July 4, 2009

Late night animation of a photo from earlier in the day.

Photo by me. Animated by Chip Ahoy.

"I study Ed in his former girlfriend’s father’s shirt and an old hat he found on the roadside..."

"... From one angle he looks to me like a Sicilian padrone – a good soul, kind to animals and dragonflies..."

At the link, a pic of Ed with dragonflies and scavenged hat and much more, kayaking on the Wisconsin River.

"Warhol said art should be meaningful in the most shallow way."

"He was able to make commercial art that was taken seriously as fine art... that's what I'm doing too... I make soulless electronic pop... Everybody wants me to show my vagina to the world. And the truth is, I don't have to."

Says Lady Gaga.

Where are you... when you should be in Madison?


We're whiling away the hours by the lake... on the lake...


... drifting off....


"Chubby celebrities are stoking the obesity crisis by proving it is possible to be fat and famous..."

Emergency. Crush them into oblivion!

Robot hummingbirds to terrorize our enemies.

A real Pentagon project. Video of the actual robot at the link. I'm picturing something more like this:

"Sarah Palin is not stupid."

Skeptoid vs. ad hominem attacks.

Uncle Jay sings the news of the first half of 2009.

The truth about "bee balls."

It's not the heat. It's the suffocation.

Don't worry, the scotch-taped giant hornet was anesthetized before he was introduced to the bees.

"Repeating positive self-statements may benefit certain people, such as individuals with high self-esteem, but backfire..."

"... for the very people who need them the most."

Are you surprised, losers? (Sorry, I was trying to help.)

"Manba involves devotees wearing dark tans, white make-up around their eyes and hair that is often a combination of neon colours."

A Japanese fad moves to Britain.
It has been around for nearly a decade and is an eye-catching statement against conformity....
Do not attempt this look in the United States.
They start their routine by applying self tan to their bodies.

Eilish rubs the self tan on her neck but her face is darkened much more heavily.

She smears the coffee-bean powder on her pale skin and tries to rub it in so that it does not look "patchy".

Declan explains that he buys his foundation from Afro-Caribbean shops as normal shops do not sell powders that are dark enough....

They then use... white marker pens to create big eyes... and white lipstick.
Uh, Declan... Eilish... you're wearing blackface!
Declan and Eilish say they have been accused of racism for darkening their skin in this way, but they say this could not be further from the truth.

Eilish insists that she is "not mocking anybody" and Declan asks, "what black person looks like this?"...

The British followers of this Japanese subculture are also into the music, which is called Eurobeat, and practise dance moves called Para-Para.
If you're wondering what kind of music and dancing is favored by people this... dumb, there's video at the link.

"Palin is running for president, get used to it."

Lots of posts over at The Corner about what Sarah Palin is really up to, but I'm with Mark R. Levin, quoted in the title to this post.

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world..."

"... for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown.... And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

Washington Monument

July 3, 2009

The NYT aims its "36 hours in" analysis at Madison, Wisconsin.

I've been here for 25 years, but I'm interested to see what's picked out for the 2 day visitor. And also what's left out.

Love, love, love...



It's all about love.


Mickey Kaus counts 10 theories about Sarah Palin.

I thought it was obvious that there was only one, but Mickey has all these:
1) She's running for president; 2) She's undergoing fame withdrawal and plans to get more attention in the lower 48; 3) She wants to cash in ($); 4) There's another shoe about to drop; 5) She'll now run against Murkowski for Senate. 6) She needs to tend to her family. 7) She's bonkers. 8) She's preggers. 9) She wants to "effect positive change outside government at this point in time on another scale and actually make a difference for our priorities." 10) Actually being a governor in a recession is no fun.
Well, the obvious and only theory to me was #1. Mickey's #2 and #3 merge with my view of #1. Eh, so do they all really.

Sarah Palin resigns as Governor of Alaska!

Well, that can only mean one thing, right?

Crack Emcee has a few more things he'd like to tell you about France...

... and New Age and Oprah and "is it any surprise that France — this country with no black politicians but a backwards language — believes a kinda black, kinda American with no real qualifications... will, somehow, be capable of 'healing' the worlds problems by doing nothing - or the wrong thing - if we would only 'hope' and 'believe' enough? It's all part of a whole, people."

It's all part of a whole, people.

"The salient thing about Franken isn’t that he used to be a satirist."

"It's that he used to be a satirist who was so interested in politics that he transitioned to becoming a political satirist and then a candidate for office. All because he was really interested in the issues and wanted to make a difference. Most comedians probably aren’t very well-informed about policy issues, but comedians do have both the time and the means to inform themselves if they’re so inclined, and Franken very much was and is so inclined."

Matt Yglesias assures us that we don't just have a clown in the Senate.

(Now, why do I feel that I can predict the first comment?)

Is bicycling bad for your bones?

"Some of the racers, young men in their 20s, had osteopenia in their spines, a medical condition only one step below full-blown osteoporosis... [M]ost recreational cyclists probably don’t need to worry too much about their bones.... [Elite racers] train for hours at a very high intensity. They sweat a lot. They never go for runs. They don’t usually do much weight-lifting... They’re strange."

Bikers, do some bone-stressing things before your bones decide they aren't needed!

Café Café.


The way things look from Madison, Wisconsin...

At the Green Pond Café...

