October 20, 2012

At the October Café...

Untitled

... what are you doing indoors?

"I can’t fathom writers married to writers and musicians married to musicians."

"There’s your enemy in bed beside you."

"Let me give you a quote that he said just four years ago: ‘If you don’t have any fresh ideas, use stale tactics to scare people'..."

"... If you don’t have a record to run on, paint your opponent as someone people should run from. Make a big election about small things... That’s what Barack Obama said when he was running for president in 2008. That’s exactly what Barack Obama has become now that he is president in 2012, and we’re going to change it."

Said Paul Ryan, last night, in Daytona Beach, Florida. I think that's a bit unfair. What about Big Bird? Big Bird isn't little. It goes without saying: Big Bird is big.

Hey, remember that great old Neil Young song about Big Bird?
Blue, blue windows behind the stars, yellow moon on the rise
Big Bird flying across the sky, throwing shadows on our eyes
Leave us helpless, helpless, helpless
The chains are locked and tied across the door... put y'all back in chains....

Rush Limbaugh reacts to President Obama's Honey Boo Boo joke.

At that Al Smith dinner Obama told this joke: "And we're getting to that time when folks are making up their minds.  Just the other day Honey Boo Boo endorsed me. So that's a big relief." Okay, that's slightly funny. But what I found hilarious was Rush Limbaugh, on his show yesterday, trying to understand it:
Okay.  There you have it.  There's one.  Didn't edit anything there.  Honey Boo Boo is a new cartoon or doll or stuffed toy --

(interruption)

Reality show, that's what it is, it's a reality show. But what is Honey Boo Boo?  Honey Boo Boo is a little bear?  It's a little girl, Honey Boo Boo is a little girl?  A human girl or an animal girl?

(interruption)

You gotta be kidding me.  Honey Boo Boo is a little girl with a trailer park-like mother?  What network is this show on?  I'll find out.  Okay, so that's your target audience, the endorsement of Honey Boo Boo.  I'll guarantee you the guys in white tie and tails at the Alfred E. Smith dinner probably didn't know who Honey Boo Boo is, either. 

"Who would willingly choose to live in something with the footprint of a parking space (8x10x16 feet)?"

"In cities where space is at a mind-boggling premium, McCormick’s idea of taking up residence in a parking space — in what he refers to as a 'Houselet' — isn’t all that far-fetched...."
“When you ask people to consider spaces smaller that what they’ve normalized to,” says McCormick, “I think it tends to trigger elemental associations of constriction and claustrophobia. I think you have to find ways around all those acculturated and visceral reactions, and observe that we’re usually O.K. with that for certain times and purposes.”
Tim McCormick isn't an architect or an interior designer. He's a communications consultant. Hmm. That means this isn't about design. It's about the manipulation of the human psyche. Get ready!

Quite aside from whether I'd be willing/able to live in a repurposed parking space — after our cars are taken away — I'm resistant to the brave new world that has such communications consultants in it. He's an expert at language and he's talking about the spaces we've "normalized to" and "elemental associations of constriction and claustrophobia."  "Elemental associations of constriction and claustrophobia"... AKA claustrophobia. Man, I was getting claustrophobic within the word-clutter of that sentence of his. Now, go away Mr. Communications Consultant. I'm going to stick with my own acculturated and visceral reactions feelings.

Michelle Obama does not know how to kiss up to people in Wisconsin.

Yesterday in Racine, she began with: "For the next 16 days, coming here to Racine is the closest thing I'm going to get to being at home in Chicago, so you know I'm happy."

People in Wisconsin tend to exhibit antagonism toward Illinois, and I don't think they enjoy hearing that what's nice about Wisconsin is that it's close to Chicago. There's a word for it: FIB.

By the way, what is Michelle wearing? It looks like something designed by Dmitry of "Project Runway."

IN THE COMMENTS: chickelit said:
She pronounced "Racine" as "RAY-seen." I grew up pronouncing it "RUH-seen"
I said:
Remember when John Kerry came to Wisconsin and mispronounced "brat."
From a Straight Dope forum on the topic of how to say "Racine":
Wisconsinite born and raised; I pronounce it "Ruh-seen." My Chicago-suburban born-and-raised husband, who spent a lot of time in Wisconsin, calls it "Ray-seen."
This guide to Wisconsin pronunciation has "Ruh-seen." on the audio but also: "Locals argue between RAY-seen and ruh-SEEN." Miscellaneous Racine information:
In 1887, malted milk was invented by William Horlick in Racine. The garbage disposal was invented in 1927 by architect John Hammes of Racine.
Also at the Straight Dope forum: "I thought this was the playwright Racine, so I voted the second..." The French influence! Well, Racine was, in fact, settled by the French:
On October 10, 1699, a fleet of eight canoes bearing a party of French explorers entered the mouth of Root River. These were the first Europeans known to visit what is now Racine County. Led by Jonathan Paradise, they founded a trading post in the area that eventually became a small settlement on Lake Michigan near where the Root River empties into Lake Michigan. "Racine" is French for "root."
Both of the argued-for pronunciations are wrong if you want to go with the French. The first syllable "a" should be more like the "a" in "cat" (and not "brat"!).

AND: Commenter Mr. D said:
She said "Ray-seen" because that's how Chicagoans pronounce the name of Racine Avenue in Chicago. They used to call the Chicago Cardinals football team the Ray-seen Cardinals because their field was on Racine Avenue.
Ah-ha!

"My daughter has repeatedly brought home books from the school library that I have a problem with. I'm a feminist and I'm anti-censorship. I'm lost."

So wrote a woman at Ask Metafilter:
Yesterday, for the THIRD time, LittleTaff brought home a fairy tale... this time Rapunzel. Objectified women with little or no agency, basing marriage decisions on the appearance or wealth of the men, and WITCHES!!!!

After the second version of the Little Mermaid came home, I had a phone interview with the head and told her that I wasn't happy about the way women were portrayed, that I could see some historical merit in the books, but thought they were more appropriate for older children... but also that the Disney version of the Little Mermaid had no literary nor historical merit and did the school need some fundraising for books. (I'm on the fundraising committee. )
We were just talking about the Disney "Little Mermaid" yesterday, specifically the song "Part of Your World" — remember the singing "dads" — and my son John emailed me a link to his Ask Metafilter answer to that worried woman:
Really, [the Disney "Little Mermaid"] has no merit? Listen again to the song "Part of your World." Do you not hear the feminist themes in that song — about "bright young women . . . ready to stand?" What could be more feminist than a young woman expressing her interest in scientific discovery — "what's a fire, and why does it burn?" (The lyrics are fresh in my mind since I sang it in karaoke the other day along with a female friend.) I'm sure there's a great feminist critique of the movie to be made. But do you really want to prevent your daughter from seeing anything that could potentially be the subject of such a critique?

You seem to assume that you've seen all the truth that exists to be seen in your world, and educating your daughter is just about transmitting these truths to her. On the contrary, it matters relatively little whether your child shares your views. What matters more is equipping your child to deal with the world in her own individual way.

So I say, let your daughter be exposed to all of this. I'll bet she can handle it. Focus on talking to her about it instead of trying to create the perfect parental filter (considering that the filter is never going to last anyway). You might even learn something from her in the process.
You can probably tell I didn't filter my children's reading/watching. And I can't remember my own parents ever saying one thing about my choices — even my choice to watch just about anything that was ever on television (when they themselves rarely watched television). (My parents spent nearly every evening sitting around talking to each other. Not reading and talking. Just talking!)

