November 24, 2012

At the Dogfight Café...


... that's my seat!


"Café" = open thread. Like that? The best way to say "yes" is — if you happen to have any shopping you need to do — enter Amazon through this link, which will not cost you anything.

"We write ethically when, as a matter of principle, we would trade places with our intended readers..."

"... and experience the consequences they do after they read our writing...."
Those who write in ways that seem dense and convoluted rarely think they do....

The ethics of writing are clearer when writers knowingly use language not to further their readers’ interests but to disguise their own....

A more complicated ethical issue is how we should respond to those who know they write in a complex style, but claim they must, because they are breaking new intellectual ground. Are they right, or is that self-serving rationalization? This is a vexing question, not just because we can settle it only case-by-case, but because we may not be able to settle some cases at all, at least not to everyone’s satisfaction.
Joseph M. Williams, "Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace."

This makes me think about legal opinions, but there is so much more. Imagine if, whenever we wrote, we thought about ethics.

"It is hard to love people whom we do not respect..."

"... but it is harder still to love those whom we respect more highly than we respect ourselves."

A maxim of Le Duc de La Rochefoucauld.

"Work as Play... disciplined fun is more fun than impulsive or hedonistic fun."

From the David Foster Wallace essay "The Nature of Fun."

(The entire essay appears in the collection "Both Flesh and Not: Essays.")

"How about a friendly kiss goodbye"... to Larry Hagman.

A great clip reel, via Throwing Things.

"Power-hungry Bay State Democrats — eyeing another potential Senate opening if U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry joins the Obama Cabinet..."

"... are quietly discussing reinstating a 2004 law that would let Gov. Deval Patrick appoint a permanent replacement to help keep the seat under party control until at least 2014."
... The move comes eight years after Democratic lawmakers stripped then-Gov. Mitt Romney of his appointment powers in an effort to keep Republicans out of the office, and three years after they changed the law again to let Patrick appoint a temporary replacement.

Elizabeth Smart's book will be "frank" but "appropriate" and not "salacious."

Says Chris Stewart, who's writing the book and who will be a member of the new Congress.
"She has taken a professional outlook on this and is able to talk in an impressive way about these things frankly... She’s not shying away from this story."
The story is of a 14-year-old, kidnapped, held captive, and raped for 9 months. Tricky to tell that story frankly yet appropriately. How do you ensure that the reader is not titillated? You can't.

"My mother is a baptized Christian, so she made me go to church every Sunday, and I prayed four times a day until I was 14."

"And at lunchtime kids at school would giggle at my praying...I stopped praying. And two weeks later, nothing happened to me, so I didn't pick it up again."

Ang Lee, in an interview about his movie "Life of Pi," which is based on a novel with a strong religious theme. He does, he says (like so many others) like to think of himself as spiritual.

"After years of holding steady... the United States abortion rate has fallen to an all-time low."

"It dropped 5 percent between 2008 and 2009, the most recent years for which data is available, the largest decline in the past decade."

Why? One suggestion is that the bad economy has caused people to be more careful about contraception. Another is that more women are using birth control devices that eliminate the user-error factor.

"A federal jury believed the University of Iowa’s law school illegally denied a promotion to a conservative Republican because of her politics."

"However, jurors said they felt conflicted about holding a former dean personally responsible for the bias. They wanted to hold the school itself accountable, but federal law does not recognize political discrimination by institutions."
[Teresa]Wagner was turned down despite enthusiastic praise for her interview performance by members of the faculty appointments committee and members of the law school administration. Not all on the faculty were supportive, however. Carolyn Jones, the law school dean at the time, said she rejected Wagner for a faculty position because of opposition within the faculty. According to testimony, Jones said “she always adopts the faculty’s recommendations.”

Faculty members testified that they opposed hiring Wagner because she had performed poorly in the job interview. But an associate dean expressed concern in an email that Wagner might be opposed by professors who “so despise her politics.”
"Wagner is a Republican who has worked for anti-abortion organizations."

November 23, 2012

At the 3 Dogs Café...


... sit!


... the Lady of the North.
Critics aren’t sure what to make of it. “It’s quite difficult to take it seriously,” said Tim Richardson, a London-based landscape historian and critic. “This massive woman you climb up.”

"An absolute presidential tyranny."

"Egypt is facing a horrifying coup against legitimacy and the rule of law and a complete assassination of the democratic transition."

"I want all 3 dogs to sit!"

Just now... at Meadehouse.

At the Capitalism-Is-Doomed Café...


