"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

G&S Liveblogs the State of the Union

Beer in hand, mouse in the other, the Hired Hand aspires to provide you with the best in SOTU coverage, or at least the most wry.

(10:09 pm) We think you've had enough. You're on your own for Tim Kaine. Thanks to all our...reader.

(10:04 pm) Prez shakes Obama's hand, passes by Harry Reid. Frist whispers afterwards, "Meet us by the oak tree after school. Bring your blade and I'll show you what cloture is all about."

(10:02 pm) "History is turning in a wide arc toward an unknown shore... And so we move forward, remembering never to mix business with mixed metaphors." And it's over. 51 minute speech.

(9:59 pm) Bush gets to Katrina (though not by name) about an hour in.

(9:55 pm) Bush throws out some stats that prove our kids are doing well. Drug use is down 19% since 2001. He stops short of invoking those titillating figures on oral sex among teens we heard awhile back.

(9:53 pm) Improving math and science. All these ideas are pretty vague. Meg Spellings looks like she might have gotten left behind.

(9:51 pm) Ethanol? "Practical and competitive within six years." Well, at least the Iowa delegation is happy. Reducing our imports of Middle Eastern oil by 75% before 2025? Somebody in the White House reads Tom Friedman. Better.

(9:48 pm) Bill Frist got a little uncomfortable when the President said "OB/GYN," didn't he?

(9:45 pm) AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE! This guy is turning into Clinton!

(9:42 pm) "The rising cost of entitlements isn't - is a cost that is not going to go away!" Interesting, a new push for Social Security reform.

(9:40 pm) Calvin Coolidge also presided over 4 years of uninterrupted economic growth (more like 7). Be careful what you take credit for.

(9:37 pm) Freedom must be pretty freakin' tired by now, having been on the march for at least 3 years.

(9:35 pm) Reauthorize the PATRIOT Act. And now, the surveillance program. "It remains essential to the security of America." Hillary Clinton gives a smile so full of incredulity it hurts.

(9:31 pm) "The Iranian government cannot be permitted to obtain nuclear weapons." Um, who's gonna do that?

(9:29 pm) Bush refers to Egypt's (cough) and Palestine's elections - demanding negotiation with Israel from Hamas. Of course, they'd have to, you know, recognize them first.

(9:26 pm EST) MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS! Bowtie sightings: 2, with Tom Olyphant on Newshour.

(9:23 pm EST) Apparently only Republicans hate "politicians in Washington, DC."

(9:20 pm EST) Anti-isolationism rant. Does anyone REALLY think we should not do anything? Also, I'd love to see our 'clear plan toward victory' in Iraq.

(9:17 pm EST) Straight into Iraq and the war on terror. More freedom and democracy, everywhere = Fewer Terrorists. No mention of Hamas.

(9:14 pm EST) Best friend of Hired Hand is excited for his first Hi-Def SOTU. He's kind of disappointed that "the new Supreme Court Justices didn't act like rookies at the Superbowl and bring their camcorders."

(9:12 pm EST) Bush leads with Coretta Scott King. Take that, Kanye!

(9:10 pm EST) The President has arrived. Lehrer is giving us a run for the "most wry" award. "Look at the President's bright new blue tie!"

(9:06 pm EST) Fashion update: they had 90 days to fit Sam Alito for a robe, and it's 2 sizes too big. Also, Condi Rice seems to be wearing the most recent issue of the Chanel Canine Line.

(9:03 pm EST) We're switching to PBS, the dulcet tones of Paula Zahn notwithstanding.

(9:02 pm EST) CNN has made its first "the Supreme Court has moved at least 2 or 3 steps to the right since last year at this time." Now, tilt your head a little bit, and say cheese!

(9:01 pm EST) Shut up, Wolf Blitzer. Chief Justice Roberts is in the building.

He kept his promise.

It occurs to me that one might aspire to the epitaph:


Scott Ott's (Scrappleface) grandmother has died. More HERE.

Monday, January 30, 2006

On Internet Fame

There's becoming famous for a good reason, becoming famous for a bad reason, and becoming famous for one of the most revolting reasons ever.

These guys fall into one of these three categories. Their final tally: 100 beef patties; 100 slices of (ultimately sweaty) American cheese; 19,490 calories.

If you've never had In-N-Out Burger, you're missing out - gastrointestinal feelings created by these photos notwithstanding.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Been there. Done that.

"Now, as you have probably heard, our son Tyler is going through a biting phase. This is not unusual behavior for a 5-year-old, especially for a bright, inquisitive boy eager to explore the boundaries of interpersonal contact.

"However, the reaction from some of you, as well as from Ms. Wilson (don't get me started—does she even like children?), has turned this molehill into a mountain. So I'd like to give you a few tips that I hope you will pass on to your children. Tyler is just a sensitive boy who happens to have a small number of triggers that can set him off."

"A Mother's Plea" at McSweeney's.

It's In The Koran

No, really, it is. It's got a great beat, Dick, and it's easy to dance to. I'd give it a nine!


Via The Corner at NRO, click below to play.

[UPDATE] As of 2/1/06 the video is unavailable at its source. The link has been deleted so your computer doesn't hang while it tries to load. One cannot help but wonder WHY the video was taken down.

In Which I Fail Brilliantly, Part 2

I took my first ever practice LSAT on Saturday (the June 1997 edition, if you're interested).

In high school, I took the SAT "cold" with the notion that I'd figure out where I was, take a prep course, and bump up my score. Calling it "taking it cold" was a bit of a misnomer, of course, because I'd taken at least one standardized test a year for the previous 10 years or so. These tests included two PSAT exams in high school (one, according to my high school, "for practice") and the SATs way back in 7th grade, too.

Before this morning, however, I had *never* looked at a question from the LSAT. Not one. This was, in the words of Andre 3000, cooler than being cool. Ice cold. Now, of course, the questions on the LSAT aren't from Mars - three-quarters of them are reading comprehension, which we've all done before (see above).

The other quarter is "logic games," with about 25 questions to do in the 35-minute period. This is a laughably insufficient amount of time. For those who don't know, a logic game looks like this:
An amusement park roller coaster includes five cars, numbered 1 through 5 from front to back. Each car accommodates up to two riders, seated side by side. Six people—Tom, Gwen, Laurie, Mark, Paul and Jack—are riding the coaster at the same time.
  • Laurie is sharing a car.
  • Mark is not sharing a car and is seated immediately behind an empty car.
  • Tom is not sharing a car with either Gwen or Paul.
  • Gwen is riding in either the third or fourth car.
If Paul is riding in the second car, how many different combinations of riders are possible for the third car?
  • (A) One
  • (B) Two
  • (C) Three
  • (D) Four
  • (E) Five
I used to do logic games as a true-blue pimply nerd in 8th grade math competitions. They were admittedly kind of fun. But here in LSAT-land, they give you just about enough time to say "Whaaaaaaaaa?" and rub your eyes before the entire section is over. Shoot me now. I hope to improve at these questions before they tank my actual LSAT score, instead of my practice LSAT score: I got ONE-THIRD of the questions in the logic section wrong.

That said, not too shabby on the first time out of the gates. Final score: 165.

Oh, and one final thought: the office is a creepy, creepy place to be on the weekend.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Reasoned Discourse

"Ever since Bush imposed martial law and shot the cast of "The View" -- sorry, since Bush won the last election, hard-left nuttery seems more mainstream. Bob Dole did not post on bulletin boards that claimed Bill Clinton would soon use FEMA to herd everyone into U.N.-run camps where everyone would get Mark of the Beast bar codes on their necks. John Kerry, on the other hand, has posted at the Daily Kos, whose neck-vein-popping contributors seem to think Bush spends his nights getting hammered and ordering Halliburton to poison Iraqi water so he can get kickbacks from the Pepto-Bismol Crime Syndicate."

