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On "Hillary" vs. "Sen. Clinton"

I spent the day at Fermilab talking to physicists about sub-atomic particles that no one can see but whose interesting theoretical properties have compelled them (the physicists) to build an enormous accelerator for smashing together protons and anti-protons and analyzing the cool stuff that spews out. Like those kids say in "Hope and Glory": "Time to smash things up!" They're figuring out what reality is made of. They're smart folks and didn't seem to mind my dumb questions. I was a bit disappointed that they don't sell anti-protons in the gift shop. [More on this tomorrow, maybe: It's been a very long day that started long before dawn back in DC. My quarks are tired, my gluons are spent, and trust me you don't want to know what's happened to my electroweak force. Let's not go there.]

Now, regarding the very minor kerfuffle the other day in the boodle about whether it's sexist or demeaning or insulting or whatever to refer to Hillary Clinton as "Hillary," let me suggest otherwise. This is a blog. We use the vernacular here. "Hillary" sounds natural. So does "Sen. Clinton," which is why I've tended to use both. (See item a few days ago.) To say "Hillary" merely acknowledges her familiarity (though obviously someone who hates her might use her first name, too). Everyone knows who "Hillary" is. Do a Google search on the name "Hillary" and her Senate website is the first result. She's the premier Hillary.

This non-issue should be put completely to rest by the website, which carries the bold headline HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT, and asks the reader to "Join Team Hillary," and declares, "On Saturday, Hillary took the first step toward a run for the White House...," and says, "Hillary is starting the campaign with a national conversation....," and informs the visitor that you can "Host your own Hillary event," and suggests that you "Send Hillary a Message of Support," and so on.

Or do we need more examples.

The decision by the campaign to go with the familiar rather than the honorific is probably part of a broader likeability strategy. Lots of people apparently find the senator more admirable than likeable. She's usually the smartest person in the room, and is relentlessly on-message and unflappable, but that can make her seem robotic.

Can she win? Absolutely. She probably has a better chance than anyone else at the moment. Give me Hillary and the Bears and the points.

Polls show that a certain small percentage of Americans would never vote for a woman, but such numbers are suspect, given that Americans have never been given a chance.

The people who will never forgive her for her perceived sins in the 1990s are mostly people who would never vote for a Democrat anyway. The old scandals will surely get recycled by the Republican machine, but by Nov. 2008, most Americans will regard that as whitewater under the bridge.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 22, 2007; 7:09 PM ET
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I think that the emphasis on 'Hillary' is an attempt to disassociate her from the 'Clinton' part of her name.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 22, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I agree Maggie O'D. She may be striving to be a single name person - like Madonna and Cher.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

A remembrance of campaigns pasts suggests a return to the halcyon days of yester year when "I like Ike" and "Let Adalai go the other way" used the first name gambit. Hi Yo Silver.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 22, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's going to be an interesting campaign. I will vote for Hillary if she's the Democratic nominee. I've always liked and respected her, but I'll probably vote for John Edwards, the native son, in the primary.

I still need to get that Cheney/Voldemort '08 bumpersticker for the fun of it.

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Names and labels aside, we still need to see some policy proposals and stuff. Y'know, for that whole informed choice thing.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 22, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I've made the trek to that neck of the woods more than once. The blue sparks that jump out at you when you climb into bed on a cold winter's night can scare your Hadrons off.

Yet, I am sure that I speak for all when I say that we are eagerly awaiting the definitive exposition of all things Tevatron.

We will be expecting a clear explanation of the decay products produced by proton/antiproton annihilation accompanied by just the right number of Feynman Diagrams. Plus, we assume there will be many humorous anecdotes and wryly ironic observations.

And it shall be pithy.

No pressure though.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I am a moderate Democrat and I will not be voting for Hillary Clinton. NO MORE CLINTONS, NO MORE BUSHIES. I NEVER POST IN CAPS! The thought of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee in '08 makes me deeply despondent.

Posted by: Kim | January 22, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Do I recall correctly that Hillary never used Clinton until Bill was elected president? I do recall that for ages she will Hillary Rodham Clinton. Washington is worth a name change, to paraphrase Henri of Navarre.

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse


SCC: was, not will

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

In the ripeness of my years I relish the prospect of a Hillary/Barack (Clinton/Obama) ticket. Overcoming the barriers of color, gender, race, miscegenation, sexism and otherness would tell me America has at last matured. I guess I have a dream.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 22, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I came to the full realization of why they build such huge machines to measure tiny particles when I was doing the classic falling (okay, rolling) bodies on a ramp experient and trying to click on the precise millisecond the bodies had passed the finish line, and then crunching the numbers. The longer ramps yielded less uncertainity (and frantic clicking).

When you're trying to nab a subatomic particle traveling at a healthy fraction of the speed of light, you really need everything you've got. I'm kind of surprised a mile-long accelerator is at all adequate, actually. (Thank goodness for instruments that take human reflexes out of the equation).

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I might vote for Obama in the primary, but I won't vote for him as Hillary's VP.

What an insult. That's like Kerry asking McCain to run as his VP.

Posted by: Clinton/Obama = Hell no | January 22, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I just don't get it. She's at least as intelligent as her husband, she's tougher than most politicians (not to mention most people), she has a strong policy record, she is articulate, uses judgment instead of emotion (unlike some presidents we could mention) to make decisions, moderates her position in the face of evidence (not just of electability, but also implementibility [I just made that word up]), she has the traditional female virtues of faithfulness and putting the family first, she has been exonerated of the worst possible allegations against her...

What isn't to elect here? If I were an American citizen, I would not only vote for her, I'd volunteer as one of her campaign grunt-workers.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Shiloh,for us as Americans to even consider having a woman and a African American as the front runners would say a lot.I think even with either of them as a VP canidate would do wonders.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 22, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm starting to understand that in American presidential politics, if you support a candidate, the most positive thing you can say about her is that she has a good chance of winning. "Electability" is the new holy grail. I've been behind the curve on this, thinking we need "vision" or "character" or "agrees with me on the issues." But I'm seeing the light now. We just all want to vote for the Winner.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 22, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Achenbach's response is akin to the joker in the hallway who, after telling an off-color joke about women, tells the offended woman that she needs to get a sense of humor.

Mr. Achenbach (as I have not met the gentleman, "Joel" would be presumptuous) has missed the larger point, which is that the mainstream media systematically refers to male leaders with their titles or at least last names; I don't think I've ever heard of Secretary Kissinger referred to as "Henry," PM Blair as "Tony," President Bush as "George," nor, President Reagan as "Ronnie." What is offensive is that this same media has no problem systematically referring to "Condi," "Maggie," and "Hillary."

What Sen. Clinton chooses to call herself on her website is her prerogative and entirely beside the point. Not having met the lady, I would not presume.

Posted by: Kim Life | January 22, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

OK! Kbert just elucidated the conundrum. Sorry. Return to your regular programming.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Kim, hon, the internet is a big place. If this is not to your taste, feel free to explore.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Just told little Gomer to kiss Ms. Gomer teeth, and he did it.

How cute!

She's called Hillary now because we knew her when she was First Lady. They all go by first names. Remember Doily?

