Archives for the Month of September 2007 on Jeffrey Quick's Blog

Libraries and Starbucks

There's an interesting article about the 30 or so college libraries that have set up a Starbucks franchise within the library.

USF reports an average 147,512 additional patrons a year have used the library since Starbucks opened in it four years ago.

I have to wonder whether they've used the library or whether they've walked in the door to use the Starbucks. What are the circulation and reference stats here?

At the Cal State Long Beach Starbucks, "Every seat is usually taken," says Roman Kochan, library dean. Spillage and book damage have actually declined since students no longer are hiding food and drinks in their packs, he says.
I'm dubious, but if you say so... Predictably, there's the puritanical hang-wringing:
Several years ago, Louisiana State University talked with Starbucks about locating in the library. "A few people felt this was commercialization of academic space," says Jennifer Cargill, dean of libraries at LSU. Instead, a local chain, Community Coffee, went in, and objections disappeared.

Some question whether Starbucks belongs inside the icon of academia.

"The library ought to be the one place that reflects the university's mission and purpose and should be protected from commercial influences," says Robert Weissman, managing director at Commercial Alert, a consumer group.

I'd be more in favor of local coffee myself, but it would depend on the results of competitive bidding. As for Commercial Alert, I'd never heard of them before, and I can't say I'm impressed.
At Commercial Alert, we stand up for the idea that some things are too important to be for sale. Not our children. Not our health. Not our minds. Not our schools. Not our values. Not the integrity of our governments.

CA thinks that rather than health etc. being for sale, they should (through a government proxy) simply take it. If you can't sell it, you don't own it. At some universities, if the library "reflects the university's mission and purpose", it would have a bar in it. As for "commercialization of academic space", it was academia that pioneered the notion of "naming rights". Granted, most donors are selling their posthumous reputation rather than a product. But I've seen things in academic libraries that sound very much like "Quicken Loans Arena".

I'm actually neutral on coffee in libraries, except as a preservation issue. I'm of the antediluvian belief that libraries are primarily book warehouses, and electronic resources just make the warehouse bigger. You study in the library because that's where the books are. If coffee helps that (and it does, for me), I'm all for it. If it's there to create a "social center", I'm dubious, because scholarship is ultimately a solitary endeavor. My job is to get information to people, not to manage a profit center, run a dating service, or be a food vendor.

Methodists: divest from Caterpillar

I once heard a Methodist minister proclaim from the pulpit that Methodists had "warm hearts and fuzzy minds." Here's some proof.

While they're puttering in the affairs of Caesar, maybe they should sell off any timber interests they have, given that regrettable incident with 2 pieces of wood that happened some 1974 years ago.

Former Italian president returns honorary doctorate from Columbia

This story has gotten NO media play in the US, and has barely penetrated the blogosphere. The Polish news service had it, and somebody on a list I'm on just found an Italian story. From the Babelfish-y translation I got from the Polish story (cleaned up a bit by me):

In protest against the invitation of the president of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Columbia University the former Italian president Francesco Cossiga gave back the title of the doctor Honoris Causa of this University. Senator Cossiga wrote that he was indignant at the the chancellor of UC for organizing the lecture of the Iranian leader, whom he called "a threatening neonazi and a Islamic terrorist".

The former Italian president reminded in the sharp letter to the rector of Columbia that Ahmadinejad expressed thirst for the destruction of Israel.

"Regardfully for six million murdered Jews whose you - old-fashioned racists, and today also advocates of Islamic terrorists I - Catholic, return the title of Honoris Causa and I burn the toga which you gave to me" - declared Cossiga.

His letter finished with the words: "without respect, Francesco Cossiga".

It used to be enough to kiss babies... you have to offer them each $5K in order to be elected:

"I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that downpayment on their first home," she said.

OK, Hillary, you go first. You can afford to gift a few more children than I can. Oh want to take the money from the children in order to give it to them. I see...

And from her adoring audience, our local embarrassment:

"I think it's a wonderful idea," said Rep. Stephanie Stubbs Jones, an Ohio Democrat who attended the event and has already endorsed Clinton. "Every child born in the United States today owes $27,000 on the national debt, why not let them come get $5,000 to grow until their 18?"

