June 16, 2012

"Austrian Politician Photographed Having Sex In Forest By Hidden Wildlife Camera."

Oh, no!

Have you ever considered this possibility when you were having sex in the forest?

IN THE COMMENTS: AprilApple points to the part of the linked article that says the politician "will get up to $25,000 in compensation if the court rules his privacy was invaded." That does shed a different light on it — a less gentle, dappled light.

I'm now getting somewhere on my project of erasing on the 9 defunct Macs...

... that have piled up at home and in the office since 1991 (when I got my first computer with a hard drive). Man, have I been putting off this task. Thanks to everyone who chipped in with tips on the previous post. But no one talked about the new paint colors on the second post.

Here's another shot:

Untitled

At the Invalid Argument Café...

Untitled

Untitled

... we're having a colorful conversation.

Palin refers to Obama's "cocaine snorting, and what he ate — Fido? Rufus?"

"I think it’s funny that the cocktail circuit gives me a hard time for eating elk and moose. Anybody here have a pet moose? There’s a difference."

"It's no accident that religions around the world have used unison singing and chanting, because unison singing and chanting is itself a mechanism for high fidelity."

Says Daniel Dennett, in a discussion with Richard Dawkins. Both atheists, they're talking about the way religion evolves.

I was interested in the quote beyond that context, because I've had to listen to so much political singing and chanting here in Wisconsin over the past year or so. Political chanting troubles me. See, e.g.:

"Occupy Wall Street, Occupy State Street, Occupy Everything and Never Give It Back!"

"Wisconsin 'Singalong' Protesters Confront Workers and Chant About Boycotting Their Employer."

"Do you really want to use rote chanting to train kids to protest against authority?"

"For boys who never question the boy code, it slowly turns into the 'bro code' or the man-box as they enter adulthood."

"When men stop questioning their own gender conditioning, it keeps them stuck in an immature stage of development that Sociologist Michael Kimmel calls 'guyland.' Guyland is when a man refuses to grow up and then behaves in ways so as to not be seen as unmanly, gay, or feminine. The way out of the man-box is straightforward and yet, will require more 'work.'"

Are you suffering out there in your "man-box"?

The veterans monument and the giant bunny statue.

"When the veterans want to do something, we allow them to do those things. Why can't the town of Dedham put the bunnies that show the spirit of Dedham where they want to go?"

Aerial photographs of Dutch tulip fields.

Nice!

"My fish died when I wasn't home. Asked my cousin to give him a proper flushing.."

"She sent me this."

Tarantula with fungus "antlers."

Afflicted, fascinatingly.

"The best punishment for a man who would take your wife is to let him have her."

A tl;dr summary to something that was actually not too long responding to a call for "instant karma" stories.

"Whenever I'm feeling down I look at this old picture of my friend."

"Gets me every time."

(Via Reddit.)

"Some of the stuff in [Sarah Jessica Parker's] house was shabby chic, and let’s just say, Anna [Wintour] wanted less shabby, and more chic."

This is completely mundane to me. Of course, a house that a real family lives in is different from the norm for a glamorous lunch party. Whether Anna Wintour or some less divine stylist is doing the redoing, it must be redone.

But it became hilarious when Rush Limbaugh — who had never even heard the term "shabby chic" — tried to get his mind around it.
Have you ever heard of the term "shabby chic"?  That is how the New York Post describes Sarah Jessica Parker's house. The decor is shabby chic.  I've never heard it, either.  I don't know what it is.  But they had... It's in the Post. Apparently, people were over there Windexing doorknobs.  This place is made out to be an absolute pigsty that Anna Wintour had to go into and clean. No, I'm telling you that's how it's written.  There are people cleaning the doorknobs, washing the windows, taking a piano upstairs, moving furniture out, moving furniture in. 
Etc. etc. After the break, he's got a definition of the term — it's from Wikipedia, though he doesn't say so — and he's quoting and riffing:
"Shabby chic is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen" because they look old and worn out, with "signs of wear and tear." Or if they're new items, they're made to look that way. Flaking paint, dents, little chunks taken out of the wood table in the kitchen. I have pictures of some of this stuff.  It looks like you'd run into it in one of Hatfield or McCoy's cabins.  At least to me. "At the same time, a soft, opulent, yet cottage-style decor, often with a feminine feel is emphasized to differentiate it from genuine period decor."

Anyway, Anna Wintour didn't like it. She got it out of there.  It's not even her house.  It's Sarah Jessica Parker's place.  Anna Wintour shows up, and she probably said, "I'm not going in there.  I am not setting foot in this place! I'm not having my picture taken in a place like this."  So the story goes on. She moved the piano upstairs. They were spray painting stuff, washing doorknobs inside and out.  They're making the place sound like a pigsty. 
Limbaugh obviously wants it to be that Parker is a big old slob, but "shabby chic" is a decorating term that has nothing to do with things being filthy or even messy. And "one of Hatfield or McCoy's cabins"... that's a way to say "hillbillies" without saying "hillbillies." Limbaugh wants to say: this is the case of the biggest fashionista in the room calling another fashionista a hillbilly. The material is not there, because "shabby chic" is a technical decorating term. (My Google image search tells me it's very heavy on the color white.) But Limbaugh nevertheless follows his original impulse, that Wintour and her people insulted Parker by calling her home "shabby."

IN THE COMMENTS: I say: "Note to commenters: References to Parker's resemblance to a horse have been done, done, and overdone. Come up with something new." And Crack Emcee says: "Glad to oblige," and — quoting me "The material is not there, because 'shabby chic' is a technical decorating term. (My Google image search tells me it's very heavy on the color white.)" — says "Oh, that shit is HEAVY alright." Indeed!

ADDED: An antidote to the heavy at Crack's link. By the way, we're repainting our house, and we're repainting black and white. What we need to survive... together alive...

"I used to love blogging. I ate it, drank it, and slept on it at night."

"Then I became a consultant and professional blogger, earning a living giving advice and blogging for others.... Now I hardly blog at all. I returned to what I intended to do in the first place, before I’d ever heard of blogs: freelance writing."

Writes La Shawn Barber, who'd just run across an interview she did back in 2006, when she loved blogging. "Nothing profound. It just brought back memories."

From the old interview: "The more you blog, the more you love it, the more you have to say.... You need to blog because you like, or love, to do it."

The things that we do for love — and truly love — may be things we wouldn't love at all if it were paid work. Sex is an obvious example of that sort of thing. Here's a great old blog post by Penelope Trunk: "Bad career advice: Do what you love."
I am a writer, but I love sex more than I love writing. And I am not getting paid for sex. In fact, as you might imagine, my sex life is really tanking right now. But I don’t sit up at night thinking, should I do writing or sex? Because career decisions are not decisions about “what do I love most?” Career decisions are about what kind of life do I want to set up for myself?...

If you are lost, and lonely, and wondering how you’ll ever find your way in this world. Take a job. Any job. Because structure, and regular contact with regular people, and a method of contributing to a larger group are all things that help us recalibrate ourselves....

June 15, 2012

"It is in no way surprising that a Daily Caller reporter would act like a tremendous, disrespectful asshole..."

"... as 'act like an asshole' is essentially the Caller’s mission statement. Presidents shouldn’t be afforded god-like respect by the press or the citizenry, but 'don’t interrupt people while they’re talking to angrily shout disagreeable things at them' is just sort of basic politeness, really. (Of course, in a movie written by a liberal screenwriter — *cough cough* Aaron Sorkin *cough cough* — Munro would be a hero. And in a movie written by a liberal screenwriter, he also wouldn’t be an obnoxious right-wing Irish-accented twit, and also his question would not be paradoxically nativist nonsense.)"

Writes Alex Pareene.

"The descent into social rancor over judicial decisions is largely traceable to nontextual means of interpretation..."

"... which erode society's confidence in a rule of law that evidently has no agreed-on meaning."

