August 27, 2011

At the Canna Café...

... you cannot say the wrong thing.

IN THE COMMENTS: Clyde said:
If it was in Leadville, it would have been the Canna Bistro...
He's talking about the 5th picture here.

The Capitol Pedaler.

A familiar sight around the Capitol Square here in Madison. You'll know it's Madison from the outburst at 0:40.

Capitol cloudscape.

"Power could be shut off in Lower Manhattan, hitting Wall Street, a precaution against storm surges as Hurricane Irene strikes..."

Reports the Wall Street Journal.
"The most important thing is to make sure their facilities aren't damaged, which would take a long time to repair. If saltwater gets into the underground cables and those cables are carrying electricity, there is a real chance of damage to those lines," [said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.] "There is a lot less chance of damage to the lines if those power cables are not carrying power."

"What a coincidence! CEO of Gibson Guitar a Republican Donor."

"And their Democratic-donating competitor, Martin, uses the same wood but wasn’t raided. Well, when you’ve got a President who jokes about tax audits as revenge for a personal slight, it’s hard not to be suspicious, isn’t it?"

Justice Bradley's speech to the Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices and the nuances of identifying the workplace bully.

Here's the original document, the typed-up speech that Justice Ann Walsh Bradley gave to the assembled Justices 2 days after the so-called "chokehold" incident. As we know from the memos in the police investigation file, page 19, Justice Bradley said "she had typed these notes and rehearsed them like a speech because she wanted to tell the other justices how she was feeling."

In the original document, Bradley identifies "a right to go to my workplace without fear of verbal abuse or physical abuse." This is the workplace bully problem, and it's important, but the question I have is: Who gets to identify the bully?

We know from the investigation file that Bradley suddenly rushed up to Justice Prosser and got in his face. The interviews vary a bit in their emphasis on the speed with which she entered his personal space, but everyone agrees that the physical movement began with Bradley, and Prosser's physical act was a reaction to what she did. Bradley also acted first in identifying the bully, the one who needs to be controlled by the rights that others have to a "workplace without fear." But what if Prosser had acted first and characterized Bradley as the aggressor for rushing at him (with, according to some of the interviews, fists raised)? Then Bradley would have found herself on the receiving end, as the violator of the right she deems important. A right like that, if we are not careful, would empower the most aggressive person in the workplace!

Who gets to frame the story of the workplace bully? A person who fears accusation as the aggressor might opt for a preemptive strike, and that could have been the case here. During the incident, Justice Roggensack pulled Bradley away from Prosser and said, more than once, "This is not like you." Bradley describes herself becoming very emotional. Perhaps she was shocked by her own behavior and self-defensively saw it as in her interest to portray Prosser as the aggressor. From the memo on the Bradley interview, page 34:
Justice Bradley said as she was approaching Justice Prosser on June 13, "I was in control, I knew exactly what I was doing." Justice Bradley said when she approached Justice Prosser, she said to him, "Buddy, get out of my office." Justice Bradley said she remembers specifically saying the word "buddy" to him as she was telling him to leave her office. Justice Bradley recalled this because as she was talking to her daughter about this incident after the fact, her daughter had mentioned how the only other time she heard her use the term "buddy" was three years ago when her daughter and her were in Bangkok, Thailand, in a taxicab. Justice Bradley said the taxicab driver was not taking them where they needed to go so she felt she needed to take control and she remembers saying, "Buddy, you take us back where you picked us up." Justice Bradley said that was the only other time she could remember using the term "buddy". Justice Bradley said, "Buddy puts me in control and them in the diminutive."    Justice Bradley again said she knew exactly what she was doing and saying to Justice Prosser on the evening of June 13, and added, "I intended to do it just the way I did it." Justice Bradley repeated several different times during our conversation with her that she was in control on June 13, 2011 and she knew exactly what she was doing the whole time.

Justice Bradley then said, "This aggressiveness they are trying to spin is not true."
Isn't it interesting that she denied her own aggressiveness right after describing herself as a woman in control and deliberately exercising domination? What if Justice Prosser had felt and acted in a similar way? He would have made a speech focusing on Bradley as the aggressor. He would have said, as Bradley said at the July 15th meeting:
I have a right... to enter my workplace without any fear of verbal abuse or physical abuse...

If I cannot get any assurance from you, the court, that this problem is going to be addressed, then I will go to the outside and take other means. 
Go to the outside and take other means?! Is that a victim seeking the shelter of the protections of the law, or is it the bully trying to instill fear? It's not too clear! But we know that Bradley, in the original incident, deliberately sought control. And in the the June 15th meeting, she also sought control. She had her prepared speech. It was studded with legalisms and warnings. She demanded submission, or else. You don't need to look past her own words to see that.

Is there a video camera that you don't turn off in exactly the same way you turn it on?

Meade and I have failed to record so many things that we thought we were catching because of this limitation. There's a button that you push to begin recording, but it's the same button you push to end a recording. If you lose track or if you fail to push it hard enough at some point, you may be turning it off when you think you are turning it on or turning it on when you think you are turning it off.

For example, yesterday, Meade went down to the Capitol Square to see what the singalong was like this week (the day after the special prosecutor announced that no one would be charged in the Wisconsin Supreme Court "chokehold" incident). He came home with a lot of video in the Flip camera, but he was especially interested in one clip.

An angry man, recognizing Meade, rushed up and demanded "What are you doing here?" He called Meade a "son of a bitch." He told Meade he didn't belong there and he should leave. Meade asked "Isn't this a public space? Doesn't it belong to all of us?" and the man answered "Yes, it belongs to us."  Another man, seeing Meade, yelled at him and called him "a fucking tea bagger." He also called out: "Death to Republicans!"

But — wouldn't you know? — that is the clip that didn't record!

Now, by paying enough attention to the LED screen on the back of the camera, you can ensure that you are really recording. But when you're shooting a lot of video and things are happening quickly — especially out of doors when it's hardest to see the screen and especially when you need to be looking out for attackers and camera snatchers — you can't check accurately every time.

There's a mysterious drop in malaria-carrying mosquitoes in some parts of Africa, and some say maybe it's because of climate change.

Oh, no! Global warming is bad bad bad! Maybe it's causing Hurricane Irene!
“Irene’s got a middle name, and it’s Global Warming,” environmental activist Bill McKibben wrote Thursday night in The Daily Beast. He argued that this year’s hot Atlantic Ocean temperatures and active spree of hurricanes — coupled with droughts, floods and melting sea ice elsewhere on the globe — are “what climate change looks like in its early stages.”
But what if it's doing something fabulously good?
Patterns of rainfall in these years were more chaotic in these regions of Tanzania and often fell outside the rainy season. The scientists say this may have disturbed the natural cycle of mosquito development.

But the lead author of the study, Professor Dan Meyrowitsch from the University of Copenhagen, says that he is not convinced that it is just the changing climate.

"It could be partly due to this chaotic rainfall, but personally I don't think it can explain such a dramatic decline in mosquitoes, to the extent we can say that the malaria mosquitoes are almost eradicated in these communities."
Global warming — or, as they say, "climate change" (for maximum coverage of any possible condition) — is probably not the cause of the hurricane or the big mosquito drop-off, but those who like to wring their hands about the connection between global warming climate change and anything bad that happens must apply the same kind of reasoning to anything good that happens. Otherwise they won't be able to maintain the pretense that they're all about the science.

3 big Obama fund-raisers in the Hamptons are threatened by Hurricane Irene.

Will this beleaguered man's troubles never end? It's as if all of nature is aligned against him! Where is the mercy? Irene! Hit North Carolina, scatter the sands of the Jersey Shore, but for God's sake, leave the Hamptons alone!

The schoolgirls have "meltdowns" when mom packs the lunch in ziploc bags.

Because the girls "don't want to be shamed" at school.

Because enviromentalism is the religion taught in public schools, and it's the kind of religion done with shaming young people.

But also:

1. Some people wash and reuse ziploc bags. So don't presume you know that the ziploc-user is an enviro-sinner.

2. Kiddies, if you are old enough to understand environmentalism and to pressure your mother with it, you are old enough to pack your own lunch. And if you're so hot on being saintly, start helping your mother, not making her life any harder.

August 26, 2011

At the Blue Door Café...

P1010892 2

... come on in, and don't be sad!

United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms.

The Fish and Wildlife Service agents come after the manufacturer of electric guitars.

And why you don't want to travel outside of the country with a vintage guitar... or maybe any wooden guitar.

I've finally waded through the "chokehold" investigation file.

