NYT - China Blocking the Road to Darfur

"My God," said Macomber. "I hate that damned noise."

"It's very impressive."

"Impressive. It's frightful."

The Gray Lady gets it. In an editorial deploring three years of endless discussion - and ongoing lack of action - on the situation in Darfur, the NYT pinpoints China's delaying tactics at the UN as a key obstacle:

China and a shrinking bloc of nonaligned nations have repeatedly put the sovereign right of Sudan’s rulers to annihilate minorities ahead of the international community’s legal responsibility to prevent genocide and protect human rights.

There has been a lot of talk. For a topic bandied about by activists and even the Wisconsin State Legislature, China's prominent role as an enabler is often overlooked.

Will Leinie's Shandy be Dandy?

As Lakeshore Laments noted, Leinie's is releasing its new "Summer Shandy" tomorrow. Some are skeptical out of the gate, but here's the lowdown on the Shandy:

Summer Shandy is a variation on a European beer recipe that is popular in England and Germany, said Richard Leinenkugel, vice president of sales and market. The shandygaff is a mixture of beer and lemon-lime soda. Another variety of the shandy is the German radler, a mix of beer and lemonade. Summer Shandy “tastes like beer with lemonade,” Leinenkugel said. “It’s a little bit more tart than it is sweet.”

I'm excited to hear that it's similar to the German "Radler" and "Alster," which I enjoyed (along with the local Kolsch) while in Cologne, Germany two summers back. I first stumbled upon the mixed beers with two traveling companions from Alberta and Louisiana at the Cologne Hilton's open-air ice bar. We thought it strange at first, but we soon discovered it was the perfect beverage to round out a long sapping day out in the sun without going into shut-down mode.

I withold final judgment, however. Leinie's seasonals are hit or miss with me - I like Sunset Wheat and Big Butt Doppelbock, but I abhor both Berry Weiss and Apple Spice.



What a great city! I had a chance to ramble about the downtown and campus on the glorious spring day that was Monday.

Structurally Speaking...

Architecturally, it's a pretty neat smorgasbord, as local blogger Lileks knows. My morning business concluded, I trekked past the Metro Dome into a patch of glittering modern steel and glass offices along Nicollet Mall, a spattering of cool art deco towers, and some sweet old 19th Century survivors, most in either an imposing Richardson Romanesque or a Louis Sullivan mode. Everything was clean.

I loved all the old exchange buildings reflecting the city's midwestern merchantile heritage: Long & Kees' Grain Exchange, the Flour Exchange, and the brooding, brown, rusticated behemoth that is the old Lumber Exchange. Nearing the river, the old industrial buildings are morphing into what might be the equivalent of Milwaukee's revitalized Historic 3rd Ward.

A Bite to Eat, Some Convo

What to do for lunch? Naturally, I stumbled upon a place with plenty of local character - and bison, cape buffalo, and antelope heads on the wall. Gluek's is the city's oldest continually operating restaurant, tucked behind the old Masonic Temple since 1902.

I was reading a local sports section interview of Governor Tim Pawlenty - who is evidently transfixed by hockey - when another Tim sat down next to me. Just "Tim" and nothing more. He was an older gentleman with a strange squint and crook of the neck, a retired downtown messenger. The bartender got him his standard: a pint can of PBR. He talked about all sorts of things, like holding the elevator door at The Grand Hotel for Wisconsin pro wrestler "The Crusher" and "Dick the Bruiser." He recalled sitting in the front row at the Hennepin County Courthouse for the Kirby Puckett trial. And the Vikings' 'loveboat' trial. He had met Tommy Thompson. It was a good conversation. We shook hands as I left my tip.

Meeting The Mighty

Heading down toward the Mississippi, the ruins and remnants of the city's mighty milling industry came into view as I crossed the old Stone Arch Bridge below St. Anthony's falls. Pillsbury, Gold Medal - all the big names crouched along the bluffs. Juxtaposed immediately downstream was the new Guthrie Theater - a strange hybrid between Madison's blue Kastenmeier courthouse with a cantilevered projection reminiscent of The House on the Rock.

On the East Bank, I didn't stray far from the railroad tracks as I headed toward the UofM campus, eventually getting trapped in the coal unloading yard. Climbing somewhat precariously up onto a bridge abutment, I found myself in Dinkytown, Bob Dylan's old bohemian hangout on the north edge of campus. It's really a glorified crossroads of record and coffee shops, quirky eateries. Young hipsters filled the shaded chairs. Not quite entirely worth a comparison with State Street...

The U

Campus was languid with the abnormal heat; the big dark bricked buildings evoking the 1880s, students blanketing the mall, sunning themselves as they would Bascom Hill or Library Mall in Madison. There was frisbee, juggling, and hackey sack.

About to return to the West Bank, it was hard to miss the Weisman Art Center, a very Gehry structure with a undulating aluminum foil cladding. Stepping inside, I found a fantastic Bob Dylan exhibition, including a number of enlightening exhibits on his early childhood and adolescence in northern Minnesota's Iron Range. One glass case held some free verse lines handed out at one of Zimmerman's first New York shows. At one point, recounting his travels, he mentions arriving in Madison, Wisconsin from Shreveport, packing five people in a Pontiac, and heading down and sharp east to New York. I didn't go to the Symposium there that day - you had to pay.

And so I crossed the pedestrian bridge back to the West side as the afternoon drew to a close.

Maybe it was the weather, which was fortuitous. Maybe it was the people, who were great. At any rate, Minneapolis made a good impression. It seems like a city in need of a novel.


"What should the U.S. do regarding the captured British sailors in Iran?"

Salient question.

People's thoughts at the incredibly active Wall Street Journal Forums:

"I doubt praying will work. Remember, Iranians pray too, and more often than you do."

Jump in.

If Your Blog Was a Bar...

Which one would it be?

Would it be a hopping downtown club of a place or a laidback corner tavern with mounts on the wall, some oldtimers sipping on stools in the afternoon? A speakeasy or sports bar, perhaps? Or has your blog always been a pub?

I'd like to think LIB is a bit like The Plaza here in Madison. Always an interesting crowd, never know who you'll see - certainly someone you know. Lots of newspaper types hanging around. Has some history to it, but not entirely unhip. In the thick of things, busy but not annoyingly so. Cool murals of northern landscapes on the wall. Beer at a reasonable price.



Althouse's "blogging flame war"

A Lombardi quote seems in order - What the Hell is going on out there?

