Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Judge Richard Sanders: A Very Cool Guy

Andrew Sullivan points toward this amazing report about Washington State Supreme Court Judge Richard Sanders, one of the last uncastrated men on the bench.
Sanders initially dodged reporters' questions about the incident this week, refusing to comment on anything he might have said at the event.

A video on the Federalist Society's Web site shows that Sanders' outburst came just over 17 minutes into Mukasey's speech, after Mukasey talked about what he said was the "casual assumption among many in media, political and legal circles that the administration's counterterrorism policies have come at the expense of the rule of law."

Shortly after that point on the video, a voice is clearly heard yelling: "Tyrant! You are a tyrant!"

Mukasey can be seen briefly stopping and looking up from his speech. A few minutes later, Mukasey began shaking and slurring his words.
Of course, in today's climate such courage cannot go without censure:
Chief Justice Gerry Alexander said Tuesday that he was very concerned about the outburst's potential damage to Sanders' reputation, and to the court.

Alexander said he planned to speak privately to Sanders to express his disapproval about the incident, but said he has no authority to discipline him.

"People have a First Amendment right to speak, but that's not conduct that I would like to see judges display," Alexander said.

Our Useless Department Of Homeland Security

One would have thought that with the NYPD responding to a "plausible but unsubstantiated" report of potential attacks on the New York City Transit System, and with the simultaneous attack on Westerners in Mumbai, the DHS might manage a little more precautionary status than "Elevated". Failing that, one might expect a little information from their website, beyond notifying us that "New Requirements for Maritime Cargo Carriers & Importers" are in place.

Just another ineffective and useless bureaucracy, I guess. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Classic K-Lo Post

This is the perfect exemplar of the style that dominates her day at NRO's Corner. It is incredibly brief, it is perfectly banal, it contains no insight about anything, it is not amusing and it refers to a news item that everyone in the entire World has known about for several hours before she posts on it.

K-Lo, K-Lo. Wherefore art thou, K-Lo?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Prayer For The Prince Of Darkness

He has had me screaming, red-faced with rage. But, here at the end, I feel I should acknowledge as Timothy Crouse did long ago that he is one of the very greatest reporters. He has often been terribly wrong but he was sometimes bracingly right. When he finally shuffles off he will be greatly missed.

"Billion Dollar Charlie" v. Godzilla

Let the games begin.
There was fear and trembling on the Internets earlier this month when the word went out that storied Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson - "Billion Dollar Charlie" - had decided to go mano a mano with the most-hated institution in America. The Bush White House? No, the Recording Industry Association of America.
"RIAA Litigation May Be Unconstitutional," headlined Slashdot, a self-described "news for nerds" website. "Harvard's Charlie Nesson Raises Constitutional Questions in RIAA Litigation," trumpeted ZDNet Government. "Insane Harvard Law Professor Promises MP3 Justice," proclaimed Gawker.

Strange Brew, Girl What's Inside of You?

(h/t Ta-Nehisi)

This is a Great Atlantic article on so-called "extreme" beers. While not touching on home-brewing per se it contains much that should be useful and of interest to any homebrewer. Read the whole thing. Sample:
The tavern was a success from the day it opened. The beer took a little longer. Calagione had brewed fewer than ten batches before coming to Delaware, and he rarely used the same recipe twice. “I’d just grab herbs and spices and fruits from the kitchen and throw them in,” he says. “I used to think, Oh, it’s cool that every batch tastes different. It’s like snowflakes!” The pub’s brewing equipment consisted of three fifteen-gallon kegs on propane burners, and a rack of modified kegs for fermenting the beer. To keep up with demand, Calagione had to brew two or three times a day, every day; between shifts he slept on a mattress in the cellar. When the beer was ready, he and two employees would don ski goggles and green garbage bags and bottle the beer by hand, with a siphon and mechanical capper. In ten hours they could fill a hundred cases.

