July 10, 2010

Mel Gibson teaches us that Americans are more roused by racism than misogyny (or breasts).

There's so much talk of Mel's "racist rant." I listened. Although he most certainly says the n-word and says it in a line that suggests contempt for black men, the rant is all about the woman's purportedly fake breasts. The hatred is squarely aimed at the (white) woman.

A feminist issue.

Open thread.

Discuss anything else you like here. I'm off to walk the golf course again.

WaPo hails the arrival of "One Nation," a liberal version of the Tea Party, as if there had never been the "Coffee Party."

The words "Coffee Party" don't even appear in the article!
In an effort to replicate the tea party's success, 170 liberal and civil rights groups are forming a coalition that they hope will match the movement's political energy and influence. They promise to "counter the tea party narrative" and help the progressive movement find its voice again after 18 months of floundering.

The large-scale attempt at liberal unity, dubbed "One Nation," will try to revive themes that energized the progressive grassroots two years ago. In a repurposing of Barack Obama's old campaign slogan, organizers are demanding "all the change" they voted for -- a poke at the White House.
First, that doesn't even sound like something that, if successful, would help the President. I think "Change, But Not So Much" would be more popular. Second, an awful lot of Americans hear "One Nation" and immediately — because of the Pledge of Allegiance — think "Under God," and that evokes a more conservative political ideology. But what really gets me is the Washington Post presenting this story as if it hadn't already been done before, with the once-hyped, now invisible Coffee Party movement. Maybe the MSM shouldn't just pass along PR about a hoped-for new movement as if it's already something happening.

Now, to be fair, One Nation is different from the Coffee Party. The Coffee Party was an attempt to copy the grassroots approach of the Tea Party movement. Phony. But attempted. One Nation is a top-down effort. It's hard to see how it's much of anything at all other than a cry for attention.

July 9, 2010

At the Nightfall-on-the-Mississippi Café...


... keep it rolling.

"What is odd is to have a president so convinced of his own magnificence — yet not of his own country's."

The Contempt of the Krauthammer:

"Every shoe has a hamster in it."

Is that so much harder to understand than "Every toothbrush is in a mug"? It is, for a lot of people. We're talking form here. Grammar. Not why anyone would be putting hamsters in shoes.


But if you're reading this post because you're interested in hamsters... did you read that the City of San Francisco is considering a ban all the sale of all pets except fish? And hamsters are getting singled out as the core problem the sensitive Friscans are aching to solve:
The real problem, [the city's animal control] staff said, is hamsters.

People buy the high-strung, nocturnal rodents because they're under the temporary impression that hamsters are cute and cuddly. But the new owners quickly learn that hamsters are, in fact, prone to biting, gnawing through expensive wiring and maniacally racing on their exercise wheels at 2 a.m.

So the animals end up at the shelter. Just about every species has its own rescue group in San Francisco, but no one seems to want hamsters. Hamsters are the No. 1 animal euthanized at the city's shelter, said San Francisco Animal Care and Control director Rebecca Katz.

"It's definitely a concern," she said. "They're an impulse buy, and we do sometimes get tons of them, especially babies."
Ms. Katz is upset about the death of baby hamsters. Presumably, there is also a Ms. Hamsterz who's upset about the death of kittens.


I hope you understand this blog post. I know there are a lot of people who don't understand some sentences. Do you understand my sentences? Is it the grammar... or is it something else?

What's the hardest part of reading these blog posts?
There's some strange grammar here.
Too many questions, not enough answers.
I'm never quite sure what Althouse's point of view is.
There's some crazy topic switching here and I don't know why.
I'm dogged by the feeling that, like some evil kitty cat, Althouse is toying with us.
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I hate music.

I'm in a forced music environment that has pushed me over the limit where that is what I end up thinking. If I were given a choice right now between continuing to hear music normally and being able to switch off my hearing of all music for the rest of my life, I would choose the latter.