Uh, because then they'd owe $32K on the national debt? Really I don't know who is a bigger idiot, Tubbs Jones or Devlin Barrett, who couldn't get her name right or find the contraction for they are.

UPDATE: Taranto presents the same answer to the Tubbs-Jones question as I did, minus the insults descriptors constantly and casually used on George W. Bush. Boortz has a good description of the likely devolution of the Hillary 5K.

UPDATE 2: Apparently the American people don't like this idea much more than I do.

The Catholic Jesse Jackson at it again

Bill Donohue has his polka-dot boxers in a bunch over Miller Brewery's support of the Folsom Street Fair, a San Francisco event that is a bit kinky. The fight started over the poster, which bears a mild resemblance to Da Vinci's Last Supper. It was over-the-top enough that Miller wanted their logo removed, which didn't happen because, well, the posters were already printed.

Here's doubtless how it happened: It's a street fair, and street fairs sell BEER, and this one was selling beer to a mircrobrew/import crowd, so why wouldn't Miller want to curry favor with them to take back some market share? And the decision was probably made locally, with no examination of the global parameters. So now, if Miller caves to pressure and backs out, the other side will boycott. It's better business just to ignore the Catholic League.

I certainly don't blame any Christian who quietly decides to drink something else; I think Catholics should be drinking more monastic beers anyway. But Do-no-ho-ho-ho and his buds are so excessive as to be a laughingstock. Especially the Constipated Women for America:

Concerned Women for America first drew attention to the Last Supper poster Tuesday.

The group wants California's elected officials – including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer – to "publicly condemn this unprovoked attack against Christ and His followers."

Now, excuse me, but I didn't see an attack against Christ's followers there, or even against Christ. The guy in "the Jesus position" on the poster is black, and nobody is going to confuse him with the Son of God (who we all know was a blonde...unless we think He's Jim Caviezel.) I think it's time for CWA to take a tour of those parts of the world where they really do make "unprovoked attacks against Christ's followers." They'll be able to see the difference between free speech and dhimmitude (at best), even through their burqas.

UPDATE 10/6: Donohue is now sending pornography (or what he perceives as such) to every parish in the Milwaukee (home of Miller) archdiocese.

Desmond Tutu sees the future

Archbishop Tutu has awakened to the condition of The Country Formerly Known as Rhodesia. Too bad his words indicate he's still wide asleep:

The extent to which the crisis could have been mitigated through more efficient economic management is a matter for debate by people better-qualified than me.

The problem with the Zimbabwean economy exists precisely to the extent that it's been "managed."
The world must act on the African concept of ubuntu, or "inter-dependency" by working to end the crisis, he said. "Zimbabwe's plight is all of our plight. To ignore its suffering is to condone it."

There's lots of interdependency in Z-we: depend on Zanu-PF or else. And South Africa and the US have their little Bobby Mugabes too, so it is all our plight.

It doesn't sound as if Tutu objects to the principles of Mugabe so much as their inevitable results.

Canterbury's loss, Rome's gain

Once, long ago, I had two lovers. And I figured this was fine, because one would get tired of the situation, and then I'd still have one. The problem with this was that the one who first got tired of being played was the one I should have been with.

I was put in mind of this by the Bishop of Rio Grande, Jeffrey Steenson, who is becoming a Roman Catholic:

I am concerned that if I do not listen to and act in accordance with conscience now, it will become harder and harder to hear God’s voice...Now I come before you, asking that you give me the necessary canonical permission to resign as ordinary of my diocese. I should like to do this by the end of this year, and afterwards, in proper order, to be released from my ordination vows in the Episcopal Church...I hope my decision will encourage others who believe they can no longer remain in the Episcopal Church, to respect its laws and to withdraw as courteously as possible for the sake of the Christian witness.

A class act.

Marcel Marceau falls silent

I wonder what his last words were?

I feel safer already

We just got the report of the Special Security Task Force, which was set up after the Virginia Tech shootings. I don't recall if there was a Special Security Task Force after Bizzy Halder's Excellent Adventure. If there was, wasn't this one redundant? And if not, why not?