Speaking of controlling your children, I was just listening to one of my favorite old Lovin' Spoonful songs "Younger Generation" (video and lyrics at the link):
Why must every generation,
Think their folks are square?
And no matter where their heads are,
They know mom's ain't there....
Listening to it now, I'm not sure whether it's a sincere expression of a desire to let children range free — "I must be permissive... all my deepest worries must be his cartoons" — or making fun of hippie-style parents who don't know where to draw the line:
Hey, Pop, my girlfriend's only three,
She's got her own videophone,
And she's taking LSD,
And now that we're best friends,
She wants to give a bit to me,
But what's the matter, daddy,
How come you're turning green?
Can it be that you can't live up to your dreams?
Crazy dreams! (And yet, today the little girl does have her own videophone.)

The audience completely failed to cheer or applaud when Jon Stewart announced that Obama was the guest on "The Daily Show."

Here's the whole show. You'll have to put up with a commercial, and then what I'm talking about happens is the first thing after the intro music, 20 seconds in.

"Hey, everybody," Jon Stewart yells in his usual way, trying to get people stoked for the show. "Welcome to 'The Daily Show,' my name is Jon Stewart. We got a good one for you tonight. On our program, uh..." He looks comically at his notes as if maybe he forgot he has the President of the United States on his show. He continues, using a rising inflection obviously intended to evoke a strong response from the audience: "this evening, tonight, the President of the United States Barack Obama..." Nothing. Cheers were intended there. Stewart elongates the sentence with material that I think was either improvised or intended to be muttered overwhelmed by rapturous noise from the audience: "... will be joining us on the program tonight." And then a joke: "He's the star of the new film 'Here Comes the Boom.'" And that gets a laugh, a small laugh, which is interesting because of the way it points up the contrast to the utter absence of reaction to the news that the President was on the show.

This audience — presumably, the key demographic of young adults who went mad for the man last time — is not excited at all.

ADDED: It's "Here Comes the Boom," not "Here Comes the Boo," as I thought I heard, transcribing. I pictured something for Halloween, but it turns out: "A high school biology teacher looks to become a successful mixed-martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money to prevent extra-curricular activities from being axed at his cash-strapped school."

"Japan’s first masturbation bar for women opens in Shibuya."

That's the headline, but it's not what it sounds like. It's a place for women to talk about masturbation:
The wall behind the counter is adorned with dozens of colorful sex toys. Megumi Nakagawa, the bar’s proprietor, explains that typically a bar will have bottles of alcohol lining the wall. The appearance of vibrators, however, provides women with more confidence in speaking about spanking.

“Once they take a seat, customers are able to experience a pleasant place in which they can openly discuss masturbation,” says Nakagawa. “Since most people view female masturbation as something of a mystery or taboo, it is not a usual topic at typical bars.”
ADDED: Clicking around over at the Tokyo Reporter, I've finding other hard to fathom headlines, like "Erection of Tokyo Sky Tree leads to mobile prostitution service":
A 45-year-old who runs a tangerine (mikan) farm in Wakayama Prefecture encountered the operation towards the end of August, when he went to see the 634-meter-tall structure with three of his colleagues.
So... tangerines are involved...

October 19, 2012

At the Heirloom Café...

Untitled

... we're getting locavoracious.

"Stanley Hill, who supervises a food stand that has been located near the structure for 18 years, said he noticed smoke coming from Big Tex's neck area..."

"... and then watched for about 15 minutes as the giant cowboy burned."

Texas icon in flames. #ripbigtex on Twitpic

More images of the fire: #RIPbigtex.

"Andrew Filer has photographed every single named place in the state of North Dakota."

"From cities and towns to unincorporated places, ghost towns, and the wide, empty spaces between, he visited more than 875 locations across this sparsely populated state."

Nicely done. Very instructive on how to photograph places.

When Roe v. Wade came out, Justice Ginsburg believed the motivation behind it was fighting overpopulation.

Emily Bazelon gets clarification directly from the Justice about a remark she made in 2009 that seemed perhaps to favor abortion for population control. Justice Ginsburg reframed her point this way:
“I was surprised that the court went as far as it did in Roe v. Wade, and I did think that with the Medicaid reimbursement cases down the road that perhaps the court was thinking it did want more women to have access to reproductive choice. At the time, there was a concern about too many people inhabiting our planet. There was an organization called Zero Population Growth.... In the press, there were articles about the danger of crowding our planet. So there was at the time of Roe v. Wade considerable concern about overpopulation.”
That is, she intuited the Court's motivation, which she says she was wrong about as she observed in the old remark and repeats now — because the Supreme Court later, in 1980, upheld the political decision to exclude Medicaid funding for abortion, in Harris v. McRae. Ginsburg's 2009 quote was:
[Roe v. Wade] surprised me. Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion.
These remarks conflate the Supreme Court and Congress. It could have been that concern about overpopulation motivated the Court in Roe, as it pushed back the states' power to ban abortion and put abortion in a relatively positive light as something women had a right to do. That created the political space within which Congress might have opted to fund abortions for poor women. All that happened in Harris v. McRae was acceptance of the political reality that did ensue, the decision not to pay for abortions. The Supreme Court failed to predict the political fallout from Roe. The Court could still, at the time of Roe, have believed that it was enabling Congress to undertake population-control policy. When Harris v. McRae arose, the Court had new information and a new question to answer. It declined to extend Roe to mean that Congress was obligated to fund abortions as part of Medicaid.

Bazelon blithely concludes:
The history lesson is this: There was a feminist women’s rights argument for legal abortion in the 1970s, which the Supreme Court accepted in Roe v. Wade. And there was a separate and distinct argument about preventing population growth by being pro-abortion, made by groups like Zero Population Growth, which the court did not accept, not in Roe and not later.
The women's rights argument is presentable and defensible. Abortion for population control was and is too ugly — and too close to racism — for comfort. What is uncomfortable is suppressed. In that sense the denial is admirable. But Bazelon's instruction on the "history lesson" is too pat and too sanitized to be taken uncritically.

"Man Finds Car 2 Years After Forgetting Where He Parked."

Hmm.

Romney 48%, Obama 48%.

Rasmussen tracking poll. It's a 3-day average, and today's poll includes 2 days since the last debate. Yesterday's poll, which had 1 post-debate day in the average, had Romney at 49% and Obama at 47%. Romney lost 2 points with one more day in the average.

ADDED: On the other hand, Romney has gained in the swing state tracking poll. It's now 49% Romney, 47% Obama. Yesterday, it was Romney 49%, Obama 48%. The previous day, Obama was up by 3 at 50% to Romney's 47%. That poll is a 7-day average, so there's less post-debate polling in the mix, which may make the trend toward Romney more surprising. 

What if men sang about longing for life in the larger world the way the Little Mermaid did?



Via Metafilter, where I think people are experiencing this as really sweet, because these are — presumably — fathers and the fathers are warm and fuzzy and must love their daughters. We see the man at the end singing with a little girl. That's why these men know the song, and that's why they work diligently at jobs during the day. And they really are "part of [the daughter's] world," so the longing expressed in the song has nothing to do with leaving this place, which is what the lyrics are talking about: "I wanna be where the people are... When's it my turn? Wouldn't I love, love to explore that world up above?"

That song, as presented in the movie, is a female's longing for a deeply satisfying life achieved by getting out there into the wider world. There's a very similar song in "Beauty and the Beast," another Disney movie of the same period, in which the central female character sets up her narrative arc by singing about her need to get away from all the tedious people in her "provincial town." This is an American pop culture template that applies to women. These cartoon females supposedly inspire the female dream to have it all. The Little Mermaid's song begins with the observation that she pretty much looks like "the girl who has everything." But she wants more, more, more. (Song cue.)