So a huge swarm of lefty bloggers in unison declared me to be an absolute witch for getting angry for one minute when Garance -- the woman who began the dialogue by owning up to the technique of "seeming like you don't know what you're doing" -- sprang a touchy old subject on me.

Althouse is getting slapped around out there by lefty bloggers for her recent appearance on Bloggingheads (dingalink) where she discusses lefty bloggers attacking her and explodes at the other participant, Garance, when Althouse's comments about Jessica Valenti's breasts are brought up (it's all very Althousian, very bloggy, very mirror seen in a mirror sound and fury - and quite entertaining when she gets offended).

Her detractors are proving her point, though, calling her a "dimwit and tool of the Right." She's neither. Quirky, sensitive, and even self-absorbed, perhaps, but not stupid nor a conservative lackey.

I, for one, stand with Ann. Somebody's gotta represent for the home state.

*Also, is Althouse doing paid product placement for Espresso Royale? She raises the coffee cup prominently and often throughout the show...?

Just one more thing...

If anyone would like to see a political hit job at its worst, look no further than today's Badger Herald. While I am certain that someone can come up with a reason not to vote for Mayor Giuliani, I don't really see his handling of 9/11 as a legitimate reason. After all, as one observant commenter notes, one need only look so far as New Orleans to see how poorly a politician can handle a disaster.

Honestly, if one were to look at Giuliani's actual record in NYC it is plain to see that he has a decent resume for the presidency.

First of all he was the chief executive of s city whose population is greater than 39 states, he cut taxes 23 times - he was also the first mayor of NYC to cut taxes period - and grew the city's budget at a very modest rate that was almost equal to inflation. These are no small feats for a city as traditionally liberal as NYC. Let's also not forget that when Giuliani took office nearly 2,000 people were killed each year in the city. The rate when he left the city was lowered to less than half that figure. His record is even more impressive if the total instances of violent crime dropped from 195,352 to 98,022 in 2001. If that isn't impressive, I don't know what would be.

On a completely different subject. There is another article in today's Herald that criticizes, albeit half-heartedly, John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth for deciding to continue his run for the presidency despite her inoperable cancer diagnosis.

While I really don't like John Edwards' politics and I hope he never becomes president, to criticize their decision to keep on running as selfish is ridiculous. Should we simply expect everyone given a death sentence from a doctor to recede from life and give up? Are we to demand that once a prognosis is made that the patient throw in the towel and quit? Such an attitude may be the most short-sided and idiotic notion I have ever heard.

It's Elizabeth Edwards' life. If she wants to be by her husband's side while battling for her life, good for her. This is a personal decision and politics should be left out of it. Besides, John Edwards' political philosophy is a fairly target-rich environment there's no need to get personal.

Obama: Government is the Answer

Unfortunately, I believe Barack Obama is wrong:

“It's a strategy that we've seen this administration pursue over the last six years, that basically says government has no role to play in making sure that America is prosperous for all people and not just some,” Obama said to applause during an appearance before the Communications Workers of America.

I wish the Bush administration had restrained itself and said that government's only role in making America prosperous for all people is to maintain a basic legal framework of liberty and opportunity - and let citizens do the rest. Instead, federal spending during this adminstration has ballooned to the magnitude of LBJ and the Great Society. The federal government has grown, not shrunk.

Government is not the answer. If Obama thinks government was underinvolved in various pushes for prosperity by way of social programs during the Bush era, I'm wary of what his own presidency would mean for the country and individual reliance on government.

Out Wikiing Wiki?


Can it be done? Or, more importantly, will college students be able to cite it legitimately?

Via Digg

The View From Brewtown

Ready for a few days of rain? Here are a few shots of early morning traffic in Milwaukee coming from Tyler O, who seemingly risked his life to get some verisimilitude for LIB:

I took some photos on the way to work the other day, and caught a good day of congested traffic. it was actually the first day of spring, and the first real rain fall of the year. ironic? not sure.

but the photos are taken on "the big road" I-94, some are west some are east, some are in the morning, and some are at night. probably can't tell the difference. they're a little dark, i forgot to turn up the sun before i left.

Tyler, for the record, is the bassist with the band 2 Days 'Til Tomorrow.


2.1 More Megapixels...

...just sprang forth from the ground. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Kodak C743 7.1 mega pixels. The trusty 5.0 seemingly died over the weekend.

While I didn't have it for my ramble in Minneapolis yesterday, I know it's going to be a good sidekick. Like its two Kodak predecessors, it looks to be a great blogging camera - versatile, pocketable, utilitarian, reliable, and inexpensive when on sale.

"this Real Chili visit was shaping up to be a veritable celestial eclipse of acceptable service"

One of the most hilarious and scathing dining reviews I've ever read:

No, not a mere lunar or solar eclipse -- but a customer service eclipse of super nova proportions. Let the sun's corona burn to nothing, let the entire solar supply of hydrogen burn itself to nothing as flames lick towards earth, eight light-minutes away; let life arise, evolve and die out upon planets yet unborn; nowhere else in the galaxy would we be so safe as in the eclipsing shade of poor Real Chili service.

Via Post (which curiously has an online ad for Real Chili up next to the review). Who exactly would be rarin' to go there after reading this?

Second co-worker talked more about f-cking. More suck face. Some slight feeling-up and a leg up on the neighboring counter stool. No cigarettes were had during my stay. I hope they finally did have intercourse so they could at last smoke.

This all put me off my meal to a slight degree, and in the end I felt like I really needed a Marlboro myself. In fact, I think I need one now. I think I will. Excuse me.


If you tolerate this, then your children will be next

Via Instapundit, another official who uses a "gut check" - in this case, to reject the results of a valid referendum.

Of course, with Linda Clifford promising judicial meddling as a philosophy for good governance, there aren't many choices left (we all know that Roe v. Wade hasn't made abortion more controversial...).

So, Brad and I are officially endorsing Ann Althouse and Donald Downs for the position. Think about it: where Ziegler has a "gut check," Althouse has a vortex! Where Clifford has a sadly misguided judicial philosophy, Downs actually is aware of the concept of judicial restraint! Maybe you could write them both in, and they could switch off cases, or maybe even just share a seat.

So this April, remember: vote the vortex!

The Ice Man Goeth

Live Near a Starbucks? Help Yourself and the Free Market

I have always found it strange that Starbucks doesn't offer free wireless internet. And I know I'm not the only one.

