April 28, 2012

"President Obama is increasingly taking the unusual route of bragging about how he killed a man."

"That's how I might expect a very far-left fringe candidate to describe our successful mission to kill the head of al Qaeda."

"Nothing bores me more than to be in New York and have a dinner in a big fancy restaurant, where you have to sit for three fucking hours."

"You know and people will have drinks before, wine after, then three courses, then they want coffee and someone is going to ask for a fucking French press and all the rest of this crap. To me my idea of what’s good is to drive here and go to Waffle House, get a couple of eggs and waffle. When I see the first Waffle House, I know I’m in the South. That’s good."

Stephen King, talking to Neil Gaiman. Lots of nice stuff here. (Via Metafilter.)

"But, has anyone else been as creeped-out on this blog, as I've been lately?"

Says Jay Vogt, off topic, in the "Science of sitting" post. He continues:
Over the past two days, we been presented with posts on giant cannibal shrimp, revenge by extraneous dentistry, testicular mutilation, necrophilia, the legal writings of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and infanticide. 
I'm not sure that I'm up for much more work on this vein.

I haven't been this upset since I attended the the brunch reception for the debut screening of "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife And Her Lover."
Funny, just as you were writing that, I was doing a new post about the "inescapable shame of being a storyteller." Maybe there's an inescapable shame of being a blogger. But if it's any consolation, years ago, I went to "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife And Her Lover," and, leaving at the end, I felt very uncomfortable just to be in the crowd of people who had seen it.

Now, Jonathan Franzen has a memoir called "The Discomfort Zone." I don't think you're supposed to feel comfortable. I like that book. I've read it. Another book I've read and liked is "Don't Get Too Comfortable," by David Rakoff, which has the subtitle "The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems," so you see the idea there.

Franzen also has a new book of essays, which I just bought. It's "Farther Away." (I guess you're supposed to feel alienated.) It contains his essay about David Foster Wallace that was what David Haglund shamed him about.

Is this blog making you uncomfortable?

pollcode.com free polls 

The "inescapable shame of being a storyteller."

An enactment of shame, by Jonathan Franzen:

Via David Haglund, who proceeds to further shame Franzen.

The science of sitting.

We all know — don't we? — that sitting too much isn't healthy. (I love my motorized sit-stand desk, which I demonstrate here.) I'm interested in reading the science of sitting, and there's some good material here, but the family life part of it kind of annoyed me:
In [one study], researchers determined that watching an hour of television can snip 22 minutes from someone’s life. If an average man watched no TV in his adult life, the authors concluded, his life span might be 1.8 years longer, and a TV-less woman might live for a year and half longer than otherwise. 
So I canceled our cable, leaving my 14-year-old son staggered. I’d deprived him of his favorite shows on The Food Network, a channel that, combined with sitting, explains much about the American waistline. (Thankfully, my son is blessed with his father’s lanky, string-bean physique.)
1. Did you take his books away too? What if he were willing to watch TV standing up? It seems to me this anti-TV agenda is wholly separate. Maybe you have some other reason for canceling cable, but this is bad science (and kind of a mean thing to do to the kid, but you report it as if it was funny to "stagger" him).

2. You inform us that America is fat, but your son and husband are skinny. Insults + bragging = annoying.

"Occupy Student Debt."

Nice poster... but what's going on? There's this:
The Occupy Student Debt Campaign, organised by members of Occupy Wall Street, planned rallies in at least a dozen cities including the college towns of Ann Arbor in Michigan, Madison in Wisconsin, and Newark in Delaware, the home of the lender Sallie Mae.
Madison, Wisconsin? Here we go again...

Finally! "The Greening of America" is out on Kindle.

Got it!

[CAVEAT: The Kindle version is newly abridged, "compressing the original 125,000 words to an Internet-friendly 24,000 words and eliminating most of the sections on "Consciousness III." Updated? Charles Reich wrote a new preface and final chapter." Damn. As you see below, I'm most interested in the stuff that is outdated and embarrassing!]

[From the first link:]
In 1970, The New Yorker Magazine ran a 39,000-word excerpt of ‘The Greening of America' -- the longest in its history. Then the book was published. It caused a firestorm. Written by Charles Reich, a distinguished professor at Yale Law, it showed how a once-free America had become a Corporate State that made no one happy. And then it suggested a remedy.

The way out? It wasn't political change — for Reich, politics came last. The first and most important thing: Consciousness. As he saw it, America had outgrown "Consciousness I," which had helped form a nation of free individuals. It had outgrown "Consciousness II," which was corporate and heartless. Now it was time for "Consciousness III," in which people would turn away from the quest for traditional success and forge a new, personal path to satisfaction.

In short: Change the way you think, help others do the same, and soon the system has to change.
Ah, soon the system has to change. Hope and change, baby. It's 42 years later and look at all this change. It's change as far as the eye can see.

I love reading these pop culture books of the past, that is, my past. Especially circa 1970.

I also got the Kindle version of Roger Kimball's "The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America," which I have already read and enjoyed, because I wanted to be able to cut and paste a little something of what Kimball says about "The Greening of America," which he memorably savages:

"Nearly a dozen of high school journalists walked out of a lecture by Dan Savage, the prominent ant-bullying advocate..."

Sorry... I just love the typo: ant-bullying. Is that something done with a magnifying glass?

But... okay... let's talk about the underlying story. Dan Savage was doing his thing....
'People often say that they can’t help with the anti-gay bullying acts because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in Timothy, it says right there in Romans, that being gay is wrong,' Mr Savage said.

'We can learn to ignore the bullsh*t in the Bible and what it says about gay people.'

He compared dogmatic acceptance of anti-gay teachings equivalent to adhering to verses about slavery and eating shellfish, two issues that have been reinterpreted in modern day.
My question is whether the school engages in viewpoint discrimination. Does it bring in other speakers who present other interpretations of the Bible? I doubt it.

Why are we so hostile to non-natives?

"Giant cannibal shrimp more than a FOOT long invade waters off Gulf Coast."
The black-and-white-striped shrimp can grow 13 inches long and weigh a quarter-pound, compared to eight inches and a bit over an ounce for domestic white, brown and pink shrimp.

Scientists fear the tigers will bring disease and competition for native shrimp. Both, however, can be eaten by humans.

‘They’re supposed to be very good,’ Pam Fuller, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey told CNN. ‘But they can get very large, sorta like lobsters.’
They're very good. They're the size of lobsters. Does everything have to be a problem? Can't we just say thanks?

This reminds me of #Asian Carp on an American Rampage# — the Chinese puzzlement at our anguish over Asian carp, their favorite food fish.

"I tried to be professional and detach myself from my emotions."

"But when I saw him lying there I just thought, 'What a b******.'"

Warning: Horrifying story at the link. The story comes all the way from Poland, so you're on you own deciding whether it's true.

Meanwhile, and now that I've linked to that, Drudge has been pimping this story (that came all the way from China): "Woman kills man by squeezing his testicles over parking dispute."

It seems the women of the world are on a rampage.

Is this the right way to exploit "17-year old blogging prodigy Bebe Zeva"?

I stumbled across this article in the Washington Square News, which is the NYU student newspaper, because my Google alert on NYU School of Law (my alma mater) brought in a headline — "V.P. Biden visits NYU, praises Obama" — that made me click over to the site.

Okay, first, the Biden stuff:
In his speech, Biden framed the victories the president has won. He also discounted Romney's remarks against Obama's foreign policy. "Romney wants to take us back to the past we've worked so hard to move beyond," Biden said. "He is looking through the glass of a rear-view window."...

CAS sophomore Danielle Herring left the talk convinced that she will be voting for Obama in November. "I was expecting more of a speech on foreign policy in general, more of an overview on what America is planning on doing in the future," Herring said. "But I think it did a good job of explaining our foreign policy and what America has done in the last four years."
So then Biden was looking through the glass of a rear-view window. Whatever. At least he convinced Danielle Herring that she will be voting for Obama.

