June 11, 2011

"Did you hear a click?"

Loading up on hostas.

What we got...


... at the Hosta Hut...




... at the Flower Factory in Stoughton.

Nancy Pelosi and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz call on Weiner to resign.

CNN reports.

UPDATE: "Rep. Anthony Weiner is asking for a temporary leave of absence from the House while he seeks professional treatment in the wake of his Twitter scandal. A spokeswoman for the New York Democrat says he has left for professional treatment and will focus on 'becoming a better husband and healthier person.'"

Oh! He went into treatment mode! The old "it's a addiction" gambit.

AND: Please remember that I said it at 2:12 p.m., Central Time, on June 6th, the moment I heard that Weiner was going to do that press conference that turned out to be his confession:
My prediction — and you heard it here first! — is that he'll announce he's entering treatment for sex addiction.
Then, when he did not do that I said, that day:
I think Weiner did a fine job of coming clean, taking responsibility, and apologizing. I had predicted that he would "announce he's entering treatment for sex addiction. Possibly with a grim/stoical Huma Abedin at his side." I'm glad he didn't do that. He didn't blame anybody else or any "outside force." He didn't use the nonapology "sorry if you were offended" form.

Now, it seemed pretty obvious that he would have continued deceiving us if he could have gotten away with it, but having made the decision to confess and apologize, he did that well. Of course, I'm assuming that there is nothing more to this story than what he spilled today.
But there was something more, and he needed to do more, and went ahead and did what I predicted he'd do and what I'd given him credit for not doing.

ALSO: Here's 13 seconds of me giving that credit:

At the Lettuce Café...


... this will be good for you.

Things on the Walkerville Medics Supply Wish List.

homeopathic arnica
arnica salve
yarrow tincture
comfry leaf salve
collengia salve
men’s socks

"A huge chunk of affordable housing progress will be wiped out with just this one bill... This is very, very bad."

The GOP state legislature is about to trump Madison's restrictions on landlords:
The bill's critics say the loss of these protections will reverse decades of efforts to help people in Madison afford decent housing and avoid homelessness. They say that the city regulations helped keep the actions of inconsiderate, unscrupulous and even biased property owners who cared more about milking the value of their properties than the rights of their tenants in check, especially important given the high numbers of young student renters here....

Advocates predict that bigger landlords in the city with more desirable housing stock will use the screening tools handed to them by the new state law to “keep certain people out,” as Konkel puts it, while smaller landlords with deteriorating properties will accept the tenants nobody else wants.

People typically viewed as problem tenants include minorities with criminal records, undocumented immigrants without Social Security numbers, people on public assistance, and people with disabilities on fixed incomes, say advocates.
The newspaper — The Capital Times — passes along an assertion about how landlords "typically view" people. With "minorities" thrown in as if state and federal law didn't clearly make it illegal for landlords to discriminate based on race and ethnicity.

Women in shorts.

In the office. These are supposed to be business suits. Presented seriously by the Wall Street Journal.

If you're getting this dressed up, what is the advantage of shorts? It makes no sense. And it looks awful even on these hyper-skinny models. (Also: Are legs like that considered attractive now? How did that happen?)

If life were Facebook...


Mouse over it.


... tattoo.

NYT headline proves they got nothing out of that Palin email dump.

"In E-Mails, a Glimpse From Inside Palin’s Rise."

"We were advised to start dressing him like a girl, at the age of six! We didn't know where to start."

Intersexed in Kenya.
"Sometimes I feel like committing suicide because it is very difficult when you are rejected by a whole community and also I am jobless," [says the father of the child]....

Having no stable source of income, he sought help from the American embassy.

A doctor came in 2009 from the United States to perform the surgery on young Wesley who required multiple surgeries. The doctor was supposed to return last year to complete the surgery but he didn't.

"[I]n case you were wondering where the domestic-surveillance component of Wisconsin's continued slouch toward East Berlin was, there you are."

Anti-Walkerites are disturbed that Wisconsin law enforcement is monitoring social media to learn of plans to for direct action like storming the state Capitol. But I think it would be incompetent not to pay attention to these things.

Hey, people, Twitter and Facebook are public speech — quite visible and searchable. The notion that you have an expectation of privacy there is sheer lunacy.

Ask Anthony Weiner.

"Norman Redlich, Ex-Dean of N.Y.U. Law School, Dies at 85."

The NYT reports. Redlich was the Dean of the law school when I was a student there, and he was my teacher in Conlaw2 (a course I now teach). From the obituary:
He helped Jane Jacobs defeat Robert Moses’ plan to build a four-lane highway through Washington Square Park in the late 1950s — brokering an unlikely alliance between Ms. Jacobs, the urban theorist, and Carmine De Sapio, the Tammany boss, that eventually saw not only Moses’ plan killed, but all vehicular traffic banished from the park.
What a hero!
He negotiated the deal in which the City of New York bought and renovated Yankee Stadium in 1971, when the team’s owners had threatened to leave and Mayor John V. Lindsay resolved to make them stay.
Again, a hero.
[In 1963, Redlich became] executive assistant to the Warren Commission’s chief counsel, J. Lee Rankin. In that job, he and several other staff lawyers, including Arlen Specter, the future Pennsylvania senator, devised the single-bullet theory...

The widespread doubt cast on the theory in later years caused Mr. Redlich to tell a Congressional subcommittee reviewing the commission’s findings in 1977, “I think there are simply a great many people who cannot accept what I believe to be the simple truth, that one rather insignificant person was able to assassinate the president of the United States.”
A more ambiguous accomplishment. It resolved everything, but the resolution could never be fully accepted.


"Democrats may join GOP in fielding 'fake' candidates in recalls."

Ha ha ha ha. After expressing outrage over a Republican tactic, the Democrats want to do it too.
A coalition of union groups active in state Senate recalls now advocates that Democrats field fake Republican candidates to run in primary elections against GOP state senators - just as Republicans are fielding fake Democrats to run against those who challenging GOP incumbents.

Friday evening, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin issued a statement that neither endorsed nor ruled out the idea, saying the party will "review the options available."
Yeah, one option is to denounce the Republicans who use this nefarious tactic, and the other option is to use it yourself. Just weigh your options, and use the one that you think it more likely to work!
Adopting the fake-Republican strategy might be difficult for Democrats to explain.

Just Thursday, the party sent a statement from Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) attacking Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) over the fact that a fake Democrat, Gladys Huber, had surfaced to run against Pasch in a Democratic primary July 12, potentially forcing an Aug. 9 general recall election.

"We deserve better than dirty tricks that would make Nixon proud," Pasch was quoted as saying. "Given how much taxpayer money will be wasted on this cynical ploy, Sen. Darling's hypocrisy is stunning."
Well, the fact that you've already started using option #1 is one thing to take into account as you weigh your options. That adds weight to option #1, but option #2 might still weigh more heavily.


A reading for the day. From Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals":
Life and how you live it is the story of means and ends. The end is what you want, and the means is how you get it. Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises. The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms. He has no other problem; he thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action. He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work. The real arena is corrupt and bloody. Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life.

Romney and Huntsman — the 2 Mormons in the Republican race — are avoiding the Iowa straw poll.

As NYT presents it, they don't see the advantage in exposing themselves to the judgment of evangelical Christians:
But there are signs that [Iowa's] influence on the nominating process could be ebbing and that the nature of the voters who tend to turn out for the Republican caucuses — a heavy concentration of evangelical Christians and ideological conservatives overlaid with parochial interests — is discouraging some candidates from competing there....

[L]ike Mr. Romney, Mr. Huntsman is a Mormon, a religion viewed with wariness by some conservative Christians....

Mr. Romney’s decision, in particular, suggests that candidates who are viewed suspiciously by the state’s religious conservatives may stand little chance there....
It's distressing to see this conflation of conservatism and prejudice. It's one thing if Iowan Republicans tend to go for someone with a stronger message of social conservatism, quite another if they are hostile to Mormons. Plenty of Mormons are social conservatives, and it just happens that the 2 Mormons in the race are not social conservatives. Can we get some serious research on this point? It's a dangerous thing to allow insinuations of religious bigotry to seep into the public consciousness. I can't tell if the Times is really against bigotry or not. If you portray Iowan religious conservatives as anti-Mormon, in one way, it seems anti-bigotry. But it's also inviting us to feel hostility toward the Iowan evangelicals.

