June 18, 2011

"I was a born rock ’n’ roll sax player."

Clarence Clemons, RIP.

The Silent Majority Walk and the Naked Bike Ride.

Today at the Capitol Square. Video shot and edited by me. Small glimpses of genitalia from 6:03 to 6:30. Breast alert.

The event I came to see was the Silent Majority Walk, an event planned to show appreciation for Scott Walker and the Republican legislature that passed the Budget Repair Bill this week.

0:00 — The pro-Walker walkers congregate a block away from the square and receive instructions to walk completely silently, confident in the rightness of their position, without response to "any of the mud that going to be slung at us today."

0:28 — The group walks by a sidewalk café (Graze) and an old man on a bench who says "Boo from me. Boo from me. You get a boo from me. You get a boo from me. Hold that flag up straight."

0:57 — More walking, past various street musicians and people enjoying the lovely day. Zero heckling.

2:40 — A young man — wearing capris over leggings — registers some objections.

3:02 — An older couple on bikes call out, naming some accomplishments of the labor movement —"Let's hear it for minimum wage" — then switch to a fairly polite "shame, shame, shame." The woman smiles. I suggest they catch up with the group since they are on bikes. The man says, "No, we're not going to harass them any more." I say, "People haven't really been heckling them at all. I'm surprised how civil people are being." The man says, "For some reason, we just got turned on." I laugh and say, "You're the only ones."

4:28 — A bagpiper gives them the thumbs down.

4:38 — "That's brand new. I'm shocked as shit," says a black man, laughing. I ask him some questions about why he's shocked and try to find out if he might perhaps actually be a Walker supporter himself.

5:54 — We hear a hubbub and I realize "These are the naked bike riders!" They ride by chanting "Less gas, more ass." I continue my discussion with the shocked-as-shit guy, who declares "That's America! That's America! That's the freedom!"

7:48 — An old guy in a protest contraption with pinwheels and palm trees.

8:04 — I talk to a young man who is tending a table marked "Madison Objectivists." "Is there much interest in Ayn Rand here?" I ask.

"It's important for people to come out and risk arrest and do whatever it takes. Food is a right."

Says Nick Emery, one of 5 young activists arrested for feeding the homeless.

"Edward Alan Feldman will be the recipient of a 24-hour hug from his conceptual artist son beginning at 12 a.m. Sunday."

You can attend this "healing and transformative experience" in the boxing ring at the Orange Avenue Gym, 1616 N. Orange Avenue, Orlando. Only $10. And you can get in the ring an embrace your own loved one.

Pat Benatar sang "Love Is a Battlefield." But sometimes love is a boxing ring. With lots of clinching.

At the Wisconsin Capitol today: The Silent Majority Walk.

The pro-Scott Walker folks showed up today, with signs...


... and T-shirts:


They marched silently around the square and part way down State Street, competing with the bicyclists and the Farmers' Market...


... and a sprinkling of other politicos....


(Enlarge to read the signs. The guy under the red and white umbrella is promoting the philosophy of Ayn Rand.)

There were about 100 people in the silent walk. Here they are getting prepped about the route and the no-talking rules:


Madison is a street festival on a Saturday like this...


So silent walkers for Walker don't get too much attention:


But there was the occasional remark, boo, or thumbs down...


There was also the World Naked Bike Ride, but that's on video, and it will take a little longer to process. Hang on! Hang on tight...


Blaming "politically correct" textbooks for the widespread ignorance about history.

It's David McCullough (the very popular writer of historical biographies):
"History is often taught in categories—women's history, African American history, environmental history—so that many of the students have no sense of chronology. They have no idea what followed what."

What's more, many textbooks have become "so politically correct as to be comic. Very minor characters that are currently fashionable are given considerable space, whereas people of major consequence farther back"—such as, say, Thomas Edison—"are given very little space or none at all."

Mr. McCullough's eyebrows leap at his final point: "And they're so badly written. They're boring! Historians are never required to write for people other than historians."
McCullough sounds a bit self-promoting or self-defensive there. He knows he writes well. He's popular. And other historians disrespect that, perversely. But keep to the point. Who writes textbooks for schoolkids? Not the lofty scholars McCullough has a gripe about. There should be an immense amount of care taken with respect to school textbooks. Why wouldn't those things be written especially well? The whole point is to digest material and present it for the consumption of children.

Also, it seems to me that McCullough himself gives "considerable space" to  "minor characters" to satisfy the "fashionable" interest in women's history. I read his tome about Truman, and there was an insane amount of material about Bess Truman. I mean, there's no historical significance at all to Bess Truman as far as I can remember. It just doesn't matter. It was pablum for female readers. And then he did it again with his book about John Adams. Abigail Adams is more important than Bess Truman, but nevertheless, why are we reading a thousand-page book about a reasonably nice marriage? Clearly, McCullough isn't following some rule about giving characters attention in proportion to their historical significance.

"According to the liberal apparatchiks in the White House, Mr. Obama can bypass Congress simply by redefining 'hostilities.'"

"War is no longer war. It is whatever Mr. Obama says it is — or isn’t. George Orwell warned that the perversion of language is the first step on the dark road to authoritarianism."

Oh, settle down. You're acting like Obama is a Republican.

ADDED: "You only are what you believe, and I believe the war is over," sang Phil Ochs a long time ago. And Barack Obama believes what we're doing in Libya is not the introduction of U.S. armed forces...
(1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;

(2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or

(3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation...
No. He can't even believe that. He can only pose as someone who believes that. And he can't believably pose as someone who believes that. The linked article warns us about the first step on the dark road to authoritarianism. I would have pictured the first step on that road as more of a confident stride or bold march, not a crazy bike trick with a spectacular stumble and...

... "I meant to do that."

"It's like the president's not our boyfriend anymore."

For the netroots, it's like waking up in a cold tent alone, instead of in his arms. Well, you shouldn't have drunk all that Kool-Aid.

Did Levi Johnston rape Bristol Palin?

The NY Post reports:
Bristol Palin was so drunk on wine coolers the night she first slept with boyfriend Levi Johnston that she couldn’t recall losing her virginity at the tender age of 15 — and he was nowhere to be found the hazy morning after to refresh her memory.

"Levi wasn’t even there to help me process — or even confirm my greatly feared suspicions," she writes in a new revenge tome disguised as a memoir. "Instead of waking up in his arms, I awakened in a cold tent alone."
I'm reading that as an accusation of rape. She was too drunk to consent or perhaps even passed out?

(The age of consent in Alaska, by the way, is 16, but I am not referring simply to statutory rape.)

"It was always kind of fuzzy whether he was engaged in journalism or a kind of guerrilla social justice law operation where the ends justified the means..."

"David [Protess] was not totally irresponsible. He was zealot in pursuit of a cause, a cause you could not question.”

June 17, 2011

Who does the the University of Montana School of Law think it is?

It can't be upholding low standards, because if you have low standards, more people get in. Is this like those employers who give you an IQ test and if you score too high you don't get the job? I'm sorry, professor, you're too good to have emeritus status at our miserable little law school.

"Moving from would-be anarchist to successful business owner brings a few quandaries."

"If you oppose the idea of a state, should you pay taxes? Is it ethically sound to care for the animals of professionals while they are at work at institutions such as the International Monetary Fund? And if you don’t believe in corporations, should you buy health insurance from one?"

Michele Bachmann, challenging Obama in the empathy dimension.

"That Barack Obama is without a clue when it comes to the economy is no revelation, but that he lacks empathy — traditionally a Democratic refrain — is a bold and interesting twist. The fact is that Obama does often seem to be weirdly detached from the problems he ostensibly is trying to solve. Perhaps that is just his style; perhaps it suggests that his real objective is to advance leftist objectives like government takeover of medicine, not to improve the lot of working Americans. Be that as it may, the fact that Bachmann is an unusually empathetic person positions her, perhaps uniquely, to take that particular approach to Obama's failures."

Says John Hinderaker (a Minnesotan with a Minnesota conflict: he knows Bachmann but supports Pawlenty).

[Post title corrected: I didn't mean to write "the empathy direction."]

"Is There a Scientific Explanation for Justin Bieber?"