For the java hegemon, it seems a Wal-Martzian effort to outdo other coffee shops with the incentive of free wireless would actually be feasible given favorable economies of scale. Wouldn't increased customer exposure to Starbucks' many products displayed at a free online sign-on portal be valuable enough to make a free wireless scheme work?

Here in Madison, local shops without the same global reach, like Espresso Royale, Steep 'N Brew, Barriques, Ancora - and even Fair Trade Coffee - offer customer free wi-fi. Maybe Starbucks' coffee (and brand loyalty) is just that good.

But, irony of ironies, the free market is striking back:

Just how does FON plan to steal away Starbucks Internet users? By offering FON wireless routers, also known as "La Foneras," free to anyone who lives above or next to a Starbucks. The routers, which usually cost $40, split an Internet broadband connection into two wireless signals--one for personal Internet use and the second for public use, which can be accessed by anyone within range for $2 per day. The routers' owners get to pocket half of the sign-on fee, and FON takes home the rest.

I'll keep drinking my occasional mocha frappuccino, but good for the entrepreneurs at FON. To my knowledge the Starbucks on State and the one on the Capitol Square haven't been "liberated" yet.

For Starbucks to continue to thrive, it needs to innovate not only with its own new record label, but also an attention to detail that puts it on par with industry standards one should expect to find in a modern coffeehouse.

I'm Back

Let this morning's sunrise mark the twilight of some mythologies.

More later - I see it's been lively and productive around here.

There is much to be done!



A few things (eat your heart out Scuba):

- Bravo to Lakeshore Laments, Kevin & Kurt exuent to the east, as the curtain is slated to fall on a high note. The most genuine Wisconsin blog, fellow Raider grads, and one of the four cornerstone blogs that originally inspired me.

- Can't we all just get along?

- The real reason behind Mac's "True American BBQ" foray into the South: a poignant personal look at the Post-Katrina Gulf Coast with a side order of knowing detail. And while you're there, check out his thoughts on the District 8 race.

- To answer Mike H's question...perhaps, but not with the Republican Party.

- Barbara Lawton is "the likely future Governor"? Is that the salvia talking? I don't care if she's a woman. I don't care what her partisan affiliation is. She may be nice, she may be able to speak Spanish and hold bloggers-only teleconferences, but Barbara Lawton is not fit to be governor of this state. She couldn't answer basic policy questions as a guest lecturer in a lower level poli sci course. Scott McCallum was a likely future Governor, too.

- Twenty bucks says Danny S from The Critical Badger has a last name that rhymes with burn.

- Wanna join the global hive mind? Seems like Valley Girl writ grande.

And with that, I'm taking an indefinite hiatus. From the blog and a few other things. Enjoy.

Can the conservative movement be saved?

Time magazine's cover story about the state of the conservative movement makes a lot of sense. A movement that once captured the attention of the nation has become a disorganized - and stunned - minority party. And that's not a bad thing.

We have become comfortable with our electoral success and seem to take it for granted that we are right on the ideas that matter to the country, but what are those ideas anymore? What is it that we bring to the table that our opponents do not?

Well, the opposition has proposals such as universal health care, taxing the rich out of their wealth, expanding welfare, and pouring more money into public education. Conservatives are against these things to be sure, but it is not enough to oppose these things, we must also promote our own agenda.

Ronald Reagan taught us to believe in the power of competition and free markets, therein lies the key to health care and public education. There must be fundamental changes to the programs that allow for competition between schools and hospitals for the best and the brightest, but we must also ensure that individuals have the right to attend the school of their choice and the doctor they want. Obviously I could go on for much longer about these issues, but that is for another time.

The point is that our movement has sought short-term gains and solutions, focusing on the next election than the big picture. Quite frankly, we have forgotten how to dream, and to dream big. Our nation is truly a beacon of hope and freedom throughout the world. Reagan, the man who gave us so much hope, believed that with everything he had and staked his political life on it.

Where is that commitment from today's "conservative" leaders? We have committed to nothing of substance or consequence without reservations or caveats for years. The one thing that we have done that looks to the future and stakes a president's entire legacy on is the war in Iraq, and even there, we see virtually nothing but half-hearted support or stubborn short-sightedness. It is frustrating when the situation now can be placed in such simple terms: Do we believe that freedom and democracy are western or American values alone, or do they belong to all of humanity? If so, are those principles and those beliefs worth fighting for? Make no mistake, the enemy now is brutal, merciless, with no regard for basic human dignity and determined to destroy the West. If that is not worth our present sacrifice and struggle, then nothing is and our nation may indeed be too far gone.

I don't believe that it is, but until we stop feeling sorry for ourselves and stand up to say that we are not ashamed to be conservatives, that we are not ashamed to be unapologetic in our pride of what our nation is and can be, we cannot hope to regain our former glory. It is time once again to dream big and think about what America can be. Her best days are indeed yet to come, if only we have the ability to believe it.

Opening Day for Gotham Bagels

Recently, I tossed a few questions at Ian from Ian's Pizza, who is half of the duo behind a new bagel shop coming to a spot just off the Capitol Square. He was kind enough to oblige:

1. So, Gotham Bagels on East Mifflin Street is slated to open soon. What are you looking forward to most about the new venture?

Ian: Great bagels, coffee and cream cheese!

2. Are you working off of your successful pizza model - are you going to have all sorts of crazy, interesting types of bagels?

Ian: No, just the opposite. We're sticking to the basics and making sure we do them well. If someone want a sundried tomato bagel they'll have to look elsewhere.

3. Why the name 'Gotham'?

Ian: Joe (my partner) liked the name.

4. Any chance you'd share the date of the grand opening?

Ian: March 30th (Friday!)

5. Anything else we should know?

Ian: That's all for now.

Cool, thanks.


The Eli Judge Campaign is Reading this Blog Right Now

After a quick glance at our sitemeter (which is completely open for anyone to view from our sidebar), I see that someone using the Gmail account for the Eli Judge Campaign had linked into Steve's earlier post on electioneering.

I wonder what they have to say about the post in the email that hyperlinks to it.

I also wonder if it can make up for the great gap in support for Judge and Woods in the all important District 8 facebook horse race. As of today: Judge - 489 Woods - 718

Mormon Underwear?

The things you learn when people start culturally contextualizing the NCAA Tournament...

Do athletes from the Mormon school wear temple garments during games?

No. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints allows athletes to forego the traditional underclothes during games because they're impractical.

Go here if you'd like a pair of your own.