June 10, 2011

Baby plays guitar.

New victims of the Joplin tornado have died with a rare fungal infection that is caused by dirt trapped under the skin.

Inadequately cleaned wounds were stitched up quickly, in makeshift facilities:
A week after the tornado, patients began arriving with fungal infections.

"We could visibly see mold in the wounds," Dr. [Uwe] Schmidt said. "It rapidly spread. The tissue dies off and becomes black. It doesn't have any circulation. It has to be removed."...

"This fungus invades the underlying tissue and actually invades the underlying blood vessels and cuts off the circulation to the skin," he said. "It's very invasive."

"Nate Thoma stood up in a Delaware bankruptcy court last December in a sharkskin suit and delivered a 24-minute argument that changed the course of one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history."

The Wall Street Journal reports on the 33-year-old investor with no legal experience who had thought Judge Mary Walrath wouldn't listen to what he had to say:
"But halfway through, I noticed she was paying attention," he says. "I realized she was going to let me go on, and I went for broke."...

But this battle is likely to be his last. He says that despite his success, his experience has left him disillusioned.

"The thrill is gone," he says. "It's such a big game, [individuals] just can't compete. I'm picking up freelance Web work again."

At the Painted Fern Café...


... you can talk about anything you like. Or don't like.

"Heart you, heart your passion, and as always, heart your balls!"

Another Weiner sexter is revealed.

UPDATE: "Anthony Weiner admits contact with girl, 17." He says that his messages with her were "neither explicit nor indecent."

"In a devastating act of ultimate revenge, a dying Elizabeth Ed­wards recorded a bombshell secret videotape for prosecutors..."

"... nailing her cheating husband John as he will stand trial on charges that could land him behind bars for 30 years."

Says the National Enquirer. I don't see how this can this be admissible at trial, given the hearsay rule. It's not within the exception in the Federal Rules for a "Statement under belief of impending death":
In a prosecution for homicide or in a civil action or proceeding, a statement made by a declarant while believing that the declarant's death was imminent, concerning the cause or circumstances of what the declarant believed to be impending death.
Say what you will about John Edwards, he wasn't the cause of Elizabeth's death.

"Palin Wanted a Tanning Bed in the Governor's House."

The NYT is picking through the Sarah Palin email oeuvre, and that's the first nonscandal extracted from the 24,000 printed pages.
Sarah Palin's tanned good looks may have gotten a bit of help.

An e-mail from the manager of the governor's house to Ms. Palin in early 2008 makes clear that Ms. Palin had inquired about the possibility of installing a tanning bed in the house.
The outrage! How can we trust a politician who would hide the source of her skin coloration?

"Even if scandal-stained Rep. Anthony Weiner didn't want to stay in office, he needs to stay in office."

The NY Post explains:
Unlike many of his peers in the House, Weiner doesn't have a business or even a law degree to fall back on.
Weiner, 46, took home $156,117 in 2010, according to his federal tax returns released by his staff. His humiliated wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, earned $154,000 in 2009, federal records show....

[H]e could grovel to cable TV execs for talking-head "analyst" gigs... 
Wow. Any ideas for jobs for him? Does this affect your analysis of whether Huma should leave him (if you stoop to analyzing things like that)?

I think this means he'll stay in Congress, at least until 2012. I'm glad about that. I want politicians to weather these sexual scandals. There must be hundreds of them waiting to burst out, and if Weiner is destroyed, it means all those other men with their Twitter and Facebook peccadilloes are sweating it out and susceptible to blackmail and various other manipulations.

When will this blog move out of Blogger onto the independent website at althou.se?

You may be wondering. We're ready to go except for the project of uploading all the old posts and comments onto the new Althouse. (The blog will still be called Althouse. It's just the URL that's changing to althou.se — instead of althouse.blogspot.com.)

Here's what's taking some time. I'm not just starting on a new site and leaving the old posts and comments back here. It will all be over there (and the old stuff will remain here too).  The Althouse blog will remain a single, unified opus at the new site. You'll be able to search, click on tags, and browse the archive and get everything all the way back to January 14, 2004, the day this blog began.

At this point in the process of exporting the blog, the great people who are doing all the technical work for me have done nearly all the posts, but there are a whole lot more comments to go. They've exported 23,549 out of 23,599 post, but only 15,262 out of 989,369 comments. It's a big deal to move that much stuff, but moving it all is important to me. Not just the posts, but also the comments. We could go to the new blog much more quickly if I exported only the posts, and preserved the posts with the comments Blogger site, but I don't want that. There are tons of wonderful comments, and they're all coming with me to "Sweden." I'm not going without them. Which means we can't go live until next week.

Isn't it cool that there are nearly 1 million comments on this blog? I wonder what the best comment of all time. The most momentous one for me is: "Meade, this is HUGE! Meade....?" (Explained here.)

I think I will be able to identify the millionth comment, by the way, so keep commenting.

Weiner "had a style that wore people down."

“So now, when he needs help, there is no one who is there, not even Democrats."

Says Peter T. King. Peter King. Here he is relating to Weiner last July:

Who would you rather have representing you?

"And here’s the scintillating Bob Hope, whose theme song is 'Thanks for the Communist.'"

Leonard B. Stern, the creator of Mad Libs always remembered that one, from back in the 1950s.
Mad Libs was conceived in 1953, when Mr. Stern was writing a script for “The Honeymooners.” As he recounted in interviews afterward, he was casting about for a particular word. His friend Roger Price, a humor writer, happened by.

“I need an adjective,” Mr. Stern said.

Mr. Price obligingly supplied two: “clumsy” and “naked.”

Mr. Stern laughed out loud. The word was intended to describe the nose of Ralph Kramden’s boss.
Leonard Stern, dead at 88.

His love for "I Only Have Eyes For You" by The Flamingos must be a kind of blind love.

Jaltcoh says: "I almost regret finding this, since I've been watching it compulsively over and over. It might not be the best song ever, but it's at least in the running."

This lushly romantic old song makes an interesting soundtrack to the news of the last couple weeks. Why didn't Anthony Weiner only have eyes for Huma Abedin? You could say that if he'd stuck to sexting — i.e., writing — he'd have saved his eyes for her. But he only started the writing when he liked the woman's photograph.

Is there really any love so fixated on one woman that the man can't even see other women? What a grand fantasy of love! I have no idea if this is the best song ever, but it is surely in the running as the song that creates the most unrealistic expectation of what love will be like.

Gates to NATO: America is getting sick of fighting for you people who won't defend yourselves.

I'm paraphrasing. Actual quote:
The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress — and in the American body politic writ large — to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense

"Brooklyn thieves chop down sizeable shade tree to steal $50 bike."

That's the headline in the Daily News, for a story about a viral security-cam video. "Steal" should have been in quotes, because they don't even want the bike. One of them rides it for a 5 seconds then leaves it next to the chopped down ginkgo tree.
The sorry saga was captured on security camera video then posted on YouTube, where viewers from coast to coast posted unkind things about the Brooklyn boobs.
I clicked through to see what people had written, but comments have been disabled, and all the old comments are all deleted.

June 9, 2011

"I'm sorry I'm thinking about cats again."


"France was punished on Thursday for not taking proper care of its hamsters."

The NYT reports.

"Weiner is the modern, high functioning man."

Writes Alec Baldwin:
[Weiner] is a very busy man.... He exists under a constant pressure cooker of self-analysis and public appraisal. Like other politicians, he needs something to take the edge off. For some people, regardless of occupation, that could mean booze, drugs, gambling, food or shopping. For high functioning men like Weiner and other officials who have lived through such scandals, who are constantly on the go, that leaves one tried and true source of a reliable high. The affirmation that comes when someone lets you know they want to sleep with you. Or even cyber-sleep with you.

This is sex for many people now....  No time for slowly moving toward one another with a combination of hope and caution, lust and integrity. One can push a button and get something beyond porn. Porn is essentially two dimensional. One sees and hears. Internet sexting can be perceived as three dimensional by adding the component of "feel", regardless of how cheap and unearned those feelings are. That person on the screen is doing whatever they're doing... just for you.....

