June 7, 2008

I was deeply ensconced in Wisconsin architecture today.

I spent much of the day here:

The Maurice Greenberg House

At the Maurice Greenberg House — which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I put in 2 hours as a docent, posted in the living room, where I pointed out the view and identified the items of furniture that were designed by Wright.

I have more pictures, but I'm I little too tired to do a good job of getting them web-ready. Why should I be tired so early? It's not just from 2 hours of docent work. I also drove many miles around south central Wisconsin, including some grueling time through pouring rain, the kind of rain that renders the windshield wipers useless. And there was another part of the drive where there were thick streaks of lightning and wind so rough I had to grip the wheel to keep from being swerved around. Then I turned the radio on and heard about the tornadoes spotted in this storm. Find sturdy shelter, the warning said. Where? I'm in my car, driving through farmland. I just keep going, trusting in luck and airbags.

Oh, yeah, and Hillary dropped out.

Sorry to take so long to post about it. I've been driving all over the place doing the Frank Lloyd Wright architectural tour. (Photos soon.) But I did listen to the speech live in the car, and I thought it was swell. I can't imagine how she could have done better. Spirited, idealistic, articulate, gracious, inspiring, good-hearted...

Oh, Hillary, why weren't you like this all along?
We cannot let this moment slip away. We have come too far and accomplished too much.

Now the journey ahead will not be easy. Some will say we can't do it. That it's too hard. That we're just not up to the task. But for as long as America has existed, it has been the American way to reject "can't do" claims, and to choose instead to stretch the boundaries of the possible through hard work, determination, and a pioneering spirit.

It is this belief, this optimism, that Senator Obama and I share, and that has inspired so many millions of our supporters to make their voices heard.

So today, I am standing with Senator Obama to say: Yes we can.

ADDED: Ah, here's the whole video.

"I had no horse."

Said Big Brown's jockey. "'He was empty. He didn't have anything left."
Instead of Big Brown becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner and first in 30 years, he was the first of 19 horses going for a Triple to finish last.
The winner of the Belmont was 38-1 long shot Da' Tara. I like that.

"They're dirty little guys, and they don't smell good, but you always feel really good after you plant them."

Would you like to plant an oyster garden at home?

"A jumble of bones in a floppy bag of skin."

Harriet McBryde Johnson. RIP.

"We're not entitled under the law the way it's structured to plead truth, fair comment, qualified privilege or intent or standards of journalism."

Canada's shame.

ADDED: Is this post too short? Sorry, the free speech issue is too blatantly obvious for me to have anything more to say. The substance of Steyn's opinion is irrelevant. Canada should be ashamed that its laws do not protect free speech and that it permits judicial proceedings like this.

What year was it?

My history blogging continues. Before clicking, see if you know the year.

"Boston Corset Maker Says Women Have Grown Stouter" — and the the 21-inch waist is a thing of the past.

The Chief Justice spoke of Lincoln's "Christ-like character," but the President said Lincoln was a "natural human being with the frailties mixed with the virtues of humanity" — as the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated today.

Mrs. A.N. George of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage is offended by the reference to "the tactics of the pole-cat when badly frightened" that appeared in a resolution by the New England Woman Suffrage Association.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyles visits New York and opines on Coney Island, suffragists, plumage laws, and skyscrapers.

Why hasn't the Women's Party put up a female candidate for President?

"Every man turned into a devil. We ran fighting and clawing and scratching and swearing for the ladder leading up to the deck. We found the hatches battened down. Great God, how the men did curse!" A terrible ship fire.

The NYT tries to explain the physics of "Young Professor Heisenberg," and Lady Grace Drummond-Hay talks to General Hermann Wilhelm Goering.

Tom Wolfe "suggested that intellectuals are attracted to socialism because it seems in 'good taste"" and it has the '''secret promise' ... that intellectuals will wind up with power."

The NYT wonders why it is that the 12 greatest women alive in the United States today are all childless.

June 6, 2008

Blogging from Normandy on D-Day.

Nina writes (with many photos):
Exactly on the midnight of this day, in 1944, the Normandy Invasion began. D-Day. And it started with the Allied army capture of this bridge. The first soldier to die in the invasion, Lt. Brotheridge, is buried nearby. The family Gondree installed a commemorative plaque by his grave. They live in the house that was the first to be liberated during the invasion. This house.

086 copy, originally uploaded by Nina Camic.

Much more at the link.

"Senator Robert Francis Kennedy died at 1:44 A.M. today, June 6, 1968."

That was the announcement, 40 years ago, made at 1:59 a.m., the last entry in the transcripts of statements made by Bobby Kennedy's press secretary from the hospital. The first statement is from 2:30 a.m on June 5th. It is agonizing to read through the transcript and remember the ordeal. At 2:30, surgery was about to begin:
... His breathing is good and unassisted. His heart is good. He's unconscious and the doctors describe his condition as very critical. ...
The next announcement is at 4:45 a.m. on the 5th:
The surgery will take another hour or perhaps two. But Senator Kennedy's life signs remain good — respiration, pulse, blood pressure. And that's all they say...
At 7:20 a.m., the surgery is over and his condition is "extremely critical."
All but one fragment of the bullet have been removed from the head injury. There is still one bullet apparently somewhere in the back of his neck, although this has not been regarded as a major problem....
There is talk of the blood loss to the "midbrain" which controls "certain of the vital signs... although not directly the thinking processes." Everyone was talking about what would be left of him if he survived, so this reference to "the thinking processes" must have stirred some hopes. We were told "the next 12 to 36 hours will be a very critical period."

There's nothing more until a "very short bulletin" at 5:30 on the evening of June 5th. The doctors were "concerned over his continuing failure to show improvement."

The next we heard was the 1:59 announcement of his death, which ends: "He was 42 years old."

