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When Did the Recession Begin?

The strange thing about recessions is that they become official only when they're over, or at least very far along. There's an organization -- the National Bureau of Economic Research, which isn't part of the government -- that somehow became in charge of blowing the whistle and throwing the flag when the economy is guilty of illegal recessionary procedures (probably I should switch to a baseball metaphor -- "balks" -- in honor of the Series, but I can't get that excited about this one. By the way, there's no such city as "Tampa Bay.")

You often hear that a recession becomes official when there are two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth. But the NBER is a little squishier in its definition: "A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months." But whether it's six months or just "more than a few months," the point is that you can't know if you've qualified for recession status until you've already been standing in the cold trying to sell your pencils for a good chunk of the year.

Often it takes another six months or longer for the economists to discover, deep in the statistical weeds, the definitive proof that the recession happened.

But don't you worry: It's definitely here. [Read this, for example.] And it's been going full bore since, at the very least, mid-September, when Lehman Brothers collapsed, Wall Street went insane, and roughly 100 million Americans adopted the crash position they'd learned about on airplanes. Probably the recession began sometime around July or August -- see today's Post story on the intensification of job losses around that time.

I don't mean to sound all of a sudden like I think I'm Steve Pearlstein, but I did sit through a bunch of presentations yesterday at a homebuilder's conference, and there were all these graphs projected on a screen showing the housing market going up and up and up, then, starting in 2006, falling off a cliff. Where's bottom? No one knows. But the economists generally seemed to think that there were signs of a recession as far back as January, when jobs began to dry up.

Yet without an official sanction for using the term recession, it is still generally referred to in the news media as a hypothetical.

Paul Krugman (but what does HE know?) argued in August that "recession" had become an irrelevant word:

"...the official definition of recession has become delinked from peoples' actual experience. Right now, we're in an economy with deteriorating employment and incomes, collapsing home prices, and business retrenchment. Is it also an economy in recession? Who cares?"

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 23, 2008; 8:05 AM ET
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I'm surprised the graphs didn't show the housing slowdown coming in fall '05. Marvin Windows headquarters is north of us and just about every window they make that heads east of the Mississippi passes through our fair city. One day in October '05 what had been a flood of yellow trucks slowed to a trickle. The next day a local manufacturer of oriented strand board (OSB) laid off 200 employees and the price loggers could get for wood dropped below what they were paying for stumpage-not a prayer of covering fuel, wages, etc. Yep, I'd date the hypothetical recession to Oct. '05, we just stayed off the street corners with our pencils by living on credit.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

The recession started at 7:34 p.m. on January 11, 2008 (Alexander Hamilton's birthday)

Posted by: shilohgun | October 23, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Well, some would say the recession began with the 2004 elections, when it bacame more apparent that we were spending money we didn't have on the wars, while the markets were going on their merry way with no regard for future consequences. Of course, many of us were also complicit, taking as gospel that those soaring home prices would keep up, and our equity would keep expanding. A little reality dose is probably a good thing.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 23, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, S'nuke.

Our county has been on the brink of, or in recession for nearly the entire decade since we moved.

Posted by: -jack- | October 23, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Tampa Bay is a body of water, not a city. It is also a region served by a single television market but two separate independent newspapers, The Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times. One is cosnervative and pro-Gator and the other is liberal and pro-Seminole.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

SCC: I'd correct my typo, but I kinda like it.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

The housing bubble burst in November 2007, the day I put my house up for sale. Up until that day, the housing market was pretty healthy and the "value" of the house had been climbing steadily. The "value" declined precipitously from the moment it was listed, and the prospects for being able to sell it followed the same line on the chart.

I may just get out my "Purpose Driven Life" book and construct a scenario in which the entire collapse of the international economy is just God's way of keeping me in Florida, because there's some reason I'm supposed to be here. Or is that more of a Tralfamadorian scenario. Hmm. I never realized before how Rick Warren overlaps with Kurt Vonnegut.

P.S. my message to jumper is after the announcement of the new kit, in the previous boodle. (hi jumper!)

Posted by: kbertocci | October 23, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

It's gonna be more than a little reality dose, wouldn't you say, ebtnut? My brokerage account is off 25 percent from this time last year. Good thing I don't need that money to live on.

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

A recession is like pornography. You can't really define it, but you know it when you see it.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

My county's economy has been doubly recessed. Our housing/dodgy mortgage mess was seemingly a bit less bad than Port St. Lucie or Palm Bay, but that's no consolation for a colleague who moved here around 2005, when houses without blue roofs were scarce and priced accordingly.

The second significant blow is an apparent collapse of spending by affluent retirees (albeit my anecdotal evidence is thin). The Deputy Senior Assistant Masters of the Universe don't seem to be redoing their kitchens.

Citrus diseases (especially greening) will eventually undo that sector of the economy, but for now, there's going to be abundant grapefruit.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 23, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Dave, I look forward to visiting for the grapefruit until then!

What I like to point out is that we have looked at our usually "happy story" statistics now for eight long years. The truth of the past decade is exposed when you look at both the Unemployment and Employment numbers.

What we saw was Unempolyment staying relatively low while we added few new jobs.

This isn't the situation that puts us in very good stead to "ride out" a storm.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 23, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Reagan once said that a Recession is when your neighbor loses his job and a Depression is when you do. He might not have thought this up, but he did say it, and there is some truth to it.

As I may have mentioned about a billion times now, I have a real problem with big complex fractalish (is that even a word?) systems being described as monolithic entities. The Economy is a complex mixture of different elements including the Stock Market, Inflation, Unemployment, Housing Prices, and a bunch of other somewhat lesser known indicators such as the Paranoia Index. (The PI is quite high right now, but only because that's how *they* want it to be.)

The effect of any aspect of the economy varies greatly from person to person. Someone, like me, sees it mostly in the falling market and his rapidly fading hopes and dreams for a rosy future.

Less melodramatic individuals worry about selling a house, or losing a job, or boring pedestrian stuff like that.

All of which means that, like many things in life, assessments of The Economy implicitly rely on the experience of the average person.

And, of course, average people are vanishingly rare.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

...and the difference between pornography and a recession, Padouk, is that a recession doesn't make your phone bill go way, way up.

Er...maybe that's just me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

RussieT and RD -- yes.

Also, RT, underemployment. That half-empty glass is where many (of us) drink deeply.

...the gathering gloom
watch lights fade from every room.

Oh my, the Moody Blues: what the world needs (has) now....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 23, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

When did the recession begin?

As RD says, you know it when you see it, but I think that's a little too squishy for all the trained economists who spend days poring over data and crunching numbers.

After all, this is the Inflamation Age, er, I mean, the Information Age, and we can know far too much about far too many things, like exactly when the first TV episode of "Gossip Girl" aired and when George W. Bush took the oath of office for the first time. Is it too much to ask that we know when this whole mess started?

By the way, if you chose the latter, you might have a point.


Posted by: -bc- | October 23, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

And, Error would have something waxical to say about

the Moody Blues, which also reminds me of
ELP's Fanfare for the Common Man, which reminds me of
Anything by Jethro Tull.

Remember, y'll that Jethro Tull is a real gardening hero in the pantheon of plantsmen:

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 23, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

BTW, CP, I've been meaning to mwention that I really like that "qua" in the middle of your handle. Gives it a very nice Teillhard du Chardinish touch that I know you and I both admire.

And may I say, *very* difficult to pull off with aplomb!

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

RD, you're right.

No one's average anymore, which is why everyone gets a little trophy in the end.

And that gives me an excellent idea for the urn I will have my ashes deposited in when I pass this vale of tears.


Posted by: -bc- | October 23, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

i think there's a willful denial of recession on the part of the current administration. (maybe this meshes with krugman's comment.) it's sort of like, if we say it ain't so, maybe enough people will believe us not to punish us in the elections. the republicans have gotten really good at "catapulting the propaganda," also known as lying.

Posted by: LALurker | October 23, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Why Mudge, thanks! I am making a presentation today to some very bored, detached peeps. Thanks for the boost. I shall enter the room with a tiny bit of of "qua" on board.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 23, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

CP, with all due respect to ELP, may we not give all due respect to the composer of "Fanfare," who happens to be my fav classical (OK, semi-classical) composer, Aaron Copland.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Jethro Tull is most appropriate for this Kit...

"Skating Away On the Thin Ice of a New Day"


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Hi all.. back from a few days in Richmond. Sister's doing great and is going home today (she had surgery on Monday, but will be fine).

The Obama rally yesterday was awesome. My friend P (known here sometimes as "friend of tbg") and I got in line at 9 and got into the Richmond Coliseum at around 12:30. We sat in the nosebleed seats, but right above the podium, so the speakers were right below us and we had a great profile view of them while they spoke.

Gov. Tim Kaine introduced Mark Warner, our next new Democratic U.S. senator, and he introduced Barack Obama, who spoke beautifully and eloquently, of course, about his commitment to all of America, not just "real" America or "fake" America.

The crowd was electrified all morning. Waiting in line went very quickly because the folks surrounding us in line became our friends for the day. I'm so glad we went and feel even more excited about the possibility of a President Obama.

Another highlight of the morning... seeing The Daily Show's John Oliver interviewing folks right around us. P and I made no eye contact with him for fear he'd want to talk to us (if you watch his interviews you know why). But watch The Daily Show tonight and you might catch a glimpse of me.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 23, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Too bad Americans can't handle the truth. It's like "If we don't say what it is, it isn't happening."

I'm a hospital nurse. I see patients and their families trying the same tactic with diagnoses of cancer and other grave ailments. But you know what? The cancer is still there, just like America's recession.

