Archive for March 29th, 2007

Wholesale Vs. Retail

Michael Waldman and Justin Levitt have the quote of the day (yes, even better than the big-girl panties) in their WaPo piece on voter fraud:

Firing a prosecutor for failing to find wide voter fraud is like firing a park ranger for failing to find Sasquatch.

The analogy might be a little more apt if it were The Sasquatch That Laid The Golden Eggs, or possibly The Sasquatch Who Secreted A Magical Substance Vital To Your Entire Party’s Electoral Survival, but it’s still very good.

They also make a very important point that I had never heard before:

A person casting two votes risks jail time and a fine for minimal gain. Proven voter fraud, statistically, happens about as often as death by lightning strike.

This is exactly right. Why would anyone put their neck on the line to game a single vote, or at most a handful of votes? No, if you’re going to commit electoral fraud, you want it to be worth the risk. You’re going to go large and try to hack the system. Not necessarily electronically, but you’re going to try to rig things behind the scenes to fudge a large number of votes, and no voter ID or voter roll purge is ever going to stop that. But they’ll sure as hell suppress the minority and elderly vote, yesireebob. (Indeed, the voter roll purge itself is very often a form of electoral fraud on a large scale.)

(Cross-posted at Mia Culpa)

2 comments March 29th, 2007 at 07:06pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Politics,Quotes,Republicans,Rove

Mo’ Yoga

Shiho Fukada / The New York Times

Another day, another fad that makes you look silly:

FOR a Friday evening, the small, intimate workout room at the New York Health & Racquet Club on East 57th Street was comfortably full. A dozen people sat, their chins pointed toward the ceiling, their lips puckered as if preparing for a kiss.

Later, they took their index and middle fingers and tapped their mouths five times, with the hope of increasing lip fullness and color. If done each day, they were told, it would be just as if they had been injected with collagen.

“The resistance is what firms the muscles,” Annelise Hagen, the teacher, said of Revita-Yoga, which combines yoga and facial exercises and is billed as a way to combat frown lines, wrinkles and sagging. “Each pose, stretch or exercise is designed to relax the muscles and release the patterns people unconsciously etch into their skin.”

Want to sculpture and narrow your nose? Alternate breathing out of each nostril, Revita-Yoga teaches. Have crow’s-feet? Open the eyes wide to smooth the lines. As pale as the winter sky? A dose of downward dog can add color to the complexion while oxygenating the skin.

In an era when aging is treated as a disease and yoga is often touted as a cure-all, it is hardly surprising to see people combining the two. Classes are sprouting up all over the United States and so are books, marketed to the portion of the population that wants the benefits of the knife and the needle without the costs or the risks.

That it works is unlikely, say doctors who specialize in skin or facial physiology. But it does relax practitioners while playing into their desire to do something about perceived flaws in their skin.

“People want a healthy alternative to looking good without artificial substance,” said Ms. Hagen, a former actress whose book, “The Yoga Face,” is to be published this August by Avery, the health and wellness division of Penguin. “And they want to be in control of their appearance rather than relegating it to an authority. I’m teaching my students to consciously release muscles rather than paralyzing them, which is what Botox does.”

Okay, I can buy that maybe carefully crafted exercises might be able to tone and tighten the facial muscles (for whatever that’s worth), but I don’t think any kind of exercise is going to do much of anything for the skin, which is not a muscle. On the other hand, even if it’s complete hooey, if it keeps people off the Botox and collagen and plastic surgery, it’s performing a public service.

March 29th, 2007 at 06:50pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weirdness

Eli’s Obsession With The Google

Another one for the mantelpiece: On the first page of search results for humungous testicles in the wheelbarrow.

Now there’s something to tell the grandkids!

March 29th, 2007 at 06:37pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Eli's Obsession With The Google

Howard Kurtz Scoops The World!!!

From his story on Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino temporarily filling in for Tony Snow while he gets cancer treatment:

Perino has been flooded with calls of support, including one, she says, from Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who told her: “Put your big-girl panties on.”

Now that’s what I call an education secretary!

7 comments March 29th, 2007 at 05:36pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Quotes,Republicans

Shorter Bobo

Authoritarianism is freedom!

There is an argument floating around Republican circles that in order to win again, the G.O.P. has to reconnect with the truths of its Goldwater-Reagan glory days. It has to once again be the minimal-government party, the maximal-freedom party, the party of rugged individualism and states’ rights.

This is folly. It’s the wrong diagnosis of current realities and so the wrong prescription for the future.


[I]n the 1970s, normal, nonideological people were right to think that their future prospects might be dimmed by a stultifying state. People were right to believe that government was undermining personal responsibility. People were right to have what Tyler Cowen, in a brilliant essay in Cato Unbound, calls the “liberty vs. power” paradigm burned into their minds — the idea that big government means less personal liberty.

But today, many of those old problems have receded or been addressed. Today the big threats to people’s future prospects come from complex, decentralized phenomena: Islamic extremism, failed states, global competition, global warming, nuclear proliferation, a skills-based economy, economic and social segmentation.

Normal, nonideological people are less concerned about the threat to their freedom from an overweening state than from the threats posed by these amorphous yet pervasive phenomena. The “liberty vs. power” paradigm is less germane. It’s been replaced in the public consciousness with a “security leads to freedom” paradigm. People with a secure base are more free to take risks and explore the possibilities of their world.

People with secure health care can switch jobs more easily. People who feel free from terror can live their lives more loosely. People who come from stable homes and pass through engaged schools are free to choose from a wider range of opportunities.

The “security leads to freedom” paradigm is a fundamental principle of child psychology, but conservative think tankers and activists have been slow to recognize the change in their historical circumstance. All their intellectual training has been oriented by the “liberty vs. power” paradigm. (Postwar planning in Iraq was so poor because many in the G.O.P. were not really alive to the truth that security is a precondition for freedom.)


The Republican Party, which still talks as if government were the biggest threat to choice, has lost touch with independent voters. Offered a choice between stale Democrats and stale Republicans, voters now choose Democrats, who at least talk about economic and domestic security.


Compassionate conservatism was an attempt to move beyond the “liberty vs. power” paradigm. But because it was never fleshed out and because the Congressional G.O.P. rejected the implant, a new Republican governing philosophy did not emerge.The party is going to have to make another run at it. As it does, it will have to shift mentalities. The “security leads to freedom” paradigm doesn’t end debate between left and right, it just engages on different ground. It is oriented less toward negative liberty (How can I get the government off my back?) and more toward positive liberty (Can I choose how to lead my life?).

Goldwater and Reagan were important leaders, but they’re not models for the future.

Well, it’s so nice to see one of conservatism’s leading intellectuals finally realize that small government just isn’t up to the task of watching our every move in order to keep us safe from the Scary Brown People. Don’t any of those lightweights at Cato know anything about child psychology? Jeez.

Hopefully politicians on both sides of the aisle will come to fully appreciate Brooks’ wisdom, and we will all be able to work and play and sleep easier, secure in the knowledge that someone is always looking after us. Maybe I can finally experience some of those things I’ve always wanted to try, like freeclimbing or sharkdiving or karaoke, but kept chickening out of due to my paralyzing but totally reasonable fear of terrorists.

6 comments March 29th, 2007 at 11:45am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Media,Republicans,Terrorism,Wankers

Return Of The Son Of Oakland Photoblogging

Some more photos from Oakland:

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Umm… yeah.

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More architectural photography.

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I liked the shadow of the light on the menu. I have no opinion on the restaurant itself…

2 comments March 29th, 2007 at 06:33am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

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