Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

I don't much care for New Year's Eve.
Partly because it's always been an excuse for me to drink too much and act the fool. But partly because at its core it seems sort of a sad holiday. Its themes are aging, loss and saying goodbye as much as they are hope and Great Expectations.
In honor of the day, here is A Blast From The Past, the Del Fuegos. I went to college with their sister. They were a great band, albeit one known as much for their hard-drinking as for their artistry. Anyway, the tune is as good as a song about aging, loss and saying goodbye can be.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodbye 2008

Let's end it with a little poetry, shall we?

Tigers are perfect
The epitome
Of good looks and grace
And quiet dignity

- Calvin

Friday, December 26, 2008

Revolutionary Road

This is a very good film. Kate Winslet 's performance is probably the best of her career, which in my opinion is really saying something. Di Caprio is fine, but the real surprise is the rather new Zoe Kazan who is nothing less than compelling in a very small part.....watching her, I experienced the same sensation as I did seeing the young MIckey Rourke effortlessly steal scenes in Body Heat.
As you doubtless have heard, the movie is quite depressing and, in parts, even difficult to watch. Go see it anyway.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Genitalia?....Tinny! Tinny!

I am not an Elizabeth Alexander fan. I do not think she is a particularly good poet, though far from an utter fraud such as Maya Angelou. If we must have an "inaugural poet", I would prefer that it be another.
Having said that, the criticism of her poem "The Venus Hottentot" from NRO's Candace de Russy is simply pathetic.
Alexander's best-known poem, "The Venus Hottentot," contains the following lines: "Her genitalia will float inside a labeled pickling jar," "Monsieur Cuvier investigates between my legs, poking, prodding," "Since my own genitals are public I have made other parts private."

I don't much care for the specific language of the poem, which strikes me as unmusical and ordinary....traits it shares with the rest of Alexander's ouvre. However, given the horrifying details of the story behind the so-called "Venus Hottentot", some form of morbid sexual expression seems nearly unavoidable. To do otherwise would be like writing a war poem without reference to death, which arguably has been done, but not often.
I fear that Professor de Russy give her game away with the title of her post, "X-Rated Yale Poet at Inaugural?". It is hard to imagine a poem less likely to evoke an erotic or prurient response in most audiences. Could it be that de Russy is unaware of the unusual aspects of the historical model's genitals? The encyclopedia is your friend, Ms. de Russy. I regretfully suspect, though, that the mere appearance of the word "genitalia" in conjunction with the words "poking, prodding" is enough to disqualify the poet.

Christmas Hell

Some helpful suggestions for how to handle that fruitcake.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kinda Wow, Kinda Now

Now this is some impressive comix spelunking. Notice the creators' names? Clayton and Chick? Now look at the art again. Could it be.....No way, but...YES! It is! It's world-class lunatic Jack Chick back in the good ol' days before he let us all know that Catholics were on the express way to Hell. Follow the link to Stripper's Guide for more art and the whole skinny.

In Praise Of Don King

From "Is Tex Cobb The Real Contender?", one of the truly great quotes of my lifetime:

“Don King is one of the great humanitarians of our time. He has risen above that great term prejudice. He has screwed everybody he has ever been around. Hog, dog or frog, it don’t matter to Don. If you got a quarter, he wants the first twenty-six cents.”

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kicking Lillian Hellman Around

For an old Dashiell Hammett fan - or, indeed, any literate person - there can be few things so perversely enjoyable as rehashing the petty series of gestures that formed the odious accompaniment to Lillian Hellman's career. Bookslut points us to a really, really worthwhile case in point: the sad, exploitative relationship between Hellman and Dorothy Parker. Here is one memorable moment from the article.

Because I routinely verify the whereabouts of my deceased subjects, I mentioned one remaining bit of business: a visit to Parker's grave at Ferncliff Cemetery, in Hartsdale.

"Oh, she's not there," O'Dwyer interrupted. "Of course she is," I began to argue. "No, no. I'm looking right at her." A funny thing had happened to Parker's ashes, he explained. They hadn't been claimed. "Excuse me?" I said. "Never buried?"

