April 17, 2010

At the Red Bud Café...


... show some color.

A word with the lone protester.

On Thursday, in Madison, the Tea Party had broken up, and we were walking away when we saw one man, in another part of the Capitol Square, standing alone, holding up a sign. I would have walked on by, but Meade, wielding a small camera, approached him.


No one else was anywhere near him, but he staunchly held up his sign, which read: "911 Underground Demolition!" The "11" part of "911" was shaped like the World Trade Center Towers.


Meade said "hi" and read the sign out loud as he walked up. "So you believe it was..."

"I'm the only one," the man said. "911 Truth doesn't even know this stuff."

He handed Meade a paper that explained that the WTC was built with explosive nuclear devices underground. The man said he was thrown out of the Tea Party: "They literally told me to go away. They don't want me here."

I asked, "Were you trying to start a counter-demonstration over on this side?"

He said, "No, not at all. They just didn't want me over there. There were all these spies, like, pointing at me."

I said, "Who are the 'they'? Who didn't want you over there?"

He paused, giggled, then laughed and said, "The Illuminati."

A Tea Party composition, reframed and recolorized...

... with an emphasis on the color red.


(Here's the wider view in black and white.)

Amazing popcorn...

... + popcorn dog.

On the opening day of the Farmers Market, here in Madison, Wisconsin.


Scott Brown is "sad" that Barack Obama was "amused."

Jason Levin, that "Crash the Tea Party" guy, is a middle school teacher — and he's been put on suspension.

Levin has said he would seek to embarrass Tea Partiers by attending their rallies dressed as Adolf Hitler, carrying signs bearing racist, sexist and anti-gay epithets and acting as offensively as possible -- anything short of throwing punches....

Now, the source said, parents have become outraged by the severity of his political activism, and many have told the school board members that it has no place in a public school system.
He didn't do it in the school system, did he?

What Goodwin Liu said about Samuel Alito...

At his confirmation hearing, lawprof Goodwin Liu, nominated for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, is  being taken to task by Senator Kyl for what he said at Samuel Alito's confirmation hearing. (There is also talk of Liu as a future Supreme Court nominee.)
“Judge Alito’s record envisions an America where police may shoot and kill an unarmed boy to stop him from running away with a stolen purse … where a black man may be sentenced to death by an all-white jury for killing a white man,” Liu wrote. “I humbly submit that this is not the America we know. Nor is it the America we aspire to be.”

The testimony was “vicious, emotionally and racially charged, very intemperate, and to me it calls into question your ability to approach and characterize people’s positions in a fair and judicious way,” Kyl said.

Liu only acknowledged that this language was “unnecessarily flowery.”
Flowery? As Lou Reed once sang, "Vicious, you hit me with a flower...."

Bill Clinton in a fevered rave — or a calculated manipulation of public opinion — about the Tea Party and the Oklahoma City bombing.

The Oklahoma City bombing took place in 1995, during Bill Clinton's watch, so maybe little things set him off and the memories come flooding back. Maybe we should be tolerant of the old man's maunderings. But I think that Clinton is super-sharp, that he knows he can connect with the American psyche — not all the time, but some of the time, and that he's deliberately applying his skills for specific, political effect:
"Before the bombing occurred, there was a sort of fever" in the political dialogue that was in ways similar in content to the anger currently boiling up on talk radio and on the Internet, Clinton said at a forum on the 15th anniversary of the attack by Timothy McVeigh that killed 168.

"The fabric of American life had been unraveling" in 1995 amid high unemployment, Clinton said.

"The structure of the Cold War -- the clear bipolar world -- was coming to an end," Clinton said. "There were more and more people having trouble figuring out where they fit in. It is true that we see some of that today."

Clinton said people have the right "to advocate whatever the livin' Sam Hill they want to advocate" but they must observe "the basic line dividing criticism from violence or its advocacy."

April 16, 2010

"It's an odd thing to get attacked by the White House for a blog post..."

