August 20, 2011

"Anonymous Law Prof Behind Law School Scam Blog Outs Himself: Paul Campos."


Paul is one of the bloggers at that blog I stopped linking to after they deleted all Meade's comments (Lawyers, Guns & Money). Here's what I wrote about the Anonymous Law Professor blog. I thought it was a student, because it had some bad writing and simplistic thinking.

Is the Anonymous Law Professor blog more important now that we know who it is? (Assuming you ever cared at all.)

IN THE COMMENTS:  somefeller said:
It was dumb for him to try to write anonymously/pseudonymously, because he already was a fairly well-known blogger who writes under his own name. That really added nothing to the conversation and if anything detracted from his points by creating a biographical whodunit...
I disagree. He got attention with the "Anonymous" tease, with an Inside Higher Ed article and lots of links and discussion. If it had just been Paul Campos's next diatribe, who would have cared? Maybe by the time he'd worked the whole thing into a book, with an impressive publisher — like his "Jurismania: The Madness of American Law," published by Oxford University Press — everyone would take the trouble to read and talk about it. But this way, he got lots of publicity for his project, right at the outset. He even got the eminent lawprofcrank Brian Leiter bellyaching about it. That was pretty rich. I'd say Paul Campos is doing just fine. He should keep up the graphomania, hook Oxford University Press again, and grasp the fame and money that comes from writing a pithy polemic that hits right in the zone as people question the value of a legal education.

The love of high-speed trains.

I've been a big critic of the romantic enthusiasm for high-speed trains in present-day American political discourse, so I was fascinated to run across this rather similar romanticization of high-speed rail in some Nazi propaganda (from 1932):
The Nordic landscape cries out to be traversed by rails over which express trains can speed. It is a characteristic of all Nordic vehicles to increase their speed. Ever-increasing velocity is a built-in characteristic of the rails themselves, the rails by which, in the Nordic experience of the world, the whole world is penetrated. Rails that are already in existence and those that must constantly be constructed for ever newer, ever faster vehicles on which men who experience the world Nordically may strive toward ever new goals. The Nordic soul experiences its world as a structure made up of countless thoroughfares — those already at hand and those still to be created — on land, on water, in the air, and in the stratosphere. It races like a fever through all segments of the Nordic community, a fever of speed which, infectiously, reaches out far beyond the world of the north and attacks souls who are not Nordic and for whom, at bottom, such action is contrary to their style and senseless.
If you are really enthusiastic about high-speed trains, please consider the possibility that you are deranged.

"I’m keeping my power to myself and my glow. I’m not giving anybody my glow anymore."

"I’m not saying I’m always going to be celibate, I’m just saying that until there is someone that is worthy of my love and a reflection of the way God loves me then I’m not doing it.... There’s no greater power in the world than that of a woman’s vagina. You hold the key to everything! Women, we are so strong! It took me so long to figure that out but I realized just how strong a woman is. The sensuality and the power that we have… if we withhold you can get that man to do whatever you want him to. I’m not saying it’s easy! Not by any means, it is very difficult. My daddy used to tell my sisters. 'Once you pop you can’t stop,' but it’s worth it, it is definitely worth it. I’m keeping my power to myself and my glow. I’m not giving anybody my glow anymore."

Keep that glow, ladies!

Hit the road!

UPDATE: Home! We're not in Colorado. That picture is from August 4th. But we did go out for a 26-mile bike ride, in lovely weather — 60s and low 70s — here in Wisconsin.

"I’m sorry, your sexual choice is not a God-given right."

"You’re talking about a choice and you’re talking about elevating a choice to an inalienable right, which is impossible, you can’t, not under the definition of American documents.”

Said David Barton, as if choice and rights are unrelated concepts. The document in question is the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
How can you understand liberty and the pursuit of happiness without seeing choice as a necessary part of the right? You are free to do — what? — only one thing? It is true that, in recent years, gay rights proponents have fixated on the idea that gay people have no choice in their sexual orientation, but their demand for rights has to do with letting people make their own choices about what to do with their preferences and desires. Those who oppose gay rights know that perfectly well: They predictably respond to the argument that sexual orientation is inborn and unchangeable by saying that sexual behavior is a choice.

If you don't believe sexual freedom is a fundamental right, think of some rights that you are fond of — freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, freedom of speech — and try to explain them devoid of choice. To focus particularly on religion: Do you think that the Founders saw religion as something apart from choice? Here's a famous American document, James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessment:
If "all men are by nature equally free and independent," [Virginia Declaration of Rights, art. 1] all men are to be considered as entering into Society on equal conditions; as relinquishing no more, and therefore retaining no less, one than another, of their natural rights. Above all are they to be considered as retaining an "equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of Conscience." [Virginia Declaration of Rights, art. 16] Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered.
That's all about choice, my friend.

ADDED: Barton presents himself as a Christian, so it's especially interesting that Madison relied, in part, on principles he found in the Christian religion itself:
[T]he Christian Religion itself... disavows a dependence on the powers of this world: it is a contradiction to fact; for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them....

At the Green Water Café...

... you can reflect on anything you like.

(Photo taken August 4, 2011 in the White River National Forest, in Colorado.)

"Some might think the blob-like fiberglass forms on Wendy Evans Joseph and Jeffrey Ravetch’s roof terrace look like Al Capp’s sweet-natured Shmoos."

"But for the couple and their landscape architect, Ken Smith, the voluptuous planters are whimsical abstractions of scholars’ rocks, the stones found in traditional Chinese gardens."

Shmoos*... philosophers... you may think there's not much difference.

Ravetch himself brought up the Shmoos... or I would have said that the NYT was wounding their egos, likening the things they like to think of as sophisticated to ridiculous cartoon characters. But Ravetch is in on the joke, and maybe traditional Chinese philosophers would be amused as well. And the couple seems to like a down-to-earth image:
The couple... envisioned a functional space where they could not only entertain friends and have barbecues with their family... but also wash the mud off their two golden retrievers after a weekend at their home in the Hudson Valley....

Mr. Smith... is known for juxtaposing artificial flowers and plants (not to mention things like chain-link fencing and crushed rubber) with grasses, trees and rocks. His rooftop garden for the Museum of Modern Art, visible to only people in the buildings overlooking it, for example, is what he calls “simulated nature”: boulders are hollow plastic, and the boxwood is plastic, too. But he has a deft way with real boxwood and grasses, as well as bamboo and magnolia.
Visible to only people in the buildings overlooking it... What?! Is there some cloak of invisibility blocking the view of golden retrievers?

