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Hard Times at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Reading this morning's dispatches from the scene of the Daschle crash -- everyone gingerly stepping through the wreckage, trying to comprehend the forces that generated such a highlight-reel wipeout -- it seems obvious that it had to end this way. It ended because the alternative was class warfare (enthusiastically stoked, no doubt, by partisans and media loudmouths). Yeah: A Shays Rebellion for our time. Peasants with pitchforks. Tom Daschle had to be jettisoned in an attempt to stave off a tax revolt that could potentially drain the Treasury faster than even the porkiest "recovery" bill.

Officially, he withdrew without being nudged. But an old pro like Daschle knows all the third-base-coach signals. A finger touched to the side of the nose tells him that he must withdraw as soon as possible. Obama knew that, with a Senate vote on Daschle still more than a week away, there'd be nonstop Daschle-chewing in the media. More than that, the president understands that this is still a government by the people, not by the elites. Some of his old friends have his new e-mail. They probably text-msged him: Why this guy doesn't have to pay his taxes? There is no simple and satisfying answer to that. People are very, very sensitive about taxes. They don't like being told that they have to follow a bewildering array of tax laws even as some Washington swells flout them.

It's tax season. As the Times said in its editorial yesterday, our tax system is fundamentally voluntary. ("The American tax system depends heavily on voluntary compliance. It would send a terrible message to the public if we ignore the failure of yet another high-level nominee to comply with the tax laws.") We all face moments when, filling out our taxes, we wrestle with our conscience over whether it's permissible to list a dog as a dependent. Or take a "depletion allowance" because we donated to a sperm bank. And so on. Sure, people nibble around the edges, but I think the average American citizen is remarkably honest. The maintenance of that civil code requires that we trust authorities to reward virtue and not vice. Americans are furious that money is being funneled right now to greedheads in proportion to the extent of the greed.

The pent-up rage is bipartisan and cross-cultural. And Obama knew it. He put it well, saying there can't be one set of rules for ordinary Americans and another set for the powerful people. That right there is pretty much the foundation of a functioning democracy. Until a few weeks ago, the Republicans owned the financial mess; with every tax-dodging Daschle in the headlines, the Democrats increasingly take an equity stake in this calamity.

Obama desperately wants the stimulus bill passed quickly, but today we read that it's not going to happen that way. [See this latest poll showing public support for the bill weakening,/a>.] Weeks ago in this space you read a prediction that the stimulus would be a porkfest for the ages. The president says the pork is fundamentally a rounding error. But the simple fact is that it's very, very hard to spend a trillion dollars both quickly and wisely -- to both stimulate the economy and transform it. [Make sure to read Alec Macgillis's story, if you haven't already.]


MoDo this morning says that Obama should have red-penciled the egregious Democratic pork in the stimulus package. And she zeroes in on the high-class clowns who'd take taxpayer money and squander it:

"The New York Post revealed that Sandy Weill, former chief executive of Citigroup, took a company jet to fly his family for a Christmas holiday to a $12,000-a-night luxury resort in San José del Cabo, Mexico. No matter that the company just got a $50 billion federal bailout and laid off 53,000 worldwide.

"The interior of the 18-seat jet, as described by The Post, is posh, with a full bar, fine-wine selection, $13,000 carpets, Baccarat crystal glasses, Cristofle sterling silver flatware and -- my personal favorite -- pillows made from Hermès scarves."


I blog this stuff and, boom, look what they say minutes later at the White House (I'm telling you it's like I dictate this stuff. It's like blogtriloquism):

Geithner: "There is a deep sense across the country that those who were not -- who -- who were not responsible for this crisis are bearing a greater burden than those who were."

Obama: "This is America. We don't disparage wealth. We don't begrudge anybody for achieving success. And we certainly believe that success should be rewarded. But what gets people upset -- and rightfully so -- are executives being rewarded for failure, especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers, many of whom are having a tough time themselves."


Alls not well for British apostrophes.

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 4, 2009; 7:34 AM ET
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Next: That Obama Op-Ed


First? No, can't be.

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Temporarily last

Posted by: russianthistle | February 4, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

This is the third column in a row that Dowd has talked up the bling of The Rich and Clueless. I've also included a movie poster mash-up of Barack as Dave.

Maureen is really mad about all this conspicuous consumption. She is the Éponine of the Op/Ed page, ready to man the barricades.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | February 4, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

JA- do you mean "swells who flout them" in the last line of the second graf?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 4, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Wait. But you can deduct pet rabbits right?

Oh bother.

When it comes to taxes, my job is to sign at the bottom of the form. My wife does them with the ruthless precision characteristic of one with a MS in Statistics. She will calculate them several different ways in order to save a few dollars. And she assures me that no shortcuts are ever taken.

Although I was surprised to see that the used clothing we donated was worth quite that much money.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 4, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

We will fail miserably if we continue with all this complaining about the "bail-out" package. All this is meant to do is inject cash into the economy.

Where and how and to whom you do this is what causes more or less improvement OR damage.

There just is so much noise going on these days. Most people are clueless. I loved Michael Steele's claim that this government nor any other has ever once created a job. Funny he said such a thing in DC.

Such blathering woo-haw should get Steele, no matter how nice he is, banished to an Olive Garden Salad Bar for three plus years.... with only 1,000 Island dressing.

This country "IS" batting 1,000 every time we lower the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans to or under 40%. Putting all the money in the wealthiest people's hands just doesn't help, no matter how much common sense one thinks this makes.

Heck, they don't even keep their money in banks in the USA anymore.

At best, those detractors who can label putting money in the hands of the poorest Americans as "capital redistribution" and fail to note that the BEST way to improve the well being of the nation's spending is to provide more food stamps. Food Stamps create the greatest multiplier effect on the economy, if I remember correctly, 1.70 percent.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 4, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

This isn't original or especially brilliant, but to me the most successful stimulus package in recent history was WWII. Consider what the government did. They raised taxes, invested millions of the funds so raised in the development of new industries even to the extent of greatly increasing the deficit in the short term. And this lead to the largest economic expansion in the history of the world.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 4, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Well, RD_P, I'm sure you properly stored and cleaned all those tuxes and evening gowns so that they're worth top dollar.

Even if they are bunny-sized.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 4, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

For pitchforks, see the Peasant Revolt of 1373 and Wat Tyler, John Ball and Jack Straw. Got flintlock muskets? Then it's Shay's Rebellion.

Interesting post yesterday by blogger Eric Erickson who found something unusual with the photo directory at the White House website.


That’s right. Instead of an images directory, the Obama White House puts pictures of Obama in the “Hero” directory.

As a friend of mine pointed out:

Our hero announces Sen. Judd Gregg as Commerce Secretary nominee:

Here’s our hero watching the Super Bowl (nice screen logo plug for NBC, by the way):

Ranks right up there with the Obama campaign's Obama Presidential Seal. *lol*

Posted by: laloomis | February 4, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

RD, the govt managed to do that WWII project thing without Halliburton. The best news in January 09 was that Dick Cheney could take his stock out of "THAT" blind trust.

Dick's money seems to have scooted out of the country, as well. FTH.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 4, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

A recent news story indicated that expensive-sounding hotels were hurting, whether they really were super-expensive or not. Maybe Marriott can rebrand a bunch of hotels as "Courtyard". I sense an opportunity for innocently-named hotel chains like Gaylord. Even Gaylord Palms sounds kind of modest.

russianthistle, be careful about banishing anyone to Olive Garden's salads. They're very salty, so might be a hazard to one's blood pressure.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 4, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Dave,
And, I know the man. I guess its called "means to an end."

BTW, Marriott is into so many things now that Graveyard by Marriott may not be too far away.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 4, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I can't bear insipid cackling before my morning coffee.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 4, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Daschle taxes problem compound the problem but the real issue, I think, is that Obama promise a change in Washington's business model. Hiring an ex-senator, even a friend, who's has made $5M in the past couple of years peddling his name and influence was hardly a new way of doing business. OK, Daschle might have been effective in his role as Secretary but it would have been business as usual.

you'll get a kick out of this. A drunk pilot got kicked out by his passenger on aeroflot 315...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 4, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Flout and flaunt are like flounder and founder -- nothin' but trouble.

Posted by: joelache | February 4, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Or lead and led. But that's probably just me.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 4, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Flaunting one's flounder can cause one to founder.

If the boat is too small, anyway.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 4, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Snowy day, absolutely gorgeous. I'm sitting here working on services hardening and access remediation, wondering where I went wrong.

Somehow when I was younger, I didn't envision a career that was so much, I don't know, work.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 4, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"The interior of the 18-seat jet, as described by The Post, is posh, with a full bar, fine-wine selection, $13,000 carpets, Baccarat crystal glasses, Cristofle sterling silver flatware and -- my personal favorite -- pillows made from Hermès scarves."

Hermes must be cold if he gave up all of his scarves for pillows.

Posted by: Gomer144 | February 4, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Pearlstein's piece this morning expands on this theme:

Posted by: Raysmom | February 4, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Just saw a 2-minute video (on front page of WaPo) of Obama being very fierce about CEO salaries and perks. Said that salaries of corporate executives whose corporations are receiving dollars from you and me would be capped at $500K and they must disclose all the bells and whistles (gold-plated, of course). He also said that he was taking the wind out of golden parachutes. Didn't take any questions from the shouting masses of journalists (so-called), either.

Well, all I've gotta say is: WOO-HOO!

Yoki, I'm glad that you're all settled in and I can only dream of the smells emanating from your kitchen. BTW, since I haven't had the time to back-boodle far enough, I don't know either where you moved to or why. Would you like to enter the department of redundancy department and let me know? I promise to pay attention.

Also, for all those ski bums out there exalting over your upcoming trips, I'm only good for some aprés-ski activity -- mostly sitting around the fire with my feet up. Alas, even wine doesn't really agree with me anymore, so it's just me and my good humor to share with my friends. If that's enough for ya, I'll be there with you (in spirit, although not in spirits) virtually.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 4, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I can't find it online, but Raysdad was reading an article recently about celebrities and other wealthy ones having upscale stores put their purchases in plain bags. Yanno, so they won't call attention to themselves.

If they feel so guilty, why don't they take the $$$ they're spending on the upscale whatever and donating it to a food bank or something?

Posted by: Raysmom | February 4, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Based on reading the page that Joel linked, Loomis, I'm pretty sure that JA chose Shays' Rebellion for the historical parallels in motives, rather than the military technology in the metaphor.

I went to the Red State page and from there clicked to the White House home page. At this time, there is no nonsense about heroes.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 4, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm always interested in the monetary shenanigans of the Dark Lord, russianthistle, but could find no good link.

We too have light snow here.

Of all the irregular verbs, "read" is the one I'd change. "I readed" a book would serve us very well.

And flouting ones founder can cause one to flounder.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 4, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, loved loved loved yer 10:34.

I wanna know the name of the *&^%$#^% who took Michael Phelps photo and then sold it to that British tabloid. I think we ought to (a) take his cellphone and put it where the sun donm't shine, and (b) brand this guy for life as an untrustworthy hypocritical jerk who made money by turncoating Phelps, an otherwise national hero.

