May 7, 2011

At the Nature-and-Civilization Café...


... there's a sandhill crane walking along the railroad track, and you can talk about anything you like, as incongruously as you want.


"Psilocybin is an entirely different mechanism. It has the potential to facilitate what’s been called a psycho-spiritual epiphany."

"The response rates among people with terminal cancer to conventional medications that target symptoms of anxiety and depression are not that impressive."

Oh, here it comes: the argument for medical psilocybin. This annoys me. If there is a "psycho-spiritual epiphany" of importance to be had, let us all have it.

Imagine if religion were restricted to people who were dying.

The Osama bin Laden boring home movie.

1. We see Osama talking, 2. We see a TV which, some of the time, has Osama talking, and 3. The camera backs up and we see Osama watching TV, that is watching himself on TV.

"An immigration judge in Newark on Friday suspended the deportation of a Venezuelan man who is married to an American man..."

"... responding to an unusual signal this week from the Obama administration that it is exploring legal avenues for recognizing same-sex marriages in immigration cases."

"I remember the day when I first came here/And smelt the sweet Abbottabad air."

Those are the first 2 lines of a poem by Major James Abbott about the city named after him — the city where Osama bin Laden hid until the bullets pelleted his lid. It continues, reflecting on leaving the city, which, of course, bin Laden did, before they fed him to a squid:
The trees and ground covered with snow
Gave us indeed a brilliant show
To me the place seemed like a dream
And far ran a lonesome stream
The wind hissed as if welcoming us
The pine swayed creating a lot of fuss
And the tiny cuckoo sang it away
A song very melodious and gay
I adored the place from the first sight
And was happy that my coming here was right
And eight good years here passed very soon
And we leave you perhaps on a sunny noon
Oh Abbottabad we are leaving you now
To your natural beauty do I bow
Perhaps your winds sound will never reach my ear
My gift for you is a few sad tears
I bid you farewell with a heavy heart
Never from my mind will your memories thwart
Get scribbling, my dear poets. This is too easy to miss.

Noam Chomsky: "It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law."

"There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition—except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress 'suspects.'"

This is the kind of thing that Barack Obama might have said before he became President. (Or do we only imagine that he used to say things like that?) A great benefit to having Obama as President is that he is not available to say things like that and very few mainstream Democrats or liberals feel tempted to say things like that.

More from Chomsky:
Anti-American fervor is already very high in Pakistan, and these events are likely to exacerbate it. The decision to dump the body at sea is already, predictably, provoking both anger and skepticism in much of the Muslim world.
Very, very angry people get even angrier. Chomsky invites you to worry about that. Didn't the decision to give bin Laden a religious burial and not to show the photographs make those angry people like us more? No, apparently, Chomsky has a line to Pakistan and he knows those people are angry and getting angrier all the time.

Speaking of angry, Chomsky proceeds to interpret the "Bush Doctrine" as Bush calling for his own assassination. He wonders how we'd "be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic." The rant continues with material about Nazis and so forth.

It's got to hurt to be so marginalized now that Obama is President.

ADDED: I see some boring bloggers linking here and writing witless attacks on me. May I recommend that you read this post from April 4th and put some effort into understanding The Mind of Althouse before you wallow in your shallowness any longer? I know you won't, but I just felt like saying that.

"The Packers showered quarterback Aaron Rodgers with gifts."

"He received new offensive weapons in the form of receiver Randall Cobb and running back Alex Green, and extra protection with first-round tackle Derek Sherrod. Life is good for the reigning Super Bowl MVP."

(Go ahead. Talk about football in the Althouse comments.)

"The Prosser folks seem on the ball so I doubt this will succeed for Kloppenburg, but succeeding likely isn't the goal."

"The goal is to try to create the appearance of impropriety as a justification either for court challenges or at least to taint the Prosser win."

Says Professor Jacobson, trying to create the appearance of impropriety to the appearance of impropriety he thinks the Kloppenburg folks are trying to create.

Interviewing Condi....

... will be done Condi's way.

"This is where you start the movie about the hunt for bin Laden."

Okay. That's one idea. Suggest others!

ADDED: Kathryn Bigelow, director of "The Hurt Locker," has been working on a movie called "Kill Bin Laden." The idea there had been the failed effort at Tora Bora. So that's one place you could begin a movie: the battle at Tora Bora, when we thought we had him and then lost him. The center of the movie could be all the years of trying to find him, and the ending we all know very well.

That title, "Kill Bin Laden," reminds me of "Kill Bill" — which had "Vol. 1" and "Vol. 2." That title was interesting, in part, because so much else happened before "The Bride" eventually got around to Bill. I think a movie called "Kill Bin Laden" shouldn't be mainly a reenactment of the raid, much as we feel we'd like to see the movie we already see in our heads. It should have all sorts of other things about the people who worked on getting bin Laden. Show us some things we haven't been thinking about.

We have heard so many versions of the kill bin Laden. There could be a "Rashomon"-style movie, showing the raid multiple times, inviting us to think about what really happened and whether everyone is lying.

IN THE COMMENTS: Lincolntf said...
Start with a shot at the bottom of the ocean, slowly panning over a cast of crabs dispersing after finishing off what looks to be the remains of a canvas bag.
The body in the water... that's the "Sunset Boulevard" beginning.

"The poor dope - he always wanted a pool. Well, in the end, he got himself a pool." Sunset Boulevard (1950)

What Rick Santorum said about the "truce" on moral issues make me think he could accept a truce on homosexuality.

I didn't watch the GOP debate the other night, but I did listen to the podcast of Rush Limbaugh's Friday show and heard the snippets he played. Rush's theme was: "GOP Debaters Rip Into the Regime... Every one of them took it to Obama." This snippet caught my attention:
RUSH: Sounds like Rick Santorum took it right to him. Sounding like me. This is what Mitch Daniels said that he's not ready to do yet. Santorum did it. 
Mitch Daniels was not one of the debaters. He wasn't there to not take it to Obama. But Santorum was, and Rush is into Santorum, because Santorum sounds like Rush Santorum took it to Obama.
Here's more Santorum. Shannon Bream later: "Senator Santorum, you're often characterized as the most socially conservative in the GOP field, a man who may join you at some point in the primary, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, says Republican candidates should, quote, 'Declare a truce, close quote on social issues in the next election.' Is he right? Are you willing to tone down your positions on abortion and homosexuality in an effort to reach more voters and to help the GOP coalesce behind a more fiscally focused platform?"