But men? Our culture doesn't want you saying such things anymore. There was a time when Marlon Brando and James Dean were icons, and they seemed to be all about rejection of this humdrum life in your sad little town. But they have been swallowed up into the past. In the American pop culture of today, the admirable man cannot seriously express such longings and expect love and admiration. It can only be a joke, comic dissonance with the reality of the good man's life, scrambling eggs at the kitchen table with his adorable little girl (who is, herself, permitted to internalize the female dream of getting out of this dreary, constricting place to get what she deserves — the bigger, brighter, better life).

Is there some rule that says you can't get engaged while still married?

You broke up with your wife 2 years ago. You're on the path toward divorce. The legalities aren't tied up. Can't you promise to marry the new woman in your life? What's the morality problem— beyond the basic moral problem of divorce?

Looking at the pictures of Dinesh D'Sousa and Denise Joseph, I can't help suspecting that some people are bridling at the difference in age, beauty, and — perhaps — race.

Tammy and Tommy debated again last night.

We'd gone out to the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery to hear physicist Sean M. Carroll give a talk about the universe. The universe might give birth to baby universes. Who are you to say it doesn't? And time — time is a very obvious concept, he said, before portraying time in a way that was quite weird. These cosmologists, such comedians. You can read this: "From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time." Here he is on "The Colbert Report" trying to get a word in while Stephen Colbert anxiously strives to make sure it comes out funny. I thought Carroll's solo explanation of everything was highly amusing. It's all about entropy. From the Big Bang on, it's movement toward entropy, and even when things become more complex — producing all the detail of the world we live in now — it happened along a path from less entropy to more.

We walked home, talking about and reframing the discussion. The moderator — a Madison media character — fielded questions from the brainy audience and inserted a question of her own: What do you have to say to these people who won't believe in global warming? Politics. Always politics in Madison. It's our own special brand of entropy. Meade and I blabbed about such things. Did Carroll say that we only "remember" the past because, since it had less entropy, we have the sense of knowing what it was, like when we see a broken egg — Carroll had a lot of PowerPoint slides of eggs — we know the egg of the lower entropy time — a whole egg — but there are many diverse possibilities for the egg's higher entropy time — scrambled, quiche, rotten — and so we can't "remember" it?

Home, I said, "You must want to watch the baseball game" and Meade said "I want to watch the Tammy and Tommy debate!" Both of these things, along with President Obama on "The Daily Show," were preserved on the DVR. So we watched Tammy and Tommy, and that was pretty funny too. The moderation was hilarious. They'd ask a question and Tammy and Tommy each had a couple minutes to answer. Then they'd declare a 6-minute period in which Tammy and Tommy could talk about anything, interact in any way, hog the time, interrupt, be as polite or impolite as they saw fit with absolutely no intervention from the moderators.

Tommy got all impassioned and began many sentences with "Ladies and gentlemen." He assiduously refrained from calling Tammy Tammy. She was "my opponent." And the message was: Ladies and gentlemen, my opponent is incredibly, unbelievably liberal. Tammy seemed nervous but never broke from her prim, schoolmarmish demeanor, as she repeated the message about Tommy: After he was governor, he became a lobbyist and made a lot of money.

So, ladies and gentlemen, it's a simple decision. What irks you worse: liberals or rich guys?

Now, back to your regularly scheduled entropy.

Obama and Romney tell jokes on themselves...

... because — exactly why? — there's this Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner to which solemn obeisance must be paid. Hilarious, no? Who is better at being self-deprecating without actually hurting his cause... and don't you need to know in order to determine who would make the better President?

"The offensive shutdown may very well not have been an aberration as much as deficiencies camouflaged through the regular season..."

Brooding and babbling over baseball in New York.

October 18, 2012

D'Souza resigns from the presidency of King's College over the issue of having a fiancée before his divorce is final.

Weird. Did they drum him out of there or is he better off without them?
According to several sources at the college, members of the King’s faculty and board alike had grown hostile to D’Souza’s presidency over what they saw as a failure to earn his reported million-dollar salary. D’Souza has spent much of the past few months promoting his documentary, 2016: Obama’s America, and his high profile in the media was seen as rarely benefitting the college.
Embarrassing divorces. Does anyone really care? Didn't they mostly only want his name? If so, if the name stopped meaning what they wanted it to mean, it's time to cut off the million-dollar salary. Move on.

"When four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal... The government is a big operation and [at] any given time something screws up."

Obama, on "The Daily Show."

At the Joey-and-Bingo Café...



... you can always sit 2 to a chair.

2d Circuit Court of Appeals holds the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

This comes in addition to a similar decision from the First Circuit last May.

The case was bought by a woman whose wife — wife, under New York law — had died. The surviving spouse wants to qualify for a deduction in federal estate tax law. Having the marriage unrecognized under DOMA cost this poor woman — who'd been with her partner for 44 years — $363,053 extra dollars in taxes.
Judge Dennis Jacobs, who wrote the majority opinion, said the federal law was “not related to an important government interest,” concluding that “homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public.”
ADDED: Here's the opinion (PDF). The language quoted above signaled that the court decided to heighten the level of scrutiny to what's called the "intermediate" level (below "strict" scrutiny and above "minimal" scrutiny), and in fact that is what I'm seeing in the text. The court recognizes that The Supreme Court has never explicitly raised the level of scrutiny. It was cryptic in Lawrence v. Texas, and it's nice to see the 2d Circuit openly take on the subject of whether to heighten scrutiny, instead of the usual bumbling along at the minimal scrutiny level:

1. Has this group "been historically 'subjected to discrimination'"? A "yes" here supports heightened scrutiny.
Perhaps the most telling proof of animus and discrimination against homosexuals in this country is that, for many years and in many states, homosexual conduct was criminal. These laws had the imprimatur of the Supreme Court...
2. Does this group have have "a defining characteristic" that "frequently bears [a] relation to ability to perform or contribute to society"? This is a reason not to heighten scrutiny (and it explains why there is no heightened scrutiny for the mentally disabled and for the old).
The aversion homosexuals experience has nothing to do with aptitude or performance.
3. "Is there obvious, immutable, or distinguishing characteristics that define them as a discrete group?" "Yes" here favors heightened scrutiny.
We conclude that homosexuality is a sufficiently discernible characteristic to define a discrete minority class.... [Defendants] argue that sexual orientation is not necessarily fixed, suggesting that it may change over time, range along a continuum, and overlap (for bisexuals). But the test is broader: whether there are “obvious, immutable, or distinguishing characteristics that define . . . a discrete group.”... What seems to matter is whether the characteristic of the class calls down discrimination when it is manifest....  "[T]he Supreme Court is willing to treat a trait as effectively immutable if changing it would involve great difficulty, such as requiring a major physical change or a traumatic change of identity.”
4. Is the group “a minority or politically powerless"?
The question is not whether homosexuals have achieved political successes over the years; they clearly have. The question is whether they have the strength to politically protect themselves from wrongful discrimination. When the Supreme Court ruled that sex-based classifications were subject to heightened scrutiny in 1973, the Court acknowledged that women had already achieved major political victories... The Court was persuaded nevertheless that women still lacked adequate political power, in part because they were “vastly underrepresented in this Nation’s decisionmaking councils,”  including the presidency, the Supreme Court, and the legislature.... [I]t is safe to say that the seemingly small number of acknowledged homosexuals so situated is attributable either to a hostility that excludes them or to a hostility that keeps their sexual preference private--which, for our purposes, amounts to much the same thing. Moreover, the same considerations can be expected to suppress some degree of political activity by inhibiting the kind of open association that advances political agendas....

