March 7, 2015

President Obama's Selma speech — on the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday."

ADDED: Full text here.
The Americans who crossed this bridge were not physically imposing. But they gave courage to millions. They held no elected office. But they led a nation. They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, and countless daily indignities – but they didn’t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before.

What they did here will reverberate through the ages. Not because the change they won was preordained; not because their victory was complete; but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible; that love and hope can conquer hate.

"I questioned the morality of breaking into high-security nuclear sites: What if someone got shot?"

"What about the trauma a young security guard might experience after realizing that he or she had killed a nun rather than a terrorist? Sister Ardeth replied that nobody had been harmed in the more than thirty years since the first Plowshares, and that the Lord should be thanked for that. She betrayed no doubts. 'I will continue doing direct action for the rest of my life,' Sister Ardeth told me. 'If I can walk, you’ll find me out there.'"

From "Break-In at Y-12/How a handful of pacifists and nuns exposed the vulnerability of America’s nuclear-weapons sites," by Eric Schlosser (in The New Yorker).

At the Saturday Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

(And, please, if you've got some shopping to do, use the Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"And I said, 'Look, I need to look my age!' He said... 'You need a little soft, double chin."

"'A soft little pillow, a little cushion under your chin.' And do you know what he did? I saw him delving in a sort of white box, a freezer. And he pulled out a little shrink-wrapped package. It looked like a chicken breast. And he said, 'We'll stitch this on. And it will settle in. And it will give you a lovely double chin.' And I said, 'What is that?' He said, 'What? More like what was it, Edna ... That was Elizabeth Taylor's left love handle.' Elizabeth Taylor's love handle is now my soft, little chin. And if you look at it very closely, you can see some indentations where Richard Burton's fingers held. ... Isn't it beautiful? It's history in my face. History."

Said Dame Edna.

"New York City cabs are one-night stands. What happens during the encounter doesn’t really matter because I’ll never see that driver again."

"I wouldn’t have back-seat crazy fests in Uber because, hypothetically, the voyeur driver would have my name, address and a system that lets them rate me...Getting naked in an Uber has occurred to me about as often as I’ve considered doing a striptease in public, which is never."

AND: From the comments at the link (which goes to a NYT article titled "Taxi Flings Take a Back Seat to Uber"):
I drove a NY yellow cab at night back in the mid-1980's. Many comments today fail to appreciate the wild heady atmosphere that prevailed in the city back then - especially in certain parts of the city at certain times. "Dehumanizing to the driver"? Hell no... the driver was often part of the action - or at least invited or acknowledged. Drugs, sex, alcohol, run-ins with celebrities, impromptu parties, out-of-the-ordinary conversations, tawdry confessions, scoring smack in flaming alphabet city, "ghetto tourism", invites to chat with unsavory (yet often sweet) characters... this was not fiction, despite sworn testimony by a few straight-laced cabbies' that it never happened in their cabs. I'm not saying it was all pretty, just that when life is lived to the fullest with no screens attached - and when alternative lifestyles have not yet been snuffed out by $5,000 monthly rents - wild things can happen. At least they did on my watch.

"I put my hand over the phone and talked to my brother and said 'Who are The Beatles? Are they any good?'"

"Fortunately, he was the one that knew about that kind of music... He said, 'Yeah, they're great," so we both got on the phone and made a deal and rushed out to the airport," said Albert Maysles.

"These guys, The Beatles, they were almost like from another planet."

"Albert Maysles, the pioneering documentary filmmaker who frequently collaborated with his brother, David, died Thursday at 88. His influential career spanned nearly 60 years."

Clips at that link. Full obituary here.

For more than 10 years, my blogger profile has had the same 12 movies list as my favorites. The Maysles brothers' "Grey Gardens" is one of them.

Police officer shoots and kills a black teenager...

... in Madison, Wisconsin.

ADDED: From the video clip at the link: "The crowd has been growing over the past couple of hours. Members from the Young Black and Gifted Coalition are forming a line out here, demanding justice. Though the shooting happened several hours ago, police here on scene have not spoken to the public."

AND: At 1:50 in the video, there's an interview with Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, and you can hear, in the background, that the crowd is chanting "No justice, no peace."

MORE: Discussion at Isthmus: "It's getting a little nutty on Willy St right now. Trying to make this the next Ferguson from some tweets I'm seeing. Good grief." And:
I was in the area and heard a few different things. "Young black male acting a bit crazy." "Attacked a Burrito Drive delivery person, then attacked a couple in their house, and was rolling around on the ground." "attacked a cop."

19 year old Tony Robinson-RIP.
ALSO: Mayor Soglin says that he can't get any information from the Madison police because "under the new laws they're not allowed to conduct the investigation." From the first-linked article:
Rep. Chris Taylor, who happened to be in the area at the time of the shooting, worked successfully for legislation last year that would require an independent agency to investigate when there is an officer-involved shooting.

"Obviously we've had our share of tragedies in this community, so it's a scary thing when you're in a situation like that, which I never expected to be in tonight, I have to say," she said.

Protesters gathered on the scene Friday night. The Young, Gifted and Black Coalition will host a strategy session at 10:30 a.m. in Madison. Members will meet at the YWCA on Latham Drive.
And I'm just noticing, in my quote at "ADDED," that the reporter said that the people in the street were "forming a line out here, demanding justice," but the chant, which you can hear is "No justice, no peace." That's more than a demand for justice. That's a threat of civil disorder.

AND: The reporter calls the group "the Young Black and Gifted Coalition," but — as those familiar with the Lorraine Hansberry book title should suspect — it's the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition.

MORE: I'm seeing Facebook pages for YGB Community Meeting (Taking up Community Power) #BlackLivesMatter ("In the wake of the tragic murder of 19 year old Tony Robinson at the hands of Madison's Police Department, We'll be talking about the why's and how's of organizing and mobilizing for change") and for Ferguson to Madison (which pre-dates the shooting). At Twitter, there's #TonyRobinson.

AND: Speaking through a bullhorn that has a "Socialist Worker" sticker on it, a woman addresses a crowd: "I want you to take this opportunity to understand and connect with [the family's] hearts. A black teenager, a black boy, was viciously killed and murdered by Madison Police Department." She also says that if things don't change, "then we will have a Ferguson in Madison." Someone in the crowd cries "We do have a Ferguson in Madison." After the first minute in the video there is some NSFW language.)

UPDATE: In the "Saturday café" post, someone says:
"Please delve into this shooting in Madison and with Meade give us factual details, interviews and pictures of what is the real story. Use your background to breakdown the legal details for us layman."
I responded:
I don't know anything about it at this point. I'll read the news reports.

We drove by the scene of the shooting today. Should I be "drive-by media"?