"... and odder still when the attack is for something mentioned in passing, and intended to highlight a political positive about a potential Supreme Court nominee."

More commentary here.

"Apparently lost upon the mostly college-aged protesters: for their false flag operation to work..."

"... they must blend in to the group, and then display signs that cast the tea party group at large as bigoted or racist."

Why is Pajamas Media assuming the people in the photographs are attempting to pass as protesters? They are making their counter-protest transparent and charmingly funny. Calling them stupid is... stupid.

"There's nothing between these ears."

Another detail from yesterday's Tea Party photographs:


"Down our throats in March/Up their [ass] in November."

I'm looking at the details of yesterday's Tea Party photos and cropping. It's interesting what you notice an instant before you'd have hit delete:


At the Tulip Café...

... you can loll about breezily.

Was this photo taken automatically by a school-supplied laptop without the knowledge of the sleeping teenager?

The caption:
"This photo, allegedly taken surreptitiously by the Lower Merion School District through a laptop web camera, shows Blake Robbins sleeping at home at 5 p.m. on Oct 26. (Photo provided by the Robbins family)"
There is a lawsuit based on what may very well have been a terrible invasion of privacy, but I've got to marvel at how the laptop caught such a well-framed and well-lit shot of the glossy-haired boy.
According to the latest filing by the Robbinses, officials first activated the tracking software on a school-issued Apple MacBook that Robbins took home on Oct. 20.

Hundreds of times in the next two weeks, the filing says, the program did its job each time it was turned on: A tiny camera atop the laptop snapped a photo, software inside copied the laptop screen image, and a locating device recorded the Internet address - something that could help district technicians pinpoint where the machine was.

The system was designed to take a new picture every 15 minutes until it was turned off....

Robbins and his parents say they first learned of the technology on Nov. 11, when an assistant Harriton principal confronted the teen with an image collected by the tracking software.

Robbins has said one image showed him with a handful of Mike and Ike candies - which the administrator thought were illegal pills.
Those overreaching school officials... exposed by their own over-aggressive control-freakishness... and the devious mind-tricks of Mike and Ike!

"I’m standing in front of you as a convicted felon, a lying imam, which is a physical, emotional and spiritual burden far greater than any sentence you could impose."

"Honest to God... it was never my intention to help those idiots for what they do in the name of Islam.... I cannot express my feelings in words, but I’m going to try... Violated. Betrayed. Used to the highest degree. Treated worse than a dog."

"I was appalled at the sexualization of Christ."

"I was horrified. I believe in freedom of expression. I believe in artistic freedom. I believe that a church is a holy place, and I certainly don’t want people telling anyone how to worship, but I was shocked, stunned, and if I hadn’t been prepared already, I think I would have just been ill.... I’m already very sensitive because of the pedophilia issue.... This doesn’t make it any better...."

See the problem?

A big overview of the crowd at yesterday's Tea Party in Madison.

Here — from The Troglopundit. The crowd fanned out to the left and right of what's in that shot. He's got more pictures from the ground, and he repeats the estimate — from the podium — that the crowd size was 12,000. Based on my examination of the overview shot and what I know of the way the crowd extended on either side, I'm going to say 2,000.

"[D]espite lofty predictions that a broad-based Democratic constituency would be activated by the bill's passage, the bill has been an incontrovertible disaster."

Says a Washington Post column — by pollsters Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell — titled "How the Democrats can avoid a November bloodbath."

That serviceberry we planted last fall...


It just popped into bloom:


A law school contradiction.

2 observations from a 58-year-old marketing professor who just started going to law school:
• The stress level is “scarily high” because of the pressure for good grades, coupled with a demanding workload. “From the very first week of law school, assorted deans stressed that our job prospects upon graduation would be directly related to our first-year grades,” [Steve] Cohen writes. “This is particularly salient inasmuch as we attend a ‘second tier’ law school.”