Analysis of these four factors supports our conclusion that homosexuals compose a class that is subject to heightened scrutiny. We further conclude that the class is quasi-suspect (rather than suspect) based on the weight of the factors and on analogy to the classifications recognized as suspect and quasi-suspect. While homosexuals have been the target of significant and long-standing discrimination in public and private spheres, this mistreatment “is not sufficient to require ‘our most exacting scrutiny.’”

Romney on abortion — 2 ads.

Romney's ad:



Obama's response:



That sounds terrible:
“If Roe v. Wade was overturned, Congress passed a federal ban on all abortions, and it came to your desk – would you sign it? ‘Yes’, or ‘no?’”

“Let me say it: I’d be delighted to sign that bill.”
Ban all abortions? Including abortions that would save the life of the mother? Did Romney really say that? The Weekly Standard prints whole context:

Real Clear Politics Electoral College map has Romney ahead 206 to 201.

With 131 toss-up states. I don't remember seeing Romney on top in Electoral College votes before.

Romney 52%, Obama 45%.

Gallup, likely voters. The 7-day rolling average. Margin of error is ±2, so that's 5 points beyond the margin of error.

Fazil Say, the pianist on trial in Turkey for tweeting things like...

"Why such haste? Have you got a mistress waiting or a raki on the table?" (joking about the brevity of a call to prayer).

"I believe in the Book of Revelation. I believe in disclosure you know?"

"There’s truth in all books in some kind of way. Confucius, Sun Tzu, Marcus Aurelius, the Koran, the Torah, the New Testament, the Buddhist sutras, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and many thousands more. You can’t go through life without reading some kind of book."

"What If I Told You..."


(Link.)

I love when phrases get ripped out of context and take on a life of their own. I still laugh at "hot water to dehydrated babies."

And, by the way, if you don't want your words ripped out of their context, use these...

"He’s the president of the United States. You don’t say, 'You’ll get your chance.'"

"I don’t think [Romney] understands the Constitution of the United States," fretted Chris Matthews, analyzing the second debate performance with James Lipton, the "Inside the Actor’s Studio" guy.

Why not have an acting expert analyze the performances? It is theater, isn't it? And, if it's theater, how does Obama play the role of the President, and how does Romney play the role of The Man Who Would Be President, speaking to the man who is President? How to embody presidentialness, when presidentiality currently resides in that other man, who's treading the boards with you?

I don't know why Matthews dragged in some half-assed law stuff when he had the acting expert there. Bring on a law professor if you want to do that.

Sarah Palin is "scary thin"...

... and she's writing a fitness book. 

Celebrities have got to keep moving, looking for an open niche.
Her tips, by the way, are newly frosted, and her nails appeared to be a shade of silver-blue.
"Tips... newly frosted" apparently refers to the highlights in her hair. Highlights are done in strands, right down to the roots and not on the "tips." If there's a space between the scalp and where the light color begins, that means the highlights are not new. The hair has grown. (I know, because I get lowlights.)

As for the silver-blue fingernails, it seems that Michelle Obama got there first, and Ann Romney got there third. But for some reason, light blue is the fingernail color of choice for political ladies this fall. Do they want to avoid the aggressiveness of classic (but blood-like) red? Or do they like the cyanotic look of impending death?

ADDED: Apparently, "frosted tips" is a hoary trend for men:
Boy band members of ’90s and the early aughts were the biggest proponents of “frosted tips,” but no athlete, actor or bank teller has been immune to this god-awful style and its powers of douchebaggery over the years. Do frosted tips transform someone into a terrible human being, or do terrible human beings opt for frosted tips? Let’s find out.
29 frostedly tipped male celebritneys at the link.

Romney picks up 4 points in the swing state tracking poll since yesterday.

That's 4 points in what is a 7-day average, 4 points with the inclusion of 1 day that comes after the second debate:
Romney 49%, Obama 48%...
Just yesterday Obama reached the 50% mark... in the combined [11] swing states...
Wow, I would like to see what the numbers for yesterday were!

The regular tracking poll, which is a 3-day average, has Romney ahead by 2, 49% to 47%. It was Romney 49%, Obama 48%, yesterday.

WaPo presents Obama's failure to maintain eye contact as "a successful technique."

Of all the pro-Obama reframing I've read in the press, this may be the most ridiculous. It's Sarah Kaufman — WaPo's Pulitzer Prize-winning dance criticpurporting to answer the question "who won the battle of body language" in the second presidential debate (boldface added):
“In the last four years you’ve cut permits and licenses on federal lands and federal waters in half,” Romney charged, turning to his opponent and hacking at the air.

“Not true,” Obama called out, eyes blazing. Then he looked away.

Tagg Romney would like to jump out of his seat and "rush down to the stage" and "take a swing at" President Obama...

... or so he said, laughing, when asked how he felt when Obama called his dad a liar. 
"But you know you can’t do that because, well, first because there’s a lot of Secret Service between you and him, but also because that’s the nature of the process."
The most troubling thing about Tagg's remark is:
  
pollcode.com free polls 

"NYU Responds To Attacks That The Third Year Of Law School Is Utterly Useless."

Is the response: We get 50% more tuition with 3 years? No. It's: We're going to make 3d year different and special.
The school is expected to announce vast changes in its third-year curriculum, including the option of studying abroad—Shanghai or Buenos Aires—or working for the Environmental Protection Agency or Federal Trade Commission....
Including study abroad and internships? That's vast? Let's get see what else is included. Here's one more:
[Give] students the chance to build a specialty. Called “professional pathways,” the program will offer eight focused areas of instruction, including criminal law and academia.
I love the idea of "academia" as a specialty. Somehow that seems to underline the complaint that the 3d year isn't there for the students but for the law academy itself and those odd lawyers/not lawyers who find their way into the comfortable cul de sac that is lawprofdom.
There has been much debate in the legal academy over the necessity of a third year.... While classes like “Nietzsche and the Law” and “Voting, Game Theory and the Law” might be intellectually broadening, law schools and their students are beginning to question whether, at $51,150 a year, a hodgepodge of electives provides sufficient value.
Step into my seminar and experience the life of the mind... the life of my mind.

NOTE: I fixed the math in the first sentence. I'd had "30% more." Shamefully typical innumeracy. Thanks to Panachronic in the comments for correcting me, a law professor.

Quazi Mo don't...

But he did. Such a handsome lad too. Why would you throw you're life away? Ah, maybe he's innocent, and it was a big set up.

"We’re going to do a word count to see whether, as in Denver, Romney actually got more words in even if he talked for a shorter period of time."

CNN, working on the defense of Candy Crowley.

Mr. Romney, we're going to give you less time, because you talk faster.

October 17, 2012

At the Equine Dentist Café...



... take the scenic route home.

Dolphins can sleep in one brain hemisphere at a time...

... and thereby remain alert continuously.
[A]s the experiment wore on -- three, four, five days straight -- their performance waned only slightly. In fact, the female dolphin was tested for 15 days straight with no apparent effect on performance.

"Obama’s New Firewall: Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada."

Jim Geraghty explains.

Is Obama giving up on North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida?

"I don’t want something that’s like small. I just want something big.... Something very big."

"Very very very very big, that will shake the whole country, that will make America, not one step ahead, change of policy, and make one step ahead, for the Muslims ... that will make us one step closer to run the whole world."

Linda Greenhouse is embarrassed for the Supreme Court and for Texas.

After reading/listening to the oral argument in Fisher v. University of Texas.

Roberts and Scalia were obviously trying "to make the university’s commitment to assembling a diverse student body look silly."

A debate-inspired hypothetical.