“It was a hot ghetto mess,” Bryan Selders, Dogfish’s lead brewer, remembers. By the time Selders arrived, in 2002, Calagione had jury-rigged some larger kettles out of stainless-steel tanks from a yogurt factory. To reach the cooked barley, or mash, Selders had to climb onto a metal grate twelve feet high and straddle the edge of the boiling kettle—one foot on the grate, the other on the kettle’s lid. Once, during a morning production meeting, Selders fell in. “The lid just gave way,” he says. The mash in the kettle was hot—around a hundred and fifty degrees—but came only to the tops of his boots. “I went home, took a shower, watched a little Sally Jessy, and came back.”

Typealyzer Sez....

According to the Typealyzer, the author of this blog is a "mechanic":
The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

Unfortunately, they also show a graph of my brain activity while writing which seems to indicate that I have all the warmth and poetry of Dick Cheney.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

As Others See Us -Part 6,302,284

Smile Tulsa! - You've just been mocked by The Daily Inquisition. Here they are talking about Raymond "Chuck" Foster.
He’s the fellow who killed Cynthia Lynch, an even sadder nitwit he’d recruited, because she tried to bail on the Klan initiation rites halfway through. The theory is, she felt a sudden wave of homesickness for Tulsa, Oklahoma. If this seems impossible, keep in mind that she was in backwoods Louisiana at the time. When you’re in backwoods Louisiana, Tulsa must seem like the center of civilization, practically the shining city on the hill politicians are always going on about.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Nate Silver Knocks One Out Of The Park

We already knew he was brilliant, but here he is interviewing John Ziegler, the genius who commissioned the soon to be legendary Zogby Poll on Obama voters. We can't give Silver too much credit because Ziegler appears to be both a lunatic and an asshole and all that is necessary is to give him a few minutes to display his uncontrollable paranoia. Like David Mamet wrote in House Of Games:"The things we are ...The things we want....We can either do them or not do them, but we can't hide them."

Everyone's Gone To The Moon

Between grokking Joe Lieberman and reading about the Emotiv Epoc this tune came to mind, because I now feel like the only bona-fide human left on Earth.

I Despise Joe Lieberman

There are hardly words in the English Language to describe the metaphysical level of my contempt for the guy. This goes way, way back to before he got the nod to be Gore's VP pick. He is a self-righteous scold, a hypocrite, a war-monger and a shameless proselytizer for Israeli interests. His indifference to and contempt for the Constitution is palpable. He also looks like a mummified Howdy Doody.

I had high hopes that Obama would demand his head, a la "Senator Lieberman, Barack Corleone send you his regards". At least Sanders and Leahy said what should be said. The Democratic caucus has failed yet again. In four years Connecticut again will get the chance to throw the bum out. Till then we're fucked. Make no mistake, this treacherous bastard will cause us headaches again. He's frigging Iago, for God's sake.

Between this and the rumors about Clinton as Secretary of State, it looks like a full house of bad news. Let's put Rep. Dingell in charge of the GM bailout, while we're at it.

UPDATE: Jane Hamsher puts it beautifully.

Less Supine Media

Not exactly a news flash, but an interesting article anyway. In Tulsa, the daily paper is far too cheap to allocate the resources for any decent coverage of local affairs and is hopelessly compromised by it's way-too-cozy relationship with the realty and construction interests that call the shots downtown. Local television, by it's nature, does not do this kind of coverage well, though I think some of the reporters might try if the stations devoted more than 2 seconds to City Hall stories. The only time that they wake up is when some festering injustice finally comes to a head and bursts, as happened with the recent White City boondoggle.

As I have mentioned before, Michael Bates does some actual shoe-leather style reporting on this kind of thing and gets the satisfaction of having the Tulsa World studiously ignore him. Unfortunately, Bates is only one guy and has a life outside of Batesline and the Urban Tulsa. The rest of the blogging community is mostly stuck at snarky comments and even those usually come too late to affect the outcome. It would be nice if Tulsa had a decently funded alternative to the with a little bit more of an adversarial relationship to the boys and girls around the Mayor's office.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Little Joe McLerran - Blues God

Lest I give Tulsa totally short shrift on the artistic achievement scale, I really should take a moment out to praise Little Joe. Joe is by far the best living acoustic blues musician that I have ever heard. He is like a collection of 78 rpm records come to life, but he is much, much more than a nostalgia act. He plays Tulsa quite a bit, of course, but he gets around a bit too. You can catch him in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge Feb.5th -7th, 2009.

