November 22, 2008

"Surgeons thought Rosemary Alvarez had a brain tumour, but on operating they discovered the worm."

If you want to see what it looks like -- removing a worm from a brain -- there is live-action video at the link. If it makes you feel like not eating, keep in mind that she got that worm in something she ate. Oh, don't worry! Cook your meat thoroughly -- make sure all the worms are dead.

"Showing off, bragging by a young English working-class musician who had grown up in the age of Elvis Presley and rock and roll...."

The Vatican's semi-official newspaper forgives John Lennon for saying he was bigger than Jesus.
Although Pope Benedict has criticised many aspects of modern pop culture, he now allows the newspaper of the tiny independent Vatican state to reflect the reality of the world outside in a way that would have been unthinkable in the days of Pope Paul VI who reigned during heyday of The Beatles.

Gallup says Republicans want to see Sarah Palin run in 2012.

Sarah, first, followed by Mitt and Mike.

Michael Jackson picks the name Mikaeel after rejecting Mustafa....

... as he converts to Islam at some mansion in L.A.

Cat Stevens was there. Maybe he sang this song.

"I shouldn't have voted for change... I don't like it..."

IMing at 9:19 AM:
the whole bailout thing is so ridiculous i can't even think about it!

(both bailouts)

the country is changing too much

i shouldn't have voted for change

I don't like it

blog that

i will
yeah, things would have stayed just the way they are with McCain

what a wonderful idyll that would have been

i have a queue of things to blog right now

i know

9:20 AM
there's no way to vote against change

we get change whether we like it or not

we would have gone right back to pre-FDR levels of government at the push of a button thanks

to the ultra-conservative McCain
he was too liberal for me

so i had to vote for obama

that's true!!

I mean, it's not like he would have had to work with any liberals in Congress

what? he loves to do that

it's his thing

i know
he'd do it whether he had to or not

Sweet Slices Of Bread Wedges With Warm Sugar....

Grilled Spoons Of Mayonnaise... Essence Of Vanilla Mini Roasties... Raisins A La Raisins....

Recipes from the Random Recipe Generator.

Via Neatorama, which I discovered -- though I'd probably noticed it before -- while searching for a perfect image of a rose tattoo to illustrate the first post of the day. I didn't find that rose tattoo, but I did find a photograph of a handless arm tattooed to look like a giant finger:

Do you think that's in bad taste? I like the young man's sense of humor about his misfortune. Presumably, he enjoys pointing.

"The Dalai Lama's so-called 'middle way' is a naked expression of 'Tibet independence' aimed at nakedly spreading..."

"... the despicable plot of opposing the tide of history."

That's AP translation of an editorial that appeared in the Chinese Tibet Daily. Strange the way "naked" appears twice. Not strange, but chilling is the notion that history has a tide and it's despicable to oppose it.

From a story in the NYT about the decision by a Tibetan exiles -- convening in Dharamsala, India -- not to seek independence from China but to continue with the Dalai Lama's "middle way."

ADDED: Want to swim naked in the tide of history?
Mao Zedong loved to swim. In his youth, he advocated swimming as a way of strengthening the bodies of Chinese citizens... But especially after 1955, when he was in his early 60s and at the height of his political power as leader of the Chinese People's Republic, swimming became a central part of his life. He swam so often in the large pool constructed for the top party leaders in their closely guarded compound that the others eventually left him as the pool's sole user. He swam in the often stormy ocean off the north China coast, when the Communist Party leadership gathered there for its annual conferences. And, despite the pleadings of his security guards and his physician, he swam in the heavily polluted rivers of south China, drifting miles downstream with the current, head back, stomach in the air, hands and legs barely moving, unfazed by the globs of human waste gliding gently past. "Maybe you're afraid of sinking," he would chide his companions if they began to panic in the water. "Don't think about it. If you don't think about it, you won't sink. If you do, you will."

"What's the prize for guessing where the tattoo is on your body and what the tattoo is?"

Asks Old Grouchy in yesterday's "New look" thread, the one where I tweak and re-tweak the design of this blog, which makes Alan say: "This is why you should never entertain the idea of getting a tattoo." I said, "What makes you so sure I don't have a tattoo?," prompting Old Grouchy's remark.

In fact, I don't have any tattoos, but circa 1968, I often spoke of getting a rose tattoo the back of my hand. I thought it would change the course of my life, and it would have, don't you think? That was back in the days when high school girls in middle class suburbs did not get tattoos. It had to be a rose and it had to be on the back of my hand where it would be seen. None of this lower back/iliac crest bullshit. The idea was to affect people's minds and to make a permanent decision to have that be the thing that would make the impression.

But what are your suggestions? It's 40 years later. What tattoo would you suggest for me? Don't say none. I'm smart enough to know that's the right answer. Assume I must get a tattoo. If this comments thread works out the way I'm hoping, I'll do a poll later. And maybe even a new "egg salad" challenge.

November 21, 2008

"This is my Milwaukee."

"Stay out of Sector 21!"

(Via Metafilter.)

ADDED: More here.

When Kathy Griffin met David Archuleta....

... and ascertained that he'd seen that insanely great video of those girls who really wanted him to win "American Idol":

"He deserved what he got like Survivor deserves an Emmy. So why did I feel bad?"

Jeff Probst loses his edge and goes all soft... over "the most hateful person ever to play this game."

Probst thinks it's something about Sugar: "That uncontrollable laugh that came from such a deep place inside Sugar was so uncomfortable that I almost wanted to pull the votes out, rearrange them, rewind the tape, and vote Sugar out."

Moreover: "I'm concerned about my soft spot for Randy, not interested in Corinne, can't wait for Kenny to get his comeuppance, enjoyed the 5th grade cookie argument, and love Bob."

[R]egarding the "same lines" I say every week, such as: "Come on in guys," "Wanna know what you're playing for?" "Immunity is back up for grabs," etc....

1. Yes, I write everything I say. Blame me.

2. Yes, I'm aware I say them every time. That's the joke. Hello.
LOL. I love Jeff Probst.

"With an endless parade of sexist buffoons and kindly forest-giants to choose from, Barack Obama goes for some dude named Tim Geithner...."

Wonkette is bored.

"There is a difference between people who sing and those who take that voice to another, otherworldly place, who create a euphoria within themselves."

Robert Plant, talking about Elvis, who ranks #3 on Rolling Stone's "Greatest Singers of All Time."

Of course, it's not really about all time. There aren't even any opera singers on the list. And it's based on some survey that asked various experts who were their favorite singers of the rock era. Which is kind of an annoying categorization, because #1 and #2 are not rock singers, really. And then, we aren't really even talking about singing -- are we? -- if Bob Dylan is #7. But it is interesting to read what Bono has to say about him:
There is certainly iron ore in there, and the bitter cold of Hibbing, Minnesota, blowing through that voice. It's like a knotted fist....
Or -- I don't know -- I didn't need to read that.

Meanwhile, Robert Plant is only #15, and you have to slip all the way down to #32 to get to Bono.

But it's silly to argue about such things. What's nice is that if you upload the Rhapsody software, you can choose 25 full-length songs to play for free out of the list of songs for each of the 100 singers.

Burma's most famous comedian has received a 45-year prison sentence for...

... for what???
Zarganar was arrested with sports writer Zaw Thet Htwe in June after organising deliveries of aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis, which left 138,000 people dead or missing when it pulverised the country the previous month.



