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The Silent Majority on Health Care

I don't know anyone who has been to a town hall meeting on health-care reform. Of course, I live in Ward 3 of D.C., which is not exactly Anywhere, USA (this time of year it's considered hideously bad form to stay in town rather than go to the Vineyard or somesuch place). But I'm struck by how many people, normally politically astute, say that they're not paying close attention to the debate.

I'm not sure I blame them. Just for starters, it's complex stuff. There are a lot of moving parts in this (still unpassed) legislation, and I'd hate to be hit with a pop quiz (remind me what the CBO score on the SGRs is). Many of us don't understand the health-care insurance we already have (I can't make head or tail of my Aetna statement), and so it's a challenge to grasp a reform effort that hasn't even coalesced around a single piece of legislation (there are 5 committees on the Hill working on their own versions of this, and the White House will have its own preferences, and at some point, if the two chambers pass a bill, it'll go to Conference, where who knows what kind of changes will be made at the behest of various interest groups).

So it's still all kinds of preliminary. Some citizens may not want to invest mental energy in a plan that's not really a plan yet. Even the people selling the plan don't sound very certain of themselves. Listen to what Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said Monday night at the town hall in Towson, Md., as recounted by David Montgomery:

"I'm withholding judgment until I see the package."

That's the guy in favor of it! Or of some version of it. He doesn't bowl you over with enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, there are these shouters, all fired up on fears that the Manchurian Candidate is going to create death panels to order the execution of the old, infirm, weak, sickly and Republican. They hate Obama with such a passion that they will never support anything he endorses.

The Left is angry with Obama, too, for supposedly letting the pharmaceutical industry off the hook in a closed-door deal at the White House (who, exactly, promised what is a matter of ongoing debate).

Perhaps there is a Silent Majority out there that wants some kind of smart, effective, fair health-care reform that expands coverage and bends the cost curve. But the Silent Majority is going to have to get vocal if it wants to see reform take place. Right now, all we see on TV are the crazies. It's getting scary out there. Very scary. [Via Memeorandum.]

I thought we were entering a new era of political civility. I had high hopes for that.


Steve Pearlstein does battle with other Post columnists.


Michael Moore doing his best to torpedo health care reform.


Arlen Specter says
protesters aren't representative of most Americans (kinda my point I guess):

"These people have a right to be organized," the senator said on CBS's "The Early Show." "I'm not going to complain about being organized. They have a right to speak," he said, "but I think we have to explain, they're not necessarily representative of America. I think they're vocal. I don't think they're representative."


That viral MegaWhoosh water slide video: Faked. Clearly. (And a commenter on this discovermagazine blog says the stuntman admitted it.)

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 12, 2009; 8:37 AM ET
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I've been mudged. Repost from last boodle:

I think Obama has lost the narrative thread on his health care package. He has gotten trapped in the same Wonk-Bog that the Clinton plan sunk into. He needs to clearly describe the problem and how his plan solves it. It needs to be clear and simple and fit on a sign board.

Here are my sample slogans:

Health Care For (Nearly) Everyone

Lose Your Job But Keep Your Doctor

Higher Taxes For Healthy Rich Guys

We Won't Pull The Plug On Grandma - That's Your Job

Government Death Panels are Kinder and Gentler Than Insurance Company Death Panels

Free Proctoscopes For All

I'm always glad to be of help.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday morning on the news I saw that there had been a town hall in the town near our country house. Shouting and all that. All I could think was "Most of these knuckleheads are probably uninsured (the ones that aren't on Medicare)." Other than the old-fashioned letter to my congressman, I'm not sure what I, a member of the Silent Majority, can do.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 12, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Darn, Joel beat me to linking to Pearlstein's column. I look to Steve for the sanity we need about this debate.

Here's how ridiculous the whole situation is, in my particular case: My doctor (in-network) has me on medication for a chronic condition. The medication is ineffective and despite my pleas she doesn't want to change it. I go to another doctor and get what I need and am MUCH better. First visit with this doctor is in-network, but then he drops out of network because of the hassle they give him about the time he spends with patients. (!) Now I have to reach a deductible of $500 with this doctor before I can be reimbursed for any costs. I pay for insurance and then I still have to pay the doctor. Could it get any more stupid?

Posted by: slyness | August 12, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

More bright ideas for slogans:

Singe Payer Socialized Medicine - It's Good Enough For The Army, It's Good Enough For You

If You Like The DMV, You're Gonna LOVE The Public Option

You Wouldn't Let Your Boss Pick Your Car, Why Let Him Pick Your Insurance?

Life Is A Pre-Existing Condtion

We're Gonna Raise Your Taxes Anyway, You Might As Well Get Something For It

Why Should Only Ted Kennedy Have The Best Health Plan In America?

Who Deserves A Mercedes More: Your Doctor Or The CEO Of Smith-Kline?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Inspired by slyness:

Pay Taxes Or Pay Co-Pays, Your Call

Under Single Payer, Every Doctor Is In-Network

Let Doctors Heal, Not Fill Out Forms

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

The Krauthammer column that Pearlstein links to supports the idea that I think is getting short shrift: Breaking the link between employment and health insurance. We need portability, favorable tax breaks, and near universal mandatory coverage.

Single payer does this but that is a bridge too far.

A fed-employee style massive open-enrollment buffet of insurance options also would that. Plans would have to be very tightly defined and heavily regulated, something Chuckie K might find objectionable, but it would be better than the current system and arguably more effective than Obama's baby steps.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

You're on today, yello. Keep 'em coming.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

mudged (verb, past tense): to compose a thoughtful clever but long post only to find that a new kit has been published between the time you pressed 'Sign In' and 'Submit'.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Feel free to insert whatever verb makes sense into the first sentence of the third paragraph of my 10:24.

Choice include but are not limited to:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Pearlstein doesn't actually include a link, so I will since it's probably the most sensible thing Chuckie K has ever written (a very low bar indeed):

My favorite line from the Pearlstein column:

"Charles is not a man to be trifled with on any issue, but particularly on health care, inasmuch as he was trained as a doctor before turning to the higher calling of journalism."

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse


Pretty sure that is a new record for Boodlehogging.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Yo, yello -- you are ON!!! GO GO GO GO GO !!!!!

Yep, all those Congress people (generously put) feeding at the gummint trough, and not wanting the rest of us to feed there unmistakably demonstrate their hypocrisy. But, I'm (mostly) preaching to the choir.

So, I'll get back to that what pays my mortgage, and will check back in anon. So to speak.

Posted by: -ftb- | August 12, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Just because Chuckie K was "trained as a doctor" doesn't mean he knows diddly-squat about health care, any more than any other doctor does. Before they ceded a lot of their authority to the beancounters and insurance vandals, who do you think ran this industry? And they ran it pretty much into the ground.

Shall we review?

(1)Their training programs (for interns and residents) require students to work godawful shifts that wouldn't be permitted in any other profession (especially not a profession where you hold someone's life in your hands), shifts which are clearly dangerous and counterproductive to good medicine, and for no good reason except "tradition";

(2) Their pay schedule is out-of-control and piratical;

(3) Their workplaces are more dangerous than the average coal mine (you want to get sick? Go stay in a hospital for a little while);

(4) Their notions of "customer service" were designed by Attila the Hun: there is no good purpose for hospital gowns being the way they are; the food is sub-penitentiary level; their communications with patients is lower in quality than a teenager's conversation [subtext: you're an idiot, stop bothering me, now go away];

(5) If I killed as many people in the average course of my job as doctors do, I'd not only be out of a job, I'd also probably be in jail;

(6) If you want humane medical care, deal with a nurse. Forget the people who went to medical school.