It Doesn't Happen Every Day...

....that I agree with something at NRO's The Corner. So let's celebrate the occasion. Here's Jim Manzi:

....I still wouldn’t want a bailout in the form of loans to the current owners of the Big 3. It would be far preferable for federal funding to be used as DIP financing for a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That is, I would use the money to finance an orderly transition of ownership under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy rather than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Shockingly, you won’t find the lobbying and PR arms of automakers and the UAW making this argument.

The same point had already been made at Economics Of Contempt.

Culture11 Fails To Get Tulsa

Look, I really enjoy much of Culture11. Good articles, eccentric point of view. But their article "Pins On A Map: Tulsa" by Gary Lee is the kind of puffery that would not be out of place in any given issue of such outlets of Babbittry as Urban Tulsa, the Tulsa World, or propaganda mailers from the Mayor's Office. The notion of pushing Tulsa as the arts capital of, um, anything is just too ridiculous for words. He does visit the usual high points for an article like this....the hoary Cain's Ballroom, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall Of Fame and the Thomas Moran collection at Gilcrease Museum (the bane of many a childhood school field trip). Brookside gets a mention, as does Cherry Street and the Brady District....The kind of places he can imagine taking one of his Georgetown buddies.

Real Tulsa history - from our infamous race riot to Dwight Twilley to Bob Wills to Pretty Boy Floyd and Ma Barker (the cool stuff, in other words) - get nary a mention.

Fortunately, they are running an article at the same site which says more about real Oklahoma culture, albeit accidentally, than all of the travel section bullshit ever written. The article "Bluegrass Apoalypse" treats the complex and contradictory relationship between country music and culture, gospel, and the capitalistic ethic with no hint of condescension. The rich history of Tulsa lies in it's weird, unholy brew of evangelical passion, jazzy urban sophistication and sheer greed generously spiced with a seething blend of racial and class hatred. The best window on this world lies right there in that music, standing as it does with one foot in a folk tradition and the other in a burgeoning commercial sensibility.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Frum Splits From National Review

Whoosh. That didn't take so long. Maybe they can still get Ann Coulter back, assuming they haven't dumbed the discourse down too much. A magazine has got to be in bad shape when John Derbyshire is the most reasonable adult on the staff.

Mr. Frum said deciding to leave was amicable, but distancing himself from the magazine founded by his idol, Mr. Buckley, was not a hard decision. He said the controversy over Governor Palin’s nomination for vice president was “symbolic of a lot of differences” between his views and those of National Review’s.

“I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated,” he said.

A Small Reprieve For Civilization

Zima , R.I.P.. Kinda old news, but I just found out. Thank God. One less way for women to make me miserable.

I Wish I'd Said That

"Many a drinker has been put off real ale drinking after a visit to a pub which doesn't understand real ale. But to go back to keg beer is like opting for a lifetime of necrophilia because of one nasty experience with a living human being."

From "10 Reasons To Drink Real Ale"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not To Kick Fox News While They're Down, But....

....on the other hand, we've waited eight years for this. A classic. Free sample:
You’d have to have watched a lot of Fox News — which I have, out of morbid curiosity — to detect the tonal shift on Nov. 4. It was as if they had decided to pull their punches. Before the polls opened, Ann Coulter appeared for a few minutes to riff against the liberals, but the 47-year-old MILF-wannabe looked oddly desperate in her mini-miniskirt and knee-high boots, as if she stole her imaginary teenage daughter’s clubbing outfit and wanted to show it off. The effect was wrong, a desperate eccentricity, like a neocon Michael Jackson.

