November 8, 2008

Mitt Romney gives some advice to the new President.

Damn, it's such good advice:
He should forget entirely about reelection and focus solely on helping the nation at a critical time. He should dismiss the people who helped him win the election and bring in people who are above politics and above party. He should surround himself with statesmen and economists, businesspeople and leaders. In some ways it would be beneficial if our presidency consisted of only one term. That way the President would think about his legacy and the future of the country rather than reelection and partisanship....

In his second term, President Clinton made an effort to govern more from the center than from the extreme wing of his party, and by doing so, found greater support and greater political success. Perhaps it's a paradox, the less political the agenda, the more political success one enjoys. But now is not the time for partisanship opportunism.

The unions have helped Barack Obama. They will hope to be paid back. I'm particularly concerned that organized labor would call on Barack Obama to pass the card check program. This removes from American workers the right to the secret ballot in deciding whether or not to accept a union. This legislation would do more to harm America's long-term competitiveness than almost anything I can imagine. It would be a partisan payback for organized labor but it would come with devastating consequences for the nation.
I ♥ Mitt Romney.

IN THE COMMENTS: Hdhouse said:
I just love this. It is so full of hypocracy that it makes me barf.
Palladian said...
"Hypocracy" must be the brand name of some sort of emetic.
I think “hypocracy” is the form of government we will have when Rare Pygmy Hippo becomes President.

"Turns out you don't have to 'go on down to South Park'..."

"... to see somebody so emboldened by the Obama victory that he tells his boss F**k You!!!"

At the Crossroads Café...


... talk about whatever you like.

"One of the Reasons for the miserable Decline of the Republican Party's Fortunes may be that his Spirit was injur'd by the Grip of Mrs. Reagan."

Ah! In the early hours of the morning, our ghostly visitor, Sir Archy, appeared and commented on the post about Barack Obama's first press conference. Obama said -- and has apologized for saying -- "I have spoken to all of them who are living," he responded. "I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any séances."
To Professor Althouse. Dear Madam, As the Ghost of a Gentleman, dead these 260 Years and more, I may tell you that in Life, I was importun'd and bother'd by Ideots & Bores enough. Whilst no Man may know the Fate that awaits him when he crosses the Litchgate, 'twas not unreasonable to expect that in Death I should not have been pester'd by those remaining behind in the sunlit Realms of Life. Alas! Madam, it has proven not to be so. Altho' there are innumerable spiritual Beings to be found everywhere on the Astral Plane, we commonly have little Intercourse with each other. Nay, 'tis the Living, with their Seances, Spiritualism, and, dare I say, Witchcraft, who are constantly clamouring for the Attention of the Dead. You should know that many a Time I have been lost in ghostly Thought; when suddenly my Head is knock'd on the Underside of a Table, as if someone had grasp'd my Waistcoat and forc'd me into this ridiculous Pose. A Company of foolish Persons is commonly seated at the Table; whilst a puff'd up Buffoon at the Head groans clos'd-Eyed Incantations of a Strength just sufficient to drag me from my Meditations, but with no further Power to permit me to entertain or instruct those present. To undertake a Journey from the World of the Dead to the Land of the Living is uncommonly difficult, attended with much Fatigue and Uncertainty. For the Living to fling us thither by our ghostly Coattails is a very hazardous Operation, not to be undertaken lightly. Many a sensitive Ghost has been utterly ruin'd by such scandalous Exposure. As shewn by the occasional Remarks you have giv'n me leave to publish, Madam, in this, your Theatre of Topicks (as I call it), I am very obliged to be thus allow'd to help improve the Publick in my small Way. I flatter myself that I am, within my paltry Compass, a Ghost of some Parts & Application, and so am enliven'd and invigourated by such Exertions. Yet, there are many others who would vanish like evanescent Smoak were they to be us'd thus. That Mrs. Reagan were engag'd in Seances, contacting the Spirit of her late Husband, is a Thing not to be lightly believ'd, and, indeed, to be dreaded; for, as vigorous as President Reagan was in Life, his long Years of Decline weakened his Spirit. The Health of President Reagan's Shade could be in some Doubt, if Mrs. Reagan had grasp'd too firmly his ghostly Hand at her supposed Seances. One of the Reasons for the miserable Decline of the Republican Party's Fortunes may be that his Spirit was injur'd by the Grip of Mrs. Reagan. Instead of a beneficent & benign Presence o'erspreading a Benediction upon his Party, there perhaps remains only a shatter'd & withdrawn Remnant of one claw'd at by the Living with too much Desperation. Mrs. Clinton seems to have used the Ghost of Mrs. Roosevelt with greater Subtlety. If Mrs. Roosevelt continues her White House hauntings for the benefit of Mrs. Obama, we shall have strong Proof that Mrs. Clinton understands and perhaps inspires the Dead (altho' the Democrats had little Need of 'em lately as Electors). Praying that you shall continue to inspire both the Living and, in my Case, the Dead, I am, Madam, Your humble & obt. Servant, Sir Archy

How McCain lost me.

As promised, I'm mining my archive -- beginning in late August -- to try to understand how I turned against John McCain.

August 25: "Nicely done. I'm glad to see the return of the light touch," I say about an Obama ad that uses the song "What a Wonderful World" -- "don't know much about..." -- to highlight McCain's statement "The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should."

August 28, 7:11 AM: Wondering if McCain would pick Lieberman as his VP, I wrote: "... I've got to say that I kind of love Lieberman. He's just about exactly where I am on most things. Why should I fret about what evangelicals and staunch conservatives think? It would suit me just fine! It will wreak havoc with my cruel neutrality." I'd taken a vow to remain neutral (cruelly neutral) until at least October, and this little outburst shows that the choice of Lieberman would have come close to clinching my vote.

August 28, 7:48 AM: I'm struck by a McCain ad that uses an old Obama quote: "You know, I am a believer in … in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job. Uh, and I think that if I were seriously to consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now there may be some people who are comfortable doing that, but I am not one of those people." McCain's experience argument was working.

August 29: McCain picks Sarah Palin, and I'm live-blogging the roll-out of the news. When I hear that it will be a woman "a chill ran through my body when I heard that, and I have broken a sob or two as I write this." When I hear the news that it will be Sarah Palin, I write: "Tears! Chills!!!!" I fret that "she is inexperienced" and note that will cancel out the argument that Obama is inexperienced (the very argument that had worked on me the previous day). I note that people will try to catch her sounding inexperienced. "I haven't heard her enough to have any idea whether she has the nerve and the mental capacity to sound right all the time." The live-blogging continues in a second post, and I'm excited by pictures of the family and details about her family. I love her speech -- "amazingly clear and strong, passionate and devoid of any hesitation or filler 'uhs.'" "Wow! Great performance! Fabulous first walk onto the national stage!" Bold-face in the original.

September 2:
The second night of the Republican Convention. (Hey, remember Hurricane Gustav?!) "Wolf Blitzer is pushing the meme -- which I've heard elsewhere -- that McCain is a 'maverick' and that means he makes impulsive decisions like the choice of Sarah Palin. He doesn't add -- but there are versions of this meme where it is added -- that this supposedly gut level choice of Sarah Palin should stand as a warning about the way he will make decisions about foreign policy." I had bought the old "experience" theme. I was not buying the "maverick." But the "experience" theme is still being sung by Fred Thompson ("Obama is 'history-making' all right: he's the most inexperienced, left-wing candidate the Democrats have ever run -- says Thompson.") and Joe Lieberman ("Eloquence is no substitute for a record").

September 4: I react to McCain's convention speech. "The speech felt very long and had its ups and downs.... Ah, why is a speech important? The big idea is John McCain's life, and somewhere along the way tonight that point was made. It was made over and over. It's now for us to decide if we want this man to lead us for the next 4 years."

September 7: "We should be able to deliver bottled hot water to dehydrated babies." Nothing made me laugh more all year that the way I laughed on September 7th at the third video at the link. That might have jarred something free from my clotted thoughts: McCain is incoherent!

