March 6, 2010




(2 more pictures from the Spring Flower Show at Olbrich Gardens — which continues through March 21.)



At the Blue Sky Café...



... you can be as true or fake as you want.

"Pretty cranky this morning, it seems."

Says commenter Richard Dolan, noting some things I've said today:
"Please don't stumble embarrassingly over yourself ...." She knows you can't help yourself, and wants to enjoy the spectacle.

"pissily political but you might want to read it" -- if you're a jerk, that is.

"nitwits" in twitterville, following/followed by Rover and thinking that's cool.

WSJ is just playing "teaser" behind the wall, and teasers are lowlifes who get a thrill out of proving that you can't get and don't deserve no satisfaction.

The lady's face is "80 years out of date." Gross lookism in/about the face, from a supposed feminist.

"bitch about the accuracy of the journalism of the NYT" -- bitch, bitch, bitch. It's today's theme.
But I'm not in a bad mood in real life. It's a beautiful, sunny morning in pre-Spring Madison, Wisconsin. I guess it's time to shut the laptop and open the front door.

$9.8 trillion.

$9.8 trillion. I'm sorry. I have nothing to say. The number is utterly incomprehensible. If you think it is not, I'm going to assume it is because your brain has less, not more, capacity than mine. Please don't stumble embarrassingly over yourself trying to prove otherwise.

"The other interesting thing about her face is that it represents a style of beauty about 80 years out of fashion."

"Certain faces go in and out of style and she has the pursed lips, luminous eyes and heart-shaped face of a silent screen star from the '20s."

"So, it turns out 'plethora' is not the anatomical term for a naughty bit."

"That would explain why my friend Ruben has had no luck at all incorporating it into a pick-up line. Neither, it seems, is 'plectrum', which I now see in hindsight is the reason my doctor looked puzzled when I told him mine was red and swollen. Vocabulary can be a minefield for the unsuspecting. To his credit, though, my doctor looks puzzled and mildly annoyed when I say anything at all. He sees any comment of a symptomatic nature I might make as a willful erection of a roadblock against the swift completion of his Anthem-sanctioned rounds...."

That's the beginning of the text of a Crack Skull Bob post called "A Plethora of Devices" — which has some great drawings — of the completely SFW variety. The remainder of the text is less sexy and more pissily political than what you might want to read, but you might enjoy it. And, again, the drawings are very cool.

I keep wanting to blog editorials in the Wall Street Journal.

But I can't, because they're all just teasers that go behind a subscription wall. My getting a subscription wouldn't make these things bloggable, and if I can't blog it, I go looking for something else to read. I wish they'd reconsider!

"Karl Rove (KarlRove) is now following your tweets on Twitter."

Would that enthuse you? If so, you're a nitwit — a twitwit. "Karl Rove is following 96071 people." 116120 people are following him. Be impressed if you're one of the elite 20049 who follow him without being followed. If you want to be impressed with yourself. It's not recommended. Not in the twitterverse anyway.

"Edith started screaming, 'Stop the car, let me out!' [Jackson Pollock] put his foot all the way to the floor. He was speeding wildly."

The Oldsmobile 88 convertible threw Ruth Kligman clear of the death wreck and back into a long life, in which she was not only able to write that description of how her lover Pollack killed himself and her friend Edith Metzger, but she got to paint her own abstract expressionist paintings and to become — if I am to believe this NYT obituary — a great muse:
Irving Penn and Robert Mapplethorpe made portraits of her; Willem de Kooning, with whom she was romantically involved, titled a 1957 painting “Ruth’s Zowie,” supposedly after she made that exclamation upon seeing it...
"It" being the painting, right? Or are these buried sex jokes? "Ms. Kligman said that de Kooning had called her 'his sponge'" — supposedly because she absorbed so much learning about art from him. I'm thinking a man calling a woman "his sponge" — presumably the quote is "my sponge" — is thinking about spewing something other than information.
Andy Warhol mentions her in his diaries several times, and she wrote that they “had a terrific crush on each other” for many years; she was friendly with Jasper Johns, to whom she once proposed, and with Franz Kline, whose former studio on 14th Street became her home and the studio where she continued to paint almost to the end of her life.
The full text of Andy Warhol's diaries ought to be on line.  That's what the internet is for. But you can go to Amazon and do a "search inside the book" for Kligman. So let's check out the substance of that terrific crush. Page 7:
I read the Ruth Kligman book Love Affair about her "love affair" with Jackson Pollock — and that's in quotes. It's so bad — how could you ever make a movie of it without making it a whole new story? Ruth told me she wants me to produce it and Jack Nicholson to star.

In the book she says something like, "I had to get away from Jackson and I ran as far as possible." So do you know where she went? (laughs) Sag Harbor. He lived in Springs. So that's — what? Six miles? And she was making it like she went to the other side of the world. And then she said, "The phone rang — how oh how did he ever find me?" I'm sure she called hundreds of people to give them the number in case he asked them. 
Ha. Terrific crush. Page 17:
Read the Ruth Kligman book again, she was driving Jackson Pollock crazy in the car and that's when he ran into the pole.
Page 19:
Ruth Kligman had called me that afternoon and I told her I was seeing Jack Nicholson and I would talk to him about starring in the Jackson Pollock movie. She asked me if I would take her to meet Jack and I said no. (laughs) I wouldn't take her anywhere after reading her book. She killed Pollock, she was driving him so nuts.
Terrific crush. Terrific crash.

Page 35:
Ruth Kligman kissed me and I didn't know what she was doing, she started talking all about a love affair she and we had had together, apologizing for breaking it off, kissing me, and it was all a fantasy, so I thought if she could do that with me, then she probably never had a love affair with Pollock. She looked good. She was in a velvet Halston. 
Terrific crush. Can I bitch about the accuracy of the journalism in the New York Times when it's the lady's obituary? She died at — not 88, like the Oldsmobile — 80.

She never got her book made into a movie, but they did eventually make a movie "Pollock" — and Kligman sued the filmmakers for ripping off her memoir. The obit doesn't say if she won, lost, or settled. (And I'm not seeing a reported case.) Jack Nicholson never played the role. It was Ed Harris. Kligman — who looked, it was written,  like one of those "earthy, voluptuous movie stars of the era, such as Elizabeth Taylor or Sophia Loren" — was played by Jennifer Connelly:

March 5, 2010

Shape up! It's pre-Spring.

"A North Korean factory worker has been executed by firing squad for sneaking news out of the country on his illicit mobile phone..."