I don't want to give these guys a hard time; I'm sure they worked long and hard on this. Besides, most of them outrank me. Most of this document makes good sense. Particularly praiseworthy was the decision to not implement building lockdown. This is kidnapping, and if anyone were injured because they couldn't escape a building, there would be a huge liability issue. I'm not nuts about the "training session" mandate, since we're kind of trained and meetinged to death as it is. But rationally, I can't see any way around it, if this is going to work.

But, under "Prevention", we have this:

g. "No firearms" postings on buildings should be completed.

I'm not going to go off again on the campus as victim-disarmament zone; been there, done that. But that these signs will "prevent" a tragedy is simply laughable. I'm sure that if there'd been a big red circleslash-bangtoy sign on the doors of PBL, that Biswanath Halder would have just turned around and taken his cheap guns home -- NOT! Meanwhile, they just make the campus feel like a siege zone. Maybe they're to prevent lawsuits when the university fires/arrests/shoots anyone who is packing. Not being a lawyer, I'm not sure how effective they'd be in that. But I'm real sure that a person out to commit a capital crime doesn't care about other rules either.

Don't build a rabbitry in Powell, Wyoming

Folks tell me about how the West is such a free place. But all it took was one apparently powerful person to get bitched off for the Powell City Council to limit rabbits to 3 breeding pairs.

It's not Hardyville. But not even Hardyville is Hardyville anymore.

The Other White Meat gets a reprimand in Knoxville

Hmmm, evidently it's OK to not know the law in Ohio, get a police job in Tennessee, not know the law there either, and use as an excuse that you thought it was the same law in Ohio.

I'm glad Putnam made out OK, even if the police department blew off 2 of his complaints. But I'm sorry we don't have more information on Officer Glenn Todd Greene. After all, they let us know when a sex offender moves into the neighborhood, and I have less probable cause to fear them than I do to fear Officer Greene.

Thanks to Beck...but Billy, I suspect that "the shock" was feigned. Trevor was dealing with cops, he deals with cops in his work, and it was in his personal best interests to act as if all cops were law-abiding people. He knows better, now, but he still has to play along.

Concert Sunday: Cleveland Composers Guild

I meant to do this Thursday, when somebody might actually read it. But better late than never. There are more concerts here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007 3:00 p.m.
Drinko Recital Hall, Cleveland State University
free parking in garage East 21st Street between Chester and Euclid

Free Concert, Cleveland Composers' Guild

Quote Music by Eric Charnofsky
Ray Liddle, baritone, and Eric Charnofsky, piano

That Day by Steve Stanziano

Trio by Larry Baker
Lindsay Wile Charnofsky, clarinet, Susan Britton, violin, and Eric Charnofsky, piano

Beat It with a Stick by Amelia Kaplan

Songs for Young Lovers (Millay) by Margi Griebling-Haigh
Sandra Simon, soprano, Margi Griebling-Haigh, oboe, and Randall Fusco, piano

Whalefall and Calypso by Monica Houghton
Andrea Chenowith, soprano, and Eric Charnofsky, piano

You think Arafat was a bad choice for the Nobel Peace Prize?

Wrap your mind around this phrase: "Nobel Peace Prize nominee Adolf Hitler..."

Farewell, Geauga Lake

Yeah, I should really feel bad about this. And I do, sorta.

The only time I went there as a patron was when I took my stepson, about 15 years ago, and the tickets were a severe stretch then. And I played at some lame excuse for an Oktoberfest they had once, trying to stretch the season. It's just that with ticket prices and the economy being what they are, you need a real commitment to screwing with your body's balance systems until you hurl, if you're going to make the ticket worthwhile.

Plain Dealer beats up on local business

In the fine tradition of Hope Taft sending the Jello shot guy to Michigan, the Pee Dealer is beating the drum to remove another producer from the Ohio economy. Oh sure, there's some attempt at telling both sides of the story. But the slant is clear from the lead: we have an Eevul Gun Maker in our midst.

