September 11, 2010

"Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts."

"... These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong."



"... Today, our nation saw evil -- the very worst of human nature -- and we responded with the best of America.... This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world."

September 11th...

... 2007:

Memorial lights at the WTC site, 9/11/2007

A photograph taken from my apartment in New York in the fall of 2007. Here's the post, not that I added words to it. And here is my post that morning, looking at the skyline in the fog. And here is the skyline on the evening of the 10th, with the memorial lights cut short by the low-hanging clouds:

Lower Manhattan, September 10, 2007

The teapot birdhouse.

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"There is a McDonald's two blocks from Ground Zero. Trust me, McDonald's has killed far more people than the terrorists."

Michael Moore weighs in on the near-Ground-Zero mosque.

A reflected memory.

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From across the lake, the Madison skyline seemed to project a memory of the lost New York City skyline.

September 10, 2010

At the Acorn Café...

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... we've grown a lot over the years. We're oaks now, right?

Everyone's talking about Obama not wearing his wedding band at the big press conference today.

"A White House spokesman tells POLITICO that Obama's ring is being repaired, though it's unclear what needed to be fixed."

Aw. Come on. What could need fixing on a wedding band?

ADDED: You know, if they were just staying together for the sake of appearances, he'd be sure to wear the ring. In the comments, XWL thinks the repair might be a size change:
Maybe he's losing a lot of weight... He was skinny to begin with, trending towards bone thin for a man in his late 40s can't be a sign of improving health. Don't remember any shirt off pictures from his recent spate of vacations, might be that he's looking sickly. He certainly looks more haggard facially, of late.
Meanwhile Palladian says:
Maybe it was dropped in the fires of Mount Doom...

"Gov. Mitch Daniels is running for president."

"Let's get real and start saying it."

Okay. I thought of a slogan, in the classic "I like Ike" style: I itch for Mitch. You like?

The NYT and the WSJ in a NY street fight, replete with "West Side Story"-style finger-snapping.

"Ann Althouse for president?"

What is Language Log talking about now?

You know, I just got done telling you (close) readers that I've never been interested in any sort of leadership position. I'm the independent individualist type. I'm all about autonomy, not making everybody else's problems my problems.

And I don't do elaborate charts with numbers, so I don't know what Language Log is talking about. I'm into language.... log.

"Can it be true? Is the most serious Man Crush Of All Time really over??????"

Maybe!

At the Shamrock Café...

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... it's a remote outpost, but maybe you'll have some luck and find what you are looking for.

I overblogged yesterday. 14 posts.

Surely, you haven't read them all. I'm not going to weigh them down just yet with a lot of new material on top. I'd rather call attention to the 2 posts about the small-time Florida pastor who captured the attention of the entire world — with the help of a lot of foolish journalists and the President of the United States.

So, if you're looking for something to read on the Althouse, let me suggest "What's so terrible about book burning?" and the post that concludes:
Obama propounds the stereotype of irrational Muslims who resort to acts of violence when they don't like what people are saying.

Ironically, Rev. Jones wanted to burn the Koran because it seemed to him that it "incites radical, violent behavior among Muslims." And Obama wanted Jones to refrain from burning the Koran because it would incite radical, violent behavior among Muslims.
And here's a picture in the NYT showing a bunch of men posing in the embarrassing stereotype that the President isn't ashamed to use.

September 9, 2010

The Garden Angel Meets Jesus.

You remember the garden angel. Chip Ahoy bears witness to laters doings in the garden:

A woman gets $5.8 million in damages from the woman who stole her husband.

It's the tort called "alienation of affection" — and it worked in North Carolina.
"If you want to have an affair, you need to choose someone who doesn’t reside in North Carolina to have it with because you are going, you’re gonna’ open yourself up to a liability if you do so."

"The 'don’t ask, don’t tell' policy toward gay members of the military is unconstitutional, a federal judge has ruled."

The NYT reports: 
The plaintiffs, challenged the law under the Fifth and First Amendments to the Constitution, and Judge Phillips agreed. “The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act infringes the fundamental rights of United States service members in many ways,” she wrote. “ In order to justify the encroachment on these rights, Defendants faced the burden at trial of showing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act was necessary to significantly further the Government’s important interests in military readiness and unit cohesion. Defendants failed to meet that burden.”