"The armaments factory worker was accused of divulging the price of rice and other information on living conditions to a friend who had defected to South Korea years ago.... The man, surnamed Chong, made calls to the defector using an illegal Chinese mobile phone...."

Via Roger Ebert, who tweets it as a joke: "And we complain about our mobile phones." I try to understand the motivation toward comedy. Is it our great distance and alienation from North Korea? Or should I be charitable and say that was never meant to seem amusing?

And a light shall radiate from His left ear...

Oh. Sorry. I was just feeling nostalgic for the old "The One" days. Remember? Maybe whoever does the White House Flickr page is feeling that way too, because that image just went up. Or are we supposed to see the Prez as hard working, sleeves rolled up, serious, studious... ?

Crying at the movies.

I can't vouch for the audio — I'm where I have to keep the sound off — but the video is making me laugh a lot — silently, of course. Later, maybe I will cry like this adorable woman who cries — filmed by her husband — as she's watching movies on TV. Such an intimate relationship — to be able to weep in front of someone like that. And nice to share the sweetness. An excellent use of the YouTube.

At the Blue Path Café...


... we're quite happy and ready to talk all afternoon.

They're bullying the princess!

The granddaughter of the Emperor!

"Men are intimidated by me."

"My friends say, 'You have to find someone more famous and successful than you, or someone who's so happy with their own life they can handle the attention you get.' I want to be worshipped and adored, but then again I also love to be ignored. Hurgh! It’s the same old, same old."

Let me second that: Hurgh!

"If the White House retreats from a civilian trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the others..."

"... not only is it terribly weak optics in the short run, but it cements in the public mind for the long term all the worst fears Republicans have not just been able to sow, but will continue to sow. Think of the worst possible scenario for what would have happened to New York City, no matter how remote, then insert that into a campaign ad. There's no way to disprove what might have been. Human nature will be to focus on the bullet that we supposedly dodged. Whereas if you actually suck it up and proceed with the trial, it takes all the wind of out that sail. People still go to work, buildings don't fall down, the ground doesn't open up and swallow Manhattan. Democrats show they're strong and resolute and the issue goes away."

That's David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo, whose agitation is manifested in metaphor. Don't retreat from the optics. Don't cement the fears. Don't let them write a bad scenario and say we dodged a bullet. Take the wind out of their sails. Suck it up. Open up and swallow!

But enough about metaphors. Look at what David "The Horror" Kurtz is really saying: Obama should not do what he thinks is right but what will be most effective at avoiding damaging criticism. Ah, but what about people like me, DTHK, who will criticize him for doing things mainly to dodge criticism? Then maybe Obama can get back to just doing what he thinks is right — not because it's right, mind you, but because it's the best way to dodge criticism. That would be cool or ridiculous or something.

Now, open up and swallow.

The reason this isn't what it looks like it is is that if it really were what it looks like, he wouldn't do it.

Come on! It would be so blatant, he wouldn't do it, if he were doing it. Therefore he can't be doing it.

That's how I hear this Think Progress argument:
Today on Fox News, Neil Cavuto irresponsibly pushed the baseless rumor that President Obama bought Rep. Jim Matheson’s (D-UT) vote on health care reform by offering his brother a federal judgeship. First, Cavuto invited the originator of the conspiracy theory, Weekly Standard’s John McCormack. For his part, McCormack undermined his own argument. “Was there an explicit quid pro quo? Probably not,” he said. Next, Cavuto invited Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who reiterated her call for an investigation into the matter. But Bachmann, too, acknowledged the lack of any basis for the claim. “We don’t know — that’s the question,” she said. 
It's not a "conspiracy theory": It's the observation of facts that create an appearance of impropriety. TP is saying we should forget about it because Obama didn't openly state that he was making the nomination in exchange for the vote. Of course, there's no explicit quid pro quo! How do you think successful corrupt individuals perform corrupt acts? If it were a quid pro quo, there'd be no explicit quid pro quo — certainly not one that we'd hear.  Lack of any basis? The basis is the nomination of the brother of a man whose vote is needed. Think Progress conveniently pretends that "any basis" is the same thing as "conclusive proof." You know damned well that if Bush were still President, needed a vote from a congressman, and nominated that congressman's brother, Think Progress and its ilk would be screaming for an investigation.

Steven Benen of Political Animal calls it the "Manufactured Controversy of the Day." And I call that the Manufactured Desperate Spin of the Day.
"Republicans gleefully circulated a Weekly Standard piece yesterday that asked if Obama was trying to buy Matheson's vote by nominating his brother, Scott, to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Both the White House and Matheson's office swiftly answered the question with a resounding 'no.' "
They didn't confess to an explicit quid pro quo? Well, then, move along! Please tell us, Mr. Benen, what you would have said if George Bush had done exactly this much.
Rep. Matheson's spokesperson called the question "patently ridiculous." A White House official called the question "absurd."
And what would they have said if there was something more to the nomination than just the brother's outstanding credentials? The same thing.
Is there any evidence — anything at all — to suggest the Matheson nomination is related in any way to getting his brother's vote on health care? No. There's literally nothing.
Of course, there is evidence. The evidence is the need to persuade the congressman and the timing of the the nomination of the brother. It's not conclusive proof, but it is evidence. We need more evidence to answer our questions, but there is surely a basis of our questions.
But it's nevertheless the talk of the conservative world today....
And you know damned well it would be the talk of the liberal world if Bush were still President and... man, that point is tedious. But it's so apt! Politicos are so boring. Blech.

"Pelosi annoyed on abortion."

Headlines Politico. 
"I will not have it turned into a debate on (abortion)... Let me say it clearly: we all agree on the three following things. … One is there is no federal funding for abortion. That is the law of the land. It is not changed in this bill. There is no change in the access to abortion. No more or no less: It is abortion neutral in terms of access or diminution of access. And, third, we want to pass a health care bill."
You can tell how annoyed she is by the way she says there are "three... things," then lists them as: "one," a somehow implicit two, and — switching to the ordinal — "third."

I wonder if her expressive annoyance pushes her antagonists more in line or if it fires them up. I know when I read "Pelosi annoyed on abortion," my first reflex was something along the lines of: and millions of fetuses really pissed off. And I support access to abortion.

AND: Here's another example of headline deafness. Over at TIME, Amy Sullivan writes "Is This An Abortion Whip Count?" and one of the first comments is: "Thanks for your post, Amy, but what does an abortion whip look like? (please don't say a coat hangar [sic]…)."