SANTORUM: Anybody that would suggest that we "call a truce on the moral issues" doesn't understand what America is all about. America... America is a country that is based on this concept and the Declaration of Independence that we are "endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights." Rights come from God and the first of which is "life," the second of which is "liberty." 
And the third of which is "the pursuit of happiness." Why leave that out?
Those two concepts really transformed the world...
And so did the third one!
... because it said that government was gonna be limited, allow people to be free and to pursue their own dreams....
.... to serve...
The dream is service?
... their God to serve their family and community -- and if we have a respect for human life, because we're all created equal... 
All right. I see where you're going trying to go there. The right to life. The unborn are also human beings and they have rights too. (If that's supposed to connect to limited government, it's incoherent, because the argument for protecting the unborn demands more government, in the form of regulating abortion. But my point here is not about Santorum sticking to his long-held anti-abortion position. It's about what he doesn't say.)
And so those founding concepts, what transformed the world in this United States of America was a belief in family, a belief in life and the belief of dignity of every person. If we abandon that, we have given up on Americ [sic]

RUSH: So Santorum is not for a "truce on the social issues." 
Ah, but Santorum only said why he had to keep fighting abortion. The question asked about a "truce" on abortion and homosexuality. Not only did Santorum fail to address homosexuality (unless Rush elided that), but he left out the "happiness" part of the unalienable rights. Santorum knows from past experience that those who reject his antagonism to homosexuality will jump on that phrase — "the pursuit of happiness" — and say that for gay people that includes gay sex.

So, a truce on homosexuality, right, Mr. Santorum?

"We're here, we're sluts, get used to it."

With "SlutWalking, the old anti-rape protests acquire a new angle... after a cop at a 10-person meeting at Osgoode Hall Law School said: "I've been told I'm not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised."

The cop has already "grovelled profusely," by the way.

It gets your attention, but then the question is, do the women — and men — in the protest dress sluttily?
Some women attended the protest wearing jeans and T-shirts, while others took the mission of reclaiming the word "slut" – one of the stated objectives of the movement – more literally and turned out in overtly provocative fishnets and stilettos.
Kind of a dilemma, isn't it? Getting women to dress like sluts and all come out to a protest where it's socially acceptable acceptable to gawk and take photographs?

I wonder who, really, is promoting these protests. Perhaps a lot of different people with various mixed motives. "SlutWalking" a catchy title, but there so much that can go wrong, including divisiveness among women. How do the jeans-and-T-shirts women react to the woman who are seizing the occasion — like it's Halloween — to parade about in "slutty" clothes? 

May 6, 2011

It's Friday night on the big Instapundit blog, and Althouse has taken over, with lots of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Drugs, drugs, sex, and sex and rock & roll.

"If Gov. Scott Walker's union bargaining measure becomes law and forces do-or-die recertification votes for public employee unions..."

"... some large public unions may simply skip the votes and drop their official status with the state..."
Bob McLinn, president of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, which represents blue-collar workers, said his union may instead seek to keep representing members as a voluntary organization without the official recognition the union now receives from the state.

"There has been a discussion about not recertifying because of the fact that there would be little or no benefit," McLinn said.

To stay alive, the unions under Walker's legislation would have to get 51% of the vote of all the potential union members in their bargaining unit, not just the ones who actually cast ballots. They also will have to win the vote again every year or their union will cease to function and be unable to reconstitute itself for at least a year after that.

Madonna breaks up with her 24-year-old boyfriend because they fought about...

... religion.

"Would you ask Barack Obama in an interview with him ... what's your current relationship with cocaine?"

Andrew Breitbart gets pissed... at that extremely mild-mannered C-SPAN interviewer guy:

"VINDICATION: When the loudest critic of your policies achieves his greatest success because of them."

The George Bush motivational poster.

Here at the University of Wisconsin, the boys wear shorts and the men read while walking.


That's the UW Law School on the left.

Enlarge to read the title of the book that's being read.

"InstaPundit was originally meant to be a group blog, you know...."

Says Glenn Reynolds, announcing one of his breaks.
I need these annual breaks to clear my mind, and in my opinion, the blog gets better with the guestbloggers anyway.
Help me — one of the group bloggers — try to create the illusion he graciously claims to perceive. It's not easy to find all manner of genuinely interesting things to link to!

The Germans are annoying Professor Bainbridge.

"To be lectured on military proprieties by a people who are free to do so because they've been able to hide behind our security skirts for decades takes the proverbial cake."

"There is a way in which 9-year old girls will always decide the pop charts."

"'What do you mean [Bob Dylan/Nirvana/Led Zeppelin/Modest Mouse] never had a #1 but [Bobby Vinton/Barry Manilow/Mariah Carey/Britney Spears] had multiple ones?'  Yeah, yeah.  The radio is important hipster dudes and kids who cannot afford to stock their whole iPod yet have to hear their favorite songs somehow.  Yup.  Whitney Houston's 80s #1s are the definers of this genre.  And How Will I Know is the best of those songs.  Upbeat and dancey, How Will I Know, which asks essentially the same questions and the Shoop Shoop Song, doesn't really care much about the first blush of love or the deeper meaning of woman's inability to read male signals.  It care about Whitney's voice, which is sweet and flowing like Karo syrup across flapjacks, and that synth line.  And the little girls sang along and rightly so."

List-a-Beefy reaches #143 in the top 200 #1 songs since 1955 and analyzes it in the pop style that only List-a-Beefy can muster. Mmmm... flapjacks.

Here are the lyrics to "How Will I Know?" and here's "Shoop Shoop Song" in case you want to compare questions asked and possibly answered.
How will I know?...
Does he love me? I want to know...
Don't trust your feelings...
It's in his kiss...

Wyomans? Wyomeroonies? Wymerrhymerbingbangs?


You decide!

And here's a reality show I didn't even know was on.

Republican presidential candidates debated last night. I pay attention to... whatever... all day long and I didn't notice until after it happened.

"We only saw one performance [Wednesday night] from someone who went all-out to demonstrate his or her worthiness in a reality competition, and that was Rob Mariano."

"I'm basically done with Idol this season, and have gone from fast-forwarding the intro packages to skipping the judging to now skipping most of each performance as well. The show that I want to see -- and the one that this Iovine-added season promised to deliver -- is one which sought and created the next contemporary artist. The show took a fatal turn away from that path two years ago when Kris Allen outlasted Adam Lambert, and the ascension this year of the G-Rated Lambert and two uninspiring country artists has not improved matters."

Adam at Throwing Things has been trying to watch the same 2 reality shows we've been trying to watch.

"Consider how the intelligence that led to bin Laden came to hand."

"It began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information—including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden."

Writes former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
The harsh techniques themselves were used selectively against only a small number of hard-core prisoners who successfully resisted other forms of interrogation, and then only with the explicit authorization of the director of the CIA....

