March 3, 2012

At the Snowhill Café...

... we'll be friends for life.

The stolen heart: "It's completely bizarre."

"The thief would have needed metal cutters to prise open the iron bars protecting the wooden heart-shaped box holding St Laurence O'Toole's heart."

"Mitt Romney won Saturday’s nonbinding caucuses in Washington State, handing him a symbolic victory..."

"... in his quest for the Republican nomination as he heads into the critical 'Super Tuesday; contests just three days away."

One year ago today at the Wisconsin protests: 100 protesters stormed the Capitol.

Meade shot video of them in the rotunda as they discussed whether, if they received an order to leave, they should stay or go.

And, check it out, I criticized Rush Limbaugh. For what? For saying the Wisconsin protesters were "littering the sidewalks and the streets" with "used Kotex." I said: "I've lived in Madison, Wisconsin for 25 years — and I've gone over to the protests nearly every day — and I've never seen a used Kotex anywhere. I put up a post showing trash on one of the first days of protest, but ever since then, I've been impressed that they are picking up trash."

And here's edited video where Meade and I talk about whether the young protesters will " be really embarrassed some day to look back and realize that they had joined in on something that was really a mistake and they chose the wrong side and that they joined it with such fervor."

Snow walk.

Picnic Point:

(Photo by Meade.)

Unitarian Church:

(Photo by me. Architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright.)

Rush Limbaugh: "I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke."

A statement issued this afternoon.

"You know who's the winner here? Romney," Meade said to me. He explains that Rush's statement begins with "For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity," and that tracks Santorum's response to Limbaugh's misstep:
Well, he's taking - you know, he's being absurd.  But that's, you know, an entertainer can be absurd.  And - and he's taking the absurd, you know, the...  absurd, you know, sort of, you know, point of view here as to how - how far do you go? And, look, I'm - he's - he's in a very different business than I am. I'm... concerned about the public policy of this president imposing his values... on people of faith who morally object to - to the government telling them they have to do something which they believe is a grave moral wrong. 
So Santorum sounded like Limbaugh himself, defending his approach. But Limbaugh now says he did it wrong this time: "In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation." And that tracks the way Romney originally responded:
"I'll just say this, which is, it's not the language I would have used... I'm focusing on the issues that I think are significant in the country today, and that's why I'm here talking about jobs and Ohio."
So Limbaugh's new statement demonstrates that Romney had the better instinct.

Note that both Santorum and Romney went on to state what they wanted to focus on. Santorum wanted to focus on the freedom of religion aspect of the birth control controversy. Romney wanted to get back to the economy. There too, I'd say, Romney had the better instinct.

ADDED: Here's my post from this morning chastising Rush. It has over 500 comments, many of which are mine, arguing with people who insisted on defending Rush.

"[T]he police seemed oddly uninterested in the gang graffiti in the area, but were obsessed with the goats."

Said Ed Butler, "who runs a used-record store that was once an art gallery."
Others said the big white planters were an open invitation. “When I first saw those planters my first thought was, ‘They might as well leave cans of paint with them,’ ” said Eric Francis Coppolino, a local artist, journalist and astrologer. “You knew what was going to happen.”...

Monica Snell, a property manager in Wellington, Fla., said... “Every town has this nonsense going on... The ruling class is a bunch of boneheads.”...

Diane Reeder, founder of a nonprofit soup kitchen, the Queens Gallery, said... it was striking how the goats ended up saying something profound without trying to. “It brought so many people together....”...

The Kingston Times, a local weekly, wrote... “The red goat is a great symbol — simple, striking, edgy, easy to remember and easier to associate with a sense of stubborn defiance... People get paid a lot of money to come up with stuff like this, and here Kingston is getting it for free.”
A graffiti quandary.

Photos of the ruins of Buzludha, Bulgaria's extravagant monument to communism.

"A terrible snow storm surrounded the monument for the first 4 days we spent on the mountain.  During our daily visits to the site, I did not once get to see this fantastic structure from a distance. Striding towards it through deep powder, it would only emerge from the dense white fog just a matter of metres away."

Timothy Allen, via Metafilter, where the first comment reads: "It looks like what people in the 60s and 70s thought The Future was going to look like. I could easily see that as a set on a 1972 sci-fi show."

"Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

An H.L. Mencken quote from 1916.

Now, here's something Rush Limbaugh said yesterday. He was talking about Sandra Fluke, "a student at Georgetown Law, who admits to having so much sex that she can't afford it anymore." Fluke is a woman who testified last week at an unofficial hearing (set up by Nancy Pelosi) in support of requiring health insurance coverage for birth control, even for those who get their health insurance from institutions affiliated with religions that see birth control as sinful. Opponents of that requirement had crafted their argument around respect for religious belief, and before Rush's loud voice took over, they seemed to want us to think about the exalted religious feeling underlying the objection to birth control. But Rush dragged our attention to the spectacle of a woman having sex, over and over — 3 times a day! — and she wants us "to pay for it." Heh heh. Wants us to pay for it?!! So she's a slut! A prostitute!
When [President Obama telephoned Fluke and] asked her if she's okay, she said that Obama told her that she should tell her parents they should be proud. (pause) Okay, I'm button [sic] my lip on that one.  The president tells Sandra Fluke (chuckling), 30-year-old Sandra Fluke, that her parents should be proud.  Okay.  Let me ask you a question.  I might be surprised at the answer I would get to this question.  Your daughter appears before a congressional committee and says she's having so much sex, she can't pay for it and wants a new welfare program to pay for it. Would you be proud?  I don't know about you, but I'd be embarrassed.  I'd disconnect the phone. I'd go into hiding and hope the media didn't find me.  See, everybody forgets what starts this, or what started this whole thing. Or maybe they don't! Maybe that's normal behavior on the left now, for all I know.
If that were your daughter, you should be ashamed. Shame! She's having so much sex. Shame. 3 times a day. Wants to get paid. Shame. That's Rush's theme. He can't let it go. That's where he found the resonance with the audience he imagines as he speaks. Who are those listeners? They're not those people on the left. (Who knows what "normal behavior" for them is now?) But his audience, he knows how to talk to them, and he's sounding the theme of shame — shame for the woman who openly enjoys her sexuality. Rush is plying the audience, playing on their haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. So much sex!

Now, I know he's also got the small government theme in there. "We" shouldn't have to pay for it. There shouldn't be "a new welfare program" for it. That's distorted. It's not a welfare program funded by taxpayers. It's an insurance regulation that will have some effect on insurance premiums. That's a conservative theme that resonates with listeners who don't worry about how much sex other people are having. But he doesn't bother to get the conservative argument straight. He has to distort it so it works with his joking about prostitution, and he's only talking about it in connection to sex — that very, very frequent sex that somebody else is having.

And whatever happened to religion? I mean religion as the exalted aspiration toward God, the theme that other Republicans had worked so hard to refine and articulate before Rush's big voice drowned them out. Now, the connection to religion seems to be about the old sexual Puritanism. This is a theme that makes many modern American women suspect that what people like Rush are really about is preserving the body's uncontrolled sexual function for the purpose of subordinating women. How dare women seize the power to disconnect sexuality from the consequences God built in!

But it is fundamental to women's freedom that we have the ability to decide for ourselves when our bodies will go through pregnancy and bear children. At some point, society ought to intervene to protect a developing child, and we will argue until doomsday about exactly where that point is, but it is nevertheless crucial to the equality of women that we control our bodies' reproductive function. There are in this world societies that appropriate the reproductive function and use it as a means of intimidating and punishing women who might act upon sexual desire, but that is not the United States, not since quite a long time ago. Now, we could become a society like that, and I suspect some of Rush's listeners, if not Rush himself, love that idea.

