September 10, 2011

"Let’s look at the applause, the 'execution cheer,' if you will."

"Because any number of analysts might have expected Perry to say what he said, but the cheer was a surprise — a welcome sort for some, but unwelcome for others."

The NYT "Opinionator" deals with the Rick-Perry-and-the-death-penalty sequence from last Wednesday's debate, quoting a number of bloggers... including me.

"It’s still impossible to sum up what Obama’s presidency is about right now, except saving his own job."

That's how Maureen Dowd sums it up this week.

Lot of insults for Republicans too: "They’re revolutionary Bolsheviks who want to eat Obama alive" and "nihilist[s who] go unchallenged in their crazy claims to be saving the country they’re hurting."

100 years of style.

You have to watch this several times to notice all that's going on. The first time I watched it, I was unaware that I had lapsed into watching only the woman until the late 60s came along and the man's look suddenly popped.

That reminds me: The Wall Street Journal alerts us to "Male Fashion's Feminine Turn." That seems more about commerce (and language "Men can also wear 'mandals' (male sandals), 'murses' (purses), 'mantyhose' (pantyhose) and 'mankinis' (swimsuit variants)").

"Not every human problem deserves a law."

"While I appreciate the value of wearing a ski helmet, I am concerned about the continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state."

Who said it?

"The National September 11 Memorial — here shown for the first time..."

"... opens tomorrow on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks and is a dazzling tribute to the lives lost..."

Modern hair.

Don't you want modern hair?

Laughing at Obama's speech was "more insulting than Joe Wilson's 'you lie.'"

More insulting... and more potent...

"Rules for Radicals":
Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.

"Were Colonial Americans More Literate than Americans Today?"

"Can you imagine a book with such a complex style today selling 60 million copies in one year?"

"I would tell people now to go about their lives. There's no need to panic."

"I want to urge all of our citizens ... to remain calm... At the same time... remain vigilant."

"Egyptian activists destroyed a wall around the Israeli embassy..."

"... and set police cars on fire in Cairo on Friday after thousands demonstrated at Tahrir Square... after Friday prayers for what was billed as 'Correcting the Path' protests."
Fridays demonstrations were organized mostly by secular groups which had been pushing for reforms, a new constitution and an end to the trial of civilians before military courts.

Islamists, including the political party set up by the Muslim Brotherhood -- Egypt's best organized political force after the dissolution of Mubarak's National democratic Party -- have distanced themselves from the planned protests.

Wisconsin 8th grader sues her school district and principal for banning "I (heart) Boobies!" bracelets.

"Students do have First Amendment rights... Silencing the speakers because other students might react inappropriately would amount to a constitutionally impermissible heckler's veto."

It's a breast-cancer-awareness bracelet, though literally it merely asserts enthusiasm for breasts. That's what makes it funny and attention-getting.

"I'm not a robot. I am a unicorn."

"But you said earlier that you were a robot."

Democrats may lose the seat vacated by Anthony Weiner.

The Republican has a 6-point lead in a new poll.

Whoever wins won't be able to run for reelection, because the district — in Brooklyn and Queens — has been redistricted out of existence, but the special election has symbolic importance.

CORRECTION: The redistricting hasn't happened yet. There's merely talk of eliminating this district. The state of New York is losing 2 districts after the 2010 census.

The blatant statistical error "so widespread it appears in about half of all the published papers surveyed from the academic psychology research literature."

Is it incompetence or a deliberate effort to claim impressive results?

Man suing London School of Economics says: "I want gender studies to be more inclusive for men."

Tom Martin, who claims he encountered "anti-male discrimination," decided to go after MSc degree in gender, media and culture at the LSE’s Gender Institute, and that might make you want to say... he was asking for it. 

Jonathan Dean, himself "a male academic active in gender studies," is skeptical. He says "my academic engagement with feminism and gender issues has been nothing short of life-affirming."
[G]ender studies courses are extremely friendly and supportive environments. In contrast to the stuffiness and conformity of many academic settings, gender studies students and scholars are tolerant, friendly, and enlightened in their attitudes to race, sexual orientation and transsexuality. Gender studies is invariably more sociable than other academic settings, and all kinds of people are welcome, so long as you are willing to engage with people and ideas in a considered and respectful manner.
So long as...

September 9, 2011

James Fallows: "I shouldn't have called Gov. Rick Perry's reference to Galileo during this week's Republican debate 'flat-out moronic.'"

"That's mean talk that I shouldn't use about anyone, and I'm sorry." He's saying that after "reflection, and in response to a torrent of near- identically phrased outraged mail...."

Not much of a backtrack. Here's where we talked about him yesterday. I don't know if I'm responsible for any or much of his "outraged mail," but if you feel like going over there now and telling him off, please word your email in a manner that displays the unique person that is you.

"TIL that Randall Cobb, the Packers' rookie who scored two touchdowns last night, is the first person to play in the NFL born in the 1990's."

(TIL = today I learned.)

Why doesn't the word "Alaska" appear in this NYT column perceiving that Sarah Palin has some ideas liberals should like?

Anand Giridharadas seems surprised by a speech she gave recently.
[I]n contrast to the sweeping paeans to capitalism and the free market delivered by the Republican presidential candidates whose ranks she has yet to join, she sought to make a distinction between good capitalists and bad ones. The good ones, in her telling, are those small businesses that take risks and sink and swim in the churning market; the bad ones are well-connected megacorporations that live off bailouts, dodge taxes and profit terrifically while creating no jobs.

Strangely, she was saying things that liberals might like, if not for Ms. Palin’s having said them.

“This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk,” she said of the crony variety. She added: “It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest — to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners — the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70 percent of the jobs in America.”
Palin's entire political career was built on this very strangeness. Liberals don't know it because they willfully blinded themselves to anything good about Palin, so they could continue to feel good about themselves as they targeted her for destruction.

Here are the comments on Giridharadas's column, and many of them say — I'm paraphrasing — ever heard of the time she was Governor of Alaska?

Giridharadass's last line is: "No one knows yet whether Ms. Palin will actually run for president. But she did just get more interesting." She's always been interesting like that. You just weren't looking. 

At the Pinkness Café...

... have a healthy dialogue about... whatever.

In Madison, Wisconsin: "a school for 60 male and 60 female sixth-graders geared toward low-income minorities."

Well, they did address the sex discrimination problem. Originally, Madison Prep was to be an all-boys charter school — with the Madison school district is pouring $10.5 million into this lavish experiment. After hearing from the ACLU, there will be equal numbers of boys and girls, albeit with boys and girls in separate classrooms.

Did they hear from groups who are concerned about setting up a separate school for "minorities"? The school — with the original all-boys structure — was proposed by the Urban League of Greater Madison.

