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The Democratic Reagan

Obama's speech was his best rhetorical moment since Grant Park on Election Night. This guy is really good and reminds me of Reagan: Tremendous stage presence, great smile, easy to like, knows how to hit the big theme and avoid the minutia (thus making his speech about 20 minutes shorter than a typical Bill Clinton address to Congress). Like Reagan, his numbers might not pencil out, but he's not going to talk about many of those numbers. He has the strategic advantage of being more popular than any single one of his policies. He can thus tug a policy along behind him, as if it were a distracted puppy.

The opposition party may feel virtuous in sticking to what it claims are its principles, but in a chamber dominated by a young, charismatic leader, the Republicans simply look like old, crotchety sticks-in-the-mud. The Yesterday Party, still defending the gold standard, and wondering if it was a good idea to give women the vote.

Every Republican in the chamber probably had the same nagging thought: This is likely going to be the first of eight of these things. Obama showed no rookie moves. The only real hope for the GOP is to rely on that old historic standby, dominant party overreach. Moral hazard could create enough moral outrage to give the GOP at least a semblance of a foundation for a 2012 challenge. Obama knows that, which is why he said so directly, "I get it."

It would be fair to ask if Obama has set for himself too ambitious an agenda. The vow to cure cancer may have been a bridge too far. I kept waiting for him to declare that, before his term is out, we will have colonized Mars.

Critics may say that, in declaring our need for massive spending initiatives while also vowing to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term, Obama is trying to have it both ways, to be profligate while professing prudence. But the gist of his message seems to be that, in an emergency, you can't fuss over every last zero. This is situational fiscal ethics. The Obama prayer: God, give me fiscal virtue, but not quite yet.

Obama knows how to sound a conservative note even while spending like someone who never met a government program he didn't like. He samples riffs from the Reagan and Clinton catalogs, complete with a reminder that parenting is more important than anything else. He had his Lenny Skutniks in the chamber to inspire us with real-person heroics; the little girl from South Carolina was not only adorable, but set the president up with the sound bite that we may remember generations from now: "We are not quitters."

Not being as discerning as some people, I find myself struggling to identify Obama's ideology. He says he doesn't believe in big government, which incited George Will, punditting on ABC last night, to hurl the accusation of "cognitive dissonance." A friend tells me that Obama is simply a pragmatist. He says pragmatism has its own long and rich tenure in the annals of American philosophy. I need to go read a bunch of that William James stuff. I bet Obama's got "Varieties of Religious Experience" on his shelf.

My friend writes, "On a certain level, Barack's problem is the death of pragmatism in American public life. The '60s left and the Reagan right both shared the unAmerican curse of idealism. These problems Obama is facing aren't nearly as grim if you approach them pragmatically. Raise the retirement age? Well, let's see how it works--what the hey, no biggie. And OF COURSE we want to pay doctors for outcomes, not procedures. The other way around wouldn't be practical!"


Everyone's comparing Bobby Jindal to "Kenneth" from 30 Rock. Here's boodler yellojkt with a cheat sheet. The pundits savaged him and Larry Sabato says you can't imagine him as a 2012 contender anymore. I thought the Jindal prime-time debut was quite weak but felt some sympathy, given the act he had to follow.

Gerson loves him, but Capehart calls the Jindal response "downright strange." [Update: Here's the "44" take on all the awful things the conservatives had to say about Jindal. Note the video of David Brooks on PBS calling the GOP's anti-government response "a form of nihilism."]

Keeping an eye on volcanoes strikes me as a decent use of federal money (tip from Dave in the boodle), though Bobby Jindal doesn't think so. (You know I've been checking on that big volcano at Yellowstone. That's one you don't want to mess with. That one blows and you can pretty much turn out the lights.) (Though Mt. Rainier is the bigger immediate problem.)


In the boodle this morning, curmudgeon doesn't like my Reagan analogy:

"I never thought Reagan was all that much of a golden speaker in the first place, and anyway he was a trained actor, so he kind of gets an asterisk by his name, like a juiced homerun hitter. I think the whole Reagan-as-Hero is a contrived Conserv GOP meme to begin with, and I'm just not buying into it.

"As far as I'm concerned, he is in fact the author of the "government is bad" theme, the "government doesn't work" theme, there's no question but that he launched the whole major dergulation theme that freed up telephone companies, airlines and banks to run themselves into the ground and escape any kind of scrutiny. He is, in short, both the spiritual and actual grandfather of today's mess.

"If you want to talk about Ollie North and trading missiles for hostages, I'd be happy to do so.

"(Of course, there's always the internal irony of applying Reagan's name to Obama, who is just about Reagan's opposite in every substantial ideaological and philosophical category.)"


My story this morning on the satellite orbiting the Earth at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.


Congrats to the Cillizzas!

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 25, 2009; 6:44 AM ET
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I think you identified Obama's ideology just right. had a piece on "decoding Obama" off to find the link, after I go alert everyone else. (If that ridiculous sign in bit didn't rob me of a chance to be first)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Obama's accent (or lack of one) is reassuringly neutral. When I was a grad student, we had a German professor who had picked up really smooth English at the University of Hawaii. He was far easier to understand than my major professor, from a modest Charleston SC background.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 25, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

An encouraging little essay by J. Bradford DeLong, economics professor and voluminous blogger.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 25, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

George Lakoff, linguistics prof at Berkely, writing in advance of Obama's speech-

seasea-your former gov looks like a good sport

The GWE/DNA girl mashup on the last boodle made me smile, probably will all day.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I think you nailed it Joel. Obama is a pragmatist. He thinks like a scientist, and a brilliant one at that.

This, far more than his rhetoric or optimism are what charm me. He has the intellectual courage to think about things outside of his comfort zone. This is a rare thing on both the right and the left. Of course, many also find it scary. It's called a comfort zone for a reason.

Further, action is frightening. It's a lot easier to sit around and mutter about what ought to be done than to actually do it.

But this speech laid some essential groundwork. Not only was it eloquent and lean, it was also smart. Obama used big words. I found this exhilarating.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, EYE linked to the Lakoff article yesterday afternoon! I really, really like what he has to say.

Maybe THIS is the new morning in America. That's irony for you.

Posted by: slyness | February 25, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Listening to the speech, I found myself wanting a bit more detail. I suppose that's not feasible, though.

Listening to Jindal, I found myself amused and relieved. If he's the rising star of the GOP, the Dems are safe. If that guy has one ounce of sense, he'll start working with an acting coach like yesterday. Holy cow. Talk about wooden.

Plus, it was full of the usual GOP "we believe in YOU, ::start Firesign theater voice:: the little guy:: end FT voice::".

What does that mean, anyway?

And that bit about tough, go-it-alone Louisiana ... did anyone else find that hilarious? Have they ever quit hollering for federal money to rebuild New Orleans?

Posted by: KBoom | February 25, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

A thousand pardons slyness!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Calling out bureaucratic bungling during Katrina is not exactly helping his party much.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Sure, sure, but Bernanke *will* speak today for about three or four hours, and Tim Geithner has yet to speak since his detail-devoid press conference two weeks ago. Not much of a slippery slope for Obama asking people to cope with hope--essentially the same as his campaign rhetoric.

The difficult and hard work of changing institutional cultures will be the tough road--education, medicine, finance, Pentagon.

I had more moral outrage last night after reading Dowd's column about the Chicago bank puttin' on the Ritz for employees in Los Angeles, dollars subsidizing headliners such as Chicago and Sheryl Crow. Compare this to my husband's $25 Christmas bonus and a bonus that followed very shortly on the heels of Dec. 25--a $15 reward for a project well done. Except that we couldn't take the $15 as cash--having to choose a gift card from one of about 10 retailers including Target. My husband chose AMC Theaters, which netted two adult movie tickets and about one-eitght of a tub of popcorn.

So you think Obama reads this blog? Far more likely that he read our "family" newspaper. Stumbled across Lorrin Andrews in the Loomis genealogy tome two nights ago. He set up the first newspaper--in Hawaiian--on the Sandwich Islands, while principal of Maui's Lahainaluna High School.

The press was installed in 1833 to remedy the problem of a serious lack of reading material in the Hawaiian language. Within a year, the first Hawaiian-language newspaper, "Ka Lama Hawaii (The Torch of Hawaii)," was published on February 14, 1834. It was the first newspaper west of the Rockies. Bibles, textbooks, maps, dictionaries, and even Hawaii's first engraved paper money were printed on that press.

Lorrin begat children, including Sarah Andrews who married a Thurston and begat children including Lorrin Andrews Thurston, who begat Lorrin P. Thurston and Margaret Thurston, mother to Thurston Twigg-Smith, all these men involved with the Pacific Commercial Advertiser that evolved into the Honolulu Advertiser and was sold to Gannett in 1993. Does Thurston Twigg-Smith look like a Loomis? You betcha.

Posted by: laloomis | February 25, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Al.

I hope we can all keep our Econoptimism up in the face of items like this:

"Washington Post Co. Earnings Decline 77 Percent
By Frank Ahrens
The Washington Post Co. earnings fell 77 percent in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the same period in 2007, as a large impairment charge drove down net income..."

"The company's newspaper division, which includes the flagship Washington Post, reported a $14.4 million operating loss for the fourth quarter and a $192.7 million operating loss for all of 2008, nearly half of which came from the cost of early-retirement packages taken by some 231 Post employees. The charge dragged The Post Co. into the red in the second quarter of 2008, for the first time in its 37-year history as a publicly traded company."

Taking a deep breath.

If I had time to catch up on yesterday afternoon's Boodle, I would. Thanks for the correction on the Rebel Chicken, Mudge, and Joel, I think the character didn't drive over the cliff, as much as he got his clothing caught up in the car and couldn't jump out.

I liked what I heard of the President's speech, but wonder a bit about the whole chicken(ahem)-and-egg thing: If no one can lend, no one will spend, and if no one will spend, no one will lend.

Clearly, the government's willing to spend with the finanical institutions, but it looks to me that banks having to cover their Financial Instruments and backsides with skirts made out of Government Benjamins are not going to lend much for fear of ending up further em-Barea$$ed.

If nothing else, Obama is likely to go down in history as one of the most beloved Presidents simply because of his oratory skills and style.

But I expect that he'll deliver results, too.


Posted by: -bc- | February 25, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Tee hee... Joel said "annals."

Posted by: -TBG- | February 25, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Guess what? Some time in the last month, the Calgary airport made WiFi free. So I can wait to board and Boodle at the same time.

TBG, I laugh Ha! Ha! at your "cold." I looked at the forecast and it is supposed to be above freezing the whole time I'm there. I brought my raincoat, not my winter overcoat. And many many (very elegant) layers. I'll be fine.

It is truly cold here, -31C/-24F right now, with a howling wind and stinging snow. A plane seems a good place to be.

8 hours to landing!

Posted by: Yoki | February 25, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Gerson today hints that Jindal may be the Republican Clinton:

'Rush Limbaugh has anointed Jindal "the next Ronald Reagan." {snip} In person, Jindal's manner more closely resembles another recent president: Bill Clinton.'

Let's hope not.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

bc, good point on bank lending, and I confess I don't know how to track that situation in real time -- there should be the equivalent of the Dow for the credit market (there probably is and I just don't know how to find it). I just wish I knew how, exactly, the credit freeze unfreezes. And my suspicion is that no one does anything as long as the real value and cost of things is up in the air pending the next announcement from the WH, Fed or Dept. of Treasury.