* Shmoos:
Cartoonist Al Capp was already world-famous and a millionaire in 1948 when he introduced an armless pear-shaped character called the Shmoo into his daily "Li'l Abner" strip. The unusual creature loved humans. A Shmoo laid eggs and bottles of Grade A milk in an instant, and would gladly die and change itself into a sizzling steak if its owner merely looked at it hungrily. Its skin was fine leather, its eyes made perfect buttons and even its whiskers made excellent toothpicks. Shmoos multiplied much faster than rabbits, so owning a pair of Shmoos meant that any family was self-sufficient. Of course the Shmoos proved too good for humanity's sake and therein was the basis for Capp's ultimate (and tragic) satire....
Come on! That's philosophy, no?

Buy Al Capp's "The Short Life and Happy Times of the Shmoo."

Ohio governor balks on new law restricting the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

"Gov. John Kasich and top Republican lawmakers said Wednesday that they were offering to change a new law limiting collective bargaining in an attempt to keep a repeal effort off the November ballot."

ADDED: Vote in only in one of these 2 polls. The question is: Which one is the Republican?

Republicans vote here:
John Kasich
Scott Walker free polls 

Non-Republicans vote here:
John Kasich
Scott Walker free polls 

The NYT doesn't like the 4-3 conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

It has a solution, wrapped up in the pretense of restoring ethics and taking the money and politics out of judging.
Members of Wisconsin’s top court need to focus on restoring civility and public trust... They should... adopt an appeals process for recusals, so the final decision is no longer left to the judge whose impartiality is being questioned. The court’s credibility, and justice in Wisconsin, are on the line.
What are the chances the NYT would propose that if the 4-3 balance favored liberals?

August 19, 2011

"If you're not a liberal at 20 you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at 40 you have no brain."

Said Winston Churchill, quoted by gadfly, commenting in a thread where my political orientation is under discussion.

I said: "I see you're counting by 20s. I'm 60. So... another category is needed."

XWL took up the challenge:
20s, liberal
40s, conservative
60s, (my stab at a quote)

If you aren't both thoroughly disgusted yet quietly bemused by politics at 60, then you haven't been paying attention.
Come on. Play the game of augmenting the Churchill quote!

ADDED: Well, I used to be disgusted, but now I try to be amused bemused....

ALSO: I have no idea if Churchill actually said that. That's really not the point here. The point is, people love that quote and I perceive a need for a 3d line in it.

In the White River National Forest...

... August 4, 2011.

Enthusing over the new Sarah Palin video.

"Regardless of whether you support her or not, for President or not, no one does inspirational political (campaign?) videos better than Palin."

You be the judge. Me? I love the fisheye lens!

Feds reject Bloomberg's anti-obesity experiment.

Not because it's too much nannyism. It's just too much trouble.
Federal officials on Friday rejected Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s proposal to bar New York City’s food stamp users from buying soda and other sugary drinks with their benefits....
But in a letter Friday, an administrator of the food stamp program in Washington said the city’s proposed experiment would have been “too large and complex” to implement and evaluate.

"I am a child of the 1970s. What that means, in short, is that my childhood summer vacations were spent..."

"... languishing in front of the TV watching Phil Donahue and eating Boo Berry until my skin turned purple. Nobody cared if I read. Nobody cared if I wore sunscreen, or pants. I was like a house cat; my parents barely even knew if I was still living with them or whether I had moved in with the old lady down the street who would put out a bowl of food for me. In the '70s, parenting was like a combination of intense crate-training and rumspringa, so I would typically spend June through September burnt to a crisp and wandering listlessly around the city, verging on scurvy."

Writes Samantha Bee, who's now got 3 little kids and is tired of today's overachieving "tiger mother" style of parenting.

I did my childhood summers in the 1950s and 60s, and I can tell you my parents did not get the slightest bit involved in my activities. There was a community pool that we had tags to get into if we felt like going. We had bikes. What we did with these things was entirely up to us, and there wasn't a word of criticism if we chose to watch TV all day or a hint of praise if we read books or went outside. My parents never made the slightest show of putting any effort into good parenting. Looking back, I can discern that they had some principles that they stuck to, but these principles were things like self-reliance and personal autonomy, so it was hard to notice, and they didn't pontificate about these principles, which I'm only inferring they had.

"Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., ... the West Memphis 3, stood up in a courtroom... proclaimed their innocence and... walked out as free men."

The NYT reports, noting that Echols's case was "the highest-profile release of a death row inmate in recent memory."
Under the terms of a deal reached with prosecutors, Mr. Echols, Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Misskelley leave as men who maintain their innocence yet who pleaded guilty to murder, as men whom the state still consider to be child killers but whom the state deemed safe enough to set free.

Despite a half-hour of esoteric legal procedure, the courtroom was charged with raw feeling. Several of the relatives of the victims were ejected for their outbursts. One told the judge he was opening a Pandora’s box in allowing this deal; another shouted that the defendants were murderers and baby-killers....

Many residents of West Memphis often resented, and still resent, the presumption that outsiders knew the details of the horrific case better than they did.
Celebrities got involved. And there was an excellent documentary (which focused on the prejudice against teenagers who liked heavy metal music).
Under the seemingly contradictory deal, Judge David Laser vacated the previous convictions, including the capital murder convictions for Mr. Echols and Mr. Baldwin. After doing so, he ordered a new trial, something the prosecutors agreed to if the men would enter so-called Alford guilty pleas. These pleas allow people to maintain their innocence and admit frankly that they are pleading guilty because they consider it in their best interest.
(You can read the Alford case here.)
The district prosecuting attorney, Scott Ellington, said afterward that the state still considered the men guilty. But he acknowledged they would probably be acquitted if a new trial were held, and he expressed concern that if the men were exonerated at the trial, they could sue the state, possibly for millions of dollars.
So... the state is shielding itself from a big suit for damages. This way the prosecutor can avoid that lawsuit and also act as if there was no miscarriage of justice here. The 3 men are taking the deal, because it's in their interest too. They get out of prison (and in Echols's case, the death penalty), avoid further proceedings, and can go on to do something with the lives that have been shorn of an 18-year chunk of youth.

(I highly recommend the documentary: "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills / Paradise Lost 2: Revelations.")

Hey, I got an "Yglesias Award" nomination...

... from Andrew Sullivan.

The Ylgesias Award is the good one (of Sullivan's 6 awards):
The Yglesias Award is for writers, politicians, columnists or pundits who actually criticize their own side, make enemies among political allies, and generally risk something for the sake of saying what they believe.
Now, did I do that? I'm not sure I have a side. Or political allies. And some people question whether I even have beliefs! That should perhaps disqualify me for that award.

Obama goes to the bookstore...