Posted by: Gomer | January 22, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Framing the debate, kbertocci, is the precursor to electability.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 22, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Well said Yoki!

I would like to repost this article from the NYT that suggests that the queasiness some have for Hillary Clinton may have something to do with Boomer Fatigue.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

One must show proper respect for any person by referring to her with a proper honorific. In the senator's case, Senator Clinton is correct. Anyone to whom she has not granted license to refer to her familiarly should not do so. It is, I admit, up for debate whether her Web site has done just that.

Posted by: TonyQ | January 22, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so...

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Any particular reason for that nationality, Yoki? We like you as you are.

Posted by: Slyness | January 22, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Ah, so, Yoki-san.

Ms. Life, meet Mr. Q. Mr. Q, Ms. Life.

Just as a matter of curiosity, Mr. Q, where is that rule written?

Ms. Life, one must assume, then, that you've never heard of Ike, Adlai, Teddy (choice of two, one a Roosevelt, the other a Kennedy), Bobby, Golda, Fidel, Arnold, Franklin and Eleanor (Eleanor, in her time, was known but that name alone), Lady Bird, etc.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 22, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, how kind of you! Thank you. But no, just the reference to 'honorifics' instead of 'titles' and the fact that #1 now speaks more Japanese around the house than she does Canadian English. Sigh. Such is my life. Arigatou gozaimasu.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse


I'll throw in a Saddam and raise you two Elizabeths.

Posted by: Gomer | January 22, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse


I'll call with 8 Henrys.

Posted by: Shiloh | January 22, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

So, here we are, where the elite debate the appropriateness of using a politician's first name--with an overtone that the name determines the politician's presidential fitness. WOW! Have we EVER arrived!

The medium is the message.

Posted by: No.9 | January 22, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

One must also acknowledge the confusion factor. A headline about "John" is much more ambiguous than one about "Hillary." I mean, face it, few people in this country think those headlines are about Hillary Duff.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey I just learned we're elite! And here I just thought we were just kinda bored with poor impulse control.

No wait, that would be me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 22, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a real point of interest that her campaign is running her as Hillary. It really popped out at me when I went to watch her announcement. "Hillary 2008" everywhere. It reminded me of an article from, say, 1999, when Carol Schwartz was running for DC Mayor and all her signs said "Carol" instead of "Schwartz."

There was an article in the Post about it (with the best headline ever: "A vote for what surname" -- say it out loud a few times), and one campaign response was that when you put a Schwartz sign on a telephone post, the readable part was "war."

I DO think there's a gendered aspect to it, though, which isn't worth just brushing under the rug. Or maybe our male politicians just have less individual names. John for President? Which John, exactly?

Posted by: Nate | January 22, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I would like the record to note that TonyQ expressed his opinion politely.
You might not agree with his opinion, but he's entitled to it.

Posted by: Tom fan | January 22, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

So, is using the term "Presidente Arbusto" appropriate?

Perhaps not, but at least we know who we're talking about.

Speaking of which, the SotU tomorrow evening should be quite interesting. I wonder if any of the Dems (or Repubs trying to send a message to the folks back home) are going to try to pat a "Kick Me" sign on to Arbusto's back while he shakes hands and greets people on his way down the isle to the podium?

On the other hand, not too many politicians want to be photographed with him these days...


Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I recommend that newcomers (and I salute Nate, please post again when appropriate for you) refer to the archives; we've been over and over this.

Many of us agree that there is an aspect of the whole nomenclature thing that denigrates that particular woman and women in general; I think it sad that Senator Clinton has caved in under the pressure of campaigning and accepted that she should be referred to by her first name (or that Speaker Pelosi should get more coverage for her clothing than her abilities, or any of the other myriad injustices perpetrated every day against we of the female persuasion).

Nonetheless, I would point out that Mr. Achenbach's blog is not news, it is not reporting, it is not even a part of the OpEd of the distributed hardcopy newspaper.

It is Mr. Achenbach's wee space on the internet to do with (within the style guidelines of the website) as he likes.

Argue, speak, reflect as you will, when you do it civilly. Coming in with metaphorical guns blazing over some imagined slight to your own point of view merely indicates that you have chosen the wrong forum in which to explore your opinions.

This is why I like Nate's comment so much; non-defensive, adds to the intellectual discourse, and does not challenge imaginary foes (various as they are) without knowledge of whom they are and what they might, in fact, think about any one issue.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I'll see you and raise you two Indiras.

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Did I kill the Boodle?

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Yoki, they are after you with blazing pitchforks or whatever, for that bit of homicide.

Posted by: nellie | January 22, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I was going to post something about the Swift Boat veterans coming up with some dirt on Hillary's cowardice in VietNam, but I'd rather post about the self-satisfied regulars who are so taken aback by anyone with a harsh point of view, that is, someone whose name they don't recognize. Particularly offensive are those who find it necessary to state, this is Joel's column, etc etc etc. They remind me of Taliban mullahs preaching Islam's true way. Oh my god, Mudge is going to send me a nasty emoticon.

Posted by: Dave | January 22, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Yoki.
I'm inclined to think, Why *should* they read the archives? People should be able to stop by once or twice without investing in the whole Achenhistory. I think this topic, as outlined by Joel -- er, I mean Mr. Achenbach -- pretty much stands on its own, without the need for any background reading. If the question had already been answered, it probably wouldn't have necessitated its own Kit.

We can't control what other people think and write in response to a Kit -- only our own reactions to their reactions. I think that's largely what has kept this blog civil so far.

Posted by: Tom fan | January 22, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

*diving for cover*

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

The very simple answer, to "why Hillary."

>>> I think that the emphasis on 'Hillary' is an attempt to disassociate her from the 'Clinton' part of her name.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 22, 2007 07:57 PM <<<<

Posted by: nellie | January 22, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tom fan. I think I really do need to take a break (more than 24 hours).

Posted by: Yoki | January 22, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Wilbrod, I forgot to mention - the Large Hadron Collider being built at CERN (and is scheduled to come on line later this year) is not just a measly mile across; it's in the existing Large Electron Positron collider tunnel that's 27 km across.

That's big even in America.


Posted by: bc | January 22, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm tossing in a Bill, too.

And how about that reign of Queen Dick?

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Over 15 miles long?! Whoo! Sounds like they should get some reliable results, then.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 22, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

i agree that it's the familiarity of hillary clinton and her role as first lady that has resulted in the use of her first name. better for the campaign to embrace it.

that said, it seems that condi appears more frequently in formal types of news writing than colin ever did, and i can't think of a reason other than gender.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 22, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

whitewater under the bridge...

*laughing pretty hard at that*

Oh, the mulch fire! I returned to Helotes City Hall and heard what the TCEQ public information officer told three television reporters, cameras rolling. Then after the closed session ended, I scooted into the room to eavesdrop and what I heard there was significantly different than what the press has been spoonfed. Day and night, night and day.

Buut it's late at night, so aufwiedersehen, farewell until tomorrow.

Posted by: Loomis | January 22, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Hint: what I heard is that we (locals and state of Texass) would like to be calling on you-ooo-ooo (the federales) in both Washington, D.C. and Atlanta for H-E-L-P..!

