September 22, 2012

Apple Maps screw-ups.

Pictures of Applefail.

"Years ago, I knew two kids. One was a tall and wispy twerp whose arrogance exceeded his stratospheric brilliance."

"The other was a squat punk whose beautiful mind spewed quips like switchblades."
By three orders of magnitude, these two were far smarter than the rest of us.

It was on the playground where they struggled. The twerp found that being haughty prompted a vigorous ass kicking. The punk learned that being mouthy got you pantsed in front of the girls. But, over time, the playground changed them. Each kid started to act normally. With that, the rest of us came to respect and even appreciate them. More importantly, their socialization prompted us to consider what they had to say.

Maybe I’m wrong, but perhaps Posner and Scalia (and their snarly stand-ins) should visit a playground.
The writer of that snark is himself a federal judge, I note — with a nudge to a colleague of mine who was chastising me for analyzing the psychology of judges. (How do I know their motives? I don't. I speculate!)

But I'm fascinated to see a judge opine that other judges are guys who failed to get enough bullying when they were kids! Who's exercising the momentous power to say what they law is and inflict their opinion on the rest of us? Abnormal people who could've used a good ass-kicking... a good pantsing in front of the girls.

"The official line — that the slaughter of American officials was some sort of improvised movie review that got a little out of hand..."

"...  is now in the process of modification to something bearing a less patently absurd relationship to what actually happened. That should not make any more forgivable the grotesque damage that the administration has done to the bedrock principle of civilized society: freedom of speech."

Writes Mark Steyn.

"Ann -- We're already figuring out the seating arrangements for the last Dinner with Barack of this campaign."

Text and image from email with the subject line "Where you'll be seated." The closing — in lieu of something like "sincerely" — is "Seriously, what are you waiting for?"

The 25-year-old man who leapt from the zoo monorail into the tiger enclosure...

... had — on his Facebook page — this picture of a tigress licking the head of a tiger cub.

The Daily News calls it a "crazed bid to kill himself."
“He’s amazing and he loves everybody,” said the victim’s sister, who declined to give her name. “I really don’t know what happened.”
The Facebook page is full of sentimental notions about animals and the environment:
An image of foxes with the message, “We have more to fear from other people than from other animals” was also posted Thursday. In other posts he promotes a vegetarian diet.

Another image posted Thursday bears the message, “We need to stop being victims and living out of fear. We need to stop preparing for disaster, instead to anticipate a glorious future.”
UPDATE: The Daily News has now aligned its reporting with what I'm saying above: "Mauled man wanted to be 'one with the tiger' and was not  trying to commit suicide when he invaded Bronx Zoo den."
[David] Villalobos said he even petted the 400-pound beast after it tried to drag him off — and that he broke a leg and ankle when he landed after leaping from the zoo’s monorail on all fours, [Paul Browne, the NYPD’s chief spokesman] said.

“No one should be surprised he landed on all fours considering his passion for cats,” Browne added.

"I'm pretty sure Obama owes Nakoula an apology."


We're barraged by new distractions, so let's catch things that are slipping down the memory hole. It's not just Nakoula. It's Chris Stevens. Our ambassador was murdered, and he was murdered after he was targeted and he was not given security.

Shame on those who disrespected Nakoula's freedom of speech. Their faults are apparent and need to be remembered. But what happened to Chris Stevens? I don't trust that we've learned the whole story. Why wasn't he protected? Was he an inconvenient man? We saw such an effort to create static around his death. Look — riots over here, here, and here! Offensive video on the internet! Man with a "towel" around his face! And hey check out the most important thing that happened all week: Romney said "47%" to some people back in May!

The very fact that we're thinking about Nakoula — and futzing with Romney rhetoric — makes me feel that Chris Stevens got stuffed down the memory hole.

Who wanted that forgetting and why?

"Well, at least one person is getting annoyed by the endless back and forth between Posner and Scalia."

"But that’s just one person. We’ll continue to beat that horse until it’s extra dead."

"Living small in New York becomes an exercise in craftiness, and discovering multiple uses for a surface."

"What others may see as deprivation, Mr. Moore and others have reframed as pride, with Shaker-like design values of simplicity and utility."
But not necessarily Shaker celibacy. In 2009, Kittie Lonsdale, a small-space designer, left behind a 4,500-square-foot home in Dallas and moved herself, her business and her “microsize dog,” a 10-pound Shih Tzu whose raincoats, treats, leads and sleeping box “take up more real estate than anything else,” into a 225-square-foot studio in Tudor City. Ten days a month, her husband joins her from Dallas, the headquarters for his private investment firm.
The linked NYT article is by Jan Hoffman (our favorite NYT writer).

"I was surprised people were as attached to my hair as maybe I was."

John Axford — the Brewers' closer — talking about tweeting about his previously extravagant facial hair.

"The Brewers can't be saved" — wrote the Isthmus sportswriter on August 23d.

Jason Joyce wrote: "Deep into August, the Milwaukee Brewers are 10 games under .500 and 18 games out of first place in the National League Central." Etc. etc.

Meade began dogging him in the comments on August 24th:
I wonder if any St. Louis fans, exactly one year ago today, when the Cardinals were 10 1/2 games from winning a wild card, were writing articles titled "The Cards can't be saved."
The days have passed, and the comments thread over there has grown to 12 comments — all save one from Meade. The only one that isn't, on September 12th, says:
There is of course the fact that they added an extra wildcard this year. Without that where would the Brewers still very slim hopes stand? They'd have been eliminated already.
Which was a reason to maintain more baseball-style hope, not less, but they have to put it in a pessimistic way. (This is Madison, Wisconsin, and you know liberals are pessimists.) The Meade comments continue. The newest one is:
WCGB: 1.5

Six games over .500

L10: 9-1


September 21, 2012

At the Pumpkin Man Café...


... you can talk about anything you want.

"Hand dryer in the men's room... It's very posh, but I don’t like it."

"You have to put your wet hands between two blowers, that are motion-activated. It’s a small space, and you need to have the steadiness of a jewel cutter not to touch the sides – and pick up some stranger’s shit spores. It’s almost like playing Operation, and who needs that kind of stress?"

The Dyson Airblade is just one of 8 things about Sam's Club that bug Jeff Kay. (Via Metafilter.)

"I'm going home. I'm going home... Don't worry about me."

"I'll be alright. God bless, and the Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers."

The condemned man's last words.

Gov. Scott Walker on how the Romney campaign should use Paul Ryan.

