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Some Basic Truths of Campaign 2008


[Obamamania hits Brookline, Mass., Friday morning. Photo by J.A.]


[Mayor Thomas Menino, pictured Friday morning in his office, will use his political machine to get out the vote for Clinton on Tuesday. Photo by J.A.]

[Warning: Achenbach is about to channel Cillizza.]

As we look forward to Super Fat Tuesday, a number of fundamental truths leap from today's headlines, and affix themselves to our face, with a slimy protuberance feeding eggs down our throats for subsequent internal gestation and eventual larval eruption from the belly. Let's discuss them one by one.

1. The party rules clearly benefit John McCain and Hillary Clinton. McCain benefits because the winner-take-all format lets him sweep up delegates (57 on Tuesday in Florida, hundreds more next Tuesday in New York, New Jersey, etc.) even though he's so far failed to reach 40 percent in any primary. In South Carolina he triumphed with a whopping 33 percent of the vote. Consistently, about two out of three Republicans have chosen someone else. But in keeping with the fundamental Republican philosophy - Help The Guy On Top - the frontrunner enjoys a boost in delegates that's not commensurate (um, incommensurate? uncommensurate? don't jibe?) with the number of votes he has actually received.

The Democrats, by contrast, dole out delegates on a basis that's proportional to the vote total, but something else comes into play: Superdelegates. There are 796 of them. That's about two Californias worth of delegates. It's 20 percent of the total number of delegates to the convention. The superdelegates are congressmen, mayors, governors, party activists, etc. Hillary has been tapping them for many months and even years, using all the connections forged over the past two decades. Obama has had to play catch-up, but she's way ahead.

2. Obama has a priceless intangible advantage in being a relative unknown in an age of - this is critical - media overkill. Here's an idea: Make a list of everything you associate with Obama, then another list of everything you associate with Clinton. Obama's list has about four or five items, Clinton's list goes on for hundreds of pagesHow many millions, or even billions, of words have been written about the Clintons?

It's important to remember that just a generation or so ago, not only did the blogosphere not exist, but CNN didn't exist, and there were three networks that produced half-hour news shows every evening, and the White House press corps consisted of a couple of dozen tweedy journalists who would tease a story out of a source at a Sperling Breakfast. By the time the Clintons came along, the presidency had become raw material for a giant news-sausage factory that throws in everything -- the jowl, the feet, the hock, the maw..

3. Iowa doesn't matter. Or not much. The phrase "President Huckabee" tells you all you need to know. Huckabee won convincingly in Iowa and has been fighting for camera time every since. John McCain didn't really even compete there, and came in - what - fourth place?? The rule espoused by the David Yepsens of the world (and Yepsen is indeed a smart cat) is that there are only three tickets out of Iowa. McCain didn't get one of those tickets, and yet he may very well be the nominee.

Meanwhile John Edwards campaigned there for years, put together a great ground game, and managed to edge out the then-frontrunner Clinton for second place. It didn't seem to give him any momentum whatsoever. He was, in fact, almost instantly forgotten. The dynamic of the race was always going to shape up as Hillary vs. Somebody, and Edwards was effectively running against only one other person, Barack Obama, who beat him. But even if Edwards had beaten Obama, he wouldn't have had nearly the money or organization to best Obama in New Hampshire or the states down the line. The New Hampshire bias against Iowa may simply be true: It's not a real election. It's a place where Pat Robertson can come in second ahead of the sitting vice president (and eventual nominee) George H.W. Bush.

4. This is a political junkie's dream, this election, what with two very different storylines having developed in the primary races, each rather dramatic and delicious. Ellen Goodman in today's Globe has a good summary of the contest: "The hair's width of a difference in their beliefs has turned into a pitched battle between 'inspiration' and 'battle-tested.' The hope that some regard as tangible, others see as helium. The experience some believe is invaluable, others call old politics." For the Republicans, there's a protracted debate over Who's Really Conservative. It's do-or-die time for the Rush Limbaughs and Hugh Hewitts of the world, for whom John McCain is a RINO - Republican In Name Only. (Some on the Left would say Hillary is a DINO.)

5. Robert Novak asked, in yesterday's Post, "Is John McCain a Conservative?" (that was the headline, at least), but hardly anyone seems to ask the same question of Mitt Romney. Romney was considered a moderate when governor of Massachusetts (actually, reading a column in the Globe this morning, I should amend this: He was more of a moderate when he ran for Senate in 1994, but tacked right after winning the governor's race). Romney describes his new positions on gays and abortion as a kind of personal growth. Romney in the debate at the Reagan Library argued that he's been for the surge all along, but it's simply a fact that a year ago he was telling audiences that we should let the Iraqis hold a vote on whether we should stay or go - an incredibly mushy way to run a foreign policy.


[Manhattan, Thursday. Photo by J.A. with assist from United Airlines.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 1, 2008; 9:12 AM ET
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Next: The Catch That Replaces "The Catch"


And yet I'm still first

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Best high level analysis I have seen in a long time. Novak's column was particularly rabid. If McCain wins the nomination despite the opposition by Limbaugh, Coulter, Malkin, etc., it will go a long way towards establishing his credibility with moderates and independents that he is not Bush III or another right wing nutjob.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

News-sausage. That's a term to make one think twice of eating food-sausage. Along those lines, a recent news story from Germany revealed a very strict medieval sausage-making regulation that required stringent quality control. The regulation even predated the celebrated beer regulations. Those Germans may have been vulnerable to plague, but may have had safer, better sausages than we Americans get today.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 1, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Reposted from the last kit:

Good morning!

I enjoyed meeting everyone at the BPH last night. I admit I did feel like a stalker as I approached the table, but everyone was great. I look forward to future BPH events.

Back to work for me!

Posted by: Moose | February 1, 2008 09:33 AM

Happy Friday and Super Bowl Weekend!

Posted by: Moose | February 1, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The RINO guys remind me of an uncle who detested Eisenhower as a RINO. The poor man was like those who thought Al Gore was a Democrat in Name Only (DINO) and voted for Nader in 2000.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 1, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Good stuff, Joel.

Does anyone else have this Google ad below?

Political Bobble Heads
Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Ooopsy The Clown

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Loved this line, Joel:

"But in keeping with the fundamental Republican philosophy - Help The Guy On Top - the frontrunner enjoys ..."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

And now we know where to shop for Joel for next Christmas-

This is one seriously weird dude.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 1, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

The problem with McCain from a Republican perspective is not the question Mitt keeps harping on "Is he a conservative enough Republican?" They dare not ask the true question "Is he a Republican enough conservative?" It would reveal everyone else's unwillingness to play well with others.

G'morning boodle. We're having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave. 7 above already and headed for the mid 20s!

Let the cooking begin- To be made ahead today, White Chocolate Cheesecake and Flourless Chocolate Cake with Rasberry Liqueur Custard Sauce, and 90 spring rolls.

About Mitt's hair, since we still don't know what Loomis hair is- The man has "good hair" in the same way Jimmy Johnson does.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 1, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

RINO, DINO, OMADITA (Only Makes A Difference In Theory Anyway).

Posted by: byoolin | February 1, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I agree that not nearly enough attention is being given to Superdelegates. Heck, up until now I figured they were just delegates who could, you know, leap tall buildings and stuff.

Is it really plausible that they could swing the nomination away from Obama - even if he were to win more, what, "normal" delegates? Wouldn't the Superdelegates feel some obligation to the voters and fear their wrath?

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Missed period in section 2.

Posted by: Glass Darkly | February 1, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I've been a RINO for quite a few years. It's good to finally find a fellow RINO even if I don't agree with everything he says. I was seriously worried I'd have to switch parties like my wife did. That could lead to union membership or worse.

My son registered as a Democrat since if you will be 18 by the general election, you can vote in the primary. His choice of candidates in order of preference is Obama, McCain, Clinton.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I also really like the observation that Iowa doesn't matter. But I betcha boocoo bucks that in 2012 we will still be reading about candidates admiring butter cows. Political traditions die hard.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Obama as Reagan? Since I know someone who says this, I'll explain: potential to become extremely popular / populist, and attract the independents and middle. I am not enamored of this concept, but I can handle it on those terms, barely. So I morphed their faces together:

Posted by: Jumper | February 1, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Well, here's good news for the Dems (though of course bad for the copuntry: "U.S. Payrolls Drop for First Time Since 2003"
"Economy sheds 17,000 jobs in January, a rare dip in the number of people working and a sign of weakness amid debate about a possible recession."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

All this endorsing and taking sides brings to mind the thoughts I ponder when we drive through rural America and I see campaign signs in yards.

I always think it's pretty brave to post a sign in your yard supporting one Sheriff candidate over another, don't you?

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm a WINO (Whig in name only). Old habits die hard.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

That's just plain scary, Jumper.

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Or maybe it was the other kind of wino, I forget.

Or both, like dual citizenship.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

In Project Management School they teached us all about a phase of any project called "Lessons Learned." It is my experience that this is the second most ignored step. (The first is the communication plan, but that's another story.)

There is huge psychological pressure not to learn lessons if said lessons contradict past strategy. For such negative lessons would imply you were wrong. And that a failed project was, at least partly, your fault.

This is a conclusion to which many are resistant.

Instead folks like to believe that failure is not a result of poor strategy or execution, but is, instead, due to external forces that swamped an otherwise brilliant plan.

This yields the very popular conclusion that next time the smart approach is to do exactly the same thing. Just more of it.

I think this explains a lot about the world. It all comes down to the screwy way individuals think.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I also assert that the opening paragraph (or "lede graf" as you journalistic types call it to remind us simple folk that you are, in fact, journalist types) is a monument to the powers and dangers of caffeine.

Let's hope that when these truths finish gestating we are able to escape the cognitive spaceship of conventional wisdom firmly holding the domestic feline of enlightenment.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

graf 6, line 3: every should be ever.
Correcting punctuaton is so anal :-)

Posted by: Boko999 | February 1, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

RD Padouk has possibly explained why infantry charges remained standard operating procedure for so long. "Do exactly the same thing. Just more of it."

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 1, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, will postpone the answer to "Loomis hair" until I dream up something "Boodle-appropriate"."

I like the headline of today's Kit: "Some Basic Truths of Campaign 2008." Especially since I said earlier on the Boodle that I wanted to write something at some point in order to dispel the myth of dynasty.

Well, I got confronted with "dynasty" writ large, I estimate 24-point type, on the second page of our local op-ed effort this morning. Under the Super Duper Fat Headline are two pictures--on the left, Bill and Hillary at a podium together, on the right, Obama giving a shoulder clasp to Teddy. Under the Clintons is a reprint of Nicholas Kristof's op-ed in yesterday's NYT titled "The Dynastic Question"--(headline rewritten in our paper as "Should Clinton be avoided?").

Under the Kennedy-Obama embrace is an op-ed by Kathleen Parker titled "Kennedy nod shouldn't matter" (who knows what the original title was since the headlines at the Express-News are often rewritten either to fit space requirements or to give articles' intents entirely different slants. Don't think I don't notice. I do.). Her first two grafs are good, as are her last:

First two:

Americans finally have narrowed the presidential race to two front-runners: John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

Too bad they're both busy chatting up Guinevere and Galahad in the ultimate Camelot, where the the climate really is perfect all the year. [Could they be in San Diego?] Eternally.

Last two:

For his part, Obama would rather have the Kennedy's imprimatur than not, but he's no JFK, as even he would surely insist. And maybe he doesn't want to be. Camelot was once a dream, but today it is a curse. No one can live up to a hallowed past, especially one that didn't really exist.

Perhaps we attach ourselves to the legacies of icons past is because we have so little faith in the fuutre. But surely it's time to let Kennedy and Reagan rest in peace. They've earned it--and imitations are always just that.

In Kristof's editorial effort yesterday he asks readers to comment about his column in which he lays dynasty and American history on the editorial exam table and dissects it.

Kristof uses the term "Clinton Restoration" as does Eugene Robinson in his op-ed today--again, the implication of the word "restoration" linked muscularly to "dynasty."

So, in the interest of a Boodle experiment (before I write anything) as regards dynasty, perhaps we can engage in a thoughtful exercise over the weekend. Those of the male gender, I would like you to go home and ask your wives the following question (perhaps the same question can be asked of significant others, although I think it more valid in the case of married spouses, since we are talking Hill and Bill here). Kristof, that goes for you, too.

I would like you to look straight into your spouse's eyes and seriously ask, "Are you my dynasty?"

I'm wondering what the answers and/or reactions will be? Really. I think in the gender wars, it would be a fair game (or a turn of the table) for a woman to ask her husband this question as well. Duly note the response or reply.

I do think there may be an answer such as, "Honey [insert appropriate affectionate label], I may be your "destiny," but there's no way, Jose, that I am your dynasty!"

I'll check back with y'all on Monday on this question/topic.

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you, RDP.

Not that I'm not all for separation of church and state, but I think it's time for someone (everyone?) to smack down the NFL. Their greed surpasses sub-prime mortgage lenders *and* private equity brokers together! Whose airwaves are those, anyway, or were they before they were given away?

Posted by: dbG | February 1, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Loomis... this Post Mortem blog bit tells us something about the Express-News...

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I should add, those were 2 separate thoughts. One commending RD on his project management lessons learned comment, another dissing the NFL. Not that I'd ever watch the Super Bowl anyway.

Posted by: dbG | February 1, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I just don't see the difference between 300 folks gathered in one place to watch the Super Bowl (excuse me... the Big Game) for FREE or those same 300 people gathered in 30 places.

The churches aren't charging anyone to watch, are they? That would be wrong. But how is it against a copyright to all watch the game together? That makes no sense at all.

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

May I also add that for every 300 people who gathered at a church to watch the Big Game, probably only about 250 will watch it now that they can't gather together.

That's 100 eyeballs not watching those multimillion-dollar ads.

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

The Clintons are a family, by most definition of the word right?
Collins dictionary defines "dynasty" as
1.Sequence of hereditary rulers
2. Any sequence of powerful leaders of the same family.
Hence it would be a Clinton dynasty by the second definition.

It's snowing hares and bears, we may get an early out. Yessss!

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 1, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I gotta tell ya, Loomis, I'm having trouble parsing and figuring out exactly what that dynasty question is all about. In particular, I don't get what my spouse has to do with anything.

dbg, I'm with you about the NFL. I think they've really overreached this time. If a bar can have a giant-screen TV, I see no reason a church can't. And the 55-inch rule is completely capricious and arbitrary. As long as no one is charging admission (and no one is), no harm, no foul.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Right, TBG!

I think even calling it "The Big Game" is too nice. There should be a perjorative in there. :-)

Posted by: dbG | February 1, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Re. Super Bowl XLIVM or sumthing.
Please note that the legislator choose to exempt the sportbars from the copyright restrictions when the NFL started to hassle them. The NFL is just now asking for across the board legislation.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 1, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Many churches have a cover charge or a food fee or some other fund-raising aspect to their Big Game events. They will also often have side drawings, games of chanceand the like. Still not sure on how this infringes on the NFL's license. The got a pound of flesh from bars that "rebroadcast" the game and now are looking after smaller fish.

Heck, the record industry goes after girl scout troops for unauthorized campfire singing.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Plays like Christopher Marlowe's "Edward II" make it pretty clear that while medieval (and later) English sovereigns liked to promote the idea of hereditary monarch, the English throne was often attained and/or held through scheming, murder, and outright warfare. Later on, Parliament got into the picking-and-deposing game, too.

So that Collins dictionary definition seems pretty good.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 1, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

sd may be right, but since chelsea clinton does not appear to have any interest in politics (except the dutiful daughter campaigning currently), the clintons are not in the same category of dynasty potential as the bushes or the kennedys. it would end with hrc, but we've still got bushes and kennedys out there. the first lady of ca is of kennedy vintage. i do believe it helped at least a little to get ahnold elected in a blue state.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I think, in the interest of the topic of the Kit, that I'll defer writing about "my side of the story" vis-a-vis "the soft bigotry of low expectations." But I'll solve the mystery of the "haunting" for you, Mudge, as well as share some of the silent lessons learned in our Bakersfield household.

To say that my parents had a bad marriage is something of an understatement. My mother never had much local mobility because she didn't drive. We--mother and two daughters--walked eveywhere. Since we were a one-income family (as were many at the time) we only had one vehicle (as did many families at the time).

But the issue is love--or lack of it--and hellfulness (Freudian typo, I meant helpfulness, but might as well leave it)and support of a spouse.

We lived about two blocks from Bakersfiled High School, where a number of adult evening classes were held for the community (community college as sponsor? I don't remember...). Seems it was fine for my father to drive himself over for a number of years to his photography class. But he wouldn't drive my mother to her painting class. So, on those nights, in the dark, my mother would walk herself over to the high school, carrying her wet oil canvas (acrylic paints dry overnight, but not oils) facing out from her artist's smock and her body, her desktop easel, and her tackle box full of paints and brushes. From this I learned *gumption.*

My mother didn't learn to drive until I was in junior high. I think my father would rideshare some of the time during this period, which meant the car was in the garage, available. I won't go into how my mother scraped together the money for her private driving lessons (not a direct handover of money from my father, certainly), but hire someone to teach her--she in her 40s--she did.

My mother and father had had another one of their fights. It was shortly before her next driving lesson. I was home (a holiday or sick day or weekend, I don't recall)--I don't recall if my sister was there, too. The driving instructor showed up, a nice-looking, tall man. We all went to the garage together. What did we find? A large chain linked around a supporting beam of the garage and lassoed around the front axle of the car. My mother wasn't going anywhere.

Tim Russert needn't have asked my mother what her greatest public humiliation was, were she alive today. This was it--although she had only an audience of two--the drivng instructor and I. The river of her tears didn't stop. The driving instructor left. The memory of the incident is as searing today as it was then.

So, I was haunted, Mudge, when you shared with us the special efforts made by your father to rig the car and its steering wheel to enable your mother, a woman with one good arm--the other weakened by polio, to drive. Haunted.

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Perfect sense: the musicians PAY (payola)the radio station to play their music, and CHARGE (ascap) the bar owner for playing their music.

Posted by: Jumper | February 1, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

That might be, Shriek, but I know a bit about copyright law. Copyright is basically designed to prevent Party X from making a profit from Party Y's work without Y's permission. There's always a major "fair use" clause, as well as the problem of monetary gain. But when someone (the networks) offer up a product "for free" to the general public, the product becomes, de facto, "in the public domain," at least as far as lack of monetary consideration is concerned. There is nothing inherent in copyright law that says a 55-inch screen is OK but a 56-inch isn't that's absurd. It's like saying the size of a page of a book must be limited to 10 inches wide, or something. Likewise, the size of a viewing audience is absurd; if something is offered free to the public, any right to regulate the *size* of segments of the public is absurd. It's OK if 50 people watch, but not 100? Either something is free and available, or it isn't.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, TBG! I read that blog post with great interest.

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Well,I called my wife and asked her if I was her Dynasty. She replied that while we began as "Friends" and progressed to playing "House" while I was still her "Thin Man," eventually our lives became "Two For the Road" when she pursued her personal "Paper Chase" at the "Old School" but throughout "The Best Years of Our Lives" in the "Big Country" known as "Oklahoma" and even later when "Baby Makes Three" and our child became "Big", at no time did she think of me as her Dynasty. "Although "Moment to Moment" you could be "The Jerk", I never felt "Repulsion" or "Suspicion" over any "Secrets and LIes" she told me. "It would have been nice if we had seen "The Color of Money" more often, but there's not a "Shadow of a Doubt" in my mind that, "Odd Couple" that we are, we have through "True Romance" found "Love Actually." And what kind of a crazy "Quiz Show" question is that to ask, anyway?"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 1, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Well done, k-guy. *golf clap* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Um, hate to rain on your parade, Loomis, but I'm not sure how much effort my father put into the steering wheel thing. Those knobs, IIRC, where called "Idiot Knobs" and you could buy one in any Pep Boys, and were quite common (one still sees them on buses). You could install one with a screwdriver in 30 seconds. They were eventually banned--I'm not sure why (bc, do you know?). Perhaps because a driver (even one without any handicaps) could steer with extreme nonchalance, down to one finger, which admittedly could be dangerous at speed if you had to make a sudden maneuver and it took a split second to grab the wheel properly. Its primary utility was cranking the wheel around when you were stopped or slowed, and making a 90-degree turn.

Or maybe it's just that I don't recollect my father as any special kind of hero, and especially not where he and my mother were concerned. As they say in C&W songs, he done her dirt more than a few times. And during the 1960s and 1970s he and I were fairly bitter opponents on all the questions of the day, war, Vietnam, "Hippies," race and civil rights, student protests, "long hair" (though I myself didn't have any), Demo. vs. Republican, pro-business vs. anti-business, religion (when I was about 16 he converted to Catholicism, which happened to be good for his business, and wanted my brother and me to do the same; I told him he was out of his effing mind), etc. The only things we had in common for decades was baseball and boats. We didn't even like the same kinds of beers and liquors.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

k-guy- in awe, I tell you. Absolute awe, while golf clapping of course.

Loomis-too much more of this and we'll have to do a best of the boodle honoring moms book.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 1, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Brilliant, k-guy, simply brilliant.

And keep me out of any "I <3 Mom" tomes. Not that I don't love my mom, it's just that I have some street cred to protect.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, the copyright law is absurd. 55 inches is not inherent in the copyright law, it is expressly in the text of the law. See 17 U.S.C. 101(5)(B)(i)(II) and (ii)(II).

Posted by: fee | February 1, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Oh my, that was great, k-guy! Kind of touching, too!

