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What $850 Billion Will Buy

For those of you impoverished souls who didn't see the print edition today, there's a great graphic on the front page showing the relative cost of big-ticket items in our nation's history. It's a way of trying to get a mental grip on the dimensions of this $850 billion "stimulus package." At this point in the economic crisis, the numbers all blend together and lose their meaning. Is $850 billion really all that much? Sure, sounds like quite the econoaphrodisiac, but what if it fizzles? The U.S. economy, measured in Gross Domestic Product, is something like $13 trillion a year last I looked. So maybe the $850 billion will cause merely a momentary pause in a death-spiral. Maybe we should have, say, a $5 trillion stimulus package. Plus a moratorium on parking tickets. Plus a complete ban on negativity and whining. The new Obama mantra: No Sniveling. The point is, we need to think big, and stop nickel-and-diming this crisis with just $200 billion here, $700 billion there, $850 billion over yonder, and so on.

But wait: Back to that graphic. It tells us that, adjusting for inflation and so forth, the Louisiana Purchase cost the equivalent of $217 billion. So let's see: We doubled the size of the nation [note heroic refusal to make snide North Dakota joke] for about a quarter of what this stimulus package, which may or may not have the intended effect, will cost.

The Marshall Plan: $115.3 billion. Rebuilt Europe, supported democratic government in shattered nations, won decades of respect and formed lasting strategic alliances. A bargain.

Men on Moon: $237 billion. The stimulus package is like three-and-a-half Apollos. With $850 billion we could probably put a man on Mars [insert obligatory Dick Cheney joke here].

Vietnam War: $698 billion. Iraq War: $597 billion. Korean War: $454 billion. So the stimulus package could properly be described as "war-sized."

The only thing in our history that cost more was World War II ($3.6 trillion), which merely saved Europe and the Pacific from fascist imperialism and whatnot.

There are solid, macroeconomic, Keynesian reasons for spending $850 billion to juice the economy (number one reason being that the economy remains in an exceedingly precarious situation, in which things could go downhill dramatically), but this is going to test the discipline of Congress, where the easiest thing to do, always, is reward supporters with money, or try to buy support where it didn't exist before. A congressman the other day was telling me about how he hoped a project dear to his heart would get some of the money in the stimulus package. Now multiply that thought by 535 members of Congress. And by the thousands of registered lobbyists in Washington. Think of how many people are making pilgrimage into Pelosi's office to ask for their taste.

This is an old issue, by the way. Those of us who are long in the tooth recall the first months of Bill Clinton's presidency, when he, too, pushed for a stimulus package to get the economy going again.

The amount he asked for: 16.3 billion.

And, oh yes, it sparked furious debate.

Here's an excerpt of a story that ran in The Post on March 30, 1993:

"Several conservative Senate Democrats agreed yesterday to drop their opposition to President Clinton's $16.3 billion stimulus package, but soon afterward the president suffered an important defection and then lost to the Republicans on an important test vote.

"Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), generally viewed as a Clinton ally, announced yesterday he would oppose the spending part of stimulus package, describing it as a sop to special interest groups that would undermine efforts to reduce the deficit."

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 22, 2008; 10:31 AM ET
 
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Comments

Keysian, JA said Keynsian.

ROLL CALL! We are BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK.

Thanks, YJ, for the good deed on the kit alert.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 22, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Whenever I have to put together budget estimates my monetary quantum is $50K. That is, you estimate, say $250,000 dollars or $300,000 dollars, but never anything in between.

And I used to feel tremendous angst over my casual attitude towards the price of a nicely-turned out sportscar. I mean, I'm the guy who regularly agonizes over the differential cost of a mocha cappuccino as compared to regular brewed coffee.

But these high-level estimates show me the real meaning of Guesstimation. Do not for a moment believe that these estimated stimulus figures are based on anything more than back-of-the envelope calculations. The uncertainties are simply too great. It's the ROM (Rough Order of Magnitude) from Hell.

And maybe all this money will do nothing but good. Heck, one person's pork is another person's livelihood. I just worry that people will start forgetting that this is real money we are talking about. A rounding error measured in yachts is not something to be casual about.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 22, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

All those other big ticket non-war items gave us something tangible: highways, national parks, Tang, something. I'm still puzzled about what the financial bailout gives us except that we get to keep our jobs and houses.

I say we just give every American a $2,500 coupon good for anything labeled "Made In America". That sounds a little jingoistic, but it sure would incentivize some entrepreneur to start an HDTV assembly line somewhere in the Midwest.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I saw Hugh Jackman in "The Boy From Oz" (funny that he likes projects with Aussie call-outs) and he was FAAAABULOUS. He also gratuitously mentioned his wife multiple times during any press interviews during that period.

In other news for folks that enjoy humming showtunes, the Patti LuPone Gypsy is set to close in mid-January rather than March. See it soon.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

What the article said: "...but soon afterward the president suffered an important defection..."

vs.

what I saw in my first brief glance: "...but soon afterward the president suffered an important defecation..."

It pays to read carefully.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 22, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"A rounding error measured in yachts is not something to be casual about."

As always, RD, you make the important point in a most meaningful way.

Posted by: slyness | December 22, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Bob Kerrey. What a whiz. See today's NYTimes (or maybe Sunday's) for a story on his flakiness.

Posted by: chrismadison1 | December 22, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Being one who counts money in nickels, dimes and pennies (paper currency is almost unknown in our household), I throw things at the TV when they mention numbers this large.

Just in today... AIG execs are still flying around in their corporate jets. I suppose $200B or whatever their bailout was bought them a lot of jet fuel. I'm sure the governments and masseuses of Carribean nations are happy about this. Or is the Mediteranean the "in" destination this year?

All I know is that no matter how I cook my books, no matter how much curry or nutmeg or cinnamon I throw on them, at the end of the day I'm broke. Where's *my* bailout? We have food and a roof and the basics, and we're happy for them, but we work hard for them. When I see that my tax dollars are helping to pay for hotshot execs to jetset around while an auto factory just 10 miles north of me is being shut down -- they just laid off 1500 people -- possibly plummeting the whole region into a depression, I want someone to strangle.

Okay... deep breath... rant over...

So how is everyone in Boodleland today?

A little chilly here at 12F, but at least we're not blanketed in ice.

Peace out (and good luck)... :-)

Posted by: martooni | December 22, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Better yet, we came up with some thoughts on what $1 trillion will buy you. That's the figure being bandied about lately. Here's what it buys. See

http://saturdaymorningpost.com/2008/10/22/one-trillion-dollars/

Posted by: saturdaymorningpost | December 22, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, that was funny. Joel's kit is...sobbering and scary. We are really starting to look like a second-rate nation of me firsts. And don't "whining and negativity" go together this time of year?

But I liked the "long in the tooth" for obvious reasons. :-=

Happy birthday, TBG...a shining light among the waves of discord.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 22, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I have no doubt that public spending will be needed to soften this recession. But I have an uneasy feeling that it will become "throw enough money off the back of the truck and some of it will land in the right place." I wish Congress would pass these things project by project, so that there's some visibility into what's being done.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 22, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Thank, Joel, for that financial report.

And now, Sports!

Specifically, did anyone (besides a certain Motor City-centric Boodler) see coverage of the Lions' postgame interviews, where Rod Marinelli did a fine and classy job of defending his defensive coordinator (and son-in-law) from a questioner's (I refuse to refer to that entity as a "reporter") extended assault, which ended with the immortal query, "Rod, do you wish your daughter had married a better defensive coordinator?"

The questioner wins the A$$hat of the Eons Award, in my view. I believe it was Michael Strahan on the Fox postgame show that suggested the idiot should be bounced from the newsroom. I'm not inclined to argue against that suggestion. *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 22, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Savings and Loan Bailout the 1st used to be my Big Money denomination. I'm glad we learned so much from that.

I should post "Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it" repeatedly and often, pretending to forget that I already posted it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 22, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, TBG!

I don't know why I expected anything different, but it makes me angry that it's still pork-barrel politics. I'd like to see the stimulus package going towards real jobs with real needs, not wants.

People have been cutting back on unnecessary purchases. Washington should be doing no less. Another CCC, great. Streets? Highways? Schools? Great. The much-loved little railroad museum that couldn't, it's a shame, but not so much.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 22, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I would really like to see NYT columnist David Brooks expand on a phrase he used in a very recent op-ed: How the Zero Lost Its Meaning.