Asks Eric Felten at the Wall Street Journal.
"We have scientifically demonstrated that you can, to some extent, use neuroimaging in a group of people to predict cultural popularity," proclaimed Gregory Berns, who styles himself a "neuroeconomist." The divination is performed with the help of a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine, or fMRI, scanning the brains of juveniles while they listen to demo records. Emory University plumped the findings with the bold headline, "Teen brain data predicts pop song success."

If true, this would be the equivalent of having tomorrow's stock pages today. Helpful, that. Determine what tickles the pleasure points of the adolescent id and you ought to be able to plot more efficiently how to separate teens from their money.
Aw, come on, guys! You should know the answer! Here, it's in this song:

"Remember, you were young once and you had a heart and you loved everybody."

A young man's oration after the Budget Repair vote in the state senate last night, juxtaposed with a chant from the young, heart-full-of-love folks: "Tax, tax, tax the rich/Walker you fucking son of a bitch."

(These clips are contained within the longer edit posted late last night here.)

ADDED: Song accompaniment:

Mickey Kaus says: "Weiner is a victim of web-driven macho partisan cocooning."

That sounded like a great string of words, but then I realized I couldn't grasp the concept. I had to say it out loud. Victim. I get it. Weiner is the victim. Okay. Web-driven macho partisan cocooning. Web-driven partisan cocooning I would get. But what was macho about it? Didn't Weiner leave when he got double-teamed by Nancy and Debbie. And then Obama stuck his toe in and said what he would do if it were him. That wasn't macho. Then a porn star delivered the final blow. Maybe that was macho.

But, reading on, I see that the cocoon Mickey is talking about is Weiner's lefty friends on the web, including Daily Kos people and the lady-fans Weiner found on-line. They made him feel so powerful that he made mistakes. But I'm back to the same question. What's macho about that? Kaus thinks that Weiner thought that the lefty bloggers would fight for him. And that's macho... why?

Sorry. A middle-aged politician sitting at home masturbating because young women thought he was cool when he yelled at that guy that one time is not macho. And it doesn't get more macho because he's counting on lefty dweebs with blogs to type out a defense for you.

"The AMS has not held the type of open and honest scientific debates on the AGW hypothesis which they should have."

Writes Bill Gray Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University, (American Meteorological Society Fellow, Charney Award recipient, and over 50-year member):
Why have they dodged open discussion on such an important issue? I’ve been told that the American Economic Society does not take sides on controversial economic issues but acts primarily to help in stimulating back and forth discussion. This is what the AMS should have been doing but haven’t....

Many of us AMS members believe that the modest global warming we have observed is of natural origin and due to multi-decadal and multi-century changes in the globe’s deep ocean circulation resulting from salinity variations. These changes are not associated with CO2 increases. Most of the GCM modelers have little experience in practical meteorology. They do not realize that the strongly chaotic nature of the atmosphere-ocean climate system does not allow for skillful initial value numerical climate prediction....

The AMS is going to be judged in future years as having foolishly sacrificed its sterling scientific reputation for political and financial expediency....
Read the whole thing.

Science needs to be science. It is a great violation of ethics to make it politics or religion.

"But a marriage is between two people and – this is going to come as a shock to some women..."

" ... you’re not in it."

Should people who don't know Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin talk about their marriage?
No. A marriage exists within a sacred closed circle of 2.
No. We don't know enough to have an intelligent opinion.
No. Leaving them alone will help them avoid divorce and divorce is bad for society.
Yes. It's an interesting subject to speculate about even without full information.
Yes. A spouse needs to hear from others in order to make good decisions.
Yes. A marriage is intermeshed with society and that makes a high-profile marriage a public issue.
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The scene at the Capitol the night the Senate passed the budget reform bill.

This is a 6-minute edit of video I shot tonight at the Wisconsin capitol, as the senate held its final debate and vote.

0:00 — Meade and I head toward an entrance, there's a small group of protesters making a lot of noise.

0:19 —Inside, in the rotunda, there's a larger group, chanting — "Tax, tax, tax the rich/Walker you fucking son of a bitch" — and then undertaking a moment of silence. The protesters seem extremely weary or sleepy and some are overemotional. One man asserts that no one is here "because it's cool to fucking piss off police officers."

3:13 —  Everyone heads upstairs. Some go to the senate gallery, where we weren't allowed to take pictures, and others stood outside the senate chamber chanting "This is not the Wisconsin way" and blowing whistles, which you do see in the video. There are plenty of police, ready to control actions, but tolerating the noise.

4:22 — This is after the vote has taken place. A young man leans over the marble balustrade and delivers a monologue: "We all have a heart... remember, you were young once and you had a heart and you loved everybody."

5:03 — As people are filing down the stairs, someone yells "recall" and the group begins the old "recall" chant.

5:41 — I want one last look at the rotunda, and we hear a woman announce: "Oh you know how some bad children need to get attention for being bad? That's Scott Walker."

June 16, 2011

"The Assembly passed the measure 60-38 at 3 a.m. Thursday, and 19 hours later the Senate approved it 19-14."

"Because senators made no changes to it, it will go straight to the Republican governor without having to return to the Assembly. Walker is expected to sign the bill soon, and he will have the ability to reshape it with his vast partial-veto powers."

Meade and I were in the Senate gallery just now when the final vote was cast. We saw 2 protesters stand up and yell and get carried out.

I'll have some video soon of the protests before and after the vote. It was noisy, especially before the vote. The police were completely in control. Afterwards, the scene outside in the "Walkerville" tent city was completely calm.

"State sovereignty is not just an end in itself: 'Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.'"

That quote has long been on my list of best quotes about federalism in the history of the Supreme Court, so I was pleased to see it quoted in a Supreme Court case that came out today, Bond v. United States. It's a quote within a quote, and now it's a quote within a quote within a quote.

One thing I like about it, aside from the sound principle — that the constitutional structures of government were devised to protect the people — is that Justice O'Connor, in New York v. United States, was quoting a Justice Blackmun opinion that was a dissent from an opinion she wrote one year earlier. In that earlier case, Coleman v. Thompson, Blackmun had chided her for relying on federalism as if it existed for the sake of the states rather than for the people. It seemed as though Justice O'Connor felt a need to get on the right side of that principle.

In today's case, Bond, the Blackmun/O'Connor idea about federalism was used to explain why a criminal defendant had standing to challenge the constitutionality of the federal crime she was charged with (the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998). (Carol Anne Bond had put caustic chemicals on a doorknob, door handle, and mailbox likely to be touched by a woman who had gotten pregnant via Bond's husband.)

Bond made a federalism-based constitutional challenge, and the Court of Appeals said that she lacked standing because she wasn't asserting her own legal rights or interests — as required by standing doctrine. In this view, only the states have standing to raise the issue that Congress has exceeded its enumerated powers and made a crime in an area that is reserved to the states under the 10th Amendment.

Intuitively, you should sense that the Court of Appeals was wrong. Here's this woman, charged with a crime that is — if she's right about the scope of Congress's power — a nullity. She's supposed to endure conviction and punishment on the theory that only the state is allowed to say that Congress overstepped its power? That's crazy.

Do you see how eloquently the old Blackmun/O'Connor quote explained why it's crazy?

Because the limitations of federalism exist to protect citizens from the excesses of power, when Bond argues that there is a federalism limit on congressional power, she is asserting her own legal interests.

"Imagine that a country launched a series of bombing attacks on the US to force one of our presidents from office..."

"... and that a second country provided millions of dollars in munitions, fired missiles at our cities via unmanned drones, and refueled the planes of our primary attacker so that they could bomb us more frequently. Would anyone doubt whether that second country was at war with us?"

Wisconsin protesters U-lock their necks to the railing in the senate gallery.


At the Longview Café...


... everything looks beautiful.

Were you watching Weiner wave bye-bye? I was not. We were out biking the Capital City Trail, whence I shot this photograph. But I set the DVR before we left, and I've watched it now. Does Weiner have a future? I say he does. He just needs to go through a refractory period.

The Blutarsky/Feingold Philosophy.