As it turned out, Ferncliff's periodic reminders to Hellman about the unpaid storage bill had gone unheeded. By the early '70s, no longer executor and presumably believing this kind of problem was not her business, Hellman had no intention of covering the cost or of paying for a spot in Ferncliff's urn garden. On the other hand, she feared a scandal if the crematory were to make good on its unspoken threat to throw the ashes away. In the end, she advised Ferncliff to package the remains and ship them to her attorneys. Upon receiving it, O'Dwyer and Bernstien stored the package in the bottom drawer of a file cabinet and stood by for further instructions, which never arrived. Hellman died in 1984.

So when O'Dwyer said he was staring right at Parker, he was correct. The file cabinet containing the ashes was located in his private office, a few feet behind his desk. At the time of our conversation, they had been sitting in there for fifteen years, which is not as odd as it might sound. In a busy law office, a package can easily be overlooked. As a result, the box and its unusual contents had been forgotten, though not completely, as O'Dwyer had once shown it to his friend the writer Malachy McCourt, making for an odd celebrity sighting if ever there was one.

Me Too

Ah Bien.....Et Tu Butte Fucque?

(h/t Sullivan)

Friday, December 19, 2008

RIAA Blinks?

Sounds more like a minor shift in tactics, bu t we'll see.
After years of suing thousands of people for allegedly stealing music via the Internet, the recording industry is set to drop its legal assault as it searches for more effective ways to combat online music piracy.

The decision represents an abrupt shift of strategy for the industry, which has opened legal proceedings against about 35,000 people since 2003. Critics say the legal offensive ultimately did little to stem the tide of illegally downloaded music. And it created a public-relations disaster for the industry, whose lawsuits targeted, among others, several single mothers, a dead person and a 13-year-old girl.

Instead, the Recording Industry Association of America said it plans to try an approach that relies on the cooperation of Internet-service providers. The trade group said it has hashed out preliminary agreements with major ISPs under which it will send an email to the provider when it finds a provider's customers making music available online for others to take.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New DSM....BFD

As any lawyer or, hopefully, any judge can tell you, the DSM is a a complete and utter fraud:

It helps doctors make a diagnosis and provides insurance companies with diagnostic codes without which the insurers will not reimburse patients’ claims for treatment.

That is the entire rationale behind the continuing vitality of the DSM. Any other use of the DSM as authority is completely inoperative.

Is compulsive shopping a mental problem? Do children who continually recoil from sights and sounds suffer from sensory problems — or just need extra attention? Should a fetish be considered a mental disorder, as many now are?

As a certified expert, I can assure you that a fetish is not a mental disorder. At least not until your subscription to Leg Show runs out.

Truth Hurts

This idiot has a point:
What have the lefty blogs done? Ask Sen. Ned Lamont.

They haven’t stopped the war. They haven’t gotten one piece of legislation worth a spit signed into law. A $7.25 an hour minimum wage? McDonald’s pays $8 to start in West Virginia.

They take credit for getting a Democratic Congress. Mark Foley may disagree. But they have become prima donnas. It is comical to watch Reid and Pelosi hop to the command of their little masters — Lord Fauntleroys all. Impeach Bush. No, stop the war. No, raise taxes. No, inpeach Bush. No, stop the war.

All the lefty blogs have done is throw their own feces at the zookeepers.

Actually, we have no clout with Reid or Pelosi either. We are at total, epic fail on impeachment, taxation and peace.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When You Agree With A Buffoon

it is a painful situation.

OKLAHOMA CITY — A Tulsa lawmaker said Tuesday he will file legislation to repeal the sales tax on the purchase of guns or ammunition in Oklahoma.

"As Americans, we should not have to pay a tax to exercise our constitutional rights — especially our Second Amendment rights," said Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa.

The measure, by Proctor and state Sen. Kenneth Corn, D-Howe, D-Poteau, will not affect any dedicated revenue stream for wildlife or other programs, Proctor said, adding it would have minimal impact on the state treasury.