Posted by: Bukkonen | October 23, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

That downturn has been simmering for a while.
The domestic production of light vehicles stared to drop in mid 2006 and, except for a peak in mid 2007 because of generous incentive from the big three, it has been going down since.
2006 was 6% below 2005
2007 was 3% under 2006
and it looks like 2008 will be 15-20% under 2007. (csmauto-dot-com)
Ouch. This is the real economy, people paid to make car seats and other people paid to bolt them down in the new cars.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 23, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Oh.. and I'd say the recession appeared in the mailbox yesterday with the statement from the Virginia Employment Commission outlining my benefits.

So of G proudly proclaimed last week, "I can tell my grandkids I lost my job in the Second Great Depression!"

Posted by: -TBG- | October 23, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, my vote would be for Styx's "Come Sail Away."

"We lived happily forever, so the story goes,
But somehow we missed out on the pot of gold
But we'll try best that we can to carry on

A gathering of angels appeared above my head,
They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said,
They said come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me..." etc.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Welcome, Bukkonen! I think that we can handle the truth, but it often takes time to come to grips with it. You know, we have to go through the stages of grief and all that. The problem is that so much truth moves so fast that we get lost before we can adjust, and that makes the situation infinitely worse.

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Front page alert!

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The thing about averages is that they are a mathematical abstraction. The average family is supposed to have something like 1.75 children, and yet no family actually has 1.75 children. This means that some sort of policy that requires a family to have fractional kids would be irrelevant. This is, of course, the danger of one-size-fits-all economic solutions.

In other words, it isn't sufficient to advocate economic policies and then add the caveat that "your mileage may vary," as if a deviation from average is a freakish event.

The truth is that variance in your mileage is pretty much a given. The tricky question is how important are these variations in assessing the impact of a policy. And this is the crucial step that seems to get ignored.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Hey, bc, I assume you've already seen the bad news about NASCAR -- -- and haven't commented because you are still pretty verklempt.

Be that as it may, I'm wondering if perhaps we might not see a column in your blog about what the new, post-recession NASCAR might look like, with Jeff Gordon driving a hybrid Yugo sponsored by the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen going head-to-head against Junior, driving a stock (and I mean *really* stock Kia sponsored by Eberhard Faber, the Pencil of Choice peddled by premiere streetcorner pencil vendors everywhere.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Ignored, RD? I think it's that such variations in policy are impossible to predict and difficult to analyze. If they were easy, we'd do it.

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Recession begins at the turn of the tide. The "Tao of capitalism" - is the principle of the free market, to leave people alone (laissez-faire), so the "Invisible Hand" of Adam Smith (the Tao) will be able to create wealth for everyone. Such a result would not necessarily be what Taoism had in mind: "I am free from desire and the people of themselves become simple [like the uncarved block]" but a free market economy, by creating unprecedented wealth, does just the opposite. Taoism seeks a simple life, without "cleverness" or "novelties," but leaving people alone to become wealthy means that they will -- which produces a vast consumer market of "cleverness" and "novelties" far from simplicity. And that complexity corrects itself, simplifies itself, by turning on itself and receding like an outgoing tide at a full moon.

Posted by: -tao- | October 23, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Book sales were going down earlier, but went over the cliff in March. By April my publisher announced it would stop releasing new titles and was hunkering down to survive the recession.


Posted by: Braguine | October 23, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

We can handle the truth. It's the hazing to death of some of our own people that's a bit dicey.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' everybody...

Sorry I missed the Dawn Patrol. I was up, but my 'Net connection wasn't. Guess I should have paid that bill, huh? (It would have been paid, but there's a recession going on y'know).

So I'm having to use the public library's computers for a bit. Glad I voted for the library funding renewal last year.

Looking around my neck of the woods, we've been in a recession for quite a while now. Unemployment was already high here and is now through the roof. Housing prices have been in the dumpster for about a year (at least). Even my little international fairy door business has taken a hit. This time last year I was getting anywhere from 3 to 6 orders a day. This year I'm lucky to see 10 in a week and my costs are up 30%. Stoopid economy. (btw... Shameless Plug: I'm running a "free shipping" sale until Nov. 1 if anyone is interested...

Gotta run... my hour on the library 'puter is about up. I'll try to check back in later this afternoon.

Peace out, babies... :-)

Posted by: martooni | October 23, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

True, slyness, "Ignored" might be too strong of a word. The point is that policy of all kinds are often based on a set of assumptions about the nature of the "average" person. There seems to be insufficient discussion of the implications of such policies given realistic variance.

For example, I assert that subprime mortgage policies were based on a model of the "average" candidate, and insufficient thought was given to what happens when even a relatively small fraction of people don't act the way it is assumed they will.

For want of a better description, I think the "tolerances" of such policies are too tight. If things go much differently than assumed, the system can go all kerfloey. It's non-linear behavior I'm thinking of. Tipping points.

But yes, indeed, it isn't easy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

CP - my son has recently discovered the Moody Blues. As well as Pink Floyd and Zepellin. What my wife insists on referring to as "druggy music."

I'm trying not to get too worried.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

There's a story on the home page about so-called "Hillary Hispanics" (didn't know there was such a thing until now) that shows two of said type. The lower photo shows a guy in a baseball had with a clam shell attached to his right ear.

Just though I'd point that out.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I've been aware of the recession for quite a while. Mr. Moose is a union plumber (mostly commercial construction). He's been out of work for nine out of ten months this year.

Good thing I make the big bucks.

There's a heavy dose of sarcasm in there somewhere.

Posted by: Moose13 | October 23, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. I've been thinking about all of you for several days now, and I've come to the conclusion that I miss talking to you. I'm moving, but very slow, and had a rough night. I hope to get dressed and go to the laundry room. If I can stand that, there just might be hope for me.

Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, and all, a good, good, morning to you.*waving*

This is a "right on time" kit, JA. I know I have not seen everything and I don't know everything there is to know, but I have never seen times such as these. I've asked my dad, is this a familiar time to you, and his answer was, only during the depression. A real downer.

TBG, glad your sister is doing well. Obama was here Sunday in Fort Bragg, and had a really big crowd. Some of the church members attended the rally.

Have a great day, folks. The weather here is real chilly, almost cold. I love it. The sun is so bright, and the leaves are changing. I can't wait for all the wonderful colors. It's like an invitation to a ball.

Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | October 23, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Cassandra!

And everyone else!

Posted by: Moose13 | October 23, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to the Hon. Sal Sola for leading me to read about Russian thistles, where I got sidetracked into learning about paraphyletic and polyphyletic groups. Although it makes me feel old. DNA hadn't even been modeled when I was born. So I learned phyla by basic ancient Royal Society criteria, practically.

A recession is when your neighbor's internet "favorites" list takes 8 hours to read. A depression is when that describes you.

I really shouldn't wait to build a chicken coop and begin raising livestock to tide me through the depression.

Congratulations on successful cosmetic surgery, Curmudgeon.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Saying a recession begins at "the turn of the tide" is like saying a recession begins when it begins. It is an oversimplification of a not simple subject. I prefer the "house of cards" theory of economic collapse and find it appropriate in an economic downturn that began with an overinflated housing market that spawned creative finacial instruments.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 23, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

finaNcial instruments.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 23, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I still dunno who -tao- is...


Whatever. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

more neat science stuff

"quark stars"

neutron stars resist collapse more

quasi-three- dimensional electron crystal

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, thanks for pointing out Liz Clarke's piece, but that really isn't news to me.

I've noticed a significant reduction in $ponsor $upport for auto racing across the board for the past several years.

Didja notice how many top-level NASCAR teams are running different primary sponsors on the cars from race to race? Teams can't find sponsors willing to step up and pay for a full season anymore, so they're slicing sponsorship packages up almost race to race...

Something Liz does not mention here is that NASCAR's recognized that they have a problem several years ago, and instituted rules and cost-cutting measures to try to save teams money.

For example, the ugly-duckling Car of Tomorrow was developed by NASCAR so that teams would not have to build special cars for different tracks as had been the case for the past 30 years or so (yes, a car used at Bristol was very different from a Talladega car, and both very different from one used at Watkins Glen), allowing teams to reduce their fleet sizes. They also implemented post-qualifying overnight impound rules to prevent teams from building a car in one configuration for qualifying, then having a crew rebuild it overnight to put it into race trim.

Something else Clarke failed to note is that the big $700B federal Bailout package contained provisions for motorsports facilites (racetracks) and other entertainment facilites to get significant tax breaks on capital improvements.

I like your idea about low-budget NASCAR, Mudge, may have to think about how to approach that.

As interesting as it is to consider the $150M budgets Ford, Chevy, Toyota, and Dodge are bringing to the table (not to mention the $25M per car each team is spending these says), I'm curious as to what Mercedes, Ferrari, Toyota, Renault, etc. are going to do to cut their $400M budgets for Formula 1. One interesting trick under consideration is allowing the teams to develop and race cars with highly advanced energy recovery and power delivery systems (aka hybrids), and to let the teams keep spending all they want, but to move some of the costs from marketing to R&D for "green" technologies. Heck, then they can even get subsidies and tax breaks for racing.

I can see I've gone on far too long here. Apologies.


Posted by: -bc- | October 23, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of balks, in the future I intend to post an annoying blurb in the comment box of any professional journalist who uses the verb "delink". If not me, where? If not who, when? or something like that.

Posted by: officermancuso | October 23, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Good WaPo video on race and the campaign in WV.
Thanks to the boodler who pointed out the piece on Hillary Hispanics for leading me on to this.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the FIA may launch a bid for a single engine source for the F1 2010 season bc. I don't like where it's going. Single source tire, single source engine, pretty soon they'll be turning around in circle.

In other news, the pigeon from hades. A few thousands of these would make Piazza San Marco an even more interesting place.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 23, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Don't use baseball metaphors if you don't get baseball, Joel.