John Belushi as Blutarski in "Animal House":

Russ Feingold at the Wisconsin Capitol last Sunday:

And a few weeks ago, here at the Capitol:


"It's not over until we say it's over." That's the political theory. Meanwhile....
Unions representing public workers in Wisconsin filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday to block the state's new curbs on collective bargaining... [claiming] the controversial measure is unconstitutional because it creates two classes of public workers in the state -- those covered by the new rules and those exempt from them.
What? Treating police differently from teachers is supposed to be an invidious discrimination under the Equal Protection Clause?! There's no suspect or quasi-suspect classification, so the courts will give this minimal scrutiny. How is this anything but a frivolous lawsuit?

Blutarsky/Feingold marches on.

NOTE: The "Animal House" epilogue tells us what ultimately happens to each character, and the biggest joke is that Blutarsky becomes a U.S. Senator! (Thanks to Bruce Hayden, in the comments, for reminding me of that.)

"The state Assembly passed Gov. Scott Walker's state budget about 3 a.m. Thursday..."

"... sending it to the state Senate, which planned to take it up about 10 a.m. After 13 hours of contentious debate, the Assembly passed the plan 60-38 with all Republicans and one independent for it and all 38 Democrats against. The 99-member Assembly has one vacant seat."

Weiner's resigning!

Oh, no no no no no! Don't do it, Anthony!
Mr. Weiner, a Democrat, came to the conclusion that he could no longer serve after having long discussions with his wife,  Huma Abedin, when she returned home on Tuesday after traveling abroad with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Oh, no! What will he do now? Become a stay-at-home dad and write a memoir about it all?

I would love to know what those conversations between Huma and Hillary were like, not that Anthony will ever know what that was. I suppose some clever novelist could write a roman a clef and make up what those 2 women might have said to each other. Did Hillary ever speak directly to Anthony? Did Bill? Did Bill, Hillary, and Huma ever confront Anthony at the same time?

AND: I hope the widdle weiner within is all right. That's the important thing.

"We know where you’re going to use it, and it’s great for that area."

What's the best way to encourage men to powder their balls?
... Dry Down Friction Free Powder by Jack Black ($18 for 6 ounces), with cornstarch, lavender and green tea, “works great south-of-border,” according to its packaging.

“Guys have a great sense of humor about this stuff, and they appreciate us saying, ‘We know where you’re going to use it, and it’s great for that area,’ ” said Patricia Finn, vice president for marketing at Jack Black, which has no affiliation with the comedian of the same name.
Great. I'm sure the famous Jack Black appreciates your associating his name with cornball jokes. Literally cornball. It's corn(starch) for your balls!
Man Powder, by Matte for Men ($26 for 10.5 ounces)...  its directions recommend using it on “underarms, feet or ‘down below!’ ”...

Introduced last year, Dry Goods ($12.50 to $14 for 5.4 ounces)... features a unique valve that permits spraying it “upside down for those hard to reach places”....
A unique valve for your unique valve.
Tim Joyce, the president of Joyce Labs, which makes Dry Goods, ... said the name Dry Goods “is totally euphemistic to make you think of your business.”
His business is your business. (Requisite song link: here.)
Even Gold Bond ($8 for 10 ounces), the 103-year-old brand of general-use medicated powder, is deploying double entendres... “I never suit up without Gold Bond Medicated Powder — it keeps my equipment dry.”
Looks like the advertising industry is desperately in need of a man who knows how to write snappy quips about balls. And I know just the man, and they say he may soon be looking for work....

ADDED: If Anthony's unavailable, there's always Louie.

Rush Limbaugh presents his new product — bottled tea — as a political argument for entrepreneurship.

"What I wanted to demonstrate was that even with the obstacles that we face, like Obama out there, that jobs can be created and that growth or jobs can be saved, to use his vernacular, and a new product can be brought to market."

The label is political: Check it out.

Did anyone tell Sarah Palin that Limbaugh was going to be exploiting the Paul Revere image? Or did she just happen to step on his roll-out of new merchandise?

What do you think of Rush Limbaugh portraying himself as Paul Revere and putting the American flag on the label?

If I were to drink this, it would most likely be...
... because it's the best tea at the best price.
... to tweak and annoy liberals.
... to horse around and get a little attention.
... to make an unspoken argument in favor of traditional values.
... to help Rush prove that private entrepreneurship is the way to save the economy.
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... in Canada.

"If an iPhone were held up and used to film during a concert infra-red sensors would detect it."

"These sensors would then contact the iPhone and automatically disable its camera function."

This will only be used to keep concertgoers from infringing on copyrights, right? It would never, ever be used by the government to prevent us from filming demonstrations, police behavior, and so forth.

June 15, 2011

At the Liberty Café...

... you have the right to be left alone.

At the protests yesterday, I was doing still photography, and Meade was taking video...

... keeping me in the frame much of the time. We arrive at the Wisconsin Capitol Square to the tune of "Turn the Beat Around," and I can't hear what the substituted lyrics might be, but — walk with me to the next corner — I was aware of the horrible irony of the lines "Love to hear percussion" and "Blow horns you sure sound pretty." I mean, we're hearing vuvuzelas and banging on buckets.

If you pay attention you'll be able to match scenes in this with some of the stills I posted yesterday. And this one...


... which matches the end of the video. This is half a block down from the square, and you can see that the sidewalk cafés are full of people enjoying the late spring afternoon, with the protests as something close to white noise. Really... don't be afraid to come to Madison. It's a lovely place. And though, as I said here, the Statue of Liberty — deliberately, I think — tried to intimidate me, there were lots of nice people around.

We went inside the Capitol and, as you can see in the video, there was almost no one there. Not in the video: I mentioned to a young man that the state court had decided its case, and we ended up having a half hour discussion of legal issues, mostly on an abstract level — separation of powers and so forth. I perform random acts of law teaching around town, you know.

In the video, children play, a man cradles his dog, and a woman tells me she loves my skirt. People are out there, showing they care and which side they're on, but I'm not seeing anger or hysterical despair. Everything's going to be all right.

Why would the No Child Left Behind emphasis on math and reading leave less time to learn history?

I'm reading this Wall Street Journal article about new history history test scores:
The overall lackluster performance is certain to revive the debate about whether history and other subjects, such as science and art, are being pushed out of the curriculum because of the focus on math and reading demanded under the No Child Left Behind federal education law. The federal law mandates that students be tested in math and reading.
Why is this even a conflict? To learn reading,  you need reading material! Make the reading material nonfiction works about history. Problem solved.

I have discussed this issue before, and I know people have a problem with it, but schoolchildren don't need to read fiction to learn how to read. Let them choose their own fiction books for reading outside of school.

"Alright, my package and I are not going to beg. We both see the hazard of going down the path of comparative sexiness."

That's something I read out loud over here at Meadhouse.

MEADE: "Is that Weiner?"

ME: "Do you recognize Weiner's writing style?"

No. He just recognizes my reading style. I'm reading something about sex out loud, basically.

"It takes a different kind of person to speak the language."

Was that a reference to race, and if so.... does that make the response — a crazy viral ad — not racist?

Does Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette have the power to delay publication of the collective-bargaining law until June 28th?

"La Follette said he had consulted with his own attorney as well as his own staff to make sure he followed proper procedure. The problem, La Follette said, is there is no procedure for what happened on Tuesday when the Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, reinstated the collective-bargaining law that was passed in the Legislature."

Incredible. How is it possible for this man to have the power to prevent a law from going into effect?

I thought the law was published back on March 25th:
The drama over Gov. Scott Walker's controversial measure limiting public sector collective bargaining took a sharp turn Friday [March 25th] when the Legislative Reference Bureau published the law — normally the last step before legislation takes effect....

A restraining order prevented Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the act. But the state constitution says only that laws must be published before they can take effect; it does not specify by whom.
Is it published already or not? Let's look at the new state supreme court opinion:
This court has granted the petition for an original action because one of the courts that we are charged with supervising has usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature.  It is important for all courts to remember that Article IV, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides:  “The legislative power shall be vested in a senate and assembly.”  Article IV, Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides in relevant part:  “(2) . . . No law shall be in force until published.  (3) The legislature shall provide by law for the speedy publication of all laws.”
How can La Follette, a member of the executive branch, control the power that belongs to the legislature? According to Wisconsin Supreme Court, the way the legislature has provided for publication is — in § 14.38(10)(c) — to direct the Secretary of State to publish it. So La Follette had a statutory duty back in March. But the trial judge — Sumi — ordered La Follette not to publish the law. Now, Supreme Court's opinion declares the judge's order "void ab initio." That is, the order was always void. But knowing that La Follette wasn't ever bound doesn't cause something that didn't happen to have happened in the past. And indeed, the court's opinion looks to the future, saying "there remain no impediments to the Secretary of State fulfilling his obligations under § 14.38(10)(c)."