Via The Daily Page, I came across "Seraph Minor"'s fantastic rant about the upcoming election, which deserves some serious excerpting:
The races seem so dramatic for the candidates that we have. Especially given the Lauren Woods/Eli Judge race. Woods really needs to reel her lackeys in, because I've heard people from her corner saying some fairly racist things. I'm tired of Madison politics coming down to "oh, she/he is a person of color, so each issue revolves around race." I hate it when people abuse the race card to suggest ludicrous statements or empty solutions. I'd rather have my race card saved for issues that are a little more important.
Kumar, a very minor political player in Madison...
Oh, and Ald. King, I'm glad you were there to tell me who a "real Democrat" was at the Democratic party meeting by putting down other politicians in your own party. You're the champion of all people who can't think for themselves. For a while, I actually bought into your campaign. I'm having serious second thoughts.
Lauren, it's become apparent that you had no idea what you were getting yourself into by allying yourself with Kumar and King.
[Ray Allen] gives the appearance of having experience and has a well-thought-through position on a lot of current issues. Most of these positions are city-focused, logical, and almost-reasonable. I was shocked... certainly this can't be happening in Madison!

So, I looked for the same issues on Dave's site. Lots of fluff, wishy-washy answers to real questions. Suddenly, I got to thinking... what has mayor Dave actually done during his term? Crime is rising and Madison either needs new leadership or a scapegoat. I'm running dangerously close to throwing your vote the other way.

Only problem is that Allen voted down a proposition for domestic partner benefits in the Madison school board. I tried to look up his stance on that decision. Nothing. I tried to look up his stance for civil rights. Nothing on LGBT issues.

Guardian Angels at Gorham Traffic Accident

Trekking up State Street this afternoon, I noticed the green-clad masses turning heads at Jamba juice, looking toward something in front of Quinton's and the Badger Herald offices.

It was a smoking black car that had just rear-ended a red car in front of it.

I wouldn't have thought much of it; everyone seemed to be okay, a few police officers were on hand. But there was one thing that struck me as odd about the accident scene. Not as odd as me cheering when Ohio State tied it up to go into OT earlier, but odd nonetheless.

About six men in scarlet jackets and berets posted themselves around the accident site. They were "Guardian Angels." I remember hearing that the organization was coming to town some time back, but I didn't know much about them. And I'd certainly never seen them "respond" to an accident.

They didn't do a whole lot other than establish a perimeter of sorts around the accident site. And one member seemed to be assisting the police officer in charge.

I overheard the driver of the black car say he was blinded by the sun when he hit the car in front of him.

Upstream on Gorham, traffic backed up something fierce, which led to some intense displays of road rage as people tried to merge into the left lane.

St. Patrick's Day Afternoon, Madison

Spotted a few clumps of Irish revelers on the Square later in the afternoon, lingering after the parade.

State Street was packed with people, many in town for the high school tournaments.


Halliburton, Michael Jackson, Bahrain - And BBQ

Sounds pretty salacious, huh?

Just a check in with some expatriate UW alum bloggers around the country.

Phil, a writer in New York, looks at Bahrain as a refuge from all things unseemly:

Both Halliburton and Jackson are focused on business, and both have had to negotiate unnecessary distractions. Halliburton’s dealt with corporate pillaging, and Jackson’s dealt with constant lawsuits and accusations. For both, a trip to the Middle East allows for business without the blight of life’s complications.

Mac, a Floridian law student,
has apparently been trekking across the American South in a manner reminiscent of Hernando de Soto, going forth in search of "True American Barbecue." It seems he finally found the object of his odyssey, though:

So having made stops in Tallahassee, Fla., Mobile, Ala., Houston, Tex. and Austin, Tex., it seems that the real gem of the True American Barbecue tour wasn’t within any well-known metropolitan confines but, rather, in a town called Driftwood.


Live Blog Interview - Trial Run of the New 'HoboHookah'

So, I've decided to rock my way over to the casbah of Mike "The Pasha" W on Mifflin Street with a few compadres to try out a new product.

It's called 'The HoboHookah.'

Mike, a UW student and avid contemporary blogger, developed the new product along with a few entrepreneurial friends, including recent alum Trent K. When Mike said a few prototypes had arrived recently, I thought I'd take a test drive - I remembered seeing the original home -made Jagermeister model one infamous morning last spring...

Looks like the HoboHookah is slated for a big launch this spring - there's a schnazzy website and a healthy facebook group already.

Brad V: So what's so special about the HoboHookah? How is it any different from a normal hookah?

Mike W: That's a I'm not gonna say it's an insightful question - it's a Ok you've done a little hookah smoking in your life...here's a traditional one from Morocco, (shows hookah collection) you're probably gonna come back with this little blue guy. I'll consider that a victory. You might also come back with this big guy - good luck fitting that in your luggage. Good luck smoking that guy.

This is smoking right here (shows me a hobohookah) - and you can fit this in your little soccer mom bag here. You can fit in carryon. Put it on the airplane check-in - for all the assholes that bring that stuff on.

I roll around with this with the bottle - everything's in this bag that I need to smoke the hookah.

Trent K: I've carried this thing around internationally. You buy yourself an Absolut bottle. Wherever you land, you're going to have a party. You've got a party in a package.

Mike: You buy whatever bottle you want. A 2 litre of Coke - that's cool too. When you've got Stoli's in duty-free...

(I take a break to take a taste...) a discussion ensues about girls' giant purse sizes, Katie says she has a hookah case that feels like carrying a trumpet around, (HoboHookah works like a charm - has a

Trent: At the end of a party - you'll be able to find whatever body you need to fix onto your hobohookah and end the party...probably a dozen people tops, hardcore people...

Mike: The Hobo is for the party pioneers...the people who are driving the party...maybe they arrive on time, maybe they dont'...but you know when they arrive...it's the party pioneers that have the HoboHookah...they use that extra bottle they pull out of their coat pocket at the very end...we're gonna smoke hookah and watch the sunrise...because the party is not yet over.

Trent: This is alcohol 2.0

Mike: You've heard of Web 2.0. You've heard of Alcohol 2.0. This is Hookah 2.0. And that makes a nexus - Party 2.0.

Mike: A buddy, Surya, he's a graduate student in design at Carnegie Mellon. Some people are about design, he takes it beyond design to product experience. How do people perceive it? There's people who love hookah, there's people who love drinking. Some people know of these hookahs of Biblical - behemoth - proportions. The HoboHookah represents an exodus from that type of hookah.

Brad V: How so?