I don't know what you see around you at this time of year, but I'll trust the pen of local Metro columnist Ken Rodriguez when he writes that upstrata folks are competing with downstrata folks at the San Antonio Food Bank:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/columnists/ken_rodriguez/Out-of-work_professionals_added_to_ranks_needing_Food_Bank.html

“We're getting calls from people who live in Stone Oak [we took a wrong turn there yesterday, mistakenly, and I was floored by the expensiveness of the homes--not to mention the opulence...made me think of the area's opposite, South Town, instantly], from people next to The Dominion,” Luquin says. “I heard from one lady who is a nurse. She's got four kids, just got divorced and had her hours cut. She's stuck with a $2,700 mortgage, a car payment, and light and food bills. She's struggling.” ...

In this economy, food doesn't go as far as it used to. Demand is up. Donations are down. The food bank is rationing goods. ...

At a Food Fair some months ago, Luquin was struck by the vehicles pulling in. “Usually you see people come in old, beat-up cars,” he says. “But now we see them in Hummers and Escalades.”

Posted by: laloomis | December 22, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Reposting from previous boodle...

Hi all... thanks for the B'day wishes. Yes, lunch at the club sounds perfect today. Tee hee.

As for West Side Story... I think Mudge was being very kind. I don't want to sound like a negative nellie (sorry Nellie), and you all know that for the most part I'm an amazingly positive person, but I didn't like it at all.

Here's why...

I hated the use of Spanish during the songs. Sondheim wrote some fantastic lyrics and they were lost in Spanish, especially the beautiful juxtaposition of the Jets and Sharks together during the second "Tonight." Just didn't do the songs justice, I thought. And having to watch the surtitles meant I didn't see the action on stage. I didn't need to read them during the songs because I know them by heart, but during the dialog I did.

The costumes and hairstyles were HORRIBLE. It looked like the costume designer didn't know the different between the 1980s and the 1950s. It is a period piece... should have been period dressing and hairstyling.

Tony was bad... his voice was so quiet it sounded like he was holding back... singing through this throat. Since you mentioned that too, I know it wasn't because of where I was seated (front row Mezzanine--great seats.)

The acting was pretty bad... I thought the comic acting during Officer Krupke gave us a quick view of what they were capable of. The direction was lousy, I think.

All in all, it was to me on the level of a high school production.

Now you have to understand, I'm VERY EASY TO PLEASE. I love high school productions, but not a high school production that cost me $91 a ticket.

If this show goes to Broadway as is, I predict it will close in a week.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 22, 2008 11:48 AM

Posted by: -TBG- | December 22, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

And finally on the theater circuit, we have independent confirmation of mudge's West Side Story fire drill. It seems Sondheim himself was in the house.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2008/12/hey_isnt_that_30.html

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the theater review, TBG.

I accidentally boodled IN order for once. That has never happened to me before.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Just curious as to what makes an interest group "special"? I have an interest in seeing our collapsing bridges repaired-does that make me "special". I prefer that bridges not fall down while I am crossing them. As a resident of NOVA, I would like to see Metro extended to Dulles and Manassas as well as having our road system improved. "Special", or not? Some might call these projects pork. Those who fell into the Mississipi when the I-35 bridge collapsed might think it is wise to make some investments to maintain our infrastructure. I heard some people saying this morning on MSNBC that we should spend the the stimulus money on battery research-that seems pretty "special". I wonder how much money we can spend on battery research before we encounter diminishing returns? I do think those southern states, bless their hearts, that are against government spending should be excluded from the stimulus package. Otherwise they might be considered hypocrites. That would be "special"!

Posted by: cdierd1944 | December 22, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I define "Special interests" as those who want to benefit themselves, not their communities or the world; in fact they often want to benefit themselves at the expense of harming others.

But I don't think that is an official definition.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 22, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The kids these days have a very different definition of "special".

As in "Aren't you special?" usually accompanied by a spastic shaking of the forearms at the elbow.

I know, cruel and insensitive. Which is why they do it.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I know that I'm special. I have a Little Bean who loves me unconditionally. At least when none of her friends around.

Posted by: martooni | December 22, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

yello, I wonder if some of that "short bus" humor isn't exacerbated by the fact that the gifted kids and the developmentally disabled kids are lumped together in the "special education" category.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 22, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

And on the subject of Joel's topic:

These numbers are squishy in the extreme: they've been rounded and estimated and revised and transformed and translated to another context and so on. But from a random sample of internet sites, I find that the War Between the States cost about $6.6 billion in 1860 dollars which is supposedly equivalent to $170 billion in 2008 dollars.

The conclusion I draw from this is: given that the civil war had more American casualties than all our other wars put together, apparently the most efficient way to wage a war is to do it at home, against your own people. The cost per dead person is much less that way.

As far as "stimulus" packages, I'm generally opposed to them. I would support an increase in funds for unemployment benefits, possibly a small business loan initiative to help people become entrepreneurs. I believe in a safety net approach, but I think it's a mistake to think that if only we could take the economy back to where it was 10 years ago everything would be fine. I believe we need a new idea of what "prosperity" and a "healthy economy" look like. Consumer spending, especially in conjunction with increased consumer debt, is not the answer. Giving out blank checks to huge, mercenary, irresponsible corporations is not the answer, either.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 22, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"Giving out blank checks to huge, mercenary, irresponsible corporations is not the answer, either."

I would argue that it is part of the problem.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I was blown away by a local high school production of West Side Story a couple of years ago.

There was an excellent Fresh Air on Dec 11 discussing the bailout and the Harvard Prof, Elizabeth Warren, who has been appointed by Congress to monitor the $700 billion. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98123372

She sounds great. She made the point that in Britain, contingent on borrowing national money, the lending institutions had to agree to consumer-friendly actions. Whereas here, the banks were given the money with no restrictions. They can pile it in the vault. They can use it to buy troubled banks. And they can even use it to engage in the same anti-consumer schemes we've seen for the past 20 years e.g., cranking your APR from 9% to 29% because they didn't like you being late with your utility bill.

She tells a great story about getting a call at home from Harry Reed.

Posted by: davemarks | December 22, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Rather than rebuild the economy, maybe we could just hire 100,000 Cubans as experts on making do. They'd need an equal number of Americans to translate Cuban coping skills (grow plantains and Mamey sapote) to US equivalents (grow potatoes and apples).

Could the Mall be turned into the National Vegetable Garden?
__________________

The new kitchen is closer to completion--the counters were installed today. Really nice gneiss. I think it's really gneiss (metamorphic), not actual granite (chilled magma).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 22, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

There's lots of roadwork around here. One little project I noticed was pure pork: an interstate onramp was completely rebuilt so vehicles could merge into the slow right lane rather than the fast left. I used that onramp a lot, and I found it a pain to have to merge into the left lane of the interestate. Still, there were many projects more deserving. In fact, I could have used that entrance forever. It would have been okay.

Some will say that highway dollars are not fungible with, say, health care dollars. That's a problem with politics, not an iron law of nature.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 22, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I believe I have to re-post these two comments from the previous kit:

No, Tim. "Eloquent nipples" is not available as a Boodle handle. Don't even ask.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 12:42 PM

A report from Colonial Williamsburg: due to the economy, the convention business down there is suffering mightily. After the holiday season, they are closing the taverns (Chowning's, King's Arms (my fav) and Christiana Campbell's) for the rest of the winter (lack of tourists). They have also laid off 140 workers including no less than 40 chefs. The Williamsburg Inn is closing its convention business from January to March, something like that.

Very disconcerting.

---------------

In other matters, I am happy to know Steve (Sondheim) was at West Side Story. Saw him in the lobby, chatted with him a few minutes, gave him a couple of ideas for musicals, such as "Crawford!" about a very slow special education student from Texas who grows up to be president of the United States (Tommy Tune gets to play Dick Cheney, and Patti LaPone is Hillary; she brings down the house when she sings "Don't Cry for Me, Argetsinger!")

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Bertooch, your 2:15 is right on the money (no pun intended) (well, yes, it sorta was, I guess). The Civil War was actually a real cost-effective war as far as needless bloody conflicts go. One of the reasons is that transportation costs were nearly non-existent--hardly anybody had to go anywhere. And when they did go somewhere, they walked. And stole cherries from the orchards they passed, thereby solving two or three other problems en route, such as constipation (constipation is a serious wartime issue when you are being bombarded by the enemy, because...well...things tend to "tighten up" if ya know what I mean). So except for getting sick and dying, the troops tended to have good GI activity. Plus they got their cardo exercise by all that walking.