Pond reflection

Be cool. Reflect.

"The real story has as much to do with journalistic irrelevance as journalistic integrity."

Roger Kimball on WaPo's Pimpsalongate.

I made up "Pimpsalongate." It's just a placeholder coinage. Help me out here!

IN THE COMMENTS: Curtiss has "All the President's Pimps."

Krauthammer on Ricci v. DeStefano.

"Ricci raised the bar considerably on overt discrimination against one racial group simply to undo the unintentionally racially skewed results of otherwise fair and objective employment procedures (in this case, examinations). It's not enough for a city to say, as did New Haven, that it was afraid of being sued by black firefighters."

Yes, but that sounds like a pretty low bar to clear in the next case. It may be an increment of raising the bar, but everything depends on the next case. And since it was a statutory interpretation case that declined to address the constitutional level, Congress could amend the statute and neutralize it altogether. Krauthammer is writing in an aspirational mode... and defining "considerably" downward.

"For Once, Cynthia McKinney's Problems Really Are Caused by the J-E-W-S."

A headline.

Cabaret Recessionista.

A just-noted style.

"What exactly is wrong with making a movie accurate?"

"And since when does an authentic film translate as an 'art' film?"

What really happened to Soderbergh's "Moneyball"?

ADDED: "We've noticed that studios like it when true stories are told through blatant fabrication!"

The 23-year-old wife of the actor Gary Coleman was arrested for domestic violence, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

Coleman is 41.

I'll do the math for you: (41 ÷ 2) + 7 = 27.5.

Nevertheless, crimes are crimes, and we are all responsible for our own behavior.

"J.D. Salinger invented blogs, according to a federal judge..."

"... who granted a temporary injunction yesterday against John David California's planned 'parody' of Catcher in the Rye."

That's Gawker's take on the judicial opinion that said:
Both narratives are told from the first-person point of view of a sarcastic, often uncouth protagonist who relies heavily on slang, euphemisms and colloquialisms, makes constant digression and asides, refers to readers in the second person, constantly assures the reader that he is being honest and that he is giving them the truth.
[Insert you own slangy, sarcastic, digressive aside against the judge... who is probably a phony.]

I don't know what you watch on TV...

... but I watched "I Was Bitten."

"Widespread violence broke out... after somebody threw a dead pig..."

... in Mysore Thursday.

"I was still attached to a whole row of seats. It was rotating much like the helicopter and that might have slowed the fall."

"... I landed [on] very thick foliage and that might have lessened the impact.... I didn't wake up until nine o'clock the next morning. I know this because my watch was still working. So I must have been unconscious the whole afternoon and the night. When I came to I was alone, just me ... and my row of seats."

Is this honeymoon wearing you out?

At this point, it hurts and there's a worrisome burning sensation.


... Grunge?

I started a meme...

... which started the whole world pinking.


I wish I could get my tag "pink" not to always want to auto-complete into "Code Pink," like an unwanted and lamely inarticulate protest.

July 2, 2009


... admonished.

"It basically leaves it up to a website owner to determine what is a crime," said Judge Wu, overturning the guilty verdicts against Lori Drew.

In the case that grew out of the suicide of Megan Meier, who was tricked on MySpace into believing that a nonexistent boy loved her and left her.

The Washington Post loses its mind.

"Underwriting Opportunity: An evening with the right people can alter the debate. Underwrite and participate in this intimate and exclusive Washington Post Salon, an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth. ... Bring your organization’s CEO or executive director literally to the table. Interact with key Obama administration and congressional leaders."

Price: $250,000. With "parameters" said to ensure that that the newspaper "did not in any way compromise our integrity" (such as it was).

"Nelson ambles on stage and embraces his audience’s love with open arms and a mile-wide wide grin."

"Dylan sneaks in and stares into the masses like it’s a plain white wall. Nelson plays virtually the same songs every night. Dylan changes his playlist every night, and never plays the songs the same way. Nelson radiates warmth and ease, Dylan chilliness and vague discomfort."

Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson together in concert, in Milwaukee.

Less pink.


Dark pink.


Water lily... in pink.


More pink...


... more pink!

Peak pink experience...


... ant level.

At the Golden Reflection Café...

Pavilion reflection

... your thoughts are mere fluff sitting lightly on water.

Burned by Burning Man.

Re-burned by the court.

The Instapundit on Twitter is not Instapundit.

Instapundit asks the faux-Instapundit to contact him.

Non-parody impersonation is a violation of Twitter's terms of service. Let Twitter squelch that account for you.

ADDED: Glenn says:
JUST TO BE CLEAR, I don’t think the Instapundit feed on Twitter is any sort of a scam. I think it was just set up by someone trying to help. I just want to upgrade it and need the keys. I figured it would be easier to ask the person who set it up for me first, rather than going through Twitter.
I can see why he'd want to take over the existing feed rather than eliminate it and start over, and while the person who started it may have meant well, I do think Glenn needs to control his brand. I assumed this Twitter feed was his and formed the opinion that it was awfully unimaginative. And as Jason (the commenter) notes, the fake Instapundit was following various Twitterers: "It's like Mr. Reynolds is endorsing them and I wonder if payments are being made for the follows." Well, that would be a scam.

"Nixon didn’t try to do that. They couldn’t control [the media]. They didn’t try."