My first gun was a Hi-Point 9 mm carbine. I bought it to beat the Brady check implementation (just coming in then)...not that I'd have any problems passing, but why should I have to pass? I was far from prosperous at the time, the price was right, and the dealer at the gun show took credit cards. It's the firearm equivalent of my '97 Ford Aspire: cheap and reliable, but not luxurious. (much nicer than the Jennings J-22, the worst POS I have ever fired.) All a criminal needs in a gun is that it goes "bang" reliably. Most of the time, they only need it to look like it goes "bang" reliably, given what a wimp the average victim is. And if a criminal had a boatload of money to spend on fine arms, do you think he'd be stealing it? (No, he'd be lobbying and voting for somebody else to steal it for him.)

So, because criminals are just as blue-collar as the people who most need protection from them, the Pee Dealer has to Do Something. Evidently, only the wealthy are allowed to defend themselves, and that only if they're willing to have the Pee Dealer print their names. It really doesn't seem prudent for the paper to adopt an anti-business attitude or to piss off the gun-owning part of their readership, given the tenuousness of their own business.

The Endarkenment and the intelligensia

"Sometimes I have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."-- Lewis Carroll

It takes at least a masters degree to maintain an obviously contradictory position with a straight face.Folks like my wife, whose highest education was a stint in Uncle Sam's School for Killers, can't do it.Thought doesn't come easily for them, so they value it highly and do it with due deliberation. Academics can make ideas dance on the head of a pin, and in so doing often forget that ideas are masters, not servants.

There's a notion out there in Objectivist circles that, if only people bothered to think, they would never believe some of the crap that they do, and that, given enough self-examination, we can be totally rational beings. The problem is, they've never come up with an example. Rand was a fruitcake. Her disciples unto the furthest generation, myself included, have been fruitcakes. Scientologist Clears and militant atheists are fruitcakes. Inevitably, we all blank out over something. The attempt to think is absolutely worthwhile; don't get me wrong. It's just that at some point, with almost everyone, it's bound to fail. And why is that? It's because nobody can resist the lure of an unearned value, but nobody rational would attempt such a thing. This lack of resistance, in a move which will surely infuriate all the abovementioned groups, I will call Original Sin. It's an interesting way to read the Genesis story. The fruit was not theirs to take. But the snake said, "Good things will happen to you if you take the fruit that is not yours." And we've heard that argument ever since.

Today's example comes from a list dedicated to the composition of traditional classical music, but which often goes a bit off-topic. Which list and which participants aren't important here, but it's a classic blankout.

God(dess) forbid our clothing or houses or computers or musical instruments should belong to any State, even one that claims to act for the common good of "the people"! ;-) A reasonable degree of private ownership is essential.
And who decides what "a reasonable degree" is?

It goes without saying that personal freedoms are of paramount importance, especially to artists and other creative people.

However, I will support universal healthcare because of the following:

1) any "nation" that fails to be responsible for the physical health and security of its own citizens,

At which point does that responsibility end, if it exists? Since most diseases are at the very least abetted by poor diet, wouldn't the State's "responsibility for physical health" mandate government-provided perfectly-balanced meals, cooked in licensed government kitchens (to prevent food poisoning)? Why don't we have "universal food care?" "Well, because everybody wants to eat something different" Well, everybody wants different health care too. Most people want to see a MD, but some want homeopathy, or chiropractic, or naturopathy, or to be prayed over by a Christian Science practitioner, or have rattles shaken over them. Will the government provide all that, or will it "be responsible" and force those other foolish people into the standard "scientific" healthcare system? Will it arrest people for not getting their annual checkup? Aren't those "personal freedoms" which should be of "paramount importance"? What about hearing protection? there's music out there that's too loud to listen to. And it's not just rock; think of those poor orchestral musicians playing Wagner and Stravinsky. A government big enough to tell you what to eat and how to treat your ills is big enough to tell you what kind of music you must write if you want it to be performed.

