March 24, 2012

At the Clay Angel Café...

... we're all waiting patiently.

One year ago today at the Wisconsin protests: Ben Masel's last protest.

The iconic Madison activist "holding up a protest sign, which is supposedly now forbidden at the first floor level. He also reads the free-speech portion of the Wisconsin Constitution, which is right there, as one of the 4 first floor monuments. (You've seen Meade and me protecting the Veterans Monument.) But Ben and his small cadre of civil disobeyers don't manage to get themselves arrested, and we see them file out, past the monumental head of Robert La Follette."

Ben died 6 days later. 

"Has the Sexual Revolution Been Good for Women?"

Mary Eberstadt says no:
Why do the pages of our tonier magazines brim with mournful titles like "The Case for Settling" and "The End of Men"? Why do websites run by and for women focus so much on men who won't grow up, and ooze such despair about relations between the sexes?

"Freedom, in Shin's mind, was just another word for grilled meat."

The amazing story of Shin Dong-hyuk, who was born in a North Korean forced labor camp, and escaped at the age of 23:
In the garment factory, the superintendent wanted Shin to inform on an important new prisoner. Park Yong Chul, short and stout, with a shock of white hair, had lived abroad....

Much of what Park talked about, especially at the beginning, was difficult for Shin to understand or care about. What delighted him—what he kept begging Park for—were stories about food and eating. These were the stories that kept Shin up at night fantasizing about a better life. Freedom, in Shin's mind, was just another word for grilled meat.

Intoxicated by what he heard, Shin made perhaps the first free decision of his life. He chose not to snitch. And he soon began thinking about escape.

Dick Cheney had a heart transplant.

Cheney is 71, he's had 5 heart attacks, and he waited for a donor for 20+ months.

ADDED: I expect jokes to roll in on Twitter. Yeah, as I wrote that, this popped in:
BREAKING: Cheney Receives Heart Transplant; Bush Still on Waiting List for Brain
And this:
cheney gets new heart.. still waiting on soul donor
AND: The truth is that heart is a real person's heart. Somebody died and made that heart available. And Cheney was on a course to die if that heart's donor had not died and let it go to him. It's really one of the least funny things in the world.

Walter Dellinger — listing 5 Obamacare "myths" — begins with "The 'individual mandate' forces everyone to buy health insurance."

Dellinger, a former acting Solicitor General, has filed a brief on behalf of the Senate and House Democratic leadership in the case that will be argued before the Supreme Court next week.

Let's look carefully at how he purports to debunk this "myth":

Where does an 800-pound paper airplane fly?

Anywhere it wants to.

Over the Arizona desert.

Replicating a famous recording single-handedly.

Do you follow an arc from amazement... to finding this man's deep devotion charming... to turn it off — there's something missing that's so important that it's horrible to hear its absence?

Via Metafilter.

A man murdered by the Toulouse gunman will be able to marry his fiancée.

The paratrooper Abel Chennouf had planned to marry his the pregnant girlfriend, 21-year-old Caroline Monet, and, despite his death, there will be a legally recognized wedding ceremony:
Such ceremonies are unusual but not unheard of in France, where the law allows posthumous marriages in cases where a fiance dies before the wedding. The law states that such weddings can only be approved by the French president "in grave circumstances".

"I've already had it done twice, for policemen's girlfriends," [lawyer Gilbert] Collard said. "It's a really moving ceremony, with an empty chair representing the dead spouse."

Collard said the official request was being sent out on Saturday but he'd already received approval from the French president's office.
Should the law permit someone to marry a dead person?

March 23, 2012

At the Tuna Fish Café...

... experience dollops of joy.

One year ago today at the Wisconsin protests: protesters branch out into picketing a bank...

... and then they get suspicious of Meade.
Watch for the lawyer with the Walker-as-Marie-Antoinette sign... to step out of the line and talk to some other guy, who then takes a picture of Meade. And then there are those 2 other guys who are suddenly up in Meade's face, who follow Meade as he leaves to go into the Capitol. Are they going to intimidate Meade?

"The first proposition is that the health care law is constitutional."

"The second is that the court could strike it down anyway.... The law is a completely valid exercise of Congress' Commerce Clause power, and all the conservative longing for the good old days of the pre-New Deal courts won't put us back in those days as if by magic. Nor does it amount to much of an argument. So that brings us to the really interesting question: Will the Court's five conservatives strike it down regardless?"

Dahlia Lithwick asserts and ponders, and James Taranto rankles.

"Thousands of spiders were fleeing the rising waters, many of them trailing behind massive amounts of dragline silk."

"The webs tangled over weeds, trees, fences, and fields, creating a surreal and eerie landscape crawling with arachnids. Residents reportedly complained of being unable to walk in certain areas without swarms of little spiders crawling up their legs, seeking higher ground."


The Most Inappropriate Nausea of the Day.

A writer over at Pajamas Media whose name appears in an unreadable font — Jebuda? Jehuda? — assumes we readers will all want to puke when we see that Shepard Fairey — the artist behind the famous Obama "Hope" poster — is working on a new movie version of George Orwell’s 1984.
That’s right: we may soon see in screens big and small a movie that could very well be advertised as “From the Dishonest Propagandist Who Brought You the Obama ‘Hope’ Poster.”

There’s something very fitting about a dishonest propagandist pushing for a whole new 1984 movie, but coming from Obama booster Ron Howard and Shepard Fairey, this project might amount to – if it’s ever produced – a version of 1984 that would make George Orwell spin in his grave.
First, I think what would make Orwell "spin in his grave" is your use of the phrase "spin in his grave." Good lord, you purport to care about Orwell, yet you blithely violate one of the most memorable rules in his famous essay "Politics and the English Language": "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print."

The Clintonville mystery is solved.

A swarm of microquakes!

"Governor Scott Walker set to ease home-brew restrictions."

Hey, this recall battle is getting serious.

Release the beer!

We missed a protest!

Why was I not alerted? Oh! It was anti-birth control. And they went to the federal court building.
Nearly 500 people from dozens of area churches gathered... beneath a canopy of balloons adorned with the U.S. flag and the word "Life." Many carried signs that said "Stand up for religious freedom."

"He appears to be part of the new generation of Islamic terrorists who act alone..."

"... abetted by jihadi Web sites and their own anger."

Compare to:

"Don’t worry, folks, he’s just a lone wolf like Major Hasan and Faisal Shahzad and all the other card-carrying members of the Amalgamated Union of Lone Wolves. All jihad is local."

"In the silly series 'Manhattan Penis Drawings' (1978), the World Trade Center appears as two phalluses."

You know, those were different times!

But I would love to go back to NYC and see the big Keith Haring show at the Brooklyn Museum. It's there until July 8.

Here's the drawing referenced in the post title.

Judge dismisses lawsuit by 9 NY Law School grads who said they were misled about job prospects.

"In this court’s view, the issues posed by this case exemplify the adage that not every ailment afflicting society may be redressed by a lawsuit."

Rasmussen on the Wisconsin primary: Romney, 46%, Santorum 33%, Paul 8%, Gingrich 7%.

Ah! I hadn't seen a poll more recent than last February for Wisconsin, and Santorum had been in the lead. This surveys "Likely Republican Primary Voters in Wisconsin favor Romney" (but in Wisconsin you don't have to be a Republican to vote in the Republican primary):
Romney leads Santorum 57% to 24% among voters who emphasize a candidate who can beat Obama. Santorum leads Romney by a much narrower 43% to 35% among those who prefer a candidate who best represents GOP values....