Ironically, the music that's playing is easy-listening pop, obviously intended to be utterly inoffensive. I am offended. I am offended by inoffensiveness... 

ADDED: Example of the type of thing I'm talking about: Belinda Carlisle, "I Get Weak." I get psychotic.

Jack Balkin warns liberals not to cheer the new DOMA cases.

He supports same-sex marriage (and other liberal causes) but he's got a big problem with using the Tenth Amendment:
Judge Tauro ... wants to say that marriage is a distinctly state law function with which the federal government may not interfere. But the federal government has been involved in the regulation of family life and family formation since at least Reconstruction, and especially so since the New Deal. Much of the modern welfare state and tax code defines families, regulates family formation and gives incentives (some good and some bad) with respect to marriages and families....

In both opinions, Judge Tauro takes us through a list of federal programs for which same sex couples are denied benefits. But he does not see that even as he does so, he is also reciting the history of federal involvement in family formation and family structure. His Tenth Amendment argument therefore collapses of its own weight. If the federal government cannot interfere with state prerogatives in these areas, why was it able to pass all of these statutes, which clearly affect how state family law operates in practice and clearly give incentives that could further, undermine, or even in some cases preempt state policies?...
The modern state depends heavily on the federal government's taxing and spending powers for many of the benefits that citizens hold dear, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the newly passed provisions of the Affordable Care Act. These programs have regulatory effects on state family policies just as much as DOMA does. If DOMA's direct interference with state prerogatives is beyond federal power, then perhaps any or all of these programs are vulnerable-- and unconstitutional-- to the extent they interfere with state policies regarding family formation as well. Put differently, Judge Tauro has offered a road map to attack a wide range of federal welfare programs, including health care reform. No matter how much they might like the result in this particular case, this is not a road that liberals want to travel.
Does this mean conservatives should cheer?

Coffee and blogging in the Quad Cities.

Good morning, people. Did you get your coffee okay this morning? We went in search of a local café — I won't say exactly where — and after much maneuvering through numbered avenues and streets — let's just say the Mississippi River sets a grid awry — we found the place that seemed right. On inspection it seemed a bit twee — like a theme park recreation of a "café" — but what about WiFi? No! I need my coffee and blogging, even on vacation. This is what I do. Is it too much to ask? A little coffee and WiFi in the morning? So we take the latte to go — back to the hotel lobby, which has WiFi. The lobby also has coffee. Free coffee. But I don't like that coffee. Am I too fussy? I typo'd "fuzzy." Am I too fuzzy? Yes! I am! Without my coffee in the morning. And my WiFi. I am sharpening up now. The latte's half gone, and this post — the first post of the morning — is nearly written.

July 8, 2010

Sunset on the Mississippi.



... in in Rock Island, Illinois, tonight.

"The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state..."

"... and, in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid."

Wrote federal district judge Joseph Tauro. In a second case, he said DOMA violates equal protection.

The Davids, Weigel and Frum on Bloggingheads.

They talk about Weigel's recent Journolist-related ouster from the Washington Post, among other things. I haven't watched yet, so I can't vouch for how interesting the discussion is. It's interesting that they're on, so that's how my interestingness standard is met. Will they push each other or just natter on? Maybe listen while you're cooking dinner or something.

"Today was a nuclear bomb. I don't know where it came from... the craziness just blurted out of me," said Paul Goydos, who shot a 59 today at the John Deere Classic.

AP Reports:
Goydos, with only two victories in his 18 years on the PGA Tour, became only the fourth player in tour history to shoot a 59 with a magical opening round at the John Deere Classic on Thursday.
His tee shots found the middle of the fairway. His approaches stuck on the green. And, most importantly, his putts found the middle of the cup over and over again.
And, by simple good fortune, I was there as a spectator, watching every shot for all 18 holes.
It was the first 59 on the tour since David Duval's memorable final round helped him win the 1999 Bob Hope Classic....
Goydos is the first to shoot 59 on a par 71. The others came on par 72s....

