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Everyone Out For Class Warfare!

I've said it before, I'll say it again: It's the inequality, stupid. This story in the Times got a lot of Web traffic and should have been on the front page instead of in the business section (mental note: I should charge for these Olympian pronouncements).

The growth in total incomes was concentrated among those making more than $1 million. The number of such taxpayers grew by more than 26 percent, to 303,817 in 2005, from 239,685 in 2000.

These individuals, who constitute less than a quarter of 1 percent of all taxpayers, reaped almost 47 percent of the total income gains in 2005, compared with 2000.

People with incomes of more than a million dollars also received 62 percent of the savings from the reduced tax rates on long-term capital gains and dividends that President Bush signed into law in 2003, according to a separate analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice, a group that points out policies that it says favor the rich.

The group's calculations showed that 28 percent of the investment tax cut savings went to just 11,433 of the 134 million taxpayers, those who made $10 million or more, saving them almost $1.9 million each. Over all, this small number of wealthy Americans saved $21.7 billion in taxes on their investment income as a result of the tax-cut law.

The nearly 90 percent of Americans who make less than $100,000 a year saved on average $318 each on their investments. They collected 5.3 percent of the total savings from reduced tax rates on investment income.


Our government tracks this stuff.

--

Atheist Sam Harris is upset with the journal Nature.

At a time when Muslim doctors and engineers stand accused of attempting atrocities in the expectation of supernatural reward, when the Catholic Church still preaches the sinfulness of condom use in villages devastated by AIDS, when the president of the United States repeatedly vetoes the most promising medical research for religious reasons, much depends on the scientific community presenting a united front against the forces of unreason.

There are bridges and there are gangplanks, and it is the business of journals such as Nature to know the difference.


--

Via Jay Rosen (and now I see Howie also linked to this) we see this piece in the L.A. Times , by Michael Skube. Rosen really didn't like it. And Josh Marshall exposes Skube in this post. Skube's column fails to give even the slightest nod to the various scoops by bloggers over the past few years, as Rosen has documented. But I agree with this last graph (echoing my Outlook piece published the same day):

"The more important the story, the more incidental our opinions become. Something larger is needed: the patient sifting of fact, the acknowledgment that assertion is not evidence and, as the best writers understand, the depiction of real life. Reasoned argument, as well as top-of-the-head comment on the blogosphere, will follow soon enough, and it should. But what lodges in the memory, and sometimes knifes us in the heart, is the fidelity with which a writer observes and tells. The word has lost its luster, but we once called that reporting."

Bottom line: Get the facts and the world will beat a path to your door.

--

Meanwhile, via Howie's Media Notes, we see this piece in "American Thinker" by a certain James Lewis. It reads like something written by a man in an ecstatic, hallucinatory trance:

"Mass killers make up the most famous names in history: Attila the Hun, Caligula, Hitler, Napoleon. But few of the famous can claim to have saved lives. Perhaps Louis Pasteur, and of course many unknown scientists and inventors in medicine, agriculture and engineering. But who is celebrated by the Media Mob? Paris Hilton. Dan Rather. Hillary Clinton. The next Democrat for president. None of them have real achievements to their credit. None of them come within miles of Norman Borlaug.

"The Big Media just aren't interested in stories of profound human significance. Life-saving scientists are boring, and besides, don't we have too many people walking on the planet already? That's the vaunted "editorial judgment." It reflects the snobbish values of the vulgar Media Mob, and it's utterly subjective and selfish. Mobs don't think. They just hyperventilate at pseudo-scientific superstitions, like Global Warming."

I fear I can't make head or tail of it.

--

Speaking of Jay Rosen: Some months back we mentioned his experiment in crowdsourced journalism. Apparently it didn't go terribly smoothly. Here's the write-up at wired.com:

Citizen media initiatives are a hot topic in the media, and the new project, christened Assignment Zero, was widely reported. The New York Times gave it a lengthy, if skeptical, treatment. Would the crowd prove too tough to manage, the reporter asked?

Six months later, the jury is in, and the answer is mostly yes... In the 12 weeks the project was open to the public, it suffered from haphazard planning, technological glitches and a general sense of confusion among participants... And yet for all this, it might best be considered a highly satisfying failure.

--

The Washington Monthly is into the college ranking game.

Apparently it has a completely different methodology than [from?] U.S. News. Like, instead of average SAT scores of incoming freshmen, it tracks how many go on to join the Peace Corps, or become Greenpeace activists, or recycle conscientiously, or use compact flourescent bulbs, etc. (I skimmed).

--

T.rex could have caught and eaten David Beckham:

"Our research, which used the minimum leg-muscle mass T. rex required for movement, suggests that while not incredibly fast, this carnivore was certainly capable of running and would have little difficulty in chasing down footballer David Beckham for instance."

--

Tip for the Orioles pitchers: Next time try throwing overhand.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 23, 2007; 7:40 AM ET
 
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Comments

First!

Posted by: lurkgineer | August 23, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

The kit is so linky it's making me dizzy.

Posted by: jack | August 23, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Wow! Lots and lots of topics for us to chew on. I hope you had a nice time, Joel.

My stars, those poor, hapless Orioles. I'm not even a fan and that headline made me cringe...

Posted by: Kim | August 23, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to figure out what would Posh do if David Beckham were actually eaten by a T-Rex. Certainly there is a TV special in there somewhere.

Posted by: Lurkgineer | August 23, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Though clearly I have fulfilled James Lewis's rant about fame, having concerned myself with Posh and David before googling Norman Borlaug.

Posted by: Lurkgineer | August 23, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

The boss is back and in fine form. Most excellent kit.

And with that, I move off topic. I was thinking about Ivansmom today, as I was driving into work. A glorious soprano voice soared out of the radio with the Augelletti, che cantate aria from Rinaldo. Just beautiful.

Posted by: Yoki | August 23, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if a Lexis-Nexis account would help all those poor bloggers compete. I, suffering from a grass-is-greener complex, envision access to it like a "whole 'nother internet" and am jealous of my friend at the newspaper, a part-time-only writer, who is pretty good on the net but does not know how to access their Lexis account and so makes no use of it. Argh. So, o journalists who have it, tell me, is it as good as I imagine it to be?

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I was wondering about Ivansmom upon hearing of all the rain in the midwest.

Posted by: jack | August 23, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I do not have a net income of $1Meg, or even close... But I do have enough that with just the two of us I pay the top income tax rate and I get slammed with the AMT...
My hope is that if enough voters get hit with these extortionist taxes that they will force to legislators to examine the false premise that progressive taxation and punishing those who produce more is fair (not)...

Posted by: denny | August 23, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

That so much money is being concentrated in the hands of so few people certainly seems like a cause for class warfare. But where are the soldiers? Why are we not seeing a popular uprising against these tax policies and the party that fosters them?

I suspect that this is because it isn't a zero sum game. What seems to be happening is that new wealth is being funneled to the super-rich. The rich are getting richer while the rest of the country is treading water.

That is, although the gap between the super-rich and everybody else is widening, this doesn't necessarily mean that the 90% under $100,000 are feeling especially pinched financially. At least not so pinched that they are willing to make their economic self interest the dominant factor in how they vote. For many low income people, social, religious, and ideological considerations still swamp all others. Such people do not fear regressive taxes. They fear gay marriage.

And perhaps this is an indication of prosperity. Maybe this means that America is so prosperous that even its less affluent citizens do not need to vote strictly according to their pocketbooks. And like everything else in this country, the situation will probably not change until a crisis occurs.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Reposted from previous:

LiT's comment reminded me of when I was a kid - maybe 9 years old - with the WaPo spread out on the living room floor and me lying in front of it, reading the entire paper from front to back.

I always wondered why I was the only one in my social group who knew what the SALT agreements consisted of, and who HR Haledeman, Robert McNamara, and Henry Kissinger were.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 23, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

i know about the washington monthly ranking because a *certain* institution i know does quite well in them. before treating this in a dismissive manner, let me just mention one parameter that is used - the retention and graduation rate of underrepresented minorities. it's extremely high. and this *certain* university has the highest number of students on pell grants in the country, a number that is higher than all of the ivies put together.

i think it's refreshing that the washington monthly ranks schools based on their positive social contribution, joel, don't you?

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 23, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

So many links, so little time. And I'm out of coffee. Grrr...

bc... send me an email when you get a chance to the sales at thehandyhippie.com address. Need some info I'm hoping you have.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Mixed garden salad kit for breakfast. Zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, tomato, the whole mess.

Washington Monthly's college ranking is quirky, to say the least. I concur with Stanley Fish's poorly-written piece in the NY Times about a month ago. For the vast majority of students, the best deal is to get an undergrad education at a decent state university, or some private school that will offer a reasonable price. Parents in the top 0.5% will probably want to send their kids to a ridiculously expensive school, just to ensure that they're exposed to potential significant others from the same economic class.

The problem for us Floridians is that the state universities, which got better over the past decade, are having to cut enrollments even as the number of prospective students is increasing. According to recent estimates, we could import the entire University of Texas at Austin, and it would provide just 5 years worth of needed expansion.

BTW, Michael Lewis will have what looks like a good story on insuring disaster-prone American cities in the NY Times Sunday Magazine.

And over at EurekAlert, there's a press release from Purdue on the difficulties of restoring American chestnuts to our forests: http://news.uns.purdue.edu/x/2007b/070821JacobsChestnut.html

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 23, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

By the way, a colleague's kid has graduated from Princeton. Seems it was well worth it. But good grief, getting to go there as an undergrad is like winning the lottery.

Along those lines, our area has little league lacrosse and high school rowing. Wonder which would be better getting a kid into an exclusive college? I guess either would be better than surfing.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 23, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I think that all of these rankings of colleges and universities are silly. Finding a school is like finding a spouse- it's all about compatibility.

What matters is matching the unique needs of a particular student to the unique characteristics of a school (and then figuring out how to pay for it). This requires a lot more research than just reading a list.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

On a side note, I saw somewhere that the Orioles bullpen's ERA for the game yesterday was in the region of 54.00.

Ay carrumba.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 23, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"the false premise that progressive taxation and punishing those who produce more is fair" This would indeed be a false premise if in fact the income tax was progressive, but it ain't. A tax scheme which places an individual with an income of $350,000 and another with an income of $200,000,000 (this would be Mr. Gates) in the same bracket can not be called progressive. And add onto that the cap on Social Security taxation whereby many low and middle income earners are taxed on their entire earnings but those in the higher range are taxed on only the first $97,500, and the lack of progressivity is readily apparent.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 23, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I believe that what is being pointed out in many of these articles about the blogosphere is the danger of hubris. Blogs can easily lead to delusions of grandeur. For when thoughts, rants, and opinions previously inflicted only upon close friends and immediate family members are suddenly put out there for the world to see, one's sense of self importance can easily become exaggerated. This raises a Warhol-like future where we will all consider ourselves just a little bit famous. And although this might be a heck of a lot of fun, there is a risk that everything will degenerate into cacophony of competing egos, and such silly things as inconvenient facts will be drowned out by the shouting.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm laughing at Joel's suggestion that the O's should pitch overhand, but also feeling a little guilty for laughing. On the Today Show this morning Matt Lauer pointed out a headline in (IIRC) the NY Post or Daily News about the 30-3 game: "Rangers hold off O's." That surely must be the ultimate snarky sports headline. And while I'm laughing, a part of me knows that this snarkiness isn't very good sportsmanship, and in the face of such a miserable performance the "sportsmanlike" thing to do is simply to avert one's gaze and let the poor, suffering O's alone for a while. Having grown up in Philly, and having rooted for the Phillies and Eagles for so many years--kinda like a Chicago Cubs fan, too--I understand sports humiliation all too well, and urge if not compassion, then silence. Of course, there's the feelings of perhaps as many as half a dozen other similarly benighted teams, whose only thought this morning is: "Thank god it wasn't us."

