September 8, 2012

At the Blue Sky Café...


... enjoy yourself.

What famous movie actor should play Joe Paterno?

Al Pacino!

"The brain science of the vagina heralds a new sexual revolution."

Another headline. My second headline post today. Is this new one more absurd than "Illegal monkey living on Frosted Flakes bites woman"?

"Christian girl accused of blasphemy in Pakistan is released on bail..."

"The girl, said to be 14, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted...."
Pakistan’s interior minister, Rehman Malik, all but pronounced the girl innocent. He said the accused never left her home on the day three weeks ago when a young man claimed that he saw her carrying burnt pages of the Koran in a trash bag in her village outside Islamabad....

Last week, the imam of the neighborhood mosque was arrested after a witness accused him of mixing pages of a Koran into the bag of ashes that the girl carried. Christian residents said he planted the evidence as part of a campaign to get Christians to leave the community. Several hundred have fled since the girl’s arrest....

"The Wisconsin Capitol rotunda echoed with the voices of Solidarity Sing-Along participants on Friday."

"They gathered there to defy a new round of arrests by Capitol Police the previous two days, over which a dozen demonstrators were arrested and cited for holding signs inside the rotunda, charged with violating state administrative code."

It's a complex encounter between protesters and police, once the protesters decline to disperse when the police say they must. I'm not saying who's right and wrong here, but I'm somehow inexorably drawn to the giant origami crane.

Mendocino cops helicopter in to a backcountry marijuana farm.

"We have old hippies in our county growing marijuana and they are not our problem... These are people who are trying to get rich quick.... Mendocino County was basically being taken over by thugs."

"Illegal monkey living on Frosted Flakes bites woman."

An L.A. Times headline.

Obama 46%, Romney 44%.

The Rasmussen tracking poll shows Obama got some bounce — bouncing back to where he was just before the GOP convention, that is, bouncing back over Romney's bounce.

Perhaps more significantly, Democratic interest in the campaign has soared. For the first time, those in the president’s party are following the campaign as closely as GOP voters.

"Three West Lafayette youngsters engage in a bit of outdoor sport called skateboarding..."

"... balancing themselves on boards to which skate are attached."


The news — just handed to me — from 1964, when Indiana newspaper readers were assumed not yet to have heard of skateboarding and when kids made their own skateboards by breaking up a metal roller skate and nailing the pieces to a board.

(The caption misspells Meade's first name and his last name.)

Here's Jan & Dean on "American Bandstand," singing their 1964 hit "Sidewalk Surfin'" — and calling this "the newest sport around":

Black licorice! Potty training! Emily Dickinson!

Now that I've wandered over to the San Francisco Chronicle web page — I was looking for info on that "Star Trek" doodle, I find some intriguing headlines:

1. "State expands warning on eating black licorice." (A particular brand has lead in it. It's not the old story that glycyrrhizin is dangerous.)

2. "Photo of mom potty-training kids at restaurant table sparks outrage."
Kimberly Decker [who took a photo and posted it on Facebook] says the mother in question lugged portable potties into the restaurant, placed them on chairs and sat her children down on them. At first Decker thought the potties were booster seats but when the mother stripped off her children’s clothes, she realized the twins were going to the bathroom—in the middle of the restaurant in front of other diners.

“She had to undo the jumpsuits, and take them all the way down so they were completely nude, with the jumpsuits down to their ankles just eating their chicken nuggets, sitting on little toddler potties”...
You have to question whether Decker made the right choice in posting the photo online.
3. "Scholars may have 2nd photo of poet Dickinson."
Kelly said perhaps the best evidence [that it's really Emily Dickinson] is an ophthalmological report that compared similarities in the eyes and facial features of the women in the photos....

That could shift some perceptions about the Amherst native...  For instance, a book in the 1950s was the first to propose Dickinson had a lesbian relationship with [the other woman in the photograph, Kate Scott] Turner....

Today's Google doodle.

Something about Star Trek. Clicking makes lots of stuff happen, but doesn't answer what the occasion for the elaborate doodle is. I'm going to guess the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gene Roddenberry.

Googling for the answer, I see it's just the 46th anniversary of the debut of the show. Nothing especially momentous.

And we'll have to wait until August 19, 2021 for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gene Roddenberry.

"John Lewis tells you something about voting rights and you say, yes, sir, and you shut the fk up."

Charles Pierce pithily dictates the sole method of showing respect. 

But actually, ironically, that kind of respect entails massive disrespect. You say yes and you shut the fuck up in his presence, and that means the only way people can have a serious back-and-forth debate on the subject is if they exclude John Lewis.


Pierce has a nice sidebar at his blog under the heading "About this blog." I read it for the first time, by chance, just now. The penultimate sentence is:
It will be the belief of this blog that, as Christopher Hitchens once said, the only correct answer to the question, "Is nothing sacred?" is "No."

September 7, 2012

Philip Roth fights Wikipedia.

Over what they said about the source material for "The Human Stain." Maybe he should have stayed above all this. The book speaks for itself. But this essay speaks for itself too. Does it not?

Obama didn't "fall flat." He went low key on purpose. Here's the reason.

Politico is all "Obama fell flat."
A surprisingly long parade of Democrats and media commentators who didn’t think much of the speech described it less as a failure than a fizzle—an oddly missed opportunity to frame his presidency or the nation’s choice in a fresh or inspirational light.
Blah blah blah. But here's Howard Kurtz with the response Pee-Wee Herman made famous: I meant to do that.

Kurtz says Obama's speech was the result of careful focus-group testing.
Strategists felt they were in a box, unable to meet the twin goals of style and substance at once. To be sure, Obama wanted to excite the party’s liberal base. But his brain trust was convinced that they would have gotten killed by going with a red-meat speech that simply bashed Republicans without detailing what Obama would do in the next four years....
Dial-twisting focus-groupers, strategists-in-a-box, a brain trust. Where is the man himself, the candidate, the President? I don't see the excuse here, Howie. It's like you're saying he is the empty chair.

"The Difference Between A $99 Suit And A $5,000 Suit..."

"... In One Graphic."

And here's an article about the rare skill involved in making a bespoke suit (and how it's not a profitable business, bereft of economies of scale).
The only way to make money in the perfectionist craftsperson industry, it seems, is to stop being a perfectionist craftsperson....

Just as Adam Smith described in “The Wealth of Nations,” there are huge efficiency gains when one complex process is broken down into constituent parts and each worker specializes in one thing.

NPR lists "The 7 Coolest Presidents In American History" — and Obama's not on the list.

And George Bush is! What can explain this? Either the world has turned upside down, or it's all about Bill Clinton, who is #1. Or... is it just that Obama is not "in history," because we can't yet say — or would you? — he's history?

At the Topographic Café...


... get cultivated.

"There's this vampire story — that Bain comes in and shows its teeth and sucks the blood out of the operation."

The Romney campaign, fighting back on the GST Steel story.


"I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long."

That's a Mitch Hedburg joke, and an example of paraprosdokian, "a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part." It's usually done for comic effect, but not always and not in the example that got me reading about paraprosdokian, "He ain't heavy, he's my brother."

"He Ain't Heavy... He's My Brother," is the title of a song, which you probably know from the Hollies' 1969 recording. (The phrase itself seems to go back much further, perhaps to 1884.) I looked up "He Ain't Heavy... He's My Brother" because I couldn't remember who recorded it. (I was thinking The Moody Blues, for some reason.) And the subject came up because, over at the Isthmus forum, they're talking about what's happened to the notorious Wisconsin protester Segway Jeremy. There were reports that he was on his deathbed, and then some confusing contradictions, and somebody linked to this inane montage — "nice tribute" — which uses "He Ain't Heavy... He's My Brother" as the audio track.

It's mostly lefties over there in The Forum, though Meade likes to prod them with questions and jokes (which they either don't get or pretend not to get). Meade is skeptical of the beatification of Jeremy.

Trying to figure out what Moody Blues song I had confused with "He Ain't Heavy... He's My Brother," Meade came up with "Legend of a Mind" — which most people probably think is titled "Timothy Leary's Dead," that being the familiar lyric. Timothy Leary was not dead at the time, but there seems to be some LSD-influenced connection between getting high and being dead, as noted in this morning's post about The Beatles' "She Said She Said."

