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Crazy vs. fanatical

The Hasan story is still very murky: I'm struck by how little we know so far about what he may have been thinking and why he would have done what he is accused of. The demands of instant analysis are not always met by the supply of facts. The published facts are sketchy and contradictory (he seemed like a nice guy; no, wait, he seemed angry and weird). The discussion of possible motives has touched on two basic theories, what you might call psychological vs. ideological. Or maybe crazy vs. fanatical. See The Post story today,or Tom Gjelten's NPR report last night. Maybe this will all clear up. In the meantime, a couple of thoughts, in the category of just thinking out loud on a Saturday morning:

Actions mean something. He allegedly murdered fellow soldiers in a carefully orchestrated, premeditated act (lots of ammo). He appears to have taken pains to give away all his possessions, as if tidying up his life before going on his rampage. On its face, that doesn't fit the model of someone just "snapping" one day. People who snap do all kinds of things, but they don't typically start shooting up an Army base. Countless military medical personnel are exposed to the same kind of stress that Hasan endured as a military psychiatrist, and they don't starting killing people.

Investigators are scouring Hasan's computer, and will look to see if he was part of some kind of jihadist network. If he got encouragement, it will be reminiscent of Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh and accomplice Terry Nichols were part of the militia movement. They weren't psychotic, or disassociated from reality in a medical sense. They were true believers who drifted to the fringe of a philosophy roiling with hatred and paranoia. McVeigh went to his death thinking he was some kind of freedom fighter.

Was McVeigh crazy? Sure, in a sense. But he wasn't crazy in a strictly medical sense. It's like those Heaven's Gate UFO people who committed suicide so they could meet up with the spaceship: Kooky as it was, their mass suicide was part of a pseudo-scientific worldview that had much less nutty and extreme variants. They had abundant sources of information telling them that what they were doing made sense. They researched it!

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 7, 2009; 9:19 AM ET
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I probably need more coffee before commenting on such a somber topic, but here goes. I think that in some sense anyone who does something like this is mentally disturbed. The fact that he was a mental health professional is even more disturbing. What I have never understood about acts like these is the need to kill other people rather than committing suicide - but I suppose it's something that makes sense to someone in the throes of depression, delusion, fanaticism.

In Seattle a police officer was killed Oct 31, and yesterday a suspect in his killing was shot. Terrible, terrible tragedies.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 7, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I never quite got the feeling that McVeigh's amphetamine usage was explained. It's pretty addictive and at least one of his cohorts used it regularly. Granted a lot of people seem normal for a while on it, and then they eventually get weirder, more paranoid, and finally embrace some sort of fascistic viewpoint (my opinion, and I have research!) Either he did or didn't use it, and if he did the odds are strong it affected him and his view.

The new guy, Hasan, sounds like a victim-mentality type.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 7, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Driving by the post office yesterday I saw a small group of people on the sidewalk, a table, and one of those Obama with a Hitler mustache posters. I almost stopped to see what they were promoting, but I was scared, partly that I'd lose my temper and partly that I just didn't want to deal with nutcases.

Every time I see Rush, Beck or Princess Sparklepony, I wonder how long before one of their followers goes off and attempts to do something hideous.

That said, it is a shame that Hasan is Muslim. It will invigorate all the crazy bigots again and endanger all law-abiding Muslims. There is so much hate, fear and rabble rousing in this country now and I blame the far right Repubs - which is most of them. There are so many serious issues that need to be addressed, and instead of discussion and debate, we get invective.

Posted by: badsneakers | November 7, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

This is how stupid I am. I have seen sneak's references to Princess Sparklepony, and it always makes me laugh, but I don't know who she is. Please to inform.

Posted by: Yoki | November 7, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, Princess Sparkle Pony is the right wing nut job repuglican from Minnesota, Michele Bachmann.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

There's a very profound point in this kit, and one we have discussed before.

It is tempting to characterize all who disagree with us as stupid or crazy. And, as Joel points out, sometimes they are. But more often our powers of empathy have simply become so stretched that we are no longer able to comprehend certain world views. World views that are rational and internally consistent, but are based on premises and values that make no sense to us.

Now, go down this line of argument too far and one comes up with a rather indefensible position of moral relativism. You know, that evil is nothing but a point of view. And, technically I guess it is, although this position isn't an especially useful way for a society to function.

The thing is, it is extremely dangerous to attribute motive based on what makes sense to you. I mean, I know people who think that organized religion is nothing but a big confidence game to make money because the notion that people actually *believe* that stuff is simply more than they can grasp.

So I guess it is natural that folks who view the world through an ideological lens will interpret these actions in ideological terms. Likewise for those who view it through the filter of psychological thought. To do otherwise is a awful lot of work.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 7, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Ah, thanks rickoshea. I have heard tell of this person's antics.

Posted by: Yoki | November 7, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Ah, thanks rickoshea. I have heard tell of this person's antics.

