March 1, 2014

At Mulligan's Café...

... you can add whatever you've got to the mix.

(And if you've got any shopping you need to do on line, please consider entering Amazon through The Althouse Portal.)

"If you grew up in Milwaukee and then move elsewhere, surely a return will put you right back into your childhood shoes?"

"I feel that way about Warsaw. Each time I come back, it's as if I am a teen again, with all the angst and worry and rush that is so characteristic of being, say, fifteen. Because Warsaw is for me my coming of age. My eye opener. My adolescence."

"To generalize roughly: women want their partners to be at least as smart as they are, but men prefer to have something of an edge on the woman."

"A very smart man — someone whose name you would recognize — once told me that in looking for a wife, he made a list of qualifications, one of which was that she be 'almost as smart' as he is. Now, maybe he only meant that he knew he was so incredibly smart that the most he could hope for was someone 'almost as smart,' but I think he meant that he wanted smart, but he didn't want to be outmatched. He wanted to feel dominant. If this pattern of preference is followed by most people, the men at the bottom and the women at the top will have the hardest time finding partners. Too bad! One more reason to favor the equality of the sexes: more people will find mates. If the theorizing in the previous paragraphs is true, however, maybe the smartest women will embrace the unmarried state happily. In that case, the ones who are hurt the most are the least intelligent men, whose true equals have been snatched away by dominance-seeking men who have outwitted them."

The last paragraph of a post I wrote in 2005, about "a study that supposedly shows that 'a high IQ is a hindrance for women wanting to get married,'" which I was reading this morning after noticing in my Site Meter record that someone had entered this blog on that page (after Googling "what is the more reason why women with high iq found it difficult to get married").

If you go back and read that old post, keep in mind that my first marriage broke up in 1987, and my second marriage began in 2009.

ADDED: The Site Meter record shows the Googler came from inside the Miller Brewing Company. It's funny to think the search related to beer-brewing somehow. Perhaps some theory for marketing beer... to women.

If you were Putin, wouldn't you invade Ukraine?

The NYT reports:
As Russian-backed armed forces effectively seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on Saturday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia requested — and received — authorization from the Russian Senate to use military force in Ukraine.

The actions signaled publicly for the first time the Kremlin’s readiness to intervene militarily in Ukraine, and it served as a blunt response to President Obama, who just hours earlier pointedly warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Oh, pointedly, eh? What counts as pointedness here? Are points different from those lines Obama has been drawing? I don't see how there is anything Obama could have said that would have changed the imperative — from Putin's perspective — to invade Ukraine. This all looks so perfectly predictable in retrospect.

But the NYT tells us that this is "the first time" the Kremlin "signaled" "publicly" its "readiness to intervene militarily," but Obama had to have known it would play out like this.

The blunt response overcomes the pointed warning. I note the metaphor of relative sharpness, which reads like a desperate effort to give Obama the edge. Obama embodies the crazy academic dream of operating in the realm of words, words envisioned as weapons, words that might be blunt or pointed.

But Putin's "blunt response" to Obama's "pointed warning" is no verbal riposte. And however sharp, Obama cannot get a word in edgewise in the conversation Putin is starting.

Normcore on my mind.

We were talking about "normcore," the fashion trend — for all I know it's a hoax —  of "embracing sameness deliberately as a new way of being cool, rather than striving for 'difference' or 'authenticity.'" One wears "ardently ordinary clothes" — "Mall clothes. Blank clothes... dad-brand non-style...."

Once you think about this nonstyle being a style — and, seriously, I do not know whether that linked article in New York Magazine is a satire or not — it affects how you see fashion advertising. I opened an email this morning from Shop Bop and saw this...

... and my feeling was: This is the kind of marketing that drives consumers to normcore. Whether normcore is a real trend itself or not, the word aptly expresses consumer resistance to excessive prodding to see the trends as constantly changing, one's possessions seeming to require endless "editing," and the speciousness of the assertion that something random — like, here, splattered patterns — is suddenly what looks exactly new right now.

And if you're feeling the call of the normal — if you've been searching for something great to wear, man — remember there's always Randy Normal Jeans:

"The gay rights movement has been having some remarkable success lately. Why do abortion rights keep losing ground?"

Wonders Gail Collins, and one obvious answer springs to mind: Many people genuinely believe that the unborn is a human being. There's no live-and-let-live accommodation to the rights other people have won in the legal and political process for those who feel morally challenged to save millions of babies from impending murder. The very demand that they ought to accept defeat gracefully reignites them.

A second answer follows on (in my mind, and I've still not read past Collins's question): Rights in the form of equality appeal to virtually all Americans. Gay rights have mostly taken the form of equality rights: equal access to marriage, to employment, to restaurants and shops. Gay rights have also taken the form of privacy rights, that is, the freedom to make your own decisions about what to do with your body, but nobody recently has bothered with trying to stop gay people from having sex with each other. The idea of criminalizing sodomy seems ridiculous, especially when heterosexuals are deeply involved in the practice, and the notion of banning it only for gay couples brings us back to the equality principle that resonates with virtually all Americans. 

Now, I'll read the rest of Collins, who begins by asserting that there are some "easy" answers to her question. She begins with:

February 28, 2014

At the 2 Dogs Café...

... you can talk all night.

"The most interesting tidbits from the Clinton document dump..."

... aren't too interesting.

"A prominent Madison personal injury lawyer pleaded guilty Friday to misdemeanor battery for a domestic incident at his home and said he used alcohol..."

" deal with the stress of fighting an aggressive form of cancer that could end his life."
"It's my hope and intent to work through this in my remaining days in an appropriate manner," Daniel Rottier told Dane County Circuit Judge William Hanrahan.
Here's yesterday's post, discussing the arrest.

"Audi has said the new TT will look like a cross between the beautiful first-generation TT and the always-striking R8."

"It's kind of hard to tell from this one image."
It's not a great look at the car, but it's clear enough to see that it's evolution and not revolution for the coupe. But it's always been a pretty good-looking car, so why change things much? 
To get back to the beautiful original. I'm waiting for the full circle.

ADDED: Here's my 2005 TT, as I caught it lurking, as we finished our hike on the Ice Age Trail:

"President Barack Obama is warning Russia there will be costs if Russia intervenes militarily in Ukraine."

"Obama says the U.S. is deeply concerned by reports of military movements by Russia inside Ukraine."

IN THE COMMENTS: Jake quotes text that appears at the linked AP article...
"Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply stabilizing," Obama said in a hastily arranged statement.
He snarks:
Deeply stabilizing?

Hastily arranged indeed.
ADDED: Here's video of Obama's statement. He said "Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing."

"The extremist Syrian group deemed too radical even for al-Qaeda performed what may have been a Twitter first Friday..."

"... live-tweeting the amputation of a hand."
A caption states that the blindfolded man is a thief who had asked to have his hand cut off "in order to cleanse his sins."

Can a for-profit corporation have a religion worthy of protection?

Here's an essay by Elizabeth Wydra at SCOTUSblog saying the answer is no:
As a brief filed by corporate law scholars explains, “[t]he first principle of corporate law is that for-profit corporations are entities that possess legal interests and a legal identity of their own — one separate and distinct from their shareholders.”...