Posted by: Loomis | January 22, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Calling Senator Clinton "Hillary" also distinguishes her from another famous Clinton. The same thing happens with members of the Bush family where President Bush (43rd president) is commonly called W or Dubya and Governor Bush is often called Jeb.

I've been reading the blog for months and adore all of you. I hope that doesn't sound too needy.

Posted by: Fifty | January 22, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of things Japanese, I just read _Flyboys_. Wow. I had just finished my last airplane book (either a "romp" page-turner or some heavy history suits me) and needed another. I was hoping to find a Hiaasen I hadn't read, but LAX bookshop didn't have any of his at all, believe it or not (I found a new one in London for the return trip), however I stumbled across _Flyboys_.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 23, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Yoki wrote: //I think it sad that Senator Clinton has caved in under the pressure of campaigning and accepted that she should be referred to by her first name (or that Speaker Pelosi should get more coverage for her clothing than her abilities, or any of the other myriad injustices perpetrated every day against we of the female persuasion).//

I think the clothing references will slow and eventually stop after she has been Speaker of the House for a while. It was a [true] novelty at first.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2007 12:08 AM | Report abuse

I see Obama taking the Dean route, although I doubt he will scream. My crystal ball says it will be Clinton/Obama v McCain/Lieberman.

Posted by: farmasea | January 23, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you really need to get outside the beltway more often. Hillary will not win. Neither will the Bears. OK, my opinion, but what makes you the authority, anyway? And I'm all for a woman in the White House. But not her...that woman...Ms. Clinton. Give me some fresh air!

Posted by: Random Commenter | January 23, 2007 12:29 AM | Report abuse

What, no Republicans?

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 23, 2007 12:29 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if RC's wife might secretly vote for, Senator Rodham Clinton.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 23, 2007 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps we should just call all the candidates by their first names or initials

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 23, 2007 12:38 AM | Report abuse

eugene robinson on blogs of democratic presidential hopefuls:

i didn't know edwards was so ahead of the curve in this area.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 23, 2007 3:02 AM | Report abuse

p.s. i love the url for this kit - "hillary_clinton_gluons_etc.html"

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 23, 2007 3:04 AM | Report abuse

Fifty: //I've been reading the blog for months and adore all of you.//
I'll take all the adoration I can get. Thank you!

I believe TonyQ (& Miss Manners) are correct. On the other hand, the examples of first name use for other politicians is compelling. *Sigh.* Too big a problem for me to decide at 5:10 am. News at 11.

Posted by: dbG | January 23, 2007 5:10 AM | Report abuse

SCC: *are* compelling.

Posted by: dbG | January 23, 2007 5:11 AM | Report abuse

Fifty, we like you, too. Come out and play anytime.

Hey, it's 6:19 a.m., time for me to leave for work (4 minutes ago...), but I'd just like to mention that I am hearing Cassandra's blessings in my head this morning, even without reading them on the screen, and I bet a lot of other people are, too.

Good morning, Cassandra! And everybody else!

Posted by: kbertocci | January 23, 2007 6:22 AM | Report abuse


After a long hiatus, Studio 60 returned with a new episode last night. Normally I would post a SPOILER WARNING about now, but since nothing happened, the point is moot. The entire episode was build-up to some light opera farce at an a awards banquet for JesusGirl. Presumably hilarity will ensue since there was none in this episode.

The great thing about being a one-man-band is that you get to pick the music. Sorkin loves putting words in characters mouths that mirror his own opinion. Let's watch:

Matt went on a long Sorkinesque rant about the futility of abstinence programs (the sexual kind, not the mind altering substances kind)
Jordan called unscripted reality shows "illiterate".
Jack called Lou Grant's boss a "moron".
BlackWriterGuy used a word featuring the letter N that Sorkin can't use himself.

Next week: Masi Oka guest stars and NBS, uh, NBC, hopes that nobody notices Heroes ended and they can change the channel now.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 23, 2007 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Kber! And hey Cassandra! Blessings to you also!

Martooni, I thought about you (in a good way!) when I saw this:

Posted by: Slyness | January 23, 2007 7:18 AM | Report abuse

'Hillary and the Bears' sounds like a truly frightening children's story. Or a Democratic Gay Outreach Program.

Karenna turns 35 just in time for the 2008 election. It would be great to be able to re-use all those Clinton/Gore bumperstickers.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 23, 2007 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Haven't seen a sky report in a while. Unfortunately, the sky here isn't doing anything interesting yet, but I do have a "ground and sound" report:

While making my morning coffee, I noticed the back yard covered in a few fresh inches of fluff. There was also a murder going on -- about 100 or so crows strutting and cawing and clawing at the new snow.

I hope that's not an omen for the rest of the day.

Posted by: martooni | January 23, 2007 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! Hey Cassandra! *waving*

For what it's worth, I'd use "Sen. Clinton" in a face-to-face discussion. The Web site's repeated use of the first name, however, makes it quite clear that doing so is actually encouraged in general conversation.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey martooni!

*faxin' a gold star for appropriate use of "a murder of crows"*

Sky reports really are kinda dull these days. Lotsa black and dark greys, yanno.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 7:45 AM | Report abuse

And hey, why don't we just say "protons and anti-tons?" Cuts down on those pesky syllables, yanno.

And how's THIS for a strange Google ad??

Joining a Gym?
Find a Gym Near You With the Low Rate Guarantee


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Hey guys, after I got back from the BPH, I set my car keys down... I can't find them, have you seen them?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 23, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

RDP, SciTim, bc;

Anyone see this article? Sounds like someone was reading the Boodle... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I wouldn't do the Jim thing, but I did do SarahTicket.Com ... Snuke.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 23, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

A proton is just a ton that has lost it's amateur status.

And I like it when people drop by, but it is grating sometimes when they do the hit and run bit.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 23, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

So, RD, help me get this straight... if a proton transfers it's charge, does it have to sit out a year or is disqualified from further activity as a ton?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 23, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I've seen several magsling concepts floating around. (Floating around! Get it? Ha HaHa HaHaHa.... Sheesh.)

I see that they want money. They always want money.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 23, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Very good DM!
Next we shall discuss the red-shirting of Baryons.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 23, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

The red shirts always get phasered as soon as they beam down to Baryon.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 23, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

The red shirts always get phasered as soon as they beam down to Baryon.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 23, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

For many of us, the winter has finally descended. The word is being put out in DC to take care of the homeless. Sure, it is too much to take care of someone yourself, but do this... support those groups that do. Find your local group on the net and send them 5 or 10 bucks, if you can spare it.

Also, Please let them know where people are sitting or sleeping so that they can go around in their vans and provide sandwiches, coffee, blankets, coats and the opportunity to find shelter.

If you don't think this is important, remember that several of these folks have illnesses that make it hard for them to properly take care of their own needs AND several are vets.

While this nation tries to forget, let's try to remember.

A little bit of action may indeed save someone's life.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 23, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

still busy. but found this for mo:
of course she prolly already knows.

I am so far behind

Posted by: omni | January 23, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes they get phasered twice.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 23, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

DM - excllent words.

omni - you done trumped me on posting that goth mag! I was going to suggest that perhaps as part of the her campaign HRC should consider a change of image.