To support and reiterate the comments of yellojkt above, there's no requirement that any sports team maintain a particular affiliation with a city. Furthermore, I think most people understand that Tampa Bay is, in fact, a bay and not a city. Clearly, their choice in selection of a home name didn't stop them from beating teams who reside in the few large cities you probably recognize.

Other examples of professional sports franchises not affiliated with a city include the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers.

There are many casual baseball fans (like Joel) who probably don't understand the importance of baseball teams that don't live in NYC, Boston, Chicago, or LA--or the joy that fans of smaller teams experience when they crush billion-dollar franchises with smaller payrolls.

Posted by: Andrew5 | October 23, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

2006 is exactly my answer--if not the start of the recession, that was when the rollercoaster started heading down. And for many people, the rollercoaster never went back up after 2001. You would think our former cheerleading President would remember that when the bottom of a human pyramid is shaky, the whole shebang is headed for the ground no matter how high the tip of the pyramid gets.

Posted by: schala1 | October 23, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Andrew5, I think Joel knows. He was just ... being Joel.

Yer welcome, Frosti.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

In his testimony, Mr. Greenspan blamed the problems on heavy demand for securities backed by subprime mortgages by investors who did not worry that the boom in home prices might come to a crashing halt.

Greenspan Concedes Error in Regulatory View

Posted by: shilohgun | October 23, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The Palm Beach Post has a grim summary of comments by ecoonomist David Seiders at the National Association of Home Builders' meeting.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 23, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I have to agree with Andrew5. I mean, the temerity, the chutzpah, the foolishness for an East Coast limp-wrist elitist like Joel Achenbach, daring to make a snarky comment about Florida, a state he's probably never spent more than a vacation in -- and that, only during Spring Break. Sissy Princeton boy. Next thing you know, he'll probably make some stupid ignorant comment about organic farming or some such thing that city boys never really get their hands dirty by doing.

Yep, what a maroon.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 23, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I withdraw my modest defense of Joel and have decided to agree with the esteemed ScienceTim.

So there.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Tim, do you think Andrew5 has a clue where Joel is from?


Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, there's only so much you can expect from a hurricane, right?

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The history of Florida baseball is long and distressing. St. Petersburg and Tampa were both trying to get an expansion franchise or a relocated team for years. Both cities have a long civic but hardly civil rivalry.

The city of Tampa was told that a team would be there's as long as they didn't build a stadium in advance with municipal money, MLB favoring private stadiums. In 1990 St. Pete went ahead and built a stadium anyways and was cruelly used as a bargaining ploy for any team that wanted a new stadium in their home town.

The eminently evil Wayne Huizenga sniped the Florida expansion franchise from Tampa in 1993 and then had the temerity to call the team the Florida Marlins when a great deal of Florida would no more associate themselves with Miami than with Baghdad.

Finally, in 1998, after more political shenanigans, St. Pete was awarded an expansion over Tampa and Orlando for their site and them promptly added insult to injury by calling the team the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

So Tampa has been screwed over twice. Miami is now building the Marlins a half-billion dollar stadium in exchange for naming rights to the team, which will be finally called the Miami Marlins as they always should have been.

No. I'm not bitter about any of this.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

SCC: 'theirs' for "there's' - a rookie mistake

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

If one writes a snarky sarcastic parody, and nobody can tell, is it still parody? Am I ready to write for the New Yorker, yet?

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 23, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. The pundits and WSJ have been using the word "recession" for months now, and the gummint won't use it at all except to say we're not in one. Yet. I remember reading that Krugman column. I thought he was right then and I still think so. With all the bsd economic indicators, I'm not worried about naming it. I don't think using or not using the R word will make the problems go away.

Y'know I love baseball, even though my team didn't make it near the playoffs this year. I'm all about the smaller markets. I firmly believe not only that baseball is America's sport, but that many of the country's problems in and out of baseball - possibly even the economic collapse - can be traced to the Designated Hitter Rule. However, I candidly admit that some teams and thus some World Series are just more interesting than others. This isn't as bad as the Rust Belt series (what was it? Cleveland and Baltimore?) but I just can't generate the excitement the Series deserves. Sorry, Andrew5. Apologies, Mudge and Frostbitten One. However I'm so grateful the Yankees are not in the Series (sorry mo!) that I'll happily root for both teams. May the baseball win!

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 23, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

In one of his books, Tom Clancy calls it Fort MacDill. I lost all respect for his much vaunted research and authenticity.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Good satire is only recognizable by those that care. You did fine.

However, being Gainesville born and bred does not qualify one to discuss Tampa with any authority. They may be a hundred miles apart geographically, but it's more like fifteen hundred miles culturally. You might was well be comparing San Francisco and Bakersfield.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes. Bakersfield. Land of hopes and dreams. Mecca of the American West. The Garden of Eden, reborn on an interstate or some other navigable thoroughfare.

Never heard of it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 23, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Gilroy would be a better analogue for Gainesville. And substitute Cleveland for San Francisco as the equivalent of Tampa.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe Oakland.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, will you marry me?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

(You had me at "...can be traced to the designated hitter rule.")

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Crash and Annie: Get a room if you're going to wax romantic about the Church of Baseball.

Posted by: PopSocket | October 23, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse


*marveling at the New and Improved Boodle's ability to accommodate multiple handles*


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | October 23, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't like the looks of this, yello.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Good post:

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I thought you'd like that, Mudge.

Howdy PopSocket. Don't be jealous, just because Mudge & I share a recognition of the truly important things in life. And remember, breathe through your eyelids.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 23, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, Jumper. That was one of Dowd's least snarky columns ever. Here's the permalink for posterity:

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | October 23, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Why Jumper? What's going on?

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Ah. Why Stop at Bakersfield, if you can press on to Victorville.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 23, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Why Jumper? What's going on?

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

You guys seen the Dan Balz piece just posted? I'll give you the good parts:

"Polls Show McCain Leaning into a Headwind

By Dan Balz

"A big batch of battleground polls came out early Thursday and brought almost universally bad news for John McCain. ...

"...There were eight polls of Midwestern states produced by the Big Ten Battleground Poll group. Obama not only leads in all eight states by hefty margins but has improved his standing since the last time the group surveyed these states.

"The numbers are startling. Obama leads by 12 points in Ohio, by 11 points in Pennsylvania and by 13 points in Wisconsin. In Michigan, where McCain's campaign has pulled out, the lead is 22 points. In Indiana, a strong red state, the Obama lead is 10 points, which is larger than in other recent polls.

Quinnipiac University released polls of three battlegrounds that it has been surveying regularly this cycle -- Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Obama leads in all three. In these surveys, Obama's lead in Pennsylvania is 13 points. In Ohio, which is a must-win for McCain, the lead is a whopping 14 points."


I'm telling ya -- and this has nothing to do with my advanced age -- this kinda news is enough ta make ya wet yer pants.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

If it weren't for the Bradley Effect, I'd invoke the slaughter rule right now and just cancel the election. It's not going to look pretty for McCain watching a map of blue light up election night. Any state he wins will be too close to call and won't get credited to him until late in the evening.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I watch this like a hawk. I was sad to see the downturn for Obama. But I was hoping for 400. Not that I expect it, but why shoot for less?

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

My favorite piece of very painful video was last night's visit by Buchanan to the Rachel Maddow Show. Poor Pat mentioned while they were talking past each other that the only reason that Rachel was talking so fast was that she had really nothing to say... Pat, at the time, was talking faster and louder.

Pat suggested that Palin was responsible for the "entire" post Republican Convention bounce.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 23, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

This site has Obama with 364:

Which would still be plenty even if Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina break for McCain.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I think we might see close to 400, Jumper.

I know I shouldn't be greedy and just be eternally grateful--but I'm not looking for a win; I'm looking for an ass-kicking landslide decisive wipeout, so there won't be any post-election carping and sniping about anything being too close, inaccurate counting, the voters didn't understand, blah blah blah.

But then again, I admit I've wanted blood, since Day One.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, if it walks like a recession and talks like a recession, it's at minimum a ducked up economy.

Posted by: rashibama | October 23, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"Pat suggested that Palin was responsible for the 'entire' post Republican Convention bounce."

Nate, or was it Sean, over at 538 suggested that it's looking more and more like the Palin effect was a "dead cat bounce."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

For those of you not getting Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN 6th)news all the time, I'm happy to report that she has fully clarified her remarks of the other day. She explains that she shouldn't have said "Obama or members of congress are anti-American" just that many of his policies are "against America." So much clearer now.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I refuse to allow myself to believe the polls until I hear McCain actually concede. For, you see, I keep waking up in the middle of the night with the phrase "New Hampshire" running through my head.

From what I have heard, Obama does too.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

From the Mpls. Strib-

Former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama today, saying Obama represented the best hope for an America facing an economic crisis and criticizing Republicans for waging a mean-spirited campaign that has "been going down all these side roads."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The Bachmann case seems to be what happens when you just blindly spout talking points without really thinking them through. You either get yourself caught in a contradiction or you end up digging yourself deeper into a hole.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

The eggs do look so, so promising, but I'm not gonna count the chickens till after 10 p.m. on Tuesday, 5 November 2008.

But I'm with you, Mudge, a landslide would be sweet. Really, really sweet.

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Bachmann seems to have been a good soldier that drank too much Kool-Ade and is now being thrown under the bus.

I wonder how many politicians McCain is taking down with his reverse coattails.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Gainsville, FL. Home of Tom Petty.

For me, the recession began August 2007, the day my friend closed on her house. She had been looking for something she could afford for the past three years. The market had dropped at the same time interest rates dropped a bit (to try and spur it along.) As she signed the papers, she could feel the bottom dropping out.