On the radio today, Charlie Sykes talked about how Paul Ryan would be good at explaining what Romney's 47% percent comment was supposed to say — that there's a "tipping point" in the economy. Sykes also speculates that Romney's campaign people are somehow holding Ryan back. Walker responds (at 10:10 in the audio at the link):
"They not only need to use him out on the trail more effectively, they need to have more of him rub off on Mitt, because I think Mitt thinks that way but he's got to be able to articulate that. I think he's got a compelling message, but he's got to get out an tell it, and I think too many people are restraining him from telling it."

Romney gave 30% of his 2011 income to charity — and declined to take the full charitable deduction they were entitled to.

Paul Caron reviews the Romneys' newly released tax return.
The Romneys’ generous charitable donations in 2011 would have significantly reduced their tax obligation for the year. The Romneys thus limited their deduction of charitable contributions to conform to the Governor's statement in August, based upon the January estimate of income, that he paid at least 13% in income taxes in each of the last 10 years.
So Romney voluntarily forked over more money to the federal government than he needed to because he didn't want the percentage to look too bad.

ADDED: Sorry for the typo in the headline. It's 30%, not 40%. He's not that generous.

Kim Jong Style!

"The national pastime of the people is to be oppressed..."

"The new job that everyone wants is stay-at-home mom. This makes sense to me."

"It’s clear that women don’t want to bust through the glass ceiling, or they’d have done it by now. And it’s clear that men are not pulled by kids in nearly the same way women are, because women’s careers tank when they have kids and mens’ careers don’t."

That's Penelope Trunk, noting a new Forbes survey that says 84% of working women want to stay home with kids. Forbes notes that "more than one in three resent their partner for not earning enough to make that dream a reality." Resentment is a bad place to be. I like these 2 items from Trunk's advice:

"Mitt Romney entered the final months of the presidential campaign with a cash balance of just $35 million..."

"... racing to find new large donors and rally low-dollar contributors in August even while he raised tens of millions of dollars for the Republican Party."

Romney's low on cash?! What the hell did he spend it on?

And now he wants more... That seems awfully dependent, as though we have a responsibility to care about him. I'll never convince him to take personal responsibility and care for his own campaign.

"Professor Warren claimed she was a Native American, a person of color. And as you can see, she’s not."

You can see?

"Some grub with POTUS?" — a subject line on email from the Obama campaign.

"Ann -- You, President Obama, a table, chairs, and some grub," it begins.

Grub! What sort of people think how hard and how long to come up with another way to make a chance at eating dinner with Obama enticing and come up with some grub?

"Want to give it a shot?" I'm asked, with a link to a site where I can contribute to the campaign. There follows this picture:

And I'm told "It'll be pretty awesome." Awesome... grub... It's like suddenly, simultaneously, I'm an air-headed teenager...

... and Wooster from "Wagon Train."

I must say I find the ongoing back and forth between these 2 judges irritating.

Both know what the other is saying, which is what he's been saying for years. Why must they act out their diva drama in public… if TNR may be considered public.

"Officials in Poland are in an uproar over photos showing a group of young teens licking cream off a priest's knees."

"The school said the initiation ritual was a long-standing tradition at the school, and no one had ever complained about it before."

Sexual harassment at the High School for Legal Studies.

Theresa Reel, 52, claimed the students harassed her and NYC has given her $450,000 to go away:
When she told then-Principal Denise Morgan that she made a student leave the class for sexual comments, the official’s response was: “And how does that threaten you?”..
And a 2008 letter from the Department of Education chastised the social studies educator for “inappropriate attire,” described as a “low-cut, V-neck lace top.”...
Interesting that this all happened at the High School for Legal Studies. Turns out it's "a D-rated school which had less than 60% of its students graduate in 2009." And "in 2010 when teachers were caught taking a lavish, taxpayer-funded junket and students were busted for using cell phones to film brawls and sex acts."

"You guys tried to shove this through in the middle of the night..."

"... and we want you to know that some people are not deaf, dumb, and blind. And we know what's going on, and we are going to tell your voters, your constituents, what you guys did tonight."

And as we knew they would, the Dane County Board voted last night to take advantage of the Dane County judge's decision striking down parts of Act 10, the law that led to all the protests last year here in Madison, Wisconsin — Dane County.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said the county and union had a very short window to work with. Parisi said the county started bargaining with AFSCME for a contract for 2015 after Friday's court decision...

County leaders said they wanted to act fast in the small window of time before the judge has the opportunity to order a stay, which would keep the law in effect until it goes through the appeal process.
The video above was shot by Meade, who thought the man in that clip gave the best of the short citizen speeches that preceded the vote. I was there too, arriving late and leaving early. The gallery near me was packed with citizens wearing green AFSCME T-shirts.

The Obama campaign exploits Romney's 47% remark.

This is a new ad from the official Obama campaign, using what is useful:

"Romney May Be the End of the Line for the Republican Establishment."

Opines Scott Rasmussen.
Establishment Republicans in Washington broadly share the Democrats' view that the government should manage the economy. They may favor a somewhat more pro-business set of policies than their Democratic colleagues, but they still act as if government policy is the starting point for all economic activity.

Republican voters reject this view. They are more interested in promoting free market competition rather than handing out favors to big business. They detest corporate welfare and government bailouts, even though their party leaders support them....

If Romney loses in November, the Republican base will no longer buy the electability argument for an establishment candidate.

If Romney wins and does nothing to change the status quo, the economy will falter....

Tammy 49%, Tommy 46%.

Says Rasmussen, today.
The Wisconsin race now shifts from Safe Republican to a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings.

Thompson enjoyed a bounce after winning his primary last month. Now the race has returned to where it was in July when Baldwin posted leads over all her potential Republican opponents including Thompson. This marks Baldwin’s highest level of support to date.
Elsewhere on Rasmussen, the daily presidential tracking poll has Obama at 46% and Romney at 45%. The swing tracking poll has the same numbers, Obama 46%, Romney 45%.

If you could choose/write one sentence to explain the value of free speech to the people of the world who don't get it...

... what would it be? Lawprof Stephen L. Carter — addressing the anti-blasphemy mobs — says:
The best statement of our constitutional rule remains the one announced by the U.S. Supreme Court 40 years ago in Police Department of the City of Chicago v. Mosley: “To permit the continued building of our politics and culture, and to assure self-fulfillment for each individual, our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship.”
If that's the best statement, we are in trouble. I love the idea of looking for a short, apt sentence saying why we believe in protecting freedom of speech, but surely there must be hundreds of better statements than that.

To assure self-fulfillment for each individual... I think it's creepy for the government to even purport to assure self-fulfillment. You can have all the freedom in the world and it won't assure much of anything. And self-fulfillment... you have to already have a particular view of the meaning of life before you put self-fulfillment at the center of the universe. And if you're trying to convince people who begin with a conviction that God is the center, you're blocking your own pathway into their minds. (And they already want that pathway blocked.)

"Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller."

The name of a study that won the Ig Nobel prize for psychology.

The literature prize went to the US Government General Accountability Office for "a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports."

There are 8 more Ig Nobel prizes, so click the link.

"Best hipster neighborhoods" identified...

... using somewhat square criteria (I mean, most of this stuff is also nice for middle-aged professional women):
We assessed each area’s walkability according to; the number of neighborhood coffee shops per capita...; the assortment of local food trucks (and their ranking according to Zagat’s); the number and frequency of farmers markets; the selection of locally owned bars and restaurants; and the percentage of residents who work in artistic occupations. We also factored in Nextdoor’s Neighborhood “Hipness” Index, which is based on how often words associated with hipness (for example art, gallery, designer, musician) appeared on each Nextdoor neighborhood’s site pages, and Nextdoor conducted a survey in which members sounded off on their communities.
The big winner is Silver Lake in L.A. I was there, taking pictures, in 2008:

Intelligentsia in Silver Lake

Anyway and obviously, the neighborhoods that get identified this way are targeted to be taken over by the middle-aged professional types who like arty ambiance and coffee and booze too. I mean, this list is in Forbes.

September 20, 2012

Sorry I kept missing that blood/stripes Drudgtaposition.

"It was too subtle for me even with multiple emails pointing me to it." (Old post updated with screen grab.)

"I don’t know what happened after that, all I could feel was the kicks of this woman who was insulting me and attacking me."

Said the Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti, describing a woman whom he considered "badly covered" and had warned, twice, to cover herself. To the first warning, she issued the snappy comeback "you, cover your eyes." To the second, she responded by beating him up.

Too much violence, but I do like that line "you, cover your eyes."

Could things possibly get any more 47-y?

After a barrage of media attention to Romney's infamous 47% remark, Romney and Obama are tied at 47% each, according to Gallup.

ADDED: I propose a new chant: We are the 6%.

"I'm drawing my own conclusions... My job is to notice echoes and notice resonances.... Scientists are not supposed to do the same thing that cultural critics do."

Quotes from Naomi Wolf — author of that tome about the vagina — introduced by NYT writer Lauren Sandler with the hilarious sentence: "Looking at her bookshelves stacked with works by Abbie Hoffman, Jane Fonda and John Stuart Mill, she defended her research."

I knew the vagina monologued, but I wasn't really thinking about it resonating and echoing.

Another Wolfism:
“This is a time in which everybody is on the verge of a global awakening from a certain kind of torpor,” she said, eyes sparkling. “That’s why there’s this doubling down on the power struggle over the vagina. But this is a moment for women. We are going to have to reclaim the vagina as central to everything.”
Eyes sparkling... you just know Sandler wants you picturing that Norma-Desmond-slithering-down-the-staircase look of madness. Ready for my closeup. Closeup on my vagina!

It's central to everything!

At the Warm Spot Café...


... there's a place for us.


"The Obama administration is weighing the release of blind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman — the spiritual adviser to the 1993 World Trade Center bombers...

"... in a stunning goodwill gesture toward Egypt that has touched off a political firestorm, officials said yesterday."

Considering in the sense of giving the appearance of receiving the request with politeness, right? Nothing more. It's impossible. Certainly, not before the election. After the election...

... Obama will have more flexibility.

"While Republicans attacked a ruling that overturned parts of the state law limiting collective bargaining, pro-labor Dane County government leaders scrambled to use the court action to extend the lives of its employee unions."

"County administrators were negotiating with workers Wednesday night on contracts that could keep its unions alive through 2015."
"We have a window here, and we're going to take advantage of it," said County Board Chairman Scott McDonell.... As long as the ruling is in force, McDonell said, local governments can negotiate new binding contracts with employee unions. Before Act 10 took effect, the county and the unions signed a three-year pact that ends in 2013 and a one-year deal for 2014.
So they're locking us in for 2015 and beyond?

The meeting is at 7 p.m. tonight in room 201 of the City-County Building here in Madison.

Halos for everybody.

At Drudge, right now, in the right-hand column, we've got both candidates, Romney and Obama,  emitting light rays from their noggins:

And in case you need a bigger nudge, there's good old Jesus, in his best internet-meme incarnation, that icon the old Spanish lady mis-restored. Botched-Icon Jesus is back on the front page today, because the old lady, wants to royalties now that fans are flooding into Zaragoza to see her painting.
An internet petition to keep the repair job garnered widespread support and seizing an opportunity to swell its coffers, the church began levying a 4 euro (£3) entrance fee on visitors, earning 2,000 euros in the first four days.
Lawyers acting for [Cecilia] Gimenez now insist she should be entitled to a cut of the profits, which she wants to go towards a charity of her choice....
Family of the original artist have called for the image of Christ with a crown of thorns to be restored to its former glory and have said they will seek legal action against Mrs Gimenez for "destroying" the work.
The Sancti Spiritus Hospital Foundation, which owns the Sanctuario de Misericordia, has also retained lawyers to defend the action and retain their right to proceeds from visitors to the church...
Art and law and religion... and greed. Always a fine mix!

ADDED: Note the line under the Obama pic: "Campaign Pitches Last Supper..." 

ALSO: The candidate's hands are funny, with Romney making an "O" and Obama pointing as if he could poke his finger into the hole. Freudian observations are obvious.

"Amazed nobody at Obama HQ noticed this, especially with all the hand-stuff."

Yes, but... pointing it out...

Too far?

ADDED: I got a few emails this morning pushing me to do a Drudgtaposition post based on the bloody handmark photograph and the Obama flag graphic. But Drudge didn't put up the handprint photograph next to the flag graphic. Not that I saw. He put up that flag graphic with the text "OBAMA SELLS 'OUR STRIPES' FLAG...", linking to the campaign's merchandise page.

ALSO: It seems to be widely believed that the red stripes on the American flag are red to represent blood (the "blood of patriots"). 

UPDATE: I'm sorry. It was too subtle for me even with multiple emails pointing me to it. Drudge did have the handprint next to the flag. Here's the screen grab:

"They should allow us to demolish the American embassy because they have blasphemed against our holy Prophet."

"They" = the police in Islamabad, Pakistan. The line is spoken by a student protester, who also says:
"Our policemen are not any better than the Americans because they are trying to stop us. They are in the same league as them, they are heretics like them...
"The police are also becoming an accomplice of blasphemers.... "
According to an al Jazeera article linked by Drudge (who uses the headline "US Embassy in Pakistan Under Seige"). More from al Jazeera:
In Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir, over two hundred protesters set fire to an effigy of Barack Obama, the US president.