I am opposed to all regressive taxation, so good for him. But Proctor (delightful name, so redolent of association with School hall monitors and proctologists) is clearly trying to appeal to the most hysterical wing of Second Amendment enthusiasts. A pox upon this butched-up wus.

Wall Street Journal Blows It On Net Neutrality

The WSJ story annoyed me so much that I broke a cardinal rule and vented about it on C-Span's Washington Journal (humiliating, I know). Lessig has been spluttering about it for two days now, which is understandable as he was quoted as one of the "sources" for the article. Fred Benenson wraps up the problem with the article pretty tersely:

WSJ’s technology writers are either vastly under-skilled for such reporting or are interested in remaining ignorant of the real issues.
Edge caching does not violate network neutrality in the same way the telecommunications companies are interested in violating network neutrality. More specifically, Google’s movements to place caches at ISP level is not as controversial as the WSJ would like it to be. Despite having many opportunities to get the story right, the WSJ has repeatedly ignored the technological subtlety of the details and has misquoted others who were trying to set it straight.

Althouse And Balkin On Marriage

Pretty good bloggingheads discussion on the topic of eliminating the status of marriage that I mentioned a few posts back.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Throwing Your Heart

I don't like too many of George Will's columns but on one occasion he go it just right when he discussed what an aging pitcher brings to the mound when their arm is going. He said when the pitcher has nothing left to throw, they "throw their heart".
Typical sentimental baseball bullshit. But consider The Aging Fleetwoods singing perhaps the most beautiful song in the long history of Rock:

Google AdSense Has Finally Figured Me Out

It works off keywords, y' unnerstan'. So if I write about my opposition to gay marriage, I get bridal ads.
I guess the Archie/Sex-Fiend angle coupled with the constant posts about home-brewing broke the bank, though, 'cuz now I'm generating ad content geared toward drug rehab.
Congratulations Google! I don't feel so alone now.

Now He Tells Us....

McCain unsure if he'd support Palin for president.

Slade's Career Never Recovered

No Comment Neccesary

(lifted from Boing Boing)

Stupidity Watch

Apparantly constitutionally incapable of recommending an affordable item, The NY Times useless style writers recommend a Timex "J. Crew" watch for the low,low price of $150.00.
Guys, it's a fucking Timex. While I am impressed that the Times was able to find a Timex watch that costs that much, it does seem a little out of step with our economic moment. Try the army surplus for a better watch and save a hundred clams.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Helen Rittlemeyer Fan Club

I would marry her in a second except that 1) the fact that I am a democrat might be a deal-breaker and 2) I think she would kill me. Plus, just as I don't eat dolphins, I never date women that I suspect might be smarter or cooler than I am (yes, that reduces the pool a bit). Oh, also I hate the term "post-modern" which she appears to dig.
But, other than all of that, she is The Nazz. Just in the last week she has given me more laughs than the rest of the bloggysphere combined. For your consideration, a couple of moments from the last week or so:

"Reihan Salam managed to get through an entire post about the conservative wing of the gay rights movement without using the term homocon, but I don't have his powers of restraint."

"To get a better feeling for how natural sadism is...,"

I'm not sure that one can imagine Larison with a genuine sense of humor, but if it could be done she would probably be it.

The Voices Of Oklahoma

A stray comment over at Batesline has put me in the mood to listen to a bunch of the old Texas Playboy recordings from their heyday (1935-1945, say). And, since I live right next door to the old transmitter tower, I had to ruminate a bit about the impact of KV00, the "Voice of Oklahoma".
Between cable TV and the intertubes, it is probably easy for us to forget that how profoundly local the so-called "mass media" was for most of the Twentieth Century. Heck, even when I was a teenager it was still possible for a pop record to be a big hit in Tulsa while dying up in Kansas City.
But KVOO was true mass media....when it went to 50,000 watts in the mid-1940s on a clear night it could be heard west to the Sierra Nevadas and north to Canada. This immense reach virtually ensured the success of a hot band like the Texas Playboys.
The usual riff on the origin or Rock n' Roll is that it was the result of the shotgun marriage of R n' B sounds with country music and a disproportionate amount of credit goes to Worthy musicians such as Elvis and Bill Haley, over looking the country/blues/boogie collision that Bob Wills had already popularized.