"Say you're a police investigator, and you find a dead body with no clear cause of death."
It's a high-profile case, and the public wants to know if there was foul play. You give a press conference in which you say, "One thing's for sure: no act of murder will ever shake our resolve." By making that statement, have you announced that the person was definitely murdered?

"Jeremy Epstein, First Questioner in Debate, Says He's No Longer Undecided."

Surprise, surprise! He's for Obama.

Tommy 46%, Tammy 45%.

In the new Marquette University Law School poll.
In the last Marquette poll, released Oct. 3, Baldwin led Thompson 48% to 44%, but her advantage was half the size of the 9-point lead she had in a Marquette poll two weeks earlier.
How did Tammy ever get out in front? She's the most liberal member of the House of Representatives. Tommy's old and was perhaps too lackadaisical about what it would take to win, but still.

Also in the new poll: Obama 49%, Romney 48%.

"Binders full of women."



Lots more here. Binders full!



ADDED: "Big Bird, binders, and Seamus key tenets of Democratic plans for the future..."

"Branding the US Presidents."

"I was kind of hoping that they were real brands, because I'd love to see that logo scorched into the skin on Nixon's flanks."

Space shuttle Endeavour makes its final journey... through the streets of L.A. to a science museum.

The time-lapse video is oddly poignant.

"Bizarre Coincidence: Democrats Get More Time in All Three Debates"

Observes Katrina Trinko, at NRO.

I would say, though, that on a few occasions, Romney used his turn to question Obama, thus ceding some time. But on the other hand, Obama interrupted Romney repeatedly. Not that Romney didn't interrupt. It seemed as though there was a continual insertion of factual disagreements. That's what they were doing and once it got started it was hard for either one stop, because it would give the other guy an advantage... except to the extent there are voters out there who recognize and credit politeness.

I wonder what would have happened, during the part of the debate about Benghazi, if Candy Crowley had not intervened. What if she'd kept her mouth shut and let the 2 men work it out amongst themselves? Here's the segment of the transcript in question (boldface added):

Best face transplant ever.

Look at the pictures of Richard Lee Norris before and after his horrible gunshot injury and then 7 months after he got a new face, teeth, tongue and jaw. Incredibly, this 37-year-old man looks better than he did before the accident. I'd like to see a picture of the donor. Did he look like Jean-Paul Belmondo?

"How are your passions...?"/"I am bloody elated."

Chris Matthews/Andrew Sullivan.

Obama up by 3 in the Rasmussen swing state tracking poll.

He was up by 2 yesterday, they were even on Monday, and Romney was up by 1 or 2 in the preceding 6 days.

In the regular tracking poll, it's 49% Romney, 48% Obama.

What if you had to argue that it's good for children to play "What if you had argue?"

In the previous post, where I'd slipped and made a ridiculous statement in the post title — "46% say Clinton won the debate" — I updated to reminisce about the old game — I called it "crazy" — that I used to play with my sons called "What if you had to argue?"
I'd come up with some strange statement and the challenge was to come up with the arguments they'd make if they had to argue that. What if you had to argue that Bill Clinton won the debate?
See? You could come up with some things to say, and you could have a lot of fun listening to the quasi-cogent or absurd things that would be said. Looking back on the old days with my sons, I tend to self-deprecatingly call the game crazy. Why would you encourage your children to argue persuasively about things that are not true?

What if you had to argue that it's not crazy at all? Actually, I don't think it is crazy. What the children are learning — if you handle the discussion well — is how human beings deceive and manipulate with language. It's a hands-on — brain-on? — experience with how trickery is done, how people can lie with a straight face, how something can be made to sound perfectly plausible when it's clearly dead wrong. They learn how it feels from the inside to construct lies and sophistry, so they can recognize it in others and in themselves. They learn a respect for verbal skills. They learn the power and the danger. That's an important life skill! Like all the other life skills, it can be turned to evil, but critical thinking and verbal skill ought to equip them to discover an authentic ethical foundation.

What if you had to argue that critical thinking and verbal skill lead children to an authentic ethical foundation?

46% say Clinton [I mean Obama!] won the debate, 39% say Romney.

The CNN poll:
The president's edge on the question of who won the debate appears to be the result of his much better than expected performance and his advantage on likeability. But the poll also indicates that debate watchers said Romney would do a better job on economic issues. And the two candidates were tied on an important measure - whether the showdown would affect how the debate watchers will vote. Nearly half said the debate did not make them more likely to vote for either candidate, with the other half evenly divided between both men.
The return of likeability! I'd say the first point there is the most important one. Obama, having done badly in the first debate, faced a specific need to do better than he had in the first. In that view, he could win by beating his first-debate self, and the comparison to Romney is secondary. Romney's goal was only to be good again. He actually did have a difficult project: being the same while facing an opponent who was sure to be different. But different in what way?

The poll shows that 70% thought Romney did better (37%) or the same (33%) as they expected, so Romney met what I imagine was his real goal. Obama also clearly met his goal, as 90% thought he did better (73%) or the same (16%) as they expected. Everyone's a winner.

But, good lord, it was nasty! What a strange world we live in where men of the highest stature make the center of a town hall meeting feel like like a boxing ring. They paced around each other, poking pointy fingers. Were you listening to what they said or wondering aloud whether they'd come to blows?
By a 49%-35% margin, debate watchers thought that Obama spent more time attacking his opponent.  
Is attacking bad or good? I think it hurts you with people who don't like tension and unpleasantness, but Obama's supporters beat him over the head with the demand that he fight. I thought Romney did a great job of maintaining a calm but dominant presence in that fight, at least until he got rattled by that "act of terror" confusion.

ADDED: Wow! What a Freudian slip in the title! I had just posted about Chelsea Clinton, but jeez!

IN THE COMMENTS: Bob Ellison said: "It could be argued, though, that Clinton won the debate...."

That reminds me of a crazy old game I used to play with my sons when they were kids. It was called "What if you had to argue?" I'd come up with some strange statement and the challenge was to come up with the arguments they'd make if they had to argue that. What if you had to argue that Bill Clinton won the debate?

Congratulations to Chelsea Clinton for taking on the cause of diarrhea.

It's a very serious cause, deserving of the Clinton family's philanthropy, and I'm genuinely impressed that a young woman with political ambition chooses — as a cause with which to burnish her image — diarrhea.

October 16, 2012

"We targeted her because she would speak against the Taliban while sitting with shameless strangers and idealised the biggest enemy of Islam, Barack Obama."

"We did not attack her for raising voice for education. We targeted her for opposing mujahideen and their war... Sharia says that even a child can be killed if he is propagating against Islam."

"The moderator will not... intervene in the debate except to acknowledge the questioners from the audience or enforce the time limits, and invite candidate comments during the 2 minute response period."

That was the contractual term that Candy Crowley agreed to and blatantly violated in the debate tonight. She let us know in advance that she wasn't going to follow it:
"They will call on 'Alice,' and 'Alice' will stand up and ask a question. Both candidates will answer. Then there's time for a follow-up question, facilitating a discussion, whatever you want to call it," Crowley said. "So if Alice asks oranges, and someone answers apples, there's the time to go, 'But Alice asked oranges? What's the answer to that?" Or, 'Well, you say this, but what about that?'"
But she went way beyond her own statement of how much she was going to violate it.

Live-blogging the second Obama vs. Romney debate.

7:14 Central Time: Setting up this post, I say "I'm so psyched for this debate!" And Meade says "I think you ought to lower your expectations. I think they will both look good, both look presidential, and there won't be any real change because of this debate." Perhaps. But I think it will have an effect... not because I think Obama has a way to change his image back into something we will love, but because we'll see Romney again, and that seemed to work last time, as people saw that he is not the villain the Obama campaigned tried to make us think he is.