"We will make known it by burning the effigy of Obama and his allies that a blasphemer deserves to be burnt to death," said Maulana Mehmood ul Hassan Ashraf, secretary general of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam.

"In Romania, on moonlit nights, the peasant women used to look down into a well until they saw the reflection of the moon."

"Then they let down a pail, slowly drew up water with the moon in it and, with a spoon, drank its reflection. Looking down into the well at that moment, they could see the face of their future bridegroom."

(A quote at the end of an essay by Saul Steinberg, found in a fruitless search for a drawing I remember or misremember with "we" and "they" —or is it "Who are they?" — drawn to signify the emotion contained in those words — a search undertaken after writing "So we they are not chomping cheeseburgers simply for sensual pleasure....")

"A few days after reviews began appearing, [Naomi] Wolf set sliced bananas and strawberries upon a coffee table (cut fruit had never before looked so vulval)..."

"... and took a seat on the deep, plush couch in the yellow-painted living room of her sunny West Village apartment. She was wearing a flowing black wrap over a loose knit tank, tan strappy heels and a tight smile."

Catty observations on the food, the decorating, and the fashion of the famous feminist who opened her home — if not her vagina — to the NYT reporter.

Flowing black wrap and a loose knit tank... you know what that means! Naomi is striving to put her vagina in the newspaper, and mean old Lauren Sandler is calling her fat in so many words.

The history of calories and scientific eating.

Martin Bruegel takes us back to the late 1800s:
In 1888, the American chemist Wilbur O. Atwater devised a series of formulas that would help people get the most energy from the least food. Economics and physiology would be joined in what he called “the pecuniary economy of food.” Atwater pioneered a movement that came to be known as “scientific eating.”

Tommy needs to get some negative ads out there.

Thompson was up 9 points in the polls a month ago, and now he's down 9 points. It's useless to fret about whether the Marquette poll is accurate: How inaccurate can it be? How did it happen? Tammy Baldwin ran negative ads against the once presumptively popular Tommy Thompson, and they obviously worked. Here's the one I've seen on TV most often:

That's an AFSCME Independent Expenditure ad, not Baldwin's own campaign. Here's AFSCME's YouTube page, where you can see the kind of specific, effective material they are putting out in many local campaigns. For example, here's one in the Ohio-16 district, using a very similar attack — a politician went to Washington and got allied with "special interests" — and similar — and better — use of animated graphics to present a simple, clear message.

Tommy must have been thinking that he could cruise to victory, but the old man is getting kicked around.

ADDED: Tommy's campaign tried to go negative, via email to various conservative contacts, just before she did her big DNC speech, but Tommy got burned. Tammy supporters were able to portray this material as lesbian-bashing, and, in fact, that meanness — more than the ads — may be at the root of Tommy's troubles.

September 19, 2012

"We certainly haven’t forgotten about Mr. Sandusky’s victims."

Of course, you haven't. Whether you care or not — and past behavior suggests you do not — they all represent lawsuits.

"We want to make sure that we do the right thing in terms of providing a just outcome for them." Aren't you wonderful?! I'm assuming "just" is code for not ruinously destructive to the ongoing enterprise that is Penn State.

The movement of his eyes back and forth sounded like sandpaper on wood.

He heard his heart pounding, all the sounds of his own body. It tormented him for 10 years, but it was caused by something specific, and there was a surgical treatment.

"Way to make a baby boy cry on live television."


Like last month, it's 50% to 41% in the Marquette poll for the Wisconsin Senate race.

But the candidates names are reversed, and now Tammy Baldwin is leading Tommy Thompson.

What happened? I thought Tammy had no hope. Now, it seems Tommy has no hope. What's happening?!

How can an 18-point shift occur in one month?

Marquette also has Obama way up over Romney: 54%/40%.

(These are likely voter numbers.)

"Feathered Dinosaurs Drive Creationists Crazy."

Says Slate, indicating that it's fun to taunt religionists.

"France to close embassies in fear of cartoon backlash."

In 20 Muslim countries. The cartoons, published today in a satirical French publication called Charlie Hebdo, "show the Prophet Mohammed naked and refer to the incendiary US-made film which has been fueling deadly unrest among Muslim communities for over a week."

ADDED: This post and the earlier post today about David Letterman saying "You haven't seen me naked" to Barack Obama make me want to quote this verse from an old Bob Dylan song:
While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked
Hundred dollar plates? Man, that really is an old song. After the Letterman interview, Obama attended a $40,000-per-plate dinner!

"The pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action, is quick out of the starting gate this morning with a new television ad..."

"... featuring footage of Mitt Romney’s candid comments from a private fundraiser that has rocked the political world this week."

And here are the Romney campaign's new ads about the "War on Coal":

The gap in the Romney "secret" video: Corn says "the recording device inadvertently turned off"...

... according to his unnamed source who, he says "noticed this quickly and turned it back one [sic]. The source estimates that one to two minutes, maybe less, of recording was missed."

Really only 2 minutes? You sure it wasn't 18 minutes? Could the name of the source be Rosemary?

Pacifier use retards emotional development in boys.

According to a UW-Madison study by psychprof Paula Niedenthal, who tested the boys and theorizes that the problem is that when you've got a pacifier in your mouth, you can't mimic the facial expressions you see, and it's this mimicry that causes the brain to become capable of feeling the emotion the other person is expressing.

That sounds plausible, but why is it a boy problem?

Putin says: "That Mr. Romney considers us enemy number one and apparently has bad feelings about Russia is a minus..."

"... but, considering that he expresses himself bluntly, openly and clearly, means that he is an open and sincere man, which is a plus."
"We will be oriented toward pluses, not minuses... And I am actually very grateful to him for formulating his position in a straightforward manner."
Says a man who is not himself speaking in a straightforward manner, but who presumably perceives an advantage in portraying his opponent as straightforward.

Romney an open and sincere man?

"The Justice Department has been caught colluding..."

"... with left-wing media 'watchdog' Media Matters to suppress critics who’ve embarrassed the Obama administration."

Letterman says to Obama "You haven’t seen me naked," and Obama responds "We’re going to keep it that way."