Sullivan — who may not have written her own headline (do MSM bloggers write their headings?) —has some good substance:
... Pelosi has got to do a better job of hiding her exasperation with her pro-life colleagues. When asked about Stupak's concerns, she has on three separate occasions in the past week flatly dismissed them as unfounded. "There is no federal funding of abortion," says Pelosi. By that she means two things: 1) the Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds, with some exceptions, to pay for abortions; and 2) she does not interpret the Senate's version of health reform as allowing federal funding of abortion.

As it happens, a lot of people — including a number of pro-life politicians and religious leaders — share Pelosi's interpretation. But some don't, and it's not as if they're suddenly going to smack themselves in the forehead and say, "By golly, she's right! I hadn't looked closely enough at the bill, but now that the Speaker points that out, I see that it doesn't fund abortions at all!" It wouldn't kill her--and it just might help negotiations with some wavering Democrats — if Pelosi would try saying something more like: "I understand that's how some of my colleagues interpret the language of the Senate bill. I see it differently, but I do respect their concerns."
How do you look closely enough at something that's over 2,000 pages long? I think if you genuinely want to exclude abortion, you have to have an express provision that takes precedence over anything else that might be in the bill. You can't rely on some earlier statute (the Hyde Amendment) along with the whole text of the new statute (and what's not in it). There's no reason why people who really care about abortion should accept Pelosi's assurances. I take it that she's mainly saying, put aside your pet issue and help us finish this big project.

"We all bring our kids to work. That just happens to be his profession."

Trying to wring sympathy out of kid-loving readers for that air traffic controller who let his kids take over.

If you had as much money as Rush Limbaugh, how would you decorate your 4,600 square foot apartment on 5th Avenue in NYC?

Here's how Rush had it done:

As that second picture suggests, he didn't really like NYC, but it was, apparently, the millionaire's tax that drove him out.

Once again, 1 man attacks a U.S. government building.

A few weeks ago Joseph Stack crashed a plane into an IRS building in Austin. Yesterday, John Patrick Bedell started shooting people at the Pentagon. What sort of person attacks a government building by himself? And let's distinguish Stack and Bedell from Timothy McVeigh, who blew up a government building years ago. Not only did McVeigh act in a different era — pre-9/11 — but McVeigh used a method that was designed to cause vast damage and to allow him to watch from a distance, unscathed. Stack and Bedell undertook ineffectual attacks that led — predictably — to their deaths.

So, should we make this easy and just consign Stack and Bedell to the dead psycho dustbin? But they attacked government buildings, so it was political. Yes, but a lot of crazy people rave incoherently about the government. That in itself doesn't make them part of a movement. Do they belong to the left or to the right? Is that a question that interests you? If it does, do you lean in the direction other than the one you feel like saying they lean? No one answers "no" to that last question, do they? And therefore... what?

March 4, 2010

At the Snow Tree Hotel...


... come in and get warm. We'll be here all night, so let's talk.

"Obama Begins Drive for a Health Care Bill."

Obama Begins Drive for a Health Care Bill. That's the headline in the NYT.

And that's my post.

I hope you are amused.

I'm laughing. Are you?


It's Grickle in "Channels," by Graham Annable (via Drawn!).

Children playing with toy trains and play money...

... or no... real money. Our money.

And don't get me started about the Madison kids.

Real love... hyperreal...

Nuit Blanche from Spy Films on Vimeo.

"Nuit Blanche," by Arev Manoukian.


Rumor no sooner heard than shot down.

So did you hear the one about John Roberts resigning from the Supreme Court?

(That link does not go to the sites that boosted their traffic by reporting this rumor. It goes to my Google search for the rumor.)

ADDED: David Lat traces the rumor to a lawprof.

"What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House, or the Senate...?"

"Save the country from trending toward Socialism!"
The [PowerPoint] presentation was delivered by RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart to top donors and fundraisers at a party retreat in Boca Grande, Florida on February 18, a source at the gathering said...
One page, headed “The Evil Empire,” pictures Obama as the Joker from Batman, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid are depicted as Cruella DeVille and Scooby Doo, respectively.
Okay, now, that's just terrible. Everyone knows that Republicans can't do humor. But. And this is a big but. How do you depict Harry Reid as Scooby Doo? I did a Google image search and got nothing. Pelosi as Cruella and Obama as the Joker I've seen. But what's the Harry Reid Scooby Doo? Is it an audio joke connected to the last 2 syllables of his name?
The small donors who are the targets of direct marketing are described under the heading “Visceral Giving.” Their motivations are listed as “fear;” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration;” and “Reactionary.”

Major donors, by contrast, are treated in a column headed “Calculated Giving.” Their motivations include: “Peer to Peer Pressure”; “access”; and “Ego-Driven.”
Rut roh.

But wait. Top donors were there for presentation. Driven by ego and benefiting from access, apparently. And — gasp! — able to laugh at themselves. Nooooooo. Not possible! They are Republicans!

A grand jury is about to indict John Edwards?

That's what the National Enquirer says, and we should've listened to them last time.

"A 45-year-old woman, charged with ending a domestic dispute by killing her 26-year-old husband of five days, is a registered lobbyist for a group fighting domestic violence."

That story makes me instantly anticipate domestic violence foes scrambling to defend the woman. They'll go for the conventional, reflexive assumption is that she was a longtime victim of domestic violence herself who after much abuse and fear finally resorted to killing. But... the template doesn't fit. The couple were married for only 5 days. And she was 45, and he was 26.

Did they really pull Sacha Baron Cohen skit from the Oscars just because it might irk James Cameron?

"... Baron Cohen planned to appear onstage as a blue-skinned, female Na’vi, with [Ben] Stiller translating 'her' interplanetary speech. As the skit went on, though, it would become clear that Stiller wasn’t translating properly, because Cohen would grow ever more upset. At its climax, an infuriated Baron Cohen would pull open 'her' evening gown to reveal that s/he was pregnant, knocked up with Cameron’s love child, and would go on to confront her baby daddy as if s/he were on Jerry Springer."

Maybe the problem was just that it's bad — or not good enough to justify lowering the taste level. We (might) laugh at the Jerry Springer show, but the Oscars are immensely glamorous, and crudeness is out of place. Out of place can generate humor, but who should be permitted to appropriate the glamour for comic effect and what are the costs? Isn't it mostly women who enjoy the Oscars? Quite aside from how James Cameron will feel, how will the show's natural audience feel?