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden has said that, as late as 2006, even with the growing success of other intelligence tools, fully half of the government's knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations....
The Obama administration has ended these interrogations and is investigating CIA employees who conducted them.

"The Liver Mush Wager."

"Be it known that the undersigned (Mary Byrnes and Nate Kreuter) have agreed that liver mush is the most disgusting food product imaginable, and have placed the offensive frozen pork product at the center of a similarly agreed-upon wager.  Mary Byrnes and Nate Kreuter have wagered to each write five (5) scholarly articles during the 2010-2011 academic year...."

Via 3X3 via Inside Higher Ed.

"The C.I.A. surveillance team in the rented house near Bin Laden’s hide-out took pains to avoid detection..."

"... not only by the suspected Qaeda operatives they were watching but by Pakistani intelligence and the local police."
Observing from behind mirrored glass, C.I.A. officers used cameras with telephoto lenses and infrared imaging equipment to study the compound, and they used sensitive eavesdropping equipment to try to pick up voices from inside the house and to intercept cellphone calls. A satellite used radar to search for possible escape tunnels.

Still, the spying operation had its limits: the American surveillance team would see a tall man take regular walks through the compound’s courtyard — they called him “the pacer” — but they were never able to confirm the man was Bin Laden.
And from the same NYT article: Documents indicate that it wasn't true that bin Laden "had been relegated to an inspirational figure with little role in current and future Qaeda operations."
[There is] a handwritten notebook from February 2010 that discusses tampering with tracks to derail a train on a bridge, possibly on Christmas, New Year’s Day, the day of the State of the Union address or the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks...

May 5, 2011

At the Liquid Café...


... get into the flow.

"I wrote a letter to the president a few months ago. I talked about how I lost my dad on 9/11 and how I like Justin Bieber."

From Ground Zero today:
After laying down a wreath of red, white and blue flowers near Survivor Tree at the Trade Center site, Obama warmly embraced [Payton Wall, 14].

"I was practicing my handshake all day, but he gave me a hug," said the ecstatic teen.

"He told us he knows Justin," she said. Obama added that she could meet him some time soon.

Did you know that the role of the Terminator was originally offered to O.J. Simpson?

And Cher rejected Thelma in "Thelma and Louise"?

Judas, the guy on the motorcycle wearing a crown of thorns.

"I fell in love with Judas," sings Lady Gaga.

Because, you know, the girl always falls for the bad boy.

And Lady Gaga always tries to out-Madonna Madonna.

BONUS: Lady Gaga and Yoko Ono.

They had to shoot Osama bin Laden because he was not naked.

"Being naked was the only way Osama Bin Laden could have avoided being killed, it emerged today. The elite U.S. Navy Seals team that killed him was told to assume he was wearing a suicide vest if he was clothed, according to a briefing given to a congressional aide."

But he was in his pajamas, so, no matter what he did, he was doomed.

ADDED: Instapundit links, saying: "OTHER NIGHT I SHOT OSAMA IN HIS PAJAMAS. How I wound up in his pajamas I’ll never know...." That flickered through my head too.

"He’s the most beloved actor I’ve ever worked with — and there’s a reason for it."

Jodie Foster on Mel Gibson (who stars in her new movie "The Beaver").

"The recount for the state Supreme Court race has come to this: Votes from nuns have been thrown out."


Yes, nuns.

Because the nuns did not follow the rules.
Because canvassers were unable to match the actual ballots to the voter, they took all 24 absentee ballots from the Town of Sumpter and randomly drew 18, which were then set aside and not counted. Of those ballots, Prosser had 14 while Kloppenburg had four.
Unfair to Kloppenburg! You just know all those rule-breaking nuns were Prosserites Prosserans.

Hillary Clinton is "somewhat sheepishly concerned that it was my preventing one of my early spring allergic coughs."

So that hand over her mouth in that famous photo in which her eyes look so intense "may have no great meaning whatsoever."

"Obama floats plan to tax cars by the mile."

It's the VMT tax —vehicle miles traveled tax — and how would the government know how many miles you've driven? There "could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations."

The great thing about this tax is that it would help cancel out whatever advantages you got from buying a car that gets excellent mileage per gallon of gas. After you spent all that money on a damned Volt because you thought you'd save so much on gas, they've got to get that money back.

And one of the things the government needs money for is a "public awareness" program to prepare you to accept the new ways in which it will extract money from you.

Trump on same-sex marriage: "It's like in golf... people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive."

Okay, it's an analogy, you know!
At one point, he compared his opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage to his reluctance to use a new kind of putter.

“It’s like in golf,” he said. “A lot of people — I don’t want this to sound trivial — but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive,” said Mr. Trump, a Republican. “It’s weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can’t sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.”

He said that, should he run, he would offer himself as a “conservative with a big heart.”
Now, do you understand the analogy, wise guy? Before you get your panties in a twist? Think about it!

What's his main point? He's saying it just looks weird to him — the long putter and the same-sex marriage. It bugs him. He's not saying he hates gay people. It's the casual "I hate it" that means "It drives me nuts." Now, it's not all about him and how things make him feel — not if he means to acquire political power. (Which I'm sure he doesn't, even though he's saying he's decided "in my mind" to run for President. Or is it that he's decided to run for President in his mind?)

Anyway, I think that putter thing is rather self-deprecating. He's confessing that his mind has limits, but he sees and talks openly about the limits of his mind. That's actually refreshing!

"Quite frankly, nothing short of this professor resigning will be adequate... People send their kids to school to be educated, not indoctrinated..."

Is that a principle you'd be willing to enforce across the board? A professor lets his "personal political opinions interfere with classroom teaching" and therefore he should resign?

Would we have any lawprofs left? The lawprofs would all say: It depends upon the meaning of "personal political opinions" and "interfere with classroom teaching." Either these weren't "personal political opinions," or, if they were, they did not "interfere with classroom teaching." And: The notion that you can sanitize all politics out of teaching is delusional. Unless you hire the shallow, dull professors who don't think about the real world at all, you will only push professors to hide their political opinions under a veneer of neutrality, distorting everything.

(I'm not saying that the professor in question — at the linked article — shouldn't be reprimanded in some way, but he should not lose his job. We professors should all be better at using classroom time to give students the best education we can.)

May 4, 2011

"The authority here was to kill bin Laden. And obviously, under the rules of engagement..."

"... if he had in fact thrown up his hands, surrendered and didn't appear to be representing any kind of threat, then they were to capture him. But they had full authority to kill him. To be frank, I don't think he had a lot of time to say anything. It was a firefight going up that compound. And by the time they got to the third floor and found bin Laden, I think it - this was all split-second action on the part of the Seals."

Leon Panetta.