Maybe you didn't notice all the summary and quotation I produced in the form of updates to the post titled "There never was a "chokehold" in the Wisconsin Supreme Court — so who put that word out there and why?" It was quite a task, so I'm going to reprint all that material here. I would also draw some conclusions or at least make some pithy observations, but it's late. I'm going to sleep on it and see how it strikes me when I read this in the morning. For now, click on "Read more," read more, and tell me what you think. I'll take that into account too.

UPDATE: I'm now looking at the investigative file, here.  I'll note the references to choking as I encounter them.

The first one is on page 3, from a report of the police interview with Justice Bradley's husband Mark Bradley. He said that on the evening after the incident, his wife — who had been "distraught" and "sobbing" — said "Dave put his hands around my neck to choke me." And: "Ann told him that that Justice Prosser grabbed her around the neck and Justice Roggensack separated them."

UPDATE 2: I'm reading the police report of the interview with Justice Annette Ziegler, and I see something that was also in the Mark Bradley interview: Immediately after the incident, Justice Bradley sat down at her desk and started typing. Ziegler said she thought that was inconsistent with having been choked and also noted that Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson didn't say anything that you'd expect her to say if she'd just seen Bradley choked. Ziegler also commented on the general work environment at the court: She called it "weird." She said that both Prosser and Bradley tend to speak in a "theatrical" style, and that Bradley is "up and down emotionally" while Prosser is "calm."

UPDATE 3: In the police report of the interview with Tina Noldolf, the Supreme Court Marshal, who had interviewed Justice Bradley the morning after the incident, Noldolf says that Bradley said that Prosser's "yelling" at the Chief Justice "caused Justice Bradley to stand up and walk swiftly towards Justice Prosser."  Bradley said she "got in his personal space" and ordered him out of her office, at which point he "grabbed her by the throat." Bradley said that Justice Roggensack "assisted in separating" the 2 Justices and told Bradley she wasn't "acting like yourself" and "You didn't have to rush at Dave." Noldolf also interviewed Abrahamson, who demonstrated Prosser's action with "both of her hands on my neck" and "thumbs in front of my neck and her fingers wrapped around the back of my neck so that her palms were in contact with my neck." Abrahamson "was clear that both of Justice Prosser's hands were around Justice Bradley's neck." Abrahamson indicated that Prosser was "more of the aggressor."

UPDATE 4: Now, let's look at the police report of the interview with Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. According to this report, Bradley had been seated, reading Abrahamson's draft of the dissenting opinion, while Prosser and Abrahamson were arguing. Bradley says she said, "David we're no longer willing to put up with your yelling and abusive behavior," which caused Prosser to moderate his tone as he continued to pressure Abrahamson about getting the opinion out that evening. Bradley then says she noted that the chief justice had been working hard on the 18-page concurring opinion that they'd only received at 1:30 that day. There was some discussion about whether they'd been notified by email on Friday that there would be a concurring opinion, and Bradley went to her computer to look for the email (according to the police report). Prosser reportedly raised his voice again and said "Chief, I have lost confidence in your leadership."

Justice Bradley said she began to walk over toward where Justice Prosser was standing... As she got closer to him Justice Bradley told Justice Prosser, "Buddy don't raise your voice again. I'm no longer willing to put up with this." Justice Bradley described how she was now standing close to Justice Prosser and was "face to face to confront him." Justice Bradley stated that she was pointing with her left hand toward the door that was behind him and said, "You get out of my office." 
So, in her own version of the story, the physical aggression begins with Bradley. She said she wanted to convey that she "meant it." At this point "Justice Prosser grabbed her by the throat in what she described as a 'choke hold.'" She recalls yelling something like "Get  your hands off my neck." Justice Roggensack pulled her back and said, "Ann, this isn't like you,  you charged at him." To which Bradley responded: "I didn't touch him at all." [ADDED: I read that response as implicitly acknowledging that she did charge at him.][ADDED 2: In her second interview with the police, at page 34, Bradley says she addressed Prosser as "Buddy" because "Buddy puts me in control and them in the diminutive."]
Justice Bradley described herself as "feeling eerie" about the whole situation. 
Asked if she feared for her safety at the time, she said "not really." Immediately afterwards, she sat down and typed up what she called "an incident report." She said she soon called Justice Patrick Crooks (the one of the 7 Justices who was not present at the incident) and told him "Prosser just put me in a choke hold."

Interestingly, Abrahamson did not talk to Bradley after the alleged choking. She kept talking to Ziegler, according to Bradley's statement to the police, as Bradley typed up her report and talked to Crooks on the phone. Then, Abrahamson left for dinner, and Bradley subsequently went home and talked to her husband about what to do. Why wasn't Abrahamson involved in any of that? Was it that the incident was inconsequential?

UPDATE 5: 2 days after the incident, there was a conference with all 7 justices and Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs. Bradley, according to her police interview, had a typed-up speech to read to the justices.
Justice Bradley said at one point during the meeting, Justice Prosser was talking with Chief Tubbs about having his hands up on Justice Bradley's shoulders. Justice Bradley said she then corrected Justice Prosser by telling him, "No Dave, they were around my neck." Justice Bradley said Justice Prosser did not deny having his hands around her neck and she corrected him and said, "Your hands were around my neck in a choke hold." Justice Bradley said she repeated this quote several times throughout the meeting as if it was a "mantra."
So, clearly, Bradley herself was quite committed to the idea that there was a chokehold. Bradley said that Prosser characterized what she was doing as a "threat":
"Justice Bradley is threatening to go public if I don't go to counseling." Justice Bradley said Justice Prosser continued saying "Justice Bradley and the Chief Justice have been threatening me for years." 
Threatening him for years? The Bradley interview report goes on to accuse Prosser of "making verbal threats."
Justice Bradley said Justice Prosser would go, "Months without having outbursts, but then just goes off." She also said, "You never know what will set him off." Justice Bradley also feels as though Justice Prosser is paranoid and feels like it is getting worse. Justice Bradley feels as though Justice Prosser's anger is focused towards Chief Justice Abrahamson.
UPDATE 6: Next is the interview with Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson. Like Bradley, she said that what launched Bradley out of her chair was Prosser's statement to that he had lost confidence in Abrahamson. In Abrahamson's version, Bradley "walk[ed] toward Prosser.
The Chief Justice did not recall seeing Justice Bradley's hands raised as she walked by her. Chief Justice stated if there was some sort of gesture, it was non-threatening and it wasn't one that stood out to her. She recalled Justice Bradley might have been motioning towards the door, telling Justice Prosser he needed to "get out of the office."
Might have been motioning... did not recall...  These are careful statements.
The Chief Justice stated she did not see Justice Bradley's fist being raised at any time.
Did she see a fist at all? A non-raised fist?
The Chief Justice said at the point Justice Bradley stood up, it was apparent to her that Justice Prosser's anger seemed very focused and directed towards the herself and not towards Justice Bradley.
The Chief Justice said when Justice Bradley approached Justice Prosser, she observed Justice Prosser put both his hands up and put them on the neck area of Justice Bradley. From the Chief' Justice's vantage point, it did not appear as though Justice Prosser exerted any pressure. She stated "I got the impression there wasn't any pressure because 1 didn't see her eyes bulge or hear her gasp for a breath". The Chief Justice also said "1 did not see her turn color."
So it wasn't an all-out strangling! No one asserted that. But there's a big difference between that — which no one asserted — and the mere putting the hands up in defense — which is what other witnesses saw. "Put them on the neck area" is quite neutral, but it seems as though she's not asserting that Prosser did that out of hostility toward Bradley. It's rather consistent with the version of the story that has Prosser merely reacting in a self-defensive reflex.
The Chief Justice was not watching Justice Prosser's face at all. She did not recall Justice Prosser saying a word during their physical contact. 
That is, Abrahamson provides no evidence that Prosser had an aggressive intent. In her account, Prosser does not advance toward Bradley or do anything other than put his hands up. The hands are "on" — not around — the neck. There's no pressure. And there's no anger.

Abrahamson agrees with other witnesses who said that Roggensack pulled Bradley "away from Justice Prosser's grasp." (I note that the word "grasp" suggests more was going on than the hands-up/on language the police used above.) Abrahamson agrees that Roggensack said "it wasn't like Ann."

Abrahamson said that she thought Prosser should have backed away when Bradley came at him but  "instead he went right for the throat." There's no discussion of the relative height of the Justices. It has been noted that Bradley is taller than Prosser, and that a man has limited options in holding off a woman who is coming at him. But Abrahamson thinks Bradley had already stopped and that Prosser extended his arms forward. [ADDED: Reading farther into the file, I see that the often-repeated belief that Bradley is tall is false. Bradley is 5'3" and Prosser is 5'9".]

