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Obama's First Prime-Time Presser

Brevity not his bag, the president last night fielded something like 13 questions in an hour-long news conference. His first answer was as long as "Dr. Zhivago." Best question was from our Mike Fletcher, on A-Rod, and Obama did a nice job of being the conscience-in-chief ("When you try to take shortcuts, you may end up tarnishing your entire career"), an underrated role of any president. He didn't have a lot of zingers, but he had enough. Like: "Eventually, the party's going to be over. Well, in fact, the party now is over."

But Obama, it seems, is more popular than his recovery plan. We are asked to take a lot on faith. We are asked to believe that our government has figured out where the levers are in the sprawling contraption that is our economy. And we are asked to believe that after this spasm of bailouts and stimulation, funded with debt, that down the road we will return to fiscal prudence. Strategic profligacy is always going to be a tough sell.

There are two distinct crises, a recession and a credit crunch, and in both cases the strategy seems to involve hurling frightening amounts of money at the problem. Today's headline ("New Bailout May Top $1.5 Trillion") is an eye-popper. Where does the money come from? You know the saying: A bajillion here, a bajillion there, and pretty soon you're talking about a gazillion. [I would Google that to see if I've already used it but don't really want to know.]

It's important that those of us who continue to have jobs and who are not selling apples on the street remember that there are millions of Americans less fortunate. Obama visited a bunch in Elkhart, Ind., yesterday. But the reason Elkhart is suffering is that it depends on the manufacture of RVs. Not to be hard-hearted, but maybe in the long run a community needs an economic base that doesn't depend on consumers buying vehicles that get five miles to the gallon.

One of Obama's best moments, I thought, was when he said he didn't pick the number $800 billion out of a hat. He explained that the economy would have a trillion-dollar hole in demand this year, and another trillion next year. So that sounded logical. But Obama has one thing going against him, which is that it'll be very hard to measure the success of his efforts, particularly if the economy continues to get worse. Jake Tapper tried to get at that last night in his question; Jon Alter in Newsweek has addressed it directly (it's hard to know how many jobs have been "saved" by a stimulus package).

But perhaps the president's timing will turn out to be perfect. This recession may be nearing its inflection point [succumbed to overpowering urge to use the word "inflection"]. Check out the graphs on this site and this site. We've seen these scary trendlines before; if history holds, we should be getting within sniffing distance of rock bottom. A stimulus now may help trigger that turnaround. Which could happen in any case. We may never be able to know the precise cause and effect. But when the economy gets rolling full steam again in a year or so, the president will likely be looking good.

--

Watching Geithner. He's a little bit ... shifty. Stand still, dude!

--

Via Memeorandum, here's Walter Shapiro saying Obama was overbriefed and overcaffeinated:

'But Obama radiated the sense of a leader who has digested too many economic briefings and memorized too many talking points in preparation for his primetime rendezvous with the public. He clearly came out in an over-caffeinated mood ready to do battle with his Republican congressional foes, whom he had already vanquished-and, as a result, he over-reacted to last week's Fox News commentary instead of focusing on the exact shape of the stimulus. What shone through the entire press conference is how irked the president is with laissez-faire conservatives who believe, even now, "that the government has no business interfering in the marketplace" and that "FDR was wrong to intervene back in the New Deal." (Presumably Amity Shlaes, the Roosevelt-ripping author, should not plan on any immediate Oval Office invitations).'

--

In the boodle, here's ScienceTim on the folly on rebuilding New Orleans precisely as it was:

"The rebuilding of New Orleans, to my mind, faces a fundamental problem: is the best course merely to rebuild it, or to redesign it? Climate change aside, it remains built on land that is right at (or even below) sea-level. The levee system *will* fail again, because it is not a robustly-engineered solution -- any part of the system that fails, constitutes a failure of a large fraction of the system. If New Orleans is to stay in the same place, it will need a redundant levee system so that a break in a levee section can flood only a limited region before the water encounters more levees. Stilts under houses seem like a silly stopgap solution. This isn't like monsoon flooding of swamps, where the water merely rises, this is flooding by hurricanes at the outlet of one of the world's great rivers. It is not gentle, and stilts can be broken. Perhaps complete neighborhoods could be entirely relocated to higher ground, turning old low-lying neighborhood land into parks and connecting the new disconnected neighborhoods with a modern mass-transit system. New Orleans presents an opportunity to design an entirely new major city using lessons-learned about effective city structures. Unfortunately, I think the approach taken is to stubbornly rebuild just as things were before, defying natural forces instead of learning to accommodate them. I understand the sentimental affection to recover what once was. I just don't think it will work for terribly long. We can afford to rebuild New Orleans once, maybe even twice, but probably not three times or more."

--

Newsweek going elite, abandoning mass appeal. Fancier paper, more luxury ads, more opinion. Hmmmm....

--

In the boodle, boscobobb is among those who did not like the A-Rod question, writing, "15% of the workforce is unemployed or underemployed and A-Rod is a newsworthy question? I nearly threw my shoe at my analog 21" tube TV. (HD-DLP theater next Christmas) Surely Joel, you're being cynical? If you want to be a sports reporter, have at it."

Dear boscobobb: Upon further reflection...I still like the A-Rod question. True, I root for my own here at The Post, and was giving a shout-out to a colleague, but since you're holding my feet to the fire, and raising a good point, I'll address it. Sure, things like the economy are much more important than A-Rod's situation. That's why, for example, this blog item is mostly about those important things. But I think a president is not just the chief economist or the head of foreign policy. A president should be able to comment on something significant that is happening in the culture in real time, such as, in this case, the admission earlier in the day by the best player in baseball that he'd been a steroid cheat. Alex Rodriguez is on track to hit more home runs than anyone in the history of what used to be called America's Pasttime and is still an important sport. This has been front page news in recent days, and the steroid scandal has been the subject of congressional hearings and, lately, criminal cases brought against superstars. It gave Obama a chance to opine on something on the minds of lots of Americans. It's not like the reporter asked him what he thought of the halftime show at the Super Bowl.

--

Also in the boodle, bluester takes issue with my statement that a stimulus may help trigger a turnaround, "[w]hich could happen in any case." Bluester writes: "The author has no concept of the severity of the economic situation. Same old Villager stupidity."

Dear Bluester: I was certainly "hazarding a guess" when speculating that the economy could turn around without a stimulus. My confidence level on any statement I make regarding economics is somewhere between 2 and 4 percent with a margin of error of 6 percent.

I am certainly on the prowl for some sign that we may be nearing the bottom. But I haven't found one. If anyone sees one, let me know (achenbachj@washpost.com). Here's a passage from the WSJ this afternoon, which reports that the stock market didn't like the Geither bailout speech:

'Since mid-September, the U.S. government has taken a series of unprecedented and expensive moves to stave off the worst recession since the Depression. But job losses, gross domestic product, corporate profits and other indicators have either worsened or not show significant improvement, preventing any sustained rally in stocks.

' "Everybody is looking for the silver bullet to fix the economy, but there isn't one," said Chris Johnson, chief executive of Johnson Investment Research in Cincinnati. "I think what they're doing here is too little, too late." Mr. Johnson has recently been using options contracts and exchange-traded funds to go short, or bet on a general decline in the stock market.'

(The stock market isn't the be-all and end-all of the economy, of course. But it's an indicator. And it's a leading indicator. Thus the pessimists carry the day again.)

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 10, 2009; 8:08 AM ET
 
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Next: Diary of a Barefoot Newshound

Comments

Near first, and Front Page Alert too! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

i only caught the tail end of the press conference last night, but gee, what a relief to have a president who can speak intelligently.

Posted by: LALurker | February 10, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I still think this is an entirely appropriate time for major investment in repairing and improving national infrastructure, with the resulting jobs providing some stability for the economy.

YMMV, of course.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Among infrastructural investments, I hear that there are plenty of our nation's bridges that are in dire need of repair or replacement. I should think that might help to keep some folks employed.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 10, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Joel, great write-up! The credit issue is a huge problem. We are into about 2 and a half years of credit tightening.

When the condo market started to go south, it was thought that it was just the condo market. Then, the housing prices started to dip.

It wasn't until there were credit line retractions that folks really started talking about the crisis.

I don't think we will see a change in this slide until there is a real increase in dollar value for real estate (apples to apples).

Posted by: russianthistle | February 10, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Tim, it is really unfortunate to look at infrastructure spending as in increase in one annual increase. We are really in need of spending the money that wasn't spent over the last two decades.

Bridges, mass transit and alternative energy don't remotely taste like "pork," but somewhere, on a daily basis in a Congress near you, it is as such as it is characterized.

It is high time that the 60 - 70 percent of America that agrees with you should start really laughing at this. Somehow Ted S. got bridges to "no where," while we have tens of thousands of cars, buses and trucks traveling on our old bridges that we know have issues.

It's time to pay the piper, anyway. Let's stimulate! And, while we are at that, how about rebuilding New Orleans?

Posted by: russianthistle | February 10, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Geologists say it's inevitable the Mississippi will change course. I perhaps now is the time to make this transition smooth. Instead of all at once someday soon.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 10, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

There's vague signs of the real estate market bottoming out in my Florida county. To the south, St. Lucie County is something of an ecoonomic disaster area, perhaps comparable to the Ft Myers area where the President is visiting. In particular, Port St. Lucie, one of those vast expanses of lots laid out in the 1950s, became a popular low-cost bedroom community, with many commuters from Palm Beach County. All bust now.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 10, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

John McPhee wrote about keeping the Mississippi from switching course and going rushing down the Atchafalaya.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 10, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The most frustrating question in life, outside of, perhaps, who moved my keys, is what would have happened if things had been done differently.

It is so frustrating because in many cases the answer is unknowable. We assume that if a decision causes something bad to happen, then it was a bad decision. And often this is indisputable. Like, you know, joining the "spoiled cheese of the month club."

But the much more common scenario is one of ambiguity, where perhaps something even worse could have happened.

The frustration is even worse because bad things are so salient, but the lack of even worse things is much trickier to comprehend. Or get credit for.

It's like a crabby old person who complains that the icky medicine causes them the gas something terrible. Not realizing that without it they might have died.

The question, of course, is if these herculean financial efforts really are necessary to keep the economy alive. Or if they are just a lot of gas.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 10, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Nate Silver's doing the regression analysis thing at fivethirtyeight.com. His numbers are not reassuring:

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/02/why-were-probably-in-for-long-recession.html

I'm glad I'm not in the job market right now, so that I don't count as unemployed. I'd hate to be looking. These are scary times, especially since we don't know what will work and what won't. Thank heavens we have a president and a majority in Congress who are trying to do something.

