November 17, 2012

Playing Hive at Graze.


Here's the game we were playing. Here's the restaurant.


"Susan had a reputation, fairly or not, as someone who could run a little hot and shoot from the hip."

"If someone had told me that the biggest knock on her was going to be that she too slavishly followed the talking points on Benghazi, I would have been shocked."

"Democrats Unlikely to Regain House in 2014."

Nate Silver explains.

I know this kind of humor is too easy to do.

In fact, I once had a job reading magazines — pre- law school, post- art school — and we used to crack each other up all the time mostly just reading items that were intended to be taken seriously by were just begging to be declared ridiculous. But "The Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog" got me laughing so hysterically that it pained me to continue to the next item. And yet I continued.

The only thing that's made me laugh more in the last couple months is the best of "Damn You Auto-Correct."

I mean... that... and this other thing I can't tell you about.

"Subsurface insanity."

In Tokyo.

100 greatest video games (by decade).

So TIME thinks. Do you agree?

Reader poll here.

Taliban spokesperson sends email with the bcc addresses on the cc line.

400 addressees revealed:
The list, made up of more than 400 recipients, consists mostly of journalists, but also includes an address appearing to belong to a provincial governor, an Afghan legislator, several academics and activists, an[d] l Afghan consultative committee, and a representative of Gulbuddein Hekmatar, an Afghan warlord whose outlawed group Hezb-i-Islami is believed to be behind several attacks against coalition troops.

At the Compost Concept Café...


... follow your own path.

Cutting off the land line.

I finally did it, ended non-mobile phone service. I'd been thinking about doing it for quite a while, because we make all our calls and talk to everyone we care about from our cell phones. The land line mostly only brought in robocalls, but in the last couple weeks it was getting calls from people — different people — who believed that we had called them. We were getting dozens of messages from people saying things like "Stop calling me unless you're going to leave your name." We picked up a couple of these calls and they seemed to be from genuinely confused people who seemed to have pushed "call back" buttons after they received a call. It seemed like when you get email with a friend's name on it, but it's been hacked on to some spam email. Ever heard of that with a phone line? Well, it's not my problem anymore, it's AT&T's, and it was the incentive for me to cut them off after all these years. Cut them off on the land line, that is. They're still my mobile phone company, my cable TV company, and my internet company.

Land lines... Twinkies... all these building blocks of American life are evanescing.


... Angel.

"[T]he hypocrisy of pillorying a guy for using his employer’s equipment to grow marijuana..."

"... while his employer offers training in how to create a pair of substances — including one with its own mind-altering properties — that together probably do more damage to the state’s health and well-being than marijuana ever could."

Wisconsin State Journal columnist purports to detect "hypocrisy" after a University of Wisconsin researcher is arrested for growing marijuana in his university lab, when the university teaches beer brewery and has a big ice cream making plant.
Fat-choked dairy products in general are a focus of much study at the university, which regularly provides technical assistance to Dairy State dairy producers.

Given its status as the drunken-driving capital of the United States, and federal statistics that put its obesity rate of 27.7 percent, Wisconsin’s love affair with beer and ice cream might be far bigger threats than a couple joints.
Care to think about the Wisconsin economy without beer and dairy products? And the notion that more marijuana would help us out of our obesity... I'm having trouble with that line of reasoning. Wouldn't you keep eating or eat even more? Seems like your argument demands a focus on the drugs that make you skinny....
What drugs make those skinny rocks stars dreadfully skinny?...  I've always assumed that the drugs make them forget to eat, or maybe they can't afford food or the drug drives down appetite. What drugs do this?...  I want to add some authentic detail into a play I'm involved with....

The classic rock hard drug is heroin, which would definitely cause that gaunt look, and coke would be the 2nd choice. I would research those drugs...

Google "coke bloat". Makes you skinny, except in the face and tummy....

Heroin. If you're talking about the standard Janis-Joplin-oh-my-god-she-looks-like-a-skeleton-but-damn-she's-still-kinda-hot thing, it's heroin. If you're going for the where-are-her-teeth-and-what's-that-purple-thing-on-her-lip thing, methamphetamine.
So, there you have it. What you want is: heroin. Bonus: You'll be growing a very pretty flower!

Okay, all you nonhypocritical University of Wisconsinites: Cultivate your gardens!

"Petraeus Says U.S. Tried to Avoid Tipping Off Terrorists After Libya Attack."

Here's the NYT article to pick through.
At some point in the process — [David] Petraeus told lawmakers he was not sure where — objections were raised to naming the groups, and the less specific word “extremists” was substituted.

“The fact is, the reference to Al Qaeda was taken out somewhere along the line by someone outside the intelligence community,” Representative Peter T. King, a New York Republican, said after the House hearing. “We need to find out who did it and why.”...

Democrats said Mr. Petraeus made it clear the change had not been done for political reasons to aid Mr. Obama. “The general was adamant there was no politicization of the process, no White House interference or political agenda,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California.

Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, said that Mr. Petraeus explained to lawmakers that the final document was put in front of all the senior agency leaders, including Mr. Petraeus, and everyone signed off on it.
Including Mr. Petraeus, who had the motivation of trying to keep his job, which he was deprived of immediately after the election. Now, he has the motivation of trying to regain his honor.
Ms. Feinstein, read the final unclassified talking points to reporters:

How to make your own Twinkies.

Chip Ahoy explains:
I have a pan made for East coast style hotdog buns. It's like a flat bread with bumps in it the shape of Twinkies. You cut through for individual hotdog buns, like cakes. So each pan makes about 10 hotdog buns.
There's also a Chicago hot dog bun pan, which seems like it might be easier.
Then squish a filling inside using a pastry bag. You poke a hole in it and like a surgeon deposit the filling by squeezing the bag while simultaneously withdrawing the fill tip through the puncture with machine like precision. 

But the chocolate cupcakes are better. With the white curly frosting on top of thin chocolate ganache. Those can be improved too.

The filling. It's like a whipped cream foam. Lemon custard would be better, or banana. But if you're stuck on white foam then real whipped cream. Or you could jab the can of spray whipped cream in there but then you couldn't control the flavor of it.
Now that I'm poking around over at Amazon, I'm seeing the Kaiser Bakeware Basic Tinplate Eclair/Lady Finger Pan and this Eclair Baking Pan and realizing that Twinkies are eclairs (with the chocolate frosting). And check out the Norpro 3964 Cream Canoe Pan With Bonus 9 Piece Decorating Set:
Old fashioned cream canoes and traditional French eclairs are simple to make with Norpro's Cream Canoe Pan. Featuring durable heavy gauge construction, the pan has 8 elongated cups that are the perfect shape for baking eclairs or cream filled sponge cakes - homemade Twinkies, anyone?
Cream canoes! I Google that term and come up with a recipe for "twinkling good vanilla snack cakes" made in your "a filled cake pan (aka cream canoe pan)." The fall of Hostess is a wake-up call: Get twinkling!