And who would EVER have believed Kathleen Parker's column was dead on the money (and Wilbon needs to remove the stick from his....)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 4, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Workers still funding 401Ks. Workers still have no voting power in their shares. I humbly submit that golden parachutes would evaporate like snow on a Piedmont morning if share voting was REALLY allowed according to democratic ownership principles.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 4, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, I totally agree, and I'd be happy to say that I readed a book if that's what everyone wants to do. Or we can just keep what we say the same, but write that we red a book. Either way, though, people would be afraid of looking/sounding uneducated, and other people would make fun of them, and lots of feelings would get hurt. And we wouldn't want any hurt feelings.

Posted by: -bia- | February 4, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

bit of a BOOO there, sorry.

To Joel's point of the tax system being essentially voluntary -- one thing that bothers me every time I hear it is the huge amount of unpaid taxes that go uncollected because it's too hard (expensive?) for the IRS to enforce the rules. I can understand the issue pragmatically, if it really is so expensive, but it still isn't fair. (And not to demonize innocent mistakes in a ridiculously complex system -- a related but different issue.)

Posted by: -bia- | February 4, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Yes Jumper it makes you wonder why a Board would authorize the purchase of such a richly appointed aircraft with shareholder's money. Maybe it is because the Board members have use of the aircraft? They are sooo special, they deserve it.
There is a bunch of CEO and CFO and such who are not taking the bonuses they have a right to for 2008. It's mighty fine of them but I ask myself what kind of bloody contract would give them big bonuses while they ran the company into the ground.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 4, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse


That article was funny!

Posted by: Braguine | February 4, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Front Page Alert...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 4, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Ouch! I don't even wanna think about it.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 4, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Actually, reading the fine print, this is an AP story. But the woman who donated the kidney almost certainly works for the (unnamed) newspaper group I used to work for, which is a subsidiary of the Post corporate empire. Doubt anyone at the Post is remotely aware of this, though.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 4, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Who thinks this stuff up Mudge? I mean, were a couple of surgeons sitting around doing tequila shots until one of them said, "You know. I wonder..."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 4, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Joel. I take it for granted that Obama is a lurker.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 4, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Who thinks this stuff up?" Probably Myrhvold or one of his minions, Padouk.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 4, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Mudge, it gives another meaning to "the quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach", does it?

RD Padouk, I could hear one of them say "I raise you a pair of tonsils through the an..."

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 4, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon all
Talk about gawdy numbers,I was checking out Babe Ruth's career stats and Wow!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 4, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

seems to me that nobody 'forgets' to pay their taxes,especially when the amount 'forgotten' requires six figures. and nobody i know 'forgets' their household 'help'. maybe that's because i live among the unwashed whose only household 'help' is themselves. these people are crooks, plain and simple, and should be labeled as such, tossed out on their behinds, and prosecuted if necessary.

i have been paying my own taxes since 1966, and i have never, ever fudged on anything. paying taxes is how this thing called democracy works. it's part of the deal. it's not stupid and it's not just for the foolish. it's your duty. people like to think that cheating on taxes is ok because there is waste in government. i would suggest that cheating on taxes means there isn't enough body armor for the kids in Iraq, or enough funding to maintain walter reed, etc. etc. (i'll stop ranting now, before i kill the boodle. but isn't it obvious that if everyone cheats and does their best to pay as little as possible instead of their fair share that the whole thing will fall apart?)

i was, however, delighted to here mr. obama say, "i screwed up". i cannot recall anyone in the previous adminstration ever saying anything like that so plainly. no spin doctors were required to explain what he meant by that.

as for the $500K limit on executive salaries for the bigshots running their companies into the ground and then asking for federal bailouts, i suppose they will resign en masse. when they do, i hearby nominate myself to fill in temporarily for any one of them. i will pay my own taxes and those of my household 'help', etc. when i get fired in a few years for running the company further into the ground i promise to go away quietly.

some people probably wish i would go away quietly sooner than that.

Posted by: butlerguy | February 4, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

ftb, I have left my very long and very badly broken marriage and struck out on my own, moving into a lovely old apartment just south of downtown, a river on two sides, in a very cool neighbourhood.

#2 is living at her Dad's house, and visiting me when she can (which at the moment is never, since she is the Assistant Stage Manager for a *huge* production of Hamlet at the University, so she is working night and day, and will be until the end of the month. She is paler and skinnier each time I see her). The dogs and cat are also living with Himself.

And I am living all by myself, which is bliss except for missing #2. I still do that Mary Tyler Moore thing with my hat every time I walk through the door.

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I just wish butlerguy would learn to use the "Shift" key. It makes capitals!

Posted by: Gomer144 | February 4, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

of course the person writing the blog would never be considered a "media loudmouth"...

Posted by: ratperson | February 4, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of salary caps. It should make the playing field more level between the public and private sectors. It's ridiculous that people who have talent and would like to be civil servants can't afford to be.

On waste, I read (readed), once upon a time, that the waste in the public sector ranged between 17 and 37 percent. In the private sector, it ranged between 19 and 35 percent. Of course, that was before recent management innovations, so who knows what it is now? But let me point out that there was statistically no difference between waste in the two sectors.

It's certainly time for the titans of the private sector to realize that they better watch out for the rest of us, or they won't have anything.

Posted by: slyness | February 4, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Butlerguy, I agree. It seems like the rich sure do have a lot of incompetent accountants, hmm?

I can understand state tax problems, because of doing work/getting paid in more than one state. That is an insane headache.

I just got a letter from MN saying if I didn't give them a copy of my tax return for a specific year, they'd assess me 1600. I sent them a MD tax return proving I had been a resident there for the year they were complaining about. --They slunk away quietly.

Federal tax problems? Not so much, really. Those returns may be "complicated" but it's the same Uncle Sam no matter where you live in America. You have no excuses.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 4, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey butlerguy!* I am delighted you're here. As ScienceTim and some others have said, I don't think that any of these people intentionally cheated on their taxes. The more you have to keep up with, the easier it is to make a mistake - remember, some of these folks were paying professionals to do their taxes and they got it wrong too. I do think there is an air of entitlement which comes with a certain power or income level; this doesn't necessarily encourage nonpayment of taxes but it might well foster a lax attitude toward checking to make sure every last unusual provision (car & driver? domestic help?) was done correctly.

We had a much worse problem here in Oklahoma a couple of years ago. Several prominent state legislators and city officials had neglected to pay property taxes, some for several years. They were all punished by voters; some resigned from leadership positions first. The very strong feeling, which I share, is that there was no excuse for failure to pay property tax. It is a simple tax, we all get the statements, and most of us manage to pay it. There again, that sense of entitlement comes into play.

All that said, I was considering putting my name in to the Obama administration for a cabinet position. Our taxes are relatively simple and we always pay in full and on time. I may not be qualified for any of the jobs currently open, but I'm safe!

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 4, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The federal tax code is so complicated that I would amazed if there's a single CPA out there that understands the whole thing completely. So even with an accountant, you're taking your chances. Heck, anyone that enters into that Sixth Circle of Hell that is the AMT knows what I mean.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 4, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

And you can sing!

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 4, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy, you echo what I said at the time CEO Gary Forsee was canned from Sprint--and paid $20M upon exit. "I could run a company into the ground for *half* what they paid him!"

Posted by: Raysmom | February 4, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon all.

Finished my duties as Auteur and Master of Ceremonies for the Really Big BiAnnual Meeting this today.

Bad news: The meeting ran a few minutes over the alotted time.

Good news: No one left early.
Glad to know that people were sill willing to make time for constructive conversation, even regarding difficult issues.

Either that, or I'd left my fly open and people were enjoying a good stifled laugh at my expense.

I can vouch for LiT's comments in the last Boodle. I've had my share of tax difficulties of late, and it's true that every IRS representative I've spoken to has told me something different as to how to handle certain things in the same year's return regarding the same form.

If the federal taxation assessments are so subjective to interpretation by not only taxpayers but by the IRS representatives themselves, then there are clearly problems, aren't there?

Do people try to pay as little federal income tax as possible? Sure. But I don't blame anyone - professional or amateur (as I am) - for not necessarily agreeing with the Fed's results, whatever those happen to be at the moment.

There must be some quantum Taxation Uncertainty Principle at work in the aether of a Monetary Ocean of reality.
A Currency Theory, if you will, with little vibrating strings of currency which, depending on their frequency, would have different values and monetary units (dollars, yen, Cabucks, Euros, etc.). But the values of taxes owed regarding the movement of those units of currency is subjective to any Observer of those units - a Taxpayer may observe things one way, a Collector (aka Customer Service Representative) most likely another, and perhaps another participant in the system, say, a High School Student, another. Since they can't see the same unit the same way at the same point in time and don't value it in the same manner. To one, it's a job, to another it's the tangible benefit and result of one. [Perhaps a hard-earned one.)

Anyway, back to work.
Remember, YMMV. Your Money May Vary.

It depends on what you believe.
Until the letter from the IRS arrives in your mailbox, anyway.


Posted by: -bc- | February 4, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The line between tax evasion and tax avoidance is not always clear-even to the IRS.

I do beg to differ with Ivansmom on property taxes-even those can go unpaid through honest error if you are paying into an escrow account with your mortgage servicer and they don't pay the taxes on time. I would have thought this was a rare occurrence until Mr. F had it happen to several of his soldiers, with different banks, over the course of a single year. Came out during an update of their security clearances.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 4, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

One of my dearest friends is an accountant who has been with IRS for 36 years. Yes, that's right, 36 years. Not long ago, she and I were discussing how clergy can set aside a portion of their salary as a housing allowance, and she commented that she didn't remember that, because it had been a long time since she dealt with that portion of the tax code.

But I think she does investigations, so she wouldn't have a reason to know that particular item of the code.

She originally planned to do 40 years with IRS, but I think we've got her convinced to retire this year. She's the kind of person all civil servants should be like: intelligent, dedicated, knowledgeable, not a dishonest cell in her body. I'm sure she will be missed.

Posted by: slyness | February 4, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Aw, Yoki, I'm faxing you an extra set of hugs for the circumstances under which you can now do the MTM hat fling. But now you can carve out the rest of your wonderful life the way you want to. And I still want to come over and eat at your house (Jacques Pépin's house, too, BTW), even if it is an old apartment (which are way more cool, anyway).

Butlerguy -- I second (or third) your nomination! And Ivansmom, your credentials far outweigh those of prior administration people, even in (or especially in) the Justice Department -- and, dear Ivansmom, this is meant to be a *compliment*, dang it!

Gotta now get some work done. And be glad that I have it.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 4, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

If you read(ed) the Reliable Source Chat today, you might have noticed the reference to this blog,, dedicated to Michelle Obama's fashion choices.

I wonder what 'ruched' means....

Posted by: rickoshea0 | February 4, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Rickoshea0, from the Oxford English Dictionary:


• noun a frill or pleat of fabric.

— DERIVATIVES ruched adjective ruching noun.

— ORIGIN French, from Latin rusca ‘tree bark’.

