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Obama's Scary 3 p.m. Phone Call

You remember that Hillary Clinton ad during the campaign: The red phone ringing in the White House at 3 a.m. The world's going haywire -- who do you want answering that red phone? A novice? Some wet-behind-the-big-ears senator who's never been responsible for anything larger than a campaign staff?

Well, yes, the country decided. And it turns out that Obama seems fully capable of handling whatever the job throws at him. The Obama's-too-green argument can be safely put to rest: The guy is smart, politically skilled, and as poised as the day is long.
He never gets a deer in the headlights look, and he's done well on big stages and small. He even seems to be enjoying himself.

Cue the next rap on Obama last fall: That he's a radical, only pretending to be a moderate. But Obama took office and appointed a lot of very mainstream Democrats (and a few Republicans) to key posts. Many of his policies are only incrementally different from that of his predecessor. In Afghanistan he's boosted the U.S. military presence -- hardly a radical left maneuver.

This spring we've heard a new attack: That he's a socialist. That Government Motors, for example, is a sign that we're heading toward some kind of Chinese-style central-planning economy. Sarah Palin, in her inimitable way, floated that notion the other night during her Fox interview:

"Is this even more than you thought was going to be in terms of where the president would take the economy?" Hannity asked.

Palin responded with an answer that was difficult to parse.

"A lot of this is wrapped in good rhetoric," she said, "but we're not seeing those actions, and this many months into the new administration, quite disappointed, quite frustrated with not seeing those actions to rein in spending, slow down the growth of government. Instead, China's the complete opposite. It's expanding at such a large degree that if Americans are paying attention, unfortunately, our country could evolve into something that we do not even recognize, certainly that is so far from what the founders of our countries had in mind for us."

Well, I THINK she's saying we're turning into China, but one can never be entirely sure.

In any case, the "creeping socialism" meme, as Harold Meyerson has persuasively argued, ignores the history of socialism and its emphatic rejection in this country. Obama, in Meyerson's formulation, is trying to save capitalism:

"Obama, like Roosevelt before him, is engaged not in creating socialism but in rebooting a crashed capitalist system. The spending in Obama's stimulus plan isn't a socialist takeover. It's the only way to inject money into a system in which private-sector investment, consumption and exports -- the other three possible engines of growth -- are locked down. Investing more tax dollars in education and research and development is a way to use public funds to create a more competitive private sector. Keeping our banks from speculating madly with our money is a way to keep banking alive."

The GOP is now hoping that the long-term fiscal picture, and the burgeoning deficit and national debt, will give them leverage against Obama. The deficits are enormous in the short run, and you have to make a leap of faith to think they're coming down anytime soon [see this excellent David Leonhardt piece in the Times today that explains how the Clinton budget surpluses turned into huge deficits under Bush]. China owns greater and greater chunks of American debt. Obama makes the argument that we need to spend big money now on health care reform, education and energy to set the stage for long-term prosperity.

Obama, the Republicans and the media all face tricky situations regarding fiscal policy.

Obama has to persuade voters to think long-term, something that Americans don't do instinctively.

The Republicans have to make the debt a big issue even though it's never been a wedge issue -- people fundamentally don't care.

And the media have to do a lot more work examining the numbers and making sense of them. And we're never terribly good at that.

In any case, you can imagine a new ad that takes on Obama. It's a red phone again. But it's not 3 a.m. this time. It's 3 p.m. The call doesn't come from a national security official but from one of his own bean-counters. It's OMB on the line. A harried aide says: We've just seen the new figure for the national debt: A killion.

The killion, as every mathematician knows, is a number so big it can kill you. Newton discovered it, and Einstein insisted that all computers be equipped with a governor which would shut off the machine if the number killion was approached.

--

More from the Leonhardt piece:

"Things will get worse gradually," Mr. Auerbach predicts, "unless they get worse quickly." Either a solution will be put off, or foreign lenders, spooked by the rising debt, will send interest rates higher and create a crisis.

The solution, though, is no mystery. It will involve some combination of tax increases and spending cuts. And it won't be limited to pay-as-you-go rules, tax increases on somebody else, or a crackdown on waste, fraud and abuse. Your taxes will probably go up, and some government programs you favor will become less generous.

That is the legacy of our trillion-dollar deficits. Erasing them will be one of the great political issues of the coming decade.


By Joel Achenbach  |  June 10, 2009; 10:40 AM ET
 
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Next: Failure to Launch

Comments

Republican friends who should know that deflation and depression are still real threats are panicking at the thought of impending hyperinflation.

So Obama's destroying the country. A kindly Republican congressman even tipped off the Chinese government about the impending worthlessness of the dollar.

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

As long as it's not a Brazilian.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 10, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

New Scientist recently ran a story on the anti-placebo effect. If you think you're taking a harmful pill, or have been hexed, or whatever, you will suffer harm.

I wonder whether we'll soon have people dying because they think they've been hit by a killion. John Maynard Keynes would understand this sort of psychology. The CDC needs to set up an undercover squad to deal with the prospect of otherwise-healthy conservatives who read the wrong financial newspaper or listen to the wrong tv/radio shows will die because they believe they've been exposed to a killion.

A placebo antidote for the killion could be extremely valuable, but it would have to be protected by powerful secrecy to ensure that its placebo nature wouldn't get out, triggering deaths due to what Latin Americans call "susto", roughly "fright".

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 10, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Dave, we will truly recover when there is a bit of inflation. We need it to drive up the value of our personal assets. Republicans, with most of the assets "should" be cheering this along.

Oh, wait, Republicans are not Republicans any more. Republicans are, for the most part, not Democrats.

The best definition of an elected Republican official is that they are against anything that Obama is for.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 10, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure the Republicans will conveniently forget how much the national debt increased on *their* watch. Just like those that decry the "nationalization" of banks deliberately finesse the fact that it began last September (under Bush). I don't mind good, healthy debate; just be honest about the facts.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 10, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Since we (because of Joel, of course) are on the front page, has anyone checked to see if the bunker is available (not to mention secure and with a boatload of good food and drink and good music -- candles, perhaps, for mood)?

Just asking.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 10, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Republicans and National Debt... great topic. There is only one thing that will always grow with tax cuts... National Debt.

Accounting 101.

Raysmom, the true affect of the eight years of Bush are clear when you take his deficit and then add in the need to recover from his pResidency. Pretty much most of the domestic infrastructure development came to a halt. The government paid for improvements in Iraq "over and over." ... same projects.

We diverted many domestic dollars to Iraq under false pretenses.

We gutted most business oversight agencies.

Oh... listening to the harping of the likes of the Noootster is just unbelievable.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 10, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Raysmom, remember that Bush II ran up a huge deficit WITHOUT having Iraq or Afghanistan on the books(to be fair, great portions). Obama puts it onto the books and the Republicans cannot stop screaming about the numbers. What wormy little creatures...

Posted by: russianthistle | June 10, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Rasymom, rt, et. al.: That Clinton fella had the budget under control. What happened? The Republicans are acting like the guys in "Hangover". They've woken up and see the place in shambles and now wonder how it got that way.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 10, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Joel,
You gotta quit linking to the New Yorker unless you are going to buy us all subscriptions. Or set yourself up as an affinity link so that you can at least get a share of the revenue stream.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 10, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Forgive this last post... have to go to work, anyway, but the most devastating impact of the two terms of Bush was the utter lack of Job Growth through most of his administration.