And now Meade's done a "Legend of a Mind" parody about the mystery of Segway Jeremy.

"[W]ith just an hour before he appeared on stage, it still hadn’t occurred to Eastwood to use an empty chair as a stand-in for the president."

Clint Eastwood reveals. He'd flown in just that morning, reassured the campaign that "everything I would say would be nice about Mitt Romney," took a nap in the hotel, and then began thinking about what his remarks would be. He came up with 3 points: “That not everybody in Hollywood is on the left, that Obama has broken a lot of the promises he made when he took office, and that the people should feel free to get rid of any politician who’s not doing a good job." But he didn't figure out exactly how he'd say it. He got to the convention site "just 15 or 20 minutes before I was scheduled to go on," went through security, said hi to Archbishop Dolan (who sought him out), and was taken to the backstage area to wait for the cue.
“There was a stool there, and some fella kept asking me if I wanted to sit down,” Eastwood said. “When I saw the stool sitting there, it gave me the idea. I’ll just put the stool out there and I’ll talk to Mr. Obama and ask him why he didn’t keep all of the promises he made to everybody.”

He asked a stagehand to take it out to the lectern while he was being announced.
“The guy said, ‘You mean you want it at the podium?’ and I said, ‘No, just put it right there next to it.’”...

Originally, he was told he could speak for six or seven minutes, and right before he went on, he was asked to keep it to five, but he said, “When people are applauding so much, it takes you 10 minutes to say five minutes’ worth.”

Also, there were no signals or cues of any kind, so “when you’re out there, it’s kind of hard to tell how much time is going by.”

He also said he was aware he hesitated and stumbled a bit, but said “that’s what happens when you don’t have a written-out speech.”
He went back to the hotel, ate some room-service dinner, and went to bed — apparently without checking the TV or the internet and not knowing we were all talking about him. He's seen it now, and he says the media folk who disparaged him "are obviously on the left."

Beautiful! I'm glad he waited a week to say that. And that he said it to The Carmel Pine Cone. 

"The enormity of their flat brain, the enormity of their stupidity, is just overwhelming."

"You have to do yourself a favor when you’re out in the countryside and you see a chicken: Try to look a chicken in the eye with great intensity, and the intensity of stupidity that is looking back at you is just amazing. By the way, it’s very easy to hypnotize a chicken; they are very prone to hypnosis, and in one or two films I have actually shown that."

Says Werner Herzog. One of the films, Strozek, is the first Werner Herzog film I ever saw. It was a double feature with Aguirre, Wrath of God, which was (obviously) the second Werner Herzog film I saw. I raved about these films to my (then) husband and I saw the double feature again, with him, the next day. For many years I called Aguirre, Wrath of God my favorite movie, but I love Strozek too, and not only does it have a chicken in it; it takes place mostly in Wisconsin. Here's the chicken:

"A lone rooster sees a lot of all the hens in the flock, but the hen with the largest comb gets a bigger dose of sperm."

A discovery about chickens.

IN THE COMMENTS: Paddy O gets it:
There should be a Bulwer-Lytton type contest for the world's worst written aphorisms.

"The U.S. economy added 96,000 jobs in August, down from 141,000 in July, the Labor Department said today."

A breaking news email from CNN:
The report is well below forecast and another sign of a fragile economic recovery. Economists polled by CNNMoney were expecting 120,000 jobs to be added.

Economists say at least 150,000 jobs must be created each month simply to keep pace with the growing population.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 8.1% from 8.3%.
How does the unemployment rate fall when you're only getting 64% of the new jobs you need to keep up with the growing population? free polls 

"We were on an acid trip and the sun was shining and the girls were dancing (some from Playboy, I believe) and the whole thing was really beautiful and Sixties."

"And this guy - who I really didn't know, he hadn't made Easy Rider or anything - kept coming over, wearing shades, saying 'I know what it's like to be dead,' and we kept leaving him because he was so boring."
It was scary, when you're flying high: "Don't tell me about it. I don't want to know what it's like to be dead!"
"...[H]e was showing us his bullet wound. He was very uncool..."
From the Wikipedia article on the Beatles song "She Said She Said," which I looked up after reading the she-said-she-said bad editing in TPM (quoted in the previous post).

A tax policy juxtaposition.

1. "Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who's running against former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson for Wisconsin's open Senate seat, argued in her address to the Democratic National Convention Thursday that millionaires should pay their fair share in taxes."
We believe that if we're going to prosper, everyone has to have a fair shot, and everyone has to do their fair share. That's why I'm proud to lead the charge for the Buffet Rule, which makes sure that millionaires and billionaires don't get to pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families.
Baldwin said that Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker "don't speak for all of Wisconsin," Baldwin said.
She said, she said. Okay, then. Message received.

2. "Wisconsin collected $126.6 million more than previously expected this year, which may lead to the largest amount of money transferred to the state’s rainy day fund"
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said in a statement the positive numbers can be attributed to the “reforms” under Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature.

“We made the tough decisions required to balance our budget with the next generation in mind but it’s heartening to see our actions having an immediate positive impact on Wisconsin’s economy,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald also mentioned Wisconsin is “buck[ing] the national trend” by increasing revenues as well as having more people on payrolls.

"The State Department today again refused to name the capital of Israel, even after being questioned by the press..."

"... and even after the Democratic party (President Obama's party) voted yesterday to add language to its platform stating that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel."

"A North Carolina man was arrested yesterday for threatening to kill President Barack Obama in a series of Twitter messages..."

... in a series of 5 tweets:
"Ima hit president Obama with that Lee Harvey Oswald swag"...

“Well Ima Assassinate president Obama this evening !...Gotta get this monkey off my chest while he's in town -_-.” Another message claimed that the Secret Service “is gonna be defenseless once I aim the Assault Rifle at Barack’s Forehead… F* the #DNC.”

When a Twitter follower asked, “U serious??” in response to one of the Obama threats, Sims replied, “as a Heart Attack.”...
His last tweet before the Secret Service showed up was “Smoking a L as I wait on my Chinese Food.” According to the Secret Service report, Donte Jamar Sims, 21, smiled when they read him those tweets.

September 6, 2012

Live-blogging Day 3 of the Democratic convention.

5:41 Central Time: I'm starting now, because it's Tammy Baldwin, my congressperson. She's running to take the seat Herb Kohl has been sitting in for oh, so long. She tells us of Wisconsin's motto, "Forward" (which Obama is using as his motto), and she finds a few opportunities to repeat "Forward." She's talking about "the Wisconsin I know" and "the America I love."

5:51: It's LBGT time. A video, with Obama saying we need to see a man with a man or a woman with a woman as equally worthy as a man and a woman. Then a young man named Zack Wahls — from Iowa — says he was raised by 2 moms, and: "I'm awesome at putting the seat down."

5:55: A really sweet and charming video about the woman who started the "Fired up/Ready to go" chant in Greenwood, South Carolina, some 4 years ago, Edith S. Childs. Ah, it's on line: here. Watch it. I liked that.

5:58: "They really got through the gay stuff quick," I observe.

6:01: Jim Messina, the Obama campaign manager is begging us for money. There's a sob in his voice. He sounds genuinely desperate.

6:28: Foo Fighters emote. [ADDED: Meade says: "This is kind of depressing music, and it goes along with the whole convention.]

6:32: The Foo Fighters are singing "I never wanna die" over and over. It's this song, "Walk":
I never wanna die
I'm on my knees
I never wanna die
I'm dancing on my grave
I'm running through the fire
Forever, whatever
I never wanna die
I never wanna leave
No, no... that's not an argument for a politician's reelection.

6:34: Now, there's this really gloomy video. Faces on a dark background. Woebegone people agonizing about how they "did everything right," and yet they are "one mistake away from losing the little that we have."

