Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Bush, Gore, World Cup, etc.

Let me quickly address the president's surprise visit to Iraq. As you can see from the White House's own transcript, the president sincerely believed he would be doing a teleconference ("And tomorrow we'll be meeting with the new government via SVTS...") and probably did not learn about his secret trip until he was already in the Green Zone (the only people who knew in advance were six unnamed White House aides, plus Cheney, Rummy, Condi, Rove, Rove's lawyer, the guy who carries the nuclear codes, the president's valet, the personal trainer and the pastry chef).

In today's paper, Peter Baker says Bush is on a roll, and passes along a cornucopia of metaphors from Grover Norquist on Karl Rove, including: "Not only is he in fine fettle, not only is he not wounded, he's pricked enough to be angry."

More on Rove from David Corn:

"Not all wrongdoing--not all lying--in Washington is illegal. Rove escaped prosecution. But the episode has revealed the way the Bush White House really operates."

Wait, isn't this Global Warming Wednesday? Check out Al Gore talking to Larry King last night, connecting Iraq to global warming:

"The evidence that was coming out of the CIA and the expert community was saying one thing and it was the stuff they didn't want to hear they were deep-sixing it and stuff that didn't make sense they were ballyhooing. And it's the same thing that's happening with global warming. ...

"The people who had the best grip on what was actually happening [in Iraq] issued warnings. "This is a mistake. You shouldn't do it. You're going about it the wrong way." And the warnings were brushed aside. Same thing happened, there were warnings with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The warnings were not heeded.

"Now, the leading scientists in the world are warning us that we are facing imminently the worst catastrophe in the entire history of civilization with the capacity to threaten the future of civilization and these warnings are being brushed aside and ignored. And propagandists for oil and coal companies are put in a position of power to censor the warnings that the scientists are trying to get out to the people. I think that's outrageous."

Gore on why Rummy should resign:

"...any policy we choose ought to be handled by a new team that is not vested in the mistakes that have already been made and a team that has better judgment than the group that has been part and parcel of the single worst strategic mistake in the history of this country."

Worse than Vietnam? (And what about forgetting to defend Washington in August 1814, when the Brits marched in and torched the place?)

Now, let's talk World Cup again. I'm thinking that what the USA needs to do, rather than sit around and sulk, is take immediate action to get some more of these really good foreign players on our team. We need to produce some serious cash and persuade someone like Tomas Rosicky of the Czech team to come play for us this Saturday against Italy. This is the Steinbrenner Strategy.

And we definitely need more guys who have only one name. Like "Ronaldinho." Or "Pele." Those guys are always great. And simply asking our guys to drop one of their names won't work, since so many of our guys have let's-play-tiddlywinks names like "Bobby" and "Brian" and "Landon."

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 14, 2006; 7:47 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Bad Sports at World Cup, and Other Rubbish
Next: Hugh and Cry over Iraq


Brits marched on Washington in 1914 ? Missed that one, must have been out of town.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 14, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Uh, Joel, August 1814?

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I have more Right Thinking American World Cup commentary here:


Posted by: bc | June 14, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

bc: Your suggestion to sit in the hairpin to view the F1 race in Montreal reminded me of sitting in the trees at the entrance to the boot at the Glen. I wonder how many people fell out of those trees.

Posted by: jack | June 14, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

It's political theater when White House counselor Dan Bartlett and press secretary Tony Snow are along for the ride into the Green Zone. As I said yesterday, Bush's fly-down and fly-up into Baghdad is stealth diplomacy and a desire to maintain a marginal bounce in the polls after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's ambush and death. It says something about Iraqi security that our president could spend only six hours on the ground with al-Maliki and his new government and couldn't even spend the night.

And how are the conditions in Baghdad, now that we're helping the Iraqis with a tight security crackdown? Correct me if I'm wrong, but Iraq has roughly 10 percent of the world's oil reserves, gas lines in the capital city are now only one hour rather than four, and gas is used for generators for entire city blocks to provide a few hours of electricity for refrigerators and air conditioning. And gas has gone up four-fold in price in Iraq in the past year.

At least Bush's not claiming "Mission Accomplished" as he did aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. If you only knew how many Loomis family members gave critical support to Lincoln, not only in the White House, but in his early days as a politician in Illinois. The earlier fly-boy grandstanding on the aircraft carrier was nauseating, in my opinion.

And if I'm one of the few people on the Achenblog to make political comments, and if the comments don't get traction among other Boodlers, as alleged last night here on the blog? Then it's not my bad, but my brave.

Posted by: Loomis | June 14, 2006 9:07 AM | Report abuse

bc, thanks for the commentary. I'd never be able to keep up if it weren't for your help and guidance.

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The Brits torched DC in 1914?

What, was there a soccer match here or something?


Posted by: bc | June 14, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse


*trying desparately to remember the ASL alphabet*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

The mastermind of the Bagdad Daytrip had to have been Blake Gottesman. Time magazine (I know, not part of the WaPo conglomerate) ran an article on him this week:,9171,1202932,00.html

His qualifications to earn 95k a year carrying Kleenex around for Dubya is that he dated Jenna in high school. He got into Harvard Business School despite never actually earning an undergrad degree. Wonder who wrote that letter of reccommendation?

Posted by: yellojkt | June 14, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Ha, Jack, I bet lots of folks have fallen out of those trees.

I think they dragged themselves over to the Bog for bus burning and other shennanigans when they came to.

slyness, I'm glad you approve.


Posted by: bc | June 14, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I was only off by a century.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 14, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

"Not only is he in fine fettle, not only is he not wounded, he's pricked enough to be angry."

I thought Rove wasn't going to prison?

You're right; that's *great*.


Posted by: bc | June 14, 2006 9:15 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: farfrombeltway | June 14, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

This caught my eye this AM, and ebnut makes reference to it in boodling at the bottom of the previous Kit:

Granted, JA's a busy guy (Like, what's a century between friends? Or World Series titles?), but if there was anyone that the WaPo sent over there it should have been that Guy.


Posted by: bc | June 14, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

re: 1914

Kit, duck, and cover.

Posted by: farfrombeltway | June 14, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse


*wildly waving red flag @ bc for staying on-topic*

*fuitely kicking @ TBG as she takes red flad away*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 9:26 AM | Report abuse

*not gonna SCC -- duct tape excuse*


Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

In Brazil, having a nickname ending in " -inho" means that you don't have to pay for anything during Carnival.


Posted by: bc | June 14, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Stand STILL, Scottynuke, I'll never get the duct tape off if you keep writhing like that!

Hookay. Is that better? Sorry it hurt when I yanked it off.

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, give me a yellow card if you must.


Posted by: bc | June 14, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I was reluctantly awake last night for some of Al Gore. He seems so relaxed and happy now that can choose to focus on topics for which he has a passion. I really enjoyed the clip of him on SNL (never see it, I like sleep) with the unintended consequences of ending global warming -- that is, glaciers encroaching on the continental US. Reminded me of a Wall Street Journal story this week on fire ants in Texas. Between vigorous extermination and drought, they're much reduced, and now ranchers wish they were back. Seems they eat ticks and fleas, and had reduced those pest populations considerably. In a way this whole kit could be tied to an "unintended consequences" theme.

Except the World Cup. The US apparently had no particular intentions going in, so our complete failure as a soccer nation probably won't have enormous consequences.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 14, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

bc, I actually had tickets in that hairpin one year back in the 90's and couldn't make it there. -sniff sniff-

I was hoping my high school French would be enough to at least get me some slack with the locals. Looks like a really cool place.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 14, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, you're the best! *rubbing wrists*

bc, you're right, first offense and all... *cribbing extra note to 'Mudge*

Oh, Ivansmom, a cuppa coffee?? You shouldn't have! *sip*

Hey, that's not... su... grrrrrrrrr...


Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, slyness. I was just about to remind scotty that he was never going to get this position again if he didn't get that tape off and come up with some witty methane reference.

Posted by: newkid | June 14, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm not good at the 1860s (haven't read McPherson), but couldn't one of the bigger strategic mistakes in American history be the decisions of southern states to withdraw their members of Congress in 1861? I think for years they had thwarted nearly anything the northern states wanted. Couldn't they have waged a legislative blockade, a sort of Congressional cold war, to frustrate whatever Lincoln wanted to do? Could Lincoln have gone down in history as an ineffectual idealist?

Then again, that era provokes a lot of silly arguments. Maybe it's more useful to admire Dolly Madison's initiative in evacuating important documents and a portrait of Washington, or perhaps George Washington's persistence after assorted fiascos.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 14, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: omni | June 14, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Error, the Montreal hairpin was a *really* fun place in the 80s. It's settled down a lot now that more Americans go.

Your HS French might help make yourself understood, but a waitress told me that she'd rather hear me speak 'murrican than listen to me butcher French. But that's just me.


Posted by: bc | June 14, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I should add that while Gore may be indulging in hyperbole with the "worst strategic mistake in the history of this country" comment, it's not entirely out of the question.

I'll get back to him on that in a decade or so.


Posted by: bc | June 14, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Dave, Civil War's not my period either, but I remember reading that North Carolina wouldn't have seceded if Virginia had not. NC was the last to leave and the last to come back into the Union. The topograghy of the state doesn't support large plantations except on the coastal plain, so slavery wasn't as large an economic force as in other areas.

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Joel, they also ignored warnings prior to 9/11 that terrorists were thought to be air craft training in Florida.

Loomis, the fly-boy grandstanding was indeed nauseating. Strutting his stuff like a banty rooster in his little flight jacket. Were we supposed to believe he flew the plane too?

Nelson, thank you so much for posting your horse adventures. It did have a calming effect before the storm. Hope you are feeling better.

Posted by: Nani | June 14, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

As ordered,

TBG, Nice RB Bennett reference. however, I'd like to direct you to our dear John A MacDonald, First Prime Minister of Canada for a more direct comparison. Not only was he our first Prime Minister, he was our first drunk Prime Minister. Not sure if we have kept stats on that since.

Also if you want to look for serious wingnuts who led actaul nations, check Mackenzie King. Yes we elected him more than once.

Our knowledge of Presidents is not an honourable thing. For decades our history programs were more about America than Canada. Its changing now thankfully, there is more information about this country than ever before. Some really interesting things happened here (see previous link on LSD), and there are a lot more places to find out the coold stuff that happened in our past. The problem now seems to be that no one is really teaching history anymore. Its all social stuidies, with an emphasis on the social.

OK, I am off my high horse.

Also, I am not really watching the soccer scores, but if I am not mistaken, they had better stop all this scoring nonsense, and play a few more nil-nil games, or my best guest is going to be toast. Seriously, what's wrong with nil-nil, boys?