Gingrich made his lame and "let's not shine a light on our own issues" claim that the Obama budget is blown because the unemployment rate is wrecking the model. Well, for pretty much eight years, the states have had to pay huge amounts of unemployment support to its citizens.

States didn't become broke overnight. They suffered through the post-Clinton years with zero or negative employment numbers.

Gingrich is correct to look at those numbers but the huge impact on the economy pre-dated Obama and somehow post-dated Clinton (WHO WOULD THAT BE?)

The signs were there. The Republicans were crowing about improving workforce productivity, but it was just loss of jobs; Republicans were not noticing any problems, but it was just a huge drop in savings and growth of the personal debt; Republicans didn't see a problem with soaring home costs, but it was going to burst; Republicans didn't have a problem with the changes in the oversight brought to us by the Gramm's, but we certainly discovered it.

All this and you didn't even need a job to qualify to buy a house. Now, we are crushed.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 10, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

ftb, slyness invariably takes wonderful care of the bunker and its supplies. I have every confidence it has been replenished up to her usual high standards.

Of course, if you want to fax her some hard candies of your particular choice, I'm sure she'd have them available in a dish on the coffee table between the couches and chairs in the lounge, next to the latest issues of all the magazines and papers.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I have to say that though I don't agree with all his decisions and I'm worried about Sotomayor's pro-choice bona fides, I am extremely impressed with Obama. He's just so fantastically presidential! I believe it when he says things, and more often than not, he tells it like it is, even the truth ticks people off. Meyerson is right of course, Obama is trying to save American Capitalism from destroying itself. While I think it would be really cool were the US to go all Finland, it wouldn't work with a country this size. So I'm so glad we've got a strong, confident, smart, pragmatic guy at the helm. And it is very sad to see Republicans maintain the sour grapes attitude of "he's not our guy so he MUST be evil". What did Al Gore say after 9/11? I stand by my commander-in-chief, right? Isn't the current situation more dangerous, and more wont for unity, than that?

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Could we send a bipartisan committee to Canada to find out how their government maintains financial sanity?

There's also the problem of large ideas with killion-like properties running lose in our society. A decade or so ago, Paul Krugman compared Ricardo's idea of comparative advantage to Darwin's natural selection. A fair number of people don't, or can't, or won't "get" either of these notions.

The notion that short-term stimulus is as necessary as long-term austerity seems to freeze peoples' brains.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 10, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I think that Joel has identified the key challenge to Obama – seeking a balance between investment and solvency. It’s like taking out a student loan. Sure, being in debt is scary, but the prospect of a good high-paying job makes the fear tolerable.

Except, of course, when you begin to imagine yourself dealing with massive loan payments while waiting tables because the industry you trained for has collapsed. Or worrying that increasing college costs will force you to take such a big loan that you will be paying it off into senility.

And yet not borrowing for college seems foolish, since without that degree the lucrative future in your chosen field will be essentially impossible.

To me, this are the same issues that Obama is dealing with. Will this debt really lead to increased wealth? When does the debt load become unsustainable? And, if it does, will Obama have the will and political skills to force America to make hard choices. ( I mean, we *hate* hard choices. )

These are the kinds of things that I really worry about. I take solace in the fact that I imagine Obama does too.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 10, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, I hear you on the annoying New Yorker link but at least it provides the punch line. I guess I need to develop a rational linkage policy. What do real bloggers do??

That said, there are worse things in the world than a New Yorker subscription. Sure, it piles up, with lots of unread stuff, but it's probably still the best-edited magazine in the country. (Though I personally liked it more when Harold Ross was editor and Thurber and White were mainstays.)

Posted by: joelache | June 10, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

(And Updike was a regular correspondent, as was Janet Flanner.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The truth is that very few people saw our current problems coming even though they should have been obvious. It not very likely that those same people have much useful insight into a future that is far from obvious. It appears that the biggest experienced impact of our current problems on government finances is going to be at the state and local level. Clearly in many places there is going to be a bitter conflict between public service wages, availability of public services, and the need for higher taxes to pay for them. It is very hard to know how that conflict will play out or what the consequences will be if there are drastic cuts in public services in places like California. As far as national politics go, the concrete reality that unfolds over the time between elections is likely to have much more impact on those elections than abstract ideological debates from narrow minded Republicans. Few will be worried about extending tax cuts that benefit the rich and their sense of entitlement to the benefits of a financial system that favors them. Even many of the most narrow minded Republicans will not be unhappy with some constraints on the abiltiy of a few Wall Street barons to plunder our finances. But the real pain that many are likely to feel as our economic contraction continue to unfold could be a problem for whoever they end up holding responsible.

Posted by: dnjake | June 10, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we need more "control knobs" which work in concert with the Fed's interest-rate controls. What if there was a 1% to 2% tax on imported goods, nothing big enough to really mess with foreign trade, but the "knob" could be slightly raised or lowered. Similarly a speed-limit control knob on our interstate highways, and a gasoline and diesel tax knob with instant application. How about a minimum-wage knob (set to go one way, of course!) Then again, I don't want a bunch of different people each with their own theory and their own fingers on each of the various knobs.

This may not be a good idea. Maybe it's just something that economists dream about but is impractical.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 10, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, completely off topic here, but since the Boodle is the source of all knowledge. . .

I turned off the ceiling fan in the living room last night and there was a flash from the fan, I figured a light bulb had gone out. Very early this morning, I tried turning it on again (via wall switch) and could see a spark behind the wall plate.

The wall plate switches (4 of them) also control several outlets which have lamps plugged in, they've been fine.

I'm looking for an electrician, I've turned off the relevant electrical areas at the breaker box. Unfortunately, it's getting hotter and a window air conditioner normally would go into one of those outlets.

How good/bad can this be?

Posted by: -dbG- | June 10, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe that Obama is a Socialist but will someone tell me what the hell is wrong with Socialism? Socialism attempts to take care of ALL the citizens of a country and if tht means high taxes that is the price one pays. This country has NEVER taken care of ALL its citizens. We have a 25 per cent poverty rate and over 50 million uninsured. Frankly, only a truly selfish and uncaring human being would be unwilling to give up those private jets and huge and unnecessary mansions to enable ALL the citizens of his or her country to live decent lives. So, again, what the hell is wrong with socialism?

Posted by: nyrunner101 | June 10, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I used to read the New Yorker cover to cover but quit. Only the good stuff now (that is, if I ever renew my subscription).

I just got stung by an actual yellowjacket, trying to kill some Carolina creeper or whatever the heck it is. My hedge clippers remain hastily abandoned in the clump. Vengeance will be mine. But not today. I quit. No more stinkin' yardwork today.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 10, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't worry about it, dbG, so long as you are near an outside access door each time that you operate the switch, and have all your favorite personal belongings stashed outside. That way, when the electrical short-circuit starts the fire, you'll be able to get out quickly. Bring a cell phone and a laptop (better set it up to use your neighbor's wireless access) so you can file your homeowner's insurance claim right away, then start your search for new furniture. When you have the house rebuilt, make sure to get central air.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 10, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

dbG, it's potentially bad. You've got a short in the fan and that whole stretch of line is affected. You need an electrician. In the meantime, I'd considered throwing the circuit-breaker for that line, if you can identify which one it is (and can find the circuit-breaker box).

