April 16, 2011

A 14-year-old girl speaks at the Tea Party rally in Madison and is drowned out by chants, boos, and cowbells.

This video — shot by Meade and edited by me — begins with a little boy banging on a plastic bucket "drum." A man with a guitar is performing — amplified — on the stage, but we can barely hear him over the crowd noise. There is incessant ringing of cowbells. Then, we can hear that a young woman is speaking from the stage to the Tea Party crowd as the protesters do what they can to drown her out. She finishes — "God bless America" — and the tea partiers cheer but the protesters overwhelm them with boos. The emcee comes to the mike and we hear that the speaker was only 14 years old.

ADDED: One of the chants during her speech is "Go home! Go home! Go home!"

UPDATE: Another angle on the heckling of this girl, at 1:07 in a montage of video that I shot yesterday.

"I can see stupid from here."


"Refudiate Palin!"/"Sarah & Scott/Corporate Whores."


"Sarah — You can't see Russia from WI. Go Home!"


"Why Am Eye Here."


Go here to see all 85 photos from today's rally at the Wisconsin Capitol. (The fisheye photos are by Meade, and the rest are mine.)

"Madison, these are the front lines in the battle for the future of our country," said Sarah Palin.

"This is where the line has been drawn in the sand, and I am proud to stand with you today in solidarity.... The 2012 election begins here."

The NYT highlights that quote and says:
... Ms. Palin’s appearance offered one early hint at Wisconsin’s rising significance in the presidential race ahead. The place has long been a battleground, politically divided, but what seems clear here now is that voters are especially energized, and that offers tantalizing prospects — on both sides.

How animalistic, frenzied, loud, rude, and desperate was the Wisconsin Capitol today?

"Andrew Breitbart confronts an angry union mob in Wisconsin," Says Instapundit, quoting Breitbart, who goes on about how ugly the "mob" was today at the Capitol:
[T]he defeats that the union’s leadership have suffered in that time have plunged these losers into an even more animalistic state of frenzy. Still stinging from last week’s election reaffirmation of Gov. Scott Walker’s policy of requiring public sector unions to face some of the economic realities that the rest of us have to deal with, the counter protesters both homegrown and bussed in them were louder, ruder and more desperate than ever....
Whoa! Breitbart's last trip to Madison was February 19th, the first Saturday of the protests, and things were pretty mellow then. But if you've been going to the protests all along, you would never think today was "an even more animalistic state of frenzy" or "louder, ruder and more desperate than ever"! Both Meade and I were saying that the crowd today was... pretty mellow! It's all relative. You should have been here on March 9th, when protesters stormed the Capitol. And some of those days when people were occupying the Capitol were surreal.

But today was distinctive because it was a Tea Party rally, and many people wanted to hear the speakers, especially Sarah Palin. The counter-protesters were there to drown out those speakers. Their earlier anti-Walker protests were about how they wanted to be heard. Over the last 2 months, the anti-Walker protesters have said many times — often directly to me or Meade — that they felt the GOP governor and legislators had the obligation to listen to them, that it was terribly wrong for their voices to be excluded, and that dialogue is the essence of democracy. They made a godawful noise saying that (and more), but what they did today was hypocritical, because today they showed up for the express purpose of denying other people the right to listen. So today was loud and angry, but it was nowhere near as loud and angry as it has been on other days. Nevertheless, today was bad in a different way, a way that betrayed values the anti-Walker protesters had voiced many, many times.

Back to Breitbart:
As I took to the stage, the shouting from those trying to disrupt the Tea Party intensified. Inarticulate shouting becomes their last weapon as their policies crumble. 
The shouting was actually much worse when they thought they could affect the policy. The passage of the bill and Kloppenburg's loss have toned things down.
I thought of the hypocritical calls for civility amidst the dishonestly cynical opportunism of blaming Sarah Palin who shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. 
I never took the calls for civility seriously in the first place, but I have seen so much incivility in the last 2 months that the subject rarely crosses my mind anymore. Maybe Breitbart got his hopes up about civility back in January when Obama made his speech after the Tucson massacre. But I think Breitbart's bringing it up because he's being criticized today for yelling "go to hell" at the protesters (which, you've got to admit, isn't super-nice). If Breitbart signed on to the civility deal, then I can see why he wants to bring it up for the purpose of saying he had the right to punch back since they hit first.

What Meade fisheyed at the Tea Party/anti-Tea Party protest.

A man in a Reagan mask says "Tear down this WALLker," while a man in a Mad Hatter costume says "The Mad Hatter called/He wants his Tea Party back."


A man and woman in colonial costume. The sign says "The REAL Tea Party was about lack of representation & revolt against corporate greed," and the tea kettle has a label that reads "Walker's Kool-aid."


A man has a sign that reads "Imagine Taxing the Rich," and a woman with a blindfold that says "Fox" holds a sign (in her skeleton-gloved hands) that says "Blinded by the Right."


And here are 2 pro-Scott Walker guys:


What we saw of Sarah Palin... while mostly surrounded by protesters who tried to shout her down.

(Video by Meade. I appear briefly. If you notice a gray-gloved hand, that's mine.)

"The margin [of Prosser's victory] - 0.488% - is within the 0.5% limit that would allow Kloppenburg to request a statewide recount at taxpayers' expense."

There is a reason why the law draws the line at 0.5%, and JoAnne Kloppenburg ought to ask herself whether she should take advantage of getting in just under the line or whether she should see 0.48% as so close to that line that the same reason really does apply. There is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law, and this is a test of character. Ms. Kloppenburg would do well now to give a gracious concession speech.

Raw video of today's counter-protest to the tea party rally at the Wisconsin Capitol.

Video by me. I'll have some edited stuff in a while. This was shot before the speakers came on. Emphasis on noisemakers... and dogs.

"Tea Party: How About a Nice Cup of... SHUT THE F@*K UP!"


"This Cheese Does Not Run":


"Dream Utopia":


"Palin + Walker/No Morals/Media Whores/Faux News/Ego Driven/No Empathy/War on the Poor/Unite to Take Back Our State and Country" (and in the background: "If you expect to be served HONEY with your CORPORATE TEA you're in the WRONG PLACE"):


A woman looks askance at a woman:




(All pics taken by me, this afternoon, at the Tea Party rally at the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. You can click through to enlargements.)

At the Tea Party rally in Madison, Wisconsin, Sarah Palin said: "I feel like I'm at home."

Because it's ridiculously cold and snowing.

We're back home, uploading video and photos. I'll have something up soon.

There was a good crowd, especially considering the weather. There were plenty of tea party people and even more counter-protesters. The counter-protesters were intent on drowning out the tea party speakers — especially Sarah Palin — with bells, whistles, and drums and with chants. The chant "Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!" was predominant.

Isn't this "kind of like sending Anthony Perkins to jail for killing Janet Leigh in the shower?"

No. It's like Anthony Perkins going to jail for harassing Janet Leigh after he pled guilty to avoid a trial for murder.

"[T]he less we hear about the birth certificate from this point forward, the better chances I gather that this is real."

Says Mediate, summarizing Trump's interview with Rush Limbaugh. (17-minute audio at the link.)
The conversation broached many subjects and, while it was a good interview, perhaps the most interesting note is what they didn’t talk about. Not once during the call did the subject of President Obama’s birth come up. Trump’s investigators in Hawaii must feel so insulted.
Mediate doesn't realize that this was Trump's second interview on Rush's show. I can't get the search function on RushLimbaugh.com to work anymore for some reason, but the previous interview was a couple weeks ago, and they did go through the whole birther thing then.