I was 17 when this happened, and of all the assassinations of the 1960s, this is the one that had the deepest effect on me. I wrote this a while ago:
When Bobby's coffin was on public view in St. Patrick's Cathedral, [my friends and I] got in my car and drove in to New York City (from Wayne, New Jersey) and waited in the long line to file past. I remember the feeling of being around the other mourners and how extremely kind I thought it was when office workers brought us cups of water from inside their building. In the end, we teenagers started worrying that our parents would get upset, wondering where we were, and we left the line we'd waited in for hours.
When I was in New York this past year, I happened to walk by a rather ordinary high wall next to a sidewalk and recognized it as the wall over which the office workers handed those cups of water. It was something about their concern for us that made me think that our parents worrying was more important than getting to the coffin. But I have often regretted that we didn't stay there in that line. We'd come so far.

Now, I'm looking at some more of the articles in the NYT from 40 years ago. (My links will get you to PDFs of the articles, but you may have to pay to see them.)

Here is the article describing the shooting:
The Shooting: A Victory Celebration That Ended With Shots, Screams and Curses; SUSPECT IS SEIZED WITH GUN IN HAND Men Wrestle Him to Table as Kennedy, Bleeding, Lies in a Corridor

A thin, intense man stood on the platform in the glare of television lights. He had come to share victory with those who had helped him win it....

Another article:
"Hysteria" in West Is Feared by Arabs

Amman, Jordan. Palestinians here voiced fears today that "a wave of anti-Arab hysteria"... might follow allegations that a Palestinian Arab had shot Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

"Jewish propaganda" was one Palestinian Arab's reaction to reports that Sirhan Bishara Sirhan had been charged in the case.

"It's outrageous!" declared Amman's semi-official newspaper, Ad Destour. "What Arab in his right mind would do a thing like this? The only people to benefit from such actions are the Jews."

Some Palestinians expressed the belief that Sirhan was a "hired killer" and part of a Zionist plot to discredit Arabs."
In his column, Tom Wicker quotes Gene McCarthy:
"It is not enough, in my judgment," he said, "to say that this was the act of one deranged man, if that is the case. The nation, I think, bears too great a burden of guilt, really for the kind of neglect that has allowed the disposition to grow here in one's own land, in part a reflection of violence which we had visited upon the rest of the world."
Wicker also quotes Representative Gerald Ford:
"Surely there can be no further quibbling about the urgent need for tougher law enforcement legislation."

It remains to be seen whether those who agree with this will be willing to include some practical limitation on the purchase and possession o the kind of handgun with which Robert Kennedy was assassinated, or the cheap rifle that killed his brother.
Here is a piece on Sirhan Sirhan's father:
"This news made me sick when I heard it. If my son has done this dirty thing, then let them hang him."...

"I'm deeply sorry for both of them, for my son and for Mr. Kennedy. I admire the Kennedy family very much. I prayed that Robert Kennedy would be elected President so he could do many of the good things for the world that his brother did."...

"Please tell the Kennedy family that I am very, very sorry... I don't know how he could have done such a thing," he said. "Ours is a deeply religious family... We hate this sort of thing, this violence and death. It is not our way."
The family was Greek Orthodox, and Sirhan, as a child, had studied at a school run by the Lutheran Church of the Savior.

Here's a piece called "Tragedy Stalks Kennedy Family In a Long Series of Misfortunes."

Experts were consulted to explain it:
Experts Link Attack on Kennedy To a Strain of Violence in U.S.

A strain of violence in the American psychological make-up, going back even earlier than frontier days, was suggested yesterday by some experts as the cause of increased crime, rioting in the streets and acts of individual violence such as the shooting of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Dr. David Abrahamsen, a psychiatrist..., said here that Americans condone violence.

"We love it," he said. "We love to fight. The frontier days made the gun manly.

"We feel we can have anything we want. We have a unique society — so affluent... In France, they can riot for three weeks and only two people are killed. Can you imagine how many would have been killed here?..."
Abrahamsen asserted that our affluence makes us think "we can have what we want," and we become frustrated and violent when we don't get it. He calls "frustration" the "wet nurse of violence" and says that public figures symbolize America, and "authority figures... have to be killed by those who feel frustrated by authority." The article also quotes a psychiatry professor, Dr. John P. Spiegel, who said: "The population as a whole is conditioned to expect violence... Behind this is America's gun fetish and the notion that a gun can be used to solve conflict. There is an emotional addiction, as strong as any any other addiction, such as drugs, to guns."

"It's like saying when a soldier puts on combat gear, it's a cross between a human and a shrub."

"It's not a cross between a human and a shrub."

Here's another video with Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington. (Subscribe to the podcast if you love this stuff.) Karl has some ideas about the stick insect:

I apologize to the flies... and taunt bees.

Okay, okay, I get it. The "cute bee" is not a bee at all. It's a hoverfly. So flies can be cute, and it's not proved at all that bees are cute. They are ruthless killing machines. They are the devil. They are naughty. I get it! I apologize to the flies.

And when a bee dies? (Be aware — bee, aware — that there are a couple flashes of naked bottoms in this hilarious Ricky Gervais clip with Karl Pilkington talking about a dead bee.)

I think I could write a good childrens book called "I Apologize to the Flies" if you would just help me figure out an equivalent rhyme for about 20 other insects.

"And I will be deliberate and systematic about it, because this will be my final counselor when I’m making decisions in the White House."

Based on that quote from Barack Obama, I'm going to predict that he will not pick Hillary Clinton as his VP. If that's his picture of what the Vice President will be doing, I don't think HC is in it.

"I consider all American laws under the Constitution to be evil and not of God."

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, on trial, looking like this now:
He particularly took issue with a society that allows "same-sexual marriage" and other things that "are very bad." He said he could not accept a U.S. lawyer because the nation is "still in Iraq and Afghanistan and waging their crusade."...

[W]hile Mohammed has asked for the death penalty so he could become a martyr, he seemed content to stir things up on his first day in court. He sat smugly at the defense table after the others declared that they wanted to represent themselves, taking a legal approach to which they are entitled but one that could turn Guantanamo's highest-profile military commission into a circus.
So, you could tell from the look on his face that he's delighted by the prospect of a courtroom circus — that there is some fun yet to be had in his pre-martyrdom life?

"It would be the grimmest irony imaginable if feminist irredentism helped elect a candidate as anti-feminist as John McCain."

Michelle Goldberg opines on "Clinton dead-enders and the crisis in the women's movement." Presumably, "anti-feminist" = anti-abortion.