Among Wisconsin Republicans who describe themselves as Very Conservative, Santorum edges Romney 43% to 39%. Romney leads his chief rival by roughly 20 points among voters who are Somewhat Conservative or not conservative.

Romney leads among both Tea Party voters and non-Tea Party members in the state. Santorum holds a small lead among Evangelical Christian voters, but Romney is well ahead among other Protestants, Catholics and voters of other faiths in Wisconsin.

Obama — trying to be "careful" — addresses the Trayvon Martin killing.

I think he handled this extremely well, stressing that we need to diligently investigate the facts and expressing empathy toward the parents of the dead young man. (I'm avoiding writing "boy," but I see many people including Obama are calling this 17-year-old a "boy," presumably out of empathy, but in my mind, there is discordance with the old problem of overusing the term "boy," and I just can't write it.)

Obama didn't bring up the topic himself:
Mr. Obama was asked about his feelings regarding the case during the announcement of a new president for the World Bank in the Rose Garden Friday morning.

The president often appears perturbed when he gets off-topic questions at ceremonial events, but on Friday, he seemed eager to address the case....
So he knew it would be asked or at least anticipated it. (At most: his people planted it.)
... which has quickly developed into an urgent cause in the African American community. He cautioned that his comments would be limited because the Justice Department is investigating. But he talked at length about his personal feelings about the case.
He said:  “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids” and “You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

He did a much better job here than he did in the Henry Louis Gates incident, where he made assumptions and blurted out "it's fair to say... that the Cambridge police acted stupidly." It wasn't fair to say.

I was struck earlier this morning by what Glenn Reynolds wrote (before Obama made his statement):
... I am puzzled by one thing: Dem groups are flogging this because they think it’s good for them, but how can it help Obama — who ran as a post-racial figure who would help America put its racial divisions to bed, a sort of anti-Al Sharpton — to have Al Sharpton leading protests and Louis Farrakhan threatening violence?

Sure, it stirs up the base, or part of it anyway — how Florida Latino voters respond may be different — but doesn’t it just add to the unfavorable contrast between Obama 2008 and Obama in 2012? Or are Sharpton, et al., basically tossing Obama’s interests aside to pursue their own? And is that some sort of indicator itself?
These are all good questions, and they explain why Obama needed to step in and try to take control of the discourse around this volatile topic. To my ear, his words have a calming, moderating effect, but we don't all hear him the same way, I've noticed time and again.

"I get communism from this ad," said Meade...

... looking at the March issue of Bike magazine and alluding to the funniest thing Isaac Mizrahi ever said on "Project Runway." ("I get communism from this dress.")

That's my snapshot — which Meade urged me to take — with the "L" in "motherland" buried in the binding. Meade and I take opposite positions on whether this is a terrible ad. He's saying a company wouldn't appropriate Nazi imagery to push a product, and Soviet communism ought to be considered equally toxic.

I observed that the ad is anti-communist, with the headline: "This ain't the motherland, comrade. You have a CHOICE." In the Soviet Union, you had no choice. In America, you have choice! And "CCCP" — normally, a way to write USSR — is redefined as "Custom Color Choice Program."

Meade says it's still wrong, citing the millions of victims of Soviet communism upon whose dead bodies you cannot construct jokes. And I was all: Hey, wait a minute! The reason you wanted me to take the photo is because your right-wing friend has a Santa Cruz bike and you wanted to needle him!"

And thus the conversation gets good enough that I end up feeling like it's bloggable, and now Meade has leveraged my interest in whatever's interesting to the point where he can now needle [unnamed friend] with this blog post.

In looking up the Isaac Mizrahi quote, I found a blogger (Tina Waltke) who had heard the quote before seeing the dress — which you can see at the first link, above — and she was wondering what makes a dress look communist. Her idea was derived from an old Wendy's ad, which basically uses the same "choice" theme that Santa Cruz is using:

Hilarious ad! Now... are we not supposed to do that with communism? I'm saying mockery is great. And we do mock Nazism too (but we never connect a product to Nazism, even to distinguish it from Nazism, the way the Santa Cruz and the Wendy's ad distinguish their product from communism).

IN THE COMMENTS: k said: "I'm pretty sure CCCP was actually USSR in Cyrillic letters. Wasn't it?" And I said: "That's what I thought too... and then I trusted Wikipedia!"

ADDED: I've corrected the original now, and Wikipedia confused me but didn't really get this wrong. I was distracted by the "disambiguation" stuff at the top of the page.

Rush Limbaugh makes a sex joke about President Obama: "I've laid more pipe than any president except Bill Clinton."

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh was riffing on Obama's seeming turnaround on the Keystone Pipeline. You might think he wouldn't dip back into sexual imagery so soon after the Fluke incident:
Obama could not stop this pipeline if he wanted to. This leg of the pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas was in the works. He doesn't have the authority to stop it.... He's just glomming onto it. It's like trying to be present when the Ten Commandments are given at the burning bush and claiming you wrote 'em. 
Note: The burning bush and the 10 Commandments are separate events in the Bible. Back to Rush:
I'm almost speechless here with the absolute brazenness of this. I wouldn't be surprised if Obama says, "I've laid more pipe than any president except Bill Clinton." That's where we're heading with this. The guy who steadfastly opposes drilling for oil and has not issued any permits to speak of, particularly since Gulf oil drilling moratorium -- the guy who has made his name opposing the Keystone pipeline -- is now out taking credit for it....
Several paragraphs later:
And that's why I think it isn't gonna be long before Obama starts bragging about how much pipe he's laid. He'll start comparing himself to other presidents. "I've laid more pipe than any president except Bill Clinton." He's gotta throw Clinton in there for credibility.
See? That's a scripted joke. Said twice, word for word the same. There's no question "laid pipe" is slang for having sexual intercourse. It's not unusual for Rush to throw sexual double entendre into his monologues. He has a way of saying things very clearly and pausing so that listeners who enjoy that kind of thing can laugh and his more puritanical listeners can not notice or pretend they don't notice.

Now, I don't really have a problem with him saying this, and I don't think it's like using an inaccurate prostitute metaphor over and over to make fun of a student who isn't much of a public figure. I think we should make fun of Presidents, and the joke is straightforward hilarity, not a component of a confusing argument about health care insurance. So it's funny, and it's against not one but 2 Presidents, and I always appreciate reminders of the way Bill Clinton treated women. In fact, I think Rush's joke may be a salvo in the much-vaunted "war on women": You think I'm bad to women? Remember how awful Bill Clinton was!

The trouble with that is it's very hard to say anything negative about Barack Obama's interaction with women. (Remember when Christina Romer tried? (She got her double entendre wrong!)) If you have to dredge up Bill Clinton, maybe it's not worth doing. But there is a larger, significant enough, point: The Democratic Party wants women to think it's all about women's interests, but they will subordinate these interests to their political interests whenever the interests diverge. That was the horrifying spectacle of the Lewinsky scandal.

March 22, 2012

At the Tiny Iris Café...

... let's take a closer look at... everything.

"SANTORUM: Obama Is Preferable To Romney."

"No he’s not, and you just demonstrated that it’s time to end your campaign. Either you’re an idiot, or you’ve cracked under the pressure. Either way, go home."

"I have his form of synesthesia, and having watched the video I was impressed by how effectively he conveyed the experience."

"In listening to a piece of music (or playing one) the colors sometimes cycle through very quickly, and sometimes cycle very slowly. I don't "see" them with my eyes, the way the video changes color. Instead, I 'see' the colors with my mind's eye."