Changing the subject, I keep going back and forth on whether George Bush is merely crazy, or crazy/evil/smart. But with this latest pronouncement about Iraq being similar to Vietnam, I'm pretty firmly back in the Just Plain Crazy camp. The man is out of his mind or off his meds. I suspect that in the White House right now there is a big witchhunt going on to find out which bodyguard screwed up and let crazy ol' George loose in front of the media. And add up Iraq+Vietnam with the bipolar flip-flip on support for Maliki, and I think we're pretty close to a DM Level 4 diagnosis here.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

GWB is bat[guano] crazy. He is, unfortunately, enabled by others who are varying combinations of crazy/evil/smart.

Posted by: byoolin | August 23, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"Everybody's famous, but no one is interesting." - attributed to Tina Brown

"cacophony of competing egos, and such silly things as inconvenient facts will be drowned out by the shouting." Uh, RD, we already have that. It's called TV news.

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

BTW, boss, good to have you back.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Gates and a slew of other loaded executives came out publically for Bush in '04. They don't give any indication they will pony up for the additional costs. And with big parts of their incomes being capped capital gains I don't think those are progressive either.

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

There's an unfortunately unfunny comedy called "Idiocracy", in which American society becomes so dumbed-down that the most popular show on tv is called "Ow! My Balls!"

My wife pointed out last night that we're nearly there.

Posted by: byoolin | August 23, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

How about "Orioles Enter Record Books"? Glass half full enough for ya?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 23, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

mudge - I think that Bush is spouting "bubblespeak."

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Thanks for that lovely thought, Yoki.

We've taught Ivan the "they'll be first up against the wall come the revolution" mantra, but time has changed the subject from bourgeois, racists, or warmongers (all still valid subjects) to the rich & callous. I agree with RD that we haven't seen more serious class warfare because the middle class isn't thinking politically with their pocketbooks, but I believe there is something else too. Americans admire wealth, and this colors our response to other peoples' accumulation of money. I think most people just don't understand, on a visceral level, exactly how much money that 1% have. The disparity in tax treatment of the very rich and the middle class, to use the Kit, is almost inconceivable for most folks. I mean, if you save $318 annually on your investments under the tax law, it makes no sense to believe that the rich guy saves almost $1.9 million with the same law. When someone tells you we need tax reform, you're going to support the idea that you should save another $200, without considering the extra $850,000 this will save the other guy. This is common sense borne of ignorance. The idea that folks in our government, whom many citizens prefer to think of as good people, will support and encourage this disparity is hard to accept.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 23, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

jumper - but don't we want the blogosphere to be *better* than what we see on TV?

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

GWB seems to be suffering from delusions that tell him there are fence sitters who think Iraq isn't yet as bad as Vietnam and will be persuaded that we can correct the past by doing now what should have been done then-staying longer and seeing the fight through instead of withdrawing. No, no, no-the lesson in Vietnam (besides "never get involved in a land war in Asia")is that you cannot "win" a war in which you are not a principal actor. I despair of the administration ever getting the fact that we are in the fight because we are there. We cannot hope to end the violence, but we can end our participation in it.

I comment occasionally on St. Pete Times blog written by a military spouse. When discussions of withdrawal comes up someone always mentions the "You broke it, you bought it" philosophy meaning, "We shouldn't have gone into Iraq but now we have an obligation not to leave until we fix it." I like the analogy better of "You broke it, now please take yourself and your bull out of the china shop."

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I like that observation Ivansmom. We view the rich as if they were Royalty. You know, divine right and all that. Plus, highly entertaining when they do dumb stuff.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Well said frostbitten. And bonus points for the movie reference.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Class warfare, I'm all for it--well, actually I prefer "class struggle" because it doesn't require us to kill the rich, just to wrestle some of their wealth away and use it for the common good, or whittle away at the established institutions (military-industrial complex, anyone?) that ensure they are always at the trough and there's not room for the little piggies.

We have the some of the same challenges in our current gilded age that we had in the first one. The lower classes (i.e., the 90% of us who make less than $100,000) just don't pay enough attention. If religion was the opiate of the masses in Marx's day, we've got television to fill that role now, not to mention actual opiates, readily available. And yes, we are prosperous, even our poor people are pretty well off by global standards (if not by first world standards). But there are plenty of people who are hard-pressed to provide for themselves and their families, in spite of the fact that they are working very hard.

I've been following this story in the New York Times for a while now, and have been surprised that other newspapers haven't been giving it any coverage. So thanks for giving it some virtual ink here, Joel.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 23, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

What you said, k-guy. We're a two income household and nearly in the grip of the AMT. I'm not well versed enough in economics and the tax code to elaborate much further. I do know that the taxes in our state have been cut to the bone so that state employees such as ourselves haven't had anything but a COLA as a raise for nearly a decade. I doesn't help that we're like most households and carry more debt than we need to. Under this administration it seems like the folks with >500k income have been afforded tax breaks, while the amount, at least that we pay has steadily gone up. We used to get a pretty nice refund that has now dwindled to less than $500. I have to conclude it's because our income bracket is paying for those tax cuts. Going to college requires a King's ransom, even for in-state tuition. Class warfare, indeed. The middle class, if it persists, is being priced out of higher education, and forced into the newly created service economy. The administration seems also to have encouraged our formerly robust domestic industry to relocate out of our borders, has indirectly caused collective bargaining to be marginalized via the first strategy, has done little to encourage growth of our domestic industry, squadered the surplus (even if it was a paper one)left by the Clinton. ARRRGH! administration

Posted by: jack | August 23, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The 30-3 score was the first game of a doubleheader. The O's lost the 2nd game 9-7. I guess it was not a fun day to spend at the "yard"

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 23, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I don't really think GWB was let loose and came up with the Vietnam analogy. It reeks of the deliberate political opportunism that has defined this administration. It is all about dividing the country and firing up his supporters. At each moment that he could choose to try to bring the country together, he chooses to villify his opposition.

It made me physically ill to watch.

Posted by: Kim | August 23, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

One of the traditional tenets of the "American Dream" has been the rags to riches scenario whereby anyone can become wealthy by work, thrift, and luck. Faith in this idea has decayed over time as the rungs of the income ladder have gotten further and further apart as one approaches the upper levels. I would cite as evidence of this loss of optimism the decline in personal savings and the popularity of state lottery gambling. Many Americans now believe that the only way they personally will ever become financially independent is not by planning, saving, and investing but by winning the powerball.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 23, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

SCC: the frustrated ARRGH belonged at the very end of my rant. I happened to generally favour the policies and practices of the Clinton administration. Of course, discretion is the better part of valour...some of the stuff that went on just isn't acceptable.

Posted by: jack | August 23, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

i've heard it said about john edwards that he's "too into class warfare" by a fellow democrat (don't remember where). it bothered me at the time and it bothers me now because it seems like a phrase that could easily have originated with and be perpetuated by the republican machine to discredit and obscure the really serious economic inequality that democrats are more likely to at least try to address.

"class warfare" is a really loaded term because of its association with real communist revolutions. if people who challenge the status quo of unequal wealth distribution through political and legislative means are accused of "class warfare," well that's just sick. it's a total distortion of republican-capitalist propaganda that no one should perpetuate.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 23, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of GWB-he was in MN touring the bridge collapse and getting briefings on the recent deadly flooding. In reference to the bridge he was described on radio as "vowing to cut through the red tape to get the bridge rebuilt quickly." He must think we are unaware of the mad red tape cutting skills he used at the other end of the Mississippi.

I need more coffee. All this thinking about GWB is making me want to curl up with a Frostcat and sleep the rest of the administration away.

RD-that's why I spend so much time here. IRL no one would have noticed, much less awarded bonus points.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Walking on a non-Newtonian fluid
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2XQ97XHjVw&mode=related&search=

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Here's the conundrum about red tape. Today the headlines will read "Federal Help Hindered by Red Tape." Six months from now the headlines will read "Billions Wasted Through Lax Oversight."

Which headline is worse?

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of headlines. To me this NYT headline implies amazement that people were having sex during the Ford Administration.

"Many Found Sexually Active Into the 70s"

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Beckham might not have the speed to beat T. Rex, but I think he would take the lead in maneuverability. Used properly, this could be a compelling advantage. Imagine racing toward a cliff, chased by a mighty set of gnashing jaws, saliva flying everywhichway. Suddenly, our human hero breaks to the right -- or, maybe, to the left (he has options!) -- and executes a smooth and skillful roll beneath the behemoth's jaws. The dinosaur turns his head to snap, lowering his head to the ground and off-balancing himself as Beckham reverses on him. The giant is making his slow arcing turn, when suddenly (Wile E. Coyote-like), he notices that his foot is stepping on, um, air. Whoops! If he could hold up a sign with those useless little arms, it would say something like "Oh, dear." We're eating meaty dino-drumsticks tonight!

Of course, it is necessary to maintain a lifestyle that keeps cliffs nearby. I think it could be done.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 23, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

...Posh enters to hug her hero after vanquishing the terrible lizard...*smooch, smooch*

Posted by: jack | August 23, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

RD-excellent point, safeguards are often seen as red tape until the money is gone. Minnesotans by and large were unimpressed with GWB's visit and metro area leaders are calling for a more deliberate approach to the rebuild with talk of not rushing into something when this would be a chance to build a "100 year bridge." After a very quick call for proposals from design/build firms in the first week after the collapse, Mayor Rybak and the 13 member city council "Unanimously approved principles (that) outline Minneapolis' position that the new bridge should be designed to meet present and future transportation needs by improving vehicle capacity and providing transit capacity, including the potential for a future light rail or bus rapid transit line." more here: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mayor/

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, frosti. The rebuild in NOLA , by most accounts, is not adequate to protect the city. Restoration projects deserve beter.

Posted by: jack | August 23, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Jumper-that non-newtonian fluid link needs to come with a time sucker disclaimer, but thanks for posting it. The Madrid TV show from whence it came has lots of cool demonstrations.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

" it suffered from haphazard planning, technological glitches and a general sense of confusion among participants... ."

Jay Rosen's Assignment Zero, or the boodle?

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

jack... you may think you aren't well versed in economics, but your rant made an awful lot of sense.

