August 13, 2011

"Michele Bachmann wins the Iowa straw poll."

"Ron Paul finishes second."

At the Lily Café...

... you can have fun talking.

Perry's in: "I full well believe I’m going to win.”


I liked this piece about him in the UK Telegraph, by Toby Harnden:
The cotton fields at Paint Creek are empty this year because of the fearsome drought. But amid the dust and searing heat, beneath a vast blue sky, the farmland of Mr Perry’s youth is still being worked. Life here is as hard as ever.

At the school, from which Mr Perry graduated third in a class of 13 in 1968, Don Ballard, the school superintendent, reflected on the place that had made Mr Perry what he is.

“We had farm values,” he said “We got up, we worked and we knew what the dollar meant. There was no squandering money here there and yonder. Everybody struggled.

“You’d have a good crop one year and maybe a bad crop the next. Rick Perry understands being up and being down and that if you’re down you’ve got to work to get back up. Most of the families round here want their kids to be better and have more than what they had growing up.” Mr Perry is descended from Confederate veterans of the Civil War on both sides. In an old interview, his grandfather Hoyt Perry, who died in 1992, recalled how his father arrived at Paint Creek in 1887.

“The whole country was covered with prairie dogs. The buffaloes were killed in about the 1870s. I did a lot of farming with the mules. We made our own toys. We made a wheel with an axle and rolled it around.” The future Texas governor spent his teens living in a brick bungalow that his father built a field away from the wooden frame home. J.R. “Ray” Perry and his wife Amelia, now in their mid-80s, still reside there.
We made a wheel with an axle and rolled it around....

"Single men earn less money the heavier they are, while single women earn more money the heavier they are."

And: "Lesbians earn more money than straight women."

Is this prejudice on the part of employers? Or are individuals with these characteristics working at a different levels of skill/intensity/intelligence?

The Ames straw poll: "strategists here are increasingly buzzing about" Ron Paul as the possible winner.

Says Politico. I find all the Ron Paul buzz tiresome. I liked what Rush Limbaugh had to say on this:
I'm sorry, but this Ron Paul is gonna destroy this party if they keep him in there. This is nuts on parade.  The media loves this guy 'cause he's nuts on parade. They want the whole Republican Party to be identified with the kookiness of Ron Paul.

"Walt Disney Studios has shut down production of 'The Lone Ranger,' a big-budget film starring Johnny Depp as Tonto..."

Johnny Depp as Tonto. Weird. Possibly... fascinating. I guess it wasn't working out. We're told it was getting too expensive. My guess: The whole thing depended on the Johnny-Depp-as-Tonto angle and they could see it wasn't going to work and cut their losses.

Obama and the Green Bay Packers.

The full 9 1/2 minute video.

A reader emailed, recommending the video and adding:
I think you will see a President eroding, much like Nixon did in 74. The visit to celebrate the Packers had a lot of sympathy humor from Obama. Sympathy in that he was telling them it was hard to stand there as a Bear fan, really tough, but unlike a comedian, he lingers too long on the subject, becoming more bitter, like Lenny Bruce at the end of his career. Obama kept the focus on him and how hard it was on him, and then compared it to negotiating with Republicans (implied but still a 16" softball coming at one's head).

Truly sad. Say what one will about George W. Bush, but he exuded proper decorum at the proper times. I can't imagine if he had acted like this with a Super Bowl winner what the media would have done to him?
I didn't think it was that bad.

By the way, how many of the Packers were chewing gum?

ADDED: The email is from our regular commenter Issob Morocco.

"When Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass it to find out what was in it, she was right."

"And we need hundreds of pages of judicial decision to tell us."

Oh, look! A liberal is talking about whether something can be "squared with the Constitution."

Normally, law folk of the liberal persuasion mock those who think constitutional interpretation can be done like that. But here's Ian Millhiser at Think Progress writing under the headline "The Eleventh Circuit’s Affordable Care Act Decision Cannot Be Squared With The Constitution."

Millhiser quotes the majority's characterization of its task:
In answering whether the federal government may exercise this asserted power to issue a mandate for Americans to purchase health insurance from private companies, we next examine a number of issues: (1) the unprecedented nature of the individual mandate; (2) whether Congress’s exercise of its commerce authority affords sufficient and meaningful limiting principles; and (3) the far-reaching implications for our federalist structure.
Rather than acknowledging the sophistication of the judges' approach to legal analysis, Millhiser says:
This is one way to evaluate whether a law is constitutional, but a better way is to ask whether the law can be squared with text of the Constitution. 
He proceeds to quote the text of the Commerce Clause. (Of course, he doesn't stop there, but goes on to claim that there's virtually no limit to what Congress can do in the name of regulating commerce as long as "it does not violate another textual provision of the Constitution." Note the use of the word "textual," as if he would limit those other constraints to what is written in particular text. The obvious hypo: Could Congress ban abortion using its commerce power? Millhiser? Millhiser? Millhiser? Millhiser?) picks up the attack-on-Althouse video.

167 comments over there.

Like the comments here on my blog* there's a lot of focus on: 1. the police officer in the second video who threatens my son with a disorderly conduct arrest (and jail) for removing an aggressive man's hand from his mother's arm; 2. how they would have decked the aggressor; 3. my disinclination to have my attacker arrested; 4. the motormouth man's appropriation of the name of Jesus to make political points.

By the way, I was filming a "discussion" between the Jesus Motormouthpiece and a real Christian minister (from Kansas). It was an interesting encounter, which I planned to use on my blog. The man who attacked me suddenly came up and called me "emotionally retarded." As is my wont, I turned my camera on the person who said something nasty to me. The physical attack came at that point.

* My blog displays only 200 comments at a time. To get to newer comments, scroll to the bottom of the page and find "1 – 200 of 398 Newer› Newest»" and click on "Newer."

August 12, 2011

At the Sidestreet Café...

... you can hang out all night.

Attack on Althouse at the Wisconsin Capitol singalong.

As discussed in an earlier post, a man attacked me today at the Capitol. We captured the assault on 2 different cameras, and I'm not editing the material together (at least not at this point). First, here's what Meade got on the Flip camera. He wasn't deliberately filming me, so some of this is unframed or off camera.

The man doing all the talking about politics and religion is not the attacker. Please note how friendly and nonconfrontational I am. I don't put my camera in anyone's face. I'm just recording a guy who's basically performing for the camera. He's yelling at a friend who is a Christian minister (and a commenter here, as "caplight"). You can see my son Chris on the right, in dark sunglasses, at 3:00. The attacker is the man with the "solidarity" armband, visible clearly at 3:38.

In the middle of the screen, at 3:38, in the red "fist" T-shirt and holding a heart-shaped balloon, is the man who pointed me out in the rotunda yesterday and who (apparently) participated in the comments yesterday under the pseudonym "Dirty Hippie." He talks to the attacker just before the attacker yells "You're socially retarded" and attacks me. The attack is at 3:58, off camera. Meade yells "hey" a few times and gets the incident framed. At 4:00, you see Chris detaching that man's hands from me. At 4:04, I yell "police" and the 2 men mock me, yelling "police!" in their girlie voice. At 7:12, the talkative guy tells the police what "transpired." He clearly states that the other man grabbed my camera (and portrays himself as the peacemaker).

The second camera was held by me. I'm processing that now. It gives you a first-hand view of the attack and my discussion with the police.

