Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chief Justice Roberts Wouldn't Eat Their Brocolli

Chief Justice Roberts gave the four Democrats on the Supreme Court the crucial fifth vote to keep Obamacare from being unconstitutional in NFIB v. Sebelius

And yet you would have to call it a fractured majority:
"Justice Ginsburg, with whom Justice Sotomayor joins, and with whom Justice Breyer and Justice Kagan join as to Parts I, II, III, and IV, concurring in part, concurring in the judgment in part, and dissenting in part."
Ginsburg and company had a strange way of thanking the Chief Justice for his vote, calling him rigid, crabbed, warranting disapprobation, homeless, plowing, redolent, underwhelming, unpausing, disserving, disquieting, puzzling, unsatisfying, yet mightily striving, short on substance, and relying on newly minted doctrines, novel constraints, inapt analogies, spurious complaints, formalistic distinctions, parading broccoli horribles, hypothetical and unreal possibilities, and specious logic.
"According to The Chief Justice, the Commerce Clause does not permit that preservation. This rigid reading of the Clause makes scant sense and is stunningly retrogressive."
"The Chief Justice's crabbed reading of the Commerce Clause harks back to the era in which the Court routinely thwarted Congress' efforts to regulate the national economy in the interest of those who labor to sustain it."
"The Chief Justice relies on a newly minted constitutional doctrine."
"The Chief Justice's novel constraint on Congress' commerce power gains no force from our precedent and for that reason alone warrants disapprobation."
"The Chief Justice draws an analogy to the car market. An individual 'is not "active in the car market,"' the Chief Justice observes, simply because he or she may someday buy a car. The analogy is inapt."
"The Chief Justice also calls the minimum coverage provision an illegitimate effort to make young, healthy individuals subsidize insurance premiums paid by the less hale and hardy. This complaint, too, is spurious."
"The Chief Justice's limitation of the commerce power to the regulation of those actively engaged in commerce finds no home in the text of the Constitution or our decisions."
"The Chief Justice plows ahead with his formalistic distinction between those who are 'active in commerce,' and those who are not."
"At bottom, The Chief Justice's and the joint dissenters' 'view that an individual cannot be subject to Commerce Clause regulation absent voluntary, affirmative acts that enter him or her into, or affect, the interstate market expresses a concern for individual liberty that [is] more redolent of Due Process Clause arguments.'"
"As an example of the type of regulation he fears, The Chief Justice cites a Government mandate to purchase green vegetables. One could call this concern 'the broccoli horrible.'"
"Yet no one would offer the 'hypothetical and unreal possibilit[y],' of a vegetarian state as a credible reason to deny Congress the authority ever to ban the possession and sale of goods. The Chief Justice accepts just such specious logic when he cites the broccoli horrible as a reason to deny Congress the power to pass the individual mandate."
"The Chief Justice's argument is short on substance."
"The Chief Justice's reliance on cases in which this Court has affirmed Congress' 'broad authority to enact federal legislation' under the Necessary and Proper Clause is underwhelming.
"Nor does The Chief Justice pause to explain why the power to direct either the purchase of health insurance or, alternatively, the payment of a penalty collectible as a tax is more far-reaching than other implied powers this Court has found meet under the Necessary and Proper Clause."
"In failing to explain why the individual mandate threatens our constitutional order, The Chief Justice disserves future courts."
"In the early 20th century, this Court regularly struck down economic regulation enacted by the peoples' representatives in both the States and the Federal Government. The Chief Justice's Commerce Clause opinion, and even more so the joint dissenters' reasoning bear a disquieting resemblance to those long-overruled decisions."
"Ultimately, the Court upholds the individual mandate as a proper exercise of Congress' power to tax and spend “for the . . . general Welfare of the United States.” I concur in that determination, which makes The Chief Justice's Commerce Clause essay all the more puzzling. Why should The Chief Justice strive so mightily to hem in Congress' capacity to meet the new problems arising constantly in our ever-developing modern economy? I find no satisfying response to that question in his opinion."
Really, it reads like the Democratic Justices were downright angry to get Chief Justice Roberts's vote upholding Obamacare. And to what did the Chief Justice owe this hysterical harangue of the hinnies? He ate the meat and potatoes of their argument but wouldn't eat their broccoli.