My impression, from listening to both Rush-Trump interviews, is that Trump's main issue is the way the Chinese are hurting American business interests (including Trump's own interests). On yesterday's show, this was Trump's most passionate moment:

Sarah Palin to speak at the tea party rally at the Capitol today.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports in a tiny article the bulk of which promotes the counter-protest:
The scene at the Wisconsin state Capitol could be a wild one on Saturday....

Liberal leaders still smarting from the bruising fight over Republican Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining law are mobilizing a counter-rally. They're urging people to show up with puppets to underscore accusations Walker and Palin do corporations' bidding. They also want people to bring cowbells and sleigh bells.
I get the feeling the WSJ is hoping the locals here in Madison will drown out the speaker with noisemakers.

Meade and I will be there to monitor the possibly wild scene. It's cold, gray, and rainy here in Madison, and I felt bad that it would rain on Sarah, then I remembered Sarah Palin camping in the rain on her TV show. Sarah is good in the rain.

"Trump becomes the 'new Sarah Palin.'"

Headlines the Quad-City Times.

Time for him to get a better wig. ← requisite Trump hair joke. (Surely, you can do better.)

"Universities have long told the larger culture that it must simply put up with whatever is said, however offensive, in the interest of free expression."

"Now we see more evidence that that was always a lie, a self-serving cover story that was really meant simply to protect speech that the larger culture didn’t want to hear, with no intention to protect speech that people at universities don’t want to hear. Universities, meanwhile, have become some of the most hostile environments for free speech anywhere in America."

ADDED: "Is Yale University Sexist?"
What is really at stake in the current investigation of Yale is the proper mission of the university. The complainants, not a few university administrators and faculty, and powerful forces at work in the Department of Education seem to think that one of a university's top priorities is policing students' opinions and utterances to ensure that they adopt government-approved ideas about sexual relations. That priority can't be reconciled with the imperatives of a liberal education.

California already requires its public schools to teach women's history and black history, so why not gay history?

There's a bill in the state legislature that has already passed the senate.
Advocates say that teaching about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in schools would prevent bullying and shatter stereotypes that some students may harbor. They point to several students who have committed suicide after being taunted by peers for being gay. But the bill has drawn vociferous criticism from opponents who argue that when and how to talk about same-sex relationships should be left to parents.
So the motivation behind forcing this study of history has little to do with history. It's about controlling behavior.

I have this idealistic belief that young people would behave better if they were respected as students, if the study of history would be premised on the value of studying history, and if, when history is studied,   historical principles determined the subject matter. 
A similar bill was approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature in 2006, but vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said that school curriculum should be left up to local schools. But there is a new governor now. And both supporters and opponents of the bill expect it will sail through the heavily Democratic Assembly and be signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat who has been supportive of gay rights.
How much easier it is for a politician to sign a bill than for students to slog through political lessons year after year instead of learning what truly belongs in a history class. It's disgusting to compel young people to go to school and then to treat them like this.

And don't tell me that the gay rights movement genuinely belongs in a history course. Let that topic be integrated into history courses to the extent that they truly belong in a history course, not because some politicos wanted to score points or because their emotive constituents feel that there's an epidemic of bullying and suicide and it can be cured by making heroes out of Harvey Milk and his ilk.
“It is very basic to me that people dislike and fear that with which we are less familiar,” said Mark Leno, who sponsored the bill and is one of the first openly gay men elected to the State Senate. Students who come to view their fellow classmates as regular members of society, rather than misfits, will find that “their behavior changes for the better,” Mr. Leno said.
Leno just intuits cause and effect. "It's very basic to me" isn't a good enough foundation for a law that appropriates and exploits millions of hours of the time of other human beings. I could just assert that it's very basic to me that when young people are compelled to spend day after day, year after year, under the control of adults cranking out what sounds like state indoctrination, that they will rebel against authority. And then where's the good behavior you had your warm heart set on?

ADDED: Shouting Thomas cites "South Park":
The parents in that series are all veterans of the 60s, and they think that rebellion ended with them. They think that all of the issues of authority versus kids were solved when they were adolescents. So, they are constantly astonished to discover that their kids think they are pompous windbags preaching bullshit. Their kids are rebelling against them.
Click through to see what Shouting Thomas thinks about bullying.

April 15, 2011

Obama issues a "signing statement" saying he won't follow the part of the budget bill that he thinks violates separation of powers.

Jake Tapper reports:
One rider [to the bill] – Section 2262 -- de-funds certain White House adviser positions – or “czars.” The president in his signing statement declares that he will not abide by it.

“The President has well-established authority to supervise and oversee the executive branch, and to obtain advice in furtherance of this supervisory authority,” he wrote. “The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it. Legislative efforts that significantly impede the President's ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the President's ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Therefore, the president wrote, “the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives.”

In other words: we know what you wanted that provision to do, but we don’t think it’s constitutional, so we will interpret it differently than the way you meant it.
Tapper notes that when he was running for President, Obama was very critical of the way President Bush used signing statements "in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like, and to raise implausible or dubious constitutional objections to the legislation.” And then-Senator Obama said he would "not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law." Of course, Obama is President now.

Donald Trump on Obama "He's a terrible president. I think he's gonna go down as the worst president ever, frankly."

"I used to say that about Jimmy Carter but I think he's gonna be surpassed. But I think that the one thing he is, he's a good campaigner. He just campaigns well. If you ask me about Obama, the only thing he does well is campaign."

That was on the Rush Limbaugh show today. Trump also said:
I'm a Republican, but if I had my choice of running or having Obama... be a great president, the greatest president ever, I'd be so happy for the country.  But he's not a great president.  He won't be a great president.  He doesn't have the capability to be a great president, and the world is laughing. We're like a joke.  As a country, we're becoming like a joke.  Everybody is ripping us off....

There's one theory that he wants to destroy the country and create a socialistic country. There is that theory, and I've read a lot.  This isn't necessarily my theory.  I personally think they're incompetent....
I cannot imagine Trump getting the nomination, but he is on track to do a lot of damage to Obama... and perhaps to the other Republican candidates. And Rush Limbaugh is into helping him. After the interview, Rush talked about the email that was coming in:
[B]oth of these people that sent me these e-mails said: "Are you aware of what you're doing here?  I mean, you have Trump on some time ago and he's doing okay in the polls and he shoots up and he shoots up. Every time you have Trump on, he goes higher and higher and higher in the polls!  Do you know what you're doing here?"  
Rush is into this Trump thing, enough that he is taking credit for it. A little subtly — reading email — but not that subtly.

The NYT has an article about 7 professor blogs, including mine.

Check it out.

The photograph they are using is a cropped version of the one they used in that article from 2 years ago called "Commoner Captures Princess, Blog Version." [I mean... it's another photo from that photo-shoot.]

Prosser wins the Supreme Court race, but not by enough to block Kloppenburg from seeking a free recount.

"A statewide canvass of vote totals of the state's 72 counties finalized Friday afternoon has Prosser beating Kloppenburg... by 7,316 votes.... The deadline for calling for a recount is 5 p.m. Wednesday."

Congratulations to Justice Prosser.

Should Kloppenburg seek the recount?
Yes, the margin is slim, the recount is free (to her), and the balance on the court matters.
No, the margin is strong, the recount will cost the state money, and I'd like finality.
No, because I like the outcome and want it clinched now.
Yes, because I don't like the outcome, and I'll want to pursue whatever hope is left.
pollcode.com free polls

ADDED: Professor Jacobson repurposes "a plea taken from a concern troll who posted a comment here when it looked like Kloppenburg would win by 200 votes." Ha ha.