I think we could have savedf a great deal of money in the War in Iraq if we hadn't actually gone there and, yanno, stayed like...well, here. And then the troops could have marched out to the Blue Ridge in just a few short days, instead of having to fly halfway round the world (since there were just as many WMD in Iraq as there were in, say, Harrisonburg. And hell, I'll throw in Harper's Ferry too.

We could pretend to be searching for Osama bin Laden out around Massanutten. Instead of having poorly armored Hummers, we could have had poorly armored Kias and Yugos, and we could have hired Blackwater to guard our convoys into Staunton or Cross Keys for supplies, deli food, and more wine. Think of the money we'd have saved! And instead of waterboarding we could have had snowboarding up around Ski Liberty.

It would have saved sooooooooooo much money.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Just to play devil's advocate, Jumper, a right hand ramp has to be way safer than a left hand ramp and probably saves lives while increasing the capacity of ramp.

As for the financial trade-offs, one extreme would be to put all road construction funds into health care coverage for the uninsured. And if nobody could get to the hospital, how good would that be? Clearly SOME money must be spent on roads. Just how much is the question. There are always trade-offs in assessing priorities and that is part of the political process. I'm not arguing that our current priorities are correct, far from it.

In the last half decade we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars sending very expensive machinery half way across the globe to let people blow it up. Very little return on investment there. Particularly when you factor in the cost of health care for the people injured in and around said debris.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci's use of the term "war between the states" brought to mind Jean Edward Smith's review of "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief":

"McPherson, the George Henry Davis ’86 emeritus professor of history at Prince­ton, handles the issue of secession adroitly. This was not a war between the states, much less between sovereign countries. It was a war of treason and rebellion. The Constitution reflected the work of the people, not the states, and the people had made it supreme."

So much for romanticism, gallantry, etc. The war was won by crushing the rebellion, killing or maiming a large portion of the rebels and destroying quite a bit of their stuff. For the (diminished) United States, however, the war seems to have been an economic stimulus.
______________________
(I'm probably in a foul mood from being up all night with a cold. Didn't help that Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at the Telegraph suspects the riots in Greece and unprecedented protests in Russia are the beginning of the riotous part of the Big Crisis. Could it be the start of something like 1968, but much bigger. *Yawning*).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 22, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I think mudge is on my same line of thinking only much wittier as usual.

But his Broadway book-writing skills need improving. "Crawford" would not have the upbeat happy ending the theater crowd demands. And the deus ex machina ending with the socialist half-Kenyan descending from the heavens, giving everybody their wish, and sending them all back to Kansas just by clicking their heels is just too far fetched for even a "Wicked" trained audience to buy.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

A friend works for Chevy Chase Bank. Like Will Rogers, all I know is what I read in the papers, and a little about what I hear from her.

But as near as I can tell Capital One took its more-or-less 3 1/2 billion dollars of taxpayer funded bailout, and immediately went to buy Chevy Chase. From what I can read, Capital One is planning to reduce the car loans it makes this coming year by about 45%. And I've also seen in print that they have increased the dividends to their stockholders by 14 times this past year.

I feel that I'll probably spit in the face of the next congressperson I see. Am I missing something above? Possibly I'm mistaken and expectoration is not actually a proper response to this information?

Posted by: lese1 | December 22, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

yello, my "Crawford!" would too have a happy, upbeat ending. At the end, the president and Cheney take a tip from Wolfowicz and go to get a shave from Sweeney Todd.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 22, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

A little more expensive than making war at home would have been to invade BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan but with the benefit of getting huge domestic oil reserves.
Much less risky than invading Iraq too, the Douckhobors and Mennonites are quite unlikely to take opportunity of the confusion to start a religious war.
And almost nobody has a cache of explosives, RPGs, AK47s and ammo in their backyard.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 22, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Twenty-eight more days, Mudge, just 28 days.

Kber, the students at the North Carolina School of Science and Math joke about all the short buses the school owns. With 700 or so kids, all of whom live on campus, they don't need regular buses.

Posted by: slyness | December 22, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes... the Christmas shopping is done (for me, anyway). A quick trip to the tobaccy shop and a stop on the way home at Walgreens. All done.

(of course, Mrs. M has been at it for months, so there wasn't much left for me to do)

Anyway, I'm thinking of planning a bus trip to Wall Street (or wherever all the bailed-out financial firms live). It will be a walking tour, so bring a flask of your favorite cow-tipping beverage and wear comfy shoes. But I need to buy several thousand rolls of toilet paper, a couple hundred paper bags, and a big pile of dog poo. Oh, and some matches (for the bags of dog poo).

Where *does* one buy a big pile of dog poo this time of year? Wilbrodog... think you can help out on the poo? I'll slip you all the people food you can eat.

Posted by: martooni | December 22, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

$850 Billion to send Cheney to Mars?

I could do it for a *lot* less - like 1000th of that.

This, of course, presumes that you don't want him back.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 22, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

SCC: 1/1000th.

Thank you.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 22, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know why none of the first $350 billion of TARP money went to assist "worthy" homeowners who were having trouble with their mortgages?

Why is Treasury so inadequate and incompetent in accounting for how that first $350 billion was used?

Why do we have to bail out Detroit? When the dot.com bubble burst, where were the federal dollars? If you design and manufacture a lousy mousetrap that no one wants, why do we have to give money to the mousetrap makers?

In an economic downtown, why are federal government workers never laid off? State employees seem to feel the pain, but not feds. Why?

As my husband says, the shoe that al Zaidi threw should have hit the S.O.B.

Posted by: laloomis | December 22, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Most anyone who knows basic arithmetic realizes that the Iraq war is going to cost us more than $trillion. So, why do we hear all this whining about spending $800 billion to restore our infrastructure that has been allowed to deteriorate for the last 8 years? If building roads is pork what is an unwarranted and poorly executed war? At least you can eat pork if your religion allows it. I would say thanks but no thanks to that war to nowhere. You betcha!

Posted by: cdierd1944 | December 22, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm with ya, cdierd.

The thing that gets me is that when we go to war (for right, wrong or indifferent reasons), we're supposed to have a "war economy", which used to mean a boon. Where's the boon this time around? I'm sure Haliburton did well in all this, but how come Detroit didn't retool their factories to make war-ready Hummers or tanks or airplanes. Why was Rosie the Riveter told to go shopping instead of doing something productive? Where are our Victory Gardens and all that? Are the returning vets going to be able to afford to buy new homes and cars like my grandfathers when they returned from WWII?

Loomis... I don't agree with you often, but I do agree that if those shoes had been aimed just a *little* bit lower... it would have been a very welcome "Emeril" moment. BAM!

Now I'm off to see whether the paint I just put on my little doors dried or froze. 14F isn't exactly ideal painting temperature. It may be time to move painting operations indoors until spring.

Posted by: martooni | December 22, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I hear ya, yello. But I keep track of the accident locations by location/rank around here, and that wasn't one of them. Also we tend to be a bit more anti-road around here because the city got a perimeter loop a while back that all the planners with foresight said was a bad idea, and lo and behold, it's turned out to be a bad idea. It was turned into a landrape tool for developers, with far more exits going in than originally designed for. The results have been horrible. Congestion increased, which I'll posit was not the result the taxpayers desired. But having said that, implementing smart growth with surgically precise infrastructure improvements is not "pork." It's, well, smart.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 22, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Cost comparisons across time are futile, no? The use of currency and the types of goods available vary too widely over large time periods. Two centuries ago much of the economy was still barter; one century ago no amount of money could buy a PC or a reliable car, etc.

Posted by: CJMiva | December 22, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

See, mudge, my idea of a happy ending would be too close to "Assassins" for the taste of the Secret Service. And Sondheim has been there and done that.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Importance of railroads in the Civil War:
http://www.gatewaynmra.org/articles/civil-war1.htm

I will also notice that Germany and Japan when restored quickly resumed producing high-quality optics, machines, machine tools, steel, etc.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 22, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Highway development projects ring so true to the precepts of Honest Graft that I'm impressed the practice continues on so well to this day. A lot of Graham cronies in South Florida made tons of money building by highways to nowhere in the swamp while the Tampa area infrastructure literally crumbled.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Although I find the listing of rhetorical questions an intellectual lazy method of commentary, the question of why Federal employees cannot be laid off is a legitimate ones.