"The good news is that you, too, can be like Kerry, and rant as you please in unmoderated comment sections. But you have to ask yourself, punk: Do you have the chops to truly make a fool of yourself to disinterested observers? Well, do you?"

More advice from James Lileks.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Just Kill Me Right Now

Any of my sons can testify to the Gentleman Farmer’s attitude toward ignorance of that branch of mathematics syled "statistics." Hell, anyone who’s spent more than 20 minutes in my presence could tell you about it. It is my opinion that while poll taxes, religious tests, and literacy requirements provide no basis for limiting the franchise, no person should be permitted to vote without passing a college-level course in statistics. If the basis for this is not obvious, then you are very probably among the group to be disenfranchised upon my elevation to the office of President-for-Life.

The Gentleman Farmer is also interested in general trends in the real estate market, since we are very likely to sell our home in Washington within the next several years. Thus, my attention was attracted to the CNNMoney.com headline “New Home Sales Post Surprise Rise.” The article is written by “Grace Wong,” billed as a CNNMoney.com “staff writer.” That is, this is a person who gets paid -- who takes money -- to write about economic matters. Matters which, more than some of the time, will require rather more than a casual knowledge of the science of statistics.

My attention was drawn to this paragraph (emphasis mine):
The latest Census Bureau report shows median prices for new residences sold in December fell 1.5 percent from the previous month to $221,800. Half of the homes sold for more than the median, the rest for less.
Imagine that. Does the Federal Reserve know about this?

January 27, 1756

He was good.

Oh, No!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


WBIR in Knoxville reports:

Tennessee "Crack Tax" brings in nearly $2 million in first year

During its first year, Tennessee's "Crack Tax" has brought in nearly $2 million dollars in state revenue.

The illegal substances tax went into effect last January.

Basically, drug dealers are supposed to pay taxes on illegal drugs and alcohol.

They pay confidentially, and when they do, they get a stamp.

If they're caught without the stamp, they'll be prosecuted for not only selling drugs, but for not paying their taxes too.

All money made from the stamps goes to fighting drugs.
Do we make this stuff up? We do not: LINK.

NOW I understand!


Just asking . . . . .

Directly above is the cover of this Friday's number of Rolling Stone magazine. And, yes, that is the modestly talented and extremely silly Kanye West as Jesus Christ. We provide no links to comment, outrage, explanation, or discussions of the First Amendment, leaving such research as an exercise for our readers.

But we do have a question:

What point is Mr. West trying to make?

And if the answer to this first question is that Mr. West intended to show his fearlessness, his willingness to break the bounds of contemporary culture, to demonstrate that he is oblivious to danger, invulnerable to intimidation, then we have another question:

Why didn't he -- and the editors of Rolling Stone -- choose instead to have him depicted as Moses? or Muhammed?

Just asking.

[UPDATE -- 9:45 a.m.] We see that Glenn Reynolds and Jonah Goldberg have posed the same question. Professor Reynolds speculates that it is because Mr. West is without balls. We suppose that might explain it. Mr. Goldberg notes more circumspectly that dressing up as Muhammed "at least would take some guts." Just so.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dead Reckoning

Yesterday was the annual March for Life here in Washington, D.C., marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In 1998, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the decision, National Review published the editorial "Dead Reckoning: Roe at 25."

The abortion regime was born in lies. In Britain (and in California, pre-Roe), the abortion lobby deceptively promoted legal revisions to allow "therapeutic" abortions and then defined every abortion as "therapeutic." The abortion lobby lied about Jane Roe, claiming her pregnancy resulted from a gang rape. It lied about the number of back-alley abortions. Justice Blackmun relied on fictitious history to argue, in Roe, that abortion had never been a common law crime.

The abortion regime is also sustained by lies. Its supporters constantly lie about the radicalism of Roe: even now, most Americans who "agree with Roe v. Wade" in polls think that it left third-term abortions illegal and restricted second-term abortions. They have lied about the frequency and "medical necessity" of partial-birth abortion. Then there are the euphemisms: "terminating a pregnancy," abortion "providers," "products of conception." "The fetus is only a potential human being" — as if it might as easily become an elk. "It should be between a woman and her doctor" — the latter an abortionist who has never met the woman before and who has a financial interest in her decision. This movement cannot speak the truth.
Everything abortion touches, it corrupts. It has corrupted family life. In the war between the sexes, abortion tilts the playing field toward predatory males, giving them another excuse for abandoning their offspring: She chose to carry the child; let her pay for her choice. Our law now says, in effect, that fatherhood has no meaning, and we are shocked that some men have learned that lesson too well. It has corrupted the Supreme Court, which has protected the abortion license even while tacitly admitting its lack of constitutional grounding. If the courts can invent such a right, unmoored in the text, tradition, or logic of the Constitution, then they can do almost anything; and so they have done. The law on everything from free speech to biotechnology has been distorted to accommodate abortionism. And abortion has deeply corrupted the practice of medicine, transforming healers into killers.

Most of all, perhaps, it has corrupted liberalism. For all its flaws, liberalism could until the early seventies claim a proud history of standing up for the powerless and downtrodden, of expanding the definition of the community for whom we pledge protection, of resisting the idea that might makes right. The Democratic Party has casually abandoned that legacy. Liberals' commitment to civil rights, it turns out, ends when the constituency in question can offer neither votes nor revenues.
"Abortionism" has indeed become not a matter of opinion, law, or morality, but an entire belief system.

Via The Corner at NRO.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Free Speech & The Internet

Cap'n Ed is talking about "reader posted" reviews at Amazon.com:
That's not the actions of people who have confidence in themselves. Those are the actions of a fearful, small-minded, vulgar group of Neanderthals who have suddenly seen Homo sapiens and realized that their days are numbered. These mouthbreathers cannot offer any new ideas, so instead of trying to compete with conservatives, they're busy with the electronic equivalent of sticking their fingers into their ears and shouting, "LA-LA-LA-LA, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU!!" as loudly as possible.
More HERE. And he has a point.


Washingtonians (left-coast Washingtonians, not those phonies who live in that federal enclave on the Potomac River) are rightfully proud to be represented in the United States Senate by Patty Murray. Politicians being what they are, one might think it would be impossible to reformulate standard gas-bag rhetoric into truly new and wondrous forms. But the Senator has succeeded where others have failed.

Congressional Democrats believe they have hit upon a winning strategy: Jack Abramoff. Their plan is to repeat "Jack Abramoff" as many times as they can (until, perhaps, it displaces "Haliburton" in the lexicon of unexamined political curses), and suggest that the invocation is reason enough to vote Democrat.

Abramoff, as you may recall, is the now-disgraced former lobbyist and Washington power-broker who showered cash and valuable parting gifts on powerful politicians. Most of his largesse, of course, fell upon Republicans, as they have pretty much been in power over the life of Jack's amazing arc from obscurity to Master of the Universe, to felon. But Mr. A was an equal-opportunity corrupter, willing to permit a variety of Democrats (including Harry Reid) to jam their snouts into his trough.

Senator Murray, it seems, received more than $40,000 in Abramoff-directed "campaign contributions." In her case (as in that of Senator Reid) Jack himself didn't write the checks, but he instead directed his cash-rich clients (various Indian tribes) to do so.

Now some politicians have responded to the Abramoff flame-out by giving back the cash they received, or by donating a like amount to some worthy cause. Some deny any wrongdoing, and refuse to cough up the boodle.