6: 47: An. act.tress. Kerry. I'd never heard of her before, but she's emoting big time, like she's talking to a bunch of idiots who never think about politics. But politics is thinking about us, she says ominously. Uh, we're the people watching the convention. We're not your Hollywood friends. "The other side" — "side," pronounced as a series of trembling, upscaling notes — "wants. to. take. our. voi.ces. a.way. and render us. invisible" — big wagging finger — "but we" — "we," rendered in the trembling, upward 4-syllables for a 1-syllable word, like she's really trying to scare us — "are not. invisible." Her doe eyes scan the crowd. Did they understand? Did they com.pre.hend? Did they the depths of. my. words? [ADDED FROM THE COMMENTS: Fiftyville said: "I loved Kerry Washington's statement... 'You may not be thinking about politics, but politics is thinking about you.' If you have to steal, Dems, why steal from Yakov Smirnoff?"]

6:57: Scarlett Johansson. So the beautiful actresses are all getting dumped in an early hour. Unlike Kerry Washington, the actress Johansson is able to act like a normal person. "We are the generation who feel our voices haven't been heard," she says, repeating something Chelsea Clinton said earlier in the convention. Johansson enthuses about voting. It's a speech that seems more appropriate to a bunch of young kids. And, sorry, I don't understand the basis for this whole generation believing that their "voices haven't been heard." You get to vote. Like everyone else. Why do you feel there's more of an entitlement than that? If you have something to say, say it. You kids have the whole internet. Twitter. YouTube. My generation didn't have that. What's this "no voice" business?

7:04: Debbie Wasserman Schultz aids a woman who is struggling to walk onto the stage. With great effort, she struggles to blurt out the words of the Pledge of Allegiance. My God, it's Gabby Giffords. Many tears run down many faces.

7:09: "As a Catholic woman, I take reproductive health seriously," says Caroline Kennedy, reading the script robotically. She complains about states putting restrictions on "access to reproductive health care."

7:13: Jennifer Granholm, "from the great state of Michigan, where the trees are just the right height." (She lifts Mitt Romney's gentle joke about home, and Meade and I disagree about whether she's showing some affection for her fellow Michigander.)

7:17: Granholm has a good (if unfair) line — referencing Romney's supposed lack of concern for auto-industry workers — "The cars get the elevator, and the workers get the shaft." You have to know that Romney had a car elevator installed in one of his homes.

7:21: It's "actress Eva Longoria." Not sure why Caroline Kennedy and Jennifer Granholm broke up the parade of actresses. Longoria sounds like an intelligent person who actually has followed politics in the normal way that people who like politics follow politics.

7:43: John Kerry. American exceptionalism demands an exceptional President, and that President is Barack Obama, he says.

8:05: As a tribute to servicemen and women goes on at the convention, email from Obama comes in, saying, "Ann -- Before I go on stage to accept the nomination, there's one thing I need to say... Can you pitch in $25 or more right now?"

8:44: Jill Biden warmed us up to think of Joe Biden as the embodiment of human caring, and now Joe Biden is doing the same for Barack Obama. He tells us he "loves" Obama. Obama was "gutsy."

9:40: Obama is giving his speech. Here's the whole text.  His inflections are polished, but nothing is jumping out at me as different from what I've heard him say many times.

9:55: "We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense." Is that controversial?

10:03: The word "hope" appears 15 times in his speech. The last 3 come near the end:  "And I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee... He gives me hope. I don’t know what party [various heretofore mentioned] men and women belong to. I don’t know if they’ll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a 'future filled with hope.' And if you share that faith with me – if you share that hope with me – I ask you tonight for your vote." Other people give him hope, the Bible refers to hope, and if you hope like he hopes, you should vote for him. Because... hope!

10:17: The speech ends, and there's a flurry of confetti. No balloons, because an indoor presentation hadn't been planned. Obama steps forward and waves. There's a closeup of his face and I think I see his lip curl with a bit of disgust, and I rewind and ask Meade to interpret the face and he says: resignation. Subjectively, we think we see in his face that he knows he's going to lose. Michelle and Malia and Sasha come out, looking perfectly glossy and pretty, and then there's Biden and Jill and Mrs. Robinson and various other relatives, milling around, waving a bit, and then the long view of the stage shows they've clumped toward the rear wall. Why are they huddling there? The shots of the crowd show some ecstatic delegates — all women — and many stolid/dispirited faces — male and female. At one point there's a hitch in the Bruce Springsteen music — a silent gap — but then it plays again. And now they're gone.

10:26: The Cardinal wanders out to the lectern. He's got his benediction written out on folded sheets of paper. "Help us to see that a society's greatness is found, above all, in the respect it shows for the weakest and neediest among us." He thanks God for giving us those "inalienable rights — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." He thanks God for "the gift of life" and asks that we be given "the courage to defend it." In subtle defiance of the convention's abortion-rights theme, he says: "We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected."

11:03: The Democrats didn't have anything oddball, like Clint Eastwood. Nothing surprising. Nothing to talk about. Speaking of nothing, on Intrade, Obama re-election shares today experienced a 0.0% change. Oh! I checked back, now he's down 0.2%. (Romney is up 0.7% on the day.)

11:12: I just realized I fast-forwarded through Charlie Crist. Looked like another white male governor.  I forgot about the whole former-Republican thing. Does anyone really care?

The closest a man can get to wearing a dress...

... without wearing a dress. When is a dress not a dress?

"It just doesn't make sense to be walking around on your day legs at one height and then you're six inches or so taller on your running prostheses."

"You don't want the sport turning into a circus where, you know, doubles walk in with barely any training under their belt and they are running able-bod (able-bodied) qualification times."

Is Oscar Pistorius a hypocrite?

"If Romney wins, perhaps this will be another piece of evidence for..."

"... Lee Sigelman’s classic work, 'Toward a Stupidity-Ugliness Theory of Democratic Electoral Debacles.'"

"Just how much did Clinton ad lib?"

"Bill Clinton’s prepared remarks: 3,136 words. Bill Clinton’s remarks as delivered: 5,895 words (counting audience cheers)."

ADDED: Aw, here's Hillary watching him. From 9,963 miles away... in East Timor.

Clinton holds up a finger and says "You will feel it" — in this Drudge juxtaposition.

Here's the whole page frozen in time right now, but let me close in on these 4 photos:

"You will feel it" is — of course — a line from Clinton's convention speech, but illustrated with the finger pointed up, it takes us back to the Lewinsky days, when we heard about finger-shaped things inserted into vaginas and a finger was famously wagged at us for imagining that he had sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

Right underneath Bill Clinton — double meaning right there — is Hillary Clinton, and she's getting "snubbed." The snub is by the Chinese VP, but we imagine other snubs. Additional lines under Hillary's picture have her "dubbed" a "sneaky troublemaker."

And, speaking of troublemakers, we're reminded that Hillary is "half a world away" "[a]s Bill speaks." In case that's not a sharp enough nudge to get you to think about things Bill might do while his wife is away, your eyes are drawn quickly to the swelling bosom of Scarlett Johansson, who is one of "Barack's Angels," who will be on the convention stage tonight. (Scarlett's golden hair rolls and flows all down her breasts, while Hillary's hair, in that other pic, is dull, lank, and flat.) And what else are these beautiful young women up to in Charlotte where Hillary is half a world away? In Drudge tease, the trio of beauties "makes push."

And that push? You will feel it.

IN THE COMMENTS: Paul Zrimsek said:
And here I thought the true caption for the Scarlett Johanssen photo was the line above it, not the line below.
He's referring to: "Advisers lower expectations for convention bounce..."

"Police arrested eight protesters in the [Wisconsin] Capitol... for holding up signs without getting permits."

We've got a new Capitol Police Chief, and a new approach to keeping order in the building that was the site of tumultuous, chaotic, crowded, cluttered protesting last year.
On Wednesday, police throughout the day told 14 protesters they could not hold up signs on the Capitol's first floor because they did not have a permit.

The protests occurred near where the Red Cross, which did have a permit, was conducting a blood drive.

Six of the protesters agreed to go outside to continue their protests, but eight refused. Those eight were arrested and ticketed for unlawfully displaying signs, according to the Capitol Police.

Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) said she saw one protester being arrested for holding a sign that said, "It's about freedom."

