September 5, 2009

The NYT gives me the last word...

... on Obama, education, and what I dare to call "child abuse."

It's a personal, portable radio!

1. "Dobie Gillis" is my all-time favorite TV show. 2. In 6th grade, I sneaked a transistor radio (with an earplug) into school to listen to during class had it confiscated by the teacher.

"There was actually a WWI propaganda poster that had a pit bull draped by an American flag."

The dog, Romeo, was present at a lovely party last night. Here's the poster referred to:

Convicted of manslaughter and attempted rape, a man who has not yet had sex reassignment surgery wins the right to be transferred to a woman's prison.

This legal right — under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights — was recognized by the High Court of London:
The prisoner is in her 20s and serving a life sentence for manslaughter and attempted rape....

Describing her as “a woman trapped inside a man’s body”, her barrister, Phillipa Kaufman, said the final step to her achieving full womanhood is gender reassignment surgery - but she had been told she cannot have it while in a men’s prison.

Doctors have refused even to consider her for the operation unless she fulfills the “living role requirement” - living as a woman for an extended period; so she has no hope of getting the surgery she so desperately wants unless moved to a women's jail.

The barrister told Judge David Elvin, QC, that, although the woman has now served her minimum jail term, she has been told by the Parole Board that she remains an unnacceptable risk to the public, still has “a great deal of work to do” and is “nowhere near release”.

That, Miss Kaufman argued, was a direct result of her intense frustration at being unable to have gender reassignment surgery...

Regardless of any extra cost involved, the judge said that to block her progress towards full gender reassignment surgery was irrational and would only increase her risk to the public.
Risk to the public? But this person is serving a life sentence!
The transsexual prisoner, referred to in court only as “A”, was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for five years after smothering her boyfriend with a pillow and strangling him with a pair of tights.
5 years have been served for this killing, and the court finds a right of this person to be put with women in order to do "a great deal of work" and win release.
Her life sentence tariff, the minimum period she must serve before being considered for parole, expired in 2007.
So 3 years was enough for murder!
The judge said that her detention in a men’s jail had both scotched her desire to live fully “in role” as a woman - and thus qualify for a full gender reassignment - and had also had a “serious adverse effect” on her ability to take part in work aimed at reducing her risk status and moving towards release.
Just a little lesson in European-style human rights for you this morning. The linked article says nothing about the human rights of the women prisoners who now must live with a very angry person who: 1. attempted rape and still has a penis, and 2. was strong enough to smother a man with a pillow and tights.


How long does it take to smother someone to death with a pillow? 2 to 3 minutes, if he doesn't manage to struggle the pillow away for a gulp of air. Try to picture what this person was able to do 5 years ago and think about why 3 years — 1 year for each minute of strongly applied murderous pressure to a struggling human being — is an adequate sentence.

"If I have offended anyone with statements I made in the past, I apologize."

Van Jones is sorry if you were offended.

AND: What if we're still offended?

"Sci-Fi’s Most Beautiful Stars: 1933-2008."

A fine list, with some cool photos, like:

How can Obama keep claiming prime network time...

... with no time given for a response from his opponents?

The networks don't like giving up their ad money, and on top of that, they are being turned into channels of state propaganda. I hope the ratings are terrible, and I'm pretty sure they will be. Why would anyone watch at this point? Even if you love the Prez, why tune in for multiple performances as if he's your favorite pop star?

September 4, 2009

And what if all the President has to say to the children is a load of innocuous pleasantries?

Grus grus.


Van Jones.

Here's a post where you can talk about White House Green Jobs Czar Van Jones.

"2 of the 3 broadcasts being anchored by women is nothing to sneeze at..."

Well, I'm sneezing because I think it means that the network news isn't important anymore. That's not progress in feminism. It's what is conventionally a symptom of anti-feminism: That women do something signifies that it isn't considered important.

Henry — our James Dean of a commenter — fixes the metaphor written by TIME's Sal Mineo, Joe Klein.

Back here — beginning with a Joe Klein quote in italics —Henry writes:
Indeed, the Republicans have the pedal to the metal--rushing us toward a tragedy far greater than the California health care forum finger-biting...

If Klein slowed down his typing he could have worked a little with that image.

As it is, I see a car plunging into a severed finger. Scary!

How about this instead:

Indeed, the Republicans have the pedal to the metal--rushing us toward a tragedy far greater than a crashed car. Someone's going to get their leather jacket caught on the door handle and die. It's me! It's my rhetorical cuff caught on the hyperbolic handle of the cliche car! Aaaagh!

"Dayo [Olopade] explains why Obamacare will fail in 8 seconds flat. The RNC should hire her for their next commercial."

Conn Carroll says, extracting this ultrashort clip:

Listen a few times and let it sink in. Here's the whole context, which begins with Olopade saying that it might have been better to argue for health care reform on a moral rather than an economic ground.

If you take the time to watch all this, you'll see that every time I pressure her about the nature of the moral argument, she shifts over to an economic argument. I point out the shift when it happens 3 times and say that I think the way she keeps going back to economics may well explain why the Democrats chose not to give prominence to the moral argument. In particular, as Conn Carroll's clip shows, the moral argument — when you get right down to it and strip away the verbiage — is hard left ideology.

The Presidency has an aging effect.

(Photo illustrating an article published yesterday in TNR.)

"[T]he number of people who believe that the President has larded the government with communists (!) was astonishing."

Says Joe Klein, who attended a town hall meeting in Nebraska:
One woman said there were four known communists in the government and that she'd researched it on the internet. When I asked her afterwards, she said environmental adviser Van Jones, legal advisor Cass Sunstein (who was last spotted being excoriated by the left for supporting the FISA revisions), someone named Lloyd and she didn't remember the fourth. And wasn't it suspicious that Obama had all these czars working for him--that was a Russkie commie term, wasn't it? When I asked, the woman admitted that, among other things, she occasionally listened to William Bennett's conservative radio show. I pointed out that Bennett had once been the Drug Czar, appointed by Ronald Reagan. Life sure can be complicated sometimes.
Wow. Joe got a lot out of one woman in Nebraska! But remember, what he asserts is "astonishing" is "the number" of people who think there are communists in the government. I certainly agree that the number one is astonishing. You'd think, by now, a lot more would be plunging ahead and using the inflammatory word.
I was later told by a local observer that many of these vomitous, disgraceful notions were the fruit of Glenn Beck's fruitful imagination. "We are living Glenn Beck's fantasy life," said this audience member. The amazing thing remains not only the unwillingness of responsible Republicans--a term that is in danger of becoming an oxymoron--to call bull-- on this, but also the willingness of many prominent Republicans to join in the slinging of garbage.
Astonishing... amazing... poor Joe is continually surprised by ordinary things. What's amazing? Blech... I have to reread: not only the unwillingness of responsible Republicans... to call bullshit on this, but also the willingness of many prominent Republicans to join in the slinging of garbage. So what's amazing — to plow through Klein's verbiage — is that Republicans use and put up with inflammatory rhetoric.