The rule, she wrote in an 86-page opinion, does not promote military readiness — and, in fact, has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the armed services....

The decision will not change the policy right away; the judge called for the plaintiffs to submit a proposed injunction limiting the law by September 16th, and invited defendants to submit their objections to the plan a week after that. A decision would follow, and even then would likely be stayed pending appeals.

"In this chapel people often invoke the Holy Spirit. But the people who fill this room every day aren't pure spirits."

"Such a crowd ... emanates sweat, breath, carbon dioxide, all sorts of dust. This deadly combination is moved around by winds and ends up on the walls, meaning on the artwork."

You filthy brutes. Art and religion are too beautiful for you.

"Don't be afraid to be a 'bad' patient."

The Woman with the Regenerated Pinky.

"We are, of course, now against any other group burning Qurans. We would right now ask no one to burn Qurans. We are absolutely strong on that. It is not the time to do it."

It's the Rev. Terry Jones, who doesn't belong in the national spotlight and is probably not the smartest man in central Florida:
Standing outside his 50-member Pentecostal church, the Dover Outreach Center, alongside Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, Jones said he relented when Musri assured him that the New York mosque will be moved.

Jones had never invoked the mosque controversy as a reason for his planned protest. He cited his belief that the Quran is evil because it espouses something other than biblical truth and incites radical, violent behavior among Muslims.

But he said Thursday that that he prayed about the decision and concluded that if the mosque was moved, it would be a sign from God to call off the Quran burning....

"We are canceling the event because we have agreed, I take him at his word, he has agreed to move the Ground Zero mosque," Jones said. "I verified that three or four times with witnesses. I trust that man who gave me that. I believe he is a man of integrity, a man of his word, I do not believe that he lied to me."

Jones said that if the mosque is not moved, "then I think Islam is a very poor example of religion. I think that would be very pitiful. I do not expect that."
This is a man with a tiny church, who never should have caught our attention. God knows why the President of the United States started talking about him:
OBAMA: If he's listening, I just hope he understands that what he's proposing to do is completely contrary to our values of Americans. That this country has been built on the notions of religious freedom and religious tolerance. 
And as a very practical matter, as commander of chief of the Armed Forces of the United States I just want him to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform who are in Iraq, who are in Afghanistan. We're already seeing protests against Americans just by the mere threat...that he's making.

… this is a recruitment bonanza for Al Qaeda. You know, you could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan. This could increase the recruitment of individuals who'd be willing to blow themselves up in American cities, or European cities. You know and so you know, I just hope that, he says he's … he's someone who's motivated by his faith....

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wonder what this must feel like from behind your desk. You're President of the United States. You have to deal with the fallout. And he's a pastor who's got 30 followers in his church. Does it make you feel helpless or angry?

OBAMA: It, well it is frustrating. Now, on the other hand, we are a government of laws. And so, we have to abide by those laws. And my understanding is that he can be cited for public burning. But that's the extent of the laws that we have available to us. You know, part of this country's history is people doing destructive or offensive or harmful things. And yet, we still have to make sure that we're following the laws. And that's part of what I love about this country.
Oh, lord. There's so much wrong with that! And yet our President, unlike Mr. Jones, is supposedly very, very smart. For one thing, Obama eventually gets around to Jones's freedom of expression, but that treasured right is presented as an obstacle that the President has got to put up with, because it is, technically, law. Why isn't it one of the "values of Americans" like "religious freedom and religious tolerance"? But, no, in Obama's view, the symbolic speech of burning a book because you think it's evil is "completely contrary to our values of Americans."

So: the values of "religious freedom and religious tolerance" are what really matters... except that Jones's opinion is religious. If the point is that Jones has the right to burn the book, but he should refrain from exercising it and be sensitive to the feelings of others, then Obama is contradicting the approach he took to the close-to-Ground-Zero mosque, which is that the overwhelmingly important matter is that there is a right to build the mosque and he really doesn't want to talk about whether it's a good idea.

