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Shouting for Votes at Mel's Diner

Rudy in diner in Sarasota reduced.jpg

Rudy pointing in Punta Gorda reduced.jpg

naked cowboy in sarasota reduced.jpg

[Totally lame photos by Joel Achenbach]

[Cross-posted from The Trail]

SARASOTA, Fla., 5:45 pm. -- The Naked Cowboy doesn't get an audience. He has been waiting for Rudy in the parking lot of Mel's Diner, wearing only Fruit-of-the-loom briefs, a cowboy hat and an acoustic guitar. The concept of the Naked Cowboy proves elusive in the haste and chaos of the candidate entering the crowded diner, but his friend, Fred Marks, explains that the cowboy, Robert John Burck, got his start in Times Square and just wanted to say hi to Rudy. Why does he run around in his briefs? It's about getting attention," Marks said. "He's made it his way of life," he says. Kind of like being a candidate, only chillier.

Giuliani is running close to two hours behind schedule. After Fort Myers he gave a stump speech in sleepy Punta Gorda in an open-air shopping arcade built in Key West style, or maybe you'd call it neo-Bahamian. He discarded the suit jacket and rolled his sleeves two notches to just below the elbow. Took off his glasses. The crowd had to stare into the blinding sun behind him, but no matter, it probably will look good in a TV commercial.

We're supposed to be in Clearwater at this hour, but Clearwater is a long haul from here, the other side of St. Pete. The candidate's agenda may simply be too ambitious for a sprawling state suffering demographic overload. Tamiami Trail has a stoplight every block from Tampa to Miami.

Another problem for any candidate in this state is that half the people you talk to aren't Floridians at all. They're just looky-loos, in Jan. 29 terms.

A more specific problem for Giuliani here at Mel's is that there's no sound system. So he's going around the room shouting. He's getting hoarse by the minute.

"I wanted to hear him speak, and there's no place here where you can hear him or see him," says a woman at the end of the counter, Claire Marlow, 67. She sells real estate on Siesta Key and wants to ask a question about taxes and insurance. She's waited three hours.

"I don't know that much about him. That's why I came. I wanted him to speak and maybe we could ask questions. But it's not going to happen."

But wait: Giuliani has just snuck through the kitchen (where he already has chef Steve Bakoglannis's vote -- "Of course. I'm from New York!"), and he has now mounted a booth just five feet from Marlow's perch. Standing on the seat cushion, Giuliani gives the blue-plate-special version of his stump speech, stripped down to the basics of security and economic growth.

"WHAT ABOUT IMMIGRATION?" someone shouts from the crowd.

"Yes, we have to end illegal immigration," he says.

The crowd roars.

Giuliani hits the economic growth note again - "The best days of America are ahead if we have growth policies in this country" - and then is gone.

"Well, at least he said SOMETHING," Marlow says.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 14, 2008; 6:51 PM ET
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Next: Rudy Taking the Measure of Florida


super duper

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 14, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I have the funny feeling I'm going to be tired after Florida. My respect for Joel grows by leaps and bounds.

Posted by: dr | January 14, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

What was I thinking being in Tampa for Christmas when I could be in Florida now stalking JA, I mean meeting the candidates.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 14, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Not surprisingly, I don't recall hearing about the Naked Cowboy in New Hampshire.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 14, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Too much information on Rudy. Ugh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sweet dreams, boodle.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 14, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

hi Kiwi! gd. name; Other down under,p'haps?

RD, scones of Chez CP
earn eater diet dispensation

Hi Cass'dra; nite, for me too

Posted by: cp | January 14, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

hi Kiwi! gd. name; Other down under,p'haps?

RD, scones of Chez CP
earn eater diet dispensation

Hi Cass'dra; nite, for me too

Posted by: cp | January 14, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh, here you are.

Yes, I'm another from down under, frittering away the lunch hour, wishing I was outside enjoying the sun by the pool.

Posted by: Kiwi | January 14, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

From rural SC: McCain signs sprang forth from the landscape like fairy rings over the weekend along the main route across the county. Romney signs were formerly more numerous and smaller. The McCain signs are big and all but mask the Romney signs. Clinton signs are the only ones I've seen in the county so far. Big and numerous signs usually mean that that particular organization is likely to receive the most votes 'round here.

Posted by: jack | January 14, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Repost from several kits ago (I forgot to refresh after I went out for dinner):

The term "Condo Commando" is used by some to describe the hyper-motivated retirees who try to turn their retirement communities into [italics]police states[/italics].