Although Abrahamson said Prosser had never made physical contact before, she said he had "outburst" and was "disruptive" at times. She used the term "temper tantrums" and said she "had talked to some of her colleagues and friends about his behavior in the past to try and get outside opinions on how to deal with Justice Prosser." [ADDED: Justice Bradley said "You never know what will set him off," and   Abrahamson said "you never know what's going to set him off." Interesting phrase! You could say that if you're always trying to set somebody off, and only rarely finding the button.]

UPDATE 7: Wisconsin Supreme Court Human Resources Officer Margaret Brady was interviewed because she spoke with Abrahamson the day after the incident and because she attended the June 15th meeting with all the justices (and Chief Tubbs). Brady said that after Bradley gave her prepared speech, repeatedly using the term "chokehold," "Justice Roggensack said that everybody was committed to having a harassment free work environment, and 'You, Ann, went berserk. He wasn't putting pressure on your neck.'"

Brady quotes Prosser:
[H]e was "about one yard from Justice Bradley's office when Ann rushed at me with her fist in my face." Justice Prosser said, "Yeah, I said that I lost faith in the Chief Justice." Justice Prosser said he had "an instantaneous reaction to what happened" and that he felt he had four options of how to deal with it.
Brady didn't write down the 4 options, and, presumably, the reason Prosser chose the one he did (and what, exactly, it was). She did record that he said "two members of the court have made the job unpleasant and 'a deliberate scheme of intended abuse.'" [ADDED: In Prosser's interview, he said he could have pushed her head, her neck, her shoulders, or done nothing. But these are just "intellectual options," not anything he considered in the moment.] Justice Ziegler, according to Brady, spoke more generally about how to improve relations on the court, and Bradley "interrupted" to refocus on the "chokehold."
Justice Roggensack said, "If you are requesting that Justice Prosser get counseling, you both need help."

Justice Bradley responded by saying, "Stop enabling him."
At that point, Brady said, "the tension in the room was as high as it was in the Capitol on March 9th during the protests."

Brady described Bradley, unlike all the other justices (who are reserve), is "very animated" and "effusive." According to Brady, "it was not uncommon for Justice Bradley to talk with her hands or make a fist when she is talking to someone.... Margaret said if you were to ask someone in her office to imitate Justice Bradley, it would be very uncommon if they did not put their fist in the air and talk." This observation cuts 2 ways. On the one hand, it makes it seem more likely that Bradley was waving fists about that day. On the other hand — and this is Brady's interpretation — fist-waving is, for Bradley, an "extension of her expression" and "a very nonthreatening gesture."

[ADDED: In Prosser's interview, he said "he believes the Chief Justice uses Margaret as 'a prop', and she invites her to meetings when she wants to try to intimidate employees, no matter who the employees are."]

UPDATE 8: I'm reading the about the second interview with Justice Bradley, and this is on page 34 it says: "Justice Bradley said for someone to say that she had raised a fist to somebody would be completely out of character for her." A big discrepancy with Brady's statement (just above)? Perhaps you could distinguish "nonthreatening" fist waving and raising a fist to somebody. This interview also contains Bradley's description of trying to "calm" Justice Prosser down by "mimicking him." He was once pounding on the table while talking and she began to pound on the table the same way. Now, is that a way to calm somebody down or a way to wind them up?

UPDATE 9: Finally, the report of the interview with Justice Prosser. Prosser had his lawyer with him and recorded the interview. There is a long description of the substance of the argument among the judges, which culminating in Prosser's statement: "Chief Justice, I have lost confidence in your ability to lead this court." What others have described as "yelling" he calls speaking "with a lot of control."
Justice Prosser said immediately after he made this comment to the Chief Justice that Justice Bradley "charged me." Justice Prosser also described it as, "she exploded out of that room." Justice Prosser said prior to charging him, he said he believes that she was approximately two feet from the threshold of the doorway, inside of her office. Justice Prosser said she had gone approximately five feet total to get from where she was to him. Justice Prosser said he did not believe he moved an inch, he knew he never moved towards her, but he does not recall if he moved back at all. Justice Prosser said he could not initially exit because of the credenza behind him.
Justice Prosser said as he was telling the Chief Justice that he has lost confidence in her leadership his forearms were parallel to the ground with his hands and fingers extended out. Justice Prosser said he talks with his hands generally. Justice Prosser said again that Justice Bradley had "charged at me, it's simple as that" and she came out of her office towards him. Justice Prosser said he has heard some stories that she walked towards him and he said, "No, she charged at me". When she got near him, he said her right fist was in his face. Justice Prosser said as he was approached by Justice Bradley he believes that his hands came up slightly as he leaned backward, "It's as simple as that". Justice Prosser then said, "Did my hands touch her neck, yes, I admit that. Did I try to touch her neck, no, absolutely not, it was a total reflex".
Prosser asserted that Bradley never ordered him to get out of her office. She was "screaming something, and when his hands came in contact with her neck, he does not remember her saying anything about choking her, he remembers her saying, 'Don't you ever put your hands on me.'"

By the way, contrary to what I've read elsewhere, it turns out Prosser is 5'9" and Bradley is 5'3".
Justice Prosser had no recollection of what he thought during this because it happened so fast. Justice Prosser said when his hands came in contact with Justice Bradley's neck, his thought was immediately, "Oh my god, I'm touching her neck." It was immediately after this that Justice Bradley said "don't you ever put your hands on me." Justice Prosser said he does not remember her saying anything about him choking her. Justice Prosser said he was stunned by what happened.... 
Justice Prosser said he believed his hands had open palms and were facing Justice Bradley. Justice Prosser described what he did as a "blocking move" because of how Justice Bradley was coming at him. Justice Prosser said, "I remember feeling her neck." Justice Prosser went on to say that he remembers the warmth on the side of Justice Bradley's neck in his hands as his hands were touching her neck. Justice Prosser said he never squeezed Justice Bradley's neck at any point, and said that his hands were definitely on Justice Bradley's neck versus her shoulders. Justice Prosser said it was a "total reaction to what was happening." We asked Justice Prosser if he recalled what fingers may have touched Justice Bradley's neck, and how they were touching Justice Bradley's neck. Justice Prosser said he could not recall the exact location of his fingers, and he could not recall how many fingers were touching Justice Bradley's neck either during this time. He said he could only recall the warmth in Justice Bradley's neck. Justice Prosser said several times during our contact that this whole incident lasted "a split second". This included the time from Justice Bradley "charging" at him, his reaction with his hands on her neck, to him removing his hands from her neck. Justice Prosser said he had no recollection of his thumbs on Justice Bradley's neck at any point. Justice Prosser could only recall his fingers touching the side of her neck, with one hand on either side of her neck. Justice Prosser said at no point did he squeeze or apply any pressure. 
Justice Prosser said, "What does any self respecting man do when suddenly that man finds that his hands, or part of his hands are on a woman's neck? Get them off the neck as soon as possible". Justice Prosser said this was a "reflexive move". He said he was not hitting her or anything else. Justice Prosser said he did not say anything to Justice Bradley during this time and he does not recall her saying anything to him at this time either. Justice Prosser said he only recalls Justice Bradley saying, "don't you ever put your hands on me", and then telling him to get out of her office. Justice Prosser said Justice Bradley either stepped back, or somebody had pulled her back, but he did not know who would have pulled her back. Justice Prosser said he believed he went limp after he took his hands away from Justice Bradley's neck. Justice Prosser said he did not believe Justice Bradley was angry or upset prior to the time that she "charged me," but when she was telling him "don't you ever put your hands on me" and "get out of my office" she was screaming at him.
Prosser said he simply reacted quickly, without thinking and without having time to feel afraid. He said Bradley looked very angry, and he knows she doesn't like him. He thought there might be to the suggestion, offered by the police, that Bradley felt "a protective instinct for the Chief Justice , and he volunteered that Abrahamson might have some sort of "control" over Bradley.

UPDATE 10: Now we come to the interview with Rachel Graham, the law clerk for Justice Bradley. She overheard the incident. She didn't see it, so her statement is mainly a corroboration of various quotations.