• Computers in the classroom are a bad idea. “I am utterly shocked by the number of students who spend the entire class on their BlackBerry or Facebook account,” he says. “I find it both stupid and rude.”
It seems to me that if a lot of the students are succumbing to the lure of BlackBerry and Facebook instead of paying attention to class that it relieves pressure on the students who are working hard trying to earn the best grades. I'd look around, see those computer screens on irrelevant websites, and think: Good! Thanks for cushioning the grade curve for me.

April 15, 2010

At the Patriots-Not-Idiots Café...

DSC09073 copy

... you can decide what's what.

(Enlarge photo.)

I am not a Type O Negative fan.

This appeals to me:

But I was sad to read of the death of Peter Steele, the lead singer, who was 48 years old.


Now, you might be thinking, why does Althouse even have an opinion of Type O Negative? But the fact is, I was the driver/chaperone for a lot of concerts in the 1990s, and I saw them — and many other musicians of that era — in concert. Despite my advanced age, I actually enjoyed everything I heard except Type O Negative. Of course, that's a point in their favor, is it not?

"**xed enough already?"


Yeah, I sure am.


It's not that yucky.

Pics from the Tea Party rally today in Madison.

(Oh! Taxed.)

Can a kitty use an iPad?


Justice Breyer predicts a flood of Supreme Court cases about the new health care law.

"'You have passed a 2,400-page bill,' Breyer told the committee members, and he guessed that in such a lengthy bill, 'there are a lot of words in it.' As a result, he said, 'in two or three of four years,' nobody will be asking justices about the shortage of cases, because litigation stemming from the bill will be filling the Court's docket."

I'm doing some cruel neutality today.


Have you noticed?

Tea Party people.




The shirt says "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torment. Luke 16:23. (Don't let it be you.)" I had trouble reading the numbers on the Biblical cite and at first saw that 16 as 18. I looked it up:
And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.
I thought, wow, that is not the right Biblical citation for the Tea Party!


The Tea Party in B&W.



(Today, in Madison.)

More scenes from the Tea Party...

... today in Madison:




ADDED: Welcome Instapundit readers. There are many Tea Party posts from today. Click here and scroll.

Yorkies are Tea Partiers too.

This is a real dog, not a stuffed one, despite appearances:


And here I am, down on the ground with a professional photographer, trying to grab the dog shot:


But who's taking a picture of me? Oh, it's you!


Stalked by my own husband, who took many pictures of me before I noticed he'd found me in the crowd.

Any expressions of violence at the Tea Party today?

Mmm. Yes. Consider this one:


And this one — from the Tea Party opposition:


All of these people seemed pretty friendly to me. The cheesehead guy joked that he hoped I got his good side. And the man with the "Open Season" sign let me know that somebody had ribbed him about misspelling "RINO," and I laughed and said "Oh, yes, you know they're putting all those misspelled Tea Party signs up on Flickr." Wouldn't it be funny if the smart alecks mocking misspelling made their own mistakes? Then Meade pointed out that some people would be critical because of the crosshairs drawn on the animals' faces and the idea of "open season." They had a long talk and the idea seemed to be that, yeah, the humor was a little edgy and the crosshairs were not on a human being's face. Hmmm.

And how about the edgy humor in "Cut off my reproductive rights and I'll cut off yours." You know what that means. Reminds me of a poster I saw and sketched long ago:


It's all in good fun. Or is it?

At the Madison Tea Party today.

People sang "God Bless America" in the end.

Some people who interested me:



More pics to come.

Tommy Thompson says he will not challenge Russ Feingold for the Senate.

I was there for the announcement, at the big Tea Party rally at the Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin today:

Thompson took a lot of credit for his work as Governor and claimed to have instituted many of the Tea Party values. But, he said, it's time for a new generation to take over, and, besides, he promised his family...

I have lots more photographs of the rally, which drew a huge (and well-behaved) crowd. Someone on the podium declared there were 12,000 people there. I don't know if that's true, but you can judge for yourself from my photographs which will be up soon.

At the Trout Lily Café....


... don't be shy.