(What I'd do, after turning off the circuit-breaker is remove the switchplate and disconnect the wire leading to the fan, and maybe even remove the entire outlet switch, too, until it can be replaced. If you saw a flash there, there might have been some damage done. In any event, somebody's gotta look at it and make a determination if it's still good or not. It "probably" is OK -- but one doesn't mess around with "probablies.")

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

If the circuit-breaker hasn't already popped. I don't understand why it hasn't, if it hasn't. It should have.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

dbG - that sounds like a short circuit. Somewhere an electrical connection is being made causing far more current to flow than should, resulting in arcing. This is probably a really easy fix, but not something you should do if you aren't comfortable with electricity. And since sparks in the wall can start a fire, keeping the breakers off is the prudent thing to do.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 10, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Principals/teachers call at 3 pm to let you know what shenanigans the child was up to this time. Before, GWB would turn down the stereo, shush his friends, and then pretend to be the parent while continuing to eat junk food and play poker. Now, BO answers the phone, gets all the pertinent info (except the part about double-dare), makes appropriate decisions about how things are going to be 'from here on out' and enforces them. One of these scenarios produces a well-rounded adult. The other just produces a round adult.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 10, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

joel,
I don't usually expect to get taken seriously. In answer to your question, the most common etiquette for pay sites is to add (sub. req'd) after the link. It's tricky because if you have cookies to a lot of pay sites, you might not even know which ones are which since they pass subscribers right through.

In college I read the New Yorker cover to cover because I had a long bus commute to my job. But that was back before it had color pictures. Which was a long time ago.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 10, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I really liked that Leonhardt piece, especially the frank tone of that excerpt Joel provides. It's sorta like losing weight. The solution is simple. You need to either eat less or exercise a lot more. But, as we all know, "simple" doesn't mean "easy." There will be pain.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 10, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the advice, guys. Knew I could count on you!

I turned that line off at the breaker box, it didn't switch itself off there, and until I find an electrician and it's checked out, won't be spending much time in the living room on warm days.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 10, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Electrical sparks are nasty stuff, dbG. That's how the Towering Inferno burned down. Unless you have a million gallon water tank on your roof and OJ Simpson on standby to open the valve, I would redouble your efforts to find an electrician.

In the meantime, you can take down the ceiling fan and safely wire wrap each of the motor lead connectors.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 10, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Except that "eating less and exercising more" has approximately a 95 percent failure rate. (Which is to say, yes "it works" -- only live actual humans just can't do it successfully 95 percent of the time.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, just wanted to let you know that the phrase "faith-based arithmetic" is now part of my group's lexicon.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 10, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The really painful thing about RD_P's prescription is that you have to keep upping your game, eating less and less and less and exercising more and more. Feh.

Posted by: Yoki | June 10, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm.

"The killion, as every mathematician knows, is a number so big it can kill you. Newton discovered it, and Einstein insisted that all computers be equipped with a governor which would shut off the machine if the number killion was approached."

And who is that Governor? Surely not Arnold Schwarzenegger. (As the Terminator or not...).

LiT, I'm picturing that GWB afternoon poker game as a variation on the classic "A Friend in Need" painting of dogs playing cards, and Karl Rove slipping GWB an ace. And I think my Mom received a few 3:00 PM calls from the school to explain why her oldest son wasn't on the bus and may in fact have been serving detention...

I don't *think* I'm a round adult, though possibly rather obtuse.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | June 10, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon's Paradox: A person can be both round and square at the same time, as well as part of a triangle.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Physics leads to chemistry. I was checking photos and, sure enough, the asymmetric rear door of the US Nissan Cube I parked behind at Epcot is different than the Japanese Cube I photographed in 2006. Mirror worlds.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 10, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@nyrunner101: the problem with socialism is that it puts too much power in the hands of government for rich people to stomach. That and they won't be as rich. A socialist democracy as most elements of the economy controlled by elected officials, whom the electorate can oust if they don't like what's going on. Capitalism allows huge corporations to control most of what goes on in economy, with executives and corporate boards who answer only to their peers. You take away the power of corporations and suddenly you have REAL representation in government, something nobody with power in US history has ever wanted, including the founding fathers.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorta on kit on Obama's policy changes-- from the Onion....

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/obama_drastically_scales_back?utm_source=videoembed

No captioning, but a lot of topic cards, a ticker, and visuals.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 10, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I probably shouldn't be finishing these french fries.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 10, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Breaking:
Three people shot/wounded inside U.S. Holocaust Museum in D.C., on 14 St., (perhaps Ave.?) right across from U.S. Ag Bldg. One person who was shot believed to be a security guard.

Posted by: laloomis | June 10, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Gee *Tim, ya think? Here's a good way to decide...who would object to the french fries the most...your dietician, your cardiologist or your wife?

Posted by: LostInThought | June 10, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Dr G just called during a break in his day... just to say 'hi.' He told me he'd just finished writing a report on a research product someone had proposed.

He said he wishes he could begin his reports with, "Don't get me started on..."

Posted by: -TBG- | June 10, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

SCC: 'product' should be 'project.'

Posted by: -TBG- | June 10, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, I am my own dietitian, so I know that I have *one* adviser in my corner.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 10, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

SciTim,
Does that adage about a lawyer representing himself apply when you are your own dietitian? I've been known to excuse myself a lot of Klondike bars on the logic that I passed up an extra helping of something earlier in the day.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 10, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet that advisor thinks either gravy or cheese would go nicely with those fries.

Probably a burger too.

It's a sunk cost. The money's gone. Doesn't matter if you eat those fries or toss them into the trash. Remember: we like you and your healthy heart.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 10, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I cleverly finished the fries before reading any of the responses. They went nicely with my oh-so-healthful Powerhouse sandwich (even though it contains cheese). The home-made (well, deli-made) ketchup was quite good, too.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 10, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I think the preferred, highly snootified term for that homemade (or deli-made) ketchup would be "an artisanal condiment." ("Artisanal solanaceatic condiment," if you must.)

Remember, Joel and we Boodlers are all upscale persons of a Yuppy nature who have no clue how people in the real world live, so we have a reputation to uphold.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm in big trouble.
Dirty-pawed in the garden,
With dead tomatoes;
But no bones buried there, honest!
A lawyer pro bono, please?

-Wilbrodog-


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 10, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

//In the meantime, you can take down the ceiling fan and safely wire wrap each of the motor lead connectors.//

rotfl, yello. I don't have a problem taking apart any kind of computer hardware, but everything snaps in and out.

Ceiling fans?

As long as that breaker is off, I'm okay until the electrician comes?

Funny thing, everyone I know has preferred plumber and nobody has an electrician.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 10, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

That 95% failure rate is kind of the point. In theory weight loss is simple, but in practice not. Our bodies are hardwired to resist caloric restrictions and unnecessary exertion.

In the same way, in theory all we have to do is raise taxes a bit an cut spending a bit. But in practice these things are going to be very hard to achieve because the system responds to short term pain instead of long term benefits.