Posted by: slyness | February 4, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Ruching is a series of small gathers in the fabric. CP can probably explain more fully.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 4, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Ruching is a series of small gathers in the fabric"? I have pleat ignorance of these things.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 4, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

*&^%$ SCC: I have *to* pleat ignorance, etc.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 4, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Or softly gathered, rather than pleated.

Designer Susan Graver ofers several ruched turtlenecks at QVC. Here's a closeup of the ruching of the fabric at the neck:

Posted by: laloomis | February 4, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Does ruching rhyme with 'touching' or '*ucking'?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 4, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Why thanks, firsttimeblogger - I take your compliment in the friendly spirit in which it was offered!

I was ranting about the property tax issue only for folks who actually get the bill mailed to them and have to write the check themselves. Any time anyone else is responsible for paying something you ultimately owe - like mortgage servicers or anything else in escrow - you are at least temporarily off the hook as far as I am concerned. When we put ourselves at the mercy of others - servicers, accountants, etc. - we have to trust they are living up to their end of the deal. OF course, some of our legislators had failed to pay for YEARS. This made it much worse for them.

I myself am at the mercy of Ivansdad when it comes to tax calculations so I feel pretty safe. Also, we are among those citizens who believe it is a privilege to pay taxes, though we are occasionally deeply irked by the way the money is spent.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 4, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Ruching, smocking, pleating, gathering: all these techniques provide "give" in a fabric. Before we had lycra, elastic, knits, etc., these sewing applications could help made a fabric flexible. They also provide style embellishment.

Think of necklines, where these techniques often appear. A neck opening must fit over the head but not lay open like a feed sack. Think also about wrists: fabric here must also give.

We tend to think of ruching, smocking, pleating, gathering, etc., as primarily decorations. But, they began as functional.

In order of formality:

pleats, especially knifeblade (very thin pleats) can read as preppy or parochial school girl; pleated plaid skirts are, apparently, very hip in a Japanese-men-voyeur mode.....

ruching -- hip and frenchier than plain pleats; more structured than gathers or smocks.

smocking (now reads as childlike; anybody remember the Polly Flinders dress craze?)

gathering (think peasant, wench or gypsy blouse; a gathered skirt is equally informal)

Ruching can also make for interesting texture. Black and grey look very nice with ruching....texture ads depth and richness.

I first saw ruching in a Jessica McClintock "Gunne Sax" dress....this in the peasant dress days of the naturalistic 1970s. What came next was very disco: quiana polyester gowns, knit satin, and then stretchy metallic fabric in saturated and lurid colors very much as Barbie wore.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 4, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

My goodness, YJ,. more like


actually, but with a soft ch like



Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 4, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

CP, I could listen to you for hours when you wear your costumer hat. #2 tells me that the Costume Ladies hold complete reign in her theatre. There is fear and trembling on approaching the Costume Shop, it seems.

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

A "ruche" is also a beehive, of course.

The following link is 4 minutes well wasted. Flying octopi. This is one of the nominees for the upcoming Oscars, Short Animated Feature. It was made by a group of students from Les Gobelins, the top film animation school in France. It makes the "Bullet" pursuit look tame.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 4, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Yoki, if only No. 2 and I were in the same shop. I never bite. But, many costumers, are rather like the librarians who love the books more than the patrons.

And, been so long since I costumed. Sigh. Did help make a very cool dress -- pleated with military epaulets -- for a Lady WildCat Drum Major. She topped out at 6ft.1 in. Absolutely regal and with white go-go books complete with swing tassels!......she now plays saxophone with the Marching Sound of Howard U. She says she will go for drum major next year; wants us to trick her out for that occasion.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 4, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, CqP. Now I will not sound illiterate when I try to drop it into conversation. And my apologies to anyone offended by my asterisk.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 4, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

YK, there is also pintucking, another fabric technique, that might be ruching, actually. Think tiny, micropleats. Gathers can be more "random" in their fold size, since you simply pull the bobbin thread against the top tension of the main make gathers.

SD -- ruching resembles some bark patterns, which is where the word came from in Old and Mid French. Very nice to mean beehive also.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 4, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Ah, smocking. My mother and her sister had a system: Aunt smocked, Mom sewed the smocking into garments. My cousin and I were pregnant with our first babies at the same time, so the two of them made a dress for each of us: blue corderoy with smocking across the front. I still have a couple of baby dresses that they did, in hopes for another generation to wear them. Beautiful work.

Posted by: slyness | February 4, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm *so* glad I asked. Thank you all.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | February 4, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Ohhh, ohhh, Shreik -- you said the magic words -- "flying octopi"

You know what's coming now (stand back everyone). . .


And that's all I have to say about it (at least for now). . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 4, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse


Your link to the Mrs.O blog hosts this most darling picture of the little Obamas... MUST SEE.

Also, I was right about the third mystery layer on inauguration day: Nina Ricci yellow mohair cardigan underneath the wool lace tapestry coat.

Don't love the broach, still, but just not what I would wear. She could have worn it to stabilize that middle layer between the shift and the coat.

What I like is the NOT matchy-matchy approach....again, see the girls in their fruit-loop colored winter wear. See what little one is doing with her orange-gloved hands.

Real. Cute. Darling.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 4, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

*Busy smocking lips*
Extend the artistic talk
To tales of dinners?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 4, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh mercy, Mudge. Have you read the linked article on apostrophes?

Posted by: Raysmom | February 4, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Sasha's pose in that photo reminds me of this song:

Up in the air, Junior Birdmen!
Up in the air, upside down!
Up in the air, Junior Birdmen!
Keep your noses off the ground!

Verse about box tops, etc.

Anybody else know that thingie of childhood? I learned this in Girl Scouts.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 4, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

CP - I had a welcome flashback to 1979 when you mentioned quiana. I owned several shirts made of that fabric in which I looked oh so cute.

At least that's what my mother said.

And, of course, at our formal dances there were many young women wearing dresses made of that soft material. Dresses with the slit skirts that so entranced us young men.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 4, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

RD, I wore a Gunne Sax prairie thing dress with ruching and even some lace-up bodice work. But by next year, I was hitting the fabric store to by that sheeny, slippery, magical fabric. Tis also when ladies had to pay very close attention to the under garments. And, buy the "dot" circle-style Band-Aid brand bandages and place them carefully.....if you take my meaning.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 4, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I am continuing the acculturation process. In the throes of a nasty headache, I went to the convenience store in the student union and discovered that the only analgesic on offer was BC powder. I don't know that I'm a convert -- taste-wise, I'd rather have a pill -- but it does seem to have worked.

On the fashion front, I do enjoy the discussion and the various photo galleries, and I am impressed with Mrs. Obama's style, but I'm somewhat uncomfortable with the fawning fandom often evident on those sites. (Not here, of course. We may admire, but we never fawn.) I think it's a larger discomfort with the culture of celebrity generally. And of course, that culture is central to the whole Michael Phelps situation, too.

Posted by: -bia- | February 4, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, CP. I never knew.

I was a sheltered youth.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 4, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

This is the dress I wore to a prommy thing in 1977. My color was pale yellow calico but the cut and styling is identical.

The hair? A bun with tendrils flowing down...sort of Gibson girl-flower child. And, a black velvet choker ribbon.

This is very close to what I wore for prom in 1978. I wore butterfly floatie sleeves and the color was more cornflower blue than aqua. The Quiana was amazingly fluid. The hair? Sorta homage to Farah Fawcett Majors.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 4, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

When you hear the grand announcement
That your wings are made of tin
Then you'll know, Junior Birdmen
It's time to send your boxtops in

It takes TWO boxtops
THREE bottlebottoms
And ONE...THIN...DIME!!!

Posted by: kbertocci | February 4, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, -bia-, I knew bc was talented and certainly charming, but I never knew he came in powder form.

Hey, Mudge and Scotty -- did you know bc was so powderful?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 4, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I only recently had occasion to learn about these sticky circle things, in the last play #2 performed, she was in a slinky shiny gold body suit (she was a creature from somewhere other than earth) and agonized about preserving her modesty. We discovered that such things (not bandaids, but intended-for-the-purpose) are sold in major drug stores! I was shocked, shocked I tell you. I thought we'd have to furtively enter less savoury premises.

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Here is your shirt, RD, but in the unfortunate shade of nude.

I remember some shirts with sunset scenes or beach scenes...worn with pukka beads and sometimes a poodle-perme coif.

I shall stop now.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 4, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

ftb, why else do you think bc's so fond of olive oil? He'd blow away in the breeze otherwise.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 4, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Yoki! Major drug stores sell a specific item that, shall we say, occludes the evidence of a chill?

Oh my. The wonder of the market to determine and supply our every, every need.

Hide your eyes, RD, oh gentle and modest man, when next you walk the CVS aisle.

BC powder? BeCause powder?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 4, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm back!

And getting ready to go out again. What little snow left is melting, but it's suppose to get really cold tonight. We're going to have Bible study at the church. I hope the people show up.

Slyness, I did the radio program. The guest speaker did not show up.

My dad thinks that President Obama should not offer the olive branch or seek the GOP's input anymore. He says these folks aren't going to help President Obama, so he just shouldn't ask them anymore. I think it's a brave and good thing to seek their input, whether they chose to give it or not. If the GOP doesn't want any parts of this stimulus package(insert another name here) then, that's their right too. I don't think the work should stop. The country is in dire straights and everyone with half a brain knows this. I just think failure is not an option, because these set of circumstances play out in people's lives. Humans are impacted by this mess. It isn't just some news story, it's about people. It isn't just some tug of war, some line drawn in the sand by male egos, it's about people and suffering in this country. There's an end, folks, and it's the man with no job or the family living in a shelter. It's about getting that pink slip, yet still got the same bills. It's about waking up in the morning, and wondering, what can I do different today so that just maybe I can get a job. It's a long list. And anyone that thinks differently, either has a cushion or could care less.

If one is looking for perfection, it won't be found here on Earth. The GOP had eight years to avoid getting us into this mess, and that wasn't the case, they then had the opportunity of fixing this mess. They choose neither.

(tripping over the my soapbox) excuse me.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 4, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

So, to expose my ignorance again, this quiana material sounds like what I just thought of as polyester faux silk. I had tons of those shirts during the late 70s. I had them in various patterns with and without silk-screened scenes.

I also remember them being quite thin, which would cause some embarrassment when the weather was a bit nippy.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 4, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The one and only time I ran a marathon I used bandaids as described. The alternative is a suprisingly painful injury from being rubbed raw by fabric.

Posted by: engelmann | February 4, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I suppose BC Powder is a Southern thing. I've known about it all my life, never used it. We were a Bayer family in my growing-up years.

You know, CqP, I was more than okay with the return to natural fabrics. My mom and mother-in-law loved their blended sheet sets, but give me 100% cotton any day of the week. Same with clothes, I wear a lot of straight cotton.

Posted by: slyness | February 4, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

*uses Get Out of Spelling Jail Free card*

Posted by: engelmann | February 4, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Robert Gibbs seemed flummoxed today--quite unprepared--to take the tough questions posed, during the daily press briefing, by NBC's Chuck Todd and ABC's Jake Tapper about the details of the cap on executive perks.

