May 5, 2012


... thieves.

An earnest pro-reading poster...

... is making everybody laugh:



"Judge Robert Mandelbaum asked to meet singer Suzanne Vega, who is married to a defense lawyer in the case..."

"... after convicting the demonstrators of disorderly conduct."
But Vega, whose hits include “Tom’s Diner,” took the meeting as a chance to tell her fan, “I’m really disappointed by the verdict.”

“He told me that’s my prerogative,” Vega said outside the judge's courtroom. “It was sort of awkward.”
Ah, go write a song about it. Call it "My Prerogative."

If he wins the recall election, Scott Walker "would be a debilitated governor for the next two years in office, and he would be finished the next time he runs."

That's what AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka asserts... presumably because it would hurt like hell to admit that after all the protests, all the work petitioning for the recall and promoting new candidates, that it's all going to end up giving Scott Walker a vote of approval, a new mandate.
Walker “is still very, very unpopular,” Trumka said. “He is permanently unpopular because he took on and he attacked workers rather than creating jobs.”...

... Walker’s bruised image... would not likely embolden other GOP lawmakers around the country to take on bargaining rights, Trumka argued. “Not if you’re sane and rational, it wouldn’t,” he said.
There's your advance spin. 

I said it was "a terrible mistake, going huge as a way to bring back the hugeness of 4 years ago."

(I said it here.) And now we see that "the Ohio event fell short of expectations: ... Obama spoke to a crowd of about 14,000, well short of the arena’s 18,300-person capacity. Campaign officials said before the event that they had been expecting an 'overflow' crowd."

"Harvard Law School lists one lone Native American faculty member on its latest diversity census report" but won't say if it's Elizabeth Warren.

LOL. If it's someone else, why wouldn't they say?

Last night, we were talking about that column in the NYT where lawprof Kevin Noble Maillard — who identifies himself as an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma — informed us that for "the Cherokee Nation, Warren is 'Indian enough;' she has the same blood quantum as Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker." He said:
For non-Natives, this may be surprising. They expect to see 'high cheekbones,' as Warren described her grandfather as having, or tan skin. They want to know of pow wows, dusty reservations, sweat lodges, peyote and cheap cigarettes. When outsiders look at these ostensibly white people as members of Native America, they don’t see minorities. As a result, Warren feels she must satisfy these new birthers and justify her existence.
He also portrayed Native American lawprofs as such a small group  — 0.5% of all lawprofs — that they'd all know about it — and enthuse about it — if one of them had gotten appointed at Harvard, and that didn't happen.

There are so many issues here. Instapundit brings up 2:

1. "The whole blood-quantum thing is a white man's criterion." (More on that here.)

2.  "[T]he interesting part isn’t that she checked the Native American box; it’s that she unchecked it once it wouldn’t do her any more good. And that’s not a fake controversy"

Let me add some more issues:

3. These days tribes control the standards of who gets in, but what are their purposes? There are ideas about sovereignty, connected to political power and autonomy, but how can this definition carry over to other contexts and support affirmative action? A technical, genetic standard isn't narrowly tailored to notions about the benefits of "diversity," especially if no one can see or is even informed about who's supposed to be bringing the diversity.

4. Having a Native American faculty member is a point of pride for Harvard. It claims credit. But maybe it doesn't really have anyone behind that claim. Note the potential for collusion between a law school and faculty members who can plausibly be claimed to beef up the diversity statistic. The school may not really know or want to know the truth. It just hopes to get away with reporting a number that works to its credit. It's like the way law schools want to hear from their graduates that they have law jobs with good pay. They want to report that information to U.S. News to get better rank on the "Best Law Schools" list. If it's good for them, they'd rather not have to look into whether it's true. It's good. Who cares if it's true?

5. Elizabeth Warren claimed that she had herself listed in the AALS directory as a minority lawprof because she was hoping to get included in group of people like her. Professor Maillard assures NYT readers that Native American lawprofs are a close-knit group who know each other and support and take pride in each other. With such warm and welcoming arms outstretched, how is it that Warren never found her way into that group? One cynical theory is that Warren didn't really want to have to face them, because they might have questioned her authenticity. But that would mean she really did go on the list to make contact with appointments committees who would pull her up to a higher ranked school. And of course, that theory connects neatly with the point made at #2, supra: She unchecked the box once she got to Harvard.

6. Why did Maillard gratuitously insult those of us who are trying to figure this out by bringing up "high cheekbones, "tan skin," "pow wows, dusty reservations, sweat lodges, peyote and cheap cigarettes"? The abuse of affirmative action is a serious issue, and people who worry about it are not trading in old-fashioned stereotypes. It's more like Maillard is stereotyping us as backward and dumb. If that's intentional pushback, it ought to motivate us to look more deeply into the problem at hand. I'm not pushed back. That would be dumb.

I was going to buy a new TV, but it's too complicated.

When I need a new computer, it's easy to figure it out. A new TV? It's like having an extra job. What a chore! A TV is just for fun, so it's absurd for it to be a big bother.

Oh, but if you buy a new TV, please use this link.

Photos of the Kowloon Walled City.

It's hard to believe this place was real. It's so much like sets from a fascinating dystopian movie.

"[T]he Beastie Boys were an incredibly energetic band that brought joy to a lot of people."

"This is a real loss to music," says Jaltcoh (my son), with quotes from obits and videos of songs. Here's the 2009 announcement from Adam "MCA" Yauch — "It's not funny... it's dead serious" — saying he has cancer.

"So I would go months at a time without showering. I would wear the same dress to school for months at a time."

Says Lawndale, North Carolina teenager Dawn Loggins, who was just accepted for admission, with a scholarship, to Harvard University.

"It didn't take much money to live... You could live poor, you could have a lot of fun."

"People didn't need a lot of stuff. And when rents were cheap, all kinds of creative forces ended up here."

NYC, in the 1960s...

"The main thing about the scene back then was that there was this amazing feeling that something wonderful and amazing was going to happen inevitably"...

Nothing feels like that anymore.

"Mohammed, wearing a white turban and a flowing beard, refused to answer the judge's questions..."

"His lawyer said he believed Mohammed was not responding because he believes the tribunal is unfair."

“When detainees stand up, the guards get antsy,” [said Army Col. James Pohl, the tribunal’s president.] “I will note for the record that Mr. bin al Shibh appears to be standing and kneeling outside his chair.”

"In order to stay competitive, airlines need to keep pace with the rapidly changing demands of corporate travelers..."

Says Nigel Page, Emirates' vice president of commercial operations.
"That's why we consistently invest in refining and enhancing our first-class product." The Dubai-based carrier delivers on its promise—thus far, it's the only airline to offer showers for first-class passengers aboard its fleet of 21 A380 jets.
Showers. In-flight showers...

What other rapidly changing demands are corporate travelers making? Personally, I'd like to see a bowling alley.

"We need a mom and I'm anxious to be that mom and bring us back together."

Said former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk at the Scott Walker recall candidates debate.

I'm breaking that out of the context of my much longer post, below, because it's the most blatant and absurd gender politics I've ever seen. I want it out there where everyone can see it.

I'm thinking: motherhood... apple pie... Will she bake us an apple pie?

I'd like to bake Wisconsin a pie and keep it company... ♪♪

Feel free to steal my ad idea, Executive Falk.

ADDED: Meade says:  "Anxious? Anxious to be that mom?" Me: "Who wants an anxious mom?"

By the way, is this the "Age of Anxiety"?
It’s hard to believe that anyone but scholars of modern literature or paid critics have read W.H. Auden’s dramatic poem “The Age of Anxiety” all the way through, even though it won a Pulitzer Prize in 1948, the year after it was published. It is a difficult work — allusive, allegorical, at times surreal. But more to the point, it’s boring. The characters meet, drink, talk and walk around; then they drink, talk and walk around some more. They do this for 138 pages; then they go home.
Digression: Are they drunk yet at the Mifflin Street Party? It's 10 a.m.

ADDED: From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report:
The winner will take on Walker, and the Democratic Party has scheduled a rally for Wednesday on the Capitol steps to unite Democrats and build momentum for the recall election....