"The regulators lost to the regulated..."

... in the Supreme Court case, issued yesterday, Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency:
[T]he Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion held that property owners and other regulated parties may challenge administrative compliance orders issued by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act. This is a small, yet significant, victory guaranteeing a modicum of procedural protection for those subject to regulation under the CWA.

"David Brock is so outraged at Rush Limbaugh’s words of three weeks ago that he started organizing a protest — almost 3 years ago."

Writes a "Rush Limbaugh Show" spokesman:
It was planned ahead and activated at the first moment Brock could manipulate a media frenzy.... Media Matters for America stands for censorship, and nothing more than that....

They distribute target lists of advertiser phone numbers, email addresses, Facebook links and Twitter handles, and then they come out of nowhere, en masse, against selected advertisers in rotation. They barrage small business with threats until they cancel their advertising....

But Media Matters says you can’t talk to ["The Rush Limbaugh Show"] audience anymore. And when these businesses shrink, because they’ve lost access to half their customers; when they lay off employees or even shut down, whom will Media Matters blame? Probably not themselves.


Too bad it had to end!

One year ago today at the Wisconsin protests: Meade gets a legislator to admit he lets a protester store her signs in his office.

It's Brett Hulsey, the assemblyman for our district:
Meade [to Hulsey]: "So, you're not only approving, but you're facilitating?"

The woman: "He's not facilitating. I only just asked him if I can, I said, I come here with signs. I just asked him if I could store the signs in his office overnight and he told me I could."

There's overtalking as Hulsey says "We believe in the First Amendment, freedom of speech" and Meade is asking her if she's in Hulsey's district and the woman says "I'm in Madison, but not his district. I have friends in his district."

Now, we are in Hulsey's district, and Hulsey knows it, because Meade has talked to him on several occasions. Meade goes after Hulsey, who is turning again to walk away, and asks him, "Do you have 5 minutes?"

Hulsey lets out a long "uuuuhhhhhh" then says: "Actually I... t-t-t-to discuss what?" Why should the subject matter affect whether our assemblyman has 5 minutes to talk to Meade? Especially if he's big on free speech, the subject shouldn't matter.
Thereafter Hulsey puts a comical amount of effort into evading Meade, though eventually Meade does get to talk with him.

"This assignment was just creepy beyond belief — like something out of East Germany during the Cold War."



It's a disaster!

This is the most inane nonincident of the campaign season.

"The city of Portland snow globe tried to burn my house down."

"Apparently when the sun came out - the 15 minutes it showed this year - it hit this globe and created a magnifying effect on the back of the couch..."

Why I don't delete mobys in the comments section to this blog.

First, I love free expression, and one way to express a viewpoint is to say the opposite. It's sarcasm. It can be comedy. Look at Stephen Colbert. It's a good — even light-hearted — way to expose the bad side of your opponent's arguments.

Second, we all need to become as competent as possible as consumers of communication. Don't be naive. You need to detect these literary devices. Understand that writers/speakers have ulterior motives. I'm not going to clear out material that requires you to exercise your mental muscles. If you can't tell a moby when you see one, I'm not going to delete him: You need practice. If I see you responding to him as if he were sincere, it makes me sad. Where's your mental toughness? How will you be a competent citizen in the political arena where everyone's always more or less bullshitting?

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Prosser asks the Judicial Commission to release its records of its inquiry into ethics charges against him.

This is the notorious "chokehold" matter, which we talked about 2 days ago. You may remember that I said:
I want to see the internal records. Judicial ethics matter, but who's watching the ethics of the ethics watcher, the Judicial Commission? The people have a compelling interest in seeing what happened.

Why, for example, was there no charge against Justice Bradley, who, based on the police investigation, which I've read, seems to have charged across the room at Prosser and was perhaps waving fists in his face, causing him to make a reflexive, defensive move that touched her. And she seems to have accused him of putting her in a "chokehold," which none of testimony (from 6 of the 7 justices) supports.

Why take what Prosser did out of context? That alone raises an inference of bias on the Commission....

Prosser must waive confidentiality first. He's going public with his assertion that the Commission was biased, but he still needs to talk to lawyers about whether to waive confidentiality. If he does, I assume the Commission will have to release the records to rebut the inference of bias. If, on the other hand, after making the accusation of bias, Prosser fails to waive confidentiality, I think Prosser should resign and let Scott Walker appoint a replacement.
Okay. So updating my analysis to reflect the news: Prosser need not resign, and the Commission must now release the records. If it does not, we should assume the records reflect bias on the part of the Commission, as charged by Justice Prosser.

"A panel of federal judges in Milwaukee has barred Wisconsin elections officials from using new Republican drawn redistricting maps..."

"... and ordered that two districts be redrawn because they unfairly weakened the voting power of Latinos."
The judges ruled that both Assembly Districts 8 and 9 in Milwaukee violate the Voting Rights Act, and said the state Government Accountability Board cannot implement the new maps in their current form....

The judges' memo that accompanied their decision was another harsh one for Republicans. It slammed GOP lawmakers over the secrecy surrounding the redistricting process.

Only 31% of likely voters say the country is headed in the right direction.

Down from 34% last month, according to Rasmussen.
Most Republicans (84%) and voters not affiliated with either major political party (61%) still believe the country is heading down the wrong track. A slim majority (53%) of Democrats thinks the country is heading in the right direction.

Most black voters (63%) are confident in the nation’s current course. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of white voters and 54% of voters of other races believe the country is heading down the wrong track.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of the Political Class feel America is heading in the right direction, but 73% of Mainstream voters think the country is heading down the wrong track.
Political Class, eh? Here's Rasmussen's discussion of that category of people (who are so bizarrely out of synch with the rest of us):

The University of Wisconsin "Cool Science Image" contest.

"Each of the winners transformed their scientific subject matter by inserting emotion, color, line and form, reflecting the creativity of the human spirit."

Do not miss the truly cool slide show: here. Man, calcite! I was deeply moved by calcite. And slime mold.

The most important thing Gov. Scott Walker said in his long interview with Greta Van Susteren.

Here's the whole interview — video and transcript — with a lot of detail about last year's protests and the upcoming recall election. But I want to highlight this:
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think this is going to be a very fascinating recall.... [I]t's going to send a big message one way or the other to this country of how Wisconsin, a swing state, is likely or maybe will vote come November.

WALKER: Well, and it's political both about what happens in November in the presidential and even a key U.S. Senate race. I think it's even more important. I think long term, it sets the table for whether it's me and other governors or even people like my friend Paul Ryan and the courageous things he's trying to do in Washington.

When we prevail, it will send a powerful, powerful message that when people complain about politicians who don't have the courage to stand up, the guts to take on the tough issues, our election will show, when we win, that you know what? Voters do want people to take on the tough issues. They do want people to stand up for the taxpayers. They won't — people to turn away the special interests, and I think that's what we'll show.
When we prevail... Is that overconfident or do we all pretty much know that Walker is going to win? The recall — Walker seems to know — is giving him a big opportunity to explain and promote his policies and to present himself as especially courageous in taking a uncompromising position.  A win in the recall election will be a tremendous vindication — a vindication which he could not have achieved without the delicious opportunity that is the recall.

And what Walker is also saying here is that it will in a much more general way say to all politicians that they should be forceful and not moderate and wishy-washy. A Walker win in the recall is something that ought to be read as justifying what fellow Wisconsinite Paul Ryan is doing in Congress.