... hang out and talk about whatever you like, and if you'd like to show some affection for the blog called Althouse, please shop Amazon through the Althouse portal.

"Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don't know what Christmas is all about."

It's all about... terror!

"[P]rotestors once again gathered on the steps of San Francisco City Hall to hang out with their wangs out in a good, old-fashioned love fest...."

"In reaction to yesterday's 6-5 vote to ban public nudity.... Our photographer was on the scene to bring you more than an eyeful."

I love the first pic at the link, both before and after clicking the sanitized-for-your-protection-rectangle-of-propriety or whatever you call that thing. Not that thing. That thing. We've already established that you call that thing a "wang."

God — "one of most popular words in urban dictionary."

"Did you know that the word god has over 500 definitions?" That's definition #6 (of 647, as of just now).
1. God 1805 up, 425 down
An entity whose opinions on the consumption of pork has been a matter of hot debate amongst the world's religions...

2. God 392 up, 110 down
Universal scapegoat.

When people can't justify their actions through reality, they justify their actions through God

3. God 22594 up, 9000 down
A guy who talked to some Jewish guys, some Christian guys, and some Islam guys, and accidentaly caused more people to die than anyone else in human history. And people wonder why he doesn't talk much to us anymore.

4. god 1301 up, 539 down
dog backwards.
person1:"Hey look its god"

person 2: "No thats a dog"
I arrived at that page in Urban Dictionary because I Googled "God Dog." It's a song title. Here's the song, by The Incredible String Band. If you were in existence back in the 1960s, maybe you had "5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion," "Hangman's Beautiful Daughter," and "Wee Tam and the Big Huge" (which you can buy — in one $35 boxed set — at Amazon, along with all your other Black Friday items). Me, I still have all of that on vinyl, and yesterday Meade dug up some old live-concert CD — old, but not as old as the vinyl — and got the iMac playing "God Dog," because we'd just been out on a long Thanksgiving walk with our (borrowed) dog-named-after-a-God Zeus:


She will not learn language/nor will she bear scorn/but she is the best little dog
that ever was born

That song and another song on Meade's live-concert CD had lyrics about unborn babies, and I said that abortion rights ideology — which says that any given pregnant woman holds the sovereign power to determine the humanity of the entity within — has eclipsed the old cultural expressions magnifying the unborn child. "God Dog" has "I have lain in the womb of the rocks cold and chill/while she speaks in my heart with the voice of the hill." And the other song — sorry I haven't successfully Googled the lyrics — spoke of an unborn baby safe and warm within the womb, which made me think about how the womb isn't — within abortion rights ideology — a safe place to be anymore. It's a place where your humanity depends on the will of the Goddess of the small universe you still inhabit. She, being autonomous and free, has the power "to define [her] own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." In that legal landscape, there are no wandering hippie minstrels singing songs about unborn babes.

Meade says there was a hippie pro-life movement. He remembers hippies urging women not to have abortions and saying give your babies to us and we'll give them back to you whenever you want. I don't remember that iteration of hippie values, I don't know how the urging would have been done in pre-internet days, and my Googling fails again as I try to research the hippie pro-life movement. As I'm writing this paragraph, Meade phones in from Frautschi Point, where he's walked with Zeus. He's returning my call, which I made to get permission to publish the photograph (above). I don't extract the needed reminiscences about hippie times when there were subcultures in the counterculture. I was stranded in the north country (Ann Arbor) and he'd sojourned into the backwoods of North Carolina.

I can see from my window that it's blustery in the backyard, and it must be raw out there on the Lake Mendota landscape. Are Meade and the god dog cold? Meade laughs and says little. The god/dog — who will not learn language/doesn't talk much to us anymore — says nothing.

November 22, 2012

At the Feeling Swindled Café...


... I'm not feeling swindled. I'm feeling thankful. It's Thanksgiving!


"Café," here at the Althouse blog, signifies an open thread in the comments. Write about what you like. And if you enjoy hanging out here, you can let me know by using this Amazon link as you go about your Christmas shopping, your Thanksgiving shopping, your other holiday shopping, and your nonholiday shopping. Entering Amazon through that link — which is always at the top of the page under the blog's title at the words "Shop Amazon" — will send me a commission on whatever you buy there before you click away. I'm heading into a 9th year of solo blogging, 365 days a year, without even a single missed day, and the Amazon action really is encouraging. It's so not a swindle, since you only get things you want and you pay nothing extra for what I experience as a gesture of encouragement.

"I am no fan of radio hosts who get mean and personal. So I shed no tears for the Radio Sly-mer..."