Posted by: joelache | February 25, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

There has to come a time when something gets unstuck and the logjam starts moving again.

No, no, frosti, I was just noting that I like that article. I think the link got lost somewhere in yesterday afternoon's second boodle. There were so many, yanno.

Posted by: slyness | February 25, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

What's going on with banks is similar to a union work-to-rule slow down. The scrutiny with which even simple slam dunk loans are being proctoscoped just destroys the process.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Here y'ar--credit market indicators:

CMBX updated daily, not exactly DJIA:

Posted by: laloomis | February 25, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The Republican War On Science continues.

One of Bobby Jindal's example of pork was $140M to study how to predict volcano eruptions. Perhaps he needs to talk to the residents of the Pacific Northwest before he declares such technology wasteful. Maybe Washington State thinks hurricane prediction technology is a useless waste of taxpayer money.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I really bristle at "The Democratic Reagan." I bristle at the notiont that RR is the gold standard against which either likeability or orator skills is measured. (Personally, I dislike the SOB intensely, and found his aw, shucks mannerisms fake and forced, and in any even not to my liking).

I'm pretty sick and tired of the fact that even with a Democratic in the White House AND Dem control of BOTH the House and the Senate, everyone is STILL talking about effing Republicans, about what they think, what they want, who their stars are, what their chances are in 2012, and etc. WHY are these people still controlling all the damn focus? This is the *minority* party, people. This is the party that screwed up for 8 years. This is the party that got its butt kicked in November. So why is anyone even talking about them as though they mattered?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 25, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

When you're married to a former constitutional law professor...(from Jodi Kantor's NYT blog this morning):

“Oh my god,” Cindi Leive, the editor of Glamour magazine, exclaimed while watching the address, she said via email. “The First Lady has bare arms in Congress, in February, at night!”...And is she comfortable as she looks in those skimpy tops, or is she actually freezing?

The first post by TJ at 1:21 a.m. to Kantor's blog:

"It’s enshrined in the second amendment that Michelle Obama has the right to bare arms."

It would be nice if MO respected the forum and tradition and ritual of an address to both houses of Congress a little bit more rather than attempting to be the eyes-on fashion icon. The bare-arming is alarming. Perhaps Obama should have spoken from the podium in hibiscus-print swim trunks?

Posted by: laloomis | February 25, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Is it a credit freeze or a borrowing freeze?

Here's an interesting, albeit biased, view looking at the growth in lending over 2008
and I've heard similar stats in a variety of interviews on TV/radio.

From the trenches it seems like borrowing and lending are both rather schizoid right now. The same lender that cut off home equity lines to all its customers in FL (including the frostfam)is refinancing the Hip Urban Loft for almost 2% less than the original loan they initiated, and still hold, less than a year later. It's not a matter of willingness to lend as much as lack of confidence in the underlying home value.

However, even if credit were easy to get, people are not as willing to spend-especially if they have to borrow to do it.

Our vacation rental business grew 20% in '08 over '07 but we are not spending a dime more than necessary and have cut some advertising. In '08 it seemed like people who might have flown somewhere drove here for a traditional "Up North" vacation. Will they decide not to drive and stay home this year, next year? (We are almost fully booked for this summer already, but it's not inspiring the confidence it would have 2 years ago.)

The only construction going on in Our Fair City right now is a major building rehab that our little community non-profit is leading. They are paying cash they spent the last two years raising. The city paid off an equipment loan 6 months early to build cash reserves in anticipation of state budget cuts. We saved $272 in interest, and no there aren't any missing 0s.

I'm thinking frozen credit is not really the big issue. I am encouraged by Obama's resolve to tackle health care concurrently with the economic crisis. It's a big part of the problem that's under the waterline, we just see the credit squeeze and some think it's the whole iceberg.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Long ago, I decided not to apply for grad programs at the University of California because the state seemed to be coming apart, with a lunatic new governor named Reagan, to boot.

I never appreciated being government based on baloney published in Readers Digest. It seems obvious that Reagan shouldn't have run for a second term.

Still, he seems to have had some very important communications skills, probably mostly in being able to express white fears of blacks/hippies/commies/labor unions/the UN, whatever without sounding negative. On the other hand, during his first term, Bush suffered a severe decline in his ability to say much of anything and beat Kerry anyway.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 25, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Payback's a beach, as the whale said, Mudge.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 25, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

So what are you suggesting, Loomis?

Should the First Lady have worn a burkha?

I swear... the "issues" you latch onto just amaze me.

Posted by: martooni | February 25, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Woman need a certain amount of coverage Loomis?

I thought MO looked beautiful, and dearly hope we are passed the days when bare arms are worthy of discussion.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 25, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Alarming? Why? Proper etiquette allows bare arms after 8 pm, regardless of the season. It's also been my experience that those who are the "eyes-on fashion icon" rarely pay attention to being such; it just works out that way. Finally, extrapolating her actions (or attire choices)to him, or his to's dangerous to make such a leap without the benefit of a net below. They are separate people, you know.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 25, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Calm down Mudge, talking about the reps as if they mattered is a key part of the strategy for achieving objective #1 in becoming the dominant party for a generation plus -1. Avoid being undone by majority party over reaching, appearance of hubris, and/or corruption (or airport bathrooms)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Irony abounds this morning, doesn't it?

Chatting with neighbors who also walk, I learned today that there are three houses under contract in the neighborhood. I'm not aware of any sales since July, so that is good news indeed. Prices are still falling, but since Charlotte didn't have a bubble like other places, the decline isn't quite as severe.

Mudge, did you read the Lakoff article? We really do need to change the nature of the discourse, to shift it to the progressive and pragmatic from the right wing ideology we're endured for at least a generation.

Posted by: slyness | February 25, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

So, Mudge, who's your gold standard for presidential rhetorical skills? Clinton? Nixon??? Ford??? Do we have to go all the way back to JFK? I know, I should have seen Teddy Roosevelt command a room. I should have seen John Quincy Adams.

Posted by: joelache | February 25, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Nature magazine's "Great Beyond" blog is all over Jindal's volcano monitoring blunder. Seems the money is for quite an assortment of projects at the US Geological Survey.

I haven't seen any response yet from Governor Palin, whose state has some volcanoes that need monitoring.

I think Frostbitten's onto something about credit. I had an easy time refinancing my house, and apparently so are a lot of other homeowners. The low interest rates must be generating some increased consumer spending, somewhere in the great American economy.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 25, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Morning All
I never did care for Mr Reagan,I thought he was a phoney(well an actor) and he did Jimmy Carter wrong.I don't know how he can be mentioned in the same breathe as being a Great president.

DNA girl thanks for the poem and the links,I enjoyed each and everyone of them.

Still in the 20's here in west by god,I don't know how we will make it to the 55 forcasted.

Safe travels Yoki on your journey to DC.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 25, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Here's the Great Beyond blog on volcano funds:

Posted by: joelache | February 25, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Irony indeed, slyness. And such breathtaking opportunism, for someone who consistently goes all postal ever Robin Givhan.

That said I certainly can understand the horror over bare arms. Let this pass and before you know it women will be wearing pantsuits.

And why don't women wear more purple? It seems like such a beautiful color. Obviously it suits Michelle well. Heck, it even looks good on redheads.

Things are getting busy for me both at home and at work, so I may vanish for a bit. And, although I will be at the lunch, the arrival of in-laws preclude attendance at the IBPH.

Although there will be drinking.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

To listen to Obama is to hear a depressing, insidious message of dependency on politicians for direction and purpose in our lives. Especially from politicians like Obama who (by suing Citibank to give out risk loans in the wake of Clinton Administration high risk loan programs) created the root causes of current economic problems

The notion the we as a nation can only survive if we massively increase the role of the federal government is the antithesis of Reagan. We already see the negative effects of putting too much emphasis on central planning when the markets swing wildly on the mere words of underling bureaucrats. Everything from mega-bank structures down to personal finances are all paralyzed while the media encourages obsession over Obama's daily directions and latest fashion sense. It is only going to get worse until another Reagan comes along and inspires us to stop waiting for the Feds. I dare anyone, even if you are laid off, to stop watching the Obama-obsessed news for a week and out of the blue offer help to your kids or neighbors within that place in your life called reality.

Posted by: tom2 | February 25, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

About all I will grant Reagan is that he did most of the "acting" things right.

Slyness, I came here in 1987 from Texas where things had become a living hell; 20+% unemployment; entire subdivisions abandoned by those who couldn't pay, etc. Yet here in Charlotte the real estate market just went flat for a while. I will take "flat for a while" over the alternative. Charlotte was a sort of anchorman pulling back on the rope of national insolvency.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 25, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"When the hive mind works, it's a beautiful thing." And we didn't already know that? Slate piece on Ask Meta Filter

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"antithesis of Reagan" Are you saying that's a bad thing tom2?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

All great communication is based on the ability to identify a few fundamental points and express them clearly. Whether these points are true are not is secondary to and evaluation of effectiveness. Reagan was brilliant at this. Carter was dreadful. Clinton a mixed bag. Obama equally brilliant.

Obama had a simple theme last night. That America will be back, and that aggressive attention to education, medical reform, and energy independence were key to this.

In this way he clearly replicated Reagan's equally simple themes that reduced government and a strong military were key to success.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

You know, JA, I remember Lenny Skutniks. I was driving home from work in the snowstorm from my office building in Tyson's Corner. I heard about the plane crash on the car radio. Some of the details were gruesome, but most of us remember the heros and survivors "We are not quitters", indeed.

LIT nails it with the after 8 PM fashion note regarding bare arms, etc. Her husband was very proud of her and her pretty arms, too.

I listened to most of Obama's address to Congress and continue to be impressed with what he has to say and how he says it. God Bless Our President....

Posted by: VintageLady | February 25, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Posting before hurrying out the door to meetings and such.

I liked Obama's speech a lot, and still marvel at the adult way he conducts himself, as opposed to the "little boy" antics of his predecessor(s). As for Jindal, he is "little boy" incarnate. And his complaining about how government "bureaucrats" didn't help in Katrina -- it was *his* GOP government bureaucrats who fit right into the incompetence role.

I noticed that Michelle had bare arms and was only "alarmed" that she might be cold during the proceedings. Other than that, I couldn't care less.

And now, ladies and germs, I'm off! Off, I say!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 25, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

"out of Reader's Digest." Ha! LOL!!

I wish RD ( Digest, not Padouk) would stop sending me fake bearer bonds in the mail. More worthless is not funny.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 25, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious what J and I would find as far as mortgage options if we looked into buying a house right now. I've got it in mind -- we don't like our rental house, and we do have enough savings. I've been window-shopping online and just this morning saw a new listing that I'm coveting (mostly for the gorgeous azaleas in the yard -- smart decision to post springtime photos). We could feel all virtuous about helping stimulate the economy if we bought now. But I know J is right to want to wait till we know our state-govt-funded jobs are secure and our personal economic world isn't going to crash around us immediately. And even though this little town's real estate hasn't really crashed (since it never bubbled in the first place), it's never the easiest place to sell. So we'll wait. But those azaleas are so pretty!