Yawn. I don't really think Klein is astonished and amazed by any of this. He's just doing the old I'm-surprised-at-you routine beloved of kindergarten teachers. I'm sure he'd love conservatives to stop putting their arguments in such stimulating and colorful terms. (Look out! It's a death panel!)
Michelle Cottle reports that there are Republican-sanctioned efforts afoot to have parents not send their children to school on September 8 because the President is scheduled to address the nation's school-children that day and they are afraid that he will fill their little heads with socialist propaganda. That is somewhere well beyond disgraceful.
No, Joe. Because they are disgusted at the melding of partisan political power and education and the prospect of a child made to accept compulsory school in the form of gazing upon the face of our leader. Imagine if Bush had proposed such an exercise for all of the children on the first day of school. Well, Bush would never have proposed such a thing because: 1. He didn't have the fawning approval of the vast majority of teachers, and 2. He never acquired the idea that his countenance and voice could inspire the masses. But if he did you know very well, Joe, that you'd have been disgusted at Bush, not the people who objected to his absurd display.
Could I just say that the intensity of this getting pretty scary...and dangerous?
Could I just say... may I be so bold... timid little me... can I please just say something... I'm scared! It's dangerous!!!1!!111!
We are heading toward a cliff and the usual brakes of civil discourse are not working.
Get a grip, Joe, you timorous mouse of a man. But that's just a joke. I know you're not really concerned about "civil discourse" in the abstract. You're annoyed that the people have started paying attention and are not sitting back in awed reverence like the most confused and cowed first grader watching that nice man on TV. You thought that when the Democrats won — "I won!" — they'd be able to roll up their preferences into 1000-page bundles and there wouldn't be anything people could do about it. But — lo and behold! — they used speech, free speech, they spoke their minds, sometimes harshly and with hot emotion, but they got themselves heard. If you think that is "heading toward a cliff" without "the usual brakes," then I say you don't believe in a free democratic society.
Indeed, the Republicans have the pedal to the metal--rushing us toward a tragedy far greater than the California health care forum finger-biting Karen describes below.
What tragedy? Not passing a sprawling, amorphous, unproven rearrangement of the way health care is paid for? Who is plying overheated, irrational rhetoric? That lady in Nebraska? Glenn Beck? Or Joe Klein?

It's a new Bloggingheads — with me and Dayo Olopade.

Lots of vigorous debate in this one. I'll do some clips later.

September 3, 2009

Down in the marsh.


Today, we walked in Cherokee Marsh, a city park in Madison. At one point, as we walked along the boardwalk...


... we heard a distinctive cry and saw (what I'm pretty sure were) 3 or 4 sandhill cranes fly across the sky over the marsh. Here's one:


I hope your thighs are big enough...

... to protect your heart.

"[L]adies, ladies, ladies..." — *you* are the whores!

"[S]o many of you have been cool, supportive and loving. But there are those of you out there who just love to judge."

Love to judge Ashley Dupre, the prostitute who did business with Eliot Spitzer.
Let me say this - most girls, to varying degrees of course, want to be pampered and have nice shoes, designer handbags and gorgeous clothes. I know many women who target guys with money and use them to get these things. They toy with them, flirt, go on dates, have sex and then drop hints about that new dress at the store down the street or being short on rent money – and the guys deliver it. This is a dishonest relationship. I see this all over New York City. Some women aren’t as vindictive, but still dive into relationships with wealthy guys who they don’t love or even find attractive, but they stay in it because they have a nice home, a car and spending money – they would rather stay in an unfulfilling or loveless relationship than lose that security. This, too, is a dishonest relationship.
You, ladies, you are whores too.
I see this type all over the suburbs of New Jersey with the housewives who are strung out on mood stabilizers or the couples who put all their attention on their children so they don’t have to deal with their own issues. What about going to those sugar daddy websites? Is that legal? Should it be? Is what I did any more dishonest? Get real and get over yourself.
Yeah, get over yourselves, ladies. Judge me? I judge you!
You’d be shocked at some of the messes I’ve gotten myself into....and, more importantly, how I got out of them. I have so much more to say, and I will – but it’s time for Yoga class! Om Shanti!
Om Shanti!

"The 65-year-old was apparently aggressive and hit the other man, who then retaliated by biting off his attacker's pinky..."

Health care required, as a health care reform opponent gets his finger bitten off — apparently and amazingly by someone so compassionate as to support health care for all.

ADDED: The bitten man tells his story:

He admits to landing 2 punches, the second of which landed in the biter's mouth, leading to the bite, and he says he doesn't want to sue — he's "not a litigious guy."

If Justice Stevens retires, won't Obama need to appoint a Protestant?

I know people have trouble looking at the issue of religious diversity on the Supreme Court. I raised this question when Justice Souter stepped down, and Obama's nomination put a 6th Catholic on the Court.

Here I am on a May, 4, 2009 Bloggingheads with Emily Bazelon, raising the question question of religious diveristy in the wake of the Souter retirement. (This recorded on May, 4, 2009 , before Obama had nominated Sotormayor.)

Now, Justice Stevens is the only Justice who was raised in the Protestant tradition. The other 2 Justices are Jewish. I anticipate that there will be little discussion of this, but I find it hard to believe that Obama will not see the lack of diversity as a problem and choose a Protestant.

Getting pseudonymous commenters to diavlog — with a "masking effect" — and a draft of a Bloggingheads comments policy.