ADDED: You can still buy Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets, which is what we ate in Delaware in the 1950s and 60s. And here are the Tastykake cream-filled cupcakes, which I think you might find similar to the Hostess cupcakes. No white curlicue on top, but I think you might find they taste better.

"Americans who remember the student protests of the 1960s tend to assume that U.S. colleges are still some of the freest places on earth."

Says Greg Lukianoff:
But that idealized university no longer exists. It was wiped out in the 1990s by administrators, diversity hustlers and liability-management professionals, who were often abetted by professors committed to political agendas.

"What's disappointing and rightfully scorned," Mr. Lukianoff says, "is that in some cases the very professors who were benefiting from the free-speech movement turned around to advocate speech codes and speech zones in the 1980s and '90s."

Today, university bureaucrats suppress debate with anti-harassment policies that function as de facto speech codes....

At Western Michigan University, it is considered harassment to hold a "condescending sex-based attitude." That just about sums up the line "I think of all Harvard men as sissies" (from F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1920 novel "This Side of Paradise"), a quote that was banned at Yale when students put it on a T-shirt. 
More examples like that at the link — which goes to the Wall Street Journal — and in Lukianoff's book "Unlearning Liberty." There's video too at the link, displayed with this unintended freeze-frame humor:

"A drunk guy vomited over the railing onto about a dozen audience members seated in the orchestra..."

"... right in the middle of one of [Paul] Rudd’s big monologues on Wednesday... There was mass chaos for several minutes, but the cast played right on through, ignoring the disruption."
"Given the severity of the situation, and the number of people affected, it’s pretty amazing that the show was able to go on uninterrupted...."
I guess the show, called "Grace," wasn't much about what happens to other people. Carry on! Don't notice the troubles that fall upon your fellow human being. That tends to be the message of great art, I think. Or do I have it backwards?

November 16, 2012

At the Elephant Ear Café...


... bring it all in here.

Meat-eaters "easily cheat, tell lies, forget promises, they are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes."

Indian textbook.

The voice of Crusader Rabbit and Smurfette...

... Lucille Bliss has died at the age of 96. She was also Elroy on "The Jetsons."
But her groundbreaking role was in the original "Crusader Rabbit," the first animated series produced specifically for television. Its first incarnation ran on NBC from 1950 to 1952 and was co-created by Jay Ward, who went on to produce such notable franchises as Rocky and Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right.

"She was a pioneer in television animation," said Charles Solomon, an author and animation historian. Crusader Rabbit "really set a pattern for a lot of future shows — the smart little character and the big dumb sidekick."

Who changed the CIA's Benghazi talking points?

The question emerges from Petraeus's testimony today:
"The original talking points were much more specific about Al Qaeda involvement. And yet the final ones just said indications of extremists," King said, adding that the final version was the product of a vague "inter-agency process."...

Lawmakers are focusing on the talking points in the first place because of concern over the account Rice gave on five Sunday shows on Sept. 16, when she repeatedly claimed the attack was spontaneous -- Rice's defenders have since insisted she was merely basing her statements on the intelligence at the time.

"I find it difficult to believe that Lincoln was banging anybody."

Tony Kushner explains why his "Lincoln" screenplay doesn't include any material about his possible nonheterosexuality. Moreover:
"I absolutely believe that the Lincoln’s marriage was a real marriage. These two people loved each other.... It wouldn’t be the first time that a gay man and a straight woman hooked up and had a great marriage. But I don’t know. I really don’t know. And I think that’s what we have to say about it. We keep the door open and people should talk about it. I don’t feel, finally, that my politics are entirely determined by the fact that I’m a gay man."
I love the subtle dig implicit in the word "entirely."

"To batter this woman because they don't feel they have the ability to batter President Obama is something we the women are not going to stand by and watch."

More sexism displayed in efforts to defend Susan Rice, this time from Wisconsin member of Congress Gwen Moore.

I called attention to President Obama's inappropriate/bogus chivalry here and here.

Women serving in positions of power are subject to the same criticisms as men, and efforts to defend them that are premised on the idea that women deserve special protection, solicitude, or respect or that deploy metaphors from the realm of domestic violence are perversely implying that women do not belong in power. It is absolutely disgusting to defend Susan Rice this way. If we were required to moderate our criticism of women in power, we would need to oppose having women in power in order to preserve our freedom as American citizens.

The suggestion — even implicit — that there is a requirement like this is offensive and retrograde.

At the Bikes-in-the-Living-Room Café...


Are they still there? No!


"Café," here at the Althouse blog, signifies an open thread in the comments. Write about what you like. And if you happen to have any shopping you need to do, entering Amazon through this link will — at no extra cost to you — send me: 1. some money, and 2. the message that you appreciate what this blog gives to you. (That link is always at the top of the page, under the blog's title: click "Shop Amazon.")

"Freedom From Religion Foundation sues IRS for not enforcing electioneering restrictions on churches."

"The lawsuit cites 'open and notorious violations' of these electioneering restrictions by churches since 2008, including 'blatantly partisan full-page ads' from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that ran in papers throughout the country leading up to the Nov. 6 election."
In the ad, Graham urges people to vote "for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman."

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says, "Everybody knows what he was talking about: Obama endorsing same-sex marriage."
Full text of complaint at the link.

Gov. Scott Walker rejects state participation in Obamacare.

"Unfortunately, operating a state exchange would not provide the flexibility to meet our state's unique needs or to protect our state's taxpayers."

And here's a story from 3 days ago: "9 lawmakers want to arrest U.S. officials who implement Obamacare." Arrest?! This is how tea partiers get the reputation nutty.

Is Posner wrong about the value of letting swing state voters determine who will be President?

Jaltcoh thinks so, and I push back in the comments.


... from the shoreline.
Hurricane Sandy’s immense power, which destroyed or damaged thousands of homes, actually pushed the footprints of the barrier islands along the South Shore of Long Island and the Jersey Shore landward as the storm carried precious beach sand out to deep waters or swept it across the islands. This process of barrier-island migration toward the mainland has gone on for 10,000 years.