September 13: I'm impressed by an anti-McCain ad:
The ad begins with the can't-use-email mockery but switches to McCain's really serious cluelessness problem: McCain has said he doesn't understand much about economics. These 2 things taken together mainly convey the message: McCain is old. McCain's age is also a serious problem, and Obama is justified in massaging our doubts about it, but there's an odd disproportion between the not being able to use email and not understanding economics.
September 18: John McCain gets confused talking about world leaders, and I'm inclined to defend him. If I've got my doubts about his mental acuity, I'm fighting them.

September 19: I poll readers about my neutrality, and most of you think I'll be voting for McCain.

September 21: I enjoy an "SNL" skit -- written by Al Franken -- that bashes McCain (for being willing to say anything to win).

September 24: McCain suspends his campaign -- and threatens to skip the first debate -- because of the financial crisis. My first response was "This is, I think, a smart demonstration of leadership." Was I rooting for McCain? Maybe I was just rooting for a solution to the crisis, which had come to seem much more important that than which man got the presidency. But it's the update that says so much here:
Obama says that "there are times for politics and there are times to rise above politics and do what’s right," but now is not the time to cancel the debate. "This is exactly the time when people need to hear from the candidates." And: "Part of the president’s job is to deal with more than one thing at once. In my mind it’s more important than ever."

I suppose Obama couldn't very well follow McCain's lead. In fact, if McCain had really been serious about this, he should have worked it out with Obama in private, so that the two men could make a joint announcement. McCain went for political theatrics, and I guess he can use it against Obama now, which was probably the point, but Obama's reaction was so predictable that McCain's show of statesmanship was entirely bogus, so I will be impervious to that rhetoric.
After hearing from Obama, I view McCain as having pulled a stunt, a stunt that he should have seen would be ineffective.

September 25: I find Palin's interview with Katie Couric "Painful. Terrible." Yet McCain wants the VP debate to go first. She's not ready, and he's throwing out impulsive, erratic ideas.

September 25, a little later: I'm impressed by Mickey Kaus's mockery of McCain's stunt.

September 26: More criticism of McCain's campaign-suspension stunt:
Why did McCain arrive [in Congress] showily, as if he was the man to close the deal, and then not do anything? Has McCain said one word about whether he thinks now is the time to build a bulwark against socialism?
The House Republicans were going on about "socialism."
And can John McCain explain why government insurance as opposed to government asset-purchasing is the key to saving us from socialism?

Unless McCain talks about some of these things, I don't see the point of his swooping onto the scene to be the leader. Was he just betting that it would look good? But why should he have counted on Democrats allowing him to look good? And, insanely, it seems that Republicans have undercut him.

Belatedly, he must realize that it would have been better to take a low profile and let his congressional colleagues steer their deal to a conclusion -- which is what Barack Obama did.

And then there's the debate. Obama will be there, winning by forfeiture, unless McCain's ultimatum -- he can't debate unless the deal is closed -- was a bluff.
September 26: Once again Mickey Kaus expresses what I've been thinking. (And in the end, Mickey, like me, votes for Obama.) Later that day, I take another poll, and you people still think I'll end up voting for McCain.

September 26, evening:
The first debate. The financial crisis dominates. McCain starts off with 2 problems I think are beside the point: 1. greed, 2. earmarks. McCain accidentally says he wasn't elected Miss Congeniality in the Senate a second time. Nevertheless, I conclude: "McCain made more good points and got in more punches," based on all the discussion of the war and foreign policy. But the opening part about economics hurt McCain and would continue to hurt him as the crisis remained the overwhelmingly important issue in the campaign.

October 7: Hmmm... a long gap since the last notable McCain post. I was probably feeling bad about his competence -- and about the financial crisis -- and declining to talk about it. Now, it's the "town hall" debate, and of course, I live-blog as usual:
McCain sounds a little shaky and winded...

McCain points to his record, and repeatedly tells us he's reached across the aisle....

Again with the earmarks. What was the dollar figure on earmarks? I heard $1 billion. That seems like nothing compared to the $750 billion bailout....

McCain's plan seems to be to sound passionate and caring. And to say "Lieberman" frequently....

I was just admiring Obama's elegant gestures with his long, thin hands, when McCain positioned himself in the background and made a hand gesture that can only be described as holding an invisible grapefruit in front of your chest....

Obama seems relaxed and smiling but also oddly pissed that McCain has been "throwing a lot of things out there."
Get the picture? McCain is erratic.

October 8: The morning after the debate, my attitude shifts:
It's October now, so I can say I kept my vow. It's not the vow keeping me neutral anymore. I don't like deciding, especially between 2 men I've long viewed as dangerously inadequate. The tumultuous financial crisis reminds me why I prefer to wait until the end: We get a better idea of what problems will plague the new President.

It is the response to the present crisis that mattered most last night, and the candidates tiresomely repeated old talking points. McCain kept trying to stoke outrage over earmarks, and Obama continued to lecture us about conserving energy. They clung to their old pet solutions when we are staring at a huge new -- I mean, newly perceived -- problem. Are they so utterly lacking in creativity and flexibility that they cannot offer us anything new in the face of dramatically changed circumstances? Or are they both just determined to play it safe and say nothing in these last few weeks that can be spun against them?

The first half hour of the debate was excruciating, with question after question about the crisis. The candidates' evasions were mind-numbing, and, despite my commitment to live-blogging, I had no words, not even little idle comments. I nearly gave up.

But this morning, I decided to make an effort to say which man had done the better job. It was Barack Obama. And I'm not saying this just because I admired his relaxed demeanor and youthful image and felt uneasy about the older man's jerky movements and desperate grimaces. I'm saying it because I am inclined to think that with the development of complex securities and the pursuit of profit along the edge of disaster, the free market failed spectacularly. When we need new regulation, Obama effectively associated McCain with his party's love of deregulation.

McCain offered no defense of his party, only assertions that he had tried to get regulations passed. So, there he was, embedded in failure. He didn't stand by the principles of conservatism...

Look at how McCain failed to promote conservatism. McCain brought up Ronald Reagan 3 times: once to say he opposed him about sending troops to Lebanon and the other 2 times to say it was wonderful the way he worked with the liberal Tip O'Neill.

McCain never presented the conservative alternative to Obama. He never even called himself a conservative last night. He was wandering all over that red carpet, microphone in hand, and I have the feeling, in retrospect, that he was truly bewildered, mouthing old phrases, trying to slip by. But one old phrase that was missing was "I'm a proud conservative." Remember when he used to say that?...

McCain has lost definition. He's stumbling along to the finish line, hoping to achieve his lifelong ambition, to seize the crown at last. But why? To show he can get along with Democrats? I worry about what awful innovations the new President will concoct in league with the Democratic Congress, but at this point, I'm more worried about McCain than Obama.

This is not a commitment to vote for Obama, and I'm still going to provide the service of observing events from my slouchily neutral posture, to which no vow currently binds me. But you see the trend, and the destination is almost inevitable.

ADDED: I should have paid more attention to this. I heard it last night, but couldn't understand how it would deal with the crisis. It seems like a massive government benefit going out to people who overextended themselves taking loans. Why not give money to all the frugal people who believed they couldn't afford to buy a house? I don't understand the theory, other than as political pandering.
So this was the crucial tipping point. Dear readers, it was right there, the morning after the Town Hall debate.

October 8: "Nope, too slow. Touch her." Humor drives home my perception of McCain as an erratic old man.

October 10:
Christopher Buckley has some influence, especially the phrase "his positions change, and lack coherence."

October 13: Christopher Hitchens has even more influence: "John McCain [seems] to be someone suffering from an increasingly obvious and embarrassing deficit, both cognitive and physical." Yeah, that's what I'd been thinking. Exactly.

October 15: : My advice to McCain: "Act the way you would act if you knew for certain that you would lose... I think he should be the upright and honorable man that he wants us to be remembered as. This isn't a devious ploy to make him give up. I think it's the best hope for getting us bond with him now."