Next is Justice Patience Roggensack:
Justice Roggensack said when Justice Bradley approached Justice Prosser, Justice Prosser raised his hands and put his hands up near Justice Bradley's neck, but his hands were "never in a choke hold." Justice Roggensack said she recalled Justice Bradley saying something to the effect of "don't put your hands on me." Justice Roggensack again stated Justice Bradley had a fist up at this time. Justice Roggensack then said she wanted to make it clear that at no point did Justice Prosser have Justice Bradley in a chokehold, and Justice Prosser never applied pressure with his hands on Justice Bradley. Justice Roggensack said as soon as Justice Prosser's hands were placed on Justice Bradley, she got in between the two of them and she immediately told Justice Bradley that this was not like her.

Justice Roggensack said Justice Bradley had always been a sort of protector for the Chief Justice because they go back a long way and they are friends. Justice Roggensack said if she had not got in between the two of them, she believes Justice Bradley would have "smacked him in the face with her fist." Justice Roggensack said everything happened really fast during this incident. Justice Roggensack said Justice Prosser should have walked away from the incident and Justice Bradley should not have come at him the way she did. Justice Roggensack said in her opinion, "they were both out of line and they were both very angry." Justice Roggensack again said Justice Bradley was "trying to get at him with her fists." Justice Roggensack said she did not recall what was said between Justices Bradley and Prosser as Justice Bradley was approaching him during the incident.
Roggensack said that what caused Bradley to "walk with rapidity" towards Prosser was his statement to Abrahamson that he's lost confidence in her leadership. Prosser had never been arguing with Bradley. Roggensack said that Prosser's hands made contact with Bradley's neck but he never "choked" her.

Roggensack faults both Bradley and Prosser, even though "she could not say if Justice Prosser's reaction was justified, and she could not say whether or not Justice Prosser had any choice but to place his hands on Justice Bradley." Apparently, the speed of Bradley's movement toward Prosser made it hard for her to judge Prosser's reaction.

At the meeting on June 15th, "Justice Roggensack said Justice Bradley mentioned how Justice Prosser had her in a chokehold, and Justice Roggensack responded by saying he did not have her in a chokehold at any point. Justice Bradley responded to her by saying 'that's because you stopped him.' Justice Roggensack told Justice Bradley that she did not stop him from anything, and added, 'I stopped you from hitting him.' Justice Roggensack said Justice Bradley did not react or respond to her making this statement."

Roggensack described Bradley as Abrahamson's protector:
Justice Roggensack believed Justice Bradley was the person that released the info to the press regarding the incident from February 2010 in which Justice Prosser had called the Chief Justice a bitch. Justice Roggensack said that was a closed meeting during which this was said. Justice Roggensack said she recalls during that meeting the Chief Justice was "needling" Justice Prosser at that time, and added that she felt the Chief Justice was "needling" Justice Prosser when they met with her on June 13, 2011 in Justice Bradley's office. Justice Roggensack said when Justice Prosser gets needled by the Chief Justice, and begins to react and respond to the Chief Justice; Justice Bradley steps in right away to protect the Chief Justice.
Oh, lord, that is such lowly office politics! It's not criminal, though. Roggensack thought both Bradley and Prosser could use some anger management lessons.

UPDATE 11: Justice Crooks wasn't present for the incident, so let's concentrate on his statements about the work environment generally.  He relates a story of Justice Prosser calling him a "viper" back in 1999. Interestingly, the problem at the time was that Prosser was supporting Shirley Abrahamson in her bid for reelection and Crooks was not.
Justice Crooks said he has noted Justice Prosser "loses his cool repeatedly." Justice Crooks has witnessed Justice Prosser get red and pound on tables with his fists, and get louder and louder in tone during meetings, conferences and sometimes even during public meetings. Justice Crooks said there are times that nothing happens that trigger Justice Prosser losing his cool. Justice Crooks said he estimated Justice Prosser "explodes and storms out of a room" approximately    three to four times a year.

Justice Crooks said on February 22, 2010, he and Justice Bradley met with John Voelker, Director of State Courts, and Margaret Brady, asking that something be done about Justice Prosser because they felt there was an escalation in violence. This meeting was a result of a February 10, 2010 closed meeting with the Justices, during which, Justice Prosser made the comment to the Chief Justice, "You are a terrible chief. If you do not wi thdraw you are going to be destroyed".    The Chief Justice had responded by saying, "Are you threatening me?" and Justice Prosser said, "Yes, ... you are a bitch" and added, "There will be a war against you and it will not be a ground war". Justice Crooks and Bradley had concerns for the Chief Justice after this, and therefore went to speak with Voelker and Brady.    Justice Crooks said both his law clerk and assistants had told him they felt they were working in "a hostile work environment."...

After the February 2010 incident, Justice Crooks said the chief justice had a friend, who is either a psychiatrist or psychologist; evaluate Justice Prosser's behavior.  Justice Crooks said the behavior was evaluated only by what the Chief Justice told the psychiatrist at the time. The psychiatrist had not talked to anybody about Justice Prosser's behavior, including Justice Prosser. Justice Crooks said the psychiatrist believed that it would be highly unlikely Justice Prosser's behavior would escalate to any sort of violence. Justice Crooks said that it was clear, based on the June 13, 2011 incident, that the psychiatrist was wrong.
Crooks goes on to talk about who he feels "he has to watch what he says to Justice Prosser at all times."  He thinks Prosser should get anger management therapy or something more and guessed that he might be "paranoid or something" (after Prosser said — supposedly — that he thought the Dane County judges  and police are corrupt).

UPDATE 12: Finally, there's Justice Michael Gableman:
Justice Gableman said after the chief justice told them that she might not be ready with her decision until the end of the month, Justice Prosser then, while hunched forward and hands together as if he was praying, said in a "meek and intently sincere" voice, "Chief I have lost total confidence in your leadership."    Justice Gableman said he was not shouting, there was no volume to his voice, there was no swearing, it was not said in a hostile way, and added that it was "a fairly unremarkable comment".

Justice Gableman said it was this comment that he believes prompted Justice Bradley to rush over to Justice Prosser. Justice Gableman said he had not seen Justice Bradley in her office from where he was standing, until she was "rushing towards Justice Prosser" out of her office. Justice Gableman said Justice Bradley got within approximately one foot of Justice Prosser and had what he believed was her right fist in his face. Justice Gableman said he recalled Justice Bradley's blue glasses in her right fist at this time because he remembered thinking that her glasses were about to break. Justice Gableman said Justice Bradley's fist was going towards and away from Justice Prosser's face in almost a punching motion. Justice Gableman said he wanted to make clear that Justice Bradley's fist was not going up and down, but rather in and out towards and away from Justice Prosser during this incident. Justice Gableman said Justice Bradley's fist was in Justice Prosser's face and came within about an inch every time she would extend her fist while speaking to Justice Prosser. Justice Gableman said Justice Bradley was telling Justice Prosser, "You have no right to talk to the chief justice that way." Justice Gableman said Justice Prosser had "a look of shock and surprise" and described him as "looking up" at Justice Bradley. Justice Gableman believes Justice Bradley is a little bit taller than Justice Prosser. Justice Gableman then used the analogy of a photograph regarding President Johnson where he is talking to and leaning over a senator. 
Here's that photograph.
Justice Gableman said he recalled Justice Roggensack saying, "Ann this isn't the person you are. This isn't you." Justice Gableman believed Justice Roggensack was pulling on Justice Bradley's left arm at this time. Justice Gableman said Justice Prosser raised his hands and "pushed" Justice Bradley in "a defensive move". Justice Gableman said he believed Justice Prosser's hands were on the area where the shoulders meet the neck on Justice Bradley at this time. Justice Gableman said it was not a violent push, and after a brief pause he recalled Justice Bradley saying, "you choked me, you choked me." Justice Gableman said he immediately responded to Justice Bradley by saying "he didn't choke you, he pushed you to get your fist out of his face."
I didn't notice that anyone else corroborated that quote. Gableman also misjudged the relative heights of Bradley and Prosser, so I don't know what to make of this story he tells about an incident in 2008:
Justice Gableman said he had been on the court for approximately one month at the time, and while in a meeting with the other justices, Justice Crooks was reading the horoscopes.
Justice Gableman said he remembers making a comment to the chief justice in a joking manner and used her first name, Shirley, during this comment towards her.
The old line from "Airplane!"?
Justice Gableman said right after he said the chief justice's first name, Justice Bradley came over to him, hit him on the back of the head and told him that he needed to show respect to the chief.
Hit him in the head!

That's enough for now. I've read the entire file and summarized or copied what seemed most useful here. I'll reread this tomorrow and pull out a few things and make some observations.

"Where does David Prosser go to get his reputation back?"