Mike: It's a junction made in heaven. We spent sig. time in North Africa. We've bought into that culture - we all have middle eastern hookahs. But we're all into the drinking culture here in Wisconsin. It's a very symbiotic relationship between hookah smoking and drinking - and we didn't know what it hasn't happened. It's the community aspect to the hookah - we're bringing this junction together. You have the idea of the Jaeger bottle and the idea of the hookah - we want to unite that. That offering, that glance - you get the decision of "Do you wanna glance? Or do you want to be the center of cool at the party?"

Brad V: Will it work with a wine bottle?

Mike: Done, son.

Brad V: What about the perceived harmful effects of hookah smoking?

Mike: You're smoking and smoking is "not good" for you. Shisha tobacco does not have nearly the chemicals or the concentration of cigarettes. We've looked into this. Ok, we know that this is not a health benefit. How can we make this less harmful to you? We're looking to explore that. We'll see what happens. Our ultimate goal is a net-positive for the world. We're interested in engaging what our customer has to say - every customer becomes a part of the community. It becomes about our constituency. The HoboHookah is the beginning, not the end.

Brad V: Do you have an expected launch date, officially?

Mike: The launch is Mifflin. At 543 Mifflin. You can come here and buy a HoboHookah with cash or credit card.

Brad V: So, can people pre-order now?

Mike: Yes. If they pre-order now, they're guaranteed a HoboHookah. In 100% effectiveness.

Brad V: Because...

Mike: We're being real with the consumers. What product do you buy out there that you actually feel the seller has been real with you? Even as a corporate customer, do you actually identify with that person?

Trent: This is a passion. We have a passion for the hookah. We've been to the Middle East and we know what's wrong with our hookahs - they're pretty shitty at the end of the day.

Mike: You can buy one off E-Bay. It's okay in the short term. But you don't know what's going on in the inside.

Trent: Inferior metals will retain flavor and stain. We designed it with a stainless steel central pipe.

Mike: It's designed for the smoking experience.
Trent: I live in Manhatten. I smoke in some high quality hookah bars. Why don't hookahs work as well as home shisha? It's because of the stainless steel pipe. All high quality shisha bars operate...you'll get the same experience as at a high quality hookah bar.

Brad V: Is the new product durable?

Mike: It's dishwasher safe!

Mike: Why pay so much for an inferior product? This can be your main hookah and your utility hookah. I would roll with this to parties in my soccer bag - when everybody's dying, I'm going to keep the party going and watch the sun rise over Lake Monona.

Trent: In the end, the bottle breaks, ok. The hose breaks, ok. As long as I have a hobohookah anywhere, it'll work. As long as I have a HoboHookah...girls are attracted to it. If you know the way of the Hobo, you can survive out there.

Brad V: What about people who are new to the hookah experience?

Mike: There will be a U-Tube series to help learn all this, like...

Trent: I can manufacture a hookah bowl out of an apple.

Brad V: Wow...cool...

Mike: We're going to have a few basic tutorials, a U-Tube series to teach people how to clean their hobohookah, etc. Right now, we're drivers of the community, but there's a point where we're going to be facilitators of this...for people who go off the beaten path, maybe party a little bit harder than most. Not everybody's looking for the status quo. These are party pioneers.

Brad V: Where is it manufactured?

Mike W: There's no answer to that right now. We don't have manufacturing secured yet. That'll be done in a week.

Brad V: What bottle would you prefer for the base of your HoboHookah?

Mike W: Whatever you want.

Trent: The Hypnotiq bottle. Or the Johnny Red bottle. It's got a great form to it. And the handle lets you carry it around anywhere. I'd probably slam it on a Jerry bottle, though.

Brad V: Bombay Sapphire sounds good to me. Neat idea, guys. Neat idea.

He's just sayin' is all...

Now that our own Brad V. has become little more than a corporate shill, why not stop by Kyle Pfister's blog for an excellent takedown of the recently-unveiled schlockery that is the Seventology campaign:
The Seventology (777) campaign's guerrilla art strategies achieved the desired stir. Gritty spray-stenciled tags sent curious passersby to a website where ambiguous text about "positive change and good fortune" reeked of religious evangelism mixed with casino promotions.

Odd - Or "Brad V Becomes a Pawn in a Guerrilla Marketing Effort"

The DailyPage posted a link to Mark Sadowski's photo and commentary about the Seventology campaign yesterday.

After it had this ad posted on its website for Steve Brown's new "Lucky" residence on University Avenue.

Is the "Luckiphant" mascot an overt endorsement of Republicanism? Is it a bad marketing decision given the political makeup of campus? Or do they figure only Republican students could afford to live there?

A Shot 'O March Madness - Dennis York Hath Returned!

Christian Schneider, the genius behind Dennis York has escaped from Plato's Cave where, ever the clever puppeteer, he entertained us for so long.

And he's sending back reports from out in the sunlight, where it seems you have to wear...

Atomic Trousers

While it's not exactly the same pretty shadow pictures on the wall, it's great to know that he hasn't left the world of blogging altogether. Plus, we're on the blogroll without even asking!

And he's got Neon Bible on the nano. Still right up there on the musical cusp.

HT/Marquette Warrior (sorry, Professor, I just got done picking MU for only one round before UNC hits)



If you're interested in good music, you might want to check out Madison's own Pale Young Gentlemen - they're pretty awesome. Over at Dane101, I have a review of their first CD, which is really quite excellent.

And be sure to come to their CD release party at Cafe Montmartre on March 23!

"It'll Change Your Life, I Swear"

It's not The Shins' New Slang, I'm certainly not Natalie Portman, and this blog is generally not Garden State.

But this scintillating piece from the NYT about the convergence of neuroscience and the law might just do it.

I meant to skim, but ended up devouring all nine pages. Grab a comfy chair and have at it.


"We're not your F$#@ing monkeys"

Say what you will about OK Go*, they put on a hell of a show.

Tonight, of course, was the invite-only show hosted by Isthmus and Jack Daniels (no link for them, even though they gave me free booze -I'm not that much of a corporate shill). It was a bit odd - definitely the least "indie" show I've been to in a while, and a few of the people were definitely there only because it was "exclusive," but still fantastic overall.

Madison locals Cats not Dogs played first. Their drummer is fantastic - Brad ranked her among the top three female drummers ever - and I sympathise. But the lead singer guy? He really can't sing. THe one song that he screamed instead of sang worked well, but other than that, meh. After the third song, Brad asked me if it was a new song yet. I wasn't entirely sure, but had to guess based on the number of pauses they'd had.