We tell ourselves that these devices help us communicate more effectively. What they actually do is allow us to bypass the person lying right next to us, across the room from us or at an airport heading home to us, in order to meet our immediate, even inconvenient, needs. To bypass their moods, their current view of us and their own desires, or lack thereof.
It's so sad, isn't it? Baldwin feels sorry for Weiner... and for the modern man.

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in talks to become the president of the World Bank..."


ADDED: So... Hillary disaggregates herself from Obama, moves off to a lofty and distant place, from which she can observe American political events unfolding, and... if it becomes necessary, if Obama implodes or goes LBJ on us, she is there, ready to be the Democratic candidate for President in 2012.

At the Kafe Kohoutek...


... it's all so unexpected.

(The photograph is something the camera took on its own, as I was sliding the cover closed. It looks like comets so I called this café post "Kohoutek" after the wonderfully overhyped comet that seemed, at the time — do you remember? — to symbolize the lameness of Gerald Ford. I wrote Kafe Kohoutek instead of Kohoutek Café for this café post — a "café post" is just an open thread — because there used to be a really cool restaurant here in Madison called Kafe Kohoutek. That was back in the '90s. The name was a wry reference back to the fizzled comet, 90s nostalgia for the 70s. And here I am now, in the 10s, reminiscing about the 70s and the 90s, all because my camera had a mind of its own.)

"Unforgiveness is like cancer. It will eat you from the inside out."

"It's not about that other person, me forgiving him does not diminish what he's done. Yes, he murdered my son - but the forgiveness is for me."

Gingrich implodes.

"Newt Gingrich’s top staff quit en masse Thursday...."
Gingrich was intent on using technology and standing out at debates to get traction while his advisers believed he needed to run a campaign that incorporated both traditional, grassroots techniques as well as new ideas.

One official said the last straw came when Gingrich went forward with taking a long-planned cruise with his wife last week in the Greek isles....
IN THE COMMENTS: EDH said: "Here's Calista Gingrich to tell us what she thinks":

ADDED: Roger L. Simon writes:
Two of the key operatives who just left Gingrich’s staff -Dave Carney and Rob Johnson – have been major advisers to Gov. Rick Perry. Does this mean Perry is about to jump in the presidential race? Sure looks like it.

AND: Callista was the problem! So says Fred Barnes:
Aides to Newt Gingrich have resigned from his presidential campaign in protest of what they felt was a takeover by Callista Gingrich, the candidate’s wife since 2000.

"Auditioning for Broadway Revival of 'Annie' Is a Hard-Knock Life."

"Wannabes Bet Their Bottom Dollar on Boot-Camp Prep With Former Orphans."

"A Muslim woman from Saudi Arabia and a Jewish native of Brooklyn — 'the future of the world to be.'"

That was Bill Clinton's wedding toast to Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner last July.

Oh, that's an unfortunate prophecy for the world!

"Linda had no idea her desk was so deadly, noting how 'sitting is probably killing me.'"

That sounds a bit dramatic, but new studies show that sitting may be as dangerous as smoking. As with smoking, the more you do it, the worse it is for you.

Here's my new solution to the problem of sitting at a desk all day... the furniture equivalent of a nicotine patch:

ADDED: The desk is a Jesper 7000 Basic Sit/Stand Desk.

"So we know that Congressman Weiner talked dirty to Lisa Weiss about fighting for the country in his cape and tights."

"And we know that an underaged girl, who loved Congressman Weiner, apparently quoted him talking about fighting for the country in his cape and tights."

If Weiner never talked about "cape and tights" publicly, the appearance of a "cape and tights" quote in a young girl's Tumblr writings is probative of private communications between the 2.

"Liberal paper takes six days to admit heinous fault that has been destroying lives since last week."

"The crossword puzzle on Friday provided an erroneous clue for 30-Across, seeking the answer 'Ute.' The clue should have read, 'Subject of a museum in western Colorado,' not 'Subject of a museum in eastern Colorado.'"

When the Supreme Court indulges Congress's indulgence in fuzziness.

SCOTUSblog says the Scalia dissent in Sykes v. United States is "awesome." Justice Scalia writes:
We face a Congress that puts forth an ever-increasing volume of laws in general, and of criminal laws in particular. It should be no surprise that as the volume increases, so do the number of imprecise laws. And no surprise that our indulgence of imprecisions that violate the Constitution encourages imprecisions that violate the Constitution. Fuzzy, leave-the-details-to-be-sorted-out-by-the-courts legislation is attractive to the Congressman who wants credit for addressing a national problem but does not have the time (or perhaps the votes) to grapple with the nittygritty. In the field of criminal law, at least, it is time to call a halt. I do not think it would be a radical step—indeed, I think it would be highly responsible—to limit ACCA to the named violent crimes. Congress can quickly add what it wishes. Because the majority prefers to let vagueness reign, I respectfully dissent.
I remember the time a colleague of mine yelled at me for saying exactly that. She was working on a complicated project dealing with how courts should sort out the details in for Congresses that indulge themselves with fuzziness.

Why are the protesters taking over Apple Stores?

Protesters take over the Apple Store in Madison, Wisconsin:

This happened last Saturday. One of the groups involved was US Uncut. I had never heard that name before, and I found it puzzling, because what sprang to my mind was the "intactivists" — the anti-circumcision folks who've made some headway recently in San Francisco. But it turns out US Uncut has nothing to do with wieners. Nothing to do with wieners!
US Uncut is a grassroots movement taking direct action against corporate tax cheats and unnecessary and unfair public service cuts across the U.S..
The group is targeting Apple:
“Apple is one of the most profitable companies in the world and now they're lobbying for extra tax loopholes,” said US Uncut San Francisco organizer Leslie Dreyer, “During a time of devestating budget cuts, we cannot afford for companies like Apple to try to finagle special treatment. I can sync my iPhone to my MacBook, why can’t I sync it to my values?”
That's what you get for being a conspicuously liberal corporation. The ultra-lefties target you... presumably, because they think you'll cave or support them in some way. You don't want look like an actual for-profit, capitalistic corporation, do you, Apple? That's what you get for cultivating the image of benevolence!

Camel massacre.

For the earth.

ADDED: If you're going to kill all those camels for the environment, why not do the fully conservationist thing and eat them? Anthony Bourdain shows how it's done in Saudi Arabia:

What Panchito's did to The Fat Black Pussycat.

It's a terrible shame!
Panchito's owner Bob Engelhardt was a regular at the Pussycat which he described as a 'cesspool'. It was situated in a quiet street behind the tourist mecca MacDougal Street.

He said the nostalgia was misplaced, and that the preservation group did not understand the spirit of Greenwich Village.

Engelhardt added:'There are buildings that are worth preserving. Ninety per cent of what's in the Village isn't.

'The Village was freedom. The Village was not rules and regulations set in concrete. It destroys everything the Village was always famous for.'
Consider freedom and historical preservation. What if the history to be preserved was a time of great sleaziness? What if that sleaziness is connected to artists we love?

Pick the choice closest to your beliefs.
Property owners deserve great freedom in the putting up of signs that represent their business.
Historical preservation outweighs the interests of the current owner.
The old sign is cool and the new sign is dull and transitory, so I'm for preservation in this case.
The old sign is sleazy and I like the new business, so I'm against preservation in this case.
pollcode.com free polls

"Resign? Hell no! I want Anthony Weiner to be the face of the Democratic Party."

Says John Hinderaker:
I completely fail to understand why any Republican would call for Weiner's resignation. Are you kidding? I want him in Congress forever, if possible! I want him representing his party on every other cable news show, as he has done for the last several years. I want people to snicker every time they see a "D" behind a Congressman's name. Anthony Weiner is the gift that keeps on giving, the twit that keeps on tweeting!
Yet the Democrats — it seems — would like the Republicans to do the work of ousting their masturbating boy. Here's Rush Limbaugh yesterday:
How about this headline: "Pelosi Wants a Weiner Probe.".. Okay, now, she was quick on the draw here, folks. ... Pelosi and the Democrats scared to death. "Oh, my God, this guy's poison! Get him out of here. Get him to the Ethics Committee."... Pelosi knows that the House is now in Republican hands. Therefore the Ethics Committee, at the end of the day, has a Republican majority....