They also talked about how "great" Obama looks, how "good" he feels, how much he weighs, and how "sharp" he looks. The 2 guys had to talk a lot to fill up the entire show. They talked about the 47% thing of Mitt's...
“If you want to be President, you have to work for everyone,” Obama said. “This is a big country. And people disagree a lot. But one thing I’ve never tried to do and I think none of us can do in public office is suggest that because someone doesn’t agree with me that they’re victims or they’re unpatriotic.”
Did Mitt say anybody's unpatriotic? No. Here's the full transcript of the "secret" Romney speech to donors. The word "unpatriotic" (or "patriotism" or "-patriot-" anything doesn't appear.) Did Romney call people "victims" because they "don't agree" with him? No. The word "victim" appears like this:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. 
He doesn't call them victims. He calls them "dependent" and says they "believe that they are victims." Obviously, Romney thinks they are wrong about that. And Romney's not calling them dependent because they don't agree with him. He's saying because they are dependent, they take the political position that says they are entitled to what they've become dependent on, and therefore they'll vote for Obama. I'm not saying Romney's right about all those things. Surely, some people accept government benefits that they qualify for — like unemployment compensation — but would prefer a government that doesn't provide such lavish benefits and might give conservatism a chance if they heard it explained well. I'm just saying Obama distorted what Romney said in the "secret" video. 

But as long as I'm being technical about rhetoric: Obama's distortion appeared in a statement about what he himself has "never tried to do" and that no one in public office should do. He doesn't say and this is what Romney did. So he has deniability. That was elegantly done, because you don't realize that he didn't directly say what it feels like he said. And yet he got the distorted accusation into your head. He made you feel that Romney said something he didn't say: Romney cruelly and falsely called the people who don't agree with him unpatriotic and victims.

After the Letterman taping:
Obama attended a cash grab at the Waldorf-Astoria, where about 200 deep-pocketed Dems paid at least $12,500 per family. Last stop was Jay-Z’s Chelsea hotspot, the 40/40 club, for a $40,000-per-plate affair that was expected to net $4 mil.
The President took the stage with “Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who wore a red dress....
He compared his upbringing to that of Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s.

“We remember what it was like not having anything,” he said. “We know people just as talented as us who didn’t get that same break.”
If you're successful, you got a "break." Plenty of people are "just as talented" — do they work hard? — but unlike Jay-Z and Beyoncé and Obama, they just didn't get lucky. That sounds a lot more like calling them victims than what Romney said.

If anybody's really listening.

September 18, 2012

At the Vitamin D Café...


... retain the peak of sunny summer health!

Christopher Hitchens on shouting fire in a crowded theater.

I arrived at this video, via Wikipedia, after writing this post (and participating in the comments):

Text here.

(What if everyone had 5 "keep alive" cards, that could be played over the course of a lifetime to save human beings — only those you don't personally know? Millions would have played a card to keep Hitchens with us. I would have.)

"The president’s view is one of a larger government... where government plays a larger and larger role, redistributes money..."

"I think... that’s the wrong course for America," said Mitt Romney today, trying to regain the offensive position as Democrats made what they could out of his "47%" remark. "We believe in free people and free enterprise, not redistribution."

Helping Romney in this effort to seize the narrative is Matt Drudge, headlining something Obama said in 1998 with the teaser "I actually believe in redistribution." But that video Drudge linked to only has 313 views! Wow. I'm surprised the click-through from Drudge is so extremely minimal.

And here's James Taranto, doing his part for Romney.

ADDED: I don't know why we're assuming that something Romney said to donors back in May was genuine. He might have been dishing out stock conservatism to extract money from rich folk. By the same token, Obama has said things to small groups to stroke them. There's an awful lot of crap that can be strewn in our path in this run-up to the election. But what can you do? Turn off the noise? Use everything useful, any which way you can? Run away screaming?

"The Chicago teachers' strike has ended after the union voted to return to work on Wednesday..."

"... according to delegates at a union meeting," according to CNN "breaking news" email just now.

The secret video reveals Romney as "the sneering plutocrat..."

"... fully in thrall to a series of pernicious myths that are at the heart of the mania that has seized his party," says Jonathan Chait.
[Romney] believes that market incomes in the United States are a perfect reflection of merit. Far from seeing his own privileged upbringing as the private-school educated son of an auto executive-turned-governor as an obvious refutation of that belief, Romney cites his own life, preposterously, as a confirmation of it. (“I have inherited nothing. Everything I earned I earned the old fashioned way.”)...

The revelations in this video come to me as a genuine shock. I have never hated Romney. I presumed his ideological makeover since he set out to run for president was largely phony, even if he was now committed to carry through with it, and to whatever extent he’d come to believe his own lines, he was oblivious or naïve about the damage he would inflict upon the poor, sick, and vulnerable.  It seems unavoidable now to conclude that Romney’s embrace of Paul Ryanism is born of actual contempt for the looters and moochers, a class war on behalf of his own class.
There are plenty of conservatives who will celebrate all of that. Not the "sneering plutocrat" part, but the Paul Ryanism.

Chait is demonstrating how Democrats can stir up antagonism to Romney, but much of that antagonism will be felt by people who were never going to vote for Romney... like Chait himself. I have never hated Romney, he says. Yeah, you didn't hate him because he seemed so bland and ineffectual, and you didn't think he'd win. But Paul Ryan and his crisp conservatism — that, you hate. I'd say Romney ought to avoid sucking up to Chait. That's the McCain mistake: You get liberals to like you, but they don't vote for you, and the conservatives lose interest.

Chait gives it all away when he brings up Ryan and portrays him as contemptuous. "Sneering plutocrat" is a great phrase, and I expect Democrats to take advantage and plunge forward with that meme. But Ryan is no sneering plutocrat. He brings youthful vitality and intelligence to the conservative cause. If Romney seemed like Ryan in the secret video, that's a useful revelation.

IN THE COMMENTS: Crimso said:
Did Chait actually suggest it is wrong to have contempt for looters and moochers? 
And edutcher said:
When you've lost Jonathan Chait...

you've really started to scare the Lefties. 

"This could be the opportunity for Romney and for that campaign to finally take the gloves off and take the fear off and just start explaining conservatism."

Said Rush Limbaugh on his show today.
Start explaining liberty to people and what it means, and explain that they don't have to be in that 47%.  There's no reason for them, for everybody, to essentially have given up on their future in this country.  There's no reason for it.  This is, to me, such an opportunity to espouse conservatism and to explain to people. Now that people are focused on this, now that people are paying attention to it, this is a golden opportunity, and we know Romney's got it in him because of what he said to these people.
Whether Rush has that exactly right or not, Romney is being tested, and we will see if he can rise to the occasion. The media are showing what they can do, putting Romney on the defensive, using what they have to make us look at something negative about him even and especially when some truly newsworthy problem is plaguing Obama. I want to see what Romney can do, getting on top of this media beating (which is not going to end).

L.A. Times Op-ed: "'Innocence of Muslims' doesn't meet free-speech test."

"U.S. 1st Amendment rights distinguish between speech that is simply offensive and speech deliberately tailored to put lives and property at immediate risk," according to Sarah Chayes, former special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and resident associate at the Carnegie Endowment.

