MadCity Blogs

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 7:00pm

"Fashion is reactionary... If it’s long, it gets short, and if it’s short, it gets long."

Althouse - 3 hours 40 min ago
We've been having "a close-to-the-body moment." "The shrunken silhouette has been dominant... The teeny jacket and impossibly narrow sleeves. It’s logical there is a change."

Look out! Everything's about to get huge!

My favorite theme in humor has to do with playing with size — mixing up big and small. And my favorite thing about fashion is humor. So I am up for this!

What's the most interesting/coolest oversized/undersized thing you've ever worn — not as a costume or to horse around but as actual clothing that was part of your wardrobe?
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Worst. Anniversary. Ever. #TrillionDollarDebt

One Wisconsin Now - 3 hours 48 min ago
by Jenni Dye This week marks the two-year anniversary of student loan debt topping $1 trillion nationally - and another year of missed opportunities to address this growing crisis. That one trillion dollars represents the second-largest personal debt in the United States. But even that jaw-dropping reality doesn't tell the stories of millions of borrowers who are hamstrung by federal... Cody Oliphant
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Scott Walker named one of the world's 100 most influential people (according to Time).

Althouse - 7 hours 18 min ago
And the write-up is by Chris Christie (who's not).
[Scott Walker's] battle to bring fairness to the taxpayers through commonsense reform of the public-sector collective-bargaining laws brought him scorn from the special interests and a recall election. Despite these threats, he stood tall. His reforms have brought tax reductions to his citizens and economic growth to his state. They have allowed public workers the freedom to choose whether to belong to a union. They have made Wisconsin a better place to live and work.Doesn't that read like it was written for a children's newspaper?

ADDED: I don't know if Christie wrote that or just agreed to put his name on it, because from what I've seen so far on this Time list, it's all written in that flat, simple tone that assumes the reader has a mental age of about 10. For example: "Holder uses his power to defend Americans’ freedoms and thus our values of democracy and justice."

AND: "How much suffering can human beings tolerate? Unless he starts taking care of his people, the young generalissimo may be the first Kim to find out." And here's "Madeleine Albright" on Putin: "History is filled with aggressors who triumphed for a moment. Then failed." And: "Gray Davis" on Jerry Brown: "No longer the new kid, he’s now the adult in the room — the wise steward of our state’s resources." And: "If Kirsten Gillibrand wants to be a rock star, she’ll be a rock star. But she’d make a great President."
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Madison’s Urban Design Commission approves non-code-compliant "Tiny Houses."

Althouse - 9 hours 15 min ago
Because the code-violations come from the heart.
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Walker Ad Falsely Claims WI Unemployment Rate Has Fallen Faster Than National Average

Uppity Wisconsin - 9 hours 48 min ago
In Governor Scott Walker's latest ad, the announcers says, while showing scenes of shuttered factories, that "it had gotten pretty bad four years ago" and then cheerfully segways to "but things are different now" because "Wisconsin's unemployment rate is below the national average."   Things are indeed "different now," but not for the good as Walker claims.  In reality, Wisconsin's unemployment rate has dropped slower than the national average since Scott Walker has been in office.      In the month before Scott Walker came into office, December of 2010, the national unemployment rate was 9.4% and Wisconsin's was 7.8%.  Now, the national unemployment rate is at 6.7% and Wisconsin's is at 5.9%.  In other words, the national unemployment rate was already higher than Wisconsin when Walker took office, but has seen a bigger reduction (2.7%) and percent change (29%) than Wisconsin (1.9% and 24%, respectively) during Walker's time in charge.    
Categories: MadCity Blogs

What would Camille Paglia say about Camilla the Duchess's brother?