"If they're not being disruptive, if they're not causing trouble, they should be allowed here," Sinicki said. "These people aren't hurting anybody."
The permitting is, we're told, designed to help the police keep track of how many people are in the building and how it ought to be staffed. If it's a neutral rule, applied neutrally, the question is basically whether it is reasonable. But note that the Capitol is a distinctive location that has historically been the site of protests against the government, and there is particular case law here in Wisconsin, applying the state constitution to protests at the Capitol.

That said, why would protesters choose to stand their ground in the vicinity of a Red Cross blood drive? You have the right to be politically stupid, but it's still stupid.

"The students who make it to us (and especially the ones who end up in schools like Harvard) have learned exactly what they have to do to succeed..."

"... and sadly, that often has very little to do with becoming educated.... Instead, it’s almost solely about figuring out what will be asked (in papers, tests, and other assessments), learning that material long enough to produce it when necessary, and then moving on to the next thing."

That's an article about the cheating scandal at Harvard. It made me think back to this statement from University of Wisconsin historian Bill Cronin, that "he felt his job as a professor was to make his students 'fall in love with the world.'"

What I like about about Cronin's statement, as opposed to the quote from the Harvard-cheating-scandal article, is that it's the professor taking responsibility and not putting the blame on the students. There's also something wistful and weird about what Cronin said. It's wistful, because it's a vision of a job that can't really be accomplished, even as you might admire the prof for thinking of himself that way. It's also weird because... fall in love... and with the world.... Why the romantic/sexual metaphor? (I know there are forms of love other than eros, but you don't fall into them.) And why is the love object the world, rather than the subject matter?

Cronin's a historian, so maybe the world is the subject matter for him, and in that understanding, the lawprof's job is to make students fall in love with the law.

Or is it: fall in love with criticizing the legal system? I've got a lawprof right here: Elizabeth Warren, the lawprof Senate candidate who spoke at the DNC last night and told the world that the system is rigged:
People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here's the painful part: they're right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Wall Street CEOs—the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs—still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.
Not love. Anger.

She's a professor at Harvard, that place where the students have figured out what will be asked and learned just enough to produce it when necessary and then move on to the next thing. Which is to say: politics. Do you love it? It's the world and if it's rigged, is it possible that the professors and politicos are outside of the rigging?

"I want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside, but who burns for America on the inside."

That's a line that jumped out at me when I was live-blogging Bill Clinton's speech last night, and in the comments here, Yashu probes the disrespect the older President insinuated toward the younger:
... Clinton is one of the masters of backstabbing with the utmost civility.

That Clinton line tonight: "I want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside, but who burns for America on the inside."

Is it just me, or is that not a huge (yet concealed just enough) dis of Obama?

"I credit the power of Matt Drudge. Reaching out, godlike, from a condo in Florida to change the course of the Democratic National Convention."

Says Instapundit, spotlighting Drudge's spotlight on the Democrats who "booed putting God back."

Now, the Democrats weren't actually booing God. They were booing the way the vote was done, which was to call for ayes and nays over and over in the hope of getting what could plausibly be declared two-thirds "aye." That never happened, with 3 voice votes, so L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa simply announced that the ayes had it. They obviously didn't. So I'd say boo to that too.

Moving beyond the superficial spectacle of Democrats kinda-sorta booing God, let's look at the Democrats supposed dedication to counting all the votes and denial that we need to worry about voting fraud. This was out-and-proud vote fraud.

God is watching. And so was everyone else. Because it was on television. And now it's viral video.

The law-and-fashion news.

"Designer Christian Louboutin can claim trademark protection for the red outsole on his women's shoes, but not if the rest of the shoe is also red, a federal appellate panel ruled yesterday, allowing rival Yves Saint-Laurent to continue selling an entirely red shoe."
Louboutin's iconic high-end, red-soled shoes, introduced in 1992, have been spotted on celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Victoria Beckham and Rihanna. The shoes sell for up to $1,000 a pair.

YSL's shoes are entirely red, including their outsoles, and are part of a line of similarly monochrome shoes, also in purple, green and yellow....

[The district judge had said] that a color, being an essential element of fashion design, could not be trademarked, despite the strong connection in the public mind between red soles and Louboutins. The judge compared the suit to Pablo Picasso suing Claude Monet to assert a trademark for a particular shade of blue....

However, the [appellate] panel found that the "evidentiary record further demonstrates that the Louboutin mark is closely associated with contrast," not just the red color, and that the trademark must be narrowed to cover only situations where the red sole of a shoe contrasts with a differently colored upper part.
So maybe you can have a trademark in a particular color. (I note that Tiffany, which has a particular shade of blue, filed an amicus brief supporting Louboutin.) But Louboutin didn't own red or even red soles. What distinctively said Louboutin was red soles contrasting to the rest of the shoe.

The Louboutin side of the argument thus won something important upsetting the trial judge's per se rule against fashion-industry trademarks in a color.

"Robin Givhan Revives Rumors of an Ambassador Anna Wintour."

"If you thought rumors of Anna Wintour's ambassadorial ambitions had been laid to rest, think again. Robin Givhan would like to take a closer look, and if Givhan is taking a closer look, then there must be something at which to take a closer look."

1. You remember Wintour, the Vogue editor who did a glamorous party for Obama where it wasn't just fashion insiders, who get what she's supposed to be, and there was that video, turning the do into a competition where one common person would be permitted to mix with the Wintour-getting folk, and she was all "It'll be a fahntahzztic evahnahng, ahnnd you cahhhnn join us."

2. Why haven't we seen Wintour at the Democratic Convention? They've been parading one woman after another across their stage. Obviously, though she's about keeping up with fashion trends, she's thoroughly out of touch with the American political style — they way you have to talk to the people. But the Obama campaign is trying to pick the right people for their message, and they learned their lesson after they wheeled out Wintour last spring and let her unleash her mannerisms and affectations for the camera. (It's the other party that's supposed to be the rich, so you sure don't want someone who talks and tics like a stereotype of a rich dame.)

3. But Robin Givhan, the Daily Beast fashion-and-politics writer, is pumping the rumor that Wintour is after an ambassadorship. Robin Givhan, who's never hidden her fond love for the Obamas. (Just a couple days ago, she celebrated Michelle's perfect-for-politics fashion.) Why, then, would Givhan spread the rumour about Wintour? That doesn't help Obama. We should not be looking at that right now!

4. My guess is: Givhan is toning it down, and Wintour has the ambassadorship in the bag. The terribly expensive bag.

September 5, 2012

If Obama's call for "civility... is to be taken seriously," says Romney, stop comparing your opponents to Nazis.

"[I]t’s time for the President to rein in those of his supporters and allies who are trivializing Nazism while also shamelessly trampling on the most basic rules of American political discourse."

IN THE COMMENTS: Seven Machos says:
Clearly, Romney is trying to silence the voices of authentic struggle. This is exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany.
And then Mark Nielsen said:
This is a fun blog to follow because there's so much to learn about the personalities here. What is clearly a well-aimed stab from Seven would be a completely serious comment from some.
Thanks for getting to know us. It is fun when you do that. But most of what's thrown in our faces as politics in America isn't fun-loving at all. And you know who else wasn't fun-loving? Nazis.

"[I]f you truly live by a higher moral code you realize sometimes you have to intimidate..."

A Wisconsin protester explains himself. 

(Scroll up to the top of the discussion for more detail, including participation by Meade.)

Live-blogging Day 2 of the Democratic Convention.

5:34 Central Time: I jump in, watching C-SPAN, just in time to see the ever-bold, ever-confident Chuck Schumer stride onto the stage. He says: "Tonight, we welcome a New Yorker: President Bill Clinton as our prime time speaker." He does a little fist pump on "speaker." "It's no accident that Democrats celebrate" — a bigger fist pump — "our past Presidents, while Republicans virtually banish theirs" — biggest fist pump and a big smile.

6:40: Emanuel Cleaver gets the conventioneers fired up, but the hoarse-throated yelling doesn't play so well over the television, just like the Howard Dean scream seemed nutty outside of the room where the scream was screamed.

6:48: "Mitt Romney doesn't know a thing about hard work or responsibility," says the president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, who likes to portray work as "mopping, vacuuming, and picking up our trash."