7:33: Someone just asked me what I think will happen, and I said "I think Obama will try to be different, but not that different, because that would be phony. And Romney has the advantage of knowing if he just acts like the person he really is, it will work as a striking contrast to the way the O campaign has portrayed him, which is really what happened last time. I think that will happen again. But O will be more alert and engaged so it won't be so horrible." That's my prediction, anyway. What do you think?

7:57: I'm looking at the gathered throng of "undecided" voters. I don't feel confident that they're really undecided. And I think the moderator, Candy Crowley, favors Obama. But that's the way it always is. The Republican must overcome the disadvantage. ADDED: We're told by CNN's Erin Burnett that these supposedly "undecided" voters "in 2008, overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama." But they are "dead even split" in this election.

8:08: Both Romney and Obama jump on this poor Epstein kid who's going to college and wants  to be able to get a job. Both candidates talk about their economic plans generally. They are both wired. Obama is particularly intense. He wants everyone to know he is awake and alive. I don't know if he can keep that up or if we can take it. Crowley calls Romney "Romley."

8:13: The second question, with Obama going first, is about gas prices, and Obama launches into alternative energy, which seems quite unlikely to help people struggling with the gas prices. This is a great opening for Romney. Romney talks about how oil drilling on federal lands has been reduced under Obama.  R is for more drilling and clean coal, and he makes that clear. Candy invites Obama to respond and he accuses Romney of getting the facts wrong. Obama is for oil drilling and even coal plants. Romney, getting his turn, asks Obama a direct question, and both men try to control this time. There's back and forth bickering, and Romney ends up in control of the floor. The tension is extreme!

8:22: Obama says gas prices were lower when he took office because the economy was on the verge of collapse. He's not taking any responsibility for what gas prices are now. In fact, he's kind of taking credit.

8:23: Romney is able to stay relaxed while dominating. Crowley and Obama both seem cranked up and stressed.

8:25: A question about taxes. Romney is clear and focused. Obama's over there on the chair, hunkered down, crouching, oddly. Hey, Jaltcoh is live-blogging. Check it out.

8:31: "Governor Romney, I'm sure you have an answer," Crowley almost snarks. Her bias shows. She prompts Obama, suggesting the substance of the answer. Now, this doesn't really help Obama. It makes Romney look more dominant, and we get the impression that Obama needs a boost. It's actually patronizing.

8:34: When Obama speaks, Romney doesn't go back and sit down. He stands there, eyeing Obama, who seems desperate. Obama yammers quickly in a high, strained voice. I can't believe this is making the people in the audience feel connected and confident.

8:37: Why does Obama go back to the chair? Does he need the rest?

8:37: Romney sits down when an audience member speaks. Obama gets a softball question about women not making as much money as men. Obama repeats a story we've heard before, about his grandmother's career. He tells us about the Lily Ledbetter law, the first law he signed. Romney talks about work he did as Governor. He wanted women in his cabinet and initiated a search and found "binders full of women." He promotes flexible work schedules and generally strengthening the economy, which will help women. When it's Obama's turn, he brings up Lily Ledbetter again, then switches to health care.

8:45: A woman brings up Bush. She's afraid of Republicans because they remind her of Bush. Romney has a 5-point plan — all 5 points differentiate him from Bush. "President Bush had a very different path for a very different time."

8:53: Another question — why did they pick this? — about the stagnant economy. The man basically says: I don't feel so good.  Obama rattles off a lot of economic points. I think they picked this question because it gave Obama a chance to show warmth and caring. [ADDED: But Obama didn't take the opportunity. Not that Romney did.]

9:09: Crowley calls on someone named "Carrie" and Obama does a "Hi, Carrie" that sounds gentle and it's obvious he thinks it's a female. But it's a big old guy. "Cary," presumably. And he's got the Libya question. Uh-oh.

9:10: Obama's answer on Libya is all material he's said before. Nothing updated to deal with the newest revelations. Same old talking points. Investigate. Track down the criminals. Romney politicized it. "I am ultimately responsible"... that's new.

9:12: Romney acknowledges that Obama took responsibility "for the failure."

9:16: Obama, yelling, says it's "offensive" to suggest that anyone on his "team" would "play politics." "That's not what we do," he says, making eye contact with Romney, but then he breaks eye contact and looks down. Check the video on this. It's a moment.

9:19: Romney, in command, questions Obama about what he said the day after the attack in the Rose Garden. "You said it was an act of terror?" Romney asks twice. After the first time, Obama says "That's what I said." After the second time, Romney gives him a penetrating look. There's a pause. Romney raises his eyebrows in a way that seems to repeat the question again. "It was not a spontaneous demonstration? Is that what you're saying?" Obama bows his head. His eyes are closed. Obama looks up and with a little smile says: "Please proceed Governor." Romney gestures with his hand. "I wanted to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the President 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi and act of terror." Obama says "Get the transcript," and Crowley helps Obama by saying "He did in fact, sir... He did in fact call it an act of terror. It did as well take 2 weeks or so for the whole idea of there being a riot out there about this tape to come out, you're correct about that." Jeez, Crowley is way overparticipating! And the audience applauds her!

9:20: Romney got tripped up on a little detail there, so his theatrical presentation fizzled in the end. He stuttered a bit. He should have had the preparation for that moment nailed. Obama lucked out. [ADDED: We're checking the transcript on the Rose Garden speech and the word "terror" (or "terrorist" or "terrorism") is not in it! Am I wrong? That really tripped up Romney, so if he wasn't wrong, I condemn Crowley.][AND: He said "outrageous attack," but certainly nothing like "act of terror."][ALSO: The word "terror" does appear in the full transcript of the remarks, as opposed to the written statement, but not in the context of characterizing the attack in Benghazi, in a more general reference, quoted at 10:21 below. The answer to Romney's question "You said it was an act of terror?" was clearly no, and when Obama bowed his head and looked down, I think he knew he was being deceitful. I imagine he thought: This is what I have to say.]

9:21: Gun control. Obama's talking about the Aurora shootings. He wants "a comprehensive strategy" that includes getting "into these communities and making sure we catch violent impulses before they occur."

9:22: Romney stresses the 2-parent family in response to the gun control question, then shifts to a Fast & Furious presentation. He'd "like to understand" what happened.

9:44: I've gotten behind in the recording after getting distracted by that "act of terror" business. And now, I'm so outraged at Crowley's intrusion to make an incorrect assertion to side with Obama that I can barely pay attention to the rest of this. (But I will keep going and get to the remainder of the material.)

9:47: Obama interrupts Romney — who's talking about competition with China — and he has been interrupting throughout the evening.

9:48: The last question is: "What is the biggest misperception people have about you as a man and as a candidate?" Romney says "his passion" flows from his belief in God. He also ticks through his resume again, which isn't responsive to the question. Ignoring the question is kind of the theme of the night.

9:51: Obama's turn. People think he believes that government creates jobs. "That's not what I believe. I believe in individual initiative."

9:52: Obama brings up the 47% remark, while it's his turn and he's speaking last. Romney can't answer! But Obama didn't make much of it. He said "47%" but didn't dramatize the idea in a memorable way.

9:54: "The most rancorous debate ever" — says the CBS announcer.  Presidential debates are changed forever, we're told.

10:03: It's bizarre to think of all the pre-debate commentary about how the town hall format is used to reach out to the individuals in the audience and demonstrate the human connection! It must have been a surreal experience for these poor folks.