"Goth Hillary." It could work.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 23, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Oh wait - my link is different. And not nearly as interesting. Still:

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 23, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

As one who has a less common (but not unusual) name, I can report that the first-name only thing started in 1st grade. There were the likes of Mary S. and Mary G., and Billy C. and Billy W, but no one ever saw the need to tack on my last initial or name. Pretty soon, people forget you have a last name, and next thing you know, you're a one-name person. Ya get used to it. Long before middle age, you don't care.

As RD points out, when anyone says Hillary, you know who they're talking about.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 23, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

This article on the op-ed page

was written by some Liz Cheney whose Post bio is:
"The writer is former principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs."

That's like saying that Hillary Clinton is a former partner with Rose Law Firm.

Wikipedia has a slightly more descriptive synopsis:

"Elizabeth Cheney (born July 28, 1966), an American attorney and diplomat. She is the elder daughter of United States Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney. She has been appointed to posts that make her influential in her own right, and she is married to Philip Perry, the General Counsel of the United States Department of Homeland Security."

Good to know Dick is still pulling the strings from his bunker.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 23, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Sky report:

No murder of crows; no exultation of larks but a galaxy of starlings picking frantically at ivy berries.

The neighbor's camelia bush is encased in ice with the blush pink saucer-blooms frozen inside. Beautiful now, but when the ice melts the flowers will wilt and turn brown within the day.

On the decidious azalea to the right of my porch I noticed this: three foot snake skin drapped, casually, over three branches. It is also encased in ice.

Dolphin Michael, thank you for the reminder. The small community in the woods near us are very resistant to any help. For years, the Army Reserve company whose property butts against the wood would leave food out for them. I will have to check and see is this is still the case. Many of them do eat at a neighborhood soup kitchen. Some of the men will participate in Warm Nights but at least four of them -- two of them women -- never leave the thicket.

A German family who lived here on a sabbatical was shocked. In Germany, laws permit and require coercion or "capture" of homeless people for shelter and services. A Buddhist monk, also here on sabbatical, visited with them regularly. I could see his gold and claret robes deep in the thicket.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 23, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, that launcher sounds interesting. If you whip the payload up to speed in a circle, you don't have to accelerate it so quickly along it's longitudinal axis.

On the other hand, lateral Gs of going around a bend a 20,000'd have to be a big bend to keep payload integrity. Send money. And pillows.

Thanks for the reminder, DM.

omni, I saw that in today's WaPo and thought of mo, too. I hope she sees it.

Scotty, that's an interesting idea for anti-particle shorthand. I have such a short attention span that I'd get confused pretty easily, though. "Waitaminute, which anti-ton is he talking about, ant-proton, anti-photon? Gawd, now I just missed what he was saying. I'm lost, lost I tell me!"
[Trust me, you do *not* want to be in my head]

LA lurker, I noticed that 'hillary_clinton_gluons_etc.html' filename too. But them I remembered that Joel's a pretty quarky guy...

Personally, I think it would be disrespectful to discuss Sen. Clinton's gluons in public, so I'm going to stop here.


Posted by: bc | January 23, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

As I set out on my walk this morning, it dawned on me that my last day at work was a month ago yesterday.


My biggest fear was that I would be bored in retirement. Soooo not a problem!

I can boodle all day. Oh joy, I can go to the grocery store in the morning.

I have time to visit my older brother, who tells me things I didn't know and need to, every time I go. I think he enjoys my visits as much as I do!

When my older daughter was home last week, I spent two whole days with her and had lots of fun!

Yep, retirement was right. Don't miss working at all.

Posted by: Slyness | January 23, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse


What an opportunity for you!!!! There are probably a ton of things (not a proton) that you can do that would be so much fun and also very rewarding. Add to that, you have the chance, as you mentioned to spend the time with friends and family that you previously may not have been afforded the opportunity.

Have FUN!!!!

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | January 23, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

No Rodham.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 23, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Oh sure, Slyness, rub it in... *L*



Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse


I just read the red shirt reference.


Posted by: Gomer | January 23, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Snow report
I just wanted to let eveyone know just how beautiful the mountains look covered in snow,every ridge,every valley so well defined and flowing.

The sun will be out soon and it all may be gone later today.

It sure is pretty,sort of makes it all worth while.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 23, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

DM your words were wonderful this morning, thank you.

Slyness glad you are enjoying retirement.

I am having trouble getting bothered by the Hillary vs Sen. Clinton, must be a Canadian thing, I have been scanning our articles to see how politicians are referred to here and it is all over the map, depending on the context. I noted at one point our Prime Minister was referred to in a headline as Mr. Harper - in the contect is was used it was not a term of respect.

It seems just an effort to cause more controvery about her and to keep projecting any type of negativity around her.

Public service announcement, a trial is currently ongoing in Canada on the west coast as it is full of truly horrific detail. This story has been picked up by quite a number of US papers. It is called the Picton trial and is not for the faint of heart - I am trying to stay away but it is front page news here and tough to avoid.

Also of note I have some sort of rodent in the ceiling over me head today at work.

Posted by: dmd | January 23, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

The sky descended in a soft veil this morning.

RD: "...maybe [the Senator]wants a one name moniker..." I immediately thought of Charo...coochie, coochie...

Posted by: jack | January 23, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

lost in thought,
are you of Icelandic heritage? I was in Iceland recently and saw a book and campaign, Lost in Iceland and Lost in Thought. just curious.

Posted by: vikinglurker | January 23, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Nope, just a pretty accurate description of my state of being (and they thought it was apathy!).

Posted by: LostInThought | January 23, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Hillary can win. Her campaign is reminiscent of Ralph Nader--who effectively gave the election to Bush. The fact that she's thrown her hat in the ring speaks volumes about her regard for herself, rather than her regard for the country.

Posted by: Dave | January 23, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Dave - the analogy to Nader doesn't work unless she goes insane and starts a third party candidacy. Should she do that I would agree enthusiastically that narcissism has trumped the needs of the country. But unless that occurs I find her to be no more of an egotist than anyone else with the audacity to assert that he or she is the best person to lead the United States.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 23, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I think the whole name thing is a moot point. If someone puts her first name on her website and her campaign posters and signs, that is implicit permission to use that name, whether it is in everyday conversation or in the voting booth.

Can we go back to hashing out the differences between gluons and muons, electrons and positrons, fruitons and louis vuittons?

Posted by: Gomer | January 23, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

A futon is like a muon except it doesn't clash with the curtains so much.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 23, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

If a cow types on and on without proper punctuation, is that a muon sentance?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The NYT link pretty much says what I think will happen (not that what I think matters one whit). I don't think she will be elected not because she is a woman but because of the reasons the article outlines.
I think the time and place for her to be president has passed her by, same as I believe of John MCain. The perfect time for both of them would have been the 04 election.

You know, some guy wrote a book called It looks Like a Presidient Only Smaller (A seriously great title IMHO), and that kind of is how I feel as an outsider watching these opening shots. It looks like a candidate only...

Canadian politicians are looking decidedly Pearson like. Our principal party leaders here, for the first time in decades are not about sound bites and tv time, and its a great relief. I am so tired of politicos who are empty beyond the tv quips.