Althouse - 10 hours 37 min ago
1. Here's Camille Paglia singing the praises of alcohol. Specifically, she's arguing for lowering the drinking age from 21, which I completely agree with, and I even agree with most of what she says about alcohol's superiority to marijuana (because of its long tradition and its enrichment of the great pleasures of food and conversation). But Paglia goes pretty far. ("Exhilaration, ecstasy and communal vision are the gifts of Dionysus, god of wine. Alcohol’s enhancement of direct face-to-face dialogue is precisely what is needed by today’s technologically agile generation....") It's not that she says nothing about drunkenness. (In fact, she stresses the big problem with the 21-year drinking age: It pushes young people into destructive house-party drinking.) In fact, I've got to say, I pretty much agree with everything she says — including the worry that marijuana "saps energy and willpower and can produce physiological feminization in men."

2. Here's Mark Shand, brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, dead from a door — dead as a doornail, nailed by a door. He was drinking in the posh bar of the Gramercy Park Hotel, which he had to exit, through a revolving door, to smoke a cigarette — the long history of drinking and smoking having been disrupted by the demand that smokers take their disapproved-of habit outdoors. Having left through the revolving door and smoked, it was time to return to his drink, and he never got back in. Somehow the drinking and smoking and door revolving sent him falling onto the sidewalk, forever separated from that drink, gone for good. Is drinking to blame? The law that separates drinking from smoking? The revolution of the door? One more British death in an American revolution. Whatever happened to American freedom, within which a man with a drink and needing a smoke could stay put in his chair and not have to test his alcohol-laden skills in the dangerous door?
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Sotomayor's "race-sensitive admissions policies" is not just a euphemism for "affirmative action."

Althouse - 11 hours 32 min ago
James Taranto notes. It's a euphemism for a euphemism. Which puts Sotomayor on "what cognitive scientist Steven Pinker calls the euphemism treadmill."
A new euphemism is needed because the old one has lost its power to obscure: Its real meaning is too obvious, even though it is unrelated to the literal meanings of either "affirmative" or "action."

Ironically, Sotomayor's new euphemism comes considerably closer than "affirmative action" to being a literal description of the underlying reality. "Admissions policies" is far clearer than "action," and "race-sensitive," unlike "affirmative," at least acknowledges that what's going on has something to do with race.

The word "sensitive" does all the euphemizing work. But it cuts both ways. Defenders of segregation were, in their own way, "sensitive" when it came to race."We're all sensitive people," as Marvin Gaye sang in the begging-you-to-do-what-I-want song "Let's Get It On." You're sensitive? Well, I'm sensitive too. He's arguing his case to some woman, whom we can only imagine, a woman who's been resisting his sexual action. She's presumably claimed to be very sensitive. That's why there's that line "We're all sensitive people."

That song is about sex, not race, but you see my point about one side to an argument/conversation making a claim to sensitivity. There's sensitivity all around. We're all sensitive people, with so much to give....

A more common expression than "race-sensitive admissions policies" — and it must be somewhere on that treadmill journey — is "race-conscious admissions policies." Why "sensitive" instead of "conscious"? "Sensitive" connotes feelings of warmth (and irritability), and "conscious" connotes mental clarity and perception. If they're going to talk about when government may take race into account, judges should be speaking about sharply observed and understood facts about the real world. It's called "strict scrutiny" for a reason. "Sensitivity" suggests a more vaguely sourced intuition about how things ought to be, the very stereotypes and prejudicial impulses that strict scrutiny is supposed to preclude.
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Egad! A union at Northwestern?

Fighting Bob - 16 hours 50 min ago
Northwestern University is in a snit. The football team signed cards to form a union, and that has everyone from the university president to the offensive line coach in panic mode. The president of the NCAA called forming a union "grossly inappropriate." From the NCAA's perspective, I suppose it is, but players are used to bring millions of dollars into the university and if they are crippled in a football game they are out of luck.

The playbook used by Northwestern reads just like the NFL playbook of 1969 the when the NFL warned that a union would destroy the NFL. It's a bit hard to swallow given the enormous success story in the professional ranks.

The head football coach has met one-on-one with his players, and in a letter to players he falsely claimed, "You have nothing to gain by forming a union." Really? If one of the star players gets seriously injured will Northwestern keep him on full scholarship? Will they compensate the player for his injury? You know the answer.