Goydos birdied every hole on the back nine except for No. 15, where he holed a 6-foot par putt to keep alive his hopes. He finished off with three birdies, the last one from 7 feet to join the most exclusive club in golf....

"It's almost a mythical number in our game," Goydos said. "I've gone from clubbing a ball in the backyard all the way to the moon, and missed all the steps in between."

Like pitching a no-hitter in baseball, right?

"Closer to a perfect game," said Cliff Kresge, one of Goydos' playing partners.
Cliff is my nephew, which is why I was there today (in Silvis, Illinois).

ADDED: Tee time for the threesome was 7:09 A.M. and Meade and I were 2 of 4 persons who were watching at that point. The crowd grew toward the end as word got around, but the 4 of us were the only spectators who saw every shot. That was pretty cool!

"Lawyer Who Defended 'American Taliban' Now Heads DOJ Suit Against Arizona."

Writes FoxNews:
[Justice Department attorney Tony West] is among the seven Justice Department attorneys whose identities were revealed in March after months of hot pursuit by Republican lawmakers seeking to uncover the nine known officials who had represented terror suspects.

The attorneys were criticized by Keep America Safe, a group run by Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Debra Burlingame, whose brother was killed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and Bill Kristol....
But lawyers who represented terror suspects also worked in the Bush administration, including Pratik Shah, Trisha Anderson and Varda Hussain. Cheney's campaign prompted a backlash from the right, as a number of conservative attorneys released a statement in March calling the criticism "unjust" -- the statement cited the fact that former President John Adams defended the British following the Boston Massacre....

"When you think about the worst thing that terrorists can do to this country, it is that they can make you rethink your fundamental commitments to those principles that make our nation unique and make us great," [said West, explaining why he undertook representation of John Walker Lindh.] "I really believe that in working on that case, I was recommitting myself to those principles of due process, fairness - things that separate us from most nations in this world and which make us unique."

And here's a new poll:
Voters by a two-to-one margin oppose the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to challenge the legality of Arizona’s new immigration law in federal court. Sixty-one percent (61%), in fact, favor passage of a law like Arizona’s in their own state, up six points from two months ago.

In the Hidden Away Café...


... I've got to run away for an early-morning event. You'll have to carry on without me.

(I'd have blogged some news stories too, but I can't see anything right now that interests me enough. That's superficially disappointing, but profoundly good.)

July 7, 2010

In the Fragile Glass Shop...



... you need to be careful...


... but not about what you say.

"The big Supreme Court case outlawing state bans on handguns, McDonald v. Chicago, is barely a week old."

"But already Chicago has passed a new gun ordinance, and, yes, a lawsuit has been filed arguing that the law is unconstitutional."

Is Drudge is trying to say something about hair...

My email informant says "It looks like Biden is about to swat that pesky Lohan."

I'm seeing a hair theme. The Lohan photo is obviously hair-centric. She's young and beautiful... and  deeply troubled and going to jail. The 2 older characters pictured in juxtaposition with her are possibly troubled, but not deeply, and they're not going to jail. They do not find themselves under the thumb of government power. They are the thumb. (Lindsay! Look out for that thumb!) But they are hair-challenged. Surely, they'd trade it all for fabulous hair. Biden has his long, sad history of hair transplants. And Hillary's hair has been a big topic as long as we've known her. And it looks particularly awful in that picture. That photograph seems to say: This is why older women are required to cut their hair short. She's raising a glass of white wine... as if she doesn't even care anymore. She's laughing. Biden is yelling. Lohan is swooning. Now, I'm seeing much more than a message about hair. It's about how the oldsters are crushing the young in America today.

"The vegetables are alive!"

"So is the question of how Palin finally put the screws on Levi."