Gibbs thought the media should work the naming in the shame-game. Some of the questions posed by the fearless TV reporting duo: Where are the teeth in the penalties if tax-payer-paid bonuses are awarded to CEOs of banks taking bailout monies, those earning in excess of half a mil under the New Rules (thinking of Maher)? Will there be any penalties for banking firms buying corporate jets or hosting lavish corporate retreats in Vegas, perks funded by taxpayers' mountains of dimes? Gibbs deferred to Treasury for the nuts-and-bolts answers about how things are, some day, going to work.

Keep the heat on during the grilling, Todd and Jake.

In my web surfing this morning, I came across an ad at a British web site. "Reading in is the new going out." I have some new titles that would make fine entrees.

Posted by: laloomis | February 4, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Yay Cassandra. Also, more people than we may realize are joining that lost-jobs line. This is starting to hit the middle class; a college degree and good job history won't help you if your employer depends on some other concern which is going under, or which depends on some other business which is faltering - ad infinitum. It is surprising, if you stop to think, how many jobs are in some sense service jobs if only because they provide something to some other business.

Boy, I haven't thought of BC powder in a while, though I believe it is still sold in our snack bar downstairs (not as food). Indeed bc's powder power is mighty.

collegeparkian, you're giving me bad flashbacks with both the granny-dress and quiana descriptions. I thought I had buried that fashion era safely in a deep recess of my brain. And velvet chokers - once the height of elegance! Shudder.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 4, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad we're beyond velvet chokers. They just don't look good on sagging jowls.

Cassandra, I hope you stay warm! The snow is pretty much gone here; it went quick when the sun hit it, even though the temperature was still below freezing.

I agree that we're redefining what is right and acceptable in the financial, lobbying, and political worlds. This is a good thing, to bring those realities closer to what most of us deal with on a daily basis.

Posted by: slyness | February 4, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

WaPo is no longer paying writers that do blogs and/or chats extra.

Should I be getting worried about the fate of the Achenblog?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 4, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Do you find it at all puzzling that the GOP as the servants of the large business owners --the ones who have already gotten bailed out--are getting more "turkey piled on their plates" while the rest of us are just watching through the fence.

There is a lot of bluff going on. After the first 300 Billion, it is gravy time. If we are loaning money, why not loan money directly to American citizens.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 4, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

That is indeed the shirt CP. But mine was blue bordering on teal. A very disco-ish color as you certainly remember.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 4, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

engelmann, welcome to our world. Avoidance of chafing ranks very high in the recesses of feminine fashion.

You know, I like your handle (formerly SonofCarl) but responding to you always gives me pause. After years on the East Coast I tend to read "engelmann" as "entenmann". This means I am predisposed to find your posts sweet and tasty. However, when replying I have a brief delusion that I am addressing an assortment of unusually witty bakery treats.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 4, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

maybe we should put together an eStore selling achenblog items. Or, we could try a "save the children" approach ... just 75 cents a day will get you a kit each year.

"for 30 cents a day, Joel will post a comment referencing the fact that your last remarks were worthy of some national award or another."

Posted by: russianthistle | February 4, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

BTW, CP, I remember women wearing dresses like the one you linked to well. Like many eras, the clothing of the late 1970s is often held up for ridicule because of its excesses. But there was beauty as well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 4, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Ich bin ein Entenmann

Posted by: engelmann | February 4, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I like the 75 cents a day idea! I'm picturing an ad with a sad-eyed Joel leaning against a wall, looking imploringly at the camera. "Won't"

Posted by: Raysmom | February 4, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Digital transition delayed:

Does this mean that the $ in the stimulus package for converter coupons can come out (i.e., we can wait for the unused ones to expire?)

Posted by: Raysmom | February 4, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, Ivansmom and englemann. There's an Entenmann outlet store several doors down from the the soft pretzel bakery drivethrough about a mile away. And come to think of it, opposite a Dunkin' Donuts and a WaWa (like a 7-11, but with good hoagies).

It's like the Philadelphia Triangle of Carbohydrates.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 4, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Cute image, Raysmom.

For best effect, he should be wearing a Lil' Rascals outfit, a newsboy, and holding a newspaper and a tin cup in front of a battered laptop.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 4, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Not leafing through a old ratty copy of Scientific American?

Posted by: russianthistle | February 4, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, thanks for the digital transition update. Good news for all those people on the coupon waiting list. I care about the date, even though I already have my converter box, because that's when my local PBS station will be upping its digital signal so maybe it'll be watchable with our cheapo antenna (all the other local digital channels already come in nicely). The point of free tv is that free thing, so I'd rather not spend real money on an antenna if I don't have to. Of course, if it ends up being a question of never being able to watch PBS again, I'll have to. But for now I'll keep waiting and seeing.

Posted by: -bia- | February 4, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

The converter coupon crisis is bound to be a fiasco. The coupons had an expiration date and there is a fixed amount of money available to redeem coupons. Once the money is used up or the coupons expire things are going to get confusing.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 4, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm grading the first tests from my history of English class, and I was getting disappointed -- didn't they hear me say that 20 times in class!?!? But now I got a giggle:

"One cannot assume that two languages that share vocabulary descend from the same parent language because the words could have been borrowed or stolen."

Stolen? I agree that the "borrow" terminology is silly, since we're not giving the words back, but I never thought of sharing vocabulary as a criminal undertaking.

Posted by: -bia- | February 4, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The money's already used up, yello. That's why there's a waiting list of 3 million people, waiting for some already-sent but unused coupons to expire before they can be sent theirs. Yeah, it's been a mess.

Posted by: -bia- | February 4, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Or did you know that already? Rereading your post, I realized that you could have meant that we/they should have seen the current mess coming because of the stupid design of the program. I agree.

Posted by: -bia- | February 4, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Look at all the words that the French wrestled back from English, bias ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 4, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse


I went to the church earlier today and set the thermostat as high as it would go. When they get the bill, wow. I'm just getting back in, and boy, is it cold out there. Clear as a bell, but, oh, so, cold.

Have a good evening, my friends. Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 4, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'm just back from church myself. According to the gauge in the car, it was 31, but it felt waay colder than that. Believe I'll stay in tonight.

Posted by: slyness | February 4, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I knew the coupons had run out and there was a backlog. I don't know how this new bill handles that. I have FiOS so I'm not affected since their signal is all digital already. It's the folks on rabbit ears that are getting the short end of the stick.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 4, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Delay in the digital transition? Oh, GREAT. A gal I know claims that 2/17/09 was obviously selected by someone very astrology-savvy. Now that's gonna be all ruint.

Posted by: KBoom | February 4, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Coupons or no coupons I think the delay is a bad idea. Many people, perhaps even most of those who haven't bought a box or otherwise insured they will be able to receive digital TV, won't do it until they can't receive TV at all. I know this would be harsh for those who can't make the switch, but they are far outnumbered by those who just won't until forced.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 4, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

2/17 is Michael Jordan's birthday. I'd vote for somebody basketball savvy instead.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 4, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Where'd the Boodle go? Wilbrod, did you hit the off-switch again by accident? I'm just getting ready to play and everybody left!

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, it must have been that hideous roommate I'm writing about (Not Wilbrodog).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 4, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod? seasea? LAlurker? Anyone?

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

So, how about that sports team, Wilbrod?

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

They still can't find their rears with both hands, but they do have some cute guys anyway.

We really must petition those sports teams for better fashion sense, though.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 4, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I thought they were doing fairly well, what with the doublets and hose and the chargers and all.

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Did you say Sports Yoki? Sports,sports sports!!!!

seems the Capitals and Flames are both having goos seasons eh?Maybe they can meet in the stanely cup sometime in June.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 4, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

That's my dream, green man. I would see my boys slay the Caps, and also Ovechkin, whom I think is just music on blades. That man can skate! He's no Gretzky, not even an Orr, but very very good at what he does.

But I do believe my sweeties Iginla and Kiprusoff will take the day, if it ever comes.

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

What other sports are going on in Canada now? Curling,skiing,luge,skating,ice fishing?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 4, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm here, just exhausted. Twas a beautiful, sunny day, though. One tiny purple species crocus is up, the daphne odora is in bloom and sweetly fragrant, the birds were out in abundance. Spring cannot come too soon for me.

Posted by: seasea | February 4, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

seasea, so frenvious, freezing here today, currently -15 (windchill -20c), I cannot even see my garden under all the snow - will keep hope alive with thoughs of your crocus and daphne (never had luck with daphne).

Don't take too much pity on me it is supposed to warm up on the weekend with rain - Slush Woo Hoo.

Hey Yoki so good to see you in high spirits.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 4, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Now, now, gwe, you know perfectly well that ice fishing is a pastime, not a sport.

Winter sports? Luge and biathlon and X-C racing, for sure, but we don't hear much about those since they are geared to the Olympics. We'll have much news in the next two winters, for sure.

Curling, yes. Downhill racing (have I mentioned that my BIL is a former coach of the Crazy Canucks, and now coaches the Canadian junior women? Lots of good stories.). Slalom and Giant Slalom. Figure and Speed Skating.

Tobogganing. Sledding. Preparations for the Ititerod and other mushing competitions. Ice-climbing.


See? Canadians are *really, really* good at finding ways to have fun when it is cold outside.

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm here, too, Yoki...but don't know nuthin' 'bout no ice-related sports.

On the other hand, there's an Ashley Judd versus Sarah Palin smackdown over hunting wolves going on. That could get interesting.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 4, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Hi everyone,

I've been in San Diego almost 2 weeks getting a cram course in my company. But I can't complain too much. Good people, good organization that intends to keep me (!) and fabulous weather. But if it's any consolation I would tire of perfect weather 24/365. Really.

Hey, I went whale watching and saw 2 whales! But fun stuff was only on the weekend. At this point I am almost brain dead.

Tomorrow I have an exam and final presentation (aaaggghhhhhh!!!!) but I'll be fine. (8 AM PST--send positive vibes--thank you!) I my own bed on Friday.

I've been a lurker most of the time these past weeks. The holidays were tough for me.

Yoki...we are with you! GWE--loved your superbowl nod to fathers in heaven. are sooooo eccentric. This is a good thang. Whew.

Posted by: Windy3 | February 4, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Windy3!!!! *hugs*

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

I caught a bit of that feud on the inter-tubes today. Much as I hate to say it, I'm on the Judd side of the line. Everyone here knows how I admire and love wolves, and arial hunting is just wrong, no matter what the prey. If you want to kill an animal, get down into its environment and experience the same difficulties, for dog's sake! That's a fair contest (though not one I engage in myself). I did once, in my extreme youth, shoot a ground squirrel with a .22 rifle, and that cured me of hunting forever.

I have also slaughtered one animal I intended to, and did, eat, and that seemed fair too. Ethically correct, as it were.

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Ice fishing. With lots of golden beverages. Clearing a space on a pond to play hockey. Freezing your buns off on the chair for a discount night ticket of skiing. Carving a porthole through the ice on the windscreen and careening down ice covered roads.
good night for college hoops. The Orangemen manage to dispense with the Mountaineers and the Tigers are waxing the Dookies. I must've missed the memo about the freezing a$$ cold that has permeated these parts. May have to break the ice up in the Crapper in the a.m..