A quote from Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner, from their new book "Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts," which is reviewed at the link above and available for sale here.

"Worse still than real dreams, mine or yours—sandier mouthfuls, ranker lies—are the dreams of characters in books and movies."

Writes Michael Chabon:
Nobody, not even Aunt Em, wants to hear about Dorothy’s dream when she wakes up at the end of The Wizard of Oz. As outright fantasy the journey to Oz is peerless, joyous, muscular with truth; to call it a dream (a low trick L. Frank Baum, who wrote the original story, never stooped to) is to demean it, to deny it, to lie; because nobody has dreams like that. Nobody has dreams like the dreams in Spellbound, either; or like those in Little Nemo in Slumberland, Alice in Wonderland, Inception...

If art is a mirror, dreams are the back of the head. A work of art derives its effects from light, sound, and movement, but dreams unfurl in darkness, silence, paralysis. Like a recipe attempted in an ill-provisioned kitchen, “dreamlike” art relies on substitutions: dutch angles, forced perspective, absurdist juxtapositions, arbitrary transformations, and, as Peter Dinklage’s character points out in the film Living in Oblivion, a lamentable superabundance of dwarfs.
Here's that scene in Living in Oblivion. (Shorter clip here. Buy the whole movie here. It's really good.)

I feel like I should make some wisecrack of that book written by the now-President of the United States, "Dreams From My Father." Who just signed that "Dream" law. Dreams figure big in political speech, for a few reasons.

Obama calls Romney "Mr. Romney" now, instead of "Gov. Romney" — an "intentional slight"?

Dan Amira thinks so.

Man, you should have been in Wisconsin for the debates between Gov. Scott Walker and Mayor Tom Barrett. Barrett repeatedly addressed the governor as "Scott."

"Feng was not forced to abort... A lot of us tried for days to educate her. She agreed to the abortion herself."

China's one-child policy.

ADDED: In The New Yorker:
China convulsed this week around the story of Feng Jianmei, a twenty-three-year-old expectant mother, who was escorted from a relative’s home in Shaanxi province by local family-planning officials, shoved into a van, and driven to a hospital. She was blindfolded and given a document to sign. It didn’t matter that she couldn’t see it; she knew why she was there. She had violated the one-child policy. Two shots were injected into her belly, and on the morning of June 4th she gave birth to a stillborn baby girl.

Afterward, while she lay on a metal-framed hospital bed, her sister took a devastating (and, be warned, graphic) photo: mother, beside the bloodied remains of her daughter. It electrified the country. By Thursday night, the topic had attracted a million comments on Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, and rage was mounting. China’s family-planning system has been “openly killing people for years in the name of national policy,” a commenter wrote on Clubkdnet.net. “What is wrong with society?” Li Chengpeng, a widely followed commentator, wrote, “A seven-month baby can think already. I want to ask the murderer, how do you face your own mother when you go home? If this evil policy is not stopped, this country will have no humanity.”...

"For the longest time I would not date anyone who would now be called a one-percenter because money and power are such a potent combination..."

"... and if I am going to be bossed around, I don't want that to be the reason. When it's come up, I have chosen not to get married. Over and over again, I have opted for my integrity and independence over what was easy or obvious. And I am happy. I don't want everyone to live like me, but I do expect educated and able-bodied women to be holding their own in the world of work."

Says Elizabeth Wurtzel, who's blaming the "war on women" on the "one percenters" and insisting that "real feminists" earn their own living, and proclaiming that there's " only one kind of equality... and it's economic."

She's irritating for about 10 reasons, including the fact/fiction that rich men are clamoring to marry her.

"Time Machine: 1951."

The year I was born, so I'm especially interested:


Watch Time Machine: 1951 on PBS. See more from KBDI.

Via David Kopel at Volokh Conspiracy, who explains:

Recount in the recall election that would shift the balance of power in the Wisconsin senate.

WisPolitics reports:
GOP state Sen. Van Wanggaard today requested a recount in his 834-vote loss to Dem John Lehman, raising questions about the integrity of last week's results and arguing a second count is needed to help move the state past the "schisms caused by the recalls."...

In his petition, Wanggaard alleges numerous challenges by election observers were not properly documented or acknowledged, individuals were allowed to register and vote without proper proof of residence, individuals voted in more than one location and some were given incentives to vote, among other things.

The Racine County Sheriff's Department is investigating claims that suspicious voter registration documents were found last week in a trash bin outside a polling place.
The other side criticizes Wanggard for trying to delay the power shift to the Democrats, but he defends himself, noting that the voter ID law was not in force, and "so many people [are] suspicious of the election result." Without a recount, "bitterness and division will only grow."

State Senate Democratic Committee executive director Zac Kramer calls the recount "some sort of political game."
Kramer also questioned the timing of yesterday’s announcement by Racine officials that they are looking into allegations suspicious voter registration documents were found in a trash bin outside a polling place last week. The announcement came one day before the deadline Wanggaard faced to request a recount....

“That just seems too convenient for me,” he said.
Here's a report about the suspicious documents: Somebody found a bag of "various election materials" outside the Cesar Chavez Community Center, which was a polling place in Racine.

ADDED: Let's remember how excited Democrats were when JoAnne Kloppenburg announced that she want a recount in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race last year: "A recount benefits everyone..."

Forest boy is a fake!

Surprised?

Blogged here yesterday. I asked for theories and fake was a popular choice.

40% of likely voters think Eric Holder should resign (and only 27% say he should not).

33% are undecided.
Only 24% of voters have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of Holder, while 48% view him unfavorably. This includes eight percent (8%) with a Very Favorable view of the nation’s chief law enforcement officer and 32% with a Very Unfavorable one. Twenty-eight percent (28%) don’t know enough about Holder to venture any kind of opinion.

Top 100 political best sellers.

100 that you have to pay for,plus 100 that are free as ebooks. (The #1 free political ebook is "The Communust Manifesto." I just downloaded one of the top free ones, but not that one. If you need a Kindle to read ebooks, you can get one here. Actually, I usually read my ebooks using the Kindle app on my iPad... which is something you can buy here.)

And please buy whatever you want through the official Althouse blog Amazon portal

Who was the Recall Walker movement's own worst enemy?

David Blaska has the nominees.

Obama "bypasses Congress and partially achieves the goals of the so-called DREAM Act."

AP reports:
The Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives. The election-year initiative addresses a top priority of an influential Latino electorate that has been vocal in its opposition to administration deportation policies.

Searching for "ample art," I found a cool blog called judith2you.

"Ample art" was the ridiculous phrase used by the pool reporter to describe the room Sarah Jessica Parker had had prepped to receive the President of the United States and 50 of his glamorous friends. Here's the blog post about that. Trying to summon up a picture of "ample art," I thought of those big fat nudes by Botero. I did an image search on his name, which I used as a link in that blog post. But I clicked on the most obvious big fat nude, and it took me to a post at judith2you: "Judith meets Botero." It' a post comparing that Botero to a painting by Marco Palmezzano called "Judith with the Head of Holofernes." The blogger, Judith, comments on the the maid, who "put herself in danger in the midst of the Assyrian Army, she had to carry the bucket with a lifeless head stuffed in rotting meat...."

The 9-year-old school-dinner blogger is free again to photograph her school dinners.

Yay!
Martha Payne, from Argyll, got more than two million hits on her NeverSeconds blog in just a few weeks.

Argyll and Bute Council said press coverage of the blog had led catering staff to fear for their jobs.

But council leader Roddy McCuish later told the BBC that he had instructed senior officials to lift the ban immediately.

Local MSP Mike Russell, Scotland's education secretary, had written to the council's chief executive in his capacity as local MSP, calling for the "daft" ban to be overturned.
Ha ha. You can't keep a blogger down. Even in Scotland. I love when repression backfires.

Blog on, Martha!