Here's how you write a concurrence:
"The discussion of the commerce clause in the Chief Justice's opinion and the dissenting opinions is not necessary to today's decision upholding the ACA individual mandate under the taxing power. It is mere dicta unless the Court finds a case for these new ideas of what constitutes commerce to apply."
Now, if I'd have been the Chief Justice, I would have highlighted the phrases in the circulation draft, dropped by Justice Ginsburg's office, and plopped the thing on her desk with the comment, "I thought you wanted my vote." Then I would have walked out.

We now have a very interesting legal situation developing as many Democrats continue to maintain that the individual mandate is not a tax. Is that grounds to go back to the Supreme Court for a rehearing?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dread Pirate Roberts Joins the Tax and Spend Marauders

When you are right, you are right:
"My prediction is that the individual mandate is ruled constitutional as a tax but not as an affirmative requirement that you must go out and buy health insurance."
Chief Justice John Roberts broke ranks with his fellow Republicans to join the Democrats on the U.S. Supreme Court in upholding the ObamaCare individual mandate under the power of Congress to tax.

States who don't want to participate in the Medicaid expansion necessary to fully achieve Obamacare's expanded coverage targets will face with the hard choice of turning down what Justice Elana Kagan called "a boatload of money to take and spend."

Remember, the damsel in distress only gets rescued at the end of the movie, and only if she wants to be rescued.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Obama Second to None as Romney Closes Gap

The last presidential primary was held Utah yesterday. All through the early months of the Republican primaries we heard about the enthusiasm gap, the lack of enthusiasm among Republican voters for frontrunner Mitt Romney.

That enthusiasm gap has disappeared with Romney closing out with more primary votes than John McCain in 2008 and second-highest primary vote total among Republican nominees going all the way back to Ronald Reagan.

Republican Year Votes
Mitt Romney 2012 9,685,780
John McCain 2008 9,615,533
George W. Bush 2004 7,853,863
George W. Bush 2000 12,034,676
Bob Dole 1996 9,024,742
George H.W. Bush 1992 9,199,463
George H.W. Bush 1988 8,253,512
Ronald Reagan 1984 6,484,987
Ronald Reagan 1980 7,709,793

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has been running in Democratic primaries of his own. These primaries lacked a serious challenger to be sure, but as a show of support for the President, the results exhibit a serious lack of enthusiasm, not so much an enthusiasm gap as an enthusiasm chasm.

Democrat Year Votes
Barack Obama 2012 6,158,064
Barack Obama 2008 17,584,692
John Kerry 2004 9,930,497
Al Gore 2000 10,626,568
Bill Clinton 1996 9,706,802
Bill Clinton 1992 10,482,411
Michael Dukakis 1988 9,898,750
Walter Mondale 1984 6,952,912
Jimmy Carter 1980 10,043,016

Only 35% of Obama's primary voters from 2008 came out for him again in 2012. He got the least primary votes of any Democratic nominee since Jimmy Carter in 1980. In fact, less than any Democratic or Republican nominee since 1980.

Let's compare the 2012 Barack Obama primary vote to some past second-place primary finishers. Yes, he beats John McCain's 2000 primary total. But he trails Hillary Clinton (2008), Ted Kennedy (1980), and even Jesse Jackson (1988).

Second Place Year Votes
Barack Obama 2012 6,158,064
Hillary Clinton 2008 17,857,501
John McCain 2000 6,061,332
Jesse Jackson 1988 6,788,991
Ted Kennedy 1980 7,381,693

What conclusion to take from so many Democratic voters sitting out of this historic poor vote showing? Six million votes is a second place finish. Barack Obama lost the 2012 primaries to None of the Above.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Nancy Pelosi and Her Inspiring Math Skiils

I got an email from Barack today:
"Donate $3 or more right now to elect a Democratic majority in Congress."
Then Nancy Pelosi jumps in:
"Your response to President Obama's message today has been inspiring! If you donate today, my Democratic colleagues and I will triple-match your gift. Donate $3 or more."
Triple-match? So if I give $3 then Nancy will put up $9, right? Not so fast, better read the fine print:
"If you contribute today, a group of committed Democrats will match your gift 2-to-1, tripling your impact."
That's only a $6 match. That ain't no triple match. Where did you learn to multiply, Nancy?