Yes, yes, no one is currently proposing taking away birth control. The debate is about who pays for it. Of course. But the political effort to channel public opinion reaches more deeply into the human mind. Politicians make choices about what emotions to stimulate. The Republican Party and the Republican candidates seem to have decided that their emotional theme would be freedom of religion. That might elegantly balance the Democratic Party's theme of reproductive freedom. And then Rush lumbered into the spotlight and spouted about sex. Sex! The women are having too much sex! Sex, sex, sex, all the time, 3 times a day! Sex!

In the long comments thread on yesterday's post about Limbaugh and Fluke, Mark O said:
This is part of a wonderfully orchestrated maneuver to distract the voters from Obama's economic failures to something nearly irrelevant.
And I said:
Nice of Rush to sit in on Obama's orchestra.

March 2, 2012

At the Wisteria Café...

... I hope everyone is safe indoors.

"The elderly, who have traditionally relied on spouses for their care, will increasingly struggle to fend for themselves."

"And federal and local governments will have to shoulder much of the cost of their care. Unmarried baby boomers are five times more likely to live in poverty than their married counterparts, statistics show. They are also three times as likely to receive food stamps, public assistance or disability payments."

That dreary paragraph is the real story in a NYT article that starts out looking like a lifestyle piece about feisty, trendsetting women.

Sha la la la la la la live for today... sang the Baby Boomers, who continue to live, and you're being warned to get ready to come up with the programs they're going to need to maintain themselves as the consequences of failing to make provisions for the future accumulate. Women and their needs... you're supposed to understand that is what government is for.

"N.F.L. Says Saints Had Bounty Program to Injure Opponents."

"The bounty was financed by as many as 27 players and administered by the former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams..."
The investigation began in 2010 when an unnamed player accused the Saints of targeting opponents, including Brett Favre and Kurt Warner, who were both injured against New Orleans during its Super Bowl run.
ADDED: Gordon Smith, using the term "criminal conspiracy," asks:
Instead of talking about "putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans," shouldn't Saints owner Tom Benson be talking about getting criminal defense lawyers for his players and coaches?

One year ago today at the Wisconsin protests: Meade is attacked by a mob.

This is one of the more disturbing of the videos we recorded last year. Meade was protectively standing by a woman, a Walker supporter, who went into the big anti-Walker crowd at the Capitol to stand with a sign that read "Public workers don't need collective bargaining." At first the woman is confronted, and eventually Meade asks some questions and people turn to him.

I'll start you off a couple minutes in, but feel free to scroll back to an earlier point so you can see how this ugliness develops. Stay for the very end, where an old woman gets up in Meade's face and says "You are a person against all of us. The whole nation is looking at you."

George Clooney doesn't care if you think he's gay.

He says:
"I think it’s funny, but the last thing you’ll ever see me do is jump up and down saying 'These are lies!' That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community.

"I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing. My private life is private, and I’m very happy in it. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay? I’ll be long dead and there will still be people who say I was gay. I don’t give a s---."...

Making a comparison with Cary Grant, who some people still claim was gay, Clooney said he thought the late star "would have laughed at that and not cared what people thought."...

Rumours about Clooney's sexuality were fuelled when his friend Brad Pitt, also a campaigner in favour of same-sex marriage, joked that he would not marry his partner Angelina Jolie until Clooney could legally marry his partner.
Nice attitude. Good points.

"There is a constant dialogue between the authoritarian Putin, the tyrant, who has a constant erection..."

"... and the more democratic (anti-Putin), who shows no aggression, no eroticism, and has no penis."

"Obama Calls Student Attacked by Limbaugh in Birth-Control Debate."

Oh, my. Things have reached an advanced state of weirdness. I've been avoiding weighing in on this subject, in part because, as a law professor, I don't like talking about an individual law student. At this point, there's so much political leveraging going on, that I don't know where to begin. I'll make a list of my thoughts, numbered, but not in order of importance.

1. Everyone is using the birth control issue, seeking political advantage. I don't really care who started it, but all are responsible for exploiting it, and some are doing a better job of it than others.

2. The student, Sandra Fluke, is young, and she's gotten swept up into a media frenzy, but she's an adult, she's chosen to be a political activist, and she accepted a great opportunity, all voluntarily. I feel sympathetic toward someone who's got to deal with so much, so suddenly, but she seems to know what she's doing, and she's handling it well.

3. I like Rush Limbaugh, and I get his concept of media tweaking, and I get that he's lampooning government regulation, but this is one of his worst efforts. He's getting so much wrong. He keeps saying that the woman is asking taxpayers to pay for her birth control and that she wants it free. But she's talking about health insurance coverage, which is not paid for with tax money. She'd like government regulation requiring the private entities involved to cover birth control, but when our health insurance, which we pay for, covers something, we're not getting it free. We buy the health insurance! And Limbaugh keeps questioning how birth control could cost $1,000 a year. He calculates how many times the woman must be having sex, but obviously, the woman is talking about birth control pills (and perhaps other devices), which you use all the time, regardless of how often you have sex. And Limbaugh fails to include doctor visits in his calculations, and you need a prescription for birth control pills. So most of his humor — the woman must be having sex 3 times a day... she's a "slut" because she wants to be paid for having sex — is not based on facts. Limbaugh ended yesterday's segment with one of his refrains: He lives in "Realville." He needs to check his GPS. That was not from Realville.

4. Quite aside from the lack of a factual basis for his humor, it's just mean to aim words like "slut" and "prostitute" at a woman, especially a young woman, even if the metaphor is apt. Even when you get the joke and agree with the criticism of the policy she's advocating, it feels ugly. The humor backfires. 

5. I haven't listened to today's show yet, but I can see that he did a segment called "The Democrats are Desperate: Obama Calls Sandra Fluke, the 30-Year-Old Victim." I don't know. He's complaining that people "have no sense of humor" and that "all they've got, is to go out and try to discredit their critics, to impugn and discredit the people who disagree with them." That sounds desperate. Limbaugh is saying that he wants to be expansive and absurdist and have all his fun, but he's lavishly giving material to his political opponents, and they are going to have their fun too. Everyone's using everything, as I said, and the question is who's getting the best of it.

6. What's really at stake is the presidential election. Limbaugh is obtruding. Good for him. Nice for his show. But I don't think it's helping Romney and the not-Romneys.

Wisconsin man faces 50 years in prison and a $90,000 fine on charges of forging signatures on recall petitions.

See, this is what you call the deterrent effect.

Why not the death penalty? Surely, the threat of execution would keep these cheating connivers in line.

Breitbart — working on designing HuffPo in '05 — "wanted every commenter to have to pay $1 to comment..."

"... and the dollar would go to charity but the user’s true identity would be authenticated through a credit card."

Also: "He was terrified of the idea that Huffington Post was a competitor to Drudge. He thought that Huffington Post could be bipartisan and that Drudge would love the idea of these big boldface names blogging because he understands the value of that...."

"The bull’s horn pierced the fighter’s lower jaw and came out through his left eye socket."

But 5 months later, Juan José Padilla is back in the ring.

Padilla says "I’m here to promote bullfighting and not to get involved in politics," but it's a big political fight in Spain:
Since 2007 and the start of the financial crisis, bullfighting has come under pressure in Spain because of public subsidy cuts, slashing the number of fights by more than a third. Catalonia stopped bullfighting in September, after its regional Parliament voted to ban it.

But in November, the conservative Popular Party, led by Mariano Rajoy, returned to power after almost eight years of Socialist government. Mr. Rajoy is himself an aficionado of the sport and his party has long spearheaded efforts to enshrine bullfighting in the national cultural patrimony.
How do you feel about bullfighting in Spain? free polls 

The fake-but-accurate story — smearing Paul Ryan and Ron Johnson — that appeared in Madison's Cap Times last Saturday.