Fixed it for you. I don't know whether the term is still used, but the behavior is still prevalent.

Not only does Palm Beach County have more people than Iowa, it's physically bigger than Rhode Island. It's so big they ran out of unique street names.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 14, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

The Naked Cowboy is a lot rougher looking in real life than you would think. On the spring band trip I was leading a group of high school kids through Times Square on our way to the music stores when I spotted The Naked Cowboy and we took a detour to check him out. I did goad one sixteen year old into posing with him for the traditional dollar tip.

Laugh at him if you want but he does a lot better at busking than Joshua Bell:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 14, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

what if romney wins michigan, thompson wins south carolina and giuliani wins florida? that would be awesome. plus an edwards win in south carolina. people have been campaigning for like three years already, so we don't want this get boring and predictable too soon. best case scenario: no candidate gets 50% of the delegates in either party.

gee i'm feeling ornery today.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 14, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, re the iguanas: I haven't seen any falling out of trees. The ones I've been seeing lately are roadkill. The temperature plunged to about 77 degrees today and I think they might be moving slow or maybe even stopping when they get to the relative warmth of the pavement.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 14, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Hi Kiwi! Didn't see you there at first, all upside down and everything.

Posted by: TBG | January 14, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes the blood rushing to the head can leave this poor wee bird a little dazed and confused and in the wrong boodle.

Posted by: kiwi | January 14, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Can't let that happen, kiwi!

I hope you will report on the state funeral for Sir Ed.

Posted by: Slyness | January 14, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey, did you guys realize that "kiwi" upside down is imik (but with the K backwards, like a strikeout on a called pitch)?

I thought not!

*sigh. I always have to do the heavy intellectual lifting around herte*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 14, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

And, Mudge, we love you for it.


Posted by: Slyness | January 14, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I do it all for you.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 14, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I will. It's going to be quite the affair. I've never heard anyone in my life say a single bad thing about the man. And we New Zealanders are unlikely to come across a local hero so great for many, many years.

The call is to declare the day of his funeral a public holiday at the very least, if not make it an annual event. I'm all for it, naturally.

Posted by: kiwi | January 14, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, kb.

Mudge, I want to take up where you left off on JFK.

JFK had earned the nickname "The Reluctant Emancipator." p. 685, Taylor Branch's "Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63"

But I think this paragraph in this same first volume (of three) by Branch about King best sums up JFK and civil rights, pp. 918-19:

Kennedy's best qualities remained his alone, untransferable to King, but the reverse was not true. In death, the late President gained credit for much of the purpose that King's movement had forced upon him in life. No death had ever been like this--Niebuhr called him "an elected monarch." In a mass purgative of hatred, bigotry, and violence, the martyred President became a symbol of the healing opposites, King's qualities, which had been much too earnest for the living man. President Johnson told the nation that the most fitting eulogy would be swift passage of his civil rights bill. By this and other effects of mourning, Kennedy acquired the Lincolnesque mantle of a unifying crusader who had bled against the thorn of race. Honest biographers later found it impossible to trace an engaged personality in proportion to the honor. Because the best spirit of Kennedy was largely absent from the racial deliberations of his presidency, the issue remained an exogenous factor to the most imtimate, admiring accounts of his life. In his seminal history, "A Thousand Days," which was written and published during the peak of the national movement, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., introduced civil rights in the thirty-fifth of thirty-seven chapters.

Posted by: Loomis | January 14, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

You're right K-guy, Romo lost the wild card last year (remember the bad snap ending the game?). Still, I don't think that the Simpson (Jessica, not Homer, Marge, Lisa, Maggie or Bart)has anything to do with the loss.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 14, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow - kit-o-rama! Fun, very fun to read. I wish I was in Florida, it sounded so delightful- shorts and a t-shirt. I loved kb's quote (I can't remember who and I'm too lazy to look for it) from an earlier kit today that every day in Florida feels like a Sunday morning. As I read it I thought, "Exactly!"

yellojkt - also loved the shot of the Naked Cowboy. Thanks for posting that. BTW, I was the anonymous poster the other day on your blog the day you gave a summary of the various pundits. I thought I put my name down, but it didn't show up. I was crankin' about Krauthammer.