ADDED: Here's my video, with explanatory text appearing as subtitles.

11th Circuit Court of Appeals rules against the health insurance mandate.

The NYT reports:
"What Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die," the opinion said....

[T]he Atlanta-based court is considered by many observers to be the most pivotal legal battleground yet because it reviewed a sweeping ruling by a Florida judge....

"Capitol altercation involves Solidarity Singers, political blogger" — i.e. Althouse

Here's the report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Solidarity Singers normally meet in the center of the Capitol rotunda at noon to sing pro-union protest songs, but they take their sing-along outside on Fridays.

A heated political argument ensued between one of the singers and another man who was observing the sing-along. Meanwhile, another singer confronted Althouse, who was filming the encounter. According to the singer, Kirby Jones, Althouse aggressively forced her camera in his face and he pushed it away from him. According to Althouse, Jones tried to grab her camera out of her hands and her son struggled with the man to hold onto the camera. Althouse's son had a small cut on his wrist after the altercation.
Of course, I have it on video. I was standing filming a man who was ranting about how Jesus would be on the anti-Scott Walker side. This man blows a vuvuzela right in my face more than once. He's yelling at a man who is a Christian minister, but was never given much of a chance to say anything. Then a very angry guy comes up and violently snatches my camera, but can't get it out of my hand. He tries a second time, and he also hits me. My son detached the man's hand from mine. Anyway, I have this on video, but I need to edit and upload.

UPDATE: I responded to the reporter's phone call and she's updated the text at the link to say:
... Meanwhile, another singer confronted Althouse, who was filming the encounter. According to the singer, Kirby Jones, Althouse forced her camera in his face and he pushed it away from him. Althouse denied that she forced her camera, saying Jones tried to grab her camera out of her hands and "swatted" her arm. Althouse's son struggled with Jones to hold onto the camera, and had a small cut on his wrist after the altercation.
I held my camera up with my elbow at approximately a right angle. The man yanked my hand toward him. Twice. He wasn't even anyone I was photographing, just a guy who got up in my face.

UPDATE 2: A post with video from Meade's camera and — soon — mine is here.

The Herman Cain/Donna Summer connection.

"A poet once said, 'life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it's never easy when there's so much on the line.'"

Althouse is a bit off.

For some reason, I find this mistake hilarious.

"They're Too Busy Putting People Down to Sing."

Taranto's riff on the headline "The Monkees Cancel Nine Remaining Tour Dates."

If you're not a baby boomer and don't get it...

Thanks for dinner!

Nina makes dinner.

The final 2 Wisconsin recall elections may produce the state's first Tea Party state senator.

The Capitol Times reports:
Kim Simac, the founder of the Northwoods Patriots... is challenging [Democratic incumbent Jim] Holperin...

“It has been on our minds and in our plans for two years now to have someone from the tea party movement in the state Senate,” says Tim Dake, chair of Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty, a Tea Party Patriots organization. “If she wins, it is going to be huge.”...

In addition to the new ads hitting radio and TV audiences Wednesday, Simac launched a six-day, 2,000-mile tour of the district that will take her through each of the 11 counties in Senate District 12.

“Our goal all along has been to meet as many people face to face as possible. The voters are the most important in this election,” Simac says on her campaign website. “It was the people in the 12th Senate District who were left without representation when Jim Holperin fled the state. I intend to go to every house I can to tell them personally I won’t abandon them when the times get tough.”

Simac will be driving around the 12th District in her green GMC truck with a campaign sign rigged to the back....
Here's an ad of hers from the end of July, in which, appearing in overalls, Simac makes a point of displaying her lack of wealth, apparently in response to a criticism from Holperin — which I haven't found on line and can't quite extrapolate. At the beginning of this ad, she says "Jim Holperin's campaign ads imply that any person who has a low income should be ashamed and should not run for public office."

Poking around on the internet, I think what she's talking about are ads against her that say she didn't pay taxes in various years, when she simply didn't have enough income to owe taxes. Here's her press release on the subject.

Here's a new article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel with some information on both candidates. Holperin is a Democrat who, despite fleeing Madison with the other Democrats last winter, did in the end vote for the GOP's budget repair bill.

August 11, 2011

The Iowa Debate.

The NYT has a detailed live-blog. We watched here at Meadhouse. I slept through part of it. Not really the fault of the candidates. But I'll just say that I think Bachmann and Romney stood out as the strongest candidates. Both are good at taking somewhat tough questions and reframing them. Both seem presidential. Huntsman, Pawlenty and Cain, I'd say, were weak. Santorum was squirrelly. Gingrich would rankle at ordinary questions, calling them "gotcha questions," then go on to talk about how we have to talk about "ideas." Ron Paul got so angry — usually while spouting pacifism, ironically. Both Gingrich and Paul have a nasty demeanor of a sort that, I think, will never make it to the White House.

"Beware: Republicans steal elections."

Chalking at the Wisconsin Capitol, seen today, near the statue of Hans Christian Heg.

"Anonymous Law Prof: 'Law Professors Are Scamming Their Students.'"

Paul Caron draws attention to a new blog, purportedly written by a law professor "at a Tier One school."

Sorry, I don't think this is a law professor. I think it's a law student. Why do I think this? Well, I remember the "Anonymous Lawyer" who was supposedly a partner at a big law firm. The blogger liked to talk about how contemptuously he treated underlings. It turned out the blogger was a law student with experience being one of those underlings as a summer associate in a law firm.

This new blog has the same feeling to me. The blog tries to take the perspective of the professor as he mistreats the students. It sounds like a student uncharitably projecting thoughts onto the professor:
Now I’m sure there are certain paragons of pedagogic virtue who conscientiously keep up with the latest legislative and judicial developments in the classes they teach – who spend countless hours pouring over new statutes and opinions and law review articles, to make sure that their knowledge of adverse possession or promissory estoppel or the felony murder rule is well and truly up to date. I don’t know too many law professors like that. The typical professor teaches the same classes year after year. Not only that -- he uses the same materials year after year. I’m not going to bother to count – this is law school after all, and we don’t do empirical research -- but I bet that more than half the cases I teach in my required first-year course were cases I first read as a 1L 25 years ago. After all I use the same casebook my professor used. I even repeat some of his better jokes (thanks Bill). And, with very few exceptions, I know nothing about the formal legal material that I haven’t gleaned from reading the casebook and the teaching manual. This is how much preparation I’m doing this summer for the classes I’ll teach this coming academic year: None. And that, I guarantee you, is the median amount of time law professors have spent over the past three months preparing for the classes they’re about to start teaching again.
First of all, I don't think a real law professor at a good school would write "pouring" for "poring."  But what also rings false is the lawprof's seeming knowledge of how all the other professors are preparing for class. I've never heard any lawprof admit he just reads the casebook and the teacher's manual. Asserting that as if he knows makes me suspect that he's faking a lot.

Now, let's see what some of the other blogs are saying? Do they suspect fakery? Orin Kerr says:
Some of the author’s posts are interesting, but then a lot of the claims are pretty hyperbolic. Plus, the idea of law professors blogging truthfully about being law professors is a large part of what law professor blogs have always been about, so I don’t quite get the “speaking truth to power” tone.
David Lat says:
Is it possible that LawProf isn’t really a law prof, but just a bitter and unemployed law grad masquerading as an academic? People have been known to misrepresent their identities on the internet. For example, I pretended to be a judge-obsessed woman working at a law firm, while blogging as Article III Groupie of Underneath Their Robes, when in reality I was a judge-obsessed man working as a federal prosecutor.

