December 26, 2009

Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab.

Some facts about the Christmas Day bomber:

1. He was an engineering student who lived in a $4 million apartment in London.

2. His father, a banker, warned American authorities about his son months ago. (How much will Obama be blamed?)

3. His bombing was interrupted by a passenger, Dutch video director Jasper Schuringa, who heard a noise and saw that "he was holding a burning object between his legs. 'I pulled the object from him and tried to extinguish the fire with my hands and threw it away.'"

4. "He was staring into nothing."

ADDED: Mutallab had a 2-year visa that was issued in 2008, and "the initial information was not specific enough to raise alarms that he could potentially carry out a terrorist attack":
“The information was passed into the system, but the expression of radical extremist views were very nonspecific,” said the senior administration official, who has been briefed on the inquiry but spoke on condition of anonymity because it is continuing. “We were evaluating him, but the information we had was not a lot to go on.”
Satisfied with the job the administration is doing protecting us from terrorism? George Bush protected the American homeland after 9/11. Is Obama taking it seriously enough? Would Bush have kept Mutallab off that plane?

"My 'C,' 'D,' and 'F' students this semester are almost exclusively American..."

"... while my students from India, China, and Latin America have - despite language barriers - generally written solid papers, excelled on exams, and become valuable class participants."

The Shalala Bowl.

Miami and Wisconsin.

At the Old Snowman Café...


... melt with us.


Is it baseball time yet?

"10 Reasons This Was TV's Decade."

10 reasons...

Add an 11th: We got older and stopped going out so much (which is the same reason every decade is TV's.)

Let the President stay in the White House — or, at most, retreat to Camp David.

"President Barack Obama’s Christmas Day began with a briefing about a botched attack on an airliner in Detroit and ended with a visit to a dining hall for members of the military. His holiday vacation was designed to be an island respite from the pressures of the White House."

Well, tough. Whoever puts himself forward to become President is asking to be on call constantly for the next 4 years — every day of the year, around the clock.

"Obama and first lady Michelle Obama made a quick trip to Marine Corps Base Hawaii after a private day exchanging gifts and eating a holiday meal of roast beef at their rented home in Kailua — between briefings on the disrupted plot of suspected terrorism."

Why, exactly, are they in Hawaii — over 5,000 miles* from the White House? I'm not criticizing Obama in particular for going on vacations. I mean to criticize all the Presidents who go far away from Washington. If they need respite, let them go to Camp David. It's close to the White House, and it's set up for security. I can see returning to one's permanent residence, but even that is a luxury the President should eschew. The Christmas Day terror attempt may seem paltry, but it is a reminder of what can happen. And when it does, it would be better if the President were not out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (or even in some schoolhouse in Florida).


* I came up with the 5,000 miles figure the way I normally get the miles between 2 places in the U.S.: I put the names of the 2 places into Google maps to get driving directions. What does Google maps do when there is a big ocean in the middle of the drive? Check it out. It's funny.

ADDED: Instapundit thinks it's okay for the Prez, like anybody else, to take "a tropical island trip," as long as he shuts up about carbon emissions. (I'd take that deal too.)

Tigerhawk thinks
we ought to cut the Prez some slack because "for him, it is going home." He got to be President via Chicago. He cultivated deep roots in Chicago as a very conscious political scheme. So I'll accept the "home for Christmas" argument if he goes to Chicago.

December 25, 2009

At the Christmas Inn...


... I hope you got everything you wanted.

A Christmas day terror attack.

"The 23-year-old suspect lighted a powdery substance as the aircraft was preparing for landing, around noon, a federal counterterrorism official said. Two other passengers on the flight noticed, and a third person jumped on the man, the official said...."

Memories, at the cellular level.

When something is in your memory it exists in the cellular structure of your brain. I'll never get over how weird that is. If you have the most casual encounter with another person, they become part of your body. How dare they! How intimately invasive!