But there's another statutory provision that the main opinion fails to discuss, and it does seem to be an impediment. Justice Prosser, who's part of the majority, wrote a separate opinion, which brings up § 35.095(3). As applied in this case, it presents a puzzling conflict:
(a) The legislative reference bureau shall publish every act . . . within 10 working days after its date of enactment.

(b)  The secretary of state shall designate a date of publication for each act . . . .  The date of publication may not be more than 10 working days after the date of enactment.
The Legislative Reference Bureau complied with the requirements of (a) back in March, and, as noted, La Follette, because of Judge Sumi's order, never fulfilled his obligation under (b). The main opinion said "there remain no impediments to the Secretary of State fulfilling his obligations under § 14.38(10)(c)," but that obligation is detailed in § 35.095(3)(b) in terms that are now impossible to fulfill. Maybe that's why they didn't want to talk about it! It's a problem that should never have arisen, but Judge Sumi's (invalid) order made it happen. Now what?

Why didn't the court just decide that the publication by the Legislative Reference Bureau was effective? When is the effective date of the law? It should be March 26th. How can it be June 28th if Sumi's order was void ab initio and it's too late for La Follette to publish "10 working days after the date of enactment"? I'm guessing that the court thought that as a matter of separation of powers, it had no business doing anything but getting out of the way of the legislature.

Telling the old "Can you make me one with everything?" joke to the Dalai Lama.

That extreme awkwardness defines the expression "losing something in the translation."

Dan Savage now says: "Anthony Weiner Might As Well Resign."

Before, he'd defended him, saying:
He didn't do anything with his dick, phone, and internet access that millions of his fellow Americans aren't also doing. He got a few online thrills, he sent out a few pics, he drained his sack sitting in front of his computer. This is part of the new normal, people, just another one of the ways technology is impacting and shaping our lives....

Now here's what I hope the legally married congressman doesn't do: confess to having a problem, blame "sex addiction," check into the Tiger Woods Memorial Sex/Career Rehabilitation Center, resurface a month later Dr. Drew's couch looking contrite, and apologize to the American people for being one of them.
But now:
By checking into rehab—by pretending that it's him, and not the culture, that has a problem with sex—Weiner is sharpening the blade on the guillotine to which he's been dragged.
Why didn't Weiner fight for the right to fool around on line, new-normal-style? By pandering to the old normal and aiding the forces of repression by spreading the lie that the new normal is an illness, he lost Dan Savage.

"[Y]our comments about spiking footballs seem distinctly un-professorial."

Professor Jacobson gets the "you, a law professor!" treatment that I know so well. And responds appropriately.

"Can we call the men who engage in this sort of sucking-up to women 'Uncle Tims'?"


Reminds me of this Rush riff from Monday.
Look, even liberal men want to get the girl. There's something universal about men and women, the guy wants to get the girl. When your target is a liberal woman, look at what you have to do. I've been there, folks, I've been there. I've put this to the test. I've told you about this.

I actually gave a woman I was dating in Kansas City once a book by Susan Brownmiller, who wrote at the time the definitive book on rape, and her thesis was that it's not sex, it's violence. I didn't care. That's what I had to do, you know, to get a second date with this babe. It's all it was. The guy always wants to get the girl. When you have the liberal woman that you want to get, oh, Good Lord, look what you have to do.
And I love the graphic:

Meanwhile, Hugh Hefner got played:
Hugh Hefner's wedding to Crystal Harris was called off after she secretly planned to ditch the Playboy mogul at the altar in return for a $500,000 media deal...

Harris, 25, was shopping for a big-bucks deal to tell all after she ditched hapless Hef, 85, in front of 300 guests at their wedding at the Playboy Mansion on Saturday, to be filmed for a Lifetime TV special.
Staged humiliation for the reality-show ladies.

Intimidated by Liberty.


Yesterday at the protests, the Statue of Liberty got in face. Stopped. Loomed over me. And swooped down at me.

Live free or die, baby. Die, possibly speared on those Liberty head-spikes. Of papier maché.

"Poetry, not special effects, is the engine that drives lyric theater, and 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' is as unpoetic as you can get."

"[The] book is flabby and witless. The score, by U2's Bono and The Edge, sounds like a double album of B-sides ("Don't think about tomorrow / We've only got today"). Not only are the songs forgettable, but they never succeed in generating any dramatic momentum—all they do is get louder."

Says Terry Teachout, observing that "no stage show, even a multimillion-dollar extravaganza, can offer anything remotely as believable-looking as the digitally generated magic that moviegoers have been taking for granted for the past couple of decades."

Why see a stage show, when there are movies? The makers of stage shows need to have an answer to that. And it really should be a better answer than: this combination of glitz and familiar names will trick the rubes into handing over their money.

Biddy Martin leaves UW "with great sadness."

"The nation's first federally funded bicycle 'freeway.'"

"The last mile, through downtown [Minneapolis], was ready May 23 and was by far the most expensive leg at $9 million, more than five times the cost of the first 3 1/2 miles."

Sounds lovely, but why does the federal government fund municipal improvements like this?
"The last extension was pricey, with retaining walls [and] private property owners, and it was full of political hurdles, but I think the city's very proud of it, and I know we've saved lives," said David Klopp of the CLPA. "I don't think it's safe to put cars, trucks and bicycles on the same road."...

Charlotte Zelle, 19, of Minneapolis, pedaled to the ceremony with her father, and said of the trail: "I think it's beautiful, and I don't feel endangered by cars."
So... you'd like us to bike, but you're sending the message that it's not safe to bike along with cars and trucks. How are we supposed to get to the trail or use it to commute or see the city? Either we can ride with motorized traffic or we can't.

That said, I love bike trails, and I'm a frequent user of Madison trails that have received plenty of federal funding.

"WI Supreme Court validates Walker union law — now will Quinn pay up on Bears-Packers bet?"

"[I]t's time to put some pressure on Illinois' hapless governor, Pat Quinn."

Here's some pressure on Quinn from last April:
Quinn was scheduled to fulfill the bet on Feb. 21 at Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, a food bank in Milwaukee. But he canceled because Democrats and Republicans in Wisconsin were at each other's throats at the time. Plus, Walker was trying to steal Illinois jobs....

I asked Walker's office if they'd like to publicly condemn Quinn for his foot-dragging and perhaps throw him under the Packers team bus. They didn't seem too upset...

There's one other bet that hasn't been satisfied yet. We're still waiting for the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the city we vanquished in the Super Bowl on Feb. 6, to lend us the Renoir painting, "Bathers With Crab," as they promised. We want our "lounging, fleshy females," as our art critic described it.
We want our lounging fleshy females...

... and our fleshy governor from the south. In a soup kitchen. Pronto!

If you knew me when the year I went to college...

... I would have tried to get you to listen to this:

Tyrannosaurus Rex - "Warlord Of The Royal Crocodiles." The album is "Unicorn."

June 14, 2011

The big Tuesday protest at the Wisconsin Capitol looked pretty mellow to me.




I mean, how can you stay angry forever?


It's summertime. Almost. Come on...


Everything's going to be all right.

"Supreme Court just ruled in favor of the Republicans on Budget Repair."

That's the word on the street.

(Talking about Wisconsin Supreme Court here.)

ADDED: Here is the opinion, which is based on the proper role of the courts in a system of separation of powers:
In Goodland v. Zimmerman, 243 Wis. 459, 10 N.W.2d 180 (1943), the court...  explained that the “judicial department has no jurisdiction or right to interfere with the legislative process. That is something committed by the constitution entirely to the legislature itself.” Id. at 467. The court held that “[b]ecause under our system of constitutional government, no one of the co-ordinate departments can interfere with the discharge of the constitutional duties of one of the other departments, no court has jurisdiction to enjoin the legislative process at any point.” Id. at 468. The court noted that “[i]f a court can intervene and prohibit the publication of an act, the court determines what shall be law and not the legislature. If the court does that, it does not in terms legislate but it invades the constitutional power of the legislature to declare what shall become law. This [a court] may not do.” Id.