Raise taxes and the voters will put in somebody to repeal them. Cut services and you risk the same thing. So how does the Obama Administration pull this neat trick off?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 10, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Howdy yall. Fine Kit, Joel, and some very good comments.

Veering abruptly off-Kit, look in the yellow pages, dbG. If the company advertises that they're bonded, they'll probably be competent to do the basics for your problem. If you describe what happened I bet you'll find someone who can come today. Over years of quirky electric adventures we've come to appreciate the yellow pages as a starting source. If you don't like the work, use someone else next time.

I think a few people don't actually understand the definition of "socialism" - both Obama critics and perhaps some posters - but I don't have time to go into it. Socialism is different from just people-friendly gummint, or even more than gummint hostile to rich people and private property.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 10, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Or, to knit together RD's analogy and *Tim's food dilemma:

I could either eat the apple I brought from home or a bag of Cheetos from the machine. I *know* the apple is far better for me and will require no additional outlay of cash, but dangit, I want some Cheetos.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 10, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea how many school field trips and other visitors there are at the Holocaust Museum and vicinity today, but I'm thinking good thoughts for everybody.

And holding my breath.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | June 10, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

So is it considered bad to have cake left over from a coworker's baby shower for lunch?

Hypothetically, of course.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 10, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Kurtz ends his column today with the following: "… people who engage in public combat ought to do so with their names attached. They may have personal reasons for wanting to stay behind the curtain, but there's always another option: don't blog."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/10/AR2009061000788_pf.html

Since the comments to his column are usually a cesspool (not too bad, today -- yet), I'll re-post my comment here:

I have to disagree with the notion that you either use your real public name or you keep your mouth shut (don't blog). Just as an example of maintaining a distinction between the persona used with different audiences, when I talk with children, I use a different tone and different vocabulary than when I talk with adults. In real life, it is easy to maintain the distinction based on who is physically present. In print, it is easy to maintain the distinction based on who is going to spend the money to buy the printed product. On-line, the only mechanism available to maintain the distinction is the choice of an alias/pseudonym. A name identifies a physical person, but it also identifies a personality. Using a pseudonym is no less honest than using a name, and permits a person to work with more than one audience without confusion. For the same reason, actors and radio performers have separate stage names and given names, and folks often maintain separate public names and nicknames, to distinguish the context of speech.

----------

And that is why it's so noxious that the WaPo registration requirements make it difficult to switch aliases. As long-time Boodlers well know, I used to maintain a modest stable of aliases by which I distinguished the context of my comments, depending on the extent to which I felt/feel a command of the subject matter. It's hard to do that now.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 10, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

@Ivansmom: modern socialism is essentially this: the government closely regulates business and industry to ensure fair pay and benefits, you pay a ton in taxes and in return have lots of free services with equal quality service for all. It relies on people having faith in the democratic process to use their money well. The Finnish government says that their high taxes have not only provided for a higher standard of living for all citizens, but the lack of lots of disposable income has discouraged materialism and apparently most Finns really like that. Go figure.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Southwester, I think the import of Ivansmom's comment was not that she wanted to be schooled on the subject of "what is socialism?"; Ivansmom is a highly-educated person who knows her stuff rather well. I think her point was that many people who knowingly comment on socialism know less than they think they know. I am not competent to address which category applies to you.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 10, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Looks like a security guard and the gunman were shot:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/10/AR2009061001768.html?hpid=topnews
The gunman is 88 years old...a white supremacist. Not so sure I like the title "Live Blogging" for the updates...Live Blogging is usually reserved for pop culture events...and Twitter is overloaded...

Southwester, welcome!

Posted by: seasea1 | June 10, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

But I can say that I like the only Finn that I have met.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 10, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Note to locals: 14th Street Bridge closed due to shooting at Holocaust Museum. 14th St Bridge SW traffic is being diverted to GW Parkway. Traffic from Springfield VA will be diverted to 495 and 95 N.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

@ScienceTim: I didn't presume she was looking for a lesson. But I do think many people tack on to socialism a lot of baggage that doesn't belong there. Socialism does not mean an end to individual liberty, as many people claim. It just means limited material liberty. One of the problems with capitalism is it leads people to equate your purchasing power with freedom.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I haven't used my Christian name in years. Since....well, ever. And really, isn't a boodle handle a better descriptor than a birth name? Is anyone at all confused about who ScienceTim is? Or StorytellerTim? When I say Mudge, do you think of another Mudge? Yet you can't look up ScienceTim on yahoo and get his home address or the names of his children. If you use your actual honest-to-goodness what's-written-on-your-tax-return name, it wouldn't be that difficult to then find out if you and your family lived on Virgo Lane or Sagittarius Avenue. Where does Kurtz's theory end...social security numbers as public identities? Why does all of this make me think of Zamyatin?

Posted by: LostInThought | June 10, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

@seasea1: Thanks for the welcome. I usually only read the kit and browse the boodle, but it's a slow work day so I thought I'd contribute, since my favorite subject came up.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

SciTim,
Anonymous and pseudonymous writing is a time honored American tradition. Many of our founding fathers did it for very sane reasons, to prevent harassment because of one's political views and protection from governmental retaliation.

In a world where people get 'dooced' for what they write in their private life and any employer current or potential has a wealth of resources to obtain information they can't legally ask in an interview, anonymity in blogging is one of the last bubbles of privacy left.

Jon Swift (not that one, the other one) has waged a campaign in support of Pseudonymous-Americans, a class of Americans that is becoming increasingly harassed and oppressed. We need to stand up and be counted. As long as we don't have to sign our real names to anything.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 10, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I miss CulinaryTim.

Posted by: Yoki | June 10, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I bet this goes over like a lead balloon:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/10/AR2009061001416.html?hpid=topnews
Talk about socialism! (which I tend to think is not a bad thing)

Posted by: seasea1 | June 10, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Well said, PerceptiveTim. In fact my essential point about all this socialism chatter, which I think tracks Joel's, is that it is a red herring. A distraction. A time-waster. An unnecessary complication to the discussion. Also, because so many people appear to have interestingly imprecise or situation-specific definitions of socialism, this distraction is potentially divisive. No doubt this is why many Obama opponents use it - anything to avoid discussion of the actual difficulties and potential solutions, which might be painful.

Speaking of, how outrageous is it that the NY Senate essentially switched majorities because a wealthy Democratic backer didn't like the idea they were going to raise taxes on rich people after he gave them all that money? That story makes my blood boil on so many levels. This is exactly the sort of thing that hastens that Revolution we've been talking about since the sixties. Despite Obama's best efforts, and if Congress and state governors don't get on board, it may yet come.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 10, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Some famous pen names:

Poor Richard (Ben Franklin)
James Tiptree (Alice Bradley Sheldon)
Mark Twain (Sam Clemens)
Richard Backman (Stephen King)
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)
Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)
Ann Coulter (Satan, Prince of Darkness)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@Ivansmom: Sadly, there's no hope for the revolution. They never work out anyway. Maybe if there comes a time when people feel like they are really getting their money's worth in the taxes they pay, the prospects will change, but right now, most wage earners just few taxes as a loss and don't think about the everyday, tangible things those taxes provide them. The right has done a magnificent job of making it seem that tax money is only spent on welfare mothers and saving endangered butterflies.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Revolutions don't work out? Kinda thought ours did.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Boy, that shooter at the Holocaust Museum is a real winner (please note sarcasm on that last word).