But let me go one step further. Here's my theory: The Hollywood elite want the Democrats health care bill to make it through, and one stumbling block is abortion. The producers have therefore deemed this not to be a good time to highlight and laugh about undesired pregnancy. The unwanted unborn child is an overwhelmingly serious matter for people who care about the right to life. Don't antagonize them with edgy, blatant material. Not now.

Federal judgeships as favors for voting the right way on health care?

"Tonight, Barack Obama will host ten House Democrats who voted against the health care bill in November at the White House; he's obviously trying to persuade them to switch their votes to yes. One of the ten is Jim Matheson of Utah. The White House just sent out a press release announcing that today President Obama nominated Matheson's brother Scott M. Matheson, Jr. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit."

How's that for changing the way Washington works?

Remember this:
This past Election Day, the American people sent a clear message to Washington: Clean up your act....

[I]t's not enough to just change the players. We have to change the game.

Americans put their faith in Democrats because they want us to restore their faith in government....

The truth is, we cannot change the way Washington works unless we first change the way Congress works. On Nov. 7, voters gave Democrats the chance to do this. But if we miss this opportunity to clean up our act and restore this country's faith in government, the American people might not give us another one.
Restore this country's faith in government? You are driving cynicism to new heights.


I am assuming that Scott Matheson has the credentials to serve on the federal court. So do many others. (Not me. I lack judicial temperament.) But the President chooses from a large pool of individuals with good enough credentials. What are the good enough reasons to pick a person out of the pool? To buy the vote of his brother the Congressmen? Obviously not.

And even if you want to argue that it's a good enough reason, Barack Obama won the presidency by holding himself out as powerfully virtuous, as the man who would change the way Washington works. When I voted for Obama, I didn't think that was going to be the set-up for sarcastic, world-weary jokes.

UPDATE: I respond to Obama supporters who say move along, there's nothing to see.

March 3, 2010

At the Winter Tree Hotel...


... come in and talk all night.

"My understanding of the Senate is is that you need 60 votes to get something significant to happen..."

"... which means that Democrats and have to ask the question: Do we have the will to move an American agenda forward, not a Democratic or Republican agenda forward?"

That's Barack Obama in 2004. And, here he is in 2006:
Those big-ticket items, fixing our health care system. You know, one of the arguments that sometimes I get with, uhh, my fellow progressives and -- and some of these have -- have flashed up in the blog communities on occasion -- is this notion that we should function sort of like Karl Rove, where we -- we identify our core base, we throw 'em red meat, we get a 50-plus-one, uhhh, victory. See, Karl Rove doesn't need a broad consensus because he doesn't believe in government. If we want to transform the country, though, that requires a -- a sizeable majority.
And 2007:
[Health care reform] is an area where we're going to have to have a 60% majority in the Senate and the House in order to actually get a bill to my desk. We're going to have to have a majority to get a bill to my desk that is not just a 50-plus-one majority....

You gotta break out of what I call the sort of 50-plus-one pattern of presidential politics. Maybe you eke out a victory with 50-plus-one but you can't govern. You know, you get Air Force One and a lot of nice perks as president but you can't -- you can't deliver on health -- we're not going to pass universal health care with a -- with a 50-plus-one strategy.
We're not? Or were you lying?

AND: In 2005:
Under the rules, the reconciliation process does not permit that debate. Reconciliation is therefore the wrong place for policy changes. In short, the reconciliation process appears to have lost its proper meaning: A vehicle designed for deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility has been hijacked.
Yes, it has.

"Don't males make a disproportionate number of the sarcastic, douchey comments in the world?"

Oh, I don't know, but I'm doing what I can to balance the proportion.

The death of Jon Swift — a formidable blogger.

I'm very sorry to read about the death of Jon Swift — whose real name was Al Weisel. He died after 2 aortic aneurysms, which happened as he was on his way to his father's funeral, according to a comment on his blog — which hadn't been updated in about a year. The comment is (apparently) from his grieving mother.

Swift was a terrific writer. He liked to antagonize me, but that means nothing now, other than that I'm honored to have provided some raw material to a fine writer. Here, he pretends to find it fascinating that I stopped by his blog:
Although I am grateful for every one of the new readers who visited this blog in the last week, I am especially surprised and delighted with one new reader in particular who finally decided to drop in. For years she adamantly refused to read my blog or even mention my pseudonym even as she said the most scurrilous things about me. I'm not sure why she resisted coming here for so long unless it was because she was afraid that my writing was so persuasive and reasonable it would shake the very foundations of her carefully constructed world view and set off a dangerous logic loop in her brain that would cause it to short circuit. For many years she remained steadfast in her refusal to let one word of my prose sully the purity of her thoughts. But perhaps the evenings in Madison, Wisconsin, are particularly cold and lonely this time of year and perhaps she had had one too many glasses of wine by 5:30 p.m. on January 8, 2009. And so that evening, as a bitter wind howled outside her window, she checked her Sitemeter to see how many visitors Instapundit had sent her that day and saw yet another link from my site, just sitting there enticingly, beckoning, whispering, "Click me. Click me." Imagine the inner turmoil she experienced as she tried with all her might to resist clicking on the link. Must. Not. Read. Jon. Swift. Then her will power failed her and she could no longer resist, and throwing all caution to the wind, she finally succumbed and clicked that fateful link that whisked her away to my blog. And soon she was reading, feeling that first rush as my prose entered her veins. Who knew it could be so good, she said to herself as one by one the words swept away the cobwebs and the dust in the attic of her cranium, cluttered with crazy theories about breast-bearing feminists, the plots of unfinished books that bored her, deep insights into American Idol episodes and even that dark corner where Bill Clinton waits, crouched lasciviously, ready to betray her all over again. And imagine that moment when her giddy anticipation was finally fulfilled and she came to the first mention of her name, right there, right there in black and light brown, her name in all its glory!: Ann Althouse. So welcome to my modest blog, Ms. Althouse. I wish you had told me you were coming and I would have tidied up the place a bit. I hope you finally found what you were looking for.
He emailed to let me know he'd written that. He said:
Thanks for the visit. I hope you enjoyed it and will be coming back soon. But let me know next time when you're coming over and I'll tidy up a bit first.
I responded:
That post was awfully needy. Not that I read more than the parts right around my name.
He said:
You know, as reflexively mean as you can be sometimes, it's hard not to like you anyway.
I responded:
Okay, I gave you a link, since you bowed down to me.
He said:
Very funny. Thank you.
Jon Swift
Thank you, Jon Swift.

