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Be Careful What You Wish For

Hazards of Trend-Spotting Dept.:

From the Outlook section, March 7, 1999:

By J.A.

The biggest events of the 1990s were things that didn't actually happen.

The time has come to write the rough draft of the decade, and what we see, time and again, is that the events that consumed our attention and fueled our passions also managed, inexplicably, to fall short of reaching the special condition where one could say they had happened.

Some nearly happened. Some sort of happened. Some allegedly happened. Most, however, failed to "finish," as they say when a basketball player drives to the hoop but misses the dunk.

Obviously the biggest thing that didn't happen was President Clinton's removal from office. Yes, there was, indeed, the "historic impeachment," and it was a spectacular moment of political drama in many respects--surely there were folks in the nation's capital who said to themselves, "I can't believe this is really happening!"--but the drama was seriously undermined and attenuated by the certainty that ultimately nothing would happen. It always felt like a process that would peter out. They didn't even censure the guy.

Perhaps the seminal statement of the decade came from Secret Service watch commander Capt. Jeffrey Purdie. In some deep, debris-clogged gutter of your brain you may recall the incident when Monica Lewinsky went ballistic at the White House gate. Never mind the precise details. The point is that, when it was over, the guards realized they'd glimpsed something they weren't supposed to know about, something they should conveniently forget. Purdie told his colleagues:

"Whatever just happened, didn't happen."

Clinton has been, time and again, an instigator of things that somehow never quite made it to the "happening" stage. Health-care reform was his and his wife's greatest, most ambitious non-starter. The plan got torched, burning up most of the administration's political capital. After that, the president couldn't do much but sit around and clap while the economy rumbled onward.

You may recall that early in the decade, the Supreme Court was going to overturn Roe v. Wade. Conventional wisdom held that a string of Republican appointees finally had created a majority against abortion. But when the test case came up in 1992, by a 5 to 4 vote, the court didn't overturn Roe. Why didn't it happen? Because the court has a truly conservative disposition, and adheres to the principle of stare decisis, which is Latin for "We don't do anything." A justice who is hellbent on doing something is almost invariably writing a dissenting opinion. (You can argue the point all you want. I decline to hear the case.) [This graph voided--JA, 2007]

The Republican Revolution didn't happen. The Republicans did, of course, take control of both houses of Congress, but that was merely supposed to be an event preparatory to something else. The Republicans nibbled away at the government but revolutionized nothing. They vowed to abolish the Department of Education, which, last anyone checked, still exists. They did not pass massive tax cuts, or restore school prayer, or outlaw the burning of the flag or any of those other things that Republicans talk about. They did pass the line-item veto, and Clinton signed it. But some federal judge, in a rare spasm of action, ruled it unconstitutional. Process isn't the same thing as action. The bottom line: Nothing happened.

Oh, did I mention the ongoing saga of campaign finance reform? Two words sum up that situation.

Didn't happen.

The biggest story in science in this decade may have been the discovery of extraterrestrial life. On Aug. 7, 1996, a team of NASA scientists announced that it had found possible fossils of tiny microbes in a Martian meteorite recovered in Antarctica. No one had ever found a sample of life from beyond the Earth. The president himself went on national television to say that the implications were profound. Unfortunately, even though the NASA team continues to support its conclusion, the rest of the scientific community has become increasingly skeptical. The emerging view is that the squiggly little "microbes" are flakes of the rock. It is looking as though the scientists didn't discover extraterrestrial life, just extraterrestrial grit.

In 1998, the world shuddered with the news that a giant asteroid would come within a whisker of planet Earth in the year 2028 and might even strike it, which would, of course, wipe out civilization. The next day, the astronomers said the numbers were wrong. Never mind.

The stock market was bid to such dizzying heights that everyone knew it would crash. It had to. The price-to-earnings ratios went off the charts, in some cases reaching infinity. Amazon.com has a market capitalization of tens of billions of dollars even though the company is just one lonely guy in his basement with a laptop computer. And yet the crash refuses to happen as logic dictates it must. [Voided within hours of publication.]

A racing, go-go economy always leads to one thing: inflation. Except in the 1990s. It refuses to show itself. It doesn't want to happen.

The economic crisis happened all over the world, except in America, where it was stopped at the border on grounds that its immigration would violate the national policy against anything major happening.

The next huge event that won't actually happen is the worldwide recession and general bad craziness caused by the Y2K computer bug. The nation may be bunkering down with a generation's supply of Spam, but the president's Y2K czar, John Koskinen, insists that the biggest danger is overreaction. Now, Koskinen could be wrong. I would get a chuckle out of seeing a photograph of the guy wearing camo fatigues and eating C-rations while belly crawling across West Virginia soon after the cities go medieval. But I doubt that will happen.

Things are not happening so often that it is becoming suspicious. It is almost as though we are being lured to think about things that won't actually happen so that we won't notice things that are happening all around us. (It is my new theory, for example, that the whole Lewinsky thing was a smoke screen. Clinton planned the scandal from the get-go, to keep us from paying attention to the real scandal. What is the real scandal? No one knows, because we're too distracted. One imagines appalling possibilities, like, for example, Clinton is making extra cash by secretly calling people at dinner time and asking them to change their long-distance carrier.)

Some things have happened. We must stipulate that. There were a few events. I have made a thorough analysis of the major happenings and non-happenings of the decade, at least those I remember off the top of my head, with input from an editor who spent a good five minutes thinking about it, and one fact jumps out: Institutional planning and preparation may actually increase the chance that something won't happen. The things that don't happen tend to be the budgeted-in-advance news stories, the scheduled disasters, the anticipated shocks.

This is why the asteroid probably won't wipe us out. We have conceived this form of doom and have rolled it around in our minds. The real apocalypse will be something off everyone's radar. Global warming could be another catastrophe to fizzle, possibly overtaken by a more urgent and unforeseen problem. In 20 years, everyone will be talking about Algae Proliferation, or Nitrogen Infusion.

The things that have, in fact, happened have tended to be unexpected. Bombs happened. They happened at the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City. The Heaven's Gate suicides happened. The Rodney King beating and the Los Angeles riots happened. All these events have the common quality of being utterly unpredictable. News, in other words, still happens.

There was a war. This must be noted. It was in 1991, and was called the Persian Gulf War, and many hundreds of thousands of Americans served bravely. The war succeeded in the immediate objective of removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Then, Saddam Hussein was supposed to be driven from power. That didn't happen. He's still there! On paper the guy should be long gone, but there he stays, prevaricating, scheming, permanently locked into position by the mysterious inertial forces of the 1990s.

The other things that happened, other than bombs and murders and totally unforeseen events, were systemic. The Information Age continued to rocket onward. The Internet, which was unnavigable in 1990 without fancy commands, mutated into the graphically wonderful World Wide Web.

The economy, one of the biggest stories of the decade, is the ultimate system--a complex network that has no center, no governor, no nexus. The closest thing to a person in charge is Alan Greenspan. He is a cult figure whose every utterance is scrutinized for clues about interest rates. What everyone loves--what seems to make the markets jump for joy--is when people think Greenspan is going to raise interest rates, but he doesn't. The oracle of our time, Greenspan manages to speak in sentences that contain hardly any information whatsoever. He barely ventures opinions. He is the human incarnation of the concept of Not Happening.

Clearly we are seeing a major trend, one that shows no sign of abating [famous last words]. It may turn out to be the story of the millennium: Rather than the world coming to an end, the very opposite took place, a massive non-event, a moment of stunning inertia. The anti-apocalypse.

There's only one problem with the startling phenomenon of increasing non-happeningness. Even this, it may turn out, isn't happening. [Bingo.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 25, 2007; 3:27 PM ET
 
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Comments

Hey, did something just not happen?

Posted by: byoolin | July 25, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "Hey, did not something not just not happen?"

I was not first.

Posted by: byoolin | July 25, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Not only did something just not happen, but it happens that something just happened to appear to happen without really happening, but really didn't.

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

martooni, that was so good you could have a future as a presidential press adviser.

Yeah, to what you said on the last kit. Attempting perfection, with a lot of forgiveness along the way. The path is so familiar, different but very familiar.

Posted by: dr | July 25, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

For the first time upon reading a Kit, I've come across no Kaboodle. I bet, though, when I press the Submit button, I'll be #24 in line. That's my life.

Posted by: CowTown | July 25, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Meetings ended early, so I checked back in. And who did I miss while I was gone? Mudge! Glad you're doing OK and managing to thumb your nose at The Man. Medical, that is.

Saw the swallow question, was paging down to post answer and saw Scotty beat me to it. And yello.

It is almost as though we are being lured to think about things that won't actually happen so that we won't notice things that are happening all around us. Joel, are you referring to subpoenas? By the way, every time I hear that word, all I can think of is Wilford Brimley in Absence of Malice: "I've got me a pocketful of su-peenies here..."

Posted by: Raysmom | July 25, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon mentioned Aaron Eckhardt not being successfully taught by Martha Stewart to put a lattice on a pseudo-sour cherry pie. Eckhardt's on the cover of one of the newstand magazines (with a motorcycle, in a desert) so between that and the pie humiliation, he must have a movie coming out.

BTW, around here, throwing a palm tree in the swimming pool, much less overboard, would be a serious offense.

Thinking of palm trees, the very strange animated movie "Paprika" turned out to have plenty of potted ones, not to mention butterflies, movie theaters, and a "Radio Club."

During the 1990s, we got so accustomed to nothing much happening (except for the occasional "black swan", as in a recent book title), that we ended up with a Supreme Court that might upend precedent for decades.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 25, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of what is or isn't happening, does anyone remember "Happenings"? I happened into a couple in my sallow youth. So happens I got out mostly unscathed. But now we have to go to Asbury Park to visit my dad-in-law. What's happening at the beach these days?

Posted by: ebtnut | July 25, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I like these Achenbach Classic posts. Oh to be nostalgic for the days when we wanted to impeach presidents for lying about sexual favors instead of killing over 3000 of our soldiers. Good times.

The thing that didn't happen today was the resignation of Torqueberto. Every Friday it doesn't happen makes me a little sadder.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, I certainly agree with the larger sentiment -- how carefree it all seems now! -- oh gosh the president lied about sex!! I hated the Lewinsky scandal, hated that whole year, 1998, when the capital was hostage to that silly impeachment nonsense that everyone knew wasn't going to result in any action.

That said, I'm not a big fan of rhetoric that describes the president "killing" our soldiers. I know what you mean, of course. But a lot of people in the government, Congress, white house, think tanks and by extension in the sleep-at-the-switch news media signed off on the invasion. And then the American re-elected him in 2004. There's a lot of blame to go around!

Posted by: Achenbach | July 25, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to be such a hall monitor.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 25, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Here's a question: Were the House (in some parallel universe) to hold impeachment hearings and vote on articles of impeachment, what would they be? Remember, Nixon had three articles against him -- obstruction of justice is the only one I remember. Tax evasion??? And Clinton, let's see, he had two counts as I recall. Lying to grand jury, no? Can't remember the other. But if Bush were to get impeached I wonder if it would be over manipulation of intel and then maybe the wireless eavesdropping. There is no "incompetence" clause in the Constitution.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 25, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

A lot of blame to go around indeed, Joel.

To be honest, I have just a fuzzy indistinct memory of 1998. So much has happened since then. The people who hang out in my house have chanced so much - including me.

I've posted before, at tedious length, about the hazards of predicting the future. The only way to do so is to assume that the future will be like the present, which it most certainly will not be.