I get distracted at that level, and I suppose that means I'm restructuring the cells of my brain, since I'm thinking about it. But right now, I want to think about exactly what is going on:
"When something comes into your brain -- a thought, some sort of stimulus, you see something interesting, you hear some music -- synapses get activated," said [Kenneth S. Kosik, co-director and Harriman Chair in Neuroscience Research, at UCSB's Neuroscience Research Institute]. "What happens next is really interesting, but to follow the pathway our experiments moved to cultured neurons. When synapses got activated, one of the proteins wrapped around that silencing complex gets degraded."
When the signal comes in, the wrapping protein degrades or gets fragmented. Then the RNA is suddenly free to synthesize a new protein.
"One reason why this is interesting is that scientists have been perplexed for some time as to why, when synapses are strengthened, you need to have proteins degrade and also make new proteins," said Kosik. "You have the degradation of proteins going on side by side with the synthesis of new proteins. So we have now resolved this paradox. We show that protein degradation and synthesis go hand in hand. The degradation permits the synthesis to occur. That's the elegant scientific finding that comes out of this."
See? Something elegant just happened.

Fat or wrinkly...

You choose.

On the night of the crash, Elin Nordegren "roused Woods from an Ambien-enhanced sleep by whacking him with a golf club."

That's the report. If it's true, then Nordegren committed a very serious criminal attack. Attempted murder, perhaps.

IN THE COMMENTS: AllenS wrote: "Nonsense, it was a wake up call." Now, I was going to use a "wake-up call" wisecrack in the original post. Why did I reject it? Because it would signal that women's violence against men isn't really dangerous, isn't really a crime. It would say that when a woman has a righteous reason to be angry at her man, what would otherwise be a crime is not a crime. Think about how ugly it is to hit someone with a golf club while he is asleep. Did she know it was an Ambien-induced sleep — from which it will be very difficult to wake up and defend himself? How hard a swing did she take at him? It seems it was scary enough to make him run out of the house and attempt to drive — quickly — when he was in no condition to drive.

ADDED: Dr. Helen writes:
[T]o use a weapon to whack him and run him out to the car to escape, if this is what really happened, is not the way to resolve a problem like this, nor should it be legal for a male or female to beat their spouse with a weapon for cheating. It is very dangerous in this case, because, as a man, Woods probably had no other recourse than to get in the car and get away, or face being put in jail for defending himself.

Christmas breakfast.

I'm blogging Christmas breakfast. Here at Meadhouse, there's a choice of: 1. blueberry waffles, and 2. fried mush.

What are you having?

Lactose intolerance.

Remember when there was an epidemic of claims of lactose intolerance? It was such that there was a "Seinfeld" bit about it:
Jerry: I have never seen one episode of "I Love Lucy" in my life ever.

Donna: That's amazing.

Jerry: Thank you.

Donna: Is there anything else about you I should know?

Jerry: Yes, I'm lactose intolerant.

Donna: Really?

Jerry: I have no patience for lactose. And I won't stand for it. Uhm, I'll be right back. (Goes to bathroom)
You don't hear about lactose intolerance anymore, for some reason. Or I don't. Maybe you do.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

It's Christmas. I hope life is beautiful for you.

December 24, 2009

"My husband and I both wanted our children to have a traditional childhood, which didn't include being dragged from place to place on the road. So we decided to live a simpler life."

So said rock and roll icon Patti Smith.

"We felt like we were throwing joke Molotov cocktails, and then the room burst into flames."

Stephen Colbert reflects on his infamous performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner. (Blogged here at the time.)
When the dinner was over, "I don't think I'm dying. I go to sit down and nobody's meeting my eye. Only [the late journalist-turned-White House spokesman] Tony Snow comes over and says I'm doing a great job." Then Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia came his way and told him he was brilliant.

"I said, oh, s-, don't let me like Antonin Scalia!"

"I won’t marry because I am too afraid of taking him for granted or him taking me for granted..."

"... maybe it will be a good excuse for a party when I am 80."

Said Susan Sarandon a while back. Sarandon is nowhere near 80. She's 63. The man she pictured herself growing old with, Tim Robbins, is 51. They'd been together for 23 years. No more.

Does it make it any easier not being married? Yes, I always knew this was temporary? You know the old hippie poster:
You do your thing, I'll do mine.
You go your way, I'll go mine.
And if we end up together...
It's beautiful.

The Senate finally passes the health care bill — and the question is, for people who wanted the bill to pass: How good or bad are they supposed to feel?

Liberals mull nuancefully:

"There is so much that is wrong with it -- and the way it was made -- and, at the same time, so much that is right that you just have to shake your head in despair and in wonder." — David Broder.