Andrew Sullivan reacts to Levi Johnston's apology:
In Palinland, no one knows what's really going on. But I wonder if this is a somewhat panicked response to the recent blip upwards in web interest in the Trig question. 
No link on that assertion of blip. I know he's interested in "the Trig question," but really... it's trending upwards?
With all these family members able to speak to the public and McGinniss digging deeper, Todd and Sarah may have felt the need to crack down and use Levi's access to Tripp and Bristol as their latest weapon. [Levi's sister] Mercede has this to say about Levi's latest statement, which reads like a man who has a metaphorical gun to his head....
Sullivan links to Mercede's blog and quotes it at length. If that's too much crazy psychodrama for you, let's watch Levi Johnston with Kathy Griffin on "My Life on the D List":

"How feminist blogs like Jezebel gin up page views by exploiting women's worst tendencies."

Emily Gould in Slate:
As of this writing, [last week's Jezebel post titled "The Daily Show's Woman Problem"] has generated almost 1,000 comments and nearly 90,000 page views. It's a prime example of the feminist blogosphere's tendency to tap into the market force of what I've come to think of as "outrage world"—the regularly occurring firestorms stirred up on mainstream, for-profit, woman-targeted blogs like Jezebel and also, to a lesser degree, Slate's own XX Factor and Salon's Broadsheet. 
Ha. A lesser degree. Hidden question: How can we get those page views?
They're ignited by writers who are pushing readers to feel what the writers claim is righteously indignant rage but which is actually just petty jealousy, cleverly marketed as feminism. These firestorms are great for page-view-pimping bloggy business. But they promote the exact opposite of progressive thought and rational discourse, and the comment wars they elicit almost inevitably devolve into didactic one-upsmanship and faux-feminist cliché. The vibe is less sisterhood-is-powerful than middle-school clique in-fight, with anyone who dares to step outside of chalk-drawn lines delimiting what's "empowering" and "anti-feminist" inevitably getting flamed and shamed to bits. 
Consider the radical idea that women are human beings.

The 2010 "Battle for the Senate" map.

Oh, my! Wisconsin isn't blue anymore.

Ilya Somin is not ready to say he wants Mitch Daniels for President.

But he sure like his list of 5 favorite books.

The new lawprof blog rankings.

Check out the current standings in the endless struggle for dominance (or at least for the treasured rank of #2) and find some new links to click on.

Michelle Obama is out of synch with the fatshionistas.

Robin Givhan writes about the body acceptance movement. Most of her essay is about the desire for cutting-edge fashion in plus sizes. (She embarrasses the president of Lane Bryant for saying his customer is mainly concerned with comfort and "might be a year behind" on style.) Tucked away at the end is the part about Michelle Obama. The First Lady has been Givhan's prime subject these days (unfortunately), and it's surprising to find something critical of her in a Givhan column (even if it is given low prominence).  Let me highlight it:
What some currently see as the most distressing assault on their dignity is first lady Michelle Obama with her fight against childhood obesity.

"I'm really appalled at the first lady's campaign. I think it will do more harm than good," says Linda Bacon, author of "Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight." "I applaud her for some of the specific programs, but when it's done in the name of obesity, it's going to backfire on her."

Bacon was one of about a dozen researchers and authors who signed a letter to Obama voicing concern that her emphasis on weight was stigmatizing a population rather than dealing with the broader health issues. "I think it's great for kids to have a better connection to their food," Bacon says. 
Bacon. Great name. No seriously.

A grand and lustrous name. And if you thought a joke was in order, you should be ashamed of yourself... of your mind. Not your body, of course. Love your glorious, ample body.

Back to Linda Bacon:
But by focusing on weight, "you're teaching kids that they did something wrong to get the body they have."

The women do not dismiss decades of scientific research on obesity, but they are distrustful of the conclusions as well as the methodology. They know they exercise; they feel healthy. One young woman shared that she was a vegan and has always been a big girl. Mostly, however, they argue that everyone should eat better and move more -- not just the overweight. So why point a finger at fat people?
Givhan has the access to extract a response from Michelle Obama. The questions I'd ask: How can you talk about taking personal responsibility when what people hear is blame? If people are saying they feel good about themselves, do you really want to make them feel bad? Even those of us who don't favor inspiring self-esteem all the time want to know why you want to tear people down in the effort to get them to do something they'll probably never be able to do very well? But Michelle Obama is someone who's big on promoting self-esteem, so she's got a particularly difficult problem achieving coherence. You can't just be for everything that's good. Everyone must feel good and be virtuous. How does that work?

