October 9, 2010

"I’m not clever at all. I have a certain insight into philosophy, I think. But I’m not clever, I don’t find complicated arguments easy to follow."

Said the philosopher Philippa Foot, who has just died at the age of 90. (She's one of those people, like, supposedly, Shakespeare, who died on their birthday.)

Foot originated the famous trolley problem (in an essay called "The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of the Double Effect"). In the hypothetical, a runaway trolley continuing along the rails will hit 5 people who are working on the track. Should you actively divert the trolley onto a track where it will proceed to hit just one person? If you say yes, then should we favor killing a person to get 5 organs that can be used to save 5 lives?

Here's a PDF of the essay.

A casual, autumn observation about gender difference.

At the Farmers' Market today in Madison... I don't know why but...


... women seem to be delighted by pumpkins...


... and men could not care less...


Do you read to find amazing facts?

"Bryson is especially good at dropping in 'amazing facts.' David Douglas, discoverer of the Douglas fir, died after falling into an animal trap that already contained a wild bull. Louis XIII didn't wash until he was nearly 7 years old. The term 'middle class' wasn't coined until 1745, in a book on the Irish wool trade. This is great stuff."

Russ Feingold and his GOP challenger Ron Johnson answer a question about how close they are to the beliefs of the Tea Party.

Watch Russ Feingold confidently assert that he represents Tea Party values. Marvel at the importance of reading the Constitution at an early age and carrying it around all the time. Consider the question whether we should want a millionaire in the Senate. Feingold says it's good to have a nonmillionaire, like him, in the Senate, because the Senate is so full of millionaires and it provides some balance. On the other hand, a businessman who's made millions, like Johnson, has proven something about his ability and his knowledge of how the world works.

ADDED: You can watch the whole debate here. I thought it was interesting to see how well the new guy, Johnson, was able to look polished and competent alongside Russ Feingold.

AND: Instapundit links, saying:
Gee, it wasn’t long ago that Tea Partiers were a fringe group of astroturf bigots or something. Now it seems like everyone wants to be a Tea Partier! Who on earth could have seen this coming?
The answer, of course, is: Instapundit. I must say, when those tea parties began, I thought they were kind of embarrassing. I didn't get Instapundit promoting them all the time.

"The robes acknowledge that the justices have shed distractions in favor of objectivity, fairness and a common, high-minded purpose."

Opines WaPo fashion critic Robin Givhan:
The law is their religion. That's where they place their faith. Their piousness may be imperfect -- they are human, after all. But true devotion is worth striving for.

The robe helps to ward off hubris and self-importance. Indeed, wouldn't we be perturbed if a justice decided that a little rhinestone trim along the sleeves would be quite nice? Or what if a justice decided that a mink collar would be quite lovely in the winter?

"He would still read picture books now if we let him, because he doesn’t want to work to read."

In a story about how "picture books" don't sell anymore, Amanda Gignac, "a stay-at-home mother in San Antonio who writes The Zen Leaf, a book blog," is quoted saying that about her  6 ½-year-old son, Laurence, who "started reading chapter books when he was 4... regularly tackles 80-page chapter books, [but] is still a 'reluctant reader.'"


Remember when progressives fought against child labor?

This is the most egregious example of wilful misunderstanding I've seen in a long time.

John Amato must really think his readers are stupid. Shameless.
Rush Limbaugh says there will never be equality because:"some people are just born to be slaves"

How dare you say there's racism in the Teabircher movement? I'm so offended by that notion. Isn't what Rush Limbaugh says just soooooo true?
Amato pretends to wring his hands over the slavery in American history, as if he doesn't know the ways in which we who are free behave as if we were slaves. I can't make myself read the comments over there, but, please, somebody tell me if anyone is smart and honest enough to understand Limbaugh's point.

After all of this politics...

... don't you feel you need a bath?

UPDATE: I'm back. Not from a bath. From a long bike ride. Over 20 miles. Glad to see the Badgers crushed Minnesota.

Did Slate's collection of essays inspire anyone to engage with the hoary question "Who Gets to Be a Feminist?"

I mean, anyone other than the women — the writers were all women — who wrote the essays.

I pointed you toward my essay here. Did you even go over there and read what I wrote? I know I got almost no visitors coming here from over there. Did you click back to page 1 of the 4 pages of essays and read through them all and spend time cogitating about what "feminist" means?

I'm seeing zero discussion of this essay collection elsewhere on the web. It got a few links, but not with any engagement in the question. I'm not sad about this, mind you. The lack of response kind of proved the point I made in my essay.

Talking about feminism is a sidetrack, and the women writers — they're pretty much all women — who occupy themselves writing about the meaning of feminism are willingly confining themselves to an echo chamber. Liberate yourselves!

Suddenly, I feel that the day will come when I will quit paying attention to politics at all.

After writing that last post, I feel such revulsion toward people who are immersed in politics. The lying. The distortion. The inhumanity. Before blogging, I was never politically active, never interested in politics as a partisan. (From a scholarly perspective, I've been interested in how politics influence law and how law expresses politics.)

I started blogging because I love writing quickly and openly and because I'd spent too much time reading the newspaper passively and without making myself decide what I really thought about various things. I wanted to force myself to take one more step and say something about the stories of the day. I'm not a partisan or an ideologue, so I didn't know automatically. It was only by making myself write a sentence or 2 that I found out what I really thought.

As a passive reader, I'd tended to absorb information and to respond with a tolerance for the diversity of human opinion and a sympathy for the different characters whose stories surfaced in the daily news. As a blogger, I've sharpened my thinking and applied much more judgment, but I'm still more interested in understanding what makes different people think and behave the way they do. And, for me, the problem with following politics is that I'm observing human beings who are not interesting characters. They're so thin and predictable!

I can picture myself snapping and saying enough!

Witch! Whore!... Nazi!

A (Republican) Senate candidate has been called a witch. A (Republican) gubernatorial candidate has been called a whore. And now... a — guess which party? — House candidate is tarred with Nazi.