If so, all I can say is that there was police tape in front of a house, and there were police cars along the curb and a few police officers standing around. Across the street there were 3 or 4 sad-looking people sitting on the step of a porch, but no one was standing around or chanting or heckling the police officers. There was one woman walking toward downtown, carrying a "Black Lives Matter" sign.

Things looked very quiet. There was no evidence of anyone attempting to maintain protest energy around the site.

March 6, 2015

"And I am not going anywhere."

Says Senator Menendez, as if it's Act I of "Dreamgirls," but it's not.

Badgers clinch Big 10 title.

Last night in Minneapolis:

"If you want to start taking classes at an Ivy League university unenrolled and undetected, says Guillaume Dumas, a 28-year-old Canadian, start with big lecture courses."

"If you must sit in on a smaller seminar class, it’s important to show up consistently starting with the first session, instead of halfway through the semester. Also, one of the best alibis is that you’re enrolled as a liberal-arts student. 'That's the kind of program that's filled with everything and that you expect people to be a bit weird, a bit confused about what they do,' he says. From 2008 to 2012, Dumas claims he did stints on a number of elite North American universities—Yale, Brown, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and McGill, to name a few—sitting in on classes, attending parties, and living near campus as if he were an enrolled student. This deception may sound like a lead-up to a true-crime story, but Dumas’s exploits appear to be harmless, done in a spirit of curiosity."

From an Atlantic article by Joe Pinsker titled "The Man Who Snuck Into the Ivy League Without Paying a Thing/Guillaume Dumas attended classes, made friends, and networked on some of America's most prestigious campuses—for free. What does this say about the value of a diploma?" I went to that article because Instapundit linked to it in a way that made me want to say exactly 1 thing, but now, I want to say 10 things, and the first one is the one that Instapundit, by quoting only the title, made me want to say.

1. What it says is the class sizes are too large.

2. Sitting in on large classes was, in fact, the (obvious) trick Dumas used.

3. For smaller classes, if my name were Dumas, I'd pick French Literature.

4. The author of the article stresses the lack of need for a degree, which is good news for Scott Walker. (I'm just dragging Scott Walker into whatever I can, because that's the thing now.)

5. The author of the article never addresses the ethics of stealing what others are paying for. He's presenting it as if the payment is for the "diploma" and not for all the services provided.

6. The author has interestingly misused the word "alibi." An alibi is a defense based on your being somewhere else, which is what "alibi" literally means in Latin. Dumas needed an explanation for why he was there, not for why he wasn't there.

7. Perhaps the author first learned the word "alibi" — as I did — from The Four Seasons: "Big girls don't cry/That's just an alibi." That's not right but it rhymes:

8. Speaking of the 1960s, there was a network sitcom about what Guillaume Dumas didn't actually invent. The sitcom was called "Hank":

9. Back in the days of "Hank," we used to call somebody who was doing that a "drop-in" — slang based on "drop-out."

10. You'd think the schools would do more to prevent theft of services from drop-ins, but when they are big and when they don't rely on high-level classroom discussion from prepared and qualified students, they are asking for it.

The UCLA student council debates whether a Jewish student is capable of serving without bias on its judicial board.

That just happened.
The discussion, recorded in written minutes and captured on video, seemed to echo the kind of questions, prejudices and tropes — particularly about divided loyalties — that have plagued Jews across the globe for centuries, students and Jewish leaders said.
ADDED: I do feel sorry for the students whose names are now connected forever with this controversy, which they worked through at the meeting and have apologized for. The link above goes to the NYT, which has put the students' names into the context of the terrible, historical wrongs of anti-Semitism, even though none of the students — from what I see in the transcript — were talking about anti-Jewish stereotypes. They were concerned about the candidate's activism on particular issues and whether there could be a conflict of interest in cases that come before the judicial board.

The Wisconsin state assembly debated all night on the right-to-work bill... and the vote just took place.

Here's my assemblyperson, Terese Berceau, speaking just moments ago, as the debate that began yesterday afternoon, was coming to a close...

I took that screen shot from the live feed, which is over now, the bill having quickly passed upon coming up for its vote.

"'It is ambition,' he had written , 'that makes of a creature a real man.'"

"Pride, embarrassment, gloating: such emotions could only hinder his progress along the road he saw so clearly before him — the 'vision' he had indeed held for so long. They were luxuries in which he would not indulge himself."

"The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson," Robert A. Caro.

The blue-and-black dress that looked white and gold...

... worn last night by one of the "American Idol" contestants.

"John Roberts is charming and matinee-idol handsome, but does he stand a chance against Ruth Bader Ginsburg with her lace gloves and her questions about society offering skim-milk equality?"

Asks Linda Hirshman in a New Republic article titled "John Roberts' Legacy Problem/Like it or not, liberal decisions are the ones that history celebrates. Just ask Notorious R.B.G."

Hirshman has this quote from Randy Barnett: "We have a media that is so uniformly Democratic, that if you’re a conservative, you’re sort of like a battered spouse... The left controls academia and the law schools and pop culture through Hollywood."

To that, Hirshman adds:
The legal profession—which holds the meetings, conferences, seminars, where so many Supreme Court justices make appearances—also skews liberal... [L]awyers as a group give more donations to the Democrats than the Republicans and to liberal causes rather than conservative causes. This pattern applies at all levels of the profession; as Barnett correctly perceived, elite law professors tend to fall way left on the political spectrum, but even big firm partners give more to D than R. And the pattern does not diminish as you move away from the experience of the Sixties. Younger lawyers actually skew more left than their elders. 
Of course, judges know this. It's in their self interest, if they want to look good in history, to skew left, like the legal academics. You know, I've been here in legal academia since 1984, 9 years before Ruth Bader Ginsburg took her seat on the Supreme Court. She was a federal Court of Appeals judge then and had been since Jimmy Carter appointed her in 1980. And I can remember law professors expressing dismay that she was such a disappointment, that after her first-class women's rights advocacy as a law professor, she'd turned into such a conservative.

NYT: "Scott Walker’s Electoral Record Is Less Impressive Than It Looks."

The headline for this Nate Cohn column at the NYT intriguingly assumes we're already seeing something about Scott Walker, but I think the basis for the debunking is that Walker himself keeps pointing out that a blue state, Wisconsin, has elected him governor 3 times in 4 years.

Cohn has a chart comparing Walker to other candidates for governor in 2010 and 2014, the years of Walker's regular elections. (Walker also had to win in June 2012, midway through his first term, because there was a recall election.)
In neighboring and politically similar Iowa, the Republican Terry Branstad won election and re-election by a far wider margin than Mr. Walker.

To the east, in neighboring Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder won by a similar margin in a more Democratic state, even though he also picked a fight with labor.

To the south, a Republican candidate for governor won the dark-blue state of Illinois.

Farther away, Republicans won Ohio by a huge margin and carried states more Democratic than Wisconsin, like New Mexico, Maryland, Maine and Massachusetts.
That is, it might not be anything so special about Walker. People in blue states might just have been hankering for Republican governance in 2010 and 2014.