"Palin knew Revere better than Obama knew Lincoln."

"It’s even worse, because Palin’s (accurate) comments were made in an on-the-fly interview whereas Obama’s were in a prepared speech."

"Stocks on Wall Street declined sharply on Friday in the wake of a speech by President Obama on jobs..."

"... that added to the uncertainty already weighing on financial markets over European sovereign debt and the weak economic recovery."

See, that's why you don't want to act like you're doing something. People will hold you responsible. But when you're President, of course, you can't really fly under the radar. But that whole joint-session-of-Congress thing... it's so conspicuous.

The linked article is in the NYT, by the way. You'd think they'd be boosting Obama a bit more. Or maybe they are. This is what it looks like post-boost.

Getting attention/avoiding attention.

I'm just noticing that the blog — by accident — has a theme today. So far.

Are you trying to get attention or sneaking around?

Are you looking for attention?
Yes, and getting it.
Yes, please notice me.
No. Not that I'm avoiding it.
No, I'm flying under the radar... for a reason. free polls 

The limits of optical illusions.

It's that dress that gives women an hourglass-figure look... except when it doesn't.

And as long as I'm debasing myself by reading the Daily Mail: Chaz Bono is having trouble rehearsing for "Dancing with the Stars" "because he lacks rhythm." I'm sure they can figure out a few optical illusions — lighting, costumes, editing, spiffy partner — to keep the current attention-getter from early elimination.

"Since getting wiped out in the 2010 election and failing in their massively-financed recall elections, Wisconsin’s Democrats have embarked on a permanent temper tantrum."

"Like little children, they apparently intend to stamp their feet and hold their breath until they get their way. Most recently, they infiltrated and disrupted a Rotary meeting at which Paul Ryan was speaking. More than forty policemen were needed to keep the unruly Democrats under control; they escorted twenty from the Rotary meeting and arrested three."

Video at the link — to Power Line, via Instpundit ("WISCONSIN CRACKUP... So much for that civility crap they were preaching after Tucson").

Why am I getting my Wisconsin news through Instapundit and Power Line? I read at least 3 Wisconsin news sites every day.

You don't have to answer that. It's a rhetorical question. I'm being sober and civil. In Wisconsin. Even though I think the "civility crap" is bullshit.

"3 bike patrol officers injured by hit-and-run driver."

In Milwaukee.

"The political scandal over the failure of Solyndra, the politically connected solar-panel maker, just got a lot more interesting."

"The FBI raided the company's Fremont, California offices yesterday and executed a search warrant."
Congress has been investigating the company, which received a $535 million government loan guarantee in March 2009 and announced August 31 that it is filing for bankruptcy. Yesterday's FBI raid is the first hint of a larger government probe, which is being conducted in cooperation with the Department of Energy's Inspector General. The FBI declined to comment. A Solyndra spokesman said it was surprised by the raid and is cooperating.
Political connections can come back to bite you, when the politicians you were connected to need to gnaw through that connection and run like hell.

“Officials from the Department of Energy have for months been sitting in on board meetings as ‘observers’ at Solyndra, getting an up-close view as the solar energy company careened towards bankruptcy after spending more than $500 million in federal loan money.” Probably felt just like being back at the federal government, which is careening toward bankruptcy after spending more than $15 trillion in loan money . . .

"We used to sneak under the fence on the north side of the stadium."

"There was a loose board there that every kid in Green Bay knew."

That's one way to build a fan base — tolerate the kids sneaking in. That quote is from a woman who proudly announces her seat number — "Section 133, Row 49, Seat 5" — and the fact that she's seen every game — save 2 — since 1957.

"We’re not France... Mr. Bloomberg is pretending we’re a secular society, and we are not."

Complaints about Mayor Bloomberg's exclusion of clergy from NYC's 9/11 ceremony.

It's the old controversy of causing controversy through the effort of avoiding controversy. It's important to observe that the controversy you see is the one you got from the effort at controversy avoidance. You have to envision what the avoided controversy would have looked like. Religious people are good at envisioning the unseen, are they not?

Also, the exclusion of clergy is not the exclusion of religion. It is only the exclusion of individuals whose métier is the purveyance of religion. There is good and bad in that, but consider that silences, in which people do pray, are better than a cast of characters whom some will undoubtedly consider hucksters, getting attention, and maybe saying something offputting or incendiary.

And no, I don't think the bogus mystification of doing something Native American is the right solution.

September 8, 2011

At the Graffiti Bridge Café...

... you can hang out and talk about anything... except the President's speech and the football (and baseball) game. (Scroll down if you're looking for a place to talk about those things. This is a grab bag. Anything else!)

Obama: "But there has always been another thread running throughout our history – a belief that we are all connected..."

That's the line in the President's speech (PDF) that made me cry out loud. Here's the whole sequence, in which he purports to define who we are:
In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everyone’s money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own – that’s not who we are. That’s not the story of America.

Yes, we are rugged individualists. Yes, we are strong and self-reliant. And it has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and envy of the world.

But there has always been another thread running throughout our history – a belief that we are all connected; and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.
What bothered me so much? It was the belief that we are all connected. The idea of the collective. We are one, and the one is the government.

"Reid turns tables on Obama speech-skippers by setting Thursday-night debt vote."

Oh, that's mean!

Feel free to opine and emote about Reid's maneuver and the speech itself in the comments.

What was really going on in Lochner, that Supreme Court case the conventional wisdom tells us to revile?

Glenn Reynolds reviews David Bernstein's book "Rehabilitating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform ":
As is often the case with regulation, large bakeries didn’t mind the law governing maximum hours because they could hire multiple shifts. Small bakeries, with their smaller workforces, found compliance far more difficult. The statute also set limits on ceiling heights designed to put cellar bakeries out of business....

New York’s law, the Court held, wasn’t about health at all. Numerous exceptions and loopholes in the statute undercut that rationale, as did the absence of any evidence that baking was a particularly hazardous profession or that limiting the hours bakers worked had anything to do with the wholesomeness of bread. The majority weighed the state’s claims against scientific evidence, found them wanting, and concluded that the statute lacked sufficient justification when weighed against the freedom of contract protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause. It was, said Justice Peckham, “a mere meddlesome interference with the rights of the individual.”
That was back when legislation had to meet the test of science — as assessed by courts. Do you want that back? Whether you do or not, it's certainly important to know what was really going on with the regulation that the Court struck down and how the understanding of a judicial opinion takes on a life of its own:
[A]n opinion that stopped a joint effort by large corporate interests and big unions to squash small businesses was somehow turned into the centerpiece of a narrative about the Supreme Court upholding big business at the expense of the little guy....
Judicial opinions are spun by interested parties. If you think you know which ones you're supposed to love/loathe, be suspicious!