"Why is This GOP House Candidate Dressed as a Nazi?" You may click to see Rich Iott — posing and smiling in 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking uniform with 3 of his closest Nazi friends... I mean... with 3 of his fellow WW2 reenacters.  "It's purely historical interest in World War II." Hmm. Yeah. The high-profile article — by Joshua Green in The Atlantic — goes on, stoking your suspicion that a guy who dresses up and plays the part of Nazi has got to feel some affinity for Nazis. Sample:
Iott participated in the group under his own name, and also under the alias "Reinhard Pferdmann," which has also been removed, and which Iott described as being his German alter ego. "Part of the reenactor's [experience]," Iott said, "is the living-history part, of really trying to get into the persona of the time period. In many, not just in our unit, but in many units what individuals do is create this person largely based on a Germanized version of their name, and a history kind of based around your own real experiences. 'Reinhard' of course is 'Richard' in German. And 'Pferdmann,' 'pferd' is a horse. So it's literally 'horse man.'"
I was very far into the position of thinking man, this guy should not have been the candidate, what a screw-up for the Republicans when I got to this information — buried at the end of the 13th paragraph of the 15-paragraph article:
[Iott] added that he has participated in re-enactments as a Civil War Union infantryman, a World War I dough boy and World War II American infantryman and paratrooper.
What?! Green should be ashamed of himself for minimizing this. The 13th paragraph is about follow-up email with Iott. Did Green have the whole damning article written when he encountered this crucial piece of information? And then he decided — what? — to stick it where it's least likely to be read? A decent journalist would have ascertained how many war reenactments Iott has done and which roles Iott played in them. What is the proportion of Nazi roles he assumed compared to the number of times he played WW2 American infantrymen or paratroopers? Who decides, when war reenactments are done, which side somebody plays? Give me a realistic picture of what participation in war reenactments is really like so I can assess what Iott did.

Instead, Green's article is filled out with the well-known information that the Nazis were bad and that Jews and others are offended by signs that a person is sympathetic to Nazis. It's pretty obvious that Green is hot to smear Iott and help the Democrat in the race. And, unsurprisingly, the Democratic blogosphere welcomes Green's hearty slab of biased reporting.

TPM's Josh Marshall types up "Marcy Kaptur's Good Night's Sleep" ("whatever worry she may have had about reelection, I think that's over now that her opponent Rich Iott has been revealed as an avid Nazi reenactor"). Also at TPM ,Evan McMorris-Santoro has a long piece that looks like a rewrite of Green's piece, except that it leaves out the crucial information about other reenactments altogether. How incredibly slimy!

Look! Over there! Nazis! They're eeeevil! Sorry, but I'm looking over here, at journalists who should be ashamed of their shoddy political hackery.

October 8, 2010

"Oh! I understand why it's such a small piece of steak."

"Meade is making steak pizza again!"


"It smells delightful!"


Mmmmmmm.... Beautiful!

The Russ Feingold vs. Ron Johnson Debate.

Are you watching with me?

The "irreplaceable" Usman is dead.

Killed by a drone strike. "Al-Qaeda takes a big hit." And "American intelligence was unaware that he was in the area; he was collateral damage."

Random deskscape.


How we spent $100 at Whole Foods...

... for just a small bag of things....


So, there was the chocolate. The steak was only $7.58. But — oh! — those pine nuts.

Glenn Beck has a medical condition involving "small fibers"?

"We don’t even know what all of the symptoms are at this point."

Is it Morgellons disease? Which I'm pretty sure is a flat-out delusion. What are the chances that Glenn Beck is delusional?

He says it's been "very strange."

I've told you also that I have been diagnosed with macular dystrophy... And if you're a long time listener, you might be even be able to tell it I can just by listening to my voice now. There is something wrong with my voice, and we're not sure what it is.... I've seen five different doctors and I've got an incredible group of doctors who are, I think only one of them really hates me, and I have the other four watching that one. But they're looking one of them said to me the other night, we have to do all of these blood tests because we have to look for toxins and poisons, and that word stuck out to me. And it's not poison like you know...

The last 24 hours as I've been thinking about the doctors saying we're looking for toxins, we're looking for poisons in your body, I know what they are. For four years I have tried to understand the mind of what I believe are monsters. It started with Walter Lippmann....

I believe in the American experiment. But I also believe there are very misguided people, and I have been drinking that poison, which others may not find poison, but I do because it is exact opposite of me. And I have been "That which you gaze upon, you become."
So... studying politics has injected him with toxin, making him a monster... and he might be going blind... there's something wrong with his voice...


IN THE COMMENTS: Pogo (a doctor) says:
Yes, he's describing a neuropathy, hence the talk about poisins/toxins.

He ain't the Morgellon's type, IMO...

Small fiber neuropathy: A burning problem

"Who Gets To Be a Feminist?"

DoubleX asked a bunch of people, including me.

Still life with chocolate.


The chocolate comes with instructions....


I favor the Barcelona bars. Meade bought the Bacon Bars because there were only 2 Barcelonas left, and he didn't want to deprive me of the maximum allotment of Barcelonas.

The NYT likens real, consensual sex to a false allegation of rape and frets once more about privacy and the internet.

"Duke Winces as a Private Joke Slips Out of Control," reads a NYT headline. I wondered what Duke winced? John Wayne is too dead to wince, and who cares what some Euro-aristocrat feels? Turns out it's Duke, the University, and the article is about that college girl who made big, detailed PowerPoint presentation about her sex conquests and sent it out to "a few friends" by email, whence it migrated to the web, purportedly to her shame and dismay. Supposedly, the young woman — Karen Owen — didn't mean for her hilarious writing to go viral. Is that so? My experience with writers is that they want readers. But that's a side issue ignored by the NYT, which is fixated on Duke University:
On campus, students were abashed, if not a bit fatigued by the notoriety.

Just four years ago, the Duke men’s lacrosse team was embroiled in scandal when a woman falsely accused three Blue Devils players of having raped her at a party where she was to perform as a stripper. One year later, the charges against the players were dropped and the prosecutor in the case, Michael B. Nifong, was disbarred.
What?! Why liken real sex between consenting individuals to a false charge of rape?! "Notoriety" — that's a ridiculous umbrella term.
Seven of the 13 athletes Ms. Owen wrote about were — or still are — on the lacrosse team. This incident has angered many of those who are already sensitive to their image, according to students and alumni who know them. The lacrosse players contacted would not comment.
Huh? So... those 7 guys aren't the ones who were falsely accused of rape, are they? And are the lacrosse players really so "sensitive" that it bothers them for people to know that they had actual sex with classmates?
On campus, other students had plenty to say.