Posted by: dr | January 23, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Aren't electrons people who vote for the party ticket without any thought to the candidates or the issues?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 23, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

If Data from Star Trek really had a positronic nueral net in his head, wouldn't his mind be constantly getting blown by matter/antimatter reactions?

Posted by: Gomer | January 23, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Interesting theory on baby boomer fatigue. Can't help but point out that Obama's a boomer too, having been born in that 1946-1964 period (1961).

dr, the time for McCain actually would have been 2000 ;)

Posted by: Raysmom | January 23, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

RD-Nader was a siphon of Democratic Party votes, regardless of what he called himself. But I agree with your characterization of the egoism it takes to put oneself forward. It's just that some candidates, Obama for instance, seem to have a natural verve, whereas others, e.g., Hillary, not Bill, seem to have a robotic approach (said in monotone: "Must get best job available").

Posted by: Dave | January 23, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

i agree completely with maggieo'd - she's trying to seperate from the previous clinton administration - i mean, heck, she'll be the first female presidential candidate, she wants to win this on her own... (and without the clinton scandal).

hey omni and RD - thanks for the goth beauty link! that was a good article! i'm all excited now! that made my day! *grin*

Posted by: mo | January 23, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

LiT, that's a good example of a weak interaction that leads directly to beta decay.

Gomer, I always thought that's why Asimov postulated positronic pathways. Not just blown minds, total annihilation.

Those synthetic humanoids sure know how to party.


Posted by: bc | January 23, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom - That is a tricky question and one, I think, well addressed in the article I linked to.

I was born on the 61/62 cusp. Yet I view my cultural touchstones and philisophical outlook to be distinctly postboomer. To me Boomers are characterized by an adolescence in the 1960s. My most significant memory of that decade is the Banana Splits Club. I am more a child of the 1970s.

You know, the Brady Bunch Generation.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 23, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, Republican congressman Tom Feeney (who was so esteemed by his colleagues in the Florida Legislature that they created a new seat just for him) has signed up for Mitt Romney. Apparently so have most of Jeb Bush's political operatives.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 23, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

My favorite synthetic humanoid to date is Ash from "Alien." The part where he was flipping out with his head hanging off freaked out my little nine-year-old mind the first time I saw it.

Posted by: Gomer | January 23, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

RD, I see your point. I, too, identify more with the 70's than the 60's. I fear I was splitting hairs there a bit.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 23, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I went to Amazon a few minutes ago to buy something, but I forgot what it was to be by the time I got the site up. Dang!

On further pondering of the "Hillary" vs. "Sen. Clinton" question, I can see that it is a matter of context. You can insult her or honor her by calling her "Senator," I guess, as easily as you can by calling her "Hillary," or even "Sweetie." "Sweet-cheeks," however, would be pretty unamibiguously insulting. Same deal for "Presidente Arbusto" which is an unambiguous expression of contempt; that's okay, because one isn't trying to claim a fig leaf of ambiguity when one calls him Arbusto. My concern (mentioned in a previous boodle) is with contexts in which the subtext of first-name familiarity is the implication that the person is essentially a child, while pretending to actually offer adult respect. It makes Paris, Britney, Lindsay, and Hillary equivalent -- persons known for being famous, not for being substantial. Since context is everything, it's not really possible to make a rigid rule for what is a respectful form of address. It has to be discerned in each case. That's what makes language wonderful.

Posted by: Tim | January 23, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Did you ever find that you have cooked something that tastes terrible and you feel compelled to eat it, because (a) you're the one who made it, after all, and (b) it's wrong to waste food? That's my lunch for the rest of the week. Quarts of bad mushroom soup.

Posted by: CulinaryTim | January 23, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

At the Starbucks in Naperville this morning I found this pretty good newspaper called the New York something or other, and it had a story on the billion-dollar presidential campaign and how it will obviate (gosh I love that word -- probably misusing it) the federal campaign financing program:

But the really amazing piece, for those who would like to see The Surge discussed less abstractly, was by the New York something's reporter who camped out at a new U.S. military outpost in one of the most dangerous areas of Baghdad. They call this outpost "the Alamo."

Great foto too of U.S. medic helping a sick Iraqi girl.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 23, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The Honorable Senator from New York Ms. Hillary Clinton nee Rodham Clinton nee Rodham has consulted with her marketing professionals and decided that the campaign should be built around an image of "Hillary." How long, then, before references to her by any other name are derided as a nefarious attempt to associate her with shady legal practices, presidential (and marital) scandals, a carpetbagger's run for office, and who knows what else (maybe the political wives who *have* been elected as stand-ins for term-limited husbands or husbands who ski into trees)? I would have a lot more sympathy for the idea of a name having been foisted upon her if she had not already gone through all the other names and seemingly set them aside.

Posted by: Pining for Fjords | January 23, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Tim, put the offending substance in a container and freeze it. After a year or so when it's freezer-burned, you won't feel guilty for throwing it out.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 23, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

No, no; I'm eatin' this crud. I just finished today's installment. I need to lose some weight, you know, and I think this stuff will help do the trick.

Posted by: CulinaryTim | January 23, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Tim - I hope you are describing mushroom soup that is bad and not soup made from bad mushrooms. Whole world of difference there....

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 23, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

*waiting for SciTim to start describing all the cool colors CulinaryTim's seeing following consumption of the "bad" mushrooms*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Thought of another angle on Hillary vs. Senator Clinton overnight (west coast time zone and sleepiness delayed my writing this): it's a diminutive if someone else calls you by your first name instead of your title, but it's a sign of power to grant use of your first name in place of your title.

By having her web site refer to her as Hillary, she graciously grants use of her familiar name. Just watch: during the campaign, her supporters will call her Hillary and her detractors will call her Senator Clinton, although with a barely concealed sneer.

I think she's brilliant to do so because her opponents have to acknowledge her election to the Senate every time they refer to her.

With respect to her chances in the election, she shares a disadvantage with many other candidates this season: no executive experience. Former Governors seem to fare better than Senators, perhaps because the public views the Senate as the windy gallery rather than the saucer to cool the teacup. Perhaps her short tenure in the Senate will be an advantage ...

Posted by: Fifty | January 23, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Does this mean I can stop feeling guilty when I don't check that little box on my income tax forms?

That pic of the soldier is a winner all right. Highlights all that is good and bad about us being over there.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 23, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Is there such a thing as a good mushroom soup?

I guess maybe if the 'shrooms help you blow your positronic pathways, that'd be good.

Posted by: Gomer | January 23, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, they were cheap white mushrooms from the grocery store, and sliced Portabella caps. However, they had been in the fridge for a while... soup was pretty much the only possibility short of composting. The main thing that makes the soup bad is that I accidentally over-did it with adding black pepper. Waaaaayy too much black pepper. It probably is not toxic soup (it hasn't gotten me yet, and I first had some on Sunday night). But it isn't good soup. The thinly-sliced but ancient and rubbery red cabbage isn't helping too much either.

Like I said, I am morally opposed to wasting food. But this stuff was pretty close to making the trip straight to the compost bin. Instead, it has one more stop on the way to compost-land.

Posted by: CulinaryTim | January 23, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

We had some stroganoff last night that the family did not care for. I volunteered for the leftovers because otherwise it would get thrown away. Sometimes you gotta take one for the team. Although I do sometimes discretely run the disposer.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 23, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: CulinaryTim | January 23, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, interesting point Fifty.

