March 19, 2011

At the Last Day of Winter Café...



... a walker into the light.

This evening, the Wisconsin protests had veered far to the left.

In the past month,the protests have been overwhelmingly — almost embarrassingly — white, but the event I encountered today was in-your-face of-color:

I drifted off to the side where I ran into a small table displaying socialist literature and buttons, tended by 3 young people. I conducted an impromptu interview:

The protests began with the teachers — well-paid, privileged Wisconsin professionals. After a few days, students took over, aided by union folk bused in from wherever. But the weeks wear on, and people have other things to do. The bill is passed. But the people still show up to the Capitol. Earlier today, there was an anti-war rally. And then, this evening, there were these muddle-headed lefties. A vivid public square is a fine thing. I love it. I celebrate diversity. But the cause of the teachers and the public employees unions brought out the crowds and made the Capitol square the cool place to hang out, and the opportunistic politicos have descended.

"I really hope that in the future, people will be able to do more of the 'contrast' and less of the 'compare' with regards to Iraq and Libya."

Says Prof. Robert Farley at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. In the comments, Meade responds to the plea:

Iraq – blood for oil, war for neocon corporate interests and U.S. hegemony only
Libya – no blood, no oil. Obama’s motives pure because, well, good women are running the show for him – Hillary, Susan, Samantha – and everyone knows that when women (and the French of course) run a war good things happen!

Iraq – weapons of mass destruction what weapons of mass destruction?
Libya – no weapons of mass destruction because, well, okay, because Bush invaded Iraq and Gaddafi shit his pants and gave up his nukes. Pshew!

Iraq – benign dictator who never hurt anyone, wasn’t a threat to his neighbors, did not support terrorists, and, through the Oil for Food program, only wanted to share his oil with Europe in exchange for food and medicine for his long suffering people
Libya – Gaddafi is acting like a big jerk.

"I didn't have a sign and she was like 'Take this one'" says a lady with a "Hi, Everybody/Fuck You" sign.

In case you wonder why people carry the signs they carry.

Maybe they just got that from a friend.

Wisconsin protesters branched out to an anti-war rally just as President Obama takes us to war with Libya.

Today's rally was planned before the news came of Obama's shift on Libya:
Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War will be coming from around the Midwest for the Saturday protest.......

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice helped publicize Saturday's rally and its members will be hitting the pavement as they have every weekend in recent weeks, says program director Steve Burns.

"People were asking what is the march this weekend," says Burns. "It was nice to have something to slot people into."

Burns says it's an honor for Wisconsin workers to have their struggle recognized by a national veterans organization in this way. He says the goal of his group "has always been to encourage people ‘to connect the dots' between the challenges we face at home and our endless wars abroad.
Did any of the speakers attempt to deal with the news about Obama and Libya? I don't know, but Meade confronted a few of the protesters, like this woman with the classic "War Is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things" sign:

Listen for the "oh, well." (Meade wants me to link to Fleetwood Mac.)

And then there's this man with a Hitler-and-Scott Walker sign:

Scott Walker is like Hitler because "he doesn't do nice things."

Meade interviews a protester at the Wisconsin Capitol today:

Keep watching for the second woman, who says Walker is undemocratic because he's not listening to the people who didn't vote for him.

"Ann Althouse is on the list, too."

Um. Uh. Yeah. In a total drive-by smear.

"I will not patronize any place in Wisconsin that has a fist in the window, or solidarity sticker."

A reader emails. Well, then, you'll want to stay away from Savoir Faire:

(Enlarge to read all the signs.)

By the way, you know that threat — "A Communication from Operation:Countertroll to Ann Althouse and 'Meade'" — that we've been talking about for the last few days? It claimed there was a conspiracy of Madison protesters — "We all know each other" — who had "citizen-BANNED" us from various restaurants and shops in town. I won't name the places in this post, but they are named in the threatening screed. Yesterday, Meade and I went around to most of the named places. (This was Meade's idea.) We had copies of the screed to give to the manager/owner of each place, and we discussed the situation. Meade directly asked them if we were welcome, and, as you might imagine, they all said we were. In fact, they didn't like seeing the names of their places used in such an ugly context, and they weren't happy with the claim, made in the screed, that they had workers who would discriminate against their customers based on politics.

"I wanted to write about aspects of human behavior that sicken me, but I never had to look further than myself."

"I just thought, 'What do I hate about myself today?' I'm constantly selling out my friends in order to get somebody's approval, or I'm blaming sick people for being sick, or I'm stabbing somebody in the back, or I'm lying... I'm a horrible person."

As 3 women push him into war, President Obama goes to Brazil, with 5 women, to see Brazil's female President, who gives him the cold shoulder.

"One of the main reasons for my trip is to strengthen economic partnerships abroad so that we create good jobs at home," Obama said, using what could be a stock justification for any presidential trip. I'm not buying it. In times of crisis, the President belongs in the White House.

The NYT channels the insipid campaign 2012 PR:
Mr. Obama’s visit has also been billed as way for him to connect more generally with Latin Americans, especially in Brazil, a multiracial society where he has been wildly popular since his presidential campaign. But the White House’s plans to stage a speech in a plaza where thousands of Brazilians could see him were aborted in favor of one indoors, at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, because of the Secret Service’s security concerns.
Oh, the theater — the teatro —  didn't even work out. Obama in Brazil was supposed to look like Obama in Berlin. The photo-op... botched. My advice: You're President. The security in the White House is ideal. The imagery is ideal. Be President.

Ugh. I can't believe I'm reading this on the same day I'm reading about 3 women prodding him into action in Libya. Accompanying him on his trip to South America are: his wife, Michelle Obama; his daughters, Sasha and Malia; his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson; and his daughters’ godmother, Eleanor Kaye Wilson. 5 women.

And why is he going to Brazil?
The Brazilians under the new presidency of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, are eager to build closer economic and political ties to the Obama administration. 
Females, females, females!
But their occasional differences on the international stage were reflected on Thursday night when Brazil was one of five nations to abstain in the vote of the United Nations Security Council to authorize force against Libya.
There's imagery for you: The male, emasculated by female abstention.
After a bilateral get-acquainted meeting with Ms. Rousseff, Mr. Obama was to [blah blah]...

“She has been very positive about the type of relationship that she wants to pursue with the United States,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, in a briefing before the trip.

But the Obama-Rousseff relationship-building got off to an inauspicious start when, before Mr. Obama boarded Air Force One, came word that Ms. Rousseff was refusing to hold the scheduled joint press conference with Mr. Obama here on Saturday after their first meeting. 
Looks like that first date bilateral get-acquainted meeting didn't go too well. One world leader is playing this relationship for powerful imagery, and it's not Obama. He must feel so used. He went all the way to South America, and all he got was a lousy indoor stage show. No massive, multiracial crowd scene, no presser with Dilma.

I'm picturing Obama banging on a closed door yelling "Dilma!" — like this.

Radio alert.

Ed Morissey writes:
Today, Mitch and I will talk with Ann Althouse about the threats she has received since writing about the standoff between the unions and the state legislature. 
Stream the show here. I'll be on at 1:30 CT (2:30 ET).

Warren Christopher has died.

He was 85. I most remember him from his role in Florida recount in the 2000 election:
Mr. Christopher came under criticism at the time, and later in “Recount,” the 2008 HBO dramatization of the Florida vote dispute, over a lack of legal and political aggressiveness against Mr. Bush’s legal team, led by a former secretary of state, James A. Baker. The movie, in particular, portrayed Mr. Christopher as overly concerned with the niceties of the law while Mr. Baker was waging a bare-knuckled campaign on all fronts.

Mr. Klain said that was an unfair characterization. “Like all dramatic portrayals, they sought dramatic tension by exaggerating people’s personalities,” he said on Saturday. “People often confused Chris’s reserved style and personal sense of propriety with a lack of fierceness on behalf of his client. That would be a mistake.”