Standing one's ground... after the ground has moved.

"One man swings a thick metal chain. Another grips an ax. An older gentleman favors a wooden pole. And a 20-year-old spoiling for a fight has prepared a garrote — a menacing wire tied between two handles — to confront any intruders."

"I don't know how this plays politically, but I know it's right."

"And so I ask Congress to finish its work, and I look forward to signing this reform into law."

President Obama is about to invite Congress to ram through the health care bill, because it's what the American people would want if we knew what's good for us.

At the Maudite Brasserie...

... "I really think that means 'damned.'"

But we're not drinking Maudite, the Canadian ale with a tap handle that blinks like a damned Christmas decoration. We're sharing a glass of our favorite St. Bernardus Abt 12 — and splitting a cheeseburger.

The finger...

... and the law.

The producer of "The Hurt Locker" is banned from the Oscars for emailing members to disparage "Avatar."

Nicolas Chartier broke the rules. He might win an Oscar — it's the producer of the Best Picture who gets the statuette — but he won't be able to take the stage to proclaim himself the King of the World or whatever the hell he might like to do.

From an article about "the art of list-making."

Finnish architect Eero Saarinen itemizes the attractiveness of his wife:
I. First I recognized that you were very clever

II. That you were very handsome

III. That you were perceptive

IV. That you were enthusiastic

V. That you were generous

VI. That you were beautiful
Handsome and beautiful? I'm picturing the very clever Mrs. Saarinen reading the list and saying, "Not 'very beautiful'?"

Hendrik Hertzberg says he didn't call Rush Limbaugh a racist...

... even as he calls me an "'ax' murderer." In the pages of The New Yorker! No, not the "the great magazine itself, where space is too valuable to expend on close analyses of radiocon conneries." On a virtual page of  To be fair, I was really mean to him. You can decide for yourself whether he's unwedged the ax from his noggin.
I could have pointed out that there is a meaningful difference between saying something (unintentionally) offensive about Obama in a private conversation in the context of supporting him (Reid) and saying something (unintentionally) offensive about Obama on television in the context of running against him (Biden). I could have explained that there is a much bigger difference between either of those and saying something (intentionally) offensive about Obama in the context of demonizing him as a cynical manipulator of racial division (Limbaugh). I could have noted that Limbaugh’s use of Reid’s private gaffe was more, not less, disingenuous than his use of Biden’s public one. And I could have pointed out that his use of both was a characteristically clever (and disingenuous) way of giving himself cover for his own unsubtle (and habitual) racial ridicule.
What's with that argument in the form of saying what he could have argued? If I were going to respond to that I would (intentionally, unintentionally, habitually, disingenously) say....

IN THE COMMENTS: Balfegor said:
I'm not sure how saying offensive and/or racist things unintentionally is better than saying them intentionally. If you say them intentionally, there's an element of artifice involved, and the possibility of conscious ironic distance. Doesn't unintentionality suggest someone unwittingly offering us a glimpse into his messy inner self?
DADvocate said:
The person making the (unintentional) racially offensive remarks stands as the greater racist because their racist thinking is ingrained in their psyche. Accusing Obama of being a "cynical manipulator of racial division" isn't a racist remark at all whether or not you find it offensive.
mrs whatsit said:
Let me see if I have this straight.

All this fuss is about what Hertzberg said about what Althouse said about what Hertzberg said about what Limbaugh said about what Reid said about Obama.

Oh, and also what Hertzberg said about what Althouse said about what Hertzberg said about what Biden said about Obama.

Oh cripes, and also about what Liberman said about what Althouse said about what Hertzberg said about what Limbaugh said about what Reid said about Obama, and about what Hertzberg said about what Althouse said about what Hertzberg said about what Biden said about Obama.

It's a vortex!!!

"Small men feel... that the world belongs to big men. Seeing men you know to be small playing big on the silver screen is comforting...."

So says the small Fish — small fry — Stanley, who loves the short — under 5'9" — actors who play tough guys in the movies:
The pattern was set in the 1930s and ’40s by Edward G. Robinson (“Little Caesar”), James Cagney, George Raft, Humphrey Bogart and Paul Muni — all small men who usually played tough and cruel. Sometimes camera angles obscured the physical facts — Robinson looked absolutely huge as Wolf Larsen in “The Sea Wolf” in what can be called, without irony, a towering performance — and sometimes the camera just didn’t care as when, for example, Cagney regularly beat up men obviously twice his size.

Slightly later came John Garfield, and the smallest of them all, Alan Ladd who played big in “The Blue Dahlia,” “The Glass Key,” “The Badlanders” and who more than holds his own against Ben Johnson and a tree-like Van Heflin in “Shane.”...

Famously slight Paul Newman displayed his chest and pugilistic abilities in movies like “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” “Hud,” “The Long, Hot Summer” and “Cool Hand Luke.” James Dean would have made the list had he lived longer. Now aging tough guy-short guys (by short I mean under 5-foot-9) include Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, Al Pacino, Mel Gibson, Jean Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone, who created not one but two iconic American males, Rocky and Rambo.

And these days we have a bumper crop of undersized super heroes — Tom Cruise, Tobey Maguire, Mark Wahlberg and Robert Downey Jr., along with the occasionally macho Johnny Depp and Sean Penn.
Is there something comparable for women? Maybe we could make a list of women who have fairly average looks who play beautiful women on screen. My favorite example of this is Bette Davis in "Mr. Skeffington," where the raving over Bette's beauty occasionally crosses the line into the laughable. No man could resist her:

Ah, yes! I remember laughing out loud in the theater when she comes down the stairs and a man exclaims "Fanny! You look beautiful!" And check out that death-bed dialogue: "A woman is beautiful only when she is loved." That's what the plain women in the audience — next to the hubbies they dragged to the chick flick — long to believe.

Rangel steps aside...

... temporarily.

Sarah Palin on the new/old (Jay Leno) "Tonight Show."

(Via theblogprof via Instapundit.)

Mourning the loss of Desiree Rogers as White House social secretary.