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

REALLY off topic: The students returning to school in Blacksburg were seen amusing themselves on the drill grounds by playing a game called corn hole. *L*

Posted by: jack | August 23, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

A T-rex would never get me. I'd grab someone's child, throw him to the beast and run away while explaining that I have other priorities.

If we're gonna eat the rich I got dibs on Ms Hilton.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Well, whatever you do, when they build that new bridge up Minneapolis way, make sure to get that Trucoat, don't ya know?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 23, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

>people were having sex during the Ford Administration<

Not me. Kinda of a dry spell.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Hilton? Not me, Boko. You don't know where that thing's been.

Posted by: byoolin | August 23, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Boko would you really want to eat that? She's an awfully bony, scrawny thing. No meat worthwhile on that body.

Posted by: Kerric | August 23, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

You must have been in a monastary Mudge.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, I'd rather eat Hodges, sir.

Posted by: byoolin | August 23, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

That was a joke.

I am fairly concerned about the story about T Rexes (can't think of a proper plural for rex without getting into the Latin: rexii maybe? regi might be accurate but nobody would know that) being faster than Beckham. As we know, dinosaurs and humans co-existed at the beginning of time 6,000 years ago, and the dinosaurs quickly died out. So the conundrum is, although the T's might have been faster, humans clearly were able to out-survive them, perhaps using the very Wily Coyote maneuver SciTim mentioned above. It's the only rational explanation I can think of (and yet one more piece of evidence for Intelligent Creation).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Horribly behind here, and perhaps I'm BOO as well, but here's a quiz for today:

http://encarta.msn.com/quiz_277/archeology_quiz.html?GT1=10289

10/10, although I'll admit to one WAG...

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 23, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Today is the last day of Charlotte landmark soul-food restaurant "The Coffee Cup" (featured by Bobby Flay in '02) at least at its present location. Since the cooks are moving to the new restaurant along with the name, I am not too upset. Also I discovered an excellent old drive-in called Town and Country on West 74 that supplied my veggie fix with fried squash, pinto beans, collards cooked with pork, hush puppies, and some homegrown sliced tomato served gratis on the side. Yum. I got to talking with the owner and I had a book Extreme Barbecue my sister gave me. Turns out the guy worked for 30 years up the street at ANOTHER still operating drive in restaurant called Barbecue King, before he started with his own place. So he gave me a free taste of barbecue. Perfect.

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Could Minnesotans build a giant ice arch over the Mississippi this winter? My best guess is that ice is too compressible for it to work and you'd need too much staging, anyway, but it might be fun for a civil engineering class to figure out the maximum feasible span, given a temperature of about 0 degrees F and high-quality lake ice.

Sometime, I'll have to go to Europe to see a few real Roman bridges. The Pantheon. The Duomo in Florence. How on earth did they build all that stuff with stone and/or concrete?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 23, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

SD, I heard of the deaths of the soldiers on the way home last night. My deepest sympathies to your family.

It strikes me that wars which are winnable feature territory that, once won, stays won, but these battles seem different. Our men seem to die while the ground just changes hands over and over again.

A retired member of the Van Doos was interviewed on CBC and said something very interesting, that we just aren't hearing a lot about. He said that the Taliban was fighting very hard to hold the territory because its crops are not in yet. Once winter comes, they will likely pull back. The crops are opium poppies and marijuana. Illegal drugs are still their major source of funds. We are not only paying for our soldiers to fight, we are paying their soldiers to fight. We need to put a little more thought into how to stop that.

I can only think of one way to put governments in charge of it and since that has to do with making the da** stuff legal, well...but I do wonder if that is a fight which we might stand a chance of winning on several fronts.

I'm going back to my corner. maybe more clear minds than mine could figure it out.

Posted by: dr | August 23, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Anyway, I suspect that if Minneapolis wants federal aid, it'll have to build a vehicles-only bridge. No socialist transport for the proletarian masses.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 23, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The problem with tax policy is the usually unacknowledged fact that it is about much more than the "fairest" way to raise revenue to run the government. I believe it is the best measurement of who and what a nation values, and our system sends a lot of mixed signals.

What behaviors should we encourage or discourage? Is it ok that the greater than 100,000 non-profits approved by the IRS as 501(c)(3)s have almost no oversight? As the unpaid executive director of a very small nonprofit, I'm glad the vehicle is available but there is nothing to stop us from buying a home theater system for Chez Frostbitten except our own governance structure. My personal bias is that work should be rewarded with far lower tax rates than investment or inheritance. But, I can wrap my head around the idea that at times investment does need to be encouraged by government. Should marital status even factor into it, as penalty or reward? Shouldn't we be concerned that our tax structure is now so complex that to start from scratch to construct a more rational system would throw an entire sector of the economy out of work?


Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Just a little perspective:
Odds of dying in a bathroom slip and fall-
2,232 to 1
Odds of being murdered-
18,000 to 1
Odds of being killed in terrorist attack while traveling-
650,000 to 1
Odds of dying of snakebite-
1,241,661 to 1
Odds of shark attack-
8,000,000 to 1
Odds of winning Powerball jackpot-
146,107,962 to 1

So, buy lotto tickets if you want to, but consider it entertainment and not a wealth strategy.


Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 23, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

So, if I buy 146 million tickets...

Posted by: byoolin | August 23, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Hi Joel. Hi boodlers. The kit begins to lanquish without the commander! But we all should take breaks.

How could a MLB team lose by such a ridiculous margin? How much money do their top players make? I once had season tickets with the Orioles. A long time ago, thankfully.

Posted by: birdie | August 23, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

10 out of 10 for me, too, scotty, and also with one WAG--probably the same question as yours.

I also had a little trouble with two other questions. The first was the location of the Flavian Amphitheater. I was tempted to answer: "Flavia," but that wasn't one of the choices. My second thought was "corner of Flavia and 59th," but that wasn't an option either. [Anyway, I think it is now a Cineplex Odeum Maximus with stadium seating.]

The second question I had trouble with was I got thinking about what possible kind of building the Erectheum was up there on top of that hill.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

10/10 - only one random guess, a new personal best

Posted by: Kerric | August 23, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I just had time to do a little backboodling...Shrieking D, I am so sorry to hear that news.

frosti raises very good questions. I completely agree with LA Lurker...the term class warfare is a Republican echo chamber term. Or more like a club. Democrats must define these issues in a manner that puts the lie to their propaganda.

Yea! A quiz!! 9/10, I knew I was wrong on the Maya/Aztec thing the minute I hit submit...The Aztecs weren't on the Yucatan peninsula, dummy. It's even more stupid that I missed that one because of all that news about hurricane Dean...there was a lot of mention of Mayan villages...sigh.

Posted by: Kim | August 23, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

10/10 I was unsure of the Maya/Zapotec question so I'm off on the internets to edjamacate meself.

byoolin- Don't known where she's been? Are you kidding? I thought you kids were internet savvy. (Nice Python ref. btw)
kerric- One word. Soup

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

10/10 with no guesses, but only because we are going to one of the places on the quiz in March and I've seen several others. When the army isn't busy breaking things it does provide great travel opportunities.

Has anyone been playing the Daily Show trivia game on comedycentral.com? Time sucker alert!!

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

10/10 for me too. No wags, no waffles, but then these are things I learned in Treasure Chest comics when I was a wee kiddie.

Posted by: dr | August 23, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy writes:

'A tax scheme which places an individual with an income of $350,000 and another with an income of $200,000,000 (this would be Mr. Gates) in the same bracket can not be called progressive. And add onto that the cap on Social Security taxation whereby many low and middle income earners are taxed on their entire earnings but those in the higher range are taxed on only the first $97,500, and the lack of progressivity is readily apparent. '

I've been harping about this for years -- the marginal tax rate for Donald Trump's secretary is very likely higher than that for Donald Trump (because of FICA and Medicare taxes).

Lost in the data about tax breaks is the simple fact that many of us have had our taxes raised via real estate appraisals going way way up (housing boom wherein we're wealthier on paper but can't possibly sell since everything else is prohibitively expensive) and, worse, we have much more deducted now for health care plans.

There's no question that I make less than I did 7 years ago. Hence the class warfare mania.

I gotta write an Outlook piece on this. Just to keep from bursting, you know?

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

Boko, I know soup and I'm pretty sure that there is not even enough there for soup. Stone soup maybe, but I don't see the village contributing in this instance.

Posted by: dr | August 23, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

DotC-you are probably not far off on the federal aid for mass transit comment. The federal gas tax is actually considered a user fee and by law the amount that can normally be used for mass transit is miniscule. I fear that's not the kind of red tape GWB was talking about cutting, or that he could get the votes to do it if he wanted to.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

8/10 for me, got trip up by the artifacts in the US, questions all seem extremely easy until then. Also had a brain cramp about the acropolis.

Posted by: dmd | August 23, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Jumper: Sad day for the Queen City on the occasion of losing the original Coffee Cup. I ate breakfast there many times. Charlotte ,in my experience from '81 to the present, has always had a hard time with historic preservation.

Posted by: jack | August 23, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

RIP for Grace Paley, 84. The finest kind of troublemaker/writer. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/23/AR2007082300858.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, healthcare costs for employees go up every year and more than our paltry raises. And real estate taxes are a boon for governments and a bust for the majority of us. BOO.

Posted by: birdie | August 23, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

10/10, no guesses. Just the sort of trivia that my mind stores best. Now, if only it would remember all the darn PIN numbers!

Posted by: Yoki | August 23, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

As a pacifist, "warfare" troubles me.

As a struggling lower-middle-class father with bills up to his eyeballs, trying his best to do the dance of the utility shutoff notices while simultaneously attempting to keep food on the table and clothes on our backs... well, give me a fork (just no Paris Hilton, please).

That said, if things don't change soon, I think we're definitely going to see an uprising of some sort. The whole "subprime" thing is just the tip of the iceberg. Too many people owe too much (and not just those with a penchant for Prada) and even the best jobs don't provide the kind of security they used to -- when was the last time you heard or saw the word "pension" not immediately followed by "failing" or "bankrupt"? It takes a lot of money to sustain even a very modest lifestyle without having to resort to credit. And what happens when you lose your job or get sick? George made sure that even bankruptcy is an option only for those with the most money.

What really gets me, though, is having to hear "financial advice" from people born with silver spoons in their mouths (our a$$wipe of a president comes to mind). Go to school! Get a good job! Well, President a$$wipe, I've been there, done that, got the cheap t-shirt. Maybe if Wipy and his buddies would keep their fingers out of pension funds, pay their fair share of Social Security and other taxes, quit hiring illegal aliens to mow their lawns while they're out campaigning to build a fence (like the Mexicans haven't heard of ladders)....

I could go on, but I'm probably already on some sort of NSA or DHS watch list.

Let's just say that I hope beyond hope that the next time George goes out boating with his dad (to show how much of a "regular guy" he is) and pulls one of those cocky waves at the camera, that the boat flips on a rogue wave and he sinks as quickly as his legacy. In my dream of dreams, his Secret Service detail would clap.