He said it was Mr. Christopher’s decision to challenge the Florida result, even as most Republicans and some prominent Democrats were urging Mr. Gore to concede. “People don’t remember how controversial that effort was. Without Chris’s stature and credibility, I’m not sure we would have gotten as far as we did,” Mr. Klain said.
I remember Christopher solemnly intoning: "We need to count all the votes." It was a mantra. And the other side had its mantra. James Baker would say: "The votes have been counted. They've been counted and recounted." Chez Althouse, we were for Gore, so Baker's "votes  have been counted" line drew hoots of derision. Analyzing the litigation calmly, afterward, I accepted the soundness of Baker's point. These were ballots designed to be read by machines, the ballots had gone through the machines twice, and there was no showing that the machines had malfunctioned. Switching to human readers introduced much more ambiguity and risk of deviousness than accepting the verdict of the machines. The machines, as they processed each card, didn't have political preference and awareness of which side was being helped.

The criticism of Christopher— that he was too nice and too proper — fails to take into account that he was arguing on the side that would strike many people as scarily chaotic and power-grasping. Baker was arguing for the security of the result delivered by machine.  Baker's attitude of belligerence was used to argue for ending the struggle. Transpose the Baker attitude onto the Christopher side of the argument — struggle, chaos, litigation, and the unknown. Would it have worked better than Christopher's mild demeanor?

A feminist milestone: Our male President has been pulled into war by 3 women.

It's the opposite of the Code Pink idea that women bring the peace. How long have I heard this feminist plaint: If only women had the power, we would have peace, not phallocratic war.

But no:
In a Paris hotel room on Monday night, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton... changed course, forming an unlikely alliance with a handful of top administration aides who had been arguing for intervention.

Within hours, Mrs. Clinton and the aides had convinced Mr. Obama that the United States had to act...

... Mrs. Clinton joined Samantha Power, a senior aide at the National Security Council, and Susan Rice, Mr. Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, who had been pressing the case for military action, according to senior administration officials speaking only on condition of anonymity. Ms. Power is a former journalist and human rights advocate; Ms. Rice was an Africa adviser to President Clinton when the United States failed to intervene to stop the Rwanda genocide, which Mr. Clinton has called his biggest regret.

Now, the three women were pushing for American intervention....

To ally with Power and Rice, Clinton had to make "an unusual break with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who, along with the national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, and the counterterrorism chief, John O. Brennan, had urged caution." Oh, timid men. Step aside! Yield to the boldness of women.

So... man, the power.

March 18, 2011

Today's Wisconsin protest video: the meaning of string, is Althouse a Walker plant?...

... the languorous rotunda, and a long, long row of signs made of pizza boxes:

Meade shot the part where you see me, and I shot the rest and edited.

"[P]eople are getting ready for serious actions. Stuff that makes my letter to Althouse look like a childish prank..."

"... All of us are against SB11, and everyone is willing to go as far as their comfort zone allows to make sure it doesn’t happen.... I really want both sides to take a look at how far this really has to go, and whether some of us who are serious about taking our country back regardless of their supposed political allegiances can agree to turn our efforts against the apparatus of big government, big media, and wall street before running around beating each other up in the streets."

Dan Riehl has some more interactions with Jim Shankman, the man who wrote a vicious screed threatening me.


The biggest full moon in 18 years. Tomorrow night.

"I remember when I was growing up, the rule was, 'Don’t call anyone after 10 p.m.' ... Now the rule is, 'Don’t call anyone. Ever.'"

Telephoning is over.

Friday at the Wisconsin Capitol.

"Walker — You are a despicable 'brown bag' of CRAP!" says a sign (that appropriates Scott Walker's "brown bag" theme). A bearded man bears a homemade depiction of Walker as Pinnochio:


A woman with lawn chairs supporting her peace-sign drum has a "General Strike!" sign:


A barefoot guy with take-out coffee pads around in the vicinity of a chalking that says "In Wisconsin there is always a place for the poor: PRISON," which has nothing to do with the recent protests (in service of the interests of well-paid — and free — state workers):


As a man poses in shorts, chalk wonders "Why can't we decided? Why no REFERENDUM?" — as if we didn't decide when we voted last November:


And a lone protester holds a sign, while most signs are consigned to the dirt:


"'Civility' Was Always Dead."

"'Push back hard,' the New York Times advised. Government union backers have done so."

A preliminary investigation of the handcuffs on the Wisconsin Capitol doors says the police did it.

Wisconsin Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs, who telephoned Meade today, suspects that the police put the handcuffs on the door in an effort to keep protesters from breaking into the Capitol on the night of March 9th.

As I noted in a post on March 11th, Meade had the impression that the protesters had put the handcuffs on the door, but he was "trying to get an authoritative interview from the police." He left a message with Tubbs, and Tubbs called back to say that he was investigating and would call back, which he did today.

Putting handcuffs on the door is obviously a hazard, especially once people got in through other means. (Meade observed a window opened to the office of Assemblyman Cory Mason that night.)

I look forward to more investigation into what happened that night, when the police were overwhelmed and, apparently, resorted to handcuffing the doors shut. I have heard from some police officers who feel demoralized about the way they have been disabled from keeping order.

Rand Paul is pro-choice... about toilets and light bulbs.

Via this collection of essays in the NYT called "The Politicized Light Bulb: Why are some Americans upset with attempts to encourage more energy efficiency in their homes?" I've skimmed the essays, and they seem pretty worthless. None of the writers seem to get why I am upset about losing access to the light bulbs I like.

"Reflection Point would feature a piece of public art and offer a new perspective of the Madison skyline."

The 2 words that scare me the most: "public art."
Residents ... want to know how the project will be funded.
Yeah, me too, but I have a way to cut the cost. Cut the public art. It's always, always, always bad. The money that is wasted on bad art in this city is so painful. I'd pay extra to get back to nothing. I'm not talking about the old statues. I'm talking about everything from the past 50 years. It's all bad. Really, really bad.

"[P]eople who had tasted the bitter drink were more likely to register moral disgust, suggesting that having Cherry Coke in the jury room may be a smart move for good defense lawyers."

David Brooks opines on a study in which people were given "sweet-tasting, bitter-tasting and neutral-tasting drinks and then asked... to rate a variety of moral transgressions."

And Althouse opines that the liberal political nannies who want to ban "sugary" soda in schools and get kids to eat broccoli may live to regret it. All that plain water and bitter greens could turn the next generation into social conservatives.

Gov. Scott Walker releases 10s of 1000s of emails he received about the protests...

... most of them "telling us to stay firm, to stay strong, to stand with the taxpayers."

County-level judge issues order restraining Wisconsin's new law limiting collective bargaining for public employees.

The judge, Maryann Sumi, was responding to the Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne (a Democrat), who contended that the legislative committee violated the open meetings law.
"It seems to me the public policy behind effective enforcement of the open meeting law is so strong that it does outweigh the interest, at least at this time, which may exist in favor of sustaining the validity of the (law)," she said....
Asst. Atty. Gen Steven Means said: 1. the state can appeal, and 2. the legislature can simply re-enact the legislation, avoiding the procedural problem the judge found.
Means said the state expected Sumi's decision. He said the state had a chance to substitute judges, but decided not to do so.
What exactly does that mean? It's a slight to Sumi, but why?

"When Did You First Fall in Love with Jack Nicholson?"

[Link to video.]

Cool. But they — Movieclips — missed the one I would name: "Easy Rider." Movieclips is a great website, by the way. Looking for clips there is very different from YouTube.

ADDED: I can't see how to resize the video to fit on the blog, something that's very easy to do at YouTube.

"Exclusive Interview With Jim Shankman, the Man Behind the Ann Althouse Threat."

Dan Riehl did an interview!

