach the document.
His name was Byrne and he was burned.  He saved the Constitution!

Building a new capitol in the early 1930s, the architectural style they chose was art deco. It was the tallest building in the state of North Dakota. It still is.

How the Democratic Convention should retaliate against the GOP's Clint Eastwood "empty chair" routine.

Get your own great American movie director who supports your side and knows how to be funny in a 1-man empty chair routine.

Bring on Woody Allen to do a political version of his hilarious courtroom scene in "Bananas":

IN THE COMMENTS: creeley23 said...
My bet is that they'll go to Tom Hanks or George Clooney or maybe double-team them.

The bit will be smooth and rehearsed, it will affect an insouciant air (like our trolls), and it will attempt to ridicule Clint Eastwood's performance, but it won't have his edge.
I bet you're exactly right! My suggestion was a joke. Obviously, you can't have Woody Allen when you've got your war-on-women theme. (Even though they will have Bill Clinton.) But I do think they will have some kind of a response — if only in the form of numerous references to Clint Eastwood (e.g., regular speakers with little asides about how they just saw Clint Eastwood talking to a chair, somebody else talking to a chair, Clint Eastwood talking to some other inanimate object, Clint Eastwood talking to some other person, possibly Mitt Romney, who is less animate than an inanimate object like a chair).

Bill Maher defends Eastwood: "He went up there without a net, on a tightrope... he did a bit with just an empty chair and killed."

"He committed to it, it was consistent, and it worked."

Maher is speaking as a standup comedian, knowing how hard it is. Halfway through the video clip at the link, Jason Alexander — wearing William Shatner's toupee — breaks in to say famous people could "urinate" on themselves and people would accept it as a good routine. Maher says no, at most they'd give you 1 minute to get funny; Eastwood worked that comic routine 10 minutes, successfully, and that was impressive. And Maher loathes Eastwood's political position. So that's impressive.

Also on last night's show, Maher talked to Dinesh D'Souza about his movie "2016: Obama’s America."

"Empty-chair technique or chairwork is typically used in Gestalt therapy to explore patients' relationships with themselves or other people in their lives."

"The technique involves the client addressing the empty chair as if another person was in it, such as President Obama. They may also move between chairs and act out two or more sides of a discussion, typically involving the patient and persons significant to them. A form of role-playing, the technique focuses on exploration of self and is utilized by therapists to help patients self-adjust."

A passage on the Wikipedia entry for Gestalt Therapy, linked to by kentuckyliz in the comments on the previous post. She says:
It was therapy.

I like how "such as President Obama" was added to the wikipedia entry.


Since we were all watching, it was group therapy. A primal scream.

"Eastwooding" — the meme.

The term "Eastwooding" — referring to talking to an empty chair — popped up on Twitter and got retweeted — by Ana Marie Cox — with the incitement "INTERNET you know what to do."

Do a Google image search for it — here — and tell me if this is working against Eastwood or against Obama. Even if it's half and half, it's not against Romney. As far as the election is concerned, the harm to Eastwood is irrelevant. And at some point, I think it's giving Eastwood currency. It may not be true that in showbiz any publicity is good publicity, but the kind of publicity that's not good needs to be a lot worse than rambling inappropriately. (It has to be even worse than this. Maybe even worse than this. Let's say: this.)

Anyway, Clint will be fine. He's so much tougher than internet meme-dweebs that it's not worth worrying about him. And I don't think Clint wants us to worry about him. He wants us to worry about the economy and the election.

And so the question is, does all this "Eastwooding" activity help or hurt Obama? I think it's intended to help, but the meme is that Obama is an empty chair, and that like saying he's "Zero" or an "empty suit," which people have been saying for a long time. 

IN THE COMMENTS: Rhhardin says: "There's an empty suit passage in Carlyle's Sartor Resartus that fits." Here:

Why the criticism and mockery of Clint Eastwood will backfire.

Obama supporters are straining to nullify Clint Eastwood's GOP convention performance, but it's not going to work. Take, for example, Michael Moore, writing in The Daily Beast, which embeds the full-length video of what it labels "Clint's Crazy Speech." Moore — who everyone knows is a left-wing propagandist — says:
The footage of Eastwood rambling and mumbling to his "Harvey"—President Obama—will be played to audiences a hundred years from now as the Most Bizarre Convention Moment Ever. The people of the future will know nothing about Dirty Harry or Josey Wales or Million Dollar Baby. They will know about the night a crazy old man hijacked a national party's most important gathering so he could literally tell the president to go do something to himself (i.e. fuck  himself). In those few moments (and these days, it only takes a few moments—see Anthony Weiner), he completely upended and redefined how he'll be remembered by younger and future generations....
Who won't watch the video now? Most people didn't watch the convention and therefore didn't see the speech in its context, within which it was anomalous. Eastwood wasn't speechifying to the huge crowd from a teleprompted script. He was seemingly speaking straight from his head — you know, the illusion actors know how to create. It had an intimacy and riskiness that you just don't expect from a convention stage. That's what made it so much fun for people who are rooting for Romney, but it also the invited ridicule from those who want Obama to win.

Accepting that invitation is taking the bait. And look what is happening. Millions of folks who didn't bother watching the convention are watching Eastwood's performance out of the context within which it was anomalous. They're watching viral video.

You expect viral video to be surprising and weird in some way. And the intimacy and riskiness of the performance is cool in the context of a little window on your computer. You listen to exactly what Clint says as you hang in there waiting for it to be as crazy as the Obama promoters are claiming. And you have whatever love for Clint Eastwood you happen to bring to this little project of watching a viral video. And there is a lot of love out there. These people are throwing hate at a guy you have loved, so, okay, let's see what's so terrible.

Should Obama supporters be spreading this viral video? Should they want the moderate undecideds of the country sitting at their computers attending to lines like:
But — you know about — I remember three and a half years ago, when Mr. Obama won the election. And though I was not a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people were lighting candles.

They were saying, I just thought, this was great. Everybody is trying, Oprah was crying.

I was even crying. And then finally — and I haven’t cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country.

Now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace, and we haven’t done enough, obviously — this administration hasn’t done enough to cure that. Whatever interest they have is not strong enough, and I think possibly now it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem.
Imagine some uncommitted voter clicks on the embedded video, predisposed to laugh at the crazy old man, and then — alone at the computer — encounters the beloved elder talking about things that have made him cry. They might not laugh. They might be drawn in by Eastwood's performance. They might not take direction from people like Moore who've instructed them to mock. That uncommitted voter might prefer the direction of the far greater director, Clint Eastwood.


I thought of a new slogan: Putting the Mitt in uncommitted.

"Self-described Mich. ‘hillbilly’ claims $337M Powerball prize, vows to still eat at McDonald’s."

Donald Lawson says "I called her and said, ‘I got a surprise for you. I won $200,000 in the Powerball.’ She goes: ‘Oh my god. Yay!’ I said, ‘All right. Are you ready, Ma? Well, the truth is, I won $337 million and $4 in the Powerball. Ha, ha.”

Cool quote, but I want the quote where he calls himself a "hillbilly." I searched Google News for "hillbilly" and didn't find it, but I ended up with other hillbilly news. I found: "Here Comes the Hillbilly, Again: What Honey Boo Boo really says about American culture."
As Anthony Harkins observes in Hillbilly: A Cultural History of an American Icon, one of the hillbilly’s signature moves is to peak, popularity-wise, just when Americans sense that things in general are headed south....
And such ridicule has always been politically coded: The hillbilly figure allows middle-class white people to offload the venality and sin of the nation onto some other constituency, people who live somewhere—anywhere—else. The hillbilly’s backwardness highlights the progress more upstanding Americans in the cities or the suburbs have made. These fools haven’t crawled out of the muck, the story goes, because they don’t want to.