So I don't want to hear any crap from anybody, even Pearstein, about how the Hammer might know a little more about medicine than the rest of us. The first (and priobably best) thing Krauthammer ever did for the medical profession was abandon it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The tone of the town meetings is largely a result of self-filtering. The participants are dominated by older conservative people with enough time to attend such meetings. And Joel is right, many hate Obama so much that if he is fer it they are agin' it. (They learned this outlook from some opponents of Bush, I fear.) These are hardly representative of the nation of a whole, and are certainly not representative of those for whom medical reform is most crucial.

I am concerned, though, that Congress might be unable to separate sturm und drang from rational thought. Even if popular opinion is against something, Congress is supposed to represent our best interests, not what the mob desires at any particular instant. (Something Republicans have learned far better than Democrats.)

I am afraid that Congress will fail to pass anything reasonable because of a loud vocal minority. This, to my mind, isn't the way representative government is supposed to work.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 12, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"(They learned this outlook from some opponents of Bush, I fear.)"

They being oldsters, Padouk, methinks they learned this long, long before the anti-Bush folks. Say, from Nixon or thereabouts.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Don't hold back, mudge. Tell us how you really feel. Actually, those are all valid points.

It's good to see that any mention of Krauthammer with even the mildest faint praise can still peg the sphygmonanometer.

And whether it matters or not, Chuckie's specialty is psychiatry. Tough (but probably not impossible) to do prostate exams from a wheelchair.

Doctors are just one more special interest at the table. Where I would rank them vis-a-vis insurance companies, the pharmaceutical oligopoly, for-profit hospitals, AARP, and medical malpractice lawyers depends on my mood.

But everything I know about medicine I'm learning from Nurse Jackie on Showtime. I had no idea there are that many ways to take a Percocet. Or to 'volunteer' a dead sk8er as a organ donor. Or pin malpractice on the nursing student. Or bang the pharmacist while on the clock. What a great show.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

RD_P, it's not the legislators who can't separate the sound and fury from the conversation, it's TV and the sound-bite mentality.

To paraphrase something 'Mudge and JA and others here know all too well:

"If it screams, it ledes"


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 12, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

FYI I added a couple of things including an embed of the YouTube of the MegaWhoosh water slide thing which is certainly a hoax.

Posted by: joelache | August 12, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The Rachel Maddow Show did a very nice job of breaking down much of the K Street driven hysteria and sourcing it right to Dick Armey and his so-called grassroots group Freedom Works which gets rev'ed up every time money is tossed in Armey's direction.

If you are interested, she has all sorts of great nuggets from Freedom Works that will make you laugh. (sadly).

The party of No at its finest.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 12, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The scoop on the Megawoosh.

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

Saw this report a few days ago that details the large variance in life expectancy rates in the US - quite a stunning study. Found it in a post from Richard Florida.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 12, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, EYE went to Claire McCaskill's townhall yesterday in Hillsboro, MO. It was about 90% anti-healthcare reform, 10% pro. There were 2000 of us in the large gymnasium, with a heavy police and sheriff presence. I have to hand it to Claire (I've long disliked her for running in the Democratic primaries against our incumbent governor and winning - seems like a major breach of party loyalty) she handled the crowd amazingly well. She managed to maintain order and civility, with humor and self-deprecation. She managed to say everything that needed to be said to debunk rumors about the proposed bill. She is a consummate politician. I am impressed. She wrestled that huge crowd like a lion tamer in the ring for over two hours with no break. In the end, people were bored. Which is an amazingly good outcome, I think. Especially as I had brought my two teenage daughters and was a trifle worried.

Every time I have ventured into politics in my life (at the city council meeting, or whatever) I have been bored. That's the way it's supposed to be, in a civil country - voting is boring. Attending meetings and waiting your turn to speak and listening to others with whom you disagree - perfectly dull. I'm not expressing this well, but I was happy with my senator yesterday for toughing it out, making that angry crowd laugh with her, and boring us all to tears with her facts and figures. She was a hero.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 12, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

My thought is that the administration, not wanting to fall into the pit the Clintons did on this issue, wanted the "people" (i.e, Congress) to draft the plan, with admin input on choices and druthers. They obviously miscalculated how much hate and discontent this whole idea would generate, aided and abetted by the Repubs who will still do anything to make Obama fail, no matter the worth of the proposal. I have still not heard any coherent alternative plan offered by the GOP'ers. They are content to try and kill the whole idea, leave the status quo (who cares about those 40-odd million folks without insurance - they are probably all Democrats anyhow), and continue to rake in election contributions from the insurance companies, the AMA, etc.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 12, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Fascinating study, dmd.

Figure 1 is particularly interesting.

They excluded most of the mid-west between Little Rock and Seattle from the African-American demographics because of insufficient sample size. Affirms my vacation observations that that area of the country is blindingly lily white. Coincidentally or not, these were the areas of highest white life expectancy.

Aren't these also the states with the Gang of Six that are trying to broker a compromise? Seems like health care in those areas is already pretty good.

Don't move from Minnesota unless you are going to Naples or Miami. Tampa is a step down in life expectancy.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Love your post, Wheezy. Thanks for attending and thanks for reporting back! What did your kids think about it?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Charles County Judge Suspected of Deflating Worker's Tire

This story is hilarious to me, because our family has had a couple of run-ins with this judge (he sentenced one of my daughters when she was in trouble). He's a tough old bird, and he has a bunch of toothbrushes (new) he keeps on the bench, and when he sends somebody to jail he tosses the toothbrush at them as they are being led away to jail.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

jkt, a full 18% of folks in Florida die while behind the wheel of their cadillac. The run over folks, accounting for another 9%.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 12, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, that's great that you were there! I saw some clips from that meeting and it seemed like she did a good job. I have some young (recent college graduates) Internet friends who left a town hall meeting in Texas because it was too scary. Unfortunately, I think we need to go and outnumber the crazies. (That's the royal "we" - I'm in such a heavily Democratic district that I don't think we're even having any town halls.)

I keep seeing columnists like Ruth Marcus bemoaning the fact that people aren't marching in the streets FOR health reform. But I think that's kind of silly to expect that to happen. I thought that's why Democrats were elected. I think the Dems would really benefit from some of yellojkt's snappy slogans. (See the Daily Show from last night. Austan Goolsbee was great too.)

Posted by: seasea1 | August 12, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

My kids were (*note - theme of the day alert*) bored. My 14 year old wanted to kick the woman in front of us in the bleachers, for being a vile excuse for a human being who cheered every right-wing thing she heard and booed loudly at every progressive thing she heard, while wearing pearls and a 3 carat diamond ring. I restrained the child. My 16 year old had made a t-shirt saying "Healthcare is a Human Right" with a Sharpie, so she said very very tall and straight for two hours to make it readable for the cameras. Very tiring for her. We had made signs, but no one was allowed to bring in any signs, so the shirt was it for us in terms of political statements.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 12, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Much safer for others, 8% of all fatalities are from folks just sitting at the intersection after the light turns from Red to Green. It could have been the excitement of the moment.

I, myself, have experienced several false sightings of such deaths.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 12, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"There's more swinging and slapping than at a square dance."

This is how a friend's daughter describes the unusual 5K race she took part in recently in this column she wrote for Women's Health...

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

SCC - she SAT very tall and straight

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 12, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse


Amazing isn't it?

Just how can these folks not get it?

--- weed

Posted by: russianthistle | August 12, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Changing topic for just a moment... After finishing off some leftovers for lunch, I have to mention to all you guys with tons of tomatoes that I really think that little is better than a grilled or roasted tomato.