Falk said moms are the ones who bring fighting families together and she would be like a mom for the state.
Putting the mom in momentum.

AND: The Miffliners were drunk and tweeting it by 9 a.m.

Oh! I forgot to watch the recall candidates debate!

Forgot even to tape it. I did notice at one point that there was a debate and made a mental note to tape it. I had the motivation of wanting to tell you all about it, but I forgot. It was a Friday night. Did anyone watch?

Well, I'm sure it's on line. Yeah, here. And we can always check out the Wisconsin State Journal report:
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, and Secretary of State Doug La Follette appeared at Wisconsin Public Television's Madison studios for their last debate before Tuesday's primary. The winner earns a shot at unseating Walker in a general recall election June 5....

The Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls were careful not to jab each other too hard Friday and risk alienating each other's supporters; the nominee will need a united front going into June. Instead they spent most of the evening trotting out well-rehearsed talking points against Walker.
Trotting out well-rehearsed talking points and not attacking each other? Then there was no test of who would do better actually wrangling with Walker.
But Barrett accused the governor of caring more about traveling around the country and parlaying his reputation as conservative superstar into loads of out-of-state campaign contributions.

"I'll stay here in Wisconsin to work and retain jobs," he said. "I won't be a rock star to the far-right movement."
That's a relief! I'm sure Barrett will be quite the non-rock-star — of the left or the right.  That's his pitch: I'm very bland. How that retains jobs, I have no idea. He's not even offering to grow jobs (as Walker did). Just retain them, okay?

Meanwhile, Falk said:
"No one will work harder than I to get people back working."
So she'll work hard. No Walkeresque claim of creating job, nor even a Barretty assurance of retaining jobs. Just working really really hard.  It's the diligence, the very earnest diligence that matters so much. Diligence and good grammar. No one will work harder than I [will].

They also talked about restoring civility, because you know how Scott Walker caused that terrible outbreak of uncouthness:
"That's what's missing in Madison right now," he said. "The basic human respect is gone."

Falk likened the state to a broken family. Sometimes, she said, it takes a mother with a firm, strong hand to bring it together again.
Oh, no! Falk is playing the gender card.
"We need a mom and I'm anxious to be that mom and bring us back together," Falk said.
Oh, no! Ha ha. That's laying it on really thick. I'm live-blogging my reading of the article, so I hadn't seen that when I was making fun of her "No one will work harder than I" idea for building economy. I was going to say it sounded like a school girl running for class president. I was even going to break out the Tracy Flick comparison...

I decided not to. My feminist scruples won out and I decided not to lay a gender template on that striving overachievement attitude. But then she outright played the gender game. So Tracy Flick must be noted. It's simple pop culture literacy to cite Tracy Flick. I'd just plain not be doing my job as a blogger if I didn't embed that.

Now, I'd like to embed something comparable for Barrett, because I'm not endorsing anyone. But what pop culture reference could I make? He said himself that he's not going to be a "rock star," and that's actually pretty comical in itself. You know, you have somebody who has zero capacity to be something, and he assures you that he'll refrain from being that.  What's the pop culture reference for that?

ME: "Can you think of someone who was in a famous rock band, but was totally in the background, like somebody completely boring and schlubby, where you'd be all look at the bassist, why is that guy in the band?"

MEADE: Maybe Phil Lesh.

ME: No, he's too cool.

MEADE: Phil Lesh is cool?

So... the candidates were asked how they'd restore the public workers' collective bargaining rights:
Barrett promised to use "any vehicle I can to get to the destination," but said he'd start with a special legislative session shortly after taking office.
That reminds me. Speaking of "any vehicle"... I note that they didn't even mention one thing that Doug La Follette said at the debate. Here at Meadhouse, we've been laughing for days about this:
... La Follette says he would "fly to Washington, D.C." to try to reclaim funding for high-speed rail that Walker nixed....
Meade said: "Fly to Washington! Why doesn't he take the train? There's a train to Washington."

I said: "Well, let's be fair. Maybe he has little wings and he can fly. Make Way for Douglings...."

"If the same percentage of adults were in the workforce today as when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.1 percent."

"If the percentage was where it was when George W. Bush took office, the unemployment rate would be 13.1 percent."
In April, the U.S. economy added a mere 115,000 jobs, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday. In a normal month, that would not even be enough to keep up with new entrants into the labor market. But in this economy, it was enough to drive unemployment from 8.2 percent down to 8.1 percent, the lowest point since January 2009.
Can they keep playing this game all the way to the election? Seems like it's getting too obvious too early. At some point, people are going to notice this lying with statistics and get angry.

May 4, 2012

"For the Cherokee Nation, Warren is 'Indian enough;' she has the same blood quantum as Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker."

"For non-Natives, this may be surprising. They expect to see 'high cheekbones,' as Warren described her grandfather as having, or tan skin. They want to know of pow wows, dusty reservations, sweat lodges, peyote and cheap cigarettes. When outsiders look at these ostensibly white people as members of Native America, they don’t see minorities. As a result, Warren feels she must satisfy these new birthers and justify her existence."

Writes lawprof Kevin Noble Maillard, who is an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, who says that if Warren had "tout[ed] herself as American Indian" to get on the Harvard faculty, the small community of Native American lawprofs — 0.5% of all lawprofs — would have heard about it.

Rush Limbaugh haters listen as a group because it's "actually really empowering."

There are "folks who are live chatting ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ on Facebook every day."

According to  Media Matters online outreach director Jay Carmona, who offers an interesting tip: "Just make sure that you take some time to talk about why certain things he says are wrong or messed up with your group, and that can actually be super, super empowering to do that."

Ha ha. Make sure you talk about why what he says is wrong. Did Carmona mean to reveal a fear that if people listen to Rush every day, they might unwittingly end up persuaded?
 “Make sure that you also, just in general — if something is freaking you out and you are feeling really bad listening to Rush Limbaugh — take a break. Give yourself the time and the space that you need to listen to the stuff because it can be difficult at times,” she said.
It's so dangerous, listening to Rush... especially if you're as much of an emotional wreck as Carmona seems to think you are.

"Wisconsin Recall Amnesia: Why aren't Democrats running against Scott Walker's union reforms?"

Asks the Wall Street Journal:
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the front-runner, has focused his campaigns on jobs, education, the environment and "making communities safer." One of Mr. Barrett's ads singles out "Walker's War on Women," with nary a mention of collective bargaining. Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk is heavily supported by union groups, but even her issues list makes only passing reference to collective bargaining.

The Governor's office has estimated that altogether the reforms have saved Badger State taxpayers more than $1 billion, including $65 million in changes in health-care plans, and some $543 million in local savings documented by media reports. According to the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute, Mayor Barrett's city of Milwaukee saved $19 million on health-care costs as a direct result of Mr. Walker's reforms. Awkward turtle.
Wait. Pause. "Awkward turtle"? Is this an expression everyone's supposed to already know? Google says yes. It was the Urban Dictionary Urban Word of the Day 5 years ago.

Okay. Resume Wisconsin stuff. Blah blah blah. Walker reforms working...
All of this is making an impression on Wisconsin voters. According to a Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday, only 12% of Wisconsin voters say "restoring collective bargaining rights" is their priority, which explains the Democratic decision to fight on other issues.
One of Barrett's other issues is civility. We need to restore civility in Wisconsin... because, you know the way Scott Walker caused everyone to become so uncouth.

The NYT accuses American voters of opposing Obama because he's black.

This is a scurrilous article! Where's the evidence? It's just creepy, New York aversion to the fly-over people.
While Mr. Obama will always be known to the history books as the country’s first black president, his mixed-race heritage has only rarely surfaced in visible and explicit ways amid the tumult of a deep recession, two wars and shifting political currents.
Exactly. It's remarkable, the absence of racism. But the NYT is just so eager to rake some up anyway.

"Let's believe in change" balloons explode, burning 144 people.

"Let's believe in change" is the slogan of the Republican Party, the governing party in Armenia.

Rebranding the Guantanamo military tribunals.

The NYT reports:
As the United States restarts its effort to prosecute — and ultimately execute — five detainees accused of conspiring in the Sept. 11 attacks, it has fallen to Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins both to prove them guilty and to show the world that the tribunal system is now legitimate....