The Cap Times reveals that it published, then took down a story that "falsely said that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson were joining state Rep. Steve Nass, R-town of La Grange, in pressuring the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to purge its archives of posters from last year’s protests at the Capitol in Madison."
The story was based on a news release that purportedly came from Nass’ office, but was in fact fabricated by Madison labor cartoonist Mike Konopacki [who] sent the fake release to a staff member who then forwarded it to Associate Editor John Nichols, who wrote the story.

"2Ls With Higher LSAT Scores Goof Off More With Laptops in Class, With No Effect on Grades."

Interesting... but if that's happening in your class, professors, I'd say your class needs to be taught on a more challenging level, and it needs to be apparent that the way things are presented in class will matter for exam purposes.

Now, you might think if students are going to go off task during class that they'd just skip class, but the laptop is a great compromise for the student. You have a complete defense against boredom. If you can go on line, you're able to do what you'd probably be doing if you'd skipped class. And there's the added bonus of putting in an appearance and being able to engage with the class at any point.

Presumably, a good student has learned the rhythms of the less-than-challenging class. He knows how it feels when the prof is drifting into a languor — repeating things, reciting the facts of the case the student already read, riffing on the general themes of the course, amusing himself with stories about some judge he's always fawning over. And this good student can half-listen and reengage when he hears key words and changes in intonation that signal that something useful might be happening.

Profs, don't take the laptop away from the student. Take the student away from the laptop.

"There. You'd better take a picture of that one, so people don't think I just make ugly half-pancakes."

So said Meade, delivering this, and thinking about this.

And when I use the search-this-blog tool on "pancake," I get:
"Can't I just eat my waffle?" said Meade, channeling Obama.

Actually, he was eating a pancake. (Meade makes pancakes nearly every morning. When he gave me mine this morning, he said "Here's your circle of grain for the morning," because the evening circle of grain, Meade-made, is pizza.)
Ah! That was a year ago, when Meade was on a pizza kick. The pancake kick continues, but the pizza is long gone.

Also in the search results on "pancake": "Things I Can't Stand About the Presidential Campaign./(A new regular feature here.)" Hey! I should have done more of those, because there are so many things I can't stand. That was from the 2004 election. I should revive the not-so-regular "regular feature." What was bugging me 8 years ago that was pancake related?
Our wartime President, six months before the election, is riding around in a bus, going to small towns in Ohio. (Search term used to find the article I read in the paper NYT in the NYT on line: "pancake"--something I recount here because it's part of the problem. The President is flipping pancakes to justify his reelection?)

"Shakespeare didn't have coffee!"

"But Beethoven did. He cared so much about his coffee that he counted out the beans. He had to have 60 beans per cup."

I've noticed that the search-this-blog box in the upper right corner of this page works much better than it used to. You get search results going all the way back to the beginning, ordered by relevance (or date, if you prefer), and I tested it with the word "coffee" — and that came up first.

March 1, 2012

At the Solar Flower Café...

... unfold all your rigid righteousness.

Giant spike on the Viral Video Chart.

Well deserved.


ADDED: Mickey is wearing an ordinary shirt... backwards.

"The Tech Industry’s Asperger Problem: Affliction Or Insult?"

Question asked in a blog post that ends with a bigger insult: "As always in business, some of this behavior inevitably boils down to greed and immorality."

Things people do between 1st and 2nd sleeps.

If you sleep in 2 parts — which can be quite normal and healthy — what do you do in the between period?

One year ago at the Wisconsin protests: Gov. Walker gave his budget address and Meade was there.

Meade's view from the gallery.

"Meade says he joined the standing ovation at [one] point, and that Scott Walker looked at him and gave him: 1. a smile, 2. a nod, and 3. a wink."

I worry about the mental deterioration of some of the people who are holed up inside the Capitol day after day, including one young man, in a video which I never posted, who seemed utterly lost and confused.

Other video, including a Democratic legislator, in the rotunda, slipping on a pile of peace signs and falling, and "I'll be growin' food with all my friends and we'll be livin' on a big farm somewhere."

Photos, including: "Officers, you have a choice/Disobey illegal orders."

Anti-law school propaganda.

Yikes. That was mean. I must say I laughed at the law professor (at 1:50): "I will assign you an enormous amount of reading, and then proceed to humiliate you during lecture." (No real law professor would say that. Even if he'd admit to an intention to humiliate students with the Socratic method — and I've never run across a law professor who did — he wouldn't refer to the Socratic dialogue as "lecture." And he probably wouldn't assign a lot of material. The most Socratic fun/torture is done with just a couple cases per class.)

(Via Prof. Jacobson.)

Rush Limbaugh on Andrew Breitbart: "He should have been given the same kind of hero worship that Woodward and Bernstein have gotten."

From today's broadcast:
He grew up in West Los Angeles, surrounded by liberals, father-in-law Orson Bean, the comedian. Sometime during the 1990s, the early nineties, Breitbart had an awakening. He was constantly questioning what was all around him, which was really extreme liberalism, and he became, as many of you in the audience know, a bulldog....

Wouldn't you think that real life journalists would applaud Breitbart's efforts to expose government corruption and media bias? I mean, what does the media claim to exist to do? To hold the powerful accountable! "Speak truth to power," is that the phrase? Well, the mainstream media has become part of the power. When that power is held by the Democrat Party, the mainstream media covers up the corruption. He was exposing it. He did more and greater work than Woodward and Bernstein! He should have been one of their heroes. But he wasn't. He should have been given the same kind of hero worship that Woodward and Bernstein have gotten. And unlike the work of Woodward and Bernstein, Breitbart's investigations were actually truthful.
Read the whole thing. (Or listen to it, if you've got a membership, which is what I use to keep up with the show via podcast.)

"I'm so sick of having to be apologetic..."

(Via Gateway Pundit.)

Breitbart's last tweet.

"I called you a putz cause I thought you were being intentionally disingenuous. If not I apologize."

Last words: I apologize.

ADDED: At Drudge, across the top of the page:
DEAR READER: In the first decade of the DRUDGEREPORT Andrew Breitbart was a constant source of energy, passion and commitment. We shared a love of headlines, a love of the news, an excitement about what's happening. I don't think there was a single day during that time when we did not flash each other or laugh with each other, or challenge each other. I still see him in my mind's eye in Venice Beach, the sunny day I met him. He was in his mid 20's. It was all there. He had a wonderful, loving family and we all feel great sadness for them today... MDRUDGE
AND: Jonah Goldberg:
I’ve never known someone, perhaps with the exception of Drudge himself, who had more of a savant’s sense of media, old and new — but especially new. In the early days of the Drudge Report there was a lot of talk about how Drudge made the news, and that was often true. But he could only do that by understanding the news and how it worked at a visceral instinctive level. Matt saw this same gift in Andrew, which is why he hired him. The two of them changed the course of the massive river of news for literally billions of people. That’s no exaggeration, even venerable enterprises and institutions that despised the Drudge Report and pretended it didn’t exist had to change course because of it.

"National GOP: Romney 40%, Santorum 24%, Gingrich 16%, Paul 12%."

Rasmussen's poll, conducted yesterday, shows Romney getting a solid boost from Tuesday's primaries. You wouldn't know it reading the (crazy) commentary that bounced off those primaries.

Ah, and now I'm seeing this Rasmussen poll, conducted on the 27th: "54% in Wisconsin Oppose Recall of GOP Governor Walker."

"Divorce is immature and selfish. Don't do it."