Federal employees can, and have, been laid off if Congress so decrees. For the number of Federal Employees is, roughly speaking, determined by Congress. Each department is given a certain number of "slots" to fill. Right now the number of slots actually exceeds the total number of employees. (This is partly why so many contractors are on the payroll.)

Now, the number and distribution of these slots is a function of national priorities as determined by Congress. The Government is hiring because Congress has decreed that the services provided by more government workers is a higher priority than the national deficit. In this, the hiring of people is no different than any of the other kinds of deficit spending that Congress has the power to authorize.

In general, state governments, for better or worse, do not have that power.


Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 22, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse


"Ontario government ends buck-a-bottle beer pricing"

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081221.wcheapsuds1221/BNStory/National/home

A "b c", surely not our bc, commented "here's the cost of education rising again..."

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 22, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that more meaningful indicator would be to divide the the real (inflation adjusted) dollars by the population at the time yielding real dollars per capita. The truth is, it is going to take a bigger stimulus to get the current economy moving simply because there are more of us to move.

Posted by: DrS1 | December 22, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

No more buck a beer!?! Outrageous!
Tell me, when joining an angry mob is one expected to bring a pitchfork and a torch or will I be ok with just the fork.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 22, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Angry Mob - Ontario, now there is something you don't hear everyday. They would just get cold and slip into the nearest bar for a cold one at $5.00 a bottle.

As Canadians we really don't do outrage well.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 22, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

That's true, isn't it? We are superb at stewing and resenting, though.

My view is that torches are for formal affairs. If an angry mob gathers on Christmas night, a torch is de rigueur. Otherwise, torch optional is on the invitation.

Posted by: Yoki | December 22, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Besmirching Wall Street
With my own digestive work
Is too good for it.

-Wilbrodog-

(Sorry mate, you'll have to dial up doggy daycares in NYC instead for their output).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 22, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

And me an erstwhile home brewer...

I could come up with a trans-temporal inflation guide. I'd add the cost of a dozen eggs, a loaf of bread, a chronometer, a transit, a yard of cotton weave, a dressed chicken, a ham, a box of stationery. I'd be pretty accurate.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 22, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

So a good torch and pitchfork protest, is a black tie affair :-)

Posted by: dmd2 | December 22, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

When my dad was alive I went down to Florida for some Christmases. One year on Christmas day my father and I had an urge to get out of the house for a while. I think the womenfolk were fine with this idea. So we decided to go to a place about 20 miles away, a natural spring that had been converted to a State Park since I grew up.

This place had two upwelling springs within 50 yards of each other, which fed into a river which, much farther downstream, fed into another more famous river. It had always been popular among the local region's people, and what with the increasing mobility of the '70s and '80s it had been attracting probably too much traffic from the whole end of the state. The whole area had been opened up to more cultivation, too. The state park ended up an island of wildness surrounded by modern farming.

We would tube down it in the endless Southern summertimes, and drink wine, and flirt, and feel bad when we learned the Boy Scouts cleaned the bottles and cans from the careless litterers. With pride of place, then, we never littered there again.

The springs were beautiful. Crystal clear blue waters welled up from a deep limestone underground aquifer. Beautiful lush species of river plants. There were tales of Indian holy land, and fountains of youth.

The water always felt cold when diving in, but it was about 70 Farenheit, warmer than other places in the US. And it was 70 all year round. A few strokes of vigorous swimming and it always became refreshing, not cold.

Since my teen years, they'd officialized the process. The sign said "closed" at the kiosk where you stopped and paid in the summer, now. So my dad and I drove in, and we were the only ones there. I swam and my dad collected duckweed for his aquarium at home. He said I was probably crazy. I protested. Swimming was good on Christmas day. Only the moments getting out, wrapping in a towel, were chilly. There was, after all, a warm automobile after the swim.

The next Christmas I was there, we repeated the adventure. Just him and me. It had then become a tradition.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 22, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, that's beautiful, and so well said. Thank you.

Posted by: Yoki | December 22, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Why editing is important:

The "we" in the third paragraph refers to my schooly compatriots. My father was not, at that time, tubing down the river "flirting" with the girls alongside me. He was doubtless at work then. He was, of course, familiar with the same spot from other, family outings. Carry on.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 22, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Well, we know it is a mistake to over-accessorize for informal events :)

Posted by: Yoki | December 22, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification, Jumper.

Posted by: seasea | December 22, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

We're making Christmas cookies right now (well, Bean and Mrs M. are, I'm just stupidvising).

Jumper... that sounds a lot like "Shooting the Hootch" in Atlanta (as in the Chattahoochee River). We used to start up around where I lived in Smyrna/Marietta, then ride the muddy waters down to Stone Mountain to catch the bus back. Many beers were consumed en route. Whoever designed beer coolers to float should be granted sainthood (or a patent).

I hope to have days like that with Bean, but I have to wait for her to grow up a little bit (and probably me, too). I doubt it would be proper to give a six-year-old brewskies, especially when her mother is around. But I can wait. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | December 22, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Jumper,

Sounds a lot like the Alafia River near where I lived as a teenager. It was also a spring fed river. I never went outside of the traditional season for tubing.

My dad had a tradition of going water skiing the weekend after Thanksgiving. By then Lake Tarpon would be getting a little chilly, so it was more just to be able to brag to people he called or wrote during the holiday season.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Yello, Mr. T talks about waterskiing on Lake Norman (north of Charlotte) the first weekend in November, in years when fall was warm. That was, however, in the mid 70's. So maybe we have global warming backwards.

Howsomever, I think I recall that the point of global warming is that it will cause more extreme weather - such as seasea is experiencing. Isn't that right?

We had the coldest November in 30 years around here. I'm not a cold weather fan, but I do like the weather to be seasonal, so I'm not complaining.

Posted by: slyness | December 22, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I've also shot the Hootch. My wife worked summers at Six Flags and a bunch of her coworkers got a party together. Of course there was beer involved. And lots of sunscreen. We made sure the beer had its own raft.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

$850 billion is petty cash to the US government. This could have been used to pay off the credit card debt that is killing Americans. The US government deliberately ignored the credit card scandal that has now crippled the average American with over $15,000 of high interest debt that can never be paid off because people can only afford the minimum payment. George Bush hurried up and passed credit card "reform", which was a bandaide and does not go into effect for 18-months.

Treason! Hang the man!

Posted by: maphound | December 22, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, did you catch this story?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/21/AR2008122100983.html?hpid=sec-nation

I am ready for a new administration and for the mess in Iraq to be done.

Posted by: slyness | December 22, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Jumper1, wonderful story. I too have been to those springs back in thw late 70's. My husband and I would travel up from Miami for the weekend and tent camp nearby.

We'd put on our masks and dive to the bottom of the spring for a few minutes. So refreshing in the summer sun (or fall sun). The water was exceptionally clear as you mentioned--something one doesn't forget. We also canoed in the attached river and often had river otters follow us while the occasional alligator lounged nearby. I loved it.

Thanks for bringing back memories of such happy, carefree days.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 22, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Has everyone gone to bed? Yoki? Windy? CP? slyness?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 22, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

You should go to bed too mudge.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 22, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Watching Mary Tyler Moore, Christmas hosted by Sue Anne Nivens....and falling asleep. Night Mudge and YelloJ

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 22, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Turned the grant in this afternoon-24 hours to spare. Returned to Chez Frostbitten from St. Paul with Mr. F (great), pipes frozen (not great but already thawed). As I like to say, at -20 "everything breaks."

Too tired to back boodle but glad to be back.

Toodles and fondue!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 22, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm here, 'mudge! (as always, the curse of the insomniac is upon me).

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Quite a way for the last Monday Night Football game of the season to end, I think.

Chicago blocked a Green Bay field goal try towards the end of regulation to send it to OT, and the Bears, who got knocked around for three and a half quarters, pulled it together after the OT coin flip clanged off of Bear LB Brian Urlacher's helm before said dollar landed in the frozen tundra of Soldier Field, indicating that Chicago had in fact won the toss and would recieve.

Not only did they recieve, they marched down and made a 38-yard field goal in OT, the very same distance that GB tried with 24 seconds left in the 4th quarter...

Good stuff.