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I think the big message in Bush's visit, the one he repeated, but which hasn't gotten that much direct comment so far, is that the Iraqis are going to have to solve a lot of their own problems. He certainly didn't say "You're on your own," but to my ear he was laying down the foundation for the draw-down in forces that has to come at some point.

About Gore and his rhetoric, he does seem to favor superlatives when it comes to identifying worst mistakes and gravest threats. For example, is global warming really the gravest threat we've ever faced -- worse than, for example, totalitarianism in one form or another (think Orwell and 1984)? Gore also seems to have latched on very tight to Hansen's "tipping point" scenario, in which we have 10 years go turn things around before the climate is beyond our control and its too late.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 14, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

*please fax water, in some quantity please*

Front-page headline here this morning--get ready for the brown-lawn blues...

Tied the record for the date yesterday--101, and by the weekend, it looks like we'll be restricted to watering lawns just once a week.

Posted by: Loomis | June 14, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse


As the son of a Vietnam vet pilot (who served active duty, not just ANG), I can attest from personal knowledge that just about anybody can fly a plane. Landing is the "hard work".

There's a metaphor in there if you can find it.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 14, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

What about air scrubbers. Didn't they build one from scratch on Apollo 13. Imagine some genius building a giant air scrubber and congress passed a law that all new buildings must install one and the size used is determined by the buildings power consumption. Then congress passed a second law that older buildings need to install them as well based on the age of the building, so as each year passed more buildings would have them, and before you know I can actually breath when I walk down the city's streets.

Boy, talk about dreaming...

Posted by: omni | June 14, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse


Your water warning is boding poorly for my summer vacation. We are driving from Palo Alto back to Maryland via Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, El Paso, San Antonio, and Memphis. Since we went to Vietnam last summer, we will be field-testing this heat versus humidity debate.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 14, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

*shnuffle, snort*


Water in fax? Needamop...


Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

And then there's astrophysicist Stephen Hawking who claims that we ought to be seriously considering the colonizing of outer space--also a headline on page A16 today here, but carried as a story across the globe.

HONG KONG Jun 13, 2006 (AP)-- The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth, world-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said Tuesday. ...

"It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking said. "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

Posted by: Loomis | June 14, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

In a continued effort to remain off-topic:

Violent crime is on the rise in the U.S., as if we didn't have enough to worry about. It's the biggest jump in 15 years.

re: Gore. I would say that the biggest threat ever to face mankind would be nuclear war, and how close we came to it during the Cuba missle crisis. my $.02

Posted by: tangent | June 14, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

The as ordered reference was to staying off topic. Which I did.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm, LindaLoo, wonder if we can get the Boss to arrange the next tropical storm to go through the Gulf and soak Texas? Your turn, I'd say.

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I missed all the comments last night - too funny. TBG, whenever I see the photos of RB Bennett I always think of Mr.Potter in It's a Wonderful Life.

dr is right on MacKenzie King. There was a PM that was kookoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Erik, where's your poem? Only busy astronomer/fathers get an extension.

re: climate change - new story in todays Globe about stressed out polar bears:

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I know you mentioned before that you were going to the Grand Canyon this summer. San Antonio, too? I'm sorry to inform you that I think you're certifiably crazy.

The best time for sightseeing at these southern climes is spring and fall. Our best hope at this time of year is for a Cat 1 hurricane coming ashore between Victoria and Corpus Christi--which is why we were hoping--a hope of desperation, to be sure--that Alberto would churn our way.

*snuke, please fax some water to yellojkt, in some quantity. Yello, what meds are you low on?*

Posted by: Loomis | June 14, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I've one better. One of the camel drivers who was brought in with the Texas Camel Corps...either he or his son became El Presidente of Mexico. I'll see if I can rustle up the story a little bit later on today...

Posted by: Loomis | June 14, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

The problem with the "gravest threat" prize is one of category. There are immediate political threats to the state in one form or another, there are immediate and long-term economic threats, there are threats of disease both chronic and pandemic; and then there are threats that the whole earth will become basically uninhabitable in the relatively near future. Each of these may be of paramount importance in a particular time and context, or to a particular individual.

How to choose? I suggest "rock paper scissors", recently ordered by a federal district court in Florida as a way to resolve a scheduling dispute. "Eeny meeny minie moe" is good if you don't have those fine motor skills.

Error Flynn, to discourage pesky deer, tie plastic grocery bags to your fence at irregular intervals and heights. My aunt tells me their depth perception gets confused by the different heights and they don't realize they can jump over the fence. It seems to work for her.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 14, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, North Carolina was indeed reluctant to secede, but an inordinate number of its residents served in the Confederate armies, sometimes not getting much credit. I guess it's not for nothing that the state calls itself "a vale of humility between two mountains of conceit."

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 14, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Whoops. Boodled out of order and strayed back on topic. My apologies.

Posted by: ivansmom | June 14, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed my summer San Antonio visit, years ago. We stayed at Jellystone Park, and Yogi Bear came around to say hi on a regular basis. Our (then) two-year-old loved it. I enjoyed the restaurants on the river, and sightseeing around town.

Re: "anybody can fly a plane"--I remember flying my dad's Piper Cub when I was 4 years old. I couldn't see out the window, but I learned that if you move the stick forward and then back pretty fast, it makes your stomach feel funny. Whee! I believe that is a real memory, as far-fetched as it may seem, because the memory includes sounds, sights, and smells.

Posted by: kbertocci | June 14, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Yes, indeed, Dave. NC paid and supplied its soldiers also, unlike some other states.

One of my great-grandfathers on my mother's side enlisted in the Confederate Army at 14. He served as a guard at the prison camp in Salisbury, NC. I understand it was not a pleasant place.

Not much Civil War history occurred in NC, though the last meeting of the Confederate Cabinet was here in Charlotte and Sherman was in eastern NC when Lee surrendered at Appomatox. We do Revolutionary War history in this part of the world.

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

>Error Flynn, to discourage pesky deer, tie plastic grocery bags to your fence at irregular intervals and heights.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't have a fence!

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 14, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what would happen if we flew few C-130 Hercules loaded up with thousands of huge blocks of ice and scattered them (the ice that is) in front of the path of an oncoming Hurricane or tropical storm. Hmmm...

Posted by: omni | June 14, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"a vale of humility between two mountains of conceit."

Do they really?!! You have me laughing.

Loomis, its hard to believe that anyone who governed a nation could have been nuttier than King, but ooooh, do tell. I can't wait.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the belated birthday wish.

Anybody familiar with the term "emperor worship"? To some extent I believe that is what happen with the President. I can't discuss politics too much because I'm not aware of what's going on. I don't know the "in's and out's" of the political scene. I might know how some policy will affect me, and don't really know that well. A lot of it seems like political grandstanding because it looks as if all Presidents are worried about are the numbers, what the people think. And to me, that would make any President look as if he was dancing to someone else's music, not his own. It just looks like Presidents will do anything to improve those numbers, and I don't know how good that is for the country as a whole. It may please those that are setting up these scenarios, but is it good for the country or just the egos of those in power. My shortcomings on the subject are huge. I should probably keep my trap shut.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 14, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Error Flynn, poke some bamboo poles in the ground and tape pinwheels to them. If that doesn't deter the deer, at least the pinwheels look pretty. I don't have deer but the garden looks prettier with bamboo and pinwheels here and there.

Posted by: Nani | June 14, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Yes really, dr, NC is the vale of humility between the mountains of conceit of Virginia and South Carolina. You have to understand that the aristocrats settled in Charleston and the Low Country and the Virginia Tidewater, while the riffraff settled in North Carolina. Geography is destiny.

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Snuke, wake up! WAKE UP!!! *shakes him roughly*

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Hmph? Wha???

Water? Someone needs water?

*warming up the fax*

And about all this sticking-too-close-to-the-topic posting...


Ow! *pluck* What's this?? A dart??

I saw you hiding that blowgun, omni! 'Mudge... wil... heeeer...



Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, you nit the nail on the head.
You may not see the individual trees, but you see the forest quite clearly. Too bad politicians don't give that a try.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

>I've one better.

Oh sure, just had to one up us.

Here's a bit from Wikipedia on MacKenzie King. Nuttier than a fruit cake, but in the Haute Maine tradition kept it as a personal eccentricity and his "seances" weren't known until later. Keep in mind that this was our PM throughout WW II:

"Privately, he was highly eccentric with his preference for consulting spirits, including those of Leonardo da Vinci, Louis Pasteur, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, his dead mother and his dog, Pat. He sought personal reassurance from the spirits, rather than political advice. Indeed, after his death, one of the mediums said that she had not realized that he was a politician. King did ask whether his party would win the 1935 election, one of the few times politics came up during his seances. His occult interests were not widely known during his term in office, however, and only became publicized by biographers after his death who used the extensive diaries that he kept most of his life."

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

agree with tangent, biggest threat is nuclear holocaust including nuclear proliferation in the hands of terrorists.

re: Gore, tipping point

once heard of a "Mother Earth" theory where the earth has the ability to "fix" itself if it is damaged by whatever means. Unfortunately it was more of a geologic fix, a typical repair would take a few million years or so. So, we got that going for us... 10 years ? Does that imply a Gore candicacy in '08? He serves two terms and he'll be out... in 10 years.

Posted by: farfrombeltway | June 14, 2006 11:32 AM | Report abuse

In honor of Global Warming Wednesday, I will drift onto this topic briefly before checking out for the rest of the day.

My office buddy Setsuko went to a lecture at the Japanese consulate last weekend--Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi and self-styled ecologist Hideki Matsumoto spoke on global warming. Noguchi showed pictures of earth that he had taken from space. Setsuko said that really helped the global warming information take hold in her mind--it's a big subject and it helps if you can get perspective on it. Matsumoto said he has been traveling all over the world, especially China and the south Pacific, and he's hearing that consensus that Joel talks about when he meets with scientists of whatever nationality; there is a general agreement that global warming is an urgent problem.

Posted by: kbertocci | June 14, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Ha, farfrombeltway:

"Gore/Gaia in '08"


Posted by: bc | June 14, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

bc: Thanks for posting the reference to the disaster article. Seems to be on topic *ducking for cover. SN seems to be coming too.*

Posted by: ebtnut | June 14, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

SCC: too = to.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 14, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I remember Princeton prof Gerry O'Neill making the same case for colonization of space 30 years ago, though I think nuclear war was more on his mind at the time.