"Friendly bet on #Packers #Saints game w/ @BobbyJindal."

"We put up WI cheese & beer, looking 4ward 2 getting some seafood after #Packer win."

Tweets Gov. Walker, whose tweeting style is more tweety than that of Gov. Jindal, who tweets"
I bet WI @GovWalker some fresh LA seafood that the Saints beat the Packers tonight. He agreed to send us WI beer and cheese when we win!
Feel free to talk about the big game all you want, right here.

But did Ron Paul cry "wristhold!"?

"During a commercial break, Perry walked up to Paul's podium, physically grabbed Paul's wrist, and pointed at Paul's face with his other hand." 

(Photo at link.)

James Fallows says it was "flat-out moronic" for Rick Perry to bring up Galileo.

Perry was opining on science and climate change:
The science is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans' economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that's not settled yet, to me, is... nonsense. I mean... just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.
What's stupid about that? Fallows says:
[U]ntil this evening's debate, the only reason anyone would use the example of Galileo-vs-the-Vatican was to show that for reasons of dogma, close-mindedness, and "faith-based" limits on inquiry, the findings of real science were too often ignored or ruled out of consideration. And Perry applies that analogy to his argument that we shouldn't listen to today's climate scientists? There are a million good examples of scientific or other expert consensus that turned out to be wrong, which is the point Perry wanted to make. He could have used IBM's early predictions that the total world market for computers would be a mere handful, or the "expert" resistance to public-health and medical theories by Pasteur or Lister, or anything from the great book The Experts Speak.

The reason I think this stings over time is that it's like someone who tries to fancy himself up by using a great big word -- and uses it the wrong way.  Hey, I'll mention Galileo! Unfortunately in mentioning him, I'll show that I don't know the first thing about that case or what an "analogy" is. It's better to be plain spoken.
You know, when you're calling somebody "a flat-out moron," you'd better be sure you're not missing something. It's extremely common to portray environmentalism, as practiced in present-day America, as the equivalent of a religion. Just the other day, for example, I wrote: "enviromentalism is the religion taught in public schools, and it's the kind of religion done with shaming young people." Here's a World Net Daily article from back in 2008 called "The Climate Change Religion." The Freakonomics blog had an item in 2009: "Is Climate-Change Belief a Religion?"("Actually, yes..."). Here's a piece in Forbes from last April: "Climate Change As Religion: The Gospel According To Gore."

In this context, Perry's invocation of Galileo makes perfect sense, and if anybody's a flat-out moron here, it's Fallows.

Re-taking the Political Compass test.

Wizbang calls attention to this test, which has been around a while. I knew I'd taken it before, but I took it again. A re-test. Some people have told me I've gotten more "right wing," sometimes attributing the phenomenon to my intimacy with Meade.

Here's how I came out:

Economic Left/Right: 2.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.79

Then I did a search to find my previous results, from January 2007:

Economic Left/Right: -0.63
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.21

So I am a bit more right wing and a bit less libertarian. Not much. You can see I'm awfully close to the center.

I see there are some other political tests I could retake, but I'm tired of answering questions now.

"I will totally break my diet to try this.... Laughing is healthy & burns calories!"

"I can't wait to see all the jokes about Schweddy Balls."

Oddly, this strikes me as the squarest thing I've read in months.

"How did we go from being the center of the universe to everyone’s leaving?"

"We were in our own little bubble... And then, I’d say 10 minutes into the show, I looked around and all of these camera crews were just bolting out the door. I was wondering: 'Have we done something wrong? ... What’s happening?’'"

"Perry shows no remorse, not even a tiny smidgen of reflection, especially when we know for certain that he signed the death warrant for an innocent man."

Writes Andrew Sullivan, live-blogging last night's debate.

Let's look at the transcript:
[BRIAN] WILLIAMS: Governor Perry, a question about Texas. Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. Have you...

Okay, the applause interruption really does look bad. But that's not Perry.
Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?
So... "might have been innocent." Where is the information that Texas "for certain" executed "an innocent man"? I know Perry didn't "sign the death warrant," because — pay attention, Andrew Sullivan — and I'm quoting the Washington Post here: "Decisions to seek the death penalty are made by local prosecutors. Unlike in some states, the governor does not sign death warrants or set execution dates." And I'm not seeing any information in that recent article about the execution of a man known to be innocent. So what is Sullivan posturing about?

Here's Perry's answer:
PERRY: No, sir. I've never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place of which -- when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court of the United States, if that's required.

But in the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you're involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is, you will be executed.

WILLIAMS: What do you make of...

This time the applause is fine. Perry has shown respect for the legal process and for the scope of his role as governor. He's expressed support for the death penalty in an articulate and circumspect way, and most Americans do support the death penalty. He was asked to confess that he agonizes about the possibility of mistakes, and he gave a sober — not emotive — response that refers to the safeguards of the legal process and the proportionality of the punishment.
WILLIAMS: What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?
Again, Williams —skillfully — lures Perry into the realm of emotion. Perhaps he's looking for a big moment, perhaps something like what happened to Michael Dukakis in the second presidential debate in 1988. Dukakis was against the death penalty, and the question asked by Bernard Shaw invited him to show some passion and fire about crime — what if your wife were raped and murdered? — and Dukakis stayed doggedly on his track, expressing coolly rational rejection of the death penalty.

In last night's debate, Perry declined the invitation to show passion about death — the death of the convicted murderer — and, like Dukakis, he stayed coolly rational. In Sullivan's words, he "shows no remorse" or "reflection" — but he did show reflection, reflection about the soundness of the system of justice. He didn't show remorse. Remorse is what you ask a criminal to show. It was fine for Perry not to be lured into displaying angst over executions. But then I thought it was fine for Dukakis to keep from getting sidetracked by Shaw's melodramatic hypothetical. All we're talking about is the public's response to the candidate and the journalist's effort to create excitement. The difference is, most Americans support the death penalty, and they don't need elaborate expressions about the deep significance of death when it's the death of a convicted murderer.

Perry does well at this point:
PERRY: I think Americans understand justice. I think Americans are clearly, in the vast majority of -- of cases, supportive of capital punishment. When you have committed heinous crimes against our citizens -- and it's a state-by-state issue, but in the state of Texas, our citizens have made that decision, and they made it clear, and they don't want you to commit those crimes against our citizens. And if you do, you will face the ultimate justice.
That's the answer, plainly and appropriately stated. Sullivan's straining to use this to portray Perry as evil is — to my mind — and I oppose the death penalty — demagoguery.

"It takes away from the player that he's been for them with his fuse being so short and actually looking for things to instigate."