Posted by: Yoki | November 7, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

We passed the post office in town and noted the flag at half staff. The President was right to order them to be there through Wednesday.

Posted by: slyness | November 7, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I have vacuumed-up and disposed of the leaves in my front yard. My hands still tingle from the vibration. I have had a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich on my own home-made bread, and soon I shall have another one with a cup of coffee. Then, I will go back outside and finally mow the back yard that has needed mowing since, like, August.

All this is by way of saying that the sun is shining and for many of us, we are lucky enough to continue living through the quotidian details of our own lives. I'm not ready yet to have any meaningful opinion about the events in Ft. Hood and Orlando. They are sad. Beyond that, I'm lost.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 7, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I was looking at It Looks Like a President Only Smaller and the seller suggested people who liked that would like books by P.J.O'Rourke, Stephen Colbert, and Al Franken.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 7, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Fanatical means to develop such an obsession, such a worldview that a given group of people is automatically the enemy. Any efforts to reason will only threaten that person further.

The OK City bomber seemed fanatical (I refuse to use his name), as he was associated with militas and hate groups.

This guy was serving soldiers and actually part of the group he targeted. That suggests crazy or retaliatory behavior, rather than fanaticism.

Somebody said that it's sad that a mental health professional would be mentally ill.

I'd say that experience with mental health issues, either personal (might be depression only) or within family or other loved ones, tends to be a major trigger to pursue the mental health profession.

Insight and empathy may be one advantage of this personal experience; the downside is getting too close to the patient's experience, or destabilized by the process.

I've never met a mental health professional who didn't sometimes get affected by their clients' problems.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 7, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I said it was disturbing that Hasan was a mental health professional, in that it seems as if some other mental health professional might have noticed that he was having problems himself. Or that he might have sought help himself. Just an oddity - it's not often that you hear of someone with that background doing something like this. But I guess there is no common background.

Here's an article about the suspect in the cop killing case in Seattle - somewhat unusual, too:

Posted by: seasea1 | November 7, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I would guess, he got rid of his stuff knowing it was unlikely he would live through what he was going to do, or at best spend the rest of his life in jail.

If he is indeed mentally ill as opposed to a fanatic, isn't giving your stuff away something people may do when entering a depressive/suicidal phase?

Posted by: dmd3 | November 7, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

well, I'm still watching the health care reform debate in the House, and some repub has brought a live baby to testify against the bill. He spoke as if it were the baby speaking. Disgusting.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

That is so exploitive and yet so lame that in a way it is hilarious.

Posted by: Yoki | November 7, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

dmd3, I thought about that business about Hasan giving away his furniture and paying that woman to clean up his apartment -- and it all seemed to make perfect sense to me as what someone might do who was about to be deployed for a long period of time. And thus it would not arouse any suspicion in my mind.

I think we we all have far too many wrong-headed ideas about cases like this. One of them is that if we think about the case, it will make some sort of sense, sooner or later. But in a way, we contradict nourselves: we believe that an act we all agree is insane will make sense. But how can it make sense to us if we agree it is insane (which it is). We seem incapable of admitting that the answer to a problem is that there is no answer.

It also seems to me that unlike serial killers, we don't know very much at all about these kinds of sudden mass killers. One major reason is that we often capture serial killers, and so shrinks get a chance to study them. Hence, we have built up a body of knowledge about them and how they think, and what factors contribute to their killing, that the popular culture has absorbed that knowledge. So we have movies like Silence of the Lamb and Son of Sam, and a couple dozen more, and we have TV shows like "Criminal Minds," etc. that deal with them. So we all sort of understand serial killers. We all know about FBI profilers and we've all read the Kay Scarpetta books and other novels. We all know quite a bit about serial killers at some level.

Mass killers, however, seem to be different and much much harder for professionals to study, the main reason being they seldom get captured alive. They usually go down in a hail of bullets, whereas the serial killer who does onesies and twosies almost never does.

Also, while serial killers seem relatively common, these kinds of killers suddenly going postal are much more rare. And since so few of them seurvive their event, we don't have a significantly large body of people to study. The best the shrinks can do is go in afterward and try to figure them out. I don't know if anyone has ever done that and tried to put together a "profile" of the Postals.

Because that's what I think Hasan ultimately was: a guy who went postal, exactly like the guy in Orlando a day later. The thing with Hasan is that he has all sorts of misleading character traits that we're all fixated on.

But consider this: if a basic, ordinary white guy can go postal, why can't a muslim go postal? A Buddhist? A Chinese guy? A Hispanic in Bolivia? Going postal may turn out to be an international thing, and Hasan religion and background a red herring.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 7, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

One of the talking heads on TV used "despair" and "anger" to describe Hasan's likely state of mind, and that seems right to me. Patching together what we've learned of him, I get a picture of someone living in isolation and alienation--someone who was well-adjusted enough to succeed academically up to a point, but who seemed to have no real attachments to anyone. A member of a disrespected minority group and, according to his brother, unappreciated, perhaps even rejected, by soldiers returning from Iraq who did not want to be treated by a Muslim doctor. Facing deployment into a war zone, one in which the bad guys are all Muslims and most of the good guys aren't.