Posted by: -TBG- | June 10, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I agree, southwest, that regular taxpayers aren't likely to revolt anytime soon. I worry about the disadvantaged - those who have little to lose and, increasingly, little to gain by continuing within our current system. The poor get poorer (and more numerous), jobs get scarcer, wages get lower, and the safety net frays. At some point the sight of a very wealthy man essentially turning a state legislative body to his own ends - so he won't have to pay taxes which might, on some level, benefit someone else - may well push people over the edge. I don't know what part of the southwest you may be in, if any, but hereabouts we could probably field a state militia just by shouting loud in the grocery store. A critical mass of armed citizens with free-floating anger and nothing to lose: that's my concern.

And that's why I object so heartily to all this inflammatory rhetoric. We face hard problems. The solutions won't make anyone happy. Throwing rocks (for all sides) is easier than governing any day, but it doesn't help the country.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 10, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Hi Southester! Glad to see you chiming in here today. Keep it up!

Posted by: -TBG- | June 10, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

@mudge6: Ours did work, but it's the exception that proves the rule.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@Ivansmom: I'm actually lifelong local from SW DC, and though I find the American Southwest the most beautiful region in the world, I think it's immoral to live there. Maybe once they've reduced the Colorado river to a trickle, the Cactus League retirees will see my point.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

You want to know what sets me off? Things like this...

There are "about 540,000 Google hits for the word "multistriped."

MULTIstriped? What's wrong with "striped" these days?

I tell ya... it's hard going through life as an editor. Sigh.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 10, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Southwester. Double sigh.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 10, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

@Ivansmom: I think you hit on the biggest obstacle there is: the solutions will not make everybody happy. Our society today is so averse to sacrifice. Plus, most people, even the poor, really like consumer culture. They might get angry when something rouses them, but it's been 140 odd years since Haymarket and there haven't been many echoes since WW2.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

*giving TBG mutual pat on back, saying "There, there. There, there."*

In the same vein, I'm sick to death of "multiple incidents," "multiple events," etc., when "many will do very nicely. Or "some," or "a few," or "a lot," or whatever. "Multiple" gives ya nothing except just "more than one." Just like multistriped really gives ya nothing beyond just striped.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The French Revolution was full of giggles for a few years. And then there was the Glorious Revolution and the Velvet Revolution.

Not to mention Revolution #9 and Prince's old backing back.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 10, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Southwester, I don't have any problem with people who live in the Southwest who've always lived there. It is all those folks who are moving there because it is so purty - especially the ones that want lawns! - with no conception of the resources issues. As you no doubt know, as a Boodle lurker, I myself live in Oklahoma. We combine elements of southwest, midwest and southeast, depending on the area of the state.

I was just thinking your handle might connote storms, like sou'westers, but SW DC makes sense too. Too bad - I already picture you in a yellow slicker and one of those big boat-shaped yellow slicker hats. Maybe with a bucket of fish. It could be worse - I think of Engelmann as pastry.

Maybe "multistriped" is short for multicolored stripes.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 10, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Actually, a good many revolutions "work" -- or at least, "succeed." It's what comes immediately after them that's highly problematic. (And thinking of Mao's quote that after the [successful] revolution, the first thing to do is shoot all the revolutionaries, because they are now the folks who are going to screw up the implementation -- precisely because they are revolutionaries.)

Hey, SW, what's with all the @ signs?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

@yellojkt: Glorious Revolution worked out fine, but does it really count? It was really a revolution in name only. Replacing the Catholic King with a Protestant King with a legitimate claim to the throne is hardly revolutionary.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"Multistriped" is the term to describe your basic Don Cherry outfit.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 10, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"I already picture you in a yellow slicker and one of those big boat-shaped yellow slicker hats."

Uh, IM, that's probably me.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

CNN is reporting the Holocaust Museum guard has died.

:-(

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 10, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

@Ivansmom: Yeah, I really mean the people who've been exponentially expanding the area in recent decades, not the natives. I have a lot of Navajo friends from from the backpacking days of my tender years and they're divided on the issue of newcomers in the desert. While they agree that it's killing the environment, there's a lot of money to be made off those folks and there ain't nobody poorer than Indians.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Prince's old backing band. The one with Wendy and Lisa.

@mudge: Southwester is introducing a Twitter formatting convention where '@' signifies whose comment you are responding to. It has its uses, but it's pretty jarring at first.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 10, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Especially since this isn't Twitter.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

YJ, yeah, but I'm old, and you talk with someone, not at them. Unless they're a teenager, at which point, you might as well be talking to the wall.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 10, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

MSN reporting that the guard has died.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 10, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

@yellojkt: the @ convention predates Twitter by a lot. I hate Twitter.

Re: the Holocaust Museum shooting: the shooter apparently is a Holocaust denier so I guess this was his attempt at violent censorship. According to his website, Hitler's greatest mistake was NOT gassing the Jews.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to point out that multistriped is a lot of fun to say.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 10, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Yellojkt, I agree on the jarring aspect-- few people like to be talked @.

It feels like being called on the carpet by a boss ready to yell @you.

Or if you're like me, in always having mentally had to translate @ as "at" instead of "about," it looks like whispering @ somebody.

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

@Wilbrod_Gnome: Here's looking @ you, kid.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know there was any context where @ meant "about" but it also doesn't bother me to see it the way our new Boodler Southwester (and you can't deny that you are now a Boodler!) uses it. Kind of nice to know exactly who he's (she's?) responding to.

Of course, I Tweet and Tumbl too. (Now that's fun to say!).

@Ivansmom... the links I clicked on certainly didn't mean multicolored stripes. Just striped.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 10, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@|@
[___]

Posted by: -TBG- | June 10, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm so behind. Tumbl?

Posted by: -bia- | June 10, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I guess "direct address" that we've been using for the past couple thousand years just doesn't work very well any more. A pity.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 10, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

@TBG: I've come to like using the @ in comments. The WaPo sports blog comment community has been using it for years.

And thanks for calling me Boodler. Some days I have the time for blogging, and some I don't but on slow days like today, it helps to keep from thinking about cigarettes.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

O Curmudgeon, I share in your angst as well.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 10, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Southwester, it's fine by me. Just takes a bit of gettin' used to.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 10, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, what do you think about this hysteria?
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090610/sc_afp/scienceastronomyearthmercurymarsvenus

Should we torpedo Mercury right into the Sun before it does any more damage?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 10, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Southwester had a slow day at work. Made me laugh!

Posted by: Kim1 | June 10, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Successful revolutions:
Glorious, 1688
American, 1775-1781

Not so successful:
French, 1789-1802 (?)
Mexican, (1820)
Russian, ended 1918
Chinese, sorta ended 1949
Cuban, 1960

I would say the criteria for successful revolution is few lives lost, comparatively speaking, and creation of a political system that promotes peace, political freedom, and prosperity.

