Friday, November 30, 2007
Repeat After Me
I refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton, because she's a woman.
I refuse to vote for Barack Obama, because he's black.
Neither Racist nor Sexist:
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
The dozen or so Spelman College women had come together in a basement classroom, after hours, to hash over a choice unimaginable just a few generations back.Is that clear?
Fliers posted across campus summed up the thrust of their conversation: "Should you vote for Barack Obama because of your race, or should you vote for Hillary Clinton because you are a woman?"
With Democratic primaries quickly approaching, black women throughout Atlanta and across the nation are asking each other that question. They are debating it as they post blogs, meet for political round tables, host fund-raisers and whip out their checkbooks.
It's an ongoing discussion that, for many black women, stirs visceral emotions as they weigh their racial and gender identity.
Labels: Suicide of the West
Thursday, November 29, 2007
In the modern world this might be the legacy of a medical researcher. For most of human history it would require one to have been a great political, military or humanitarian leader. Just so.
Rest in Peace, Henry Hyde.
Labels: Hopeful Signs
"Thinking . . .
It is theoretically possible that the Israeli state, economy and organized society might just survive such an almost-mortal blow. Iran would not survive as an organized society. "Iranian recovery is not possible in the normal sense of the term."The analysis of a nuclear conflict in the Middle East is from Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies. His conclusion is: "The only way to win is not to play." Lest that seem obvious, recall that it conflicts with the conclusion of Iranian "moderate" Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani who has explained:
When the Islamic world acquires atomic weapons, the strategy of the West will hit a dead-end -- since the use of a single atomic bomb has the power to destroy Israel completely, while it will only cause partial damage to the Islamic world.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Finally - Truth in Advertising
Labels: Tech In
*For those of our readers not fluent in Gaelic, that would be "Welcome to Scotland."
Labels: Tin Foil Hats
"Talk Amongst Yourselves" Statistic of the Day
In 2000, the average white household in the bottom fifth of income-earners was worth $24,000. For black households, the figure was $57.
Yes, that's fifty-seven dollars.
Labels: The Real World
Here's a Thought
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Law School is Stressful
Is it time?
Leading the Way
Monday, November 26, 2007
The More Things Change
Following President Bush’s announcement that he was nominating Justice Roberts to the bench, speculation ran rampant about whether Roberts might supplant Justice Scalia as the new Court Cutup. The speculation has turned out to be incorrect. Justice Scalia continues to lead the Court in getting laughs — fifty-four in all during the seventy-one arguments — with Justice Breyer’s thirty coming in second. Roberts got nineteen laughs during the Term, placing him squarely in third place. Going into the final week of arguments, Justices Ginsburg, Alito, and Thomas were tied for last place with zero laughs, but Ginsburg and Alito both managed to break out of the basement by getting a “(Laughter)” in the waning days of the Term, leaving Thomas, who never says anything audible from the bench, all alone in the cellar. Having retired, of course, Justice O’Connor also got zero laughs, slightly down from her 2004-2005 performance.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat saleratus biscuits and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to. Bless the day. President Roosevelt gives it to us. We hear some talk of the Puritans, but don't just remember who they were. Bet we can lick 'em, anyhow, if they try to land again. Plymouth Rocks? Well, that sounds more familiar. Lots of us have had to come down to hens since the Turkey Trust got its work in. But somebody in Washington is leaking out advance information to 'em about these Thanksgiving proclamations.
The big city east of the cranberry bogs has made Thanksgiving Day an institution. The last Thursday in November is the only day in the year on which it recognizes the part of America lying across the ferries. It is the one day that is purely American. Yes, a day of celebration, exclusively American.
And now for the story which is to prove to you that we have traditions on this side of the ocean that are becoming older at a much rapider rate than those of England are—thanks to our git-up and enterprise.
Stuffy Pete took his seat on the third bench to the right as you enter Union Square from the east, at the walk opposite the fountain. Every Thanksgiving Day for nine years he had taken his seat there promptly at 1 o'clock. For every time he had done so things had happened to him—Charles Dickensy things that swelled his waistcoat above his heart, and equally on the other side.