October 15, evening: I live-blog the last debate. "McCain plugs in prepared material about Joe the plumber who is worried about taxes.... McCain is wooden and overprepared, unwilling to react on the spot.... McCain mugs when it's not his turn.... McCain sounds over-rehearsed and he stumbles over many things. He says "abased" for "based." I think he knows he hasn't done enough tonight. He hasn't rattled Obama, not enough anyway...."

October 16:
This still makes me laugh hysterically.

October 16, later: It bothers me tremendously that McCain hasn't defined himself as conservative.
Is there some sort of idea that if you think McCain is too liberal, you still have to vote for him, because if he's too liberal, then Obama is really too liberal? I don't buy that. Better a principled, coherent liberal whose liberal choices will, if they don't go well, be blamed on liberals than an erratic, incoherent liberal whose liberal choices will be blamed on the party that ought to get its conservative act together.
October 26: McCain appeared on "Meet the Press," and I thought he sounded "exhausted or sick."
Whenever he found the chance, he would stress that Barack Obama has a far-left ideology, and whenever he needed a different argument -- such as when Brokaw confronted him with his own statements in favor of making the rich pay more taxes -- he would resort to the argument that different times require different solutions. How can you use these two rhetorical strategies alternately? It's incoherent.
Again: incoherent. At the link, I dissect the MTP transcript to demonstrate my point.

October 30: I come to terms with the problem of 1-party government:
Usually, I prefer divided government, but that doesn't mean I need to support McCain. I've seen McCain put way too much effort into pleasing Democrats and flouting his own party, and I can picture Obama standing up to the Democratic Congress and being his own man. What, really, will he owe them? McCain, by contrast, will need them. And we've seen that he wants to be loved by them.

Sometimes, I think that letting the Democrats control everything for 2 years would work out just fine. Let one party take responsibility for everything. When they can't whine and finger-point, what will they actually step up and do? It will be interesting to know. And it will do the Republicans good to retool and define themselves, with an eye toward the 2010 election. I'd like to see this clarification after so many years of obfuscation.
This goes along with my problem that McCain had abandoned the effort to define himself as conservative. I could see myself voting for a conservative. I would like some good conservatism. But I did not see it in McCain. Certainly, just bringing in Palin was no substitute for having his own clear principles.

October 30, later that day:
I agree with The Economist: "on the great issue of the campaign, the financial crisis, he has seemed all at sea, emitting panic and indecision."

October 31:
A dream reveals my emotional picture of McCain: an angry old man who is not interested in rational debate.

November 3:
"One thing I don't like about John McCain is that he never showed respect for Bush. He was all about distancing himself from Bush, but if it's distance you want from Bush, there's Obama. And Obama had no reason to defend the other party's President, but for all his criticism of Bush's policies, I don't remember Obama taking ugly potshots at Bush. McCain treated Bush like an outcast. Was there even a word of defense for the man who protected us from terrorist attacks for 7 years?"


How did McCain lose me?

1. He did not understand economics, the most important issue.

2. He lost the ability to make the experience argument.

3. He never defined himself as a principled conservative.

4. Erratic and incoherent, he lacked sufficient mental capacity.

I'm in the NYT.

With a Bloggingheads snippet about whether Obama will stand up to the Democratic Congress.

I'm going to write a post called "How McCain lost me."

That's my writing project this morning, and it's going to take me a little while. This will correspond to the post I wrote in 2004 called "How Kerry lost me." It's different in that I'm writing it after the election. But it's the same in that I'm mining my blog archive to try to understand how my resistance to the candidate formed and hardened and caused me to vote for the other man.

I know that I voted against McCain. Up through August, I genuinely didn't know which candidate I'd vote for, but I knew I was taking more shots at Obama and therefore giving the impression that I favored McCain. I didn't trust Obama, and I feared (and still fear) what Obama would do with a Democratic Congress. McCain was a more familiar character, less fun to write about, and he was also the underdog. But by mid-October, I knew that unless something big happened, I would vote for Obama. It was nothing new that Obama did. I didn't start liking him more, and I never got caught up in the Obama lovefest.

It was something about McCain. Now, I have 368 posts labeled "McCain," and I'm not going to read them all. I'm going to restrict myself to the time period beginning with the conventions, which is when, I think, McCain lost me.

We've had enough British humor.

Variety reports. We liked Borat and some Ricky Gervais, but there's only so much we can take.

Really, it's hard to understand why humor would translate across cultures. There's the initial novelty, but British comedians can't migrate en masse to America. That's not going to work.

When I watch "The Daily Show," the person who amuses me the most is John Oliver, who is British. And yet, if there were an all-British "Daily Show," I probably wouldn't watch.

November 7, 2008

Late night confessions in the Yellow Line Barroom.



"That’s cruel and it’s mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional, and those guys are jerks..."

Sarah Palin slams the unnamed McCain aides who slammed her.

An 8-year-boy is charged with 2 counts of premeditated murder.

He has confessed to shooting his father and another man. One body was upstairs in the house, and the other was outside.

Arizona law generally holds that a child lacks competency to be held responsible for a homicide.

However, [St. John Police Chief Roy] Melnick told the newspaper, “We think an exception can be made based on the facts and circumstances … This is precedent-setting. We're going to charge an 8-year-old with two counts of homicide."
UPDATE: CNN reports:
"Who would think an 8-year-old kid could kill two adults?" St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnick said Friday.

The crime that unfolded Wednesday evening sent shock waves through St. Johns, a community of about 4,000 people northeast of Phoenix. The boy had no disciplinary record at school, and there was no indication he had any problems at home, prosecutors said....

Under Arizona law, a juvenile under 8 years old is treated as a dependent child. Charges can be filed against anyone 8 or older, which Melnick argued are warranted in this case. He said the child didn't act on the "spur of the moment," though he didn't elaborate on what the motive might have been....

Brewer, the defense attorney, said the child "seems to be in good spirits."

"He's scared," he said. "He's trying to be tough, but he's scared."

It snowed today in Madison.

And then it looked like this:


IN THE COMMENTS: Bissage writes:
That is a beautifully composed photo. And with its colors and atmosphere it speaks to the remembrance of youth long past when . . .


Take a gander at the rack on that fire hydrant!


(Now, what was I saying again?)
ricpic writes:

I was gonna write a poem all blowzy for beauty
When Bissage put out my pompous light.
Now I can't write a poem pretentious and snooty
'Cause Bissage called my bluff: that's not right!

"The United States has only one government and only one President at a time."

Said Barack Obama, at his press conference today, emphasizing the economy and pointing out a number of things that need to be done immediately. Presumably, President Bush is paying attention. ADDED: There are 2 quotes that belong in the famous quote books: 1. "I've spoken to all the Presidents. Living, obviously. I don't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing." 2. "A lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me." UPDATE: Obama apologizes to Nancy Reagan:
"President-elect Barack Obama called Nancy Reagan today to apologize for the careless and off handed remark he made during today’s press conference," said transition spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter. "The President-elect expressed his admiration and affection for Mrs. Reagan that so many Americans share and they had a warm conversation." Obama was asked at his press conference today if he'd spoken to all the "living" presidents. "I have spoken to all of them who are living," he responded. "I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any séances." He was apparently confusing stories about Reagan's consulting with an astrologer with those about other First Ladies -- from Mary Todd Lincoln to Hillary Clinton -- who tried to make contact with figures from the past.
Yes, exactly. It was Hillary who talked with the dead! Here's the NYT report from June 25, 1996:
Although her views on altered states of consciousness and reincarnation would strike many Americans as outlandish, Jean Houston has instructed executives from such buttoned-down companies as Xerox, lectured at such sober universities as Harvard and worked with such mainstream figures as Margaret Mead. Dr. Houston, a 57-year-old author of 15 books who is admired by many adherents of the human potential movement and of New Age mysticism, made headlines over the weekend because of her work with another mainstream figure, Hillary Rodham Clinton. "Seances" were among the interpretations of sessions in which Dr. Houston and Mrs. Clinton supposedly conversed with Eleanor Roosevelt and Gandhi. But in an interview here at her Rockland County home today, Dr. Houston said Mrs. Clinton never made any seance-like effort to contact the spirits of Mrs. Roosevelt or Gandhi but simply engaged in an intellectual role-playing exercise to tackle a problem the First Lady was having with her book about children, "It Takes a Village." "We were using an imaginative exercise to force her ideas, to think about how Eleanor would have responded to a particular problem," Dr. Houston said. "I have never been to a seance."... Dr. Houston said that Mrs. Clinton would never engage in spiritualism because she is "a very committed Christian" and a "serious, reflective and prayerful" woman.