... Shankman said he believes in what he called the “law of privilege.” As best as I could interpret it, it meant that if the majority of Madison residents were progressive and didn’t want an Ann Althouse in their midst, then they are somehow entitled to make it unpleasant enough for her to live there, so that she’ll leave.

I really do feel sorry for these young people who screw up their internet reputation.

People, take a lesson from what you've seen on this blog in the last month. There have been 2 incidents of young men — relatively young men — writing on the internet, threatening me. If I post about it, even if I don't put their names in the post, but it comes out in the comments, anyone Googling their names is going to stumble into the ugly thing they wrote. Even if you have no human kindness at all and care only about yourself, how can a moment of passion be worth all the damage you do to your reputation? Do you think a potential employer who reads something like what we discussed here and here would consider hiring you? You may think you are really just a harmless guy with "good politics," having some fun, and you may not care at all whether you scare me or not, but you are hurting yourself. Out of self-interest alone, you need to stop.

"20 Days of Left-Wing Thuggery in Wisconsin: When Will Obama, Democrats, and MSM Call for Civility?"

"[A] compilation of 20 days worth of the death threats, vandalism, and intimidation practiced by pro-union thugs opposed to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill."

March 17, 2011

"Ann Althouse and Meade advocate torture, attack against nonviolent protesters, police-state crackdowns on citizens exercising their constitutional rights..."

"... class privilege, race privilege, and basically the full spectrum of assaults against American democracy advocated by the radical, revolutionary wing of the republican party. They are unkind, unChristian and anti-American."

Another screed from Jim Shankman. Here's my post about the first one. This new one is a response to my bringing the first one into the light. He says he does "not regret for a second using militant rhetoric when we face a threat that is militarized through and through."

2 teachers stand vigil outside the window of Wisconsin state senator Glenn Grothman.

Meade shot this video on March 15, 2011, outside the Wisconsin Capitol. The teachers, from Sauk City, say the GOP legislation has turned them into "peons." Meade interviews them until they walk off, ending the vigil.

Politicizing the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election

At the Capitol on Tuesday, I spoke with this young woman. (I didn't get her name, and she didn't get mine — or know I am a law professor.) The conversation went on for 25 minutes, and this is the part about the Wisconsin Supreme Court election. As I've been blogging — click the Wisconsin Supreme Court tag — the Wisconsin protesters have been pushing JoAnne Kloppenburg, who is challenging the incumbent, David Prosser. It's very hard to push a Supreme Court candidate in pursuit of a political cause because you undermine the very argument you need to make: That she is properly judicial. I think I'm being properly professorial as I attempt to inspire this insight in my interlocutor.

At the Soup & Frites Café...


... it's all about comfort.

Time columnist says James O'Keefe edited his NPR videos unfairly, but the firings speak for themselves.

This piece from James Poniewozik is quite lame:
[Ron] Schiller did say some bad things.... But the short video took them out of context, like a bad reality show, and made them sound worse....

The full video hardly clears Schiller....

O'Keefe did post the full video...

By the time anyone scrutinized his NPR video, O'Keefe had already claimed a scalp and framed the narrative....
Oh, bullshit. If O'Keefe is to blame, NPR should have defended Schiller. It didn't. The full video was there. If it undercut O'Keefe's edit, NPR could have reframed the narrative. Such an effort would have gotten plenty of play in the media. But NPR didn't even try. Of course, O'Keefe put his video together in a strong way to make his point, but he exposed himself to a powerful counterattack... that didn't happen. QED.

"Still waiting for any of the brilliant liberals to explain the difference between Leiter's 'philosophical musings' and Sharron Angle's discussion of Second Amendment remedies."

"My prediction: a circular argument which boils down to 'He's a philosopher, so anything he says is philosophical. We know he's a philosopher, because he says philosophical things. And she's not a philosopher, because we say so.' The art world uses this 'argument,' so why shouldn't the philosophers?"

Says Martin L. Shoemaker in the comments to that post about Brian Leiter. That much-gasped-at Sharron Angle quote crossed my mind as I was writing it.

Union thuggery against Althouse and Meade: "We will hang up wanted posters of you everywhere you like to go."

"We will picket on public property as close to your house as we can every day. We will harrass the ever loving shit out of you all the time. Campus is OCCUPIED. State street is OCCUPIED. The Square is OCCUPIED. Vilas, Schenk's Corners, Atwood, Willy Street – Occupied, Occupied, Occupied, Occupied. Did you really think it was all about the Capitol? Fuck the Capitol, we are the CITY... We have the numbers and we don't back down from anyone. We all know each other. We all know each other. We know each other from Service Industry Night at the Orpheum, because we're regulars at the same coffee shops, restaurants and bars, we know each other from the co-ops, we know each other because we've had a million jobs each (and we all worked at CapTel at least once), because we live in every shitty townie house in ever-changing groups of 2 – 7 people, because we are young and horny and screw each other incessantly, because we're all on facebook, and because we aren't anti-social, life-denying, world-sterilizing pieces of human garbage like the two of you. WE WILL FUCK YOU UP. We will throw our baseballs in your lawn, you cranky old pieces of shit, and then we will come get them back. What are you gonna do? Shoot us? Get Wausau Tea Patriots to form an ad hoc militia on your front lawn? That would be fucking HILAROUS to us. You could get to know the assholes on your side in real fucking life instead of sponging off the civil society we provide for you every single day you draw breath."

UPDATE: The document, which had been posted at scribd, was deleted soon after I posted, but not before I copied it. Here, then, is the full text:
Because of their extensive, lifelong, union freeloading (Althouse, the breadwinner of their pathetic, sexual-frustration driven “family” is an AAUP freeloader, a public sector secondary education freeloader, a University of Michigan freeloader, a University of Colorado freeloader and, most disgustingly to us, a University of Wisconsin Freeloader), their movement freeloading (they have greatly enhanced their reputation and social currency both within her nauseating Tory brotherhood they represent and across the  Op:countertroll Vs Althouse and Meade 3/18/11 11:41 AM currency both within her nauseating Tory brotherhood they represent and across the Page 2 of 7 internet by wandering around Madison lying about all they see) their repeated lies and general commitment to irresponsible citizen-journalism (how dare they sneak around an ongoing citizen protest movement taking pictures of trash minutes before our volunteers clean it), their false claims to have infiltrated the movement despite the fact that as a decentralized, participatory and democratic movement #wiunion cannot be “infiltrated” and indeed welcomes the attention of hostile outside observers, their attempts to incite Tea Party Falangists to act on their sadistic and violent impulses against fourth grade teachers and their students, and their desecration of the statue of Hans Christian Heg Ann Althouse and Meade are hereby put on notice.



Did you really think this could go on forever? That you could sit on the steps of our house, walk the streets of our city, lie about us to strangers, tell gun-toting rednecks from out of state and the Northwoods how depraved and deserving of punishment we are all while maintaining plausible deniability for any of the consequences that your actions might cause? Did you think you could fuck with HANS and get away with it?

This isn't a one way fight any more. We will take it from the internet right to [DELETED: My actual street address — parenthetical by Ann Althouse]. Do you have any idea where you live? Let us spell it out for you. We understand that you like to eat on the square. You like the Baked Potato at the Old Fashioned, do you? There were five of us in there last Tuesday. You like to eat at Fresco? We're in the Overture eating, serving, cooking, playing, and performing. At least twenty of us have worked for Food Fight. You like to fucking drink at FAIR TRADE do you? At FAIR TRADE? You are citizen-BANNED from Fair Trade. We will Walker you straight out of the place whenever you show up. We are at every coffee shop on State, open to close, all the time. We will hang up wanted posters of you everywhere you like to go. We will picket on public property as close to your house as we can every day. We will harrass the ever loving shit out of you all the time. Campus is OCCUPIED. State street is OCCUPIED. The Square is OCCUPIED. Vilas, Schenk's Corners, Atwood, Willy Street – Occupied, Occupied, Occupied, Occupied. Did you really think it was all about the Capitol? Fuck the Capitol, we are the CITY.