"Watching Attorney General Eric Holder struggle on Wednesday to answer senators’ questions about the detention and trial of terrorism suspects..."

Watching this NYT op-ed struggle to avoid holding Holder responsible for his own shortcomings....

2 questions about Larry King's 8th divorce.

1. When you're that old — he's 76 — and you have a mate who's more than a quarter of a century younger than you, shouldn't you look at the odds and hang onto her as someone who'll be on the hook to care for you as you decline into extreme old age and death — considering how difficult it will be to enlist someone new when that is the deal?

2. Larry King is only 76?!

Everything ever written in Twitter — every little tweet, from anybody — is now archived in the Library of Congress.

Is this a wonderful preservation of a rich mine of historical and sociological information or creepy government intrusion into the private domain?
[I]t boggles my mind to think what we might be able to learn about ourselves and the world around us from this wealth of data. And I’m certain we’ll learn things that none of us now can even possibly conceive....

So if you think the Library of Congress is “just books,” think of this: The Library has been collecting materials from the web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign websites in 2000....
Nerds trying to be hip?
Today we hold more than 167 terabytes of web-based information, including legal blogs, websites of candidates for national office, and websites of Members of Congress.
Including legal blogs.... 
We also operate the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program www.digitalpreservation.gov, which is pursuing a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations.

In other words, if you’re looking for a place where important historical and other information in digital form should be preserved for the long haul, we’re it!
Good. I guess.

ADDED: Jull Weiner says it's "a move that’s clearly intended to out-postmodern MoMA’s acquisition of the @ symbol."

Am I bullying the bullied dead girl...

... in the New York Times?

No, I am criticizing the prosecutor bully.

ADDED: What if, after the prosecutor charged the kids with crimes for bullying, one of those kids got so upset he committed suicide?

April 14, 2010


"It's true they took stupefying substances; overwhelmed by success they lived dissolute and uninhibited years..."

"... in an excess of boastfulness they even said they were more famous than Jesus; they had fun launching mysterious messages, even Satanic, according to improbable declarations ... sure they weren't the best example for young people at the time, but neither [were they] the worst."

There's some confusion and consternation over whether the Vatican was absolving The Beatles.

"Some people might 'really need their downtime'..."

"... and seek out 'isolation that avoids all social intercourse.' Others may have developed an 'avoidant attachment style' in childhood, resulting in 'a need to prove to themselves that they don’t need anybody'...."

Tea bagger pride?

(Via Instapundit.)

Well done... but now this is the end of denouncing those terrible Tea Party antagonists who use the term. How dare they! Was that better than owning the term and flinging wet bags at stacks of legislation and distorted photographs of Nancy Pelosi? Go on the offensive and stop sniveling, presumably?

Heavy-handed RNC ad.

Ludicrous or appropriate? Silly or genuinely scary?

Fascinating... live-action "South Park."

(It's a "South Park" ad that aired in the Netherlands.)

Robert Blake in chaps or "some kind of junk-framing device."

"Either way, he's sporting a serious crotch cradle... nut cuddlers..."

What is, at long last, driving Elin Nordegren to divorce Tiger Woods?

Supposedly, her friends are saying the last straw was that Nike ad, the one with him staring blankly while the voice of his dead father gives him a talking-to.

What? No, Tommy?!

"The only person who knows what I'm going to do is myself and I don't know what I'm going to do."

"New Hampshire Democrats are engaged in a statewide search for liberal activists willing to attend so-called tea parties on Thursday and carry signs expressing racist or fringe sentiment..."

Who knows the extent and organization of the Tea Party Crashers movement? Given this mystery, what should Tea Partiers do? Let's brainstorm. I'll start:

1. If any Tea Partiers feel tempted to express themselves in a manner that can help their opponents paint the movement as racist/extreme/violent, they need to resist that temptation. If they now think it's okay or humorous or something, they'd better think again. They are hurting the movement.