The five had been arraigned at Guantánamo Bay before, in 2008, but the Obama administration shut that case down upon taking office, then tried to move it to federal court in New York, before surrendering to a political uproar.

As he reboots the case, General Martins is also trying to rebrand the system by emphasizing changes that Congress made in 2009 — notably, a higher bar to “hearsay” evidence and a prohibition against using statements made during cruel or degrading treatment. Obama administration officials echo those arguments, saying that the current tribunals are fair, unlike those during the Bush administration...
Martins attended Harvard Law School and worked alongside Obama the law student at the Harvard Law School. Obama, as a senator and presidential candidate opposed Bush's military commissions "which the Supreme Court struck down because Congress had not authorized them, and he voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which revived them."

"The man slept all night... If I had wanted to, I could have gone through all his documents, his wallet, his suitcase."

Said the prostitute in the Secret Service scandal.
Londono used the word "bobo," Spanish for "fool" or "idiot," to describe the agents.

Sarkozy "has made a cynical attempt to win over the first-round supporters of the National Front’s Marine Le Pen..."

"... (while formally opposing an actual pact with the party), despite the Front’s deep hostility toward immigrant communities and the European Union, and the fact that its founder (her father, Jean-Marie) had a well-deserved reputation for racism and anti-Semitism."
Le Pen is ''compatible with the Republic,” he stated soon after the initial voting. Sarkozy’s stunning acknowledgment of Le Pen’s legitimacy can only help her cause: In the days after the first round, nearly two-thirds of Sarkozy voters told pollsters they favored an electoral pact with her party in the legislative elections that will follow soon after the presidential campaign. Le Pen herself clearly wants Sarkozy to lose, declaring that she will cast a blank ballot in the second round. She has called [Sarkozy's party] no different from the Socialists, and, indeed, her nationalist stance offers a starker alternative to the two major parties than they do to each other. Can this alternative achieve major party status? Having helped to dissolve the traditional French right while failing to replace it with a coherent or popular ideology of his own, it now appears possible that Nicolas Sarkozy’s principal legacy will be the rise of Marine Le Pen.
Opines Princeton history prof David A. Bell at The New Republic, under the sub-headline "The implosion of the French right." Is that the right word, implosion?

Anyway, there's also some interesting discussion of Sarkozy's claim to be a Gaullist, and what "Gaullism" is really supposed to mean. (It includes concepts like "France cannot be France without grandeur.")

ADDED: "Implosion" is "The bursting inward of a vessel from external pressure" (OED).
W. B. Carpenter in 19th Cent. Apr. 615   A sealed glass tube containing air, having been lowered (within a copper case) to a depth of 2,000 fathoms, was reduced to a fine powder almost like snow, by what Sir Wyville Thomson ingeniously characterised as an implosion.
The figurative usage, which is about all we ever hear, dates back to the 1960s. Marshall McLuhan seems to have seared it into our brains. There are 2 appearances of this metaphor in his 1964 book "Understanding Media":
The rush of students into our universities is not explosion but implosion....

Our speed-up today is not a slow explosion outward from center to margins but an instant implosion and an interfusion of space and functions.
I can't believe I'm in the middle of explaining how people used to make more sense! Whatever. You talk now.

"I always thought that a well-embedded Norm was the guy at the end of the bar in Cheers."

Dr. C is puzzled by my statement that affirmative action is "a well-embedded norm."

ADDED: Back in the 1960s, there was an opportunity, as a culture, to adopt the mental discipline that is color-blindness. All the decent people and the people who aspired to decency had awakened to the stark and obvious reality that discriminating against black people was terribly wrong. But some people — including Democrats and Republicans — believed it was important to take account of race in order to overcome all the deeply embedded discrimination and the effects of that discrimination.

Back then, we were at a fork in the road, and we don't know how things would have worked out if we'd taken the try-to-be-color-blind road. We went down the affirmative action road. We are very far down that road. To say let's start being color blind now feels completely different. Many, many people who think of themselves as good people, certainly decent people, think they've been doing the right thing and worry that those who are pushing for color blindness are not the good people. It's at least terribly complex. The let's-be-color-blind feat is not what it was back when we were at that fork in the road in the 1960s!

A boost for clinical education in law schools.

New York is now requiring 50 hours of pro bono work for admission to the bar.
Law students in the state are able do legal work if they are supervised by law faculty or legal services groups.

According to [a NYT editorial], the measure could be controversial because it “wades into a fierce debate among lawyers over whether mandatory pro bono service is the right solution—and because it could hit the pocketbooks of young lawyers at a time when they are struggling to find jobs.”
You'd better go to a law school that will provide you with the clinics and make room on your schedule — ousting other courses you might think you need — if you want to practice law in New York.

ADDED: Actually, I think the clinics won't count for pro bono credit, because you get course credit. Law faculty will be incentivized to offer a separate pro bono option, with no course credit.

The Elizabeth Warren story "hits a nerve with the many working Americans who know what it’s like to fight for a desperately-needed job..."

"...  aware that their lack of any special standing could mean that a job they’re qualified for could end up going to someone else," says Boston Herald columnist Michael Graham. That is, it's not so much that she may have dishonestly gotten herself considered for affirmative action; it's affirmative action.

By the way, when we're making fun of someone who's claimed minority status that she doesn't have, is it okay to use old-fashioned racial humor, e.g., calling Warren "pale-faced" and "Princess IsItFall–Yet"? I wouldn't do that. Am I a prissy enforcer of political correctness?

Bloggingheads is hiring.

" is looking for a promotional and programming director to (1) launch an aggressive campaign to expand the site’s audience and influence, and (2) help shape programming with that goal in mind."

"What if you knew, even before your child was born, that she wouldn't look like everyone else?"

Treacher Collins syndrome. "Parents almost always opted to abort, doctors said."
"It was kind of strange sometimes with the doctors, some of whom I think really, really questioned why we had this baby," says Eric Beatty, Clara's dad.
ADDED: This story (and the picture at the link) called to mind "Autobiography of a Face," an excellent memoir.

"Medical reports show Adolf Hitler used cocaine, suffered extreme flatulence ."

The Daily News reports, as the Hitler medical documents come up for auction.

May 3, 2012

Osama bin Laden saw opportunity for al Qaeda in the Arab spring.

So he said, in his last private letter, written after the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt had fallen:
“The fall of the remaining tyrants in the region was inevitable,” he continued, and said al-Qaeda must increase efforts by “educating and warning Muslim people” about “half solutions” touted by the Muslim Brotherhood and similar Islamist groups. If al-Qaeda were successful in recruiting the newly freed rebels, bin Laden said, “then the next phase will [witness a victory] for Islam”. 
He said al-Qaeda could capitalise on the revolutions, including “inciting people who have not yet revolted and exhort them to rebel against the rulers” and calling for jihadis to unite in a broader media campaign to that point.... 
He did not call the people involved with the revolutions “mujahidun” or “warriors of faith”, but instead referred to them as “free revolutionaries” or “thuwaar ahrar” taking part in a “liberation (tahrir) enterprise”.

Half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it just to reach you....


"Russia says it is prepared to use 'destructive force pre-emptively'..."

"... if the US goes ahead with controversial plans for a missile defence system based in Central Europe."

The question we should be asking Elizabeth Warren.

I said it buried in a long post yesterday, but I want to highlight this, because there are so many angles to this story, and I'm afraid this one is being overlooked:
Now, I assume that Professor Warren supports affirmative action within the law schools where she has worked. Ask her about it! Does she vote in favor of admissions policies that count race as a plus factor? Has she supported faculty appointments, choosing one person over another, with race as a factor? I'd be extremely surprised if she hasn't. Assuming she has, why is she acting outraged that anyone would say that it seems that it benefited her and that she sought that benefit?
Don't you support affirmative action in hiring (as well as in law school admissions)?