We are hard-drinking, weed-smoking, rude, obnoxious, auto-didactic, uppity fucking TOWNIES. We know you hate us. We know you hate us because we ruin your imaginary, Men's Magazine, UW Admission's Pamphlet, Madison Magazine, Isthmus Arts vision of our City. You think that our town should be on perpetual vigil just in case you needalittlepeaceandquiet. YouthinkweshouldgodownquietwhileWalker economically rapes us because you want to lead a fucking tour group? Sorry babe, not gonna happen. And because you couldn't even show a modicum of fairness, integrity, or neutrality and because you had the iron fucking stones to try to pull this here, on OUR campus, in OUR city, in OUR state in OUR country (and that is about the only reason we have any grudging respect for you), now YOU are a target.

And guess what – we aren't SDS. We aren't fucking TAA. We aren't Timmy “olive branch” Cullen, we aren't yogi, granola-eating types you see at Willy Street or whatever. We are NOT radically nonviolent. We comply with the laws of the City because it is our City and we love it, but OH MY GOD do we hope Meade tries to get all tough with us. WE LOVE IT. LOVE IT. Just last night we saw a Jimmy John's worker who we know beat the ever loving shit out of some idiot drunk asshole who wouldn't be civil and polite in his workplace. We have the numbers and we don't back down from anyone. We all know each other. We know each other from Service Industry Night at the Orpheum, because we're regulars at the same coffee shops, restaurants and bars, we know each other from the co-ops, we know each other because we've had a million jobs each (and we all worked at CapTel at least once), because we live in every shitty townie house in ever-changing groups of 2 – 7 people, because we are young and horny and screw each other incessantly, because we're all on facebook, and because we aren't anti-social, life-denying, world-sterilizing pieces of human garbage like the two of you. WE WILL FUCK YOU UP. We will throw our baseballs in your lawn, you cranky old pieces of shit, and then we will come get them back. What are you gonna do? Shoot us? Get Wausau Tea Patriots to form an ad hoc militia on your front lawn? That would be fucking HILAROUS to us. You could get to know the assholes on your side in real fucking life instead of sponging off the civil society we provide for you every single day you draw breath.

Pay your dues or action will be taken. The action will be legal, peaceful, and nonviolent (on our end anyway – if you want to do it the other way fine with us. Meade is a tough guy on LGM or whatever but he's a chickenshit IRL. We dare you buddy. Double dog dare you.) but it will also be swift, decisive, direct, personal and effective.

Our demands are as follows. Choose a package. 
Package 1: Pay your damn dues, you Union Freeloading pieces of shit 

You are getting fat on union money. You are getting fat on our tax money. You are getting fat on an undeserved bully pulpit that you got from credibility won from the hard struggles of public sector workers, university professors and unions throughout history, and that increased dramatically in scope due to OUR MOVEMENT. So PAY YOUR DUES. Wedemand:

1) Because you have taken the words from our mouth - A complete recantation of all lies about #wiunion (not lies in leagalese – lies in the commonsense moral Op:countertroll Vs Althouse and Meade 3/18/11 11:41 AM Page 3 of 7 definition of the word. Choose an ethical system that you believe is fair, run it by us, and we will let you know which posts violate it) posted on your personal blog, in all comments sections of all other blogs, on your flickr account and your youtube account, spoken in podcasts or on bloggingheads, or said out loud anywhere in Madison. Take it all back. We don't trust you, so we will draft a statement for you.

2) Because you have taken the bread from our table – a 5,000 dollar donation (each) in your own names and made public to the Industrial Workers of the World general fund, the Bradley Manning Defense Fund, the Recall Alberta Darling effort, a group of our choosing that advocates for the pro-democracy movements in #libya, #algeria, #iran or in Pizza for the Protesters (we prefer Ian's, the Nickel or Roman Candle, but any friendly place will do – if you attempt to order us shitty pizza or pizza from an unfriendly restaurant we will eat it and consider are demands still unmet).

3) Because you have attempted to take our very safety and indeed our lives, because you have incited violence against us and above all because you have proven yourselves inadequate to the grave and solemn responsibilites of Citizen- Journalism – Your silence. You want to make everyone shut the fuck up? Be the change you seek. We demand ZERO more posts about us, ever. We demand the admin pw for all of your shit to be publicly posted on a movement friendly facebook group or 4chan. We demand to be allowed to vet everything you post before you post it and edit it for any and all lies related to #wiunion, #wewarewi, #union, #usuncut #opesr #wikileaks #solidarity and #allthatisgoodandholyonthisearth. We demand that you Delete Fucking Everything.

4) You will never, ever, ever, ever in your motherfucking life come within 20 feet of the statue of Hans Christian Heg. Althouse, you are a job-hopping carpetbagger from New England. Meade, you are an obnoxious right-to-work Zombie from southern Ohio who only lives here because its apparently the only place in the world you can get laid. Heg is OURS. We are WISCONSIN. You don't fucking touch Hans Christian. Ever. And that goes double for the Lady on the other side.

Package 2: Move the Fuck out of Our City 

Get out, and stay out. Far out. Meade - You ain't no man for this city. We're out on the streets every day, all day. The 77 square is not for y'all. You say we're from out of state? Bullshit. You're from fucking out of state. We'll show you just how fucking Madison we are. Althouse, we will ruin your goddamn career, your comfort, your pocketbook, your sense of safety and wellbeing, and your life.

And don't try to pull up at another one of our cities either. Don't like your AAUP card? Turn it in. If you want to carry water for Koch and the Chamber, they can foot the fucking bill for it. Get a job on the Tea speaking circuit or with AEI or some other garbage think-tank in DC or Claremont or whatevs. We have friends everywhere. All land-grant University towns are occupied. All major cities are occupied. Everywhere with a critical mass of smart, uppity people is Occupied. If you want to advocate for national internetless, right-to-work rural fortress state hell with no transit in or out, you can live in it. If you want to defend Falangist Michigan, move to Pontiac. If you want to make us all work for Olive Garden you can fucking eat there. Why don't YOU go shop at Wal-Mart. Because the shit you wear looks like it comes from places like Jazzman and Bop and we work there too and we aren't having it any more. No more free rides, baby.


Kids who eschewed TV to overachieve in school are crying over the SAT essay question about reality TV shows.

Oh! Cruel irony! It vexes!
“This is one of those moments when I wish I actually watched TV,” one test-taker wrote on Saturday on the Web site College Confidential, under the user name “littlepenguin.”

“I ended up talking about Jacob Riis and how any form of media cannot capture reality objectively,” he wrote, invoking the 19th-century social reformer. “I kinda want to cry right now.”

Less than a minute later, a fellow test-taker identified as “krndandaman” responded: “I don’t watch tv at all so it was hard for me. I have no interest in reality tv shows...”
Quit crying. All you need is test-taking skills:
Peter Kauffmann, vice president of communications for the College Board, said that “everything you need to write the essay is in the essay prompt.”
Don't you just know that some of these test-takers will go the rest of their lives fretting about what might have been if only they'd been asked about one of the more elite things they'd studied and not this lesser topic that the inferior teenagers knew so much about precisely because they hadn't worked so hard and with such virtuous self-denial? But some of these hardcore grinds might get a clue: Maybe life will work out just as well if I give myself a break, relax, and have some fun.

That blue-on-blue wrapped package.

You can order beautifully frame prints from Evan Izer's sketchbook here. You'll have to pay extra to get the special wrapping paper, I think.

"So I lost. 'Celebrity Apprentice.' Big Deal. What they don't know is that they are on a show called 'Charlie Sheen' and they all lost."

The NYT digital subscription program empowers bloggers.

I just got the email describing the new program:
On March 28, we will begin offering digital subscriptions in the U.S. and the rest of the world....