The liberals are throwing Weiner under the bus and they're asking him to resign and a number of things, or could it be -- I just throw this out there as a possibility; I know it's gonna sound lame to some of you and it's gonna sound like a stretch but -- maybe Pelosi and the Democrats are hoping they send Weiner up there to the Ethics Committee and the Republicans go bonkers with it and start overreaching and turn Weiner into a victim of these rascally Republicans. She's doing this as a way of creating sympathy for the poor guy because these mean-spirited Republicans won't let him speak.

Now, I don't think this theory has any credence 'cause I don't think the Republicans have it in 'em to act that way. I don't think that they would overreach. But I do know that when it comes to the Democrats, everything is not what it appears to be on the surface. So I'm not totally convinced that simply demanding that the Ethics Committee take care of Weiner is, in fact, Pelosi and the Democrats wanting to wash their hands of Weiner. 
Wash their hands of Weiner... Pelosi Wants a Weiner Probe... Rush loves to dabble in the deniable dirty talk. But don't you think he's right that the Democrats would like to find a way to lure Republicans into the ones who end up looking bad? Those terrible Puritans, who want to end sex for everybody.

The end of Trouble.

Trouble, the dog that inherited $12 million from Leona Helmsley has died at the age of 12. A judge later reduced the amount to $2 million, saying when the dog's official caretaker said he could get by on $100,000 a year: "$8,000 for grooming, $1,200 for food and the rest for his fee and a full-time security guard."
The security was necessary after John Codie, a trustee of the $8 billion charitable trust, reported that Trouble had received 20 to 30 death and kidnapping threats....

Helmsley, who cut two grandchildren out of her will and evicted her son's widow after his death, was often seen cuddling the canine, which was always impeccably dressed.

Helmsley, who did 18 months in federal prison on tax evasion charges in the early 1990s, wanted Trouble interred with her in the 12,000-square-foot family mausoleum in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Westchester County.
But maybe you've noticed: Cemeteries for human being have a policy against the inclusion of nonhuman remains. Otherwise you'd see dogs buried next to people all over the place.

June 8, 2011

"In USA Magnited States of America, where you are FREE to TEXT in a THE-A-TER!"

Funny, but bad language....

The individual mandate "may violate the constitution of Ayn Rand, but they do not violate the Constitution of the United States."

Said Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal said today, in oral arguments before the Eleventh Circuit, as reported by Sasha Volokh, who quips "Mr. Herbert Spencer, call your office."


The quip refers to the Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. dissent in Lochner v. New York:
The liberty of the citizen to do as he likes so long as he does not interfere with the liberty of others to do the same, which has been a shibboleth for some well known writers, is interfered with by school laws, by the Post Office, by every state or municipal institution which takes his money for purposes thought desirable, whether he likes it or not. The Fourteenth Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer's Social Statics.
Lochner is a much-deprecated case from 1905.

3 recall elections against Democratic state senators will go forward.

These will go forward on July 12 19th, along with a week after the 6 recall elections for Republican senators.
The Government Accountability Board... took note of Democrats' claims of fraud by circulators of the petitions against the three, but disallowed only about 230 signatures, connected to just one of the circulators, because of the fraud.

We just watched Senator Grothman on the Eliot Spitzer show, and he said that "even on [his] darkest days," he did not picture the Democrats taking over the majority in the senate.

(By the way, it was really weird watching that, because Grothman was standing outside the Capitol, a couple miles from where we live, and the tornado warning siren went off. The siren went off on the television, not where we could hear it live, but it seemed to apply to us. We were having a big thunderstorm, with mothball-sized hail.)

ADDED: I had to correct the dates for the elections. Sorry I'd misread that. This means that when the Democrats face recall, we will already know whether there is a potential shift in the majority. That is, if at least 3 Republicans lose their seats, then it will create tremendous pressure on the Republicans to oust a Democrat to regain their majority. I'm assuming we'll know the outcome of the election at that point, but maybe we'll need some recounts and court challenges before we know.

"Apparently I made an horrific horror-film, but shouldn't a good horror film be horrific?"

"My dear people it is a f****cking MOVIE. It is all fictional. Not real. It is all make-belief. It is art. Give people their own choice to watch it or not. If people can't handle or like my movies they just don't watch them."

Director Tom Six responds to the British Board of Film Classification's ban on "The Human Centipede Part 2 (Full Sequence)."

IN THE COMMENTS: Chip Ahoy said:
You know what else is horrific. This has me completely terrified. I just now looked at photos of Palin's new home in Scottsdale and the whole place is empty except for one exceedingly macabre bit of taxidermy.

Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, is pregnant.

The NYT reports.

ADDED: Isn't this convenient? Turn off the criticism, lest it hurt Huma. We're supposed to accept the assertion, of course. Is it true. Oh! Shut up! How terrible to question this! It’s really outrageous. The implication is outrageous. It's outrageous.

Kirsten Powers on Anthony Weiner: "This is not about sex. It’s about dominating and inflicting physical pain on a woman."

Powers, who dated him a decade ago, and defended him last week, is now calling on him to resign:
By far the most disturbing information that we have been privy to—there is, no doubt, more out there that we don’t know—is the transcript of a nine-month "sexting" relationship Weiner had with a Las Vegas blackjack dealer. Radar Online posted the transcript, and it is rife with misogyny and distorted views about women. In referring to oral sex, Wiener tells her, “You will gag on me before you c** with me in you” and “[I’m] thinking about gagging your hot mouth with my c***.” This is not about sex. It’s about dominating and inflicting physical pain on a woman, a fantasy the hard-corn porn industry makes billions of dollars on selling to men. You don’t want to gag a woman with your penis unless you have some serious issues with the way you see women.
Hard-corn porn? Hilarious typos aside... let's not go all Women's Studies about the man's efforts at writing about sex. It is not an easy literary task.

Okay. I just went and read the entire Weiner/Weiss transcript. (PDF.)  Read it out loud, in fact! A few thoughts:

Wisconsin protesters disrupt a Special Olympics ceremony!

In front of the Capitol today, protesters dressed as zombies stood between Governor Scott Walker and the group of Special Olympics participants he was honoring.

Quite aside from the unbelievable rudeness, how can the protesters be so blind about their own public relations?

ADDED: Here's a comment at the Walkerville Facebook page:
I don't know about anyone else but Im alright with this. Walker's actions affect many of these people more than me. They have every right to know what is going on in the state; most of them probably already do. Honestly I find the fact tht he was addressing this group offensive. It's like when he goes and visits a school. What a hypocritical liar.

Waves the size of the United States are breaking on the sun.

"The wave-forming process taking place on the surface of the Sun is the same as that which takes place in the Earth's oceans. It's known as a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, and involves two different fluids flowing past each other. Off the beach, the air flows past the sea and rapidly turns tiny ripples into mighty swells and breakers: on the surface of the sun, plasma erupts in mighty spouts, so becoming less dense, and then blows across the surface of non-erupted plasma to create waves just like those of Earth - only much, much bigger and hotter."

From The Register.

Chaos and beating on a Milwaukee school bus.

Caught on camera by a news crew.
We try day after day for answers. Even though Ms. Edwards says she tried repeatedly to get help for her little girl. We get this email response from the Milwaukee Public School spokeswoman. She tells me MPS only heard about one incident back in January and that they blame Ms Edwards little girl for that fight. Since January MPS says bus 83 has been just fine.

“We continue to monitor, and all has been quiet on this bus. Other than this single report by Ms. Edwards – which was resolved - there have been no reports of bullying on the bus by this parent or other parents, by any of the children, and no reports made by the bus driver.”

No reports of trouble. Not even from the driver.   Pretty surprising considering what our cameras caught street after street, hour after hour both times we tried….
Shocking and despicable.

Breitbart's X-rated picture of Anthony Weiner just slipped out.

Like a Hollywood startlet, splashing in the wavelets in front of the paparazzi, when oh, no! how did that happen! — her bikini top falls off, Andrew Breitbart iPhone-flashed his ultra-secret picture of Weiner's wiener on the Opie and Anthony Show, and "Opie" took a picture of the picture, and that picture is now all over the internet.

Breitbart is outraged or putting on a performance in the Theater of Outrage.

I don't really know why a closeup of a naked erect penis means anything (other than the usual Naked! Erect! Penis!). The evidence connecting it to Weiner is all that matters.

3 months before the Weiner story broke, "a small group of determined, self-described conservatives were warning young women on Twitter... to be wary of him."