And what happened to you and your colleagues, Nancy? You downgraded that to "committed Democrats" which of course could very well be other ordinarily people giving money today in response to these emails.

But I am heartened, Nancy, that you find my response to these email messages inspiring.

Barack Did All the Right Things on First Date with Michelle

How the first date between Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson went down:

(1) Browse through the Art Institute of Chicago
(2) Lunch by the courtyard fountain at the Art Institute
(3) Stroll down Michigan Avenue
(4) Catch Spike Lee's new movie Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing does seem an improbable date movie, even for an African-American couple, but perhaps they had other things on their minds.

I had seen Spike Lee's first big splash, She's Gotta Have It. That was an essentially uplifting movie. Do the Right Thing was a fatalistic turn.

Mookie, Spike Lee's character in Do the Right Thing is going to be back this summer for a cameo in a new Spike Lee movie, Red Hook Summer. In it a young boy from middle-class Atlanta is sent to spend the summer in the Brooklyn housing projects with his religious grandfather.

That doesn't look very promising as a date movie either, but if in 20 years you can be President and your future spouse can be First Husband, well, you'd better talk your would-be boyfriend into taking you.

Spike Lee soured on America when he got to Hollywood. When Do the Right Thing lost the Best Picture Oscar to Driving Miss Daisy that broke his heart. Hollywood was simply more comfortable with the well-off Jewish woman and her black chauffeur.

It also didn't help when his engrossing film Malcom X also got overlooked at the Oscars with Denzel Washington losing the Best Actor award to Al Pacino for the cute but forgettable Scent of a Woman.

Spike Lee's movies have never broken the magical $100 million domestic box office mark so he's back to directing independent films, just like Mookie is back delivering pizzas. If it's good pizza, that's a respectable calling. Of course, Mookie might have gone into business with Vito when Sal retired and Pino lit out for the suburbs, but Sal's place burned down.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

George Zimmerman and the Right to Remain Silent

This video of George Zimmerman reenacting the Trayvon Martin shooting for police investigators back in February is worth watching.

Let's posit Zimmerman's story is true. Did he commit a crime? Let's consider how Trayvon Martin might tell the same story, if he were alive to tell it.

Martin was walking home alone from a convenience store through a new subdivision and a truck driven by a lone male, George Zimmerman, passed him. The truck parked ahead of him and Martin walked past it. The truck resumed following him, even after Martin turned down another street.

Martin stopped and turned back and walked around the truck to see who was following him, then resumed his route leaving the street and going down a sidewalk between rows of homes. Zimmerman got out of his truck and tried to follow him.

At that point, Martin confronted Zimmerman and asked the man who had been following him, "Do you have a problem?"

Zimmerman, who had unknown to Martin gone so far as to call police about his suspicions of Martin being a potential burglar, did not explain himself or ask Martin to explain himself. He lied and said "No, I don't have a problem."

At that point, Martin hit the man who had been following him, knocked him down, and ground his head into the pavement. A neighbor, in response to Zimmerman's cries for help, came out the back of his house, and said he was calling 911. All Martin had to do was hold Zimmerman down and wait for police to arrive.

Instead, Zimmerman reached up, pulling his jacket up over his gun holster. That put Martin in fear for his life and both Zimmerman and Martin grabbed for the gun. Zimmerman was able to draw it and, rather than wait with gun drawn for the police to arrive, fired the shot that killed Martin.

Now, of course, Zimmerman may not be fully telling the truth. But let's say he is. Did he have the right to put Martin in that situation and then shoot him?

It's not enough, I think, for Zimmerman to say that Martin threw the first punch. Martin was being followed by an armed man for no apparent reason. It's also not enough, as Zimmerman expresses, that no one came to Zimmerman's immediate assistance in response to his shouts for help.