But to-day Stuffy Pete's appearance at the annual trysting place seemed to have been rather the result of habit than of the yearly hunger which, as the philanthropists seem to think, afflicts the poor at such extended intervals.
Certainly Pete was not hungry. He had just come from a feast that had left him of his powers barely those of respiration and locomotion. His eyes were like two pale gooseberries firmly imbedded in a swollen and gravy-smeared mask of putty. His breath came in short wheezes; a senatorial roll of adipose tissue denied a fashionable set to his upturned coat collar. Buttons that had been sewed upon his clothes by kind Salvation fingers a week before flew like popcorn, strewing the earth around him. Ragged he was, with a split shirt front open to the wishbone; but the November breeze, carrying fine snowflakes, brought him only a grateful coolness. For Stuffy Pete was overcharged with the caloric produced by a super-bountiful dinner, beginning with oysters and ending with plum pudding, and including (it seemed to him) all the roast turkey and baked potatoes and chicken salad and squash pie and ice cream in the world. Wherefore he sat, gorged, and gazed upon the world with after-dinner contempt.
The meal had been an unexpected one. He was passing a red brick mansion near the beginning of Fifth avenue, in which lived two old ladies of ancient family and a reverence for traditions. They even denied the existence of New York, and believed that Thanksgiving Day was declared solely for Washington Square. One of their traditional habits was to station a servant at the postern gate with orders to admit the first hungry wayfarer that came along after the hour of noon had struck, and banquet him to a finish. Stuffy Pete happened to pass by on his way to the park, and the seneschals gathered him in and upheld the custom of the castle.
After Stuffy Pete had gazed straight before him for ten minutes he was conscious of a desire for a more varied field of vision. With a tremendous effort he moved his head slowly to the left. And then his eyes bulged out fearfully, and his breath ceased, and the rough-shod ends of his short legs wriggled and rustled on the gravel.
For the Old Gentleman was coming across Fourth avenue toward his bench.
Every Thanksgiving Day for nine years the Old Gentleman had come there and found Stuffy Pete on his bench. That was a thing that the Old Gentleman was trying to make a tradition of. Every Thanksgiving Day for nine years he had found Stuffy there, and had led him to a restaurant and watched him eat a big dinner. They do those things in England unconsciously. But this is a young country, and nine years is not so bad. The Old Gentleman was a staunch American patriot, and considered himself a pioneer in American tradition. In order to become picturesque we must keep on doing one thing for a long time without ever letting it get away from us. Something like collecting the weekly dimes in industrial insurance. Or cleaning the streets.
The Old Gentleman moved, straight and stately, toward the Institution that he was rearing. Truly, the annual feeding of Stuffy Pete was nothing national in its character, such as the Magna Charta or jam for breakfast was in England. But it was a step. It was almost feudal. It showed, at least, that a Custom was not impossible to New Y—ahem!—America.
The Old Gentleman was thin and tall and sixty. He was dressed all in black, and wore the old-fashioned kind of glasses that won't stay on your nose. His hair was whiter and thinner than it had been last year, and he seemed to make more use of his big, knobby cane with the crooked handle.
As his established benefactor came up Stuffy wheezed and shuddered like some woman's over-fat pug when a street dog bristles up at him. He would have flown, but all the skill of Santos-Dumont could not have separated him from his bench. Well had the myrmidons of the two old ladies done their work.
"Good morning," said the Old Gentleman. "I am glad to perceive that the vicissitudes of another year have spared you to move in health about the beautiful world. For that blessing alone this day of thanksgiving is well proclaimed to each of us. If you will come with me, my man, I will provide you with a dinner that should make your physical being accord with the mental."
That is what the old Gentleman said every time. Every Thanksgiving Day for nine years. The words themselves almost formed an Institution. Nothing could be compared with them except the Declaration of Independence. Always before they had been music in Stuffy's ears. But now he looked up at the Old Gentleman's face with tearful agony in his own. The fine snow almost sizzled when it fell upon his perspiring brow. But the Old Gentleman shivered a little and turned his back to the wind.
