October 30, 2010

I did something I hadn't done since the '70s.

I made granola!


Have I gone crunchy? No. I just bought a big bag of oatmeal in the rolled oats form, I didn't like it anywhere near as much as I like the steel cut oats, and I didn't want to have to eat it or throw it away.

At the October Water Café...

... shimmer...

... ripple...

Iconic Althouse...

... strikes again.

George Bush, in a kiss at the moment of victory.

The Rangers have finally won a World Series game.

"If your last joint was experienced while coughing along to a Bob Dylan album in the '70s, Ramsay's offerings will seem incredibly far out. I mean, incredibly."

I haven't been in the presence of marijuana since The Kinks did the Felt Forum, so I keep up with the horticultural advances by reading stuff like this:
Many Americans of a certain age will remember that in the 1970s, seedy homegrown pot was reviled for its raw, throat-burning quality. Now dope-smoking locavores steer clear of cheap, low- and mid-grade weed in favor of organically grown boutique strains. They speak of "presentation" and varieties so agreeably complex that "you inhale one flavor and exhale another." Just as in the vineyards of the Napa Valley a few miles to the north, complexities come from the soil, from the fruits of labor, from careful breeding. Suddenly, pot has terroir....
[Ed Rosenthal, a horticultural instructor at Oaksterdam University] says the cannabis world is now seeing a fourth breeding wave whose intent is to produce plants that are "tweaked to produce connoisseur highs."

At Harborside, Ramsay hands me a list of all of the clones he has received in recent months. The list runs to 222, and includes such choice varieties as Casey Jones...  a sativa-rich hybrid that is "up, trippy"; Blue Cheese, indica-dominant and "highly euphoric" but "very functional"; and the sativa-heavy Purps, "giggly, blissful."...

Experts such as Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, say the high potency has transformed marijuana for many users into a drug that can induce psychosis and paranoia and increase addiction....
Does this transformation of marijuana make you think more highly of legalization — now that you can be a connoisseur? Or are you worried, because you don't know what it is anymore?

"Peace Train" ... "Crazy Train" ... "Love Train."

At the Rally to Restore Sanity — or, I should say, on the Rally to Restore Sanity, because I'm watching C-SPAN — it was great to see Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) singing his great old song "Peace Train." It was also amusing to have Ozzy Osbourne barge in with "Crazy Train" and okay for the O'Jays to resolve matters with "Love Train."

From my TV perspective, it looked like a huge crowd on the Mall. It was overwhelming white. And — I'm not lying — I wrote "overwhelmingly" before I remembered that "overwhelmingly white" had become a hilariously common way to refer to crowds drawn to conservative rallies.

The crowd also looked pretty young and disproportionately male. Because it's comedy?

UPDATE: Ed Morissey has video of the Cat Stevens performance and a good summary of the controversy — which also comes up in the comments to my post — about presenting Stevens as an emissary of peace when he spoke with some degree of approval of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie.

UPDATE 2: Tobin Harshaw collects opinion about the larger event.

The new Miss World is a United Statesian.

Alexandria Mills.

What's her favorite book? "'Guess how much I love you,'my mom used to read it with me." Don't laugh. I'll bet most of the people you know, if they were being honest, would name a children's book as their favorite book.
Tell us a little something about your Country?

The USA is a melting pot for all cultures. My home town is famous for the Kentucky Derby Horse Race.
Yeah, the USA, la la la... let me tell you about Louisville! Louisville, Kentucky:
"... Not London. Not even New York. This is a weird place. You're lucky that mental defective at the motel didn't jerk a pistol out of the cash register and blow a big hole in you.... Just pretend you're visiting a huge outdoor loony bin... If the inmates get out of control we'll soak them down with Mace."
That reminds me. The Rally to Restore Sanity is happening today. Are you there? Are you watching it on C-SPAN? Sanity. Are you up for sanity today? I've got the sanity rally recording on the DVR and I'm going to scroll through it — I say "scroll through" these days, not "fast-forward" — later. Meanwhile, remember when the smart reaction to politics was insanity, back when we read Hunter S. Thompson essays?
A radio news bulletin says the National Guard is massacring students at Kent State and Nixon is still bombing Cambodia. The journalist is driving, ignoring his passenger who is now nearly naked after taking off most of his clothing, which he holds out the window, trying to wind-wash the Mace out of it. His eyes are bright red and his face and chest are soaked with beer he's been using to rinse the awful chemical off his flesh. The front of his woolen trousers is soaked with vomit; his body is racked with fits of coughing and wild chocking sobs. The journalist rams the big car through traffic and into a spot in front of the terminal, then he reaches over to open the door on the passenger's side and shoves the Englishman out, snarling: "Bug off, you worthless [censored]! You twisted pigfucker! [Crazed laughter.] If I weren't sick I'd kick your ass all the way to Bowling Green--you scumsucking foreign geek. Mace is too good for you...We can do without your kind in Kentucky."

"My girls would wear Chanel, maybe a little black dress... They were very elegant."

"A lot of guys who stay at the hotels go down to the bar and they'll have a few drinks with a pretty girl. At some point, she hits him with a price. It's an impulse buy."

The business model that is prostitution at luxury hotels.

As for Charlie Sheen:
Insiders were skeptical Sheen "stiffed" Anderson for $12,000. "The first thing they do is take an imprint of the credit card," one pro said.

What? They walk around with little credit card machines? "No, they're too bulky," the woman said. "The girls just roll their lipstick over the carbon paper to get an imprint."
Lipstick! Carbon paper! Come on. If they're wearing Chanel, you'd think they'd have one of these things:

It's fun watching that video about an iPhone Square and thinking about prostitutes using it. It's so everything-but-prostitutes.

About those packages — that "credible terrorist threat" — with "all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda" — coming just before Election Day.

It's the big story. I haven't written about it yet. I didn't know what to say as the story was unfolding yesterday. I had the thought — and I immediately censored myself — what does this have to do with Election Day? I cut myself off from that line of thinking because, of course, the war on terrorism transcends the petty vicissitudes of partisan politics. I readjusted my consciousness to suit an image of myself as a decent person.