And you Canadians, er, don't y'all save your torches for the day after Christmas, so you can mark Boxing Day with a big cardboard bonfire?

bc

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 23, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm winding down from a busy day. Thanks to all for the positive energy earlier today. My FIL had a routine surgery and is beginning to convalesce. I've spent nearly a week of afternoons doing a R&R outdoors at the playhouse/necessary house, turning a door frame from one that would accept a 38" door to take a 40" door. This should never be done without a 4' level, to ensure that everything is plumb. One should also be sure to take 1/8" off the measurement from the top of the door jamb to the top of each hinge mounted in the jamb, thus ensuring proper placement of the hinges on the door, and the mortises for said hinges. The door had to be replaced to make room for yard implements that will now be stored in a weather proof area. I need to finish the shower that was started this past summer and install the dishwasher. Then, I can coast into summer.

Posted by: -jack- | December 23, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

*snort*

That is not what Boxing Day is, bc.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

hi, folks.

i'll be heading east for xmas tomorrow and gone for about a week. hope to lurk, but the folks only have dial-up, so...

happy holidays to everyone!

Posted by: LALurker | December 23, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Hope you have a very, very happy Holiday, LAlurker. So great to see you here.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

I spent most of the day Monday preparing Brunswick Stew for the bowling league potluck earlier tonight. (My boss was pretty amused when I told her that I had to leave early to go cook something.) I substantially underestimated how popular it would be at the bowling alley, and drastically overestimated how much I should leave behind at home for future lunches.

Yay, modern conveniences like freezers!

Posted by: bobsewell | December 23, 2008 2:22 AM | Report abuse

This estimating is a perilous business, bobsewell. Did you have game in that stew?

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 2:27 AM | Report abuse

For those unfortunate souls who've never come across Brunswick Stew, just think of it as "barbecue soup". That's a pretty good approximation.

For those truly unfortunate souls who don't know what "barbecue" is, we really must talk sometime. You are in some very serious peril.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 23, 2008 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Mrs. Rombauer's original recipe for Brunswick Stew starts:

Take a brace of squirrels, and clean them (see p. 871 for Squirrels, cleaning)...

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 2:30 AM | Report abuse

Yoki - Now that I'm up here in the DC 'burbs, they look at me funny if I go after the squirrel & 'coon that I would traditionally use for flavoring. Alas, I made do with a Boston [pork] butt, a [beef] brisket, and a roasted chicken, plus a bit of bacon & ham hock.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 23, 2008 2:31 AM | Report abuse

And I guess that would be See p. 379, butt [pork], preparation...

A smoked barbequed pork butt is a fine thing, isn't it? We don't get that way up here, but I've known it.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 2:34 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, if you continue to show appreciation for these matters, there just might be a "Let's cook some Butt!" T-shirt in your future. I happen to know where such things can be obtained.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 23, 2008 2:39 AM | Report abuse

bobsewell, in that case, let us sing of a whole brisket, 15 hours in the smoker, a vinigar sauce and soft bun, slaw, piled high. With a cold beer from the bottle.

Yes, it's true. In my innermost soul, I am Hank Hill. Only better-dressed.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 2:47 AM | Report abuse

TBG, Happy Birthday and many happy returns!

By the time the economy is fully stimulated, the tab would very likely be more than $850 billion. This amount is fine if it works. However, this is an unprecedented situation - a global recession, so you are just praying it will work. Your biggest fear is it won’t work enough and the deep recession becomes long and painful. Also, the stimulus plan might only benefit some sectors of the economy. The bulk of the half a million jobless people in the finance sector might not be able to benefit from the stimulus plan.

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 23, 2008 4:11 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Yoki, your 2:47 cracked me up. And good to hear from you, Bob.

I cannot wrap my mind around the dollars amounts mentioned in the kit. That's a lot of money, and no way for me to fathom such amounts, much less their use. I'm not like some folks concerning bail outs, although I agree they shouldn't be given to up some folks' compensation packages. When one talks about bailouts, I believe it to be personal. For instance, take the bailout for the car companies, we're talking here people's lives and their jobs. If we say no, then it satisfies those that say they don't deserve the money. They should have done a better job. If we say yes, then we save some jobs and don't add to the existing loss of jobs, which means, people working. And to my crazy way of thinking, that's so much better. I do believe a lot of people unemployed sends the security meter for the country in the red zone. Not good, and the potential for chaos.

I read Eugene Robinson this morning. Please read it and tell me what you get from the President's take on Iraq, and his reason for invading when asked about from ABC's Martha R. His response was, "so what".

Mudge, Slyness, Scotty, Martooni, Yoki, and all the gang, good morning.*waving*

My event at the health department yesterday included a survey about HIV and personal habits in that area. It was a real comic moment for me, and some of the others.

I want to walk this morning. There is no need of stopping now just because the weather is a little chilly. Yeah, right. Have a great day, folks. I hope everyone has everything lined up for Christmas.

Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 23, 2008 5:40 AM | Report abuse

http://jumpersbloghouse.blogspot.com/2007/04/okay-heres-story-of-barbecue-there-are.html

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 23, 2008 5:41 AM | Report abuse

'morning all, Cassandra and Jumper.

A Brunswick stew without squirrels, 'coon or 'possum! The horror. You need either a rodent or a roadkill for proper Brunswick stew, no?

It's an invigorating -26C/-15F here this morning. This Alberta weather has spread all over. For the first time since 1971 there will be a white Christmas A mari Usque ad Mare.

Looks like we need 4 billions to salvage Ontario's car industry. We watched BC, Quebec, New Brunswick and Northern Ontario wood and paper industries died over the last 7-8 years from protectionism in the US and the general downturn in construction. Entire towns had to close when the mills were shut down. Those folk will get angry to see the Southern Ontario unionized workers of the big three get the bailout package.
Giving taxpayers money to the club of billionaires at Cerberus, Chrysler's owner, seriously disturbs me.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 23, 2008 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Even though I was born in Texas, put me on the Carolina side of the barbecue holy wars. If God had meant for cows to be barbecued, he would have made them smaller and tastier. And then they would be pigs.

And true barbecue requires that you put your life in danger just getting to the place of business. The best barbecue in Atlanta is next to the penitentiary.

Here in Merlin we have that distant cousin known as pit beef which will do in a pinch. Quality is judged by the ramshackleness of the venue. The closer the building appears to imminent collapse, the better the pit beef.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 6:19 AM | Report abuse

For your birthday and always, TBG:

http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=787

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 23, 2008 6:25 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Cassandra, I'd be happy to answer your question about how I felt when I read that Bush quote: I wanted to b1tch-slap that glassbowl senseless.

I think that about sums it up. Oh, yes, Robinson's column was very good.

Richard Cohen and E.J. Dionne both weigh in on the Rick Warren/Obama kerfluffle. Cohen is predictably outraged, like many on the left, while Dionne takes the view of a few commentaters that Obama is "up to something" and/or that it was a smart, concilliatory move.

I, too, was angry when I read about it -- but on the whole I have to side with Dionne on this one. Here's why: often during the election, I was one who wanted to see Obama come out with stronger anti-Bush language, the give-'em-hell approach -- and Obama just wouldn't do it. The thing is, Obama was right and I was wrong, and he was smarter than me. And so I have learned that when I disagree with Obama on tactics, that just maybe he's a step or two ahead of me. Maybe he will succeed in turning Warren around a little bit. So I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt on this one. (And I'm independently annoyed at how umbraged a lot of the left are over this. Part of me says, "Who gives a damn who the preacher is and what mumbo-jumbo he says. It's clear he isn't speaking for Obama." To which some would reply, "Well, it *looks* like he's speaking for Obama" -- to which I say bushwa.) Cohen's (and others) contention is that Obama should show "moral leadership" -- which means he should make a pointless statement that will send him down in flames before he's even taken office. The left dearly loves openly suicidal, self-defeating acts of high moral purpose and futility. This is one. I firmly believe that in 8 years Obama will do more for gay rights by working very quietly behind the scenes, and allowing things to percolate, than by making some big, showy, self-defeating gesture.

OK, gotta run.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 23, 2008 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all and Happy Birthday to TBG. Charmingly done, DNA Girl!

It appears that a little bit of brunswick stew history is needed here, although, must admit, the history depends on your region. Anyway, it evolved from an abundance of summer vegetables in the garden, and probably rabbit and/or squirrel. Must haves are butterbeans, corn, tomatoes, onions, potatoes. Some folks cook it all day, they like it to be thick mush (yuck). I cook it for half a day, as I like to see what I am eating, and serve with biscuits (and a bit of smithfield ham, if I have it) to soak up the broth.

Slyness, today I do the cheese straws, but for lack of patience, I do them as cookies with a pecan on top.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 23, 2008 6:51 AM | Report abuse

SCC: a half of a shelled pecan on top.....makes a big difference!!!