With respect to Inside the Law School Scam, it appears that this is not the case. First, the site has the ring of truth to it; there’s enough behind-the-scenes and historical knowledge about legal academia to suggest the author truly is a law professor. (If not a law prof, the writer has gone to an awful lot of trouble to sound like one.)
Yeah, too much trouble. A real lawprof blogging doesn't strain to sound like a lawprof.

(And, yes, I did see that Inside Higher Ed says: "He agreed to reveal his identity to Inside Higher Ed, and his description is accurate.")

UPDATE: Anonymous Law Prof outs himself as Paul Campos.

"Corporations are people, my friend," says Mitt Romney to people who aren't really his friends.

They're heckling him.

He's going to get that quote thrown at him again and again, and he's ready to explain it here. He'll have to explain it in the future, and having an elegant explanation will serve him well.

"Texas Gov. Rick Perry will announce that he is running for president..."

"... on Saturday in South Carolina, a Republican familiar with the plans told CNN."

How do you feel about Perry entering the race?
Great! He's my favorite.
Excellent. Best person to enter the race so far.
Fine. Another worthy contender.
Okay. Not my favorite, but a decent option.
Eh. Not one I wanted to enter.
Bad. He's crowding somebody I like better.
Terrible. I can't stand him. free polls

"Bring back Wisconsin to me!"

A lyric sung today in the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda. I've finally figured out how to add subtitles, so I can call attention to a few things, including where some guy points me out:

Some stills. Man in a reversed "Wisconsin" shirt:

Women with songbooks:

Hanging banners:

"Please tell me you're not putting 'That's the Way I Like it' over this song!!!"

Did List-a-Beefy stumble at #66 in the list of the 200 best #1 songs of all time?

UK Prime Minister David Cameron: "This is not about poverty, it's about culture."

"A culture that glorifies violence, shows disrespect to authority, and says everything about rights but nothing about responsibilities."

ADDED: The link goes to a WSJ article that requires a subscription to get far into. Here's a transcript of Cameron's entire statement.

Are the females of contemporary theater out of their minds? Is Stephen Sondheim a ridiculous old crank?

Sondheim inveighs against the re-envisionment of "Porgy and Bess":
What [director Diane] Paulus wants, and has ordered, are back stories for the characters. For example she (or, rather, [playwright Suzan-Lori] Parks) is supplying Porgy with dialogue that will explain how he became crippled. She fails to recognize that Porgy, Bess, Crown, Sportin’ Life and the rest are archetypes and intended to be larger than life and that filling in “realistic” details is likely to reduce them to line drawings. It makes you speculate about what would happen if she ever got her hands on “Tosca” and ‘Don Giovanni.” How would we get to know them? Ms. Paulus would probably want to add an aria or two to explain how Tosca got to be a star, and she would certainly want some additional material about Don Giovanni’s unhappy childhood to explain what made him such an unconscionable lecher.

Then there is Ms. Paulus’s condescension toward the audience. She says, “I’m sorry, but to ask an audience these days to invest three hours in a show requires your heroine be an understandable and fully rounded character.” I don’t know what she’s sorry about, but I’m glad she can speak for all of us restless theatergoers. If she doesn’t understand Bess and feels she has to “excavate” the show, she clearly thinks it’s a ruin, so why is she doing it? I’m sorry, but could the problem be her lack of understanding, not Heyward’s?

She is joined heartily in this sentiment by [actress Audra] McDonald, who says that Bess is “often more of a plot device than a full-blooded character.” Often? Meaning sometimes she’s full-blooded and other times not? She’s always full-blooded when she’s acted full-bloodedly, as she was by, among others, Clamma Dale and Leontyne Price. Ms. McDonald goes on to say, “The opera has the makings of a great love story … that I think we’re bringing to life.” Wow, who’d have thought there was a love story hiding in “Porgy and Bess” that just needed a group of visionaries to bring it out?...
Is "Porgy and Bess" sacrosanct? Are the females of contemporary theater out of their minds? Or is Stephen Sondheim a ridiculous old crank?

Via Metafilter, which also digs up the 1935 review of the original production of "Porgy and Bess."

"What If Male Superheroes Posed Like Wonder Woman On The David Finch Justice League Cover?"


"He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers..."

"... to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

McCain won't apologize for calling Tea Partiers "hobbits" — "Why should I if it was a fact?"

It's a fact that Tea Partiers are hobbits?
Constituent: "Are you saying you're not apologizing?"

McCain: "I don't know what to apologize for."

Heard in the back: "For calling tea partiers hobbits!"

McCain: "What I said was true."
It's true that Tea Partiers are hobbits? You know, that's a real taunt. Let's say I call you a prick, and you say I should apologize, and I say, "Why should I apologize? It's true! You are a prick!" That's doubling down — a deliberate attempt to piss you off. And if you think that sounds as though I'm insinuating that McCain is a prick, I will not apologize. You know why?

Now, some people like to say hobbits were the good guys, so it wasn't even an insult in the first place. (Which makes me think of another answer to anyone who complains about my "prick" insult, above.) Anyway, yesterday, some guy called in to Rush Limbaugh's show to make the hobbits-are-good argument:
... I think conservatives should embrace being called hobbits by the establishment because in the movie the Lord of the Rings the hobbits are the heroes who succeed where the elites have failed in defeating a tyranny.  The movie is about power.  There's a ring of power, and all these elites are unable to give up the power.  Whenever they get the ring, they're corrupted, but the hobbits are the only characters in the entire movie who resist the power and are willing to relinquish the power and defeat the tyranny.  So, I mean it's... I mean, that's not what McCain was intending. He was intending to insult us, but actually hobbits are the heroes.
Rush was not buying this own-the-insult gambit:
That's a long thought process to trying to feel positive.  The bottom line is, people don't want to be insulted by losers!  McCain is a loser!
Rush said "Look, if you want to be called a hobbit, I mean, I'll be glad to call you a hobbit."
Frankly, sir, as a giant in the industry and in humanity, I could never be a hobbit and I could not be happy being a hobbit, but if you want to be one, and if you draw strength from it, have at it!  I myself will remain a giant, happily so, and they know it.  Don't call me a hobbit.
Who had the better argument? Rush or the caller? Remember the attempt by Tea Partiers to get the upper hand by embracing the insult "tea bagger"?

"The unmistakable lesson is that every time labor makes it about labor, they lose... It’s a messenger problem."

A "senior Democratic strategist" said, quoted in a column by WaPo's Chris Cillizza, analyzing the Wisconsin recall elections. Cillizza notes that, nationwide, only 17% of the electorate belongs to a "union household."
[T]he last two Democratic presidents have not been of and for labor. Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) during his presidency and many unions leaders have expressed frustration about President Obama’s willingness to stick his neck out further on labor priorities like the Employee Free Choice Act....
It’s hard to see what happened in Wisconsin as anything short of a miss for an organized labor movement that had hoped the recall elections would be read as a sign that unions still carried significant political power in the country.
This reminds me of a line of questions I pursued with a few of the protesters over the past few months here in Wisconsin: Why are you protesting? (For the workers.) Who are these workers? (Teachers, etc.) Do you think these workers have better jobs — considering pay and benefits — than the average Wisconsin taxpayer? (Better.) Why are you protesting for the economic upper half? (???!!!)