Cohn branches out to senatorial preferences:
There’s even a case that Mr. Walker didn’t have the best Republican performance in Wisconsin. Ron Johnson, a self-funded political novice, managed to defeat an incumbent, Russ Feingold, by a five-point margin in 2010. Despite that showing, some analysts believe Mr. Johnson is the single most vulnerable senator of the 2016 cycle.
That is, people were really leaning Republican in 2010, and you can't predict that 2016 will be another election year like that. What was going on with that 2010 senatorial election in Wisconsin? Why did Ron Johnson have "the best Republican performance in Wisconsin"? I think that was "a vote against what the Democrats have done with Congress," which is what I said on Election Day 2010. I guess in 2016, Feingold will have a "miss me yet?" argument against what the Republicans have done with Congress. But 2016, unlike 2010, is a presidential election, and our fixation on the presidency will keep us from thinking too much about Congress.

Which brings us back to Cohn. He observes that all 3 of Walker's victories came in non-presidential years, where Republicans get the advantage of lower turnout from the younger people who tend more toward Democrats. That is, Wisconsin is and remains a blue state, where Walker should lose, but elections are skewed in the off years.

March 5, 2015

"In one sentence I would say we are all children of a Heavenly Father who loves us equally."

"Oh, if the country could be like this... This bill is a model — not just of legislation, but more importantly of how to bridge the cultural rift tearing America apart."

"We have to find a way to live together. We just can't endlessly be litigating against each other. We can't endlessly be in culture wars. If you want to know why Utah got it right, it's because they actually called a truce in the culture war."

"Nor did the researchers find any convincing correlation between a man’s foot size..."

"... and the length of his manhood."

(What about nose size? If they found a convincing correlation, people wouldn't get so many nose jobs... or maybe there would be nose enlargements, like breast enlargements.)

New Quinnipiac poll puts Scott Walker at 18 percent and Jeb Bush at 16 percent.

New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are at 8 percent each... Physician Ben Carson has 7 percent, with 6 percent each for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and 5 percent for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida...

If Walker does not run, Bush gets 18 percent, with 10 percent for Carson, 9 percent each for Christie and Huckabee, 8 percent each for Cruz and Paul and 7 percent for Rubio.

If Bush is out of the race, Walker gets 20 percent, with 10 percent for Christie, 9 percent for Huckabee and 8 percent each for Carson and Rubio.
Isn't it strange that taking Bush/Walker out of the mix doesn't do anything for the other guys?

"2020 seems doable, and Jackson seems like the low-hanging fruit as Presidents on the currency goes, so I think they probably have a shot."

They = a group called Women on 20s who think there should be a woman on at least one denomination of U.S. paper money.

Jackson may be low-hanging fruit...
Jackson had strongly opposed the notion of central banking. Plus, he sought—and signed—the Indian Removal Act, which led to the expulsion of Native Americans from their homes.
But you can't beat something with nothing, so who is the woman supposed to be?

"A week before becoming secretary of state, Hillary Clinton set up a private e-mail system that gave her a high level of control over communications, including the ability to erase messages completely..."

"... according to security experts who have examined Internet records," Bloomberg reports.

"Antonin Scalia’s unintentional humor."

I don't think that was unintentional.

What Scalia said was:
What about Congress? You really think Congress is just going to sit there while all of these disastrous consequences ensue? I mean, how often have we come out with a decision such as the ­­ you know, the bankruptcy court decision? Congress adjusts, enacts a statute that takes care of the problem. It happens all the time. Why is that not going to happen here?
What got the laugh was the response — "Well, this Congress?" — from the Solicitor General.

Steve Benen, whose headline I've used as the post title, fails to appreciate the comic skill of the straight man. As Jerry Seinfeld once explained:
Where did the idea of, in Seinfeld, your character being a comedian for a profession, but be the straight man for your friends, come from? I always thought that juxtapositioning for the show was genius.

Very good observation and analysis on your part, Baxter. You are truly exhibiting a good comedic eye. The reason I would play straight was it was funnier for the scene. And very few people have ever remarked on this, because it was a conscious choice of mine, only because I knew it would make the show better, and I didn't care who was funny as long as somebody was funny and that the show was funny. So you have hit upon one of the great secret weapons of the Seinfeld series, was that I had no issue with that.
The straight man doesn't get the laughs, but he's setting up the humor. It's Scalia, not the Solicitor General, who deserves credit for that comedy. To say that his contribution was unintentional is to ascribe a ridiculous naivete to him. An honest person — that is, a person not in a lawyer role — answering the question "Why is that not going to happen here?" would describe the story of how one party rammed the Affordable Care Act through Congress, without any buy-in from the other party, and without building any consensus among the people, who were told to quiet down and wait and see that it would ultimately turn out to be good. The people subsequently shifted control of Congress to the party that had zero buy-in. Scalia knew all that when he asked his question. The humor already inhered. It's very dark humor, of course. The Solicitor General — tasked with upholding the work of a party that wielded power ruthlessly and consequently lost it — succeeded in lightening the humor, but that doesn't deserve comedy credit. It deserves lawyer credit.

"While the propaganda monuments that remained in prime locations continued to stir regular controversy, this controversy was never massive enough to actually lead to their demolition."

"That's how the supporters of the 'bridges symbols' even managed to list them as heritage, making the demolition harder. Opponents, unable to remove the sculptures, then attempted to 'put them into context' through 'additional features.' Some of them were temporary (e.g. a NATO flag overshadowing the Soviet army sculpture), others permanent (e.g. a plaque with information on the Soviet occupation), yet others never completed (e.g. a suggestion to put the statues in cages)."

From an article about the relocation of the Žaliasis Bridge statues to Grutas Park — a place of exile for Soviet-era sculpture in Lithuania —which we were talking about last week, after the NYT did a story about living in Airbnb places in Europe that included photos of Americans enjoying themselves in the company of gigantic statues of Lenin and Stalin. That second link has a video about Grutas Park that shows the Žaliasis Bridge statues and discusses the now-overruled decision to leave them in their prominent place on the 4 corners of the bridge.

I could understand the decision to leave them there, but I'm a stranger to the context. Sculpture that was designed for a particular site is partly destroyed when it is moved, even though it is otherwise preserved. If something is artistically good, but a remnant of an earlier time that the people who control the place now wish to reject completely, what should they do? The middle position is to move the sculpture out of its place of honor but otherwise to preserve it. Keep in mind the subject of Islamist extremists who have been sledgehammering ancient statues, which is what got me started talking about this subject.

What would you do with artistically good statues that you deeply disapprove of? free polls

ADDED: There's also the question whether the site was designed for the sculpture. Are the 4 corners of Žaliasis Bridge plinths or did the sculpture-supporting function arise in the mind of the invader?