Obama and Michelle at Sarah Jessica Parker's West Village brownstone, with 50 others, who'd paid $40,000 each.

The glamorous fundraiser in NYC. The one that also included Anna Wintour. Meryl Streep and Michael Kors were there.
The pool reporter was impressed with what Parker had done with the place: There was “ample” art on the walls, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, a pair of marble fireplaces. The fireplace mantels were adorned with flowers, and so were the tables, which also had votives — Wintour’s touches, perhaps.
Ample art — can't we get a better description? I can't picture anything. Ample? I'm picturing this.

Some Occupy-type protesters were down the street, on the other side of a a police barricade. One of them said, "It’s not a fund-raiser; it’s just trying to get famous people to amplify him."

Ample... amplify....  Damn. I've go the set-up for I joke, but I just can't find it.

"Homeless man in Texas wins right to keep bag containing $70,000 in cash, gold."

He found it in a bag down by the river, where he'd gone to wash his feet.
He saw a bag, kicked it and heard jangling. After discovering the wet money inside, he took his find to a First National Bank branch to exchange it for dry currency, The Statesman reported.

That’s when police were called in.
There had to be a notice in the paper first, but after 90 days, it was his, under the age-old legal principle finders, keepers.

The man, Timothy Yost, says: “I’ve been walking for so long, first thing I want is a vehicle.” You might think that a person that we call "homeless" would say the first thing I want is a home. Perhaps in his own mind, he thought of himself as carless.

Some of the people in the comments at the link don't agree with that car-before-home judgment:
70k won't last long. it's a fortune to someone who is homeless but one wonders how he came to be homeless in the first place. if the cause was bad judgment then 70k will be gone in no time. buying a car seems silly when housing, an apartment, clothing should be a priority and finding a job to increase the 70k or maintain most of it. perhaps a good bicycle to start. with a car, he will spend on insurance, fuel, and maintaining it.
Don't you need a car (in Texas) to find an apartment and to buy new clothes and other supplies? You can live in your car in a pinch, but you can't drive around in your apartment. And it's his experience. Needing to walk everywhere troubled him more than having to sleep wherever he did.

Good luck — further good luck — to Mr. Yost.

June 14, 2012

"President Obama’s Speech Gets A Thumbs Down From Political Press Corps."

It was supposed to be an important new speech, but the tweets from the press say otherwise, e.g.:
This Obama speech is so long-winded it might be the first attempt to filibuster an election.
And:
Just cheerleading BO doesn't help him. He needs a sharper, more cogent message with some memorable lines.

"Why do the president's appointees think the picture of him with a kill list in his hand makes him look good?"

Asks Peggy Noonan.
He sits and personally decides who to kill? Americans don't think of their presidents like that. And they don't want to....

After the killing of bin Laden, members of the administration, in a spirit of triumphalism, began giving briefings and interviews in which they said too much. One of the adults in the administration, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, reportedly went to Mr. Donilon's office. "I have a new strategic communications approach to recommend," he said. What? asked Mr. Donilon.

"Shut the [blank] up," Mr. Gates said.

Which U.S. Presidents were atheists?

I'm assuming some were. Here's a summary of what we know about each of the Presidents. What do you think? Perhaps John Tyler:
There is not much evidence of Tyler's beliefs, though he's often listed as Episcopalian. Following his death a friend said, "He was a firm believer in the atonement of the son of God, and in the efficacy of his blood to wash away every stain of mortal sin. ... He was by faith and heirship a member of the Episcopal Church and never doubted divine revelation." However, no pastor came to his home to administer the last sacrament, and in her account of his last illness, Tyler's wife wrote nothing of faith, hope, Christ or eternity.

Shopping tip.

Get your dad something for Father's Day.

Or buy something for yourself.

The streetcar boondoggle.

Randal O'Toole explains in detail. (PDF, via Forbes.) To put it briefly: Buses do better for far less money.
Streetcars are the latest urban planning fad, stimulated partly by the Obama administration’s preference for funding transportation projects that promote “livability” (meaning living without automobiles) rather than mobility or cost-effective transportation. Toward that end, the administration wants to eliminate cost-effectiveness requirements for federal transportation grants, instead allowing non-cost-effective grants for projects promoting so-called livability. In anticipation of this change, numerous cities are preparing to apply for federal funds to build streetcar lines....

Rail transit proponents rely heavily on a myth that many people will ride railcars who won’t ride buses. They use the term “quality transit” as a euphemism for rail transit, implying that buses are not quality transit. Apparently, “livability” not only means you don’t have to have a car, but you don’t have to lower yourself by taking a bus either. Taxpayers are supposed to cater to such snobs by providing them with rail alternatives that cost many times more than buses.

"This week, Google is spending $18.7 million to snatch up territory in 'the greatest Internet landgrab' in history."

There will be all these new top level domains — in addition to the old .com and .org and so forth. It costs $185,000 to apply for one... and then there's the competition:
[Google] wants .google, .youtube, .goog and .plus. It was the only applicant vying for .fly, .new and .eat. But it is going to have to fight Johnson & Johnson for .baby, Microsoft for .docs and .live, and Amazon for 17 top-level domains: .wow, .search, .shop, .drive, .free, .game, .mail, .map, .movie, .music, .play, .shop, .show, .spot, .store, .talk and .you. Amazon also went after .tunes, .got, .author, .smile, .song, .joy, .bot, .like and .call… The most sought-after extension is .app, with 13 applicants though not Apple, which popularized the mobile application.
Facebook applied for none. Not even .facebook.
If the Web is truly on its deathbed, as Wired has claimed, those spending money on this may be .throwingitaway. Their money would be better spent on better mobile apps.

"I met a guy yesterday, 7 feet tall… I figured he had to be in sport, but he wasn’t in sport!"

Pssssssssssst. Romney! You've got to add the "s."

"Within the past 24 hours, user-contributed link aggregator reddit.com compiled a 'secret list' of banned domains..."

"... including such reputable news sites as The Atlantic, Business Week, PhysOrg and ScienceDaily."
Reddit is a site that claims to be all for online democracy and transparency. This abrupt act of censorship has triggered a response from users—and the upset is gaining momentum by the second....

One of the reasons behind the censorship is that it isn’t being seen by reddit staff as censorship. The banned domains have been linked to accusations of reddit users “gaming the system,” or having financial ties to the promoted links. 
There was spamming and cheating. Reddit's response to the linked post was: "You can’t have democracy if people can rig the ballot box."

"For those who are excited about the notion of living with large carnivores, this is great."

Mountain lions in Wisconsin (and throughout the midwest).
Researchers theorize cougars are inhabiting the Midwest again following a "stepping stone" dispersal pattern - moving out of a dense population, stopping at the closest patch of available habitat and examining it for mates and prey before moving on....

But at times, the predators have drifted into populated areas. Police in Santa Monica, Calif., last month killed a 95-pound mountain lion that roamed into a downtown area - the first such sighting in that city in more than three decades - and Chicago police in 2008 shot and killed a 150-pound cougar in an alley on the city's north side. That cat had earlier passed through Wisconsin.
Here's the Wisconsin DNR website showing where mountain lions have been sighted in Wisconsin.

Some bioethicists say "it's unacceptable to ban some female athletes for insufficient femininity."

The IAAF policy bans female athletes with with hyperandrogenism — that is, high testosterone levels — unless they treat their condition with surgery or drugs. The bioethicists are saying this violates the individual's privacy and that "testing for testosterone levels alone is inadequate and completely simplistic."
Rebecca Jordan-Young, a... co-author of the report, has said, "Individuals have dramatically different responses to the same amounts of testosterone, and it is just one element in a complex neuroendrocrine feedback system." Moreover, it's not known what typical testosterone levels even are for elite female athletes.

Someday I'm probably going to have to write a post titled "How Obama lost me."

It will be in the tradition of "How Kerry lost me" and "How McCain lost me."