There are two places where all physical needs are taken care of: farms and prisons. I'm not livestock or a jailbird. Or the property of the State.

and elevates profits above people,

I have never understood that mindless slogan. People invest; people make profits. If you decide that "profits are bad", and forbid people from making them (or control or tax what they make, which is a milder version of the same thing), haven't YOU actually put profits above people, given that those people wanted to make a profit? I think it was J. Paul Getty, who when asked "How much money is enough?" said "One more dollar than I have now." Now, that's not me...I'm not that strongly motivated by money. But that's how many performances "enough performances" would be for me, so I can understand the motivation. And as long as it doesn't involve force or fraud, I'm all for it, because anyone making those kinds of profits is providing what other
people want.

amounts, in my view, to nothing more than a tenuous coalition unworthy of the name

2) as a result of very negative personal experiences with the insurance industry and healthcare system and the fact that so many of my artist friends are now uninsured through no fault of their own, I see that such a reform is necessary. In fact, I would go much further, and make provisions to ensure that no personal or natural disaster leaves anyone homeless and destitute. (Before Katrina, there was Andrew, and I was there! It was very, very bad, even with insurance.)

well, you aren't God (to control disasters), so I guess what you want to insure is that people be helped ASAP. I'm all for that. That's what charities are for, and I assume you give liberally. I also assume that you support price-rationing of things like hotel rooms and generators near hurricane areas, so that those who need them the most can get them, instead of people buying separate rooms for Grandma and the kids. And that you're looking to move out of hurricane or earthquake territory (we don't have either, and not many tornadoes, in Ohio). The point is that government is not necessary to insure these things, and that (as in Katrina) they can actively make things worse.

That much said, I tend to agree that the government is best that governs least (cf. Thoreau),

You can't be a thinking man and sit with that contradiction. If you want a government powerful enough to provide universal healthcare, you want a damn big government. Even the power to shake that much money out of its citizens' pockets is too much, let alone what happens when it gets the money. And even if you find a staff of saints and philosopher-kings to run it (which you admit is impossible), they are still going to run roughshod over your rights and personal freedoms, as do-gooders have always done (that's an -"ism" too). There is no difference between "personal liberties" and "economic liberties" -- they are one seamless whole.

but with the provisio that such a government is impossible without ethical politicians of the kind that today seem to be in deplorably short supply.
You should have ended that phrase after the tenth word.

We're going to sell a house!

Happy happy joy joy! My wife is going right now to sign the papers. She'll lose a little money on the deal (and the house is paid off), but it's been sitting awhile, things aren't supposed to get any better, and the buyer upped their offer out of insulting territory.

New article on Nalini Ghuman case

I'd read a bit about this before, but the new story has more horrifying detail. What brought it closer to home is that Ghuman's squeeze is Paul Flight, whom I worked with this summer...who is considering moving to Britain to be with her.

She's been invited to speak at the AMS convention in November...which is fortunately, and ironically, not in America. Maybe all the musicologists ought to be banned from return to the US afterwards...because, you know, they were associating with this dread whatever-the-hell-she-is.

The Tanja Nijmeijer comedy hour

The Columbian army caught her with her pants down...literally...and captured her diary. So how does a nice middle-class Dutch girl join a Marxist terror organization?

Now 23, she visited Colombia in 2000 as part of a Danish tour aimed at exploring Marxist experiments in South America. Her diary says she returned in 2002 and joined FARC.

Yep, send some impressionable kid out there. Sweet 16 and just been FARCed. As soon as she was of legal age, back she went...for life in a live-action pornographic sitcom:
"The chief has fallen for a girl with big tits," Nijmeijer reports in a Nov. 2, 2006, entry. "But it appears she brought some venereal disease with her. The chief says the government sent her in order to infect and weaken the rebel leaders."

It's got to suck to be her right now.

The Other White Meat increasingly trayf

Brett Darrow's video of his run-in with at St. George MO police officer has been making the rounds. I'll admit that I haven't seen it (don't do video at work, CAN'T do video at home) so I can't comment. But evidently even before that, there were police uttering death threats online. And Darrow has a history with bad cops:

The young driver's encounters with Saint Louis area police began in March 2005 when an intoxicated, off-duty police officer threatened to kill him. Darrow escaped only to find himself arrested hours later. The city agreed to drop all charges against him on the condition that he waive his right to sue over the incident. The following year, a Saint Louis officer at a DUI roadblock said he would, "find a reason to lock you up tonight" (view video and story). This is in addition to Sergeant Kuehnlein's videotaped threat that, "we will ruin your career and life and everything else you have coming before you."