Kishan Shah, 18, a pre-med student from Carmel, Ind., said the university should not revoke Ms. Owen’s degree, but “they should let her know that she has disgraced the school.”
Who suggested the crazy punishment of revoking her degree? And since when do we punish people for talking about their sexual encounters? If she's lied about someone, maybe they have a defamation claim, but it's hard to see how a young man is hurt by the rumor that he had sex with a woman, even if she thinks he wasn't a good enough lover.
Mike Lefevre, a 21-year-old senior and the president of the student body, said that people were not sure whom to be more concerned about. “Should we be more worried about the young woman’s privacy or worry about the individuals who were named?” he said. “It’s not so clear to us who was the victim, and who we should reach out to.”
Give me a break. If you do things with people, they can talk about it. These days the talk is on the internet. Get used to it. If you don't like it, try limiting your sexual encounters to people who love and respect you. And quit whining.

Who do the conservative bloggers want to see as the Republican nominee in 2012?

The way I read this poll, the correct answer is: Mitch Daniels! 

Think about it.

IN THE COMMENTS: People start right in with the news that Daniels is short. I say: Smaller government — and if that means a smaller President, so be it.

Apparently, if I don't blog this, I'll never stop getting email and comments from people telling me to blog this.

Okay. Here. I don't want there to be an increase in suicides because you people have nowhere else to go. Satisfied? Now, please clean up after yourselves.

John Lennon is 70.

There's a nice tribute to Lennon in today's Google logo. An animated line drawing, with exactly what you'd expect in the audio track. Must it always be "Imagine"?

Imagine no "Imagine"
What song would they use
For every Lennon tribute
In the annual Lennon news
Imagine all the people
Freed from that old song...

You may say I'm a dreamer
Like some crazy peacenik dove
I hope someday you'll join me
And the new song would be Love.

Did the Washington Post die?

I keep getting blank pages when I try to go there. Did Richard Cohen, biking with earbuds plugging his ears and Neil Young's "Ohio" misting up his eyes, hit a bump and wreck the whole operation or something?

"I don't think you like the man."

Something "really bothered" Glenn Loury about "all that adulation," but....

"Have you heard of insect politics?"

Well, I have.

Obama's National Security Adviser departs.

Gen. James Jones is leaving a bit early, a couple weeks after the publication of Woodward's "Obama's Wars," which quoted Jones calling Rahm Emanuel and other Obama aides "water bugs" who "flit around." He was said to believe that they — said bugs — "did not understand war or foreign relations ... and were too interested in measuring the short-term political impact of the president’s decisions in these areas."

"Whores. Whores! Whores! Look around you. Look around you. Do you see what's happening?"

"In our town. In our very homes! You know who I'm talking about. You know! You know what's going on in that house! Vice! Perversions! Shamelessness! Cavorting... with that... devil!"

A quote from:
A. Somebody talking to Jerry Brown, who responded "Well, I'm going to use that."

B. David Axelrod, denouncing Christine O'Donnell.

C. Veronica Cartwright, attempting to warn people about what Jack Nicholson is doing.

"My mother, when she called us from the boat, told us, 'Do your crying now. We have a lot of work when I come home.'"

"She didn't want our father's murder to be in vain."

Leon Klinghoffer, murdered 25 years ago today.

"Liu Xiaobo, an impassioned literary critic, political essayist and democracy advocate repeatedly jailed by the Chinese government for his writings..."

"... has won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of 'his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.'"
He is the first Chinese citizen to win the Peace Prize and one of three people to have received it while incarcerated....

In announcing the prize on Friday, the committee noted that China, now the world’s second biggest economy, should be commended for lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But it chastised the government for ignoring basic rights guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution and the international conventions to which Beijing is a party. “In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China’s citizens,” the committee said, adding, “China’s new status must entail increased responsibility.”
The official Chinese response: "“Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who has been sentenced by Chinese judicial departments for violating Chinese law.”

Obama emailed me: "That change happens only from the bottom up. That change happens only because of you."

I'm going to ignore the way he called me "the bottom" and just feel relived that "change happens only because of [me]." What power I have! I can stop all this.

October 7, 2010

At the Green Glass Café...



... we revel in distortions.

"MORE VIOLENT RHETORIC: GOP takeover of Congress would mean 'hand-to-hand combat,' Obama warns."

Oh, no! This must be so upsetting to poor old bicycling-with-the-earbuds-in Richard Cohen.

Carl Paladino says "Andrew's prowess is legendary."


A federal district judge has upheld Congress's power — under the Commerce Clause — to require individuals to buy health insurance.

Here's the decision, linked from Politico. How does the judge — George Steeh of the Eastern District of Michigan — deal with the key problem, that Congress is trying to regulate persons who are not engaging in any economic activity? This is the key passage:
The plaintiffs have not opted out of the health care services market because, as living, breathing beings, who do not oppose medical services on religious grounds, they cannot opt out of this market. 
That is, everyone is already in the market simply by virtue of having a body which might require medical care.
As inseparable and integral members of the health care services market, plaintiffs have made a choice regarding the method of payment for the services they expect to receive. The government makes the apropos analogy of paying by credit card rather than by check. How participants in the health care services market pay for such services has a documented impact on interstate commerce. 
So, if you are planning to pay out of pocket for your own medical expenses if and when they arise, you have, through that decision, done something that affected the health care market.
Obviously, this market reality forms the rational basis for Congressional action designed to reduce the number of uninsureds.

The Supreme Court has consistently rejected claims that individuals who choose not to engage in commerce thereby place themselves beyond the reach of the Commerce Clause. See, e.g., Raich, 545 U.S. at 30 (rejecting the argument that plaintiffs’ home-grown marijuana was “entirely separated from the market”); Wickard, 317 U.S. at 127, 128 (home-grown wheat “competes with wheat in commerce” and “may forestall resort to the market”); Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964) (Commerce Clause allows Congress to regulate decisions not to engage in transactions with persons with whom plaintiff did not wish to deal). 

Biden to people in Madison: "You’re the dullest audience I’ve ever spoken to."


Get up in your grill/grille.