I guess the big speech didn't help.

Obama's approval rating — from April 12-14 polling — is down to 41%.  But maybe the speech worked, if the purpose was to appeal to his base. Off-putting to people in the middle, but he can get us back later.

"That is actual misanthropy disguised as entertainment, appealing to the grossest things inside you, and I hate it."

Jacob of Television Without Pity explains why he "fucking hate[s] zombie things" — a propos of last night's Ford commercial on "American Idol," with Scotty, et al., made up as zombies:
... I hate zombie apocalypses, because they imply that other people are an obstruction to you getting through your day and would be better off getting shot through the head. The sweet release of just opening fire on a crowd of people because they're not as special and alive as you are: That is disgusting. That is actual misanthropy disguised as entertainment, appealing to the grossest things inside you, and I hate it.... 
[T]hink about the people you know that love zombies the most. Not the girls who pretend to like zombies and video games so boys will think they've found a unicorn, because those girls are worthless anyway; not the AMC dads or Twilight moms who are trying to be down with the kids these days. They have no effect on culture whatsoever.
I'm talking about your nerdy grumpy jerkoff friend who likes porn and zombies and dark shock-humor and hates women because he's scared of them and loves Tyrion Lannister more than anything and thinks his sarcasm is a defense or that being a cynic opts you out: That asshole. That's who you're being when you play along with the zombie bullshit. Don't do it. It's bad for the part of you that is still alive.
Hmmm... Jason seems to think he's more alive than those people he hates because they think they are more alive?

That reminds me of this part of "My Dinner With Andre":
ANDRE: [W]e're just walking around in some kind of fog. I think we're all in a trance! We're walking around like zombies! I don't think we're even aware of ourselves or our own reaction to things, we're just going around all day like unconscious machines, I mean, while there's all of this rage and worry and uneasiness just building up and building up inside us!
So is the current fascination with zombies because, in some ways, we feel like zombies — we identify or we want to scare ourselves into coming back to life? Or is it that we perceive others as the zombies, and there is something pretty sick about our misanthropy?

"It went down in the Madison Police annals as found property. It's not a crime to drop bullets..."

The leniency of the police toward the recent protests belongs in the record books.

"Both sides told each other they should be ashamed of themselves..."

The Milwaukee Election Commission...

"Will Anyone Even Insure Seniors if Paul Ryan's Medicare Plan Passes?"

Asks Benjy Sarlin:
Unlike the Affordable Care Act, which mandated that millions of young and healthy Americans purchase insurance with government subsidies, the Paul Ryan plan would instead bring the oldest, sickest, and least profitable demographic to the table. And with the CBO projecting that the average senior would be on the hook for over two-thirds of their health care costs within just 10 years of the plan's adoption -- a proportion that is projected to worsen in the long run --- the government subsidies backing them up may not bring in enough profitable customers to make things worthwhile.
Yeah. I don't get it.

Finally, a way to get liberals to abandon their romantic obsession with high-speed trains.

It's the "Atlas Shrugged" movie! Roger Ebert haaaaates it and mocks the obsession with trains:
Yes, although airplanes exist in this future, trains are where it’s at. When I was 6, my Aunt Martha brought me to Chicago to attend the great Railroad Fair of 1948, at which the nation’s rail companies celebrated the wonders that were on the way. They didn’t quite foresee mass air transportation. "Atlas Shrugged" seems to buy into the fair’s glowing vision of the future of trains. Rarely, perhaps never, has television news covered the laying of new railroad track with the breathless urgency of the news channels shown in this movie.
Thank you, Roger Ebert! I agree. We have planes now. To be enthusiastic about trains is to be like your Aunt Martha, really fossilized.

Dad tricks son with an old trick that I think I first saw used by Bugs Bunny.

You can tell the kid falls for the trick, then is amused by the trick, and goes along with the father not because he is tricked but because he is amused. That's my interpretation of a smile anyway.

Justice Breyer on "the tweeter": "I get requests. Can we follow you... That's very nice. Somebody would like to follow me. It's quite flattering."

He doesn't think it's a good idea. But he doesn't know how to turn it off... the "tweeter." (The tweeter? Cue Tina Turner.)

"Judges wear black robes so that they will resist the temptation to publicize themselves, because we really speak for the law. And that is to be anonymous."

This is why I wouldn't want to be a judge. They're supposed to submerge their individuality and self-expression. They're supposed to become neutral expositors of The Law.  Of course, they don't, not entirely, and everyone wants to figure out what they really are like, underneath that judge costume. But we only want to know because we need to understand and predict their opinions, and not because we'd be interested in their opinions if they didn't have the judicial power.

Oh, maybe for some of them we would, but as long as they are judges, engaged in the pretense of anonymity, they don't display much or any interestingness apart from the wielding of power.

Would you want to be interesting largely or solely because of the power you wield? It's nothing you've created, and if you weren't sitting there, in that seat of power, someone else would be, and then they would be all that you now are. What difference then does it make whether it's you or someone else?

What Serena wore.


"Man catches fire while watching porn at San Francisco sex shop; vic ran out 'engulfed in flames.'"

"An employee told police the man was watching a movie in the back of the store when he ran out screaming and on fire..."

"The new Purdue Pete, introduced Saturday, has been retired."

"Faced with mounting criticism about the sideline mascot's new look, Purdue officials Wednesday announced they would reinstate the previous big-headed Pete."

"It's always been dream of mine to interrupt a Supreme Court justice."

Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) to Justice Anthony Kennedy. 

At oral argument, the Justices interrupt the lawyers all the time, and what all the lawyers do is instantly stop talking when the Justice begins to speak. Now, members of Congress get the same thing at hearings. The person testifying shuts up as soon as the member speaks, even to say something entirely inane (like "It's always been  dream of mine to interrupt a Supreme Court justice").

Did all human language originate at the same place (in southern Africa)?

New Zealand biologist Quentin D. Atkinson has an article that's getting a phenomenal — phoneme-able? — amount of attention. The NYT says:
[Atkihnson] has found a simple but striking pattern in some 500 languages spoken throughout the world: A language area uses fewer phonemes the farther that early humans had to travel from Africa to reach it. Some of the click-using languages of Africa have more than 100 phonemes, whereas Hawaiian, toward the far end of the human migration route out of Africa, has only 13. English has about 45 phonemes.

This pattern of decreasing diversity with distance, similar to the well-established decrease in genetic diversity with distance from Africa, implies that the origin of modern human language is in the region of southwestern Africa...
Paleoanthropologist John Hawks asks:
Why should the origin of languages have had the largest inventory of phonemes? If small populations typically lose phonemic variation, why would sparse hunter-gatherer populations of Africa have built up the largest store of sounds just as they were getting started talking?
Perhaps when people were first talking, they made a lot of sounds, more like animal sounds. Then came the breakthrough: words. Once the idea of words arrived, you didn't need so many sounds. You can get lots of words out of very few sounds, differently arranged. The attention shifted to word making, and people didn't struggle to come up with more sounds. Indeed, they took advantage of the easy ones everyone could say and shed the extras.

April 14, 2011

"A surprisingly large number of readers email variations on 'Nobody tell Ann Althouse!'"


At the Wisconsin Capitol today, pro-Scott Walker chalkings...

... photographed after the anti-Walkerites had modified them:



AND: Consider this the Walker-Chalker Café, where you can add your own graffiti.