That's why the best thing to do is scenario planning. To sit around and think about what we should do if the unexpected happens. Granted, this can be a tedious thing to do, but I think it is essential.

Because I certainly do not wish to be caught unprepared should I ever find myself marooned with Kate Winslett.


Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I think that would be one of those $64,000 questions. he has all kinds of people around him who seem to be guilty and some who have been found guilty, but what precisely has he done? Did he lie directly about intel? Or did he just choose to believe the wrong interpretation of the intelligence. Maybe they need to subpeona the tapes (or is it digital media).

Did Nixon use the same 'you have no authority' argument or is this a whole other level of legal 'intepretation'?

Posted by: dr | July 25, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Something derived from lying to Congress and thereby the people might be appropriate.

Look up the July 15th program in here --
http://www.ianmasters.org/left_coast.html

Also lots of good stuff in kpfk audio archives, look for Background Briefing. www.kpfk.org

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 25, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you are quite right. The Constitution does not forbid mistakes. Incompetent elected officials are supposed to be voted out of office.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

There's a lot of blood on a lot of hands to go around, Joel. "Killing" is a harsh word to use towards a President that is a commander in chief, but it goes back to Vietnam War protesters taunting LBJ. And they called him a "baby killer".

One of the responsibilities of a President is to decide when and where to sacrifice American lives. We would not be losing American lives in Iraq if it were not for the decisions made by George W. Bush. The WTC attack was not a Pearl Harbor with Iraqi fingerprints all over it. Evidence had to be manufactured and exculpatory facts ignored. The neocons decided to pick and choose their enemies and they used an unpredictable tragedy to push a long desired cause.

I recently heard Jerry Pournelle explain why we can't predict the future. There are too many events that occur as a result of outlier non-statistical acts. Nobody ten years ago would predict we would be in a quagmire war of attrition against an insurgency. You'd have been laughed out of the room.

I'll tone down the rhetoric, but if Dubya hadn't wanted us in Iraq we wouldn't be there. He may be stupid and or a pawn, but he had the bully pulpit. I don't know how else to proportion blame.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I realized that's what you meant. You are always adept at making your political points and it's why you're a good blogger at FOMA. Maybe I'm just sensitive to the danger that hyperbole can easily, on any given blog, become the coin of the realm. You know what I mean? I read blogs like that. Everyone's a Nazi, etc.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 25, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

You mean like calling Cheney a doo-

Oh never mind.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm still bitter about the lack of flying cars.

It needed to be said.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

You raised a great point in your 5:16 post, Boss. That's why all this impeachment talk is very cathartic but ulitmately pointless. Stupidity, callow indifference to consequence, ignorant stubborness, and destructive egoism do not fall under the rubric of "high crimes and misdemeanors." We're simply stuck with this small, foolish man until January 2009. Maybe we'll do better next time.

Posted by: CowTown | July 25, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

But let's remember that some hot trends have panned out exactly as expected. For example, The Segway:

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/in_the_know_do_you_remember_lifeR

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Mudge,
You want me to play at being shop steward on a day when I'm making Cape Verde soup? This labor-intensive, vegetarian soup from far West Africa (the islands), that I make about once a year (fairly predictably) when okra comes in fresh from the fields...

Silly boy!

Posted by: Loomis | July 25, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Oops - wrong link:

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/in_the_know_do_you_remember_life

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh CowTown, how I hope we, as a country, do better next time in selecting a president. This has been a very painful 8 years, ones that we'll never get back, and ones that we'll forever be apologizing to our children and grandchildren for.

Posted by: Aloha | July 25, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Some things are pretty safe bets. I would have bet that I'd be as happy as I am in retirement, for instance.

However, instead of abolishing the Department of Education, the Republicans gave us No Child Left Behind. Is that a good happening, or a bad non-happening? I lean towards bad.

What will be REALLY interesting is to watch how Bill Kristol's predictions last week actually pan/don't pan out. Although I didn't agree with him at all, he was plausible enough to make me a little nervous.

And hey, don't blame Bush on me! I never voted for him.

Posted by: Slyness | July 25, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, that sounds interesting. In a very quick search, I could not find any recipes with okra, but I think I'm safe guessing that the okra thickens it. And does yours include fish of any kind? Many seem too.

Soups are one of the few things that allow me to walk away from the stove and read or do needlework, and still not destroy it by burning it. Soup is my single claim to fame as a cook.

I sort of look forward to winter.

Posted by: dr | July 25, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

IIRC, don't you only need a simple majority to start impeachment, but a larger one to actually carry it through? There isn't, unfortunately, much downside to starting the process so there's a possibility any time the parties in power aren't the same.

re: HP. One of the boodle's bloggers should start a spoilers-OK discussion. I mean, it will be hard to forget Future Hermione coming back to fight Present Hermione for control of the universe, but there must be something else to talk about as well.

Oops.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 25, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
Oh, how I wish he'd go away

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn't see him there at all

Go away, go away
Don't you come back any more
Go away, go away
And please don't slam the door.....(SLAM!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
Oh, how I wish he'd go away

Posted by: Jumper | July 25, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Dubya has woven a pretty iron tight web of plausible deniability around himself that seems to stop at Cheney, Rove and Gonzales. Scooter thought he was inside the tent, but he wasn't. We won't ever find any smoking guns that will lead us to "high crimes or treason". We will have to wait for the body politic to correct it as it always has.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

So true, yello, it just seems so urgent to get it over with. I hate that we're losing so much valuable time waiting for this administration to be over. There's so much to be done, while Washington burns. I just hope the world doesn't come to an end before 1/20/2009.

Posted by: Slyness | July 25, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, there's always something overlooked by even the greatest evil masterminds.

The Lewinsky affair was orchestrated by a special prosecutor searching for any dirt he could find on clinton. It was taken and trumped up by Congress (no doubt to hide THEIR happenings).

Congress isn't so interested this time-- too many senators running for president.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 25, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

The more I think of it, the more my idea to de-fund the entire executive branch makes sense -- no money until they learn to play nice with others.

At the very least, de-fund the salaries of every politically-appointed staff member, eliminate the maid service and kitchen staff, make him pay his own phone bill -- in other words, let the bastage iron his own shirts and cook himself some mac and cheese.

It just makes me want to puke knowing that my tax dollars are helping that idiot live a very comfortable lifestyle while he thumbs his nose at me and the other 65% of America who think a bucket of rocks could do a better job than him.

Am I bitter? You bet.

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Darn that "rule of law" stuff...

If only EVERYONE would play by that rule.

Heck, at this point I'd take "rule of reason"...


*SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 25, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Talking about impeachment, war, culpability, blame, action, inaction, killing, dying, what's happening, what's not happening--I have to go slow on this subject or I will actually become sick to my stomach.

I ran across an interesting commentary today in a Memphis paper (I actually had a reason for reading the Memphis newspaper, but never mind)--the Memphis Veterans for Peace went to the trouble of putting their position in writing and publishing it. I appreciated this paragraph:

=====
"The legal status of the occupation of Iraq is not a mystery. Generals know very well that the occupation is based on lies, carried out in defiance of U.S. treaties. The Nuremberg Conventions explicitly repudiate the doctrine of pre-emptive war. The U.N. Charter, for which many of our parents and grandparents gave their lives on the battlefields of Europe, outlaws war as 'an instrument of policy.' Every general knows that the occupation is a 'war of choice.' They also know that, except for special U.N.-sanctioned interventions, defensive necessity is the sole legal basis for war. The U.S. Army Field Manual states without equivocation: 'Treaties relating to the law of war have a force equal to that of laws enacted by Congress.'"

http://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/Content?oid=oid%3A31299

Posted by: kbertocci | July 25, 2007 7:45 PM | Report abuse

scotty... I'm with ya', brother.

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

martooni, I think we both have the same existential nausea.

Posted by: kbertocci | July 25, 2007 8:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm down here with the bunnies reading "The Blue Nile" by Alan Morehead. His description of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt reminds me of the Bush administration's early thinking on Iraq. Napoleon also assumed that he would be welcomed by the people as a great liberator. He was also wrong.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl,

Impeachment requires a simple majority in both the House Judiciary Committee and on the floor of the House. If impeached, the trial occurs in the Senate and a two-thirds majority is required to convict.

For Clinton's impeachment, four articles were sent from the Judiciary Committee to the floor of the House. Only two of these got the majority vote required to impeach. In the Senate, neither of the remaining articles got even a simple majority to convict, so Clinton was acquitted.

Posted by: pj | July 25, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I am doubly nauseated because I did hold my nose and vote for him once. I just didn't recall the unilateral invasion of foreign countries to be part of the platform.

Two events are hinge points for our involvement in Iraq: 9/11 and The Florida Supreme Court Decision (or Bush winning the South Carolina primary, if you want to walk the cat back further).

Without 9/11, there would have been no pretext for war. Without the Florida fiasco there would not have been a president predisposed to war.

Of the two, the election was more predictable. We have roughly alternated parties for decades. 9/11 or its rough equivalent was also part of a pattern. We had been attacked by al Qaeda before. Portions of the WTC were so close to collapse in 1992 that it is only a stroke of fortune that we did not lose at least one side building then.

We had broken up other plots such as the Brooklyn Bridge plot. People in the know knew of similar plots. There was no reason to think we wouldn't be attacked again.

It was the volatile combination of the two events that led to the perplexing invasion of a country that was totally uninvolved in 9/11. I don't mean to rehash old arguments, but if we are talking about random events that shape the world, how does 15 Saudi Arabians (and no Iraqis) committing suicide and mass murder in a rather spectacular and photogenic way lead to a four-year and counting morass that has lost us our moral superiority and could threaten our political and economic leadership?

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

yello - remember that at the time of the Iraq invasion the US was flush with what seemed to be an easy victory in Afghanistan. This led to the false assumption that taking over a country was easy.

Further, there was a feeling in the Bush Administration that Clinton had failed by destroying the Taliban *before* 9/11.

The last piece in this tragedy was the near universal acceptance that Saddam had WMD (he certainly thought he did).

Combine all of these and you have an administration seeking to avoid perceived mistakes of the past by pro-actively removing a threat under the misguided notion that it would be easy to do so.

A perfect storm.


Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

SCC: That Clinton had failed by *not* destroying the Taliban

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

The existence of WMDs in Iraq was merely a pretext. Invading Iraq was a fait accompli that was going to happen with or without a casus belli. WaPo this weekend reviewed a book that questions the basic competence of the CIA ever.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/19/AR2007071902217.html

The WMD case was pretty flimsy. It boiled down to some aluminum tubes, the value of which was disputed at the time, and some spy photos of a truck stop that made the Face On Mars look high definition.

The WMD "evidence" has been disavowed by Colin Powell, George Tenet, and anyone else that wants to meet their maker with a clean conscience.

The saddest part of Kristol Meth et al is that they believed they were doing the right thing then and believe it still.

I've run out of psuedo Latin and foreign phrases to throw in, so I will channel my energies elsewhere.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Realize, not for the last time, that I am in no way defending the Bush Administration's actions. I thought they were tragically wrong then, and said so.

My point is that that to blame these events on stupidity or innate villainy is something of a cop out. There were reasons for these actions.

The thing to do is to understand the mistakes that were made and learn from them.


Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

rd,

The similarity between Napoleon and Dubya in two words: imperial hubris

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

The Rule Of Holes:

When you are in one, stop digging.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Yello, the only hope we have is that we know this administration must come to an end. Just wish it were sooner. Now is quite a bit too late.