Stuffy had always wondered why the Old Gentleman spoke his speech rather sadly. He did not know that it was because he was wishing every time that he had a son to succeed him. A son who would come there after he was gone—a son who would stand proud and strong before some subsequent Stuffy, and say: "In memory of my father." Then it would be an Institution.
But the Old Gentleman had no relatives. He lived in rented rooms in one of the decayed old family brownstone mansions in one of the quiet streets east of the park. In the winter he raised fuchsias in a little conservatory the size of a steamer trunk. In the spring he walked in the Easter parade. In the summer he lived at a farmhouse in the New Jersey hills, and sat in a wicker armchair, speaking of a butterfly, the ornithoptera amphrisius, that he hoped to find some day. In the autumn he fed Stuffy a dinner. These were the Old Gentleman's occupations.
Stuffy Pete looked up at him for a half minute, stewing and helpless in his own self-pity. The Old Gentleman's eyes were bright with the giving-pleasure. His face was getting more lined each year, but his little black necktie was in as jaunty a bow as ever, and the linen was beautiful and white, and his gray mustache was curled carefully at the ends. And then Stuffy made a noise that sounded like peas bubbling in a pot. Speech was intended; and as the Old Gentleman had heard the sounds nine times before, he rightly construed them into Stuffy's old formula of acceptance.
"Thankee, sir. I'll go with ye, and much obliged. I'm very hungry, sir."
The coma of repletion had not prevented from entering Stuffy's mind the conviction that he was the basis of an Institution. His Thanksgiving appetite was not his own; it belonged by all the sacred rights of established custom, if not, by the actual Statute of Limitations, to this kind old gentleman who bad preempted it. True, America is free; but in order to establish tradition some one must be a repetend—a repeating decimal. The heroes are not all heroes of steel and gold. See one here that wielded only weapons of iron, badly silvered, and tin.
The Old Gentleman led his annual protege southward to the restaurant, and to the table where the feast had always occurred. They were recognized.
"Here comes de old guy," said a waiter, "dat blows dat same bum to a meal every Thanksgiving."
The Old Gentleman sat across the table glowing like a smoked pearl at his corner-stone of future ancient Tradition. The waiters heaped the table with holiday food—and Stuffy, with a sigh that was mistaken for hunger's expression, raised knife and fork and carved for himself a crown of imperishable bay.
No more valiant hero ever fought his way through the ranks of an enemy. Turkey, chops, soups, vegetables, pies, disappeared before him as fast as they could be served. Gorged nearly to the uttermost when he entered the restaurant, the smell of food had almost caused him to lose his honor as a gentleman, but he rallied like a true knight. He saw the look of beneficent happiness on the Old Gentleman's face—a happier look than even the fuchsias and the ornithoptera amphrisius had ever brought to it—and he had not the heart to see it wane.
In an hour Stuffy leaned back with a battle won. "Thankee kindly, sir," he puffed like a leaky steam pipe; "thankee kindly for a hearty meal." Then he arose heavily with glazed eyes and started toward the kitchen. A waiter turned him about like a top, and pointed him toward the door. The Old Gentleman carefully counted out $1.30 in silver change, leaving three nickels for the waiter.
They parted as they did each year at the door, the Old Gentleman going south, Stuffy north.
Around the first corner Stuffy turned, and stood for one minute. Then he seemed to puff out his rags as an owl puffs out his feathers, and fell to the sidewalk like a sunstricken horse.
When the ambulance came the young surgeon and the driver cursed softly at his weight. There was no smell of whiskey to justify a transfer to the patrol wagon, so Stuffy and his two dinners went to the hospital. There they stretched him on a bed and began to test him for strange diseases, with the hope of getting a chance at some problem with the bare steel.
And lo! an hour later another ambulance brought the Old Gentleman. And they laid him on another bed and spoke of appendicitis, for he looked good for the bill.
But pretty soon one of the young doctors met one of the young nurses whose eyes he liked, and stopped to chat with her about the cases.