This idea that the hillbilly’s poverty is a choice allows more upscale Americans to feel comfortable while laughing at the antics before them. It also pushes some people to embrace the stereotype as a badge of honor. “Guitars, Cadillacs, hillbilly music / It’s the only thing that keeps me hangin’ on,” Dwight Yoakam once sang. For more contemporary examples of re-appropriation, you can attend any number of Tea Party rallies. The classist term “redneck,” originally coined to indicate those who worked so hard and so long in the sun that they sported sunburns in the designated anatomical location, likewise has been adopted in the name of all that’s good and holy.....
ADDED: Here's a different lottery story in the news today about a man who hadn't noticed he'd won $52 million. The money had gone unclaimed for a month, and the state circulated surveillance camera video of the winner buying the ticket:
A friend spotted the footage on the news and told Agnite, 'That's you!'

"When the doper’s code of silence around Lance Armstrong cracked, Sheryl Crow was obliged to sing."

"Crow, who was once engaged to the tarnished cyclist, provided information last year in a far-reaching federal investigation into the doping programs that fueled her former fiancé’s victorious Tour de France teams...."


Sorry about the tag — the Crow-David entity — but I don't like to add too many new tags, and Sheryl Crow already has a tag on this blog, created back in the day when she was operating as a single entity with Laurie David. Ever notice how Larry David called his wife on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Cheryl, not Laurie?

Just as Sheryl and Lance are no longer an... entity. Larry and Laurie are now divorced. Here's something funny from Laurie's Wikipedia page:
In an interview with The Guardian in November 2006, David acknowledged that owning two homes on opposite sides of the country and flying in a private jet several times per year is at odds with her message to others. In the interview she notes "Yes, I take a private plane on holiday a couple of times a year, and I feel horribly guilty about it. I probably shouldn't do it. But the truth is, I'm not perfect. This is not about perfection. I don't expect anybody else to be perfect either. That's what hurts the environmental movement – holding people to a standard they cannot meet. That just pushes people away."
That article predates the David entity's split:
Larry's wife on [TV] is a meek woman who spends her days gossiping with friends and worrying about her wardrobe. Laurie, by contrast, is often said to be stubborn, confident and driven - thoroughly focused on the fight. Larry himself says of her, "She's a gal with a mission."

David Brooks heard no "talk of community and compassionate conservatism" at the GOP convention.

It's embarrassing. He really let his bias show when he said:
[T]here is a flaw in the vision the Republicans offered in Tampa. It is contained in its rampant hyperindividualism. Speaker after speaker celebrated the solitary and heroic individual. There was almost no talk of community and compassionate conservatism. There was certainly no conservatism as Edmund Burke understood it, in which individuals are embedded in webs of customs, traditions, habits and governing institutions.
As Roger L. Simon points out (via Instapundit):
Hello, where were you, David? On Thursday evening, one after the other private citizen came forth to testify to Mitt Romney’s extraordinary personal charity and deep community spirit. I have never seen anything like it at a convention, Republican or Democrat. I don’t know if you would call it Burkean, but you would certainly call it eminently decent and highly laudable. The culmination was Ted and Pat Oparowsky of New Hampshire who recounted how much time and attention the young Mitt Romney gave their son, a child he did not know, when the boy was dying of cancer.
Maybe Brooks skitters away from the part of the web of customs, traditions, habits and governing institutions that is religion.

I'd love to see Brooks write another column and explain — if this is what he thinks — that the compassionate, communitarian activities done within religion don't count as part of a political party's vision for America. Perhaps these activities are like the good things you do for your family and friends. It's a group of insiders, and someone operating within government needs a "vision" that relates to the whole community, not to groups that give each other special treatment.

But I don't think he'll be able to prop up his old Edmund Burke ventriloquist doll to say that. Brooks will need to come out and say it on his own. And then we can judge whether David Brooks represents conservatism (even for NYT op-ed page purposes).

August 31, 2012

At the Pioneer Café...


... it's all rugged individualism around here.

Michael Moore thinks people should start to practice the words 'President Romney.'"

Interesting, not really intended so much a prediction as a cynical remark about campaign finance. But that's not why somebody emailed me that link. Somebody emailed me that link because of the thing that made me scream at 0:21.

"Firestone wanted to eliminate the following things: sex roles, procreative sex, gender, childhood, monogamy, mothering, the family unit..."

"... capitalism, the government, and especially the physiological phenomena of pregnancy and childbirth. She wanted to mechanize reproduction — gestating fetuses in artificial wombs — and raise the offspring communally, treating them no differently from adults at the earliest possible age."

Shulamith Firestone, dead now, at the age of 67.
Why did Firestone want to eliminate gender? She argued - taking Marxism and skewing it -- that all forms of oppression were rooted in an antagonism between men and women.
Here's the book — have you read it? — "The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution," published in 1970.

The shape of the glass affects the speed of beer-drinking.

It's a study!

People drink more quickly out of a curved glass. But not for a soft drink. We're talking about beer:
While it took around seven minutes for people drinking from a curved glass to polish off their half pint, it took 11 minutes for those drinking from a straight glass....

The researchers thought that curvy glasses made it harder to pace drinking because judging how much was in the glass became more difficult owing to its curved shape.
It's because it's alcohol that people try to pace themselves. And apparently the curves are confusing.

"You cannot measure a man’s character based on the words he utters before adoring crowds during times that are happy."

"The true measure of a man is revealed in his actions during times of trouble — the quiet hospital room of a dying boy, with no cameras and no reporters."

The happiest students are at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

It's a HuffPo top 10 list, and we're #1.

Details here. Our highest-rated factor is sports culture, beating out political activity, which is second. Politics only second? That's a lot of sports! Go Badgers!

"MSNBC pundits said Clint Eastwood’s GOP convention speech Thursday night was a 'bizarre' and 'embarrassing' 'disaster'..."

Key word: MSNBC.
“Clint Eastwood was a disaster,” Lawrence O’Donnell said.

“I thought Clint Eastwood was bizarre,” Ed Schultz said. “It was demeaning to the presidency.”
Ha ha ha. That wasn't even a comedy routine (as Eastwood's performance was).

ADDED: I hope if anyone does any comedy at the Democratic convention that Ed Schultz will be fair and balanced enough to say it demeans the presidency. Maybe he should be a little more concerned about what demeans journalism.

AND: Here's the whole Eastwood performance. Is it really that hard to get? No, they're merely playing dumb (and humorless), even though they want the other party to be known as "the stupid party."

UPDATE: I just rewatched the performance. It was great! Hilarious... subtle... well-paced.... The haters are totally bullshitting and playing dumb (assuming they are not actually dumb). And what they are trying to do is scare other celebrities: Toe the line or we will destroy you. That crushing repression is the opposite of what the performing arts should be about.

ALSO: "Why the criticism and mockery of Clint Eastwood will backfire."

Goodbye to Chatsworth Osborne Jr.

The comically irritating rich kid on my all-time favorite sitcom "Dobie Gillis" was played by an actor named Steve Franken, who has died, at the age of 80. The original rich jerk on the show was Milton Armitage, played by Warren Beatty, but he left the show early and Chatsworth stepped in to be totally unlikeable and ridiculous.