Posted by: slyness | February 10, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The Paradox of Thrift.
I spent a ton of money on a computer this weekend, so I'm doing my part.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 10, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post reporter asked a softball question about A-Rod, the worst of the evening, as I've pointed out. What did the Post do, send someone from the sports desk? I think Chip Reid delivered the best question (transcript courtesy of the NYT, as provided by the Federal News Service):

"You have often said that bipartisanship is extraordinarily important overall and in this stimulus package. But now when we ask your advisers about the lack of bipartisanship so far -- zero votes in the House, three in the Senate -- they say, well, it's not the number of votes that matters; it's the number of jobs that will be created.

"Is that a sign that you are moving away, your White House is moving away, from this emphasis on bipartisanship? And what went wrong? Did you underestimate how hard it would be to change the way Washington worked?"
***

I'm glad that you, Joel, pointed out that Elkhart is the RV capital of the nation, and given the sky-high prices of gasoline last summer and fall, not perhaps the best example of a typical troubled local economy when the air went out of the tires of the RV trade.

Today it will be Fort Meyers, Fla., for Obama and team, the foreclosure capital of the country. And why is that? Tempted to Google recent economic coverage of Fort Meyers. No wonder Crist is on the Obama bandwagon.

Why no long hops from Washington for the Communicator-in-Chief to states that are suffering the worst declines in their overall economy, among them California, Nevada, and Arizona?

Frank Rich pointed out Sunday that the Obama administration is in campaign mode, barnstorming the country to rev up support for the stimulus package. Let's remember that those early barnstormers ended up creating flying circuses. So, is Obama a Hedge Hopper, Crop Duster, Stunt Pilot or Flying Ace?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnstorming_(video_game)

Obama gets tremendously high number of style points for his press conference last night. But today, my ears will be turned toward Geithner for his 11 a.m. Eastern rollout of the federal plan to prop up the banking industry yet again and his sit-down afterwards with Brian Williams on CNBC. Interesting that Obama schedules his high-flying stunts, with the attendant crowds, around Geithner.

Posted by: laloomis | February 10, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I thought Obama's responses were lucid, intelligent and logical. Some of the media celebrities (aka "journalists") even asked a few lucid, intelligent and logical questions.

However, I can't help but remember that these same "journalists" unquestioningly championed the Patriot Act, initiating global wars and doubling the national debt.

So, we have to consider the possibility that the opinions of Achenbach and the rest of these "journalists" are no more insightful than a carnival fortune teller.

..

Posted by: DEFJAX | February 10, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

My icky medicine gives me gas something terrible.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The rebuilding of New Orleans, to my mind, faces a fundamental problem: is the best course merely to rebuild it, or to redesign it? Climate change aside, it remains built on land that is right at (or even below) sea-level. The levee system *will* fail again, because it is not a robustly-engineered solution -- any part of the system that fails, constitutes a failure of a large fraction of the system. If New Orleans is to stay in the same place, it will need a redundant levee system so that a break in a levee section can flood only a limited region before the water encounters more levees. Stilts under houses seem like a silly stopgap solution. This isn't like monsoon flooding of swamps, where the water merely rises, this is flooding by hurricanes at the outlet of one of the world's great rivers. It is not gentle, and stilts can be broken. Perhaps complete neighborhoods could be entirely relocated to higher ground, turning old low-lying neighborhood land into parks and connecting the new disconnected neighborhoods with a modern mass-transit system. New Orleans presents an opportunity to design an entirely new major city using lessons-learned about effective city structures. Unfortunately, I think the approach taken is to stubbornly rebuild just as things were before, defying natural forces instead of learning to accommodate them. I understand the sentimental affection to recover what once was. I just don't think it will work for terribly long. We can afford to rebuild New Orleans once, maybe even twice, but probably not three times or more.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 10, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Front page alert, if you hadn't already guessed.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

***Best question was from our Mike Fletcher, on A-Rod***

only to a coddled, clueless village magpie.

a better -- and more serious -- press corps, please.

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

Good morning, Boodle! I was here earlier, but got eaten by a bot.

Hey Joel? First sentence of the penultimate paragraph needs an "a" in front of "hat." Which gives you 'a hat' which makes me laugh.

Rather giddy this morning. Good news just keeps coming in, and the world is full of beauty. So much to look forward to.

I think my mood may not be fully in keeping with the spirit of this Kit.

Oh, probably unnecessary to mention, but we're on the front page.

Have a good day, all.

Posted by: Yoki | February 10, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Good news is always in order, Yoki. :-)

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

Tim, I totally agree, but my problem is that we did nothing to address the needs of those folks on a reasonable and permanent basis. We still are pretending that, some day, those folks will return to new houses. We splattered families all over the place.

Plus, the motivation for some of the regional politicians is very questionable.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/weather/jan-june09/katrinadoc_01-02.html

The Herbert Gettridge and family story is so amazing. Tim, I don't know the answer, but it seems like we did a national whiff on this one. The Frontline story on the Gettridges just made me sick.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 10, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I must say that it was such a pleasure to tune in (actually *tune in*) to Obama's press conference last night. He spoke in complete sentences, was actually thinking on his feet and comported himself as a certified adult -- not just a little boy pretending he was president of a country due to inheritance.

For those who want instant gratification, you're gonna have to wait a bit longer, not be passively waiting for someone else to do some heavy lifting for you, get off your behind and participate, however and wherever you can. I am amused by Loomis' *why no long hops to ... California, Nevada, Arizona...*. Geez -- the guy's been in office for 5 minutes and the whining begins. Wanna give him time for at least a bathroom break?

We are indeed living in the Chinese version of interesting times. I will continue to live carefully financially (as I've pretty much always done), and see what the future brings. In the meantime, I will do my dangdest to pass forward (as I've also pretty much always done).

I invited a fellow classmate from law school to join the blog. Hope he does.

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

I hope you're right, Joel.

When I was in California I witnessed the first of two government worker furloughs per month. Outta money. Traffic was a breeze. The shopping malls were fairly deserted. The mood there, like most places, was sour.

Time for some Norman Vincent Peale. And work. Thanks for any positive vibes last week...I passed. But I'm still tired from it all. My flexibility level is waning. People who are working are mostly on over-drive.

Posted by: Windy3 | February 10, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Why the change in mechanics of the news conference, and who came up with the changes?

Obama obviously was going down a list of reporters rather than responding to raised hands, as in the past. How were the names chosen? Did those people have to submit questions in advance?

Why were no follow-ups allowed? I thought he was rude in ignoring Helen Thomas' attempt to ask a follow-up.

Will that be the pattern throughout his presidency?

Posted by: LarryLorenz | February 10, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I hope this is good news. I am almost certainly going to be in the DC area at the end of the month. Perhaps we could have an IBPH on the 25th, 26th or 27th of February?

russianthistle, you are specifically invited, please mark the dates on your calendar.

Posted by: Yoki | February 10, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki! If I'm not working, I will certainly do my best to attend.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 10, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Dangit, Yoki, work on yer timing!!! I'll be otherwise occupied with NukeSpawn at that time. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I was looking forward to seeing the cute blonde on Chuck last night...
didn't happen because of the press conference...
obama will become very unpopular if he keeps this up...
let him do his press conference on goverment supported tv, after all thats why it there for him to use...

Posted by: DwightHCollins | February 10, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Oh well, Scotty, the spawn always come first! I'll blow some snow in your general direction, if that would be helpful.

Posted by: Yoki | February 10, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Helen Thomas asked two questions, and the last question about nuclear weapons in the Mideast would be a highly classified matter. She probably knew that too.

13 questions, thorough answers. That's a lot for a first press conference. I'd expect to see things change as he gets more comfortable with those conferences.


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

Why thank you, Yoki, that would be most helpful indeed. Yer a dear, but we knew that. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Do you honestly believe "But when the economy gets rolling full steam again in a year or so, the president will likely be looking good."

Seriously? This is just the beginning of a huge collapse of our economy and that of much of the rest of the world. We've been living on borrowed money for a long time. Who is going to keep lending to a deadbeat who will never be able to repay his bills?

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

Actually, I thought Fletcher's question about A-Rod was ridiculous and stupid, unless steroid use amongst overpaid, undereducated jocks is considered as important as, say, the economic crisis, nuclear proliferation, and Iraq/Afghanistan. Whatevs, dude, whatevs.

Posted by: TomCadorette | February 10, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm in favor of major re-building of NOLA, too, Tim -- but in any event such a project isn't close to "shovel-ready." It would take five or ten years just to do all the engineering design work. As to relocating to higher ground, I don't think there is any nearby to relocate to. Part of the problem in NOLA and surrounding areas are finding housing and then jobs for the local residents "now" rather than 10 years down the road after we figure out (if we could even get agreement) what to do. So I think rebuilding NOLA in situ and as it exists is simply the lesser of some other evils, and possibly the simpler (though maybe not "better" much less "best") solution as well.

NOLA also represents a problem we have never faced as a nation before: we've never had to rebuild (or worse, relocate) a major portion of an entire city before.
In the three previous cases, after the Chicago fire, the San Fran earthquake and the near total destruction of Galveston in 1900, those cities were rebuilt-- but not by act of federal government. And none had the terrain problems facing NOLA, though Galveston came close.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. I missed the presidential press conference, and it is the first time in eight years I've been sorry to do so. I'm glad to hear that the President apparently gave thoughtful, considered answers to a variety of questions.

Some of today's Boodle comments have spurred a couple of thoughts:

Why be annoyed about a "softball" question, or why be any more annoyed than usual? Seems like every presidential press conference gets at least one, and some got lots. Do you think the president should say, "I'm sorry, I don't think that's a substantive enough issue to warrant comment and I'd like to move on to the next question"? What about the people who actually find A-Rod's declaration a compelling moral issue, and want to know what our new President thinks?

What is the point in approvingly quoting another person's question to the President without mentioning anything about the answer? That tells me nothing, or at least nothing I'm interested in.

If one has questions about the conference process, why complain about them on a sometimes-political humor blog? Ask the White House (www.whitehouse.gov). They may not answer you, but at least they could. Nobody here can.

Thoughtful or humorous comment encompassing all different opinions is great, but let's not be pointless, shall we?

Sorry. That was a little cranky - but at least it wasn't pointless.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 10, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Trying to play catch-up...

Ivansmom, I'm with ya on the quoting a question and not quoting the answer thing. I'd also say that the question itself has a 'are you still beating your wife' tone to it. Not very helpful.

laloomis, I think you answered your own question as to why Ft. Myers. Why not CA, AZ, etc., would be like saying why not PA, WV, or OH. Ya gotta start somewhere or you'll never get done, you know? (BTW, Huffington Post misspelled Ft. Myers; it appears you've carried that over.)