Posted by: -bia- | February 25, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

You're keeping good company Loomis. Back in the late forties my mother and her younger sister were called from the pulpit by the Catholic parish priest for daring to come bare arms to church.

How many officials of Reagan's administration were indicted for something or other? Always make me laugh that the GOP has canonized him.

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

Yes, Slyness, I read the Lakoff piece. In part that's what inspired my rant.

Yes, Joel, I would hold JFK as the modern gold standard for rhetorical skill, and FDR if one wanted to go back a ways. I never thought Reagan was all that much of a golden speaker in the first place, and anyway he was a trained actor, so he kind of gets an asterisk by his name, like a juiced homerun hitter. I think the whole Reagan-as-Hero is a contrived Conserv GOP meme to begin with, and I'm just not buying into it.

As far as I'm concerned, he is in fact the author of the "government is bad" theme, the "government doesn't work" theme, there's no question but that he launched the whole major dergulation theme that freed up telephone companies, airlines and banks to run themselves into the ground and escape any kind of scrutiny. He is, in short, both the spiritual and actual grandfather of today's mess.

If you want to talk about Ollie North and trading missiles for hostages, I'd be happy to do so.

(Of course, there's always the internal irony of applying Reagan's name to Obama, who is just about Reagan's opposite in every substantial ideaological and philosophical category.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 25, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Mudge - you are correct that Obama is in many ways the anti-Reagan. But the point is that both were brilliant communicators. People understand what they are saying, even if they think it is hooey.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Woo hoo. Hometown boy makes good. It's former Washngton State Governor Gary Locke for Commerce.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, it scares the heck out of me that the newcomers are trying to alter the annexation law, which is one significant reason Charlotte (and North Carolina) has fared so well in the last two generations. That which is urban should be municipal indeed, and orderly extension of services is good for everybody.

On urban growth patterns and costs, I was interested to see this:

Posted by: slyness | February 25, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

fb had the same idea as half the blogosphere, namely Jindal=Kenneth the Page

I went and put together an identification guide so you can tell them apart.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. I didn't like Ronald Reagan either, but I understand and agree with Joel's point. The man was a consummate communicator. I didn't agree with what he was communicating, but he did it well. I wasn't always moved by his delivery but I'm sure there are people similarly unmoved by Obama's delivery as well. No communicator, however great, will reach everyone. Reagan and Obama both have the gift to reach and speak directly to large numbers of people.

I also absolutely agree with Joel's conclusion that Obama's a pragmatist. I find this enormously comforting. I've been passionately committed to ideology in my time, but the more time I spend around actual governance the more convinced I am that it should be about making things work. Nobody is a pure pragmatist: like every leader, Obama makes decisions about what should work, and how, based on his underlying beliefs about what government should do. That's part of life. However, within those bounds it is refreshing to have a leader committed to making government work for people, business and institutions. I think this is partly why Obama emphasizes his quest for bipartisanship and his constant reaching out to opposition. While one party can conduct the business of government without the other's aid, things will work better if everyone helps. Also, eventually, the party sitting on its hands criticizing will start to look a little foolish, a little out of touch. This is as true on the national scale as on the local city council.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 25, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

As I dimly recall it was Obama who first brought up Reagan during the campaign in a somewhat flattering way, inciting a great deal of blogosphere heckling. You may not agree with Reagan or like him, but (as I so acutely and irrefutably note in my kit) he had considerable rhetorical skills (as you concede), was able to make people like him (not you but as I recall he pancaked Mondale in 1984) and that proved very helpful in disarming his opposition and advancing his agenda. Hold on, let me go back and read what I wrote up top and make sure it's not wrong....

...hold on ...

... [muzak] ...

Immaculate. Bang-on. Couldn't have said it better if I had, you know, spent any real time on it.

Posted by: joelache | February 25, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

SD, and so they should have been. There's never been an constitutional right to bare arms in Canada.

If it makes everyone feel better, I was groaning as I typed that.

Posted by: engelmann | February 25, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

This troll joelache is a little feisty in the boodle today. We need to give him our patented treatment for random commenters that dare to disagree with mudge.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

It's the coffee talking.

FYI added a few links, a yellojkt link, a Mudge excerpt. I need to go work now.

Posted by: joelache | February 25, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Outside my window is a tree(well about 100 trees) Anyone remember the cream song?

Our woods are dominated by all types of woodpeckers,Large Piliated woodpeckers and even down to tiny little grey woodpeckers.

Outside my window is a tree and on the tree today is a redheaded woodpecker.He is pecking away at incredible speeds,it is a sight to see.

As a kid,I loved cartoons,but woody woodpecker always got on my nerves.I think I'll name this guy Willie woodpecker.

That is all back to your regular programming!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 25, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

JA-while you're getting linky you should include seasea's Presidents of the United States vido-it has the new commerce sec'y, volcanoes, and a mention of Mt. Ranier in the description.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I follow that Naked City blog, too, Sly. My thoughts on annexation rule-changes are that there is a work-around, but it's difficult. It's called extortion. And it's not pretty. No one wants to do it, but if "they" make it necessary, it will have to happen. The board of county commissioners would become a battlefield.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 25, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else find the visual imagery a little off-putting with Jindal's speech? I watched on PBS and it started with a long shot zooming in to the front of the LA governor's mansion, then an empty hallway, where Jindal seemed to appear from the rear of the house. I'm no film student, but visually it seemed like the reps were saying "we'll let the brown folks in, even have them run the whole shebang, but we're not really going to change." I think it would have been better to have him in his office, or at least to have some other sign of recent human life about.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

who is this Al person everyone keeps saying hi to?

My Gold Standard for Presidential Orator would have to be George Washington.

You know he once brought an entire room to tears with one of his speeches...

Posted by: omnigood | February 25, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

We are not quiters! If that is what they are teaching in South Carolina, then we can all be proud of public education's long-standing goals. I am eager to get started on REBUILDING AMERICA.

I don't quite understand the comparison to Reagan however. I voted for Reagan b/c I was in the military, and he supported the military. However, his proclamation of "trickle down economics" did not "pencil out". If you look at the current Wall Street crisis as "trickle down economics", you would see that there was no "trickle" at all. The income gap in this current economy is staggering.

Posted by: rmorris391 | February 25, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, Al.

omni, I believe GWB had brought more than one room to tears with his speeches, too. Of course, we're not making distinctions between tears of appreciative emotion, weeping for our country and laughter, are we?

Re. Ms. Obama's dress last night, I would refer you to her rights under the Second Ammendment to the Constitution.

Joel, thanks for noticing that exercise I had this morning on the Economic Hamster Wheel. If there's any logic I can apply to any situation at all, I'm pretty good at the circular logic. Doesn't get me anywhere, but it does so *fast.*


Posted by: -bc- | February 25, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Omni, was that the speech that was given in the onion factory?

Off to work early today,well off to MVA,then work....yuk.....

Have a Great day everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 25, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I think Obama's personally shooting for the title of "Democratic Lincoln."

Only with a better speaking voice.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 25, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

bc is channeling Son of Carl this morning.
Reminds me of Jasper Ffords' controversial views regarding the right to arm bears.

Data? We don't need no stinkin' data!
"Mission to map Earth's CO2 ends as rocket crashes into H2O" warming sceptics — some of whom argue that Nasa uses climate change as a scare tactic to lobby for more funding from the federal government — rejoiced.

“Woo Hoo!” wrote one commenter. Another added: “I hope it [the spacecraft] fell on Nasa. It’s the most worthless government programme in existence.” ...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 25, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Presidential oratory? Been downhill since William Henry Harrison.

Posted by: noybizz | February 25, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

My earliest memory of the "bare arms" pun comes from Charo, guest starring on the Love Boat. Truly a distinguished origin for that bit of cleverness.

Posted by: -bia- | February 25, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, joel. We'll cancel the Spanish Inquisition. Go put away the comfy chairs, guys.

My favorite twist is using as a punchline "the right to arm bears."

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with you, Joel, on the similarity between Obama and Reagan. Obama is the first truly transformational president we've had since the Gipper (get over it, Bubba).

Too many people misunderstand Reagan (on the left and the right). Like Obama, he was an unabashed America-loving optimist and pragmatist, blessed with an abundance of charisma. This may chagrin the Neo&TheoCons, but Reagan was NOT an ideologue, either (like 99% of today's GOPers). He was flexible and ok with changing course when things weren't working.

To his great credit, Reagan's political views never stopped evolving. He began his political life a liberal Democrat, switched parties half-way through his life and in the end, worked tirelessly for a peaceful end to the Cold War (so much for the RayGun mythology). Based on the grotesque nothingness and vile hatreds of today's GOP, I truly believe Reagan wouldn't even recognize the GOP were he to come back. And he'd probably be the first to point out that these times call for new problem-solving. He'd probably really like Obama, too. Why not? He called FDR his hero and voted for him FOUR times.

Posted by: BaileyReynolds | February 25, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

In 1967 I returned to California after a couple years working in Honolulu on the failing Vietnam effort to find Reagan had been elected governor but I couldn't find anyone who would admit to voting for him. Except for one guy. I went to work for Ampex and Ampex had 'loaned' some people to the 'Reagan's Rangers' effort to go to Sacramento to find out what was wrong that Reagan could fix. This guy proudly displayed a mock California car license plate 'Reagan Ranger No. XX' above his office door. His claim to fame he found out, OMG, the capitol had a phone system that people would dial three digits to call someone else in the capitol rather than go down the hall to speak to them. Never heard if Reagan had the phone system removed.

One of Reagan's first big achievements was to award a big contract to one of his Hollywood supporters to design a logo and change the name of the highway department to 'CalTrans'. Seems the contractor got a license fee each time the logo was used. This was the start of a whole new program to sign and resign state property. The state parks used to have a few redwood signs carved by the state prisons. Now it's hard to see the parks for all the enameled steel signs. He also had the state buy some overpriced ocean front property for some other supporters 'for the enjoyment of the people' state park.

Posted by: bh71 | February 25, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Jargon alert. Help me.

I just finished a meeting where the handout listed a number of options and also that the options were "currently not decisioned."

Posted by: -dbG- | February 25, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I know that Bailey character. Get back to work, Bailey!

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 25, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

No onions: The speech itself wasn't well received, so I was partly joking, but grown men, and Officers no less, were moved to tears

Posted by: omnigood | February 25, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I have decisioned a good reponse. Use it until they scream.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 25, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

SCC from not for

Posted by: bh71 | February 25, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

It means that the judging of the boxing match isn't done yet.

Posted by: omnigood | February 25, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Loomis - Thurston Twigg-Smith is also the grandson of Lorrin A. Thurston who was a key player in the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Suffice to say that Mr. Twigg-Smith continues his grandfather's legacy by working to combat the Hawaiian Sovereignty movement and fight Kamehameha Schools' effort to educate ethnically Hawaiian students. Loomis genes occur in some interesting people.

And, I think Michelle Obama looks great and I enjoy seeing what she wears. Inspires me to spiff up my wardrobe!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | February 25, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Hearst is threatening to shut down the San Francisco Chronicle along with the Seattle Time and the San antonio paper among others. The Chronicle has been loosing a $million a month for the past year even after raising the price of the dead tree version. It wants concession for the unions but the unions say een if they cut costs to zero, they can't make up the losses.

Posted by: bh71 | February 25, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

That's it! spiff and its variant spiffy are the words of the day.