Asks David Blaska.
There are some people who need to apologize to Mr. Justice David Prosser now that he has been cleared and soon. They took a shallowly researched and preposterous allegation -- that Prosser held fellow justice Ann Walsh Bradley in a chokehold -- and ran to the guillotine with it.
Yes, let's look back on the public demonstrations. Let's remember that protesters had a big ugly balloon effigy of Justice Prosser, which they tied by the neck to a lamppost. Look at their signs. Let's remember how these protesters strung together "allegations about Justice Prosser choking Justice Bradley [with] much more general issues about abortion and violence against women." As I said at the time:
I heard no acknowledgements of the uncertainties about what we know about what happened and no sensitivity about fairness and due process. I heard: 1. declarations about the importance of women's issues and 2. a demonization of Justice Prosser.
This is the level of left-wing activism we witnessed here in Madison. A justice is despised because his decisions do not please liberals, and so, without thought, they forgot about things liberals like to love themselves for caring about, such as fairness and due process. These are the same people who have been chanting the chant "shame, shame, shame" for months up at the Capitol.

How are they not oppressed by their own shame? Seriously, for the purposes of writing the previous paragraph, I channeled the feeling of shame that I would feel if I had done that, and now I am literally nauseated. If I had said what the people in the video at the last link said, I would be weeping now and begging forgiveness. But I am not them, so I will simply ask that they stage a rally in support of Justice Prosser and they publicly retract their earlier statements and commit themselves to the core principles of liberalism: fairness and due process.

Blaska demands apologies from people who should be "ashamed of their lynch mob mentality." He names the "practitioners of the dark arts of 'by any means necessary.'" Check out his list (which unfortunately includes the name of a UW law student). I'll highlight this:
Ms. Emily Mills owes an apology for blogging that UW law professor and bloggress Ann Althouse "has gone to great and terrible lengths to excuse the alleged behavior, attack the credibility of only the anonymous sources with whom she disagrees, suggest that no arrests (yet) mean no wrongdoing, impugn the honor of Justice Bradley, and cast doubt on the very justice system of this state." Looks like it is the other way around, Ms. Emily.
(Here's my contemporaneous pushback of Mills.)  Blaska ends his column with a request for more names. I have one: Bill Wineke. Like Mills, he owes me an apology.

ADDED: My analysis of the investigative report that was released today is in the previous post.

There never was a "chokehold" in the Wisconsin Supreme Court — so who put that word out there and why?

[NOTE: See the updates to this post, which originally relied on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report. The updates summarize the actual investigation file, which contains many reference to a "chokehold."]

This morning, the Dane County Sheriff's Department released 117 pages of records from the Wisconsin Supreme Court "chokehold" investigation. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel summarized this way:
In interviews with a detective on July 8, [Justice David] Prosser said that during an informal argument between two groups of justices Bradley "charged" him and he put up his hands to defend himself.

"Did my hands touch her neck, yes, I admit that. Did I try to touch her neck, no, absolutely not, it was a total reflex," Prosser said.

Bradley said during the argument she wanted Prosser to leave the suite of offices that serve her and her staff and confronted him to tell him to leave because she felt he was being disrespectful to Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.

"You get out of my office," Bradley said she told Prosser during an interview with a detective on June 28. While saying that, she said she was "standing face to face to confront him."
So... she was "standing face to face to confront him." How did she get to the point where she was standing there? Did she "charge" him? It's not so much a discrepancy in the testimony as a time gap in the Bradley version.
Later, Bradley said, she could recall the contact of Prosser's hands on her neck but no pain or pressure that affected her breathing. She did, however, say that she had become emotional after the incident.
So Bradley concedes that Prosser's hands merely made contact with her neck, after she got into the position of being in his face.  This seems like a plain statement that there was no chokehold. But we have heard that Bradley called it "a chokehold."

On June 25, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported through an unnamed source:
Bradley felt Prosser "was attacking the chief justice," the source said. Before leaving, Prosser "put his hands around her neck in what (Bradley) described as a chokehold," the source said.
[ADDED: That story begins with a direct quote from Bradley, giving directly to the newspaper: "The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold."]

Reading that story, I wrote:
I want to know not only what really happened at the time of the physical contact (if any) between the 2 justices, but also who gave the original story to the press. If Prosser really tried to choke a nonviolent Bradley, he should resign. But if the original account is a trumped-up charge intended to destroy Prosser and obstruct the democratic processes of government in Wisconsin, then whoever sent the report out in that form should be held responsible for what should be recognized as a truly evil attack.
So what I want to know is who put out the story that Bradley said she was choked and did Bradley herself ever claim to have been choked? It sounds as though she never said that to the investigators (or it would be in the report and the MJS summary today). Did she say it to anyone else?

Let's remember that it was Bill Lueders at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism who originally broke the story of the incident. On June 25, he wrote:
"Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser allegedly grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck in an argument in her chambers earlier this month."
Reading that, at the time, I questioned this approach to journalism:
I agreed with [Ian Millhiser at the lefty blog Think Progress] that "if it's true Prosser reached a breaking point and started strangling Bradley, he should go." But I wanted to know the whole story. It seemed to me that Lueders had given us "just the snapshot of one hard-to-comprehend instant within the longer event." I was skeptical about the version of the story Lueders had put out, because there had been no arrest and because I found it hard to picture an elderly, dignified man suddenly grabbing a (somewhat less elderly) woman by the neck.
I quoted myself saying "whoever sent the report out in that form should be held responsible for what should be recognized as a truly evil attack" and said:
When I wrote that, it did not cross my mind that the "truly evil" person might be Lueders himself.
Lueders has not yet responded to the special prosecutor's decision not to bring charges. The spotlight belongs on him right now. I want to know who put the word "chokehold" out there and why.

UPDATE: I'm now looking at the investigative file, here.  I'll note the references to choking as I encounter them.

Should Obama leave his Martha's Vineyard vacation early...

... just because everyone else on the island is mobilizing in advance of Hurricane Irene?
Vineyard hotel managers urged guests to plan their exits as soon as possible, and emergency officials told locals to stock up on four days of food and water....
Of course, the little people — even rich little people — have to make their escape early, when they are dependent on commercial operations that will be overtaxed as everyone tries to leave at once. But the President has his own transport. He can leave at the precise moment he chooses, as long as the storm is not so close it's grounding the planes.

The only issue is optics. Should he be "enjoy[ing] a low-key day amid the white sands and tall waves of the private Pohogonot beach" when the commoners are scurrying for their lives/safety? As you answer that, please consider all the many disasters that have befallen our young President, making a wreck of the years of his presidency, years once envisioned as Camelot.

Ah.. sorry... it is so sad. This loss. Of the hopes. The dreams. Of the fleeting wisp of glory.

Now, let our king rest for a few brief shining moments on that beach in... <dramatic whisper> Camelot.

George Will said it!

It's been said before, and was said over and over, months ago, but now George Will is saying it.

"The good news is that [a hurricane] would have to make something of a bank shot, as Hurricane Agnes did in 1972, in order to pass directly over New York City."

"It is intrinsically fairly hard for a storm to make landfall upon New York City itself rather than somewhere else along the Atlantic," explains Nate Silver.
A considerably more likely scenario is that a hurricane-strength storm would come ashore on central Long Island. That would still be extremely bad: a weak Category 2 storm with an eye that passed about 50 miles from Manhattan would result in about $10 billion in damage, according to the model.

Although highly unlikely to be experienced in the case of Hurricane Irene, it is theoretically possible that an even stronger storm might hit the city at some point in the future. A Category 3 hurricane, one with wind speeds of 111 miles per hour or higher, could plausibly produce an economic impact in excess of $100 billion if its eye were to pass directly over Manhattan, according to the model. A stronger Category 3 storm, passing immediately over Manhattan, could rival or exceed the roughly $235 billion in economic damage estimated to have been caused by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
And more than a Category 3? Directly hitting NYC? It's never happened. "[I]in recorded history, no storm has made landfall in the Northeastern United States while stronger than a Category 3." But if it did — and Silver says maybe with global warming it might — the economic impact would hit the trillions.
Keep in mind that New York’s annual gross domestic product is estimated to be about $1.4 trillion — about one-tenth of the nation’s gross domestic product — so if much of the city were to become dysfunctional for months or more, the damage to the global and domestic economies would be almost incalculable. The property value of New York City real estate, meanwhile, is estimated to be about $800 billion, and property damage represents only a portion of the overall economic loss that might be incurred from a catastrophic hurricane.
Where would the people go? What would happen to them?

August 25, 2011

At the Poodle Café...

... we're having a delightful time!