2. Tea Partiers should look around and listen and notice people who might be Crashers. Whether they are Crashers or actual fringe Tea Partiers, talk with them. It's good for people at these gatherings to talk to each other and be friendly anyway. It helps project the image of normality, which, I think, is the reality with most Tea Partiers. And it's nicer for everyone, and it encourages even more participation by average folks. You can also reach out to the outlier types in your own movement and help them become more mainstream. And, in the process, you have a shot at detecting the frauds. That's all good.

3. People should talk a lot — here for example — and get the message out that those who attend a Tea Parties are going to be trying to spot the Crashers. They should fear exposure. Right now, the frauds may be assuming that Tea Partiers just accept people in their group who stand around with offensive signs and yell terrible things. That makes it easier to crash. But if they think your name and face will be all over the web displaying your ugly fakery, it will take some boldness to crash.

4. ....

"A raised photograph cannot turn me on, because a photograph itself is meaningless to me."

"This is a sighted person's idea of what turns me on, and it's not even close."

"Rulings by conservative justices in the past decade make it perfectly clear that they do not 'apply the law' in a neutral and detached manner."

Writes lawprof Geoffrey R, Stone (in a NYT op-ed):
Consider, for example, their decisions holding that corporations have the same right of free speech as individuals, that commercial advertising receives robust protection under the First Amendment, that the Second Amendment prohibits the regulation of guns, that affirmative action is unconstitutional, that the equal protection clause mandated the election of George W. Bush and that the Boy Scouts have a First Amendment right to exclude gay scoutmasters.
"[T]he equal protection clause mandated the election of George W. Bush"? Stone's argument would be better if he didn't overstate what happened in these cases. Red meat for NYT readers — it makes me suspicious.
Whatever one thinks of these decisions, it should be apparent that conservative judges do not disinterestedly call balls and strikes. Rather, fueled by their own political and ideological convictions, they make value judgments, often in an often aggressively activist manner that goes well beyond anything the framers themselves envisioned. There is nothing simple, neutral, objective or restrained about such decisions. For too long, conservatives have set the terms of the debate about judges, and they have done so in a highly misleading way. Americans should see conservative constitutional jurisprudence for what it really is. And liberals must stand up for their vision of the judiciary.
Ah, yes. The usual red meat. What I thought he was going to say — what I've been saying — is that liberal jurists and constitutional scholars have a theory of interpretation that should be explained and defended — not portrayed as the same as what conservatives do.

You can still critique the conservatives. But I wouldn't say: "There is nothing simple, neutral, objective or restrained about such decisions." I object to the word "nothing." There is something simple, neutral, objective and restrained, but it is the nature of complex legal decisionmaking that background beliefs and understandings — Stone would say "political and ideological convictions" — affect the path of a judge's thoughts, no matter how faithfully objective he wants to be.

It isn't necessary — or believable — to assert that the judges are politicos deceitfully wielding illegitimate power. It is only necessary to say what should easily be accepted as true — that constitutional decisionmaking has more human dimension to it than the balls-and-strikes characterization would have it.

24% of Americans now say they're part of the Tea Party movement.

Up from 16% last month. I guess the liberals' strategy of trying to delegitimate the movement as extreme and violent and racist hasn't worked out too well. At some point you're talking about so many people that it's incoherent to characterize them as marginal. Plus you may want to attempt to persuade them... perhaps even by addressing the substance of their criticisms.


Instapundit: "[This] suggests that complaints from Republican operatives about Tea Party amateurishness and lack of a national organization are wrong. When have those operatives ever achieved a 50% increase in identification in one month?"

At the Income Tax Café...


... just get it done so you can complain about it. Or do it so you can stop thinking about it. That's what I do.

UPDATE: How to avoid a line at the Post Office: Show up in the morning at the campus branch. Number of customers other than me at 9:50 a.m.: 0.

"I don’t know what’s more pathetic, The One locking his fan club out of a two-day photo op..."

"... or his fan club complaining that the two-day photo op really did end up being a photo op."