I have some sympathy for George Zimmerman. The way I see it, he does not deserve the death penalty or life in prison. Nor did he deserve to have his brains beat in or to be shot and killed by his own gun. But he did create an ambiguous and dangerous situation, and he bears most of the responsibility for that.

Now here's the rub. A lot of what we know comes from what George Zimmerman has told the police. He had the right to remain silent, but he did not use it. If he had not told his self-defense story, he would almost certainly have been charged at the time of the shooting. He came very close to talking his way out of facing any criminal charges. While it may be that this taped reenactment will be used against him, he does come across as cooperative and truthful, so it seems more likely it may instead help him win acquittal.

That would go against everything every defense lawyer has ever been taught or ever tried to tell their client and against every cop show that has ever been on television.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rufus Raffles Last Supper with Barack and Michelle

Rufus Gifford, the National Finance Director of Obama for America, has a new twist on the Dinner with Barack V Sweepstakes:
When the President says he's bringing the First Lady as his date to the next Dinner with Barack, you pull up another chair.

This doesn't happen very often -- in fact, a dinner like this has only happened once before, and it could very well be the last one on this campaign.

This is your shot. We'll be flying out three supporters and their guests for dinner with the Obamas.

Donate $150 or whatever you can today, and it can be you -- you'll be automatically entered to win:


Well, who wouldn't buy raffle tickets to the last supper?

I won't, after reading the fine print:
Sponsor may, at its option, conduct a background check on each potential winner. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any potential winner from receiving any prize based on such background check if Sponsor determines, in its sole discretion that awarding any prize to such potential winner could result in a safety or security risk to any person or persons or could result in the disruption of any event associated with the Promotion.
I'm pretty sure the risk of my asking the question, "Are you a socialist?" would be considered disruptive. Yet I wonder if they would let in someone from Occupy Wall Street?

Maybe it's just the capitalist in me but I seem to remember that just last week Julianna Smoot was raffling dinner with the President for $135. Add Michelle and its $150. That's $135 for the President, plus just $15 more for the First Lady. She should sue the campaign under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Battle of the Ivy League Law Professors

In this corner we have Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren, putative Cherokee. A group of four Cherokee women have arrived in Boston to examine her credentials.

But wait, Warren says they were sent by a right wing extremist who has (gasp!) given money to Scott Brown. Is this more nefarious Koch brothers money? No, $250 against Martha Coakley is the sum in question.

And who then is this evil right wing plotter? Cornell Law School Professor William Jacobson. Yes, it's between the Ivies.

Meanwhile, back at the tepee the Cherokee women want to meet Elizabeth Warren and give her a surprise present for her birthday Friday.

They need go further than Professor Jacobson's blog, Legal Insurrection, where Professor Warren's campaign is running ads to sign her birthday card. That's right, she's buying multiple ads on his blog. Score this round to Cornell.

If Harvard wants to get back in the ring, I'd suggest they hit back with a challenge. I understand there's an open debate spot at the Kennedy Institute. My advice to the home team, don't send left wing extremist Roberto Unger.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

No Debate for People's Seat at Ted Kennedy Institute

In the category, what did you expect?
Senator Scott Brown, how would you like to debate progressive challenger Elizabeth Warren on the progressive MSNBC network at the progressive Kennedy Institute established in memory of former Senator Ted Kennedy and run by his widow Vicki?
If I were Scott Brown I might have responded,
Professor Warren, how about if we debate on Fox News in the old Indian burial grounds on Chappaquiddick?
But Scott being more politic instead said he would do it but had a couple of conditions:
(1) MSNBC can't host because no one who would vote for me will be caught dead watching that network.

(2) We can't have a supposedly fair debate at the Kennedy Institute and then have Vicki Kennedy turn around the next day and endorse Elizabeth Warren.
Now Vicki's people are running around saying how unprecedented it is for Vicki to be asked to pledge not to endorse one of the candidates as a precondition to hosting a debate. Elizabeth Warren just seems a little befuddled by the whole debate business:

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Left Slogan: President Obama Must Be Defeated!