I wish I could find a good clip of him as Chatsworth on YouTube. But here's Franken playing a drunken waiter in the 1968 movie "The Party" (with Peter Sellers). It's not a silent movie, but Franken's role is silent (and very funny).

Competitive empathy.

"President Barack Obama was today forced to announce he will fly to storm-hit Louisiana on Monday – hours after Mitt Romney beat him to the punch by deciding to head there this afternoon."

Eric Holder announces the end of "the Obama administration’s limited effort to scrutinize the counterterrorism programs carried out under President George W. Bush."

The NYT reports:
The Justice Department did not say publicly which cases had been under investigation. But officials had previously confirmed the identities of the prisoners: Gul Rahman, suspected of being a militant, who died in 2002 after being shackled to a concrete wall in near-freezing temperatures at a secret C.I.A. prison in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit; and Manadel al-Jamadi, who died in C.I.A. custody in 2003 at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where his corpse was photographed packed in ice and wrapped in plastic.

Mr. Holder’s announcement might remove a possible target for Republicans during the presidential campaign. But the decision will disappoint liberals who supported President Obama when he ran in 2008 and denounced what he called torture and abuse of prisoners under his predecessor.
It's one thing to run for office, quite another to occupy it. You can criticize and express all manner of outrage from the sidelines, but when you are on the inside, it's different, and by cycling the Democratic Party into power, the American people got to learn something about what the Bush Administration did. Those who don't like Obama should see the value of what we learned.

624 comments on the live-blogging thread last night.

Did the spam-bots find out I'd turned off word verification for commenting? I'll check it out. There's our liberal commenter Lindsey Meadows, who said (at 6:24 PM):
I think I'll just have casual sex tonight. After Romney, I couldn't possibly feel more violated (or bored).
When Clint Eastwood came on at 9, the liberal commenters, offset by Meade, went ageist:
elkh1 said... Clint is really really wobbly old.

Meade said... Clint looks great.

Alex said... Clint looks old and jittery. Remember folks he's 82. When he was in his 40s, it was scary.... Clint is just embarrassing right now. There is a reason for the old folks home and you're seeing it. Shoot me before I ever get like this. Senile.
2 of the long-time conservative commenters picked up the age theme:
Pogo said... Old, jittery, but vicious as hell.

Shouting Thomas said... Unfortunately, Clint is really struggling. Sad to see the great man suffering the humiliation of old age.

Pogo said... No way, ST, he's an elderly man whose body betrays him a bit, but he's hitting a million right notes. Hurrah!
What I liked about Clint's routine — which you had to trust not to feel nervous about — was when he said "We own this country... Politicians are employees of ours... When somebody does not do the job, we've got to let them go." As I said in this post, this was a play on something Romney said, something that's been used against Romney: "I like being able to fire people." Clint imposed the correct interpretation on that: When somebody does not do the job, we've got to let them go.

I didn't say much about Romney's speech last night, because I was way too tired by then. Our liberal friend Alex said: "ROmney talking too much about his family and church. Where are the policy initiatives? Obama is going to be speech-ifying policy like crazy next week." (Yeah, lotsa policy wonkery, that would have kept me awake.)

And our liberal Lindsey said: "I just watched Mitten with the sound on...sound on/sound off...same amount of policy specifics. Meade must be in seventh heaven." Oh, she wants policy too. If only they'd have bored us all to tears all week with specifics.

Shouting Thomas continued his lugubriousness:
Romney played small ball. I think that's what we need. He doesn't have an overriding theme, only the promise that he has the technical and managerial skills to lead.

Obama will promise social justice and payoffs to his favored groups.

The debates should be interesting.
Meade responded:
Exactly right. What we need now is boring small ball competence. Time to put obama's failed presidency behind us. Romney will be a fine president.
Lindsey with the liberal lady's focus on sex not baseball had no trouble seeing the opportunity to say:
Well by all appearances, you got a guy with small balls. I was actually hoping that all the non-policy fluff was just to woo the far right but I am now pretty locked into that being all he has. Sad really.
If a man had said something equivalently sexual about a woman, Democrats would cry "war on women." If that kind of rhetoric is okay, we ought to call out Lindsey for her "war on men."

Ah! No spam. Maybe some not-so-admirable comments in there, but nothing robotic, and so Morning on the Althouse Blog continues (i.e., no word verification for commenting). And I just want to say one thing about this supposed lack of policy specifics from the GOP and the implication of Democratic superiority on said specifics. I mean I want to quote something from Paul Ryan's speech:
[President Obama] created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. 
It was loaded with specifics.
He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.
Ryan put a long pause between "did" — the action word — and "exactly nothing."

"30 Best Quotes" from the GOP convention.

As seen by John Hawkins, with #1, #5, and #14 coming from Mike Huckabee. Was Huckabee that good? Here's the #1 quote:
“The Democrats say we ought to give Barack Obama credit for trying. That sounds like the nonsense of giving every kid a trophy for showing up. Friends, we’re talking about leading the country, not playing on a third-grade soccer team! I realize this is the man who got a Nobel Peace Prize for what he would potentially do, but in the real world, you get the prize for producing something, not just promising it.”
I don't think the Democrats are saying "we ought to give Barack Obama credit for trying," and the everybody-gets-a-trophy trope is hackneyed. It was a reasonably spiffy quote though, like something Rush Limbaugh would say ad libbing on his show in any given hour.

By the way, speaking of what Democrats say, I can easily picture Democrats calling that quote racist. Why? For comparing Obama to children. Why doesn't somebody review each speech with an eye toward eliminating things like that? The Democrats in my head — whom I can hear giving their spin on any and everything — are saying: Because they really do want to reach white people in that residual racist part of their brain.

August 30, 2012

Live-blogging Day 3 of the GOP Convention.

6:04: Settle in. It's going to be a long night. Are you looking forward to anything other than Rubio and Romney?

6:30: A Mormon invocation, from Ken Hutchins, thanking God for "the beauty of the heavens and the earth... a lasting testament of Thy love for us."

6:43: "Once again, it's morning in America!" announces Connie Mack, gesturing exuberantly.

6:47: Another story of an immigrant who started a business. It's the American Dream, Mack tells us. "It's morning in America," he repeats, and the tribute video to Ronald Reagan begins.

6:53: "Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone," says the  voice of the departed President, "I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence, rather than your doubts. In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal. America's is." And so, we hear the theme of the night: hope, dreams... the very words that won the last election for the other party.

6:59: It's Callista and Newt Gingrich, here to liken Romney to Reagan and Obama to Carter. It's like 1980 again, you must understand, and it's striking how President Carter and President Obama both wrecked out hopes and dreams within only 4 years. They're speaking in this slow, methodical way. I think this would have been livelier without Callista, but she's bringing the woman... and the beauty... very crisp beauty.

7:03: Hispanics: We love you! We really, really love you. Your values are Republican Party values. Hard work. Entrepreneurship. The American Dream. The successful Hispanics have been Republican.  Identify with success, o Hispanic people! [This was a video. I'll post it here when I find it.]

7:06: It's Craig Romney, the youngest Romney son. He speaks at some length in Spanish, and it sounds fluent to me. He's really handsome too, by the way.

7:12: Jeb Bush comes out and speaks his first few words in Spanish. I'm picturing the Democrats suddenly scrambling to put more Hispanic in their convention.

7:40: Grant Bennett, a friend and fellow church member of Romney's, explains the work Romney did within the LDS Church. This is beautifully stated, explaining a life of service to others. Meade says, "Community organizing!" And I say, "No, he was ministering to individuals." There was no organizing.