Here's Bob Wright demonstrating the effect Bloggingheads is proposing to conceal identities — and make people look more interesting? — when pseudonymous commenters are turned into video personalities:

In the second part of that clip, Bob introduces the subject of a comments policy for his site, where, as he says, there've been "flame wars" lately. The main thing I've noticed is how much hate is thrown at me anytime I appear — often by people who load up the beginning of the thread with assertions that they will not watch the video because of me. Anyway, here's the draft of the comments policy they are proposing. I note Rule #2: "No rude comments aimed at diavloggers."
Like most superficially simple rules, this one is easier to state than to enforce fairly—one man’s verbal abuse is another man’s fair and accurate characterization. Here are some examples of what we’d label name-calling: moron, idiot, asshat, wingnut, moonbat, troll—and, absent very good evidence: racist. (To be clear: We don't proscribe the use of such words, only their use as epithets against other commenters, either directly or by implication.)

... In particular, avoid derogatory or demeaning remarks about physical appearance and speaking style. Don’t forget that many diavloggers read the comments section.
Don’t forget that many diavloggers read the comments section. LOL. Wasn't that the point of the rudeness?

Should schoolchildren be made to listen to a President's speech and analyze it?

Vodkapundit thinks it's so terrible that he thinks parents should keep their kids out of school.

Allahpundit responds:

If this turns out to be some hamfisted attempt by The One to pitch his agenda to kids — which would be politically insane given the outcry it would cause... — there’ll be ample time for outrageous outrage later. For all the media fainting spells over Obama’s oratory, you can count on one hand the number of truly memorable lines he’s uttered; I doubt he’s going to come up with such a corker next week that kids will be planning their lives around it.
We haven't heard the speech yet, so we can only react to the idea of the President speaking to schoolchildren. I'd say: Let the kids hear it and the teachers teach it — here's the official teaching guide — and then respond. Nothing's going to be so damaging that parents need to preemptively hold their kids out of school. And that would itself be a matter of adults pushing a political message down kids throats.

Ideally, children should learn to understand political speeches and think for themselves about what they mean. I remember as a schoolchild being assigned various political speeches to read and understand. These were historical speeches — by Washington, Lincoln, etc. — but they were by Presidents, Presidents who had a political agenda. These assignments can be especially useful educational experiences, equipping children to live in the world — where politicians will try to influence them and lead them along. Teach them how to see what is being done and why.

I know many of you will say that the teachers are all such big liberals and Obama sycophants that no critical thinking will be taught. But let's see! I love reading things and applying my critical thinking to the text. I do it as a lawprof reading the stuff judges present as legal analysis, and I'd love to do it as a blogger reading about what the President said and how the teachers dealt with it.

Please, send your kids to school and get a full report on what happened. Encourage your kids to observe and report accurately, and then tell us all about it. The teachers could do anywhere from a brilliant to an abysmal job with the assignment. This is a great opportunity — whatever happens. If the teachers handle it well, the children learn valuable skills. If they handle it badly, that will be the basis of a lesson we can teach them.

"How to Win in Afghanistan We tried the 'offshore' strategy before. The result was 9/11."

Max Boot boots George Will.

September 2, 2009

In the Queen Anne Tavern...


... I hope you emerge.


(Photo 2 by Meade.)

Top 10 Worst Bible Passages.

Perhaps you will disagree:
  1. "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet." (1 Timothy 2:12)
  2. "Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses." (1 Samuel 15:3)
  3. "You shall not let a sorceress live." (Exodus 22:18)
  4. "Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock." (Psalm 137:9)
  5. "When the men would not listen to his host, the husband seized his concubine and thrust her outside to them. They had relations with her and abused her all night until the following dawn, when they let her go. Then at daybreak the woman came and collapsed at the entrance of the house in which her husband was a guest, where she lay until the morning. When her husband rose that day and opened the door of the house to start out again on his journey, there lay the woman, his concubine, at the entrance of the house with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, 'Come, let us go'; but there was no answer. So the man placed her on an ass and started out again for home." (Judges 19:25-28)
  6. "And the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity." (Romans 1:27)
  7. "Jephthah made a vow to the Lord. 'If you deliver the Ammonites into my power,' he said, 'whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites shall belong to the Lord. I shall offer him up as a holocaust.' ... When Jephthah returned to his house in Mizpah, it was his daughter who came forth, playing the tambourines and dancing. She was an only child: he had neither son nor daughter besides her. When he saw her, he rent his garments and said, 'Alas, daughter, you have struck me down and brought calamity upon me. For I have made a vow to the Lord and I cannot retract'." (Judges 11:30-1, 34-5)
  8. "Then God said: 'Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you'."(Genesis 22:2)
  9. "Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:22)
  10. "Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse." (1 Peter 2:18)

Corn sponge.

For all you corn fans.

You know who you are.

"Practice coughing and sneezing into your sleeve."

Advice from "A Guide for UW–Madison Students: What You Can Do About the Flu." (PDF.)

Sleeve-sneezing... learn it before you have sneeze. And quit touching your face.

May I offer a piece of advice that is not in the flier? Don't touch doorknobs. Outside of my own house, I never touch doorknobs. How is that accomplished? Well, again, your sleeve can come in handy — but not part you use for sleeve-sneezing. You can also use gloves, a paper towel (when leaving a bathroom where you've washed your hands), or wait for someone else to open the door (when they are pushing out and you need to go in).

"American Men Look to Restore Dominance."

Front page teaser in the NYT. It caught my eye, but the article turned out to be about tennis.

A new Supreme Court appointment for Obama?

Justice Stevens has only hired one clerk for next year, a sign that he may retire at the end of the term that begins next month.

"Charles Gibson leaving 'World News.'"

Oh, blah. Who cares? I didn't even know there was something called — so boringly — "World News." Charles Gibson (Charlie Gibson)? I'd have to click my tag — see below — to ascertain whether I dislike the guy. Was he mean to Sarah? I don't remember.

Haven't watched network news since the 80s. Or was it the 70s?

"Like two tragic Playboy bunnies who're going through some kind of tiresome art school phase where they lounge around the mansion reading Anais Nin...

"... and smoking cloves and talking about how their work as centerfolds is really just a post-modern reclamation of the male gaze and telling Hef not to be such a phallocentrist perv. But now that I'm old, I feel like, a) screw The Girls Next Door, THAT's the reality show I want to watch, and b) eh, the rabbit ears are kind of cute...."

Look sharp.


(The grey crowned crane.)

Why Andrew Sullivan shouldn't be talking about whether Sarah Palin is "nutty enough."