"What the hell do they think we are, puppets? They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.... When you call the reporter the night before you know damn well what they are going to ask to control you. I’m not saying there has never been managed news before, but this is carried to fare-thee-well — for the town halls, for the press conferences. It’s blatant. They don’t give a damn if you know it or not. They ought to be hanging their heads in shame."

Said Helen Thomas. She's 89. And she's angry. Good!

Hot video (with Thomas butting in at 2:46):

Gibbs: "We've had this discussion ad nauseum." Thomas: "Of course you would, because you don't have any answers."

Wow, Gibbs's affability gets really annoying!

"Almost 4,000 United States Marines, backed by helicopter gunships..."

"... pushed into the volatile Helmand River valley in southwestern Afghanistan on Thursday morning, reporting little resistance from Taliban fighters, whose control of poppy harvests and opium smuggling in the area provides major financing for the Afghan insurgency."

"If there's no God other than Him, then why is He jealous?"

Male Student starts the dialogue with the Jesus Peddler. 

...I went up to Jesus Guy when I had to leave (which was before he left) and told him that I admired his courage for standing up in front of everyone all by himself and telling us what he believed. He thanked me and said: I don't think I'll forget you.

I didn't know how to take that, so I said: Rock on. (Poignant, right?)

He mentioned his wife, so I was glad to know he wasn't a lonely person. Being a born-again fundamentalist can't be easy if you're alone. Plus, I felt bad about the people who were reacting so angrily toward him and ridiculing him. Sure, I find his beliefs nonsensical, and I didn't appreciate that he was telling me I was "wrong" in an area as abstract as spirituality, but he did something good for us students on campus....

"Eating in France..."

"... dying inside."

July 1, 2009

"It's dark in here... I've never seen you in the light. That's a fact... I've never had a real good look at you, Blanche...."

9:30: "Marry me, Mitch!"

Karl Malden, who won an Oscar playing Mitch in "A Streetcar Named Desire," lived to be 97. RIP.

Now, here is a bold and original movie poster!

Via Awards Daily.

There's also this poster for the movie. Good, but very much trying to be Saul Bass. Maybe the one I like so much is also in the style of someone else, and I just don't know it. And if you're going to try to be somebody, and you're a poster designer, be Saul Bass. He's so iconic, it's not a ripoff but an homage. And it's so refreshing to see movie posters that aren't actors' faces.

Magazine cover.

Sir Archy, that the Ghost of a Gentleman, dead these 260 Years and more, makes a new appearance....

... here.

"Kickass new animal I just learned existed #1: The Sea Pig."

Says James Gunn, via Rainn Wilson (who recently exclaimed "I am so gay for my wife!").

ADDED: After 5 tries, I give up trying to embed the pic. And I officially hate Twitpic.

"Pop," the Swedish 2-year-old whose sex its parents keep a secret.

"The child — called Pop in Swedish papers to protect his or her identity — is now two-and-a-half-years-old, and only a handful of close relatives (those who have changed the child’s diaper) know the sex. Pop’s parents, who are both 24, say they made this decision in the hope of freeing their child from the artificial construct of gender. 'We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,' Pop’s mother told the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet last spring. 'It’s cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.'"

Oh, but is it cruel to act out your ideological opinions on the tender life of a child?

Let's play some music:

"I sit in my room at home and sometimes cry. It's so hard to make friends."

"Sometimes I walk around the neighborhood at night, just hoping to find someone to talk to. But I just end up coming home."

The controversial and very expensive Jaked J01 swimsuit splits open at the rear.

And poor Flavia Zoccari is disqualified and embarrassed. Still, it's okay to look at the picture if you want.

"It’s a very realistic looking portrait. There are some interesting features that I think people will find unique."

Well, now, I really am curious about this portrait of Mitt Romney. Realistic... and yet interesting, unique features on this man who is often said to be made of plastic.

100 best blogs for journalism students.

We're all journalism students, aren't we? We should be, to be competent in this crazy world. That being the case, here's your link fest.

"It's comforting that liberals now understand that there are worse things than having a divided Supreme Court disagree with your position."

"I understand that supporters of Judge Sotomayor are claiming that she has been 'vindicated' by the fact that four dissenting judges in Ricci adopted something resembling the position she took when the case was before her. It's comforting that liberals now understand that there are worse things than having a divided Supreme Court disagree with your position. During the Bush years, when a divided Supreme Court would strike down this or that Bush anti-terrorism measure, some liberals were quick to declare the president 'lawless.' They did so despite the fact that there was little precedent on the subject, and such precedent as there was often supported the Bush administration's position. Fortunately, liberal commentators seems to be 'growing in office.'"

Quality snark from Power Line, which links to this Stuart Taylor piece explaining why, in fact, the 4 dissenting Justices were not on the same page as Sotomayor:
[E]ven Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's 39-page dissent for the four more liberal justices quietly but unmistakably rejected the Sotomayor-endorsed position that disparate racial results alone justified New Haven's decision to dump the promotional exam without even inquiring into whether it was fair and job-related.

Justice Ginsburg also suggested clearly -- as did the Obama Justice Department, in a friend-of-the-court brief -- that the Sotomayor panel erred in upholding summary judgment for the city. Ginsburg said that the lower courts should have ordered a jury trial to weigh the evidence that the city's claimed motive -- fear of losing a disparate impact suit by low-scoring black firefighters if it proceeded with the promotions -- was a pretext. The jury's job would have been to consider evidence that the city's main motive had been to placate black political leaders who were part of Mayor John DeStefano's political base....