But only Patty Murray -- according to our crack staff of researchers -- is taking the position that she's going to keep her cash, because to give it back to the Indian tribes would . . . .

Well, don't take our word for it, let's see what her local paper reports:
Sen. Patty Murray said Friday that returning contributions from Indian tribes represented by Jack Abramoff would "taint" the tribes.

The state's senior senator, a Seattle Democrat, said there was nothing wrong with accepting more than $40,000 in campaign donations from out-of-state tribes represented by the disgraced lobbyist.

Abramoff's excesses have been halted, and Congress is considering myriad ethics reforms, she said.

The donations, from 1999 to 2005, placed Murray second among Senate Democrats and ninth overall in the Senate, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, D.C., organization that tracks money in politics.

Abramoff has pleaded guilty to fraud, corruption and tax evasion.

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Michigan gave Murray $14,980. She received $12,000 from the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in California; $9,000 from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians; and $5,000 from the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, the report said.

A number of lawmakers, including Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., returned similar contributions or sent the money to charity. Murray's staff announced last month that she saw no reason to do so.
Can we make this stuff up? No, we cannot.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

All In the Family

NEW YORK (AP) -- Charles Willson Peale's full-length portrait of George Washington on the American Revolutionary War battlefield fetched $21.3 million at auction Saturday, setting a world record for the sale of an American portrait, Christie's auction house said.

"George Washington at Princeton," signed and dated 1779 by the Revolutionary period's premier portrait artist, was one of eight full-length portraits of Washington painted by Peale between 1779 and 1781. It was the only one known to be in private hands.
Charles Willson Peale is also the Great-Grandfather of Gentleman Farmer's Great-Grandfather. If only he had stashed a few of these portraits in the closet for the benefit of the family.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

In Which I Fail Brilliantly, Part 1

While it's fun to write about pandas, and Bill O'Reilly, and one-eyed kittens, sometimes a higher calling exists. Sometimes, subjects come up that are far more important, relevant, and engaging. Like, say, myself.

No, seriously. At least for awhile, I'm going to try using G&S here as a forum to live out publicly the agonizing turmoil that is Law School Admissions. Capital L, capital S, capital A. Many of our readers are seasoned attorneys. Many of our readers are also shameless self-promoters. We thought this confluence of interests would make my admissions ordeal -- which is in and of itself shameless-self promotion -- educational or at least mildly entertaining.

Not sure what's changed since all of you applied, but here's the basic rundown: you take your LSAT score, transcript, recommendation letters, resume, and personal statement, and you feed them all into the LSAC (Law School Admissions Council) central filing deal online. ...Of course, you have to HAVE all of these things to put into the file.

I'm at the very beginning. One good thing about being a few years out of school is that your friends want to get rid of all their "How To Get Into Law School By Harnessing Your Inner Sargent Shriver" books. So now I have more than a few of them. I already registered (to the tune of $250) for the LSAT, but it's not 'til June. So you'll have many, many more opportunities to be amused at my folly.

Upcoming posts include: evil websites that keep law school applicants up at night; the 10 schools I wish would admit me and the 3 I know won't; the plight of the sheltered white male; and "Why Would Anyone Go To Private School?"

Stay tuned. We've got a looooooong way to go.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Welcome Mighty Hoppers!

Earlier today we posted "Because We Hate Boys," which appears immediately below. It suggests that the behavior of the Headmaster of the Georgetown Day School in dealing with a rather ordinary, if upsetting, incident at that school was silly.

Since that post was put up we have had several hits from the web server at the Georgetown Day School, including one 90-minute visit.

We'd like to think that these hits, and particularly the very long one, are by students at the school using those expensive high-speed links in the school's library. We'd like to think that some guerilla logged on and then left that page boldly displayed.

But it could be that the Headmaster himself is checking his clippings.

And that would be fine as well.

Because We Hate Boys

In the current issue of The New Republic, Richard Whitmire has an article titled "Boy Trouble," which notes that boys are increasingly left behind academically. It's available HERE. (subscription required, but not hard to acquire.)

Ann Althouse provides the following quotation from the article:
The brains of men and women are very different. Last spring, Scientific American summed up the best gender and brain research, including a study demonstrating that women have greater neuron density in the temporal lobe cortex, the region of the brain associated with verbal skills. Now we've reached the heart of the mystery. Girls have genetic advantages that make them better readers, especially early in life. And, now, society is favoring verbal skills. Even in math, the emphasis has shifted away from guy-friendly problems involving quick calculations to word and logic problems.

Increasingly, teachers ask students to keep written journals, even as early as kindergarten. What gets written isn't polished prose, but it is important training, say teachers, some of whom rely on the book Kid Writing, which advocates the use of writing to teach children basic skills in a host of subjects. The teachers are only doing their jobs, preparing their students for a work world that has moved rapidly away from manufacturing and agriculture and into information-based work. It's not that schools have changed their ways to favor girls; it's that they haven't changed their ways to help boys adjust to this new world.

Suddenly, the anecdotal evidence becomes obvious. Open the door of any ninth-grade "academy" that some school districts run--the clump of students predicted to sink in high school--and you'll see a potential football team. Nearly all guys. Ninth grade is where boys' verbal deficit becomes an albatross that stymies further male academic achievement. That's the year guys run into the fruits of the school-reform movement that date back to the 1989 governors' summit in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Democrats and Republicans vowed to shake up schools. One outcome of the summit is that, starting in ninth grade, every student now gets a verbally drenched curriculum that is supposed to better prepare them for college. Good goal, but it's leaving boys in the dust.
Professor Althouse observes that the New Republic article does little to explain this "gender gap" or suggest solutions to it. But her readers have some ideas, and have (at last count) provided nearly 100 comments. One mother observes:
I'll point a finger of blame. The blame is with a school system that is designed by women, administrated by women, taught by women and graded by women.

Oh, and look at that -- girls do great in these schools. Wow, what an astonishing coincidence.

I have three boys and a girl. The school (and my kids go to a very good charter school) put far too much emphasis on fine motor skills and sitting still. And how about that reading material -- Charlotte's Web (girl hero.) Island of the Blue Dolphins (girl hero.) Little House on the Prairie (girl hero.) Harry Potter is banned outright, history textbooks are purged of all stories of bloody battles, and hey let's draw some unicorns today for Earth Day!

My sons are readers, but not because of school. My eldest is passing around "Ice Station" by Matthew Reilly, full of action and gunfire and explosions, and it's being smuggled like a Playboy magazine because the teachers would never stand for it.

The only male teachers who make it into high school are neutered liberal sissies who are little Ward Churchill wanna-be's, delighting in teaching anti-capitalism and "peace" activism.

We need vouchers and we need them now. In the meantime, does anyone know how to apply to Hogwarts?
Another reader tut-tutted that the only thing required is parental encouragement and role-modeling to provide feedback and an environment friendly to and respectful of reading in particular and learning in general.

Now, the Gentleman Farmer's three sons (the youngest of whom will be 18 next month) were raised by two lawyers, in a house crowded (according to the Farmer's Wife) with books: history, biography, economics, religion, science fiction, mystery, sports. I could have told the condescending commenter just how full of crap he is.

But another of Ms. Althouse's readers did so:
. . . this is such a simplistic, overstatement that I don't know what to say. Rare for me, I take it personally, find it offensive, and upon reading it initially, was so angry, I left my computer.

I do know that it is DEAD WRONG in our case, with our exceptionally bright child (not just our assessment), being raised in an exceptionally rich environment, by parents who were both academic achievers and are committed life-long learners.