And by the way, the GOP presidential candidates are swooping into the state now. I'm eager to see how Santorum, Romney, Gingrich, and Paul deal with the specific place that is Wisconsin.

"Online petitions, protests, and statements by African American and civil rights leaders have all demanded Zimmerman be brought to justice."

But those who care about prejudice and stereotypes are hypocrites if they don't pay attention to all the facts.

"Clintonville noises: City's equipment fails to tape mystery booms."

"The city set up audio and video recorders overnight Wednesday but didn’t capture anything. There was at least one loud boom at 5 a.m. The booms started Sunday. Residents describe them as sounding like thunder, fireworks or someone slamming a heavy door."

They hear things, but then when officials set up recording equipment, nothing is recorded. I said it yesterday: I think it's nothing.

Or does your mind travel in the other direction? Failure to record the booms is evidence of the supernatural, like the way Dracula isn't reflected in a mirror?
Karl: Well, the mirror thing, he can't look in mirrors, can he?

Steve: Well he can look in mirrors but he can't see himself in a mirror.

Karl: That still doesn't work.

Ricky: It doesn't work at all Karl.

Karl: His centre parting is always really neat.

"John Edwards is First Name Uncovered in 'Millionaire Madam' Investigation."

"Most of the women don’t have any idea about the identities of the men they sleep with... How would they know a money man from Wall Street or the face of a lawyer or banker who shows up? But the face of the national politician?... She knew."

Via Instapundit.

Hey, but wait. What if said prostitute thought she was servicing, say... Bono!

"You want to get arrested? We'll accommodate you."

Mayor Bloomberg waxing sarcastic about the scourge of Occupy.

March 21, 2012

"Wind power is too costly, inefficient, and won't stop climate change."

Bjørn Lomborg.

One year ago today at the Wisconsin protests: A communist slogan on a civil war monument.

And an explanation of why "tea bagger" is "homophobic." The video is long, but it cracks me up every time, especially around 6 minutes in, when the guy with the Scott-Walker-as-Marie-Antoinette sign says, with disbelief, "homophobic?!!"

Dogged journalist grills a guy who looks like Bono.

Makes a big deal out of it before it's figured out that they guy was not Bono.
Pavel “Bonodouble” Sfera showed up [at some big music event] in his Bono-impersonation garb. ”I went there as a spoof,” says Sfera....
[Jason Mattera, editor at large at Human Events] "started asking questions about why I had taken money out of Ireland and moved it to Holland for a lower tax base,” recalls Sfera....

Sfera says he was “waiting” for Mattera to figure out that he wasn’t really Bono. That moment didn’t come, and Sfera decided not to help his interlocutor. “I let him go,” says Sfera. “I didn’t think he was being legitimate and fair.”
Ha ha. Did I ever tell you that circa 1960, my father looked like Frank Sinatra? He'd get asked for his autograph, and he gave it. Frank Sinatra. My other story like that is that one time — in the 1970s — I was in a restaurant in NYC with my brother and his friend who just happened to resemble Bruce Springsteen. Some young woman rushed up and began hugging him and raving about how she loved all his songs. We didn't know what the hell was happening. I figured it out later, but the lady must believe, to this day, that she got close to Bruce.

What is wrong with people?! I'm never sure I recognize someone!

Are you surprised to learn that the best nannies make more money than the average pediatrician?

I'm not. Why should anyone be surprised by the comparison between the best of one thing and the average of another?
[T]here just aren’t enough “good” nannies, always on call, to go around. Especially since a wealthy family’s demands can be pretty specific. According to Pavillion’s vice president, Seth Norman Greenberg, a nanny increases her market value if she speaks fluent French (or, increasingly, Mandarin); can cook a four-course meal (and, occasionally, macrobiotic dishes); and ride, wash and groom a horse. Greenberg has also known families to prize nannies who can steer a 32-foot boat, help manage an art collection or, in one case, drive a Zamboni to clean a private ice rink.
Well, what if you — you, being a wealthy person — needed all sorts of services and you found one person who was great at all of them? Why would you even call that person a "nanny"?
And then there’s social climbing. “A lot of families, especially new money, are really concerned about their children getting close to other very affluent children,” Greenhouse says. “How do they do that? They find a superstar nanny who already has lots of contacts, lots of other nanny friends who work with other high profile families.” There are the intangibles too. “I’m working with a phenomenal Caribbean nanny right now,” Greenhouse says. “She is drop-dead beautiful. Her presentation is such that you’re proud to have her by your children’s side at the most high-profile events.”
This person is much more than a nanny. The real question is what would you pay for an individual utterly devoted to your family with an array of skills? And the answer is another question: How rich are  you? You'd pay anything!

Of course, it's even better to be in a family where people are doing these things for each other, motivated by mutual self-interest and good old-fashioned love. And when you have these things, do you ever stop and think about the economic value, or do you just take them for granted and only notice the economic value of a family member who's bringing in income? If the latter, you are a fool!

"Millionaires likely would find legal ways to avoid paying higher taxes under President Barack Obama's proposed 'Buffett Rule'..."

"... a new congressional estimate finds.."
The proposal—spelled out in Mr. Obama's State of the Union address—would impose a 30% minimum tax rate on those who make more than $1 million a year. It is named for the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who advocates higher taxes on the very wealthy.

"Mysterious Booms and Trembles Plague Wisconsin Town, Baffle Scientists."

The craziness never ends in this state.
“I think that right now the greatest possibility is that it is some sort of natural phenomenon. I think that it’s a possibility that there is some earth shifting going on underneath the ground that creates those popping sort of exploding popping or vibrating noises that people feel,” City Administrator Lisa Kuss said.
My guess: It's nothing. The town is called Clintonville, for what it's worth.

Jets... Saints... football news.

Breaking news:
N.F.L. Suspends New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton for One Year Over Bounty Program

New York Jets Obtain Tim Tebow in Trade With Denver Broncos

At the Morning Walk Café...

... emerge!

Spring love.

It looks like this (the 3rd photo).

We were driving through the neighborhood yesterday and saw some teenagers, a boy and a girl, walking slowly with their arms around each others waists. I was all: "Young love. Everybody loves to see that."

About that Romney line: "He's a nice guy, but he's in over his head."

James Taranto says:
"He's a nice guy, but . . ." is exquisitely condescending. It's probably not true: Obama strikes us as a petulant narcissist. But calling someone a "nice guy" is rarely a genuine compliment, and it never is when conjoined by "but." As any man who has ever been rejected by a woman knows, describing someone as "a nice guy, but . . ." is another way of saying he's ineffectual. That is exactly the point Romney is making about Obama.
First of all: Obama is not our boyfriend. He/we sometimes act like he is. I've had a blog tag "Obama the Boyfriend" for a long time.  There's this longstanding notion that everyone likes Obama, that he's just soooo likable.

Remember back in January 2008, when Hillary Clinton was asked to deal with her shocking likability deficit next to The Most Likable Man in the World?

But anyway, Taranto's right about what Romney is saying, especially since Romney comes right out and says it: He's in over his head. But the "nice guy" part is, I think, really the ritual of acknowledging that we all [almost all!] like Obama. This ritual goes back to 2008. Remember how John McCain refrained from any sort of personal attack on Obama. Wasn't that the central aspect of Sarah Palin's "going rogue" — that she wanted to light into Obama?

"There was no pot of gold at the end of the adult-in-the-room rainbow... and there were only so many times Lucy could pull away the football."