Amy Sullivan asks "Why Didn't More Women Vote for Hillary?" She distinguishes between "optimist and pessimist feminists." The "pessimists" think Clinton is the one chance we have to get get a woman President. They have "outmoded" ideas about sexism and workplace barriers or think in terms of their own life experience facing barriers. But there are plenty of "optimists" who think things are going rather well for women and more female candidates will be coming along soon.

And then there's this idea that Obama is actually "the girl in the race": "Clinton came out tough; she voted for the war. Obama came out as the person bringing people together and offering messages of hope and reconciliation." Sullivan is quoting someone else there. The notion is that women bring something different to politics. Of course, if Clinton had acted as if she wanted to bring femininity to the presidency, she wouldn't have gotten as far as she did. So then, maybe only a man can openly offer to do those stereotypically feminine things.

"This is it — this is what it's all about."

What music makes you feel that way? Jac says it's this, as he makes a few recommendations to a friend who's looking to "knock the cobwebs out of my itunes library." I love all his selections, but especially this.

Do you ask for help from friends and family when you're trying to figure out what new things to listen to? Do you read the opinion of experts (which experts)? Do you twiddle the dial of the satellite radio or fool with YouTube in the hope of catching something that pleases you? Do you try to get others to listen to what you like? And if you have kids, are you the one showing them what to like or are they the ones showing you? I remember when, years ago, I was the one bringing things to their attention, but there was a point, also years ago, when the tables turned. Oddly, they liked what I played for them, and I like what they play for me.

I say oddly, because when I was young, my parents' music was not only intolerable to me, but I thought it somehow needed to be defeated by my music. And I was outraged when something that didn't belong — like Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night" — got played on Top 40 radio. It was a music war. We were all anti-war back then, but somehow we pictured music as war.

June 5, 2008

A little photowalk to test out what my new 24 mm lens can do.

Here's the new lens. (It was the right answer to the question "Notice anything?" — a post that got a lot of comments. It seems you like these puzzle photo posts.)

So I was testing out the lens today. First, as I was sitting in my favorite café, I caught a woman glancing over the top of the NYT to check out the fashion on the street.

Street view

Yes, we're wearing leggings in Madison. But the main thing I wanted to test out with the lens was architecture. Like this:

Big house in Madison with a French flag

Yes, we're flying the French flag here in Madison. The reason I was concerned about the lens and architecture is that I want to be prepared to take photographs on the Wright & Like tour this Saturday. Check out the houses you can tour. If you come to the right Frank Lloyd Wright house at the right time, I'll be the docent showing off the living/dining area. I won't be combining photography with docenting, but I will on my own go to all the houses and photograph the exteriors (as I did on last year's tour: here). To join the tour:
Tour Headquarters | The Gobbler Restaurant, I-94 and Highway 26 Centrally located in Johnson Creek, WI

The Gobbler Restaurant, a not-to-be-missed futurist style building, will be our one day tour headquarters. The site is located south of Interstate Highway 94 (Exit 267) off Hwy 26 and will open at 8 a.m. for ticket and merchandise sales. Same day tickets are $55 (non members) and $50 (members).
James Lileks wrote about The Gobbler here: "This site is an appreciation of a lost slice of American architecture and design - a period when just about everything had run off the rails, and good taste, restraint and classic traditions were utterly abandoned." Ha ha. Please go over there and click through all the pages. It's hilarious. Anyway, there will be bad taste and good on the Wright & Like tour.

Here are some daisies with an adorable tiny bee:

Daisies & tiny bee

And here's a fly who has no idea he's not as cute as the bee:

Daisy + fly.

And here's a tree that's not cute either. In fact, it seems vaguely obscene:

Cleft tree

Just a walk around 2 blocks with a new 24 mm lens in Madison, Wisconsin.

IN THE COMMENTS: I'm told it's not a bee. It's a hoverfly. I apologize to the flies. Apparently, some of them are very cute. And maybe some insults need to be hurled at bees. Zachary Paul Sire says:
Bees are not cute. They are ruthless killing machines. Trust me on this one.
Revenant say:
bees = the devil
Chip Ahoy say:
We're taught those wonderful bees pollinate flowers and that's a good thing. But then once I noticed one particular bee positively rape a flower bud. It didn't wait for the flower to bloom. It forced open the bud and climbed in, buzzed around inside, bzzzzzz bzzzzzz bzzzzz, came out covered in sticky pollen and looking kind of drunk. Bees are naughty.

Most people don't go too many places or get very far from home.

According to cellphone tracking data.

I've often thought about how embarrassingly cramped the track I take through the world is. I'd like to see a large, detailed map with the time I've spent in various places over the course of my life represented by dots of deepening colors. Even the track through my own house, depicted that way, would be absurdly limited. I'm often in bed, of course, but I'm also usually in one of 2 chairs. I always sit at the same side of the table. I drive around, but mostly in Madison. A map showing where I've driven would have a deep groove in a few streets and many streets unmarked.

Henry David Thoreau said: "I have traveled a great deal in Concord."

I don't even think I've traveled a great deal in Madison. I just lived in New York City for 9 months, and I found my groove there. There I was, walking down that street again, sitting at that table in that café and then on the middle cushion of the sofa, until it was time to go to bed again, and that meant to the left side of the bed.

Go on! Be adventurous. Lose consciousness on the other side of the bed tonight — why don't you? I don't want to. I'm happy right here where I always am.

And — the data show — so are you.

"There's no need to parse ... aides and advisers say that she's conceding the race and endorsing Obama."

Says Marc Ambinder. He also says:
She doesn't officially lose her delegates until they vote for someone else at the convention, so she could always jump back in. There's no paper you sign that magically waives away your delegates, and there will be plenty of them, I'd bet, who, if you ask them next week, insist they'll vote for Hillary.
So can we stop paying attention to her? I'd like to, but somebody better keep an eye on her.

UPDATE: Hillary's email to supporters (I've added boldface and parentheticals):
On Saturday, I will extend my congratulations to Senator Obama [for what? for getting people to perceive him as the nominee?] and my support for his candidacy [if he in fact becomes the nominee? or are you conceding that he is the nominee and you are backing out?]