Sarah Palin will appear at the Madison Tea Party rally this Saturday.

Well... that ought to bulk up the crowd... with all sorts of characters!

"That's what they love. That's what they get off on. That's their orgasm."

"They" = the "walking human debris... those savages that make up the Obama base."

"What they get off on" = Obama's attack on conservatives.

According to Rush Limbaugh.

Arianna says "the lawsuit completely ignores... how new media... have changed the game, enabling millions of people to shift their focus from passive observation to active participation — from couch potato to self-expression."

"Writing blogs, sending tweets, updating your Facebook page, editing photos, uploading videos, and making music are options made possible by new technologies... The same people who never question why someone would sit on a couch and watch TV for eight hours straight can't understand why someone would find it rewarding to weigh in on the issues — great and small — that interest them. For free."

You desk potatoes!

"Then: False Rape Allegation. Now — Murder?"

Ah... but who is the real victim?

"Marijuana causes global warming, uses 1% of U.S. electricity."


Gov. Walker's testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Here's his opening statement:

As for the questioning:
In addition to questions about the state’s budget, Mr. Walker faced questions on his ties to the Koch brothers, his staffing decisions and whether his policies were designed to sabotage President Barack Obama‘s re-election efforts.

In one heated exchange, Rep. Bruce Braley (D., Iowa), pressed Mr. Walker to denounce undisclosed outside money and asked the Oversight Committee look into “cronyism” and whether it influences state finances.

Mr. Walker said he attended the hearing to discuss state debt, adding “You want to do a political stunt, go ahead.”
Walker did a good job of standing his ground as Democratic committee members recited protester talking points. More than once he cited the fact that federal government employees don't have collective bargaining rights and quipped that he wondered why the protesters weren't there in the nation's capitol.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation lacks standing to challenge the President's proclamation of a "national day of prayer."

And so, probably, does everyone else, says the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (PDF). A "feeling of exclusion" or "alienation" is not the "injury in fact" required by Article III of the Constitution. The panel distinguished cases involving a religious display that induced plaintiffs to What did provide standing, we held, is that the plaintiffs "alter[] their daily commute...incurring costs in both time and money."

We talked about this case a year ago when the district judge, Barbara Crabb (here in Madison) issued an injunction barring the proclamation, saying "the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience." The new decision doesn't reach the merits of the case; standing is a threshold issue. But you can tell what the court thought of the Establishment Clause question:
A President frequently calls on citizens to do things that they prefer not to do—to which, indeed, they may be strongly opposed on political or religious grounds.... [No] (sensible) person [would]  suppose that a court could take a blue pencil to a President’s inaugural address or State of the Union speech and remove statements that may offend some members of the audience. President Lincoln’s second inaugural address, likely the greatest speech ever made by an American President, mentions God seven times and prayer three times, including the sentence: “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.” The address is chiseled in stone at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. An argument that the prominence of these words injures every citizen, and that the Judicial Branch could order them to be blotted out, would be dismissed as preposterous.

The Judicial Branch does not censor a President’s speech....

Scott Walker testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Watch on-line right now.

Tea Party rally at the Wisconsin State Capitol, this Saturday.

It's the tax day day after tax day rally.

We went to last year's tax day Tea Party rally, and it was a pretty good photo op: here, here, here, and here. It seemed like a big crowd, with 12,000 people, but that won't seem big after all the protests we've had here over the last 2 months. But the Farmers' Market starts this Saturday, so there will be lots of people on the square. You won't be able to tell who came for what.
Major Saturday protests — which took place five consecutive weekends after [Gov. Scott] Walker unveiled his proposal Feb. 11 — drew as many as 100,000 people to the Capitol. Demonstrations, even in smaller numbers, could disrupt the 39-year market tradition that can draw as many as 20,000 shoppers to the Square when the weather’s nice.
Yeah, there will have to be anti-Walkerites there too. They'll have to take advantage of another Saturday and the new audience that is the Farmers' Market shoppers. Plus, they've got to show that they outnumer the tea partiers.

It should be interesting.

"Oh, my God, I made a mistake, I made a mistake."

Last words that must be the last words of many people who die without leaving someone, as in this case, who can report them.

ADDED: This story had me remembering this article from 2003 in The New Yorker about people who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge:
Survivors often regret their decision in midair, if not before. Ken Baldwin [said]...
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable—except for having just jumped."

Kevin Hines... recalls, "My first thought was What the hell did I just do? I don’t want to die."

Peeing like Penelope.

"I had to keep going into the water every 15 minutes."

"Hello, my name is Eric and I'm a recovering male."

I love the monologue "The Recovering Male" from Eric Bogosian's "Pounding Nails into the Floor with My Head." (Read its here.) (Get the CD.) Key line: "I'm just a man with a penis. And for that I'm sorry."

I'm reading those 3 1/2 pages this morning, because I don't have the patience to watch 8+ minutes of this. Both have the same theme, and both make me laugh, but one is brilliant, compressed writing by an artist, and the other is blather by men who are not artists and who are not trying to be funny. Also, reading that monologue does not cause a mind-rottting music soundtrack to play.

I did watch a couple minutes of that video, which I know you were talking about in the Flower Bird Café. There is a violence against women in this world that is different from the violence against men in ways that are important to address, but that video is too awful to focus us on what matters. There's way too much new-age nonsense about "energy." That's patent idiocy, and a man trying to suck up to women by blabbing about energy... needs some better suck-up lines.

But even if you extract the crap music and the new-age quasi-religion, you've got men apologizing for manliness. But they are not apologizing for their own manliness. They are purporting to apologize for other men, whom they are demonizing. Really what you've got are the insufficiently manly men, who think that by insulting other men, they will get the women.

But they will not get the women, because they are insufficiently manly. And it's a particularly pussy move to group all the manly men together for the purposes of trying to promote unmanly men. The violent, hateful, abusive men belong in a class by themselves, and to group them with all the other men who are more manly than you is self-serving and specious.

Now, take your bogus energy and get out of here.

"It's nothing like the way we know it in our community. If you're going to appropriate a dish we treasure, at least get it right."

An Atlantic City chef attacks the International House of Pancakes for serving chicken and waffles.
[Carl Redding] says he learned to make chicken and waffles where most food historians agree it was created 60-plus years ago, at the now-departed Wells Restaurant on Seventh Ave. between 132nd and 133rd Sts.

"When I worked for the Rev. Sharpton, he used to meet Betty Shabazz [Malcolm X's widow] there," says Redding. "They'd meet and I'd sit by myself just luxuriating in the chicken and waffles. It's something everyone uptown knows and likes."
Are there serious issues of authenticity to talk about or is this just a chef who's figured out how to promote his restaurant? The IHOP representative says that "because IHOP has more than 1,500 locations, it can introduce more people to chicken and waffles, 'and maybe some of them will make their way to Redding's... Next time I'm in Atlantic City, I'd like to go there myself.'"

Do fast food restaurants get people interested in a particular dish in a way that leads them to look for better versions of the same food? Or do people develop a taste for the fast-food version and reject the original form of the food? For example, maybe people like a McDonald's hamburger and don't even want a full-scale, old-fashioned hamburger anymore. To them the McDonald's hamburger is the real thing, and they're put off by this bizarre monstrosity served at... wherever hamburgers used to come from. Krazy Jim's!

So maybe Redding must take action:
He'll set up at noon in front of the IHOP on Black Horse Pike in Mays Landing, N.J., to cook and hand out free portions of chicken and waffles, Redding's-style.