... [W]hether a court can enjoin a bill is a matter of great public importance and also because it appears necessary to confirm that Goodland remains the law that all courts must follow.... Accordingly, because the circuit court did not follow the court’s directive in Goodland, it exceeded its jurisdiction, invaded the legislature’s constitutional powers under Article IV, Section 1 and Section 17 of the Wisconsin Constitution, and erred in enjoining the publication and further implementation of the Act.
So Judge Sumi, asserting that the legislature had violated the law, herself violated the state constitution. Seeking to check the excesses of the legislature, she fell into judicial excess.

"We men just make bad decisions. We can't help it. We’re men."

"Women, on the other hand, do almost everything better. We’ve known this intuitively for a long time. If you didn’t, just ask your wife or your mother. But now there’s a raft of evidence that suggests women are better at everything — including investing."

That's David Weidner
— in the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch — citing Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, John Ensign, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Edwards and riffing.

Remember it's okay to say one sex is superior to the other as long as you're saying women are better.

"Tim Pawlenty was debate night’s big loser. He walked onto that stage with one mission..."

"... to prove himself the ultra-base alternative to Romney. He failed, miserably. Pawlenty’s failure is not the kind of stumble he can correct later. It goes to the core of the guy: offered the chance to confront Romney directly, he flinched. He did not look 'nice.' He did not look like he was observing the 11th commandment. He looked uncertain and weak. He looked like a man fully aware that Romney would best him in a one-to-one discussion of healthcare policy."

Frum says.

ADDED: James Taranto said Pawlenty looked weak.

AND: Here's the relevant video of Pawlenty.

Megan McArdle's big lie.

"Not only do electric vehicles produce just as much carbon in their overall cycle as internal-combustion engines..."

"... the need to replace the batteries actually makes the less green than current technology."

No thanks!

"I knew that Scott would be bold and ... the promises he made, I knew that he would keep," Tonette Walker said.

From the Wisconsin State Journal:
"I just didn't know they were going to happen so quickly. So soon. I was busy trying to move our family and the next thing I know, I had 4,000 people outside my home in Wauwatosa."

It didn't take long for the governor's mansion to become the family's only refuge. The governor and first lady didn't go out to eat or attend teacher conferences at their sons' school.

The family received threats. Protesters confronted their teenage sons in grocery stores, she said.

"'We hate your husband,' 'We hate your father' ... of course those things are hard to hear," Walker said.

After a while, the stress wore on her. She would choke up watching the news. She even called the governor and his staff, questioning them about the controversy. "I would say to Scott ... 'Is this really, really what you have to do?'" she said. "And after he would explain it to me, I would be better again."
Another political wife. By the way, she's 11 years older than Governor Walker. And her maiden name is Tarantino. She met Scott Walker at a karaoke bar in Milwaukee:
Every time someone would rise to head to the stage to sing, the two would lock eyes and make approving or disapproving faces at one another....

Toward the end of the night, the young man rose to leave. As he passed, the future governor handed her a napkin with his phone number on it. Five months later the two returned to Saz's, where Scott Walker proposed to her the same way — on a napkin.

Biddy Martin is leaving: "The decision to leave UW-Madison is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. I love this university."

What a terrible loss, but no surprise to those of us who watched the events of the last few months.

ADDED: Chancellor Martin worked hard to restructure the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but many people here did not appreciate the interaction with Governor Walker.

Her announcement occurs on a hot day in Wisconsin politics:
Tuesday is a big day at the Capitol, with debate scheduled on Gov. Scott Walker's budget, and the possibility that the Supreme Court will rule on a decision by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi that struck down the law eliminating nearly all collective bargaining.

With the expectation that thousands of protesters will be gathering at the Capitol for rallies later in the day, there is an increased police presence inside the historic building.

Dozens of Wisconsin State Troopers, as well as Capitol Police and officers of the Department of Natural Resources, are everywhere inside the Capitol, guarding the Rotunda, staffing staircases and watching the entrances to both the Assembly and Senate.

Shortly before 11 a.m., protesters started showing up inside and outside the Capitol....
I guess Meade and I will have to slog over there one more time, but it will be with great sadness today.

UPDATE: The NYT on Biddy Martin's departure:
For most of this year, Dr. Martin, 60, and her campus have occupied center stage in the nation’s raging, politically charged battles over higher education. In February, Wisconsin was roiled by the fight over the collective-bargaining rights of public employees, including those at the university. In March, a state Republican Party official sought the release of the e-mails of a tenured professor in Madison who had criticized both Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, and the party’s position on collective bargaining. And Dr. Martin and Governor Walker spent months on an unsuccessful effort to split Madison from the rest of the state’s higher-education system, giving it greater flexibility in an era of reduced state financing.

“Does everything that’s occurred over the last year play a role?” Dr. Martin, who is known as Biddy, asked in an interview. “It would be foolhardy to say it played no role, but neither I nor anyone else could say exactly what role it played. It’s been incredibly interesting. I really love it here, I got my Ph.D. here, and I feel like I’m leaving this university in a position where it will continue to make great progress.”

"I see the sadness and worry that's creasing his face... This man doesn't take a day off."

Michelle Obama needs to get some tips from Callista Gingrich.

Russ Feingold speaks and then "600 firefighters marching down State Street, past Walkerville, and around the Capitol..."

"... They ultimately held a ceremony on the rooftop of the Monona Convention Center for fallen firefighters."

I guess that answers my question why firefighters in uniform are allowed to participate in a political protest march. It was really a procession toward a ceremony for their dead comrades. That it occurred immediately after the much-promoted Feingold rally was merely a coincidence.

Right? That must be right. Please tell me I'm right. They wouldn't use a ceremony for dead firefighters as a cover for political activity in uniform.

UPDATE: From the same blogger, tweeting 47 minutes ago:
Today's rally starts 11AM #Walkerville 3:30pm time of firefighters bagpipe march. 5:30pm evening speakers #wiunion
There can never be enough ceremonies for the fallen comrades. And coincidences.

UPDATE 2: I've got video from Sunday's rally, which I'm edited to show you how the 2 events were sequenced and interwoven. My video, which will be up fairly soon, shows that as Feingold's speech ended, the crowd was told:
One of our greatest allies has been the firefighters — the firefighters' union. [CHEERS.] They are having a special commemoration for their fallen members, and they've asked us to cheer them on as they march from the Concourse, they're going to take a left around the Capitol. Just the firefighters. But they ask if we wait here 'til they come, they should be here in about 5 to 10 minutes. We want to cheer them on. We want to remember people who've fallen. We want to stand with the firefighters and we're ready for this week.
During the wait, there were chants of "Recall Walker" and "What's disgusting? Union busting!" When the firefighters arrive, the crowd cheers "thank you, thank you" — which could mean thank you for your public service, but it is also the cheer that was used throughout the protests to express approval for participating in the protest. We see more of the march as it goes around to the right and over to the Monona Terrace (where the ceremony will take place). You'll see the firefighters — with Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin in formation — followed by civilians, many of whom are carrying protest signs.

So, the ceremony could have been long planned, with no connection to the protests, but: 1. There seems to be another firefighters' march today, 2. The firefighters seem to have coordinated with the announcer at the Feingold rally to some extent, and 3. The crowd (including me and Meade) perceived it as a single, multi-part, anti-Walker event.

AND: Here's the edited video (described in Update 2, above):

Bill Kristol: "Bob Dylan Said It Best."

Yeah, he did, but you didn't. That's the most pathetic appropriation of Dylan I've seen in a long time.

Here's a rule. If the only Bob Dylan song you can think of to quote is "The Times They Are A-Changin'," don't quote Bob Dylan. Please heed the call.

"Just for the record, Jonah Goldberg, Mark Krikorian, John Derbyshire and I are all 23-year old lesbians."

Says Mark Steyn, implying something about his "serious moobage."

"It pains me to say this, but putting down black might help my admissions chances and putting down Asian might hurt it."

A modest "might."
“My mother urges me to put down black to use AA” — African-American — “to get in to the colleges I’m applying to,” [wrote Natasha Scott, pseudonymously, on a college admissions discussion website.] “I sort of want to do this but I’m wondering if this is morally right.”