... and — using the credit card he only uses about 3 times a year — buys:

1. "The Bayou Trilogy."
Det. Rene Shade, an ex-boxer turned cop...  with a 10-year-old daughter and a killer on his trail. There's poetry in Woodrell's mayhem, each novel—and scene—full of gritty and memorable Cajun details. 
I don't know enough about this to speculate about whether Obama identifies with Shade, but I will note that Sasha is 10. 

2. "Brave New World" ... which is a book I carry around in my iPad and dip into frequently for inspiration. I know Obama is thinking about jobs as he vacations, and perhaps there's something in "Brave New World" about jobs. For example, there's the idea of depriving relieving people of the competition for better jobs and keeping 8/9 of the population in childishly simply low-level jobs where they will be happy:
No strain on the mind or the muscles. Seven and a half hours of mild, unexhausting labour, and then the soma ration and games and unrestricted copulation and the feelies. What more can they ask for? True... they might ask for shorter hours. And of course we could give them shorter hours. Technically, it would be perfectly simple to reduce all lower-caste working hours to three or four a day. But would they be any the happier for that? No, they wouldn’t. The experiment was tried, more than a century and a half ago. The whole of Ireland was put on to the four-hour day. What was the result? Unrest and a large increase in the consumption of soma; that was all. Those three and a half hours of extra leisure were so far from being a source of happiness, that people felt constrained to take a holiday from them. The Inventions Office is stuffed with plans for labour-saving processes: Thousands of them... And why don’t we put them into execution? For the sake of the labourers; it would be sheer cruelty to afflict them with excessive leisure.
So... 1 + 2... the boxer and thinking outside the box.

ADDED: Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little soma...

"The President's Island Retreat: Is his visit to Martha's Vineyard a sign that he's giving up?"

Peggy Noonan asks:
The market is dispirited. I'm wondering if the president is, too, and if that won't carry implications for the 2012 race. You can imagine him having lunch with political advisers, hearing some unwanted advice — "Don't go to Martha's Vineyard!" — putting his napkin by his plate, pushing back from the table, rising, and saying in a clipped, well-modulated voice: "I'm tired. I'm going. If they want this job so much let them have it."
That's not the scenario I have in my head. I don't think Obama has anybody urging him to do or not do one thing or another. I think they are all on the same page, and the page is 2012. And when you look at August 2011 from Spring/Summer/Fall 2012, one more vacation isn't going to seem like much of anything. The economy will matter, but not what it was in August 2011, what it is now. Whatever it is, people will hold Obama responsible, so right now, he's hoping things will be better enough that he'll have something to claim credit for.

Could he do something right now, in August 2011, that will make the economy better at that future point, something that will be more effective than biking and golfing on Martha's Vineyard? I don't think he can, and if he doesn't think he can, in my book, that's a point in his favor. Spare me your programs and clever ideas. I like getting some evidence that he knows the limits of government.

Obama's presidency is about getting reelected, and doing nothing right now fits that agenda just fine. I don't know how tired he is, but it doesn't matter. He should rest. Lie low. Do some fundraising... even though he already has a billion dollars. Don't waste your energy in futile gestures at doing something about the economy you don't know how to fix. Be cool. The cool Obama was good enough in '08....

Obama mural on 6th Street

... and it can be good enough in '12, if the economy heals itself a bit and the Republicans stumble over each other. There's nothing to get excited about now...

Obama mural on 6th Street

... you know that. Enjoy the summer, Mr. President!

Russ Feingold: "While I may seek elective office again someday, I have decided not to run for public office during 2012."

That means he's not running for the Senate seat that Herb Kohl is getting up out of and not going to be the one to challenge Gov. Scott Walker in any recall that becomes a possibility beginning next January.
In an email going out to supporters early Friday morning, Feingold called it a difficult decision but said he wanted to devote his time to teaching full time at Marquette Law School, finishing the book he is writing on the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 attacks and leading the political committee he founded, Progressives United.
I take that to mean that he doesn't think he'd be able to win. I mean really, a book on the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 attacks? Shouldn't that have been done and ready to go on the 10th anniversary of the attacks? Or is it possible that Russ Feingold is a serious law professor writing a scholarly book of real depth?

I assume he'd rather be Governor now than Senator again, and I think it's sound judgment to stay away from the recall context. Wait for the next regular elections. Recalls have a nasty edge to them, and Feingold needs to reclaim the middle ground politically to win a state-wide majority. Being the hero of the protesters won't get him anywhere near far enough. Remember this Russ Feingold?

"This game is not over until we win" is not — ironically — what will win the governorship in Wisconsin. Better to be a law professor for a while, publish a serious book on national government, and be reborn as the wise moderate. Take the governorship and, with all that moderation and executive experience, there's still time to run for President. Even in 2016!

I'm creating my "2016 campaign" tag right now, in honor of (that insight about) Russ.

And by the way:
His decision leaves the Democratic Senate field wide open, though many Wisconsin Democrats will now regard U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, with her political base in vote-rich Dane County, as the early favorite for the party nomination.
Dane County — basically, Madison — may be "vote-rich," but having the Madison brand on you — and Baldwin, of course, deserves it — is going to hurt you elsewhere in the state. But, go ahead Tammy, run.

August 18, 2011

At the 5:30 Café...

... this is what it was like for us, walking, almost home, in the late afternoon. I love this view in this light, and I've appreciated it many, many times over the last 25 years, usually alone. It was good to share it with you.

"I stand quietly, but with arms out, hoping that I seem big to the bear even if he could nicely tear me up with one swipe of his paw."

"But he doesn't do that. He looks at us, hesitates, turns around and goes back, veering off the path into the thicket of flowers, with one last soulful look in our direction. The Ferdinand of bears, lost in his world of flowers and berries."

Nina encounters a bear on the International Appalachian Trial. Very sweet. Cool pic. But I was traumatized yesterday reading this bear story:
Olga Moskalyova, 19, gave an horrific hour-long running commentary on her own death in three separate calls as the wild animals killed her.

She screamed: “Mum, the bear is eating me! Mum, it’s such agony. Mum, help!’”

Her mother Tatiana said that at first thought she was joking. “But then I heard the real horror and pain in Olga’s voice, and the sounds of a bear growling and chewing.”

"Fight ends Georgetown basketball exhibition in China."

What the hell happened?
What began as a goodwill trip to China for the Georgetown men’s basketball team turned violent Thursday night, when its exhibition game against a Chinese professional club deteriorated into a benches-clearing melee in which players exchanged blows, chairs were thrown and spectators tossed full water bottles at the Hoyas players and coaches as they headed to the locker room.
The photo makes the Chinese players look like they are stomping on one American guy while another American guy expresses outrage.
The brawl occured one night after Vice President Biden, who is in Beijing on a four-day visit to discuss U.S.-Chinese economic relations, attended a Georgetown game against another Chinese club at the Olympic Sports Center. That game, which was won by Georgetown, passed without incident.
So this has nothing to do with Biden?