Says Penelope Trunk (who got divorced 4 years ago). I — who got divorced 22 years ago — agree with her. (Except to the extent that her pronouncement is phrased in absolute terms, which I doubt she believes. And not everyone who experiences divorce can be said to "do" it. It can be done to you.)
1. Divorce is a cliche among people in denial....

2. Divorce is nearly always terrible for kids. Your case is not the exception....

3. Divorce is for dumb people....

4. Divorce reflects mental illness....

5. Divorce is often a career issue....
Bullet points fleshed out at the link.

Men who take paternity leave without doing at least half of the baby care.

That would be nearly all of them, if we are to believe this study:
Only three of 109 male faculty members surveyed reported that they did half or more of the care, while 70 of 73 women reported doing at least half. On average, both men and women professors reported that the mother did more than half the work for all 25 of the child care tasks. This result holds even when the male professor's wife works full-time.
Was breastfeeding included as one of the tasks? That would skew results. Also, these were professors. Professors are comfortable taking leave time away from work.
The female professors also reported higher average enjoyment scores than males on 24 of the 25 child care tasks. (The sole exception was managing the division of labor for parenting tasks, which men disliked less than women.)
First of all, maybe those women are maintaining their self-esteem by getting into the frame of mind where they think about themselves as loving what they are doing. Also, that management-oriented man might be managing her moods, taking care of her, and that might not have been counted as one of the "child care tasks."
Interestingly, the report suggests that paternity leave be eliminated, because men are using it to further their careers, thereby creating greater inequity for women who actually take time off.
Well, you can't do that. That would be illegal sex discrimination. But let's assume you could do it. Does it make sense? Let's give this advantage only to women, because, in the great majority of the cases, women will use it for the "right" reason and men will, as men tend to do, find ways to take selfish advantage of the opportunity. That's horrible sterotyping, which is why it's illegal, but quite aside from that, I don't like incentivizing the female professors' failure to take advantage of time off from teaching to work on their scholarship. And I don't like giving up on the ongoing project of mothers and fathers working out childcare arrangements together. And it's none of the employer's business how a man and a woman structure their activities within the home.

An insect so large, they called it a "tree lobster."

Dryococelus australis.
Lord Howe Island walking sticks seem to pair off — an unusual insect behavior — and Goodall says Patrick "showed me photos of how they sleep at night, in pairs, the male with three of his legs protectively over the female beside him."

Restaging a famous fiasco.

The original "Carrie" Broadway musical was savaged, lost $8 million, and closed after 5 performances.
Where the Broadway version had Carrie singing a song while the objects on her make-up table levitated around her, the off-Broadway version makes do with just a few magic tricks — a tiny figurine of Jesus levitates between the girl's hands and a couple of chairs move...

And... here's no stage blood spilled in the climactic scene at the prom, when Carrie violently erupts. The carnage is implied with red lights, projections and stylized movement. Director Arima says it's an artistic rather than a financial choice.
That's the expedient thing for the director to say. But better work can spring from limitations. Copious financing can lead to horrible work. Ugh! Suddenly, I'm thinking about the government!

What the left blogosphere is saying about Andrew Breitbart, on the day of his death.

I'm not searching for nasty things in any kind of effort to make the left-o-sphere look bad. I've simply opened up the full set of bookmarks that I keep in my browser bar in a folder titled "left."

Balloon Juice sets up an open thread and reminds readers of the principle "If you don't have anything nice to say about the deceased" and "treat his death better than Andrew Breitbart treated Ted Kennedy's death, at least." The second comment is: "Fuck him. If there is a hell, I hope he isn't enjoying it."

Oh, hell. (Speaking of hell.) This project is going nowhere. Get up and get blogging, lefty bloggers.

ADDED: Here's the Twitter feed on Breitbart.

He's a virgin, she's not.

Can this relationship work?
... it appears that the singer caught him in her web of seduction, which is made of cotton candy and pixie dust....
RELATED: Justin Beiber is now officially old enough to have sex, and his comment on that subject is: "I don’t want to start singing about things like sex, drugs and swearing."

"'I’m still in love with Edie,' says James Gandolfini of Edie Falco, the woman who played his television wife, Carmela..."

Remembering "The Sopranos":
“Of course, I love my wife, but I’m in love with Edie. I don’t know if I’m in love with Carmela or Edie or both. I’m in love with her.” Falco reveals a similar possessiveness over her HBO-wedded husband. “It was weird to sit down at a table read with the actresses playing Tony’s girlfriends. Occasionally I would get a sharp twinge at the back of my neck,” she recalls. “I’d have to kind of keep my bearings and remember, No, no, no, this is your job, and at home you have your life. Even years later, I remember when I saw Jim in God of Carnage on Broadway, and he was Marcia Gay Harden’s husband, and I had this ‘How come I have to be O.K. with this?’ kind of feeling.”

Andrew Breitbart has died.

"Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles."

He was only 42.

ADDED: Here he is, a year ago, explaining himself as "the Upton Sinclair of the mainstream media."

ALSO: Here's video I made of Andrew Breitbart, speaking at a Tea Party rally here in Madison on February 19, 2011.

February 29, 2012

At the Leap Year Café...

... it's really something.

One year ago at the Wisconsin protests: Nothing happened.

There was no February 29th last year!

Scott Brown leads Elizabeth Warren by 10 percentage points.

A new poll.

"Attending meetings lowers IQ."

And the effect is stronger among women.

"After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?"

An article by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva in the Journal of Medical Ethics:
Rather than being “actual persons”, newborns were “potential persons”. They explained: “Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’.

“We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.”

As such they argued it was “not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a person in the morally relevant sense”.

The authors therefore concluded that “what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”....
I think this works as a "Modest Proposal"-type satire that is really a critique of abortion.

10 surprisingly low-paying jobs.

Mean annual income: $47,730
Bottom 10% make $23,050...

Reporters and Correspondents
Mean annual income: $43,780
Bottom 10% make $19,970

"A carpenter came with a toolbox and said, ‘I’m a carpenter from the underground... Show me the house and I’ll build a hiding place."

Dr. Tina Strobos hid more than 100 Jews from the Nazis — 4 or 5 at a time. She died this week at the age of 91. She learned her values from her parents, "socialist atheists who took in Belgian refugees during World War I and hid German and Austrian refugees before World War II."
The Gestapo searched the rooming house several times. But Dr. Strobos, a tall, soft-spoken woman, beguiled the Germans with her fluency in their language and her cool, ingenuous pose....

Dr. Strobos rode her bicycle for miles outside the city to carry ration stamps to Jews hiding on farms. She transported radios to resistance fighters and stashed their guns. She created fake identity cards — ones that were not stamped with a J — either by stealing photographs and fingerprinted documents from legitimate guests at the boarding house or making deals with pickpockets to swipe documents from railway travelers.

She was cold and hungry when she took those risks and was interrogated nine times by the Gestapo. Once, she was left unconscious after an official threw her against a wall.

“It’s the right thing to do,” she said when asked why she had taken such gambles. “Your conscience tells you to do it. I believe in heroism, and when you’re young you want to do dangerous things.”

Santorum gets as many Michigan delegates as Romney.

"Rick Santorum claimed a partial victory Wednesday when final results showed he and Mitt Romney evenly split Michigan' s 30 delegates, even though Romney got more overall votes in the Republican presidential primary Tuesday."

"I fought this road tooth and nail so that you’d be forced to ride the bus."

A proposal for billboards along U.S. 12, attacking Governor Walker's likely adversary in the likely recall election here in Wisconsin.

Goodbye to Davy Jones.

The lead singer of The Monkees has died of a heart attack at the age of 66.

Very sad. We were just talking about the importance of the cute boy singers who play a role in the gentle romantic fantasy lives of adolescent girls. The kids today have Justin Bieber. Don't diminish these idealized boyfriends. Davy Jones was one of mine. I was 15 when "The Monkees" began on TV, and Davy was absolutely perfect.