7:01: President Obama has focused on jobs since Day 1, says Nancy Pelosi. So... do we get to judge him by the result, or does he get reelection for effort?

7:07: Lots of Dems tonight are talking about "the American Dream," as, of course, the GOP did last week. It's kind of nice to see so much consensus about the idea of individuals working hard — for themselves and their families — and succeeding economically, and interesting that everyone's enthusiastic about calling that "American," as though they're into patriotism, even though I imagine it's the dream among all human beings to be able to achieve economic well-being for themselves and their families through their own work. The real question, rather obviously, is which party will do better for these American dreamers of the American dream. What is the Democrats' argument here? I really don't see it. They seem to be copying the Republicans' theme, criticizing the Republicans for saying it, and insisting they have some dream-boosting methodology.

7:15: Another parade of women. Last night's was the women of the House. Now, it's the women of the Senate. This segment was preceded by a treacly video with a song about "a woman's voice," which apparently, "can sing any song." Okay. Sing "A Boy Named Sue." Gotcha! Didn't I?

7:25: American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez sings "You're all I need to get by...." And then a video of Barack Obama comes on.

7:28: A young woman promotes Planned Parenthood, where she found a nurse who was able to diagnose her endometriosis, after a whole lot of doctors had no idea what was wrong with her and even accused her of being some sort of drama queen. What the hell kind of crap doctors was she going to? Come on. Endometriosis is a standard ailment. Are we to think misogyny prevents its detection? (I can't be fact checking, but, seriously, who were these doctors who couldn't diagnose endometriosis?)

7:32: The president of Planned Parenthood asserts that "Mitt Romney says he'll get rid of Planned Parenthood." Can I get a fact check? I just don't believe that.

9:16: Sorry I haven't updated in a while, but I've been bored to tears. Now, it's Elizabeth Warren, so...  She's excited about going on before Bill Clinton, who "had the good sense to marry one of the coolest women on the planet."

9:20: "The system is rigged," Elizabeth Warren asserts.

9:36: I found Warren pretty boring. When the crowd chanted "Warren, Warren," it sounded like "boring, boring." What was boring was mainly what was boring about so many of the other speeches. So much talk about economic opportunity, with no noticeable plan for furthering it, other than statements about how other people out there — not you! — ought to pay their "fair share" of taxes, and this doctrine that you've got to build the economy from the middle out. She got fervent about the notion that corporation are not people. They don't have hearts, and they don't die, and so forth.

9:38: Bill Clinton says: "I want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside, but who burns for America on the inside."

9:58: Clinton goes on at great length on the topic of how Republicans won't cooperate and compromise and work with the Democrats. Then he says he watched the GOP convention last week:"Did y'all watch their convention? I did."
In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President's reelection was actually pretty simple, pretty snappy. It went something like this: We left him a total mess, he hasn't cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in. But they did it well. They looked good. They sounded good. 
And he says he was convinced they were "honorable people," who really believe what they said and will keep their commitments, so the key for Democrats is to make sure people understand what they believe.

10:09: Wow, he's going on a long time. It's reminiscent of his DNC keynote speech in 1988, when his going on too long turned into a huge joke. That was Clinton's original national reputation: The guy who talked too long.

10:27: It's almost 20 minutes since I said "Wow, he's going on a long time," and he's still going. This is insane. His inflections are getting wacky, like he's in love with how cute he is.

10:38: Finally, it's over. He spoke for 50 minutes. That was really self-indulgent.

11:04 (my time, after pausing): Obama comes out to interact with Clinton. Clinton gives a low bow. And now, they still have to do the roll call. I feel sorry for the kiddies in the crowd. It's late! 

15,000 journalists cover 5,000 delegates in what Dana Milbank calls a "media lovefest."

I’ve had my deltoids massaged in candlelight by a licensed therapist; had a foaming pore cleanser and mask applied to my face by an aesthetician; been instructed in the Warrior, Half-Sun Salute and Dancer poses by a yoga instructor; and crawled into a hanging cocoon for a “meditative snooze.” I worked up quite an appetite doing all this, so I ordered vegan corn chowder and gluten-free chicken chile verde washed down with Fiji water — all courtesy of the Huffington Post.
And yet we know the hotels you have to sleep in are horrible and bedbug-infested, not that I'd envy this time-wasting nonsense if I didn't know that. Personally, I'm glad to be in Madison, Wisconsin, blogging the convention by watching it on C-SPAN.

Michelle Obama sends me email, saying "Ann, thank you."

That's the subject line. Inside, she continues this way:
Ann --

I know your life is full -- with work, or school, or family -- and yet you still find the time to help out when you can.

You may have a tight budget, but you give what you can afford.

A woman recently told the campaign her family skipped a pizza dinner at their favorite place so that they could make a difference in this election.

That is the commitment that drives this campaign.

If you can support Barack with a donation today, please know it makes a huge difference. If we win, it will be because of what you did at moments like this....



P.S. -- It meant a lot to me to speak with you and everyone else last night. Thank you for everything you do.

"Tax Court Rejects Geithner/Turbo Tax Defense."

Notes TaxProf.

"You Didn't Fill That!" — Obama won't be speaking in the 74,000-seat stadium.

Breaking news email from CNN:
President Obama's speech formally accepting the Democratic presidential nomination will be moved indoors due to "severe weather" forecast for Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Democratic National Convention Committee announced today

Obama's major address, seen as the highlight of this week's convention, was originally planned to take place at Bank of America Stadium, which can seat nearly 74,000 people. Instead, the speech will be delivered in the Time Warner Cable Arena, site of the rest of the week's events in downtown Charlotte, which seats up to 20,000."
Here's Rush Limbaugh yesterday:
The Democrats had buses for students all across North Carolina, and even members of black churches in neighboring South Carolina have been arranged. They're having to bus people in there to fill up the 74,000-seat stadium, and I don't think they're anywhere near it. They're obviously nowhere near it. So now they're going to move it inside (that's the latest), and use "severe weather" as their explanation....
I have a headline. I have a headline if anybody wants to use it on Thursday night. If they move the speech, if they move Thursday night's proceedings from outdoors to indoors, the headline is: You Didn't Fill That! And then show a picture of Panther Stadium/Bank of America Stadium. You Didn't Fill That!

Rouged individualism.

With all this talk of rugged individualism and emphasis on women at the conventions, I offer my coinage: rouged individualism.

My Google search indicates that prior uses of the word combo "rouged individualism" were all typos from people who were badly misspelling "rugged," e.g.:
The Pacific Northwest has the group identity of "Rouged Individualism". There are plenty of positive aspects of this perspective, but as is obvious, plenty of pitfalls as well. So now I'm independent and capable but by using my strengths, not trying to be something I'm not.
Plenty of pitfalls... and pitbulls wearing lipstick... and rouge....

ADDED: This post was inspired by wyo sis's riffing in the comments about a different misspelling of "rugged" — "rugid":
rugid individualism
I like that!
I think I'll start using it.
It has a refudiated ring to it.
(Sarah is everywhere!)

AND: Meade makes a visual pun for "rugged individualism," using my photo of the "Pioneer Family" sculpture and his photoshopping (anti)skill:

Michelle Obama's DNC speech made us think about her speech pleading for the 2016 Olympics in Chicago.

As in her speech last night, there's a misplaced emotionality that's too much about her family's personal need for gratification:

Here's the transcript, in the event that you can't put up with 6 minutes of slow sentimentality. This was an argument that we know the IOC rejected, so listening to it now, we hear the inappropriateness (to the decisionmakers' ears) of arguments like this:
Some of my best memories are sitting on my dad's lap, cheering on Olga and Nadia, Carl Lewis, and others for their brilliance and perfection.
As the first comment at the video notes, Michelle was 20 when Carl Lewis first participated in the Olympics, so that dad's lap business is easily detected bullshit.
Like so many young people, I was inspired. I found myself dreaming that maybe, just maybe, if I worked hard enough, I, too, could achieve something great.