Posted by: -jack- | February 4, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Anyone seen my Dead hat? I heard that you might have seen it, gwe. OTOH, it might be hiding in the laundry.

Posted by: -jack- | February 4, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Why, jack! I hereby dub thee an honourary Canadian. Arise, you hoser. Take this 2-4 in good health. Be careful on the roads, they're brutal, eh?

Posted by: Yoki | February 4, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Windy, I've told the story here before about how I nearly moved to San Diego many years ago. But then I spent 3 weeks there, and decided I really didn't like the perpetual dry, sunny weather, the same all the time. Then I moved to Seattle, where it's wet and rainy, and the same all the time...ooops! Perhaps I miscalculated (I do like rain, though, and the lush greenery of the NW).

This quote from JD Souther was in the local paper today:
"Most days, when it's been cold and gray and the sun comes out, I wish I was down at the (Pike Place) Market. I have so many fond memories of being on the Sound, and of the way people in that region feel when the sun comes out. It's ecstasy, like a pagan dance of absolute immersion and love."

Posted by: seasea | February 4, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki. I learned all of that stuff in the North Country of NYS when I was younger and much more foolish.

Posted by: -jack- | February 4, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Yoki
That is a lot of stuff you northeners do in the winter. It is brrrrr here again tonight,i can feel the cold coming up from under my house.

Not sure about your hat Jack,but I got plenty of dead stuff you could borrow use, would love to catch one of those shows,but would prefer to see them outdoors when it is warm.

ok off to add another log or 2 to the stove.Dang groundhog,what does he know?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 5, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

OMG, I'm confused by this talk about big money. My family owns real estate and run their own business. Thrifty to cheap about it all. People who have money, don't spend it, otherwise you don't have it...I didn't make that up.

In any case, my friends and I discussed it. We think Obama is hot and that's as good as any reason for most people to listen to what he says, and go with it. Who was it that said his songs, always basically ask, "Will you pull your pants down?" Bruce Springsteen? I think I heard that in a radio interview. He's still making money.

I'm counting on you, Joel, to tell it right, cause I'm lost in the mire, just like the money is... an average citizen, I guess, thinking this really sucks and loosening up some cash to take a trip, although I've given up Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Posted by: lisaholdren | February 5, 2009 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Fear not, over at London's Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is finding some economic bits of hope. Despite the Option-A.R.M. bomb going off.

Business Week had a clear, creepy explanation of the option-ARM. I guess it's another explanation of how so many people moved into houses that would seem affordable only for Masters of the Universe, or at least Successful Journeymen of the Universe.

(My only relation to the Universe is having lived just uphill from The Pub at the End of the Universe. The neighborhood was firmly resistant to gentrification, other than the sushi place that had fled from the Trendy NW. It magically didn't seem to need a good location to have ample customers).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 5, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

Yawn. Coffee is set to timer. A special treat this morning, Entenmann's, soft pretzels, pork roll, and for the real die-hards, egg-white omelettes with sauteed veggies of your choice.

My breakfast skills are limited at this time of the morning. So sue me!

Posted by: -dbG- | February 5, 2009 4:07 AM | Report abuse

Mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, and extra jack cheese on my omelette, please.


Posted by: yellojkt | February 5, 2009 5:35 AM | Report abuse

It's a cold one... (mr grinch) I'm with yellojkt. I'll have the same. Let me bring some French Roast Coffee!

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 5:40 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

It's a wee bit chilly in the armpit of Cleveland this morning (-4F), but that's okay. I'm almost sufficiently coffeed up and -- joy of joys -- found my ratty old wool cable-knit sweater with the mock turtleneck I thought Mrs. M had thrown out (welcome back, old friend). Just because a garment is stained and has holes in it and its edges are frayed does not mean it should be unceremoniously chucked in the trash.

Heck... kids pay big money at those fancy mall stores for clothes with "pre-worn" holes. I'm just a do-it-yourselfer.

Time for my dose of morning news, then off to make the sawdust and try not to cut off any important body parts.

Peace out and stay warm, Boodle buds... :-)

Posted by: martooni | February 5, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Cassandra. Looks like it's me mustering the Dawn Patrol today. Let's be up and at 'em, folks. Omelets, Canadian bacon and biscuits in the ready room, extra large pot of coffee, fruit cocktail.

I'm off to the mountains to teach baby lawyers about business development. I'm putting on my glasses to look very old and wise as mostly this is theatre. Back Sunday noonish. Have a good end-of-week and then weekend, Boodle dear.

Posted by: Yoki | February 5, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, tossing some Kielbasa into the eggs.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Brrr. The bed was so warm and comfy and I got out of it. Why?

Have a good trip, Yoki, and impart wonderful knowledge to the baby lawyers!

Breakfast sounds divine, dbG. I'm definitely in! Will bring my signature country ham biscuits and Tazo tea.

Sixteen degrees. Mr. T even put on a jacket before he left, but predicted he'd leave it on the hook behind his office door. Not me! I think I'll ride the exercycle this morning, instead of taking the walk. I'm with seasea. Spring can't come soon enough!

Anybody see the op-ed piece by Barack Obama? It made sense to me! Be still my heart, our president writes cogent editorials! (Even if staff wrote it, I'm still thrilled!)

Posted by: slyness | February 5, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Slyness -

Fool me once ... shame on ... shame on you ... you fool me, I can't get fooled again.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

About the piece by Obama...overall pretty decent, but he could have left out the people-voted-for-change part. Sounds very campaign-ish, and the election's over; it also seems to me that that sentence will raise the hackles of more people than it will bring into the fold.

Busy day ahead. Stay warm all.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 5, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

News analysis snippet

Paul Krugman on with Rachel Maddow finishes segment making the repeated point that I have made that Tax Cuts for the Wealthy just doesn't work for stimulating the economy.


Washington's let's-have-steak-dinner-together press corps just not interested in covering the real economic truth.

Tax cuts for wealth = bad stimulus

Food stamps for the poor = good stimulus

This is like the classic walk a mile in my shoes story of reporters trying to survive on an unemployment check. Until reports actually try to do so, then we will know.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Weed, many journalists ARE trying to survive on unemployment checks these days... If only they had outlets for their work.

This morning's chill even got to ME -- had an extra hat and facewarmer on as I strode across the tarmac to the Dawn Patrol flight line. Staggeringly clear and bright sunrise, though. :-)

*off-to-find-a-good-cuppa-coffee-and-a-few-extra-calories-from-the-breakfast-repast Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Ha. I just now noticed Joel's joke with regards to that British apostrophe article. Or should I say Joels joke. Okay. I'm slow.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 5, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

RT - Alas, the ghost of the Laffer Curve is still alive and well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 5, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

But no one's laffing, RD_P... *confused*

And I'm sad to say the scam artists are already hard at work on their own stimulus... *pointing @ the Google ads and SIGHHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Having just gathered my tax information for my accountant, without opening my investment statements (fear!), I share the anger regarding rewarding incompetence. I had hoped to retire in a few years and have more time to spend with family and friends. Not gonna happen.

I was so hoping that partisan politics would take a backseat to helping our country out of this economic mess, call me silly.

Great looking day out there, pale blue sky and pure white snow. I’m wearing my warmest sweater and hoping the office is warmer than usual. Have a great day all.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 5, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, you are absolutely right on those journalists who have been cut. I know some folks who sensed that something would happen... the folks I am talking about are the so-called big hitters such as George Will and his ilk.

You can always hear in a discussion from where folks are coming. There is a sense that they, the lucky, have worked hard or made the right decisions.

This economy has rendered a whole lot of collateral damage and taken with it numerous innocents, so to speak. Scotty, I know of a number of writers who are really hurting with this situation. Thanks for forcing some precision on my statements.

Even two nights ago, a longtime friend referenced how he has worked hard and done all the right things and now is struggling to hold onto his three properties.

I am not belittling his very hard struggle, but the thought that he is more deserving of help v. someone else without two rental properties just doesn't ring the bell for me. What I am concerned about is that his spouse got laid off... they are fine and sharing people.

So far, one of the best indicators of one's intelligence is working for the federal government. I hope, for the area's sake, that continues to hold true. At this point, local government employment is starting to look a bit dicey.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle. Didn't see anything new in Obama's op-ed, except that he (or staffers) wrote one, and that in itself is a good thing. Oh to have italics, then I could duplicate the sentence that made me giggle- "The writer is the president of the United States."

Weed-couldn't agree more with you about the relative stimulative benefits of tax cuts vs. food stamps.

I'm waiting for a journalist to challenge the GOP assertion that "government never created a single job." I guess all those people standing in the slug lines in the Prince William commuter lots are just figments of our collective imagination.

Warming trend headed our way, with a forecast of +40 in St. Paul Sat. Should make it your way by Monday, Martooni.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 5, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Is hope rational?

Seems so!

Posted by: omnigood | February 5, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

probably so, as odd as it may seem. Just like squab is actually domesticated pigeon. The veal of the bird world.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

speaking of hope... in one of her few lucid moments, Carlie Fiorina, mentioned that there is a myth that business of America is primarily "big business." It is not. We all drive our little efforts on hope. Where, if you have a decent job, hope may drive you to excel and improve your lot, while, when struggling to put food on the table or duct-tape things together to make a new start, it is hope that gets you going in the morning. Better, it is hope that, sometimes, gives you a good night's rest.

If hope gives out, then try a scam.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Omni, yes. Always hope.

What remains very hard to grasp is how friends and neighbors can really help each other. Tis a long and complex move away from independent living -- house or apartment. Trying to dig in and keep afloat with a current mortgage or lease is beginning to consume many of us. What people need is a smidge or dollop of cash flow relief. I hear that some mortgage relief propopals could result in favorable and quick refinancing terms. Savings would range from 200 to 700 per month. That kind of relief can help many people.

Time soon and overdue that the predatory usury of big credit card biz be taken down three or four notches. (People, too, should reacquaint themselves with need v. want.)

For renters, perhaps landlords who want to keep people stable in a property, might be able to earn additional tax relief on a specific loss like reducing rent by 200/month for one year or giving two months "free" without the commencement of eviction or later small claims court claim.

Food stamps! Yes. And, perhaps some relaxation on income/asset guidelines for the next 18-24 months.

But, the real sinker is health care. Without health care, most of us sink into a dying zone of
hopelessness (Omni - that would likely sink me moodwise)
poor health and exacerbation of chronic but manageable ills.

Hey, people need their
thyroid hormones (say 24 percent of female pop.)
asthma controller meds (Advair is very expensive, rescue inhalers, not so much)
beta blockers
blood pressure meds

WOW. Very scary indeed.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 5, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

CqP, or may I call you C?

All very fantastic points. I sometimes fear that efforts to help those suffering in the middle class often have no bearing on the poor.

Some problems for the poor are situation and can strike anyone. And yet, a bit to the poor in America helps us all AND it may be the cheapest help that we give.

A stupid truism, the richer you are, the more expensive our problems.

Anyway, C, the one thing that all Americans will benefit from, single payer, nationalized health care. All doctors are in the system OR not. If you are well off enough to just whip out your wallet and pay for added services, be my guest. You do it now, so what's the difference. (speaking to that rich guy out there).