Posted by: Slyness | July 25, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

"We won't ever find any smoking guns that will lead us to 'high crimes or treason'."

The President is responsible for everything that happens in the executive branch. It's certainly possible to come up with something. It would be political, of course, but that's the idea. Impeachment was created to get rid of presidents who are corrupt and/or act like they are king. (The latter point was quite intended by the framers.) Now we have one who fits the description perfectly, and impeachment can't be used? Some imagination can surely overcome the problem, if there's the political will -- like "conspiracy to"...something that's not too bad, because conspiracy is very bad even if the act conspired isn't. Unfortunately the GOP continue to support W, even those driven into a rage by Gonzalez.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 25, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

>Kristol Meth
yello - simply outstanding.

You can't impeach Bush. He got his orders from God. Pretty hard to dispute he honestly believes he was bidden to do exactly everything just as he did. You don't give up on a mission from God, and he won't give an inch on Iraq, ever.

The worst part is for decades after out of office he'll pronounce on the subject every so often justifying it and trying to mollify the conscience that I hope some God plagues him with.

BTW, does anyone here know a good voodoo guy? For me, not him. Really.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 25, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Look, to say that everything is because of "hubris" is like saying the terrorists "hate freedom." It may be true, but we need to look deeper at the underlying structures and attitudes that led to the present mess.

After January 2009 the same institutions, press, think tanks, and cultural intolerance to uncertainty will still exist.

I look forward to a new administration as much as anyone. But to assume that this is as far as our thinking as a society needs to go is, I assert, to miss a real opportunity for improvement.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

RD - perhaps not stupidity or innate villainy, but I think there's a case to be made for malignant hubris. I just don't get the sense that President Bush is learning from mistakes and that is the root of my frustration. Granted, Gates is an improvement, Petraues seems to be able to come up with a plan (albeit 3 years too late) and Cheney seems to have been hobbled a bit. But why would anyone think that we should listen to any of the clowns that got us into this mess? Not that you think that, RD.
I don't think impeachment talk is helpful. The Democratic majority is so slim that not much can be done to effect change at this point and I say that very sadly. I think that people need to get out and on a grassroots level, start to make the difference.

Unfortunately, I would feel a lot better if the news that I read in the Post would reassure me that the Democratic leadership understands the need for a radical change in the way government operates, but I'm a little scared...they don't seem to....

Posted by: Kim | July 25, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Kim - The need for change beyond just "getting rid of Bush" is what I am referring to.

I want a nation whose institutions are strong enough to buffer us from an incompetent president. Because I am pretty sure that Bush is not the last president who will be filled with hubris.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 25, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I guess I am really surprised by the second paragraph of J.A.'s 5:09 comment to this extent:

It is historically the case for there to be substantial deference when the Commander in Chief (who we have historically assumed, taking Cincinnatus's lead (a/k/a the dude in Joel's basement), is behaving in good faith in a manner comporting with the highest level of dignity and comity between the other branches of government) says: Americans, we are under a threat that must be met with military force." I don't think that call has ever been sounded and the response was "no." (Maybe that will now change)

Could the opposition party, the media and the public in this case have stood up stronger in opposition? Sure. Has there ever been stronger evidence, however, that to a much, much greater extent than ever seen before in this country, this President and the Angler deliberately and intentionally deceived the country to drive us to war to further their unilateral delusional ambitions in Iraq?

I borrow this Herman Goering quote from the Weingarten update today which, according to Snopes, is authentic:

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

I have stated here that I have no lingering problem with the commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence. At this point I can bitterly laugh at Alberto the liar. But it is absolutely true that Bush, the Angler and Rumsfeld ("BAR") are foolish killers of, and this is important, not just American soldiers, but untold hundreds of thousands of Iraqis just to prove we could kill Saddam Hussein. They have recklessly destabilized a significant portion of the world while the other developed nations shake their heads in disbelief.

I can easily see why a professional journalist cannot call BAR killers, but I don't know why any boodler should feel restrained in the same way. Guilt over not violently overthrowing the Bush Administration (was there any other way Iraq would not have happended?) should not blind anyone from reality.

Of course, I could be wrong. So it goes.

Posted by: bill everything | July 25, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

It was very clear from Day One that the Bush Administration had nothing but contempt for all international institutions and opinions. We were the hyperpower and nobody was going to tell us what to do or not to do. If that isn't a working definition of 'hubris', I don't know what is.

Now, when we could really use some international support to bail us out of the mess of our own making, nobody will touch us with a ten foot pole. The take-away message is that you never know when you will need a friend.

I don't think we are talking that far apart, rd. I just hope we do learn the right lessons.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

RD... you're very right (and I don't mean that in the wingnut way).

Last week I had a lucid moment that coincided with a program on the History Channel regarding the fall of the Roman Empire. One of the things that stuck in my mind was how the Roman Senators had reached the point where maintaining their positions (and accompanying power/wealth/status) had eclipsed the Purpose of their positions.

Nero fiddled, Bush goes jogging and plays with his dog.

Another thought... if Bush is getting direction from God, I can only assume it is the God of the Old Testament. The God of the New Testament would never condone war -- let alone a preemptive war -- as a solution.

Gotta go give Bean her story....

Peace.

Posted by: martooni | July 25, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

What saddens me is that we haven't learned the lesson of Vietnam. RD is right, I guess.

Mudge, you sound as perky as ever.

*Grover waves south for TBG and son in the same time zone!*

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 25, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

RD, impeaching Bush would demonstrate beyond doubt that the people (congress) is supreme over the guy hired to be in charge of management -- the institution of congress is strong enough to be a buffer. Do you have another institution in mind?

Occasionally that guy has to lead the nation in a new direction. Even though the period since January 2001 hasn't been one of those, we have been led in the direction of plutocracy and continual warfare.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

RD writes-"Look, to say that everything is because of 'hubris' is like saying the terrorists 'hate freedom'..."

Which is why I like to say "hubris and perfidy."

Sad day for military procurement/contracting officers everywhere. Major Cockerham, arrested in the biggest bribery scandal in the history of DOD, appears to not only have been very greedy but stupid as well. How did he think he could hide millions of dollars? Hubris and perfidy apparently haven't blinded the entire DOJ.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 25, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

bill e:

Word.

Speaking of stealing from the National Socialists (since I am loathe to invoke Godwin's Law), Andrew Sullivan has been pointing out the suspicious similarities between our "enhanced interrogation" policies and Verschärfte Vernehmung".

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/05/verschfte_verne.html

Those guys were pretty keen on preemptive wars as well. Sorry, Boss. I wasn't supposed to make those kinds of comparisons.

Back on topic, eight years ago I would never guess that we would be on the losing end of a human rights debate. Our military and/or political prisoner policies are, well, lets say, unelightened.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 25, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

And on a lighter note -
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/24/AR2007072402313.html?hpid=features1&hpv=national

The Simpsons movie starts Friday!

And please, don't wait for me to read the last HP book before discussing. I have to read the last 4...

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 25, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

As if the boodle weren't proof enough that some pointy types are also roundish
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070725/ap_en_mu/people_brian_may

"Brian May is completing his doctorate in astrophysics, more than 30 years after he abandoned his studies to form the rock group Queen..."

Posted by: frostbitten | July 25, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

frosti, that's great.

Back to depressing things - one of my favorite moments from the debate the other night was when Mike Gravel was asked about a statement he had made about soldiers in Iraq dying in vain. He stood behind it, said yes, and all the soldiers in Vietnam died in vain, too. I have to agree with him - all the other candidates backed away, though. I guess I sort of understand that saying someone died in vain can be taken as a jab at the person who died - but to me it means they died for no good purpose, because they were sent to fight a war that *should not have happened*.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 25, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Regarding HP discussions; I understand Immeritus.org and other HP sites have a 2-week embargo on discussing the last book-- after that, it's a free-for-all.

Sounds like a good plan to me.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 25, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Yello, threw in the "so it goes" for you. I got your back covered. Rock on.

Posted by: bill everything | July 25, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Synthestes now have proof...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/index.php?feed=Science&article=UPI-1-20070725-16132400-bc-germany-synesthesia.xml

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 25, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to sign my 10:36 post.

Would NASCAR, NYSE, or Cornell University, Microsoft or some other non-governmental institution be able to counter the president? Unlikely. USDA etc. are creatures of Congress, but officially managed by the executive -- Congress can fund or de-fund and micro-manage them, but it seems that can be ignored with a secret signing statement. Maybe DoD is powerful enough to decide a dispute? Don't want to go there, though. I think it's up to Congress, other than waiting for the next election, assuming it happens.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 26, 2007 12:28 AM | Report abuse

"The names that school boards give to public schools can both reflect and shape civic values. It is increasingly rare for public schools to be named after presidents--or people, in general--and increasingly common to name schools after natural features. This shift from naming schools after people worthy of emulation to naming schools after hills, trees, or animals raises questions about the civic mission of public education and the role that school names may play in that civic mission."

from the executive summary --

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_51.htm

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 26, 2007 1:19 AM | Report abuse

\\BTW, does anyone here know a good voodoo guy? For me, not him. Really.\\


EF, there are a lot of "good" voodoo guys in this area. I hear that the thai and indonesian ones can perform powerful curses. I personally don't know any but I can ask around. I probably should let you know that I heard it does work over vast bodies of water.

:-)

Posted by: rain forest | July 26, 2007 3:30 AM | Report abuse

SCC : should be "doesn't work over vast bodies of water

Posted by: rain forest | July 26, 2007 3:32 AM | Report abuse

*rapidly-approaching-the-weekend Grover waves*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 26, 2007 5:24 AM | Report abuse

Howard County has a policy of naming schools after regions not people. What then happens is that place names are named after people and things get confusing.

NoVa has a bunch of school named after Civil War generals. When I was on military bases, every base had a Grissom Elementary. Christa McAuliffe is pretty popular now. There's a Schwarzkopf Elementary in Tampa. I feel sorry for the kids that have to write that every day. Someday we will be ribbon cutting at Sharpton Elementary, Petraeus Middle, and Rumsfeld High. Are you really looking forward to that

Posted by: yellojkt | July 26, 2007 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Should have said earlier...

Brian May, Astrophysicist.

Sounds great to me. (pun intended)

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 26, 2007 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Idle thought: "Brian May, Astrophysicist" would have worked even better had he been the guitarist for Jefferson Starship.

Posted by: byoolin | July 26, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

LTL-CA : Impeachment is supposed to be about enforcing the rule of law. It isn't supposed to be about asserting legislative power. This is why what the Republicans did to Clinton is viewed by many as constitutionally dangerous. Do we really want to reinforce this precedent?

Incompetence is supposed to be punished by the voters.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 26, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I remember hearing that Queen contained some pretty smart guys. Which makes their involvement with "Flash Gordon" all the more perplexing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 26, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

> I probably should let you know that I heard it does work over vast bodies of water.

rain forest, that's so cool!

What the heck, if a big company can go with an overseas technology provider I don't see why I shouldn't. Maybe we can get a saat. vid hook-up. It would help if he looks a little like Buster Keaton in "How To Stuff A Wild Bikini", but I'll go with prevailing fashion.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 26, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

If Brian May and Tom Scholtz ever collaborated on a project, they'd probably solve the fusion riddle in a side conversation...

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 26, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Back to Joel's original topic. Kind of. I'm getting very bored with life in the 21st century. The endless war is tedious. Our culture has become tedious. (Oh Joy! Another new game show/reality contest/venue for public humiliation!)

I want something new and interesting to happen. You know, like the internet, or microwave ovens, or The Beatles, or even some hot new trend like Starbucks.