Between sets, I had an odd "Overheard in New York moment: a lady behind me said "Yeah, she'll get over it... or else she'll get a divorce." Well, I hope for the former, I guess.

I've never so much seen an event that had one spotlight, but tonight there were four going for the OK Go show, which I can only assume means this show was four times as cool as anything else going on tonight. And OK Go deserved every spotlight, playing a fantastic set, including a Violent Femmes cover (Brad just now compares it to "Blatz beer mixed with anthrax" - I'm not sure what that means). They'd jazzed up the show since I saw them last (at the Annex) - they had some nice video running behind them, and really cool video cameras on their microphones. It was an absolutely excellent show, and very much a pleasure to watch.

*I actually don't necessarily like their CDs...

Ask Mike Huckabee a Question

I did.

You Know Those BOP Ads?

Someone gets to take those pictures. And someone has to touch up all the shots for shopbop.com.

Think you have what it takes?

"...looking for file/image prep specialists with digital retouching experience who are interested in freelance work. This is a great opportunity for creatives who are visually precise, detail oriented, computer savvy, & deadline-driven, looking for a fast-paced, friendly, hip work environment."

If you don't quite cut it, don't worry. Working at Badger Bowl doesn't seem all that bad either.

Or Laundry101, for that matter.

CAUTION: I may offend someone

There I was, walking to Helen C. enjoying this beautiful day when I get handed a sheet from the Campus Anti-War Network about soldiers who refuse to fight. Apparently, some of these "heroes" are going to be on campus Monday and we should all be so proud that "brave men" like them serve our country.

I have had it with anti-war activists who think that a soldier's refusal to deploy overseas is courageous. It is not. The soldiers who refuse to deploy with their units are cowards and should be dishonorably discharged and sentenced to time in Leavenworth.

By the way - that is the punishment prescribed by the UCMJ, not just me being ticked off.

I can understand soldiers who serve in Iraq or Afghanistan who come home, get out, and are then against the war. I don't hate them or think they are cowards; I think they're wrong, but that is another matter. They have served and have the moral authority to speak on the war they fought. That's not why I am mad.

Military service is voluntary in this country, no one forced any of the soldiers who are now refusing to fight to sign up in the first place. If you do sign up in the military, you will get deployed before your time is up. Face it. Get used to it.

I have no sympathy for these cowards who join and then decide that they don't want to fight. When I signed up in 2001, I was asked 3 times if I would take up arms to fight for this country. If I had said no, I would have been turned down.

The bottom line is that these people who join the military and then refuse to serve knew what they were getting into and are a disgrace to the uniform.

If you think I sound more upset than normal - you're right. I am tired of those on the far left elevating people to the status of heroes, or calling people courageous who do not deserve that honor.

Judge, Woods Set for Joint Radio Show

According to Stu Levitan on the Daily Page forum:

There will be a joint interview of council candidates Lauren Woods and Eli Judge on 92.1 The MIC on Sunday, March 18 at 11 AM.

Any questions you'd like asked?

My question is: How many constituents will be conscious enough to care at 11 a.m. on the Sunday morning after St. Patrick's Day?

Not snide, just realistic.


Changes Courtside

No, this won't affect your bracketology. Unless you're betting on the success of a trio of intriguing amendments to the Wisconsin Constitution proposed today.

Representative Sheryl Albers proposed all three changes on state judicial issues today:

The amendments would require all Supreme Court conferences to be open, prohibit the Court from imposing fees on attorneys to fund legal defense for the indigent, and prohibit a mandatory bar for all attorneys in Wisconsin.

Fortunately, such changes require the approval of the electorate even after legislative approval in two consecutive sessions.

1. I'm vehemently opposed to Albers' first resolution to "open all of the Court’s conferences to the public, including those involving contested cases.” Preventing the high court's proceedings from devolving into a media circus is crucial. It's the same reason I'm opposed to cameras in the U.S. Supreme Court chambers. Transparency is not the only consideration at play - judicial deliberations are not legislative deliberations.

2. I support the suggested Amendment that would "prohibit the assessment of fees on Wisconsin attorneys to provide legal services to the indigent." First imposed by the Supreme Court in 2005, I believe the fee is questionable first for seemingly being levied by the Court itself. Second, I believe not-for-profit organizations and pro-bono work is the proper solution for what the Court likely sees as access problems with the state judicial system.

3. On Albers' final suggestion, I'm undecided, but leaning towards favoring the idea of ending the mandatory Bar (which was officialy integrated in 1956 ). As she explains:

“State bar associations exist for primarily two reasons: to regulate the legal profession and improve the quality of legal services available to the people in a state,” said Albers. “Both goals can be accomplished through a voluntary state bar.”

The integrated bar, it would seem, has the effect of artificially decreasing the size of the legal services market, even as it accomplishes the two pragmatic goals noted above. A voluntary bar would still give citizens a means of discerning whether a lawyer has met certain base level standards of competence and professionalism, much like voluntary business associations.

Thirty-four U.S. states have an integrated bar. Wisconsin's was struck down temporarily in the late 1980s before being reinstated - and it has not had an uncomplicated history.

Finally, here's an interesting piece on the Greg Oden, the Drew Neitzel, the Alando Tucker of the effort to bring the voluntary bar back to Wisconsin.

Thoughts? It's hard to say whether Albers' ideas will get any traction, especially with the opposing party in control of the Senate. The co-sponsorship list for the one resolution that shows up on the legislature's site is pretty barren.

How About the Orkin Man?

Any other non-violent suggestions for the fire ant problem at Ang Hock Si Temple?

An attempt to remove them using a vacuum cleaner failed, so the Buddhist community is appealing for help.

One of these, mayhaps?

Exclusive Interview - Singer Songwriter Chris Garneau

Two years ago, I sat next to an aspiring young musician on a flight into New York's LaGuardia Airport. The random stranger, Chris Garneau, was heading back from a performance at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. He seemed pretty quiet, pretty cool.

He said his music flowed in an Elliott Smith sort of vein, and I found, checking his website on my return, that it did. But it was something more, too; a distinctive post-emo indie sound that one could sip for hours in the bittersweet quiet of the wee hours of the morning. It was hard to forget. There was a strangely appealing aftertaste of folk in the stark whisper crooning, the plaintive piano.

Recently, I tossed a few questions to Chris, a singer-songwriter from Brooklyn whose recent debut release Music for Tourists has been said to "tiptoe into the room" and "whisper a disappointed love at no one in particular." He was kind enough to oblige...