You know, a key religious freedom value is that government must not treat different religions differently. But Obama takes one attitude toward the NYC Muslims and another toward the Florida Christian. With respect to the former, he highlighted the right and wouldn't express an opinion about how that right should be exercised. With the later, he begrudgingly acknowledged the right after stressing the importance of the individual's restraint and sensitivity toward others.

Now, you might jump to say that Obama thus favored Muslims over Christians, but think about how it's actually the other way around. Without hesitation, he called upon the Christian to exercise forbearance and to care for the feelings of others. He didn't dare say that to Muslims. And he talked about Muslims as if they are incapable of understanding a society based on individual liberty and freedom of expression. Obama propounds the stereotype of irrational Muslims who resort to acts of violence when they don't like what people are saying.

Ironically, Rev. Jones wanted to burn the Koran because it seemed to him that it "incites radical, violent behavior among Muslims." And Obama wanted Jones to refrain from burning the Koran because it would incite radical, violent behavior among Muslims.

"[M]ore arousing than anything I’d glimpsed in furtive schoolboy copies of Playboy."

That would be the cover photo of "The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan," to the young Sean Wilentz, who has grown up to be a Princeton history prof and author of a book that fawns over Bob Dylan.
Sometimes you walk into a room and know that something is going on even though you don’t know what it is. But that’s no excuse for paraphrasing well-known song lyrics, and Mr. Wilentz sometimes paraphrases excruciatingly. “He was weary, unable to keep a grip, but also unsleepy, and with no particular place to go, he would follow the musical figure to his ‘magic swirling ship,’ out to the inspired windy beach beyond crazy sorrow,” he writes murderously of “Mr. Tambourine Man.” You love this man’s work enough to deliver a book-length tribute? Then just let him speak for himself.
Ha. Do you ever amuse yourself talking just like Bob Dylan approximately? Do you ever find a photograph of a man walking down the street with his girlfriend intensely erotic?



IN THE COMMENTS: Paul Zrimsek said:
This cries out for a photo of The Freewheelin' Meade.
Paddy O hears the cry:

The new lawn guardian angel.

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"There's no chance that OFA is going to have the slightest impact on the midterms."

If your response to that was "what's OFA?" then that's the point.

25 Best Places to Retire.

They all seem to be college towns. But where's Madison? I went through the list looking for Madison, and on seeing each new place, I thought: It's kind of like Madison, but Madison's better. Then, thinking for 1 more second, I realized what factor excluded Madison from the list. And it's not cold weather. There are plenty of cold places — including Duluth. It's got to be the taxes.

What's so terrible about book burning?

I'm wondering, after reading this hyperventilation in the always-awful "On Faith" section of the Washington Post. The author is Gustav Niebuhr:
In the United States, short of causing arson, you can burn a book, just as you can America's most sacred symbol, the U.S. flag. It's Constitutionally guaranteed. Free speech.

The moral question here is, how do we handle our freedom, which permits us appalling, anti-social acts?

As an American who deeply believes in free speech, I regard burning a book as a nearly unspeakably terrible thing. It is an assault on knowledge, and the societal value of allowing people to read and decide for themselves whether what they read has meaning to them. Torch a book and you at least symbolically deny your fellow men and women that freedom.

What's more, you replicate images of a political brutality--book burnings in Germany in the 1930s--that will haunt our planet for generations to come.
Good lord. There's an immense difference between burning your own book as a way of saying "I hate this book" — which adds more expression to the marketplace of ideas — and the confiscation and destruction of other people's books — which is about depriving people of access to expression that they want to consume.

It's offensive to say "I hate this book" about a book that some people revere, but that's the point. It's a vigorous, vicious expression. Burning your own copy of a book is the same thing. Unless you possess the only copy of the book — or, perhaps, an artistically or historically distinctive copy — the burning is just a way of being showily expressive and getting a big audience. It's absurd that any clown who wants attention can light a tiny fire and become world famous. Get a grip, people.