"... who was this afternoon fired from WTDY-AM 1670 after 15 years," says David Blaska, as Midwest Family Radio dumps local talk radio and picks up the CBS sports package.
I call him the Sly-mer because he did things like call then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice an Aunt Jemima. He suggested that Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor performed sexual favors to win election, rejoiced at her diagnosis of cancer, and made fun of her children.
The man was on for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, so it's not surprising that — trying to be interesting/exciting/outrageous — he went too far sometimes, presumably many times. Such is life in free-speech America.

He obstructed my ability to hear Sarah Palin one time:

So what if he was a big old lefty asshole? He had his place here in Madison, where there should be local talk radio. It's sad to lose the voice of John "Sly" Sylvester. Ironically, the conservative talk channel, with Sly's counterpart Vicki McKenna, raves on. In Madison!

"The charter of the Plymouth Colony reflected the most up-to-date economic, philosophical and religious thinking of the early 17th century."

"Plato was in vogue then, and Plato believed in central planning by intellectuals in the context of communal property, centralized state education, state centralized cultural offerings and communal family structure."

ADDED: Sorry I had the wrong link before. It's corrected now, but let me keep the wrong link too, which went to a second article in Forbes "A Guide To Talking Politics At The Thanksgiving Table." Maybe you've already started talking about politics at the Thanksgiving table, and, if so, I hope you're doing it the right way... or close enough.

"McCartney’s 'Great Wall of Vagina' deemed obscene by Tokyo police."

"The images are exactly that of female genitalia.... The degree of obscenity is high."

The description is accurate but fails to mention how artistic it is.

ADDED: Here's a photo of the "wall" as displayed — badly, I think. The individual rectangles ought to tile an entire wall, not be framed and lined up like that. I guess they are more saleable in that form, but it's just not a great wall of vagina. Plus, I'm sorry to be pedantic, but don't say "vagina" for "vulva." I'm not concerned about obscenity. It's the false advertising that bothers me. This is "Decorously Framed Vulva," not "Great Wall of Vagina."

Life in London — the random act of violence.

"The Daily Mail called the assailant the 'most brutal thug in Britain,' which maybe says as much about the United Kingdom’s relatively safety as it does about the brutality of this attacker."

So... the shockingness of the video demonstrates how safe they really are?

"Marco Rubio’s Deceptively Pro-Science Answer on the Age of the Earth."

"Though asserting that science and theology disagree on the age of the earth... Rubio's opinion on the matter does slip through."
The meme-ready "I'm not a scientist, man" and the later "I'm not a scientist. I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that" may serve as convenient dodges, but they also indicate that Rubio thinks that science, as opposed to a theology, is the right way to answer the question, which it has.
ADDED: Rubio's answer reminds me of Obama's "above my pay grade" maneuver when asked about the humanity of the unborn. Both men said it's not my job to avoid conflict with religious people.

"Do you Tweet?"/"I tweet when I’m prodded to tweet."

"What about you, do you tweet?"/"Only when forced."/"Exactly. Now why is that?"

"What about Facebook?"/"No, I don’t use Facebook. I absolutely don’t want to stay in touch with everybody in my past. I really believe in falling out of touch with people."

"There’s something about the way a magazine looks and feels when it doesn’t have advertising that is unbelievably disappointing..."

"... both as an editor and as a writer. Pages are not meant to be adjacent to one another. They need the advertising to give it body and fullness. There was always that sense of Newsweek being not the full-bodied thing that it ought to be."

Said Tina Brown, in whose hands Newsweek died, prompting Michael Kinsley to say, "It seemed wan." And then Tina says, "Yes, it always seemed wan, and that affects the way you read it. That was one of the big problems."

Makes Newsweek sound like a person... like an unsatisfying husband to whom poor Tina found herself married.

Much more at the link, by the way, including Kinsley's question whether it was really true that Newsweek was losing $42 million a year, and Tina's answer: "I’m not supposed to reveal the exact numbers. But I will tell you it cost $42 million just to print Newsweek.... Before you’ve even engaged one writer, or one copy editor, or one picture editor. Forty-two million dollars." And: "[A]ll the boundaries of print just feel so incredibly old-fashioned now—the need to do things in a certain shape, in a certain mix, by a certain time of the day in the week. All of that just seems so incredibly burdensome now." And:
In ten years, will we still have newspapers on paper?

“No” is the short answer, unless printed at home via the web.

"The Uncle Sam machine processes grains one by one, focusing on the transformation of corn into popcorn."