He's struggling in kindergarten, for all the reasons alluded to in this article. In 5 months' time, he's gone from being excited about school to hating it.

(And he actually demonstrated very early gifts in language, by the way--20 words at 11 months, correctly using "ramshackle," for example, at 18 months, etc.)

But he finds it tough to sit still (in all-day kindergarten) and do the fine motor activities. Punishment for that? Removal of recess. How that makes sense to any rational person with any insight into active 5-year-old boys is utterly and completely beyond me.
Exactly correct. Read the article, and (particularly) read the comments. The bottom line is that boys are doing poorly in school because much of the mainstream education system simply doesn't like ordinary, normal, dirty, smelly, active, easily-distracted boys. They’re obnoxious, aggressive, and happy to tell you that they don’t really care if you’re terribly disappointed in them.

When the advanced educator today comes face-to-face with an ordinary boy, he's aghast, confused, offended, and at a loss as to what to do aside from wringing his hands and looking sad.

Think I'm exaggerating? Think again.

The Georgetown Day School is a tony, sophisticated, diverse, sensitive and outrageously expensive private school here in Washington, D.C. It seems that back around Thanksgiving, the email account of a teacher at the school was hacking into, and used to send emails to three students. The message to one student was vulgar and obscene, but not very clever or creative. As the email account that was broken into belonged to a female teacher, it's not too difficult to fill in those blanks. The other two messages were quite good imitations of messages that a teacher might well send to students who were failing academically. Very well done, actually.

Now it's obvious to me, and it's no doubt obvious to you, that the person who hacked into the account was male, between the ages of 13 and 18, a student at the Georgetown Day School, and either a current or former student of the female teacher whose account was busted. The services of Sherlock Holmes not required. Moreover, it's obvious that pulling off this caper required impressive skills and considerable initiative and energy.

It's the quintessential teenaged boy gag. It's the sort of thing one expects teenaged boys to do. As grownups and parents we don't approve, and we don't encourage, but we surely are neither surprised nor shocked.

The perpetrators need to be identified, and appropriately disciplined: Public and personal apologies, a two-week suspension, a year of probation, and some scores of hours performing fitting public service, such as tutoring the faculty regarding computer and internet security.

But that's not what the head of the Georgetown Day School did: He called the cops. And not just the cops, but the FEDERAL cops. The result was an investigation by the Secret Service, including the execution of a federal search warrant.

[If you're wondering how this sort of thing could possibly be taken seriously by federal law enforcement officials (ultimately involving two Secret Service agents as well as other "Department of Justice" investigators), then you don't know anything about Washington. Obviously somebody at the school knows important people in Federal law enforcement. This is no laughing matter. Serious, serious indeed.]

All as reported on The Smoking Gun.

So go read the New Republic article. Read the comments at Althouse. Read the book Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys.

And see if you don't agree with me: The problem is that we hate boys.

[UPDATE. 8:00 p.m.] We have been admonished that the first bogus email sent from the hacked account at Georgetown Day School was not as we described it ("vulgar and obscene, but not very clever or creative"), but is instead racist, sexist, homophobic hate speech, which also shows an obsession with human elimination suggesting mental abnormality.


It is a fact that the message uses "the N word," describes someone as "gay," and refers to human excrement and anal sex.

That's not because the author believes in the inherent inferiority of persons of African heritage, or that homosexuality is evil, or that playing with filth is a good thing, or that aberrant sex is fun.

It is, instead, because those words are naughty. If the adolescent author thought he could shock by using the word "poop," or "bloody," then he would have done so. Instead, he used the naughtiest forbidden words in his vocabulary.

Because he's an obnoxious, vulgar, barbarian: A perfectly normal adolescent boy. And, were he my son, he would over the next few weeks and months acquire a story of parental correction with which he would, in future years, bore my grandchildren by frequent retelling.

Like I said.

January 20, 1981

Directly in front of me, the monument to a monumental man: George Washington, Father of our country. A man of humility who came to greatness reluctantly. He led America out of revolutionary victory into infant nationhood. Off to one side, the stately memorial to Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence flames with his eloquence.

And then beyond the Reflecting Pool the dignified columns of the Lincoln Memorial. Whoever would understand in his heart the meaning of America will find it in the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Beyond those monuments to heroism is the Potomac River, and on the far shore the sloping hills of Arlington National Cemetery with its row on row of simple white markers bearing crosses or Stars of David. They add up to only a tiny fraction of the price that has been paid for our freedom.

Each one of those markers is a monument to the kinds of hero I spoke of earlier. Their lives ended in places called Belleau Wood, The Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno and halfway around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir, and in a hundred rice paddies and jungles of a place called Vietnam.

Under one such marker lies a young man--Martin Treptow--who left his job in a small town barber shop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire.

We are told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading, "My Pledge," he had written these words: "America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone."

The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God's help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.

And, after all, why shouldn't we believe that? We are Americans.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

January 19, 1809

BALTIMORE (AP) -- For the 57th straight year, a mystery man paid tribute to Edgar Allan Poe by placing roses and a bottle of cognac on the writer's grave to mark his birthday.

Some of the 25 spectators drawn to a tiny, locked graveyard in downtown Baltimore for the ceremony climbed over the walls of the site and were "running all over the place trying to find out how the guy gets in," according to Jeff Jerome, the most faithful viewer of the event.

Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum, said early Thursday he had to chase people out of the graveyard, fearing they would interfere with the mystery visitor's ceremony.

AP story HERE.

Sounds About Right

I'm posting this and then diving into my bunker.

Hog on Ice speculates that if The Lord returned today:
He comes back, and He goes on TV and says, "Okay, homosexuality is wrong. Sex outside of marriage is wrong. Stop watching porn. Quit smoking dope. And by the way, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and all the other non-Christian religions are wrong, so stop practicing them." Every fat lesbian activist in San Francisco would be out in the street, running around topless and waving a sign reading,"Kill Jesus NOW!" Jesse Jackson would condemn Him. Cindy Sheehan would demand a meeting. Liberals would start calling him JesusHitler.
Don't try to call me, I'm not answering my phone.

Zero Tolerance

Zero tolerance for violence! Zero tolerance for drugs! Zero tolerance for intolerance.

Increasingly, schools and other institutions have imposed rules that strictly prohibit this, that or the other thing. The advantage of such policies is that they eliminate the exercise of judgment on the part of officials. Thus, any unfortunate outcome can't be the fault of, for example, the school principal, because she was just following orders.

Which brings us to this morning's story:
MCHENRY, Ill., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A 16-year-old boy who doodled an alleged gang symbol in his notebook has been expelled from high school in McHenry, Ill.

[The boy] was expelled for the remainder of the school year Tuesday night during a closed session of the McHenry Community High School District 156 board. The Hispanic teen attended the meeting with his parents, who said he was not a gang member.

The Chicago Tribune reported board officials said a doodle of a crown, a cross and a spider web with the initials "D.L.K." in the middle was a symbol of a street gang.


The Latin Kings and the Latin Disciples are rival street gangs. The teen, who has a troubled academic career, had been serving a 10-day suspension for the drawing.

"He needs to be in school. He didn't draw the picture on a wall," Jose Mercado, his stepfather said. "It was in his notebook."

Oh yes: You need to know one other thing. The boy's name is Derek Leon Kelly.

Have we made this up? We have not: HERE.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Chew on This

Back in May, we reviewed the shenanigans of one Anna Ayala. Having first claimed to have found a severed human finger in her cup of chili, it later transpired that it was all a hoax. That is, there really was a human finger in her chili, but Anna had herself placed it there after making her dinner purchase at a Wendy's in San Jose.