Just grab some Romas and toss them onto a scewer and on the grill season if you wish, but they are just wonderful. In fact, this evening, after work, I may just grill up two or three tomatoes and toss on some pasta along with some herbs and cheese.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 12, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I'd attend a health care town hall except for three things-
1. It's a sure bet that the place would be jammed with screaming Sarah Palin loving Rush Limbaugh listening Glenn Beck watching birther death panel nutbags.
2. I'm not at all sure that that obnoxious and irrational behavior isn't contagious.
3. I have the BCBS standard option, and because I have occasionally been obnoxious and irrational the past (it was the drugs, I swear), if this is contagious they're sure to call it a pre-existing condition.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 12, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Weed.... grilled tomatoes on basmati rice with greek yogurt (and a squirt of honey) on the side is the perfect summer dish I think.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

You're probably right on all counts, kguy.

I must confess to a small (infinitesimal) bit of bad behavior at the townhall meeting. I was fiddling around with my cuticles and may have pulled off one or two small bits of fingernail/cuticle particles and flicked them into the hair of the execrable woman in front of us. This was only to keep the 14 year old from kicking her, I swear.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 12, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I find those statistics very plausible. I was nearly hit by the same Geezer In A Caddie twice in the same day in two different parts of Sarasota.

Old people don't live in St. Petersburg, they live in Sarasota. Their parents live in St. Petersburg.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

'Maters got their due in the WaPo Food Section today:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

some of us appear to be silent because we are at work when things like town meetings happen in the middle of the day.

my sense of it is that tv news will put any nut on camera if he/she is angry enough or outrageous enough to make other people watch for a few minutes.

i know this much: from my position inside the belly of the beast that is only the largest government-run health-care agency in the world, we do our best to take care of those entrusted to us; we do not get rich doing it, but we make a decent living; our executives do not get seven-figure bonuses for denying care to those who deserve it; we do not have any 'death panels' deciding who gets to die; we make mistakes and we expose them and try to learn from them; we are forbidden to lobby the congress; we do not pay legislators to do our bidding.

moreover, the essence of the attack on the obama health plan is simply that he is still not white. the people screaming about death panels in the town meetings are so hopelessly paranoid and racist that they are verging on psychosis as they fight against the recognition that the era of 'only white men need apply' is over. (see the sotomayor hearings)

finally, irrespective of flaws in the plans as currently proposed, republican opposition is of a piece with their opposition to everything progressive that has happened in the last 50 years: civil rights, equal pay for women, pollution control, increases in the minimum wage, safety in the workplace, unemployment insurance, etc., etc., etc. they are moronic dinosaurs doomed to extinction and they deserve it. their incredibly blatant efforts to inflame the same electorate they are sodomizing (yes i did say that) on a daily basis only makes me more convinced than ever that if there is something they feel this passionate about there must be something behind the curtain that is good for the rest of us.

i apologize immediately if the tone of my comments is offensive to any of the good and kind regulars in this space. i think you know that i very much appreciate your ever-informative and entertaining points of view. i guess after 25 years in public service health provision i have had about enough suggestions that we are the monsters.

Posted by: butlerguy | August 12, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Sphygmomanometer, actually.

yello, you're the only one who can prompt me to read a Krauthammer column and succeed. Stopped-clock CK mildly stirs my very academic agreement about taxing health care benefits, but since the code is insane anyway one change won't fix much. And that logic behind the tort-reform remark is weak: Oh, all these "unnecessary tests" are to stop the doctor from, you know, not being careful and then getting sued for forgetting something thereby killing the patient. Boo hoo. How unfair he has to cover his tail.

Obama has a mighty stick to use and it's anti-trust filings. Bust 'em.

I wish every doctor would read Curmudgeon's evaluation. I also wish the health insurance business (it is not an "industry"), as we know it, would die a quick death.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 12, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

That was perfect, butlerguy! I especially liked: moreover, the essence of the attack on the obama health plan is simply that he is still not white.

Well done.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 12, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey, let's watch the geezer talk, huh? Some of us

Helen? Helen?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, butlerguy! No apologies necessary.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Hear! Hear! for Butlerguy! And yes, Jumper, I am simply flabbergasted that anyone...ANYONE!... would be standing up in defense of and on behalf of medical insurance companies, and their status quo! Who amongst us doesn't have a hundred diffferent horror stories about these people? It is for these people we should be bringing back stocks on the public square. Jaysus! Who amongst us is so naive to believe insurance companies are looking out for *our* best interests? In a pig's eye!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

TBG, that's painfully funny.

My chest is aching already thinking about jiggling dem jugs nonstop for a touch over 3 miles.

A B-cup is 2 pounds per side; a D cup can be 5 pounds or more per side. That's brutal physics.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 12, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse


Hilarious article. Favorite phrase: "the sea of sacks and cracks".

My first awareness of the need for female foundation garments while running was when I (chosen over me and myself - grammar cops please confirm), my best friend, his older sister, and her best friend were all trying to return to the house to beat curfew and had to jog most of the way. The two girls were wearing tube tops and had to hold their jiggly bits to keep up the pace. My fourteen year old brain nearly exploded.

My dad claims to have conceived of the concept for a sports bra many years before they actually hit the market. Another case of a million dollar idea lost for lack of execution.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I think ace bandages were the earliest precursors of sports bras.

(If not, they should have been.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 12, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

And yes, you are correct on your keen eye for "I" above, yellojkt.

Glad to hear there's a silver lining in the lack of sport bras.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 12, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Butlerguy, you have perhaps unwillingly entered the world of those who send political emails at each other. A friend of mine, 60-70something, has fresh ammo. (he's on our side) thanks to you. Well said.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 12, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Butlerguy -- I HEART you to absolute pieces (which I mean in a non-clinical way). You are absolutely right.

When GWB (alias "little boy") won the election in 2004, a friend of mine who grew up in Florida and whose father still lived there told me that her father said afterwards that "the South has been fighting the Civil War for more than 150 years, and they finally won. . . " That, I think "colors" the issue here.

Interestingly, BTW, and in line with other comments about the role the media plays in all of this, I was watching the Today Show this morning (with only 1/2 ear, as I find it increasingly obnoxious in its perpetual celebrity "news"), and there was the obvious bash at Hilary Clinton for her "outburst" at the student in the Congo (it was a translation error it seems). Just as an aside, Ann Curry mentioned in that mega-speed voice she uses that there are women being raped in the Congo. Uh-huh. But the most important news to NBC and GE is the Hilary-bashing, and not the gratuitous and outrageous raping of women and children in the Congo.

Where do I go to get my news? Besides Jon Stewart?


(still heart you, BG)

Posted by: -ftb1- | August 12, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I loved that nude 5k article, tbg.

And, just because this site needs *someone* to cut and paste once in a while, I like this from Andrew Sullivan's blog today, sent in by one of his readers:

The story of $15,000 for a needle in a thigh touches a nerve with me. As a surgeon, I'd have tried to find it using local anesthetic, in my office, before escalating to an operating room. With luck -- and since it was an insulin needle it couldn't have been very deep and would have been near the entry hole -- it'd have been a couple hundred bucks or so, including my fee and the use of a few sterile instruments. It's possible, of course, that it would end up requiring xray guidance; even then, it's hard to figure where the $15,000 went.

But here's the thing: no one would have recognized the savings, or even cared, much less rewarded me for it in any way.

Likewise, when I did breast biopsies in my office, with local anesthesia and comfortable patients, happy at not having to go through the hassles of surgery at a hospital or surgery center, I saved thousands of dollars each of the many hundreds of times I did it. Again: no recognition, no reward. I just did it because it seems right.

This is part of what gets lost in the screaming rhetoric of the right, the death panels of Palin. Some doctors know how to save the system lots of money, and do so, every day. Establishing a means to discover them and to spread their wisdom is central, as I understand it anyway, to Obama's plan. Not rationing. Discovering why some methods are more successful and less expensive than others. Hard to understand, maybe; and very easy to demagogue. Which is exactly the problem.


Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 12, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Strange. A bit late in life I'm coming around to this "poetry" thing. I blame the Boodle!

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 12, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I wish I weren't at work or I'd find the really good clip from this movie:

Probably not safe for work. Somehow I imagine the Fig Leaf Run does not look anything like that.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Rep. Michele Bachman, aka Princess Sparkle Pony, must be having some interesting cognitive dissonance right now (if that's possible for her). Her son has joined Teach for America, which is under the AmeriCorps umbrella. You know, that volunteer thing that isn't really volunteer that she wouldn't want her own children joining.
More here

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 12, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

As an adjunct to the surgeon quote I posted above, I want to give a patient's view of cheap in-office procedures vs. operating room nightmares. I've been in both situations, having cysts removed in the hospital for over $1K as a patient with health care insurance, which was a nightmare (naked on a table with over 10 people in the room), and having similar cysts removed in the surgeon's office by a nurse-practitioner for $200, while clothed and happy, as a patient with no insurance.

There's no contest between the two choices - give me the cheap, inferior option every day.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 12, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy-your taste in health care is like my taste in beer.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 12, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse


Never heard Bachman called that but it fits. There is a REAL (as real as a pseudonymous blogger can be) Princess Sparkle Pony who has a very funny blog:

Some of the humor is diffused now that he doesn't have Condi Rice to pick on anymore.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Laughing at Princess Sparkle Pony.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Frosti... so there's something redeeming about Michele Bachmann--or at least her family. I love this quote from the article...

"I might suggest that if you feel strongly that this is more government control, you should show up at Bachmann's next town hall meeting and scream slogans at her. But that would be rude and, frankly, a little crazy."

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

This just in for local commuters:

Man struck, killed by Metro train; Expect delays
August 12, 2009 - 12:31pm

FALLS CHURCH, Va. - There is a 30-minute delay on Metro's Orange Line after a man was killed Wednesday at the West Falls Church-VT/UVA station.

Preliminary reports indicate that a six-car Orange Line train headed in the direction of New Carrollton struck a man who was on the tracks intentionally as the train pulled into the station.

Trains are sharing one track through the station to allow train service to pass through the area.

Delays are expected to last until mid-afternoon.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: slyness | August 12, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

My doctor visit vs medical system 'horror' story (if this is the worst I have, I'm pretty blessed):

I had sliced my thumb in whichever vein or artery gushes and splashed the whole kitchen with blood. I stopped the flow with a bandage and called my doctor for an appointment. I went there, waited nearly an hour only to have him tell me that he doesn't do stitches.

Instead, I had to go to the emergency room and spend another hour waiting. Which triggered the exorbitant non-admittance ER visit co-pay on my insurance. I had internalized all the screaming about people using ERs as primary care only to have my primary care doctor send me away. Can't win for losing.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

We love our "managed care" plan with Kaiser Permanente so much we're paying over $1k out of pocket for COBRA until Dr G's new employer's open enrollment comes up in November.

He almost didn't take the job because Kaiser isn't one of their options for health insurance.

Twenty-four hour care, labs and pharmacies and radiology right in each local medical center, the fact that there ARE local medical centers, online access to records, meds and doctors, no paperwork... the list goes on. I really wish this was how ALL healthcare providers worked.

I'll be sorry to lose all of this come November. Dr G is looking forward to the day he can re-up with them in a Medicare plan.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I was happy with Kaiser Permanente in Oregon when I lived there. It seemed a much more sensible setup than Blue Cross-Blue Shield preferred provider. So I gotta move back to Oregon sometime.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 12, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Or move up here, Dave!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

my experience with gov run health care was aprox 15 years ago in england. i worked there so i paid for public healthcare. i wrenched my knee out and went to the public healthcare hospital... it was AWFUL - hours of waiting, dirty floors, surly nurses - only to be told they couldn't do anything for me b/c i'd have to do 6 months of "rehab" for my knee before they'd really look at it. (i was coming back to the states the next month)

BUT on the other hand, having recently had a paintball injury and not being able to see a doctor b/c my insurance was messed up due to a change in contracting companies... well, i can see how frustrating not being able to get even basic affordable healthcare w/out insurance can be...


Posted by: mortii | August 12, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post butlerguy.

Wheezy - loved your posts, particularly the one about skin and nail bits flying in the woman's hair.

As a follow up to the report I posted the link to earlier, here was the other link in Richard Florida's post, the bottom graph lists the number of counties in each state with a male life expectancy rate high than Canada - Wow. Obviously health care is not the only differential but I am sure it has quite the impact.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 12, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

TBG, just curious--what hospitals is Kaiser affiliated with?

Posted by: Raysmom | August 12, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Kaiser is how medical care should be run. We were with them for five crucial years and we loved it.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 12, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

As far as I know, Raysmom, all the Inova hospitals and probably others in the area, too.

When my mom had her 5-month battle with brain cancer, Kaiser ruled the day. They provided a topnotch Inova brain surgeon at no extra cost or co-pay (although they have most specialists "in plan," Kaiser doesn't keep brain surgeons in their payroll, opting instead to find such specialties from the general medical community).

Even her radiation was done at Inova through the Inova doctors. Her oncologist was a Kaiser doctor, but he also encouraged and helped her seek out studies at Johns Hopkins and NIH. They were in favor of participating in experimental treatments.

They also payed for the hospice care she received through her illness to the end.

Of course, all of this was through her Kaiser Medicare plan, but if her care hadn't been managed by Kaiser, I don't know if I could have survived her illness myself.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I was so eager to tell the Bachman news I didn't back boodle thoroughly.

Wheezy and butlerguy-mere words cannot express my admiration. Faxing you your hearts' desires.

"still not white" so thoroughly and succinctly true I can see it coming into common usage as a twitter hash tag.

boring is indeed how government should be, when it's not something has gone wrong. I saw clips of McCaskill on TV last night and she won me over too. Just 3 minutes was enough for me to admire her smarts and endurance.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 12, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Butlerguy, that was wonderful! Love all the comments here today which I am reading in between trying unsucessfully to nap.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 12, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

OK... what are we gonna do to stay not so silent?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

We could build a fire and share a big pot o' beans...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 12, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Or we could wax the bunker floor and wear our squeaky shoes...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 12, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Or we could wax the bunker floor and wear our squeaky shoes...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 12, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Or just double-post... Eeep.

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

Silent Majority still has such a Nixonian ring. How about Complacent Middle Ground?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Ack. Still catching up from vacation. No time to Boodle. I'll take some beans and contribute roasted green chiles.

Very nice discussion. Wheezy, good for you, glad for the report. Participatory gummint at its best should indeed be boring - leaving aside paradigm shifting excitement (remember paradigm shifts? I am so 90s, or was it 80s) like Obama's election.

Butlerguy, well said. You used some strong language but if I were a professional gummint health provider-type my language would be a lot stronger than that. Y'all have unfairly been demonized - and not even in the service of good, but in the service of nothing good.

I have insurance payment trepidation: the Boy had to have a coal cinder removed from his eye at the local vacation spot ER last week. My insurance company is usually good about this stuff, but this was WAY out of network. I tried to call before we went in, but the Co. has no after-hours options. Fortunately, should it come to battle, I are a lawyer and not easily intimidated.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 12, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Here's the latest dispatch from Bizarro World-

Ya can't make this stuff up. I was especially struck by the statement from Coach P's executive assistant who was present during the encounter! Just how hammered do you have to be to do the horizontal hokey pokey on a restaurant table with a complete stranger while a witness listens in?

Posted by: kguy1 | August 12, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Okay, y'all. I've made chocolate chip cookies and the peach cobbler is still in the oven (fact) but I'll have it out on the bunker kitchen table in half an hour or so. Scotty, if you'll swing by the grocery store and pick up some good vanilla ice cream, I'd appreciate it. Mudge, I hope you didn't leave your dirty dishes in the sink, we'll need them all to pass the goodies around.