Evidently Kuehnlein's boss is no better:

St. George Police Chief Scott Uhrig is also being investigated by city officials who say he may have failed to inform them that the State of Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission concluded that, "Uhrig's unwelcome sexual advances to a teenager, while on duty and under the guise of enforcing the laws, indicate an especially egregious mental state, show that he cannot enforce the law, and are cause for discipline."

Thanks to Beck.

Alan Keyes again?!

Oh, puh-LEAZE! After two crash-and-burn candidacies, he wants to try again? Who does he think he is, the black Harold Stassen?

Teach the spawn of capitalist insects to kill themselves

My dad was wondering in his last email about why young people commit suicide. Maybe this helps explain it?

Campus self-defense coming to Michigan?

Grand Rapids Superintendent Bernard Taylor, for example, told the local newspaper the proposed bill left him "speechless," before saying, "If that's what we've come to, I need to find a new line of work."

An excellent idea, Mr. Taylor, "that" being allowing certain privileged and trained people to carry guns on school grounds. The bill is a no-brainer...why is why it will never pass the Michigan Legislature.

Blasphemy at the Emmys

Bill Donohue, the Jesse Jackson of Catholicism, is whacking away at Kathy Griffin and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, for this choice comment:

"I guess hell froze over," Griffin announced. "A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this. He had nothing to do with this. ... Suck it, Jesus! This award is my god now."

...which Billy-Boy called "vulgar in-your-face brand of hate speech" from a self-described "complete militant atheist" , demanding that the remarks be censored for broadcast. To which Kathy said: "Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humor?"

Let's get a grip here.

First, for Billy-boy: Jesus is big enough to take care of himself. So, for that matter, are Catholics, most of whom have remote controls and know how to use them. Quit throwing your weight around as if you actually represent somebody.

For Kathy: If you're going to call yourself a Catholic, there are certain expectations for being in communion with the Church. Not denying or blaspheming God is one of the more basic of those expectations, and doing so isn't funny or necessary. Your parish priest can help you with this. If you don't have one, well, in what sense are you a Catholic? It's not like Catholicism is a STD, after all; you've got to actually do something, like believe. Like I said, Jesus is big enough to take care of Himself, which means He's also big enough to take care of you, take that as you will.

"lowlife" to demand resignation over a DUI

Let's see...when a senator gets caught looking for anonymous gay sex, he should resign. But if a drunken state representative evades police at speeds of up to 100 mph, (an act that could endanger far more people) that's a different matter.

Naifeh said he was aware of “naysayers” who were attempting to turn Briley’s situation to partisan advantage.

“I think that’s pretty lowlife. I have absolutely no use for those people,” said Naifeh.

I guess it depends on which party you're a member of.

Disarm the young!

Cleveland's mayor has decided he needs a new tool to crack down on hoodlums: a statewide ban on gun possession for anyone under 21. And among other other legislators carrying water for him is Michael DeBose, who supposedly got religion about concealed carry awhile back. Never mind that those same hoodlums might be after a 20 year old college student, who as a full citizen has the same rights of self defense as DeBose has. Never mind that if you take an 18 year old and put him through basic training, he's not only mature enough to carry firearms (and fully automatic firearms, at that -- which is something you don't see on Cleveland streets), but to use them to kill people in foreign lands.

I don't think this was Mayor Frank's idea; I think somebody Bradyesque put a bug in his ear. This isn't about urban gangbangers (who are still going to get guns...and shall we talk about knives?). This is about the 16 year old learning how to hunt. This is about wiping out the gun culture, to the glory of gangsta culture. Further, it's a violation of the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens 18-21. (They get shafted on alcohol, too, but there's no specific Constitutional protection of the right to drink -- though in the Good Old Days, it was thought that you needed a constitutional amendment to keep people from drinking.) What I want to know is: why, if the young can't be trusted with guns or alcohol, they are entrusted with a vote, which is far more dangerous. I'm not nearly as afraid of drive-by shootings as drive-by socialism...which is why I moved to a safer neighborhood.