I assume Givhan will get back to us with the First Lady's response. Until then, let's speculate. I predict she'll go on about her garden and how delicious vegetables can be: If only these women would taste vegetables — really taste her most excellent vegetables — then they will love eating right and all the incoherence will melt away. You can love yourself, love your body, love all your food and eat right and be healthy — feel healthy and be healthy. Of course, that's emphatically not true, but one feels so pretty saying it. And that is what we want — to feel pretty.


July 6, 2010

"[T]he Arizona law would place a undue burden on their ability to enforce immigration laws nationwide, because Arizona police are expected to refer so many illegal immigrants to federal authorities."

According to the Washington Post, that assertion is at the core of the federal government's lawsuit challenging Arizona's new immigration law. So... the federal government has massively failed to deal with the problem of illegal immigration, but at least the failure is spread fairly equally among the states. Even though Arizona may only want to take responsibility for its its own problem, it can't do that without referring the cases to the federal government and straining and unbalancing federal resources. The courts are supposed to buy the paradox: Because the federal government can't do very much about a problem — or chooses not to do much — an individual state can't act either, no matter how bad things get within that state.

But let's think this through. I'm just trying to grasp what the argument is, so discuss this with me. Brainstorm. Argue. Consider this: The federal government has responsibility for immigration, and it has expressed, through written law and real-world efforts, an extremely lax policy toward illegal immigration. Given that federal policy and the supremacy of federal law, one could argue that it is not within the state's proper power to dictate a different policy and impose it on the federal government (by referring a lot of new cases of individuals violating federal law).

It will be interesting to hear how the lawyers for the federal government make their argument. Assuming it's not legally ridiculous, is it politically wise? To make it work legally, won't they have to own pathetically weak enforcement as a deliberate and important policy? Won't they have to be very clear that Arizona must shut up and accept the current situation? Who will get better political leverage out of this lawsuit — those who favor stronger enforcement of immigration law or those who favor leniency?

At the Bunny-in-the-Love-Grass Café...



... you are cute and we are tolerant, but at some point the tolerance ends, and we are thinking slingshot and meat.

A squirrel in L.A. tests positive for plague.

A squirrel.

In L.A.


"They all had small red spots on the back of their ears. The spots should have disappeared if they had had sex. My many years of experience told me that these men did not have sex before."

The acupuncturist's virginity test that Vietnam has used to exonerate convicted rapists.

William Saletan slams Elena Kagan.

"All of us should be embarrassed that a sentence written by a White House aide now stands enshrined in the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, erroneously credited with scientific authorship and rigor. Kagan should be most chastened of all. She fooled the nation's highest judges. As one of them, she had better make sure they aren't fooled again."


I'm not to pleased with the idea of relying on someone who distorted science to detect, for our benefit, the distortions of others. What we have is someone who put a political agenda ahead of science. We all need to heighten our skepticism about the way politicians and lawyers use our embrace of the authority of science to scam us.

Why Gordon Smith hates reading Supreme Court opinions.

"The first sentence of Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board reads: 'Our Constitution divided the "powers of the new Federal Government into three defined categories, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial." INS v. Chadha , 462 U. S. 919, 951 (1983).' We needed a secondary source citation for that proposition? Or maybe the Chief Justice used the quotation for the original way in which Chadha framed the idea?"