On, you can view 20 articles each month at no charge (including slide shows, videos and other features). After 20 articles, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber, with full access to our site.

... Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit.
Okay, then! I will subscribe, read, and put links here for you, which you'll be able to get to. Great!

From the NYT FAQ:
Can I still access articles through Facebook, Twitter, Google or my blog?

Yes. We encourage links from Facebook, Twitter, search engines, blogs and social media. When you visit through a link from one of these channels, that article (or video, slide show, etc.) will count toward your monthly limit of 20 free articles, but you will still be able to view it even if you've already read your 20 free articles.
I hope this isn't a temporary sop to keep us bloggers from slamming them. This component of the program is absolutely crucial. I wouldn't spend my time on the NYT if I couldn't link to the articles (without sending readers into a pay wall). I'd go looking for interesting stuff elsewhere. This way, I will continue my practice of sending readers to the NYT every day, and I like the new power I will have in selecting which doors to open to free access.

ADDED: I do see a problem. If I have a link that sends you to the NYT, and you click, you will be consuming one of your 20 freebies. You might get annoyed at me if I don't warn you. I and other bloggers, tweeters, and Facebookers will be pushing people toward the pay wall you hit when you go over 20 in a given month. So we bloggers have received something, but we will also be helping them get readers into the position where they will need to pay if they want to go into the NYT on their own. What will readers do? They may decide to subscribe, but they may decide to begin their reading in the blogs (and Twitter and Facebook) so that they don't have to deal with the wall.

IN THE COMMENTS: rdkraus said:
Makes no difference to me. The Times is not what it once was. If I reach 20, I'll just ignore them for a month. No big deal.
The NYT will see if this happens. The month begins with good traffic, then it predictably drops off.

MORE: There will be unlimited access to the home page and "section fronts" and "blog fronts." This might have a perverse effect. Readers will scan brief titles and resist clicking for the most part. If you can only click one thing per day, what will you click? And if the NYT is trying to lure people into clicking beyond the 20 freebies, how will they write those teasers? Look at the "most popular" ranking in the sidebar over there to see what people are most likely to click on. Expect more articles about dogs and weight-loss. And about how having a dog will help you lose weight (which actually was a highly popular NYT story of the past week).

My baby is 30.

Happy birthday, John.

Everybody else: Happy St. Patrick's Day!

"It’s sad that Brian Leiter seems to put so much effort into reinforcing — or, perhaps the proper term is 'embodying' — right-wing stereotypes regarding the academy."

Says Instapundit:
For those of us who still possess some ideals, it’s disappointing. But it’s hard to argue with this point; “Leiter wouldn’t be acting like such a crybaby if he weren’t losing this argument.” Leiter is — to the amusement of many of his fellow legal academics and philosophers — exquisitely concerned with reputation. But reputation is maintained by conduct.
Insta is picking up on that James Taranto piece that I wrote about yesterday. I noticed, reading Taranto, that Leiter said I did "inflammatory hatchet job" on him (and Taranto had done a "drive-by smear"). That was in some updates to his post that I didn't read. Here's my supposed "hatchet job." I see I quoted a long sentence of his...
"At some point these acts of brazen viciousness are going to lead to a renewed philosophical interest in the question of when acts of political violence are morally justified..."
... and I said:
How quickly the lefty mind turns toward violence! That's the lofty law-and-philosophy professor Brian Leiter. Here, I'll help you get your fancy-schmancy, high-tone philosophy seminar started: Acts of political violence are justified to get what you want.
What's hatchet jobby about that? I see that Leiter's self-justifying update to his post refers to "Professor Althouse's misrepresentation of my views (I did not, and do not, call for political violence)." Well, hell! He just misrepresented what I said. I quoted him. I then I took my shot. It's all clearly visible, what he said and what I said. Judge for yourself. You can call it an "inflammatory hatchet job." I call it blogging. Effective blogging.

Leiter's first effort at a response to me is that he and I "have had very pleasant, collegial interactions in Austin and Madison in the last few years." Mmm, yeah. I sought him out once when I was in Austin after we'd been having a blog feud. You know, the one where I said  "Nerd wants love" — Leiter being the nerd  — and call him a "jackass" in the comments. He deserved it, but I made peace, in person, on his territory, and he's a fine, mild-mannered man in person. He defended sharp, sarcastic writing in those days. If I remember correctly, he portrayed it as Nietzschean. Maybe he doesn't do that anymore. I can't imagine Nietzsche saying something bold and then weighing it down with updates to say that some lady hacked him with a hatchet and caused inflammation. (Ooh! Look at the swelling!)

After he gets past the dweeby "I thought you were my friend" argument, he attempts some philosophizing — about justifying violence "at some point," which nearly everyone agrees with. He also says: " Collective bargaining is, per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a human right." In Leiter's philosophical mind, it seems that ending collecting bargaining rights for public employees might be sufficient justification for violence. Now, I know, and it's obvious in my original post (the one that caused that awful swelling) that he stands aloof observing the possible arguments other people might make. And he's certainly right that I saw him in light of my experience with "law professors being result-oriented in their scholarship." He thinks, given this debased experience of mine, that I "can not understand that recent events pose genuine questions for people of a philosophical cast of mind." You really think I can't understand that? No, I just see people, human beings everywhere, not disembodied thoughts. I understand the kind of people who like to think that their thoughts developed in the abstract and not inside the bodies of real individuals with desires and self-interests, including the interest in walking back from an ugly-looking blog post.

Now, go put some ice on that.

March 16, 2011

Some perspective on Madison...


... from the Capitol City bike trail, which we rode today for the first time since last fall. The temperature was in the 50s, and by the time we got to this point, it was nice to feel the cool breeze that came across the ice on Lake Monona.

What to wear to the Wisconsin protests...

... or wear it anywhere to flaunt your devotion to the Althouse blog... or just to annoy/perplex people. Click here to buy.

James Taranto: "The reason we find Leiter's comments amusing rather than disgusting is that we, unlike Althouse, are not part of academia..."

"... and thus have no personal investment in the ideal of disinterested and honest scholarship. Rather than offend our ideals, Leiter reinforces our stereotype of academia as being filled with fools and knaves. You can see why this would bother Althouse, a scholar who does not fit the disparaging stereotype."

Althouse on Fox News with Megyn Kelly.

The video.

Hillary Clinton answers "no" to 4 questions asked by Wolf Blitzer: Which, if any, "no" is a lie?

The questions:
1. If the president is reelected, do you want to serve a second term as secretary of state?

2. Would you like to serve as secretary of defense?

3. Would you like to be vice president of the United States?

4. Would you like to be president of the United States?
How sincere are the 4 noes?
I take the lady at her word. And farewell to a grande dame!
The truth of the first 3 noes establishes that #4 is a lie.
The question of sincerity is essentially incoherent when it comes to a politician like HC.
She's perfectly sincere, if you have the proper understanding of what "want" and "like" mean. free polls

Expanding on the 4th option, I will fictionally channel the mind of Hillary Clinton with respect to the interesting question, question 4, as she justifies answering "no" if in fact she does plan to run:

You know, this question of wanting or liking to be President... I don't think one should ever want such an awesome responsibility. One always hopes that there is some far greater, far more experienced woman or man who will take on the overwhelming responsibilities of the presidency. It's not about liking to be President. The Presidency is a profound duty, never to be undertaken for personal satisfaction. What I would like would be for Barack Obama to measure up to the trust the American people have put in him. That is what I want. But if, for whatever reason, the American people desire a change — and Wolf, it is what the American people want that is essential here — and if the American people turn to me, because I am the most able, best experienced person to move into the role of President, I would not turn away from them. By the grace of God, I would endeavor to serve them.

"Some in GOP grow tired of right wing."

Some in Althouse blog grow tired of Politico.

"They are the faceless 50, the unnamed operators who stayed behind."