Within minutes, a commenter had responded, “You’re black. You should own it.” Someone else agreed, “Put black!!!!!!!! Listen to your mom.”
How many applicants go through a moral quandary? Would you? Or would you say whatever is defensibly true that would help you the most? When you help yourself you hurt someone in this zero-sum game, do you not? Proponents of affirmative action say you do not. I won't spell out what the argument is, but if you can't think it up on your own, that might be some indication of its speciousness.

ADDED: Our President "put black." That's the most conspicuous analysis of morality young people have.

ALSO: The NYT inserts "African-American" explaining the statement "My mother urges me to put down black to use AA." Surely, Scott wrote "AA" to abbreviate "affirmative action."

Humble gum.

I was ready to hate this guy, because I expect arrogance from artists.

Ideology and irony: Stephen Jay Gould mismeasured "The Mismeasure of Man."

A new study shows that Gould — who purported to show that ideology influenced the 19th-century physical anthropologist Samuel George Morton — was himself the one who got the data wrong.
In a 1981 book, “The Mismeasure of Man,” the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould asserted that Morton, believing that brain size was a measure of intelligence, had subconsciously manipulated the brain volumes of European, Asian and African skulls to favor his bias that Europeans had larger brains and Africans smaller ones.

But now physical anthropologists at the University of Pennsylvania, which owns Morton’s collection, have remeasured the skulls... “demonstrating that Morton did not manipulate his data to support his preconceptions”...

Dr. Gould, who died in 2002, based his attack on the premise that Morton believed that brain size was correlated with intelligence. But there is no evidence that Morton believed this or was trying to prove it.... Rather, Morton was measuring his skulls to study human variation, as part of his inquiry into whether God had created the human races separately....

But the Penn team... identified and remeasured half of the skulls used in his reports, finding that in only 2 percent of cases did Morton’s measurements differ significantly from their own. These errors either were random or gave a larger than accurate volume to African skulls, the reverse of the bias that Dr. Gould imputed to Morton.

“These results falsify the claim that Morton physically mismeasured crania based on his a priori biases”....
Does that mean Gould was the ideologue? Did Gould consciously or unconsciously slime Morton? Gould isn't around anymore to explain. He died in 2002, presumably a rich man, having sold many books that said many things readers enjoyed hearing, including the defamation of a man who'd died a century before he was born. But all the skulls remain, to be measured and evaluated by the living.

Ah, but what does John Hawks — our local (UW) blogging paleoanthropologist — have to say
Some of Gould's mistakes are outrageous, with others it is hard for me to believe that the misstatements were not deliberate misrepresentations.

For example, let's take the story about pushing seed into the skulls. Here is a paragraph from Lewis and colleagues, with direct quotes from Gould:
Gould famously suggested that Morton's measurements may have been subject to bias: “Plausible scenarios are easy to construct. Morton, measuring by seed, picks up a threateningly large black skull, fills it lightly and gives it a few desultory shakes. Next, he takes a distressingly small Caucasian skull, shakes hard, and pushes mightily at the foramen magnum with his thumb. It is easily done, without conscious motivation; expectation is a powerful guide to action”... While Gould offers this as only a “plausible scenario,” and did not remeasure any crania, subsequent authors have generally (and incorrectly) cited Gould as demonstrating that Morton physically mismeasured crania...
In other words, Gould made up the whole thing. It was an utter fabulation. It is disgraceful that later authors have cited this idea as fact.
Truly shocking.

"Historically, the movie business has been a young white man’s business, and there is an ease of men amongst each other because they think alike."

Laura Ziskin. RIP.

Lawprof blog traffic rankings.

TaxProf keeps score.

Not all lawprofs display their Site Meter statistics. Everyone knows Instapundit is really #1. But I still enjoy looking like #1. I'm like Harvard, if Yale refused to play the U.S. News game.

ADDED: Professor Jacobson says: "I will continue to highlight blog rankings which show me in a good light. I will vigorously expose as complete frauds any blog rankings which do not meet that objective standard."

Will the "lamestream" journalists now look straight into the camera and proclaim Sarah Palin a media genius?

"The Daily Show" had a great montage of the idiotic media excitement over Sarah Palin's email.

A few thoughts:

1. This intense eagerness to get Sarah Palin for whatever it is she might have done on line unfolded concurrently with all the attention that had to be paid to Anthony Weiner for his on-line antics. What we can't see is the agony the poor journalists must have endured as Weiner's wienerisms hurt the Democratic Party just when they stood ready to damage the Republican Party with Sarah's misdeeds. And then — oh, how awful! — they got nothing from Sarah. Nothing but hard work and — urrrgghhh! — good government and — damn! — family values.

2. The fact that there was nothing was actually news, and the journalists should have protected their integrity — appearance of integrity — by reporting the nothing with clarity. In the run up to the receipt of the boxes of xeroxes, air time was devoted to speculating about what might be in those emails. Most notable — it's in the middle of the "Daily Show" montage — was the suspicion that the governor's husband was secretly running the show, pulling the strings. (You know, the shameful sexism.) But there was absolutely nothing that looked at all like that. Maybe there's another montage that could be made of these reporters spelling out clearly what was disproved by the emails. But I think what they did was dribble out statements like "no smoking gun yet" — seemingly expecting that we'd gradually lose interest and move on to something else.

3. Let's credit Sarah Palin for phenomenal, hilarious restraint. She knew there was nothing that would hurt her in there. She resisted the disclosure for legitimate privacy reasons, but she had to also know that the revelation of nothingness would backfire on her disgustingly salivating opponents. Her designation of them as "lamestream media" is vividly vindicated. And, because there was nothing, the invasion of her privacy looks especially unkind. Finally, she knew that the most interesting thing in the big box was the full text of the letter from God. She'd edited it down for publication in her memoir "Going Rogue." It might have seemed maudlin to reprint the whole thing at that point. But now we get the entire missive, and we're stunned and weeping. Oh, Sarah! The idiot is a genius!

June 13, 2011

At the Dark Blue Café...


... you can talk deeply into the night.

Worse than being told that you've got to leave and the party's going on without you...

... would be to be told the party's going on forever and you're not allowed to leave. And the host insists that you have a good time.

It's Christopher Hitchens, talking about dying.

"Unlike homosexuality, heterosexuality is amenable to therapeutic remedies--or so Anthony Weiner and his fellow House Democrats would like us to believe."

Snarks James Taranto.

Live-blogging the Republican Debate.

6:14 Central Time: Just letting you know that I'll be here with the live-blogging when things start. Join me in the comments.

7:19: "Romney's already won," Meade announces, after Pawlenty gives a weak response to John King's repeated challenge of his use of the term "Obamaneycare."

7:26: A New Hampshire citizen frets about the influence of the Tea Party, and Santorum and Bachmann try to placate with platitutes. Bachmann speaks as if she's at a rally.

7:29: You can stream the debate on line here.

7:33: A federal right to work law? Pawlenty says yes.

7:37: Bachmann is asked if she prefers Elvis or Johnny Cash. An infusion of cuteness.

7:38: Ron Paul is tearing into another question. He's so crusty and cranky. It's refreshing... and a bit weird.

7:42: Romney looks good defending his position that the auto companies should have gone through bankruptcy. Obama, in effect, gave the bailout money to the unions, he says. King asks if everyone else agrees, but Santorum and Bachmann consume so much time answering that we don't get to find out if any of the others disagree.

7:45: Is everyone against the space program? Pawlenty's not. Gingrich thinks private business could run the program. Hard to picture that.

8:16: There's a question about the separation of church and state, and I'm struck that Ron Paul says, "The most important things is the First Amendment: 'Congress shall write [sic] no laws,' which means Congress shall never prohibit the expression of your Christians' faith in a public place." Why specify Christians? And under the First Amendment, there's freedom of speech for all opinions, including religious opinions. I thought that was bad of Paul, but Meade said, no it was great, because he won a lot of votes saying that. There are plenty of voters who will respond precisely because he said "Christians."

9:40: A good debate. I'd say all of the candidates did reasonably well, but wasn't Romney the big winner? He seemed believable as a leader, made no missteps, and none of the others landed a significant blow.

"Can we please accept he was just texting while male?"

Sullivan on Weiner.