At last night's BPH (way fun!), bc asked me to let you all know that he's doing his civic duty today, and will try to catch up later.

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 10, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"Not to be hard-hearted, but maybe in the long run a community needs an economic base that doesn't depend on consumers buying..." [stuff on credit that they don't actually need.]

Why does nobody seem to understand this?

Obama is not saying anything new when he talks about the necessity for consumer confidence and consumer spending and a "growing" economy. We do not need a growing economy. We need a stable economy. We need an economy that provides the necessities of life for everybody and luxuries for anyone who can pay for them.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 10, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

We were all just assuming it was the beans Mudge, and were trying to be all polite and such. You know, what with all the visitors here today.

Imagined Prez's A-Rod response: "You will understand if I suggest that that is a subject the President of the United States is not going to with himself concern."

DLD

Posted by: DLDx | February 10, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

i read shapiro, and i think he misses the forest for the trees.

1) any press conference by obama will demonstrate more substance and depth of thought than any bush 43 conference. obama is able to comprehend and explain complex issues much better than arbusto, which the public cannot help but notice.

2) obama wanted to keep the focus on economics, so there was no incentive to get through a lot of questions. he wanted to speak expansively in those areas he deemed most important.

3) obama will be coached on the press conference format. he has given too much detail in the past, in debates for example, but he also improved so that he could give more succinct answers. i'm sure he'll improve in his ability to give more condensed answers in press conferences.

Posted by: LALurker | February 10, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom wrote: "What about the people who actually find A-Rod's declaration a compelling moral issue, and want to know what our new President thinks?"

It's the "compelling" part that I don't buy, or at least in relation to the crises I cited above. Soldiers dying in Iraq, people losing their houses and jobs, and nuclear proliferation ARE far more compelling and important to discuss than A-Rod's steroid use. That's what you call a self-evident truth, I think, and if that's the best question that Fletcher could have come up with in the President's first nationally televised primetime press conference, it's no wonder that people are turning to blogs like the Huffington Post for serious journalism.

Posted by: TomCadorette | February 10, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Herman Daly is the spokesperson for a number of realistic and thoughtful economists who say that we can -- not without difficulty -- move toward a

steady state economy

Really. The implosion and giant sucking sound might be an invitation to this. Invitation? Perhaps imperative.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 10, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

There's something moving off in the brush. It won't shuffle up here for a while, it can't, but I can tell it's getting closer. Snfff... I know that smell... it's a tax increase!

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 10, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Tom (may I call you Tom?), maybe it's like an intelligence test. You know, where every couple of questions, they throw an easy one at ya, clear the head kinda thing, see how well you go from one subject to the next. Or maybe it's like a lie-detector test, where they ask a question everyone knows the answer to just to see your reaction. Or maybe the reporter is an idjit. Who knows? Someone somewhere seemed to imply that the questions appeared pre-selected. Maybe that was it.

I think Ivansmom's point was about the complaining, not the actual question. (If you're a regular or a regular lurker here, you'd know that some people toss out crazy questions without any real point other than to b!tch and moan. And not the good kind of moaning, either.)

Posted by: LostInThought | February 10, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I too am routinely annoyed at unimportant questions at press conferences. I shout at the TV, get my feelings out in the open, and then that's the end of it. Until next time.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 10, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

'morning all. Tim has made the kit, again.
I just read The Tin Roof Blowdown, Burke's Robicheaux story about Katrina. It is an absolute shame that there are still no thought-out plans about the reconstruction of New Orleans. It's been 3 and a half years already.


The nightmare of the merchant seaman; being on a ship containing 30 000 tons of highly flammable liquid and the ship is on fire.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5702939.ece

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 10, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

No, you're off-base, Tom. First, it is quite traditional in press conferences to throw in some "softball" question relating to a lighter event, sports event, cultural phenomenon, etc., toward the end. (I'd often question the "softball" notion-- it can be just as hard to "properly" answer one of these alleged softablls as any other question.) The reason why is that it shows that any given president is also human, and is aware of what's going on in the culture, i.e., he isn't out of touch with the common man, etc. (for what that's worth).

Second, your point about the economy and war being "self-evident" and more important is off-base, because there can *never* be a time when there isn't some pressing national issue that won't be "self-evidently" more important that a sports question or whatever. It is pretentious for people to keep on suggesting that presidents can "only" respond to the most pressing problems of the day. No matter what, there will ALWASY be a war somewhere, starvation somewhere, a natural or unnatuiral disaster somewhere, and people like you can always claim those are more important and "self-evident" than a lightweight, casual question.

That being so, your observation about "no wonder" people turning to Huffington is a load of crap.

Relax, take the broomstick out, dude.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

TomCadorette, I think you're missing my point. I personally agree with you - I think the A-Rod question was silly. My reference to people who find the issue compelling was intended to be tongue-in-cheek, since it is unlikely that is anyone's primary focus. You may have missed the humor (which is present in the Kit up top too, by the way, in case you missed it there).

My point was that pretty much every presidential press conference or interview contains some softball questions. Thankfully, this one appears to have had fewer than most. Do they annoy people? Sure. Is this a major issue? I don't see how. It only becomes a problem if all anyone asks are softballs - this has happened in the past but doesn't look like it now.

More important, how exactly do you want to resolve this? Surely you don't want the presidential press corps questions to be vetted in advance for seriousness or difficulty - imagine the complaints if the President only answered pre-approved questions. As I asked earlier, should the President refuse to answer questions he deems (right there on the spot, without advance warning) insufficiently serious or challenging? Do we want to encourage a President to say, "Thanks, Bob, but I don't think the American people are really interested in my opinion on that and I'm going to move on"? Imagine the potential for misuse; we don't actually have to imagine, because with past Presidents we've seen what happens when a President decides not to answer a question he doesn't like.

I'm suggesting that maybe a softball here and there just isn't that important in the larger scheme of Presidential communication.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 10, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

And in the shadenfreude department: Coulter subject of election fraud probe
http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hcu-anncoulter-0210,0,3053913.story

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 10, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Ravi Batra on Thom Hartmann's show right now

http://airamerica.com/listen

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

And let me say how glad I am, Tom, that you posted your comment. It is nice to see an observation which provokes so much discussion. Stick around - sometimes we have virtual lunch - and talk some more!

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

Intel's massive U.S. spending announcement
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/technology/companies/11intel.html?ref=business

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 10, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I haven't been to visit, but as best I can tell, New Orleans is spontanously relocating to the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. Since it's 'burbs, there's no prospect of creating anything like the historic center of New Orleans.

The oldest parts of New Orleans are on relatively high ground, and so are entirely defensible.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 10, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Go CqP! Growth, growth, growth can't be the answer for all situations for all time.

I did not get to see the press conference live, mired in a long city council meeting, but saw the C-Span replay. Complete change of experience for me, didn't raise the blood pressure or keep me awake all night.

Heard a good radio interview with an Elkhart RV dealer yesterday. He was looking not toward a day when gas prices are lower or people start financing RVs again (the Republicans' "solution?). No, he opined that the manufacturing capabilities in Elkhart could, and should, be turned toward making the things needed for greening our economy. Perhaps not better for his personal business, but good for laid off workers and the country as a whole.

Bad weather here today, overnight low of 39 with rain. We will have one giant skating rink on sidewalks, driveways and parking lots for weeks when temps return to normal.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I cracked my shin pretty good this morning, and I am absolutely certain that for a couple of moments there was nothing on earth more important or compelling. But I don't see any mention of it here at the Post. Perhaps HuffPo has covered it?

Posted by: bobsewell | February 10, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

That's all well and good, Bob, but I was disappointed that your post had nothing to say about your knees and feet. As well, which shin? Don't you think it matters which shin hurts?

Posted by: engelmann | February 10, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Bob, I think I saw it on Drudge, about halfway down the page: "Achenblog Boodler Cracks Shine as Liberal Obama Administration Flounders."

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Shin, of course. But if you wanted to shine, that'd be OK, too.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Thought of NOLA the other night when I heard a BBC radio piece on the Swedish town of Kiruna, which is planning a total relocation. They plan to be done by 2099. WAPO did a story on the town in '07
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/18/AR2007021800803.html

It sure would be helpful to figure out how to get Americans to work toward something that far in the future. Perhaps we'd all have to believe we're going to live to be 150.

Carp, just looked out the window and it's starting to snow.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Bob, inquiring minds want to know...was the ankle involved? If so, did the foot know? Which body part decided to go in that direction in the first place? What were the eyes doing? Clearly, they weren't doing their job of protecting the shin at every possible turn. How will we get to the bottom of this debacle? And if heads will roll, how will we avoid this problem in the future?

Posted by: LostInThought | February 10, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what Press Conference the Writer of this Article was watching. I am now so proud to have a President who is literate and articulate and can string two three four five sentences together.
In the space of three weeks Barack has elevated the office of the Presidency from what it was for the past 8 years. Brack is indeed a tranformational figure.
His Press Confrence Last Night was not just for the people watching at home but for the Southern Senators and the whole world.
He left no doubt as to who was in charge. He looked directly into the camera and said in as many words " I will not be lectured to by a bunch of Southern Republican Senators who looked the other way while President Bush Doubled the Nation's deficit now all of a sudden the have gotten ' Fiscal religion"

Posted by: Carprin | February 10, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I thought A-Rod played hardball.

Posted by: bh71 | February 10, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

When the American public sees doddering Mr. Countrywide (and Senate Finance chair)Chris from Connecticut introducing the tax-evading, "I screwed up" Tim from Treasury, who proceeds to roll a detail-deficient policy--rather than a plan, it is any wonder that the Dow Jones drops faster than a hot horseshoe?

Posted by: laloomis | February 10, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness Williams brought in CNBC's Liesman.

Posted by: laloomis | February 10, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Drudge also links it as "Boodler fibs on fibula...developing..."

Posted by: engelmann | February 10, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

LiT, I think it's pretty clear Bob was entirely negligent in the shin protection aspects of his corporeal being. And while we may never know precisely what the eyes were doing prior to this unfortunate mishap, it is probably safe to guess they were watering afterward. And I think we need to consider how this will affect the economy. It may turn out to be somewhat stimulative, though at a high human cost in pain and suffering.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom: "More important, how exactly do you want to resolve this? Surely you don't want the presidential press corps questions to be vetted in advance for seriousness or difficulty - imagine the complaints if the President only answered pre-approved questions."