Now, check out the article about the filmmaker — Tao Lin, an NYU alumnus — who's made a documentary about a 17-year old female blogger. The film "tails the up-and-coming blogger through one night in Las Vegas, her hometown."
"The simple, utilitarian storytelling set against the absurd, over-the-top backdrop of Vegas calls to mind the similar tone of Lin's books," reads a description of the film on MDMA's website. "Bebe Zeva provides an opportunity to see [Tao Lin's] literary aesthetic translated into the world of cinema."
Sounds interesting. But then I clicked through to the trailer for the film and... wow...

That is not the right way to use a minor. The literary aesthetic translated into the world of cinema literally nauseated me.

PJ Media's stupid effort to attack Obama through Derrick Bell's book "Afrolantica Legacies."

Did anyone over there realize how dumb this is?
As a 28-year-old student at Harvard Law Barack Obama supported the activism of Professor Derrick Bell and urged his peers to open their hearts and minds to the words of Critical Race Theory's founder.
I've already blogged about the stupidity of attributing significance to the student who gave a nice introduction to a venerable professor. I won't repeat that. This is about PJ Media's failure to see that Bell is attacking liberals. It's stupid to tear down Bell as a way to attack Democrats. Bell is attacking Democrats!

PJ Media is reading one of the lesser Bell works, "Afrolantica Legacies." It's not available in Kindle, or I'd buy a copy right now, but I see that it's like about the 7 millionth best-selling book over at Amazon right now. The book is a collection of essays, and PJM displays photos of some pages in the book, including a collection of "rules of racial preservation," which is the first thing the PJM article decides to trash. But let's look at Bell's first rule:
No matter how justified by racial injustices they are intended to remedy, civil rights policies, including affirmative action, are implemented only when they further the interests of whites.
Hello? Who implements these race-based policies like affirmative action? Liberals! Derrick Bell is saying that white people do this when and only when it works for their advantage! The critical race thinking you're invited to do here is to understand how, when white people purport to advance black people, they are really exploiting black people for their own advantage. This is an attack on the work of the Democratic Party and other liberals. Conservatives are on the sidelines of this battle.

I am reminded of the dissenting opinion that Clarence Thomas wrote in Grutter v. Bollinger, the case that upheld the affirmative action admissions at the University of Michigan Law School:

Why aren't we all talking about the "secret plan to evacuate some residents of Chicago in the event of major trouble during the NATO summit next month"?

3 days ago CBS 2 reported on an e-mail that the Red Cross sent out to volunteers in the Milwaukee area:
It said the NATO summit “may create unrest or another national security incident. The American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin has been asked to place a number of shelters on standby in the event of evacuation of Chicago.”

According to a chapter spokesperson, the evacuation plan is not theirs alone.

“Our direction has come from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service,” she said.
What's going on?

You know I'm already agitated about the potential for Chicago folk to come up to Milwaukee to vote in the Scott Walker recall election. (Remember: "Chicago is up in the house!"/"Everyone left is from Chicago"?) The Wisconsin courts, conveniently, have blocked the voter ID law.

And now there's this secret evacuation plan, with the City of Chicago and the Secret Service — the Secret Service, will there be prostitutes?! — working together? And Milwaukee is the evacuation zone?

Sorry to verge into the conspiracy-theory area of thinking, but why isn't this evacuation plan story big news?

ADDED: Instapundit links and says "Well, I did have a post last week, though this sounds bigger." That link goes to this:
Residents of a Chicago condo whose building will be in the eye of the NATO storm are being warned that they should move out for the weekend ... or risk being trapped inside by rioters.

What do Bob Dylan, Toni Morrison, John Glenn, and Madeleine Albright have in common?

Obama is giving them all a medal — the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Speaking for freedom, Bob's got an old song called "I Shall Be Free." It says:
Well, my telephone rang it would not stop
It’s President Kennedy callin’ me up
He said, “My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?”
I said, “My friend, John, Brigitte Bardot
Anita Ekberg
Sophia Loren”
(Put ’em all in the same room with Ernest Borgnine!)
It's not a slow jam, but like that Obama's slow jam the other day, it got that idea that sexual stimulation is what the country needs. (Speaking of old, there's that old Woody Allen joke: "I ... interestingly had, uh, dated ... a woman in the Eisenhower Administration ... briefly ... and, uh, it was ironic to me 'cause, uh . . . 'cause I was trying to, u-u-uh, do to her what Eisenhower has been doing to the country for the last eight years.)

Bob's most famous reference to the President is in "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)":
While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked
Lest you think that was sexy-naked, the year was 1965, and the President was LBJ.

April 27, 2012

"It can get a little gory, watching the parents tear up rabbits and squirrels, but that's nature."

"I just think it's been nice for us to be able to put it out there so a worldwide audience can watch these hawks."

"Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?"

That's the fifth most "liked" quote on the topic of "sin" at goodreads. It's from Chuck Palahniuk, Diary (which is a novel, not a diary). The forth most liked also involves poor old Adam. It's by Mark Twain:
Adam was but human—this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.
But I've heard snake is tough, tougher than dog (and less crunchy than grasshopper).

Sorry for the gratuitous Obama-eats-dog/snake punchline. It was not my motivation to look up quotes. I was actually searching for a quote about boredom, something like the only sin is being boring. Interestingly, the most-liked goodreads quotes on the topic of "boredom" are boring. Seriously, how many ways are there to say If you're bored, it's because you are boring? And now I've lost track of what somebody said that made me what that sin-of-boringness quote, which might not even exist.
“Life is for living and working at. If you find anything or anybody a bore, the fault is in yourself.”
― Elizabeth I
Am I boring you? You must be boring.

IN THE COMMENTS: Sweetbriar and Jody both point me to the answer: Christopher Hitchens, in his memoir, "Hitch-22." Page 13. His mother used to say:  "The one unforgivable sin is to be boring."

And I think what got me looking in the first place was a comment by Patrick over in the "Predictable Althouse Is Predictable" post:
Honestly, when I first came to this blog, back in the day, I assumed that you, a law professor especially at Madison, would be a typical lefty law professor. In fact, I likely put off reading the blog for awhile because I assumed it would be the same old boring lefty stuff. This is a very interesting blog, and your political opinions or votes are part of that, but really, there's a lot more to it. Vote for Ron Paul for all I care, or Dennis Kucinich. Just don't be boring about it!

Dalai Lama: "I love George Bush... the younger one... as a human being."

"As a person: very nice person. I love him."

"Alleged proposals to allow Egyptian husbands to legally have sex with their dead wives for up to 6 hours after their death have been branded a 'complete nonsense.'"

"The controversial new 'farewell intercourse' law was claimed, in Arab media, to be part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament."

Who even thinks about making laws on this subject?

But now that we are thinking about it, what do you think: How much physical love may a husband express toward his newly dead wife (or a wife to her husband)? Clearly, kissing the dead loved one is considered normal, but where is the line? If you had to make a law defining what constitutes a crime with respect to the treatment of a dead body, how much leeway would you give to the new widowers and widows?

Let's not get all embroiled in what the Egyptian Islamists do. Let's look at our own values. We're talking about when the state should prosecute somebody. Who should go to prison? Take into account that, under the Constitution, we have a right of privacy:
We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights — older than our political parties, older than our school system. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse, hopefully enduring, and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects.
ADDED: This subject makes me want to reprint the last paragraph of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame":

Tages-Anzeiger "starved to death after embarking on a spiritual diet that required her to stop eating or drinking and live off sunlight alone."

Another saint, gone.

Having gotten that far drafting this post, I went looking for saints who have starved to death. I found the story of Maximilian Kolbe. Now, I'm ashamed to have begun this post so sarcastically, but I'll leave it the way it is and invite you to contemplate the extent of the contrast between these 2 stories.

Is Eric Hovde the new Ron Johnson?

Larry Kaufman on the GOP Senate primary in Wisconsin.

But Ron Johnson did not have to fight off Tommy Thompson, the former governor who chose not to go for a Senate seat when it required ousting an incumbent. It's an easier seat to get in the general election because the incumbent is retiring, but that makes the primary more contentious.