Take their version of "Ida Red", which is almos' the same tune as "Maybelline". Or better yet listen to "Three Guitar Boogie". Forget about The Allman Brothers or The Yardbirds, The Bob Wills bands had a patent on dueling electric guitars. Often on these recordings guitarist Eldon Shamblin would just hop right past the blues and head off into jazz territory.
Wills himself recognized the connection to the Rock explosion back in 1957 in an interview with the Tulsa Tribune:""Rock and Roll? Why, man, that's the same kind of music we've been playin' since 1928!...We didn't call it rock and roll back when we introduced it as our style back in 1928, and we don't call it rock and roll the way we play it now. But it's just basic rhythm and has gone by a lot of different names in my time. It's the same, whether you just follow a drum beat like in Africa or surround it with a lot of instruments. The rhythm's what's important."
To his credit, Wills always acknowledged his debt to other, earlier performers who married jazz-pop stylings with country music, such as Jimmy Rodgers.
Seems like everyday I manage to walk right past the Ida Red Boutique here in Brookside without remembering to set foot in the place. Maybe I'll rectify that omission today.

The Way We Were

John Dunning puts things in perspective:
John got a GED certificate from the state of South Carolina in the early 1960s. "Historically, it's an interesting document---not because it's mine but because it states that I am the equivalent of the average white high school grad in the state. Now if that's not an official admission that those old 'separate-but-equal' doctrines never worked, what is?"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sullivan v. Paglia

In re the little dustup between Andrew Sullivan and Camille Paglia on the topic of gay marriage I must say that I find that Paglia has far the better argument when she says "....government should get out of the marriage business. Marriage is a religious concept that should be defined and administered only by churches." By way of replying, Sullivan says:
his is a very strange reading of Catholic history and American history. Marriage was not a sacrament until the thirteenth century; many Protestants, most famously Luther, denied its sacramental quality through the sixteenth century. The first marriages in America were civil, not religious in nature:

When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620, among the first things they did for the well-ordering of their new commonwealth was to institute the Dutch custom of civil marriage with which they had become familiar during their long sojourn in the Netherlands.

The Dutch made civil marriage the law of the land in 1590, and the first marriage in New England, that of Edward Winslow to the widow Susannah White, was performed on May 12, 1621, in Plymouth by Governor William Bradford, in exercise of his office as magistrate.

Now it is true that the churches have conflated civil and religious marriage ever since and this has become part of the messy civil-religious aspect of marriage in contemporary America. And Camille, as usual, has a point: a cleaner solution would be civil unions for everyone, gay and straight.

For most of it's existence, marriage has been a much more laisseze faire institution than it is today. The entire business of formal registration of marriage in the west did in fact begin as a function of the ecclesiastical courts and was mostly concerned with the establishment of legitimacy of children (largely of concern in terms of inheritance) and settlement of property rights. Today these concerns are no longer as relevant and are often handled without regard to the marriage estate. In the wake of the Reformation (which serves to explain a lot about why Luther argued against Church control over the formalities), marriage increasingly fell under the authority of the state. At this point the government has maintained the prerogative to issue marriage licenses for so long that no one even questions their warrant to do so. But most of the accoutrements of marriage can and are handled through a variety of other devices of the civil law, such as health-care proxies, and through a more enlightened treatment of testamentary law and child-support. The other issues that arise should be (relatively) simple subject matter for statutory cures. The argument for any state licensing of marriage is just rather weak....after all, the IRS doesn't hesitate to argue the existence of a common-law marriage when it suits their purpose, so the licensing or lack thereof is not always dispositive even today.
I think that this would not satisfy Sullivan, however, as what he really wants is the State sanction, even if the State properly has no good business sanctioning any sort of marriage whatsoever.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Psst! Anyone wanna see Terry Teachout humiliate Patrick Appel?
Thought so.