She gets the famous 1st Amendment expert Anthony Lewis to agree with her shocking, blandly stated view. We're told he said: "Based on my understanding of the events... I think this meets the imminence standard." Chayes paraphrases Lewis as saying "words don't have to urge people to commit violence in order to be subject to limits," and then directly quotes him: "If the result is violence, and that violence was intended, then it meets the standard."

I call on Lewis to repudiate Chayes's use of his words. He can't possibly agree with her opinion, can he? There's a way an interviewer can lead a person along until he gives her the quotes that she wants. I note that Lewis is elderly (85). This appropriation of his reputation is embarrassing for him. But if he actually agrees and wants to put that out there: Make it clear. (And present. And dangerous.)

Mother Jones headline: "On Israel, Romney Trashes Two-State Solution."

David Corn has more material from the secret video:
During the freewheeling conversation, a donor asked Romney how the "Palestinian problem" can be solved. Romney immediately launched into a detailed reply, asserting that the Palestinians have "no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish."
Romney spoke of "the Palestinians" as a united bloc of one mindset, and he said: "I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way."
The full context is also there (along with video) if you scroll down.

What do you think of the way Romney speaks in this video? Obviously, the damaging material will be picked out and exploited by his opponents. That's the way the game is played. But some people might prefer "secret" Romney to the Romney we're used to seeing. He's more direct and clear, less stammering and reticent. And he's long had a problem with seeming inauthentic. Maybe it's time to roll out The Secret Romney.

"Lewinsky was 22 — and Chelsea Clinton 15 — when, with the flash of a thong, La Monica turned the commander-in-chief..."

"... into what she called her 'sexual soulmate' in a 'mutual relationship' that lasted approximately two years."
In a weird way, I hope she delivers an honest, introspective account of how she managed to clear away the emotional rubble, if indeed she has, and if indeed our celebrity-train-wreck culture will let her 14 years after her world imploded.
Yeah, Lewinsky has a book to sell, even though she "gave hours of interviews to Andrew Morton, Princess Di’s British biographer, for his 1999 book, 'Monica’s Story,' the same year she spilled her guts along with some tears in a long, unpaid ABC News sit-down with Barbara Walters." She has a book to sell because she's lived through a long expanse of years since the 1999 glossy media blitz that she might have imagined would get her life going on a rewarding new track.

What's it been like being Monica Lewinsky all these years? That's the new story. Monica, The Middle Years. Of course, she wants money, but she wanted money in 1999 when she gave away those interviews. She must have thought it would work out well. Now, she can tell us how she thought that and how it didn't go so well.

And of course, she can retell the old story, with new more honest/more lurid details, and with revelations about all the times she fudged the truth with Morton and Walters, to serve what she believed were her interests at the time.

She's also earned a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics. That along with the maturity of her advanced age (39) might bring some actual insight to the story of Monica and Bill — which is never going to go away.

IN THE COMMENTS: Rabel notes that the word "unpaid" — seen in the quote I extracted above — no longer appears at the linked article and provides, via Wikipedia, the information that "Lewinsky made about $500,000 from her participation in the book and another $1 million from international rights to the Walters interview."

Clarence Thomas rejects the idea of a judge having a methodology of constitutional interpretation.

Or so it seems. He said:
“You’re supposed to say there’s some angle, some methodology you’re pushing... There’s originalism. There’s textualism. All these useless peripheral debates other than just doing our jobs as best we can.”
Just doing my job as best as I can. That's the modest-selfless-judge methodology... the methodology that dares not call itself a methodology... the methodology embraced by every Supreme Court nominee when he/she comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee ... at least ever since that one guy got borked.

Thomas was interviewed by lawprof Akhil Reed Amar — who has a new book out, "America's Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By." I bought that and I recommend it. I got the Kindle version, which allows me to tell you that it contains only 2 mentions of Justice Thomas by name. There's an endnote at 551 about the "contrasting visions" of Brown v. Board of Education "on pervasive display" in the 2007 school integration case Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, referring to Thomas's "politically conservative reading." And there's a reference, on the same page, to Thomas's questioning whether the Establishment Clause ought to have been seen as applicable to the states through the 14th Amendment (even though he found the 2d Amendment incorporated in the 14th Amendment).

Salman Rushdie "tried to compromise with a group of Islamic leaders in London by negotiating a statement that... actually reads like something that an inquisition would make you sign.'"

It said "among other things, that he believed there was no god but Allah and that he would not issue a paperback version of The Satanic Verses."
"I think it actually reads like something that an inquisition would make you sign," he says. "And that's more or less what it was. And I immediately — the moment I left that room in which I'd had that meeting — I began to feel physically ill because I understood that I'd in some way betrayed myself. I felt obliged to repudiate that statement and try and regain myself, for myself. It made me understand that this idea of trying to ingratiate oneself with the enemy was not only absurd, but improper. And in a way, now, looking back at it, I can see that it was beneficial to me because it clarified certain things in my head which were confused up to then."
It's just by chance that Salman Rushdie's story is in the news again at the same time as the overblown "rage" over the "Innocence of Muslims" video. Rushdie has a new memoir, "Joseph Anton" — released today.  (Joseph Anton is the pseudonym he chose as he went into hiding. It's a bland combination of the names of the writers Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekov — non-bland would be Conrad Chekov — intended to hide his Indian ethnicity.)

When does "middle age" begin?

BBC reports: "Middle age starts much later than previously thought - at the age of 55, research suggests."

But the "research" is just a survey of what people think. If "middle age" begins at 55, the term is pure fluff, like saying some geezer is "95 years young!"
Although seven out of 10 early 50-somethings quizzed for the survey defined themselves as middle-aged, the average age at which the period of life was perceived to start was 54 years and 347 days old.

However, a sizeable minority, nearly one in five, thought middle age did not begin until after the age of 60.
One of the stupidest arguments I've gotten into in my entire life was with a 60ish female family member who insisted that "middle age" began at 60 (or something like that). I was in my 20s at the time and tried to be reasonable and accurate about what "middle" means in relation to the average human life span. And when I say the argument was stupid, I mean that I was stupid not to see the nature of the argument and bow out quickly.

We are the 99%/You are the 47%.

Yesterday was: 1. The 1-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, where the chant was "We are the 99%," and 2. The day we got the video of Mitt Romney talking to his affluent donors and saying "There are 47% who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax."

The percentages are different, but the us/them attitude is similar. It's a way of speaking politically: There are X% of us and Y% of them, and the recognizing the comparative size of the 2 groups tells us what our politics should be.