[W]hile Ginsburg at least required the city to produce some evidence that the test was invalid, the Sotomayor panel required no such evidence at all. Its logic would thus provide irresistible incentives for employers to abandon any and all tests on which disproportionate numbers of protected minorities have low scores.

"The arrival of a neophyte justice coupled with Chief Justice Roberts’s increasing mastery of the judicial machinery..."

"... foreshadow a widening gap between the Democratic-led political branches and the Supreme Court. Indeed, the court appears poised to move to the right in the Obama era."

Liptak tacks left. Or, uh, the Court tacks right. John Roberts is a big right winger. Just look — look! — at all that incremental minimalism he's insidiously inflicting on us with the assistance of the mushily malleable Anthony Kennedy, that infuriatingly enigmatic Justice whom the smiling villain Roberts controls in ways that neophyte Sonia Sotomayor will never understand.

Bakari Bahia, a 14-year-old girl, survived 12 hours in the Indian Ocean after a plane crash that killed 152 others.

She tells of being "ejected" from the Yemenia Airways Airbus as it broke up:
"She felt nothing, and was found in the water. She heard people talking around her but saw nobody during the night. She was ejected. She was found beside the plane. I never thought she would get out like that. It’s the Good Lord who wanted it."...

She had climbed on to a portion of wreckage – believed to be part of the plane’s cabin – but kept slipping back into the sea while clinging on to part of it with her hands.

By the time a boat’s torch picked her out in the depths, she could hardly move.

"We tried to throw her a life buoy to hang on to, but she wouldn’t take the buoy," said one of the rescuers.

I had to jump in to rescue her. She was trembling, trembling. We put four sheets around her, and gave her hot water and sugar.
She'd broken her collar bone, but she is doing well, the doctors say.

Michael Jackson's body — transported in a white carriage led by two horses and on show in a glass coffin.

Off to Never-going-to-be-alive-again-land Ranch.

Exactly how cute are you allowed to be after the age of 40?

Is this going too far?

Oh, go ahead and trash her, but I love Helena Bonham Carter! She's beautiful and adorable. I loved her in "Room With a View" and "Howard's End." She was perfect for that sort of thing, and also perfect in the completely different sort of thing, the fabulous "Fight Club." And — look! — she's the Red Queen!

That was no coup, that was constitutional law.

"The military didn't oust President Manuel Zelaya on its own but instead followed an order of the Supreme Court. It also quickly turned power over to the president of the Honduran Congress, a man from the same party as Mr. Zelaya. The legislature and legal authorities all remain intact."

But then why is Barack Obama — our constitutional law professor President — taking the other side — aligned, alarmingly, with Hugo Chavez?

Hunter was hired to make videos of Edwards, "but this one is said to have shown him taking positions that weren’t on his official platform."

The Daily News gossip column quipped about the report that there's a John Edwards/Rielle Hunter sex tape.

This sets Popehat off, riffing wildly on sexual wordplay, for example, here:
This brings us, of course, to pirates. How did it come to pass that “to take one’s foot” became an idiom for orgasm? Prior to the Revolution, and therefore prior to the metric system, the French used measurements akin to the imperial system. When corsairs went to divide their spoils after a stint of rapine, each would naturally demand his portion of the whole. The allotted part, by convention, was a foot-high mound of booty. No, really.

Taking his foot of gold was the pirate’s pleasure. Since not everything that happens in Tortuga stays in Tortuga, taking the foot gradually became anyone’s pleasure in anything... And just as a noble, sexy, piraty bit of bawd has by now been stripped bare by its broad overuse in French, so too has the vitality of allusiveness in English suffered under the weight of too popular a press. We’ve seen enough; it’s time to close your eyes and think of English.
Maybe you'd better go over there and see how this all fits together.

"Life After People: How Fast Will Our Cities Crumble?"

A History Channel documentary, rerun last night, depicted something that I've thought about since I was a child. I arrived at this topic when, as a child in the 1960s, I often heard fretting and agonizing about how the entire world was being paved over.

Here's Joni Mitchell channeling the angst of that period:

I thought human beings were stomping out nature and was relieved when I realized that if people stopped tending to their concrete creations, nature would fight back and win. Maybe this song prompted me to think about Nature's inevitable ultimate victory:

Got that? Love will never die. Even after people? Well, there is no History Channel documentary about what happens to love after all of humanity is gone, but how cool to show us what happens to the buildings, bridges, art and monuments....

... and puppies!

"At dawn my lover comes to me/And tells me of her dreams..."

"With no attempts to shovel the glimpse/Into the ditch of what each one means..."

Almost no one bothers to interpret dreams anymore. Bob Dylan's sneering seems archaic now.

June 30, 2009

The News from 1930.

A new blog — similar to my (abandoned) project The Time That Blog Forgot.

"What is this year's 'in' religion?"

Just one of the questions the Digg community came up with for Bruno.

Al Franken, a Senator at last.

And now, the Democrats have their 60. I am genuinely afraid!

"Reserved for Hybrid Cars Only."



At Whole Foods in Madison, not only is there a hybrid car parking space, but it is closer to the entrance than the spaces for disabled people!