New look.

Complain about the new strong look if you dare.

I was going to completely redo the blog template, but then I realized I just wanted Blogger's Minima template tweaked into greater simplicity and strength. I've reduced the color, boldened a few things, and eliminated all the uppercasing.

ADDED: I'm backing out of nearly all of it!

AND: Re-tweaked.

AND: I'm back to where I started!

HuffPo is aghast that turkey-killing doesn't faze Sarah Palin.

Deal with it, you candy-asses. If you eat meat, something like that is going on in the background for you too.

Mukasey collapse was nothing but a fainting spell.

Great news. But now let's talk about whether it's a little strange. What kind of man faints while getting overemotional and passionate in the middle of "prais[ing] the administration for 'nothing less than a fundamental reorganization of our government' after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and blast[ing] the relentless critics of the very policies that have kept us safe'"?

"One friend said Mrs. Clinton decided late Wednesday to say no, reasoning that she would have more freedom in the Senate."

"By midday Thursday, the friend said, she was 'back in the indecisive column again."

Writes the NYT:
[There are] discussions about an enhanced position for Mrs. Clinton are factoring into her deliberations over joining the cabinet... Mrs. Clinton, the junior senator from New York, is wrestling with whether to abandon her independence to become the nation’s top diplomat or remain in a chamber where lack of seniority limits her influence.
Subordinate yourself to no man! He's trying to tame you! Stay free, Hillary!
Mrs. Clinton asked to join the Senate Democratic leadership after the Nov. 4 election, and party leaders began trying to figure out a way to accommodate her without dislodging any of the current leaders...
Make way for Hillary! She wins if they step aside for her. Let's see her get them to step aside.
Driving her consideration, friends said, is a sense of disenchantment with the Senate, where despite her stature she remains low in the ranks of seniority that governs the body. She was particularly upset, they said, at the reception she felt she received when she returned from the campaign after collecting 18 million votes and almost becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party.

“Her experience in the Senate with some of her colleagues has not been the easiest time for her,” said one longtime friend who insisted on anonymity in exchange for sharing Mrs. Clinton’s sentiments. “She’s still a very junior senator. She doesn’t have a committee. And she’s had some disappointing times with her colleagues.”
She's boxed in. Let's see her get out of the box. Such disrespect for the woman!

UPDATE: The NYT"s Peter Baker says "Clinton to Accept Secretary of State Job":
Mrs. Clinton came to her decision after additional discussion with President-elect Barack Obama about the nature of her role and his plans for foreign policy, said one of the confidants, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the situation. Mr. Obama’s office told reporters Thursday that the nomination is “on track” but Clinton associates only confirmed Friday afternoon that she has decided.

“She’s ready,” said the confidant. Mrs. Clinton was reassured after talking again with Mr. Obama because their first meeting in Chicago last week “was so general,” the confidant said. The purpose of the follow-up talk, he added, was not to extract particular concessions but “just getting comfortable” with the idea of working together.

Will Obama and the Democratic Congress repeal "don't ask, don't tell"?

Don't count on it!

Obama's leaky transition.

WaPo observes that the transition isn't working the way the "no drama Obama" campaign did.

Hmmm.... remember all the arguments about how Obama's "executive experience" as the head of a political campaign provided a basis for judging his capacity to serve as President? Now, we're seeing his performance as the head of the transition, and it looks quite different.

Waiting to go on the radio.

As indicated, I'll be on Wisconsin Public Radio in a few minutes. I'm hanging out in the waiting room next to a split-leaf philodendron....

Now, I'm in the studio, about to go on. I wonder if there will be any unusual issues....

Eric Holder "is the second coming of Janet Reno."

Says the first commenter on David Kopel's post that stresses Holder's "strong support" of gun control -- he co-signed an amicus brief in District of Columbia v. Heller -- and his role in the "night-time kidnapping of Elian Gonzalez."

November 20, 2008

Radio alert.

I'll be on the "Week in Review" show with Joy Cardin on Wisconsin Public Radio at 8 AM Central Time t0morrow morning. That's 9 AM ET.

Go here to listen on-line live. You can call in. We'll be talking about whatever news stories of the last week people want to talk about. And you'll be able to listen to the archived show here, later.

The other guest — the "left" to my (supposed) "right" — is former Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager.

"Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed Thursday night while giving a speech to the Federalist Society in Washington."

"Audience members said they began praying, fearing a stroke."

IN THE COMMENTS: Host with the Most said...
Hope he recovers.

This just in: Bush haters partying at the news.
I checked Daily Kos, where the front page post ended: "Justice Alito and former Attorney General Ashcroft were among those in attendance in this room of ~2000, and everyone there was pretty much silent, crying and praying quietly. Let us keep Mukasey in our prayers as well tonight."

There are 80 comments over there now, and they are completely respectful. One commenter says: "According to local news, he was giving a 'passionate speech' when he got stuck on and kept repeating a word. Then he pitched forward and lost consciousness."

UPDATE: Josh Marshall writes:
AG Mukasey was roughly twenty minutes into a speech defending the administration's counter-terrorism policies and particularly arguing against prosecutions of people who made decisions in the aftermath of 9/11 -- essentially arguing against what he believed amounted to the criminalization of policy differences. Mukasey appeared in earnest about it and appeared to choke up. Soon, what at first appeared to be choking up, blended into slurred words. And twenty to thirty seconds later he collapsed. His fall was broken by an FBI agent nearby.

Watching TV is the one activity happy people do less than unhappy people.

A study shows. A separate question is whether watching less TV makes you happy or being happy makes you watch less TV.

Underwear supermodel Karolina Kurkova has no belly button.

I read it at, where I went to look for some serious news to enlighten you. You may think I post the lowest drivel, but I actively bypassed this story last night. I started a draft, titled "They called him the 'Screamer.' He was very noisy," but then, I though, no, I'm not going there.

Yet, here is a much nicer place, the blank mid-torso of a skinny pretty woman who's done nothing more evil than prancing about in a bra and underpants. It's an interesting mystery. It's not like we know Kurkova left her navel on some battlefield in Europe (or Albert Hall).
Some have no belly button as a result of the surgery needed to correct abdominal problems at birth, often either an umbilical hernia, or a condition known as gastroschisis - born with the stomach and intestines poking through a hole in the abdominal wall.
I know all about that, having watched the "Hottest Chick, Ugliest Scar" episode of the Howard Stern Show. (It's "Megan" at the link, which has photos of women in bikinis.)

Bonus religious question: Did Adam and Eve have navels?

"I still think that the Drudge Report is an aesthetic masterpiece even though I also consider it ugly."

Jason Fried uses the Drudge Report as a case study in how good design can also be ugly:
The Drudge Report... has proven timeless. It’s generic list of links, black and white monospaced font, and ALL CAPS headlines have survived every trend, every fad, every movement, every era, every design do or don’t. It doesn’t look old and it doesn’t look new — it looks Drudge. It hasn’t changed since at least 1997, and I believe the design goes back even further. How many sites can survive — and thrive — unchanged for a decade? That’s special.

There are no tricks, no sections, no deep linking, no special technology required. It’s all right there on one page. “But it’s a mess!” you could say. I’d say “it’s straightforward mess.” I wouldn’t underestimate the merit in that.

When you’re on the Drudge Report you’re on the Drudge Report. There’s no question where you are. The design has become iconic....