Posted by: VintageLady | December 23, 2008 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Barbeque and Brunswick stew! Now we are talking food that is dear to the heart of any Carolinian. Add country ham and you've got the perfect trifecta.

Mr. T and I have tried all the barbeque places in Western North Carolina and will gladly share our favorites. The very best I have ever had, though, is the barbeque made in the community where he grew up. They do it twice a year, spring and early fall, and we buy enough to freeze to get us through. It's a hybrid by NC standards: Boston butts cooked over hickory coals, with vinegar-based sauce and mustard slaw.

Vintage Lady has Brunswick stew right. It's just whatever you want to do. I made a pot last week with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and it disappeared in a hurry.

Yoki, sometime you must visit and we'll make the rounds of barbeque places.

VL, your version of cheese straws is much easier on the wrists. I've got to make another batch, and I'm dreading the strain. I see a new cookie press in my future!

And I HAVE to mop the kitchen floor today!

Posted by: slyness | December 23, 2008 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Whatever you want to do??? In that case, slyness, my Brunswick stew includes scallops, bacon and lobstah...

:-)

Someone please point out the clever person who said the workdays around Xmas and New Year's are "quiet." Gotta have a talk with that boy (couldn't be a lady, they're too smart).

*rosy-cheeked-after-another-marvelously-brisk-Dawn-Patrol-and-wondering-why-Wednesday-is-taking-its-sweet-time-getting-here Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 23, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Rick Warren sends "right start for the day" via email to my computer every day. They are messages of hope and love through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. I read them, they help me. And, for the life of me, I cannot understand why there are those who are sooooooooooo upset about a benediction by him at Obama's swearing in ceremony, which takes, maybe five minues. Billy Graham is no longer able to perform that honor, if not Warren, who would be better? This is not a cabinet post, this is a simple part of a very significant ceremony for Obama, and it is his choice, forgoodnesssake.

You know, here in the boodle, everyone sends blessings and prayers and hugs for all who need them. It is a "well done" boodle standard, not to be dismissed..

While on my little rant, I find all the media attention about Caroline Kennedy is of no signifigance at all, unless the opin comes from someone who is actually a resident in New York State. She/he will be their senator, not mine.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 23, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Cassandra. Always a pleasure to make you smile.

A morning full of wonders, kindess and hope (and just a bit of shopping).

Have a very happy day, dear friends.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Like Mudge, I think Dionne's take on Warren-Obama moment is reasonable.

People are impatient, particularly for justice. The bell weather about young people reveals the even evangelical 20-somethings are remarkably life and let live.....as Pooh says, we will get there, someday.

(Don't slam me if you disagree!: just tell me and why.) I agree with Warren -- who like Jim Wallace of Sojourners -- reminds all of the huge work to be done on poverty and peace. Note: I am more in Wallace camp that the Warren camp, anyway.

Obama's broad egalitarian gesture here is the middle ground, revealed. That he is angering libs and cons means he is about right.

About the economy and the greed-skimming off the top, well my goodness. How do some people sleep at night. At midlife, I guess I am getting a clue: right and wrong is rather nebulous to many.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 23, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

jack, if I read that correctly, yor FIL's surgery went OK? That's good to hear.

Ah, barbecue and Brunswick stew, indeed.

I grew up around DC, so there was plenty of BBQ around for me (in the Carolina styles for the most part), Brunswick stew was an unusual treat. But I did learn the value in combining different types of meat from it, which is how I developed my chili recipe.

Now to actually read some of what's in today's Post...

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 23, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Somebody asked me yesterday in an e-mail -- was it you, Wilbrod? -- if I had a link to that Russian jet fighter video we were discussing. Well, my source came through, and here it is, with some interesting commentary to boot: http://www.rense.com/general75/superw.htm

(For those of you who missed it, this is a video of a Russian fighter plane doing some really incredible things.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I really don't know much about Rick Warren but he does seem to be a kinder gentler evangelical and not out of the Falwell/Swaggart/Baker charlatan mold. I am sure Obama saw this as a clever way to co-opt him and neutralize at least one point of possible opposition, but it seems to have backfired.

It does strike me as odd that both of our most recent Democratic president's first snafu has been for insufficient kowtowing to the gay and lesbian community. Part of this, of course, is backlash from the Prop 8 passage, but there is also an intractable militant wing that, much like the most radical animal rights groups, is completely uncompromising.

Still, Warren is an evangelical Christian and there is a certain amount of baggage that goes with that. I guess he could go without an invocation or find a Tupac Chopra new-agey person, but that would play right into the hands of his haters.

I predict that in an attempt to placate the GLBT****(future sub-groups to be determined later) community there will be portions of the inauguration that will be gayer than the Dupont Circle Labor Day Drag Races.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I second Scotty's comment on the demise of the quiet work days around Christmas. Someone e-mailed me a request last Saturday afternoon, and he did it from work. Some other guy got grumpy with me yesterday because I told him we would address his request only in early January. These people have no life?

Yoki, I've found spriral-cut ham in the fridge of a national chain. The chain owned by the golden boy who insists on doing his own TV pitch but only reminds me of the bread with no nutritional value whatsoever.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 23, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Shriek very funny description of said Grocery magnet jr.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 23, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Historians will have generations to dissect just which of Dubya's many character flaws was most damning, and I'm partial to his unresolved Daddy issues, but the one most on display recently has been his jocular lack of remorse. Even when he is trying to be sincere and serious he comes off as bored and smirky.

He goes to Walter Reed to visit the injured troops he has sent into harm's way for no valuable reason and, oh, by the way, gets an MRI and cortisone shot for his shoulder. Brought on no doubt from either mountain biking or shoe ducking.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/22/AR2008122201840.html

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

VL, the reason why so many are outraged about Rick Warren is because of what he said about gays and gay marriage--he went waaaay over the top and went out of his way to be offensive. In so far as that is concerned, I share the umbrage, and think he owes the gay community an apology. I can understand (but disagree with) his objection to gay marriage, but he could have kept his remarks to a simple objection and disagreement; he didn't have to be insulting. So that's what the umbrage is about.

If he confines his benediction to the straight-forward middle-of-the-road non-denominational and ecumenical stuff one would expect (and which I'm sure the Obama people are vetting like crazy), it'll be OK. However, Warren already did the damage. (I never liked Billy Graham, but at least Graham had the sense to keep his mouth shut about controversial issues.)

What the left wants is to publicly punish Warren. I think what Obama wants is to subvert him. The Conserv/rightwing/evangelicals are deeply concerned that rather than Warren influencing Obama, Obama will influence (and moderate) Warren. In that battle, my money's on the 'Bamanator.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Ah, no poking fun at the little grocery magnate, jr. He's cute as a button!

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Off to errands. But this too in the annals of stew: Frogmore but no frogs; tis what's for Christmas Day here.

No fair: Canadians get the tire thingie and the grocery boy thingin.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 23, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you on Warren, Mudge.

There's a whole chapter in The Big Sort about Warren and how he got where he is. Interesting stuff. I wonder how much of a deficit Saddleback Church is facing right now? The economy has hit non-profits hard, and churches aren't exempt from that.

Posted by: slyness | December 23, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

That's because Canada is cool, CP. The Economist said so.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Canuckis-- I don't know the grocery guy you're talking about.

SD and Scotty, sorry about your holiday workload. Our place is deader than the Lions' offense.

And how 'bout da Bearz come-from-behind win? Omni walks off with this week's tiara, which I'm sure will go well with his Christmas outfit. And LiT looked like she was gonna come up a winner there for a while. I won't discuss my own performance this past week. Suffice it to say it looked like some sort of roadkill you guys wouldn't even put in a Brunswick stew.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Galen Weston,

http://video.google.ca/videosearch?hl=en&lr=&pwst=1&resnum=0&q=galen%20weston%20president's%20choice&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#q=galen%20weston&hl=en&emb=0&start=0

Note the grown up not the baby.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 23, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Back in the late 70s I worked a couple of shift at the big Weston bakery on Montreal's south shore as a summer job. I was real happy to soon find a place with better pay and a lower temperature. Cripes that place was hot.
So when I see Golden Boy trying to do a Dave Nichols I think nylon bread; not hey I'll go buy a TV and a microwave at the grocery store.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 23, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galen_G._Weston

At first I thought this entry must be wrong, and then realized no, I'm just old. It is in fact possible for somebody born in 1974 to be the CEO of a big company. I'm going back to bed to pull the covers over my head.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

The only grocery store magnate I know that does his own commercials is that weaselly-looking guy that used to do Food Lion commercials bragging about how many corners they cut until ABC revealed that they also bleach rotten meat and put it back on sale.