But the first thing that springs to mind, that will definitely be on the long list of links to old posts of mine will be "Do you understand the massive destruction the government is paying for? The destruction of perfectly operable cars?" The video embedded at that link made a crushing impact on me.

Tommy Thompson is crushing Tammy Baldwin in the race to replace Herb Kohl in the Senate.

Rasmussen says it's 52% to 36%. Ouch.

Thompson isn't the candidate yet. Popular though he is, other Republicans are giving him competition. Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, no one is challenging Tammy Baldwin, the congresswoman who has for many years represented the district that includes Madison. Where are all the Democrats in this erstwhile blue state? Is there no one out there or have they somehow agreed to let Tammy have it? There ought to have been some very serious concern about her ability to appeal to people outside of the Madison area.

"Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that the Islamist-led parliament must be immediately dissolved..."

"... while also blessing the right of Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister to run for president, escalating a battle for power between the remnants of the toppled order and rising Islamists."
The high court, packed with sympathizers of the ousted president, appears to be engaged in a frontal legal assault on the Muslim Brotherhood,

"The two versions of ['What What (In The Butt)'] are very similar.... However the South Park version stars Butters..."

"... a naïve nine-year old, in a variety of costumes drawing attention to his innocence: at various points he is dressed as a teddy bear, an astronaut and a daisy."

An excellent discussion of the elements of "fair use" in copyright, from the 7th Circuit, in a case called Brownmark Films v. Comedy Partners (PDF). Via Above The Law.

You can watch the original "paean to anal sex" — "featuring an adult male singing and dancing in tight pants" — here. And the South Park parody — using "a large portion of the original version, using the same angles, framing, dance moves and visual elements" — is here. From the opinion:

50 million visits.

I hit a big milestone on the blog sometime in the last day: 50 million visits. (Page views are creeping toward 100 million.)

It's been 8 years and (exactly) 5 months — with never a single day without posting and never a co-blogger or guest-blogger, but with lots of company on the comments pages and with Meade at my side.

Who knows how long such a project can continue? I could be overcome with plague, tuberculosis, or lovesickness. I could wander off into the forest and forget my last name. HBO could put my head on a pike. I might take an unlucky leap to the left or at a wall or decide it's just too quiet around here.

But until then, I must go on. You don't have to read, but by some miracle, you do (at least until you don't), and that's really cool.

"A successful economy requires outsize rewards for the able (and lucky) few..."

"... who overcome very long odds to produce valuable innovations that others are willing to pay for," according to Edward Conard (who was a partner of Mitt Romney's at Bain Capital).
Mr. Conard embraces economic Darwinism as not just the best but the only route to prosperity and economic growth—to more jobs and higher standards of living. "Survival of the fittest," he writes, "pits new ideas against existing alternatives . . . [and] ruthlessly prunes away less capable alternatives, ensuring that only the most valuable and robust remain."...

[Conard also] shows that money invested by the well-to-do throws off more wealth to society—what economists call the "consumer surplus," or the value to consumers of the new products produced by investment—than the same amount of money when it has been taxed and redistributed. Even charity is bad for the economy, Mr. Conard says, because it diverts potential risk capital to less productive uses.
Here's his book: "Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong."

"Girl, 15, died of tuberculosis after being misdiagnosed with 'lovesickness.'"

In England.
"She found it very distressing he was suggesting she was lovesick for a boy," the girl's father, Sultan Sarag, 43, told Birmingham Coroner's Court.... "He said all the problems were in her head and she should see a psychiatrist or spiritual healer."
Did I say this happened in England?

A man who saved a mouse from a cat is now "at death's door" with the plague.

In Oregon.

HBO apologizes for putting George Bush's head on a pike.

Apparently, they thought differently about it after some bloggers made the typical-blogger argument that they wouldn't do that to Barack Obama.

Ray, the "forest boy," who lived in the woods for 5 years, and doesn't know his last name.

He says that he lived with his father, that the father died, and he buried him in the forest. 
The teen said he did not know why is father died and could not say where he had been buried.

Ray said he and his father sought refuge in the woods after his mother, Doreen, died in a car crash when he was 12.

He wears a pendant with the letter “D” around his neck, which he says is in remembrance of his mother. Authorities also could not find any record of a woman named Doreen dying in a car crash in Germany in the past decade....
Theories?

UPDATE: Fake!

When a bicyclist shouts "to your left" — it's dangerously ambiguous.

In Arlington, Virginia, a man yelled "to your left," causing an 80-year-old woman, Ita Lapina, to step to her left. She was struck and killed.

Around here, they shout "on your left," not "to your left," but I'm not sure that clearly avoids the ambiguity. Basically, shouting at a pedestrian from behind is startling.

Bikers, think of Ita Lapina, and get a bell. People instantly understand what it means, and they don't have the confusing experience of suddenly finding someone yelling at them. Quite aside from the safety issue, it's irritating to be yelled at. I bike on bike trails often, and I know exactly what's happening when I hear "on your left," but on a sub-rational level it feels rude.

Also, when you're passing a pedestrian — especially an older person or a child — go slowly and give them a really wide berth.

ADDED: In the comments at the link, someone says: "I'd have no problem with banning full suspension bikes from multi use paths. Not because they're fast, but because cheap ones have handling issues and are too often ridden by poor cyclists." I don't know anything about whether that's true, but I see in the article that the bike was a Next Powerclimber. That bike costs $88 at WalMart. That's amazing. They'll even ship it free at that price.

The NY Mets consider setting up a "quiet" section in CitiField.

For those who want a calmer, more contemplative baseball experience.

"Matt Cain of San Francisco Giants tosses 22nd perfect game in Major League Baseball history and second of 2012 season."

2 great catches made this possible:
Left fielder Melky Cabrera chased down Chris Snyder's one-out flyball in the sixth, scurrying back to make a leaping catch at the wall. Cain raised both arms and slapped his glove in delight when Cabrera made the play.

Then, right fielder Gregor Blanco ran into deep right-center to make a diving catch on the warning track and rob Jordan Schafer for the first out of the seventh.

"Those were unbelievable catches," Cain said. "I mean that right there, that changes the whole thing."
Here's Blanco's catch. And here's Cain finishing the game.

June 13, 2012

"Do you have a Google alert on 'detachable penis'?"

Question asked by me after Meade forwarded me this story:
After leaving its detachable penis to finish inseminating the female, the male orb-web spider fights to the death to protect the impregnated gal. Without the extra weight of its sexual organs, this spider can outlast its competition, new research has found.

"It's not only rather obvious partisanship of a judicial nature, it is rather obvious emasculation."

That's one of the things Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser said about Chief Justice Shirley Abramhamson's behavior, according to records of the Judicial Commission that became available today.

"The last head on the left is George Bush. George Bush's head appears in a couple of beheading scenes."

"It's not a choice, it's not a political statement. We just had to use whatever head we had around."

"Perjury charge against Shellie Zimmerman raises more questions of prosecutorial overreaching."

Says Professor Jacobson, combing the transcript for the statement that's supposed to be "a specific material false statement which the person believes not to be true at the time of testimony."

"Hopefully, 'Jim Morrison' will be able to walk right up to you, look you in the eye, sing right at you and then turn around and walk away."

Holograms need to up their game.

One week after the recall election: Romney 47%, Obama 44% in Wisconsin.

The new Rasmussen poll of likely voters:
Prior to this survey, Obama's support in the state has ranged from 45% to 52%, while Romney has earned 41% to 45%. Last month, the numbers were Obama 49%, Romney 45%. The president led his likely Republican challenger by 11 points in March - 52% to 41%....

The president is ahead 54% to 45% among voters who are excited about the 2012 matchup. Romney leads 48% to 33% among those who are just choosing the lesser of two evils...

Unfortunately, the Jefferson Airplane sounds pretty bad, and Jean-Luc Godard's camerawork is execrable.