Rare pygmy hippo for President!

"Rare pygmy hippo offers hope."

"TV is starting to feel waaay too slooooow."

Michael Parsons writes:
The complex fractal circular time-shifted way in which my media habits now play out – hear about Tina Fey doing a Saturday Night Live impression of Sara Palin on an RSS feed, watch the clip at work on YouTube, then go home to watch the same clip being shown on The Daily Show, and then read online about what happened on the daily show via an RSS feed – means that my experience of the election had a multithreaded, always-on quality I’ve simply never experienced before. ... [M]y home network went on the fritz at 2am on election night, leaving me with only my handheld Twitter and the TV. I felt positively unplugged....

The advantages of web technology here are clearly to do with intimacy, connection, and immediacy. Twitter is a great way to consume huge amounts of information when you’re trying to understand a complex real-time process.... However, I was also struck by a much bigger, tonal difference. The BBC ‘s snooze-making election coverage was shamefully poor, and seemed to consist of a sleeping Dimbleby and a bobbing Vine, along with a few other B-grade pundits who gave the evening all the drama and insight of a minor English by-election. Broadcast TV, with its narrow tone, its low-brow certainties, just felt hopelessly out of date....
Yeah, well, that was England. We had holograms. And Parsons knows that -- perhaps because the flashy high-tech junk on American TV was mocked on the first segment of "The Daily Show" the day after the election. (Watch it here, starting at 2:48.)
You can tell TV has a sort of blurry panicked fear that the web is eating its lunch. Something Must Be Done. This is why TV presenters used daft gizmos – swingometers, touch-screen displays, even in CNN’s case, holograms, to try and stay down with the tech kids. This is like trying to be an opera singer by putting on weight, mistaking an unrelated symptom for a fundamental cause.

IN THE COMMENTS: Meade says:
"This is like trying to be an opera singer by putting on weight..."

TV: Wait! It's not over until the fat lady sings.

Us: But she can't sing, she's just fat...

It's over.
AND: XWL says the holograms were a lie:
[T]he so-called holograms were simply 2D images superimposed onto the TV broadcast.

The images were in fact tomograms, or images captured from all sides - in this case by 35 high-definition cameras set in a ring inside a special tent - reconstructed by computers and displayed on the screen.

"If I say 'F#$% Kevin Martin and the horse he rode in on,' am I obviously encouraging rape and bestiality?"

Asked Dan Drezner, quoted by Language Log's Geoff Nunberg in his post about the oral argument in the Supreme Court case about "fleeting expletives" in the broadcast media. (Kevin Martin is the FCC chairman who favors fees for the broadcasters.) Nunberg examines the serious linguistic question whether it's true, as Martin said, that "the F-word 'inherently has a sexual connotation' whenever it's used."
Emphatic fucking may not depict or refer to sex, and may not even bring it explicitly to mind. But the link is still there. Why would these uses of the word be considered "dirty" if they weren't polluted by its primary literal use? And what could be the original source of that taint if not the word's literal denotation (or at least, of its denotation relative to the attitudes that obscene words presuppose about sex and the body)? In fact if fuck and fucking weren't connected to sex in all their secondary uses, they would serve no purpose at all.
Isn't it what we call a "dying metaphor"? The classic reference is George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language":
A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically "dead" (e.g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a "rift," for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying.
I think that applies to what Nunberg calls "emphatic fucking," a phrase which makes me think Nunberg wasn't interested in all the meanings of what he was saying or (more likely) Nunberg meant to amuse us with a vivid image as he wielded linguistic jargon.
Now it's very easy to conclude that the indignation that some people feel over the promiscuous use of epithetical fucking and the like is a reflection of their prudish inhibitions about sexuality, and that embracing the language helps to dispel those attitudes. As George Carlin put it, "There are no bad words. Bad thoughts. Bad Intentions." That was an article of faith among a the faction among the sixties radicals who made sexual liberation an inseparable part of their political programs. As Jerry Rubin put it:
There's one word which Amerika hasn't destroyed. One word which has maintained its emotional power and purity. Amerika cannot destroy it because she dare not use it. It's illegal! It's the last word left in the English language: FUCK!

The naked human body is immoral under Christianity and illegal under Amerikan law. Nudity is called "indecent exposure." Fuck is a dirty word because you have to be naked to do it.
I think most cultural liberals still uncritically adopt a version of this understanding of the words. When they uphold people's right to use this sort of language in public against the attempts to censor or limit it, they think of themselves not just as defending free speech, but as striking a blow against sexual repression and hypocrisy. That is, they see themselves as being in a line that stretches back to the Lady Chatterly decision....

But if it ever were possible to purge fuck of its literal stigma by eliminating the inhibitions and hangups that the word seems to trail, the secondary uses of the word would lose their raison d'etre....

[W]e should acknowledge that the words are suffused with an affect that's derived from their sexual meanings.
The metaphor is not dead for Nunberg, and I think he wants to keep it alive. The word is good and useful because the metaphorical meaning still lives. Now, Nunberg was born in 1945. That's a lot older than Drezner. For Drezner, the word must seem much more casual and ordinary, more common and also less powerful. Nunberg appreciates the power that comes from sex, power that Drezner probably doesn't feel.

In Orwell's words: "the concrete melts into the abstract."

"Their intention was to use me as a weapon of mass destruction..."

Wright speaks.

There was no Bradley Effect.

The post-election evidence shows.
"I certainly hope this drives a stake through the heart of that demon," Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political scientist and polling authority, said of the Bradley effect....

The Bradley effect was "a product of a particular political environment that seems to have passed us by," said Daniel Hopkins, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University who wrote a study this summer concluding that the phenomenon has disappeared.

"New York is a place where people are almost programmed to do things impulsively..."

"... because it is so easy to just hop into a bodega or a deli or a 99-cent store to buy anything, anytime, no forethought required."

From a NYT article about Mayor Bloomberg's plan to make stores collect a 6¢ tax for each plastic shopping bag given out. (In Ireland, it's 33¢ a bag!) Actually, it's not a tax, it's a fee. (Because if it were a tax, it would need approval from the state legislature.) The idea isn't to raise money but to train people -- those impulsive New York people -- to bring their own bags.

So anyway, do you think the structure of the city makes human beings more impulsive?

Retraining people with new taxes/fees is much easier than redesigning the physical environment to improve their emotional thinking. But it set me to wondering what would be the perfect environment for the most balanced and rational thought. The idea that convenience makes us impulsive... is that right? I'm not convinced that New York is so convenient, but I'd like to believe that the ability to fulfill our needs easily would save time and make us feel relaxed, which would improve our rationality. But no. That's probably not true.


What Berlusconi and Ahmadinejad said about the Obama victory.

The L.A. Times reports:
Berlusconi, who has a history of controversial remarks, said the relative youth of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, 43, and Obama, 47, should make it easier for Moscow and Washington to work together.

Then, smiling, he said through an interpreter, "I told the president that [Obama] has everything needed in order to reach deals with him: He's young, handsome and even tanned."...

Berlusconi, 72, later defended the remark, calling it "a great compliment. . . . If they have the vice of not having a sense of humor, worse for them"....