The Kim family is movin' on into the 21st century, folks. We got DVR today! Yea! I don't really even watch that much tv, but now I will never have to miss an episode of "The Office" again and I can catch all of the Jane Austen series on PBS. Double yea!
Did any of the boodle Austen fans see the presentation of "Persuasion" last night? I missed the first 20 minutes, but what I saw of it was respectable, I thought. Not great, but I enjoyed it.

Joel, I hope you're taking your vitamins and eating right!

Posted by: Kim | January 14, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm not an Austen fan, like 99% of the guys, but Dr. Strangelove on M-Pix moved me to tears. Anybody seen the PBS show on dogs? There was this Swedish guy (a Chef maybe?) claiming, on the basis of serious DNA analysis, that all dogs descend from a single proto dog from Asia, most likely western China. You would think that there were multiple occurrence of dogs being domesticated from different species of wolves but the claim is that the switch happened once and very quickly. The proto dog was such an asset to these early domesticator that the dog spread wide and fast. I found that quite intriguing.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 14, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of PBS, our local affiliate has been showing lots of local programming in lieu of the scheduled pieces that show in the electronic TV guide. So far, I've missed Austin City Limits this past weekend and, this evening, the Roadshow and the American Experience. The substituted programs were some on stage performances by some obscure acoustic artists (Sat. night) and the Southern Lens, regarding the history of farming in the sandhills, and some program documenting the past campaign for the SC Commissioner of Agriculture. WooHoo! *heading to the nuke for some popcorn to accompany the next odd program*

Joel seems breathless in his posts, and seems to know the roadways about the Sunshine State better than the Giuliani navigators...

Posted by: jack | January 14, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Jack, I wonder why. ;-)

Posted by: Slyness | January 14, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

kiwi, do we have a date yet for Sir Ed's funeral? I want to be close to home so I can watch whatever is on TV.

Posted by: Slyness | January 14, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

jane austen is the favorite author of a good guy friend of mine.
he's very secure in his masculinity.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 14, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I reckon that past residency helps. Huckabee signs are posted hither and yon. My guess is that on the R side, the running order statewide is McCain, Romney and Huckabee, in that order. In our county, a lot of people are buzzing about Huckabee. The Political TV ads for Clinton do a good job of summarizing Clinton's voting record, particularly with respect to health care for veterans and the general public. The Obama ads lack such specific things, focusing instead on character and the theme of change. Interesting contrast.

Posted by: jack | January 14, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Stanley Coren makes the point in "Why Does My Dog Act that Way?" that it is dangerous and difficult to just adopt a wolf pup and raise it to be just like a dog.
There is a "scavenger" theory that the early dogs were first tamed from wolves that became scavenging commensals ("eating from the same table") with human camps and undergoing a form of selection for friendliness by simply killing all wolves that actually harmed people-- in short, a passive form of domesticating dogs before they ever became pets or useful animals.

Certainly the role of pariah dogs in India and other parts support this supposition. I don't know why the original domestication should have been from Chinese wolves except that the oldest breed splits are found in Asia, but that may simply mark the first purposeful breeding of dogs.

We haven't finished genotyping all the subspecies of wolves. We know that Indian wolves (which would be right near Western China) are very diverse and possibly close to the original epicenter of wolf population... and they definitely show no relatedness to dogs suggesting any kind of admixture whatsoever.

One theory mentions the Ethiopian wolf, which is endangered now, but certainly is pretty (it's also called the Simen jackal). However it is now classified as a separate species of wolf, which makes that idea seem less probable. Because there are only 500 left in the wild, I don't know if they've ever been genotyped for relatedness to dogs. They look like tropically adapted wolves, with red coats instead of grey which makes them look very fox-like.

Why look at that species as an ancestor for the dog?

Mostly it's the color and markings- most primitive dog breeds-- dingos, carolina dogs, pariah dogs, Basenji, tend to be either yellow or some other colors (black occurs in India) but never wolf-grey with Timber wolf markings.

This suggests that the coloring is an ancestral trait. If we study the fragmented wolf populations more, not just Timber wolves in the U.S. and Canada, we will understand more about how wolf population vary in behavior and adaption and be beter able to pinpoint the likely circumstances for how dogs were adopted.

Horses and donkeys are domesticable for riding and packing, zebras are not, really, as they are more apt to panic and they also are more apt to buck. These species of zebras are shaped by intense predation pressure in Africa. They have been trained for carriage-driving, that's about it.

When it comes to dog evolution, we may be in the situation of thinking horses are zebras (actually zebras are more closely related to donkeys, okay?) because we don't have the actual missing link between dogs and wolves in cave art, history, just what bones we have and what we understand of the DNA evidence.