"He's close to the edge as far as creating problems and trouble... I hope he gets a clue. It's the truth. He could be the player that he is without instigating."

Tony La Russa on Nyjer Morgan.

Chris Matthews feels something "big" and "hard" and "bad" and it's Rick Perry.

Chris Matthews. I know. Why am I even listening? I didn't listen to the MSNBC commentary after the debate. (I immediately switched over to the Brewers game.) But I did turn on the recorded commentary this morning as I was making coffee, and I heard this overheated rant about Rick Perry. This is my transcription of Matthews chattering:
It's real: this man's absolute opposition to scientific information. The thought that this country would elect or seriously consider electing someone who stands out there and says I don't accept science on climate change and clearly doesn't want to study it any further. I think that's the big, hard, bad news for the Republican Party. Their front-runner, tonight, seemed to be anti-science and this country has to win the battle of science in the world against China and India and the other [something] countries. If we give up on science, if we get the image of being a yahoo country, a monkey-business country, we got a real problem in terms of our national identity and this fellow we're looking at right now is leading the charge, the luddite charge against modern technology and modern information. So I think that's the hard, bad news for the Republican party.
So Mr. Science there — the man whose leg felt a thrill when he heard Barack Obama — says "big, hard, bad" and "hard, bad" when he sees Rick Perry. I'd say Matthews is scared. He's spewing emotion. But he would like us to believe he's devoted to science! A burbling bundle of emotion attempts to embody seriousness about science. It's absurd.

What is a "monkey-business country"? Did some notion of the "monkey trial" flitter through his flickering brain? Perry said nothing about evolution, but whatever. He seemed "anti-science" to Matthews, and Matthews opened up his anti-science floodgate and "monkey-business country" popped out, along with "yahoo" and "luddite," which are also rattling around in the same word bin in the mind of Matthews.

Let's look at the transcript and try to inject a little reality into the Matthews word-mush. John Harris of Politico has just asked Jon Huntsman — Jon Meade Huntsman Jr. — which of his fellow Republicans has been "saying crazy or inane things." Huntsman demurs. Harris tries again: "You yourself have said the party is in danger of becoming anti- science. Who on this stage is anti-science?" Huntsman says:
Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy. We've got to win voters.
Odd that "We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy" and "We've got to win voters" followed the notion that "we can't run from science." Does he think it's difficult to be scientific and conservative? Anyway, Huntsman's main point is that if Republicans aren't scientific, it will "turn people off" and they won't win. That's about science, but not about the devotion to science. It's just a pragmatic statement about winning elections.

Harris turns to Rick Perry, even though Huntsman didn't name Perry (as Harris, obviously, had hoped). Harris doesn't pick up the evolution thread, but he asks Perry about "climate change": "You said that weekly and even daily, scientists are coming forward to question the idea that human activity is behind climate change. Which scientists have you found most credible on this subject?" Of course, Perry doesn't name any scientists. He says:
Well, I do agree that there is -- the science is -- is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans' economy at -- at -- at jeopardy based on scientific theory that's not settled yet, to me, is just -- is nonsense. I mean, it -- I mean -- and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.

But the fact is, to put America's economic future in jeopardy, asking us to cut back in areas that would have monstrous economic impact on this country is not good economics and I will suggest to you is not necessarily good science. Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy.
Now, that's just not anti-science. Perry resists signing on to the opinion of the experts who portray themselves as the scientific consensus, but he didn't say he "clearly doesn't want to study [climate change] any further," which is the way Chris Matthews characterized his remarks. Perry said he wanted accurate science and more science — especially when it is the basis for proposals that would have a "monstrous economic impact."

Citing statistics showing success improving air quality in Texas, Perry says:
That's the way you need to do it, not by some scientist somewhere saying, "Here is what we think is happening out there." The fact of the matter is, the science is not settled on whether or not the climate change is being impacted by man to the point where we're going to put America's economics in jeopardy.
That's not anti-science. That is a practical man setting a high burden of proof about the degree to which science must be "settled" where the effect on the economy is severe. You may disagree on the question of how settled the science is, but that doesn't make him anti-science.

Matthews, brought on to analyze the debate, seems barely to have heard what Perry actually said. He simply unleashed a torrent of words around the subject of science and tried to scare people — if anyone was still watching — about this yahoo monkeyman Perry.

September 7, 2011

Live-blogging the Republican Debate.

Come on! Hang out in the comments. We're doing this!

3:32 minutes into the show — Live-stream here... as Rick Perry gets the first question and a chance to tell us about the success in Texas. "I'm proud of what we done in the state of Texas." [Yes: what we done...]

5:13 — As Perry talks, Romney looks on. He's taller. He's got those graying temples and slight sideburns. He's wearing a blue suit... and maybe they all are. Romney gets the next question: "If I'd spent all my life in politics..." That's his angle: experience in the private sector. He's asked if life in government is a "disqualification," which he brushes off, even as he wants us to think it is. Romney looks calm and Perry a tad nervous. Romney is hot! And tan! Perry looks wrinkly and pasty. Romney stresses how hard it was to succeed in Massachusetts compared to Texas.

10:41 — Great interplay between Romney and Perry and Romney clearly won it. He needed to. Let's see if Perry comes back. Now, it's Santorum and then Cain. We're less interested in these characters. Sorry.

13:08 — Asked of Huntsman: "What does Romney not get about China?" "We are the most blue-sky, optimistic people on earth." And Utah beats Texas and Massachusetts.

14:37 — Michele Bachmann's hair is getting bigger and bigger. She says Obamacare is keeping businesses from creating jobs. It's killing jobs.

18:00 — Ron Paul is stressing out about regulations. We don't need the federal government to tell us if cars are safe. The consumer is smart enough to figure it out!

21:42 — On "Day 1," Romney will grant all the states a waiver from Obamacare.

23:05 — Perry is settling in, getting comfortable. Huntsman is coming alive too.

26:54 — Bachmann presents herself as the one who understands the legislative process: An executive order is not enough. And she's the one who will (somehow) be able to lead Congress to deliver up the anti-Obamacare legislation that is needed.

27:33 — Gingrich gets testy: "I'm frankly not interested in your effort to get Republicans fighting each other." Everyone on the stage knows "Obamacare is a disaster... it can't be implemented, it's killing the economy... Every person up here agrees with that." Nicely slammed. The media is going to try to get Republicans fighting each other, and he's calling their bluff. The Republicans are united: "a team." Well done!

32:00 — Rick Santorum believes "in the dignity of every person"... and he's not talking about abortion. He's talking about getting people off welfare and into work.