We speculated about the back story in Digital Diary. Well, the planets have moved round the sun, and spring has been replaced by summer, by fall, and now by winter, and we've reached the end of the story.

The Associated Press reports:
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- A couple who planted a severed finger in a bowl of Wendy's chili in a scheme to extort money from the fast-food chain were sentenced Wednesday to prison terms of at least nine years.

Anna Ayala, 40, who said she bit into the digit, was sentenced to nine years. Her husband, Jaime Plascencia, 44, who obtained the finger from a co-worker who lost it in a workplace accident, was sentenced to more than 12 years.
At the hearing, Anna confessed that she had succumbed to "a moment of poor judgment." You think? There was the moment when she learned that a finger was available. Then there was the moment when she procured the assistance of her husband in persuading its owner to cooperate. After which there were those moments when she went into Wendy's, got her chili, made a scene, gave interviews to the press.

Quite a string of "moments of poor judgment."

Hat tip to the eagle-eyed Vestryman.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

College Hoops

I am Orso'Grande.

I was hibernating and therefore missed the opportunity to explain that UConn would roll Syracuse, which they did last night, 88-80. But there are three interesting games being played today and tomorrow.

Illinois (16-1) plays Indiana (10-3) at 7:00 Tuesday night. You'll never go wrong picking one of the most feared players in college hoops, Dee Brown. He'll lead the Fighting Illini to a win on the road.

Number 1 Duke plays N.C. State at 7:00 Wednesday. State has only two losses, and is ranked in the top 20. Knowing how much the Gentleman Farmer likes the Wolfpack, I looked at this game and thought, "Wow. There's an upset pick to make."

Then I saw that it would be played in front of the Cameron Crazies, and wondered if an upset was very likely. After a little reflection, and a check to see that Redick and Williams are both still enrolled at Duke, I just can't go there. I picked Memphis to beat Duke earlier, and you see how that worked out. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Duke will win what should be a good game.

A litte later on Wednesday night, 12th ranked Pittsburgh brings its perfect record to the Rutgers Athletic Center in beautiful Piscataway, New Jersey. The RAC has quickly gotten a well-deserved reputation as a dangerous place to play if you don't wear a scarlet uniform. But Pittsburgh hasn't lost to the Scarlet Knights in something like 5 years!

Unranked Rutgers (12-4) will upset the Panthers.

Yeah, I said it.

Let's check out some big names in scoring in the Big East. Pittsnogle from West Virginia averages almost 21 points per game. The fearsome Randye Foye is less than half a basket per game behind, while Allan Ray, Foye's teammate at Villanova, adds almost 19.

How about outside the Big East? If you throw out the weak one-bid conferences, you've got JJ Redick pouring in more than 26 points, and the incredible Adam Morrison (at Gonzaga), who cans an astonishing 28.2 per game. But who's number three, among players in real basketball conferences?

Quincy Douby puts in 23.5 points per game, leads the Big East in scoring (and steals), and has led the Scarlet Knights to 12 wins already this season, two more than they had all last season. The last time the guys from the Banks of the Old Raritan were 12-4 through 16 games was 1982-83, when they made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

And remember that Rutgers’ last home game, exactly one week ago, was a loss to then No. 3 Villanova. Despite shooting 50% from the field during the first half of that game (47% for the entire game), and sinking 7 of 13 three-pointers, Villanova was dragged, sweating and nervous, into OT.

Rutgers over Pittsburgh.

Speaking of Unauthorized Eavesdropping

LONDON, England -- A computer programmer found out his girlfriend was having an affair when his pet parrot kept repeating her lover's name, British media reported Tuesday.

The African grey parrot kept squawking "I love you, Gary" as his owner, Chris Taylor, sat with girlfriend Suzy Collins on the sofa of their shared flat in Leeds, northern England.

But when Taylor saw Collins's embarrassed reaction, he realized she had been having an affair -- meeting her lover in the flat whilst Ziggy looked on, the UK's Press Association reported.

Ziggy even mimicked Collins's voice each time she answered her telephone, calling out "Hiya Gary," according to newspaper reports.


Taylor said he had also been forced to part with Ziggy after the bird continued to call out Gary's name and refused to stop squawking the phrases in his ex-girlfriend's voice, media reports said. "I wasn't sorry to see the back of Suzy after what she did, but it really broke my heart to let Ziggy go," he said.

From CNN.

January 17, 1706

Benjamin Franklin
by Charles Willson Peale

Parallel Universe

A former senior staffer for Senator Joe Lieberman, Dan Gerstein reflects on the chasm that divides the activist base of the Democratic Party not from Republicans, but from reality:
It's hard not to listen to the reviews of the Democrats' performance in the Alito hearings and come away thinking that much of our party is living in a parallel universe.

Most of the political establishment has concluded that the Democrats were: (a) ineffectual; (b) egomaniacal; (c) desperately grasping at straws; (d) downright offensive; or (e) some combination of the above. The American people, outside of those living in deep-blue enclaves, either were not paying attention or concluded that Sam Alito seemed like a pretty decent guy who was more than qualified. And if they saw anything about it on TV, they couldn't figure out why those pompous Democratic senators were trying to slam Judge Alito for being racist (and making his wife cry).

Yet the liberal blogosphere is agog at the way the Democrats let Judge Alito off the hook. And they're stupefied as to why the Senate Democrats are signaling that they won't risk triggering a nuclear confrontation with a filibuster. Postings on Daily Kos were typical. First, this comment from Georgia10: "Don't tell me a filibuster isn't warranted when 56% of this nation says Alito SHOULD be blocked if he'll overturn Roe. . . . I keep hearing . . . [t]hat we need 'angry' Dems, we need Dems with courage. We need Dems with courage. Well guess what -- we HAVE angry Dems, we HAVE courageous Dems. Look in the damn mirror, people. WE are the party. WE are the Democrats. We're angry, we spit fire, and our time has come."

Then there was this response from one DHinMI: "Alito is a judicial radical and far from the national mainstream on numerous issues. . . And with his anemic numbers, [Bush] wouldn't be able to count on much support from the country in ramming through the nomination."


And that's the heart of the problem with our party and its angry activist base. It's not so much that we're living in a parallel universe, but that we have dueling conceptions of what's mainstream, especially on abortion and other values-based issues, and our side is losing. We think that if we simply call someone conservative, anti-choice and anti-civil rights, that's enough to scare people to our side. But that tired dogma won't hunt in today's electorate, which is far more independent-thinking and complex in its views on values than our side presumes.
Gerstein is being gentle, and trying not to lose his intended Democratic audience.

The fact of the matter is that when a Democrat invokes "choice," and "civil rights," the average person in the street hears "abortion on demand, irrespective of age or motivation," and "affirmative action, government handouts, and political pay-offs to black 'leaders.'"

The average voter will mostly be correct, and the average voter is (at the very least) queasy about both demands.

In today's Wall Street Journal. (Some assembly Subscription required.)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Publishing News

It's hard to know how we missed THIS story last week, in which the AP reported that Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D. Mass.) was to publish a children's book titled "My Senator and Me: A Dogs-Eye View of Washington, D.C." In a statement we present without comment, the Senator explained:
I am very excited about the opportunity to create a book for young readers and their families that will deepen their understanding of how our American government works.
And clearly there is much the Senior Senator from Massachusetts could tell about how Government works, some of which probably requires no plea bargain before his testimony.

The Associated Press goes on:
Books are a Kennedy family tradition, from John F. Kennedy's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Profiles in Courage" to the poetry compilations edited by Caroline Kennedy.
Thus presumably raising the question of who actually wrote this one, as well.