"But tell me, what do you earthlings consider 'perfect' or even 'normal' anyway?"

"Have you peeked down any grocery store isle, or school hallway, or into your office lunchroom lately?"

"I feel like calling her back and smacking her around."

A Wisconsin recall candidate has a run-in with an overeager answering machine.

I don't know what's funnier. Clark's accidental recording or the gleeful exploitation of it by the other side:
“This disturbing and inappropriate comment gives us an unfortunate glimpse of what Representative Clark is like when he thinks no one is listening. Domestic violence is a devastating problem in our state , and abuse is on the rise. To be able to so freely threaten violence against a woman, even in jest, shows a tremendous lack of character.”
Everybody's a radical feminist.

IN THE COMMENTS: mccullough said:
Rule 4: Make opponents live up to their own book of rules.

What did your grandparents look like on their second date?

Like this?

"Congress is not looking forward to having to spend billions of our money to make up for billions of their money that we can't account for, and can't seem to find."

The money seems to be somewhere in Iraq.

"Republican Debate Prep: What to Watch For in New Hampshire."

According to the NYT, you should look for:
* Romney vs. Obama...

* Pawlenty vs. Romney... The only question for Monday night is whether Mr. Pawlenty goes after Mr. Romney in his first answer, or if he waits until later in the debate.

* Bachmann’s Introduction.... In her first debate appearance, the often bombastic, conservative lawmaker is hoping to present herself as a serious, viable alternative to the other candidates in the field....

* Newt’s Return.... Can a strong debate performance help reassure donors and supporters that his campaign is not teetering on the edge of collapse?

* The Lesser-Knowns.... Representative Ron Paul of Texas is often a crowd-pleaser, especially with libertarians. Herman Cain.... And Rick Santorum...

* The Sideshow.... The Democratic National Committee has assembled a “rapid response” team in Manchester... The Progressive Change Campaign Committee will run an ad on broadcast and cable television attacking Republicans for what they say are attempts to end Medicare. Another group, Protect Your Care, will do the same, showing ads that say “Stop the Republican Plan to Cut Medicare.”
I would add: Look for live-blogging on Althouse! Is there any better place to hang out during the debate than in the comments here?

Vintage Ventriloquist Dummies.

Some are hip...

... and some are square....

And there's more!

Don't send 4-year-olds to school. Send them to work.

Says Cornell Anthropologist Meredith F. Small:
Look outside Western culture and watch children, even very small children, as they gather firewood, weed gardens, haul water, tend livestock, care for younger children and run errands. And no one complains because they are mostly outside and usually with other children....

When we were an agriculturally based nation, American children used to work just as hard and contribute in the same way. But now, Western children are trained intellectually, in school, where they are taught to think about things as the entree to adulthood...

Everyone sits quietly at their desks, thinking and thinking, just when they’d rather be out tending cows or weeding the garden.
And then we think and think about why there's so much obesity.

Small talks about how young children, working, contribute economically, and notes that we've lost that economic value to children, because we're not farmers. Ah, but confining very young children to classrooms is an economic concept in America. It's childcare, paid for by taxpayers who wouldn't accept paying for the childcare of parents who want (or need) to go to work. The children, unschooled, would be an economic burden on parents who would either purchase private childcare or forgo income from the second of 2 parents working.

If what's really going on is taxpayer-funded childcare, then not only are taxpayers tricked into accepting paying for something they would reject if they knew what it was, but also children are being run through hours and hours of confinement performing exercises that are not honestly premised on benefiting them.

ADDED: There's also that new study that says sitting is as bad as smoking. Since we wouldn't force kids to smoke, why are we forcing them to sit? We're even giving a lot of the kids drugs to overcome their disinclination to sit. It's like forcing kids to smoke and giving them drugs to help them smoke.

New Hampshire — ranked #1 in freedom — ranks 50th in the level of education of its legislators.

Hmmm. Interesting.
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University undertook a study of personal liberty in each of the 50 states, based explicitly on “an individual-rights framework.”...
New Hampshire is, by our count, the freest state in the country.... New Hampshire does much better on economic than personal freedom and on fiscal than regulatory policy. Under unified Democratic control in 2007–2008, the state saw a respectable increase in freedom. A smoking ban was enacted, but so were same-sex civil unions. Taxes, spending, and fiscal decentralization remain more than a standard deviation better than average, and government debt actually went down slightly. Gun laws are among the most liberal in the country, but carrying a firearm in a car requires a concealedcarry permit. Effective retail-tax rates on wine and spirits are zero. Marijuana laws are middling; lowlevel possession could be decriminalized like it is in Maine, while low-level cultivation could be made a misdemeanor like it is in both Maine and Vermont. New Hampshire is the only state in the country with no seatbelt law for adults. It lacks a motorcyclehelmet law but does have a bicycle-helmet law and authorizes sobriety checkpoints. State approval is required to open a private school. Homeschool laws are slightly worse than average; standardized testing and recordkeeping requirements are stricter than those in most states. Eminent-domain reforms have gone far. The state’s liability system is one of the best, but campaign-finance regulations are quite strict. The drug law-enforcement rate is low and dropping, while arrests for other victimless crimes are high and dropping. Asset-forfeiture law is definitely subpar, with potential for abuse.
And then, here's the study by the Chronicle of Higher Education:
The Chronicle has looked at where each of the 7,000-plus state legislators in America went to college—or whether they went at all. In doing so, we got a glimpse of how the citizens who hold these seats reflect the average American experience.
New Hampshire is dead last, with only 53.4% of legislators having earned a bachelor's degree or higher. It's also 48th in the ranking of legislators who have law degrees. At 5.5%, only Delaware and North Dakota have state houses less packed with lawyers.

Do you think it's funny that the level of freedom in the state is inversely correlated to the number of lawyers making the laws? I don't. And I went to law school. Went to law school, went back, and can't seem to leave. I've been in law school for 30 of the last 33 years. And it's easy for me to see why lawyers would produce laws that make us less free.

The layperson's idea of freedom is more free. Or... to be fair... more closely correlated to the definition of freedom used in the George Mason study.

People who believed in the "Gay Girl in Damascus" need to explain why they believed this person was real and not fictional.

I'm not interested in the 40-year-old man who pretended to be young, Syrian, and lesbian. I'm interested in how intelligent people allowed themselves to be taken in.
For nearly a week, the world followed the saga of Amina Arraf, the blogger who was celebrated for her passionate, often intimate writings about the Syrian government’s crackdown on Arab Spring protesters. Those writings stopped abruptly last Monday, and in a posting on her blog, “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” a cousin said Amina had been hauled away by government security agents.

News of her disappearance became an Internet and media sensation. The U.S. State Department started an investigation. But almost immediately skeptics began asking: Had anyone ever actually met Amina? On Wednesday, pictures of her on the blog were revealed to have been taken from a London woman’s Facebook page.
Almost immediately... How slow on the uptake can you be and still get credit for catching on quickly. There are many ways to embarrass yourself in new media. Anthony Weiner made it very clear to us what one way is. He embarrassed himself. In the "Gay Girl in Damascus" incident, it is not the blogger (Tom MacMaster) who embarrassed himself. It's everyone who believed in the fiction and spread it around as truth without checking.
News organizations around the world, including The Washington Post, reported on the blogger’s disappearance Tuesday.
Mainstream media got played. Idiots!

"Republicans' support for Mitt Romney as their party's 2012 presidential nominee has increased significantly..."

"... to 24%, compared with 17% in late May."

Gallup finds. 

Palin, in second place, has moved up too, but only one point, from 15% to 16%.

"Heavy users of Twitter, as Weiner used to be (he hasn’t posted since June 1), play a complicated strategy game."

Writes Virginia Heffernan:
Like World of Warcraft and Halo, Twitter is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, but with higher real-world stakes. It is grounded in the first principles of game theory, including variations on the Prisoner’s Dilemma. You have to give to get; you have to get to give. Managing these ratios — deciding how much of your attention to expend to win attention to yourself, say — is the lion’s share of the Twitter action....