The site feels like a chaotic newsroom with the cutting room floor exposed....

One guy can run it. The site is run by Matt Drudge full time with help from an occasional part-time contributor....
I agree. There's something about Drudge that makes us want to look at it all the time. The sense that this is what the news looks like right now feels so right, even if you know it's wrong. Even that wrongness is part of the addictive power. Everything works exactly as it should.

And for all the starkness of the site, it still comes through that Matt Drudge is a specific person, with tastes and quirks. And that specificity plays out with a peculiar mix of stories, so that the big stuff is there, buffered by weird things, and the pictures and headlines are grouped to amuse us in all sorts of ways. Go there and look for some sly juxtaposition. You'll always find something.

I'll do it right now. Okay:

We've got that big phallic symbol of a missile pointing to the left, and our eyes go over and down to that vagina symbol with John Kerry poking out of it. In this symbolism, Kerry is either a newborn or a prick, but in any case, he's going to chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we're told, and that's nicely thematically connected to the top story of Iran getting the atomic bomb. We see Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in his serious turban and John Kerry in his silly paper hat. This means something. This is important. Or maybe it means nothing. It doesn't matter. It's part of what bonds us to the Drudge Report.

"As far I know, Barack Obama is a reader, hopefully we will have a president who reads history and hopefully is not condemned to repeat it."

Snooted writer-actor Eric Bogosian, hosting the National Book Awards ceremony.

Well, gee, doesn't that make Bogosian look ignorant. Bush is famous for reading history books. He and Karl Rove supposedly had a book-reading contest, and Bush read 99 books in one year.

Look for a new theory, Eric. Maybe the President shouldn't be whiling away precious hours with his nose in a book.

Mayor Bloomberg " city thermostats turned down as temperatures hovered near freezing."

Gasps the Daily News under the headline "Wear a sweater if you're chilly!' - and you may lose your job, Mayor Bloomberg says."

1. Despite the impression given by the headline, possible job loss is not connected to workers complaining that they are cold. It's just on a list of things Bloomberg might do to save NYC money.

2. It's not as if the thermostats set near freezing. The outdoor temperatures are near freezing, and the article doesn't tell us how low Bloomberg is setting the thermostats. I'll bet it's higher than the temperature I keep my house in winter -- 62° -- which is perfectly healthy and comfortable if you wear a sweater.

3. So I guess it's not "Nanny Bloomberg." Or ... wait... don't let nannies off the hook. Think:

November 19, 2008

"There’s been some confusion about what kids are actually doing online."

"Those concerns about predators and stranger danger have been overblown... Mostly, they’re socializing with their friends, people they’ve met at school or camp or sports."

Have you looked at Gmail lately?

They just added "themes"... allowing you to select different templates to display your mail. I'm enjoying "shiny." Maybe you'd like "terminal."

ADDED: Apparently, this is being "rolled out" over the next few days, so you might not be able to do it yet. I noticed it was available when I was automatically switched to the new default. (It's possible to go back to the original look by choosing "classic.") I also had a message at the top of the page to click to the themes choices, so it was obvious what to do. You can try going into settings and seeing if you've got a "themes" tab. Good luck!

Cute things that still walk the face of the earth.

The pygmy tarsier is not extinct:

Nor is the Waitaha penguin:

IN THE COMMENTS: mandrewa said:
Unfortunately the Waitaha penguin is extinct. That Associated Press article is titled oddly. If you read it closely, what has been "found" is the bones of this species. It's a new species of penguin, prior to this time unknown, and it was alive just 600 some years ago, but it is nonetheless extinct.

Oh, no! At least we've still got the pygmy tarsier to cuddle.

"If the mammoth can be resurrected, the same would be technically possible for Neanderthals."

With some old hair and $10 million, scientists have a way to construct a real live mammoth, and they can't help thinking about making a Neanderthal man:
But the process of genetically engineering a human genome into the Neanderthal version would probably raise many objections, as would several other aspects of such a project. “Catholic teaching opposes all human cloning, and all production of human beings in the laboratory, so I do not see how any of this could be ethically acceptable in humans,” said Richard Doerflinger, an official with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

[George Church, a well known genome technologist at the Harvard Medical School] said there might be an alternative approach that would “alarm a minimal number of people.” The workaround would be to modify not a human genome but that of the chimpanzee, which is some 98 percent similar to that of people. The chimp’s genome would be progressively modified until close enough to that of Neanderthals, and the embryo brought to term in a chimpanzee.
Got a problem with that?

IN THE COMMENTS: jprapp said:
And Hymowitz thinks men these days are angry. Just wait ‘til real Neanderthals try love in the age of Darwin via assortative mating, only to find pair-bond partners with angry Yale Law grads. Genetics ain't all it's cracked up to be. Until an epigenetic (ala genome) project is completed, I’ll stick with Crichton.
(I added the link to Tuesday's discussion of the Hymowitz article.) I responded:
Crichton died, but we can rebuild him from some fingernail clippings.
Now, I see Brian Lundmark has already cartooned that.

"It's a weird test. I think when you go to a different school than Yale you are better prepared for it."

Elizabeth Wurtzel, awkwardly confronted about failing the New York Bar exam, has the wit to say something quotable and suitably hostile. Actually, the first thing she said was: "Wow, really? I had no idea. I didn't even see that. That's interesting," which means fuck you.

Then she came up with the quote I put in the title, which means your law school sucks.

After that, she said, "It was definitely hard. I guess when I should have been studying, I was kind of having a good time," which means my life is so much more interesting than yours, you tiny little insect.

All of which was totally justified. Then the insectoid interviewer probed her about whether she was getting any literary writing done anymore and how she felt about not looking like the way she looked in that old photograph that was taken of her 2 decades ago. In answer to the latter question, Wurtzel said: "I'm actually thinking of writing about it, though I don't want to write yet another miserable book that lots of people can relate to." Which also means fuck you.

Daschle's back. He'll be servicing the humans.

He's the new Secretary of Health and Human Services.

"Something tells me, Arnold, that not all these women actually are."

Something tells me you can't explain what's grammatically wrong with that sentence as well as Arnold:
[T]he antecedent and anaphor don't match semantically: the antecedent is referential, the anaphor predicative.

Monty Python goes to war against YouTube.

"Top 60 popular Japanese words/phrases of 2008."

Including "sabupuraimu" -- get it? Another one like that is "Arafo."

Then there's "hime-den" -- which is this...

... can you even see what that is?

And there's "ea-gei" -- "air performance":
This refers to a recent twist on the Japanese art of monomane (impersonation). Unlike conventional monomane artists who do voice impressions, air performers lip sync their imitations to recordings while incorporating well-timed dance moves, gestures and facial expressions.

"Saiban Inko" -- combining saibanin (juror) and inko (parakeet) -- will help people understand the new citizen jury system:

Lots more -- obviously, there are 60 -- at the link.

(Via Metafilter, where they are especially amused by "morning banana.")

"I feel like I should grow a goatee, smoke an American Spirit and crank up some Smashing Pumpkins."

How Obama makes Jake Tapper feel.

Lame argument for the existence of God...

... of the day.

Are Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton "even allowed to be in the same movie?"

"Doesn't this... mess with the talented, very pale actress space-time continuum?"