"That nice old gentleman over there, now," he said, "you wouldn't think that was a case of almost starvation. Proud old family, I guess. He told me he hadn't eaten a thing for three days."
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
'Tis the Season
We suppose that's a good thing. But the company apparently published its Christmas catalog and, on the page where it displayed Christmas trees, those items were described instead as "Family Trees" (whatever they are). Here's the story on the local news in Winston-Salem, North Carolina:
It seems to us a bit early to start this year's round of "Town Cancels Annual Live Creche Display, Cites Complaints From Muslim Lawyers" stories. These have become tedious even for us, and we take second place to none in being cranky and combative. It's just that it's no longer news -- and no longer surprising -- that bashing Christians in particular and public displays of religion in general has become a recognized intramural sport. It's boring.
And we certainly don't think that any grownups at Lowes sat down and decided that they'd best not use the world "Christmas," lest their stores be firebombed by militant Wiccans.
But what we do think is that it has come to the point that certain words (Christmas, Jesus, Christ) stand out in the minds of at least some ordinary people as being terms that probably ought not to be used in polite company.
[This is not limited to Christians. I've often heard the circumlocution "Jewish person" and wondered if the speaker knew the term he was searching for is "Jew." I speculate that in the experience of some, the term "Jew" is so typically preceded by an uncomplimentary adjective or adverb that the root word has itself acquired a negative connotation in their mind. I wonder if the speaker realizes just how much he's revealing about himself in his hesitation to simply say "Jew."]
This occurs because of wrangling and complaints about "Christmas Parties" at schools, and "Christmas decorations" at malls. It occurs when the school principal thoughtlessly blocks the formation of a "Christian Club," while encouraging the "Muslim Students Forum" and the "Black Studies Union" as expressions of mulitcultural tolerance. Normal people -- people not paying particular attention -- acquire the idea that there's something objectionable, offensive, or rude (at least to some) about saying "Jesus" or "Christmas" in public. It's a feeling that just seeps into their fuzzy little brains, which are otherwise largely unoccupied.
So we suspect that some silly catalog writer came upon the "Christmas Trees" and decided that there was no reason to gratuitously irritate non-Christians. And so "Family Trees" were invented.
I rather enjoy adhering to a religion so powerful and dangerous that the basic terms used to describe it are dirty words.
Christmas Gift Ideas
From an article in Popular Mechanics titled "Pop-Up, Roof-Mounted Gatling Gun Is Latest in Auto Safety," comes this intriguing option from Dillon Aero:
At the first sign of trouble, the gunner can pop through roof panels mounted on spring-loaded gas shocks, swivel up to 360 degrees, and unleash a withering, 3000-rounds-per-minute barrage. That's 50 different 7.62-mm bullets every second.Compared to the skyrocketing cost of meeting ransom demands, we think this baby would probably pay for itself in a year or two.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
. . . there's definitely something weird and cultish in the sycophantish cathexis onto Hillary of the many nerds, geeks and vengeful viragos who run her campaign -- sometimes to her detriment, as with the recent ham-handed playing of the clichéd gender card. I suspect the latter dumb move, which has backfired badly, came from Ann Lewis (Barney Frank's sister), a fanatical Hillary true believer who has been spouting beatific feminist bromides about her for the past 15 years. [snip] Hillary seems to have acolytes rather than friends -- hardly a reassuring trait for a potential president whose paranoia has already been called Nixonian. Isolated monarchs never hear the bad news until the people riot and the lynch mob is at the door.Hillary is not Ms. Paglia's idea of a president and, thus, the fact that they have two X chromosomes in common is beside the point. My kind of girl.
What in Hell is a "ChickenBear"?
This clip comes with the following "explanation":
This is only one of the many fantasy suits we have made. Animal Makers has been creating animal replicas for movies, television shows, print advertisements and even military applications. Call us at 805-527-6200 if you want one made for your next project.