Nope, just looked, the dishwasher hasn't been emptied but at least the dishes are clean.

Everyone who is interested, let Scotty know what you want to drink so he can pick it up along with the ice cream. I'm assuming you've got the time, Scotty, if it's a problem please let me know. This is on the shop steward's tab...)

(Mudge, don't have a hissy just yet. Look on page 11 of the budget, it's line item 11231, late summer celebrations. We need to spend that $250 before it goes away!)

Posted by: slyness | August 12, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh.. you mean the Silent But Deadly Majority, Scotty?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The whole "fear and anger" thing is a rousing success. The tools at the town halls are scared of boogy men, and I'm scared of the tools at the town halls. Very good, Mr. Rove! Your plan is working! (kowtows in adulation)

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 12, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

B-guy, thanks for chiming in like Big Ben.

Jumper, loved the poem kung-fu.

I don't ordinarily hear praise for Kaiser. Never been part of it, so can't say one way or the other.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 12, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

kguy... I thought the key phrase was "and again several weeks later."

But then... I read this one... "Karen Sypher first met [Pitino's personal assistant] that day [two weeks later] and later married him."

Like you said, you can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Now that I mentioned it,2933,539163,00.html

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 12, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The Patino story? Wow! Talk about driving the lane.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

It's $250 well spent, slyness.

I've got to leave early to go to the viewing for my old boss.

Hey, no seconds for Scotty. You know how he gets with a sugar buzz.

Later, dudes.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

(I'm assuming there will be a little Breyer's All-Natural Mint Chocolate Chip still there when I get back, yes?)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

It's a bit old-fashioned, but why not contact your senators and congressman (electronic forms available on and state your position, and let them know that, due to the shouting knuckleheads, the town hall format doesn't seem to be the way to state your opinion.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 12, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Patience grasshoppers. Remember the frustrations of the campaign when Obama would not fire back from the same gutter dwelling position as the detractors who are now upset that he is SNW? Sometimes the moral high ground is not just how you sleep well at night, it is also a great tactical position. Does anyone honestly believe the town hall disrupters are winning converts to anything? At the rate they're going Southwester really will be able to procreate enough to stem the tide of their idiocracy.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 12, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I've got it hidden away for you, Mudge. How does one wish a good visit for a visitation?

The Geekdottir called this afternoon to ask which Congressional district we're in. Sue Myrick's, honey, not Mel Watt's. I can voice my opinion but it won't register with her. Never voted for the woman, never will.

Posted by: slyness | August 12, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

i just had my first experience with kaiser. i have to say it was one of the easiest doctor visits i've ever had and i was quite impressed. they got me in SAME DAY that i called (for an eye injury) i was seen quickly, treated me got my meds and out in the door in just shy of an hour! it was so easy that i'm thinking of giving up my gen pract that i've had for almost 10 years and just deal with kaiser!


Posted by: mortii | August 12, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Ivansmom!

And, slyness, I HEART you, too, because my stomach has been rumbling and telling me I'm hungry (dinner is still about 90 minutes away, the way I'm poking along workwise), and here you give us the menu for the bunker restaurant. Sounds yumsers to me.

Actually, Raysmom, you have a very good suggestion. I think I *will* contact my MD Senators and Congresspeople and give 'em something to think about from me! It certainly beats the shouting and trying to get away from those what might be "packin'" -- you never know. Besides, seeing as I can't run, much less walk quickly, I shall use the sharpest instrument in my intellectual drawer -- the electronic pen (a/k/a keyboard).

TBG -- I've heard mixed reviews about Kaiser, so it's nice to know that you and your family had such a good experience with them, even if the outcome wasn't what you or your mother wanted. My issue is that I have finally found a terrific set of doctors and I don't want any entity's plan to rip them away from me. I'm waiting for the bill to pass -- I *do* plan to read it, if only to see where I stand (so to speak) until Medicare comes along -- although I'll still need to know what my options are in regard to the Medigap policy (wherever I may find it).

What I find to be ridiculously funny, really, is that the for-profit health insurance companies are having the screaming ab-dabs about the prospect of *gasp* having to COMPETE all of a sudden. It was so much easier when they could do what they wanted -- a little bit of fraudulent behavior is very cool when you can get away with it.

I shall now take my hungry self back to the mines and try not to think about food -- especially that which is in slyness' oven. . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | August 12, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to all for the kind comments on my posts (especially Frostbitten - I haven't had my heart's desire in ages!).

That Pitino story is deeply disturbing on a lot of levels. Reminds me of Saul Bellow's "Humboldt's Gift" except the inamorata was much younger in Bellow and the old guy was not married, IIRC. And the inamorata wasn't quite as evil and calculating. But otherwise, just like it!

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 12, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm all in favor of a good sex & extortion scandal, but this Pitino story is pretty old news. They covered it in April, and nothing much has changed.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 12, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Mo... see my 3.14 pm.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Oops... I mean my 3:14 p.m.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

ftb I know you will join me in being disappointed to hear from Claire McCaskill yesterday that she expects any substantive changes from health care reform (as opposed to minor insurance reform issues) won't take effect until at least 2013.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 12, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I think what's changed, bob, is that the woman has now been indicted for extortion.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: -ftb- | August 12, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: -ftb- | August 12, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Maybe she was just saying that to try to calm the rednecks in Hillsboro, ftb. I certainly hope so.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 12, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Attention Jonathan Coulton fans... he'll be at Rams Head in Annapolis on December 4.

I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Lawrence O'Donnell, subbing for Chris Matthews, just interviewed the young woman from Spector's TH meeting yesterday. Very sweet, but very naive and uninformed. She wanted things to go back to the way they were when the founding fathers wrote the Constitution. OKay. She and her husband have their own business, she doesn't know whether they make over 250k because 'her husband pays the bills' and they have a health policy with a 5k yearly deductible. She thinks that those that have more should take care of those with less and we shouldn't have social security or medicare. I think the 'liberal media' should just keep interviewing these people. It' very enlightening!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 12, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't universal Medicare be those who have more taking care of those with less - albeit through taxes. Am I missing something? or was this woman going to voluntarily pay into a fund to pay the medical expenses of those who cannot afford to pay.

I have heard that health care was excellent in the late 1700's, before antibiotics, sterilization, indepth medical knowledge, a real high point for healthcare.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 12, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Sneaks. . . . what can one say? Going back to the 1700s? Um, not for this woman! Although I'd really like to send a buncha people back there. . . .

Wheezy, I think I'm gonna take up Raysmom's suggestion and get a dialog going with my Senators and Congressguy. I definitely don't want to wait for years and years for this to get going. That completely takes the rug right out of Obama's intent anyway.

I think I need a Jon Stewart fix.

Posted by: -ftb- | August 12, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

My problem with the idea of contacting my congresspeople is that I've almost never been represented by anyone who is budge-able on any issue that matters to me. Either they're already firmly where I want them to be (I loved being represented by Lloyd Doggett in Austin, and I was really upset when he got redistricted away from me), or they're so bright red that there's no point (like now). I know, it's about the principle of the thing, making my voice heard and all. And that works well enough to get me to the booth on election day. But oh, to have someone purple that I could help give a push over an important fence, wouldn't that be great.

Posted by: -bia- | August 12, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

This is completely off topic, but I know many of you are not enamoured with Microsoft, thought you might appreciate this story.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 12, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, back in the 1700's women couldn't vote but I don't know how much that would impact this particular woman who doesn't know what her family earns because the hubby pays the bills. In regard to helping others, I think she was referring to things like church groups and/or charitable organizations. She hadn't thought any of this out very well - duh! As I said, naive and uninquisitive (is that a word?) too.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 12, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"Just how hammered do you have to be to do the horizontal hokey pokey on a restaurant table with a complete stranger while a witness listens in?"

kguy, in the 1980s on Capitol Hill, it wasn't all that uncommon.