But this NYC wake-up concert from a rooftop in 1968 had all the elements of greatness.

(The famous Beatles rooftop concert in the movie "Let It Be" was filmed in 1969.)

ADDED: Hazy Dave emails:
BTW, the Beatles thing was filmed January 30, 1969, and the Airplane was apparently Taken Off the roof December 7, 1968 (not November as the story states), so it was "the" year before, if not "a" year before. Almost 8 weeks, anyway. :) 
Who knows which one was planned first?

"The plural of 'vinyl' is 'vinyl.'"

A study in peevology.

"Why our food is making us fat" — It's Nixon's fault!

"The story begins in 1971."
Richard Nixon was facing re-election. The Vietnam war was threatening his popularity at home, but just as big an issue with voters was the soaring cost of food. If Nixon was to survive, he needed food prices to go down, and that required getting a very powerful lobby on board – the farmers. Nixon appointed Earl Butz, an academic from the farming heartland of Indiana, to broker a compromise. Butz, an agriculture expert, had a radical plan that would transform the food we eat, and in doing so, the shape of the human race....

ip'ns.

The food we need now.

"We should give marshmallows to every kindergartner."

"We should say, 'You see this marshmallow? You don’t have to eat it. You can wait. Here’s how."
When [Professor Walter Mischel] and his colleagues taught children a simple set of mental tricks—such as pretending that the candy is only a picture, surrounded by an imaginary frame—he dramatically improved their self-control. The kids who hadn’t been able to wait sixty seconds could now wait fifteen minutes. “All I’ve done is given them some tips from their mental user manual,” Mischel says. “Once you realize that will power is just a matter of learning how to control your attention and thoughts, you can really begin to increase it.”
Self-control. Learn it. Teach it.

Smarter people are more vulnerable to thinking errors...

... that come in the form of taking mental shortcuts in place of getting the facts and doing the math.

The theme of the opening ceremony for the London Olympics is "green and pleasant."

We will see a representation of "the mythical British countryside: meadows, maypoles, picnicking families, toiling farmers, cricketers on the village green. There will be twelve horses and three sheepdogs. There will be Elgar, and the world’s largest harmonized bell, inscribed with the line 'Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises,' from 'The Tempest.'"

It will be — by design — quite the contrast to the big show they did in Beijing back in 2003.  It will be "a bit warmer, and more inclusive, and more involving."

What do you think of the "green and pleasant" approach?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Pinterest is a "female ghetto."

Is that so wrong?

Classical music from popular movies.

Here are 100 tunes for $0.99. Not each. All 100 for $0.99.

ADDED: Sorry I had the wrong link there at first. I wasn't trying to be funny!

"Does gender equality produce income inequality?"

Asks Instapundit linking to this article about the way women pair up with men from the same socioeconomic class.
Doctors used to marry nurses. Now doctors marry doctors.

So while husbands and wives have become more equal, inequality between families appears to be on the rise....
Women now earn about 60 percent of all graduate degrees in rich countries. Of course they are more likely to marry men of similar educational background; they meet them at college.
Is this a problem for policymakers to solve? If so, what could they do? You can't tell people whom to marry. The linked article is in the NYT, so I expected more to be said about tweaking tax policy, but instead there was discussion of parenting classes in the UK. Isn't that odd? I'm going to infer that the NYT avoided talking tax policy because it didn't like what it would have to say.

"Ranger School isn't about improving the career prospects of individual candidates."

Says Stephen Kilcullen who opposes letting in women.
Army women are not currently allowed to serve in frontline squads, platoons or rifle companies. But they can serve on battalion staffs: groups of 10 to 15 headquarters personnel who coordinate the actions of the smaller units in the organization. These roles do not involve small-unit combat leadership, tactics or direct combat—core aspects of the infantry mission. Ranger School develops those men best suited for precisely this infantry mission.

"Ninety-percent of our senior [infantry] officers are Ranger qualified," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno recently said. "If we determine that we're going to allow women to go into infantry and be successful, they're probably at some time going to have to go to Ranger School."...

The Ranger ethos is designed to be deadly serious yet self-deprecating, focused entirely on teamwork and mission accomplishment.... The notion of allowing women into Ranger School because denying them the experience would harm their careers makes Ranger graduates cringe. Such politically correct thinking is the ultimate expression of the "me" culture, and it jeopardizes core Ranger ideals.

Gov. Cuomo wants to permit fracking, but only in a few counties along the Pennsylvania border...

... and only where the local populace supports the activity.

He's trying to balance between the people who worry about contaminating the groundwater (and cutting down trees) and those who fear the state will be left behind as other states tap the Marcellus Shale.
The Marcellus Shale is a rock formation that stretches from the Appalachian Mountains into the central and western parts of New York. State regulators believe that by limiting drilling to areas where the Marcellus Shale is at least 2,000 feet deep, risks of contaminating the water supply with toxic chemicals will be reduced. Regulators would require drillers to maintain a 1,000-foot buffer between water sources and the top of the shale formation.

"Handless man throws volleyball-size rock through KFC window...:

"The 46-year-old also allegedly chucked a brick through KFC’s drive-through window..."

ADDED: An element of this mystery — why did he do it? why doesn't he have hands? — is that he was (allegedly) brought into this country by the United Nations. Could it be that in his home country, he had a penchant for throwing things through windows and he was punished by having his hands cut off?

"Angelina Jolie has reportedly expressed desire to direct, while 'American Psycho' author Bret Easton Ellis began lobbying to write the screenplay..."

"I’m putting myself out there to write the movie adaptation of 'Fifty Shades of Grey,'" Ellis tweeted. "Hope EL James doesn’t think I’m being a prankster. I really want to adapt her novels for the screen. Christian Grey is a writer's dream..."

Everyone's gone mad for sado-masochism and that grisaille billionaire.

June 12, 2012

Remembering last Tuesday.

Oh, what pain there was when Scott Walker won his recall election. Here's a picture that's been floating around the internet of the reaction at the Tom Barrett headquarters:



Reminds me of this...

I encounter a snapping turtle...

... on the Capital City Bike Trail, outside of Madison, Wisconsin.

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union doesn't "think it's cool at all" for Scott Walker to serve beer...

... at his "beer and brat summit" — a post-recall-election, bipartisan outreach effort.
The cookout menu features brats, a local sausage whose name is pronounced "brahts"...
(Somebody tell John Kerry before it's too late!)
[Rita Wert, president of the WCTU] said the problems facing Wisconsin are serious, and policy makers shouldn't cloud their judgment by drinking alcohol.

"That portrays kind of a party atmosphere, and I don't think that's what people want," she said. "It's just really a shame that it has to be that way."

The group raised similar objections in 2009 when President Barack Obama invited a black scholar and the white police sergeant who arrested him to the White House to share a beer and talk about race relations.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor respectfully disagreed with the WCTU's objections. "In keeping with the bipartisan theme of the event, in this case we agree with President Obama" ...
He's bipartisan, and they are consistent. A toast!

At the Bead Shop Café...

Untitled

... you can string words into sentences.

(The photograph is from West Lafayette, Indiana — in part of a grand old place called Von's, which is mostly a bookstore, where I bought this book, which contains the sentence "You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.")

"I think if I work very hard, I should be able to gather the fruits of my labor."

"And I think if you’re not about to work, you should get minimal and leave me alone. I think if you don’t wear a helmet and you fall off your bike, you pay for the doctor."

Says Joan Rivers, who denies she's making a political statement. She hates politics.
"They’re all a bunch of garbage... I’m definitely in favor of a monarchy because they’re there, they look good, and they always have good gift shops when you leave the palace. … I feel that it’s just all about party affiliation and it’s all about voting the way your party wants to vote and it’s not at all about what we should be about."
(Here's a movie about Joan Rivers. It's really good. One of the very few movies I've seen in the theater in the last 3 years. )

Obama is smart, but "not in the same league of presidential genius as Nixon."