This is the analysis that was a textbook I used in high school:

http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Revolution-Crane-Brinton/dp/0394700449/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244668520&sr=1-1

Posted by: slyness | June 10, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon all, welcome Southwester.

Dotc, we have decided to put fiscal sanity on hold up here for a while - hopefully it will be temporary while the economy reboots.

Lost my glasses today, think I may have dropped them in a bush or a yard waste bag - still getting over the sticker shock of my daughters new glasses. They need to put remote signals on glasses so I can hear them beeping or flashing - I spend way too much time looking for them, since I only need them about half the time (computer, any type of reading, etc) I am constantly taking them on and off.

Posted by: dmd2 | June 10, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

@slyness: The thing about the unsuccessful revolutions is that the current regimes in places like Cuba or China think they were successful. It's all in the eye of the beholder. We idealists look at the Bolshevik Revolution and see it as a failure because the resultant government was authoritarian instead of being a worker's paradise.

@Kim1: I'm happy too, though I've had so much fun boodling that I'm almost sad it'll soon be time to go home. ;)

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh, good lord. The suspect in the Holocaust shooting is 88.

Posted by: slyness | June 10, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh, dear. After working my @ss off all day I've just now been able to browse the headlines online. Terribly sad about the shooting at the Holocaust Museum. But the worst part is that all the truly nutz people seem to be coming out of the woodwork -- and the right-wing had the gall to demonize the DHS report on homegrown domestic terrorism threats. It will be eons before *any* Republican denounces what happened today. And the security guard, who happened to be African American, has died.

*EXPLETIVE*

Hey, SW, welcome to the Boodle family. Or should that be f@mily?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 10, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Welcome Southwester. I love having new Boodlers aboard.

Hey Boodle, guess what? I am not working tonight. Whee!

I cook an actual meal for my supper.

I am horrified by this Holocaust Museum shooting, really distressed.

Posted by: Yoki | June 10, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I know you probably wear one of those yellow slicker and hat combinations but you also have a blue bottomed boat - even on sunny days.

Tumbl? I've at least heard of Twitter, though I do not Tweet. Or Twit. Not formally at any rate.

I'm glad for the @ explanation. I'll never use it, since I don't adapt that well, but at least I can read it now.

You know, when set apart the sign @ looks like a little ear. So perhaps this began because someone wanted to respond to a particular person by saying, "Listen, [name]", and thought, hey, that @ looks like a little ear - that will be a nice visual substitute for "listen", an "I'm talking to this person" clue.

Or perhaps not.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 10, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

The House of Bourbon would say that they weren't particularly successful in squelching the revolution. Nor the Romanovs. It's what happens after the revolution that seems to define the success or failure.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 10, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

@Ivansmom: I've never thought of it that way, but I like the theory. I just found it to be a quick way to point out when the comment is responding to someone's comment as opposed to a more general rant.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Very distressing to read about this nutcase at the Holocaust Museum.

But then Ivansmom made me laugh again and I realized why I keep comin' back to the boodle. It's a nice place to hang out.

Posted by: Kim1 | June 10, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm not too troubled about running into Venus, or the reverse. Whatever. I'm more inclined to accept the Invader Zim version, that the Martians drove themselves into extinction by converting their planet into a giant piloted spaceship, "because it's cooooool!" But not until after converting Mercury to a spaceship, as the prototype. Leading to a mighty battle of Bumper-Planets between Zim, as the Irkan Invader set to destroy humanity, and poor nerdy Dib, the human genius child who would save us (even though we are mean to him).

Anyway, I suspect the authors may have over-estimated the time until the Sun inflates and eats its babies. Plus, the problem with these forward-calculations is that the mathematics become chaotic (which is acknowledged in the article, which I only skimmed), but chaotic mathematics do not necessarily translate into a chaotic reality. Only one that is not predictable in detail.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 10, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

What about South Africa and India? I believe they have undergone upheavals that differ from a revolution only in that our naïve expectations require that revolutions have a high level of violence and that the bourgeoisie be put "up against the wall." They have each had relatively successful political revolutions.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 10, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

The reports about the shooter's website say he was convicted by (his words) a "Negro jury" and sentenced by a "Jew judge" for storming into the Federal Reserve with guns. 'cause ya know they'd acquit a black guy if he did that!

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, there's the Polish revolution also. How would you describe the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of East Germany? And the collapse of the Soviet Union? I'm an English major, not an historian, but I'd guess the second Russion revolution isn't over yet.

Posted by: slyness | June 10, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

@ScienceTim: I think a real revolution is bloody business. Armed revolt, right? For old reds, the revolution has always been about the proletariat violently throwing off the shackles of capitalism. It's all semantics, really, but I think we'd be more likely to call what happened in India a revolution if Gandhi had been more like Rambo than ... well, Gandhi.

Posted by: Southwester | June 10, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I have to use reading glasses too, but so far haven't lost any (knock on wood). I keep the old ones, so I have half a dozen pairs now in various rooms and a pair in my purse. Yesterday, though, I lost my plant clippers in the yard waste bin while throwing clipped plantstuff in. I know better than to hold my clippers when I do that, as I've lost them in there before. And now that we throw kitchen waste in there, it's even more interesting to go diving in. I found the clippers, eventually.

Posted by: seasea1 | June 10, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Then the line becomes what is a revolution and what is a coup. Remember, the Spanish Civil War was neither.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 10, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention the "peaceful" revolution that split Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It was bloodless IIRC.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 10, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I would add the Romanian revolution, removing (permanently!) the evil Nicolea Ceausescu.

It was fascinating to watch; after years of fear and oppression, a whole country, including the Army, stood up and said *enough* and it was over in the course of what seemed like a weekend. That seemed truly revolutionary to me.

Posted by: Yoki | June 10, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey Yoki!

I'm going to try to stay awake to watch SYTYCD tonight. Not sure if that's gonna happen. I do need, after all, channel my energy for the hockey game on Friday night.

It would not surprise me in the least (in the *least*) if all and sundry boodlers will be ecstatically happy once the Stanley Cup has been won (no matter, I'm sure, by whom) because *then* ftb will have to get fixated upon another topic, eh?

GO RED WINGS!!!!

Dinner and the fixing thereof await.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 10, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

ftb... then we'll have to turn our attention to curling!

Go Red Wings!

Posted by: TBG- | June 10, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Greetings all
Back in wet west by god for a few days. I am sure the turtles are happy,had to stop twice and help my armored friends across the road.i was hoping for some fishing this evening or a bonfire,but the rain made me change my plans.

welcome southwester and hello everyone else.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 10, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, EYE will be delighted if Detroit wins, because then my friend ftb will be happy. And I have no other stake in the result, so it is nice to have a team to cheer for on any basis.

Posted by: Yoki | June 10, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey, green man, nice to see you Boodle-side!

Posted by: Yoki | June 10, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Busy day, with lots of lifting. After tomorrow, I'll be liftless for as long as the MD says so. I need to report at 5.freakingthirty am. Might be home tomorrow, might have to stay overnight. June just started and I feel like the whole month is shot. R&R for the next few days will be welcome.

Posted by: -jack- | June 10, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

...oh, and hey, southwester. Welcome to the boodle. Take off your shoes, sit a spell...