Harvard Law School Professior and former Brazilian Minister of Strategic Affairs Robert Mangabeira Unger puts forth a harsh manifesto at the end of this video (6:10):
President Obama must be defeated in the coming election:
  • He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States. 
  • He has spent trillions of dollars to rescue the moneyed interests and left workers and homeowners to their own devices.
  • He has subordinated the broadening of economic and educational opportunity to the important but secondary issue of access to health care in the mistaken belief that he would be spared a fight.
  • He has disguised his surrender with an empty appeal to tax justice.
  • He has delivered the politics of democracy to the rule of money.
  • He has reduced justice to charity.
  • His policy is financial confidence and food stamps.
  • He has evoked a politics of handholding, but no one changes the world without a struggle.
Unless he is defeated, there cannot be a contest for the reorientation of the Democratic Party as the vehicle for a progressive alternative in the country.
Well, I thought the Democratic Party had already wed itself to a new orientation, but then what?
There will be a cost for his defeat in judicial and administrative appointments.
Yes, the opportunity to remake the Supreme Court in a second Obama term would be lost, but don't worry about the cost being too high, Mitt Romney can be trusted:
The risk of military adventurism, however, under the rule of his opponents will be no greater than it would be under him.
There is an upside, he prophesies:
Only a political reversal can allow the voice of democratic prophesy to speak once again in American life. It's speech is always dangerous, it's silence is always fatal.
I don't know quite what to make of this. I will note that Roberto was born in Brazil and brought to the United States as a baby. His parents were quite possibly legal immigrants. But if they weren't, he would be protected from deportation under the President Obama's recent change in enforcement policy.

Deliberations on the "Last Days" of Obamacare

The U.S. Supreme Court term is winding to a close, with its remaining decisions expected to be announced by Thursday, June 28. Of course, it could hold over its decision for further arguments next term, but that seems unlikely. And that leaves just 10 days for issuance of its decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare.

The opinions, and there will be at least two, a majority and a dissent, are likely already at the printers. The betting wags over at Intrade are quoting a 75% chance individual mandate will be ruled unconstitutional this year. Back in March that was 55%.

My prediction is that the individual mandate is ruled constitutional as a tax but not as an affirmative requirement that you must go out and buy health insurance. Individual states can impose such a requirement but not the federal government, I predict the Supreme Court will rule.

The tax penalty for not having health insurance under Obamacare is $695 a year. The Pelosi-Reid Congress may have gotten to cute about how that was imposed as a penalty but not labelled a tax, but they seem to be able to constitutionally take a lot more than that.

An intriguing question is what the Supreme Court's decision might say regarding a public option to enroll the uninsured. That's essentially how the presumably constitutional Medicare and Medicaid programs currently work. Back in 2009, a public option is what Nancy Pelosi held out for, for so long and to so little point.

Now that's the problem with the conservatives on the Supreme Court. They are very likely to rule Obamacare unconstitutional while leaving open the possibility that Pelosicare is constitutional, which will only encourage her to start talking about the public option again. But they are also likely to suggest that Romneycare as implemented by Massachusetts and any other state that wants to do the same is constitutional.

Obamacare is expensive, a lot of states don't want it, and the voters in those states also say they don't want it. The Supreme Court may well rule that the federal government can provide Obamacare to states that want it but can't force Obamacare on states that don't.

And what would be wrong with that? I'm just not sure how Intrade would settle the bets.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Go Ahead, Keep Waiting" Is Order of the Day

"Go ahead, keep waiting" was the subject of an email I received today from my friend Julianna. We're on a first name email basis, Julianna and I, so I think I may take her advice. She got right to the point:
If you've been waiting to get invested in President Obama's campaign, you should know that Mitt Romney and the corporate interests and right-wing ideologues backing him want you to keep waiting.

They're counting on you to be tuned out for as long as possible -- until it's too late to make up the ground lost this summer without you.

Then they'll tune you out when President Romney is in the White House.

They're not running the kind of campaign that depends on ordinary people wanting a say in the political process.
Julianna Smoot is the Deputy Campaign Manager of Obama for America and she believes Obama stands for something different when it comes to ordinary people.
President Obama is -- and you could literally have his ear at an upcoming dinner with you and a few other guests.