Clearly, desperation has set in.


Posted by: RD Padouk | July 26, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - I like it. A "Boston"/"Queen" alliance.

This could be just what the world has been waiting for.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 26, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

RD

something new

You could breed designer rabbits - like shar pei bunnies

Posted by: tonk | July 26, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

RD: You want something new and the first thing you come up with is the Boston Queens?

Four words: You. Need. A. Vacation.

:-)

Posted by: byoolin | July 26, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

tonk - I like it. Very clever. I can already imagine beautiful fashion models parading down the runway holding exotic-looking little fuzzy bunnies.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 26, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Throw Thomas Dolby into the mix and you have a scientist supergroup.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 26, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Probably I just need to read some more novels.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/25/AR2007072501879.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 26, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I think Brian May is going into astrophysics just for the groupies. Right SciTim?

Posted by: yellojkt | July 26, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

And we could add Neil Peart to handle the writing... I mean drumming...

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 26, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

From the Ignatius column RD linked to:


What makes these 19th-century English novels compelling are the women. The virtuous men tend to be human icicles, so encumbered with manly restraint that their deeper emotions are frozen, only to melt in the last few chapters just in time to win the hearts of their beloveds. A classic example of manly froideur would be Darcy, in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." The emotional men in these books tend to be unreliable cads, as in Trollope's dastardly philanderers -- Sir Felix Carbury in "The Way We Live Now" or George Vavasor in "Can You Forgive Her?"

But the women in these novels are passionate seekers, embodying bourgeois Europe's journey toward free thought and personal freedom. They refuse the easy comforts and arranged marriages of their class in pursuit of deeper values. Often, as with Austen's Elizabeth Bennet or Trollope's Alice Vavasor, they make themselves positively miserable trying to escape the worthy men who will make them happy. They are too rebellious for their own good, these fine ladies, and when they finally achieve a happy ending (for there is always a happy ending in these books), it is, to the sentimental reader, deeply satisfying. There are so few opportunities in real life to see virtue rewarded.

[So why aren't there many good roles for women in movies? Maybe the interior lives of human beings don't translate from page to screen so well, and thus we have Bruce Willis with a machine gun.]

Posted by: Achenbach | July 26, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

>I want something new and interesting to happen. You know, like the internet,

RD, you mean like when you can't sleep and then somehow in the morning find you own a radio-controlled helicopter with video assist?

Like (apparently) me today?

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 26, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

EF - Man, don't you hate it when that happens?

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 26, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Dave of the Coonties, beyond strange, oh so very very strange, what did you think of Paprika? I quite enjoy it. I found that the second viewing was better than the first, mostly because one then expects the oddity, and begins to actually watch the story.

Hello and good morning boodlers. It's been a while.

Posted by: Kerric | July 26, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, boodle.

I thought this was a compelling op-ed. Do you think that pieces like this even cause one minute of reflection by the members of this administration?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/25/AR2007072501881.html

Posted by: Kim | July 26, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

pj is right.

Clinton:

Article I: Perjury article: William Jefferson Clinton provided "perjurious, false and misleading testimony" before Independent Counsel Ken Starr's grand jury.
Article II (rejected): William Jefferson Clinton provided "perjurious, false and misleading testimony" in the Paula Jones civil case.
Article III: Obstruction of justice article: William Jefferson Clinton obstructed justice to "delay, impede, cover up, and conceal the existence of evidence" related to the Jones case.
Article IV (rejected): William Jefferson Clinton misused and abused "his high office" by making perjurious statements to Congress in his answers to the 81 questions posed by the Judiciary Committee.


Nixon:

Article 1: Obstruction of Justice.
Article 2: Abuse of Power.
Article 3: Contempt of Congress.

All approved

Posted by: omni | July 26, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Contempt of Congress is a crime????


Ruh-roh.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 26, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Joel - I think that's true.

One of the nice thing about reading is that you can stop now and then to really *think* about what you've read. That's hard to pull off in a multiplex.

Also, I've heard that for movies to really succeed financially nowadays they need to play well overseas. And, I have been led to understand, big flashy action films do that better than most.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 26, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

But I think it's still okay to be mildly disdainful of Congress.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 26, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I thought contempt of Congress was an executive privilege. Now I am confused.

Posted by: Lurkgineer | July 26, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

\\ if a big company can go with an overseas technology provider I don't see why I shouldn't. Maybe we can get a saat. vid hook-up.\\

I hadn't thought about that. Yeah, I think it'll work, EF. Voodoo goes hi-tech!

Posted by: rain forest | July 26, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Error Flynn, my friend, if the friendship (dare I say love?) of the Boodle were the voodoo you need, you'd have more than enough to carry you through. I also know that those who are capable of it are praying for you. I wish there were more we could do.

Posted by: Yoki | July 26, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Oh EF, if you want that for the groundhogs, it won't work. It only work on humans.

Posted by: rain forest | July 26, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

frostbitten's 10:38:
Sad day for military procurement/contracting officers everywhere. Major Cockerham, arrested in the biggest bribery scandal in the history of DOD, appears to not only have been very greedy but stupid as well. How did he think he could hide millions of dollars? Hubris and perfidy apparently haven't blinded the entire DOJ.

What I shall point out is that Cockerham is based at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. His wife was in on the alleged bribery scheme, as was his sister in Dallas. It's huge Page One here today, with Cockerham and his wife shown, in large side-by-side photos, in jail jumpsuits. The scandal, according to the paper, is the largest in terms of money, that the Pentagon and DOJ are investigating, yet just one of 65.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/crime/stories/MYSA072607.1A.major.arrest.folo.3422b9d.html

The Cockerhams were arrested Monday on federal charges alleging John Cockerham brokered deals with handpicked contractors in Kuwait in exchange for kickbacks that the women helped pick up and launder. Melissa Cockerham, for instance, is accused of accepting bags or briefcases stuffed with hundreds of thousands of dollars in payoffs for her husband from contractors in Kuwait. ...

It was unclear how the government learned about the bribes to Cockerham, but various sources told the Express-News that the case is one in a pattern of contract-rigging and bribery cases at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, involving multiple members of the military, including some who died under mysterious circumstances as investigators closed in. A review by the Express-News of Army newsletters, news clips and other materials document a series of bribery scandals at the camp that have never been fully explained by the military.

The other big news is that we are having serious adverse weather here. Flooding that results in a dead cow high in a treetop, Amtrak stopped halfway to El Paso because of submerged tracks and train passengers loaded onto buses, raw sewage spilling from manhole covers onto San Antonio streets. At our house, we have had about two inches of rain for the past three days.

The local TV weatherman said last night that the rain that fell from Jan. through June this year made for the wettest San Antonio EVER (certainly he meant since records were kept, for, say, probably the last 150 years, give or take). We are now having the second wettest July on record and the month isn't over yet. A stubborn, persistent low that sits, seemingly unbudgeable, to our west, fed by a strong fetch of tropical moisture coming off the Gulf. Not good. The soil is super saturated, more of my potted plants have literally drowned. Thoughts of enjoying our brick patios have been washed away. Almost unnecessary to run the air conditioning and we shut off the sprinkler system weeks ago.

One spot of bright news is that Loomispouse was hired by Wachovia last week, so many worries and much handwringing about our future are now gone.

Posted by: Loomis | July 26, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Impeachment a good idea? Really? (Two words: President Cheney.)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Linda, I'm glad to hear that Loomispouse got a new job. Do you get to stay in San Antonio?

Hey, you *could* share some of that rain with us! We certainly need it!

:-)

Posted by: Slyness | July 26, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Yeah for Loomisspouse.

I picked up 'Breach' yesterday. I really really enjoyed that movie. Chris Cooper was so very very good, but then he always is.

Perhaps in the 90's there was a surfeit of nothing happening, so the pendulum swung back with a vengance to all kinds of things happening.

Posted by: dr | July 26, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

U.S. Constitution Article II Section 4:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for,
and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

This means we can get rid of shrub and darth

Posted by: omni | July 26, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor. I don't know how high of one.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 26, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Well, I got some shocking (yet in retrospect not entirely unsurprising) news this morning as I grazed the Swedish newspapers online. One of Sweden's best and most loved authors died this morning in his home at the age of 79. Lars Forssell had the honor of filling the 4th chair at the Swedish Academy (the one which picks the Nobel Prize winners).

When I lived in Stockholm during the 1970s I worked with his wife Kerstin. She and I have kept in touch over the last 30 or so years and she called me, in fact, just a couple of weeks ago. She told me that Lars was in a bad state, but I always knew that he battled the double whammy of depression and alcoholism -- perhaps that's what fueled his writing. But, oh, what a writer he was. I've read many of his works (in Swedish) and as a writer myself, I read him with different layers of consciousness and different layers of appreciation.

I remember spending a weekend with them in the early 90s in October -- right before the Nobel Prize in literature was to be announced. He and I sat at the breakfast table in our robes (over our pajamas) while Kerstin made the breakfast in their tiny kitchen. Bold as I was then (yes, indeedy), I said: "So, Lars. What's her name?" He laughed and said, "Sorry. Not this year." He took me out to the movies at Sandrews theater in downtown Stockholm -- it was a movie about the artists at the turn of the last century at Skaggen at the tip of the Jylland peninsula in Denmark, where the waters meet and part against each others waves, left against right, right against left. There were subtitles in Swedish, of course.

Kerstin told me that she didn't have email. She did have a computer, but it was still in the box under the bed. Had been there for maybe 20 years. We both got a huge laugh out of that. She's in her early 80s now.

They were very close friends with Evert Taube, a raconteur and balladeer, well loved in Sweden, and with Ingmar Bergman and Erland Josephsson, one of Bergman's best known actors.

No, I wasn't surprised, but I am indeed saddened by his passing. There's something about one's own person memories which get to be combined with the memories of a country. It's humbling.

Finally Lars has the peace he always wanted. Sad that he had to die to get it. If you can find his stuff in English, do read him. He is unbelievably magnificent.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 26, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

FTB -- sad day for letters. I have read Lars Forssell. After reading everything I could by Scandinovies like Knut Hamsen, Selma Lageroff, and my favorite Sigrid Undset, I moved on the Forssell.

LF's depression and drinking remind me that the cousin of the Irish writer drenched in fire water is the Scandinavian pen-wielder who dips his (her) muse in aqua vat. And, since most who suffer the double whammyof depression and addiction live desparate lives with hurting families and NO novels to show for it, I am double sad for his family.

SoC reads in the Scandi- oeuvre....and many others here have enjoyed Jostein Gaarder and at least two of his books:
Kabalmysteriet (The Solitaire Mystery) (1990) Sofies verden (Sophie's World) (1991)

While we are on Scandinavian arts, I am hoping to by the Canadian Film Board shot of _The Danish Poet_....soon.

Sorry to be so rushed. Off the meetings of the day. SCC mea culpas in advance. Apply, Rinse. Repeat.

Great news, Lady/Lord in Texas, about the Wachovia barony!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

That LF post to FTB was from me. Sorry. Disclaimer: FTB, I am not Scandinavian in any outright way, but as you suspect, about an eighth of all Irish genes are Danish and Norwegian. That blonde hair comes from those voyages, and at least half of the freckles. I hear from in-laws, that every fifth Norwegian sports red hair. So, the drinking, depression, and Northern clime connection is shared. And neither the Irish nor the Nords are known for cuisine artistry. Save a good Danish pastry or scone and excellent smoked salmon...everything else...well, not so much.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 26, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Actually, CP, I don't have any Scandinavian blood in me at all -- merely by proxy. Lets me pick 'em and choose 'em in regard to traditions, etc. I do agree that aside from the herring and salmon (which I will eat until I pass out), there's only so much one can do with a potato.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 26, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

>Oh EF, if you want that for the groundhogs, it won't work. It only work on humans.

rain forest, no it was me I was thinking of. It seems to me those voodoo guys have vast experience in targeted therapy and some interesting substances as well. And a lot of style points.