You know, I have a big problem with actresses these days looking too much alike. In an age of plastic surgery, there's a standardized insipid beauty that wrecks a lot of movies and can be downright confusing. But Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton don't represent that problem at all. They carry on the old tradition of highly distinctive beauty. Yet, even within that tradition, there can be too close a resemblance.

And then there's that wonderful "Coffee and Cigarettes" scene where Cate Blanchett plays 2 different women who look and act entirely different. Snippet:

Obama caricatures.

Come on! You have to get a better likeness than that!

Pushing the big liberal mandate meme.

Rejected as a blog topic yesterday: "Barack Won A Mandate: Here's why you shouldn't let anyone tell you differently," by Jonathan Chait. (I know that, at the link, it's called "Defining Barack Down: In which we separate the mandates from the boy-dates," but the other title is what The New Republic successfully teased me with in its "Today at" email.) Reason for not blogging it: Text nowhere near as interesting as either title.

Today: "It's Time to Give Voters the Liberalism They Want: Don't believe pundits who say there's a centrist mandate," by Thomas Frank. I'm biting because: 1. It's starting to look like a meme, and 2. Frank's piece feels more substantial.
[It's] possible that, for once, the public weighed the big issues and gave a clear verdict on the great economic questions of the last few decades. It is likely that we really do want universal health care and some measure of wealth-spreading, and even would like to see it become easier to organize a union in the workplace, however misguided such ideas may seem to the nation's institutions of higher carping.
If it's possibly clear, it's not clear. Obama never identified himself with these positions in a way that can be said to have transformed a vote for him into a vote for them. We voted for the man, and he was (and is) a man who built his success on creating the appearance that he is whatever it is we want.

"The direct opposite of honorable black Americans."

That would be Barack Obama, per al Qaeda #2 Ayman al-Zawahri.

How do giraffes fight?

Do they whip each other with their long necks?


#3 on Wired's "Top 10 Amazing Animal Videos." #1 is something I've blogged before and is the first thing I'd have thought of if you asked me what's the most amazing animal video I've ever seeen.

Mitt Romney: "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

A NYT op-ed:
Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses.

November 18, 2008

The political news of the day.

1. Obama's Attorney General: Eric Holder -- "a centrist on most law enforcement issues, though he has sharply criticized the secrecy and the expansive views of executive power advanced by the Bush Justice Department."

2. Ted Stevens finally goes down to defeat. The new Senator from Alaska is Mark Begich. The Dems now have 58 seats in the Senate, 2 short of filibuster-busting power.

3. Hillary might say "no" to SOS: "The Clinton camp’s effort to downplay her interest in the post might simply reflect her need to create an alternative storyline if the deal falls apart for other reasons, including the possibility that insurmountable problems arise during the vetting process, Democrats not connected with Clinton cautioned. Another possible motivation: Pushing back against the perception that she’s at the mercy of Obama’s team."

4. No Beau.

5. Joe won't go.

6. Draft Sarah.

7. Ayers airs his pent-up thoughts: "Not only did I never kill or injure another person, but the Weather Underground in its six-year existence never killed or injured another person... We did something that was extreme. Some of you would call it not only extreme but kind of nuts. You might call it off the track. You might call it crazy. You might call it defying of common sense. It was certainly illegal. To call it terrorism stretches the definition of terrorism to everything you don't approve of."

8. Remember Jerry Brown? He's now the California attorney general and he's seeking constitution review of Prop 8 in the California Supreme Court. He's looking for "certainty and finality in this matter."

9. Huck's being mean to Mitt.

10. Do we have to keep thinking about Al Franken?

Bunny versus Bird, the rematch... the revenge.

Yesterday, as we saw, the birds ruled. Today -- courtesy of bearbee in the comments -- it's a different story:

I'm picturing Jimmy Carter watching that and cowering in flashback fear.

"Starfish and Coffee soup? Cream of AwwoooooooahHundalasiliah soup?"

"Turns out it was just carrot..."

Just carrot?!

Christopher Hitchens thinks Hillary Clinton would be "a ludicrous embarrassment" as Secretary of State.

(Via Wonkette.)

Running the government, how hard can it be? As long as your heart's in the right place.

David Frum's outrage... at the selection of Sarah Palin... and Harriet Miers:

(Via Kausfiles.)

"Romanette," the word Chief Justice Roberts didn't know.

The lawyer had to explain it to him, which is charming, I think, and what a thrill for her. (She's Nicole A. Saharsky, Assistant to the Solicitor General.) Eugene Volokh writes that he'd never heard of the word either, couldn't find it in any dictionary or anywhere in Nexis.
So what's going on? The word is in no dictionary that I could find. It appears in no Nexis-searchable publication. A Google search for "Romanette" in English-language pages revealed fewer than 35 pages that used the word before Monday, once all the false positives (the names of people, horses, green bean varieties, blinds, and the like) were removed.
Did Eugene personally while away the hours extracting horses and green beans? Ah, but it was worth it:
And yet the word, with precisely the meaning Ms. Saharasky used, appears in six court opinions, from federal court in Oklahoma, bankruptcy courts in Texas and Pennsylvania, and state courts in Minnesota, plus ten sources in Westlaw's TP-ALL database (all in practitioner journals, not in traditional law reviews). And the Google hits — mostly from legal documents — come from a similarly wide range of sources: the minutes of a Novato, California City Council meeting, a manual of contract drafting, a transcript of an Idaho Senate commitee meeting, and more. What's more, all but a few use the word as matter-of-factly as Ms. Saharasky did, without any indication that the word is anything novel and unusual; the remaining ones are queries about what the word means or brief discussions of its meaning.
What's interesting is the way the people who say it evince a belief that the word is in common usage, when so many people don't know it. (By the way, there should be a word for the sense that something is ordinary and understood when it's really quite strange.)

Eugene wants to know how this could have happened:
Did ["Romanette"] arise at some particular law school, or in some law firm, or among users of some particular drafting manuals, and thus seem common to people who have been exposed to it but unknown to others? Or am I mistaken in my conjecture, and the users of the word like it so much — or think it's so good for showing off — that they use it even though they know many listeners don't understand it?
I like the idea that it was the coinage of some particular lawprof, who infected his students, and the infection never went pandemic. (I tried to do that with a word long ago.)

From the comments chez Volokh, I'm getting the impression that "Romanette" is a word used by transactional lawyers and alien to litigators. A shibboleth. Up until now, that is.

Post-feminist/post-sanity Darwinism read way too early in the morning.

Last night, between first and second sleep, I scanned the blogs for something to read and landed on "Love in the Time of Darwinism," by Kay S. Hymowitz.

There's an Instapundit post from 2:40 a.m. linking to it with the line "A REPORT FROM THE chaotic post-feminist dating scene." Post-feminist... or post-morality, post-sanity, post-... everything?

Is Glenn really up looking for new stuff to throw at us at 2:40 in the morning, or does he just set these things up to post at the times he sees fit... and if the latter: why this, why 2:40?

Hymowitz tells us us that men these days are angry -- angry that "young women are dishonest, self-involved, slutty, manipulative, shallow, controlling, and gold-digging" and "that the culture disses all things male" and "that marriage these days is a raw deal for men."
SYMs [single young males] of the postfeminist era are moving around in a Babel of miscues, cross-purposes, and half-conscious, contradictory female expectations that are alternately proudly egalitarian and coyly traditional...