"I am genuinely intrigued at what appears to be a firing squad being put together aimed at Hillary Diane Rodham, otherwise known as Hillary Rodham Clinton."

"That's her e-mail address at, HDR, Hillary Diane Rodham.  No mention, no relationship, no mention whatsoever of her husband, Bill.... At any rate, it's stunning, the New York Times, the Associated Press, the New Republic, Politico, it is unprecedented," said Rush Limbaugh, at the beginning of yesterday's show.
Now, one of the things that it could possibly mean... is they don't want her to begin with.  They resent her being forced on them. They resent the idea that the presidency is hers again, just like it was in 2008, just because.... What we're looking at here, ladies and gentlemen, is an actual War on a Woman...

Let's try to keep in perspective what has happened here, and going back some years.  First, they used a young, inexperienced, community organizing, chain-smoking man of color to kick Hillary to the curb in 2008.  In 2008 it was a coronation, remember?  In 2008 it was going to be hers to lose.  In 2008 it was the Democrat Party paying her back for all she had done, subordinating herself to her husband, subordinating herself to the party in order to maintain her husband and his political viability and keep him in office....

We're talking 2016, the next Democrat president... In the normal ebb and flow of events... [t]he media would be trying to sweep all of this stuff under the rug....  Just because her husband spent countless hours with a playboy pedophile flying all over the world, what difference does that make now?  Just because Hillary ruined innocent women's lives to protect her husband who sexually assaulted those women, what difference does that make now?...

March 4, 2015

Reading the King v. Burwell transcript.

Here's the PDF of today's oral argument. I'm going to read it right now and give my immediate impressions.

1. Justice Alito topped Justice Kagan at page 11, lines 7-13. Kagan had just sprung her elaborate clerks-writing-memos hypothetical, and Alito said "Well... if I had those clerks, I had the same clerks ­­and Amanda wrote the memo, and I received it and I said, This is a great memo, who wrote it? Would the answer be it was written by Will, because Amanda stepped into Will's shoes?" Kagan had to respond to the laughter in the courtroom: "He's good."

2. Justice Sotomayor stumbles at page 16, line 2, after raising a principle of statutory interpretation from last year's Bond case (the chemicals-on-the-doorknob case, where the Court read a federal statute not to criminalize a matter that lay within the traditional powers of the state). She'd just spoken for a page and a half, and the petitioners' lawyer Michael A. Carvin was beginning to explain that this principle had never been applied in the context of a condition on federal spending. Sotomayor interrupted to "Oh, we did it -- ­­ we said it last year." But she just meant to repeat her point about Bond, which wasn't about conditional spending.

"In the shock scenario where Hillary bows out, the Democratic establishment would be initially stunned and directionless."

Says Bill Scher (at Politico), seeming to argue that some sort of order would emerge from the chaos, but — and I've read the whole thing — I'm really not sure what. Key passage:
As of now, says [Democratic consultant Chris] Lapetina. “there really isn’t any enthusiasm” for the non-Hillary Democrats already flirting with a run—Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb—meaning no one would instantly lay claim to the Clintons’ vast network of donors.

Still, the Democratic bench is hardly shallow. Among other possible candidates who might suddenly find a fire in their belly: Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Gov. Deval Patrick, former Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Sens. Sanders, Mark Warner and Kirsten Gillibrand. Lapetina believes pressure would build for a few really big names to enter, such as Al Gore.

And then there’s Elizabeth....

SCOTUSblog reports from the oral argument in King v. Burwell.

By Eric Citron. Excerpt:
[Justice Kagan... offered (something like) the following example:  Imagine I tell law clerk A to write a memo, and law clerk B to edit law clerk A’s memo, and then I tell law clerk C to write such memo if law clerk A is too busy.  And imagine that happens – law clerk A is too busy, so law clerk C writes it.  Should law clerk B edit it?... In response, petitioner’s counsel said that the context mattered, and it would depend on whether the Justice was indifferent between law clerk A and law clerk C writing the memo in the first instance.  But that seemed to play into Justice Kagan’s hand, who made clear that this was her point – that in understanding this text, the context obviously mattered....

[Justice Kennedy]... pointed out that, under petitioners’ reading, the federal government would be all but forcing states to create their own exchanges.... not just [because otherwise] their citizens would be denied benefits... [but also because] state insurance systems will fail if the subsidy/mandate system created by the statute does not operate....  For Kennedy, that seemed to make this case an echo of the last healthcare decision, where the Court concluded that it was unconstitutional coercion for the federal government to condition all Medicaid benefits in the state on expanding Medicaid therein....  Justice Scalia attempted to respond on petitioners’ behalf that such concerns do not enter if the statute is unambiguous, but Justice Kennedy reiterated his concern with adopting a reading that would create such a “serious unconstitutional problem.”
ADDED: I need to see the whole transcript — context matters! — but if this accurately portrays Kennedy's overall analysis, I think the government will win. This idea is that the challengers' interpretation asks the Court to read the statute to do something that would have to be stricken down as unconstitutional, because it would coerce the states to set up the exchanges. Congress lacks the power to commandeer the states and may only offer the states a choice. If the incentive to make the choice Congress wants is too heavy-handed — as it was with the Medicaid expansion in the 2012 Obamacare case — the would-be incentive is viewed as coercion. So if the provision is unconstitutional under the challengers' interpretation, in Kennedy's view, he will have reason to agree with the government's interpretation (that is, he would follow the doctrine of constitutional avoidance).

AND: SCOTUSblog has a second person, Tejinder Singh, also doing mid-argument reporting. Excerpt:
Justice Breyer [noted] that if the phrase “established by the state” is read to exclude exchanges created by HHS, then other provisions of the statute that also use that phrase would be rendered inoperative or nonsensical... The statute provides that insurance shall be made available on exchanges to “qualified individuals,” and further defines a “qualified individual” to mean, “with respect to an Exchange, an individual who” both wants to enroll in a qualified plan, and also “resides in the State that established the Exchange.” The government, as well as Justices Breyer and Kagan, argue that if the only way for a state to “establish” an exchange is to create it on its own, then there would be no “qualified individuals” in states that failed to do so, and therefore there would be nobody on the [HHS] exchanges (and, as Justice Kagan surmised, no product to sell on the exchanges).

"Is it ironic or apt that a man who had dedicated much of his life to the future of wireless communication would fall for the ancient, living technology of a carrier pigeon?"

"And is it ironic or apt that a man whose final years as an inventor were dedicated to a fearful direct-energy 'teleforce' weapon (dubbed the 'death ray' by the press) fell in love with the key symbol for peace?"

Matt Drudge really wants us to talk about how cool Martin O'Malley is.

This trio of images has been up at Drudge for so long that I feel like it won't go away until we talk about it. So here it is:

Have at it.