ADDED: We were talking about the importance of cute boy singers because of one of the "American Idol" contestants this season, Eben Franckewitz. Here's how adults react to his performance last night:
This cutie... He just sounds so young and weak. Maybe he's just really nervous? Then no, the chorus doesn't really get any better. Oh, Eben.... Obviously, this kid is not going anywhere because we all know how this show works by now, but this was not a good performance.
But... spoiler alert...

"Snowe's Gift To Obama."

An Andrew Sullivan blog post title.

"You realize when you get to my age... that you hopefully will still do some more work."

"But the last great creative adventure is dying in a positive way."

Andre Gregory is back making a movie with Wallace Shawn. (Together they made what has been my favorite movie for the past quarter century.)

You can use "a name of your choice" to reserve a spot at the play about the Sterling Hall bombing.

And you won't need to show an I.D. at the door. I was wrong about that, I've been informed.
You simply need to get your name on their list and then tell them your name at the door. And if you don't want your real name on their list, you can use "a name of your choice."  Like... I don't know... Robert Fassnacht... or Leo Burt.
With no I.D. requirement, appropriated names suggested, and a play whose playwright asks "why do most of us think that [those who broke the social norm] weren’t [justified]?," wouldn't you expect some theatergoers without reservations to attempt to get in using a name they think somebody else might have chosen?

Federal regulators are about to require rearview cameras in all new cars.

Because something must be done about all those drivers who keep backing up into and over children. This will add $160 to $200 to the price of every new car, but what is money when there is a device that might make up for the people who fail to turn around and look when they are backing up?

Why with a camera built into the front view, people might shake off their old training and quit turning around, trust the little digital video, and come up with whole new ways of backing up into children.
“We haven’t done anything else to protect pedestrians,” said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington. “This is one thing we can do and should do.”
If it weren't for the concision and frankness, I'd say that quote is the perfect manifestation of the mind of a bureaucrat. There are 3 chilling steps: 1. We haven't doing anything recently about X, 2. There is something we could do, and 3. We should do it.
The new requirement stems from a 2008 law, the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act, named for a 2-year-old boy who died in 2002 when his pediatrician father was backing a sport utility vehicle into their driveway....

In urging Congress to help reduce backover injuries, KidsAndCars created a public-service announcement showing that 62 children could fit behind a large S.U.V. without being visible to the driver in any of the mirrors.
What about vehicles that are not large SUVs? The regulation applies to all cars. Also, you're supposed to turn around and look when you back up, not rely on mirrors.

Here's the very impressive KidsAndCars PSA that invokes deep fears:

ADDED: Now, the rule is being delayed. Today was the deadline, but it "may be delayed until after November's presidential election, regulators said."
The proposed rule, estimated to cost $2.7 billion, was listed as one of the five most expensive pending U.S. regulations in an Aug. 30 letter President Barack Obama sent to House Republican leaders.
Wow. What a difficult problem! You've got the voters who empathize about children and voters who worry about too much regulation. What do you do? Obviously, you delay the rule. More study is needed.

Creeping childishness hits the army.

I went to "Army Dietitian Touts Warning Labels for Desserts and Fried Foods at Mess Halls" from a Drudge link that said "Army Replaces Soda Machines With 'Hydration Stations'..." Said touting, by Lt. Col. Sonya Cable highlight, sounds like something on the "Sesame Street" level. The new program is called “Go for Green.” Cable explains:
"In the military we all kind of know red means, ‘uh oh, there’s problems’... Amber, middle of the road, we’re doing okay. And green is good to go, all is right. We took that same concept and we applied it to our menus.”
Uh oh, there's problems. Is that the way people talk to each other in the military now?

February 28, 2012

At the Winter Fountain Café...

... you can see things you're not meant to see.

One year ago today at the Wisconsin protests: Protesters locked out of the Capitol at long last.

Protesters trying to deal with the lock-out.

"About 60 demonstrators who had slept in the statehouse overnight remained inside as of noon... and they banged drums, sang and danced in the rotunda."

"What one Wisconsin legislator said to another after the budget vote: 'You are f*cking dead.'"

Primary results, Michigan and Arizona.

Let's watch!

7:18: Gingrich is running on about a tree falling on a house. I came in in the middle and he seems deranged.

7:21: Hoosiers beating the Spartans, 43-27.

7:22: Meade has the remote.

7:24: Romney winning in Wyoming. Did you know Wyoming was happening today?

7:31: CNN has 16,093 Santorum, 15,942 Romney, in Michigan. Totally close, but Blitzer keeps exclaiming things like "Even in Mitt Romney's home state!"

7:53: Me: "What's more important to you: Romney in Michigan or Hoosiers beat Spartans." Meade (immediately): "Hoosiers!"

7:58: Hoosiers win! 70-55.

8:00: CNN projects Romney as the winner in Arizona with 44%. Santorum 37%. No projection in Michigan. With 17% of the vote in Romney in the lead by about 3,905 votes.

8:05: CNN polling shows 33% of moderates/liberals voting for Santorum. You know what that means. Operation Hilarity.

8:16: Romney's ahead in Michigan now by 9,238 votes, 3 percentage points.

10:52: I'm back. Romney won. Santorum has lost his momentum. Does this mean it's over now?

680,000-pound boulder goes on a 106-mile journey... for art.

It will ride a "294-foot-long centipede-like transporter between 10 and 11 p.m. and travel at the painstakingly slow speed of about 5 mph."
[W]ork crews from about 100 utility districts will have to take down traffic signs, overhead wires and other obstacles to let the rock pass and then reinstall them later.

A signal expert will have to move and rebuild traffic signals that would otherwise be mowed down like blades of grass by the transporter — nearly as wide as three freeway traffic lanes....

During the day, the rock... will have to park in "the middle of the road, the only place big enough"...

The total cost of the project, including the rock, the transportation and construction of the sculpture site, will be up to $10 million, which was raised from private donors....
Of course, the rock is tweeting:

Hey, that reminds me: There's a Green Bay Packer on the new "Dancing With the Stars" — Donald Driver, along with Urkel, Gladys Knight, and Martina Navratilova.

"And is it really good policy for Santorum to fill young adults with suspicions about higher learning..."

"... which rightly exists to challenge — in a healthy sense — what parents and maybe pastors have poured into them?" asks Frank Bruni.
If their beliefs survive that, then those beliefs can be seen as genuinely earned and are probably all the stronger for it. Santorum’s did. He went not only to college but also to two graduate schools, getting an M.B.A. from one and a law degree from the other.

But to listen to him talk about universities is to get the sense that he doesn’t trust others to emerge from such an obstacle course of unsavory influences as uncorrupted as he did. For safety’s sake, he’ll bless a little ignorance.

He’ll also massage facts. In explaining his Kennedy-induced nausea, he claimed that the former president had said that people of faith had no place in public life. What Kennedy asserted was infinitely more nuanced than that. He said people of all faiths were welcomed, so long as they weren’t slaves to their creeds.
Apparently, Santorum used bulimia against those ideas that the academics attempted to pour into him. Others digest what they've been fed.

Speaking of pukeworthy: "infinitely more nuanced." What is it about nuance that liberals love so much? And infinitely more nuanced? Ironically, that's quite crude. Infinitely? Kennedy had oodles and oodles of nuance. Or is it that Santorum, in Bruni's book, has zero nuance, so anyone with any nuance at all has infinitely more than Santorum?

And I love the way Bruni modifies his idea of challenging family and religious values with the phrase "in a healthy sense." There's no assurance of healthfulness!

And if challenge is so good, college students who were raised in liberal families with liberal or nonexistent religions are being horribly deprived!