"They have volunteered, or been assigned, to pump seawater on dangerously exposed nuclear fuel, already thought to be partly melting and spewing radioactive material, to prevent full meltdowns that could throw thousands of tons of radioactive dust high into the air and imperil millions of their compatriots."

Volunteered... or assigned

Anti-Walker guy with a bullhorn bullies and — alternatively — equivocates.

Recorded midday yesterday at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Most of the time, it's Meade following this man — who talks about his job as a public-employee nurse. Aiming the bullhorn at the Capitol, he taunts "Governor Goofy." At one point, he stops to bullhorn insults right into Meade's face. Meade's Bontrager hat proves perplexing.

"Am I a Walker plant? No. I'm an Althouse plant."/"New MeAdia."

Those are your options, if you want to purchase some official Meadhouse paraphernalia! Get it now, while it's hot.

Althouse on Fox News at 1:45 ET/12:45 CT.

I'll be on for 5 minutes around that time, talking to Megyn Kelly about the video Meade and I made of the children doing protest chants in the rotunda.

"Protesters Destroy Recall Petitions Against Wisconsin Democrat."

More strange ideas of — to use the Wisconsin protester's catchphrase — "what democracy looks like."

2 perspectives on the placidity/passivity of Obama.

You could be mean about it, like White House Dossier:
The Middle East is afire with rebellion, Japan is imploding from an earthquake, and the battle of the budget is on in the United States, but none of this seems to be deterring President Obama from a heavy schedule of childish distractions. The newly installed tandem of White House Chief of Staff William Daley and Senior Adviser David Plouffe were supposed to impart a new sense of discipline and purpose to the White House. Instead, they are permitting him to showcase himself as a poorly focused leader who has his priorities backward.

This morning, as Japan’s nuclear crisis enters a potentially catastrophic phase, we are told that Obama is videotaping his NCAA tournament picks and that we’ll be able to tune into ESPN Wednesday to find out who he likes. Saturday, he made his 61st outing to the golf course as president, and got back to the White House with just enough time for a quick shower before heading out to party with Washington’s elite journalists at the annual Gridiron Dinner.
Or you could go upbeat, like Politico:
A dizzying succession of major world events is bombarding a president who insists on controlling his own time, emotions and political message. With Japan’s nuclear crisis teetering on the verge of catastrophe, with Libya and Bahrain in violent turmoil, and with financial markets crashing in response, President Barack Obama has been adamantly sticking to his own political and policy playbook.

That has meant muscling past the red-siren headlines to hammer away at the jobs-and-education message that will be the centerpiece of his 2012 campaign, the kind of discipline that is a hallmark of his new senior adviser, David Plouffe. And it also meant refusing to scrap a five-day trip to Latin America on Friday that will take him to sun-dappled Rio de Janeiro, among other places, rather than staying home to focus on the increasingly disastrous international news confronting his crisis-weary White House....
Let me muscle past that adulation and hammer one point: The simple facts speak for themselves. It doesn't matter what emotion these second-rate writers lather into their reporting. We can see that Obama is disinclined to take positions or actions with respect to the core responsibilities of the presidency.

March 15, 2011

Glenn Loury identifies the "perversion" of public sector unions.

Lolling in the rotunda.

For some reason, there was a lot of floor-sitting at the Wisconsin Capitol today:


ADDED: I wonder if anybody in Wisconsin has named their baby "Rotunda." Seems like a girl's name.

Today, at the protests, a man says "Hang them all!"

I talk to a couple sitting in the Capitol rotunda about what they mean by "democracy" and whether they care about the death threats against Republican state senators. Outside, I encounter a homeless man who hates politics, says "Hang them all!" but loves what the protesters are doing. Then we see a man who notices I overheard something he said (which he said before I got the camera running). He reframes his statement, and that's what you hear.


"Now, Walker, Scott, and Kasich are doing exactly what they should do, and exactly what Barack Obama did in 2009."

"They won power; they're using the power to push through structural political and economic changes that will be hard to reverse. They're making the same bet Obama did — if they do this, the economy will rebound, and their political opponents will have been weakened in a way they may never recover from."

Says David Weigel, who adds:
If the economy does rebound in 2012, they're going to be in better shape politically. But so will Obama. In the long run, breaking down the power of public unions is going to help Republicans in Ohio and Wisconsin. In the short run, if it fires up activists and alienates independents, it puts the next GOP presidential candidate in a tougher spot.
That's a big "if." Also, if you want to talk about the 2012 presidential election, what's more important than Ohio and Wisconsin?

"Now comes this antiquated, militaristic, coarse, repressive attitude on the freedom of women to do what they want with their bodies."

A Venezuelan newspaper editorializes against Hugo Chavez, who was only complaining about the money women spend on breast implants.

New U.S. News law school ranking.

Cry or jubilate. We're crying in Wisconsin.

In the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda, protesters — not noticing the self-dramatization — sing about how they're standing up to "goons and ginks and company finks" and how one day they'll "be free."

Meade and I shot this video yesterday. I edited to heighten the absurdity of appropriating the civil rights song "We Shall Overcome" (about not being free) and that "Stickin' to the Union" song (about facing union-busting violence).

The protests have been on behalf of well-paid people with excellent jobs — better jobs than the average Wisconsinite's. And the protesters got massive extra doses of freedom to express themselves in the state capitol for over a month, without any threats of violence or even arrest for the crimes they committed in full view of the police. I mean, I know they have their complaints, but they are not even the bottom sector of the Wisconsin economy. If there were to be a class struggle here, they would be taken aback to find themselves in the role they actually have in this economy: the oppressors!

"'Bear-Wolf' Stalks Southern Wisconsin."

Aw, come on. We've got enough problems without Bear-Wolf.
"All I saw was the creature. One paw -- or whatever was on it -- reaching over to grab the deer. The head looked like a cross between a bear and a wolf... It had big pointy ears like a wolf. It scared the living heck out of me. I threw it into drive and off I went."

He said the creature was the color of a bear and had a snout like a bear.
Can we agree it was a bear? Now, settle down.

"In my career of 50 some years I have never come across a situation where the majority leader of any party could determine that the votes of another party could not count. This is the height of arrogance."

Said Wisconsin state Senator Fred Risser, contempt-of-senate-uously.

The link goes to the Cap Times, a local "mainstream" rag, which doesn't bother to find out what the Democratic Senators are supposed to do to get out of the contempt they were found to be in.

"Gilbert Gottfried's jokes about Japan just cost him his job as the Aflac Duck."

Okay... and... are we allowed to make jokes about that?

Kos's pollster, PPP, surveyed Wisconsin districts about recalling Republican state senators.

The post about the results says they asked "a battery of questions" — ow! — and that the "links to full results are at the end of this post," but I can't find the promised "links," so I'm limited to discussing what they chose to write up in the post (which, of course, is written in the most partisan way). [UPDATE: The links to the individual polls are now displayed over at Kos.]
One basic question asked whether respondents approve of the job performance of each senator—those numbers are in the first two columns after each incumbent's name. Four senators have negative ratings, and one is even—not particularly welcome news for Republicans. 
Considering the drubbing they've been receiving in the (incredibly biased) media, I think the approval numbers are pretty strong. If there are sufficient signatures for a recall election, the Senators will have to go back to their districts and campaign, making the argument to their constituents that what the GOP legislature and governor have been doing is good. They'll run ads and do debates and sharpen the issues and arguments. Think their somewhat eroded popularity will grow back?
We also asked whether respondents support or oppose the idea of recalling their senators. As you can see in the next pair of columns, this question doesn't test as well—pluralities say they favor recall in just three districts—but in a way, it's the least important question we asked. 
Oh, yeah, the question with the bad numbers... it's not important! Ha! The reason it's (supposedly) not important is that if enough signatures are collected, there will be a recall election. It doesn't matter that people don't want it. They're going to get it.