The people within group X and group Y aren't all alike, but the speaker is choosing to portray them as alike, because it's a step in an argument about what supposedly needs to be done. The claim of representing 99% is especially ludicrous, but the effort is to focus anger on the evil 1%, who elicit no sympathy at all. But it doesn't make sense for other people near the top not to worry that the greedy mob — the takers — are coming after them... which is why the 99% can't possibly be the 99%, because the top end of the 99% can see that it too is under attack, and they won't want the bottom end of the 99% speaking for them.

That's the flaw in the 99% chant: There's no credible threat that all 99% will vote together. Some of those Occupy protesters dreamed of revolution, but we've still got a democracy, and the only serious question is how many of the 99% will vote for the Democratic Party's candidates. The Democratic Party used a modified version of what the protesters were saying. That's what Elizabeth Warren articulated in her famous "underlying social contract... take a hunk of that and pay forward" rant. Obama was trying to make the same move when he inelegantly said "You didn't build that" — the 4 words the Republicans built their whole convention around.

Romney supporters can hardly complain when Obama supporters seize upon his 47% quote and use it any which way they can.

It's the most knuckle-bustin', gut-wrenchin', brain-scramblin', butt-bruisin', lip-splittin' brawl of all time.

September 17, 2012

At the Dog-Tired Café...


... get some rest.

The secret video of Romney talking to donors.

Presented at Mother Jones as if it's quite disturbing, but I don't see anything bad in there at all.
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
And then he says he can't "worry about those people" as he tries to win votes, because they will never be convinced. He's not saying he doesn't care about them as citizens and human beings, just that he won't devote any attention to trying to cull some of their votes.

Compare the statements Obama made to donors in 2008, which were leaked out — the famous "bitter clingers" remarks.
You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Obama made a problematic judgment call in trying to explain working class culture to a much wealthier audience. He described blue collar Pennsylvanians with a series of what in the eyes of Californians might be considered pure negatives: guns, clinging to religion, antipathy, xenophobia.

"Peace/Tax the Profiteers!/Free Press/Free Speech."


A poster for Victor L. Berger, on display at the Wisconsin Historical Museum. Berger ran on the Socialist ticket.
Berger was a founder of the Socialist Party of America in 1901....

The Egyptian with the "Shut Up America" sign is more like us than you may realize.

"Professor, I hope that you will make your addendum a second post," said the commenter Lyssa. "These rights that are so fundamental are not so protected as we would like to think."

All right. That's what follows. And here's what it was an addendum to — a post about a man in Cairo holding a "Shut Up America" sign and saying "We never insult any prophet — not Moses, not Jesus — so why can’t we demand that Muhammad be respected?" People in the comments at my post assume that protecting blasphemous speech was obviously the American tradition, and the man's request was outrageous. But:

We're not that far from criminalizing blasphemy in the United States, though it seems obvious to educated Americans today that these laws are unconstitutional. Here's a quick summary of the history of blasphemy law in the U.S.

And here's the 1952 case Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson where the Supreme Court struck down a New York law that banned showing "sacrilegious" movies. New York's highest court had interpreted the statute to mean "that no religion, as that word is understood by the ordinary, reasonable person, shall be treated with contempt, mockery, scorn and ridicule." The U.S. Supreme Court said:
[T]he state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them which is sufficient to justify prior restraints upon the expression of those views. It is not the business of government in our nation to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine, whether they appear in publications, speeches, or motion pictures.
My point is: it took a Supreme Court case as recently as 1952, to establish that principle in our country, with its rich free-speech tradition. Lawyers even saw fit at that time to argue that movies shouldn't get free-speech protection at all because "their production, distribution, and exhibition is a large-scale business conducted for private profit."

Oh, wait, the President of the United States today argues that corporations don't have free-speech rights, and many Americans, including highly educated lawyers, are saying the Constitution should be amended to delete those rights.

Let's not be so quick to assume the man with the "Shut Up America" sign is thoroughly alien. The threats to free speech lie within. They always have.

"Happy Constitution Day."

Says Instapundit... with this:

(I wasn't sure which of my already-existing tags would work for this post, but then I remembered oath-botching. The original error occurred at "faithfully.")

"If we just wanted the [new i]phone we could have ordered it online."

"It's more about camping out. It's a cool experience. Meeting new people. That's the best part."

"Remember this infamous photo of the Elian Gonzalez raid in April 2000? It may well have cost Al Gore the election because of its effect on Cuban voters in Florida."

And: "this equally infamous photo ought to cost Obama this election...."

"We never insult any prophet — not Moses, not Jesus — so why can’t we demand that Muhammad be respected?"

Asked a man holding a "Shut Up America" sign outside the American embassy in Cairo.
"Obama is the president, so he should have to apologize!"...
“We don’t think that depictions of the prophets are freedom of expression. We think it is an offense against our rights,” [said Ismail Mohamed, a religious scholar.] “The West has to understand the ideology of the people.”

Even during the protests, some stone throwers stressed that the clash was not Muslim against Christian. Instead, they suggested that the traditionalism of people of both faiths in the region conflicted with Western individualism and secularism....
Some commentators said they regretted that the violence here and around the region had overshadowed the underlying argument against the offensive video.

"Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Manhattan's financial district early Monday to mark the 1-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement..."

"... choking traffic and crowding the area around the New York Stock Exchange but being met at most turns by walls of police who stopped them from occupying anything."

It's not so cute this time around, but it was at first, last time, to some people. Remember?

"Why I Love Mormonism."

An essay — in the philosophy column at the NYT by — Simon Critchley a philosophy professor at tthe New School for Social Research in New York.
But every now and then during one of those New York soirées, when anti-Mormon prejudice is persistently pressed and expressed, and I perhaps feel momentarily and un-Mormonly emboldened by wine, I begin to try and share my slim understanding of Joseph Smith and my fascination with the Latter-day Saints. After about 45 seconds, sometimes less, it becomes apparent that the prejudice is based on sheer ignorance of the peculiar splendors of Mormon theology. “They are all Republicans anyway,” they add in conclusion, “I mean, just look at that Mitbot Romney. He’s an alien.” As an alien myself, I find this thoughtless anti-Mormon sentiment a little bewildering.
I'm pretty sure Critchley has no intention of helping Mitt Romney. Read through the interesting twists and turns and you'll arrive at the line: "Of course, for Christians, this is the highest blasphemy." That's just peachy for Critchley, but maybe you Republicans — you Christianists — ought to flip out.

Romney 47%, Obama 45%.

The Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll for Monday. The swing state poll — looking at "11 key states won by President Obama in 2008 and thought to be competitive in 2012" — has identical numbers today.

"My mother was an isolated and intellectual person."

"She was so driven by writing, it was quite limiting. She lived on her own, so everything she wrote came from within herself. In the last year, as she was contemplating death, she even saw that as writing material."