Pitch in $135 or more now, and you'll be automatically entered for that chance:

The President's been hosting these dinners with supporters like you for the last year or so because they're what this entire campaign comes down to: ordinary Americans having conversations about where we've been and where we need to go.

No corporations in the room. Just people.

Don't pass up your chance to be at the next one.
Now that's awfully nice of my friend Julianna, if I just pitch in $135 I can enter a raffle to have dinner with President Obama. How did Julianna come up with the magic number of $135, you might ask? Well, you simply have to read the fine print.
The first $5,000 of a contribution to OVF 2012 will be allocated to Obama for America (with the first $2,500 designated for the primary election, and the next $2,500 for the general election). The next $30,800 of a contribution will be allocated to the Democratic National Committee. Any additional amounts from a contributor will be divided among the State Democratic Party Committees as follows, up to $10,000 per committee and subject to the biennial aggregate limits: FL (17%); OH (16%); PA (13%); CO (11%); NC (11%); VA (11%); NV (6%); WI (6%); IA (5%); and NH (4%). A contributor may designate his or her contribution for a particular participant. The allocation formula above may change if following it would result in an excessive contribution. Contributions will be used in connection with a Federal election.
Let me add that up for you, $5,000 to Obama for America, $30,800 to the DNC, and $10,000 to each of 10 state committees, that's $135,800 for the big donors who the maximum. The $135 raffle tickets Juliana is selling are just .1% of that and appear to provide ordinary people the same chance to meet the President over dinner. But why do I think that if gave $135,8000 my chances of having dinner with the President would go up to something like 100%?

Now, if someone who gives $135,800 has a 100% chance of winning, what chance of winning does someone who gives $135 have? Fairness might dictate a .1% chance, which is one chance in a thousand, pretty good odds. My friend Julianna is somewhat vague on that:
Odds of winning depend on number of entries received.
But there can only be 3 winners in this raffle and Julianna undoubtedly hopes for somewhat more than 3,000 entrants so that means the odds will likely be a lot less than one in a thousand, not very good odds at all when you think about it.

That, in a nutshell, is the real problem with money in politics. It's not merely that the people who give the big money get extra access and influence in proportion to the money they have given. It's that they get access and influence that is out of proportion to their money.

Julianna knows this and likely her husband of 8 months Lon Johnson knows this too. At the time of their marriage last October, Lon is a vice president with TVV Capital, a private equity firm. Mitt Romney made his money in private equity.

Julianna worked for a year as White House social secretary, deciding who comes to state dinners, sleeps in the Lincoln bedroom, and distributing other social perks not available to ordinary people. Julianna also had the extraordinary honor of being on the witness list in the recent trial of John Edwards.

I would just love to sit down for dinner with Julianna, Lon, and Barack and ask her what she knew and when about John Edwards's affair. Then ask Barack just how close he came to selecting John as his VP running mate. And ask Lon what he thought about being an evil corporate interest. Because it sounds to me like the honeymoon is over.

By the way, according to the Official Rules of the Dinner with Barack V Sweepstakes, you can enter the raffle without paying the $135. I like free.

Friday, June 8, 2012

CNN's Piers Morgan Lays It Down for Debbie Wasserman Schultz

On Wisconsin: "You keep calling him this great extremist who everyone apparently is terrified of and everything else, but the reality is he won. He won pretty convincingly."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Incredible Shrinking Democratic Party

The Democratic Party is shrinking.

The news from Wisconsin is that the voters chose to recall the Occupy-style union protests rather than Republican Governor Scott Walker. The headline in the Boston Globe is "Walker survives recall election in Wisconsin." Survived? Walker got 15% more votes than when he was elected in 2010. The real question is whether the Democratic Party has survived and how it can recover in time for the Presidential election this fall.

Look at the results in Wisconsin in the 2012 Presidential race and the Governor Walker recall election in 2012.

Party President 2008   Governor 2012 Shrink
Republican McCain 1,262,393   Walker 1,334,450 -72,057
Democratic Obama 1,677,211   Barrett 1,162,785 514,426

Now it is certainly true that turnout is often lower in non-Presidential years and in special elections. However, it is also apparent that every Wisconsinite who voted for John McCain in 2012 voted for Scott Walker in 2012, plus 72,000 (negative shrinkage there). But what about Democratic voters? Over 500,000 Wisconsinites who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 were missing in the 2012 recall election. That would have been more than enough to turn out Scott Walker and put in the Democratic candidate Tom Barrett.