Culinary Tim, I understand your pain. Marginal bad is one thing, burned bad is another, both fall into the edible category. I did throw out a pumpkin soup once and do not regret that to this day. The only thing that event led to was a return pathway.

Posted by: dr | January 23, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Aye - many has been the night when the menu served at the Padouk table was dominated by the cuisine known as things about to spoil.

Posted by: RD Paoduk | January 23, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Mushrooms AND cabbage?

What made you think that stuff would be edible?

Posted by: Gomer | January 23, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

*faxing Tim a hearty cup of beef barley soup*

I do feel for you, especially since you devoted some of your weekend to preparing the vile brew. I had a similar experience with a spaghetti squash--let's just say the disposer almost hacked it back up.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 23, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Saturday night sometimes is Use-Up-the-Leftovers night, on which all the small packages of stored food come out to visit the microwave and travel thenceforth to the table for grazing.

Now that the ScienceKids are getting bigger, this is a less-frequent occasion, as the ScienceKids do not leave much sitting around for long. Tubs of burrito-filling, leftover spaghetti, etc. Gone! Fortunately, both SK's appear to be genetically blessed so that this food does not become adipose tissue. Just luck (and a vegetarian diet), it's no particular virtue on our part.

Posted by: CulinaryTim | January 23, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to Nacho Mama, anyway?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Somebody should tell this Achenbach fellow that a not-too-bad Washington paper also has a line on the potential demise of the presidential election funding.

Not that I would ever think of doing it.

Posted by: pj | January 23, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

culinary tim - i feel your pain - not only am i a miserable cook, i also live alone so it is only i to blame for barely edible food, and only i to consume it... i don't like throwing away food either... now, of course, there's always "forgetting" that it's buried in the back of the fridge and "finding" it when it is fuzzy and completely inedible...

(btw - i LOVE mushrooms!! tho even i'm not too sure about mushroom and cabbage soup! bleh!)

Posted by: mo | January 23, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

In real life, I refer to people as they have introduced themselves to me: if you say William, I won't call you Bill. I like to say Senator Clinton because I enjoy giving her the respect due her as a member of the Senate. Should I meet her I would certainly take the formal road, unless otherwise prompted. However, she's clearly given everyone who hasn't met her permission, in the course of the campaign, to call her Hilary. Okey-dokey.

If you read "Hilary" enough, quickly enough, it looks like "hilarity".

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 23, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Fifty, interesting points, but note that the current president's executive experience hasn't protected him from a mistake or two. If you mean that executive experience helps in winning elections, you're right, and the Senate isn't the ideal springboard (see: President Dole, and many others). But a decade as First Lady of Arkansas, 8 years in the White House as the most important member of the president's inner circle, and, by 2008, 8 years as a powerful and influential Senator are nothing to sneeze at. I think experience and "statesmanship" (is that sexist??) are her aces. She's not a novel presence, isn't a great stump speaker, but there are worse things than being a known commodity in difficult times.

fyi, will post a new kit this afternoon.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 23, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I missed "24" -- anyone got a synopsis? How's Jack's time management?

Posted by: Achenbach | January 23, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Jack is down to torturing his own brother now, not that it doesn't happen in most family but usually it stops when the brother become adult. There is a bad brit helping the bad arabs. That's about it.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 23, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

bc's got something about 24.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I definitely think, uh, what do I call her now after my previous post? OK, I think Hillary learned a lot during Bill's terms as Governor and President, but she did weather criticism in his first presidential term (if I remember this correctly) by not admitting the public to hearings on health care since she herself was officially a member of the public.

Anyway, electability game theory aside, it looks like '08 will feature a number of substantial candidates from both parties. I look forward to a vigorous campaign!

I heard on the radio yesterday that Governor Schwarzenegger proposes moving the California primary to February. This could be the longest election season since records were kept.

A Pacific Time 3 cheers for afternoon kit!

Posted by: Fifty | January 23, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Just for ease-of-use reasons alone, Joel, I hope you're not suggesting we coin the word "statespersonship".

Besides which, isn't a ship a she, in which case the "man" and "ship" cancel each other out?

Posted by: byoolin | January 23, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The continuing drama of the Helotes mulch fire boils down to the two issues of fire and water.

Two different sides of the story played out yesterday at Helotes City Hall. Representatives from the city of Helotes, Northside Independent School Distruct, the Edwards Aquifer Authority, Bexar County Metropolitan Health District as well as the county's Fire Marshal's Office, the San Antonio Water System, the Texas Commission on Enviromental Quality, Oil Mop of Pasadena, Texas, and the American Red Cross attended the 90-minute closed-door meeting that began at 3 p.m.

Statement to the press:

Terry Clawson, short and grizzled and the public information officer for the TCEQ , broke away from the meeting at 4:15 p.m. to speak to the three reporters and cameramen of the local ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliate stations so that each could create video footage for their respective 5 p.m. newscasts. I was standing with these television reporters.

Clawson said the various groups inside the council chamber were looking at many different ideas for extinguishing the 28-day-old blaze, that the plan was evolving, and that no idea as yet had been chosen or eliminated.

"We want to build on the plan and include more safeguards," Clawson said. [Obviously, all those previous safeguards weren't working?]

"The aquifer absolutely must be protected from any run-off," he cautioned. [Well, if TCEQ has been doing such a god job so far, then why isn't TCEQ releasing the levels of contamination of the two private wells closest to the fire? My last question of the long day was directed to Helotes Mayor Jon Allan. I asked him if he had been given the test results of those two tainted wells and he said yes. When I asked him for numbers or data, he said he couldn't provide them, so one might assume that he is complying with TCEQ's request for silence on the issue.]

Clawson explained that the meeting was being held in order to consider the various ideas being suggested and to change the existing plan, which would take a few days. Very vaguely, he stated that TCEQ intends to change operators and construction equipment.

Clawson was very firm that the primary goal is to use less water to fight the mountain of mulch that has been smoldering and smoking for a month just beyong Helotes city limits (but within their territorial jurisdiction). The objective is to prevent runoff into the Edwards Aquifer (that provides drinking water to 1.5 million South Texans), he emphasized. He predicted that the hunk of burning junk would continue to burn for several more weeks.

He added that TCEQ was also stopping smoke suppression activities. According to today's local paper, in a story by reporter Jerry Needham on page B3, more than 3 million gallons of water were sprayed on the blaze before the order to stop fighting the fire was given (sometime during the mammoth ice storm). Last Thursday, Oil Mop, originally contracted by TCEQ to extinguish the blaze, used 500,000 gallons of water to suppress only the smoke. (Thursday was the day many residents complained loudly about the horrible smoke in the area.)

At that point, I asked a question about the test results of the other 20 private wells that TCEQ was testing, located in a arc emanating from the two private wells that tests proved to be tainted--information that Clawson had given me himself in a conversation only two hours earlier.