Follow up questions: Do you think it is acceptable and even good to offer a job to a less-well-qualified applicant if that person is a member of a traditionally discriminated-against minority group? On what basis is it acceptable to make race a "plus factor" in hiring decisions? If it is "diversity," what exactly is this diversity that justifies affirmative action? Is it what the Supreme Court said in Grutter, or is it something else? Is it about a quantum of genetic inheritance or does it have something to do with whether the candidate has faced some form of disadvantage in life because of racial discrimination? Would your support for affirmative action extend to cases where the job candidate has at most one Native American great-great-great-grandparent? Explain.

(Ironically, what I really need to do right now is write a Constitutional Law exam, which this post is beginning to sound like.)

Henry Rollins invites young people to be "morally upstanding... helpful, almost Boy Scout-like, presidential... altruistic."

Via Metafilter.

If you don't know who Henry Rollins is... don't you remember "Liar"? (I went to one of his spoken-word concerts once, long ago. The only thing I remember about it was a rant about how a symphony orchestra playing classical music is a cover band.)

"When material facts are in dispute, a judge cannot testify to establish his version of the facts and then use his version of the facts to decide the controversy."

"Such a process would be fundamentally unfair, to the parties and to the public interest."

"Mrs Edwards had screamed: 'You don't see me any more.'"

"Then she took off her shirt and bra, exposing herself to her husband in front of his staff, the court heard. 'He didn't have much of a reaction."

"Another life cut short by an unforgiving game."

"The accumulation of tau protein kills certain parts of the brain related to impulse control and results in dementia, early onset Alzheimer’s, memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression. Often it leads to suicide."

ADDED: There really are people trying to end football. The War on Football.

"I don't use or accept money or conscious barter - don't take food stamps or other government dole."

"My philosophy is to use only what is freely given or discarded and what is already present and already running (whether or not I existed)."

All right, fine for you, Daniel Suelo. Live that moneyless life. But this video about you, connecting you to larger economic issues, with an insufferable music track, is just awful:

"So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach..."

"... and saying, 'Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,' you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female..."
... and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed....

Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male....

Who is this woman?

"For the next 5 weeks, Wisconsin is going to be the center of the American political universe."

"All the eyes of America for the next 5 weeks are going to be on the state of Wisconsin. For the next 5 weeks, America is going to find out the answer to what is more powerful: the people or the moneyed special interests from Washington, DC."

It's Chris Christie (talking about the Scott Walker recall):

Via Hot Air. When I clicked through to the YouTube page to get the code to embed, the video began with an ad... for Tom Barrett. Barrett is the Democrat most likely to win next Tuesday's Democratic primary and be Walker's opponent in the recall election. Impressive business model, YouTube!

Typing out the quote above, I wondered if I'd discovered the secret to Chris Christie's rhetoric. It's a rule of 3. Say something once. Then restate it with the same key words, but in a somewhat different order. Then say it a third time, carrying over some key words — e.g., "America" and "next 5 weeks" — and add on one new thought. (Let me know if you see other examples of what I'll call The Christie Rule of 3.)

May 2, 2012

"Marquette Law School Poll shows Barrett leads Falk in recall primary; Walker and Barrett within single percentage point."

The primary is next Tuesday, and the poll has Tom Barrett ahead of Kathleen Falk 38 percent to 21 percent — a big, but not that big margin.

More interesting is looking ahead to next month:
In a June general election between Barrett and Governor Scott Walker, Barrett leads by one percentage point, 47-46, among all registered voters, while Walker leads by one percentage point, 48-47, among likely voters. Both results are well within the margin of error of the poll. Walker leads former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk 49 percent to 42 percent among registered voters and 49 percent to 43 percent among likely voters.
No one should be complacent. Turnout will matter. Here's the pollster, Charles Franklin talking about the poll:

It should be noted that Walker is the one with the money:
Gov. Scott Walker's campaign announced today he raised more than $13 million during the most recent reporting period pushing his overall haul to fend off a recall attempt at $25 million. 
Walker's campaign said in a release he finished the pre-primary period, which covers through April 23, with $4.8 million in recall and general campaign funds....
Barrett's campaign announced Friday he raised $750,000 in a little more than three weeks after getting into the race March 30. Falk's campaign said she raised $1 million between mid-January and April 23.
After next Tuesday, Walker will spend all that money attempting to crush his opponent. We've seen all the attacks on Scott Walker for the past year, but what we haven't seen is the sudden, intense barrage of negativity against whoever it is that wins the primary.

Elizabeth Warren explains that she listed herself as a minority lawprof "in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon..."

"... a group something that might happen with people who are like I am. Nothing like that ever happened, that was clearly not the use for it and so I stopped checking it off."

That's a transcription of something she said, and I think the punctuation makes it confusing. I'm guessing she said "I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group — something that might happen with people who are like I am."

So the assertion is that she used it as a way to make associations with other people, to network, with lawprofs, but this was somehow disconnected from career advancement. That's a strange line to draw and it makes her sound naive. We are talking about the years from 1986 to 1995. That's a long time, and it's a period when there was a tremendous amount of attention to the enterprise of increasing racial diversity among faculty.

(Here at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, we had Donna Shalala as our chancellor during that time period, and her central agenda — celebrated in the NYT — was "the Madison Plan," which included "doubl[ing] the number of minority faculty members by adding 70 within three years."  Taking advantage of the Plan's incentives, my law school hired 4 new faculty members — all drawn from other law schools.)

Here's video of Warren attempting to field the question:

Note that she says:
"The only one as I understand it who’s raising any question about whether or not I was qualified for my job is Scott Brown and I think I am qualified and frankly I’m a little shocked to hear anybody raise a question about whether or not I’m qualified to hold a job teaching,” she said, pushing to put Brown on defense. “What does he think it takes for a woman to be qualified?”
This is nonresponsive to the issue, an attempt to distract. The question is not whether she was qualified. The question is whether she tried to obtain or did obtain a special advantage, with race taken as a plus factor. In affirmative action, the concern is not whether those who are hired are qualified. It's whether the most meritorious candidate received the offer and whether race should boost one person over the next person.

Now, I assume that Professor Warren supports affirmative action within the law schools where she has worked. Ask her about it! Does she vote in favor of admissions policies that count race as a plus factor? Has she supported faculty appointments, choosing one person over another, with race as a factor? I'd be extremely surprised if she hasn't. Assuming she has, why is she acting outraged that anyone would say that it seems that it benefited her and that she sought that benefit?

By the way, does anyone think it's acceptable to check the "Native American" box on an job/admissions application based on one distant ancestor? Affirmative action isn't about genetics!

At the Puppy Dog Café...

... don't eat the puppies!

"Moments trip gently along" for Obama, whose "feet hum over the dry walks," in his letter to his NY girlfriend Alex McNear.

Look out! It's David Maraniss's new book "Obama: The Story," which tapped as sources 2 girlfriends, Alex McNear and Genevieve Cook (who were presented in his memoir as a composite character). Vanity Fair has a big excerpt from the book, and I'm just going to home in on one thing, Obama's letter — you can't call it a love letter — to McNear, who was a co-editor of a literary magazine ("Feast") who was "interested in postmodern literary criticism, and her arguments brimmed with the deconstructionist ideas of Jacques Derrida, the French philosopher." After some talk about Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, he moved on to the subject of himself:
Moments trip gently along over here. Snow caps the bushes in unexpected ways, birds shoot and spin like balls of sound. My feet hum over the dry walks. A storm smoothes the sky, impounding the city lights, returning to us a dull yellow glow. 
I am now willing to believe Obama wrote his own memoir. This is that jejune "creative writing" style that I was talking about back in 2009, right here:

Let's continue with the epistle to McNear:
I run every other day at the small indoor track [at Columbia] which slants slightly upward like a plate; I stretch long and slow, twist and shake, the fatigue, the inertia finding home in different parts of the body. I check the time and growl—aargh!—and tumble onto the wheel. And bodies crowd and give off heat, some people are in front and you can hear the patter or plod of the steps behind. You look down to watch your feet, neat unified steps, and you throw back your arms and run after people, and run from them and with them, and sometimes someone will shadow your pace, step for step, and you can hear the person puffing, a different puff than yours, and on a good day they’ll come up alongside and thank you for a good run, for keeping a good pace, and you nod and keep going on your way, but you’re pretty pleased, and your stride gets lighter, the slumber slipping off behind you, into the wake of the past.
Oh, how I hope Obama the President is keeping a journal, describing the experience of being President with exactly this style and perspective. So internal and yet so superficial in the recording of sights and sounds.

