Archive for April, 2009



In other news, last night I read the most recent “Proust Questionnaire,” which is always the last page of my fave periodical, Vanity Fair. This month the interviewee was Jane Fonda. I really have no special affection for Fonda, though I must have seen On Golden Pond and 9 to 5 1,000 times a piece growing up.  I mean, I think she’s a pretty neat lady and all, but she’s never really been one of my faves.  I was really moved and heartened by her answers to the questionnaire, though.  As you know (or are about to), the questions asked range from “How would you like to die?” (to which many smart-alecky respondents say, “I wouldn’t”) to “What’s your greatest extravagance?” to “On what occasion do you lie?”  While her answers weren’t shocking or anything, I found them quietly moving and highly relatable.  For example, in response to some question regarding what she dislikes most about herself, she replied, “Seeing myself naked in an overhead light.”  I HATE overhead lighting.  This started because my mother taught me overhead lights are the devil at play, but now it’s just something that I truly can’t stand.  Overhead lighting should be used in common spaces only in one of three circumstances: (a) skylights are great; (b) in chandelier form with dim or dimmable lighting and then only in grandiose entryways or over a dining table; and (c) if you lost something that you simply cannot see without flipping the dreaded overhead light switch.  And simply no one should be allowed to be naked under an overhead light.  I could not agree with Fonda more on this point.  Ok, I realize that probably sounds trivial, so I’ll move on.  When asked what she’d like most to change about herself, she said it would be her inability to sustain a long-term intimate relationship.  That just about broke my heart.  Weren’t there some recent rumors that she and Ted would reunite?  Anyway, another sweet response was that she loves to plant trees around her house — and mature ones, because she feels she’s too old for saplings — and that she was at her most happy when she had scaled a 14,000 foot mountain.  So, there you have it, folks.  I just like that Jane Fonda.


Sunshine in the Supreme Court

Kristin sent me this and it’s just what I needed. I love the images. Especially nice to look at on such a beautiful day when it should be illegal to work in a windowless office.

Maira Kalman - May It Please the Court

Open government

Building — sort of — on my last post, I am again perplexed by The Right.  I really am not trying to be partisan here, but what the hell are people talking about?  The latest: this brouhaha over whether members of the Bush administration should be prosecuted for advocating, apologizing for or carrying out torture.  I think that it’s probably a reasonable question about which reasonable people can disagree.  But this is ridiculous.

Peggy Noonan, on Meet the Press this past weekend said, about the so-called torture memos, “Some things in life need to be mysterious,” and” Sometimes you need to just keep walking.”   Additionally, “It’s hard for me to look at a great nation issuing these documents and sending them out to the world and thinking, oh, much good will come of that.”

This is insane.  At a time when the GOP is struggling to remain relevant, I would think the last thing that you’d want to advocate would be for less government accountability and transparency.  Whether or not you are proprosection is beside the point.  Open records laws are at the very heart of our government.  There is little, really, that I consider more American than being able to publicly investigate our government’s goings-on and to take them to task for their actions.  Her position is unreasonable and unAmerican, really.  And it also just seems like dumb strategy.

Of course, Russ and others are already all over this. 


I guess I was the last to hear about these imaginative tea parties being hosted by our nation’s finest today.  Well, I’ve heard now.  I just came back from outside where I was checking on what these folks were up to across the street at my beloved Capitol.  There are hundreds of them!  There are buses pulling up and depositing very un-Madisonians all over the Square.  Many are carrying signs that say things like, “Stop taxing me!” or whatnot.  I’m slightly puzzled by the timing of this, as I had more money than before in last week’s paycheck.  I understand, of course, that some people hate paying taxes.  I am not one of them.  I think taxes are very helpful in creating an orderly, civilized society.  I realize, also of course, that these taxes are not always spent by the gov in great ways.  I, like everyone else except people who control these things, am not a big fan of all these bailouts.  I get protesting against stuff like that.  I understand being worried about the debt the country is getting itself further and further into.  Protesting against that makes sense.  But it doesn’t seem to me that that’s what the people across the street are protesting.  I don’t know what the hell they’re protesting actually.  It seems everyone might have a different agenda.  One sign complained that Obama is violating the Tenth Amendment (what?).  One that urged us to make sure we exercised our Second Amendments rights.  Several people had tea bags affixed to their signs.  Someone said they were “Tead off!”  [Side note: some people had some wicked ugly homemade signs.  That always irks me.  You know, like the ones where the person starts out writing something like, “STOP TAXING me” and they have to make the “me” really small because they ran out of room.]  Then there were others who expressed their anger with Doyle, others advocating term limits and still others who want the US out of the United Nations.  Focus, people!  The biggest offender, though, goes to whomever made their eight year old hold a sign that says, “Don’t forget: everything Hitler did was legal.”  Yes, this country right now is strikingly similar to Nazi Germany.  Sharp minds.


I have to admit, I find it more than a little disturbing that a sitting Supreme Court justice is voicing his discomfort with “rights.” I think what he’s trying to express is his perception that we’re a litigious society and his frustration with that. And that’s a fair frustration, though I think it’s often overstated. But, our government’s most important role is to protect our inherent rights. So, WTF, Justice Thomas? If you’re uncomfortable with that, then I suggest you get your ass off of the bench and find a different path.

This one sounds nice to me.

April 2009

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