The NYT reports:
Calling themselves the #bornfreecrew on Twitter, members of the group closely monitored those whom Mr. Weiner was following, taking it upon themselves to contact young women they believed to be “schoolgirls,” and urging them publicly to stay away from him, according to an analysis of posts on Twitter’s public stream.
Among those warned was Gennette Cordova, the 21-year-old who received the infamous gray-underpants pic. It was the leader of this group Dan Wolfe — @PatriotUSA76 — who caught that pic and passed it on to Andrew Breitbart, touching off all the recent publicity.
In several instances the congressman dropped his online contact with women after they were identified by the crew, suggesting that Mr. Weiner might have been aware of its actions....

Throughout May, [Dan] Wolfe and other members contacted other young women Mr. Weiner was following, including a 16-year-old from California who started a campaign on Twitter to get the congressman to be her prom date.

The next day, [Michael] Stack, posting on Twitter, sent her a message saying in part, “if you’re a minor and he’s following you, well, seems a little creepy if not in ny,” copying @RepWeiner on the post. The next day, on May 18, the girl posted: “Well @RepWeiner unfollowed me.”
The Times characterizes #bornfreecrew as an example "cyberstalkers, who track and criticize [a targeted politician's] every move." That makes Weiner sound like a victim. But monitoring politicians, for the purpose of exposing faults of legitimate interest to the public, has little similarity to following a private citizen for the purpose of horning into her (or his) life.

It would make more sense to say that Weiner was stalking those girls than that Wolfe and Stack were stalking Weiner.

"In classic doublespeak, the Department of Energy explains that outlawing incandescent bulbs will 'empower consumers with lighting choices.'"

"Unless your choice is to buy the light bulb the government doesn't like. If Republicans can't understand the appeal of sparing Americans from the light bulb police, what are they good for?"

Let me attest to my hatred of fluorescent light by saying that this was the article that caused me — after all these years — to click through and subscribe to the Wall Street Journal.

And, here: Buy some 100-watt bulbs. You have until the end of the year to build up your lifetime stock of 100-watt bulbs. Unless Congress votes for the "Bulb Act" and repeals the loathsome law George W. Bush "signed in one of his all-too typical late-term decisions."
The ban passed at the height of the global warming fad-scare when all proper thinkers were supposed to sacrifice to the anticarbon gods.
Is the fad-scare over?!

You know if you put the argument for repeal like that, it's going to intimidate politicians who are still afraid of being labeled AGW deniers.

When this blog goes independent, you'll have to register to comment.

It will be like the commenting process over at Volokh. How do you feel about that?

Will you comment at the newly independent Althouse blog?
Yes. I'm a commenter now, and I will continue.
Yes. I've avoided commenting in Blogger, but I will comment at the new site.
No. I never comment and I'm not going to start.
No. I'm a commenter now, but I will stop.
Maybe. I'm a commenter now, but I might stop.
Maybe. I'm not a commenter now, but I might start.
pollcode.com free polls

"That baby is perfect. You’re going to ruin her skin by putting makeup on her this early."

This is a prank.

But this isn't. I don't think. I wish it were.

Can one law firm prevent a rival law firm from purchasing its name as an internet search term?

Cannon & Dunphy paid for "Habush" and "Rottier" so that its ad would appear above Habush Habush & Rottier when people go looking for the well-known and widely advertised Wisconsin personal injury firm. Claiming a violation of Wisconsin privacy law, Habush sued and — we learn today — lost.

The court rejected Cannon's argument that it had a First Amendment right to use the other firm's names like this, on the ground that the process of using the name in the computer searching process isn't speech. Habush lost, however, because the use of its name was not unreasonable.
[Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Charles F. Kahn Jr.] characterized internet key word search terms as the modern equivalent of proximity advertising that business competitors have done for years:
"In ancient times, people used paper telephone directories. A user could find a particular attorney by viewing the alphabetical listings while carefully avoiding the block ads preceding and to either side of the name being searched. The plaintiffs themselves sought the attention of everyone seeking anything in the directory by placing a full page ad on the back cover of the telephone book."
The comments at the link are mainly people saying: Who cares who wins this lawsuit? They're all lawyers!

The crime is called "mayhem," but her mental state was called "manic."

So Karen Lueders, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, will serve no jail time for biting off her husband's tongue.
Police were called to the couple's home by her 79-year-old husband William Lueders, who used "uh huh" to communicate with a 911 dispatcher. According to a criminal complaint, officers found Karen Lueders carrying a New Year's horn in her hand and singing Christmas carols outside the house.

In a written statement, Willard Lueders told police he went into the bathroom while his wife was on the toilet Dec. 6. When he leaned over to kiss her, she went into a "manic state," grabbing his genitals and biting his tongue.

William Lueders has recovered and is able to speak clearly. A judge gave the couple permission to continue living together, and they have appeared at court appearances holding hands.

"Our slogan used to be 'Save a girl child'... We need to go beyond this...."

"We will now focus on the emotional aspect with 'Love your child.'"

"Corporate houses will be asked to print the girl child message on electricity, telephone and other utility bills to bring about awareness on this sensitive issue."

Model Caroline Louise Forsling sues Estée Lauder for branding her as old.

She wants $2 million after a test picture of her was used in an ad campaign that she didn't know about (for a product she didn't use). It's one of those before and after pictures, where the before and after sides were shot at the same time.

Obviously, she signed a contract. What did it say? Is there some understanding that the test shot photo will not be used, that she retained some control over which products her image could be used to promote, or that her image could only represent youth and beauty? What went on before the lawsuit was filed? She's damaging both herself and the product by going public with the dispute, because we're all invited to stare at her aged face, in the unflattering photograph we might otherwise never have seen or noticed. Meanwhile, the company suffers from having their ad revealed as a fraud. I'm thinking Forsling tried to get more money when she saw how the photo was used, and threatened to file the lawsuit, which we're seeing now, because the company called her bluff. So, great, everybody loses. Except us, the consumers who might have believed a little too much in Plantscription serum by Origins.

(Personally, I never buy a product called "serum." It sounds spookily medical.)

Look at Steven Tyler's toe.

In case you'd like to look at another appendage on another famous man.

Jon Stewart has put his friendship with Anthony Weiner above comedy.

And joking about how he's done that wasn't funny either. But this made me laugh.

ADDED: Jon Stewart should just come clean and admit that it has never been the show's agenda to mock people in the order that they are mockable. The calculation has always included how much Stewart & Co. enjoy mocking them. He's a comedian and not a journalist, so it doesn't make sense to call him biased. He's choosing his targets for his reasons, which include political ideology and personal relationships. We understand that. Move on. The effort to be funny about that last night failed. But I hope some viewers have learned from this and become more sophisticated about what the show is. The show influences viewers to think that various people are stupid/evil/corrupt, but it could just as well be making them think that a different set of characters is stupid/evil/corrupt.

June 7, 2011

At the Iris Café...


... open your eyes.

Watch me not split an infinitive.

"On College Campuses, Obama's Not Cool Anymore."

The Atlantic asserts.

A sex therapist on CNN attributes Anthony Weiner's troubles to "high levels of testosterone."

Not long after Weiner's news conference yesterday, at about 5:20, Wolf Blitzer interviewed Dr. Laura Berman, who said (my transcription):
[Weiner is] known for being very aggressive, for being very volatile. He clearly — even his hairline and his jawbone — he clearly is a man who has a tremendous amount of testosterone. That's not an excuse, but if you look at him, if you look at Arnold Schwarzenegger, if you look at most of these high power men, who are highly aggressive men, and they get into all this sexual trouble. It's often hand in hand with high levels of testosterone, which means that he has an extremely high libido.
His hairline and his jawbone, eh?

Interestingly, Berman's website calls her "America's leading expert in female sexual health." She has a show on the Oprah Winfrey Network called "In the Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman."
Watch as this New York Times best-selling author and a Sirius XM radio host makes house calls to help couples confront their intimacy issues head on.
House calls, eh? That's so Dame Edna's Neighborhood Watch.

Anyway. Speaking of Dame Edna and high testosterone, here's Dame Edna interviewing Charlton Heston (in 1987):

By the way, Heston talks about his gray velour g-string. "What a practical color, Chuck — gray! — isn't it?"  Not to be confused with Weiner's gray panties.