"At the moment of ... historical triumph, liberals are retreating from politics into languor, rage, and other incarnations of anti-politics. One day they may look back upon this time with longing." — Jonathan Chait.

"It's been a long time since the legislative system did anything this big, and people have forgotten how awful the victories are. But these are the victories, and if they feel bad to many, they will do good for more. As that comes clearer and clearer, this bill will come to feel more and more like the historic advance it actually is." — Ezra Klein.

December 23, 2009

Sinornithosaurus, the bird-lizard with venomous fangs.

"You wouldn't have seen it coming... It would have swooped down behind you from a low-hanging tree branch and attacked from the back. It wanted to get its jaws around you. Once the teeth were embedded in your skin the venom could seep into the wound. The prey would rapidly go into shock, but it would still be living, and it might have seen itself being slowly devoured by this raptor."

"It went over well except for one person who thought it was blasphemous and tried to knock over our Festivus pole."

"He refused to come to the potluck, was forced to, came, ate all the food and left without saying thank you. Grievances were aired about him."

Are you participating in the feats of strength and airing of the grievances?

I say Obama never intended to close Guantanamo.

So the Guantanamo detainees won't be moved to Illinois after all? I am so not surprised.
While Mr. Obama has acknowledged that he would miss the Jan. 22 deadline for closing [Guantanamo] that he set shortly after taking office, the administration appeared to take a major step forward last week when he directed subordinates to move “as expeditiously as possible” to acquire the Thomson Correctional Center, a nearly vacant maximum-security Illinois prison, and to retrofit it to receive Guantánamo detainees.

But in interviews this week, officials estimated that it could take 8 to 10 months to install new fencing, towers, cameras and other security upgrades before any transfers take place. Such construction cannot begin until the federal government buys the prison from the State of Illinois.

The federal Bureau of Prisons does not have enough money to pay Illinois for the center, which would cost about $150 million. Several weeks ago, the White House approached the House Appropriations Committee and floated the idea of adding about $200 million for the project to the military spending bill for the 2010 fiscal year, according to administration and Congressional officials.

But Democratic leaders refused to include the politically charged measure in the legislation. When lawmakers approved the bill on Dec. 19, it contained no financing for Thomson.
Well, of course. Why throw way $150 million — or $200 million — building another facility when these people are already safely and securely detained in Guantanamo? Symbolism? Too expensive! And also politically unpopular. I think Obama knew when he announced the Thomson plan that the Democrats in Congress would oppose him. He didn't want the transfer to happen and he didn't think it would happen. He has never intended to close Guantanamo. I was pretty sure of that last January. He has only intended to appease the folks who wanted him to and to make it possible to claim that he really tried.

The webcam that can't see black people.

"I think my blackness is interfering with the computer's ability to follow me..."

Wanda Zamen and Desi Cryer say they didn't really mean to make a viral video and cause everyone to talk about whether HP computers are racist.

"Transvestites, Mao, Obama On Mt. Rushmore Adorn White House Christmas Tree."

View the pics.

Your response?
It's shocking.
It's kind of cool and hip.
The controversy is a pointless distraction.
These secular images appropriately offset the religiosity of WH Xmas displays. free polls

December 22, 2009

The D.C. mayor signed the same-sex marriage bill in a church.

In a church!
Two weeks after giving the measure preliminary approval, the Washington, DC, City Council on December 15 adopted a marriage equality law. The 11-2 vote in support of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009 was identical to the first-round tally on December 1.

Three days later, in a ceremony at All Souls Unitarian Church in the city’s Mount Pleasant section, Democratic Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the measure, with his parents, Phil and Jan Fenty, an interracial couple looking on....
In a church???
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty['s...] staff scrambled to find the perfect location....

Would it be All Souls Unitarian Church, a Northwest house of worship known for its diversity, liberalism and welcoming of same-sex couples? Would it be Covenant Baptist Church...?...

[The Rev. Robert Hardies, All Souls' senior pastor] said Fenty's decision to sign the bill in a church was telling. "This is symbolic of the strong religious support for this bill in D.C.," he said, noting that more than 100 clergy members had signed a declaration in support of same-sex marriage.