I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party's nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise. [See previous parenthetical! She is still failing to say that he is the nominee or guaranteed the nomination.]...

I will be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Senator Obama.
Sorry, Marc. I've got to keep parsing. I still see the light shining through the unclosed door.

Secondary drowning: Did you know you could drown after you get out of the water?

A little boy drowned during his nap after he got out of the pool and walked to bed:
Johnny would have only had to inhale four ounces of water -- about six teaspoons -- to drown, and even less to injure his lung enough to become a victim of secondary drowning...

"If your child comes out of the pool and seems sleepy or lethargic, watch them very, very closely... Rush them to the hospital or call 9-1-1 immediately."

ADDED: There are actually 24 teaspoons in 4 fluid ounces.

IN THE COMMENTS: Read what Pogo says. He's a doctor.

Did Hillary lose because of sexism?

Jim Geraghty marshals the evidence and says no.

Meanwhile... according to the NYT, Obama's win makes black people feel really good.
[Kwabena] Sam-Brew, a bus driver living in Cottage Grove, Minn., said Mr. Obama’s achievement would change the nation’s image around the world, and change the mind-set of Americans, too.

“We as black people now have hope that we have never, ever had,” Mr. Sam-Brew said. “I have new goals for my little girl. She can’t give me any excuses because she’s black.”
Yeah, but she's a girl, so aren't her hopes dashed?

IN THE COMMENTS: Amba writes "Read Geraghty's column again ... I think he's actually saying 'Yes.'" Okay, I agree. He's being sarcastic. It's the National Review Online, and I have to assume they would like to say the Democrats — and their candidate — are sexist. I honestly read all those quotes and felt that was really nothing much. I mean, in politics, insults are hurled, and candidates are mocked for whatever you can come up with to mock them about. There were jokes about John Kerry's horse face, for example. It wasn't hippophobia. I think the kinds of things that were said about Hillary were actually quite toned down compared to what they would have been if people felt completely free to be unfair and outrageous about her the way they were with John Kerry or My Little Pony. That said, I do think that some voters did reject her because she's a woman and they aren't ready to believe that a woman could be President. But I don't think any of the quotes Geraghty has dished up are evidence of that. I think the people who really don't want a women to be President kept their mouths shut. Anyway, as for Geraghty's quotes: Get ready for endless books — from gossipy fluff to the weightiest academic volumes — analyzing them to death.

Amba has some analysis of Hillary and sexism here:
Hillary Clinton has actually done a great service to women, if she doesn't ruin it all by whining that her defeat was due to sexism. She has in fact shattered the glass ceiling by being completely, plausibly presidential, and even believable as Commander in Chief. She has also shattered the glass ceiling by being rejected (and narrowly at that) for her character, not her gender.
More at the link.

AND: More elation about Obama:
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), son of the one-time presidential contender, said Obama’s victory overwhelmed him.

“I cried all night. I’m going to be crying for the next four years,” he said. “What Barack Obama has accomplished is the single most extraordinary event that has occurred in the 232 years of the nation’s political history. ... The event itself is so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance.”
As pure text, that sounds demented. But I think he was intentionally wielding hyperbole. Jackson sounds very sane and grounded as quoted again at the end of the linked article:
Despite Obama’s singular position in American political history, his backers said his race would not be a focus in his campaign. He will stick to economic matters, foreign policy and other topics with broad appeal. Obama rarely describes himself as an African-American candidate. He will not start now, backers said.

“It should be downplayed in the campaign. ... We’ll have to leave that to the historians to consider, because we have an election to win,” said Jackson. “I hope the least historical thing about Barack Obama is his being black and the most historical is that he solved our health care problems, ended the war in Iraq and made life better for Americans.”
He's successful because he offers to transcend race. He does this in his words and by example. This is why he has such wide appeal and why, for me, it is not as overwhelming a phenomenon as all-night weepers like Jackson think.

MORE: This is relevant, from Isaac Chotiner:
The "amount" of racism that Obama has faced over the past two years, in other words, is not necessarily directly proportional to his political fortunes. Racism can lead to backlashes against racists, or better media coverage, or sympathy, or overwhelming black support or God knows what? To understand how Obama achieved what he has achieved, you have to know just as much about politics as you do race.

It's precisely this issue that some of Senator Clinton's supporters seem to be stumbling over. It's one thing to be justly furious at the sometimes sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton; it's quite another to dispute that her gender and the sexism directed her way were not a gigantic boon to her political fortunes. Not only did a backlash against the media save her candidacy in New Hampshire, but it proved an inspiration to her supporters over the past few months, as her chances dimmed.

June 4, 2008

Notice anything?


This is a picture of my favorite place to sit and blog. Regular readers should notice something significant here that's new.

"The exhibition is supposed to be about character assassination. It's philosophical and metaphorical."

Performance artist Yazmany Arboleda set up a show called "The Assassination of Hillary Clinton/The Assassination of Barack Obama" in the storefront across the street from the NYT offices. Police and the Secret Service shut it down.

Elsewhere in performance art:
A Buffalo artist cleared of fraud charges after a four-year battle with the government is planning a new exhibit based on works and items removed from his home by law enforcement agents....

[Steven] Kurtz was charged in 2004 with federal mail and wire fraud charges after being accused of illegally obtaining bacteria for an art project intended to address issues surrounding germ warfare. A judge threw out the indictment in April.

SEIZED will not only display Kurtz's art, but trash left at his home by investigators who converged there amid worries the bacteria represented a bioterror threat.

Is it okay to talk about the disadvantages of being male?

Apparently not!

ADDED: Since the Metafilter moderator Cortex is being given such a hard time both in the comments here and at the link —where he is participating using the deplorable "wall of text" approach to argumentation and antique anglophilic phraseology like "It's ungenerous to the point of beggaring belief" — I wanted to call attention to something really funny and cool of his from back in 2006. Necessary background:
This is a litle weird, maybe, but so cool I wouldn't want anyone to miss it before it drops off the MeTa front page. adamrice said 'matthewchen is spamming', so I said 'there's a jangly, wistful guitarpop song somewhere in the phrase 'mathewchen is spamming'....' and cortex agreed and went ahead and recorded the song. How cool is that? I love this place sometimes.