But my familiarity with him is solely based on watching waaay too much ACC basketball over the years.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

This Hour has Twenty Two Minutes, version of a Galen Weston commercial,

http://www.cbc.ca/22minutes/videoplayer2.html

Posted by: dmd2 | December 23, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The left wants to publicly punish Warren? I don't think so. I saw chats on cable TV yesterday with Barney Frank as well as a spokesman for the gay, lesbian and transgender communities and I didn't come away from listening with the thought that anyone was out to punish. It may be otherwise in print, but please show me where.

The opinions I heard expressed is that there are plenty of other evangelical pastors who oppose gay marriage, but none, so much as Rick Warren, who have made such outrageous over-the-top statements about gays--you know, Warren's statements about polygamy, incest, etc.--statements quite outdated and used to incite fear and hatred. (Warren's comment this past weekend in Long Beach make him seem incredibly hypocritical.)

It was also pointed out yesterday that Obama probably chose Warren because of his following--the size of the following, some 30 million individuals. The logic is that Obama chose Warren because it was extremely politically expedient: typical Obama. Why reach out to just a measly handful of millions?

This is just another Obama pastor problem. In my opinion, Obama should throw Warren under the bus, like he did Rev. Wright. If Warren delivers the invocation, I hope some group or inviduals disturb the delivery of the invocation, in protest. I stand by what I said yesterday. If Warren is on the program, I'll find better things to do than watch the inauguration.

Apparently, one of the purposes of Warren's purpose-driven life is to persecute homosexuals. I would find it fitting of Matthew Shepard's parents were seated next to Warren on the dais.

Obama ought to be more in turn with the people who brung him to the dance: voters on the left (and women, given his small number of female cabinet picks).

And here's to the nitwit who wants to argue which is more worthy of expression, the interrogative or declarative sentence: Pffffttt and up yours. Seems to me that AP used about four or five good interrogative sentences when they posed those queries to the major financial institutions who received the bailout money and can't account for how that taxpayer money has been used.

*hearts to Dylan Ratigan today for his gutsy stances on-air*

Posted by: laloomis | December 23, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Um...

Dont' take River Road today...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/23/AR2008122300847.html

:-O *thud*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 23, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Shriek :-(

I work most holidays. And I find that Christmas week, right after end of semester, is the most peaceful, productive period to do my own experiments in the lab.

And yes, I have been known to place a grumpy phone call to a student or two during the week, but that's because they are not to dare set foot in my domain for several days and sometimes I need to find out what they did with MY stuff which was on MY bench (admittedly not used for a few months but still!), and where did they get off thinking they could finish off MY reagents without replacing them, and....

And I do too have a life! *Stamping foot*

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 23, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

No, no...Warren is a symbol on a very symbolic day--and should be replaced. He sends the wrong message.

The pick of state senator for New York matters beyond the state's borders. If Paterson selects Kennedy--House of Lords, then that has reverb for all other picks, now or later, in New York or any other of the 49 states. Delaware for example, or any other state where a scion of some very influential individual wants to go to the head of the line. It's as important as a recount for a senatorial seat in any state--how it's conducted sets precedent. Couldn't disagree with you more, VL.

Posted by: laloomis | December 23, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!

Haroomph! WaPo was not friendly this morning. Missed Dawn Patrol. Good thing it warmed up a bit.

Posted by: Braguine | December 23, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Have to stop procrastinating now and finish cleaning, shopping and wrapping.

Have a good day all.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 23, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

It was much, much more than the voters on the left that brought Obama to the dance, and I, for one, am very happy to see him trying to be more of a centrist.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 23, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Exactly DNA Girl, I use to have the time at Christmas to catch up on things and do much needed filing and e-mail clean-up. The way it's going that 800+ in-box and 1000+ out-box will go in the vault in bulk.

Linda, in WaPo's own words, "profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments" are not welcome.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 23, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Top of the morning to you, Brag. How is the pirating industry going?

My "must take the garbage out anyways" trick to motivate the morning jog continues to work on me.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Quite a bit late, but did you happen to see this one in the Free For All on Saturday?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/19/AR2008121903257_2.html

Scattered logic aside, this writer's "Write everything to suit me personally or I'll take all my marbles and go home" message does little to further whatever her point may be.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 23, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

SD: No person was named. Nor was the person who was called intellectually lazy for using rhetorical questions last night.

And this is a blog with rules but apparently little enforcement--or very little after the fact. I remember some wildly slanderous post about me from June that I have tucked in a file titled "Lawyer." It's like the pool rules for our subdivision: they're posted on the brick wall, but with no lifeguard ever on duty, there's all manner of crap that happens at the pool. So much for the property management firm that runs our pool.

There's not supposed to be any advertising here on the blog either. I consider that to mean physical, concrete products that can be purchased and shipped across state lines. A one-time mention doesn't seem like a big deal. But repeated, ongoing mentions of a book and fairy doors and jewelry seem to cross the line.

Posted by: laloomis | December 23, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I'm laughing my buns off at your 9:39 and 9:51 posts. You ought to read your own stuff sometimes: you'd get a kick out of it.

You don't think the left wants to punish Warren? And then you turn around and say Obama should kick him under the bus? Helllllooooo??????? People want him removed from the inaugural--you don't think that's "punishment"??? You say you hope Warren's invodation is disrupted by protestors? That's not "punishment"? And you, in your own personal snit, refuse to watch the inaugural -- and you say you think you don't want to punish anybody? Bwahahahahaha. Sometimes you slay me, Linda.

And I agree heartily with Raysmom; it wasn't liberals who brung him to the dance. (And it sure as shootin' wasn't you, Loomis; you did nothing but sulk and whine and throw hissy fit after hissy fit from the moment Hillary lost the primaries, so where do you get off thinking Obama owes PUMAs like you the time of day? Puh-leeze. You were the people threatening to vote for McCain, fer cryin' out loud.)

However, I really do like the idea of seating Matthew Shepard's parents next to Warren on the podium. If I were Obama, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Seriously. That'd be so cool-- and sooo subtle.

Have no clue whatsoever what your paragraph about interrogative versus declarative sentences is about. Just sayin' you appear to be mumbling to yourself again.

I, too, have seen references that claim Obama's pick of Warren was "politically expedient." This is absurd on the face of it, of course. (How is it expedient to do something that ticks off everybody? What does Obama get out of it?)

Now, I really have no clue why he DID do it -- but "expediency" isn't remotely possible as the reason. It's the kind of remark people make when they have no idea what they're talking about.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I am very uncomfortable with the inclusion of any Evangelical who differs from me on social issues. But, to me, that's kind of the point.

To be truly inclusive means reaching out to people with whom you have serious philosophical differences. It means gritting your teeth and realizing that inclusion doesn't mean endorsement. This is what Obama tried to do with Wright until it became politically impossible.

The easy, natural, and comfortable approach is always to include those with whom you agree and pour nothing but disdain upon those with whom you disagree. But there is something to be said about sitting down with the sinners. Yes it is hard. Yes it makes me squirm. But I believe that this shows Obama really is serious about attempting to bring everyone to the party, even some whom we would much rather see barred.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 23, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Bah humbug Loomis....lighten up already..it is Christmas ya know

got home last night to no dial tone,found out this morning,that big dead tree in my yard finally came down and snapped my phone line.Still have power just not a phone or computer....bummer

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 23, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

When you're right you're right, Loomis. We need to shut down that damn fairy door cartel immediately! We need to make sure elves have left the building!

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 23, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Yello,
Haven't heard much from the pirates--wonder if they paid their telephone bill.

Loomis, I like hearing what other Boodlers do. Fairie doors are fun. Lawyers are fun, gummint workers are fun.

Pirates are fun, too :o)

Posted by: Braguine | December 23, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

As for rhetorical questions. I admit my characterization of them as "intellectually lazy" was unfair, and for this I apologize. The rhetorical question can be useful. But when reflexively used it does nothing but shift the burden of proof from the accuser to the accused. It adds nothing.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 23, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

good morning boodle. It takes a remarkably long time for a small house to warm up when the radiant floor heat goes wonky and the propane back up is set to 58 and the outside door to the mechanical room is ajar and the water pipes freeze. Only one moment of panic, when the heretofore inoperable mechanical room door handle suddenly decides to latch, then stick in the latched position, with me inside and no way out. Mr. F enjoyed performing a manly rescue.