Why I haven't been blogging

I've been busy as hell.

Last weekend I finished a string quartet, "No. 1" because the torso of 1978 sucks. This is 14 minutes, three movements, with a vaguely Beethoveny 1st movement, a slow movement I am very happy with, and a kind of ethnic dance-rondo finale. It's been submitted for the Nov. 18th Guild concert, and I have somebody in Columbia (!) interested.

Then there's Guild stuff...trying to mount a workable publicity program with 2 weeks left before the 1st concert and with not enough help to get flyers out, and putting out other fires.

Then there's harvest/prepping the garden for winter, house winterizing stuff, practicing...and we're in the busiest part of the year (except for finals) at the library, where all the clueless n00bs are asking us for a clue about whatever (and we ARE paid to provide those clues, after all). This will all thin out by month end, and I can breathe again. But right now, I'm up against the wall.

Larry Craig digs deeper

Let me start by saying that Sen. Craig should not have resigned over his PeeWee Big Adventure in Minneapolis. That case should have been decided by Republican primary voters. Idaho is not Massachusetts, but voters there seem perfectly comfortable in returning Barney Frank to office, so who knows what they'd do in Brokeback Country? And if it was wrong to impeach Bill Clinton over sexually harassing his employees, it should be equally wrong to evict a senator for sexually harassing a plainclothes officer. If, as the Democrats claimed, it's "all about the BJ", then Craig is home free, since he didn't even get one. (Yes, I know, it was about lying under oath about a BJ, but let me accept the liberal argument here.) And if (per my gay friends) "a mouth is a mouth", then certainly he deserves the same legal protections.

Resigning over pusillanimity, on the other hand, sounds like a better idea every day. Now we have hints that Craig might not resign after all, because his lawyers say that his arrest was unconstitutional, as he was on his way to the Senate:

"The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place."

OK, so Article I/6 isn't the sexiest part of the Constitution, but Larry swore to uphold it. If he forgot that passage was in there, what other contents is he in ignorance of? And surely he either forgot or was ignorant, or he would have made that argument to Sgt. Karsnia. Moreover, since the Senate is ever mindful and protective of its prerogatives, it should be standing solidly behind him. The problem is that "Sen. Craig" wasn't arrested. Some pervert was arrested, who turned out to be Sen. Craig. The purpose of that bit of the Constitution was to keep the several states from mucking with the legislative process by arresting legislators who would vote contrary to its interests. There's no evidence that Karsnia had any intent to influence legislation. Now, it may be well to adopt an absolutist interpretation of I/6, given the number of trivial laws on the books that could be used to detain a legislator. But I don't think it would fly with the American people to let Craig off scot-free on I/6 grounds.

But the most pathetic statement is the claim from Craig's people that they are going to "clear his good name." This shows a real confusion between morals and law. It is now impossible to clear Craig's name. The only way to do that would to have been to prevail on the facts in a trial by jury. If he convinced a jury that he wasn't out for some cheap stress relief, his name would be cleared. Instead, he pled guilty, either because his name was unclearable or because he couldn't be bothered at that moment to clear it. This caused a change in venue to The Court of Public Opinion, which has so far greeted Craig's testimony with howls of derision. Even if acquitted on the Constitutional technicality, he would stand convicted of being a pervert and a coward, and somebody incapable of making a decision. OK, Larry, you resign already, for the good of your party, the republic, and to save the last white crumb in the burnt toast of your career.

You got the T-shirt, now buy the hair

MIAMI — A former CIA operative and Cuban exile plans to auction what he says is a lock of Che Guevara's hair, snipped before the Argentinean revolutionary and friend of Fidel Castro was buried in 1967.

It's the next best thing to filling your backyard pool with formaldehyde and floating Lenin in there. Build yourself a reliquary from the gold teeth of dead capitalists, and keep it safe.

Too bad the families of some of Che's victims didn't get to collect similar mementos of their loved ones.