The groundhogs can get their own health plan. Geez.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 26, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I'll get round to reading him too. Its always strikes me as amazing how many books there can be, how many stories humans have to tell and how the themes any one culture are the themes of the sotries of us all.

Just the other day, I picked up the second volume of a set of 'Kalevala : the Epic Poem of Finland' translated of course. I'm going to keep going back to see if I can find volume 1.

I also found a copy of 'Mrs. Miniver' I didn't know that lovely movie was a book and just to keep my library out of date, but full of good stuff, a copy of 'The Stand', the only Steven King book I own. I'm stopping there today on the way to the river valley. The store is having a used book clearout with more stuff in the bin everyday.

Posted by: dr | July 26, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. What a Boodle! Regarding the specter of impeachment, I have not put my fine legal mind (cough cough) to work on it but I do believe that "high crimes and misdemeanors", including contempt of Congress, may well cover arbusto and darth as well as torqueberto, who looks to be a shoo-in pretty quick here.

Loomis, congratulations to Loomispouse. There's nothing like a steady income to brighten one's outlook.

Error, you're using voodoo now?

RD, I was thinking of designer rabbits which could hop down the runway.

In contrast to the San Antonio description, I'll give our sky report: blue, blue, blue and hot.

Good to hear from you Mudge.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 26, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Ah yes, I am quite remiss in being so late congratulating 'Mudge on his evading the staff long enough for a Boodle drive-by yesterday.

*bowing repeatedly*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 26, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Every time an American does something remarkable some Canuck tries to outdo it.
Pathetic really. Oh well.
So a 'Merkin took $15 mil in bribes,eh?
Piker.
"Champagne on Monday pleaded guilty to stealing more than $100 million from DND (Dept. of Nat. Defence) by billing for goods and services that were never delivered during a nine-year period ending in 2003"- Ottawa Citizen
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=7cd4e944-c177-4f24-b8a9-24cf04c7a9c2

*Sniffing, wiping away tear*
I'm so proud.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 26, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

ftb,
You can put butter and sour cream on a potato in all sorts of clever ways. What else do you need? I can eat potatoes baked, mashed, scalloped or freedom fried.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 26, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

>EF - Man, don't you hate it when that happens?

RD, for some reason I pictured like four of these hovering over the corners of your place. :-)

>Error, you're using voodoo now?
Well not yet, but we're working on it. I'm just hoping I don't have to pay in torpedo juice, might be export problems.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 26, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Try cottage cheese on a baked potato. With butter, salt and pepper, it's fantastic.

Posted by: Sara | July 26, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Many things happened in the 90s. Eyeglass frames became smaller. Men's hair became shorter. Many grew goutees.

And all those new microbrews! That's probably the biggest story of the decade.

Posted by: hooliganr | July 26, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Loomispouse and I get to stay in San Antonio--for the time being. We figure about another four years here until Loomispouse retires. I shall miss, most of all, in my imagination, of course, visiting Dooley's museum in southern Virginia. At least my interbranch library loan request finally came through and I now have the book "Bonehunter's Revenge" that Joel mentioned so long ago.

We actually knew something was up when a Wachovia personnel guy called my husband mid-week last week and said that if he were offered the job, it would be a lateral move. I knew that if someone was talking salary with Loomispouse, then that was indeed a good sign. Now that the news is several days old, I can reveal that the news of his hire actually came from one of his dearest coworkers who had already been hired by Wachovia and who was in a group teleconference, a meeting with North Carolina employees, when someone in North Carolina revealed that their group was going to hire Loomispouse for the open slot. So we unofficially had the news about 24 hours before the actual offer came through.

With all this rain, my nose has really been stuck in Michael Christopher Carroll's "Lab 257," about the animal germ lab on Plum Island off Long Island, which may move to the western part of our county. The less I Boodle, the better the progress through the book. Since Joel has mentioned Bruce Willis this morning, author Carroll mentions the early history of Plum Island in his footnotes and research material at the end of the book--about how Plum Island was exchanged between Samuel Wyllys of early colonial Connecticut (who drilled in the colonial trainband, first cavalry of Connecticut actually, with several sons of Loomis patriarch Joseph--I've always wondered if Hollywood Bruce of New Jersey is a relative or descendant of these Wyllyses)

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~jdevlin/ct/hartford_military_1658.htm

and Joseph Dudley of Roxbury, Mass., son of Thomas, colonial governor of Massachusetts, and Plantagenet cousin of my distant grandmother, Elizabeth Mansfield Wilson, wife of Joseph Wilson, first pastor of Boston's First Church.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Dudley

My interest is Carroll's fascinating story is far more contemporary, to the point I fired off an e-mail to him yesterday, asking him how many FOIA requests he filed, which were answered by the government, how many denied, and how much of what he did receive was redacted. By his cirics, he has been accused of being unable to provide a smoking gun about whether or not certain viruses escaped the confines of the lab, yet, according to Carroll in his own text, the government didn't help him much by giving him the ammunition to work with, if you get my drift, by providing the FOIA material Carroll requested. But coincidences painted by Carroll with viral infections in both animals and folks since the lab opened in 1956, given the proximity to the lab and the outbreaks' epicenters, are cause for further questions, certainly.

And to answer dr, yes, the okra is a thickening agent in the soup. From the vegetarian cookbook, "Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant." It is recommended at the end of the book to serve it with crusty bread and fresh fruit. A local bread, Pan de Hijo (Bread of the Native Son...I hope the latter is right, because the label is printed, I think with a typo, Pan de Hjo), flavored with garlic, worked nicely since there is garlic in last night's soup.

Posted by: Loomis | July 26, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Boko, that guy's small potatoes (speaking of potatoes). Chretien paid over $500 mil in 1993 to NOT buy helicopters.

CP, it has long been a theory of mine that frustration over the poor cuisine choices is what led to the Viking raids. Remember, this was before even such wonderful and exotic delicacies such as the potato were available.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 26, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Loomispouse and I get to stay in San Antonio--for the time being. We figure about another four years here until Loomispouse retires. I shall miss, most of all, in my imagination, of course, visiting Dooley's museum in southern Virginia. At least my interbranch library loan request finally came through and I now have the book "Bonehunter's Revenge" that Joel mentioned so long ago.

We actually knew something was up when a Wachovia personnel guy called my husband mid-week last week and said that if he were offered the job, it would be a lateral move. I knew that if someone was talking salary with Loomispouse, then that was indeed a good sign. Now that the news is several days old, I can reveal that the news of his hire actually came from one of his dearest coworkers who had already been hired by Wachovia and who was in a group teleconference, a meeting with North Carolina employees, when someone in North Carolina revealed that their group was going to hire Loomispouse for the open slot. So we unofficially had the news about 24 hours before the actual offer came through.

With all this rain, my nose has really been stuck in Michael Christopher Carroll's "Lab 257," about the animal germ lab on Plum Island off Long Island, which may move to the western part of our county. The less I Boodle, the better the progress through the book. Since Joel has mentioned Bruce Willis this morning, author Carroll mentions the early history of Plum Island in his footnotes and research material at the end of the book--about how Plum Island was exchanged between Samuel Wyllys of early colonial Connecticut (who drilled in the colonial trainband, first cavalry of Connecticut actually, with several sons of Loomis patriarch Joseph--I've always wondered if Hollywood Bruce of New Jersey is a relative or descendant of these Wyllyses)

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~jdevlin/ct/hartford_military_1658.htm

and Joseph Dudley of Roxbury, Mass., son of Thomas, colonial governor of Massachusetts, and Plantagenet cousin of my distant grandmother, Elizabeth Mansfield Wilson, wife of Joseph Wilson, first pastor of Boston's First Church.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Dudley

My interest is Carroll's fascinating story is far more contemporary, to the point I fired off an e-mail to him yesterday, asking him how many FOIA requests he filed, which were answered by the government, how many denied, and how much of what he did receive was redacted. By his cirics, he has been accused of being unable to provide a smoking gun about whether or not certain viruses escaped the confines of the lab, yet, according to Carroll in his own text, the government didn't help him much by giving him the ammunition to work with, if you get my drift, by providing the FOIA material Carroll requested. But coincidences painted by Carroll with viral infections in both animals and folks since the lab opened in 1956, given the proximity to the lab and the outbreaks' epicenters, are cause for further questions, certainly.

And to answer dr, yes, the okra is a thickening agent in the soup. From the vegetarian cookbook, "Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant." It is recommended at the end of the book to serve it with crusty bread and fresh fruit. A local bread, Pan de Hijo (Bread of the Native Son...I hope the latter is right, because the label is printed, I think with a typo, Pan de Hjo), flavored with garlic, worked nicely since there is garlic in last night's soup.

Posted by: Loomis | July 26, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Sara; doesn't sound like "man food."

Is this turning into a food Kit, suddenly?

Posted by: CulinaryTim | July 26, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey, gang! I've escaped again. Had a PICC line put in my left arm above the bicep this morning, which will enable me to self-administer IV antibiotics at home and at work for the next two weeks. And the blood culture has finally iudentified the mystery bug: common, ordinary "coag-neg stapph," a boringly pervasive germy we all have living on our skin. Mine chose to find a convenient hole in my perforated leg, and went in and made hisself to home there (warm, dark, lots a fluids and good food coming in, not too many white cells hanging around, and virtually no garbage pick-up or other germfighting going on; if you're a bacteria, what's not to like, ya know?). So they think they're goinna spring me tomorrow.

But of course having the PICC line put in this morning meant I missed breakfast yet AGAIN (and not a good thing when you're diabetic). So when I got back to my room and found my cold, cold breakfast tray had been taken away, I got dressed in my shorts and Hawaiian loud shirt (oh, yeah--it's Jimmy Buffet time here at G-town; all I need is my parrothead hat) and went in search of coffee and chow. So there I am wandering the halls with two IV lines dangling from my right arm, and two IV connectors dangling from my PICC line in my left arm--and I felt like a high-tech Rastafarian with all this stuff dangling off of me. And I decided these things have to have names, so I though of two: the first is "hemobling," and the second one is "bledlocks." You decide, America.

Currently I've got one of those mobile IV black boxes with my on one of those tall rod thingies, with two IV bags hung from it. And the IV box is humming and beeping as it is dispensing stuff (vanomycin, if ya need to know). So as I walked past the nurse's station I told them I was taking R2D2 for a walk, and they let me escape if I promised to be back for lunch, which is right now. So gotta run.

Loomis, a request: please don't put any chicken wings in that Cape Verde soup. I like my Okra Wing-free.

May be able to get back here later today, don't know--gotta go get "scoped" by the ENT people at 1 p.m. (I've got a 50% hearing loss in my right ear due to an ear infection).

Viya con queso, dudes and dudettes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 26, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, R2D2 says "Beep, frip...ging...ging chirp blurp bing bing."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 26, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Tim, surely that's not a problem for you.

For dinner at my house tonight, NC barbeque. Gotta finish up what's in the freezor before the next BBQ in September, plus fresh green beans and corn on the cob. Yum. Even if I do say so myself.