Berlusconi said the remark was meant to be "cute" and he lashed out at those who disagreed, calling them "imbeciles, of which there are too many."
Berlusconi is getting a lot of criticism in Italy. He's embarrassing. In America, do we care about "tan" jokes? I note that the WaPo fashion columnist Robin Givhan wrote, about Michelle Obama: "[T]he implied message is unmistakable: I am neither subversive nor threatening. I am not some scary 'other.' I am Camelot with a tan." Givhan is herself African American, which gives her more leeway, and she's imagining someone else's implied statement.

Stepping back from the focus on calling a black person "tanned," we should see that Berlusconi was making a sexual joke. To say Obama can make deals because "He's young, handsome and even tanned" is to say that he can be seductive, and Berlusconi was picturing a "deal" between Obama and Medvedev. Medvedev, who was standing right there -- and not reacting -- looks like this:

So, you get the picture of what Berlusconi thinks is "cute." (How do you say "cute" in Italian?)

As for Ahmadinejad, who is decidedly not cute:
“I congratulate you for attracting the majority of votes in the election,” Mr. Ahmadinejad wrote in his message, an Iranian news agency, ISNA, reported. “As you know, opportunities that are bestowed upon humans are short lived,” he wrote, adding that he hoped Mr. Obama would make the most of the opportunity....

“People in the world expect war-oriented policies, occupation, bullying, deception and intimidation of nations and imposing discriminatory policies on them and international affairs, which have evoked hatred toward American leaders, to be replaced by ones advocating justice, respect for human rights, friendship and noninterference in other countries’ affairs"...
Short lived, eh?

ADDED: Italy is in a tizzy:
Many Italian newspapers gave the comment nearly as much front-page attention as Mr. Obama’s victory itself. The journalist Curzio Maltese wrote in the center-left La Repubblica that “bookmakers wouldn’t even take bets” on how long it would take for Mr. Berlusconi to let slip another of his famous gaffes. “Mr. Berlusconi never fails to live up to our worst expectations.”

Mr. Maltese added that just when Mr. Obama’s victory was “inspiring billions of people” to consider “democracy, the most extraordinary triumph of humanity after centuries of bloodshed and intolerance,” Mr. Berlusconi instead contributed “a miserable, vulgar and racist remark, for which he didn’t even have the courage to take responsibility or the dignity to apologize.”

A billionaire populist, Mr. Berlusconi excels at deflating such lofty talk. He said that his remark had been “a compliment” and that his critics lacked irony. “If you want to get a degree in idiocy, I won’t stop you,” La Repubblica quoted him as saying. “I say whatever I think.”

How did Disney manage to be offensive about kids with diabetes?

An episode of "Hannah Montana" has been pulled and will be reevaluated after parents who saw a preview complained about the way a character was depicted. The linked article doesn't explain what was offensive. Is there some way to be insufficiently PC about diabetes? (If your guess is that there was something about weight or race that was un-PC, here's the character -- a slim, white guy.)

IN THE COMMENTS: Pogo (who is a doctor) said:
More than likely, some joke was made about diabetes that pricked the sensitive (which is of course impossible to avoid), and/or the message was not positive enough, having contained an actual negative assessment of the disease.

That is, someone mentioned the truth. Diabetes in a child or teen can be awful. But some parents want to shield their charges from it, insisting nothing negative be said at all.

Disney failed the PC test: the only remaining permissible humor is against an adult white male.

Minor calamities in which the lead character is in some sort of mix-up or unavoidable choice is the sole scource of creative tension left for a company like Disney that tries to please everyone.

In comparison, South Park tells everyone to go to hell, and their ratings are fine.
Modika has seen the pulled episode and also has a 13-year old sonwith type 1 diabetes:
Throughout the episode, the character with type 1 diabetes is prevented from having any sugar. He is constantly craving sweets-- even having fantasies about cotton candy and diving into a rubbish can in search of a thrown out candy bar.

The other kids in the show talk constantly of having to prevent the "sugar boy" from eating any sugar.

This theme not only promotes misinformation about type 1 diabetes (because those who have the disease can indeed eat sugar), but it can be dangerous as well.

If a type 1 diabetic has a low blood sugar (and remember, this kind of low isn't like those experienced by a non-diabetic, but rather something that could cause a seizure or death in a matter of minutes), they MUST eat sugar. Immediately.

Now, what if just one kid who watched this program had a friend with diabetes who needed to treat a low blood sugar?

And what if that friend thought he/she was helping by denying him sugar?

Do you see the problem here?
"Hannah Montana" could kill kids.

November 6, 2008

"A normal win."

Not a blowout.

"I resigned my position as Governor because I recognized that conduct was unworthy of an elected official."

"I once again apologize for my actions."

No charges against Eliot Spitzer.
Who must be cursing in private now. Remind me why this elected governor had to resign.

"At an average of five books a week ... I will read 13,000."

"Then I'm dead."

In Kenya, everyone is naming their baby Barack or Michelle.

BBC reports.

Should/must/will the Democrats repeal DOMA?

In the wake of the "yes" vote on California's Proposition 8, Glenn Greenwald urges congressional Democrats to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. [Correction: I wrote "no" before. "No" lost. I meant "yes." Sorry for the confusion.]
Barack Obama has, on numerous occasions, emphatically expressed his support for repealing DOMA. When he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004, he wrote a letter to Chicago's Windy City Times, calling DOMA "abhorrent" and its repeal "essential," and vowing: "I opposed DOMA in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor." But he went on to cite what he called the "the realities of modern politics" in order to proclaim (accurately) that DOMA's repeal at that time -- 2004 -- was "unlikely with Mr. Bush in the White House and Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress." After Tuesday, that excuse is no longer availing.

Democrats have a particular responsibility to erase the stain of DOMA. It was Bill Clinton who signed DOMA into law....

This would be a vital step that Democrats could take quickly and easily. But are they likely to do so?
No, because they're not stupid and they want to stay in power. That's my answer. Here's Greenwald's:
The conventional Beltway wisdom has already ossified, quite predictably, that Obama and the Democrats must scorn "the Left" and, despite polling data showing widespread support for equal rights for same-sex couples, such a move would be deemed by Beltway media mavens as coming from "the Left." Nancy Pelosi is running around decreeing that "the country must be governed from the middle," while Harry Reid emphasizes that Democrats have received no mandate from the election. And, most significantly of all, Democrats are being told they must avoid the "overreaching" of Clinton's first two years, defined by his attempt to eliminate the ban on gay people serving in the military -- something likely to scare Democrats from touching any gay issues.

Combine all that with the fact that only a small minority is actually affected by DOMA's injustices, that many Democrats will insist none of this is worth the "risk," and that many Obama supporters will refuse to criticize anything he does (marvel at the number of commenters here saying that Obama's choice of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff is right because . . . it is Obama's choice -- just look at this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this). Even as leading Democrats flamboyantly condemn Proposition 8, and even with Obama's long record of emphatically vowing that he will support DOMA's repeal, there will be very strong currents pushing Democrats to do nothing.
Greenwald, who surely must be paid by the word, never answers his own yes-or-no question. He goes on to express his desire for a repeal. But I think if he were honest and straightforward and remembered his own question, he'd say what I said: No, because they're not stupid and they want to stay in power.

IN THE COMMENTS: Dody Jane says:
They should repeal it. They should be who they whisper they are. They have the power now. They should do it. I am sick of tippy toeing. They way I look at it, my daughter's generation will eventually get aroud to it in 20 years anyway. It is inevitable. It is a liberal issue, liberals have the power now, liberals need to be big boys and as NIKE would say, just do it.
ADDED: Greenwald adds an update that links to this post:
Simply reciting trite conventional wisdom from the TV is easy, particularly for those capable of nothing else, but that practice is exactly what has produced the last eight years.
Glenn, my observation was that you failed to answer your own question. I didn't watch that on TV. I read your post. I'd like to see you face up to your own question. I think you don't because I'm right and you know that the Democrats -- out of perceived self-interest -- are unlikely to repeal DOMA. So I will renew my accusation that you are dishonest. You're also verbose as hell: reciting trite conventional wisdom ... easy. Bleh. I think you are taking the easy way out, beginning by not editing tiresome redundancies out of your posts. Instead of assuming that something you don't want to deal with came from television and that things from television can be ignored and that things that are well-known aren't worth thinking about, you should answer the question -- which was your own damned question. You asked whether the Democrats are likely to repeal DOMA. I don't like DOMA either, but I know and I think you know that the answer to your question is no. Be honest and say it clearly and move on.