Posted by: bc | June 14, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Um, that wasn't me with the blow gun, I was already on my way to my meeting. Must have been that jokester who stole my aluminum foil hat the other day. I can see how that would confuse you in your groggy state. No umbrage taken here, so no worries mate.

Posted by: omni | June 14, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I really liked Howard Dean because he didn't just say what he thought people wanted to hear. He spoke from the heart and not just in sound bytes. I think Hillary Clinton does the same. She took some heat yesterday for not agreeing with other Democrats that Bush should set a definite date for withdrawal of our troops. I disagree with her, but at least she was honest.

Posted by: Nani | June 14, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Spain beats Ukraine 4-0. So far 35 points in 15 games. At this rate the final scoring will be 150 (somebody check my math).

Posted by: omni | June 14, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

For serious readers of history and those interested in the pre-Civil War machinations, The Rise of American Democracy by Sean Wilentz is a must.

One thesis that can be taken from his book is that the steady accretion of miscalculations and ideologically based policies leads to a tragedy that could have been avoided. That could describe any number of tragedies, from WWI, to Vietnam, to Iraq--and possibly to a global-warming disaster?

Posted by: kindathinker | June 14, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with dr on her 11:30 post. I think in politics a may be more important to see the forest than the trees, so your in the right place Cassandra.

Also have to agree with Nani at 11:48.

Which reminds something I wanted to post yesterday but forgot: Nani, I loved your peenitz story.

I'm sure there's more, but work lately has frying my scrambled brains.

Posted by: omni | June 14, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

as you can tell from the SCCs in my previous post, I am not kidding about fried scrambled barins...going for a walk...then lunch.

Posted by: omni | June 14, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I am scum ... BRAINS not barins ... sheesh ... walking away slowly but picking up speed. I need to stop Achenbloghogging anyway.

Posted by: omni | June 14, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

omni, that is depressing me to no end. I counted up on Monday and it was already depressing.

Whatever happened to NIL-NIL? Didn't anyone tell the players? The officials?

I also want to say loudly and clearly, GO OILERS GO. Gol dangit. GO.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

We'll find out tonight if it is good luck or bad luck for the Hurricanes that an actual hurricane is blowing through.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

>If that doesn't deter the deer, at least the pinwheels look pretty.

Thanks Nani, I could go for some pinwheels just for the heck of it! It might be my imagination but it seems they didn't like the Xmas lights either, I just can't find any now.

I've been thinking about making a bamboo grove as well. I was waiting for the chiro the other day and this guy brought in a four foot long bamboo shoot he said had grown from nothing in about a week. Apparently the problem is stopping the stuff from spreading everywhere.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 14, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Nani, isn't Howard Dean a major figure in the Democratic party, I can't remember? I thought he had it going for awhile there. People seldom speak their mind now, they pander to what some group or other wants to hear. If running for office, one has to appear to be for all the people, when we know deep down in our little hearts, that is so not the case. Americans cry they want honesty in their political leaders, but that isn't so either. We prefer a lie, just help us to swallow it a little bit better, please. We want to feel good, we don't want pain, and honesty will usher in pain. I'm a fatty, but if someone were to call me "fatty", I suspect my feelings would be hurt, but if they pretty it up, with some untruths, I would probably swallow it, and ask for more.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 14, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

France and Switzerland shot a double blank yesterday to help in your pool. Brazil dis their part with a miserable (for them) goal. Reading L'Equipe a few minutes ago it is pretty clear that the French press wasn't impressed by the performance of Les Bleus.
I'm not sure MacKenzie King was speaking with his dead dog's soul. Pat was a Scottish Terrier I believe. An article I read a few months back (can't find it, of course) suggested that he trusted Pat's impression of people, which is not that stupid really. After Pat died he had other Scottish terriers but they never were up to Pat's standard in WLMK's eye's. At their best moments King thought the dogs were channeling Pat. This screwball was a skilled politician, a lawyer and held a PhD in economics from Harvard. He was very good the the Ottawa region. He transformed a good portion of the Gatineau Hills in a national park (the Gatineau Park) because his summer home was located in it's southern part. As an Anglophile he had brand-new medieval ruins built near this house. This park is a popular playing ground for nordic skiers, bikers, runners and the like. Great spot for birding too. Back to the salad now.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 14, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Kindathinker, I kinda googled Sean Wilentz and noticed that he wrote that recent piece in Rolling Stone wondering whether the present President could be the worst ever.

His book on the rise of American democracy seems to be a fatty, or at least a couple of bricks.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 14, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh for heavens sake.

*throws two gallons of ice water on Snuke's inert figure*

Okay, Snuke, wake up and do your job! You don't want Mudge to fire you! We need you here!

Wake up! Wake up! WAKE UP!!!!

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, in a sense, it should be that leaders do what improves their poll numbers. But it's WHAT they should do that has gone wrong.

An elected leader is supposed to do what his constituents want him to do, but always with the good of the country in mind. If he or she wants to improve poll numbers he or she should actually DO stuff the people want him or her to do. But what's happened is that all these guys do is do stuff that makes the people PERCEIVE that something good is being done. Or just to please the "majority" who elected them. It's all gone haywire and someone needs to fix it.

Am I making sense?

On another note... We met Howard Dean last night! My son jumped up for the opportunity to shake his hand and exchange a few nice words with him. (And Dean is currently chairman of the Democratic National Committee.)

Posted by: TBG | June 14, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I suspect no one will say to the President's face that he is being called the worse President. I've heard that mentioned on the news, and in different talking head shows, but when all is said and done, who would say that to the President's face? Even if in the company of the President and a media person, could you bring yourself to say that? I think it would be hard to do. It would be like telling a person you stink. And having the power of the office of President, would there be retaliation for asking such a question? You know people do stuff, and sometimes they appear to be real brave, but not really so when place in a position where they can really prove if they're brave or not. And would that be considered brave or foolish? I just wonder, or might it be considered disrespectful to tell a sitting President you are the worse?

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 14, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I think Mr. Dean is the Chairman of the National Democratic Committee. He was ridiculed in the media, on late night talk shows and by his own party for an "over the top rant" (speech) he made when he was campaigning for nomination to run against Bush. I saw clips of his speech on tv and it didn't seem that way to me. Granted he was excited, but what's wrong with that? Shouldn't attention be given to what he was saying and not the manner in which he said it?

Just a thought. People sure do curse nowadays. I wonder why Erik's taking of the Lord's name in vain wasn't filtered out of yesterday's caboodle. I much prefer dr's "gol dangit". Just sayin...

Posted by: Nani | June 14, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Denizen, that is the interesting thing about many oddball politicans. They did good. John A., King, Grant, all were unusual. Even Lincoln was thought to be odd by many, but he was without a doubt, the greatest President that the US had.

Its not always the eccentricties of a man that are his weak spot.
Makes me wonder in our times, with our emphasis on who looks good, who sounds good on and in MSM, just who we are missing, in both our countries who we really, really need.

I don't beleive that even Mr. Lincoln would have been thought of seriously as a candidate today, and all of western civilisation would have been the lesser for it.

Did I almost stray on topic with the eccentricities of the man being the weak spot part? Fie dr, Fie.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse


Scrubbers exist and are being installed in large numbers, thanks partly to acid-rain related lawsuits. They remove sulfur and nitrogen oxides. Bad stuff, causes acid rain and assorted human ills, but not significant greenhouse gases.

Carbon sequestration is a different problem, and one reason it's hard to get people worked up about it is that it doesn't make smog or kill anybody -- at least in the short run. It's those global effects that'll kill ya.

Also significant in the global warming picture, apparently, is methane, emitted in large quantities by farm animals. When I first heard about the effects of dairy flatulence, I thought it was a joke, but no. I have heard that you can do more against global warming by going vegetarian than by getting a hybrid car, but I can't vouch for that.

Posted by: fizz | June 14, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Nani, I think I'm channeling some long deceased cowboy or something. Gol dangit, gee whillickers in just the last couple of days.

Whenever I read Jane Austen, I start talking like she writes. Maybe my husband is tuning in the Lonestar channel to cover my snoring and I am picking it up by osmosis?

Scottynuke, you gotta wake up and HELP me.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible that one of the biggest mistakes Howard Dean made was that he did not laugh along with everyone? And poke fun at himself?

Would that have made the difference, and made people focus on his message again? Did he try to do that at all?

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm still in physical limbo -- wondering if I'll be able to leave for SC on Saturday -- maybe have to wait until Sunday.

Nani -- I'm glad the horse stories helped you through Alberto.

I have to disagree with you about Hillary, though. She seems to be extremely calculating in her positions -- for example her signing on to the anti-flag-burning amendment -- if this is triangulation, she's fallen off the Euclidean system.

Cassandra, I agree with you wholeheartedly about politicians keeping the people in a pleasant state of ignorance -- they treat us like children.

I don't see anyone at the national level who has the ability to talk about the very real hard choices the country faces in the next decade.

Instead, I see many of them acting like Santa Claus -- or the Sleep Fairy.

I'm very guilty of injecting politics into the boodle -- sometimes I get so frustrated and appalled at what is happening in the world I spontaneously combust. I spend too much time reading blogs - especially the ones by Iraqis. I get so heartbroken.

Then somebody posts about gardening, or horses, and I shake off my impending doom and get on with the spirit of the boodle -- proudly keeping wit, excellent writing and wisdom (maybe) about matters of great moment.

Consider the lengthy two day discourse about which state has the greatest extent of shoreline. People pulling out obscure atlases and conducting major research. There might have been a few master's theses in there somewhere.

So, thanks to everyone determined to keep the boodle off-topic and hihg on levity.

Even if it makes me crazy sometimes! :-)

Posted by: nelson | June 14, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse


Scrubbers are making economic sense for the coal-burning utilities, too. The cost of installation is quickly made up in savings in two ways: the companies don't have to pay "emissions credits" for polluting and they can also burn much cheaper coal.

Utilities, customers and shareholders (and breathers) all do well.

Posted by: TBG | June 14, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Huzzmph... Narf...


Hm? Why do I smell cooked eggs?


Aaa-CHOOO! Aaaa-CHOOOOO! AAAAAAH-CHOOOOO!!! *for full effect, please recall Daffy Duck in "The Scarlet Pumpernickel," taking a pinch of snuff*

Now then...

dr, youse gotta prublem wit speakin' gud?

And were's Mistah Stripeee, anywayz???

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke! Wake up, this is an order!

*keeps shaking him roughly*

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse


In answer to your question, I'll take whatever meds you got. I don't know how I get talked into these expeditions. Here is the shorter version.