John Carter Of Mars

As just about anyone will have noticed, I am a stone-cold freak when it comes to the pulp magazines of the first half of the 20th century. So I was quite pleased to see that the Triad toy company has announced a licensing agreement with Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. in order to produce a line of toys around his wonderful Mars novels. If it weren't for those books I would never have read War And Peace,or Jane Austen, or Homer, or anything. I presume this is being timed to coincide with the upcoming film project by Andrew "Wall-E" Stanton.
On a more ominous note, however, Disney's John Lassteter declines to confirm the Mars production: “I can’t comment on something that isn’t announced.”

Update: Here is an amazing few feet of excellent animation by the legendary Bob Clampett from the 1930's conception of a John Carter animated series. It looks to me that it would have compared very favorably to the Max Fleischer Superman series.

Copyright Crisis In Historical Context

Very entertaining article in the New Statesman on the ominous handwriting on the wall for the lowly session musician. Every classical snob....or pop music snob, for that matter....ought to be beaten over the head with information like this:
The public knew what it liked - and that was easy listening in the shape of plenty of variety, good tunes, regular rhythms, and pieces that were not too long or difficult. Haydn's symphonies fitted the bill, but Beethoven, especially in his later years, was altogether too demanding. Increasingly in the early 19th century, public concerts took the form of potpourris, mainly comprising popular overtures, operatic arias and dance tunes, with at best a single movement of a symphony or a concerto. In particular, the enduring craze for dance music led to even choral music and oratorios being reorchestrated in waltz- or polka-time to allow toes to tap, the ultimate surely being the Stabat Mater Quadrilles.
Long and loud were the complaints from serious composers that the public did not appreciate them but preferred jaunty melodies and the simple orchestration of Italian ice-cream opera. Significantly, it was around this time that the word "philistine" entered common usage, to denote the unsophisticated, unintellectual, money-grubbing bourgeois who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. In 1826, the year before his death, Beethoven pronounced: "It is said vox populi, vox dei. I never believed it".

Most music fans hardly give a thought to the fact that the "pop star", in the Kanye West sense, didn't exist until the 19th century. Since then their profits and fame steadily increased largely as a result of technological change (mass printing, railroad, telegraph, etc) and particularly as a result of the eventual invention of the phonograph. But profits did not increase for everyone in the music industry. Even in the 1940 and 1950s, Duke Ellington's Orchestra was more or less an expensive avocation for him, supported through the royalties stemming from his compositions and recordings. The extraordinary players who made Ellington's Orchestra a legend lived "strictly from hunger".
So the next time you hear some RIAA sock puppet croaking like a raven about the death of the music industry, just remember that that the music industry has been in the process of dying for some musicians since the day the 'industry" was born.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lulu Is An Obamacon

Thatcherite Pop Icon says:
Barack Obama Is In – Yippee, now we have got hope in the World. I’ve just turned 60, Obama is the new president of the USA and I think its going to be a fantastic yeah. Love Lu X

Who knew? No Sidney Poitier jokes, please.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Forry J Ackerman 1916 -2008

RIP 4e.
The Ackermonster is dead. It leaves me with the same sensation of grief I experienced when, as a little kid, I found of the deaths of Walt Disney and Boris Karloff.
My Father introduced him to me once,back when I was 15. I couldn't have been more surprised or delighted had Dad introduced me to Spider-man or Santa Claus.
God Bless FJA, and God Bless my whole extended Famous Monsters family.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Holiday For Homebrewers

While I neglected to mention the Feast of St. Nicholas the other day, I certainly can't fail to celebrate the Feast Day Of The Repeal Of Prohibition. Cheers!

Goldberg v Sullivan: the Reckoning

This time, it's personal.
As you may or may not know, Sullivan and I used to be friends. We sparred over various issues online and joined forces on others. And then we would occassionally have drinks and compare notes. I think your points are all valid, but they ignore the simple fact that Sullivan's tactics of debate have often been, and have become steadily more, dishonorable ("nearest weapon to hand" is how I think Mickey once described it with admirable concision). As a personal matter, I look at Andrew's behavior toward me with a straightforward mix of disappointment and pity. As a professional matter, I've moved from bewilderedness to complete indifference. Either way, I for one no longer believe it's worth wasting the effort trying to form alliances with the Party of Andrew. You suggest I'm supposed to overlook his shabbiness, dishonesty and nastiness (never mind his neck snapping inconsistencies) because this week he's complaining about socialized medicine? I say I'm not nearly so cheap a date.