You nod and keep going on your way, but you’re pretty pleased, and your stride gets lighter, the slumber slipping off behind you, into the wake of the past.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

"The alarmists who warn about recent man-made global warming are the ones who deny the reality of climate change."

"They are, in fact, advocates of climate stasis. They assume that the 'normal' climate is basically what it was in 1970 — not coincidentally, about the time of the first 'Earth Day' — and any recent variation from that norm must require some extraordinary explanation."

"On Friday, the president’s Chicago campaign team sent a message that little is off limits..."

"... using a searing video to raise doubts about Mr. Romney’s toughness in a national security crisis. They followed that up on Tuesday with a hard-hitting, kitchen-sink television commercial accusing Mr. Romney of sending jobs overseas and of sheltering his personal wealth in Swiss bank accounts. And then, in a seamless transition, Mr. Obama was in Afghanistan on Tuesday afternoon, vividly reminding Americans of the weighty responsibilities that he shoulders as the nation’s commander in chief and — by way of the one-year anniversary — of his decision to approve the raid that killed Osama bin Laden."

From a NYT opinion piece called "Romney Confronts Power of the Presidency," by Michael D. Shear. An alternate headline might be "Obama Embarrassingly Deploys the Power of the Presidency for Campaign Purposes."
When they shift back into campaign mode on Saturday...
Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle....
A silly locution, found only in the New York Times.
... will bring to a close the first week of the general election campaign with a pair of huge campaign rallies in Ohio and Virginia that are intended to rekindle memories of his 2008 campaign.
I think this is a terrible mistake, going huge as a way to bring back the hugeness of 4 years ago. It's huge already to be President. You can't pile hugeness on top of that. And the hugeness of the past was something that built up, beginning from an unlikely underdog position, marked by the word "hope." This actually could work. How do you bring that feeling back? It's an intimate feeling, a sense that this new person has emerged. But a President holding 2 giant rallies? Going small is what would remind us of the past.

But the NYT's Shear is promoting the idea that Romney's in trouble, Romney's going to get it, because the President has the power of the Presidency to unload on the candidate who's so far only had to fight off midgets (or as Shear puts it — apparently without much knowledge of Bible stories — Romney's been "the Goliath in a field of Davids"). This appropriation of the power of presidency becomes an issue. It's an ugly thing when we can see it. Shear ends his piece with what is obviously going to be the Obama side of that issue:
The weaving of campaign and official business is the hallmark of presidential reelection campaigns, perfected by previous administrations of both parties. And Mr. Obama’s team will be no different in making use of the trappings of his office.
Mr. Obama’s team will be no different? Other's have "perfected" the "weaving"? I'm not seeing perfect weaving (or "seamless transition"). I'm seeing really crude and clumsy weaving and seams all over the place.

Puppies... of the Bedlington terrier kind.

I left in the voices in the background — one of which is Meade's — to highlight the quietness of the puppies. All that romping, and not a yap.

"Richard Grenell hounded from Romney campaign by anti-gay conservatives."

As presented by Jennifer Rubin, this story has layers of conjecture, inference, denial, and updating. You can't quite see what happened, but if the headline accurately describes the situation, it's pathetic.

Bristol Palin's ex-paramour Levi Johnston is having a second child, by a girlfriend named Sunny, and he's naming the baby girl after a gun.

A gun and a light wind. The little girl will go forth into life with the name Breeze Beretta, and good luck to the girl who might blow us all away — gently.

The mother's name is Sunny. Sunny Oglesby. So Sunny and Breeze. It makes sense. The "Breeze" is for Sunny, and the gun, one imagines, is for Levi, who, it seems, can't keep his gun in his Levis.
[Oglesby] talked about the accidental nature of the pregnancy.

"We were out at the cabin for like, four days, and forgot the birth control," she said.
A cabin! Man, Bristol got impregnated in a tent. Sunny got a cabin. It's so unfair!
Johnston told Inside Edition that he plans on doing things differently with Oglesby than he did with Bristol Palin, the mother of their son, Tripp.
Well, he's starting out right. Cabin instead of tent.
"I'm actually in love...not doing it just because we had a kid together," he said.
Enough of this doing-something-for-the-child business. Moving on to love. Actual love.

"Football spiked: Obama to address nation on Bin Laden anniversary live from Afghanistan."

"The official reason for the trip is to sign the new strategic partnership agreement with Karzai, but of course that doesn’t require his physical presence in Afghanistan. We all know why he’s there and why he chose today to visit. One word: Scoreboard."


I must be the last blogger in the world to notice that Obama went to Afghanistan. The linked story was posted yesterday at 3:35 pm, just as I was in the final rush preparing my last Conlaw class of the semester. After class, we played with puppies. That took a while. When we got home — because these were not our puppies — we sat around eating and watching a movie — "Bridesmaids" (HBO on Demand) — and got about halfway through before I sensed that the baseball game in San Diego must be on (because Meade was consulting his iPad), and that presented the perfect opportunity to cave in to sleepiness (I'd been up since 5) and appear attractively magnanimous. I switched to the game and switched off my personal consciousness. I really don't monitor the news constantly.


But, so Obama traveled to Afghanistan to "speak[] to an American television audience on Tuesday night from Bagram Air Base, [and] declare[] that he had traveled here to herald a new era in the relationship between the United States and Afghanistan, 'a future in which war ends, and a new chapter begins.'" The quote is from the first sentence of the article in the very Obama-friendly New York Times, and it's not very flattering, is it? He went all the way to Afghanistan to do a TV show aimed back at us here at home. He went there for a showy backdrop for the show. And he traveled there to "declare[] that he had traveled here to herald a new era." Herald... new era... I hear sarcasm. If the NYT didn't mean sarcasm, then they're so Obama-friendly that they don't hear how PR language like that sounds to a person who is just trying to read what he believes is supposed to be a newspaper.
"My fellow Americans,” he said, speaking against a backdrop of armored military vehicles and an American flag...
The NYT notes the showy backdrop. (By the way, the intro "My fellow Americans" will always, for me, call to mind LBJ.)
... “we’ve traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of new day on the horizon."
Oh, brother. Dark... pre-dawn darkness... light... new day... Not only is light and darkness a hackneyed metaphor, applied clumsily, but it's the very metaphor LBJ used over and over in his effort to manipulate our emotions about the Vietnam war.

"Obviously, these men were looking for discretion, and that’s why they paid so much money to find somebody to talk to, to take out to dinner..."

"To make sure... whatever the case may be.”

May 1, 2012

Apple considers pee a "biohazard" and it will not accept a peed-on MacBook for repair.

Nor will it accept for repair the 30 MacBooks — valued at $36,000 — that one 11-year-old boy peed on at Upper Allen Township Elementary School in Pennsylvania.

"Occupy's May Day protests off to slow, soggy start in NYC."

Says Reuters.
Occupy Wall Street's call for a general strike to mark International Workers Day got off to a slow start on Tuesday, with sparse gatherings at a handful of spots around a rainy New York City.
Here in Madison... there's a noon deadline at the long-term Occupy site, as noted earlier today. My reporter on the scene says: The tents are mostly gone. No trouble and not that many people. Fewer than 25, and some are probably cops. People seem to be leaving, packing up.

The come-on line everyone's talking about, from last Sunday's episode of the new HBO show "Girls."

Hanna Rosin sets up the discussion at Slate:

I don’t quite know what to make of Booth Jonathan’s come-on: “I want you to know, the first time I fuck you, I might scare you a little, because I’m a man, and I know how to do things.” Marnie was touched by it, obviously...
Marnie is the character whose actual boyfriend is so sensitive to her needs she finds him boring and hopeless. "Girls" is like the new "Sex and the City," and Marnie's the closest thing to Miranda — the main character's best friend, the confidante.