It is my bet that the more we genotype wolf populations, the less genetically similar dogs will seem to wolves, and that they will cluster strongly to a specific subpopulation above others.

After all, we can't even be sure the Red wolf is a separate species, rather than a hybrid, and some suggest the Eastern Canadian wolf may count as a separate species.

The debate will go on for a while, I think.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 14, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Sir Ed's funeral is on Tuesday next week, don't know what time. It will be broadcast live on TVNZ.

Go to for all sorts of features on Sir Ed. No doubt the coverage of funeral will be accessable there too.

Posted by: Kiwi | January 14, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, an earlier post got trashed.
Part 2 is next Sunday.
The Swedish guy with a Finnish name is Peter Savolainen. Look for "Biologist Interview" in the list of items.
The "local" stations are starting with the political ads. Detroit is in Michigan after all. Hucksies' are dumb and Mitt is promising more than he can deliver on Michigan's economy. It's been known to work with voters though.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 14, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for Nature. I've seen some dog specials before on PBS and they tend to be well-done.

Archaeology suggests that dogs were first domesticated in the Middle East.

SE Asia (the epicenter for agriculture and many dog breeds) is also colonized from the first wave of humanity out of Africa along the coastlines, so there would have been trading from the coastline of Africa, Middle East, India, to SE Asia.

15,000 years ago means the end of the Ice Age and much of the original coastal settlements are now 100 meters underwater, so it's going to be tough finding the archaeological evidence except in scattered areas in the Middle east, SE Asia, India, etc. The precise spot may never be established for certain.

The pariah dogs of India seem likely to be the ancestor of the now-feral dingo and the new guinea singing dogs.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 15, 2008 1:43 AM | Report abuse

I had a very loveable dog that was sanguine. She died over a month ago. I still have 2 dogs. One is phlegmatic melancholy and the other is melancholy choleric.

Going back to the boodling topic of coke and flip-flops many, many, kits ago.

When I was growing up, fizzy beverages are called "pok water"(direct translation). We only had orange and sarsi (root beer) then. Nowadays, they are called "gassed water." I'm a Coke Cola person (influence by a very nice TV ad way back when) and I like to add a little salt in my Coke, Sprite or 7up. Have not seen RC here and also don't like RC.

We call flip-flops "Japanese slippers."

Hi, Kiwi. Welcome.

Posted by: rainforest | January 15, 2008 2:14 AM | Report abuse

Welcome Kiwi! *summer-Down-Under Grover waves*

rainforest, you had me laughing... "One is phlegmatic melancholy and the other is melancholy choleric." I hope they bring you much joy in the years to come.

And sheesh, someone's re-written Joel's WaPo contract on a per-Kit basis, obviously!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 15, 2008 5:12 AM | Report abuse

I figured that was a boodler. Chuckie K is clearly not a favorite around here, and his warmongering and neocon shilling is pretty unforgivable. I just remember him fondly from when he wrote good stuff for The New Republic, but you're right about him crossing over to the Dark Side. I'm not sure when that was, but it's tragic and I hope he can be saved someday.

Rumor has it that the New York Times wanted him but had to settle for Kristol. And Bill is definitely going over like a t@rd in a punch bowl over there. There must be near riots on Murderer's Row over having to pass him in the halls. That is if they have even given him a security badge.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 15, 2008 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Here's Joel Stein of the L.A. Times, making the case that Obama is electable because our culture, as evidenced by tv and movies, has evolved sufficiently from its racist past:,1,12963.column

"America is ready for a black president because we've seen them before. Black presidents, in fact, have been our awesomest presidents ever: Morgan Freeman in "Deep Impact" and Dennis Haysbert in "24." And their approval ratings -- box office grosses and Nielsen ratings, the only approval that matters in the U.S. -- have been huge."


And published in the Herald today, an obituary of Walter Bowart with what I think is a better version of the featured paragraph in the Times -- better because it lets Bowart speak:

"In the 1980s he was editor of Palm Springs Life magazine, which he characterized as 'a Sears catalog for the congenitally rich.'"

Posted by: kbertocci | January 15, 2008 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Mr. T woke me up at 6:20, as he was leaving for work, to tell me that the power was out. Lovely, it's 27 degrees and no heat, I thought. But it came back on at 6:25, so at least I don't have to be cold! I lay in bed, wondering how much battery life I had in the laptop...