Ivansmom, I certainly want to hear your legal interpretation of impeachment.

Posted by: Slyness | July 26, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I still don't want to impeach Bush or Cheney, richly though they may deserve it, because I greatly fear the consequences of establishing the impeachment of two presidents in a row (regardless of the bogus character of the last impeachment). That's mainly a karmic conception of "richly deserving". Cheney has no official power except what is granted to him by the President, so he would have to commit an actual statutory crime in order to have grounds for impeachment, I think. Abusing his office doesn't really meet the standard, because his office has no official power to be abused. Bush has maintained plausibility deniability on the specific bad actions of his administration -- sure, he created an atmosphere in which the law gets only lip service, treaties are willfully abandoned or violated, human rights have been abused (I'm fairly sure that crimes against humanity can count for impeachment, and Abu Ghraib and the secret prisons surely qualiy), Constitutional and statutory limits on search and seizure have been violated, intelligence has been manipulated in support of extravagantly unlikely scenarios to justify military action, and so on. But it seems that there is not much of a paper trail to show that Bush specifically knew anything about all these things.

At the risk, once again, of nullifying my argument by invoking the spectre of the German National Socialists -- legend has it that Mr. Hitler scrupulously avoided signing any documents authorizing the specifics of the Final Solution, thus providing a thin pretext for the benefit of his vile apologists over the past 60+ years. Darth has learned the same lesson, from Mr. H, who followed it, and from Mr. Nixon, who foolishly kept records of his perfidy and malfeasance. No records, no proof, no actionable evidence. Torqueberto is playing the same game.

Posted by: Tim | July 26, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Man -- if the likes of Bruce Fein, uber conservative though he may be, can strongly believe that both Bush and Cheney have committed impeachable offenses, why are we quibbling here? I say impeachment and impalement are in order! Woo-hoo!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 26, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Hemobling! I love it. R2D2, bledlocks and hemobling -- Mudge is certainly adding to the hospital's vocabulary. And ambiance as well.

Slyness, I don't yet have a coherent legal opinion regarding potential articles of impeachment, so I won't venture comment. I do have suspicions regarding activities as described in the press and to Congress, which may form the basis for articles. I just keep remembering the old Doonesbury from Watergate. You know, the one with two congressmen talking. It went something like this: "If he'd only knock over a bank!" "We'd have him then!"

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 26, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update, mudge. Be careful wandering the halls in Hawaiian shirts with lots of stuff dangling around. Someone might mistake you for a vudoo doctor and put you to work.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 26, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

*faxin' R2-D2 a ciprihana cleverly disguised in an IV bag*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 26, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I vote for hemobling! Good to hear they are going to let you go tomorrow, Mudge. It's hard to get a good night's sleep in a hospital.

Ivansmom, that's a very lawyerly reply. I get your point, though.

Not long ago, I came across the Doonesbury compilation that included the Watergate strips. The one of the wall being torn down and the butterfly escaping the White House, published the day after Nixon resigned, brought tears to my eyes. Trudeau's a genius.

Posted by: Slyness | July 26, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Special for Mudge, even if you don't get to read it till later.

When I was just a wee little Mudge, perky and full of joy
My nurses stealthily came one day and gave to me a toy.
A wonder to behold it was with many colors bright
And the moment I laid eyes on it, it became my hearts delight.

It went zip when it moved and bop when it stopped whirrrrr when it stood
Still
I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will.

The first time that I picked it up I had a big surprise.
For right on its bottom were two big buttons that looked like little green eyes.
I first pushed one and then the other, then I twisted its lid.
And when I set it down again, this is what it did.

It went zip when it moved and bop when it stopped whirrrrr when it stood still
I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will.

It first marched left and then marched right, then marched under a chair
And when I looked where it had gone it wasnt even there.
I started to cry but my nurses laughed cause they knew that I would find.
When I turned around my marvelous toy would be chugging from behind.

It went zip when it moved and bop when it stopped and whirrrrr when it stood
Still
I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will.

Posted by: dr | July 26, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Hi Mudge! I admire your fortitude, typing away with all that hemobling hanging off of you. You're my hero.
Be careful with those wheeled stands, some of them are worse than a wounded shopping cart for taking off in unwanted directions. If you find a good one you can ride it by placing one foot close to the upright and pushing off with the other. Should any of the staff complain maniacal laughter is the proper response.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 26, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Okra Wing-free? Ophrah Winfrey. Haha, Mudge.

SCC: Pan de Ajo = Bread of Garlic. There was a price label on top of the bread label, made the A look like an H. I pulled out the same bread for a lunch sammich and noticed my mistake of translation. a bea c would have caught it sooner rather than later, of that I'm certain.

Posted by: Loomis | July 26, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Did everyone see this already:

http://feingold.senate.gov/~feingold/releases/07/07/20070722.html

"
The first resolution will condemn the President and others for misconduct relating to the war in Iraq including:

Overstating the case that Saddam Hussein had WMD, particularly nuclear weapons, and falsely implying a relationship with al Qaeda and links to 9/11.


Failing to plan for the civil conflict and humanitarian problems that the intelligence community predicted.


Over-stretching the Army, Marine Corps and Guard with prolonged deployments.


Justifying our military involvement in Iraq by repeatedly distorting the situation on the ground there.
The second resolution will focus on the administration's attack on the rule of law with respect to, among other things:

The illegal NSA warrantless wiretapping program.


Extreme policies on torture, the Geneva Conventions, and detainees at Guantanamo.


The refusal to recognize legitimate congressional oversight into the improper firings of U.S. Attorneys. "


Also see this:

http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press/ny22_hinchey/morenews/072607CensureResolutions.html

Posted by: Achenbach | July 26, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, :-) on Doonesbury. And another embraceable buying opportunity today.

CulinaryTim, sounds like boodle as usual to me.

It's not enough that shrub has eroded democracy, started wars, brought Angler & Gonzo into positions of power. Today's motorcade tied up I-95 for a long time today, making me late for work. After tying up rush hour traffic, they took helicopters back to the airport (because there was no point to be made? I'm the president and you're not?).

Desperado (name changed to protect the guilty), the foster dog, is going to a very good home on Saturday morning. After he goes, Emma & Cutter will look at me as if to say, "I thought he'd never leave!" and I'll hang up my foster credentials for a while. Looking for a little less chaos in my life.

Posted by: dbG | July 26, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

From http://www.cftech.com/BrainBank/SPECIALREPORTS/impeachment.html#anchor858602

"Thirteen officers have been impeached by the House since 1787: one President, one cabinet officer, one United States Senator, and ten Federal judges.

"Each of the thirteen American impeachments involved charges of misconduct incompatible with the official position of the officeholder. This conduct falls into three broad categories: (1) exceeding the constitutional bounds of the powers of the office in derogation of the powers of another branch of government; (2) behaving in a manner grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office; and (3) employing the power of the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain."

Definitely a matter of interpretation, but ...

Posted by: bzippi | July 26, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats called for a perjury investigation against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Thursday and subpoenaed top presidential aide Karl Rove in a deepening political and legal clash with the Bush administration.

"It has become apparent that the attorney general has provided at a minimum half-truths and misleading statements," four Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to Solicitor General Paul Clement.

They dispatched the letter shortly before Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced the subpoena of Rove,... Huffpo

Posted by: Boko999 | July 26, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Reminds me of the laws of soccer. That includes the names of the fouls, but no description. You blow the whistle when you see an unfair play. If anyone asks, select the foul that's most appropriate.

Posted by: LTL-CA | July 26, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I just love the phrase "the intelligence community". Makes me imagine Mayberry (sp?).

Or maybe, more ominously, The Village.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 26, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

bzippi, your numbers are off. First the Constitution was not ratified till June 21, 1788 when New Hampshire became the ninth State to ratify, so 1787 is not the year to start. Second, there have been 16 impeachments. Are you forgetting Clinton? that right there makes two presidents, not one.

Posted by: omni | July 26, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Omni,

Not my numbers, but you are right ... I should have noticed that. Thanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I could have had that cookbook a while ago. I'll have to stop at Chapters and see if that one is still in, and if i can get it for a discount. There was a Moosewood one on discount not too long ago. Sigh, I always miss the good ones.

Posted by: dr | July 26, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

SofC, I have a companion theory to your crappy-cuisine-causes-combative viking raids. Seasonal Affective Disorder, more common amount Northern Europeans, ensured that a hall full of mead and ale drinking viking-types would be too somnambulant to swing axes at one another, during the dark and cold winter.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 26, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

And, SoC, I always marvel at the low key, even gentle, Norwegian and Swedish types I have met through climate change negotiation technical groups. So NOT the beserker warrior of Norse myth and history.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 26, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom: If you can't make it stick directly, charge Cheney as an accessory. Isn't that what all prosecutors do?

Ah, the image of the lonely, hunter hauling his hemobling on a quest for breakfast.

I'm weeping here.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 26, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

SCC: especially at that intrusive comma between lonely and hunter.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 26, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

No problem bzippi, and you're welcome. If nothing else on the boodle we strive for accuracy second only to nonsense and humor. er, better make that third or my numbers are off...heheh

Posted by: omni | July 26, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

wow - perjury probe of gonzales, subpoena of rove, and censure resolutions of the president all in the works. i'm not holding my breath, but it looks like progress.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 26, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

nixon resigned before the impeachment was actually voted on, so was he technically impeached? not sure of the definition.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 26, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

ooh, dr, I have a copy of the Moosewood cookbook. The first cookbook I ever bought. Soon as cool fall weather arrives I'll have to dig it out.

Posted by: omni | July 26, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

The House impeaches, the Senate tries. He was impeached by the House but resigned before being tried in the Senate.

Posted by: omni | July 26, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

IIRC, 2 impeachment trials: Andrew Johnson and William Clinton, neither was convicted. Anybody remember if Johnson's was as politically motivated as Clinton's?

Posted by: Slyness | July 26, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Did some checking: Nixon resigned following a committee vote, but before a full House vote. So the answer is???

Posted by: omni | July 26, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Slyness is correct, only Johnson and Clinton (not so Slick Willie after all), and no on Nixon (Tricky Dick).

More checking on the history of impeachment reveals that many historians say it was political.

Posted by: omni | July 26, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, it could be. He was considered incompetent, but he carried out Lincoln's plans regarding pardoning the rebels and setting up reconstruction.

But the act directly leading to his impeachment was firing the secretary of war in direct defiance of Congress. The tenure of office act was later repealed, though, so basically we can't nab him on that.
http://www.impeach-andrewjohnson.com/

The Harper's editorial said:

"The President is by no means the unchecked Executive that he is sometimes alleged to be. He is not solely responsible for the execution of the laws, because he has not an uncontrolled authority of appointment. He must be satisfied with such officers as the Senate approves. The Senate can not, indeed, fill the offices without his nomination? but neither can he fill them without the approval of the Senate. Presumptively, therefore, the responsibility is divided. "

However, the DOJ prosecutors are not political appointees but civil employees, and other laws may come into play. Unfortunately the Civil service reauthorization act may have left loopholes for politicization of the civil service, as noted back in 1978.

http://cwx.prenhall.com/bookbind/pubbooks/dye4/medialib/docs/civilser.htm

Is it illegal? Beats me. Is it an abuse of power to politicize the civil service? I would say so.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 26, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Nixon was not impeached. Articles were voted on by the Judiciary Committee but he resigned before the vote went to the floor of the House.