Welcome To The Cocoon

The right wing echo chamber finds itself in full-out GOP purge mode. A host of fight-of-center bloggers pick their least favorite consevatives Break out the rack and the pear of agony. Here are the candidates for purge:

25) "McCain Staffers" (5)
25) Mitch McConnell (5)
25) Hank Paulson (5)
24) Scott McCellan (6)
21) George Bush (7)
21) Lincoln Chafee (7)
21) Mitt Romney (7)
20) Olympia Snowe (8)
16) Ann Coulter (9)
16) Bill O'Reilly (9)
16) Andrew Sullivan (9)
16) George Will (9)
13) Christopher Buckley (10)
13) Kathleen Parker (10)
13) Michael Savage (10)
11) David Brooks (11)
11) Lindsay Graham (11)
10) Arnold Schwarzenegger (12)
7) Mike Huckabee (13)
7) Pat Buchanan (13)
7) Ron Paul (13)
6) Chuck Hagel (14)
5) Arlen Specter (15)
4) Colin Powell (17)
3) Peggy Noonan (18)
2) Ted Stevens (19)
1) John McCain (25)

How come David Frum didn't make the cut?

Republicans are “A White, Rural, Regional Party.”

So says Virginia Congressman Tom Davis. Sure. But this has been coming for a very long time.Since the early-1970s, to be precise, that being the period in which Robert Grant first began efforts to mobilize the Christian community for concerted political action. Grant turned out to be far too bigoted himself to play in the same sandbox even with his putative allies. He famously said that the Religious Right was compromised by being run by "three Jews and a catholic" (apparently referring to Terry Dolan, Richard Viguerie, Paul Weyrich and Howard Phillips). This high-spirited gibberish promptly led to the creation of the more broad-minded and vastly more effective Moral Majority.

The strength of these groups lay in the recognition that the average rank-and-file Republican was insufficiently fervent to engage in the boring day-in, day-out nuts and bolts work that the Party had to do in all those off-election years. But the Christian community didn't lack for fervor and they believed in follow-through. Decades of intra-mural struggles in their church committees and oversight boards had taught them a near-perfect grasp of the hothouse atmosphere and political infighting prevalent in the local and State Republican organizations. So they volunteered for the boring, inglorious and unrewarding committee work, they manned the phone-banks and licked the envelopes for the direct mail efforts. They demonstrated a breath-taking foresight and devoted special efforts to get their members elected to school boards.

And they turned out to vote. Voted as an act of religious observance. The Religious Right has been a feature of American politics for so many years now that it is easy to forget how awesome their turnout was at the time. In 1980 they claimed that they had provided Ronald Reagan with his margin of victory, and it was no idle boast. The 1980 election definitively demonstrated that the RR was an important bloc - but still only a bloc- in the Republican Party.

I had a good friend, now deceased, who was quite active in the Republican Party in Oklahoma and, later, Texas. In the 1980s he had begun to complain that the Evangelicals were moving very rapidly from licking the envelopes to writeng the posiition papers and staking their ground on policy matters. Not being a Republican, I thought his hand-wringing was quite amusing. "You don't understand," he said. "These people are crazy."

Indeed. All of that was almost thirty years ago, though, and during that time the conservative Christians went from strength to strength within the Party they had chosen as a vehicle. To be sure, they were much weaker in the electorate as fact they were, as David Crosby used to sing, "King Midas In Reverse". They lost the culture war and the consequent political and legal battles on every front - abortion, stem-cell research, right to die, gay marriage, pornography - all hopelessly, irretrievably lost causes. Today, in the wake of their razor thin margin of victory in California's Proposition 8 contest, civil unions are. by default, the preferred conservative fallback position.There has been no progress at all on abortion. This is political power? It suggests complete impotence.

However, even as their influence waned in the Nation it grew within the party. And, in much of the Bible Belt where their numeric concentration was greater, their power was nothing less than monolithic, assisted somewhat by residual rancor towards the Democrats for the Civil Rights era. The 2008 election shows clear evidence that even here their authority may be fraying at the edges. The manner in which the RR and other social conservatives who are, with every passing election cycle more and more the true base of the Republicans, respond to their setbacks is illuminating. They call for the exile of those they deem RINOs - the ideologically and spiritually impure. And their ideological litmus tests do not, as the Presidency of George W. Bush demonstrates, include ones for fiscal austerity, for international modesty, or for restraint of government power. Athe very time that the Republican base stands in desperate need of broadening, the impulse is to narrow it. This is the sclerotic reaction of an entity on the verge of a terminal collapse.