"An explosion that usually occurs en masse is here isolated so that the spectacle can be enjoyed. Satisfaction is at once visual and gastronomic."

ECAL Low-Tech Factory/Oncle Sam from ECAL on Vimeo.

(Via Technabob.)

"Why should the President direct the people to do what, perhaps, they have no mind to do?"

"If a day of thanksgiving must take place... let it be done by the authority of the several States."

November 21, 2012

Meade bikes the John Muir Trail...

... in Kettle Moraine State Forest.

At the Happy Center Café...


... checking the rules of the game.


Here's the game: Hive Carbon. That's an Amazon link. And if you happen to have any other shopping you need to do, entering Amazon through this link will — at no extra cost to you — send me: 1. some money, and 2. the message that you appreciate what this blog gives to you. (That link is always at the top of the page, under the blog's title: click "Shop Amazon.")

"Upwards of 15 prominent Republicans are privately contemplating 2016 campaigns for the presidency..."

"... and the most serious and ambitious of the bunch are already plunging in, some quite publicly."

There's a gallery of 18 at the link. Can you predict them all before looking? Who were you happiest to see? Who are your top 5 picks? Are there 2 from your state? There are 2 from mine.

Jesse Jackson Jr. resigns, 2 weeks after winning reelection with 63% of the vote.

The NYT puts it this way:
Voters, it seemed, did not care [about his mental and legal problems], particularly given the strong Democratic-leanings of his district and a group of little-known opponents who challenged him....
How can you tell they didn't care? He was the Democratic Party candidate. You'd have to have a high level of objection to switch parties. You could very easily care yet still vote for your party's candidate. You vote for the party and trust them to get it straightened out, which seems to be what is happening, since he has resigned.

"I am somewhat surprised and frustrated to read reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was responsible..."

"... for removing references to Al-Qaeda from the unclassified talking points about the Benghazi attack that Ambassador Susan Rice and other officials used in the early days after September 11, 2012," says Senator John McCain.
"I participated in hours of hearings in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week regarding the events in Benghazi, where senior intelligence officials were asked this very question, and all of them – including the Director of National Intelligence himself – told us that they did not know who made the changes. Now we have to read the answers to our questions in the media. There are many other questions that remain unanswered. But this latest episode is another reason why many of us are so frustrated with, and suspicious of, the actions of this Administration when it comes to the Benghazi attack."
He's presumably referring to this CBS news story that we were talking about yesterday. How can that news story be true if the Director of National Intelligence didn't know who made the changes? Did the director — James Clapper — dissemble before the committee? Maybe McCain just got it wrong. The cover story is... what? Some faceless entity within the Office of the Director is the scapegoat.

"It's not surprising that we're so bitter, and we cling to hand grenades and Anglican religion and we use Va-a-a-a-se-line."

That quote ends the previous post, which you need to absorb — perhaps with a piece of toast — to ready yourself for the following exercise in photo comparison.

We have here 2 famous expressions. The first is "Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park" (in the 1962 Diane Arbus photograph) and the second is President Obama, enjoying the perks of the presidency, doing the "not impressed" pose with McKayla Maroney:

(Click photos to enlarge.)

"Question: What kind of dumbass packs a freaking grenade in his carry-on ... and accidentally tries to take it onto a plane?"

"Answer: Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne. And he shut down an Oklahoma City airport in the process."
According to reports, Coyne was flying to LAX to catch a preview of the new Flaming Lips musical "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" -- and told police he was given the dead grenade at a party as a joke.

Shocker, the grenade reportedly resulted in several missed flights ... and lots of wasted money -- but once TSA determined it was harmless, they let Coyne go.
Sorries duly tweeted:

ADDED: To demonstrate The Flaming Lips to Meade, I found "She Don't Use Jelly" in YouTube, where there are over 1500 comments, most of which seem to be new verses for the song — which is the kind of song that you can learn immediately and then make up your own words to off the top of your head in the style of the original. I know a girl who... etc. etc. It's easier than limericks. Try it!

Top comment at YouTube:
I know a King who likes to kill
in front of the public - coz it's such a thrill,
but he don't use nooses
and he don't need the police.
He don't use lions
or any of these.
He uses guuuu-iii-lll-otines
"She Don't Use Jelly" came out in 1993 — which was a fun year for watching TV around here. Wikipedia says:
According to Coyne, "The song came to me very quickly...."
I'll bet it did. Let's all strum a guitar, sing like a child (or is that singing like Neil Young?), and use just about the first silly words that come to mind and rhyme. The song got popular a year after its release when it was mocked on "Beavis and Butt-Head."
"You know the chick who makes you toast? Heh heh. So what?"