Angelina's leg...

... is everywhere.

Things that make law students go "off task."

This is from a study of students using laptops in class, but the researcher was able to gather data that is more generally useful to teachers, because it identified some very specific things that cause the student to look for something to do other than paying attention:
1) Student laptop users tend to go off-task when X-(anything) occurs for 4 minutes or more...

2) When professor is engaged in Socratic method with one student...

3) When a classmate engages with professor...

4) When professor is monotone, or, overly uses one linguistic intonation style...

5) Approximately 40 minutes into class...

6) When professor calls on students in expected order...
Apparently, students like variety... and not listening to other students.

Romney says "I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support. I am who I am."

WaPo reports:
Romney suggested that Santorum was winning the support of the GOP’s most conservative voters with “incendiary,” “outrageous” and “accusatory” comments.

“It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments,” Romney told reporters. “We’ve seen throughout the campaign that if you’re willing to say really outrageous things that are accusatory and attacking President Obama that you’re going to jump up in the polls. You know, I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support. I am who I am.”

A few minutes later, when a reporter brought up Romney’s comment about lighting his hair on fire, the well-coiffed candidate interjected: “I’m not going to do it. I don’t care how hard you ask. It would be a big fire, I assure you.”
I think Romney has a nice demeanor. A nice sense of humor. Ever notice that when he talks, he always seems to be sort of chuckling?

If you had to trust one of these individuals to handle your personal financial affairs...

Let's assume you've got complicated, extensive financial affairs. We're talking about all your life's savings, all the contingencies of a long retirement for you and medical care for you and your family, and all of the wealth that could be preserved for your children and grandchildren, and all that you might be able to contribute to various causes.

You have to choose one of these individuals to take care of everything: free polls 

"Why does yoga produce so many philanderers? And why do the resulting uproars leave so many people shocked and distraught?""

"One factor is ignorance," says William J. Broad in the NYT (via Instapundit):
Yoga teachers and how-to books seldom mention that the discipline began as a sex cult — an omission that leaves many practitioners open to libidinal surprise... Since the baby boomers discovered yoga, the arousal, sweating, heavy breathing and states of undress that characterize yoga classes have led to predictable results. In 1995, sex between students and teachers became so prevalent that the California Yoga Teachers Association deplored it as immoral and called for high standards.
Oh, the "ignorance"! And yet... it was "predictable." Hmm. Seems contradictory... and yet, this subtle combination of knowing and not knowing is typical of sexual things. And religious things.

Also in the article:
At Rutgers University, scientists are investigating how yoga and related practices can foster autoerotic bliss. It turns out that some individuals can think themselves into states of sexual ecstasy — a phenomenon known clinically as spontaneous orgasm and popularly as “thinking off.”

The Rutgers scientists use brain scanners to measure the levels of excitement in women and compare their responses with readings from manual stimulation of the genitals. The results demonstrate that both practices light up the brain in characteristic ways and produce significant rises in blood pressure, heart rate and tolerance for pain — what turns out to be a signature of orgasm.
This is the future of sex: The woman, completely inside her own head and the man, over there using a computer monitor to get a look at her private parts:

"Santorum Robocall Asks Michigan Dems To Vote For Him."

TPM reports, with audio and "confirmation that the call did indeed come from the Santorum campaign."
Michigan’s primary rules allow Dems to vote in the state’s GOP primaries. The liberal site DailyKos and other progressive partners have been trying to drum up enthusiasm for “Operation Hilarity” - an effort to get Democrats to vote in the GOP primary and tilt the vote against Mitt Romney. The Santorum campaign evidently decided they’d take votes from any legitimate source.

Following some speculation that the robocall may have been a “false flag” effort designed to harm Santorum, a spokesman Hogan Gidley confirmed to TPM that they were indeed footing the bill, and reaching beyond party lines. “If we can get the Reagan Democrats in the primary, we can get them in the general,” he told TPM.
It's not wrong for Santorum to seek the votes of Democrats. The message strongly pushes the "Michigan worker" to vote against "Massachusetts Mitt Romney" because he opposed the auto company bailouts (while supporting the Wall Street bailouts). The message doesn't tell people that Santorum opposed the auto bailouts too (along with the Wall Street bailouts). So it's a bit deceptive. You can criticize Santorum for that. Who knows whether Santorum would like to bulk up his vote with Democrats who just want the weaker Republican to be the nominee? Frankly, I assume he does, and I don't think that's wrong. Is it?

When Wisconsin has its primary to determine who will oppose Scott Walker in the recall election, are Scott Walker supporters supposed to stay home and allow Democrats to select their strongest candidate? If the primaries are open, doesn't it mean everyone has a right to play the political game any way they want? That's built into the open primary system, adopted by the people of the state, democratically. You can base your vote on any ground that you like. You don't have to explain it to anyone.

"New play uses oral history to craft story of the 1970 Sterling Hall bombing."

"Uncivil Disobedience, a new play from Madison’s Forward Theatre Company, examines an important event in Wisconsin’s history...."
When a bomb exploded just outside Sterling Hall in the early morning hours of August 24, 1970, it was a thunderous event in the history of Wisconsin. Intended to destroy the Army Mathematics Research Center, it caused enormous damage to the building and killed physics researcher Robert Fassnacht and injured three other people....

Mike Lawler of the Wisconsin Story Project, in conjunction with Troy Reeves of the Oral History Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has spent several years conducting interviews and collecting stories from people who were there – and those whose lives were profoundly changed by the aftermath. These stories form the basis of a theatrical piece exploring the impact of the bombing on campus, and also within the larger protest movement of the 60s and 70s.
More information here, including this:
Underneath the story of the bombing and the effort to affect government policy in Vietnam, Lawler believes there is a bigger issue to explore. "For me," he says, "the central question of the story we’re telling is not ‘were the bombers justified?’ but rather, ‘why do most of us think that they weren’t [justified]?"
"Partially underwritten by the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission."

ADDED: I'd like to go to this play so I can tell you about it, but I'm extremely put off by this:
Due to limited seating in Rotunda Studio, reservations are strongly encouraged... To reserve your seats, please email
They're collecting names and addresses, and you'll have to I.D. yourself at the door to be seated. I want to buy tickets anonymously and not be identified! I live in a city where people point me out and announce to the group: "Ann Althouse is here." And not in a nice way. It's creepy.

And imagine if a right-wing group were doing a play that pushed left-wing buttons as hard as that suggestion that the Sterling Hall bombers were justified.

AND: I received email from the theater group's communications director saying that you won't need an I.D. at the door. You simply need to get your name on their list and then tell them your name at the door. And if you don't want your real name on their list, you can use "a name of your choice."  Like... I don't know... Robert Fassnacht... or Leo Burt.

I said:
I didn't think of the idea of using a fake name. I can't imagine emailing and making a reservation under a pseudonym or showing up and giving a fake name. I mean, now that you've suggested it, I can think about it and see that it's not something I personally can do. I have never in my life tried to get into some place using a fake name, and as someone who gets recognized in this town (and confronted!), I'd be afraid of finding myself in an embarrassing situation.

"I have some great friends that are NASCAR team owners."

And other Romney "wealth gaffes," as the Washington Post calls them.

By the way, the official right-wing response is: It's good to get rich! The Democrats act like there's something wrong with being rich.

And I would add: Would you prefer someone who's been unsuccessful handling his own financial affairs?


"The Democratic Party of Wisconsin released the first of what will likely be a barrage of recall-themed advertisements Monday, as the anticipated recall elections of Gov. Scott Walker and five Republican politicians loom ahead."