So that prince of a man Levi Johnston is luxuriating in Vanity, saying:
Sarah told me she had a great idea: we would keep it a secret—nobody would know that Bristol was pregnant. She told me that once Bristol had the baby she and Todd would adopt him. That way, she said, Bristol and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Sarah kept mentioning this plan. She was nagging—she wouldn’t give up. She would say, “So, are you gonna let me adopt him?” We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby. I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn’t want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid.
Springing into a posture of triumph, Andrew Sullivan is all:
So, according to Levi, Governor Palin was very, very interested in avoiding embarrassment for her daughter - and a political problem - by passing off someone else's child as her own and adopting him. This kid's name was Tripp. But this exercise is called "proof of principle." If anyone believed that Palin wasn't nutty enough to try to pass off her own daughter's baby as her own, they need to reassess.
First, there are 2 babies — Trig and Tripp — born too close together for both to have been Bristol's. But Sullivan says it's a "proof of principle" exercise. (Is that common parlance? Maybe in England. WikiAnswers says: "A proof of principle experiment is one designed to see if the idea is workable. Usually little if any data is collected.") So the point is: If we are to believe Johnston — a humongous "if" — then Palin is the sort of person who would adopt a baby — Tripp, in that case — then she might have also adopted Trig.

But let's examine this:

First, Johnston didn't say that Sarah would pass the baby off as her own, only that she would adopt it. Whose baby is Trig supposed to be? Who else in the world would Palin have wanted to protect by taking on a new baby? The motive would have to be entirely different, such as thinking she'd look good having a Down Syndrome baby. So the principle is a different one.

Second, is it nutty for a grandmother to take over the role of raising a child born to a too-young mother? Let Andrew Sullivan step up and answer a clear yes to that if that's what he thinks. Do you realize how many women he is tainting with an accusation of insanity? Many, many women — including Barack Obama's grandmother — have done that over the ages. No one with any sensitivity to the condition of women in society should say that it's crazy for a grandmother to step in. It is a good and gracious thing that many good women have done, and emphatically not crazy.

Third, if you want to talk crazy, how crazy is it to want so badly to paint Sarah Palin as crazy? She is your political opponent, Andrew, and you don't think she's good enough for high office. It's not so dramatic. It's utterly banal. Ironically, Palin draws energy from your overheated hatred. Have you heard she's about to make $100 million?

The "Seinfeld" reunion.

It's the story line of this season's "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
“Doing it with Larry and on his show just seemed like the only possible way it would be fun….We would never do the type of thing that these shows usually do. That wouldn’t be our style. But something like this — that was sillier and a little more offbeat — felt like it might be right for us.”

Now, let's distinguish between wishing someone was dead and...

Jim Lindgren is struck by Michelle Goldberg's passion. It's hateful and casual, as she expresses the exquisite difference between the way lefties wanted Cheney dead and some righties — purportedly — actually want to kill Obama.

Hmm. Did anyone really threaten to kill Obama? It's a federal crime, and isn't it vigorously investigated? If people are doing this, why are we not seeing arrests?

Anyway, comparative hatred is a strange game, isn't it? Let's be rational and analytical, mm'kay?

"[W]e believe that journalists have a responsibility to shine light in dark places, to give voice to those who are too often silenced and ignored."

"One of us, Euna [Lee], is a devout Christian whose faith infused her interest in the story. The other, Laura [Ling], has reported on the exploitation of women around the world for years. We wanted to raise awareness about the harsh reality facing these North Korean defectors who, because of their illegal status in China, live in terror of being sent back to their homeland.... We didn't spend more than a minute on North Korean soil before turning back, but it is a minute we deeply regret...."

"We are all mutants."

Science says.

"Burglar doesn't flush, leaves his DNA ."

Front page teaser of the day, over on CNN. Video, with ad. If the homeowner had flushed — the instinctive reaction — the burglar would not have been caught

After taking Woodstock.

We saw them on the way in, and now:

Thanks, Chip Ahoy.

September 1, 2009

Taking in "Taking Woodstock" — at Sundance, in Madison, tonight.

No, we weren't. We were just eating sushi at a sidewalk table across from the theater, and these ladies — who were very enthusiastic about seeing the movie — asked us to take their picture. This isn't the picture M. took. That's in their camera. This is the picture I took after M. made the request:

4 ladies on their way to see "Taking Woodstock"

(And they said yes to taking the picture and putting it up on line.)

Whooping cranes.

Video made today at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Here's some info about the whooping crane.

Why not send people to Mars and just leave them there?

Lawrence M. Krauss, director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University and author of "The Physics of 'Star Trek'" makes this suggestion in an op-ed in today's NYT:
Much of the cost of a voyage to Mars will be spent on coming home again. If the fuel for the return is carried on the ship, this greatly increases the mass of the ship, which in turn requires even more fuel...

[I]f the radiation problems cannot be adequately resolved then the longevity of astronauts signing up for a Mars round trip would be severely compromised in any case. As cruel as it may sound, the astronauts would probably best use their remaining time living and working on Mars rather than dying at home.

If it sounds unrealistic to suggest that astronauts would be willing to leave home never to return alive, then consider the results of several informal surveys I and several colleagues have conducted recently. One of my peers in Arizona recently accompanied a group of scientists and engineers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on a geological field trip. During the day, he asked how many would be willing to go on a one-way mission into space. Every member of the group raised his hand....

We might want to restrict the voyage to older astronauts, whose longevity is limited in any case. Here again, I have found a significant fraction of scientists older than 65 who would be willing to live out their remaining years on the red planet or elsewhere....
I agree. And I note that I floated the same idea on this blog 4 years ago:
But I must say, when I saw the headline about a 90-year-old "Explorer of Mars," an idea that occurred to me was having a one-way mission, sending some quite old persons to Mars, with no way to bring them back. I was assuming he'd be in favor of sending a man to Mars and imagined him saying I'm 90, send me! I'm going to die pretty soon anyway. I'd like to have a shot at making it to Mars. And you can just leave me there!

Would it be wrong to have a mission like that? Why is it that young people take the most risks with their lives? Shouldn't the oldest people take the most daring risks, since they've lived the greater part of their lives and therefore risk less of it?

By the way, the NYT published an offensively ageist illustration with its op-ed.

"I can't tell if you're doing that ironically."

"What's with the stupid pose, Cat?"

Obama approval down to 45%.


"Zambia's president evicts 'peeing monkeys' from State House."

Front page teaser for "Zambia's peeing monkeys evicted."

