Women vs. women

Please notice that I am not saying this.  A feminist is saying this.  I myself don’t believe it and am personally offended on behalf of women everywhere.  But this is what Anne Kornblut says in her book Notes from the Cracked Ceiling, an account of the political campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin and why women have a hard time in politics:

<blockquote>”Female candidates also have to remember that women can be deeply suspicious and critical of one another. . . . [A] group of female advisers could have gently reminded the McCain men that women are not always thrilled to see a young, attractive woman step into the limelight, and they might need to prepare for the long knives.” </blockquote>

Is there anything to this?  If so, where else does this phenomenon manifest itself?

via Book review: ‘Notes from the Cracked Ceiling’ by Anne Kornblut – washingtonpost.com.

Football stadium for sale, cheap

How far have real estate prices fallen?  The Silverdome, former home of the Detroit Lions, just sold for $583,000.  The  80,300-seat stadium came with 127 acres of land.

That’s about the price of a McMansion before the real estate market collapsed.  I hope the buyer turns the Silverdome into a home.  It has lots of bathrooms and plenty of cooking areas.  The locker rooms could be turned into bedrooms.  Turn the playing field into a really big family room.  Put a sofa on the hash mark on the 50 yard line and rig up a remote for the jumbotron.  Invite 80,000 friends over.  The only problem is having all that carpet to vacuum.

If you want to lament the loss of your property value, this is the place to do it. Do you see house prices going back up?

via Silverdome’s bargain price reflects financial woes in Detroit suburb of Pontiac – washingtonpost.com.

Recluse or just from a small town?

Maybe J. D. Salinger wasn’t a recluse after all. Maybe he just lived in a small town and nobody could find him. This report describes the novelist’s life in Cornish, New Hampshire, including his love of church dinners:

Mr. Salinger was just Jerry, a quiet man who arrived early to church suppers, nodded hello while buying a newspaper at the general store and wrote a thank-you note to the fire department after it extinguished a blaze and helped save his papers and writings.

Despite his reputation, Mr. Salinger “was not a recluse,” said Nancy Norwalk, a librarian at the Philip Read Memorial Library in Plainfield, which Mr. Salinger would frequent. “He was a towns- person.”

And last week, after his death, his neighbors would not talk about him, reflecting what one called “the code of the hills.”

“Nobody conspired to keep his privacy, but everyone kept his privacy — otherwise he wouldn’t have stayed here all these years,” said Sherry Boudro of nearby Windsor, Vt., who said her father, Paul Sayah, befriended Mr. Salinger in the 1970s. “This community saw him as a person, not just the author of ‘The Catcher in the Rye.’ They respect him. He was an individual who just wanted to live his life.”

The curious constantly descended on Cornish and the surrounding area, asking residents for directions to Mr. Salinger’s house. Instead of finding the home, interlopers would end up on a wild goose chase.

How far afield the directions went “depended on how arrogant they were,” said Mike Ackerman, owner of the Cornish General Store. Mr. Salinger, he said, “was like the Batman icon. Everyone knew Batman existed, and everyone knows there’s a Batcave, but no one will tell you where it is.”

Cornish, a town of about 1,700 on the banks of the Connecticut River, has two general stores, a post office, a church and miles of pines, oaks, farmland and rolling hills. The town has long been a summer haven for artists and writers, a solitary escape in the woods.

By all accounts Mr. Salinger loved the area. He would, until recent years, vote in elections and attend town meetings at the Cornish Elementary School, and he went to the Plainfield General Store each day before it closed. He was often spotted at the Price Chopper supermarket in Windsor, separated from Cornish by a covered bridge and the now ice-jammed river, and he ate lunch alone at the Windsor Diner. Mr. Salinger was also said to have frequented the library at Dartmouth College and to have attended the occasional house party. . . .

Over the past few years Mr. Salinger made fewer trips out of his home, but “he loved church suppers,” Mr. Jones said.

Mr. Salinger was a regular at the $12 roast beef dinners at First Congregational Church in Hartland, Vt. He would arrive about an hour and a half early and pass the time by writing in a small, spiral-bound notebook, said Jeannie Frazer, a church member. Mr. Salinger usually dressed in corduroys and a sweater, she said, and would not speak. He sat at the head of the table, near where the pies were placed.

Mr. Salinger last went to a supper in December, and Ms. O’Neill picked up takeout the past two Saturdays. Mr. Salinger was one of the few who gave the children who waited on diners a few dollars. “Not everybody tipped,” said Stuart Farnham, whose son received a $2 gratuity from Mr. Salinger.

The Maddy Curtis concert

Remember my blog post with video of Maddy Curtis, the 16-year-old American Idol contestant who turned out to live in the next town over from us? Well, this weekend she put on a benefit concert to raise money for Haiti at our local community arts center. My daughter and I took it in, and it was a really good show.

Maddy has a very beautiful and very mature voice. Not the typical American Idol over-the-top big voice, but one that is intense and expressive. She had great song choice, featuring bluesy classics (like “Sentimental Journey” and “Blues in the Night”) and adding in newer songs in that same tradition.

She has presence on stage, coming across as quite pleasant, down to earth, and humble. She talks easily about God and her family. She was sworn to secrecy about her fate on American Idol in the Hollywood round and respected that.

What I really respected was that in her big hometown moment she kept the focus not on herself but on the issue at hand: help for Haiti. A staff member from World Vision, the Christian humanitarian agency that the money for the concert went to, who was actually in Haiti when the earthquake hit told about her experiences there. A big screen flashed heart-rending slides of the devastation, the people of Haiti, and the relief efforts.

So, I commend Maddy Curtis to you, not just as an American Idol but as a fine young artist and an impressive Christian teenager.


Now that Democrats have lost their filibuster-proof supermajority, some are clamoring to eliminate the filibuster.  That refers to the traditional Senate principle allowing unlimited debate apart from a vote of cloture.  That means that any Senator can keep talking on an issue, preventing it from coming up for a vote, unless 60 Senators vote  to end debate.  In practice, this means that bills need 60 votes just to get to the floor for action.  Here is a non-partisan defense of the system:  Ruth Marcus – Why the filibuster is frustrating but necessary – washingtonpost.com.

But, as I understand it (somebody correct me if I’m wrong), today’s Senate rules do not require anyone to do the work of actually filibustering–that is, continually speaking on the Senate floor in marathon session without eating, going to the bathroom, or falling asleep, as in Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  That was the old school Senate.  Today, a member simply has to invoke the filibuster and the cloture rule goes into effect.  It is no longer necessary to, you know, filibuster.  No wonder the number of cloture votes has sky-rocketed and the Senate can hardly get anything done!

I propose keeping the filibuster for the reasons Ruth Marcus mentions.  But changing the rule back to the true tradition of the Senate so as to require actual continuous debate.  That would prevent the filibuster threat from being used all the time, while saving it for the big issues.

Abortion as game show

Starting today, a web-based video series entitled “Bump” will begin, featuring three fictional women who are trying to decide whether or not to get an abortion.  Viewers will then VOTE, American-Idol style, to determine whether the women will abort their child.  I want to stress that all of the women are FICTIONAL, so no one will really get an abortion.  The purpose is supposedly to provoke positive discussion–which will also take place from viewers on the site–about the “choice” that pregnant women face of whether or not to keep her baby.

My first reaction was to be appalled.  My second reaction was that maybe this could be a forum for pro-lifers to make their case, as well as to flood the voting.  What do you think?

Here is the site: Bump+ | Share your story. Join the conversation..

HT: Kathleen Parker, whose reflections about this are worth reading.