I find it hard to believe that Niebuhr and hyperventilators like him are big readers of important books, because their minds seem pretty feeble to me. "Torch a book and you at least symbolically deny your fellow men and women that freedom." At least symbolically. Or, to put it another way, i.e., truthfully: You don't deny other people anything. You give them something: the information that is your hatred of a book. And as they "decide for themselves whether what they read has meaning," they can take into account that you hate the book. It's not going to be a very influential piece of information, because you're just some attention whore who burned a book instead of articulating a pithy critique of it.

Yes, conceivably, a private group burning its own books might be intimidating, but that would only be because we have other, much greater reasons to fear that group or the movement it represents. And yes, when you burn a book, you adopt an image associated with the Nazis, but that marginalizes you. We don't cower every time some marginal idiot draws a swastika or does the Hitler salute. You're free to express yourself, but I think lavishing outrage on some nobody empowers him. Why not ignore what is worthless? It's a marketplace of ideas. Why are you even browsing the crap?

UPDATE: Pastor Terry Jones has announced that he won't be burning the Koran after all.

At the New Lawn Café....

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... it's very green around here.

Joe Biden on "The Colbert Report" says "thank you" to George Bush.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Joe Biden
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Thank you, Joe Biden.

Am I bad if I find this adorable?

Via Right Wing News — this is presented as "super-creepy":



It's not creepy. It's perfect. First, it's bizarre in the way that gets people to do what I'm doing now, making it viral. Second, it gets you to watch what is an entirely mundane but completely convincing demonstration of the product's superior performance. Third... the man does the vacuuming, he's cute, he plays the piano, and he's a doctor. It's an absurd pastiche of what women want. His hating of moisture is perplexing, but ultimately, we agree.

September 8, 2010

Tonight's sunset.

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Seen from the Capital City Trail... where we squeezed in a ride at the end of a long day.

Phase 2:

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Jonathan Chait makes a Special Olympics joke!

He wisecracks "Mitch Daniels Wins The Fiscal Special Olympics."

What is stupider than being stupid while calling other people stupid? You'd think Obama fans would at least learn from Obama's mistakes.

"People have a constitutional right to burn a Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation..."

"... much like building a mosque at Ground Zero."

Exactly and obviously. Nice squelching by Sarah Palin.

Wisconsin Law School Dean Kenneth B. Davis, Jr. will step down after this year.

He's been dean since 1997.
"Throughout the last two and a half years, I have remained mindful that the consequences of whatever we do now will fall mainly on those younger than I am," Davis says, adding that the median start date for faculty is now 1999 — two years after he became dean. "To assure that the next rounds of dialogue and decision about the Law School's direction have the kind of building-wide support essential for their long-term success, I think it is better if I remove myself from the process."

"But neither the sekrit muslin theory nor the hippie revival theory seems likely to be true."

Language Log sniffs out the origins of "talk about me like a dog."

"I blame not Heaven, but rather a society..."



"We must pray..." for the brilliant comic actor Glenn Shadix, who gave the hilarious funeral sermon in "Heathers" (and played the interior decorator in "Beetlejuice"), and who has died now, at the age of 58.

On his website, he told this story:
... Faced with estrangement from those I loved, I decided to put my fate in the hands of the Birmingham Alabama Psychiatric Community and see if I could rewire myself into something resembling a heterosexual.
... This therapy consisted of male and female pornography and electrodes attached to a large car-size battery and then to me. I was told to look at the male pornography until I became aroused and then dear Dr. Hainey would turn up the juice as I stared at the male nudes and the muscles in my arm would begin to burn and contract. When the pain became intolerable (I was told not to be a sissy about it and to take as much pain as possible) I was then to turn my head and when I looked back the male nude was replaced by a female nude and Dr. Hainey would shut off his little current of torture....
I just want my high school to be a nice place...

ADDED: He's really saying "I blame not Heather..."

"Scientists say they've carried out the first rigorous analysis of dance moves that make men attractive to women."

The evolutionary psychologists are at it again. In this mode of thinking, as you should expect, a man is perceived as attractive when in fact he's got good "reproductive potential." So dance like you could impregnate a woman with a healthy baby and she'll think you're a good dancer. The scientists have provided an animation to demonstrate the technique — ironically using a genitalia-free computer figure.