Also revealed: The video feed of the event cut off for 25 key minutes, and the President and others were not able to see what was going on.

"I think the reason why there are no big protests, demonstrations in Pakistan..."

"... is due to the fact that support for every kind of militant -- whether al-Qaida, whether Taliban, Jihadi -- that has gone down. It doesn't mean that the people of Pakistan are now supporting the U.S. There's still a very strong anti-U.S. sentiment in Pakistan."

This is a subject I'd like to comment about — the lack of protests over the killing of Osama bin Laden — but I don't want to jinx things. The last time I commented on the lack of protests, all hell broke loose.

"Little is known about what may be the nation’s most courageous dog."

"Even its breed is the subject of intense interest, although it was likely a German shepherd or a Belgian Malinois, according to military sources. But its use in the crucial raid reflects the military’s growing dependence on dogs in wars in which improvised explosive devices have caused two-thirds of all casualties. Dogs have proven far better than people or machines at quickly finding bombs."
...Last year, the Seals bought four waterproof tactical vests for their dogs that featured infrared and night-vision cameras so that handlers — holding a three-inch monitor from as far as a 1,000 yards away — could immediately see what the dogs were seeing. The vests, which come in coyote tan and camouflage, allow handlers to communicate with the dogs with a speaker, and the four together cost more than $86,000. Navy Seal teams have trained to parachute from great heights and deploy out of helicopters with dogs.

"I think the President was trying to keep us from finding out, so we all wouldn't freak out."

Chantal Guerrero, one of the children in the classroom where President Bush was reading "My Pet Goat" on September 11, 2001. Guerrero was 7 at the time and is now 16.

Another girl from the class, Mariah Williams, says:
"I don't remember the story we were reading — was it about pigs? But I'll always remember watching his face turn red. He got really serious all of a sudden. But I was clueless. I was just 7. I'm just glad he didn't get up and leave, because then I would have been more scared and confused."
Do these kids know how much people have abused Bush over the years for what, to them, was the care he took? Yes.
One thing the students would like to tell Bush's critics — like liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, whose 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 911 disparaged Bush for lingering almost 10 minutes with the students after getting word that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center — is that they think the President did the right thing. "I think he was trying to keep everybody calm, starting with us," says Guerrero. Dubrocq agrees: "I think he was trying to protect us." Booker Principal Gwendolyn Tose-Rigell, who died in 2007, later insisted, "I don't think anyone could have handled it better. What would it have served if [Bush] had jumped out of his chair and ran out of the room?

"We don't trot out this stuff as trophies."

Obama decides against showing the bin Laden death pics.

"We don't need to spike the football."


“The dictionary-approved term is ‘Wyomingite,’ which is also the name of a type of lava, see Webster’s New International Dictionary 2961 (2d ed. 1957). I believe the people of Wyoming deserve better.”

A Scalia footnote.

What Alfred Hitchcock tells us about whether Obama should show us the bullet-ridden head of Osama bin Laden.

Here's the fantastic "I think you're evil!" clip from Hitchcock's "The Birds":

I Think You're Evil! by movieclips

I looked that up because Titus invoked it in the thread about whether the bin Laden death photos should be shown: "I want to see them and he better look like Suzanne Pleshette in The Byrds." Titus is a comic commenter who says all manner of outrageous things (and misspells to amuse us). (By the way, did you know that the rock group The Byrds came out around the same time as the Hitchcock movie, and they adapted the movie slogan: "The Byrds is coming"?)

Anyway, if you've seen "The Birds," you have the feeling that you stared straight at a stark depiction of the character Annie (Suzanne Pleshette) with her eyes completely plucked out. With the clip at your control, you may have to go back a few times before you can be sure how much you really saw. I mean, I think I went back about 10 times, and I'm still not sure! But you see almost nothing. Similarly, in "Psycho," you feel you see the knife cut into Janet Leigh multiple times, but, in fact, you never see that.

The vivid, lingering image of the eyeless Pleshette is a product of imagination, and in our imagination we already have the picture of Osama's blasted face. Why should we prefer the opportunity to stare at the destruction? If "The Birds" were made today, we probably would get a long look at gruesome special effects, and it would, undoubtedly be a much worse movie with far less emotional impact. We might even laugh at it. How would we react to the real photo of bin Laden? I don't know. Maybe we'd feel a thrill, followed perhaps by shame at our brutishness. More likely, we'd stare to the point of familiarity and arrive at some clinical distance.

Why would Obama want that? Like a remake of "The Birds," it's beyond unnecessary.

"What I said was the same thing that the audience here today heard me say, which is, if Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down bin Laden and take him out, then we should."

"Now, that I think has to be our policy, because they are threatening to kill more Americans," said Barack Obama at the Town Hall Debate, on October 7, 2008.

Meade woke up this morning wanting to look that up. Speaking of things clarified during sleep, I woke up on the morning of October 8, 2008 and "decided to concentrate my mind on the question which man won the debate.... It was Barack Obama...." That was the post where I abandoned my vow of "cruel neutrality" as an observer of the 2008 campaign, and said my vote for Obama was "almost inevitable." After the election, when I analyzed my path of decisionmaking — in the post called "How McCain Lost Me" — I said: "So this was the crucial tipping point. Dear readers, it was right there, the morning after the Town Hall debate."

And now, 2 1/2 years after he voted for McCain, here's Meade, drawn back to that same debate. He IM's me the link to that clip about Pakistan. We talk at some length, and he tells me I made the right decision. So you wish you'd voted for him? Yes.

"Gates, Clinton Advising President to Not Release OBL Photograph."

"Obama Increasingly Concerned No Good Would Come from It."

And, obviously, they have seen the photograph.

Do you want to see the photograph?
Yes, and it's important that people around the world are able to look at it.
No, but I want it available for those who want to look at it.
Yes, but I don't think it's wise to make it available.
No, and I don't think it's wise to make it available. free polls

"Sarah Palin Can't Name Most Influential Journalist," crows HuffPo, trying to make Palin look dumb...

... and inadvertently making journalism look lame. Because who can name the most influential journalist? I can't. Seems like maybe you have to be a journalist to think in such terms. (Ask me who the most influential law professor is.)

Here's the video with Sarah Palin supposedly embarrassing herself:

Those White House Correspondents' Dinner "attendees" who "had no problem coming up with answers" were journalists giving laughably self-interested answers like "my boss, Arianna Huffington." And there were plenty of attendees who couldn't come up with an answer or who changed the question to "my favorite journalist."

(Ask me who the most influential law professor is, and my answer will say something about me as I decide to promote my own school, suck up to some particular individual, highlight somebody obscure, or drivel about how there are so many wonderful law professors.)