Think about it, many of the people today, with a health care program (like the Feds and Local and now all the bailed out businesses) are having their health care paid by the country... why not the rest of us? It comes from our tax dollars.

Most people are for the program now. As I understand it, most Docs are for it. Who isn't? Just ask yourself why...

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. It's a cool -8F/-22C here this morning. I sure hope milder temps are on their way.

I do not understand this dilution of the stimulus package either. It's weird to hear the good senator (DeMint?)from uber-rich South Carolina rant against social and state spending.

That is what I call a really big snake: 45 ft long and 2500lbs. Snacks on crocodiles.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 5, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

from Madlen Read's Market Report in the Post (AP):

"Initial jobless claims rose to 626,000, a 26-year high, the Labor Department said. And the number of claims by people continuing to apply for unemployment benefits reached a new record of nearly 4.8 million.

"The gloomy data overshadowed the government's report that productivity rose by 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter, more than twice what analysts expected. It also offered a grim look at the job market ahead of this week's most highly anticipated economic gauge, Friday's January payrolls report.


This writing begs the issue about the writer's understanding of the causes of higher "productivity."

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I think I know how Wilbrodog and other canines must feel when doing "business" outdoors. I lasted a whopping 10 minutes in the shop and came running back in with my proverbial tail between my legs.

russianthistle... If it weren't for hope, I'd have nuttin'. But watching/reading the news every morning has been steadily chipping away at even that. As for "good jobs"... well... I don't believe there is such a thing anymore. Massive layoffs are hitting every sector and every level and the future is looking like much more of the same. I wouldn't be surprised to see unemployment rates in the high teens by this time next year.

Side note on unemployment rates... I think they're much much higher than the numbers we see in the news. The rates they report are only based on those people in the "system" (filing for or collecting benefits). They don't include those who are no longer able to collect but are still looking, nor those who are underemployed or have just given up.

Based on my personal observations of my little corner of America (NE Ohio), I'd say the local "real" unemployment rate is probably close to 20%.

I also agree on universal single-payer health care. I've been kvetching about that for several years now.

By putting everyone in the same risk pool, *everyone's* costs go down -- for about a thousand different reasons. Businesses pay a lower premium per employee, the employed and unemployed are both covered, minor health issues are nipped in the bud instead of turning into costly major or chronic issues, actual costs for drugs and treatment go down due to massive buying leverage and streamlined systems...

But no. We can't have that because some greedy bastages who have greedy ears in Congress want the "market" to drive everything, mainly because the market drives dumptrucks full of money to their bank accounts.

Posted by: martooni | February 5, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Slyness, I braved the cold with a thin pair of pants, and my legs felt like wood by the time I got back in here. I didn't realize just how cold it was, and there is a bit of wind with the cold. I will now jump in the tub and warm up.

Yoki, have a good trip, and keep those young folks in line.

Martooni, Scotty, Mudge, all, have a great day.*waving*

I haven't read the editorial by the President, but I will.

For those that are holding up progress and movement, I have one question. Do you have another planet to live on? There are too many people unemployed, and too many people really suffering in this country, for anyone to try and hold on to partisan(?)ideals and roadblocks. Figure it out, and move forward.

Lostinthought, I haven't read the President's editorial so can't really critique it, but some people did vote for change. And voting is a very peaceful way to express the hunger for change. There are other ways to do the same thing, and none of these peaceful or nice. And I think sometimes people don't get that. We haven't had the other side of that coin in this country since the Civil Rights era, but no one that remembers that, wants to go back down memory lane. One does have to respect people as in the "large" sense. Too many not so good variable are happening in the wider population that can add up to a not so good outcome. I'm reminded of the phrase, "let them eat cake". I hope you understand what I'm trying to say, and I don't mean any disrespect.

Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 5, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Freakin' Republicans and their freakin' tax cuts. I don't want a tax cut, I want a taxable income! And I don't want a stimulus check, either, I want a paycheck!

Posted by: KBoom | February 5, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, KBoom, let's keep our eyes on what's really important for most people. Tax cuts are not that!

I'm not an expert on health care issues, but I fail to see the problem with single payer insurance. There's stability in pricing, clarity about what stuff costs, and we can have meaningful conversations about what is effective/efficient and what isn't. For those who rant that it will lead to rationing of care, I must say, it's not like we don't have that now. We ration by ability to pay, and how fair is that?

Posted by: slyness | February 5, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how it happened, or if it was in the works even before Obama took the oath of office, but our area's share of federal $ for weatherizing the homes of low income, aged, or disabled residents grew 10X almost overnight. That's rapid stimulus I can believe in. Reduces carbon footprints, puts people to work, frees up money that was going to heating, and will indirectly reduce health care costs. Tax cuts would not have created any of these benefits, we're talking about people whose only tax bill is for property tax and that's local. I'd love to create a rebate of the 30% levy increase Our Fair City did two years in a row, but then we'd have to let homes burn down instead of having a fire department. (We will not be raising taxes this year, and if we were the state or federal government we'd call it a "budget cut" since we won't keep up with increased costs.)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 5, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Yoki, good luck with all those shyster fry. (Word maven that I am, I've decided that "shyster fry" is the correct term for baby lawyers. Unless you like "slick chicks" better. Or Johnny Cockrells. Or lexocubs. Juriswhelps. Or ratpoles. OK, enough lawyer jokes.)

(Or Esquirettes. Spat spat [very subtle, that one]. Courtroom larva. Fee urchins. Cygnetories.)

Meanwhile, it is 16 degrees here, too, coldest day in the last 20-some. Brrrr.

Shriek, I would have thought the world's largest snake was Bernie Madoff. *rimshot*

OK, I'm done.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I just want to let you know how impressed I am with all this walking you've been doing. I haven't gotten into a good exercise routine since our move last summer. I do stuff, but it's sporadic, and I come up with all kinds of excuses for why this thing or that doesn't fit in my schedule. And then I look at you, and you're out walking every morning. You're an inspiration.

Posted by: -bia- | February 5, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Damn, I really like "fee urchins." I'm pretty dang proud of that one.

*pats self on back, injures shoulder, seeks attorney*

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. I think Cassandra is right, and she's saying something which makes some people very uncomfortable. In the past gross disparity of income and circumstances, dwindling hope, and anger have fed mass violence. We like to think that won't happen, but there is really no reason for that optimism.

Right now people are still thinking and acting primarily as individuals or small groups (gangs being a kind of big individual, if you will). However, all kinds of crime is already on the rise - petty offenses, property crimes, crimes against people - as is substance abuse of all kinds. All it would take is a focus for a lot of already-existing dissatisfaction and anger, and someone to foment it. You'd have a riot on your hands pretty quick; repeat that across the country, get people working together, and you'd have rebellion.

Wall Street and the banks are providing a pretty good focus for anger right now, and the government needs to reject their actions and diffuse that rage. Government needs people to see it is working for them, not the privileged few.

I know that here there are plenty of guns available. Many of them are already in the hands of traditionally or newly disadvantaged people. Many guns are also owned by people who wouldn't hesitate to shoot if their still-comfortable lives were threatened by those disadvantaged folks.

This isn't a pretty thought, and I don't believe it is likely now. It is certainly possible, though, and the probabilites go up every day jobs are lost, houses are lost, bank accounts are emptied, and people see the extremely wealthy apparently flaunting their (our) money and power.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 5, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Hey, take an internet vacation:

back to work.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Although my experience of swells here in Jasper is rather limited it does seem that flouting is a defining behaviour.
If you please.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 5, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Weed, if we're going Hawaiian, I always liked this one better.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse


Thanks so much, but it is a case of what is needed really bad. I have abused this body for so many years, and still do, it's just time to pay the piper. What I'm trying to do is enjoy the walk, and not make it a job. I have a tendency to make everything harder than it is.


Like many of the companies and businesses here in America, it is time to reassess my home budget. Internet access is a luxury that I haven't been able to afford for sometimes now, but just did without other stuff just to stay connected. And to keep in touch with you folks here. All of you have become so much a part of my life I can't imagine not talking with you daily. I'm going to do everything I can to keep my access, but if I become missing, don't fret, it could not be avoided. And dear friends, I'm not telling you this to "hit" on you as some may perceive, just want you to know my situation. I love all of you, and you too, JA, and my time here has been a wonderful and rewarding experience for me. I get to write and express myself, and I get to learn something new. Sometimes the pace is so fast I can't keep up, but that's okay too. My presence here has never been about being a pointy head anyway. I've always wanted to write and to express my love of God and Christ. JA, has allowed me to do that on his porch, and I thank you so very much. I also thank those of you that have made me feel welcome and your expressions of love and friendship have just been outstanding. I don't think any of you realize the impact you've had on my life and that of my family. Again, a big thank you. I will keep you posted as to how things turn.

There's just great joy and tons of love for all of you. And please know that, and take heart in that. In other words, eat the cake.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 5, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, if it comes to having to end your internet connection, and I certainly hope it doesn't, I hope that you at least have access to the internet at your library or tutoring place. We can't afford to lose you completely!

We depend on you to tell us what's really happening to so many of us.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | February 5, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse


For cold days outside
Furry sporran for treasures
Is a snuggly must


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 5, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Here is a google link for some companies that provide free internet services.You might want to try some or all of them.

It would be a shame to lose you here,we all love you and you posts inspire each and every one of us.

I don't have enough time to research these,but perhaps another boodler does or perhaps other boodlers have ideas about free ISP's.

We don't want you to leave.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 5, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I want to ask you and others here a sincere question. As someone who has (so far) not been impacted acutely by this mess, what can I do? I've already cut back on *wants* and am donating more than usual to groups that I know directly help those in need. You know I'm not a real warm-n-fuzzy type, so tutoring kids and stuff like that would be doing no one any favors. Ideas?

Posted by: Raysmom | February 5, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

ooops forgot the link

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 5, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Well, Cassandra, if you leave, I'm leaving too... I mean that's just not something I can even imagine, the boodle without your presence. OK, and some other folks around here, too. You're like infrastructure (that's a compliment even though it doesn't necessarily sound like one).

By the way, in case anyone was wondering about that little item in City Paper on bloggers at the Post no longer being paid: That does not impact this blog because a while back my compensation was restructured. But of course the blog serves as the pleasure of the executive so it could be spiked at any moment. I assume we'll stay in business.

But no new kit this morning...Check back in the afternoon.

Posted by: joelache | February 5, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, yes, agreed with your bits on real employment rates. Economists rant about this all the time. Clinton even admitted it that every administration has "monkeyed" with the official rate.

Tack on the under-employment problem and wow.

I think the best way to take care of our traditional rust belt businesses such as the auto industry is to unload the healthcare aspect. Do that in exchange for lightening the bail out deal.

A couple of days ago, we were talking about all the various union issues involved in the state-by-state workers rights issues.

The GOP should actually be supporting this for their business owner constituents. And yet... no. Nothing is the answer.

I believe that the GOP is really misreading this. AND, I think that they are letting the dip in Obama's popularity in the face of their Hoover-like traditional spending opposition be a leading indicator causing mistake. The reality will strike America that we knew what we were doing when we elected Obama, but then we were AGAIN distracted and splintered. We need invasive surgery on our systems. Bigtime.