Posted by: Kim | February 1, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Is it Sunday yet??? *SIGHHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

k-guy, that was hilarious. however, i think you got it backwards. you were supposed to ask your wife if she thinks that she is *your* dynasty.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

SCC: 17 U.S.C 110(5)(B)(i)(II)

Posted by: fee | February 1, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Loomis (and other HRC supporters) you may be interested in this:

Posted by: echo2 | February 1, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry you had to see that, go through that, Loomis.

Curmudgeon, my daddy assured me those little wheels were steering wheels for children. Are you saying the man lied to me? Next thing you know, both of you are probably going to tell me sour kraut tastes good. (I loathe sour kraut)

They used to have the wheelies on grain trucks. It made it possible for your 10 or 12 year old to help haul grain in the critical harvest season.

Posted by: dr | February 1, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow is copyright law needlessly complex. Here is a phrase that keeps re-occurring:

"(II) if the performance or display is by audiovisual means, any visual portion of the performance or display is communicated by means of a total of not more than 4 audiovisual devices, of which not more than 1 audiovisual device is located in any 1 room, and no such audiovisual device has a diagonal screen size greater than 55 inches, and any audio portion of the performance or display is communicated by means of a total of not more than 6 loudspeakers, of which not more than 4 loudspeakers are located in any 1 room or adjoining outdoor space;"

And that doesn't include all the sub-paragraphs, exceptions, hithertos and whatnots. Lawyer-up because no layman could ever parse this unassisted

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes, fee, didn't make myself clear: agree that 55 inches is an absurd criterion. Thought I said that. (Or maybe I said it badly.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

...and here's another notch Bush/Cheney and Repubs can proudly carve in their pistol grips: 'Appalling Gap' Found in Homeland Defense

Way to go, guys; you've done an outstanding job these past 6 years. Good things those darn Dems weren't in office. And like I said to myself on the day of 9/11, "Self, thank God George Bush is my president."


Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

ALDI food stores are coming to central Florida. Could Trader Joe's (which they own) follow?

Princeton University Press is publishing "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the European Steppes Shaped the Modern World". 586 pages on the people who spoke Indo-European. Perhaps some of them even had blue eyes?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 1, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

As much as I would like to participate in any Boodlers' socialogy experiment, I can only reply to your request with a question that I saw here on this self-same boodle one day(posted by TBG, IIRC):

Do I look like I have a death wish?

Posted by: Don from I-270 | February 1, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

So all 5.1 sound systems are illegally braodcasting coppyrighted material. I hear jackboots stomping in the background. Those laws were written by the lobbyists and passed by congress. I don't know the clause and sub-graf but the music publishing industry lobbyists included a provision against DEVELOPING software INTENDED to defeat copyright protection on CDs and DVDs. Of course the possession of such software is illegal as well, even if it is not used. All this from the people who tell you to go on-line to buy an mp3 version of a song you already have on a legal CD/DVD.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 1, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm paying attention to the superdelegates

right the state delegate totals:

Clinton actual 21 estimated 48
Obama actual 34 estimated 63

Advantage: Obama


Clinton estimated 184
Obama estimated 94

advantage: Clinton


Clinton estimated 232
Obama estimated 158

Advantage: Clinton

I'm expecting McCain to pretty much put it away come Tuesday

I'm expecting Clinton and Obama to both still be in the race.

At least that's what my insanely crazy magic 8-ball is telling me...YMMV

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

...and now to the stuff of nightmares:

This is about a new species of elephant shrew from the mountains of Tanzania. It caught my eye and conjured up the memory of being broken down on the side of the road when we were children and being told that we'd better be mindful of the shrews, lest we be attacked. We were somewhere like Wisconsin, a preferred haven for rogue shrews.

Posted by: jack | February 1, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

the united states' highest office is NOT something like a dry cleaning store that you leave to your wife, kids, cousin, girlfriend, etc. when you 1) die, 2) retire, 3) go to jail for tax evasion, 4)etc.

NO MORE inherited presidencies, OK?

sorry i yelled again. i better take a couple days off from the blog.

Posted by: butlerguy | February 1, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I think that this whole process would benefit by some jargon changes. For instance, don't you think that "superdelegates" would be more appropriately called "power brokers who are above the democratic process" or "political insiders not obligated to follow the will of the voters" or maybe "party bosses" for short?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 1, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Ooooh!!! Pictures!!!

And Joel got up-close and personal with Mumbles Menino! I wonder how the translation went. (I kid because I care, really)


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

And I hope (and actually expect) those Obama supporters know how to dodge a Green Line train.


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Since DotC made a book plug at 12:29, I shall do the same, though we really don't know much about the contents (I assume).

I received on Jan. 23 an e-card from Jay Buckley--we had had a good back-and-forth e-mail exchange several years ago about why there were no books exclusively about William Calrk (until Lanny Jone's "William Clark and the Shaping of the West" came along), so the e-card was a big surprise--informing me that his book about William Clark has finally made it to print via University of Oklahoma Press.

From the website:
Jay H. Buckley shows that Clark had immense influence on Indian-white relations in the trans-Mississippi region specifically and on federal Indian policy generally. As an agent of American expansion, Clark actively promoted the government factory system and the St. Louis fur trade and favored trade and friendship over military conflict. Clark was responsible for one-tenth of all Indian treaties ratified by the U.S. Senate. His first treaty in 1808 began Indian removal from what became Missouri Territory. His last treaty in 1836 completed the process, divesting Indians of the northwestern corner of Missouri. Although he sympathized with the Indians' fate and felt compassion for Native peoples, Clark was ultimately responsible for dispossessing more Indians than perhaps any other American.

By the way, Buckley is associate professor of history at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. I'm sure in our e-mail exchange I told Buckley about dancing with William Clark's distant great-grandson in the moonlight at the old train station at St. Chales, Missouri. Should have posted this during Joel's BYU Kit, darn it.

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Jones' *and* St. Charles

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Since the shrew was such a hit, I thought that this quiz might be fun, as well...

Posted by: jack | February 1, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant k-guy

Hey LTNS butlerguy, I'm anti dynasty myself, but if it comes to HRC or anybody else, please let it be HRC.

More dem delegates:

total delegates 4,049 (2,025 needed to win)
superdelegates (power brokers) 796
pledged delegates 3,253

SDs are just under 20% of the total. Damn fine democratic institution-NOT

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Small print says Buckley's book about Clark in print.

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

K-guy, re: yiour request for "superdelegate" jargon change: how about FOOSBBBSIWOs ("Former occupants of smoke-filled backrooms back before smoking indoors was outlawed"), pronounced foos-three-B-sigh-woes

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Claiming that because my wife is not part of my dynasty implies Hillary Clinton is not part of a Clinton dynasty doesn't follow logically.

It's like claiming that because my car is not a Mercedes, therefore nobody else's car can be one either.

By definition, a second President Clinton would be part of a dynasty of sorts. The important question is whether or not this matters.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

i dunno about mccain. many conservatives will vote for mccain when hell freezes over. now that this is a mccain-romney affair, the conservatives may get behind romney. the nyt, giuliani and ahnold endorsements merely reinforce the idea that mccain is not really conservative. i think that both parties may not have conclusive results on tuesday.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse


Bob Dole (at 73) was constantly labeled too old to run against Bill Clinton in 1996 and age is NEVER mentioned (at least yet) as a factor with McCain who's 72. John McCain's candidacy was dead and buried until a few weeks before the NH primary due to incompetent staff, mismanagement and lack of money. McCain himself admits that he's not well versed on economics...and voters are somehow convinced that this man can oversee the country's economy better than a highly successful private sector businessman like Mitt Romney?

Strip away John McCain's 40 year ago military experience, which we're NEVER allowed to forget about or question (it's just about ALL he ever references in speeches and debates no matter what question he's asked), and you have nothing but a tired, old, empty suited, Washington, D.C. political hack/insider. He is an extremely weak candidate and a terrible debater by every account, especially compared to Mitt Romney (or even Huckabee).

Without the assistance of his "Canes" propping him up during this farce of a campaign, John McCain candidacy would still be dead and buried. Day after day, the canes come out of the political woodwork to endorse ol' RINO (Republican In Name Only) Johnny.

MCCAIN'S CANE # 1...the Liberal biased Main Stream Media and Press. With orgasmic puff story after puff story, it resurrected McCain from the dead, elevating him to frontrunner status just in time for the election.

MCCAIN'S CANE # 2...Independent and Democrat voters, who, for some bizarre reason, are allowed to vote in the REPUBLICAN primaries. I'd LOVE to meet the rocket scientists in those states who allow THAT to happen.

In Florida, Mitt Romney was gathering tremendous momentum and soaring in the polls until the weekend before the election.

MCCAIN'S CANE # 3...Florida Governor Crist who endorsed McCain just TWO days before the election.. Unfortunately, it was enough to convince a woefully uninformed voting public to vote for McCain and against Romney who was soaring in the polls until that moment. While this was bad enough, the fact that so many thousands of Floridians had to be TOLD who to vote just TWO days before such an important election was despicable, shameful, if not downright scary.

MCCAIN'S CANE # 4...Rudy Guiliani, who ends his "campaign" with an endorsement of, who else but John McCain hours before the California debate. Even with THAT, McCain who always been a terrible debater, was crushed by Mitt Romney at every turn...imagine what Obama would to to him?

MCCAIN'S CANE # 5...California Governor, Arnold Schwartzenager who now is endorsing old Johnny just before the Super Tuesday primaries.

If John McCain is the Republican nominee (heaven forbid), it will be done SOLELY with his the assistance of his canes and without them he is nearly helpless and will be easily defeated by either Hillary Clinton or upstart, or half-McCain's-age, 36 year old Barack Hussein Obama.

Mitt Romney is by far the most qualified man in EITHER party and is a class act all the way. And yet since he became a GOP candidate for president, I have seen nothing but negative, trivial articles/stories about his Mormon religion, his money, his slick appearance, etc, all fully intended to sway a naive electorate that pays far too little attention to the most important 4 year event in our country.

Mitt Romney is a TRUE family man and very successful at turning failed or failing enterprises around and Lord knows the United States of America needs turning around. It should be run as a business first, with a strong military to protect it from harm. All other social, giveaway programs should be scrutinized (and certainly would be under a Romney presidency) as to efficiency and even necessity. The fact that he was even elected Governor in a state (MA) controlled by 85% Democrat legislature was a feat in itself. In spite of it, he did a very admirable job as Governor, turning a large state deficit into a surplus. Of course, his many justified vetoes were constantly overturned by those liberal Democrats which made for a lot of frustration.

If Mitt Romney does get the GOP nomination it will be MUCH to the chagrin of the Democrat National Committee liberal propaganda machine because he will be their worst nightmare and most difficult to defeat...Obama, Clinton, or otherwise.

John McCain's time has long since come and gone and it has become more than obvious during this primary campaign that he doesn't even have the ability to WALK up the White House "stairs" without his "Canes", let alone RUN the biggest economy and country in the world.

Posted by: mrunpc | February 1, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse


*checking home page* Nope, nuthin.

OK, MittRomneyUnidentifiedNationalPopularityCounter, whatever you say.


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

ok, this time no yelling.

re the whole dynasty thing, of course it matters. the founders were wary of royalty, and rightly so. the country is not supposed to be run for the benefit of one family (e.g. the bushes). and the fear of royalty begat the fear of aristocracy, etc.

we have already come way too close to losing our way re all of this, with our worship of the rich, bush tax cuts, bipolar distribution of wealth, etc.

i think HRC is probably a decent person who knows a lot about many things governmental. let her teach at columbia or georgetown--same with her hub. but we have to come to our senses here. you simply cannot get to be president because your dad or your hub was there first. we can do better than that. we are supposed to do better than that. HRC, above all people, should know this, and her hub is a freaking rhodes scholar. they are so clearly blinded by their ambition and they think they are the only ones who can make things better. they are wrong. they had their time and they blew it.

ok. ok. breathe in,breathe out. very important to breathe.

Posted by: butlerguy | February 1, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so here's something I don't understand -- a businessman, in order to be successful, must set aside the actual best interests of his public in order to be ruled by constant attention to the interests of the business. If the business is best-served by serving the public, then that's lovely, but the connection between the two is only incidental. In exactly what way is this studied ruthless toward the populace a preparation for serving that populace? Is the plan to improve the overall survivability of the nation by business-like methods -- e.g., lay off (deport or imprison) underperforming citizens? Sell off assets (national parks)? Sell out to a higher bidder and take a golden parachute?

Posted by: Tim | February 1, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Thanks, k-guy, for the brilliant answer to the "dynasty" question, and the excellent potential definitions of "superdelegates". I think that perhaps we simply should not allow superdelegates to be seated until they can demonstrate a super power. It doesn't have to be flying over tall buildings; any of the Fantastic 4 powers should do for a start.

Hey, mrunpc, take a deep breath now. You're safe here.

Butlerguy, don't worry about the shouting.

My "dynasty" problem is that today my default association for that word is as a lyric I remember Prince singing, I think in the timeless pop song "Kiss". I've probably remembered it wrong, but there you are. With that as a frame of reference it is just hard to put it in a political setting. I did mention I was under the weather, right? It has clearly affected my brain.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"So all 5.1 sound systems are illegally braodcasting coppyrighted material."

No, 5.1 sound systems playing television broadcasts in bars and restaurants of over 3750 square feet or other establishments of over 2000 square feet are infringing copyrights. That makes more sense, right? You must not be hearing the rustling of the tape measures over the thuds of the jackboots.

Posted by: fee | February 1, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Tom Jones sang that song too, and very well.

The one that might have the word "dynasty" in a lyric. The one essentially about obsessive casual sex. You see why I don't want to associate that with politics.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

mrunpc, the Huckabee campaign, through Chuck Norris, questioned McCain's ability to survive a four year term as POTUS because of his age. This occurred on January 21, 2008. Perhaps Limbaugh forgot to report this and therefore you missed it, but CNN, NPR, Reuters, UPI, CBS, USA Today, and much of the MSM gave it space.

Posted by: crc | February 1, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. UnPC,

I'm no expert political hack, but didn't ol' Chuck Norris take issue with McCain's age just a couple weeks ago? And isn't ol' Mitt the same guy who has reversed many of his own views and opinions in order to be more in line with Republican talking points? And isn't he also the guy who has said repeatedly that we should have only English as our national language but also has numerous ads running in Spanish around the country? Again, I'm no political expert, but he doesn't seem to me to be the paragon of integrity that you are painting him as.

Just my two cents.

Posted by: Gomer | February 1, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, whatever. But you got a few factual errors, there, Skippy.

(1) "age is NEVER mentioned (at least yet) as a factor with McCain who's 72." Um, Chuck Norris brought it up the other day.

(2) Obama isn't 36. He was born Aug. 4, 1961. You do the math.

(3) "orgasmic puff story after puff story, it resurrected McCain from the dead" -- Virtually everyone agrees that its was the MSM that helped bury McCain, not resurrect him. The media were caught flat-footed when he rose from the dead.

Now some matters of opinion:

(a) To say that "Mitt Romney is a TRUE family man" implies that someone else isn't, and overall is pretty offensive in and of itself. John Edwards is a true family man. Obama is a true family man. One could even argue that Hillary is "true" family woman even though a good many think she should have divorced you-know-who (so you can't have it both ways). You sanctimonious Republican types gotta learn to drop this "family values" crap, at least until you can get it right on who does and who doesn't and what its relevance is to running a large country.

(b) "MUCH to the chagrin of the Democrat National Committee liberal propaganda machine because he will be their worst nightmare and most difficult to defeat..."
Well, here you're just plain off your gourd.

Otherwise, good luck as your man goes down the drain. Just a question of when.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"they had their time and they blew it."

Yeah, that business of 8 years of prosperity and leaving office with a budget surplus (promptly squandered by the brilliant and effective successor) clearly was a shallow grasp for history, an exercise in petty ambition. A failure.

News flash: all politicians are driven by ambition and pure self-interest. The genius of the Constitution is to recognize that trait, and to steer politicians so that personal ambition is served by serving the people and the office one holds. The problem (as demonstrated recently) is when a party of like-minded persons hold all the significant branches of government and thus there is no longer the element of striving against each other.

You certainly are not going to see a smart and capable politician ignore an office in which he or she could serve the country (and ambition) brilliantly, saying "Nah, it's kind of tacky for me to pursue that goal."

Posted by: Tim | February 1, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Tim, you reminded me of WSJ's lead paragraph in the $3 trillion (trillion! TRILLION!! with a 400 BILLION deficit!!!) (sorry for shouting) budget story today. It begins, "George W. Bush took office in 2001 with budget surpluses projected to stretch years into the future. But it's almost certain that when he returns to Texas next year, the president will leave behind a trail of deficits and debt that will sharply constrain his successor."

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

My memory is that steering wheel knobs were outlawed in the 60s (?) or whenever safety issues began to be applied to cars. Seat belts yes, knobs no. And the reason that sticks in my mind was that they could harm the driver in a crash. Ouch! Like a fist in the chest.

Posted by: nellie | February 1, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

It seems like there are lots of boodlers under the weather but here, the weather itself is becoming a concern. It's been snowing heavily since about 09:30, the bus system is crawling to a stop but the nincompoop upstairs haven't announced an early out yet. I'm telling you I'm hauling ashes at 3 on the dot anyway.

Here is Maman in the foreground with her sack of eggs.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 1, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

And Mudge, I think mrunpc's reference to "family man" was another slam at McCain, who did marry more than one woman. Sequentially, of course. Were Rudy still around it woulda been appropriate, as he married enough to be called a serial husband.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

That was one empassioned plea. Are you Tagg, Matt, or Josh?

Most of those McCain Canes smell a lot like sour grapes. The timing of the Crist endorsement sounds like good strategy, something Giuliani lacked in barrels. Romney's position changes make him look like Kerry on a windsurfing board, only with better hair gel.

Much of the remaining campaigning will focus on electability and McCain's cross-over appeal that is causing so much grief in the primaries is the only reason he polls ahead of Hillary in a hypothetical face-off. I have a hard time believing that solid red conservatives will sit on their hands and hand over the White House, but suit yourself.

Better yet, run a right wing third party candidate. Perot put Clinton in office and Nader had more to do with electing Dubya than Sandra. Without 90,000 thrown away protest ballots, the hanging chads would have been moot.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, hope you get to feeling better, and I love that song by Prince. He's so wierd, but some of his music I love.

Loomis, a sad story, but the telling of it was simply beautiful.

k-guy, I'm clapping,good answer.

Hope the weekend is good for all.

Posted by: cassandra s | February 1, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Women, not girls, rule my world, I said they rule my world
Act your age, mama, not your shoe size, maybe we could do the twirl
U don't have 2 watch Dynasty 2 have an attitude, uh
U just leave it all up 2 me, my love will be your food (Yeah)

The rest here:

I'm not a prince (he kind sacares me), so you'll all have to do your own YouTube search for the Vids.

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I know, Ivansmom. But I find it highly offensive that because somebody was divorced and remarried, that he/she is somehow morally inferior to someone else, who hasn't divorced. Can we see a show of hands around the Boodle of people who have divorced and perhaps or perhaps not remarried? S--- happens.

Oh, and how many times was St. Ronald married? Three, wasn't it?

Those people just really have to stop this nonsense. If they want to talk about clear, semi-admitted adulterers/hypocrits (Newt Ginrich, Rudy, BC), then fine, have at it. But there's no moral superiority between Romney and McCain on that issue. Jeez. (Yeah, ticks me off personally, and for good reason.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks omni!

I never saw the show Dynasty either.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

83% on the space quiz. Some of those questions are tricks aimed at us elderly folks that got most of their astronomy education from Asimov science column collections.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"Tagg, Matt, or Josh"

Wait a minute, you're telling me that there is a Romney whose name does NOT end in a repeated consonant?

Posted by: Tim | February 1, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I AM A prince, dammit. Hhowever I am, NOT a Prince fan...

But I bet you all knew that. (What an SCC that turned out to be)


the legal/illigeal question/answer is it varies by state. most state illegal.

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree absolutely, Mudge. There is no moral superiority to be found in the mere fact that one may or may not have remained married to the same person. Now, the specific circumstances of individual relationships may shed some light on personal values. However, in most cases that is more information than I want or need.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, just noticed another (see, I told you he scares me: witless

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

83% on the space quiz. I don't waste my time on stuff like memorizing numbers of satellites. I have more entertaining ways to waste my time.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 1, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm 58% spacey. A lot of those questions were from Uranus IMHO.

The score so far is one wife of 37 years and no changes are envisioned. For one thing, all Dr. K's degrees and publications are in her married name and if we split, I'd have to change my last name because she'd never change hers back.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 1, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Nice Achenphotos.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 1, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Family Values
Ronald Reagan
Jane Wyman
Nancy Davis
Patti Davis
Black Sheep

Your assignment (to the tune of Mission Impossible), should you choose to accept, is to put all above in a coherent sentence!

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"serial husband........ I'm still laughing. Never heard it put that way.

Posted by: cassandra s | February 1, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Dynasty is a word we associate with China.

The Tang dynasty consisted of wives succeeding husbands, concubines succeeding former wives, etc.

The root of the word "Dynasty" is actually Greek. A dynast: a ruler or potentate, esp. a hereditary ruler.

[Origin: 1625-35; < L dynastés < Gk dynástés, equiv. to dýnas(thai) to rule + -tés agent suffix] [Latin dynastēs, from Greek dunastēs, lord, from dunasthai, to be able; see deu-2 in Indo-European roots.]

The concept in dynasty is that of RULE passed down through a family.

There were many dynasties in Chinese history that very rarely had a clear case of "children inheriting rule from parents" for more than one generation at a time. Many rulers were related by marriage or by connubial relationship, or distantly related to the older emperors.