My son leaves for Physics Camp at Stanford in two weeks. The camp is three weeks long. We are flying him out and then driving out for him. The trip west bound will take us through St Louis, Kansas City, Denver, and Reno. We asked him what he would like to see on the way back and he said Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and the Alamo. Hence the heat scorched southern route back.

In fifteen days I intend to drive 7000 miles and stay in the same place two nights in a row only at the Grand Canyon. Pray for my soul.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 14, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Nelson, you are not on that island alone. I go off so many times here because something bothers me. I think we all do. But like you said someone will start talking about the garden or Mr. Strippy, not sure about the spelling, and everyone will breath a sigh of relief. We bring to the blog many different perspectives and talents, and I for one, enjoy that to the most.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 14, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I would top up the AC unit and the rad before hitting the interstate. Jeez, that's a road trip and a half.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 14, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, your trip sounds great. I actually like the cross-country adventures (mind you, I've never had serious vehicle problems on one).

In 2004 my wife and I drove from Alberta down to Houston, then across through S.A. and on to El Paso, then up through N.M. and onward. We were very fortunate on the weather; it was only in the low 90s in TX that August.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse


>Scrubbers are making economic sense for the coal-burning utilities, too.

They've been in some of those plants for over 20 years. I worked on control systems for them in the late 80s/early 90s. The system maximized pollution control while minimizing the power drain. If memory serves running one full without such a control system would typically use something like 5-10% of the plants full power capacity!

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 14, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse



What's that, nelson? A call for me? In there? Sure...

Hey, there's no phone in...


*rattle rattle rattle*

*muffled shouting*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, a former colleague, now retired, will take long road trips with his wife, but they rent a car so as not to put the mileage on their own vehicles. I haven't decided if that's smart, or cheap, or just stupid.

It's a shame you don't have more time, 'cause that's a great itinerary. I have happy memories of the great road trip my parents took me on the summer I was six - out through the heartland to San Francisco, up the West Coast to Vancouver, across the Canadian Plains and back through Ohio. Six weeks...this was 1959, before interstates.

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Lincoln was odd. Brilliant, he could play the game of politics as ruthlessly as the next mid 19th century pol.

He suffered from severe depression, had a wife who suffered from mental illness, lost two sons, one while he was President.

He probably was a bit scary-looking.

But he was the best President this country ever had. He fumbled during the first few years of the civil war, relying too much on generals (McClellan comes to mind) that were incompetent. It wasn't until he finally realized he needed someone who could be ruthless in the field and appointed Grant that he got it right.

His sense of the Union, the Gettysburg address, the second Inagural address -- these were all deeply from the heart and the man's vast intellect.

But a person such as Lincoln could never get elected in today's media-driven politics. He was too ugle to get elected as dog-catcher.

His sincerity would be a mark against him. Would he have been able to play to the polls, to proudly pander? To give speeches full of words but empty of content?

I truly believe that the process of running for electoral office today winnows out people of great substance. Especially at the national level?

Dean's greatest mistake (and strength) is that he speaks his mind. Sometimes it rightly gets him in trouble (whe he says he hates all Republicans).

But the supposed "Scream," that moment of great emotion -- that was so blown out of proportion. I've watched clips of that time and again and still can't figure out what all the fuss was about.

But my garden is loving the fall-out we're getting from Alberto. My 5 feet tall coneflowers are growing as I write.

I could boodle about gardening till the cows come home. It's been my obsession for years. I've managed to put in over 300 SF over perennial beds around my place. This, with a body that isn't very functional.

When I'm seriously disturbed by world events over which I've really no power, or by anything over which I've really no power (whch is quite a bit) -- I look out into my garden and am always caught at the wonder of it. I go out and pinch back some plants, cut back the roses, or just sit in the midst of it and drink it in.

I forget what was bothering me so much.

I have about ten feet of bookshelf devoted to gardening books (mostly on design and organic gardening; lots of books on herbs, dense books with only correct botanical nomenclature [my background in botany serves me well as a gardener] and books brimming with stunning photos of plants).

I don't need anymore, but I'm always buying one or two big books a year.

My current obsession is with courtyards -- Mediterranean, Spanish, Arabic, Mexican - it doesn't matter. I love the idea of an enclosed space within a household unit that is devoted to gardens.

Cut off from the outside world, an interior paradise -- reserved for family and friends. A place of quiet meditation and joy.

I've attempted to create the best pseudo-courtyard I can in my own space. With the back of my apartment serving as one wall, and a huge black willow giving me cover on two sides, I've put in a privet hedge (no, it ain't a beautiful adobe wall -- I don't have the money, and I don't think the apartment management would be willing to let me build one) that sit atop the edge of the retaining wall that defines the edge of my backyard.

The hedge extends across the open area of grass between my apartment and the one adjoining me. The main bed of the garden is nestled inside the privet hedge, and bounded by the willow.

As reported a few months ago, I've painted a whole bunch of terra cotta pots in tropical colors -- orange, pink, flame red -- offset by deep sapphire blues for grounding. These are set in the main bed (where there is room) and on the 4x4' square paver "floors" I've laid down in the lawn.

Next year: the must-have water element.

My garden keeps me as fit as I can be, keeps me connected to the dirt, and soothes my spirits in a time of great discontent.

Posted by: nelson | June 14, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Dear Scottynuke, I do. Curmudgeon usually slaps me upside the head and I catch myself. He leaves for a couple of days and I am pret'near falling apart.

I also noticed a passing resemblance to Gaby Hayes this morning when I looked in the mirror.

Perhaps you can help me address a spelling quandry that has plagued me since grade school while you are at it. Am I the only person on the continent who says to herself "I before E except after C and in words like neighbour and weigh' every time I have to spell a word that uses the 2 letters in combination?

Help me O-be-wan-Scottynuke.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Your trip out West sounds fun, especially the more northern route. I hope when you're in Reno, that you take the time to detour over to Lake Tahoe and perhaps Squaw Valley. Virginia City is fun, too, if you've never seen it. The nice thing about Reno and Vegas is that they are far enough west to cool down at night, which would be the time to explore them. Don't lose your shirt at the gaming tables or slot machines, however.

I don't pray for your soul, as much as for the car you'll be driving and its air conditioning system. I drove from Oceanside to San Antonio in August 2002, only to realize that the almost brand-new car my husband had arranged for me as a rental through National didn't have a working air conditioning system--the realization hitting me about 9 a.m. in Yuma. I didn't want to stop at a National counter at Tucson, say, or El Paso, because the car was jam-packed with those things I considered mementos of my mom's. I should have rented a small U-Haul. So I drove from sunrise to sunset, rolled down all the windows, let my hair blow every witch-way (which-way?) in the wind. This wildness make the trip a Thelma and Louise experience for me, in some ways.

One thing about the West--you can easily be fooled by the map as to just how far the distances are. By all means, keep extra water in the car--cooler, canteen, somnething. Don't want to picture you like those post cards we used to send from Death Valley as kids--an old prospector, sprawled on his belly on the desert valley floor, his shirt ripped open, with big black vultures picking on his flesh, his hand outstetched for the empty canteen just beyond his reach.

Posted by: Loomis | June 14, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

nelson, with tomatoes, do you pinch back the flowers until the plant is full sized or do you just let them all turn to tomatoes?

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

*snuke, you have a change of clothes, a towel, or are you running around au naturel as shop steward? If it's ice water that slyness doused you with, your peenitz must be pretty shriveled by now*

Posted by: Loomis | June 14, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I agree with what you said, but a leader who will be good for a country also has to be able to take into account the good of the many. He has to be able to do what is right, what must be done, even if his constituents don't support him. They have to be brave enough, possibly fool hardy enough to go a step beyond popularity.

Good leaders today can't just do what is right for their nation, they also must consider what is good for all humanity. Much as we don't like it, we are sometimes our borther's keeper.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

My wife's four year old minivan was out of warranty and she got new car fever aided and abetted by our insurance company that also finances our cars. She settled on a brand new Hank Azaria which is a sub-luxury car made by industrious Koreans. It has a 100,000 mile drivetrain warranty and free roadside assistance. We hope not to use it.

We will stock the back seat with a cooler filled with potables and keep our eye on the engine temperature light. Our son still has about 50 hours of rookie driving to go before he can take the drivers test. We intend to fill that square on the trip.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 14, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Courtyards...what guides me in my backyard is a reminiscence of one I saw in Barcelona oh so long ago...hanging flower pots all over the sides of the building...nicely varying heights. I've tried to do the same with the mid-crossbeams of my fence--a variety of hand-painted Talavera pottery filled with a variety of cacti (rather than geraniums and softer, leafier plants like I saw in Barcelona)--need to replant those that didn't survive the winter's freezes.

Posted by: Loomis | June 14, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse


Great post about the garden! I'm much too lazy to have a proper garden myself, but I find even the little bits I do go a long way towards clearning my head of the arbitrary crap we (or I, anyway) call "work".

I've been looking for ways to create a grand courtyard myself, but it seems to require pieces of a small medieval village.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 14, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, you win the title of Queen of the Road Trip. That's quite a journey. My longest single drive was from New Brunswick (just north of Maine), through DC, through northern TX, then north to Calgary.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Dave: Yes, the Wilentz book is a little dense at times, but overall a magical journey of the first several decades of the nation. I've since read his Rolling Stone piece, which might be convincing if not premature.

What strikes me most about Lincoln (this from Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals) is how secure he was in dealing with those who dismissed him as inadequate. He seemed unable to place personal slights above the needs of the nation. Thus he tolerated McClellan, Seward, Chase, etc., even as they sought to undermine him. Seward, of course, came to see Lincoln's greatness.

Posted by: kindathinker | June 14, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl -- don't pinch the flowers on your tomatoes! That's your fruit!

If your plants are getting spindly, if you want bushier plants, pinch back the plant itself; this will help it to bush out.

But leave the flowers alone. Unless there are some on the part of the plant you want to pinch back -- then go ahead and sacrifice them for the sake of a healthier plant.

Loomis -- I know it's dreadfully hot in San Antonio -- but I'd trade it for Virginia any day.

I love the idea of plants cascading from plastered walls -- or even cross-beans of a fence.

Succulents make excellent container plants because they need so little water. They tend to drown here.

I love talavera style stuff -- I have lizards, geckos and fish hanging on my marching across a wall in my living room (one of the geckos in in intensive care after my cat, determined to get a fly, knocked him off the wall. Talavera is so fragile!)

Your backyard sounds nice Loomis. I'm surprised the talavera made it through the freeze.

I'd love to do my house with talavera tiles. At least the kitchen. I have thought of buying a talavera sink on ebay and using it as a water feature in the garden. It would have to come in every winter though . . .