Obama thought the GOP would play along, if he pandered to them, but they aren't. Who pays? We do. ... again.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Thursday, April 14, 1938, (about 10:30 PM)

History proves that dictatorships do not grow out of strong and successful governments but out of weak and helpless governments. If by democratic methods people get a government strong enough to protect them from fear and starvation, their democracy succeeds, but if they do not, they grow impatient. Therefore, the only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over its government.

Would certainly like more details as a followup to the Obama op-ed. As Gail Collins suggests in her op-ed today, should we accept a messy stimulus plan? As just one example, I would like to see a much better FDA (remember the hoopla about tainted products from China, when media followup revealed that the amount of time inspectors spend on each import is about 30 second--on a computer screen?), rather than millions poured into smoking cessation, as contained in the stimulus package. Would it be better to pass a smaller bill with only those activities that are truly stimulative?

Certainly, we should be willing to examine the economic crises and actions-or inactions--of Presidents Grover Cleveland (second administration) or Martin Van Ruin, and FDR, above.

"As to the presidency, the two happiest days of my life were those of my entrance upon the office and my surrender of it."

Posted by: laloomis | February 5, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

You might be right, LiT as on the alienating rhetoric of change. As for me, I really liked that line.

Politicans depend on voters to get re-elected, pure and simple. How about listening to them for a change?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 5, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I echo what the others have said - this place would not be the same without you.

Raysmom - just don't cut back too much the economy will get much worse if everyone stops spending.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 5, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The FAA has released the audio of the Hudson River crash, 4 minutes and 40 seconds of conversation between Sully and the tower. Sully's voice never rises, quakes, never anything but dead cool. Toward the end he was able to do only quick one-word answers. At one point the tower gives him an alternate runway and all he says is "Unable."

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"Raccoons Invade White House Grounds"

The smell of Cheney was keeping them at bay before.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 5, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog... thanks for making me choke on my coffee with that haiku.

Do they make a full-body sporran?

Posted by: martooni | February 5, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I don't want more stuff. I own enough stuff. An economy that requires affluent people to buy more and more stuff so that more and more people can be employed to make that stuff is an economy out of whack.

We need to change the way this economy works so that more of my money goes to create those things the President calls for. For these things employ people as well, and these jobs would fulfill a more useful need than simply making more shiny stuff for me to buy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 5, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

don't worry, dmd, we will all be doing better once loomis has some details.

Loomis, the answer to your rhetorical question is yes. That is the price we pay for a thoughtless and ignorant opposition party with just enough power left to stop the government from moving forward.

You have one large, hold-yur-noz bill. It's wrong, but that's the extent of the process that will work thanks to the lingering climate on the hill.

Me, I'm already planning on a "BladeRunner"-like financial world. We very well might get turned upside down.

You have a great day.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 5, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom-your query intrigued me, and still does, but I'll take a stab at it from my admittedly biased position as someone involved in small town government. Volunteer to serve on a board of something at your city or county government, or a nonprofit if there aren't any gov't openings coming up in the near future. Many government boards, commissions, committees, etc. have seats reserved for citizens. Some people sit on these boards just to punch a ticket on their way to running for office, others are just chummy with the government agency the board is supposed to advise or monitor, but many, many are filled with capable, dedicated people who are already volunteering for lots of things and could use a break. I haven't seen a board yet that couldn't benefit from a fresh perspective. For instance, Our Fair City's Economic Development Committee could sure use a boodler, with or without past business experience. Better yet if said boodler had mad editing skills and could update the area brochure.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 5, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The untold background to that story here:;_ylt=ApEr7eGMPFR1pqXJx0F5kmQDwLAF

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 5, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"McDowell has already removed birds that were flying inside the U.S. Capitol, but he says that he's always dreamed of catching a raccoon on the White House grounds.

"Normally, McDowell charges $195 for the setup fee plus $50 for each raccoon caught. But if asked, he said he would trap the raccoons for free. 'I won't charge 'em nothing,' he said."

Some people have strange dreams. Also, loved the comment, Shrieking.

Re.: RD's comment, just yesterday I saw I had been hornswoggled again. The battery to my portable drill-screwdriver finally quit holding a charge. Went to the big-box store and find I can buy pak of two for more than the original tool or a new one, yet they are "discontinued" on the internet. This type of snub is not good for anything. Not to mention they lost a sale with their pigheadedness.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 5, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

frosti, your response made me think immediately of our HOA board of directors, which is chronically short of candidates. But I think I need to find a more worthy outlet than listening to people whine about trash collection or the tree dripping sap on their car.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 5, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I know Jumper it's sick to find that a new more powerful drill, its charger and two batteries are cheaper than a pair of replacement batteries.
What a frikking waste on energy, materials, packaging and resources in general.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 5, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse


food closets need regular donations from people like you who will not simply give these UNNEEDED comestibles:

all types of cranberry jelly
expired pumpkin pie filling cans
boxes of lime Jello
cans of Durkees onion topping
canned beets

What is needed remain:

canned beans (lost art of cooking beans, really)
tomatoes (all types)
green beans
apple sauce (ASK, some pantries deal only in tinned food)
fruit juice boxes
ultrapasturized milk boxes

Ask about bean preferences of clients: pinto over black; great northern over kidney

Women's shelters need toiletries always and diapers....diapers......diapers....and wipers.

If you patronize a nice bakery at the end of the day, see if you can offer to take day old goods to a soup kitchen or shelter. I know of two conduit of fabulous bread to needy people the next day.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 5, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom-I know how thankless HOA service is, and how petty members can be, but it can be a worthy outlet too-particularly during this economic crisis. Perhaps yours could use help figuring out how to steer through the foreclosure disaster.

Still and all, I wouldn't volunteer to serve on an HOA board either and am thankful Mr. F was not elected in our Hip Urban Loft building (the only time I've ever seen more candidates than openings in an HOA).

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 5, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree with RD. I already have plenty of stuff. If I buy some more stuff, I want it to replace some old stuff that doesn't work so well now. I don't just want to acquire new stuff. Put my money towards infrastructure, energy, health care - I'll be happy. I don't even need a commemorative plaque for my living room.

I'm sure there are better minds than mine out there who have a different answer, but I wonder how folks are so sure what exactly will stimulate the economy. There are some obvious things, many already well-articulated in this Boodle. However, how does one decide that some of the smaller, more obscure or less obvious programs have no stimulus value? Look at frosti's example. One might think that money for low-income housing weatherizing is just a giveaway. As she says, it actually has several direct economic benefits to their small community.

I hope Obama continues to remind everyone not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. This surely isn't the perfect stimulus plan. Is it better than nothing? There's no question. Is it better than the House offer (all tax cuts)? Well, that hasn't worked for the last eight years. Is it better than taking time to endlessly whittle away at programs individuals don't like, delaying implementation of anything? I believe so.

"Fee urchins"? juriswhelps, lexocubs, Cygnetories? You're killing me here, Mudge. I'd love to repeat these to my students but they may not see the humor.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 5, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, is that brochure a Word document? (Or PDF?) If so, e-mail it to me.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

CP--thanks! It's good to know I'm on the right track. One of our local groups posts its needs on their website, and once a month I do a shopping run just for them. But maybe I could do it more often...

frosti, if I had the power to do one thing with our HOA board, it would be to teach them the difference between needs and wants.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 5, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

In the "ooooooooops" department, via MSN Sports:

"When Peyton Manning and his fellow Pro Bowlers pranked Broncos QB Jay Cutler by tossing him into the hotel pool, they forgot one thing. He has diabetes and his blood sugar monitor got fried in the pool. 'It was a bad audible on our part,' Manning said."


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, Cutler can get a new one for free. They give them away, now.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

And 'Mudge, whyfor dincha include da Pro Bowl results in the tussle for the tiara?


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

1) it ain't a real football game
2) none of us picked for either side
3) I fergot

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

mudge-thanks for the offer, and I might take you up on it when they're far enough along with ad sales and new content. When the time comes we have it in Publisher and pdf.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 5, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling bc would argue with the "you'll never be able to drive these" theme of this article:


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if you think I have questions...Dan Froomkin today here at WaPo (yeah, Dan!):

But he needs to explain in greater depth why he's so sure he's right. Sure, many Americans have great confidence in him at this point. But the stimulus is too big a deal to take on faith.

How did Obama reach the conclusions that he did -- from the big picture to the little? Why is he so sure things are that dire? Why is he so sure this will help?

Why isn't the plan bigger? Why isn't it smaller? How did he conclude that this is the right balance between short-term job stimulus and long-term strategy? Why not separate the two? Why, given some criticisms from experts with no axe to grind, has he come to the conclusion that this package is good enough, rather than in need of major surgery?

Why is he letting Congress turn this into something typically Congressional -- i.e. messy -- rather than using his political clout to dictate the terms? Since he acknowledges that the plan can be improved, why doesn't he publicly and explicitly state how? What is his litmus test for individual projects that are part of the overall plan? (Does he have one?) It's too late for listening now: What suggestions that he's heard does he think are worth taking?

What does he say to Republicans who worry this is the return of a permanent big government?

Obama needs to have a long heart-to-heart with the American people, either in a television address or in a serious, prolonged sit-down interview. And that interview shouldn't be with a blow-dried anchor or a political obsessive, but with someone who knows a lot about the economy and will push him beyond what have now become familiar sound bites, into a more persuasive terrain where he explains his reasoning and describes how he has reached his conclusions.

Posted by: laloomis | February 5, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Now me, I definitely want some stuff. Like one of those little Kybota garden tractors with a tiller and a front-end loader. And a chainsaw and a wood-chipper ... . Ah ... a girl can dream.

But since that dream has about a zero percent chance of becoming a reality, I'll settle for keeping someone else's dream alive. Is it too ... ah ... busy-bodyish to think of taking up a collection for Miss Cassy's internet? I mean, it would cost us all about a buck a month. Maybe fifty cents. When my computer when on the blink last week, I about went crazy. I can't imagine giving it up permanently. My dogs are good at listening to my fatuous opinions, but they rarely respond. If this suggestion gives offense, I apologize deeply.

Posted by: KBoom | February 5, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

So i went out to the woodshed for more wood(go figure) and there was a doe,laying on the pallets i had for the wood, no problem,it is dry and not covered in snow,she ran off. Then I see a bush out front shaking without much wind blowing,another deer had nestled down under and behind the bush. I seriouly think if I left my door open and went to work,all the critters would be in gwe's house.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 5, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Good day, all.

Cassandra, I do hope you find a way to stay online. Good heavens, my head is spinning at the thought of you not being around... Still, you made it up to DC for the BPH - call me a silly fuzzyheaded optimistic Quantum Mechanic wrenching in Multiple Worlds, if you must - but I think Anything Can Happen if you put ideas and thoughts out there into the Higgs Aether. And see -- there are Boodle-rific ideas popping in here already...

Liked the piece on the disappearance of UK apostrophes, and would suggest that they're migrating to the US, where many regard possessiveness, perhaps inappropriately, as a pervasive virtue.

They're certainly being inappropriately festooned about my office email inbox, that's for sure.