Redding stresses, by the way, that IHOP doesn't normally ruffle his feathers. "I eat there," he says. "I love their T-bone steak with pancake breakfast."
Aw, come on. Handing out free food in front of somebody else's restaurant? Is that fair? There's this quasi-civil-rights flavor to this protest that's a bit absurd. Is he saying that white people have their meat-and-breakfast-starch dish and black people have theirs? IHOP can do steak and pancakes but not chicken and waffles?! 

Enough of these squabbles. Let's eat french toast and ham.

April 13, 2011

At the Flower Bird Café...


... tread lightly.

(Photo by Meade.)

That time we ate chiles rellenos...

... thinking it's the special...

"[A] technical shift in moviemaking that's as significant as 3D, color, or even sound."

What is it?
Peter Jackson's plans to shoot "The Hobbit" at 48 frames per second -- twice the current rate...

James Cameron, who has verbally committed to shooting his "Avatar" prequels at 48p or higher, [said]  "If the 3D puts you into the picture... the higher frame rate takes the glass out of the window."

Paul Krugman notes that Obama's budget plan relies heavily on what people are going to call "death panels."

(NYT link.) And his response is: "remember: you can always buy whatever health care you want; the question is what taxpayers should pay for."

The law, in its majestic equality, permits rich and poor alike to pay for surgeries, medicine, and hospital stays.

The city of Barcelona has respected "the right of the citizenry to nudism."

(NYT link.) It has put out a brochure called “Expressing Yourself in Nudity,” with photos of naked people walking in the streets and parks. But that's all about to end....
Just Roca, 56, a specialist in sexology... compares the campaign against nudity to a parallel proposal to ban the wearing of the Muslim women’s veil, often called the burqa, in public places, as several nearby cities in the Catalonia region have done and as the Barcelona City Council is considering. Mr. Roca called both measures forms of segregation. “It’s like ‘No Negroes,’ ” he said. Just as politicians fear that a burqa-clad woman has something to hide, he said, “they imagine an undressed person has something to hide, too."

Obama's plan to cut the deficit.

"We will all need to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in. And as long as I’m president, we won’t."

Thanks for Tiger Beat.

You'd better believe I read Tiger Beat, the first issue of which looked like this:

It was September 1965, and I was 14.
... Tiger Beat had it all covered — or at least what mattered most to girls from about 8 to 14. The Beach Boys’ loves! Jan and Dean’s comeback! The private lives of the Beatles!...
Its mainstay... was “guys in their 20s singing La La songs to 13-year-old girls”...

[S]ome things never change: the cluttered collages of the covers of his day featuring the likes of David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman bear a striking resemblance to today’s Tiger Beat, with its endless renderings of Justin Bieber.
From the NYT obituary of Charles Laufer, the founder of Tiger Beat, who died at age 87.

ADDED: If the idea was cute boys for young girls, it's hilarious that the first cover featured the Righteous Brothers. They look like Mitt Romney and Mitch Daniels.

IN THE COMMENTS: As my whimsy leads me says:
"Read" in the present or past tense sense? (Imagining Althouse poring over her 40+ year old stash of Tiger Beats when needing a quick pick-me-up.) 

The drinking age, a Samuel Pepys phrase, the etymology of "cunt," a George S. Kaufman joke, and the erosion of Althousian moderation.

"Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Drink/Republicans can make up for a Reagan-era error by returning this issue to the states." That's the title of a Glenn Reynolds op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, but you'll have to pay to read the whole thing. Feel free to discuss the topic without reading the article. It's a topic we hashed out on the blog back in August 2008, when the "Amethyst Initiative" — a statement from 114 college heads — came out. At the time I said:
The initiative wisely invites debate about whether the drinking age should be lowered instead of calling outright for legislative change. Let's be scientific about this. It's one thing to say alcohol abuse and drunk driving are terrible, but it's another thing to figure out the causal connection to the legal drinking age. There's nothing wrong with responsible, moderate drinking. What's the best way to encourage young people who are inclined to drink to do it the right way? I doubt that prohibition is best, and I'm enough of a libertarian to want to resolve doubts in favor of freedom. But sure, let's debate. I'd like to see the evidence analyzed.
Hey, I was a lot more moderate 3 years ago! I wonder what happened. Has Meade infused me with right-wingitude? On that topic, just this morning, by chance, I ran into an old George S. Kaufman joke, which I don't remember ever seeing before: "One man's Mede is another man's Persian." Does that even work as a joke anymore? You need to know the saying "One man's meat is another man's poison." I don' think a joke writer today could assume the background knowledge.

Let me tell you the story of how I arrived at that George S. Kaufman joke. This is another way to pass the time we can't spend reading the WSJ op-ed, since we don't have a subscription. Meade was just quoting the diary of Samuel Pepys: "I was with my main in her cunny." I said it was a shame we don't still use that word "cunny." We do say "cunt" and "cunnilingus," it was observed, and that led to a search for the etymology of "cunt." Is it related to "cunnilingus"? The answer is no, I learned, along with some detail about Latin- and Germanic- derived English words that begin with the letter "c" and how they trace back to Indo-European. (Words that were "c" in Latin will begin with "h" in German if they come from the same Indo-European word. And English words that come from German words that begin with "k" will begin with "g" in Latin if they have the same Indo-European source.)

I ended up reading this Wikipedia article on Latin profanity:
Cunnus was the basic Latin word for the vulva.... Cunnus has a distinguished Indo-European lineage. It is cognate with Persian kun "anus" and kos "vulva"....
Kos?! Has anyone told The Daily Kos? Did Markos Moulitsas deliberately chose the second syllable of his first name as his blog name because of the Persian meaning? He got that nickname in the Army, where perhaps jokes that require knowledge of Persian are understood. I Googled "'daily kos' vulva persian," and the first thing that came up, a link to Daily Kos, didn't answer my question, but had that line "One man's Mede is another man's Persian." I Googled the line and got to a 1961 Time Magazine article about George S. Kaufman titled "One Man's Mede":
Kaufman's quirks—he despised airplanes, wore stiff collars well into the 20th century, fueled himself with sickening fudge that he made himself—never interrupted his enormous output of hit plays... 
Fueled himself with sickening fudge... Why does that amuse me so much? Is it the humor magic of 3? 1. Despised airplanes, 2. Wore stiff collars, and 3. Fueled himself with sickening fudge. 3 related-unrelated things. All 3 are precise details about George S. Kaufman, but 1 is something he hated, 2 is something he wore, and 3 is something he ate. Comment/blog meme of the day: Write 3 things about yourself (or someone else) that follow that pattern of 3 related-unrelated things and seem equally amusing. Make very specific details, and have one thing hated, one thing worn, and one thing eaten.

Oh, good lord, where am I going with this? Well, the next thing that happened was, I decided to write this post. I couldn't get into the Wall Street Journal, so I Googled "althouse drinking age federalism" to find my old post on the subject to get things started. The search also turned up a law review article I published in 2001, which had this:
There are some policies that do not work unless they are adopted by all... [W]ithout a national drinking age of twenty-one, a state that chose a lower drinking age than its neighbors would tempt younger drinkers to drive across state borders, creating hazards beyond its borders....
Hey, I was a lot more moderate 10 years ago!

ADDED: My son John, who apparently subscribes to the Wall Street Journal, has a post this morning with a fair amount of text from the aforementioned op-ed. AND: John emails to say he doesn't subscribe, he just has a method to get to the full text. (Commenters to my post explain the method.)