IN THE COMMENTS: Joe Veenstra said:
If I'm not mistaken, I believe these hybrid spots are done because the builder of the property can get points for LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Joe links to this NYT article. Read it. Amazing. I'd missed that. From the article:
“Why should someone who can afford that kind of car suddenly get special treatment? I have no problem with parking spaces for the elderly or for a young parent with an infant or handicapped drivers. But this is over the top. What about somebody who can’t afford to go out and buy a fuel-efficient car or somebody with a large family that has to drive an S.U.V.? They suffer. It’s not fair.”

Dewb said:

We have about a dozen of these spaces in our shiny new LEED-certified office building. I've never seen more than three of the spaces being used at once, most of the time by decidedly non-hybrid contractor or catering trucks.

Getting the LEED Certification for your building virtually requires putting the hybrid-reserved signs up, because in the 2.0 worksheet it's worth one point in the "Sustainable Sites" category -- the same as improving your "stormwater management" by 25% or restoring 50% of the site to open space, which would be a lot more expensive.

I think they realize this is a bit silly, because the LEED 3.0 scoring system has changed to give you credit for "alternative commuting" in general, whether it's biking, public transport, or high-efficiency autos.
Grrrrrr.... Now, I'm way more annoyed by the sign than I was when I took the picture.

"I feel terribly '20th Century' with these two boulders of silicone in my chest."

"They simply don't fit with the whole androgynous aesthetic of the day, as epitomised by the elfin figure of the new supermodel Agyness Deyn.... Now I long to go braless, to wear all those pretty little spaghetti strapped tops, to have that elegant, cherry-pipped silhouette that all the models in the magazines have."


(Fashion pics of Agyness Deyn.)

ADDED: I love this one:

"People are so hard on Kate Gosselin, but I think she is an anthem to Gen X women."

"She has taken charge of her career, and she has a job that accommodates her doing what she's good at, and her making time to take care of kids. She's an homage to the fertility mess Gen X has found itself in. She an homage to the fact that Gen X — not Gen Y — is the first generation to manage their children's online identities, and she's handling the issues with flair. And Kate is the quintessential Gen X mom getting post-baby plastic surgery. I love that she has a husband who is fun and cute and not a demon but yet, the marriage still isn’t working out, because that's what life is like. It's not good and bad. It's messy, and Kate's figuring things out. Gen X is great with messy."

Presented here not with approval but for discussion. The author, Penelope Trunk, is particularly enthusiastic about keeping the children in one house that the divorced parents taking turns living in.

The End.

Billy Mays, RIP.

"For God to really work in my life I shouldn’t be getting off so lightly. While it would be personally easier to exit stage left...."

A message from Mark Sanford about God and the governorship.

Jeez. This lightweight religion kills me! Couldya at least quote Jesus? Not Snagglepuss:

And, speaking of Mark Sanford, after I'd said this...

[Link, replacing embedded video.]

... it really hurt yesterday to hear Rush Limbaugh say this:
The latest from the chicks in the State-Run Media is, hey, wait a minute, you know, this guy loved her. This is not like Clinton. This is not like the Breck Girl.... So you've got the Breck Girl, you've got Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, and they're all, "Yeah, I didn't love 'em. No way did I love them."....

But this chick, Jocelyn Noveck: "If you're a governor who's in the doghouse for marital infidelity, is it better to have loved and lost or never to have loved at all? Granted, South Carolina's Gov. Mark Sanford may be too busy to wonder... but to some one of the most fascinating aspects of our --" No. It's fascinating to the chicks in the Drive-Bys. "One of the most fascinating aspects of our nation's latest ritual public apology from a straying politician is that Sanford, unlike many straying politicians before him --" spit, spit, "-- seems to really be in love with the object of the straying. Stephanie Coontz, a professor of family studies at Evergreen State College in Washington state --" how did they find her? Evergreen what? Evergreen State College? She said, "Yup, he's got it bad. There's enough out there to make you realize he just has a head-over-heels crush on this woman.

"Could the 'love factor' ultimately play a role in helping get this governor the forgiveness he seeks? To family therapist Elana Katz, the fact that Sanford displays passion, be it true love or mere infatuation, doesn't make his behavior more excusable or forgivable. But it might make it more explainable. "'All those things they say about love being blind - well, it's true, love changes us chemically,' says Katz, who counsels couples and families at New York's Ackerman Institute. 'People get into complicated situations.'" The whole thing is about it's a good thing he loved the woman, he loved her. The chickification of the news. It's on display all over....

Do you understand what's happened to the news? The chickification of the news. This guy's a Republican. Normally he would be roasted at the spit by now. He'd be politically finished. You've got women in the news propping him up because he loves the babe. I find that incredible and quite telling and, frankly, I find it a little interesting at the same time.

"Palin and Cindy McCain, never soulmates."

Funny caption, for this picture:

Which is from this big (windy) Vanity Fair article about Sarah Palin.

"The street etiquette of avoiding eye contact lets us go about our business without the distraction of interaction."

"Most people wear the New York 'street face.' It’s a kind of neutral expression with a touch of 'don’t mess with me.' It has a do-not-disturb aura. But the truth is that everyone is looking at everyone else all the time. It’s done on the sly, looking away when caught, often with instinctive pretense..."