The measure was opposed by other religious leaders. The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has strongly opposed the bill, saying that its charitable arm might have to cancel its contract with the city to deliver social services.
What a shameful and embarrassing display! Here you are, purporting to extend rights to people, and flouting the fundamental principle of keeping government separate from religion. The perfect location? Yes, it was the perfect location to show your lack of respect for constitutional limitations on government.

"I have so many things in me that you can't even guess them all." — Kim Peek.

Kim Peek, the real "Rain Man," dead now, at 58.
... Mr Peek was diagnosed as severely mentally retarded and his parents were advised to place him in an institution and forget about him. Thirty years later, he was classified as a "mega-savant," a genius in about 15 different subjects, from history and literature and geography to numbers, sports, music and dates....

He would read eight books a day, taking just ten seconds to read a page. He could read two pages simultaneously, his left eye reading the left page and his right eye reading the right page.

But throughout his life he still needed 24-hour care. Despite his great mental agility, his motor skills remained limited; he could not perform simple tasks such as dressing himself or combing his hair.

His father Fran became his sole carer after Mr Peek's parent divorced in 1975. Fran Peek said that care of his son was a 30-hour-day, 10-day-a-week job but he did it devotedly, encouraging Kim to make the most of his abilities. But Mr Peek remained deeply introverted. It was not until he met Dustin Hoffman, when the Hollywood star was researching his role in Rain Man, that he could look into another person's face. He was 37 at the time.

Is Obama now deliberately avoiding the term "czar"?

"Today the White House announced the President’s new White House Cybersecurity Coordinator, Howard Schmidt."


Last September on the White House website, Anita Dunn called out critics of the term "czar":
 ... Although some Members have asked serious questions around the makeup of the White House staff, the bulk of the noise you hear began first with partisan commentators, suggesting that this is somehow a new and sinister development that threatens our democracy. This is, of course, ridiculous....

... Darrell Issa, a Republican from California and one of the leaders in calling for an investigation into the Obama Administration’s use of "czars", had to admit to Fox News that he had never raised any objections to the Bush Administration’s use of "czars". Many of these members who now decry the practice have called on Presidents in the past to appoint "czars" to coordinate activities within the government to address immediate challenges. What is clear is that all of this energy going into these attacks could be used to have a constructive conversation about bringing this country together to address our challenges moving forward – and it doesn’t take a "czar" to bring that about! Just some folks willing to act in good faith.
You can call people out or you can just stop doing nonessential things that open you to criticism. And when you're engaged in a grand enterprise of amassing power, calling your minions "czars" is unnecessary, to say the least.

Popcorn, the breakfast cereal.


We made corn.

"In the 19th and 20th centuries we made stuff: corn and steel and trucks."

Another David Brooks first line.

Icy sidewalks and hating to use salt.

I don't want any floor-damaging grit either. So, what's left? I found this:
When I had a wooden deck I used to scatter cracked corn after shoveling, and I used it on the sidewalks as well. The cracked corn provided plenty of traction, and if it was tracked in it wouldn't damage flooring. Besides providing much needed traction on the otherwise slippery deck, the cracked corn was also a great snack for the birds and squirrels. Nothing went to waste, and no one ever fell on my sidewalks or backyard deck.
We love corn here at Meadhouse, so I love this idea, assuming it works. And, yes, I do care.

ADDED: Or am I going to have to fight my way through swarming squirrels to get out of the house?

Ezra Klein responds to Jane Hamsher's 10 reasons to kill the health care bill.

The liberals are fighting amongst themselves, forcing out some useful points.

"Like Wally Cox... and Don Knotts, Mr. Stang was a natural for roles requiring a milquetoast, a pest or a nerd."

The last of the milquetoast triumvirate is gone.

Arnold Stang was 91. I wish I could come up with some good video on YouTube. I wanted the old "What a chunk o' chocolate" Chunky commercial. (Great commercial, but it never tricked me into trying what was obviously a disgusting candy bar.) Or the garage destruction scene in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." What is YouTube for if not for that?

ADDED: Out of the milquetoast persona, Stang was the voice of the cartoon character Top Cat. Watch episode #1 here. And here's Stang talking about "Top Cat":

"But before we cede the entire moral penthouse to 'committed vegetarians' and 'strong ethical vegans'..."