I see they've toned down the rhetoric for the recall. During last year's protests, Walker was Hitler. Now, he's just Nixon. Good to see the old civility agenda kicking in at last!
UW-Madison Professor James L. Baughman [says] the comparison is a stretch.

“With Watergate, Nixon’s undoing was knowing more than he let on in the cover up,” Baughman said. “I don’t think they have that on Walker. I’m troubled by the idea of the analogy.”

[Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Graeme] Zielinski defended the advertisement, saying there is plenty of evidence Walker has been hiding criminal activity and his denials are not believable.

Despite his reservations, Baughman admitted, “It’s a clever ad. Maybe it’ll work.”
You know what's especially clever? Making dishonesty your theme... dishonestly! The people of Wisconsin love that kind of playfulness with the truth. It gets us thinking. Very stimulating. Nice work, Democrats. So ironically Nixonworthy.

IN THE COMMENTS: purplepenquin said...
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin ran advertisements last year that said Walker was Hitler?!?

Shame on them for doing so...does anyone have a link to those ads? I can't believe this is the first I've heard about it.
I don't know if the Democratic Party ran ads, but at the protests, there were many, many signs comparing Walker to Hitler. It was a standard meme at the protests. The protesters displaying signs were not shunned or corrected by other protesters. It was the norm. Meade and I would approach individuals with Hitler signs and ask them to explain, and invariably, they defended the comparison.

For example, this woman, holding a sign depicting Walker with a Hitler mustache and hair, questioned by Meade, snips that Walker is "like Hitler." Here's a young woman with a sign depicting Walker as Hitler, who, asked to explain, says "He doesn't do nice things." Here's an "Adolf Walker" sign with a swastika. Here's a protester with the sense to cover her face:


But you're right in your sarcasm, purplepenquin. The Democratic Party did not select this material for glossy advertisements to send out all over the state. But this is the way it looked, day after day, in Madison, Wisconsin. This is how the protesters related to each other and created the passion and fervor that led to weeks of drum-beating and chanting in the rotunda. Hitler has been scaled back to Nixon for more general Wisconsin purposes.

February 27, 2012

Ben & Jerry's apologizes for its ice cream that (attempted to) honor Jeremy Lin.

The "Taste the Lin-Sanity" flavor contained lychee honey swirls and fortune-cookie pieces, which outraged some people.

Do you see why? It's stereotyping to connect someone of a particular ethnic group to the food conventionally associated with that group.

Should Ben and Jerry have apologized for "Taste the Lin-Sanity"? free polls 

UPDATE: The original link to The Daily Mail has gone dead, so here's the HuffPo coverage of the same story.

"To sit out here in public and philosophize … is really not the best use of our time."

Said one Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice.

"I think it’s vitally important that the public be able to see what we do and how we do it... This would be a major mistake, to close what has been open," said the other.

ADDED: Here's another photograph of a sticker on the lamppost in the previous post:

That is a depiction of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. Why show him as a female? Some lefty is confused. Trying to denounce Prosser, he has unwittingly expressed the opinion that to be female is to be debased and inferior.

At the General Strike Café...

... perhaps (purr-haps) you have a solution for everything.

"If women do something like uptalk or vocal fry, it’s immediately interpreted as insecure, emotional or even stupid."

"The truth is this: Young women take linguistic features and use them as power tools for building relationships."

Yes, yes, remember the old rule: Whenever researchers find something to be true of females, they will interpret and report it as evidence of female superiority. As I've pointed out many times, this rush to patronize women reveals an underlying fear that women actually are inferior. It’s immediately interpreted as insecure, emotional or even stupid. Wow. That linguistics professor openly stated the impermissible belief that impelled her to figure out how to say that women really are superior: They take linguistic features and use them as power tools for building relationships.

See the tell? Power tools. What's more associated with the male than power tools? To make the female seem superior, the professor expresses herself with a decidedly masculine metaphor. Power tools. Also: building.

I'd like to see what she'd say if she found a vocal tic more prevalent in men. Perhaps: If men do something... it’s immediately interpreted as confident, rational and smart. The truth is this: Men take linguistic features and use them as Barbie Dolls for ruining everything.

One year ago today at the Wisconsin protests: "Meade brought home the video, handed me the cameras, and said 'I almost got myself arrested.'"

"It's funny the second time you watch it! It looks like a Michael Moore-like thing... attempting to get past the police into the building."

Here's the edited video. The most interesting thing about it is not that Meade didn't want to wait in line, or that he played the "new media" card, but that the police come close to revealing that they are on the protesters' side:
"All these people have decided that they are working with us to help with their protest. We're not keeping..."

"You're helping the protesters?"

"We're not keeping you from protesting. We're helping to keep the peace."
The police were supposedly clearing out the building that day, but New Media Meade got the scoop from the police that anyone who wanted to stay would be allowed.

"Law Deans May Go to Jail for Submitting False Data to U.S. News."

Why not?

Gov. Scott Walker will not challenge any of the recall signatures.

With the deadline for the challenges coming at 5 p.m. today, Walker's campaign just announced that it faced "an impossible timeline" imposed by a Dane County Judge. The Government Accountability Board continues its review, however, with a March 19th deadline, and it might strike some signatures.
Walker’s campaign filed documents with the GAB on Monday saying that signature review needs to continue because it found a 10 to 20 percent error rate. And Walker attorney Steven Biskupic of Michael Best & Friedrich said that Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty and We the People of the Republic, two tea party groups, had organized a “Verify the Recall” effort to review signatures, but campaign finance laws prevented them from coordinating with Walker.

Best and worst Oscar fashions.

A nice slide show, beginning with Jennifer Lopez at her best.

My favorite is Stacy Keibler (whoever she is). Her dress is a fabulous gold vortex. Put it next to Meryl Streep's drape-y gold thing. But Meryl won the gold thing that is the statuette. Keibler had George Clooney, though.

ADDED: The NYT has a slide show grouped by color, and you can see Streep and Keibler on one page.

"I fell in love with Benihana because, if you sit at a table full of strangers and you don't say anything to anybody..."

"... you're an asshole...."
So, [Tracy Morgan] says he started using the restaurant regularly as a way to try out jokes on the public. "You've got a built-in audience. It's like a small comedy show, and this is the stage."

As we're talking, Morgan notices a guy at the next table listening. When asked what he likes about the vibe, Morgan answers loudly, for the other guy's benefit....
Go to the link for the — warning: offensive — routine.

"President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob."

"You're good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to tests that aren't taught by some liberal college professor."

That's something Rick Santorum said on Saturday. On Sunday, George Stephanopoulos asked him: "Now getting to college has been part of the American dream for generations, Senator. Why does articulating an aspiration make the president a snob?"

Santorum observes that "there are lot of people in this country that have no desire or no aspiration to go to college, because they have a different set of skills and desires and dreams that don't include college."
And to sort of lay out there that somehow this... should be everybody's goal, I think, devalues the tremendous work that people who, frankly, don't go to college and don't want to go to college because they have a lot of other talents and skills that, frankly, college, you know, four-year colleges may not be able to assist them.
Stephanopoulos reminds him that he said on Glenn Beck's show that "Obama wants to send every kid to college, because they are indoctrination mills. What did that mean?" Santorum says everybody knows that "how liberal our colleges and universities are and how many children in fact are." Conservatives are "singled out" and "ridiculed." He said that he "personally... was docked for my conservative views."

(I genuinely wondered what he meant by saying he was docked, looked it up on line, and ended up in the Urban Dictionary. What a distraction! Anyway, I think he means "docked" in the sense of deprived of some benefits. But, in light of recent discussions of Satan, it might mean he had his tail removed or shortened.)