Good morning, everybody! I'm just glad to be here, and be warm!

Posted by: Slyness | January 15, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Glad you got your heat back, slyness. Ever since I had my furnace "fixed", the pilot light flames out at random intervals. If it's a little chilly when I wake up, I go downstairs and use the grille lighter I keep in the utility closet just for that purpose.

I had forgotten what book, but thanks to the miracle of Wikipedia, the idea of a black President is not new. Irving Wallace wrote "The Man" (as in "you de man") in 1964 about a token House Speaker that succeeds the dual death of the President and Vice-President. Needless to say, it did not go over well in a novel set in the Civil Rights era.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 15, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse


Rainforest, Here are two less kind names for thin sandals:

nip flips
jap flaps

These sandals, especially the 79 cent rubber ones from the drug store were known by me as PE thongs. We wore them in the locker room to avoid athlete's foot.

The unkind names were popular in CA in the 70s. Kim? You too? Later, the straw plus velvet straps ones were known as zorries.

My favorite shoe word is what my granny called small tennis shoes, like the famous Ked's grasshopper style:


which is British, I think, for sneakers. She would have heard this in Ireland. She though plimsoles smacked of poverty. She would rather see us in brogans or oxfords or mary janes. (Our cowboy boots of MT years were absolutely outlandish to her. "Are you looking to be Mr. Gary Cooper, there, bold boy?" Also, she thought that you could get hook worms through the thin soles. Barefoot? Never. Against the 11th commandment.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 15, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

yello and kb,
Since you're talking about *fictional* black presidents, (which has me laughing), let me just ask, "What would Geena Davis do?" (which has me laughing).

But now we're in a real contest, with the first African-America candidate and the first female candidate, truly historic, and no laughing matter, IMHO.

Let's get really real for a moment. What I'd like to know, is what would Rudy do--if he were in Bush's shoes in Saudi Arabia? Would Rudy enable the Saudis (Sunni) to be armed to the teeth against an "ascendant" Iran (Shia)? Is this good foreign policy, especially given the conclusions of the recent NIE?,1,93425.story?coll=la-news-a_section

The most controversial element of the sales is the offer to the Saudis of Joint Direct Attack Munitions, technology that allows standard weapons to be converted into precision-guided bombs. The deal envisions the transfer to Saudi forces of 900 upgrade kits worth about $120 million.

Under U.S. provisions governing such arms sales, Congress has 30 days in which it may disapprove the transaction now that lawmakers have received formal notification.

Israel has expressed concerns about the sale but has not formally protested. Two U.S. lawmakers said they would introduce a resolution of disapproval when Congress returns to session today.

"It's mind-bogglingly bad policy because the Saudis at every turn have been uncooperative," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who is sponsoring the resolution of disapproval with Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.). The technology sale has drawn strong opposition from Congress.

Posted by: Loomis | January 15, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

My county library had free magnet for "choose civility" and I immediately thinking of my imaginay friends waving in the morning in boodle. CP, glad your DSL is back.

Posted by: daiwanlan | January 15, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

daiwanlan - what a nice way to start my day! "Choose civility" Thanks for that.

CP - please don't tell me that I won't be reading daily haiku boodle posts anymore! I loved it. Can you try to channel some every now and then? And yes, in the '70's in SoCal almost everyone called them Jap flaps except my family. Not out of some cultural sensitivity, really. We lived in Japan from 1959 until sometime in 1962 and we called them zoris (I don't know if I've ever seen that written but in my mind, it's always been with one R) We still call them zoris, even my children.

Posted by: Kim | January 15, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Don't get me started about selling Saudis the metaphorical rope when not if the Wasabi-ists take over 25% of the world's reserves. They won't need to hijack planes after that.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 15, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

*tooting a party horn for the return of CP's DSL*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 15, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Hello,daiwanlan, and cp, so glad you have DSL.

Slyness, bad morning to be without heat,but glad it's back on. It's white here, like a junior snow. And so cold.

I read Eugene Robinson this morning, and he paints an interesting case for the Clintons. It seems Hillary Clinton probably believed she had the African-American vote locked up. That may not be the case. I still say if African-Americans go to the polls and vote, throw all the pundits and forecasters out the window, because all bets are way off. I just wonder how Clinton will wiggle out of all the fray surrounding her latest remarks.

South Carolina should probably back McCain. Lord knows the man has been kissing these folks long enough. And they were so mean to him when it was him and Bush. It's the least they can do for their slander of him.