She's only lost about 5-10% of her value because she bought as the prices were coming down.

Posted by: mdreader01 | October 23, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"But the basic takeaway is this: you should absolutely not assume that just because someone has published a poll, they have any particular idea what they're doing. Pollsters should be treated as guilty until proven otherwise." Nate Silver

He's talking about IBC/TIPP tracking poll that shows McCain leading 74-22 among 18-24 year olds, but I'd say it's true generally.

more here

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if WalMart wil start selling solar panel systems on layaway soon. It's the danged rectifier/current controller module that costs the most.

Unless my memory fails, a few years ago Greenspan and the Fed got the power to jigger interest rates in finer increments. I think they were limited to a quarter percent or something,and then after got to use 100ths or 10ths. I could be wrong. But I'd like a little report from Greenspan on his evaluation of this change so far.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

On my way home from Costco a little while ago, I did an informal survey of political signs on the street. We have lots of signs for judges and some for the mayor of this town, who is running for governor. The final count: six Obama, two McCain. And this area used to be solidly red.

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I want the landslide too, but I'll settle for less as long as Gov. Palin is still too recessed (sic) to run in 2012.

Posted by: -CC- | October 23, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the recent televised exorcism of Gov. Palin was not successful, and the warrant for fleeing the subpoena is still in force.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

FYI, I posted a couple of notions on Tom Sietsma's blog asking for recommendations for fantasy restaurants.

Just thought I'd mention it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Not to ruin anyone's afternoon. But here is another poll posted on AOL News. Anyway, too early to pop the Bunker's chamagne supplies.

posted: 7 HOURS 45 MINUTES AGOcomments: 13465filed under: Election News, Barack Obama, John McCainPrintShareText SizeAAAWASHINGTON (Oct. 22) - The presidential race tightened after the final debate, with John McCain gaining among whites and people earning less than $50,000, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that shows McCain and Barack Obama essentially running even among likely voters in the election homestretch.
The poll, which found Obama at 44 percent and McCain at 43 percent, supports what some Republicans and Democrats privately have said in recent days: that the race narrowed after the third debate as GOP-leaning voters drifted home to their party and McCain's "Joe the plumber" analogy struck a chord.

Posted by: Braguine | October 23, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps ALL this will be clearer, presidential issues and the recession or whatever it is, if Angelina Jolie would put on her black suit, plop one of the twins over her shoulder and and give her take on the situation. After all, we do live in a celebrity driven society and, obviously, she knows how to handle a heavy work load. I wonder, do those folks selling pencils on the street corner look as adorable as she does on the cover of W? That's what REALLY matters, right. I'm getting a cup of coffee. I have to get back to work to pay my bills.

Posted by: lisaholdren | October 23, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I didn't even know Sietsma had a discussion group, but I'm guessing I'm about to be banned from it.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey, all.

I'm really trying not to be overly optimistic, because I don't want my hopes and dreams and country to get its veritables crushed again. The agony coefficient is at its most vulnerable right now. That being said, however, what I am really hoping for is that Barack Obama's dear grandmother will live to see him elected. I'd truly love to see her live for his inauguration (and I'm sure he would, too).

Tomorrow is Zambian Independence Day -- 44 years of civil war-free independence, for a country which borders Zimbabwe and the Congo. I'm going to send a congratulatory email to my adopted Zambian family members, wherever in the world they are right now.

Crossing fingers for the polls to be right, for the voters to vote, for the votes to be counted (*and* counted correctly). . . .

*nervously pacing*

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | October 23, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Finally sat down this afternoon and filled in my absentee ballot. Not as difficult as I'd thought -- even tho this is California and there are always a few interesting measures. I do feel like a good citizen now!

Posted by: nellie4 | October 23, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"Former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama today"

Hot dang. I voted for that guy ... one of my breaks from the Democrats. Good work, Arne.

Posted by: 1KatPage | October 23, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I have put together a Voter Guide:

Vote if it's raining,
vote if you have to work late,
vote if you have to take the kids to the doctor,
vote if the electricity or gas or cable or phone goes out,
vote if the car's gas tank is empty,
vote if they tell you you can't vote.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Mr. F has finally completely lost all patience with Pa Frost-in-law's right wingnut rantings.

Mr. F to Pa- People your age are not going to decide this election. The 20s and 30s are.

Pa to Mr. F (sputtering) - They're politically illiterate.

Mr. F - maybe when people my age were 20 and 30, we were. But these kids are different. Before you can hit forward on an e-mail from Rush they will have researched the points and have an original debunking video up on You Tube with 100,000 viewers.

I found this particularly funny since until very recently Pa Frost-in-law would print an e-mail and send it via USPS rather than hit forward. In retrospect we should have left him that way. November 5th will bring some interesting changes to the family dynamics.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Brag's Comedy Hour
Kapitanleutnant Johan Sebastian Balz, hero of the Kriegsmarine and his whacky U-boat crew.

Posted by: Braguine | October 23, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Brag's Comedy Hour
Kapitanleutnant Johan Sebastian Balz, hero of the Kriegsmarine and his whacky U-boat crew.

Posted by: Braguine | October 23, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I think the housing market around here started to tank just after I sold and bought houses in the spring of 2006. Inventory went up and prices came down. I don't feel bad as I plan to stay here til they take me out horizontally.

Frosti, sounds like your husband has an interesting dad.

Anything that could go wrong today at work did go wrong. I am so glad to be home. No major meltdowns from the bride so far except she has poison ivy on her face and neck. If that's the only problem this weekend, I'll be thrilled.

Posted by: badsneakers | October 23, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Good news: My FIL's lung biopsy tested negative for cancer. He is on an antibiotic regimen and feels much better. Still waiting for puppies. I am skeptical of the polls, but am hopeful for a landslide. In our corner of the world, Obama signs greatly outnumber McCain signs, despite the fact that SC will likely end up in the McCain column on voting day. Sen. Obama is having an election night rally in Grant Park. The crowd could be very large, perhaps as many as 100K. Win or lose, it'll be an interesting place to be.

Posted by: -jack- | October 23, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

"print an e-mail and send it via USPS "

It's funny because it's true.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

In my mailbox, I lay my absentee ballot down and I pray as the clock runs out:

"Lord, keep me too busy to think about Election day until it comes. Thank you."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 23, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I first detected the recession on my 45th birthday, at approximately 7:45 a.m. I am hoping that my hair will come back in 2009. Should have invested in Rogaine. If Joe Biden can do one thing as Vice President, I hope it's to subsidize those plugs.

Posted by: GreenHornet1 | October 23, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow. You know, that is so true, Brag.

I got wasserbombed by a golden retriever this afternoon, because I let her go up front so I would be behind her behind, then I was behind her front so I had to get in front of her behind, and then she got in front of my behind, and so on.

Then somehow she got behind a big splash I was in front of. Wasserbomb!

Moral: it's very important to know which end to follow, when you're following somebody else's end. And not to do it too fast, or you might wind up inside somebody's end.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 23, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Jack, that is *great* news about you FIL! I'm sure everyone's greatly relieved.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | October 23, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog --Ha ha ha harrr harrrfff

Posted by: Braguine | October 23, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful news Jack - must be a great relief to your family.

Posted by: dmd2 | October 23, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Wilbrod, I feel the same.

Posted by: nellie4 | October 23, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Great news Jack!

So my MIL, whom I adore, is spending the night here on the way to Lancaster PA to check on her elderly mother. We end up talking about politics. So here's the thing. Under absolutely no circumstances will this woman vote for someone named "Obama."

Oh well. At least she has moved to South Carolina, which isn't a swing state.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Great news, Jack! I'm glad to hear he's feeling better.

Wilbrodog, I hope you didn't get too wet. I'd hate for you to catch cold.

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

My motto
"Vote early and often"

Great news Jack

Posted by: greenwithenvy | October 23, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful news, Jack!

And RD_P, even better that you're in a swing state, no? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful news Jack!

sneaks-I'd have to say he's "interesting" in the "Minnesota language system" version of interesting, as described on Prairie Home Companion.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Frosit1 the MInnesota Language System is extremely funny. Long ago, I was rated as


on that scale. Made me think I was like, say, an Italian actress complete with smoldering eyes and olive skinned gravitas.

Only later would I find out it meant 1) talks to much and 2) has intensity of feelings.

RD, my very own da, who canonized JFK in his personal pantheon, will be voting McCain to the death. Think that the other Repups in my sibling constellation will go 'Bama. Save for the Omaha contingent. Waiting for Hegel to go 'Bama....not even Warren Buffed-Bucks stirred that hold-out.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 23, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Jack! Wunderbar on the no-cancer test. He must feel crappy, though, for that investigation to take place. Hope he heals soon. Life is very short to spend time sick.

RD, glad that you adore your MIL.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 23, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Waiting for Hegel (sic) to go for Obama? Actually, he already has in a spirit/dialectic kind of way, but his posthumous endorsement isn't as valuable as a Hagel endorsement might be.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 23, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

3 Quarks Daily is looking for new Monday columnists. I could never write at that level, but others here could.

More here:

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, ShilohG,

I could pretend that I am the straight man to set you up; but truthfully meant that mavrickal man from the heartland. But, I am typing on little keys on my knees, and grading papers at the loudest but smallest Starbucks in Silver Spring....waiting on the Boy that is mine, not Ivansmom's BOY.

Hagel WOULD make CquPSisNo.2 go 'Bama; that or the parousial coming of JC WITH a specific banner for Barack....not betting on that one, not this evening, any way.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 23, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all of the positive energy. YGATB. CP, you'll be pleased to hear that a team of people in my building, including myself, are spearheading an effort to integrate something along the lines of Great Books into the curriculum. This is part of the HIgh Schools That Work initiative, an effort that led to achievement of the AYP goals set for the past year. We may be small, but we're good, at least in a relative sense.