Posted by: -pj- | August 12, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, folks.

Been very busy over the past couple of days, and a lot more work to do, but I'm taking a little time to decompress and Boodleskim.

Reading about the Health Care Debate's not really helping me relax, but it's What's On (the Boodle).

I'm glad the Extreme Right is showing up en masse at their local Health Care Town Halls, since they probably won't be taking the time off to go to Burning Man this year.

On a related note, I had to Chuckle when I saw Khammer suggested that he's had doctor training - Witch kind? (ahem - I won't make any comments about shrunken heads and suing himself for malpractice due to a self-inflicted injury)

Gotta go, my stomach's rumbling, and the Fridge of Leftover Wonders is calling me.


Posted by: -bc- | August 12, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Ironically the entry fee to the Fig Leaf 5K includes an event tee shirt.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, just under the wire I got a final mortgage contract and a satisfactory review of the condo docs, so I've waived all my conditions on the purchase and will own a home on October 1. I am way excited.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Yay, Yoki!!

Posted by: -bia- | August 12, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Home for Thanksgiving!

Posted by: dmd3 | August 12, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Pj, I'll take your word for that (I don't want to know your sources for that)...

but that doesn't answer kguy's question.

I think the answer is: Only mildly hammered, if you're a sex addict.

If you have normal inhibitions, then you'd have to be pretty darn hammered.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 12, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Presuming the witness isn't staff, in which case it doesn't matter, I would still need to know whether the witness was blind, in another cubicle or just more interested in the menu.

Off the top my head I'd say, "not very."

Posted by: Boko999 | August 12, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

That's right, isn't it, dmd? Hadn't thought of it. Must do family Thanksgiving at my place, in that case.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

This is along the lines of kguy's post, perhaps among the worst parental alibis,

Posted by: dmd3 | August 12, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Back to the Fig Leaf, I did find the uncensored clip from American Pie 5: The Naked Mile which does feature many, many actors of both genders jogging while wearing nothing but sneakers and smiles.

Out of an inexplicable bout of decorum on my part I am refraining from posting the link. Find it yourself or rent the flick. More than ever I doubt that the real Fig Leaf matches its cinematic doppleganger, but Paradise Valley prohibits cameras so we (or at least I) will never know.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I found this, from the real Ferris Bueller, amusing.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 12, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Yaaaayyyy! Yoki!

Yello, love the slogans, worthy of Jon Stewart at least. We need them in general circulation.

Ivansmom, this is why I channel you in difficult situations. WWImD?

I've spent all week working with 4 already slammed people who will be taking over for me at work. It's beginning to look as if I can teach them approximately 40% of the everyday tasks, but when something out of the ordinary happens, there's a problem, or the other 60% kicks in, they'll be in trouble.

One of the developers is going to be a complete bust. His systems judgment is seriously impaired and I have no doubt that no matter what the issue he will do the most wrong thing possible because he'll also panic.

I are a dba and it's not a skill you pick up in 2 weeks. :-)

Posted by: -dbG- | August 12, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

dmd... that's fabulous! When I think I've made a bonehead parenting move I just need to remember I've never given the excuse that my kids didn't commit one crime because they were too busy committing another one!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

And I'm not going to say anything about my sources, Wilbrod......

But to answer the question a little more directly, generally pretty hammered. But not always.

Posted by: -pj- | August 12, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, Yoki! That's excellent news!

Posted by: -pj- | August 12, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, all. Remember, housewarming shindig in October, chez Yoki.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Whoop-de-doo Yoki!!! Not wishing to intrude, but might there be a guest room in yer new condo? You already know that I do want to eat at your place, so this shouldn't really be a surprise. . . .

Oh, dear, *now* I've done it!

After having fed myself a lovely dish of sockeye salmon and tons of veggies (I'm no slouch in the kitchen, either), I am content as can be (so long as I don't think about -- well, *you know*), and I think I'll wrap myself around the old news of this morning's WaPo and tuck myself in early with a book. Still slogging my way through the Mitford letters, but I'm more than 1/2 way through now, and it goes relatively quickly for an 800 or so page book.

Posted by: -ftb- | August 12, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Not only a guest room, ftb, but one with a custom-built Murphy bed! How fun will that be?

Or, you can have my lavish private suite (hee hee) and I'll take the guest room. Just let me know when you want to come and I'll meet you at the airport.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Murphy bed ... hmm. Suddenly I thought about trying to turn in bed and going WHAM back into the wall. And nobody would know. .....


I think it's time to go.

(and Yoki -- thanks a bunch. I will indeed visit you once I get my skeletal issues in order. Oh S**T -- you made me think of health care reform again!!!)

Posted by: -ftb- | August 12, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

We didn't have any moose where I grew up. I had to content myself with driving my younger brothers to exhaustion and extreme distress.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 12, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I'll for sure see you in DC *many* times before you visit, so I will content myself with that.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Accuweather is pushing the possibility that we'll have a major hurricane off the US Atlantic coast in about a week. Yuk. Unless it bypasses us all but makes for some fun watching surfers at the local inlet.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 12, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

yello- The MN Progressive Project blog referred to Bachmann as Princess Sparkle Pony, until they decided it was too insulting to gay blogger Peter Huestis, the "real" Princess Sparkle Pony and occasional Wonkette writer. Now it doesn't matter if they use it or not, for some of us it is just too apt to worry about offending some writer we never read. Obviously, offending Bachmann is not a concern.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 12, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure it's possible to offend her. Seems easy to cause her to display umbrage, but I've seen no evidence that she possesses any principles which one might actually offend.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 12, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Congrats Yoki. DotC's let's hope the hurricanes stay out to sea or never get beyond tropical storm stage! I think we've all had enough extreme weather this year.

I think Princess Sparkle Pony is in fairly wide usage on many liberal or far left websites. I love the phrase myself!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 12, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

From the front page:

"Airlines to Ask More of Travelers"

"Passengers will be required to provide birth date and sex in bid to prevent watch-list mismatches."

- - - -

Well, that's OK by me. But then I'm single.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 12, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

On a different subject, having seen a shot of Sen. Kennedy arriving at Eunice Shriver’s house the other night, I suspect that it won’t be long until he follows her. He didn't look at all well. I think it’s amazing that he has lived this long and feel quite sad that he probably will not live to see a healthcare bill passed and signed into law. Lord knows he is a far from perfect man, but he has done a lot of good for his state and for the country. I don’t know who we will get as a senator, but no one will ever replace him in influence and longevity.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 12, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Badsneaks, I think you're going to get Bobby Kennedy's son, Joe.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 12, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks, I saw a pic of Kennedy in a car and thought the same thing. It's too bad, and I bet the health care bill would be doing better if he was able to be in Washington.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 12, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Peter Huestis is hilarious and deserves to me a minor DC celeb. I used to love the weekly Condi Rice shoe reports.

Team Princess Sparkle Pony.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Good e'en Boodle,
Very busy couple of days for me, with the now officially former job squeezing every last bit they could out of me. But I had to share this: as is the case with most offices, the cake served at birthdays and other occasions is always terrible. Shockingly the cake they served to at the "good luck in Chicago" ceremony they held for me was excellent. I'm taking this as a good sign.

Posted by: Southwester | August 12, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

@Yoki: Congrats! If I can convince Southwestress to take a road trip to Vancouver for the winter games we'll swing by.