The ladies over at Slate go on and on about this line, e.g.:
[L.V.] Anderson: As that scene and others showed, this was the episode I thought Allison Williams' acting chops proved really not up to the task of playing Marnie. She can do annoyed and bitchy just fine, and we've seen that (and almost only that) in the first and second episode. But between the crying scene (when Hannah tells her she has HPV) and the masturbation scene, Williams in this episode was in over her head. I have never seen such bad fake crying in my life, and the bathroom masturbation is the least realistic scene in this show so far. Could I imagine Marnie going home and masturbating later that night? Sure. Can I imagine her SO INFLAMED with lust that she had to alleviate her sexual urges as soon as possible? Not for a second. What did you guys make of that scene?...

Dana Stevens: Not to get too personal, but do any of you know any woman, however hot and bothered by the manly charms of Jorma Taccone, who would masturbate standing up in an art-gallery bathroom while wearing pantyhose?
Allison Williams is the daughter of TV newsman Brian Williams, and what he feels is:
It’s kvelling, pride. It’s incredibly great. Her co-creator and I have known always that she was going to be an actress. So it’s fantastic.

You’re fine with the awkward sex scenes?

Unmitigated joy.
We've been watching this show, by the way. It's actually quite different from "Sex and the City" in that the sex lives of these girls — called "girls," obviously, to highlight their immaturity — is not glamorized. It's actually so sad it conflicts with the humor. One of the 4 girls is a virgin. (She's the Charlotte analogue.) She's our favorite character, played by Zosia Mamet, who is David Mamet's daughter. (I don't know what's with the famous dads angle, but Mamet is a fine comedienne and Williams is... as noted above.)

"Football breeds school spirit and fundraising. But, I suspect, it breeds school spirit and fundraising largely for the football program."

"In any case, I find the notion that you can justify exploiting and maiming athletes because that raises money for the school they are attending to be a slightly appalling notion."

Sayeth Malcolm Gladwell.

"Another Atlantic-sponsored party where ordinary guests get to stand in a separate area and watch the higher-ranking guests talk to each other."

"Somebody over there thinks Americans like that sort of thing."

That's Mickey Kaus, via Instapundit.

I'd like to see the Atlantic make a TV show out of it, the way Playboy did with "Playboy After Dark" and "Playboy's Penthouse." I'd stand in a separate area willingly if I could watch Lenny Bruce:

"I was talkin' to the chicks and all of a sudden they just floated off... This is a kind of an interesting party. You know, I first figured it would be like sort of a TV you know typical uh fake party, you know. But it's kind of good party feeling to it with some pretty chicks which is a good composite here... That's what grooved me about the show, that is, it's actually a party, so that whatever happens at a party, you know, within limitations."

Was anyone blabbering at that level at the Atlantic party?

You know, Lenny Bruce is really sort of you know hard uh to kind of transcribe there's all these extra like... words.

Bin Laden worried that the "human lawn mower" "conflicted with his vision for what he wanted al-Qaeda to be."

"The idea was to attach rotating blades to the front of a pickup truck and drive the contraption into crowds."

This is what WaPo forefronts in the article headlined "Bin Laden’s last stand: In final months, terrorist leader worried about his legacy," but if you keep reading to the very end, you'll see that the main image problem that troubled him was false oaths:
When Pakistani American Faisal Shahzad tried to detonate a car bomb in New York’s Times Square in May 2010, his attempt, widely hailed by jihadists, drew a surprising rebuke from bin Laden, who took a rare break from his self-imposed seclusion in central Pakistan to denounce Shahzad. 
It wasn’t the prospect of civilian deaths that upset bin Laden, but rather the fact that Shahzad had planned the act after swearing a loyalty oath to the United States as a newly naturalized citizen. 
“You know it is not permissible to tell such a lie to the enemy,” bin Laden wrote... Complaining of the “negative effects” to al-Qaeda’s image, bin Laden noted that jihadists already were under suspicion in parts of the world for “reneging on oaths, and perfidy.”

"The Shrinking Law School."


The NYT reports that "officials involved" in hiring Elizabeth Warren "all said that she was hired because she was an outstanding teacher, and that her lineage was either not discussed or not a factor."

What would you expect them to say?
“To suggest that she needed some special advantage to be hired here or anywhere is just silly,” said Jay Westbrook, chairman of business law at the University of Texas.
But you see, in faculty hiring, the question isn't whether this particular candidate is good enough. The question is why does this person with excellent credentials get selected from the pool of applicants who all have excellent credentials? Why did Warren move up the ranks of the law schools the way she did?

Her identification as a member of a minority group in the Association of American Law Schools directory would help. Why are the schools reticent about saying that they consider minority status a plus factor in hiring? Why aren't they out-and-proud about diversity? Law schools have fought for the proposition that diversity is a compelling state interest, justifying racial discrimination.

For Professor Westbrook to scoff that it's "just silly" to "suggest that [Warren] needed some special advantage" is to clumsily insult all the people who have gotten hired (or admitted as students) because of the diversity efforts of law schools. Those other people needed some special advantage, but oh, no, not her.

Is this reticence about the decency of affirmative action happening here because they want to help Warren in her Senate race? Is it because if she didn't really have that factor going for her but the schools used it, then... well... who, really, is hurt? Who was the next person in that pool of applicants? No one knows. Look away.

Hey, but who else might be cheating, claiming minority status that's not really true? Now, now, you're not supposed to think about that. It's quite unseemly, isn't it? Impolite.

Ousted from the Don Miller parking lot, where will Occupy Madison go?

Cap Times reports — in an article that says it was posted at 2:45 pm yesterday:
“It was an intolerable situation,” Mayor Paul Soglin said Monday evening of the Occupy Madison homeless encampment on East Washington Avenue, after a Dane County judge declined to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from closing it down.
It's so annoying to try to follow the news from this once-halfway-decent newspaper. I almost passed up this article because I wanted to know what happened last night. But here's the news from Monday night, posted mid-afternoon on Monday.
“The kind of health issues and crime problems we had on this site are not covered by the First Amendment, I think that’s very clear,” Soglin said. 
He said that the city would wait until noon Tuesday to evacuate the site, to give people a chance to pack their things and leave. 
Police calls to the Occupy site at a city-owned former car dealership in the 800 block of East Washington Avenue included some serious incidents, Soglin stressed. “We are treating the site as a hazardous waste site -- no employee going in is going to touch anything. We’ve had numerous reports of needles.”
Why was this allowed to go on so long?
About an hour earlier...
Earlier than what? "Monday evening"?
... Dane County Circuit Court Judge Amy Smith told pro-bono lawyers who sought a temporary restraining order in the name of three homeless people that they had not provided convincing evidence that clearing the site would trample the occupants’ First Amendment rights of assembly and free speech. In fact, there was evidence that occupants had participated in protests at other locations in the city while living at Occupy Madison, Smith pointed out.
Oh, good lord, why was this a difficult issue? The protesters have left the city with a hazardous waste site to clean up and they made us waste our scarce money defending ridiculous lawsuits. You know the old lefty slogan "Property is theft." These lefties have me thinking: Protest is theft.
At about the time that Soglin spoke with reporters at a community budget session at Wright Middle School on the south side about a dozen protesters gathered in the hallway outside Soglin’s office in the City-County Building downtown were ordered to leave by police officers. All but one man -- Allen Barkoff, 69 -- obeyed; he was arrested and charged with trespassing.
Barkoff — we were talking about him yesterday.

What was the point of all the patience and tolerance? At some point, it would need to end and it would, predictably, end badly. Now, they've got until noon today, and then the city moves in. Brilliantly, the day is May 1st, which has long been planned as a big protest day. I can see in the social media that there's an effort to draw a crowd to the Occupy site at noon (and then to march to the City County Building for a rally). Good luck to Mayor Soglin — who's now the protesters' enemy. (We saw a "Recall Soglin" sign at the Occupy site yesterday. Another sign said: "We were evicted from our homes, Mayor Soglin.)

ADDED: Here's what we saw:

How rare is it to get 3 home runs and a triple in one game?

It just happened last night for the second time in 50 years. Fred Lynn did it in 1975, and last night, it was Ryan Braun. (At Petco Park, where it's unusually hard "early in the season when the 'marine layer' off the Pacific Ocean envelops the spacious facility in a thick, damp shroud." In fact, Braun was the first person to hit 3 home runs in one game at Petco Park.)