To be sure, the current owners of these companies have their own personal free exercise rights, but... [the Affordable Care Act] places requirements only on the corporate entities.  The individual corporate owners retain their own rights under the First Amendment and RFRA, but those rights simply aren’t available when the claimed burden is placed on the corporation itself....
Something's missing there. A corporation is a separate entity, and there is a long history of corporate law to refer to, but the question is the coverage of a statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which says "Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion." No one can argue that "person" doesn't include corporations, since actual churches and other religious organizations are unquestionably covered. So if corporations are covered, what is the basis for reading some corporations out of the statute? (Keep in mind that Congress had the power to except the Affordable Care Act from RFRA and did not.)

It seems to me that the issue is whether a particular corporation can be said to have religion. A church has religion. No one argues against that. The argument is that the Court should adopt a bright-line rule interpreting RFRA that says no for-profit corporation can possibly have a religion, no matter what the facts are.

But the facts about Hobby Lobby are pretty strong. Here's the brief (PDF) for Hobby Lobby (the upcoming Supreme Court case).
“The Greens have organized their businesses with express religious principles in mind.” Pet.App.8a. Hobby Lobby’s official statement of purpose commits the company to “[h]onoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.” JA134-35. The Greens operate Hobby Lobby and Mardel through a management trust they created, of which each Green is a trustee. Pet.App.8a; JA129-30, 134. The Greens each signed a Statement of Faith and a Trustee Commitment obligating them to conduct the businesses according to their religious beliefs, to “honor God with all that has been entrusted” to them, and to “use the Green family assets to create, support, and leverage the efforts of Christian ministries.” JA134.

“[T]he Greens allow their faith to guide business decisions for both companies.” Pet.App.8a. All Hobby Lobby stores close on Sundays, at a cost of millions per year, to allow employees a day of rest. Each Christmas and Easter, Hobby Lobby buys hundreds of full-page newspaper ads inviting people to “know Jesus as Lord and Savior.” E.g., Easter 2013, Advertisement, images/holiday_messages/messages/2013e.jpg. 
Yo, lawyers, that URL is coming up "We're sorry, the page you requested was not found." [ADDED: The cut-and-pasted URL inserts a space, which I didn't notice, but a commenter did. Deleting that space gets you to the right place, here.] If you want to know what Hobby Lobby holiday ads look like, here are a whole bunch of them. Here's one — from Easter 2003 — that I chose to click on because the title, "All the tools," seemed to have potential in making a joke about lawyers. The text is comical — darkly comical — on its own: "Son, I need you to Build a Bridge, here are all the tools you will need. See you soon — Love, Dad." The tools provided are a hammer and 3 nails, the tools that will be used against the body of Jesus Christ in this bridge-building enterprise.

Back to the brief:
Store music features Christian songs. Employees have cost-free access to chaplains, spiritual counseling, and religiously-themed financial courses. And company profits provide millions of dollars every year to ministries. Pet.App.8a; JA134-39. Mardel primarily sells Christian materials and describes itself as “a faith-based company dedicated to renewing minds and transforming lives through the products we sell and the ministries we support.” Pet.App.8a; JA137-38.

Respondents also refrain from business activities forbidden by their religious beliefs. For example, to avoid promoting alcohol, Hobby Lobby does not sell shot glasses. Hobby Lobby once declined a liquor store’s offer to take over one of its building leases, costing it hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Similarly, Hobby Lobby does not allow its trucks to “back-haul” beer and so loses substantial profits by refusing offers from distributors. Pet.App.8a; JA136.
Now, does that corporation have religion? Remember, the issue is whether it has religion that is protected from substantial burdens by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which could be repealed or amended by Congress, and from which Congress could have excepted the ACA.

The question to be answered is what does a particular statute mean now, not what religion really is and whether corporations really have it. Congress could amend RFRA whenever it acquires the political will to do so, and it could explicitly define "persons" within the meaning of that statute to exclude for-profit corporations. So the issue is whether the Supreme Court should do that political work for Congress.

Since I don't think Congress could gather the political will to put that exclusion into RFRA, I don't think the Supreme Court should interpret Congress's statute to mean what Congress would not be able to say directly. And I think Congress knew — if Congress has any brain capable of containing any thoughts — that it could put an exclusion from RFRA into the ACA, and that makes it even more apparent that the government in the Hobby Lobby case should not be able extract the for-profit-corporation exception from the Court.

As I predicted, Kerry Kennedy was acquitted.

"After nearly 20 months of buildup, the misdemeanor trial of Kerry Kennedy ended on Friday in a breakneck blur, as jurors took one hour to find her not guilty of driving under the influence of a drug."

Here's my post from 4 days ago where I said: "I bet she wins."

"The east and west coast ceremonies each have 7 keyholders, with a further 7 people around the world who could access a last-resort measure to reconstruct the system if something calamitous were to happen."

"Each of the 14 primary keyholders owns a traditional metal key to a safety deposit box, which in turn contains a smartcard, which in turn activates a machine that creates a new master key."
The backup keyholders have something a bit different: smartcards that contain a fragment of code needed to build a replacement key-generating machine. Once a year, these shadow holders send the organisation that runs the system – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) – a photograph of themselves with that day's newspaper and their key, to verify that all is well.

The lameness of the secretive video of the Supreme Court in oral argument.

So somebody got a camera past security at the Supreme Court, and we get some blurry, herky-jerky video to go along with the audio of the argument that the Court makes available. The video contains less visual information than the frequently seen drawings of the Justices and lawyers at oral argument.

And the video documents some person who probably imagines himself a courageous protester standing up and saying:
"I rise on behalf of the vast majority of American people who believe that money is not speech, corporations are not people and our democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Overturn Citizens United. Keep the cap on McCutcheon." 
What impresses me is not that one guy did that on one occasion, but that it doesn't happen all the time. How orderly and respectful the great crowds that fill the courtroom have been over the years. It's tempting to sneak in a camera. How easy it would be to bury a little Google-glassish device inside a beehive hairdo that the guards would not dare poke around in. How easy it is for anyone in the audience at any moment to stand up — to "rise" — and mouth off loudly.

They don't. That's what's amazing. 

"If others examined themselves attentively, as I do, they would find themselves, as I do, full of inanity and nonsense."

"Get rid of it I cannot without getting rid of myself. We are all steeped in it, one as much as another, but those who are aware of it are a little better off — though I don’t know."

Wrote Michel de Montaigne, evincing one of 2 personality types perceived and examined by David Brooks
Montaigne was more laid back, and our culture is more comfortable with his brand of genial self-acceptance and restraint. 
The other "brand" of which Brooks speaks has Samuel Johnson as its mascot.
We can each pick what sort of person we would prefer to be. But I’d say Johnson achieved a larger greatness. He was harder on himself. He drove himself to improve more strenuously. He held up more demanding standards for the sort of life we should be trying to live, and constantly rebutted smugness and self-approval.

Montaigne was a calming presence in a country filled with strife, but Johnson was a witty but relentless moral teacher in a culture where people were likely to grade themselves on a generous curve, and among people who spent more time thinking about the commercial climb than ultimate things.
Brooks wants us to be harder on ourselves, more rigorous and self-critical, less self-accepting and easy going. He'd like the japing, flying Montaignes of modern-day commentary to subordinate themselves — ourselves! — to the brooding, snooty analysts who delve into history and sort people into 2 categories and chide us to improve ourselves.

And what got him off on that mental jag? I bet it was all the guff he got last month when he soberly advised us against using marijuana:
[My friends and I, having smoked marijuana, reached a] stage, which I guess all of us are still in, of trying to become more integrated, coherent and responsible people. This process usually involves using the powers of reason, temperance and self-control — not qualities one associates with being high.