"The problem is that the state criminal charge of lewd and lascivious behavior includes an 'element of exposure.'"

Does that mean you can do what you want as long as you've got gray underpants or whatever draped around it?

I talk with Jim Pinkerton about Weiner... and Wisconsin.

ADDED: Snippet #1: I express sympathy for Weiner and make Pinkerton laugh...

"State Supreme Court justices expressed skepticism Monday about a Dane County judge's ability to halt a law limiting collective bargaining by public workers..."

"... giving Republicans who control the Legislature hope the court may act quickly in their favor.... Tough questions came for both sides during 5 1/2 hours of arguments that seasoned attorneys said were the longest in memory, if not in state history."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
Robert Jambois, the attorney for Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), told the justices they should issue a ruling that makes it clear lawmakers cannot keep the public away from its business - especially when it is considering controversial legislation.

"If the open meetings law doesn't mean anything to the Wisconsin Legislature... then it doesn't mean anything ever," Jambois said....

The open meetings law has an exception that allows the Legislature to write rules that exempt it from the meetings law. The two sides disagree whether lawmakers have established a rule on when meetings must be noticed for joint committees.

Teachers' union leader: "They're ready to do whatever it takes."/"It's going to get down and dirty."

John Matthews, executive director of Madison Teachers Inc., says:
School Board member Maya Cole criticized Matthews for harboring an "us against them" mentality at a time when the district needs more cooperation than ever to successfully educate students. "His behavior has become problematic," Cole said. "In his mind he is doing the right thing. But he doesn't see that in the political process, he's preventing good people from coming forward and running for office for the right reasons."

Board member Ed Hughes recently wrote on his blog that teachers unions "aren't all that necessary" because the district isn't "running a sweatshop." "It may be that John Matthews' ramped-up rhetoric is best understood not as a protest against school district over-reaching in bargaining, since that did not happen, but as a cry against the possibility of his own impending irrelevance," Hughes wrote.

"I've been fangirling him for years and every time I see something like this I fangirl him a little bit more. THIS is what leadership looks like."

The second comment — right after "Wow!" — at a post called "Rep. Anthony Weiner for President" at the "progressive feminist blog" Shakesville. It's from last July, when Weiner got "quite rightly, mad as hell about it—and he's not going to take it anymore" at the blogger Melissa McEwan saw it, responding to this Weiner freakout on the floor of the House:

Other progressive feminist comments:
I've watched this clip about a thousand times today. I absolutely adore him....

I just saw this piece on CNN. Maude bless him. THIS is what we need more of....

I adore this. I may have to watch it later with headphones after the kids are in bed, so that I can REALLY turn it up. "The gentleman is correct in sitting" may quickly become part of my lexicon, right alongside "here we have pie."

I gotta say, I totally dig this guy. I love that he rants and tells it how it is in these moments. I love his passion.

Someone clone his backbone NOW and send it in pretty packages to the rest of the do-nothing Dems in office. He is made of 50% win and 50% badass.
Clone his backbone? Clone his frontbone!
Probably they can hear my loud, excited SQUEEEEEEE all the way to Washington....

Swoon! I love this guy!...

*giggle* Hate to say it, but I can already hear all the "Clinton/Weiner" jokes now....
Well, now, there's a progressive feminist with great hearing. She could hear all the way into next June.
Whenever Anthony Weiner is on Rachel Maddow, I get this big, goofy smile on my face.
You think Huma is suffering, but have some sympathy for all the progressive feminist fangirls who'd thought they'd found true love this time.

Romney tops Obama in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

WaPo reports Romney ahead 49% to 46%, among registered voters. (Among all Americans, the 2 men are tied at 47%.) Obama is ahead of the other 5 Republicans, and "[a]lmost two-thirds of all Americans say they “definitely would not” vote for Palin for president."
The Post-ABC poll asked Republicans and GOP-leaning independents whom they would vote for if a primary or caucus were held now in their state. Romney topped the list, with 21 percent, followed by Palin at 17 percent. No one else reached double digits, although former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has suddenly shown interest in becoming a candidate, is close, at 8 percent. Without Palin in the race, Romney scores 25 percent, with all others in the single digits.
Surely, a lot of that is name recognition. It's not really fair to Pawlenty. But let's see if the Republicans have the cohesiveness to resist tearing down Romney. Meanwhile, Democrats ought to make Palin their new McCain. Give her a free ride, until she's clinched the nomination... and then destroy her.

"Have a couple of iterations of: 'This is silly. Like so many others, I follow Rep. Weiner on Twitter..."

"... I don't know him and have never met him. He briefly followed me and sent me a dm saying thank you for the follow.  That's it.'" 

Weiner's June 2d email advising porn star Ginger Lee "to have a short, thought out statement that tackles the top line questions and then refer people back to it."

"When the wife does not focus in on the needs and the feelings sexually, personally, to make him feel like a man, to make him feel like a success..."

"... to make him feel like our hero, he's very susceptible to the charm of some other woman making him feel what he needs. These days, women don't spend a lot of time thinking about how they can give their men what they need."

Something Dr. Laura said back in 2008... about Eliot Spitzer.

What reminded me of it? Something Chris Matthews said about Anthony Weiner's wife Huma Abedin: "But maybe she’s party responsible if she knew about it?"

I'm about to record a Bloggingheads on the Weiner thing.

What topics would you most like to hear discussed in real time?

Where's Huma Abedin? What should she do?

The Daily News headlines: "Huma Abedin is notably absent from husband Anthony Weiner's tearful sexting confession."
Huma Abedin wasn't standing by her man....

A top aide to Secretary of State Clinton, Abedin issued no statements of support for her embattled husband. She was a no-show Monday at two public State Department events.

"I love my wife very much, and we have no intention of splitting up over this," Weiner insisted. "I love her very much, and she loves me."
No intention of splitting up over this. Those last 2 words jumped out at me.
Several political pros cheered her absence yesterday.

"In general, it's very difficult for women constituents to look at the grieving wife up there," said Democratic consultant George Arzt. "It's bad PR."

The better move for Weiner, Arzt said, was "to look like he can take it all by himself and stand up there."

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato took to Twitter with a similar view: "At least Weiner didn't make his wife come out and gaze lovingly at him."
Ha ha. He's a PR expert! He's not advising Weiner in advance. He's dealing with the facts he's stuck with. This is what the PR man says when the wife isn't there. What did the Democratic consultants say when Silda Spitzer stood by her man?

The New York Post headlines: "Weiner & wife worlds apart/:Snake slithers when Huma is globetrotting with Hill."
As the "body woman" to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Huma Abedin is tasked with accompanying the former first lady on diplomatic globetrotting missions.

Weiner, it seems, uses the timing of her foreign affairs to pursue domestic ones online.

For instance, last month, while Abedin and Clinton were in Rome meeting with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Weiner was chatting up Texas nursing student Meagan Broussard.
I wonder what conversations Huma is having with Hillary — the world's most famous stander by of her man.
The political power couple met while Abedin was on the campaign trail during Clinton's 2008 White House bid. By 2009, they were engaged....
Didn't Abedin know the kind of man she was marrying? He was 45, and had never married previously. As Hillary's close assistant, she had to be sophisticated about the ways of oversexed, extroverted, narcissistic husbands. What was the marriage supposed to be, anyway? They were conspicuously a glamorous "power couple," for public purposes, but what was he allowed to do in private? What were their understandings? At the press conference yesterday, Weiner said that she asked how he could be so dumb, which made me think what mattered most was that people found out and she was shamed and embarrassed. Was it the public image that mattered, or was it to be a loyal, deeply bonded marriage in private?

Unlike Bill and Hillary, Weiner and Abedin have only been married a year, and they have no children. And the husband's career is deeply compromised at this point. They're not going to become the Democratic Party's next Bill and Hillary. The glamorous power couple is defunct. What happens to the private Tony and Huma?

Will Abedin divorce Weiner?
No, she'll stand by her man.
Divorce? She should be able to get an annulment!

pollcode.com free polls

"It’s really outrageous. The implication is outrageous. First of all, if you ask the question, if it’s outrageous, I have a right to say it’s outrageous. It’s outrageous..."