"I can make toast. Heh heh."


"Uh oh. I think this is college music."...

"You know how you can tell this is college music? They're in a field."

"Yeah. Fields suck."
Fascinating how something supremely mockable, originally seen being mocked, gets to be thoroughly liked, and here is this band, 20 years later, still popular, making a musical, and that dumb, easy song is still their biggest hit. The mystery of American pop culture.

AND: I don't accept Coyne's tweeted apology. I want him to apologize by taking that hand grenade and getting a photograph of himself made in the pose of "Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park" — by Diane Arbus:
Arbus captured this photograph by having the boy stand while moving around him, claiming she was trying to find the right angle. The boy became impatient and told her to "Take the picture already!" His expression conveys his exasperation and impatience with the whole endeavor, as the contact sheet for the shoot reveals. In other pictures, he is seen as a happy child.
But the picture became an icon of what's wrong with America — with its mentally ill attachment to weapons. It's not surprising that we're so bitter, and we cling to hand grenades and Anglican religion and we use Va-a-a-a-se-line.

The Queen is the supreme governor of the Church of England, but...

... its General Synod just voted against permitting women to serve as bishops.
It has been 36 years since the General Synod declared it had no fundamental objection to ordaining women as priests, and 18 years since the first women were ordained. But that change never won universal acceptance in the church, with a determined minority arguing that that the move was contrary to the Bible.

That group, affirming what it sees as the Biblical idea of male “headship,” has demanded special arrangements to shield it from supervision by female bishops.
Don't worry. Being inconsistent is perfectly consistent with the Bible.

November 20, 2012

At the Black Dog Café...


... what are you looking for?

"It's not Watergate. It's a political witch hunt, designed to embarrass and discredit the newly re-elected Obama."

"It's a lot of Republican claptrap, another one of those conspiracy theories created out of thin air."
Whoops. That's exactly what Republicans were saying when the FBI and newspaper investigators were closing in on President Richard "I am not a crook" Nixon for covering up the Watergate break-in by his operatives. Republican defenders of Nixon described it as merely a third-rate burglary and said investigating it would be a waste of time because nothing illegal or untoward happened.

I see Hillary Clinton is taking a "farewell tour."

CNN blah blahs.

My question: Has Hillary Clinton ever registered an actual accomplishment? She's been given some positions of responsibility, and now she's stepping down (perhaps to return). But tell me: What are her achievements, if any?

"At precisely the moment when gay people’s right to marry seems to be reaching a positive tipping point, sexuality is being driven back into the closet..."

"... as something shameful and incompatible with honor (in the case of Petraeus) or decency (as in the case of Clash)... [Kevin Clash] has not been convicted of a crime, but merely accused of one in a completely unsubstantiated, vague complaint."

Said lawprof Katherine Franke
. Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, is accused, in a civil lawsuit seeking $5 million, of having "sexual activity" with a 15-year-old.

"If cellphone companies don’t want to take reasonable steps to ensure reliability..."

"... then they should be liable to customers who suffer injury from failed service."

Don't people kind of know cell phones don't work reliably? Isn't that the reason you're supposed to keep your land line? I've spent something like $30 a month for years maintaining a land line that mostly only collects commercial calls and wrong numbers because it just might happen that there will be an emergency and only the land line will work.

I finally cut of my land line, driven to it by a particular screw up. And I'd like to think the cell phone will fill the gap, performing like the old technology. But I think we know the risks and we've chosen them. What other predictable disappointments should be converted into lawsuits?

Who changed those Benghazi talking points?

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Not the White House or the State Department.
Republicans have accused [Susan] of making misleading statements by referring to the assault as a "spontaneous" demonstration by extremists. Some have suggested she used the terminology she did for political reasons.

However, an intelligence source tells CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan the links to al Qaeda were deemed too "tenuous" to make public....

"The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack." DNI spokesman Shawn Turner tells CBS News. That information was shared at a classified level -- which Rice, as a member of President Obama's cabinet, would have been privy to.
It's one thing to chose not to specify which terrorist organization it was, quite another to spread a phony story about protesting over a video. Now, there seems to be an attempt to glue the true story to the phony story with the word "extremists," having it cover both organized terrorists making a military attack and a bunch of hotheads suddenly demonstrating because they're enraged by some YouTube video. Those are obviously 2 very different things! And Susan Rice took the lead in a very serious deceit. Right before the election.