I feel your pain. But as a lawprof who teaches Chadha every year, I've got to observe that the idea that there are 3 defined categories was controversial and fought over in that case. Read Justice White's dissenting opinion:
[T]he wisdom of the Framers was to anticipate that the Nation would grow and new problems of governance would require different solutions. Accordingly, our Federal Government was intentionally chartered with the flexibility to respond to contemporary needs without losing sight of fundamental democratic principles. This was the spirit in which Justice Jackson penned his influential concurrence in the Steel Seizure Case:
"The actual art of governing under our Constitution does not and cannot conform to judicial definitions of the power of any of its branches based on isolated clauses or even single Articles torn from context. While the Constitution diffuses power the better to secure liberty, it also contemplates that practice will integrate the dispersed powers into a workable government."
Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U. S. 579, 343 U. S. 635 (1952).
Burger had to protest that he was not relying on "empty formalities." I'll bet most law professors teaching separation of powers present Jackson in a much better light than Burger.

The idea that are "three defined categories" of power is not too obvious to require support from case law. The case law itself shows that.

"Of course race is involved. Because people don’t generally lose their minds and start acting like idiots in this country unless race is involved somehow…"

Elie Mystal takes on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

As long as women are required to wear headscarves...

... isn't it best to restrict men's haircuts too? 

This question is designed to test the importance of the principle of equality.

"Nasr Abu Zayd is a heroic figure, a scholar who has risked everything to restore the traditions of intellectual inquiry and tolerance that for so long characterized Islamic culture."

The Egyptian scholar, who wrote that the Koran is "a collection of discourses" and that there is no "pure Islam," has died at the age of 66.

"fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures... opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions..."


The comments are back!

The comments are back!

I missed you guys. I used to revel in my solitude, but then you showed up and when you went away....

Cruising to a halt.

The end of the PT Cruiser.
"For a while it was the best-selling Chrysler-brand vehicle."

"... a capella (for those of you who don't speak Italian, that means singing with a mouthful of capers....)"

"(... It creates a kind of warbly tone while at the same time encouraging guests not to sit too close to the stage.)"

Ha. I hate getting hit by stray bits of food. I once sat in the front row of a play that had a small refrigerator right in front of where I was sitting. There was a lot of talk of food, and much opening and closing of the refrigerator, putting things in. As might have been predicted, the climax of the show involved stuff coming out of that refrigerator.

Dialogue that I've never forgotten from that play:
What's that smell in here?


Artichokes, huh? Smells like stale piss. Never was big on vegetables myself. I'm a steak man. "Meat and blood," that's my motto. Keeps your bones hard as ivory.
Do artichokes roll when they hit the pitched floor of a stage? Yes, so don't sit in the front row.

The Blogger comments problem is sapping my strength.

I used to blog without comments. I used to like it like that:
What has been your worst blogging experience?

My brief experience with the comments function, which a couple of nasty people ruined for everybody.
Ha! How much thinner my skin was in 2004!

Since late last night, Blogger has had a problem displaying comments, and I'm being forced back into the old experience of blogging without comments. (I do see them in the email, but it's not the same when they aren't here and when the readers aren't talking to each other.)

I used to prefer writing without comments, but over the years, I've gotten so accustomed to the familiar environment of comments that writing without the prospect of comments feels like speaking out loud when there's no one else in the room. I can do it, but it doesn't feel that different from thinking.

I know you're still there. I need to overcome this absurd block. I seem to need displayed comments, but think of the people who spend years writing books with little assurance that they will be read at all. You have to find a different attitude toward writing. I was going to say that the book-writer writes more for himself, for the intrinsic reward of writing, but in fact, the book-writer needs to obsess more about who will read this. The blogger can see that people are reading and really is more free to write for the intrinsic reward. I'm so into that immediate reward that I'm greedy for more of it — in the form of displayed comments.

But the display will go up, eventually, and you will see what you and others have been writing, in this unusual context of not seeing what others are saying. In the meantime, you can display opinion now, thusly:

With this temporary failure to display comments...
I'm enjoying the refreshingly uncluttered look of things here.
I feel frustrated that others cannot see what I think.
I'm wondering what the usual commenters have to say.
Althouse feels less provocative because I can't see the provokees.