Ha ha. Exactly. My heart almost went out to Dana Milbank. Just kidding.

ABC News is keeping it classy.

Reporting some non-celebrity's say-so about an incident that occurred in bed with her boyfriend. The only evidence that anything happened is the woman's own chatty gossip about herself. This item is tracking as ABC's "most popular" story, however — ahead of "Steven Seagal Sued for Sexual Assault." Journalism as page views. Great work, ABC. Brilliant of you to figure out that giant breasts will attract eyeballs.

April 13, 2010

At the Frog Marsh Café...


... you can sing that song late into the night.

ADDED: Listening to that song:

"Crash the Tea Party."

An update.

About that chanted n-word.

Here's some weak pushback.

Elvis and Adam Lambert.

Oh, there was so much potential for extravagant self-indulgence. But in the end, they were pretty much on the same level. And 2 must go this week. So everyone's at risk, and no one can be saved. Angsty!

IN THE COMMENTS: Lyssa says: "What I couldn't believe was that nobody, not even Randy, commented on Siobhan's 'sexy Elvis' Halloween costume."

Ha ha ha. Stray thought: When are they going to have Lou Reed night?

The new U.S. News law school rankings...

... leaked (apparently).

Diane Keaton...

... as Nikki Finke.

Instapundit says "this sort of thing should happen more often"... but should it?

"Barney Frank gets a high-altitude haranguing on health care. Two women ophthalmologists, whom Frank’s partner, Jim Ready, dismissed as 'bitchy; — which really set them off. Frank got an earful. As far as I’m concerned, these guys shouldn’t be able to go anywhere without getting an earful. Luckily for Ready he’s the partner of a gay Democrat, because if he were a Republican that remark would have been sexist."

At the linked article, I see that "high-altitude" signifies that Frank was riding in an airplane at the time. It wasn't a political event, just normal transportation, and Frank was initially polite and said that he didn't like to talk on planes. He wanted to read. The women kept talking louder and louder to intrude on Frank anyway, which is pretty unfair to the other passengers on the plane. The "bitchy" remark, which sounds apt, was nevertheless stupid and impolitic, and it stirred things up, again to the detriment of other passengers.
"No one was calming things down and people were standing up shouting," said Brooke Sexton, who was seated seven rows behind Barney....
You really cannot have this kind of environment on an airplane.
"The women had been drinking, and they were crying and shouting," Sexton said. "They were clearly the antagonizers, and Mr. Frank was kind of minding his own business."...
So "this sort of thing should happen more often"? I think not.

ADDED: "Mr. Frank was kind of minding his own business." An obvious rejoinder: It's not his business. It's the people's business. But I'm sticking to my position: It's an airplane.

"A big debate on the Constitution, a serious debate, actually, in the Senate this year would be good for Republicans..."

And therefore Republicans will and should oppose any Supreme Court nominee Obama comes up with — even "a very respectable choice" like Elena Kagan — says Bill Kristol.

Watch/read the diavlog. It's very funny, because Juan Williams tries to push Kristol back: How is it that a conservative President gets to "nominate very conservative people to the court like the chief justice," and the conservatives expect Democratic Senators to vote for him because he's very highly qualified, and "then when a liberal president" gets his turn they get to put up opposition and won't vote for the nominee simply based merely on her very high qualifications? That sounds like a great argument, but the parry is pathetically easy:
Who voted against Justice Roberts and Justice Alito? A senator from Illinois named Barack Obama. Also a Senator from Delaware named Joe Biden. I don't think Barack Obama and Joe Biden can very well say about these two extremely well qualified nominees they voted against that Republicans in the Senate and conservatives in the country aren't entitled to say, "We respect Elena Kagan," or, "We respect Diane Wood..." [but...]
You can't say let's stop noticing how political it is now, when I've got the political power.