As the disenchanted SYM sees it, then, resistance to settling down is a rational response to a dating environment designed and ruled by women with only their own interests in mind. “Men see all of this, and wonder if it’s really worth risking all in the name of ‘romance’ and ‘growing up,’ ” a correspondent who calls himself Wytchfinde explains. “After all, if women can be hedonistic and change the rules in midstream when it suits them, why shouldn’t men? Why should men be responsible when women refuse to look into the mirror at their own lack of accountability?”...

By far the most important philosopher of the Menaissance is Charles Darwin. The theory that human sexual preferences evolved from the time that hominids successfully reproduced in the primeval African grasslands can explain the mystery of women’s preference for macho—or alpha—males. At the same time, evolutionary theory gives the former wuss permission to pursue massive amounts of sex with an endless assortment of women. Finally, the emphasis that Darwinism places on natural selection encourages him to adapt to the brutal current sexual ecosystem. Culture, in both its feminist and Emily Post forms, hasn’t won him any favor with women, so he will embrace Nature in all its rude harshness.
(Paging Bob Wright.)

Hymowitz proceeds to tell us about something called the Seduction Community -- "a loose network of dating coaches, gurus" who teach something called Game, by which men can pick up women and use them however they like.
Teachers encourage clients to project confidence and sexual energy, what is called, depending on the guru, “cocky funny” or “amused mastery.” In The Aquarian, a New York–based music magazine, Kevin Purcell describes his experience at a Game workshop: “One of our first tasks was to walk around the hotel silent, repeating in our heads ‘I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about me.’ This mentality, it was assumed, would help lower the wall of anxiety and make us less prone to the pain of rejection. Like soldiers responding to a drill sergeant, when asked ‘What are you?’ we were instructed to loudly proclaim, ‘A fucking ten!’ ”
Wait! How much do guys pay for this training? Are Penn & Teller working on an episode of "Bullshit" on about Game? I'd say it's asking for it. I want to cameras at that hotel, pointed at those would-be pick-up artists wandering about thinking "‘I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about me." Presumably, they wouldn't object to the cameras, since they don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about them. To be fair, the guys are getting fucked... one way or another.

There's much more at the link. You can read it or not. Your call.

As I said, I read it in the middle of the night, in that strange mental peak between first and second sleep. And it freaked me out. Oh, so this is what life is like now, for those people in that most important part of life, the place from which the next generation springs (if it is to spring at all)? (I've been reading Mark Steyn's "America Alone," and that laid the groundwork for disturbing thoughts about a culture's failure to bring men and women together in reproductive success -- which is, of course, the real Darwinism.)

I clicked over to Metafilter for some fresh air, and the first thing I saw was a post about "Love in the Time of Darwinism." Everyone was trashing Hymowitz. It wasn't exactly comforting. In fact they sounded... SYMish. But it unfreaked me out nontheless. It broke the spell. And, anyway, my iPhone power was close to 0% and that's as good an indication as any that it's time for second sleep.

The puzzling dearth of women in computer science and the annoying lack of statistical competence in the NYT.

Here's an article about how few women there are in the field of computer science, written by Randall Stross (which I noticed because of its rank on the NYT most-emailed list). It begins this way:
ELLEN SPERTUS, a graduate student at M.I.T., wondered why the computer camp she had attended as a girl had a boy-girl ratio of six to one. And why were only 20 percent of computer science undergraduates at M.I.T. female? She published a 124-page paper, “Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?”, that catalogued different cultural biases that discouraged girls and women from pursuing a career in the field. The year was 1991.

Computer science has changed considerably since then. Now, there are even fewer women entering the field. Why this is so remains a matter of dispute.

What’s particularly puzzling is that the explanations for under-representation of women that were assembled back in 1991 applied to all technical fields. Yet women have achieved broad parity with men in almost every other technical pursuit. When all science and engineering fields are considered, the percentage of bachelor’s degree recipients who are women has improved to 51 percent in 2004-5 from 39 percent in 1984-85, according to National Science Foundation surveys.

When one looks at computer science in particular, however, the proportion of women has been falling....
Now, wait a minute. You can't compare the average of all the fields to the number in one particular field, then assert that the one field stands out from all the others -- or even "almost" all the others. The numbers that make up that average could be all over the place, with many lows balanced by highs. They could be drastically skewed by the inclusion of some science field that is unusually attractive to women -- or unattractive to men. I wish the NYT would link to the NSF surveys so I could see for myself what is inside that 51%. Also, unstated, is the fact that more women than men receive bachelor's degrees these days. What percentage of female college graduates major in science and engineering, and what percentage of male college graduates major in science and engineering?

Anyway, the failure of women to enter computer science is especially interesting if it is true that it's the only field -- or "almost" the only field -- that women have shunned as they pour into the rest of science and engineering, but I'm not convinced it's true. If it is, though, maybe it's a bit puzzling. One professor, we read, theorizes that in the past "young women earlier had felt comfortable pursing the major because the male subculture of action gaming had yet to appear." So there's this idea that the key to getting more women to enter the field is to entice young girls to play computer games. Indeed, there was a "girls game movement," but it's already failed.

There are other theories too: women who like computers prefer to do website design, women are more sensitive about being regarded as nerds, etc. These theories already contain the belief that women's interests differ from men's. That being the case, why not just say that fewer women are interested in computer science? Presumably, the answer is that because the percentage of women in computer science has been falling over the years, it probably doesn't reflect an innate gender difference. If it's something out there in the culture, then, supposedly, it's something that can -- and should -- be manipulated.

I think there are at least 3 shaky assumptions in the previous 2 sentences but I won't lengthen this post by belaboring them.

I'll lengthen this post by pointing to the news that Barack Obama might appoint Larry Summers as Secretary of the Treasury, and some women are displeased:
A controversial comment at a Cambridge conference may cost former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers a second stint in the Cabinet.....

In 2005, [Nancy Hopkins, a biology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] walked out of an academic conference after Summers, the keynote speaker and the president of Harvard University at the time, said that innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers.....

And now women’s groups have expressed so much outrage over Summers’ possible appointment that, according to top Democratic sources, his name may even have been stricken from the short list....

Just after Obama won, National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy told the Huffington Post she had “mixed feelings” about Summers, saying he doesn’t “get” the economic implications of gender-based wage disparities.

The New Agenda, a nonpartisan women’s rights group, issued a press release, saying Summers’ “record of derogatory comments aimed at women ensures that his selection would be divisive and thus distract from efforts to fix the economy.”
How much does the work of the Secretary of the Treasury have to do with getting the implications of gender-based wage disparities? And does NOW really get the implications of gender-based wage disparities or does it simply invoke them to get attention and try to appear relevant and powerful? Is there some innate gender difference that makes women want to stand between the new President and the man who might be the best person for what is a phenomenally important job?

IN THE COMMENTS: Joan writes:
I read the article yesterday when I saw the headline -- couldn't resist. I graduated from MIT and worked for 15 years as a software developer. I did not major in computer science. My informed opinions on why fewer women are choosing computer science:

1. You can easily work in computer science fields without a computer science degree. The joke at MIT back in the late '80s was it didn't matter what you majored in, we'd all end up writing software anyway. It was true for about 80% of the people in my living group, at least for portions of their professional careers.

2. As far as choosing CS as a career, the field is dominated by people (both men and women) with stunted emotional and social maturity. High-school level drama in the workplace is wearing and unpleasant.