"What is it about terminating half a twin pregnancy that seems more controversial than reducing triplets to twins or aborting a single fetus?"

"After all, the math’s the same either way: one fewer fetus. Perhaps it’s because twin reduction (unlike abortion) involves selecting one fetus over another, when either one is equally wanted. Perhaps it’s our culture’s idealized notion of twins as lifelong soul mates, two halves of one whole. Or perhaps it’s because the desire for more choices conflicts with our discomfort about meddling with ever more aspects of reproduction."

This is a long article in the NYT, directed, I think, at readers who support abortion rights generally, but are susceptible to moral doubts about some uses of abortion. I suspect that for those who believe abortion is always immoral — or acceptable only to save the mother from death or severe bodily harm — the destruction of the twin is like every other abortion, and the moral qualms abortion supporters feel is a kind of half-awakening to a problem they should be seeing all the time.

Here's one story:

"Hungary’s government wants to dethrone English as the most common foreign language taught in Hungarian schools."

"The reason: It’s just too easy to learn."
“It is fortunate if the first foreign language learned is not English. The initial, very quick and spectacular successes of English learning may evoke the false image in students that learning any foreign language is that simple”...

Instead, the ministry department in charge of education would prefer if students “chose languages with a fixed, structured grammatical system, the learning of which presents a balanced workload, such as neo-Latin languages.”
Why is a language with a "fixed, structured grammatical system" easier to learn? And what's with Hungary's hostility to students feeling good about their capacity to learn a foreign language? I just don't believe this. I suspect that they don't want people learning English first, because it's so thoroughly empowering to know English that learning it drastically undercuts the incentive to learn any other language.

"NPR Devotes Over 4 Min. to Supposed Ethics Issues of Thomas, Scalia, Alito; Barely Touches on Kagan."

Ha. I heard this segment myself the other day, and the intro completely had me thinking that it was going to focus on the issues relating to the liberal justices:
At times of partisan stress in American politics, the Supreme Court can become part of the game, and the ethics of individual justices can come in for criticism. In recent months, liberal groups have chastised conservative justices for attending private conferences put on by conservative political interests, and conservative groups have responded by leveling some criticism in the other direction.

NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg has that story.
I kept waiting and waiting for Totenberg to get to the part about the liberal justices. After loads of detail about the conservatives, all we ngot was one sentence:
The conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, has also suggested that Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan should recuse herself from participating in any upcoming case challenging the Obama health care law, because she had been a legal official in the Obama administration.

"Hundreds of New Yorkers who have been caught with small amounts of marijuana, or who have simply admitted to using it, have become ensnared in civil child neglect cases in recent years..."

"... though they did not face even the least of criminal charges, according to city records and defense lawyers. A small number of parents in these cases have even lost custody of their children."

At the Madison Café...

... we're still walking, but don't look too closely.

"Shame." "It's About Freedom." "RAT."

"Blame Wall Street/No Concessions." "Time to REBOOT the GOP Legislature." "Don't take my rights/Leaders Lead, Cowards Dictate/Solidarity!!!!"

Obama's liberal critics catch fire.

!. Jane Hamsher finds it "just weird" that one of Obama's people is denouncing Paul Krugman and the “Firebagger Lefty blogosphere."
I know the goal is to attract the much-prized Independent for 2012. But who do they think is keeping Obama’s poll numbers afloat?
2. Congresswoman Maxine Waters complains that Obama's bus trip didn't include any black communities and has this colloquy with her audience:
WATERS: We don't put pressure on the president.

CROWD: That's right!

WATERS: Let me tell you why: We don't put pressure on the president because y'all loooove the president.

CROWD: No! (grumbling, shouting)

WATERS: You loooove the president. You're very proud. You're very proud to have a black man...

CROWD: That's right! Yes, we are.

WATERS: ...first time in history of the United States of America.

CROWD: (shouting)

WATERS: If we go after the president too hard, you going after us. When you tell us it's all right --

CROWD: It's all right! (shouting)

WATERS: When you tell us it's all right and you unleash us, and you tell us you're ready for us to have this conversation, we're ready to have the conversation!

"Have you ever had sex with Rick Perry?"

Says an ad in the Austin Chronicle:
"Are you a stripper, an escort, or just a 'young hottie' impressed by an arrogant, entitled governor of Texas? Contact CASH, and we will help you publicize your direct dealings with a Christian-buzzwords-spouting, 'family values' hypocrite and fraud."
Ick. Reminds me of Rush Limbaugh, the other day:
I got one of these e-mail things... "Where are all of Obama's former girlfriends?" It's a takeoff on where are all of the students Obama taught who claim to have been inspired by him when he taught law at the University of Chicago.

Where are all of the former classmates of Obama who can tell wonderful stories about their experience with Obama on campus or in the classroom? And it's interesting because those people haven't surfaced. There aren't any ex-girlfriends that have admitted it. Students that have been inspired by Obama as a professor, they haven't come forth. Media hasn't dug 'em up. It is interesting from the standpoint that the guy has not been vetted yet. Look what they're trying to do to Michele Bachmann, what they're planning on doing to Perry and so forth.
Should we dig into this sort of material?
No. It's sleazy and more or less irrelevant.
Yes. Let's sift through everything and then take it for what it's worth.
Only conservatives deserve this kind of research.
Only liberals deserve this kind of research. free polls 

1-word response not understood by left-wing blog.

And they even see the historical reference. They just can't put it together.

(Sorry for 2 Allen West posts in a row. It just happened in the normal course of looking for the morning's bloggables.)

"I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman..."

"... to kind of lead people on the underground railroad away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility."

"The perfect tavern is somewhere in Wisconsin."

Photo gallery.

August 17, 2011

"Adios, mofo."

Is that wrong?

"We don't really know exactly how it happened."


ADDED: The picture at the link reminds me of this famous old photograph:

"While Perry was playing the retro trigger-happy cowboy, Obama was playing the retro henpecked husband."

Maureen Dowd:
In Cannon Falls, Minn., the president compared negotiating with House Republicans to negotiating with his wife.

“In my house,” Obama noted, “if I said, ‘You know, Michelle, honey, we got to cut back, so we’re going to have you stop shopping completely. You can’t buy shoes; you can’t buy dresses; but I’m keeping my golf clubs.’ You know, that wouldn’t go over so well.”