Last night, I was listening to the podcast of the day's Rush Limbaugh show, in which he was seeing the news in real time and reacting out loud. He started where I did: the timing so close to the election. But he didn't censor himself. And this is what I love about Rush. He keeps going, expressing those thoughts you might get to yourself if you let your mind run free:
No matter how you look at these packages-on-the-airplane stories, it's either done by terrorists as a dry run or all of this is being hyped by our government.  If it's the terrorists, then who are they trying to help right before the election?  What are they trying to affect here?  And if it's the government hyping it, then it's clear the administration thinks that this will help them, that this will help Democrats.  

I mean, this is being the done the weekend before the election.  Who would Al-Qaeda being trying to help here?  Clearly they're imposing themselves on our election.  If it's the government hyping it, then it is clear the administration thinks this will help them.  Right?  One way or another, this is being hyped real big.  All of the cable nets have gone wall-to-wall with this.  Somebody is trying to say something here, and somebody is trying to affect the outcome of something.  
This is thrilling radio, people. Completely unplanned. We get to watch — hear — the gears turn. This is bold thinking out loud, and he doesn't know where he's going.
The question is: Who's trying to help who?  If the terrorists are doing this, are they trying to stop the Republican progress or guarantee it?  If it's the administration, then they must think that this ultimately would help them. 
He's using the classic "who benefits?" approach to reasoning. Why would it help the administration? Or, as Rush says, why would they think it would help them? I'd say that the 2010 elections have been focused on the economy and domestic policy. If we refocus on foreign threats, that at least keeps us from looking at what's hurting the Democrats the most. Even if generally, people think the GOP is stronger on national security, if we suddenly feel very threatened, the reaction would be to unite behind the President, whoever he is, and to want to protect him from any weakening forces, like, perhaps, a hostile Congress.

If the threat of terrorism is present in our minds, then we place a much higher value on continuity and stability. Our hostility to things as they are suddenly flip,s and we love what we have and become vigilant lest anyone tear it away from us. Let's coalesce behind our President and help. I know that's what I felt on 9/11. I had never supported President Bush before that day, but then all I wanted was for him to do well, and I couldn't tolerate the carping and the criticism that made his work more difficult than it already was.

The rest of Rush...

Why I won't read "Why We Published the Christine O'Donnell Story."

This link goes to the Memeorandum collection of links to the above-titled item in Gawker. They got nothing but outrage for the story they published, which I glanced at but refused to read and would not link to. My refusal to read it was reflexive, the way I'd immediately close the bathroom door if I opened it and found someone in there. Gawker got a lot of traffic for its paid-for, anonymous story about not having sex with Christine O'Donnell, and they're out to get more traffic explaining why they published it. Gawker has long been traffic-grabbing, which isn't inherently wrong, but it exposes you to temptations, and you have to decide where you want to draw your lines. Gawker has decided, and I'd say, the best response is to deny them the traffic they live for. Don't go there. It may not discipline them back into decency. They'll probably get more traffic as they become more and more notorious for outrageous invasions of privacy. But you don't have to add to that traffic. Don't be a chump and go look just because everyone else seems to be looking.

October 29, 2010

“Neither Steve Breyer nor Ruth Ginsburg has much of a purchase on Tony Kennedy’s mind.”

That's actually the most embarrassing sentence in Larry Tribe's letter to Obama about who to nominate to the Supreme Court.

I love the use of the noun "purchase," meaning, not something you buy, but "A means of increasing power or influence" or "An advantage that is used in exerting one's power." That's the 5th definition of the noun in the 3d edition of the American Heritage Dictionary. Here are some other, related definitions:
2. A grip applied manually or mechanically to move something or prevent it from slipping.

3. A device, such as a tackle or lever, used to obtain mechanical advantage.

4. A position, as of a lever or one's feet, affording a means to move or secure a weight.
You get the idea of the image Tribe had of Kennedy's brain? If you read the whole letter — PDF — you'll see that Tribe thought Justice Souter had "purchase," and he was worried that without Souter, Kennedy would roll toward the "Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomos wing of the Court." He thought Elena Kagan — and not Sonia Sotomayor — would operate — as a tackle or lever? — to move "Tony Kennedy's mind."

Kagan, Tribe said, had a way of "gently but firmly persuading a bunch of prima donnas to see things her way in case after case." Of course, he was referring to the prima donna professors at Harvard Law School, and mainly talking about new faculty appointments, which is quite different from persuading Supreme Court Justices about interpretations of law. It's one thing to build a law school community where professors can spout diverse ideologies and still feel like it's a happy, functioning institution. It's quite another to amass votes for a legal proposition that produces an outcome in a case and binds all the courts in the United States.

And if the target of a light touch knows that the most powerful man in the world has selected that approach to prying his brain into a particular political direction, that target ought to become highly vigilant and not get played.
... I think it's clear that a Justice Kagan would be a much more formidable match for Justice Scalia than Justice Breyer has been... in the kinds of public settings in which it has been all to easy for Scalia to make his rigid and unrealistic formalism seem synonymous with the rule of law and to make Breyer's pragmatism seem mushy and unconstrained by comparison.
Tribe says Kagan will be "simultaneously progressive yet principled, pragmatic and yet constrained." That sounds like pragmatism. How does it not "seem mushy" like Breyer's pragmatism? Because it's asserted to be "constrained," while Breyer's pragmatism "seem[s]... unconstrained"? Because it's progressive — steadily aimed in one direction and not more subtly varied?

I'm sure Justice Kennedy doesn't need to be tipped off to this political scheme to clamber over the crusty crags of the convolutions of his brain. But Tribe's letter is amusing reading nonetheless.

"High-Speed Rail Goes Off the Tracks in Wisconsin."

We cheered out loud over that headline.
Milwaukee County executive Scott Walker, the Republican candidate for governor, has denounced the train as a Big Government boondoggle, and has vowed to send the money [$810 million] back to Washington if he's elected. He has even launched a website, www.notrain.com, attacking Obama and his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, for supporting the new line. Walker and Barrett don't agree on much, but they agree that high-speed rail is a defining issue in their campaign.

"Just hours before the final deadline, more than 100 Alaskans came out Thursday to file as write-in candidates..."

"... in an effort to thwart Sen. Lisa Murkowski's bid to retain her Senate seat."

Paul Krugman says "This is going to be terrible."

"In fact, future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America, one that condemned the nation to years of political chaos and economic weakness."

He concludes: "So if the elections go as expected next week, here’s my advice: Be afraid. Be very afraid."