I have a fantasy about living in Spain or Portugal . . . old architecture, old cultures (my spanish is okay -- my portugese is nil). Maybe one day.

Posted by: nelson | June 14, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I seem to recall learning in Constitution, Citizenship, and Public Issues (CCPI, "sippy", 12th grade) that the debate has existed from the very beginning of our Republic over how representatives should do their job -- are they the avatars of the people, acting and voting according to the expressed desire of the people? Or are they appointed as wise leaders, entrusted to act independently of instruction from the electorate, and possibly counter to the general will of the populace when the populace has its head up its collective cloaca? Vote your conscience, or vote the poll? There are schools of thought that hold each mode to be the greatest political virtue. I'm inclined to think that the politician should vote his conscience and then explain it in the next election. As a maker of policy, the politician has the great advantages of superior information and the opportunity to consider it at length. Not to say that many of them actually use those advantages, of course. But that would be another realm of complaint that has been with us since at least the Revolution.

Pandering to the public, and public critiques of such pandering, go way back. WAY back. Rome had bread and circuses. Greece had elective wars and annual wars and criminal trials conducted by mob vote. Mesopotamia had state-sponsored religion and temple prostitutes. Talk about your pandering, dude, them Mesopotamians knew how to pander!

Posted by: Tim | June 14, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, SonofCarl, we had a primitive RV and camped, just the three of us. My dad kept a diary and I still have it. Whenever my husband and I go west, we have to go and do the same things I did on that trip. For instance, go to the top of the Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel in San Francisco and check the price of a coke: 35 cents in 1959 (my dad was horrified), $3.50 in 1999.

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Just a thought here:

Do we do joel a disservice by completely ignoring his carefully crafted and publicly posted kits?

The poor guy slaves away to come up with witty, yet illuminating coverage of today's hot topics, and we, the peanut gallery, pay no attention!

D'ya think his feelings get hurt?

I'm gonna go get my hair cut. I'll ponder this question while watching my 1" long hair get trimmed back to a more manageable 1/4" (not joking -- but it looks nice, really!)

Perhaps we should ponder pandering more often to the kit . . .


I know, I know -- somebody had better wake scottnuke up before things get really out of hand!!

Posted by: nelson | June 14, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

*smashing and chopping sounds*

HAH! Didn't know there was a fire ax in there, didja?!?!

dr, I don't use quite that phrase, but yes, I say it too.

LindaLoo, it IS a bit drafty in here, now that you mention it...


*taping today's WaPo around me as I slide towards the locker room*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Why should you pay attention to the kit? It's just a conversation starter, at best. I think the boodle is its own thing. It's fully sovereign.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 14, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

kindathinker, I've been dipping in and out of Wilentz, and I wish it weren't quite so ... comprehensive.


But I love reading about the 1790s, which has parallels with our own time (dominant party overreaching, crackdown on liberties, lots of rancor and scandal, etc.).

Posted by: Achenbach | June 14, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of pandering, my reading project of the moment is Michael Grunwald's "The Swamp." Lots of Everglades-related politics.

Thinking of road travel, I notice that Michelin has come out with a road atlas of the US. They may have made a mistake by chopping the country up into rectangles. Lots of Americans still think of neighboring states as being somewhat foreign. The old Candid Camera stunt of setting up a barricade and claiming that Delaware was closed for the day would probably still work.

Benchmark publishes superb road atlases for the western states.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 14, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

That's very gracious of you, Joel. Of course, I think it's lots of fun to see where the conversation goes. I'll bet you enjoy thinking of stuff to get it started. We do appreciate what you do!

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

"soverign" might not be quite the bon mot...

"ungovernable," now THAT's the word...


Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

dr... I'm addressing you twice here...

YES! I meant the good of the whole dang whole. Those things can often go hand in hand (good of the country = good of the whole) or at least in the right hands they can. You said what I was trying to say but you did it much better. I was having a little trouble there, I guess you could tell.

My point was that they should be DOING SOMETHING not just PRETENDING to do something, like raising the terror level; visiting our puppet government; landing on an aircraft carrier; saying "we've won!" when we've clearly not.

[We need (i) italics! (/i) dabgummit!]


And you said, "Am I the only person on the continent who says to herself "I before E except after C and in words like neighbour and weigh' every time I have to spell a word that uses the 2 letters in combination?"

YES! Except I say " words like neighbor and weigh."

Posted by: TBG | June 14, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Joel, Wilentz bogs down in a few places. I understand the Federalist period much better after having read his book, but I thought his treatment of the Jacksonian era wasn't as clear.

I find some solace in the fact that we've gone through periods of overreaching and then counteraction that has preserved what could be called "the American ideal". I wish I could be more sanguine about the counteraction to come after the current overreaching.

The Bush crew's mastery of symbolism and of Orwellian language, combined with access to almost unlimited amounts of campaign money and few scruples in their methods of using it, seem to make the reaction more difficult.

Despite Iraq and a multitude of other problems, it may take an economic shock (brought on by higher interest rates?) to produce a full swing of the pendulum.

Posted by: kindathinker | June 14, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Tim: My general understanding about the brilliance of the framers was that they recognized the two schools of thought and set up the two houses of Congress to address the issue. The House was intended to represent the lowly rabble and their hair-brained ideas. In order to help keep the rabble sort of in order, they had to run for re-election every two years. The Senate, on the other hand, was the august, considerate body that could take the longer, broader view of the issues of the day (hence the 6-year term) and help settle or leaven the wild-eyed lower House. The art of compromise would ultimately generate a workable set of laws.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 14, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

And, ebtnut, the Senate gave equal representation to small states as to large, and the House, representation based on population, so the two were balanced, IIRC...

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The Framers also envisioned a balance of power between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial, too...


Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Scottynuke, I just hope everything doesn't go completely in the toilet beyond redemption before the pendulum swings back.

Watergate was the last time I remember the system being so out of whack, and everything came together to work then. This time, I dunno. And I worry.

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut, slyness: yep, those Constitutional framers were smart guys. I'm especially fond of the fact that the various offices of government are set up to be in tension with each other, in such a way that the best way to serve one's ambition is to serve the office.

Unfortunately, this useful system seems to be at least partly foiled by placing both houses of Congress, the executive branch, and the judicial branch, into the hands of one political party. It remains to be seen what happens when this Supreme Court gets its hands on some of the juiciest material to come from this administration. The Judiciary is the one area in which the government relies upon the incumbents to place the good of the whole nation above partisan gain, which is why the President cannot merely appoint whomever he wants to the office, the choice has to be approved by the Senate. So far, we have a pretty good history of Supreme Court Justices who can rise above their party labeling. Not every one of them, of course, but a substantial fraction.

Posted by: Tim | June 14, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

It's the weakness of democracy that it is extremely hard to maintain a long term focus on anything. Having said that, and paraphrasing Churchill, democracy is the worst possible system of government,with the exception of all the other kinds.

PS I thought it was funny that Joel should comment that the boodle is it's own thing, right after scottynuke's post about pants.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

re: Dean scream

nelson, I think the media jumped on the anti-Dean bandwagon after said scream because Kerry, esp with win in Iowa caucus, was viewed as more "winable" over Bush. They were almost right. Dean's crash in '04 was about the fastest political fall since Muskie and Eagleton, both in '72, although Muskie's fall was set up by the Canuck Letter, i.e., was really none of his doing.

Posted by: farfrombeltway | June 14, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"So far, we have a pretty good history of Supreme Court Justices who can rise above their party labeling. Not every one of them, of course, but a substantial fraction."

Crossing my fingers; hoping for the best.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 14, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

We have messed with original intent. We now direct elect Senators (the ones is Washington, not the skating ones in Ottawhat) The whole equal representation thing has led gerrymandering to become an art form. And the doctine of judicial review is not an explicit power but a claimed power. In this way Dubya's "signing statements" are a similar power grab.

And we won't bring up the whole 3/5 compromise and female suffrage. There are still some people holding grudges.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 14, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

OK, too many similar posts...

Who's got a Mr. Stripey update??

*tapping toe*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Where did we put that duct tape? We need some for the Obersturmbahnfuhrer.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I duct-taped the duct tape, if you must know...

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The problem with staying on the kit topic is that some of us do our work in the morning and then by the the time we've caught up with the latest comment we have completely forgotten what the kit was all about. So we just join in on the hilarity. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: omni | June 14, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

What?! I don't get extra credit for the oblique capital of Canuckistan reference? I demand a recount.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 14, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

That's a spare piece of duct tape, omni, not a story...


Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Stripey is growing nicely in my garden. No fruit yet, because I planted way too late in the year, but his foliage is full and green and bushy. The Tami-G grape tomato plants are growing, as well. One of my two cucumbers already is withered and gone. The other barely survives. One watermelon plant is failing, the other is sturdy. I've lost 2/9ths of my sweet potatoes, but the remaining 7/9ths are getting taller and leafier. The rain is good, and I have finally set out the sprinkler to take care of the dry days.

This has been your boringly factual Mr. Stripey update.

Posted by: Tim | June 14, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Here's the bit I promised earlier...

Four years after the war's end, in May 1869, the tanscontinental railroad was completed and linked the western United States with the East. That same year, the future Santa Fe Railroad, destined to stretch across the Southwest from Kansas to California, was begun.

The message was clear. With the coming of the industrial age, the government's need for camels had passed.

Its need for the native caretakers had ended as well. Left without work, some of the men returned to their homelands. Others remained in America. Of those who did, only the lives of a few were recorded in any detail.

Elias, a drover from Turkey [with a name like Elias, I suspect he was really Greek--author Frank Gonzales, who's researching a book on the camel corps, says most were really Greek and many had converted to Islam], moved to Mexico in the 1860s. There he married a Yaqui Indian woman and took to ranching. One of his children, Plutarcho Elias Calles, grew up to become president of Mexico from 1924 to 1928.

Greek George stayed with the California herd when they were sold to Samuel McLeneghan and traveled with them to Nevada, where they were put to work under the harshest conditions, used to pack salt and freight to the silver mines, their care often neglected. After McLeneghan's death in 1865, George returned to California. There, he beame a naturalized citizen in 1867. He took the name of George Allen, and settled down in a small abode home in a part of Los Angeles that would become Hollywood. In his later years, he was described as "a modest, well-mannered, sturdy man, with a Homeric beard and a thatch of hair, both so dense as to seem bullet proof."

[Of course, the story of Hi Jolly is a good one, too...]

"Camels for Uncle Sam" Diane Yancey--a simple retelling, with all the major players named Best, I think, for grades 6-9, or for those who want a quick overview. Best book on the subject is in the rare collections section of the San Antonio library, but I await Gonzales' labor--he, from Smiley, Texas--on the story, his research now going into its fourth year.