"The larger lesson" of the Wisconsin recall elections is: "you can attempt major, meaningful government reform and live to tell about it."

Says the Wall Street Journal:
Amid the winter brawling, some conservative fainthearts had joined the media in declaring that [Gov. Scott] Walker had "exceeded his mandate" by taking on the monopoly bargaining power of public unions.

But unions would hardly loathe him any less had he and the GOP aimed lower, or blinked when the opposition got tough. With state government no longer automatically collecting dues for unions, many rank-and-file members will choose not to provide dues for political purposes. Union monopoly power will diminish. Taxpayers will benefit.

The battle to control public spending is the fight of this decade at all levels of government. If reformers can succeed in a "progressive" hothouse like Wisconsin, there may be hope for California—or Washington. 
And speaking of union members' willingness to keep paying dues: Those unions spent  $35 million on the recall elections.

August 10, 2011

Colorado playground.

Vail, Colorado.

"In a free country I would happily spend my life in the library doing research."

"But I live in a country where I cannot in good conscience merely live such a life. I feel that I have no alternative. I have to voice my criticisms of our messed up social reality. Otherwise I would be uneasy. I would not be able to sleep well."

"David Cameron today gave the go-ahead for police to use water cannons on rioters after children as young as nine looted stores..."

"... and made off with bottles of wine and vodka in fresh violence that flared around the UK yesterday. The children wore tracksuits and unlike hardened older thugs they innocently disregarded covering their faces as they ran through the shattered glass of supermarkets to fill their pockets with looted goods."

Beaver woman can't fit in a tight spot.

What would you do?

"So, there's this petition going around asking that Bert and Ernie — yes, the yellow and orange dudes from Sesame Street — get gay married."

Notes Nicole Fabian-Weber:
Anyone who knows me... knows that I'm all for gay marriage and anything that will aid in tolerance; and am ardently against hatred, homophobia, and fear-mongering. But having Bert and Ernie marry one another is just plain stupid. They're puppets...
As if puppets don't have sexual feelings! That's pretty naive, Nicole. Haven't you seen "Team America"?
Getting Sesame Street to teach acceptance of different people is a fine concept -- one the show has already demonstrated, and for that, I applaud them. But there doesn't need to be a wedding between two characters in order to do this. Do kids watching the show even know what marriage is? Would they think twice if they saw two men hugging, as opposed to two women? My guess is no. Gay weddings are better served on more high brow shows, where the audience will actually understand the message.
Jeez, Nicole. You're just discussing this subject deadly seriously. That's really bizarre! Who uses the expression "get gay married" and then doesn't try to be funny?

The mysterious orange goo found in Alaska is... eggs!

But what creature's eggs, we don't know.
The eggs were found on at least one roof and in buckets set all over the village to collect rain water. City Councilwoman Frances Douglas said the gooey, slimy substance was widely spread in streaks along the Wulik River and the lagoon, which is a half mile wide and six miles long. Orangey water was reported from as far away as the village of Buckland, 150 miles southeast of Kivalina....

Even village elders don't recall anything like it, said Douglas, who has lived all her 44 years in Kivalina. She remembers temperatures were colder in her childhood, gradually rising over the years. She wonders if that has anything to do with the invasion of the eggs.

"With climate change, anything can happen, I guess," she said.
No, I think it sounds more like aliens. Come on. You're the one that said invasion. Unless! Unless! Aliens are causing climate change!

Governor Walker comments on the recall election results.

At the Fresh Grass Café...

... you can lounge around.

"A Mendocino County woman who transformed her home into a bear bohemia with wading pools and specially prepared banquets..."

"... of corn meal and peanut butter sandwiches will not do jail time for doting on her hairy friends, but she will remain exiled from her property."
[Lynne Gravier, 77], known to almost everyone as the "Bear Woman," has been feeding bruins and other animals for decades, but nobody realized the extent of her devotion until neighbors began complaining. Last Aug. 24, seven fish and game wardens raided Gravier's home. They stumbled on what was essentially an animal hippie commune and shack-out pad.

In all 15 loafing black bears hung out with Gravier inside the house and on her deck, and lumbered around the compound like kings at a feast. Gravier named her oafish friends things like Smiley, Goofy, Connie, Biggie and Wombat. She admitted setting up a kiddie pool for wallowing. She fixed peanut butter sandwiches for her guests, sometimes mixing in glucosamine to ease the arthritis pain in older bears.

Some 6,000 pounds of rolled and cracked corn was delivered every month from a ranch supply house. Gravier stored the food in a 40-foot-long shipping container that she used as an ursine food dispensary.

Knight-errantry was not in evidence among the hulking chowhounds, who turned Gravier's home into a reeking outhouse. The cabin-style home was piled high with filth by the time of the raid and immediately condemned by county authorities.

Gravier also fed 18 cats, three dogs, 40 peacocks and a steady stream of visiting turkeys and deer.
And yet it took decades for the neighbors to begin complaining? And then, in the end, she gets no real punishment, after animal lovers protest the prosecution on behalf of the well-meaning lady. According to the neighbors, her loving ministrations were turning bears into problem bears that break into houses, chase sheep, and end up needing to get killed.
Bothersome bears are a particularly volatile issue in this cattle- and pot-growing town of 1,300 near the South Fork of the Eel River, in the heart of redwood country.
Pot-growing, eh? Seems like you can get away with breaking all kinds of laws these days... at least if your criminality has enough of a hippie vibe.

Harry Reid names Patty Murray, Max Baucus, and John Kerry to the deficit-reduction "super-committee."

The WSJ reports, noting that these 3 "are considered neither ideological purists nor eager compromisers."
Mr. Reid avoided choosing anyone in the so-called Gang of Six senators that recently came up with its own deficit-cutting plan. That group irked Mr. Reid by going its own way and trying to influence matters during the recent negotiations on the debt ceiling. In addition, those senators accepted cuts to Social Security at a time when Mr. Reid was strongly rejecting such cuts.
I have an uneasy feeling about this...

If the Democrats had won 1 more seat in yesterday's recalls, what expansive assertions would we be hearing today?

Imagine if they'd gotten their majority. What gloating and grandiose claims would gush forth? They'd be merciless. The recall elections were a referendum on Walker! A referendum on the Tea Party! A victory for Obama and for taxing the pants off the rich! Especially the Koch Brothers!

It was just one state senate seat that made the difference. The Republicans got it. Should they exult and make their version of the extreme statements the Democrats would be making right now if Fred Clark had managed to scramble over the top in District 14? (If only he hadn't quipped that he'd like to smack that lady around, or if her answering machine hadn't caught it, this country would be a completely different place today, now, wouldn't it?)

But the Republicans will probably go with graciousness, won't they? Why do they do that? Some attitude of restraint inherent in conservatism? Fear of Democrats chiding them about civility, coming together, and compromise? It's good not to gloat, but I just want to point out: The Democrats would have gloated. Am I wrong?

Garage? Garage? Garage? Garage?

"It's as if, despite all their pieties, finger-pointing, and moralizing, they were just hypocritical shills for the Democrats all along..."