Hey, wait, I thought it was Democrats who liked to say Republicans are trying to scare us. Now, it's just Republicans are scary, and we hope you believe that they're scary to everyone, and not just to Democrats.

Angle and Reid.

"Angle is winning the all-important independent voters by double digits, 55 percent to 38 percent, as Nevadans not aligned with either major political party swing her way as they settle on a choice."

When "Project Runway" went from Bravo to Lifetime...

... this was all so predictable. Spoilers after the break and — presumably soon — in the comments.

The way things look from a computer screen in Madison, Wisconsin.

Click image to enlarge.

Do you want to replace the existing Normal?

Brainstorming signs for the "Restore Sanity" rally: "I finally thought of a sign 'Feed Your Head' a la: When logic and proportion has fallen sloppy dead..."

"... And the white knight is talking backwards and the Red Queen's 'Off with her head' Remember what the doormouse said 'Feed your head, feed your head:."

That's just one person over at the "Rally to Restore Sanity" Facebook page. I don't know how much of a trend it reflects. But there's something a bit strange and unpredictable about drawing out the people who are supposed to be the sane ones. Who are the people who get into the idea that they are sane and other people are crazy? It will be interesting to see what kinds of signs these characters come up with. "Feed Your Head" indeed.

Reminds me of the time I went to a John Kerry rally (in Madison) and photographed this sign:

Speaking of trippy, the "Sanity" Facebook page keeps flashing the numbers back and forth. See the updates on yesterday's Sanity post.

October 28, 2010

The giraffe in the woods.

Chip Ahoy plays with a photo of mine.

Instant karma for the sleazeball who stomped on Christine O'Donnell.

The web is a weapon that turns back on you.

U.S. Treasury unfair to Thomas Jefferson.

ADDED: I finally got an in-sync video to embed. Watching it, I see I called Andrew Jackson "Alexander Hamilton." I do know the difference!

AND: I said "Pocahontas" for Sacajawea. This post, originally intended as an amusing trifle, turned into a big snafu.

L.A. Times on the Jon Stewart rally: "Nearly 225,000 people had RSVP'd on the event's Facebook page as of Thursday morning."

Why do journalists keep writing the RSVP number like that? Look at the Facebook page. The number who say they are attending is (currently) 10,019.

239,164 RSVP'd to say they are not attending. 112,812 say — are they just being polite? — they are "Maybe Attending." Hey, me too. I'm maybe attending! I could wander about, see how people look, get some photos — especially of any signs that are excessively left-wing or just nasty. Perhaps someone will shove me or stomp me and that will prove how nefarious these terrible liberals really are.

But if I were to go, I couldn't be here — on the last weekend before the election — scanning the internet for last minute developments and blogging all sorts of things instantly. I'd be in the car for many hours — off line. And I'd become preoccupied with photographs. I'd be sidetracked. I'd sidetrack myself, in the interest of observing the crowd and bringing those observations to this blog, but it would still be a sidetrack. Who knows what I'd miss?

And what of these other folks who really do care about enhancing the Democrats' performance on Election Day? Aren't they being sidetracked too? Why aren't they at home, working for their local candidates, doing what they can, instead of trekking off to Washington — emitting carbon — lured by entertainment-world celebritites?
—2:15: Sheryl Crow performs for five minutes, followed by speakers and guests (to be determined).

—2:30: Musical guests (still being lined up) come on.
Come on? I think not. Something about the words Sheryl Crow flicked off the movie in my head that showed me, this weekend, traipsing about the Mall, photographing placards and evading head-stompers.

ADDED: Ana Marie Cox and Rich Lowry talk about the rally.

UPDATE: Now, Friday at 9:35 AM, I'm seeing the Facebook numbers completely rearranged, so that 227,170 are listed as "Attending." 111,864 are "Maybe Attending. And 10,000 are "Awaiting Reply." I didn't know it was possible in Facebook for the headings in a sidebar to be switched around like that. Some people in the comments thread have talked about the numbers changing:
Ann, I'm not kidding, the numbers just flipped while I refreshed. It now says 226,000+ attending and 10,000 not attending.
Three minutes ago, it said 226797 attending, 10002 maybe attending, 10001 awaiting reply, and 240932 not attending.

Aaaaaand then I refreshed, and then it said, 10015 attending, 112016 maybe attending, 10001 awaiting reply, and 240940 not attending.
I just saw the numbers in Facebook flip too. Started out around a quarter million, a minute later it was 10,040.

Breaking out the programming forensics, looks like they want the numbers to update in real time, so they track new rsvp's, but instead of adding that to a true baseline, it gets added to 10,000 instead. (A number that must have seemed reasonably outsized when they coded this.)

Oh, now it's back to 227,138.
Sounds like a computer glitch. I'm assuming the 200,000+ really does belong with "Attending." That would explain why I keep seeing that high acceptance number in the newspapers. I was truly puzzled by the 10,000 number. It was so out of whack. I didn't set out to trash the reporting or the rally.

UPDATE 2: The numbers just flipped for me too when I went back to the page to recheck! I took a screen shot:

Obama, referring to the "narrow window" of time when he had 60 votes in the Senate: "after Franken finally got seated and Arlen had flipped, but before Scott Brown won in Massachusetts."

Arlen had flipped.

"Arriving angry at Bush's Texas ranch over the president's position on Israel and Ramallah, Abdullah quickly decided he wanted to leave."

"But the prince spots a turkey on the road -- and takes it as a good omen, a sign from Allah!"

"City officials wanted the campaign to have... a 'major gross-out factor' that would make the YouTube video, called 'Man Drinking Fat,' 'go viral' on the Web."

Oh, I'm grossed out all right. 
The video, which has been viewed more than 700,000 times, shows a young man sucking down fat from a can as it dribbles down his chin to a cheery calypso-flavored tune.
I'm not grossed out because I watched it. I didn't. I avoid government propaganda. I'm grossed out that it's done at all.
It was the video that sparked the dispute, with its claim: “Drinking 1 can of soda a day can make you 10 pounds fatter a year. Don’t drink yourself FAT.”
Uh... you already called us fat when you said drinking soda would make us fatter. The government can't get the science right. It can't even get the English usage right.

A liberal blogger confronts Barack Obama about gay rights... with tediously grim results.