The gormless few who thought MO's sleevelessness inappropriate probably need to spiff up their own look.

Carry on.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Not sure what the first lady's attire has to do with this blog... but I will say, she looked lovely! And how bout the president's shout out to her? Classy!

Posted by: BaileyReynolds | February 25, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

You must be new here. The comments rarely have anything to do with the blog. Get used to it, it's part of the fun. It's amazing that Sean Penn can overlook his wife in his acceptance speech, but Barack can flirt with his wife while addressing Congress. Way to keep those homefires lit. Go Obama!

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

First of all, that rising star, Jindal BOMBED, big time! He was like a deer in the headlights, trying so hard to be cool and just came across as being C O L D!

Now Joel, you wrote : "The opposition party may feel virtuous in sticking to what it claims are its principles, but in a chamber dominated by a young, charismatic leader, the Republicans simply look like old, crotchety sticks-in-the-mud. The Yesterday Party, still defending the gold standard, and wondering if it was a good idea to give women the vote.'

OH, what a great visual!! those old, crotchety sticks-in-the-mud, sitting there trying to be cool, Twittering Obama insults to their friends instead of PAYING ATTENTION!

I really liked the new name you gave them, "THE YESTERDAY PARTY!" They truly are SO YESTERDAY, so bitter, so nasty, so hypocritical, and SO amusing!

Posted by: cashmere1 | February 25, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, just to clarify for the sake of Bailey: Commenting on-topic is not expressly prohibited on this blog, and some of us, admittedly not disinterested, actually enjoy the occasional, stray on-topic message, finding in it some affirmation.

Wilbrod, good call on Democratic Lincoln.

Posted by: joelache | February 25, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse


I totally saw that snub at the Oscars! Or was it? At the beginning Penn muttered/thanked his best friend.. thot (hoped) maybe he was referring to his wife?

Obama, always recognizing his wife publicly, is a true gentleman.

Posted by: BaileyReynolds | February 25, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I really liked the puppy bit.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

All of my siblings, their children, and their cute little pets live in the scenic shadow of Mt. Rainier. That it will erupt, or at least let loose with a nasty mudflow (lahar), is one of the many things that disturb my restful slumber.

I think predicting when an eruption might exist is money very well spent.

If only because I get cranky when I don't sleep well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The official line from Penn and supported by Robin is that thanking her publicly would have taken away from his limited time to express his pro-gay marriage message.

The Penns' marriage has always been a little rocky and there is some gossip that the "best friend" may be more than a friend.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I mean when an eruption might occur. To say exist just sounds to metaphysical.

And please do not remind me of Yellowstone. I work with some geologists. This is their favorite scary story.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

To think there was a time when I stayed on topic. I took pride in it. Now I am fallen.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 25, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

straying on topic, i understand and agree with the reagan comparison based on ability to communicate as well as substantial pragmatism hiding behind the appearance of idealism. however, as much as i like obama, i think the comparison is a bit premature. obama hasn't been reelected to a second term, and if things don't go well economically (and plenty can go wrong beyond his control), he might not be. if, for example, obama really screwed up in some area and you had a third party candidate in 2012, we could have a republican back in the white house. so hold off on the second reagan comparisons as well as relegating republicans to history.

Posted by: LALurker | February 25, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, I was trying to listen to the whining from the twittering elitist Republicans instead of helping to solve America's economic problems.

What was up with creepy Mr. Jindal Rogers - was he being the anti-Reagan or just asking us to commit terrorist acts against America like the rest of the RNC?

Posted by: WillSeattle | February 25, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I kept waiting for Penn to mention her... she looked so supportive. Oh well. Marriage equality for ALL!

And re: those dang volcanoes... I was born in Washington State (lived near Olympia)and when I was about 9 or 10, Mt. St. Helens blew her stack. I slept right through it and woke up to an ashy gray world! The damage those mudslides did to the forests was heartwrenching. Looks like a moonscape up there STILL!

Posted by: BaileyReynolds | February 25, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey there BaileyReynolds.

I was in Puyallup at the time. I recall looking outside of the McDonald's where I was working and seeing the plume. I still have a jar of the ash.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

And my aunt and uncle lived in Centralia. They are still coughing stuff up.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey RD_Padouk,
I too collected a jar of ash - when I was finally allowed to venture out! I've still got it somewhere. I've never seen anything like it (volcanic ash)!

My grandparents lived in Centralia and the branches on those evergreens lining their drive-way were so covered by ash, they hung nearly to the ground; it was also dark as night there for a day or two, if I remember correctly. Did you experience that?

Posted by: BaileyReynolds | February 25, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

In the volcano department, I experienced very light ashfall from Mt. St. Helens when I lived in Wyoming. I had been planning to visit St. Helens on the way to a big Ecology and Evolution congress in Vancover, BC. My trail guide was obsolete (worth remembering that books were more expensive and a lot harder to get back then).

I drove through some astonishing scenes of dust to arrive at green Mt. Rainier. Glacier lilies were flowering early because ash had melted the snow. The campgrounds were empty.

The Congress program was hurriedly tweaked to include sessions on the consequences of the eruption.

On the way back, I crossed Yellowstone Park. It looked and felt different.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 25, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The mudslides following the eruption wiped everything in their path off the map. I've often wondered how long it will take (if ever) for life in those devastated areas to come back.

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

Hey Bailey, I hope you stick ariound the Boodle, and come back often. (One of my granddaughters is named Bailey. Always liked it as a first name.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 25, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks much, curmudgeon-1!

Bailey is my mother's maiden name. ;)

Posted by: BaileyReynolds | February 25, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I always liked Bailey more than Loni Anderson's character on WKRP.

Posted by: engelmann | February 25, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Here is a picture of me at the west side of Mount Saint Helens from 2004. It still looked rather extra-terrestrial in it's lack of vegetation.

Feel free to scroll back and forth for other pictures.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Here's another pic. This one is a nearby lake that is still filled with the floating trunks of the trees swept away in the mudslide.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

On kit comment:
I bet Obama's got "Varieties of Religious Experience" on his shelf.

I have that, right next to Mircea Eliade's

The Sacred and The Profane: The Nature of Religion

Warm, finally. For Yoki, no doubt.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 25, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Great shots, yellojkt!

Posted by: BaileyReynolds | February 25, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Well-intentioned proposals to sow grass on the devastated areas were mostly inappropriate. Native plants were rather good at returning, in some cases helped by animals, small and large.

I forget how the mudflows were handled. The Corps of Engineers did some clever emergency engineering to minimize the mess and to keep the Columbia open to navigation.

Which brings to mind the last calamity on the Columbia--the Bridge of the Gods landslide that blocked the river, then gave way, destroying every village and archaeological site downstream. There was some thinking that it happened during the earthquake of January 1700, but I don't know whether that panned out.

Lively geology, for sure.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 25, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Engelman -- I was thinking that, so I had the visual of Jan Smithers as Bailey Quarters with the ear worm of "Won't you come home, Bill Bailey?" playing in the background.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 25, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately, as long as Joel provides such splendid links, there are several ways to be on-topic for the Kit. Most of us do try at some point to post something on-topic, if only from politeness. It shows we were paying attention.

I don't know whether to thank Joel for that Yellowstone link or not. It was fascinating but slightly unsettling. It would be more unsettling if I lived any closer to it. One advantage of Plains living is we don't worry much about the earth erupting or cracking open; we just keep our eye out for random large funnels of wind from the sky.

Though I must say, there have been several small earthquakes here recently, sometimes as often as two or three a week. It makes one wonder.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 25, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I've got VoRE on the bookself, too, CqP. Very important book for me.

And yes, I too, crushed on Baily Quarters. I just never went for the Loni Anderson type. Always liked the quiet ones.

Has Yoki landed yet? If she had I think I'd have felt a disturbance (a good one) in the Force.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 25, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

While the name Bailey also makes me recall WKRP fondly, my second reaction is a craving for Irish cream.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Quake Lake in southwestern Montana, was created after that massive earthquake struck on August 17, 1959. This is my experience of the 1959 Yellowstone earthquake: we camped near this lake often, always moderately uncomfortable that this would happen again. Hapless campers here in 1959 were lost in a wall of water and earth. I hope they slept while the "seiche," a wave effect of both wind and water, crested over Hebgen Dam, causing cracks and erosion.

The visitor center at Q.Lake explains the situation well. A list of the 28 names -- several families -- is touching.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 25, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

The boodle belly
is our bailiwick, Bailey
Not Joel's bailout plan

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 25, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I remember the first time I went to Tacoma. It was overcast when we arrived, but the next morning I opened the curtains to the sight of Mt. Rainier. Wowza! It looked like it was just a 20 minute walk away.

When Mr. T and I went to Rainier in 2002, I bought a little pitcher in the giftshop made with St. Helens ash. I love the giftshops in our national parks. They have such unique stuff.

Posted by: slyness | February 25, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

This was worth reading just for Joel's comments on Reagan. Like some other posters I never bought into Reagan as any thing but below average. I expected that he should be able to give a good speech.

I look for content and mostly for what is said or not said between the lines.

Bush was an easy read as his message never changed until the end of his term as events showed that his administration was on life support and he had no understanding of the economy or any idea what to do.

Although Obama seems to have all the pundits in agreement on the wide birth of his ideas he covered in his speech as he pretty much covered his coming approach and what is expected of everybody. What I see as being missed and probably the most important is the Joe Biden revelation.

Think about it Biden just returned from a trip on all things foreign and Obama assigns him to oversee the domestic stimulus plan. They have reached a consensus on foreign policy for the near term. Yet it is not even being spoke of by anybody. By the way you get more out of how a president will act, out of interviews, he has to be guarded in what he says and then he will use words that have meaning by why he chose that word and avoided the way the interviewer presented the question. Obama will be the most open of any president we have ever had and will be out there. Pay attention Republicans,I suggest you go back and watch his interview with the Rev Warren and line it up with the Obama you saw last night. The umm and awes is his way of searching for the right word so he doesn't say something that can be misinterpreted.

The man is just Brilliant.

Posted by: ORNOT | February 25, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, Aloha, I've blogged about printer Elisha Loomis on Oahu, Titus Coan on the Big Island of Hawaii, and Lorrin Andrews on Maui. Loomises all, Congregationalists, who brought church and education, two pillars of the Northeast, with them on the ships. And the Mormon missionaries who settled on the Sandwich Islands were likewise there to compete for converts--an outgrowth of the efforts of then-deceased Loomis-descendant Joseph Smith, many of those Mormons hoping to proselytize Hawaiians coming from California's gold fields.

I'm aware of Lorrin A. Thurston's activities, as you pointed out, but he hardly acted alone in the upheaval surrounding the Bayonet Constitution. Also, after turning down the presidency of Hawaii, Thurston helped Sanford B. Dole into the post--the only person to serve as president of Hawaii.

There are other family members who play roles in Hawaii's early history, but I'm keeping mum about them. Probably the haole hierarchy today. I wouldn't be surprised if their descendants attended Punahou, as Obama did.

As far as MO being an issue...not. The pernicious 18-month drought is THE issue here these days. It was quite bizarre--and so not funny--for a local Metro columnist to point out several months ago that the Acama Desert in Peru, IIRC, hasn't had rain for the last 400 years.