The Tang dynasty definitely put the NASTY in dynasty, but there are many other examples. The Gandhi dynasty (no relation to Gandhi) starts with Nehru, whose daughter was a Gandhi and who got voted in and killed, then her son ran for politics and got killed. Her son's wife has run for political office and then stepped aside.

Sonia Gandhi is definitely part of a dynastic tradition in spite of only being related to Nehru as his grandson's widow, and not in fact even being Indian by birth (She's Italian.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 1, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

that's a long time to be married, k-guy, but I thing it is wonderful. In this day and age of quick divorces and everything else, it is to be admired.

I really like being married, but my husband didn't care much for it.

Posted by: cassandra s | February 1, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

scc "but I think it is.....

Posted by: cassandra s | February 1, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I got that busiest space port question wrong. I would have gotten view from space wrong, but not clicking on anything was not an option. So I scored 92%, but should have got %83.

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Divorced? Hand up here, it was the best thing I ever did for myself, my kids, AND most especially for my ex-husband.

At this point in the cycle, my gut sense is that McCain is the candidate with the best chance to beat the Democrat, whichever one it is. I'm leaning toward Obama myself, but I could happily vote for Clinton.

Posted by: Slyness | February 1, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, Wilbrod. While I'm aware of the Chinese dynasties, I certainly didn't associate the word with China.

Normally I don't even associate it with Prince.

Though many dynasties contain princes.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"Although brodie knobs were never widely popular, they enjoyed limited popularity on trucks before the advent of power steering."

I had one on my first car, and it was pretty, too. All swirly colors like Murano glass. Probably picked it out myself at Pep Boys. (Manny, Moe and Jack.)

Posted by: nellie | February 1, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod wrote:

"The Tang dynasty consisted of wives succeeding husbands, concubines succeeding former wives, etc."

With all of these wives and concubines doing the succeeding, shouldn't it have been called the 'tang dynasty?

Anybody with me here?

Posted by: Gomer | February 1, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

shrieking denizen wrote at 10:51:

The Clintons are a family, by most definition of the word right?
Collins dictionary defines "dynasty" as
1.Sequence of hereditary rulers
2. Any sequence of powerful leaders of the same family.
Hence it would be a Clinton dynasty by the second definition.

My take:
Dynasty, by party affiliation, in light of the second part of the definition provided by sd:


John McCain: father and grandfather were admirals in the U.S. Navy.

Willard Milton Romney: father was big cheese (both chairman and president) in Detroit for General Motors, as well as served as governor of Michigan


John Edwards: father was a mill worker in South Carolina (as we have heard many times--and North Carolina, too, after the family moved north, IIRC. Mother, not sure.)

Barack Obama: I need help here. I know Obama's parents were both students when they met. His father worked as what? His mother, some sort of aid work in Indonesia, IIRC.

Hillary Clinton: father operated a mom-and-pop small retail operation in which he sold window coverings, following in his lacemaker father's footsteps. Her mother was the bookkeeper.

Bill Clinton: Tossing this in. His mother went back to school as a single mom to become a nurse. His stepfather was an alcoholic, but I can't remember his line of work. His birth father a traveling salesman, IIRC.

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

My friend Porfiria always refers to her divorce as "shedding 145 pounds of unsightly fat."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 1, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Why are you leaving out the Bush dynasty, Loomis?

You're the one who can find hereditary connections between everybody... do your homework. You'll find something.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 1, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, where'd Joel get the idea that Super Size Tuesday just happens to fall on Fat Tuesday, anyaway?

And who said that Iowa traditionally didn't matter much anyway?

Bah, nevermind.

Re. #2 on Joel's list: Shankar Vendadm wrote a very good piece earlier this week about complexity and volume of ideas and information and election results.

Here's a quote:
"'Low complexity wins elections,' said psychologist Lucian Gideon Conway III of the University of Montana at Missoula, who published his analysis of the presidential speeches in the journal Political Psychology. 'People like simple answers, and someone saying, "'I don't have all the answers and here are five possibilities'" is a hard sell compared to someone who says, "'I have a plan and it is going to work and my opponent is completely wrong.'" '

The rest of it is here.

I found it compelling reading for election results as well as the SoTU address.

If I'm repeating something someone's already said, please remember that I started writing this before lunch and only just now that I didn't hit 'Submit'.


Posted by: bc | February 1, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Have you seen Telnaes' cartoon on the home page about "The Change Dynasty"? Perhaps she's saying it better and more humorously than I! *laughing*

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

George Romney was big in the auto industry, but not with GM. He presided over now defunct AMC, producer of some profoundly ugly (though serviceable) vehicles before finally being gobbled up by Chrysler in the 80's. Wayne and Garth tool around in an AMC Pacer in "Wayne's World."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 1, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, Wilbrod, I thought I'd already done my homework long ago, pointing out--long ago...on the Boodle--that the Bushes are descended from England's Edward I, as is Willard Milton. Now that's dynasty.

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Concubines! D@mmit, I knew there was something this campaign needed! More concubines!

(I venture to guess Gomer's with me on this.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Dynasty only makes sense with an adjective attached. As in presidential dynasty. Or football dynasty. To say that a presidential dynasty is fine because everybody belongs to a dynasty of some kind is a meaningless argument.

Linda, I understand that the intent is to sidestep the criticism of HRC, but why bother? Instead of using sloppy logic to deny the assertion that a second President Clinton would be part of a dynasty, why not embrace it? Argue that the existence of so much experience in the White House is a benefit. I think this would be a far, far better argument and one I am fully confident could be effectively made.

Now, I have got my in-laws coming down for my son's birthday this weekend. Or, as I like to call them, my dynastic minions.


Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks k-guy, I even Googled George's bio before posting and saw AMC (yet I didn't understand the difference)--that shows how little attention I pay to cars--other than sticking the key in the ignition and nagging my husband once a month about checking my tire pressure and dipstick.

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Oooohh, Padouk...*bringing out the gloves and warming up for Monday*

*laughing uproariously*

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I think bc needs more caffeine...


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

SCC: First of all, I'm horribly embarassed to have misspelled "Vedantam." Also, please add "realized" to last sentence.

"Suicide knobs" were outlawed because they posed risks to a driver's control if they were not secured properly and in the event of an accident they tended to cause more damage to a driver than an impact with typical steering wheel (which was a bigger problem before mandatory seatbelt laws and airbags).


Posted by: bc | February 1, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Radar shows our storm might be letting up
The trailing edge is just west of Manasas

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, she might have left out the Bushes because (a) the dynastic connections already are pretty much known to the public; (b) part of the idea was to point out that dynasty is an inappropriate word to apply to the Democrats who are running, but not far from the mark for the Repuglicans (you may note that few Repuglicans are rags-to-riches by their own hard work -- unlike several prominent Democrats); and (c) because it would be major Boodle-hogging to actually describe the Bush family's connectedness. The list is REALLY long. Senators, two presidents, governors, businessmen. Lots of connections.

The party that purports to favor small businessmen who make themselves into success stories, rising from nothing to fabulous wealth, seems to hold little appeal for persons who have actually done so. Republicans get their money the old-fashioned way -- hire a lawyer to fight Daddy's will in probate, then wait for the death of Daddy (or hurry it along) and seize the assets.

Posted by: Tim | February 1, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Well AMC may have made ugly cars, but I do have them to thank for our first colour TV, it was a give away when you bought the car. TV outlived the car by about 10 years.

Posted by: dmd | February 1, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, I don't need any more caffiene; I'm already vibrating like a tuning fork.

What I need is less work to do.


Posted by: bc | February 1, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

How different would the world be now if George Romney had won the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 instead of Richard Nixon? Perhaps a better resolution in Viet Nam, certainly no Watergate, no President Ford, probably no President HW Bush and then certainly no President Dubya. Guess these primary thingees do matter a bit.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 1, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

When I was in Xian, there is an entire theme park dedicated to the Tang Dynasty. In Chinese lore, the Tang Dynasty occupies the same space as the Roman Empire does for us as a glorious high water mark of civilization and achievement. The theme park ran a theatrical show that had fantastic costumes and talented performers. Some of the narration had translations but I don't remember much about concubines and palace intrigue. Next time I'll pay better attention. It sounds fascinating.

Asia cultures tend to have their historic eras broken down into dynasties which I think is more a function of Western bias in nomenclature than any sort of exceptionalism. Nobody talks about the Windsor Dynasty.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

The prosecution rests, milord.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 1, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

DC storm update: Manasas is in the clear. yay, I may get home with dry feet yet...

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm home, looking at the snow still falling down in large quantity.
Don't diss AMC, my first car was a AMC Hornet, forrest green at that (with a strong rust orange overtone). Almost bought a Gremlin later but came to my senses in time.
For a nice view on the Tang dynasty I recommend the Judge Dee series of books by Robert Van Gulik.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 1, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

k-guy, my sister used to have that Rambler. Once we were going around a steep bend in Pennypack Park, about ready to head downhill, when one of the tires came off. Carful of kids found it funny, my sister, not so much.

It came to a timely end when she worked at Byberry (Mudge will get this) and a patient torched it one night.

Posted by: dbG | February 1, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

It is impossible to diss a thing which disses itself so effectively-

"Yeah, I know they're ugly, but they have such nice personalities!"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 1, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Storm views from my area, very pretty here snow stuck to every branch - wet and heavy to shovel though.

My kids were not amused when I said how lucky they were that there was a snow day on a day when they were already off school.

Posted by: dmd | February 1, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

The link,

Posted by: dmd | February 1, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

J.A. was here, at my campus, he took a picture of the bldg where all my art classes are and I didn't know because I'm an Achenblog slacker. (I'm also a slacker about actually going to classes this semester, but that's another story.) I should have gone to that BYU Democrats party. I'm not affiliated with either party but I still would've gone. A prime opportunity wasted.

Posted by: Sara | February 1, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Loomis - I have no idea what you find so humorous. I apologize if the term "sloppy logic" was offensive. I should have said "logic I find unconvincing." Perhaps others find your argument compelling, but to me it is like arguing that there is nothing wrong driving a Hummer with a missing muffler because, you know, most everyone on the freeway drives cars.

The point is, why make such a big deal over the word dynasty? It is not necessarily derogatory. Heck, this weekend I imagine many will be watching a sporting event in which one of the participants would be happier then heck to be considered part of a dynasty.

Now I am outa here.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey Sara! Good to hear from you, even if you are a slacker. Why, pray tell, are you not going to class this semester? If you are registered and just not getting up, shame on you. ;-) If for other reasons, well...

Posted by: Slyness | February 1, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

In the early 80s my future wife drove a 1960 Studebaker that was not only ugly, it was a maintenance nightmare. It really belonged in the hands of a collector instead of a teenage girl.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse


Good to hear from you. I see you have updated your blog recently. Stay in touch with the boodle, we miss you.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse


It's my last semester and I saved my GEs (Biology 100, Stats 221, etc...) for the last semester--stupid idea, I am bored out of my mind. Biology 100 doesn't even have tests--the final is a reflective writing experience and my husband is a biology major so I'm pretty set there. Stats has everything you need online so I don't go to the classes. Pretty much all my classes are like that. So I just hang out at work most of the time. I'm usually the only one here nowadays so it's pretty peaceful.

Posted by: Sara | February 1, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Hi Sara.

Posted by: omni | February 1, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

We bought that Gremlin that SD decided against. Never has one car had so many problems, most in hardware --- windows that stopped going up and down --- and they were manual! Knobs and buttons that fell off and disappeared, etc. But -- it was the first car we owned that had air conditioning!

Posted by: nellie | February 1, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I miss you guys, too. I'm not as busy anymore due to my lack of classes that require attendance or work so I should be around more often.

Posted by: Sara | February 1, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Well Sara, come back more often, willya?? *happy-to-see-ya Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

And in other news...


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'll put the mother frown back up for another day, Sara, and we'll look forward to hearing from you more often!

Posted by: Slyness | February 1, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Correct on all counts about the Bush Dynasty. I was actually suggesting Loomis find ties between the Democrats and the Bushes.

Hillary is pro-genealogy after all:

There's a report on the Obama family tree and pointing up that almost everybody with New England roots are related to presidents and each other:,CST-NWS-otreemain09.article

I found one source for Bill Clinton:

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 1, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

rd, when used to describe the clintons, dynasty is almost always invoked as a negative, so i think your point is an outlyer in this particular case. why this is, i don't know, because some people view the kennedy dynasty as positive thing. some people. dynasties on the whole in democracy should be viewed negatively, imo, that's what it is to be a democracy. my point earlier about the clintons is they have very limited further dynasty potential beyond hrc, so i think that the characterization is overstated. but it is a valid issue to raise.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse
Some Edward I talk here.

Posted by: Jumper | February 1, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey Lurker... have you seen those American Express Plum Card commercials featuring the owners of Pinkberry? I think of you every time I see it.

(The voiceover, by the way, is done by the lovely Lauren Graham, or Lorelai Gilmore.)

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"He might as well have worn a dashiki."

What a great line. Thanks Jumper for that link.

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I was backboodling, and caught this comment of yours,

"Mitt Romney's hair reminds me of Loomis hair. No two ways about it. Richard Gere's got it, too."

I know this kind of hair. There are people in my family with this kind of hair. We call it helmet hair (only we don't require hairspray). Just call me bouffant.

Posted by: dr | February 1, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

hey, tbg. i have to confess i don't have a tv, so i just went and watched it on youtube. i rely on the boodle and youtube to keep me informed. :-)

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

That is Lauren Graham! I love her. I miss the Gilmore Girls. Of course, I have them all on DVD.

Posted by: Sara | February 1, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

L.A. lurker. Clearly the term "dynasty" is being wielded to denigrate Hillary. My point is not to get bogged down in a rather tedious semantic discussion over the word. Instead, go after the underlying implied criticism. If one asserts that a Clinton "dynasty" would hurt Democracy point out why it would not. If it is suggested that a Clinton "dynasty" would somehow diminish our standing in the world offer a compelling rebuttal.
This is how minds would be changed.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Concubines, yeeessssss. I wonder what Hillary's would look like.

Posted by: Gomer | February 1, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Sara! I can never keep straight what state you're in, geography-wise, and so I wasn't sure if you were in the proximity of Joel or not. Hope you can stop in more often. I'm hoping Joel will make it out to WA next weekend, but I doubt he'll be in my neighborhood even so.

SD, great picture. Glad you made it home safe.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 1, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Gomer, personally, I would start with George Clooney, if I were Hillary.

Posted by: dashiki | February 1, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Hi Sara! And RD, enjoy the birthday festivities. If I remember right, the young man in question is driving now. Will he be taking his grandparents out for a spin?

Posted by: Ivansom | February 1, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

hi Sara! You're graduating in the spring? Let's have a ceremony!

We watch Gilmore girls every day. It's on some channel around here in the afternoon. Of course, they're Tivo'ed, so I don't know which channel or what time.

My daughter and I discovered the show last year.. in its final year (and no longer written by its originator). I love the show... love the relationship between the mom and daughter.. but mostly love, of course, the snappy patter!

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

And just to belabor the point - I do not think dynasty in a democracy is a good thing, no matter who it is. Although I'd much rather see a Clinton dynasty than a Bush dynasty. Or a Bill Clinton 3rd term, had it been possible in 2000. But ultimately, it's up to the voters, so if they choose to keep the same family in office, so be it. And that might be the best choice sometimes.

I have come to agree with term limits, in some ways - I hate that some Senators have been in office for so long, and especially when they seem not to be functioning so well. You know, maybe 40 years is long enough to be a Congressperson, Senator, or Supreme Court judge...

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 1, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

My mother watched the pilot of Gilmore Girls and she said, "You have to watch this. It's about US! I swear the WB (it was still the WB) follows us around and then writes the show about our lives." And she was right. Even with birthdays. Rory's birthday episode was always, for all seven seasons, on the week of my birthday.

And I believe that channel is ABC Family. It's on at 6 here.

Posted by: Sara | February 1, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

My wife said that the similarity between 'Freaks and Geeks' and my high school life was actionable. She should know, she was there.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Biology 100 might be a chance to peek at something or other truly weird. Here's a pdf/powerPoint lecture on weird botany. That "parasitic podocarp" (something vaguely like a yew) is on an island with ridiculously primitive flowering plants and an astounding collection of palms.

Closer to home, I liked the cushion plants that live on rocks or gravel patches in places where the wind ensures there won't be any snow in the winter. My favorite has to be this one:
It somehow hid in plain sight until about 1980, isn't confined to inaccessible spots, and it makes really big green mats covered with patches of yellow flowers!

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 1, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse


Lovely little plant-mat that I hope I saw at one time. I always like your plant referrals.

Loomis, such a hard story. Bravery exists in so many unsung places. I that she took painting despite so many hurdles.

Hair! We have Kennedy hair in the family: thick, unruly, upright, tangled. One brother, save for his natural auburn highlights, was routinely mistaken for John John during college and after. They are about the same age and tended to sport similarly: kayaking, rollerblading, windsurfing, etc.

Speaking of hair, I was fascinated by the Steve Van Zandt/Silvio Dante hair on The Sopranos:

Perfect mash-up of Sicilian hair and pentecostal-preacher hair.

Finished the week of classes and am bone tired. Small sump failure that needs some attention.....have a good weekend, boodlers.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 1, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

rd, i don't think that dynasty is a good thing in a democracy or that it's desirable to frame it in a positive way. to me that would be semantic game-playing. i just don't think the term, in its straight-forward usage, applies all that convincingly, or at least overwhelmingly, to the clintons.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Must report that CPboy and friends are rocking through an earnest Ritchie Haven's guitar romp of

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child....
(squirrelly but earnest voices!)
Wow. Such a good soundtrack to life at my house these days, with CPboy and buds.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 1, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I'll be thinking about that story a while as well, Loomis.

After driving my older siblings everywhere for sports and such events, my parents made it clear they did not want to play chaffeur anymore, and that affected my choice of participation in sports, etc.

Always an introvert, this made it worse for me until I got to college. I am glad she managed to paint anyway.

As Mudge said, his father wasn't the greatest but there's a difference between being a jerk at times, and being a control freak.

My ex was the occasional jerk, but when I had foot surgery, he drove me to work when I couldn't manage public transit... even when we were about to break up.

Your mother truly did deserve better even if the marriage had trouble.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 1, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The debate shouldn't be about whether or not having the Clintons return to the White House is a "dynasty" or not. The question is whether or not having a powerful former first lady return to the White House introduces significant risk to our system of government.

Which is why, far from belaboring the point, mostlylurking is cutting through the noise to the key question. Does this unique situation, no matter what it is called, present a risk?

Now, I really don't think it does. I am sure there will be issues raised and difficult adjustments, but it really doesn't bother me that much.

I just don't like seeing a debate framed in what I consider to be an illogical way and fought with what I consider faulty premises. This, to me, serves no good purpose.

Now, I profoundly apologize if *I* am belaboring the point.

We all have our points of passion. One of mine happens to be logical reasoning.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Well said, RD.

Posted by: Jumper | February 1, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I just loved the 2nd paragraph in Tim's 3:08.
The hubby and I always marvel at the ability of the Republican party to obscure their elitist policies. Mmmmmm, I think it's called wedge politics, or something like that.

Jumper - many thanks for your 4:14 link to JA's assessment of GWB's Katrina speech. Priceless.

I love the Gilmore Girls. As my little girl recedes and the rebellious teenager comes to the fore, when we watch the Gilmore Girls together, we find some moments to enjoy together. That, and my insistence that we read the same book over a 2 month period seems to keep the teenage angst from boiling over....our last book was "The Secret Life of Bees" Fun to read with your daughter.

Posted by: Kim | February 1, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

yello, is the Roman Empire really considered an apex of civilization in your society? Greece I can see, but Rome?

Posted by: Yoki | February 1, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - you pose an excellent question regarding my in-laws being chauffeured around by my newly-minted 17-year old. I suppose this depends on how carefully my father-in-law is keeping track of his heart medicine.

Actually, my son is a very good driver. He is still so new at it that fear and respect guarantee concentration. I see the danger coming in a year or so when he starts taking the road for granted.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking that one thing that might help a young man develop safe driving skills might be living close to a cemetery.

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

TBG - That is a quite insightful observation upon which action is most assured.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Of course, living among "speed humps" is another story altogether.

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Nice story!

Now whether peg legs can be grown from stem cells is a yet-unanswered question.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 1, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

rd, i agree with you considering what should be the most important issue. because to me the clinton situation is more of a "restoration" than a real "dynasty" issue or threat, it is does not particularly worry me.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of being cruelly mocked by most of the male Boodlers, might I add that Lauren Graham is hot? (Um, not that I know this from having watched "Gilmore Girls," or anything. Oh no. I read it, um, ah, yeah, that's it, I read it somewhere.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon. I mean, no not really Curmudgeon. Somebody Else. | February 1, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

You're right, Mudge. She's hot.

But can I mock you anyway?

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Hillary represents our nation's sixth possible "dynasty" --and I've actually approved of at least two of them.

1) John Adams and John Quincy Adams (I'm a big JA fan, um, referring to Adams pere. Adams fil, not so much, or at all)

2) Bennie and Wm. Henry Harrison. Feh.

3) Teddy Roosevelt and FDR: highly approve of both.

4) JFK and very nearly RFK: highly approved of both.

5) A pair of Bushes (and talk of a third, Jeb once upon a time)-- "Feh" doesn't begin to do this one justice.

6) Clinton and Clinton ux. Would tolerate this, but not gonna add them to my MySpace page favs.

Why we have this dynastic fetish I have no idea. Also why do some families have this occupational propsensity? No idea.

One could also add to the list Rockafellers, Browns of Calif., Daleys of Chicago, Romneys, at least two additional Kennedys (Kathleen in Md. and Cong. Patrick), Caseys in Pa., and probably a few more lesser clans scattered about.