Posted by: -jack- | June 10, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Good luck tomorrow, jack! There's lots of Boodle Mojo heading your way.

Posted by: TBG- | June 10, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt: >Does that adage about a lawyer representing himself apply when you are your own dietitian?

The dietician equivalent is that the dietician that advises himself has a fruit and nutbar for a client.

Posted by: engelmann | June 10, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, TBG. Always glad to have that mojo hand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqFHX-pzeh0

Posted by: -jack- | June 10, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

God bless, Jack.
Welcome, Southie
Go hockey Gods, for ftb's fine sake.

Shame upon that crazed shooter.
If asked, may we be brave and true as were the guards.

Our task is clear: love more. Outshine the darkness.

The rain tonight here is bigger and bolder and more thunder boomy that last night.

To bed as I am tired, tired, tired. Hello to Rainforest, Dreamer and Dawanian on the night shift.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | June 10, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Southwesterly wind
sets the Boodle @witter;
our stripes multiply

Posted by: DNA_Girl | June 10, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

CquaP!!!! *HUGSSSSS*

Well I Twittered and I Tumbld
Cried the whole night long
Well I Twittered and I Tumbld
Cried the whole night long

When I woke up this morning
My whole PC was gone...

Southwester <-------- Welcome! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 10, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Kinda hitting the Boodle theme, I just finished reading Mark Rudd's _Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen_. Really interesting, although I found myself (virtually) arguing with him more than once.

One thing I'd never imagined was that if I became a revolutionary, went underground and was on the FBI's Most Wanted List that pictures of my dogz might be circulated to vets in the area of the country they supposed me to be, you know, just in case I took them in for shots or something. (Name: EmmaRose; Distinguishing characteristics: None. She's a black lab, they all look alike)

Never fear, I have no plans to bomb buildings. I mean, I hesitate to safety tape the wires on my ceiling fan.

Three members of my allergists' staff recommended the same electrician today, so I'll call him tomorrow. Else, Ivansmom's suggestion is next. Come to think of it, what's the percentage of recommendations you receive that don't really work out for you? For me, I'd say about 40-45% work out and the rest don't.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 10, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I knew there were more successful revolutions in Eastern Europe, just couldn't think. How could I forget the Romanian? And the experience in India - I'd never thought about it being a revolution, but it was, wasn't it?

I'm reading a book about faith, and Gandhi is cited as an example of the highest stage of faith, as is Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by: slyness | June 10, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Bravo and Brava, Scottynuke and DNA_Girl!

jack, hope all goes well.

Posted by: seasea1 | June 10, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh, but slyness, the Indian partition sparked one of the worst blood-baths in living memory, and reverberates even now. Communalism still sparks violence without the cleansing of revolution.

Ghandi would have been sorrowful, had he lived to see it, Which he didn't.

Posted by: Yoki | June 10, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Memo to the gnome:
No vets' "Wanted Ads" ever--
No shots on sight, thanks.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 10, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Boy, my grasp of that part of history is hazy at best, Yoki. You are right: Pakistan on two sides, one of which became Bangladesh.

The book I'm reading says that Gandhi's biographer had to stop at one point and write him a stiff and disapproving letter - even though he had already been dead many years. It seems that Gandhi was ready to bring into his household members of the lowest rungs of Indian society, but he required his wife to remove their bodily wastes - a horrible insult to her. The biographer believed that Gandhi, having welcomed these people, should have done the hauling himself.

Even saints can be short-sighted and too human.

Posted by: slyness | June 10, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

The march to Indian independence was a revolution by any other name; indeed, a decades long series of mini-revolutions employing non-violent civil disobedience to thwart the state (e.g., non-cooperation movements, the salt march, and finally the Quit India movement spearheaded by Gandhi). A simple idea really--undermine the functioning of the state and thus destroy it...except with minimal damage to the idea of the state itself and, importantly, minimal collateral damage.

One should, however, not underestimate the role of various violent revolutionary movements that chipped away at the structure, and the role of WWII, which decimated the British, in the successful outcome.

The communal violence shouldn't be linked to the success of the resistance movement against the British. Muslim v/s Hindu passions are founded in ancient territorial battles between the Mughal invaders and native Indian peoples and, of course, religion. They could have erupted under any state, and continue to rumble at dangerous levels. The British withdrawal merely triggered a spectacular explosion.

FYI:
http://www.mkgandhi.org/ias.htm

Posted by: DNA_Girl | June 10, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I love you, slyness.

Posted by: Yoki | June 10, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Hello everyone!

So, will there be sightings of a multistriped Mr. Stripey this summer?

Two early release days to go at school, then the mandatory faculty picnic on Monday.

We had a new employee come in for technology training with my boss today. She did warn us she's a big fan of Microsoft and would need a bit of help using a Mac.

She said, "Just show me where to find Word and I'll be fine." Up comes the Applications folder. "What are all those names?"

My boss says, "All your applications."

"What are applications?"

"Computer programs."

"There are that many? I had no idea. What do you do with all that?"

Funny, but sad. We should have better applicants for public education jobs.

Posted by: abeac1 | June 10, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

DNA_Girl, I hoped to telegraph my understanding of this ancient conundrum when I used the word "communalism."

Posted by: Yoki | June 10, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

And the big thing that breaks my heart about it, that, as it did in Northern Ireland, is that we all, especially the victims, wish everyone would just *quit.* Stop. Be forgiving. This may never be.

Posted by: Yoki | June 10, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Not as long as politics splinters across religious lines, Yoki. It's very heartbreaking for me to see, too... and it's also something I pray never happens in America... but I worry.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 10, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Laughing seasea, I would have more glasses around the house, but they are a special presription - eyes are different so I cannot just buy from the drug store - my back up pair lost a lense, my old glasses are like my old running shoes - very worn, missing an arm or so scratched as to be useless. After two years I am due for a new pair. I tried progressives that I could wear full time before but had a very difficult time adjusting found I could never quite see properly. Computer lenses work best for me as my vision is blurred to about 5-6 feet.

The reason I was wearing them today was I was trimming dead wood from the underside of a weeping pussy willow tree and could quite see well enough to know which branch to trim (5' standard tree). Thought I put them in a safe place when I was done as I have lost gardening tools on several occasions. I suspect they may be in a yard waste bag - one of three - a search for another day.

On a brighter note used our new (bought second hand) rechargeable lawnmower this evening - wasn't sure what to expect - but it was great - very happy. Feeling smugly eco friendly.

Terrible what happened at the Holocaust museum, just don't understand how people can hate those they do not know, and that intensely.

Posted by: dmd2 | June 10, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

There is hope Yoki. Both my parents escaped emergent Pakistan by the skin of their teeth when they were ~ 10, losing everything in the process, including loved ones.

They refused to tell my brother and myself any gory details when we were young and highly likely to develop lasting irrational hatreds. Now at least in my branch of the family, the bloody link to Partition has withered away. For this gift I love them almost more than I can bear.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | June 10, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

And so all is well, DNA_Girl. Good parents.

Posted by: Yoki | June 10, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

In that selfless love, DNA_Girl, resides the hope for mankind. Blessings upon your parents.

Posted by: slyness | June 10, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

You know, Yoki, that I love you back. Thank you.