In Decorah, he said: “Everybody cannot get 100 percent of what they want. Now, for those of you who are married, there is an analogy here. I basically let Michelle have 90 percent of what she wants. But, at a certain point, I have to draw the line and say, ‘Give me my little 10 percent.’ ”
You know what bugs me about this analogy? It's the contempt for the intelligence of the audience. The federal budget is not the same as a household budget scaled up. A husband and wife can't just "raise the debt ceiling." And the 10% Obama is referring to is not the avoidance of an expenditure (like the golf clubs). It's taxes. There is nothing like that in the family budget. The husband and wife do not have the option of commanding other people to give them money... unless they rob people... in which case the wife would be right to say, no, we can't go out robbing people. And the husband would be crazy to think he was making a modest and moderate argument by saying, "But honey, it's only for 10%."

Now, I'm not saying that taxes are theft. I think we should pay taxes to pay for whatever it is that we want and need from government. I'm just saying that the analogy between the federal budget and the household budget is all off. It's used by politicians to sound folksy and to try to persuade people who are not supposed to be very bright.

"Police Say They Can Detain Photographers If Their Photographs Have 'No Apparent Esthetic Value.'"

It happened in Long Beach:
The police officer somehow determined that there couldn't be esthetic value there, and thus, the photographer had to be detained and checked out. The police are defending this policy, saying that while officers don't have any specific training in what qualifies as "apparent esthetic value," they will stop anyone photographing things they don't consider to be something a "regular tourist" would photograph. I actually have to go down to Long Beach next month for a speaking engagement, and I'm now tempted to take a bunch of photographs that have "no apparent esthetic value."
I understand the security concerns at the root of this, but it's just crazily overreaching. And as someone who often takes pictures like this...

P1010894 2

... I feel really threatened.

(Via MadisonMan.)

Ben Smith is still trying to get his mind around Rick Perry's manliness..

... and my mocking of him for his problem getting his mind around Rick Perry's manliness....

Smith says Perry's manliness is "shtick" which can be taken too far. There's something weirdly beta about Smith's relationship with Perry's masculinity. I notice how he lapses into light lisping toward the end of that clip when he's lauding Perry in relation to Bachmann. As I said in the previous post, Perry seems to have thrown some macho whammy on the press boys.

ADDED: I don't think Smith refers to it — though perhaps he means to allude to it — but there have long been rumors that Perry is gay. Google "Is Rick Perry Gay?" and you'll easily find the sort of stuff that's out there. Byron York might have intended to allude to these rumors when he said, in the clip above, that Perry isn't the kind of guy that is interested in Lady Gaga.

"Copyright time bomb threatens music labels."

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Under a US copyright law from 1978, artists who sold themselves to the recording companies could reclaim their copyright, and the precious royalties that go with it, in 35 years. All they need to do is file "termination claims" at least two years in advance.

As the deadline approaches the ageing stars of rock'n'roll are reaching for their lawyers. Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Bryan Adams, Tom Waits and Kris Kristofferson are already reported to have filed claims with the US Copyright Office. Other music legends seem ready to join battle.
The record labels are attempting to fend off the devastation by arguing that the albums were "works for hire," which, under copyright law, would mean that the artists were employees working for the record companies and the companies therefore always owned their work product.... sort of like what The Byrds were singing about in "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n Roll Star":
So you want to be a rock and roll star
Then listen now to what I say
Just get an electric guitar
Then take some time and learn how to play...

Then it's time to go downtown
Where the agent man won't let you down
Sell your soul to the company
Who are waiting there to sell plastic ware
Ha. That was back in 1967, when the idea that you were involved in making something plastic was supposed to be horrifying. That's why this was supposed to be so funny:

That's "The Graduate," which came out in 1967. 1967, that was a hell of a year. A year for shunning plastic. The Summer of Love. I was 16. Where were you?

Now, it's 2011. Do we have any sympathy for the record companies today? Their product isn't even plastic anymore. You know they've lost a lot of money in the switchover to digital. Or do you align with the artists? Are they still artists, these people who sing and play on the recordings?

"A conversation with an imagined young black flash mobber."

Glenn Loury is struck by what Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter had to say.

"[I]f every naked picture of a baby looks like porn to you..."

"... then you’re the one who’s thinking like a pedophile."

August 16, 2011

Did you know the Appalachian Trail continues up into Canada?

I didn't. But then I get all my information about the Appalachian Trial from Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods," which I've listened to as an audiobook 100s of times. (I fall asleep listening to audiobooks, and this is one of my favorites.) But here's Nina, hiking the Canadian section of the AT.
We had wondered why the label for this stretch of the IAT is "difficult." How could it be, when the elevations aren't so steep. Now we know.
LOL. Read the whole thing.

The Nefarious Kansas Preacher provides 'Some observations and thoughts on my experience at the Madison 'Sing-a-long.'"

Our  preacher friend — who comments here as "caplight" — wrote (unrequested) his account of the incident that took place on August 12, 2011:
1. I came to observe and to talk to the protestors. Why? First of all, I wanted to see things for myself. I appreciate the yeoman’s work that Althouse and Meade have done to document much of the events in Madison these last six or so months. But I am curious and want to see things for myself. My location this past week afforded me a ready opportunity to observe and draw my own conclusions. Second, I think of Wisconsin as somewhat of a ground zero for the future of public sector unions and for an emerging discussion of the proper scope of government within the context of fiscal responsibility. I wanted to speak to those who believe they are fighting the good fight on behalf of a certain vision of the future. I wanted to hear it from regular people not from union executives and politicians.

Recall results.

County by county: here. At this point, the Republican that was not supposed to win is ahead, and the Republican that seemed to have a decent chance is behind, with both races breaking 55/45%.

UPDATE, 9:32 Central Time: The Democrat who was supposed to win has now been declared the winner.

UPDATE 2: And... both Democratic incumbents win. Fine with me. I did not like the "fleebagging," but I don't like recalls either. Let's have regular elections and take them seriously, then accept that elections have consequences. This all politics, all the time crap is ridiculous. Okay? Everybody settle down. If you must be political, aim at November 2012.

"Pay Pal founder... Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters..."

"Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch — free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place.... [T]he experiment would be 'a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.'"

So... it's basically a cruise ship, right? But you're stuck there indefinitely. And you're not going to call up the United States to rescue you when things go awry, right? I just have one request: Cameras everywhere! We want to watch your reality show.

Möbius — a collaborative stop motion sculpture.

MÖBIUS from ENESS on Vimeo.

Via Metafilter.

"You’re good to go, but first I have to pat your hair."

"I’m like, pat my hair? O.K., I guess.... Is it just African-American women with natural hair who get the hair search?"

"Obama common sense says: Increase taxes under virtually any circumstance."

He said it. His own words.