Santorum continues, going on about the "real problems at our college campuses with political correctness" and "politically correct left doctrine." Then he says he wants to "to make sure that conservative and more mainstream, common-sense conservative and principles that have made this country great are reflected in our college courses and with college professors." I wonder how a President might go about making sure of something like that? I would think that one of the conservative principles that made America great is the President sticking to the proper work of the President.

2 things stand out to me here:

1. Obama is the university professor, promoting the product/process that lifted him up and that he bestowed on others. His vanity/self-esteem are all wrapped up in the ideology of education. But Santorum's self-image is that of the student. He was oppressed and bullied. He still feels angry and ripped off. Which attitude resonates more with the American people today? That is, do Americans identify with the professor or the student?

2. The important thing, in my view, is that every young person in America — regardless of their cultural and economic background — needs to see clearly that they can get a higher education — that they belong there if they choose to go there — and that they have a choice that should be based on what will work out well for them. They should to go to college for a good reason, and one particularly good reason is to study science and engineering. If they are going to study in some softer, less career-oriented area, the mushy notion that everybody ought to go to college is not enough, even if the President of the United States tells them it is.

After reports of burned Korans, "a deadly chain of events that has not only inflamed tensions but possibly exposed a crippling weakness" in the Afghanistan exit strategy.

WaPo puts it this way:
The killing of the U.S. officers on Saturday occurred two days after a man wearing an Afghan army uniform fatally shot two American troops in eastern Afghanistan, the latest in a string of incidents in recent months in which local security forces have turned against NATO personnel.

Some of the killings have been perpetrated by Afghan troops whose loyalties lay with the Taliban. But, in most cases, the attacks have been the result of tensions between U.S. forces and Afghans who felt as though they had suffered an insult to themselves or their faith.
But Obama apologized. The article doesn't mention Obama. Only "Senior Obama administration officials," who, we're told, "have sought to reassure a war-weary American public that the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan would draw to a close by the middle of next year." The middle of next year, that is, after the election. We weren't supposed to be thinking about Afghanistan during the election season.

Here's the NYT article:
American officials sought to reassure both Afghanistan’s government and a domestic audience on Sunday that the United States remained committed to the war after the weekend killing of two American military officers inside the Afghan Interior Ministry and days of deadly anti-American protests.

But behind the public pronouncements, American officials described a growing concern, even at the highest levels of the Obama administration and Pentagon, about the challenges of pulling off a troop withdrawal in Afghanistan that hinges on the close mentoring and training of army and police forces.
This article does refer to Obama, his apology for the Koran burnings, and the impending presidential election — in the context of things Romney and Santorum said. Romney's comment is so bland, it's not worth quoting. Santorum, in what the NYT calls "harsh criticism," faults Obama for apologizing when the burning of the Korans was not an intentional display of disrespect.

Here's the full transcript of what Santorum said (on ABC's "This Week," i.e., the George Stephanopoulos show). Santorum, referring to the Koran burnings, says "a mistake was made, clearly a mistake, which we should not have apologized for."
[S]ay it's unfortunate, say that this is something that should have been done.... But to apologize for something that was not an intentional act is something that the President of the United States... suggests that there is somehow blame, this is somehow that we did something wrong in the sense of doing a deliberate act wrong. I think it shows that we are -- that I think it shows weakness. I think what we say is, look, what happened here was wrong. But it was -- it was not something that was deliberate, and we are -- we -- you know, we take responsibility for it. It's unfortunate. But to apologize, I think, lends credibility that somehow or another that it was more than that.
Do we have any actual experts on Afghan culture who can tell us what apologies mean to Afghans? Obviously, we have trouble understanding what counts as a manifestation of disrespect and why it inflames the Afghan people to such a degree, or whether it's bogus inflammation used as an excuse for violence, so I have no confidence that Obama or Santorum is any good at predicting the effect of apologizing or not apologizing on the events in Afghanistan.

Both of them seem to take a position on apologizing that has to do with their American cultural values. As Americans, we can talk about the meaning of apologies and form opinions about whether Obama or Santorum has the better philosophy. But choosing a President, I want someone effective at doing what is in American interests around the world.

Obama came into office claiming some special insight into how we are perceived in other countries, and he made us feel that he would improve these perceptions. This has not happened.

Santorum offers a different approach. Perhaps reciting and adhering to clearly stated American values would work better than Obama's apologies for America. But I don't see any special understanding or expertise in either of these men. They are just 2 American men behaving according to their instincts and ideology.

February 26, 2012

"Sacha Baron Cohen just spilled 'ashes' of Kim Jong Il on Ryan Seacrest."

A tweet from the Oscars that I am not watching.

Cohen is promoting his movie "The Dictator" and appearing in character as Adm. Gen. Shabazz Aladeen, which the Oscar folk tried to keep him from doing.

ADDED: Video.

Looking back at my old Wisconsin protest posts from a year ago, I'm struck by...

... the bemused, distanced attitude I have and how coolly neutral I was presenting material that I could have been really sensationalistic about. It was just another day in Madison, Wisconsin, and I was looking for things to photograph. It confirms for me what I've known about myself for a long time: I'm not into politics the way other people are.

The original name of this blog was Marginalia, and — as I explain in the very first post — Marginalia was a name I made up for Madison, when I was, long ago, writing a fictionalized account of my life here in this remote outpost in the Midwest. I was writing about art and life and a little law. My only early political posts were about Wesley Clark's body fat and a mixed metaphor in the NYT.

I really do feel marginal, but as I said back when I named the blog Marginalia, I love writing marginalia.

A year ago today at the Wisconsin protests — 100,000 people marched around the Capitol in the snow.

Meade and I walked against the flow of the crowd so we could photograph a lot of faces, and I edited his video down to 10 minutes, that included a huge union presence, a man dressed as a rich man declaiming "In the old days, we knew how to deal with peasants!... Burn you like marshmallows!," ladies who harass me for blocking their view of some people in "Star Wars" outfits, the voice of Peter Yarrow, a protester complaining that Obama's not there, and a view into the soul of a puppet. [More of Yarrow here.]

Inside the Capitol, I made use of my fisheye lens.

We checked back at the Veterans Memorial, where, the day before, the protesters had promised us they were going to clear their signs and things away from the memorial.


"The signs were off the memorial, but, as you can see, the junk was still piled against it, and Meade had a long talk with them — and the Capitol Police — about it. The protesters were very polite and circumspect, even as they fell back on the argument that they thought it was enough to take down the signs — and that they'd thought, yesterday, that it was enough to tape the signs only on the back of the monument. The assertion was made, as it was yesterday, that people can't tell from the back that it's a war monument."

ADDED: Here's the edited video of our return to the Veterans Monument.

Also, I traced the timeline of the protests to date and believed that there was "this slowly tightening cordon will effectively accomplish the end of the occupation at 4 p.m. this afternoon."

And, on this short video, Meade questions a man with a sign that reads "Egypt, Libya/Madison, Wisconsin/Civil Unrest Is Best." The conversation ends when the man leans over to Meade and says "Get your head fucked." There's also a cute (but cold) doggie at the end."

Evan Bayh, clinging to guns and religion.

This morning, on Fox News Sunday:
Well, look, Bill obviously noticed, the Wall Street Journal editorial page will notice, you can go into Michigan, put a gun to the head of the people going into these caucuses and no one will be able tell you the specifics of Romney's economic plan, or very few. But they do get a gut sense is this someone who is a leader with big idea who can try and lead this country in a better direction. God love him, he just hasn't been able to communicate that yet.
Gun to the head... God love him... What's wrong with that man?

"As we round the corner into Sunday night's low-hype, low-suspense Academy Awards..."

"... is there anything you're hoping to see on Sunday? Any viable surprises that would delight you? Any level of expectation for Billy Crystal's hosting?"

I don't think I have ever been less interested in the Academy Awards than I am this year.

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