I'm not bitter, though.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

JA-we have to set our city levy for '08 at the next council meeting. To cover increased expenses and a loss in what MN calls local government aid (LGA) we should double it, but the assessor just came through town and we don't yet know what the new valuations are. Even if our levy adds just $20 a year to everyone's annual property tax bill it will be hard to explain if valuations send the overall bills skyrocketing.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

10/10 as well.

re class warfare. And deficit spending while providing top end tax cuts isn't?

Now would be a good time to link to that Globe and Mail story on the study about growth or shrinkage of various countries' middle class, but alas, it's in archives now.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 23, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

SoC... I think we're getting close to finding that the middle class itself (not just a report about it) will soon be relegated to the archives.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I hope mo stops in today, this quiz is for her. I only got 5/7 after changing one answer that I initially had right.

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/departments/homework/?page=Quiz199&Quizid=199

Posted by: omni | August 23, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

8/10 on the archaeology quiz: I'm on the right coast and haven't learned enough about Mesoamerican culture in the fifteen years since taking a Spanish teacher as my bride.

Posted by: jack | August 23, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Also 5/7 on the "for mo" quiz.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 23, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Got 9/10 on Scotty's quiz. Guess I better brush up on Native American cultures (I thought "Anasazi" was was a Chinese spice featured in a Budweiser commercial).

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Got question 8 wrong on archeology

Posted by: omni | August 23, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

A bit off continent.
(it is said that Inca tax collectors would take the head lice of the lame and old as a symbolic tribute).-wiki

Nowadays they'd take their crutches and false teeth.

6/7 w/ 3 guesses. I'm off to play poker.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

5/7 on the panda quiz, but I'm protesting #6. Pandas at the NZP get much more nutrition in their diet than just bamboo can provide and do not need to spend the same amount of time eating as animals in the wild. I seem to remember that the giant panda and the gorilla have pretty short intestines relative to their mass and much of what they consume goes through without being fully digested. That combined with a veggie diet makes one an all day muncher just to stay alive.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 23, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

But who are people more angry with. Republican lawmakers who support regressive taxes, or those low-income people who chose to vote for them?

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

A point well taken, RD. The words tax cut are a powerful motivator in the context of getting poeple to the voting booth, even if the tax cuts are of no merit to large groups of individuals. The other motivating tactic invokes fear.

Posted by: jack | August 23, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Interesting short article on that quiz site page about whether Ivy League colleges are worth the effort to get in:

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/Departments/College/?article=IvyLeagueWorthIt

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 23, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I just discovered this insightful article that highlights the phenomenon to which I referred:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/30774

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

A colleague just cracked up our office by finding on the Internet the hot new item: the Michael Vick chew toy for dogs.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Those interested in seeing Machu Picchu in film cannot do better than Werner Herzog's "Aguirre, the Wrath of God". In addition to the ancient Inca city in the clouds, it displays another remote, bizarre, and forbidding phenomenon, Klaus Kinski as the DERANGED conquistador captain. Depending on what you think of Kinski, this is either great acting or cinema verite.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 23, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I guessed on 8 and got it wrong. Kind of sort of guessed on 4 in that I should know the answer but always mix Aztec/Inca/Maya up. I need a mnemonic.

Posted by: omni | August 23, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Those question numbers, not number of guesses.

Posted by: omni | August 23, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Egad, SCC:Those are. time for a walk.

Posted by: omni | August 23, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

RD, and one on martooni's point:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/30767

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 23, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree the middle class is in danger. My concern is that many voters don't seem to be that worried about it. But I imagine this will change.

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

SoC I think this is the link you were looking for from the Globe and Mail on the middle class. It works if you google it and select the link, not if you search for it on the Globe website.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070803.doug04/BNStory/International/home

Posted by: dmd | August 23, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Interesting review of economist Robert H. Frank's book _Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class_
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/05/books/review/Gross-t.html?ex=1343880000&en=d6ed4c8d594254bd&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how many Onion articles come true?

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

RD... the voters were concerned enough to give the popular vote to Bush's opponents twice.

If the votes don't get counted correctly this next election, I think people will just skip with the niceties and formalities and just burn the White House down.

Error... dust off those campaign signs. We got a job for you.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

But martooni, the fact that it was even close supports the notion that pocketbook issues are not motivating voters.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

that's why you have to start culture wars - to get people to vote against their own economic interests.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 23, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse


For those who don't click, a crucial paragraph from the Onion article cited by RDP:

"The alliance between the tiny fraction at the top of the pyramid and the teeming masses of mouth-breathers at its enormous base has never been stronger," a triumphant Bush said. "We have an understanding, them and us. They help us stay rich, and in return, we help them stay poor. See? No matter what naysayers may think, the system works."

Posted by: kbertocci | August 23, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

The irony of the Republican "starve the beast" scenario, the idea put forward by Grover Norquist among others that tax cuts will shrink big government down to size, is that it hurts red states more than others. Most if not all of the red states are federal tax beneficiary states, receiving more in funding than they pay in taxes. So if you shrink the fed, you cut off the source of funds for roads, schools, military installations, county ag agents, national parks, and a whole host of other programs which benefit local individuals and communities.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 23, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I definitely voted with my pocketbook, eh,er, wallet. In 2004 I made contributions for the first time ever. Bonus, I gave them my old phone number. I'm sure my ex loved getting a hundred calls from campaigners asking for me.

Posted by: omni | August 23, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

There's a great commentary about this issue of class and voting and democracy in Sicko.

Here's a link to the segment where retired British MP Tony Benn discusses the idea...

http://www.bennites.com/SICKO.html

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Just kidding on the old phone number thing

Posted by: omni | August 23, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Yeah.. and with those black helicopters I see looming over the horizon, I'm going to assume martooni was kidding about burning down the White House... right, martooni?

(Error in '08!)

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Fear, mon ami. Fear.

Denny, it's not a progressive tax. I understand it hurts to pay taxes, but I'd be downright proud to be able to afford to pay over 10K a year in taxes a year.

There are many people who have to survive on an income of less than 7000 dollars a year.
They're people who became disabled before they could begin to work.

I know such a woman who has chronic health issues stemming from brain damage that prevent her from holding down a full-time job. She was still in college, married, and getting her Ph.D degree.

One car accident and she got divorced, lost major custody of her daughter, walks with a cane for life, and all. She's lucky to have recovered this well, but she knows there's stuff she'll never get back; she has dysautonomia.

She's doing her best to find work she can do, but everytime you complain about the tax you pay, think that today on your commute home, you could wind up in a car accident, brain-damaged, and in far deeper financial trouble than you've ever imagined possible. Or your kids.

I'm sick of the welfare mother &*^&*% I hear about. I know a lot of people want to punish the cheaters-- heck, I do, too-- but that's missing the real problem out there.

You don't want your tax money paying for disabled people? What do you think the war in Iraq is doing?!

Hundreds of veterans are coming home disabled at similarly young ages. They're fortunate to have disabled veteran bills which will give them some more (not a lot more) medical aid than civilians, college bills, etc.
Many of them will be able to work just fine. Those who got brain damage or torso damage or PTSD-- probably not so fine at all after a while.

If I had my druthers, everybody that voted for the war (and that means the democratic senators, etc.) would pay a tax penalty to go towards the care and support of those veterans.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Looks like most of the new jobs in California are at the top or the bottom.

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_6695881?nclick_check=1

Meanwhile, it seems Woz was lead-footing it in a Prius.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 23, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

RD... I think a lot of the problem is that so many pocketbooks are empty. Major numbers of potential voters don't bother to vote because they don't feel their vote matters. No matter who gets elected, their problems never seem to get any better. They're still unemployed/underemployed, underpaid, uninsured, etc. They are on the outside looking in and what they see on the inside seems so beyond their reach that they figure "what's the point?".

If you have to work three minimum wage jobs just to keep a roof over your head and feed your kids, taking time out between jobs and having to pay a babysitter just so you can stand in line for a few hours to vote for Liar#1 or Liar#2 (assuming your right to vote isn't challenged by some party lackey and the Diebold voting machines aren't "malfunctioning") -- sometimes I wonder why *more* people don't bother.

On the other hand, I wonder why pitchfork sales haven't taken off.

Here in Ohio, we did manage to oust the bums who rigged the elections for Bush in 2004. I still don't trust the system, but it's the only one we have so I keep trying. Maybe now that we have Strickland in the governor's office and Kenneth Blackwell is gone (he's the Republican who was in charge of the Board of Elections here in '04 and went out of his way to make sure Democratic-leaning districts didn't have enough voting machines), Ohio just may have fairer elections this time around.

I hope.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Me as well... They were just ousted? What, no death penalty for treason? (Which is what should happen in such cases of mass voting fraud.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

My observation is that a lot of people think they are voting their economic self interest. They hear "tax cut" and don't equate it with 40 kids in a classroom but appreciate the 40 extra dollars they imagine will be their share. They want "big government" out of their lives, but they also want the 2 MNDOT guys who were in town today inspecting our bridge to be well trained, paid enough that under the table payments aren't de rigueur, and equipped with all the latest bridge examination equipment (in our case a boat and a flashlight).

I like the point economist Robert H. Frank makes, as outlined in my book review link earlier, about relative deprivation and how it skews the way we look at our positions in the middle class-

When asked whether they'd rather have a 4,000-square-foot house in a neighborhood of 6,000-square-foot McMansions, or a 3,000-square-foot home in a zone of 2,000-square-foot bungalows, most people opt to lord it over their neighbors.

The point is that when given choices, as we are when voting, we choose the option that gives us relative advantage over others instead of that which makes us all better off. It is then further muddied by the point already made that Americans do still believe that they will be rich before they die. Just look at the widespread support for permanent elimination of federal estate taxes. Under current law it is estimated 13,900 estates will have some estate tax liability for 2007. That's out of a projected 2,579,700 deaths.

In the relative deprivation scheme of things that means you are more likely to be murdered (18,000 to 1 odds) than have your heirs pay estate taxes if you are (20,000 to 1).

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I may be talking through my hat (again). But I think that having universal health care makes Canadians more aware of were there tax dollars are going. I don't think we trust our government more than Americans it's just that we can see what mismanagement costs us and chuck the bums out that we see as hurting our interests.

Posted by: LittleMissSunshine999 | August 23, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

were there SCC where their
I can't believe I did that

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I think Joel started somethin' here.

TBG... arson isn't my cup of tea, but I wasn't kidding about "the people" potentially burning down some choice pieces of real estate in the DC area if history were to repeat itself and we end up with another questionable election. Let's just say that if that were to happen, I wouldn't be handing out matches, but I wouldn't be part of any bucket brigades either.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

William Powers has nice things to say about Joel's article on online versus tree reading. Go Joel! Go William! Go reporters!

I will always enjoy reading the paper in the original format. I do both, obviously. Newspaper is also good for so many other things as boodlers mentioned recently. We would all be lost without it becuase it is so easily accessible. And cheap.