And, of course, conservatives are always up — or should always be up — for a debate about how their approach to constitutional interpretation is properly and neutrally judicial and it's only the the liberal's approach that is political. That's not quite true, but the general public is immensely receptive, and the liberals know it. That's why, when their nominee comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee, regardless of the reason why she was picked — e.g., her empathy with the poor and the unfortunate — she is not going to open up and defend liberal constitutional jurisprudence. She is going to do her best imitation of John Roberts.

And that's why Bill Kristol is crushingly right: "A big debate on the Constitution, a serious debate" will benefit Republicans.

Hotly anticipated law school rankings.

The lawprof blog rankings.

(Must try harder....)

ADDED: Brian Leiter says: "Looking at the top five, the moral is clear: if you want a lot of blog traffic, be a right-wing kook or blog about philosophy!"

"We told him that what he said was very offensive and he recoiled."

"'I’m sorry if I offended you, I’m sorry.'"

Students rebel.

At the University of Wisconsin at Stout.

April 12, 2010

At the Garden Tree Cafe...


... sprawl and draw out your ideas.

"To any of the ladies I’ve offended, I apologize.."

"I say this to the men out there who have never opened a graphic image on the Internet: Don’t vote for me. For those who have, I welcome your vote."

"Considering the level of sexuality expressed in some of these musicians’ music, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised if they gravitate towards celibacy..."

"... it’s like the butcher who is a vegetarian just to avoid taking the stench of flesh home with him."

I'm slightly frazzled... but I'm doing this thing anyway.

Bloggingheads, with Emily Bazelon, talking about a Supreme Court without a Protestant, why Obama should pick an out-and-proud liberal, the causal connection between bullies and suicide, and those terrible Tea Partiers.

''I heard Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's name today and that would be an interesting person in the mix" of possible Supreme Court nominees.

Said Orrin Hatch.

With every Supreme Court vacancy, there's talk of appointing a politico instead of a judge. (Bill Clinton wanted to do it, but somehow just couldn't.) The notion always seems to be that a politician would be good at playing politics wrangling votes within the Court. But I have 2 questions:

1. Why would someone who could herd other politicians be good at manipulating Supreme Court Justices?

2. When did Hillary Clinton ever demonstrate that she could wrangle votes?

That said...

1. Barack Obama might enjoy removing Hillary Clinton from the political sphere.

2. It would be harrowing to run the Secretary of State through the judicial confirmation wringer.

UPDATE: Apparently not.


... psilocybin.

The NYT fails to distinguish between anonymous and pseudonymous.

It uses the word "anonymous" for "pseudonymous" throughout this discussion of on-line comments, fudging the case for requiring those who comment on news stories to use their real names.

That aside, I'm interested in the question whether a newspaper can investigate and reveal the identity of those who comment without using their real names.
The Plain Dealer of Cleveland recently discovered that anonymous comments on its site, disparaging a local lawyer, were made using the e-mail address of a judge who was presiding over some of that lawyer’s cases.

That kind of proxy has been documented before; what was more unusual was that The Plain Dealer exposed the connection in an article. The judge, Shirley Strickland Saffold, denied sending the messages — her daughter took responsibility for some of them. And last week, the judge sued The Plain Dealer, claiming it had violated her privacy.
Hmmm. I'd like to see this legal question connected to lawsuits that are aimed at discovering who's behind an on-line pseudonym. I tend to disfavor both kinds of lawsuits, but I'll bet there are people who would in sequence, without thinking too much, favor both. You can't favor both, can you?

April 11, 2010

Where's the gender equity?

There's a common expression, "dick move." Is there no female equivalent? Or are we just not willing to openly talk about it — and if not, why not? It exists, and is — presumably — different, perhaps subtly different.


Sagging magnolia.


Time for the later-blooming trees to pop.


What's your earliest political memory?

Some writers answer that question here. You can answer it here.

What's my answer? Let's see. Maybe, 1960. I was in 4th grade. All the kids I knew were for Nixon. I analyzed the situation and proclaimed: "If kids could vote, Nixon would win by a landslide!"

"I, too, rationalized as men in dresses allowed our religious kingdom to decay and to cling to outdated misogynistic rituals..."