I'm also wondering how Edwards is doing since Kerry shoved the knife in his back. Wonder if that wound has healed any. I don't count him out yet.

Time for me to get dressed, and meet with the radio station manager. I have a lot to do today, but really dread going out in the cold. And catching a cold from the g-girl. She's got a cold, but still going to school. A bad cold ain't got nothing for perky this morning.

Mudge, Scotty, Martooni(where are you)and all, have a great day.*waving*

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 15, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I have been highly amused by the way Sen.s Clinton and Obama and their staffs and supporters have been flinging muddy accusations at each other over the past week or so.

Not as amused as Edwards and the GOP candidates, no doubt...

An interesting perspective on the topic from Gene Robinson this morning:

I heard that the Clinton and Obama campaigns have arranged for some sort of truce, but I don't remember hearing of anyone boarding a battleship to sign anything.


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Cassandra.


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

bc, the battleship was moored, of all places, in Nevada.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 15, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Eugene Robinson's column didn't do much for me one way or the other, but I'll tell you this: Richard Cohen's column bugged the he11 out of me. It seems once again he's going out of his way to be a troublemaker and provacateur, when there is no call for it. He just setting up a no-win "have you stopped beating your wife" situation for Obama, and for what?

Posted by: Curmduegon | January 15, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for that link, sd.

Good for Obama for winning the hillclimb to the High Road. Smart move.

Now, let's see if they can stay on that road...


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: omni | January 15, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Why do these pictures make me think Rudy is discussing his prostate?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 15, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

There are pictures in the kit. Didn't see them when I first got here...

Posted by: omni | January 15, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse


Soylent Green is... CLONES!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 15, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I like the new pics showing Rudy waving his Command Finger. Trying to save his voice, I guess. Also, same shirt, different ties?

The juxtaposition with the Naked Cowboy (and is that a Bad Touch going on there), makes me think that Joel's channeling Robert Maplethorpe here.


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

hey, there are photos now. (and they're not lame.)

cohen's points are probably very important to the jewish community. i'm not sure how obama should react, but his church (magazine, whatever) giving louis farrakhan a leadership award that is named after the pastor certainly gives fodder to the swift-boating folks of the republican party.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 15, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Morning everyone. CP good to see you back with DSL.

What I really want to know is how is Joel going to work Super Tuesday? I can't wait to see him travel for that.

Posted by: dr | January 15, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I saw that, Scottynuke.

The next step is approving genetically engineered cows specifically engineered for producing oversized specific cuts of meat and udderly huge amounts of milk. Maybe cows engineered to give off liquid methane (rather than gas) for easy conversion to fuel.

[Note: I did not mention anything about cattle specifically engineered for Rocky Mountain Oysters]


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse


Cohen's piece is nasty. He seems to want to tie Obama in with an award to Mr. F (can't spell the name) and draw some kind of similar feeling on Obama's part. He's pulling at straws, really, but it is nasty.

And he's also saying, like some folks, that there isn't any substance to Obama because he hasn't laid out a full report of what he will do if he becomes President. It seems the pressure is more on Obama than the rest of the candidates, as if because of his race he has to prove more. And we know this happens all the time in the work place and many other situations living in America. And I hate to sound like a nag, but with the present administration in comparison, it is a useless argument. Why wasn't the same criteria used there? Because it was fueled by something else probably. Wow, that elephant sure does fill up a room? And throw in the mix of fear, and we have a cocktail to die for.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 15, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Instead of totally lame photos by Joel Achenbach we need to get that Paris Achenbach gal back on the hustings. I liked her sunsets and covered bridges a he11uva lot more than Rudy's kisser and the Cowboy's a$$ (difficult to tell apart, I grant you).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 15, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I am so with you on that 9:43 comment. That cowboy does not do it for me, even in his underwear. Evidently no one has told him about thongs?

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 15, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I haven't seen an "I'm not saying, but here's my point if I was, just saying" piece of cow pie like Cohen's Obama slam since... Well, I guess it's been just a few weeks and Huckabee did the "here's the commercial I'm not running" bit.

Groggy late night city budget session waves to all. -18 when I got up this morning, but it's supposed to scream up to 17 above by afternoon.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 15, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"Why do these pictures make me think Rudy is discussing his prostate?"

Kguy.. you crack me up. That's exactly what it looks like.


Posted by: TBG | January 15, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Those pictures are crying for captions.