Posted by: birdie | August 23, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

It has always seemed to me that different government programs are judged by different standards of success. If an aircraft manufacturer contracts to build a fighter plane for the DOD and the final product is heavier, slower, and more expensive than first advertised, but it does not crash every third time it gets in the air, then whoopee it's another triumph of Murcan know-how. And of course if one or two of the subcontracters defrauded the government on costs, well that's just too bad, cause we need those planes. If a social service agency spends funds to expand Headstart, and a quarter of the kids end up dropping out of high school ten years later, then Headstart is a bust. As far as waste and fraud in social services goes, it seems to be mostly small stuff unless its done by institutions or doctors. Does anybody else find that human problems are much more intractable than technological ones, or is it just me? Launch a space shuttle or put an end to spousal abuse- which would be harder? Try to imagine what things would be like if all social services were terminated tomorrow.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 23, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

> "What, no death penalty for treason?"

Wilbrod... I'm with you on the need for the bums to be dealt severe justice, but the death penalty is a little over the top for me. I'm not a fan of state-sponsored executions for any reason.

That said, the death of an Imperialist by yacht mishap or choking on a pretzel doesn't bother me one bit.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

10/10 on the archeology quiz. I am more stunned that I have been to two of them. There are at least three more I'd like to visit. I'm sure we got Boodlers that can top that.

6/7 on the panda quiz. They're always sleeping when I happen to be there. We went to the Beijing Zoo and were 0/5 on awake pandas.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

k-guy I would agree with your point. Here I often hear people complain about people who take advantage of our so called social safety net. Yet rarely do I hear any passion for those who routinely fudge expense reports to their companies, or on their taxes, use "grey market" satellite receivers, etc. Sadly, it seems the lowest on the totem pole are an easy target.

Posted by: dmd | August 23, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

yello... did you try kicking them?

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, life in prison doesn't have the same zing. I'm not a fan of the death penalty in most cases, but I could always make exceptions for acts that directly contribute to war.


Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The Canadian Medical Association has just elected a neo-con Limey, I mean English gentleman, as their president. His solution for under-performing hospitals? Cut their funding, no patient left behind.
I wish we could come up with our own bad ideas.

Ok. No executions. The bastinada is said to work wonders.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I think you are missing the point, martooni. Consider the following scenario in which you and your fellow overtaxed, overworked, and financially stressed citizens reach the gated walls of Smithington Farms Keepe with your torches held high. You are ready to bring justice to the wicked financial fascists when suddenly one of the mob yells,

"Wait! I heard that these folks donate money to stop the killing of baby stem cells!"

And the rest of the mob goes home.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Boko, re SCC you get a pass - it was a Freudian slip legacy of the Chretien era. Your tax dollars "were there", now they're not.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 23, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. kurosawaguy
While severely twisted about 30 years ago I saw a comedic French movie on TV about the German occupation of France. I believe Bridgitte Bardo was in it and there was a Himmler like character (looked very much like Karl Rove). Mayhem galore and it was quite funny for a French movie.
Do you have any idea what it might have been? I don't have enough for a productive Google.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I think that movie was "And God Created the Dirty Dozen."

OK, just joking.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Boko, sounds like it might be "Babette s'en va-t-en guerre" (Babette Goes To War).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052595/


Posted by: byoolin | August 23, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

SoC | You leave JC alone, you naughty tory type person. How do expect venal public relations firms to stay afloat without slush funds.

Posted by: Trudeaumaniac999 | August 23, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Boko, it was Babette s'en va-t-en guerre. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052595/

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Probably "Babette Goes to War." It's awfully hard to evaluate experiences far in the past and under the influence of the "wacky tobaccy". I thought "The Fearless Vampire Killers" was a scream in the 60's but now it would have me yawning for sure.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 23, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

C'est la byoolin. Merci

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

End global warming-- Stop Bullwinkle from eating those beans!
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070822/sc_afp/sciencenorwayclimate;_ylt=ApaZXin_yXEUA6WMWwwUSUkiANEA

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

et tout le autres

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

RD... I agree that hot-button issues like stem cells and the "death tax" and others will cause otherwise sane and rational voters to side with insanity (or simply go home).

The point I was trying to make was actually a different point, but i got sidetracked on the vast numbers of disenfranchised voters who don't vote, when I should have focused on the merely distracted voters who do (and should probably stay home and sit on their hands).

But I didn't even manage to make *that* point.

Grrr... If only I had the mad writing skillz of an Achenbach.

The point that I was really *wanting* to make is that the numbers of extremely p!ssed off voters will swell significantly when the "prime" mortgage market implodes. When the folks with good jobs and good credit who got their mortgages from reputable and responsible bankers (an oxymoron?) suddenly find that they can no longer cover their large mortgage payments because the truth came out that their employers (and/or their employers' customers) only make "pretend" money on paper (and therefore went belly up), all he11 is gonna break loose.

Sorry to switch goalposts on you -- my bad.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

s

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Moose eat grass? Maybe the Scandanavian one but every one I've met had to be dragged out of a swamp.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

GMU Law professor Ilya Somin says in "When Ignorance Isn't Bliss: How Political Ignorance Threatens Democracy" that one-third of Americans can be classified as "know nothings" almost completely ignorant of relevant political information.

From the executive summary: "Voters who lack sufficient knowledge may be manipulated by elites. They may also demand policies that contravene their own interests." Another time when academic research seems to be cofirming "common knowledge?" You be the judge.

Link to executive summary, which has a link to the full PDF here:
http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-525es.html

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about mooses (meece?), but I can sure testify to the methane production of cattle. Years ago I shot a picture story on a dairy farmer who was converting manure to methane and using it to heat the water to sterilize his milking machinery. Saved himself a bundle on hot water, but whew, the stench would almost rival one of the big West Texas feed lots.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 23, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Monthly college rankings strike me as being very flawed. It weights heavily the number of students in ROTC which of course would favor Texas A & M. After all the "M" stands for military and until fairly recently ROTC was mandatory. And since when is VMI a liberal arts college? Those colleges that refuse to have ROTC usually do so because the military refuses to allow gay people to openly serve or for religious reasons. Also, using the percentage of Pell grant students and their graduation rates as a mesure of how well colleges serve poorer students does not account for those very rich institutions (i.e. the Ivies)who are very generous indeed with financial aid, much more generous than the Pell grants.

Posted by: Lex Pk | August 23, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see that kind of statistic on humans before they go and get rid of too many moose. I mean if you really want to stop global warming...

He's got a funny idea of why doctors leave the country. Seems to me drs. have to be fairly smart to get through medical school, and smart people don't go "Because we can't offer these young doctors the resources they need", seems to me, they leave because they can make more money in the States.

Posted by: dr | August 23, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"Moose have very important functions in nature. They are ruminants that eat the grass. If we don't have ruminants, we have too much grass and that changes the landscape and has consequences for the flora and fauna," he said.
Harstad said the figure of 100 kilograms of methane gas was a rough estimate based on earlier calculations for beef cows in Norway.

But moose don't eat grass, they eat bark and nuts during the winter and forage in wetlands during the summer. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't expell more methane than cattle, but that ain't the point. This guys supposed to be taken seriously when he doesn't know what the lifeform he's talking about eats?

Oh well. What can you expect from a guy whose(?) first name is Odd.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Lex Park, the "M" in Texas A & M stands for "mechanical," not "military." And VMI is a liberal arts college because of the curriculum, not your misperception of somebody's politics.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Also see this Wiki entry: "Texas A&M University, often called A&M or TAMU, is a coeducational public research university located in College Station, Texas. It is the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. Texas A&M, the first public institution of higher education in Texas, opened in 1876 as an agricultural and mechanical college. In 1963, the Texas Legislature renamed the school, Texas A&M University, to reflect the institution's expanded roles and academic offerings. The letters "A&M" no longer have any explicit meaning but are retained as a link to the university's past. The nickname "Aggie" refers to students, alumni, and sports teams of Texas A&M."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

It's been so hot here that the squirrels have been icing their nuts.

Posted by: jack | August 23, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

dr, I suspect that the resources referred to are known on the periodic table as Au and Ar.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 23, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Good one jack. I had to wipe down my flaptop.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Lucky squirrels.

Whenever I do that, the neighbors call the police.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Martooni - I agree completely that the mortgage situation could get very ugly indeed.

I really must remember to ask my wife about ours.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

To paraphrase a Farkism:

"Every time a squirrel ices his nuts, God kills a kitten."

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Welcome Lex Pk. If you have a definiton of public service that doesn't include military service let's see it and then we can discuss if the results are skewed through the inclusion of ROTC. Please come back, but armed with some facts.

There are fewer than 500 ROTC programs nationwide in a country that has almost 2500 four year colleges and universities. Small schools, or larger schools with little interest, either combine programs or don't offer it.Many ROTC programs are so small there is a significant movement within the military to just combine them and close programs at schools which have almost as many support personnel as students. Though some schools don't "allow" ROTC on campus for equity reasons re: gays (and I wholeheartedly support that position BTW) the vast majority don't have enough interest among potential students to support it.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

SCC-I should have explained that the movement to consolidate I noted above is to create one combined ROTC instead of different programs for each service. Also some schools offer more than one servic's ROTC so that the number of colleges/universities with ROTC is lower than the total number of ROTC programs. (Sheesh, I need someone to read "the three disclaimers" for my comments today.)

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Right before the bubble burst in real estate in the '80s, the TV had all these "no money down real estate path to riches" ads on 24/7. That particular indicator is as good as any other I can think of.

The irony is that I just barely crept into a situation where I MIGHT have been ready to buy a house. And wanting to be prudent, I invested in European stuff, thinking the house of cards is mostly on this side of the pond. Now the lenders are tight and my 401K lost half its gain.

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Off topic--back to the paper discussion. I'm a print producer who lurks here every once in a while and found yesterday's comments enjoyable. There are so many types of paper out there.
Did anyone mention poo poo paper? check it out!
http://www.poopoopaper.com/

okay. sorry for the interruption. carry on.

Posted by: paperlurker | August 23, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Whaddeverhappenedto that e-paper? I seem to remember talk.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm jumping back in briefly after an afternoon of meetings. I really enjoy the "class war" discussion (yes, terrible phrase to buy into) and like RD and martooni's points. Part of the problem really is the disaffected non-voter. I wonder whether the widespread loss of houses, coupled with the one-step-away-from-bankruptcy effect of our health care system, will make people angry enough to effect change, or will just discourage them enough that they disappear.

I think that Onion story about the election was real. It certainly was true for this state; only a handful of people here are remotely better off under our current domestic "policy", but they staunchly support those Good People in the White House. Right-thinking.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 23, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Hi paperlurker!

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 23, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Elephantine is a good word.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Boko... I heard that Apple bought up all the patents for it deep-sixed it. Apparently they can't stand the idea of any potentially useful consumer product starting with an "e".

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I wish the United States spent as much on building things up as they do on knocking sh1t down.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Comment bot ate my comment. Summary: the newly rich don't read. No books in the house.