So I don't get the "however" in the indented quote above. Maybe it relates only to the suggestion that there was a political motivation for omitting the part about terrorists. But it doesn't undermine the accusation that Rice's statements were misleading (indeed false).

"Middle East melting down into 'Obamawar.'"

Is that fair to say?

If it is, and Obama is responsible for what is happening, what can he do? I'd like to see him earn that Nobel Peace Prize. He received it prematurely, which wasn't his doing. But it is his doing if he never fulfills the promise that people excessively projected onto him.

"The editors of Esquire have included Chief Justice Roberts in their December 'Americans of the Year' issue, praising his 'nimbleness.'"

"After the Citizens United decision on free speech and political spending, he found a way [in the Obamacare case] 'to save the court's credibility."

The Wall Street Journal editors note "the strange new respect a conservative receives for sustaining liberal priorities."

November 19, 2012

"Mitt Romney Is Now Officially the Most Hated Man in America."

Kevin Drum.

Republicans "got whiter and more male, and we now have a majority minority and female Democratic caucus."

Wasserman Schultz says.
"We have to double down in 2014. We’ve got to make sure we recruit more women for office, because It’s not just a slogan that when women run, women win. They do, and when women run, Democrats win."

The Good Giraffe.

"While sitting on the toilet, a jobless Scottish man had an idea: Why not dress as a giraffe and do good deeds for people?"

"I’m proud to be the first American president to visit this spectacular country..."

"... and I am very pleased that one of my first stops is to visit with an icon of democracy who has inspired so many people, not just in this country but all around the world."

ADDED: "Obama Repeatedly Mispronounces Aung San Suu Kyi."

"Help, Thanks, Wow."

Prayer, distilled by Anne Lamott.

About those states that are opting to set up the Obamacare health insurance exchanges.

It won't be easy! Consider California:
Under the federal law, the state-run exchange aims to fundamentally reshape the health insurance market by negotiating with insurers for the best rates and assisting consumers in choosing a plan. The exchange must also help millions of Californians figure out whether they qualify for an expansion of Medicaid, the government insurance for the poor, or federally subsidized private coverage....

[If California doesn't get enough people enrolled, it] could lose billions in federal dollars and insurance premiums could soar. The task is daunting, given the size and diversity of California's population, said Paul Fearer, an exchange board member. "It's critical to get it right," he said....

[In] focus groups of consumers recently in San Diego and Sacramento[, o]nly about 20%... had even heard of the exchange....

About half of California's 7 million uninsured are Latinos, according to the exchange. To reach those who are eligible for coverage, the state may sponsor professional and recreational soccer leagues and court bloggers popular with Latino mothers. Officials also may hit up Hollywood to get TV shows such as "Modern Family" or "Grey's Anatomy" to weave the health insurance expansion into their scripts.
Recreational soccer leagues? Bloggers popular with Latino mothers? Health insurance plotlines on "Modern Family"? Does that sound like the way an insanely huge, complex, and comprehensive program will successfully penetrate a vast population quickly and pervasively? Oh, but the billions in federal dollars is such an incentive! Except that if you don't succeed, you won't get that money....

Sexually assaulted in full view of millions, the 18-year-old boy really has no option but to treat it as a joke.

Look at the photograph of the hulking Jenny McCarthy grabbing Justin Bieber by the throat and suctioning the back of his neck:
"Wow. I feel violated right now," he said, laughing.

"I did grab his butt," McCarthy said backstage. "I couldn't help it. He was just so delicious. So little. I wanted to tear his head off and eat it."
Imagine the sexes reversed. If you can. McCarthy is more than twice Bieber's age. She's 40. But, oh, she's trying so hard to project sexuality:
As you may know and not care about, Jenny is about to pose in Playboy again. She first posed for the men’s mag at 21, which helped launch her career as a sexy doofus. Recounting her first experience posing nude, Jenny told Oprah that... the Playboy people were surprised when she first took off her undies because she supposedly had the hairiest nether region they’d ever seen. In an appearance on The Today Show, Jenny said she’s using her pubes to maintain her modesty or something...
Too much information? Actually, no. That's great information. That's funny. But stop molesting teenagers. That's not funny, even if circumstances require Bieber to pretend that it is.

Limiting deductions will raise taxes in some states much more than others.

The Wall Street Journal explains:
California taxpayers... averaged $33,901 in deductions, in part because they claimed the U.S.'s highest average mortgage break, $15,755.