Says Ben Stein.

"Two [University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point] students trapped in the New Zealand wilderness by a snowstorm survived for nine days..."

"... by rationing their supplies of peanut butter and rice - and warming themselves in hot springs."

George Zimmerman's wife arrested for perjury.

This has to do with testimony at Zimmerman's bond hearing and the supposed failure to disclose the money he'd raised in donations via PayPal.

ADDED: Details here:

"$1.1 million-plus Gates grants: ‘Galvanic’ bracelets that measure student engagement."

Link.

But what if they're engaged in their own daydreams?

And isn't this basically a lie detector? And if so, won't students train themselves to fool the authorities? I'm sure the internet will be full of tips.

"A group of Kenyan students re-enact Bill Buckner's error leading to the Mets winning run in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series."

"Man you know you've fucked up bad when your one mistake begins to resound across all cultures, everywhere, forever, becoming a new element of Man's mythic memory."

***

"Obligatory Curb Your Enthusiasm link."

"Obama says he was too busy to campaign in Wisconsin recall election"... or did he?

Headline writers keep paraphrasing him like that, but let's look at the quote:

“Well, you know, the truth of the matter is that as President of the United States, I’ve got a lot of responsibilities. Uh, I was supportive of Tom and, uh, have been supportive of Tom. Uh, obviously, uh, you know,  I would have loved to have seen a different result."



He doesn't say that he didn't go because he's "got a lot of responsibilities." I'll accept that "I've got a lot of responsibilities" is pretty close to "I'm busy" (but not exactly the same, because you could have a lot of responsibilities and do them efficiently and quickly, and you could also be failing to meet your responsibilities).

What I'm not seeing is an assertion that being busy was the reason for staying out of Wisconsin. After the bland expression of support for Tom Barrett, the next line is not "I would have loved to have visited Wisconsin for the campaign." It's "I would have loved to have seen a different result." That subtly accommodates what we suspect was real reason for staying out of Wisconsin: He knew the result was going to be a Barrett loss and he was sorry about that and unable to change it.

Watch the clip. It does sound weak and pathetic, but I think it's incorrect to make it seem as though he didn't care enough or want to bother with Wisconsin.  I think you can tell that he's really sad about what happened, and he feels — and felt — powerless to affect it. This man is not projecting the energy and confidence he should have at this point in his campaign.

How support for Scott Walker grew between 2010 and 2012 — mapped.

Craig Gilbert at the Journal Sentinel displays this map...



... and says:
Walker's biggest gains over 2010 were in northern Wisconsin, in counties stretching from the Minnesota border across the state to Green Bay.

In other words, the governor's victory Tuesday wasn’t just a by-product of turning out his hardcore base in the southeastern Wisconsin suburbs. Those voters did turn out in droves. Ozaukee (73%), Waukesha (72%) and Washington (70%) had the highest turnout rates in the state, measured by the percentage of voting-age adults who went to the polls. Walker’s vote margin in Waukesha was almost as big as Barrett’s in Dane – a terrible sign for a Democrat, since Dane is bigger....

In other words, Democrats ended up dangerously over-reliant on the Milwaukee and Madison vote Tuesday. That vote materialized, but it couldn’t come close to compensating for Barrett’s weakness in much of rural and suburban outstate Wisconsin, especially when the GOP base was also turning out en masse.
I think this suggests something more general about the way Democrats work to build their majorities around the country.

Eric Holder says: "I Stuck by My Guns."

I don't like clichés. George Orwell instructed: "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print."

But Holder has a fresh expression here. The cliché is "stick to your guns" not "stick by my guns." But it's unclear what he's been saying about guns:
The House Oversight and Government Reform committee, which has been investigating the Justice Department’s involvement in a gunrunning operation dubbed “Fast and Furious,” plans to vote June 20 on whether to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to provide more than 100,000 subpoenaed documents pertaining to the botched gun sting.

As part of Fast and Furious, a Justice Department program that began in September 2009, law enforcement knowingly allowed about 2,000 U.S. guns to flow to Mexican drug cartels, with the intent of tracking the weapons and making arrests. However, law enforcement lost track of most of the weapons.

The program was halted in December 2010 after two weapons from the program were found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
So, come on, Mr. Holder. Say some more things about guns.

By the way, Jimmy Kimmel made a "stick to your guns"/Fast and Furious joke at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in April:

A New Yorker article about Supreme Court history makes a big error.

Says lawprof David Bernstein — who's written a great book that covers the era of history in question:
[Jill] Lepore writes, “In 1910, Taft appointed Hughes to the Supreme Court, where, as a champion of civil liberties, he often joined with Holmes in dissent.”...

For decades Holmes’s liberal acolytes and fans argued to the contrary, but it’s well-established at this point that he was no champion of civil liberties. Holmes did eventually become a defender of freedom of speech, but that didn’t occur until after Hughes quit the Court to run for president in 1916.
Much more detail at the link.

And here's the New Yorker article. For all the history, it's really another one of those articles — like the Jeffrey Rosen TNR essay we talked about yesterday — trying to shape public opinion around the potential Supreme Court opinion that strikes down the Affordable Care Act. Like Rosen, she says:
What people think about judicial review usually depends on what they think about the composition of the Court. When the Court is liberal, liberals think judicial review is good, and conservatives think it’s bad. This is also true the other way around....
And like Rosen, she ends with an embrace of the value that law and politics should be separate — even as, like Rosen, she nudges us to think that it's the conservatives on the Court who pose the threat:
The separation of law from politics... has proved elusive. That’s not surprising—no such separation being wholly possible—but some years have been better than others. One of the worst was 2000, when the Court determined the outcome of a disputed Presidential election. The real loser in that election, Justice John Paul Stevens said in his dissent in Bush v. Gore, “is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”...

Federally, few rulings have wreaked such havoc on the political process as the 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, whereby the Roberts Court struck down much of the McCain-Feingold Act, which placed restrictions on corporate and union funding of political campaigns. Stevens, in his dissent, warned that “a democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”

That, in the end, is the traffic to worry about. If not only legislators but judges serve at the pleasure of lobbyists, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers. Law will be commerce. And money will be king.
That's a strange way to end it, since federal judges are appointed and don't have to run for election. The independence of the federal judiciary isn't threatened by Citizens United. The independence of the federal judiciary, if anything, produced Citizens United — in which the Supreme Court, stocked with election-free judges, struck down a federal statute that was an effort by elected officials to control who gets to speak during elections.

And since we're talking about New Yorker fact-checking, I don't like: "the McCain-Feingold Act, which placed restrictions on corporate and union funding of political campaigns." Citizens United struck down a restriction on spending on one's own speech. It wasn't about contributions to political campaigns, i.e., funding.

"I would take a Johnsonville brat from the hand of a Koch brother if it were offered with the proper condiments and a good beer."

Citizen Dave explains Wisconsin values.

IN THE COMMENTS: The Farmer said: "Bravo, ex-Mayor Dave! And MadisonMan said: "Yes, Bravo -- except for the no ketchup part, you heathen!!!!" Original Mike said: "Ketchup on a brat??? MM, you're kidding, right?" Mr. D said: "Mayor Dave is right. No ketchup on a brat." And David-2 said:
MM - meet DH!

"Head of polygamous cult pleads guilty to murder of 4-year-old boy he bizarrely believed was gay."

The Daily News reports:
Peter Moses... marked the little boy for death after he decided his father was gay. When Jadon struck another boy in the buttocks, Moses concluded it was a sign of the child’s homosexuality, and decided to “get rid of him,” prosecutors said.

The bipolar cult leader — called “Lord” by his followers — took the screaming boy into a garage and shot him in the head with his mother’s gun while speakers blared music with The Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew, prosecutors charged.

He had members of his harem put the boy’s corpse in a suitcase and stash it in his suite — until it started to smell.