"... Record numbers of U.S. troops are dying under Obama, but the anti-war movement is nowhere to be found.“

Infinite numbers? No. 5,500,000... and 79.

The obit for Roman Opalka...
a leading conceptual artist who, beginning with the numeral one in 1965, methodically painted consecutive numbers on canvas in a march toward infinity, died on Saturday near Rome. He was 79....

Starting at the top left of a canvas measuring a little over four by six feet, and using acrylic paint, he used a fine brush (No. 0) to inscribe 20,000 to 30,000 white numerals on a black background in neat rows that ended at the bottom right corner. Each succeeding canvas, or “detail” as he called it, picked up where the previous one left off. As of July 2004, he had reached 5.5 million....

All the paintings in the series bore the same title, "Opalka 1965/1 — ∞." "All my work is a single thing, the description from one to infinity," Mr. Opalka once wrote. "A single thing, a single life."
If that life were a work of fiction, the project would make him immortal... and then...?

The recall effort has apparently failed to shift the majority in the Wisconsin senate.

As Alberta Darling claims victory in District 8, and the AP calls it for her, the 4th of the 6 races has gone Republican.

Here's Meade's video (edited by me) from the Capitol Square 2 hours ago, when Democrats were still hopeful...

Congratulations to all the winners, and now, can we all please get some sleep? Maybe not...

Please, Russ. Can't we have a bit of a rest now? Here's Governor Walker's tweet from 10 minutes ago:
Now it is time 2 move forward together 2 help job creators put more people back 2 work in WI.

August 9, 2011

Recall night on Capitol Square.

Lots of hopeful Democrats...

... bright TV lights....

... and Ed Schultz from MSNBC...

At the Broken Dreams Café...

... it was a dark day in Baraboo...

... for Fred "Smack Her Around" Clark.

"Mistakes in Scientific Studies Surge."

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Why the backpedaling on more and more scientific research? Some scientific journals argue that the increase could indicate the journals have become better at detecting errors. They point to how software has made it easier to uncover plagiarism.

Others claim to find the cause in a more competitive landscape, both for the growing numbers of working scientific researchers who want to publish to advance their careers, and for research journals themselves.

"A simple blood test that can determine a baby’s sex as early as seven weeks into pregnancy is highly accurate..."

And with this advance, anyone with the will to use abortion will be able, easily, to select the sex of her offspring. The linked article, in the NYT, emphasizes the other reasons a woman might want to know the sex of her unborn baby.

Will the Wisconsin GOP senators all survive the recalls?

Early results say yes!

UPDATE: Here's the Twitter feed #Wirecall. AND: Here are the AP results, showing the precinct totals.

UPDATE 2: "Sen. Luther Olsen has been declared the third GOP incumbent to hold his seat today by a Madison TV station."

"Sen. Luther Olsen is on his way to his election night party, his campaign manager announced."

If 4 of the 6 GOP incumbents win, then the Democrats have not taken over the Senate. It looks as though Kapanke will lose, so the question is what happens with Hopper and Darling. All 3 of those incumbents must go down, or the Democratic cause is lost. Darling is expected to win, though if you look at the numbers right now — 9:57 CT — she's down. But only 1 of 11 Waukesha precincts have reported. This is a flashback to the Prosser-Kloppenburg results reporting. You can try to make some predictions by looking at the final results from the Prosser-Kloppenburg race.

UPDATE 2, 12:22 a.m. CT — There are still 13 precincts remaining in the recall against incumbent Alberta Darling, but I did the math, assuming the remaining precincts have a proportionate number of votes and that the percentages in the remaining precincts are the same as in the rest of the county. With those assumptions, Darling wins by about 2500 votes, so I'm predicting Darling will win, leaving the Democrats picking up only 2 seats and not the needed 3. The majority in the Wisconsin senate will, if that pans out, stay with the GOP (without regard to what happens in the 2 recall elections next week).

Heavy turnout for the Wisconsin recall elections.

That's what I'm seeing on line and what Meade and I heard as we checked out the voting scene in Baraboo, in the heart of the 14th district, where Democrat Fred Clark is trying to unseat Republican Luther Olsen.

We saw signs of support for both candidates, including this friendly man by the side of Route 12:

And here are some of the citizen exit poll people you've read about:

Anyway, the polls close at 8, so, if you're in one of the districts with elections, get out there.

UPDATE: Check results here.

At the Cloudscape Café...

... you can think quite clearly.

"American Baseball Bats Selling Fast in UK..."

Says Drudge, linking to

"The Army has cleared plans for an atheist-themed concert at Fort Bragg..."

"... organized in response to an evangelical Christian concert there last fall."

What songs do you play at such a concert?
Prominent atheist Richard Dawkins is scheduled to appear at the event, along with musicians, speakers and other entertainment....
Oh, don't you love his songs?

Okay, so I Googled "Top 10 Atheist Songs" — and some are really more properly characterized as anti-religion songs. #1 is what you'd come up with if you thought about it a bit...
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too...
Here's a discussion of atheist songs. Somebody suggests The Internationale:
No saviour from on high delivers,
No faith have we in prince or peer.
Our own right hand the chains must shiver,
Chains of hatred, greed and fear.
I think a more inventive approach could be taken to finding the truly atheistic songs. Songs about the supremacy of the individual acting alone express a belief in the absence of God. For example, "The Greatest Love of All" (the greatest love is self-love). And I've long thought of this song as fundamentally atheistic.

"Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs has been sentenced to life in prison..."

"... for sexually assaulting two underage followers he took as brides in what his church deemed 'spiritual marriages.'"

We happy few...

... we law professors.

Skepticism about the value of sculpture: "Carib art," as Baudelaire said, racistly.

Translated by Michael Kimmelman, the notion is that "even the suavest, most sophisticated works of unearthly virtuosity by Enlightenment paragons like Canova and Thorvaldsen were tainted by the medium’s primitive, cultish origins."

Kimmelman strips the poet's point of its seeming racism and restates it:
Sculpture does still bear something of the burden of its commemorative and didactic origins. It’s too literal, too direct, too steeped in religious ceremony and too complex for a historically amnesiac culture. We prefer the multicolored distractions of illusionism on flat surfaces, flickering in a movie theater or digitized on our laptops and smartphones, or painted on canvas. The marketplace ratifies our myopia, making headlines for megamillion-dollar sales of old master and Impressionist pictures but rarely for premodern sculptures.
Is this true? I would think that the sculpture we love is precisely that which retains a connection to "primitive" cultures and religious tradition. Even when that stuff is kind of bad, we may feel some emotion worth experiencing. It's all that bad modern sculpture, especially the stuff that clutters our path in the real world that makes us leery of the 3D concoctions of artists. At least paintings stick to the wall.
... Barnett Newman, the Abstract Expressionist painter, notoriously derided [sculpture] as objects we bump into when backing up to look at a painting.
Nowadays, we may not care about looking at the painting either. We have our own goals and destinations, and the paintings stay humbly out of the way, to be looked at if we choose, but the bold efforts of the sculptors rudely occupy our space. The problem with sculpture is not that people today reject the aura of old cults and religions, it's that we are so over the boring, outsized egos of modern artists.

(This rejection of the ego of the modern sculptor was exemplified for all time by the "Tilted Arc" that enraged New Yorkers — what? were they not sophisticated?! — back in the 1980s.)