Is Thompson up for that fight? Or is he just assuming we know him and like him? So far...
... Thompson is a no-show for debates and often "phones in" speeches at the events he does attend. There's a growing sense that Thompson is acting like he's entitled to the job...
When is the Senate primary anyway? It's August 14, after the recall elections, which are June 5th. Kaufman tries to predict the post-recall political climate:
If Gov. Scott Walker loses, dispirited GOP voters will be far more likely to hunker down and cast a "safe" vote for Thompson to take on Democratic challenger Tammy Baldwin. 
Really? Wow. GOP folk go completely beta? Gotta win something.
But in the more likely case where Walker wins, the surge in Republican confidence would favor candidates like Hovde running on a stronger and more forthright fiscal conservatism. Wisconsin's open primary could also favor Hovde, since he's a fresh face with more crossover appeal than his opponents.
Why wouldn't they cross over and vote for whoever is the weakest candidate to face Baldwin? These open primaries are a bitch.

IN THE COMMENTS: Original Mike said:
Thompson clearly doesn't have it in him anymore. He should step aside. 
If the GOP had a brain, all the other candidates would step down and endorse Hovde. Don't you think? There's only one declared candidate on the Democratic side, the primary isn't until August, and it's an open primary.

"Predictable Althouse is predictable."

Says a familiar lefty commenter, provoking me to say:
Does that include the idea — see Ipso Fatso, supra — that I'm surely going to vote for Obama?

I love that I'm so obviously totally for him and against him.

Somebody please explain.
It's really quite weird. My regular right-leaning readers keep seeing me as secretly devoted to Obama, no matter what mockery I indulge in. They think I'm just trying to trick them into thinking I've got what I like to call cruel neutrality. And yet the left-leaning readers assume I loathe Obama.

What's so annoying about this is that I want to write things that are fresh and surprising. And seeming to be both for and against Obama should work for that end, and yet it doesn't, because everyone seems to assume I'm on the side that they are not. They think I'm predictable — but which way?

Oh, maybe I should be the opposite of annoyed. Pleased. Because I'm not giving anybody what they want, and yet people — some people, who are they? — keep reading. To be denied what you want and still want more from that source... I'm going to be happy to be that source.

Cruel neutrality, baby.

Pete Fornatale "was at the forefront of the FM revolution, along with WNEW-FM colleagues..."

"... like Scott Muni, Rosko, Vin Scelsa, Dennis Elsas, Jonathan Schwartz and Alison Steele (who called herself “the Nightbird”). They played long versions of songs, and sometimes entire albums, and talked to their audiences in a conversational tone very different from the hard-sell approach of their AM counterparts."

That meant so much. Maybe you had to be there back then to understand how this mattered, but I'm sad to say goodbye to Pete Fornatale, who died of a stroke yesterday, at the age of 66.
As a sophomore at Fordham University in 1964, he persuaded the school’s Jesuit leaders to let him do a free-form rock show on what was officially an educational station....

Mr. Fornatale came on board in 1969 and quickly moved to the center of New York’s music scene. He gave early exposure to country-rock bands like Buffalo Springfield and Poco. He did one of the first American interviews with Elton John, and got a rousing ovation when he brought a rented surfboard to Carnegie Hall for a Beach Boys show. He introduced Curtis Mayfield to Bob Dylan at a Muhammad Ali fight....

One of Mr. Fornatale’s signatures was playing songs that followed a theme. It might be colors, with a playlist including the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” and Joni Mitchell’s “Blue.” Or it might be great inventions, as when he celebrated the 214th anniversary of the United States Patent Office. Or the theme might simply be radio....

What's the best position for a 2012 candidate to take on the Arizona approach to immigration enforcement?

The Obama administration fought this law, in what culminated in an embarrassing performance at the Supreme Court this week. And Chuck Schumer's saying that if the Supreme Court upholds Arizona's law, the Democrats in Congress will rise up and kill it. But polls show that a big majority of Americans — and about half of Hispanic-Americans — support what Arizona has done — even after extensive efforts by the Democrats+MSM to make us all feel as though only terrible, racist people think Arizona's okay.

And I just want to remind you of something that you may have forgotten: the reason Barack Obama was able to overtake Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination. What was the issue that tripped her up and gave Obama the opening to look like the sensible, moderate person?
But it was a question about driver's licenses for “undocumented workers'' – the politically neutral terminology for “illegal aliens'' which she prefers – that created the most trouble for Clinton during last night's two-hour debate of the Democrats staged in Philadelphia....

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has proposed giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, NBC moderator Tim Russert reminded Clinton. “You told the Nashua, N.H., editorial board it makes a lot of sense,'' he said. “Why does it make a lot of sense to give an illegal immigrant a driver's license? ''

“ Well, what Gov. Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform,'' she said. “We know in New York we have several million at any one time who are in New York illegally. They are undocumented workers.
We know all about Spitzer trying to "fill the vacuum," but let's not digress into the subject of prostitution in this post.
“They are driving on our roads,'' she said. “The possibility of them having an accident that harms themselves or others is just a matter of the odds. It's probability. So what Gov. Spitzer is trying to do is to fill the vacuum.
Ahem. I'm trying not to get distracted!
“I believe we need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well-intentioned, can fill this gap,'' Clinton continued. “There needs to be federal action on immigration reform. ''

“Does anyone here believe an illegal immigrant should not have a driver's license?'' Russert asked the other six Democrats assembled on stage.
Damn! I miss Tim Russert! Here's video. I love the point — at 2:53 — when she complains that "everybody" — i.e. Tim — is playing "gotcha." Because he got her. And that's the moment when she loses.

After that point, it looks as though they are moving on to the next topic: protecting children — children! — from — horrors! — the Internet. We got a laugh watching the now-disgraced John Edwards scramble to: Children? Protect children? I would. But he shifts back to the immigration topic, not to take an actual position himself, but to attack Hillary for taking more than one position, and after all the years of "double-talk from Bush and from Cheney...  America deserves us to be straight.'' (Yeah, be straight, John. Tell it to the jury.)

And then Barack Obama gets his chance. At 4:10, the moderator (Brian Williams) calls on him: "Senator Obama, why are you nodding your head?"
“Well, I was confused on Sen. Clinton's answer,'' Obama said. “I can't tell whether she was for it or against it, and I do think that is important.

“You know, one of the things that we have to do in this country is to be honest about the challenges that we face,'' Obama said. “Immigration is a difficult issue. But part of leadership is not just looking backwards and seeing what's popular, or trying to gauge popular sentiment. It's about setting a direction for the country, and that's what I intend to do as president.''
That's obviously total mush, but he sounds calm saying it. He's pushed to take a position and — caught — he says that Spitzer has "the right idea... because there is a public safety concern":
"We can make sure that drivers who are illegal come out of the shadows, that they can be tracked, that they are properly trained, and that will make our roads safer. That doesn't negate the need for us to reform illegal immigration.''
So he agrees with Hillary's first position.  I had forgotten that. I can't remember how this issue played out and why it hurt Hillary so much and helped Obama. Maybe it was simply that she lost her cool and sounded dishonest, and he lucked into an opportunity to seem solid and competent.

Could you give me the street address so I can Google map the directions?

That's my response to this really cool invitation I just got in the email — I am so psyched! — from Michelle Obama:
Ann --

Barack and I know how hard so many of you are working on this campaign -- and we're grateful for it.

But sometimes you just need to have a little fun, too.

That's why I hope you'll take us up on the chance to join Barack at George Clooney's house on May 10th for what will be a pretty amazing event.

Chip in with a grassroots donation today, and you'll be automatically entered to join them:


Thanks for all you do,

Oh, hell. Chance to join Barack... Key word: chance. Send money and you're entered in a raffle for an invitation. It's all a big crap shoot. Remember when the key word for Obama was: hope. And: change. They changed one letter in "change" and now it's: chance.  

Come on, baby, won't you take a chance...