Yet there is already a push to rebuild homes close to the beach and bring back the shorelines to where they were. The federal government encourages this: there will be billions available to replace roads, pipelines and other infrastructure and to clean up storm debris, provide security and emergency housing. Claims to the National Flood Insurance Program could reach $7 billion. And the Army Corps of Engineers will be ready to mobilize its sand-pumping dredges, dump trucks and bulldozers to rebuild beaches washed away time and again.
Should we fight in New Jersey and on Long Island, fight the seas and oceans, fight with growing confidence and growing strength, whatever the cost may be, fight on the beaches, fight on the shorelines, fight for the summer cottages and ocean views, fight and never surrender? The enemy is Nature, and a show of fierce determination will not influence her in the slightest. She's not angry or vengeful or subject to intimidation. She's incapable of perceiving that we think we're at war with her, but if she were, our fist shaking could only be mildly amusing. It doesn't even make sense to say Nature is assured of victory or even that victory was always hers. "Victory" requires a pre-victory condition, and there was never any such thing.

We give meaning — glory! — to life by pretending there is a war and imagining never surrendering or at least holding out in a long  — make believe it's long! — siege. But should the government deliver floods of tax money to imbue our charade with more realism?

The Other Side of the Erlenmeyer Flasks.

In case you were wondering what it looked like from the other point of view in The Wine Beaker Erlenmeyer Flask Café, you have to go to The Other Side of the Ocean (and scroll sink to the bottom).


The end of Twinkies.

What will you eat instead? free polls 

That last poll choice was, in fact, a big favorite in my childhood home. We used the expression "sneaking up on Mommy" to refer making and eating what we called sugar sandwiches. They were good! Feel free to use my recipe. Unfortunately, you won't be able to use Wonder Bread for your soft white bread, because that brand is going down too in The Wreck of the Twinksperus.

November 15, 2012

At the Wine Beaker Café...


... drink up and chat all night!

IN THE COMMENTS: Jimmy said: "Those aren't beakers they are Erlenmeyer flasks." I knew I had the wrong word and I tried — a little! — to get the right word. If I hadn't drunk an 2 Erlenmeyer flasks of wine, maybe I would have tried harder. (The flasks only held a modest glassful, despite the appearance given by the camera angle.)

"Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions was declared unconstitutional Thursday..."

"... by a deeply divided federal appeals court, six years after state voters said race could not be an issue in choosing students."
In an 8-7 decision, the court said the 2006 amendment to the Michigan Constitution is illegal because it presents an extraordinary burden to opponents who would have to mount their own long, expensive campaign through the ballot box to protect affirmative action....

Mid-November... and the first shoots of the garlic crop appear...


... on the Meadhouse farmland...


"Obama steamed over Rice."

Item on ... no, not on a menu... on Politico's "most read" list.

"MY FUTURE IS BRIGHT and never will it dim."

"I like to consider myself a rare breed. I'm very spontaneous and random… I'm determined and goal oriented. My destiny is laid on a solid gold brick pathway...."

David Foster Wallace's essays "could have done with a little judicious pruning."

I laugh out loud at that notion, expressed by Michiko Kakutani, reviewing the new collection "Both Flesh and Not."

Meade asks me what's so funny, I explain, and he cites "too many notes":

"Just cut a few, and it'll be perfect!"

Back to "Both Flesh and Not" — which I just downloaded into my Kindle app. The title seems to grind into our heads that Wallace is not flesh anymore, having hung himself. Anticipating the first or second comment to this post will point that out, I'm pointing it out along with all the references to suicide that appear in the book. There are 4:

1. "What if we chose to accept the fact that every few years, despite everyone’s best efforts, some hundreds or thousands of us may die in the sort of terrible suicidal attack that a democratic republic cannot 100 percent protect itself from without subverting the very principles that make it worth protecting? Is this thought experiment monstrous?"

2. "It’s not just that there are [in 'Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture: A Novel of Mathematical Obsession'] long and irrelevant footnotes on, e.g., Gödel’s method of suicide, Poincaré’s theory of the unconscious, or the novel properties of the number 1,729.25." [Gödel’s method was refusing all food for a month, under the delusion his doctors were trying to poison him, which doesn't really sound like suicide, unless you believe "suicide" does not mean self-murder. ]

3 & 4. "... [Edwin] Williamson sometimes presents Borges’s stories and poems as 'evidence' that he was in emotional extremities. Williamson’s claim, for instance, that in 1934, 'after his definitive rejection by Norah Lange, Borges… came to the brink of killing himself' is based entirely on two tiny pieces of contemporaneous fiction in which the protagonists struggle with suicide. Not only is this a bizarre way to read and reason — was the Flaubert who wrote Madame Bovary eo ipso suicidal?— but Williamson seems to believe that it licenses him to make all sorts of dubious, humiliating claims about Borges’s interior life: '"The Cyclical Night," which he published in La Nación on October 6, reveals him to be in the throes of an acute personal crisis'; 'In the extracts from this unfinished poem… we can see that the reason for wishing to commit suicide was literary failure, stemming ultimately from sexual self-doubt.' Bluck."

ADDDED; I only searched for "suicide," and, reading the book, I encounter "suicidally" -- a self-regarding "suicidally" -- and the premise of my 4-point list, above, is radically undermined.

Finally, could you stop saying "finally"...

I'm reading this Slate article that's tweaking the NYT for its "style" articles, an old — unstylish? — topic that was funny years ago in Stuff White People Like, and I see these side-by-side teasers in the sidebar:

A search turns up:
Finally, Some Details About Maxine Waters' Favorite Bank
Finally, Porn for Women?
Bill Clinton Has Finally Figured Out First Dudeship
Finally, a True Defense of Liberalism
Finally, "Mad Men" Takes on Race
Finally, a Challenge to Steele
Finally: 4th Amendment Underwear
Finally, A Way for Liberals to Sneer At People
The M-Bomb, Finally
Finally, Honest Spin
Finally! Economic Nirvana
Etc. etc. What's going on here? Stock sarcasm? Not so much. It comes across more as a desperate attempt to make you feel that this is something you really want to read... you've been waiting for it. You haven't, of course, but click this link right now. Please? Please?

"Mr. President, don’t think for one minute I don’t hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi."

"I think you failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack," said Lindsey Graham, responding to Obama's statement (at yesterday's press conference) warning Graham (and McCain) away from going after Susan Rice. Obama said that it was "outrageous" to "besmirch her reputation" and that if they "want to go after somebody they should go after me." Graham made it clear that it wasn't about going after one person in place of someone else. He was going after everyone who should be held responsible:
“I am dead-set on making sure that we don’t promote anybody who was an essential player in the Benghazi debacle,” Graham told reporters.
Graham's position is so obvious, it's weird that he had to say it, but Obama expressed himself in a very strange way. As I noted yesterday, it had an old-fashioned chivalrous quality to it, as if he were shaming Graham and McCain for picking on the gentle lady. The very idea of attacking a woman. The phrase "besmirch her reputation" evokes an image of the woman as pure and unstained. Absurd!