Notorious RINOs Christine Todd Whitman and Robert M. Bostock say:
Unless the Republican Party ends its self-imposed captivity to social fundamentalists, it will spend a long time in the political wilderness. On Nov. 4, the American people very clearly rejected the politics of demonization and division. It's long past time for the GOP to do the same.

It is difficult to see how the party frees itself from "it's self-imposed captivity to social fundamentalists". How do you free yourself from yourself? The Republican Party is in the position of a junkie trying to kick. If it tries to do without the poison that is killing it it will go through a period of not being able to funtion at all. Every cell in it's body will scream for relief. The withdrawal could last for a very long time. And that's assuming that the junkie has the guts to take the cure.

Didn't Trollope Use This?

Personally, I want to hear more about the carnation.

A vicar attended hospital with a potato stuck up his bottom - and claimed it got there after he fell on to the vegetable while naked.

The clergyman, in his 50s, told nurses he had been hanging curtains when he fell backwards on to his kitchen table.

He happened to be nude at the time of the mishap, said the vicar, who insisted he had not been playing a sex game.

The vicar had to undergo a delicate operation to extract the vegetable, one of a range of odd items medics in

Sheffield have had to remove from people's backsides or genitals.

Others include a can of deodorant, a cucumber, a Russian doll – and a carnation.

I Swear, You Can't Make This Shit Up

William Kristol is demoralized by a puppy.

You May Take Our Beer But You'll Never Take Our Freedom!

My Hero:

Waiting in a drab hallway of a Lower Manhattan courthouse, Kimber VanRy got a bit of unsolicited advice from a Brooklyn auto mechanic who had just agreed to pay $15 for violating the city’s open container law.

“If I was you, I would have pled guilty and paid the $15,” he said. “It’s going to cost you much more in the long run.”

For Mr. VanRy, 39, an international sales manager for a supplier of stock film footage, video and music, it’s not about the money. He’s pleaded not guilty and is fighting the charge.

"The half-baked theories of a bunch of tenth-rate professors"

War Nerd strikes again. You don't suppose the tenth-rate professor in question is Victor Davis Hanson, do you?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Republicans Pander Future

The NY Times finally gets around to the obligatory article on the Conservative Crisis. As Douthat points out, though, the easiest, if most ineffective path is for the GOP to do nothing. This is why McCain bore down so hard on "earmarks" - it sounds vaguely reformist while threatening no one except a few incumbents. It's like "waste, fraud and abuse".....the Huey, Dewey and Louie of the 1980's.

Monday, November 3, 2008

"I'm Not Counseling Despair Here"

Ross Douthat prepares for seppuku.

"Let 'em Invade Georgia"

America's armchair warrior class is outraged, outraged I say, at Jerry Nadler's comment to the effect that he doesn't give a damn if Russia invades Georgia as long as we get their cooperation on matters more directly germane to American security interests, such as Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons. And I must say that, though he expressed it inartfully (candidly, in other words)I couldn't agree more.

Back in the old days, when the Republicans had a sort of sinister, Strangelovian credibility on national security issues, this might have been applauded as good ol' brutal realpolitik by men like Henry Kissinger and Richard "I don't give a shit about the lira" Nixon. Today our new crusaders regard this as dictator-coddling moral flaccidity. The inarguable fact that Georgia provoked a predictable military response, however disproportionate, by Russia is deemed an irrelevant exercise in spineless moral equivalency. Likewise, the recognition that Georgia lies within what we have historically recognized as Russia's sphere of influence - little more than a Russian province or possession, in fact - is similarly weak-kneed.

Now, it may well be that a President Obama will be just as swaggeringly addicted to foreign adventurism as Daniel Larison suggests. Nonetheless, his plate of foreign affairs dishes is already rather full and it is difficult to see him seeking another helping from the former Soviet Union right away.