7:47: An array of church members testifying to Romney's religious ministry. [This is very touching, parents with children who suffered and died.]

8:37: More testimonials from businesses that were helped by Mitt Romney and from Olympians who benefited from Mitt's leadership. This section is well-done. I'm not particularizing it, but let me say I'm impressed by it.

9:03: Clint Eastwood!

9:10: Clint's talking to an empty chair representing Obama. Oh, I don't think it's possible for him to do that to himself.  

9:13: We own this country... Politicians are employees of ours... When somebody does not do the job, we've got to let them go. Note the echo with Mitt Romney's famous: "I like being able to fire people."

9:14: Marco Rubio! About Obama: "Our problem is not that he's a bad person. It's that he's a bad President."

10:42: And now, Romney has given his speech. It was a Romney speech.

Democrat sends out a mailer saying crime has gone up "over 50% in our negrohood so far this year."

Supposedly a typo, but how does a typo like that happen?

Imagine if a Republican had done that. People would be saying the mask has slipped and this shows what all the Republicans are really like.

If Jason Biggs were an important actor...

... it might matter that he tweeted this. But presumably, his career means something to him, so it's interesting to see that Hollywood is a place where a person could think that stuff like this is appreciated.

It's not, is it?

"I'll be damned, we're Republicans."

NM Gov. Susana Martinez, who'd been a Democrat for many years, like her parents, talked — in her convention speech last night — about a conversation that led to that punchline.

Chuck Todd said "the stupidest thing" Josh Marshall has ever heard.

It's just painful for poor Josh to watch. Todd somehow actually says: "Democrats wish they had the diversity of speakers and deep bench [of the GOP] to show America...." Gasp!

"Important fact: This letter was to his first wife."

Key comment in a comments thread about a contract Kurt Vonnegut made with his pregnant wife in January 1947.

The contract comes from this collection of Vonnegut's letters, which will be released in October.

If you're looking for something to read now, here's that book "Mortality," which Christopher Hitchens wrote as he was dying.

And here's a biography of David Foster Wallace — "Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story" — which just came out today.

"I didn’t want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts."

"He didn’t make friends in doing that in Berlin already and after a lot of contemplation I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself."

"A federal court on Thursday rejected a Texas law that would require voters to present photo IDs to election officials before being allowed to vote..."

"... in November's election, unanimously ruling that it imposes 'strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor,' who are often racial minorities."

Email from John Kerry: "I have one message burned into my memory..."

What?! I can't believe Kerry would evoke his old "memory which is seared — seared — in me" line. If you don't have that seared in your memory, here's a 2004 WaPo article, "Kerry's Cambodia Whopper."

It's weird to get email from a character from the past and have it begin with, essentially, remember me, the big liar. The email reads:
I have one message burned into my memory for everyone who cares about the outcome of this year's presidential election:

Respond quickly and powerfully to attacks from the other side...

If you tune in to the convention, you'll see that Mitt Romney and his allies have no qualms about misleading voters if it means defeating President Obama.

But their attacks won't work if enough people step up to protect the President's record.
Meanwhile, over on Rush Limbaugh's show, the complaint is that the Republicans are afraid to attack Obama. After the first night of the convention, he quotes Fox News commentator Ed Rollins, who said: "Not hitting on Obama was a perfect way to go. We all know the Obama record and don't need to have it reinforced." That exasperates Rush:

"I replied to ads people had posted to the casual encounters section of craigslist."

"I asked if I could photograph them in visual representations of their ads. Some said yes." 

The link isn't NSFW, but what it links to definitely is.

The comment (at 2:21) — "Strange how many of the photographs are reminiscent of Abu Ghraib" — is written by me (under my Metafilter pseudonym, which predates this blog).

I think the photography project is quite brilliant, and I'm interested in how it made you feel, if you clicked through the photographs. How far did you click? How did your feelings progress? Why did you stop when you stopped?

"And when Ryan riffed on the handful of jobs he briefly held, his Ayn Randian roots were clear."

Writes Joan Walsh at Salon. Here's what Paul Ryan said that Walsh thinks is "straight out of Rand, and ’50s anti-Communist paranoia":
“When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life... I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That’s what we do in this country. That’s the American Dream. That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.”
If you believe the individual can think and decide for himself and pursue happiness as he defines it... you're delusional — in Walsh's view. You see what she's saying? She's saying you didn't build that — the very phrase Obama is straining to disown. You didn't build that, you can't build that, and you're psychotic if you imagine that you can. She's deeply into the collectivism the Democrats don't want to openly embrace.

But she doesn't think she's openly embracing it. She thinks Ryan is paranoid to imply that the Democrats favor "the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners." Pressed, she might — I assume — assert that it's fine for individuals to try to come up with their own ideas about what they want to do with their lives and to set out to achieve their goals, but that it's inaccurate to portray this enterprise as solitary and in defiance of the larger efforts of government and society (which they depend on no matter what they do).

But that's not what Walsh says. She's stirring up partisan discord and not inclined to concede that our differences, in the United States, are only a matter of leaning toward individualism or collectivism as we mostly keep to the middle of the road.

No, I won't apologize for voting for Obama, but Meade regrets voting for McCain.

My refusal to apologize hinges on my 3 reasons for voting for Obama: 1. I wanted Democrats to have to take responsibility terrorism and security issues instead of being able to get away with sniping from the sidelines, 2. The central issue of the day was economics, and McCain had professed and demonstrated that he was unprepared to handle it, and 3. I believed Obama had the potential to advance us in some new way on racial matters.

In 2012, from my point of view: 1. Mission accomplished, 2. McCain isn't the alternative to Obama, and 3. Potential miserably squandered as a flailing Democratic party and its media facilitators use race any old way they want in the short-sighted pursuit of partisan goals.

And what about Meade? Last night, as we watched the GOP convention — and he fully intends to vote for Romney — he told me he's sorry he voted for McCain. Paul Ryan was speaking. This and more could not have happened without Obama. (I'll let Meade explain more in the comments, and I encourage you to try to understand why he's thinking this now.)

"Support Prince Harry with a naked salute."

"Harry’s nude fans range from young women to male soldiers... all posed saluting the prince."

(No full nudity at the link. Lots of pics though.)

"I hope people remember George, and I think they will, for having the determination and the toughness and the persistence..."

"... to be able to see... our country through such a very difficult time after the terrorist attack," said Laura.

"There was never a taint of scandal around his presidency," said Bush the Elder. "And I think we forget the importance of that. But they'll remember him for being a good, honest president that got a lot of things done, but I think the thing I take pride in is integrity."

Video at the link. It's the video that was shown at the GOP convention last night, a convention where the party's last failed candidate spoke at great length. The party's 2 living Presidents appeared only in a charming, modest — overly modest — video. Sad. Almost shameful.

Was the Elder correct? Never a taint of scandal around W's presidency? Here's a Salon article, published in 2005 (before the second term), listing "34 scandals" from the first term — "every one of them worse than Whitewater."

Imagine if Salon were committed to maintaining a single standard for the meaning of "scandal" and had to make an equivalent list for the Obama administration. How many scandals would it list? It too absurd to imagine. Holding Obama to the insane standard that was imposed on Bush?!

Ironically, this is one of the reasons I voted for Obama and I won't apologize for that vote. I anticipated that Obama would have to own many of the policies that Bush — with his "determination and... toughness and... persistence" — followed. The Democratic Party would not be able to continue standing on the sidelines, calling everything outrageous, "a scandal," with the press amplifying each charge. They would do many of the same things and preen about their toughness on terrorism, and the press would boost them along.