I'm reading the transcript of the oral argument in Summers v. Phelps — the First Amendment case that we were talking about yesterday — substantively! — here and here. This post is about the English language. At page 40, Margie Phelps, arguing in favor of the right to express outrageous opinions in the vicinity of a funeral, is quoted as saying:
I think approaching an individual up close and in their grille to berate them gets you out of the zone of protection, and we would never do that.
(Boldface added.) Then, at pages 47-48, she's quoted saying:
Your body of law about captive audience... where they, by the way, specifically said at footnote this isn't about content. You've got to be up -- again, I will uses [sic] the colloquial term -- up in your grill. The term I think the Court used was confrontational.
And page 49:
I do think that you could have a public event where there was not an element of vulnerability in the people going in. You might even let them up in their grill.
So what is it? Grill or grille?
You cook on a grill (perhaps in a “bar and grill”), but the word for a metal framework over the front of an opening is most often grille. When speaking of intensive questioning “grill” is used because the process is being compared to roasting somebody over hot coals: “whenever I came in late, my parents would grill me about where I’d been.”
All right. So when you get up in somebody's grill/grille, what's the image: getting very close to the front of his car or somehow snuggling under the lid of his Weber? I Googled "what does get 'get up in his grill' mean" and – the world is so strange! — the second hit was to my blog:
k*thy said... I'd have no problem if she'd get up in his grill and then gone after his cycles with a bat.
Well, I didn't write that, and I think it's "grille." We're talking about the car, aren't we? Or do you think it has to do with that hip hop-style jewelry, worn over teeth? But what is that a reference to: the car part or the cooking surface? Wikipedia spells that "grill," but Googling around, I see a lot of pictures of Corvettes with "grille teeth." I even found one that I took:

1954 Corvette

Have I resolved it yet? If not, I submit the truly humble and unexceptionable request that spelling should be consistent within the transcript (and, if it's not too much to ask, all of the work of the Supreme Court). So pick one. I say "grille." (And I love those old Corvettes!)

At the Moving Prairie Café...

... the serenity we had last night is gone.

The "colony collapse" mystery is solved.

It's us! I mean... it's -us.

Fungus + virus, acting together.

Glenn Greenwald thinks I "thundered."

Hmmm. Here's my post, in writing of course. No audio track from me. If Greenwald heard thunder, does that say more about me or about Greenwald? He writes:
All of this, needless to say, is being depicted from predictable corners as proof that Terrorists do not belong in real courts. National Review's Andy McCarthy complained that "civilian due-process standards are crippling the government’s case" and that "we are intentionally tying our hands behind our backs and running an unnecessarily high risk of acquittal in a case involving a war criminal." Wisconsin Law Professor Ann Althouse thundered: "I want to hear President Obama explain his decision and the judge's decision to the American people." Politico announced that Judge Kaplan's ruling "could deal a major setback to those who favor civilian criminal trials for Guantanamo Bay prisoners, including those suspected in the September 11 attacks." McCarthy lamented: "the slam dunk has become a horse race, one the government could actually lose."
Greenwald must think that there isn't a satisfying explanation for the judge's decision that Obama — an experienced constitutional law teacher — could provide to Americans. Hearing "thunder" in my measured remark happened — it seems to me — because of a background belief that the law is indefensible. It's so interesting to me when someone lets that show. Fascinating!

Stay-at-Home-Dad complains about the special treatment he gets as the one dad amongst the moms at a library storytime.

And the commenters — this is in the NYT — assail him:
I was all ready to be sympathetic to the father, but by the end of this piece I was irritated. People were trying to be nice and you ended up getting special treatment. Welcome to being a man! Has this never bothered you before? Or were somehow you able to suck it up in other situations?

I'm sure that if he continues to have such a negative attitude about his role as a stay at home dad, and all the activities involved, that all the moms will be more than happy to ignore him. I know I would.
It continues. And yet... the guy got his little essay into the NYT. But it's ironic... if his point is he wants to not to be noticed.

This is all deja vu for me. 30 years ago — 30 years! — I was married to a writer who was the stay-at-home parent, processing this kind of material in writing. It became a novel, published in 1991 1988. I thought we were in the middle and toward the end of this situation as a new cultural phenomenon. 30 years ago. And now... it's still fodder for a NYT parenting column. Good lord! Will these sex roles never go away?

“We build products that 500 million people see… If 5 million people see a movie, it doesn’t really matter that much.”

Mark Zuckerberg doesn't need to care about old media... like Hollywood.

Mario Vargas Llosa wins the Nobel Prize in literature.

His "deeply political work vividly examines the perils of power and corruption in Latin America."

Here's a quote of his about writing:
"The first draft is always very difficult -- a kind of fight against demoralization... I feel I'll never get over the difficulties. What I like most is rewriting. To correct, to suppress, to add, to rebuild the story -- this process is the most exciting for me."
"It's so rewarding to produce this artificial life, which can enrich the life of others."

"'We are going for a ‘Hicky’ Blue Collar look,' read the casting call for the ad, being aired by the National Republican Senatorial Committee."

“These characters are from West Virginia so think coal miner/trucker looks. 'Clothing Suggestions' included jeans, work boots, flannel shirt, denim shirt, 'Dickie’s type jacket with t-shirt underneath,' down-filled vest, John Deer [sic] hats (not brand new, preferably beat up),' 'trucker hats (not brand new, preferably beat up).'"

Here are those actors in action:

It's not quite Red State Update.

ADDED: Why don't we see the text of more casting calls for political ads? This can't be the most embarrassing one, can it? Was it "leaked" to hurt the GOP? [Yes: "The casting material was provided to POLITICO by Democrats.] Doesn't the leakage with the intent to hurt the GOP embody the belief that the people of West Virginia are so backward that they think commercials like this are made with real people and will be offended to find out that slick ad men concoct these things to persuade them? Think about it. What is more offensive: the GOP using an ad agency that blatantly presents "hick" stereotypes when trying to persuade West Virginians or GOP opponents who think that West Virginians are so simple and naive that they'll be wounded to learn how ads are made?

I call bullshit.

I don't believe it, not without a copy from the casting folks. They had a pdf of the script. Where's the pdf of the casting call?
Yeah, well, maybe it's fake but accurate. Ever considered that? You know how much the GOP has been wanting to appeal to these people in these small towns, people who've lost their jobs and think that somehow their communities are going to regenerate, people who've gotten bitter — it's not surprising — and cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

The Senate will end up 50-50.