Chris Matthews on Hillary: "I think if you look at the c***..."

With complete clarity, he says the famous 4-letter c-word.

SLEDGEHAMMER ADDED: It's just for a laugh. Good lord. Does anyone still have a sense of humor?

"Putting Hillary Clinton on the ticket for vice president creates a ménage-à-trois."

Says Dick Morris. I thought this was going to be about the way Michelle Obama doesn't want another woman in the picture, but Morris's problem is with Bill Clinton.
Bill will be the unexpected roommate. Even if a President Obama can discipline Hillary and get her to play second fiddle, there is not the remotest chance that he can get the former president to accept such rules. Even if Bill Clinton wanted to rein in his newly prolific public expressions of rage and frustration, there is doubt that he is any longer capable of doing so....

The public Bill Clinton has morphed over the past few months from a statesman and philanthropist to a petulant, angry, cursing, spoiled narcissist, accusing everyone of being sleazy and biased and in so doing fashioning himself as a foil for Obama. This unattractive image is not the right one for the bottom of a ticket in a presidential race. And make no mistake, Bill comes along with Hillary.
If Hillary wants it badly enough, there's a very straightforward solution to this problem: Divorce!

"This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."

Most megalomaniacal line in Barack Obama's speech last night. We laughed a lot.

But, to be fair, he was speaking of looking back after a "long," "difficult" "journey" which he would take "with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations." And he's only going to slow the rise of the oceans.

Nevertheless, here's what I was picturing:

"He thought a little thing like winning would stop her?"

"Oh, Bambi."

Maureen Dowd is in fine form this morning — with nearly every line a one-liner.
[E]ven though Democrats were no longer listening, Hillary’s camp radiated the message that Obama was a sucker who had played by the rules on Florida and Michigan, and then reached an appeasing compromise, and that such a weak sister could never handle Putin or I’m-A-Dinner-Jacket.
I’m-A-Dinner-Jacket. Ha ha. I'd never heard that before, but it's been said.

Dowd loathes the idea of Hillary as the running mate:
For months, Hillary has been trying to emasculate Obama with the sort of words and themes she has chosen, stirring up feminist anger by promoting the idea that the men were unfairly taking it away from the women, and covering up her own campaign mistakes with cries of sexism. Even his ability to finally clinch the historic nomination did not stop her in that pursuit. She did not bat her eyelashes at him and proclaim him Rhett Butler instead of Ashley Wilkes.
Hey, strange! I was just looking up "Gone With the Wind" quotes and visualizing Hillary as Scarlett when I wrote in that last post: "If you don't pick her... what will she do? What will she say?" made me think of "Rhett, Rhett... Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?" Only the shall/will awkwardness kept the quote out of my post. What is it about Hillary these days that's so Scarletty.

Back to Dowd:
She just urged her supporters to keep the dream alive, and talked privately about what she would settle for. She has told some Democrats recently that she wanted Obama to agree to allow a roll call vote, like days of yore, so that the delegates of states she won would cast the first ballot for her at the convention. She said she wanted that for her daughter.
Obama supporters are worried that it’s a trick and she’ll somehow snatch away the nomination.
They should worry.
Just as Hillary supporters have hardened toward him, many of Obama’s donors and fans have hardened against the Clintons, saying it would be disillusioning to see them on a ticket that’s supposed to be about fresh politics.

“It would be,” said one influential Democrat, “like finding out there’s no tooth fairy.”
I understand that attitude coming from Obama supporters, but Obama's not the tooth fairy or any sort of superhero and politics are not going to turn into magic. He's bedazzled the voters that are susceptible to bedazzling, but he's going to need a lot more to win. If he picks her, besotted Obamatons will trot along after their guy.

I went to bed last night thinking there's no way Barack Obama should pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate.

But I woke up this morning, turned on the TV news to see a rerun of her speech from last night and thought: He must pick her!

1. If she wants it, she's earned it. 18 million votes. Tireless campaigning over endless months. Supporters who really love her. You can't snub her and get away with it.

2. McCain is ready to embrace and absorb her supporters. All those women. All those flyover state white men that you disrespected.

3. Hillary looks positively radiant when she's down. She's at her best. If she has to take the second slot, she will look beautifully happy about it, and that will transform the mood of her disappointed supporters.

4. The 2 of you, united at last, will make the media ecstatic. They won't be able to say the words "dream ticket" and "historic" (and "woman" and "African American") enough times. You will produce fabulous pictures and press this week that will create a brilliant glow that will last all summer and make us forget about all the messiness of the last few months.

5. If you don't pick her — if she wants it, and you don't pick her — what will she do? What will she say? Even if she lies low and says nothing, every time anything goes wrong in your campaign, she'll be over there, representing what could have been — and you know how people are when they start projecting their dreams onto someone.

June 3, 2008

And now: Obama!

Huge crowd. Michelle in magenta. Scintillating!

ADDED: Thanks. Names of people. Names of states and cities. A paean to Hillary Rodham Clinton. The big fight in the primaries has made us stronger. Change! Young people! African Americans! Numbers! Inspired a nation! You didn't come out for me or Senator Clinton; you came out because you know we can't afford to keep doing what we've been doing. Let us begin to work together! Chart a new course for America.

AND: John McCain is a hero. I respect his service. But... he's not as independent as he'd have you believe. He's just more George Bush. "Change does not begin with a war that should never have been authorized."

AND: Change. Change. Change.

AND: We believe in you — someone yells out. Si, se puede — yells some guy.

AND: "This country that we love..." Oh? Did you think he was an America-hater?

AND: This was the moment...

AND: "God bless the United States of America." What? Did you think he'd say "God damn America"?

MORE: A CNN commentator notes that he did not talk about being the first black candidate... and he did talk about Hillary as the first woman to get as far as she did. This compares to CNN's hours of talk all day about the historic nature of his candidacy. He really didn't speak about himself at all, they say. Well, yes. That was very smart of him!

ADDED: Jeffrey Rosen Toobin speaks of "the deranged narcissism of the Clintons." Why didn't Hillary step back and let all the attention come to Obama? He's won the nomination — he says — it's not even close. [Correction: Sorry for the Rosen/Toobin mix up. I confess I have a terrible time telling the 2 legal Jeffreys apart.]