1. What's that Obama hand signal?
The “hook ‘em Horns” sign is not to be confused with the shaka sign — another hand gesture frequently used by Obama. That’s when surfers and, especially, people from Hawaii extend their thumb and smallest finger as a way to say “hang loose.”
2. Remember when Hillary banged her head and had to wear sunglasses? Then she looked at her phone and it made her seem like someone annoying from L.A. 

3. Why is Martin O'Malley showing his arms while playing guitar? "Your basic semi-pro, rebel song-singing, reel and jig-playing Celtic rock band, it’s the sort of act that has more enthusiasm than skill, more heart than polish…O’Malley — looking quite buff, thanks to a sleeveless T-shirt that showed off his muscular arms…"

4. The 3 images together? Is it a coolness contest? A youth comparison? A specific argument against Old Lady Clinton?

Depressing-looking village attracts loads of tourists by having lots of feral cats.

Here's this photo essay in The Atlantic: "Aoshima Island is one of about a dozen 'cat islands' around Japan... In Aoshima more than a hundred cats prowl the island... tiny Aoshima has seen a steep rise in tourist visits, overwhelming the handful of permanent residents."

People who travel too much and people who love feral cats... I'm picturing the Venn diagram... and thinking of additional circle for it.

"Snowden would be amenable to coming back to the United States for the kind of plea bargain that Gen. Petraeus received."

Said one of his legal advisers.

"Do you wonder why people are so mixed up when the bimbos the TV stations send out don’t even know what the bill does?"

Said Mark Belling on the radio, using a word that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Daniel Bice questions:
OK, "bimbo" is a little dated. Still, should Belling be using that term to deride female TV journalists? What's his term du jour for their incompetent male counterparts?
When I hear "bimbo," I think of "bimbo eruptions," a term coined by Governor Bill Clinton's chief of staff Betsey Ross Wright:
As deputy chair of the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign, Wright established the rapid response system that was responsible for defending Clinton's record in Arkansas and promptly answering all personal attacks on the candidate. During the 1992 campaign, Wright coined the term "bimbo eruptions" to describe rumors alleging extramarital affairs by Clinton. 
How sexual is the term "bimbo"? Can it just mean idiot or does Belling seem to be insinuating that the reporter is slutty?

By the way, "bimbo" originally referred to a male, as the "o" ending suggests. (It means "baby" in the original Italian.) The oldest English usage is for "A fellow, chap; usu. contemptuous." That goes back to 1919, with the female meaning arriving a decade later: "A woman; esp. a whore." That's from the (unlinkable) OED, which has a draft addition from 2004: "derogatory. A young woman considered to be sexually attractive but of limited intelligence. (Now the usual sense.)" The OED quotes a Woody Allen story from 1976, "The Whore of Mensa":
"I'm on the road a lot. You know how it is - lonely. Oh, not what you're thinking. See, Kaiser, I'm basically an intellectual. Sure, a guy can meet all the bimbos he wants. But the really brainy women - they're not so easy to find on short notice."
ADDED: I searched for "bimbo" in Carl Bernstein's book about Hillary "A Woman in Charge," and I found this quote from "one of her aides":
She doesn’t look at her life as a series of crises but rather a series of battles. I think of her viewing herself in more heroic terms, an epic character like in The Iliad, fighting battle after battle. Yes, she succumbs to victimization sometimes, in that when the truth becomes too painful, when she is faced with with the repercussions of her own mistakes or flaws, she falls into victimhood. But that’s a last resort and when she does allow the wallowing it’s only in the warm glow of martyrdom—as a laudable victim—a martyr in the tradition of Joan of Arc, a martyr in the religious sense. She would much rather play the woman warrior—whether it’s against the bimbos, the press, the other party, the other candidate, the right-wing. She’s happiest when she’s fighting, when she has identified the enemy and goes into attack mode…. That’s what she thrives on more than anything—the battle.

"And what defense attorneys and prosecutors actually will be doing is fighting the penalty phase ahead of time — using every opportunity to push on the jury their own views of who Tsarnaev was."

"For the defense, that’s a likeable innocent kid who was led astray, and deserves to live. For the prosecution, that’s a cold-blooded, murderous jihadi who should be put to death."

"I don't mind my parents searching for a groom. This is very common in India."

"But I want the right details to be given. It's fine as long as people know who you really are.... So I told them they've got the basic stuff wrong and that I would take the profile down and post who I really am...."

"As it turns out, the Common Core standards used by a majority of K-12 programs in the country require that students be able to 'distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.'"

"And the Common Core institute provides a helpful page full of links to definitions, lesson plans and quizzes to ensure that students can tell the difference between facts and opinions."

See the problem? Well, this NYT op-ed writer does, in "Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts." One of the top-rated comments over there begins "I find this entire argument specious from the start. The phrase 'moral facts' is deliberately provocative...." I agree.

The op-ed writer, by the way, is named Justin P. McBrayer. I've got to say the name is just perfect, like a name in a satirical novel about politics.

McBrayer is associate professor at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, where he teaches ethics and philosophy of religion. That's a nice gig! (Fact or opinion?)

March 3, 2015

"Chilling comment on Adam Liptak's NYT piece on the South Carolina employment benefits lawyer who focused attention the statutory text that might wreck Obamacare."

Liptak's article about Thomas M. Christina is titled "Lawyer Put Health Act in Peril by Pointing Out 4 Little Words":
“I noticed something peculiar about the tax credit,” he told a gathering of strategists at the American Enterprise Institute.... He pointed to four previously unnoticed words in the health care law... They seemed to say its tax-credit subsidies were limited to people living where an insurance marketplace, known as an exchange, had been “established by the state.”...

“Resistance is futile,” Mr. Christina said at the 2010 Washington conference, referring to state officials. “You can’t get re-elected if you turn down free money that would otherwise have been paid as tax credits to your citizens.”...

Mr. Christina did not anticipate that the Internal Revenue Service would in August 2011 propose and in May 2012 adopt regulations interpreting the law to allow subsidies in all 50 states, including those where the federal government ran the exchanges.
37 states did turn down the money and the feds stepped in and set up exchanges in those states and offering the subsidies even though these exchanges were not literally "established by the state." So now there's a case in the Supreme Court, to be argued tomorrow, which would take away the subsidies in those 37 states.

There are 709 comments on Liptak's article right now. I don't hold the NYT responsible for all the comments. I certainly don't vouch for what my commenters say, but I would take this out if I saw it in my comments. In fact, I'm only showing a screen shot because I don't want to create searchable text here:

There's only that one pushback comment from NYHuguenot — which itself goes too far — and it only arrived 11 hours after Cold's chilling remark, which has 11 thumbs up. I read Cold's comment in the middle of the night and hit the "flag" icon but I couldn't bring myself to check any of the options. "Inflammatory" and "Personal Attack" seemed closest but not precisely apt. I decided to blog about it here instead. It's evil to waft the suggestion of a violent attack. It might influence someone, though it's certainly not an imminent enough incitement to support arresting Cold. It's evil, but it's also ludicrous for Cold to project her political will — her desire to preserve the legislation — onto the seriously ill, as if they'll use their waning hours on earth to go out on an attack — they've got nothing to lose — and they'll fixate on some lawyer who noticed something in a 900-page statute that was so terribly important and yet so miserably unread.