Said Orlando Figes, quoted in the obituary for Eva Figes, "a refugee from Nazi Germany who became an acclaimed novelist, memoirist and critic best known for an influential feminist treatise, 'Patriarchal Attitudes.'"

"72% Put Freedom of Speech Ahead of Not Offending Other Cultures."

A Rasmussen poll of likely voters.
Only 15% consider it more important for the United States to make sure that nothing is done to offend other nations and cultures. 
Nothing. Make sure. That's such a strong statement of the value opposing free speech that it's not surprising that so few Americans would take that side.

The question asked was: "Is it more important for the United States to guarantee freedom of speech or to make sure that nothing is done to offend other nations and cultures?" I think the question should be: What is more important: freedom of speech or avoiding offending other nations and cultures?  Or: Should the United States government protect freedom of speech even when that speech offends people in other nations and cultures?

I was trying to remove the idea that the U.S.  could "make sure that nothing is done" — which seems so impossible that it's ridiculous to make that that superior value. But having composed alternative questions, I'm thinking the poll would still find overwhelmingly strong support for free speech.

This dog whistle whistles both ways.

"New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd set the Jewish political community on fire [Sunday] with a column about the Republican ticket's foreign policy proposals that, according to her critics, peddled anti-Semitic imagery," reports Politico.

You know all the racist things Republicans are always saying, as seen by Democrats? It's like that.
"Maureen may not know this, but she is peddling an old stereotype, that gentile leaders are dolts unable to resist the machinations and manipulations of clever and snake-like Jews," Jeffrey Goldberg, the Atlantic columnist and leading journalist on Israeli issues, wrote.
Snake-like... because the title of the article is "Neocons Slither Back." Dowd may not write the headline, and though she does use the word "slither" in her text, she's quoting Paul Wolfowitz, and he was saying that Obama shouldn't be allowed to "slither through" without having to take — Dowd's words here — "a clear position on liberals."

Dowd proceeds to say "Republicans are bananas on this one." Of course, if a Republican said Obama was bananas, that Republican would probably be accused of racism, because bananas remind us of monkeys, and the monkey is an animal that is associated with some racist iconography, and it's assumed that anything you say about the President is said while thinking about his race — which makes it conveniently/absurdly dangerous to criticize the President.

September 16, 2012

At the Exit Café...


... you don't have to leave.

Why do so many more Americans think Obama will win than want him to win?

It's the media coverage, isn't it?
There’s also a less partisan explanation. That is that people tend to struggle to imagine someone other than the current occupant of the White House as the president until he, well, isn’t anymore — even if they don’t like him or don’t plan to vote for him.
Yes, we do have a way of picturing things continuing as they have been. And no one is really good enough to be President, but the incumbent is already President, so our resistance to picturing a person as President doesn't come into play.

"I will not stand by while the children of Chicago are played as pawns in an internal dispute within a union."

Said Rahm Emanuel, after the Chicago Teachers Union decided to extended its strike.
"This was a strike of choice and is now a delay of choice that is wrong for our children. Every day our kids are kept out of school is one more day we fail in our mission: to ensure that every child in every community has an education that matches their potential.”

"Letting women 'test drive' larger breasts before a boob job has led to them picking even bigger implants."

Woman who see what life is like with larger breasts (by wearing a big padded bra) end up choosing, on average, breasts 30% larger than what they originally thought they wanted. They tend to come in thinking a C-cup would be right, but end up seeing the D-cup as preferable.

The article makes it seem as though the decision to size up has to do with realizing extra-large breasts won't "interfere with daily life." But I'm wondering whether these women are discovering some social advantages that they are finding persuasive.

In any case, let women choose for themselves what they want. I don't like the idea of cosmetic surgery of any kind, but if you're going to get it, you should decide for yourself how big to go. I'd like to know more about what happens with these breasts over the years. If you're going to choose, you deserve information. There should be photos of how enhanced breasts look after 20 or 30 (or more years) compared to what happens to smallish breasts over the years.

Ah, but young women don't think about that do they? They'll say I don't want to think about how I'll look when I'm 50 or 60. Right?

Bingo and Joey win first place!

At The Dog Jog today, here on campus. Neither Meade nor I was the human being on the other end of the leashes, and Bingo and Joey are not actually our dogs. We just borrow them. But we thought you'd like to see them with their blue ribbons. Congratulations!

"Here is a lesson in creative writing."

That's the heading for a short bit of text by Kurt Vonnegut in "A Man Without a Country," which I just downloaded in Kindle because we were talking about punctuation in the comments to the "phony balance" post and I half-remembered something he said about semi-colons. The short bit under the heading goes like this:

The dance craze says Obama will win.

Last time we had a dance craze like Gangnam Style — check out Psy in Times Square — it was 1996:
In the United States, the song, and its corresponding Macarena dance, became popular during the same week as the 1996 Democratic National Convention. The song was frequently played between activities, and large groups of delegates and other attendants would be seen doing the Macarena dance. The song and dance became such a part of the convention that Vice President Al Gore, having a reputation for stiffness, made a joke about doing the Macarena dance during his speech. He asked, "Would you like to see my Macarena dance?" He remained motionless for a few seconds, then asked, "Would you like to see it again?"
I tried to find that Gore thing on YouTube, but I only found this:

When the Macarena was the craze, the President was reelected. He beat Bob Dole, whose tagline was "Where's the outrage?" And the answer was "Heeeeey Macarena AAAhAA!" The Democrats danced their way through the convention, and the old man asking for outrage was so out of step with the times.

"I think our approach right now is to not do anything until we’ve been requested to do it by the State Department."

Leon Panetta. He's the Secretary of Defense. Remember him?

Can the NYT stop providing phony "balance" and help readers know what to believe?

The NYT has a new "public editor," Margaret Sullivan. She introduced herself last week and explained her concept of the role: "Put readers first... Encourage conversation... Promote transparency and understanding."
The Times’s decision to open itself to criticism from the inside, criticism that is made public, is a clear indication of its desire to keep its standards high.
It's a clear indication of its desire to clearly indicate its desire to indicate that it desires to keep its standards high. We'll see what Sullivan actually does. This week, her column is about "the journalistic practice of giving equal weight to both sides of a story" — taking cover under the appearance of balance — instead of "more aggressive on fact-checking and truth-squading." Journalists, we're told, have been feeling "pressure" recently "to be more aggressive on fact-checking and truth-squading." Recently? Why recently?

"So, on a highly symbolic date, mobs storm American diplomatic facilities and drag the corpse of a U.S. ambassador through the streets."

"Then the president flies to Vegas for a fundraiser. No, no, a novelist would say; that's too pat, too neat in its symbolic contrast.... Too crude, too telling, too devastating."