NYT:

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/09/live-blogging-the-obama-news-conference/?scp=2&sq=Sam%20Stein%20Huffington&st=cse

Sam Stein, who is covering the White House for the Huffington Post, was called upon by President Obama. It is almost certainly the first time that a Web-based publication was recognized by the president. (To press junkies keeping track at home, the president did not call on the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times or any of the newsmagazines.)

This decision, made in advance by the White House, will surely be discussed.

Posted by: laloomis | February 10, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

This week's 'New Yorker' has an article on the real estate crash in Florida. Seems the problem wasn't brought on so much be the economy but a giant Ponzi game run be the big banks, many of which have crashed after they could no longer get people to move down from the cold climes to keep filling the sucker list.

Posted by: bh71 | February 10, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

...as though rises and falls in the Dow were remotely rational indicators of anything. The Dow plummeted 200 points when Jessica Simpson broke up with Whatshisface. By all means, let's use the Dow as our markers of our policy correctness.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Senate approves Stimulus bill 61-37.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

We all know Jones is a Welsh surname right?

Posted by: omnigood | February 10, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

...not to mention the sports stock price indicators, like which conference the Super Bowl winner is from or the AL/NL World Series predictor. Makes that A-Rod question seem less of a softball.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh look...the Dow Jones is creeping upwards. Could it be (gasp!) afternoon?

Posted by: LostInThought | February 10, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Whoa! Now we have federal prosecutors charging former Oriole Miguel Tijada with what amounts to perjury, with hints that a plea bargain is near. The topic was steroids, which he appears to have purchased from teammate Adam Piatt.

Ooops, sorry. This probably isn't nearly as serious as other matters we were discussing. Let's get back to the all-important matter of Bob's shin.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I've been reading Achenblog from day 1 but only now feel I must sound off in the comments section.

I am extremely wary of Newsweek's "remodel" into more opinion and commentary and less actual news. As I see it, everyone with a desire to blog (or post comments!) can express opinions. We have opinion overload.

Strong news reporting is getting lost in the shuffle of failing newspapers and new media ventures. We still need someone who does real investigative news. We need reporters who think and can write.

I think I fit Newsweek's target profile: long time subscriber, too many degrees. But I have zero interest in a glossy opinion journal with prettier ads.

Discuss.

BTW, since I am posting, I'll take this opportunity to note how much I love your writing Joel. You are my generation's John McPhee (and I'm a big McPhee fan).

Posted by: k_auman | February 10, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Welcome k_auman! John McPhee. Yeah, I can see that.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 10, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, Ivansmom made a very specific claim - that the White House shouldn't vet questions. You came back with an assertion that Pbama was being selective about the people he called on.

This is *not* the same thing at all.

So Ivansmom's point remains unrefuted.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 10, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

k_auman, you are a man/woman/non-gender-specific being after my own heart. Glad you've come out of the closet, so to speak. I've been ranting for years about opinion overload, and underreportage. Be that as it may, I'm somewhat sympathetic to Newsweek going to Plan B, almost any Plan B, since Plan A wasn't working. (But I had to chortle when the article mentioned it was keeping G. Will as one of its "big name" writers.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Hello, k_auman. Do you suppose you are the longest-tenured lurker on the Boodle ever? It seems quite possible.

You should post more often.

Posted by: Yoki | February 10, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

k_auman, welcome. I admire your admiration style; that's a well-targeted compliment for the boss and you'll get no contradiction from the fawning minions around here.

...Maybe we don't need Newsweek, so long as Von Drehle is at Time...

Posted by: kbertocci | February 10, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

WOW, just caught the final 15 minutes of the Ft Myers "town hall." You can't spell change without no more Bush.

In fact, after having watched our local friend McCain on the floor this week, this country is so lucky to have Obama in the White House. Even in this awful mess, you can tell that people feel that they are again part of the process.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 10, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I noted that Geo. Will didn't get a hotlink.

Posted by: engelmann | February 10, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

How is the possession of nuclear weapons by another country "highly classified"? The fact that Israel possesses many nuclear weapons is no secret to the rest of the world. And the fact that Israel is exempted from the same UN inspection regemin that has been used to justify the military invasion of at least one other country in the region is not lost on anyone with a brain. Helen Thomas is the only journalist in recent memory to summon the courage to ask POTUS directly about this issue and the American people deserved a straight answer. This is the biggest opportunity Obama missed last night and I am one supporter who is very dissapointed. Now is the time for truth.

Posted by: dhomley | February 10, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

rt - very well said. It's all about getting democracy working again.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 10, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Just to set the record straight, that Drudge report "Achenblog Boodler Cracks Shine as Liberal Obama Administration Flounders" had nothing to do with Bob's shin.
I left the lights on in Mianus last night.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 10, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

A coworker of mine is going to fly to FL to make an offer on a 4BR/3BA house with screened-in pool on a 1/2 acre lot just south of Kissimee. The owner bought it for 150k, refi-ed it for 175K, put it on the market for 250k and is now asking $132k. The coworker is going to offer $120k. He figures that for $700/month PITI, it would make a decent vacation home or rental property until his 401(k) recovers enough to retire.

My dad who bought some condos over 20 years ago has tales upon tales of people he knows who are upside down on their mortgages to the tune of 40% or more. Another coworker's b-i-l bought a house for $350k at the peak of the bubble that is now worth about $200k.

Swampland in Florida has always been a risky investment. Time to crack the old John D. MacDonald novels.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 10, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

k_auman, thanks so much. But I have to say it: I know John McPhee. John McPhee is a friend of mine. I'm no John McPhee.

Posted by: joelache | February 10, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

DNA_Girl, my life was endangered there for a moment; guffawing while eating almonds is quite a choking risk.

Posted by: Yoki | February 10, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I was disappointed in the press conference in that there was nothing new. just a repeat of his speeches over the past few weeks. Same old talking points.

My freshman high school english 1A teacher, Miss Fish, must be spinning in her grave. We expected an uneducated Texan to not able to speech using whole english words but for a man educated in one of the better known higher educated schools and a previous head of the law review, it doesn't bode well as an example to our young people to go before the nation in street language of 'gonna' and 'lots of ya' and 'everyday me and my staff' and beginning each new thought with 'ah ah ah'.
Just saying.

Posted by: bh71 | February 10, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

bh71,
If he starts to speak Pigeon, I will translate dakine.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 10, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

DNA_girl, watch your mouth you young lady. What the US gunmint giveth the US gunmint can taketh away.

Geithner just promised a $2 trillion bail-out of the financial system that includes at least $1 trillion of gunmint money. Bajillions can't be that far away.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 10, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with TomCadorette.

15% of the workforce is unemployed or underemployed and A-Rod is a newsworthy question? I nearly threw my shoe at my analog 21" tube TV. (HD-DLP theater next Christmas)

Surely Joel, you're being cynical? If you want to be a sports reporter, have at it.

Ivansmom, there are times we need a tension break. But I think the stenographer (I wouldn't call him a reporter based upon performance) could have injected humor, and still have a more compelling issue for all Americans.
.....

Credit crunch at the moment is biggest problem for small business (up to 500 employees). Joel, (or maybe Mike Fletcher) should get out of DC to a nearby community. Stop at a random factory, construction company, non-chain store, auto repair shop, etc. and ask the owners and managers. You'll get material for a year's worth of columns. You'll be embarrassed to ever mention A-Rod in a news column.

As to RVs, Forest River Inc. makes more than RVs in Elkhart. Check Hoovers. It's what a reporter would do.

Posted by: boscobobb | February 10, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Joel,
There is a very significant change happening these days with the treatment and processing of illegals or those suspected of illegal alien status. Numbers are way up and there are two articles on the front page of the WebPost today.

There is a myth that folks are handled with some kindness and consideration... many illegals have families here. The numbers are up and the stories are not good.

My take is that we are, real-time, watching illegals becoming one of the scapegoats for the nation's current challenge. There will be a significant impact on small businesses that relied on these workers to make things go.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 10, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

DNAGirl gets call-back guffaw of the week. The whole Shingate thread was hilarious.

bh71, you ole troll,
Dubya was educated at Andover, Yale, and Harvard. The fact that he sounds like a brain-damaged cowpoke is his own fault.

I am as dumbstruck by people attacking Barack for inarticulateness as Obama is by Republicans preaching fiscal responsibility to him.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 10, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Achenbach is clearly pining for the intellectual depth and verbal clarity of GWB. The rest of the country was just making a mental comparison and thinking thank god the adults are back in charge.

Posted by: johnbsmrk | February 10, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

This...

" A stimulus now may help trigger that turnaround. Which could happen in any case."

...explains it all. The author has no concept of the severity of the economic situation.

Same old Villager stupidity.

Posted by: bluester | February 10, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I admit, I am not terribly moved by the moral handwringing over steroid use in the big leagues, or any league of any other size. Except. Baseball, and other professional sports, are very big business. Baseball is particularly notable in that it is granted exemption from certain oversights of its business practices. That exemption could be rescinded any time that professional baseball becomes too much of an embarrassment. So long as government refuses oversight in certain areas of baseball business, government has a stake in the public presentation of baseball. Plus, of course, there are all the legal issues swirling about illicit drug transactions.

I still feel torn about the use of steroids. On the one hand, steroid use establishes an athletic differentiation between a hardworking athlete and a hardworking drug lab. On the other -- if steroids genuinely work, then it seems unconscionable that medically-managed steroids are not distributed among infantry, for example, and maybe police. Coast Guard swimmers. A little superhuman strength and speed seems like the kind of thing that could make a difference in survival. Once you make it legal for soldiers (who count Olympic athletes among their number), how could it not be legal for any other athlete?

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 10, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

What an on topic day we're having.

So, Twitter-love it, hate it? somewhere in between.

Is it just a white whine to think "Why don't these people update more often?"

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Sci Tim-steroid use, and use of legal substances whether obtained by prescription or OTC, are a constant source of concern for the military. Is it morally justifiable to have soldiers taking drugs to keep them awake longer (which is done with official medical ok) or make them stronger (not officially done)? I don't think so, at least not while the long term affects are not known.

In my experience the drugs of choice for 6th graders and celebrities today will be the problem du jour for the military 6 years hence. Roid rage and other steroid problems are already among the issues commanders are expected to be vigilant for. If we don't see cold medicine overdoses listed as a major cause of death for soldiers soon, my theory is carp. But, I don't think so.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, what I wonder is whether steroids could be managed so that they lose most or all of their downside. Right now, the only people doing that research (unscrupulous athletes) do not attempt double-blind trials, rigorous statistical analysis, and so forth. This will pretty much continue to be the situation so long as we consider it to be never-defensible to use steroids or similar substances in a healthy body. Of course, they see use in unhealthy bodies, for medical management of various problems, but that is a relatively niche market. Whether it *could* ever be defensible to use steroids for enhanced physical performance is a cultural question that I am not equipped to answer.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 10, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, 'educated' at Andover, Yale, and Harvard may be a bit of an overstatement. What was it that he majored in at Yale, cheer leading?