"You are not a reporter," Clawson flatly stated, pulling his gaze momentarily away from the television cameras and flicking his wrist several times in my direction, as if to shoo away a fly or a stray dog. [Oh, really? But I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night. Or wanted to. You know, because of all the er, um, like, you know, smoke in the air. *cough, wheeze, hack*]

Clawson added that there were two additional reports of smoky, brown water in nearby wells. One well was too far from the mulch fire to be seriously considered credible as having been tainted by the firefighting efforts; the water from the second well is currently being tested.

Clawson closed his statement to the press and the one not-a-reporter-but-citizen-blogger by saying that Zumwalt, the individual on whose property the mulch blaze is located, had not attended the closed-door meeting.

A little bit the later, the rest of the story--a behind-the-scenes look at some of the issues being discussed inside the sealed-off room.

Posted by: Loomis | January 23, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

SCC: god job, but let's let it stand

Posted by: Loomis | January 23, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Richard Cohen has an interesting piece on the politically-appointed nitwit in the DoD who thinks that our legal system would be best-served if we threaten to blackball any lawyer who represents an unpopular client:

I was appalled by the subject of Howard Kurtz's MediaNotes blog yesterday (appalled by the thing he was reporting upon, not appalled by his reporting of it), in which he reported the cute subterfuge of Fox News loudly proclaiming (on several shows, over the course of hours) that Hillary Clinton's campaign was spreading dirt about Barack Obama having been educated as a child in a Muslim school; thus managing to paint her as conniving, low, racist, and kind of desperate, and also painting Obama as morally and ethnically "not one of us."

"We cherry-pick and misrepresent; you decide."

Posted by: Tim | January 23, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Ah, heck, let's translate the Fox News credo into plain language: "We lie; you buy."

Posted by: Tim | January 23, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The big screen here is usually set to Fox News because the techs like it. However, the screen has been known to mysteriously switch to CNN now and again.
Subversives are everywhere.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 23, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

yeah, tim - i was pretty ticked when i found that out too... will politicians stoop to nothing? i see this as being much much more mud slinging than the elections in nov and THAT was pretty bad!

Posted by: mo | January 23, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

tim, i was just reading about that, too. and interesting that wapo published the cheney piece yello mentioned, which in a nutshell says clinton wants to win the presidency more than she wants to win the war. since she's less anti-war at this point than obama and edwards, pinning that analysis on her is just b.s.

this is the way it's going to be for the next two years. elections seasons are just getting way too long.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 23, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The comments following Ms. Cheney's column are in the decatillions, and they're mostly negative. My favorite: "2004 called, it wants its talking points back."

Posted by: CowTown | January 23, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Next we will hear stories about how Hillary became a woman just to avoid the draft and Obama, well he was too young for Vietnam on purpose!

Dang ol' draft dodgers...

Posted by: Gomer | January 23, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to point out what I think is the most obvious reason Hillary would just use "Hillary" in her campaign signs and on her Web site.

Because it doesn't include "Clinton."

Posted by: Patrick | January 23, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to point out what I think is the most obvious reason Hillary would just use "Hillary" in her campaign signs and on her Web site.

Because it doesn't include "Clinton."

Posted by: Patrick | January 23, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I long for the good old days, when our choices were Kang and Kodos disguised as Dole and Clinton.

Posted by: byoolin | January 23, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I think we need to fire up the Jurassic Park clone machinery and have FDR v Lincoln in '08.

Now THAT would be a contest!


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

i was just about to mention that maybe the boodle should start talking now about code words and strategies for dealing with the political talking points commenters who are clearly working/volunteering for political campaigns.

i'm in favor of being open and welcoming to polite random commenters of all political stripes, but i think there will be a lot of on message drive-bys that will deserve to be held up to some light ridicule at least.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 23, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I might have to vote for E.V.Debs, then.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 23, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

If we're going to now slur Hillary Clinton on the theory that she's inconsistent because she hasn't always called herself by the last name Clinton (even though she decided to stick it out in a difficult marriage); and also slam her for not making a big point of the last name Clinton, even though it associates her with the last President who turned in a balanced budget and who DIDN'T take the nation to war on a false pretext and order various other actions that strongly resemble violations of the Constitutional oath of office; then we might as well urge her to go all the way. After all, she's in, and she's in to win. She should change her name to Hillary Foxnews. Make her campaign motto: "We declare; you decide!" Co-opt those turkeys and make them her servants.

I *like* semi-colons.

Posted by: Tim | January 23, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, Fox News has really gotten under my skin today. Sorry.

In other news: not all of Jupiter's auroral phenomena are driven by solar-wind effects. You heard it here, first.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 23, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

We know, SciTim, it's the methane.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse


Ok, now it's ME heading over to Wiki... E.V. who?


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Yeeeesh!! I had to Google Mr. Debs!

Very Social guy, that Debs...


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 23, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Good job Stacy Schiff at NYT Select today!:

He [Scooter Libby] claims to have been preoccupied with vital security issues and buried under intelligence information; he paid little heed to the matter of a C.I.A. officer's [Valerie Plame's] employment. Technically this is called the "Honey, I was too busy preparing the family tax return to think clearly when you asked about the lap dancers" defense.

Surely it's a legitimate one, if perhaps a little tough to swallow after six years of distorted intelligence and Enron-grade responsibility. Also, is it just me, or does that argument sound disconcertingly familiar? Wasn't it Mr. Libby's ex-boss who -- when asked why he hadn't served in Vietnam -- replied, "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service"?

Generally, a memory can prove a dangerous thing to have under this administration. Even I can remember W.M.D., Mohamed Atta, African uranium, shock and awe, mission accomplished, and a heckuva job -- and I'm lousy when it comes to plot. The prodigious Mr. Libby, on the other hand, remembers all 79 "Star Trek" episodes. And their titles, too.

Posted by: Loomis | January 23, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

martooni, Go to today's for a VW van story that will be close to your heart.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Eugene Victor Debs: America's most underappreciated statesman.

Here's my Labor Day tribute:

Posted by: kbertocci | January 23, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Kim O'Donnel's "Mighty Appetite" blog is talking about Key West:

Posted by: CulinaryTim | January 23, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Hillary: Afghanistan is a success story!

NYT: NOT! Debunked! See Modo's Time Select column last Friday (no mere reportorial stenogaphy here) and this Sunday's magazine feature story:

Posted by: Loomis | January 23, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

What a day. And haven't been eating, so have given myself a headache and my blood sugar is down. Stpuid, stupid, stupid, the things we do to ourselves. Well, lunch is in the microwave.

LiT, I liked your "electron" joke. Nobody seemed to pick up on it, but thought you should know it didn't disappear into cyberspace unappreciated.

Belated sky report for Pat: this morning circa 7:30-7:45 it was VERY strange. There were some fairly low, very dark clouds, the kind that portend snow, but there were enough open patches the sun was shining. But what was very weird was, the sun had a very gold/orangy hue common to sunsets, not sunrises. The light was beautiful--but coming from the "wrong" side (the east, not the west), and it was a beautiful sunset at 7:45 a.m.