3. The work is challenging and can be really fun. It can also be a real grind, and the cyclical nature of new product releases means you have to work overtime for extended periods every year. The pay is good, and that is one form of compensation. But the work itself is ephemeral, and this is the key to why I don't work in software anymore: If I kill myself to get this release out, the software will be used for 6 months, maybe a year, until the next release. It never ends, and there's no perceptible benefit. Aren't you tired of the new versions of your favorite software continuously appearing, laden with feature-bloat and a host of new problems?

I'm teaching now because I get a sense of fulfillment, and because it works with my own children's schedules. The money is horrifically bad compared to what I was making as a project lead at Oracle, but money is not my only concern.

Regarding Larry Summers, he was right when he talked about the innate differences between men and women -- women self-select into professions they enjoy, just as men do, and those who deny this are insufferable. I stopped donating money to MIT after the Nancy Hopkins incident. They should have repudiated her, and instead she was lauded. I'm disgusted by how PC my alma mater has become over the years, and question the quality of the education kids are getting there, if they have idiots like Nancy Hopkins on staff.

November 17, 2008

Hillary Clinton should not want to be Obama's Secretary of State.

Argues Peter Beinart, pretty convincingly.
The last former secretary of state to even seek the presidency was Alexander Haig in 1988, and his candidacy was a joke. To find a former secretary of state who actually won you have to go back 150 years, to James Buchanan... It forces you to turn your energies away from domestic issues, which is what Americans usually vote on, and towards international questions that many find exotic and obscure...

[S]ecretaries of state aren’t meant to be politically popular. They’re not supposed to burnish their approval ratings; they’re supposed to take bullets so presidents can burnish theirs....
Why should the great Hillary live in Barack Obama's shadow, subject to dismissal at his whim? How is it better than building yourself up independently as the Senator from New York, carving out your issues, readying yourself for 2016 -- or 2012 if Obama slips up?
Secretaries of state were struggling even before the vice presidency—historically a dish rag of a job—got a steroid injection. With Al Gore and Dick Cheney and now, almost certainly, Joseph Biden wielding real foreign policy muscle, decision-making is becoming even more centralized at the White House. NSC advisors pop into the Oval Office all day, often alone. Vice presidents, if they have the president’s trust, have tons of opportunities to whisper in his ear when no one else is around. Secretaries of state, by contrast, often only see the president in big, scripted meetings, where they have to compete for time with the director of CIA.
And, by the way, I notice Presidents keep putting women in that slot. What's that about? Hmmm. Steroid... muscle....

UPDATE: The Guardian claims to have learned that "Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama." Why would she let it be known that she'd accept the job if it's offered? As a ploy to lock him in?

AND: This is the Rush Limbaugh analysis:
Let's talk about Hillary and secretary of state. Very, very brilliant move. You know the old adage keep your friends close, your enemies closer? This is a textbook case of keeping your enemies closer.... It's about making it impossible for her to run for the presidency again in 2012....

If you want to run for president in 2012, you gotta start in two years. If you're the secretary of state for two years, then you resign, you're running against the incumbent and you were part of the cabinet? They're figuring not even Hillary would do that, and even if she did, it wouldn't be effective.

Chickens, the police of the animal world.

(Via Boing Boing.)

"It's like a funeral for our youth."

Admit it! You cried! The end of an era!

"'Outliers' ... is peppy, brightly written ... provocative ... glib, poorly reasoned and thoroughly unconvincing."

Michiko Kakutani says okay, that's it, enough of Malcolm Gladwell. Is that a gut reaction (see "Blink") that will spread like some kind of disease (see "The Tipping Point")?

A contest: Identify this blog's theme of the day.

There are 7 posts. Surely, there is a theme.

AND: The top 2 entries are:
Palladian: "Sooner or later, everything turns to shit."

PatHMV: "Irrational exuberance."

The media's gone mad for Obama.

Howard Kurtz is agonizing over the adulation of Obama. (Oddly, he illustrates his column with the cover of the new issue of The New Republic, which I think has one of the worst pictures of Obama I've ever seen.)
Each writer, each publication, seems to reach for more eye-popping superlatives. "OBAMAISM -- It's a Kind of Religion," says New York magazine. "Those of us too young to have known JFK's Camelot are going to have our own giddy Camelot II to enrapture and entertain us," Kurt Andersen writes. The New York Post has already christened it "BAM-A-LOT."

"Here we are," writes Salon's Rebecca Traister, "oohing and aahing over what they'll be wearing, and what they'll be eating, what kind of dog they'll be getting, what bedrooms they'll be living in, and what schools they'll be attending. It feels better than good to sniff and snurfle through the Obamas' tastes and habits. . . . Who knew we had in us the capacity to fall for this kind of idealized Americana again?"...

"Obama is a figure, especially in pop culture, in a way that most new presidents are not," historian Michael Beschloss says. "Young people who may not be interested in the details of NAFTA or foreign policy just think Obama is cool, and they're interested in him. Being cool can really help a new president."
Let's adulate Obama for the sake U.S. interests in international trade and foreign affairs?

Anyway, obviously, at some point, Obama will start governing, and the giddy/inane enthusiasm will end. Whether these high expectations will help in the long run, who knows?

"It does seem rather weird, someone being so excited about seeing whale shark poo."

Scientific gold!

"God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, 'Enough.'"

Said Prince, as told by Claire Hoffman in The New Yorker:
Prince padded into the kitchen, a small fifty-year-old man in yoga pants and a big sweater, wearing platform flip-flops over white socks, like a geisha....

Limping slightly, Prince set off on a walk around his new bachelor pad. Glass doors opened onto acres of back yard, and a hot tub bubbled in the sunlight. “I have a lot of parties,” he explained....

Seven years ago, he became a Jehovah’s Witness. He said that he had moved to L.A. so that he could understand the hearts and minds of the music moguls. “I wanted to be around people, connected to people, for work,” he said. “You know, it’s all about religion. That’s what unites people here. They all have the same religion, so I wanted to sit down with them, to understand the way they see things, how they read Scripture.”

Prince had his change of faith, he said, after a two-year-long debate with a musician friend, Larry Graham. “I don’t see it really as a conversion,” he said. “More, you know, it’s a realization. It’s like Morpheus and Neo in ‘The Matrix.’ ” He attends meetings at a local Kingdom Hall, and, like his fellow-witnesses, he leaves his gated community from time to time to knock on doors and proselytize. “Sometimes people act surprised, but mostly they’re really cool about it,” he said....

When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’ ”
Back when Prince was much more popular, his music powerfully enticed us into what he now considers sin. If God is keeping score, Prince should be worried. I think he'd need to go door to door for millions of years to undo all that damage (if damage it is).

Via Gawker, which notes:
If Prince wants to get attention for his views, airing them amid nationwide demonstrations against the passage of a California anti-gay-marriage initiative will probably do the trick. What that does for the "celibate" musician's sales and popularity is another matter.
Celibate, eh?
Tonight, that mood of isolation permeates Prince's luxurious 30,000-square-foot Tuscan-style villa, perched high in a gated Beverly Hills enclave. The royal one, clad in a filmy white sweater over a black shirt and slacks with (shocker!) flip-flops, lives solo in the nine-bedroom home, where a cook is upstairs preparing food for a post-midnight gathering with friends and bandmates.

"I'm single, celibate and sexy," he says with a laugh. "I feel free."
No one promoted sex more than Prince, and now he's celibate. That's rich.