The Cube

I don't think I can solve Rubik's Cube. In its heyday as an obsession, it never really appealed to me. And it goes without saying that none of my offspring could solve it, being color-blind. But there's skill, and then there's . . .
It's impressive that Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile. It's cool that Roger Maris broke the single season home run record at 61. I got goose bumps when Mark McGwire, juiced or not, broke it again in '98, hitting 70. I even got a kick out of Bonds, very probably juiced, hitting 73 a couple of years ago. I like people breaking records. That's why you have records. But a sub-12 second Rubik cube isn't a record. It's sadly a medical condition for which there is no cure.
More from Radio Blogger, a self-confessed nerd and Rubik's obsessor.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Netspeak War!

As I was watching this, I was composing a whole, long post to explain where I was sending you. But the more I watched and listened, the more I realized you'd just have to see and hear for yourself:


"Confirm Samuel Alito"

That's the title of the lead editorial in tomorrow's Washington Post:
. . . he is undeniably a conservative whose presence on the Supreme Court is likely to produce more conservative results than we would like to see.

Which is, of course, just what President Bush promised concerning his judicial appointments. A Supreme Court nomination isn't a forum to refight a presidential election. The president's choice is due deference -- the same deference that Democratic senators would expect a Republican Senate to accord the well-qualified nominee of a Democratic president.

And Judge Alito is superbly qualified. His record on the bench is that of a thoughtful conservative, not a raging ideologue. He pays careful attention to the record and doesn't reach for the political outcomes he desires. His colleagues of all stripes speak highly of him. His integrity, notwithstanding efforts to smear him, remains unimpeached.


Supreme Court confirmations have never been free of politics, but neither has their history generally been one of party-line votes or of ideology as the determinative factor. To go down that road is to believe that there exists a Democratic law and a Republican law -- which is repugnant to the ideal of the rule of law. However one reasonably defines the "mainstream" of contemporary jurisprudence, Judge Alito's work lies within it. While we harbor some anxiety about the direction he may push the court, we would be more alarmed at the long-term implications of denying him a seat. No president should be denied the prerogative of putting a person as qualified as Judge Alito on the Supreme Court.

The Return . . . .

I am Orso'Grande. There's a ton of college hoops this weekend, check your local listings.

Fourth-ranked Connecticut (13-1) overpowers a scrappy Georgetown (10-3) squad. UConn just has too many stars.

Unranked Miami (9-6) over No. 20 North Carolina (10-2). Guillermo Diaz is one of the most dynamic players in the country. He’ll be able to isolate against an admittedly talented Carolina team, but UNC has no lock down man for Diaz. Miami gets the upset. And Roy Williams sucks.

No. 14 Boston College (11-4) over unranked Florida State(11-2). Don’t let BC’s ranking fool you, pay attention to the records. FSU is a good team. This will be a better game than most people think, but in the end Craig Smith and Jared Dudley will overwhelm the Seminoles.

No.13 Washington(13-2) over No. 12 UCLA (14-2). Washington’s Brandon Roy is too much for the UCLA defense.

Big East newcomer Cincinnati (13-3) over No. 24 Syracuse(14-2). Playing at home the Bearcats will notch a squeaker upset.

I hate to pick the favorite, but in the biggest game of the day No. 3 Villanova (11-1) over No. 9 Texas (13-2). These are two different teams. Texas' two losses were blowouts against Duke and Tennessee, but since then they’ve won five straight, by an average margin of 20 points, including an 11-point victory over Memphis. But if you paid attention (like I did) to ‘Nova’s game against Rutgers the other night, you’d have learned that Villanova is a team that will not give up, that will find a way to win. They play strong defense for two complete halves, and respond well to adversity. They were able to pull off a win on the road at the RAC against a Scarlet Knight squad that was as pumped and on fire as their insane fans. It’s the match-ups that makes ‘Nova the pick: Texas is strong inside with Paulino, Tucker, Aldrige, and Buckman, and they hold the advantage in the paint. But the four-guard superhero lineup for Nova, with the dynamic Randye Foye, the deadly Allan Ray, backed up by the Mikes (Lowery and Nardi) will be too much for the Longhorns. The buzzing, swarming four-guard machine will wear out the big men from Austin, and get them into foul trouble. If this game becomes a shootout (and it might) well . . . Texas will be dropping twos, while Allan Ray and Randy Foye will be dropping threes.

Go 'Skins!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Teddy Hoaxed?

Were the quotations from a Princeton alumni group's magazine that Senator Kennedy read to Judge Alito -- as evidence of the group's racism and sexism -- actually from an article that was itself a parody?

PowerLine thinks so.

"The brainbox and the blowhards"

One of the above is The Honorable Samuel Alito. The other includes The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy. The Economist, a publication well regarded in some circles, has not the slightest problem determining who is which:
TED KENNEDY is deeply troubled by the ethics of the Supreme Court nominee. Between 2001 and 2006, Samuel Alito, who is currently an appeals court judge, accepted $7,684,423 in “donations” from special interests who perhaps wanted the law tweaked in their favour. That included $28,000 from defence contractors, $42,200 from drug firms and a whopping $745,373 from lawyers and law firms.

No, wait. Those are Senator Kennedy's conflicts of interest—or, rather, a brief excerpt from a long list compiled by the Centre for Responsive Politics. The lapse for which the senator berated Mr Alito was considerably less clear-cut.


Even a cursory look at his record shows that the sound-bite charges against Judge Alito—that he doesn't think machineguns should be regulated, that he never sides with blacks alleging discrimination—are simply untrue. His record on the bench is one of cautious rulings and scrupulous deference to precedent.


Or, more precisely, paraskavedekatriaphobia, rather than mere triskaidekaphobia.

One may obtain treatment HERE.

Don't Mess With Satan

Scott Adams (yes, THAT Scott Adams) has some thoughts on the wisdom of throwing rocks at Satan:
According to MSNBC, about 50 people died in Saudi Arabia during the annual ritual of throwing stones at the devil. Apparently a stampede broke out when somebody tripped on luggage. That sounds like a poorly conceived punch line, but it actually happened. And it isn’t the first time. In 1990, 1,426 people died in a stampede while throwing stones at the very same devil. (No word as to whether luggage was involved.) And in 2004, the devil killed another 244 stone-throwers the same way. By my count, the score is Devil 1,720 and Believers 0.

This is on the same day that the guy who shot John Paul II was freed. Clearly, the devil is having a good day.

I think it’s interesting that when you pray to God for a new bike, it hardly ever materializes in your bedroom within seconds. But when you throw stones at the devil, quite often you get an immediate response. That’s an example of good customer service.
From The Dilbert Blog, by way of relapsed catholic.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Old Man Eloquent

After having served a single term as President, John Quincy Adams "retired" to the House of Representatives, where he served until his death (in the House chamber) in 1848, at the age of 81. In his later years his unstinting -- some might say pestiferous -- opposition to slavery, coupled with his persuasive public speaking, earned him the nickname "Old Man Eloquent."

Edward M. Kennedy, senior senator from Mr. Adams' Massachusetts, might himself claim that title these days, as his actions and proclivities speak eloguently of moral, intellectual, and political bankruptcy. Mr. Kennedy has spent much of this week badgering Sam Alito about the judge's membership in an organization of Princeton alums formed in the mid 1970s to oppose various changes then new, proposed, or in the offing at Aaron Burr's alma mater. Among the things on the table, of course, was coeducation and racial quotas.

It is now clear that Judge Alito had no active role in the organization, was not a major contributor, and is not even mentioned in the records of Bill Rusher, former publisher of National Review, and a founder of the group. Rusher himself has already said that he can't recall Alito at all.