Does the Supreme Court understand Orwell's "1984"? No!

Yesterday, I was studying United States v. Alvarez, the case, decided last June, about the Stolen Valor Act (which made a crime about lying about having received a military medal). In the process of explaining why the law violates the right to freedom of speech, Justice Kennedy, speaking for the majority, wrote:
Permitting the government to decree this speech to be a criminal offense, whether shouted from the rooftops or made in a barely audible whisper, would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable. That governmental power has no clear limiting principle. Our constitutional tradition stands against the idea that we need Oceania’s Ministry of Truth. See G. Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) (Centennial ed. 2003).... Were the Court to hold that the interest in truthful discourse alone is sufficient to sustain a ban on speech, absent any evidence that the speech was used to gain a material advantage, it would give government a broad censorial power unprecedented in this Court’s cases or in our constitutional tradition. The mere potential for the exercise of that power casts a chill, a chill the First Amendment cannot permit if free speech, thought, and discourse are to remain a foundation of our freedom.
All right. Fine sentiments about free speech, but what is "1984" doing in there? Did it seem like a good idea to drop in a literary reference to look classy or something? Did nobody notice that the reference is completely wrong? The Ministry of Truth in "1984" wasn't a government institution that enforced truthfulness, which is the way it's used in that paragraph. Such an institution would be bad and inconsistent with American First Amendment principles, but it wouldn't be as bad as the Ministry of Truth in "1984"!

Here's George Orwell's description of The Ministry of Truth:

"Back there America was put on the cross, died and was resurrected."

"The godawful truth of that would be the all-encompassing template behind everything that I would write."

Bob Dylan, quoted at by staff writer Jack Brubaker, on the occasion of the Spielberg movie about Lincoln, in which Tommy Lee Jones plays Thaddeus Stevens, who was "one of Lancaster's most famous sons." The Dylan quote was in Bob's 2004 memoir "Chronicles, Volume One" — hey, where's Volume 2? — in which he writes about the effect of reading a biography of Thaddeus Stevens.

"What lessons could today's leaders learn from [Lincoln]?"

A question posed to University of Wisconsin history prof Stephen Kantrowitz (on the occasion of the release of the Spielberg movie "Lincoln"):
Lincoln learned from experience and grew while in office. Born and raised in a white supremacist society, he believed as late as the fall of 1862 that whites and blacks could not live together as equals and that, if freed en masse, blacks would have to depart the United States. But by the end of his life he came to understand the wartime struggles of slaves and free blacks as morally equivalent to those of the American Revolution, and to imagine a place for African-Americans as equal citizens of the republic. He did not confuse clarity of purpose with rigidity of outlook.
Also at the link, UW film prof Jeff Smith talks about movies about Presidents. What other films about Presidents should there be?
The big surprise is that there has been no biopic about George Washington. If Lincoln does well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jon Meacham’s book, “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,” get optioned. Jackson’s persona lends itself to screen treatment.  And I have no doubt that Barack Obama will someday be profiled — he has made history, after all.
What's the best portrayal of a President in the movies? Smith says Henry Fonda in "Young Mr. Lincoln," but, as Smith notes, that film doesn't depict Lincoln as President.
The old film, directed by John Ford, has a murder trial at its center: Lincoln’s first real case as a lawyer in Springfield, Ill.
So you can put that film on your list of best depictions of lawyers. Smith notes that like "Young Mr. Lincoln," the new Lincoln movie concentrates on a brief slice of Lincoln's life. But the slice in Spielberg's movie is a grand achievement: the 13th Amendment. The choice of a grand or a little-know incident is going to make a big difference in the type of movie it is, and also Spielberg isn't John Ford. Nevertheless, both Henry Fonda and Daniel Day-Lewis are dreamy.

Face it: Faces matter.

There's a controversy with 2 sides, and 2 human faces present the 2 sides. Here are the faces:

After you've thought about how the look of a face might influence your thinking, click here to see what the controversy is.

"The Real Reason You Should Care About the Petraeus Affair: Privacy."

"If the CIA director couldn't keep his emails secret, neither can you."
"Now everything is kept in the cloud on Google and Yahoo's servers," says Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the ACLU. "That quirk of [The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986] has become hugely important for Americans' privacy." Once you've opened an email or your Facebook account, you've provided your personal information to a third party. The government can then ask that third party—Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Friendster, or whatever—for your information, and they don't necessarily need a warrant. The Constitution protects you from unreasonable search and seizure by the government. It doesn't stop third parties from sharing personal information you willingly give them. Likewise, there's no warrant needed to acquire the IP addresses—unique identifiers that can usually be traced to specific geographical locations—of people accessing those email accounts. According to the Wall Street Journal, that's exactly how the FBI figured out Broadwell was behind the allegedly harassing emails that sparked the investigation that uncovered the Petraeus affair.

That's not all. All your emails that are more than six months old are legally treated as online "storage" and accessible with a court order or a subpoena to the online service provider. The providers can say no, but usually they don't...

George Washington shouldn't have told so many lies.

Dishonored. De-ranked by U.S. News.
"Students are very, very worried about this,” said Scheckter, 21. "They are worried about graduating, applying to graduate school having a degree from a university that is now ranked the same as the University of Phoenix, which, no offense to them, is not the same institution. A lot of people pay a hell of a lot of money to come here, thinking they will get a degree from a top 50 university.”
The university ought to refund part of that tuition. I'm picturing a lawsuit.

Haley Barbour wants to give the GOP "a very serious proctology exam."

"We need to look everywhere.... We have to look at everything in depth.... and be brutally honest."

That's perilously close to the rape theme that got the GOP into so much trouble this year.

Meanwhile, the Governor of Wisconsin — the illustrious Scott Walker — said the GOP needs a new "tone."

Yes. Back away from the nether orifices.

"Since human blood has more salt than animal blood, once wild animals get the taste..."

".... of salty blood, they do not like other animals like deer."

November 14, 2012

"Has anyone ever told you that you look like John McCain?"

"Yeah."/"Doesn't that make you mad?"

"Fred is a passionate kind of guy."

"He’s kind of an obsessive type. If he locked his teeth onto something, he’d be a bulldog."

Fred = Frederick W. Humphries II, the FBI agent who opened the Petraeus investigation.

Handsome man marries beautiful woman and is "horrified" that their baby girl came out "incredibly ugly."

Did she cheat on him with some ugly guy? No! Baby is tested. DNA says it's his baby. Wife confesses she had $100,000 worth of plastic surgery before she met him.

UPDATE: A supposedly more accurate version of the story: here.

Watching the President's news conference.