I think we had a sense, which all people have, or should have, that the actions you take change you inside, making you a little more or a little less coherent. Not smoking, or only smoking sporadically, gave you a better shot at becoming a little more integrated and interesting. Smoking all the time seemed likely to cumulatively fragment a person’s deep center, or at least not do much to enhance it.
So marijuana makes you more like Montaigne, less like Samuel Johnson. How annoying to the Johnsons of this world to have the Montaignes enjoying the fragmentation. How annoying to the Brookses of this world to have the whole crazy internet mocking his call to sobriety.

February 27, 2014

"Normcore isn’t about rebelling against or giving into the status quo..."

"... it’s about letting go of the need to look distinctive, to make time for something new."

It's like the grunge fashion of the 90s... but without the "anxiety around 'selling out'... more ambivalent toward its market reality."

"But, I don't think when the Biblical Nathaniel asked, 'Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?'..."

"...and Phillip answered, 'Come and see,' they were talking about Jesus' beautiful face or chiseled abs."
Yes, Jesus, as portrayed in countless paintings, has a six-pack. As comedian and author, Greg Behrendt joked, "I'd like to get ripped ... ripped like Jesus. Jesus was ripped. You've seen the pictures, right? He's ripped! Ripped. He's the son of God. He's not going to be walking around saying I've got back fat today, I'm so puffy."

"With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger..."

Just a Bob Dylan lyric that came to mind when I read this news story about a prominent Madison, Wisconsin attorney.

Since we were just talking about Mary Burke this morning, let me also quote the last line of the linked article:
The Journal Sentinel's Dan Bice reported Thursday that after news of the domestic incident broke, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke gave a $4,500 contribution from Rottier to the Madison nonprofit Domestic Abuse Intervention Services.
UPDATE: Rottier pleads guity, says he'd been drinking to deal with having cancer.

"It's 1976 and CBS reports on NYC's hot new pickup spot: the department store Bloomingdale's."

Writes The Whelk at Metafilter. Oh, Whelk, we call it Bloomies.

This is hilarious and painfully nostalgic.

Barack Obama's 5 Commandments, rewritten.

In The Nation, Karen Greenberg discerns 5 Commandments Obama proclaimed when he came into office in 2009. (I know, to characterize Obama's principles as "Commandments" is to put him in the role of God, but this is The Nation, and there's no self-awareness about gazing upon Obama as a God, only disappointment that he wasn't enough of a God.)
Thou shalt not torture.
Thou shalt not keep Guantánamo open.
Thou shalt not keep secrets unnecessarily.
Thou shalt not wage war without limits.
Thou shalt not live above the law.
Based on what Obama has done, Greenberg offers a rewrite:
Thou shalt not torture (but thou shalt leave the door open to the future use of torture).
Thou shalt detain forever.
Thou shalt live by limitless secrecy.
Thou shalt wage war everywhere and forever.
Thou shalt not punish those who have done bad things in the name of the national security state.

The "Calvin and Hobbes" artist Bill Watterson draws a movie poster.

Watterson describes his thinking:
Given the movie's title and the fact that there are few things funnier than human nudity, the idea popped into my head largely intact. The film is a big valentine to comics, so I tried to do something really cartoon-y.
I thought it was an intentional reference to the famous R. Crumb first-issue-of-"Zap" cover

At Rocky and Margo's Café...

... meet your host...

... and hostess....

... and sit down and talk about anything you want.

"So Brewer’s veto was no surprise. What was a surprise..."

"... was the powerful, profoundly un-weaselly nature of her statement."

Is it a crime to text a picture of your penis tattoo that reads "STRONG E nuf 4 A MAN BUT Made 4 A WOMAN."

Who inscribes a deodorant slogan on his penis? Georgia man Charles Leo Warren III.

It's a terrible idea to inscribe that or anything else on your penis, and a worse idea to sext a picture of it to someone you're not sure wants to see it, but it's only a crime if a statute makes it a crime, and Warren was prosecuted under a Georgia criminal statute barring "Distribution of Material Depicting Nudity or Sexual Conduct" without a warning in "8-point boldface type."

The Georgia Supreme Court said the statute didn't apply to texting because it doesn't have "a tangible envelope or container on which the notice can be imprinted" and because texting wasn't a form of communication that existed back in 1970 when the statute was written.

I had some questions about penis tattoos, and I found this FAQ, which I recommend reading because it's informative — it answered my main question, at #4 — and funny — check out #5 "Design Ideas":
Whimisical [sic] and funny penis tattoo ideas include a Hammerhead shark, a pencil, a mushroom, a wad of money to blow, colored flames, Pinnochio [sic], or an arrow. More obvious animal tattoo choices for this area include fire-breathing and dangerous dragons, a sinful snake, or a grand elephant's trunk. 
Why is "funny" a good idea for your penis?! That quote has too many adjectives anyway. What's with "fire-breathing and dangerous" for dragons? It's like they're trying to nudge the reader to remember what the hell a dragon is. Why a "grand elephant's trunk"? I know there's good reason to assume the reader is dumb, but who doesn't realize an elephant is large.

As for a "sinful snake"... that's just sad. It reminds me of all the old ads for chocolate desserts that call the product "sinful." Those ads are directed a women, virtually exclusively. Maybe this FAQ is too. (Note: It's at and picture-free.) Maybe these "Design Ideas" are just ideas for things to talk about with a naked man, not things for a man actually to tattoo on his penis.

"What does it matter whether Passenger Pigeon 2.0 is a real passenger pigeon or a persuasive impostor?"

"If the new, synthetically created bird enriches the ecology of the forests it populates, few people, including conservationists, will object. The genetically adjusted birds would hardly be the first aspect of the deciduous forest ecosystem to bear man’s influence; invasive species, disease, deforestation and a toxic atmosphere have engineered forests that would be unrecognizable to the continent’s earliest European settlers. When human beings first arrived, the continent was populated by camels, eight-foot beavers and 550-pound ground sloths. 'People grow up with this idea that the nature they see is "natural,"' Novak says, 'but there’s been no real "natural" element to the earth the entire time humans have been around.'"

From a NYT Magazine article titled "The Mammoth Cometh/Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening — and it’s going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad."

The whole idea seems so wrong to me, but I'm in a fear-of-science mood after getting thorough freaked out reading that New Yorker article "A Star in a Bottle/An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out."
At [the core of the the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor] densely packed high-precision equipment will encase a cavernous vacuum chamber, in which a super-hot cloud of heavy hydrogen will rotate faster than the speed of sound... the circulating hydrogen will become ionized, and achieve temperatures exceeding two hundred million degrees Celsius—more than ten times as hot as the sun at its blazing core.

... The zooming hydrogen atoms, in a state of extreme kinetic excitement, will [release] intense heat, gamma rays, X rays, a torrential flux of fast-moving neutrons propelled in every direction. There isn’t a physical substance that could contain such a thing. Metals, plastics, ceramics, concrete, even pure diamond—all would be obliterated on contact, and so the machine will hold the superheated cloud in a "magnetic bottle," using the largest system of superconducting magnets in the world. Just feet from the reactor’s core, the magnets will be cooled to two hundred and sixty-nine degrees below zero, nearly the temperature of deep space. Caught in the grip of their titanic forces, the artificial earthbound sun will be suspended, under tremendous pressure, in the pristine nothingness....
We're making something 10 times as hot as the sun that can't be contained inside any existing material so we'll contain it with... magnets?

Yeah, bitch, magnets....

"I wish I had a better story to tell you about why I am typing this with one hand..."