Taking bin Laden alive "would have required the administration to hold and interrogate bin Laden at Guantanamo Bay, something that has given this president allergic reactions bordering on a seizure."

Says the much-maligned John Yoo, noting that "one of the most valuable intelligence opportunities since the beginning of the war has slipped through our hands."
His capture, like Saddam Hussein's in December 2003, would have provided invaluable intelligence and been an even greater example of U.S. military prowess than his death.
Yoo scoffs at the assertion that the orders were to take bin Laden alive unless he presented a threat:
As Sunday's operation put so vividly on display, Mr. Obama would rather kill al Qaeda leaders—whether by drones or special ops teams—than wade through the difficult questions raised by their detention. This may have dissuaded Mr. Obama from sending a more robust force to attempt a capture.

Early reports are conflicted, but it appears that bin Laden was not armed. He did not have a large retinue of bodyguards—only three other people, the two couriers and bin Laden's adult son, were killed. Special forces units using nonlethal weaponry might have taken bin Laden alive, as with other senior al Qaeda leaders before him.

Did Obama demonstrate leadership in pulling the trigger on Osama... or did he merely do the only thing he could do?

Here's a former Navy SEAL calling in to Rush Limbaugh's show yesterday:
CALLER: ...I believe that President Obama's hand was forced in this, and this is really just a crass political decision. When I hear people say that this took courage, I just believe he was absolutely forced into doing this.

RUSH: Yeah, because somebody came and said, "We got Osama." So he's got to do something.

CALLER: Exactly.

RUSH: We've got Osama so we've got to do something....

CALLER: If he wouldn't have acted I assure you the information would have been leaked prior to the election cycle.

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: And he would have had to have dealt with that, and frankly if that came to knowledge late in the election cycle, our next president would be either Hillary Clinton or whoever the Republicans nominated.
Mickey Kaus works a similar theory this morning:
Attention, Republicans: Looking for a theory that will allow you to reconcile Obama’s Abbottabad success with the unfavorable portrait of him that before Sunday was just beginning to come together and burn itself into the collective mediamind–that’ he’s an inexperienced, indecisive leader, constantly debating with himself, who fatally hedges every bet? ... [Consider] the possibility that Obama’s hand was forced by WikiLeaks–i.e., he had to act quickly or else Osama might realize we were on his couriers’ trail and flee...

In other words, Obama’s still a natural ditherer and hedger–it’s just that in this case he was forced into taking decisive action by something bigger: the prospect of a devastating political attack (“He let bin Laden escape”) no candidate entering a reelection campaign could survive. Our young elected leader may not know how to wield global power or reconcile realism and idealism, but he knows a deadly negative sound bite when he sees it. So (maybe after talking it over with his political brain trust) he decided he could not afford not to pull the trigger. Kind of wussy when you think about it!
Kaus denies believing the theory himself, noting that Obama is actually a bit trigger happy: "He’s been shooting drones into Pakistan for years, and recently greenlighted an unnecessary war in Libya." He's been shooting-from-the-sky trigger happy. This shoot-him-in-the-face thing is new, isn't it? It would have been so much easier — and so much more in character — to annihilate the Abbottabad compound from high above.

May 3, 2011

At the Stone Bench Café...


... is it so hard to sit down and talk for a while?

Eric Holder is asked but won't answer whether he'd have opposed a military trial for bin Laden if bin Laden had been taken alive.

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee:
“That’s a hypothetical. I’m not sure it’s particularly relevant,” Holder said in response to a question from Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.)....

“I think it’s fair to ask, since you opposed a military trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, whether you would have opposed a military trial for Osama bin Laden,” Lungren said.

Again declining to answer, Holder said that his position on military tribunals has often been mischaracterized. He noted that, on the same day in November 2009 that he announced a civilian trial for Mohammed, he announced that five other detainees would get military trials.

“I think our military commissions, especially since they’ve been modified, are constitutional and can give fair trials,” he said.

Holder also pushed back against another line of questioning from Lungren, about whether information provided by detainees who underwent “enhanced interrogation techniques” like waterboarding contributed to finding bin Laden. Holder said there was “a mosaic of sources” of intelligence, and he did not go into details.
The failure to answer speaks for itself. To me, it says that he considers it wrong/illegal but wants it done anyway. Wants it done, but doesn't want to be the one to say "do it."

ADDED: Let's remember that last month, after Obama announced that KSM would be tried before a military commission in Guantanamo, that Eric Holder was adamant about the correctness of his original decision to try him in federal court in Manhattan. He blamed Congress for making it impossible to do that, and he basically stomped out of the room when asked about it.

And in March, 2010, Holder avoided the question of how he'd deal with a captured bin Laden: "The reality is that we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama Bin Laden - he will never appear in an American courtroom." Pushed, he got angry:
When Rep. John Culberson (R-Tex.) said that if Bin Laden himself were arrested, it would be absurd to give him the same due process afforded Manson, Holder erupted.

Charges he coddles terrorists get his "blood boiling," the attorney general conceded....

Holder repeated - slowly - to the Texas congressman that "the possibility simply does not exist" that Bin Laden will ever be arraigned in any court....

"The possibility of capturing him alive is infinitesimal - he will be killed by us or he will be killed by his own people," Holder said.
So... was bin Laden shot because he resisted — the official story — or because a live, captured bin Laden would have torn the Obama administration apart?

"Being an adult baby, I've had a couple reactions, some good..."

"... some not so good."

"Considering that the vote margin after the full canvass was 7316, and no recount in Wisconsin ever has resulted in a change of more than a few hundred votes..."

"... this is shaping up as a paradigm of how easy it is for Democrats to spend other people's money."

Macro photography.


Meade gets ready for his closeup.

"The Osama Bin Laden Death Anthem."

Some people went to YouTube to party.

"The difference between an idea and a theory is that the first can generate an agenda — a call to action — and the second cannot."

"Those who believe that women have long been marginalized and suppressed have something to do — propose legislation, stage rallies, withhold labor or sex. Indeed the idea demands that something be done. Those who believe that truth is a matter of correspondence with reality have nothing to do except debate (forever, as it has turned out) with those who believe the opposite."

Says Stanley Fish. He quotes Sean Pidgeon:
“Feminists should not … say that patriarchy is social constructed,” as if saying so was a step toward dislodging it. Instead, “Feminists should come out and say patriarchy is wrong” and then say why by pointing to harmful, demeaning practices....

Osama bin Laden was not armed and did not use a woman as a "human shield."

There's a revised narrative of the operation. Notably, Instead:
Bin Laden and his family were found on the second and third floor of the building. There was concern that bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and indeed he resisted.