"... we might consider that plants no more aspire to being stir-fried in a wok than a hog aspires to being peppercorn-studded in my Christmas clay pot."

I've heard the old plants-have-feelings-too riposte many, many times, but Natalie Angier puts her all into it. Pretty amusing.

"I can’t tell you the number of people who come up to me and hug and kiss me and touch me, and some of them in tears."

"I wish there was a way of keeping that without the commercialization of me. Because when I spoke my words I spoke them freely, and I never intended for people to make money off them, because that seems wrong to me."

The words were "Wise Latina."

Grande Conservative Blogress Diva.

Once again, I'm nominated for this title. Once again, I won't win. Tell me all the reasons why I shouldn't. I've heard it all before.

"Can I have your hair in my next life?"

Brittany Murphy's last interview.

December 21, 2009

We've now endured the shortest day.

Enjoy the long night.

Must be Santa!

Orangutans need...

... corridors.

"Go! Oriental Angel."

A Chinese reality show shines a light on Chinese racism.
"After the contest started, I often got more attention than the other girls. It made me feel strange," Lou [Jing] said.

The reality show hosts fondly called her "chocolate girl" and "black pearl." The Chinese media fixated on her skin color. Netizens flooded Web sites with comments saying she "never should have been born" and telling her to "get out of China."...

"We lived in a small circle before," said her mother....

"She used to wonder why she had black skin," said one classmate. "We thought about this question together and decided to tell her it's because she likes dark chocolate. So her skin turned darker gradually."

Another classmate weighed in, "We said it's because she used to drink too much soy sauce."

"Whereas positive mood seems to promote creativity, flexibility, co-operation and reliance on mental shortcuts..."

"... negative moods trigger more attentive, careful thinking, paying greater attention to the external world."

"For those who might like a hint or two: 'Gary Oldman' is Albert Goldman..."

Blech. If you have to explain it, all the fun and surprise is gone.

I am reminded of the entry of the lion in the play within a play in "A Midsummer Night's Dream":
You, ladies, you, whose gentle hearts do fear
The smallest monstrous mouse that creeps on floor,
May now perchance both quake and tremble here,
When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
Then know that I, one Snug the joiner, am
A lion-fell, nor else no lion's dam;
For, if I should as lion come in strife
Into this place, 'twere pity on my life.
I wonder if the editors' meetings about the need for a prologue were as ridiculous as the discussions among the actors in the old play.
I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the
ladies out of their wits, they would have no more
discretion but to hang us: but I will aggravate my
voice so that I will roar you as gently as any
sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the Beatles:

"Every senator uses whatever leverage they have to help their states. That’s the way it has been. That’s the way it will always be."

David Axelrod expects us to deal with the nasty aspects of American federalism.

Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming...

Did your state win?

Tom Coburn's prayer.

"What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight. That's what they ought to pray."

Yikes. And everyone knew he was talking about Byrd:
It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) who has been in and out of hospitals and lay at home ailing. It would not be easy for Byrd to get out of bed in the wee hours with deep snow on the ground and ice on the roads -- but without his vote, Democrats wouldn't have the 60 they needed.
Clearly, God made the final call, and He came through for the Democrats. All glory to the government, which, I trust will take care of us until the Death Panel Lord Almighty says it's time to go.

Supreme Court ideology and the career paths of Supreme Court clerks.

A new study shows:
Clerks from conservative chambers are now less likely to teach. If they do, they are more likely to join the faculties of conservative and religious law schools. Republican administrations are now much more likely to hire clerks from conservative chambers, and Democratic administrations from liberal ones. Even law firm hiring splits along ideological lines....

The rise of the organized conservative legal movement, including notably the Federalist Society, seems to have changed that, perhaps as a result of the sense among conservatives that law school faculties are overwhelmingly liberal.

“Certain kids coming out of the conservative movement were not feeling comfortable with traditional law schools,” said Harvey Rishikof, another author of the study and a law professor at the National War College.

"May the best man win."

That's not what you want to say when you're competing against a woman, and women are judging the contest. But I would have voted for you, Li'l Russell. Come back soon — on an "All Stars" show.

December 20, 2009

It's Obama's fault.

Says Feingold.