Brad V: So, the last time I ran into you, you were heading back from SXSW. Does having an album under your belt change things as you return this year ?

Chris G: Yes, it makes the trip feel much more worthwhile. SXSW is not exactly a cheap undertaking. Going there now, with a record out and some people who might actually know who I am, is definitely more exciting. Two years ago was tricky, I still didn't know quite what I was doing. The record was in its very beginnings. Also I am playing a few different showcases this year, which will be good, I think.

Brad V: Are you going to be toting a toy gun or wearing a yellow poncho as you take the stage?

Chris G: I don't think so, no. But I might wear a big, long necklace with rosary beads.

Brad V: It seems safe to say that Elliott Smith helped pave the way for your music. What about Sufjan Stephens? Has his success on the national level given wing to your profile as a singer-songwriter?

Chris G: I am happy for Sufjan's success but it's not really something that's given wing to my profile, no. This record that's just come out, the songs are all between two and four years old. I've been motivated and anxious to put Tourists out for a while now. My profile as a singer-songwriter is given wing by my own determination, not anyone's success.

Brad V: What about other artists? To whom are you listening these days?

Chris G: While recently in Europe, I picked up Nina Nastasia's On Leaving, Gonzales' Solo Piano, and Sleeping States' Rivers EP. Also, just at home, I've been listening to the new Joanna Newsom quite a bit. As well as The Curtains, Josephine Foster, Danielson, Dirty Projectors, and Au Revoir Simone, to name a few.

Brad V: You say on your myspace profile that you "love small/large animals." If you could characterize Music for Tourists as a small/large animal, what would it be?

Chris G: I guess it's a pretty small animal. Like a small donkey. Or Thumbelina, the world's smallest horse. I think the new record will be bigger though. I mean, I'm sure it will be, it's louder for sure. It will hopefully be categorized as a large animal. An elephant maybe.

Brad V: My favorite song of yours is Baby's Romance - although the video for Relief is pretty sweet and currently tugging on my loyalties. What's your favorite song off the new album to perform live?

Chris G: Castle-Time and We Don't Try, which we do differently live than on the album.

Brad V: I know you've been playing live for some time now in New York. What's your favorite sort of venue to play?

Chris G: Well, the two bigger venues I've recently played were Tonic and Bowery Ballroom. Bowery Ballroom is perfect because it's just the right size. It's very aesthetically pleasing. The sound system is incredible. It gets very loud, which is a big plus for me. For anyone really, but especially for quiet old me.

Brad V: You're slated for a show in Chicago in May. Lovely Wisconsin isn't far away. Any chance of a side trip to Madison for a gig? The lakes here should have thawed out by then - and you could probably find some new lampshades for your collection somewhere on State Street.

Chris G: I don't think we are hitting Wisconsin on this spring's tour. But perhaps on the next tour we will make it to Madison or Milwaukee. I actually played a little show at a gallery in Milwaukee this past fall (Hotcakes), which was fun.

Brad V: The cover of the new album has a jet on it - any story behind that? Is it landing at LaGuardia?

Chris G: There's not really a story behind it. Besides that it's supposed to be crashing. Hence the sad birds. My friend Kirby Conn did the art for the record. He kept talking about planes. Which made the most sense to me given the record title.

Brad V: In your professional opinion as a pianist, black keys or white?

Chris G: Anything in the key of Db is usually really beautiful. So black, I guess. It's more fun to play songs in black keys. Eb minor is pretty, too. Relief was originally in E minor but I re-learned it in Eb minor because it was so much better in this key.


Lessons from the Weekend

Pigs feet taste nasty. If it weren't for the consistency, the taste, and the hair...

Thanks, Haus!

Some people are hardcore.

The vintage arcade game exhibit at the WI Historical Society is open - I've heard good things. Pong is supposedly among the games you can play for free.

1. It's behind the cheese factory and the Spanish American War Memorial. 2. It's helpful to find out where people are at when you're unsure.

It's a long run around Lake Monona, but it can be done.


File under: "I am smart! S-M-R-T!"

Yep, we just grow brighter crooks up here in the frozen north. First a trio of necrophiliacs, now this:
An accused child molester in Wisconsin cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet, then took a limousine to Chicago to appear on "The Jerry Springer Show," authorities said.


Check it out

If you missed the Cold War Kids show Thursday night, you missed a hell of a show.

In which I get tired of Republicans defending big-government blowhards

There's some talk over at GOP3 about Mitt Romney:
It doesn’t matter whether the conversion was authentic or not, because once in office he’ll have to govern like a conservative! He’s not going to campaign as a pro-lifer and once in office re-convert and veto the partial birth abortion ban or some such thing.

I know it's wishful thinking as campaign season gears up, but really - spare me.

The religious right has been the major force provoking the major problems the GOP is facing: we're shedding voters like crazy. And what's more, they're the centrist and libertarian-leaning voters that make up the major part of what has given the GOP its claim to representing the "voice of America". Instead, the religious right would like very much to purge the GOP of anyone not marchin in lockstep to its whims. It's a grubby, dogmatic and shrill minority that the GOP should be ashamed to cater to.

So go ahead and give Romney (or, better yet, Brownback) the nomination. See where that gets you in '08. Just don't be surprised, and don't blame us evil "moderates"

Critiquing A Useless Critique of Bush's Trip South

Many say Bush's presidency has gone south. Now he has gone that direction himself.

While there are many angles to critique the administration and even the Latin American trip, columnist Andy Granias' recent piece does little more than throw bones to slobbering Bush bashers without saying much of substance:

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this benevolent fantasy is actually just that — a fantasy and nothing more. This is not a tour aimed at assisting a region in dire need of stability; it is a tour aimed at assisting a president in dire need of help with his legacy.

I fundamentally disagree with that opinion. Why would a Latin American tour help Bush's legacy? I don't see what's there to gain. Sure, he can trumpet a ethanol pact with Brazil, but really the trip seems to be about shoring up slipping retaining walls.

Had Granias focused on Bush's actual failures to be an engaging good neighor in Latin America, he could have crafted an effective piece. There are a number of chinks in the armor.

First and foremost, he could have pinpointed Bush's inability to address China's growing economic and political influence in the region, the rise of leftist anti-yanqui leaders like Chavez in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, Bachelet in Chile, and even Lula in Brazil who are no longer outside China's orbit.

Granias could have faulted Bush for failure to take a harder line when countries like Bolivia and Venezuela nationalized foreign holdings and showed hostility to foreign investment in plays for political power.