ADDED: An emailer said that reminds him of this — which I think is adorable (but don't say "retarded," because that's wrong... plus: it isn't. It's awesome.)

"A small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s."

"The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month...."

Oh! It is so sad. It is doubly sad. The workers are losing their jobs, and we, who love traditional light bulbs are being deprived of a product we want. And those vile CFL bulbs? They're made in China.

Thanks a lot, Congress.

Now, how many incandescent bulbs do I need to stockpile last until the end of my life? I need to buy them before 2014....

There's been a lot of noise about sexism in the NYT approach to book reviews.

I've read this so you don't have to. It boils down to a complaint that favoring literary fiction over genre fiction has a disparate impact on female writers.

Who stole Bucky's head?

It's worth $4,000 and it's important.

September 7, 2010

"[T]he question is not why do men stay for boys, but rather why mothers of daughters are divorcing more than mothers of sons."

Relax, they've figured out a female-favoring reason why couples with daughters are more likely to divorce than couples with sons. The old explanation that fathers prefer boys must give way to the new explanation: With a daughter at home, being good and supportive as daughters tend to be, a woman has less need for a husband. There, now, aren't you so much happier? The universe makes sense. Women, good. Men, bad.

"Why don't Americans pay more attention to growing income disparity? One reason may be our enduring belief in social mobility."

Timothy Noah wrings his hands and puzzles over the perplexing problem that he, himself, answers with astonishing ease.

"So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse."

Marty Peretz, The New Republic's owner, opines about Muslims.

The Apple update that has made it impossible for me to watch video or open iTunes.

Thanks a lot. I can't even go anywhere on line without a pop-up window telling me what I already know: Your update sucks.

I woke up this morning thinking the charmingly mellow James Taylor song "Carolina in My Mind," started watching a video of it on YouTube, decided to buy it in iTunes, opened iTunes, got prompted to update software, and now iTunes opens only to crash immediately, so I can't buy it, and I can't even get to the YouTube video anymore. If I see the phrase "Plug-in failure" a few hundred more times, I may lose my mind... or my 25-year-long love for Apple.

ADDED: This and today's cool Google doodle have motivated me to try Chrome as my new browser. Safari had been crashing repeatedly even before the current update. Unfortunately, I still can't get Flash to work.

UPDATE: By the end of the day, Apple had an update (or updates) that appeared to solve the problem.

"Take the notion that children have specific learning styles, that some are 'visual learners' and others are auditory; some are 'left-brain' students, others 'right-brain.'"

It's junk science.

But there is good science to support the notion that you should study in multiple locations:
The brain makes subtle associations between what it is studying and the background sensations it has at the time, the authors say, regardless of whether those perceptions are conscious. It colors the terms of the Versailles Treaty with the wasted fluorescent glow of the dorm study room, say; or the elements of the Marshall Plan with the jade-curtain shade of the willow tree in the backyard. Forcing the brain to make multiple associations with the same material may, in effect, give that information more neural scaffolding.
More scientifically tested study tips at the link.

"Sarah Palin rips non-Muslim Obama over mosque while Lady Gaga remains silent."

Sorry. I'm just trying to rip off Howard Kurtz.

"Facebook is waging a 3-pronged war on websites."

Discuss.

Democrats attack homeless as unserious and fake.

In Arizona.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s not right. It’s deceitful,” said Jackie Thrasher, a former Democratic legislator in northwest Phoenix.... “...What’s happening here just doesn’t wash. It doesn’t pass the smell test.”
Doesn't wash! Doesn't pass the smell test! Wow. Just... wow.

September 6, 2010

Obama isn't rounding to the nearest billion dollars. He's not even rounding to the nearest 10 billion.

CNN: "Obama pushes $50 billion in infrastructure spending."

WaPo: "Obama to call for $100 billion business tax credit."

He's rounding to the nearest 50 billion dollars.

It's utterly terrifying. I keep seeing articles about how the Democrats are in a panic about the approaching elections. They should have panicked over their own proposals.

"You may be amazed at the lack of finger-wagging or reminders that acid was illegal and perhaps bad for you."