"I find it embarrassing. I hear people speaking against the very idea of having rental housing."

"In terms of doing its part to meet the need for affordable housing, the village is so far behind the rest of the county, it's ridiculous."

It's Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin, where, in the words of one Village Board member, "People who live here are in for the long haul... This project increases the voting rolls by 20 percent with people who have different values - I'm not saying bad values - but different values from what we have here...."

(Thanks to Irene for the link.)

At the Winter Café...


... you can heat up the conversation.

''2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine.''

''My deepest condolences go out 2 Brittany's family, her husband, & her amazing mother Sharon."

Ashton Kutcher tweets the death of Brittany Murphy, his erstwhile girlfriend. The actress, who was terrific in "Clueless" and "8 Mile," was only 32.

The health care bill as a "starter home."

And that's supposed to be a good thing.

"DC Cop Waves Gun at Snowball Fight!" Sorry. I'm siding with the cop.

"DC Cop Waves Gun at Snowball Fight!"  — that's the Reason Magazine headline on this video:

Additional text at the video page:
Around 2.30PM on Saturday, December 19, during a historic snowstorm, residents at the intersection of 14th and U Streets NW started throwing snowballs at passing Hummers.
There is a difference between a snowball fight and throwing snowballs at moving vehicles. In a snowball fight — like this cool one in Madison a couple weeks ago — you have voluntary participants playing at fighting with each other. Throwing snowballs at cars, on the other had, is surprising people who happen upon the scene and it's distracting them — and doing so at a time when it is particularly difficult to drive. Drivers do not know the extent of the interference when it begins, and they can be frightened or easily stimulated into braking or accelerating — when there is snow and ice and when pedestrians are nearby. Whether the vehicles are Hummers or not makes no difference. Were they protesting gas guzzling? That might seem cute or righteous or harmless, but it might not be. The drivers don't know.
One of the cars pelted was driven by a plainclothes police officer identified only as Det. Baylor. Baylor got out of his car and brandished his gun at the crowd.
"Brandished" is a heavy word and "brandished... at" connotes that he pointed the gun at people, which he did not.'s Dan Hayes was on the scene, capturing the tense confrontation between police and citizens who chanted "Don't bring a gun to a snowball fight!"
This reminds me of the 1960s era demonstrations where it seemed like a good idea to taunt the police instead of showing them respect. Baylor got out of his car, apparently, to try to deal with disorder that he couldn't have known the precise nature of. Alone, facing a confusing crowd, he got his gun in his hand.

Why couldn't people have spoken with him in a civil way and conveyed the assurance that there was no problem requiring police attention? Did they consider that there might be people elsewhere in the city, during the snow emergency, who actually would have benefited from help from a police officer who got delayed by unruly adults who thought snow suspended the rules and made it okay to throw objects at moving cars?

The quoted chant is "Don't bring a gun to a snowball fight!" and that sounds funny and fun-loving, but it got me thinking of the encounters with police that we saw in the 1960s when it took next to nothing to provoke shouts of "police brutality" and "pig." And in fact, if you watched the whole video, you heard the shout "Fuck you, pig."

I'm siding with the cop.

IN THE COMMENTS: Chef Mojo says "This was no innocent snowball fight" and links here, to a post at futureMAGINING, written at 1:39, about 40 minutes before Baylor arrived, called "Announcing The DC Snowpocalypse Guerilla Snowball Fight 2009!"
Where? 14th & U st. NW
What? Massive guerilla snowball fight in the middle of the street.
A fun snowball fight would be sited in a park of some kind, not in the middle of the street.
When? Saturday, December 19th, 2009 @ 2 PM.
We will also be tweeting details at
If you try to go to that twitter page now, it says "Sorry, the profile you were trying to view has been suspended due to strange activity."
The only way to play it safe is to bring a posse. This may be complete anarchy.

Remember, if you’re throwing a snowball- you’re game.
Now, that could be a set-up for fun, like the Madison snowball fight, but not in a busy city street.  The first few comments say that the fight belongs in a park, and the "admin" responds: "The reason we’re calling it a 'guerilla snowball fight' is because it’s in the middle of the street." If someone called the police, they were right to respond.