32:43 — What will Rick Perry do about the fact that white people are so much richer than black people? "Create an environment" where people who risk their capital will get a return on their investment. (He shrugs off the prompt to talk about race. He's not interested in that!)

 35:23 — Green jobs?! Let's have real jobs, says Romney.

37:52 — Ron Paul: "Mandates! That's what the whole society is about!" It's not just Obamacare. It's also Medicare. "We don't need the government running our lives." He can get you a gallon of gasoline for a dime! (Because a silver dime is worth $3.50... or something.)

40:28 — Hey, John Althouse Cohen is live-blogging. "Perry takes a gratuitous swipe at Ron Paul for quibbling with then-President Reagan. This is a transparent gambit on Perry's part to give more time to Paul and take time away from the stronger candidates."

47:21 — Nancy Reagan embracing Ronald Reagan's casket. Tears. It's the Reagan remembrance interlude. Ah! She's there. Hi, Nancy!

48:13 — "Karl Rove is over the top," says Rick Perry, referring to Rove's insinuation that Perry is too extreme in, for example, calling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme." Perry says he's "not responsible" for Karl Rove. Everyone knows Social Security is "a lie." Does that mean if we vote for him, we're giving up our demand that government meet its promise to us, based on which it skimmed off our wages for our entire working lives? We shouldn't concede that.

51:03 — Romney is asked how we can have a "candid conversation" about Social Security without "scaring seniors." Scaring seniors! Why don't younger people have a basis for demanding that the money they paid in be paid out when they are old? The premise of the question outrages me. Romney says Social Security is "not working" but the GOP nominee must be someone who will save Social Security, not abolish it. "We gotta do that as a party."

53:51 — Ron Paul is invited to attack Rick Perry. Paul lights into Perry for an executive order — as governor — forcing HPV vaccines on 12-year-old girls.  Bachmann follows on. (She's not getting much of a chance to show her stuff tonight.)

57:14 — "I will always err on the side of saving lives," Perry says emphatically, referring specifically to his order to vaccinate young girls against HPV, a sexually transmitted virus. He concedes the executive order might have been a mistake, but he's also kind of not sorry.

58:44 — After Santorum attacks Perry, Romney takes a conciliatory tone. Perry's "heart is in the right place." Let's attack Obama! He "doesn't have a clue!"

1:23:54 — Romney, are you in the Tea Party? He believes in "a lot" of it.

1:26:25 — Huntsman wants to pledge: "no pledges."

1:27:30 — Huntsman would bring the troops home from Afghanistan (and do the "nation-building" at home).

1:28:53 — Romney says we need a President who "loves America" (unlike Obama). Then Perry decides to go out of his way to give Obama some credit: He killed bin Laden... "and he's proven once and for all that government spending will not create one job.... and he kept Gitmo open."

1:35:35 —  Are you Republicans a bunch of crazy cranks? Which of these people on the stage are crazy? That's the question! To Huntsman. This gets back to what riled up Gingrich, at 27:33: The moderators want to turn the Republicans on each other.

1:38:30 — Perry uses the word "monstrous" a lot!

My overall impression? The moderators tried to provoke a war amongst Republicans, and Gingrich was the hero of the evening by calling them out. I thought Huntsman did himself some good, and Bachmann for some reason didn't find a way to stand out. The main focus was on Perry and Romney — in part because the moderators made that happen. And I think Romney looked better than Perry. As they say, he seemed presidential. He had a lot of poise and he made plenty of sense. Perry seemed rough, but it was his first go round.

David Blaska asks the incendiary question: "Is Justice Ann Walsh Bradley a liar or just very troubled?"

He marshals evidence from the investigative file. His conclusions are harsh, but I don't think he misrepresents what is in the file.

He makes inferences from Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson's hypothetical question to her law clerk — right after the incident — "Hypothetically, what you would do if someone got in your space?"

Why would she ask that unless it was her perception that Justice Bradley had just gotten into Justice Prosser's personal space? Blaska's point is to bolster the credibility of the other 3 Justices who said that Bradley rushed at Prosser. The other 3, unlike the Chief, are seen as allied with Prosser, so adding her perceptions to theirs is significant.

By the way, I think a reason for posing the hypothetical is to test a theory that reasonable people retreat. But the law clerk "responded to the Chief Justice something to the effect that he was 6'4" and young, so he wouldn't have to do much to a person." The law clerk, presumably a reasonable man, assumed that one would do something physical — "an arm block... or something" — to resist or deflect.

Also at Blaska's: the investigator's diagram showing the placement of the furniture and various Justices, showing Prosser had no room to retreat.

Lots of comments over there... including Meade's.

"[H]e is Chris Christie without the bombasts, Paul Ryan with the executive experience..."

"... Rudy Giuliani without the operatic drama, Mitch Daniels with charm and Haley Barbour without the accent."

But he can't be the GOP nominee, because... that name.

California trumps San Francisco on circumcision.

The city has a ballot initiative that would outlaw circumcision, with no exemption for religion, and the state legislature has now barred cities from adopting a such a law (assuming Gov. Brown signs on).

At the Leaf-Green Café...

... don't be hostile.

Whatever happened to Monica Lewinsky?

Not much.

"President Barack Obama plans to propose sparking job growth by injecting more than $300 billion into the economy next year..."

"... mostly through tax cuts, infrastructure spending and direct aid to state and local governments."
Almost half the stimulus would come from tax cuts, which include an extension of a two-percentage-point reduction in the payroll tax paid by workers due to expire Dec. 31 and a new decrease in the portion of the tax paid by employers.
It's big enough to upset Tea Party types, but not big enough to impress his lefty critics. I think the President's reelection strategy is to be really rather dull and middling... and to count on the other side looking extreme.

"Republican Debate: Five Things to Watch."

Is it: Rick Perry, Rick Perry, Rick Perry, Rick Perry, Rick Perry? 

By the way, I plan to live-blog tonight's debate, so considering hanging out and commenting here.

It's a Monday kind of Tuesday.

I know it's Wednesday, but I was just thinking about "It's a Monday Kind of Tuesday," and the question occurred to me: What day of the week is most frequently sung about?

And if you're planning to say Friday, I hope the song on your mind is "Friday On My Mind."

I'm very fond of "Gloomy Sunday," and maybe it's Sunday.

I'm guessing the answer is Friday, Monday, or Sunday. No way it's Thursday.

"ObamaCare Backers in Wisconsin Produce Report Showing That the Health Care Overhaul Will Make Health Insurance More Expensive."


What can the Wisconsin Supreme Court do to restore the public's confidence that this court is really a court?