After California, the highest average itemized deductions—all over $28,000—were claimed by taxpayers in New York, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts. All have high state, local and property taxes, which may be deducted from income on federal returns, although other tax provisions already limit some deductions.
Does this make the limiting of deductions less fair than raising tax rates? Don't the same people who have those big deductions also have higher incomes? Aren't these places where everything is more expensive? It's perverse that these are the blue states, and it's the Democrats who want to raise taxes.

4 reasons why Republicans don't need to feel that bad.

Chris Cillizza link-grabbingly scrounges up some hope for the seemingly hopeless:
1. The party’s superstars are coming of age.... Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) — all of whom have significantly more star power than Romney....

2. There are a historic number of GOP governors.... [including 2 Hispanics]...

3. The electoral map is bad, but not that bad....

4. History is on their side. Presidential politics in the post-World War II era tend to be defined by the pendulum effect....
On #4, I still remember the Newsweek cover that followed the 1964 election: a sick/dying/beaten-up elephant in bed. Having supported Goldwater and grasped something of the value of conservatism, I found the image truly disturbing. And I was old enough to think somewhat deeply about it. Conservatism would never get its message across now. LBJ would distribute endless gifts and the people would never be willing to hand them back. And yet, 4 years later, Richard Nixon, the loser from 4 years earlier, would arrive — the "new Nixon" — and he seemed fresh, a source of hope.

Just my luck, though, I'd leaped leftward by then. Not that I could vote. On Election Day, I was 2 months shy of my 18th birthday, which wasn't as intensely frustrating as it sounds. In those days, you had to be 21 to vote. In an amazing run of bad luck, beginning in 1972 — when, irritatingly, all the 18-to-20-year-olds got in on voting too — I voted for 5 losing presidential candidates before my choice won. There have been 5 presidential election since that one, and I've supported the winner in 3 of them. In all of those 11 elections, there was only one man who won twice with me voting for him both times. That is, I've only voted for one 2-term President and stuck with him for the reelection.

November 18, 2012

"Do you surround yourself with things you really like or things you like only because they are absurd?"

"Listen to your own speech. Ask yourself: Do I communicate primarily through inside jokes and pop culture references?" 
What percentage of my speech is meaningful? How much hyperbolic language do I use? Do I feign indifference? Look at your clothes. What parts of your wardrobe could be described as costume-like, derivative or reminiscent of some specific style archetype (the secretary, the hobo, the flapper, yourself as a child)? In other words, do your clothes refer to something else or only to themselves? Do you attempt to look intentionally nerdy, awkward or ugly? In other words, is your style an anti-style?

"I think we are just used to seeing naked women because they are used as objects of desire in advertisements and TV."

"Naked men are not that common - we are not used to seeing a penis. I think that is the main problem for people."

Lindsey Graham was on fire on "Meet the Press" today.

About the Benghazi attack and the statements various people made about it:
... I think one of the reasons that Susan Rice told the story she did, if the truth came out a few weeks before the election that our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, had been overrun by an al Qaeda sponsored or affiliated militia, that destroys the narrative we’ve been hearing for months that al Qaeda has been dismantled, bin Laden is dead, we’re safer.... [T]he story she told reinforced a political narrative helpful to the president, but disconnected from reality....

The president said, why pick on her? She didn’t know anything about Benghazi. She was the most politically compliant person they could find.... Would this White House mislead the American people about national security events? I think they might simply because when the bin Laden raid occurred, they leaked every detail about the raid....

There are 10 militia groups all over Benghazi. I blame the president for…making this a death trap. I blame the president for not having assets available to help these people for eight hours. We need a select committee not only to look at intelligence failures...
Also in today's MTP transcript:  the House and Senate intelligence chairs Congressman Mike Rogers and Senator Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein is clear that on Sept. 14th, David Petraeus said the Benghazi attack was terrorism. Why did Susan Rice say otherwise on Sept. 16th? Rogers says:
The intelligence community had it right, and they had it right early.  What happened was it worked its way up through the system of the so-called talking points, which everyone refers to, and then it went up to what’s called a deputy’s committee... that’s populated by appointees from the administration.  That’s where the narrative changed.  And so how that thing got back to Senator Rice, I think, is probably another question.
Feinstein says the White House did not change the talking points (other than to change the word "consulate" to "mission").  Rogers says:
[T]here was no one in the professional intelligence community could tell us who changed what.  So that-- there-- there goes the disconnect.  So the intelligence community said this is-- this was a terrorist act.
The moderator, David Gregory, says he doesn't get it: "Why not just call it what it was?  Who-- why are we protecting?" Feinstein says she doesn't know, and she seems to be really struggling to understand (even though I assume she's trying to protect her party's interests). Gregory asks "was there a cover-up?" And "Do you believe that the president or anybody serving the president deliberately misled the American people about the true nature of this attack for political reasons?" And Feinstein says "no, no." She's the Democrat. The Republican, Rogers, says:
Well, this is what I know.  I know the narrative was wrong and the intelligence was right.  Now, getting between there and there, I think you have to be careful about making those accusations.... But there were some policy decisions made based on the narrative that was not consistent with the intelligence that we had.