And so now we are here in the fall of 2012, and that has been accomplished. Can you imagine where we would be if McCain had been President and the carping on the sidelines had continued all these 4 years? Would McCain even be attempting to get reelected?

August 29, 2012

Live-blogging Day 2 of the GOP Convention.

6:03: Ayla Brown — the erstwhile "American Idol" contestant and daughter of Senator Scott Brown — sings the National Anthem.

6:07: "Please release each one of us from ego"... part of the invocation, given by a Sikh.

6:08: The color guard are amputee veterans, which we see because they're wearing shorts, earning a new, immediate exception to my "men in shorts" rule.

6:10: A bombastic tribute to Ron Paul. "No, no, I'm not going to be elected," he said to his wife. "To be elected, you've got to be like Santa Claus." Rand Paul says one thing he likes about his father is the lobbyists don't even bother to come by his office.

6:29: I found it hard to watch Mitch McConnell. I almost got out my sketchbook and pen, though, because his face says "Caricature me!" So I moved from C-SPAN over to CNN. (I'm recording both, and also Fox News.) They had an interview with Paul Ryan, in which Gloria Borger prodded him about how he felt when, as a 16-year-old boy, he discovered his father dead. Ryan moved on to how you have to live knowing you could die at any time, so Gloria asked why he didn't live fast and run right away for President. He said there were others who could do that job, but he was the only one would could father his young children. Gloria did not proceed to ask why then is he taking on the VP slot, but I guess that's a very short campaign period and, frankly, once you get it, it's a lot less work than chairing the House Finance Committee. Then Piers Morgan was interviewing Michele Bachmann, and the 2 of them agreed that Ann Romney was just lovely and then enthused about the "miracle" of the 2 of them agreeing, which Wolf Blitzer then echoed, sending me back to C-SPAN which was showing the on-stage entertainer, a horrifying aging rock singer who was belting the line "I'm back in the game" over and over.

6:30: Rand Paul: "You know when the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, the first words out of my mouth were 'I still think it's unconstitutional.'" Pushed to reflect, he reflected, and he still thinks it's unconstitutional. "The whole damned thing is unconstitutional." Meade says, "He said 'damned.'" And then, more seriously: "What we have here is crazy old Ron Paul" — and Meade makes a Ron Paul face — "morphing into Rand Paul."

6:50: Video of the Bushes, 41 and 43, and their wives, Barbara and Laura. So they weren't entirely banished from this place. They are circumspect, yet charming, claiming their place in history without seeming the slightest bit arrogant. Old Bush even does his Dana Carvey imitation imitation: "Not gon' do it. Wouldn't be prudent."

7:00: John McCain. Why is he here and not George Bush? McCain lost. Bush won twice. Meade says: "Because Bush is through with politics." McCain gives a paean to foreign wars in the cause of freedom, and the crowd's response is tepid.

7:50: Danny Gokey — another "American Idol" person. Another Wisconsin person.

8:00: Rob Portman, the short-list guy who came up short. "We need Romney/Ryan and we need them now." He seems perfectly fine, but I am glad he was not Romney's choice. There's some insurmountable dullness about him, no matter what he says, no matter how enthusiastically.

8:31: Another VP also-ran, Tim Pawlenty. He's reading jokes. For example: Obama is "the tattoo President" — it seemed cool at the time, but you look at it and say "What was I thinking?"

9:15: Huckabee and Rice both gave very long speeches that were neither bad nor good. Here's some text from Rice's speech.

9:19: Biggest cheer of the night comes when Gov. Susana Martinez says: "I carried at 357 Smith & Wesson Magnum" (referring to her experience, as an 18-year-old, working for her parents security guard business, protecting the Catholic church at bingo times). She's a good speaker. A nice edge of passion in her voice. With toughness.

9:29: Both Meade and I thought: We may be looking at the first woman President of the United States.

9:30: Paul Ryan. Meade says: "He looks like a young JFK only healthy." I'm struck by this quote, directly attacking Obama: "I have never seen opponents so silent about their record and so desperate to keep their power. They've run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division is all they've got left."

9:40: As Paul Ryan expresses his love for the state of Wisconsin, the C-SPAN camera closes in on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and we see there's a tear rolling down his cheek.

That was pointed out by Meade, who confesses to a tear of his own.

9:55: Paul Ryan gives a moving tribute to his mother, who, as a new widow, commuted 40 miles a day to Madison — to my school, the University of Wisconsin — to learn the skills she used to build a new business and a new life in which her happiness was not just in the past and to become his role model. After a long ovation from the crowd, Ryan moves into what will be the greatest iteration of what has been the convention's them: You did build that. He says:
Behind every small business, there's a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salon, hardware stores — these didn't come out of nowhere. A lot of heart goes into each one. And if small business people say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked 7 days a week in their place, nobody showed up in their place to open the door at 5 in the morning, nobody did their thinking and worrying and sweating for them. After all that work and in a bad economy, it sure doesn't help to hear from their President that government gets the credit. What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that!
11:10: Ryan did a brilliant job. It was much more than a fine speech and an excellent delivery. He embodied that speech. We saw a brilliant candidate.

The Amish hair- and beard-cutting trial: Is it a hate crime...

... if they felt compassion and wanted to bring strayed Amish "back into the fold"?

"The Suffragette Summer School, a two-day feminist training camp... promises to help 'budding Pussy Rioters' hone headline-grabbing techniques."

"Feminism can be quite isolating because it is so stigmatized... It can be quite hard to tell people you don’t know that you’re a feminist, because of these persistent stereotypes — people think feminists are anti-men, are humorless, have to dress in a certain way — so the very act of coming together can be quite powerful."

The very act of coming together... Oh, my. That does suggests a headline-grabbing technique.

Now, don't get mad at me. You wanted to show you're not humorless.

I know: That's not funny.

"I was Episcopalian, he was a Mormon," said Ann Romney, and Ross Douthat says that was "straining to make an affinity sound like an impediment."

Douthat lumps Episcopalians and Mormons together. He's got a big theory about it. Mormons are the WASPs of the West or something. Douthat isn't talking about the religious aspects of these religious groups but "a communitarian spirit and a flinty work ethic, and an attitude toward their own success that mixed self-effacement and noblesse oblige."
Her best line evoked generations of reticent, public-spirited Brahmins: “Mitt does not like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point.” The same was true of her strongest passage:
No one will work harder. No one will care more. And no one will move heaven and earth like Mitt Romney to make this country a better place to live.

After only 1 day of the convention, Romney gets a 5 point bump.

From The Hill:
Romney had a 43-percent favorable and 44-percent unfavorable rating in nine battleground states heading into the convention, according to an average compiled by Real Clear Politics.

A survey conducted by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research in nine battle ground states Tuesday evening found Romney’s favorable rating among likely voters had jumped to 48 percent. His unfavorable rating dipped to 39.

If a man dares to horse around with children he doesn't know... he could get into trouble.

Look what happened to Madison's Brett Hulsey, who just pled "no contest" to a disorderly conduct charge for —as the police put it — "the totality of the events that happened," mostly "engaging in horseplay with a child who is a stranger to him -- in the water, no less."

According to Hulsey, he chided a boy about splashing some girls and then, as he walked past him, shouted "boo" — causing the boy to roll off his inner tube into shallow water.

Supposedly, this creeped out the parents and grandparents. The mother, according to the police reports "worried if this individual may have done this before or may do more in the future."

Why not fight the charge? Hulsey says he wants to "move on." Does that work in a political career?