In the room with bin Laden, a woman -- bin Laden's wife -- rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed.
The original portrayal had a more active and nefarious bin Laden. Now, suddenly, the woman is the aggressor.

At the Tree Bud Café...


... you can talk to your buddies.

"The Liberals, the governing party for most of Canada’s history, have been relegated to a third-place rump..."

Michael Barone, on Canada's election, which took place yesterday.
What seems to have happened is that the Conservatives have picked up enough seats, particularly in Toronto and in the 905 area code belt around Toronto, to win an absolute majority....
The New Democrats surged to second place, largely by replacing the Bloc Quebecois in the vast majority of Quebec seats; they will be the official opposition party...

What this looks like is the emergence of a two-party politics in what had been a four-party dominion. Conservatives have a solid majority and the left-leaning, statist New Democrats are the relatively weak opposition...

After the 2008 election I noted that Canada’s large metro areas were very different politically, with different parties competitive and/or dominant in each one in what was a four-party system. Now in what looks like a two-party system, they’re more alike.....

"Mr. Obama looked 'stone faced'.... Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. fingered his rosary beads."

From a NYT description of the scene in the Situation Room of the White House during the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. They were watching a video screen. On it was Leon E. Panetta, narrating, from CIA headquarters:
“They’ve reached the target,” he said.

Minutes passed.

“We have a visual on Geronimo,” he said.

A few minutes later: “Geronimo EKIA.”

Enemy Killed In Action. There was silence in the Situation Room.

Finally, the president spoke up.

“We got him.”
ADDED: Anyone want to take offense at that code name?
Apparently the code namers thought of bin Laden as a 21st century equivalent of the Chiricahua Apache leader....

Like bin Laden, Geronimo proved to be an elusive target. More than 5,000 soldiers were deployed to capture him in around 1885.

Geronimo was fighting for his land, and committed what U.S officials at the time might have called acts of terrorism, conducting raids on white settlers in Apache territory. U.S. officials said they could convict Geronimo and his fighters of murder, and exiled the outlaw Apache to Florida as a prisoner of war, never to return to his homeland.

"UW-Madison has been shackled by the UW System from the time it was merged with the UW System."

Says one UW professor at the faculty senate meeting yesterday. In the end, there was a vote in favor of the plan.
Although Gov. Scott Walker put the measure in his budget, leaders in the state Legislature say it is unlikely to remain there in its current form.

Under the plan, UW-Madison would get a 21-member board of trustees and more autonomy from the state to raise tuition, set salaries, build facilities and make purchases.

But the UW Board of Regents and other chancellors in the UW System oppose the split, arguing that all of the campuses in the System need more freedom from regulation.
ADDED: WisPolitics reports on an interview with Scott Walker:
He said the flexibility that would come with moving UW-Madison to a public authority model would help preserve it as a world-class institution in the face of cuts to state aide and that he supports offering other campuses more flexibility, as well.
This is a good time for me to post a picture of a sign Meade acquired in the Capitol rotunda during the protests:


Note the blue painter's tape, carefully preserved by Meade to establish the provenance of his acquisition.

"I mean, it's not just one day you get up, bang, and you got Osama bin Laden."

Said Dick Cheney:
It's the kind of thing where an awful lot of people over a long period of time, thousands have worked this case and worked these issues and followed up on the leads and captured bad guys and interrogated them and so forth.
(Earlier the interview had prompted Cheney about the "interrogation program that's now defunct," and Cheney had said "it's an enhanced interrogation program that we put in place back in our first term.")
So I think it could be looked upon as a collective effort by our military and intelligence personnel-- and by a lot of our civilian leaders. And in the final analysis we demonstrated conclusively that the American government takes very seriously our responsible to bring justice, if you will, or to bring to justice somebody like Bin Laden who's committed this terrible outrage, killing-- 3,000 Americans on 9/11.

And I think the way for us to think about it is-- is to think about it as part of a collective effort. It started in the Clinton administration, was carried forward very aggressively in the Bush administration and now the Obama administration with the-- the results that we're all very pleased to see today....
And now? Can we feel good at last?
[W]e need to preserve our sense of vigilance... There's every reason to believe there'll be further attacks attempted against the United States. And for us to spend so much time patting ourselves on the back because we got Bin Laden that we miss the next attack would be a terrible tragedy. We need to stay just as vigilant as we have been. We need to continue to emplace those policies that produced the intelligence that we needed in order to be able to successfully complete this mission.

May 2, 2011

At the Checkered Fritillary Café...


... we'll let you start with a clean slate.

"When the Power of Love Overcomes the Love of Power/the World Will Know Peace."


Bumper sticker on a car that nudged into a crosswalk full of pedestrians... twice.

"Was Limbaugh Sarcastic or Sincere?"

Andrew Sullivan and a lot of other people were terribly confused. They expect sarcasm to drip, but Rush underdripped today.

At the Fiddlehead Café...


... you can talk about anything you want. Donald Trump comes to mind for some reason. But that's a photograph of a fern fiddlehead, taken by Meade at Olbrich Gardens yesterday. Here's another:


Enlarge 1. Enlarge 2.

Ezra Klein "felt a swell of patriotism" when he read that "bin Laden's body would be handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition."

"Somehow, that’s a nice, final touch. But it speaks to what bin Laden was: a bag of bones and meat. A body, like any other. Most of what changed in this country after 9/11 was our choice, not his. And his death is a reminder that changing it back -- or revising it to better fit our future -- is, similarly, our choice, not his. We’ve killed him, but we haven’t revisited the ways in which he changed us, or the ways in which wechanged us in response to his attack. Maybe it’s time we did."

The lefty meme is: It's all about us.

Yglesias: "Osama Bin Laden’s Death Could Be a Great Time To Declare Victory In The 'War On Terror.'"

Love the scare quotes, Matt. Yeah, Obama should be all "Mission Accomplished!" Great advice.
The threat to the physical security of Americans posed by terrorists needs to be put alongside the threat to physical security posed by “ordinary” criminals, by car accidents, etc. 
Oh, lord! Remember after 9/11, some people were asking why we got so upset about 3,000 deaths, when that many Americans die in car crashes every 5 30 days or so? Let's just make safer cars, and it'd be about the same as fighting terrorism, okay? Pass a law requiring parents to keep their kids in booster seats until they're 8 or 9 and it's pretty much the same as killing Osama. Thanks for the brilliant idea, Matt.

"At least bin Laden lived to see the Royal Wedding..."

Oh, yes... and to hear Obama's marvelous comic routine at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

"I'd have strongly preferred that Osama bin Laden be captured rather than killed so that he could be tried for his crimes and punished in accordance with due process...."