It's Robin Givhan, crying for fashion:
When the Obamas announced that the New Orleans native with the platinum résumé and the knack for glamorous style would be the White House's first African American social secretary, the fashion industry practically swooned. The nation's capital, dominated for 20 years by administrations that, at best, endured fashion, now had a first lady who chose her designer wardrobe like a savvy insider. She and her husband hired a host of attractive young staffers who didn't mind posing for the occasional fashion spread -- Birkin bag in hand, feet shod in trendy platform heels -- and a social secretary who knew the difference between Nina Ricci and Lanvin and regularly wore both. The industry could not believe its good fortune! At long last, it had a diverse array of intelligent and respected women in federal Washington who, by their appearance alone, served as powerful advocates for an often-maligned business.
Hired a host of attractive young staffers... You mean they practiced lookism?
Was Rogers engaging in what one magazine editor described as "an arrogance of style" -- using her clothes for competitive one-upmanship rather than to exude personal creativity, self-confidence or self-respect?
Or could a city of wonks and political animals simply not grasp what Rogers was saying?

In federal Washington, after all, a modest Armani suit still can get one a best-dressed award. For that crowd, taking the measure of Rogers, a special assistant to the president, dressed in Prada and Jil Sander, would have been a bit like someone trying to make sense of an NFL team's strategy diagram based on their knowledge of Foosball.
I certainly can't understand what Givhan is saying about why Rogers lost her job. It was too hard to understand the high level of sophistication of her fashion?  I'm trying to read between the lines as Givhan obviously means to lavishly promote Rogers. Was the problem that Rogers created the wrong image for the Obamas and made them look profligate and frivolous?

After the jump, I read some more sources and summarize a few theories. 

March 2, 2010

At the Strange Place Hotel...


... you may be uneasy. But is that really necessary?

"Sex should be fun, beautiful and colorful, but women get the short end of the stick."

Says Lady Gaga, who maintains celibacy.

"Why are you asking us to overrule 140 years of prior law….unless you are bucking for a place on some law school faculty?"

Justice Scalia amusingly squelches in the oral argument that the Supreme Court ought to use the Privileges and Immunities Clause — instead of the usual Due Process Clause to find the 2d Amendment applicable to state and local government. The case is McDonald v. City of Chicago, and SCOTUSblog describes the argument and explains why it's quite likely the Court will find the right to bear arms to extend to state and local government.
The Justice said the “privileges or immunities” argument was “the darling of the professorate” but wondered why [Alan Gura, the lawyer for gun rights advocates,] would “undertake that burden.”  And Scalia noted that the “due process” clause — an open-ended provision that he has strongly attacked on other occasions–  was available as the vehicle for incorporation, and added: “Even I have acquisced in that.”   Gura somewhat meekly said “we would be extremely happy” if the Court used the “due process” clause to extend the Second Amendment’s reach.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the dissenters in Heller, then moved in to press Gura on just what “unenumerated rights” would be protected if the Court were to revive the “privileges or immunities” clause. It was a theme that would recur often thereafter, solidifying the appearance that the argument had virtually no chance of succeeding.  (In fact, when Gura near the end of the argument returned to the podium for his rebuttal, his time was used up by Justices Ginsburg and Anthony M. Kennedy exploring what other rights might come into being if the Court gave new life to the “privileges or immunities” clause.  He responded that he could not provide a full list, to which Justice Scalia retorted: “Doesn’t that trouble you?”  It was obvious that it troubled the Court.)

"Mr. Sacks, a third-year law student at Georgetown, had set himself a goal, now shattered..."

"... he wanted to be the first person in line for every major argument this term. He brought three advantages to the task. He has no morning classes this semester, he lives pretty close to the court, and he has an unhealthy obsession with it. The name of his blog is a play on his habit of showing up early at the court’s street address."

The blog is First One @ One First, and the student, Mike Sacks, now has it linked in The New York Times. Congrats!

The big case today where he got beaten by "Robert Cumberland and Larken Euliss, two chemists from California," deals with whether the Second Amendment is applicable to the states via the 14th Amendment.

Point for Ryan? Point for Ryan?! You mean outrageous blatant lie for the Democrats!

Ezra Klein has us crying out with derision this morning:
After the Blair House Summit... Rep. Paul Ryan... says that "the true 10-year cost of this bill in 10 years" is $2.3 trillion. On this, Ryan is right, but misleading. In Ryan's favor, Democrats have artificially lowered the cost of the bill by pushing its start date back to 2014, even as its 10-year budget window begins in 2010. The 10-year cost of the bill is really only counting six years of operation. This was a deceptive effort to keep the bill's price tag under $1 trillion, even as the bill's price tag was really quite a bit more. Point for Ryan.
Point for Ryan???!!!!!

"So everyone has pretty much agreed that I was right yesterday when I said the 'moderation' language about Obama’s alcohol consumption was just boilerplate."

Says Glenn Reynolds:
Still, to show my support for our President, I went out to the Downtown Grill & Brewery last night and hoisted a couple — moderately, of course — in his honor. Kinda like when some Obama fans changed their middle names to Hussein to show support, only more delicious . . . .
Ha ha. So, then, this is me, the other day at Brasserie V:


Ah, but look at the prudesthe killjoys — who freak out about drinking, who think that lifting one glass depicts degeneracy. These people call themselves "liberals," but they are not liberal at all. They despise your pleasure and revelry and want only to clamp down on any fun. Don't trust them with power, my friend!

The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy...

IN THE COMMENTS: Jim Treacher said:
Is there enough booze in the world to get those guys laid?

Sadly, no.

The notion that Rahm Emanuel has been the voice of reason — and Obama should have listened to him.

Jason Horowitz writes in WaPo:
Emanuel ... could have helped the administration avoid its current bind if the president had heeded his advice on some of the most sensitive subjects of the year: health-care reform, jobs and trying alleged terrorists in civilian courts.

... [Emanuel] was not aggressive enough in trying to persuade a singularly self-assured president and a coterie of true-believer advisers that "change you can believe in" is best pursued through accomplishments you can pass.

By all accounts, Obama selected Emanuel for his experience in the Clinton White House, his long relationships with the media and Democratic donors, and his well-established -- and well-earned -- reputation as a political enforcer, all of which neatly counterbalanced Obama's detached, professorial manner....
... Obama went for the historically far-reaching, but more legislatively difficult, achievements that he and his campaign-forged inner circle believe they were sent to Washington to deliver.
Read the whole thing. There's some great detail about closing Guantanamo and trying KSM. I don't know who the sources are for Horowitz's article. It reads like PR for Emanuel. Eric Holder is portrayed as stuck on abstract principle, while David Axelrod is blinded by his "strong view" of Obama as a big "historic character."
[A]n early Obama supporter who is close to the president and spoke on the condition of anonymity... blamed Obama's charmed political life for creating a self-confidence and trust in principle that led to an "indifference to doing the small, marginal things a White House could do to mitigate the problems on the Hill. Rahm knows the geography better."
Hmm. Does Rahm talk about himself in the third person?  It rings true though! This does sound like what history will record as Obama's tragic flaw: overconfidence and attachment to abstract principles (borne of the great good luck of fitting the template others had so much hope for).