"... blind to the benefits of welcoming women’s brains, talents and hearts into their ancient fraternity."

Who's behind "Crash the Tea Party" movement urging people to show up with racist signs...

... etc.

It could be either anti- or pro-Tea Party.

Think about it. It's damned easy for anyone to screw up Tea Parties by showing up with the racist signs the media and liberal blogs would love to exploit. But, that being the case, it's also quite useful for the Tea Party to get everyone to think that any bad signs probably came from their opponents. There are too many layers to this. I think that mostly hurts the Tea Partiers. It generates too much chaos and uncertainty. If you don't know what's real and what's fake out there in that world of political action, don't you want to pull back into your more intimate relationships with people you actually know?


By the way the "Crash the Tea Party" website is most notably selling T-shirts. Maybe that's really the whole idea — T-shirts, not Tea Parties. Buy the merchandise. Maybe there's no real politics, just a guy with a little wit, trying to make a buck. He just got some big links, so, in his way, he earned it.


As I was writing this post, I looked up from my window table at a café in Madison, Wisconsin and saw a middle-aged man, shambling along in Birkenstocks, wearing a T-shirt with a big, faded:

Everybody always needs a new T-shirt.


And as I wrote the words "your more intimate relationships with people you actually know" my very next thought was: I wonder how Tiger's doing at the Masters today? You see my train of thought?

At the New-and-Old Café...



... you can look forward or back.

"People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook"/"The question has been raised about whether or not our president is a socialist."

There's this Ron Paul quote that's getting some attention:
"The question has been raised about whether or not our president is a socialist. I am sure there are some people here who believe it. But in the technical sense, in the economic definition of a what a socialist is, no, he's not a socialist."
And what strikes me about it is the rhetorical similarity to the famous Nixon quote:
"People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got."
Rhetorically, the acknowledgment that there is a question has more impact than the denial. Indeed, the denial seems to underscore the seriousness of the question.

Now, Nixon was denying his own guilt. Ron Paul is raising the issue about the President and providing the denial. Nixon stepped in it. Ron Paul is doing something else. But what?

Let's pull it apart:

1. The beginning of the statement, paraphrased, says: There's an important question about whether the President is a socialist. We should address it. Some people believe it. You ought to take it seriously. That's the opposite of a denial. That's massaging the concern about socialism into our heads.

2. Next we hear that there is a technical, economic definition of what socialism is, and according to that restricted definition, Obama is not a socialist. We are left to think that there is some less technical definition that would include Obama.

3. Ron Paul's next statement is therefore key: "He's a corporatist. And unfortunately we have corporatists inside the Republican party and that means you take care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country." It seems that Paul is warning about some vast alliance between government and business that isn't technically socialism but is dangerous in the same or worse way.

So, lefties, don't get all excited about that Ron Paul statement. He's not on your side.

"He said one night he looked down and saw his white body next to her black body and couldn't take it anymore."

He was John Tesh. She was Oprah Winfrey. According to the new Kitty Kelley book about Oprah, this happened in the mid-1970s in Tennessee. The quote is (obviously) hearsay. Some other woman who dated Tesh served that up to Kelley. Really untrustworthy, because who is she, and what does she have against Tesh, who didn't stay with her? And even if she was utterly accurate about what Tesh said to her, Tesh could have been lying to her, perhaps bullshitting about how her body was better than Oprah's or some such lover's nonsense.

But let's assume Tesh and Oprah were lovers. Oprah has said they went on a date together, so there is probably some connection. What connection? In the years since the 1970s, both Tesh and Oprah have led the "New Age" movement — Oprah by seducing millions of TV-watchers into believing all manner of pseudo-scientific notions and Tesh by composing that innocuous music. Perhaps the music is not so innocuous. Perhaps Tesh has been softening the very brains into which Oprah has planted her noxious seeds. Conspiracy theory anybody? (Crack?)


Bonus: a slideshow of unlikely celebrities match-ups.