"Citizens to conduct exit polls in Wisconsin recall elections."

Instigated by "the Election Defense Alliance, a nonpartisan national group that monitors elections," as reported in Isthmus.
The purpose of citizen exit polling, say organizers, is to monitor the "integrity" of elections that rely on computerized machines to tally votes. Concerns about the validity of electronic voting machines in the 2004 elections, as well as the mishandling of some 14,000 ballots by the Waukesha county clerk in the recent Supreme Court race, have brought the issue to the fore in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

The ultimate goal, says Jonathan Simon, cofounder of the Election Defense Alliance, is to "draw attention to, expose and change our vote-counting system, which is at the very least vulnerable to manipulation."
So, that sounds as though this is an attempt to amass evidence that will be used to challenge the official results of today's elections.
[Sally] Castleman of the Election Defense Alliance says citizen polling is a necessary check on the system because official ballots are counted in secret and there is no way to verify the accuracy of electronic machines, which she says are vulnerable to mistakes, malfunction and manipulation....

[UW-Madison political science professor Charles] Franklin says the accuracy of exit polls depends on the random selection of polling locations and voters. He says he's not familiar with the work of the Election Defense Alliance, which since its founding in 2006 has conducted citizen exit polling at 60 sites in eight states, but says relying on exit polls as a check on the system "places enormous faith in the ability of exit polls to properly sample voters as they come out of the system."...

"In the aftermath of the troubling State Fair Park incident that involved marauding black teenagers..."

"... it seems lots of people have become experts on African-American culture."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane disparages these pseudo-experts.
According to the U.S. Census, there are approximately 220,000 black people in Milwaukee. Anyone who believes they can make such general assumptions about them is way off-base.

Clearly there's a segment of mostly younger Milwaukee black residents in the community that needs immediate intervention. But calls for more personal responsibility are only appropriate if you truly believe the concept, which means you only hold the people who actually committed the crime personally responsible and no one else.

And you certainly can't blame it on culture....
Is Kane saying that if we believe that each individual is personally responsible for the crimes he commits, then we cannot think of the larger culture as causally related to crime problems? Obviously, it's important to refrain from judging individuals according to stereotypes — true or false stereotypes — applicable to groups, but Kane seems to be making a much broader point.

ADDED: Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter lectures black teenagers: "You have damaged your own race."

Chaos in London.

And the police are utterly overwhelmed.
Despite 6,000 officers on the streets of London alone, many residents reported a lack of police while marauding gangs were a law unto themselves.

An 'unprecedented' number of police will be on the streets of London tonight with 'all able-bodied officers in the Met' out on duty, said Scotland Yard Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh.

Police confirmed that 525 people have now been arrested since rioting began on Saturday and over 100 have been charged.
It's not enough to say, we're doing all we can, we're putting all our officers out on the street. Obviously, they do not have enough law enforcement, and the government is responsible for achieving and keeping order. But what can good people do about that at this point? Go out in the streets themselves and protest, adding to the disorder? Huddle at home and hope the rioters go somewhere else?

"Evangelicals Question The Existence Of Adam And Eve."

NPR reports (respectfully!), noting first that Gallup and Pew polls show that 4 out of 10 Americans believe in the literal truth of the account of the origin of human beings that appears in Genesis. There's no link to the specific polls so we can see the questions asked, but I find it hard to believe that so many people belief in the literal story of Adam made out of dust and Eve fashioned from a rib and so on. (Even staying strictly within the text, the first few pages of Genesis seem to have 2 different accounts of the creation of man and woman.)
[N]ow some conservative scholars are saying publicly that they can no longer believe the Genesis account....

To many evangelicals, this is heresy.

"From my viewpoint, a historical Adam and Eve is absolutely central to the truth claims of the Christian faith," says Fazale Rana, vice president of Reasons To Believe, an evangelical think tank that questions evolution. Rana, who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Ohio University, readily admits that small details of Scripture could be wrong.

"But if the parts of Scripture that you are claiming to be false, in effect, are responsible for creating the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, then you've got a problem," Rana says.

Rana and others believe in a literal, historical Adam and Eve for many reasons. One is that the Genesis account makes man unique, created in the image of God — not a descendant of lower primates. Second, it tells a story of how evil came into the world, and it's not a story in which God introduced evil through the process of evolution, but one in which Adam and Eve decided to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit.

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, says that rebellious choice infected all of humankind.

"When Adam sinned, he sinned for us," Mohler says. "And it's that very sinfulness that sets up our understanding of our need for a savior.

Mohler says the Adam and Eve story is not just about a fall from paradise: It goes to the heart of Christianity. He notes that the Apostle Paul (in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15) argued that the whole point of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection was to undo Adam's original sin.

"Without Adam, the work of Christ makes no sense whatsoever in Paul's description of the Gospel, which is the classic description of the Gospel we have in the New Testament," Mohler says.
Are these really the stakes? If evolution is true, Christianity makes no sense? If you don't believe that, at least you can appreciate what a painful position those who do are in. I strongly doubt that the 4 out of 10 Americans who told pollsters they believe in the Genesis account of creation also think that "the whole point of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection was to undo Adam's original sin." Doesn't Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection make more sense if you think of yourself as the sinner in need of forgiveness?

Poppy, the puppy!

"Cheer up, everyone! Meet our 'Poppy.'"

Says one of our very favorite commenters, Irene.

Click on the "poodle" tag to find earlier appearances of Irene's poodles.

Bat on a Plane...

... a plane leaving Madison.

What Madisonian vampire do you think was trying to light out of here on recall evening?

August 8, 2011

At the Sea-Holly Café....

... you can talk all night.

"Judge Foust plans to appoint special prosecutor in Wisconsin Supreme Court dispute."

"Asked if he was expecting any backlash regarding an appointment, Faust dryly replied: 'I don't know because I haven't made it yet.'"

NOTE: The judge's name is Foust, not "Faust," as misspelled in Isthmus, perhaps hoping he'd sell his soul to the devil.

Is it fair for courts to allow vulnerable witnesses to have a dog to hug and pet during testimony?

NYT reports:
[I]n a ruling in June that allowed Rosie to accompany the teenage rape victim to the trial here, a Dutchess County Court judge, Stephen L. Greller, said the teenager was traumatized and the defendant, Victor Tohom, appeared threatening. Although he said there was no precedent in the state, Judge Greller ruled that Rosie was similar to the teddy bear that a New York state appeals court said in 1994 could accompany a child witness.

At least once when the teenager hesitated in Judge Greller’s courtroom, Rosie rose and seemed to push the girl gently with her nose. Mr. Tohom was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life.

His public defenders, David S. Martin and Steven W. Levine, have raised a series of objections that they say seem likely to land the case in New York’s highest court. They argue that as a therapy dog, Rosie responds to people under stress by comforting them, whether the stress comes from confronting a guilty defendant or lying under oath.

But they say jurors are likely to conclude that the dog is helping victims expose the truth. “Every time she stroked the dog,” Mr. Martin said in an interview, “it sent an unconscious message to the jury that she was under stress because she was telling the truth.”

“There was no way for me to cross-examine the dog,” Mr. Martin said.
A dog is distinctly different from a teddy bear, isn't it?

What's with Obama saying he's going to speak at 1...

... and 42 minutes later, he's still not speaking?