ADDED: These photos are all by Meade.

The recurrence of "Build Me Up Buttercup"... coincidence? I think not!

Deja vu: "Several hundred chanting, cheering protesters entered the Capitol rotunda Thursday around the 6 p.m. closing time. "An hour later, Capitol police carried 13 of them away."

Sorry, I wasn't there to photograph the scene:
The first wave of protesters entered the statehouse carrying banners, shouting and banging on drums and cowbells....

"Whose house? Our house!" the protesters shouted. Then they broke into a chorus of the labor song "Solidarity Forever!"

Later, the group of 13 mostly young protesters sat on the floor of the Capitol and clutched an American flag and heart-shaped balloons as the sounds of floor cleaners echoed through the mostly empty building. Capitol police and a few State Patrol troopers started carrying them out shortly before 7 p.m. after giving them a chance to leave on their own.

The protesters - many of them the veterans of past protests and arrests - chatted and sang popular songs like the Foundations' "Build Me Up Buttercup"...
"Build Me Up Buttercup"! What the hell? Had they been reading the Althouse blog this morning? At 10:28 a.m., I wrote:
Songs Meade is driving me crazy playing on YouTube this morning.

"Young Girl," "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes," "Everlasting Love," "Lady Willpower," "Build Me Up Buttercup," that "Star Trek" hippies song, "Count Me In," "This Magic Moment"...
Wow, I'm sorry I missed them. But the question is: Did they miss me? Seems like they were ready for their YouTube magic moment. I don't have it. I was off photographing poodles.

ADDED: Here's 9 minutes of video somebody else made at today's incident.

Are you in a "hurricane evacuation zone" in New York City?

Have you noticed how weird and unrealistic it is?
What does it mean for me to live in a "zone"? If the city issues a "hurricane evacuation order," the government will order me to leave my home "immediately" and either (a) stay in an area that's not in a "zone" (which, again, could be as close as 3 blocks away) or (b) go to a "hurricane center." Where's the closest "hurricane center"? Oh, between 192nd and 193rd St. In order to get there, I'd need to travel almost the whole length of Manhattan....

What's really going on here is that the government is trying to signal that it is taking the hurricane very, very seriously — so seriously that it has a plan for evacuating a large portion of the city. The truth is, that's impossible. So the government makes up some arbitrary rules, as if the hurricane is going to carefully observe these neat distinctions between the various streets of Greenwich Village.

Matt Yglesias is pointlessly pigheaded about his misstatement of what Ron Paul has proposed to do about abortion.

Yglesias responds to a post of mine:
Ann Althouse chooses for some reason to dispute that Ron “respecting the God-given right to life—for those born and unborn” Paul wants to ban abortion. 
No. I dispute that he has "loudly trumpet[ed a] plan to impose criminal penalties" on women who have abortions. Those are your words, Matt, and it is quite dishonest to change the language as you embark on your attempt to discredit me.
Since she’s apparently incapable of reading between the lines of such proposals as “Defining life as beginning at conception by passing a Sanctity of Life Act’” she might be interesting [sic] in some other quotations from Congressman Paul such as....
Well, the fact is, Matt, I really am interesting. I'm so interesting that you ought to pay attention to the precise words that I use in disputing you. Pay attention to the text before you embark on your flights of interpretation that you gratuitously insult me for supposedly lacking the capacity to perform. Pay attention to my text and to your own text (which needs editing). You ought to learn to read and be honest about what you have read.

Yglesias goes on to quote something Ron Paul said about the fetus being a person. I'm well aware, as my post clearly shows, that Paul believes the fetus is a person who deserves rights. The issue, however is whether he has "loudly trumpet[ed a] plan to impose criminal penalties" on women who have abortions. He has not done that.

Ron Paul's proposals are about diverting the matter to the state courts, as I clearly describe in my post. Now, if you want to say that voters who care about preserving abortion rights should not trust Ron Paul, then I agree with you. But you should agree with me that he most certainly did not "loudly trumpet[ a] plan to impose criminal penalties." Why can't you just fix your misstatement? Why this pointless pigheadedness? You're doing yourself no favors, Matt, and insulting my intelligence — "she’s apparently incapable of reading between the lines" — is — as they say — incivil.

A baseball first: a team hits 3 grand slams in one game.

Nice work by the New York Yankees!

Found at the Qaddafi compound: an album filled with photos of Condoleezza Rice.

It's not surprising, considering his past expressions of fondness for the ex-Secretary of State:
"I support my darling black African woman," he said [in 2007]. "I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders. ... Leezza, Leezza, Leezza. ... I love her very much. I admire her, and I'm proud of her, because she's a black woman of African origin."

The following year, Gadhafi and Rice had an opportunity to meet when the secretary of state paid a historic visit to Libya — one that made steps toward normalizing relations after the United States went decades without an ambassador in Tripoli. ...

During the visit, he presented Rice with a diamond ring, a lute, a locket with an engraved likeness of himself inside and an inscribed edition of "The Green Book," a personal political manifesto that explains his "Third Universal Theory for a new democratic society."

Wisconsin Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson says she "will propose... that the presumption will be that court conferences are open to the public."

Is that seriously something to be hoped for? The public streaming into judicial conferences as if they were legislative hearings? Abrahamson ties the proposal to the notion that "Each justice owes the others and the people of the state civility and personal control in our language, demeanor, and temperament in the conference room and on and off the bench."
"My initial reaction is ... 'Wow,'" retired appellate court judge Neal Nettesheim said of Abrahamson's plan. "That is truly revolutionary."

But Nettesheim and former state Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske said such a move — akin to allowing the public into the jury room — could have a chilling effect on deliberations by justices, who often change their minds before a decision is final.
Could have a chilling effect? Obviously, it would transform the conferences into some kind of public show and not conferences at all.

How would it be fair to the parties for the justices to deliberate in public? How could it be consistent with deciding cases according to the legal texts and precedents to have these preliminary discussions go out to the public? The proposal seems inherently premised on the idea that judges are the equivalent of legislators, voting according to policy preferences and political orientation.

But since it's also obvious that a majority of justices won't go along with this, Abrahamson's proposal is more of an expression, a way of stating: If only the public could see this...

No criminal charges against Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser or Justice Anne Walsh Bradley in the so-called "chokehold" incident.

Special Prosecutor Patricia Barrett said today:  "The totality of the facts and the circumstances and all of the evidence that I reviewed did not support my filing criminal charges."
In a statement, Prosser praised the prosecutor and slammed Bradley.

"Justice Anne Walsh Bradley made the decision to sensationalize an incident that occurred at the Supreme Court . . . ," Prosser said in a statement. "I was confident the truth would come out and it did. I am gratified that the prosecutor found these scurrilous charges were without merit.

"I have always maintained that once the facts of this incident were examined I would be cleared. I look forward to the details becoming public record."

In her own statement, Bradley said the case "is and remains an issue of workplace safety."

"My focus from the outset has not been one of criminal prosecution, but rather addressing workplace safety. I contacted law enforcement the very night the incident happened but did not request criminal prosecution. Rather I sought law enforcement's assistance to try to have the entire court address informally this workplace safety issue that has progressed over the years," Bradley said in the statement. "To that end, chief of (Capitol Police Charles) Tubbs promptly met with the entire court, but the efforts to address workplace safety concerns were rebuffed. Law enforcement then referred the matter for a formal investigation and I cooperated fully with the investigation."
If the issue really was "workplace safety," as Bradley says, why did she "sensationalize" it — to use Prosser's word — by taking it public in a way that was, I think, quite unfair to Prosser?

Click on the "Wisconsin Supreme Court" tag to see how this issue played out over the summer, with protests sliming Justice Prosser. I will write more about this later, but I want to get the post up to let you discuss things.

"Leaving aside the insane notion that there should be anything more to 'manliness' than..."

"... either a) being able to produce human-ovum-fertilizing substances or else b) deciding that your genitals either are or ought to be male, what is there, exactly, that makes Rick Perry more 'manly' than Bruce Springsteen, or Conan O’Brien, or the late Fred Rogers, or for that matter the female-bodied but impeccably masculine Sinclair Sexsmith?"

A question has been posed!

Songs Meade is driving me crazy playing on YouTube this morning.

"Young Girl," "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes," "Everlasting Love," "Lady Willpower," "Build Me Up Buttercup," that "Star Trek" hippies song, "Count Me In," "This Magic Moment"...

It all started with "Everlasting Love" yesterday, which he's found endless versions of...

"You should go into Pandora and make an "Everlasting Love" channel..."