There's lots to talk about here, but don't overlook the assertion that the music moguls of L.A. "all have the same religion." I hope that means that commerce is a religion for business folk.

UPDATE: Prince retracts!

"So what's Shiff's economic prediction for the Obama Administration?"

Noting yesterday's discussion of the unbearable bearishness of Peter Shiff, Instapundit links to the video below. I would love to watch it -- maybe you can watch it for me -- but the background music track -- "Band on the Run" -- is painfully distracting.

Really, if you are capable of watching this, I'm interested in: 1. What did Shiff say? and 2. What is the nature of your brain's capacity for attention that makes it so different from mine?

Also, why "Band on the Run"? Is it sort of like run on the bank?

"In the end, nature took its course before the judicial system ran its course."

Said the lawyer for the family of Motl Brody, who sued to keep the 12-year-old boy on life support. The doctors had declared the boy brain dead, but the parents wanted their religious faith -- Orthodox Judaism -- to provide the definition of death and bind the hospital.
Motl, the third-eldest of seven siblings, had spoken of becoming a rabbi like his father, Eluzer Brody, and often wrote Hebrew poems that he sang at family functions in his soprano voice. He was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor six months ago and underwent surgery and other treatments....

Motl Brody's uncle Yitzchak Halberstam said: "We are very grateful he was able to stay on life support until he died. We hope the case will sensitize the medical establishment to the importance of respecting any patient's religious beliefs regarding life and death."

"Right-Of-Center Bloggers Select Their Favorite People On The Right."

And, yes, you can guess who's #1. I guessed #1 and #2, and I see plenty of good reason for these choices:
23) Michele Bachmann (4)
23) Glenn Beck (4)
23) Pat Buchanan (4)
23) Victor David Hanson (4)
23) Charles Krauthammer (4)
23) Dennis Prager (4)
23) John Roberts (4)
20) Dick Cheney (5)
20) Mark Levin (5)
20) Clarence Thomas (5)
19) Paul Ryan (6)
15) Tom Coburn (7)
15) Laura Ingraham (7)
15) Sean Hannity (7)
15) Mike Pence (7)
12) Jeff Flake (8)
12) Jonah Goldberg (8)
12) Antonin Scalia (8)
11) Jim DeMint (10)
9) Ann Coulter (11)
9) Thomas Sowell (11)
7) Michael Steele (12)
7) Michelle Malkin (12)
6) Mark Steyn (13)
5) Newt Gingrich (17)
4) Fred Thompson (18)
3) Bobby Jindal (22)
2) Rush Limbaugh (29)
1) Sarah Palin (33)
A few random questions for discussion:

1. In the Supreme Court category, why does Scalia outrank Thomas, why does Roberts come in only third, and why does Alito get no respect?

2. What explains the lingering love for Fred Thompson? That strikes me as pathetic. I can understand carrying a torch for Newt Gingrich, but why Thompson?

3. Mark Steyn ranks high. I enjoy his writing: He knows how to mix outrage and humor. I loved him as a fill-in host for Rush Limbaugh last August. (I see he got into a little trouble though.) Normally I won't even listen to the radio show podcast when there is a guest host, but I'd be happy that Rush was taking the day off if it meant we could listen to Mark. Don't you agree?

4. Are there people on that list that you know nothing about? There are for me. I won't tell you how many because it might be embarrassing. On the other hand, it might be to my credit.

IN THE COMMENTS: Meade answers Question #2:
People right-of-center love Fred Thompson the Myth: Hippie Slayer and Defeater of All Things Douchey.
ADDED, APRIL 14, 2009: See why I love Meade?

"Let's call John Kerry's loss in 2004 what it is: the luckiest thing to happen to Democrats in 40 years."

Writes David W. Rohde in TNR:
[Kerry] would have faced a Republican Congress substantially weighted against him and hell-bent on disrupting his legislative agenda....

[T]he Bush administration survived, and the public grew increasingly disenchanted with its performance and the Republican brand....

It is difficult to predict precisely how events would have unfolded. For example, opinions of Bush suffered greatly from his handling of Hurricane Katrina; perhaps Kerry's approach would have been a big boost. Also, the situation in Iraq might have been very different, and that could have affected election results and governance....
The situation in Iraq? You mean the war John Kerry was hell-bent on losing for us? Can we have a little detail on that point? Rodhe is so hot to promote the Democratic Party that he paradoxically must abandon his best argument that Kerry's loss was a lucky thing for the party: most likely, Kerry would have lost the war, and the "situation" in Iraq in 2008 would have been chaotic and ugly, leading American voters to lurch toward the Republicans.

IN THE COMMENTS: Meade said:
Heheheh...she said lurch.

Ha ha:

November 16, 2008

Let's show Eliot Spitzer some love!

"Can't we just say you had a really humiliating 'time-out,' and all's forgiven?"

(I know. I know. It's not just adultery. It's prostitutes. And hypocrisy. But they're all hypocrites, and there will always be prostitutes...)

Let's mix up that cocktail we call a Sarah Palin.

So remember when -- it was only last post -- I challenged you to find old posts of mine that would seem most explicable on theory that I wrote them drunk. It was because of something Ron said, not because I ever was.

Palladian said:
How about any of the ones where you explain your decision to vote for Obama?
Ron said:
If I'm going to say "Althouse, you're drunk/high/Voting for Obama/obsessed with squirrels!" I'd have to have more direct evidence than blog posts! Maybe a vlog...
Yeah, I know the vlog that the whole internet thinks shows me drunk. Apparently, it's easy to look drunk on video. Just hold a glass of wine, laugh, and say something frivolous.
... I get philosophic and morose when drunk, so I'm no fun there...

But if you announce getting drunk first and then say at time X, you'll be blogging, I bet you get Sarah Palin-like Sitemeter push!

Let's make a cocktail for you to drink first...a "Sarah Palin." On the rocks! (ice, don't ya know!)
Bissage then said something that made me say, "Some people when drunk are said to get 'tight.' Bissage, I'd say, gets Titus-y." And if you know what that means, you know why I'm not front-paging it.

But Palladian answered the call to mix up a Sarah Palin:
What would a Sarah Palin cocktail be?

1 oz Stolichnaya (because you can see Russia from her house)

1 oz Southern Comfort (to assuage the "base")

1/2 oz Jägermeister (for both the elk's blood rumor and the label)

1/2 oz Bénédictine (for that religious flavor)

dash of Vietnamese fish sauce (a nod to Alaska's fishing industry)

pour over a large quantity of ice and shake until very cold. Empty contents into a very, very expensive Baccarat crystal glass purchased with funds from the RNC. Run a MAC-brand lipstick, color "Verve", around the rim of the glass. Sling contents into the face of the first reporter you can find. Sell glass and donate proceeds to charity.

Ha ha. I'm not putting fish sauce in a drink! But, cheers!

Peter Shiff, painfully correct and surrounded by clowns.

Financial punditry, 2006-2007. 10 minutes long and worth every minute:

(Via Bloggingheads.)

Is Wisconsin drunk?

The NYT shocks the world with a devasting exposé of our dissolute Wisconsin culture:
[P]lenty of Wisconsin people say they need to make no apologies for their fondness for drinking.

“I work 70, 80 hours a week, and sometimes I just want to relax,” said Luke Gersich, 31, an engineering technician, who drank a Miller as he watched the Monday Night Football game at Wile-e’s tavern. On a weeknight, he said he might drink seven or eight beers. On a weekend, it might be closer to 12.