So if nothing else, let us dispense with any notion that this is unusual. "Good" or "bad" may be something else entirely.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh, go ahead, TBG. At least you do it with affection.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Dang, I wrote a long post (with links to pics) rhapsodizing about AMCs I considered as neat cars or nice looking: the AMX, the Javelin (particularly the Mark Donohue/Roger Penske Trans Am race cars and street knockoffs), the SC/Rambler (not pretty, but pretty cool) and the Rebel Machine (ditto).

But the Durty Wurd Filter ate it, and I don't have the time or energy to reconstruct it.

Sara, nice to see you here.

I'm another guy who likes Gilmore Girls, really good writing, especially during the first 5.5 seasons when Palladino was closely involved...


Posted by: bc | February 1, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I can't talk about US dynasties but regarding why the fetish, it is not that different from families where an occupation continues down the generations.

In the end if should be more about an individual persons qualifications than their last name.

Posted by: dmd | February 1, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Well.. you do have to admit this case is unusual.

And it's pretty cool that the discussion is "Obama vs Clinton" and not "the black guy vs the girl."

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

That aspect--absolutely, TBG. No question.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Son of G and I visited the Warner Bros studio last year on our trip to California. We stood inside Luke's Diner. Very cool.

I wrote this last year and submitted it for a Guest Kit. It apparently was not deemed Kitworthy; besides, it's out of date now that Gilmore Girls has celebrated its finale (although it lives on through reruns)...

When people started talking about the show Gilmore Girls six years ago, I thought they were talking about Golden Girls. I wondered if there had been some sort of cult-like resurgence in the popularity of Bea Arthur and Betty White, but didn't really give it much thought.

Then my preteen daughter's friends were obsessed with Gilmore Girls and I revisited the idea of Sophie, Blanche and Rose being a hit among the tweens of Fairfax County.

Eventually, my daughter introduced me to Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, a mother and daughter in fictional Stars Hollow, Connecticut, and I was reunited with snappy patter.

You remember snappy patter: the trademark of 1930s cop movies. "What's yer beef, sister?" and lines like that.

That's how Lorelai and Rory talk. My son refuses to watch the show; he hates the rhythm of the dialog. He can tell we're watching even when he's elsewhere in the house because he can hear the rat-tat-tat of the conversations. But Gilmore Girls is more than just snappy patter.

It's a show about single mom Lorelai (played by Lauren Graham) and her daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel). [There's a back story, of course: Lorelai gets pregnant at 16 and begins her journey as a young, single mother. It doesn't hurt that her parents are stinking rich--even though she runs away to work as a maid in a nearby inn, yada yada yada. Now Lorelai owns the inn and has a reasonably livable relationship with her parents; Rory attends Yale. They are living the "good life"--albeit with typical TV ups and downs.]

I don't know why the show is so popular, but to me the important thing is that, for the most part, the Gilmore girls are a mom and daughter who genuinely like each other. My daughter and her friends actually love a show about a parent who gets along with her kid; a daughter who admires her mom--who actually asks her mom for advice.

Of course, she doesn't always listen, but I'll take what I can get.

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Yoki is on to something. Many Americans DO see Rome as some sort of apex. And with a withering ptooey, she has turned on a light.

The only reason I can see, is that Dark Ages followed and stagnation festered in Europe for centuries. Obviously, a eurocentric view. But that's probably the reason for invoking Rome. Of course in Byzantium and Africa and other Mediterranean areas, which I mention because they are the closest, culture went rolling on as well as science, math, and other signs of civilization.

Posted by: Jumper | February 1, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I am glad you posted that TBG, my mom introduced me to Gilmore Girls, I really enjoyed the show, it didn't reflect the relationship I had with my mom but the closeness of the two resonated, a bond I hope to share with my girls.

Posted by: dmd | February 1, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I think one answer to why GG is popular, TBG, is in "chemistry": the mix of great casting of the leads, good writing (which almost always shines through), interesting situation, etc. I think the same factors made "West Wing" popular, not the least of which was Aaron's Sorkin's snappy dialog, also visible in "The American President" and all of his other stuff. Some people can just write great snappy patter (Charles MacArthur and Ben Hecht; the Epsteins and Howard Koch in "Casablanca," Billy Wilder, William Goldman, etc.).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, Gilmore Girls sounds good. Yet another show I completely missed.

Unwinding the theme of political characteristics, I developed a theory while feeding the dogs today. I have two black Labs, both of whom have the chance to live inside a very very large fenced yard, with fresh water and food provided daily. The lab with the blue collar (blue state?) stays in the fence, eats the food and "dog bone" treats, chases the squirrels, barks, digs holes and reclines in the sun. The lab with the red collar (commie?) regularly gets out to roam the neighborhood, forage and bring us treats (read: other peoples' belongings), fends for himself, remains svelte and in shape, and still manages to make it home for supper every night. I was thinking I could extrapolate from this to some sort of political . . . Nope. It must have been the wine talking. Sorry.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a smart and bored lab, Ivansmom. Maybe that dog should be doing bomb/drug sniffing?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | February 1, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

You're right, Mudge. Chemistry and writing. It's funny to hear Mr. G giggle over a line in Gilmore Girls.

My favorite GG throwaway line was when Lorelai was complaining that her father had his secretary place a call to her rather than make the call himself. "Put Mrs. Huh-wiggins on the phone. Have her tell me," she told him.

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Very well said RD.

I'm so glad you think clear and logically, because someone has to. I think I surrenedred my logical card a couple of years ago.

I never watched Gilmore Girls. It was largely pre-second satellite receiver and I watched golf. Lots and lots of golf. more than you could possibly imagine. I have seen the Gilmore daughter in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I thought she did very well in it, though I liked America Fererra in it more.

Posted by: dr | February 1, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I do have a problem with Alexis Bledel's posture. It makes my back hurt just to watch her sometimes.

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

It got worse as she got older.

And she kind of got dumber as the show went on. I watched for Lorelai the last couple of seasons. Rory's voice just got higher and higher. She had a completely different character while Palladino was still writing--a much more likeable character in my opinion. Lorelai remained constant in her fantastic-ness, though.

Posted by: Sara | February 1, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Thank you dr! And you too Jumper!

I must admit I have never watched the Gilmore Girls. I am accumulating a list of good television shows that I plan on one day watching on DVD.

And good to see you again Sara!

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 1, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Ann Coulter for Hillary?

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 1, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, that's downright scary. If I were HRC, I would run, run, run away as fast as I could.

OTOH, the story about the Finnish team growing a jaw was really cool. Nine months is an interesting length of time for it to grow and mature.

Posted by: Slyness | February 1, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I tried to read the whole Coulter piece, but I just couldn't stand having her awful face looking at me like that.

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

when i say that dynasties are not such a good thing in democracies, a major recent example that comes to mind is bhutto's son being asked to take over the ppp. the ghandis are another example, good or bad, i don't know enough to judge. and the kennedys and the bushes, of course. i have some but not all positive feelings for the former and negative feelings for the latter. (i'm not several hundred years old, so i defer to mudge's assessment of the other presidents.)

of the definitions posted by sd earlier, #1 poses imo a greater risk for long-term (or longer-term) nepotism in the democratic political process by creating a kind of political aristocracy than a one-time, same-generational instance of definition #2.

but none of this is to say that the clintons should be scrutinized any less. in fact, a reasonable case could be made that the whole "co-presidency" question should be scrutinized even more.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Joel, in his BYU/Utah article:
One factor may be that many Utahns have traditional views about the role of women. People here don't like a woman who is "outspoken...

Do Mormon young women (the one who gave the quote) forget their own herstory?:

Eliza Roxcy Snow Smith Young (January 21, 1804-December 5, 1887) was one of the most celebrated Latter-day Saint women of the nineteenth century. A renowned poet, she chronicled history, celebrated nature and relationships, and expounded scripture and doctrine. She was a plural wife of both Joseph Smith, Jr.[1] and Brigham Young and was the second general president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1866 until her death.

Snow's presidency emphasized spirituality and self-sufficiency. The Relief Society sent women to medical school, trained nurses, opened the Deseret Hospital, operated cooperative stores, promoted silk manufacture, saved wheat, and built granaries. In 1872 Snow provided assistance and advice to Louisa L. Greene in the creation of a woman's publication loosely affiliated with the Relief Society--the Woman's Exponent. Snow's responsibilities also extended to young women and children within the Church. She was a primary organizer for the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association in 1870 and assisted Aurelia Spencer Rogers in establishing the Primary Association in 1878.

November 2007

Last week, ABC 4 News first told you about the discovery of a new collection of lost Mormon documents.

And now 2 new wrinkles to that rare collection - never before seen poems of historic LDS figure, Eliza R. Snow.

Eliza R. Snow is one of the most remarkable LDS women ever.

Not only was she famous because of her husbands and her brother, but also because of her writing.

And now, 140 years later, two of her original poems have been found. ...

And her younger brother was Lorenzo Snow, the fifth President of the LDS Church. ...

Both poems were written in the 1860's and can be found in the amazing scrapbook of John V. Long's wife, Sarah.

Sanders: "It's clear to me now these are authentic, unpublished, undiscovered Eliza R. Snow poems."

Eliza R. Snow was such an accomplished writer, she was reportedly dubbed "Zion's poetess."

And that title was bestowed on her by none other than Joseph Smith.

These poems will now be sold with the rest of the Long collection - estimated to be worth, perhaps, as much as a million dollars.

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Mudge writes at 6:47 after writing about the Adamses, etc:

So if nothing else, let us dispense with any notion that this is unusual. "Good" or "bad" may be something else entirely.

It is unusual. All the other dynasties that Mudge listed--other than the Clintons--have members who share DNA. And Hillary is the only spouse on the list--there are other women, the Kennedys--who share DNA. It's so *highly unusual*, so as not to fit the traditional definition. Sorry, I don't agree with you--another genuine disagreement beween us.

Posted by: Loomis | February 1, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

*refraining from making a smartass comment about sharing DNA-rich bodily fluids.*

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 1, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod, that article is hilarious. it's true that mccain and clinton are the two candidates most center-leaning, but come on. with mccain promising more wars and clinton promising responsible withdrawal? coulter is totally nuts. let the internecine warfare continue over there...

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

That was what I meant when I said it was unusual (at 6:53), Loomis.

My comment got distracted by my observation about the other historic nature of this campaign.

Posted by: TBG | February 1, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what your definition of "unusual" is, LL, but I can do the math. 9 out of 43 presidents have been related to each other-- that's 20.9 percent, or a hair over one out of five. To me that's nowhere close to "unusual." If Hillary wins, that'd bump it up to nearly 23 percent.

And I don't give a rat's patoot about a DNA connection. I know you're fascinated with DNA and genealogy, just about to the point of obsession, but I'm not. Of course, I recognize that you are related to half the known Western world, whereas I have five kids and 10 grandkids, all of whom I love very much--and I don't share a single drop of blood with any of them. So I put no stock in DNA whatsoever. To each his/her own. (Curiously, the one person on earth to whom I am most closely related by blood and DNA, my brother, is as different from me as it's possible to be. So much for genetics.)

At dinner tonight, my son-in-law, who is here with the clan, mentioned that when he was a quarterback in high school, he once threw a touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress, who was his classmate. Neat!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 1, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

you say tomayto, i say tomahto,
you say potayto, i say potahto,
tomayto, tomahto, potayto, potahto...

i'm feeling silly. boy have i successfully avoided doing work.
not entirely true, but i have boodled a lot today.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Nice pictures of our fair city Joel. At first, looking quickly at the picture of NYC, I thought it was a close up of pavement with rain puddling on it. Silly me. We are now getting all the political ads on TV ad nauseum, between that and the non-stop local coverage of all things Superbowl, I'm tempted to just keep the TV off or watch DVDs until Sunday night at 6:18 pm.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 1, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

L.A. lurker, nice to know we helped you goof off today. Come on in, set a spell...

I saw an Obama commercial on the local CBS station tonight. First one. Saw a Ron Paul commercial or 2 on CNN the other day. He was here to open a Seattle campaign office yesterday. The media is ignoring him, but I wonder...

Sneaks, in the TV chat today there was a lot of talk about the Puppy Bowl. I may give that a try - I've also got lots more Japanese movies to watch. Tonight - A Taxing Woman.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 1, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, I have a DVD from Netflix of Black Adder II, the one with Miranda Richardson. She was so good in her role as queen. That should take care of tomorrow night. The puppy bowl looks like it will be cute, is it on at the same time as the Superbowl? I might switch back and forth if the game is close and I get too frazzled. (Of course I'll have to go to another TV as "S" will not change the channel. I'm trying to get my taxes together for my accountant but I am missing one piece. I guess I'm done for tonight.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | February 1, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Moving Oklahoma's primary up must have done some good, because the last two days I have seen what was never seen here before: presidential-candidate TV ads! Obama and Clinton both. I haven't seen any republican ads yet but I haven't watched TV much today either. Wow, they're paying attention to us, just as if we were a real state! I'm so proud.

Time to get me to bed. Vaya con queso, Boodle, and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 1, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

The puppy bowl is cute and mindless (like football?).

Plot: Puppies play. Puppies drink water. Puppies play more.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 1, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I know. I don't think I've seen Presidential primary commercials before. It's sort of exciting, and will only go on for a week. I know I'll be sick of all this well before November...probably by Valentine's Day.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 1, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

The Puppy Bowl is on pretty much all day Sunday, starting at 3:
Not sure I've ever been able to watch it for long - almost too cute for me.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 1, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

no tv no ads. so far mailings only for ballot propositions, but no candidate mailings. perhaps they will arrive on monday.

i live in a district that is so heavily democratic that they sometimes don't even have republican candidates running for office. and both my congress representative and state assembly representative are african-american women, which i think is great.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

i've seen clips of the puppy bowl before. it is cute, but it's just a bunch of different puppies in a pen.

it's much more fun to play with puppies in person. a former neighbor bred dobermen and another friend breeds jack russell terriers. get into a pile with those puppies. they are fun if crazy to play with. good times.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

scc- rottweilers not dobermen.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 1, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Ron Paul's Seattle visit:

Obama endorsements:
("dynasties" again)

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 1, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

We are getting some Hillary Clinton ads here on the Central Coast. Heard on NBC that her support in the state (CA) has lessened, and she is putting forth additional effort. Chelsea is touring state campuses here.

Posted by: nellie | February 1, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, I have been so crazy busy of late that I never had the chance to run out to the Board of Elections and collect an absentee ballot. I'm off to Hawaii on Monday, for three weeks, so I'll miss the MD primary. Any decision on voting in the primary thus has become moot. I'll have to wait until the general. Fortunately, none of my favorite planetary targets are available in November this year, so I won't be in Hawaii at that time.

Oh, wait. I might propose to observe Uranus...

Posted by: Tim | February 1, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Tim -- are you in Maryland now? Can you set yourself up as we can in California, "all absentee, all the time."

The ballots are just mailed to you, every election, no matter what (local, county, state, national.)

I do like to go vote at the church down the street, but the "all absentee, all the time" does mean you never miss an election.

Posted by: nellie | February 2, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Well, unless you forget to mail in your ballot, as I did once (not a major election, thank goodness)! For some reason, oh all right, because I'm a procrastinator - I don't like to fill out my ballot too early, and then I do have to remind myself to put it in the mail. And then there is the envelope conundrum - last time, I didn't put the ballot in the "security envelope" first, had to rip open the envelope it was in, seal it back up with tape - what a mess. We were supposed to go to all mail-in voting here this year, but they may not do that now.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 2, 2008 1:24 AM | Report abuse

I got my ballot today, for the primary that doesn't count, delegate-wise. I suppose I'll go ahead and vote, but I wonder how many people will. The voters' pamphlet came the other day - it still had all 8 Dem candidates. Haven't looked at the ballot yet - I suppose they're all there...

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 2, 2008 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Fascinating stuff today. I'll just acknowledge it, and ponder it for a while.

Posted by: Bob S. | February 2, 2008 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Much backBoodling to do, but...

SOTB BPH pics!!!

And I can't wait to read the comments on Joel's latest front page special...

*36-hours-to-the-Big-Game(c) Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 2, 2008 6:17 AM | Report abuse

Hi Moose,

We should have breakfast at Ikea or coffee at College Perk sometime.

Chilly but better than the deluge of rain; basement just about all mucked out.

Have never watched a super bowl in my life. Friends, still?

Am disappointed in all the Jane Austen offerings on PBS thus far; very concerned that the biopic planned for Sunday will be wrong, overwrought, silly, boring....but the name for these events as

--teacupalooza is quite fine; and such fun to say--

Was that Son of Carl? Thanks. My friends think I am very word-clever with this coinage but I say it came from someone else....did not say that the source was imaginary, though.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 2, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Nice BPH pics, Scotty! You must be in a state of high anticipation by now.

And whew! JA's article scares me and makes me sad at the same time.

I thought this was an interesting endorsement.

Gotta run. I'm working at a fundraiser this morning for a teacher/coach at my children's high school. He was driving to work last week when our area had many roads with black ice and his car went out of control. He's now paralyzed. Please spare him and his family a good thought.

Have a great weekend, boodlers.

Posted by: Kim | February 2, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Kim - how terrible. Yet another reason for my son, and all of us, to always respect the road.

Best thoughts to all involved.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 2, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Familiar name on the front page.

As always, Joel shows his skill at even-handed reporting.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 2, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Kim, I hope your friend's son gets to the institute featured in last week's WaPo magazine:

Ah, Bell Road. About 15 years ago, the Phoenix Fire Department rolled an engine 360 degrees off Bell, after a motorist swerved in front of it. She didn't have the sense to pull over and let a fire truck running with lights and sirens go by. The pictures were incredible. No one was hurt because all the firefighters were seated and belted. It was a landmark incident in firefighter safety.

The issues Joel explores in his article are real in the Valley of the Sun. Good friends who are NOT conservative Republicans moved away because of similar concerns, but they have moved back. I suppose what we should be doing is helping Mexico create jobs so its citizens don't have to immigate, legally or illegally.

Posted by: Slyness | February 2, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

In honor of our dearly departed friend Error, I think we should road trip to Punxsutawney and teach this little bugger a lesson...

Better not put the sweaters and longjohns away just yet. Phil saw his shadow.

Off to the shop...

Peace :-)

Posted by: martooni | February 2, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

CP talked about Richard Rodriguez (I heard this fellow Californian speak several years ago at our local St. Philips College) and his phrase "the browning of America."

The 'Browning of America' may seem like a phrase coined by Rodriguez to describe an increase in the mixing of cultural, racial, and ethnic identities in the United States during the late 20th and early 21st century, but the term was in use long before his 2001 book entitled Brown: The Last Discovery of America. For Rodriguez the phrase has to do more with the color brown as a symbol of mélange in the United States or specifically an increase in its bi- or even tri-racial subgroups. The phrase is commonly applied to the current demographic shift towards a higher proportion of minorites in the total population in the United States. It can be used neutrally as a name for the current demographic shift in the United States, but has also been appropriated by organized groups on both the left and the right. The far right evokes the phrase generally as a minority-based usurping of customary or assumed White privilege, while the far left hails it as a welcomed rethinking and/or accountability of deep-seated notions of White 'normativity.'

Of course, if we think of the demographic shift "definition," as mentioned above from the Wiki link, perhaps we all--including those in Arizona--ought to be pulling out Mann's 2006 book, "1491"--when the entire continent was quite brown.


1491 is not so much the story of a year, as of what that year stands for: the long-debated (and often-dismissed) question of what human civilization in the Americas was like before the Europeans crashed the party. The history books most Americans were (and still are) raised on describe the continents before Columbus as a vast, underused territory, sparsely populated by primitives whose cultures would inevitably bow before the advanced technologies of the Europeans. For decades, though, among the archaeologists, anthropologists, paleolinguists, and others whose discoveries Charles C. Mann brings together in 1491, different stories have been emerging. ...

But the most compelling of his eye-opening revisionist stories are among the best-founded: the stories of early American-European contact. To many of those who were there, the earliest encounters felt more like a meeting of equals than one of natural domination. And those who came later and found an emptied landscape that seemed ripe for the taking, Mann argues convincingly, encountered not the natural and unchanging state of the native American, but the evidence of a sudden calamity: the ravages of what was likely the greatest epidemic in human history, the smallpox and other diseases introduced inadvertently by Europeans to a population without immunity, which swept through the Americas faster than the explorers who brought it, and left behind for their discovery a land that held only a shadow of the thriving cultures that it had sustained for centuries before.

Mudge, I found you reply to me last night low-down, when you, of all the people here, should know why I'm interested in genealogy--the literary effort..wanting to tell a story. Or are you suffering some memory loss--not remembering what I wrote to you several years ago--you the only person I backboodled with for a short time? What I bring to the Boodle are the leftovers, truly the leftovers.

Perhaps I'll explain Monday--how I find myself now at a crossroads in life--for a number of reasons.

Posted by: Loomis | February 2, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

If Joel posts his front-page article as a Kit, I'll be mightily tempted to call my sister-in-law in Kansas City and get her family's immigration story down pat. She was born Maria Zamorra and if she hadn't caught a cold some years ago and cancelled a date with what-became my husband, well, heck, she may have ended up as his wife!

When I look at my (husband's) niece and three nephews, I see the melange--the browning of America.

Posted by: Loomis | February 2, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

this is interesting:

and i had been wondering who my congress representative had endorsed.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 2, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse


Oooh La La!

France's Sarkozy marries Bruni at the Elysee

Posted by: TBG | February 2, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Good Mornin All
Still an icy mess up here is west by god, says a high of 48 today,but it is only 32 right now.