Joel is right to note the planning involved in this incident, but, to me, it seems like what he was planning was a way to get out of an intolerable situation, while taking with him people who he saw as tormentors.

Kevin Drum has a report from someone who was there:

And James Fallows has a worthwhile comment about whether it's even worthwhile to try to understand incidents such as this:

Posted by: ndgirl | November 7, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Likewise, why do we think somebody in the military can't go postal, just like a civilian can? In fact, we call it "going postal," because of a handful of cases where a postal worker went nuts and shot up his workplace. We have no rational reason to believe going postal happenes only in one specific kind of occupation or environment, but not others. Nobody is wondering about the guy in Orlando and thinking, "Gee, I never thought somebody in engineering would go postal."

Why do we think it so unlikely that a psychiatrist might go postal? Do we think psychiatrists are somehow any saner than all the rest of us, as a group? We are amazingly hypocritical: we are perfectly happy believing that Dr. Hannibal Lecter could be the sickest, most insane kind of cannibal and serial killer, and nobody bats an eyelash about his profession. (The fact that he's fictional is completely irrelevant; the point is, we buy the premises, as Carson says.) Nobody has any problem believing that a doctor, who signs the Hippocratic Oath, can kill his wife, whether it is the fictional Dr. Richard Kimball or the real-life Dr. Sam Shephard, who was tried, convicted and executed for murder.

If we would just think for a second, we would realize doctors and psychiatrists just don't get a pass, any more than anybody else.

I think what we have in Hasan is just a guy who went postal, who happened to have some odd but non-significant factors. This one happened to be muslim, this one happened to be a shrink, and this one happened to be in the military. None of those three factors especially explains anything about him, or about what happened.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 7, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

When I start pondering this question, what makes people do crazy things like this, I usually come around pretty soon to the reverse question. What is it that stops most people from doing crazy things most of the time? We feel free, like we are acting with free will, and yet, when we consider the range of theoretically possible actions, we just don't do most of them.

Violence is bad, and there is altogether too much hatred and killing in the world.

Here are some pretty flowers, sent electronically to my A-blog friends, along with best wishes for peace, love and happiness:

Posted by: kbertocci | November 7, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Health care reform bill update

Another representative, this one the head of the Health Committee has brought children to the podium with him. This time two kids, a boy and a girl.

*The Speaker has now reminded members not to bring children up to the podium "as props."

Surely the opposition will bring three kids to speak with them. No one seems to be following rules of decorum.

Unfortunately, I have to turn off C-Span to go into town to meet a former babysitter and her husband. She's now a 40-year-old law professor. How ever did she get so old?

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

It is unfortunate, but it seems to be a theme (AND it doesn't apply under all circumstances) that mental health care professionals often go into that profession to take control of others, as they are so out of control themselves. My brother -- a psychoanalyst -- is, in reality, a passive-aggressive narcissist. His wife (2nd wife) -- having a license to practice psychiatry -- is, in reality, so *expletively certifiable* that one's jaw drops in her presence, she is soooo nutz. And a narcissist, as well. To me, they're made for each other -- indeed, a match made in heaven, so to speak.

On the other hand, I have met some very fine mental health care providers.

Those who fulminate against Obama (that is, those who march to Rove's, Limbaugh's, Beck's and Princess Sparkle Pony's orders) are entirely too terrified to even drop back and think for themselves. They seem to have been taking other people's orders all their lives. It's so comfortable for them to be in that position -- no matter how much harm it does to them by those who order them about -- that they continue, over and over, to put themselves in that position. It's the "better the devil you know" argument.

I highly recommend a book by Alice Miller (a Swiss psychiatrist (maybe she's even a psychoanalyst) -- very sane, BTW), called "The Drama of the Gifted Child". I have to go find my copy and read it again. It's outstanding in revealing how we live our lives -- sort of on automatic pilot -- without having any self-awareness at all.

I shall be working from morning to night every day this week, including tomorrow. Pays the mortgage, yanno!

Happy days to the Boodlers. I shall emerge now and again to get a breath or two of fresh air from you all.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 7, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that James Fallows link, ndgirl; it was very good. And it was short, short enough that I think I want to re-paste it here, in its entirety:

"One consequence of having been alive through a lot of modern American history is remembering a lot of mass shootings. I was working at a high school summer job when news came over the radio that Charles Whitman had gunned down more than 40 people, killing 14, from the main tower at the University of Texas at Austin. I was editing a news magazine during the schoolyard killings in Paducah, Kentucky in 1997 and sent reporters to try to figure out what it all meant. I can remember where I was when the live-news coverage switched to the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, and the shootings at the one-room schoolhouse in the Amish country of Pennsylvania, and the Virginia Tech shootings two years ago. And all the rest."