There were 200 monkeys in the state house, and presumably they were peeing all the time. But one peed on the president during a news conference. That's it for the state house monkeys.

ADDED: There are not enough animals running around in American press conferences. Maybe it would help those townhalls and tea parties: more monkeys.

What college major leads to the lowest scores on the LSAT?

Oops. It's criminal justice. Second worst — the irony continues: pre-law. 

I think this has less to do with whether the major prepares you for the exam than with the raw talent of the people who choose various majors. That's why physics/math comes in first. My theory, anyway. The best advice for those who want to go on to law school is to study something you're very interested in and good at. It will help you get a good GPA, which counts about as much as the LSAT in admissions. It will make college intrinsically rewarding. (Try to make whatever you do intrinsically rewarding.*) And it will give you an opportunity to find out more about your own preferences which you will need to have when you get out of law school and find a path within law. It will also give you the ability to be drawn away from the idea going to law school, which is certainly not a bad thing. 


*To think more deeply about what it means to do what is intrinsically rewarding, read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book, "Flow." At page 49 of the 1991 Harper Perennial edition, he describes the 8 components of flow:
First, the experience usually occurs when we confront tasks we have a chance of completing. Second, we must be able to concentrate on what we are doing. Third and fourth, the concentration is usually possible because the task undertaken has clear goals and immediate feedback. Fifth, one acts with a deep but effortless involvement that removes from awareness the worries and frustrations of everyday life. Sixth, enjoyable experiences allow people to exercise a sense of control over their actions. Seventh, concern for the self disappears, yet paradoxically the sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over. Finally, the sense of the duration of time is altered; hours pass by in minutes, and minutes can stretch out to seem like hours. The combination of all these elements causes a sense of deep enjoyment that is so rewarding people feel that expending a great deal of energy is worthwhile simply to be able to feel it.

Blight bulbs, part 2.

Henry says:
I've inadvertently stockpiled 7 compact fluorescents. That's two boxes minus one bulb.

I thought I would swap them in the basement fixtures as the old incandescents burned out. It took a year or so, but as soon as I screwed in the first one I realized my mistake.

At first I was sure I had purchased the wrong wattage. The turd-shaped bulb worked up a feeble bruise-colored flicker and paused, as if exhausted.

In a few minutes, though, as I went about my work, it came to life, casting violet shadows across the room from its forsaken corner. I walked over and stood under it. It didn't so much make light as well-defined edges. It was like walking into the afterimage of a instamatic flashbulb. Except that it's permanent.

Since the damn things last forever, I figure ten years from now I will use that corner of the basement to interview my daughter's boyfriends.

"So I ate that mushroom, fly and all GULP just like that without even chewing. I could feel the fly buzzing all the way down. Mmmmm, fly."

"Then I ☽ met a mysterious ☍ man on ♌ the road, ☻ dressed in 〄 black and ☠ walking a ☢☡♽ white dog. ⚡ He seemed truly ethereal, but I know what I saw. No 〒 really, ✴ I'm ✣ seramous 〠check ❦ out ☥ the picture.✺"

Chip Ahoy ate that mushroom....

"A Health Care for America Now (HCAN) organizer is caught on tape outside the meeting instructing supporters on how to shout down opponents..."

From Gateway Pundit:

Via Instapundit, who says: "Remember, what they accuse their opponents of is usually what they’re planning themselves..."

"Rather than rejoicing in a loving wife, a daughter not yet 2, a job I enjoyed — in being, simply, 41..."

"... I created felonies out of matters not worth a summons. Traffic jams. Work conflicts. No Vienna Fingers in the cupboard. Felonies all. Cancer, as is often said, tends to focus the mind.... Sickened by the mere smell of food, I suddenly saw the wonder in the most common foods: an egg, a hard-boiled egg. Imprisoned and essentially chained to an IV pole, I would stare out my hospital room window at the people below, and feel a rush of the purest envy for their routine pursuits. Imagining the summer night air blowing cool through sweat-dampened shirts, I’d think how good a $3 ice cream would taste right about now, or a $5 beer, and how nice it would be to watch a baseball game of no consequence."

"So Mr. Fish, how about teaching some comp classes yourself?"

Stanley Fish kicks that critic's ass.

"If you've ever wanted to explore the world of Wal-Mart but don't live near one, this site is for you."

"Everyone at these stores seems to be topless, pantsless, toothless or all of the above."

HuffPo sniffs (in a piece about various websites HuffPo readers might want to stoop to read).

Coffee is food...

... if they need it to be food to force you to stop smoking.

Political pants.

I thought this...

... was pretty funny... as I searched around the TwistedTwee site after reading about the outrage caused by — can it be? — nipple tassel T-shirts for toddlers...

I searched all over TwistedTwee for the nipple tassel shirts so I could figure out if they really were for kids or were some kind of satire, but I just couldn't find it. Looking, I saw a lot of genuinely amusing things, like this and this...

... and this. Some of that is in bad-ish taste, perhaps intended more as a joke gift than really to be worn by a child.

Should I be more upset?

Can Eliot Spitzer make a comeback?

"Two sources said Spitzer had thought about a gamut of different electoral choices in his months of political exile. But one ally insisted he's realized he can't do anything, at least not next year, saying, 'There are people around him who want to see him [in office], and he sees himself there, too. He loves to be in the limelight. But he knows it can't happen.'"

Oh, why not? Does anyone care anymore?

"WaPo Style Writer Declares Kennedy Old-Money Style Only Cool on Liberals."

The Weekly Standard rags on Robin Givhan.

Camping with llamas.

"A guide and four llamas would ferry us to and from our campsite, leaving us with two of the llamas to carry our packs on day hikes. Mark Pommier, our llama guide, showed us the saddles, lead lines and panniers, and the picket line for securing the llamas in camp. We practiced snapping buckles and tightening cinches. Mr. Pommier also gave us some insight into the llama psychology. Although they are fuzzy and adorable, batting their Tammy Faye eyelashes, they tend to be aloof — 'more like cats than dogs,' he said. But they’re hard-working and dependable, and would be easygoing companions on the trail."

I've never gone camping, and the idea of walking and camping has always been ruined by the thought of carrying heavy stuff. Getting an animal to carry everything seems like a great solution, but, of course, you have to relate to the animals and take good care of them. Are they really completely adorable? Hmmm....