Beginning any minute. Watch here.

ADDED: "If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador who had nothing to do with Benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and besmirch her reputation is outrageous." I detected some inappropriate/bogus chivalry — the man saying come after me, not the woman. I consider that how-dare-you attitude a distraction, a push back. But he's right that the criticism should be aimed at him!

How do you get the position of "social liaison" in the U.S. military?

Well, it's just not actually a position.
It seems that Jill Kelley, the other other woman in the unfolding Petraeus scandal, acquired the honorific via media reports struggling to describe her ambiguous volunteer role as a popular hostess to Central Command’s military elite....
“There’s no such thing,” one officer told us. The made-up title appears to be a polite way of saying “rich Tampa socialite who likes to hang with four-star generals.”
I thought of some other things it would be a polite way of saying, but I won't mention them. I'll just suggest that the officer is only portraying the women in a negative light. What about the generals? The women couldn't have made any progress in the role of "social liaison" if the generals didn't want to be liaised. What the hell are these men doing appropriating the power and prestige of the United States military for the purpose of liaising with women-of-a-certain-type? These are the men who send enlistees into battle, who demand sacrifice from idealistic young Americans. They should not be flaunting whatever pleasures they pursue.

And by the way, how does one get the position called "socialite"? It's not as though that's anything more than a characterization of what someone appears to be doing. Wikipedia says:
A socialite is a slightly pejorative term for a member of a social elite, or someone aspiring to be a member.... A socialite participates in social activities and spends a significant amount of time entertaining and being entertained at fashionable events....

American Members of The Establishment, or an American "Society" based on birth, breeding, education, and economic standing, were originally listed in the Social Register.... Members of true "society" were distinguishable from members of post World-War I "cafe society," from whom are further distanced "socialites," who are considered aspirational members of true "society," but with no substantive social credentials or personal achievements.
You never hear about true "society" anymore. Only the pretenders get any attention now. But what are they pretenders to? To nothing!

I've got another question: Do identical twins tilt their head sideways the same way at the same time? Because that photograph is driving me nuts.

What Petraeus needs to do to get his reputation back.

This is a topic for brainstorming. Meade and I are talking about it after reading a provocative comment in the "Did Petraeus lie" thread. Bagoh20 said:
I'm not interested in all this mental masturbation, but it continues to amaze me how many people will sacrifice every principle for Obama, man who has lied to them repeatedly and come up short on every bit of promise. He's gonna need to perform a few miracles, be crucified, and rise from the dead to deserve it. How many journalist, pundits, and regular folks have fallen far and hard. People, who confronted with their hypocrisy and lack of discernment, now just shrug, [are] willing accept what would have been repugnant just a few years ago. I have lost respect for so many. I hope Petraeus does not turn out to be a disciple as well. We could use a clear-headed Judas about now.
Judas has a bad reputation, but having put the familiar Jesus template on Obama, we see why bagoh20 used Judas as the model. He's saying Obama needs a betrayer, and the name Judas also evokes the word "betrayal," a word so strongly associated with General Petraeus, notoriously called General Betray Us.

But Petraeus is already dishonored and exiled. You have to betray from the inside. You have to sacrifice something valuable to yourself to build a reputation through disloyalty. As an outsider, you've got a motive to bad-mouth those who ousted you. It's hard to get credit for taking revenge.

Still, Petraeus knows what he knows, and he can be a truthteller. I think there is a path to prestige through loyalty to the truth. He has begun to take that path by openly confessing to adultery — which is a disloyalty to his wife but a truthtelling. Compare Bill Clinton's early engagement with his Lewinsky problems: He lied. But Petraeus is caught up in lies. He lied about the adultery before he confessed. And he seems to have lied to the House Intelligence Committee about Benghazi.

It's a hard path to prestige through truthtelling, but what other path is there? 

Obama is about to do his first full-scale news conference since last March.

Which was back when Rick Santorum seemed like he might get the GOP nomination and 2 months before Obama did his first campaign rally. He has been really press-shy... even though the press loves him and boosts him as much as they can. Or so it seems. But there's always a chance some reporter will break out a tough question.

Politico offers some "hard questions" that might conceivably be asked. But the questions, as phrased chez Politico, all sound softened to me. If they're soft on paper under a link-begging headline about hardness, how can we hope for any toughness face-to-face with the President who's been withholding press conferences for 8 months?

Here are the Petraeus-related questions:
Do you believe the FBI should have told you and Congress sooner about the investigation that led Gen. Petraeus to resign?

Do you worry about a culture in which trusted officials behave badly?

Does this administration consider anyone who’s having an extramarital affair, or has had one in the past, to be unfit for public office?
Easy: yes, yes, no. Add a few mushy words and you're done. Instapundit notes that Question 1 "lets Obama off the hook by pretending to believe that he didn’t know anything about Petraeus until after the election, which is quite implausible." It's like the old "When did you stop beating your wife?" question, assuming a fact not yet proved, but the assumed fact is helpful to the witness. The witness is in no danger of getting tripped up, letting the negative assumption go. He'll notice the positive assumption, silently celebrate, and proceed to answer the question asked.

Did Petraeus lie to the House Intelligence Committee in the hope of keeping his job?

And did the Obama administration take advantage of that hope then oust him when the election was over? That's what Charles Krauthammer thinks.

Petraeus told the committee (on September 14th) that the Benghazi attack arose out of spontaneous protests over the “Innocence of Muslims” video. His prestige gave great weight to the administration's story in those key days after the attack. That testimony, Krauthammer says, is "the thing that connects the two scandals, and that’s the only thing that makes the sex scandal relevant."
Otherwise it would be an exercise in sensationalism and voyeurism and nothing else. The reason it’s important is here’s a man who knows the administration holds his fate in its hands, and he gives testimony completely at variance with what the Secretary of Defense had said the day before, at variance with what he’d heard from his station chief in Tripoli, and with everything that we had heard. Was he influenced by the fact that he knew his fate was held by people within the administration at that time?...

Of course it was being held over Petraeus’s head, and the sword was lowered on Election Day. You don’t have to be a cynic to see that as the ultimate in cynicism. As long as they needed him to give the administration line... everybody was silent. And as soon as the election’s over, as soon as he can be dispensed with, the sword drops and he’s destroyed....
Krauthammer's theory contains the assumption that the administration didn't need Petraeus anymore after Election Day. Yet the very statement of the theory hurts the administration, and that injury only occurs because they did drop the sword on Petraeus. The administration still needs to get through its Benghazi problem. This presents a puzzle. What's the advantage in exposing Petraeus now? Perhaps the idea is for him to embody the misbegotten "Innocence of Muslims" story, which is now rejected. Others who passed that story along — notably Susan Rice, who may be the Secretary of State — can be restored to health after the surgical removal of the Petraeus cancer. Rice's conspicuous Sunday show appearances took place on the 16th. She said:
Based on the best information we have to date ... it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video. 
Based on the best information... Make that Petraeus... and now he's gone. Except he's not gone. He's the most conspicuous man in the world right now. The cancer on the Presidency is lying exposed —  grisly and repulsive — on the surgical tray that is the media.