As it was, however, Mr. Granias may as well have joined Hugo onstage in the stadium and grabbed the bullhorn:

Call me a broken record or call this a failed presidency, but once again, Mr. Bush: too little, too late.

Entertainment Tonight

If you feel like heading out into the hinterland for a good time this evening, keep the Cheers 2 Rock Show on your radar.

Start Time: Saturday, March 10, 2007 at 9:00pm
End Time: Sunday, March 11, 2007 at 1:55am
Location: Cheers 2
Street: 507 N. Main St (map)
City: Fond du Lac, WI

The opening band, 2 Days 'til Tomorrow, was practicing down in the Greenbush the other night. The band has taken on a more Madisonian flavor lately with a change of drummers and the addition of a new guitarist/vocalist. That makes three out of five.

I'm sure it will be a lively show. Fond du Lac has a tradition of getting rowdy at bars on Main Street - like the time someone whipped out "Nation's Jointsmasher" and busted some glass .

Obey tells off some "idiot liberals"

I may not agree with Dave Obey on a lot of things, but I think his reaction to being hounded by anti-war liberals is justified.

While I think that he is wrong to take away the President's authority - I'm not even sure he can do it constitutionally - he is absolutely right to continue the funding for the troops. He also highlights some of the hypocrisy by other Democrats in Congress. While other members of his party may think that cutting off the funding is the best way to send President Bush a "message," Obey points out a simple truth: They don't have the votes!

Liberals need to come back to reality and remember that they need votes in Congress, not just public sentiment to accomplish their goals. Obey's frustration highlights that fact, and sums it up best:
We can’t get the votes! You see a magic wand in my pocket? How the hell we going to get the votes for it? We ain’t got the votes for it. We do have the votes if you guys quit screwing it up. We do have the votes to end the legal authority for the war. That's the same as de-funding it--YES IT WOULD!


Vote for Alando Tucker

After a decent game tonight, and a great season even without the mask, show him some love and toss a vote his way.



Go Team #6!

Wish us luck tonight as we push for league victory at Schwoegler's...despite having me on the team, we're somehow poised to finish in first if we win two out of three this evening.


Woman with Waxwing

This morning, I saw a bunch of ladies standing in front of Starbucks watching another woman in work coveralls fiddling around in the snow. A bird was flapping crazily. It flew up and hit a parked UPS truck and bounced back to the sidewalk. I could tell instantly it was a cedar waxwing by the little yellow and red flecks on it. And because it was flying drunk.

Cedar waxwings get intoxicated at this time of year from eating fermented berries that have been frozen on branches all winter long.

The lady in coveralls picked it up and snuggled it in her arm. It just sat there very comfortably. I snapped the photo above on the spur of the moment. Pretty surreal.

Who's really the victim in the Libby trial?

The Washington Post has one of the best editorials explaining what happened in the Scooter Libby trial. It also highlights what the "CIA leak case" was really all about.

One particularly good passage:
A bipartisan investigation by the Senate intelligence committee subsequently established that all of these claims were false -- and that Mr. Wilson was recommended for the Niger trip by Ms. Plame, his wife. When this fact, along with Ms. Plame's name, was disclosed in a column by Robert D. Novak, Mr. Wilson advanced yet another sensational charge: that his wife was a covert CIA operative and that senior White House officials had orchestrated the leak of her name to destroy her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson.

The editorial board of the Post should be commended for not jumping onto the cover-up bandwagon that many in the media have been doing.

One thing that is troubling about the Libby trial is that one of the jurors - coincidentally the one who has been plastered all over cable news and the morning shows - was formerly a reporter and reportedly a neighbor of Tim Russert, one of the prosecution's key witnesses. The juror, Denis Collins, has been alleging that Libby was the "fall guy" for the Bush administration.

Of course, he provides no evidence as to why Libby was the fall guy, or even what he was the fall guy for. There was no conspiracy to destroy Wilson or Plame - really, these two are liberal heroes and even have a movie deal in the works. As for Collins, does anyone else smell a book in the future for this guy? After all, he has practically the first chapter up on the Internet already.

I'm not excusing Libby lying under oath or to the FBI, but doesn't this guy being on the jury seem just a little bit odd? True, the defense should have been able to keep him off during jury selection, but this is just a little disturbing to me.

Two Birds with One Stone

Alderman Austin King now wants a mandate on lights:

The Energy Efficiency and Safety Ordinance will be introduced at this evening’s Common Council meeting and will require efficient light bulbs in common areas and mounted in-unit fixtures in Madison rental properties. The ordinance would also require replacing or retro-fitting old-fashioned and unreliable exit signs with modern light emitting diode or LED fixtures.

What if someone wants his living room to feel like a living room instead of an office cubicle? And do we need a mandate if LEDs and CFLs are truly so much safer, cheaper, efficient, and environmentally friendly? Won't they eventually phase in on the strength of their own merits and economy?

“Madison is the perfect place to introduce this ground-breaking ordinance. Anyone who has seen An Inconvenient Truth knows that we all have a role to play in helping our planet, and this is a small but important step for the City of Madison to make in meeting its obligation,” concluded King.

Now the mandate proposal is bad enough, but to go on to throw An Inconvenient Truth into the mix is just asking for trouble. So, I've decided to award Alderman King the MOA Award, which has been sitting on the shelf collecting dust for far too long. Moas and lame ducks go together like birds of a feather. Congrats.


Live Blog 2 - UW Panel on Religious Funding

Here's some end of the panel audio, and some tidbits from panelists themselves after the event.

Unfortunately, Professor Emeritus Booth Fowler's pithy, witty, terse comment was overwhelmed by the sound of chair takedown and does not appear. You can hear Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Tim Kruse from the UW Roman Catholic Foundation, and Free Speech expert, Professor Donald Downs. All exclusive audio here courtesy of LIB.

If you want the most comprehensive blow by blow of the night's panel discussion on state/university funding of religious student activities, Opiate blogged the hell out of it (pun intended) in the superhuman tradition of the cartoon controversy forum live blog.

Here's my earlier post with a bunch of quotes as the three panelists got in their first salvos and a loon in the crowd became disruptive.

A few other gems from the discussion:

Downs (to Gaylor) (In the tussle, Gaylor didn't seem to hear what was probably the most throught-provoking question of the evening):

“You wouldn’t fund a religion that believes in condoms?”


“They all have faith czars” – stressing the absurd extent of faith-based initiatives, even in departments like Homeland Security and Agriculture

“It was abundantly clear that we weren’t welcome at this track meet."