Most people in New York wear the New York "street face." I do it in New York too and no one ever messed with me (in the 10+ years I lived there). But elsewhere, you can walk along looking happy and friendly. You can make eye contact and when it gets reciprocal eye contact, you can even say "hi," and still, no one messes with you.

Cool animation at the link, by the way...

"The Stygian gloom of a putrid, manhole-size, 18-foot-deep well."

Where 3 men fell and died yesterday.

"This case sharpens our focus on Judge Sotomayor's troubling speeches and writings, which indicate the opposite belief: that personal experiences and

"This case sharpens our focus on Judge Sotomayor's troubling speeches and writings, which indicate the opposite belief: that personal experiences and political views should influence a judge's decision."

So said Senator Sessions (the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.)

The linked article is mainly about how the Supreme Court's ruling in Ricci v. DeStefano isn't going to keep Sotomayor from getting confirmed. Yes, of course. But the interesting thing is what will be said about the judicial role as a consequence of the new case. It opens up the confirmation hearings for some interesting discussion of what we want from judges.

Sotomayor will take her seat of the Supreme Court. We all know that. What we don't know is what happens next. And these hearings should be about laying the groundwork for the next series of appointments and the next presidential election.

Imagine an eternal afterlife in which you can do nothing more than wander around observing the scenes of your own life.

Now, what should you have been doing differently in life? Less time on the internet, for sure. But you probably should be doing just about everything differently.

I posted that on Facebook 2 hours ago.

(So I am confessing part of how I whiled away 3 hours.)

I was just about to write a post...

... when I noticed the time stamp on this "compose window." 5:58 AM. Almost 3 hours ago. I don't think I've ever sat down, opened Blogger to start my morning blogging session, and let so much time pass. I'm resetting the time. There. How did I spend 3 hours?

Oh, I'm not going to blog about that. I'm going to post this, start a new window, and blog about something substantive.

And while you're waiting for that, why don't you confess to how you wasted time?

June 29, 2009

At The iPhone Café...


... tell us how you really feel. And if you've got some, spill the joy!

We're talking about Michael Jackson, and suddenly Bob Wright goes off on Frank Sinatra.

[Link, replacing embedded video.]

So let's watch young Michael Jackson do his Frank Sinatra routine:

"Whatever the City’s ultimate aim—however well intentioned or benevolent it might have seemed—the City made its employment decision because of race."

Justice Kennedy writes the 5-4 opinion in Ricci v. DeStefano:
The City rejected the test results solely because the higher scoring candidates were white. The question is not whether that conduct was discriminatory but whether the City had a lawful justification for its race-based action....

[We do not] question an employer’s affirmative efforts to ensure that all groups have a fair opportunity to apply for promotions and to participate in the process by which promotions will be made. But once that process has been established and employers have made clear their selection criteria, they may not then invalidate the test results, thus upsetting an employee’s legitimate expectation not to be judged on the basis of race. Doing so, absent a strong basis in evidence of an impermissible disparate impact, amounts to the sort of racial preference that Congress has disclaimed... and is antithetical to the notion of a workplace where individuals are guaranteed equal opportunity regardless of race....

[T]here is no evidence—let alone the required strong basis in evidence—that the tests were flawed because they were not job-related or because other, equally valid and less discriminatory tests were available to the City. Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer’s reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions.
Justice Scalia has a concurring opinion to note that it "merely postpones the evil day" when the Court will have to decide whether the disparate-impact provisions of Title VII violate the Equal Protection Clause:
[T]he disparate-impact laws do not mandate imposition of quotas, but it is not clear why that should provide a safe harbor. Would a private employer not be guilty of unlawful discrimination if he refrained from establishing a racial hiring quota but intentionally designed his hiring practices to achieve the same end? Surely he would. Intentional discrimination is still occurring, just one step up the chain. Government compulsion of such design would therefore seemingly violate equal protection principles.
Scalia (who also joins the Kennedy opinion) writes for himself alone. Justice Alito also has a concurring opinion, and he is joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Scalia and Thomas. He criticizes the dissenting opinion for characterizing the City's decision not to cancel the test results as "open, honest, serious, and deliberative":
Almost as soon as the City disclosed the racial makeup of the list of firefighters who scored the highest on the exam, the City administration was lobbied by an influential community leader to scrap the test results, and the City administration decided on that course of action before making any real assessment of the possibility of a disparate-impact violation. To achieve that end, the City administration concealed its internal decision but worked — as things turned out, successfully — to persuade the CSB that acceptance of the test results would be illegal and would expose the City to disparate-impact liability. But in the event that the CSB was not persuaded, the Mayor, wielding ultimate decisionmaking authority, was prepared to overrule the CSB immediately. Taking this view of the evidence, a reasonable jury could easily find that the City’s real reason for scrapping the test results was not a concern about violating the disparate-impact provision of Title VII but a simple desire to please a politically important racial constituency.