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson sent out a memo offering some ideas about restoring decorum (and public confidence), including opening judicial conferences to the public:
The presumption should be that all conferences are open.
a. The open conference could be held in the hearing room.

b. The open conference could be held in the closed conference room and streamed to the public.
As I said when we discussed this earlier, I don't see how this could be fair to the parties or how it is consistent with the idea deciding cases according to the legal texts and precedents (rather than policy preferences and political orientation). You'd have judges looking more like legislators, which is exactly what they shouldn't do if they want to look judicial.

The Chief Justice also proposes:
An expert on small group dynamics could be retained at no expense to the taxpayers to work with each Justice for ways in which the Justice can work in a more constructive manner....
Who would choose this expert? Would this be a variation on the demand — made by Justice Bradley after the "chokehold" incident — that Justice Prosser submit to "anger management" therapy? Yes, now all the Justices would submit, but submit to whom? What biases and preferences would this outsider bring to the project? (Sorry, I just can't picture anybody being neutrally professional anymore.)

Another proposal of the Chief's:
An internal operating procedure or rule could be adopted that 4 Justices not be considered a quorum or a binding majority that can direct action by the Chief Justice or Court staff unless all Justices have been advised of the "meeting/conference" and all Justices have had the ability to participate in the "meeting/conference" and in the decision making. 
That would empower the 3-justice minority to control the 4-justice majority.  It's hard to picture this court in this state having that kind of trust. (I'm thinking of how hard it was for the 4 conservative justices to find and interact with the 3 liberal justices on the day of the "chokehold" incident and also the way the Democratic minority thwarted the operation of the state senate last winter by hiding out in Illinois. The "fleebagger" strategy was only feasible because of a supermajority quorum rule.)

The Chief Justice would also like a separate "tribunal (not composed of Justices)" to make the final call on whether a Justice should recuse himself in a case and a process of replacing recused Justices with "a judge be selected at random." Obviously, you can see the potential for wresting the majority out of the hands of the 4 conservatives the people of Wisconsin have elected to the court. Imagine the endless strategic fighting over recusals!

Sorry to be so cynical. I can't help it, and I don't have a better solution to restoring the prestige of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

IN THE COMMENTS: bagoh20 said:
All they can do to make it better is shut up and get to work, but there is huge toolbox of things they can do to make it worse....
Althouse, isn't your philosophy that just doing nothing is often the best course? I happen to agree, and it's part of my business philosophy too. 
Yes! Nothing! I recommend nothing. Think about "better than nothing" as being, in reality, a high standard.

"There's going to be a cloud hanging over" the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Says Professor Donald Downs... as the justices had to sit side by side in public again.... and nobody got choked.

So... what's a law professor to do about this website that sells outlines to our courses?

Here's the website. My ideas, off the top of my head:

1. Buy the outlines to your class, find the errors, and deliberately frame the exam around those errors.

1a. Moderate version: Just tell the students that's what you're going to do.

1b. Candyass version: Tell the students that's what crossed your mind, but of course you won't do that.

1c. Reverse twisted candyass move: Tell the students that's what Althouse emailed the law school faculty that she thought of doing and she's kind of person who would do it.

2. Buy the outline for your class, rewrite it to fix errors, make it clearer, and otherwise improve it, and send it around on the class email list — free.

2a. Lazy version: Buy the outline for your own class. Tell the students you know they are buying the outlines, so you're just going to distribute them, free, and warn them that mistakes may be in there and you haven't checked. At least screw up this website's profit model.

3. Legal approach: Bring a class action on behalf of all the lawprofs on the list for copyright infringement, etc.

This peasant doesn't realize I loathe hydrangeas....

September 6, 2011

Misophonia — "a newly recognized condition that remains little studied and poorly understood."

A newly recognized condition... or an old irritability with a name that helps irritable people feel less irritated by their own characteristic of being terribly irritated by other people?
Many people can be driven to distraction by certain small sounds that do not seem to bother others — gum chewing, footsteps, humming. But sufferers of misophonia... [are believed to have something that] is hard-wired, like right- or left-handedness, and is probably not an auditory disorder but a “physiological abnormality” that resides in brain structures activated by processed sound....

Misophonia (“dislike of sound”) is sometimes confused with hyperacusis, in which sound is perceived as abnormally loud or physically painful. But Dr. Johnson says they are not the same. “These people like sound, the louder the better,” she said of misophonia patients. “The sounds they object to are soft, hardly audible sounds.” One patient is driven crazy by her beloved dog licking its paws. Another can’t bear the pop of the plosive “p” in ordinary conversation.

"People assume I’m O.K. with a young boy being murdered because I represent the defendant."

"To me, that’s pretty vicious. They have to understand, I’m not all right with people being murdered or with crime. I’m all right with defending constitutional rights. If he’s guilty, he will be convicted. And that’s it. But my God... it’s going to be legally."

Thanks to Jennifer L. McCann and all the criminal defense lawyers who perform this necessary role.

"Tammy Baldwin enters race for open Senate seat."

All right!
Baldwin is the first Democrat in the field and likely the front-runner for her party's nomination....

She linked herself to the political tradition of Kohl and former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold and declared, "It's time politicians looked out for seniors, working families and the middle class - instead of protecting the profits of big oil and Wall Street."...

To her opponents, particularly among Republicans, Baldwin is the definition of a tax-and-spend Madison liberal who backed "Obamacare."...

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon), who is all but guaranteed to enter the U.S. Senate race, said, "I think Tammy is the epitome of what's wrong in Washington right now."
May the issues be sharply defined!

ADDED: Here's Meade's video of Tammy Baldwin, with her hand held by Jesse Jackson, on February 23, in the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda, at the height of the protests:

Note the marionette effect at 6:53.

Palin upstages a bride.

Is that good etiquette?

Jimmy Hoffa's "Let’s take these sons of bitches out" speech — take 2.

I've already blogged about this speech, but I woke up this morning thinking there's something else about the speech that's worse than the murderous metaphor. Let's look at the text. I'll add some boldface to focus your attention on what I want to talk about now:
We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war... President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march… Everybody here’s got a vote... Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.
Hoffa is a labor leader, pushing the agenda of labor unions.  The interests of the actually people who work may converge or diverge with the interests of labor unions. Don't let him conflate the 2 entities. He may say "we," but that doesn't mean he embodies everyone who works (or wants to work) in America.
He can't even get to supersede the individuality of the members of the Teamsters Union (the union he heads). Yes, he's empowered to bargain for them, but that eradicate their individual minds and personal political preferences. Yes, they take the deal he gets for them, but that doesn't mean that they all want what he brings them or that they want only that. Some of them, obviously, support different politicians. Some may hate being in a union. Some may like the union but prefer different policies.