Happy Groundhogs day to everyone, Today My Dad would have been 90, I am heading to Baltimore(after the ice melts some) hang out with Mom and go visit dad.

CP, I haven't missed a Super Bowl since I was 5, but alas, all good things must come to an end. My stupid boss has scheduled me to work tomorrow 3-11 and even though we have a 52 inch plasma TV at work,it just won't be the same.

Thinking of dad and Error today, I think I will listen to a little Jethro Tull in Error's honor as I drive to Balmer.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 2, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Have a good time in Balmer with your mom, gwe. You remind me of when my dad would tell me that he went to the cemetery to "see Mother" as he put it...

Dad: Went to see Mother today.

Me: Did she say anything?

Dad: Not much. [smile]

Posted by: TBG | February 2, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

maybe i've lost all perspective, or maybe 12 years of bushes has led to the suppression of so much rage that i ought to be in an asylum, but the issue of inherited presidency seems to me to be more important than the question of who actually gets elected this fall.

when bill clinton was elected, i remember the feeling i had--that there was a chance for real change. and he did change some things for the better. but his personal problems and his lying destroyed his second term and renderd him totally ineffective. the fact that HRC somehow came through all that intact is admirable. as for the budget surplus, that happened as a result of changes in the stock market and the explosion, and had little to do with clinton's governance. saying that clinton was responsible for that economic expansion is just about as accurate as crediting reagan with the dissolution of the soviet union. in both cases, they were simply around at the right time. as vonnegut used to say, so it goes.

HRC, like robert kennedy before her, took advantage of the new york regs and the power of a name, to get back on the national stage as senator. so far, so good.

but for her to run for the presidency is wrong. if it is hard to for her supporters to understand this, simply ask how you are going to feel if laura bush runs for president in four years or eight years. she's a first class reading teacher and she has been dubya's closest advisor. etc, etc, etc.

there is no doubt that HRC can make a contribution to the nation, but she, and her supporters, have to get this--if it would be unthinkable to nominate nancy reagan or barbara bush or laura bush, it is just as inappropriate for HRC.

i would much rather that the librarian (a fine, fine woman whose name i will not mention so as not to embarrass her) at the school my children attend would run.

Posted by: butlerguy | February 2, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I see your point, butlerguy, but I don't see how you can compare Hillary Clinton, with her Yale law degree and years on the Hill, in politics and public service (on her own merits before she married Bill) with Laura Bush, librarian (albeit well-educated and intelligent).

Or with Nancy Reagan... what were her qualifications? Oh yeah.. she had none.

If Hillary Rodham had remained in Washington in the mid-seventies and had not married Bill Clinton, it's not unlikely she'd still be running for president today.

Posted by: TBG | February 2, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

hrc is a lawyer not a librarian. that's a huge difference. and hrc won senate reelection by a landslide. in terms of years of elected service, that puts her ahead of edwards and on the national level (only), ahead of obama. was it ok for edwards to run? a lawyer with fewer years in the senate? give me a break. fine if you don't like how she got elected in ny, but comparing her to laura bush's is not justified.

hating the clintons for the reasons that have resulted in bc being a disbarred lawyer, now that's justified.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 2, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Well the Canadian groundhogs are predicting an early spring (I do believe they were wrong last year fwiw).

Posted by: dmd | February 2, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

good morning, friends. hello, sara, so nice to hear from you.

morning, mudge, slyness, martooni, and all.*waving*

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

Posted by: cassandra s | February 2, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

scc: laura bush as a noun, not as a possessive!

sorry if my tone was a bit terse, butlerguy, but your post came off as very chauvinist. i'm not saying that this characterizes you as a person or your position, but that is how you came across.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 2, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

canuck and murican groundhogs with different ideas. too funny.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 2, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I agree with TBG. Qualified Hillary is. Since I prefer a more populist, although reasonable, somewhat anti-establishment and less pro-corporate (read monopolistic) governance philosophy, my only objections to her are based on policy. In the abstract, a female perspective has a good chance of adding some much-needed changes to the Executive branch's potential to alter what is lacking.

Bill Clinton did ram through a minimum wage hike. Although Presidents can affect only a bit of economic policy, by their urgings of who holds the Fed chairmanship, and by signalling Congress on where the veto line is going to be drawn, (even if it is not used), a President has SOME effect on economics.

Fairy tales, commercial-based paparazzi- personality baloney, and hyperbole all need to be killed by the internet. We can hope.

Posted by: Jumper | February 2, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Loomis has pointed to some good revisionist thinking that needed to be revisedly thunk. The plagues which advanced ahead of the European explorers are crucial to understanding this continent.

What I always wondered was what, if any, diseases were spread by the Norse landings in Labrador? History suggests that no other contacts were made without these devastating consequences.

Posted by: Jumper | February 2, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks TBG I will.

I also am glad that when I was younger,my mother dragged us kids to the cemetery where all our relatives are buried. I never visited them till after my father passed away, but I make a point to now. I visit my Dad almost everytime I go to Baltimore. And at least twice a year I go visit the rest of my relatives.

Also, a few years back I worked at a cemetery were most of our Irish relatives are buried. Some vandals pushed over and broke some stones and made a mess of their sacred resting spots.We researched the records,fixed all the original stones we could and had new markers made for those we couldn't fix. I'd like to think now all those souls in St. Peters cemetery are Resting In Peace.

I used to be creeped out by cemeteries,but no more, they are lovely places filled with many wonderful people from out past.

Ok the ice is almost all melted. I am outta here, everyone have a wonderful weekend!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 2, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy, I can kind of see where you're coming from. The other day I almost compared the Clintons to Argentina's Perons - but to say that Hillary is obviously much more qualified. I've been thinking about this question of dynasty, and how it is an advantage to have followed your father (mostly, at this point) into the family business. Seems like the Democrats do that a lot, or maybe I'm just not as familiar with Republicans, except for the Bushes:
Name recognition, connections play into this. Again, they are elected, not anointed or appointed.

Then there are the wives of governors, etc, that got elected when their husbands were term-limited or deceased - that, I've never quite understood (why people would elect them if their only qualification was having been married). But you know, I've come to realize that experience and ability to be an effective leader in government is hard to quantify by someone's resume alone. But sometimes it works out (Lindy Boggs, for example). And a lot of times, I wish some of these politicians' wives would be the candidate. I truly think Laura Bush would have been a better president than George. Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush (not that I would have voted for her), Elizabeth Edwards, Michelle Obama, and yes, Hillary.

I was really put off by the "inevitability" of Hillary Clinton. I'm glad the voters are making it a real contest.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 2, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't know whether "revisionist" is the right word for demography after Columbus.

I suspect that the Norse in Vinland were such a small group, coming via Iceland and Greenland, that they didn't carry any of the nasty epidemic diseases.

If Portuguese or Galicians (Gallegos) were fishing the Grand Banks before Columbus, you wonder . . .

Alfred Crosby of the University of Texas started looking at introduced diseases in the 1970s (The Columbian Exchange: Biological and cultural consequences of 1492, which I happened to spot at a bookstore in Gainesville, Fla., back then. Then in 1986, "Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900).

Crosby's books really set off the alarms. J. Leitch Wright, Jr. (1981) "The Only Land They Knew: The Tragic Story of the American Indians in the Old South" made the case for a very large pre-Columbus population in the South, based on work by anthropologist Henry Dobyns (who suggested that the South had some 1,357,000 Native Americans in 1650) and Woodrow Borah and Sherburne Cook (who figured the population of Hispaniola was "almost four million in 1496 and only one hundred twenty-five in 1570". Central Mexico may have had 25 million people in 1518, a bit more than 1 million in 1608.

These sobering numbers remind us of what could happen should smallpox be re-released, or an effective new pathogen come along.

On the other hand, other scholars dismiss these high initial population estimates as silly.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 2, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I see why the WaPo assigned Joel that Phoenix story or maybe he assigned himself; either way, because of his experience researching and writing "Captured by Aliens" he has great familiarity with massively deranged people terrified of aliens. A lot of the people in that story are downright scary. (And of course, the most irritating thing about them, at least to me, is that they self-identity as "patriots" and "true Americans," blah blah blah. I think they ought to be deported, but I just can't think of where to.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 2, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

to cuba?

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 2, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Joel's ability to find and talk to people remains impressive.

"Diseased" Mexicans? Gosh, I was exposed to lots of tuberculosis as a kid. I'd better not mention that casually.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 2, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I am a Hillary supporter, all the way. BUT, having said that, I understand that it could be possible for Obama to actually get the nomination. It seems he is popular because of his one speech on the Iraq war, given before he was in a position to vote on it, so I have a question maybe someone can answer:
Since winning his Senate seat, has he in fact done or said ANYTHING to STOP the war? Has he put forth or voted on any legislation that would defund the war, or limit the war, something, anything, that is in opposition to the war, or Clinton? I know that Jim Webb has, Feingold has, but has anyone heard Obama OPPOSE the war, not in this campaign, but before, while a Senator? Perhaps I am missing far as I can tell, he has voted WITH Clinton, except for once when he missed a vote, and another time on the confirmation of Bush's latest Joint Chief of Staff, when he voted to confirm and Clinton voted NOT to confirm. Please, if I am wrong, enlighten me.
I am confused by the hard stance of his supporters on this issue, because they are acting as if he was closer to "Dennis the K" rather than Clinton or McCain.
To me, this whole issue is in fact, a myth, because he has supported the war by not speaking out against it ONCE between taking his seat, and the start of his campaign.

Posted by: suzie from atlanta, GA | February 2, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

one of the current wapo headlines:

gop candidates make take a hit

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 2, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

greetings, suzie. could it have something to do with committee assignments? would it be strange for a freshman senator to introduce a bill in an area under the jurisdiction of a committee (armed services?) that he is not on? that's only a guess though.

have a good rest of the weekend, everyone, and enjoy the game.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 2, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Vacation in Canada!
Even our xenophobes are friendly.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 2, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I thought of that connection, too, Mudge, on the aliens.

I love the way Joel can let people speak volumes about their causes, thus giving them them the opportunity to prove how crazy they are--he doesn't have reveal any opinion of his own, really.

I think that's why some people who are not familiar with his writing tend to think he is voicing an opinion--usually pro whatever goofiness he is highlighting.

No.. I don't think Joel agrees with any of the Minutemen or their ilk. He only agrees with the idea that by giving them enough rope, they can easily hang themselves.

Posted by: TBG | February 2, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

TBG - I think you nailed why I consider Joel a brilliant journalist. His is an approach based upon respect.

He respects the people he interviews by treating them with dignity and relating their comments honestly and without bias.

And he respects his readers by not spoon-feeding them his interpretations. He assumes people are smart enough to draw reasonable conclusions on their own.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 2, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of quality journalism, the Miami Herald family suffered a loss this week, longtime editor (1978-1998) Jim Hampton. Here are his rules for editing and reporting:

1. Above all, be fair. Sticks and stones break bones; unfair words break spirits and bonds of trust. Bones heal. Broken spirits and trust may never.

2. When it's hardest to be fair, be fairest. Knowing when not to flay an adversary or a caustic critic is vital. "In taking revenge," wrote Francis Bacon, "a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior."

3. When in doubt, don't. Not ever.

4. Never assume anything but a 4 percent mortgage.

Here's the appreciation on the editorial page:

And the obituary:

Posted by: kbertocci | February 2, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

kb... thanks for pointing us to those. What a great guy.

Posted by: TBG | February 2, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

In the American political system, the people hold the ultimate power; if the voters wish to elect Senator Clinton, "dynasty" or not, then she will become president.

Just like the people made the decision in 2000, right? Snark! Snark!

I believe it's more that it takes a large organization, with specific knowledges, to produce a successful presidential candidate. Thus, if you've done it once, it's more likely to work the second time, too.

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | February 2, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I got to read the Miami Herald daily when I was a junior-high kid in Puerto Rico. I discovered pretty fast that when the weather map showed a storm off North Carolina, it was time to beg the parents to go to the beach. There'd be waves.

More importantly, the Herald had columnists on the order of Nixon Smiley and John Pennekamp (now remembered in the name of a state park). The Herald continued for a very long time after that as a remarkable paper and still has good columnists, my favorite at the moment being Andres Oppenheimer, their Argentine expert on Latin America.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 2, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the presence of large numbers of people without health care is always a public health concern, although to identify the "risky individuals" by ethnicity is narrow-minded. Lack of health care affects all ethnicities.

Tuberculosis is also a disease best passed indoors, which means people in colder climes or who stay inside all the time are at higher risk for having TB epidemics. I would never fear contracting it from somebody walking down the street unless they coughed right in my face.

Hepatitis A and B can be transmitted by food workers, and I _believe_ that people have to get vaccinated before they do food handling. When you travel aboard, you need vaccinations for those lest you get infected by improper food hygenie by an infected worker. This is also a good idea if you're going off to college, given how college students eat (ha ha).

I lived in Phoenix briefly. During that time, our house was broken in repeatedly, my dad even shot, and there was a latino gang active in the local area.

Our old neighbors (a lovely mexican-american family) were wonderful and all the children are doing very well, but there's no question that we're very glad our parents made the decision to move to the DC area, hard as it was on us all at that time.

The problems in Phoenix aren't confined to just immigrant influx, although it doesn't help either.

One thing I will never forgive Bill Clinton for was passing NAFTA without INSISTING Mexico implement a minimum wage law of any kind. I would like to see NAFTA revoked and renegotiated to force Mexico to control immigration by improving wage standards at home.

I don't want to HELP Mexico create jobs. They have too much corruption and crime that the few American companies trying to take advantage of NAFTA found their american executives kidnapped and held for ransom. Any money sent their way will just not meet its mark.

The only way is to actively hold the government accountable for its corruption and lack of law and order which does not promote a stable business or employment environment. And we can't do that as long as NAFTA is in place. We need to revoke it and get it off the table.

Perot came across as a nut in 1992, I admit, but he was absolutely right about that treaty. It was a bad deal all around except for the Mexican government and American business, and it turned out it wasn't so good for business either.

And I must say, if it wasn't for 9/11, Bush would have handed even more advantages to Mexico at the expense of our economy.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 2, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I would assert that those editorial guidelines from Mr. Hampton are wise words for us all.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 2, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

A (poorly executed) variation on a theme by Gilbert & Sullivan:

I am the constant source of genealogical dis-cuss-ion.
I've information of some kin both Japanese and Prussian.
I have a fam'ly tree the length of which is almost Biblical
The thought of non-relatedness is to me quite inimical
(Quite inimical!)

You cannot top my quite impressive grasp of geneaology!
My love of fam'ly exceeds normal limits of psychology.
Although you think you know a little about your own parentry,
The fact is all of your kin are just members of my family!
(Members of my family!)

The list of books I've read is broad and deep and very serious
They all support my proper use of manners quite imperious.
It should be clear that I'm the culminat-i-on of history...
As your sister/mother/Queen, I don't know why you don't acknowledge me!

Posted by: Bob S. | February 2, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I'd be larfing hard Bob but I'm too wacked from shovelling snow. 3 ft. of rained on snow, I believe the Inuit word for this type is concrete.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 2, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

(Heart) Bob S. *l*

Speaking of manners, Judith Martin (Miss Manners) did attend Wellesley--same as Hillary. Sally Quinn--wife of you-know-who--attended Smith.

Driveby Boodling here. Home from grocery shopping. Both of us headed out the door to take the pooch for a romp in the park.

If we come back to Mormonism, or Romney, remind me to tell you the story of the woman behind the "Word Of Wisdom."

Posted by: Loomis | February 2, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Anyone gonna answer Atlanta Suzie's question, or should someone forward her question to factchecker of Pinocchio fame (don't suppose he pulled the Pinocchio idea [Romney mentioned the Pinocchios in his debate last Wednesday with McCain] from the past history of the Boodle--one of my posts...hmmm?) Michael Dobbs.

When I get back, probably later tonight, I do want to tackle the Wapo editorial/Eisenhower endorsement of Obama, and Hillary's relationship with race, since the latter article appeared this morning in the NYT.

Posted by: Loomis | February 2, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Clap, clap, Bob S.

I think I lost MY G&S parody, don't even remember what it was about, but will recheck the boodle archives.

By the way, a sneak preview of the Super Bowl for those who will miss it... or a commerical anyway. This was thought up by some deaf pepsi-cola employees and is based on a classic deaf joke.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 2, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Good one, Bob. Dropping in long enough to bd you all a lvely Sat. evening. I'm off to the final Daddy/Daughter Valentines Dance at the rec center. My girl is growing up...*sniff*. Beach theme; I need to dig out my best North Beach thong.

Posted by: jack | February 2, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

double SCC: bid, lovely...Maybe I should play the Mario keyboarding game when I get home.

Posted by: jack | February 2, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, in the soul of every lab lurks an anarchist. Some just hide it better than others because they want people to like them. :-)

Posted by: dbG | February 2, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Loved the ad, Wilbrod.

One of my deaf buddies was having a terrible night shooting darts recently, and when I told him that it must be awful being deaf AND blind, the reaction was mixed. He wasn't sure that he though it was funny, and all of his deaf friends almost fell on the floor laughing.

Posted by: Bob S. | February 2, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Darrell Green *and* Art Monk named to the NFL Hall of Fame!?! Yay!

I'm so happy for those guys, I'm feeling a little choked up. On the other hand, I'm also feeling a little old as I remember when each of them were rookies with the Washington NFL Franchise... (IIRC, D. Green's first touch of an NFL football under game conditions was during a preseason game when he returned a punt for a TD. I remember watching that and thinking, "This guy's *special*.). Always loved the way Monk played, too; graceful, steady, methodical, and fearless.

Geez, and MD beat GaTech (sorry, yellojkt).

Been a busy day of mixed success - I tried to change the lower control arms on my Old Faithful German sedan (9 years, 166,000 mi.) without success, as the outer ball joints just would *not* come loose from the steering knuckle, even when wailing on a pickle fork - er, I mean, a ball joint seperator - with a 5 lb. sledgehammer like a medeval blacksmith...

On the other hand, preps for the Uber Bowl Chili pot are proceeding apace. Half-watching "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," as the Miami-Duke basketball game's gotten out of hand. Young Kirk Douglas spending a lot of time sweating with his shirt off, James Mason as the tortured soul Capt. Nemo, and what is is about Peter Lorre and high-tech submarines?

When I have a few mintues, I'm going to read Joel's article. I spend some time in Phoenix visiting friends during the late 80's and early 90's and while it took me about five minutes to realize I'd never want to live there (it's like - in a *desert*), but I didn't see how bad it was at the time. Of course, I stuck with my friends and they kept me to touristy parts of town and I never really saw the city for what it was other than a relatively flat southwestern city in the middle of a scenic desert. I regret that now.


Posted by: bc | February 2, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I should slightly expand the tableau mentioned above:

My friend wasn't sure that he thought it was funny, and the two other hearing folks at the table seemed to think that I might have crossed some line into offensiveness. The other three folks at the table (all deaf) were mightily amused by both the reference to his execrable dart performance and the fact that I would point it out in that particular fashion.

Posted by: Bob S. | February 2, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

bc - Oh, concern for Yellojkt's tender feelings and none for mine? I'm a bit of a Ramblin' Wreck myself, ya know.

Posted by: Bob S. | February 2, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I would have nearly fell on the floor laughing too, mostly at your friend's reaction.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 2, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I know deaf-blind people, and some of them probably COULD play darts better than your friend, Bob S.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 2, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Super news about Art Monk and Darrell Green -- Art Monk was the most wonderful runner to watch that I've ever seen. Absolutely beautiful.

Posted by: nellie | February 2, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I am still speechless as Rick Santorum robo called us and urged us as conservative Republicans to vote for Mitt Romney. This is some what a surprise as currently there is one declines to state, and two registered Democrats at this address. We did have a registered Republican at this address, but not for 3 plus years.

California by moving up its primary is now actually seeing primary television ads.

In the San Francisco Bay area, Obama was first, about 10 days later Clinton had her first ad. I think we are on the third ad from each competitor. I haven't yet seen a Republican ad.

Rick Santorum was our first call for the primary, propositions excluded.

Posted by: Pacifica | February 2, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Bob, that was just brilliant.

I came across and interesting tidbit on the radio the other day on a CBC science show called Quirks and Quarks. Diseases did not just go one way when Europeans came calling back in 1492.

Posted by: dr | February 2, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I know deaf-blind people, and some of them probably COULD play darts better than your friend does, Bob S.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 2, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, when I repeat myself, that's the signal it's time to stop boodling. So I will.

Vaya con queso y carne, all.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 2, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

bc, my first memory of Green was his amazing play when he ran Tony Dorsett down from behind just before he scored. He was extraordinarily fast at the start of his career and also at the end. I would have been stunned it he didn't make it into the Hall his first time around. I'm *really* happy the voters decided to vote Monk in as well. That should have been done a while ago.

I'm also happy that Virgina Tech beat Virginia today in hoops. Twice in one year almost never happens. I didn't realize Bob S. is also a Georgia Tech grad. We have quite a few ACC folk wandering around the Achenblog, don't we.

Posted by: pj | February 2, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Pacifica, I didn't realize Rick Santorum had credibility anywhere anymore. He needs to go back to being an anonymous citizen.

Posted by: Slyness | February 2, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Here's something interesting: Plaxico Burress missed practice yesterday (and the last three) and might not play tomorrow.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 2, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Enjoying the F.Coppola voice-over on Godfather III, as I need to cleanse my palette between cloying PBS Jane Austen flicks. I would like to add to your winter reading list Mario Puzo's favorite book that he wrote first: The Fortunate Pilgrim.