Of course all organizations attract a spectrum of folks. Every organization has its share of cranks. And, it seems, one or another of the cranks belonging to this Princeton alumni organization wrote some rather intemperate things in the newsletter the group published.

Enter Senator Kennedy.

If Judge Alito ever had any connection to this organization -- Teddy reasoned -- and if any member of the organization ever said anything bizarre or outrageous, why then Sam Alito must be a racist, sexist, elitist bastard, unfit for the company of civilized people, let alone a seat on the Supreme Court. No one connected (however tentatively) could escape the stain. Case closed.

Of course, that Senator Kennedy should use such McCarthyesque tactics is hardly surprising. We may presume that Senator Ted learned from elder brother Bobby, who himself learned from the master himself, during his tenure working for Tailgunner Joe. (You didn't know that Bobby Kennedy worked for Joe McCarthy as Assistant Counsel to Roy Cohn? Tsk. Tsk. What do they teach in the schools these days?)

Well, it seems that life is never as simple as it may appear to be. The Washington Times is reporting that Teddy himself belongs right this minute (not 30 years ago) to a club whose membership policies are so virulent as to have caused it to be thrown off the Harvard campus. The Times explains:
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy belongs to a social club for Harvard students and alumni that was evicted from campus nearly 20 years ago after refusing to allow female members.

According to the online membership directory of the Owl Club, the Massachusetts Democrat updated his personal information -- including the address of his home that is in his wife's name -- on Sept. 7.

The club has long been reviled on campus as "sexist" and "elitist" and, in 1984, was booted from the university for violating federal anti-discrimination laws, authored by Mr. Kennedy.
Could we make this up? We could not. Read the whole story HERE.

Pravda Weighs In On The Gender Wars

Pravda, Trotsky's original rag of choice, has offered its take not only on American foreign policy in Eurasia, but also the ongoing MoDo-Larry Summers-David Brooks battle in a piece dated yesterday:
Condoleezza Rice's anti-Russian stance based on sexual problems
The US Secretary of State released a coarse anti-Russian statement. This is because she is a single woman who has no children

Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, openly criticized the Russian government in connection with the gas conflict with Ukraine. Ms. Rice used quite a trivial technique of psychological pressure, which is mostly practiced in the field of education.

According to Condoleezza Rice, Russia's actions towards Ukraine did not characterize it as a respectable member of the Group of Eight. The statement from the high-ranking US official sounded like a reprimand from a strict babysitter that was teaching its baby to behave.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, expressed his opinion on the matter in an exclusive interview with Pravda.Ru.

”Condoleezza Rice released a coarse anti-Russian statement. This is because she is a single woman who has no children. She loses her reason because of her late single status. Nature takes it all.

”Such women are very rough. They are all workaholics, public workaholics. They can be happy only when they are talked and written about everywhere: “Oh, Condoleezza, what a remarkable woman, what a charming Afro-American lady! How well she can play the piano and speak Russian! What a courageous, tough and strong female she is!

”This is the only way to satisfy her needs of a female. She derives pleasure from it. If she has no man by her side at her age, he will never appear. Even if she had a whole selection of men to choose from she would stay single because her soul and heart have hardened. Like Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, or Alexander the Great of Macedon Ms. Rice needs to fight and release tough public statements in global scale. She needs to be on top of the world."
More at Pravda.ru. Note that the secondary headline on the article is a direct quote from Zhirinovsky.

H/T Wonkette.

Bad Money After Good

We see that the United States Mint has today introduced the new Jefferson nickel:
“This nickel features a forward-looking President Jefferson who recognized that the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark expedition would expand our horizons in numerous ways,” said United States Mint Acting Director David A. Lebryk. “This is a hopeful, positive image, emblematic of a bright future for our Nation.”
It is also unspeakably ugly.

Please don't mistake us. It is not nearly so hideous as the current dollar coin, the amazing and depressing "golden dollar," which includes a muddy portrait of Sacajawea.

There was a time, of course, when American coins were notable not only for their formidable heft, but for their considerable beauty and dignity.

Between 1878 and 1921, the United States minted the beautiful "Morgan" dollar, named after its designer (rather than, as is often thought, the banker). When a fellow flips one of these guys, he knows he's got cash. Each weighed nearly an ounce, and contained just a tad more than 3/4 ounce of silver, itself today worth about $6.70.

But there can be no dispute that one of the most beautiful coins ever minted, and certainly the most wonderful ever struck by the United States, was the Twenty Dollar Saint Gaudens "Double Eagle," minted between 1907 and 1933.

But, alas, those days appear to be over. Are there no artists who are up to the task? I think the reason is otherwise. To conceive and to strike an impressive coin requires a certain confidence, optimism, even triumphalist self-regard. Consider that our contemporary coins must be produced by the bureaucracy of the nanny state, while the more beautiful examples of the past come from the era that produced both Theodore Roosevelt and John D. Rockefeller.

It’s a thought.

January 12, 1986

Dear Gentleman Farmer,

How does it feel to have only one teenage son?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You Think?

The front page of a great metropolitan newspaper is a tale of scandal, disease, mayhem, disaster, crime, and war. We are shocked, grieved and frightened.

And that’s as it should be. There exist local papers, or other places behind that front page, where we can check the sports scores, read about the Boy Scouts, or get the latest cookie recipe.

There is no better newspaper in the United States than the Washington Post. It’s front page is regularly aflame with scandal, disease, and so on, and so on. It flows like a great, thick blood stain from the upper-right of the page, announcing deaths from avian flu or indictments of politicos, seeping down and to the left where, in that more remote corner below-the-fold, one might find a grisly murder, merely local.

Except today, that is. In a phenomenon remarked upon early this morning by the Farmer’s Wife, it’s as if the Washington Post has published a special edition, brought to you by the Department of DUH. Every story evokes a well-earned “you think?!”

Beginning in that fabled upper-right-hand corner is a four-column headline:

Alito Says He'd Keep 'Open Mind' on Abortion
Nominee Avoids Detailing Views on Controversial Issues

Wow! A judge promises that he won’t prejudge cases, and allows as how he’s not about to respond to substantive, hypothetical questions that put him in the position of having agreed in advance how he’d rule on important matters. You think?

Next up:

Lobbying Colors GOP Leadership Contest
Rivals for DeLay Post No Strangers to K Street

No lie! Jack Abramoff pleads guilty to showering Congressmen with zillions of bux swiped from Indian Tribes, causing The Hammer to quit, and lobbyist cash is an issue in the resulting battle of succession. Who’d’a thunk it?

Moving right along, we come to

Iran Restarts Key Portion of Nuclear Program

Shocking. Amazing. Who is so farsighted as to have been able to predict this turn of events? You mean they’ve decided that having nukes is better than not having nukes, so long as neither Europe nor the United States seems willing to do anything to stop them? You think it’s possible they’ve judged that there’s, at the very least, more to squeeze out of the West? You think?

Moving clockwise to the bottom-left corner is this headline about former D.C. Mayor For Life Marion Barry:

Barry Tested Positive for Cocaine Use in the Fall

And this is news because everyone thought . . . . ? No, it’s news because everyone’s reaction is “Here’s a guy who’s gonna die with his boots on.”

And, finally, this remarkable story in the upper-left corner:

D.C. Water Is Under EPA Limit On Lead
Standard Is Met For a Full Year

The public water supply in the capital city of the richest, most technically advanced nation in the history of the world is no longer poisoned with lead, and has pretty much been safe to drink for as long as 12 months. Now there’s a claim Baghdad would be proud to make. (What? Oh, really?) Well, never mind.