ADDED: Lots of comments on this post, mostly from people who don't get Meade's sense of humor. What Obama said was:
“I know it’s not election season yet, but I just have to mention the debate,” where Republicans said they would not increase taxes under virtually any circumstance, Obama said at a town hall. “Think about that. That’s just not common sense.”

Is it possible that there will be "a comeback of 'The Comeback'" — my all-time favorite TV comedy?

The AV Club asks the wonderful Lisa Kudrow:
Well, you know… Yes. “Tentative” is the operative word, though. But Michael [Patrick King] and I can’t help but talk about it whenever we’re together, and as I said, we keep coming up with “Wouldn’t it be funny if she was doing this, this, and this” ideas. And then at some point, we start wondering, “Is it a special that we ask to do? Or is it a limited series that we ask to do? What are we asking to do? What is it that we want to do? What do we have time for? What would you be willing to do?” So that just keeps going back and forth. And Michael truly has no time right now, that’s for sure. 
If you don't know "The Comeback," it was a 1-season HBO show that, I guess, was a little challenging for viewers. Some say people had trouble watching the main character get into humiliating difficulties. (Were we more sophisticated back in the 1950s when we had great fun watching Lucille Ball get stymied at every turn?)

Here, buy every episode of "The Comeback" ever made (so far!), and either love it or complain to me about why it really did deserve to be cancelled.

Speaking of continuing great Lisa Kudrow things, the linked article also says there's a possibility of a sequel to "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion."

"You’ve got to send a message to Washington that it’s time for the games to stop."

"It’s time to put country first."

Paradoxically, that is a move in a game.

But is it ever the case that the person who decries "games" is not himself a game-player?

And speaking of the perception of politics as a game and what it takes to end the game, let me, once again, embed the classic Russ Feingold clip:

"This game is not over until we win."

IN THE COMMENTS: Meade said:
“I know it’s not election season yet, but I just have to mention the debate,” where Republicans said they would not increase taxes under virtually any circumstance, Obama said at a town hall. “Think about that. That’s just not common sense.”

Think about that. Obama common sense says: Increase taxes under virtually any circumstance. 

"What purpose does calling someone a ‘pervert’ or ‘predator’ serve anyway, other than to express contempt and hatred?"

"How is this productive?... Stop buying into and promoting false stereotypes. Stop demonizing a whole class of people, and start learning the facts."

Glancing at a picture of Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry, both of us thought it was Rick Perry.

Here's the picture, on the front page of the NYT website:

Scanning the page in my normal style and seeing that in this context...

... before reading the text, I completely assumed I was looking at a picture of Rick Perry. I mentioned that to Meade, and he said he did too. Watch the clip in which critic A.O. Scott talks about the greatness of the movie and why the character Dirty Harry reverberates in the American psyche:

Now, think about what it means if Rick Perry resonates with whatever that is.

August 15, 2011

At the Duck Lake Café...

... you can hang out here all night.

ADDED: "The-the duckth haven't moved an inch in 2 days!"

"We're the people! They're not!"

There's some grotesque exploitation of children in political advertising, but this is the worst I've seen.

"[E]veryone's all riled up about these boob pillows."

Decorating the office.

(At least it's not the vagina pillow.)

"I want to wait and see who will make the breast President."

"Bachmann did well but..."

"She remembered sunbathing topless on her balcony in the 1980s. 'It’s inconceivable now,' she said."

"'Now my next-door neighbor doesn’t even greet me in the hallway, he can’t look at me, and it’s been 28 years'... Then she laughed bitterly. 'He doesn’t work; I work. I work all shifts. I pay taxes. I work for them!"


Politico's Ben Smith has trouble getting his mind around Rick Perry's manliness.

This is a weird column — titled "Was Perry packing?"
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is a leading advocate of gun rights who likes to boast of having dispatched a coyote on a recent jog, so I asked him during today's walking press conference at the Iowa State Fair whether he was armed.

"I never comment on whether I'm carrying a handgun or not," he said. "That's why it's called concealed."
Guns are, in fact, banned at the fair, so Smith adds a parenthetical about how Perry could get in trouble. I can just picture Smith scampering along after Perry, chattering about how Perry could get in big trouble.
Perry's appearance at the fair, where he challenged reporters on whether they were "tough" enough to walk with him, chomped on meat and a hard-boiled egg and struck rugged poses was a well-staged political triumph. (The word "manly" got thrown around a lot, with varying degrees of irony, in the press pack.) 
What the hell does that even refer to?  What kind of whammy did Perry throw on these press boys? He ate a hard-boiled egg and "meat" and somehow that gets macho points with these characters?

UPDATE: Ben Smith tries to get his mind around this mockery and I mock him again.

Thanks for visiting!

Photo by Meade.

Bill Clinton, talking about Rick Perry, reveals a lot about himself.

He said:
“I got tickled by watching Governor Perry announce for governor, for president. He’s a good looking rascal.”...

“And he’s saying ‘Oh, I’m going to Washington to make sure that the federal government stays as far away from you as possible – while I ride on Air Force One and that Marine One helicopter and go to Camp David and travel around the world and have a good time.’ I mean, this is crazy.”
Thanks for the insight, Bill. I figured you thought you were a good-looking rascal, but did not realize how much of a power charge you got out of riding the special vehicles. He sounds like a child!

"Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett will serve as special prosecutor in the investigation of a physical altercation between two state Supreme Court justices."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
Barrett was elected as a Republican, but said she has long advocated making district attorneys' positions non-partisan.

"Politics should play no role in what we do," she said.
It will be extremely hard to de-politicize this case, but avoiding appointing someone associated with the Democratic Party was a good move by Chief Dane County Judge William Foust who was chosen by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne to make the appointment. It's also good not to see "Dane County" again.

Interesting comments at the link:
"If Prosser was at fault this would have stayed in Dane County."...

"The Democratic DA from Dane County wanted no part of this as when the truth comes out and NO charges are filed against Prosser, the Democrats can point the finger at the Republican DA and claim "cover-up." Don't claim conflict of interest either. Again, another case of Liberals passing the buck  and failing to face the truth. This was fiction from the start. Go Walker!"...

"They assigned a Republican special prosecutor so they can have another scapegoat when there is no evidence to go after Prosser. A Democrat special prosecutor likely would have the same result if the evidence shows he was defending himself and not "choking" her, but it would completely exonerate him, by having a Republican assigned to this, the liberals can scream that there was bias in the investigation and can use it for their gain. I make the assumption that Bradley came after him first when I say this...."
See? You can't de-politicize it. De-politicizing seems political to people who are as politicized as we are here in Wisconsin.

At the Mendota Café...

... it's clear sailing from here.

"Madison Detached Hand Mystery….. Solved?"


"Just because it was a crappy movie doesn't mean it was a crappy idea."