I predict, after clicking on the details to the 6 races counted as "Toss Ups."

Wow! Sarah Palin is really unpopular!

And all the popular kids hate her, so you'd better not let yourself be seen with her.

October 6, 2010

The prairie today.




... via bicycle.

"I just felt like everybody should step up in their own communities..."

"... and, when something like this happens, come together and try to do your part to help out. And, you know, I just thank that God I was put in the right situation to do what I did. Thank the man above for that."

"It appears that at least a few of the justices really, really, really just hate the Phelps family and its manner of protest..."

"... and they might even be willing to whip up a little new First Amendment law to prove it."
Margie J. Phelps represents Westboro Baptist Church, and yes, before you ask, she hates you, she really hates you. She most likely hates the six Catholics and three Jews up there on the bench, too. But she hides it well....

Scalia wonders whether these signs and Web posts could be unprotected words under the fighting words exception to the First Amendment, but Phelps says this protest was never intended to provoke a fight. Channeling Stephen Colbert, she says their message is just this: "Nation. Hear this little church. If you want them to stop dying, stop sinning."...

The headline writers are going to say that the justices "struggled" with this case. That may be so, but what they struggled with has very little to do with the law, which rather clearly protects even the most offensive speech about public matters such as war and morality. They are struggling here with the facts, which they hate. Which we all hate. But looking at the parties through hate-colored glasses has never been the best way to think about the First Amendment. In fact, as I understand it, that's why we needed a First Amendment in the first place.
I absolutely agree with Dahlia Lithwick about this.

"I could not have imagined doing this five years ago, as a guy who just plain likes paper."

Howard Kurtz, on leaving The Washington Post to join The Daily Beast.
Reporters [have] asked me what this meant for the death of print or the decline of The Post. I pushed back, as I happen to believe that newspapers are going to be around for a long time. Let's not get carried away here.... Still, there's an awful lot of energy and excitement in the Web world.
Yes, there is.

"Age of Aquarius" or "Stars and Stripes Forever"?

I can say without hesitation that if you're a marching band, the answer is "Stars and Stripes Forever." I speak from direct experience, as a homeowner who has overheard the UW Marching Band practice sessions for a quarter century.

"I tuned in to see how bad Spitzer would look, and the dude was great."

"He asked hard, pointed questions to liberals and enjoyed it. The liberal guests seemed to accept being killed by a famous bad boy Democrat that they expected to be one of their own. But Spitzer was harder on the facts than O'Reilly ever pretends to be. His side kick, Parker used a sickening southern lady act to ridicule everything that she could pretend to be shamefully GOP. But Spitzer went after the Dems talking points with direct contradictions like a good cross examiner should. If CNN leaves him on, a star has been born."

Says traditionalguy.

Let's check it out.

At the Crossing-the-Street Café...


... isn't it a lovely day?

Biden: "If I hear one more Republican tell me about balancing the budget, I am going to strangle them."

Interesting. I wonder if WaPo columnist Richard Cohen will struggle to repress a tear contemplating these hateful words fired like bullets.

Things are going badly for Obama's prosecutors in their first effort at trying a Guantanamo detainee in federal court.

The NYT reports:
The defendant, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, was scheduled to begin trial on Wednesday in Federal District Court on charges he conspired in the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The attacks, orchestrated by Al Qaeda, killed 224 people....

Mr. Ghailani’s lawyers say that he was tortured while in C.I.A. custody, and argued that any statements he made or evidence derived from those statements was tainted and should be inadmissible.

Prosecutors say the witness, Hussein Abebe, sold Mr. Ghailani the TNT that was used to blow up the Embassy in Dar es Salaam. They say Mr. Abebe agreed voluntarily to testify against Mr. Ghailani, and that his decision to cooperate was only remotely linked with the interrogation.
But in a three-page ruling, Judge Kaplan wrote that “the government has failed to prove that Abebe’s testimony is sufficiently attenuated from Ghailani’s coerced statements to permit its receipt in evidence.”
Did the judge — Lewis A. Kaplan — have much or any choice, applying the precedents about excluding evidence? If not — and I'm thinking not — then this all had to have been anticipated when the decision was made to forgo military trials. I want to hear President Obama explain his decision and the judge's decision to the American people. He must be capable of doing that.

A question about the assumption that if more young people voted there would be more votes for Democrats.

I'm reading this in the Fiscal Times:
A CBSNews/New York Times poll conducted in mid-September found that only half the 18-29 year olds are registered to vote and just 55 percent of them say they will definitely vote in 2010. Moreover, a mere 15 percent of young people say they are paying “a lot of attention” to the election. By comparison, 84 percent of voters over 64 say they will definitely vote, and 50 percent say they are paying a lot of attention to the election.

Whereas young people favor Democrats by as much as 10 to 20 percentage points in most polls, among seniors, the most reliable of voters, Republicans hold an 11 point advantage over the Democrats.
One is tempted to think that if only more young people would vote, the Democrats would have it made. But the young people who say they favor Democrats also aren't paying attention. They have to get interested before they'll be motivated to vote, and we don't know what they'd think after they paid attention.

It's not surprising that young people who are floating along on the political periphery will say "Democrat" when asked which party they favor. What have they been paying attention to? Their teachers? Their friends? Presumably a lot of young people are for the good things the Democrats are supposed to be for. And so many nice celebrities seem to be Democrats. And there are those friends who go cold and sneer at the suggestion that anyone is an evil Republican.

When you're young, usually you want to get along. You want to be liked. But do you care about politics? Do you really know who to vote for? Apparently not, or you'd vote.

Now, if these young people got around to paying attention and studying the issues to the point where they really were interested and motivated to vote, would they still be Democrats? Would they still be young?

"Keith Olbermann Interviews A 'Clown' And A 'Witch' About Christine O'Donnell."

"The clown and witch were played by comedian Angry Bob and Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, respectively."

From the other end of the political spectrum, here's Rush Limbaugh complaining about O'Donnell's "I'm not a witch" ad. He mainly objects to her letting her opponents know it bothers her and giving any more play to something so stupid. Then there's this:
It's either navy, royal blue (very dark), or black background....  If you're gonna do a black background, it would be great to have Pelosi on a broomstick flying around or Harry Reid as one of the monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, "Oh-weee-looo'" if you're gonna do that. A dark background and say, "I'm not a witch"? Make it white. Make it a lighter, you know, a "morning in America" kind of background.
A white background? I think that would come across not so much "morning in America" as... Ellen Feiss!