Hey, that last line is a real zinger, huh? It sounds, dare I say, a tad catty. And those shoes with that belt!

Sometimes It Just Sneaks Up On You

Odd how unexpectedly one can be reminded. From X-Men #189(1985):

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Dreams May Come

K-Lo gets terrifying:
Tonight I was over at the vice president's house for one of their holiday parties. It was like a gathering of old friends — friends who likely won't see the inside of the naval observatory for a bit. Cheney aides like David Addington. Conservative Hill aides. Bill Bennett ... Karl Rove.

And that's the picture I want for my Facebook page: Karl Rove with Dick Cheney; Karl was two behind me in the receiving line. Maybe Lynne Cheney will bring a signed copy for Jon Stewart next time she's on.

They could still come back in four ...

In the strange, shadowy world of K-Lo's fevered imagination Lynne Cheney still has the opportunity to carry on the Presidential Dynasty. No word on how her campaign will explain the soft-core lesbian porn passages in Lynne's legendary 1981 pulp non-bestseller Sisters (available as a .pdf file here).
if they can make that one fly, they might as well run Mary Cheney too.

HRC, Emoluments And The "Saxbe Fix"

I was a dreadfully mediocre law student so perhaps it was just one of the many things that I neglected but I don't recall ever hearing the word "emoluments" However, it would seem that the "emoluments clause" of Article I of the Constitution has suddenly, like the zombie from an old George Romero flick, sprung to ugly life.
Amazingly, Professor Volokh has found one of the happy few - JAG Corps attorney John O'Connor - who did not ignore the Emoluments Clause ....Who in fact wrote a Hofstra Law Review article on it, thereby proving once again that there is no subject so arcane that some law review will not publish on it. For those who may not be able to find the relevant page in their Boy Scout Handbook, the Emoluments (or Ineligibility Clause provides:
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

In January of 2008 the salary of the Secretary Of State was increased by Executive Order implementing a COLA enacted by the Congress in which Hillary Clinton served. The standard view is that Senator Clinton is barred from serving in the office of Secretary Of State until the Constitutional disability is cured by another election, an intervening election providing the opportunity for the electorate to either ratify or disavow the act of their representative. It appears that the Emoluments Clause has only twice been the subject of legal challenge, both actions being dismissed for want of standing. And, as the topic is almost the epitome of the unsexy Con Law area, the academic commentary has been fairly scant.
It would seem now that the "unsexy" quotient has changed, changed utterly by the proposed appointment of Hillary Rodham Clinton by the President-elect. At Volokh Conspiracy John O'Connor gets to the nut-cut:
I do not believe it affects the analysis that the salary increase occurred as a result of an Executive Order or that the statute creating these quasi-automatic salary increases was enacted prior to Senator Clinton’s current term. By its plain language, the Emoluments Clause applies when the office’s salary “shall have been encreased,” without regard to exactly how it was increased. Indeed, an early proposed draft of the clause included language limiting it to an increase of emoluments “by the legislature of the U[nited] States,” and was later revised to encompass any increase in emoluments. It is worth noting that several Framers thought, without much explication, that the clause was too lax as initially drafted. The clause also does not require that a Senator or Representative have voted for the increase.

The more difficult question is whether Senator Clinton’s ineligibility for appointment may be cured legislatively through the “Saxbe Fix,” where Congress reduces the Secretary of State’s salary to a level at or below where it was when Senator Clinton’s current term began in 2007. The Saxbe Fix got its name because the Nixon administration sought to eliminate Senator William Saxbe’s ineligibility for appointment as Attorney General by reducing the salary of that office to the level that existed before Senator Saxbe’s appointment. Although there was some opposition on constitutional grounds (most interestingly by Senator Robert Byrd and then-Harvard Professor Stephen G. Breyer), the legislation passed and Saxbe was confirmed. Later, Lloyd Bentsen served as Treasury Secretary after “Saxbe Fix” legislation reduced the salary of that office to its level immediately before Senator Bentsen’s Senate term had begun.