I'm going to pick apart the transcript from Obama's big meetup with the liberal bloggers. The "Q" is Joe Sudbay of Americablog.
Q ... do you think that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is unconstitutional?
That's exactly what I would ask him. You may remember my dissecting his MTV townhall last week and showing you how evasive he was about that.
THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a simple yes or no question, because I’m not sitting on the Supreme Court. And I’ve got to be careful, as President of the United States, to make sure that when I’m making pronouncements about laws that Congress passed I don’t do so just off the top of my head.
See? Infuriating. He's the President. He took an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" — "to the best of [his] ability." He won the Presidency in part because of his high achievement at Harvard Law School. He accepted responsibility for the U.S. military. His administration is fighting to defend DADT in courts. This issue didn't pop up yesterday, so his answer couldn't possibly be "just off the top of [his] head. He sure as hell better have an answer to the question. This preamble to his answer is therefore either a lie or an outrage.
I think that -- but here’s what I can say. 
Thanks for revealing that you know you are withholding what you really think.
I think “don’t ask, don’t tell” is wrong. I think it doesn’t serve our national security, which is why I want it overturned. I think that the best way to overturn it is for Congress to act. In theory, we should be able to get 60 votes out of the Senate. The House has already passed it. And I’ve gotten the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to say that they think this policy needs to be overturned -- something that’s unprecedented.
That's his canned answer, which was also served up at the MTV townhall. It's completely nonresponsive to the question. 
And so my hope and expectation is, is that we get this law passed. It is not just harmful to the brave men and women who are serving, and in some cases have been discharged unjustly, but it doesn’t serve our interests -- and I speak as Commander-in-Chief on that issue.
If you really believe it is that harmful and unjust, then how do you resist the conclusion, under the case law, that it is unconstitutional? Even at the level of minimal scrutiny, what is the rational basis for this law? You are saying — in so many words — that there is no rational basis, so why do you not conclude that it is unconstitutional? Are you lying when you intone your criticism of DADT, or are you lying when you purport to adhere to the sort of constitutional analysis that is done by the kind of people you nominate to be on the Supreme Court?

Are you trying to say you'd have joined Justice Scalia's dissent in Lawrence v. Texas? Here's Scalia: "What Texas has chosen to do is well within the range of traditional democratic action, and its hand should not be stayed through the invention of a brand-new 'constitutional right' by a Court that is impatient of democratic change. It is indeed true that 'later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress,'; and when that happens, later generations can repeal those laws. But it is the premise of our system that those judgments are to be made by the people, and not imposed by a governing caste that knows best." Hello? That's what Obama is saying about Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Back to the transcript:
Let me go to the larger issue, though, Joe, about disillusionment and disappointment.
Oh, yes! The larger issue is how people feel about Barack Obama. Constitutional rights just aren't that large compared to the grand question of Me. And apparently Joe doesn't have the nerve to stop the President and point out that there has been no answer to the question. The President has called him by name and wants to talk about his feelings.
I guess my attitude is that we have been as vocal, as supportive of the LGBT community as any President in history....
But no other President directly inspired the hopes of gay people and won big support with promises like you did. You're not even saying that you're better than all those other Presidents, only that none of them were any better. Your support for "the LGBT community" is as good as George Washington's. Thanks a lot.
On “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I have been as systematic and methodical in trying to move that agenda forward as I could be given my legal constraints, given that Congress had explicitly passed a law designed to tie my hands on the issue.
Admit it: You love having your hands tied like that. Because you're fighting against a legal decision that deemed DADT unconstitutional! The rope of legislation was untied, and here you are begging for other judges to tie you back up again. Don't ask me to believe you don't love the bondage.
And so, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think that the disillusionment is justified.
I'll be honest with you... Speaking of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. That's a "tell." He's lying. "I’ll be honest with you" means I'm about to lie to you.
Now, I say that as somebody who appreciates that the LGBT community very legitimately feels these issues in very personal terms. So it’s not my place to counsel patience. One of my favorite pieces of literature is “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and Dr. King had to battle people counseling patience and time. And he rightly said that time is neutral. And things don’t automatically get better unless people push to try to get things better.
Speaking of time, he's really trying to run the clock out on this interview. He's also, I imagine, ashamed of what he finds himself needing to say. He wants to identify with King, but he knows he's on the wrong side of King when he asks gay people to wait longer. Obama sounds like an old man rifling through his memories for something relevant to say. He calls “Letter from Birmingham Jail" "[o]ne of my favorite pieces of literature" — as if it's all about him and people who are waiting for their rights to be recognized are fascinated by what pleasure reading he enjoys. Under the circumstances of this conversation, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is or should be nagging at his conscience. ("Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of ... injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.")
So I don’t begrudge the LGBT community pushing...
Begrudge! That he would even think of that word suggests these people are annoying him!
... but the flip side of it is that this notion somehow that this administration has been a source of disappointment to the LGBT community, as opposed to a stalwart ally of the LGBT community, I think is wrong.
The short answer to Sudbay's original answer was: Don't Ask.
Q So I have another gay question. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: It’s okay, man. (Laughter.)
I am resisting typing curse words here. Look at Sudbay abasing himself. Now these rights he must care about are reduced to jocose "gay questions." Something to laugh at. There indeed was a time, and it was not too long ago, that the idea of gay rights itself seemed funny to people. And Sudbay allows himself to get pushed back toward that place. The President treats the remark as if it were an apology. He says "It's okay, man." Man. See? He's a cool guy. He's taming Sudbay.
Q And this one is on the issue of marriage. Since you’ve become President, a lot has changed. More states have passed marriage equality laws. This summer a federal judge declared DOMA unconstitutional in two different cases. A judge in San Francisco declared Prop 8 was unconstitutional. And I know during the campaign you often said you thought marriage was the union between a man and a woman, and there -- like I said, when you look at public opinion polling, it’s heading in the right direction. We’ve actually got Republicans like Ted Olson and even Ken Mehlman on our side now. So I just really want to know what is your position on same-sex marriage?
Another good question. Sudbay came prepared. Let's see if he lets Obama push him back again.
THE PRESIDENT: Joe, I do not intend to make big news sitting here with the five of you, as wonderful as you guys are. (Laughter.) But I’ll say this --
Q I just want to say, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you this question.