And then when she got to the "I'm you" part, we'd be all Nooooo! You don't want me in the Senate. I'll screw everything up!

"Get ready for an awesome adventure through a roaring sea of high tides, swirling whirlies, and gushing geysers — all at speeds that leave ordinary river rides eating this one's wake."

When you read "one's wake," you don't think of the funeral-related meaning of "wake."

Margie Phelps, a daughter of Fred Phelps, will be arguing before the Supreme Court today.

The issue is freedom of speech, and the speech in question is repulsive. (Phelps's church protests near military funerals, with signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," to express the view that God is punishing the U.S. for its immorality.) The father of one soldier sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress — which is a tort — and won $5 million against the church.

Much more detail at SCOTUSblog.  This is telling:
[T]his case has about it the promise of rewriting a considerable body of First Amendment law.

For a Court that so recently had refused to create a new exception to the First Amendment’s protection (so as to permit the outlawing of animal cruelty videos and films), the task of crafting a “funeral rights” exception to free speech doctrine may be a forbidding one. But for a Court hearing this case in the midst of war weariness and an expanding fear of decaying morality, the prospect of drawing a First Amendment shield around the Westboro Baptists’ message may also be a daunting one.

Perhaps this is a case in which the quality of legal advocacy, during oral argument, could make a difference. If one side or the other’s lawyer were to falter, for lack of seasoning at that demanding podium, it might ease the Justices’ decisional choice — but, then again, maybe not.
The quality of legal advocacy... is that meant as a laugh line? How did it happen that the work of upholding First Amendment rights is in the hands of Margie Phelps? I don't know the story, but it's not that the usual free speech defenders have failed to support these profoundly unpopular and ugly speakers. There are amicus briefs from the ACLU and from law professors in support of the Phelps group.

It will be interesting to see how Margie Phelps carries out her lawyerly task. Back in 2004, Michael Newdow argued his own case in the "Under God"/Pledge of Allegiance case and his nontraditional, passionate style seemed to work rather well.
Dr. Newdow, a nonpracticing lawyer who makes his living as an emergency room doctor, may not win his case.... But no one who managed to get a seat in the courtroom is likely ever to forget his spell-binding performance.

That includes the justices, whom Dr. Newdow engaged in repartee that, while never disrespectful, bore a closer resemblance to dinner-table one-upmanship than to formal courtroom discourse. For example, when Dr. Newdow described ''under God'' as a divisive addition to the pledge, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist asked him what the vote in Congress had been 50 years ago when the phrase was inserted.
The vote was unanimous, Dr. Newdow said.

''Well, that doesn't sound divisive,'' the chief justice observed.

Dr. Newdow shot back, ''That's only because no atheist can get elected to public office.''

The courtroom audience broke into applause, an exceedingly rare event that left the chief justice temporarily nonplussed. He appeared to collect himself for a moment, and then sternly warned the audience that the courtroom would be cleared ''if there's any more clapping.''
I doubt if there will be any clapping for Margie Phelps. Or any dinner-table-style repartee. She's coming in from the other end of the God spectrum, and we shall see how that sounds.

October 5, 2010

Lawprof crosses street.


Husband stalks with iPhone.

ADDED: Instapundit asks:
WHY DID THE LAWPROF cross the road?
And, I cross the street to get to the adorable husband again here.

"Sarah put her ass on the line for Joe and yet he can't answer a simple question 'is Sarah Palin Qualified to be President.'"

That email from Todd to Joe Miller.

A 55 square foot apartment. £43,000.

"In Rome, people now live like rats."

Ah! But it's the Piazza di Sant' Ignazio. Look! You'll be such a lucky rat.


Maybe some day you will be driving and you will kill someone before you see him.

"There were no chimneys up until about 14th century. What you did was you had an open fire..."

"... and all the smoke just kind of leaked out a hole in the roof. A fire in the middle of the room radiates heat much better than a fireplace does, but it also meant that there was a lot of smoke and sparks and things drifting about."

Then the chimney was invented, Bill Bryson tells us, and with all that area near the roof newly cleared of smoke, it became possible to have an upstairs:
"From that point, they started to discover the whole concept of privacy and having space of your own," he adds.

It was at this point that the different rooms we take for granted — bedroom, study, closet — began to enter the common vernacular. However, Bryson notes that many of these rooms served very different functions hundreds of years ago than they do today.

Though a boudoir is now commonly connected with a sense of sexual intrigue, Bryson says that the French word actually translates into "a place to sulk."...

"Right from the very beginning," Bryson says, "[the boudoir] was a place for the mistress of the house to retreat to, and those private rooms upstairs were also where people now began to invite guests. So while we now think of a bedroom as a place that's dedicated to sleeping ... [in the Middle Ages, a boudoir] might be where you'd have a little dinner party."
Ah! A new Bill Bryson book is out today.  It's "At Home: A Short History Of Private Life." I chose the audio version, because I adore Bryson's reading voice. It's charming and humorous, but also gentle enough to listen to while falling asleep. I buy all Bryson's books in audio form, and I listen to them hundreds of times. Since I fall asleep — in my boudoir! — while listening, I never really know when I've heard everything, but it doesn't matter. I'm never done listening.

At the Overlook Café...



... a tinge of fall.

"The freedom of expression of at least 1.5 million people is standing trial together with me."

Says Geert Wilders, on trial in the Netherlands for writing, among other things: "I've had enough of the Quran in the Netherlands: Forbid that fascist book."

Paradoxically, the right to free speech must protect the right to say anti-free-speech things.

A meditation on causality.

"It wasn't the anal sex that caused the orgasms. It was the orgasms that caused the anal sex."

I think that's the last line of "King Kong." Yeah. Here:

"For now, let’s just assume that Palin’s dance was a ... complex critique of the Obama administration’s stance on the homeless."


"Does Boehner Even Want to Win Big?"

Asks Mickey Kaus.

"On the right, hateful words are fired like bullets. I still ride a bike."

Richard Cohen* still rides a bike, but his mind is going. I mean, he's riding his bike, listening to a folk rock channel he created on Pandora on his iPhone, and for some reason, instead of throwing new stuff at him, which I think is the point of Pandora, it keeps playing the old Neil Young song "Ohio."