Posted by: frostbitten | January 15, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Frosti... It's either his prostate or Rudy is talking about when he was campaigning in Mianus.

Posted by: TBG | January 15, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Oh, those nasty, vile, dastardly illegal immigrants!

A major economic drawback, though, to allowing thousands...probably millions...of U.S. businesses to pay under-market wages and benefits to undocumented workers is that it depresses wages for all workers in the U.S. All Americans workers, then have decreased incomes, lower benefits and higher rates of poverty and hunger.

An obvious moral drawback to allowing US businesses to pay under-market, lower than even minimum wage rates, is that it's wrong. Minimum wage and standard minimal working conditions are established to humanely provide for the safety and welfare of all workers...not just American-born workers. It's a matter of decency and human rights, rooted in the United States' Christian-Judeo heritage. It's wrong and exploitative, and it's immoral. It's an updated form of economic slavery.

Writes Dr. [Daniel] Groody [Catholic priest and Associate Professor at University of Notre Dame and a director of the university's Center for Latino Studies], "Immigrants die cutting North Carolina tobacco and Nebraska beef, chopping down trees in Colorado, welding a balcony in Florida, trimming grass at a Las Vegas golf course, and falling from scaffolding in Georgia....

How times and attitudes change over several decades:

Hillary knew something of the conditions that migrant workers faced from her days babysitting for some of their children in Illinois. Several had attended her elementary school for a few months each year, and on Sunday mornings during the fall crop season, she babysat at a migrant camp with other members of her Sunday school class.

With her introduction to Marian Edelman [during Hillary's years at Yale] and work with Mondale's subcommittee [a Senate investigation into the living and working conditions of migrant farm laborers and their families, particularly in the South], Hillary could sense that her experiential path was finally leading toward a satisfying destination, even a kind of maturity, in which her life's passions and concerns could be used in the spirit that [Methodist] John Wesley had enunciated. She studied the filthy camps for migrant workers who serviced the Florida citrus groves and tended the green fields of adjacent states, where they made possible the South's bountiful harvest. As in the fields outside the Chicago of her childhood, the people who suffered most grievously were the children, whose preordained futures were the product of their parents' misfortunes. Her documentation of extreme examples of the cruelties of migrant labor life, especially the plight of migrant children without schooling, sanitation facilites, or decent housing, was the basis for some of the most dramtic testimony compiled that fall in hearings convened by Mondale. Among the migrant camps Hillary scrutinized were the ones serving the Coca-Cola Company, which had recently acquired the Minute Maid brand. Her strategy was to have Coca-Cola's president, J. Paul Austin, brought before the committee to testify, and held up as an egregious example of corporate callousness. Here was a recognizable villain for the piece. The effectiveness of Austin's example would become a basic component of her approach to political action over the next quarter century. Stil, no legislation resulted from the committee's work. That in itself reinforced her negative impression of electoral politics. [Bernstein again, pp. 73-4]

I wonder how effective Rudy thinks this Republican wedge issue of immigration is?

Mudge, I concur on Robinson's op-ed today, but Bob Herbert has written a powerful column on misogyny and Nevada today at the NYT.

Posted by: Loomis | January 15, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

That Rudy just can't do anything right. When most New Yorkers stick a finger in the air, it's a different finger.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 15, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Rudy looks like he's pointing at plainloads of terrorists descending on the good people of Sarasota. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 15, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I have heard John McCain say that immigrants are "God's children, too."

I don't want to start a firestorm about that invocation, nor do I have all the answers in immigration.

However, we must begin with the dignity of all people. We must acknowledge the dignity of people who are not citizens, who live among us.

I read McCain's language as recognition of this dignity.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 15, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

More dignity.
No torture.
WHO in 08?

Posted by: cp | January 15, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Did you notice that the Naked Cowboy is carrying a manpurse? 'Course, where else can he carry his wallet?

Posted by: Raysmom | January 15, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Ma'am, that ain't no manpurse, that there's his git-taar.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 15, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Pehaps WaPo could assign a cartoonist to accompany Joel. Who's the American Ralph Steadman?

Posted by: Boko999 | January 15, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, Rudy's the one with the glasses.

Cassandra, I wonder if the extra onus on Obama isn't because of his race but because of a perceived lack of experience and exposure relative to the other candidates.

Rightly or wrongly, people believe they know what Clinton and Edwards would - and proably *can* - do, based on Bill Clinton's White House of the '90's and Edwards' VP campaign of 2004.