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

poopoo paper? Well. It would certainly add some interest to our annual Christmas letter.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

It's kind of funny. The first time I encountered the boodle it was in the throes of Mr. Smiley silliness and I fell in love.
I don't know who it was but they said I had summed up the proceedings with my one word post: Poo
O nostalgia.
I've been called on my oversimplications, on my denigrations of things I don't know enough about (like philostophy) to comment on and my inate churlishness.
You guys have been a real education and I have come to realize that people who disagree with me are not neccessarily depraved.
Poo
Johnny Winter is the greatest guitar player who ever lived.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

paperlurker-I'm finding the pootique irresistable. Frostdottir's 18th birthday is coming up and I'm sure they have something to reward her for all the poo she's given me lately.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Boko, I've seen a moose grazing the grass planted by the province of New-Brunswick to stabilize the slopes on sides the Trans canada highway. But this is the only time I've seen a moose eating grass. So they are into government provided grass. Or maybe it's only mooses from the maritimes that are that way.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 23, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

A Møøse once bit my sister

Posted by: RD Padøuk | August 23, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti...

Posted by: RD Padøuk | August 23, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I read the end of yesterday's boodle and I want to thank everyone for their good thoughts and wishes. The cousins (about 8 of them) and Christian's brother had a gab fest as well as a rich exchange of e-mails with the parents of MCpl Duchesne. Seemed to be doing some good.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 23, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Moose diet, as least here anyways they like trees, shrubs.

http://www.mooseworld.com/diet.htm

Posted by: dmd | August 23, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear that Shriek, Premier announced today they may rename the 401 from Trenton to the Forensic centre downtown "Highway of Heros", the pictures everytime a hearse is brought down the road are so touching.

Here is another good moose line, for the Canucks from the Hinterland Who's Who's sight, now try to get that tune cootie out of your head :-)

Posted by: dmd | August 23, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

That moose was obviously a terrorist trying to disrupt our internal communications by causing landslides. For a military man to fall for that old ploy is unforgivable. Shame.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Boko999 - My college roomie used to consider Johnny Winter as on a peer with Hendrix. And, like Keith Richards, he evidently cannot be killed.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, How deep in the rain water in your neck of the woods? On MSNBC all day they were showing boats on the Ohio streets. Was this just local and made into a region wide problem by the media? You too Ivansmon.

Posted by: bh | August 23, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I've worked 11 years for the Navy Boko, but as a civvy. But I'm for that rare thing, a French Canadian military family. My father had an Air Force career and my older brother is an RMC (aka Shoeshine U) graduate. That's not counting a couple of uncles, and until recently, a cousin of the wife.
I don't think that moose was a foreign agent, t'was just a freeloader.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 23, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

SCC from a military family. It was a long day. Harassing the Canadian public (had to do a couple of audits in Montreal) is tiring. I'm off.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 23, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Ha, at last a classic rock god I've seen live. I lived in Okinawa and the Frozen North for most of my teen years but one hip hugger clad evening I saw Johnny Winter at the Richmond (VA) Coliseum. Peter Frampton and Bad Company were the opening acts.

I should say Okinawa in that era had many fine cover bands. A group of Airmen stationed at Naha formed a band called Volume 6 and I swear they were every bit as good as AWB. Then there was Volume 5, a group of Philippino 20 somethings who did Bee Gees covers. Interesting accents on Massachusetts.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

My only question is, was this elephant poo wild-harvested or was it produced from elephants in tiny cubicles being exhorted to poop faster to meet production quotas?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Instead of renaming highways I'd rather see more Leopards in the field. The 416 is dedicated to our vets and I think it's better to honour all our fallen together.
Je me souviens
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_22e_R%C3%A9giment

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I see in my TV guide program that "Alien vs. Predator" is on. Somebody remind me which one is the good guy? Cuz I don't know who to root for.

(Ah, the he11 with it. I'll watch the Food channel instead.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 23, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Actually I noticed that Boko, the highway from the 401 to London Airport is also Veterans Highway. This renaming is in response to a petition, it is the route the soldiers travel from Trenton to the Coroner's before their final trip home. Just as there are many memorials across the country so should their be multiple honours.

Posted by: dmd | August 23, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the welcome to the boodle, guys. If I get brave enough to surface again, I'll have to think of a better, uh, what do you call it? handle? name? I mean, I am more of a paper person but paperlurker just ain't it. And poo poo has its own issues. sigh. I feel an identity crisis coming on.

Posted by: paperlurker | August 23, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

SCC I am on a roll with typos this evening - I apologize. their there, and previously line link.

Posted by: dmd | August 23, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

How about ElephantPancake, paperlurker?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 23, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Boko, it seems the Quebec Police have altered their position on the protests at Montebello, they did infiltrate but not provocateurs.

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=66de9807-d2f0-444e-903e-1c0ba64556de&k=39211

Posted by: dmd | August 23, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I just worry about overload dmd. This site may not be the beat place for our discussion.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Testing. testing. 1-2-3.
Thanks Wilbrod. We'll give it a go. for now anyway.

Posted by: ElephantPancake | August 23, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Went to Edgar Winter concert once; unexpected guest: Johnny. Whew, a scorcher of a show.
Fiber McGee?

Posted by: Jumper | August 23, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Right. Huge cops, masked, dressed in black and carrying rocks were trying to infiltrate an bunch of 50 year old union activists and 'Raging Grannies.'

Smooth.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Boko-my thoughts exactly. Watching the video I wondered why people even mentioned the markings on the soles of their shoes. They looked like cops from the beginning.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jumper. Was Derringer there?
I've never seen the Edgar Winter Band but I have some LPs (saw Johnny a few months ago)
I sort of mentioned Johnny Winter as an example of my penchant for overstatement, but ya, Winter is in the same class as Hendrix. More important than Hendrix in bringing the blues to a white audience. How many Muddy Water's albums did Jimi (love him) produce?

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I may not be sympatico with the police but I think that anyone who throws a Molotov cocktail at them should be charged with attempted murder. Stupid anarchists.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

frosti apparently those infiltrators missed the memo that the protest was "Business Casual".

Posted by: dmd | August 23, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

John Fahey, often passed over in guitar- chops chat but worth a look:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Fahey_%28musician%29

Danny Gatton, also a local guy, but lost to suicide in the mid 90s:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Gatton

And, I really like Buck Owens, famous for the Bakersfield sound, and mentioned by John Fogarty in a CCR lyric.

Posted by: College Parkian | August 23, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Anyone remember Grand Funk Railroad? Sweet.
T-Rex next.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Fiber McGee? Paperlurker? Elephantpancake? ah heck. perhaps I'd better just lurk. At least until I get some more names on my poo poo platter. Maybe something far far away from poopoo paper. sheesh. what an entrance I made. A link to elephant dung. what was I thinking? thanks ya'll. I do like the boodle. nite nite

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Paperlurker, stay around, this is the kind of place where poo poo paper links fit right in.

Posted by: dmd | August 23, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Boko - I am ashamed to admit that I only know of "Grand Funk Railroad" because of Homer Simpson. In the famous episode "Homerpalooza" Homer describes the group thusly:

"Mark Farner's wild, shirtless lyrics, the bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher," and yes, "the competent drum work of Don Brewer."

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 23, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Don't be too hard on yourself.

That's our job.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey RD. You know their names, I just got one of their albums. A good one, mind.

Do you think if I mention Tull, Error will show up?

Posted by: Bok999 | August 23, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Boko - >I have come to realize that people who disagree with me are not necessarily depraved and the rest of your homage to the boodle was very nicely said. I found the wiki link to the 22nd very interesting. Thank you. Also, you crack me up on a regular basis, so thanks for that!

paperlurker- I'm not feeling the love as far as elephantpancake goes, although props to Wilbrod for the laugh! Stick around-I'm thinking you'll fit right in. I feel stupid asking but I'm going to anyway...what exactly is a print producer?

CP - there's a Bakersfield sound? I grew up close to Bakersfield, but I missed that...what have I missed?

Grand Funk Railroad...oh my, that brings back some memories.


Posted by: Kim | August 23, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me started on guitarists... really. I would probably bore even the most zealous fans to tears.

But just 'cause you guys started it:

Jeff Beck (my absolute hero)
John McLaughlin (only guitarist I know who can keep up with Al DiMeola)
Al DiMeola (fingers like lightning, master fusemeister of jazz and flamenco)
Buddy Guy (sloppy but wonderful)
B.B. King (not so sloppy and just as, if not more wonderful)
Michael Hedges (died a gruesome death but made his guitars do things they were never designed for -- the King of Alternate Tunings)
Leadbelly (did things with a twelve string only God could duplicate)
Eric Clapton (famous, yes, but one guy I would give just about anything for to jam with before I die)
Phil Keaggy (local boy done good -- found himself religion and kinda went "out there", so to speak, but one sickeningly amazing player)

Hmmmmm.... I'm almost tempted to break out my axe and see if my fingers remember what the brain has lost.

I think I've posted this here before, but if you're really bored, here's one of my tunes: http://www.substanza.com/feast_of_souls.mp3 (warning... it's almost 5MB)

and here's one of my Irish ditties: http://www.substanza.com/loch_lommond.mp3 (about 2.5MB)

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

paperlurker, welcome! I love the link to the Elephant Poo products.

Just to remind everyone, Johnny Winter still tours. He sometimes is on the bill with Leon Russell. They'll be in Harrisburg, PA in October. I haven't actually listened to his music much. Mahavishnu John McLaughlin - loved his work in the early '70s with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. He also played with Miles Davis on Miles' crossover album - the name of which is escaping me now - and worked with Jack Bruce (which earned him enough money to come to America to play with Miles, or so the story goes).

Buck Owens *is* the Bakersfield sound. Merle Haggard played with him too.

In September I'll see several (ok, 4) Leon shows and one Jethro Tull. Looking forward to it.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 23, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

B 1 tches Brew

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 23, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Kim-unless you're a country music fan the Bakersfield sound was surely before your time. In the late 50s and early 60s when country was being Nelson Riddleized* Buck Owens and the Buckaroos were keeping country "real" with twin Fender Telecaster guitar lots of drum, fiddle and often some steel slide guitar. Dwight Yoakam is a more recent artiste of the Bakersfield sound variety and he did some duets with Buck before he died.


*Not a Nelson Riddle hater. Loved his work with Linda Rondstadt on Lush Life etc.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Protest over the dont-ask-don't-tell policy may be the reason many ROTC programs are being kept off college campuses, but they were disbanded in the first place after Vietnam war era protests. For example, Dartmouth disbanded their ROTC program in 1969 after protesters occupied the admin building (the flag pole sitting equivalent of the 60s) and quietly reinstated it in the 1980s.

My dad told me that the only way for me to attend an Ivy League level university was to accept the Air Force ROTC scholarship I was offered. AFROTC training for Princeton is held at the Rutgers campus. I never bothered to apply. That is why I'm not Joel's alumni buddy.

The Department of Defense defunded many research projects as a quid pro quo. My alma mater which at one time had mandatory ROTC never kicked ROTC off campus and now has very strong defense related research ties.