Wrote TV science reporter Miles O'Brien, who had his left arm amputated above the elbow as a consequence of an injury that occurred as he was "stacking the Pelican cases brimming with TV gear onto my cart."
As I tried to bungee cord them into some semblance of security for movement, one of the cases toppled onto my left forearm. Ouch! It hurt, but I wasn’t all “911” about it. It was painful and swollen but I figured it would be okay without any medical intervention. Maybe a little bit of denial?
2 days later he sought medical attention. (It's not clear but I believe he was in the Philippines.) He was admitted to the hospital with Acute Compartment Syndrome.
Over the next few hours, I endured probably the longest, most painful experience I could ever imagine. My forearm developed some dusky discoloration, but more alarming was the numbness. I could not feel my forearm!

Okay, if you want to fight like that, let's fight like that.

Scenes from the governors' race in Wisconsin:
Mary Burke, the Democratic candidate squaring off against Gov. Scott Walker, took a shot at the first-term Republican by saying the release of recent emails shows that he sets a "low bar for campaign ethics."

Now Walker's allies are firing back.

Jon Thompson, a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association, pointed out this week that Burke has hired Tanya Bjork, who was convicted of two misdemeanors in 2005 for altering public records and soliciting campaign funds in the Capitol. Bjork is a senior adviser with the Burke campaign.

"See? The bad things are good. Just add time."

Things overheard at Meadhouse, just now. I said that, in fact. I'll give the context later, but I thought you might find it interesting to think about — in relation to your own experience — out of context.

The statement corresponds to the old line "Some day we'll look back on this and laugh." I was looking back on something and laughing. I was also looking ahead to myself as a very old lady and having that thing as one of my few surviving memories and still laughing. And also, I laughed at the bad thing even when it happened, because it happened.

As they say, it's no use crying over spilt milk. But do you laugh over spilt milk... at the time? Later?

ADDED: So here's the thing. The first time Meade visited me here in Madison, which was exactly 5 years ago — here we are having breakfast in the morning — we were at the open refrigerator door, which has a couple of those removable egg racks, one of which contained a dozen eggs. Somehow, in the presence of Meade, my normal approach to the lifting out of the rack went wrong, and I executed a move seemingly designed to throw all 12 eggs onto the floor.

This morning, cooking the eggs, Meade dropped one egg on the floor, and I went into a reverie about how if I forget just about every other detail of things we did together, I'll still remember the time I threw all the eggs on the floor. I did an imitation of myself as a demented oldie still remembering the time all the eggs fell on the floor, and in that fantasy, I walked over to the kitchen, where the newly broken egg was still on the floor.

Meade said, "And you'll also remember the time you were remembering the time you dropped all the eggs on the floor and you got so excited you stepped in that other egg on the floor."

The 7th Circuit Court observes that "Coach Meyer’s policy prohibits far more than an Age-of-Aquarius, Tiny-Tim, hair-crawling-past-the-shoulders sort of hair style..."

"... it compels all male basketball players to wear genuinely short hair. In 2014, it is not obvious that any and all hair worn over the ears, collar, or eyebrows would be out of the mainstream among males in the Greensburg community at large, among the student body, or among school athletes. (Even one or two men on this court might find themselves in trouble with Coach Meyer for hair over the ears.) We certainly agree that the pedagogical and caretaking responsibilities of schools give school officials substantial leeway in establishing grooming codes for their students generally and for their interscholastic athletes in particular. But that leeway does not permit them to impose non-equivalent burdens on school athletes based on their sex."

And so, a short-hair rule that applied to boys and not to girls was deemed a violation of Equal Protection.

The court is not saying that dress-and-grooming rules need to be identical for male and female students. The violation seems to emerge at some point when the rule aimed at boys is too severe and when there's no severity toward the girls. Actually, the court lacked information about the leniency toward the girls. From the PDF of the case:

"Your credibility is really remarkable because of the depth of your commitment."

Said John McCain to Ben Affleck.

Which would be fine, if they were chatting at a cocktail party, but Affleck was a witness before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

February 26, 2014

At the I've-Got-It-Now Café...

... noooooo!

Jan Brewer rescues Arizona from ruin.

"Ending a day that cast a glaring national spotlight on Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, vetoed a bill on Wednesday that would have given business owners the right to refuse service to gay men, lesbians and other people on religious grounds."
The bill was inspired by incidents in other states in which florists, photographers and bakers were sued for refusing to cater to same-sex couples. But it would have allowed much broader religious exemptions by business owners. A range of critics — who included business leaders and figures in both national political parties — said it was broadly discriminatory and would have permitted all sorts of denials of service, allowing, say, a Muslim taxi driver to refuse to pick up a woman traveling solo....

At her news conference, Ms. Brewer acknowledged the qualms that many people have about same-sex marriage and noted that society was undergoing many dramatic changes. She said, “religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value,” but added, “so is no discrimination.”

"Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution."

"These Texas laws deny plaintiffs access to the institution of marriage and its numerous rights, privileges, and responsibilities for the sole reason that Plaintiffs wish to be married to a person of the same sex."

About that hideous sculpture of Steve Jobs.

Reported at Business Insider (with lots of embedded tweets disparaging the thing), linked in this Metafilter discussion where finally somebody says:
I have full confidence that this single-source report translated from a Croatian website is completely accurate, and that this sculpture was personally selected by Jony Ive from 10,200 submissions into an art contest that was secretly held by Apple over the past several months without being mentioned in any discussion or report. It makes perfect sense for a sculpture of a man born in San Francisco to Syrian & American parents to prominently feature Cyrillic letters as the primary design motif. No skepticism regarding this story is warranted whatsoever. Congratulations on the fine journalism, every news outlet republishing this story!

"Rand Paul Is the GOP’s Early Presidential Front-Runner."

"While the establishment hopes for a governor to emerge, he is quietly putting together a formidable operation."

That's an Instapundit post. There are 29 comments there right now, many of which bring up what is — at least to my ear — the obvious name: Scott Walker.

I like Rand Paul. He's got youthful vigor and a libertarian spirit. He can speak, and by speak, I mean he doesn't merely stay on message with excellent talking points. He seems to be speaking from a real and lively mind. He needs to convince us that it's a normal, nonweird mind.

The Wall Street Journal worries that Congress is not making enough laws...

... and that it's getting "rusty" because it's "not getting much practice" at the "art of lawmaking."

As if making a lot of laws ever was a way to get good at it.

Moreover, we're about to lose some of our greatest law-artists:
The retirements of Reps. John Dingell (D., Mich.), Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) and George Miller (D., Calif.) at the end of this year represent a huge drain of legislative skill in an institution where such experience is in short supply. Taken together, those three men alone – authors of major health, education and environmental laws of the last quarter century – will leave Capitol Hill with 139 years of experience behind them.
Man, it's like the late 80s when we lost Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali! It's so tough to lose one of the greats....

Art! It's dying!

Does the Bittman-Freudenberg contingent — the politico-journo-academic complex — realize that its playbook sets the strategy for restrictions on sexual behavior?

You've got to read the previous post to know what I mean by "the Bittman-Freudenberg contingent" and "the politico-journo-academic complex" and its "playbook." Basically, it's propaganda justifying the government's taking control over and restricting individual freedom of choice about engaging in activities that can damage the human body, even where the human being who wants to do such things can take precautions and exercise restraint to reduce the risk of harm and especially with respect to behavior that is urged on by the less intellectual and so-called "reptilian" parts of the brain.