"And of course I run a veritable forced labor camp here...

"... where the authors of our million comments are (doubtless to their shock and horror) entirely unpaid, even though they drive up our page views and thus our income stream. And remember: Every comment you write in response to this post is just further oppression of you. Have you no self-respect?"

Says Eugene Volokh at the end of a post pooh-poohing the lawsuit against the Huffington Post, which made lots of money without paying its writers.

"'[C]ertificate of live birth,' the cat-nippy phrase that gets the birthers howling at the moon...."

Oh? Do cats howl? I howl at the computer screen when I see mixed metaphors.

Speaking of howling, did you hear what they're doing to the wolves?

"At one point, there were 400 Schmucks in America."

"I’ve done some genealogy research on this."

Said Sister Schmuck.

April 12, 2011

Feel the burn...


... at sunset...


... today, on the Ice Age Trail.

"Cisco kills the Flip camera because smartphones are taking its place."

"Well, if I were covering a demonstration, say, I’d probably rather use a Flip — so if somebody tried to grab it away from me, as has happened, the most they’d get is a cheap Flipcam, rather than my phone, with its contact list, etc."

Says Glenn Reynolds... and we here at Meadhouse agree. Here's the Flip video in which Meade is surrounded at a protest and the camera is grabbed out of his hand... and he grabs it back, causing the would-be pussy/thief to cry "Get your hands off me."

On a happier day... Meade with his Flip:


That thing has been great!

(Buy one or a few.)

"She’s a great person to have cancer with, which sounds like a weird statement now that I say it out loud."

"She’s so strong and I admire the way she handles it, and it gives me the strength to handle it even better. I wouldn’t want to have cancer with anybody else but her."

NYT link to a story about a husband and wife, aged 38 and 36, who find out, within 9 days of each other, that both have cancer.

"Donald Trump is now tied with Mike Huckabee for first place when Republicans are asked who they support for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012..."

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

ADDED: "Wow, what's happening to Mitt Romney?"

At the Early Spring Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

"I had many love affairs — and a lot of awful lovers. I wasn't into 'sexscapades' but I did try it once. I had three people in one day."

Says Shirley MacLaine. Who were these "people" — as she calls them? Not Jack Lemmon:
'I wasn't attracted to Jack Lemmon. He was a sweetheart. He didn't have that dangerous, complicated sexual thing that I liked helping the man I was attracted to figure out.

"Jack Nicholson had too much of it. He is authentically dangerous."
Authentically dangerous... is too much. Presumably, Lemmon wasn't even inauthentically dangerous.  It's so hard for a fellow to get into exactly the right zone.
I had quite a relationship with Robert Mitchum. And Yves Montand...
So there you have it. That's the zone. Robert Mitchum. (And Yves Montand...)

Song lyric evoked:
Can I have your autograph?
He said to the fat blonde actress
You know, I've seen every movie you've been in
From "Paths of Pain" to "Jewels of Glory"
And when you kissed Robert Mitchum
Gee, but I thought you'd never catch him
You're over the hill right now, and you're looking for love...

Under the new French law, there's a fine of $216 for wearing a full-face veil, and a $43,000 fine and 1-year jail sentence for forcing someone else to wear one.

The fine is doubled for forcing a minor to cover up. You can see from the structure of the punishment that the government's intent is to protect women from subordination by private citizens. The premise — is it proved? — is that a woman is highly unlikely to freely choose this form of religious garb for herself. The freedom of women who choose the veil is counted at nothing compared to the supposed great evil in coercing women to wear it. If the coercion involved is so terrible, why not only outlaw coercion?

But is intrafamily coercion really that bad when what we're talking about is clothing? Would you be willing to accept a generally applicable law that imposed a 1-year jail sentence for forcing someone to wear clothing they don't like? Don't parents and spouses do that all the time? Would you double the sentence — on a generally applicable law — for parents who force their daughters to wear something other than what they want to wear?

Once you start asking questions like this, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the French law is anti-Muslim.

"[T]o achieve true self-fulfillment, human beings for Marx must find it in and through one another."

Writes Terry Eagleton in his essay "In Praise of Marx":
It is not just a question of each doing his or her own thing in grand isolation from others. That would not even be possible. The other must become the ground of one's own self-realization, at the same time as he or she provides the condition for one's own. At the interpersonal level, this is known as love. At the political level, it is known as socialism. Socialism for Marx would be simply whatever set of institutions would allow this reciprocity to happen to the greatest possible extent. Think of the difference between a capitalist company, in which the majority work for the benefit of the few, and a socialist cooperative, in which my own participation in the project augments the welfare of all the others, and vice versa. This is not a question of some saintly self-sacrifice. The process is built into the structure of the institution.

Marx's goal is leisure, not labor. The best reason for being a socialist, apart from annoying people you happen to dislike, is that you detest having to work....
Love... and leisure...

The chocolate milk controversy.

Some people think schools shouldn't give kids chocolate milk, but what if it's the only way to get them to drink milk?

Stupidest compromise: Change the sweetener in the chocolate milk from fructose to sucrose.

Additional, non-milk-related controversy:
Jostled by the new politics of school lunch, Fairfax officials have vacillated over other staples. This year, for example, they removed salt from pretzels, but weeks later they were coaxed into putting it back.
You can't remove salt from pretzels. The saltless thing is not a pretzel. It's like serving "regular" milk and calling it chocolate milk.


Chip Ahoy animates the next frame from the "Yesterday, in the gardens" sequence.

April 11, 2011



(Video by Meade, edited by me. Still photo by Meade. This is the same red-tailed hawk that did not eat the little boy with a monkey on his back.)

ADDED: The still photo is actually by me. I don't know what made me stretch out the word "me" into "meade." I'm losing my boundaries. Anyway, I was amused by the photo because: 1. I was really only trying to get the whole bird in the shot, but he shot up, 2. The hawk has really long legs, and 3. He should have some wriggly little animal in his talons, and he doesn't. Hawkfail.

Michele Bachmann might get the nomination.

Are you paying attention?

What if Michele Bachmann gets the nomination?
I hope it works.
Fine. Obama will be reelected.
America will get the President it deserves.
We deserve a better choice.
pollcode.com free polls

"President Obama, who often plays golf on weekends doesn't love the links..."

"... it's just one of the only ways for him to get outside and still remain in his security bubble."

Golf is just the one way the poor man can experience the semblance of normal.


... Winklelosses.

"Now there is proof that the [Madison teachers'] sickout was a premeditated, union-authorized job action..."

"... a phone tree of teachers calling other teachers to close down the schools. This kind of activity is prohibited by the union’s own contract and illegal in WI Statute Chapter 111.84(2)(e)...."

"I am still very, very confused about why the canvass was finalized before I was informed of the Brookfield error..."

"... and it wasn't even until the news conference was happening that I learned it was this enormous mistake that could swing the whole election. I was never shown anything that would verify Kathy's statement about the missing vote, and with how events unfolded and people citing me as an authority on this now, I feel I must speak up."

A statement released by The Waukesha County Democratic Party under the name of the 80-year-old Ramona Kitzinger, who had previously endorsed the work of the Waukesha County Clerk, which burst the Democrat's illusion that they had won the April 5th Wisconsin Supreme Court election.

This is...
pollcode.com free polls

Yesterday, in the gardens, not everyone could read....


Enlarge to read the sign: "Nesting Birds in this area/Be Cautious! To protect their young, parent birds may swoop at your head!"



Some Chicago public schools ban bringing your own lunch to school.