My guitar hero is Mark Knopfler. It was a different era.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I was going to mention Mark Knopfler too - love his work. My sister saw Eric Clapton when Knopfler was playing with him - wish I had been there. And I was going to do my obligatory mention of George Harrison as a fine, underrated lead guitarist. (My usual answer to Boko.) And don't forget David Gilmour.

Back to the inequality topic - I agree with one of Ivansmom's points, that a lot of Americans think they're going to be rich someday, so don't tax them. I think they're deluded, but...The Republicans have done a much better job of packaging their message, using code words, fear to get votes. Look how it's turned out - and I'm still afraid the Democrats will lose.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 23, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

martooni, what did happen to Michael Hedges? The only things that I can find on-line or in liner notes merely mention the fact of his death. Usually that means death by something socially stigmatized, like a sexually transmitted disease or auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Posted by: Tim | August 23, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

martooni, what did happen to Michael Hedges? The only things that I can find on-line or in liner notes merely mention the fact of his death. Usually that means death by something socially stigmatized, like a sexually transmitted disease or auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Posted by: Tim | August 23, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

martooni, what did happen to Michael Hedges? The only things that I can find on-line or in liner notes merely mention the fact of his death. Usually that means death by something socially stigmatized, like a sexually transmitted disease or auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Posted by: Tim | August 23, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

yello... Knopfler is a very respectable player. "Sultans of Swing" may be his most famous, but "So Far Away From Me" (or whatever it's called) is my favorite. That crisp-yet-dreamy finger-plucked sound of his is most excellent.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Okey-dokey. I swear I only pressed "Submit" one time, as I am about to do with this post...

Posted by: Tim | August 23, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

>And don't forget David Gilmour.

And Dave Mason.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 23, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Tim... Hedges died in a car crash, but very slowly. Apparently he went off one of those curvy mountain highways in California, but didn't die on impact. From what I understand, he survived the crash and lived for three days, but nobody noticed the crash site or thought to look for him there. It was a few weeks after the crash when they finally found him.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Can it be good when folk have 'ususal answers'? answer is a funny word.
That sounds good Tooner but I'll wait till the morning to appreciate it. I'm blasting myself with Free Bird. 18 minutes to download. Have b!tched before about DSL?

Posted by: The Grand Wazoo999 | August 23, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Brothers in Arms. C,mon

Posted by: Anonymous | August 23, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Er, I'm still catching up on today's Boodling, but I'll simply say here at the end that I can't argue with anyone's nomination of favorite guitarists.

I'll add again that Mark Knopfler is one of my favorite musicians bar none, and I remember Scottynuke telling me not too long ago (while we were riding in my car, singing along to the Dire Straits album "Making Movies"), "Y'know, Mark Knopfler can write some great lyrics when he puts his mind to it."

bc

Posted by: bc | August 23, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I should have mentioned Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson (yes, I've seen a g3 tour or two), Brian May, and even Eddie Van Halen.

Granted, pretty mainstream stuff, but I dig it.

Heck, let's throw Angus Young in there too. I liked the older bluesy AC/DC stuff more than anything after poor Bon passed, but that's just me.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 23, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

See! I mentioned Tull and Error magically appeared

Posted by: The Central Scrutinizer999 | August 23, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

>Tul
Heh, then I should have mentioned Martin Barre!

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 23, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Have any of you been watching Rob Riggle in Iraq on the Daily Show? Great stuff.

One night he responded to Congressman Mike Pence's recent comment comparing shopping in a Baghdad bazaar with "a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime" by asking all the Hoosiers he could find in Iraq if it was similar to their home state.

And his "Forest Gump" routine the other night (based on Bubba's all kinds of shrimp) was hilarious.


Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

If you like fine bass playing and freaking amazing drumming, may I suggest "Live at Leeds"?

Posted by: Boko999 | August 23, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I beg to differ on the obstacle "don't ask don't tell" creates for expanding ROTC to more schools. It keeps recruiters off campuses, but frankly the services don't see a need for or have the capacity to create more ROTC programs. The closure of many programs in the late 60s was remedied in the early 80s with what TRADOC (training and doctrine command) called Expand the Base. The problem then, as now, is that you need enough ROTC students in each program to have effective leadership training and you can't do that with a handful of people.

Where the services are attempting to expand significantly is with Junior ROTC, a program that was growing quite steadily until the current goat rope made it more controversial.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 23, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

While you're talking about guitar players, remember that August 25 is Nils Lofgren Day in Montgomery County.

Yikes! That means there's only one more shopping day.

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

frosti - well, that explains it...I have never been a country music fan. I just don't get it. I've always had a sneaking suspicion that not liking country was a failing in me, but whaddaryagonnado...

Posted by: Kim | August 23, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

OK.. one more stupid post and then I'm going to bed...

This is from today's WaPo article about the "alleged DC madam" asking to part ways with her current court-appointed lawyer:

"She has claimed she was running a legitimate escort service which provided legal fantasies for its male customers, but not actual sex."

When I read that, I tried to imagine what a legal fantasy is.. winning a big case? paying off your law school loans?

OK.. g'night folks... oh.. and welcome paperlurker! I think that's a perfect handle, btw. and I love the elephant poop link.. especially that it says "100% Recycled and Odorless Products."

OK.. g'night for real.

Posted by: TBG | August 23, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Fine bass playing?

I had the opportunity to witness (not see or hear, but witness [though I saw and heard]) an open air performance by Stanley Clark, Al DiMeola and Jean Luc Ponte at Nautica in Cleveland (yes, right there on the banks of the fabled river of fire).

They were going by the name "Rite of Strings" and had a self-titled CD they were promoting at the time.

It was an absolutely amazing show -- what those three can do with strings is probably illegal in most states -- but the best part was Stanley Clark's bass solo.

He's up there doing his thing and everyone in the crowd was into it. While he's playing, a barge was slowly creeping by on the river behind the stage. He finished his solo and the crowd was clapping, then out of nowhere the barge let off its foghorn.

Stanley was startled (to say the least) by this very loud blast. He laid down his bass (an upright) and walked around the stage a bit like he was shaking off the heebeegeebees, then he picked his bass back up and answered the foghorn in its own key (F# if I'm not mistaken) with a Who-like power chord. He then went off on a whole new solo based on that single foghorn note. Every person in that amphitheater was on their feet. Never seen anything like it before or since.

Posted by: martooni | August 23, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, paperlurker. You'll find that the boodle is good company.

...on the subject of guitarists: Bob Weir, Keith Richards and Bob Margolin, the latter beng the keeper of the Chicago blues style. fht former gentlemen play the best cross of rhythm and lead among the many aforementioned guitarists. I'd put Hendrix in the same company. Monterey Pops ('67) aired recently on VH1 and had many great revelations about some of the acts, particulaarly Janis, Hendrix and the Who. Apparently Owsley, the chemist for the Dead's entourage mxed up a pretty good batch and distributed it widely. When the Who began to destroy their equipment, nobody expected something so extreme and the stage crew kind of freaked. They were followed by the Mamas and Papas; not quite a high energy end to the show. Everyone was amazed by Janis' and Hendrix's performance as well, as they kind of came out of the woodwork and blew everyone away. Otis Redding was quite a hit as well. One of my favourite tunes is Hard to Handle.

Posted by: jack | August 24, 2007 12:10 AM | Report abuse

martooni, river of fire is a descriptor familiar only to Ohio natives. We lived in Hudson when the river caught fire. Quite a sad spectacle, unmatched only until Lake Erie was declared dead.

Posted by: jack | August 24, 2007 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of bass playing, John Entwistle was so picky about the sound of his bass in particular songs that it took many takes on his catgut strung bass to get the right sound in My Generation.

Posted by: jack | August 24, 2007 12:17 AM | Report abuse

One of my cousins married an evangelical cop in Ohio. He was in charge of the drug squad (great fun at the last reunion) and now he's in charge of the jail (oops) in his town. It won't be long until their spawn marry so I'll be down there if I can still get across the border. I'm going to hunt you down Tooni and insist you take me to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I mean how big can Ohio be?

Posted by: Boko999 | August 24, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Owsley. cool
Howza bouta bike ride with Al Hoffman?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 24, 2007 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Boko, I suppose "rejoinder" or "response" is what I meant instead of "answer". We've had this guitar conversation before, all of us, but I always enjoy it.

martooni, liked your guitar playing a lot. You are very talented.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 24, 2007 12:54 AM | Report abuse

I was just being silly. I didn't mean to be nasty. I only brought up Johnny Winter as an example of when I make over the top, unsubstantiated pronouncements as if they were God's own truth (although I'm right in this case). And anyway, answer is a funny word.
I seem to remember that last "greatest guitarist" debate. Hmmm.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 24, 2007 1:14 AM | Report abuse

B1tches Brew. Funny tickle. It took me a while and a visit to wiki. Miles Davis. Great stuff.
A friend of mine was heavy into jazz but I didn't really "get" it. I called it 'squeak honk'. Upon being exposed to it I began to understand what was going on. It's almost like learning a new language. I like Coltrane.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 24, 2007 2:00 AM | Report abuse

"Coltrane received a posthumous Special Citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board in 2007 for his 'masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz.'"-wiki

Iconic centrality?
O please. Spare me.

Posted by: Boko999 | August 24, 2007 3:48 AM | Report abuse

4 hours x 6 hours, Boko.

Posted by: dbG | August 24, 2007 5:36 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if my Ohio driving times are fast or slow, Boko, but my guess is fast.

Posted by: dbG | August 24, 2007 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Mornig all. What's with this crazy weather? I've been up since 04:00 because of the great Light&Sound show ther sky is putting on. Complete with lighting striking a tree a couple of hundred feet from the bedroom window. Big karkrakk and a smoking tree. The old dog is wimpering and panting. You going boating in Ohio Boko?

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 24, 2007 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. This computer is messing up bad. I got another printer, and I can't get it to work. Anybody got any ideas how I might do this? I would love some help. I removed the old computer program, and I've probably messed up real bad. What I know about computers could be put in a thimble.

I still contend that there can only be one answer as to why people voted for the current administration. And I make this contention by eliminating certain positives. Most people don't consider this administration to be real knowledgeable about running a country. This administration had more blood on its hand than any other incoming administration. This administration was talking tax cuts from the beginning. So what's left?


May be our young people will be home by Christmas, I certainly hope so. And for those that will not see their young people again, my sympathies.

We got so much rain yesterday, but boy, was it hot! The rain is good. I'm hoping it cools off some.

As to class warfare, the rich have always gotten richer. And people don't vote according to their wallets. They vote according to what they hope their wallets will look like. It's a gamble that too many times doesn't work out. And I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Have a great day, folks. I pray for my country and its leaders. That they will be God inspired men and women, submitting to the Holy Will and good pleasure of God through Christ. When a country has good leadership every one shares in that. And the opposite is true also.