"First gay couple to become fathers in UK spend £65k to ensure next child is a girl."

It's illegal to use IVF for sex selection purposes in the UK, so they had to come to America to pursue their goal. Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow already have 4 boys and one girl, and they want another girl — or 2 or 3 — for little Saffron to play with:
The millionaire dad [Barrie] added: 'We can’t wait to spoil our new daughters. I want to buy them pink Prada dresses and babygros. We will recycle too. We are going to use Saffron’s old wicker crib from Harrods, which cost £5,000, and divide one of the £100,000 diamond necklaces she does not wear any more into individual pieces for the babies. And we want to decorate the nursery as a rainforest!'...

Tony said: 'If sex selection was not possible, we would still have more children and love them, whatever their gender. But the technology is available and we wanted girls to balance our family. It causes outrage but I bet most people would do it.... The kids love the idea of getting sisters. They are so close. They are all such different characters, but get along so well.”

Barrie... said: “Saffron’s clothes come from every designer from Gucci and Karen Millen and she has 500 pairs of shoes. We spent £50,000 having her room designed like a swanky London flat with a 39-inch plasma TV and furniture from Harrods. The boys are not as bothered about clothes, but we get them the latest iPads and laptops. People say we should not spoil them, but they deserve it."
We all deserve it, no? The question is: Do you have the money to buy it? They are rich, they can buy what they like? Do you have a problem with that? Or do you think they're choosing the wrong things? And if you do, what business is it of yours?

Is it okay to want a girl because you want a kid that you can dress up in fashionable clothes?

  
pollcode.com free polls 

FDR would have a hard time fitting in with today's Democratic Party.

That post title is just putting 2 things together.

1. In yesterday's NYT: "But tough talk about the state of the [Republican] party on Monday by former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida — who went so far as to say that Ronald Reagan and his father would have a 'hard time' fitting in during this Tea Party era — exhibited a growing distance between the [Bush] family, which until not very long ago embodied mainstream Republicanism, and the no-compromise conservative activists now driving the party."

2. A big meme in the Wisconsin recall election: 
Roosevelt's reign certainly was the bright dawn of modern unionism. The legal and administrative paths that led to 35% of the nation's workforce eventually unionizing by a mid-1950s peak were laid by Roosevelt.

But only for the private sector. Roosevelt openly opposed bargaining rights for government unions.

"The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees. Yes, public workers may demand fair treatment, wrote Roosevelt. But, he wrote, "I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place" in the public sector. "A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government."

And if you're the kind of guy who capitalizes "government," woe betide such obstructionists.

Roosevelt wasn't alone. It was orthodoxy among Democrats through the '50s that unions didn't belong in government work. Things began changing when, in 1959, Wisconsin's then-Gov. Gaylord Nelson signed collective bargaining into law for state workers. Other states followed, and gradually, municipal workers and teachers were unionized, too....
(Isn't it interesting that Wisconsin led the way into the unionization of government workers and now it's leading the way out?)

Scott Walker's recall victory has given other states' governors "spines of steel" to confront unions.

Rush Limbaugh is delighted at the opportunity the "recall Walker" people here in Wisconsin created for beating back public employee unions all over the country:
After Scott Walker successfully turned back the recall, we have Chris Christie of New Jersey and Mitch Daniels of Indiana and a number of other governors saying, "Hey, look at this! We need to take some lessons here from Scott Walker....

I want to go back to me, on this program last Wednesday.

RUSH ARCHIVE: The unions going down the tubes yesterday, that's the lesson. Every Republican governor ought to now have a spine of steel, and Walker... Even TIME Magazine made this point: Walker did it by what? Not compromising! He didn't compromise one time with anybody on the left. He stood fast on everything he believed. Yeah, he got 38% of union households. He didn't compromise. The Republican establishment technique, the Republican establishment handbook to reach across the aisle and compromise to get the independents? Scott Walker said, "(Raspberry) to that," and he wins by seven points. ... Walker did not compromise one thing. Every Republican governor in this country now ought to have a spine of steel. The Republican establishment should have learned something major.

RUSH: Let's go to Sunday morning, Fox News Sunday. Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana.

"Pity the poor Obama administration leakers. They impart their much-cherished secrets to make their man look good..."

"... and then, at the first chirp of criticism, are ordered to confess their (possible) crimes by the very same president they were seeking to please. In this, they are a bit like the male praying mantis. He does as asked, and then the female bites his head off."

Katrina vanden Heuvel: "The problem isn’t the leaks, it’s the policy."

"It’s the assertion of a presidential prerogative that the administration can target for death people it decides are terrorists — even American citizens — anywhere in the world, at any time, on secret evidence with no review."

It's good to see some criticism from the left of a policy that, had George Bush followed it, the left would have screamed about endlessly.

"The dingo really did take the baby."

The 32-year-old case.

"They argue that the [property] tax is unpredictable, inconsistent, counter to the concept of property ownership..."

"... and needless in a state that, thanks in part to wildly successful oil drilling, finds itself in the rare circumstance of carrying budget reserves."
An unusual coalition of forces, including the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce and the state’s largest public employees’ unions, vehemently oppose the idea, [questioning] precisely how lawmakers would make up some $812 million in annual property tax revenue; what effect the change would have on hundreds of other state laws and regulations that allude to the more than century-old property tax; and what decisions would be left for North Dakota’s cities, counties and other governing boards if, say, they wanted to build a new school, hire more police, open a new park.
ADDED: Rush Limbaugh connected this story to the aftermath of the recall in a segment of yesterday's show, which I blogged about here. Here's the part about North Dakota and taxes:
[North Dakota has raised] sales tax revenue 86%... And they did it, of course, without raising the sales tax rate. There's just all kinds of new economic activity going on....
Basically, it's a lot of oil fracking, but the liberal voices are playing in the media, scaring people about pollution:
It's an effort to get people opposed to the boom that's happening in North Dakota. It's like Scott Walker. After the Scott Walker recall debacle for the Democrats, what is the Democrat headline, what's the media headline? "Romney is Going to Cut Public Sector Jobs." That's the way they're trying to instill fear. Yeah, Romney's gonna cut public sector jobs.
But Scott Walker's recall victory steeled conservative nerve, so that a strong argument against public sector unions is now being made by other state governors. The point about North Dakota is that it could be a basis for building an argument about economic development as the best way to build tax revenue using sales tax — with no increase in the tax rate and justifying the reduction or elimination of other forms of tax.

North Dakota votes on ending the property tax today (exactly one week after the Wisconsin recall), so it's possible that there will be a big victory there that will give conservatives confidence to argue boldly for lots of fracking and tax-cutting. Rush mentions the North Dakota governor as someone who, like Walker, could become a hero for this line of conservative argument. There's just one big problem! North Dakota's Governor Jack Dalrymple — a Republican — has opposed the property tax ban:
“It’s mind-boggling, really,” he said, in an interview, of the effects of such a ban. “We’d be changing everything, frankly.”
Dalrymple is no Scott Walker.
The notion, he said, that the state has enough surplus to replace property taxes for localities around the state without raising other taxes is false. For starters, he said, much of the state’s benefits from the oil boom are already dedicated legally to particular funds and cannot simply be transferred to support schools, counties, towns, park districts and the like.
Cannot simply? Like you can't change whatever these limits are? Is it complicated? Do it complicatedly.
“I have to say that we totally understand that North Dakotans are very concerned about their property tax payments,” Mr. Dalrymple said. “You have a tension there, and people say this can’t keep on.”
This guy is no Scott Walker. Rush Limbaugh needs to attend to this detail.

June 11, 2012

"It has been a Junius Horribilis for President Obama."

"Could it get any worse?"

"I think art is a very important weapon to achieve human freedom."

"Freedom of expression is a very essential condition for me to make any art. Also, it is an essential value for my life. I have to protect this right and also to fight for the possibility.... [P]eople in office just try to maintain so-called stability to protect their own profit, or their own interest. They have to crush other voices. There’s no real communication or discussion.”

Said Ai Weiwei.

At the Animal Beads Café...

Untitled

... get to know your inner rabbit/wolf/armadillo...

"As her relationship with the Beatles fades into the past her own reputation is crystallising."

"What is so extraordinary is that her work chimes with the times we live in now. Her activism is immensely relevant for today, in the age of Occupy."
“She was the first artist, in 1964, to put language on the wall of the gallery and invite the viewer to complete the work. She was the first artist to cede authorial authority to the viewer in this way, making her work interactive and experimental. That was the radical move of art in the 1960s.”...

A key work was her book Grapefruit, first published in 1964, which has artworks framed as sets of instructions, or “event scores”; as such it is an important early example of conceptual art. (One example, entitled Painting to Exist Only When It’s Copied Or Photographed, runs: “Let people copy or photograph your paintings. Destroy the originals.”)

Another significant work of this period was Cut Piece, a performance work in which Ono invited the audience to take scissors and snip away her clothes as she sat, silent and still....
Here's the 9-minute video of "Cut Piece."

"The Federal Reserve said the median net worth of families plunged by 39 percent in just three years..."

"... from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010. That puts Americans roughly on par with where they were in 1992."

"Gov. Scott Walker's call for a bipartisan 'brat summit' is being met with its first boycotts."

And not just from Democrats:
State Rep. Steve Nass, one of Walker's fellow Republicans from Whitewater, said... he was not attending the event because Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said at his party's convention over the weekend that "Scott Walker will see the inside of a jail cell before he sees the inside of another term." Nass also criticized weekend comments by Democratic Sen. Fred Risser of Madison about Walker.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) said in a tweet he won't be attending either.

"I'm passing on 'Brat Summit' photo op. We need cooperation & compromise from Gov., not brats & beer," tweeted Pocan, who is running for Congress.
Rejecting an offer of beer and brats... What has happened to Wisconsin values?

"It’s not like you can look up David Cameron in the phone book and then ring to say, ‘You’ve left your daughter behind.'"

“It’s frightening the Prime Minister of Britain can forget something so important as his own daughter.”

55% of likely U.S. voters trust Bill Clinton more than Obama on the economy.

They trust Bill Clinton more than Mitt Romney too, though by less of a margin: 53% to 39%.

Jeffery Rosen's complicated idea about why the Supreme Court really should uphold Obamacare.

Generally, I'm tired of these MSM articles that seem to be trying to push the Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act — as if the Justices are reading these articles and vulnerable to efforts — by writers who obviously politically support the law — to scare them into thinking people will lose respect for the Court. I say "seem to be" because I think these articles are really about shaping public opinion. They're not telling the Justices that people will disrespect them. They are stoking the people's disrespect in advance of an opinion that strikes down the law (in case that's what happens), and they are laying the groundwork for arguments about why Obama should be reelected (and Democrats need to keep control of the Senate).

But I'm going to link to this new Jeffrey Rosen piece in The New Republic. Why? It's just so amusingly complicated. I'll paraphrase the points he makes, in order:

1. A new poll (which we talked about on the blog here) shows declining approval for the Supreme Court and a belief that the Justices are sometimes influenced by their personal/political beliefs.

2. Some people — including Chief Justice John Roberts — think that public opinion is affected by all the 5-4 decisions that reveal that there is a set of conservative Justices and a set of liberal Justices.

3. There's a new study (by Nathaniel Persily and Stephen Ansolabehere) that says people decide whether they approve of the Court based on whether they like the outcomes of the cases, which suggests that an effective way for the Court to get respect would be simply to provide the outcomes people want.

4. A survey shows that people do like the outcomes of most of the big Roberts Court cases, and that's out of line with the declining approval of the Court, but it might be that people are giving extra weight to some of the big cases, the ones they don't like — maybe Kelo (for Republicans) and Bush v. Gore (for Democrats).

5. Maybe people support or reject the Court based on whether they are conservative/liberal and whether they believe that the Court is what they are — conservative/liberal.

6. A lot of people don't know which Justices were appointed by Republican Presidents and which were appointed by Democratic Presidents. (Rosen assumes the conservative/liberal split among Justices tracks whether they were appointed by Democrats/Republicans, which happens to be true of the current Court, though it was untrue before the Obama appointments were made.) But a study found that in the set of people who know that Republican Presidents have appointed a majority of the Justices, Republicans tend to support the Court, and Democrats are less supportive.

7. Even though a large majority of Americans say they want to see the health care law stricken down, and despite the Persily/Ansolabehere finding that people like the Court when they like the outcome, it's a mistake to think that the Court's approval rating will climb if it strikes down the law by a 5-4 vote. This is because, over time, 5-4 decisions remind people that the Court has a partisan split, and while this will make Republicans like the Court more, Democrats will like it less. Rosen doesn't specify this point, but it needs to be understood here: Only 24% of Americans surveyed by the NYT/CBS want the Court to uphold the law, so it would seem that many, perhaps even a majority of Democrats will approve of the outcome. But Rosen is saying that somehow it will still hurt the Court's approval among Democrats because they will see the Court as partisan and conservative — especially with "elites, including the President" pestering them to think about the Court that way. 

8. Rosen concedes that even if everything in point #7 is right, the Court might move up in the approval rankings because of the increased approval coming from Republicans who like the Court for being so partisan and conservative.

9. John Roberts should eschew that method of moving up in the approval ratings, because he'd be a better leader if he avoided the appearance of partisanship.

ADDED: Here's my analysis:

1. Rosen had material that added up to the conclusion that the Court would improve its stature among Americans if it struck down the health care law.

2. Rosen doesn't want the Court to strike down the health care law.

3. Rosen wrote some complicated paragraphs and then declared that he'd shown why the Court shouldn't strike down the health care law.

"Couples may get health benefits simply from sleeping in the same bed, a burgeoning field of study is showing."

Key word: may

I'm thinking that the causation "may" go in the opposite direction: Couples are sleeping together because they are already healthy and compatible.

The misuse of Citizens United in bemoaning Scott Walker's recall victory.

Michael McConnell — the Stanford lawprof and former federal judge — has a fine op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. The effect of Citizens United "was almost exactly the opposite of" what anti-Walkerite pundits like the Greg Sargent and Lawrence O'Donnell have been saying.
Labor unions poured money into the state to recall Mr. Walker. According to the Center for Public Integrity, the NEA (National Education Association), the nation's largest teachers union, spent at least $1 million. Its smaller union rival, the AFT (American Federation of Teachers), spent an additional $350,000. Two other unions, the SEIU (Service Employees International Union, which has more than one million government workers) and Afscme (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), spent another $2 million. Little or none of these independent expenditures endorsing a candidate would have been legal under federal law before Citizens United.

By contrast, the large spenders on behalf of Mr. Walker were mostly individuals. According to the Center for Public Integrity, these included Diane Hendricks, Wisconsin's wealthiest businesswoman, who spent over half a million dollars on his behalf; Bob J. Perry, a Texas home builder, who spent almost half a million; and well-known political contributors such as casino operator Sheldon Adelson and former Amway CEO Dick DeVos, who kicked in a quarter-million dollars each. Businessman David Koch gave $1 million to the Republic Governors Association, which spent $4 million on the Wisconsin race.

These donations have nothing to do with Citizens United. Individuals have been free to make unlimited independent expenditures in support of candidates since the Supreme Court case of Buckley v. Valeo (1976).
And this is the pattern we should expect generally, McConnell says, because business corporations don't want to offend customers by putting their names on partisan advertising. It's the unions that don't mind associating their names with one party — the Democratic Party. Sure, those rich individuals who get their money working for corporations can spend all they want, but recognition of their right to do that pre-dated Citizens United by more than 4 decades.