Glenn Greenwald hews to lefty principles.
But if he in fact used force to resist capture, then the U.S. military was entitled to use force against him, the way American police routinely do against suspects who use violence to resist capture. 
Read that again and try to picture the scenario in Greenwald's dream of justice.
But those are legalities and they will be ignored even more so than usual. The 9/11 attack was a heinous and wanton slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians, and it's understandable that people are reacting with glee over the death of the person responsible for it. I personally don't derive joy or an impulse to chant boastfully....
Greenwald primly eschews "the emotional fulfillment that comes from vengeance and retributive justice."

I think there are many, many Americans, including myself, who experienced not glee and paroxysms of patriotism but a dignified sense of closure, a calm reaffirmation of confidence in our military, and simple but strong approval of the continued determination of the executive branch of government.

"Rightbloggers on the Death of Osama Bin Laden: Eh, No Big Whoop. Thanks, President Bush!"

Roy Edroso has his funny — and highly biased — summary of the rightbloggers' reactions.

"It's a good thing that we have the body of Osama bin Laden" because without it, "these conspiratorial-minded kooks would be hatching another bogus theory."

Somebody needs to nudge MyDD's Charles Lemos and tell him that we threw the body in the ocean. Allegedly.

There were birthers and there will be deathers. It's just the way it is.

Larry King asked: "If you were president and knew that bin Laden was in Pakistan, you know where, would you have U.S. forces go in after him?"

It was 2008, and John McCain answered: "Larry, I'm not going to go there and here's why: because Pakistan is a sovereign nation."

(I voted for Obama, because John McCain lost me.)

Information from Guantanamo detainees made it possible to locate bin Laden.

From the NYT article "Detective Work on Courier Led to Breakthrough on Bin Laden":
For nearly a decade, American military and intelligence forces had chased the specter of Bin Laden through Pakistan and Afghanistan, once coming agonizingly close and losing him in a pitched battle at Tora Bora, in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. As Obama administration officials described it, the real breakthrough came when they finally figured out the name and location of Bin Laden’s most trusted courier, whom the Qaeda chief appeared to rely on to maintain contacts with the outside world.

Detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had given the courier’s pseudonym to American interrogators and said that the man was a protégé of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

American intelligence officials said Sunday night that they finally learned the courier’s real name four years ago, but that it took another two years for them to learn the general region where he operated.

Still, it was not until August that they tracked him to the compound in Abbottabad, a medium-sized city about an hour’s drive north of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
How was this information extracted from the detainees? Obama scores the success of killing bin Laden, but did that success depend on interrogation methods that he has long condemned?

The "Obama is like Carter" meme had been virulent lately...

... but the successful mission to kill bin Laden hits it hard.

(Review the history of Operation Eagle Claw if you don't get my point.)

"Live Inside the Kill Site."

ABC has video showing the interior of the house, replete with rumpled bedclothes and pools of blood.

And here's a description of what Obama called the "firefight":
The raid was conducted by a small helicopter-borne strike team...

... American and Pakistani commandos landed in the area at 1:10 a.m., local time, and raided a house. "The entire area was rocked with a massive explosion... A massive exchange of firing took place which continued for more than half an hour." Security forces have cordoned off the area.

... Mr. bin Laden "did resist the assault force" and was killed in the firefight that ensued as the strike team entered the compound.

Revelry at Ground Zero.

Excellent photographs here.

My first reaction: It's not right to party at Ground Zero, where so many people died. You don't dance on their grave.

Second reaction: Where are you going to go? It's New York City, and people want to go out on the street and celebrate. Even if most people regard Ground Zero as a solemn, sacred place, some people are going to think it's... the place.

Third reaction: Even though dancing on the mass grave of the victims is a nontraditional way to celebrate the death of their murderer, it makes sense. If we believe or imagine that the dead are spiritually or symbolically there and that they could know what has happened and respond, then this is the place of celebration, and it's fine to congregate with them for the revelry.

"The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."

George W. Bush's short statement on the death of the man he wanted to see taken dead or alive.

At the Springtime Café...


... what a lovely morning!

May 1, 2011

Bin Laden is dead.

They say. And I'm not a deather.

UPDATE, 10:24 CT: Why is Obama taking so long? Very lame time-filling on CNN and Fox News.

UPDATE, 10:34 CT: CNN is showing crowds of people around the White House, chanting and celebrating.

UPDATE, 10:35 CT: Obama speaks, describing what happened on September 11, 2001. "The American people came together... We reaffirmed our ties to each other.... We were united as one American family."

UPDATE, 10:38 CT: Last August, there was a new lead about Bin Laden's whereabouts. Last week, there was enough information to launch an operation, Obama says. No Americans were harmed. A "firefight" took place, and we "took possession" of Bin Laden's body.

Obama reminds us that we "are not at war with Islam." He says Bin Laden was not a Muslim, but a terrorist murderer.

UPDATE, 10:41 CT: "Justice has been done." "Let us think back to the unity that prevailed on 9/11." "Tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our minds to... not just because of our power but because of who we are, one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all." A fine speech.



Another Meade pic.


Red thing.


Captured by Meade, in the garden today.


Green thing.


Captured by Meade, in the garden today.


Mayor Bloomberg's plan to repopulate Detroit: Let in immigrants — but they have to agree to stay in Detroit.

On "Meet the Press" today, a propos of nothing David Gregory asked and with zero follow-up from Gregory, Bloomberg came out with this:
This is a country that was built by immigrants, this is a country that became a superpower by--because of its immigrant population. And unless we continue to have immigrants, we cannot maintain as a superpower.
And I'll give you a good example of how you can fix some of the problems in America. Take a look at the big old industrial cities--Detroit, for example. Got a great mayor in Mayor Bing. But the population has left. You got to do something about that. And if I were the federal government, assuming you could wave a magic wand and pull everybody together, you pass a law letting immigrants come in as long as they agree to go to Detroit and live there for five or 10 years, start businesses, take jobs, whatever. You would populate Detroit overnight because half the world wants to come here. We forget, we, we whip ourselves a little bit too much. We still are the world's greatest democracy. We still have hope for--if you want to have a better life for yourself and your kids, this is where you want to come. And you could use something like immigration policy, at no cost to the federal government, to fix a lot of the problems that we have.
We've been talking about this over in the Tree Bud Café. Irene said:
I thought this was very odd. "Gulag" came to mind.
Freeman Hunt said:
I'd comment on the Bloomberg comment, but it's hard to type with my jaw sitting on the keyboard.
Irene said:
Freeman, that was my reaction. Imagine if Donald Trump or Sarah Palin had said it....

Blooomberg = Trump after Finishing School.
Bloomberg has the Mr. Moderation act, but underneath it, perhaps he's out of his mind.