There's another key word in that email. It's: you. In this sentence: "But sometimes you just need to have a little fun, too." Sometimes you just need to have a little fun, too. You, lowly peon, in addition to... me and my glamorous husband and my gorgeous Hollywood friend. You may need, but you're only going to get it, if you win the crap shoot, which you've got to be in to win, so give us money, because that's what we need. We have plenty of fun, and we want to have more, but we need what you have: money. Or to put that in email-friendly form: a grassroots donation.

What's grassroots about making a donation in response to the First Lady of the United States luring you to a movie star's party?

April 26, 2012

Dog dinners.

For the first time, a Supreme Court opinion uses the word "feminist."

The case is Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland, which came out this year on March 20th. There are 19 other Supreme Court opinions where the word "feminist/s" appears, but only in the name of an entity like "the Feminist Majority Foundation" or the "Feminists for Life of America" or (once) in the name of a cited law review article.

The article is "The Victim In a Forcible Rape Case; A Feminist View," cited for the proposition that "Rape is very often accompanied by physical injury to the female and can also inflict mental and psychological damage," in the case that says it's cruel and unusual punishment to impose the death penalty for rape. Interesting, isn't it, that it took "A Feminist View" to see that "Rape is very often accompanied by physical injury"? Often? Accompanied? Rape is a physical injury! "Can also inflict mental and psychological damage"?! Can? Do you really have to hedge it?

Anyway, the actual use of the word "feminist" occurs in a dissenting opinion written by Justice Ginsburg. She is explaining why she thinks that Congress had power under §5 of the 14th amendment to enact the self-care provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. To fit the §5 doctrine, the law needs to be portrayed as some kind of remedy for a 14th Amendment rights violation, but both males and females use sick leave, and getting sick leave doesn't seem to be about alleviating unconstitutional sex discrimination.

But Ginsburg says the law had roots in a California effort to require pregnancy or childbirth leave to women:
The California law sharply divided women’s rights advocates. “Equal-treatment” feminists asserted it violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act’s (PDA) commitment to treating pregnancy the same as other disabilities.... “Equal-opportunity” feminists disagreed, urging that the California law was consistent with the PDA because it remedied the discriminatory burden that inadequate leave policies placed on a woman’s right to procreate.
So the first time a Supreme Court Justice uses "feminist," she's talking about 2 types of feminists, the "'equal-treatment' feminists" and the "'equal-opportunity' feminists." Ginsburg refers to the debate between the 2 factions about whether gender-neutrality or special accommodations better served the interests of women. For example Prof. Eleanor Holmes Norton testified that if employers "provide something for women affected by pregnancy that they are not required to provide for other employees [it] gives fodder to those who seek to discriminate against women in employment."

It's just an analogy: The EPA's approach to enforcement is like the way the Romans used crucifixion.

"EPA’s 'philosophy of enforcement,' said EPA’s Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz, is 'kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them.'"

Then everybody else complies.

What? Can't you handle analogies?

Readers of conservative blogs and readers of liberals.

So different in so many ways:

(Note: You contributed to this survey if you've been taking the little polls in the sidebar here. My blog was counted as "conservative" because I'm in the Blogads e Conservative Blog Advertising Network.)

"As a material witness and, in effect, an accuser of Justice Prosser, Justice Crooks cannot sit in judgment of Justice Prosser..."

Crooks was the one justice who wasn't there to witness the "chokehold" scene, but the ethics charge against Prosser also encompasses the "bitch" incident, which Crooks did witness.
Prosser earlier asked Abrahamson, Bradley and Justice Patience Roggensack to remove themselves from the case. None has said what she will do.

Prosser has said he will not participate in the case. If three others step aside, the ethics case cannot proceed. That's because four of the seven justices must participate to take any action.
It seems like the real question here is how (not whether) they will get to 4 recusals. Why did Prosser ask Abrahamson, Bradley and Justice Patience Roggensack first and then Crooks when he hasn't asked Ziegler and Gableman? It seems like a game designed to get to 4 using more liberal members of the court, with Ziegler and Gableman held in reserve and usable to get to 4 if the liberals won't recuse.

"Barry, baby, you see what I got here... Why, this is a box of pudding, Barry."

"It says 'cook and chill' and, baby, that's what I do every night. I cook and then I chill."

That's Thomas Lennon and Michael Ian Black playing Barry and Levon on the early 90s MTV show "The State." The music was originally Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing," but the DVD of the series did not get the rights to the music. Unfortunately, that means the voices had to be overdubbed too. So this should actually be much funnier. But anyway, I was just thinking about this clip this morning. You don't have to worry your pretty little head about why.

Now why is it that I can't just enjoy my pudding?

NYT's Mark Bittman comes to Madison to talk about food and greenness... and insults Scott Walker.

Jeez. Why is it that we can't just enjoy our waffles? He comes here for some damned Green Day exposition and...
Bittman won Madison hearts, extolling the virtues of locally produced food and poking fun at corn producers in Iowa and Gov. Scott Walker.

"On a non-personal level, we have to look to the example of pink slime and Scott Walker and [ask]... how do we regain the power that's rightfully ours? What's government's role? Can corporations be made to behave?"
What exactly is "rightfully ours" here? Bittman isn't a Wisconsin voter, and Wisconsin voters elected Scott Walker (and the Republican legislature, which keeps forwarding him signable bills). But there's some governmental role he wants, to make corporations "behave"? What's the misbehavior — selling food that people choose to buy? What discipline does he have in mind?

"Look, if it helps, I'll take my share of the blame for last year's mess."

"I'm not sure if the bad stuff would have happened if it hadn't been for the transition between myself and the incoming mayor. Paul Soglin was legitimately focused on other more demanding issues and I was busy looking for more bubble wrap and packing boxes."

Whoa! Mayor Dave takes the blame... and shifts it.

Michelle Obama exults over the way "insurance companies will now have to cover basic preventive care--things like prenatal care, mammograms, contraception — at no extra cost."

Right. She didn't say free. She said "no extra cost." Key word: extra. The cost will be bundled into the price of insurance, which you will be required to buy, whether or not prenatal care, mammograms, and contraception are in the range of things you might need or want. That's the beauty of it. Because it's not an extra cost, it's not an avoidable cost. Everybody into the pool.

Why is it that Obama can't just enjoy his slow jam with Jimmy Fallon?

We were talking about Obama's effort at comedy on the Jimmy Fallon show. I had said, in the post, "Doesn't he have a job?" In the comments, Rabel said:
From the AP, April 25, 2012....
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — NATO says that two service members have been killed in separate attacks in southern Afghanistan, while two others have died of non-battle injuries.

The coalition said in statements that one service member was killed by an improvised explosive device Wednesday and another by a similar weapon on Tuesday....

So far this month, 31 coalition members have died in Afghanistan, bringing the year's toll to 122."
Barack Obama was their Commander-in-Chief.

Fuck him.
 And then Rabel came right back and said:
That's his job right there.

Fuck him and fuck his Goddamn comedy act.
Now, that's a very harsh way to talk about Obama, but it's the way people talked about George Bush all the time. Remember how Bush was savaged for displaying a capacity for enjoying himself when Americans were fighting and dying?

That much criticized performance occurred in 2002. A year later, after he received news of war deaths while golfing, Bush gave up golf:
“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf... I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong message."
Does a slow jam with Jimmy Fallon send the wrong message? Or do we not think about the mom whose son may have recently died anymore? (Obama has no Cindy Sheehan dogging hounding him bothering him... at least not that we see in the news.)

Why is Obama immune from the criticism that normally befalls a President? Back in 2008, running for President, Obama pushed back the press one time with "Why is it that I can't just enjoy my waffle?"

It's like that was a really hard question — why is it that he can't just enjoy his waffle... and his multiple vacations and his golf and his rock concerts in the White House and his slow jam with Jimmy Fallon?

The answer is: Because you have a job. You applied for it. We hired you. Make us believe you're doing it.