Culinary Tim, I feel your pain. Yesterday on the Food channel, Michael Chiarello made "pea whipped potatoes" (,1977,FOOD_9936_35652,00.html) that looked pretty good. My son loves mashed potatoes (but is a somewhat finicky eater), and I thought, hmm, I'll give these a try, especially since Chiarello said these were so good you'd never make regular mashed potatoes again. The key to the recipe is that you get some green peas (fresh or frozen) and puree them in a blender with some cream, and add the mix to the mashed potatoes. This turns them slightly pale green. When I made my version and saw the result, I knew my son would never touch the green mashed potatoes, because of the color. So I thought I'd out-fox him. I added in some red food coloring and a little Kitchen Boquet gravy coloring, hoping to turn the potaoes into a muddy brown color or potato skins. And I'd tell me son the color came from the skins (I did in fact leave the skins on, whereas Michael did not).

But here the plan went...uh...a little awry. The color turned out to be a really ugly orangy reddish brown color that was amazingly unappealing, and already too dark. I was thinking, oh crap, now I've got to add even more food color to get rid of that awful orange and turn it into a true muddy choclate brown, if I can. Just then my son walked into the kitchen and said, "What the hell is THAT!!??" So I was stuck with the color right where it was.

They turned out to taste pretty good, and even my son ate them and liked them. But now I have a big bowl of leftover mashed potatoes in the refrigerator that is a hideous orange color, about like the cover of a Chicago Manual of Style that has been left out in the rain. I guess some night this week I'll make my (otherwise) excellent potato cakes, and just try not to look at them. After all, it's a sin to throw food away.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 23, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

moment of frivolty -

oscar noms are out!

Posted by: mo | January 23, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Tim: If your comment was directed at mine, I wasn't "slurring" Hillary for avoiding "Clinton." I was just saying I think it's a political calculation aimed at that very small margin of conservative voters who could be won over but still have a sour reaction when they hear Clinton. There's the whole chunk of conservative voters who would never vote for a "Clinton," and there's the very small and most significant chunk who might. Hillary is just being smart, and if her decision seems shallow that's an indictment of the way the election season works, not her or her campaign.

That said, I'm pulling for Barack because I feel a great need for the country to move past Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton. It's possible, at the end of all this, that we could have 28 consecutive years with a Bush or a Clinton. It's just not healthy.

Posted by: Patrick | January 23, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that there were 73 episodes of Star Trek (the *real* Star Trek, that is), not 79. If I am correct, I win the Ultimate Dork prize, right? If I'm wrong, that may make me even more qualified for the prize.

I felt that Sen. Clinton was claiming more that Afghanistan *had been* a success story, not necessarily that it is one now; and that it could have been a real success story if we had given it the attention that has, instead, been diverted to Iraq.

Posted by: Tim | January 23, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Anyone note the unpaid Jeb Bush campaign commercial WaPo published yesterday (maybe Sunday)? I tell ya, Hillary, or Senator Clinton either one, or that Osama fella either, just ain't got no chance in 2008 or 2012 or 2016, 'cause that there lib'ral media supports 'em so well. It don't take Fox News or the smoke from a mulch fire to get under yore skin.

Posted by: Orbinalis | January 23, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Sky report: Blue, beautiful blue. Sun. Temperature up to fifty degrees (F). The frozen driveway may melt. All is lovely.

My joy in this phenomenon was tempered by this morning's unpleasant discovery that we have no water. I hope it is the pump. Fortunately, we live close to a relative for this morning's showers, etc., but that was a very short-term solution.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 23, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Mudge...I thought it was pretty clever myself, but you saying something ... I'm honored. Truly proud. Thank you. (I'll go back to lurking now.)

Posted by: LostInThought | January 23, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Here's what Hill said about Bill as reported by the Chicago Tribune,

In separate interview on NBC's "Today Show," Mrs. Clinton called her husband "a tremendous asset."

"He knows what the job is like. He had great success on a number of difficult fronts when he was president. ... So I'm going to be looking to him for a lot of advice and guidance."

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 23, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse


You could have added some honey and called them mashed sweet potatoes.

Hey kids, it's Christmas again!

Posted by: Gomer | January 23, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Mudge writes: " the cover of a Chicago Manual of Style that has been left out in the rain."

Chorus of MacArthur Park is Melting....

I meant to say posts ago that you have to love a blog that opens with this:

" I spent the day at Fermilab talking to physicists about sub-atomic particles..."

Ain't technology great? 'Cept when it ain't.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 23, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

New Kit folks

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 23, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

New Kit folks

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 23, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Think being the worst president in US history doesn't take its toll? Compare this picture...

With this one...

Posted by: TBG | January 23, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I like the thought of a President Hillary Clinton. I think she'd do an excellent job. Any president elected in '08 is going to have one hel1uva mess to face, and she might be the absolute best possible person as far as intellect, decision-making, presence and general savvy to get us through it. Unlike most candidates past and future, she knows exactly what she's getting into, and she's ready to face it and fix it. The Democratic party managed to overcome redistricting and Diebold combined to take back both Houses of Congress, that's miracle enough to give hope.

Unless the Republican party presents Elizabeth Dole as their opposition candidate - which would make things really, really interesting in so many ways...

Posted by: sevenswans | January 23, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I suppose that everyone has scampered off to the new Kit. Anyway, Patrick, you have pegged me correctly, I was picking on you. I now get your point more clearly. Still, it would seem to co-opt Fox News if she went with my suggestion.

Posted by: Tim | January 23, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

CulinaryTim, thanks for the mental trip to Key West, now I'm both homesick and hungry. But I did enjoy it.

mo, bite your tongue. There is nothing frivolous about the Academy Awards! The Superbowl pales in comparison.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 23, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I did make a subtle comment about LiT's electron joke at 10:36 AM.

Obviously, a little too subtle. And pointy.


Posted by: bc | January 23, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Listening to the speech. "First we must balance the Federal budget. [loud applause]...without raising taxes." [loud applause] Plus, " Social Security." Oh, my goodness. I know what that means -- every man for himself. Wild West. Eliminate every Federal program except the military. Hope not too many of us work for the government, or are waiting for a cancer cure, or are interested in sub-atomic particles. Oh, wait, "We must increase funds for students who struggle...." Hmmm... wonder where those funds will come from after lower taxes and no deficit. "...private health insurance is the best way to meet their needs." And, incidentally, the best way to meet the needs of insurance companies. Tax savings on medical insurance instead of a national pool. Hmmm. "...asked the Secy of HHS to take existing make private health insurance affordable to those most in need." Emphasis on existing. Medical savings accounts? Self-insure for medical expenses? Makes sense for Bill Gates. "...medical liability reform." [loud applause] Enough for now.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 23, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

When Bill Clinton ran for President, he used to tell voters and interviewers that they could call him "Bill." When being introduced before speeches, he'd be introduced as "Bill." It helped the public to see him as an ordinary guy.

It's the same strategy with "Hillary."

Posted by: Timothy McIntyre | January 25, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

When Bill Clinton ran for President, he used to tell voters and interviewers that they could call him "Bill." When being introduced before speeches, he'd be introduced as "Bill." It helped the public to see him as an ordinary guy.

It's the same strategy with "Hillary."

Posted by: Timothy McIntyre | January 25, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

When Bill Clinton ran for President, he used to tell voters and interviewers that they could call him "Bill." When being introduced before speeches, he'd be introduced as "Bill." It helped the public to see him as an ordinary guy.

It's the same strategy with "Hillary."

Posted by: Timothy McIntyre | January 25, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

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