Posted by: -jack- | October 23, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Wunderbar AGAIN, jack on Great, based on the papers I am reading, how about

comma boot camp
semi-colon restraint

AND the banning of
in order to
in today's society
in the fast paced world of internet technology

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 23, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey Frosti, these comments in the latest Contrary Brin caught my attention. Can you shed light on the revolt of the generals and admirals?

"...In most of American life, if workers suffer abuse, the right to complain and seek redress is pretty strong. Civil servants, too, are supposedly protected from direct political interference. But so long as the hacks refrained from anything too overt -- (with the exception of stupidly firing those assistant U.S. Attorneys) -- they could erect barricades of distraction and mal-assignment that would thwart agency workers from accomplishing anything, or solving any problems, causing many to resign in frustration. Moreover, civil servants and military officers are constrained -- by both law and tradition -- against speaking out against their political superiors.

Is there a comeuppance? Apparently, the military did stand up, courageously, a couple of years ago, in what is now quietly known as the Generals and Admirals Revolt -- resulting in the ousting of Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary and the arrival of the Gates-Mullen team, effectively peeling the hands of Bush and Cheney away from the tiller at Defense. An episode when our officer corps bravely kept their oaths once again, to protect us from enemies, both foreign and domestic. And they did it so discretely that most Americans haven’t a clue how much we owe them..."

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear the good news, jack.

I would very much like to hear about the puppies when they come, and you've had some sleep.

Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

oh, this is more posting under someone else's handle. The things that happen when you don't visit often enough...

Hi everyone. I'm doing some serious back Boodling. I've been a bit busy with real life semi-disasters (expected events, but bothersome nonetheless).

I am so far behind I just now blogged about the PAW feature on TPM Joel mentioned waaaay back on Oct 10.

Posted by: abeac1 | October 23, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Slyness -- interesting post, we are seeing strong evidence that this has happened and is still happening. For your info, my novel Kingmaker is based on politicals interfering with intelligence gathering.

Posted by: Braguine | October 23, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, you are our Boodle's #1 a bea c.

Where *is* Don?

Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Still catching up...

TBG, I hope I find a post w/ good news on the job front before I'm done. I was thinking about you all day yesterday. My boss and I had lunch at that one Chinese place and I was telling him about you.

And OMNI, the translation of the poem was very accurate. I don't know why I like it so much. Some day when I am feeling like it I'll post another by the same guy.

KBertocci, how could you EVER be invisible in any way??? Hope you get your bid accepted.

Jack, yay!!

Posted by: abeac1 | October 23, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Opie, Andy and the Fonz want you to vote for Obama!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | October 23, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

So, since I missed the debate discussion, here is my 2 cents on the education portion.

McCain wants to bring home veterans w/ PTSD and stick them in a room full of hormone-ridden teenagers. Not to mention these vets, despite being very brave and patriotic, have never been trained in classroom management and have no clue about anything related to pedagogy. What???

We had a retired military guy at my previous school. I think he may still be there. He cursed at the kids so loudly I could hear him in my trailer, through the school wall, across the grassy area. He used words I probably have never said out loud on a daily basis. Having hundreds of classrooms around the country being managed in the same way would do WONDERS for NCLB.

OK, back to back-Boodling...

Posted by: abeac1 | October 23, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

great news jack

was worried about you bea

You'll eventually catch up to my attempt at french...abysmal

Now, if I cold only remember what boodle I did good in.

Meanwhile, -TBG- is enjoying her semi-retirement

I'm still laughing about SofTBG's comment: telling his Grandkids about living through the Second Greatest Depression!

We'll start calling 'em GDI and GDII any day now.

And of course kids coming up today will be known as the GGII (Greatest Generation 2.0)

Posted by: omnigood | October 23, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

We knew things would work out. So glad to hear the good news.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Omni, you posted what I'd have liked to say, but was too tired to say.

Night all, and back to reading "Hard Times", they're a-coming.

It opens with:

"Now, what I want is, facts. Teach those boys and girls nothing but facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals on facts: Nothing else will be of any service to them."

(Never mind having any actual skills like tying shoelaces...)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 23, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Boy, you missed 1 day, you have to backboodle 2 kits and all the comments just to see what you guys are up to.

Again, I’m not –tao-. I don’t have the intelligence to wax poetic about philosophy or poetry. But I do love reading them. Could –tao- be our anonymous haikuist?

My niece is visiting this weekend. I’m very excited bcuz this is the first time in 12 years anyone has visited me. I did invite. Upon my invitation, they usually ask what’s there to see. I’ll just stare at them trying to come up with something they haven’t seen but couldn’t. I guess that’s why nobody wants to visit me.

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 23, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Boodle. Just got back from taking my #3 daughter to her first-ever AA meeting. It was actually pretty cool-- about two dozen people there, most of them older, 40s and older, but a few as young as about 26 or 27 (daughter is 25). It was about like you see on TV, but the surprising thing was how often everybody laughed as people told their stories. There were some really cool, impressive people there. I was worried about my daughter's reaction, but she really liked the group, is jazzed about attending, and can't wait to go back next week. Her spons is a woman about 30 or so, who I think will be very helpful.

Thanks to a certain Boodler whom I have been discussing this situation with.

Just opened my mail--got my 401K report, which says I lost about 25% of my account since July 1. Wonderful. I may have to start drinking.

Phillies loosing 4-0. Sheesh.

Did Obama do something tonight? I caught a fraction of a report but didn't get the gist of it.

Good news from Jack and TBG on the health front.

Yes, I have the flu. Went to work anyway (I felt OK during the morning), started feeling crappy again in the afternoon.

I'm so happy I got my computer back up and running, you have no idea.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 23, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

That's great, Curmudgeon. Glad you have a wise friend and counsellor, and that #3 agreed to go. You are a fine father.

'Night Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Ah jeez rainforest, I've been working my brain overtime trying to figure -tao-, and it was always on the tip of my amygdala that that was so...that fact that this Boodler won't come forward and identify...

Pre-emptive SCC (amygdala???)
yeah, I know: EMPTIVE

Where is my brain?

And for those who missed a re-post from two consecutive Boodles:

wait for it


Posted by: omnigood | October 23, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Good luck to your daughter Curmudgeon.

Posted by: dmd2 | October 23, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

That's a big step for your daughter, mudge. It's great that you are supporting her like that. Best of luck to her.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, that’s wonderful about your daughter, and especially that you went with her. Support from family is very important. I haven’t been to a meeting in years but will never forget the cameraderie and laughter that I always found there. If I ever feel the need to go, I know I’ll be welcomed.

Jack, I’m glad you had good news. a bea c, I have been reading all the kits and comments and still feel behind. Too much going on lately, both here in the Boodle and in the news and in my life. Just found out tonight that #2 granddaughter, who is seven told her mother she doesn’t want to go to the wedding (in which she is a flowergirl!) because she doesn’t want to waste her time. Gotta love little kids ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | October 23, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Slyness-my perspective is from the outside looking in, but with a very close perch from which to observe. Rumsfeld was pretty much universally loathed from the moment he took office. He painted the senior officer corps as unwilling to "transform" the services and interested only in advancing their own careers and self interest. Shinseki fans, and I count myself among them, were not surprised that he would give an honest of assessment of what was needed to secure post-invasion Iraq, and equally unsurprised that he was persona non grata from there forward. Many of Mr. F's cohort, and those more senior, took this very personally. Later, when Rumsfeld was not summarily fired after the first Abu Ghraib pictures leaked it was a very painful time. By April of '06, when the "revolt of the generals" was in the news not a senior person I know was the least bit critical of their public repudiation of the administration's policies. Here's a good contemporaneous piece from Time,9171,1184048,00.html
I have little doubt that had the recently retired generals and admirals not spoken up, W would have kept Rumsfeld on as Sec. Def. As bad as things are now-that would have made them a lot worse.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - I'm glad this this big step was such a positive experience for your daughter. You are a prince among fathers for supporting her with your presence there.
I hope you feel better soon.

jack -good news!

rainforest - I would love to come visit you! When I find my way to your neck of the woods, I'm coming, invite or no.

Here's some fun pics...I scanned feverishly for a glimpse of TBG, but didn't see her.

ttfn boodle.

Posted by: Kim1 | October 23, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

well, i obviously should have gone to bed twenty or thirty minutes ago.

Good News Mudge

And also TBG and sister

Posted by: omnigood | October 23, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

The Financial Times has an interactive graphic showing how the various states (and D.C.) are doing. Texas is #1, Florida #51.

Five Thirty Eight has caught up with the Post in looking at today's stunning polls.

Jack--sounds great!

Brag--are braguines in any way similar to beguines (the Cole Porter version?)

If Obama's appearing at Grant Park on election night, there could be much more than 100,000 people in the park (but not within security cordons), weather permitting. The biggest crowd I've ever seen was returning from fourth of July fireworks, headed inland toward the El and subway. Police everywhere and everyone looking purposeful and orderly (I missed the fireworks--was watching Riverboat in the Auditorium).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 23, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

DotC, we can only hope and wish it were so.

Begin the Beguine is a great song, isn't it?

Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to disappoint you, omni. If I could wax poetic, I won’t hide. I might even use my real name. :-)

Great news, Jack.

It’s great your daughter agreed to attend, Curmudgeon. Good luck to her.

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 23, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Though, I must add, our Brag is pretty much fabulous as he is.

Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Back in the 1970s, the main drag in Gainesville was where you might notice a highly polished four wheel drive pickup with oversized tires and just enough mud to indicate that it had been run through a puddle to complete the look.