Things overheard at Meadhouse.

So, you have this idea, and you think it's pretty good, possibly brilliant. But then it turns out that's what people did in this movie that was a monumentally bad movie. Must we reject the idea?

Try to guess the idea + movie we were talking about.

What image would the NYT use to illustrate the op-ed "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich" by Warren Buffet?

Try to guess before you look? Here at Meadhouse, we're still laughing at this silly black-and-white drawing. Laughing at. Not with. Use your first idea: What would represent coddling and what would represent the super-rich? Now, put those things together in one image.

"Have you ever wanted to live inside the retro-futuristic world of a Jules Verne novel?"

"Do you prefer submarine portholes to skyline views?

No. The Chelsea steam-punk loft is the young urban equivalent of some old outsider artist's sculpted grotto in rural Wisconsin. You don't want to live with all this junk. You don't want the upkeep. What would be amusing to visit would be depressing, burdensome, dusty, and creepy to live in.

"I believe an individual has the right to use force as a means of protecting themselves, their families, and their homes from aggressors."

So says Wisconsin recall candidate Kim Simac, as quoted in a Capital Times editorial titled "Unlike Simac, Holperin respects the whole Constitution." (Jim Holperin is the Democratic incumbent, representing the Northwoods, where a recall election will take place tomorrow.)

The quote is sound, and I'll bet a lot of people of the Northwoods love it, but the Cap Times is using it to leverage a whole theory that Simac only cares about the Second Amendment.

The pathetic Madison newspaper — does anyone in the Northwoods read it? — begins by joking that Simac is "apparently a graduate of the Sharron Angle School of Constitutional Scholarship" and reminds us that Angle — the Nevadan who tried to unseat Harry Reid in 2010 — once referred to using “Second Amendment solutions” to deal with the excesses of government.  Note, Simac didn't say "Second Amendment solutions." Her quote is about defending life and property from "aggressors," which would make most people think of criminals — attackers and home invaders. If "aggressors" makes you think of the government... you might want to think about joining the Tea Party yourself.

The Cap Times touts Holperin's "record of taking the whole Constitution seriously."
He has championed the right to speak, to assemble and to petition for the redress of grievances. 
Is there any evidence that Simac doesn't respect First Amendment rights? Of course, Holperin has a record: He's been the Northwoods senator for decades. But what has Simac ever done to deserve this smear?
He has worked to protect the right to privacy.
Now, that's a specific aspect of constitutional law that conservatives and liberals disagree on. But it has nothing to do with "the Sharron Angle School of Constitutional Scholarship" and whether one loves some clauses of the Constitution and ignores others. It has to do with how expansively one ought to interpret the Due Process Clause and whether one supports finding constitutional rights when there is no explicit constitutional text. That's a difficult area of constitutional law that is a perennial issue in American political debate. It has nothing to do with Sharron Angle, enthusiasm for gun rights, and the failure to respect the entire Constitution.

The Capital Times — I've said it before — is a rag. It should be ashamed of itself. As we say in Wisconsin: "Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame."

"Tent cities are springing up all over Wisconsin."

"A social protest movement is gathering momentum. At some point in the near future, it may endanger the right-wing government."

Actually, I changed a word in that quote. It's not Wisconsin. It's Israel.

Obama's 3-day midwest bus tour — to Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois: Why not Wisconsin?

Is he avoiding us?
With poll numbers falling for both Obama and Congress after a nasty political fight over raising the country's borrowing limit and spending cuts, Americans are in a bad humor...

The president will get a chance to absorb the public's anger and do his best to give optimistic answers as he motors between town hall stops.

In Iowa, Republican candidates for president just squared off for a high-stakes debate and straw poll. The president will also visit Illinois as part of his bus tour, his first since the 2008 campaign.

Obama was unlikely to engage any of his potential Republican rivals by name, aides said, but he's already indicated plans to draw sharp contrasts between his ideas on the economy and the Republican approach, which the president recently dismissed to little more than slashing spending on vital programs like education and Medicare, the program that provides health care for the poor....

The bus tour itinerary takes Obama through three states he won in 2008 but where he now needs to shore up his standing....

Obama made a similar outing last year, traveling the Midwest in a two-day, three-state tour in April 2010 that took him to Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. There was no bus, but the president's motorcade made hours-long drives through rural areas, passing school children waving American flags and seniors sitting on lawn chairs.
I'm going to say he's not avoiding Wisconsin. First, he combined the same 3 states in a trip last year. Second, his trip relates to the GOP candidates for President, which makes Iowa obvious and Minnesota semi-obvious, with 2 Minnesota candidates in the race at the time the trip was planned. And Illinois is his home state. Third, there are 2 recall elections in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I think it's good etiquette not to step into the middle of that. And it might not even help. I remember when he came to Madison in September 2010 and promoted Russ Feingold. Now, Obama has been criticized for not personally participating in the Wisconsin protests. From last March:
President Obama has no current plans to visit Wisconsin despite pledging as a presidential candidate to “walk on that picket line” should workers be denied bargaining rights.
He's kept his distance from the Wisconsin protest crowd. So maybe he is specifically avoiding us on this midwest bus tour, but I think the focus on the presidential campaign and the mirror-image trip last fall explain the omission. Still, I can certainly see why he doesn't want to entangle himself in the Wisconsin mess. Scott Walker is not his current opponent, his connections to the public unions is best played down, and there's too much extremism and anger around here.

Still, at some point, he's going to need us.

ADDED: John Nichols criticizes Obama from the left for his failure to come to Wisconsin.

August 14, 2011

At the Ducks-in-a-Row Café...

... you can elaborate all the points you want to make.

A Palin-Bachmann feud?

Real Clear Politics:
[A]ides from Bachmann’s camps have privately -- and sometimes publicly -- disparaged Palin to an extent that has caused growing exasperation in Palin world....

“It is so pervasive and so continuous that it can’t be rogue people doing it without the understanding and encouragement from the candidate herself,” a Palin supporter in Iowa told RCP. “The entire Bachmann team has gone around the state saying Palin is a lightweight and a quitter and saying that Sarah’s about to endorse Michele. Bachmann’s campaign is radioactively dirty. They are shameless.”...

“She got the vice-presidential thing handed to her,” [said Bachmann’s soon-to-be campaign manager, Ed Rollins.] “She didn’t go to work in the sense of trying gain more substance. She gave up her governorship.”...

“There will have to be distinctions, and I think they should make those on policy and style, but I don’t think either of them will be served by attempting to take down the other one,” Iowa Tea Party activist Ryan Rhoades, who recently endorsed Bachmann, told RCP. “Getting into the fight that the media so desperately wants to see, I think, would be a detriment to both.” 
Yeah... well... everybody loves a cat fight. It's entertaining. But the truth is, you don't need any actual fighting between these 2 candidates for Palin to have a problem with Bachmann. Bachmann is crowding Palin out of the race. Bachmann is Palin2, and a big improvement over Palin in terms of gravitas and electability.