You know, a couple days ago, Rush Limbaugh said something that sounded outlandish to me at the time:
There's a lot of mythology out there still today about Obama and his strengths and how there hasn't been any fallout from the dismal record that he has amassed.  None of this is true.  They're in trouble.  They're in deep trouble.  You basically have David Plouffe, who's the president, you got Axelrod who's the chief of staff and Obama's out playing golf.  Obama... Not quite.  Obama's out doing the fundraising, but David Plouffe is the acting president, Axelrod's chief adviser, and Obama's out playing golf.  Obama basically has a nine a.m. to four p.m. day.  It's these other guys that are formulating policy, doing all this other stuff.  He knows what's going on, don't misunderstand, and he's guiding and influencing it.

I'm not saying Obama's disengaged, doesn't know what's going on and he's a puppet.  Don't misunderstand.  Not saying that at all.  But he's not known as a hard worker. He's not known as somebody who gets in there early and stays late....

While David Plouffe is the president, Axelrod's the chief of staff, Obama's out raising money. After his campaign stop in North Carolina today, he's going on his comedy tour.  He'll be appearing on the Jimmy Fallon show and then with Jimmy Kimmel before being roasted at the White House Correspondents Dinner this weekend....
Plouffe is the acting President?! That sounded outlandish. But look around. Obama performs 5 minutes of a musically sexualized speech about students and... it's wearing down my sense of the outlandish.

"That sound you hear is the press frantically trying to figure out how to update their ethnic style guides — is Zimmerman now a 'black white Hispanic?'"

"Or do we use the Obama standard (ever heard our historic POTUS called a 'black white?' no you have not), in which case I guess Zimmerman is just… black."

This overeagerness to impose a racial template onto an incompletely understood news story... it can get you into trouble. It is itself racial stereotyping, and restraint is the better course of action.

Ironically, anti-Zimmermania featured attacks on him for (suppposedly) shooting impulsively because of race, but the attacks on him were themselves shooting impulsively because of race.

"The University of Aberdeen is considering establishing a chair in a form of alternative medicine described by one expert as 'pure quackery.'"

I'd never previously given any thought to the University of Aberdeen, so as far as I know the entire place is quackery. Nice reputation building U of A!

We're talking about anthroposophical medicine.
According to Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, anthroposophy was founded in the early 20th century by Austrian spiritualist Rudolf Steiner. Ernst said that anthroposophical drug treatments were based on the movement’s beliefs about the interplay between physiological and spiritual processes in illness and healing. One example is the use of mistletoe to treat cancer, which is based on the observation that, like cancer, mistletoe is a parasitic growth that eventually kills its host.
Even as a fanciful literary conceit, that's stupid.

Should students who party on Cinco de Mayo be shamed for their ethnic insensitivity?

That's what's going on here in Madison.
“It was a good opportunity,” said [a UW-Madison student who designed a Cinco de Mifflin T-shirt, "Mifflin" being the name of the location of an annual block party dating back to 1969.] "People have been calling it ‘Cinco de Drinko’ for the last four years and they’re very much relating it to a drinking holiday anyway.”

Eunji Kang, another student and shirt designer, said that “it’s part of American culture” to drink alcohol while celebrating holidays.

Other students are disappointed by the misappropriation of Mexican culture. The organization Badgers Against Racism formed over ongoing conversations between students concerned with the lack of cultural sensitivity on campus.
“As members of the UW-Madison community we strive to create a learning environment that promotes social justice education, cultural awareness, and respect,” the group said in a statement obtained by The Daily Cardinal. “We should be able to participate in traditions like Mifflin without promoting stereotypes that dehumanize our peers.”
What's the stereotype? The only stereotype I see is UW students as drinking and partying too much. And (other) UW students getting all censorious and political.

IN THE COMMENTS: Don't Tread 2012 said...


In the spirit of race-baiting, the first round is on me.
I know. I noticed that too, and when I read your comment, I thought maybe it's a satire, and I took it seriously. I went back and reread the article. Is this really dry humor? But taking into account the context — Madison, Wisconsin — no, it's real. I'd love to be wrong!

A boy resists his mother's advice to punch the bully — hard — in the nose.

The boy consistently says, "I don’t want to hurt anybody. It’s not who I am.” And with the opposite of help from the school principal and the mediation of a cop, the boy prevails.

If the rate of fatal accidents for children and teens has fallen 30% in the past 10 years...

... why has the death by suffocation rate for babies under 1 year old risen 51%?

It's also notable that the death by poisoning rate increased 91% among 15 to 19 year olds. 15 to 19? I'm guessing these unfortunates are ingesting substances voluntarily. Alcohol poisoning counts in this statistic, right?

Let's concentrate on the babies who don't make it past their first year. I thought suffocation precautions had stepped up. Didn't everyone switch to putting the baby to sleep on his back, and aren't there all these rules about the construction of cribs and the dangers of bed clothes and dangling cords? Is it "co-sleeping"?
The reasons bed sharing has increased are multifaceted. For some parents it is about bonding with their baby, and ease of breastfeeding; for some it is a periodic thing, because a child is sick or frightened, or because the parents just happen to fall asleep with the baby in their bed. It also seems to be cultural — the phenomenon is more prevalent among Asian and African-American households. And sometimes it is out of sheer necessity — the family can’t afford a crib....

The American Academy of Pediatrics has been cautioning against [co-sleeping] for years, warning that parents can roll on top of their infants during sleep, or that a pillow can cover a baby’s face or a blanket can get wrapped around the child’s neck, or the child can get wedged between the mattress and the wall...
Or is it murder, undetected?

April 25, 2012

Here's "the Barackness Monster" doing 5 minutes of...

... I think it's comedy.

Doesn't he have a job?

Dialogue chez Meadehouse at about 4:00:
ALTHOUSE: Does this go anywhere?

MEADE: No. It doesn't go anywhere. It's embarrassing. It's a comedy vehicle for Jimmy Fallon, and it puts Obama in a beta position.
At 4:29, his voice even cracks — like a pubescent teen. Look at his eyes. He looks like he knows it's a disaster. It seems that he's supposed to be doing some sexy Barry White style intonations, but he's obviously decided not to. It's a far cry from the actually very cool Al Green tribute he did back in January. It's like he wanted to recapture some of that charm, but it was so not happening.

"It is the first example we know of a couple wed in childhood wanting the marriage to be annulled..."

At age 1, Laxmi Sargara was married to a 3-year-old named Rakesh. She found out about it when she was 18 and the in-laws came for her.

"Obama Wandered Into A College Bar In Boulder And This Pic Happened."

"All morning I’ve been trying to imagine how I’d have reacted if the president just walked into one of my college dives while I was still a student."

Via Instapundit.

Journal of Higher Education portrays education professors as inferior because they "were about twice as likely as general faculty members to be unaware that human beings are apes."

What?! Human beings are not apes! We're primates, but not apes. If you're going to lay into other people for being "unaware," get your facts straight!

"Brazilian prostitute had collar bone broken when three U.S. marines threw her out of a moving Embassy car..."

This isn't the other prostitutes-in-South-America scandal. That one was in Colombia. This is Brazil. The other one involved Secret Service agents. This one had 3 marines on a U.S. Embassy security team and a member of the Embassy staff.

UPDATE: Blogger unpublished this post but it is a serious news story. It seems you can’t blog about a prostitute without risking being perceived as a using the blog to conduct prostitution!

UPDATE 2: I followed the procedure Blogger gave me and this post was very quickly "reinstated" (their word). I do see the need to keep Blogger from being used to conduct prostitution, and I appreciate that the review procedure is fast and easy. But I wish they'd tighten up their process at the front end! 

"End Student Debt."

Makeshift signage, viewed from my law school office window, just now, at the University of Wisconsin—Madison:


P.J. O'Rouke tells you guys to stop wearing shorts.

I've been saying it for years. (Click the "men in shorts" tag.) But here's P.J.:
Comfortable means “easy.” So: Nothing’s easier than matching a pair of pants and a jacket that look exactly alike. I’ve got a closet full of blue suits and black wing tips. Any tie goes with a white shirt. I can get dressed in the dark. And—what with blinding hangovers from drinking on airplanes to soften the shock of first-class seats filled with graying, jowly urchins—I often do.