In 1970 the NFL Players Association met with the college all stars, who were scheduled to play the Dolphins in the Chicago Tribune charity classic. Jim Finks, then general manager of the Bears, met with a group of players who demanded a debate between Finks and me (I was executive director of the NFLPA). After the debate the players voted to go on strike.

I have no idea how the players will vote in the secret ballot NLRB election, but Northwestern has already made itself look silly. However the vote goes, Northwestern will refuse to bargain with the players--bet the farm on that!

The NCAA? With billions coming in to the NCAA, why not share some of the loot with the players? At a minimum the students should alter the school song. Instead of, "Go U Northwestern," they should sing, "Shame on you Northwestern."
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Grand Old Paranoia

Fighting Bob - 16 hours 50 min ago
Wisconsin's Republicans resolve to allow succession from the United States, and then they really get weird.
Categories: MadCity Blogs

"By using a common four-letter term for sexual intercourse... Lawrence was trying to remove the stain of profanity from plain English words."

Althouse - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 5:54pm
Writes the NYT in an obituary for Richard H. Hoggart, the cultural historian who was the star witness in a case about the censorship of "Lady Chatterley's Lover." Hoggart testified in 1960 about why D.H. Lawrence wrote the word "fuck" in 1928, and the NYT still won't print the word in 2014.

But the NYT did print the word "fuck" 4 days ago — as I noted here — in the sentence "Fuck Brooklyn!" which is just some dumb thing a basketball team's general manager yelled:
With A list celebrities, including rappers Drake, Jay-Z and Beyonce, occupying courtside seats, an embarrassing technical malfunction and a jaw-dropping expletive delivered by Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri to thousands of frenzied supporters at a pre-game pep rally, the first game of the NBA postseason offered a little bit over everything.Why print "fuck" the hurtful, intentionally brutal slam, and not "fuck" the nonmetaphor, used descriptively, with love and artistic force? Have a rule and stick to it. Your rule could be only sometimes, but what rule would justify "fuck" the sports arena epithet over "fuck" a great author's word choice for which free speech advocates fought governments? Perhaps: "Fuck" is fit to print to vividly convey how wrong it is to yell fuck in front of a lady like Beyonce.

As for the other lady, Chatterley, she asked "But what do you believe in?" and he said:
"Yes, I do believe in something. I believe in being warmhearted. I believe especially in being warm-hearted in love, in fucking with a warm heart. I believe if men could fuck with warm hearts, and the women take it warm-heartedly, everything would come all right. It's all this cold-hearted fucking that is death and idiocy."

"But you don't fuck me cold-heartedly," she protested.

"I don't want to fuck you at all. My heart's as cold as cold potatoes just now.... It's a fact!... Anything for a bit of warm-heartedness. But the women don't like it. Even you don't really like it. You like good, sharp, piercing cold-hearted fucking, and then pretending it's all sugar. Where's your tenderness for me? You're as suspicious of me as a cat is of a dog. I tell you it takes two even to be tender and warm-hearted. You love fucking all right: but you want it to be called something grand and mysterious, just to flatter your own self-importance. Your own self-importance is more to you, fifty times more, than any man, or being together with a man.... I'd rather die than do any more cold-hearted fucking."
Categories: MadCity Blogs

Lagers in the Craft Beer Ghetto and Other Brew News

Fearful Symmetries - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 4:23pm

Madison Craft Beer Week begins in nine days but The Dulcinea and I began celebrating the annual event last month with a trip to the Wisconsin Brewing Company to watch the state's brewing intelligentsia watch as Kirby Nelson's fancy new brewhouse did all the work in whipping up this year's Common Thread. For 2014 we're getting a Bohemian Pilsner made with Sterling hops instead of the traditional Saaz. It was my first visit to the new brewery and it was mighty impressive.