By the way, Bachmann was great on "Meet the Press" today. She is excellent at not letting the interviewer control her. She interrupts appropriately and stands her ground. She has planned, neat responses to the stuff that they will use to try to mess her up — like her statements about gay people — and she resists pressure to restate or elaborate those responses. She is ready for prime time.

"Two construction workers were stuck in an elevator that was filling with water..."

"... By the time firefighters arrived, the water level had risen as high as the two trapped men’s necks."

Hey, I saw "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

I forgot to mention that. Maybe I'll think of some comments about it. Here's the trailer. Pretty much everything that's in the movie is in the trailer. But the movie is about 50 times as long.

No homophobia or sexism here... because we're the good people.

Let's look at the way the liberal comedy website "Funny or Die" treats Michele Bachmann (and her husband Marcus):

1. "Michele Bachmann's Migraines":

(There's some connection between that and the fuss some lefties are making over this picture of Bachmann eating a corn dog.)

2. "Behind the Scenes of Michele Bachmann's Newsweek Cover":

"I never would have felt comfortable if McCain won, except that Sarah was there."

This is a line from a caller to Rush Limbaugh's show Friday that really struck me. Full context: 
CALLER:  You know, [Mitt Romney is] not my favorite candidate... but...  I will say this: Yes, he's establishment; yes, he was governor of Massachusetts. But Rush when I compare him to the establishment candidate four years ago, meaning McCain, I feel better about Romney.  I think he genuinely has enough conservative values, I think he definitely has an economic background, and I would feel comfortable if he did win; whereas I never would have felt comfortable if McCain won, except that Sarah was there.

RUSH:  ... Now, you said Romney's not your favorite.  Who is?

CALLER:  I'd love to see Sarah Palin run, but I really want to look at Perry.
This struck me — I was listening to the podcast this morning, after knowing the results of the Iowa straw poll — because of the strength of the confidence in Sarah Palin and the comfort embodied in the simple reference "Sarah." I'm touched by this, because I'd always thought that it would be difficult for Americans to get their minds around the idea of a woman as Commander in Chief. Even those who celebrate the advancement of women would, I thought, worry about trusting a woman with the ultimate responsibility for the security of the world. But here is a very conservative man, this caller, who is wary of John McCain, but able to tolerate him because of her. At the same time, Republicans are embracing Michele Bachmann. I'm not hearing any balkiness about accepting a woman President. It has become almost instantly normal.

How did that happen, and why did it happen on the Republican side? When Hillary Clinton ran for President in 2008, there was a lot of talk and enthusiasm about the idea of the first female President. It wasn't normal. The non-normalness was a big plus for some and a negative for others. Barack Obama's path forward came in reaction to Hillary in what — I think — history will see as a very strange psychic shift in the minds of Democratic voters. No! Not the woman! Somehow, within the minds of Democrats, the African-American man could stop the woman, and so, he vaulted into the foreground and, despite a shocking lack of experience, won the presidency.

But these Republicans... what is happening in their minds? How was it that they so easily accepted what looks quite a bit like the simple equality of women?

Rick Perry's 1-page essay — "Why I'm Running" — says "God" 5 times.

Full text. God parts:
1. As Americans, we believe freedom is a gift from God, and government’s prime function is to defend it. We don’t see the role of government as a nanny state...
This is giving me flashbacks to the Jesus-is-left-wing diatribe inflicted on me here in Madison the other day.
2. We will not sit back and accept our current misery... because a great country requires a better direction... because a renewed nation requires a new president. That’s why, with faith in God, the support of my family, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I am a candidate for President of the United States....

3. The change we seek will never emanate out of Washington... it must come from the windswept prairies of Middle America... the farms and factories across this great land... the hearts and minds of God-fearing Americans who will not accept a future that is less than our past... who will not be consigned a fate of less freedom in exchange for more government.
Recall that — in Perry's view — freedom (not a nanny state) emanates from God.
4. With God’s help, and your courage, we will take our country back....

5. Thank you, and God bless America.
Too much "God"?
The usual generic invocation of the deity, which doesn't matter one way or the other.
A fine, robust acknowledgment of the proper place of God.
A sincere reflection of the religious orientation of a good man.
An unwise, but minor infusion of religion into politics.
Significant evidence of a bad tendency to mix religion and government.
An important warning that Perry is a dangerous religious ideologue. free polls

"Pawlenty dropping out opens the door for McCotter to break the 1% threshold."

IMs Meade from across the room, linking here. Meade, you should know, loves Thaddeus McCotter and missed his formidable presence in last week's debate:
Mr. McCotter, a well-read, guitar-playing congressman who’s been known to quote rock-n-roll lyrics and obscure philosophers in the same breath, wasn’t included in the debate lineup because he doesn’t garner 1% in national polls, the threshold established by Fox News, a co-sponsor of the debate. Fox News and The Wall Street Journal are both owned by News Corp.

After his co-stater, a female, trounces him in the straw poll, Pawlenty drops out.


If white victims are chosen because they are "easy targets," is that a "hate crime"?

From a report on the Wisconsin State Fair crime spree:
The investigation into 11 of the violent incidents on the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair has resulted in the arrest of a 16-year-old African-American who reportedly told investigators he targeted whites... because he considered them "easy targets."
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was asked on WLS Radio’s Roe and Roeper Show Friday if he thought the crimes warranted hate crime status, “I think it is absolutely outrageous, it is a hate crime, and I would imagine the prosecutor will be very aggressive on this. There is no tolerance whether it’s white on black or black on white, there shouldn’t be any tolerance in general for that kind of problems.”
It's not really hate — is it? — if the idea is that this type of person won't fight back or is unlikely to be armed. It's a stereotype based on race, but it's not that you're hurting that person because you hate people in that group. But "hate crime" is not the statutory language. It's just a popular expression referring to the statute that provides for penalty enhancement when someone "intentionally selects" a victim based on race. 

"I thought London was a civilized society full of gentlemen and ladies."

"But it is not like that. England has become a sick society."

The Polish immigrant Monika Konczyk.

Where are the other videos of Friday's attack on Althouse?

I've shown you my video. I'd like to see better video, with a more complete picture of the attack I described. I saw a few other people there with cameras who were making a point of photographing me. Where are their videos? I would think that Isthmus — and other lefty/liberal websites — would be interested in refuting my account of what happened. Where is the other video?

The obvious inference: The other video/photographs support my account.