November 13, 2012

"Both Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen intervened in the same nasty child custody battle involving Natalie Khawam..."

"... the 'psychologically unstable' twin sister of Jill Kelley, whose bombshell claims of being threatened by Petraeus' lover led to the top spy’s resignation last week, the Post has learned."
And in court documents filed by Kelley's sister Natalie Khawam, she name-drops both Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island -- who both have ties to a Providence, RI, lawyer/lobbyist who loaned a whopping $300,000 to Khawam.

Khawam claimed in a July 12 letter to her estranged husband that she took their son "on vacation last year to Martha Vineyard," where their son and "I had a great time at the DSCC [Democratic Senate Campaign Committee] event."

"Sen. John Kerry asked if [her son] would be coming again this year," Khawam wrote. "[Their son] was a superstar at the DSCC last year."

A spokeswoman for Kerry – who the Washington Post reports is being considered as President Obama's next secretary of defense -- had no immediate comment.
Oh, my. Petraeusgate is a gaping maw! Men teetering on the edge. And always another woman. Look out, there are 2 of them! Kelley comes in duplicate: Kelley and Khawam... ka-bam!

ADDED: This story is an immense distraction, with all these spangly details. I'm not sure what parts are going to matter. Is Kerry seriously involved? Is the child custody dispute significant? Will it tie back to Benghazi importantly or is it taking us down a rathole?

"ABC Denver misnames Petraeus book, 'All up in my snatch.'"

Oh, well... it would actually be an appropriate name for the book.

The economics of legal(ish) marijuana in Colorado and Washington.

It won't be cheap for users. And it will be hard for the producers — or the states (with their taxes and fees) — to make money.

"A Canadian man who was believed to have been in a vegetative state for more than a decade, has been able to tell scientists that he is not in any pain."

"It's the first time an uncommunicative, severely brain-injured patient has been able to give answers clinically relevant to their care."
"Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is...."

"Asking a patient something important to them has been our aim for many years. In future we could ask what we could do to improve their quality of life. It could be simple things like the entertainment we provide or the times of day they are washed and fed."

"We used to stay at home and drink Drambuie and eat cheese and play Scrabble."

"He loved to win at cards, and I always made a point of losing by the time we went to bed."

Said Valerie Eliot, the second wife of T.S. Eliot. "He was made for marriage, he was a natural for it, a loving creature, and great fun, too." She died last week at the age of 86. He died in 1965 at the age of 76.
After her husband’s death, Mrs. Eliot was wounded by criticism that he had been cold and self-absorbed, that he had been an anti-Semite, that his treatment of his first wife had been ruthlessly self-serving. She rarely responded publicly, though the release in 1994 of a movie about Eliot’s first marriage, “Tom & Viv,” starring Willem Dafoe and Miranda Richardson, prompted her to [defend] her husband on every front, even producing copies of letters to refute the film’s unflattering assertions, including a scene in which Vivienne pours melted chocolate into the Faber & Faber mailbox after being unable to get into the office.

The doors at Faber were always open, Mrs. Eliot said, so the chocolate story was a fabrication.

“What Tom did like was vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce,” she added. “He was eating it in a restaurant once and a man opposite said, ‘I can’t understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.’ Tom, with hardly a pause, said, ‘Ah, but you’re not a poet,’ and went on eating.”
It was all about ice cream and chocolate and cheese and Drambuie and Scrabble and cards and... poetry!

"It seems obvious that the evolution of social issues from crime and welfare to abortion and gay marriage has hurt the Republican Party."

Writes John Hinderaker, reminding us what the "social" issues were in the Reagan era
Crime and welfare were serious public policy issues that could be, and were, debated from empirical premises. Abortion and gay marriage are moral, largely religious issues, and are less amenable to public policy debate. They are, for reasons that are entirely understandable, governed more by emotion than by empirical data. 
Let's acknowledge that crime and welfare were also coded racial issues and people reacted emotionally to them. But, okay, there was empirical data to inject into the argument, and abortion and gay marriage are more philosophical.

Hinderaker says the GOP must "recalibrate" how it handles the social issues and offers some suggestions.

Myself, I disagree with the GOP on these present-day social issues, but I don't like the Democrats either. I'm keeping my distance, which is, currently, alienated from both parties. I have little hope the either party will appeal to me in the near future, so I think I will calmly observe and comment on their struggles. I've avoided the routine election post-mortem articles, which are mostly banal and full of bogus hindsight clarity. But, going forward, I plan to cherry-pick and link to some things like Hinderaker's that strike me as going beyond the usual dull fare.

Flooded city...

... as tourist attraction. 

(I can't believe these tourists who are smilingly swimming in the flood waters of St. Mark's Square. I guess it's not too cold, but how can water flowing over city streets, sidewalks, and canals be clean and safe?)

Richard Posner gives 5 reasons to keep the Electoral College.

In case you want to contemplate the unachievable goal of getting rid of it or you just want to learn to love what you can't avoid.

After the 2000 election, I read 3 books, published in 1971/1972, dealing with the inquiry into the Electoral College that grew out of the very close 1960 election. The great constitutional law scholar Alexander Bickel wrote one of the books, "Déjà vu: Reform and Continuity; The Electoral College, the Convention, and the Party System." Here's the PDF of the article I wrote about it.