Cohen plunges into his 40-year-old memories about how awful it was when the National Guard shot and killed 4 college students who were protesting the Vietnam War. And naturally, in Cohen's bike-drained, folk-music befuddled brain, that leads to what's wrong with... Glenn Beck!

Why don't you see? Back in 1970, the Governor of Ohio said the protesters were "worse than the Brownshirts and the communist element. . . . We will use whatever force necessary to drive them out of Kent." Cohen weaves his literary magic for us dogged old WaPo readers:
That was the language of that time. And now it is the language of our time. It is the language of Glenn Beck, who fetishizes about liberals...
... fetishizes about liberals... To "fetishize" is to make a fetish of. How do you make a fetish of about something? Cohen's rugged bike path is studded with incomprehensible prepositions.
... and calls Barack Obama a racist. It is the language of rage...
What language? You didn't even quote anything from Beck. Maybe you created a Pandora channel for Beck and you listen and ideate furiously while cycling, but I don't know what you're talking about. I don't pay much attention to the pudgy chattering TV pundit, but he doesn't seem to be raging. I have seen him crying. And oddly, in Cohen's first paragraph, he portrays himself struggling (while biking) to "repress a tear" when Neil sings "Ohio." Oh, compassion! It either builds credibility or it doesn't. (Depending on whether you're liberal or conservative.)
... that fuels too much of the Tea Party...
I'm supposed to have the right image of the Tea Party so I can just swallow that assertion whole. But I've been to Tea Party rallies — and heard about them from my husband — and the people seemed pretty nice and normal. To me, Cohen's attempt to smear ordinary people is what's ugly.

Cohen rants some more about how awful everything on the right sounds to his folk-music plugged old ears. He concludes:
I hear the song more clearly now than I ever did. It is a distant sound from our not-so-distant past, but a clear warning about our future. Four dead in Ohio. Not just a song. A lesson.
Pedal on, aging columnist. Let the stream of consciousness wash down. Flow river flow. Wherever that river goes, that's where Richard Cohen wants to be.


*That's WaPo columnist Richard Cohen, or as we call him around here: the never-slept-with-Althouse Richard Cohen.

ADDED: Michael C. Moynihan:
And no, Richard Cohen doesn’t catch the irony: The dissent of Kent State protesters, he thinks, was met with deadly force because of rhetoric that “otherized them,” that turned them into a domestic enemy. Pretty much exactly what Richard Cohen is doing to the dissidents of the Tea Party movement.

Evolution takes on a pop-culture vibe.

Check out this new crab, inspired by "Sesame Street":

I cover the clown news.

3 items today:

1. Tiririca — "Grumpy" — the Brazilian clown just got elected federal deputy for Sao Paulo. Ad copy: "What does a federal deputy do? Truly, I don't know. But vote for me and I will find out for you."

2. And speaking of "you," the Delaware Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell, known for her spooky assertion "I am you," is in trouble for claiming that her father was Bozo. TPM has untangled the web of possible lies. Why would you claim to be the offspring of Bozo if you weren't?

3. Clowns stage a protest against the anti-clown bigotry. "It's very unfair to portray us as evil. I have always been a clown, I have grown up around clowns, my father and my grandfather were clowns and we are not evil."

"A man was arrested after stealing author Jonathan Franzen's glasses from the writer and demanding a ransom of £100,000 ($158,808) at a book launch."

"Police said a helicopter was called to chase the culprit, who jumped into the Serpentine lake in London. The 27-year-old has since been released with no further action being taken and the glasses have been recovered."

A helicopter? I mean, I know Franzen's book — "Freedom" — is considered tremendously important, but... it was a pair of glasses. Why chase the guy with a helicopter?

Is it because those glasses are part of his signature look? Quick! Which one is Franzen?

Without the glasses... he could be... just anybody.

Some book journal editor who was at the scene of the crime, said: "It was frankly quite bizarre. Considering the seriousness of Franzen's work, this is the last thing anyone expected at his book launch."

Considering the seriousness of Franzen's work! I don't understand literary-journalist logic. It's exactly seriousness that inspires absurd prankish tweaking. (If you don't understand my logic, you need to watch a few Marx Brothers movies.)

October 4, 2010

"I'm not a witch... I'm you."

Okay. I agree. You're not a witch. But can you spare me the I am you as you are me and we are all together and that tinkling piano? It's scaring me.

At the Placid Face Café...


... I may lean my head to one side and drowse.

"The Ground Zero Mosque will be so hip, everyone will stop fighting."

Could wacky, chaotic architecture make everyone happy... or at least flummox us long enough for the whole controversy to dissipate?

The "Family Guy" episode with Rush Limbaugh.

Here's the whole thing:

A bridge in the woods.


"The Roberts court has championed corporations. The cases it has chosen for review this term suggest it will continue that trend."

Says the NYT.
Of the 51 it has so far decided to hear, over 40 percent have a corporation on one side. The most far-reaching example of the Roberts court’s pro-business bias was Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. By a 5-to-4 vote, the conservative justices overturned a century of precedent to give corporations, along with labor unions, an unlimited right to spend money in politics....
The cases scheduled for argument in the next few months may appear modest. But if there is one lesson from the Citizens United ruling, it is that nothing — for this court — is inevitably modest.
By contrast, here's The Conglomerate, a stable, sober lawprof blog:
Looking ahead to the upcoming Supreme Court term, the pickings of corporate, securities, and financial regulation cases at first blush seem slim. We were spoiled last term by an amazingly rich set of cases in these fields, with Citizens United headlining....

The corporate/securities/financial cases generally look to be fairly specific to the industries involved. But, when you are dealing with the Supremes, you can never tell; the Court can unexpectedly uncork a broad, sweeping ruling. Moreover, thanks to the unceasing creativity of lawyers, even stray language in an opinion can have unintended ripple effects.
You decide if you want to read mainstream journalism or one of those crazy blogs.

Obama is like Bush.

Lets his dog walk him.

"Before we set up a watch in my village of Little Melton, about 90 per cent of toads were being squashed to death at our crossings."

"Now it's down to about 10 per cent.... On a warm, wet night they can all come out at once... I was the only person scheduled to patrol that night, and there I was frantically trying to place as many as possible in the bucket to take to the pond, while phoning for patrol reinforcements and trying not to tread on any toads myself."