Mudge, I'm trying to place Civil War Admiral David Dixon Porter on our family tree. His father and grandfather were both men of the sea, but I can't place their origins back to the Porters of ancient Winsdor, Conn.---the same Porter branch that yielded Hiram Ulysses Grant. David Dixon Porter plays significantly into the East Coast part of the U.S./Texas Camel Corps story. If you know anything, give me a holler.

Posted by: Loomis | June 14, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Snuke, remember, RD's on the left coast for the week. We'll have to wait till he gets back for a Mr. Stripey update.

My Early Girl and cherry tomatoes are doing well, if that counts.

Posted by: slyness | June 14, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

In fact, I can't remember the last time I boodled on a kit topic. And if I have recently, I assure you it was completely accidental.

Posted by: omni | June 14, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Any red fruit that's mistaken for a vegetable is fine, slyness...

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy your trip. I was in Vegas a couple of years ago in July, and the heat was oppressive. However, the weather at the Grand Canyon was beautiful. We did a lot of hiking on the rim trail even mid-day with no problem. Hiking down into the canyon in July is a different matter.

Posted by: OK | June 14, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt: kudos. The Ottawa Senators were favorites this year along with Detroit, and lost in the playoffs. Maybe they should have taken a sober second look at their playoff strategy.

scottynuke: always one step ahead. Yet another use for duct tape!

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 3:53 PM | Report abuse

If I were dictator for a day I would pass a law that would require Weingarten to hold his chat every week whether he was on assignment or vacation no matter what. I'd make one concession: he wouldn't have to do the updates those weeks (maybe). Cause chatological humor withdrawal bites.

How's that for off topic.

Posted by: omni | June 14, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of camels, I fondly remember the 1976 classic film "HAWMPS!" It was one of my favorites from that year up there with "Gus" and "The Amazing Dobermans". Truly a forgotten Golden Age of Mammal Thespians.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 14, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Senators (whether of the skating or dozing type) taking a sober look at anything ? It's pretty clear you've never sit in Ottoman SoC.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 14, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

SCC "sat".
Time to go home.

BTW SoC, you may pinch off all but one of the flowers of your tomato plant if you are planning to show a Mr. Stripey in tall&big vegetable contest. Winning fruit, whether it is a pumkin, a cucumber or a tomato come from a single fruit plant.
Pinch off suckers, not flowers.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 14, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

My sarcasm alert button malfunctioned.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The new issue of New Scientist reviews "Imaginary Weapons: A journey through the Pentagon's scientific underworld" by Sharon Weinberger. She's editor of Defense Technology International, and the book covers the non-existent Hafnium Bomb. Weird.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 14, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Hafnium Bomb. Does that have half the power of a Wholeium Bomb??? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 14, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I think it's slightly less powerful (but quicker) than the Minuteandahafnium Bomb...

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

That's exactly what they WANT you to think - that the Hafnium Bomb doesn't exist.

*adjusting antennae on tin foil hat*

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut beat me to it. Durn me for being slow on the uptake.

This hafnium bomb sounds like Maxwell Smart's Nude Bomb.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 14, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"the skating ones in Ottawhat"

That was swell, yellojkt.

OK, it must be a virus. Now I'm channeling Theodore Cleaver.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't remember the NUde Bomb, but I have often wished for a cone of silence.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

From Google: "Like the Austin Powers movies, "Get Smart" is a spoof of spy movies like the James Bond series, and "The Nude Bomb", made at the height of the Cold War, in the early 1980s, concerns Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, the guy with the shoe phone, pursuing the madman who has developed a bomb that, if exploded, would render everyone without clothes. This is an underrated movie and works well even with the absence of the original supporting cast from the 1960s television series. Almost, but not quite as funny as "The Naked Gun". 8/10"

Posted by: ebtnut | June 14, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I'M FREE!!!!!!

Just got out of my class (I am sooooo thoroughly trained now it's disgusting. You ought to begin seeing a marked improvement in your federal government almost any moment.)

Boy, do I need a drink.

But first, I must commend the boodle for its exemplary behavior under scottynuke's watchful eye. I didn't get a single complaint all day! Not a one! Just a single e-mail that was extremely garbled, and appeared to be from someone typing with only one or two fingers, as if they were taped together or something. The e-mail appeared to ask for "wable" to "dwink," whatever the heck that means, and something about talcum powder and chafing, and something about dunk rape. I deduce from the context that no dunks were actually raped; rather it appeared to be some sort of warning. But I really couldn't figure it out.

I've gotta go run for the bus; we're leaving tonight for a cruise on the Chesapeake, so won't be boodling tonight, or tomorrow or Friday. scottynuke, if you're up to it, do you want to coninue on as acting shop steward, considering what a fine job you did today? If for some reason you can't, TBG, would you like a turn? Loomis? Nani? Cassandra? Discuss it amongst yourselves and pick someone. (Error Flynn has some leadership skills, but since he's tossed his hat in the ring, I don't want to give him the air time and publicity, nor appear to be politically endorsing a candidate.)

I'll be back Friday evening or Saturday.

Make me proud, now!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 14, 2006 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Just read your camel post Linda. Very interesting.

You know, I knew about the camel core in the US and the camels in Australia from way back. Treasure chest magasine used to have all kinds of interesting stuff about America and all kinds opf places and times. I grew up on stories of William Powell, Eisenhower, Nebuchadnezzar and Troy. Its always nice when I find a memory brought out by something someone posts, and then tells me more.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Not a huge fan of Lincoln (like most, some good aspects, some not-brilliant politician), but I must defend him on McClellan. Lincoln first asked R. E. Lee to lead the Union Army. Lee said he would go whichever way Virginia went--which was barely to the Confederacy--hence West Virginia. If Virginia (and Lee and Jackson) had gone with the Union, the Confederacy would have probably collapsed in a matter of weeks or months. Talk about fateful turns.

Posted by: Dooley | June 14, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

SCC--meant to say that Lincoln was a brillant politician

Posted by: Dooley | June 14, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Dooley (SCC King) | June 14, 2006 5:54 PM | Report abuse

McClellan reminds me of Bernie Montgomery--great organizer, passable tactician, but chokes at the critical moment. He got out-generaled in the 7 Days, but had Lee nailed at Antietam. The effort was wasted when he wouldn't commit the reserves. Granted, Burnside's idiocy at the infamous bridge didn't help either. But taking the field before help arrived was there, and he threw the opportunity away.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 14, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Another off-topic, reaction to an earlier entry by the brilliant (really) Mr. Achenbach:

If Robert Parker's tongue is anything like Achenbach describes, I simply must get to know the man.

Posted by: Annie | June 14, 2006 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Masochist Watch: I just got off the horn with Hugh Hewitt, I think the interview will run tonight, if anyone wants to listen. It was maybe 15 percent less adversarial than last week's. It never devolved into an actual intellectual discussion, and I don't know what parts of it will actually air.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 14, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Anyone but me for subbing shop steward and for one reason and one reason only. My Internet connection is so flaky with the heat that I get dropped more times than I can count. Last summer, when the temps were extreme, our broadband service/ISP thought it should drop new coax through our attic, but swapped out our modem instead. Over 98 degrees, and it's a toss-up whether I have Internet connectivity or not and I can never say for how long.

Posted by: Loomis | June 14, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I toured Antietam last summer. That Burnside Bridge episode was absolutely inexcusable.

On McClellan, the phase around the seige of Richmond seems like a wasted opportunity.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Of course, Burnside, unlike Achenbach, didn't opt to try a second run across an exposed defile under direct fire.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 14, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

"Of course, Burnside, unlike Achenbach, didn't opt to try a second run across an exposed defile under direct fire."

Yeah, Burnside saved that for the assault a Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, further adding to his noterity as one of the worst generals in U.S. history.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 14, 2006 6:49 PM | Report abuse

>If Robert Parker's tongue is anything like Achenbach describes, I simply must get to know the man.

LOL - and they say romance is dead!

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 14, 2006 7:10 PM | Report abuse

For some reason, 'Mudge, I'm incredibly well-rested and would be fine for tomorrow.

Got the worst cottonmouth, though... *puzzled look*


As for Fredericksburg, having lived there and toured much of the battlefield (had a townhouse about 100 yards from one part of the national park, actually), I simply cannot fathom anyone trying to take Marye's Heights. Visit, and you'll soon see why -- advancing uphill, across wide-open fields, broad daylight, with well-entrenched defenders and cannon on the heights. *shaking my head at the carnage*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Typical Hewitt interview, cloying and unctuous on the Spew's part, projecting all his insecurities on you.
At least I found out about this blog, which looks pretty decent.

Posted by: Webster Hubble Telescope | June 14, 2006 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Just came from listening to Joel on the Hewitt show where Joel says it's not politcal here.

Assuming Wiki is accurate in writing of this place:

"Rovestorm: A post which attracts a huge number of casual readers due to its political content"

Well if it's not political here that's an oddly political inflection on that neologism.

Posted by: Steve | June 14, 2006 8:03 PM | Report abuse


Joel does sometimes include political happenings in his Kit, as the regulars here call the main blog items. The comments, or Boodle, mainly stick to whatever silliness we're in the mood for, and sometimes that has a political slant as well. But we're not all politics all the time, more general science.

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 14, 2006 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, Steve. Scottynuke is correct. In general, comments here are wide-ranging, but not political in nature. We have a lot of fun.

Posted by: Slyness | June 14, 2006 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Even in my comment last night, I pointed out that most of the regulars have strong political views, and usually bring up the political news of the day if JA hasn't already. I was just observing that the regulars don't have the zest for continuing to dissect a particular political discussion that is found in other fora (that IS the proper plural of 'forum', isn't it?), and tend to veer in other directions.

Posted by: Meaningful Dribble | June 14, 2006 8:22 PM | Report abuse


The fuller explanation of Rovestorm requires a little context:

Because the crowd here is usually a relatively small group of reasonably bright children at play, only occasionally and relatively briefly touching on political news of the day, the tremendous increase in traffic from axe-grinders who happened to notice a link to a political blog item (the first BIG one concerned Rove, natch) is infrequent enough and amusing enough to deserve its own phenomenclature!

Posted by: Meaningful Dribble | June 14, 2006 8:38 PM | Report abuse

(I'm getting tired of reading myself type, so I'll shut up momentarily!)