"In an implicit challenge to President Obama, Mr. Netanyahu told a joint meeting of Congress that Iran’s 'tentacles of terror' were already clutching Israel..."

"... and that failing to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons 'could well threaten the survival of my country.'"
The deal Mr. Obama seeks will not prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, he said, but “will all but guarantee” it.

“We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror,” Mr. Netanyahu told the lawmakers, who responded with repeated standing ovations.

"Nothing makes for a festive spring like lettuce, bloodletting, and laxatives."

"How to Prepare for Spring, 1528" — spring, AKA "prymtyme" (prime time?).

"To be Jewish in this world is to always be concerned. When enemies make threats, take them seriously."

"When evil begins its work, don’t give it another chance."

"There was a moon out in space, but a cloud drifted over its face..."

Bob Dylan, film noir...

"Many were shocked that the apparent executioner in videos made by the Islamic State, or ISIS, was an educated, middle-class metropolitan."

"In fact, academic institutions in Britain have been infiltrated for years by dangerous theocratic fantasists. I should know: I was one of them," writes Maajid Nawaz, in a NYT op-ed.
Islamist “entryism” — the term originally described tactics adopted by Leon Trotsky to take over a rival Communist organization in France in the early 1930s — continues to be a problem within British universities and schools. Twenty years ago, I played my part as an Islamist entryist at college....

I had a mind inquiring enough to question world events, as well as the passion fostered by my background to care, but I lacked the emotional maturity to process these things. That made me ripe for Islamist recruitment. Into this ferment came my recruiter, himself straight out of a London medical college.
Here's Nawaz's book: "Radical: My Journey Out of Islamist Extremism."

"There is that side of Mrs. Clinton where the entitlement is so strong she just can't resist it."

"As an attorney, Mrs. Clinton should have known better than to try and game it by using a personal email account from which to conduct State Dept. business. It wasn't smart from a security point of view and it is against the rules not only in government, but throughout all industries. Why did she decide to do business off of the government's servers? Why does she get to decide what records the government now gets? The inherent wrong in that decision should have been apparent to her from the start. That is wasn't, or that she ignored it, makes her unfit. What other rules would Mrs. Clinton decide to override? What gives her the right to set her own rules?"

That's a comment at the NYT article titled "Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules."

Above the Law's Elie Mystal compares the LSAT to a condom and to a manhole cover.

In this post about the decision by a some law schools to accept applicants who have not taken the LSAT.
These law schools are trying to turn the purchase of legal education into an impulse buy. Don’t buy a prep course that costs a thousand bucks, instead spend $150,000 bucks on a lark. This is the law school version of the guy who tells you that he doesn’t use condoms because it “kills the mood.” The LSAT is a de-minimus prophylactic that, if used properly, can help protect students from harm. But Iowa and SUNY just want you to trust them.

Kelly Renee Gissendaner "was originally scheduled to die on Wednesday, but that execution was called off because of winter weather."

She was rescheduled for last night at 7 p.m., but the drugs to be used "appeared cloudy," and the execution was again postponed. The CNN article almost seems to hint that the hand of God is intervening:
A petition saying the mother of three has turned her life around, even earning a theology degree while in prison, had garnered more than 40,000 signatures as of Monday morning...

"While incarcerated, she has been a pastoral presence to many, teaching, preaching and living a life of purpose," the petition states. "Kelly is a living testament to the possibility of change and the power of hope. She is an extraordinary example of the rehabilitation that the corrections system aims to produce."
Gissendaner's crime was, of course, murder. The victim was her husband, and her lover Gregory Owen performed the hands-on beating and stabbing. Gissendaner showed up at the scene as the murder was under way, stayed in her car a while, then got out to make sure he was dead. Owen confessed, implicating Gissendaner, and, from jail, Gissendaner attempted to hire somebody to testify falsely that he'd forced her to go to the scene. Owen and Gissendaner were each offered a life-in-prison plea deal, with an opportunity for parole after 25 years. Owen accepted. Gissendaner — after attempting to get rid of that part about waiting 25 years — went to trial.
According to her clemency appeal, her lead trial attorney, Edwin Wilson, said he thought the jury would not sentence her to death "because she was a woman and because she did not actually kill Doug. ... I should have pushed her to take the plea but did not because I thought we would get straight up life if she was convicted."
This was in Georgia, which had only executed a woman once in all of its history, and that was back in 1944. That woman was Lena Baker, a black woman who shot and killed her white employer in what she described as self-defense:
The trial was presided over by Judge William "Two Gun" Worrill, who kept a pair of pistols on his judicial bench in plain view. The all-white, all-male jury convicted her by the end of the afternoon... On entering the execution chamber, Baker sat in the electric chair and said:
What I done, I did in self-defense, or I would have been killed myself. Where I was I could not overcome it. God has forgiven me. I have nothing against anyone. I picked cotton for Mr. Pritchett, and he has been good to me. I am ready to go. I am one in the number. I am ready to meet my God. I have a very strong conscience.

March 2, 2015

At Tilly's Café...


... you can talk about whatever you want.

(Photos taken by Meade today. You can see more pictures of Tilly at Meade's blog The Puparazzo.)

"The Rev. Malcolm Boyd, an Episcopal priest and author who challenged racism, war and religious complacency in the 1960s and ’70s..."

"... and was one of the first prominent clergymen in America to acknowledge his homosexuality publicly, died on Friday in Los Angeles. He was 91."
Wearing his clerical collar, accompanied by a jazz guitar or a blues horn, he recited talking-with-God prayers from his 1965 best-selling book, “Are You Running With Me, Jesus?”

“It’s morning, Jesus,” he’d say. “I’ve got to move fast — get into the bathroom, wash up, grab a bite to eat, and run some more. Where am I running? You know these things I can’t understand. It’s not that I need to have you tell me. What counts most is just that somebody knows, and it’s you. That helps a lot. So I’ll follow along, O.K.? But lead, Lord. Now I’ve got to run. Are you running with me, Jesus?”

(Skip ahead 4 minutes if you don't want to hear the somewhat tedious intro music... actually scroll in 5 minutes to get to Boyd.)

"Perhaps in 10 years we will see regulated breast milk readily for sale in supermarkets as society becomes more open-minded."