The comments in response to Jodi Kantor's blog piece about bare arms are fascinating reading, especially one by an African-American woman from NJ. I'm just pointing out another blogger and having some fun with the fawning vapidity of some of the remarks last night on this blog. Didn't see too many of those posters tackling the issues that have cast us in the biggest economic downtorn since the Great Depression. So was MO going to a cocktail party under the Capital's rotunda after the speech last night, hence the strange choice of evening wear? *l* I still think her choice of wardrobe was tacky. If Pelosi or Clinton has dressed thusly, it'd be the talk of the town. What a role--public sex kitten to the Communicator in Chief. She sat up in that gallery for public consumption.

Posted by: laloomis | February 25, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

This was worth reading just for Joel's comments on Reagan. Like some other posters I never bought into Reagan as any thing but below average. I expected that he should be able to give a good speech.

I look for content and mostly for what is said or not said between the lines.

Bush was an easy read as his message never changed until the end of his term as events showed that his administration was on life support and he had no understanding of the economy or any idea what to do.

Although Obama seems to have all the pundits in agreement on the wide birth of his ideas he covered in his speech as he pretty much covered his coming approach and what is expected of everybody. What I see as being missed and probably the most important is the Joe Biden revelation.

Think about it Biden just returned from a trip on all things foreign and Obama assigns him to oversee the domestic stimulus plan. They have reached a consensus on foreign policy for the near term. Yet it is not even being spoke of by anybody. By the way you get more out of how a president will act, out of interviews, he has to be guarded in what he says and then he will use words that have meaning by why he chose that word and avoided the way the interviewer presented the question. Obama will be the most open of any president we have ever had and will be out there. Pay attention Republicans,I suggest you go back and watch his interview with the Rev Warren and line it up with the Obama you saw last night. The umm and awes is his way of searching for the right word so he doesn't say something that can be misinterpreted.

Just Brilliant.

Posted by: ORNOT | February 25, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Snowe says Mr. Reagan’s situation differed significantly from Mr. Obama’s; Mr. Reagan’s chief challenge was to forge a working accommodation with Democrats, who ran Congress, while Mr. Obama’s task is to rein in his own party. Mr. Obama erred when he failed to include Republicans at the bill-writing stage, Ms. Snowe said.

During a private meeting with the president earlier this month, Ms. Snowe said, she urged him to adopt the Reagan strategy of working “with people in swing districts like mine.”

Posted by: laloomis | February 25, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the kind comments on the pictures, Bailey.

The Mount Saint Helens landscape was all the more stunning because we had spent most of the day winding our way to MSH from the southeast corner of Ranier National Park which is verdant to say the least. To stumble on the still devastated scenery a decade after the eruption was startling.

My wife collects penguins and we bought a volcanic ash one as a souvenir. The sticker on it clarified that the ash did not come from the preservation area which is under the jurisdiction of the Forestry Service, not the National Parks.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Well Linda, along with the church and education (western education to be specific), the missionaries also brought along the destruction of Hawaiian culture. It's a long, tough debate on whether western (including missionary) contact did more good than harm to the Hawaiians. Looking at their situation today, it's hard to say that the Hawaiians are better off.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | February 25, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Sex Kitten? Looking at this photo I see nothing but an elegant outfit one I would wear in a heartbeat if I had her arms, the colour I wear often.

Nice to see someone be original for a change rather than the same staid formula or boring suits.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 25, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Oops the photo, loved the way she interacted with this young lady, she shows so much warmth.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 25, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

No BaileyReynolds, the SeaTac area was spared much of the ash. The winds blew it all through Centralia and into the East. As I recall Ritzville got massive amounts.

Seems so long ago now.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

laloomis, I'm sure you know as much, but clearly she's not dressed for a cocktail party...the length of the dress isn't right, and the wrist watch is clearly a no-no for cocktail attire. I didn't catch the shoes, but I doubt she had on a pair of strappy red FMPs.

Sex kitten? In that outfit? For who? The Amish? The next Anna Nicole she's not.

That the First Lady's presence in the gallery was for public opposed to what? Think she's up there waiting for a break in the applause so she can offer her own stimulus package?

I'd also point out that both Pelosi and Clinton are officials, yet the First Lady is not. They were there on Official Business. MO was not. Big diff.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 25, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes of course it was, as was the little girl from SC placed there to show that the crumbling schools are part and parcel of what you get from Bobby Jindel. Be that as it may, weather MO wore a dress that had anything to do with anything is really not much of a subject.I really didn't notice it with the exception that for the first time I thought she was attractive, and looked at her as a woman and not just a wife and a mother. Which surprised me to no end.

A very powerful wife who will well advised to let people focus on her domestic end of the job as she keeps Obama focused.

I hope she focuses on the education end of this, she can send a message to the students that need to hear it.

Posted by: ORNOT | February 25, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

There were gem stones made from Mt. St. Helen's ash. They were named "Helenite"... of course.

Posted by: Manon1 | February 25, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Manon1, I am glad to know that. RD may need to set Helenite stones into his tiny, jewel boxes of special fittedness.

Bailey, are you still a Westerner? As you tell, some of are former Westerners. As in our boots may be in MD, but our hearts are in places like



Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 25, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the comments about Michelle Obama's dress. Either one cares about it, or not. You can't say you really are interested in the substantive issues in the speech, then continue to obsess about whether the dress had sleeves. Me, I don't care. Even if I cared, in my etiquette universe bare arms are fine in the evening, which it was. In fact, in our professional world, women who have the arms for it can sport them (attached to an appropriately professional ensemble) at any time.

This all does remind me of one of my favorite jokes:

Q: Why is an orange like a vest?
A: They both have no sleeves.

Here's another family favorite:

Q: Knock, knock.
A: Who's there?
Q: Impatient cow.
A: Impatient co *[Q interrupts: Moo.]*

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 25, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Here is a slide set from the Chicago Trib on first lady styles: present and reverse chron to two b/w shots of Jackie K.,0,329249.photogallery

I hope this link pulls up the purple two-piece in question. The top is sateen. The skirt is dyed to match but in a matte weave. Lovely pieces. Color adds gravitas when the cut is more casual:

deep purple + two piece separates = dressy informal

Think about Jill Biden's choice:

frothy, seafoam + classic channel-like cut = relaxed dressy

Point? We have less rules now. People who want to follow rules to the T, can:

white shoes/white gloves between Mem. and Lab. Days only;

matching hat, gloves, shoes de rigour;

sleeveless at summer garden partly only;

spendiferous and asymmetrical hat at Ascot Races; check.

Welcome to the new posters. Stick around.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 25, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

My Mt. St. Helens story is that a neighbour's family was from Oregon, and was down there shortly thereafter. My similarly aged neighbour friend came back with a giant jar full of ash. Wow, neat! Can I have a little bit? Nope.

I'm mostly over it, though. Ash Wednesdays are always the hardest.

I need a moment.

Posted by: engelmann | February 25, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Engelman -- faxing you this bauble!

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 25, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Untilt the post today I didn't really register that a sleeveless top was any way inappropriate - I noticed a nice outfit end of story. What left an impression was her interaction with the child from SC, her loving gaze to her husband and total frenvy of her beautiful hands.

I have mentioned before that the role of First Lady perplexes me, no equivalent here but so far I like what she is doing - most importantly she seems to be making the role fit her, not fitting into a predescription function.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 25, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

May I add how much I loved your commentary last night, CqP?

Posted by: -dbG- | February 25, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

There is one reason, and one reason only, why Joel Achenbach deserves to have a regular column in one of America's leading newspapers, namely, his ability to write passages like this: "He has the strategic advantage of being more popular than any single one of his policies. He can thus tug a policy along behind him, as if it were a distracted puppy." But there is another side to Obama's success. He is preserving his popularity by distancing himself from the policies and, more importantly, his Party and Liberalism. In this respect, his popularity is not different from Clinton's, who achieved almost nothing of any permanence during eight years in office, while managing to maintain very high approval ratings. As for the Republicans, although their posture is, as it ever has been, inane, it is much too soon to count them out. Their future fortunes depend primarily on whether and when the economy will come back, and, given the modesty of the stimulous and the bank strategy, it is far from certain that the economy will come back strong enough or soon enough to extend the advantage currently enjoyed by Obama and the Democrats.

Posted by: rjoff | February 25, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

FOX News, of all people, absolutely pans Jindal for the volcano comment, and even finds time to take digs at Palin's dismissal of fruit fly research and at Bush's Katrina response.,2933,500267,00.html

Personally, I was struck by this phrase: "$140 million for SOMETHING CALLED 'volcano monitoring'"

Either Jindal doesn't know what volcano monitoring is, in which case he's an idiot, or he thinks the voters don't know, because he thinks the voters are idiots. Maybe Louisiana Republican voters really don't know.

Posted by: bourassa1 | February 25, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

On to the evening ministrations but wished to say this:

The banker who did the right thing is Leonard Abess, Jr.

Good job, sir. I expect you are surprised to be singled out for what is simply moral and kind.

I will think of you all Lent; may others see the invitation in your decency. I expect you feel rich, rich, rich in love.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 25, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Mudge says (in last kit):

"How come Sara disappears for two years and the day she comes back she's first in the new kit?? It just ain't fair, I'm tellin' ya."

Sorry. :)

My thoughts on Obama: Very refreshing.

My thoughts on Jindal: Very disturbing. The amazing plastic man.

And I thought Michelle Obama looked lovely.

Posted by: Sara54 | February 25, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if I would have used the phrase "poke fun." Other, less charitable, descriptions come to mind.

But the important point is the one Ivansmom made. Either fashion is grounds for fair comment or it isn't.

And I, for one, delight in CP's descriptions. They are reflective of a subtle and profoundly insightful mind, entertaining, and extremely informative.

Plus, sometimes she uses the word "fripperies."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget "furbelow" RD, another fine fashion word.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

The more I think about the volcano monitoring diss the more angry I get. bourassa1 is completely correct. It makes the Republicans look stupid and hopelessly clueless about science. This is much worse that McCain's absurd criticism of the "overhead projector" or the bear DNA.

Volcano monitoring is about potentially saving thousands of lives. And is precisely the kind of large scale project that government was supposed to do. You know, that whole "promote the general welfare" bit.

What do the Republicans suggest? That we cut peoples taxes so that they can monitor volcanoes on their own?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, frostbitten. But when I think of them both at the same time I risk becoming fearfully lightheaded.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

a couple more random comments -

obama himself made a comment that he'd rather take some bold steps and risk being a one-term president than be a mediocre two-term president. this is to his credit.

the discussion of mo's dress reminds me of the criticism of obama not wearing a tie and coat in the oval office. people who worry about such things lack powers to discern substance over style, perhaps lack any powers of discernment at all. i mean, i could care less whether obama wears a tie at work. i care how he governs. bush may have worn his suit and tie, but he governed poorly. which would you prefer?

Posted by: LALurker | February 25, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The Iroquios knew how to deal with missionnaries. Unfortunately there were too few Iroquois and too may missionaries.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 25, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Why yes RD, we should privatize and monetize the monitoring. Then we could securitize the seismologized and never fear a bail out because those who were duped into bad risks would be vaporized.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Personally, LALurker, I demand perfection. I want good governance in a tailcoat, changing to formal morning dress after 5 pm. For the President Consort (if we're being old-style), bare arms are fine for evening wear, but I want long gloves. Kid.