Did this ad destroy Elizabeth Dole?

USA Today says:
... Kay Hagan, a little-known state senator, trounced well-known incumbent Elizabeth Dole, the wife of Bob Dole, the Republican Party's presidential nominee 12 years ago.

A narrow Hagan lead in the final weeks turned into a 350,000-vote blowout after a panicking Dole began airing one of the most offensive ads in recent political history: It sought to label her opponent as "godless."

Why should a religious person reject the political support of atheists? What is the argument? It makes no sense.

"When he was out on his campaign, what went on in McCain's brain?"

I'm going to miss McCain's brain!

Obama + dog.

1. Obama promised to get his girls a dog, and a year ago Malia determined that the goldendoodle was "the optimal dog," but they're getting a lot of political pressure to adopt a stray. Because others cast off dogs they don't want, you shouldn't be able to get the breed you find optimal, in the original puppy form?

2. Some YouTube guy has taught his dog to say "Obama." (Via BoingBoing.)

3. "Well, is it possible that Obama is not reserving his attack dog for his enemies, but his friends?"

"Ahh, crap. I hate Fred Armisen's Barack Obama impression."

Lesser side effects of the Obama win.

ADDED: There's always animation. [Link to "South Park"'s new episode deleted as possibly causing a problem.]

"He's got this big old pair of brass balls, and you can just hear 'em clanking when he walks down the halls of Congress."

I'm just reading a Rolling Stone article from 2005 about Rahm Emanuel, who's going to be Obama's chief of staff. The quote is from Paul Begala. [There should be quote marks in the post title, but for some insane reason they were screwing up the format of the whole blog. Who knew Rahm Emanuel's balls were so powerful!]
Friends and enemies agree that the key to Emanuel's success is his legendary intensity. There's the story about the time he sent a rotting fish to a pollster who had angered him. There's the story about how his right middle finger was blown off by a Syrian tank when he was in the Israeli army. ..."
A finger? Hey, watch this. [Embedded video replaced by link.]

Back to the old Rolling Stone piece:
And there's the story of how, the night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting "Dead! . . . Dead! . . . Dead!" and plunging the knife into the table after every name. "When he was done, the table looked like a lunar landscape," one campaign veteran recalls. "It was like something out of The Godfather. But that's Rahm for you."

The stories are all true, except that the finger was lost in a meat slicer and he wasn't in the Israeli army. (But he is the son of an Israeli immigrant.)
His younger brother, Ari, is a Hollywood talent agent who served as the inspiration for Ari Gold, the fast-talking agent played by Jeremy Piven on HBO's hit series Entourage....

"After about the sixth episode, I finally caught it," says Rahm... "I called Ari the next day and said, 'Hey, I finally saw the show, and you know what? I like that guy better than I like you.'"
Ha ha.

ADDED: Here's today's NYT piece about Emanuel:
Mr. Obama has been close to Mr. Emanuel since arriving on Capitol Hill; Mr. Emanuel considers David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s chief strategist, to be one of his closest friends. The three share a common policy view and would make a formidable triumvirate in the White House....

... Mr. Emanuel’s stint in high finance and his experience in the banking world opens him to some criticism of being too allied with Wall Street... Since he is part of the Daley circle, Mr. Emanuel’s appointment as chief of staff could also create the appearance of a White House that is too Chicago heavy. His manner can also create enemies, and Mr. Emanuel has ruffled the feathers of many on Capitol Hill, particularly black and Hispanic lawmakers.

"The ascent of an African-American to the presidency — a victory by a 47-year-old man who was born when segregation was still the law of the land..."

"... across much of this nation — is a moment so powerful and so obvious that its symbolism needs no commentary."

Oh lord, the drivel we must now read. Come on. Segregation wasn't the "law of the land" in 1961. Segregation by law was declared unconstitutional in 1954. And Obama hasn't "ascended" to the presidency. He won an election. You ascend to a throne. Let's keep our wits about us.

"Democrats Vow to Pursue an Aggressive Agenda."

A headline that scares me. Disturbing photo at the link too. Don't let it be said that the NYT selects photos to flatter Democrats. Or do hard-core Democrats find that photo flattering?
On the day after the election, leadership battles were breaking out across Capitol Hill as lawmakers contemplated the prospects of new power and opportunity. The quick start to the skirmishing signaled that some of the more bitter fights in the next Congress could be internal battles among Democrats.
Good! Let them check each other.
But Ms. Pelosi said Democrats could open the 111th Congress in January with efforts to adopt measures blocked by President Bush, including ones to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and embryonic stem cell research. She said Democrats had no choice but to chart a centrist course. “The country must be governed from the middle,” she said. But Democrats on both sides of the Capitol were just beginning to digest the new faces in their expanded caucuses.
Just when I was starting to relax -- The country must be governed from the middle -- I learn that the Democrats intend to digest faces. I'm afraid!

The reports from inside the McCain campaign are not pretty.

Carl Cameron is on fire, spilling the dirt on Sarah Palin (and reducing Bill O'Reilly to near silence):

[View video here.]

Via Allahpundit, who comments:
Unlike the first clip, this one does corroborate some of the details in the Newsweek report — sort of. Newsweek claims Palin appeared to McCain’s aides in a bath towel; Cameron says it’s a bathrobe. It’s not clear if he’s lifting that story from the piece or if he got it from a source firsthand; if the latter, then there’s either one very determined person leaking to multiple news outlets or … it’s a full-court press....

I assume this is a sign that Maverick’s headed back to the center, because if he thinks the base is sore at him now, wait until his cronies’ attempts to scapegoat their idol start percolating.

More from Carl Cameron in this clip (which you've probably already seen):

We don't know who's telling these stories, but obviously, there are many people with the motivation to blame others. Even assuming the stories are true, they don't have to be told. Why destroy Palin, a rising star in the Republican Party? Who wants her ruined? I'm not saying she doesn't deserve to be ruined. I want to know if the stories are true, and I want them in their most accurate form. (She thought Africa was a country? Really? Was this the slip of a tired, inattentive person, or someone who is clearly an ignoramus?) But I also want to know who wants us to know all these ugly things and why. It can't be simply a matter of defending McCain. McCain chose Palin, and if she's no good, he bears more blame than she does. And McCain isn't going to run again, so he would do well to be gracious and low-profile right now.

ADDED: Rush Limbaugh is raging about this story. Who is doing the leaking? "Why do it on Fox?... These are the people who work for moderate Republicans." His theory is the "country club" Republicans are trying to protect their own interests and to prevent the rebuilding of the party on genuinely conservative ideology.

Is this the one reason we need paper newspapers?

WaPo's Hank Stuever says:
Hi everyone. I just fought my way into the Post building on 15th Street -- there is a huge mob out there wanting to buy copies of today's paper as a souvenir. Somehow they are not content to stand at the window and gaze admiringly on our new flat screens in the lobby showing our WaPo Media family of web sites.

In: Newspapers!

Seriously, you could probably get a few bucks for your copy, if you're done with it, if you are cool enough to read the actual paper. Of course, some hipster who looks like Mac Guy could go out there and suggest to this crowd that they could just bookmark a web page and save it for posterity! On their 3g iPhone! If so, I hope they pummel him to death.
I don't know what Hank Stuever looks like, but I'm picturing this:

And I'm assuming he writes out letters to loved ones longhand, because if he's emailing and IM-ing, they're just going to have a digital file-folder on some cold, sad hard drive.