"In the saturation coverage right after the events, the "expert" talking heads are compelled to offer theories about the causes and consequences. In the following days and weeks, newspapers and magazine will have their theories too. Looking back, we can see that all such efforts are futile. The shootings never mean anything. Forty years later, what did the Charles Whitman massacre "mean"? A decade later, do we "know" anything about Columbine? There is chaos and evil in life. Some people go crazy. In America, they do so with guns; in many countries, with knives; in Japan, sometimes poison."

"We know the emptiness of these events in retrospect, though we suppress that knowledge when the violence erupts as it is doing now. The cable-news platoons tonight are offering all their theories and thought-drops. They've got to fill time. I wish they could stop. As the Vietnam-era saying went, Don't mean nothing."


Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 7, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Hi all... sitting in Son of G's living room watching CSPAN, so rickoshea can go right ahead and meet her friends in town: we're here watching so y'all don't have to.

Had a wonderful visit this morning with Jack, visiting his new shop and spending a little time on his famous PORCH. I feel so privileged. What a beautiful place and such nice company.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, sometimes "spree killers" are actually serial killers who just do it all at one go.

Sometimes spree killers have acquired problems, such as brain tumors, or other illnesses that cause them to cave in under great pressure.

Alan Lipman says there are three types in general.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 7, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Glad I missed that, rickoshea, although I'm sure it will turn up on youtube and MSNBC.

Probably the thing that keeps mass killings from being more international is that the US gun culture provides such easy access to guns. And obsession with such. In one sense it is the price for a free society, but this doesn't happen in most other free societies, which don't have a "right to bear arms". Really wish the founding fathers hadn't done that.

Dave Cullen's book about Columbine found that Dylan Klebold was depressed and suicidal. This is his mother's recent article in O Magazine, where she talks about that:

Posted by: seasea1 | November 7, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the flower pics, kb. I'm glad to know there is a World Headquarters for orchids.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 7, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

That's where all the orchids get their marching orders.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 7, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Win by new black Democrat mayor in nation's 10th largest state upsets pundit applecart, so it is widely -- ignored.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 7, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, to your point about doctors, well known case up here, mom kills her child, sadly not that unusual (she was depressed), What shocked everyone was the mom was a successful doctor, the manner is was done was also awful, if I recall correctly walked in front of the subway.

I just hope there is not backlash against Muslims.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 7, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Jumper... good article... and so well written, too.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Well, Jumper, the President noticed and called our new mayor. I was glad for that.

The Republican who lost is a good friend of a friend, but I didn't vote for him. I remember his vote as a councilmember against proceeding with the fire station that's less than three blocks from his home. That fire station is in the perfect location and the neighbors - it is in front of a small development of million-dollar homes -drove me crazy. He knew he would be outvoted, so he made a show to support the objections of the rich people, who didn't care that they weren't getting reasonable fire protection services. I'll never vote for the guy.

Yes, I'm a one-topic voter on this one.

Posted by: slyness | November 7, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Crazy or fanatical? A distinction without a difference. He's a murderer, plain and simple.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 7, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Although a friend echoed ftb's observation by saying: "He's a psychiatrist? Of course he was nuts. They all are."

Posted by: yellojkt | November 7, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Amazing flowers. Those things are so creepy looking. They look like alien invaders.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 7, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Princess Sparkle Pony spent her minute talking about a couple who came to DC from Hawaii to express their dislike for the "Pelosi bill." Doesn't she represent Minnesota? I'm so confused. She was actually wearing a lei.

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

Take the long view,TBG. That makes as much sense as anything else the Repuglicans are saying about the health care bill.

Posted by: slyness | November 7, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the flowers KB. Just right for this.

Posted by: --dr-- | November 7, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm back from dinner. It makes me so happy to see how kids turn out. My babysitter is amazing, and so happy to be married to her husband, who is a keeper. She has remained true to her ideals, which gladdens my heart. She and her husband give at least $50 - 75,000 to charity, and they plan to increase that each year. And they give anonymously.

The health care reform bill debate continues, and a vote is expected around 10 pm, so I'll continue to watch. Some Rep just said, "Their (Repuglican) bill is a skimpy as a hospital gown... They want the freedom to go bankrupt."

I'd vote for him (if I lived in Austin, Texas).

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Yello, the rep. rep from Oregon is wearing a very sporty and large lapel pin in the form of a bicycle! You may want to email him to ask him to send you one.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I do love Anthony Weiner.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm typing as I backboodle, so these may be disjointed thoughts. I've seen a lot of crime, a lot of murder, professionally over the years. Most of it has fairly obvious motives. Some of it is just flat inexplicable through ordinary means. I very strongly agree with RD and Mudge that we cannot profitably view motive in these cases, particularly of mass murder, through the lens which makes sense to us.