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Chip has his way with yesterday's photograph:

July 5, 2010

Comments glitch.

Comments aren't showing up right now for some reason. It's a problem on a number of Blogger blogs at the moment. I can read your comments in gmail and I assume they'll go up soon. So don't worry that your comments are getting lost.

UPDATE: Blogger (the entity) is aware of the problem and working on it.




Seen today in Governor Nelson Park... along with lots of mosquitos... and black raspberries.

"The most socially skilled among us — those who project the emotions they intend, when they intend to — are not wedded to any one strategy."

There are various strategies: "concealing (i.e., suppression), adjusting (quickly calming anger, for instance) and tolerating (openly expressing emotion)." Be flexible. For more social success.

Obama asked NASA "to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."

To be fair, that wasn't the only goal. There was also: "to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math" and "to expand our international relationships."

Oh, admit it! The point of science is to feel good about how we can do science.

"The internet's completely over... The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated."

"Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."

Sayeth Prince.

Remember when Lesley Gore was Pussycat, one of Catwoman's minions?

I didn't remember that either. I was just reading about Lesley Gore because I happened to hear an old song of hers — "Maybe I Know" — on the radio.

At the Good-Beer-Is-Not-Cheap Café...


... quaff some brew...


... down at the end of Lonely Street.

This morning's Drudgedy.

Another in a continuing series examining the humor of the juxtapositions of photographs on The Drudge Report. (And thanks to the reader who emailed me the tip.)

"A few generations ago, people weren’t stopping to contemplate whether having a child would make them happy."

"Having children was simply what you did. And we are lucky, today, to have choices about these matters. But the abundance of choices — whether to have kids, when, how many — may be one of the reasons parents are less happy."

Another manifestation of that trendy liberal theme: Choice won't make you happy.


This post makes an interesting pairing with the 10:13 post, which noted that suddenly and strangely:
Liberals worry about constitutional rights getting in the way of legislation, and conservatives have cozied up to the notion of unwritten rights. For that to happen, everyone has to stop focusing on the right of privacy.

"No one ever said it better than Osama bin Laden."

When people see a column by Thomas Friedman and a humor piece in The New Yorker, by nature they will....

By nature they would... what?
Go buy the latest Thomas Friedman bestseller.
Subscribe to The New Yorker.
Increase their devotion to the Republican Party.
Breathe a sigh of relief that Barack Obama is President.
Bitch and snark about it all in the Althouse comments section.
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Underneath it all...

... we are fish.

"Sadly, the 4x4 has become an acceptable alternative to Mercedes or BMW for the pompous, self-important driver."

"To use them for the school run, or even in cities or towns at all, is completely stupid."

The creator of the Range Rover, Charles Spencer King, dead at 85.

"It seems to me that there's still reefer madness. It doesn't make any sense to just steal the cash and the herb."

The LAPD is closing down the medical marijuana dispensaries pot stores.

The team conducted three busts before the one at Colorado Collective, making a half-dozen arrests, seizing $7,265 in cash and 43 pounds of marijuana at Kush Korner II in Wilmington, Nirvana Pharmacy in Westwood and Kind for Cures in a former Kentucky Fried Chicken store in Palms.
Wow, there's a "South Park" episode about that KFC that became a pot store: "Medicinal Fried Chicken."

"[T]he first full-sky image from Europe's Planck telescope which was sent into space last year to survey the 'oldest light' in the cosmos."

"It took the 600m-euro observatory just over six months to assemble the map. It shows what is visible beyond the Earth to instruments that are sensitive to light at very long wavelengths - much longer than what we can sense with our eyes.... 'What you see is the structure of our galaxy in gas and dust...'"

A picture worth taking a look at, don't you think?

"[T]he Roberts court demonstrated its determination to act aggressively to undo aspects of law it found wanting, no matter the cost."