The Chicago Tribune reports:
"Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," [school principal Elsa] Carmona said. "It's about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It's milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception."
Carmona said she created the policy six years ago after watching students bring "bottles of soda and flaming hot chips" on field trips for their lunch. Although she would not name any other schools that employ such practices, she said it was fairly common....

Any school that bans homemade lunches also puts more money in the pockets of the district's food provider, Chartwells-Thompson. The federal government pays the district for each free or reduced-price lunch taken, and the caterer receives a set fee from the district per lunch.
So is it for the benefit of the children or somebody else? Note that the kids think the food is bad, and the competition is crushed, so there's no pressure on the food service to make something the kids would prefer to whatever is they bring from home. But the schools' providers are required to present healthful foods, and maybe it's not fair for them to have to compete with whatever enticing treats the kids get bring in from the outside.

At the Early Magnolia Café...


... you needn't wait for fully-formed thoughts.


Our congresswoman Tammy Baldwin asks U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Wisconsin.

Because it's probably, like, a federal crime that some Waukesha county clerk made a clerical error.
In the letter, Baldwin says the mishap raises serious doubts as to the integrity of the state's electoral process.
Did she say why? Did she say why the state procedures were insufficient to investigate possible problems in this instance? What's the threshold for calling in the feds for something like this? Anything more than your unhappiness with the outcome?

Saving women from sexist oppression/taking away their religious freedom.

France bans the veil:

Why can't Gabby Giffords run for the Senate? "We’ve had congressmen in Arizona who didn’t even have a brain."

Says Mike McNulty, Giffords’s last campaign chairman.
An entity called “the office of Gabrielle Giffords” (as the steady flow of press releases referred to it) effectively became the representative for the Eighth District of Arizona....
... and it is engaging in some ghoulish political opportunism.
[A]lthough she was completely unaware of it, the wounded Gabby Giffords had become the most potent political force in the state....

While Giffords herself does not even know that she is considered a possible candidate, much less the Democratic frontrunner, her potential opponents are stymied....
What a crushing dysfunction!  Is there no capacity for shame?

"No swimming! If we find you in the pond, we shall assume you are a trout and pan-fry you."

At Rushing Waters Fisheries, where Whole Foods in Madison gets the rainbow trout we got at Whole Foods in Madison and Meade wants to catch his own trout, like Bob Dylan did in his picture of the meaning of life.

"I can hardly wait for The Althouse Woman to tear Maureen Dowd a new one today on MD's put down of Bob Dylan performing in China."

Meade reads me that comment from AllenS at the Crocus Café just as the last track of the vinyl record "New Morning" ends. We're playing "New Morning" — an album I've had since it came out when I was a college sophomore — because Meade cooked rainbow trout last night and he's been singing bits of "Sign on the Window" ever since...
Build me a cabin in Utah
Marry me a wife, catch rainbow trout
Have a bunch of kids who call me “Pa”
That must be what it’s all about
That is what's it's all about. Except we're in Madison, Wisconsin, not Utah. We're too old to have kids together. The house is too big to call a cabin. And we bought the rainbow trout at Whole Foods.

I started writing this post because I wanted to say, AllenS, I'm not going to do it. I'm not interested in what Maureen Dowd says about Bob Dylan. I started reading her column yesterday, and I got sick of it at the second paragraph:
The idea that the raspy troubadour of ’60s freedom anthems would go to a dictatorship and not sing those anthems is a whole new kind of sellout — even worse than Beyoncé, Mariah and Usher collecting millions to croon to Qaddafi’s family, or Elton John raking in a fortune to serenade gay-bashers at Rush Limbaugh’s fourth wedding.
Her Bob Dylan is "the raspy troubadour of ’60s freedom anthems." I've listened to Bob Dylan singing in 5 different decades, and Dowd has him stuck in the 60s, and the early 60s at that. She's seeing him as the instrument of the American political left, when he broke away from them almost a half century ago.

It's true that Dylan still frequently plays “The Times They Are a-Changin,’ ” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” — the 2 songs Dowd thinks Dylan could have sung to upset Chinese government officials. (To play a concert in Beijing, Dylan submitted his playlist for government approval. Here's my April 6th blog post on the subject: "What's the big deal about Dylan's 'protest' songs in China anyway? They're almost entirely aimed at the United States.")

Now that I am writing about Dowd's column, I realized I had to read the whole thing and not just get tripped up at the stereotype of the early 60s Dylan (and the disgusting lie about Rush Limbaugh). And I see she does get around to something like the point I was going to make. She taps David Hajdu's book “Positively 4th Street” for something closer to the real Bob:
“I never saw myself as a folksinger,” he said. “They called me that if they wanted to. I didn’t care. I latched on, when I got to New York City, because I saw (what) a huge audience there was. I knew I wasn’t going to stay there. I knew it wasn’t my thing. ... I became interested in folk music because I had to make it somehow.”

“Folk music,” he concluded, “is a bunch of fat people.”

He can’t really betray the spirit of the ’60s because he never had it. 
I imagine Dowd had written the column she wanted to write, then called up David Hajdu, who gave her material that forced her to backtrack and reformulate her attack. But the reformulation is lame. The lefty folky politicos were the true 60s?! If there is some true spirit of the 60s, it would be more accurate to say it is whatever Bob Dylan was. It was complicated. Politically and personally.
“I had very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of,” he said.

He wrote that he wanted to have a house with a white picket fence and pink roses in back, live in East Hampton with his wife and pack of kids, eat Cheerios and go to the Rainbow Room and see Frank Sinatra Jr. perform.
A pack of kids... who call me “Pa”... That must be what it’s all about....

Real personal life, with the beauty of love and family, enhanced by the comforts of material affluence. A cabin. Fresh food. That's a more subversive message to the Chinese than what Dowd calls "[i]conic songs of revolution like 'The Times They Are a-Changin'' and 'Blowin’ in the Wind.'"

The day began with memories of rainbow trout, and I began writing this post meaning to end with rainbow. Looking up the "Sign in the Window" lyrics at bobdylan.com with my search term "rainbow" — I was looking for the rainbow — I saw all Dylan's "rainbow"s, including a second one in "Father of Night" — which is the aforementioned last track on the album "New Morning":
Father of night, Father of day
Father, who taketh the darkness away
Father, who teacheth the bird to fly
Builder of rainbows up in the sky...
Is that subversive in China?

There are 3 other Bob Dylan songs with rainbows:

1. "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." This is a song full of everything bad Dylan could think of to throw at us, and yet: "I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow..."

2. "Desolation Row." He's singing about "Ophelia," who's "already... an old maid" at the age of 22. She "wears an iron vest" and has "her profession" as "her religion." Her sin is "lifelessness." She does, however, have "her eyes ... fixed upon Noah’s great rainbow." See? She doesn't belong in the city! She needs God, a husband, a bunch of kids, and a cabin in Utah. (Ah! This makes me think about how I went to New York City, instead of out into some western landscape, after all those listens-through of "New Morning" in college.)

3. "Beyond the Horizon." "Beyond the horizon, behind the sun/At the end of the rainbow life has only begun... The bells of St. Mary, how sweetly they chime/Beyond the horizon I found you just in time." Note, at the link to the lyrics at Bob Dylan's own website — scroll down — there's a YouTube embed of Guy Lombardo playing "Red Sails in the Sunset."

Think about what that means! "We marry tomorrow/And she goes sailing no more." They marry... and they go to the Rainbow Room! Or they catch rainbow trout. Or they eat rainbow trout that they bought at Whole Foods in Madison and play their old Bob Dylan records.