It's really irritating to be put on watch like this. He goes on TV too much to say too little, and making us wait for it is... well, maybe there's a good reason.

UPDATE: Speech done. I didn't hear anything new... except that Warren Buffett would like to say we have a "quadruple A" rating if only there were such a thing. Beyond that, I hear the usual blather about how we need a "balanced" approach. In the end, he attempted to tie his economics homily to the terrible helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The 2 things aren't really connected, but he needed to give a speech on the financial markets and it would have been unseemly to appear and not say something about Afghanistan.

Drudge is going all "Persona" on Obama and Timmy:

The headline is: "Barackalypse Now."

At the Swirling Water Café...

P1010714 2

... you can say whatever you want.

Instapundit is 10 years old.

Congratulations... and thanks for all the inspiration for so many years.

ADDED: He did a poll on how he should celebrate the 10-year anniversary, and "just blog as usual" — which is what I voted for — came in third, but it's what he's decided to do. I don't know if it's that he's not as poll-driven as some people, or if it's what in particular came in first and second: "Drink heavily" and "Do a 'Best Of InstaPundit' retrospective." Drink heavily would only be interesting for us readers if he drunk-blogged, but I'll bet he'd blog just about exactly the same drunk. I'm not picturing him diminished by mere alcohol. A "best of" thing would be interesting if it could be done, but it's probably something he'd have trouble doing. Maybe we could do it here? What's your favorite Instapundit post? Too hard, right?

"As a people, we're earnest about this war."

"Our enemies have learned that we're deadly earnest. So are our Allies. We don't wail when things go badly, nor blow off steam at every victory. The fight goes on, come good news or bad."

Advice from a 1945 pamphlet that I keep as a memento.

Newsweek gets "crazy eyes" to appear on Michelle Bachmann's face.

And it drives Michelle Malkin — who's been crazy-eyed herself — crazy.

This reminds me of why I wouldn't let Isthmus photograph me when it did a cover story about me. I figured they'd take a lot of shots and pick one that made me look crazy or bad in some other way.

But I wasn't striving for media coverage, and Bachmann is. She's got to take what she can get. The media is (mostly) liberal. Deal with it. You've got to manage your face if you want to get elected.

Now, the truth is — I've heard this from a friendly professional photographer — that you should make an effort to open your eyes really wide. It's usually the drooping eyelids that make you look bad. I said I thought it would look weird, and he was all: Trust me. It won't. But he was committed to getting a good photograph, and I'm sure he discarded the shots where I took the eye-wide advice too far.

Live-blogging the reaction to the S&P downgrade...

... The Wall Street Journal is.

"What change would you expect to see in a world that has declining levels of boredom and therefore declining creativity?"

Scott Adams asks:
For starters, you might see people acting more dogmatic than usual. If you don't have the option of thinking creatively, the easiest path is to adopt the default position of your political party, religion or culture. Yup, we see that.

You might see more movies that seem derivative or are sequels. Check.

You might see more reality shows and fewer scripted shows. Right.

You might see the best-seller lists dominated by fiction "factories" in which ghostwriters churn out familiar-feeling work under the brands of famous authors. Got it.

You might see the economy flat-line for lack of industry-changing innovation. Uh-oh.

You might see the headlines start to repeat, like the movie "Groundhog Day," with nothing but the names changed. We're there.

You might find that bloggers are spending most of their energy writing about other bloggers. OK, maybe I do that. Shut up.

You might find that people seem almost incapable of even understanding new ideas. Yes.
The theory is: We need boredom.

Wisconsin Democrats "remain cautiously optimistic" about the recall elections.

"Remain"? That suggests the reasons for optimism are fading. But who knows? Maybe the message is a trick to get Republicans to ease up on turnout efforts.
When you take a moment to step back and really think about that and the make-up of these districts, we have virtually no business competing against Republicans in any of these places. And so the fact these races are even in play is testimony to Scott Walker’s overreach, and the massive organizing and push-back that has been building for this election since February. But these are known, well-liked incumbents who were able to hold their seats during the 2008 Democratic wave. Whatever the outcome, do not lose sight of that very important point. 
That sounds like pre-spinning defeat. But remember: It could be a trick!

The Democrats need to take down 3 Republican senators, and they have a shot at that. (There are 6 recall elections against Republican incumbents tomorrow.) But if they do that, they will need to win again next week, as 2 Democratic incumbents face recalls.

"Invent some better scenario... where the stolen food somehow ends up in the stomachs of people who need it."

That's advice for urban gardeners who keep losing vegetables to thieves. This resembles my general attitude toward gardening. Whatever's happening, think about it until you discover a perspective from which to view it in a positive light. But then my approach to gardening was always to let anything happen and then theorize it into rightness. That is, I did no work.

For gardeners who actually put effort into it, reframing your attitude seems pretty unsatisfying. My advice to people who nurture tomatoes and various vegetables: Buy that stuff at the store and grow something people don't steal. Or does that make me like that supposedly contemptible policeman who advised women to deal with the problem of rape by wearing modest clothing?

Speaking of grades...

... have you seen Rick Perry's?

"The best way to eliminate grade inflation is to take professors out of the grading process..."

"... Replace them with professional evaluators who never meet the students, and who don't worry that students will punish harsh grades with poor reviews. That's the argument made by leaders of Western Governors University, which has hired 300 adjunct professors who do nothing but grade student work."

That's awfully nice for the professors who don't have to grade. Should we feel for the adjuncts who have a job consisting of the part of the job that the regular professors are freed from? The photo at the link depicts "Emily Child, an evaluator at Western Governors U., [who] grades 10 to 15 assignments a day, six days a week, working at home before her three children are up or while they nap."

So... that's either awfully nice for Ms. Child, who gets to work at home and arrange her hours around household responsibilities... or a restoration of the subordination of women. (Yes, yes, there are some men who keep house and take care of children... especially they've trained in an academic discipline that affords few career opportunities and their spouses have out-of-the-house jobs.)

I can't picture law schools adopting this method of grading, partly because I'm habituated to the burden, which balances what is otherwise the overwhelmingly pleasure of teaching law. In law schools, we avoid grade inflation by imposing a curve, with a restricted range for the average and a required distribution of grades (forcing you to at least give some Cs, even if Ds and Fs are optional). We also "blind grade," identifying the students with code numbers, and it is, in fact, easier to be critical when you don't have an individual's name on the paper.

"This year should have been a final tribute to Jerry [Lewis]."

"It should have been a chance for him to say goodbye to everybody, to thank them and to bow out gracefully. It's not right."

Jerry's final finale, from last year's telethon:

"He seemed very happy. I don't know why they'd let him go."

August 7, 2011

4 Colorado photos.

From last week's trip...

Driving I-70:

Mountain flowers:

Tree reflections:


The Jackie Tapes: LBJ was behind the JFK assassination.

She spoke with historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. shortly after the assassination on tape recordings that Caroline Kennedy has decided to release early, supposedly "in exchange for ABC dropping its £10 million drama series about the family."

Also on the tapes: Jackie's belief that JFK was "having an affair with a 19-year-old White House intern," that she had affairs with movie star William Holden and Fiat founder Gianni Agnelli, and that "weeks before Mr Kennedy’s assassination, the couple had turned a corner in their relationship and were planning to have more children."