10:21: The phrase "acts of terror" does appear in the Rose Garden remarks at one point: "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for." But as Patrick Brennan says at NRO: "One could take that as a reference to acts which include the tragedy in Benghazi, obviously, but there was clearly no effort made to label it an act of terrorism. One reason why this might be: According to U.S. law, acts of terrorism are premeditated. The Obama administration’s line for days following Obama’s Rose Garden statement suggested that the attack wasn’t premeditated." Obama's supporters may want to say this is enough. I don't think so. But what is certainly plain is that Crowley's manipulation of the event was unjustifiable. The bias from the moderator tonight was disgusting. But I'm sure it was worth it to her to squander her reputation to help Obama out of what was a very uncomfortable jam.

10:27: Here's the transcript.  Sorry I didn't write anything about the immigration discussion. It's all there in the transcript.

10:37: Even though Romney's big moment got deflated, I think the focus now will be on what exactly is in that transcript, and hair-splitting about "No acts of terror will ever shake" isn't likely to sound compelling, especially as it becomes an occasion for focusing on the 2 weeks of lies/nonsense about the nonexistent demonstrations and the "Innocence of Muslims" video. There's a controversy over what Obama said, and even if there is one way to wriggle out of it, it forces us to spend time on the statements made about the attack, and this should hurt Obama. Whoever "wins" the debate, there's the post-debate discourse, and that must be won too.

10:53: Thanks to all the commenters for keeping the flow of opinion going on the second, third, and fourth pages. I haven't had the time to get in there and read things yet, but I wanted to express my appreciation for your contributions and my pleasure at being able to provide a place where people can talk.

The Democratic National Committee puts up a site designed to trick you into thinking it's Romney's.

I'm surprised they think it's acceptable to engage in this kind of trickery... or that they want to be associated with deception.

I do understand humor, but I don't see why they think it's good for them to be fake and deceptive.

"WaPo Dept. of Burying the Lede: Jesse Jackson Jr. thought he was reincarnated chariot driver."

Hmmm.

Maybe WaPo thinks it's fakery, this evidence of mental illness that's being dished out.

Guess how mentally ill Jesse Jackson Jr. is:
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Art heist in Rotterdam.

Stolen: Pablo Picasso’s 1971 “Harlequin Head”; Claude Monet’s 1901 “Waterloo Bridge, London” and “Charing Cross Bridge, London”; Henri Matisse’s 1919 “Reading Girl in White and Yellow”; Paul Gauguin’s 1898 “Girl in Front of Open Window”; Meyer de Haan’s “Self-Portrait,” around 1890, and Lucian Freud’s 2002 work “Woman with Eyes Closed.”
Marinello said the thieves have limited options available, such as seeking a ransom from the owners, the museum or the insurers. They could conceivably sell the paintings in the criminal market too, though any sale would likely be a small fraction of their potential auction value.
The problem selling these things is obviously not protection enough to keep thieves from bothering.



IN THE COMMENTS: chickelit said:
From the link: the idea that an unscrupulous private investor might have commissioned the works’ theft was far-fetched. 'That’s something that comes from Hollywood movies,' he said.

Should they blame a Hollywood video or lax security?

UPDATE: Confession of destruction.

"A candidate who actually nods when his opponent makes a powerful counterargument—as Obama did several times during the last debate—is a rare bird."

So wrote Slate Culture Critic Meghan O'Rourke on October 28, 2008, in a collection of short statements by various Slate writers, explaining who they were about to vote for and why. For some reason, this article isn't available on line anymore, but it turns up in a Google search as a "doc" file that downloads. I had the text to Google because my son John had blogged it back in '08, and he remembered it and emailed me about it after I blogged today about how I hadn't interpreted Obama's looking down and nodding in a negative way.

Here's O'Rourke's entire statement of why she was voting for Obama:
For his charisma, his cautiousness, and his cool. In a time of high stakes, we need someone who can sort out the best course of action without bridling in anger. A candidate who actually nods when his opponent makes a powerful counterargument—as Obama did several times during the last debate—is a rare bird. Of course, Obama is untested in many regards. My main concern about him is this: How will he deal with making an unpopular or tough decision? Can he keep his cool then without losing confidence in himself? I believe so, and that's why he has my vote.
If you Google that text, you'll get to the document that has the many statements of various writers. I predict there's a lot of raw material for analyzing the state of affairs today. State of affairs... the state of America's affair with Barack Obama.

If you love a man, his passive nodding means one thing. If you've fallen out of love, it's something else. Obama's demeanor at the first debate didn't diminish our affection for him; our reaction to it was evidence of how we already felt.

What can he do now? Act some different way at debate #2? If my hypothesis is correct, it doesn't matter what he does. We won't like it.

ADDED: I'm rooting around in that Slate document. Here's Tim Wu, evincing the classic '08 madness:
Most of all, I like his obvious inner calm. It suggests that his decisions will come from somewhere other than expediency, anger, or fear. It's like electing Obi-Wan Kenobi as president.
And here's some prescience:
Emily Yoffe, "Dear Prudence" Columnist: Obama

Please, please, Barack, don't become another Jimmy Carter.

Animotion masks.

For Halloween. I want one, for answering the door... but maybe it's too scary....

Maybe this. Or just some grim reaper gloves.

What goes on in McCain/Obama's brain? "Be aggressive, be-ee aggressive."



What goes on in McCain's brain... What goes on in Obama's brain? That's gonna be Obama's brain tonight, don't you think?

"Be aggressive, be-ee aggressive."

Why Biden acted the way he did at the VP debate.

Something just came into focus for me this morning. You know that I didn't think Obama was that bad in the first debate and that I watched the debate a second time and still didn't think Obama was that bad. I heard something on the radio this morning that hit me as a revelation. It was NPR's Morning Edition, and I can't find the specific quote that jogged my thinking, but someone said the reason Obama made such a bad impression was that looking down and taking notes, he seemed as though he was agreeing with what Romney was saying.

"What I like about it the most: It's made out of cardboard!"

(No, not the President.) This bicycle:

"They told me if I voted Republican, crazed religious fanatics led by talk-radio hosts would be claiming a political mandate from God."

"And they were right."

Daily Kos/SEIU poll: Obama 46%, Romney 50%.

"At a time when other polls are moving back in the president's direction, our own weekly poll by Public Policy Polling saw the opposite—a two-point Romney gain. Per day:"
Friday (38%) Obama 47, Romney 49
Saturday (39%) Obama 49, Romney 47
Sunday (24%) Obama 43, Romney 55
And in the swing states, it's Obama 47, Romney 50.

Drudge depicts women turning away from Obama.

Right now at Drudge:



Click to enlarge.

The full headline is "GALLUP: WOMEN TURNING AWAY." I cut "gal" from "Gallup" to symbolize the loss of females. Just kidding. I cropped the screen-grab to tighten the view of the revelant photographs. The metaphor was accidental, I admit.

But I don't think the juxtaposition of these photographs was accidental. Women are turning away, and there are Hillary Clinton and Candy Crowley, each turning away. Hillary is taking responsibility for security in Benghazi. And Candy is going rogue on debate moderation.

Click the image above to enlarge. You see what Obama is doing? He's palling around — to coin a phrase — with a cardboard image of himself. (And that was not an accidental allusion (to another gal).)

Ladies turn away from a narcissistic man — a man who is in love with himself. And ladies turn away from a man who's completely shallow — shallow to the point of 2-dimensionality.

ADDED: Rereading this post and the previous one, I find myself ranting out loud: Speaking of women turning away! We could have had the first woman President! She was there, she deserved it, she would have been better! This man who was not ready and apparently not really willing to take on the responsibilities of the presidency wooed us away from her. He deprived us of the first woman President! That's another reason for women to turn away. We can see now that the woman would have been tougher, smarter, more dedicated, every step of the way.