Finally, the dissenting opinion is written by Justice Ginsburg, and she's joined by Justices Stevens, Souter, and Breyer. She chides Alito for "equat[ing] political considerations with unlawful discrimination."
That political officials would have politics in mind is hardly extraordinary, and there are many ways in which a politician can attempt to win over a constituency — including a racial constituency — without engaging in unlawful discrimination....
But was it unlawful discrimination?
Were they seeking to exclude white firefighters from promotion (unlikely, as a fair test would undoubtedly result in the addition of white firefighters to the officer ranks), or did they realize, at least belatedly, that their tests could be toppled in a disparate-impact suit? In the latter case, there is no disparate-treatment violation. Justice Alito, I recognize, would disagree. In his view, an employer’s action to avoid Title VII disparate-impact liability qualifies as a presumptively improper race-based employment decision. I reject that construction of Title VII. As I see it, when employers endeavor to avoid exposure to disparate-impact liability, they do not thereby encounter liability for disparate treatment.

ADDED: This post incorrectly stated that the Chief Justice joined the Alito concurrence. Tom Goldstein observes:
Judge [sic] Alito’s concurring opinion comes much closer to an overt criticism of the rulings of the district court and court of appeals. I found it notable that the Chief Justice - who seems to place a priority on not interjecting the Court into political disputes unnecessarily - does not join the concurrence.

In the end, it seems to me that the Supreme Court’s decision in Ricci is an outright rejection of the lower courts’ analysis of the case, including by Judge Sotomayor. But on the other hand, the Court recognizes that the issue was unsettled. The fact that the Court’s four more liberal members would affirm the Second Circuit shows that Judge Sotomayor’s views were far from outlandish and put her in line with Judge [sic] Souter, who she will replace.

It's an exciting day at the Supreme Court.

I'll comment on the new cases as soon as I can, but here's where I'm going — starting at 10 ET — to get the fastest report: SCOTUSblog.

Both William Ayers and Barack Obama "use the phrase 'beneath the surface' repeatedly."

"And what they find beneath the surface, of course, is the disturbing truth about power disparities in the real America, which each refers to as an 'imperial culture.' Speaking of which, both insist that 'knowledge' is 'power' and seem consumed by the uses or misuses of power. Ayers, in fact, evokes the word 'power' and its derivatives 75 times in Fugitive Days, Obama 83 times in Dreams."

Jack Cashill is back, marshalling the evidence that Bill Ayers helped Barack Obama write "Dreams From My Father."

Are these things really that striking? It's thoroughly pedestrian for a political writer to talk about power, and "Knowledge is power" is a big cliché.

Cashill makes much of the 2 authors' references to eyes, eyebrows, and faces.
There are six references to "eyebrows" in Fugitive Days -- bushy ones, flaring ones, arched ones, black ones and, stunningly, seven references in Dreams -- heavy ones, bushy ones, wispy ones. It is the rare memoirist who talks about eyebrows at all.
Etc. etc. Note that the one adjective they have in common is "bushy" — bushy eyebrows.

If we were playing "The Match Game" and Gene Rayburn asked the question name an adjective that is frequently used with "eyebrows," they'd all match with "bushy" — unless some ditz, say, Betty White, wrote "arched," in which case she'd crouch behind her card and attempt to waggle her eyebrows until, say, Bennett Cerf, clobbered her with his own card.

"He dubbed himself the King of Pop, which was a pretty daring act."

"Previously in our culture, the King of Jazz was Paul Whiteman and the King of Swing Benny Goodman and the King of Rock and Roll was Elvis Presley, all white men. This, in a way, radically redefined the black performer’s relation to music, made Jackson an auteur. In this way, Jackson may have paved the way for Obama in the sense of black man as auteur and self-mythmaker."

Says Professor Gerald L. Early of Washington University.

I'm keeping track of efforts at scholarly analysis of Michael Jackson.

And I'm also keeping track of the way Barack Obama horns in on everything (with the new tag "Obama is everywhere").

Do you remember "My Little Margie"? I do!

This "I Love Lucy"-like sitcom ran from 1952 to 1955, and I'm surprised that I have memories of watching it. (I was born in 1951.) I see that the star — Gale Storm — has just died, at the age of 87.

I was able to pull up a clip of the old show. This clip is interesting for several reasons: 1. It's just so incredibly old-fashioned, 2. There's a role for a black actor (Willie Best as Charlie, the elevator operator), 3. There's a law theme (service of process).

RIP, Gale Storm.
Something more on Willie Best (who died in 1962):
William "Willie" Best (May 27, 1916 – February 27, 1962) was an American television and film actor. Best was one of the first well-known African-American film actors, although his work, like that of Stepin Fetchit, is today sometimes reviled because he was often called upon to play stereotypically lazy, illiterate, and simple-minded Black characters in films. Best's characterization of the stereotype of the lazy Black man earned him the stage name "Sleep 'n' Eat"; many of his films bill him under this name, if he was billed at all.
Here's a YouTube clip of Best (credited as Sleep 'n' Eat) in a 1932 movie called "The Monster Walks." Offered for historical reference, it's badly recorded and exemplifies the unfortunate stereotypes.

Bob Wright's fascination with Farrah Fawcett's nipple.

[Link, replacing embedded video.]

Althouse joins Goddapalooza: It's the new Bloggingheads about Robert Wright's "The Evolution of God."

"Why should we care about God if he doesn’t exist?... Is Bob an atheist in spiritual clothing?... Making the case for universal brotherhood... Christianity is more conducive to a free society than Islam..."

Plus: "Did Michael Jackson matter?" and "Hey, how about a little sympathy for Mark Sanford?"

June 28, 2009

Scalia says they are "Jacobin" and "pull everything down to the street level."

What? Contractions!