Right now, unions are fighting to preserve unions, and that might be best for workers. But the individuals who work — or want to work — may very well think their interests lie elsewhere. I'd like to think that the vast majority of people who work resist the assertion that there is a "war on workers." It's quite clear that every serious politician in America cares about what happens to individual citizens. They're not aligned in an army against the citizens! They have different ideas about how to improve things. Hoffa announces that there are 2 sides aligned in a fight against each other, and he would like anyone who has or wants a jobs to perceive himself or herself as a "worker" and thus a foot soldier in his army, with no independent mind.

That's quite repulsive.

And by the way, the constant use of this word "workers" reinforces the notion of the collective. You can see that for Hoffa, "workers" mean "soldiers" — and obviously, soldiers take orders. They don't think for themselves.

"Feminism is all about taking control away from the individual woman..."

"... and putting it into the hands of women, as determined by . . . feminists."

Says Instapundit, ceding to some feminists the power to define feminism in leftist terms. I wouldn't do that. I mean, I understand his point, but why not fight over what feminism really is or should be? We could claim that real feminism demands individual empowerment.

This reminds me of that set of essays in Slate: "Who Gets To Be a Feminist?"  Perhaps I'm contradicting what I wrote there, but I don't accept "feminism" and "feminist" becoming pejoratives. I would rather say that's not good feminism than the feminists are hurting women. If they are hurting women, they are not promoting feminism as it should be. And I think they would agree with that abstract proposition: if it's hurting women, it's not what feminism should be.

September 5, 2011

At the Seagull Café...

... you can hang out here as long as you want.

"We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers."

“And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war... President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march… Everybody here’s got a vote... Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong."

Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, trying perhaps to sound feisty and combative, goes way too far. "Let's take these son of bitches out"? That connotes murder. Whatever happened to the civility Obama talked about last January? Obama took the stage after Hoffa and expressed approval!

I realize "let's take these sons of bitches out" can be interpreted to mean let's vote these terrible people out of office. But "take them out" is not an idiomatic expression that corresponds to "vote them out." Take them out? Maybe that's not the phrase he intended to use, but if it was unintended, it was still a gaffe. A revealing gaffe. Unless you're speaking in a positive way — referring to taking someone out on a date, for example — "take them out" is a violent command. With "sons of bitches" right there, it's unmistakably violent. Now, you can say it's only metaphorical, and all Hoffa really wants is to oust these people from office.

But it was only last January that Obama and many other Democrats were saying that violent metaphors, including a simple target on a map, were dangerous incitements for the unstable irrational folk out there.

UPDATE: On reflection, I'm more concerned about something else Hoffa said.

Yesterday and today.

"The End of the Jerry Lewis Telethon—It's About Time."

Says history prof Jon Wiener:
Every year it was the same. Jerry did his telethon shtick, parading little kids in wheelchairs across the Las Vegas stage, making maudlin appeals for cash, alternatively mugging and weeping, and generally claiming to be a friend to the doomed.

The pitch was always for “Jerry’s kids.” But two-thirds of the clients of the Muscular Dystrophy Association were adults, and they didn’t like being referred to as “Jerry’s kids.”
Time passed. The "kids" kept growing up. And Jerry got more and more outmoded.
For me, the worst moment of the telethon came in 1972 when John and Yoko appeared. They played some good music—“Imagine,” and a reggae version of “Give Peace a Chance.” But they were there for a political reason: President Nixon had been trying to deport them for almost a year, and they were desperate to say in the USA. So to prove they were deserving of residency, they stopped hanging out with Jerry Rubin and instead embraced Jerry Lewis. That’s why Lennon told the telethon audience “Jerry is one of our favorite comedians.”
Nixon! Still railing about Nixon over there in The Nation, where this article is published.

Elsewhere, in the same old lefty journal there's another Labor Day piece, "Top Ten Labor Day Songs," and there's John Lennon again, holding down the 2 position with "Working Class Hero." John Lennon, John Lennon, John Lennon. I wonder how he'd feel if he could know how closely American lefties would cuddle him 30 years after his death.

"Working Class Hero" is not one of the labor songs sung by the Solidarity Singers who do their singalongs every weekday at the Wisconsin Capitol. And it's not surprising. The unions that were fought for in the Great Wisconsin Protests of 2011 were public employee unions, especially teachers unions. Picture the teacher-folk singing these lyrics:
They hurt you at home and they hit you at school,
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool,
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years,
Then they expect you to pick a career,
When you can't really function you're so full of fear,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
There's really nothing in that song stoking enthusiasm for labor unions. There's nothing about working. It's about a disabling fear of work. And it's not the boss who tortures and scares you in those first 20 years. It's the parents and the teachers.

If he won't run for President, will Paul Ryan at least consider Vice President?

"I'm not going to focus on that only because it's someone else's decision, so what's the point of answering that question? I'm focused on doing my job right and that's so far away and it's out of my control, so I just don't spend my time worrying about it. I spend my time worrying about my job, which is balancing the budget, getting this debt under control and creating the conditions that will get jobs created in this country."

Paul Ryan is focused on the task before him. No frivolities will distract him.


Would a truly doggedly on-task type guy make a good President? Maybe not!

"This article is wrong. The 4 things you need are..."

"Flashlight, loaded gun, telephone and condoms."

"I mean, I would rather dress like a book character — I don't really want to spend brainpower...

"... strategizing about [what to wear for] street-style photographers when I go to Fashion Week. I also value being comfortable now more than I used to."

Tavi Gevinson gets jaded... and old. She's 15.

"A numbing succession of meaningless games for the Yankees and Red Sox."

"Bud Selig can sing all the praises he wants about the wild card, but for the ninth time in its 17-year history, it has turned September into a numbing succession of meaningless games for the Yankees and Red Sox as they go through the motions of lopping the days off the calendar until the postseason. And this year especially, the wild card has done nothing to boost fan interest as both wild cards and five out of the six division races are virtually sewed up with nearly a month to go."

It's like baseball wants everyone to switch over to football.

The end of the Post Office?

Is it unthinkable?
The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances.
Why not close it down? Isn't it strange that it's on the brink — or really over the brink... in that Wile E. Coyote way...

... of collapsing entirely... and yet they still haven't eliminated Saturday delivery?
[D]ecades of contractual promises made to unionized workers, including no-layoff clauses, are increasing the post office’s costs. Labor represents 80 percent of the agency’s expenses, compared with 53 percent at United Parcel Service and 32 percent at FedEx, its two biggest private competitors. Postal workers also receive more generous health benefits than most other federal employees....

“The situation is dire,” said Thomas R. Carper, the Delaware Democrat who is chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the postal service. “If we do nothing, if we don’t react in a smart, appropriate way, the postal service could literally close later this year. That’s not the kind of development we need to inject into a weak, uneven economic recovery.”
My preference is always: do nothing. That's the presumption you need to overcome. It's good for government and it's good for your individual life too. (For decades, my personal motto has been: Better than nothing is a high standard.)