Andrew Johnson's impeachment was as politically motivated as Clinton's. As I recall, Congress passed a law that any of his appointees that had been approved by the Senate also had to have a vote by the Senate if he wanted to replace them. Advice and consent for hiring as well as firing. It was a goofy law and one designed to limit the power of the President. He was saved by only one vote. People complain (rightly) about politics now; those were some highly politicized times back then.

Posted by: pj | July 26, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

omni,
Time to get out the comfy chairs.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 26, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

.

Posted by: Cardinal Fang999 | July 26, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Okay, guys, enjoy the chairs, but don't make a mess in the bunker. It has to be shipshape for Mudge's return.

Posted by: Slyness | July 26, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

No! NO! Not THAT! Not ... the Comfy Chair!

Posted by: MontyTim | July 26, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

SCC !

Posted by: Cardinal Fang999 | July 26, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

CP, we got it out of our system - sowed the wild oats as it were.

We still have our beserker moments, but they tend to be confined to winter sports now.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 26, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Queen Rania of Jordan has a piece in OnFaith about Islam and inter-religious dialogue and understanding. Much of the commentary is terribly ironic. Lots of rabid, spit-flying, fanaticism declaring that Islam needs to be wiped out completely becaue of its rabid, spit-flying, fanaticism. The lunatics dominate the early commentary, but later it gets to be about 50/50 sanity vs. insanity. An island of peace and comity on the internt, relatively speaking. It is, of course, as nothing compared to the Achenblog's mighty atoll of peace and comity, with its towering volcanic pinnacle of reasoned discourse and high-quality metaphor.

Posted by: Tim | July 26, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"towering volcanic pinnacle of reasoned discourse and high-quality metaphor" Indeed, Tim, indeed.
And don't forget the hi-octane puns either. A regular contributor offered Ockra Wing Free today.

BTW I'm faxing 3lbs of zucchini to all 12 (13 maybe?) regular boodlers. I may post pictures of the beasts later today.

On the Scandinavian author front, am I the only one reading the grey, depressing but fascinating crime/noir novels by Henning Mankell?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 26, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Henning Mankell is great. Very dark, very well plotted.

Also, I'm glad Joel posted the link to the Feingold censure resolution. Good for Feingold.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 26, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

So, Joel, I just got another of the torrent of stupid NASA press releases, correcting the one from earlier today where the article about the X-48B blended wing aircraft test was headlined with something about an undersea mission, which would be the case only if things go wrong, or if it were the Flying Sub from SHADO, or the Flying Sub from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Or, I guess, the flying subs from Marine Boy. All other aircraft are intended to stay over-sea, not under-.

Do you get these things, too? Worthless, aren't they?

Anyway, the NASA press releases are stupid and worhtless because signing up to learn about cool new aircraft and spaceflight events means you also get to learn about the new custodial services contracts and so forth at various obscure NASA facilities like that place in Texas. Johnson, or whatever. No discrimination based on actual topic of interest or any such thing.

What really makes NASA press releases stupid and worhtless, however, is that each of them contains a URL, which points to one of only two kinds of place -- either it points to an HTML version of the same darned press release, or it points to the NASA headquarters office that is 13 levels above the actual news event (I might be exaggerating with '13' -- maybe only 7), and from which it is virtually impossible to garner any real information. None of these things take you to what you might really want -- a page with some dang pictures of the thing and the event.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 26, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"worhtless". What a word. That should be "worthless."

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 26, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Ask not whom the blog atolls for...

I think I need a nap.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 26, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Tim, is it something like this?

"Not only did something just not happen, but it happens that something just happened to appear to happen without really happening, but really didn't." Martooni 3:54 p.m. yesterday but at the start of this boodle.

Posted by: dr | July 26, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Just saw a video on the Calgary Sun web site of capturing a 6 foot cougar for relocation. Much better solution than just shooting them like the do in Califonia & Oregon.

Posted by: bh | July 26, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Really? They captured it yesterday. All the people who walk their small dogs at Fish Creek are heaving sighs of relief.

Posted by: Yoki | July 26, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm on the loose again, got about an hour of freedom here on the computer.

I agree for the most part with Tim's excellent 12:20 on the danger of imperaching two presidents in a row. However, I think a perfectly good case exists for impeaching Torqueberto right now for perjury, and I think you could even wangle a contempt of Congress citation out of his general behavior and demeanor, too. Which I think is pretty much what's going to happen with that Cong. investigation they just launched. I just wish they could speed up the process.

On the other hand, while I agree thaqt impeachment is too frought with problems and unintended consequences, I do think there are other remedies nearly as interesting and worth pursuing. There's no question in my mind that a strongly worded motion of no confidence AND censure on Cheney for his various and sundry mis-, un-, and malfeasances is due and overdue, and I think would carry the Senate. In addition, I think the Senate could and should ask the House (which controls the pursestrings) to de-fund virtually all of Cheney's office and staff. They'd have to leave his own salary in place (which isn't a serious issue), but they CAN pretty much dismantle his office and hamstring his activities.

The point of this exercise isn't so much to "accomplish" anything tangible, but rather to generally make enough noise and protest and objection that Cheney and indeed the Bush administration are brought virtually to a standstill, and are publicly rebuked and disgraced by majority votes in the House and Senate. After all, it is still largely a public relations game, and I think we've reached or passed the tipping point. It is now OK to kick Bush and Cheney while they are down, and we need to begin doing so. Granted that Bush's popularity is about 29% now (Cheney's is nearly non-existent), but I think another 10 points can be whittled off that 29%, and that it is worth doing. For the past six years, Bush's general behavior and administration have been passively tolerated by the House, Senate, media and public. It is now time to go over to active remonstrance and firm statements that his administration will no longer be tolerated. We can't [read: shouldn't] remove him from office, for the reasons Tim gave. But we can state as a nation unequivocally that enough is enough, you've screwed up long enough, and we're not going to take it any more. This is what the House and Senate CAN do, and they only need simple majorities to do it. A lot of people might say that a vote of no confidence, in whatever form, doesn't carry much weight or force; I disagree. I think such a clear simply worded vote carries a great deal of force.

Anybody sits in my Comfy Chair is askin' for it...just sayin'.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 26, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Looks like LTG Kensinger, of Pat Tilman cover up fame, may be demoted even though he has retired. I certainly hope so. Mr. F already loathed Kensinger for other reasons, but seeing video of him sitting next to Mrs. T at her son's funeral knowing that the tales of heroism in the face of enemy fire were all lies sets the usually even tempered Mr. F off on a sputtering rant.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19975042/

Posted by: frostbitten | July 26, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh, regarding the Andrew Johnson impeachment. Yes, on the one hand, it was "political," since it was in large measure an attempt to overturn or discredit Reconstruction. That said, however, it was still distinctly different than Clinton's impeachment, which in no way, shape or form concerned anything like a serious policy issue or question, overall job performance, or anything remotely to do with the "work" of that or any other president. For whatever the distinction is worth, the Johnson impeachment was about issues and problems in the country, and had a basis in issues. When you compare that to a BJ, the comparison is ridiculous.

And BTW, in John F. Kennedy's famous book "Profiles in Courage" (let's hold aside for the time being the argument that it was ghosted by my hero Ted Sorensen) has a chapter in it on the impeachment of Johnson, and focuses on the lone Congressman who's vote not to convict turned the tide in that trial. It's a good chapter, and worth reading.

When it comes to that list of 16 people who have been impeached, I think there oughta be one of those massive Barry Bonds-type asterisks next to that number, for there's just no question both Nixon and Agnew would both have been convicted it it had gotten that far. (Everybody forgets Agnew, who would have been drawn and quartered by a Senate trial.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 26, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

mudge, great to hear from you.

shrieking, those are not zucchinis - they're called baseball bats.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 26, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Thinking about snakes (which I like a lot) yesterday got me to thinking about "The Little Prince" and the scene where the Prince is shown a drawing of what appears to be a side view of a black flat brimmed hat and correctly identifies it as a boa who has swallowed an elephant. Pulled out the book and started flipping around in it last night and came upon this- "It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important." So, then the question each person has to answer is: What is your rose?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 26, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Loomispouse and thanks to Loomis for the background on the Cockerhams. I thought the San Antonio connection might yield a Loomis researched link to the local news angle. In case no one has noticed I do love to read the local view of stories that get national attention.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 26, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog is definitely my dog rose right now. I have a few other roses too; life is a bonquet and these poor bastards are sneezing to death.


Posted by: Wilbrod | July 26, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

It also just occured to me that the Senate could also "withdraw" it's "advise and consent" of Torqueberto's appointment. Graqnted it's never been done before, but so what? There are plenty of cases both legal and otherwise where some body or organization or institution has "withdrawn" its nomination or approval or appointment of somebody. There's nothing in the common language that says if you consent to something, you're required to stick with that consent. You can get divorced, fer cryin' out liud; what more pointed form of withdrawal of consent could there be than that? The Catholic Church anulls marriages under the flimsiest pretexts; can't the Senat anull Torque Boy? There's a Lemnon Law for cars, and a 90-day warranty on a gazillion products, and Sears will let you exchange a broken Craftsman screwdriver. All that's required is 51 votes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 26, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

halllooo, halllooo
Is this thing on?

Posted by: Boko999 | July 26, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The Lights are on Boko, but nobody's home.

Posted by: Kerric | July 26, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

>So, then the question each person has to answer is: What is your rose?
>Posted by: kurosawaguy | July 26,

Niiiiiice

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 26, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

No need to get personal.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 26, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm home, Kerric and Boko.

So, Frosti - What do you think? Has justice been done with these actions? His mother doesn't think so, but as a military person, do you think this punishment is in line with the offenses? I know that's a tough question, but it's hard for civilians to gauge what these kinds of censure really mean to the military personnel.

Mudge - good to hear from you! I don't know what to think about the censurin' and subpoenain'. I'm all for nailing their hides to the wall... my stars, this administration has been a disaster for this country. I still feel, however, that the Democrats need to find a way to govern, to get things done, to rise above partisanship and prove to the huge center of the country that they can accomplish something. Is that too naive?

Posted by: Kim | July 26, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Of course we are not at home. Some of us are still at work. But I'm leaving early. As in right now.

The boss is away, the cats will play.

I sure hope Mudge doesn't see this.

Posted by: dr | July 26, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

This is kinda funny.
I had just poured my 5th of 6th glass of RC Cola today set myself afore the 'puter and came across this column title in the LA Times
"Science is taking the fizz out of life"
by Dana Parsons.
Oh oh I thought, another romantical artsy tool complaining about science unweaving the rainbow and other such luddite nonsense.
So, pulling the cord on the umbrage collector I followed the link and discovered the writer was upset over findings that indicate a person who drinks more a can of soda a day is at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Good column, fine writer. All reved up and no umbrage to scoop.
http://www.latimes.com/news/columnists/la-me-parsons26jul26,1,3765734.column?coll=la-news-columns

Posted by: Boko999 | July 26, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

SCC a can of soda a day. Stick in commas to suit.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 26, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

It could be that the soda risk is associated with other dietary trends.

An analysis of soda and bone health here:

http://members.tripod.com/lesann/soda%20and%20bones.htm

While this article points out that chicken and meat has more phosphorus, it also neglects to mention that a high intake of animal protein in your diet is also associated with a risk of weaker bones, and it is known it forces higher calcium needs.

By the way, I like lassis and teas, so I'm trying to cut back by drinking those for my caffeine & cold flavored drink needs. Just never at the same time.



Posted by: Wilbrod | July 26, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I looked up lassis onaccounta I didn't know what it is.
Wilbrod | Does the guy in the picture prepare yours?