Replaying Anthony Weiner when he was in full liar mode. This interview with ABC's Jonathan Karl is now hilarious. Don't just read it. Play the clip to experience the intensity of the pressure Weiner brazenly applies to Karl. He tries to shame Karl: you did "zero research," you don't "understand how social networks work," you're impugning the ordinary people who follow me, you're making "a pretty charged supposition," "Do you really think that’s fair question? I mean do you?," I am "a person who’s married"...
... I want you to take it seriously that when you ask a question like that it  is charged with implication and it is simply not fair. It is not fair to me. It’s not fair to my family. It’s not fair to that poor girl who’s now been besieged because of the implication.... I would urge you. I would urge you my friend to refocus on what you think the actual issue is. This is a Twitter hoax, a prank that was done. I was the victim of this. This poor girl was the victim of this.
... This poor girl! I was the victim! Unfair! Unfair! What a terrible journalist you are! Shame!

Every would-be journalist should study this clip. This is what lying looks like. This is how a powerful, ambitious individual endeavors to push you back.

Do some perceptual learning. Develop an eye and an ear for lying.

Perceptual learning — developing an eye for problem solving.

Some cognitive scientists think it's something schools could teach in addition to learning the rules and theorems:
The brain is a pattern-recognition machine, after all, and when focused properly, it can quickly deepen a person’s grasp of a principle, new studies suggest. Better yet, perceptual knowledge builds automatically: There’s no reason someone with a good eye for fashion or wordplay cannot develop an intuition for classifying rocks or mammals or algebraic equations, given a little interest or motivation.
“When facing problems in real-life situations, the first question is always, ‘What am I looking at? What kind of problem is this?’ ” said Philip J. Kellman, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Any theory of how we learn presupposes perceptual knowledge — that we know which facts are relevant, that we know what to look for.”

The challenge for education, Dr. Kellman added, “is what do we need to do to make this happen efficiently?”
The article discusses teaching children math, but I work at teaching adults law. In math, the problems have specific answers, in law, people disagree about the answers. When judges and lawyers disagree about how various texts apply to real cases, we tend to accuse each other of being biased in one way or another. But we see that bias — and our own supposedly right answer — with the eye that we have developed.

June 6, 2011

"Protesters opened doors and 30-40 people rushed into the building with several people arrested following for bypassing Capitol security."

Writes Blue Cheddar Blog, prompting Meade to comment:
Rushing the building, rushing the bank, trying to block traffic – the police, who could not have been more accommodating to and patient with the protesters during February and March – this is the thanks the police now get. It would not be inappropriate for the protesters to now sing to themselves, in harmony, with feeling, and all together now, their well-practiced chant of "shame, shame, shame."
(Meade's comment has to go through moderation over there, and as I post this, it has not yet appeared.)

"Any updates on how someone hacks the truth?"

The last comment on the much-updated Daily Kos post "Breitbart's #TwitterHoax - How It Went Down (updated w/ smoking gun)."

Andrew Breitbart took over the Anthony Weiner news conference.

Why didn't I blog about it, when I was standing by to blog Weiner? Because I was watching CNN! CNN did not show Breitbart. There was some talk about it, but I was recording on a DVR and fastforwarding. At one point, they showed Breitbart, who was talking, but they were not including the audio track. The CNN folk were talking amongst themselves. Anyway, here's the Breitbart stuff, via Politico:

Next time there's an unfolding news story that moves me to put on the television, I am not going to CNN.

ADDED: Another thing about the CNN coverage, they kept referring to Weiner as "tearful." On screen, the text said "tearful." What nonsense! The man did not cry. He did a Clinton-at-Ron-Brown's-funeral eye-wipe, but he did not cry.

At the Extravagant Lamb Café...

... is that all you can do?

"We are going to demote the PC to just be a device. We are going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud."

Said Steve Jobs today. (Funny to hear "PC" from him.)

"Let’s all watch the Scopitone!"

"15 never-too-popular obsolete entertainment formats."

I never fell for any of them. But I did have a Betamax.

Anthony Weiner: "To be clear, the picture is of me and I sent it."

Transcribed from the live feed.

ADDED: He's deeply sorry. And he confesses that "over the past few years, I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, email, and occasionally, on the phone with women I had met on line. I have exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about 6 women over the last 3 years. For the most part, these communications took place before my marriage, though some have sadly took (sic) place after. To be clear, I have never met any of these women or had physical relationships at any time. I haven't told the truth, and I have done things I deeply regret. I brought pain to the people I care about the most, and the people who believed in me. And for that, I'm deeply sorry."

On to questions from the press.

MORE: A reporter asks about an "X-rated photo" that Andrew Breitbart has implied that he has: "Can you say that is not true?" Weiner: "No, I cannot."

AND: Asked what his wife has known and when, he talks about her awareness of the things done before the marriage, then is pinned down into saying that he deceived her about the famous gray-underpants-tweet just as he deceived the rest of us.

ALSO: Describing his wife's reaction, he says she called him dumb.

AND: I think Weiner did a fine job of coming clean, taking responsibility, and apologizing. I had predicted that he would "announce he's entering treatment for sex addiction. Possibly with a grim/stoical Huma Abedin at his side." I'm glad he didn't do that. He didn't blame anybody else or any "outside force." He didn't use the nonapology "sorry if you were offended" form.

Now, it seemed pretty obvious that he would have continued deceiving us if he could have gotten away with it, but having made the decision to confess and apologize, he did that well. Of course, I'm assuming that there is nothing more to this story than what he spilled today.

He's not resigning, and he's not splitting up with his wife, he said. I don't know if he can control all that. If you were his wife, would you leave him? Realize that you don't know what their understandings are. She may very well accept this behavior. He doesn't physically contact the other women. He does things on line that sophisticated people might characterize as more like enjoying pornography than like having an in-person sexual affair.

NOTE: I'm not suggesting you're unsophisticated if you don't minimize this behavior and liken it to the use of pornography. I'm not even saying that you're unsophisticated if you expect husbands to refrain from using pornography... and from masturbating. But I do think that intelligent spouses draw their lines in different places.

What will Anthony Weiner say?

It's 17 minutes past the time given for his statement to the press. Waiting, I'm reading this, in Radar, and noticing the ad placement:

Is that just an accident or is Oscar Mayer edgier than I'd thought?

Anyway, Radar reports that there's some other woman who got over 200 texts from Anthony Weiner back on May 16th. Reports of phone sex too. And the two never met in person.

UPDATE: Ah! Here he is. He's "made terrible mistakes" and has not been honest. He did send the picture and lie about it.

"Walkerville Summer Camp is officially in session, and there were minimal problems to report..."

"... in spite of David Blaska’s doom and gloom about some sort of Leftist Apocalypse happening as a result of the event’s city approval. Police presence was high, including mounted units for some reason. They were met with what mostly turned out to be an eclectically assembled, awkwardly located family camping trip in downtown Madison. There’s still lots of camping left to do, so let’s hope the eggs being tossed from high-rise condos on the square continue to miss the friendly protest."

Says The A.V. Club.

Boston University history professor Brendan McConville backs up Sarah Palin's account of Paul Revere...

... but said she got "lucky." 

Is there anyone else in American public life who is treated like Sarah Palin? Here's this historian, forced to say she wasn't wrong — after all the Sarah-haters have mocked her — and he instinctively grasps for a way to knock her down again. If she got something right, it must just have been an accident.

And here's Andrew Sullivan commenting on Palin's refusal to back down on here Revere story:
One of the most pernicious and dangerous features of Palin is her clinical refusal to understand reality, to accept error, to acknowledge when the facts she has cited are not actually facts, but delusions. And her vanity and pathologies are so deep she will insist that black is white until her minions actually find a source to prove it.

She's dangerous; she's shrewd; she's an exhibitionist. But she is also, we must keep reminding ourselves, a farce. What worries me about this political leader incapable of telling fantasy apart from fact is that, in a long and deep recession, someone who can lie that readily and manipulate religious and cultural resentment as well as she does is a danger. Not just to America, but to the world.
We must keep reminding ourselves... isn't that the attitude of someone with a clinical refusal to understand reality, to accept error, to acknowledge when the facts cited are not actually facts, but delusions. You have something you want to believe about Sarah Palin, and whatever new information you receive, you reflexively remind yourself that she is a farce. Applying your own standard, at what point would you be a farce?

In another post, Sullivan says "I fear I'm headed to crazy-land." But he's talking about his beard.