In Wisconsin, people often say, there is always a bar around the next corner. But drinking is scarcely limited to taverns. A Friday fish fry at a Wisconsin church will almost surely include beer. The state counts some 5,000 holders of liquor licenses, the most per capita of any state, said Peter Madland, the executive director of the Tavern League of Wisconsin.
Don't forget the Rathskeller!
“We’re not ashamed of it,” Mr. Madland said. He said anti-alcohol campaigns were efforts to “demonize” people who simply liked to kick back and relax with some drinks.

“It’s gotten to the point where people are afraid to have a couple of beers after work and drive home, for fear they’ll be labeled a criminal,” he said. “At lunch, people are afraid if they order a beer someone will think they have a drinking problem.”...

As for allowing minors to drink in bars with their parents, Mr. Schneider said the law simply allowed for parents to educate and supervise the youthful drinking. “If they’re going to drink anyhow,” said [State Representative Marlin] Schneider, Democrat of Wisconsin Rapids, “it’s better to do it with the parents than to sneak around.”...

In [bar-owner Mike] Whaley’s view, the bar can be a suitable place for families to gather, especially when the beloved Green Bay Packers are on the television. “On game days, a buddy of mine will come to the bar with his 2-year-old, his 8-year-old and his 10-year-old,” Mr. Whaley said. “He might get a little drunk. But his wife just has a few cocktails. It’s no big deal. Everybody has a good time.”
You can always collect hilarious quotes about drinking. People who drink lose track of how much and of how much looks like way too much to people who don't drink.

Without naming posts, mind....has Althouse ever blogged drunk?
No, name the posts! That's the interesting question. While I deny ever blogging -- or vlogging -- drunk (though I almost always have a glass of wine in the evening), I'd like to know, which posts seem most explicable on theory that I was drunk.

AND: The comments discussion leads to "Let's mix up that cocktail we call a Sarah Palin."

ALSO: Instapundit links to this post with the line "STANDING UP AGAINST THE BLUENOSES in Wisconsin," and that makes me want to add something serious. In the comments, there's some talk about why the New York Times is targeting Wisconsin. Palladian says:
Lol. Yeah, nobody in New York drinks.

Hell, maybe nobody at the Times drinks. Maybe if they did, they'd be better writers.
Thomas says:
All the Times had to do was send someone into any of the bars near its HQ to write the same story -- I work nearby -- but someone managed to convince their boss that they had to get on a plane to write this story. It is no wonder the Times is on the verge of bankruptcy: they have refused to adapt to the times, no pun intended.
But I think this part of the article is the real hint about why the NYT has focused on Wisconsin:
A coalition called All-Wisconsin Alcohol Risk Education started a campaign last week to push for tougher drunken driving laws, an increase in screening for alcohol abuse at health clinics and a greater awareness of drinking problems generally.

The group, led by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, criticized the state as having lenient alcohol laws and assailed a mindset that accepts, even celebrates, getting drunk.

“Our goal is to dramatically change the laws, culture and behaviors in Wisconsin,” said Dr. Robert N. Golden, the dean of the medical school, calling the state “an island of excessive consumption.” He said state agencies would use a $12.6 million federal grant to step up screening, intervention and referral services at 20 locations around Wisconsin.
The Times is responding to a movement to change our laws here in Wisconsin. And isn't it interesting that a huge federal grant -- aimed at "screening, intervention and referral services" and alcohol abuse -- is connected to a political movement to change the laws that apply to all of us?

The NYT forefronts the law that lets parents supervise their own children. (When my sons were 19 or 18 or even 17 or 16, I could dine with them in a restaurant and we could all share a bottle of wine. Outrageous or civilized?)

Less conspicuous is this revelation: "Wisconsin law prohibits sobriety checks by the police, a common practice in other states." (The Times deserves some credit for noting that opposition to random checkpoints is considered by some people to be "an intrusion on Constitutional rights of due process.")

MORE COMMENTS: An emailer writes:
Family bars are a mid-western tradition. I noticed this when I lived in Rantoul, Illinois many years ago. On a Friday night, the entire town would gather at one or two bars. The men would drink beer and watch TV. The women would dance with each other to the jukebox, and the kids ran around being kids. People there did not realize that this is not common in other parts of the country. Being raised as a Southerner, I was shocked to see this custom, but frankly now I don’t see the harm in it.
Miles from Kansas said:
Living in rural (Catholic) St. Charles County, MO in the 60s and 70s, the country tavern was the social hub of the community, and kids were always a part of that. There were games to play, as well has cheeseburgers and french fries, but kids were never allowed to drink beer. Nearly all those taverns, which had been around since the 1800s are closed now, and the area is no longer rural, or Catholic. It's a piece of history that should be recorded.
MadisonMan said:
One of my favorite places to take my kids for Cheeseburgers is the bar closest to my house, the Village Bar. Their fries are great too! If they see someone drinking in the bar, so what?

Puritans, be gone!

"Santa Ana winds, blowing at times near hurricane strength, sparked two more monstrous wildfires Saturday...."

Are you near the fires in L.A.?
“We know we have lost dozens of structures,” [Mayor Antonio R.] Villaraigosa said, speaking loudly to be heard over the swirling wind. “It is certainly more than we have lost over the last decade.”

“These winds are treacherous,” Mr. Villaraigosa added. “People really need to understand that because of these winds this fire can be upon you in a moment’s notice.”

"There’s no end to the number of things you can do here."

Says a resident of a particular city that the NYT is glowing about in its real estate pages. And isn't it the truth about anyplace that there is an infinite number of things to do? How many of the infinite number of things to do in your town do you do... do you want to do?

"5 Myths About an Election of Mythic Proportions."

WaPo's Chris Cillizza's list:
1. The Republican Party suffered a death blow....

2. A wave of black voters and young people was the key to Obama's victory.... Exit polling suggests that there was no statistically significant increase in voting among either group. ...

3. Now that they control the White House and Congress, Democrats will usher in a new progressive era. ... The fact that roughly a third of the Democratic House majority sits in seats with Republican underpinnings (at least at the presidential level) is almost certain to keep a liberal dream agenda from moving through Congress. The first rule of politics is survival, and if these new arrivals to Washington want to stick around, they are likely to build centrist voting records between now and 2010.

4. A Republican candidate could have won the presidency this year....

5. McCain made a huge mistake in picking Sarah Palin.... For skittish conservatives looking for more evidence that McCain understood their needs and concerns, Palin did the trick. It's hard to imagine conservatives rallying to McCain -- even to the relatively limited extent that they did -- without Palin on the ticket. And without the base, McCain's loss could have been far worse.
Cillizza invites us to supply more myths. Here's one: Obama won because Americans were inspired by a new kind of politician with a message of hope and change. (I think that Obama won because: 1. he got out in front of Hillary in the caucus states, and 2. he was the Democratic Party candidate.)

And here's an additional question: What myths have been left untold? I'll supply one, something I thought people would say that I was waiting to debunk: Obama has a mandate.

"Why should the woman who made 18 million cracks go back to being junior to Chuck Schumer, if she could be toasted from Dublin to Dubai?"

Writes Maureen Dowd:
On the down side, Hillary would be taking over a big and demoralized government bureaucracy, after proving with her campaign that she does not know how to run a big and demoralized group of people.