An unnamed former Obama aide utters one of the silliest sentences we've ever read.

The context is the third year of Obama's presidency, which "did not produce outcomes sufficient for frustrated liberals [but] mark the end of the compromiser-in-chief" as described by David Corn in his new book, "Showdown: The Inside Story of Obama's Fight to Save His Presidency."

Speaking of Corn's new book, Instapundit has a story about Corn yelling at a manager at a Barnes & Noble over the stores failure to give his book its own display.

Condi for VP? "How many ways can I say it? Not me.”

"I think we should go another direction and find somebody who really wants to be in elected office."

Santorum's "candid comments and unconventional moves were badges of authenticity in the early contests..."

".. but they now raise doubts about Santorum’s capacity to be his party’s standard-bearer in the general election."

March 20, 2012

At the Magnolia Café...

... please talk all you want all night.

"It's Floyd the barber, not Floyd the beautician."

"Back off, all you beauticians, cosmetologists and stylists. The pole is our thing, just like how we used to fill our shops with girlie magazines."

One year ago today at the Wisconsin protests: I talk about the threat against me and blogging the protests...

... on Ed Morissey's radio show.

And Meade walks into the Wisconsin Capitol rotunda to find he's the only one there.

Kevin Costner vs. a sculptor who devoted 9 years of her life to making 17 larger-than-life bronze bison/horses/Indians for him.

It's a contracts dispute:
Mr. Costner promised to either build the [$100 million luxury] resort by 2010, place the sculpture in a mutually agreeable location elsewhere, or sell the multimillion-dollar work and split the profit....

Mr. Costner's lawyers argued in court that he met the terms of the 2000 agreement by displaying the work at a $6 million visitor center on part of the land intended for the resort....

To meet Mr. Costner's tight budget, [Peggy Detmers] agreed to do the work for $250,000, one-fourth of what she calls her "wholesale" rate. Mr. Costner confirmed in his testimony that he promised to market copies of the works aggressively in a gallery at the resort....
She worked for $27,000 a year. Obviously, she expected a bigger boost from the project that fizzled. To be fair, Costner's career fizzled too. He was flying high after "Dances With Wolves" — which was what the luxury resort was supposed to be about.

Romney crushes the competition in Illinois.

Wins with 56% — CNN projects.

ADDED: I'm visualizing Paul Ryan as Romney's VP choice. Do you think that's a bad idea? I love the way he projects the message: This is serious. But do you think the 2 of them together might seem scarily robotic?

"It's not the 'Hall of Universally Loved Missourians.'"

"It’s the Hall of Famous Missourians."

Was your first thought I hope Malia is safe?

I read the emailed news alert out loud: 7.9 earthquake in Mexico. Meade's first response: "I hope Malia is safe." (Have you been following the Malia spring break stories?)

I looked it right up:
A strong, long 7.9 earthquake with an epicenter in Guerrero state shook central southern Mexico on Tuesday, swaying buildings in Mexico City and sending frightened workers and residents into the streets.
Let's see, Malia's in Oaxaca. Google maps... Oaxaca, Guerrero... 375 miles (by somewhat indirect roads).

I hope everyone is safe, and I wonder what it says about us — or, specifically, Meade — that we think first of the one American we know is in Mexico right now.

LSAT test-taking down 16% from last year.

And down 25% in the last 2 years.
The decline reflects a spreading view that the legal market in the United States is in terrible shape and will have a hard time absorbing the roughly 45,000 students who are expected to graduate from law school in each of the next three years. And the problem may be deep and systemic.

Many lawyers and law professors have argued in recent years that the legal market will either stagnate or shrink as technology allows more low-end legal work to be handled overseas, and as corporations demand more cost-efficient fee arrangements from their firms.

That argument, and news that so many new lawyers are struggling with immense debt, is changing the way law school is perceived by undergrads....

"So you’re all for like, 'yay, freedom,' and all this stuff. And 'yay, like pursuit of happiness.' You know what would make me happy? Free birth control."

Heckler to Romney, who says: "You know, let me tell you, no no, look, look let me tell you something. If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for, vote for the other guy. That’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about."

"The 2012 congressional redistricting cycle following the 2010 Census... seems likely to make much less difference than many of us expected."

Writes Michael Barone:
I predicted that this cycle, like the 2002 cycle, would produce significant gains for Republicans. Their success in electing governors and legislators in 2010 gave them control in big states like Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina. And voters in Democratic California approved a ballot measure turning redistricting over to a nonpartisan commission.
But it turns out Republicans will probably only gain 1 new seat in Congress as a result of all this.

We need to see the internal records of the Wisconsin Judicial Commission in the case against Justice Prosser.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser — who has been charged with 3 counts of judicial misconduct in the notorious "chokehold" incident — wants the Wisconsin Judicial Commission "to release records of its deliberations in the matter to allow him and others to determine whether the commission was... politically biased against him":
"As far as I'm concerned, I don't think I have anything to hide here," Prosser said. "I don't know who made the complaints. I don't know what their (commission members') votes were. I don't know if it was a unanimous vote or not a unanimous vote."...

Prosser... charged that the Judicial Commission's makeup is inherently biased because five of the nine members are appointed by the sitting governor, who is a partisan.

In his case, at least some of those who participated in discussion about the ethics charges against Prosser, a former Republican speaker of the Assembly, were appointees of former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.
I want to see the internal records. Judicial ethics matter, but who's watching the ethics of the ethics watcher, the Judicial Commission? The people have a compelling interest in seeing what happened.

"A still life once thought to be by Vincent van Gogh but later downgraded to being the work of an anonymous artist..."

"... is indeed by the tormented Dutch impressionist himself," writes AP reporter Mike Corder, presumably with some accuracy, though obviously not full accuracy, since Van Gogh was not an impressionist. He was a Post Impressionist.

Maybe we should call the Associated Press "post journalism."

By the way, it's not the greatest Van Gogh painting in the world, so you can see why it got "downgraded." But then X-ray technology somehow got to the truth. It had Van Gogh insides:
A detailed X-ray of an underlying painting of two wrestlers and knowledge of the painter's period at a Belgian art academy led a team of researchers to conclude that the painting really is by Van Gogh.
Nothing says "Van Gogh" like wrestlers! No, wait. Googling "Van Gogh wrestlers," I got to this much better written news story from The Independent, explaining the reasoning so it doesn't sound ridiculous:

In the Wisconsin rotunda, high school students chant "We're with Walker" and drown out the anti-Walker "Solidarity Singers."

I missed this one. It happened last Thursday. I guess I'm not covering the "Wisconsin protests" story with sufficient vigilance! Blah! It never ends. Anyway, tons of teenagers were in Madison for the big high school basketball tournament. They came from all over the state, drastically tipping the political balance. As Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op reports it (and I'm getting to this belatedly, via Prof. Jacobson, via Instapundit):
On Thursday March 15, 2012 the afternoon Solidarity Sing Along was taken over by a large group of supporters from Lutheran High School in Sheboygan...

Shouts of “LHS” and “Stand with Walker” thundered through the rotunda and was met with wide approval from the LHS supporters. One student entered the circle to mock and taunt the singers with dance moves.
Taunting with dance moves! There's video, but it doesn't include the dance-taunt, which I can only imagine. What would it be, some basketball-madness-Walker-loving hula?

Ha ha. I love the way Wisconsin Citizens Media Co-op — with its ability to detect dance mockery — fails to notice the students singing along with "Solidarity Forever" and making it horribly off key. Maybe the Co-op thinks the Solidarity Singers are always that badly out of tune. That's so sad for the folks who so diligently gather day after day to sing with their clenched fists thrust aloft.