But I never dreamed that the Olympic flame might one day light up lives in my neighborhood.
Dream, of course, was a key word in her husband's presidential campaign. His presidency dream was a dream fulfilled, but she's acting — and I do meaning acting! — as if her family now has a special privilege to identify dreams that they have and expect the world to fulfill them. But why would these IOC bigwigs subordinate themselves within Obama dreams?
But today, I can dream, and I am dreaming of an Olympic and Paralympic Games in Chicago that will light up lives in neighborhoods all across America and all across the world; that will expose all our neighborhoods to new sports and new role models; that will show every child that regardless of wealth, or gender, or race, or physical ability, there is a sport and a place for them, too.

That's why I'm here today. I'm asking you to choose Chicago. I'm asking you to choose America.
She wants them to "light up" her life (along with the lives of all those little people out there in her old neighborhood).  

Choose America? As if America is some sad, tragic little place where poor people await a ray of hope. And she's speaking with kindergarten-teacher earnestness. It didn't work. We know that.

And the speech last night? Why should that work? What was relevant to our decision who should be the head of the Executive Branch of the federal government? Like a skeptical IOC member, I am utterly callous to plaintive pleas about what gratifies the personal desires of the lady and her family. Live-blogging last night, I said "What's the point of all this?" And then, a quarter hour later, "I don't really see the point of it." Whatever she was talking about, it had nothing to do with the decision to be made.


Speaking of things I didn't see the point of last night, I wrote, at the end of her speech: "And then the music comes up: 'Move your body... move your little hips....' What?!" I thought the lyrics — like the lyrics to "I'm Every Woman" (played earlier in the evening and live-mocked by me) — were too sexual to punctuate the convention message. I'd taken the time to Google the "I'm Every Woman" lyrics to flesh out my intuition. But it was nearly 10:30 (my time) when Michelle finished, and I was too tired to Google what move your body... move your little hips.... was supposed to be about.

It turns out to be a Beyoncé song written in support of Michelle's "Let's Move" program that's supposed to get kids to quit being so inert. Beyoncé is talking to children — hence the "little hips."
I ain't worried, doing me tonight
A little sweat ain't never hurt nobody
Don't just stand there on the wall
Everybody, just move your body
Doing me? Sorry I have such a dirty mind! This is for the children. You know: those little fatties standing on the wall.

"Good Evening, It's An Honor To Be Used As A Political Prop By My Husband's Campaign."

That's the headline for an Onion article, linked by Christopher in the comments to my live-blogging the first day of the DNC convention.

And here's a photoshop from Lance, appropriating my photograph from last night's "café" post and putting the dreamy "pioneer of the future" into Michelle Obama's dress:

(A "café" post headline on this blog signals that commenters should write about whatever they want. The sculpture is "Pioneers of the Future," by Jeffrey Barber, located on the grounds of the state capitol in Bismarck, North Dakota, dedicated in 1989, the state's centennial, and — according to the plaque — representing young people on "a path of knowledge through education that opens up unknown truths about ourselves." Also on the capitol grounds is this far superior sculpture "The Pioneer Family," depicting the pioneers of the past.)

Here's what I'd like to say the morning after the First Lady's speech. It was a typical First Lady speech, completely old fashioned, using the candidate's wife in the old-fashioned way. She's a wife and mother, and she tells you over and over how being a wife and mother is the most important thing. Children are the future. We live and sacrifice for them. And my husband knows that. Vote for the wonderful man that I'm vouching for.

There's no indication that this woman, like her husband, has a J.D. from Harvard. Her undergraduate degree is more impressive than his. As a lawyer she was senior to him: She served as his mentor when he was a summer associate at a fancy Chicago law firm where she was a permanent associate. She has (or had) professional stature and legal expertise. No trace of that showed in the speech she gave.

Isn't it ironic? The Obama campaign has relied on a theme called "the war on women," within which the Republicans want to shove women back into the past and Democrats represent the future where women are the full equals of men. Yes, yes, yes, that's all very nice, but the man has an election to win, and his woman must reenact — one more time — the role of the traditional, modest, little-lady, helpmeet housewife.

September 4, 2012

At the Pioneers-of-the-Future Café...


... la la la la la.

Live-blogging Day 1 of the Democratic Convention.

4:58 CT: Just setting up a post, to be added to over the course of the evening. Please join the conversation.

6:53 (I'm beginning with recorded material from about 2 hours ago. I'll be catching up.): "Being asked to pay your fair share isn't class warfare. It's patriotism," says Newark Mayer Cory Booker. He gets a huge ovation that turns into a "U.S.A." chant. They're "U.S.A."ing at the idea of patriotism, presumably. Not taxes. Oh, but paying taxes = patriotism. Or, specifically, being asked to pay is patriotism. Who is the patriot in that grammatical construction? I think it's the folks who are asking other people to pay.

7:11 (Still catching up.): Gov. Bev Perdue sounded hoarse and a bit sick as she vowed to deliver North Carolina to the Democrats. A film about health care. A young man whose parents died in a way that supposedly might have been avoided if we'd had Obamacare. They were both scientists, he says, so I'm not clear why they did not have health insurance.

7:19: The chair of the Congressional Hispanic Congress, Charles Gonzales, uses the motto "e pluribus unum"out of many, one — to mean that all the people become one, instead of the idea that the states were brought together into one nation. The idea that the people merged into a single entity — that sounds like fascism to me. Oddly, as it repurposes the old motto, it expresses the old fashioned idea of the melting pot.

7:30: White males of the gubernatorial kind — Quinn & Kaine.

7:32: A black speaker wedged in — the mayor of Charlotte — before the next pale male. But it's a big one, so I'll go light on the fast-forwarding I'm using to try to catch up to live. It's Harry Reid.

7:36: Reid wants us to fear the Tea Party. They are "extremists and ideologues who leave no room for reason," and they're taking over the Republican Party.

7:42: Nancy Pelosi is introduced along with all the Democratic women of the House. There's disco music playing. The hell? Then I detect that it's "I'm Every Woman." Again with this creepy merging of individuals into the whole.

"[I]t is my obligation, not only as an elected official in a pluralistic society but also as a Christian, to remain open to the possibility that my unwillingness to support gay marriage is misguided..."

"... just as I cannot claim infallibility in my support of abortion rights. I must admit that I may have been infected with society’s prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God; that Jesus’ call to love one another might demand a different conclusion; and that in years hence I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history. I don’t believe such doubts make me a bad Christian. I believe they make me human, limited in my understandings of God’s purpose and therefore prone to sin. When I read the Bible, I do so with the belief that it is not a static text but the Living Word and that I must be continually open to new revelations — whether they come from a lesbian friend or a doctor opposed to abortion."        

Barack Obama, "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream" (2006)(pages 349-350, Kindle Edition).

"What America needs most today is what it once had, but has lost — the lift of a driving dream."

That old quote sprang to mind just now, as I was thinking about whether Barack Obama will be able to reinvigorate the electorate with his old rhetoric when he does his convention speech this week. The quote is from — did you remember? — Richard Nixon.

We used to love to scoff at him for thinking he had anything to do with "the lift of a driving dream." But Barack Obama got us — some of us — to internalize the association between him and dreams. Can he — should he — do it again? To dream, you've got to sleep, and "what America needs most today" — and any day — is to be awake... vigilant.

Michael Jackson "is not in shape enough yet to sing this stuff live and dance at the same time... He's a basket case. Doubt is pervasive."

Emails leak in the legal controversy involving Lloyd's of London, which insured the big 5--concert series that Jackson was supposed to do. Lloyd's is now trying to nullify its cancellation policy based on false claims made by AEG about Jackson's ability to perform.
The documents include Kenny Ortega, the show's director and a close associate of Jackson for 20 years, telling Randy Phillips, AEG Live CEO, that the star was in no state to perform.  He wrote: "There are strong signs of paranoia, anxiety and obsessive-like behaviour. I think the best thing we can do is get a top psychiatrist in to evaluate him ASAP."...

Phillips told Ortega: "It is critical that neither you, me or anyone around this show become amateur psychiatrists or physicians." 
However Phillips, one of the music industry's most powerful promoters, who offered Jackson a £100 million deal for the shows, had seen the first-hand the depths to which the performer had sunk.