As for politics, in my African-American community and neighborhood -- I live in the wealthiest Black county in the Nation -- are the quite undercurrents that Barack Obama could bring upon himself the interest of a crazed -- and racist -- assassin. I am sad to report this, but am listening carefully to voices of hope and pride mixed with a hint of caution.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 2, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

CP, my daughter asked me this very question this afternoon. And I fear Hillary faces nearly the very same risk. There are some really sick people out there who hate one, the other, or both of them.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 2, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Well, Bob, ta tell ya the truth, I'm *not* sorry that MD beat GT. I'm sure that GT will have the opportunity to Wreck the Terps' ACC Tourney next month.

I suspect that Plax and the Giants are playing a bit of a game with the Pats. With all the talk of Brady's injuries and Moss' issues, I think the Pats gained a bit of an upper hand psychologically by introducing some degree of uncertainty into the Giants game planning (not unusual for NFL teams during Uber Bowl week, BTW).

I expect to see Brady, Moss, *and* Plax tomorrow evening. And all of them at darn near 100%, too.

As far as people being out to get Obama, well, I think it's true that there might be some people who want to do him harm simply for the color of his skin, but it seems that various people have their reasons for doing leaders and famous people harm for one reason or another.

I mean, why'd Chapman shoot John Lennon, for goodness' sake?



Posted by: bc | February 2, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I am a boomer. I witnessed my contemporaries sleeping in history class in both high school and college. Historical deficit spending coupled with war spending--always stimulates an economy--it is a no brainer but of course there is the problem of long term debt and the war coming to an end. England sustained war almost indefintely until it basically ran out of middle class and lower class boys and started to even chew up its middle class boys. It also spent all of its money.

We are really in for it. The war will come to an end and the Republicans have screwed our economy long term. The democratic nominee should have serious experience and one hell of a cabinet to face this mess. Hillary Clinton is the horse to ride and the way she scares the old testosterone deficient conservative reactionaries in the Republican Party testifies to our need to elect her.

Posted by: Elliot Chase | February 2, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Spent the day doing the Drama Mama thing... Tech Day for the daughter's middle school production.

Since the middle school and the high school share the same building, I've been part of that theatre department for seven years now. Served lots of meals, helped sew lots of costumes and paint lots of sets.

It's so much fun to be among such an amazing group of kids. It's not their talent so much, but their ability and their desire to present themselves so wholeheartedly to their peers and to the world. I always leave feeling good about the future. If this is who we're handing it to then we'll be more than OK.

Posted by: TBG | February 2, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Howdy and goodnight y'all. I don't know who Plaxico Burress is - I'm guessing a football person, just on context - but he has a great name. Rolls off the tongue. Plaxico. Plaxico. Plaxico.


Long day. Up early, housework. Dry cleaners. Liquor store. Home to fix lunch. Library with Boy. Park with Boy, walked while he skateboarded and we saw some interesting and only slightly lame young adults play what looked like live-action World of Warcraft. Grocery store and dairy store with Boy. Roasted chicken etc. Fed dogs. Baked apple cake (thank you Nigella Lawson). Baked giant M&M Nestle cookie. Throughout, did & folded laundry. Caught up on Boodle. No wonder my brain is no good for posting anymore. Too full of minutiae.

RD, many happy returns this weekend to your boy.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 2, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I think Plaxico Burress is actually a figure skater who is going to be the triple-axel threat for the Patriots defense tomorrow. He starts out with the flying camel to deflect the offense, and instead of blocking, he jumps, whirls, and comes down for a perfect one-foot tackle!

And he has groovy theme music playing while he does it, too. Mudge would know.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 2, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to say how happy I am for Darrell Green and Art Monk, two of the classiest guys this town has ever seen.

From the Post article...

"They were teammates from 1983 to 1993 and when their careers ended they stayed in the Washington area, installing themselves as fixtures of the community. Green, 47, started the Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation in 1988, a learning center to help underprivileged children to improve learning skills. It is still in operation today. Monk, 50, has run the Good Samaritan Foundation, which feeds the poor and also helps children with learning, for 15 years with former teammate Charles Mann."

I'm thinking a Boodle Field Trip might be in order to visit Canton this summer for the induction ceremonies? Who's in?

Posted by: TBG | February 2, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if any of you watched Bill Maher last night, but old, wise saage Clarence Page, of Chicago newspaper fame and African-American, really historically whupped the smart-alecky, brash and young Matt Taibbi on the show with his knowledge of the Kennedy administration. Page and Gandy made the show engaging, Issa and Taibbi, not. I hope Page comes back as a guest in the not-too-disant future.

From today's NYT, an article titled, "[Hillary] Clinton's Gradual Education on the Issue of Race":

Much of the material in the article by reporter by Mark Leibovich parallels or is a repeat of information within Carl Bernstein's biography of Hillary. But these two paragraphs about the perceived weakness in the [Bill] Clinton administration regarding civil rights really caught my eye:

Just as Mrs. Clinton has enjoyed the residual benefits of her husband's popularity with blacks, she has also been tarred [what a verb! Is this tarring just or unjust, do you suppose?] with the perceived failures of his administration. Any number of African-Americans, despite their support for Bill Clinton in the 1990s, still bristle over some episodes -- from his criticism of the rapper Sister Souljah during the 1992 campaign to his welfare reform bill in 1996 to the number of black prisoners incarcerated during his administration.

"The policy record of the Clinton administration on civil rights is more mixed than people generally acknowledge," said Christopher Edley Jr., the law school dean at the University of California, Berkeley, who served in the Clinton administration. He cited Mr. Clinton's unwillingness to intervene in Rwanda, where hundreds of thousands died in tribal war, and his signing of what Mr. Edley called "a horribly punitive crime bill." Mr. Edley said he remains fond of both Clintons but is supporting Mr. Obama.

Now, let's see, some of the founding fathers were strongly opposed to foreign entanglements. CNN has done a lot of reporting during the last several weeks about the escalating, gruesome tribal warfare in Kenya--Barack Obama's father's homeland. Now, assume for a moment that Brack Obama is president. If, during his tenure, Barack didn't send troops to Kenya to quell the ethnic or tribal violence, would his legacy then include a civil rights failure? Puh-lease!

I can't answer Atlanta Suzie's question-regretably. Much has been made about Obama's one-time speech opposing the war in Iraq and how he, from his own lips during last Thursday's debate, would be "right" on Day One, were he elected.

No one talks much about his statements to send 7,000 troops in Afghanistan. [Would that be enough? For what ends or purpose? For how long? How would they be deployed? I heard on NPR just a snippet about some group or organization being ready to call Afghanistan a failed state? Anyone know much about this?] Nor is much mention made about Obama's statement last year about unilaterally going into Pakistan. I certainly would like to hear more from Obama about his foreign policy positions!

Posted by: Loomis | February 2, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

"It's Al Qaeda, not Iraq, stupid."

That enough of a sound bite for you, Loomis?

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 2, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

My wife blames me if I watch the game and Tech loses, so it's just as ell that that debacle is someone else's fault. Now I have to Google a place to have lunch tomorrow near the Wooly Mammoth Theater before every restaurant with a TV turns into a Big Game venue.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 2, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Just find a church supper, yello. You should be safe there from the Big Game.

Posted by: TBG | February 2, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

No, Wilbrod, of course it's not. Far too simplistic.

Behind the scenes, Obama's rival campaigns buzzed about his statement uttered Monday during a campaign stop in New Hampshire when he was asked about his plan to move troops into Afghanistan.

"We've got to get the job done there [what does this mean *precisely*? Funny, I think--know--that Waziristan is in Pakistan.] and that requires us to have enough troops [Are 7,000 individuals enough, and for how long?] so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there," Obama said. [Yes, correct, efforts there done on the cheap--with enormous hearts-and minds conseqeunces.]

He [Obama] goes on to say that we must move "on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons."

Key points to the Obama Afghanistan Policy:

Commit more troops and resources to Afghanistan [How much on both counts and when and for how long?]

Ask our "European friends" to do the same

Increase non-Military aid by $1 billion [To be used for what?]

Support for development on new livelihoods to supplant the Poppy growing [Such as?]

Install performance measurements for the government [What performance is expected? How will they be measured? At what time intervals?]

Implement anti-corruption safeguards [How will they be implemented? How does our nation safely guard against corruption in a country torn apart as much by warlords and rival ethnic tensions as the presence of the Taliban? How pervasive is the corruption? What is its source? At what cost to us?]

Will Obama have to pick someone like Biden--sharp on foreign affairs--as a running mate to overcome his foreign policy inexperience?

Frank Rich invoking the writings of Richard N. Goodwin--Doris Kearns Goodwin's husband--in his op-ed for tormorrow's NYT--and mentioning JFK's run against Nixon following the Ike years.

Posted by: Loomis | February 2, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

TBG, a trip to Canton to see Darrell and Art inducted to the HoF? Be still, my heart.

I'm up for that, it's normally in late July, right? Hmm. I'd have to check a few things...


Posted by: bc | February 3, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

If you're going to Canton, might as well swing by Cedar Point to ride the scream machines and by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. :-)

Posted by: dbG | February 3, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm up late tonight.

A few boodle threads...

My son works with Plaxico's brother. It cracked the hubby and I up a couple of times when he came home a couple of times all atwitter about insights he'd gotten at work for his fantasy football team.

I worked at Arlington Hospital back in the day when it was the go-to place for Redskins when they had to have surgery for whatever injuries they had...I took care of a Redskin back in the late '80's, a journeyman player, but Charles Mann was there the entire time for this guy. He could not have been a better teammate or a nicer guy.

TBG - Re: your 9:53 - In all my years of room mom gigs and chaperoning, I've been impressed with so many wonderful kids, as well. I'm not too worried about those we're handing off to...I'm more worried about what we're handing off to them. I think that's why I've got the same voting tendency that you do!

Posted by: Kim | February 3, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Well, it was my policy position when Bush wanted to invade Iraq and it hasn't changed.

I did not support Persian I or II under Bush I or II, but I supported Afganistan and I continue to do so.

If Hillary has no plans to do anything about Afghanistan (where we truly need to stablize the situation further), that doesn't impress me much.

I know it's the forgotten war, and for that reason it needs a would-be president who has actually thought about the issue as a likely priority before taking the oath.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 3, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse

if anyone's curious about what conservatives would try to throw at obama in a general election scenario, here's a preview:

to me all these shifts are pretty much just the usual shifts toward center, but who knows what other people see.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 3, 2008 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, Persia is Iran--not Iraq.

Who's writing lately about the current situation in Pakistan with al Qaeda and the Taliban? Well, the Los Angeles Times did yesterday:,0,1572059.story

As I said last week, before the debates, journalist need to press all the candidates--Obama, Clinton, McCain and Romney--on these important foreign policy questions. I've about had it up to here *drawing flattened hand across my eyes* with hope and inspiration.

Posted by: Loomis | February 3, 2008 4:19 AM | Report abuse

scottynuke, Obama and to comment? Story about Obama's lack of truthiness. Oh, and campaign $$$.

Posted by: Loomis | February 3, 2008 4:28 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Well, Slyness, the mess in your fair city is over. Everyone is happy or not. The next drama, who will be sheriff?

Morning, Mudge, Martooni, Scotty, and to all a good morning.*waving*

Up and moving about, and getting ready for Sunday school and church. Just a tad chilly here, but promising to be a glorious day, weather wise.

I also thought about Obama or Clinton getting hurt because of some nut out there. I mean the people that belong to the "red state, blue state" conversation aren't all dead, are they? I do hope we don't have that kind of stuff. I do hope we are so much better than that.

We've had another killing in our small town. It is every 21 to 30 days here, and it doesn't seem to be slacking up. I'm talking and trying to do, but the community needs to come together for this. It is all African-Americans dying, but the whole community needs to address this issue, not just some. In a sense, we're all dying, because it keeps our small community from growing and reaching its potential. It really does impact everyone. But getting people to see that.

Got to go. I hope you get a chance to give God some of your time. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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

Posted by: cassandra s | February 3, 2008 6:43 AM | Report abuse

My guess is he won't Loomis. Not his style.

About the campaign what? First, $227G isn't that much money. Not only is it a big company, but there are at least 4 different elections there (primary and general for both Senate and Pres), maybe more if there were exploratory committees or run-off elections. Further, lumping together contributions based on employer seems to hint at some sort of concerted effort. If your husband's company gave to HRC, and you and your husband did too, it could be made to look like a coordinated effort, when in fact it might not be.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 3, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

the sad ending of a brave old service dog.
Annybody else find the use of mentally challenged women as explosive bearing mule morally repugnant? It would be nice for once to see the mullahs as worked up as they were when some drawings were published.
I might have some snow pictures to post later. Onward for a walk with the Puppy, in the gently falling snow...

Posted by: shrieking denizen | February 3, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Good Mornin everyone.

It looks like it is going to be a pretty day here in Baltimore. I took my Mom up to visit dad yesterday and we had a very nice visit. I am off to church this morning,something mom really likes to do. I am not much of a church goer, but I know mom loves it.

I hope everyone enjoys the Super Bowl today. Good Luck to you and the Patriots Scotty. It should be one heck of a show.

My prediction

Patriots 42- Giants 10

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 3, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Teacupolooza alert: flowers and Jane Austen quotes:
Mansfield Park: ====
1) I would have everything as complete as possible in the country, shrubberies and flower-gardens, and rustic seats innumerable: but it must all be done without my care.

2) I sat three-quarters of an hour in the flower-garden, while Fanny cut the roses; and very pleasant it was, I assure you, but very hot.

3) Between ourselves, Edmund," nodding significantly at his mother, "it was cutting the roses, and dawdling about in the flower-garden, that did the mischief."

4) Sitting and calling to Pug, and trying to keep him from the flower-beds, was almost too much for me."

5) But Sunday made her a very creditable and tolerably cheerful-looking Mrs Price, coming abroad with a fine family of children, feeling a little respite of her weekly cares, and only discomposed if she saw her boys run into danger, or Rebecca pass by with a flower in her hat.

6) To have such a fine young man cut off in the flower of his days is most melancholy.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 3, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Teacupalooza alert, continued:

Persuasion: ====
1) You need not be afraid, Miss Elliot, of your own sweet flower gardens being neglected."

2) I am not fond of the idea of my shrubberies being always approachable; and I should recommend Miss Elliot to be on her guard with respect to her flower garden.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 3, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Well, Scotty, bc, the big day has arrived. Me own self, I'm on the side of the 19-0 crowd. Shall we gather at the Boodle this evening for the proceedings?

And this is Day Three of the grandkiddies' visit. My wife has gone over the edge; I'm teetering.

Pretty good Outlook essay by Rick Perlstein on the 1960's and the fact that the Boomers are still fighting the Boomer Wars of that era-- civil rights, Vietnam and militarism, etc. (And it's true: we are.) (Still fighting, that is.)

OK, gotta jump in the shower and then go rustle up some grub for the kinfolk, none of whom are stirring at the moment (thank goodness). Let the orgy of Sunny Delight consumption begin.

Don't know if the results apply to you outlanders, but it might: one of the local TV stations did a taste test of store-bought pizzas (Red Baron, Freschetta, et al.). The clear winner: the Safeway house brand. So now we've got four of 'em stacked up in the garage refrigerator, waiting for this evening. (In the meantime, youngest daughter claims she's making salmon empenadas for an early, early dinner. I have my fingers crossed....but her track record is not good. Still, she's improving, and better yet, making the effort. Can't have everything.)

Later, dudes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Slyness... I've been trying to follow the sheriff issue down there and don't understand why the Democratic party has anything to do with keeping this guy from taking office.

It wasn't a countywide election? Only for one party? None of the articles seems to explain this.

Are they trying to withdraw his candidacy, thus voiding out the general election?

I'm so confused.

Posted by: TBG | February 3, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I sometimes get burnt out on politics, as well as current events in general. When this happens I simply step back and build some little wooden boxes or commune with lagomorphs.

It is narcissistic folly for any of us to believe that a personal compulsion with campaign minutia actually affects things in a measurable way. I follow this stuff mostly for entertainment purposes. I realize that I have no constituents to represent and no votes to deliver. I never delude myself into thinking that minions are hanging on my words.

So if campaign issues and speeches are starting to lose their charm then the best solution is to avoid them for a while lest a blood vessel burst. The Republic will survive.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 3, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Final teacupalooza interruption of the moment:

Northanger Abbey: ====
1) "Many a flower is born to blush unseen,.."

Tonight is a docu-drama on Jane's love life. I am nervous at how silly or downright bad it might be.

However, even bad Jane-Austen is so very very very good that I will knit and savor.

Enjoy the game, gents and others most gentle; sorry that GWE will miss the game. I shall keep my streak going of not watching SBXXXIIIIIVVVVVV. Not because I hate, but because, for me, there is always something other-better.

Enjoy the day, with some politics, some pigskin, and some prose-poetry in it!

Posted by: College Parkian | February 3, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

O, many's the sad, sad tale I could tell about the corrosive effects to one's character that arises from "dawdling about in the flower-garden." Flower-garden dawdling remains one of the "silent destroyers" of many a young lady's virtue.

Dawdle not among the petals, I always say.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Wonder if that would scan better if it was "Dawdle ye not among the petals"? Hmm.

Or "Dawdle ye not midst petal bloom"?

Or "Dawdle ye not midst petal's bloom"?

It is very difficult being a 16th century poet in the 21st century. Decisions, decisions...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

YARNapalooza alert, in the manner of teacupalooza earlier!!!!!!

Oh, DR, Mostlurking, and the other yarney-blarney among us.

Emma: ====
Mrs and Miss Bates occupied the drawing-room floor; and there, in the very moderate-sized apartment, which was every thing to them, the visitors were most cordially and even gratefully welcomed; the quiet neat old lady, who with her knitting was seated in the warmest corner, wanting even to give up her place to Miss Woodhouse, and her more active, talking daughter, almost ready to overpower them with care and kindness, thanks for their visit, solicitude for their shoes, anxious inquiries after Mr Woodhouse's health, cheerful communications about her mother's, and sweet-cake from the beaufet -- "Mrs Cole had just been there, just called in for ten minutes, and had been so good as to sit an hour with them, and she had taken a piece of cake and been so kind as to say she liked it very much; and, therefore, she hoped Miss Woodhouse and Miss Smith would do them the favour to eat a piece too."

And again, on Emma's merely turning her head to look at Mrs Bates's knitting, she added, in a half whisper,

Posted by: College Parkian | February 3, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps "Don't do the deed in the poison ivy" makes the point a little sharper?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

But for you, dear Mudge, think on the 'especial' meaning of

simply messing about in boats.....

Everything, everything -- even the superbowl -- comes down to love and dna-insisting on being knit forth into perpetuity.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 3, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Wait. I'm beginning to think that all this flower talk might involve some sort of deeper meaning. Hmm. Perhaps some of that simile and metaphor type stuff.

Either that, or pollen is way more mind-altering than I ever realized.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 3, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, CP. We all wish to be knitted into perpetuity. I just hope that I don't end up being a dropped stitch.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 3, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Hooray! Ken has left Deidre. Ive been hoping he'd leave that woman for decades.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I can see you are all shocked speechless. Neverfear, no actual tragedy is unfolding, I'm watching the World's Longest Running Soap Opera, "Coronation Street." I've been a streetwatcher for nigh on forty years.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

May I brag for a moment?

This opinion piece on the local page of Outlook is from a former student:

Posted by: College Parkian | February 3, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, boko, for the I can understand your glee.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 3, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I don't think it's reasonable of you to put Scottynuke on the spot here in the Boodle over that NYT article, much less ask him to make commentary re. campaign contributions from a private company to Obama's campaign.

As someone who's worked in and around Washington my entire life, I know better than to ask such a question in a forum such as this. In some quarters, such a thing would be considered highly inappropriate and a ghastly breach of manners. Washington is, after all, a Southern city at heart.

I'll grant you, the way Washington works (such as it does) can be somewhat obscure and there is *so* much more going on behind anything you see reported in the press (much less the un(re)countable events that never do get there) that I know it can be very difficult to ascribe effects to causes. Public image is one of *the* most valuable commodities in the political sector and the Beltway is strewn with the wreckage of careers of those who did not place a premium on the value of what they said or wrote, even informally. This understanding is part of the culture here, as is the value of interpersonal dealing between players and their intermediaries.

The Government is by the People and for the People, but IMO its' main component *is* People. Based on what I've seen, I believe that Government is not documents or press conferences or money or debates or Op-Ed columns or databases - those are tools used (rightly or wrongly) to influence the course of actions that the people who comprise our Government take.

Government is people getting together to talk and decide what to do, and to figure out how to do it.

I'd add here that if you're *really* interested in knowing how the Federal Government works (particularly useful to know if you want to change it), there's no better place than to spend time working in DC and seeing for yourself.

Sorry for the length of this, but I thought it needed to be said. DC is an unusual place to say the least, and I think it's difficult to know how things work around here without experiencing it firsthand for awhile. I wouldn't know even the little that I do without having been here for a long time and talking with people who have Seen Things From the Inside.

Coming back to the original point of this comment, I'd like to propose that we not ask our public servants to feel obliged to make comments regarding events or news items that are related to their jobs/careers.

Also, remember that national politics involves lots and lots of money, and that candidates don't always know where that money comes from. They have staff members to handle that, and sometimes those staff members don't have the right information to make the right call for a given situation. Doesn't mean anyone's lying, might just mean that someone just does not know everything.

Oy, this has gotten *way* too long.
I should erase this, but I'm just going to let it fly.

Prediction: 19-0. New England 41, New York Football Giants, 28.


Posted by: bc | February 3, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

You go, bc. That's the way state government works as well.