We arrived around 10:30 that morning only to find that the work was done. The brewers gathered from around the state were instead milling about and taking turns peering into the mash tun like expectant fathers while tour groups wandered amongst the stainless steel forest. We settled into our seats and had some beer. After an Amber, I tried the Porter Joe, their porter infused with coffee, and it was fantastic. I believe it was originally brewed as a one-off for some event but it went over well enough for another go round. It has a very nice balance between the roasted malt and coffee flavors. It's balanced and drinkable.

Here's Scott Manning from Vintage being chatted up:

And here's the brewers all lined up for their photo op:

This is Kirby test brew setup.

For a fee, you can brew a beer with Kirby on it and then invite all your friends to the tap room and enjoy it. It sounds like fun but I'd probably brew something with rye, end up with a congealed mess, and have Kirby yelling at me for hours as I cleaned it.

The tap room was expansive.

With its vaulted ceiling and all of the windows looking into the large brewhouse, it had a very industrial feel as opposed to the nice, comfy atmosphere you find at your local tavern. But it's a tasting room and not a contender for third place for locals, I suppose.

We got back into Madison a little after noon so it was off to Next Door Brewing for a nooncap.

I cannot recall what The D ordered but I went with the gose and it was delicious. A bit heavier on the salt than the previous takes on the style I've had but it was still quite enjoyable and very refreshing. I intended to return a few days later to get a growler of it but the brewpub's website didn't list it. Hopefully it'll return in the summer.

Getting back to Craft Beer Week, I feel rather underwhelmed looking at the schedule. I also feel saddened that lagers are apparently the Craft Beer Week orphans . Witness the "Lagers: An Overview" event.

It's easy to think of lagers as the bland and flavorless over-produced light beer domestically produced, but they can range anywhere from new and exciting styles like the hoppy India Pale Lager to the traditional deep, rich maltiness of a doppelbock. We'll have some of our favorite examples on hand for you to try.

It seems that every other event that week will be about barrel-aged imperial stouts, IPAs, and sours brewed with bacteria recently extracted from the deepest, darkest depths of the Congo and so lagers are thrown into the ghetto and get a token event. I am reminded of a recent blog post by Lew Bryson (a man on a crusade to promote session beers) in which he was critical of craft brewing groupthink:

I'm actually getting more concerned about the lame groupthink and sheep mentality represented by "session IPA," especially since it's Sierra Nevada. I really expected something better from a brewer that has produced an iconic, leading Pale Ale, Barleywine, American Stout. I expected a brilliant Bitter, a fearless Mild. But we got a following beer from a brewer that's a leader. I expect better.

I expect better from the whole industry. I should be happy on Session Beer Day, and to some extent, I am! It's great, we're seeing a LOT more session strength beers from notable brewers, and more and more of them at brewpubs. unending parade of "session IPA"?

GOD DAMN IT, AMERICAN BREWERS! You're BETTER than this! And I'm not just talking about session. American craft brewing has become a pathetic nation of followers. Look, a sour sold, let's make one! Look, session IPA sold, let's make one! Look, limited edition beers sold, let's make one! I weep for you. Truly. Show some balls, at least come up with your own name, like "fractional IPA."

Moving back to Kirby and Wisconsin Brewing, they now have a Maibock out called Big Sweet Life.

I've not had it yet but have been told it's a bit hoppier than the version Kirby brewed at Capital and perhaps slightly less sweet as well. Rumor has it that Porter Joe will be draught-only for a bit before being bottled later this year. Kirby apparently has a helles ready for release and is planning an Oktoberfest "with a twist". Lastly I'll note that Wisconsin Brewing Company has inked a distribution deal for the Chicago market. The distributor, Chicago Cluster, "blankets" the northern half of Illinois which means the brewery has a new market that is roughly double the size of its Wisconsin market. They seem to be on track of meeting their 250,000 barrel goal. Add in the Twin Cities and Wisconsin Brewing can become quite a regional brewer.

Tickets for the Great Taste of the Midwest go on sale 4 May at noon. There are some changes this year as detailed in this blog post. Ticket prices are up to $60, for starters. The Malt House and west side Vintage are new ticket outlets while the Tyranena tasting room is out.

I heard a few months ago that River City Distributing over in Watertown had bought the rights to various Polish beers and liquors from a Milwaukee area distributor and that the Madison area would see new brands on shelves. Neither store shelves nor the company's website reflect this. Has anyone else heard about deal? Hell, maybe there's an Okacim IPA to be had.

The winners of this year's World Beer Cup were announced earlier this month. Talk about groupthink – check out the categories with the most entries:

3rd) Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer
2nd) American-Style Pale Ale
And 1st place goes to...American Style India Pale Ale!

I am shocked. Shocked!

Wisconsin breweries brought home some medals:

Sprecher Shakparo – Bronze in Gluten-Free Beer
Sprecher Black Bavarian – Gold in German-Style Schwarzbier
Central Waters' Sixteen – Gold in Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout
Vintage McLovin – Silver in Irish-Style Red Ale

Oh, and Miller won a couple of awards too.

Some new and newish brews:

While it appears to be a flavored-enhanced beer instead of a true radler, it does come in at a sessionable 4.1% ABV, quite a bit lower than most American drinks labeled "radler" and "shandy".

Don't tell Lew Bryson but Lakefront is coming out with a session IPA called Extended Play. And the latest entry in their My Turn series is Johnson, a DIPA.

Milwaukee Brewing Company has introduced Litta Bitta, a so-called white IPA, brewed with lemongrass. White IPAs, as far as I can tell, are very hoppy Belgian wit beers but the monikers "IPA" and "India" sell so everything has to be an IPA variation these days. Presumably we can look forward to an IPK – India Pale Kölsch – because, well, it has more hops and will sell like gangbusters.

I mean, just ask Capital. Their fourth IPA is Ghost Ship, a white IPA. It has coriander, orange peel, and lots of hops. I tried one of these last weekend. It tasted like an imperial witbier at first with prominent coriander and orange bitterness and then the hops kicked in and ruined it. Craft brewers should stop adding more hops to everything and then calling it an India Pale XXXXX.

Also in Capital news, a Twitter tweet shows brewer Ashley Kinart whipping up a test batch of her new beer. ETA is June. Anyone know what kind of beer she has in mind?

The Hop Garden is a hop farm just south of Madison that has also gotten into the brewing game and this is the result. It's brewed by Page out at House of Brews and is available in stores now. Robin Shepard of Isthmus profiled The Hop Garden and its owner Rich Joseph a couple months ago. This pale ale is his first brew and next comes an imperial IPA. Quelle surprise!

The latest from Schell's Noble Star line is North Country Brünette which the brewery describes as a "Märzen style Berliner Weisse". I've never heard of such a thing although the brewery claims it's a defunct style. (Where's Ron Pattinson when you need him?) My understanding is that it's a Berliner Weisse in style but with more of a Märzen grain bill. Sehr interessant!

This beer is out and may very well be gone already. I had it on tap somewhere and it was excellent. Unchained is Summit's limited edition brew series and this was, sadly enough, the first lager in the series. The brewer describes it as being "modeled after a cross between an Oktoberfest bier and a Wiesn bier". Wiesn is, from what I can tell, a lighter take on the Oktoberfest. If you see this in stores, get it. Or just let me know about it and I'll buy it.

The latest hoppy brew from Schell. I believe this will be released next month. It's described as "Combining the hop profile of west-coast American IPA’s with traditional German brewing techniques..." German, American, and French hops used in a double dry hopping. Sounds like a very hoppy pilsner. Schell gets credit from me for not calling it an India Pale Lager.

This is an entry in Stone's Spotlight Series which features brews resulting from a brewing competition held within the company. It's a rye Kölsch with black malt and extra hops. Intriguing. But was it lagered? Probably not. Too bad it's not being distributed in Wisconsin. However, there will be some in Illinois.

Speaking of Illinois, Chicago's Baderbräu has a new brew called Lawnmower Lager which is an IPL (quelle surprise!)

New Belgium's Lips of Faith series now has a gruit. I am looking forward to trying this stuff but haven't seen it around Madison.

On the New Glarus front, Yokel and Hometown Blonde are returning. Berliner Weisse is the next Thumbprint brew and we can look forward to bourbon barrel kriek, the IIPA, and Cranbic later in the year.

Homebrewer Jim Goronson is looking to open The Parched Eagle Brewpub in Middleton. I talked to Goronson about a month ago and he said he's looking at opening in November. I believe Goronson is looking at the Clownin' Around party supply store at 6301 University Avenue for his location.

Get ready for the Sunny Rest Beer Festival!

"Nudity required at the beer festival area". I love how they Photoshopped those beer glasses into the hands of those women. No doubt there will be dozens of young gals at the festival just like those on the poster.
Categories: MadCity Blogs

PPP Poll: Burke Only Down by Three and Feingold Beating RoJo

Uppity Wisconsin - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 12:41pm

Today, Public Policy Polling released a poll showing Mary Burke behind Scott Walker by only a three point margin--48% to 45%--and former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold beating current U.S. Senator Ron Johnson by a much larger 47% to 41% margin, in a potential rematch.

Other results of interest:

  • The poll shows Ron Kind losing to Ron Johnson by a 39% to 41% margin.
  • Walker's job approval rating is at 50%, with 47% disapproving.  
  • Obama's job approval rating is 45%, with 50% disapproving. 
  • 45% say they will vote Democrat for state legislature, while 41% say they will vote Republican. 
  • Among independents, Burke is leading 46% to 44%, while Feingold is winning independents by a 47% to 34% margin.

PPP has had a pretty good, though not perfect, record recently in Wisconsin.  In 2012, they said both Baldwin and Obama would win by three points (Obama ended up winning by seven and Baldwin six) and in the recall election they said Walker would win by three and he ended up winning by seven. 




Categories: MadCity Blogs

An awful lot of what seems like scientific information about nutrition deserves to be called "nutritional folklore."

Althouse - Wed, 04/23/2014 - 11:07am
According to George Johnson, who cites extensive research into cancer that has found "little evidence that fruits and vegetables are protective or that fatty foods are bad." Back in 1997, there was a big authoritative review of over 4,000 studies that pushed green vegetables to prevent lung and stomach cancer,  and broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts for thyroid and colon cancer. Onions, tomatoes, garlic, carrots and citrus fruits seemed generally helpful in the fight against cancer. But 10 years later, it was all taken back.

The pro-produce advice had relied on interviewing people about what they remembered eating in the past, and the newer, more rigorous studies used "'prospective' protocols, in which the health of large populations was followed in real time." And:
With even the most rigorous studies, it is hard to adjust for what epidemiologists call confounding factors: Assiduous eaters of fruits and vegetables probably weigh less, exercise more often and are vigilant about their health in other ways...All this badgering about eating lots of fruits and vegetables, all the cabbage and broccoli we've been pressured to buy and wash and cut up and cook and choke down! There was never good evidence for it. Obviously, it seemed good to people because it fit what we already thought was supposed to be good. But why?!

Let me show you this passage I've remembered for a long time, from James Joyce's "Ulysses" (scroll to line 7825):
Only weggebobbles and fruit.... They say it's healthier. Windandwatery though. Tried it. Keep you on the run all day. Bad as a bloater. Dreams all night.
ADDED: A poll:

How much vegetables would you eat if you found out, for sure, that there was no particular health benefit? (Not counting potatoes!)I eat a lot of vegetables now, and I like them and would continue to eat a lot.I eat a lot now, but I'd cut way back, perhaps to almost none.I'd do what I already do but feel much better about it: Not eat much. I don't each much now, because I don't like them, so I'd cut out nearly everything. free polls 
AND: What is the environmental cost to producing all these vegetables and trucking and flying them about? What of all the money families spend on vegetables, because they've heard the propaganda, money that could be spent on more satisfying, concentrated protein? What of all the torment we've caused schoolkids giving them lunches they hate that leave them hungry and running for the vending machines for junk food? Where is the science?
Categories: MadCity Blogs