Greenspan: "This is not an issue of credit rating, the United States can pay any debt it has..."

"... because we can always print money to do that. So, there is zero probability of default."

Then what is it?
What I think the S&P thing did was to hit a nerve that there's something basically bad going on, and it's hit the self-esteem of the United States, the psyche. And it's having a much profounder effect than I conceived could happen because the economics of what they're talking about is very clear, and you cannot see any way in which we can go as we were on Friday for a vast movement of international funds into the dollar at very low interest rates and then turn on a dime. That is not going to happen. And so this is not the issue that they make it.

At the New Age Café...

... keep your grip on reality.

(Photograph location: Charles City, Iowa.)

ADDED: A reader emails:
I have been following your blog for quite a while, but never posted....

The reason I am writing to you today is to remark that I lived in Charles City, Iowa in 1966-1968. When I lived there, I lived in the house you photographed with the New Age Realty sign in front of it.

A little history about the house. It is a 1 bedroom house with an unfinished attic. I lived there with my 4 brothers and my parents. All 5 of us boys slept in the unfinished attic,

In May of 1968 a very large tornado tore through the town of about 10,000. Over 1/3 of the structures in the town were demolished beyond repair. The little brick house lost some of its roof and all its windows, but the structure survived intact. It has been a business of one sort or another for at least the past 30 years.
Cool! I love when stuff like this happens.

"As a practicing psychologist with more than 25 years of experience, I will resist the temptation to diagnose at a distance, but..."

Psyche prof diagnoses says something long about Obama.

When he wants to be, the president is a brilliant and moving speaker, but his stories virtually always lack one element: the villain who caused the problem, who is always left out, described in impersonal terms, or described in passive voice, as if the cause of others’ misery has no agency and hence no culpability.
ADDED: Paul Krugman comments on the linked piece:
[W]e shouldn’t really wonder what happened to Obama — he is who he always was. If you paid attention to what he actually said during the primary and the election, he was always a very conventional centrist. Progressives who flocked to his campaign basically deluded themselves, mistaking style for substance. I got huge flack for saying that at the time, but it was true, and events have borne it out.
Of course, I wasn't deluded. That's not to say I'm happy.

"As the 51st governor of New York from 1975 through 1982, [Hugh] Carey led a small group of public servants who vanquished the fiscal crisis..."

"... that threatened New York City and the state — the direst emergency a governor had faced since the Depression — by taking on powers over the city’s finances that no governor had wielded before and none has wielded since. A liberal Democrat, Mr. Carey reversed the upward spiral of borrowing, spending and entitlement under his predecessor, Nelson A. Rockefeller, a Republican who had presided in an era of limitless government promise."

He was 92. It's good to remember what happened in the 1970s, what he "vanquished," and how some people back then imagined "limitless government promise."

Hugh Carey was born in 1919. ("He fought with the 104th Division in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, helping to capture Cologne and liberate prisoners at a concentration camp at Nordhausen.") He had 13 children. Nelson Rockefeller, by the way, was born a mere 11 years earlier, and he's been dead since 1979.

Speaking of teacher-bloggers, remember the woman who was suspended after she blogged about her students as "lazy whiners"?

We talked about her here?

The teacher, Natalie Munroe, was "reinstated because she has a legal right to her job." So... the teachers have their rights, but what about the students? According to the linked article, 60 students have requested that they not be assigned to her class. Now, the reason we know that is that the school's principal, Abe Lucabaugh, held a news conference. He took the initiative to announce that Munroe "has sacrificed her respect, her professionalism, and her ethical standing as an educator, role model and mentor for students."
"In exercising her right to speak and by blatantly refusing to apologize for her actions, she has created an unenviable position for herself..."
Free speech, baby. Lucabaugh's got his speech too.  How's he doing on respect, professionalism, and her ethical standing as an educator, role model and mentor? And what are the students — the "lazy whiners" — learning? 


Unlike the teacher-blogger discussed in the previous post, Munroe has not deleted her blog —"Where Are We Going & Why Are We in This Handbasket." It's right here.

"An Ex Blogs. Is it O.K. to Watch?"

This is one of those NYT "Modern Love" columns, and it ranks #3 on the NYT "most e-mailed" list. A woman discovers and reads a blog written by an old boyfriend. So what?
Buried among the philosophical musings and literary exegeses were struggles of a more intimate nature. Somewhere in the course of creating his blogs, my ex had slipped into the role of diarist.
As noted, it's a blog. She professes surprise to find that "a guy in his 40s" would include "amid a cogent dissection of 'Infinite Jest,'... an account of his outré dream from the night before." Why is that surprising? It's a blog. The man she'd known had "literary aspirations," and why wouldn't a writer who cared about "Infinite Jest" indulge in an odd digression or two. It's the kind of thing the book's author does, and writers read novels to get ideas that they can use in their own writing.

To me, it's irritating that this "Modern Love" columnist is "surprised" that a blogger goes into a personal digression and that she tells us it's "outré" but not whether it's good writing.

But it's all about her. She says "There was dirt here," but that only means that she has a prurient interest in digging into this man's life — or at least in writing a NYT "Modern Love" column about her emotions in relation to internet technology.

You'd think this "Modern Love" column had already been written! A woman sees an old boyfriend's internet presence and she's launched on an emotional arc: It's like finding his diary! Ooh! Am I bad to peek? To become obsessed? He's married, but I can horn into his life....

Settle down, lady! He's writing on the internet. You're reading the things he chose to post in public. He's looking for readers. Annoyingly, the NYT doesn't link to his blog, so he's not getting new readers. But this woman who's displaying her titillation in reading him gets a "Modern Love" column. She's Helen Schulman, whose "most recent novel is 'This Beautiful Life' (Harper)."

Picture yourself as this guy, this guy with literary ambition who would like to be read but is written about, in the NYT, by a woman with a string of well-published novels. I'd like to read his "Modern Love" column about his emotions in relation to the old media that is the NYT with its "Modern Love" column!

Schulman goes on:
As time passed and I kept reading, I cultivated a stake in his life, in him. “Way to go, honey!” I thought when he turned the troubled boy around. And “No, stop!” when he heedlessly posted explicit musings about his kinky sex dreams. I wanted to tell him, “Just forgive yourself: there’s nothing terrible in these fantasies. But do you really want your kids to stumble upon this stuff the way that I did?”

He was in need of a cyberintervention. I toyed with the idea of contacting him; I had a bizarre desire to help. The intimacy of his postings reawakened old feelings of loyalty and attachment — and irritation and annoyance.

I thought about writing to ex as myself, and I wondered if he would find it creepy. Was it creepy? Maybe it was.
So... maybe this guy doesn't deserve the exposure or would be hurt if he got it. And maybe his writing isn't good enough to deserve any help from a woman with a string of well-published novels. Maybe exactly what he deserves is this semi-exposure, this absorption into the literary work of the successful author, the one whose "literary aspirations" have long been sumptuously fulfilled.

Take that, ex!

IN THE COMMENTS: Fred4Pres says:
She can't link to them because all the blogs vanished.
He's right. She says:
The day after ex posted something he decidedly should not have, talking about his students in a way no teacher ever should... someone with sense in his real world must have gotten to him. By the next morning, all the blogs had vanished.
AND: Remember that teacher who was suspended for writing mean things about her students, calling them "lazy whiners" and so forth?