"Elizabeth Warren can’t escape her Cherokee heritage controversy even at this gathering of loyal Democrats..."

"... as a contingent of skeptical American Indian delegates — including the great-grandson of Geronimo — are inviting Warren to a meeting tomorrow to explain her ancestry claims."
The delegates extended an invitation to Warren to appear at their caucus meeting tomorrow, just before she is slated to give a prime-time address on the convention stage....
Well, that timing gives her an easy way to say no, but her cause is damaged by the simple spectacle of DNC delegates questioning her openly like this.
Geronimo’s wife, Karen, also an Apache from New Mexico, said she and other Indians carry an ID card as proof of their heritage, and believes every person claiming American Indian heritage should do the same.

Asked whether she would ever vote for someone who misrepresented themselves as American Indian, she was adamant.

“No, not at all,” Karen Geronimo said.
Another ID card issue!

(Link via Instapundit, who also links to Professor Jacobson, who is pushing hard on Warren's Indian-heritage claim.)

Rasmussen polled of public opinion about Clint Eastwood.

Because the poll was conducted before and after his unusual performance at the convention, you get some insight:
While Republican officials were uncertain about Eastwood, 78% of GOP voters have a favorable opinion of him. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that Democrats are evenly divided: 42% favorable and 44% unfavorable. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 58% view Eastwood favorably, and only 21% have a negative view....

I just noticed the double meaning of "tax hike."

Reading this article about Johnny Depp moving out of France because it raised taxes.

Because of a tax hike, he took a hike, a tax hike.

"9 DNC hotels infested with bedbugs."

That's the Drudge tease, linking here.

Of course, my reason for linking is that I love using my favorite tag: insect politics.

"The Wisconsin delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa were treated like royalty."

"They were given a prime location on the convention floor, right up front and to the right of the stage. The delegates from Wisconsin aren't nearly as well positioned when the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte officially opens Tuesday."

What's happened to Wisconsin? Here's the L.A. Times trying to figure it out:
Four years ago, it might have sounded preposterous that Wisconsin, a state that preferred Barack Obama to John McCain by 14 points, would become a wellspring of successful GOP candidates and leaders.

But the impossible has happened. The state features three prominent speakers during the GOP convention -- RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Gov. Scott Walker and vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan, who hopes to wow the nation with a speech Wednesday night. In 2008, the state’s two U.S. senators were from the Democratic Party. Polls indicate that after Nov. 6, both will be Republican.

Red isn’t necessarily a strange color for Wisconsin – after all, the Republican Party was founded as an anti-slavery party in the state in 1854. But what may be surprising is the strong conservative bent of the politicians who have come out of a state that has not chosen a Republican for the White House since 1984.
The Republican Party was founded as an anti-slavery party in Wisconsin. Interesting to see that highlighted, especially with the L.A. Times failing even to mention Joe McCarthy.

Why isn't the Democratic convention treating the Wisconsin delegates better? When I look at the Electoral College maps, I can easily see how our 10 electoral votes could make the difference for Obama in this tight race. Perhaps the Dems think they're doing enough by giving Tammy Baldwin a prime-time speaking spot. (Tammy is the congresswoman from Madison's district who is all but doomed to lose to Tommy Thompson in the Senate race in November.)
"We've seen Paul Ryan and Scott Walker on the national stage. I'm going to talk about the Wisconsin I know," Baldwin said in an interview, emphasizing fairness and hard work over influence and wealth.
The Wisconsin I know... i.e., Madison. Do tell!

A Madison modus operandi.

I hesitate to reveal an approach to victimizing women in Madison....
A Saudi Arabian man who police say has returned to his country was charged with attempted sexual assault Tuesday after he allegedly talked his way in to a neighbor's apartment in Madison last month.

The July 4 incident was one of three within five days in July in which Riyad M. Alsulaiman, 24, allegedly approached women who had cats and asked to pet them in order to get into their apartments, all in the 1600 block of Fordem Avenue.
Let's retune those stranger-danger sensors. Elsewhere in the annals of getting creeped out in Madison, we've got our legislator, Brett Hulsey subjected to a disorderly conduct charge, because his horseplay with and photography of some kids at the beach creeped out the adults who were watching from a distance.

Things Madeleine Albright cannot understand.

"I'm not sure I'm going to state this exactly right," said the woman we once relied on to speak for America in the most delicate and momentous affairs*:
"But I think there are some who believe they are actually protecting women, you know, and that it is better for women to be taken care of. I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important. And frankly, I don’t understand —I mean, I'm obviously a card-carrying Democrat — but I can't understand why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney."

* I'm referring to foreign diplomacy, in her role as Secretary of State in the Clinton administration, but having written "most delicate and momentous affairs," I realized you might think I was referring to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, which was "a most delicate and momentous affair" of a different kind. But there, she didn't speak for us. She spoke to us. She was the most prominent of the Clinton Cabinet members who allowed themselves to be pulled forward to vouch for him, and she famously said, "I believe that the allegations are completely untrue."  The powerful man must be right, and the little lady must be lying. This, from a woman who now "frankly" doesn't "understand" how women think.

And by the way, that new quote of hers is damned sexist. She can't visualize how a woman could reason and analyze and come to a conclusion that the more conservative approach is better. She presents women — all women, apparently — as voting based on some kind of fuzzy, feel-y thinking about women, within which the only appeal of Romney is his wife.

Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings. 

Think about it, Ms. Albright.

ADDED: An emailer prompts me to see an alternative meaning in the phrase "why any woman would want to vote for Mitt Romney, except maybe Mrs. Romney." Obviously, I thought she was saying that some women might find Ann Romney so appealing that they'd want to vote for Romney. But now I see the ambiguity in those words. It can also mean that the only woman who'd want to vote for Mitt Romney is his wife. I think that is probably is what she meant. Actually, the whole quote is a mess (except for her one obviously true statement, which she herself flags as obvious: she's "a card-carrying Democrat").

September 3, 2012

"A Reverse Wisconsin."

"In Michigan, unions try to enshrine union power in the constitution."

ADDED: Excerpt:

At the Back-to-School Café...


... you'd better get to work.

"That is the head of one who toyed with my honour."

Said the rape victim, arrested near the head she severed from her attacker.

"If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain..."

"Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working."

So says the richest woman in the world, Gina Rinehart
(who, interestingly, looks like a stereotypical homeless woman).

LA Times snarks "Yeah, let them eat cake," but that that make sense? "Let them eat cake" is the line attributed to the completely out-of-touch queen to make her look like she thinks people without access to bread could get to cake as an alternative.
As one biographer of [Marie Antoinette] notes, it was a particularly useful phrase to cite because "the staple food of the French peasantry and the working class was bread, absorbing 50 per cent of their income, as opposed to 5 per cent on fuel; the whole topic of bread was therefore the result of obsessional national interest."
Of course, the queen didn't actually say "Let them eat cake." It was always only propaganda. When else should we mobilize this propaganda? For Gina Rinehart?

"We have trees all over our front and backyards, thus we have a lot of squirrels. We love them, by the way."

"But every now and then they sound like they're crying. They sound so sad.
It is usually one lone squirrel that will sit and cry. It just breaks my heart. Are they crying? What happened to make them so sad? Can I help them in any way?"

Signed, A Squirrel Lover.

"The right rallied on Labor Day to celebrate 'National Empty Chair Day'..."

"... a show of solidarity with Clint Eastwood after his infamous address to an invisible President Barack Obama at the Republican National Convention last week."

Seems to me the world is full of empty chairs. How is any given chair supposed to acquire the meaning intended if meaning is intended? And contrariwise, isn't it unfair to all the other chairs that are just hanging around being chairs and not meaning to say anything?

AND: This has got me thinking about horror vacui:
In visual art, horror vacui (/ˈhɔrər ˈvɑːkjuːaɪ/; from Latin "fear of empty space", which might be represented by white spots), also cenophobia (/sɛnəˈfoʊbɪə/, from Greek "fear of the empty"), is the filling of the entire surface of a space or an artwork with detail.

The term is associated with the Italian art critic and scholar Mario Praz, who used it to describe the suffocating atmosphere and clutter of interior design in the Victorian age....