The bhang lassis sounds interesting.

Posted by: Boko999 | July 26, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

D'oh !
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lassi

Posted by: Boko999 | July 26, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Hello, friends. Mudge, you sound as perky as ever. It was good to hear from you. Please take care of yourself.

As to impeaching the present administration, I don't believe that will happen. Who would do that? From what I can assess, and it isn't much, no one has the balls to do it.

Ivansmom, tomorrow.

Kbert, Slyness, tomorrow.

I am not a Bible scholar, but I have not read anywhere in the Bible, Old Testament or New Testament, where God loves lying. And I haven't read the whole book.

We took the kids to the park today, and it was hot. It was a rough day. Right before the tranportation arrived, a couple girls got into a fight. When we got back to the Center, another fight at dismissal. It's been rough today, and I am tired. The g-girl and I are still hanging out. We did laundry, and went out to eat. She has had her bath, and is busy talking to me while I am typing talking to my friends on the Boodle.

Got to go. Need the sleep. I only have one more week at the Center, and then some rest, maybe.

Raysmom, sorry about your doctor. She was a rare gem if her patients were her first consideration.

Loomis, glad your husband has found a job and y'all get to stay in Texas.

I miss you guys.

Martooni, your assessment of the situation in Washington seems to be on target, and so does yours, yello.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 26, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Catching up a bit:

Loomis, it is great to hear about Loomisspouse's new job. Even if it's a lateral move, that's a lot better than it could have been. I hope you have a nice celebration.

dr, thanks for the Tom Paxton rewrite for Mudge. That's a great song. For all us local yokels, he lives in Alexandria now.

Posted by: pj | July 26, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

F.B.I. Chief Challenges Gonzales's Testimony
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/26/washington/26cnd-gonzales.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Posted by: Boko999 | July 26, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I did get some Mankell books when I was over there, but I don't know where I put them, and I know I haven't cracked them yet. But for a very good read, do try out the Sjövall Wahlöö detective novels with Martin Beck as the protagonist. I find them very funny (at least they are in Swedish). There are only ten of them, but I loved them. Maybe enough time has passed to start reading them all over again. Now, where did I put them. . . .

Over and definitely out for a very long day.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 26, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

No Bhang lassi for me, thank you.
Bhang, bhang, boom you're arrested.

I like either plain salty lassis or sweet lassis (rose syrup is my preference, but mint and anise flavoring and sugar aren't bad substitutes. Orange flavoring produces a good orange creme taste, too.)


Posted by: Wilbrod | July 26, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree Wilbrod. I wasn't advocating trying it. I just thought it as interesting in a anthropological sense.
A facinating cultural titbit, if you will.
Milk and pot? Good gracious! Think of the children!

Posted by: Boko999 | July 26, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Boko, Alberto is in about the same position now as Stig O'Tracy:

"Interviewer: But the police have film of Dinsdale actually nailing your head to the floor.

Stig: (pause) Oh yeah, he did that."


Posted by: bill everything | July 26, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Kim-I don't imagine I would ever feel the punishment was harsh enough, were I Pat Tilman's mother. From the military perspective Kensinger's demotion seems appropriate in that he knew what was being said was not the truth and didn't step forward to say so. Mr. F's sense of it is that it was civilian leadership that actually pushed the false scenario as a potential war support/recruitment boost. How painful the punishment will be to Kensinger is hard to say. It will mean a reduction in retirement pay and he could become radioactive to companies that might have hired him for his second career, if he planned to have one. Worst of all I suppose is the knowledge that his peers and former subordinates will forever know he countenanced a lie.

FTB-I haven't read any of the Martin Beck novels but I love the TV shows, subtitled, shown on the DC area's MHz station (available on Direct TV I believe).

Posted by: frostbitten | July 26, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

BTW, right now on the web site, that still from the video from the Waveland Cafe in Des Moines. Almost looks like Weingarten is the inspiration for the Grant Wood look-alike.

Posted by: bill everything | July 26, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

On a lighter note-
A favorite activity of families and friends of deployed soldiers is searching for "bored soldiers" or "funny soldiers dancing" on youtube and myspace. Frostdottir found this one-
http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=4866596

Fondue and toodles boodle.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 26, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, guess everyone is out waiting in line to see the Simpson's movie.

Well, eat my shorts.

Posted by: bill everything | July 26, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

As long as we're on lighter notes, this is the funniest thing I've seen in a while. An imagining of the back story behind the altercation in the Cantina in Star Wars IV:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orK_H_m9n78&mode=related&search=

There's another one where one of the officers on an Imperial Cruiser is telling all the others that Darth Vader can't actually choke people from across the room, but they all play along.

Apparently these are from the makers of Family Guy.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 26, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

>Milk and pot? Good gracious!

Well, if it was chocolate milk...

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 26, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Back from the beach (that *would* be Ocean City, MD, la lurker) and trying to catch up on the Boodling.

Quick note re. Brian May; listen to Queen's "'39" (written and sung by May, IIRC), it hinges on some knowledge of Special Relativity. Granted, the "Flash" thing was awful, but Queen was well paid for that, and led to the fansmashtic soundtrack work for "Iron Eagle" and "Highlander." Oh, never mind.
Hell, I still have my vinyl copy of Brian May and Friends' "Starfleet Project" with Eddie Van Halen... (oy).

Spoke to Mudge on the phone this evening, sounds like he's getting a little stir crazy. I think he needs more exercise than knocking trays of food into the air, throwing jello at the TV during the women's pro volleyball tournaments on ESPN, hiding from the floor nurses while trying to find computers to Boodle on, and chasing the candystripers around on General Principles.

With luck, they'll release him on his own recognizance, er, I mean into the custody of Mrs. Mudge, um, I mean they're going to make him promise to continue the treatement regimen on his own and let him go home.

It's late, and I'm going to bed.

Look, another comment where nothing happened. I'm so '90s, aren't I?

bc

Posted by: bc | July 27, 2007 12:13 AM | Report abuse

There is some beautiful moonshine on the mountains tonight. No I am not talking from out of the XXX jug. Although that aint a bad idea.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 27, 2007 12:48 AM | Report abuse

\\ It seems to me those voodoo guys have vast experience in targeted therapy \\

Sorry Error Flynn, the ones here are not the ones who would be able to help you.

People in this region use herbs a lot. They combine east and west treatment. West for immediate solution and east to maintain.

Mudge, good to hear from you and that you'll be going home.

Posted by: rain forest | July 27, 2007 3:19 AM | Report abuse

I know not too many of you are here right now but I'm going to ask this question in the hopes that in the morning perhaps you all can weigh in. A very good friend of mine lost his wife to complications from Lupus in May. She was young, just made 40, but had been ill for a while now. Still it was a shock when she passed away. Today, my friend finds out that his beloved dog has lymphoma and will likely have to be put down within the next week or so. This guy just can't catch a break.

My question to the boodle is what do you say and what do you do to give some sort of comfort? I've offered the usual words of support but they just seem so inadequate. He is a very close friend but we live in different states so I can't physically go over and offer my help, although he'd probably not accept anyway. He's starting to withdraw with the grief of losing his wife, I'm afraid having to put his dog down will just make him pull away further.

Any ideas? You all are so compassionate and wise about these things. I'd appreciate hearing your suggestions. Thank you!

Posted by: Aloha | July 27, 2007 4:43 AM | Report abuse

>They combine east and west treatment.

I think people are trying to do that in a lot of places, I sure am. So, they're mainstream! :-)

But yeah, I'm thinking lock of hair, voodoo doll... if you're going witch doctor you want the deluxe package.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 27, 2007 5:19 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Aloha, that is a toughie since you can't be there in person, but the phone is good. In these things I am not an expert, but I think people always can tell, even in their grief, if what is said is from the heart. Just be there for your friend. Talk to him, and talk from your heart even though the words may not sound right. And my first line of defense is prayer. What better comfort than prayer?

Moving early this morning. Mudge I hope you get to go home. Take care, Mudge.

I'm going to try to get to the Center early this morning without the rush. One more week, and I get to rest a little bit.

It is Friday, and I'm sure most of you are looking forward to the weekend. Have a nice one.

Eugene Robinson's take on "Gonzo" is beautiful. The description of lying is right on target. I'm still in awe that these folks went to the hospital to drill Ashecroft. They had the nerve to go and do that, but lost their nerve when time came to tell the truth about the encounter. Why? If there isn't any rule, why did their knees get shakey when time came to "fess up"?

The more we find out about what is going on in Washington, the uglier it gets. Should we continue this uncovering? And if we do, won't it call for some action on our part? I mean if there isn't any action, aren't we in a sense going along with it? Where is that crowd that wanted blood when "sex" was the culprit? And I'm not saying we should do something because the other folks did something, it's just that this stuff is really ugly, and I mean consitutional wise, and every other way.

I keep seeing our basic foundations blowing out the window here and getting lost in our "nothing-ness". But maybe every one is on the same page about this stuff. Perhaps there isn't any dissension.

Maybe we shouldn't believe our lying eyes.

Have a great day, friends. And an even better weekend. Love to all.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 27, 2007 5:22 AM | Report abuse

*TGIF Grover waves*

Aloha, just let him know your ear is there for him to bend. You don't have to be as direct as that, but if you're a regular presence on the phone your friend will get the idea. Let him vent, let him say whatever he needs to say. It'll help.

*mightily resisting a punny joke on Wilbrod's beverage of choice*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 27, 2007 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Wow, aloha, that is so tough. I agree with Cassandra. The telephone is a wonderful tool; use it! Call him and let him know you're thinking about him and available for discussion. Call at random times, but keep calling regularly. The contact is important. He will realize that when he comes through.

Posted by: Slyness | July 27, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Aloha, how sad and even more so, nowadays, when medicine does not buy a reprieve from death for such a young women. Think of this as a marathon. Take your cues from him, but don't be afraid to speak of her. One consequence of death as that the names of our beloved are said less and less. You may try some of this with email, as in "I saw the movie Amalie last night on cable and remember how much Jane loved it." It can be our fear about touching a tender spot, in public, that keeps us from saying the name and sharing memories.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 27, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I've posted a new kit, feel free to repost comments.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 27, 2007 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

*Tim, I meant to thank you for the Marine Boy reference yesterday. I hadn't thought of that show in *years*.

On an unrelated note, I see that there was a tragic accident yesterday at the Scaled Composites facility as that company is developing the engines for SpaceShip 2.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/27/AR2007072700653.html

We don't always think of rocket scientists as brave, but sometimes they are.

bc

Posted by: bc | July 27, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Aloha - Back in the late 1990s, when my sister-in-law died of breast cancer, I remember having a talk with my brother on grieving. He told me that all the people who expressed their condolences by telephoning or visiting were exhausting him. What he really appreciated where people who simply sent cards with their phone numbers on them and invitations to talk if he wanted. Also food. Food was always appreciated.

Of course, that was his reaction, and different people need different kinds of support.

The bottom line, though, seems to be that one needs to be very careful that well-meaning attempts to comfort the grieving do not cause even more stress.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 27, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

aloha, you are truly serving as a life line to your friend. I recently read an article confirming what you might instinctively know, that men are more at risk after a loss because they tend to have a less reliable social network--where women usually have no shortage of same sex friends who are willing to listen and share, men are less likely to turn to their male friends for support. I'm sure that his dog has been a comfort and it is even harder than usual to lose his "best friend" at this time. Keep doing what you're doing; even if he feels guilty accepting your attention, he probably needs it. You're right that it's a good sign he called you.

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