The kid-who-stayed-40-years-too-long-on-the-playground look doesn’t inspire trust. If dressing up as a third grader is your idea of how to treat yourself, what’s your idea of how to treat me?

"Obama's Lawyer Chokes Again."

Classic Drudge.

The main link goes here, for a discussion of the argument in the Arizona immigration case, which we're already discussing here and here.

The picture of Obama's hand directly under Verrilli is a devious, devilish Drudge touch. "Economic Suicide Pact"... that goes to the viral video "If I Wanted America to Fail."

What does the extended hand above the Presidential-seal-emblazoned lectern mean? I'm seeing a drowning, swallowed up in the troubled waters of his presidency. Or perhaps a shrinking man, too tiny for the job? Or are you seeing a Hitler salute? That might have more to do with "If I Wanted America to Fail."

Anyway... Drudge being Drudge.

"In a country where we saw buildings knocked down by people who based their destructive impulse on God's will..."

"...  I do not appreciate this religious symbolism at all."

Newt, endorsing Romney: "Now you have to give him some credit. I mean this guy’s worked six years, put together a big machine..."

"... and has put together a serious campaign.... I think obviously that I would be a better candidate, but the objective fact is the voters didn’t think that. And I also think it’s very, very important that we be unified."

The effusiveness! It's overwhelming.

"No part of your argument has to do with racial or ethnic profiling?" asked Chief Justice Roberts, and the SG agreed.

The Arizona immigration case is emphatically not about the issue that seems to be all people opposed to the law argue about in the political sphere.

As in the Affordable Care Act case, it was Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli and former Solicitor General Paul D. Clement arguing on opposite sides. Unlike in that case and because the law under attack is a state law, Verrilli is arguing against the choice of the democratic majority, and Clement is arguing to uphold it.
Mr. Clements [sic] said the state was making an effort to address an emergency situation with a law that complemented federal immigration policy. “Arizona borrowed the federal standards as its own,” he said.

Mr. Verrilli countered that Arizona’s approach was in conflict with the federal efforts. “The Constitution vests executive authority over immigration with the national government,” he said.
That is, it's a federalism case, not a constitutional rights case. The question is the allocation of power between the federal and state government. (The Affordable Care Act case is also a federalism, and not a rights case, even though in the political sphere, people opposed to the individual mandate concentrate on the imposition on the individual, not misallocation of power as between the federal and state governments.)
“What does sovereignty mean if it does not include the ability to defend your borders?” Justice Antonin Scalia asked.

Chief Justice Roberts said the state law merely requires that the federal government be informed of immigration violations and leaves enforcement decisions to it. “It seems to me that the federal government just doesn’t want to know who is here illegally and who’s not,” he said....

Chief Justice Roberts, writing for four of the justices in the majority, said the state law under review “simply seeks to enforce” a federal ban on hiring illegal workers. “Arizona went the extra mile,” he wrote last year, “in ensuring that its law closely tracks” the federal one.
That was from the Adam Liptak article in the NYT. Here's Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog:
In an oral argument that ran 20 minutes beyond the scheduled hour, the Justices focused tightly on the actual operation of the four specific provisions of the law at issue, and most of the Court seemed prepared to accept that Arizona police would act in measured ways as they arrest and detain individuals they think might be in the U.S. illegally.  And most of the Justices seemed somewhat skeptical that the federal government would have to change its own immigration priorities just because states were becoming more active....

The Court’s three more liberal Justices — Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor — offered what appeared to be a less than enthusiastic support for the federal government’s challenge....
Kagan has recused herself, by the way. It seems rather obvious that Arizona will win this case. The first quote in Liptak's article is Sotomayor saying to Verrilli: "You can see it’s not selling very well."

Oral argument in the Supreme Court today over Arizona's approach to illegal immigration.

I'll get to the transcript later today. Right now, you can follow the live blog at the Wall Street Journal. Here's the 10:27 update:
Outside, a group of clergy in white robes led opponents of the Arizona law in what they called a Jericho Walk around the Supreme Court.

The procession is reference to the biblical story of Joshua, who led the Israelites around the enemy city of Jericho seven times before blowing trumpets and shouting, bringing down the city’s walls.
What?! Are they asking God to bring down the Supreme Court? I'm just going to assume the wall in question is the "wall" between the U.S. and Mexico, which they'd like to see come down. But the symbolism directs God to the Court as the object of destruction. Good Lord, what is wrong with people? Get your symbols straight.

"Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that had 'statistically significant' job losses over the past 12 months"... but 74% of the jobs lost were government jobs.

According to this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article based on information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The state lost 23,900 jobs from March 2011 to March 2012.

The majority - 17,800 - were government jobs. But Wisconsin also lost more private-sector jobs - 6,100 - than any other state over those same 12 months, the government data shows.

Democrats have seized on GOP Gov. Scott Walker's job creation record as a central campaign theme in the June 5 recall election.

"Walker's jobs record is a total failure, and this is what happens when you pursue ideology instead of focusing on jobs," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is competing for the Democratic nomination against Walker.

"Every report card that comes in for Gov. Walker shows he's failing Wisconsin," said Kathleen Falk, the other leading Democratic challenger.
What would Barrett and Falk do that would increase the number of jobs in Wisconsin? Hire more government workers?

Toward the bottom of the article:
Separate government data show that Wisconsin was one of 18 states that had a statistically significant drop in the unemployment rate during the same March 2011 to March 2012 time frame, from 7.6% to 6.8%.

The governor has put this statistic as the center of his economic message. While it seems contradictory....

Politico deploys the racial epithet "vanilla."

"Rob Portman: Vice President Vanilla?"

 Not only is this offensively racial, it's an insult to an amazingly complex and powerful flavor.

Vanilla is, according to the OED, "A pod produced by one or other species of the genus Vanilla (see sense 2), esp. V. planifolia. Chiefly in pl."

Ah, yes. A pod. We were just talking about pods. Continuing in the OED with the oldest appearances of "vanilla" in the English language:
1662   H. Stubbe Indian Nectar ii. 11   They added‥the Vaynillas [to the chocolate] for the like ends, and to strengthen the brain....
1673   J. Ray Observ. Journey Low-countries 485   Vanillas which they mingle with the Cacao to make Chocolate....
1697   W. Dampier New Voy. around World iii. 38   There grow on this Coast Vinelloes in great quantity, with which Chocolate is perfumed...
1748 Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 45 160   The Vanelloe. With the Fruit of this Plant the Spaniards perfume their Chocolate.
Strengthen the brain!

"Sources close to Newt Gingrich say he will end his bid for the GOP presidential nomination next week."

An email alert from CNN.

ADDED: "Newt Gingrich plans to formally leave the Republican presidential race next Tuesday, senior campaign aides told Fox News, after struggling for months to turn around his sagging bid for the White House."

"Podium teaching."

Have you seen this term? I'm not finding it on Google, but I'm hearing it used as if it's a standard term. It's a retronym, like "acoustic guitar," invented to distinguish traditional classroom teaching (in law school) from the clinics.

I'm trying to examine why I find the term so annoying. It's not just that I don't want the thing I do to be the retronym. It's that I hear something insulting in the word, as if we who are planted in the classroom are pod people, to be distinguished from the real people out in the real world doing real things.

And then it's the fact that we do not have podia at the law school. (Don't confuse "podium" with "lectern.") Every elevated platform for a teacher to stand on was ripped out long ago because it was seen as noncompliant with the Americans for Disabilities Act. So every classroom that had seats configured with sightlines designed for a professor on a podium got a flattened front end in case there might be a teacher in a wheelchair. That means there are some rooms that are utterly surrealistic from the teacher's point of view. You feel like you are down in a well with the students banked up to the ceiling. You have to keep reminding yourself to crank your head up now and then to make eye contact with the students in the back couple of rows.

To call me a podium teacher and deny me a podium....