March 19, 2012

Magnolia sunset.

One year ago today at the Wisconsin protests: Things were veering far left.


And a lady explains why she has a "Hi, Everybody/Fuck You" sign.

Another explanation: Scott Walker is like Hitler because "He doesn't do nice things."

At the Magnolia Café...

... we're ecstatic about the early spring. Photo taken yesterday at sunset in the UW arb.

Bush v. Gore is "the case of the century" because it "truly altered history," even though it "didn’t change constitutional doctrine."

Writes TNR's Jonathan Cohn setting up a discussion of whether this year's big Obamacare decision will be the new case of the century. Well, the century is pretty young, and admittedly Bush v. Gore felt like a huge deal at the time. But "truly altered history"?
Just think how the years after 2001 would have unfolded if Al Gore had been president.
Ridiculous! I can't believe Cohn doesn't know that if the case had gone the other way Gore would still have lost in the end!
George W. Bush would have won a hand count of Florida's disputed ballots if the standard advocated by Al Gore had been used, the first full study of the ballots reveals. Bush would have won by 1,665 votes — more than triple his official 537-vote margin — if every dimple, hanging chad and mark on the ballots had been counted as votes, a USA TODAY/Miami Herald/Knight Ridder study shows. The study is the first comprehensive review of the 61,195 "undervote" ballots that were at the center of Florida's disputed presidential election.
That's the news from 2001. And speaking of 2001, does Cohn actually think that Gore would not have responded vigorously to the 9/11 attacks? 

Anyway, I have close to zero interest in reading what Cohn has to say about this year's big case.
I generally leave the sophisticated constitutional analysis to Jeff Rosen, my (much) more informed colleague. But you don't have to be a legal expert to....
Fortunately, I can do my own legal analysis. I'm certainly not interested in Cohn's. As for Rosen's... I don't need to read that either. I know what he'll say. 

Bristol Palin is waiting for Obama's phone call.

Given that he called Sandra Fluke, she says she's "a little surprised my phone hasn’t rung":
Your $1,000,000 donor Bill Maher has said reprehensible things about my family.  He’s made fun of my brother because of his Down’s Syndrome. He’s said I was “f—-d so hard a baby fell out.”...

What if you did something radical and wildly unpopular with your base and took a stand against the denigration of all women… even if they’re just single moms? Even if they’re Republicans?
Best move for Obama? Call her!

Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, D-Madison, proposed the requirement that "a state legislator... be in the room to act as the official 'state shamer.'"

It's Wisconsin, where the legislature is one big theatrical stage:
[A new bill] requires physicians, under the threat of a felony charge, to speak privately with a woman seeking an abortion to determine whether she had been "coerced" and to conduct an exam before providing abortion-inducing drugs....

Roys proposed that since Republicans want to use doctors to perform a "shaming lecture," that a state legislator also be required to be in the room to act as the official "state shamer."
The GOP legislature also passed a bill permitting abstinence-only sex education in public schools. Roys "facetiously proposed amendments to also give schools discretion on whether to teach the 'science of germs' and the 'theory of gravity.'"

There you have it: the comic stylings of Kelda Helen Roys. Roys, unlike the rest of us, has the opportunity to make jokes via the legislative process.

"Metaphors like 'The singer had a velvet voice' and 'He had leathery hands' roused the sensory cortex..."

"... while phrases matched for meaning, like 'The singer had a pleasing voice' and 'He had strong hands,' did not."

Whip out your metaphors, guys. Science says it's thoroughly arousing, according to this second-most-emailed article in the New York Times. First-most is "Why Bilinguals Are Smarter." You see what's going on? The kind of NYT readers who email articles are entranced by brain science reports that stoke their vanity. Hey, girlfriends, see how smart I am? I loved studying French in college and I am always reading novels. Science says!

Bleh. If you were so smart, you wouldn't be emailing stuff through the NYT at this late date in the history of the computer. These are such stock NYT articles, appealing to the vanity of affluent, college-educated women. I don't for one minute believe these people care about science. I don't think they care about how the brain really works, that they'd read about the elaborate chemistry of the brain or anything like that. They just love the reports that back them up, that compliment them, telling them they must be smart because of some dumb thing that was always true of them — reading stories, playing with language, finding NYT articles that allow them to subtly preen to their friends via email.

"Greener than green, I'm saving the planet/Just like my friends Daryl, Sean, Toby and Janet."

"No greenhouse gas, a tiny carbon footprint up your ass/I'm on a motherfucking bike/Sharing my aggression is what that I do/Every day I'm riding the 'Tour de Fuck You'/Banging on hoods and kicking in fenders/a right-of-way-aholic on a permanent bender..."

Yes, that is exactly what it is like out there!

ADDED: Move!

It was 50 years ago today...

... Bob Dylan taught the band to play.

I love Bob, but I never cared about the first album. In fact, someone gave me a copy of it as a gift, in about 1968, because she knew it was the only Bob Dylan album I didn't have, and I returned it. Come on, Bob, write your own songs!

As long as I'm doing "Young Althouse" material... The first Bob Dylan album I bought was "Bringing It All Back Home," which was the newest Bob Dylan album at the time when I started buying Bob Dylan albums. (Albums were expensive then, and as a teenager, I put a lot of thought into the decision to add each one to my possessions.)

"Other than the New York Yankees, is there a team that makes more Americans happy to see lose than the Duke Blue Devils?"

Asks Adam (at Throwing Things).

"Making people care" — Mike Daisey's justification for folding fake drama into a more or less true story.

David Carr analyzes the theater/journalism borderline, looking at Daisey's "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" (the subject of this week's "Retraction" on "This American Life") and "Kony 2012" (the viral video whose producer, Jason Russell, was found, last Friday, naked and ranting on the streets of San Diego). Daisey says he "was terrified" that if he "untied" the fake parts of his theater monologue (to meet the standards of "This American Life") that "the work, that I know is really good, and tells a story, that does these really great things for making people care... would come apart in a way where, where it would ruin everything."

I listened to the "Retraction" episode of "This American Life," and was captivated and repulsed by the replays of the "The Agony and the Ecstasy," with Daisey's heavy-handed phrasing and gulping passionate voice. He injects Apple is eeeevvvilll directly into the theatergoer's brain. You hear the audience reaction and feel them in his manipulative hands. This is art! But it's journalism too. All you have to do is say it has fictionalized elements, and you're in the powerful realm of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "The Jungle."

Carr says:
I am a longtime fan of “This American Life,” but I have never assumed that every story I heard was literally true. The writer and monologist David Sedaris frequently tells wonderful personal yarns on the show that may not be precisely true in every detail....
Yes, what exactly is the difference between Sedaris and what Daisey did? One is humor and the other drama? But both humor and drama employ exaggerations, composites, and invention. One is only trying to entertain and the other is trying to incite political action? That's more like it. One is an author telling stories on himself (and his friends and family) and the other has identified a target and intends a vicious attack that will cause real harm. That matters.

Now, Daisey stresses the victims of his victim: the workers in China, the people he made the audience care about by making up dramatic scenes that, it turns out, never happened, like the man with a hand that was mangled making an iPad who gets to touch, with that mangled hand, a finished iPad, and he strokes it and calls it "magical." This is a version of what is the classic melodramatic encapsulation of the plight of the factory worker: He labors over the creation of a product that he can never own.