Bittman and Freudenberg were talking about guns, cars, smoking, food, and drink — the things those with leftish leanings feel that government ought to control. But their playbook for supervening individual choice for the sake of better quality health can be followed just as well by those who lean in the social-conservative direction and want government control of sexual behavior. If the individual mind isn't capable of rationally assessing the risk and gives in to urges from the "reptilian" brain and if there's a higher right — a right of the public, generally — to good health, then, considering the ravages of sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy, and psychological damage, one could justify outlawing all sex outside of marriage.

The leftish contingent will push back and say that the difference is: commercial products. What's really bad — what really bugs them — is corporations selling things and making money, taking advantage of the weak-minded consumers who should be making better decisions but buy that potentially health-damaging stuff anyway.

Right-wing users of the politico-journo-academic playbook have 2 options: 1. Deride the lefties' instinctive corporation-phobia (doesn't it spring from the "reptilian" brain zone?), or 2. Point to the corporations that sell sex, that stimulate the lower brains of all little people out there in the dark to think that they want sex, more sex, with many different partners, beginning at an early age, transcending all the traditional bounds of marriage and conventional decency.

And what about abortion? Abortion can be the better health choice for the woman, since early abortion is — I think the experts say — less dangerous to the woman than going through pregnancy and childbirth. Following the Bittman-Freudenberg playbook, we could argue for required early abortion, especially where the higher-brained experts predict that the would-be mother would not raise a healthy child. (Can she cook?)  That same playbook would yield arguments for banning abortion later on, when completing the pregnancy is less dangerous.

And what of the right to abortion? The right of the individual to make her own choice about whether to have an abortion is premised on the idea of the woman's resolving what the Supreme Court called "philosophic questions," making "choices central to personal dignity and autonomy," exercising what it called the "right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe."

You can climb down from that cloud very easily with the help of the Bittman-Freudenberg playbook, which assumes away the individual as philosopher. In the scheme of that playbook, it's undoubtedly only the instinctive, lower-brained, reptile of a woman who feels an instinct to have a child or to rid herself of a pregnancy. Under government control, real and truly brainy philosophers could be hired to hammer out the regulations.

Did you know there's a "corporate consumption complex" conspiring to make us think we have a "right" to do dangerous things?

That's what Nicholas Freudenberg says in "Lethal But Legal: Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health," and Mark Bittman is writing about it in the NYT today:
It sounds creepy; it is creepy. But it’s also plain to see. Yes, it’s unlikely there’s a cabal that sits down and asks, “How can we kill more kids tomorrow?” But Freudenberg details how six industries — food and beverage, tobacco, alcohol, firearms, pharmaceutical and automotive — use pretty much the same playbook to defend the sales of health-threatening products....
There is no "playbook." It's just as if there were a playbook, because the 6 industries are all doing the same thing, which is simply the obvious thing: They don't put their promotional resources into reminding you how their products could cause harm. Except to the extent that they do. I've seen liquor ads that tell you not to drink too much, and liquor ads don't show people overindulging or even seeming tipsy. Ads for foods and drinks show slim models, which subliminally urges us to keep slim. Gun ads don't scare us with the not-unknown news that these things could kill you, but gun companies promote gun safety — maybe not the gun safety policy some NYT readers prefer (i.e., no guns) — but safety features on guns and safe gun use. Car companies build safety features into their products and call attention to them in their ads.

But I notice the care Bittman took in the phrase "to defend the sales of health-threatening products." The companies still want to sell their products, and if anyone threatens their sales, they go to an argument about the consumers' role in choosing which products to buy, and that argument takes the form of "rights" talk:

February 25, 2014

At the Paws-on-Ice Café...

... pause here all night.

Talk about anything. And if you've got any on-line shopping to do, please consider using the Althouse Amazon Portal.

Crispin Glover talks about how they stole his face for the "Back to the Future" sequel.

On his "Ask Me Anything" stint on Reddit today:
There are certain things that happened since being in Back to the Future that makes it difficult for me to reflect on the film as having funny things happening. Specifically there was a lawsuit because of something the producers did that was illegal in the sequel to the film. What the producers did that was illegal was as follows. The producers used the molds that were taken from my face from the original film and had prosthetics made to resemble my face to be placed on another actor to make them look like me and then inter-spliced a small amount of footage of me from the original film with the actor in prosthetics to resemble me in order to fool audiences in to believing I was in the film.

Drudge lines up the blondes and seems to say: The old is yielding to the young.

That's at the top of the 3 columns of Drudge right now. Jan Brewer is there because that "Arizona bill letting businesses deny service for religious reasons sparks heated debate." Jane Fonda on the other side is bleating about how little life she's got left, since she's 76. In the middle, we see Hillary Clinton sidling up to Ronan Farrow, but the story that's linked is just about Farrow's new MSNBC show.

To use a picture of him that includes Hillary is to create visual resonance with the 2 old blonde dames on either side, that is, to create a sense that the young man is ascendant and the old ladies are fighting for their lives. Each of the old blondes show her way of fighting — perhaps the iconic 3 styles of female power. Jan Brewer glares, snarls, and crushes you with her fingertipss. Hillary plays up to the man with the old let-me-remove-the-bit-of-lint-from-your-lapel move. And old Jane is defiant — I am on my own, I will survive, I will claim control over the definition of what beauty is until the very end.

Oh, but the new child of Hollywood royalty is on the scene to dazzle the people with blondness and youth.

"I was naïve when I started at Sullivan & Cromwell."

"I’d been told to expect late nights and weekends. Somehow or other, though, I harbored the daft notion it would be okay because we’d be in it together. There’d be an esprit de corps, a collegial sense of loyalty to one another, and to the firm. We’d divvy up the assignments based on seniority and expertise, then plug away as a team – and maybe share a pizza and a few laughs in a conference room during breaks."

Writes Will Meyerhofer, "The People's Therapist" (a therapist who was once, as I was, a lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell).

"Ultimately, Judge Land hired a candidate who is ranked third in the class at a first tier law school and serves on the Law Review."

A rejection letter from a judge to an applicant for a clerkship.

What do you think of that letter? free polls 

At the Wide Open Café...

... a dogged sense of purpose propels us horizontally. Goals achieved, rejoice:

Wind at your back or wind in your face, experience The Now.

How to Screw With People On Line, by The Government.

Here's a diagram, one of several, prepared by the (British) government and divulged to us by Glenn Greenwald, "How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations":

That's not the thing that's supposed to screw with your head. That's them, behind the scenes, secretly formulating a devious plan to screw with your head. Are we supposed to be shocked/intimidated by these plans, or mildly irritated that people who went to grad school have acquired government jobs?

You know what would screw with my head? Sharing the internet with government operatives who are attempting to execute this plan? No: Having to sit through an in-person session where someone was doing a PowerPoint presentation with these diagrams.

Greenwald breathlessly asks: "Who would possibly trust a government to exercise these powers at all, let alone do so in secret, with virtually no oversight, and outside of any cognizable legal framework?" Could he make a diagram of that question? Seriously, what powers? It's the same old power to use language to manipulate our thinking that government has always used.

The defense against this well-known power is good reading skill, critical thinking, more writing and more reading and more debate. Be skeptical. There are mobys and sock puppets on the internet, and some of them are working for a government. Know it. What "oversight" or "cognizable legal framework" could possibly save us? If you don't trust the government, don't trust the government. Don't whine for the government to save you. Save yourself. I'm trying to save us... by laughing at those diagrams. Come on!

Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu shadow-paints a Hitler mustache on German chancellor Angela Merkel.

An astounding photograph.

Your reaction. free polls 

"Incredibly, the loud-mouthed bragging, insulting youngster had been telling the truth all along."

Wrote the NYT, describing the fight that took place 50 years ago today:
Cassius Clay won the world heavyweight title tonight when a bleeding Sonny Liston, his left shoulder injured, was unable to answer the bell for the seventh round.

Immediately after he had been announced as the new heavyweight champion of the world, Clay yelled to the newsmen covering the fight: "Eat your words." Only three of 46 sports writers covering the fight had picked him to win....

The fight was Clay's from the start. The tall, swift youngster, his hands carelessly low, backed away from Liston's jabs, circled around Liston's dangerous left hook and opened a nasty gash under Liston's left eye....

But the kid hadn't lied. All those interminable refrains of "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," had been more than foolish songs....
The youngster... the kid....

The NYT's Supreme Court writer smacks down the New Yorker's Supreme Court writer in one devastating sentence.

We've been talking (and talking and talking) about Jeffrey Toobin's toolish attack on Clarence Thomas in The New Yorker, and it's not surprising that the NYT needed to take notice and say something. So here's Adam Liptak in today's Times:
Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker recently called Justice Thomas’s silence “downright embarrassing.” But the real work of the Supreme Court is done in written opinions, and there Justice Thomas has laid out a consistent and closely argued vision.
Pow! That's all you need. Except... Liptak has 2 problems to solve: 1. Clarence Thomas must still be portrayed in a negative light, and the shot at Toobin can't leave Thomas standing there looking good, and 2. Liptak isn't writing a blog post, which could be ideal with a 1-sentence set-up and a 1-sentence zinger, and he's got to generate more material to make this look article-y.

Liptak solves his 2 problems by replaying the old criticism of Thomas that he doesn't have as much respect for stare decisis as the other Justices. He's more willing than the others to reframe constitutional law doctrine to get to what he thinks the Constitution really means. They see more value in leaving existing doctrine as it is.

Of course, no Justice is absolutely set on keeping all the old doctrine, and no Justice, including Thomas, completely disrespects stare decisis. It's a matter of degree and judgment, but Liptak squeezes a column out of it by painting Clarence Thomas as a disrespectful kind of guy. The man laughed at stare decisis:
Here is a good way to get a belly laugh from Justice Clarence Thomas: Suggest to him that the Supreme Court’s decisions should seldom be overruled.

“You are the justice who is most willing to re-examine the court’s precedents,” Judge Diane S. Sykes told him in November, in a public conversation at an annual dinner sponsored by the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group.

Justice Thomas responded with a deadpan statement that the audience could tell was a joke. “That’s because of my affinity for stare decisis,” he said, using the Latin term for “to stand by things decided.” Then he let out a guffaw.

“Stare decisis doesn’t hold much force for you?” Judge Sykes asked.

“Oh, it sure does,” Justice Thomas responded. “But not enough to keep me from going to the Constitution.”

He was still laughing. The audience gave him a standing ovation.
Well, that took up a lot of space, the whole first screen of the column Liptak is filling. Dialogue is great for space-filling, because you get all those extra paragraph spaces. And you get all those extra clauses telling us where these words were spoken and who that interlocutor is. The smackdown of Toobin is tucked in the center of the column.

What's all this attention to Thomas laughing at stare decisis? I suspect he was laughing at the predictability of the question. Of course, he knows what they say about him. Liptak tells us that Justice Scalia is in the audience and that Justice Scalia once said "[Clarence Thomas] does not believe in stare decisis, period." I guess it was funny — perhaps you-had-to-be-there funny — that he deadpanned and then laughed. Perhaps he found it intriguing to use the word "affinity," as if he and the abstract concept (stare decisis) had a sort of personal relationship (with some complexity and not just lovey-dovey), or maybe he just meant to be sarcastic, as if to say oh, yeah, I just love stare decisis (meaning I hate it).

The bottom part of Liptak's column is about a particular case coming up for argument next week — Halliburton v. Erica P. John Fund — where a precedent should perhaps be overturned. But the case isn't about constitutional law, it's about an interpretation of the Securities Exchange Act, so it's really got nothing to do with what is distinctive about Clarence Thomas, and Liptak knows this and explains it. Legislatures can correct bad court decisions interpreting statutes, so we're not heavily reliant on the courts to fix mistakes. Liptak's explanation takes 5 paragraphs, and then there are 4 more paragraphs about why that Securities Exchange Act interpretation might be bad.

Column completed. My take on it is, Liptak needed to trounce Toobin. He knocked him out with one solid blow. Now what? Oh, I have all this other material. There's that stuff about Halliburton v. Erica P. John Fund ready to go because there's the argument next week, and Clarence Thomas can be connected to that because... oh, let's go with the old stare decisis material. The column practically writes itself. It's as if it were already written.

February 24, 2014

Is calling a pregnant woman a "host" insulting to the woman...

... or to the unborn child?

Seems like it's saying the unborn is a parasite, but an anti-abortion politician said it, so he's being lambasted for insulting the woman.

ADDED: It's worth noting that the politician, Virginia State Sen. Steve Martin, added in parentheses "some refer to them as mothers." Here's the whole sentence: "However, once a child does exist in your womb, I'm not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child's host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn't want it."

Let's not forget that abortion-rights advocates have also objected to the word "mother," most notably when Justice Kennedy used it in Gonzales v. Carhart (the 2007 case that upheld the federal ban on "partial birth" abortions). Here's what lawprof-blogger Jack Balkin wrote at the time:
In his discussion of informed choice and in his purple prose about the natural bonds of love between mothers and children — call it Kennedy's "mother and child reunion" speech — Justice Kennedy adopts some of the rhetoric of Operation Outcry an anti-abortion group which has honed the new style of pro-life rhetoric. The basic goal of this new rhetoric is to undermine the notion that women exercise any kind of choice when they decide to have abortions. It seeks to turn the rhetoric of the pro-choice movement on its head. Women, the new rhetoric argues, don't really understand what they are doing when they decide to have abortions; as a result, they often regret having them later on....

[The idea] is that because of the kind of culture we live in, women who think they know what they are doing when they have abortions actually don't know. They only think they know at the time. Later on, they will come to regret it, and we can say that they weren't informed. And because we can't tell which women will come to regret the decision later on, the state needs to pass laws that discourage all women from having abortions.
That Operation Outcry rhetoric parallels rhetoric one often hears from left-liberals — not on abortions, but on economic matters. See "What's the Matter With Kansas?" And remember when "If you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance" was exposed as a false promise and some Obamacare supporters got nuanced about the meaning of "like," so that it didn't mean what a person felt he liked, but what the government knew he really, deep down inside, liked.

I prefer the locutions that treat the woman as an autonomous individual with a fully human mind, capable of reflecting on the real or potential humanity of the contents of her womb. I think those who are anti-abortion should show respect for the woman's authority over her own body and concentrate on persuading her to love and protect the unborn entity.

But politicians like Martin wield power in legislatures, and as they say, to a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. When you are a lawmaker, every problem looks like it needs a law. The bad part of Martin's statement, to my eye, is "I'm not going to assume a right...." I think legislators should have tremendous respect for the liberty of the people. They should assume a right to be free of constraints. Presume against restrictions. That should be your starting point. Then ask why your solution justifies the limitation.