Posner doesn't mention one benefit to the Electoral College that was considered very important back in the 1960s: the perpetuation of the 2-party system. From my article:
Although the electoral college does not eliminate third parties, it suppresses them. Only the geographically concentrated third party can gain electoral votes. If third parties have a role to play, one should argue that it is the third party that transcends state borders that is more likely to infuse the political debate with worthy new ideas; better a Henry Wallace than a George Wallace. Despite the disturbing ability of a third party candidate like George Wallace to make headway in the electoral college system by appealing to regional prejudice, that candidate did not succeed. The threat he posed within the electoral college system was overshadowed, at least for some observers, by the potential under the direct vote system for multiple candidates to jockey for position in a runoff or to seek to provoke a runoff and then bargain with candidates who might need to make deals or concessions to win in the runoff. Withdrawing the need to win a plurality in a state to acquire votes would energize third parties who tapped national popular issues. More candidates would enter the field, creating a greater likelihood of a runoff election and lowering the percentage necessary to qualify for the runoff. What if moderate candidates cancelled each other out, resulting in a runoff between two ideologues or extremists? What would stop major party candidates who failed to win their party's nomination from routinely joining the race? Instead of opening the democratic process to greater participation, one might end up with a small crowd of “demagogues, quick-cure medicine men, and ... fascists of left and right” who would collude among themselves.
The perceived need to preserve the 2-party system led the ABA to identify 6 other reasons why it would continue without the Electoral College:
... (1) the tendency of an existing form to persist; (2) the use of plurality votes to determine the winners of single member districts; (3) public consensus; (4) a supposed American cultural homogeneity; (5) political maturity; and (6) the natural tendency toward dualism. 
Yeah, I know: what?! But that's what they said. You may wonder what's so damned good about the 2-party system. But a key point was: You can't amend the Constitution without the votes of the present members of Congress and the state legislatures, and these folks are all there as a consequence of the 2-party system. The argument they made out loud was that the 2-party system produced stability and moderation.

"Petraeus And Lover Used An Email Trick Used By Terrorists To Keep Affair Secret."

"The CIA director and his biographer had a shared Gmail account and wrote some of their personal missives as draft emails, which were left in a draft folder or an electronic, 'dropbox.'"

The email was never sent, which had some secrecy advantages, but it meant that Petraeus had a shared gmail account with that woman, Ms. Broadwell.
FBI investigators were able to use the data trail left when Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old Florida socialite who was family friends with Gen Petraeus, received emails allegedly warning her to stay away from the former CIA director. The data trail revealed that the emails were being sent by Mrs Broadwell from an anonymous email account, information which eventually brought the affair to light.
Did Broadwell send the "harassing" emails from the account she shared with Petraeus?

If Petraeus had ended the affair, shouldn't he have deleted the shared account? Or could Broadwell have gotten in there first and excluded him? Maybe it was her gmail account, and she'd added him as an authorized user, giving her the power to cut off his access, with all his old letters in the draft folder, and with her ability to send email for whatever crazy purpose crossed her mind. But what did Broadwell think she was doing? Was she just an out-of-control, I-will-not-be-ignored ex-lover, or is there something more nefarious and political going on?

Feel free to brainstorm.

Petraeusgate drags in Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

"According to a senior U.S. defense official..."
... the FBI has uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 documents — most of them e-mails — of 'potentially inappropriate'communication between Allen and Jill Kelley, the 37-year-old Tampa woman whose report of harrassment by a person who turned out to be Petraeus’s mistress ultimately led to Petraeus’s downfall....
The scrutiny of Allen’s personal behavior extends a remarkable string of failures and misconduct allegations that have dogged the last four commanders of the Afghan war. Petraeus took the job in 2010, after President Obama fired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal for cooperating with a Rolling Stone profile that quoted McChrystal’s aides as mocking the president, Vice President Biden and other civilian leaders. 
A chain of events set in motion by the unignorable insult "Bite Me"...
“Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal says with a laugh. “Who’s that?”

“Biden?” suggests a top adviser. “Did you say: Bite me?”


... sponge.


... marriage.

November 12, 2012

At the Robot Eclipse Café...


... shake 2 red fists and get on with whatever conversation you wanted to have.

AND: Stock up on the official chewing gum of the Althouse blog.

"We have always had these dense urban corridors that are extremely Democratic."

"It's kind of an urban fact, and you are looking at the extreme end of it in Philadelphia."

What TV show does Hillary Clinton love?

"Love It or List It"...
... in which a couple who are unhappy with their current residence gets to look at new houses while a decorator rehabs their old place. The plot arc is always the same, and in a way, it’s sort of Clintonesque. The redecorators find termites or a leaky furnace; the house search goes awry. Everybody’s upset! But after a lot of hard work and the final commercial, there’s a happy ending.

"A teenager arrested on Remembrance Sunday on suspicion of posting a picture of a burning poppy on Facebook is being questioned by police."

"The 19-year-old was held after the image of a poppy being set ablaze by a lighter was reportedly posted online with the caption: 'How about that you squadey cunts.'"

Are your pants too short?

Maybe not.

"Now, I don't know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually, um, had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner..."

"... and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that's still being vetted."

Paula Broadwell burbled, a little too pleased with her access to power.
A few days later, Petraeus testified in a closed session to Congress that the attack was due in large part to an anti-Islam video and a spontaneous uprising....

Paula Broadwell to Jill Kelley: “back off,” “stay away from my guy,” and “I know what you did."

The soap opera plot thickens.

"Finnish Underwater Ice Fishing Mystery Finally Solved."

NPR science writer finds something amazing and mystifying, but it's completely obvious!

Watch the video before you scroll down to the part where Robert Krulwich elaborates on how clever it all is. I think by halfway through (at least) you'll find it obvious.

"FBI agents investigating CIA Director David Petraeus's affair were shocked when told by bureau officials..."

"... that despite the national security implications, no action would be taken on their findings until after the presidential election: Only then would President Obama ask for Petraeus’ resignation."
“The decision was made to delay the resignation apparently to avoid potential embarrassment to the president before the election,” an FBI source told me. “To leave him in such a sensitive position where he was vulnerable to potential blackmail for months compromised our security and is inexcusable.”

Gender role reversal on a very old — and lame — scenario.

"A British woman is divorcing her hubby on grounds the erotic bestseller 'Fifty Shades of Grey' failed to get a rise out of his languishing libido."

And you thought Big Bird was in trouble.

Watch out for Elmo.

"In California, a war memorial cross that once stood on a rocky hilltop in a national park before being deemed unconstitutional and ordered removed was being resurrected..."

"... in the stunningly stark Mojave desert, marking the end of a longstanding legal dispute that had become entangled in patriotism and religion...."
The settlement approved by a federal judge in April permitted the Park Service to turn over the acre of land known as Sunrise Rock to a Veteran of Foreign Wars post in Barstow and the Veterans Home of California-Barstow in exchange for five acres of donated property elsewhere in the 1.6 million acre preserve, about a four-hour drive east of Los Angeles.

The donated land was owned by [Henry] Sandoz and his wife, Wanda, of Yucca Valley.

Sandoz has cared for the memorial as a promise to World War I veteran Riley Bembry, who with other shell-shocked vets went to the desert to help heal and erected a wooden cross on Sunrise Rock in 1934....
Sunrise Rock wasn't part of the Mojave National Preserve until 1994, putting the Christian symbol on public land. The ACLU brought its lawsuit in 2001.

"Whether dogs like Harley actually need a romantic curtained-off suite to breed seems beside the point."

"Some dog owners simply like the concept of a love motel for their amorous pets and are willing to pay about $50 for each session, which Animalle will happily arrange."
Animalle Mundo Pet, an eight-story enterprise in an upscale district in this city... introduced its dog motel alongside aisles featuring items like beef-flavored Dog Beer (nonalcoholic), a dog spa with a Japanese ofuro soaking tub, and canine apparel emblazoned with the symbols of the local soccer clubs....

"Attention is not some monolithic brain process. There are different types of attention..."

"... and they use different parts of the brain. The sudden loud noise that makes you jump activates the simplest type: the startle. A chain of five neurons from your ears to your spine takes that noise and converts it into a defensive response in a mere tenth of a second — elevating your heart rate, hunching your shoulders and making you cast around to see if whatever you heard is going to pounce and eat you. This simplest form of attention requires almost no brains at all and has been observed in every studied vertebrate."

Excerpt from "Why Listening Is So Much More Than Hearing."

That passage calls to mind the subject of "incitement" in the constitutional law of free speech. Here's Justice Brandeis in 1927:
Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence. Only an emergency can justify repression. Such must be the rule if authority is to be reconciled with freedom. Such, in my opinion, is the command of the Constitution. It is therefore always open to Americans to challenge a law abridging free speech and assembly by showing that there was no emergency justifying it.
There's a distinction between what is heard and what is listened to.


I Googled "incitement and free speech" to get a nice clear link to insert in the sentence between the 2 links above. Virtually everything that came up on the first page of results had to do with the "Innocence of Muslims" video/Muhammad cartoons.

November 11, 2012

At the Kettle Moraine Café...


... it was all about November rain.

Veterans Day.

Veterans mural

(I took this photograph in 2006, in Ashland, Wisconsin. The mural, painted by Kelly Meredith and Sue Martinsen, depicts veterans who were all local residents.)

Thanks to all veterans.

Alligators are very sensitive.

"In numerous phone interviews beginning in April, Thomas initially told The Post, in hushed tones, that Erwin was responsible for the crimes."

"He said that 'Erwin would show up' and things would happen in the middle of the night, and that 'he only comes around when I’m lonely.'"

Isn't it interesting that The Washington Post drops its long, sympathetic article about a rapist after the election is over? Rape (strangely) became a huge issue in the past campaign season, and it dramatically hurt the Republican Party to have 2 senatorial candidates that said something stupid related to rape (both inept efforts at pro-life sentiment).

And now here's this big WaPo article about a man who committed many rapes — "more than a dozen rapes by his count, although police think there were probably many more."

The man was arrested in March 2011, so it's not as if this is late-breaking material. This is an elaborately worked-out invitation into the mind of the rapist that expects us to care about his struggle to understand himself. "It’s awful. It’s scary. . . . I don’t know why I couldn’t just stop." And: "I understand I need to be punished... Now tell me what the hell is wrong with me."

ADDED: Robert Stacy McCain takes a different perspective on the article:
To me, it relates to the “broken windows” theory of crime prevention: The petty criminal — the burglar, the thief, the minor dope dealer — is potentially capable of serious crime. The defiant anti-social personality who finds himself able to get away with petty crime will tend to develop an arrogant contempt for the law, which leads to the pattern of escalating [recidivism]. Thus, more stringent enforcement of laws against relatively minor offenses will ultimately tend to reduce the number of serious offenses.

"Mitt Romney is losing 593 friends per hour..."

"... at least on Facebook today from 10 to 11 a.m. You can loiter on his page and watch them plummet by the second." That was written by a WaPo blogger yesterday:
Refresh the page – 12.08 million. Refresh again – 15 less. It would seem the defeated presidential candidate faces a problem unique to the social media age: The race may be over, but on the Internet his bid for president remains as a frozen digital relic....

Maybe the sudden follower fall-off supports criticism that Romney was not terribly well-liked by his party’s base and those partisans are now looking for new party leaders to follow. (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has seen a modest jump.) The dropping-off effect also has not afflicted lesser profile third-party candidates. Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson’s Facebook friend count rose during the same period that Romney’s fell. So did that of Green Party candidate Jill Stein. On Thursday, Stein was already posting again: “Our social movement is growing but there’s no time for rest,” she wrote. “Democracy doesn’t just happen on election day.”
Well, yeah. Stein and Johnson each embody a movement that goes forward. In fact, they only embodied a movement and were never possible winners. Romney was only ever a candidate and never any kind of a movement. There's nothing to follow now — even if you actually like the guy. But I'm sure many WaPo bloggers and others enjoy thinking that nobody ever liked Mitt Romney. And now everyone who ever Facebook-liked him is quick to unlike him, like liking him is like liking the unlikeable kid in high school which will get unlikeability on you. It's just Facebook. Well, but maybe that is how Facebook feels. You have your page, with the things you "like," and that makes a picture of you, a picture you must craft and edit to project likeability.

About David Petraeus: "The man falls in love with... himself!"

That's what I wrote, when I first saw that the man's love interest was the woman who wrote a fawning biography about him. It reminded me of John Edwards, falling for the woman who was trotting around after him videographing what her trotting around videographing made seem like the amazing wonder of his very being.

A reader emails:
"The man falls in love with... himself!"

And that is at the center of what an affair is about.

Here's Shirley Glass, who before her death a few years ago was considered one of the top experts on infidelity:
There is an attraction in the affair, and I try to understand what it is. Part of it is the romantic projection: I like the way I look when I see myself in the other person’s eyes. There is positive mirroring. An affair holds up a vanity mirror, the kind with all the little bulbs around it; it gives a nice rosy glow to the way you see yourself. By contrast, the marriage offers a make-up mirror; it magnifies all your wrinkles and pores, every little flaw. When someone loves you despite the fact that they can see all your flaws, that is a reality-based love.

In the stories of what happened during the affair, people seem to take on a different persona, and one of the things they liked best about being in that relationship was the person they had become. The man who wasn’t sensitive or expressive is now in a relationship where he is expressing his feelings and is supportive.

Will we relocate hundreds of millions of people...

... if the low-lying islands of the world are swallowed by rising oceans?

Maybe you think it won't happen, but what if it does? Can you picture the relocation that will be needed? Or do you picture storms or waves suddenly devouring whole populations before any full-scale relocation effort takes place? What does the island in your mental picture look like? Does it look like Manhattan?

ADDED: Why is this on my mind? I've been reading "The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific."

"Archaeologists in Bulgaria are chuffed today..."

I love the word "chuffed." And "boffins": "Tomb-raid boffins find golden hoard of the warrior Thracians/Spartan-arse-kickers who produced Spartacus..." (How's that for a headline?)

A 99.7% reduction in the coffee supply.