Hillary is letting us see that now, as she takes responsibility as she takes responsibility for security in Benghazi. It sounds as though she's protecting Obama from criticism. Sounds, superficially. But she is really criticizing him. Put the pieces together. Go back to that 2008 speech, embedded in that last post. She made her taking-responsibility statement, and immediately afterward, that video clip pops to the surface of the web. Beneath these surfaces there are depths. Not everything is 2-dimensional.

Hillary in '08: "The Buck Stops In The Oval Office."

Noted by BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski (who might not be a liberal shill, as theorized the other day, and who is linked at Drudge, which must demonstrate the value of not being too much of a liberal shill).

"The buck stops here" is a powerful dictum. We see it in the McCain/Graham/Ayotte statement reprinted in the previous post: "The security of Americans serving our nation everywhere in the world is ultimately the job of the Commander-in-Chief. The buck stops there."

Watch Hillary say it in 2008:



The lady is tough. And now she steps up to "take responsibility." We could have given her responsibility in 2008, but we chose the guy who's standing back and allowing her to "take responsibility."

The BuzzFeed item notes that in the 2008 primaries, Hillary had presented herself as a hands-on leader:
"Being President means being both CEO and COO of one of the largest and most complex organizations in the world," Clinton said.

"I know that we can get on top of this, but it's going to require strong presidential leadership — it's going to require a President who knows from day one you have to run a government and manage the economy," Hillary Clinton added, using the flailing economy to hit Obama. "The buck stops in the Oval Office."
The Obama people — not Obama himself — pushed her back:
"The truth is that we're not running for chief of staff. We're running for President of the United States," David Axelrod said, adding the President's role was to "provide direction and leadership."
Interesting use of "we."
"I think sometimes there's a relentless pursuit of the little picture over there at the Clinton campaign," Axelrod continued. "There are bigger issues at stake here."
Obama was above it all. Up in the stratosphere of visions and dreams. He didn't even drop by to tell Hillary she was wrong about the presidency. Axelrod had to take responsibility for that.

ADDED: Provide direction and leadership? He's leading from behind. Behind Hillary.

"If the President was truly not aware of this rising threat level in Benghazi, then we have lost confidence in his national security team..."

A statement by U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH):
“We have just learned that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has claimed full responsibility for any failure to secure our people and our Consulate in Benghazi prior to the attack of September 11, 2012. This is a laudable gesture, especially when the White House is trying to avoid any responsibility whatsoever.

“However, we must remember that the events of September 11 were preceded by an escalating pattern of attacks this year in Benghazi, including a bomb that was thrown into our Consulate in April, another explosive device that was detonated outside of our Consulate in June, and an assassination attempt on the British Ambassador. If the President was truly not aware of this rising threat level in Benghazi, then we have lost confidence in his national security team, whose responsibility it is to keep the President informed. But if the President was aware of these earlier attacks in Benghazi prior to the events of September 11, 2012, then he bears full responsibility for any security failures that occurred. The security of Americans serving our nation everywhere in the world is ultimately the job of the Commander-in-Chief. The buck stops there.

“Furthermore, there is the separate issue of the insistence by members of the Administration, including the President himself, that the attack in Benghazi was the result of a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video, long after it had become clear that the real cause was a terrorist attack. The President also bears responsibility for this portrayal of the attack, and we continue to believe that the American people deserve to know why the Administration acted as it did.”
Exactly.

October 15, 2012

Should Scotland leave the U.K.?

There will be a referendum in August 2014... and Scots as young as 16 will get to vote.

Would you vote for Scottish independence?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

"If You’re Thinking About….Black Socks, Black Shoes."

A possible trend... or just something Sartorialist has been seeing...

I'd say black socks, black shoes is a poor girl's short black boots. Except the girl's not poor, so it's a humorous commentary on poverty.

"Wisconsin, the land of persuadable voters."

A WaPo article.

AND: And The Weekly Standard shows "a new ad airing across Wisconsin television stars three local women who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 but who will be switching to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan (a Wisconsin native) this year."
"Paul Ryan embodies the work ethic of Wisconsin," says Connie of Green Bay.

Hillary: "I take responsibility" for security in Benghazi.

CNN reports:
Clinton insisted President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions.

"I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha," she added, noting that it is close to the election.
ADDED:
“I’m not sure what that means,” said an absolutely baffled Larry Kudlow.

“What we need to know is who told Ambassador Susan Rice to go onto news shows and tell the public that the attacks were spontaneous.”

At the 2 Dogs Café...

Untitled

... sit!

"Now that Obama isn’t more 'likeable' than Romney any more, likeability doesn’t matter!"

Says Instapundit — spelling "likeable" the way I do and linking to Jennifer Rubin, who spells it the other way.

And here's that post of mine from last month, before the first debate, about the verb "to like":
It occurred to me that that liberals have quite effectively insinuated the message into our brains that they are likeable, and, in particular, Barack Obama is likeable. And that doesn't just mean that any given individual likes him, subjectively. He is likeable, objectively. If you don't like him, what's wrong with you? You don't seem likeable. You'd better like him or no one will like you. All the likeable people are liberal, so you'd better be liberal or no one will like you.
Staking too much on being liked can get you into trouble.

Finn, Asher, Henry, Milo, Jasper, James, Jude, Atticus, Rowan, Owen.

The first 10 of the top 100 boys' names for 2012, from Nameberry, which is "geared to non-traditional but deeply-rooted boys' names":
Celebrities and pop culture are important, but not as important as for girls. We see Finn, partially inspired by "Glee," at No. 1 and Atticus in the Top 10 thanks to "To Kill A Mockingbird." While other names - Jude, Liam, Emmett, Hudson, Arlo - have risen on the heels of popular stars, celebrity babies, and movie and TV characters - we see this influence on boys' names less pronounced than on girls'.
Boys' names are getting softer. The whole badass boys' name - Stryker, Wilder, Maverick - thing aside, we see a softening of boys' names, with vowel endings (Milo, Levi, Ezra), sibilant sounds (Asher, Dashiell, Sebastian), and choices that are derived from girls' names or can also be used for girls (Rowan, Emerson, Elliot).

"That spin became so violent it was hard to know how to get out of it."

"I was able to get it under control and break the speed of sound. I could feel myself break the speed of sound. I could feel the air building up and then I hit it."

(At the link, new video, from Baumgartner's point of view while falling and spinning.)

"Dude, I popped a roach this morning."

It's "a full-time obsession."

(Via rehajm in the Candy-Crowley-fly-on-the-wall comments thread.)

Take this patriotism test.

First, watch this ad:



Now, here's the question:

At what point did you get chills?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

"Little Nemo in GOOGLE-Land."

A great Google-doodle today. Be sure to click the arrows that appear in the lower left of each frame.

Here's the original walking bed comic.

Hereare some collections of "Little Nemo" comics by the great Winsor McCay.

At tomorrow's debate, Candy Crowley is "going to react organically to what’s happening."

She "understand[s] that [she's] there." She's "not a fly on the wall." 

You got a problem with that? Apparently, both campaigns do. They were expecting a fly on the wall! They contracted for a fly on the wall.

Why did Althouse post this item?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

ADDED: What does it mean to react organically? That's old hippie talk. There was a time when everything was "organic" or "so organic." Wow. No exclamation point after "wow." It was just... wow. It was so hard to think back then. When everything was... like... organic?.

But how does an organ react? The stomach aches, the heart attacks, the lung wheezes, the bladder loses control.