Welcome back, JA. I hope you enjoyed your vacation. I'm trying to get one.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 24, 2007 7:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm envious of all you people with guitar heroes like Hendrix and Winters. I came of musical age in an era where the Key-Tar was a serious instrument. Just YouTube a Flock Of Seagulls video if you don't believe me.

Speaking of guitar gods (or at least minor deities) this is about the fifth item in the WaPo weekend to-do list (behind the MD RenFair, a musical and two plays):

Veteran British rocker Peter Frampton ("Show Me the Way") takes the stage Sunday at the outdoor Loudoun Summer Music Fest. General admission tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the gate; proceeds benefit local charities.

PETER FRAMPTON Sunday at 6 at the Loudoun Summer Music Fest, Belmont Country Club, 19661 Belmont Manor Lane, Ashburn. For tickets, 804-794-6700; for information, 703-726-8867 orhttp://www.liveatbelmont.com.

A little out of my range for a Sunday evening, but some Boodler out there may want to Come Alive.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I like to read Krauthammer for the bamboo fingernail pain it induces and to decipher the lastest subliminal neo-con talking points. Today's column is a particularly bad acid trip:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/23/AR2007082301833.html

It seems that EVERYBODY (according to Chuck's rosy-glassed head count) agrees the surge is working but the reason we are still losing in Iraq is that Petraeus is running for something. The most ludicrous strawman I have seen in quite a while is this one:

"the left will continue to portray Gen. David Petraeus as an unscrupulous commander quite prepared to send his troops into a hopeless battle in order to advance his political ambitions"

He also thumps the Blame Maliki tub pretty hard. Read the article if only if your blood pressure is too low.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Morning boodle. It's a cool morning here and I hope the temp does at least climb to the 68 the meteorologists are predicting.

Jack- "River of fire" is a descriptor familiar only to Ohio natives? You forget the boodle demographic (old+news readers+eclectic musical tastes).

"....There's an oil barge winding
Down the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

Cleveland city of light city of magic
Cleveland city of light you're calling me
Cleveland, even now I can remember
'Cause the Cuyahoga River
Goes smokin' through my dreams

Burn on, big river, burn on
Burn on, big river, burn on
Now the Lord can make you tumble
And the Lord can make you turn
And the Lord can make you overflow
But the Lord can't make you burn

Burn on, big river, burn on
Burn on, big river, burn on" Randy Newman

TBG cracked me up with the "legal fantasies."

Posted by: frostbitten | August 24, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

mostlylurking, I too saw Clapton on the tour with Knopfler. I kept saying to myself, "Imagine being so [effing] good that your rhythm guitarist is Mark [effing] Knopfler?!?!?"

And then I saw the show. Just thinking about it sends a chill up and down my spine.

And they did a proper (i.e., like the original) version of "Layla." Mein Gott.

Posted by: byoolin | August 24, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, frosti. What you said suddenly occured to me as I hit the submit button last night. The boodle is well informed enough that martooni's descriptor had meaning. Can you believe how prolific and, now well off, Randy Newman is? When I lived in LA he had a video called I Love LA that aired on MTV, then in its infancy. I also think of him whenever I hear Three dog Night cover Mamma Told Me Not to Come.

Posted by: jack | August 24, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

May I be the first of the day to wish Mudge a happy BD! Now he's gonna feely really guilty if he doesn't do same for me next Wednesday -- right, Mudge???

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 24, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Mudge!!

A article on MCpl Duchesne, again Shriek my thoughts are with your family.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070824.wafghanvictims24/BNStory/Front

Posted by: dmd | August 24, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I checked Google for "petraeus political ambition" and it came up with some lefty blogging about the general wanting to be in politics. I hadn't run into that attitude. Must not read enough lefty stuff.

Juan Cole reported rumors of an impending coup in Iraq. Put him and Krauthammer together and, apart from a small explosion, there seems to be some degree of unity on what to expect.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 24, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, in honour of your b-day, here are your Onion horoscopes for the week. As a cusp-boy, you get two! Only the latter one applies, alas, to me (and ftb)...

Leo:
While it certainly takes courage to stand up for what you believe in, it takes even more to sit back down for what you're willing to tolerate.

Virgo:
As you'll soon discover, it's amazing what the human body is capable of when it really doesn't want to have sex with you.

Posted by: byoolin | August 24, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Mudge,

Don't set anything on fire with all those candles.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I would think accepting his current assignment in the first place would be enough to dispel serious speculation that Petraeus has "political ambitions."

Posted by: frostbitten | August 24, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Howdy. Happy birthday, Curmudgeon.

I don't know about Ohio, but the media wasn't exaggerating the flooding here. It was not statewide, but the parts of the state affected were really underwater. It is raining in some of them this morning. To add insult to infury, one town which had flooded and was drying out was hit with a dust storm yesterday, when high winds picked up all the silt left after the flood.

I think lots of Americans believe they will get rich, but I think even more they admire the accumulation of wealth, whether or not they think they have any possibility of getting wealthy themselves. I also agree that most folks these days believe they are more likely to become well off by winning the lottery than by working hard and saving. That's even knowing the lottery odds.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 24, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, 'Mudge!

Posted by: jack | August 24, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

It is a rational act to purchase a lottery ticket. What is irrational is purchasing two.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 24, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Mr. Curmudgeon, sir.

(My momma always taught me to be real polite to older people.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 24, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

happy birthday, mudge!

i remember we had a slew of birthdays around this time last year.
(and mine's mañana)

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 24, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sufficiently accomplished to provide an Ode to Mudge.

Frostbitten has to be right about Petraeus's "political ambition." A number of competent generals have retired prematurely due to Iraq. Remember Gen. Taguba who investigated Abu Ghraib?

Hoagland's explosion today is impressive, especially since he's been watching Iraq for thirty years or more.

Krugman over at the Other Newspaper comments on the new racism aimed at hispanics, and its bad political implications for Republicans.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | August 24, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

gggggrrrrr - Charles Krauthammer. Is it utterly amazing that he does not do ONE column, not one column on the incompetence that this administration has shown in regards to the prosecution of this war? How can anyone take him seriously? I know he could care less, but I write him about once a month and remind him that he has become a Republican hack, not a serious journalist. Whew, it makes me feel better, anyway.

dmd - I appreciate your Globe link. Very sad.

Legal fantasies. I have lots of those!

Happy, happy birthday Mudge!

Posted by: Kim | August 24, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Mudge!

>It is a rational act to purchase a lottery ticket. What is irrational is purchasing two.

Funny RD, I always thought two was the perfect number. Still cheap, but you doubled your chances.

Posted by: Error Flynn | August 24, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I know you're older than dirt, so "Happy Birthday!"--ya old Geezer!

Posted by: Loomis | August 24, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CURMUDGEON!!!!
Just remember, once you pass 50, every 15 minutes it's breakfast!
.
.
This Just In: Michael Vick Loves Dogs!
Film at Eleven

Posted by: CowTown | August 24, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Have a happy day, Curmudgeon--I hope you get your birthday wish!

Posted by: kbertocci | August 24, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Nice conversation about guitarists last night. And Poo.

Graceful segways have never been my stong point, but this might do it. Happy Birthday Mudge.

Posted by: dr | August 24, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Here's a message from the Weingarten Chatters' Yahoo listserve:

"Gene's interview with Bob Edwards is on XMPR (XMs version of NPR) this morning and tonight at 8pm Eastern."

Posted by: kbertocci | August 24, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Mudge -- this makes, what, 976?

Posted by: martooni | August 24, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Happy 61st Mudge.

                                 _
That's 983 in base 16.36

Posted by: omni | August 24, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.

And many more Mudge.

Posted by: frostbitten | August 24, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Mudge!

And an early happy birthday to you, too, la lurker (I almost called you by your real name there).

I've seen some of the Rob Riggle stuff on the Daily Show, and if what they're portraying can be belived, it's amazing to me that they got so much cooperation from the Armed Forces over there given the satirical nature of what's being aired.

I felt the irony content in my bloodstream surge when Riggle had the soliders wish the members of the Iraqi parliment and US Congress to have good, relaxing summer vacations...

bc

Posted by: bc | August 24, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Well, the tax system sucks and should not be the way it is. The tax 'industry' is horrendous. Tax lobbiers make several hundred thousand dollars a year. For not creating ONE THING for the economy. People should be up in arms about THAT - not people making money and jobs for the country.

There's no way to make it 'fair' - except to throw it out.

www.fairtax.org

No, it's not perfect, no tax system is. But really - it's far superior to what we have now (how many hours a year do you think it takes to do taxes? Then add onto that the corporations lobbying, the legislators passing laws, etc, NONE of that is actually contributing to our economy - it is unconscionable (sp) that I spend so many hours thinking about this, it's really crazy).

Simplify...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 24, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

fyi, I've posted a new kit...thanks.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 24, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

And mountainous greetings of the day (actually tomorrow), for you, too, la lurker. Yeah, 'tis a fun time of the year. All those candles. . . ..

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 24, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

EF - My assertion about lottery tickets is based on the marginal benefit of the second ticket. Although the benefit (odds of winning) of purchasing a single ticket is obscenely tiny, the marginal benefit (improvement in odds) is infinite. Anything with an infinite marginal benefit is rational.

Purchasing a second ticket has a vanishingly tiny benefit (your odds are still obscenely bad) and the marginal benefit is only 2. So your marginal benefit goes down an infinite amount, and you still have very tiny chance of winning.

Better to use that extra dollar for some nice beef jerky.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 24, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Let me add a few names to the guitar player list:

Lindsay Buckingham, a fingerstyle guitarist like Mark Knopfler (who I also like a lot)
Peter Green, one of Buckingham's predecessors in Fleetwood Mac
Scotty Moore - those single note runs he played on Elvis Presley's first records are as important to the songs as Elvis's voice is, at least to my ears
Someone mention Buck Owens. His guitar player was Don Law and I think he also died in an automobile accident at way too early an age. Owens admitted that his music wasn't the same afterwards. (Trivia note: One of Owens's ex-wives, Bonnie, was also an ex-wife of Merle Haggard. She continued to sing in Haggard's band after their divorce.) You can also throw in some other country pickers like Jerry Reed, Gatemouth Brown, and Chet Atkins.
Les Paul
Duane Allman - the guy was a month short of his 25th birthday when he died!

On the acoustic side:
Doc Watson
Leo Kottke
Tony Rice, a great, great flat-picker.
Jerry Douglas - okay, he plays the dobro but he gets extraordinary sounds out of it. I saw him at a Danny Gatton tribute and at the end of one solo the sound coming out of his instrument was more like an organ than a slide guitar.

Posted by: pj | August 24, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Mudge!!

I celebrate mine on the 25th, Hey that's tomorrow. My whole family is coming to West by God for some river fun and a big ole cookout.

I will add a few of my personal favorites to the guitar list
Dickie Betts(ABB)
Toy Caldwell(MTB)
Buck Dharma(BOC)
Alex Lifesong(Rush)
and lately I have been enjoying
Joe Bonamassa

Again Happy Birthday Mudge, us Virgo's really got in going on.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 24, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

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