Have some thoughts on the President's piece this morning, will post momentarily.

Oh, no, bad news about Justice Ginsberg's health.


Posted by: -bc- | February 5, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Those animals seem to be very fawned of you, GWE.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Quantum Mechanics, Uncertainty and Multiple Worlds (ignoring parsimonious explanations of all kinds for the moment), I liked the President's piece (ahem) and the tone of studied, pragmatic optimism.

That "voted resoundingly for change" line was a little too partisan for me, too. The President needs help from across the isle to make this package fly, and I don't think rubbing people's noses in last November is going to help, even if he's (re)calling for people to put aside partisanism towards the end of the piece. Someone's eyes may still be stinging by the time they get to those sentences.

I'm also perplexed by his use of fairly specific numbers with regards to the projected effects of the economic crisis and the proposed stimulus package: "Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs."

Er, how does he know it won't be 3 million, or 8? Unemployment may not just "approach double digits," it could go over - *way* over (wasn't the jobless rate at the depth (note: I didn't say height) of the Great Depression something like 25 %?).

He may not be wrong, but he'd make a more convincing argument to me by sharing current economic data and changes over time to now, and then stating that these trends will continue (i.e. things will get worse).

At this point in time, many people are not confident in the Government's ability to predict economic change or gauge the effects of their ability to manage it (see: the effects of TARP so far), so why populate this document with predictions from that same systems? Talk about Uncertainty!

Now, to the line, "our destiny isn't written for us but by us," gets into an area I Kitted on back in the Spring, IIRC, and some thoughts on determinism and probabilistic event chains -- or Free Will, if you will.

Hmm. I cannot personally say that Anything and Everything that's happening now has gone according to some Plan or not, and of course there are the classical theological and secular arguments to be made about that, but I find it an interesting insight into our President's mind that not once in this piece does he invoke a Creator. I think I remember G W Bush invoking "In God we trust" at some point. I may have that wrong, though.

Think I'm reading *way* too much into this? I do too, and I think I'm going to read some Calvin and Hobbes to relax before going back to work.

Or not.


Posted by: -bc- | February 5, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Don't buck the trend, GWE...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse


That GWE be fully badged and proclaimed as "St. Francis of the Boodle -- West by God Division."

Long over due. I already see the hands shooting in the air to second the motion......

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 5, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like they caught Ginsberg's cancer fairly early... *fingers crossed tightly*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The theory of evolution has taken another hit with the discovery of two more gaps in the fossil record. I hope Dooley isn't too upset.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 5, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I think the fact that I throw all sorts of food out in the yard for them has alot of critters around. When it is cold and there is snow cover,not much for them to eat.

Now in the summer I try to keep them away from here,they have a fondness for my flowers and plants and such.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 5, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

A quorum of Boodlers being present and the motion being made and seconded, is there any discussion? No? Then a call for the vote? Yes, the chair recognizes a call for the vote.

All those in favor, signify by Boodling "Aye." Or "I." Or "Yea." Or "Yeah." Or waving hands wildly in the air.

Only one vote per Boodler, please; this isn't Chicago.

Somebody get Chad down before he hangs himself. Thank you.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Dooley's a whale man. He's probably been all over that story already.

Look like I new a new shiny thing; a $1400-1800 garage door. At least both companies I looked at manufacture their door in Canada. One thing we haven't tasked the Chinese to manufacture for us yet.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 5, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: slyness | February 5, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse


Shriek a new garage door is on our list of stuff we need, is that an installed price - insulated - thanks.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 5, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I have a technical question for our lawyers, Ivansmom, Englemann [ex-SoC], ftb, et al.:

Bernie Madoff is under penthouse arrest, and hasn't been indicted yet. How can that be? Doesn't he have to be charged with something? And then doesn't he get a hearing? Is there such a thing as "house arrest" in this country? I think this is the first time I've ever heard of it here. I thought you were either freed on bail/bonded out, or not. If he's confined to his penthouse, one assumes he's wearing one of the location monitors such as the ankle thing, yes?

If it doesn't take a bite out of the shop steward's retainer allowance and bail slush fund, 'splain, please?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

One more thing Shriek - does the garage door qualify for the new tax credit? I really need to get a life :-)

Posted by: dmd2 | February 5, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

My earlier delectibly rantalicious post got, um, sidetracked by the WaPo censors (can't for the life of me figure out why, but they seem not to like dollar signs). I can't remember much of what I wrote, except to tell Cassandra that I, too, am one of her biggest fans and that I would really not want her to disappear on us.

The rest of it was just plain rant. It's out of my system now, alas.

But I'm with the rest of you (well, most of the rest of you) on the other stuff.


Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 5, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey, KBoom, wouldja please e-mail TBG at tbgboodler [at] mac [dot] com as soon as you can? Thanks.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't think doors are the Chinese 'thing.'
Walls, on the other hand, they've got coming out of their yingyangs.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 5, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Point of Personal Priveledge!!!

The Chair will kindly remind bc of the standing Order regarding voting without benefit of performance-enhancing substances, to wit -- olive oil.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Ruth Bader Ginsberg was operated on today for pancreatic cancer. Apparently it was found in its early stage -- it's a very deadly form of cancer and very few live past the 5 year mark. I do wish her well.

Makes me glad (regardless of the morbidity of this statement) that it's Obama at the helm to pick, if necessary in this case, a new Supreme Court justice.

*Faxing good karma to Justice Ginsberg*

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 5, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Off to work yaw, remember to get out and feed those critters.

Have a Great day everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 5, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

The chair requests that the sergeant-at-arms disallow anyone from voting who is slathered in any and all types of cooking oils, including but not limited to olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, vegetable oil, or any members of the lard family, Crisco, melted butter or margarine, cooking spray, grilling spray, or other oleaginous material or substance, in accordance with Boodle Regulation 409.168 subsection 3, article 12, paragraph 9.

So ordered.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Mudge ... tried twice. Bounced twice.


on the dreaded 'murica online.

Posted by: KBoom | February 5, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Pssssst, 'Mudge;

bc currently IS the sergeant-at-arms...


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's not my practice area, or even my country, but that's never stopped me before.

Once arrested in either of our countries, judicial interim release (AKA bail) can be made "conditional". No contact with the victim, surrendering passport, or "house arrest" are possible conditions, amongst many others, and ordered as appropriate in the circumstances.

One pet peeve on "house arrest": It is often reported up here that someone convicted is serving their time on house arrest. This is incorrect. They are no longer arrested but rather convicted. If they are serving their sentence at home with conditions it is a sentence "served in the community".

Good thoughts to Ginsburg. However, it is her duty along with the others in the anti-Scalia faction to all retire within the next three years.

Posted by: engelmann | February 5, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I just read the article you posted, Boko, and I can't figure out why you mentioned gaps in the fossil record. If anything, these finds bolster the theory of evolution, rather than knocking it down any notches, as your post seems to say.

Anyway, it should be stated for the record that gaps in the fossil record are NOT evidence against evolution. Fossils require a series of circumstances to happen in order for them to be created at all, followed by years of being left undisturbed. As a result, the vast majority of organisms that have lived on this earth were not fossilized at all. To use this as evidence that these organisms never existed is a little short-sighted and anthropocentric.

Posted by: Gomer144 | February 5, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

SCC My last was really bad, even for me.

boko, the Chinese do make an excellent Wall.
I sure hope it's eligible to the tax rebate dmd. We have other door and windows issues we'll deal with this spring/summer; I suspect we'll max out the rebate.
Our kennel was built in the late sixties and it seems to be falling faster than we can prop it up. Oh well, I sure enjoy the 15 minutes commute in the morning.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 5, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

SCC *sign* falling APART, doorS

Believe it or not I initially typed SGG for SCC. An SCC with sinus issues so to speak.

Aptonym of the day: I was discussing diesel-powered generators with Mr. McWatt earlier today.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 5, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

It helps to have actually read "Atlas Shrugged"

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 5, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

TBG has learned the hard way: if you don't show up at the meeting, surely you will be appointed, in absentia, to do something.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 5, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, nothing was ever helped by reading "Atlas Shrugged."

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

unrelated entirely to this kit, anyone have insights into what seems to be the inevitable demise of our established print news sources?

according to someone who pays attention to these things (, the Washington Post, as of yesterday, was the only major newspaper with stock trading above $5. The New York Times is hundreds of millions (a billion even?) of dollars in debt. Even comic book blogs now have dedicated sections to this (see Journalista's daily Newspaper Armageddon Watch:

Is print (or should it be called "text" now that the internet is a major player) news just going to become completely decentralized? Will investigative journalism die a slow painful death? Does anyone know how to make money doing this? Who's in charge here!?

Posted by: Egadman | February 5, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

engelmann, thanks for your explanation.

As for your comment regarding Ginzberg and her fellow non-Scaliaistas retiring withing the next few years, I think it would be entirely appropriate if all of the Scaliaistas retired within the next year. Might as well clean house.

I conceed to the Chair that I am ineligible to vote as I am totally caked with Crisco. I'm not going to explain why.


Posted by: jp1954 | February 5, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

New kit coming soon...

Posted by: joelache | February 5, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

If, as that article alleges, whales millions of years ago had legs and came ashore to give birth, wouldn't the screaming have been really, really loud? Did the female whales curse at the male whales and say things like, "Get away from me, you son-of-a-[expurgated], this is all your fault!"

I can't help it that I have to think about these sorts of questions. Somebody's got to do it.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse


What a lovely comment concerning your "boodlers". I got your meaning. And beautiful expressions of friendship and love by all of you.

Raysmom, I couldn't help but laugh at your "not fuzzy and warm" line. Neither am I. Kids need warm and loving volunteers, but they also need guidelines. It's not always "warm and fuzzy". As to what you can do, just fill in those gaps that carry the most need.

I've just left a house fire. One of the members of the church Bible study has lost his home. The fire trucks are still there, and the house and everything, totally gone.
They don't know where they're going for the night. I hope the Red Cross can help. I've notified the church trustees, so maybe we can get them some help.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 5, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

CowTown! It's been ages!

Mudge, we just have to keep you out of trouble (oops! Much too late. . . )

Yep, I do think a good housecleaning and disinfecting is in order among the Supremes. I sure hope the Obamas disinfected the White House (and searched for, um, bugs that Raid can't get at).

Hmm. I wonder what Joel's new Kit will be. Notice how I capitalized it. Wonder if that portends. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 5, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, my thoughts are with that church member. May his friends help keep a roof over his head until he can get back on his feet.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 5, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

New kit is here.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 5, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, ftb. Sometimes I just can't help myself.

For instance, it occurred to me that if whales with legs came ashore to give birth, prehaps they also came ashore from time to time to do other things, such as mate. I wonder if, on some soft summer night 20 million years ago, one might just stroll down to the beach, and there find groups of post-pubescent whales gathered around blazing beach bonfires, singing folks ongs and love ballads of the day in their melodious humpback way. And occassional, a boy whale and a girl whale would make eye contact, and yanno, every now and then a couple would break off from the group and head back into the sand dunes for some privacy, canoodling, and whale debauchery.

I could go on, but it's probably not a good idea that I do so.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* Timing. Story of my life.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 5, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

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