AND: Here's what Justice Harlan wrote in Poe v. Ullman. That was in 1961, before Griswold v. Connecticut, in which the majority of the Supreme Court saw the right of privacy that became the basis for abortion rights. Harlan was the conservative on the Warren Court, so he is expressing the libertarian position that might be persuasive to some conservatives today:
The best that can be said [about due process] is that, through the course of this Court's decisions, it has represented the balance which our Nation, built upon postulates of respect for the liberty of the individual, has struck between that liberty and the demands of organized society....

This "liberty" is not a series of isolated points pricked out in terms of the taking of property; the freedom of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures; and so on. It is a rational continuum which, broadly speaking, includes a freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints....

Gov. Malloy accuses Gov. Jindal of making "the most partisan statement that we had all weekend"...

... which prompts Jindal to retake the mike, say "I want to make sure he hears a more partisan statement," and let the Democrats have it. Nice fighting spirit, Bobby!

Taranto mocks Toobin's matching the Supreme Court Justices into couples.

Toobin — as we've been discussing (here, here, and here) — was mostly about Clarence Thomas being the one who is not like the others, but an absurd thing about the way the others are different is the way they fit into couples... in Toobin's mind.

Taranto explains the pairings:
One such couple consists of George W. Bush's nominees and one of Barack Obama's, but Toobin mixes up the Reagan and Clinton justices, so that Antonin Scalia is paired with Ruth Bader Ginsburg ("the two oldest Justices," both of whom lived in New York as youngsters) and Anthony Kennedy with Stephen Breyer (who "both sit in similar ways," have bald heads, and were born in Northern California).

Why not pair Scalia and Samuel Alito, a fellow Italian-American native of Trenton, N.J.? Or Scalia and Kennedy, the only sitting justices to be confirmed unanimously? Or Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor, both Yale Law School graduates with minority ethnic backgrounds, and the only justices to have been divorced?

That last hypothetical question holds the answer to them all. Pairing Justice Thomas with any of his colleagues would defeat the purpose of the exercise, which is to end up with him as the odd man out.
You'd think a good liberal would be more circumspect about sharing his perception that the one black person does not belong coupled up with any of the others.

"It used to be you’d go into a restaurant and the owner would say, 'Do you mind if I take a picture of you and put it on my wall?' Sweet and simple."

"Now, everyone has a camera in their pocket. Add to that predatory photographers and predatory videographers who want to taunt you and catch you doing embarrassing things. (Some proof of which I have provided.) You’re out there in a world where if you do make a mistake, it echoes in a digital canyon forever."

The "I" is Alec Baldwin. The "proof" is the evidence of his calling some guy "faggot," which he denies saying, in this impressive rant about how sick he is of the way the world works these days. You say one thing wrong — or you don't even say it, but some guy gets video of you somehow saying it — and everything else you've ever done is overshadowed. No one remembers all your many pro-gay efforts, and you are just the man who got mad at a guy and the word that popped out of you was "faggot."
I probably have to move out of New York. I just can’t live in New York anymore. Everything I hated about L.A. I’m beginning to crave. L.A. is a place where you live behind a gate, you get in a car, your interaction with the public is minimal. I used to hate that....

"Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light."

Harold Ramis has died (of a rare disease, at the age of 69).

ADDED: "Print is dead."

At the Snowball Café...

... have you got something for me?

"Go forth and suck, Badgers."

Because "the first version of every big project is 'janky.'"
[Reddit co-founder Alexis] Ohanian, who had planned to become a lawyer, had an “epiphany” his sophomore year in college, after ditching studying for the LSAT to go to a Waffle House.

“I realized, I wanted these waffles more than the LSAT,” Ohanian said. “So I probably shouldn’t be a lawyer.”
Can't I just eat my waffles... and be a billionaire... through janky suckage?

Who is this woman?

The new Queen of Scots?!

"People familiar with the case said Ms. Kennedy’s lawyers would not agree to have her plead to a violation because it would result in her losing her driver’s license for three months."

"Ms. Kennedy is president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, an international organization named after her father, the assassinated New York senator, and her lawyers said she must drive for work not just in the United States but also in the many foreign countries she visits on behalf of abused women and children and for other causes. She was, for example, in Paris recently for a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry."

From a NYT article about Kerry Kennedy's going to trial on a drugged driving charge.

I don't believe that "people familiar with the case" theory, because if you've got enough extra money lying around that you can go to trial, you've got more than enough to pay someone to drive you around for the 3 months of driver's license suspension. The more direct reason to go to trial is that you want to clear your name.
The defense will try to convince the six jurors that she must have accidentally taken the [sleeping] pill since she was planning to work out in a gym and was so disoriented by the pill’s impact that she was not aware she was driving.
I bet she wins.

The handsome doctor laughs at (other people's) death and runs for office.

Do we really want doctors representing us in Congress?

I'm linking to The Daily Mail's coverage of this story because it's got some nice pictures showing the physical attractiveness of the physician Milton Wolf and his family and in spite of the British paper's inability to write clearly about whether this man is running for the Kansas state senate or the U.S. Senate. (It's the latter, but DM repeatedly writes "Kansas Senate.")

Where do we get this idea that a background in medicine is particularly apt for lawmakers? How many doctors are there in Congress anyway?
2012 was again a landmark election in terms of physician candidates, with 50 physicians running as challengers or in open seats for federal office at one point during the cycle.  The 113th Congress will welcome two new physicians to the House of Representatives.

Twenty physicians are currently serving in the 113th Congress which include three senators, 16 representatives and one delegate. Seven of these members of Congress are graduates of AMPAC’s Candidate Workshop and/or Campaign School.
I know some people are leaning toward assisting Wolf — here's Instapundit — but why empathize with a man who flaunts his lack of empathy? Here's the direction I lean: What is going on with this promotion of doctors in the American political scene? There's something odd and excessive about our respect for them. We must trust and depend on them when we have medical problems, but why are we bent on installing them in political office? Let's think more carefully about the sort of minds that go into medicine and whether we are not overvaluing them as political candidates.

"Clearly, Boston University has been a bedrock for feminism and ideologies of equality more generally."

"It is a dishonor to our feminist history to symbolically idolize Robin Thicke by allowing him to perform his misogynist music at our university."

Language from a student petition demanding the cancellation of a pop concert.

"The great writers were acknowledged in huge banners with portraits of Pushkin — of course — Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoyevsky and Solzhenitsyn."

"The surprises were Joseph Brodsky — expelled by the Soviet Union in 1972 — and the poet Anna Akhmatova — brutally repressed by Stalin, her husband shot by Soviet secret police and her son sent off to the gulag. Most Russians never heard of her until perestroika in the late 1980s."

From the WaPo description of the closing ceremony at the Olympics.

From the Wikipedia entry for Anna Akhmatova:
A voice came to me. It called out comfortingly.
It said, "Come here,
Leave your deaf and sinful land,
Leave Russia forever,
I will wash the blood from your hands..."
Here is one of many interesting images of Akhmatova, a painting by the Russian artist Nathan Altman:

February 23, 2014

Scott Walker (and Vermont's Peter Shumlin) on "Fox News Sunday" this morning.

And here's the transcript. The moderator Chris Wallace confronts Walker about the emails released after the John Doe investigation, and Walker's strategy is to avoid the details and stick to the message: a Democratic district attorney spent 3 years looking through all of this and closed the case. When Wallace pulls out something specific and Walker goes to that message, Wallace pushes with "You're not answering my question," and Walker says: "No, because I'm not going to get into 27,000 different pieces of information. The bottom line is a Democrat who led the district attorney's office looked at all this, decided not to charge anything other than the individuals."