Research suggests there is currently an inverse relationship between horror vacui and value perception, and commercial designers are advised to favour minimalism in shop window displays and advertising to appeal to affluent and well-educated consumers, on the premise that horror vacui appeals more to poorer and less-educated audiences.
Perhaps I'm letting my education and affluence show, but I think empty is good. An unfilled space is complete in itself and yet also an opportunity. I think the horror vacui is somewhat male, and I am speaking from a vagina'd perspective.

"Obama doesn’t really like very many people."

"And he likes to talk about sports. But other than that he just doesn’t like very many people. Unfortunately, it extends to people who used to have his job."

Ryan Lizza, quoting a "Democrat deeply familiar with the relationship" between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who was refuting the common belief that mutual dislike originated with Clinton's unhappiness over the 2008 primary.

Now, Obama needs Clinton:
Jim Messina, the deputy chief of staff, moved to Chicago to manage the campaign, and he took charge of the Clinton account.... Clinton, Messina told me, is one of the few people who can make the case for Obama among voters who still haven’t made up their minds....
But does Clinton need Obama?
His associates take it as a given that he would like nothing more than to see his wife become President. Hillary Clinton will step down as Secretary of State after the campaign and begin the process of deciding whether she will run in 2016. By some measures, a defeat for Obama in November would leave Hillary the undisputed leader of her party and propel her toward the Oval Office that much faster. 
Meanwhile, Bill Clinton will take the stage in prime time at the convention, claiming the spot that would traditionally go to the vice presidential candidate, with Biden shunted elsewhere. 

Now, liking is a key concept in connection with Obama. He's always told he's so likeable. And we remember Hillary, back in '08, being needled about being less likeable than Obama and Obama stealing the spotlight to say "You're likeable enough" right after she'd done a nice delivery of the quip "That hurts my feelings." He's just so likeable.

Ah... but who does he like?

37.6% call themselves Republicans now, and only 33.3% say they are Democrats.

Other Rasmussen polling shows a record high percentage of Americans identify themselves as Republicans — record high, meaning since 2002. The percentage is 37.6%. How many Americans call themselves Democrats? 33.3%. (This was a poll of adults, not likely voters. I suspect Republicans are more likely to be likely voters, don't you?)

"Black Woman Gets Standing Ovation at RNC — Media Silence; Two Bozos Throw Peanuts — Media Frenzy."

2 incidents:
1. Mia Love, an African-American Republican woman, gave a speech and received loud cheers and a standing ovation from almost every single one of the thousands of white Republicans in attendance.

2. Two bozos, of unknown identity, “threw peanuts” at an African-American woman camera operator for CNN, while purportedly saying “This is how we feed animals,” and were ejected from the convention.

Furthermore, there is video proof that the first incident (the standing ovation) happened; while the only evidence we have for the damning details of the second purported incident (at least as of the time of this writing) is the word of a partisan left-wing blog.

"Romney leads by nine among men but is down by one among women."

Says Rasmussen, in its announcement of the daily presidential tracking poll. The basic numbers are the same as yesterday: Romney 48%, Obama 44%. This is the first day in which the tracking poll — which includes 3 days — is based entirely on post-convention polling.

I'm very interested in the way the gender politics game is playing out. It seems that the Democrats have pushed very hard making a special offer to women — positing a "war on women" and so forth. But they're only up one point with women, which seems to be less than the usual skewing of females toward the Democratic Party. One might anticipate that the war-on-women politics would repel some men, but it looks like it's failing to work on women too.

You've got Republicans getting a 10-point advantage in the gender gap, when it's the other party doing the gender politics. Does that mean gender politics is now a bad strategy? Not necessarily. Obama might be doing even worse without it. (That's an argument in the pattern of Obama's argument about the economy: You're not better off than you were 4 years ago, but the economy would have plunged worse without the help I've been providing.)

It's also possible that gender politics can work for the Democrats, but they haven't been doing it right this time. What's distinctive about the way they've been doing it in 2012?

First, they're doing it so intensely, with the "war" trope. That's not believable, and it makes it too obvious that they're mostly begging us to look at this and not the economy, when everyone — women included — thinks the economy is the main concern.

Second, they seem to be offering special benefits for women, rather than presenting general issues in an emotionally empathetic way that appeals to women. For example, in the past, we've seen Democrats talk about the wars in terms of tired, worn-out soldiers who need to be returned to the care of their families. This year, the Democrats are talking about seemingly free birth control treatments — something for women that men don't get.

Perhaps it's caring and altruism that resonates with women, not special benefits for us. We like to think of ourselves as unselfish, trying to help others. That's the classic pull of the liberal agenda. Maybe it doesn't work to give us stuff. You need to make us feel that we are giving.

If you're going to pander, you have to pander the right way.

"Ayende Alcala, an activist with Occupy Charlotte, said the group organized the protest not with any singular agenda..."

"... but to give people a space to come together and be heard."
"No matter what your issue is, we want to let them know we stand together," he said. "We want to have a united front to start off this Democratic National Convention."

"Behind those doors, the story is going to be the 'poli-tricks' as usual," Alcala added. "It's the art of getting elected, of pointing the finger back and forth. We want to say there's another story and that's the people on the street still suffering."

Nobody in the protest expressed much hope in the political process. Said Alcala: "It's a two-faced one-party system. They have different colors and different names, but at the end of the day, they all answer to the same Wall Street corporations that dominate the system."
Organized... not with any singular agenda... Which is kind of disorganized.

"If everybody could love Alfred Hitchcock, I think it would be a better world."

Odd intro, by Cat Stevens (in 1976), to "Peace Train."

Yesterday, we were talking about Sun Myung Moon's idea for peace: marriage across national and cultural boundaries.

I ran into the Cat Stevens peace suggestion just now, by chance and unrelated to Sun Myung Moon (even by marriage). I was over on YouTube, clicking on the next song after "Longer Boats," a song we were talking about and trying to fathom:
Mary dropped her pants by the sand
And let a parson come and take her hand
But the soul of nobody knows
Where the parson goes, where does the parson go?
Please spare me the usual Cat Stevens hating. That's been talked to death. (Here's an elaborate Wikipedia page on your favorite Cat Stevens topic.) The subjects of this post are: 1. odd suggestions for world peace and 2. what is the song "Longer Boats" about? 

I'll start you off on the right track:

Topic #1: In 1969, right after they married, Yoko Ono and John Lennon sat in bed together for world peace. And — take note! — John Lennon and Yoko Ono had married across national and cultural boundaries.

Topic #2: The suggestion from Stevens is that he was imagining aliens in spaceships coming to earth and bringing us a better world, apparently free of the inferior traditional religions of human beings. In that view, there's no parson molesting Mary. Mary and the parson are simply traipsing off into a new way of life, liberated by the philosophy of the aliens.

IN THE COMMENTS: Now, this is smart, from creeley23:
I take Stevens' Hitchcock remark before "Peace Train" as a reference to the train-into-the-tunnel ending of North By Northwest, i.e. it was a coded reference to the "make love, not war" sentiment of the time.
Well, then. I wasn't going to say it, but I thought the "longer boats" were longer cocks! That's why it was so telling that Mary dropped her pants. And I thought "the parson" was some wags name for his waggler: Where does the parson go? I thought I had it all figured out!

September 2, 2012

WDTY's Sly confronts Wisconsin legislator Brett Hulsey about the beach incident involving 3 children...

... which led to a charge of disorderly conduct, to which he pled "no contest."

Though both Sly and Hulsey are Madison lefties — click the tags below — Sly does a tough interview, with the refrain: People are "creeped out."

Hulsey has some stock phrases he repeats: it was "a potentially dangerous situation" (a boy was splashing 2 "little girls"), he'd been out in the "extreme heat" and wanted to "cool off,"  the splashing was "wild," "I admit I made a mistake," he "startled" the boy, in "a foot of water," the police officers "didn't write down a word" of his story, and he was "flabbergasted" that they wrote him a ticket. He tries to frame the story in terms of police abuse, and Sly practically shouts him down: Then why did you plead no contest?!