Labels: Tech In
And Now the News
GAUHATI, India (AP) - In a Nov. 13 story, The Associated Press incorrectly reported that Paris Hilton was praised by conservationists for highlighting the problem of binge-drinking elephants in northeastern India. Lori Berk, a publicist for Hilton, said she never made any comments about helping drunken elephants in India.
Labels: The Real World
Signs of the Times
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
So You Don't Have To
Labels: The Real World
We'll Wait for the Movie
“Regionals” deny accusations of bribe “oranges”
Party of Regions considers that inability of BYuT to carry out political activity constructively, has transformed to chronic stage. ForUm reports, referring to PR press service.
“The brightest example that proves this diagnose is systematic unsubstantiated statements to PR, spread by BYuT representatives. In particular, the matter concerns accusations of attempts of bribery of BYuT people’s deputies by PR in order to derange formation of so-called “democratic coalition”, the statement of PR says.
“Party of Regions denies all accusation, both current and future accusations of this political force who is used by white lie to hide its own political failure, irresponsibility and inability to hold dialogue even with its allies,” the PR press service says. “At the same time we do not intend to ignore such accusations and actions from BYuT side, that’s why we are going to defend out honor and dignity from raging fantasy of professional demagogues,” PR statement says.
Earlier Yulia Tymoshenko noted that she keeps record of those People’s deputies from BYuT who were tried to be bribed by opponents.
Labels: Global Warming
Howard Dean is Back
There are fundamental differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party believes that everybody in this room ought to be comfortable being an American Jew, not just an American; that there are no bars to heaven for anybody; that we are not a one-religion nation; and that no child or member of a football team ought to be able to cringe at the last line of a prayer before going onto the field.College for everyone, immigration for everyone, tax cuts for everyone, health care for everyone and now HEAVEN for everyone. Can a non-binding resolution be far behind?
Science on the March
Today is National . . . .
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Labels: The Real World
Friday, November 09, 2007
We Know Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher Was A Friend of Ours . . .
The story as I was told it is that in the early years of her prime ministership, Margaret Thatcher held a meeting with her aides and staff, all of whom were dominated by her, even awed. When it was over she invited her cabinet chiefs to join her at dinner in a nearby restaurant. They went, arrayed themselves around the table, jockeyed for her attention. A young waiter came and asked if they'd like to hear the specials. Mrs. Thatcher said, "I will have beef."And for those of you in Generations X, Y and Whatever, Ms. Noonan speaks for many of us Baby Boomers:
Yes, said the waiter. "And the vegetables?"
"They will have beef too."
Too good to check, as they say. It is certainly apocryphal, but I don't want it to be. It captured her singular leadership style, which might be characterized as "unafraid."
She was a leader.
Margaret Thatcher would no more have identified herself as a woman, or claimed special pleading that she was a mere frail girl, or asked you to sympathize with her because of her sex, than she would have called up the Kremlin and asked how quickly she could surrender.
I am not sure of the salience of Mr. Obama's new-generational approach. Mrs. Clinton's generation, he suggests, is caught in the 1960s, fighting old battles, clinging to old divisions, frozen in time, and the way to get past it is to get past her. Maybe this will resonate. But I don't think Mrs. Clinton is the exemplar of a generation, she is the exemplar of a quadrant within a generation, and it is the quadrant the rest of us of that generation do not like. They came from comfort and stability, visited poverty as part of a college program, fashionably disliked their country, and cultivated a bitterness that was wholly unearned. They went on to become investment bankers and politicians and enjoy wealth, power or both.Just so.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Fake But Accurate
If ABC News does the same thing, however, then it's journalism, right?
What if the New York Times painted swastikas on the side of its building in order to do a story on the reaction of the typical racist New Yorker? Hate crime or journalism? What if the "journalist" avoids the middleman and just makes up the story?
Here's the problem: When all is said and done, a considerable number of folks won't remember that the GW story wasn't true, that the stories in TNR were made up, and that the Duke Lacrosse players were not guilty of anything.
Monday, November 05, 2007
November 5, 1605
The gunpowder, treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!
A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah hoorah!
More HERE, HERE, and, inevitably, there is The Guardian.