I agree we shouldn't ask public servants, even lowly unelected, salaried ones, to comment publicly on news items related to their careers. Most of us are minions and the last thing we need is to get our names in the paper in connection with something related to our jobs. For one thing, the thing we're asked to comment on may not be quite accurate or have the full story, and we aren't necessarily in a position to share that. You'll see me quoted in the paper on occasion and I'm pretty outspoken in community meetings and service projects, but never about the system I work in or politics which may affect it.

Also, nothing kills a career faster than someone who injudiciously comments on a rumor to the press. The thinking usually is, if he'll talk about that, what else will he talk about?

I think bc would agree that we're neither of us advocating secrecy or saying there's a big conspiracy of knowledge out there. We're just saying that often, in connection with government discretion is the better part of valor. If you comment publicly about something you'd better have all the facts and a really good reason.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 3, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, today is our 18th anniversary but we are sort of postponing it, had a nice family supper last night but too many events this weekend to go out and enjoy a nice supper. Leftover chilli and the game will be the big celebration after the girls hockey games.

CP read one good review of the Austen profile tonight.

Boko - Dierdie - she of the ginormous (sp) glasses? Cornation street was a Sunday morning habit before kids, now Sunday resemble closely Ivansmoms summary of yesterday.

Posted by: dmd | February 3, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad you said what you said and I think you said it quite well--very much like kb's observation the other day concerning her observations and outlook the day after the Florida primary. I'm glad you didn't erase your post--it was so well-stated.

I have been to Washington twice, the first trip a day or two, as a Teacher Corp intern, the second for about 36 hours during my 2004 trip to Connecticut. I can buy books and I can buy books, but how do people in flyover land learn about Washington, D.C., other than reading, reading, reading, (possibly through a friend or relative) if being there for any length of time isn't in the cards?

I'm still trying to figure out how the Washington Post works, fer cryin' out loud! I've wondered a lot about what happened to Jefferson Morley, who really wrote an excellent international column, which turned into a blog for a short period of time, than went missing, with a promise to return after some sort of hiatus, then fell off the map. One can only remember how enthusiastic Morley was at getting to the bottom of the Downing Street memoes. Whither Morley today? And the exit there of some others as well. (I think Ms. Ombudsman Howell will not answer these questionsof mine.)

Posted by: Loomis | February 3, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Rick Perlstein's "Getting Past the 60's" piece in Outlook is nicely done. It's easy to forget the nastiness of the period.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 3, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Here's the deal with Meck sheriff. The retiring sheriff, according to rules, would be replaced until next election by an appointee of the party who won the last sheriff's election. However, the Democrats rigged the appointment process by hastily "convening" some precincts, at the same time shuffling some (not totally clear on that) but the actual precinct meetings, required to take place, never did, and the new precinct leaders seem to have been placed, after the sheriff resignation, by backers of Mackey.

That's the technical stuff. Add to that the retiring sheriff had his own different guy replacement in mind, and add to that Mackey not being transparent about his past, and the slurs against him as a former awful lawyer, and throw in the race card. That's the touchy feely end of it.

My own suspicion is there is some sort of minor mafia / payola racket in the Sheriff's department, and some people are going through hoops to hold onto it while keeping it under wraps. But I am just a parnoid conspiracy theorist. My nose is what it is.

Posted by: Jumper | February 3, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

bc - you are right more ways than there are fleas on a mangy dog. Or something.

As I have said before, the dirty secret of government is that most of the important decisions have no accurate historical precedents and do not fall into well-defined ideological categories.

The future is created by people making it up as they go along. This why I think a good understanding of psychology is the most important tool for understanding current events.

It really isn't about amorphous sociological forces extending generations into the past. It's about individuals who view the world through highly personalized filters.

Trust me on this. I have seen it first hand. The challenge for us government workers is to buffer the system.

As far as snarky comments about our professional duties? I believe I have expressed my opinion quite clearly on this in the past.

The difficult thing for many of us is the self restraint needed not to exploit privileged information and make professionally improper (or illegal..) comments on the plethora of incoherent analyses and factual mis-statements that pop up all around us.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 3, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hard to find this...

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jefferson Morley, a 15-year veteran at the Washington Post, has joined the Center for Independent Media as its National Editorial Director, with overall responsibility for guiding the Center's fast-growing network of 40 journalists, and overseeing the launch of a new Washington DC-based online news site with 10 reporters in late 2007.


"After a thorough and intensive search, we are honored to have Jeff Morley join our team," said David S. Bennahum, the Center's President & CEO. "With Jeff's magazine experience from the Nation and New Republic, daily newspaper experience from the Washington Post, and track record as an editor of the Post's web site, Jeff is ideally suited to help lead the way to the 21st century newsroom," Bennahum said.

Posted by: Jumper | February 3, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Which led me here: Morley on new JFK / Oswald / CIA stuff

Posted by: Jumper | February 3, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Greenwithenvy's Super Bowl predictions

1. At least 1 million wings will be consumed before the opening kickoff.

2.50,000 flashbulbs will go off on the opening kickoff.

3.Tom Brady will be compared to Joe Montana as the Greatest Super bowl quarterback ever.

4.Spy Gate will be mentioned at least 10 times.

5. Budlite will have 2 of the funniest commercials

6.Troy Aikmen and Joe Buck will say at least once,that momentum has definately shifted

7.Tom Petty will play 3 songs at halftime, I am just hoping one is "American Girl"

8.A lot of money will change hands today, especially in "Vegas Baby"

9.Don Shula and the rest of the 1972 Dolphins won't be drinking any champagne tonight.

10.Weeks from now I will still be P****D I had to work tonight!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 3, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

It's about time Ken saw the light, Boko. He was always way too good for her.

I believe I have already commented upon my unfortunate role in the Battle of Tippecanoe as well as the New Madrid earthquake. As a gummint drone, I cannot -- indeed, I shall not-- say more, as parts of it are still classified (especially the technological secrets surrounding and concerning a large sonic device).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Happy anniversary
Happy anniversary
Happy anniversary
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaappy annivesary

That's the lady dmd, the one with the humungoid spes and the daughter, "Our Tracey", who just got sent down for murder.

Mebbe some clever 'Murkin can explain why Hillary and li'l Georgey Stephanopolous were talking about garnished wages. Is that a paycheck with slaw?
Garnisheed wages I've heard of.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the heads up and info on where to find Jeff Morley--and go there I will. Up at the computer after breakfast and reading the local paper:

The headline on 1A below the banner (set in all caps--so I'll go with the flow *w*): TEXAS MAY PLAY ROLE OF 'QUEENMAKER':

For the first time since Lyndon B. Johnson was in the White House, Texas primary voters could play a pivotal role in determining who will face off in November's presidential election.

Experts say a "me-first" posture by states moving up their primaries in hopes of elbowing into the political spotlight appears to have worked to the Lone Star State's benefit.

By not joining the stampede of states that moved up their primaries this year, the state's 228 Democratic and 140 Republican delegates up for grabs March 4 will be the largest pool of delegates left after this week's Super Tuesday contests in 24 states and American Samoa. That could mean a bonanza of campaign spending by candidates who usually treat Texas as a source of money rather than a target.

About 40 percent of the Republican and more than 50 percent of the Democratic delegates are in play Tuesday. Texas delegates' value may be amplified because none of the remaining presidential hopefuls will have enough to wrap up the nomination, even though about half of Tuesday's GOP races are some form of winner take all.

Interesting that our local Express-News has the Obama-Exelon story on the back page of the front section, p. 20A, with the following sentences or graphs omitted:

The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators, whom it charged with addressing the issue of unreported leaks. [rewritten into the following two grafs]

A few days later, tritium was detected in a drinking water well at a home near the plant, although the levels did not exceed federal safety standards. [sentence omitted]

And the rest of the article, beginning with:

...and assurance that enforcement authority remained with the nuclear commission and not state or local governments.

Exelon and Texas:,0,7772364.story

Chicago Tribune, Dec. 19, 2007:
Exelon Corp., the nation's largest operator of nuclear power plants, picked land near Victoria, Texas, as a potential site for the nation's first new nuclear generator in three decades.

Exelon expects to seek a federal license for the $6 billion power plant in September and could make a final decision on construction in 2009, spokesman Craig Nesbit said Tuesday.

Exelon may join the Texas nuclear plant rush

Texas seems to be the destination of choice for major investments in nuclear power plants. I came across a story in the Chicago Tribune titled "Nuclear power push revs up; paperwork keeps 'option open'" about Exelon's recent announcement that they are looking at about eight different sites in Texas with the idea of building a two reactor nuclear power station with total capacity of about 3000 MWe. Exelon has not yet chosen a plant design; it is considering designs from both GE and Westinghouse.

Of course, Exelon's President, Chris Crane, was careful not to contradict his boss, John Rowe. When announcing the company's plan to file paperwork with the NRC in preparation for a project in Texas, Mr. Crane carefully stated that his company would not build unless several conditions were met in advance, including a resolution to the problem of storing spent (his words) nuclear fuel.

Posted by: Loomis | February 3, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Giants 17, the other guys 14.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Sure, Boko, Ken tossed Dierdre. BUT Ken and Dierdre did this before how many times? 3? 5?

Its almost as bad as Victor and Nikki.

Posted by: dr | February 3, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

gwe, I have it on good authority that Tom Petty will be performing 4 songs, and one of them is American Girl. Hope you can tape or Tivo it.

RD, my sock class instructor says you can always fix mistakes...

Happy Anniversary, dmd! *Faxing champagne and roses*

CP, thanks for the Austen quotes. I'm enjoying the Austen-palooza, if for nothing more than the settings and scenery and horses and gardens and delicious dialog, whilst I knit away. And the irony, oh the irony. I'm struck by how so little has changed in relationships over time.

Not sure if anyone noticed my mention of Ugetsu, the Japanese movie that kguy mentioned. It's wonderful - held my interest from the first minute - and it's much the same, regarding relationships, love and war. Adapted from stories written centuries ago, it resonates and is relevant today.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 3, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Hmph. "American Girl" isn't one of my favorite TP songs. Of all of the great songs TPs written over the years, I suppose my favorite would have to be "Even the Losers," which was an instant High School anthem in '79. At least it was for me.

If you've ever been to one of his shows, you'd also know that "Breakdown" is one of the highlights, mainly because the audience typically releives him of having to actually sing it.

Let that last serve as a warning to the people I will be watching the game with.

And gwe, I'm sorry one of those people isn't you.


Posted by: bc | February 3, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

dmd, Happy Anniversary. The date you celebrate doesn't really matter, only the feelings you celebrate do.

I meant to say that before, only I got all involved reading character bio's on the Corrie website. I have a very bad feeling that I watched the show a lot longer than my mind is willing to accept.

Reading through the bio's over there, it makes me think if Jane Austen were alive today, she would write soaps for the money. She still would write her breakout novels filled with brilliant dialogue, and witty repartee, about characters and relationships and the limitations all people encounter. If she wrote today, she would write about the kind of limitations men have imposed on them by society too as much as women.

I'll be right there watching the Austen fest with CP and Mostly, knitting my little heart out.

Posted by: dr | February 3, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody. I'm finally home, after taking Mr. T to the airport for a flight to San Diego, church, and lunch with the third daughter. (She is looking and feeling very, very pregnant, Friday was her last day at work, now she's supposed to be on rest. Thank heavens!)

TBG, no wonder you're confused about the Mecklenburg County sheriff debacle. My take is a little different from Jumper's. When the (Democratic) sheriff retired to go to Washington, he wished his assistant to succeed him. Generally, that would have happened without controversy, but this lawyer came forward as a candidate. He quit the Police Department several years ago just before a hearing to determine if he had falsified his time worked records and went to law school. He's not well-regarded in law circles, in fact a judge held him in contempt a couple of weeks ago for failing to show for the hearing of a client. By the way, he's African-American.

But he wants to be sheriff. No experience in managing a large and complex organization. But he's politically connected and works to get precincts organized to vote for him. At Democratic meeting in December, he wins. Mayhem ensues, making the party look like mud. The County Commissioners, who have to appoint a new sheriff as elected by the party that won the sheriff's office last, are bewildered and put it off. The state Democratic Party sets up a review panel, which came to town yesterday and ruled the election invalid.

Whew! That's where we stand now. The ball is in the County Commission's court.

The chairman of the Mecklenburg Democratic Party is in my Sunday School class; he is a very tired man today, and very glad yesterday is over. In an attempt to get as many people as possible to participate in the vote, he inadvertantly set up this coup, with disasterous results.

My sense is that the previous sheriff ran a good, clean, honest operation. He obviously hoped his assistant would replace him and continue to serve the citizens of the county just as well.

Now the County Commissioners have to decide what to do, and the local members of the General Assembly should get their thoughts together and sponsor a bill to establish a logical process for replacing sheriffs.

Posted by: Slyness | February 3, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

saw them without regard to reason for being there. Sheriff said he couldn't interfer as no law... Punched me in the gut before I got a holler out and had some of the boys running to help. Tripped over the damn cat and busted my elbow. Not much blood though.

Posted by: frosty | February 3, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, perhaps Meck county will end up in another famous suit that ends up before the Supremes.

Back boodled for a long time and had to resort to skimming. So glad I did not miss the G&S parody.

Question for civilians-does no one RSVP to delivered by actual Postal Service invitations? While in frenzied food prep mode for the Chinese New Year party last night I received 4 phone messages with last minute regrets from people who had planned to attend. Mind you, I had no idea they had planned to attend because they hadn't responded in the 4 weeks since the invitations went out.

I prefaced this with "a question for civilians" because had this happened in Mr. F's world a discreet word to the Adjutant or Sergeant Major about the sparsity of replies would have brought a deluge of responses. However, it is rare indeed that you don't have 90% of responses in within a week of an invitation going out.

I must be off to unload and load the dishwasher, 5th time, or is it 6th, since the guests departed. We will be having shrimp curry, spring rolls, Thai noodles and cheese cake for tonight's Super Bowl/Teacupalooza repast. Ah, leftovers. The number one reason to entertain.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 3, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I did not post that 2:19. Come out stranger, and identify yourself.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 3, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I hope not, frosti, I hope the commissioners will appoint the chief deputy and be done with it, and the other candidate will apply himself to the task of being a competent lawyer.

If only there were an adjutant or sergeant major in civilian life. Yeah, failing to respond to an RSVP is pretty common. Sounds like you would have had enough if they had come, but it's certainly rude enough to make you question why those people are on the invitation list, isn't it?

Posted by: Slyness | February 3, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, sadly my experience is that no-one seems to understand that RSVP means you should actually let your host/ess know, in good time to plan numbers, if you plan to attend an event. I'm pretty flexible on etiket generally, but it frosts me when I don't know who is coming to enjoy hospitality. To me this, more than any other symptom of social decline, marks the beginning of the end of formal civility.

Present company excepted, of course.

Posted by: Yoki | February 3, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Frank Rich wrote, "The outgoing president, Ike, was the most popular incumbent since F. D. R."
Does anyone else think that's silly even though it's true?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 3, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Slyness said "...but it's certainly rude enough to make you question why those people are on the invitation list, isn't it?" and Yoki, "To me this, more than any other symptom of social decline, marks the beginning of the end of formal civility." Yes!!!!

In MN political news I received a "survival guide to caucusing" from the Minnesota Council of Non-profits (on their list because of our community foundation). At 16 pages it seems a bit more than a quick survival guide but interesting in a nerd way. Obama made a visit to the Target Center in Minneapolis doing something the T-wolves can only dream of, filling every seat. In the meantime Romney appeared in the quadrangle of a law firm in Edina, one of the higher income Twin Cities suburbs. Clinton is at Augustana College today I believe. Haven't seen any commercials except Al Franken for Senate and Obama's. I missed a Franken appearance in our county seat last week but excitement seems to be running high for him. Not sure he can win the general election, but unlike the other dem's in the race I'm not sure he can't.

Posted by: frostbitten | February 3, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Unknown | February 3, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I agree with you Yoki. Nothing is more annoying than having over 1/2 of your guest list simply not answer your RSVP.

People in my generation can be kind of last minute in general matters but should certainly indicate that they got the invite at the very least.

Mudge-- did you mean you wanted to say it in iambic pentameter?

This here to youth is my advice order'd /
Among petals 'tis not your fruit to dawdle/
Lest maids be sadly pluck'd and lads ensnar'd/
In family connexions unexpect'd....

Dawdle not among the petals, I always say

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 3, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I believe that the Romney campaign purchased an out of date voter list. We just got another call urging us, if we wished to keep the Republican party conservative, we need to vote for Mitt Romney.

The Republican primary in California is closed, and at this address are two registered Democrats and one declines to state.

Posted by: Pacifica | February 3, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Predictions: 35 - UnderArmour XXL

Posted by: yellojkt | February 3, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Winston Churchill was a master of formal incivility.
Elisebeth Braddock: "Sir, you're drunk"
Winnie: "Madam, you're ugly, but in the morning I shall be sober."

Nancy Astor: "Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison."
Churchill: "If I were your husband I would take it."

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

My beloved Pistons just beat Dallas (yay) by 23 points. So, now I can briefly boodle. Sort of.

Frosti -- I'm with you! RSVPing has disappeared, and it's difficult to know what to do about it. That being said, I know that I am partial to what you're fixing, so I *know* that I would show up (alas, uninvited and geographically a wee bit far to arrive in time). Enjoy, as will I, in spirit.

Now, off again. A la prochaine, mes amis/amies.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 3, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I was referring to Persian Gulf I and II, actually. But now you bring up that canard...

'Twixt words then writ and words now heard a gulf/
laps graves of Shatter'd empires Ottoman/
Outlasting Cyrus' might at Persian shores/
Gone Sargon and Xerxes, foe to Athens/
O'er Iran and Iraq fused Persia bestrode/
And empire bore furies Greek and Turkish/
Bequeaths the world famed tongues and cities/
Yet politics with soft British accents/
(With wars in distant western lands ended)/
Order'd Iran and Iraq sundered as nations/
their peoples' cultures in respect ignor'd/
Now scribes do narrow ancient Persia's name
And gibe Khamenei King of Pharisees/
To whom Darius' proud heirs all doth bow...

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 3, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Always interesting to see RD's comments (which I always read as a little too self-satisfied) on secrecy & government employees. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil in America is for good men to do nothing." Thus, the last seven years.

He is correct, though. No one should tell tales unless there is a very good reason for doing so. In a government that has promulgated more lies than accurate facts a few more persons willing to sacrifice their warm comfy niches would have been nice.

Ben Franklin--author of the quote above--when asked after the 1789 constitutional convention what form the government would take answered "A republic--if you can keep it!" All of our political and social constructs have failed to "keep it" lately. While silent government employees are not hugely to blame, surely there were those who knew, and were grossly offended by, the machinations of Arbusto and Co. Maybe many of these did speak up, lost their jobs for doing so, and are now living under a highway bridge outside Tucson. More likely, the pay was good, the hours were easy, and it's a lot easier to get along and go along than it is to stand up and be counted.

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | February 3, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I based my NY 17, NE 14, prediction on my relationship with two of my co-vivants who hailed from the Great State of New York. If I were to use my usual methodology of choosing by the attractiveness of the players hats I would predict a New England blowout.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here together to watch us some football. Now all you guys on TV, shut the he11 up and kick off the d@mn ball.

Sheesh. What's this, now, Hour Five? Hour Six? C'mon, awready.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

From another blog--WAPO, you may want to censor this; I don't know how copywright laws work.

"Most people are aware of the pre-Christian origins of many of our holidays, like Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. Many have forgotten, though, that one of our most important holidays also has its origins deep in the mists of history, long before Jesus of Nazareth began preaching in Judea. I refer, of course, to Super Bowl Sunday.

"The Roman historian Tacitus tells us that as part of the Germans' celebrations for their god he identified as Mercury (believed by modern historians to be the same as Wotan in the Germanic pantheon, or Odin from Norse sources), they would toss pigs back and forth while drinking and feasting. For reasons that are obscure, during the Migration Period this grew to become one of their most important religious festivals, eclipsing the ceremonial duels between the sixty five greatest warriors of the land held every spring, and even the Serius Mundi, as Roman authors called it, held every fall.

"As Christianity began to spread among the Germans, the Church realized that they would not easily give up their most important holiday. Thus, as they would later do with Christmas and Easter, they adapted Super Bowl Sunday to a Christian theme to speed Germanic acceptance of Christianity.

"The saint whose career proved to be the best match for Super Bowl Sunday was Vincentius of Langobardia, commonly known in English as St. Vincent Lombardi. His early life is obscure, but he was probably born ~610 AD in Milan. He first enters history in 663 AD as a general in the armies of Grimoald, King of the Lombards. The Lombards had had many successes in Italy, but were facing an invasion by the Chiefs, a still pagan tribe from the East, led by their king Henricus Strammo. On account of Grimoald's illness, Vincentius was charged with defending Lombardy from Chieftain depredations.

"On a January afternoon in 667, the armies met in battle..."

There's more, of course:

Posted by: Anonymous | February 3, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

'Course, New York's hats are nice in a minimalist sort of way.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

MedallionofFerret, it's not self-satisfied. If you're in the civil service, you are forbidden from participating in any kind of political demonstrations, lobbying, campaigning, etc (you're allowed to vote).

Just getting caught up in a political demonstration, can be grounds for losing your job.

Our civil servants on this blog are allowed to voice their personal opinions on politics, but they CANNOT bring their work or what they do as arguments for why they prefer a certain candidate.

Political appointees, of course, are rather exempt from the rules their flunkies are bound by, and the Bush administration's appointees have fired people who they found to not "be in line" with ther political agendas.

It's not smug. It's a precondition of taking a job in the government-- doesn't matter if you're a lowly bottlewasher or secretary to a political appointee and hearing every last word of policy and gossip, or somewhere in between.