Q People in our community are really desperate to know.
Oh, don't beg, Joe. Don't apologize.
THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s a fair question to ask. 
That's big of him.
I think that -- I am a strong supporter of civil unions. As you say, I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage.
Check out those weird plurals: understandings of the traditional definitions. That's another tell. He is lying, I presume. His opposition to same-sex marriage is, quite simply and obviously, politically expedient. It is impossible for me to believe that Obama, coming from his academic background, is hung-up on the traditional definition — or "definitions" — of marriage. He's posing as a seeker of truth, slowly coming round.
But I also think you’re right that attitudes evolve, including mine. 
Attitudes? I thought he was into traditional definitions.
And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents.
So is he saying that previously he had an attitude that was antagonistic to gay people and by extensive social contact with gay people, he came around to perceiving them as fully human? I just don't believe that. And if I did, I would think less of him.
And I care about them deeply. 
You know, your position on the rights of others should not depend on whether they are your friends. That's not the way law works. People have rights whether you care about them or not. And rights don't spring into existence because you care about the people who want them.
And so while I’m not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it’s fair to say that it’s something that I think a lot about. That’s probably the best you’ll do out of me today. (Laughter.)
Laughter. Oh, it's so lovely sitting with the President in the Roosevelt Room. Something that I think a lot about. Men have thought more clearly in jail.

Later, the conversation comes back to DADT, and the President intimates that he will try to push its repeal during the lame duck session of Congress. He makes an effort to shift the blame to the Republicans, especially John McCain, and he indicates that it will be a problem getting the votes for cloture. (He loves that problem, I'll bet. It's so helpful to appear to want to act and have your hands tied.)

He wonders why the Log Cabin Republican are pursuing their court case, when they could instead try to get a few Republican Senators to vote for repeal. He says he doesn't "understand the logic of" using the courts when you could go to Congress, but of course he does. People conceive of their equality in terms of their individual rights — which don't depend on the support of political majorities and supermajorities. As a Harvard-trained lawyer and sometime law professor, he knows that. He knows why people go to courts. I don't buy his understanding of the logic. Or should I say his understandings of the logics?

"It was a different scene at Anjuna beach, now the epicenter of tourism in Goa, when [8 Finger] Eddie arrived with his half-naked buddies, Junky Robert, Hollywood Peter and Trumpet Steve."

The life and death of a hippie:
He was born Yertward Mazmanian in America in 1924 with just three fingers on one hand...

"Then a Japanese girl told me about a beautiful beach called Anjuna with just some houses and nobody nearby. We all went there. I was 40 then and the rest of the freaks were 20-year-olds," he said.

Spending nearly half a century in Goa, Eddie sometimes ran a soup kitchen and in 1975 started the Anjuna flea market as a place for hippies and other foreigners to hang out or barter goods. At first, "only freaks came," Fernandes said. "People gave things away, or it was only free ... it was like a party."
Now the Wednesday market, like Goa itself, is thriving as trade hub for food, clothes, jewelry and other commerce.

Goa today attracts a different breed of visitor, hungry for new-age experiences or just hoping to fall off the map for a while. Nearly 2.4 million tourists each year — almost twice Goa's population — have helped keep the nightlife throbbing and restaurants in business. A hotel-building boom has produced 25 five-star hotels along with many high-end guesthouses.
Life goes on!

October 27, 2010

Supposed "Big Althouse Projects" that purportedly prove that I'm "deeply conservative."

Hmm. I'm surprised I even ran across this. It's buried in a comments thread over in a Bloggingheads diavlog — and I'm not one of the "heads" — which I happened to start reading. Somehow my name comes up in a conversation about people who are hard to pin down politically. This commenter, one "Twinswords," insists that my "conservatism is irrefutable":

"Chad Lee denounces Tammy Baldwin's bouncing breasts" — Dean Robbins lies/jokes bizarrely in Isthmus.

He's commenting on this ad by the GOP candidate in Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District:

Dean attempts a quip: "I'm almost certain Lee wants us to see him as the preferable choice here. Did he not realize that he's made dancing with Tammy Baldwin look much more fun than strolling with him?"

Does Dean not realize that we don't want our representatives to be having fun, especially not when things are so bad?

At the Autumn Forest Café...

... you can lean in any direction you want.

Obama on "The Daily Show."

“You ran on very high rhetoric, hope and change, and the Democrats this year seem to be running on, ‘Please baby, one more chance’,’’ Mr. Stewart said at one point. At another, he asked the president if he was now running on “Yes we can, with certain conditions.’’

Mr. Obama replied, “I think I would say, ‘Yes we can, but –“

Mr. Stewart, laughing, cut the president off. Mr. Obama jumped in again, finishing his sentence: “But it’s not going to happen overnight.”

The NYT trumpets that an academic has read all Obama's writings and "unearthed" a "philosophy"...

... but the philosophy is pragmatism.
To [Harvard historian James T. Kloppenberg] the philosophy that has guided President Obama most consistently is pragmatism...

Pragmatism maintains that people are constantly devising and updating ideas to navigate the world in which they live; it embraces open-minded experimentation and continuing debate. “It is a philosophy for skeptics, not true believers,” Mr. Kloppenberg said.
It's one thing for a philosopher to explain and promote pragmatism as a philosophy, but it's quite another to perceive that a given political character behaves and speaks in a pragmatic matter. Nearly all politics is pragmatic, but these politicians are not philosophers, unless you define "philosopher" down to a meaningless level. Touting Obama as a philosopher on this thin ground is the sort of inane idolatry of the President that I thought went out of style over a year ago.
Taking his cue from Madison, Mr. Obama writes in his 2006 book “The Audacity of Hope” that the constitutional framework is “designed to force us into a conversation,” that it offers “a way by which we argue about our future.” This notion of a living document is directly at odds with the conception of Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court, who has spoken of “the good, old dead Constitution.”
All right, now I'm genuinely annoyed. Scalia's "good, old dead Constitution" sets up a system of government that allows us to go on, indefinitely, engaged in a conversation about what we want to do as a polity. Does the author of this NYT article, Patricia Cohen, not know the difference between legislation and the work of courts using the Constitution to limit what legislators can do? The notion of a living Constitution is about the scope of the courts' role restricting what democratic majorities can enact. Justice Scalia doesn't oppose the results of that democratic "conversation" that plays out in legislatures!