Yes, people who suddenly commit mass murder against relative strangers (not family or immediate employers, for instance) are probably mentally disturbed in some way. They may be angry or depressed. They may be phsically ill. They may have been dropped on the head as a child (an astonishing percentage of Death Row inmates had childhood head injuries). They may have had deprived or dangerous childhoods; they may have extreme political or religious views.

The point is that lots of other people share these experiences and do not commit mass murder. Some mass murders share none of them. People try desperately to make sense of the scary and dangerous by categorizing it as an outreach of something they can understand. I suggest that this is seldom useful except, perhaps, to confirm one's view of the world.

Everyone in Oklahoma says McVeigh's name, and that of Nichols too. We're not scared of them and we don't think saying their names gives them power over us. They were just people.

By the way, possibly the first "postal" crime - coining the term - was a mass murder at a post office in Edmond, Oklahoma, a suburb of OKC. My aunt went to high school with the shooter.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 7, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Back from a nice drive around the Falmouth Road Race route and dinner in Woods Hole. Missed seeing #2, too crowded at her restaurant to bother going inside.

Kber, loved the flower pics. The third one looks very much like a plant I have, altho' mine is much smaller.

I'm glad I'm not watching the House debate, I can't afford a new TV right now. There are times, and this is one of them, when I am convinced that at least half of the citizens of the USA are insane. And a good portion of the remainder are gutless. I regret not stopping yesterday when I saw that Obama as Hitler sign.

Posted by: badsneakers | November 7, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I can't watch the House "debate" for long. Wish they'd hurry up and vote, but it's like waiting for the last 2 minutes of a football game to be over.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 7, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Interesting fact: John Boehner just said 'hyper-bowl.'

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

He is blathering on, isn't he, rickoshea?

Oh wow... "Members will take seats and cease conversation" from the speaker!

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I thought they were working within time limits here. ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz......

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with you people? There is football on. GT went for 4th and 1 in OT and made it, winning 30-27. You can't script games more exciting than that.

Politics is like watching paint dry. And they get to do it all again next month when the real bill is written in conference.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 7, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

John Dingell gets the last word on the health care reform bill. He was a major player in passing Medicare. He was greeted with loud huzzahs.

Yello. Politics is a process, and it's fascinating and important to pay attention.

Attention must be paid when major changes are being made.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I fogot that they were debating the abortion ban amendment. They have to do that before they can get to the bill in toto.

I'll TRY not to post anything more about this. I promise.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

No, no, keep posting. I literally could not watch John Boehner, so I missed his pronunciation of hyperbole. I'm going to pour a glass of wine, settle in with some knitting, and hope that the bill eventually gets voted on and passes. At which point I will pour another glass of wine.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 7, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Yes Rickoshea, please keep watching and reporting for those of us who just don't have the nerve!

Posted by: badsneakers | November 7, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

They'll be voting on the real deal shortly.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

To tediously continue on-Kit, yello's onto something when he says the distinction between crazy and fanatical (if any, and whatever it is) makes no difference here. Or is, as some say in the law (not me, I don't write like this) "a distinction without a difference".

I do think Joel's distinction between "crazy" and "fanatical" is right. The law defines "crazy" as being unable to tell if your actions are right from wrong, or being unable to act on the understanding if you can tell. [This is a terrible definition which does not compare well with our modern understanding of mental illness. For instance, most schizophrenics will not be "crazy" under this legal definition. But I digress.] Fanatics may very well know exactly what they're doing, and be aware of the consequences in the real world, but take what seems to them logical actions.

I believe deep down people want to explain mass murder, in a way understandable to us, because if we think we understand what factors caused the behavior we can keep ourselves safe - both from being victims and from committing such a crime. Those people aren't like us, because they are motivated by [fill in personality type, disease or abnormality, bad experience here]. As I am not like those people, they cannot hurt me. As I am not like those people, I would never find myself acting on violent, destructive impulses.

I believe, of course, that most of us who acknowledge such impulses, however obliquely, don't act on them; more of us do not consciously understand how we might be capable of acting. We may prevent ourselves from being a perpetrator, but nobody is safe from being a victim, no matter what the murderer's motives may be.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 7, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Okay then! Here I go.

The anti-abortion amendment passed. So that means that lower income women who decide that abortion is the best option for them will have to pay out of pocket because NO insurance plan will be allowed to, as I understand the amendment. But I'm getting punchy, so I may have missed a nuance or two.

Now we have another vote. This is on the Boehner amendment, which I forgot all about.

The amendment failed.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh, for pity's sake! Regression, anyone?

So glad that abortion on demand became the law of the land in theory, in 1986. Just wish it were available in practice, universally. Instead, petty preachers to women have triumphed, too often.