But... if they don't want it, when they get it, they're going to be annoyed at getting stuck with another election, and they will be receptive to what should be one of the strongest arguments the incumbent Senators will make:  

You elected us in November, and we have been working hard at the difficult job you elected us to do. Some people who didn't get their way last November have been yelling and screaming and doing everything they can to change the results of the last election. They want a do-over. Tell them no. No do-overs until the next election.

Portray them as crybaby children who can't accept a loss and cry "do-over." Portray them as anti-democratic sore losers who won't accept the results of a legitimate fair election.
Three Republican incumbents actually trail "generic Dem": Luther Olsen, Randy Hopper, and Dan Kapanke. Two more have very narrow leads and garner less than 50% support: Rob Cowles and Sheila Harsdorf. And one more, Alberta Darling, holds a clear lead but is still potentially vulnerable.... 
But a key thing to remember, though, is that if any of these senators have to face a recall election, we'll need an actual candidate to run against each of them. In that regard, Wisconsin's recalls are very different from California's, where in 2003 voters were simply asked if they wanted to remove Democratic Gov. Gray Davis from office. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected (with less than a majority) by means of a separate ballot question....  In Wisconsin, if a recall election makes it on to the ballot, there is no California-style first question—we go directly to a head-to-head between candidates (with a possible stop along the way for primaries). So for a recall to succeed, we'll need to convince voters to support a real live Democrat—and that means we'll have to recruit some good candidates.
So the incumbents can argue both that recall is a bad idea and that the specific alternate candidate isn't better. The "generic Democrat" is a vague repository of hope for something better. A specific candidate is a much riper target.

Now, what about the recall efforts against the Democratic Senators? Did Kos poll that? If you push for recall elections, you're asking for your guys to get challenged too. I don't know how those recall efforts are going, but the complaint against the 14 who ran to Illinois to obstruct the legislative majority is very specific. They too were sore losers who wouldn't accept the results of a fair, legitimate election. They came home to Madison on Sunday and participated in a big parade where they were cheered and called "The Fabulous 14." I think some of the images of them preening about their fabulousness in front of throngs of Madison-style protesters and "union thug" types would work really well in some devastating ads in some of the districts around the state. I don't expect Madison's own Fred Risser to get booted out, but some of those 14 districts are not that safe for Democrats.

Who will win and who will lose in the recall madness?

"Will Wisconsin voters feel comfortable turning a judicial election into, in effect, a referendum on a law Democrats don’t like?"

"Will the other 3 Democratic-appointed Supreme Court judges play along with this slightly banana-republicy game? True, conservatives have often campaigned against liberal judges after unpopular rulings (e.g., Rose Bird in California). But it seems even worse, in terms of legal etiquette, to elect a judge in order to make a particular ruling, about a particular law, in a particular upcoming case."

Mickey Kaus says.

Carter Wood quotes Mickey (and me) and says:

Goo goo groups decried the "politicization" and campaign spending on the Supreme Court race in 2008 between Michael Gableman and Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler Jr., in which business generally supported Gableman and unions and trial lawyers spent heavily on Butler. Gableman won.
Gableman won using the kind of conservative judicial argument that was used (back in 1986) against Rose Bird: that his opponent takes an overly expansive view of the rights of the criminally accused. This argument presents the conservative candidate as properly judicial and the opponent as inappropriately activist. The liberal counterpart to that argument would be that the conservative opponent — in an inappropriate enthusiasm for locking up criminals —  refuses to see rights that really exist and would be seen under a properly judicial approach to decisionmaking.

This isn't the argument I've been hearing from Kloppenburg supporters. They're saying let's recoup political power through the judiciary and get a judge who will see judicial power as political and strike down the legislation passed by the democratic branches of government. This is the exact opposite of the argument that has worked in the past, and it should backfire against Kloppenburg. If Kloppenburg is the completely political candidate, then voters who want to preserve the integrity of the judiciary should vote for Prosser.

There's a debate between the 2 candidates on Monday night, and it will be live-streamed here. I expect to see JoAnne Kloppenburg strongly and clearly separate herself from the arguments the politicos are making on her behalf.

Infiltrating the crowds at the Wisconsin protest, Meade sometimes wore a lapel button.

We didn't buy any new buttons, just used buttons we had in the house. In this video, I show 6 possible buttons. Which button or buttons did Meade use?

March 14, 2011

Do you really want to use rote chanting to train kids to protest against authority?

Hey, teachers!

Aren't you forgetting a thing or 2? You've got them chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, Scott Walker has got to go" — but what do they know about Scott Walker? That he's done something the teachers don't like. So, maybe some day, when you do something they don't like, some kid might start "Hey hey, ho ho, [TEACHER'S NAME] has got to go." Today, you're pleased to teach them "The children, united, will never be divided." I'm picturing them repurposing that chant back in the classroom.

What will you do if they learn the lesson you're teaching them, to denounce legitimate authority when it crosses your heartfelt interests?

Whose school? OUR SCHOOL! Whose school? OUR SCHOOL!

ADDED: This video was taken by Meade and me at the Wisconsin Capitol today around noon.

Indoctrinating children.

I'm working on editing some video I took at the Capitol today, showing the political indoctrination of children. It pains me to see children taught to intone or chant things that should be understood first. When you think of things like that, what comes to mind? Maybe you think of the schoolkids taught to sing "Mmm mmm mmm/Barack Hussein Obama." Maybe you think about making kids say the Pledge of Allegiance, about which Justice Frankfurter wrote:
The wisdom of training children in patriotic impulses by those compulsions which necessarily pervade so much of the educational process is not for our independent judgment. Even were we convinced of the folly of such a measure, such belief would be no proof of its unconstitutionality. For ourselves, we might be tempted to say that the deepest patriotism is best engendered by giving unfettered scope to the most crochety beliefs.... But the courtroom is not the arena for debating issues of educational policy. It is not our province to choose among competing considerations in the subtle process of securing effective loyalty to the traditional ideals of democracy, while respecting at the same time individual idiosyncracies among a people so diversified in racial origins and religious allegiances. So to hold would, in effect, make us the school board for the country. That authority has not been given to this Court, nor should we assume it....
(Details on that case, Gobitis, here.)

I'll have my video up in a separate post soon.


IN THE COMMENTS: What Irene thinks of is "The old country."

"Think I'll just DROP OUT/I'll go to Frisco/Buy a wig & sleep/On Owsley's floor."

"... I'm completely stoned/I'm hippy & I'm trippy/I'm a gypsy on my own...."

That Mothers of Invention lyric springs to mind because... Owsley died!
The renegade grandson of a former governor of Kentucky, [Owsley “Bear”] Stanley helped lay the foundation for the psychedelic era by producing more than a million doses of LSD at his labs in San Francisco’s Bay Area....

“I wound up doing time for something I should have been rewarded for... What I did was a community service, the way I look at it. I was punished for political reasons. Absolutely meaningless. Was I a criminal? No. I was a good member of society. Only my society and the one making the laws are different.”
I was a good member of society. Only my society and the one making the laws are different. Ah... that's so... deep.

Monday, in the Rotunda, and the protest goes on and on and on.

"Send in the CLOWNS":

Enlarge to see the little sign: "I'm from Illinois but the Koch Bros. are the OUTSIDE AGITATORS."

Meade has a long discussion with a guy who's wearing a Jesse Jackson '88 T-shirt:

Enlarge to read the sign: "Dear Scott Walker, Go back to college & take a Civics class. The only brain in your pants, is your Head Up Your Ass! Sincerely, Mrs. Slob, RN."

Meade with hand gesture that's only superficially similar to the guy in the plaid shirt:


There's the fist and there's the Flip.

Run, children!


The guest book at the Wisconsin State Capitol.


Enlarge to read: "Walker is the biggest Dick-tator!"... "Jesus Christ/I am a Democrat"... "Strong, hard, & dedicated teacher/How long will I work in Wisconsin?"... "No train, no gain"... "Stop this insanity/Listen to us!!"