"Ooh! Deathers!"

Exclamation by Meade upon reading about the skepticism about Qaddafi's son's death.

At the Tree Bud Café...


... you can talk to your buddies.

"What if O doesn’t run? Says he’s done what came to do. New Dem cand. untaintd by job #s. O can run again later."

Tweeted Mickey Kaus yesterday, picked up by Hot Air and Instapundit.

Back on April 3 — I hope you all know — I said Obama should not want to run in 2012:
If he is reelected, then that will be the end of running for President. He'll be 54 years old, and what will he do? Move to Hawaii and play golf? But he could move to Hawaii and play golf in January 2013, if that's an enticing prospect. And, if he does, he won't have maxed out his eligibility for being President. He can tantalize us, year after year, with the possibility that he would run for another term — a fascinatingly out-of-sequence term. The thing he's best at is running for President. Why let that game expire? He could toy with it in 2016, when he's 58, and in 2020, when he's a clear-visioned 62, and in 2024, when he's a well-seasoned 66, and in 2028, when he's a beneficent elder, offering his services once again, because his country longs for the golden days of 2011. It will never end, as long as the icon of hope and change — oh, my lord, I typo'd "hope and chains"! — walks the face of the earth... unless he serves that second term.

(Idea originally suggested by Meade....)
ADDED: I'm not saying Mickey stole my idea. In fact, our ideas are completely different (except for picturing Obama not running). Mickey portrays Obama as a big old failure who ought to get out gracefully and give another Democrat a clean shot. Meade and I were fantasizing from Obama's perspective — what his life really feels like to him and how to milk the pleasure of being Obama for all it's worth.

"People who sit & knit are just the coolest people ever!"

"Yeah knitters!"

Pictures that survived the tornadoes.

From a huge collection of photos posted on Facebook. The original idea was to reunite the photos with their owners.

"It's not a protest without Ben."

Thinking about Ben Masel, the Madison activist who died yesterday, I looked back at his old comments on this blog. The first one, in July 2006, was on a post about the hallucinogenic drug psilocybin. Ben said:
Advice for the 1st time user of psilocybin or other psychedelics...

Go to the woods with one or more folks you like and trust. Ideally, deep enough into the National Forest that no-one will care if you take your clothes off.

At least one of the group should not consume. Only this individual should carry a cell phone.

Start with 1/4 of the suggested dose, wait to see your reaction, then, if favorable, take the rest.

Just because your first trip was wonderful, do not repeat the experience inmmediately. Space by at least a month.
I found another drug-related one. (Drug legalization was a big issue for Ben.) I'd blogged about accepting Ben's invitation to join the Facebook group "I'm proud to say that LSD-25 has contributed positively to my life," and he said:
Kudos on the courage to accept the invite. As yet, none of the "A list' lefty bloggers I simultaneously invited have signed on.
That's some high-level, drug-related kudos. Note, as I noted then, that you don't have to have taken LSD to have benefited from it. I loved the psychedelic music and art and many aspects of the hippie culture that had something to do with LSD.

Then there were the more clearly political things. In February 2007, I was saying what I thought about presidential candidates hiring bloggers, and Ben said: "I'm not hiring any house bloggers for my 2012 Senate campaign, as I prefer to be lambasted for my own scurillous posts." He really would have run too.

In August 2008, I put up a photograph of the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda and commented on its visual beauty. Ben commented:
Besides the look, there's the acoustics. The building went up just before electric amplification, and there's patterns on the floor directing speakers to the sweet spots.

I once heckled a Tommy speech, much louder than he was with amplification. Whoever placed the now permanently installed speakers had no idea.
Those acoustics played a huge part in the protests that took place in the rotunda this year. When I saw Ben a few weeks ago, he was extolling those magnificent acoustics, which make free speech in the rotunda uniquely valuable. It's not enough to say there's somewhere else where you can protest. This is the place. (Tommy, of course, is Tommy Thompson.)

March 19, 2007, I blogged a couple long, funny videos by Uncle Jimbo, who was covering some Madison anti-war rally, and Ben said: "I'll accept jimbo's piece as goodnatured fun, and appreciate he gave me the last word, but making the same wisecrack about me twice shows a deficiency of creativity."

Here: I've pinpointed the wisecrack:

Risking a deficiency of creativity, let me repeat that wisecrack, once more, with feeling: "It's not a protest without Ben."


Yesterday, we were talking about Ben, and chickelit said:
Masel was convicted in 1976, of assault, for spitting on U.S. Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson.

I think one had to live in Madison then to appreciate how outrageous that was even then.
And Harry Phartz said:
I did live in Madison then and pardon me for telling this great story one more time, but...

Masel got arrested for the famous spittle deposition on Scoop Jackson and managed to get released on bail fast enough that on primary Tuesday he was out and on the streets making noise. I was walking to class along Lake Street that morning, ready to turn up the Library Mall to the campus when I see on the NE corner of Lake and State, Ben Masel in a sandwich board sign urging people to write him in as candidate for President. He was right there in front of what was then Rennebohm's Drugstore as I passed and he exorted the passersby "A vote for me is a spit on all candidates!"

Obama was pretty funny at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

And the media would like us to believe he stuck it to Trump:

Hey, it's a victory for Trump that the President talked about him at all, and he talked about him a lot. And all these stories about how grim and grumpy Trump looked? Trump always has a grumpy expression on his face. I detected more of a shadow of a smile than usual.

"Law Schools Award Merit Scholarships to Goose U.S. News Ranking, Then Take Them Away With Rigid Grading Curves."

Says Instapundit, linking (indirectly) to a NYT article, which I read, but chose not to link to because I couldn't think of anything that spiffy to say.

That hed is actually the work of TaxProf, whom Instapundit links to.
Oops. There were no quotes around it, but Glenn does that a lot. If it's a hot link, it somehow counts as quotation marks. I notice it, because he does that to me too. Apologies to TaxProf.

What's sucked out through liposuction..

... returns, but in a different place.

Women, hating their thighs, hips, and lower abdomen, submit to violent suctioning, and then the fat comes back, but not in the classic female storage areas. The fat comes back — "redistributed upstairs" — to their upper abdomen, arms, and shoulders.

Do you obsess over part of your body to the extent that if you could fix that, you wouldn't worry about effects in other parts that you haven't been obsessing over?

What's keeping young people from going into teaching? The salary?

An op-ed in the NYT argues for higher salaries for teachers:
McKinsey polled 900 top-tier American college students and found that 68 percent would consider teaching if salaries started at $65,000 and rose to a minimum of $150,000.
What percent of young Americans would consider teaching if they knew they had an excellent chance of finding a job as teacher when they graduated?