Now, futureMAGINING has a statement up about the incident, written by Yousef Ali:
The “detective” who started waving his gun around inappropriately without even identifying himself as an officer of the law needs to be reprimanded.  To those who were there with us at the snowball fight, the difference of knowing that the person waving a gun is a hot-headed law enforcement agent who is unlikely to shoot outside of strict protocol versus a random thug with a penchant for violence is HUGE.  When that gun was drawn, many feared for their lives and those of their friends.
Watching the video, I wondered why so many people were laughing and hanging around... and taunting the man. That's not how I'd behave if I thought I might be near a "random thug" with a gun in his hand. I'd say their behavior shows they knew he was a cop attempting to follow whatever the protocol is when one man faces a mob. Unfortunately, the video does not show the entire confrontation.

A debate about Althouse.

In the comments to yesterday's "right-wing reaction was predictable" post, there was a debate about Althouse that I feel like front-paging. After MediaMatters had called me "right wing" and Crack Emcee pronounced that "hilarious,"  Tonejunkie said:
What Althouse’s fans are too naïve to figure out is that her claim she voted for Obama is her shtick. It's what she thinks gives her, as a right-wing blogger, something unique and interesting to talk about. Plus, it gives the impression she has more balanced-observer credibility, that all her criticism of and complaining about him (which, aside from neutral/ambiguous comments, is all there is -- there are no positive comments) carries more weight and bonafides because, after all, “she voted for him.” In their obliviousness, they eat it up and Althouse becomes a favorite because yes, it does feel more truthful and satisfying when someone from a different political camp observes things you knew to be true all along -- when they concede things that your political camp got right. When they go rogue. Problem is, Althouse is not from a different camp, she’s from their own. She’s playing a game. She’s going after blog hits. It’s way past time they grew out of this naivetee, but like children and Santa, maybe they’re better off clinging to the belief.
The Crack Emcee responded:
... Ann might be going for blog hits. Big whoop. That's allowed. But, from where I sit, she also appears to be some kind of observation machine, so it figures she'd alight on an interesting topic, or seven. I don't like all of her choices but, clearly, I like a lot of 'em. Don't hate on her because she's good. We need more good things. I'm all about things getting even better.

I think, like a fellow Leftist reviewing Rush Limbaugh, you miss the point of Ann Althouse's little salon (and, thus, why it's successful and, possibly, even influential) and, especially, how I see it and her. This is a free speech zone. This is what Jazz musicians get to do after all the paying customers go home.... And this is where a unique, and, I think, more workable form of conservatism is residing. Can't find much like it anywhere else.

And that's to Ann's credit, big time. I don't know what she set out to accomplish with this, but the fact she hasn't chased this crowd away is, in my opinion, kinda brave. She's not afraid of us, as you are, and we embrace her for that. When she and Meade say "We love you, Crack!" it means something to me, personally, even if it can ring of paternalistic white guilt or something. I, very much, love them in return.

So, is she conservative? Not on your life - but she's changing, right before our eyes, and that's worthy of applause - not condemnation. You can knock her for dissing the president, but that's just a sign you're brain-dead and she ain't. The guy's a douche. Y'all fucked up, but unlike many, she can finally see it and so we're not gonna completely torture her over it. Conservatism is supposed to be a "big tent", and she's built one herself, so there.

The fact you don't feel comfortable under it says much more about you, than her, by a long shot. We conservatives like this woman, faults and all, just as we do Sarah Palin, and that pro-woman stance, too, goes against the image you carry of we "troglodytes", so it's no surprise, to us, you still can't accept that you're the one with the vision problem.

With her keen eye, good humor, winning smile, a sense of fairness, and very feminine ways, Ann gives herself a very good name - and that name, as we all know, is "Althouse".
Thanks. We do love you, Crack. And, here, have some blog hits.

"Obama... is having a Harriet Miers moment. Or, rather, he's having a George W. Bush moment."

"When Bush nominated the in-over-her-head Miers to the Supreme Court, his fan base turned on him. As one ardent Bush supporter told me at the time: 'It was in that moment that I realized he really might not know what he's doing.' And so things seem to have turned for Obama. Left-leaning Democrats suddenly are wondering: Who is this guy? What happened to the liberal dream-maker... ?"

The tragic narrative arc of Barack Obama: The world built him up, and the world is tearing him back down.