It is my view that the Saxbe Fix [] fails to remove an ineligibility for appointment. I believe the Saxbe Fix is ineffectual based on the plain reading of the Emoluments Clause and is also contrary to the intent of that clause. The Emoluments Clause provides an ineligibility for appointment to an office the emoluments of which “have been encreased.” Even if the emoluments of the office are later reduced, it seems to me that they “have been encreased” during Senator Clinton’s current Senate term even if they are later decreased.

Other Scholars drop by and deal themselves a hand. A good time is had by all. I recommend the entire posting thread to all.

UPDATE: I find I can't resist quoting Mickey Kaus in his entirety on the ridiculous, patronizing, typical and stupid response emanating from Team Clinton.
I didn't think her spokesman Phillipe Reines could top his obnoxious and nonsensical response to the Gerth and Van Natta report that Hillary had secretly eavesdropped on her enemies ( “We don’t comment on books that are utter and complete failures”). But he's come close with his spin on the legal argument--a seeming winner*** if you actually believe the Constitution's language--that Hillary is barred from becoming Secretary of State by the Emoluments Clause:

This is a Harvard Law grad nominating a Yale Law grad here, so all parties involved have been cognizant of this issue from the outset,” [E.A.]

Well all right then! No clinging to guns and God in this administration! ... I'm sure they spent a lot of time on the Emoluments Clause at Harvard and Yale.

It's A Good Question

Mark Kleiman at RBC:
Hank Paulson seems to have decided that the right response to a situation in which cheap credit pushed housing prices way too high compared to either rents or incomes, leading to over-investment in housing and then a fall in housing prices which then put lots of homeowners under water and threatened the solvency of the financial system is ... wait for it ... to offer cheap credit to keep housing prices way too high.

....I usually shy away from conspiracy theories, but just ask yourself: if Paulson were an al-Qaeda sleeper agent tasked with destroying the U.S. economy, is there anything, starting with letting Lehman go down, that he would have done differently?

In my opinion, we have been keeping interest rates to unsustainable, artificially low levels for more than a decade. The fact is that a deep recession followed by a period of slow growth is probably the only medicine that can unwind this disaster. But before we can get well, we have to put the needle down.

Lamb To The Slaughter

Holiday dining takes a rather disturbing turn over at PHDiva.

The most important thing is to put the piece of lamb on a firm counter and 'christen' it - for example I might have called mine Edward. Take a sharp knife, holding it firmly vertically with the tip down. Raise your hand and stab Edward repeatedly, whilst pretending the meat is the lyin' cheatin' bastard in question. Think: shower scene in Psycho. Turn Edward, and repeat until one no longer has an urge.

I have spent the Christmas Season in Edward mode myself, and I can't say that I cared for it. I think the next time I find myself at Mass I will light a candle for the poor, endangered fellow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm In Love With The Morton Salt Girl

I'm in love with the Morton Salt girl.
I want to pour salt in her hair and watch
her dance. I want to walk with her through the
salt rain and pretend that it is water. I want to
get lost in the Washington Cathedral and follow her
salt trail to freedom.

I want to discover her salt lick in the forests of Virginia.
I want to stand in line for hours to see her walk on in
the middle of a movie only to have the film break and watch salt
pour out and flood the aisles. I want to sit in an empty theater
up to my eyeballs in salt and dream of her.

When I go home she will be waiting for me in her white dress
and I will drink salt water and lose my bad dreams.
I will seek the blindness of salt, salt down my wounds,
hang like a side of ham over the curtain rod in the bathroom
and let her pour salt directly on my body.

When she is done I will lick her salty lips with my tongue
and walk her down the stairs into the rain, wishing that I
could grow gills and bathe in her vast salt seas.