Let us heroize Henry Morganthaler.

Posted by: Yoki | November 7, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

They won't be allowed to cover an abortion under any conditions rickoshea?

Posted by: dmd3 | November 7, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I hope yello is watching, because this is more fun than a GT football game.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Out of curiosity, would the costs of birth control be covered under the proposed plan?

Posted by: dmd3 | November 7, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Even when the bill passes tonight, it has to go to Committee to match up with the Senate version. The abortion amendment can change there.

Steny Hoyer was great, no? Such a contrast with Eric Cantor.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, we did give him the Order of Canada, much deserved.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 7, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I made a crucial mistake. The lack of abortion option applies to the health insurance exchanges.

I've switched my computer info from WaPo and NYT to Politico. So much better. Even better, but without reportage, is the Office of the Clerk website.

Here are some comments from Politic

- - - -

The Republicans made a serious tactical mistaken by voting on the Stupak amendment. Adopting the amendment will not prevent abortion funding, it will be stripped out in conference. All Republicans have done is make a political statement while increasing the probability that the underlying bill including abortin funding will pass. They should have simply not voted and let it be a fight among democrats. They would have defeated it and we would peel off a dozen democrats on final passage.

- - - -

This deal is BS. The abortion language will get rewritten in conference! I'll be very disappointed if members are persuaded by the BOTOX Queen to vote for this bill.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

TBG: Are you in it till the end? I think I am. Although I haven't participated in historical events as Mudge has, I've observed as much, and I want to see this through.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

yeah, Maggie. I'm here with Son of G and just realized that Daughter is back home watching CSPAN on her own! I learned this from reading her latest Tweet... "so I guess my uterus belongs to this stupak person now..."

So now Son of G and I are here watching and we are IM'ing with Daughter who is at home watching. We're such a nerdy family. Glad you're here with us, too, here.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

TGB. You done good.

Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of tender years,
Can't know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

The final vote is on.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Woo hoo! The good guys win in overtime!

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Yay, Yay, Yay! The vote is 218 with 6 plus minutes remaining!

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Maggie. :-)

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Woo hoo! (Wondering who the 39 or 40 weasel Demecrats are that voted against it.)

Posted by: seasea1 | November 7, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Time remaining: 0. Bill passes.

Just in time for SNL.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Joseph Cao (R-La) is the lone Republican who voted for the bill.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 7, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Seasea, has a little list...

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 7, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

We gave in and watched the vote on C-SPAN. I realize that I don't understand procedure in these votes and motions, etc. Suggestions as to a good place to get educated?

Posted by: badsneakers | November 7, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

badsneaks, this was my first source of how a bill becomes law in the US. :-) As you can see I am not that helpful on this subject.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 7, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Usually the C-SPAN guy (or gal) does a good job explaining things, but they don't keep yakking incessantly like other networks...

Yay, Rep Cao (R-LA)!

Probably most birth control will be covered, but it will depend on the individual plans. I'm not entirely sure if my plan covers it (I'm too old to worry about that now). Back when I did, I paid for birth control myself.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 7, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

many thanks to TBG and SonofG for taking the time to visit this afternoon. Boodle mojo was working big time, enabling us to help a family design a memorial. The boodle *is* family.

Posted by: -jack- | November 8, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Jaysus Gawd.

Posted by: Yoki | November 8, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Yoki.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 8, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

sir, did you say *louder*?

Posted by: -jack- | November 8, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Mudge. Hi Yoki.

Posted by: -jack- | November 8, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

The reason I can identify a Grateful Dead song in two beats?


Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 8, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

admit it, ros. you're a closet deadhead

Posted by: -jack- | November 8, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I admit it, I was in the 60's a non-traveling deadhead, but in the 70's I eschewed it all to become an upper-income suburban housewife, and I put all that behind me, Satan.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 8, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it grand to have a Curmudgeon and a jack and a rickoshea? Not mention the Dead and Green Day?

Yes. It is.

Posted by: Yoki | November 8, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Hi, all. Chiming in on the birth control issue, back in the day I paid for my own, too. But did you know how much it costs now? Elder daughter takes it for her skin, and without insurance discounts the generic is $50/month. That's an increase way above inflation over the last 20-30 years.

Gotta go to sleep - have a good evening, night owls.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | November 8, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | November 8, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Further thanks to kb for the 4:29 flower show. If it's any encouragement, some of those plants are easy to grow, including some of the Oncidium orchids, like the yellow #2. I've got one putting on a show. #4 looks like Heliconia collinsiana, which is fun for its big silver-bottomed leaves that can be waving 10 feet off the ground, as well as for those spectacular flowers.

I was at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami (Coral Gables) today. Social visit to a palm sale and further social visiting with a couple of palm enthusiasts from San Diego and their tour guides.