There are many old posts on this blog about Brett Hulsey, who represents my district in the state legislature and was a prominent figure in the 2011 Wisconsin protests. Here he is saying "boo" to Meade:


ADDED: Part of "the totality of the events" was photographing the children. Is that wrong? Here's some discussion of that topic:

That semi-starvation diet that was supposed to make you live longer — based on monkey experiments?

After 25 years, the results are in: The starved monkeys didn't live any longer than the unstarved monkeys. Cancer, heart disease — again, no difference. So if you've been straining toward semi-immortality by counting grains of brown rice or whatever... have a sandwich and a good cry.
Then there is Mark Mattson, chief of the laboratory of neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging, who was not part of the monkey study. He believes there is merit to caloric restriction, but his routine is to do it intermittently, eating much less, but not every day. It can help the brain, he says, as well as make people healthier and probably make them live longer.

Dr. Mattson, who is 5 foot 9 and weighs 130 pounds, skips breakfast and lunch on weekdays and skips breakfast on weekends.

“I get a little hungry,” he acknowledged. “But we think being hungry is actually good.”
It can help the brain, he says... demonstrating not the most impressive brain.

"It was only when the store opened I learnt Hitler had killed six million people."

Says the owner of a clothing store — in India — called "Hitler" (which has a swastika as the dot on the "i").
"I will change it (the name) if people want to compensate me for the money we have spent -- the logo, the hoarding, the business cards, the brand," Rajesh Shah...

Shah insisted that until the store opened he did not know who Adolf Hitler was and that Hitler was a nickname given to the grandfather of his store partner because "he was very strict."

"I didn't know how much the name would disturb people...."...
The row evoked memories of a controversy six years ago when a Mumbai restaurant owner called his cafe "Hitler's Cross" and put a swastika on the hoarding, claiming Hitler was a "catchy" name.

Morning-after thoughts about the first night of the GOP convention.

Why didn't I live-blog the GOP convention last night? I'd thought I would, and I think I live-blogged every day of both parties' conventions in 2004 and 2008. I watched part of the afternoon roll call and all of the evening show. But I didn't want to say something about each of the speeches as I listened, though this morning I wish I had.

I watched on C-SPAN. I cannot tolerate the channels that have people who talk about what is going on while it's going one. They are obviously not listening, so what are they doing — other than getting in the way? But when you watch on C-SPAN, it's just a bunch of speeches. Speeches are speeches. There's a sameness to them. A good line now and then. A nice line reading. Themes emerge. It seemed to me that the main theme was that Americans work hard and construct their own families' economic well-being. There were a lot of "We Built It" signs (playing off the Republican's favorite Obama quote, "You didn't build that").

Chris Christie, the keynote speaker, was the main speaker who had his own distinctive theme: Truth. Americans are ready to hear the truth about government and economics. He told the truth in New Jersey, and he got elected, and he fixed things, and now this truth thing is going national. Without checking the text, I'm not sure how directly Christie associated Obama with not telling the truth, but I note that Obama was always the "dreams" guy. Talking tough about truth may be the perfect counterbalance to Obama's supremely — unfairly! — effective "hope" theme.

Who was the best speaker last night? Maybe it wasn't Christie. Maybe it was Rick Santorum. What am I saying? All that hands-touching-hands business. It got to me, and I am not a social conservative. I cried when he talked about Bella. Santorum was off the "we built it" theme. He was the one speaker — as I remember it — who talked about caring for people. But who votes based on caring? Don't those people vote Democrat?

I say that to Meade, and he goes on about how fixing the economy is the best way for government to care for people. That's not my point. Of course, that's true. That's rational. But I'm talking about the voters who imagine suffering children and feel the importance of love as they arrive at an emotion-based decision. Those people vote Democratic, don't they?

ADDED: Ann Romney carried the main "We Built It" theme by portraying Mitt as building his own wealth, starting out from nothing... basement apartment... ate a lot of pasta and tuna.... And her grandfather was a coal miner. In Wales.

But did she humanize him? I read in the press about a thousand times that it was her job to humanize him. Isn't it racist and sexist to portray Mitt Romney as inhuman?

August 28, 2012

GOP convention.

We're watching. Are you?

ADDED: "Utah’s Mia Love Gets Enthusiastic Reception in Tampa."

"I never thought I'd say this, but we're going to be the New Jersey of the West."

"Oregon is going to be the next red state on the left coast."

Just now, as the roll call proceeds at the GOP convention.

UPDATE: "The 51st State"... Puerto Rico!

UPDATE 2: I recorded Governor Scott Walker announcing the Wisconsin vote:

Photos from the Go Topless Protest at the White House.

Warning, lots of large photos of breasts at the link, which I recommend not for the usual gawking at breasts, but for the careful contemplation of the expression and demeanor of the various women. The pictures tell a story, and each woman is different — not just in the size and shape of her breasts — but in her attitude about joining this demonstration... and the way that attitude evolves as the demonstration progresses and as the various women perceive the differences in breasts and attitudes of the other women. There are some men too... and onlookers taking all the photographs they want, which is part of the evolving scene. It's humanity at its most hilarious. Highly recommended!

"Reclaim Women’s Equality" rally at the Wisconsin Capitol draws only 100 people.

"Wendi Kent... had hoped enough would attend to encircle the Capitol...."
She said she invited Republican and Democratic state lawmakers. She told me a representative from Madison Rep. Brett Hulsey’s office was the only one who responded, to say he couldn’t attend.
Good old Brett Hulsey. At least he responded!

I love this picture of what "I am woman, hear me roar" looks like in Wisconsin nowadays.

Could it be... Sarah?

The mystery speaker at the GOP convention.

I'm betting on Hologram Reagan.

"She chose to put herself in danger... She could have easily distanced herself from the danger like any reasonable person would."

Rachel Corrie, according to an Israeli judge.

Fish politics, insect politics.

You may know I'm a longtime fan of the 1986 movie "The Fly," especially the part where the main character, the scientist-turned-fly, has his rant about "insect politics." ("Have you heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects don't have politics.... they're very brutal. No compassion.... no compromise. We can't trust the insect. I'd like to become the first insect politician. I'd like to, but.... I'm an insect.... who dreamed he was a man, and loved it. But now the dream is over, and the insect is awake.")

I'm always alert to stories that can take my blog tag "insect politics."

And I love lawprof/public intellectual Stanley Fish, who's written many cool books and in recent years has been doing a column on the NYT website. I was already delighted to see that Fish had put up a new column on the Dinesh D'Souza movie "2016: Obama's America," but my delight bubbled over into ecstasy when I arrived at the insect politics:

Who's playing the playing-the-race-card card?

It's hard to tell who, if anybody, is playing the race card. (That's done subtly, if it's done by anybody worth taking down for doing it.)

But lots of people are playing the playing-the-race-card card.

I just want to be the first person to play the playing-the-playing-the-race-card-card card.

Does Rush Limbaugh accuse the government of faking the hurricane reports to screw up the GOP convention?

The storm was headed right for Tampa, then suddenly re-aimed at New Orleans. Rush talks about the evidence without making a direct accusation.
What I spent the first hour trying to tell you was how it was being reported in a way that resulted in the Republicans canceling their convention today when it's nowhere near there. And that there were model runs Saturday night that showed Tampa was not gonna be hit at all, massive shift of models that was not reflected by the hurricane center for 12 hours. That's all I'm saying. And now we got the media jazzed like I haven't seen 'em in a while because now Hurricane Isaac is casting a pall. How dare the Republicans even do a convention with a hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast. How do they even do that? How do they have a convention where they celebrate anything when people's property is being destroyed?