"Midnight Confession," "Temptation Eyes," "Hitchin' a Ride," "Come and Get It," "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey," "I Know I'll Never Find Another You"...


ADDED: Confluence: The UW Marching Band is practicing. We've got the windows open. It's 68° and sunny and the sound, from 1 mile away, becomes part of the Meadehouse musicscape.

"There exists a visceral John Wayne kinship between Israelis and Texans, and Rick Perry gets it."

"As a Jewish cowboy (or 'Juusshh,' as we say in Texas)" Kinky Friedman says "Hell, yes!" he'd vote for Rick Perry.
[Rick Perry has] visited Israel on many more occasions than Obama, who’s been there exactly zero times as president. If I were Obama I wouldn’t go either. His favorability rating in Israel once clocked in at 4 percent. Say what you will about the Israelis, but they are not slow out of the chute. They know who their friends are. On the topic of the Holy Land, there remains the little matter of God. God talks to televangelists, football coaches, and people in mental hospitals. Why shouldn’t he talk to Rick Perry? In the spirit of Joseph Heller, I have a covenant with God. I leave him alone and he leaves me alone. If, however, I have a big problem, I ask God for the answer. He tells Rick Perry. And Rick tells me.
(Via Instapundit.)

What's the Joseph Heller quote he's channeling?

1. "'And don't tell me God works in mysterious ways,' Yossarian continued, hurtling on over her objection. 'There's nothing so mysterious about it. He's not working at all. He's playing. Or else, He's forgotten all about us. That's the kind of God you people talk about - a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a supreme being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when he robbed old people of their power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did He ever create pain?'"

2. "God does have this self-serving habit of putting all blame for His own mistakes on other people, doesn't He? He picks someone arbitrarily, unbidden, right out of the blue so to speak, and levies upon them tasks of monumental difficulty for which we don't always measure up in every particular, then charges US for HIS error in selecting imperfectly. He tends to forget that we are no more infallible than He is."

3. "Now THERE'S a hollow state to be in, isn't it — to believe in God and get no sign that He's there."

Help me out here.

Or maybe thisis a better place to look.

Q: "What do you make of dance pop being more popular than guitar rock among most American youth these days?"

A: "America has been trading in her gold for turds for a number of years now, so this is simply another manifestation of embarrassing cultural deprivation. I believe soulful music will return to the fore when America wakes up from her soulless slumber of apathy."

Sayeth Ted Nugent, interviewed in — of all places — Isthmus. Since it is Isthmus (Madison's "alternative" newspaper), we get this bonus political interplay:
On the topic of politics, this year Wisconsin substantially limited the collective bargaining rights of public employees. There were intense protests against this at the state Capitol in February and March. Do you think public employees should have the right to collectively bargain, or do you see unions as too powerful a force in the public sector?

Overall, unions in America have brought this great country to its knees. The NEA has seen to it that American kids are the dumbest kids ever, the auto industry was raped, and government employees are rip-off artists that demand more than they produce. What's not to despise?

Wisconsin also just passed a law to allow concealed carry of handguns in the state. Do you think concealed carry makes communities safer or less safe?

It doesn't matter what I think. Every study ever conducted concluded that violent crime is reduced and neighborhoods are safest when gun-free zones are eliminated. Who doesn't know this?

Madison has a reputation as a liberal town. Given your own politics, what's your take on Madison? Do you like the city, or is too lefty for your tastes?

I have been rocking and hunting the great state of Wisconsin for over 45 years and connect with the good people of the Badger State. There are great Americans all across Wisconsin, including Madison, and I get along just wonderfully with all of them. People that hate America hate Ted Nugent, and I couldn't be more proud.

Sorry to do a post about Ted, after beginning the day — purely by chance — with 3 posts about George. I thought of making this a theme day, on the George theme, but Ted leaped out at me (like some wild animal that needed hunting). So... possibly a George and Ted day. But the purity is gone. Alas!

Martin Scorsese's George Harrison movie.

"He was trying to find a way to simplicity, a way to live truthfully and compassionately. It was never a straight line, but that's not the point. I think he found an understanding: that there's no such thing as 'success' - there's just the path."

Sayeth Scorsese.

"May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths..."

"... and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy."

Cheney's book.

The NYT obtained a copy.
The book opens with an account of Mr. Cheney’s experiences during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when he essentially commanded the government’s response from a bunker beneath the White House while Mr. Bush — who was away from Washington and hampered by communications breakdowns — played a peripheral role. But Mr. Cheney wrote that he did not want to make any formal statement to the nation that day.

“My past government experience,” he wrote, “had prepared me to manage the crisis during those first few hours on 9/11, but I knew that if I went out and spoke to the press, it would undermine the president, and that would be bad for him and for the country.

“We were at war. Our commander in chief needed to be seen as in charge, strong, and resolute — as George W. Bush was.”
Well said.

Support the Althouse blog by buying your copy of "In My Time" at this link.

August 24, 2011

The Leadville mural.

P1010918 2

Meade points out that the artist included a nipple, and I zoom in to snap it:

P1010919 2

ADDED: Commenters request more [ba]zoom.

Can you believe there's a fuss about a Norman Rockwell painting?

And it's not that Norman Rockwell is too sentimental/bland/cliché to take seriously?

"Perry Zooms to Front of Pack for 2012 GOP Nomination."

New Gallup poll (from Aug. 17-21).

"[Ron] Paul’s experience in science and medicine only reinforced his belief that life begins at conception..."

"... and he believes it would be inconsistent for him to champion personal liberty and a free society if he didn’t also advocate respecting the God-given right to life—for those born and unborn. After being forced to witness an abortion being performed during his time in medical school, he knew from that moment on that his practice would focus on protecting life.  And during his years in medicine, never once did he find an abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman."

From a page on Ron Paul's website that I got to from a link in a Matthew Yglesias post titled "Ron Paul's Strange Freedom." Yglesias says:
[I]f it weren’t for his loud fanbase of self-proclaimed libertarians you wouldn’t really think [Ron Paul is] a libertarian. He’s loudly trumpeting his plan to impose criminal penalties on women who terminate their pregnancies...
Would Ron Paul punish women who get abortions as criminals? His website says he "will continue to fight for the same pro-life solutions he has upheld in Congress, including..."
* Immediately saving lives by effectively repealing Roe v. Wade and preventing activist judges from interfering with state decisions on life by removing abortion from federal court jurisdiction through legislation modeled after his “We the People Act.”

* Defining life as beginning at conception by passing a “Sanctity of Life Act.”
Does either of those proposals represent a plan — "loudly trumpet[ed]" or not — to prosecute women who have abortions? It seems to me that both of these bills are about cutting federal jurisdiction, which would leave the matter of abortion to state courts. Those courts would still be bound by Supreme Court precedent, by the way, although they'd be left to their own devices about following that precedent.

Yglesias makes some good points about the less-than-fully-libertarian quality of Ron Paul's libertarianism. He shouldn't shoot his credibility to hell with statements like "He’s loudly trumpeting his plan to impose criminal penalties on women who terminate their pregnancies."

UPDATE: Yglesias responds to this post:
Ann Althouse chooses for some reason to dispute that Ron “respecting the God-given right to life—for those born and unborn” Paul wants to ban abortion. 
No. I dispute that he has "loudly trumpet[ed a] plan to impose criminal penalties" on women who have abortions. Those are your words, Matt, and it is quite dishonest to change the language as you embark on your attempt to discredit me.
Since she’s apparently incapable of reading between the lines of such proposals as “Defining life as beginning at conception by passing a Sanctity of Life Act’” she might be interesting [sic] in some other quotations from Congressman Paul such as....
Well, the fact is, Matt, I really am interesting. I'm so interesting that you ought to pay attention to the precise words that I use in disputing you. Pay attention to the text before you embark on your flights of interpretation that you gratuitously insult me for supposedly lacking the capacity to perform. Pay attention to my text and to your own text (which needs editing). You ought to learn to read and be honest about what you have read.

Yglesias goes on to quote something Ron Paul said about the fetus being a person. I'm well aware, as my post clearly shows, that Paul believes the fetus is a person who deserves rights. The issue, however is whether he has "loudly trumpet[ed a] plan to impose criminal penalties" on women who have abortions. He has not done that.

Ron Paul's proposals are about diverting the matter to the state courts, as I clearly describe in my post. Now, if you want to say that voters who care about preserving abortion rights should not trust Ron Paul, then I agree with you. But you should agree with me that he most certainly did not "loudly trumpet[ a] plan to impose criminal penalties." Why can't you just fix your misstatement? Why this pointless pigheadedness? You're doing yourself no favors, Matt, and insulting my intelligence — "she’s apparently incapable of reading between the lines" — is — as they say — incivil.