I've also noted a tendency for the regular group here (not me of course, but all those other intolerant, effete liberal hacks!) to be accused of being close-minded to points of view which they do not share. I've known that this was self-evidently incorrect, but not always how to point out HOW it was incorrect. I think I'm figuring it out. (The latest mini-storm helped)

What the regulars are NOT tolerant about is a habit of conducting discourse in a manner which disregards civility & rational support for one's argument. I personally think that LOTS of fuzzy thinking gets thrown around here (to include, on very rare beer-soaked occasions, by myself), but very little of it turns into a rant without being challenged pretty quickly! If the best reply available is invective, it will typically turn out to be inadequate.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 14, 2006 8:52 PM | Report abuse

(I'm sure it's obvious, but:)
That last bit was me, too.

Posted by: Meaningful Dribble | June 14, 2006 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Once again, I must plead for help. I went to Hewitt's site, then to, but I can't find Joel's interview. If anyone can post the link, I'd appreciate it.

nelson, I feel the same way about gardening that you do. Thanks for your thoughts on that.

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 14, 2006 9:20 PM | Report abuse

The Germany v. Poland game was probably the best game thus far in the World Cup. Except for the officiating. Horrible. He must have given out 5 or 6 yellow cards on "fouls" that were not deserving of a whistle, let alone a card. But the goal at the end was beautiful.

The Episcopal Church is having their General Convention (big gathering of all the bishops and delegates) this week. The most pressing issue on the agenda is the debate over homosexuality, and their action 3 years ago of consecrating an openly gay man, Gene Robinson, as bishop in NH. There should be more in the news in the next couple days, and (being Episcopalian) I will probably follow it fairly closely.

Steve: welcome. the general rule (as I understand it) of the boodle is twofold: respect each other (and each other's beliefs) and have fun.

Posted by: tangent | June 14, 2006 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey, we've been busy welcoming Steve, but let's not forget to welcome, as well, Webster Hubble Telescope (or WHuT as NASA-types instantly acronymize it).

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 14, 2006 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, enjoy yourself, but we are going to miss you so much. I have to be out tomorrow because it rained here all day, so the things that needed to be done today are on tap for tomorrow. Will be out most of the day. And I can't get my email to work. I don't know what's going on with that. I hope someone gets a link for Joel on the radio. I would love to read it. I'm so sleepy, and I'm going to say good night to all. Get some rest.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 14, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I'll take both Scottynuke & Slyness at face value that this spot on the web is not primarily political.

I just got here and can't possible read enough to have my own opinion on that yet.

To me Joel came off on Hewitt's show as a decent fellow. If a bit guarded (though not without reason mind you. Hewitt *was* out to make a point).

But this 'Rovestorm' thing doesn't really fit with Joel's claim that this place is non-political. Was my point.
Really, 'Rovestorm' is a telltale that the place *is* a political place, even assuming the discussion of politics is not a frequent topic here.

I mean, look, every well balanced person gets (or should get) tired of politics from time to time. And might even seek out a politics-free zone. Cool.

But c'mon. That this group is comfortable with 'Rovestorm' (as a descriptor of an interruption of politics-free conversation) just plain *is* revealing of the politics of most folks here.

If I walk into an eatery and people are slathering mayo on their pastrami sandwiches I know I'm not going to hear "Shalom!" any time soon.

When I see something like 'Rovestorm'... well I've never seen anything like that on a cat blog. Or a photo blog. And people do interject politics even on those sorts of blogs.

"But we're not about politics here. Demonizing Rove? What's wrong with that?"

G'night all you non-politicals.
I'm gonna go brush my tooth, kiss my shotgun, and make love to my cousin-wife.

I wrote it about myself. So it *must* be true.

Posted by: Steve | June 14, 2006 9:44 PM | Report abuse

It's a long time since I've been called an effete liberal and I am in tears. I... can't... help... myself...

I *heart* being called that.

I am overcome.

This pitiful attempt at humour is what happens when I have been left alone too long.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Meaningful Dribble, you have us pegged!

Mudge, have a good time sailing. I hope the weather cooperates. No fun if Alberto rains all over you. He left us 1.9" of rain which were very welcome, but I hope he's off the Bay before you get there.

Posted by: Slyness | June 14, 2006 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I have to say I liked to hear that the boodle is "fully sovereign"! Joel is such a sweet guy, letting us run rampant here.

Achenfan, hope you can check in from Oz. Hope everyone's vacations, excursions, trips are safe and fun. yellojkt, the only thing crazier than the summer trip through the southwest is driving the northern route from DC to Seattle in November (which my dear husband and I did, long ago). We survived - actually went through Canada on the way back. It was fine till we hit that blizzard in Minnesota (snow was piled eight feet high alongside the road). A few years later, we moved from DC to Seattle - in February. That was when I learned what a ground blizzard is (the snow isn't falling, it's blowing so hard you can't see). And I learned that bridges really do freeze before the roads do, as we skated across one in Montana. If nothing else, trips like these make interesting memories!

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 14, 2006 9:48 PM | Report abuse

The thing about Rovestorm that you miss in the coined term Rovestorm is that most of us left. sometimes we chimed in but most of us just sort of left.

The little storm was a whole lot more fun. We all crowded in Curmudgeons Buker, and had a good time. We even cleaned up. Well except for the crab dip. Yellojkt, was it you who went back to take care of that?

It should also be noted for new boodlers out there, don't fall for all the Wikipedia stuff. I mean who authored the thing? Ok, ok. See, we were talking about using Wiki as a source one day and we noted that Joel and Achenblog were not on listed (the greatest crime of the century) so we, well, we dealt with it.

Welcome Steve, Welcome Webster Hubble.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 9:53 PM | Report abuse

SCc, Bunker.

You know I still don't have the hang of that Preview thing.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm reading about Crocheted Socks! Good project for the bunker, I'd say.

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 14, 2006 10:05 PM | Report abuse


>I'm gonna go brush my tooth, kiss my shotgun, and make love to my cousin-wife.

Cool. I've been thinking about getting a shotgun for a long time now, any recommendations?

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 14, 2006 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Personally (and no offense to anyone's posts), when the topic is politics, if a relatively conservative person posts a strong conservative viewpoint (that I usually disagree with), I just skim and move on. But likewise, if a relatively liberal person posts a liberal viewpoint (that I usually agree with), I generally just skim those too. It's when the conservatives start supporting a liberal view, or vice-versa, that I sit up and take notice. That's when I wonder if my view might need to change.

I'm here for the science. And the wine.

Posted by: Dooley | June 14, 2006 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I actually came here to say something.

Earlier today someone posted about methane from cattle, and how maybe it would be better if we all became vegetarian. The way I see it, there are a couple of problems with that. If we take all animals out of our diets, that means we are tied to vegetable matter. No biggie, but what about in times of changing weather, drought, storms? What happens when those crops are destroyed? When the crops you planted don't grow? It happens, a lot more than most people think. what happens when the crops you planted and sweated over are chewed up by insects? Admittedly we do have the most secure food supply on the face of the planet, but we ultimately are at nature's mercy on this. You take animal products out of the food chain, and then what?

Ok, so say you don't take all animals out of the process. We still would like to eat cheese, and milk for instance. What makes a cow give milk? Its a mammal so it should not be too hard to understand. In the normal order of things a cow must be bred, and following the birth of the calf, they will give milk. Cows do what farm folk call 'going dry' when the animal's hormone cycles are settled back down. What do we do with all those calves that need to be born in order to keep the milk supply?

And last but not least, in order to produce enogh vegetable foods to be largley sef sustaining, how much energy will be used. A modern farm takes a whole lot of energy to keep those tractors running, and the combines and cultivators moving. Sure there are articles out there that will tell you that it would be a net gain if farmers used the most fuel efficient machinery out there. However most farmers who grow your daily bread don't have new equipment because of the cost and the average net income of a farm operation.

And even with all that said, if everyone switched to be vegetarian, well farmers could just start growing some sort of grain or other crop, right? Nope. There is a lot of land out there that is just not suitable. Generally, if its good for producing grains, its already under cultivation. If its not, its producing cattle, sheep or that most heinous wrecker of nature of all, cities.

I'm not saying its a bad thing to be vegetarian, I'm not saying its a bad thing to be an omnivore. What I am trying to say, is that like pretty much everything else, its not that simple.

Ok I'll get off my high horse now.
Umphhhh. (Thud)

Umm, I've fallen and I can't get up. I may have broken something.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Dooley - that is almost precisely the way I end up processing things! Lengthy (political-ish) posts that are obviously either: 1)playing devil's advocate; or 2)actually acknowledging some merit in a differing point of view - these usually intrigue me enough to stay with them. Others, not so much.

I'm not sure why I'm here, but I've sure enjoyed the ride!

Posted by: Meaningful Dribble | June 14, 2006 10:34 PM | Report abuse

It would be great bunker work. And if anyone's feet got cold, we could fix it.

Of course we would have to keep the wine consumption down. Darn pesky fine yarns.

I've got to go tend to my cat. I have 20 pounds of 'you must be starving me' wrapped around my feet.

Posted by: dr | June 14, 2006 10:36 PM | Report abuse

On cows and methane--one thing that bothers me about the "cows destroying the world" theory: it's not as if we invented cows. The total number of cows in the US in 1987 was about 95 million ( But estimates for the number of bison in the US 400 years ago (before the Europeans slaughtered them all) generally range from 80-120 million--essentially the same range. Maybe our cows are especially gassy, but I doubt they produce twice as much methane as a bison.

In general, I think agriculture has not added dramatic numbers of organisms to the Earth's biome--we've jsut replaced the wild species with domesticated ones.

Posted by: Dooley | June 14, 2006 10:59 PM | Report abuse

dr - I subsist largely on Camel cigarettes & beer (almost entirely vegetarian in both cases, I'm told!), and meat & cheese (neither of them at all vegetarian, I'm told! And definitely not kashrut eaten in combination, with a little mayo). I'm sure that you already noted the logistical problems with the "animals as a food storage backup in case of plant problems" strategy, so I won't belabor that point.

But you've intentionally changed the subject from methane production. The fact is that humans (even those on a strictly vegetarian diet) produce much less methane than many of the animals that we consume. On the other hand, we don't regularly consume (and couldn't survive upon) the low-nutrition-value grasses that cows & horses CAN subsist on (and the digestion of which causes the impressive production of these hydrocarbons), either.

From an energy conservation point of view, vegetarian diets are much more efficient for the ecosystem as a whole. From MY point of view, a steak, a butter-drenched potato, & several beers is a much more efficient way to exceed my daily caloric needs. And after all, the sun is daily pouring exponentially more energy into the Earth than we have any use for! After all, we've stopped worrying about global cooling (at least for the time being, anyway) haven't we?