The Garden's recovery from the hurricane disaster of 1992 came up repeatedly. I pointed out a couple of very tall tall palms that "might very well have blown down" only to be told that they had. The palms that the winds had strewn across the Garden owe their long lives to having been hoisted upright within a few days of the storm. Disney World provided essential equipment and skilled workers arrived from nurseries and botanical gardens.

Over a longer term, the hurricane provided an opportunity to replace poorly-documented plants with newly-collected ones.

The Garden's Madagascar Thorn Forest exhibit was looking fantastic, in the Tim Burton sense of the word.

I don't envy journalists trying to cover Dr. Hasan's rampage. Not going to listen to the insta-pundits. The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences has a statement on its web page.

I suppose tonight's health care vote in the House will stand for the next 15 years or so as the high-water mark for anything approaching full coverage. I suppose Ezra Klein will provide a scenario for what might pass the Senate in 2011 or 2013.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 8, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

I’d love to listen to the Diavlog but the 1-min-listening 3-mins-bufferring drove me crazy.

Ask any non-Muslim in this region anytime, and they’ll tell you that it’s a bad idea to send an American Muslim soldier or army personnel to Iraq or Afghan. It’s, you know, common sense that you shouldn’t.

Posted by: rainforest1 | November 8, 2009 2:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm not so sure about that, rainforest1,since I hate to think so, but love your 'commonsense' comment. I think we could, in general, do with more street-smarts. Generally.

Posted by: Yoki | November 8, 2009 3:43 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

Hooray for passage of the House Bill on Health Care. Hooray because it's a start. On to the Senate, will the bill be reconciled and pass? Stay tuned....

It seems to me that if depression is anger turned inward (as I have believed because it made sense to me) the guy would have shot himself dead, instead of taking it out on so many others. Certifiable might have been evident, unless he was self medicating; but who am I to figure it out? Prayers for the dead and the wounded and their families, yes, even for Hasan and his tortured soul.

The only bright spot in all of this tragedy could be the civilian police woman who brought him down, She is my hero.

KB, never knew there were so many varieties of orchids. How lovely they are when tended in a natural, warm setting.

Still about an hour away from first light, enjoy the day, the weather will be fantastic!

Posted by: VintageLady | November 8, 2009 6:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle! Always nice to see you, VintageLady.

I guess I should go to bed, eh?

Posted by: Yoki | November 8, 2009 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Yoki! You're still up? I hope it is for a good reason.

Yay for the House!

Posted by: slyness | November 8, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Wish I'd hung around for live boodling last night, but one look at Boehner on C-span made me turn off the TV lest I be driven to unkind thoughts and wishes for tragic side effects from whatever method of fake tan he uses.

Much policy wonk talk at the rural women's leadership conference yesterday. I should say it was non-partisan with the lone exception of the Princess Sparkle Pony caveat-that is "we encourage women of all political persuasions to run for office, except for nut jobs like the Princess." In practice non-partisan on the Iron Range, where the conference was held, is mostly left of center with a touch of libertarianism. One of the dem candidates for gov hung out with the 50 or so women there. Great guy, too candid and unfiltered to have a serious shot.

Time to grab a cup of coffee and watch the sun come up. Hoping last night's vote leads to more of my neighbors having access to health care. Even if it takes a while to get there, at last it seems like we're on the path.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 8, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad everybody's team won. I'm sure the endless grandstanding and pointless procedural motions leading to a fait accompli vote was entertaining, but like I said last night, this bill still has to go through conference and there is no telling what that sausage will look like then.

The prescribing birth control pills for non-reproductive reasons seems to be a pretty common dodge around insurance restrictions. I know of several families that have their teenage daughters on BCPs for control of acne. Whatever works. Of course The Pill is no protection against STIs, so it's really just a backstop for when the condom doesn't work.

Don't make me do the cost effectiveness calculation on a month of BCPs versus a twelve pack of Trojans. It might depress me too much.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Everyone.

Wow. The plan passed the House. The system might not be completely broken after all. But as VL points out, there is more to come.

Ivansmom - I really enjoyed your post. (As is my habit.) I think your underlying point relates to our fondness for conspiracy theories as well. Of which I have no doubt there will be many.

A beautiful, beautiful fall morning around here. Although I am trying not to notice that more leaves are showing up on my lawn. These are immigrant leaves, you see. I am considering a wall.

Or, I could just have another cup of this excellent coffee, and return to the pages of the Washington Post.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 8, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

The House Clerk site has the final vote as being 220-215. Here are the Democrats that voted no:

Adler (NJ)
Davis (AL)
Davis (TN)
Edwards (TX)
Gordon (TN)
Herseth Sandlin
Markey (CO)
Murphy (NY)

Yup. That's all 39. As for party discipline, that's 15% of Democrats straying versus 0.5% Republicans.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Morning everyone, beautiful sunny morning here, today we will have a family celebration for my in-laws 60th Wedding anniversary - a little belated as the anniversary was in September but we had to wait until they came home from NS.