Man not in shorts.

And still he is criticized!

"If making graphic novels felt like a staid long-term relationship, then doing gag comics is like playing the field."

"One day I could draw a fortuneteller; the next, an astronaut. I went from sultans to superheroes, robots to rabbits. I felt liberated. I refused to get bogged down or fuss over the drawings. I spent no more than an hour with any one cartoon, and many took far less time than that. For the first two weeks I was feeling my oats. I already had a half-dozen keepers and was confident there were plenty more winners on the way. It was at this point that I started dreaming of actually selling a cartoon to The New Yorker..."

A great little article — with lots of cartoons — from James Sturm.

(Here, buy some of his books.)


Out on the Capital City Trail yesterday, we saw a guy riding one of these Elliptigo things. It was like an elliptical machine had busted out of a health club. I said "cool" when he passed me, but I don't know. Maybe it's dorky. It reminded me of something I'd seen before, something more childish that I'd seen on campus years ago, and I finally realized it was this.

But really, what is the point of eliminating the seat of a bike? Why deprive us of the option of sitting? You can always get up off the seat of a normal bike and pedal in a standing position... unless you get a recumbent trike.

(I see a lot of those "recliner bikes" — as I call them — around Madison. I do not get the charm. It looks dangerous, down there, leading with your feet, and your head doesn't seem properly supported.)

"He’s not Jimmy Carter. He’s Tiger Woods — a natural who’s lost his swing."

"He has so many different swing thoughts in his head, so many people whispering in his ear about what the polls say and how he needs to position himself to get re-elected, that he has lost all his natural instincts for the game."

Racist or just fatuous?

Racist or fatuous?
Neither. free polls 

"A naked Christian Falero, 23 (not pictured), was arrested Tuesday after going on a stabbing rampage that left one person dead."

Photo caption of the day.

"In the search for completely implausible, unelectable Republican presidential candidates, why stop at George Pataki?"

David Weigel has an amusing list, the basic joke of which is — I think — to bury — in amongst John Engler, Alan Simpson, Colin Powell, Tan Parker, and Jennifer Carroll — the name Sarah Palin:
Sarah Palin (as seen in The Undefeated), 47

Last-held office: Governor of Alaska.

Pros: Once upon a time there was a brave and brilliant reporter and mom who out-hustled corrupt politicians and got elected mayor of a small town, then governor of Alaska. She had the highest approval rating of any state executive. She pushed through a reform of the state's oil-tax laws, past the party's establishment and past the best efforts of the mighty industry. All of this was done to a booming soundtrack and lots of file footage of protests and things exploding. She was on track to win the vice presidency before the economic crisis hit and the media treated her so unfairly.

Cons: Not many people saw the movie; most other people have soured on the real-world Palin.
Hilarious... right?

Pat Summitt on her dementia: "It's not going to keep me from coaching. If anything it's going to inspire me more."

And her son, asked to comment, says: "It's hard to fight an invisible opponent, and now... we know what we're up against."

Have you thought about how you would respond if you got a diagnosis of dementia? Now that you've heard from Pat Summitt, will you think about it differently?

The earthquake knocked the crosses off the National Cathedral.

Is God telling us something about the need for the separation of church and state?

IN THE COMMENTS: Jerub-Baal said:
Except for the fact that the finials are not crosses, but a variation of the ballflower. In fact, the ones on the National Cathedral are even less like crosses than a typical French cathedral, where one could possibly be forgiven for thinking they are such
He links to some photographs, proving his point. I said:
The WSJ article says "The earthquake knocked off the cross-shaped finial stones on three of the four pinnacles that jut out from the top of the tower."

A cross is only a shape. If something is cross-shaped, it's a cross.

So... the WSJ is wrong, based on the photos, and the message from God is, once again, obscure.

Harvard econprof Robert J. Barro looks for evidence that Keynesian economics work.

"There are two ways to view Keynesian stimulus through transfer programs. It's either a divine miracle—where one gets back more than one puts in—or else it's the macroeconomic equivalent of bloodletting. Obviously, I lean toward the latter position, but I am still hoping for more empirical evidence."

Does Vice President Biden believe China's "one child" policy is "repugnant"?

Here's what he said (to a Chinese audience):

Here's the spin provided by his press secretary:
“The Obama Administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization. The Vice President believes such practices are repugnant. He also pointed out, in China, that the policy is, as a practical matter, unsustainable. He was arguing against the One Child Policy to a Chinese audience.”
Guy Benson, who extracted that response from the press secretary, is pleased to hear that condemnation of the policy, but says:
I still fail to see how publicly and proactively declining to "second guess" a policy that one finds "repugnant" amounts to "arguing against" it. If the Vice President's conviction is that China's policy is morally abhorrent, he should have said so when he raised the issue on Chinese soil.
It's a carefully framed statement. He was "arguing against the One Child Policy to a Chinese audience," but not on the moral ground. He "believes such practices are repugnant," but that's not what he chose to say to the Chinese. The argument against the policy that he made was an economic one: It's not sustainable to have so many older people supported by a too-small number of younger workers.

Benson, presenting the clip, says "Do you detect any revulsion here?" The answer is no. But why is it no? Is it because he, in fact, does not have a moral problem with the "one child" policy? I think he made a decision to set that issue aside to isolate the economic point he wanted to make. He could realistically have thought that there was nothing to be gained with this audience by expressing revulsion toward the policy. He may very well have thought that it would be a distraction and it would undercut his credibility with respect to the economic argument that he believed was the common ground.

Now, clearly, the more strongly you are opposed to abortion (and birth control), the more horrifying forced abortion and forced birth control seem. Perhaps we should all feel that it is wholly unacceptable that the Vice President should refer to that policy without making it clear that he condemns it. When can you mention an evil, then set it aside to talk about something closely related? Here's an analogy: If someone were pointing a gun at your head, you might go straight for the argument that the shooter will be caught and go to prison. That doesn't mean you don't really, really believe that murder is evil.

IN THE COMMENTS: Tim gives the clearest example of the type of comment I anticipated:
So then, Biden's argument against the Holocaust: "The diversion of critical resources from the war to identify, round up, transport, house and then exterminate as many as 20 million would severely handicap Germany's ability to win its war against the Allies."

Should a teacher be fired because he was — in the past — a porn star?

Does it make any difference if it was gay porn?

Does it matter that he used an alias in the movies? That he won awards for his film performances?
[Shawn] Loftis was suspended from his substitute teaching position in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools in January; his teacher's certification was revoked in April, despite his insistence that his porn days were over.

Loftis' porn shtick was to film in exotic locations around the world and slide sight-seeing and history segments into the dirty flicks. He took a similar travel-focused approach to his citizen-reporting gig with CNN.
Loftis is a popular CNN "citizen reporter." Here's one of his clips:

He'd left porn to go into teaching. Now, kicked out of teaching, he's back to porn.

Would you fire a teacher because he used to be a porn actor?
Yes. No matter how good a teacher he was.
Yes, but only if there were some other problems.
No. But this could be a factor if there were serious other problems.
No. This should not be a factor at all.
No. It's to his credit that he had a successful porn career and left it to teach. free polls 

ADDED: This may be a remnant of an old belief that teachers of young children shouldn't be sexually active at all. My maternal grandmother was a teacher at a time when female teachers were required to remain single. She hid her marriage to retain her job.

IN THE COMMENTS: Zachary Paul Sire notes that there are questions about whether Loftis had quit porn.

August 23, 2011

"In the 16th century... a microscopic stowaway somehow made its way to the caves and monasteries of Bavaria."

"The stowaway, yeast that may have been transported from a distant shore on a piece of wood or in the stomach of a fruit fly, was destined for great things. The newfound yeast fused with a distant relative, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which was used for millennia to make leavened bread and fermented wine and ale. The resulting hybrid, representing a marriage of species as evolutionarily separated as humans and chickens, would give us lager, the clear, cold-fermented beer first brewed by 16th century Bavarians."

Scientists have finally identified the wild yeast, Saccharomyces eubayanus, and solved the age-old mystery of lager beer.

"The swastika is illegal here, as is the Hitler salute."

"Germans have learned after decades of fighting their expression that the ideas behind them cannot be outlawed. But the question facing German officials today is whether pushing those ideas underground makes them more radical in the short term, and maybe even more attractive in the long run, precisely because they are forbidden."