The Nation is surprised that the NYT had nothing but fun with the old story of Dock Ellis pitching a no-hitter while tripping on LSD.
If it seems almost routine to throw a no-hitter now, then consider one that was not.

Forty years ago, Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates raised the degree of difficulty to new, well, heights. He threw a no-hitter with Richard M. Nixon calling balls and strikes and Jimi Hendrix, wielding a Fender Stratocaster instead of a Louisville Slugger, digging in at home plate.

Or at least that is what he thought while pitching under the influence of LSD.
Who knows what really happened, but it's Ellis's own voice that's the soundtrack of this animation by James Blagden:



And here's the Robin Williams interpretation:

Sunset on the E-Way.

Here's where we walked today:

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"The 'E' in E-Way stands for Educational, Ecological, Esthetic and Environmental."

Obama: "They talk about me like a dog."



"That's not in my prepared remarks." Uh, okay. You just threw that in, then. But why?

IN THE COMMENTS: rhhardin said:
The Mickey Mouse microphone is mocking Obama's ears too.
Ha. And Meade is saying to me — out loud, in the flesh:
I'd like Obama to say exactly who said what and when. Be more specific!
Also I said: Poor Obama, he got so used to people treating him like he was so wonderful, and Meade said: "They treated him like a god, then they treated him like a dog." The old god/dog flip!

Hey!

I think I got the blog working again.

Did you notice it was out of service?

IN THE COMMENTS: Jason (the commenter) said:
Yes, it was taken over by some weird person who pretended to be you and marry one of the commenters. It's been a weird trip. Glad to have you back. (What have you been doing the last year or so?)
Palladian said:
Yeah, all the frequent posts concerning 893-mile bicycle rides through the Andes, 627-mile cross-country skiing trips through the Alpines, recipes for squirrel and morel mushroom en croûte cooked in the wild, 2800-mile drives to the middle of nowhere to collect pigment samples for house-painting projects, cutting turf with plow oxen to plant beds of sorghum... very, very distressing to those of us allergic to the unnatural lifestyles of healthy, happy outdoors-people.

Thank goodness we're back to withering, subtle mockery delivered while sipping coffee in cafes, the sort of thing that brought the better of us here to begin with.

"I can see why we should promote women's rights as a covert national security concept."

"But if 'they' know we're doing that, it will undercut the cause of women's rights."

A comment by me, on jac's "Why are young men often passionate about religion and war? Can women put an end to war?"

The doodler's dream job.

At Google.

"Cafes... have always been venues for conspicuous contemplation... places to read Camus’ most obscure collections of essays, places to doodle evocatively in your large Moleskin notebook."

Free WiFi users wreck the hip LoFi ambiance of the coffeehouse in Greg Beato's brain.

Blackbird Parlour
(Photo by John Althouse Cohen)

"Some Muslims said their situation felt more precarious now..."

"... under a president who is perceived as not only friendly to Muslims but is wrongly believed by many Americans to be Muslim himself — than it was under President George W. Bush."
[Eboo Patel, a founder and director of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based community service program] explained, “After Sept. 11, we had a Republican president who had the confidence and trust of red America, who went to a mosque and said, ‘Islam means peace,’ and who said ‘Muslims are our neighbors and friends,’ and who distinguished between terrorism and Islam.”

Now, unlike Mr. Bush then, the politicians with sway in red state America are the ones whipping up fear and hatred of Muslims, Mr. Patel said.
So Bush was better, but somehow the problems are still the Republicans' fault. 

What's the difference between doing the right thing and doing the right thing so people will think that you're the kind of person that does the right thing?

"Craigslist, by shutting off its 'adult services' section and slapping a 'censored' label in its place, may be engaging in a high-stakes stunt to influence public opinion...."

I'm not asking whether shutting off the adult services ads is the right thing to do — not that you can't discuss that if you want.  I'm really wondering what's the point of accusing a business (or a person) of trying to influence public opinion when it takes some action that supposed to be the right thing to do.