I believe members of Congress should be in tailcoats when on the floor. As there is no real equivalent for women's business wear, I'm afraid we'll have to send all those female legislators home. Or perhaps they can keep up on Twitter and the internet from their offices.

And let's get those Justices and judges back in wigs. Do it right, people.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 25, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I like your thinking. Perhaps all the men should wear judicial robes and the women can wear burqas.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | February 25, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I, too, enjoyed your commentary, CquaP. Particularly when I can't see the event myself, your experience and background enrich my experience.

And let me extend a hearty howdy to all the new posters and frequent lurkers (haven't we seen you before, manon?). These include bourassa1, ORNOT, rjoff, BaileyReynolds, and I'm sure I've forgotten someone.

I agree, rjoff, Joel can put a sentence together like nobody's business, though I think that is merely one of several reasons to give him a weekly column. Let me hasten to say that this would be in addition to, rather than supplanting, his regular reporting duties.

BaileyReynolds, I'm going to have trouble with your handle. My scattered and feeble brain thinks, in near simultaneity, of Bill Bailey, Bailey's Irish Cream, and Reynolds Wrap. Just as Entenmann, in my delusional mind, is a delicious pastry, you are a Western tinfoil adult beverage.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 25, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

And the powdered wigs should be organic. None of those new-fangled polymers.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 25, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Here in Alberta our volcano reporting system is word-of-mouth. We don't need no gummint help.

I should add as well, since I'm raising the local example, that bare shoulders and arms is considered quite stylish.

Sometimes the wimminfolk dress as such as well.

Posted by: engelmann | February 25, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

driving by to add my two bits. The President did quite a job of allying my fear that the country is in for a repeat of the way we collectively foundered in the late seventies and early eighties. I was inspire by the forethought of the student he quoted from the Palmetto State. It seems to me that we're on the cusp of making lemonade from the mess of lemons dumped in our lap by a cadre of irresponsible CEO's, and will succeed in doing so when we come to the collective realisation that, about 90% of the time, we avoid the worst case scenarios posed by any variety of forecasters. Right now, our family is safe. Tomorrow is another thing altogether, and we may experience the 10% solution. I have faith that this will not be the case, and will continue to persevere toward that end. Now I have to write an essay that, hopefully, will help our daughter along in the admissions process for the GSSM.

Posted by: -jack- | February 25, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Ivamsmom: Yes, I'm always here in lurk mode and have posted a couple of times. Thanks for remembering, although I don't recall posting anything particullarly memorable.

I've wrestled for weeks with the sign-in thingie and have finally figured it out.

Posted by: Manon1 | February 25, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Democratic Reagan, huh?
I've known of Reagan's political life since he was the Governor of California where he intimidated the anti-war crowd with his idiotic, aggressive speeches, raised taxes as he was promising lowering them and increased the size of State government as he promised to reduce it.
And--low and behold--he did the same thing as president!
In the words of one of his critics, he was nothing but an amiable dunce who read his lines correctly.
That's it, folks . . . a shell of a man best known as a grade B actor who even failed at that.
To compare him to a legitimately intelligent, articulate, and sincere President Obama is like comparing a sweet pepper to a Caribbean red: Both are peppers but that's where the similarities end.
Reagan, like Bush, like Gingrich, like Boehner, like Cantor is a FRAUD. Instead of naming an aircraft carrier after him, better a garbage scow.

Posted by: hyjanks | February 25, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

The major difference between Reagan and Obama is that Reagan had an ideology against which his words could be measured. If Obama has an equivalent, it is so disguised that I have yet to discern its outlines.

Posted by: edbyronadams | February 25, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

My reaction to "The One" is about the same as pseudo-journalist NEOCOMM Chris Mathews' reaction to Jindal" "Oh, god!"

You NEOCOMM Democrat Party apparatchiki fool no one not already duped...

Posted by: cwejohnson | February 25, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Are powdered wigs like Chia Pets, just add water?

O no! I just had a quasily inappropropriate thought.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 25, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I dunno about wigs, Ivansmom and RD. They look uncomfortable to me. And they will look just silly on the lady judges.

*cough cough*

Ivansmom, I believe morning wear is appropriate before 5 p.m., not afterwards. You realize, of course, that in the 18th and 19th centuries, morning was the time between when a person rose from bed and evening. There was no afternoon as we define it.

Posted by: slyness | February 25, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

fee fi fo fashion
furbelowed frippery fun
flouncy forevah!

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 25, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans don't expect anyone to fund a private volcano detection system. They expect cities to be destroyed like Pompeii or New Orleans.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 25, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

In case we haven't noticed, front page alert.

Posted by: slyness | February 25, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

By ideology you mean a script full of ideas and talking points-- and no independent thought or problem-solving that dares face reality?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 25, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

first he's lincoln,now he's reagan. you are going to find out he is obama. the marxist. i don't believe reagan or lincoln were marxists.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | February 25, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Terrified. Stupefied. Mortified. Petrified. That's where I'll be.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 25, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, folks.

I'll try to catch up on the Boodle, but I spoke to Scottynuke on the phone this evening, and he asked that I let you all know that he and NukeSpawn got through the skiing leg of his vacation with all bones and appendages intact. They're having a wonderful Father/Daughter week from the sound of it.

His voice was stronger than I expected - not a quaver or catch - given that he's gone cold turkey on the Boodle since last week, AFAIK.

More later.


Posted by: -bc- | February 25, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm all in favor of wigs. When ya get old ya get cold, and you lose 40 percent of your body heat through your head. So, wearing a wig keeps us old codgers warm.

However, I have no particular preference as to the powder.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 25, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey, shriek or omni or any other Linux peeps: I've got a problem with either Thunderbird or Verizon, and don't know which. But I haven't opened Thunderbird for a few weeks, and opened it Monday, and down-loaded 16 e-mails. But they arrived with an orange-colored asterisk in front of them, and when I open them, they are all empty. Further, they are boldfaced (as all knew ones are) but don't go to regular face. And they can't be erased.

So, does anybody know what's happening, and/or how I can re-download them?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 25, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, Boodle, hello Al!

'Mudge, you mean you *didn't* feel the earth tilt when my considerable bulk landed on your fair shores? Seismic must have picked it up (see, see? On Boodle if not on-Kit!). It was a good trip, and lovely TBG picked me up at the airport, we had a lovely Japanese dinner, visited her lovely family, and then she brought me to my hotel. As always, she is the best friend a Yoki could wish for.

Sadly, the hotel is not up to my usual standard, and I am considering making a run for a different joint on my way into town in the morning. Did you know that with this Intertube thingy you can have alternate accommodation lined up in advance? It's a marvel.

But, I have an exceptionally early start tomorrow, so will bid you all a good night, and see some of you tomorrow evening.

Posted by: Yoki | February 25, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Glad you had a good trip in and a nice visit with TBG, enjoy your time in DC Yoki.

Night all.

Note to Frosti, watch Rick Mercers' interview from last night with 88 year old Mayor of Mississauga (Canada's third largest city), think you will enjoy it. Hazel is quite the marvel.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 25, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Now that I think about that should probably Ontario's third largest city - I am tired, sorry.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 25, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I was marveling at Mississauga's rapid growth dmd.
It's not only a certain town in Connecticut that has a problem with it's name. I'm still giggling. Please meet Le Maire d'Eu.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 25, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

dmd-thanks for the tip, Hazel is fabulous.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

So much for my future as a pundit, Jon Stewart went with the Bobby Jindal as Mr. Rogers bit instead of Kenneth the page.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 25, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

But frostbitten, these are your credentials for pundithood.

For did not Joel recently tell us that pundits are 90% wrong (or some other numerical value, you know how I am with numbers, anything above 3 has me scratching my head and sticking up fingers, those that are left to me, that is)?

The wronger you are, the better qualified.

Posted by: Yoki | February 25, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I thought Bobby Jindal was like one of Elaine's gormless boyfriends on Seinfeld.

(Scene: Jerry's living room.)

Jerry: "Elaine's dating this guy Jindal. He's supposed to be some kind of big-shot politician or something."

Kramer: "Is that Bobby Jindal? Jerry, he's a real rising star! He's the governor of Louisiana!"

George: "I don't believe it! Elaine, a governor? How'd she meet him?"

Jerry: "Louisiana! That's crazy!"

(Bell rings... It's Elaine on the intercom.)

Jerry: "Come on up!"

(Elaine appears at the door, throws down her purse with a disgusted expression.)

Jerry: "Hey, what's the matter, Kramer says this guy Jindal you're dating is a governor or something. You should be sitting pretty!"

Elaine: "Jerry, he wants me to eat crawfish! Do you know what those are?"

George: "Yeah, they look like a tiny lobster or something."

Elaine: "They're disgusting! They aren't a lobster, they aren't a fish, they're like some kind of stupid little bug! And then he makes me order this soup that's full of okra. Have you ever had okra, Jerry? It's like shoestrings covered with glue!"

Kramer: "Elaine, that's called gumbo, it's a delicacy!"

Elaine: "Whatever... I have to get away from this guy. I only went out with him because I thought he would introduce me to Michael Steele. Somebody told me the RNC was hiring and I thought maybe I get a job, you know, like I had with Mr. Peterman."

Posted by: woofin | February 25, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Boodle. Can't sleep for time-change and performance-anxiety over my big presentation tomorrow. And the combination turns me into a idiot.

Posted by: Yoki | February 25, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

You will do fine, Yoki. I also never sleep well in new places. Just grab what sleep you can, and be ready to crash tomorrow night.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 25, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Woofin, that's eerie. I never liked Elaine the Pain myself.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 25, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

SCC: /could/ get a job

Eerie... I'll take that as a compliment, Wilbrod. 'Night, all.

Posted by: woofin | February 26, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Tonight, I listened to a chef explain how he made jambalaya, only to find that the intended recipients wouldn't eat it. Wanted pizza?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 26, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

There's a story on the front page about how lean times are making DIY more the norm. The boodle is a veritable cornucopia of DIYdom. I have yet to tile the bathroom. The cleat for the cupboard in the kitchen I fretted about, after SciTim's caution that gravity is an ever powerful force, is still doing its job. As I said earlier, this may all change tomorrow.

Posted by: -jack- | February 26, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Evening All
Stopped again to lulin and had a hard time finding her,but did,not as brillant as last night,I guess due to clouds to the west.I did see a shooting star(made a wish) that lasted for 10 seconds or more,but that was on my drive home. I was treated to 2 trains in the valley,first one heading west bound and it was neat to watch it go all the way up the Potomac,then one came east and I was able to see the tri headlamp most of the way down the valley.

Two Trains reminds me of a Little Feat song

sorry couldn't find a Lowell George version

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 26, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

El Paso, just because.

Posted by: -jack- | February 26, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Willin'. For you, gwe, because you mentioned vehicles.

Posted by: -jack- | February 26, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

dmd, i watched the rick mercer video out of curiosity. that major hazel totally rocks!

Posted by: LALurker | February 26, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Jack
I caught Little feat about 6 months ago in a club nearby, They still jam for 2+ hours playing all sorts of slide music.I highly reccomend them to everyone.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 26, 2009 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Cassandra, Al. Is this not a fine day?

Off to get gorgeous for the big meeting today.

Have a good one!