Other than that, Gainesville is one of the rare spots in Florida where vegetation riots and the big oaks are kings.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 23, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Kim. I’d love for you or any boodlers come visit me. I’ll roll out a red carpet!

Btw, happy anniversary!

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 23, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I got into Cole Porter via an excellent local production of "Anything Goes" at the well-financed Riverside Theater. Later on, an astounding production in London (bear in mind that with British airlines delivering hordes of tourists to Orlando, London is sometimes an easier vacation destination than New York. But I've got to try Chicago again).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 23, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Jack, that is wonderful news.

And TBG, I missed the object that hit your sister, but glad to hear she is ok, too.

Has no one the email address or phone of Don from I270?

Mudge, going to AA with your daughter brought tears to my eyes -- my son went that route, alone, on the other side of the continent. But he continues (four years, I think) and is completely happy. Your daughter will be, too.

Posted by: nellie4 | October 23, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Didn't we used to have a Boodler who didn't post often, but was regular and welcome, who lived in Japan or China? A North American, I always thought, but had lived in the East for a long time and spoke the lanuage?


Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Yoki!

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 23, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Someone moved to Hong Kong, IIRC Yoki.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 23, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Jack, that's great news.

Had dinner with my Mom this evening. I love the woman dearly and we've been arguing politics ferociously with regards to this election (truth be told, we've been arguing politics for nearly 40 years now). In the end, we respect each other's opinions, even when they differ, as they do now.

For all that, as with so many families, I take my political alignment from her. I'm registered 'Unaffiliated,' just like she is.


Posted by: -bc- | October 23, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

The global economy has hit a giant economic blue screen of death. For people with money, this current crisis and fall of price of assets of all types are creating real opportunities. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people with money.

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 24, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

The NYT official endorsement

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 24, 2008 3:29 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, good for her, good for you!

Posted by: -dbG- | October 24, 2008 4:09 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 4:40 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. A bit chilly out there. Phillies lost, alas.

Looks like a fair number of interesting op-eds, but I haven't had a chance to look at them.

OK, Dawn Patrol, let's crank those engines and get airborne.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 24, 2008 6:05 AM | Report abuse

The NYT endorsing a democratic party candidate, that one is not a shocker...

Chilly here too, well below 0C. It's fall after all.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 24, 2008 6:23 AM | Report abuse

晚安 to you -tao-, if Yoki is correct.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 24, 2008 6:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and sorry to misunderidentify you as Dreamer the other day "Old Dan" :-) This was my original guess,

but then I got sidetracked by something else.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 24, 2008 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Far East boodler was TomFan, I think.

And, it has been ages since we heard from Dooley. Or did Dooley get a funky new handle while I was not looking?

Mudge, kudos to you. What a brave dad! I think I would have driven her to the meeting, then waited outside. I would not want to hear the stories. I would cry. But, knowing the stories helps you understand better.

I'll be working on my podcasting today. My topic would be very helpful for Maggie. All about shortcuts on a Mac.

Posted by: abeac1 | October 24, 2008 6:53 AM | Report abuse

And, there are pretty poems about chrysanthemums and dandelions but I can't find any about mugworts; they're like the vulgar sheep of the family.

Perhaps CquaP knows of a poem?

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 24, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

I got my new computer motherboard installed. It's not even quite as fancy as the old one which had two network ports and a firewire connection, but it did accept my two 1-GB memory cards without smoking and flaming.

I'm still contemplating getting a cheap 8000 series Nvidia video card. I just can't stop tinkering even when disaster strikes.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all, and happy Friday!

Thanks for the info, Frosti, I knew you'd be able to shed light on the subject. An appointed "leader" who doesn't have the sense to get underlings on his side - especially underlings with the brainpower of the senior officer corps - deserves what he gets. Too bad Rummy created so much horror and chaos in the meantime.

Rain here today. I wish it would bring down all the leaves, but I'm sure we won't be so lucky. Yesterday I picked a small bouquet of cosmos, light and dark pink blooms, which I'm enjoying on the kitchen table. They will be the last of the season, I suppose. Soon I will have to buy flowers, if I want to have any. But there are Christmas decorations in my immediate future, and spring will come.

Cassandra, I hope you feel better today. Mudge, I'll be thinking of your daughter, who took such a strong step forward last night.

Posted by: slyness | October 24, 2008 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Dooley is always around, my guess is just busy. I read his blog once in a while.

Posted by: --dr-- | October 24, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Bonjour, Boodlers!
Horeaux Venredi for yawl (southern French accent :o)

Though I may seem late, I'm not really what it seems--oh well, never mind. Pleased with released polls and NYT endorsement of Obama.

Chilly flying this morning. Someone please fax me a bear suit.

Posted by: Braguine | October 24, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

And greetings and good cheer to everyone this morning. It is great to hear about better health mentally and physically for some among us. Faxing chicken soup to Mudge and Cassandra and hopes that they feel better soon.

Posted by: --dr-- | October 24, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Friday at last!!! :-)

I'm certainly not tao, I can't even get diacritical marks to work!!!

'Mudge, we'll see if the Phils and the Rays can get the game in Saturday -- forecast is not glowing. *SIGH*

*faxin' Cassandra a big mug of hot tea with lemon and such*

And it seems Milbank had a recent Boodle on the brain as he sat at the National Press Club...

*completing-the-Dawn-Patrol-and-manning-the-battlements-with-fewer-coworkers-than-usual-but-reasonably-certain-I'll-make-it-to-the-weekend Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 24, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, looks like the markets might be in for another very wild day today.

For anyone looking for a diversion from the bleak economic news there is a link on the home page of the globe to a story on Bouldering with a video of people bouldering in the Niagara glen - quite interesting and some beautiful shots.

Posted by: dmd2 | October 24, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

An interesting sky for the Dawn Patrol to fly into -- thick cloud cover here, with lots of yellows and oranges towards the horizon. Almost Venusian, I'd say -- mysterious and beautiful.

As has been mentioned already, I'd look for the markets to nosedive in the morning, but I have a sneaking suspicion that there may be an uptick in the afternoon as traders go bargain hunting before the weekend.


Posted by: -bc- | October 24, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

While watching the Boodle's six o'clock, found this excellent analysis of the Candidates' foreign policy advisors.


Posted by: Braguine | October 24, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse


The Krauthammer has strapped a kamikaze to his butt and is riding it it into the flames of glory.

Good Dawn Patrol today.


Posted by: Braguine | October 24, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

To clarify Brag's cryptic remarks, Chuckie K has gone way out on a limb and heartily endorsed, wait for it...., McCain. He has also lambasted those quasi-cons that have turned turncoat and endorsed That One. In a display of sour grapes, K-hammer has said that he doesn't care if he ever gets invited to the White House.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Hey, BPH parking could get a lot easier!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 24, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

A Pome for DNA_girl

The herb, that under moonbeams' glow,
has lovers take up Artemesia's bow.
And like the Godess seek, and hit, and
bring the Other down, dread fell and slow.

Then quaff the divine, sweet wild brew,
which bitter grows with time and rue.
Diurnal light just brings the Other as
a man, no hind, flawed rough and cruel.

And yet take up this cup again to know
That mead, that ale, that nectar's flow.
It is now, as it has been through time, the
cause of, and the answer to our woe.

Posted by: Yoki | October 24, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm so far behind om the Boodling...

Mudge, I'm so happy to hear that taking your daughter to an AA meeting went so well.

I've accompanied a few friends to meetings over the years, and understand that everything about it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but when you need it, you need it.

Good for you, Mudge, and better for her.


Posted by: -bc- | October 24, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh, this is sooo apropos for us:

Posted by: slyness | October 24, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Well, about the only good economic news is the continuing drop in gas prices. I filled up last night at the local Shell for $2.85, and I've seen it as low as $2.79 up around Laurel. That saved me about 9 bucks over what it would have cost about 6 weeks ago. Be interested to see what the prices are up in the Pittsburgh area this weekend.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 24, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Good science news! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 24, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Ah, supporting my favored team by not watching seems to be working. Go Rays!

Good morning boodle. Doubly good TGIF since Mr. F will get here about the time I get home from work.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 24, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Gas in downtown St. Paul was down to $2.45 on Wednesday. Here in the middle of nowhere it has been swinging back and forth from $2.54-$2.69 since Oct. 1.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 24, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

SALEM, N.H.—Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, a Republican, is endorsing Democrat Barack Obama for president, citing the senator's steady leadership, good judgment and ability to unify Democrats, Republicans and independents.

More here:

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 24, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Congratulations to Mudge for being a Good Dad, and to your daughter for taking this step.

Gas is about $2.25 - $2.30 here. The desperate dealerships are advertising Hummers again. Oddly, though, there is no elation over the low prices, no suggestion that all is now well, no upsurge in support for the current administration or a future Republican one (though to be fair, in Oklahoma it would be hard to tell). People seem very aware that the bottom is dropping out of everything else, low gas prices don't help our state economy, and the aid to our pocketbooks just doesn't seem as significant as it did when everything else was good.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 24, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

For the exclusive attention of one DNA_Girl the preceding linkage is provided.

And for the rugby fans, the all-blacks, the kiwis and the remainder, the following in a spirit of amusement:

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom-I thought there would be more joy over falling gas prices here, where everyone who is employed full time either drives or rides the tribal casino commuter van a minimum of 30 miles each way. But, we have a huge percentage of people who are self employed and the lower gas prices just reflect the lower demand for their products or labor.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 24, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Best of luck to your daughter, Mudge.

Posted by: byoolin1 | October 24, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

-tao- ??? american in siam

Posted by: omnigood | October 24, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! Daughter turned 15 yesterday but I didn't even see her until 11:30 last night.