Harvard, I would like to see his MBA thesis.

Posted by: bh71 | February 10, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Don't know nuthin' 'bout no Twitter, Frosti.

Now this is weird: I went to the bathroom a few minutes ago and happened to glance in the mirror, whereupon I saw that someone had painted a mustache on my face.

No idea how that happened, or when.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

mudge,
Never be the first to fall asleep at a party. Just sayin'.

I got a Twitter account and just never took to it. Too much work to keep people abreast of my every thought. The Boodle is my twitter feed.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 10, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I go to lunch and you folks go crazy. That'll teach me to stay home!

What a relief the Senate passed the bill. Now, let's see how they reconcile the differences. Shailagh Murray said yesterday it would be a long week. At least we've got bills that both houses passed.

I didn't see the press conference, but I'm glad the President held one, and that he spoke articulately, not that I would expect less. I hope he makes a habit of having them.

Rebuilding the economy is going to be child's play, compared to rebuilding and renovating the broken parts of the democracy. I wish him well on that endeavor, and I plan to communicate with my elected representatives when they are obstructive.

bobsewell, I hope your shin is okay.

Mudge, the mustache is very becoming.

Posted by: slyness | February 10, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

FYI, I have responded to a couple of the comments in the kit.

Posted by: joelache | February 10, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

That was badly worded. I mean, I have comment-responded, in the kit, to a couple of them.

Posted by: joelache | February 10, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Words not my thing.

Posted by: joelache | February 10, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Aha!

Joe Lache is Nick Lache (y)'s brother. Slow but I got there eventually.

;)

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 10, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Slow but steady wins the race, CquaP... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Yo, yellojkt:

""Kent Hance served in the Texas State Senate from 1973 to 1978, when he ran successfully as a Democrat for the 19th Congressional District. The seat had been held for a generation by popular Democrat George H. Mahon, long-time chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Hance's opponent in the general election was a young Republican businessman from Midland, George W. Bush. The 19th had long been one of the more conservative areas of Texas, and this conservative trend should have favored Bush. However, Hance portrayed Bush as "not a real Texan" because of his privileged upbringing and Yale education. Hance won by six points--the only time Bush was ever defeated in an election. Hance later said in an interview that after that election, Bush vowed that "he wasn't going to be out-Christianed or out-good-old-boyed again," and developed the folksy image that eventually carried him to the White House. Hance was reelected two times." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_Hance)

But this is not my mission. My task is to spread depression, by saying that the graphs Joel links to provide no evidence that the unemployment rate is bottoming out. In the 1981 recession, the rate of unemployment had already turned around at this point in time. The 2007-2009 line could just as easily show unemployment accelerating in the next few months.

Remember, mechanical application of statistics from recent market experience is one of the failings that led all those bright physicist-spawned analysts pricing derivatives to under-estimate risk.

No, you need a historical approach to properly estimate the potential for doom and gloom. Even the Great Depression is a somewhat optimistic scenario, especially as our memory is colored by all those media images of plucky little girls and hobos oozing American values.

I'm going to go back to the great surge of globalization in the 14th century that spread pathogens originating in the neighborhood of Tibet to the western appendage of the Eurasian continent, with the black death following climate change and a 7 year famine. Of course, if you survived these were great things as they did a number on serfdom and the authority of the Church.

Dark days are ahead. Dark, dark, dark.

Posted by: j2hess | February 10, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I wish.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

...er...I was referring to Scotty's 3:41.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

*faxin' j2hess a candle or seven* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I have an A-roid rant,but will save it for another kit.

I agree with Slyness, more new conferences would be great,if only to update things in regards to not just the economy,but everything.

Yes we can also means Please keep us informed.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 10, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Hi, all.

Done doing my civic duty for the day. The case eventually settled without the jury proceedings, so I just got to read some Solzhenitsyn and talk to a relatively new citizen named Jean.

Nice guy, and very pragmatic.

Anyway, I'll need to catch up on the Boodle later, but for now, it's time to go get my daughters for the evening...

bc

Posted by: -bc- | February 10, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I have to wonder about someone doing a Muppets article who wasn't aware that Beaker and Bunsen Honeydew debuted on "The Muppet Show"...

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/02/10/mf.muppet.favorites.stories/index.html

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I'm pleased to see you responding to legitimate (if snarkily phrased) criticism with well thought-out responses. It proves once again that you are one smart.


Yeah, the market surely took a dive today. But here's the question whose answer will only be revealed with time. Did the market tank because they hate the plan, or because they don't yet understand it. I am hopeful that with a bit more nuanced exposition investors will stop being so jittery.

Now I have a birthday party to go to. My son is a legal adult. Which means, as I have carefully explained to him, we really don't have to do that much for him any more.

But we will.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 10, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - that's just wrong. Bunsen Honeydew is like, my hero.

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

You have better hair, though, RD_P.

Enjoy the party, and congrats to the no-longer-a-boy!

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, as Weingarten's chat points out today, in Jewish households you aren't really a man until you graduate from medical school.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

j2hess, good point: The Black Death would be what an economist would call Creative Destruction.

Posted by: joelache | February 10, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the thoughtful consideration of the "shin incident". It's nice to know that even mainstream media giants like the WaPo have a place to consider such relatively minor traumas. The shin's fine, albeit a tad sore. I have embarked upon a fact-gathering mission to determine underlying causal factors, ameliorative procedures, future deterrence policies, etc.

Posted by: bobsewell | February 10, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you forgot one line that I liked... "It's not as though I came in here all ginned up to spend..."

Nonverbal gesturing was good and fit the context talked about. Although the "downward spiral" was preceded by a finger in a flat circle, looked like.
That may suggest mental optimism, but I found it interesting.

GWB on the other hand, would have given better speeches if he had been hidden inside a paper bag so we didn't have to WATCH his tics.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 10, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Bobsewell, you forgot to mention that you are investigating the possibility of a lawsuit. Someone should pay!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | February 10, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, be discreet. Too much public attention to one shin, then the other shin immediately manufactures a crisis in order to requistion the same amount of funding and resources diverted to it.

And then you get the elbows complaining about joint-based discrimination. From there it's all downhill.

(I speak from experience. When they spoke of the body politic, this wasn't what I visualized.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 10, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Bob, you know the Boodle is here for you when you kneed us. No need to cry "Ankle!"

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 10, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Hope Ivansmom is okay. Tornadoes are traveling through the Oklahoma City area at breakneck speed. One of the guys I work with is in the city right now, and the path of the monsters is right in line with his house. His wife, kids and the dogs are all nestled in wherever they need to be. He, on the other hand, is on the 16th floor of an office building downtown.

*shudder*

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 10, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

firsttimer!

That Doppler Radar of OKC is nasty...

Posted by: russianthistle | February 10, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I'll catch up in a moment but thought I'd share our excitement here. About 2:15 or so the weather gods decided central Oklahoma needed some tornadoes. So far we've had three meta-tornado (meso-cyclones? I can't spell right now) events, with which seven or eight possible tornadoes have been associated. We've had one for sure and several maybes. So far they are all on the west and north side of the metro area, meaning far away from us, but I'm sitting here watching weather porn, which is all the TV stations now are showing. The technology is so sophisticated we can track the darn things block by block. I have to remind myself to look out the window (look! Hail! Whoops, it stopped). This is a long line angling right across the center of the state, moving fast but in such a way as to sit over the area for hours.

I picked the Boy, a cousin, and a friend up from school, which was just chaos. A lot of kids were staying late to decorate for some school event, more for after-school things, a lot simply hadn't been picked up yet. They're all lined up along the halls under the watchful eye of teachers and administrators. All the schools are in modified lock-down - they'll let kids out with a responsible adult but that's all. No district buses are running until the storms pass. The administration will be there until every kid is gone.

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

Good to hear from you Ivansmom! My colleague lives on the west side of the city (around Yukon, within about 2 minutes of a lake, the name of which I can't remember). It's pretty spooky.

You're right about weather porn. And you can't take your eyes off it.

*shudder*

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 10, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the report Ivansmom!

yello wrote "The Boodle is my twitter feed." zactly. Think I'll give it a few more days then pull the plug if I still can't see a use for it.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Based on those charts, it seems that the rate of recovery is related to the rate of decline. That is to say, employment kicks back up faster if jobs are shed at a high rate, or the recovery is slower if jobs are lost over a gradual period.

So maybe our recovery will be as miraculous as the past few months have been disastrous.

Posted by: Egadman | February 10, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Here in the banana belt out the window it looks like a US Air has disgorged really big flock of those nasty North-of-the-border flying fowl. Big white flakes. It was forecast to start at 1:00 PM and it did right on schedule and sticking. The forecast is four inches by midnight and then continuing for the next ten days. The mountains need it. Yesterday it was clear and I could see the Siskiyou Buttes that are usually deep in snow this time of year and they were bare. We need the future water.

Posted by: bh71 | February 10, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

That sure would be nice, Egadman.

Ivansmom, take care. Nothing like a tornado to ruin people's day.

Mr. T is mowing the lawn for the first time in 2009. He's wearing shorts and a tee shirt. I hope spring isn't quite here yet, but it's trying hard to pretend that it is.

Posted by: slyness | February 10, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Wise and all knowing boodle-
our little nonprofit is ready to take the leap into having a web site. Any suggestions for cheap hosting options?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the kind thoughts, everyone. I really could do without this part of living here. Our next storm is to the west, near -yep! Yukon!- with increasing rotation and a defined hook echo. If you don't know what those are, well, you would if you lived here.

Wow, firsttimeblogger, he's in a bad area today. Every single one of these things started out in or near Yukon, then spread out. A plague of locusts, an army of cockroaches, a rain of frogs - that's what it was like. Everything now seems to have settled down into heavy thunderstorms here, and a nice tornado still visiting to our northeast. I must say the clouds are spectacular. Amazing wall clouds (that's the big flat dark cloud which descends like a wall from the storm before it begins to rotate and turns into a tornado).

I'm actually safe at work - the Capitol is a giant granite safe haven - and the kids were probably fine in their almost 100-year-old concrete and brick building. Now that we're home if a tornado comes, we have to go up to my cousin's. He has a basement.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 10, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

frostbitten1—I have a site hosted by hostmonster.com . they do alright by me and it's pretty cheap. you could also look into wordpress, maybe. you can do a free blog with them, but i think they also do some webhosting for a fee.