The NYT gives its opinion of the Supreme Court's just-concluded Term:
[T]he tone and posture of the court’s conservative majority made clear that it is not done asserting itself in redefining campaign finance laws, the rights of corporations, national security powers and the ownership of guns....
Much of this is the familiar hand-wringing over Citizens United. The editors admit that a lot of what happened isn't so bad, but it must be bad. It's the Roberts Court. So:
Still, the problematic decisions continue to leave us worried about upcoming terms, where more decisions about fundamental rights await. In the last month alone, majorities on the court said gun ownership was a fundamental Second Amendment right that applies to states and cities, while reducing the First Amendment rights of those who try to pacify terrorist groups. 
Notice the big flip that's taken place in the last year or so. Liberals worry about constitutional rights getting in the way of legislation, and conservatives have cozied up to the notion of unwritten rights. For that to happen, everyone has to stop focusing on the right of privacy. Isn't it odd?
If Elena Kagan is confirmed, her first task will be to keep her pledge and help the court realize that judicial modesty actually means something.
There's no other reference in the editorial to "judicial modesty" or Elena Kagan so I'm not sure what Kagan said that's being interpreted as a pledge by the new Justice to go in there and school the oldsters about what something really means. But everyone who has any sophistication about law knows that the Constitution trumps legislation and the question is the scope of constitutional rights. The nominees aren't asked to say — nor would they say —  that they will interpret rights narrowly so that more legislation will survive or, conversely, that they will interpret rights expansively and nullify democratic decisionmaking. They're all asked to say and they all promise to say exactly what the rights really are and to enforce those rights despite pressure to allow the democratic choice to prevail and despite their own preferences about what ought to be legislated.

But the New York Times must, on schedule, wind up its readers about the conservatives on the Supreme Court. It's all such tedious sophistry.

July 4, 2010

The Lockerbie bomber is not dead yet.

He was released in August 2009, out of "compassion." The doctor whose opinion was relied on says:
"There was always a chance he could live for 10 years, 20 years ... But it's very unusual. It was clear that three months was what they were aiming for. Three months was the critical point. On the balance of probabilities, I felt I could sort of justify [that].... It is embarrassing that he's gone on for so long... There was a 50 per cent chance that he would die in three months, but there was also a 50 per cent chance that he would live longer."

At the Lake Sunset Café...


... you can while away the hours and celebrate independence.

"So often, powerful forces and powerful interests stand in your way, and the odds seem stacked against you...."

"I want you to know this: I've taken on the powerful forces. And as president, I'll stand up to them. ... It's about our people, our families, and our future — and whether forces standing in your way will keep you from having a better life...."

Just something Al Gore once said, as noted by Mickey Kaus in the year 2000. It came up in conversation this morning as we were talking about — can you guess? — the origin of religion. I was riffing on the idea — based on my memories of "The Evolution of God" — that primitive man perceived the entire environment as imbued with spirit and — this may not be in the book — there had to have be individuals in early human times who saw how to amass power by making it seem as though they could influence or appease whatever spirit or spirits made things — such as weather — happen in the world. This led — can you see how? — to a discussion of Al Gore.

Distant fireworks.

Seen — last night — from across the lake. No explosive sounds, just crowd murmurs...

... and the sound of a boombox somewhere tuned to the radio channel that plays the official "Rhythm and Booms" soundtrack. Earlier, pop tunes played. "Man in the Mirror," for example. Meade said they needed some more patriotic songs. And then, as if on cue, the final set of songs began — "Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder," "The Marine Hymn," "Stars and Stripes Forever," "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".... All played and I heard no Madisonian dissenting opinion from this crowd. Many noticed "Taps" and stood.

Happy 4th!


This was the scene on the Terrace last night, watching the big fireworks show across the lake...


What a throng! It was like fireworks Woodstock. Replete with nudity: When the show was over, and much of the crowd, including (we will assume) all the children, had cleared out, a few young guys shed their clothes, dove into the lake, swam around, hopped out, ran to the end of the pier, and dove in again. One display and then another.