Posted by: Southwester | August 12, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

SWter, glad your cake was yummy. seasea, you saw the same thing I did, and yes, I agree, Kennedy's forceful personality would have been a big help right now. Maggie, I'd rather have Martha Coakley, I think we should be done with dynasties, altho' I'm sure Joe would be adequate at least.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 12, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, Yoki!

I suspect that most of the retired Americans who do the semi-obligatory Alaska cruise have no idea there's a place called British Columbia. Wonder what will happen when they see the Olympics.

I think Vancouver's the only large airport with totem poles. Not to mention that it has US Customs, complete with a "Welcome to the US" sign. It obviously allows flights from Vancouver to non-international airports in the US, but I wonder whether there's Canadians doing the welcome stuff in, say, Chicago.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 12, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Martha Coakley would be an excellent choice. BTW, there' serious talk of the Kennedy who runs the Merchandise Mart in Chicago as the dem who will run for Obama's seat. Christopher, I think his name is.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 12, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

@Southwester: Come whether or not you get them scarce tickets for the Winter Games. Will have up-to-regs crib, private quarters for you, Southwestress and a wee girl. A great welcome. And, frankly, the snow is better at Sunshine and Lake Louise than it ever will be at Whistler. And only 45 minutes to 1.5 hours from my place. Easy skiing for a day, back home for supper (Yoki-prepared!).

Also, a skilled and experienced 20-year-old Dot who would be happy to dandle and play baby-games between the time we leave and come back. Or come up to the hill and hand babe off to Mom, Dad and Aunt Yoki so we all four get in some runs.

ScottyNuke is biting his thumb at me, I know.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Good article on hummingbirds:
I'm sure I couldn't be still enough to hand feed them. They come so close to my head sometimes in the yard that it freaks me out a bit. And I love their "chitter chitter" sound.

The woodpeckers are devouring suet at the moment. I saw 2 pileated woodpeckers recently - a mother and a "baby" that was as big as she was. She would feed on the suet, then fly to the tree where the young one was waiting, and feed it. I tried to get pictures, but they were in too much shade, and they're really hard to sneak up on.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 12, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Vancouver may well be the only airport with genuine Haida totem poles, but Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Halifax (at a minimum), all have US territory on site. Customs and Immigration. Haven't seen a 'Welcome to the US' sign in Toronto (my usual transfer point) though; more suspicion of a big old fat white woman in sensible shoes. I *so* fit the dangerous profile!

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I think all the major Canadian airports have US customers DotC, certainly Toronto, I flew out of Montreal and I think it did as well, Calgary I would think. Makes it much easier when arriving at any US airport.

SW if you make it to the Olympics can I hide in your luggage?

Posted by: dmd3 | August 12, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Just spent the past 30 min trying to make iphoto print a picture. After three tries, I finally gave in and clicked the help button. Amazing what reading the directions can do to facilitate printing jobs. The filing/cleaning chores in my room at the new school are nearly complete. Going at it again early tomorrow, as it's open house day.

Posted by: -jack- | August 12, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Creeping imperialism? Discuss.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Fine day on the boodle, thanks all. Can't wait to see if Jon Stewart lifts any of yello's stuff.

I am off to watch said fake newscast with the sleep timer on the TV.

Toodles boodle and sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 12, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 12, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

creepy imperialists? The ex vp.

Posted by: -jack- | August 12, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

The poor man is going to disappear from the internet. But the theme song may live on! (his name is still verboten to the boodlebot)

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 12, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

So funny, jack. Always glad to see you.

And happy school-year to you.

Another point of discussion. How many of us who really loved school measure years from September to September? I do. The real year.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

We walked to school until I was in 9th grade. As a kindergartner, I distinctly remember stomping my orthopedically clad feet in shch a way that there was this echoey noise that rebounded off a picket fence somewheres between my house and school. the bags we carried our lunch in would invariable begin to disintegrate in wet weather, and the challenge would be to get to school before lunch fell out the bottom of the bag to the floor. I also had these miserable black buckle up boots for the winter that I'd deliberately drag and scuff at the heels. It was a grand day when Mom bought us firemen's styled boots. Trouble was that the snow would come in over the top. This was after we moved to Ohio, and had to walk across fields to get to school. The first trip to school blazing a trail in the deepest snows of December and January would always leave shoes and socks wet. Prune feet.

Posted by: -jack- | August 12, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

@Yoki: I think the Oly tix idea is just Southwestress toying with me, but if there's good cross-country skiing, I can probably sell her on the idea. She's never been interested in downhill, but loves CC.

Posted by: Southwester | August 12, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Health Care Workers Say They're Wrong‏‏...

I am one of thousands working within Government Health Care Agencies.

I am an independent and basically I have little respect for the Democrat or Republican parties, so I have no Axe
to grind as far as Politics go.

Yes, it is true that Babies and Grandma are not going to be put to death if the Federal Government starts running
Health Care. However, If Health Care Is run by the Federal Government, it will be forced within a short period of
time to make decisions regarding who will receive what services.

That is a reality as the cost of services rise and the Revenue (Taxes) are not there to pay for it all. States are now
cutting services for many Programs because of Budgetary constraints (lack of Revenue) and are now forced to set
the criteria by which individuals will have access to what programs. The same will be so for the Federal Government.

Fraudulent and error prone Medicare/Medicaid claims for services provided are estimated at a low of 3%. That is
over 70 Billion Dollars of loss at the Medicare Level. The estimate is closer to 8%, you can do the math. We can
tell you from having worked with Medicare and Medicaid day in and day out that putting the Federal Government in charge of Health Care could well lead to a national disaster.

Federal Government continues to expand with more Departments and Agencies. For each employee hired, the
Taxpayer Is burdened to pay the salaries, Health Care and Pension Benefits given to these employees.

The bigger Government becomes, the more costly it becomes. To create the new Departments and Agencies required
to initiate and oversee a Federal Health Care system will become a burden that the Taxpayers will
simply not be able to bear.

There are other ways to reform Health Care. Starting with reducing costs of Services provided is the first step.
Coming up with more ways to insure against exorbitant and unfair costs should be the last step.

I and thousands of others who already know this information do not support the Federal Health Care Reform.

The majority of us believe that Federal Health Care Reform in the end will be injurious to the entire nation.

Posted by: WatchOut | August 12, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

In elementary school, we had to walk past this house that had a chain link fence and an aggressive German shepherd dog. It's a wonder that all of the things we did to that dog didn't compel it to go over the fence. At Cub scout age, we'd take pocket knives to school and play Mumbledy Peg under a tree just off the school grounds. Great fun, until you get hit in the foot. I went back to our town after my Uncle's memorial service in Chicago to find our old house and the school torn down, but all of the memories were still there. I stopped to ask a lady where the school was, and it turned out that she was my sister's age, and knew of some of the teachers that worked at school.

Posted by: -jack- | August 12, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

@Southwester: I am habiting the soft lands between the prairie and the foothills. Mapped, meant, for X-C skiing. I have a friend who owns a ranch, and if Southwestress wants to X-country ski, telemark in a small way, this is the land for it. Flat plains, gentle but challenging gullies going down, and hard herringbone up. Both hard and easy.

I shall not ski, with, in that case (I am all about Alpine and equipment), but be a rather grandmotherly sort, hold the baby. And make a delicious dinner, to welcome you both back.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: -jack- | August 12, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

jack said Mumbledy Peg. I calls it Mumbelty Peg. Same difference.

Good night, Al.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

@Yoki: I shall make the case. We've been talking jokingly about trying to get tickets for Vancouver, but this could be something to really do. I'll let you know as the weather gets cold.

Posted by: Southwester | August 12, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

spelling challenged.

Posted by: -jack- | August 12, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Who are "we?" And what level of fraud exists in private health insurance, just do you think?

I've had private health insurances that ripped me off, and charged me plenty for the privilege.