Posted by: Egadman | February 10, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Did the tornadoes kilt the Boodle?

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 10, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Joel wrote:
"such as, in this case, the admission earlier in the day by_ the best player in baseball_ that he'd been a steroid cheat. "

Ah, you don't remember a guy named Barry Bonds out here in Silicon Valley area who hit 73* home runs? It was obvious that if Barry and McGuire were juiced so were a whole lot of people including A-Rod. C'mon, as Alex admitted the incentive was there and the risk was minimal, just as Canseco admitted years ago. Canseco was so juiced he literally was paranoid and hyper all the time.

Reminds me of motivation of traders of collateralized debt obligations, mortgage-backed (sic) securities, asset-backed (sic) securities, etc. that had no mortgages or assets behind them. They profited while playing others as patsies.

When the risk of getting caught or having to give back your ill-gotten gains is low, and the gain is really big, basic math plus human nature of their personality type says they'll take the risk.

Hence my, skip to next question Mr. Fletcher, or go apply for a job at ESPN.

Posted by: boscobobb | February 10, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the candles, Scottynuke.

I will forward a couple to Ivansmom in case she develops a need for emergency lighting and use the rest to poke around in the hidden recesses of the banking bailout.

Posted by: j2hess | February 10, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

egadman-thanks for the tip. We've had a free blog for a while but after 2+ years it's time for an upgrade to a real web site.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

That's the spirit, Egadman and j2hess!

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the candles, j2hess! So far we are good. We are currently enjoying a heavy thunderstorm but the television news stations felt comfortable enough to (a) report some (storm-related) news and (b) go to commercial instead of fixing on the radar, so we feel good.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 10, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, glad the winds are being kind to you and yours. I hope all remains well.

boscobobb, wow, you know way more about baseball than I do. I knew of all those allegations/admissions/investigations/etc because they made front-page news over the past few years, but I wouldn't have been able to rattle them off so quickly and succinctly (I'm more of a football fan). But I didn't think A-Rod was the first, just the latest and greatest. (On top of being a good ball player, isn't he touted as Mr. Body Beautiful?) But JA points out

"This has been front page news in recent days, and the steroid scandal has been the subject of congressional hearings and, lately, criminal cases brought against superstars. It gave Obama a chance to opine on something on the minds of lots of Americans."

I can't tell if you're really into the whole baseball steroid thing, or if you're one of those people who remembers sports trivia without batting an eye. But I'd say yeah, why is all this stuff still going on? How long does it take them to get to the bottom of this stuff? Who's robbing this train? I also thought Obama's response was pretty good, and tied in nicely with his whole theme for the evening, no?

I'd also point you to JA's kit a few days ago about Creeping Surrealism. Food for thought peppered with laughs. Enjoy.

Have a happy night all.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 10, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Just got here, after a quick stop on the WaPo front page. Haven't had time to boodle yet, but wanted to ask...

When did they change the banner from *washingtonpost.com* to the paper's banner *The Washington Post*?

Posted by: -TBG- | February 10, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I noticed the change about a half hour ago TBG, pretty sure it wasn't that long ago.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 10, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

In a break from weather porn here (another tornado to our east) we are rejoicing in the Charlie Brown Valentine special. It is nice to see that certain things cross generations with no problem. And the music is just as good as it was when I first heard it lo those many moons ago. "I'd give anything if that little red-haired girl would send me a Valentine." Boy, it'll just tear your heart to pieces.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 10, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

LostinThought,

I do have to make a baseball joke...

No pepper.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 10, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Because the superball that is the thought is still bouncing around in my brain, if A-Rod has been Mr. Body Beautiful, shouldn't men be sort of ticked that he set the bar at a point that isn't attainable through natural processes? But I guess that plays into the idea behind Cialis, right? Sort of corking the bat?

Posted by: LostInThought | February 10, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Men who use steroids (even "stacking" as A-Rod is thought to have done), to be Mr. Body Beautiful are just the flip side of "women dress for other women, not for men."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone watching the dog show?

Posted by: rickoshea0 | February 10, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Sigh, jazz great Blossom Dearie died on Saturday.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/09/arts/music/09dear.html

Think you've never heard her? She recorded "Figure Eight" for School House Rock. Still love it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m3jS-atUIk

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

The handler on the telly right now, with the havanese, is the guy that ran up on me. Harumph.

Posted by: -jack- | February 10, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Raysdad and I are watching the dog show. We both fell in love with the Havanese. He looks to have the same hair texture as Ray. In fact, take the Havanese, stand his ears up and poof him up to 55 lbs., you'd have Ray.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 10, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

And Raysdad loved the "corking the bat" comment.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 10, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I spoke too soon. A half-mile wide tornado well to our south (that's a really big tornado) interrupted the rest of Charlie Brown. I think I'll get ready for bed now while things are still quiet.

Love your train of thought, LostinThought. And frosti - dressing for women indeed.

howdy to egadman and j2hess, and a belated shout-out to k_auman. I'm glad you jumped in. Talk some more!

Re: the dog show: woof.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 10, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Take care, Ivansmom. Been there, done that as a youngster in Chicago. The judge has put the Brussels up for the toy group. A story in the NYT today speculated that this dog is favoured to take BIS.

Posted by: -jack- | February 10, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

jack, when the Brussels came up, I said "That's the most uggo dog I've seen tonight. Bet he wins." Of course, I'm not comparing him to his breed standard.

And yay to Stump, the Sussex Spaniel. Let's hear it for the canine senior citizen.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 10, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

The Bernese Mountain dog is up now. So cute!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Nice Mt. Dog. The Dane is a nicer specimen of our harl. Check out the taper's corner at dead.net for a rocking cover of Otis Redding's Hard to Handle, and the Cricket's Not Fade Away.

Posted by: -jack- | February 10, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Frosti and KB, plus eavesdroppers:

Here is a sensible treatment of the uneconomic aspect of unfettered, unexamined growth.

I selected this piece because of the short paragraphs and conversational tone. Too much economic-speak is robed (improperly, actually) in the robes of higher and pure-ish mathematics. And written with exuberant pomposity...

http://www.feasta.org/documents/feastareview/daly.htm

Tis Herman Daly.


Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 10, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I know that BMD personally! As in, have had my hands on him. He's a very nice boy, and as sweet and Berner-ish as he is pretty! I'm all thrilled, here, to have a dog I know in the WKC show! He's been there before, but I've never seen him live before in the ring.

Ack! Miss the dogz. When I went to the big house on Sunday, Ms. Libby *squeaked* she was so glad to see me.

Pining for Bernese Mountain Dogs,
- Yoki -

Posted by: Yoki | February 10, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Thank you CqP, so interesting I found myself reading faster and faster. Will have to return and savor.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Hear, hear, Raysmom. The Sussex had this look at me and what I'm doing in the prime of my years demeanor. Cool that you know the BMD, Yoki.

Posted by: -jack- | February 10, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Yoki-I was going to ask if you knew dog or handler, but then thought that was one of those stupid "Oh, you're from Canada do you know__________" moments where you're supposed to know everyone from the entire country.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

The plot thickens: I like the Giant Schnauzer. My cousin owns one, and it's very laid back. Cap'n Morgan.

Posted by: -jack- | February 10, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I loved the comment that the BMD puppies are "preposterously cute."

Posted by: Raysmom | February 10, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, CqP. I know little of economics, and learned quite a bit in the short time I perused the article. Like frosti, I'll go back and examine it more closely.

Posted by: -jack- | February 10, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

We have many black dogs in BIS: the Scottie, Puli, Giant Schnauzer, and Standard Poodle.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 10, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

TBG, I noticed the new "The Washington Post" banner on the site, too. I think it's all part of the overall merger of WaPo and .com, and it's coming sooner rather than later...

Hey, the Body Beautiful I've got is completely natural. Unforunately, it's a good 60 lb. worth of muscle shy of A-Rod's. And what there *is* of me looks fab in formal Gladiator gear and a nice coat of EV olive oil...

A thought - I suppose that someone opposing the President's Stimulus package could make an argument that it's equivalent to Economic Steroid use. Personally, I can listen to that kind of an argument and say that sometimes steroids are very helpful in treating certain medical conditions (I'm very allergic to poison ivy, for example).

This is somewhat different from prolonged use in banging out home runs or winning Golden Gloves - this Stimulus is for medicinal purposes only.

Cialis - I still love the ad where the guy tosses the Freudian Football through the swinging tire.

Hmm. President Obama plays hoops, doesn't he?

I'll let someone else run with the Slam Dunk or Three Point bits...

bc

Posted by: -bc- | February 10, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

fb,
What's your Twitter feed?. I'll follow you.

Ivamsmom,
Stay out of those twisters. A flying cow nearly ruined Helen Hunt's day.

S'nuke,
I always find Mental Floss articles a bit glib. They aren't as smart as they think they are. Fr example, the Hotel Pennsylvania was the original name and was changed to Statler before being changed back. And Wembley is also the most famous stadium in England, the site of many famous concerts including Live Aid. A much better music tie-in than Kieth Moon's home town.

Ush-hay about the ennel-kay ow-shay. My wife would want to watch it, especially if a Bernese is in the running. She keeps threatening to get one for its bed hogging potential. When she's really mean, she says she's going to get a bulldog.


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

CollegeBarkian is aghast at the topiary dog and wishes that clipper madness would cease and desist.

CollegeBarkian is also a steady-state growth advocate: poodles for unmoodled economic common sense. Enjoy Frosti and Jack, the very readable piece.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 10, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Scottie has the yips.

Posted by: -jack- | February 10, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey! Wait a minute! What's wrong with a Bulldog? My Cleopatra (Queen of Denial) was lovely! Followed almost immediately by the first Bernese.

Patches was the only dog I've ever looked out for who had a sense of humour. And that Bulldog face is so hideous it veers dangerously into beauty.

The bed-hogging potential quotient is equal as between Bulldogs and BMDs.

Just sayin

Posted by: Yoki | February 10, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, you are right on the black and chestnut pupsters in the final ring, save for the pewter Scot-dear hound.

Ack frozen juiced dog...blech....and poodles are so darn happy and sprightly....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 10, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I think the Giant Schnauser will win. Why? I have no idea. I like the handler's skirt.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | February 10, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, the range of dogness types and gaits and furry-fluff-to-dreads...we are like kings, when we are not like cabbages.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 10, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

The deerhound has a "cool" factor that's pretty irresistable for me.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 10, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

*snort*

Posted by: Yoki | February 10, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I love the Giant Schauzer, but Stumpt's my guy.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 10, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

RickyShay....note the shiny or glitter them in either skirt or jacket....interestingness...