If you bother to read to the end of this article, you'll see that Cohen eventually gets around to my first point. But check out the weird introductory clause she uses:
As for liberal critics, Mr. Kloppenberg took pains to differentiate the president’s philosophical pragmatism, which assumes that change emerges over decades, from the kind of “vulgar pragmatism” practiced by politicians looking only for expedient compromise. (He gave former President Bill Clinton’s strategy of “triangulation” as an example.)
There's no detail about these "pains," so I have no idea what Kloppenberg did other than to acknowledge the weakness of his assertion that Obama's pragmatism deserves to be called a "philosophy." But why does this sentence begin "As for liberal critics"? It seems to have to do with the fact that Kloppenberg was giving a lecture in NYC and he had some critics in the audience. I can only guess that "liberals" is an appropriate way to refer to the human beings that show up for a lecture in New York City.
Not all of the disappointed liberals who attended the lecture....
Were there no disappointed conservatives?
...in New York were convinced that that distinction can be made so easily. T. J. Jackson Lears, a historian at Rutgers University, wrote in an e-mail that by “showing that Obama comes out of a tradition of philosophical pragmatism, he actually provided a basis for criticizing Obama’s slide into vulgar pragmatism.”
Ah! The liberals are sad that Obama lacks a crisper ideology.
And despite Mr. Kloppenberg’s focus on the president’s intellectual evolution, most listeners wanted to talk about his political record.
Sounds like Kloppenberg's lecture was not well-received. It all comes down to politics. Does that make the audience members pragmatists? Does that make them philosophers?

Yes, yes, I know there was that eye-catching "head stomping" to talk about yesterday...

... but that just highlights the lack of anything serious in the political news this week.

Yes, yes, I know that liberals would like to purvey the notion that tea partiers are violent and that incident fit their template, but:

1. One data point proves nothing about a large group (unless you follow the thinking style of bigotry).

2. The "violent Tea Party" meme has been pushed since the very beginning of the Tea Party movement, so it's nothing new. And the failure to pick up enough data points to look anything like a pattern is glaringly obvious.

3. The MoveOn.org woman came to the event to create an incident and caused the Ron Paul's supporters to worry about his safety, so that violent incident was prompted by the urge to defend, in which case even that one incident isn't a data point that fits the gapingly empty template.

4. "A person in a disguise, carrying a sign from a radical organization, tries to push through the crowd to hand a political opponent an unknown object.  What would the Secret Service have done to her?"

5. I bet some of you, reading #4, thought of saying: "Person"?! It was a woman. How threatening could a woman be? But:
A: That's sexist. You think women cannot be dangerous?

B: Squeaky Fromme, Sara Jane Moore. It happens.
6. Are we really going to elevate every prank and beating to a political event deserving analysis? That "stomping" had nothing do with anything worth thinking about in deciding who to vote for. If that counted as substance, it's evidence of the extreme dearth of substance this week.

7. And let me say one more thing to those who delighted in what they imagined was the political usefulness of the "stomping" incident. There is a big rally in Washington this weekend that will draw many thousands of persons. Within that throng of presumed liberals and lefties, there will be all sorts of characters, with their diverse problems and motivations. You don't know who will act up, what foolishly overstated signs they will carry, and what provocations will lead someone with clouded judgment or poor impulse control to do something that will look awful on video. That will happen 3 days before the election, leaving very little time to explain. If that happens, you will want to eat all the words you've been saying about the stomper.

ADDED: New video shows the aggressive behavior of the woman — Lauren Valle — that took place before the men took her down. 

Why is there so little political news this week?

Casting about for items to blog yesterday and today, I'm finding nothing interesting. Why the lull? Has everything already happened? Minds are made up? Or are Democrats so dispirited that they're not putting up any sort of a fight? There's no interplay. Maybe it is a way to fight — to refrain from promoting your policies at all, when the policies are so out of favor that it only works as an argument for the other side. Give your opponents nothing to fight and maybe everyone will lose the energy to drag themselves to the polls next week.

"Nobody taught me to regard women as sex objects. I always did."

"Most men do. And truth to tell, most women regard men as sex objects. We regard many other aspects of another person, but sex is the elephant in the room."

Roger Ebert, writing — in an ungainly fashion — about Hugh Hefner.

October 26, 2010

In the Autumn Woods Café...



... you can exhibit your subtle complexities.

Democratic candidates are outspending Republicans...

... contrary to what they would have us think — reports the NYT.

An argument against wearing makeup.


Finally some good news for Democrats.

A fortuitous head-stomping lifts lefty hearts.

ADDED: I'm trying to understand the scope of the political theater depicted in the video and reported here. The woman, a Moveon.org employee, came to the debate to create a scene, we're told, by presenting a joke "award" to Ron Paul.
In the video from CNN affiliate WDRB, several men wearing Rand Paul shirts or stickers are seen ripping a blonde wig off the head of Lauren Valle and pushing her to the ground. One of the men stomps on her shoulder with his foot, which then lands on the side of her head.
Are the men in the T-shirts also from Moveon.org? Who were they? There were no arrests and though there was a crowd, no one bothered to have detained these men. Did they just melt back into the night? It's very convenient that these bad actors were wearing labels identifying them.
"We don't know the suspect. We're in the process of trying to review the video tapes," said Lt. Edward Hart. "Where this took place, there were no police officers."

All of the people who accosted Valle in the video are subject to charges, Hart said.

Valle, who complained of soreness to her temple, told police she would seek medical attention herself.
So her head was on the curb and her neck was stomped, but she will go off and take care of herself?

I'm skeptical!

AND: Perhaps the reason the crowd did not detain the men is that, in person, it did not look as brutal as it seems in the short video clip — a clip that has the words "head" and "stomp" near it. What was the woman doing before the men activated themselves to stop her? Also, look closely. There is no head stomp. The head is on the curb, but the foot presses down on the shoulder. That ends pretty quickly. That restraint might be a reason to speculate that the men were part of some Moveon.org theater, but it could also mean that the men felt they needed to stop her — because she was in disguise and rushing toward the candidate? — and they reacted quickly. There is force, but they soon back off. I'm not endorsing their judgment about what amount of force was appropriate, but perhaps I can see reason to think that they may have been motivated not by their preexisting propensity toward violence, but by the purpose of protecting the candidate.