I've gone without any health insurance at ALL twice. '

People who can't afford 20 bucks for a co-pay aren't worrying about medicare fraud, they're worrying about survival.

Get it through your head, sir, Watch Out, our health care system has already failed over 40 million americans.

Healthcare costs are the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country; one of the biggest overhead costs in employing people, and one of the biggest barriers for employment of the disabled and older people.

I'd say you're like a person who keeps worrying about climbing a tree because of the splinters you could get-- when a bear is about to eating you alive.

And that bear is an potential panepidemic that could kill thousands of people in one
day; bioterror attacks, any major disaster.

BOOM. You think health insurance companies are going to cover bioterror? No, the goverment is going to get the bill anyway. And we will be obligated to do it for public safety. For homeland security (hah).

Why shouldn't we ask people to pay premiums to enjoy that taxpayer-paid benefit?

We need to control costs, I agree; and for people who are dying every year due to lack of health insurance, we need to make low-cost health insurance available that is honestly administrated, not for profit.

The federal government is already handling the highest risk population-- the elderly, making for more profit for the private health insurance companies.

They're just scared that the competitive market will open up and that young people will actually take the smarter option.

I intend to open a business but I refuse to do it until health care reform occurs.

I can't imagine paying more for private health insurance than I do for rent, and that could very well happen for me.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 12, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Found a hole in the clouds over my deck from 11-11:20 tonight, caught a few Perseids, including a pretty snazzy yellow/green fireball/bolide.

Then the clouds moved back in, a shroud thrown back over my view of the beautiful night. Perhaps I am unworthy, perhaps I didn't tip enough.


Posted by: -bc- | August 12, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

I am really going to sleep, lie down, be easy, now, But..

SWster, this is an invitation, not one of those, you should come over sometime...things. I am very good at holding babies.

Jack, here's the thing. I know that Liz Kelly and others poke fun, but I know this. Paul Simon will one day, long after I am dead, be recognized as a great American Song Writer. The Brenda and Eddie Opus was brilliant. He will be, one day, a Stephen Foster. You heard it here first! Thanks for that link.

Here is a small risky one:

It really was the last ever.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the meteor alert, bc. I checked for Minnesota just in time to read the best viewing was... "now." Saw a dozen shooting stars of various sizes and lots of mysterious flashes.

My first meteor-watching. It does the soul good.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 13, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

jack, you had shoes and socks? We just had empty plastic Tastykake wrappers and had to shuffle to keep them under our feet.

watchout, nice that your current insurance doesn't have any restrictions as to the care you receive. One assumes you'll eschew Medicare and Social Security when the time comes?

Shoutout to SoTBG and his STBX-wisdom teeth. Hang in there!

Posted by: -dbG- | August 13, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

You had Tastykake wrappers? We were so poor we had to use (much inferior) Hostess Twinkie wrappers, only we didn't have any, so we had to draw the logos on used paper towels, and wrap them around our feet using twine made from honeysuckle vines.

Today in Nautical and Aviation History

Aug. 13, 1940: Der Adler Tag (Eagle Day) is launched as Hitler’s Luftwaffe begins an all-out aerial offensive against Britain’s aircraft industry and RAF airfields, starting in earnest the most intensive phase of the Battle of Britain.
1945: Lt. Cmdr. Yukio Inabe’s I-373 is the 134th and final Japanese submarine sunk in World War II, torpedoed by USS Spikefish. By contrast, Germany lost 784 U-Boats, 632 of them at sea.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | August 13, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. You had wrappers? We tied leaves around our feet with spruce roots.
A beautiful day both yesterday and today in the other federal capital. We spent a good part of the day yesterday on water, a good way to get sunburns apparently. Plenty of fish in the water but none reached the canoe. Oh well, my hands didn't smell fishy by the end of the day.

Yep yello, the Obama health care reform needs real cheerleaders, not stolid senators from nowhere-land.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 13, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Great memories, jack. As for those other souls (soles?) walking barefoot in the snow five miles uphill both ways, remember that first liar doesn't have a choice.

The Ballad of Brenda and Eddie aka Scenes From An Italian Restaurant was written by Billy Joel. Otherwise I agree with the sentiment no matter which way it went.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, I'm not biting my thumb, I'm trying to figure out how to explain the massive dent in the kitchen table caused by repeated forehead impacts. You cruel, cruel woman!!! :-P (Kidding, sorta kinda) :-)

I seem to remember a BPH photo featuring Brenda and Eddie (or at least reasonable facsimilies)...

And apparently Susan Jacoby's detractors aren't going to let her forget about the sudden and total disappearance of her "Palin Facebook lies" post...

*wandering-off-in-search-of-Diet-Pepsi-and-fun Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 13, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for hunting down the Jacoby diatribe. It's one of those things that is just not very well developed and throws more fuel on the fire causing more heat than illumination if I may thoroughly mix my metaphors.

Speaking of evil, I love it when overlords turn on each other.

I say keep giving Dick rope and let him monologue his way into the history.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Blatent garden bragging, my moonflower buds, and one that I think may open tonight.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 13, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Wilbrod, glad you were able to see some shooting stars last night.

Speaking of which, had to snort at the "Cheney Uncloaks his Frustration With Bush" headline - I'm all good with ambiguity and triple entendre. Cue the organ music...

And hey, don't the bad guys always seem to turn on each other at the end of the movie?

Back to the Health Care bill debates (do the GOP folks call it 'Health Scare' yet?) for a sec, has the naked 'GOP Obama/Dem '08 Election payback disguised as patriotism' reached it's hysterical peak yet? I wonder if they'll be able to sustain it in the face of an economic turnaround -- one could argue that the Dems and Obama might benefit from delaying passage of the bills and using the economy as an example of the Administration and Dem Congress successfully addressing large problems.


Posted by: -bc- | August 13, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

One could argue that our massively complicated health care system affects our productivity and hence our international competitiveness. It always comes back to the economy.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I was wondering where everyone was... There's a new Kit.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 13, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. I am very late today because I partied last night and didn't go to bed till 1:15 ayem. That is practically unheard of! Obviously I had a blast among friends, and while I didn't overimbibe because I had to drive myself home, I did enjoy two glasses of Proseco.

The cause of the party was an extremely lopsided vote Sunday morning for a proposal to change church governance we had worked on for a year and a half. As with health care reform, we heard loud noises from a few people who swore it won't work and that we needed to put off the vote. So we sat on the stage in the fellowship hall and watched with open-mouthed amazement as a 75 year old lady got up and expressed strong support, amendments were shot down by a large margin, the question was called, and the vote went our way by 89 percent.

We had no idea that the vote would come, or that it would be so much in favor of the proposal. The lesson I take from this is that the health care reform opponents make much noise at their peril, because the vast majority is ready for change and will see that it happens.

Posted by: slyness | August 13, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I thought Jacoby's remarks (I would NOT call them a "rant," as several of her commenters did, nor a "diatribe") were perfectly fine as is. Yes, she turned the tables and said, in effect, that it was Palin who was "evil." I have no problem with that. That Jacoby did it both subtly and indirectly (by quoting Brodsky) and then without mentioning Palin directly ("sometimes evil walks onto a stage with a wink and a pair of very high heels. You betcha’.") belies any use of the words "rant," "diatribe," etc. Her entire entry ran to only 237 words -- no "diatribe" in my book. (I can't even get into third gear on my way to high dudgeon in less than 600 words, but that's just me.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

And mudge gets mudged.


Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

*applauding slyness while faxing her a couple of Alka-Seltzer for her hangover*

You church gals sure know how to party!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

you've been mudged, new kit!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 13, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Potage à la Tortue lines. Keep your shells near the shotgun.

Posted by: Dermitt | August 19, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

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