Go see for yourself at The Washington Post.

We're a little concerned that the editors may try to compensate in tomorrow's edition. Do you suppose the Post has access to nukes?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

National Voodoo Day

Glad we didn't miss it.
More HERE.

Someone Should Check This Storyline Out

Just sayin' -
JUDGE ALITO: And then after the case was decided, I received a recusal motion. And I was quite concerned because I take my ethical responsibilities very seriously.

So I looked into the question of whether I was required, under the code, because I just wanted to see where the law was on this. Was I required, under the code of conduct, to recuse myself in this case?

And it seemed to me that I was not. And a number of legal experts, experts on legal ethics, have now looked into this question, and their conclusion is: No, I was not required to recuse. But I didn't stand on that because of my own personal policy of going beyond what the code requires.

So, I did recuse myself. And, not only that, I asked that the original decision in the case be vacated -- that is, wiped off the books -- and that the losing party in the case, the appellant, Ms. Monga, be given an entirely new appeal before an entirely new panel.

And that was done. And I wanted to make sure she did not go away from this case with the impression that she had gotten anything less than an absolutely fair hearing.

And then, beyond that, I realized that the fact that this had slipped through in a pro se case pointed to a bigger problem, and that was the absence of clearance sheets.

So, since that time, I have developed my own forms that I use in my own chambers. And, for pro se cases now, there's -- I have a red sheet of paper printed up, and it's red so nobody misses it. And when a pro se case comes in, it initially goes to my law clerks. And they prepare a clearance sheet for me in that case and then they do an initial check to see whether they spot any recusal problem.

And if they don't, then there's a space at the bottom where they initial it. And then it comes to me, and there's a space at the bottom for me to initial to make sure that I focus on the recusal problem.

And in very bold print at the bottom of the sheet, for my secretary, it says: No vote is to be sent in in this case unless this form is completely filled out.

MILTON WADDAMS: And I said, I don't care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I'm, I'm quitting, I'm going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they've moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were merry, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it's not okay because if they take my stapler then I'll set the building on fire...

The Rebels have penetrated our secret . . .

Professor Bainbridge has it all figured out:
After catching up on the first day of the Alito hearings, one conclusion seems inescapable; namely, that Alito is more machine now than man; twisted and evil. He yearns to take liberals, women, minorities, gays, small children, and puppies to the Dune Sea, and cast them into the pit of Carkoon, the nesting place of the all-powerful Sarlaac, in whose belly they will find a new definition of pain and suffering as they are slowly digested over a thousand years. (Or maybe it's the slavering maw of Cthulhu the Great. I zoned out for awhile during Durbin's opening remarks.)

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen. Schumer and Leahy's feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side. As for that that slimy piece of worm-ridden filth, Ted the Hutt, he'll get no pleasure from these hearings. You can either profit by this or be destroyed. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Just So


Almost Missed It!

What with the Christmas and New Year holidays, our newspaper reading was largely limited to the slow-cooker recipe section. (And that's turning out just fine, thank you for asking.) As a consequence, we missed the fact that former District of Columbia Mayor-For-Life Marion Barry (currently a member of the City Council) was robbed at gunpoint on New Year's Day. The Washington Post reports:
Barry, 69, was held up in his kitchen about 9:30 p.m. Monday by two assailants who minutes earlier had helped him carry groceries from his car to his third-floor apartment in Southeast Washington. They pointed a gun at Barry's face and stole his wallet, which contained more than $200, his driver's license and two credit cards, police said.
What's really quite bizarre is this:
"There is a sort of an unwritten code in Washington, among the underworld and the hustlers and these other guys, that I am their friend," Barry said at an afternoon news conference in which he described the robbery in detail. "I don't advocate what they do. I advocate conditions to change what they do. I was a little hurt that this betrayal did happen."
Do tell.

Those damned gun-toting hoodlums just have no respect anymore. In times past, they'd have moved on to some more deserving victim. (A less deserving victim?)

Happy half-birthday, kiddo

TS is 6 months old today. It's only a matter of time before his bowl is going to be too big for both him and his ball. Look for conflict when that happens.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

G&S Reads! A lot!

Armed with his second extra-strong cup of coffee and a near-empty pack of Parliaments (recommended by most Defense Against the Dark Arts professors), HH went off to read the Times today, and came back with only the best for G&S readers. That's right - we digest the NYT so you can save your Tums for that ill-conceived order of Eggs Benedict.
So, enjoy it, readers - we got our hands all newsprint-y so you didn't have to. Now that coffee is making us have to pee.

We Report, You Decide

The Daily Times of Pakistan reports:
A Turkish shop assistant was arrested after he was found lying naked with a mannequin in a store window.

The 30-year-old man was discovered by colleagues opening up the department store in Antalya for the day. They called police after noticing bite marks on the mannequin. Two other mannequins that showed signs of abuse were also taken in as evidence. The shop assistant allegedly hid in the toilets while the store was being locked up for the night. The man has been charged with damaging property.

Ah, Teddy, We Hardly Knew Ye

Senator Kennedy's Op-Ed piece in yesterday's Washington Post regarding the nomination of Sam Alito to the Supreme Court is a remarkable exercise in distortion, innuendo and outright lying. Ed Whelan disassembles the Senator's dissembling and concludes:

In sum, the only questions of credibility, fairness and decency raised by Kennedy’s op-ed (if indeed these questions are still open ones in anyone’s mind) are whether Kennedy can credibly, fairly, and decently assess Judge Alito’s manifest and compelling qualifications for the Supreme Court.
I must confess that I was put in mind of the closing speech delivered by the profoundly odd John Randolph at the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase. John Quincy Adams described it thusly:

. . . without order, connection, or argument; consisting altogether of the most hackneyed commonplaces of popular declamations, mingled up with panegyrics and invectives upon persons, with a few well-expressed ideas, a few striking figures, much distortion of face and contortion of body, tears, groans, and sobs, with occasional pauses for recollection, and continual complaints of having lost his notes.
Read Kennedy's silliness for yourself.

At about the same time Kennedy's column was being written by Heaven-only-knows who, the Senator himself was meeting with reporters. After announcing that Judge Alito was anti-black, anti-women, and somehow committed to "monarchial tyranny," he explained:
This nominee was influenced by the Goldwater presidency. The Goldwater battles of those times were the battles against the civil rights laws.
The Tedster apparently later acknowledged that the good judge had been only 14 years old at the time of the 1964 presidential election. But Dana Milbank's report in the Washington Post doesn't reveal whether Teddy ever circled back around to confess that Goldwater was defeated in the 1964 election by the peace candidate, Lyndon Johnson. While Kennedy's privileged life has always left him with only a tentative grasp of reality, even those of us forced by circumstance to attend public school never learned about the Goldwater administration.

The Senator’s Op Ed is HERE, Ed Whelan’s piece is HERE, and Dana Milbank’s remarkable report is HERE.

Friday, January 06, 2006


. . . and with "see through tops" no less:


Would we steer you wrong? We would not.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's not pandering . . .

. . . if it's about real panders.

And it is not impossible that you will find more such photographs in today's Washington Post.

[UPDATE] Our friends at the WaPo moved stuff around, breaking the link. Now go HERE for lots of Butterstick goodness.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ariel Sharon

Something like liveblogging of Israeli media is going on at Mere Rhetoric:
"Not that this is either here nor there, but the news anchors are absolutely terrified. They're interviewing someone who's praying on the air, and they're asking him what the most appropriate prayers for people to give are."

And here are links to the online editions of: The Jerusalem Post & Haaretz.