The travel writer, Helen Olsson, went with her husband and 3 little kids into the San Jan Mountains near Silverton, Colorado, exactly where we were last month.
Bears tend to avoid campsites with llamas. When threatening wildlife approaches, llamas sound a piercing alarm cry.
And the mountain lions? When we saw a mountain lion around those parts, it had been eyeing some cattle. It might have liked llama.

And here's another thing:
Redwood Llamas... offers full-service pack trips that include guide, tents, llamas and meals for $4,000 for four people, four days, or $1,000 a person per day.
$1,000 a person per day? That's 4x what we spent in beautiful luxury at the Ritz-Carleton in Bachelor Gulch — with all the Colorado hiking and scenery during the day and dinner at Spago every night and room-service breakfast on a private balcony every morning.
Less costly is the drop-camp option: The guide leads you in and out; you bring gear and food. A three-day trip in July cost $1,075.
So, you get the equivalent of the hotel only — no food — for $358 a night. That's pretty close to the room rate in the summer at the Ritz-Carleton. And here's where we stayed in Silverton, at the Wyman Hotel, where we paid $183 per night for a very charming room that looked out over the street that is a national landmark.

So llamas are a luxury, a big luxury, even as you are roughing it. You've got to want to do it just as much as you'd like to stay at the Ritz. Your choice.

August 31, 2009

In the Prairie Grass Tavern...


... don't wade in over your head.


Film critic writes a book about snark — called (duh!) "Snark" — and there's nothing to do about it, except...

... snark.
First [David Denby] references one of [Wonkette's] male associate editor’s posts about Chelsea Clinton and suggests that the “young women” who wrote it must have some catty jealousy issues, with their vaginas. Then he writes that we made fun of Ted Kennedy on the day of his brain tumor surgery, citing a post about something else entirely that was written seven months before Kennedy even got cancer. Damn those bloggers, always trying to ruin other peoples’ reputations with false information!

"The 'Menaissance' and Its Dickscontents."

I'm linking to that for the title alone. I don't even care what Will Wilkinson has to say about — presumably — his penis. (Via Jac.)

ADDED: I finally clicked through to the article Wilkinson is talking about and it's from last year. We all talked about it a year ago. (Here's my effort.) The title reeled me in!

"Joe Kennedy, as emotionally drained as he must be, cannot help but be moved..."

"... by the outpouring of affection and respect that has come from people all over the country in the last several days. I’m not saying he is going to run, but he wouldn’t be human and he wouldn’t be a Kennedy if he didn’t give serious thought to running for the so-called Kennedy seat."

Oh, grotesque! So-called Kennedy seat. Who calls it that? I don't. I hope you don't.

George Will on Afghanistan: "America should do only what can be done from offshore..."

"... using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters."

Blight bulbs.

Howard M. Brandson sounds the alarm over our impending loss of incandescent lighting:
As a lighting designer with more than 50 years of experience, having designed more than 2,500 projects including the relighting of the Statue of Liberty, I encourage people who care about their lighting to contact their elected officials and urge them to re-evaluate our nation's energy legislation so that it serves people, not an energy-saving agenda.
I've been stockpiling incandescent bulbs, but I'm still uneasy. Last week, I walked through a beautiful Art Deco building lobby and hallway, where there were gorgeous bronze light fixtures that no longer glowed: The incandescent light bulbs had been replaced by fluorescents. The whole look of the interior was destroyed. I felt like crying. All of our rooms and lobbies and hallways are about to have the life sucked out of them, by a Congress that has no feeling for beauty and the effect of light on human emotions.

May they walk barefoot forever on a sidewalk paved with crushed CFLs.

Jon Voight is not happy with Barack Obama.

And some folks are not very happy with Jon Voight.

Sarah Palin has 950 invitations to do speeches for which she'll be paid in the 6 figures.

950 X $100,000 = $95,000,000.

"Are You an Eco-Douchebag?"

Your reaction to this sign will answer the question:

(Via Boing Boing.)

Is it easier for the poor to up and move to a new place to take advantage of better opportunities?

Ilya Somin thinks that "contrary to conventional wisdom, 'voting with your feet' generally benefits the poor more than the relatively affluent."

It was easier for him when he was poor, anyway:
By contrast, my fiancee and I have recently moved into a new house a mere three miles away from my old condo. For me at least, this move has been more stressful than the previous five combined. Why? Because, due to my much higher pay since becoming a law professor, I now have many more possessions. The packing and unpacking have been a major pain, to put it mildly. Similarly, moving into a house required hiring contractors to do some work to get it ready, and dealing even with good contractors (like the ones recommended to us) is time-consuming and annoying, especially for people who are inexperienced with it. The process of selling the old home and purchasing a new one also requires an investment of time, effort, and money that people moving from one rental unit to another don't have to deal with.
Poverty has its privileges:

But you know, you can have money and not accumulate possessions. In fact, you'll have more money if you don't buy stuff. I'm sorry to point that out when I know we're in a recession in an economy that depends heavily on consumers enthusiastically purchasing things, but the truth is, you can live very simply, and it can be quite rewarding, emotionally and aesthetically. Keep it simple, and you will have more freedom: You can easily — as Ilya says — relocate; you have more of your money left to buy things if you ever do really want or need something; and you'll have less clutter to look at, worry about, maintain, and fuss over.

Giving the finger from a car in the Kennedy funeral procession.

It "appears to be 21 year old Rose Schlossberg, the daughter of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg and Edwin Schlossberg and granddaughter of former president John Fitzgerald Kennedy."

Obviously, someone in the crowd must have said something to her. What do you think it could have been? Is there anything that could have been said that, in your opinion, would justify her response? Your guesses will be more amusing if they're pro-Teddy.

Maybe she's just giving death the finger. You know, there's laughing at death. I'm thinking of giving death the finger.

"Marijuana seems to be marching mainstream at a fairly rapid pace."

Observes the possibly drug-addled Los Angeles Times:
At least in urban areas such as Los Angeles, cannabis culture is coming out of the closet.

At fashion-insider parties, joints are passed nearly as freely as hors d'oeuvres. Traces of the acrid smoke waft from restaurant patios, car windows and passing pedestrians on the city streets -- in broad daylight. Even the art of name-dropping in casual conversation -- once limited to celebrity sightings and designer shoe purchases -- now includes the occasional boast of recently discovered weed strains such as "Strawberry Cough" and "Purple Kush."...