IN THE COMMENTS: Pogo writes:
Several years ago I was reading about researchers and archivists who were worried about the lack of permanence embedded in modern technology.

Things written with pencil and paper last a really long time. We auction off the original manuscript scroll for Jack Kerouac's 'On The Road' and search for copies of a first edition novel, signed.

Historians have discovered to their horror that electroinc data fades quickly, or becomes impossible to use because the hardware that created it no longer exists. Floppy discs, for example.

The tyranny of the modern affects voting in real time as well. Paper ballots can be scrutinized. Electronic ones fail to be recorded, are easily manipulated, and can be erased in a flash.

High tech communication is alot like writing in sand on the beach.

I am no luddite, but my conservative philosophy extends even here. Mocking letters to loved ones written in longhand betrays the hubris of the modern, who do not see how evanescent they have become, how easily they disappear, like so many electrons.

I have some cold, sad hard drives that died and cannot be read. What they contained is now forever lost. So, too IMs and e-mails.

Similarly, with one small error by some Google techie, this blog can disappear completely and irretrievably.

It's one thing to believe that building your house on a rock means it will last forever, but quite another to build it on sand, thinking it makes no difference at all, that the house on the rock is just for laughable squares in cheap and ill-fitting suits.

November 5, 2008

Emotional Condi.

IN THE COMMENTS: Verso said:
Very touching comments by Ms. Rice.

Can you imagine the fury and rage we'd be seeing from the Republican Party right now if Michelle Obama said this country "continues to surprise?" Or that the US has not yet perfected the union? It would be fodder for days worth of classic wingnut thrashing and moaning. And they'd never forget it, either: Wingnuts in 2019 would still be reminding us about how Michelle Obama once said she was "surprised" about the USA.

Yes, I can. And let me remind everyone that I saw Michelle Obama give one of the speeches that were supposedly so horrendously anti-American, and as you can see from my report, I thought she was excellent and noticed no flaws.

It's the new rule by law professors!

It's me and Instapundit, lawprofs, talking about our new lawprof President, Barack Obama!

(If you can't get the embedded video to play, play it here.)

ADDED: I think I've got the embedded video to start working now. And let me just note that in the freeze frame, Glenn Reynolds seems to be blessing us.

"Obama Baby."

"A child conceived after Obama was proclaimed President by way of celebratory sex, or any baby born under Barack Obama's term(s)."
I was born July 2009. I'm an Obama baby!

My middle son coined a term that seems apt: Barackabyebaby.

Wow! What superior slang! (I corrected the spelling a little.)

"Jogger runs mile with rabid fox locked on her arm."

Jogger runs mile with rabid fox locked on her arm!


After the fox bit her on the foot, she decided to catch it and bring it in for testing. This led to additional biting. That was a bad move. She had some hope of avoiding rabies shots, if she successfully brought the animal in for testing and it was not rabid, but do you know that if you are bitten badly enough, the rabies shots might not save your life? I learned this from expert doctors who interviewed me at the UW Hospital after I was bitten by a bat. I wanted to know if the shots ever failed, and they cited some cases in which a person received large, tearing bites from a wolf. Don't tangle with a wild animal. Just get the shots. They are not that bad.

Help me prep for a diavlog.

Tell me how you felt about my revelation that I was voting for Obama. How did that change your view of this blog? I guess if you quit reading, you aren't here to answer the question, but -- what the hell? -- blogs are loaded with unscientific research.

I'd love to get comments, but to speed up the results, here's a poll:

How did you feel about my revelation that I was voting for Obama?
I knew it all along, so nothing changed.
I was disgusted.
I don't quite believe you voted for Obama.
It made me happy.
You can't curry my favor by jumping on the bandwagon late in the game.
Whatever you do, I love you.
Whatever you do, you suck. free polls

Californians ban same-sex marriage.

Proposition 8 passes.
With more than 95% of the vote counted, the measure leads 52.1% to 47.9%.

"I do not want unity with President-elect Obama."

Rush Limbaugh is absorbing defeat. "What is the point of saying unify with Obama?" Rush is annoyed at McCain and anybody else who wants to "make nice."

Actually, I think he's moving in the angry but constructive direction I thought he would. He wants to define the conservative position on the issues and fight for it.

ADDED: Transcript.

Scouring the text of Obama's victory speech:

Mickey Kaus says:
I was struck by two lists of virtues used by Obama in his acceptance speech--or rather by two omissions on those lists. [Emphasis added]

To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you.
"Peace and security." Not "democracy" or "freedom." This is someone who doesn't want to seem in any way a neocon idealist.

And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
No mention of "equality"--not even social equality. Nor "equality before the law." This is someone who doesn't want to seem in any way a leftish "redistributor."
Here's the whole text of the speech. I'm interested to read it, after listening last night and picking out the phrases that struck me, live-blog style. The written text always has secrets to deliver up, as Mickey's post reminds me. I'm noticing the elegant structure of the speech:
... tonight is your answer.

It's the answer...

It's the answer...

It's the answer...

It's been a long time coming... change has come to America.

It's the answer...

It's been a long time coming...

[Call from McCain.]

[Tribute to Biden.]

[Love to the family.]

[Acknowledgment of the Davids, Plouffe and Axelrod.]

[Thanks to everybody.] This is your victory....

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep....

There will be setbacks and false starts....

[Let's work together.]

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long....

[Shared destiny with the whole world.]

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change....

[Focus on one person: Ann Nixon Cooper, "born just a generation past slavery." Here begins a list of things Cooper has lived through, which is also an account of the last 100 years, punctuated with the familiar refrain.]

... Yes we can.

... Yes we can.

... Yes we can.

... Yes we can.

... Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do....

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time...

Yes We Can....
I love the form. The substance is very fine too. Uplifting and inclusive.

"A crowd of thousands marched from the capitol to Bascom Hill, chants of 'USA! USA!' and 'Yes we can! Yes we can!' getting more or less equal time."

"The National Anthem was sung at both ends by a jubilant, and very peaceful, crowd, which pretty well broke up after 5 or 10 minutes on the hill."

The scene on State Street, in Madison, Wisconsin, last night, after the Obama victory.

More pics and video at the link.

ADDED: The photo, by the blogger at the link -- Letters in Bottles -- looks lovely enlarged.

At the Gingko Café...


... you can tell us how you really feel.

Is it ever appropriate for the government to take into account that a "particular remark was really hilarious, very, very funny?"

Justice Stevens asked yesterday in the argument about whether the FCC could fine a broadcaster for allowing a "fleeting expletive" to go out over the airwaves. Here's the NYT account of the argument, with the usual details about the issues in the case, if you need to get up to speed. I'm reading the transcript. (PDF.) And, no, nobody said "fuck" in the elite courtroom yesterday. They did say "F-word" many, many times. And they talked about Paris Hilton. Scalia is onto her bullshit:
JUSTICE SCALIA: This Paris Hilton incident was scripted. The use of the indecent word was almost invited, wasn't it?

GENERAL GARRE: Certainly our view is that it was pandering and invited. It could have been expected.

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Wasn't there a different word? Wasn't there a euphemism in the script? I thought there was a euphemism in the script.

GENERAL GARRE: The euphemism in the script I think was "freaking", and another euphemism for the S-Word, but they obviously departed from that. And I think the commission --

JUSTICE SCALIA: But it was sort of an invitation. I mean, before she was ntroduced, said, "Now we're on live television, you have to watch your mouth," or something like that.

GENERAL GARRE: That's what Paris Hilton said. I mean, I think the whole thing was set up to be pandering --

JUSTICE SCALIA: It was a setup.
So did these words just slip out or not? Nino knows what you're up to.