Posted by: Meaningful Dribble | June 14, 2006 11:04 PM | Report abuse

OK, OK, I cry uncle! From an energy conservation point of view, it just doesn't matter!

Posted by: Meaningful Dribble | June 14, 2006 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Good eatin' on a camel...

Posted by: Dooley | June 14, 2006 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to intrude so late at night, but here's the transcript:

Posted by: Achenbach | June 14, 2006 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, just got back from family duties, took in Joel's interview in HH from a link on HH's site.

Props to Hewitt for letting Joel have some time to explain himself, though HH seemed completely determined to pidgeonhole Joel as *something*.

Props to "not a joiner" Joel for standing up to HH's pestering about voting records and making sure that HH recoginzed JA for his own merit and not as part of some dismissible group. Also for not letting HH get away with the line of reasoning that if you're not an expert (recognized or self-appointed) on something that's serious, you're not entitled to write an opinion or an observation about it.

Geez, you'd think a radio guy would know something about the First Ammendment, though it's obvious he's workin' on his interpretation of the Sixth.


Posted by: Anonymous | June 14, 2006 11:41 PM | Report abuse

JA - thanks for the link. Ol' Hugh doesn't really have a comfortable place in his world view for you, does he? Oh, well, maybe he's right, that we're all a buncha pansies if we don't think that every complex issue has an immediately clear heads & tails!

Posted by: Meaningful Dribble | June 14, 2006 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, hey! I definitely have not just the right, but some sort of biological imperative, to spout off about subjects with which I have no expert qualifications whatsoever:

Gay marriage should (along with heterosexual marriage) be abandoned by the government(s), and left up to the churches and the lawyers, to whom this area properly belongs.

Illegal immigration is a budgeting problem, not a cultural or legal problem.

I think that kudzu lends a certain Irish greenery to otherwise-harsh red clay landscapes!

Posted by: M | June 15, 2006 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Game 5 super-dramatic finish as the Oilers win in overtime with a shorthanded goal.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 15, 2006 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Well...what a silly waste of time you girls are. (Meaningless drivel is your name?)

Achin'Back: read the whole bloody, whining mess at HH.c, and you come off as not only an idiot (you do), but as an overly defensive, dishonest idiot. "It's not really, I won't tell you who I vote for; it makes the Post look bad...I must have voted for a Republican somewhere, somehow...I'm sure 9 of 10 generals with Alzheimer's will say the war was a fiasco...I think the war was a bad idea...the generals think the war was a bad idea...I hate Bush...Powell is a liar..."

WTF? Come on, Joel...this is supposed to be funny?

Posted by: Jaibones | June 15, 2006 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Jailbones: Not so bad! I'm chuckling here, and I'd bet that "Achin'Back" will be amused. That's not an entirely unfair characterization of the exchange. Like many things in life, it depends on the prism through which you view things.

Posted by: Meaningful Dribble | June 15, 2006 1:36 AM | Report abuse

hh's point about your needing to have a clear position on "serious" topics seems related to the whole journalism versus blogging thing. you're basically saying "this is a blog," and he's saying certain topics are off limits for a bloggy, daily-observationy approach. serious topics ("iraq, terror") must be treated in strictly editorial or opinion mode. but if you don't have all the answers the way hh does, who is apparently unequivocal about everything, well you know that might be a problem.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | June 15, 2006 2:05 AM | Report abuse

people can be so touchy...

the thai prime minister is seeking 800
million thai baht{ about $22 million }
in a defamation lawsuit against the thai
democrat political party...considering
that many thais live along on $3-$7 a day
this is very serious change...
curiously this is not out of the ordinary
in terms of monetary amounts sought in
thai courts for political defame...the
thai pm just sold out his stock market
holdings in the thai telecom services
giant AIS for about $1.7 billion...the
guy surely isn't hurting for money...

after 5 years as thai pm he recently has
hit a rough patch...he and his party, the
trt {thai rak thai}are coming in for some
turbulence over corruption,graft and ethics
questions...hence the sensitive feelings
and rapacious legal jeopardy. so it seems.

...on a lighter note...or perhaps not so
light...a thai sports fan shot and killed
two fellow world soccer fans in pattaya
as he felt they were being too loud in
cheering on their team of choice...he ran
away after doing so...police are looking
for him...this soccer fever can be deadly.

...happy to read president bush is doing
the right thing and creating a national
ISLANDS national monument...very good move
on this president's part...makes up for
some of his other not so enlightened takes
on environmental or preservation issues...

...i guess the prime minister of iraq was
not aware of the american presidents "snap
visit" he was about receive...after three
years of american pacification in iraq it
is still clear that the "green zone" is
an island in the middle of a "mean zone".
...the american president was quoted in
thursday's wapo lead story "I sense some-
thing different happening in Iraq"...
one can only hope this "sense" he has is
better than the one that landed him in
iraq to begin with...

...JONATHAN WEISMAN'S article in today's
{R-MD.} "To me , the administration does
not act like a war is going on. The Congress
certainly doesn't act like there
is a war going on"... as further
evidence of the style of slash and burn
GOP tactics coming along for this midterm
election this will be a heavily tilted
"debate" and "vote"...the idea being to
paint the democrats as being without
spines or steady principles...more of the
smear and slur raw politiking this
GOP run federal regime conjures to hold
on to power and control...
...perhaps the dems should take up the
thai model and break out with the touchys
and get sue'em happy...:-)
although when it comes to
being sore winners the GOP excell...likely they would
fully embrace some thai style "bury'em"
financially tactics...the GOP can be mighty
touchy about matters...just ask T.DELAY.
...looks like fear and doubt casting will
be getting lots of soundbite time during
this "debate"...clearly the GOP views 9/11
as it's all encompassing support event... will not be suffering from too much
responsibility taken for the GOP's record
running Congress as an equal and empowered
branch of the federal government...
...come november the tale will be told
if the GOP gets away with this rubbish
{word of the week? :-)} again...

Posted by: an american in siam... | June 15, 2006 2:55 AM | Report abuse

Just read the HH transcript; looking forward to listening to the audio when I have more time.

Will Rogers allusion in the opening exchange: Lovely!

Rogers, you know, was a guy who cultivated this persona of the slow talkin', slow thinkin' country boy, to the point where if you didn't pay close attention you might not realize that he was making fun of a sacred cow. His version of "I'm no expert" was, "All I know is what I read in the papers."

Rogers didn't let the media or the government tell him what to think or what to say. He just called 'em as he saw 'em. Here are some quotes on the subject of War and Peace:

"I tell you wars will never be a Success until you do have a Referee, and until they announce before they start just what it's for." (1/21/23)

"People talk peace, but men give their life's work to war. It won't stop till there is as much brains and scientific study put to aid peace as there is to promote war." (5/31/29)

"'Draft capital as well as men.' Any time you take everyting that every man has got the same as conscript, Boys, there ain't going to be no war." (7/22/23)

And while I have my book out, here's one for you, Joel:

(Road Trip!)
"But if you want to have a good time, I don't care where you live, just load in your kids, and take some congenial friends, and just start out. You would be surprised what there is to see in this great Country wihin 200 miles of where any of us live. I don't care what State or what town." (8/31/30)

And for Mrs. Joel:

"You know, there ought to be some kind of a star given to any woman that can live with a comedian." (5/11/30)

...That concludes the Will Rogers portion of our program. We now return to the Achenblog, which is in progress.

Posted by: kbertocci | June 15, 2006 6:20 AM | Report abuse

I am going to stray way off topic, saw this article this morning on a sulpher glacier spring that was just discovered in the Arctic.

I have been busy the last couple of days with an illness in the family and it was great to come home and catch up on the boodle and enjoy some laughs. Have a great day everyone.

Posted by: dmd | June 15, 2006 7:05 AM | Report abuse

OK, 'bout time to get things properly arranged here...

Where's my chair?

Where's my stack of "Official Shop Steward Complaint" forms?

And where's my tinfoil???

Oh, kbertocci, brownies?? You shouldn't have!


Posted by: Scottynuke | June 15, 2006 7:41 AM | Report abuse

I went off on that Will Rogers tangent and then ran out of time, that's the only reason I didn't say: Bravo, Joel, for bringing some civility to the HH blog. You did a good job controlling the tone, and highlighting the flaw in Hugh's position: it's too simplistic. The real world has, as you so correctly noted, "nuance." The more you study a situation and think about it, the more complex it appears to you. If you want to embrace a simplistic world view, it's important to stop taking input at some point. Since you're so friendly and charming with him, I guess Hewitt will do you the honor of considering you a "friend"--albeit one who, whenever your opinion differs from his, is "just wrong."

Posted by: kbertocci | June 15, 2006 8:10 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 15, 2006 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I should have added that I'm a member of the "Not a Joiner Club", being a voter since '81 but as not affiliated with a political party. Yes, it says "Unaffiliated" on my voter notification card. Used to say "Independent" back in the day.

In the interest of full disclosure, I note that HH's bio says nothing about his service in the US military. So, why does his opinion about War and the Military mean more than anyone else's? Other than the books, the blogging, and the radio show, I mean.

I also note that he teaches law (no word on whether he ever passed a bar or practiced), but does indicate that he knows how to fill an hour, and that he's making America a better place, one action at a time.


Posted by: bc | June 15, 2006 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Well, well. I read the interview between Joel and Hewitte. Joel, I must say you seemed more relaxed and in fine form. I'm glad you stood up for what you believe. To me, it sounded like this guy wants to have the right to tell you what to think and how to think, and that just is not so. But we know this is the premise behind many situations in this world, and not many of them good. Had the walk, and ready for the day. The sun is out, and it looks as if it is going to be a beautiful day. Scottynuke, you're on the job I see. I will check back in later. Have much to do today. I have prayed for all of you this morning, and I've asked God to bless each and everyone in all things. I love you all, and want good things for you in this life, and the life to come. Know in your heart and in your being, that God loves you more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Christ Jesus.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 15, 2006 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Gore could certainly be right about climate change and/or Iraq. We're following incredible risky policies (running incredibly reckless experiments)in both areas.
People, mostly supporters of the war, seem to have forgotten how inflammatory it is to most Muslims for a Christian Army to be in a Muslim land. Even some sort of victory is Iraq, anything but assured at this point, could be pyrrhic if, for example, it inspires another bin Laden like the Gulf War of Bush the 1st did.
The reports of scientific observations and studies I'm reading related to climate change seem scary to me. Wea're just rolling the dice with our future, to protect fossil fuel economic interests, personified by the chickenhawks in chief.

Posted by: mike | June 15, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company