"It might remain a fringe activity or it could become a regular thing that mothers do to generate extra income during maternity leave. In the meantime, the 'breast milk men' will continue to meet mothers on street corners, in pubs and outside train stations in the search of their next fix."

“Why would you become a slave to a vegetable? Why?"

"Why would you do it?"

"This is a 'lllove llletter' to MELL LAZARUS, brilliant cartoonist of 'Miss Peach' and 'Momma'..."

"... who has always dreamed of being in a Times puzzle. His ambition was more modest, thinking the unusual double L of MELL would be enough...."

MORE: Here.

ELSEWHERE: "... based on the overwhelming soul-crushing awfulness of having Momma as her mother-in-law, she’s decided to go full-on goth. The filthy house is not so much a lifestyle choice as a side effect of the overwhelming depression."

A portrait of Bill Clinton that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery has a deliberate allusion to Monica Lewinsky's blue dress...

... according to the artist, Nelson Shanks.
“If you look at the left-hand side of it, there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things,” the painter said.

“It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.”
That is, Bill Clinton posed for this artist, who nevertheless took it upon himself not just to subtly interpose an allusion to the Lewinsky scandal but also to tell the world that he did so.
Shanks claimed that the Clintons have been lobbying the National Portrait Gallery to remove it, but a gallery spokeswoman denied that to the Daily News. Clinton reportedly chose Shanks to paint the portrait back in 2001.
Oh! Clinton even chose him. Wow. Smacking your patron around. That must be an old portraiture game, right? Can anyone cite historical examples of this sort of thing?

"Isis supporters have threatened Twitter employees... with death over the social network’s practice of blocking accounts associated with the group."

"In an Arabic post uploaded to the image-sharing site, the group told Twitter that 'your virtual war on us will cause a real war on you.' It warned that [Twitter co-founder] Jack Dorsey and Twitter employees have 'become a target for the soldiers of the Caliphate and supporters scattered among your midst!'"
“You started this failed war … We told you from the beginning it’s not your war, but you didn’t get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back. But when our lions come and take your breath, you will never come back to life.”

"Obamacare threatens to end John Roberts’s dream of a nonpartisan Supreme Court."

Just one headline that I'm quoting to stand in for all the articles I'm seeing that seem to be mostly only about scaring/manipulating/massaging the Supreme Court into feeling deep down inside that it simply must not ruin Obamacare.

To my eye, this effort seems so transparent and desperate that it heightens a perception that the text of the statute just won't work for what they really, reeeeeally need it to do.

Pay no attention to that statutory text behind the curtain!!!

"Why I’m Fed Up With Those Photos of 'School Lunches Around the World.'"

"First, most people understandably but mistakenly believe these photos depict actual lunches served in actual schools...."

The time Debbie Harry was not murdered by Ted Bundy.

From the UK Telegraph article titled "Debbie Harry on punk, refusing to retire and sex at 69":
Harry has always identified herself as a feminist, and there is a quiet strength in the way she presents herself, a sense that here is a woman very much in control. Before she was famous, she was on her way home from a club one rainy night in New York.

“It was two or three in the morning and I couldn’t find a cab. A car kept coming round and offering me a ride, so I accepted. Once in the car I noticed there were no door handles on the inside, which made me wary. I don’t know how, but I managed to put my hand through the window and open the door from the outside.”

The driver swerved to try to stop her escaping, but that gave her the momentum to throw herself out of the moving car. She thought no more of it until years later, when she saw the driver on the news. It was Ted Bundy, the serial killer who eventually confessed to murdering at least 30 women. “I always say my instincts saved me.”
1. Did that really happen?

2. What does being a feminist have to do with it? If only those 30 women who died had been more feminist, maybe they'd have figured out how to interpret and deal with the absence of interior door handles?

3. Why does the headline refer to punk, not retiring, and old people still having sex but not the time she escaped from Ted Bundy?

"I can't help noticing that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker picks beautiful young women to be the spokespeople for his administration and his campaigns."

"By my count there's Laurel Patrick, Alleigh Marré, Jocelyn Webster and Ciara Matthews. Matthews, you recall, is the one who made headlines for being a former Hooters waitress. It reminds me of Fox News, which uses super-sexy women as on-air talent rather than a normal range of women who just happen to be good journalists. As with Fox, it's hard to believe that the most talented females available to fill Walker's frontline jobs also look like models.... What does it say to the young girls of Wisconsin who hope to do important work when they grow up, regardless of their looks? In my opinion Walker's approach sets women back 50 years, to the pre-feminist Mad Men era."

A letter to the "Tell All" column in the Madison, Wisconsin alternative newspaper Isthmus.

Here's an article in the Cap Times from 2012 about Matthews: "Walker's Hooters connection and other fun facts about campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews."
“Are you guys doing a story on this, really?” she asked Friday when asked to confirm the rumor.

But to the direct question: Were you a Hooters girl? She said, “I was.”

Matthews said she waited tables for the popular restaurant chain -- which features tasty chicken wings and waitresses in short shorts and low-cut tops –- while attending college at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

“So you guys want to write a story that I waited tables in college,” she said. “I’m confused as to why that’s a story.”
Imagine taking a shot at a young woman for waitressing?

ADDED: Back in 2009, somebody wrote to Isthmus "Tell All" with this thing about me:

"I find the use of bowling balls as lawn art to be undeniably quirky. For me, that starts with the premise that bowling itself is whimsical..."

"... an antithesis for the social isolation of our era.... Left without a single alley today, we [the people of Berkeley, California] compensate with bowling balls as lawn decoration. Sometimes it is a single ball, sometimes a cluster. Sometimes black, sometimes bright colors. Sometimes overwhelmed by weeds, sometimes proudly landscaped."

Hmm... I've seen that in Madison. Blogged in a 2009 post titled "What if hippies had money... and good taste?" My photo:


"Let’s talk about today’s argument in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission in Plain English."

Amy Howe has a readable summary of the complicated problem of independent redistricting commissions and the Constitution's Elections Clause("Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for . . . Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof"). Howe's penultimate sentence:
[S]upporters of the commission warn the Court that, if voters aren’t allowed to hand responsibility for redistricting over to independent commissions like the ones in Arizona and California, there will be no real way to combat political gerrymandering, which results in “partisanship and dysfunction” in Congress.
Obviously, there's another side to that. The "real way to combat political gerrymandering" could be the way provided for in the text of the Constitution: the legislative process.

"Face the Nation" laugh line: "When you're in Madison, Wisconsin, and you make a mistake nobody notices."

On yesterday's show, the host John Dickson asked Republican strategist Kevin Madden about that line in Scott Walker's CPAC speech. ("If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the globe."