Why not let this propped-up competitor to FedEx and UPS (and the internet) fall? There would be losers but there would also be winners.

Why are we so afraid to find out? Remember what Rahm says:

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

ADDED: My postman just delivered a 615-page catalog from Restoration Hardware. Why was that a feasible business move for Restoration Hardware? I've never mail-ordered anything from them. Why is the government subsidizing this inefficiency? If I were interested in buying something from RH, I would go to their website. Instead, I have to lug this heavy object to the garbage can/recycle bin? Think of the carbon footprint. I do! But I don't believe the government believes the climate change hype. Because they never act like they do.

IN THE COMMENTS: Paddy O said:
Ann, watch out. Don't mess with the mail. I shouldn't even be talking to you, but I'm telling you as a friend. Here's how it's going to happen: you may be walking. Maybe on a crisp, autumn day just like today. When a mail truck will slow beside you, and a door will open, and a mailman you know, maybe even trust, will offer to give you a lift. And no one will ever see you again!

"Happy Labor Day: Top 10 union thug moments of the year."

Michelle Malkin catches the holiday spirit.

Only #8 and #5 take place in Madison, Wisconsin. And #1, which takes place in Boston, is a rally "in solidarity" with the Wisconsin protesters. The Democratic congressman, Mike Capuano, tells people to "get a little bloody":

Now, let's be fair. The full quote is: "Every once in a while you gotta get out in the streets and get a little bloody when necessary." Every once in a while — not all the time. Get a little bloody... a little! Not a lot. When necessary — no gratuitous violence. That's almost surgical. Does that deserve to be labeled "thuggery"?

The word "thug" has evolved over the years. Here's the etymology:
thug — 1810, "member of a gang of murderers and robbers in India who strangled their victims," from Marathi thag, thak "cheat, swindler," Hindi thag, perhaps from Skt. sthaga-s "cunning, fraudulent," possibly from sthagayati "(he) covers, conceals," from PIE base *(s)teg- "cover" (see stegosaurus). Transferred sense of "ruffian, cutthroat" first recorded 1839. The more correct Indian name is phanseegur, and the activity was described in English as far back as c.1665. Rigorously prosecuted by the British from 1831, they were driven from existence, but the process extended over the rest of the 19c.
Strangled?! This gives me an idea for another top 10 list: Top 10 judicial thug moments of the year! I've got your Wisconsin judicial thuggery right here. Help me fill out the list. It needn't be literal strangling. Other brutish behavior, physical or otherwise, may make the list, especially if you're fingering a cunning ruffian (or armor-plated fossil).

Sarah Palin is running for President using a visual metaphor strategy.

That's my take on the half-marathon in Iowa.

What else can she do — in Iowa and elsewhere — to run/not run for the cameras, in sly, photogenic, creative fashion?

Jane Fonda: "My biggest regret is..."


"We've had blow-downs before, just nothing this size."

One thunderstorm in July felled around 2 million cords of wood in Wisconsin's North Woods.
"If a tornado hits, a tornado is a half-mile to a mile wide and two to three miles long," Ericson said. "Then it lifts and it's done.

"This went on for miles."...

If you cut and stacked the logs on 40-foot logging trailers and included the trucks to haul them, they would stretch 1,700 miles,

"Many people might figure that a cheap plastic toy like a Wiffle Ball is made elsewhere, in someplace like China."

"After all, how can American companies compete on the cost of labor for little plastic toys? But that assumption would be wrong — every Wiffle Ball ever made has come from Shelton, Conn."

The trip home seems shorter.

But why?

September 4, 2011

At the Purple-Edged Cafe...

... you can talk until you're blue in the face

"We use a lot of rocks in our landscaping... Every time we take a trip, I'm somehow able to take a rock home in my suitcase."

Okay... but I remember when Lucille Ball did that in "The Long, Long Trailer." It was very disturbing!

"I didn't mean to lie to you, [R]icky. But they mean so much to me! [R]icky, stop it!"

"Do you realize she could have killed the 2 of us? She and her rocks and her raspberry jam!"

(Harrowing driving scene at the second link, and if you keep watching, you'll end up with hot Lucy-and-Ricky sex symbolized by the flapping of the trailer door.)

Obama wisecrack: "Maybe I should throw the game."

Spoken during the 2008 campaign, in the context of observing all the problems the next President would face.

Quoted by Maureen Dowd, who, naturally, wisecracks that he must now wish he had.

It's not really very funny. On the other hand, why does anyone step up to be President? It's some evidence of Obama's normality, which was one thing I always found appealing. You'd think it would only be really weird folk who'd decide they should be President and can actually handle the impossible job of dealing with all of the problems in the world and putting up with being the biggest punching bag in the world. And here was someone seemingly normal willing to do it... and perhaps as able to do the impossible as anyone else (and more able than John McCain).

More Dowd (boldface by me):
Obama’s re-election chances depend on painting the Republicans as disrespectful. So why would the White House act disrespectful by scheduling a speech to a joint session of Congress at the exact time when the Republicans already had a debate planned?...

Obama is still suffering from the Speech Illusion, the idea that he can come down from the mountain, read from a Teleprompter, cast a magic spell with his words and climb back up the mountain, while we scurry around and do what he proclaimed.

The days of spinning illusions in a Greek temple in a football stadium are done. The One is dancing on the edge of one term.

The White House team is flailing — reacting, regrouping, retrenching. It’s repugnant.
Re-re-re-spect-spect-spect-spect. (I'm supplying the pop culture reference that I expected to pop out of Dowd, given her usual style and how clearly set up that one seems. Is it a reach to suggest that she wanted to reference the famous Aretha Franklin recording, and she or her editor fretted that it would seem racial?)

The 16,230 calorie sandwich.

Step-by-step photographs.

(I was just reading somewhere the other day — are you still allowed to say that in the Google era? — that the reason Americans are "so fat" is that our sandwiches are too big.)

Did a 24-year-old Cincinnati man die of a toothache because he didn't have health insurance?

No. Let's be honest. It's sad that he died, but let's be clear about why he died and not demagogue it.


I've added the AMAZON link to this blog's banner, so you will never have to wonder, when you've got a purchase to make, how to do it so that Althouse gets a percentage (with no added cost to you). And thanks to everyone who thinks of showing some appreciation for me that way. I notice and it touches me to see that you enjoy hanging out here enough to take the extra second to use that link, when you've got something you need to buy anyway. Seriously, Amazon Associates is a great program, and everybody wins.