It would be better to get 4 home runs, but it's much more unusual to get 3 home runs and a triple. Triples are much rarer than home runs. And — did you realize? — the triple has become rarer over time:

Obama's new slogan is not only the Wisconsin motto... it's the "No Labels" motto.

The previous post talks about how the new motto is the Wisconsin motto. Adding my new "mottos" tag to old posts, I ran across a post from December 2010 about No Labels, a top-down "grassroots" movement:
No Labels was created by two Washington consultants, the Democratic fund-raiser Nancy Jacobson and the Republican image-shaper Mark McKinnon, and its slick opening event featured throngs of journalists, free boxed lunches and a song written for the occasion by the pop sensation Akon. The group’s slogan, printed on T-shirts and banners, summarizes its purpose this way: “Not left. Not right. Forward.”
Lots of names at the link, nearly all Democrats. There were Republicans, but as Byron York noted at the time:
For some reason, most of the Republicans who showed up were recently defeated officeholders: South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis, Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
Where's No Labels now? Absorbed into the Obama campaign? It's more likely that they are so forgotten that their previous use of the motto had no effect on the Obama campaign's motto choice.

Here's the Wikipedia article on the group, which released a "Make Congress Work action plan" in December 2011. Did you notice? It's a 12-point plan... a 12-step program:

April 30, 2012

"New Obama slogan has long ties to Marxism, socialism"... and Wisconsin.

Drudge pushed me over to the Washington Times, where I was surprised to read:
The Obama campaign apparently didn't look backwards into history when selecting its new campaign slogan, "Forward" — a word with a long and rich association with European Marxism.
Many Communist and radical publications and entities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries had the name "Forward!" or its foreign cognates.... 
The slogan "Forward!" reflected the conviction of European Marxists and radicals that their movements reflected the march of history, which would move forward past capitalism and into socialism and communism.
What?! "Forward" is the Wisconsin state motto, and I've heard it used over and over again by politicians. The origin of the motto goes back to 1848 — "a chance encounter in New York City between Gov. Nelson Dewey and Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Edward Ryan."
Dewey asked University of Wisconsin chancellor John Lathrop to design [an official state seal]. Lathrop delivered a sketch inspired by European heraldry that repeated Wisconsin Territory's Latin motto, "Civilitas Successit Barbaruin" ("Civilization Succeeds Barbarism"). Dewey took this to New York to be cast in metal. 
While there, he ran into Milwaukee attorney Edward Ryan. Both were plain-spoken, no-nonsense characters and neither of them liked the fancy Lathrop design with its pretentious Latin maxim. So they sat down on the steps of a Wall Street bank and redrew the state's official seal themselves. 
Ryan suggested that it repeat New York's motto, "Excelsior," but Dewey refused. They toyed with "Upward" and "Onward" before settling finally on "Forward."
By the way, "The Communist Manifesto" was first published in 1848, a cute coincidence, but I doubt it had much to do with the Dewey-Ryan confabulation.

Anyway, if this motto is embarrassing to Obama, he's free to switch it to "Civilization Succeeds Barbarism."

Arianna Huffington calls Obama's bin Laden ad "despicable."

She said:
"I don't think there should be an ad about that... It's the same thing Hillary Clinton did with the 3 a.m. call. 'You're not ready to be commander-in-chief.' It's also what makes politicians and political leaders act irrationally when it comes to matters of war because they're so afraid to be called wimps, that they make decisions, which are incredible destructive for the country. I'm sure the president would not have escalated in Afghanistan if he was not as concerned, as Democrats are, that Republicans are going to use not escalating against him in a campaign."

James Taranto theorizes that Elizabeth Warren "downplayed her alleged Indian roots after coming to Harvard to avoid the stigma of 'affirmative action.'"

Now, he's bouncing off something I said:
As Althouse points out, early in her career, "minority status" would have been useful to her advancement. But once she was on the tenure track at an Ivy League law school, she had more or less reached the pinnacle of academia. At that point, if people thought of her as white, they would assume she got the job entirely on the merits, without benefit of racial preferences.
What I said was — guessing — "Being on the list of minority law professors served her interest in advancement, but the claim was weak and potentially embarrassing, so it was deleted . . . after she achieved what was the ultimate advancement (to Harvard Law School)." I didn't specify what I thought was "potentially embarrassing," and Taranto's theory in fact never crossed my mind. He goes on:
Not all minority professors could pull that off. If Warren were black, for instance, everyone would know it, and there would be no way of escaping the stereotype. Because she is--or can pass for--white, she was in a position to have the best of both worlds, advancing through affirmative action, then enjoying the white privilege of appearing to have gotten ahead solely on the merits.
What I thought was "potentially embarrassing" was that people might begin to ask if she really was Native American, and she might not be able to verify her status. (She is not an enrolled member of a tribe, which is something students coming to her as a mentor might ask about, perhaps in a challenging way.)

From my perspective — as a lawprof with 25+ years of experience — I do not think the lawprofs who are members of minority groups go around feeling stigmatized. But I do think it would be embarrassing if you were recruited because you were perceived as a member of a minority group that you in fact did not belong to. Harvard was under a lot of pressure at that time to do something about the lack of racial diversity on the faculty, and I'm skeptical of the claim that Warren's minority status never came up during the hiring process. Well, it's not really even a claim. It's just a statement of inability to "recall" that it did.

Was the "Protest Whisperer" — Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs — forced out...

... by mean old Republicans who are saying he "coddled" protesters?
For days in February 2011, protesters slept in the Capitol and spent their days booing and jeering Republican Gov. Scott Walker and GOP legislators.... 
Supporters of Tubbs, 58, say his willingness to negotiate was the reason that there were no major injuries, no permanent damage to the Capitol and no riots. But his opponents say that same personal style turned the Capitol into the first Occupy campsite.... 
There’s another theory on why Tubbs chose June 1 to start his new job: He doesn’t want to be around for what some say could be “Round 2.” 
Walker’s recall election is June 5....
Oh, no. The post-recall protests....

But why wait for June 6th? Tomorrow is May Day... and it's coming just as the city is (supposedly) breaking up the Occupy Madison encampment...
On Sunday night, the mood among site residents could only be described as desperate as many of them realized that it could be their last night at the site.... 
Meanwhile, other members of the Occupy Madison movement are gearing up for a big day on Tuesday. Occupy Wall Street is using social media to attract a big crowd for its May Day rally.

"Is Twitter working on a solution to keep liberals from abusing the spam submission system in the future?"

"Dana Loesch and many others want answers from Twitter. Why did they suspend Chris Loesch’s account? Was the suspension due to liberals flag-spamming him?"

ADDED: More here.
As our late-night-owl readers know, after Twitter reinstated conservative activist Chris Loesch’s account in the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning, the progressive flag-spam lynch mob — a vicious group of free speech-squelching Twitter users who trigger automatic suspensions by falsely “mass reporting” conservatives as “spammers” — took him down again and again.

"Bus, under."

"Top EPA Official Resigns Over 'Crucify' Comment."

Imagine your career wrecked over a slightly edgy analogy.

Meanwhile, Hilary Rosen — who said something much more inopportune — was back on "Meet the Press" yesterday.

ADDED: Based on the comments to this post, I'd say the problem wasn't so much that the analogy was edgy, but that it was too true. He said something that can't be said so openly. The setting wasn't really too open, which is why he said it, presumably, but the analogy was so vivid that it busted out into the internet-o-sphere.

Obama announces his retirement from politics.

I received email from the President just now. The subject line: My last campaign.
Ann --

In a few days, I'll be hitting the trail for my last campaign.

[Blah.. blah... request for donation omitted.]


His last campaign?

The man is 50 years old. His career is young. He's packing it in so early? This troubles me. Why no more stamina in the political arena?

I mean, what if he loses in November? He could run again. He could let 3 presidential terms pass and come back and only be as old as Romney is right now!