Madden said:
Look, I mean, I think too much was made of that. I think one of the lessons that Scott Walker has to take on this will be the test of whether or not his candidacy is up to par. Is when you are -- when you're in Madison, Wisconsin, and you make a mistake nobody notices. When you are a potential presidential candidate everybody notices, the Democrats jump in, and three or four other campaigns that see to their advantage will seek to elevate that....
LOL. We were laughing in Madison, Wisconsin, where for the last 5 years everyone has been jumping on every damned thing that could possibly be jumped on. The idea that Scott Walker has been hanging out in a cushy locale not really getting tested is beyond ludicrous. The national arena is certainly much larger, but I think, with the greater number and multiplicity of voices, it's easier to get through the process of explaining and contextualizing inept remarks.

 In any case, it's ridiculous to say that nobody notices, unless Madden is himself making a politically inept remark and revealing that he thinks the people out here in the hinterlands are nobodies. Wisconsin people notice like hell. And anything — anything — that could be used against Scott Walker has been used. If you don't believe me, Google the phrase "kind of the last hurrah before we dropped the bomb."

On "Face the Nation," Peggy Noonan was asked about Chris Christie, and she said:
One of the joy of politics, he's a natural campaigner. Can I point out Chris Christie has the opposite problem of Scott Walker. Scott Walker gets to say things in Wisconsin, the press doesn't notice. Chris Christie is across the river from Mark [Halperin of Bloomberg Politics]. He's across the river from the mainstream media. And they kill him every day.
Mainstream media, such coasties

Maria Cardona, the Democratic Party strategist, who said "Jesus!" on "Face the Nation" yesterday.

Here's how it looks in the transcript:
[JOHN] DICKERSON: But Maria, Democrats seem quite happy to have this crack up and seem to be a in posture to not really deal with anybody. So, how does that affect...

CARDONA: I wouldn't say happy about it. I would say that Democrats are underscoring the message that they have said frankly very long time that the conservative ideologues in John Boehner's caucus are a problem because they're not interested in governing. And so what Democrats are using this is to underscore that they are not even willing to put Jesus (ph) -- the funding of DHS at a moment when we need it the most, first as opposed to some ideologues who are trying to prove a point because they don't like something that the president did.
The "(ph)" is a nice touch. Just going by how it sounded. It sounded like "Jesus." Who would just blurt out the name of Jesus as an expletive in the middle of a "Face the Nation" panel?  Watch it at 4:16 in the video:

I'm glad I'm not the only one who objected to that kind of talk in that setting. Here she is defending herself on Twitter:

So... the Spirit moved her. And she's usually in church on Sunday. What a ballsy explanation. She stands by the expletive. Lest you think it was just a momentary slip by a woman under pressure and at a loss for words, she'd like to you to believe that the outrage withholding funding to DHS makes a devout Christian cry out to the Lord.

March 1, 2015

Scott Walker on "Fox News Sunday" this morning.


"As we got closer, it became clear that it was a pure jade iceberg."

"We were very lucky to come upon it during the short window of time before it blended back into white, after enough air, sun, and snow exposure."

"Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War Against Human Nature."

It's Robert Stacy McCain's book about feminism. I'm resistant to his extreme form of aversion to feminism, but he's plowed (wrong word??) through a lot of books I can't be troubled with. Ah, there, I used his word: trouble. Why go looking for trouble? One reason is: to write a book about trouble, sex trouble. Why buy such a book? One reason is: to blog about it. Also, it's only $1.99 in Kindle, whence I can cut and paste things here for you.

Law school applications are in decline because "machine intelligence is beginning to substitute for lawyers..."

"... particularly at the low end of the legal profession. Document discovery is moving from human to machines. Legalzoom and similar services are encroaching on the production of simple documents, like many wills and trusts. And once machines get into an area, they dominate over time."

Writes lawprof John O. McGinnis.

"I admire the way [Leonard Nimoy] presented the women as standing there looking the viewer full in the face."

"Saying look at me — I’m entitled to stand here and present myself to the world. I don’t have to be ashamed and cower in the corner," wrote Natalie Angier in the foreword to the photography book "The Full Body Project." (Clicking the link won't display nudity on screen, but scrolling down will.)
"It really disturbed him that women who considered themselves overweight had this terrible feeling about themselves... He wanted to show the world that there’s beauty to be found in different body types."
I noted Nimoy's photography project back in 2007, in a post that read "So, Leonard Nimoy is into fat women. I have a similar preference." The link on "similar preference" went to a 2005 post titled "Drawing from the nude model":
My undergraduate degree is in Fine Arts, and I've spent many hours drawing from a live model, both in art school and in evening sessions here at UW....

It can also be tiresome to draw from the model. You may think it's always going to be interesting to look at a naked person, but many people who try to be artist's models are not very good. You need an interesting body and an ability to find a good pose and hold it. The artist can move around looking for a good angle on a pose, but with some models there are no interesting angles. Try drawing a thin man! The best models are overweight women -- like the woman in the photo at the link. One reason I stopped doing the evening drawing sessions here at UW was that nearly all the models were thin. I mean, if I want to draw landscapes, I'd go to the mountains, not the plains.
ADDED: The 2007 post linked to a NYT article titled "Girth and Nudity, a Pictorial Mission":
Mr. Nimoy... admits that before he began ["The Full Body Project"], it had never occurred to him that beauty might be culture driven.... His enlightenment came about eight years ago, when he had been showing pictures from his Shekhina series — sensual, provocative images of naked women in religious Jewish wear — at a lecture in Nevada. 
(Nimoy — according to Wikipedia — was "the son of Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Iziaslav, Soviet Union (now Ukraine). His parents left Iziaslav separately—his father first walking over the border into Poland—and reunited in the United States.")
Afterward, a 250-pound woman approached him and asked if he wanted to take pictures of her, a different body type....

“The nudity wasn’t the problem,” he said, “but I’d never worked with that kind of a figure before. I didn’t quite know how to treat her. I didn’t want to do her some kind of injustice. I was concerned that I would present this person within the envelope of an art form.”

But soon he relaxed into it, lulled by the clicking of the camera and the woman’s comfort with her body. He placed some of the shots in various exhibitions, and they invariably garnered the most attention. “People always wanted to know: ‘Who is she? How did you come to shoot her? Why? Where? What was it all about?’ ”

"10 Times Ed Sheeran Slayed A Cover Song."

That's what I'm listening to at 5:28 a.m., here in Madison, Wisconsin.

Rand Paul wins the CPAC straw poll with 25.7%, but Scott Walker gets a "closer-that-expected" 21.4%.

3rd and 4th places are far back Ted Cruz, 11.5%, and Ben Carson, 11.4%. Jeb Bush is 5th, and perhaps 8.3% feels good enough to him.
Although some CPAC members applauded Bush's call for "reform" conservatism, others described the former Florida governor as a dreaded RINO — Republican In Name Only. "He should be a Democrat," said Christmas Simon, a public speaker from Yorba Linda, Calif.

Bush's name drew boos during some of Saturday's wrap-up sessions.