At the Sharing Café...


... thanks for sharing.

(Enlarge photo. It may enable you to comprehend this interior space, found yesterday in a building on the Capitol Square here in Madison, Wisconsin.)

"And if you’ve been having trouble accessing your room with your key card, it means you’ve pissed off someone at the desk..."

"... and they’ll re-activate your key card when they see fit. (It’s called 'key-bombing.')"

A new book purports to be to hotels what Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" was to restaurants, but the author doesn't seem to have Bourdain's style and charm or the enthusiasm Bourdain had for his subject. This character sounds like a disgruntled employee, out to hurt the employer he hates, and he's no longer even in the business.

How many times do you want to hear that there's probably semen on the bedspreads? Wasn't that revealed in countless local TV news reports decades ago?

The guy worked for 10 years in a 3-star hotel in NYC. I'm sure that place was quite disgusting... or not. Who cares?

Twinkies will return... from Mexico.

There's a good chance:
Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest bread baking firm, which already owns parts of Sara Lee, Entenmann’s and Thomas English Muffins.

Bimbo has already sniffed around the bankruptcy proceedings that have haunted Hostess for a decade, in a bid to further expand its North American portfolio and pad its $4 billion net worth. ...
With US sugar tariffs set artificially high to protect Florida sugar-growing concerns, a non-unionized shop with access to lower-priced sugar in Mexico could be the Twinkie lifeline, economists suggest.
Plus, the brand is getting all this free advertising coming out of the threat of extinction.

"The fact is with a musical you can't have an ounce of cynicism, and I do have a bit, I suppose."

"I have never had to worry much about the emotional arc thing before."

Jennifer Saunders, the creator of "Absolutely Fabulous," talking about her new musical, which is based on the songs of The Spice Girls.

Meanwhile, in Milwaukee: "The Sound of Music."
With all due respect to Julie Andrews' matchless soprano and iconic performance, [24-year-old Elizabeth] Telford's Maria therefore gets closer to what this show is really about — and why Maria is irresistible, to the Captain and to us.

While Andrews opens by gracefully twirling through the countryside, a much earthier Telford - with fuller, less angular features and an unruly mop of hair - moves with an ungainly, off-kilter physicality, reinforced by flailing arms and legs reflecting her irrepressible and untutored joy....

Are people dying from 5-hour Energy drinks?

"The main number being batted around... is that 5-hour Energy has been cited in reports of 13 deaths; that is, 13 people who died had ingested 5-hour Energy drink at some time prior to their passing."

The suspicious ingredient is caffeine — a little more than the amount in a run-of-the-mill McDonald's coffee and maybe less than half as much as you'd get in something concocted by Starbucks. If caffeine like that was lethal the streets would be strewn with the corpses of hipsters.

I suspect that 13 is a small number in proportion to the number of people drinking the stuff, and that the people who died were engaging in other dangerous behavior. (That is, that the product appeals to people who are looking for a way to keep going, as if by magic, when it's really time to stop.)


Here, you can buy 5-hour Energy on Amazon. I predict you'll survive.

Chris Christie on "Saturday Night Live."

Last night:

He does a nice job with the comedy — even with this eyes locked tellingly on the teleprompter. And here's something that surprised me, in the end, when he recited these Bruce Springsteen lyrics:
Well, I guess everything dies, baby, that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies some day comes back
Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City
I'm a little embarrassed to say this, but I'm saying it because it's political. When Chris Christie said "fix your hair up pretty," I got a chill. It had nothing to do with the substance of the comedy sketch. Chris Christie has that Bill Clinton about him. It bypasses the brain and goes to a woman's... heart.

Normally, I am steeled against the manipulations of politicians, but, here, caught off guard in this comedy context, I discovered something about Chris Christie. I know, you may say that I'm crazy to let my reaction stand in for the reaction of all of the women of America. But this is America, where politics feeds on feeling and women determine the outcome. Crazy only just begins to describe it.

It's still too early to bet on Chris Christie 2016 at Intrade, but I just checked.