Anthony Weiner went from a junior congressman to a politician of national significance, thanks in large part to his use of new media. By following back some of his most ardent fans, the way a teen idol might oblige his fans with signed photos, and otherwise working the apparatus of Twitter to drive up his followers and get a hearing for his issues, he managed to create an online persona using the same tricks — digital versions of gerrymandering, triangulating and earmark — that politicians use. Twitter handsomely rewards those with a capacity for risk and an aptitude for the social sciences, especially economics, game theory, psychology and sociology....
Weiner on Twitter was like an amateur pianist on an improv tear....
Well... there's a big difference between risky, edgy writing displayed to the entire public, and initiating private conversations. And when you're saying things in those private conversations that would be horribly embarrassing if they accidentally went out to everybody, then you're obviously in a different realm. You're no longer playing "the game of Twitter." You're doing something else, with somebody you met at the game.

Jonathan Chait on Michelle Bachmann: "she may be crazy, but she does have a strong grasp of political reality."

"The problem with so many radical candidates is that they lack political sense as well. Bachmann is a potent combination of substantively radical and politically shrewd, much like [Paul] Ryan. And if Ryan does not run, Bachmann could make some noise."

Subtext: Distinguish Bachmann and Palin on the sanity/intelligence axes. Palin is the stupid one, so Bachmann is the crazy one. With the negatives nailed down, we may concede that Bachmann is pretty smart (watch out!) and Palin is pretty sane (now, go home take care of your children).

June 12, 2011

Russ Feingold: "This game's not over until we win."

He was trying to stir up the crowd in Walkerville today.

He had a really gruff, angry edge to his voice.

But afterwards, people looked really lackluster.




ADDED: Here's the entire Feingold speech:

Why isn't anyone protesting this new abomination from the Wisconsin state senate?

It has passed a bill making the cream puff the official state dessert. The cream puff!

"The Senate’s Education Committee recently endorsed the new symbol. It was first suggested by Janine Coley’s fourth-grade class in Mukwonago. Their senator, Republican Mary Lazich, introduced the cream puff bill – but only after the youngsters studied the history of the confection, and had supporters sign petitions on Facebook."

The Education Committee?! School children studied the history of the confection?!

Where does that go on Michelle Obama's "food plate"? Dairy?

ADDED: Here's the "Make cream puffs the official dessert of Wisconsin" Facebook page.

AND: Speaking of Wisconsin's kid-oriented, milk-related politics, with Herb Kohl's impending retirement from the U.S. Senate....
What about the flavored milks at State Fair?!... Relax, Dairylanders. Herb's Superb Milk House will go on, even after the four-term senator turns in his congressional badge.
"It has no expiration date," he said.

ALSO: If the bill passes the Assembly and is signed by the governor, the cream puff will join all the other state symbols, including the state fossil (trilobite), the state soil (Antigo silt loam), the state dance (the polka), and the state animal (guess!).

At the Greenhouse Café...


... fill a cup and take a cookie.

(Enlarge for detail. Picture taken inside the "Hosta Hut," seen here yesterday.)

"Rep. Weiner Used Congressional Gym As Backdrop."

And he used his cock as a frontdrop.

And photos of his D.C. condo — which is for sale — are up on line too. It's awfully neat and clean, I must say. And I love the "H" and "A" throw pillows on the bed. You can spell "HA" or "AH," depending on your mood.

(Links via Memeorandum.)

ADDED: I'll bet the pillows were both Huma's from her single days. It's just by chance that his first name begins with the same letter as her last name, Abedin.

By the way, add spaces to the name Abedin and you get a bed in. Remember when John Lennon and Yoko Ono had a bed in?

Ah! (Ha!) Back then "acorn" meant something else.

Maybe Anthony and Huma could have a bed in.... if they need another idea of how to redirect the public dialogue. Imagine!

Obama in long pants. Boehner in shorts. [CORRECTION ADDED: I got played by the NYT!]

Obama won the "Golf Summit." In my book.

You've got a big photo-op golf game with the President of the United States? Wear pants!

Don't the Republicans like to portray themselves as the adults? Put on a pair of pants! A man in shorts looks like a ridiculously enlarged boy.

CORRECTION: The golf summit is next weekend. The photos are just what the NYT selected to illustrate its article about the future event. Unfair to Boehner! I expect both men to wear pants for the summit.

"10 Artworks Made with the Artist’s Own Bodily Fluids."

Yes, yes, ho-hum. We've heard it all before. Yawn. That's where I was until I got to #9.

The 6 Possible Meanings of Anthony Weiner's Announcement that He's Checking into Treatment.

1. Anthony Weiner has realized, in all sincerity, that his masturbatory use of the internet is an illness for which there is effective professional treatment, to which he will submit because he desires wellness, because wellness is good and because he needs to be well to do his duty to his wife, his expected child, and his constituents.

2. Anthony Weiner would like to deprive us of the capacity to criticize and mock him him, and if he can successfully impose the illness template on the controversy, the mockers and critiques will — instead of him — seem like the bad people. He hopes.

3. After the "Huma is pregnant" gambit failed to turn off the criticism, Weiner had to move beyond the manly, dignified insistence on privacy and on to the more pathetic, humble cry to be left alone.

4. If he's in treatment, he's physically out of sight. He's off somewhere, and that might work to close the door. Perhaps we'll wait until he emerges again. Time will have passed. Things will have cooled off. And the reemerging Weiner will be the new Weiner, the after-treatment Weiner, and people will — he hopes — speak about who this new man is.

5. Pelosi, Wasserman Schultz, and other Democratic Party leaders told him he had to get the hell out of sight, and he followed orders.

6. Weiner is not really going into treatment. He just needs some time by himself, with his computer, and his wiener.

"Woo Hoo! Feingold at Walkerville tonight, maybe my other honey Jon Erpenbach will be there too!"

"I do love rubbing up against those two!"

In light of Weiner's Twitter troubles, it's fascinating to read a tweet like that.

ADDED: "A 5pm visit by former WI Sen/rockstar Russ Feingold will result in streets overflowing w/adulation."

So it's at 5. I'll try to get some pics of the idolators... and the rubbers-up-against.

IN THE COMMENTS: Shouting Thomas said:
Haven't read it, but this brings to mind the theme of Ann Coulter's new book, Demonic.
Having heard Coulter discuss this book on the radio the other day, I'd had the same thought as I was writing this post. So I bought the book — you can buy it here — to extract some relevant material.
Manifestly, liberals fanatically worship their leaders. FDR, JFK, Clinton, Obama, even Hillary, Liz Holtzman, and John Lindsay—they’re all “rock stars” to Democrats. They’re the Beatles, Elvis, or Jesus, depending on which cliché liberals are searching for. As Le Bon says, the “primitive” black-and-white emotions of a crowd slip easily into “infatuation for an individual.”
Le Bon is Gustave Le Bon, who wrote a book "The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind" (1895), which Coulter relies on heavily. Back to Coulter:
The most Reagan-besotted conservative would never seriously refer to his presidency with something as hokey as “Camelot.” But in the bizarro-world of the Democrats’ Camelot cult, all we ever hear about is the youth, the vigor, the glamour, the “Kennedy mystique,” and the rest of the cant.... Bill Clinton was called a rock star often, the expression “rock star” [is] the most irritating cliché of the century....

Eleanor Clift described the doughy Clinton-Gore team as “the all-beefcake ticket,” gasping that she was “struck by the expanse of their chests”... The Washington Post’s Sally Quinn said women identified with Clinton because of “the softness, the sensitivity, the vulnerability, that kind of thing.”... An infatuated Jonathan Alter babbled in Newsweek about the Clinton hug: “Bill Clinton hugs other men. It’s not a bear hug, usually—more like a Full Shoulder Squeeze. Women get it, too, but the gesture is more striking in its generational freshness when applied to the same sex....”

When Obama came along, guess who liberals started having sex dreams about?... The New York Times’s Judith Warner reported, “Many women—not too surprisingly—were dreaming about sex with the president.”... The Obamas, Warner wrote, were “a beacon of hope, inspiration and ‘demigodlikeness.’ ”...

NBC’s Matt Lauer noted that “people” have called Obama “ ‘The Savior,’ ‘The Messiah,’ ‘The Messenger of Change.’ ” Try to imagine conservatives coming up with such honorifics for Dwight Eisenhower. Being rational individuals, conservatives don’t turn their political leaders into religious icons. Liberals, by contrast, having all the primitive behaviors of a mob, idolize politicians.