You can't ask a person to critique any politicans on issues relating to their agency, even if they actually work in PR.

Employees are hard to fire, but the political appointee is going to read that stuff and then pass down the crap with a shovel throughout the bureaucracy until the person is reassigned to do-nothing jobs counting paper clips in Timbuktu or something.

Governmental working environments are restrictive in ways that private business environments are NOT, thanks to people mouthing off about "taxpayers' money," every time they read about a government employee talking or doing something they don't approve of.

The thing is, if John Q Public has a say in how the gov't is run, so does the political appointee du jour-- and the person in charge certainly can make things massively miserable for everybody by passing new arbritary rules.

As you can tell, I've worked in government, and never had any kind of status to make any kind of noise politically within any agencies, let alone have informed opinions on national politics.

Most of us here don't. So, why is refusing to comment "smug", balanced with cost to jobs-- including future employment potential, lack of actual knowledge, and our obligation to be neutral and ethical in the civil service?

Just because you want to hear the gossip about the naughty behind-the-scene politicking? There is none. The only gossip I ever heard was of my coworker's personal lives, my boss's spiral into alcoholism and illness; dishonest employees, etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 3, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Giants kick a field goal; Pats score a TD. Yawn. Thus twas it ever so.

On the other hand, only two mpossessions in the first quarter--that's really impressive. And at this rate, this thing could be over in record time, say, 2 1/2 hours. Just think guys, we might be able to catch just about ALL of "Miss Austen Remembers" on Teacupalozza Masterpiece Thearer!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Although Mia Sorvino guesting on "House" makes that a prohibitive favorite.

No excuse for that drop, Plaxico.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

What I found to be a glaring omission in Frank Rich's op-ed today in the NYT was the failure to mention (in the listing of distant links within the Clinton campaign apparatus to Countrywide Mortgage) former Clinton cabinet member and former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros to the Countrywide mortgage/lending mess. My mention a month or so ago of how Cisneros suddenly opted out of his Countrywide board seat, actually absconding with some fat Countrywide bucks as he rapidly bowed out, actually scooped the reporting of same by our local Express-News.

As if almost on cue this morning, the lead op-ed on the Express-News' editorial page was about how two institutions have named Afhanistan as a failed state. One of the better efforts on this page and a rare venture into foreign affairs from our perch in central Texas. Embedded in the editorial is the tale of an Afghani journalist and student, sentenced to death as the result of parlimentary actions by a close association of Hamid Karzai, for downloading from the Internet and distributing to fellow students a report that states the oppression of women is not justified by the Koran or the teachings of Mohammad. Worthy of a read, in my opinion:

Anyone read the weekend Eisenhower op-ed "I Like Ike--and Obama" by Eisenhower's granddaughter? (speaking of Ike). Interesting resume--the granddaughter's. Workplace connections to Sandy Berger, formerly of the Clinton administration. Also one of the four book she wrote was about her grandmother titled, "Mrs. Ike." No feminist here, I strongly suspect. Why not title it "Mamie, My Grandmother," or "My Grandmother Mamie," or "First Lady Mamie"? There's a fair bit of Texas in the Eisenhower story. But that title puzzles me no end.

Posted by: Loomis | February 3, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

OK, show of hands: after the INT, how many think this game's over?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Great, now we have a drug-resistant mutated flu virus.

Posted by: Loomis | February 3, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Just let me know when it's halftime, k?

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 3, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, if you've read one of the best bios out on Eisenhower based (in part) on the granddaughter's account, you'll learn that being Mrs. Ike was no picnic. She was a military wife and expected to go where he went. She refused a few times, staying with her parents and they came close to divorce a few times.
She chose to stay married and be a military wife.

It may have been the times, but we've seen Hillary do the same by Bill, and many spouses make the decision every year NOT to bail because the going gets tough or life wasn't what they thought it would be with that person.

I think Susan's title for the marriage she wished to portray was accurate-- how her grandmother's life was overwhelmed by the need to be Mrs. Ike, the perfect wife for an up-and-coming officer and general.

Even so, Ike didn't make general for nearly 20 years, shortly before WWII.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 3, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Looks like it's just you and me tonight, Loomis. Yes, read the Eisenhower piece; didn't think much of it one way or the other, except for the crossover factor.

That flu bug doesn't look like it's spread to far just yet; let's hope they can keep it isolated and contained.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

No, Wilbrod and mostly are here, too.

Wilbrod, was there anything in the bio to indicate Mamie was aware of Kay Summersby? My impression was she never knew.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm here too! Got the TV on but the sound off, just to watch the commercials!

Posted by: Slyness | February 3, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Slyness. Speaking of commercials, can somebody tell me what underarmor is/does/makes? I liked the dancing lizards.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Ike knew better than to mention her around Mamie, but the few photos were enough to stir her jealousy; Mamie was stuck in army housing while Ike was in hotels in Europe, you see, and the fact Kay was a British model couldn't have missed her notice.
Kay was an attache for a while in Washington, D.C. if I remember, though.

The author isn't absolutely certain they were having an affair, but the implication was clear. Whether Mamie knew or merely suspected is unclear. After some rocky periods, Mamie may not have felt like challenging Ike again (who could be stubborn).

Loomis will be delighted, though, to know that Ike loved to cook and regularly did so, and he was military-neat, as well.
Mamie was well-brought up as a wealthy girl and had nearly no idea how to cook and clean when she married, on the other hand.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 3, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Ike became a general in September 1941.
Paris had been occupied for a year.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Halftime, mostly. And maybe this thing isn't so over after all. Still 7-3, very surprising.

Wilbrod, I wouldn't put any stock in Ike "living in hotels" during the war. During the entire North Africa campaign, he lived in a cold, damp, tunnel bunker deep under Gilbraltar, and then while in Africa after the landing his quarters there may or may not have been in hotels, but it was the Ritz. And then back in England prepping for D-Day, he was in an estate, but I still wouldn't paint it as the lap of luxury. I man nearly worked himself to death, and I wouldn't begrudge him any small comfort he found. (And yes, I'm one who thinks there was a relationship with Summersby.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Not to be too euro-centric about it I should point out that China and Japan had been at war since 1937.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Wiki notes that Summersby was a British citizen and a private when she was assigned as Ike's driver, but a US citizen and a WAC captain at the war's end. Her memoirs, written after his death, describe an abortive affair, which her first book did not. So we'll never really know...

Posted by: Slyness | February 3, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Boy, Tom Petty's lead guitarist got more face time that he did.

Yes, but what does China/Japan/1937 have to do with the discussion at hand, Boko?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod wrote that Ike became a general before WWII. I just wanted to point out that the war was well under way.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Inadequately shielded shoes. Also pink ones for girls. Not as "manly" as advert suggests, I guess.

Posted by: DNA Girl | February 3, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm here too, but I am having a rather large glass of port. I don't think it would be wise to say anything.

I'm actually resting my wrists for the Austen Teacupalooza which starts in a hour or so.

Posted by: dr | February 3, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I was going to try watching the Teacupalooza, dr. Is sherry OK? I have a half bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I don't care whether or not Ike diddled around, or whether Bill Clinton did either. But surely there are government employees that knew about secret prisons, torture, the plan to eliminate habeas corpus, the telecom spying activity, the lack of supporting evidence for Iraqi WMDs and Al Queda support, the clear intent of the Bush administration to invade Iraq while both the president and vice-president were dissimulating, the removal of the concept of justice from the Justice Department...

Oh! Wait! The Giants are about to score!

Posted by: MedallionOfFerret | February 3, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Zis iss not gut.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked by what's happening. This is not at all the game I imagined.

By the way, Mudge, Tom Petty's guitar player, Mike Campbell, is a very nice looking guy. This is the first time I've seen him with a beard. He's much better looking without it.

Posted by: pj | February 3, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Campbell's also one heluva guitar player.

Posted by: pj | February 3, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't tell what kind of guitr was he playing. Both headstocks seemed to have 6 machine heads.
If one isn't a twelve string what's the point?
Number of pickups? Some sort hollow/solid body thing?

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Back from the bookstore where I enjoyed my Super Bowl widowhood. Yeah, Mudge, I thought the crossover from the Republican camp to Obama's side by Ike's granddaughter was the juice that infused that particular op-ed. Read anything between the lines there?

Boko, how did your solstice pole ever turn out--or were you joshing us, much like that pesky poster who claimed at one time to have shared a shower with Sean Connery?

Posted by: Loomis | February 3, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I did learn while at the big-box retailer that tritium is that radioactive compound that makes things glow in the dark--like the face of a wristwatch. And that there were unreported leaks of that element in 2006 not only in Illinois (Obama) but New York (Clinton). This NYT article from March 2006 about additional problems with leaking tritium, in Connecticut and New Mexico, as well as Illinois and New York, is especially informative.

Posted by: Loomis | February 3, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Jaaaaayzus. Somebody give Scotty some oxygen...and then pass it to me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Loomis. I spray-painted a 1.5" wood dowel with some silver auto paint but it was so ugly I didn't put a base on it. I suppose I'll have to buy a traditional aluminum pole.

Buddy999 really likes the Budweiser commercial.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

The e-Trade baby was pretty funny, too.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse


I didn't pay that close attention to the double-neck that Campbell played. On some of them one of the necks is shorter and is tuned higher. It could also be different pickups for different sounds.

Posted by: pj | February 3, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: pj | February 3, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Never mind the oxygen. I'll try some carbon monoxide now, please. Thank you.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I thought Petty looked much better with a beard - he has no chin. In fact,they all cleaned up very well. And sounded good, too.

Game over yet? Who won?

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 3, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Game over, mostly. Giants won.

And Petty does look good with the beard.

Posted by: pj | February 3, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I blame myself. It's the only game I've watched all year. I'm the kiss of death.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | February 3, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

bc and Mudge, 40 and what? Bradshaw and Montana reign!

Posted by: bh | February 3, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Amazing. Biggest upset in football history.

The Big Apple must be going berserk. Times Square must be going berserk.

Hope the gang over at Scotty's is OK.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Giants 17, the other guys 14.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 12:37 PM

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Hang in there, Mudge. (Hmmm, maybe 'hang' is the wrong word. Don't want to give him any ideas.)

Be strong, Mudge.

Posted by: pj | February 3, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I guess my McQuarters' autographed rookie NFL football I sold on ebay last week for $27 dollars may have went up in value.

Posted by: bh | February 3, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

boko, that's eerie. i hope you put money on that.

wow. didn't watch, but i'm originally a jersey girl, so way to go giants.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 3, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm shocked, but I guess I should have seen it coming. The signs were there.

Coronation Street, Boko? Say it ain't so!

Posted by: SonofCarl | February 3, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm fine, pj. I wasn't nearly as vested in this thing than, say, Scotty or some of the other New Englanders.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, what were ya thinkin'?!? Now, now, I'm sure it wasn't your fault, reely...

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 3, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Give the Giants their due. The play where Manning escaped twenty or thirty defenders to make that crucial pass was impressive.

MoF - It is against the law for the Government to use classification to hide illegal activities. Therefore, any privileged employee who observes illegal activity has a legal obligation to report it.

As for moral obligation for questionable activities, that's a moral area similar to the ones dealt with by military troops.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 3, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

My, my, my. I was talking to Mr. T and turned it off when New England scored to go ahead, figuring that finished the Giants. What a surprise!

Hey, at least the Tar Heels won this afternoon.

Posted by: Slyness | February 3, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Wow what a game and a 4th quarter.
My guests let me watch the 4th quarter without too much interruption. I guess they are celebrating as much in Miami as they are in New York.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 3, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I donow, but is the NFL starting to look like the WWF?

Posted by: bh | February 3, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

What I mean is that the moral ambiguities faced by government employees in certain positions are similar to those often faced by troops, lawyers, doctors, and even journalists. Lots of people are legally required to keep secrets.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 3, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

And the question is, if an employee observes illegal activities by superiors, to whom will he/she report them? I expect many have gone on deep background as best they could, to expose what they could. When the rot's at the top, underlings don't have many options. See Watergate, 1973-74.

Posted by: Slyness | February 3, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes they can leak, but journalists need more. IMO, rot at the top tends to be known mostly to the people who are political appointees, NOT civil service employees. Below that, people aren't stupid, but they don't always have the means to furnish evidence.

And RD is right. A security clearance means you MUST zip your lip.

For one government contractor job, I had to furnish a through background check for the minimum secret clearance, including everywhere I've lived, personal references, trips out of the country, and so on. And oh yes, fingerprinting, too.

And I was doing administrative work for a very dull place nobody would be interested in as an place of intrigue and high treason, trust me.

I've often wondered how many political appointees would have passed the security checks I did. Think about that one.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 3, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

So our legal system has made us all immoral?

Posted by: bh | February 3, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Sundance Channel had a four hour Tom Petty documentary yesterday, but I missed the first 90 minutes of it. I'll have to catch a rerun. The guy knows EVERYBODY: Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Ringo Starr, David Grohl. Alas, his tour is only coming to Nissan, not Merriweather. Maybe next time.

I like him without the beard. He looks even more stonerish than he usually does with it.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 3, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I was gonna say "Boko... you da man," but Boko beat me to it.

Had fun watching the Big Game with friends (great spread; great company), but had to leave during the 3rd quarter. Listened to it on Sirius radio on the way home. First on the Patriot's feed, then we found the UK feed, which was interesting but the guy was a little sloppy and got stuff wrong (the American "color" man kept correcting the play-by-play guy.)

When it came down to the last few seconds, we switched to the Giant's feed. Sorry Scotty. Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti on WBCN were just too depressing at that point. I hate to admit it, but everybody loves a winner. I feel so dirty now.

Posted by: TBG | February 3, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Human nature makes us all immoral, bh. The system works fine if immoral people don't take advantage of it. Which they always manage to do so somehow.

And then people insist a stricter system be set up, and then complain people still take advantage of it.

And by and by we sacrifice liberty for tyranny, knowing only a few have the power to take advantage of everybody else. Imagine our surprise when they do.

I'm not really jazzed at this idea that there's a massive conspiracy of the civil service to condone immoral behavior.

The fact is we are sworn to serve our country and we are also sworn to serve who the People have voted into office, including their Cabinet and other political appointees (which increase by the year, I suspect but cannot improve).

You can't swear to serve your country but second-guess everything that goes by your desk because the President is a crook.

You want to keep the system honest, pick the right people in the first place. Don't blame us if we're not ready to overthrow the government just because we don't like who's in charge. Nobody's universally popular or perfect, and four years from now it will be somebody else in charge anyway.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 3, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Take a shower and go to bed, TBG, you'll feel better in the morning.

Posted by: Slyness | February 3, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

C'mon TBG. I waited a whole four minutes!

Posted by: Boko999 | February 3, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see your post before I submited mine but when I enlisted in the Coast Guard and through a post office I error I received my offical records 15 years later I found out how how much the FBI went to the most minute details in my past. I was was OK and server my nation well.

Posted by: bh | February 3, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

SCC, servED

Posted by: bh | February 3, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

As a career bureaucrat, bh, I can say that most of the folks in the public sector are trying to do their best in imperfect organizations in an imperfect world. At least that was my experience. I know I tried. The real killer is trying to separate what is best from what exists, and addressing the gap. Ideally, the mission and services of the organization line up with the motivations and skills of the employees. All sorts of problems arise in making the matches, but they generally aren't treason.

Posted by: Slyness | February 3, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Again, SCC GUARD. Charley Golf

Posted by: bh | February 3, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, Mudge. Scotty must be seriously bummed.

The Manning boys have quarterbacked successive winning Super Bowls. Their parents must be busting a gut right now!

Posted by: pj | February 3, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I was going to say I actually rather liked "Austen Regrets"-- very wry, witty, and sharp, and it finished before House started, too, which means the evening's not done yet.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 3, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

G'night everybody, sleep well.

Posted by: Slyness | February 3, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

My service was to try to provide aides to navigation so ships wouldn't run on the rocks along the Northern Califorina coast. But we got into many political situations that wern't always to our satification.
Later I was a cilivian employee of the USAF in Honolulu as a manpower planer for the guys in Vietnam and when I was going to secret brefings that would have my three year old son going there to keep the
they enemy out, I decuded to come home.

Posted by: bh | February 3, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

'Night, SLyness. I was about to go to bed myself when House got Miro Sorvino to take off all her clothes on closed-circuit TV.

I'm not kidding.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 3, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow... Mr. G and I were just talking about Archie Manning, so I went to Wikipedia to find out some info and lo and behold, Eli's info has already been updated to include his MVP award. Cool.

Posted by: TBG | February 3, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Slyness , Where did "treason" come into the conservation?

Posted by: bh | February 3, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Boko999 I am in AWE of your prediction with the correct result *and* the correct score. Bravo!

Congrats to you New York Football Giants fans.

To you Pats fans, you have my condolences.


Posted by: bc | February 3, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Hmm... The Caine Mutiny addresses some issues with incompetent leadership and what underlings' responsibilities are. The movie is good, but the novel is also very good.
Herman Wouk in general is one of my favorite war novelists ever.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 4, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

the pro-western guy won the serbian elections. thank god.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 4, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

That's good, Lurker... glad you're keeping your eye on these things for us. Thanks!

(and g'night)

Posted by: TBG | February 4, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Aloha, all. I'm off to the Orchid Island. I'll drop in sometime on Tuesday, from 9000 feet elevation. Until then, ta-ta!

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 4, 2008 1:13 AM | Report abuse

i decided to figure out the actual location of both my congressional district and my state assembly district. what prompted this was the trail article about diane watson taking bill clinton around to churches in south central. that made me scratch my head because i knew she was my house rep, but i hadn't fully realized that i live on the very northern edge of a district that is essentially south central l.a. (i'm really in western l.a.). just never bothered about it.

then i looked up my state assembly district, which overlaps some, but i'm more in the middle. what i found out is that my assembly representative (karen bass), who has only been in office a few years, is actually the house majority leader. i had no idea. i hope the fact that an african-american woman is in that level of leadership encourages cassandra at any rate. i think it's cool.

the sister of someone i know was the head of bass's primary campaign (the only campaign that matters because we're such a democratic area), so i had heard great things about her. but she's obviously doing a super job to become the number two democrat in the assembly.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | February 4, 2008 1:24 AM | Report abuse

William Booth on dynasties:

Michael Chabon for Obama:

Erica Jong for Clinton:

Interesting perspectives. G'night, Boodle.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 4, 2008 1:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm up with a cough. As a result, I've discovered that Colombians and their friends worldwide are marching against FARC, the narco-leftist guerrilla outfit on Monday.

I got to see Coughlin regularly for a while when he arrived in Jacksonville as the Jaguars' first coach. Quite gratifying to see this decent man tonight.

The big weekend plant sale run by the Garden Club was a whopping success. The old-rose ladies from Okeechobee did well--they sell roses that grow for them without pampering. There's something lovable about plants that moved with pioneering families around the South, even into the near-tropics. Oddly enough, a couple from near Melbourne are still selling wonderful Japanese stone lanterns and basins, although 60-pound granite snails are no longer available. The friendly snail on my living room floor is a real attention-getter.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | February 4, 2008 2:36 AM | Report abuse

Dave of the C. - When my family repatriated ourselves from Japan in the mid-70's, we left behind a very impressive concrete snail.

Posted by: Bob S. | February 4, 2008 4:58 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. 'Tis a dark, dark day indeed for some of us football fans. The Big Upset of 2008 cost me a dinner and the prognostication championship in my football column (which I was comfortably leading until yesterday). And I probably got off lightly compared to many.

LA L., I can see where living on the northern edge of the western part of the South Central district might be a bit disorientating, compass-wise.

I found the Michael Chabon piece linked above to be ultimately convincing. The Erica Jong piece, while she excoriates Bill Kristol (always a worthwhile endeavor) was not, in my view. (She didn't give me a good reason to vote for Hillary; Chabon did give me a great reason to vote for Obama.)

I keep expecting to see SciTim turn up on an episode of "Lost" one of these days. Good luck, Tim.

Time to run and begin this week's rat race. The good news is I made a gigunda pot of spaghetti Saturday to feed the masses, and there's enough leftovers for a week's worth of lunches.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 4, 2008 5:50 AM | Report abuse

mostlylurking, thanks for those links.

Chabon wins on metaphors alone.

The Jong piece misspells "Phi Beta Kappa"--that is unfortunate and I hope it's a typo by someone at the newspaper, not her mistake; it's like someone's saying, "I are smart."

In addition, Erica's bottom line about trusting Hillary to speak up for women and children only reminds me of her lack of support for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Time to go to work. Later, all--

Posted by: kbertocci | February 4, 2008 6:32 AM | Report abuse


*somewhat-lacking-in-conviction-and-energy Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 4, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Was taken aback by the unbarred sharpness of the presentation of Jane in the Regrets piece last night. I think, twas overdone, but I am hobbled by the same point of view as the filmmakers: we don't really know how it was in those times. The problem with PBS support is that such portraits can become "ex cathedra," and well, sigh and bother on that. We cannot know, really, but I suspect Jane Austen's irony, sarcasm, and general prickly sharpness was more subtle OR saved for the written realm....

I will consult with the period specialists in the office and the historians across the campus mall who read letters and sermons, and the like.

That she was ill with a mysterious and soul-sucking autoimmune illness was quite true. This medial article from the 1960s, makes the case for Addison's disease:

If Jane Austen died of this, she would be in the company of fellow Addisonians J.F.K and perhaps Osama bin L.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 4, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

And, meant to say huzzah time seven on the Giants upset win. I love when the tables are turned.

Imagine the gnashing of teeth and thinning wallets in cyber-betting circles.

Posted by: College Parkian | February 4, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

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