But even if he wins, what's he going to do? He can't run for President again, but there are other elective offices. Look at John Quincy Adams, John Tyler, and Andrew Johnson. All of them went on to seek other elective office and to win.

(Also at that link: the names of the 7 Presidents who sought the presidency after they were out of office. You probably know the name of the individual who won, but do you know the 6 who tried and failed?)

Why doesn't Obama have more gumption? It makes him seem too weak even now as he seeks reelection. Last campaign. That's annoying.

You know, the first time I ever voted for a Republican, it was 1976 and I decided I couldn't vote for Carter. It was one thing that he said that turned me against him. He was asked — very shortly before election day — what he would do if he lost. He said he'd go back to his peanut farm and be a farmer. I didn't like that. I thought: Not much of a statesman.

A scientific calculation of the advantages and disadvantages of the 2 leading candidates in the Wisconsin recall primary...

"Final score: +1 for The Kathleen. (Toasting Mary Bell of WEAC and Marty Beil of AFSCME.)"

"But don’t worry, Harvard Law School racked up their identity-group bonus points on the basis of the authoritative evidence of Ms Warren’s family 'lore'..."

"... which surely ought to be good enough for faculty-lounge affirmative-action credits."

Mark Steyn aptly notes.

We were talking about this yesterday, and tmitsss reminded us of the "Dear Prudence" column that we were talking about a couple weeks ago. You remember, the Slate advice columnist Emily Yoffe got a question from a student who wondered whether it was ethical to accept a scholarship that was available only to Hispanic students when, in fact, he had recently learned that he had no Hispanic ancestors. (He was adopted and had a Hispanic surname.)

Yoffe told him:
There is one essential criteria people must meet in order to be considered Hispanic by the U.S. Census Bureau: That’s what they say they are. 
Your say-so makes it so. And there's money in it!
You were raised by a Hispanic father and have his last name. For most of your life you identified yourself as Hispanic. 
So family "lore" is good enough!
On your behalf the “Hispanic” box was checked on the relevant forms. If you want to shed your Hispanic identity, of course you are free to do so. But given your last name, people will still assume that's what you are, even if you are no longer checking the appropriate boxes. This Pew Hispanic Center report shows just how squishy and variable the term “Hispanic” is. I’m confident your college is thrilled to include you in their count of Hispanic students and doesn’t really want to know you may be thinking of yourself as Armenian. 
Your college is thrilled. You and the college, benefiting together... and who is harmed by this thrilling fantasy... this mutual stimulation to self-pleasure....? Let the frottage continue!
Given the price of tuition, a substantial scholarship is a blessing and you should claim it with equanimity.
Claim your blessings! Everybody wins! Not a loser in sight. Ah! Beautiful!

UPDATE: Yoffe links to this post and makes an offensive, inaccurate statement about it.

"The Five Stages Of GOP Reaction To Osama Bin Laden’s Death — And What’s Next."

The top post at Talking Points Memo, which I visited after I noticed it on my Blogroll and thought hey, I haven't gone there in a long time and then I wonder why I never go there anymore and then oh, I see.

ADDED: ... and then I'm going to blog about this and then hey, I need 5 stages.

"Because I criticized the President, it’s news?"

"Last I checked, he’s President, not King! This is America! Freedom of Speech. what’s the bfd?"


I know I've made a lot of Obama tags over the years, but looking for the right one for this post made me realize I have a serious Obama tag proliferation problem on this blog. Few other characters have even one additional tags beyond their name. For example, Hillary Clinton only has 2 extra tags, one dedicated to her work as Secretary of State and another one called "Hillary snaps." But look at my list of Obama tags:

"Other cities do have working tent cities. And I think this shows that a tent city can work..."

"... as imperfect as it is, for various reasons... and it's really sad that the city is dismissing it altogether, and it's going to be broken down in a couple of days."

Allen Barkoff, defending the homeless shelter into which Occupy Madison transmogrified. (Via Isthmus.)

Barkoff is identified on the video as "Occupy Organizer." Allen Barkoff is also the name of the Vice-Chair of the Socialist Party of South Central Wisconsin. From the Socialist Party website:
In a socialist system the people own and control the means of production and distribution through democratically controlled public agencies, cooperatives, or other collective groups. The primary goal of economic activity is to provide the necessities of life, including food, shelter, health care, education, child care, cultural opportunities, and social services. 
These social services include care for the chronically ill, persons with mental disabilities, the infirm and the aging. Planning takes place at the community, regional, and national levels, and is determined democratically with the input of workers, consumers, and the public to be served.

"It's almost an art to be so obnoxious, really."

"You will find nothing in her blog that would get her in trouble with state government or the University of Wisconsin, and yet she is terribly offensive about many serious people and worthy endeavors... She is a confused thinker, and her writing is hard to follow. Sometimes she has nothing to say but says things anyway. But there is a certain consistency in her written equivalent of blather that reassures her regular readers."

Stray antiAlthousiana.

It amused me. It's almost right about some things. "Almost an art"? It is an art.

"No one who writes for a living wouldn't want to be the person behind Jonah Goldberg's 'Liberal Fascism..."

"... which was not only a number-one New York Times' bestseller, but also a seminal publication in the growing canon of conservative-leaning books. What I would wish on no writer, however, is having to face the challenge and pressure of writing a follow-up to such a stunning debut. But with 'The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas'..., not only has Goldberg (editor-at-large for National Review Online) avoided the sophomore slump -- in many ways he has an even bigger triumph on his hands."

So begins a review over at of a book I actually do want to read. (And if you do, please buy it here.) Speaking of "stunning," I'm stunned by the density of the packing in of implausible overstatements. strains at self-delegitimizing. Sad.

April 29, 2012

"Yet the walls still have to be guarded by independent bloggers who bear a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom..."

"... and while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, you want us on that wall, you need us on that wall," blogs Professor Jacobson dramatically, but I think he really means it.

He's talking about Don Surber's quitting blogging after 7 years: "I am exhausted. It was simply too much work."

Via Instapundit, who says: "I’m still around. But I suppose it’ll get me too, someday. But today is not that day!"

For me, the secret has always been the intrinsic reward. Read "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience."

Jacobson talks of "feeling that your blog is all that stands between the Great Mainstream Media-Nutroots Conspiracy and the abyss can create imagined pressure." That's extrinsic. I'm all about intrinsic. I'm not trying to write anything other than as part of a process of being interested in things. It's just the opposite of entropy.

But Surber writes a lot of columns. I suspect he's simply discovered that he'll write better if he concentrates his writing on columns, which require a different rhythm.

"That's Why God Made The Radio."

A beautiful new song by the (surviving) Beach Boys — Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine (with Bruce Johnston and David Marks). You can listen to it at the link.
If you're lucky, you can hear The Beach Boys on tour — the band began a world tour for their 50th anniversary last night in Tucson, performing an astonishing 42 songs!

Tomorrow, 1 World Trade Center will become the tallest building in NYC.

The addition of a steel column will put it 21 feet taller than the Empire State Building.
This is the second time a skyscraper called 1 World Trade Center has edged over the Empire State Building. The first was on Oct. 19, 1970, when a section of steel framework elevated the north tower of the trade center to 1,254 feet, four feet above Empire State’s 1,250-foot benchmark.

"So, we know one thing with almost 100% certainty: Elizabeth Warren identified herself as a minority law professor."

David Bernstein affirms:
We know something else with 90%+ certainty: (at least some) folks at Harvard were almost certainly aware that she identified as a minority law professor, though they may not have known which ethnic group she claimed to be belong to, and it may not have played any role in her hiring. 
But it gets even more interesting: once Warren joined the Harvard faculty, she dropped off the list of minority law faculty. Now that’s passing strange. When the AALS directory form came around before Warren arrived at Harvard, she was proud enough of her Native American ancestry to ask that she be listed among the minority law professors.... Once she arrived at Harvard, however, she no longer chose to be listed as a minority law professor.
If those are the facts, what should we infer? Being on the list of minority law professors served her interest in advancement, but the claim was weak and potentially embarrassing, so it was deleted... after she achieved what was the ultimate advancement (to Harvard Law School)? I'm just guessing. Do you have a more apt inference? In any event, it's a question that goes to honesty.