Carr — writing in the NYT — turns to the NYT journalists who published a series of articles "investigating Apple’s suppliers... that may have contained a bit less drama, but landed hard." I presume these articles are accurate, but how do I know? Carr anticipates the reader's skepticism about the trustworthiness of professional journalists (who can't make the I'm-an-artist defense when they are caught faking). He ends his article with a coy reference to "an e-mail to someone I know who is an expert on journalistic malfeasance [askins] if, in a complicated informational age, there was a way to make sure that someone telling an important story had the actual goods." We get a quote from this character, a quote that's only worth quoting to get to the revelation that it's Jayson Blair. Somehow the NYT expects you to remember who Blair is... or they're hoping we've forgotten.

I put that link on Blair's name. It's not in Carr's article — and it's even a link to the NYT. Blair's articles seemed so good because they included vivid details that extracted empathy from the reader:
Some of Mr. Blair's articles in recent months provide vivid descriptions of scenes that often occurred in the privacy of people's homes but that, travel records and interviews show, Mr. Blair could not have witnessed.

On March 24, for example, he filed an article with the dateline Hunt Valley, Md., in which he described an anxious mother and father, Martha and Michael Gardner, awaiting word on their son, Michael Gardner II, a Marine scout then in Iraq.

Mr. Blair described Mrs. Gardner ''turning swiftly in her chair to listen to an anchor report of a Marine unit''; he also wrote about the red, white and blue pansies in her front yard. In an interview last week, Mrs. Gardner said Mr. Blair had spoken to her only by phone.
Why lie about pansies? Red, white and blue pansies. To make you care. You can't be relied upon to care based on journalistic facts alone. Those who would manipulate your political opinions know they need to pull at your heart. They give you flowers. They give you an old man with a shaking, mangled hand.

From the "This American Life" transcript (boldface added):
Mike Daisey: And everything I have done in making this monologue for the theater has been toward that end – to make people care. I’m not going to say that I didn’t take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard. But I stand behind the work. My mistake, the mistake that I truly regret is that I had it on your show as journalism and it’s not journalism. It’s theater. I use the tools of theater and memoir to achieve its dramatic arc and of that arc and of that work I am very proud because I think it made you care, Ira, and I think it made you want to delve. And my hope is that it makes – has made — other people delve....

And I stand by it as a theatrical work. I stand by how it makes people see and care about the situation that’s happening there. I stand by it in the theater. And I regret, deeply, that it was put into this context on your show.
Make people care. This is the what we are exposed to when we encounter text. An author is trying to make you care. And maybe you feel that upwelling of caring — empathy... ah, the twinges of humanity. Aren't you a good person to surrender to the injection of caring about the thing you've been manipulated into caring about?

Make people care. May I suggest that you shift your focus from "care" to "make"? Someone is trying to make you feel/think what they want you to feel/think. They'd like you to directly internalize the viewpoint they have chosen and do not want to try to prove on facts and reason alone. Resist!

There. Was that dramatic enough to make you care about resisting the writers who are out to make you care?

"Obama lags behind Republican front-runner Mitt Romney in finding donors willing to give $2,000 or more..."

"... a surprising development for a sitting president, and one that could signal more worrisome financial problems heading into the general election," writes WaPo.
At this point in the last election cycle, Obama had received such large donations from more than 23,000 supporters, more than double the 11,000 who have given him that much this time....

At the end of January, President Obama and the DNC had $74 million on hand for the period before the conventions, according to the latest Federal Election Commission reports. Bush and the Republican National Committee had $144 million at the same point in 2004.

Some bundlers have decided to stop supporting Obama entirely, including several in the finance sector, which has been hit with stringent new regulations pushed by Democrats.

“There’s a lot of disaffection and buyer’s remorse among the people I know,” said one 2008 Obama fundraiser, who is no longer working for the president and was interviewed on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely. “At the end of the day, would they vote for him? Maybe, but they’re certainly going to be less active.”

March 18, 2012


I told you they were daffodils.

And the other yellow flowers, mimicking the sun in the lovely sunset...

... were forsythia.

One year ago today at the Wisconsin protests: "Are you a Walker plant?"

"I'm an Althouse plant." And I really don't get the symbolism of the string. Plus... lots of pizza boxes.

And Dan Riehl examines the threat against me and Meade:
... Shankman said he believes in what he called the “law of privilege.” As best as I could interpret it, it meant that if the majority of Madison residents were progressive and didn’t want an Ann Althouse in their midst, then they are somehow entitled to make it unpleasant enough for her to live there, so that she’ll leave.
People thought they could run us out of town!

Muskrat Sunset — the video.

This evening, on Lake Wingra, in case the stills weren't enough. It really was sublime! Sublime... with a muskrat.

Hey, Romney, are you in a war against women?

On Fox News Sunday today, Mitt Romney was asked why he'd started talking about energy, why he hadn't talked about energy in various relatively recent speeches. We laughed at the way he phrased his answer, because it seemed like he was looking for places to signal that he was not at war against women.
You know, I've been speaking about energy policy I think pretty consistently throughout all of my stump speech.... But the reality is that as I've gone across the country in the last several weeks in particular, I'm seeing more and more people, particularly women for instance, that say to me, you know, it's hard getting kids to school and to soccer practice when you don't know if you can afford to fill up the car. I spoke with a teacher in St. Louis who was out of work and she's staying on unemployment because she said in part, the cost of getting to and from work at a temporary teaching assignment was just so expensive, given gasoline. She couldn't afford to go back to work.
Women. Kids. Soccer. Teachers. He wants you women to know: He cares. 

Tonight's sunset, on Lake Wingra.

It was 80° here today in Madison. A record, I believe. We went out for a bike ride, and when we came back, we could see the difference in the growth of the garden. I have many flower pictures from the day, but what I wanted to post was the beautiful sunset, seen from the UW Arboretum, over one of my favorite lakes in the whole world, Lake Wingra.

"29 Wisconsin Judges Sign Walker Recall Petition."

"That’s 12 percent, and it’s not just abstract advocacy."
"Dane County Judge David Flanagan has been under fire for not disclosing his support of the recall before he issued a temporary restraining order against a Walker-backed voter ID law." It’s like these people don’t believe in civil society or something.

The left has often invoked the authority of law and the learned professions, but Wisconsin — from things like this to the phony doctors’ excuses for protesters — is suggesting that they’re just a bunch of partisan tools.
ADDED: Why would a judge sign a recall petition? You're just one name. It can't make that much difference. And then there you are, your reputation shot to hell. You're politicized. Biased. All those things you strive to deny when you assume the role of judge.

The linked AP article shows that "none of the state's 16 appeals court judges or seven Supreme Court justices signed the petition." That is a relief.

At the Where's-the-Beets Café...

... you can get to the root of things.

Only 28% of likely voters rate the Supreme Court "excellent" or "good."

This is the lowest Rasmussen has recorded (since it began tracking this question in 2006.)
Voters from all party affiliations give the Supreme Court similar ratings, but Democrats and unaffiliated voters give slightly higher negatives than Republicans do.

Overall, 33% believe that the Supreme Court is too politically liberal, while 28% say it is too conservative. Nearly as many (25%) say the ideological balance is about right. Another 14% are undecided. Most GOP voters (56%) think the court is too liberal. Most Democrats (54%) say it's too conservative. Unaffiliateds are more narrowly divided.
Ha ha. I find that breakdown funny. It makes me say the Supreme Court is actually doing just fine. Everybody wants it to skew more toward their politics? They don't deserve what they want.
A plurality of all voters (43%) believes the two justices nominated by President Obama are too liberal, showing little change over the past few months. Only seven percent (7%) regard Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kegan as too conservative, while 36% say their ideologies are about right. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

Fifty-one percent (51%) of politically moderate voters and 65% of liberal voters believe the ideologies of both justices are about right, while most conservatives (75%) believe they are too liberal.
See what I mean?