McCain is speaking.

Oh, he's making a big appeal for the Hillary supporters! What a wonderful, valiant fighter she's been. An inspiration to my daughters!

UPDATE: CNN interrupts McCain to say that Obama has enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination. "This is an historic moment," says Wolf Blitzer.

AND: Lots of mocking of McCain's speech on CNN.

NOW: Hillary (with Bill) enters.

AND: Let's take a moment to recognize what Obama has accomplished, she says. Now, she's talking about what a big effort the primaries have been, how many people have voted, etc. Issues, issues, anecdotes, bromides... "I will be making no decisions tonight."

AND: Ha ha ha. I told you she wouldn't concede!

The GOP is eager to use video of Hillary to attack Obama and promote McCain.

You can concede, but you can't take back that video.
Hours before the polls closed Tuesday in the final two Democratic presidential primaries, the Republican National Committee began circulating a video of Hillary Clinton questioning Barack Obama’s qualifications to be commander-in-chief, and acknowledging John McCain has this important presidential credential.

Now, about that VP idea...

The man who invented Pringles is cremated and buried in a Pringles can.

Fredric Baur. RIP.

"Let me make sure I understand. You're calling me back to retract your concession?"

You know what's making me think of that quote — the time George Bush got "snippy" with Al Gore?

It's this.

"She will not be silenced in her defense of animal rights."

Brigitte Bardot is convicted of racism.

(She criticized Muslims for the ritual slaughter of sheep.)

Should I rethink my antagonism toward men in shorts based on this photo?

015 copy, originally uploaded by Nina Camic.

He's French.

For more pictures from Normandy, read Nina's blog, — which is so full of pictures right now that it's very slow-loading.

Let's talk about potential VP candidate Sarah Palin.

1. Check out the picture that represents her in her Wikipedia article:


2. "[S]he ... is a rabid gun advocate. She’s an edgy conservative who could help get those vital cross-over and independent votes." Rabid? Edgy? With a gun? Sounds dangerous.... Dangerous women!

3. Alaska! With Hawaii represented by Barack Obama, it would be cool to give the other latecomer state some respect at this time. It's always troubled me that Hawaii's been so far off and disconnected from the rest of the United States, and it's good that there's another disconnected state to keep it company. (You know when I was a kid in the 1950s, I heard discussion of Alaska becoming a state, and when someone said "I hear Hawaii is coming in too," I thought the islands were somehow floating over and would connect to the west coast.) Alaska's important too: oil-related. We're going to be talking about gas prices, and having the governor of Alaska will resonate.

4. John McCain is going to try to get the disappointed Hillary supporters to come over to his side, and choosing a woman may have a big effect.

5. She's very pro-life. And she just had a child with Down Syndrome. She knew he had Down Syndrome, yet she didn't abort him. Some people will give her strong credit for that. Some — like me — will say: Well, of course, what else could she do?! Show me someone who supports abortion rights but chooses not to abort a child with Down Syndrome and I'll be impressed.

6. She has 5 children now. That's impressive. The new one is named Trig. The others are not named after math class, but are named rather oddly, rather hippie-style: Track, Bristol, Willow, and Piper. Boys or girls? Only Track is a boy. And he's in the Army. [CLARIFICATION: I know Trig is also a boy, as indicated under point #5. I meant of the others, the 4 names listed here as odd and "hippie-style."]

7. Is she prepared to be President? Clearly, I haven't answered that question here!

ADDED: The photo is by Ryan McFarland, and here's his blog post showing the whole context of the picture -- a Vikings and Valkyries pageant of some sort. Note that the fur is some less-than-serious piece on loan for the occasion.

Friends say Hillary won't quit tonight, but she'll "take a few days to think about her next move."

Writes Marc Ambinder. Next move. How exciting!

UPDATE: WaPo reports under the headline "Clinton to Concede Delegate Race When Obama Clinches":
Hillary Rodham Clinton will concede Tuesday night that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign officials said, effectively ending her bid to be the nation's first female president.
Oh, she'll concede that he has the delegates? That is not the same thing as conceding, meaning I agree that you have won. He has the delegates now, but the superdelegates can change their position — as some have already committed to her and then shifted to him. They can recommit to her. It's all in flux until the vote that counts, at the convention.
The former first lady will stop short of formally suspending or ending her race in her speech in New York City.
See? She's staying in.
She will pledge to continue to speak out on issues like health care. But for all intents and purposes, the two senior officials said, the campaign is over.
So the campaign goes on and she will speak out on issues. Then what is new? This may be only a necessary acknowledgment of the reality that Obama will have the necessary votes in his column.

I think she will make every effort to look like what she believes she is: the stronger candidate against McCain. Perhaps she is hoping that the GOP will begin its full-scale attack on Obama and scare the superdelegates back to her side. Obama will be the exposed one, and she'll be waiting in the wings, secure in the knowledge belief that everyone knows she is the better candidate, hoping that the cards play out in her favor.

"Barack Obama sought the New Party's endorsement knowing it was a radical left organization."

This is a RedState blog post — via Instapundit — that interested me tremendously not just because my biggest question about Barack Obama is whether he's a left winger — or a thoughtful, practical man who will do what makes sense — but also because the New Party was the brainchild of my colleague and neighbor Joel Rogers. More here.

"Robin, I love ya, but 'the safari jacket and "le smoking" — a tuxedo' are standard parts of a woman's wardrobe? Hahaha...c'mon!"

Robin Givhan takes on reader questions related to Yves Saint Laurent (who died on Sunday).

June 2, 2008

"Awake and aware, lying perfectly still for hours, while surgeons methodically slice out bits of your brain."

Teddy Kennedy.

What exactly is Hillary Clinton going to say after the last primary is over?

How much of a concession speech is she going to give tomorrow? Is it going to be an all-out endorsement of Obama, or will she carefully craft it to preserve the opportunity to win over the superdelegates — to get them to switch — if Obama starts slipping or experiences another Wright-sized blow? I expect her to talk about the importance of unifying the party and getting behind one candidate but to leave the door open a crack. Maybe that one candidate could still be her.

Goodbye to one of the giants of the original rock 'n' roll: Bo Diddley.

He was 79. Thanks for all the great music and for that Bo Diddley beat:
It can be found in Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” Johnny Otis’s “Willie and the Hand Jive,” Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” The Who’s “Magic Bus,” Bruce Springsteen’s “She’s the One” and U2’s “Desire,” among hundreds of other songs.
Note the audio clips in the sidebar at the link showing the beat in those all those songs. The whole obituary — by Ben Ratliff — is well worth reading. Did he invent that beat? We're told that the children’s game "hambone" had a similar beat. (Here's some hambone.)

Bo Diddley's original name was Otha Ellas Bates, and later Ellas B. McDaniel. He studied classical violin when he was 7, began guitar at 12, and kept studying violin until he was 15. "My technique comes from bowing the violin, that fast wrist action."

His first band was the Hipsters, later the Langley Avenue Jive Cats. His first single was "Bo Diddley," in 1955, and here you can see him playing it in 1966:

He lived a long time, but it's sad to see one of the last of the originators of rock 'n' roll leave us.

Cass Sunstein and Eugene Volokh on Bloggingheads.

Looks like a good one.

"Clinton remains a profoundly solitary man... without any real peers, intellectual equals, or genuine friends...."

Uh oh. It's the big Vanity Fair article on Bill Clinton.
[H]e spends his time veering between feeling sorry for himself and working to help others, between doing good and giving his enemies fresh ammunition, between vindicating his legacy and vitiating it.
Do we care?

ADDED: A song of commiseration for our profoundly solitary man:

"Hardcore addicts have no less right to the best health care than anyone else."

Life in Canada:
Ottawa is wrong to appeal a British Columbia Supreme Court ruling that extended a government-funded safe-injection site for junkies. Instead, it should have done its duty and resolved the case once and for all.

Asked to rule on a narrow case - the legality of the experimental safe-injection Insite drug program in Vancouver's seedy Downtown Eastside - the highest B.C. court on Tuesday instead went wide.

Unexpectedly, it ruled that Canada's drug law encroaches on provincial jurisdiction over health issues - and contravenes the country's Charter of Rights and Freedoms into the bargain.
Now, there's some federalism.

"I shouldn’t get a lower grade than someone else simply because he is as weird as the person teaching the course."

Hilarious quote from a Stanford law student who thinks grading is "so subjective" and "has much more to do with how well you think like the professor than how well you actually understand the law." He, like many other law students, was pushing for the pass-fail system that the Stanford faculty has now adopted.
Stanford’s new system — which will award grades of honors, pass, restricted credit and no credit — resembles that at Yale Law School, whose four grades are honors, pass, low pass and fail. Across the bay, the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law also eschews letter grades but has two levels above pass: honors and high honors. Those who support the change at Stanford argue that shifting from the precision of letter grades to broader categories will reduce some pressure and refocus students’ and professors’ energies on classroom learning. Others worry that de-emphasizing students’ GPAs could disadvantage them with potential employers, although that hasn’t proven to be an issue with new Yale or Berkeley lawyers.
How low in the pecking order can you go before the employers want to see real grades? And how many employers will believe this notion that students will focus more on "classroom learning" if they are relieved of the pressure of grades?

It does sound nice for the teachers — I say as I glance over the top of my laptop at the last few of the 100 exams I need to grade to meet my deadline (which is today). It would be so much easier to look an exam and only need to decide if this is one I want to bump up to "honors" or need to mark with an ugly negative.

"The harmony that existed between MyDD and Kos since the birth of the Netroots no longer exists today."

Writes TNR's Dana Goldstein. I guess I don't read the lefty blogs enough. I had no idea. Anyway, it seems that back in February, Jerome Armstrong (My DD) came out for Hillary Clinton, and the commenters on both sites have been fighting ever since. And then there was that "writers strike" by the pro-Clinton diarists at Kos.
After announcing her departure from the site, [strike leader] Alegre was the subject of insults by dozens of commenters.
Dozens! Ooh. Ouch.
[Kos's Markos] Moulitsas fumed on the site's front page, "People expect me to give a damn that a bunch of whiny posters 'go on strike' and leave in a huff. When I don't give a damn, people get angry that their expectations aren't being met." Of course, characterizing Clinton supporters, especially female Clinton supporters, as "whiny," didn't sit well with many. A Maryland mother of two in her mid-40s, Alegre said she won't publicize her real name because she fears harassment from anti-Clinton bloggers and commenters....

The Netroots has always had a hostile streak, and it's natural that as the Democratic Party and the Netroots themselves began to wield more power, some of that hostility would be directed inwards. Its denizens are also a relatively homogeneous bunch--largely male, middle-aged, college-educated, and upper middle class.
Really? Upper middle class? I can believe there are more men than women, but enough to make it "relatively homogenous"?

Goldstein notes that Moulitsas and Armstrong are still pals and that "For Armstrong and Kos, with the primary all but over, everything is approaching normal again." But Goldstein's subtitle is: "Will the fight between Daily Kos and MyDD have longer lasting implications than its founders realize?" He seems to be driving at the notion that those privileged males are missing something, which he tries to convey by ending the piece with a quote from Alegre:
"I've always gotten the impression there that women didn't really hold a high place in their heart," Alegre says, referring to the male leaders of Daily Kos. "I'd go back. But I don't know if I'd be welcome after the stink I caused."
Eh. I'm left feeling that Kos and MyDD don't really have a problem at all. There were 2 strong candidates and people got excited about them and blew off some steam. Big deal.

The writers strike was a dumb idea that left its leader without a high platform to blog from. Now, she has her regrets. Sorry, that's not the big theme she wants it to be. If Alegre deserved the elevation she once had on that platform that Kos built, she ought to be able to blog independently now instead of whining — yeah, whining — about not having a place in his heart.

The rumored videotape of Michelle Obama.

If this thing really existed, wouldn't the Clintons have gotten their hands on it and made it appear on YouTube by now?

Teasing about it on Fox News:

Republican dirty tricks or Clintonian dirty tricks? What we have is not a video, but a rumor of a video. The rumor helps Hillary right now.