Toad patrol, in England, home of Toad of Toad Hall.

ADDED: From pre-Althouse+Meade days:
Meade said...
Great buzz!

Maguro said...
Ugh...hate those $#%^*! Japanese Beetles!

Meade said...
Here, Maguro, I feed them to a toad.

Ann Althouse said...
That toad video is fascinating. I watched it 3 times. The speed is amusing, as is the subtly satisfied look on the toad's face. He's not that pleased. But he's pleased. You can tell.

Meade said...
Yes, Japanese Beetles are $#%^ers. They devour roses. No roses, no hortporn. No hortporn, and all I'm left with is my monochromatic imagination. That toad has become so addicted to Japanese Beetles, he waits at the greenhouse door every morning for me to bring him his fix. Every day he leaves a toad turd the size of your pinky finger with recognizable Japanese Beetle exoskeletons in them. I feed the turds to the roses and the cycle is oh so satisfyingly complete....
AND: Later, Althouse and Meade, having found each other, go searching for something — it was morels — and find a toad.

"We have our PhD's in Runwayology as well as our Master's in General Reality Television Studies and..."

"... reading between the lines and between the edits, we detect zero manipulation."

Did you think it was possible — 16 years after Pedro Zamora on "The Real World" — to wring intense pathos out of a reality show character's HIV-positive status? But that's what happened on "Project Runway," where perhaps there have already been HIV-positive contestants and the fact that a male contestant is gay is no revelation at all.

Anyway, I've loved Mondo Guerra all along, and Episode 10 made me cry. You can watch the whole thing here.

It's the first Monday in October, time for people like Barry Friedman and Dahlia Lithwick to tell us "the court has taken the law for a sharp turn to the ideological right..."

"... while at the same time masterfully concealing it." And, annoyingly enough — to them, anyway — ordinary Americans still think the Supreme Court is too liberal.
How to explain the justices shoving the law rightward, while everyone thinks it is dead center or too far left? 
Their metaphor is magic — the article is accompanied by a photoshop of the Chief Justice in magician garb about to pull something out of a hat — and that question fails to acknowledge the difference between absolute and relative position. Obviously you can push — or shove as the exaggerated language of anguished liberals will have it — something to the right and have it still be on the left if the thing started out way the hell to the left. And obviously liberals know this: Tell Friedman/Lithwick that Anthony Kennedy is in the legal/political center because he's at the center of the current array of Supreme Court Justices. It will take them much less than a second to decide to inform you of the distinction between absolute and relative position.

Like TV's "Masked Magician," Friedman and Lithwick want to reveal the secrets behind what they'd like you to think are magic tricks the Court uses to conceal its terrible right-wingitude.

First, they say, there's "stacking the deck": "picking cases with facts so extreme that only one outcome seems possible." One of only 2 examples they give is Gonzales v. Carhart, in which the Supreme Court, in 2005, upheld the federal law banning so-called partial-birth abortion. Friedman and Litwick say:
The law bans late-term abortions in which the fetus is partially delivered before its brains are sucked out and skull collapsed. If you find it hard even to read that, you've caught the point: That's deck-stacking.
But the Court didn't choose that case out of a big pool of abortion cases in order to get something with "gruesome facts" that would keep us from "notic[ing] the major inroads the case makes on women's rights more generally." Congress passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003, right after the Supreme Court had stricken down Nebraska's partial-birth abortion law in 2000, in Stenberg v. Carhart. The Court in Stenberg showed legislatures what would be needed to pass a law against these abortions that would avoid the same constitutional flaw and Congress responded with a statute that we knew would have to go through judicial scrutiny and end up in the Supreme Court.

That it came to the Supreme Court in 2005 has nothing to do with the Court "stacking the deck"! Friedman and Lithwick just don't like what the case said about abortion rights, but the truth is that Gonzales v. Carhart was a moderate decision that avoided both extremes and, because of that, produced a separate opinion by Justices Thomas, joined by Justice Scalia (rejecting abortion rights altogether and questioning Congress's use of the Commerce Clause to regulate abortion), as well as a dissenting opinion consisting of the 4 Justices who, with the now-retired Justice O'Connor, had formed the majority in Stenberg.

The second "trick" Friedman and Lithwick identify is "misdirection":
While we are watching the term's "big" cases, it works its magic on the ones we aren't paying attention to, which often matter more. In this enterprise, the court is aided and abetted by the media.
Speaking of tricks, calling this a trick is itself a trick! It lets Friedman and Lithwick discount all the big cases that came out liberal and cherry pick any and every case that came out conservative. Hey! Look what the Court did in here! They proceed to tell you about their least-favorite recent cases.
Iqbal, Twombley, Garrett, Gross, Rapanos, Rent-a-Center. Maybe you haven't heard of most of those. But these are the cases that, read together, are making it harder and harder for everyday litigants to walk into a courthouse and hold unscrupulous employers, manufacturers of defective products, or polluters to account.
And you could pull out an equivalent list of little cases that make it easier. So what?

Friedman and Lithwick have 3 more tricks to reveal/do, so if you're up for their whole show, click through and read.

October 3, 2010

Yesterday's sunset...



... seen from the western tower at Blue Mounds National State Park.

(Enlarge: 1, 2.)

At the Meadhouse Campsite... in Blue Mounds.

The accommodations... at dawn.


From the inside:


The ring of fire... at breakfast:


A morning tablescape:


A vintage label:


Was your sleeping bag manufactured in Berkeley?

ADDED: I laughed a lot when I took that picture of the Snow Lion label. My camera has face recognition and it identified the picture of the lion on the left as a face.

"[T]he One Nation Working Together rally in Washington DC has gathered more supporters than Glenn Beck's much ballyhooed rally, which I will lovingly refer to as 'Whitestock.'"

Oh? I thought Whitestock was Obama's rally last Tuesday here in Madison.

"Ten things I've never done... I've never: 1. Gone camping..."

A blog post from May 2005.

And I'm here to say that Meade got me to go camping! One night only, but I was able to do it. Sleep in a tent. And the temperature went down to 35°.

Photographs soon, not that they are earthshaking, but it was a big deal for me.

At the Campsite Café...


... I'm utterly terrified!