Posted by: slyness | June 10, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

DNA_Girl made me laugh with her 7:32, made me weepy with her 8:54. Wonderful posts.

Good luck, jack. I just know that you are going to be all the nurses' favorite patient.
That's a good thing!

Let us know how you're doing, hear?

Posted by: Kim1 | June 10, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Couple of quick comments -

Perhaps some day, the Government(s) will issue an electronic ID (think of it as a sophisticated digital certificate) that one would be awarded for the right to use the Information Superhighway, much like a Driver's License on public roads or as an accepted form of ID. It could contain an individual's personal information in an encrytpted form, or some sort of an interface to access goverment data to corroborate data regarding that person. I hope to goodess this never ever happens, as it would mean that the Internet has become less of a relatively free vehicle of public communication and trade, and more of a resource requiring regulation and government management, like, let's say, Amtrak.

Another Revoluion that didn't pan out so well - the Republican Revolution of the mid-1990s. Oops.

Mudge, I think Sheldon preferred that her nom de plume be James Tiptree, Jr., though I can't recall exactly why. Veracity, perhaps.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | June 10, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Heavy eyelids preventing thorough backboodling. Welcome SWester, keeping a good thought Jack.

Flowering now-Jacob's Ladder (just starting), bearded irises (the same) lilacs (at their peak), tall meadow rue, trilium, bleedng heart (hanging on 2X longer than normal, from the cool weather).

Heavenly Blue morning glories germinated and making progress despite cool, radishes almost ready to harvest, carrots finally sprouted, tomatoes flowering.

Toodles boodle and sweet dreams. Will catch up this weekend.

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

"I think it would be really cool were the US to go all Finland.." I'm going to like Southwester.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 10, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Go all Finland...

Mmm, just a blue and white flag, no bloody red.

That's an interesting thought.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 10, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Finland sounds nice, but... I have seen video of Finns dancing the tango.

O. M. G.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 10, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Comment from John de Nugent in WaPo article about the shooter (James W. von Brunn):

"The responsible white separatist community condemns this," he said. "It makes us look bad."


Oh, really?

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 10, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Watched the American Masters program about Neil Young - great show. He's really one of a kind.
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/neil-young/dont-be-denied/1152/

Posted by: seasea1 | June 11, 2009 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Hi CP. Was just thinking about you. Herbal chicken soup for energizing coming through your fax...

Posted by: rainforest1 | June 11, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Revolution in these parts : Ferdinand Marco was brought down in the Philippines. Also, 7 months ago, in Thailand, opposition stormed the main airport and sat there 2 weeks. I'm waiting for a bloodless one to happen in M'sia.

Posted by: rainforest1 | June 11, 2009 1:58 AM | Report abuse

Is this *our* Robert Wright at P and P on Tues night?
http://www.booksite.com/texis/scripts/community/eventdetail.html?sid=1425&cal=5&eventid=4a11c4ea207

Posted by: -CB- | June 11, 2009 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Good morning!

Thursday...Last day of standardized testing. I'm sooooo happy, probably even happier than the kids who take the tests.

Posted by: abeac1 | June 11, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Yup, CB,
The bloggingheads guy with his book on religion.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 11, 2009 7:14 AM | Report abuse

SciTim;

I thought that de Nugent thing was in the comments section until I read the article...

*shaking my head, trying to wake up from this trip through the Looking Glass*

Even with my journalist background, I'd almost prefer that, after today, reporting on the trial (and hopefully swift conviction) only mention the gunman's name and deed, and not give his venom any further airtime.

*not-really-a-wave-kinda-day greeting*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 11, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

This all ties in. We had our hit and run Denier a few days back. Obama's speech in Cairo got the wing nuts all frothing. That doctor in Kansas got killed. The Justice department had a report about rising right wing domestic terrorism that got hooted down as alarmist calumny by the conservative media. Like a cornered badger, the reactionaries are beginning to lash out. I predict it gets worse before it gets better. I hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 11, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I know many get ulcers just seeing the pull quotes from the conservative columnists in WaPo, but I imagine if you got the Mooney Times and read this one:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/09/americas-first-muslim-president/

He actually waits until the second paragraph before comparing Obama to Hitler.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 11, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. My day was discombobulated from the start, but that's okay.

Jack, you are in my prayers.

Yello, I suppose we can be grateful that it took this long for the rightwing nuts to figure out what's going on and react. I am sorry that their reaction is so violent. It won't succeed and will completely disenchant the rest of the world.

Posted by: slyness | June 11, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

abeac – Regretfully, I couldn’t locate “Mr. Stripey” at the nursery I frequent. It is my fear that it simply didn’t go over very well. I can’t see why this would be, given the unique combination of insouciance and emotional fortitude that this variety offers, but I guess some people are just weird about tomatoes. Anyway, I had to settle for a pugnacious little Roma and an exotic new hybrid with boundless social aspirations.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 11, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

RD, in early May Betty's Azalea Ranch had Mr. Stripey plants. So he's still around.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 11, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning, Boodle.

Good article by Ignatius today. However, he is too mild. The DNI has already done a great job of neutralizing American intelligence and is well on its way of destroying the CIA.

No enemy of the U.S.A. could have done a better job.

You can also read my article on authorsden.com.

Haff a gut day, Boodlers

Brag

Posted by: Braguine | June 11, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

The economy certainly has us all in a quandry. What personal expenses must we cut? Can we make do with less?

Recently, we had to let Horace and Rebecca go. It was wretching for us; Horace is as much a fixture to our home as the Radin in the foyer. And, Rebecca, well who really needs an upstairs maid nowadays anyway? We hardly go up there unless my brother's family comes by.

We've even stopped running the piazza fountain 24/7. We only run it in daylight hours. It just seems more sensible, though Libby misses the water noise during mild summer nights.

Oh, well. We do what we can in difficult times...

CowTown

Posted by: jp1954 | June 11, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

CowTown;

You keep a pterodactyl in the foyer?

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 11, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@*Tim,

It just dawned on me on how to solve your WaPo alias problem. Resign in as GenericTim and then just put which sort of Tim you are representing in the last line of your post. I notice that bc, the master of brand recognition, gets his sig in at least three times on each post.

I'm looking forward to more ScienceTim, StorytellerTim, CulinaryTim, RomanticTim, HistoryTim, DaddyTim, ShoeFetishistTim, and GoatHerderTim.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 11, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: Raysmom | June 11, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Goodness Gracious, scottynuke, I must have over-caffinated fingers today. I certainly meant Rodin, not Radin.

Thank you for your kind attention.

CowTown


Posted by: jp1954 | June 11, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"Rebooting crashed capitalism"? More like 'doomed' capitalism. If a capitalist system is run in a 'pure' manner..... somewhere along the way, at the end of the line.... One person owns everything eventually. Of course, the world has never seen 'pure' capitalism. Especially in the US. Imagine. Not only are we running up the deficit, but part of the calculation to help pay it back with, is reliant on the 'decreed' value of assets or the promise of interest being paid in the future based on the 'imaginary' value of these assets. Just like the ongoing real estate crisis. Are we sure.... about this 'money for nothing, hicks for free' approach? Is China? The rest of the worlds nations? Sounds like we need to work more. And on another type of approach.... somehow.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | June 11, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

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