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

two trains head west, east
speed by night in west by god
how long 'til they meet?

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 26, 2009 5:35 AM | Report abuse

Re: Obama's ideology. I sometimes wonder whether people have trouble identifying it because he's a Republican (or, actually, what a Republican should be) pretending to be a Democrat.

Yes, he's spending a boatload of money right now, but that's only in response to this freakish economy. It seemed to me that all through the campaign he talked about fiscal responsibility. He often seemed to scold the party about its tendency to throw money at everything, and said that had to end.

It's possible that this is just dog-whistle stuff for me ... I heard the scolding more than anything else because that's what's important to me. Am I crazy? Or part dog? ;-)

Jack ... loved the "Beautiful Mind" line!

Posted by: KBoom | February 26, 2009 6:04 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. Welcome, Bailey, and all newcomers. Please stick around, we enjoy company.

As for the kit, JA, I love your way with words. The subject, Reagan, I don't care for. I'm one of those folks that heard Reagan ask, I believe it was George Wallace, if he wanted him(Reagan) to come and stand in front of the schoolhouse door to keep African-Americans out. I've never cared for the man or his communication style. And if I remember correctly, Reagan announced his run for the presidency at the place that the KKK had its beginnings. No, Reagan has never been a favorite of mine. And after reading the daughter's book on the family, and mom and dad's conversation over dinner kind of sealed it for me.

I don't know if any of you watching the President's speech noticed this, but the senator from Louisiana was standing close to the aisle as the President's cabinet entered, and when the Secretary of Defense came in, this person stepped back so he didn't have to shake his hand. The senator then moved forward after the Defense Secretary had moved on. It was so obvious, he didn't try to hide his distaste one bit.

I agree JA, with your thought on the Republicans. Yet these Southern Republicans just might start to leave the union, and I can't think of the "s" word I need here. I think many of them see this as a major insult. I mean for years we have the thinking by many in the South, and some in other places, that African-Americans aren't really human, therefore, not intelligent enough to do certain things, and now we have a President that is African-American. This thinking is the very foundation which much is based on, and if that foundation sinks, then what is to become of those that believe in this? Fight or flight?

I had the g-girl yesterday, so we had the morning fight getting ready for school. She's home with mom and dad today. Grandma gets a break. I think my grandsons will be here this weekend, at least I hope so. I haven't seen them since Christmas. My daughter-in-law said she was coming here this weekend to celebrate the life of my son. It has been five years this week since his death. We'll see how that turns out.

Yoki, you go girl. Mudge, I agree with your assessment of Reagan, but still like JA's kit. It's so hard with you and JA, because I love both of you, and your way with words.(smile)

Slyness, I need to walk, perhaps this morning, not so cold and the g-girl is home.

Scotty, Martooni, and all the gang, plus the new folks, have a great day. *waving*

Time to walk.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 26, 2009 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of pundits that are ALWAYS wrong. Here is KristolMeth stinking up the WaPo Op/Ed page:

"George W. Bush defined his presidency by his response to the terror attacks. Obama didn't discuss Sept. 11. And by relegating foreign policy to the status of a virtual afterthought, Obama indicated that he doesn't think his presidency will rise or fall by the success or failure of his diplomatic or military endeavors."

Maybe Billy The Wrong was snoozing through this part of the speech:

"And with our friends and allies, we will forge a new and comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat al Qaeda and combat extremism. Because I will not allow terrorists to plot against the American people from safe havens half a world away."

The rest of his obstructionist manifesto is not for the weak of heart.

I dare someone to read it all the way through without throwing something.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 26, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Brilliant. Just pitch perfect.

Nearly 500 people read my Jindal the Page blogpost after seeing the link on the A-blog, so fb was onto something. Part of the newscycle for the Daily Show is that all the low hanging fruit get taken by airtime, so Stewart has to go somewhere else. There were thousands of 30 Rock references in the blogosphere yesterday, so the Mr. Rogers tack was the fresher territory.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 26, 2009 7:05 AM | Report abuse

And who is Willie K channeling with this bon mot (Hint: read this post's title):

"Obama's speech reminds of Ronald Reagan's in 1981 in its intention to reshape the American political landscape."

Posted by: yellojkt | February 26, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Cassandra. Hey, Al.

Secede, Cassandra, I believe that's the word you're looking for. It may have worked in 1861, but I don't think it would work today. (Don't you just hate having the brain lock up like that? It's happening more and more often to me, with embarrassing results!)

Yoki, you obviously didn't get a lot of sleep last night. I will be thinking of you this morning and hope you have a successful presentation.

Yello, I read the conservative manifesto. It would be a good thing if he had some positive ideas to share about how to approach the world and our problems. Let them stay in the backwater till they figure that out, and devise pragmatic and acceptable solutions.

I'm with Jeremy:

Posted by: slyness | February 26, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Hi Al!

Just running through with a towel wrapped around for decency's sake...

From the Star Trib in Minn on the Recount Decade's LONG trial...

Coleman's "Dustup du Jour"

Love that line. Once again, somehow, Normie Coleman's deep and crack legal team failed to share written testimony with the opposition and they got caught. It makes all sorts of sense that, if you are going to argue about something, that you leave your opponents in the dark.

Amy Klobuchar, Minn. current and only Senator, said about 10 days ago that it will take until April 1st for another Senator to be seated. At the time, I thought that she was crazy, but, now, not only does she seem very funny with her quips, but prescient.

I am hoping that Al makes it to the Capitol in time to share his serious and well spoken position on Single Payer.

What folks fail to realize is (not here, since we all know of Joel's well-rounded brilliance) that Al Franken has a large amount of brains to go with his sometimes not appreciated humor.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 26, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

And speaking of Pundits On Parade, every time I see the word 'sex' in the first paragraph of a George Will column, I reach for the Tums. It's like getting a VD lecture from Orville Redenbacher.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 26, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Loved all the Feat references. I have long suggested that one of the best things to come out of GW University was the Waiting for Columbus album.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 26, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse


Once and a while, I will see George Will walking (fast) around town... walking the dog or something, and, until you mentioned it, when I see him, the one word that never pops into my mind is sex.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 26, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

The hubby and I love Little Feat. They have come to Tidewater several times and we always find a way to see them.
gwe, I loved the image of the two trains in the valley. Thanks for that.

I couldn't help myself, I had to read Will's column. It was really stupid. You won't get those 2 minutes back, just move on.

Is tonight the big IBPH? Have fun, al!

Posted by: Kim1 | February 26, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I sure hope Al will be there tonight!

I'm getting ready to head out the door for work, but I want to say that Yoki looks wonderful (of course) and it was GREAT to spend some quality time with her (of course).

Hope to be able to pop in today to say 'hey.' Nice to see all the newcomers yesterday and the good discourse. No one hated (hates) Reagan more than I do and I never saw the "great communicator" if you ask me, but I know folks did love him for some reason I can't really fathom.

I always thought it was kind of funny that the GOP canonized him when he died, during two wars he directly had a hand in starting for us. Don't know which is worse... to never remember or to never let go.

Have a great day, Boodle! You, too, Al!

Posted by: -TBG- | February 26, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day
Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day
Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day
Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day
Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day
Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day
Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day
Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day
Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day Yoki Day

'Morning, Boodle. Sorry, I got a little carried away there.

No, simply cannot bring myself to even *try* to read the Will column, Kristol, of course, is much easier to decide. My policy is "Never."

Yes, woofin, that was really excellent.

Hey, Kim, you still here? Are you watching "Lost"? Whadja think? (I think they jumped the shark a year or two ago, but that's just me. I think after last night we can finally dispense with the "Maybe Ben is really a good guy" nonsense.)

"It's like getting a VD lecture from Orville Redenbacher" is a nice line, yello.

Kurtz's Media Notes column thjis morning on just how bad Jindal was is quite good.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 26, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Hate to "harp" TBG, but Raygun also left us with a bunch of neocons who came back to haunt us during Dubya's eight years.

What really gives me gas is that Perle now claims that he wasn't a neocon ringleader... not even a neocon. Great!

We now know that there this great pieces of neocon writing floating around the White House and the Pentagon calling for a systematic attack on up to six or seven Middle Eastern countries "because," and he is doing that old Professional Wrassler "hands in the air" thing.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 26, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, mudge. Blind pigs and acorns and all.

From the Kurtz column:

///Newsweek's Howard Fineman says Obama is more than just the new Great Communicator:

"Obama is channeling Ronald Reagan in a more profound sense. Like Reagan, his promises are grand -- and his budget is wishful thinking. Like Reagan, he's betting that arithmetic matters less than inspiration." ///

We have a meme.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 26, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, come on, Bobby Jindal is THE FUTURE of the GOP. Seriously, I personally am expecting that we will see Mitt until we let him be President. I say, we just bribe Mitt with the next 10 Olympic events.

The question would always be, WHICH MITT?

What's amazing to me is the list of names that the Romney's and the Palin's give their kids.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 26, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | February 26, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Morning Al!

Haven't had a chance to backboodle, but accompanying the DIY article in the WaPo dead-trees edition were the results of an ABC poll. It reported that 65% of those surveyed were optimistic about their family's financial situation, whereas only 48% were optimistic about the national economy. I interpret that as a sign that the pessimism nationally is a result of the 24/7 reporting of doom that hasn't hit some folks personally. So a little Presidential uplifting and cheerleading may help, even a little.

Can't make IBPH tonight, for the same reason I haven't backboodled: busier than a one-armed paperhanger in a butt-kicking contest. Or something like that.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 26, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm personally delighted that Jindal and Palin are the future of the GOP, Weed. Couldn't possibly be happier with that line-up. Reminds me of the '62 Mets with Marv Throneberry and Choo Choo Coleman.

I can't think of a single member of the GOP who gives me pause. Not only do they not have a "bench," they don't even have any decent starters. Romney is about as close as it comes.

And yes, the other day I, too, waxed deeply umbraged at Perle's remarks about neocons, not being one himelf, and saying no such thing even existed. He seriously crossed the line from commentator into psychopatholgy with that one.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 26, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

The line on Choo Choo, "he could always catch the low ones."

Posted by: russianthistle | February 26, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Perversely, though, ya hadda love Throneberry.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 26, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, about GeoWill's column. I agree with much of the thesis and conclusion. As would your friend Rollo May, actually. We have a wholesale cheapening of human sexuality underway. The absolute insistence of an adolescent stance toward what is complex and sacred harms our hearts and ability to trust over a lifetime.

Do I advocate external loci of control -- as perhaps would George Will? No. But the internal controls within many of us do not always work. I think, largely, that we do not keep fresh batteries in the mechanism of id/ego/superego that can protect and guide us.

Off to student-land.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 26, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Back from cleaning all the bathrooms. News flash - teenagers are pigs. Both of my children are very organized in their schoolwork, keep reasonably clean rooms (by force, every Saturday morning they are cleaned or they go nowhere) and are generally very presentable. But their bathroom is a horror. Really. I'm not exaggerating.

Hey mudge, yep, still watching Lost. It did jump the shark two years ago, but I thought last season was fun and this season is pretty good. I'm in it to the end at this point, since the end is next season. I'm really going to be mad if Jack and Kate don't end up together. And yes, it's official Ben is REALLY bad. That guy is one of the best TV villains ever. And I think he killed or badly injured Desmond and Penny last week...whaddya think?