-Richard Peabody

Cultural Bankruptcy Via Electrocution Disco

Sullivan suggests this as a "Mental Health Break", but surely that can't be right.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

He Shouldda Listened To His Staff

Harry Reid displays that common touch which has made him such an effective spokesman for the Democratic Party.
The Capitol Visitors Center, which opened this morning, may have tripled its original budget and fallen years behind schedule, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid found a silver lining for members of Congress: tourists won't offend them with their B.O. anymore.

"My staff tells me not to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway," said Reid in his remarks. "In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it's true."

But it's no longer going to be true, noted Reid, thanks to the air conditioned, indoor space.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Protecting The Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich™

James Boyle's book The Public Domain: Enclosing The Commons Of The Mind si available as a free download here. It looks great and I hope to say a lot more about it very soon. Excerpt from the preface:
Each person has a different breaking point. For one of my students it was United States Patent number 6,004,596 for a “Sealed Crustless Sandwich.” In the curiously mangled form of English that patent law produces, it was described this way:
A sealed crustless sandwich for providing a convenient sandwich without an outer crust which can be stored for long periods of time without a central filling from leaking outwardly. The sandwich includes a lower bread portion, an upper bread portion, an upper filling and a lower filling between the lower and upper bread portions, a center filling sealed between the upper and lower fillings, and a crimped edge along an outer perimeter of the bread portions for sealing the fillings there between. The upper and lower fillings are preferably comprised of peanut butter and the center filling is comprised of at least jelly. The center filling is prevented from radiating outwardly into and through the bread portions from the surrounding peanut butter.

Otto The Anchorman

This is good ol' Otto the autopilot. We celebrate Otto today because I think he would make a fairly decent anchor for our evening news.
We may need Otto because, as it turns out, the local evening news anchor is an endangered least in terms of holding down their six figure salaries. Oh, the humanity. Funniest quote from the story:
When the anchors depart, they take decades of experience and insight with them. “Basically, you replace someone who knows City Hall with someone who can’t find it,” said John Beard, who lost his job at KTTV last December after 26 years as a news anchor in Los Angeles.

Stop it, you're killing me. Man, that is a really good one. First, it asks you to remember the last time you saw a City Hall story. Then it invites you to ask when the last time was that you saw a City Hall story that appeared prior to the boys downtown being ready for you to see it. Most local TV reporters have their hands full covering a pot hole, never mind the talking head anchors. Once we get used to Otto we won't miss these guys at all. Otto even has the same empty, fatuous, reassuring smile

Nice Story

Maybe the Christmas season just has me in a sentimental mood, but I thought this little story about the celebration of Taino culture in Puerto Rico was a bit heartwarming for some reason. Not too often these days that a Times story does that to me.

Jeffrey Goldberg Is James Bond

Goldberg shares a little tradecraft with us. Seriously, I remember a couple of these from old Ian Fleming books. Sample:
Here are six ways to minimize your chances - already remote - of dying in a hotel besieged by terrorists. I'm not including in this some of the self-inflicted mistakes people make, such as allowing Russian prostitutes into your Baku hotel room and believing that they have your best interests at heart.

Joan Walsh Humiliates Christopher Hitchens

This entire Hardball segment was well worth watching in order to relish the sight of Walsh handling Hitchens's arguments with the sneering contempt that they deserve. I have always wondered why more folks don't apply the treatment to this absurd little man. I half-suspect that many of them are intimidated by the poxy British accent and by his ostentatious, often irrelevant, literary references. Walsh actually gets many better licks in than the link above indicates.
Joan Walsh as been a pretty biased Clinton booster for quite a time, and Hitchens is correct to say that Clinton's qualifications for State are pretty thin. Nonetheless, his constant attacks on Hillary are so ad hominem and so reflexive that they really deserve to be called out as the shrill hysteria the Clintons so often provoke. Buffoons like Hitchens are actually something in the way of a secret weapon for the Clinton team, as their attacks are so over the top and unhinged that they make the pair seem more reasoanable. Had the Clinton foes not attempted to torpedo them, the so-called "Progressive" wing of the Democratic party would have emasculated President Clinton far more effectively than the haters ever could.