UPDATE: The "stomper" comes forward. He's a real Rand Paul volunteer, and he's apologized. I'm really glad he's come forward:
Paul supporter Tim Profitt said video of the scuffle made it appear worse than it was and he chided police for not stepping in....
"I'm sorry that it came to that, and I apologize if it appeared overly forceful, but I was concerned about Rand's safety," Profitt told The Associated Press....

"A friend of mine went up to three policeman before Rand got there, and told them about the girl who was standing there with that wig on and that she was getting ready to do something," Profitt said. "The policemen looked at him and said that's not our job."
UPDATE 2: Day 2 of this discussion begins here.

If this inspired you to go to law school...

... would you admit it now? Would you smile inwardly at your long-lost naivete?

"Who most benefits from keeping marijuana illegal?"

"The greatest beneficiaries are the major criminal organizations in Mexico and elsewhere that earn billions of dollars annually from this illicit trade—and who would rapidly lose their competitive advantage if marijuana were a legal commodity. Some claim that they would only move into other illicit enterprises, but they are more likely to be weakened by being deprived of the easy profits they can earn with marijuana."

George Soros, promoting the legalization of marijuana in the Wall Street Journal.

What Bob Dylan said about Barack Obama.

No, not at the concert last night. Back in April 2009:
He’ll be the best president he can be. Most of those guys come into office with the best of intentions and leave as beaten men. Johnson would be a good example of that … Nixon, Clinton in a way, Truman, all the rest of them going back. You know, it’s like they all fly too close to the sun and get burned.
I was just thinking about that this morning, as I looked back at what Dylan did and didn't do at the concert. He didn't play "All Along the Watchtower," which, Meade tells me, has long been the last encore song.

Was that because he played 2 shows and he played that song in the early show? It's not as though there were no songs played in both shows. Was he punishing us for not being enthusiastic enough in the demand for encores? Stodgy old Madisonians thinking too much about the crowded parking garage and filing out too soon....

He also didn't talk about politics. Didn't tell us it's important to vote. Didn't play any political songs either. I don't think he cares too much about politics. He's all about love songs. Right?

"I want... a man...."

(Via Amba.)

October 25, 2010

"The wind knocks my window, the room it is wet..."

Here's a picture of the bleakness of late October for you...


UPDATE: The words in the post title come from Bob Dylan's "Ballad in Plain D," which he did not sing at tonight's concert, here in Madison, from which Meade and I just returned.
The wind knocks my window, the room it is wet
The words to say I’m sorry, I haven’t found yet
I think of her often and hope whoever she’s met
Will be fully aware of how precious she is

IN THE COMMENTS: Clyde said:
I'll never look at those bucolic hay bales the same way again after ELO cellist Mike Edwards' unfortunate fate last month.

Now they look a little bit... Menacing.
Chip Ahoy responded:

Meade said:
Why wait any longer for the world to begin
You can eat your cake and have it too
Yes, Bob did correct the classic expression when he sang "Lay Lady Lay" tonight. We both noticed and love all the cake....


... Thanks, Bob.

The NYT finds it appropriate to praise a blatantly racist YouTube parody about President Obama.

I watched the video "Head of the State" because the Times sent me there, and now — in addition to fighting nausea — I'm marveling at the embarrassing writing made possible by the newspaper's perversely politically correct need to appreciate rap music and culture:
It’s first-rate parody, and also untested waters. Mr. Obama was a favorite of comedians even before he was elected president, but typically his stiffness and aloofness are their targets. In reimagining the President as an off-duty, fun-chasing tough guy, Baracka Flacka Flames is a different proposition.

On the one hand, it’s witty and incisive parody, as fluent in Mr. Obama’s tics as in hip-hop manners. The clip was filmed in front of an abandoned house in South Central Los Angeles and echoes the video of Waka Flocka Flame’s original song.

As well, it’s seemingly an acknowledgment by the filmmakers that racial stereotypes still shape how some people perceive the first couple, and that many divergent stripes of blackness can be collapsed into one idea.
As well, you have taken leave of your senses!

"Are You Sexually Fit? Lifestyle Changes for Better Sex."

Oh, good lord, this presentation of sex as a component of a healthy lifestyle is just so completely and annoyingly unsexy.
Your Homework for Today:
As you go through your day, think about how each daily activity affects your sexual health and whether it fundamentally helps you or hurts you. Take notes as you go along. For example:
  • Walked halfway to work before getting on the subway and walked all the way home. (Helped)
  • Brought a healthy lunch instead of going to the cafeteria. (Helped)
  • Skipped afternoon cigarette break. (Helped)
  • Grabbed a handful of candy sitting by the copy machine. (Hurt)
  • Drank too much coffee. (Hurt)
  • Canceled a squeezed-in social obligation to make her day less hectic. (Helped)
  • Shut off computer and went to sleep at a reasonable hour, ignoring work e-mails that could wait until the next day, and slept for eight blessed hours. (Helped)
Once you've gone through your day, take a good look at your list and flesh it out. Are there more hurts than helps? What else could you do that would help? Are there behaviors that could be altered to move them from the hurt to the help category? Tomorrow, do your best to improve the ratio of helps to hurts. 
Jeez. How long will it be before some First Lady adopts Good Sex as her pet issue? 

Link via Instapundit, who doesn't seem to have found the article ludicrous.

The windstorm coming tonight is being compared to "to the storm that sank the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior in 1975."

The midwest is warned.


"Jon Stewart rallies the troops in Washington."

NMA reveals the truth about the Rally to Restore Sanity:

Here's the official media presentation of same: "Just who does Jon Stewart think he is?" The Washington Post:
[T]he similarities to Beck's rally are just the sort of thing Stewart himself would satirize on his show if, of course, it weren't his rally and his TV show in the first place. In his few pre-rally comments, Stewart has reached for some of the broad values and high-minded themes that Beck's did -- civility, decency, making America better -- though admittedly with fewer religious allusions and more comic panache.....

[A] mass gathering with the stated aim of being nice. Is that a role a satirist can really play?
ADDED: Stewart is, of course, attempting to help the Democrats. But don't Democrats worry about losing control of the imagery? I assume the crowd Stewart pulls in will not give off finely tuned niceness vibes and, in all likelihood, they will project a much more left-wing image than Democrats would like to be identified with.

At the Late October Café...


... keep your spirits up.

"I was consistently struck by how much the Court did its work in a thoughtful, rational, process..."

"... exchanging written drafts and memos until as much rewriting had been done as was likely or possible."