Ah, well, all in the name of leveling.

Still #1.

In the Law Prof Blog Traffic Rankings. (Which don't include Instapundit, because he doesn't display Site Meter.)

April 24, 2012

"Ann Althouse remembers it..."

Cool of Instapundit to remember things I said that I've forgotten. And I'd even set up a "meme watch"!

"MIT hackers have long considered 'Tetris on the Green Building' to be the Holy Grail of hacks..."

"... as the side of the building is a wonderful grid for the game."

At the Pine Tree Café...


... have a seat over there.

"Getting yogurt on the president, you've got a story to tell."

"I'm very embarrassed."

"I think by this shift to a sense of entitlement and dependence on government, we're losing a bit of our soul."

The last line of the new ad for Eric Hovde, who's running for the GOP nomination for the Senate here in Wisconsin.

What do you think? We're losing a bit of our soul. A bit much? Exactly the right tone?

(I must say, he looks great. I can't call to mind a better-looking politician.)

Obama refers to the Secret Service scandal as "a couple of knuckleheads."

Basically, the Secret Service "guys are incredible. They protect me. They protect Michelle. They protect the girls. They protect our officials all around the world... A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do. What these guys were thinking, I don't know. That's why they're not there any more."

Romney wins 5 primaries.

“To all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I’ve met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance, to all of you, I have a simple message... Hold on a little longer. A better America begins tonight.”

"A court found Egypt’s most popular comic actor guilty on Tuesday of insulting Islam in roles in films mocking religious hypocrisy..."

"... alarming liberal-minded artists and intellectuals already anxious about the growing power of Islamists here after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak."

"On Sunday, UW-Madison Dean of Students Lori Berquam produced an awkward, stilted YouTube video advising students 'Don't go'..."

"... to this year's Mifflin Street Block Party. The video went viral and students almost immediately began to heckle Berquam on social media."

"I think they should all recuse themselves, period."

"You can't be a witness and still sit on the case."

Purple crabs... purple crabs....

I only want to see you laughing with your purple crabs.

If we're going to pounce on everyone for the words they use, Ann Romney made herself exquisitely pounceable by saying "love."

"I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids."

"When will ‘The Kathleen’ Falk and Tom Barrett get their Walter Mondale on?"

Asks David Blaska, very intraWisconsinly, except to the extent that Walter was over there in that state that looms to our left.

"Is my idealism giving you an orgasm?"

Question of the day.

"People think just because you have insurance that you're going to have access to care — which is not the whole story."

"They're very few pediatric dentists that accept Medicaid in this area, so these children have nowhere to go even if they do have insurance.... It's a big problem."

An important problem for the specific children who are suffering, described in the article, but also a problem more generally. You can extend insurance coverage, but it doesn't cause the caregivers to come into existence. What will happen when everyone is forced to buy health insurance — it's not some government munificence, but something you paid for — and then the coverage is for something unavailable? I can't imagine the anger that will arise if/when that happens.

"To have just a clear, definitive EEOC ruling that Title VII protects transgender people gives us so much more certainty and security and solid, reliable legal protection."

"For decades now, advocates and scholars both have been saying Title VII should be applied to protect transgender people... And now, to have the EEOC confirm that, 'Yes ... Title VII should and does protect transgender people when they're discriminated against because they've changed their sex or intend to change their sex or because they're gender nonconforming. That is sex discrimination.' That is really an important capstone.''


"On the fourth Armenian Remembrance Day of his presidency, President Obama has for the fourth time in a row broken his promise..."

"... to the Armenian community to use the word 'genocide' in describing what happened at the hands of the Turks roughly a century ago."
“America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides,” he said. “I intend to be that president.” In a January 2008 letter to the Armenian Reporter, Mr. Obama said he shared “with Armenian Americans — so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors — a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history.”

"When someone walks down the street in a button-down and khakis, the bad guy gets a glimmer of fear, wondering: are they packing or not?"

A spokeman for Woolrich (a company that makes relatively stylish pants that have compartments for carrying a gun) is quoted in a NYT article about fashion and concealed carry.

This might be the least anti-gun article I've ever seen in the NYT. I was trying to read between the lines to find the anti-gun message. Maybe the idea is that omission of negativity will itself freak out the NYT readers. Maybe there are some subtle signals that the people who buy pants like this are not our kind. The first person quoted in the article is "Shawn Thompson, 35, who works at an auto dealership in eastern Kentucky, bought two shirts last month from the Woolrich Elite Concealed Carry line." Even before you see the quote, you've got Kentucky and auto dealership. And here's the quote:
“Most of the clothes I used in the past to hide my sidearm looked pretty sloppy and had my girlfriend complaining about my looks,” he wrote [on his blog], adding in an interview, “I’m not James Bond or nothing, but these look pretty nice.”
Not... nothing. I suspect that opens up the channels of aversion for the typical NYT reader.

But maybe I'm being too hard on the NYT. This is a news-you-can-use article for concealed carriers. You might just want to buy something from the Woolrich Concealed Carry line— and if you do, please use that link. And maybe you're thinking, are there any concealed carry shorts? The answer is: Yes!

When someone walks down the street in shorts, the bad guy gets a glimmer of fear, wondering: are they packing or not?

April 23, 2012

At the Tulip and Chocolate Chip Café...


... you can talk all night.

"Irving Berlin said, 'Popular music is popular because a lot of people like it.'"

"That doesn't mean it's good or bad – that's the equivalent of arguing the merits of hot dogs versus hamburgers. What the hell difference does it make?"

(Via Throwing Things.)

I love the fisheye lens...

... but this thing's insane!

Compared to that, this thing, the one I've had so much fun with, seems quite reasonably priced.

Why are college grads so underemployed?

"More than half of America's recent college graduates are either unemployed or working in a job that doesn't require a bachelor's degree...."
When there were fewer graduates, a generic college degree used to be a valuable credential. Now that the market is flooded, diplomas count less, and specific skills count more. This means that, in many instances, associates and technical degrees may be more financially valuable than a liberal arts degree. After all, some of the fastest growing job categories are expected to be in so-called "middle-skill" positions such as nursing, which do not require a full, four-year education. It's one more sign that, for people seeking to fix America's employment picture, "college for all" is the wrong mantra. We need to be talking about "skills for all" instead.

"Hilarious week lined up for Obama..."

"... prez to appear on Fallon, Kimmel to roast him at White House dinner."

It's one big comic performance.

"If the federal government can’t keep the President’s bodyguards from drinking and whoring on duty..."

"... how likely is it to be able to run anything competently?"

Actor playing Judas in an Easter Passion play really hangs himself and dies.

"The actor was hanging for four minutes before fellow performers realised something was wrong."

"It’s totally maddening... They’re just doing it to make all the green people happy."

Whole Foods will no longer sell "red rated fish."

Wikipedia Sentence of the Day.

"The line 'And so on, and so on, and scooby doobie doo' would in 1969 at least partly inspire the naming of the title character in the popular Saturday morning cartoon series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!."

Classic Wikipedia, in style and substance.

I was reading about the great Sly and the Family Stone song "Everyday People" — which, by the way, Dolly Parton covered — only because Meade happened to say "Sometimes I'm right and sometimes I'm wrong" after the internet resolved a dispute in my favor. The dispute was over the phrase "raising the bar." What bar?

What bar we were talking about raising is another matter? Any bars you think should be raised?

"As a (presumably) grown man, Barack Obama wrote a memoir in order to promote himself."

"He chose to highlight his dog-eating experience. He calculated that the incident would help portray him as worldly, adventurous, open-minded, and multicultural. But how could he have predicted nearly 20 years ago, when he wrote his story of race and inheritance, that Americans would find it would only paint him as submissive, self-satisfied, and out of touch with mainstream American culture?"