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 10, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

On second thought. The spaniel thing is rather cute. And regal.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | February 10, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I'd SCC but where to begin.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 10, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

yello-mayorfrosti

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Who else wants to assign dog faces and gaits to booddlers? Mudge is SO spaniel de sussex.... BC is so scott-dearhoundish

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 10, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Yay for Stump the senior citizen!

Posted by: Raysmom | February 10, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

not at modestly, I judge correctly the BIS almost every year.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | February 10, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure your Cleopatra was a fine pet and loving companion, but five years at the North Avenue Trade School instilled in me a deep and abiding hatred of all things black and red and bulldog. Irrational, I know, but I can't stand those simpering, drooling, dumb beasts. Whenever I see one I get a visceral uncontrollable urge to punt it and yell "TO H3LL WITH GEORGIA!"

Posted by: yellojkt | February 10, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I think that the Sussex won it with the last walkabout, on its way back to its place in line. The expression was great, as was the Giant Schnauzer.

Posted by: -jack- | February 10, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Nice drool, Stump.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 10, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

And his handler has a nice wad of Stump drool on his leg.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 10, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Celebrity spokesmodel is wearing lace...lace...lace...the fabric of the doggie people? Wow. I would suggest a nice tencel or washable rayon instead.

CollegeBarkian is happy about the reign of the short and dynamic doggy....wishes that poodles came in such lustrous chestnut shades. Liver is NOT a good moniker for such gorgeous and tonal color.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 10, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

OK, yello, you just cracked me up to the point of breath-catching.

Ankle!

Posted by: Yoki | February 10, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Tom Ricks on the Daily Show now.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 10, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh, look, the Boss has another front page article, this time about the Mars Science Lab rover, which will be ready to launch this year despite delays and cost overruns...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/10/AR2009021004009.html

I wonder if NASA and JPL consulted with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the landing system -- Kareem had the flippin' Sky Hook down to a science.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | February 11, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Wait for it... Basketball!

I got a sport's metaphor! Or simile. Or synecdoche. Or one of those figures of speech and oratory.

I rock.

Posted by: Yoki | February 11, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

You most certainly rock Yoki!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | February 11, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey, MotP! You too. Is it the morning of tomorrow there? Or the afternoon of the day before the day after tomorrow? Or something?

Posted by: Yoki | February 11, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt,
A few years ago, I overheard a Cape Coral local proclaiming that no one had ever lost money buying real estate in this vast wasteland of empty lots. It's one of these huge 1950s areas where ghostly streets and lots were surveyed and sold, similar to Palm Coast, Palm Bay, Lehigh Acres, Port Charlotte, Port Malabar, Sebastian, Rotunda, Port St. Lucie, and gobs of little ones. Flamingo Villas comes to mind--if you're in a charitable mood, buy a mini-lot there and donate it to the Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge.

These huge "communities" have lots of cheap lots, so they tend to be cheap places to build houses. But there's problems. Often, poor (or no) paving. No sewer. No water. When wildfire threatened Port St. Lucie a few years ago, the electric utility shut off power as a precaution. This left residents unable to pump water to wet their yards and fight fire. Houses burned. Lots of them.

My house was just appraised; the appraiser noted that selling prices seem to be stabilizing, locally.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 11, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

I hear you, Yoki, about Ms. Libby.

The show was past my bedtime, but I've enjoyed watching it online, especially the breed judging. All those waggy Labbie tails at once!

Posted by: -dbG- | February 11, 2009 2:59 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning, Al!

Posted by: russianthistle | February 11, 2009 5:44 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle, Weed.

Yoki, you don't rock; you BOULDER.

Well, it's Gerson/Parker Day on the op-ed, so nothing there to bother reading. Still no results from the Israeli election, but that hasn't stopped the WaPo desk from doing away with apostrophes, per the Brits, with this abominationm: "Livni, Netanyahu lay claim to the countries top job after national election yields mixed results." I'm not even gonna whine.

All the economic stuff looks like leftovers from yesterday.

Those tornadoes that had us worried about Ivansmom last night killed 4 people about 100 miles south of her.

It's already 53 here and going into the 70s, they say. Weird, weird, weird, but I won't complain just because we're experiencing the End of Days.

JA's Mars story is not only page one, it is highlighted in the picture box at upper left. In the photo, the lander is seen with its three puppies (two girls and a boy) exercising on the patio of its modest suburban home. (OK, I didn't read the caption all that carefully.) It appears that the lander is a bit heavier than previous ones, no doubt due tio the weight it gained while pregnant with the triplets.

All right, gang, it's hump day. Let's get the Dawn Patrol out to the flightline.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 11, 2009 6:07 AM | Report abuse

I tell myself that rising early is a commitment to Future Employment. Really it's because after renovations, the bedroom clock was incorrectly set and I was fooled.
Thanks go out to CqP for the link. I know just the place for it (and have read it and am going to read more from the listed selections at the bottom of the article).
The arugula has been severely damaged by the frost but I judge it will recover. Very hardy, these cabbagey plants.
Now for Mars.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 11, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle. I don't need to apologize for lateness today.

It is fine, I think, that all the economic news is old. A measure of stability is just what's wanted.

Another busy day in my shop, and so I'm going to get a jump on it. Have a great day, everyone.

Posted by: Yoki | February 11, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mudge! I think I have a good case of the flu. Didn't feel perfect on Sunday. Monday was serious nose time, and, Tuesday, by late was the the throat and chest.

I am hoping that I am getting a bit better, but it could always be that morning calm before the evening storm.

I wait intently for my favorite woman's blessings.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 11, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. We've dodge the bullet once again, the announced freezing rain never came. That is twice in a row now, we'll have to pay for that soon I'm afraid.

Pearlstein is worth a read this morning. He is not impressed with the money-changers of the Wall street Temples.

I get a kick out of the conservative columnists doom and we-told-you-so. The frikking stimulus isn't even law yet.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 11, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everybody.

Yoki, did you get any sleep at all? I'm going to worry about you, if you continue to post at all hours of day and night!

Weed, take care so you can get over the nastiness quickly. So not fun to be sick.

We awoke to lots of operational chatter on a third alarm apartment fire not far from here. The original page to Mr. T was at 5:59 and by 6:25 he had had six pages on it. Apartment fires are always rough, because of the number of people involved.

Morning, Cassandra, I hope you slept well.

Okay, out of the ready room and on the flight line. On to the day!

Posted by: slyness | February 11, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

From the Chronicle of Higher Education today, this paragraph on Blossom Dearie:

BEGIN TEXT
It’s ironic then that many of us may forget that we first heard Blossom Dearie not on vinyl or CD but in the middle of H.R. Pufnstuf after an ad for Count Chocula. Starting with “Figure Eight,” on the original Multiplication Rock (1973), she contributed three installments to what would eventually become Schoolhouse Rock! I think the song she did with Bob Dorough, Jack Sheldon, and Essra Mohawk, “Mother Necessity” (“Mother Necessity, where would we be?”) is up there with “I’m Just a Bill” and “Conjunction Junction” in becoming something like mascots for the series, as instantly recognized and recalled as any three-chord Beatles riff. “Mother Necessity” was so nice a lesson that, as a kid, it never even hit you that were learning something. But my personal favorite was her 1975 “Unpack Your Adjectives”: It turned a letter from camp into an easy-to-remember grammar lesson and made mnemonics as appealing as Fruity Pebbles: “Friends asked us to describe/The people, places, and every last thing./So we unpacked our adjectives.” END CLIP

The remembrance is by Eric Banks. Note: George Newell wrote the lyrics to "Figure Eight." He is the ad copy writer who gave us Hai Karate.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 11, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

What, the Boodle watched the WKC show? I'm amazed! *L* NukeSpouse and I cheered Stump when he won his group, glad to hear he took the whole kit and kaboodle! We also enjoyed Uno trying to steal the scene-setting standup from the announcers at the start of the evening. Mary Carillo seemed a bit out of her depth but was a trouper for sure.

'Mudge, they fixed that front page teaser about the Israeli elections. And yeah, I'd noticed the change on the masthead. Guess I need to speak up more in the evening...

Not everyone on Dawn Patrol checked the forecast, it seems -- saw a woman on the flight line in full wool hat, scarf and parka this morning. Well, perhaps she works in the meat locker or something.

*Happy-Hump-Day-hopes-of-hot-caffeine-floating-through-my-limited-grey-matter-as-I-prepare-to-read-JA's-next-Kit Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 11, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

slyness, thanks! Rather have the flu than a fire.

I have been moping around and rolling around in bed since 4:30. Need to get some work completed in next hour.

Re-lo'ed to desk and making some rough progress.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 11, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

I foolishly wore a heavy cotton sweater today. I am a creature of habit regardless of the weather. During Fall and Winter it is sweaters. During Spring and Summer short sleeve shirts.

Of course, today I will be spending most of the time cloistered away in the Laboratory of Darkness staring at multiple screens. Eventually this will end, but right now I am getting dangerously close to running screaming from the building.

So maybe it is good that I have on the sweater. Easier for the guards to grab.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 11, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

RD_P, I thought the guards just released the hounds in a case such as that...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 11, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Here's a fire update slyness. The story is slowly developing an it is a weird one.
The man burned to 90% of his body is still alive but he is in no shape to be interviewed. He was found fully clothed in an hotel room with 5 other people. The cops were called for a "disturbance" at this hotel that is very close to the burning mall. 2 of the 5 occupants of the room were arrested and charged with arson. They would probably charge the burned man as well but what's the point if he dies?
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Burned+link+plaza+fire/1273959/story.html

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 11, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Russianthistle, I do hope you get to feeling better. Bless you.

Bobs, hope that shin of yours heals nicely. Be careful.

JA, I don't know much about the stock market, and that's goes for pretty much everything else, but isn't the stock market impacted by profit, with a good amount of greed in there somewhere? If that's the case, this would be like the wrong time, right? I know none of this is simple, but wouldn't one have to have employment as opposed to unemployement for the nation to prosper? When people are working they tend to spend money, when they're not working they tend to hoard money, if they have any. And all this needs a healthy dose of confidence, right?

And the town that lost so many jobs, the one that makes RVS, that's a big part of the problem too. These small towns and rural places grab whatever they can to employ their people. I live in one. When times are good, all this is okay, but in bad times, such as now, it all goes down the tube. Educators are always trying to improve the skills of children and adults so that all can compete for the best jobs. That's where education plays a big part in our society or it should. In my small part of the world, many thought the mills would last forever, so that is where they based their plans for the future. It didn't work out that way. The mills moved in the eighties and left desolation and poverty big time. We're still trying to build from that loss, and we're not the only ones. And corporation are instrumental in those plans and decisions for the growth of communities. For good or bad.