Also, quit saying "Roe v. Wade and its progeny." That's annoying. And speak clearly especially when you're saying the Justice's name. And don't look at the clock when the Justice asks a question. And if that question poses a hypothetical, don't you dare say that's "not this case." He knows it's not this case, you idiot.

James Madison Park.


On this windy Sunday.

Wisconsin red.


Today, on State Street.

The Nico Pitney/Dana Milbank confrontation on "Reliable Sources" — about that seeming planted question.

Pitney comments: "The only thing that surprised me was when Dana turned to me after our initial sparring and called me a 'dick' in a whispered tone (the specific phrase was, I believe, 'You're such a dick')."

"My Dinner with Andre," my favorite movie, is now available as a Criterion Collection DVD.

This is a huge event for me. I've been struggling with a crappy Fox Lorber DVD for years, and I know that even that was hard to get.

Come on everybody, get the DVD. Buy if from my link there, and you'll be making a contribution to this blog (without paying any more).

Watch it, and come back here and talk about it — all night, until everybody else has left the restaurant!

"Sky Saxon, the mop-haired bass player and front man for the psychedelic protopunk band the Seeds..."

"... whose 1965 song 'Pushin’ Too Hard' put a Los Angeles garage-band spin on the bad-boy rocker image personified by the Rolling Stones, died Thursday in Austin, Tex. He was thought to be 71.... Sky Sunlight Saxon was the name he used in later years, the middle name given to him in the 1970s as a member of the Source Family, a spiritual cult whose leader — known as Father Yod or Ya Ho Wha — started what has been described as the quintessential hippie commune... 'Sky has passed over and Ya Ho Wha is waiting for him at the gate,' his wife wrote on Facebook. 'He will soon be home with his Father.'"

ADDED: When protopunk sets up in front of the fireplace in your sedate living room, please be careful. Don't drop your tambourine!

Well, all I want is to just be free, live my life the way I wanna be. All I want is to just have fun, live my life like it's just begun... And maybe you can, but however you live your life — pushin' hard or soft, like it's just begun or like a mature hippie — it will one day be over. The tambourine must, in the end, hit the carpet.

AND: What sitcom is that in the clip? I recognized the actress Kaye Ballard, and using IMDB, deduced that it must be "The Mothers-In-Law." The episode — directed by Desi Arnaz! — was called "How Not to Manage a Rock Group":
While I cannot truthfully say I've seen the entire episode, the 10 minute portion that I have seen is very funny and, of course, has the incredible 1960s band The Seeds in it. They portray The Warts, a band that the kids want to manage. The Seeds' great "Pushin' Too Hard" is performed, and is simply incredible. Singer Sky Saxon is a terrific frontman. The adults try to steer the group into a more traditional sound, offering some silly novelty tunes, and creating some big laughs. It all ends with the adults doing "Some Enchanted Evening," oom Pa Pa style. Extremely corny and very amusing, with the rockers joining in. It must have actually influenced their music, because on the band's underrated 1967 LP "Future," they actually use a tuba in a couple of songs.

"The Republican Party will never revive itself until its sanctimonious pantheon — Sanford, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Palin, Ensign, Vitter..."

"... and hypocrites yet to be exposed — stop being two-faced."

Says Maureen Dowd.

True up to a point... but I don't really see either Limbaugh or Palin as sanctimonious. Dowd calls Sanford a "self-righteous, Bible-thumping prig." Maybe so. I haven't followed him much. But you can't say the same for Palin and Limbaugh. In particular, Limbaugh. I listen to him all the time, and I don't catch much if any religion coming out of him. He can get maudlin and religionistic in his patriotism — when he does one of his "American exceptionalism" riffs, but I can't remember him ever quoting the Bible or talking about Jesus or acting like he's purer than other people. But then, I think a good Christian ought to say we're all sinners and we all need forgiveness — and that we shouldn't make a show of our religion. Maybe Limbaugh is that kind of Christian, but I suspect he's not interested in religion at all, and he doesn't pretend to be.

Wouldn't you like your bed built into a wall that divides your study from your dressing room?

Like this, scroll down for a nice painting of what you may very well have seen in real life. (Lots of cool stuff at the link.)

After the protests...

... melancholy.

Boehner on the climate bill: "Hey, people deserve to know what's in this pile of s--t."

Well, if it's a pile of shit, I'm guessing: shit!

AND: Speaking of shit...

Michael Jackson "wasn’t eating, he wasn’t sleeping and, when he did sleep, he had nightmares that he was going to be murdered."

"He was deeply worried that he was going to disappoint his fans. He even said something that made me briefly think he was suicidal. He said he thought he’d die before doing the London concerts. He said he was worried that he was going to end up like Elvis. He was always comparing himself to Elvis, but there was something in his tone that made me think that he wanted to die, he was tired of life. He gave up. His voice and dance moves weren’t there any more. I think maybe he wanted to die rather than embarrass himself on stage."

Much more at the link.

"How cheaply we give ourselves away, how thoughtlessly we toss our valuables to those who will trash them."

The Anchoress has been thinking about this a lot lately, both in the context of writing for free (as a blogger) and in the context of Carrie Prejean posing naked — or, as The Anchoress puts it "toss[ing] her Holy Thing, which is her loved-into-creation body – the Temple of the Holy Spirit – to the Dogs."

So, do you throw your pearls before swine?