What do you think of Walker's question-answering strategy? free polls 

On the Ice Age Trail...



Today. Photos by Meade. Somewhere near Lodi. It was icy — solid ice in places — and often uphill, but we got great footing — sorry for another sales pitch, but, seriously, these things are great — with Kahtoola Microspikes. The trekking poles helped too.




If you're enjoying this blog, please consider using the Althouse Amazon Portal (always there in the banner) when you have some on-line shopping to do.

If you want a suggestion, word has it that the new Paul McCartney album "New" is really good. (A propos of that earlier post today about Howard Stern, I was listening to this great Howard Stern interview with Paul, which ends with some talk about the album and the song "Queenie Eye.")

Or maybe that post about adult onesies has you hankering for an adult-sized onesie. And for you real men, the term is union suit (and I've selected the manly brand Carhartt).

And that's just 2 examples of how reading this blog may cause your mind to drift toward buying something for yourself. All I'm trying to say is: When the shopping urge strikes, think about the Althouse Amazon Portal.

"But when two unidentified men placed a noose around the bronze neck of James Meredith this week..."

"... and left behind a flag with the Confederate battle emblem, it set into motion a new round of soul-searching in a place where past and present still restlessly coexist."

The second paragraph of a NYT article title "Racist Episodes Continue to Stir Ole Miss Campus," which does eventually get around to gesturing at the problem that incidents like this can be hoaxes, but only in the form of quoting a lawyer-blogger who also wouldn't take the incident seriously if it was done by white racists:
“It’s a mistake to base any decision on this, whether it was done by white racists or whether it was a hoax,” said Frank M. Hurdle, an Oxford lawyer and blogger. “Now, if you can show me that several hundred students got together in a meeting and did this, then I will be the first one to say that we need to have some systemic changes made. But we all know that’s not what happened.”
ADDED: Why doesn't Ole Miss have a surveillance camera on that James Meredith statue? Would-be protesters of all mindsets should be deterred from leveraging their opinions this way.

ALSO: "A national fraternity indefinitely suspended its chapter at the University of Mississippi after three members were suspected of hanging a noose around a statue of the school's first black student."

"If corporations can’t have religious beliefs, then it follows that they can’t believe in climate change, sustainable investment or any other beliefs embraced by the corporate social responsibility movement."

Writes Keith Paul Bishop, "shocked" by the brief filed by 44 law professors in the Hobby Lobby case, in a post that Professor Bainbridge called "A truly great post that made me very happy."

"In modern meritocratic societies, success still depends on individual effort. Our findings suggest, however..."

"... that the compulsion to strive, the talent to prosper and the ability to overcome failure are strongly inherited. We can’t know for certain what the mechanism of that inheritance is, though we know that genetics plays a surprisingly strong role. Alternative explanations that are in vogue — cultural traits, family economic resources, social networks — don’t hold up to scrutiny."

Writes the economics professor Gregory Clark, in a NYT piece titled "Your Ancestors, Your Fate."

Go to the link to scrutinize the scrutiny under which the alternative explanation did not hold up. If the not holding up holds up, consider Clark's conclusion:

What would Jeffrey Toobin say about a liberal Justice who declined to ask questions during oral argument?

Toobin, as we've been discussing, here and here, savaged Clarence Thomas for his keeping quiet during oral argument, as if that's an outrageous failure to do the Supreme Court Justice's job.

But what about Harry Blackmun, whom liberals revered?
Throughout his career, Blackmun was not among the Court’s more prolific questioners. In fact, late in life, he noted with some disapproval the number of questions asked by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia, among others, during oral argument. “One time in a couple of related cases that were argued in tandem during a morning for two hours,” he said, “I just out of mischief, kept track of the number of questions asked, and between Justice Ginsburg and Justice Scalia there were over a hundred questions asked of counsel…the result was often that counsel never could get his case argued…it was a little disturbing at time.” When Blackmun did ask questions, moreover, they tended to be relatively random in content.
I suspect Toobin would say that there's an immense difference between an occasional random question and absolutely no questions at all for years on end, but if there's a difference, which way does it cut?

Occasional random questions are not the rigorous grilling that Toobin sees as central to the development of the argument. They seem to reflect the Justice's belief that questions ought to be asked, bereft of vigorous commitment to the task.

The prolonged silence of Justice Thomas establishes his commitment to the belief that he should not ask questions (at least not until the other Justices back off from their current practice of consuming most of the advocate's time with a continual barrage of questions coming from all directions). If Thomas believed that it was a necessary part of his job to ask a question now and then and Blackmun's approach is acceptable, he could easily have a question to ask now and then.

Toobin besmirches Thomas as lazy, but the laziest Justice in the world could have his law clerks hand him a couple questions to ask at every oral argument. It would be so easy for Thomas to push back disrespectful critics like Toobin. Clearly, he's chosen not to appease them.

ADDED: Here's a description — from Woodward and Armstrong's "The Brethren" — of how the liberal hero William O. Douglas behaved during the oral argument in Roe v. Wade:

Achievements in worldwide pajama-boyism.

The NYT enthuses about the Olympic athletes patronizing a shop called OnePiece in Krasnaya Polyana, near Sochi:
Swiss hockey players have bought onesies. Gregory Bretz, an American snowboarder, tweeted a picture of himself wearing a onesie printed with an American flag. A Russian luger tried one on. Sage Kotsenburg, an American snowboarder who won a gold medal, has stopped by the store, as has the Russian snowboard team, a Canadian bobsledder and two Norwegian athletes. The store has set up an Instagram feed to document its celebrated visitors.

“I guarantee this is going to catch on in the States,” said Cory Butner, an American bobsledder who admired the onesies in the shop window on a recent afternoon. “In three months, they’ll be all over the States.”...

“They’re just cool,” said Steven Langton, another American bobsledder. “They’re the wave of the future.”...

Ole Fjelberg [president of OnePiece said:] "You know when you lie hung over on the couch and you’re like, ‘Ugh, I wish that waistband was gone,’ ” Mr. Fjelberg said.
Meanwhile, waiting for the wave of the future to hit, you can still look cool/athletic in your old-school Snuggie, like this guy:

Howard Stern's seductive questioning style lures a woman into forfeiting $375,000.

Listen to the audio of Stern questioning Oksana Grigorieva, a woman who took a big settlement from Mel Gibson on the condition that she never talk about him in public. You can hear that she's trying not to say anything, that she's careful when she finally says something to make it so minimal that it's arguably — at least to her — nothing.

It must have been rough for Grigorieva to keep entirely to herself. Whatever happened to her incipient stardom, stardom that is the birthright of such an amazing beauty? If that's the thinking, how pathetically desperate to succumb to an invitation to go on the radio, where the advantage goes to a mind that can put words together and deploy them in a beautiful voice. Grigorieva entered Howard Stern's enclosing, comforting environment. She would not have to say anything she did not want to say — presumably she was assured — but once she was ensconced in his lair, she was so vulnerable.

Listen to that audio. She has $375,000 to lose and it's an intriguing game to him, a game he's played thousands of times. Listen to him empathize with her, then wait, then empathize more. The man is a master — a dear, sweet kind evil master.

She only murmurs a few words, but the judge rules against her. She agreed to say nothing. No means no, and nothing means nothing. $375,000 lost.

One more time, the man with the ultimate face-for-radio ugliness scores with a woman.

AND: Meade read this and said: "She can say whatever she wants now."