Mudge, Yoki, Martooni, Scotty, and everyone, have a great day.*waving*

Science Tim, most of what you say about New Orleans is on the money, but some of this planning is basic and rooted in the ancient battle of man over nature. And I guess you know who wins that battle?

Slyness, saw on the news the fire in the apartment complex. I hope there wasn't any loss of life.

Ivansmom, hope you're okay. The news report did not look good this morning.

Sometimes I think we're just a nation of people eating people. The corporation manipulate the populace in workers and investors, and state and local leadership manipulate the populace and corporation, therein we have a circle, sort of like the tigers in the circle trying to eat and claw one another. And Washington dumps on all. I'm sure in learned circle it's posed as a model for profit and growth. From the tigers in Ivansmom's book.

As for the steriods, I've had my share this month for the asthma, and I seriously hate them. To breath better, okay, for anything else, why?

Time to begin.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 11, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

CquaP, EYE knew of Blossom Dearie much before HR debuted. She sang such classic tunes as "The Answering Machine Song" and "My Attorney Bernie."

Slyness, I'm bad at sleep, I really am. And it pains me to admit it, since I like to be at least competent at most things I turn my hand to. I think there must be a setting that isn't correct.

Cassandra, check in please.

OK, back to work.

Posted by: Yoki | February 11, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!
Late for Dawn Patrol. Was busy dumping junk for the recycling guys. Might succeed in reducing the gross weight of my long-range flying machine.

Have a good day, everyone.
Brag

Posted by: Braguine | February 11, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, good point on the mill towns. Probably I could have found a way in discussing that RV town (Elkhart) to be a little more compassionate about what it's like to depend on a business that suddenly goes bust.

FYI, I'm writing a new kit, but I just saw this science story (was embargoed until later but someone jumped the gun) on a new prostate cancer screening test that's good news for all us guys heading into that part of our lives:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7878726.stm

Posted by: joelache | February 11, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Yoki admires an artist who has a song about an attorney.

Shocking.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 11, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

Is it really only 8:30am? Sheesh. It's been a long morning already and it hasn't even really started.

Woke up around 5am to a shorted light switch in the bathroom. I don't have a problem taking care of business in the dark, but Mrs. M and Little Bean need light. Thinking that I would be the hero, I took the bugger apart and fixed the problem. Of course, I live in Opposite Land, where no good deed goes unpunished. Apparently, the sound of screws being removed (manually, no power tools involved) woke Mrs. M, who then proceeded to read me the Riot Act for interrupting her sacred repose.

So I opened it all back up, removed the light switch and put the cover back on without it.

Needless to say, I'm not expecting chocolates or any other lovey-dovey stuff this weekend and to be perfectly honest, that's just fine by me.

--

Ivansmom... glad to hear you and yours are okay. That was one nasty storm system.

Peace out, everybody...

Posted by: martooni | February 11, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Joel's story on the Mars lander looks as though it brings up all the right questions. The thing will be utterly amazing if it works, but wouldn't it make sense to use Mars-proven methods to place science experiments on Mars?

Purple, indeed.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 11, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra!

Thanks so much for the good wishes. It certainly means a lot.

My point about New Orleans wasn't to rebuild, as was, but to rebuild the lives and restore normalcy (or take valid steps towards getting families together.

I just want to make a Jonathan Turley type of point that we ALL are responsible for the fates of those folks who believed what Bush said. Billions of clean-up and rebuilding dollars have yet to be spent and the folks are overwhelmed by paperwork and the bureaucracy of insurance companies.

It has been 3 and a half years. Why not put another person in charge of the situation and ask for a review in a couple of months. Then propose action. This has to get moving.

Now that all states are really under the gun for spending cuts, NOLA could easily just fade away as a non-issue.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 11, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Fascinating article, Joel. But I am distressed that I too will be moving into "that part of life."

Up until now I gave no more thought to my prostate than I did my gall bladder. It did its job and minded its own business.

That those days will probably end fills me with loathing.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 11, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Oh, you younger guys, you just wait. You have no idea what it's like to wake up spontaneously at 3:52 EVERY SINGLE MORNING to go pee.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 11, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Via http://press.princeton.edu/blog/ (it should be called PUP Blog):How Banking Diversification Steered Us Wrong
The mess we're in started with financial theories that substituted banking innovation for due diligence and sensible regulation by Amar Bhidé is at Business Week, Jan. 29.

Bhidé wrote a PUP book, "The Venturesome Economy" and has a neat piece titled "In Praise of More Primitive Finance" at www.bhide.net

"Primitive Finance" sees baleful consequences in using Bayesian statistics, a subject of which I'm mostly ignorant but which has become important in ecology, assessment of new drugs, and in science generally. The notion is that Bayesian analysis starts with existing knowledge and builds on it. [Corrections, please from any Bayesians out there].

"Do we need to change the definition of science? by Robert Matthews (New Scientist May 7, 2008) started a debate (search the magazine's archives for "Bayesian Science").

So maybe we have good Bayes and bad Bayes?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 11, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Yet another jouralistic tangle to explore...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/business/media/11network.html?_r=1&hp

*SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 11, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Well, Mudge, it could be worse. At least you wake up first.

Now, where the heck did I put that brochure on them there Kegel Exercises.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 11, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle!

Troy Aikman finishes college, at long last
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-aikman-collegegraduate&prov=ap&type=lgns

A few stray snowflakes floating about right now. I had hoped they were stragglers from the storm that wasn't last night, but these appear to be the advance party for a dusting. (dusting=1-2") Great, that will hide the ice on the roads.

Have to be out and about with my keys this morning opening the after school youth center. Testing for census jobs is drawing a lot people from around Our Fair City so they added a 3rd session. A job that lasts through 2010 is better than no job at all.

DotC-hope your appraiser is right about housing prices bottoming out in your area. Looking for signs of it in Tampa, and inside the city limits it appears things are firming up a bit. The 'burbs have so many foreclosures, I don't know.

Have to say reading the live boodling from the WKC was amazing. No topic is out of the scope of the boodle.

Later gators.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 11, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Why not just unscrew the bulb?

Posted by: Boko999 | February 11, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra:

The kind of steroids you take for asthma are not the same steroids athletes take to build muscle. I raised the same question with a doc, once, and that's the info he gave me. In fact, he said, the kind of steroids you take for asthma actually deplete muscle. Other than that, I know nuthin'.

Posted by: KBoom | February 11, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Somebody has been reading my rants about Obama being a long-term, chess-playing thinker. From Howie Kurtz's column this morning:

"But the New Republic's Noam Scheiber isn't buying these laments:

"Barack Obama is nothing if not a master rope-a-doper. For months last year, anxious liberals pleaded with him to respond to John McCain's lacerating attacks. And, for months, Obama soared above the fray . . .

"My sense is that we're seeing something similar play out with the stimulus. For weeks now, Obama has soared above the fray -- inviting dour-looking Republicans to the White House for cookies and patiently hearing them out on Capitol Hill. Once again, the Republicans have exploited this stance, notching a series of tactical victories, like their unanimous no-vote in the House last week. And, once again, liberals have panicked. '[W]hy in these desperate times does he seem to care so much about being liked by the side he defeated?' Tina Brown wondered.

"But complaints like this miss what's been accomplished these last few weeks: Obama has completely defined the stimulus narrative on his own terms. To the average voter, Obama has been earnest and conciliatory while the Republicans have been cynical, self-serving, and puerile. Which, if the past is any guide, is precisely the moment he'll start playing hardball."

Zackly. Rope-a-Doper, chess player. Same thing.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 11, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I've noticed your batting average has improved considerably. Just sayin'.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 11, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

In fact, we may have to put an asterisk next to your posts.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 11, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

My gosh, Stump looks like
the gnome and me crossed in one!
Now I'll have nightmares...

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 11, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

boko... I thought of that, but there was much more satisfaction to be had by handing the disconnected switch to Mrs. M (with a smile, of course).

For my next trick, I'll toss some live ammo into a bonfire after dousing myself in gasoline.

I suppose I should shouldn't bother sending in my resume for that marriage counselor job.

Posted by: martooni | February 11, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, Andrew Sullivan agrees with you as well. One of his themes is that Obama works on neither "blogger time" nor "CNN time." He thinks beyond the short-term.

Unfortunately, I am afraid that Obama may be also working beyond "stock market time."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 11, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, you are completely correct (not that you ever are not) about Obama. He has them exactly where he wants them.

I just checked in with my colleague in Oklahoma -- he's back in the office, no worse for wear. He told me that he picked the perfect window in the weather to get home and all is well, at least where he lives. That was a horrible set of storms. Ivansmom, you are one courageous woman to tough it out with your family in Tornado Alley.

Stump, when he wasn't dozing on the Today Show this morning, looked pretty bored with the whole winning thing. I also noticed that he's turning grey in front. He's an old boy, alright, yet sublimely dignified.

I'm looking forward to the day when a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever wins Best in Show. They are cutie pies and smart, too.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 11, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

'Toon, can I remind you that this is the woman who prepares your meals? And you have to sleep sometimes. Plenty of opportunity there. (These thoughts just occur to me. It's not like I'd put them into action. Probably.)

Posted by: LostInThought | February 11, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

RD, as far as I'm concerned, stock market time needs to change/adjust/reconfigure to Obama time. Surely part of the reason we're in the current mess is that Wall Street focuses on the short-term and not the long-term.

Posted by: slyness | February 11, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh I agree enthusiastically slyness. This wasn't a criticism. You cannot use market response as any kind of rational measure of a policy. Does anyone really think the investors gave this outline a thorough examination before reacting? No, they behaved like a bunch of cattle who have gotten into the rancher's secret stash of amphetamines. And this is to be expected.

Now, my understanding of the treasury plan ventures into negative comprehension. That is , the more I think about it I get more confused. But I do know that Obama's style is to never panic and to never respond to the short-term demands of the herd, I mean crowd.

Remember the calm way he reacted to the Palin surge? And the [expletive deleted] he took from some political pundits for this? He kept his focus on his long term plan, and eventually all worked out.

I have confidence this will happen here as well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 11, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

LiT... you'd have a point if "preparing a meal" didn't involve her calling Pizza Hut and me having to pay the delivery guy (though every once in a blue moon she does make some very good stuffed cabbage).

As for sleeping, I've learned to do that with one eye open. Just in case.

Posted by: martooni | February 11, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Hey gang -- new Kit!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 11, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

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