In case you're worried that she's become a sullen teenager, she had gone home from school with some friends and they all went to a concert of her favorite band. When she did get home from the concert, she climbed in bed with me, threw her arms around me, kissed me and said, "I had a wonderful birthday, Mom. I love you!"


I have emailed Don from I-270 and so hope we hear from him soon.

Oh.. and yesterday I paid $2.39 for gas in Richmond.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 24, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to Dot, TBG!!

And also to 'MudgeDot and 'Mudge hisself.


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 24, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse


have a tasp before your nap

Posted by: omnigood | October 24, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Mudge... I was touched by your post about your daughter going to the AA meeting. I think you going with her is also a huge step in the right direction.

I'm fortunate to not have suffered from the disease myself or had anyone close to me so afflicted, but I hope I would be there like you are if circumstances were to change. You are a good example for me, so thanks.

So... good for her and good for you, too.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 24, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

For the non-kiwi, the following: the All Blacks traditionally perform a haka (Māori posture dance) before each match.

And for omnigod: Siam not in Siam. "Shall We Dance?"

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

the only herbal poem I know is fictional:


When the black breath blows
and death's shadow grows
and all lights pass,
come athelas! come athelas!
  Life to the dying
In the King's hand lying!


Posted by: omnigood | October 24, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Bill Weld was a Taxachusetts Republican which puts him well to the left of say an Alabama Democrat (if there were such a thing) making him a borderline communist to start with. Let me know when a real conservative has endorsed Obama.

And don't tell me about turncoats like Colin Powell, Chris Buckley, Lincoln Chafee, Richard Riordan, Lowell Weicker, David Friedman, or Scott McClellan. Those guys were all soft and untrustworthy or else they wouldn't have gone to the dark side (and I don't mean that as a racial slur).

Posted by: PopSocket | October 24, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I just answered a call from our local Republican party. I was happy to answer "No" to the young man when he asked if McCain/Palin and the Republican candidates for House and Senate could count on my support.

But I did feel bad for the poor kid; he sounded so dejected I didn't have the heart to ask him how HE ended up on the Dark Side.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 24, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

*faxin' PopSocket some nails to chew on* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 24, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget Nixon's daughter Julie and granddaughter Susan Eisenhower. Or William Ruckelshaus.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

A thought about oil prices.

Reasonably priced gasoline (not cheap) works in our favor. For example $70-75 a barrel.

This forms up the Russian economy and allows us to export to this growing market. Europe in turn exports there, too and that props up their economies and they buy high tech stuff from Us.

On the negative side, Saudis keep their money in off shore accounts and finance madrassas and the nice fellows of the Taliban.

Ya gotta flip a coin to decide whether it's heads you lose of if it's tails you lose.

Posted by: Braguine | October 24, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Did you guys see that Scott McLellan, former Arbusto mouthpiece, has endorsed OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would respond to the last graf of poor, deluded Pop Socket's 10:44, but I'm not sure it would get past a whole bunch of filters.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 24, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm, but then I suppose Kristof is a borderline columnist.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

The repubs are scampering into the Obama camp, this is beginning to look like a rout.

I think their whole machine is disintegrating.

We may see an offical splintering after the elections.

Posted by: Braguine | October 24, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

These endorsements from Republicans and Republican-leaning papers are amazing. I don't think I've ever seen anything like this.

But we can't get complacent. We still have to get out and VOTE. All the endorsements in the world can't elect anyone president. We must all do that ourselves in the voting booth.


Posted by: -TBG- | October 24, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Mudge buddy, as out of the loop as I am, even I noticed McLellan's endorsement.

Given his status as GOP and Bush Admin persona non grata, it's difficult to say exactly how much value it carries at this point.

Or how many books that endorsement may have helped him sell.


Posted by: -bc- | October 24, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting to me that one thing I've learned over the past eight years is that true Republicans don't scare me anymore. These neo-Repubs are so much worse.

If the real Republicans can get their party back--and keep it--this country will have another good balance of left and right... just what we need to succeed.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 24, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I dunno, brag. With all the oil in Central Asia being exported to Russia and China, and with more coming onstream all the time, and Russia exporting natural gas and LNG (soon) to Europe through the Caspian and from th Bering Sea, I don't see that Russia's oil consumption has much of a geo-political benefit for the US, at least in the foreseeable future.

Posted by: Yoki | October 24, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

On a side note, I see that picture 9 of this WaPo slide show (taken in Tokyo, I think) shows market indicators going down as green, and those going up as red.

Thank goodness I don't drive in Tokyo.


Posted by: -bc- | October 24, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

At least one religiously conservative group dedicated to continuing the fight in the Middle East still stands behind McCain:


Welcome aboard, brothers. Strange bedfellows indeed. Just don't try to steal the sheets.

Posted by: PopSocket | October 24, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I meant *this* slide show:

It's a darn good thing the folks don't let me drive their HTML and content deployments, either.


Posted by: -bc- | October 24, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

bc, you know if they let you behind the wheel you'd be under the hood in a nanosecond, wanting to add a little nitro boost to the routers and squeeze a few more horses out of the server motherboards...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 24, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

TBG, your comment about "real Republicans" reminds me that the New York Times had a link to part of the Nixon-Kennedy debate (1960). I had read about it many times and in hindsight everyone seems to say that Kennedy won the election because he did so much better in the debate, or at least looked much better on television. But watching it myself, I did not see that. Both Nixon and Kennedy were pretty boring, and although Kennedy was better looking than Nixon, he was no George Clooney, and Nixon in 1960 was a decent-looking guy. They were extremely civil to each other and both emphasized that their goals were the same and that they agreed on many points, but they presented themselves as representatives of two different parties, and highlighted how the Republican and Democratic party platforms proposed different solutions to the problems facing the country (at the time, the main challenge was Communism, they both agreed.)

Ah, the good old days. (not)

Here's the link:

Posted by: kbertocci | October 24, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Morning All
Finally have gotten the chimney swept,good thing it was 50 inside the house when I got home last night.

Glad to see the Rays win and Glad West by god came back from down 14 to win by 17.

Time to gather some kindling before the blessed rains come

Posted by: greenwithenvy | October 24, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

True, true, to both of TBG's comments.

Here's the NYT Sunday Magazine piece upon which Kathleen Parker bases her column today, and from which Jon Stewart lifted some of his funniest lines last night-

The Making (and Remaking) of McCain

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 24, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't know when the recession started, but today may be a good place to set the marker on the beginning of the New Great Depression.

Markets in freefall get pretty scary.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

In the "haven't had time to keep up with this" news

State of Iraq oil production

Geothermal heat pump sales boom in Canada

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 24, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Returning from two classes and a meeting, dragging the remainders of my brain behind me, I see the great boodle has offered up gifts. Brunch break will be good for my reconstitution, thanks.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 24, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Economic Global Cooling:

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Aflac Inc. reported a 76% drop in third-quarter profit late Thursday and said it will suffer $110 million in losses from exposure to Iceland's troubled banking sector during the fourth quarter.

Since the end of the third quarter, three of Iceland's largest banks, Glitnir, Landsbanki and Kaupthing, were placed in receivership and are being run by the Icelandic government, which also is in financial distress, Aflac explained.
Aflac did not have its ducks in a row. It must be the kaup thing.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

i think so many of you boodlers are great parents.

to the more recent boodlers:

and now =tau
(i think, but i'm not sure)

it's true that many of the republican endorsers of obama are pretty moderate repubs, but it sure has been fun to read the parkers and the noonans.

Posted by: LALurker | October 24, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Tao tells us how sunlight penetrates all.
Tau tells us how the air is opaque and blocks the sun. Together they are the light and shade. 陰陽

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed. 阴阳; Tao and Tau.

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

oops, sorry for the misspelling!

Posted by: LALurker | October 24, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

So the tao opened lower, but is creeping up--just like bc predicted. It's bargain shopping day on Wall Street!

Posted by: -TBG- | October 24, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The Kaup thing in mathematics and physics, nonlinear partial differential equations, or ducks swimming on short waves. Aflac sinks in icy waters, chills, but does not drown.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Glitnir and Kaupthing are excellent names.

Say, isn't it Global Warming Day After Thursday? Sure it is! In that vein -- an oft-quoted chestnut favored by the "climate change is mere hysteria" crowd is the notion that Chicken Little scientists in the 1970's widely believed that we were embarking upon a new Ice Age and soon would be skiing the slopes of Florida. An article in this week's Science News reviews the published climatic literature from that period and finds that the notion simply is not true. A few articles that mentioned climate were concerned about global cooling trends; quite a few were simply neutral; and a substantial plurality identified and discussed a general warming trend due to increasing anthropogenic CO2. Estimated global-average temperatures from 1950 to 2000 or so, plotted accompanying the article, show that temperature was globally gradually increasing until a modest downturn in the late 40's/early 50's, followed by about a decade of stability; then a few-years' bump up in the early 60's, followed by another period of stability, slightly cooler than the 50's; then, the resumption of the gradual increase observed prior to the 50's. It looks like our various efforts to kill ourselves (cooking vs. poisoning) balanced each other for a few decades, temperature-wise. As pollution diminished, the aerosol load and shielding it provided were diminished, allowing ground-level temperatures to increase once more. It occurs to me that if aerosols were responsible for staving off ground-level heating, it's likely that they were nevertheless dumping heat into the atmosphere at higher altitude, which would have had profound effects that simply were not measured at the time.