Marijuana's presence on TV and in the movies has moved from the harbinger of bad things including murderous rage ("Reefer Madness" in 1936) to full-scale hauntings ("Poltergeist" in 1982) and burger runs gone awry ("Harold & Kumar go to White Castle" in 2001) to being just another fixture in the pop-culture firmament. Cannabis crops up on shows such as "Entourage," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "True Blood" and "Desperate Housewives," and even on animated shows such as "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy."...
Well, then, legalization must be right around the corner. Remember thinking that around 1969? I do. In 20 or 30 years, people said, we'll be the ones in Congress, and — ha ha ha ha — there's no way we won't legalize marijuana! It's 40 years now, and what happened?

Back to the LA Times hallucination:
Richard Laermer, a media and pop culture trend watcher and author of several books, including "2011: Trendspotting for the Next Decade," ... points to a ... subtle shift: aging baby boomers — a generation famous for tuning in, turning on and dropping out — who are keeping their party habits going into their golden years.

"It's hard to fathom that the fifty- and sixtysomethings would be against pot after all the pot they smoked," Laermer said, "Their kids would laugh them out of the room if they started telling them not to smoke pot."
Hello? The Boomers have been in power for decades, so I guess we are hard to fathom. Hey, we're deep and complex and... just as hypocritical as every other generation that ever flowered and went to seed. You can laugh at us all you want, but you actually can't laugh us out of the room... or out of Congress.

Quit laughing. Quit whining. Here. You can watch the entire movie "Reefer Madness" (originally titled "Tell Your Children"). It's so old it's in in the public domain...

... and yet marijuana is still illegal. ADDED: Jonah Lehrer:
I recently moved to Los Angeles and I'm still adjusting to all the medical marijuana stores - there are two within a mile of my apartment. And it's not just the dispensaries, with their parking lots full of fancy cars - it's the Amsterdamesque attitude. Light up a joint and people ask for a hit; light up a cigarette and they give you a dirty look.
Speaking of hypocrisy... "medical" marijuana....

August 30, 2009

At the Orange Love Café...


... tell me: Do you love someone because they're like you or because they are different?

Dick Cheney condemns the CIA investigation.

On Fox News Sunday today:
We ask those people to do some very difficult things. Sometimes, that put their own lives at risk. They do so at the direction of the president, and they do so with the -- in this case, we had specific legal authority from the Justice Department. And if they are now going to be subject to being investigated and prosecuted by the next administration, nobody's going to sign up for those kinds of missions. It's a very, very devastating, I think, effect that it has on morale inside the intelligence community. If they assume that they're going to have to be dealing with the political consequences — and it's clearly a political move. I mean, there's no other rationale for why they're doing this — then they'll be very reluctant in the future to do that. ...

We had the president of the United States, President Obama, tell us a few months ago there wouldn't be any investigation like this, that there would not be any look back at CIA personnel who were carrying out the policies of the prior administration. Now they get a little heat from the left wing of the Democratic Party, and they're reversing course on that....

The fact of the matter is the lawyers in the Justice Department who gave us those opinions had every right to give us the opinions they did. Now you get a new administration and they say, well, we didn't like those opinions, we're going to go investigate those lawyers and perhaps have them disbarred. I just think it's an outrageous precedent to set, to have this kind of, I think, intensely partisan, politicized look back at the prior administration.

I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me, frankly, Chris, is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaeda. The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, how did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?
ADDED: John McCain on "Face the Nation":
"I believe that the president was right when he said we ought to go forward and not back. I worry about the morale and effectiveness of the CIA. I worry about this thing getting out of control," the Arizona senator said....

McCain admitted that he was "radically opposed" to the interrogation techniques of the former administration and said, "I think it harmed us."...

"I think these interrogations once publicized helped al-Qaeda recruit. I got that from an al Qaeda operative in a prison camp in Iraq," McCain said. "I think the ability to work with our allies was harmed."

Today, the mushrooms are yellow.


Remember one side makes you larger, and the other makes you small!

Andrew Sullivan trashes the Washington Post for omitting something from its KSM story...

... that the Washington Post included in the story.

How could he make such a mistake? He relied on an Althouse blog commenter! LOL.

And his reading of this blog as "pro-torture" is equally lame.

Come on, Andrew! Raise your game!

I met a dressed-in-black man who walked a white dog...


A mysterious figure on Country Road NN, who seems truly ethereal in the enlargement.

From an expert on "the etiquette of open marriages."

"'I'm a class act in infidelity. I was very clear with my husband from the outset that I would do as I saw fit for myself, and it has nothing to do with him – it's not a sign that he is inadequate in any way. I knew exactly what I was getting into marrying him and he's delightful, kind, supportive, a good husband, a wonderful father and a really nice man. I didn't expect him to be all those wonderful things and a sex god.' In fact, she says the curious thing is that her husband doesn't take lovers, even though she wouldn't mind. 'He isn't a very sexual person,' she explains. They've been 'very happily married' now for nearly 25 years."

"Why Women Continued to Support Ted Kennedy."

By Eleanor Clift.
Organized women's groups overlooked a lot to stand by the senator from Massachusetts. Feminists who proclaimed "The personal is the political" made an exception for Kennedy.
And for Clinton. Face it. Liberal politics always came first for the so-called women's groups, which is why they are not really women's groups at all.

Subliminal argument against coal mining.


(Photographed at the checkout at Whole Foods.)

Did you watch the Teddy Kennedy funeral?

I happened to catch a few minutes of raw feed on C-SPAN showing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver standing around in one of the lulls. But I find it hard to imagine many people watching this long, drawn-out event and think it was pretty weird that there was so much TV coverage. I'll stick to the written word.

Here's the AP:
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was laid to rest alongside slain brothers John and Robert on hallowed ground at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday evening, celebrated for "the dream he kept alive" across the decades since their deaths.
Did they fact check that the ground is holy? At least they put "the dream he kept alive" in quotes and don't assert that he kept a dream alive, whatever that means. (Cue the comments about how he didn't keep Mary Jo Kopechne alive.)
In life, the senator had visited the burial ground often to mourn his brothers, John and Robert, killed in their 40s, more than a generation ago, by assassins' bullets.

"He was given a gift of time that his brothers were not. And he used that time to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow," Obama said in a eulogy that also gently made mention of Kennedy's "personal failings and setbacks."

As a member of the Senate, Kennedy was a "veritable force of nature," the president said. But more than that, the "baby of the family who became its patriarch, the restless dreamer who became its rock."