Oh and I completely agree with your assessment of Reagan. Every time I hear of those crazies who are trying to name a gazillion things after him, I get indigestion. I thought he gave a heck of a speech in Normandy but other than that, I thought he was a malignent force.

Posted by: Kim1 | February 26, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Just read Henry the K's op-ed on Afghanistan. Seems he, like others, shunt aside the opium problem. If the US were a standardized totalitarian empire, we'd just take over the heroin industry. We obviously don't want to, and should not become so evil. Yet I think much of Afghanistan's belief in sovereign anarchy stems from this crop. Here's Reuters:

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 26, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Darn. Looks like I'm gonna hafta read the Will column after all.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 26, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, CqP. I understand the moral irony of the point Will is making: We are a lot more discriminating about what we put in our mouth than we are over who we sleep with, but Georgie is the wrong school-marmish presenter for this topic. I still have nightmares from the time he discussed the emotional hollowness of pornography and invoked the image of red-butted baboons in heat.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 26, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Now I'll have to read Will too.

Frenvious thoughts are swirling in my head--have a good time, Al.

Yoki, you're right, you deserve better.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 26, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

We all do (hit submit too early).

Posted by: -dbG- | February 26, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

yello, yello, I've just finished eating and read your 10:49, and I'm swallowing hard. At first, I laughed, but now it's entirely something else. I thank you so much for that, and if close by, I would certainly show you my appreciation for that picture.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 26, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

After Yello's line I'm afraid to read Will. I have a feeling he wrote "popping your corn" metaphors for sex.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 26, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

If not Will, then who exactly? Men aren't supposed to discuss promiscuity and its perils? (Such antiquated ideas here on the Boodle and antiquated vocabulary of some Boodlers: If a man hangs out with a "floozy," then is he not a floozy, too?) Is sexual responsibility a category relegated only to women? School-marmish women at that? Perhaps Obama should mention it, and then only in a church setting? Or perhaps Bill Cosby, in a forum not sponsored by educators and not on the 50th anniversary of Brown v Board? What man, yello, is the right spokesman--a physician perhaps, family planning advocate, church leader, statistician? Is there an appropriate male advocate for this important topic and when is the right time?

Will: "In 1965, the Moynihan Report sounded an alarm about 23.6 percent of African American children born out of wedlock. Today the figure for the entire American population is 38.5 percent, and 70.7 percent for African Americans. To that, add AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and the unquantifiable coarsening of the culture and devaluing of personal intimacy."

Posted by: laloomis | February 26, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I didn't mean to choke you up. If I were there I'd administer the Heimlich (as opposed to the Picard) Maneuver. And now I'm nervous about getting too close. For some reason I fear getting hit with an umbrella.

No popping corn Wilbrod, but 'red meat' does carry some metaphorical baggage in the column.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 26, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

laloomis...Mr. Will doesn't have the public persona that conveys a knowledge of swinging from the chandeliers, you know? Let me try to explain. It would be like someone who has no interest or eye for fashion telling others what constitutes inappropriate (read: sex kitten) attire.

Besides, if the messenger speaks Spanish but the audience speaks French, the message isn't likely to be conveyed.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 26, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

It's a good thing I'm done my coffee.

Posted by: --dr-- | February 26, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

yello, just teasing, no umbrella.

Lost in thought, oh, what, a concept. You folks are cracking me up. It feels good to laugh.

I probably need to read George Will's sacrifice to the altar of good writing. It's just so hard to do that.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 26, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

OK, I've finally read the G. Will column, and I think I disagree with nearly everything Will and Eberstadt present, from top to bottom.

First, Eberstadt (she's doing most of the talking; Will's only quoting her) sets up a totally false "straw man" argument. She posits that 50 years ago, "Betty" was indiscriminant about food, and had virtually no rules. The modern jennifer, she says, has lots of rules, per Kant, yadda yadda.

But this is totally false. Betty 50 years ago had a TON of food rules; they were merely "different" from today's rules. But ask yourselves this: when you were growing up, weren't you basically "forced" to eat things that "everyone knows" were good for you: broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach (the whole Popeye meme), etc.? Damn right you were.

There are also sorts of other rules: two glasses a milk a day. Clean your plate (children were starving in India). Breakfast was the most important meal of the day and it consisted of a couple of eggs, bacon or sausage, etc.--what we now believe is basically your cholestrol-laden heart-stopper.

A "proper" dinner had its own rules, too: meat, potatoes, starch, a green veggie, rolls, a glass of milk (coffee/tea for the adults), dessert, etc. Maybe a salad, too.

Remember all the flip-flops? Coffee was safe, then unsafe, then safe, then unsafe. Ditto sugar. Ditto salt.

Remember the &^%$# food pyramid (periodically revised)?

Remember the "authorized" after-school snack? You think that didn't have rules? Cookies and a glass of milk, or a Moon Pie and glass of Hawaiian Punch, or whatever. Didn't your household have all sorts of rules about candy (when and how much?), about late-night snacks? Finish your dinner or you don't get dessert?

You think that hot lunch you got from the abominable cafeteria lady for 35 cents didn't have a bunch of unwritten rules?

Do NOT tell me there were no rules back then. Do not even attempt it. Jeez.

Whether "food" NOW has a bunch of rules is also problematic. Consider how diverse the whole food industry is, and how many exceptions there are. Will and Eberstadt would have us believe that because Jennifer eats organic food and shuns red meat everyone else does too. Anyone laughing hysterically at that notion?

The fact is, W/E set up a totally false dichotomy and stereotype, and then want to apply it to the even more complicated question of sex. Furthermore, Jennifer today has a wide choice of food options that simply weren’t available 50 years ago for Betty. They cannot distinguish between diversity of choices on the one hand, and “lack of rules” on the other. And then they make EXACTLY the same mistake with sex.

part 2 coming

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 26, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

For the record, the baboon image was Will's not mine. I'm obviously still emotionally scarred by the event.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 26, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

More relevant than children born out of wedlock, whic is meaningless, would be a statistic on the parents that do not support those children, or take an active role in their upbringing.

Stats still may be high, but I would hope society has progressed enough that being born out of wedlock is no longer a stigma or in of itself considered wrong.

With half of marriages failing it is not like that is a secure state for children.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 26, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Part 2:

Yes, I’d agree that the Sexual Revolution was not a total success by any means, and it had a lot of negative consequences, the overall coarsening of society being one of them. But I’m not at all sure I’d agree that the AIDS epidemic was a byproduct. This argument pretends there was no such thing as STDs before AIDS came along, which as everyone ought to know is utter nonsense. The only reasonable distinction I can fathom is that AIDS tends to be fatal while the other are not (if treated).

(And while we're at it, let's discuss the early years of AIDS, when so many people were treated so badly by society precisely BECAUSE of those earlier rules that Will seems to be defending. Ptooey. I spit at this idea, at the cruelty and stigmatization that occured.)

I think a little perspective is called for here. While the SR did produce some unintended consequences, it also opened up a helluva lot of doors that needed opening. First and foremost, quite obviously, is the entire gay/lesbian thing, which is now out in the open and gaining increasing acceptance. You try telling a G/L that society was much better off 50 years ago when we had a lot of rules. I’ll hold his/her coat while he/she knocks your block off.

What other good old-fashioned rules got dumped?

No sex before marriage. Jeez, if there’s ever a rule that needed dumping and good riddance, this was it.

Shall we discuss interracial sex? Except maybe for G/L, was there ever a bigger taboo than that 50 years ago? Anyone sorry today’s generation have kicked that one in the ass?

What about the general stranglehold religion in general had over all matters sexual? Anyone want to go back to the days when the Catholic Church decided birth control policy (as well as a hundred lesser matters)?

Wanna talk about sex education in the schools? Want to talk about all the stigmas against marital counseling as well as various and sundry matters of sexual counseling that have disappeared (and good riddance)?

Anybody want to repeal the notion that two consenting adults in their home have the right to do pretty much whatever they want to? I don’t have any problem with that whatsoever.

Anybody want to discuss the right (and common availability) to walk into any bookstore and buy a copy of Ulysses, Catcher in the Rye, the Joy of Sex, Tropic of Cancer, the Kama Sutra, or a thousand other titles born of the SR?

part 3 coming

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 26, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

part 3

How about easy access to birth control? How about all those open and free discussions of all sort of women's medical issues? And since I'm thoroughly pro-choice, what about reasonable access to abortion, instead of the good old-fashioned back alley coathanger method? All by-products of the S/R.

Yes, there are plenty of things about the SR I don’t like and can criticize, and yes, I’d agree with my friend Rollo May about a lot of them.

But I can’t go along with this silly, simple-minded, stereotyped dichotomy Will and Eberstadt have set up. I don’t really care much about the “food” half of the argument; it’s at best interesting but not very important. On the other hand, I think the whole SR side of the discussion is much more complicated, serious, and much more important to society than W/E present.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 26, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I see a huge difference between physical intimacy and emotional intimacy. Boinking a loved one is much better than having it off with a stranger, just pizza, beer and skittles.

Deciding whether or not to procreate and under what circustances has nothing to do with sex.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 26, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The NFP instructors who lectured at the seminar that my future wife and I were required to attend were geeky/dorky types and pregnant with their 7th. I understand this is typical.

The condom passer-outer at my daughter's HS was an unmarried woman raising 2 children. I understand this is typical.

As I understand it, sex between 2 (or 3 or 4) consenting adults is perfectly acceptable by today's mainstream standards …, so long as they forego the intimacy cigarette, which, as we all know, is bad for one's health.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | February 26, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I think Betty Crocker should sue G. Will and that horrible Eberwhat woman.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 26, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Simply brilliant top to bottom. My mother was a 1962 Home Ec major and she definitely had rules about what constituted a 'real meal'. My son was eating food as a toddler I didn't know existed as a teenager.

And Will/Eberstadt make the classic mistake of equating liberty with licentiousness. And lets not even start about this mythical swingers paradise with unlimited sexual liaisons. It's definitely not in my neighborhood.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 26, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The NFP lecture was definitely the biggest snicker-inducer at our pre-Cana retreat and that was decades ago.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 26, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I certainly take CP's point about the cheapening of human sexuality and agree. I just thought Will's piece was stupid. It was just a goofy set up.

And that whole baboon thing has really put me off my lunch!

Posted by: Kim1 | February 26, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

NFP? Wuzzat?

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 26, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

AKA the Rhythm method, SciTim.

Posted by: Kim1 | February 26, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

New kit...

Posted by: Gomer144 | February 26, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I wuz gonna ask, too, Tim. I was thinking maybe it was one of them Canadian political parties.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 26, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Here's to a woman's reproductive freedom: Octomom, you go girl!

But let's not express our disgust for the negative in public, that would be cruel, especially to those 14 innocent children.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | February 26, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Couple of quick items here -

First of all, I read Will's column and thought to myself, "What a trifle - how much money is he being paid for this?"

Secondly, isn't social appropriateness a variable across groups, space, and time? And so is understanding and knowledge, for that matter.

Everything is relative, so be sure to account for windage in your Observations, measurements and assessments -- understand your context and relative knowledge (i.e., know that you don't know everything), and Prepare to be Wrong.

Heisenberg was not a wonderful person IMO, but it seems to me that uncertainty, ambiguity, and relativity still rule.


Posted by: -bc- | February 26, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

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