Canuckistanis-the health of the western Ontario economy is probably more acutely important to our fair city than it is to you. I hope someone in your gummint saw the crash coming when the Canadian owned company that owned 3 major wood product plants in our area first laid off 1,000+ workers in fall '05, then announced early this year that they would close permanently.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 23, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Mudge - if it wasn't clear, I believe Loomis was going after me for my post last night. And as I stated I may have been being unfair. But asking nothing but a string of questions, to me, still suggests that someone isn't willing to dig down and figure out the answer. Which is why I explained the nature of Federal Employees.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 23, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

DNA_Girl, you sound exactly like Anthony Bourdain on "don't mess with my mis [en place]" in Kitchen Confidential.

And, um, good morning. I'm up after some 12 hours of sleep, makeup from being up the previous night with runny nose and coughing. Feel like a bear. Need fresh green sprouts. Lettuce!

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 23, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Andrew Sullivan cleverly points out that the Catholic Church is far more doctrinally homophobic (rather ironically based on my encounters) than many Evangelicals and moving rightward.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/12/benedict-and-wa.html

It's a fun hypothetical to wonder what the reaction would have been had a RC bishop been invited to do the invocation.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Mudge-"The left dearly loves openly suicidal, self-defeating acts of high moral purpose and futility." Soooooo true. I for one am so tired of movements, people of some fame, and anyone else who agrees with me on an issue but is determined to kill the good in pursuit of the perfect.

I too want the inauguration to be one continuous message of high purpose and right mindedness, and if every moment is in complete tune with my personal POV so much the better. The 5 year old in me would like to see some nice wet raspberries directed at the outgoing president and a "kick me" sign on the VP as he climbs the steps to the gallows (when he gets to the top someone says "just kidding" and he gets water boarded instead). But, the grown up in me is with the president elect on this one. I look forward to the next 4 years, or more, of having a grown up in chief.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 23, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

As a freshly-retired federal employee, I'd like to note that many of my biologist colleagues are immensely competent and spend lots of very long days driving all over southern Florida. Maybe an elite agency, but then again the government does have some wonderful bits and pieces. I admire the NIH from a distance.

Newsweek has a circular version of the cost-of-bailout graphic. The $8 trillion bailout circle dwarfs the 3.6 billion one for World War II. There isn't a circle for the Iraq war, but the Stieglitz book places that at well over $1 trillion, maybe 3 trillion if all the long-term costs are included.

The Newsweek story "The Big Bang of Bailouts" by Jeffrey Garten really galvanized my attention.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 23, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Here is an article on pirates:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601116&sid=a1m817na3YFo&refer=africa

Posted by: Braguine | December 23, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Now now. Let's all be peaceful and happy. We could sing some carols!

Because I love you, Boodle, I promise not to sing, just make the hot chocolate while you disport yourselves in front of the fire.

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Okay. But only if there is a little peppermint schnapps in the hot chocolate.

DoftC - I am always amazed at the many truly dedicated Govies are out there who do their good work to very little acclaim. There really are a lot of hard-working Federal Employees.

Now, I think I need to head back to the Lab of Perpetual Darkness and pretend that I'm one of them.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 23, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

fb,
Since a mock execution is a Rumsfeld approved method of 'enhanced interrogation', I find your vignette deliciously satisfying.

Speaking of delicously satisfying, a coworker brought in a batch of Buffalo chicken chip dip that is beyond description. I most go see if anyone has called dibs on rights to lick the baking dish yet.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

*flourishes a bottle of peppermint schnapps*

Posted by: Yoki | December 23, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I wonder why Obama couldn't get the Dalai Lama for the inauguration.

"What's the deal with all the rhetorical questions?" is a rhetorical question. Isn't it?

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 23, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Yoki,
can you produce a wee dram of Lamb's rum for my chocky?

Posted by: Braguine | December 23, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Have I ever mentioned my high school encounter with peppermint schnapps in the Brandon Skateland parking lot? No? I tell it to my kid annually as part of my temperance lecture.

I'll pass on the schnapps but feel free to warm my hot chocolate with some brandy or Grand Marnier.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of hardworking federal employees, I know that a fair amount of lower Montgomery County, MD and NW DC are without water right now as the WSSC repairs that huge water main break that washed out River Road (used to drive that route to and from work most mornings when I was in DC...).

Our good man Scottynuke's office was shut down for the day due to the water situation (there being none in his building) -- he's on his way home as I write this...

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 23, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

wow

Posted by: omnigood | December 23, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Gates, on piracy victims:"consider increasing their security personnel." LOL. That's what I recommend.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 23, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I agree, Yoki. I often come to the boodle to escape things I have no control of anyway (like my dad's condition and slow downward spiral--we are now worried he might last til right before the inauguration which would be terrible since most of us will be flying in.)

I'll sing, Yoki! Even my dad was still singing his songs from the 40's--long-term memory and all--when I visited him.

Okay, no more dad talk--except maybe an occasional memory of some good times like Jumper1 mentioned last evening.

Hey, loomis tends to make more mountains out of molehills than I do. I try and bite my tongue or at least move on. This is a friendly boodle blog Loomis. Merry Christmas.

And Mudge, I want you to know you are FAR SUPERIOR to my ex-husband. Really. It was just dumb of me to meet you and start comparing you to someone else. So sorry!!!! Please let me use the excuse of my sick family member warping my usually very proper etiquette.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 23, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

so shiny

Posted by: omnigood | December 23, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Would it surprise anyone to know that I won't lose any sleep whatsoever knowing that I might be in a file somewhere?

Would anyone else in here be concerned to know that there's a very good chance they're already in files in and around Washington DC as Persons of Interest? I think that the government has very large databases of internet traffic, and data concering traffic to overseas sites (say, the London Times) may be treated differently than that of traffic to US sites...

I should point out there that I've never seen such files with my own eyes.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 23, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Well, River Road lived up to its name today, ya think?

Posted by: DandyLion | December 23, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

bc, they could publish my entire file and the reaction from the world would be *yawn* no juicy bits here; move along.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 23, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Dandy! How be ya?

Posted by: Raysmom | December 23, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

la di da, la di da, li nd a.

Here's wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays and more to come in the future!

That's what you meant to say to us, right?

Posted by: --CC-- | December 23, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

DandyLion! good to see you, friend!

My sensible, quiet, thoughtful and intellectual husband said last night that he wants to see the Guantanamo prisoners brought to the US for due process--but only after Bush and Cheney are tried for war crimes.

Now... we sing! I will begin with “Rest Ye Merry Persons of All Genders!” Join me, please...

Posted by: -TBG- | December 23, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Oh I'm sure I'm in some list. I'm positive in fact. After 55 years on this earth...

Just not Mudge's list. Hee, hee. :-)

Posted by: Windy3 | December 23, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Ha, ha TBG. Hope you got lots of yummy cookies.

I'm excited: both my boys will be home for Christmas!!! Yay. No gloom and doom for a few days at least.

DandyLion--that is the coolest handle. Nice to see you.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 23, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

We heard about River Road up here on CNN!

I used to live there and water main breaks are VERY common in that area. They just put band-aids on 'em and hope life goes on.

The only thing unique is the level of breakage combined with subfreezing temps.

Thanks Mudge for that video link... I so wanted it for a brief blog on vectored thrust.

http://wilbrodthegnome.blogspot.com/2008/12/from-russia-with-gimbels-and-awe.html


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 23, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Hi Dandylion! Yes River Road sure did!

*Memo: never live near any place called Deluge Drive or River Road again.*

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 23, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

We three Wo(men) of Orient (Asia) are
smoking on a rubber cigar
It was loaded
It exploded...

I can never remember the rest....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 23, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: nellie4 | December 23, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Hi Raysmom, hi TBG, hi y'all. I've found a new addiction that put me into Boodle lurking mode for the last month. I read Joel's list of things a man should do in his lifetime, - raise a kid, write a book, vote from the grave...

In the spirit of Joel's kit, I wanted to add "compose a symphony" to the list, but I first had to write a program that was ADA accessible because I couldn't find any music studio software that a blind person could use. (I wunder how Stevie does it?)

Anyway, a score of 1000 measures begins with the very first note, or something like that. So, for your listening enjoyment and without any further ado, this is my very first song:

http://mysite.verizon.net/vze35fvj/FirstNote.mp3

Posted by: DandyLion | December 23, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

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