So the effort is on with the media here to try to pressure the Republicans to cancel the whole thing, is what I think is happening.....

August 27, 2012

"Why would a guy want to marry a guy?"

A question asked in 1959.

South Dakota.

The video....

"Ah ha ha ha ha ha..."

"The Wisconsin Capitol's new police chief said Monday that he plans to crack down on protesters who don't follow the building's rules..."

"... because he wants to restore a sense of normalcy and safety to the statehouse."
Chief David Erwin [said] that he respects people's right to petition their government, but that he believes some protesters' behavior has crossed into intimidation.

"I understand it's a political environment," Erwin said of the Capitol. "(But) there's a line. We're better than that."

"[M]en don’t believe as strongly as women that fruit and vegetable consumption is an important part of maintaining health..."

According to some new study, which supposedly suggests that men are less "receptive" to "messages" that we ought to eat more fruits and vegetables. It also looked at something called "the theory of planned behavior," which (if I understand this correctly) says that people construct beliefs to match their behavior. Then there's this additional idea that it's because men are less able to get their fruits and vegetables that they develop the belief that it's not really so much of a problem.

By contrast, women — who get their fruits and veggies — end up thinking this food will make them good-looking and long-lived. So, if only men did eat more fruits and vegetables, they'd arrive at the appropriate beliefs. But how do you get men to do that unless they believe it's good?

See how they're trying to reverse things? Do it, and then you'll believe it's good. We don't want to have to convince you that you should do it so that you'll do it. We just want you to do it, and the belief that it's good will follow, pursuant to the theory of planned behavior.

But wait. Is it good? When was it ever proved that eating fruits and vegetables is important? Maybe men don't believe it because it's just been mostly nothing but a folk belief all this time. Why assume the women are the norm and men are misbehaving? Maybe men demand evidence and don't simply follow the dictates of experts.

I got this link from Instapundit, who just says: "FEAR OF E. COLI? Why men don’t eat vegetables." Maybe there is an instinctive resistance at least to raw foods. What I'm resisting is the ever-irritating bullshit science that presents whatever is true of women as what's good.

"Gibbon has lived for fifty years just by staying super relaxed."


"I'd rather see a movie that helps me be a nicer person, not a sharper arguer."

Writes Chip Ahoy (in the comments to the thread about the "Obama's America" movie). I thought this was a nice topic, this topic of niceness.

Is there some movie that could help Chip Ahoy be a nicer person? The answers don't need to be Chip Ahoy specific. I'm wracking my brain trying to come up with a movie that oriented me toward greater niceness. I can think of movies that might help you become a better person, but it's usually in the sense of becoming bolder, more independent, more resolutely opposed to evil and oppression. But nicer? Can you think of a movie in which the central character, someone you identify with, is especially polite and the politeness isn't basically something he must overcome in order to succeed.

A-ha! The answer: Every Shirley Temple movie.

"The good thing is that this is so insipidly solipsistic that I think she's going to have ruined the Vagina book like Cutthroat Island destroyed the pirate film."

"Might be 15 years before someone gambles with Vaginas of the Caribbean."

Also at that link: "My Vagina is Large; It Contains Multitudes. Who knew the female sex-organ was so chatty?"

The passage...
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
... has 19 highlighters in my Kindle version of "Leaves of Grass."

Hey, remember the role of "Leaves of Grass" in the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal?
Feb. 28: After she attended the taping of Clinton's radio show, she had her picture taken with him. He told her to see his secretary Betty Currie because he had something for her. Currie accompanied Lewinsky into the study next to the Oval Office. Then Currie walked into the nearby pantry, where she waited for about 15 minutes while Lewinsky and the president had a sexual encounter -- their first in 11 months. Then he gave her a hat pin and Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass." Lewinsky later discovered that the blue dress she had worn that day was stained with his semen.
Speaking of containing multitudes!

Have the big papier maché puppets arrived?


And the Guy Fawkeses.

"The music starts faintly, as if in a vintage pleasure palace..."

"... with the band — the stalwarts who've played with Dylan for a while and join him on the Never-Ending Tour — playing rock and roll ragtime off in the corner. The electric guitars sound almost like clarinets. Everybody's swinging! But what's that in the distance? Dylan himself unleashes the rubbery guitar chord change that repeats for the rest of the song...."

You can pre-order the new album, "Tempest" here. The song at the link, which you can play in full, is "Duquesne Whistle."

ADDED: While over at Amazon, I happened to click on another link and see this new Art Garfunkel 2 CD set, "The Singer," which becomes available tomorrow. Funny, seeing "Duquensne" in the Dylan song got me thinking about a conversation Meade and I were having earlier this morning about the Simon and Garfunkel song "America." That came up in the context of the post from last night about the WaPo writer "searching for the 'authentic America'" in Madison, Wisconsin (of all  places). In the comments, Pogo did a parody of the old S&G song:

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the medical benefits of circumcision outweigh the small risks.

"The new policy could bring about a shift in affordability. The guidelines now make plain that the benefits of circumcision are great enough to 'justify access to this procedure for families choosing it and to warrant third-party payment for circumcision of male newborns.'"

It's about insurance.

"Sleepwalking Idaho woman wakes up in Snake River twice..."

She'll be asleep, dreaming of drowning and then wake up to find herself in the river.

The "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh seeks more religious freedom in prison.

He's serving a 20-year sentence in the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, and the request is for more group prayer — his sect "requires group prayer if it is possible" — and he also objects to needing to pray in his prison cell because he's too close to the toilet. He's represented by the ACLU, which characterizes the prison's rules as discriminating against religion (and not merely denying a special privilege to religion):
"This is an open unit where prisoners are basically out all day," said ACLU legal director Ken Falk, noting that inmates are allowed to play basketball and board games, watch television and converse as long as they speak English so the guards can understand.

"They can do basically any peaceful activity except praying," he said. "It makes no sense to say this is one activity we're going to prohibit in the name of security."
The government, citing a "radical, all-Arabic sermon" by Lindh, argues "that religious activities led by Muslim inmates are being used as a vehicle for radicalization and violence in the CMU."

“A lot of people ask ‘What’s in the water in Wisconsin?’”

“But a better question is, ‘What’s in the beer?’”

Reince Priebus, at the GOP Convention.

"We are going to start treating mopeds the same as we do automobiles."

The moped free-for-all here on campus is over.
University officials say the policy will make UW safer and less congested, but riders say it makes their mopeds "obsolete."

"It's not a matter of laziness, it's a matter of getting some place in time," said sophomore and moped owner Anthony Winchell.
If you're a student who spent your money on a moped, would you have bought it if you'd known you wouldn't be able to use it to get easily and quickly from place to place on campus? 

"Taliban insurgents beheaded 17 Afghans... two of them women..."

"[T]hey were attending a party that featured music and mixed-gender dancing...."

"We know what Gary’s brain looks like when he’s trying to lie..."

"And when he was answering questions about whether he killed McQueen, 'it doesn’t appear the same as when he’s lying.'"

"Most voters won’t be watching much of the upcoming national political conventions..."

"... and over one-third of independent voters plan to tune them out completely."
Predictably, 90% of Republican and 81% of Democrats intend to watch at least some of their respective party conventions. But just 16% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties plan to watch most of the GOP convention, and 21% of these voters say the same about the Democratic convention.
You don't have to watch the conventions to be influenced by them. Why not just read about them and watch some video clips? 

"I mind my own business. And I don’t eat junk food."