April 10, 2011

At the Crocus Café....


... bask in the warmth.


... and don't let one little thing fly by unnoticed.

They're doing sleepovers in the Washington State Capitol now.

And check it out: A Wisconsin fleebagger is guest-starring:
Among the lineup of about a dozen speakers Friday, the person who generated the most buzz and applause was Wisconsin state Sen. Spencer Coggs, one of 14 Democratic senators who attempted to block that state's controversial new law eliminating most union rights for public employees.

Coggs recounted his experience fleeing to Illinois with his 13 colleagues in an ultimately failed attempt to prevent a vote on the legislation. He said it was labor groups across the country who "had our backs."

Many in the crowd referred to recent events in Wisconsin as the worst-case scenario they were hoping to prevent by joining the protest.
Emulate us so as not to emulate us.

"We Will NOT Roll Over!"

We went down to State Street yesterday, and not much was going on, so we stopped into Fair Trade for some coffee and coffee cake. When we stepped back onto the street...

... we collided with a small protest march that had some interesting characters in it. A photographer standing on the sidewalk got a "This is what democracy looks like" cheer going. Look for the accordion girl — standing behind the trumpeter with the blue beard — at 0:40. A very skinny man in white with a white mask on the back of his head appears at 0:50. He's got style of walk-dancing all his own. At 1:00, you see normal life on the street, lolling about with pizza and observing the parade... as if it's a Madison tourist attraction... and it kinda is.

At 1:45, you get a good look at the pedi-bar. At 2:00, the march heads toward the Capitol, and we join a rally in progress. A woman is talking about the plan to restructure the University of Wisconsin. She's very opposed to the plan. Because of Halliburton. Halliburton is evil. You can tell because if you Google "Halliburton," the stuff that comes up on the first page is really awful. At 3:08, you can see Meade's entrancing smile. 3:55: "Halliburton serves contaminated water to troops." 4:23: "Do not let Wisconsin become Karl Rove's laboratory for PLUTOCRACY."

At 4:23, a man in a "Walker's a stealer not a Packer" T-shirt walks up to me and takes my photograph. At 4:53, we see the next speaker, Secretary of State Doug La Follette, and he speaks very clearly, explaining why Michael Moore was right and we are not broke. The problem is we have some very rich people who should be paying a lot more taxes. At 6:07, the Stealer-not-a-Packer guy makes a big show of taking Meade's picture.

At 7:33, we see the marchers as they come around to the State Street side of the square. There's no relationship between the marchers and the rally. Both are making noise. It's cacophony. At 7:58, there's a woman with a "We are a Gentle Angry People" sign.

At 8:11, we encounter a man with a flag depicting an angry badger and the slogan "Nemo Visconsinia Impune Lacessit," which he tells me means "No one screws with Wisconsin and gets away with it."

At 9:35, we see the Ragin' Grannies waiting for their turn on the stage. At 10:04, we hear La Follette pleading for support as Governor Walker and others threaten to reduce or abolish the office of Secretary of State.

10:34-10:40: The Stealer-not-a-Packer guy gives me the finger.

11:52: The Ragin' Grannies take the stage and sing "We Shall Not Be Moved," with lines like "We'll keep this rally rolling/We shall not be moved/Although we could be bowling/We shall all be moved."

13:43: Meade asks me if I've seen enough, and as we walk away we see a poodle. The poodle is wearing a sign that says "We Will NOT Roll Over!"

"The Scary Reality of a Real-Life Barbie Doll."

I don't know what's scarier funnier, a 6-foot Barbie or this image of a young woman sculpting it:
Taking stacks of newspaper, glue and water, I skipped my high school semi-formal dance to give my girl some skin. Oddly, I started to feel my fondness for Barbie return, now not as a plaything but as a tool to reveal the negative body image that she promotes. As I papier machéd, I couldn't forget Barbie's impressive bust and blew up balloons over and over again to achieve a perfect 39" measurement. Once her chest was secured, I spent hours dipping and smoothing the paper, and later mixed paints to replicate her seemingly perfect white skin tone. With a little hard work and a lot of time, a headless, footless and handless body soon stood in my apartment.
So ...you spent hours smoothing sopping paper over gigantic breasts and felt your "fondness for Barbie return." You didn't even bother to give the thing hands, but you sure got those breasts yooge. Supposedly, this project is intended to further the cause of "eating disorders" awareness, but what it's making me more aware of is the author's atrocious humor deficit.
My Barbie's role is simple. She grabs the attention of apathetic onlookers and makes them think and talk about an issue that thrives in silence. 
Giant breasts?
In the last four years, Barbie has surpassed my expectations, attracting attention and sparking conversation among listeners and readers across the nation.
Have you analyzed those conversations? What percent of the talk sparked is about the problem of radical undereating by young girls who are superachieving in a poorly chosen category?

Anyway, scale matters. The reason the Barbie doll has to have such a small waist relative to the size of the breasts is that Barbie is designed to look good in doll clothes, and when you make doll clothes, you have to use normal fabrics, and you have to make seams and double the fabric over in a way that gets very bulky, especially around the waist. The doll's unreal proportions become much more real if you put the clothes on.

Beware of the death unions.

Rush Limbaugh talked to Governor Scott Walker:
[W]e agreed that in terms of messaging, the whole term "collective bargaining rights" has somehow attached itself to people across the country as the essence of fairness such that if a state or an entity of some kind seeks to "deny citizens" -- union members -- their "collective bargaining rights," it is seen as an act of profound unfairness.

It's a messaging thing. Because, of course, "collective bargaining," when you're talking about a public union and public sector employees, who are they collectively bargaining against? Taxpayers. They're bargaining against the people as a whole....

There's gonna have to be something to replace "collective bargaining rights" here as a phrase to explain what's going on. You could say it's "money laundering;" you can say it's "usurpation of taxpayer dollars," 'cause that's what it is. 
Heh. This is like all that endless Democratic Party talk about how the Republicans are doing a better job of "framing" the issues — calling the estate tax the "death tax" and so on. "Death panels." Maybe something with "death"? That seems to work well for Republicans. Try railing against the "death unions" with their "death bargaining." That might scare everybody.

"Had this been George Bush or almost any other President or Presidential aspirant, they would never have been allowed to attain office, or would have been thrown out of office very quickly."

"For some reason, the press protects President Obama beyond anything or anyone I have ever seen. What they don't realize is that if he was not born in the United States, they would have uncovered the greatest 'scam' in the history of our country. In other words, they would become the hottest writer since Watergate, or beyond."

Donald Trump makes a criticism of the press that is far more important than the "birther" issue itself.

ADDED: The New Yorker has a big profile of Trump:
The patented Trump palaver, a gaseous blather of “fantastic”s and “amazing”s and “terrific”s and “incredible”s and various synonyms for “biggest,” is an indispensable ingredient of the name brand.
Oh, bullshit. Every time I listen to him he's calling everything "yooge."

From the description of his apartment:
“This is the greatest apartment ever built. There’s never been anything like it. There’s no apartment like this anywhere. It was harder to build this apartment than the rest of the building. A lot of it I did just to see if it could be done. All the very wealthy people who think they know great apartments come here and they say, ‘Donald, forget it. This is the greatest.’ ” Very few touches suggested that real people actually lived there—where was it, exactly, that Trump sat around in his boxers, eating roast-beef sandwiches, channel surfing, and scratching where it itched?

"End the Fascist Republican Reign of Ignorance."


"Power to the People."