There also was an article in a recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters about "The World Avoided by the Montréal Protocol", which set us on track to eliminate CFC's from cooling systems and spray cans and otherwise stop destroying the ozone layer. The article addresses predictions for 2030 in a world with or without the measures of the Protocol. Increased lower-atmosphere heating due to the deeper penetration of UV sunlight permitted by drastically reduced ozone in the no-MP world would have led to substantial regional climate change in the polar regions with heating significantly greater than what we already have observed. This also would create changes and strengthening in regional wind patterns. The really interesting thing is that the paper's analysis does NOT include climate change due to CO2, but predicts somewhat similar results in scale and style. In the real world, we would have had both effects. Take-home lesson: doing something about CFC's actually has made a difference and helped us lessen predictable hazards. We need to do the same for anthropogenic CO2.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 24, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

The Tao of the DOW, TBG: up and down, it goes around, and where it stops, nobody knows.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I can't take it any more! -tao-, please just tell us who we once knew you as! (Is that grammatical? I think not). I can't stands it no more!

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 24, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Exactly my point, Shiloh... but as usual, much better said by you!

Posted by: -TBG- | October 24, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Could it be SonofCarl? Have we heard from him yet under the new system?

Posted by: -TBG- | October 24, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I think -tao- is a sock puppet. Note the little arms on each side.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

well, we were trying to connect the asian language theme to tao's identity. so one guess would be dreamer.

but in terms of tone and other intangibles, tao's posts have more than once made me think that tao is an alternative identity for shiloh.

just thought i'd put that out there. for fun.

Posted by: LALurker | October 24, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The moment of clarity is profound.

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The moment of discovery is profound.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Birds discovered the feeder newly filled with sunflower seeds and cling to the kitchen window screen with their booty. Drives Kitten Katsu crazy.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 24, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I am trapped in the net of Internet Explorer.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I dwell in the house of Mozilla Firefox.

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The moment of frustration and pounding one's head against the keyboard is somewhat less than profound.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 24, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boko999 | October 24, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

That is a very zen observation, Cur.

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Feel better, Mudge?

Posted by: Boko999 | October 24, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, that tao toadie is working my side of the street! If there is going to be sock puppetry going on in here, I demand my cut.

Posted by: PopSocket | October 24, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

It was a fun game, -tao-, but we should desist.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Lessee here...



My head hurts even without the keyboard, 'Mudge...

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 24, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Uh...I hope we're not gonna do that whole "grasshopper" thing, are we?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 24, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Woohoo! I'm back online *at home*!

Turns out it wasn't because I was late paying the bill, but because I had accidentally hit the "standby" button on the cable modem when I cycled the power on it. I have already flagellated myself with a barbed-wire whip and donned my hairshirt for being such a dunce. And to think I used to get paid for fixing other people's IT problems.


Mudge... good on you for going to that meeting with your dot -- the support of immediate family is immeasurable. As for the laughter, that's normal. Once you've dug yourself out of a grave, laughter just comes naturally -- especially when everyone in the room has shared nearly the exact same experience.

I'm really pleased with the NY Times endorsement of Obama. Not just because they endorsed him, but because they really laid out their case and made no bones about it. Unlike WaPo's barely-an-endorsement.

Lunch has been wolfed down, email caught up, now back to making sawdust...

Peace out :-)

Posted by: martooni | October 24, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I was having some fun the other day with the dual browser trick as well.

Posted by: PopSocket | October 24, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Me too.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I think that should be shi-tao, scotty. And it was yello who gave me the idea. I was surprised he didn't make the discovery, unless he is also LALurker.

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

You know what the atmosphere in the room was like, Martooni? A great deal of mutual respect and affection, a lot of good story-telling and laughter, a lot of help and recognition of mutual/similar problems and tribulations. Totally non-judgmental toward each other. A ton of mutual support.

Answer: Just like the Boodle, believe it or not.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 24, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

does a zebra of another color still have stripes?

Posted by: omnigood | October 24, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I can barely keep track of who I am, let alone anybody else. I had fallen for the rainforest/Dreamer theories, but then the times quit matching up. I was too busy racking my brain for lost boodlers to consider sock puppets.

If I'm going to keep up with all the achendoppleganging (as opposed to Don Knotts in The Apple Dumpling Gang) going on, I'm going to have to download more browsers. Let's see, there's Chrome, Opera, Safari, Flock...

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

i am really lol-ing, here. no, l.a. lurker is not an alternative identity for yello.

i don't think you should desist, shiloh/tao. it's kind of fun.

Posted by: LALurker | October 24, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

A zebra of another color?

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I considered that one, -tao-, but there's always the Wirty Dird Filter lurking in the bushes...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 24, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... I've been in and out of the "rooms" for about 7 or 8 years now and found that while the faces may change, the stories and the reactions to those stories never change much. I think some of the best laughs (with and without tears) were in those rooms. I still pop in every once in a while (no longer on the wagon, but behaving myself) -- keeps me honest and keeps me in touch with some of the bestest darn people I've ever met. *MY* people, really. Like a tribe or something. Or people who've survived a disaster like a plane crash or earthquake together.

Where else can you talk about waking up nekkid in a ditch three states from home with an empty bottle of hootch and no idea how you got there -- and the only reaction is knowing laughter and nodding heads?

It's a beautiful thing. I don't buy the *whole* program, but as they say, "take what you need and leave the rest, just keep coming back."

Posted by: martooni | October 24, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
US poet (1819 - 1892)

I especially liked contradicting the -tao- theory of recession and tides.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

That exclusive link for me, -tao-, I get the message that Israel is a sanctuary.
Was there any other message?

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 24, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Amen Martooni Amen.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | October 24, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Sometime it is yin and yang, shiloh, and sometimes it is simply schizophrenia.

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Cryptic Zen Bastard was the response to your cartoon link, DNA_Girl.

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

-Tao- are you a gardener?

Do you live below the Mason-Dixon line?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 24, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of lost boodlers, anybody seen joelachenbach1 lately?

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

btw Mudge... I think you have my email address. Feel free to use it.

Posted by: martooni | October 24, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I have only ever attended one AA meeting but I believe in that organization with all my heart. With my loved one(s) I find that it is also good to let them go on their own and then report back to me (not officially, just conversationally) what happened at the meeting, what was useful, or not, it's like a review and a chance to process the information again in a different context. We're still sharing the experience and I'm supporting the process but there is also an acknowledgment that since I'm not an addict I will never know about it in the same way as the "friends of Bill" (that Bill, he sure has a lot of friends!) and also that the addict is the one who has to take responsibility for attending and paying attention at the meetings.

Best wishes to your family. <3

Posted by: kbertocci | October 24, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to make some ZenTao comment here, but the moment was lost and profound.

Still can't find those socks, either.


Posted by: -bc- | October 24, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I was simply referring to the DandyLion in that strip, following on CquaP's chrysanthemum clue.
That particular blog post was tough to read.
Peace :-)

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 24, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm pouting (very unattractive).

Posted by: Yoki | October 24, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

For CquaP:

There is a Zen garden on the north of my house - and Shilo has a place of perennial foods to the west. Rocks and asparagus, peace and contentment - south of the line and east of West Quaddy Head.

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Whoever is planted in the Tao
will not be rooted up.
Whoever embraces the Tao
will not slip away.
Her name will be held in honor
from generation to generation.

Let the Tao be present in your life
and you will become genuine.
Let it be present in your family
and your family will flourish.
Let it be present in your country
and your country will be an example
to all countries in the world.
Let it be present in the universe
and the universe will sing.

How do I know this is true?
By looking inside myself.

Posted by: omnigood | October 24, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

A long way east.

Posted by: -tao- | October 24, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

To erase Yoki's pout, from my current Starbucks cup - hope it makes you smile.

"When I was young I was misled by flash cards into believing that xylophones and zebras were much more common"

Posted by: dmd2 | October 24, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

This book is fine and recommended for anyone (human beens, all stripes):

The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning
by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham

Dip into the book at the Amazon site here:

Here are brief reviews:

From Library Journal
The aim of this book is to explain the underlying spiritual--although not necessarily religious--principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. Part 1 presents the emphasis of this spirituality, which is the recognition and especially the acceptance of humans as imperfect beings. Part 2 tells how the founders of AA put spirituality to use. Part 3 discusses the benefits: release, gratitude, humility, tolerance, and forgiveness. On nearly every page, the authors retell stories and provide anecdotes from various sources: ancient Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Greek, and more. One need not have an interest in AA to benefit from this fine introduction to spirituality. This is recommended.
- John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York

"An inspiring guide, offering those who want to stop striving for perfection and start living."--Publishers Weekly

"A brilliant anthology of wisdom stories from all the great traditions centered around a most compelling and discerning issue."--M. Scott Peck -- Review

CP again: The storytelling is very much like the boodle.

I would take this book to a desert island, along with
Kristin Lavransdattir and
A Pattern Language (C. Alexander)
Kingfishers Catch Fire (R. Godden)


Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 24, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Also east of Camp Casey and Tongduchon - the halfway point.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Off to see a man about a bike.

Will try to follow the Taoist clues later.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | October 24, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Somebody called it. The wasserbomb yesterday made me catch cold. I'm all curled up under an arctic fleece and waiting for my doggy chicken soup to cool. It's a cold, damp, sad, achy day.

Never trust any blondes you find on the beach.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 24, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Especially never trust an adopted blonde beagle, Wilbrodog.

Posted by: shilohgun | October 24, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: Moose13 | October 24, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Depends on where? The rust belt had recession start in the eighties, middle America when oil hit $60 after the Iraq invasion, Califorinia, Florida and Nevada with last years subprime hits, NYC when investment banks and Wall St. took the hit, oil companies have yet to feel the pain, but oil below $70 is a start. The oil cartel charged more than the market can bear and to keep the economy going, we banked on subprime and sub-a to keep it up when only constant growth would make it work. Neocons drove the bus into the ditch in Iraq and off the cliffs edge on the economy. Obama has Clinton's economic team and Americans seem to trust them more than the trickle downers.

Posted by: jameschirico | October 25, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

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