I think the real accusation is that the action is only being taken because attention is being paid to a problem and that, later, when attention wanes, the business/person will go back to their old ways. But is that the situation Craiglist is in? If and when it goes back to its old ways, people are going to notice. Moreover, the recent attention has come in the form of threats of legal action, but Craigslist is obviously not liable (because of the Communications Decency Act, as explained at the link). It's not a matter, then, of trying to avoid these lawsuits by temporarily stopping (even assuming that would work). 

September 5, 2010

At the Crossover Café Café...

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... there's nothing to be angry about.

On the Sugar River Trail.

We biked the Sugar River Trail today, from New Glarus Woods State Park to Albany and back — 33 miles.

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"Will you quit annoying me?"

That line appears at 1:58 in this clip from the great Marx Brothers movie "Duck Soup":



It's a funny scene with all sorts of things in it, such as Harpo surreptitiously cutting off the man's pocket and using it as a bag for his peanuts. (Yeah, count the phallic symbols.) But that line — "Will you quit annoying me?" — has stuck with me for many years as a particular type of funniness. I was IM-ing my son John about it this morning.

Me:
do you remember the line "stop annoying me" --- finding that really funny? what movie and how would you explain why we thought it was so funny?
John:
"would you quit annoying me!!!"

Duck Soup [+ link to the above clip]

similar to W.C. Fields in It's a Gift saying, "I hate you"*
In a comedy you expect wit, wisecracks, innuendo .... So it's funny if someone blatantly says the obvious thing you've been watching for several minutes.
Me:
thanks!!!

it's the element of surprise, but the surprising thing is its flatfootedness
it's surprisingly ordinary
John:
Also, it's funny for someone to openly say what they think of someone as if there are no social inhibitions

Reminds me of a scene in The Office (last episode of season 2) where Michael Scott is talking to everyone in the office about they're going to have a gambling night in the warehouse....

Michael Scott: Oh, and another fun thing. We, at the end of the night, are going to give the check to an actual group of Boy Scouts. Right, Toby? We're gonna...

Toby: Actually, I didn't think it was appropriate to invite children since it's, uh, you know, there's gambling and alcohol. And it's in our dangerous warehouse. And it's a school night. And, you know, Hooters is catering. Is that enou-is that enough? Should I keep going?

Michael Scott: Why are you the way that you are? Honestly, every time I try to do something fun or exciting, you make it not... that way. I hate... so much about the things that you choose to be.
Ha ha.

Speaking of analyzing exactly why something is funny, I put a lot of thought into the title of that blog post last night with the praying mantis. Originally, I had "Non Compos Mentis Campus Mantis," then, thinking it might be off-putting to start in Latin, I made it "Campus Mantis: Non Compos Mentis." Then, this morning, I was sorry I switched it. "Non Compos Mentis Campus Mantis" seemed much better — kind of like a 3 Stooges title. Looking at all the 3 Stooges titles, I'm not really sure why.

_________

* The key segment is at 4:40:



CORRECTION: "Praying" changed to "campus" 3 times.

"Her exposed midriff that is the cynosure of all eyes has become the talking point in Bollywood."

Sorry, I've gotten absorbed in The Times of India this morning. I love the writing style. Cynosure. It has never in my life occurred to me to use that word.
cy·no·sure...
1.
something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance, interest, etc.: the cynosure of all eyes....
cynosure
1590s, from M.Fr. cynosure (16c.), from L. Cynosura, lit. "dog's tail," the constellation (now Ursa Minor) containing the North Star, the focus of navigation, from Gk. kynosoura, lit. "dog's tail," from kyon (gen. kynos; see canine) + oura "tail."
Her belly is the dog's tail of all eyes. What a melee of body parts!

"Many commercial sex workers in their 50s admit that they are like stale meat."

"Yet, they don't quit the profession. They see two or three clients a day, compared to eight to ten they were used to in their younger days. Their clients include young boys who are scared of the 'bullying girls' of their age. And this happens across the country."

Getting the ax.

Literally and, then, figuratively.

***

“I hope the tribunal takes a rational decision on this. He has been punished more than what his mistake merited,” Mr. Baby said.
Mr. Baby.

"They can share a pool, movie theater, bowling alley and big backyard with friends."

"That's allowed the girls to have some good and happy relationships here in D.C."

Because it's so hard to be one of the popular kids.