Meanwhile, the elderly Justice Stevens wants you to know that he thinks some of these dirty jokes are freaking hilarious:
JUSTICE STEVENS: Maybe I shouldn't ask this, but is there ever appropriate for the Commission to take into consideration at all the question whether the particular remark was really hilarious, very, very funny? Some of these things you can't help but laugh at. Is that -- is that a proper consideration, do you think?
Imagine the law turning on whether a joke is funny! I know it when I hear it.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Oh, it's funny. I mean, bawdy jokes are okay if they are really good.
Justice Scalia would like you to know that he's no prude. That's not the issue. The question is whether the FCC can regulate, not whether dirty jokes make old judges laugh.

The Farrelly brothers are making a 3 Stooges movie.

"Over the years such A-list Stoogephiles as Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson have been mentioned for the movie, but no casting has been announced."

Any ideas?


(Larger, here.)

The Juan Williams moment.

First IM of the day.

"Our long national nightmare is over."

How many bloggers used that line in their post about Obama's victory? Too many to count, in these pages and pages of Google blog search results. Obviously, I thought of it too, or I wouldn't have done that search and be writing this post.

But let's remember the original context of the quote. Richard Nixon had finally been driven out of the White House, and Gerald Ford had just taken the oath of office:
My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy.
Some of us went on hating Nixon for the rest of our lives, and some of you will nurse your hatred of Bush forever. But you don't have to do that. If your candidate has won: Rejoice! Don't be ugly.

Did Al Franken win?

We still don't know. The erstwhile funnyman faces a recount. And it doesn't look like he'll be smiling that enormous Joker-smile in the end. 99% of the precincts are counted, and Coleman has a 800 vote edge.

So who are the frontrunners for 2012?

That's the wrong question. The right question is: What can Republicans do to make us want them again?

And I'm going to put the "lameness" tag on this post in anticipation of the answer: Sit back and wait for the Democrats to screw up.

November 4, 2008

Live-blogging the election returns!

5:01: Finally! Results. Settle in. Pour yourself a nice glass of win or whine, as you see fit.

5:37: "There's only one thing to take to a Kenyan election victory feast: a goat. Preferably still breathing - 'a sign of freshness' - and with big testicles, apparently the sign of quality breeding."

5:42: Per Fox News, McCain will lose (if he loses) because McCain's idea of the surge worked so well and because President Bush kept us free of terrorist attacks. The national security issues have receded into the shadows, and that makes it hard for McCain.

5:48: Polls about to close in a lot of places at the top of the hour, so let's while away the moments by looking at the sedate polling place where I arrived at 9:15. Enter:




Drop by the church-school bake sale:


6:00: CNN declares Obama the winner in Vermont and McCain in Kentucky, which is unsurprising. It does not resolve Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Virginia. So does that mean that there is no overwhelming landslide for Obama? Or is CNN playing us (or playing it safe)?

6:16: Wolf Blitzer beams in a hologram from Chicago. It's Jessica Yellin, floating about oddly. It's also funny how obvious it is that she is being photographed outdoors. There is a subtle hunching against the elements that looks slightly daffy projected indoors. [Video.]

7:00: Polls just closed in a bunch of states, and CNN is only predicting the states that were very predictable. So the big blowout is not happening.

7:09: Elizabeth Dole crushed.

7:15: In the comments, there's quite a lot of talk of getting drunk. Palladian shows us what he's got lined up:

7:18: MSNBC calls Pennsylvania for Obama. Is that a cry for attention, or do they know something CNN and Fox don't?

7:33: CNN Headline News has Nancy Grace going on about a psychic looking for a missing toddler. I guess "Headline" doesn't mean what it used to. Now, it means holding pen for politicophobes.

7:40: Now, CNN calls Pennsylvania for Obama.

8:00: My state went for Obama. So did Michigan and Minnesota. Obama's at 179 electoral votes, with McCain at only 49.

8:04: Per CNN, twice as many voters said age was important as said race was important. But both groups tended to see that factor as a reason to vote for Obama.

8:34: CNN calls Ohio for Obama. "A huge, huge win," says Wolf Blitzer. "A huge, huge win," he says a second time.

8:34: Here, fiddle with this interactive map. It seems rather clear that Obama will win.

8:45: John King fiddles with the CNN interactive map to see if there is any way, given the states already called, that McCain could win. He gave him everything except Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington, and it was not enough to hit 270. So unless they've made some wrong calls -- and I vividly remember when Florida was called for Gore in 2000 -- McCain cannot win.

8:53: I hope the McCain supporters are holding up. Don't despair. Glenn Reynolds had an op-ed this morning saying: "[O]nce someone is duly and legally elected president, you do owe some respect to the office and the Constitution. And to your fellow Americans. I'm not an Obama fan, particularly, but a lot of people I like and respect are. To treat Obama as something evil or subhuman would not only be disrespectful toward Obama, but toward them. Instead, I hope that if Obama is elected, their assessment of his strengths will turn out to be right, and mine will turn out to be wrong." Yes, can we please not hate the President this time, for a change? (Or did I just rile you with the word "change"?)

9:01: More states called. Obama's up to 206 electoral votes... which doesn't include California (with 55). Do we have to keep watching?

9:08: "The Republican Party is getting a drubbing tonight, the likes of which we have never seen," says James Carville.

9:27: In the comments, Doyle asks, "You guys having fun?" Which provokes Palladian: "No, I wouldn't be having fun no matter who won this miserable election. But are you going to be having fun? It's not enough to sit around and bitch, you sour little cocksucker. You're in charge now! In charge of all of us! In charge of our future! You're not going to get to protect and govern only those that agree with you. You're going to have to protect and govern all of us, just like George Bush did with your sorry asses these last 8 years. We're ready for the brilliance, for the leadership, for the change and hope and all that. Time to deliver! Bring it on, doily!" Balfegor responds to the same question: "I am, actually. If we must endure the unendurable, and suffer the insufferable, we may as well have a bit of fun while we're at it. I am young, and may reasonably expect that, barring accidents, I will live to see a day when the Obama presidency is nothing more than a distant memory. And he may, after all, surprise us -- we know next to nothing about his ability to lead, or what he really believes, as he has hitherto studiously avoided any situation in which either could be put to the test."

10:00: CNN projects Obama as the winner!

10:01: I've been sitting here feeling completely cool and calm all evening. But that announcement -- that Obama has won -- gave me chills, made me almost cry. Something big has happened.

10:13: Karl Rove says "Every American should celebrate." That's on Fox, where there is some sedate but sincere celebration of the historic achievement: the first black President.

10:19: McCain speaks (over booing). "I deeply admire and commend him." He speaks of racial progress. "Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on earth." He urges us to "come together." "Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans."

10:37: Charles Krauthammer, on Fox, praises Obama as a self-made man, who came out of nowhere, with no real resources. He says we don't really know who he is, but we'll find out. But he seems to think -- I do too -- that Obama is not really an ideologue, but a sensible, intelligent, pragmatic man who will check the Democratic Congress.

10:52: CNN is showing the crowd -- gathered spontaneously -- around the White House. Are you where you can see or hear people celebrating in the streets? I'm not. The window is open on this warm night, but all I'm hearing is a train whistle in the distance.

10:58: Obama walks out on the stage in Chicago. He looks happy. It makes me feel happy enough to laugh out loud. Michelle is wearing a very strange dress, black with glowing redness spreading upward and downward from a black X across the midriff. The little girls look elegant, as if they'd grown much older since we saw them this morning. He compliments McCain. He tells his girls they're getting a puppy. He gives us all credit for his victory. We understand "the enormity of the task that lies ahead." (Yikes!) He's going to listen to us, but he wants us to help him "rebuild this nation." "Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility." Let's not be partisan and petty. Let's remember Abraham Lincoln. He was a Republican. He faced a nation more divided than it is now. But he reached out to them. And we share a destiny with everyone in the world. "Democracy, opportunity, and unyielding hope." "America can change. Our union can be perfected." Now, he's in a sing-song poetic part of the speech, with the refrain "Yes we can." The crowd catches on and shouts the refrain. "Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America."