Says Stephen Wermiel, who was given exclusive access to Justice Brennan's papers.



I'd kind of already given up my once-raging habit of hanging out in cafés on café WiFi. Oh, how I loved free WiFi. And now, it's all over.

From hiccups...

... to murder. Allegedly. Did she really commit murder? Did she really have the hiccups?

Today's Drudgtaposition: The dejection of men with famous penises.

Do you have a better interpretation?

The full headline under President Clinton is "Clinton Plays to High School Gym: Two-Thirds Empty." Under Brett Favre, "REPORT: Favre admits to voicemails."

"2012: How Sarah Barracuda Becomes President -- Why do you think Barack Obama is being so nice to Michael Bloomberg?"

New York Magazine has a great title for this article (by John Heilemann):
... Until not long ago, the only people who took seriously the notion that Palin would make a White House bid in 2012, let alone win the Republican nomination, were those who really do live at the unicorn ranch—and spend their time there huffing pixie dust. When Palin quit the Alaska governorship in 2009, her political career seemed over.
Oh? Well, let me embed this clip from a Bloggingheads I did 2 days after that resignation:

I was right!

Back to Heilemann. It's a long article... and I don't think it's all that hard to see how Palin could win, so I'm not that inclined to slog through all the details. But speaking of living at the unicorn ranch and huffing pixie dust, Heilemann is really all about the President Bloomberg scenario. I don't get that at all.

Early voting *depresses* voter turnout.

Say University of Wisconsin-Madison polisci profs Kenneth R. Mayer and Barry C. Burden in an op-ed in today's NYT. They worked on a rather sophisticated study of the numbers, controlling for various factors. Click through if you want to look for flaws in the methodology. Here's the speculation about why there's about a 3% lower voter turnout in states that permit early voting:
Early voting ... dilutes the intensity of Election Day. When a large share of votes is cast well in advance of the first Tuesday in November, campaigns begin to scale back their late efforts. The parties run fewer ads and shift workers to more competitive states. Get-out-the-vote efforts in particular become much less efficient when so many people have already voted.

When Election Day is merely the end of a long voting period, it lacks the sort of civic stimulation that used to be provided by local news media coverage and discussion around the water cooler. Fewer co-workers will be sporting “I voted” stickers on their lapels on Election Day. Studies have shown that these informal interactions have a strong effect on turnout, as they generate social pressure. With significant early voting, Election Day can become a kind of afterthought, simply the last day of a drawn-out slog.
Personally, I like the intensity and theater of voting at a polling place. If I had to stop by some office to fill out a form, I might put it off until it's too late or start rationalizing about how it doesn't really matter. (My one vote isn't going to tip the election.) But if a ballot were mailed to me and I could just mail it back, I'm sure I'd do that. (Though in some of these local elections, I'd probably just stare at names I didn't know much about until I finally admitted to myself that I didn't care, even as it would annoy me that straight party voters, who also didn't know much, would be determining the outcome.)

Mayer and Burden go on to connect the problem of early voting with same-day registration:
Fortunately, there is a way to improve turnout and keep the convenience of early voting. Our research shows that when early voting is combined with same-day registration — that is, you can register to vote and cast an early ballot on the same day — the depressive effect of early voting disappears. 
Unfortunately, they say nothing about the possibility that same-day registration pumps up the numbers with fraud.


Accompanying this op-ed is a pen-and-ink illustration by James McShane that's quite nice but that — I'm sure it was unintentional — tricked my eye. It's the panel that shows a letter being mailed. This is also the panel used for the front-page teaser to the op-ed. You look at it first. I'll tell you what I saw later.

October 24, 2010

At the Wet Leaves Café...



... everything is sharp and clear.

Past peak.


NPR set Juan Williams on fire.

And it's all on Fox News.

Especially hot:
Nina Totenberg wished that Senator Jesse Helms and his grandchildren would get AIDS -- I said would get AIDS. She's still working there.

A so-called humorist on NPR said the world would be a better place if 4 million Christians evaporated. Hilarious.

And calling millions of members of the Tea Party movement a sexual pejorative, tea baggers won't get you in hot water either.

So it seems some opinions are more equal than others at NPR.

Photo study in red, black, gold, and white.


The NYT is hoping the GOP sticks its fingers in the fan.

There's no other explanation for choosing that photograph to illustrate this article.

"... Ron Johnson, a plastics manufacturer and one of those rich political virgins who have been popping up in races across the country, waving a checkbook and a copy of 'Atlas Shrugged.'"

A NYT description of the Wisconsin senatorial candidate.

ADDED: What's the opposite of a "political virgin"? Also, why aren't we worried about politicians who are private-enterprise virgins?

"Well, so far the two biggest scoops from the latest document dump are that the infamous Lancet study was bogus, and that WMDs were found in Iraq in quantity"

"Neither of these stories is actually news to people who were paying attention, but now — conveniently enough just before an election, and even nicely timed for George W. Bush’s new book release — these stories are getting a fresh round of play. . . ."

Instapundit asks whose tool is Julian Assange.

Obama's post-election escape to Mumbai: "Obama’s contingent is huge. There are two jumbo jets coming along with Air Force One, which will be flanked by security jets."

"There will be 30 to 40 secret service agents, who will arrive before him. The President’s convoy has 45 cars, including the Lincoln Continental in which the President travels."

Can someone do a quick calculation of the carbon footprint? And please — everyone join in — explain why behavior like this shouldn't make global warming skeptics out of us all. If the emergency were really what it's claimed to be when we little people are urged to drive tin-can cars, no moral leader would travel this way. As it is, I can't understand why Obama and his group are willing to look like such hypocrites.
To ensure fool-proof security, the President’s team has booked the entire the Taj Mahal Hotel, including 570 rooms, all banquets and restaurants. Since his security contingent and staff will comprise a huge number, 125 rooms at Taj President have also been booked, apart from 80 to 90 rooms each in Grand Hyatt and The Oberoi hotels. The NCPA, where the President is expected to meet representatives from the business community, has also been entirely booked. 
"Fool-proof" — "fool" is a fabulous euphemism, considering that the Taj Mahal Hotel was the scene of a horrific terrorist attack 2 years ago.

At the Early Sunday Morning Café...


... you may offer your words in sparkling, coherent clusters or toss them about willy-nilly.