Now, given that very moderate opinion about the Court generally, it's interesting to see that 69% of voters say that government lacks the constitutional power to require individuals to buy health insurance.

"An envelope full of feces was sent to the office of state Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee."

"The return label read, 'Milwaukee Trade Unions Want The Iron Mine.'"

Union nastiness turns on the Democrats who opposed the big iron mine (assuming the return label reflects to the source of the shit).

Here's some info on the mine. Here's a letter to the editor of a Manitowoc newspaper:
Why do the private-sector unions support the Democrats? Not one Senate Democrat will vote for good-paying, union-related mining jobs in Wisconsin.

"Son of a bitch! Why is this happening?"

Weather lady on live TV.

"Mitt Romney chomping on deep fried cheese curds?"

Hey! I was eating a cheese curd when I read that! I was looking for some news about the upcoming Wisconsin primary. People around here are kind of psyched that the candidates may actually be coming to our late-voting state to campaign. We matter! Sigh.

There aren't any really recent polls, just 2 from February. Both have Santorum up by 16 points. What's that about?

"Is Tommy [Thompson] nimble enough to pivot to the right and position himself as a staunch conservative?"

Asks Marquette polisci prof Charles Franklin.
Mordecai Lee, a UW-Milwaukee political science professor and former Democratic state lawmaker who served with the former governor, said Thompson believed in using government to achieve conservative goals.

"That is a marked departure from modern Republican dogma," he said. "Now, they want to kill the beast. They believe government is the problem. Compare old Tommy to Sen. Ron Johnson. They are as different as the North and South pole."
Old Tommy. He's 70. He's got opposition in the Republican primary, but he's leading in the polls. Whoever wins the Republican primary is, I think, very likely to win the Senate seat, because the the opponent is probably going to be Tammy Baldwin, who currently serves in the House, representing the district that is dominated by Madison. She's never had to appeal to the people of the entire state, and from what I've seen of her, she's not really that good at glad-handing folks. Which is to say, Republicans should pick the candidate they really want, because he is going to win. No reason to go for the one who seems most electable. That's what I think.

"Yeah. We have different worldviews on some of these things. I agree with you truth is really important."

Says Mike Daisey to Ira Glass, who responds: "I know but I feel like I have the normal worldview. The normal worldview is somebody stands on stage and says 'this happened to me,' I think it happened to them, unless it's clearly labeled as 'here's a work of fiction.'"

Some artists (and propagandists) will disagree, but I hope Glass is right.

ADDED: You can listen to the new "Retraction" episode of "This American Life" here (where there is also a link to the transcript PDF).
Ira Glass: You put us in this position of going out and vouching for the truth of what you were saying and all along, in all of these ways, you knew that these things weren’t true. Did you ever stop and think, okay these things aren’t true and you have us vouching for their truth?

Mike Daisey: I did, I did. I thought about that a lot.

Ira Glass: And just what did you think?

Mike Daisey: I felt really conflicted. I felt... trapped.
Fascinatingly, it turns out that Daisey had once done a story about that "Million Little Pieces" guy, James Frey, who got into so much trouble for palming off a fictionalized story as a memoir. A big part of the trouble was that Oprah Winfrey had promoted Frey's book. The section of the interview where Glass brings up Frey ends like this:
Ira Glass: I have such a weird mix of feelings about this, because I simultaneously feel terrible, for you, and also, I feel lied to. And also I stuck my neck out for you. You know I feel like, I feel like, like I vouched for you. With our audience. Based on your word.
I was your Oprah!
Mike Daisey: I’m sorry.

Alexandra Pelosi "is declining to understand the critique."

Says Ta-Nehisi Coates, attacking the filmmaker for a documentary that shows poor white people in Mississippi and poor black people NYC displaying divergent attitudes toward the government. The white people want the government out of their lives, and the black people accept government intrusion that comes in the form of welfare benefits. Coates assails Pelosi for thinking that by offending "both sides," she can get away with demeaning poor people:
That a person who would use journalism to render whole geographies as cartoons, would journey to friendlier environs and pull the same vapid trick should be expected....

Since when did shitting on poor and working people become worthy of self-congratulation? When did punching down become avant-garde?
That's how Coates frames it. Now watch the video:

ADDED: I love when Bill Maher says (at 8:48):
You and I are not racists. I just gave my imaginary child's college fund to Barack Obama, and your mother is Nancy Pelosi. So of all the people in the world — we are not out to fuck black people.
That's a very crude analysis of racism! They stroke themselves with this belief that because they support the Democratic Party, they are certified non-racists. Where's the self-criticism? Isn't it at least possible that their party's policies represent a low opinion of black people, that they are paternalistic, that they take advantage of a seemingly locked in voting bloc?

"We can, however, promise that as long as no humans become hysterical about their guaranteed eventual infection..."

"... and continue to do our bidding, we shall live in peace, as we have for so long. So do not panic."

One year ago [yesterday] at the Wisconsin protests: Althouse & Meade experience union thuggery.

There's a screed on the web:
We will hang up wanted posters of you everywhere you like to go. We will picket on public property as close to your house as we can every day. We will harrass the ever loving shit out of you all the time. Campus is OCCUPIED. State street is OCCUPIED. The Square is OCCUPIED. Vilas, Schenk's Corners, Atwood, Willy Street – Occupied, Occupied, Occupied, Occupied. 
Interesting. All that "Occupy" talk, antedating the earliest manifestations of Occupy Wall Street. What do you make of that?
Did you really think it was all about the Capitol? Fuck the Capitol, we are the CITY... We have the numbers and we don't back down from anyone. We all know each other. We all know each other. We know each other from Service Industry Night at the Orpheum, because we're regulars at the same coffee shops, restaurants and bars, we know each other from the co-ops, we know each other because we've had a million jobs each (and we all worked at CapTel at least once), because we live in every shitty townie house in ever-changing groups of 2 – 7 people, because we are young and horny and screw each other incessantly, because we're all on facebook, and because we aren't anti-social, life-denying, world-sterilizing pieces of human garbage like the two of you. WE WILL FUCK YOU UP. We will throw our baseballs in your lawn, you cranky old pieces of shit, and then we will come get them back. What are you gonna do? Shoot us? Get Wausau Tea Patriots to form an ad hoc militia on your front lawn? That would be fucking HILAROUS to us. You could get to know the assholes on your side in real fucking life instead of sponging off the civil society we provide for you every single day you draw breath."
More here:
"Ann Althouse and Meade advocate torture, attack against nonviolent protesters, police-state crackdowns on citizens exercising their constitutional rights, class privilege, race privilege, and basically the full spectrum of assaults against American democracy advocated by the radical, revolutionary wing of the republican party. They are unkind, unChristian and anti-American." 
ADDED: When I tried to post this last night, I kept getting the "conflicting errors" message, which I know a lot of people attempting to comment were also getting. I hope this means the problem is solved!

ALSO: The text at the link was partial, and it went to a page on the scribd website which now says the document was deleted. I've now updated my original post with the full text of the deleted document, which I had, fortunately, saved.  If you've never read the whole thing, try it. Here's the last paragraph: