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Bush the Worst President?

Being of a generous nature I am reluctant to declare that this presidency is done, over, kaput, defunct, inoperative, dead in the water, or, as we used to say down South after a few too many beers, "obsolescent." But it is unclear what the Bush White House can accomplish over the nearly 33 months he has left in office. Tony Snow has a brutal job ahead, and not just because the daily briefing has turned into Showtime. If Bush is the Decider, Snow is the 'Splainer, and he'll have a lot of 'splainin' to do.

He'll be dealing constantly with the Iraq situation, which has turned into the $800 billion gorilla in the room. The president's approval ratings are down there in the territory of whatever's on TV opposite American Idol. Bush has persuaded many Americans that he's running a virtual police state. [I have to be careful what I type here because I fear this blog is tapped.] It's always a bad sign when the president reads a quote in the morning paper calling him "an embarrassment," and it comes from his new press secretary.

Worse, Bush's Brain has racked up enough Frequent Testifier points for a free round-trip ticket to the Hague.

Recently the historian Sean Wilentz (saw him just the other day -- not only a smart guy, but great hair!) wrote a piece in Rolling Stone saying that the best case scenario for Bush is that he'll go down in history as merely one of the worst presidents in history:

"George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history."

Wilentz is a liberal, and he concedes that most historians are, at least compared to the general public. And almost by definition you can't rank a president during his tenure (still almost 33 months to turn into George Washington!). It may be that Bush will find a way to pull himself out of Harding Country. He might have to find a way to disprove Wilentz's central allegation:

"...he has also displayed a weakness common among the greatest presidential failures -- an unswerving adherence to a simplistic ideology that abjures deviation from dogma as heresy, thus preventing any pragmatic adjustment to changing realities. Repeatedly, Bush has undone himself, a failing revealed in each major area of presidential performance."

His own worst enemy, in other words.

In some countries when the government ceases to be effective, it is disbanded (dissolved? defenestrated?) in a vote of no-confidence, and new elections are held. I will admit that this has always struck me as slightly capricious. Indeed I need to bone up on this to find out if there's a move we can borrow for a potential Constitutional Amendment (the "Bush Amendment").

There are people who rejoice at Bush's political downturn. Bad news is good news, they think, if Bush and his allies suffer. For some people the rage against the president and the GOP threatens to turn into a kind of ideological black hole, gobbling every thought that strays too close. But this country has had as much bad news as it can handle. It's had a full dose. Countries need effective people at the top. Tom Friedman, in "The World is Flat," argues that the world economy is globalizing so rapidly that the United States can't afford to sit around and wait to see what happens next. Friedman writes of JFK's ability to get Americans excited about winning the science race that ultimately would lead to victory in the Cold War:

"If President Bush is looking for a similar legacy project, there is one just crying out -- a national science initiative that would be our generation's moon shot: a crash program for alternative energy and conservation to make American energy-independent in ten years. If President Bush made energy independence his moon shot, in one fell swoop he would dry up revenue for terrorism, force Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia on the path of reform -- which they will never do with $50-a-barrel oil -- strengthen the dollar, and improve his own standing in Europe by doing something huge to reduce global warming." [p. 283]

Bush made a gesture in that direction (we're "addicted to oil") in his State of the Union Address, but it was hardly an inspiring call for an energy moon-shot. It has to be said: He's no Jack Kennedy.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 27, 2006; 6:49 AM ET
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Next: Truth Still Matters Part 37


Here's an illustration to go along with Joel's wonderful Kit today:

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe I'm the first one to post a comment. Not even one of the SAO15.

Anyway, thanks, Joel. I was going into New Kit withdrawal.

Posted by: sundog | April 27, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Oops, make that second.

Posted by: sundog | April 27, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

JA, Friedman's aiming too high...

How about just a simple crash program to ensure people in this country know what science is????

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

sundog, if you're a boodler, you're one of the SAO15. That 15 is kind of a fuzzy number.

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, TBG. That makes me feel better.

Posted by: sundog | April 27, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

A Hobbsian Choice for the media-is THE worst or just the worst of our time?

Posted by: ILL-logical | April 27, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Typo alert:
"Friedman writes of JFK's ability to get American [sic] excited . . ."

Posted by: Tom fan | April 27, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse we just have to figure out how to get this on the Google News page...

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Ah, the SAO-15. Those were the days.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke said "How about just a simple crash program to ensure people in this country know what science is????"

I came across this quote about evolution last night while preparing my class lecture:

"...I by no means expect to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are stocked with a multitude of facts, all viewed, during a long course of years, from a point of view directly opposite to mine. It is so easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions as the 'plan of creation,' 'unity of design,' &c., and to think that we give an explanationwhen we only restate a fact. Any one whose disposition leads him to attach more weight to unexplained difficulties than to the explanation of a certain number of facts will certainly reject the theory....I look to the future, --to young and rising naturalists, who will be able to view both sides of the question with impartiality. Whoever is led to believe that species are mutable will do good service by conscientiously expressing his conviction; for thus only can the load of prejudice by which this subject is overwhelmed be removed."

Written by Charles Darwin, "The Origin of Species", 6th ed., 1872. I guess we still have a long way to go.

Posted by: Dooley | April 27, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Joel, if you haven't seen Letterman lately, tune in about 15 minutes after the start for his "Great Presidential Speeches" segment ... it's funny, until you start to cry (FDR, JFK, etc followed by gobblydegook from Bush).

Posted by: InSLC | April 27, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

In deference to Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 88, I am legally bound to make no on-topic posts for the rest of the day.

And According to Article 114, I most definitely cannot challenge the President to a duel.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Tell me about it, Dooley... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Joel... this is a Kit after my own heart. But I'm not one of those reveling in the bad news; I just hope we survive the next year and a half.

Nothing has been better for those around the world who hate us than George Bush and his idiotic policies. There is no better recruitment tool for al-Qaida than Bush's administration and his presidency.

Does anyone remember the Bin Laden video that came out a day or two before election 2004 that slammed Bush? Bin Laden should have just gone ahead and said, "Oh please Americans, don't throw me in the briar patch!"

So now we have Sean Wilentz saying, "Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents."

Between a worldwide, well-funded and well-populated group that wants to see us suffer and an administration and party that seemingly will use any means to stay in power, I only have one word to say:


Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Friedman says, "If President Bush made energy independence his moon shot, in one fell swoop he would dry up revenue for terrorism, force Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia on the path of reform -- which they will never do with $50-a-barrel oil."

That's a dubious outcome. Oil is purchased on the open market, not particularly from any one supplier. So, our oil independence, while a good thing, may not cause oil prices to drop dramatically, given the increased consumption of China and India. I doubt, therefore, that our energy independence will influence other countries, it'll simply have benefits for our own country.

Posted by: CowTown (un-previewed) | April 27, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

My 5-yr-old daughter, who has decided to keep a list of everyone's favorite everything, asked the other day if George Bush was my favorite president. I had to tone down my response as we were in a public place in Central Virginia.

Posted by: a bea c | April 27, 2006 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you're funny!

Bush *really* working to make America independent from Big Oil would be like...

Bush working to make himself independent from his pulmonary system.

He can talk a good game about its shortcomings, but without it, he's a goner.

Which he may be already, as you're pointing out.


Posted by: bc | April 27, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Unless our energy independence derives from windmills only, everything else could be sold to China, and India, and Europe and, and,....

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

You know, it could be that GWB will be eventually lauded for experimenting with a new governance model: Run your administration like your campaign. Someone had to try it see if it works, right? Now we know. So, let's give W some credit, 'K?

Posted by: CowTown | April 27, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

CowTown, don't you think we'd share the technology? I imagine that most other industrialized nations would love to get their hands on non-oil/non-nuclear power that is economical. Industrializing nations would also benefit in by-passing the oil-based technology just like they are by-passing hard line phone systems in favor of cell phones...

The price of oil is driven by the fact that it is the primary source of energy in addition to providing us with a variety of petrochemical products. Take away the energy piece and demand drops through the floor...

Dooley, on the Evolution thing, it is not so much that people didn't learn, it seems that people are now rejecting and going back to the "old ways" of thinking...

Posted by: DCFan | April 27, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I'll go on record as saying I'm 100% certain that Bush will go down in history as the worst president ever. In fact no one in the future will be worse. And I can say I told you so. I predicted this back in 2000 after he won the repugnant nomination.

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Worse even than Rutherford B. Hayes?

(LOTS of amazing similarities.)

Posted by: Steve-2 | April 27, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Steve-2, don't I recall that Hayes won the election in the House of Representatives? Same kind of mess that put Bush in office? Explains everything...

Posted by: slyness | April 27, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I love the URL of this particular Kit. There's a clue on what Joel originally named it.

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I believe Hayes had a secretary named Bush and Bush had a secretary named Hayes...

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

My fervent hope is that whichever party has the presidency, the other party controls congress... So they fight each other and in theory drive legislation into more moderate ground.

It this state strikes me as better for deficits.

Posted by: Les | April 27, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

So jw, since you are prohibited by law from staying on topic today, seen any or looking forward to any movies?

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, has he made his Daddy proud? That's what he wanted. Perhaps if there was no "love me, daddy, please" dynamic with Jr., we might have escaped some of this nightmare that is his presidency.

Posted by: jlessl | April 27, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

As many others here have expressed more vividly, my reaction to Bush is so negative that it's almost physically painful. In terms of the damage he has done to our country, I can't think of a worse president. We do need someone to inspire us as Kennedy did, but I don't see any potential candidates having that charisma. Lacking that, we could still get our act together if we had a group in charge who spent as much time and effort on uniting us to a common cause of energy independence as the current group has spent on getting us into a quagmire in Iraq, smearing anyone not on the 'right' side, lining their pockets and their friends' pockets at our expense and lying through their teeth about all of it.
I try to be optimistic about the future after Bush is gone, but the immense damage he has done to us, both internally and in the global arena, will take years to undo. We had such an opportunity after 9/11 to unite the world against terrorism and we blew it. I ripped the American flag decals off my car the day he was reelected - I am not proud to be an American anymore.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 27, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Now going off topic...

I was asked, for about the 10th time this week, if I'm an illegal alien. I told the student who asked that he would not be able to get me deported before I turned in his final grade.

Just in the past three weeks I've been asked that question more times than in the rest of the 16 years I've lived here.

Posted by: a bea c | April 27, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

a bea c... why do folks think you're an alien? Are you green and have antennae?

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

(sorry.. couldn't resist).

Now, in perfect omni fashion, I am going out to enjoy this beyooooooooooooootiful day.

Be careful and keep your heads covered if this kit makes it to the front page.

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

OK, given that this administration is so wrapped up in its own neocon hubris that it can't even see its own shortcomings, it may not be the "worst" in history (though it is at the top of the list for recent memory). Harding, Buchanan, Hayes come to mind on a short list of possible "worsts". What galls me the most is that W seems to think that the War on Terror gives him absolute rights to ignore any law he finds inconvienet. Torture? Nah, we don't do torture (we let others do it under our direction). Eavesdropping? So what if we hear something we shouldn't from a U.S. citizen. Trust us, we know what we're doing. Emergency planning? "Heckuva job, Brownie." Energy conservation? How 'bout some big tax breaks for Big Oil? How 'bout shoving ethanol down our throats, even though they can't produce enough of it to meet the statutory demand, it's more expensive, and it uses more energy to produce than it saves. Health care? Go out and try and contract for your own health care. Deficits? We don't care 'bout no stinkin' deficits. Any by the way, let's make all those temporary tax cuts permanent. That'll help solve the defict problem (at least for the top 1% of taxpayers).


Posted by: ebtnut | April 27, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

SCC: And by the way...

Posted by: ebtnut | April 27, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Letterman has had superb Bush material lately. (Cheney too). Dave is a man who understands letting material stand by itself - and this material in particular is well-suited to the treatment.

Posted by: N | April 27, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

TBG, if I were green and had antennae, it would be better. I don't look or sound like I'm from another country, and people assume I'm not. I get to hear some ugly comments about immigrants.

It is good and bad, I guess. I can choose who I spend my time in a more efficient manner and don't waste time befriending people who then have a problem with my being Hispanic. Same thing for being Jewish since you can't tell just by looking at me, obviously. Once some people find out I'm Hispanic, they assume I'm not Jewish and feel fine saying things about those banker-type Jews who own all the newspapers and never give to charity who should have made Hitler happy by just letting themselves be killed.

Posted by: a bea c | April 27, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The last movie I saw in the theater was Spike Lee's bank-robbery flick, "Inside Man." I thought it was really good, and I'm not a big fan of Lee. Very interesting play on the formula, and it stayed pretty believable. Plus, Jodie Foster has great legs (they should have been given their own billing: "Starring Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, and Jodie Foster's legs").

I'm looking forward to "The DaVinci Code" because I think, in the tradition of Jaws, the novel was flawed but will make a great movie. I've never read a novel so ready to be a vehicle for a blockbuster: short, choppy chapters, lots of action, heavy on the suspense, and lots of twists. A lot of the things that I think took away from "The DaVinci Code" as a novel are the same things that I think will make it a great movie. For instance, a lot of the background given on characters and the whole conspiracy in general is pretty flimsy for a novel, but it's perfect for a movie because they won't need to worry about getting it all in. Also, the story follows events over one night, with the story being filled in with flashbacks. A little forced as a novel, but should work great on the screen.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

You people are all full of it. Unswerving devotion to principle is a trait of great people, let alone leaders. See Ronald Reagan. See Natan Sharansky essay in the WSJ.

Obviously, this group has never read any history. Otherwise, you'd know that leadership doesn't involve pandering (see Clinton), lack of personal morals (see Kennedy) or wavering (see Carter). You get your history from Oliver Stone.

Posted by: Joel | April 27, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I think what could save Bush in the history books is if there is, somehow, a good outcome in the Middle East, years from now. It could happen! Or not.

I'm real busy and not able to hang out as much lately here in the 'Boodle as I'd like.

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 27, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I think Dan Quayle would have made a better president.

Posted by: Mike Gardner | April 27, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Dan Quayle would have been small potatos.

Posted by: nellie | April 27, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

jw, I'm in the small minority that hasn't read Da Vinci yet. Now that it's in paperback I'll probably pick it up before the movie.

Not really much in the pipeline worth getting excited over, is there? I'll probably go see Poseidon, if only for the effects. I thought one of the best effects in War of the Worlds was that ferry scene.

Jaws story. I was in Gr. 4 when that came out and in my "shark phase". I had read the novel, and after VERY heavy lobbying, my mom took me to see the movie. The Ben Gardiner's boat scene freaked me out a little, and my mom banged her elbow hard on the arm rest. BTW, that's a movie that has aged well, despite the advances in effects.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

attaboy, joel. by george, i think you've got it.

yep, worst ever. no doubt about it.

Posted by: butlerguy | April 27, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

More off-topicness: Did any of these public figures clamoring for oil companies to lower gas prices back down to $1.30/gal ever take Econ 101? Yes, I know they're just trying to get reelected, but wouldn't their time be better served by coming up with real solutions rather than all this grandstanding? Oh, wait, real solutions would mean telling Americans to make sacrifices, and no one's going to do that. Go ahead, drive your 14 MPG SUVs, sit in your car alone and in traffic for hours each day. Global demand for oil is at an all time high at a time when supply is rapidly deminishing, but you still deserve your artificially-low gasoline!

Yeah, I know, $400 million dollar pensions, blah, blah. If that $400 million dollars was instead used to off-set the price of gas in the US, each licensed drive would have seen a savings of...$2.09 over the entire year. Which translates to probably about half a cent per gallon. Oil companies are making record profits because the deal in a global commdity, and global demand is high. It's not because there's a conspiracy to rip off Americans.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

So far, on George W. Bush's watch, we've had the (so-called) "intelligence failure" leading to the events of 9/11, and the (so-called) "intelligence failure" leading to the invasion of Iraq. We are looking at another (so-called) "intelligence failure" leading to an attack on Iran. If there were to be a fourth "intelligence failure" leading to another terrorist attack on this country on the scale of 9/11, why would ANYBODY rally around this president? All people really want is competent govt. (he made the trains run on time). This president can not conceive that govt. even has a legitimate purpose. So why would we rally around him during the next crisis?

Posted by: Jim in Colorado | April 27, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The Ben Gardner's Boat scene has to be one of the best scares in cinema history.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I am in my late sixties and I can say in all honesty that, hands down, Bush is the worst since I became aware of who was president and exactly what that position is, and should be, in this country. I fear for this country. My roots are very deep in Virgina history and this is not what my forebears fought and died for. I am literally terrified for the average citizen of the U.S. If this mess ever gets undone it will take decades.

Posted by: compnurse | April 27, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your post, Joel. One could also argue that General Custer had an "unswerving devotion to principle." And, that's great. But, sometimes, results DO matter.

Posted by: CowTown | April 27, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Joel (the 12:32 Joel, not the REAL Joel), I think you're the one who hasn't read much history. "Unswerving devotion to principle" has almost NEVER been a characteristic of great leaders; rather, pragmatism in the face of evidence contrary to one's own belief structure is generally a pretty reliable guideline. By your rigid, unthinking standard, Washington, Lincoln and most especially Roosevelt would be horrible leaders. The question isn't principles (or lack of them); it is reality-testing.

Your second poaragraph is even more absurd, since none of here has suggested that Clinton (with or without the pandering) or Carter (with or without the waivering) was a "great leader." You've set up a straw-man argument, which I'm happy to run over with a bulldozer.

Perhaps you need to read just one or two more books.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Gene Weingarten nailed it in one of his recent chats - most bad presidents are considered bad because of what they did not do. Bush is an activist president. He's bad for what he *did* do.

My list: ran up deficit to astronomical levels, helped only the wealthiest in the economy, used 9/11 to suppress all dissent, illegal kidnappings ("renditions"), Guantanamo, Secret Prisons, withdrew from Afghanistan too soon (to go to Iraq), bungled formation of DHS, started a war in Iraq under false pretenses, mis-managed the war in Iraq, allowed leaking the name of an undercover CIA agent, kept on Rove & Cheney when it was clear they *did* leak the name,
response to Katrina, non-starter ideas on Social Security, Harriet Myers nomination, non-starter ideas on immigration (Yup, France's immigration policy has worked so well - let's do that!)

If those aren't enough to put him in the Presidential Hall of Shame, I don't know what is!

Posted by: GeneFan | April 27, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

re: Ben Gardiner. On my first dive on the west coast I went to a shallow wreck in summer. Up here, summer diving is actually worse in some ways because while the water is nice on top, below the thermocline its still the same (cold) and in between it's like swimming in pea soup (algae). Anyway, approaching the wreck was kind of like a Ben Gardiner moment because you couldn't see a damned thing and then all of a sudden it filled your whole view. I used up about a thousand psi, and after that it was a pretty good dive.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

OOOOOO, I'm just waiting for someone to proclaim that "The Achenblog is an Idiot..."

Remember those good-old days?

Posted by: CowTown (Carefully Previewed) | April 27, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The "Is Bush the Worst?" Game is spreading. I believe it is best played as: "Is Bush the Worst President in the last one hundred years?" In this version, players can have good arguments without getting into obscure 19th century presidents that most people know nothing about, while still having to come up with information on possible contenders like Hoover, Harding, Wilson (in the games I've played, one does seem to have to go back that far).

Posted by: observerjsc | April 27, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

To all of you liberal Ding-Dongs: Do you really think AlGore, the most vapid puppet to date, would have done better? Would have done anything?

Posted by: TXW | April 27, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The Achenblog has a link on the main page. Batten down the hatches and prepare for the storm.

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your post, TXW. Could you please explain what you mean by "vapid puppet?" It's an interesting, but utterly non-illuminating, choice of words.

Thank you for your kind attention to this subject.

Posted by: CowTown (submitted without preview) | April 27, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

We need to be lead by unfallible computers whose robotic servants do their bidding. All hail the computer overlords!

Posted by: Huntsman | April 27, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Right, CowT. Same can be said of terrorists. They "stay the course" and sacrifice their own lives. Doesn't make them great people, though.

Posted by: a bea c | April 27, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Duh. He means Gore's a "puppet" in that he is made of felt and is featured on kid's television shows, and he is "vapid" in that he likes to talk about the atmosphere and global warming and stuff, you know, things that deal with vapor.

I thought it was perfectly clear.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I do enjoy the word ding-dong and will add it to my lexicon.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

In order to keep jw, in the clear more off topicness.

I agree with your comment on Davinci Code being the novel most likely to be written for a movie, and made me think of the great number of short stories which have been made into movies lately. Brokeback Mountain, Snow Walker, Shawshank Redemption, come to mind immediately (None of which I have read).

I have to wonder if short stories simply by their lack of detail and length allow the writers greater lattitude to make a better movie. Any other short stories out there anyone has read that would make great movies?

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

vapid puppet...hmm...I thought puppets were vapid by definition. TXW, good try, but stick to smaller words you know how to use.

By the way, nobody said Gore would be better, or at least not today. We are just saying Bush is bad.

Posted by: a bea c | April 27, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

The Achenblog is an idiot.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 27, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I note that Ding-Dong is currently available as a handle.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Good of you to get that out of the way, boss...

Posted by: slyness | April 27, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

yes, Gore would be several orders of magnitude better than Bush.
As would Kerry. As would practically any Republican outside of the current Keystone Kops Kabal.

and calling Gore a puppet...that's rich. Bush doesn't have an original thought in his head, and clearly Rove & Cheney are running the show.

Posted by: jan van flac | April 27, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Vapid Puppet is also available as a handle. Good one, too.

Posted by: CowTown (very carefully previewed) | April 27, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

omni, to quote "Poltergeist," I think...they're heeeeerrre.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The. Worst. President. Ever.

We will be generations getting over the damage this administration has done to our economy, our environment, our reputation, and our intellectual development. Provided he doesn't nuke Iran first and make the recovery moot.

Al Gore vapid? Have you been asleep for the last 7 years? The pathetic excuse for a statesman that is reputedly representing us to the rest of the world prides himself on a specious good-ol'-boy slack-jawed hick persona that he thinks makes him appealing. "A president you can drink a beer with" indeed.

Vapid enough for you?

Posted by: mcnich | April 27, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm so glad you said that JA.

Gets it right out of the way before the havoc of frontpage days.

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Ding-dong. I'm adding a couple to my lunch.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 27, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Godless Liberals, TAKE HEED! WITNESS, that by the wise and courageous acts of our Glorious Leader, our world is ever closer to the Time of Judgment. I'd recommend that you get your humanistic, morally-reletavistic, homosexual-loving houses in order before the glorious END OF DAYS. Soon, you will all find yourselves wandering the streets of your cities, while your TRUE LEADERS have disappeared in the Rapture!

Repent Now!

Posted by: HolyCow | April 27, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm 38 years old and Bush is the greatest president of my lifetime. He will definitely be regarded as one of the top ten of all time. The same pointy-headed liberals who bashed Reagan non-stop were suddenly all sweetness and light when Reagan died. Wait another 30 years or so for some historical perspective and the same thing will happen with Bush. And in case you're wondering (and if you're a liberal, I know you are), no I'm not a redneck, I'm from upstate NY, I'm a college professor, I have a PhD, and yes I AM smarter than you are.

Posted by: hunchback | April 27, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, this WaPo headline almost gave me a stroke: "Bush, Texans Closing in on Deal." Turns out it's a sports story about Reggie Bush. For a minute there I thought maybe George was going to sell Texas back to Louis XIV.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

First, review history. Not one, I mean not one president 1) has managed to pull of the number of failures, 2) told as many lies, 3) distorted and in many cases ignored the rule of law, 4) twisted the Constitution, and 5) been as fundamentally corrupt as this president. I'll take a drunk and womanizer anytime to this guy. So, I think the George W. Bush will go down in history as the WORST US president in history. He just got too much "going" for him not to. Congratulations, George. You did it.

Second, in principle I agree with Tom Friedman that to extricate himself from this terrible situation, Mr. Bush - the hands-down winner of the worst president in history prize - could propose an energy independence project along the lines of the Apollo program. But, think about it, do you really want this "person" (I'd say "Bozo," but I know the person who was a DC Bozo the Clown, and the comparison seems insulting to Bozo) making such a proposal? What kind of a nutty proposal do you think he would make? Furthermore, does anyone think this government in it's current condition could pull it off?

And what kinds of inspirational speeches would Bush make? Has anyone seen or read the speech that Jack Kennedy made at Rice University explaining why we were going to the Moon? In print and in word, those words were magestic. Can you imagine George W. Bush saying, "We choose to go to the Moon and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." Well, George would have to find a way to say similar words to support HIS program with a straight face and not have people laugh at the absurdity of the whole thing.

So, I think Friedman's idea is good, but I think George and his tribe are really, really the wrong people to do it. Let's elect a competent President and Congress and then try it.

Posted by: InChicago | April 27, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I think the jury will be out on Bush until many, many years from now. There is, however, no dispute with the impeccably horrible results of President Carter. Review your history and try to come up with reasons Presidents are considered bad. The answer is usually ineffectiveness, loss of world prestige, economic collapse at home, etc. I still get a laugh about boycotting the Olympics, turning off Christmas lights, even/odd gas days, wearing a sweater, a sense of malaise on the markets (where is this listed in the individual charts?), invading a country with a few helicopters, attack rabbits, kissing up to terrorists - no doubt about it.

Another good measure is probably not how some press guys thing, but rather, was the guy ever reelected.

you pundits and know-it-alls need to get your head out of that dark place and get in the real world.

Posted by: King of Zouk | April 27, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Rd Padouk, You have your own Burger King? Boy that's hardly fair. There are none in this city. None, zippo, nada.

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

word of the day: Reletavistic


Posted by: a bea c | April 27, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Memo to Holy Cow: Can speed this "Rapture" thing along a little? I'm beginning to look forward to it myself, under the heading of " spring cleaning."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, dr, there's the whole Steven King catalogue: The Green Mile (serial fiction, but close to a short story), The Body (a.k.a. Stand By Me), and (Rita Hayworth and the) Shawshank Redemption. Strangely, movies based on King's full-length novels never turn out very well. I don't know if it's because his short stories are just better, or because his novels are just so long and filled with detail that they can't, make the transition to a sub-3 hour screenplay. I do think that what makes a great novel great also make them flawed springboards for a movie.

The Birds was based on a short story, and so was The Fly. Besides Steven King, I don't think many people are interested writing stories like that any more--they take those ideas straight to film and make a gory movie. Imagine if the guy who had come up with Freddy Krueger had written a short story instead!

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Ahem, Professor Hunchback: Since you've been alive during the last eight presidencies, whom among them would make your "top ten?"

And do we really have to wait for W to die before we can appreciate him? If he did a good job, we could all love him now.

Posted by: CowTown (submitted without preview) | April 27, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Chuck Klosterman on the Rapture. Sounds like a hell of a good time for a party.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

dr - rumor has it we're getting a Dunkin' Donuts too....

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 27, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for your post, King of Zouk. President Carter committed such egregious acts as wearing a sweater. It's amazing he wasn't run out of town on a rail!

Posted by: CowTown | April 27, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

dr, not a short story, but likely a short book (wouldn't know, didn't read it) by Stephen King - Delores Claiborne - I think it is one of the best movies based on a Stephen King work. IMHO.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

*scrolling back*

jw, you SO right about gas prices and the idiocy of politicians thinking anything other than people reducing their need for a product will affect prices. And no matter what anyone does, gas prices will ALWAYS go up in the long run. Finite resource, increasing need (until we get a replacement for internal combustion).


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Since we're on books made to movies, what are some of the worst book-to-movie transmutations out there? Please catagorize by: bad-book-made-into-good-movie, bad-book-made-into-bad-move, or good-book-made-into-terrible-movie.

I'll even volunteer to go first: Forrest Gump - bad book to (relatively) good movie.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | April 27, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"...while your TRUE LEADERS have disappeared in the Rapture!"

I wish they would hurry up and disappear--they're really causing a mess here.

Hunchback, for the record, I bashed Reagan when he was president, and bashed him some more after he died. But at least Reagan did get a few things right. Next to W, Reagan WAS a shining star.

Posted by a redneck...with a PhD.

Posted by: Dooley | April 27, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

a bea c,
So Bush is bad but you can finger-point from your high chair because, let me guess, you didn't vote for him. So you either didn't vote at all or for AlGore. My condolences.
I'm not defending everything Bush has done or will do, but to listen to the press, he is single-handedly responsible for 9/11, hurricanes Rita and Katrina, global warming, world hunger, cancer and terrorism. Oh yeah, and he's also a rabid racist.
BTW, you might want to look up the word vapid, if you think I misused it, Ding-Dong.

Posted by: TXW | April 27, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Bush is not just the worst US president of all time, he may be one of the most incompetent heads of state in the last 100 years. Maybe Idi Amin can match him there.

Posted by: er | April 27, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I think this must be true:
After being shown this recent cover picture on Rolling Stone Magazine by new Press Secretary Snow, President Bush objected to the label "Worst President in History." Sources inside the white house, commenting anonymously for fear of loosing their jobs, report that the President said he had once again be misunderestimated -- pointing out that he is also worst in
Geography, Math, Science, English and Spanish.

Posted by: marty | April 27, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The HolyCow post is so funny, I have to wonder if it is one of the regular boodlers shooting for some levity.

Posted by: a bea c | April 27, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hm...I'm revamping those catagories already. "Good" and "Bad" are so subjective. How about: Movie better than book, book better than movie or both bad? I feel the need to change since I don't consider Forrest Gump a "good" movie per se, but it's better than the book.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | April 27, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

a bea c

I appear in many guises, but always involving a cow.

To err is human, to moo is bovine.

Posted by: CowTown | April 27, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

TXW: It'd be hard to imagine Gore or anyone else doing a worse job as President than Bush has done. I'm not sure what point you're trying to prove by bringing Gore up. But, if that's the best argument you can come up with to defend Bush, then I think you're helping prove that Bush is worthless and is the worst President ever. If you could cite any actual positive accomplishments, maybe we'd listen. But it's obvious there are none, so you're forced to resort to pointless namecalling and bringing up Gore.

Posted by: Rex | April 27, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Gee, hunchback, would never have known that PhDs come so easily. I'm soooo impressed with your obvious brilliance -- 'specially since you're only 38 years old. Mmmmm, big, you know, muscles you got there. So impressed.


Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 27, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Is that Kowtow or cowtown?
What would be the reaction to the current gas "crisis" if Dick Chaney came out with a nice cardigan and offered that as a realistic approach to the difficulty. as usual you libs pick and choose points to make a valid but debatable point seem silly.
why don't you get back to something you know lots about - like losing elections. Leave the military, the economy and other unpleasant realities to someone a little sharper.
No need to respond, your answers can be broken into a few well-worn dodges - lies, distortions, ignorance, opinion, tripe and math for dummies.

Posted by: King of Zouk | April 27, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

More than the worst president of all time, George W. Bush is a war criminal who should be indicted before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The man is dangerous and deluded. He belongs behind bars.

Posted by: Tony | April 27, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

TXW, straw men really don't work well here because we refuse to play that way. I haven't seen a single Boodler (or JA, for that matter), say GWB is totally responsible for any of those things. Nor has anyone here called him racist. We've simply pointed out a number of concrete decisions he's made that bode extremely poorly for the country. Care to try a discussion on those points?

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for publishing the call for a new national effort aimed at new energy technologies. The world can't live without it.

Posted by: PatD | April 27, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

TXW, you were being redundant.

SoC, I've been awarded the Ding Dong handle. Take it off your list of available ones.

Posted by: a bea c | April 27, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Post at 1:33p is mine. Forgot to sign. My bad.

Posted by: jlessl | April 27, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

InChicago mentions Kennedy's speech at Rice. *Off-topic alert*

I always heard Kennedy's famous speech and wondered at "and do the other things" what were these "other things".

It turns out that going to the moon is comparable to Rice playing Texas in football:

"But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain. Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I prefer Ding-Bat to Ding-Dong...It has a nicer ring to it...

Posted by: DCFan | April 27, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

OK - fair enough, those of you who feel that our President has done a wonderful job - It may appear to be piling on. However, the only arguments that you seem to make our ad hominem, against those that post critical comments and "straw-man" arguments, that tell us how bad President's Carter and Clinton were. All well and good.

It's been pretty clearly documented in this blog what problems people have with the President; take your pick!

Please argue from a position of strength - what has President Bush done to improve our country? For extra points, DON'T argue from the point of view that "only history will tell us all of the good things that invading Iraq will bring us."

Then, maybe we could have a debate

Posted by: Lurker JohnD In Houston | April 27, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Hunchback--you made one mistake.

No one is smarter than I am. I don't have a PhD, but I always win at Trivial Pursuit, and that seems like pretty solid evidence to me.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Hunchback: All your credibility was lost as soon as you ranked Bush ahead of Reagan. Also, if you are so smart, throw out some evidence of your intellect rather than claim to be a PhD. Even if you are, so what!

Posted by: Rex | April 27, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

SCC "are" ad hominem

Posted by: Lurker JohnD In Houston | April 27, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Nothing wrong with "unswerving devotion to principle." But someone tell me, what principle is it to which W is unswerving in his devotion?

Truth? Hardly

Fiscal responsiblity? Please.

Accountability in government? Obviously not.

Protection of the environment? Clearly not.

National security? Not from the man who distracted us from the war on terrorism with a feckless assault on Iraq that has succeeded only in emboldening Iran, inflaming the Muslim world, allowing bin Laden to escape, and further destabilizing the Middle East.

Rule of law? Not from the man who asserts his right to disregard statutes, abrogate treaties, incarcerate American citizens in military brigs incommunicado, indefinitely

Human rights? Not from the man who supports "rendition," secret foreign prisons, and the president's right to authorize torture

So what is the great principle W is upholding? Will someone tell me?

Posted by: Meridian | April 27, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't jw still need an Achenwedding gift?

There IS a new Trivial Pursuit edition out there, isn't there?


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

For your consideration, a couple of quotes from Mort Sahl:

"Reagan won because he ran against Jimmy Carter. If he ran unopposed he would have lost."

"Washington couldn't tell a lie, Nixon couldn't tell the truth, and Reagan couldn't tell the difference."

Speaking of Mort Sahl, Mudge, your Naval Signal Flags kit was great (and how generous of JA to give you the well deserved spotlight). I thought of Howie Morris, Mel Brooks and Mr. Sahl while reading it.

Posted by: Nani | April 27, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

King of Zouk: What has Bush done well? Just answer that. It's a simple question. You can tack on some name-calling at the end if you can't restrain yourself, but just answer that one simple question. I, unlike you, are open to differing opinions, and I give you the opportunity to convince me that mine are wrong, sans insult.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

King of Zouk: Actually Vice-President CHENEY would look good in a sweater. On the other hand, he could advocate fuel efficiency standards for now-exempt vehicles such as SUV's. GWB has made some overtures regarding a more responsible energy policy, he just needs to roll up his sleeves and do the job. That's all we ask for: results.

Posted by: CowTown | April 27, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

jw, you were doing so well I was going to recommend you to be mentioned in dispatches for your restraint. Steady now.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Cow Town,

What I said was, Bush is the best president of my lifetime (not really saying much, I know, except for Reagan) and will be regarded in the medium-term as one of the 10 greatest of all time. Reagan makes the top 10 now. None of the rest do.

Posted by: Professor Hunchback | April 27, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Heheh. "I are." My standing as worlds-smartest-person is teetering.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Nani! You're back! How's the move going?

Posted by: slyness | April 27, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I definitely remember being all sweetness and light when Reagan died. Sure changed my tune. Uh huh. *nods head*

InChicago, I can hear Geroge W. giving that "going to the moon" speech:

"And, uh, 'nother thing. We're goin' to the, ah, that, uh, to the moon, you know, up there. Far away, real far. Far. And we're going b'cuz, uh, b'cuz, ya know. it's hard. Real hard. Hard to get there. Hard to come back. And so we're going there. Goin' in a big rocket. Be hard to build. Rockets are hard. Real hard. And, uh, we'll just figure out how, and then uh, we'll go. Well, not me, but somebody. We'll send somebody. People. Good people, we'll find some good people to go. And they'll go, 'cuz it's hard, but that's what the people we send will do, hard things."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I still have room to equivocate, SoC. Now, just as an example, if I came right out and said, "Bush is a big dumb idiot and he's ruining this country," well, that would be bad. So I won't say that.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I kind of like the tax cuts which resulted in solid economic performance and a record stock market this week. I know that congress nis really the one who should get credit/blame for things like this but traditionally we have credited the sitting President for this. I think it is great that Bush has forced the US military to face the reality of the modern world and restructure the Pentagon. Rummy is a good man and doing a hard job. I think it is especially brave to begin discussion of the social Security issue - regardless of any particular opinion on this, Bush is the first guy to even mention it. I think Bush has done an exceptional job with his cabinet appointments - getting America's best (subject to party affiliation) and still getting a diverse look. I agree with the general goals of the Afgan/Iraq operations and consider this a noble endevour, suitable for America. don't know enough about the details to carp about tactics. I am horrified at the spending but this is mostly Congress (see above). I like the direction of the judicial appointments, lets keep the branches distinct. How's that for fact based reasoning? You Dems may dispute the value of these results but you can't dispute their occurance.
some of you need to check your facts. the environment has been getting steadily cleaner for the last 20 years. A good question is how much nare we willing to pay for what level of inprovement. It is not an either/or question although i know many simpletons who like things that way.

Posted by: King of zouk | April 27, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Thank you SonofCarl for getting the correct quotation. Mine quotation was from memory.

And I don't think it's off topic. Read the last words of paragraph you quoted ...
"... because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

That's the kind of inspirational words Bush would be required to deliver. Can you imagine Bush saying " ...that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills ..." after the twin disasters of Iraq and Katrina, all the rest?

Give me a break. (And I do have a Ph.D. Ha!!!!)

Posted by: InChicago | April 27, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Rather than shake-up the White House staff, Bush simply promoted from within his own administration. Fox News is a government-run television network, so taking Tony Snow does not help. Now we learn that Rove's duties were reduced (most likely) after the White House learned he had to testify AGAIN to the grand jury. These crooks will never change. For a full analysis, go to

Posted by: | April 27, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Whether he's THE worst is not my concern. I am convinced that he is a bad President for these times.

He has polarized the country. He has politicized the military, politicized Jesus Christ, and sought to brand half of the country as traitors.

Because of this, he has created a situation where people want the US to fail because the government's failures are Bush's failures, not the people's.

Posted by: Tom Canick | April 27, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

You folks are giving me an inferiority complex. I only have an MPA.

Posted by: slyness | April 27, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I have a BA, an MS, and about eight dollars in my pocket.

Posted by: Tom Canick | April 27, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Re: Bush being a leader in the vein of Thatcher and Reagan -- Bush definitely will go down as one of the most poorly performing Presidents for one reason -- He's reallly not a leader (or even the "decider").

In my opinion, Bush is a clear case of someone who has risen way past his skill set, and we're all suffering for it. There's a reason he never tells the public what his plans are -- he's waiting for someone else to tell him what his plan is. Leaders make plans -- middle managers take and enact plans -- Bush is middle manager at best. Like her or not, Thatcher had plans, and she shared and pushed to enact those plans. She didn't run around saing "I've got a vague idea of where I'd like to go, but I need to see what other people propose before I can share anything."

I really don't know how Bush ever got the reputation of being a leader. I've never once seen him get out in front of any idea that someone didn't delegate to him first.

Posted by: LLUser | April 27, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, King. See, that's what we like to call an "argument". Isn't it more fun to actually state an opinion based on fact, rather than attack your opponents political philosophy without even knowing what it is?

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I keep thinking back to that Saturday Night Live bit that was broadcast before the 2000 election where Dubs was in the Oval Office, sipping on a cocktail and apologizing to the nation for "the war thing."

Who knew the SNL writers were psychics?

Posted by: barbs | April 27, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I have a B.S., a Presidential Commission, and, um, a certificate from the Budweiser Beer School at Busch Gardens.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

about "the war thing," not the apology. there will never be an apology. he can't keep his foot out of his mouth long enough for that.

Posted by: barbs | April 27, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Now for a moment of science....

Read this yesterday. It doesn't surprise me that chaotic input will produce synchrony in a complex system since I've been thinking a lot about how networks work in the brain, genes, and so on.

I just realized though, thinking about the "model" is that this explains why windchimes work.

I was watching a windchime one day, long metal rod type windchime, and I noticed that they were striking each other in a fairly nice pattern, one you don't normally see everyday (I don't know if windchimes are rhythmatic in sound, I assume they are).

So later on a still day, I tried to get the windchimes to work. Swing one way, the chimes swing, don't strike each oter. Swirl. Nope, swing another way. nope. All regular input just made the windchimes move, not interact with each other.

So the answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, a chaotic system with uneven forces and speeds of their gusts.

And it makes a good case for why, Clinton, with all his waffling and inconsistency was able to unify effort in so many things, as opposed to Bush.

Okay, moment of Religion

Taoism: Be like flowing water.
Blow with the wind, like grass.

Physicists free to contribute their thoughts, especially on whether this is actually a "new" line of research.

It makes mathematical sense to me--

If you take an network with irregular branching (causing varying forces, resistance, etc.), resulting in different fractality of every branch...
Then the math for every branch will never equal the math for the other branch with the same "numbers" crunched into the system.

But then, what do I know, I never got past Calculus I.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

InChicago, referring to your 1:22 and my post, the off-topic alert referred to my post. I actually had a bit typed (but deleted) stating that I didn't mean to redirect your thoughtful comments; it literally was just an aside that I had always wondered about until I looked it up.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey, what happened to "moonbats"? I liked it much better when we were moonbats. Ding-dongs just doesn't do it for me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse


Please don't waffle. It's an either/or; applaud Bush for the tax cuts and criticize him for the spending, or do the same for Congress. I do not have a political affiliation, but I disagree with the general principle of reducing one's income while simultaneously increasing one's spending.

As an Army vet, I would say transformation is a good idea, but not in the middle of a major conflict. Refusing to accept the considered opinion of military experts on how many troops would be needed for Iraq, then refusing to openly and plainly ask the country to pay for a proper effort, does not seem very "noble" to me.

If the Social Security issue had involved real reform, fine, but privatization? That was a very counterproductive use of the nation's time.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

King - fair enough - I'm not sure that the tax cuts actually promote the growth of the economy or not - Clinton raised taxes and the stock market boomed and the economy grew. I appreciate that you only give Bush credit for discussing Social Security, because he certainly didn't bring a solution to the impending problem to the table. As to congressional spending, you're right there, but Bush has never vetoed a single bill that has come across his desk. As I recall, President Clinton implemented a pay-go policy that forced new spending to be offset by cuts in programs. He walked away with a huge budget surplus. The Republicans in congress have scrapped the pay-go concept, and I seem to recall President Bush making fun of this during the 2004 campaign.

My main problem with this administration is this; All of the things that you have mentioned are admirable goals, but if you look at the actual record, they've pretty much only been talked about. Not much has been done. This is because the Bush administration is the first example of a permanent campaign administration. They really don't care about policy, they just want to look good

Posted by: Lurker JohnD in Houston | April 27, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"Moonbat" became the exclusive property of, pursuant to, (i) inter alia (/i), Rule 6, due to usage by an unknown poster at 1:34 p.m. EST on April 25, 2006.

Kindly govern yourself accordingly.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

the most important evidence is that Bush won the election - twice. Yes it was close and possibly subject ot dispute, but this was not the first time this happened. so all you loud opinionated people should get off these blogs and work on getting someone who agrees with you elected. this will probably involve coming up with some solutions to certain problems and convincing others that you have some viability.
I suspect that there will be very little change in the mid-term elections and bomb-throwers will continue to rant. fuming and spewing does not get you where you ned to go.
volunteer, donate, do something constructive.
Bush has won two tough elections and you can't deny that there is a skill involved here which the other candidates did not have as much. How did such a dummy pull this off against such a brilliant and relentless opponent?

Posted by: King of zouk | April 27, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Upstream, omni commented that "Unless our energy independence derives from windmills only, everything else could be sold to China, and India, and Europe and, and,...."

Add solar to that, and your point would be a bit better. Tidal forces can also be used to generate electricity, although that's not a very well developed modality here.

Posted by: Cal Gal | April 27, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

King of Zouk, as all monarchs know, the oft-proven rule of governance is divide and rule. Perot in 2006!

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

SCC 2008. D'oh!

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I really want to give KoZ the benefit of the doubt and say the 2:13 was a loper...


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, that's a fascinating article. I wonder how far it can be extended...I remember some years ago reading about the problems of synchronization in firefly blinking, and how the synchronization fades in and out. I wonder if this principle is applicable? I'll have to try to find that article.

I recommend the Christine Lavin song "Windchimes".

Posted by: Dooley | April 27, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Gee, Zoukster, I seem to recollect Clinton won two elections, too. I like your benchmarks. Let's see, there was Reagan, Nixon, Johnson, Roosevelt, Wilson, TR, Cleveland...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

King of zouk: Thank you for your post. You've made some good points. Bush's diverse cabinet, reorganizing the military, attempting to address Social Security, points in the President's favor. I don't think Mr. Bush's failures are the result of any lack of charactor or effort. I think his failures are the result of his particular manner of governance (campaign administration), and a rigid adherence to conservative philosophies (tax cuts = growth; diminish government's role in everything, don't compromise with Democrats). He tried to put them into fruation, and wasn't successful. That doesn't make him evil, just unsuccessful.

Posted by: CowTown (warning, not previewed) | April 27, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse

*SIGH* Can't do it...

As I've said, KoZ, straw men really don't work here. We're discussing GWB's performance, not his elections.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse

All Hail Wilbrod, the Boodle Killer!

Feel free to chime in.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh cr*p! I forgot about Rule 6! I should never have posted those comments about fireflies.

Posted by: Dooley | April 27, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I cheer when things go badly for Bush because anything he can't accomplish that he wants to, usually means fewer people will die as a result of his messianic inspired blunders. America should NEVER elect a "Gentleman's "C" level student to run a great nation.

Posted by: unrepentant liberal | April 27, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

>work on getting someone who agrees with you elected

We would have to be programmers at Diebold for that.

Posted by: Error Flynn | April 27, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

omni, let's see if we can speed up that Rapture thing, shall we? And let's do the boarding list starting with the end of the alphabet, just for grins.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Where is Science Tim, apparently, it's PhD day at the blog?

Posted by: newkid | April 27, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey there, EF! LTNS!

And yeah, where are the many aspects of Timdom?

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey unrepentant liberal--to be fair, weren't Kerry's grades pretty comparable to Bush's? Kerry wasn't exactly top of the class, was he?

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Of course it is only my opinion, buttressed by many hours of classroom tedium, but there is a way to increase revenue while reducing taxes. It is based on an idea by Laffer and is mostly accepted by honest economists. It has its limits of course. Again, in my humble opinion, I would prefer that the taxers reduce most silly spending before they begin to ask for more. I never hear pols talking about cutting or reducing anything. Is every single program a success?
I think it is rather goofy to keep comparing Bush and Clinton as if the background on each is identical and their opportunities are equal. What have they accomplished that is uniquely their own? not some convulted market result or congressional perogotive?
since we began talking about the worst president ever, has anyone come up with any objective measure for how to go about this - like a misery index, a GDP or some other mathematical concept? how about number of democracies around the world? how about number of mass killings out there?

Posted by: King of zouk | April 27, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Given the ineptitude demonstrated in the White House, not to mention on the Hill, it is really up to we hoi polloi (not you, Dr. Hunch) to cut the petroleum apron strings. They were messing our hair anyway. Try biking to work. See Let the pols idle in their SUVs. The CO will do them some good.

Posted by: untethered | April 27, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh darn. I missed the memo where we loud opinionated moonbats claimed that Gore and/or Kerry were brilliant, relentless opponents. Scotty, did you get that memo? omni? JA?

I'm always out of the loop on things like that.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the Laffer Curve.

What did Dr. Laffer say about grandious deficit spending? I can't imagine that putting the country in hock to finance non-productive expenditures (like the military or "security)?

Posted by: Tom Canick | April 27, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

And about those mass killings: who cares?

Posted by: Tom Canick | April 27, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

>Hey there, EF! LTNS!

Thanks Scotty, been crazy here. First chance I've had to drop in for quite some time. Probably last for awhile too. Good to see the place is still in good hands.


Posted by: Error Flynn | April 27, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

KoZ says we should cut back on silly spending before resorting to raising taxes. Did he read yesterday's editorial, The Great Train Robbery, 2006?

Posted by: a bea c | April 27, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I think, and I could be wrong here, that Al Gore recevied more votes then the President in I wrong?

Posted by: lurker JohnD in Houston | April 27, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Worst? I don't know about worst. Johnson was able to mudered 50,000 Amercian's in Vietnam based on lies and "faulty intelligence" and we still haven't learned why he felt the need to involve us there. Clinton got us started on this outsourcing binge that has directly led to the present price increases for fuel and will lead to an economic collapse in the near future. Bush and his fools have merely enlarged upon those hare-brained NAFTA/globalization schemes. And Bush has only managed to muder, what, is it 4,000 Amercian children now? I think Bush is the most dangerous President we have ever had and he might just be our last. He and the RNC have gotten our country involved in illegal manipuations of Euopean elections (several investigations going on there and, of course!, the American press is ignring it), the threatened nuclear option is going to come back and haunt us when the left wing lunatics replace the right wing lunatics in control of the senate, and he has initiated spying and actions against ordinary U.S. citizens on a level not seen since Nazi Germany. Worst implies a level of imcompitence, a certain level of morality, a soul if you will, that I think George Bush lacks. Look at the company the man keeps! 'Dirty" Dick Cheney, Karl "Joseph Goebols" Rove. Here is a man with the personal morals and habits of a goat, pretending to be a man of faith. Worst?

Posted by: Mike | April 27, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I think reelection is a fairly good measure of a president. It means that the population was somewhat satisfied. A single termer who ran and lost is by definition a failure as a president. so I would suggest that to find the worst president ever you should restrict your search to single term presidents who lost the second chance or consider those who died in office. that list of two termers are considered above average by most.

and if you think the both elections were errors, you are incorrigable and need not debate with me about facts. you see I am a Ph D in math and probability, although in all other things I am a total ignoramus.

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

You know, I didn't think George I was such a bad president. He successfully prosecuted a war, and competently managed affairs while dealing with a frequently intransigent Congress. He lost reelection because his own base abandoned him. I remember him as being a generally good president, but a poor campaigner. His son tried learning from his mistakes by resolutely appealing to the Republican Base. He's demonstrated that no president, Republican or Democrat, can govern strictly from their political base. The best governing is done from the center.

Posted by: CowTown | April 27, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The reason I compared Clinton to Bush, Your Goofiness, is that YOU were the one who cited winning two elections as some sort of evidence of something or other--see your own 2:13. Oops that was probably an interloper, I forgot.

Never mind.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Or to improve the refresh rate on this blong... Blog.

In a way, you know, regular input in a complex system will cause chaos. March an army over a bridge in perfect step and the bridge is going to start oscillating and tear apart because the rhythm overwhelms its intergrity.

And we know the brain is chaotic.

Seizures are marked by especially regular rhythms that effectively disconnect the brain temporarily.

Bipolar disorder and depression are also related to seizures.
...Antiepileptics work well in bipolars, and depression is linked to an runaway fear circuit in a spot just right up and behind your right eye.

(Before you decide to end depression by incurring frontal lobe damage, read the cases of Phineas Gage and James S. Brody.)

Autistics also seem to have seizure like patterns from time to time, according to somebody who should know. Autistics also tend to have OCD behaviors.

I would be surprised if those "circuits" were not being overly rhythmatic in OCD as well as overactive.

That makes me wonder if immersing a person in a totally chaotic sensory input (as well as commanding them to perform bizaare behavior) would help break up OCD. I sense another grossly unethical experiment idea coming on...

But the idea of not allowing fear to take over for any period of time, interrupting it with distractions, is pretty much key to counterconditioning animals (and people), so why not?

(Disclaimer: I am not licensed to experiment on people other than myself.).

Rock yourself with Chaos, baby!

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Anyone got time for when we started making comparisons to Nazis? It's not a record, but we still did pretty well.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Ladies and gentlemen of the boodle, I'm beginning to suspect we are having our collective limb pulled. And we fell for it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

could we PLEASE stop using apostrophes in plurals????

Posted by: a bea c | April 27, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Zouk: Technically, Gore won the 2000 election, and might have actually taken the office if the Florida fight has been allowed to run its course instead of being shotgunned by the Supreme Court. I grant that Kerry didn't run a good campaign, but the Bush camp simply played character assassin and never really debated and serious issues. I think the 2004 election would have been a lot closer, or gone the other way, if we had known then what we know now about Plame, no WMD's, Osama, Abramoff, FEMA, etc. Vision is a great thing--bringing democracy to the Middle East is a worthwhile goal. But you can't let your own hubris get in the way of being able to flexibly respond to the facts on the ground. Whoever in the adminstration thought that democracy would magically rise up in Irag, a place that has absolutely no experience with anything other than tribalisim and despotism, is just an idiot. You need to do a reality check sometimes. Politics is the art of the possible when performed properly. When it is ideologically rigid, only bad things happen (or, maybe better, nothing happens).

Posted by: ebtnut | April 27, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Whenever someone begins the Nazi references I know it is time to wrap up any reasonable discourse.

If you read the Constitution, the military is actually the one expense that we should all agree serves the common good.

Keep fighting that last election. that will get you into good shape for the next one. BBbut I do understand your frustration. If no one listened to my wacky ideas and kept sending power and authority to my nemeses, I would cook up some abherent ideas about why I was right and everyone else was wrong.
do you loons run on pure emotion and spite? Or do you have anything constructive to add to my ideas about analyzing the performance of the executive branch.

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

King of Zouk:

I was a college student in Rhode Island at the time when Americans suffered through the odd/even gasoline days and I know that Jimmy Carter was not the President at the time. It was either during Nixon's or Ford's term.

Additionally, I was a College Republican, in a time when that wasn't popular and remember sitting in a car at three in the morning in a gasoline line, trying to get gas to attend along with some other folks
a College Republican New England regional meeting in Portland, Maine one Saturday.

Of course, once I graduated, I gradually came to realize that the Republican party was gradually drifting too far to the right for my tastes. There was no more room for moderates. (no more support for the ERA, the beginnings of the fight to restrict choice, and the tent often wasn't big enough to include people that didn't act "preppy" so that tended to exclude people of different non-WASP backgrounds) So I didn't leave the party--the party left me. I voted for Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush (his first term-1988) but from then on I've voted for Clinton, Gore, Kerry.

There are still some very good Republicans politicians, but they are marginalized within their own party--the current Senator Chafee of RI and his now deceased father--are good examples.

And don't you worry, I learned a lot about how to campaign from being a College Republican back in the early seventies. And ... guess who wrote the campaign "Nuts and Bolts" handbooks that were our bibles--
Karl Rove. Of course some of his sneaky tactics I felt were dishonest, so the group that I founded in my college didn't use those.

And even though I'm a registered Democrat these days, I take the time to not only research the candidates before I volunteer my time and money, I also split my ticket if there's a Republican or Green, or whomever that has the better record or is a newcomer that has better ideas and or ethics.

I think that just makes me a good American and a dedicated feminist.

Posted by: aroc | April 27, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

It's worse than not being Jack Kennedy. George W. Bush is no Dan Quayle!

Posted by: Ambush | April 27, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

SCC: debated any serious issues.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 27, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

No, we cannot stop using apostrophies. They're running wild. We have no control over them.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

This is laughable. You're like the guy predicting global warming based on today's weather forecast. But you're even more handicapped than the weather prognosticator because you read this preposterous newspaper which has never had a nice thing to say about Bush. It's analogous to the the weather prognosticator only hearing reports of thunderstorms and violent weather.

If you're going to judge a president you need to keep in mind we have had a steadily improving economy, slow but sure progress in Iraq and a president who is not afraid to confront the Social Security crisis, the Medicare crisis and other domestic concerns. What is your solution except to criticize the only one advancing the debate?

Read the WSJ. Read Read the Washington Times. Are you afraid you'll become a Moonie? Read someone else besides the Columbia Journalism School alumni with their Upper West Side view of the world.

Posted by: Joel | April 27, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

King - OK - OK - I must take exception to your last post - no one here has been anything but polite, and with the exception of a few goofy references, everyone has made the effort to bring their clear ideas to the table regarding why they feel that Bush has not been a good president. I don't think that anyone has necessarily shared their concept of good government overall, here but c'mon - all you're doing here is throwing brickbats at the moonbats...and you are the one who intitially brought up the subject of winning elections as a standard for a good presidency. It's only fair to point out that Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 when you use that as a point in your argument.

Posted by: lurker JohnD in Houston | April 27, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

EBT nut - not that I like to rehash old settled arguments, but the recounts that were completed in FL 2000 went 3/4 in favor of Bush. Look it up in NYT. despite this irrelevant fact, the FL legislature would have had the option to certify any results it wanted. It was majority R. then the US congress would have had its shot - majority R. there is no conceivable way Gore would have won under those circumstances. but this is all moot daydreaming since that issue is closed. what does that have to do with anything?

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

In previous kits, I discussed my absolute knee-jerk, irrational hatred of Bush. I can't watch him on TV. I've tried. His smarmy, smirky little face with it's narrow eyes and monkey ears - it's repugnant. I last about a 90 seconds (less if I tune into Fox for an 'alternate view') and then I will either throw something at the TV because he's an idiot, or I will leave the room because he's an idiot.

Add to that his cavalier attitude to the rest of the 'little people' who got him elected, his arrogance and his sense of entitlement is absolutely mind-boggling.

I *do* think that if I get too close to anyone in this Administration I will start losing IQ points. Listening to them posture as 'morality police' while Libby is under indictment, Rove is testifying and re-testifying and re-re-testifying is laughable and yet so pitiful. Their position on stem cells is ignorant. Their position on the Iraq War is mulish, pigheaded and fraught with mistakes. Their cronyism has reached unprecedented heights; people like Harriet Myers and Mike Brown being nominated to positions they are neither competent nor qualified to hold.

They've (neo-cons) ruined people I thought were once okay; Colin Powell and John McCain spring to mind. This Administration is akin to a plague that infects people of common sense and moderate beliefs and causes them to writhe around, flailing wildly while espousing completely unbelievable and formerly abhorrent political positions. (I actually think we need $$ to research this disease. Why? Why not?! There's money for everything else, including a 'Bridge to Nowhere' and the 'Train to Nowhere'.)

In short, George W Bush is simply the WORST PRESIDENT EVER BAR NONE WITHOUT QUESTION. Worse than Reagan, Harding, Hayes or Hoover.


(Phew, I am glad I got that off my chest!)

Posted by: amo | April 27, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Washington and Lincoln probably were superior to either President Bush. (

Posted by: Bohdan Balzic | April 27, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Hunchback...most people with you supposed level of education don't brag the fact that they have a doctorate, no need to. In your case, you PhD must stand for Piled Higher and Deeper (preceeded by a BS--for Bull s--t, MS (more of the Same) and the terminal (in your case a terminal mind) the P (iled) H(igher0 and D(eeper. And this idolization of Reagan...let me see, if you are 38 years old now, you were, uhmmmm, 13 when he became President--- a really good age to evaluate the works of anyone---or did you have your PhD then? Sheesh....

Posted by: Roger L | April 27, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I can always tell a really brilliant thought is coming when someone rages about ears, eyes, hair and can't watch TV without going into a fit. did you flunk out of Kindergarten but were promoted anyway?

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey Roger, I can have an opinion about Napoleon without being alive in 1802, why can't he have an opinion about Reagan?

And Joel: "If you're going to judge a president you need to keep in mind we have had a steadily improving economy, slow but sure progress in Iraq and a president who is not afraid to confront the Social Security crisis, the Medicare crisis and other domestic concerns. What is your solution except to criticize the only one advancing the debate?"

Please explain why those were crises. And what, exactly Bush did to fix them? Sure, he had ideas for S.S., but his own party wouldn't back him up on them. Success, at least to me, is measured in amount of change. What has changed for the better with S.S. and Medicare?

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

But is he the worst human being to hold the office of President?

...This is quite distinctive from being the Worst President ever.
Jimmy Carter from all indications is a fine human being, practices what he preaches but he was a C grade president.

And what makes a bad human being? It's not appearances.

You can be a pillar of the community and put on a nice public face and still screw everybody over in a way that would make a Mob Don glow in envy.

This is what Jesus meant about hypocrisy and being wary of people who brag about their good deeds and being Godly. He was speaking for the ages.

Of course, in those days people hire PR people to beat their drums for them.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

If successful, those promoting President Bush's impeachment should understand they may have to answer to President Dick Cheney. Sleeping dogs should be let lie, arf, arf!

Posted by: P. Huntley Hornblower | April 27, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Kids, Kids, play nice. Mom and I are in the kitchen and we can hear what's going on.

Posted by: CowTown | April 27, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Folks, folks, folks.

There is NOTHING more boring than political debates that descend to the level of discussing the size of the other debater's manhood, and/or fondness for sexy Nazi uniforms.

If I have only one reason to dislike Bush, it is exactly this type of pointless political debate that I've heard the last 6 years.

The moral character and civility of our national discourse is low.

And we don't have any great speakers to remind us we are a Nation, we are wonderful and we should all be proud to allow others to disagree with us for THAT IS LIBERTY.

Lighten up, all sides. Go enjoy the sunny blue day outside with white clouds, rather than merely seeing red at the computer.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Easily the worst President, as least in modern times--- maybe ever. I agree with the other poster; just listen to FDR's "Now" speech, or JFK's statement on U.S. Steel, and I guarantee you'll cry too.

Posted by: BRP | April 27, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Bush has been short-sighted and has allowed Karl Rove to run his administration from the wings as if the presidency was solely a campaign: focusing on short-term political gain at the expense of long-term wellbeing of the nation.

His tax cuts appeased his voting base the expense of massive deficits to be dealt with tomorrow.

His hotheaded and ill-informed attack on Iraq appeased a frightened electorate today (and gave him an enormous short-term boost in his poll numbers) the expense of a further destabilization of the middle east, fractured relationships with our allies, an Iran hell-bent on acquiring nukes, a US army struggling to meet enlistment quotas, and a war with no good options for responsible extraction--all of which will be larger threats to American security tomorrow than Saddam Hussein ever was yesterday.

His presidency has been marked by irresponsibility and imprudence, and long after the sting of his contemporary ineptitude has faded he will, I think, be remembered first and foremost for two things: a bungled war in Iraq, and the worst speechifying in presidential history. I can only imagine what future generations will think of a turn-of-the-millenia American public who voted a guy who used words like "misunderestimated" into the American presidency can only hope that, after witnessing the performance of a partially illiterate 2-term president, they will have learned a lesson.

Then again, pro wrestling somehow remains a multi-million dollar sport in this country, so maybe we're all doomed.

Posted by: oogliemooglie | April 27, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

my true identity has been established. I need a safe house. Damn traffic cameras!!!

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 27, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Have I gotten into this one late....

I love the absolute irrelevance of the comments.

Electing a "Gentleman's C" president just demonstrates how weak the output of our educational system really is-both in the White House and the Voting Booth (at least in many "Red States") Forget grand programs to improve science and math. How about a programs to teach folks to string 6 words together to make sense, apply 4 function math, and learn enough history to understand waht mistakes not to repeat.

Let's not talk about how devalued PhD's have become.

As far as my 2 cents. You have to rank George 1 ahead of George 2-prima facie. George 2 supposedly told George 1 that Iraq was a dumb idea before George 1 got us into it (maybe not in those particular words). He got one thing right George 1 didn't.

I contend Jimmy Carter was not the worst president as some have suggested. He was a great president in the wrong time and place. Same Can't be said for Junior.

Oh, forgot. Since we are comparing CV's. I've got add that I have two masters degrees and play the accordion! The last credential is probably the most least around St. Patrick's Day.

Posted by: zippydw | April 27, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone yet made the observation that given W's incompetence, the American election system and/or voters must also be among the most incompetent? It's not like W's shortcomings weren't known a long time ago.

Posted by: jg | April 27, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

JA, spoken like the true Liberal you are, Gore or Kerry would have been still trying to get Bin Laden in counseling rather than in his grave. The Liberal Washington Post is good for wrapping fish, my apologies to the fish.

Posted by: Robert Schaw | April 27, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes, and now we've entered into the unprovable speculation of alternate realities phase of our debate. Well, Robert Shaw, I wish you would share your secret for transdimensional travel--I would love to know what's going on out there in the multiverse.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

An incredible quote from today's Post:

"It is true that we have no assurance that the president would follow any statute that we enact," Specter said.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a member of the president's own policy, articulating the view that he can't trust the guy to follow the law.

The oft-demonstrated belief by the Bushies that Congress, the Judiciary and the rule of law are subordinate to his desires makes him not only an awful president, but also a dangerous one.

Posted by: thinkerkinda | April 27, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Bush is getting a lot of flak but, then, that's normal because he's the Número Uno. It's the same everywhere; consider the lambasting Tough Tony (Blair) is getting in the UK. Number One always is the target.

Washington and Wall Street seem afraid to admit that a big part of record oil prices may be attributable to the rapidly falling dollar. This is reminiscent of the 73-74 Oil Crisis and the concommitant disastrous Nixon foreign and economic policies, most of which still are in play.

The Brazilian real has nearly doubled against the greenback in the last four or so years; shouldn't that be a wakeup call to Americans that, hey, something's wrong?

It's encouraging that, following Bill O'Reilly's blandishments, the President now is talking up hydrogen, alcohol and windpower. Regarding the last-named, what about harnassing the hot air coming from Washington? Finally, we always could return to real horsepower, used successfully for millennia.

I'm long oat futures. (

Posted by: Clay Bullröhr | April 27, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Ok, worst movie best book. The Sum of all Fears. A way way way better book than movie.

Worst movie, best book, ok New version of Pride and Prejudice.

There is a whole lot of stuff inbetween. See what I mean though about short stories. When you sit down and think about a lot of very good movies lately are from short stories. On Steven King, well, I kind of liked the original Carrie, and I am not much into the blood and gore thing at all. I hesitate to say, for years I zealously did not read Steven King. But I watched the Stand and succumbed.
Which is yet another great book, but turned out very well as a tv miniseries(if the term still holds today)

Besides The Stand and Pride and Prejudice from A&E with Mr. Firth playing Mr. Darcy, any other nomination in the category good book, good tv movies, or indeed bad tv miniseries? Oh and Lonesome Dove. Excellent book, excellent miniseries.

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

It would seem that one of the long term failings of your president (seen from an outsiders viewpoint) would be that repeatedly leading up to the election in 2004 and during when the pole numbers would go down, a serious terrorist threat would appear on the horizon. When necessary a threat level increase would be implemented. I am not so cynical to believe all were fabricated but stretched perhaps. To rule by fear not wisdom to me would be the ultimate in failure of leadership.

Posted by: dmd | April 27, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I have entered the enemy camp but rejoice in my ability to budge a few of you who have not gone over the edge entirely. but I have seen so many "oft-quoted" facts which have no grasp of reality:
1. Army recruiment has always fallen short of its goals. It is less-short now than ever before. I constructed the model which predicts this and it is mostly dependent on the unemployment rate. Repeating this mantra over and over does not make it accurate.
2. Iran has always wanted a bomb, hence their advanced state of development now
3. we were already in an inextricable situation in Iraq - remember the no-fly zones and the Oil for food travesty?
3 - Allies that don't back us on anything because it interferes with their own desires - no big loss there. We still have and always will have our two best frinds in the whole world UK and Australia.
4 - further destabalization of the Mid east - you mean like Syria out of Lebanon, Isral out of gaza, Libya giving up its WMDs, Iraq no longer fielding a large menacing army, afganistan no longer blowing up ancient statues and there is more...

you all need to read some alternative sources of your facts. Here's an idea, anytime a journalist tries to offer a "fact" make them cite the source and show the math. this will eliminate most of the opinion as fact articles that are circulating these days. and it should please all you PhDs that frequent this site.

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, I can't BELIEVE you can say nice things about George I.

The guy couldn't even speak ENGLISH and was COMPLETELY dependant on his advisors. His handling of the economy was COMPLETELY incompetent.

Fortunately, he was advised by Walpole after the South Sea Bubble, which helped a lot.

What? Different George I?

Sorry. You can now return to the boodle in progress.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry. Is there some doubt that Shrub is the worst president in the history of the nation? I just spoke with God and she assures me that the President is scheduled for Hell, as soon as he concludes his bidness here on earth.

Posted by: rsaltd | April 27, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

To SonofCarl
My apologies ... I was going to the answer the "the other things" point, but got caught-up in another matter and just hit the "Post" button without addressing your point. Here's my understanding - I'm not a historian, I'm an engineer with an interest in history - "the other things" refers to the other competitions with the Soviet Union such as the arms race. That's what I've read, so I can't be certain. The one person who would know would be Ted Sorenson whom I believe is the primary author of that speech JFK gave at Rice.

To Curmudgeon. Your impression of George W. Bush delivering the Rice University Speech gave me the best laugh I've had all week. I'm going to find a place for that in my files. Thank you.

Posted by: InChicago | April 27, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Comparing to past Presidents, I'm startled by the similarities between McKinley and Bush - from playing to his base, to his pro-corporate business stance, to a stupid war for no practical reason (substitute sugar for oil), to the falsely blaming the Spanish for the explosion of the USS Maine.

This does NOT advocate a course of action or make any positive normative stance, but the difference between Bush and McKinley simply seems to be the end of the story.

Bush travels with the largest Secret Service detail ever - three times the size of Clinton's. Maybe Bush does learn from history...

Posted by: Don | April 27, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I told myself I would not do itbut... Your president is elected by the electoral college. The elctoral college is decided by______? You are actually voting for______?

Just trying to keep my fundamental misconceptions at bay here. The query has reared it head numerous times as i read through this debate.

Now slinking back to movies and stuff.

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

the Repugnantcans

Posted by: dc | April 27, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I totally second InChicago about the speech -- the only thing Curmudgeon's Rice speech lacked was a few well-placed "heh heh"'s (I have no idea how to punctuate that!).

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | April 27, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Rober Schaw - "...Gore or Kerry would have been still trying to get Bin Laden in counseling rather than in his grave."

Um, and GW has done exactly what to Bin Laden? Oh, I forgot. We gave that up once we had that pesky Iraq thing to deal with.

Posted by: jlessl | April 27, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm reading "Deriliction of Duty" that talks about Johnson, McNamara and the Vietnam war. Johnson did not like dissent, surrounding himself with "yes" men and froze out advice from the JCS. If you substitute "Bush" for "Johnson" and "Rumsfeld" for "McNamera" it would be déjà vu all over again. Anyone for a Constitutional Amendment barring Texans from the Presidency?

Posted by: Desert Leap | April 27, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me going about McKinley. That guy was totally in the pocket of Big Sugar.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh ! I think the bos was seeding the clouds ( a mix of cumulo-bloggus and cirro-punditus? ?) for a Rovestorm. One would have to make a quantitative evaluation to determine the worst President. That is impossible, of course, it remains a subjective evaluation. Lincoln started a civil war that caused hundreds of thousend of deaths, and yet most think he deserves his place on mount Rushmore. Roosevelt saw WWII starting on his watch, yet again most say he wasn't that bad. One thing may be said for Bush the Younger, I neeed an economist to back this up, he will finish his terms as the most expensive president in history in terms of government debt.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 27, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Sigh... I miss the train boodle.

Posted by: Boodleaire | April 27, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article about that book:

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The jury is still out as to whether he is worse than Buchanan or Carter....

Posted by: Valerie Hiltshue | April 27, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I note that Joel is working earlier and earlier to get the kits done.

Also, I note that a few people think that the value of the blog has attained, well, fish paper quality.

I propose that we make Joel's life easier and address Shaw-kras concerns and really go after the DaDa crowd. What if Joel gets a list of 8 to 10 words including a proper noun or two and then we all submit sentences that include a few of those words and see if Joel, in a short enough period of time can turn them into a kit.

We will see if Shaw thinks it is worthy of pier review.

Posted by: Dophin Michael | April 27, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Carter was a decent president. Not great, and a bit weird, but decent. Take away the Arab Oil Embargo and what that did to the economy, and Carter would have been re-elected. Johnson made terrible mistakes in Vietnam, but he did not create that mess, the way W created Iraq out of thin air. And on domestic issues, Johnson was one of the greatest of all presidents. No other president ever took a risk with his base the way Johnson did on Civil Rights.

Posted by: Ambush | April 27, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to spend my remaining 30 minutes of work here constructing an elaborate formula to quantify a president's crappiness. I will then call it something like, say, OPS (offset presidential suckyness) and I will call my system...hmm, I'll call it sapermetrics, after the Society for American President Research. (which I just founded)

I will then write a book called "Moneyballyhoo" and make billions of dollars.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Pier review ? Like done from a pier with binoculars ? The idea of being wrapped in the WaPo REALLY disturbed you.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 27, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Y'all be sure to remember this little debate someday maybe 30 years from now when Bush's obits place him at or above the level of Ronald Reagan (who was also excoriated by tiny-brained liberals throughout his presidency). Remember that Professor Hunchback had it right way back in 2006.

And yes, the even/odd gasoline thing did happen during Carter's administration, I remember it very well when I made my first trip to LA in 1979.

Posted by: hunchback | April 27, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Boodleaire-- I agree with ya.

Joel should have just posted

"Dogs vs Cats. Discuss"

...and we'd have had a much better quality of discourse.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

sigh . . .

zouk -- I don't understand your need to insult folks here in the boodle who have done their best to draw you into honest debate.

No one has called you names, or made fun of your conservative viewpoints.

The fact that Bush was re-elected is not a particular sign of him being a good president. He won 50.7% of the vote. Kerry took 48.3%, and the other 1% went to Nader and various other independents.

50.7% means that Bush was not re-elected in a landslide -- it was an extremely polarizing election; he just squeaked by, really.

And now, 60% of the people in this country actively dissaprove of the him.

His support is at 32%.

Fox news did one poll that showed his support at 33%. So this isn't a liberal media spin.

So, name-calling aside, there are lots of folks very concerned with the way the man governs.

I'm glad you are comfortable with his judicial appointments; I'm glad you liked that he brought up ideas for Social Security.

The deficit is not just Congress -- as someone pointed out, Bush has never bothered to veto a spending bill.

I've never in my 47 years (if we're going to be posting our ages here) heard of the kind of dissent now going on in the papers and airwaves from retired generals -- some of whom actually fought in Iraq. It's not something they do lightly.

Sadly, they all kept quiet about Viet Nam; the book "Dereliction of Duty" my Col. McMasters deals with the deadliness of the general officers' silence in the face of Johnson's and McNamara's incompetence (yes, Johnson -- the liberal Democrat).

Even GOP members of Congress (Arlen Specter) are concerned about Bush's NSA spying program, and his complete refusal to work with Congress on any issue.

I guess it's pointless to offer up my own observations of fact on issues of Iraq (even Rumsfeld gave the waging of this war a D to D+).

There is is great concern in the country right now about where we are headed.

And it's not just a liberal vs. conservative split anymore. Bush is losing support among Republicans. I know Republicans who are concerned.

Posting these words doesn't make me a moonbat or a liberal wild-eyed whatever.

I care about my country. I am gravely concerned about our standing in the world (this really matters), the ability of our deficit -laden economy to be sustainable in the long term; I worry that the Chinese own much of our debt.

I worry about the damage Iraq has done and will continue to do to all the people being killed and maimed, our economy, and the ability for America to hold her head high on issues of morality and human rights.

I don't hate my country -- it's precisely because I have pride in what America has been that I am profoundly concerned about what has been done in her name. Not in my name.

Posted by: nelson | April 27, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

jw -

go to and click on the box on the left that says "Presidential Leadership". Someone's already beat ya to it.

Posted by: dr. hunch | April 27, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Bush the Worst President? Never!!!

Our President will be remembered for his:

1. "War on Terror" - Today the United States can justify any action overseas by simply stating that it is part of the "War on Terror". And there is time limit!!!

2. "After 9/11 we can no longer _______... because it gives aid and comfort to the enemy" - You can fill in anything in the blank space.

3. "Mission Accomplished". - I challenge anyone to dispute that as long as you can define the scope of the mission narrowly enough.

4. 'You are doing a heck of a job_____". Just fill in the blank here.

5. "Evil-doers" - Now what can be more sublime! Only divine providence could reduce worldly complexities to such deep metaphysical truths. Such simplicity, such grandeur, such conviction! Truly, we are blessed.

Posted by: Oscar Mayer | April 27, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Only Ding Dongs and Moonbats would think cats are better than dogs!

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 27, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

But the shortages from the oil embargoes occurred in 1973 and 1974, IIRC. I do recall that there were some supply issues in 1978-79 also. I walked to work during that time...

Posted by: slyness | April 27, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

The Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire. Discuss.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Orange Gatorade is vastly superior than lemon-lime. Discuss.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing how fast the tone of a discourse can change. When I first started posting a few weeks ago, there were debates going about climate change and hybrid vehicles. And they were just that--debates, in which opposing viewpoints were discussed rationally. I was always left with some things to think about, points-of-view that hadn't occurred to me before.

The contrast with today is stunning. One of the worst legacies of this administration, I think, will be the wedge that has been driven between people in the US.

As I stated earlier, I am no fan of Reagan--but one thing he did do, was sit down with opposing leaders (notably Tip O'Neil), and reach a compromise. In my view, that prevented Reagan from doing as much damage as he might have done; one could argue that it also limited the damage done by a Democratic-controlled Congress.

This is a skill that GWB is either unwilling or unable to master; he certainly doesn't seem to have made the attempt. Whether he won the election or not, he has disenfranchised more than 100 million Americans.

And it has happened with amazing speed. At the end of 2001, the US was possibly the most united it had been since 1941. Less than 5 years later, we are the most divided since, perhaps, 1861.

Posted by: Dooley | April 27, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Slyness: Thank you. I might be fifty-two years young, but so far I do not suffer from senility.

And in '78 and '79 I was doing a one hour commute to and from Providence to my job.

And there were no "odd/even" days then, at least not in Rhode Island.

Posted by: aroc | April 27, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

JA is superior to Weingarten. Discuss.

*diving into the bunker and putting on my helmet*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Concerning Bush 41 and bush 43. It was reported two days ago that Bush 43 was driven in a 14 vehicle motorcade to give his talk on how to lower gas prices. They went a few blocks to the meeting and back again (please note -- this is a bipartisan habit -- I loved the story today and all the Dems driving a block to an Exon station on Capital Hill in huge, lumbering vehicles, to decry the outrageous price of gas. Dana Milbank, Washington Sketch.

When I was still living on Capitol Hill, I was walking by Union Station one day --- there was a lone, long stretch limo -- inside of which was Bush 41. I was three feet from the limo. I waved and smiled, as did everyone else standing around.

One limo -- only one vehicle. And pedestrians were allowed to be close enough to see the guy. He smiled at me and waved back. It was cool.

I don't get the 14 vehicle motorcade thing.

Posted by: nelson | April 27, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Oscar Meyer -

you are too clever by half. The state that the world is far too complex for such simplistic terms as "evildoers" is itself a banal oversimplification. You can banish the word "evil" from the language if you want, but then we'd just have to find another with exactly the same meaning to replace it, because people like Hitler, Stalin, Bin Laden, and Saddam have a tendancy to pop up every once in a while.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

You all know what scares me the most about Bush? He is going to PARDON anybody who ever had anything to do with him before he leaves office. Like a warden telling all the prisoners to go on home.

Posted by: Dim | April 27, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

nelson, check the post where it's mentioned GWB has a much larger Secret Service detail than Clinton. That makes for a pretty big 'cade.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

(channelling Loomis)

The San Antonio Express-News is better than the WaPo. Discuss.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

er, that is, "The statement...", not "the state..."

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Dummycrats are better than Repugnantcans. Duke it out.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the expression "too clever by half".

What does it mean that you're 1/2 too clever? Half of what? So do you divide by 1.5 to get how clever you're supposed to be? It makes my head hurt.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Surrilous Liberals! If Leslie Gore had been elected we'd be giving counseling to dead fish and wrapping Osama bin Laden in a blanket!

Posted by: MadCow | April 27, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Dooley, thanks for bringing up Tip and Reagan. In the recent coverage of the 20th anniversary of Hinckley's attempt on Reagan's life, the observation was made that Tip O'Neill was the first pol to make it to Reagan's bedside -- that he was crying and they prayed together.

The observation was also made that a scene like that today would be impossible -- such is the animosity between the two parties.

And I have to go on the record and say that as a Democrat, I do get tired of certain Democratic leaders shrieking about Bush without offering up any altnerative.

Gaining political points without showing the ability to govern isn't too helpful.

Schadenfreude is very nice. But it can't run the country.

Posted by: nelson | April 27, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

If wishes were fishes. Discuss.

Also, when is it fish, and when is it fishes?

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I hope its a thick helmet Scotty. For shame.

I was perusing the Dave Barry blog this a.m. (traitorous, I know, so sue me), and got to thinking, I'd really like to read a book about Tropic magazine. What was it about the time, the place, the people that caused such a confluence of talent? I know the whys have been spoken of, but wouldn't it be great if the et al of Tropic, sat down and wrote a book about their part? Weingarten would have to edit it of course, but that is a book I would like to read.

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

My point about the election is that there is a real measure of approval which can't be twisted. I am attempting to define a measure of best/worst president. the only measure I can see is the result of an election and possibly the election of the vice-president aa a "third term".
this form of measurement would elevate Reagan (3 terms) above Clinton (2 terms) above Bush 1 and Carter. I am not saying it is perfect but it doea allow for an objective measure which has facts at its basis.Lincoln still makes it with 2 as does Washington, Jefferson, FDR, etc.
there have been close elections many times in our history and many periods of political abuse. the notions aedvanced here suffer from something called recency bias.

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse


thanks for alerting me to the Secret Service detail of GWB as opposed to Clinton.

I still wonder how GHWB could have gotten away with just the one limousine?

Posted by: nelson | April 27, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"I can always tell a really brilliant thought is coming when someone rages about ears, eyes, hair and can't watch TV without going into a fit. did you flunk out of Kindergarten but were promoted anyway?"

Uh no. What's your problem? Can't take the heat your boy's been getting? I admitted my hatred was irrational. Which means it doesn't have to make sense. Duh!

I feel no obligation or compulsion to sit in the peace of my own home and listen to this man lie to the American public. If it makes me mad that he's still in the White House after his gross incompetence, then that's a good thing. I hope the day never comes where I'm complacent or tolerant of such outrageous abuses of power and position.

But more specifically? His policies are awful. To whit:

Medicare prescription drug plan?

A fiscal disaster. Not to mention one can follow it. They have to give seminars on how to read the darn thing. Not good. And it doesn't really help any Seniors. Also not good.

Stem cells?

His position is ignorant, unsupportable and put the US behind the rest of the world in researching the benefits of stem cells.

Social Security?

Went nowhere. Wasn't that great a proposal, either. Didn't reall fix things and was mostly about putting it into the market. I always wondered what would happen to all those investors if the stock market tanks. Guess they're just plain out of luck, huh?

Roe v Wade?

He may get that overturned. He may not. If he does, it could be yet another disaster.


Disaster. Still a disaster, and they ruined FEMA. Yeah, GO TEAM!

Plame leak case?

I keep waiting for Bush to fire the guy responsible, but I know he ain't firing himself - so was that a *gasp* lie? Nah, they'll throw Scooter to the wolves. Nothing like a pack of wolves cannibalizing each other for entertainment, though.

Cronyism (Brownie & Myers)?

How many incompetents can the Bush Administration propose for key positions? Wait, don't answer that question. I don't want to know the answer.

Energy policy?

What energy policy? Closed door private meetings with Cheney & the oil execs. Record oil profits for Exxon Mobil. Signing that worthless bill? Is that what passes for an energy policy?

Environmental policy?

Psst, global warming is for real. Dude! Scientists have been saying so and it's happening right now! Bush doesn't have a policy to deal with this because he doesn't want to believe it's happening. It's called 'selective information processing' and he's a master in the art!

Anyway, it's been fun playing with you. I hope you come back someday really soon! If I pass kindy, that is.


Posted by: amo | April 27, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The counterargument here is that, yes, Bush might be the worst president ever, but he is our president and it is our duty to stand united behind him. It's OK to criticize on blogs, of course, and it would be good if the blogs were liberal ones, but anything on more of a visible level, even the odd shirt slogan in a mall, is in poor taste. There are American troops risking their lives and it is not their fault we have such a bad president, whom we must support in these dangerous days.

Posted by: rikken | April 27, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

dr, I'd just prefer a WeingartenStorm to the current drift of the Boodle. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Nelson, maybe he was a looky-likey.

What did the limo look like? Did it look strange? 'Cause all the armor makes it look a little funny. I was pretty close the the presidential limo once, and the doors are like a bank vault's. The thing must weigh like 5,000 lbs.

Posted by: jw | April 27, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Carter = gas lines = 1979

there is this thing called research. It involves getting your head out of your ass long enough to see the light.

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

King of Zouk. Reading the Washington Times is not my idea of your getting your head out of your ***

Posted by: Ambush | April 27, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Please replace "Surrilous" with "scurrilous" which, actually, doesn't make much more sense...

Posted by: DumbCow | April 27, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I can understand (sort of) some conservs and Republicans thinking fairly well of Bush, from their point of view, and trying to defend him. But thinking him better than Reagan? And absolutley raving about how good he is? And ignoring the obvious problems. This is delusional.

I'm just dumbfounded by this.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Just check the main Ablog page to see how many comments we have... JA, you twisted time again on posting the Kit, dincha??

And hey, 250 comments in about 5.5 hours. Not too shabby!

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

dr, if I were a writer (but then I wouldn't be myself, so who knows)--anyway, if I COULD, I would write that book you're talking about (Tropic, the Phenom). I've been researching it, and I really am building a website--I'm sick of myself saying that, but really, it's close to being viewable. Mostly it's just links to articles, but that, along with the editorials, goes a long way toward illuminating the question you ask. I thought I was going to include biographies and "where are they now?" about the people who contributed, but there were so many, and I didn't want to leave anyone out, and then it got to be too much. So for now, no bios, but that can be something I work on in the future.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 27, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Point by point:
Medicare : not a good idea from a money point of view (IMHO) but oversubscribed by that population - evidence of a success
Stem cells seems like a moral argument for which no definitive case can be made either way - exactly the thing elections are meant to decide
social security - my point was that sticking your head in the sand and hoping it goes away is not realistic. the third rail was discussed for the first time ever. not an easy solution for this one, especially with the special interests and greedy grandparents
roe v wade is generally considered to be bad law by even the most liberal jurists. the result may be satisfying for you but elections can correct any moral ideas over time when the population changes
cronyism - I already said I thought that bush had one of the finest and able cabinets in history. brownie did extremely well during the previous year as 5 large hurricanes destroyed florida. Maybe it was just too much for that corrupt LA gov't to handle. Interesting to compare though
energy and environment is suffering from a militant green cohort and Democrats who refuse to budge on anything. who advocates for higher gas taxes, who pushes for smaller cars, who restricts development - hint - it starts with D. the result - market pressure to raise prices on these commodities.

And everyone knows cats are far superior to doigs because of intelligence, demeanor and appetite.

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Hi slyness. The trip was fine, thanks for asking. Boodleskimming now, trying to catch up.

jw and Sara, sorry I missed the Achenwedding shower. If I could give you guys a real gift, it would be a porch swing and some Japanese lanterns to hang in a nearby tree. Those yellow "bug" light bulbs make the lanterns glow a golden hue. Nights you could sit out there and plan your future, or listen to music, or just sit there quietly together. Marital advice? Take time to play, to be silly, you know, do stuff that brings on that great giddy laughter (like when you were a child). Love to both and best wishes, Nani.

Posted by: Nani | April 27, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Re great books turned into great movies:

look no further than the Lord of the Rings. In my mind, some of the best fantasy novels ever written, but one of the most brilliant scholars and authors of the 20th century. Then the movies. 11 oscars for the 3rd one? over a billion dollars of box office, not to mention dvd sells. the visual effects, the direction, the acting all superb. to me, LOTR qualifies as pretty dang good in both categories. but then again, i dont even have a college degree yet, so what can i really know?

Posted by: tangent | April 27, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Here's why Bush is better than Reagan. Reagan was up against an enemy that was at least ineterested in its own self-preservation. There are no communist suicide bombers. And he didn't so much "defeat communism" as wait around until it collapsed of its own internal contradictions, helping things along with defense spending they couldn't match and with inspiring rhetoric. But Reagan turned tail when the US Marines were killed in their barracks in Beirut, one of the many instances of weakness that convinced OBL and others that the US was weak. Bush on the other hand is facing a more determined (suicidally determined, even) foe, and has actively (rather than passively, as Reagan did) advanced the interests of free nations and democracies. If it weren't for Bush, 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq would still be living under totalitarianism.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Ambush - I actually did a search and found that. I didn't have a year old article at the ready. Maybe you could benefit from reading something a little more eye-opening at some other locations. the WaPo and NYT do not have a monopoly on the truth (some would say the opposite). you may learn something new, if that is one of your goals. Maybe not.

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The word "boodle" strikes me as being remarkably goony. For some reason it causes me to picture all the self-proclaimed "boodlers" sitting around in Beadazzled Tweety Bird sweatshirts, surrounded by too many cats and an air of pot-pourrie-scented self satisfaction.

I have no idea why. what's the idea anyway: "kit and kaboodle"? Ignoring the cloying cutesiness of that phrase in general, if I were you guys I'd way rather be associated with something called a "kaboodle" shares the first two letters with the word "karate", which lends it a certain je ne c'est badass, don't you think? Yup...I'd definitely reintroduce "ka" to the boodle. Definitely.

But don't mind me,'cause I'm just passing through (apparently rather snarkily all of a sudden!). Boodle on, boodlers!

Posted by: oogliemooglie | April 27, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

There were two gas shortages--73-74, and 78-79. The latter wasn't quite as bad as the first, so there weren't quite as many gas lines and odd/even gas days. The latter event was one of several things that doomed Carter. The most damaging was the Iran hostage debacle. That was cynically (if well) played by the Iranians to disgrace and bring down a President. OTH, a lot of folks don't remember the sharp recession that followed soon after Reagan took office, and the whole "woodshed" thing regarding supply-side economics.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 27, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Bush understands one big thing, the most important thing there is to understand right now; that we cannot long survive in the midst of people who are willing to die so long as they also kill some of us too. What produces these people is the lack of democracy, which is a problem in many parts of the world but particularly in the middle east, where there is the additional problem of virulent strains of Islam AND lots of oil, which can bring terrorists and totalitarian thugs lots of easy money. Therefore, advancing the agenda of freedom and democracy is job #1, and we cannot wait around for another generation or so for it to happen on its own. We must spur the process along. We are in a race against time, because the next up-and-coming OBL won't be satisfied with airplanes and skyscrapers and 3000 dead, he'll want nukes or chemicals or anthrax and 3,000,000 dead.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

man, I hate this nasty weather we're having.

Posted by: omni | April 27, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I forgot tax cuts for the wealthy and Health Savings Accounts (for the wealthy, who are the ones who could afford to divert the income!)...

Oh yeah, and the Iraq War which has resulted in a loss of American life and the cutting of soldier benefits/pay while they are serving, the endless problems with getting the right equipment, the lost $$ in Iraq, etc....oh it just goes on and on and on...

And what about Osama? Bush has forgotten who he is? Or is he merely getting comfortable with failure and defeat?

Posted by: amo | April 27, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

just one comment about Bush.
to me, his most lasting legacy will be the two Supreme Court places he has filled. In terms of 20 plus years of influence in the shaping of our country's political and social structure, those two will have tremendous influence, all b/c of W. what that influence will be remains to be seen.
clearly, however, his immediate influence has been largely negative, both domestically and internationaly. No real cause for invading Iraq, innapropriate response to Katrina, environmental and energy policies, etc. etc. worst president ever? perhaps. i tend to not think in such absolutist terms.

Posted by: tangent | April 27, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

arno -

kinda hard to cut income taxes for the poor, since they DON'T PAY ANY.

I'm middle class and I got my tax cut, I don't begrudge the rich theirs. They pay a higher percentage than I do, but they don't get any more for it than me.

Which soldiers exaclty got their "pay & benefits cut"? what's your source?

If you knew about the geography and political situation in Pakistan (I'll be happy to educate you) you'd have some understanding about why we don't have OBL yet. How long did it take to catch Eric Rudolph right here in the US?

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

The thinking is that OBL is in the tribal regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan (probably on the Pak side), which is one of the highest mountain ranges in the world and where even the Pakistani army doesn't like to go. And the Pakistanis don't want any US soldiers in their territory--with good reason. Musharref is already seen by his people as way too pro-western and pro-us; he has survived at least 2 assisination attempts. Now, in order to catch OBL in this terrain, we'd have to flood that area with US troops, hundreds of thousands of them. The Pakistanis would probably overthrow Musharref and replace him with a hardline muslim. So now we've got a pissed-off nuclear state ruled by a radical muslim. Not worth it. Let OBL impotently sit in his cave and make videos. Let the jihadis fight us in the much more accommodating terrain of Iraq, which is mostly flat and not riddled with caves.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Nani for that wonderful image of sitting on a porch swing at night.

Posted by: dmd | April 27, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I find it quite remarkable that Bush (aka "Little Boy") has on occasion called himself a *Leader* and/or that others call him a *Leader*, to which I must respond:

If you have to call yourself a leader *YOU AREN'T ONE*! If you have others tasked to call you a leader *YOU STILL AREN'T ONE*!

Leaders lead, and rarely if ever talk about it as if it's a baseball hat just begging to be donned to impress others.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 27, 2006 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Bush is accused of "not finishing the job in Afghanistan" by people like Kerry who would love to see us go in there with a big footprint, Soviet-style, and make things infinitely worse--as long as it makes Bush look bad. Moving the battlefield to Iraq was the much smarter move. Ya don't hear much about Afghanistan these days, do ya? Want to know the reason? Because its relatively peaceful, doing better than it has in 40 years. If it weren't, the media would be all over it like leeches on blood.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke said "How about just a simple crash program to ensure people in this country know what science is????"

Well every sunday morning many kids go through the odious or to some enjoyable experience of sunday school and yet many grow up not knowing the first 4 gospels or how many apostles existed in Jesus' posse(as Jay Leno shows us

So how can you expect people to understand the inner workings of quantum mechanics? Complex ideas are difficult to communicate precisely because they are complex. Simplification is very likely to produce falsification.

To have scientists explain in simple terms many scientific ideas would be like asking the government to explain the tax code in a few words...."Today, federal taxes account for 20 percent of GDP and federal tax rules cover more than 46,000 pages. The Internal Revenue Code consists of 2,840 pages and about 2.8 million words, compared with the Bible with 1,340 pages and about 800,000 words."

Some scientists are making an effort to make science more understandable or find a medium in the message (

Posted by: discreet | April 27, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for your post, Hunch (and, may I say, I appreciate the comments from most new people today for their civility and willingness to engage in discussion; the diatribes on Mark Fisher's and the are tiresome). Your point is well taken, but I have to disagree with your contention that Islamic terrorists have monetary resources from oil revenues. Largely, Islamisists (sp?) consider the oil producing entities to be agents of the Devil. Al Qaeda has received funding from OBL and related sources, but it's not been proven that they get financial support from oil producing states.

Posted by: CowTown | April 27, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Joel said:


You can't have "unswerving devotion to principle" if you have no principles to begin with. Take a look at the way he campaigns, for crying out loud!

The one thing that Bush is devoted to is his own power. Nothing else matters to him.

Posted by: Rob | April 27, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

cowtown (are you in Ft. Worth?)

Iran would not have a nuclear program or money to send to hezbollah (or much of anything) if it weren't for its oil revenue. Saddam's Iraq, same thing. Luckily the Saudis are "our friends", but the royal there perch is not so secure, and whoever could knock them off of it would be sitting on a lake of money. Besides which, these states have tremendous blackmail power over us. Iran could make tremendous trouble by blocking off the straits of hormuz, for example.

Also, one doesn't have to be "the state" in order to have lots of oil money. There are 7000 princes in Saudi Arabia, many of which send huge checks to hamas, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, etc.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Medicare : not a good idea from a money point of view (IMHO) but oversubscribed by that population - evidence of a success

Right now, only 1 million of an 21 million pool of eligible enrollees has signed up. Hardly a sucess by any margin. Most beneficiaries have had to pay for seminars to tell them how to enroll because they can't read it themselves. More food out of Mom & Pop's mouths just to even find out if they're eligible is ridiculous. Most beneficiaries are enrolling themselves, and there is an unadvertised gap where assistance is suspended - somewhere between $2000 and $5100 of prescription expenditures. Yikes!

Stem cells seems like a moral argument for which no definitive case can be made either way - exactly the thing elections are meant to decide

A leader of the free world should be concerned with America's position when it comes to science and competitiveness in the world sphere. Besides, those stem cell lines he retired weren't from fetuses. D'oh!

social security - my point was that sticking your head in the sand and hoping it goes away is not realistic. the third rail was discussed for the first time ever. not an easy solution for this one, especially with the special interests and greedy grandparents

Hoping it goes away? Isn't that was investing in market based accounts is supposed to make happen to the problem? It was designed to take the onus off the government and put it back on the account holder. Unfortunately, there is no accountability if, for example, a novice investor chooses a bad advisor and loses his life savings. That's the downside.

roe v wade is generally considered to be bad law by even the most liberal jurists. the result may be satisfying for you but elections can correct any moral ideas over time when the population changes

Roe V Wade is only bad law in that I don't believe the government should have ever been involved at all. Neither to guarantee nor to prevent. Unfortunately, when it did, it opened up the morality argument which is bogus and subjective and will never be resolved. I say stop messing with the law, leave it as is and those who want them should have them and those who don't should not. The rest is no one's business and they need to butt out.

cronyism - I already said I thought that bush had one of the finest and able cabinets in history. brownie did extremely well during the previous year as 5 large hurricanes destroyed florida. Maybe it was just too much for that corrupt LA gov't to handle. Interesting to compare though

Brownie is hardly competent and really just cruised through the whole thing; even when they had that mock up, Pam, they knew they were ill-prepared and still did nothing to change or improve policy. Bush was worse though? That lie about not knowing the levees were breached? Let's go to the videotape....

energy and environment is suffering from a militant green cohort and Democrats who refuse to budge on anything. who advocates for higher gas taxes, who pushes for smaller cars, who restricts development - hint - it starts with D. the result - market pressure to raise prices on these commodities.

Oh please! That is definitely spun with a rose tint! But parsing things out, I wasn't specifically talking about oil & gas. I mean an environmental policy to deal with carbon emissions and the melting of Alaska, and the lack of snowpack on the West Coast that is feeding drought and fire conditions. That's the enviroment I mean.

Energy policy? That's something different. And totally tilted in favor of the oil and gas industries. Taxes breaks for record oil profits? You've got to be kidding me.

Posted by: amo | April 27, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse


I'm middle class too and my tax cut? $20
Not even enough for a tank of gas. Now that's truly pathetic...

Posted by: amo | April 27, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse


there is a spectrum of terrorists/fanatics/totalitarians/other troublemakers in that region. There may be a few who consider oil money impure, but I'm sure even they could find some Imam who would be willing issue a fatwa which justifies using oil revenue to kill the infidel (just as Islam's prevention of suicide hasn't prevented suicide bombing). The key nexus is; oil (it needn't be oil--it could be "money" or "water" but in the middle east it happens to be oil), radical islam, and non-democracy. The world as it is cannot long survive if something isn't done--if at least one or two of those factors aren't dealt with. Bush is willing to deal with them, at grave risk to his own popularity (read back through these posts!) which is why, though I don't agree with him on lots of other less importnat things, I think he is destined to be one of the greats.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse{E9245FE4-9A2B-43C7-A521-5D6FF2E06E03}/bushtroops.htm

And another link...(It wouldn't let me post all 5 at once, I'll keep posting...)

Posted by: amo | April 27, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse

i have a headache - you guys gave me a headache - and while i'm not BARRED from discussing my opinion of the president (like jw), i'm strongly... DISCOURAGED... from making my opinion public - so i'll just keep it to myself - besides, i don't feel like calling anyone names today...

as for books to movies - what's the general concensus of "hitchhiker's..."? LOVED the book - the movie... didn't really do it so much for me...

and as for woman oogling men's bodies - i hafta contend that we do indeed, otherwise why would there be so many "goodlooking" movie stars of questionable talent (i'll give you vin, but keanu reeves also comes to mind...) that doesn't mean that that's what we (i) want (/i) as a partner - but we can appreciate the male form as visually appealing... in a slightly different way than men appreciate the female form...

Posted by: mo | April 27, 2006 5:02 PM | Report abuse

arno, I seem to remember getting an $800 rebate from Bush almost as soon as he took office...

If you only paid $20 less in taxes, you need to find a better accountant. Plus, what you need to compare to is not what your taxes were in 2000, but what President Gore would have raised them to after that vs. what President Bush cut them to.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

and jw - i can't express to you how happy i was that kellie finally got the axe... now we got the core of really fine talent... i wouldn't be so anti-elliott if he'd just try PERFORMING every once in a while... i listened to a chris .mp3 yesterday and was again blown away by how polished his voice and control are...

Posted by: mo | April 27, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

At there are several neo-con Anne Coulter clones who like to engage in this kind of highbrow, dignified debate (people who use the word "ass" frequently, along with other perjoratives). I had no idea these trolls from "The Nation" had made their way to Achenblog.

To Hunch and Zouk: it's called decaf. Try it sometime.
If you just came to the Post's blog section to spout this tired junk, save everybody some time and head back to or The American Spectator.

Posted by: Anthony | April 27, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse


what you post to is an editorial (not exactly impartial) which is talking about holding back proposed raises in pay, not actually cutting pay. There's a difference.

Hey, I'm all for higher pay for the military. Let's do it by abolishing all of the wasteful welfare-state spending. Let's limit government, so that it only does the things that ONLY it can do - like protecting our freedoms by maintaining a military and administering our courts and law enforcement. There's about a dozen cabinet agencies that could go tomorrow. Get rid of the highway bill, the farm bill, the post office,Medicaid, medicare, Social Security (world's biggest pyramid scheme)... that'd be a good start.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Complex ideas are difficult to understand only if you have not already laid down the correct fundamentals.

A human being is continually programmed by a very complex environment and is certainly able of dealing with complexity.

Greek philosophers were able to educate (lead out) slaves into discussing complex philosophical concepts.

Quantum mechanics is difficult only because it is difficult to give "real world" examples, and it depends on mathematics... and unfortunately humans still vary widely in their ability to do math (see Williams Syndrome).

When you simplify and cause falsification, it's due to:
1) not being fluent in what you're trying to simplify
2) failing to know your audience.
3) overexplaining everything in abstract terms, rather than showing the statue inside the marble.

Our language does not express complex abstract relationships well.

(Social relationships are another matter--"he said, she said, and Mr X is sleeping with Ms Y and Mrs X knows, but thinks it's Mr. W...).

Excuse me, I should say complex spatial relationships. That's what gesture, diagrams, and models are for.... but first the teacher has to actually know what the heck he/she is talkin' about.

So instead they spout book stuff, when they could do it SO much better with interpretive dance.

I also castigate myself for my wordiness and clumsiness, BTW... Peccavi, peccavi...

We need to encourage the most gifted and clear-thinking baby boomer scientists to become teachers. That's my solution.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2006 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Mo! Good afternoon! As I've said before, I love science fiction movies, even bad ones. So, while Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe wasn't a perfect adaptation from the book, the movie - I thought - captured the spirit of the "trilogy." I think I was biased from knowing that Douglas Adams had helped write the movie. My wife loved the fact that some of her favorite actors from Love, Actually were also in the movie. Cheers!

As for looking at other women. It's a good thing. Women go to all the trouble to look nice, they should be appreciated. But, discreetly. So, are you discreet?

Posted by: CowTown (boldly submitted) | April 27, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

anthony -

sorry to intrude on your little echo chamber/house of mirrors with an opinion different from your own. Doesn't the presence of 2 people on this forum who don't think the same as all the rest of you make things just a wee bit more interesting?

Decaf is for liberal weenies like you.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

mo, speaking of appreciating the female form, I hope your refresh button is feeling better.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

And to give them crash courses in interpretive dance.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

anthony -

go back and read my posts. Aside from calling you a weenie, which you were really asking for, I've stuck to the argument at hand and not called anyone names i don't think. Cowtown even complimented me on my civility. You're just sore because you can't refute the arguments I'm making, so you call me a troll. Well I'd rather be a wired troll than a serene weenie.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Remind me here, folks. Wasn't the Bush tax rebate on the order of $300 per taxpayer, not $800? Just asking for the sake of accuracy.

Posted by: Slyness | April 27, 2006 5:17 PM | Report abuse


I'm warning you.

Posted by: CowTown | April 27, 2006 5:18 PM | Report abuse

sorry cowtown, he started it, honest!

Slyness, I seem to remember $800. Maybe the amount had something to do with whether you had kids or not (I had only 1 at that time). But it was definitely an amount of money worth being semi-excited about.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"So instead they spout book stuff, when they could do it SO much better with interpretive dance."

Haha, very true

Wilbrod said: "We need to encourage the most gifted and clear-thinking baby boomer scientists to become teachers. That's my solution."

Well I believe John McCain had the brillant idea(although Im sure he wasn't the first just the only one I know of currently) of making teachers exempt from taxes as a way to promote "better" teachers, since at the moment they are overworked, under appreciated, and underpayed. I think we do need a better system of getting educated people into or at least interested in teaching.

Posted by: discreet | April 27, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Haven't seen the movie.

The books were fun, but they are not exactly written in a coherent plot structure, and movies basically need to stick to the 3 act-structure for the western audience.

Look at the Princess Bride:
Act 1.
Introducing the lovers. Wesley leaves, dies. Buttercup gets engaged.

Act 2. Buttercup gets kidnapped. a 3-part challenge by Fezzik, Inigio, by the Man in Black. The Man in black saves her. Wesley is not dead and narrates why. They part. Buttercup back to the prince, Wesley back to the ship (presumably)

Act 3. The man in black is jailed and dies.
Inigio and Fezzik find the Man in black and storm the castle. Buttercup finds out the truth. They all unite and escape, to the sound of pursuit.

Every act is a story arc in itself, but also sustains and completes (and reverses) story arcs from the previous Acts.

It's a very action packed movie.

The Hitchhiker's guide is much more meandering in its narrative with scenes seemingly at random, chosen mostly for humorous effect.

I would think it would be difficult to transform it into a taut screenplay without substantially re-editing sequence of scenes, events, and condensing story arcs within definite portions of the movie.

But then again, I never majored in English. What do I know?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Nice stopping bye. I enjoyed it. Once in a while you all should get out and see what real people are up to: like creating jobs, winning a war,paying taxes, raising kids who think, etc. tomorrow I will stay home all day, do some bong hits and watch Oprah. I am sure I will agree with you all after that.
anthony - I didn't mean to intrude on your little (pejorative sense) kingdom with some abstract thoughts that may rattle you in your cage. you can go back to counting chads now. I won't disturb you any more. you seem pre-disturbed.

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

cowtown - i knew that he had a hand in the script as well - i'm just saying that the movie was just a smidge to "hokie" for me which is laughable considering it's "hitchhiker" we are talking about... hokie/shmokie - it just didn't have the same level of humour and introspection that i was expecting! and i love all vampire movies... even bad ones, so i understand your love of scifi movies

as for me being discreet - i'm not exactly the type a guy would lust after so i don't hafta go through all the trouble to look nice... or is the question do i discreetly salivate - um, i mean look - at men? well, 1 - i'm not in a relationship so i can look all i wanna and 2 - yes, with the utmost discretion unless i'm with other guys and i wanna get a laff - but then i'm a clown so...

'mudge - refresh button seems to be almost back to normal... things are still a little screwy but i think it's my 'puter...

Posted by: mo | April 27, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

The ingenue speaks!


There isn't much for me to refute, oh charming one. Rove, Libby, Rumsfeld, Condi and the rest do a great job of discrediting themselves, with no help from me.

By the way, when Cowtown mentioned your civility...he was being facetious.

Don't think to hard, pal. I wouldn't want you to strain yourself. I've read what passes for your wit, and I know you have none to spare.

Posted by: Anthony | April 27, 2006 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Nani, good to hear from you. Hope the move is going okay.

Mudge, loved the speech you gave by W.

It has rained here all day, and still raining, and cold. I'm wrapped up in a sweater and pants, with socks.

Don't believe Mr. Bush to be a bad person, just things are bad now, and as the leader of the free world, the buck stops with him. As to the worst President, don't know enough of history to make that comparison, but I can say that in my lifetime I haven't heard anyone call other Presidents "the worst" even Johnson with the Vietnam mess.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 27, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

If I had put those kinds of references in my dissertation I would have been laughed out of the room. editorials, press releases and compendiums from political websites are not considered appropriate sources for debates based on facts. this is what I was talking about when I tried to hold people (journalists) to citing resources. we need not discuss your ideas on this further because they have been garnered from slanted data in the first place. when you get some facts that back up your position, please return and present them. Until then, you are offering opinion only. Perhaps interesting but not considered valid for policy decisions.

Posted by: king of zouk | April 27, 2006 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I dunno anthony, cowtown struck me as being sincere. I'm sure he could tell us himself (sorry cowtown if I got your gender wrong, I'm too lazy to go back and research it).

Pretty convenient for you that you don't have to refute conservatives because "they refute themselves." Like, I don't have to fight Mike Tyson cuz he's a bum and I'd kick his a$$!

I have a feeling I've done more thinking on the crapper than you've done in your decaf weenie lifetime.

Zouk, say all you want about Oprah, but don't knock bong hits 'til you've tried 'em.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

methinks i may have spoken to soon about that blasted refresh button! here's the deal - i couldn't even see the "bush" kit until i posted a comment on the previous boodle - and still get the train kit when i go to my favorites... also can't see updates on the boodle till i post a comment... *sigh* i musta pissed off the schemer when i told him we didn't need his stinkin italics, that we would do our (i) own (/i)... HAL - I'M SORRY!! STOP MESSING WITH MY REFRESH!!!

Posted by: mo | April 27, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: mo | April 27, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse


I'm middle class and I got that rebate, too. And then I had to pay it back on April 15 and then some. I would have loved amo's $20.

You also said that "Kerry would love to see us go in there [Afghanistan] with a big footprint, Soviet-style, and make things infinitely worse."

And how would you describe what Bush did in Iraq?

This is just one thing about the war there that really irks me: Iraq was not a third-world country. It was a modern, technologically advanced country with big cities and solid infrastructure. When we blew up that infrastructure, Bush sent in foreigners (Americans and citizens of other crony nations) to rebuild what Iraqis had built in the first place.

Unemployed men watching foreigners taking their jobs. Does that sound familiar to you, too? I bet you've been complaining about that same thing.

I won't even mention the fact that, while women in Iraq held high positions in business, education and government, now they are again relegated to the house, wearing veils. In many towns and cities, girls are no longer being sent to school. (see

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Nani... you should have seen the smile on my face when I saw your first post today.

Hope the move went well. How do you like your new house? Tell us all about it.

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

mo... delete your browser preferences. See if that works.

(Or use another browser.)

Better yet: Get a Mac!

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Hunch (or should I say Mr. Coulter):

I have a feeling you haven't done much thinking at all.

I don't feel the need to respond to your arguments (and I use the term advisedly) mostly because they're not yours.
They are Ms. Coulter's. Sean Hannity's. Bill O'Reilly's. Rush Limbaugh's. All you do (and possibly all you can do) is come here and regurgitate them. Sometimes word for word. At least come up with something on your own. Show a little initiative.

I don't even have to call people weenies, because, unlike yourself, in a battle of wits I don't go in unarmed.

Posted by: Anthony | April 27, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, in answer to your query,"What do I know", you know a lot of cool stuff. This is a very very good thing since the boodle seems to really like stuff! I am sitting here whapping myself on my head not to have thought of "The Princess Bride" I did try to read the book once and found it very hard to get into. I have always been amazed that the screenwriters found the kernel of the story in there.

Listen to Cow Town, peeps, he's policing the boodle today, and the fines are heavy for lack of civility.

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

But, I DID mean it. Really, if you read the drek that gets thrown at Mark Fisher (and he's such a nice guy!) and at the WaPo Blog, you'd think the whole world was angry and mean. In comparison we (including Hunch, excluding His Grumpiness, Mr. king of zouk) sound like a forum for Decalced Monks (that's a good thing).

Posted by: Mr. CowTown | April 27, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

king of zouk:

Your Washington Times source was a commentary.

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

and another thing, king of zouk:

You'd be amazed if you knew what most of the folks do for a living. It's an amazing group of people. You should be glad they've got your back even though they don't agree with you.


Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

shoulda used the Preview....

I meant to tell king of zouk he'd be amazed at what most of THESE folks do for a living....

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, I can't wait till your Tropic site is up and running. It will give me a chance to read what I have been missing out on.

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

i'm just gonna go home and boodle cuz i know it's working there...

and tbg *blowing a raspberry at her*

Posted by: mo | April 27, 2006 5:57 PM | Report abuse


I do not watch Bill O Reilly or Sean Hannity, and I don't listen to Rush. (I don't have cable and I don't listen to AM radio) I will admit that I just finished my first experience reading an Ann Coulter book (How to Talk to Liberals, If You Must) and I'll also admit I agreed with most of it. You think you know me but you don't know (and obviously don't WANT to know) anything outside of your little liberal worldview.

And you called me a troll first, so I called you a weenie. And cowtown says he WAS sincere. You're so wrong about so many things, doesn't it give you pause?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse


yeah, Saddam's Iraq was all fun and games, except for the mass graves and the human shredding machines. It's a war over there now and war is surely hell, but there have been far fewer innocent poeple killed there since the war than there killed by Saddam every year of his reign.

Posted by: hunch | April 27, 2006 6:03 PM | Report abuse

This is vaguely off-topic, but can someone explain to me what "drinking the Kool-Aid" means? What Kool-Aid are we talking about, the Jim Jones Arsenic-laced Kool-Aid, or the Ken Kesey Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test variety? The distinction is very important to the context in which the phrase is employed.

And, what do the Kool-Aid people have to say about this wholly inappropriate use of their trademarked product name?

Thank you for your kind attention.

Posted by: CowTown | April 27, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

The Princess bride is actually written by the same guy who wrote the screenplay.

The hoax/in-joke is he is editing a book written by a fictional author from a fictional country that was actually intended to be a satirical biting, treatise of Florinese politics.

The hoax stuff is the frame story, and it IS slow about how he got this book and so on etc. about his life then and now. You can always skip ahead to the actual book if you don't like the tongue-in-cheek hoaxing stuff. I could do without it, myself

He padded it with rhetoric and in-jokes, and so on about how he had to cut out the excess stuff. The good parts that you read, is actually not too far from screenplay, digressions aside., and the brief glimpses inside the characters' heads and histories.

It's not a bad read, once you've seen the movie, it's easy to recall it as you read it. I'd still watch the movie far more often than I read the book ;).... but certain chapters are worth reading to learn Fezzik and Ingio's backgrounds. Very amusing.
In the movie Fezzik says to the man in black, "I'm used to fighting groups."

In the book, you get the whole sad tale of how Fezzik was forced to become a fighter because of his abnormal size and parents keen to make money.

In a way, I'd say reading the book enriches the movie, but that I wouldn't read it without the movie. Period.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with mo. I ogle. Constantly. Why else to you think girls came up with the game "boxers or briefs" if not to give themselves a chance to stare intently at a particular region?

On a completely unrelated note: after viewing Hitchhiker's Guide for the 2nd time I've decided while it may not be the best adaptation, it is a funny, funny movie. Also, I thought "Girl with the Pearl Earring" was a wonderful adaptation along with "The Diary of Anne Frank."

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | April 27, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, I hope I'm not missing anything important by jumping ahead over many, many posts that I haven't read; however, I was inspired to respond to the clever post by hunchback, who makes the following indescribably germane points: "I'm not a redneck, I'm from upstate NY, I'm a college professor, I have a PhD, and yes I AM smarter than you are". (Sorry about the semi-colon, guys).

Let's just run down a little checklist, shall we? (I wonder what this will look like when I finally post it? Better use the Preview function...)
hunchback  ----------  ScienceTim
not a redneck  ----------  not a redneck
from upstate NY  ----------  Indiana and Maryland
college professor  ----------  professional research astronomer; former adjunct professor; science educator; writer of K-12 education materials
PhD  ----------  PhD
smarter than you are  ----------  depends who I'm talking to
rightwing wingnut  ----------  leftwing moonbat
????????  ----------  likes puppies and kitties

All in all, I'd say we have balance here, folks. Fair and balanced, that's the Achenblog. Like Fox. Although, I'm wondering about hunchback's views on the all-important puppies and kitties question.

Well, maybe it's balanced -- what's your PhD in, monkey-boy? Mine's in Physics. Don't give me no education stuff, I want a serious academic degree for this trash-talkin' ivory-tower smackdown!

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 27, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse


I'm so tempted to make a crack to a certain party about Saddam vs Darfur, embargo politics, the fact that Rumsfeld and Cheney had dealings with Saddam in the 1980's, the Iran-contra scandal benefitting Saddam, and so on.

Saddam was created by the Republican ideal of international politics, just like Osama was actually trained and armed by the CIA to fight against the Russians, and basically left in the lurch when the Republicans decided it was no longer necessary to wage the cold war that way in Afghanistan.

Likewise, when the Persian gulf war ended, our treaty obligations done, we basically put an embargo on Iraq that HURT the people's ability to resist. We made him dictator of a country too poor to get medicine, let alone organize a resistance.

Wake up, Embargos are a cold war idea that didn't work in Napoleonic times, they didn't work against Cuba. We've had an embargo against Cuba and the SAME guy is still in power. Embargos play to the dictator's advantage-- it imprisons their people, not them.

We did not enact embargos against various other dictatorships, and they all had much quicker power turn-over.

Now I'm going home now. Remember, next time you boodle, take a few facts along with you.

So people who get all hoity-toity about how evil dictators are.... think long and hard about WHY they have the power they do at present.

Trust me, the reasons are rarely simple.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 27, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the discussion has been remarkably civilized (naturally there are certain exceptions) but I recall some real nasty, name-calling throw downs in previous boodles. I distinctly remember the day the moonbat (or was it dingbat?) moniker was bestowed on our illustrious boodle.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | April 27, 2006 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know that the writer did both. I do know what you mean by the good part, and yes, you were right, I skipped. It helps that the wirter of both knew there was a good part, because otherwise it would have been tough slogging.

I seem to skip a lot. I did almost stop reading 'Memoirs of a Geisha' about 2 pages before the good part, and I've been told numerous times that "Gone With the Wind" is good after the party, and though I gave away my first copy of 'The Bonesetter's Daughter', the story never left my head, and I had buy it again to reread it several more times. so when I say this (I have proven the statement), I mean it. What do I know.

Now there is a book that would make a great miniseries. I don't think a 2 or 3 hour movie would cut it, but the story and characterisation are entrancing. HBO, oh HBO, if you are looking, Call Amy Tan.

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Great to have SciTim back. My advice is to keep your kitties and puppies out of sight today.

No pressure, but I'm still waiting for the story you referred to on April 20 at 5:37. These cushions are really going to have to be aired out.

Are you concerned about Rule 6?

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Bush is clearly superior to Al Gore.
He is hybrid of a puppet (Karl Rove's hand up his butt operating his mouth) and a marionette (Cheney pulling his strings).

Posted by: Boko999 | April 27, 2006 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about Saddam v. Darfur, Wilbrod, but I do that that Darfur sounds an awful lot like the Rwandan debacle from the early 90's. The UN once again seems totally ineffectual and far too concerned with politics over people.

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

ahhhh refresh is all well and good at home! *relief* thanx pgm for being an ogler with me!!!

Posted by: mo | April 27, 2006 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Didn't President Kennedy say that the U.S. should be committed.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 27, 2006 6:59 PM | Report abuse

"Drinking the Kool-aid" refers to the mass suicide of the followers of the Reverend Jim Jones in Jonestown Guyana. The poison was administered via that delicious concoction. Now that's commitment.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 27, 2006 7:07 PM | Report abuse


What gives me pause is blogging with rhetorical prodigies such as yourself. I did call you Mr. Coulter. Seems I was on target there. So I don't think I'm as wrong as you may wish.

I'm not surprised that your point of view dovetails with hers. Her conversational skills make John McLaughlin look sanguine.

As for me being a liberal. Anyone who doesn't think exactly as you do (according to folks like Ms. Coulter) is probably a liberal. To you, Barry Goldwater was a liberal. Whoops... you may not know who Senator Goldwater was.
Google his surname.
We'll wait.

Keep up the Karl Rove talking points

Posted by: Anthony | April 27, 2006 7:08 PM | Report abuse

In regard to Jimmy Carter--he tried to change our greedy and wasteful energy habits 25 years ago. We blew him off and ran him out of office. Instead, we should have listened--we'd be a lot better off. Now we are more dependent than ever on foreign oil, and the cost is a lot higher.

George Bush is a rotten president, and it will take generations to undo the damage he has done, but he didn't do it alone. Congress went along with his rediculous tax cuts and spends more time pandering to special interests than anything else. And we, the people, have allowed it all to happen. I'm scared for my daughter--this country may well self destruct during her lifetime.
Its time to stop being selfish, and start thinking of our country and the future. Park the SUV's, repeal the tax cuts, and start acting like we are citizens of the same country again. Of course, we'll need a different president in office for that to happen....

Posted by: Michael Canny | April 27, 2006 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Joel, thank you for this sensible and good-humored essay.

I get a lot of emails from leftwing moonbats and I also subscribe to the Republican party newsletter, and listen to my conservative co-workers. Both sides are so strident these days, it's painful to listen most of the time. So much misinformation and negativity.

Reading what you wrote makes me feel like there is hope, makes me a little bit calmer and happier. It's not so much the government that depresses me, after all, but the lack of a sensible reaction to the government's missteps. The fact that this is posted on the Washington Post website, read by thousands of people--I think that is a real contribution to sanity.

And "...disbanded (dissolved? defenestrated?)"--great mental image. Thanks again.

Aside to Cassandra: If you emailed me, I didn't get it. That has happened before, and I wouldn't want you to think I was ignoring your message. If you don't want to email me, an alternate way to communicate with me semi-privately is by leaving a message on my website ( The rest of you, DON'T GO THERE--April 24 - 30 is "TV Turn-Off Week" and ReadThinkLive is All Ranting, All the Time. Not pretty. Really. Stay away.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 27, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Science Tim:

I hope you enjoy Hunch(back)'s posts. I'm late for the door, myself. Good luck finding out what school he received his doctorate from. Maybe it was Wassamatta U. (sorry, I couldn't resist)

Maybe Ms. Coulter herself will jump in here, and truly activate the collective gag reflex.

Posted by: Anthony | April 27, 2006 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I find it remarkable that anyone would take Ann Coulter seriously. Her dishonesty is pathological.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 27, 2006 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Ann Coulter seems just a bit to the left of Matt Groening's childhood milkman (I got to know him--he said Groening grew up in Portland's steep Nob Hill neighborhood). Anyhow, the milkman thought the collapse of the Soviet Union was merely a clever trick, and they'd soon attack us from a secret underground air force base. Bush, for all his failings, isn't quite that moonbatty.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 27, 2006 7:51 PM | Report abuse

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie is alright but the television series is better. The series format allowed a deeper exploration of the causality concepts and such. I thought it was funnier I guess for that reason.

Richard Dawkins wrote a lovely piece on the death of the author Douglas Adams.


Posted by: Boko999 | April 27, 2006 7:59 PM | Report abuse


Your 1:55 PM post was a belly laugh. Hahaha. Have you worked for SNL? I just love a good hardy laugh and this kit is full of 'em...

Posted by: FF | April 27, 2006 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Sorry: more to babble
The book "Hitchhiker's..." was based on the script of the TV series. Kind of like Greene's "The Third Man".
I think Douglas Adams either created and\or wrote the "Dr. Who" TV series.


Posted by: Boko999 | April 27, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tim!! LTNS too!!

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 27, 2006 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Science Tim -- check.
Bayou Self -- check.
Error Flynn -- check.
Nani -- check.

But where's yellojkt?

(Waldo hasn't made an appearance for quite some time either.)

Posted by: Achenfan | April 27, 2006 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Cats rule. Dogs drool.

...and Gatorade sucks. It's kool-aid with salt in it.

I have Spoken. Let It Be So.

Posted by: mcnichba | April 27, 2006 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Whew... does this mean that they've gone?

Joel... please post a Porch Kit tomorrow. I don't think we can spend all weekend with the Bushies.

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Here's an arbitrary fact:
If I could figure out a way to get a vote from every idiot in this country, I could be President too. As far as answering the question of what has W done thats been good. I do remember getting a nice fat tax credit for my kids and several checks in the mail during his first term while the dems were complaining how irresponsible it was. Does anybody really care about the size of the national debt? I just want the money to go in my pocket instead of yours, not that I'm greedy. I also think that politics has enormous entertainment value, putting Bill Clinton as one of the best presidents if he were to be judged on this standard. W is not very entertaining, but his shananagins do sell papers andcommercial spots on the evening news.

Posted by: Pat | April 27, 2006 8:43 PM | Report abuse

The link to the kit on the WaPo homepage is paying off. NPR reports that, in response to the Senate Republicans' proposal to provide a $100 rebate check for taxpayers to counter high gasoline costs (an initiative linked to drilling in ANWAR which will assure stiff opposition), the Dems (represented by NY Senator Chuck Schumer) are promising that, if elected to a majority in the house and senate, they will cut US dependence on foreign oil in half by the year 2020 by initiating a "massive program--a Manhattan Project", to develop workable alternatives.

Posted by: Boodling From Bangkok | April 27, 2006 9:37 PM | Report abuse

My fellow shrieking denizens have gone to bed ? Jeez, not a minute too soon. This King of Zork, is he not one of Thursday Next's collegue in Fford's hilarious books ? He's the guy who overreacts once in a while, destroying a galaxy or two to put down a minor uprising for exemple. Strange handle for this weirdo. Mudge's W speech and MadCow/CowTown's rant are classics.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 27, 2006 9:50 PM | Report abuse

No... the shrieking denizens are still here. It's the simple regurgitates who left and went to bed early.

Posted by: TBG | April 27, 2006 9:52 PM | Report abuse

One of my favourite things is the day we pick up the mail. You stop, and pull our your oddly shaped mailbox key, and with bated breath open the little door. You never know what will be inside. Generally its a collection of flyers and bills, but every once in a while something special happens. Every once in a while you get a package in the mail. They're pretty nondescript. Plain brown wrappers that hide secrets inside. If you can contain yourself, you carry it with the label side down just to stretch out the pleasure of receiving something different.

Today was one of those days. Kbertocci, the book arrived, hale and hearty and is now sitting on my nightstand, atop several other things I am in the middle of, but its got the priority spot.

Thank you so very very much. I look forward to this read with a great deal of pleasure. There might be a hockey game on tonite but that is so small in comparison to reading more of the story of Frank McCourt. There will be other hockey games, but the first read of a new book. That is better than gold.

Posted by: dr | April 27, 2006 9:56 PM | Report abuse

*peaking out from under covers*

Is it safe to come out yet? Have the baaad people gone?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 10:00 PM | Report abuse

dr, that's great. I'm off to bed with a smile on my face. :)

Posted by: kbertocci | April 27, 2006 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm not ashamed to admit that I don't even want to understand people who still support W. Nothing that any of them said here today changed my mind. Sadly, nothing any of us said changed their minds either. Sigh...

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 27, 2006 10:18 PM | Report abuse

You mean *peeking* from under the covers, not *peaking*, right (unless it's a hot time in your town tonight)?

Now, Achenfan, she could probably get away with "Peking" under the covers....

Posted by: Cyclops Loomis | April 27, 2006 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Hunchback said "Aside from calling you a weenie, which you were really asking for, I've stuck to the argument at hand and not called anyone names i don't think."

But earlier,

"And in case you're wondering (and if you're a liberal, I know you are), no I'm not a redneck, I'm from upstate NY, I'm a college professor, I have a PhD, and yes I AM smarter than you are."

OK, I guess it's not TECHNICALLY name-calling...

KofZ said

"If I had put those kinds of references in my dissertation I would have been laughed out of the room. editorials, press releases and compendiums from political websites are not considered appropriate sources for debates based on facts."

Um, as I recall, when I defended my dissertation, it didn't involve posts to an internet blog that were then reviewed by my committee members. And when I evaluate my students, I don't as for copies of their blog postings.

KofZ continued...

"this is what I was talking about when I tried to hold people (journalists) to citing resources. we need not discuss your ideas on this further because they have been garnered from slanted data in the first place. when you get some facts that back up your position, please return and present them. Until then, you are offering opinion only. Perhaps interesting but not considered valid for policy decisions."

I was the first person in my very large, very poor family to get a 4-yr college degree, and I'm the only one with a degree beyond a BA/BS. And yet, I still respect and seek out their opinions. You see, while I recognize that that diploma MAY indicate some level of intelligence (probably stamina is more important), the diploma doesn't CREATE the intelligence. The lack of the diploma doesn't necessarily indicate anything.

When I first started lurking here, I stayed because a lot of the people here had interesting things to say (or at least left me rolling on the floor in laughter--thanks Mudge); not because I knew anything about their average education level or GPA.

If there is one thing that burns me up more than Bush, it's this kind of academic arrogance.

Posted by: Dooley | April 27, 2006 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Loomis and Dooley, Ha!

Loomis, I take it from the amended handle, not so good with the eye?

I second TBG's request for a non-political kit for the weekend. I feel like I'm in a family where Dad occasionally brings home everybody from the bar.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 27, 2006 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Loomis! Oh, thank goodness you're home here on the boodle! Oh, Loomis, it was horrible today, horrible! There were all these strangers here, and a couple of them were really, REALLY unpleasant. It was like your spouse invites a bunch of people over and you discover there's a couple of real a********* and you have to pretend to be polite and talk to them, but you can't get rid of them. There was one called Hunchback, and one called King of Zoul. Oh, Loomis, it was just too, too awful! Trust me, Loomis, you wouldn't have liked them either. I'm sorry about your eye, and all, and hope it's better--but you picked a really good day to skip the show.

I dunno, I kinda liked "peaking under the covers."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 27, 2006 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, SonofCarl, I'm not going to post that story here. It's partly Rule 6 (it is not a person, it is a number. But what is Rule 1?) (The Prisoner reference. Sorry), but mainly it's kinda long and not yet one of my best. I've been mentally polishing it lately. I think the opening line is getting better:

"In the very first moment of the very first morning of the very first day, every Thing in the world rose with a smile and a yawn to watch the very first sunrise. It was beautiful, and all the day, the very first day, was spent that way, admiring the world and the sky and the trees and the wind and everything else.
....(important McGuffin bit goes here)...
By the second day, every Thing was starting to get tired and cranky and had an empty feeling in the belly."

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 27, 2006 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Geez Louise, I figured it would be quite a day on boodle, and it was. Nice to see Error Flynn - remember the boodle where we nominated him for President because he came up with real, workable solutions?!? CowTown, as usual, you did a fine job of keeping order and keeping us regulars in stitches. I bet you're a great poker player.

Nani, nice to hear from you - a gem, as always.

*Tim, that sounds like a great story. Couldn't you put it on your own blog (please, please)?

dr, The English Patient is a great movie - I could not make sense of the book (I read it after I saw the movie). And I love the Seinfeld episode where Elaine goes to the movie, and declares "It's too long!" It probably makes Sara thirsty, too.

kbertocci, I see writing a book in your future. Think of all the fun interviewing everyone!

Anyway, new folks, welcome - usually we keep it light and humorous here - and we can turn on a dime.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 28, 2006 12:11 AM | Report abuse

SCC - on THE boodle - sheesh. Shoulda used the preview...

Oh, and I believe my opinion of GWB is well known, so I don't need to go into that.

As far as ogling - I'm more comfortable now that I'm old and gray and probably not the subject of ogling. My own ogling is directed more at musicians and actors, rather than real people - maybe that's just safer, since it's a fantasy. And most of the real guys I think are hot turn out to be gay!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 28, 2006 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Cr*p - that would be the OBJECT of ogling. Where have my sentence diagramming skills gone?


Posted by: mostlylurking | April 28, 2006 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Great googly moogly! I checked the boodle at 3 p.m. and now it is beyond skimming. Linda, I hope your convalescence is quick. I have a habit of getting pieces of luan/plywood in my eye (under my glasses) during various chores about the house, and feel your pain. Right now some schmuck is has been revving his rice burner in the neighborhood, for the past hour, so that his street tuned exhaust belies the fact that his engine misfires. The driver must be of the POTUS state of mind that everything is well despite evidence to the contrary. Dad was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican in Chicago. He and his sibs used to have a quasi-BPH laced with enumerable cans of beer (requiring a can opener) and referred to the democraps. I think Mom was a Democrat, as I remember her in a very emotional state when President Kennedy was assasinated; I was a kindergartner then. My political consciousness began to form in '68 when MLK and RFK weere assasinated, then everyone and his brother seemed to be busted over the head by the CPD during the convention. We moved to Hudson, Ohio in April, 1969. Dad worked in Kent, and was not allowed to leave for home until late in the night of 2 May. School was dismissed early on the 4th. The trials associated with the massacre at My Lai culnimated later that month and we (most of our Jr. High class and many at the High School) walked out of the building in protest of percieved scapegoating when Lt. Calley was convicted. School was dismissed early again. Dad and I argued heatedly on many an occasion over politics, particularly during the Nixon administration, specifically regarding honesty and the general moral compass referred to so eloquently in the recent boodle that enveloped the kit regarding President Carter. The possibility of this administration being among the poorest managed in history is a no brainer. Dad became much more liberal in the years prior to his death. I feel his ashes stirring in the box adjacent to me as I contemplate the current state of events brought upon the collective by the current administration. I have this urge to cash out my pittance of a retirement and buy a section in the praries of Saskatchewan. I could, at least, watch Hockey Night in Canada, maybe even hear Howie Meekers voice again. Ahhhh...the revving is gone...

Posted by: jack | April 28, 2006 12:51 AM | Report abuse

I have fast forwarded several hours because I hate politics. Forgive me if I have jumped out of context or into... Seems that the thought of anyone saying our democratically appointed leader is the WORST makes us more vunerable to the truly worst. We are such a silly lot! When we say we don't like something, we sit around and complain. What ever happened to get up and see what you can do? Why do we tear down, instead of put in a support beam when there is found a weakness? It is nearly as amusing as watching and listening to a bunch of guys sitting around and watching a sport event. They complain about how bad someone is playing, get rid of him, hel*, I can do better than that. Well if that person was looking from the same angle, he just might feel the same. Anyway, lighten up, you can't keep bashing someone over and over and think they can lift up their head and carry you, too.

Posted by: ohmygoodness | April 28, 2006 1:08 AM | Report abuse

...i think jeb(the bush son in florida)was
first put up as a contender to the oval
office...somehow geo2 was able to gain the
pole position and got there quicker... must be painful for barb and geo the
elder to have to endure watching geo2 lurch
from low poll numbers to even lower poll
...come early 2009 bush2 can move out and
begin his post oval office is
clear enough he will have many friends in
positions of influence and will benefit
well enough from them...
...the rest of us americans will start out
with his replacement and with any luck be
able to pick up the pieces and move on...
...the damage done to the environment,the
fiscal mess and the post bush2/cheney war
legacy will be ours to contend with... is fair to state that bush2 seemed
better suited for getting the key to 1600
pa than running the place...there have
been few if any profiles in political
courage or long vision leadership so far
and likely that will not change out thru
the end of 2008...
the worst president ever?...maybe... but
certainly one who fell short of what the
usa needed most to proceed into the 21st
century...lets hope whoever follows bush2
into the WH in 2009 will be able to undo
some of the damage and better engage what
was avoided,delayed or ineptly executed
during the bush2 years...

Posted by: an american in siam... | April 28, 2006 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. It's a good morning, and I'm so thankful that God has allowed me to see it, and to talk to my friends this morning. Bless you all in the Name of that name that is above every name, Jesus the Christ.

Gee whiz, yesterday here was really kinda of nasty and for lack of a better word, different. All those folks that take it personally that the President is being called one of the worst president, boy can they get nasty. And most of them seem to think that they're better than other folks. I just don't understand that. Why are they better? I agree with Mudge, it's like a bunch of rowdy people are at your house and you can't figure how to get them out. I know here, comments are welcome, and they don't have to be what others are saying, but most these folks just want their opinion to be heard. They can't seem to admit that mistakes were made, it's like every mistake was good and history will record it as so. That's insane.

I do hope the day is good for you my friends, and may God bless you and keep you, and give you more than you can imagine through Him that died for us all, Christ Jesus.

kbertocci, I did send an email. Sorry you didn't get it. I'll contact you through the address you left here, and thanks so much. And thank you, Joel.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 28, 2006 6:35 AM | Report abuse

It's always the sign of a constructive conversation if a person, when challenged on a particular point, either repeats what was already said, or simply moves on to other points. Yesterday was SUCH fun.

*removing tongue from cheek*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 7:42 AM | Report abuse

*peeking around the corner*

Whew! I hope they're all gone now...'Mudge and Cassandra and everybody, you're right, let's not discuss politics for a while.

So. What's going on in people's yards this weekend? My grandmother's rosebush has finished its spring spectacular bloom and the columbines are fading. One of the rhododendrons is blooming, the other doesn't look like it's going to. The green beans and zinnias are up and the cosmos is trying...gotta get tomatoes out this weekend. By the time my husband gets home Sunday the grass will definitely need to be cut! Thank heavens for an inch of rain yesterday and the day before...

Posted by: slyness | April 28, 2006 7:44 AM | Report abuse

slyness, the birds in my yard are still trying to figure out where all the nice sunflower seeds on the patio are coming from, with the feeder right over their heads... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, ever had problems with stupid birds? Last year we had one that insisted on looking at itself in the side mirrors on the vehicles, with predictable results down the sides...We have a big ficus on our sunporch, and this bird kept trying to fly through the windows to get to it. Gave me a new perspective on the phrase "bird brain."

LindaLoo, hope the ocular troubles are on the wane!

Kber, if I email you, can I get a tee shirt too?

Posted by: slyness | April 28, 2006 7:55 AM | Report abuse

So, I was thinking yesterday, and my politics are pretty conservative: strict federalism with a dash of libertarianism thrown in. And yet, I'm registered as a Democrat. Does that make me screwed up?

Posted by: jw | April 28, 2006 8:09 AM | Report abuse

The birds figure it out eventually, slyness. :-)

LindaLoo, tell that eyeball to straighten up and fly right!! *keeping with the bird theme* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Is Federalism conservative? Beats me--it's obvious I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Posted by: jw | April 28, 2006 8:12 AM | Report abuse

OK Science Tim & anthony, here's my intellectual pedigree. I have 2 bachelors degrees, one in English and one in Piano Performance. Master of Music (MM) in piano performance. Doctor of Musical Arts (not exactly a PhD, but I didn't think anyone would know what a DMA is... and I DID have to write a dissertation) in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. I'm a concert pianist & professor of piano & other music classes at a university. Are these credentials relevent when talking politics? No... but neither is a PhD in physics. (My "smarter than you" remark was meant to be toungue-in-cheek, which never comes across via computer).

Posted by: hunch | April 28, 2006 8:14 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: hunch can't spell | April 28, 2006 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning, fellow English-degree-holder hunch.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Thurdsday Next's collegue is Emperor Zork, not the king of Zouk, my bad. I hope the grammasites will eat some of the bad stuff polluting this boodle.
Looking forward to the week end, temperature forecast in the sixties, woo hoo! I had to scrape frost off the winshield yesterday morning. Go Habs Go !

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 28, 2006 8:27 AM | Report abuse

hunch, another English major! Welcome!

Posted by: slyness | April 28, 2006 8:28 AM | Report abuse

hunch... you came back! I hope you know that means you are a boodler now.

Welcome. Just remember rule number 6 if you ever want to use this discussion for a poli-sci thesis.


Which leads me to this point for all boodlers -- but especially Hal the Schemer....Rule #1 says:

"1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party and that you will remove the same should you discover that you have violated this provision..."

HAL: Does that mean you're going to give us an Edit/Delete button for already posted boodling?

These rules might turn out to be just what the doctor ordered (all you PhDs and DMAs and EDs out there).

Posted by: TBG | April 28, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

TBG, you know better than to ask Hal to give up the Delete Death Ray... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

slyness, email me, sure.

Keep trying until you get an email back from me. If I don't reply to your very first email within 24 hours, it means I didn't get it.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 28, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

kb, you're not trying the new Hotmail beta, are ya?? Although bounces aren't all that rare with MSN anyway...

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

What exaclty is a boodler? Sounds kinda kinky.

There will be no poli-sci theses from me. I try not to handle theses whenever possible - terribly unhygenic.

Posted by: hunch | April 28, 2006 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm trying to get my retinas reattached after reading the Boodle comments from yesterday (I was involved with events for Take Your Child to Work Day yesterday, so no time for Boodlin').

It's a good thing, too, because I didn't remember to bring my protective headgear (constructed from aluminum foil, natch).

TBG, buried in my take on "the rules" last week I'd found that bit, too.


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 9:04 AM | Report abuse

hunch, a Boodler is one who contributes regularly to the Boodle, naturally. :-)

And you fit right in with that sort of turn of phrase, trust me.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

microkit posted

Posted by: Achenbach | April 28, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Defenestrate? I like it.

Posted by: PAinDC | April 28, 2006 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I got back from Bring Your Child to Work with my daughter yesterday and stepped on a dead bird on our porch, which means that the cat didn't get fed.

Posted by: Pat | April 28, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Atta boy/girl hunch.

Slyness asks what is going on in peoples yards. Well today is the official first day of no snow, no ice zip nada. I live on the north slope of a hill in a patch of boreal forest heavily populated by Spruce, and there are a couple of little corners where snow is piled, that just don't get a lot of sun. This year was pretty average for last days, though it has been as late as mid May and as early as mid April. this weekend will be cleanup weekend unless it rains. On the positive side, all the summer birds are back, and the tulips are up and should be budding next week.

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 9:26 AM | Report abuse

There's a clearer link on Bush's ideas on cuts for military families, etc. And it's from the WaPo. BTW, those guys coming home wounded from Iraq guessed it, VETERANS. And their benefits have been undisputably cut. Niiiiiccce job, W!

Fortuntately for me, I have a life outside the boodle that begins at 5:00pm and I was in a hurry. I didn't have time to delve in deep with my links.

Thanks, TBG, for pointing out the obvious re: King's Times link which was also an opinion piece. So, opinions are okay as long as they agree with King's ideas. Yeah, I kinda figured that out yesterday.

And re: yesterday, it was kinda a pointless exercise. No one convinced anyone of anything and that's the divide. I thought this POTUS was a 'uniter not a divider'; I seem to remember that from the debates during the election...and yet he and his cabinet have sought to divide us over and over again with their complete lack of interest in appealing to moderates.

I wasn't writing a dissertation and I don't need to write one, nor do I need to 'prove' myself to you. It would be ridiculous and futile because you only see what you want to see, and it certainly isn't 'big picture' thinking...and I see that you refused to refute my other post to you. I'm sure it will be a waste of time according to you, but I'll keep to the idea it's because you can't...

The only welfare-state I know of now is the corporate/upper class one -- you know, the one where the really rich people get a whole lot of tax breaks they don't need so they can keep being airline bailouts and subsidies to oil & gas companies that make billions and record profits. Oh yeah, and Homestead Exemption? More middle and upper class benefit from that kind of government welfare than all the poor people combined. Isn't that hilarious? What was it Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) said on Bill Maher? That he got a $250,000 tax break on his millions that he didn't need or want or ask for while people who could desperately use a leg up were completely left out because they don't have enough money, power & influence to count to this Admin (paraphrasing, but it's all on tape)...

And that facetious remark about poor people not paying taxes? That was laughable. Most of the working class people I know pay plenty of taxes (and were left out of the tax cuts - bummer, eh?) and those who can't afford to would love to afford to one day - if they can actually make ends meet while earning a living wage in a country where most jobs are being exported to places where they can be done a lot cheaper. Bush said something about re-training workers, but I haven't seen anything about that in a while. I guess people could do it on their own, but since Federal Aid for students has been cut back that's a less feasible option...especially since energy bills and gas prices have increased. Probably would be pretty hard to afford schooling, eh? Bummer.

The point of my telling the boodle I got $20 back is that those tax cuts only applied to certain people in certain situations. If you don't have dependents, for example, you were largely left out. I have a child, and I only got $20. It had nothing to do with the accountant; it had everything to do with the fact that a whole lot of those tax breaks didn't apply, and were never meant to apply, to me. That is an irrefutable fact. And yet I pay taxes, and I am a citizen. I guess I just didn't make enough (= I am not rich enough) to qualify to get more of my money back.

But lets talk about tax cuts for a moment, okay? Does anyone dispute we were in a surplus BEFORE Bush? Does anyone dispute were in a deficit now? That implies we could not afford to have those tax cuts, period. $800 could have been spent on troops in Iraq, if you lean that way. Or $800 could have been spent on Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors. But no, that would make sense. It might even help balance the budget. (BTW, I gave my $20 to my church so it could actually do something for people who have it much more rough than me.) We can't afford to keep these tax cuts now!

We mortgaged our children's & grandchildren's futures for a few hundred immediate dollars? What the....?! It makes NO sense. I bet most people don't even remember what they spent their tax break money on...How sad is that?

Seriously, the greed and self-interest are approaching ridiculous levels. No one cares about anyone else as long as they get theirs and that's definitely the sign of a declining society.

Yes, Saddam gassed his own people. Yes, he is a bad guy. But sanctions WERE working and we never gave the UN a real chance; we did a big dog and pony show because it was what we needed to do get soldiers into Iraq without too much flak from the rest of the world. But the thing is, and neo-cons can't get this idea for some reason, we went in there without any real plan for withdrawal. That's a key deal, there. You must know how & when you will exit so that you drastically reduce the possibility of becoming an occupying force. We are rapidly approaching that negative outcome because the peace has not been secured and Iraqi government officials & their family members keep getting murdered. There is no real Iraqi Army to speak of so our presence is continually required there and that just fuels the Insurgency which doesn't want us there.

We've got an emergency bill before the Congress re: funds for Iraq that is being packed with pork as we speak. It's revolting.

Oh yeah, and this just in? Chevron reports profits up 49% to a new record...per

And NBC/WSJ poll shows Bush has had a less than 40% approval rating for 9 consecutive months...Ouch! That's at

And the hits just keep on coming...

And it's hilarious, when you go into the GDP article on Reuters that they state it's 'excluding food & energy'. Hmmm, wonder what it is when you factor those increases back in...

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke: I'm not doing anything kinky with hotmail, not on purpose anyway. Thanks for the (kind of subtle) hint. I'm a long-term hotmail customer, and even pay for the premium service, so they better not be "bouncing" my correspondence! I hope it's just that people are used to hitting the "reply" button and when it comes to actually typing in an address, we can make a tiny mistake and then it won't be delivered.
See you in the new boodle...

Posted by: kbertocci | April 28, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

amo -

if you feel you're not paying enough in taxes, feel free to pay more. Uncle Sam will gladly take it. Unless you tore up your rebate check, you are a hypocrite.

Yes poor people pay sales taxes (as we all do), but they don't pay income taxes.

And what was our "exit strategy" in WWII? We still have hundreds of thousands of US servicemen in Germany, Japan, and Korea. You don't turn an insane asylum like Saddam's Iraq into a peaceful democracy overnight. Bush has spoken of a generational commitment. It will take a generation (at least) for democracy to take root and flourish in the middle east--as it took a generation for Germany & Japan to fully recover from WWII. But it's better than another generation of stagnation, terrorism, totalitarianism, etc. People who expect Switzerland to sprout up overnight there have no sense of historical perspective & the long view.

Posted by: hunch | April 28, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Blah, blah blah...worst ever president...Bush=Hitler, halliburton...low poll numbers...blah blah blah....Cripes, what is it with you old hippies anyway?

However bad Bush may be, the Dems are a hell of alot worse.

Posted by: Hippie stink | April 28, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Sorry this is off topic, but the event I've been waiting years for has happened.
An American politician has finally called for a war on violence.
Mayor Bloomberg of NYC called for a war on gun violence, but thats close enough for me.
Nuts, Nuts, Nuts.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 28, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

It has nothing to do with what I 'feel', hunch, it has everything to do with not running this country into the ground. Which is what the Bushies are doing right now.

And no, I'm not a hypocrite. Unless your reading comprehension is compromised, I donated it to my church. I didn't keep it and I didn't want it; they could use it for others, so in effect I gave my refund away. The government, btw, didn't want it back. I called the IRS and they were the ones who suggested donating it. You still didn't answer my question, which is not surprising. You attacked me hoping to deflect. Not working.

Exit strategy for WWII? You've got to be kidding! It was called Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Duh! And no, I wouldn't suggest using that as an exit strategy again.,,1760738,00.html

60 years later, we're moving troops out of Japan. Can you imagine US troops in Iraq for 60 years or more? You must be joking! But I'm sure that would make, oh defense contractors like Halliburton, really rich & happy.

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse


I wasn't talking about sales tax. Really. I was talking about people that pay into taxes every year and who do not own stocks nor get dividends, nor inheritances. I'm talking real earned income from working class people. I realize maybe you don't know too many people like that, but I assure you they do exist. Just because they aren't on your radar, doesn't mean they aren't there.

But let's go with the nutty idea that everyone 'benefits' from this cut. It's not true, but what they hey, I'm in the mood for a little fantasyland courtesy of hunchback...The refunds caused the Fed Govt to cut money to states, which in turn caused states to increase their taxation, including income tax. Sorry, but that's the way it works. You're still being taxed the same amount, just not primarily at the Federal level...

"The White House put government agencies on notice this month that if President Bush is reelected, his budget for 2006 may include spending cuts for virtually all agencies in charge of domestic programs, including education, homeland security and others that the president backed in this campaign year. "

Where are these shortfalls made up? (Because it's not like they'll be less school children or a lesser need for schools) Why, they'll be made up at the state level. The state will tax you, just like they did when the Fed Govt cut spending on road construction. The roads still need maintenance and I don't know about your state, but Florida added a tax increase to gas to pay for roads. So, we're still paying tax, just to the State of Florida and not the Federal Govt.

Not to mention, you may just be taxed elsewhere in the code. To whit: The AMT

"The expansion occurs because the AMT is not indexed for inflation and because of the 2001 tax cut. Because it is not adjusted for inflation, AMT liability tends to increase every year, even if real income does not change. At the same time, the tax cut reduces regular income tax liabilities without providing permanent AMT relief. The 2001 tax cut will more than double the number of people subject to the AMT in 2010 (from 14 million to 33 million). If the AMT had been indexed when the regular income tax was and had the 2001 tax cut not been enacted, only about 300,000 households would face the AMT in 2010."

D'oh! So much for tax breaks!

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Good heavens, I missed quite a day on the old A-blog! I can't believe the boodle degenerated into d*ck-size wars (disguised as brain-size wars), along with Godwin's Law kicking in early and often. What's next, SAT scores?

I can actually name something good that Bush did: The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. The amount of out-of-pocket $$$ that elders are paying for life-saving drugs is obscene. The fact that the process is so complicated is also obscene, however. I know how to do it now, so if anyone has any questions, maybe I can help.

I've been sprung from my week of medical research guinea-pigging at NIH, where I am certain that the experiments they did on me cost a pretty penny. By participating, I'm making sure that my (not insignificant) tax dollars are being spent on Me, Me, Me! See, liberals can be selfish, too!

Posted by: Pixel | April 28, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

arno -
you ARE a hypocrite, even if you donated it to your church. (Sounds suspiciously like a faith-based program to me!) Doesn't the government know how to spend that money better than you? I'll bet lots of red-state rednecks would like to pay less in taxes and donate more to their churches.

My point is, if you bewail tax cuts yet accept them, you are a hypocrite. It doesn't matter if you gave it to a church or a homeless shelter or to Ken Lay's kids' scholarship fund.

As it turns out, I know lots of "working class" people. My mom's a nurse, my sister's a nurse, my brother's an english teacher, I'm a college professor (not quite a real job, but not exactly CEO of Enron either). I don't know ANY working class people who would like to pay higher taxes. I've never heard any of them say "I don't mind getting a tax cut, but I'll be damned if some rich guy gets one too."

What I said was, the poor can't get their income taxes cut because they don't pay any. Go and check out the 1040 instruction booklet if you don't believe me.

Posted by: hunch | April 28, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

And yes, I can imagine US troops in Iraq for 60 years. We've been in Korea for 56 years now, why should it be so hard to imagine being in Iraq for that long? However bad it might be, it wouldn't be as bad as another 10 years of Saddam, followed by another 30 years of Uday and Qusay, followed by another 20 years of whoever their twisted spawn are/were/would have been. In WWII, no one whined about an "exit strategy"; they knew that the only exit strategy worth having is VICTORY.

You say the IRS wouldn't take your money back. Why didn't you just rip up the check?
Or just buy a treasury certificate and never cash it in? It's great that you donated it to your church. But you had a CHOICE whether to donate it to your church. A lot of poeple would like to have that same choice over more of their own hard-earned money.

Posted by: hunch | April 28, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

My comment is really quite simple-easily the worst president in American history is Abraham Lincoln (bar none) because not only did he refuse to allow the unstable union to dissolve, he permitted over a century of torture to be perpetrated on the rest of us.

If it hadn't been for Lincoln, George W. Bush wouldn't be in the position he is today (to have the entire USA go the way of the Soviet Union, because of his idiotic entanglement in Iraq). George W. Bush would probably be pumping gas in the South. That's as close as he would have gotten to the oil industry if it hadn't been for Abraham Lincoln.

Moreover, even his "cute" aphorisms are wrong. Who says "you can't fool all of the people all of the time"? Just ask Karl Rove.

"Honest Abe" didn't realize that you can't legislate morality. It would have been far better for there to be a free USA devoid of any taint of southern influence as opposed to the situation we find ourselves in today, where the South rules. The confederate states had a poor economy and may have come hat-in-hand to the free USA to bail them out. Unfortunately, we will never know this because of Abraham Lincoln.

Of course without Abraham Lincoln the electoral college (with its unfairness by definition) would have been dispensed with long ago and we would not be held captive to crazy religious faith-based cults. Of what possible benefit could the South be? Lincoln's obsession with this area is truly puzzling. Abraham Lincoln didn't really care about the slaves. He just used them like George W. Bush used WMD's. Of course, unlike WMD's slaves did exist. Lincoln just didn't want anyone to marry one.

Some people complain about The Patriot Act. How do these same individuals react to Abraham Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus?

It is also quite galling in view of the above to see Abraham Lincoln unquestionably revered. Would someone explain why Abraham Lincoln's elevation to sainthood is justified? This seems to be axiomatic, his elevation to sainthood.

In any case, isn't it a bit premature to speculate about who the worst president in US history would be? One can only indulge in these theories when the president has finished his term. I realize I am just as guilty as the others (except for the fact that I am partially commenting on someone whose term has expired).

In my humble opinion the best president the USA has had was George Washington, because without him you wouldn't have a USA (warts and all) in the first place.


Posted by: jamesdavid | May 7, 2006 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Bush is the BEST President of my lifetime, which stretches back to JFK. All the Presidents we now rate as great were reviled in their eras. Why? Because they all believed in doing the right thing and, they didn't really worry that about the ignorant mobs whose talking points came from powerful leaders with ulterior motives.

So, all you losers gnash your teeth and imagine that you are somehow morally and intellectually superior to those independent thinkers who do not recognize your authority figures (do you all really think David Letterman is an ur-genius?). In 20 years, the Middle East will have jumped from the 14th century to the 21st and, you will still be swearing to yourselves that it all came about by chance and Bush had nothing to do with it.

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