I don't think many people expect an Obama Administration to be like Chris Rock's movie "Head of State," and the few *people* (for lack of a better polite word) that might be wouldn't vote for him - or likely any Democratic candidate - anyway.

Of course, in my mind this raises a philisophical and moral question about personal redemption, but I'm going to put it aside for the moment.

I do think that Obama would make a good president - far, far better than the folks in the White House now - but I have not decided for myself who I think would make the best choice for that office.


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "probably"


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Why is the zombie guy who looks like a cast extra from "I Am Legend" reaching out to touch the Naked Cowboy?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 15, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

And why does the zombie use that Vulcan mind-meld grip on his shoulder blade?

(Enquiring minds want to barf.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 15, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Looks like he might be a 9u11iani man trying to save his boss from a Brokeback Mountain moment in front of the camera.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 15, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Mind melding is done like this-

Perhaps you are thinking of the Vulcan neck pinch?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 15, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The Vulcan neck pinch, though terrifically efficient, is not easy to learn-

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 15, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Every time I see that picture of Bush doing that it makes me shudder.


Posted by: TBG | January 15, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, you're seen this yahoo in the, um, flesh. What's the tat on his left shoulder? Jesus? Grizzly Adams? ZZ Top? Patron saint of exhibitionist maroons?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 15, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

cassandra, are you saying you would rather see this guy in a thong?

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 15, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Joel's picture of Robert Burck is only one-sided. On his right shoulder, Burck sports a devil tattoo.

Burck himself on his dyed adornment: I got a tattoo of Jesus Christ on my left arm to add balance as I have had a tattoo of the devil on my right arm since the age of sixteen. To me it was just a fresh paint job on the body of legend [his???...body of legend, that is?] that would remain a mystery, like everything else in my life, for people to speculate about over the remainder of history [Burck, I've stopped speculating as of this moment].

Ooooh, oooh, don't you just love fair and balanced?

It's the campaigns that are lame, not the photos.

Posted by: Loomis | January 15, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

If the pattern holds it's going to be the next kit.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | January 15, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: TBG | January 15, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I can confirm that, from my office window high above it all, that there is indeed white precipitation falling in limited fashion around the D.C. area.

*Snoopy dances*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 15, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

One of the biggest issues: Disaster insurance. The cost of insurance in hurricane-blown Florida has become almost prohibitive. On that issue, Giuliani's faith in private market solutions to major problems (in health care, for example) takes a Florida-centric U-turn.

"We all need help, we all need a backup, we all need assistance," the former mayor says. "We can't get through these things alone. I am in favor of a federal backstop. I am in favor of the federal government helping."

Here's a private market--and foreign-- solution in Rudy's backyard--the financial district of NYC, as reported in the past hour by the NYT:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Merrill Lynch & Co. said Tuesday that it is getting a cash infusion of $6.6 billion from three foreign investment funds.

The Korean Investment Corp., Kuwait Investment Authority and Mizuho Corporate Bank will receive a special class of stock for their combined $6.6 billion investment. All will be passive investors and none will have any rights of control.

Both the Korean and Kuwaiti investment groups are owned by the state governments. Mizuho is a Japanese investment bank.

Posted by: Loomis | January 15, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

My bad, k-guy.

In photo 2, Rudy looks like he's trying to read the dollar menu.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 15, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I usually read Mr. Cohen's column. Based on the comments about it and the byline on the home page, I think I'll pass today. I would expect, as stated in an earlier comment, that someone will continue to attempt to link Sen. Obama, subtly or otherwise, to some sort of radical version of Islam. I feel like if the same was done to link a Christian conservative to radical Christianity, the protests would reverberate far and wide as discriminatory. Harumph.

Nice pix, Joel.

Posted by: jack | January 15, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I was outside while the snow was falling. It was interesting to watch the snow break apart upon hitting the ground. Then I went back inside because the wind was fierce and threatened my nose with frostbite...The wind was so fierce that it blew the snow clouds away...brrr

Posted by: omni | January 15, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I came to escape and I will leave now knowing that the boodle has once again saved my sanity for mankind. One day mankind may regret you did that, but the whole cowboy controversy makes me laugh. There is something so wrong about tighty whiteys in public.

I thought the second picture was Rudy trying to order a mocha grande latte cappucino or some such from that coffee place with its own language which he obviously doesn't know - it's what minions are for and Rudy always looks like he has minions.

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new kit

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