In case you're assuming that the secret to longevity is whatever it is that is true of a person who happens to have lived to be very old.

Ever met somebody who minded her own business, didn't eat junk food, and died young?

I followed a link yesterday to some article — I forget where — that said maybe having a lot of orgasms would increase your life span. Knock yourself out. I mean... it also said that being lonely would shorten your life span but having relationships would lengthen it. So get out there and find somebody to love. Preferably not a murderer.

"So why did Apple sue Samsung, the Galaxy hardware manufacturer, and not Google, maker of the phone's Android software?"

"Apple sees Google as its chief competitor—this is no secret."
Steve Jobs so hated Google's Android that, even as he struggled with cancer, he told biographer Walter Isaacson: "Google . . . ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off. I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. . . . I'm willing to go thermonuclear on this."

"There are no conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth, religion, Social Security number, passport, or college transcript."

"Instead, there is a deep dive into Barack Obama’s known Communist associates, his late father’s avowed socialism, and his mother’s radicalism," writes David Weigel, about the Dinesh D'Souza movie that did so well at the box office over the weekend. Weigel, a political writer, not a movie reviewer, makes a go of fact-checking the movie. (Has the Obama campaign responded to it yet?)
Obama, according to D’Souza, was an anti-colonialist. “He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder,” wrote D’Souza. “Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America.”...
The movie is based on a book by D'Souza, which I ignored at the time, because I didn't see much basis to think that Obama had absorbed his father's ideas. Obama did — oddly (aptly?!) — call his book "Dreams From My Father," but he spent almost no time with his father. Though I read "Dreams," I hadn't thought much about the pathway of the father's "dreams" into the son. The movie made mesee that pathway: the mother.

Stanley Ann Dunham was drawn to Obama Sr. when she was 17. The association didn't last long and didn't have much reality to it, but she nurtured the dream version and taught it to young Obama. Her second husband disappointed her, after they moved to Indonesia, the third world country that fit with her young dreams, because he turned to Western-style politics and commerce. Obama heard Lolo and Ann arguing about her refusal to attend dinner parties where he wanted to network with Westerners to advance his career. In this setting, Ann plied the young Obama with stories about his father and his — really, her — ideas about the rich and the oppressed.

August 26, 2012

At the Lift-to-Smell Café...


... it's nothing to sniff at.

A WaPo writer "searching for the 'authentic America'" is delighted to travel to Madison, Wisconsin.

"We’d always heard about that mythically quirky place called Madison, a free-spirited land with far fewer chain stores and BlackBerry addicts than Washington," enthuses Emily Wax. Man, living in Washington, D.C. really lowers your standards of authenticity.

Influenced by the 2011 documentary “Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old-Fashioned Experience,” Wax goes to the restaurant called Old Fashioned, which is fairly new, and not one of the funky old places I think of as "supper clubs." She eats some fried cheese curds and says she has no idea how to tell whether cheese curds are especially good. (Answer: They squeak. Except they don't squeak if they're fried.)

She drinks the cocktail called an Old Fashioned, and then on another day she has another Old Fashioned and proclaims "How Madison!" On another day, "my husband and I headed for a romantic dinner at the sexy, dimly lit Tornado Steakhouse," which supposedly "has a wonderful menu."

And so did she achieve it, that sense of authenticity infusing the city, of delight with mythical quirkiness all around her, of free-spirited energy rushing through everything alive? Myself, I'm over-indulging in deep-fried prose tonight and wondering if I need to see a surgeon to get my neural pathways reconnected. I'm losing it somehow, as I gaze out on the treetops of Madison.

A young man, angry at academia, becomes a ghostwriter for students....

... taking money to help them cheat. And then he quit:
Eventually, the strain of 20-hour workdays, arguments with self-righteous clients, and the looming sense that he could be doing something better with his life got to him.

A discussion about two years ago with a friend about Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers crystallized his discontent. In that book, Mr. Gladwell describes 10,000 hours as the amount of time someone needs to truly master a skill. Mr. Tomar did a rough calculation of how much time he had spent writing papers since 2000. At a minimum, he had spent 25,000 hours doing it. He was done.
Note his almost complete lack of guilt over the deceit.

And he wrote a book: "The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat."

I'm not really recommending that you read that book. You'd be better off with "Outliers." (Or something else from Amazon through the Althouse portal, which allows you, costlessly, to reward me for providing you with all this deceit-free writing.)

The Romney campaign pays the rock band Journey $500,000 to play at a fundraiser.

And the band wants to make it really really clear that this is NOT a political statement, but "just another gig."

"Man convicted of molesting a dead deer and shooting horse to have sex with it 'assaulted female cop after shoplifting from Walmart.'"

Now, there's a headline! And it happened in Wisconsin. In the aptly named city of Superior.

More amateur art restoration...

... in the inimitable style of Cecilia Jimenez.

IN THE COMMENTS: John Lynch says:
"The Scream," looks the same.
LOL. And Mitch H. says, "By definition, she is not inimitable." Yes, good point. Now that she's done it, it's easily imitated. What was hard was being that hilariously bad in the first place. She's a true original in that regard. She — deservedly! — has a lot of fans, and I count myself as one of them.

"To my astonishment and dismay, while my orgasms were as strong and pleasurable as ever, something very different was happening after sex, to my mind."

Said feminist attention-seeker and erstwhile Al-Gore-adviser Naomi Wolf.
"I realised one day, as I gazed out on the treetops outside the bedroom of our little cottage, that the usual post-coital rush of a sense of vitality infusing the world, of delight with myself and with all around me, and of creative energy rushing through everything alive, was no longer following the physical pleasure."
Something is infusing my world right now, I'll tell you that.
"I felt I was losing somehow, what made me a woman, and that I could not face living in this condition for the rest of my life."
May I suggest wearing earth-toned clothing? Oh... no... I see... you found the solution in surgery.
[New York gynaecologist Dr Deborah] Coady told her it could be a problem with the pelvic nerve - her area of expertise - being compressed and [causing] numbness....

She was referred to Dr Jeffrey Cole, an expert in muscular-skeletal medicine who x-rayed her back and found a crumbling of her vertebrae, even though she had never experienced pain or back problems....

Dr Cole told her: ‘All women’s wiring is different. That’s the reason women respond so differently from one another sexually. The pelvic nerve branches in very individual ways for every woman. These differences are physical’.

He added that men’s sexual wiring is much more uniform.
Yes, once again we learn that we women are so fabulously multidimensional and men are so simple. So let me tell it to you straight: Cough up the tax money to pay for the fancy diagnostics of our neural misalignments and the surgery to reconnect us so we can have  "the ‘blended’ clitoral and vaginal orgasms" that will return women to "the sense of deep emotional union, of post-coital creative euphoria, of joy with oneself and one’s lover… and the sense that all was well in some existential way, that [Naomi Wolf] thought [she] had lost for ever." And don't be raising any of your war-on-women objections. 

Of course, she has a new book. It's called "Vagina: A New Biography."

Is it really the story of her vagina? Seems more like the story of a few of her vertebrae. But it's all connected. Elaborately. Complexly. Mysteriously. Now, shut up while I gaze upon the treetops outside the bedroom of my little cottage and contemplate the extent of my euphoria.

ADDED: She's writing the kind of claptrap that feminists used to quote for the purpose of mockery.

IN THE COMMENTS: In Wolf's cogitations, Scott Bradford hears something familiar: "I first became aware of it, Mandrake during the physical act of love.... Yes, a profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily, I was able to interpret these feelings correctly."