A comment from Meade, on a post from a few days ago, responding to one Kwach, who had trouble understanding what I was saying about Obama and the concept of eating what you're told. She said:
Because a young boy was exposed to a foreign culture (including unusual food) and didn't balk at trying it, he grew up to be ... what? Someone who has no will? And then he married a woman who would tell him and all the children in America what to eat... Does this childhood lack of will extend to anyone who spends time in a foreign country and doesn't refuse to try the local cuisine, or is it possible that some people eat things I wouldn't dream of (escargot and goat meat, for instance) not because they are mindless automatons but because they're open-minded or even curious? Is it possible that some children are open-minded and curious? Or even obedient to their parents, as we say they should be?
Read my post again Kwach. I didn't say that Obama had/has no will.  I said that as an author he willfully deprived us of any words on the subject of his will. He says nothing about the degree of compulsion he felt when he "learned" from Lolo "how to eat." Our erstwhile law professor was a student, taking instruction. We don't know how he felt. He keeps that from us. And now, as President, is he a will-less instructor? Does government coerce or does it merely teach... with more or less persuasive incentives... nudges if you will like.

"Nobody cares about what’s happening to John Edwards anymore — he’s old news."

"He’s not relevant to the Democrats in Washington or state capitals. And attacking John Edwards for the Republicans would be like attacking George McGovern."

So says Donnie Fowler, who was a senior adviser to President Obama, so maybe it's time — Romneyites — to care about what’s happening to John Edwards.
Lawyers for the federal government [will attempt to prove] that nearly a million dollars that two wealthy donors gave to Mr. Edwards constitute illegal campaign contributions and were not, as he has claimed, aid from friends trying to help him hide an affair from his wife.

If he is convicted on all six counts, Mr. Edwards, 58, faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.
Nobody cares.
It is not clear whether Mr. Edwards will testify or to what extent he will participate in his defense. Mr. Edwards was once considered such a skilled trial lawyer that others in the profession would rush to catch his closing arguments.
And now, nobody cares.
“It’s very hard to look at this in a vacuum,” said Marcellus A. McRae, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice. “Because of all these other optics about John Edwards, the jury may be moved to return a verdict that is a general no-confidence vote against him, as opposed to a narrow, legal-focused interpretation of what the law is.”
Aw, but if nobody cares, why not go ahead and just decide based on the law? Maybe Edwards is better off if nobody cares.
One potential fallout may be damage to the reputation of Elizabeth Edwards....

People familiar with the government’s case say testimony could reveal that she was aware of the affair earlier than many believed and that she helped develop strategies for keeping it hidden from the public so her husband’s presidential campaign could continue.

“This will be problematic for her legacy,” said someone who worked closely with Mr. Edwards during the campaign and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person is on the government’s witness list.
Meanwhile, Edwards still lives "in a sprawling house on about 100 acres with two of his children, Emma Claire, 13, and Jack, 11." Their mother is dead. Their dad faces 30 years in prison for letting friends help him hide his adulterous affair from the public.

Nobody cares.

"Somehow I get the feeling that when young Ann Althouse refused to eat the carrots on her dinner plate, her parents just sighed and got out the Cap'n Crunch."

Roy Edroso cuts and pastes some of my very best material onto his blog, but leaves me out of his Village Voice column "Dog Soldiers: Rightbloggers Meld with Mitt over Obama Mutt Meal Story." He just doesn't know how to "meld" my material with his "rightbloggers" shtick. It's too meta (and meat-a) for him to grind up into the usual sausages the folk at VV use to metaphorically masturbate.

But I must correct Mr. Edroso. There are 5 errors in the statement "when young Ann Althouse refused to eat the carrots on her dinner plate, her parents just sighed and got out the Cap'n Crunch."

When Inside Higher Ed asks "When Can Faculty Show Porn?" that might not really be the issue.

First, it wasn't porn. It was a documentary about pornography that contained some pornographic images:
Jammie Price, a tenured professor of sociology at Appalachian State University, was suspended last month after showing a documentary about pornography in her introductory sociology class. She’s fighting the charges, saying the university is attempting to punish her for exercising her right to free speech in the classroom....

Price said the film, which she checked out from the university library, was graphic at times but academically relevant to that week’s topic of gender and sexuality. A Wheelock College professor who helped make the movie said it was “ludicrous” to discipline an instructor for showing the documentary, noting that interviews with gender studies scholars figure prominently in the film, which is critical of the porn industry but also includes brief explicit scenes of porn.
It was an anti-porn documentary. But the students were not warned that these sequences were part of the movie. And there were other charges against Price.

April 22, 2012

Suddenly, the problem is supposed to be that people are reading and writing too much.

MIT psych prof Sherry Turkle frets about "The Flight From Conversation":
At home, families sit together, texting and reading e-mail. At work executives text during board meetings. We text (and shop and go on Facebook) during classes and when we’re on dates. My students tell me about an important new skill: it involves maintaining eye contact with someone while you text someone else; it’s hard, but it can be done....
Toward the end, she takes a completely different tack. It's not that we don't do live conversation, it's that we don't know how to be alone:
[I]n our rush to connect, we flee from solitude, our ability to be separate and gather ourselves. Lacking the capacity for solitude, we turn to other people but don’t experience them as they are. It is as though we use them, need them as spare parts to support our increasingly fragile selves.

We think constant connection will make us feel less lonely. The opposite is true. If we are unable to be alone, we are far more likely to be lonely.
If you don't need people to be really here to be with them, then you don't ever have to be alone. Almost everyone now has — without particularly trying — become the kind of person who would say things like I'm never alone when I have a book, and that used to be an oddball, a possibly admirable oddball, or an genuinely admirable intellectual. But now that it's everybody, it's a problem. Everyone's reading and writing all the time.

At the Lilac Café...


... you can write purple — or any color — prose.

"As his guy Scott Walker might say, while the rest of us were in church on Sunday, that's what Meade was up to."

The forum administrator over at Isthmus — "jjoyce" — starts a thread called "Meade being Meade," which (so far) mostly appears to be an attempt to defend the Isthmus's last-blogger-standing, Citizen Dave (who was once Madison's Mayor Dave (Cieslewicz)), who strains to crank out enough prose to suffice as the only blogger left . (They kicked out the brilliant but conservative David Blaska after a couple liberal bloggers left.)

Meade tends to comment — often as the only commenter — on Mayor Citizen Dave's blog — e.g., here — and Dave never responds. I guess he needs to crank out the next blog post so that whole blogging thing can appear to continue to be something that keeps happening at Isthmus, but as a result, you've got these belabored columns blog posts about some damned thing like Mayor Citizen Dave losing his luggage and then there'll be one comment, and it's Meade. Like Meade is the last word on everything Dave ever says.

Why doesn't anyone over there — e.g. Dave or Dave's presumably at least slightly numerous readers — pick up the thread? Why does the conversation go nowhere? Even jjoyce won't go there. He's got to start a separate thread in the forum to discuss the Problem of Meade. It's like Dave's is the lunch table no one will sit at.

"Possibly the best filmed example of game theory in action ever."

Metafilter points to this showdown on "Golden Balls":

"Did Christians punish Colton Dixon for singing Lady Gaga?"

"[I]t’s possible that his surprise elimination from ['American Idol' last Thursday] was because he turned religious viewers away by choosing a song that had the wrong message—a thinly veiled way of acknowledging that he didn’t choose a more Jesus-friendly worship song."
He seems to be suggesting that his fans actively punished him (“turned a lot of people off”) for choosing non-Jesus-friendly lyrics (“a better song,” “a better message”) in the form of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” A commenter notes that his previous songs had been “Christian anthems up until this point.”

In case it’s not clear that Colton is devoutly dedicated to one thing and one thing alone, he also said that during his final song,
“I wasn’t singing for [the judges]. I wasn’t singing for my family or anyone in the audience. I wasn’t singing for anyone at home. That song was between me and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We had a cool moment onstage for sure. But I wanted to end it the way I started it and the way I told myself I would do this competition, and I’m glad I got the opportunity.”
And later Colton said: “I’ve taken pride in knowing who I am and taking a stance in my faith, and by choosing ‘Bad Romance,’ I turned off a lot of those voters, who are my core voters.”