The Arborist.

Video'd this morning, from inside Meadehouse. You can hear a bit of me and Meade talking.

Democracy looks like a big union bus.


At the Premature Patrick's Café...


... join us or get the hell out of here.

The Smithsonian sent a curator to Madison to select protests signs "to document, in general, occasions when American citizens interact with their government and petition... for change."

Barbara Clark Smith "chose one that called on President Barack Obama to join the protest."

Incredible. It has to be about Obama! There were almost no signs bearing the name Obama, and I hear no talk or chants about Obama.

Smith collected a lot of other signs too, and she looked for counter-protest signs. She says she's collected signs at "many tea party events, but we don't at this moment have posters from Madison from the pro-Walker people." [ADDED: Perhaps it's because she's looking in the stacks of signs that had been taped to the walls of the Capitol. Only anti-Walkerites did that. Pro-Walker people showed up, but they took their trash out when they left.]

Here's a second link from the same paper (the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) asking "Where are all the great Republican artists?"
The organizers of "SolidARTity," an exhibit that presents a breadth of creative expression that's emerged in Madison in recent days, also wanted to include political art from the right, but couldn't find any to present.

The Project Lodge, which organized the show, put out a call to artists and got no submissions from artists aligned with Gov. Scott Walker or the Republicans. In fairness, SolidARTity was more than an art show, it's affiliated with a movement of artists that mobilized to protest the budget-repair bill, so perhaps right leaning aritsts didn't want to participate with this group.
Well, at least the columnist  — Mary Louise Schumacher  — realized how stupid her question was, but it didn't stop her from writing it up as a column. Why would any serious artist — of any political party — involve himself in projects with grade-school-group-project names like SolidARTity and The Project Lodge? I've done some art in my time, and my inclination would be to run like hell from something called The Project Lodge. And as for "SolidARTity" — whoever came up with that not only lacks a decent resistance to cutesiness, he/she also has no ear for language. I mean — get a clue! — you just put the "titty" in "solidarity."

Schumacher continues:
In 2008, when I wrote about the nationwide movement of artists who were creating work in support of Barack Obama's campaign for president, I did my best to track down artists who were engaged on the right. This, too, was pretty nonexistent.
Because, you see, if there were Republican artists, they'd be doing art about Republican politics! Here's another clue: Mixing politics and art makes bad art. And Republican artists are less likely to fall into the pit of badness that is political art, because Republicans, generally, want less government. Democrats are the ones who want government getting into all sorts of places where it doesn't belong, so naturally it gets into their art too.

And, may I remind you: To be a great artist is inherently right wing.

March 13, 2011

A drive in the country.

We took the TT for a spin Sunday afternoon...

3 protesters protesting.




"'We call them pigs, and rightly so,' says Don Cox, 'because they have the way of making the victim look like the criminal, and the criminal look like the victim."

Wrote Tom Wolfe in "Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's" (1970):
"So every Panther must be ready to defend himself. That was handed down by our Minister of Defense, Huey P. Newton: Everybody who does not have the means to defend himself in his home, or if he does have the means and he does not defend himself—we expel that man... see... As our Minister of Defense, Huey P. Newton, says, ‘Any unarmed people are slaves, or are slaves in the real meaning of the word’ . . . We recognize that this country is the most oppressive country in the world, maybe in the history of the world. The pigs have the weapons and they are ready to use them on the people, and we recognize this as being very bad. They are ready to commit genocide against those who stand up against them, and we recognize this as being very bad...."
Today's NYT has his obituary:
Donald L. Cox, who was at the center of black radical politics as a member of the Black Panther Party high command and who earned a moment of celebrity in 1970 when he spoke at the Leonard Bernstein fund-raising party in Manhattan made notorious by the writer Tom Wolfe, died on Feb. 19 at his home in Camps-sur-l’Agly, France. He was 74.

Meade and I arrive at the Capitol to find it mostly back to normal.

We see the nearly empty rotunda, climb to the first floor where we stop by the security desk in front of Gov. Scott Walker's office and check out the Veterans Memorial and the bust of Robert La Follette. Back in the rotunda, Meade interviews a hunger striker and sings "On Wisconsin," and I improvise the first take of my "We Won" poem. Outside, I talk to a Capitol policeman about politics, Meade interviews some runners, and we admire a baby in a Bucky Badger hat.

Door plate and hinge damaged by the Wisconsin Capitol protesters.



Photographed today, the damage was done on Wednesday night when the building was stormed and retaken (according to one of the Capitol police).



Mead, on the menu, as I brunched with Meade. I had black coffee. And hash.

Meade climbs up on the monument to Civil War hero Hans Christian Heg to take down a "Solidarity" T-shirt.

On March 2d, Meade removed a sign — "I fought for the Union/You should too" — that was tied to the foot of this statue. Today, we found the monument desecrated once again, and Meade sprang into action:

"React to the greatness of the march... are you happy with it?"

"Do you wonda who won — duh! — in the rotunda?"

An Althouse poetry performance...

The point of this poem...
Do you wonda
Who won
In the rotunda?
We won!
... is to demonstrate by counterexample that there was virtually no gloating by the winners in the legislative struggle that has taken place here in Wisconsin over the last month. For all the shouting and chanting and drumming and denouncing that we heard from the minority party, the majority party waited patiently, finally made a tough move, and engaged in no triumphalism. There was no "I won" from Governor Walker. Did you notice the graceful winning?

"Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami."

Move the slider back and forth to see the horrible destruction.

Surprise! The IRS won't let you deduct business expenses for your drug trafficking enterprise.

Even if the voters in your state approve of medical marijuana and you're running a "dispensary" for people who have doctors' permission slips to use what is banned under federal law. And thus the federal government has figured out how to crush the dispensary business.

"The absurdity of the Democrats’ outrage was too much.... They were accusing Republicans of 'making a mockery of democracy,' operating like a 'banana republic,' and..."

"... in former labor secretary Robert Reich’s words, conducting a 'coup d’état.' All the while, Democrats were hiding in another state trying to prevent a newly inaugurated senate from holding a vote on vital state business. But in the end, senate Republicans had found a way to vote. The Assembly passed the bill on Thursday. Scott Walker signed it into law on Friday. And that is what democracy actually looks like."

Protest couples.



"Common sense is dead."


Hey! Which side is she on?

The end is nigh.

I hope these protests are almost over, because some of the protesters...


... remind me of those grim religious characters with "Repent! The end is nigh!" signs. Come on, it's not that bad.

Earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdown... volcano.


At the "Got Democracy?" Café...


... I'll have a Grande Democrappucino, please. Extra hair.

Politicizing the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.

2 women at the protest march yesterday chant "April 5, keep hope alive, vote Kloppenburg":

There's an election coming up, and JoAnne Kloppenburg is the challenger to the incumbent David Prosser. There are many Kloppenburg signs at the march and, as I've noted before, although it's supposed to be a nonpartisan election, some people try to make it very political. I've seen many people out at the protests stressing the need to make Kloppenburg a Supreme Court Justice so that she can vote against the GOP budget repair bill and do other things that will help the party that lost the elections last fall get something back in the judicial process.

"April 5, keep hope alive, vote Kloppenburg"... I'm sorry but I find that chant quite appalling. And I hope Kloppenburg does too.



Using Craigslist to hire protesters at $7.50 an hour?

This is from Indiana and, as the first commenter at the link says, "Anyone can run an ad on Craigslist and remain anonymous. What a great way to try and discredit the protesters. Now I wonder who would want to do that?"

You can say the same thing about the "Stike Now" graffiti. Everything is possibly fake these days. Are the protesters fake or is the evidence of the fakeness of the protesters fake?

"Stike Now."


(Photographed yesterday, near the Wisconsin Capitol.)