Where did those half million Obama voters go? How many will be back in the fall? Wisconsin is one of 50 states. Just how many Obama voters will go missing nationally?

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Evergreens Keep Bringing Me Traffic

I've been looking at my blog traffic stats. Most posts bloom once if I'm lucky and after that are almost never read again. Weiner Holder for President and Vice President got big hits being linked by The Blaze and I've had two posts, What Is This 3 Inch Long Green Bug? and Out of Town Nudes in Harvard Square, get big spikes from Universal Hub.

But I have 5 posts (actually 3 are monthly archive pages) that I call my Evergreens. They bring in a small but steady stream of traffic week in and week out.

John Stamos to Star with Olsen Twins in Two and a Half Women not that Hollywood listens but I would watch this show.

May 2009 includes two of my favorite posts Flying the Black Flag and Waterboarding Nancy Pelosi.

March 2011 has another personal favorite Donald Trump Birth Certificate Proves He Was Born in Jamaica.

The Nikki Haley Story: Some Lies Don't Tell So Well gets hits every time South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is in the news.

May 2010 contains Left Bank of the Charles Is Not Banksy just in case you were wondering and Girl Fight in Harvard Square if that's you sort of thing.

Speaking of that, here is Girl Fight from my YouTube Channel.

The #1 video on my YouTube Channel and my #1 Evergreen is

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Trip to the Car Wash Brings One Week of Rain

Last weekend I washed my Jeep for the first time in a long time so of course it's rained all this weekend and is forecast to rain all next week.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ambush of Foreign Words at National Spelling Bee

Fourteen-year-old Snigdha Nandipat eluded the guetapens laid by the canities at the Scripps National Spelling Bee as one challenger lost himself in the high vetiver, another came in one Heath bar short of an ericeticolous ending, and the final challenger fell to insufficient schwarmerei for the geistlich unabridged dictionaries that grow like schwannoma on this annual porwigle ridotto.

Round Contestant Correct/Incorrect spelling Meaning Language
13 Snigdha Nandipati
San Diego, California
ambush, snare, trap French
12 Stuti Mishra
West Melbourne, Florida
unwholesome obsession German
10 Arvind Mahankali
Bayside Hills, New York
a specific cancer tumor German
9 Gifton Wright
Spanish Town, Jamaica
living in a heath habitat Latin
9 Nicholas Rushlow
Pickerington, Ohio
an Indian grass or its root French from Tamil
9 Lena Greenberg
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
religious, spiritual, sacred German
8 Frank Cahill
Parker, Colorado
tadpole, pollywog Middle English
7 Jordan Hoffman
Lee's Summit, Missouri
graying or whitening of hair Latin
7 Emma Ciereszynski
Dover, New Hampshire
retreat, place of entertainment Italian

To force the kids to compete on putatively English words gleaned from foreign and medical dictionaries seems pointless. It seems to me you want your National Spelling Bee champion to win on a good old American word, like incisor (1975) or narcolepsy (1976). In recent years, the contest has been buried alive in an endless stream of obscure words, a vivisepulture (1996) of logorrhea (1999).

I'd be hard pressed to tell you what any of these winning words from 2001-2011 mean without looking them up: succedaneum, prospicience, pococurante, autochthonous, appoggiatura, Ursprache, serrefine, guerdon, Laodicean, stromuhr, and cymotrichous.

If the idea is to introduce American kids to a better appreciation of foreign culture, I'd suggest that next year they simply have the contestants spell each other's names.

It's fun to watch the kids take on the supposed spelling masters, the adults rolling words they've likely never seen before in practiced sentences designed to make the master seem clever. And when the kids ask for the language of derivation, you can tell they don't always buy the pretense that the word has become English.

Friday, June 1, 2012

What's So Wrong with a Little Hazing?

If only Mitt Romney would bully Donald Trump. Hat tip to Political Humor