June 1, 2008

Yves Saint Laurent.


ADDED: The official YSL website is extremely impressive. You can view designs going all the way back to 1962 and avant.

MORE: Robin Givhan writes:
In the 1960s and '70s, when he was at the height of his influence, he brought popular culture, a mannish swagger, sexual power and ethnic awareness to fashion. He gave women a wardrobe that spoke of confidence and authority. He didn't give them armor for the boardroom as much as he gave them the sartorial equivalent of chutzpah, tough talk and bawdiness. He gave dames and broads their costumes.
AND: I've never had any YSL clothes, but I've worn this perfume for years:

Today's café: EVP, on the east side.

With Chris...


... who's got only a few hours left before he's a quarter of a century old.

Tablescape #1:


Tablescape #2:


At EVP, people make drawings and slip them under the glass tabletops. Go there, and see if you can find the one I drew!

The polls just closed in Puerto Rico.

CNN projects that Hillary Clinton will win "by a wide margin."

UPDATE: Hillary, looking radiant in electric blue, speaks: "We are winning the popular vote. The people have spoken and now there can be no doubt."

AND: Obama has a "slight lead" in the pledged delegates, so the question comes down to: Who is in the best position to win in November. She's pressing her case.

Okay, so I saw the "Sex and the City" movie because I thought I could get some good blogging out of it.

So if I have nothing to say then I wasted 148 minutes. To try to salvage my lost time, I'll go with a numbered list:

1. Why is a comedy 148 minutes long? Especially a comedy based on a half-hour sitcom. It was like 5 TV episodes stuck together. Except 5 TV episodes would have been more fun because there would have been a lot more random, go-nowhere plots and not a true-romance story arc for each of 4 characters. They'd have thrown in some extra bad boyfriends. Instead, each aging diva has the love of her life to come to terms with.

2. Hollywood is back to casting black women in the role of the maid: Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar, then plays the "personal assistant" to Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City." My heart is too full to tell you how just how I feel:

3. Why did Carrie Bradshaw even need a personal assistant? She's been using that damned Apple laptop for over a decade. Doesn't she know how to click the "junk" icon in Mail? Also, if she's such a big Apple user, why did she shun the iPhone? Well, the answer is, of course, these were all plot devices. How can you generate enough miscommunication to make a modern love story when everyone has instant communication? You have to have kids hiding cell phones, cell phones thrown into the ocean in anger, unusual cell phones that a person who isn't supposed to be an idiot can't operate, and personal assistants to set up password-protected email boxes.

4. She also needed a personal assistant so there could be a black person in her life to help her understand what really matters in this world. Guess what? It's love. And being true to yourself. And very expensive handbags.

5. I thought the extreme, grotesque materialism was extreme, grotesque and pretty amusing:
It’s easy to bash the show’s over-the-top materialism, but “Sex and the City” has never bothered to rationalize it, no matter how absurd or overpriced an item may be. (Nor has the show explained how a freelance writer could afford all those clothes.) It simply accepts that fashion is good and assumes the audience, just like Carrie, so badly wants to be a part of Vogue.
It's a little game we play. Does it hurt anyone? We all like a walk-in closet, so why not show us the ultimate dream closet... and show our Carrie having glorious make-up sex in it?

6. I say "our Carrie," because it seems we're supposed to identify with her, but why on earth do we? Is she our fantasy? We might like to maintain our skinniness as we age, but we don't visualize it turning out that stringy. How many tendons are there in the human body anyway? I tried counting that one time when we got a horrific closeup of the axilla:

7. Meanwhile, Samantha is supposed to get shockingly fat (from living in Los Angeles and having to consume food instead of the usual smorgasbord of men that she got in New York). But the actress, Kim Cattrall, declined to put this kind of dedication into acting:

8. But credit where credit is due: Cattrall puts in the effort where the result is to make her look pretty. I'm thinking about that sushi scene. (Which was another place where they figured out how to make the telephone unanswerable.) And let's be fair. Cattrall has a beautiful body at age 51, and stretching it out at this point could be catastrophic. Couldn't they have made some sort of fat prosthesis to make the fat scenes big and believable? What percent of the women in the theater were slimmer than the supposedly fat Samantha?

9. And if Carrie is so horrified by fat, why is she so hung up on Mr. Big, who is fat? Hey, I'm just seeing that Chris Noth (who plays Big) was born in Madison, Wisconsin. That's nice! But still, the man is substantially overweight, and in profile, at least once, it was very obvious that he was wearing a powerful girdle.

10. Noth had to act like a pussy about going to his giant wedding, and it was completely unbelievable. I can't believe the whole audience didn't audibly scoff.

11. Because the audience was breathing and sighing along with ever emotional moment in that damned movie. Dog? Awwww. Baby? Oooohhh. Women go to that movie to have their emotions played. Suspend your critical mind and flow with it. If you don't want to do that... really, you shouldn't go. (It's like pornography.)

12. The most pornographic part of it all is the fashion and the interior decoration. You'll never be bored if you can pay attention to the details of costume and set decoration.

13. For me, the most astounding thing in the movie was the chest of drawers in the Vogue office. I have this old chest of drawers — my parents bought it in the 1960s — that earlier in the day I decided I had to get rid of. I was thinking about rearranging the furniture in my living room and I realized that the awful thing had to go. It's black with three wavy gold squares on each drawer and a big gold door-knocker pulls. Then — unbelievable! — there's that very chest in the Vogue office. Weird!

ADDED: Sean says:
My parents had that exact same chest (at least as described: I didn't see the movie). It's by Dorothy Draper. You can google her. My sister saw one in the window of an antiques store in Greenwich so it's worth something, although she didn't stop to check the price.
Palladian says...
Althouse, can I have the Dorthy Draper piece?
... and links to this picture:

That's it!

"McCain in '08! McCain in '08!... No-bama! No-bama!"

Shouts shouted as the DNC resolved its Michigan-Florida problem.

AND: Meet the angry white woman:

The whole world is looking at those bruises:

AND: Hillary gets to say she's ahead in the popular vote now, right? But shouldn't the Michigan and Florida votes be divided by 2?