"An image that says power, sex and confidence."

Fashion delusion.

"I write about the TeePees because it's so sad how they've been manipulated to oppose their own best interests."

Says Roger Ebert, who tweets about politics now and does not, on Twitter, eschew the cruder term "teabaggers" for participants in the Tea Party movement.
When Ebert tweeted that he was unaware of the term's pornographic connotation, Big Hollywood countered that he had referred to such a context in past movie reviews.
Ha. It must have been "Pecker." I love that movie. Yeah. Here's Retracto the Correction Alpaca calling gotcha on Ebert — complete with "Pecker"-clip. Frankly, I can see how someone could have reviewed "Pecker" and even talked about the teabagging in "Pecker" — which is pretty silly — and not realize that the word had moved beyond that context into the general parlance and was implied by the term that is now used to mock tea partiers.

That movie also uses the expression "shopping for others." I remember that, but remembering that doesn't tell me that it's become a term for something people are really doing these days. [ADDED: I see that the link within that link now goes to the absence of a YouTube clip from the movie. It was a scene in which Pecker, a budding young photographer, and his friend go into a store and put embarrassing items in other people's shopping carts when they're not looking. Pecker then takes pictures of their reactions at the checkout counter.]

Anyway, I welcome Roger Ebert to the Tweet-o-sphere. It's great when an excellent, interesting writer takes to the 140-character art form. Follow him here. I am.

March 1, 2010

Harold Ford Jr.: "If I run, the likely result would be a brutal and highly negative Democratic primary..."

"... a primary where the winner emerges weakened and the Republican strengthened. I refuse to do anything that would help Republicans win a Senate seat in New York, and give the Senate majority to the Republicans."

Long snow shadows and, in the distance, a golden glow.

In the garden, there were long shadows on the melting snow...


... the golden pavilion glowed in the setting sun...


... and I got distracted by the birch tree that a beaver had reduced to a stump....


Skiing in golf course semi-slush.

It was too warm today for the skiing to be that good, but we did it anyway...

... in our routine place: Odana Golf Course.

Is Mickey Kaus really running for the Senate against Barbara Boxer?

"Technically I've only taken out the nomination papers, to gather the necessary signatures. I haven't returned them yet."

All right then. Good luck!

"The Democrat has been centrist and even conservative on some of the issues on which Boxer has taken a more left-leaning stand, including immigration: He does not favor amnesty and favors a more restrictive national policy."

Well, it's a good time to shake things up. These are unsettled times, and the Democrats could use a good dose of conservatism.

At the Shrunken Snowman Tavern...


... shun shrinkage. Be as expansive as you like. Swell!

"Dmitry Medvedev called for the resignation of the nation's top Olympic officials..."

... after the country's worst performance in a Winter Olympics in nearly a hundred years."

Worst performance? You mean this?

Yeah, Plushenko's "personality is unbelievable" — don't you think? (I hope you watched the whole thing.)

How many calories in an order of fries?

Think again! (Via BoingBoing.)

The other night we shared an order of fries and counted it as our entire dinner. But even then, we were probably eating too much.

Imagine "Reverse Yoo."

Orin Kerr poses a hypo in which John Yoo is asked to interpret a federal statute that fairly appears to permit enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding. The Reverse Yoo believes, personally, that these techniques really are torture and should be forbidden:
[Reverse Yoo] is not going to be like the Nazi lawyers who let the Holocaust occur... So Yoo decides that he must write a memo concluding that these techniques are unlawful.  Granted, he needs to get a bit creative to reach that result.   He needs to stretch a legal term here, bend a legal term there.  But by fudging the analysis when necessary, he manages to write a memo that gets to the result he wants to reach that the CIA is not permitted by law to engage in these interrogation methods.   With OLC’s opinion issued, the CIA never uses these techniques and no one is ever waterboarded.
Now, did the real John Yoo do basically the same thing as the Reverse Yoo? Or is the bending and stretching justified to prevent torture but not to permit it? Does it all depend on whether you think enhanced interrogation techniques are torture?

We love our jobs!

70% of Americans who have jobs say their jobs are ideal.

Even people who make less than $12,000 a year are immensely satisfied: 57% say their jobs are ideal.

At the link, you can also see how perceptions of the job varies by the kind of job it is. The perception is highest among those who own their own business: 87%. But even if you go down to the lowest level, which is "service," you still get 60% of people saying their jobs are ideal.

What's going on?

How many beers a day would Obama need to be drinking before his doctor would recommend "moderation of [in?] alcohol intake"?

Drudge picks out this bit from Obama's health report:

The link goes to this report — which stresses the advice to "continue smoking cessation efforts" (which means he's still smoking, apparently) — and ends:
The doctors also recommended "moderation of alcohol intake."
Considering that there is a great deal of research showing that it is a positive health benefit for a man to drink 1 or 2 beers a day, I would think that a 6 foot 1 1/2 inch man like Obama could easily drink 3 or 4 beers a day without there being an actual negative effect of concern to a doctor.

How much is Obama drinking?

(If you think we shouldn't be talking about the President this way, let's remember how people called Bush a "dry drunk." That is, he was criticized for being a drunk when he didn't drink at all!)

IN THE COMMENTS: madawaskan said...
Who was it that edited it like that? The Guardian?...

The actual wording is (PDF):
Continue smoking cessation efforts, a daily exercise program, healthy diet, moderation in alcohol intake, periodic dental care, and remain up to date with recommended immunizations. 
Why does The Guardian hate our President?!

Recommending "moderation of" is completely different from recommending continuation of "moderation in." Reading the original report, I'd say the doctor told Obama that the amount he was drinking was just fine.

"Wouldn't it be *awesome* if Obama were as radical as the Rights thinks he is?"

Tweets Ana Marie Cox about an article that I didn't click to when I originally read it yesterday. This morning, I happened upon an Andy McCarthy post over at NRO, decided to blog about it, and thought it would go perfectly with what Cox had written. I'd almost blogged Cox's remark, because I thought it was scarily left wing, and I wanted to blog McCarthy because I thought interestingly extreme. I thought it would be clever to put Cox and McCarthy together. Digging out the Cox tweet, I finally clicked her link. It went to the McCarthy post.