Those left behind to mourn "grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good he did, the dream he kept alive" Obama said inside the packed church.
It sounds like Obama gave a good speech. Must I read the whole text? I'm not going to watch the video. As I've said, I'm sticking to the written word on this one. The only thing that makes sense of all this attention to the old man's death is that it takes us back to the 2 assassinations, long ago, events that commanded long, drawn-out attention.

"The case against 'harsh interrogation techniques' is easy if they don't work."

Corporate lawprof Gordon Smith applies the same observation to arguments about corporate social responsibility:
Naive commentators often attempt to win points by portraying corporate managers as unenlightened and backward. If they would just act responsibly, the argument often goes, the world would be a better place and corporations would be more profitable to boot!...

The tough issue isn't whether managers should be "responsible" when responsibility pays, but whether managers should forfeit profits to pursue a "responsible" path. Tellingly, corporate law doesn't have much to say on that issue. Legislatures ban many forms of irresponsible behavior, but the marginal cases -- the morally complex cases -- are left to managerial discretion.
Of course, it's great for your argument if you can show that what you think is the moral path is also something that is better for all sorts of selfish reasons (or even if you can just get people to believe that it is). But idealists should want to accept the challenge to show why their position should be taken even if selfish interests point in the other direction. It makes your moral argument stronger if you can get people to believe it even when it requires sacrifice. On the other hand, moralists should think about the consequences of their hardline positions. It's not all about making the strongest argument for what you already believe. You might be wrong, and your imperviousness to real-world effects can be dangerous.

(The terrorists themselves seem to have a hardline moral position that is impervious to real-world effects.)

"Khalid Sheik Mohammed stood before U.S. intelligence officers in a makeshift lecture hall, leading what they called 'terrorist tutorials.'"

The Washington Post tells us just how much KSM told, as a result of the use of "harsh interrogation techniques":
In 2005 and 2006, the bearded, pudgy man who calls himself the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks discussed a wide variety of subjects, including Greek philosophy and al-Qaeda dogma. In one instance, he scolded a listener for poor note-taking and his inability to recall details of an earlier lecture.
The captive terrorist took advantage of the opportunity to act like the kind of teacher who lords his power over you.
Speaking in English, Mohammed "seemed to relish the opportunity, sometimes for hours on end, to discuss the inner workings of al-Qaeda and the group's plans, ideology and operatives," said one of two sources who described the sessions, speaking on the condition of anonymity because much information about detainee confinement remains classified. "He'd even use a chalkboard at times."
Does this perhaps mean that KSM was the kind of guy whose vanity and urge to dominate made him vulnerable to manipulation by non-harsh techniques? Or was it necessary to humiliate him in order to generate an overwhelming hunger to be admired by his captors? (I don't mean to suggest that I know the answers to these questions. I am simply asking them.) The CIA report does call him "an accomplished resistor," who offered little before "he was subjected to an escalating series of coercive methods, culminating in 7 1/2 days of sleep deprivation, while diapered and shackled, and 183 instances of waterboarding."
Mohammed provided the CIA with an autobiographical statement, describing a rebellious childhood, his decision to join the Muslim Brotherhood as a teenager, and his time in the United States as a student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, from where he graduated in 1986 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

"KSM's limited and negative experience in the United States -- which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills -- almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist," according to the intelligence summary. "He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country."
Here's a question for Andrew Sullivan, who flaunts his morality but nevertheless thinks it's okay to toss around the expression "Ann Althouse's pro-torture blog": What do you think made KSM view the US as debauched? I doubt if it was our support of harsh interrogation techniques — whether you use the word "torture" for that or not. I assume it was — in part — the liberty and equality — incomplete though it may be — that women and gay people experience. He wanted to mass-murder us because of that. I'm predicting that Sullivan's answer to my question will be to call me "pro-torture" for asking — that is, not to answer. He's an accomplished resistor resister.
Mohammed provided $1,000 to Ramzi Yousef, a nephew, to help him carry out the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. In 1994, he worked in the Philippines with Yousef, now serving a life sentence at the federal "supermax" prison in Colorado, on a failed plot to down 12 U.S. commercial aircraft over the Pacific.

Mohammed told interrogators it was in the Philippines that he first considered using planes as missiles to strike the United States. He took the idea to Osama bin Laden, who "at first demurred but changed his mind in late 1999," according to the summary.

Mohammed described plans to strike targets in Saudi Arabia, East Asia and the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks, including using a network of Pakistanis "to target gas stations, railroad tracks, and the Brooklyn bridge in New York." Cross-referencing material from different detainees, and leveraging information from one to extract more detail from another, the CIA and FBI went on to round up operatives both in the United States and abroad.

"Detainees in mid-2003 helped us build a list of 70 individuals -- many of who we had never heard of before -- that al-Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations," according to the CIA summary.
"[R]ound up operatives both in the United States and abroad... build a list of 70 individuals..." That doesn't say that 70 individuals were rounded up, only that 70 were on the list.
Mohammed told interrogators that after the Sept. 11 attacks, his "overriding priority" was to strike the United States, but that he "realized that a follow-on attack would be difficult because of security measures." Most of the plots, as a result, were "opportunistic and limited," according to the summary....

Mohammed was an unparalleled source in deciphering al-Qaeda's strategic doctrine, key operatives and likely targets, the summary said, including describing in "considerable detail the traits and profiles" that al-Qaeda sought in Western operatives and how the terrorist organization might conduct surveillance in the United States.
Without KSM's cooperation, what would have happened? Do those who think he shouldn't have been broken truly vividly picture a second 9/11 level attack, then a third, then a fourth, then a fifth, and so on? I understand wanting to say that morality is absolute and these techniques debase us, undermine who we are (or who we are supposed to be), and should therefore never be used. But where would the people of this country would be if those additional attacks had occurred? I don't think they'd even listen to the kind of criticisms of the techniques that we are hearing now, in our comfortable world where the CIA did what it did to KSM. What then?

ADDED: Andrew Sullivan's post, linked above, says: "A commenter on Ann Althouse's pro-torture blog reminds readers what the Washington Post chose to omit from its story - KSM's debriefing from the Red Cross." And then he's got a quote that is in the Washington Post story! Maybe next time, Andrew, read the source material before you trash it. And don't just rely on the random Althouse blog commenter!