Oh, no! It's Weiner's naked...

... torso. Please, make it stop. He went for the full Chris Lee!

To some other other woman.

So hum(a)iliating.

UPDATE at 2:12 Central Time: CNN is saying that Weiner will be making some kind of statement "from a Sheraton Hotel" in NYC at 4 ET.  My prediction — and you heard it here first! — is that he'll announce he's entering treatment for sex addiction. Possibly with a grim/stoical Huma Abedin at his side.

"12 Reasons Why The AOL-Huffington Post Merger Is Going Down In Flames."

Is this believable or the result of various disgruntled employees leaking their side of the story?

"If you don’t vote for me, you’ll be stuck with a bunch of losers."

Instapundit paraphrases Herman Cain.

"Pie is an interloper trading on a false history and a tangle of confusion about its cultural role."

"Its past is unremarkable and un-American. As you may recall from your middle-school history books, many accoutrements of Western life first appeared in Egypt and then spread to the Romans via Greece. Prophylactics are a notable example. Pie is another one. The pies of the ancients, rather than being oozing desserts, were combinations of savory foods baked in a pot made of tough dough. (In our evolutionary tree of Western cooking, pies, tellingly, share a branch with the most hit-or-miss of all edible things, the casserole.) This crust-pot baking method spread through Europe and gained popularity through the Middle Ages, since the dough shell, called a bake-meat (later, just as appetizingly, a coffin), allowed meats to stew without losing moisture. It also helped seal off the meal and slow down spoilage. "For hundreds of years," Janet Clarkson points out in her jaunty account of pie development, Pie: A Global History, "it was the only form of baking container—meaning everything was pie." Pie culture grew with the advent of modern pastry dough during the 16th century, at which point cooks in more ambitious kitchens started to experiment with sweeter fillings. (Queen Elizabeth is said to have eaten some of the first fruit pies.) This is the true origin of our pie tradition. Early apple pies weren't American and sweet at all. They were unsugared, tough, and manufactured by the British."

The anti-pie rantings of  Nathan Heller.

Speaking of pie and tradition: "After I see a movie I like to go get a piece of pie and talk about it. It's sort of a little tradition I have."

"Do you like to get pie after you see a good movie?" "Yeah, I love to get pie after a movie."

Can you get any more loved and hated than Scott Walker?

He's got a 78 point partisan approval gap, with 87% of Republicans approve and only 9% of Democrats approve. The only other governor who's close is Mark Dayton, the Democratic governor of Minnesota.
Being polarizing is not quite the same thing as being unpopular. In Walker’s case, that partisan divide reflects both a strength and weakness.

The weakness is Walker’s horrible standing with Democrats. Walker’s approval rating among Democratic voters (9%) is the very worst on this list. The strength is his remarkable popularity with Republicans. Walker’s job rating among GOP voters is the best on this list....

Walker’s numbers in this regard look much less like a governor’s than a president’s. Presidents are such omnipresent public figures that virtually everyone has an opinion about them.

The extreme polarization over Walker is also more typical of presidents than governors. Walker is the only governor in these polls who generates as much partisan division in his or her state as President Obama does.

I've been averting my eyes from the Weiner...

... but I can't help noticing this and this.

June 5, 2011

I'm so close to going live with the revamped blog.

We're in the final testing phase! I think it looks beautiful — very crisp and clean. And I think you're going to love what the comments page looks like. It will have buttons to make it easy to do links, blockquotes, boldface, and italics.

After all these years, I will be breaking out of Blogger. The new blog will be here.

Walkerville at midday.

Here's how the tent city protest looked at about 1 p.m. today. (Meade shot the video. I edited.)

We were up at the Capitol Square riding bikes, as many Madison streets were closed for the "Ride the Drive" event.

(I'm not too enthusiastic about "Ride the Drive," by the way. Clearing out all the car traffic makes an occasion, which attracts attention and gets a big crowd of people biking at the same time. But it sends the message that the cars are a big nuisance, so I don't think it really encourages people to bike on other days, and it may even discourage them. It did work to get children out biking on the streets, but I don't think it's especially safe or enjoyable to bike with children. Unlike cars, children tend not to proceed in a straight line.)

"It is not that we are not allowing music or loud sound. It is that we are also allowing quiet..."

"... which isn’t automatic in this city."

"Defense Secretary Robert Gates bluntly told Marines... that they won't be able to opt out of their enlistment..."

"... just because they disagree with a government decision to end a ban on gays serving openly in the military."

Wasn't it bizarre even to ask? I mean... as they say... don't ask.

Veronica Penny just wants to spell. She doesn't have to smile for you people.

And she stops by the comments section at Throwing Things to let them know they were stupid and mean to talk about how glum she looked at the Spelling Bee:
I am a happy, fun girl, and my mother gives me joy and laughter every day of my life! She is one of the most hilarious people on the planet! That fact we both tricked all of you is the biggest joke of all. You people are supposed to be intelligent, but all you have demonstrated is ignorance. When I spell, I am in what I call "the zone". Which, if you paid attention to after I was out, you would've noticed us joking around in our chairs. I know I don't smile enough on stage, and she usually sits in the audience making funny faces to make me laugh and I cannot see her when she is on stage.

Basically what you have spent hours doing, is making fun of what I look like, and my mother's appearance. It appears that you are all the ones with personality disorders to pick on a fellow speller like this. You are all cruel people, and my mother's love will get me through how miserable YOU ALL MAKE ME!!!
By the way, Veronica Penny was a special favorite here at Meadhouse.

At the Self-Portrait Café...


... distort, exaggerate, minimize, and reflect.

Nice Austin-Healey!

This was my favorite car at the "Cars on State" show in Madison yesterday:


I got the impression a lot of women responded extremely positively toward this car:


Men not so much:


I don't have a theory about the gendered response to this car. It's just an observation.

What is Glenn Reynolds saying about the Wisconsin protesters?

In this Washington Examiner op-ed:
Although there have been some violent incidents and death threats, overall, despite the talk from many right-leaning pundits about "union goons," the actual danger posed by the union members appears to have been very small by labor-historical standards. 
The protests have been huge, and organizers have tried very hard to keep them nonviolent, but now are they to be criticized for not threatening violence? Reynolds says in the old days, union protests involved "miners, steelworkers and the like," who, working together, developed a mindset like combat troops. The unstated implication is that these were macho men.
But miners and steelworkers are one thing. When the public employees of, say, Wisconsin hit the streets, it looked more like a bunch of disgruntled DMV clerks and graduate teaching assistants, because, well, that's what it was.
He doesn't come right out and say, now we're talking about females and less manly men, but isn't that the implication? I'm sure Glenn would acknowledge (and encourage) women to take on mining, steelworking, and combat, but it seems clear that he is valuing the traditional male stereotype over the traditional female stereotype.
America's DMV clerks aren't known for toughness and dedication on the job, and it would be asking a lot to expect them to display such characteristics for the first time when they're off the job.
I think the protesters who chanted and slept on the Capitol floor for weeks on end and marched in the Wisconsin winter over and over again, deserve credit for dedication and for keeping things nonviolent. They are back now with their tent city — Walkerville — and it seems pretty positive and well-organized. They haven't abandoned the demonstrations and protests, even as they have also applied themselves to court battles and elections. Reynolds characterizes them as having moved on first to an election and then to the courts:
When the street protests didn't work out, the public employee unions decided to make a "nonpartisan" judicial election a referendum over Wisconsin's anti-union legislation.
The Service Employees International Union and other labor groups went all in on the election, but still lost....
So they lost that election, but they've got 6 recall elections coming up next month. The demonstrations continue and election maneuvers continue.
[T]he public employee unions have been better in the legal system than on the streets, getting Wisconsin's Democrat-friendly judicial system to rule in favor of the unions despite rather shaky grounds for doing so.

But mastery of rules and discretion in employing them is exactly what you'd expect from an army of DMV clerks, as opposed to steelworkers, isn't it? 
Why isn't that a good thing? Working through the courts, respecting the rule of law? I know, you might not like the rulings they extract from the judges — judges that you may think are partisan. But what are you saying? They should scare us with street violence? You say you want a revolution? Why taunt them as "an army of DMV clerks" when they work within the system? Isn't that a good thing? I understand that you want their side to lose, but this is an op-ed about tactics.