Here's what McCarthy said:
Today's Democrats are controlled by the radical Left, and it is more important to them to execute the permanent transformation of American society than it is to win the upcoming election cycles. They have already factored in losing in November — even losing big. For them, winning big now outweighs that. I think they're right.

I hear Republicans getting giddy over the fact that "reconciliation," if it comes to that, is a huge political loser. That's the wrong way to look at it. The Democratic leadership has already internalized the inevitablility [sic] of taking its political lumps. That makes reconciliation truly scary. Since the Dems know they will have to ram this monstrosity through, they figure it might as well be as monstrous as they can get wavering Democrats to go along with.... [I]f the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority....
I hope McCarthy's understanding of what's going on is wrong, and it shapes my view of Cox to know that's what she thinks is "awesome."

February 28, 2010

At the Snow Tree Hotel...


... you can branch out into any subject you like.

"Why do the women's costumes all do weird things around the boobs?"

"Why can't the men's costumes do the same thing with the ass area?"

Absurdly bleak thoughts I have had while cross-country skiing.

At the Odana golf course — which is nicely groomed for skiing — in the twilight, near a row of tall black-looking evergreens (everblacks?): What if this were limbo, and it went on forever?

At Blue Mounds State Park — while enjoying a well-groomed trail through a woods full of bare scrubby trees: What if this were WWII, and we were escaping from the Nazis?


I am pleased by these snow outings, and I don't suffer from racing thoughts or negativity, but I do have a tendency, when I'm experiencing something as beautiful, to test out the feeling by imagining additional circumstances which would make it awful. This wouldn't be so fun if....

Oh! But it was fun:

At the Whale's Icicle Café...


... don't get stuck.

So... if only Obama had eaten it?

A health message.

IN THE COMMENTS: Paul Zrimsek suggests a remake of...

Al Gore would like you to lie back and accept what the government decides is good for you.

The other day I said:
I see the analogy between global warming and the weapons of mass destruction used to justify the Iraq war. Those who planned the war believed there were other good reasons to go to war with Iraq, but they made a decision to use weapons of mass destruction as the reason to go to war, because they thought people could understand this reason and unite behind the war effort. But then, when the WMD were not found, the war looked like a big mistake.

... [P]eople [who] support the policies that are supposed to deal with global warming [may have] other reasons they have for wanting those policies [but may] rely on the global warming prediction rather than those other reasons....
Now, here comes big Al Gore with a huge op-ed in the NYT that begins with a fat juicy piece of evidence that I was right:
It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.
He wants the policies that are sold under the name "global warming" whether the prediction of global warming is right or wrong.
[T]he crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer....
The "pollution" is carbon dioxide, which is what flows out of our noses and mouths when we exhale. Do you think of your breathing passages as spewing shit? There's nothing dirty or toxic about carbon dioxide. The problem has only to do with the greenhouse effect. But isn't it so much more effective — i.e., scarier — to make people think we're still talking about filth?

What do you make of these meanderings about capitalism and socialism?
The decisive victory of democratic capitalism over communism in the 1990s led to a period of philosophical dominance for market economics worldwide and the illusion of a unipolar world. It also led, in the United States, to a hubristic “bubble” of market fundamentalism that encouraged opponents of regulatory constraints to mount an aggressive effort to shift the internal boundary between the democracy sphere and the market sphere. 
When someone writes like that, I get suspicious. I want to rewrite it in plain English: After the fall of communism, people placed more trust in the market and were wary of government-dictated solutions.
Over time, markets would most efficiently solve most problems, they argued. Laws and regulations interfering with the operations of the market carried a faint odor of the discredited statist adversary we had just defeated.
Yeah, that's what was already in my translation of your previous windbaggage. Maybe this piece is just padded. Maybe it's a devious plot to bore us into submission.
This period of market triumphalism coincided with confirmation by scientists that earlier fears about global warming had been grossly understated. 
Oh? Just a coincidence? Al Gore has unwittingly tweaked my suspicion that the scientists are politicos.

Not only did the fall of communism make the work of the government regulator much more difficult, according to Al, the mainstream media also became less supportive:
Simultaneously, changes in America’s political system — including the replacement of newspapers and magazines by television as the dominant medium of communication — conferred powerful advantages on wealthy advocates of unrestrained markets and weakened advocates of legal and regulatory reforms. Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment. 
Quick: Name a showman masquerading as political thinker. You said "Al Gore," right?

And what is this "hatred and divisiveness"? It's just criticism and debate. Al Gore is distressed that the media don't propagandize for government regulation as they did back in the good old days of communism.
And as in times past, that has proved to be a potent drug in the veins of the body politic. Their most consistent theme is to label as “socialist” any proposal to reform exploitive behavior in the marketplace.
As in what "times past"? Is the lively public debate of today somehow akin to the racial bigotry that stalled civil rights legislation? Because worrying about socialism isn't expressed as hatred. Really, Gore seems to expect people to lie back and accept whatever the government decides is good for us.
From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption. 
What?! I knew this was religion! We're supposed to believe. And please don't use "rule of law" as a synonym for government regulation.
Later this week, Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman are expected to present for consideration similar cap-and-trade legislation.
And we should just lie back and take it.

I search in vain for the part of the article where Al Gore notes his personal financial interest in this regulation. So, supplemental reading: "Gore’s Dual Role: Advocate and Investor."
Critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming skeptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the world’s first “carbon billionaire,” profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in.

Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, asserted at a hearing this year that Mr. Gore stood to benefit personally from the energy and climate policies he was urging Congress to adopt.

Mr. Gore says that he is simply putting his money where his mouth is.
The mouth, is, as noted, a sewer.
“Do you think there is something wrong with being active in business in this country?” Mr. Gore said. “I am proud of it. I am proud of it.”
So the market is great... when it's making you a billionaire.

ADDED: In the comments Paul draws my attention to the NYT's post-script identifying the author, which includes: "As a businessman, he is an investor in alternative energy companies."

"You cook breakfast. I'll blog it."

It's the 1-year anniversary of this deliciously intriguing blog post (which ultimately got quoted in the NYT).

A breakfast that was celebrated in the New York Times!

Now, a year later, Meade cooking breakfast while I blog is a way of life in the house we call Meadhouse. The bee on the knob of the tea kettle now has one broken wing, but everything else is beautifully whole.