Orchids do well in northern climes as well, one of the national parks we went to a couple of years ago, is in part a national park because of the native wildflowers - particularly the orchids. (Singing Sands National Park).

Posted by: dmd3 | November 8, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Regarding those Dems who voted no. It is entirely possible that if the bill were in danger of failing, some of them would have voted yes.

My understanding is that this strategy is extremely common, and even endorsed by the party leadership, because it allows vulnerable seats to be protected while still allowing bills to pass. This would explain why many controversial votes are so close.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 8, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

The filter didn't like my comments (inoffensive) about Hasan at all so hopefully the last graf will go through:

Hasan lives. He's now off a ventilator at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He survives to be able to explain his motive(s), his actions, his mindset.

My husband and I saw two huge torosauruses engage in combat last night. The young male challenger had taken on the old bull and won. Then the younger male suffered some sort of mechanical failure and expired on stage, which caused the entire $20 million production of "Walking with Dinosaurs" to shut down for five minutes inside the AT&T Center, the first time I'd been in the immense arena that holds Spurs games.

If there wasn't supposed to be any flash photography you sure could have fooled me--numerous small bursts of light throughout the entire production made the backdrop to the huge creatures look like the 4th of July. There were other problems as well during what should have been an enjoyable experience-in addition to dying dinos.

Posted by: laloomis | November 8, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Aha, an on kit thought.

If I were more fanatical about grammar, yello's that/who confusion would drive me crazy. Thanks for the list though. I see at least one vote was the typical oppose the good in pursuit of the perfect.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 8, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely right. In a well whipped majority party, the final vote should often be just a few votes over the passing mark. It's the overwhelming majority votes that you should be suspicious of because they are either meaningless or something other than what they appear to be.

Cao's vote (the only Republican to do so) was not decisive but did destroy Cantor's claim to have no Republicans in favor of the bill. I predict a major expansion of a military base in his district soon.

This is all theater. Theater that makes Kabuki look like Rogers and Hammerstein.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Kucinich in particular was a nose-cutting spiter. Again, like RD mentioned, the vote was arranged to give him cover. If the outcome were in doubt, more pressure would have been brought on him to toe the line.

At this point my that/who quirk had better just be part of my bumpkinish illiterate charm. Like congressmen WHO (caught myself) can't pronounce 'hyperbole'.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

yello - that reminds me of a dreadful joke I once heard.

It was about a college football game. The game in question was so incredibly amazing that evolution stopped so that all creatures could watch it. The outcome was so stupendous that it made burly men fall to the floor and weep uncontrollable and prim women writhe in ecstasy. This game became known, of course, as the hyper-bowl.


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

McDonnell was on Fox News Sunday saying that he is going to govern with the same sense of moderation that he ran on, which presumably includes his goal to defund Planned Parenthood and expand the death penalty.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

A further I-Watch-Fox-News-So-You-Don't-Have-To Upate: Bill Kristol is blaming the Hasan shooting on excessive political correctness in the military.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

yello-at this point your that/who quirk is part of your voice. You wouldn't be yello without it any more than you would be you without your love of musical theater and your prurient interests.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 8, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Yello, my kid is on BCP for her skin. She's never had a boyfriend, yet. Stop with the "nudge, nudge, wink wink" routine.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | November 8, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Slightly blasphemous, but sort of thought-provoking:

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmm... Laundry, followed by a football chilifest with friends.

Must be Sunday! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 8, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

And to wander back on-Kit...

We will never know why Hasan did what he did. Even if he survives to be interrogated, it's likely his "explanation" will have been rationalized after the fact. And if he goes to trial, his defense strategy (if there is one) will also be a rationalization instead of an attempt to discern the "truth." *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 8, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

No offense intended. There are lots of legitimate medical uses for hormonal birth control treatment. A former coworker of mine's wife was on BCP for some sort of chronic interuterine bleeding. They ended up having to go through multiple fertility treatments before having kids, proving the family planning aspects of that were unnecessary, but it did make a big difference to the insurance company about whether they paid for it or not.

So my point is that if you want to have BCP, you have to have some other condition which includes their use or you have to foot the bill yourself which seems grotesquely hypocritical and/or puritanical.

And while I do not know your daughter, don't you feel a little more secure knowing that the beneficial side effect of this treatment is that she is protected from an unwanted pregnancy in case her sound judgment should fail or, heaven forbid, she should be the victim of a sexual assault?

Personally I think all women should be encouraged by their family and their doctors to get a Norplant at the age of fifteen. The time to get kids to think about family planning options is long before they are in a serious relationship.

I also think that that the government should pay for birth control for teenagers if necessary. In this prudish environment, this would never happen even if you could get past the false eugenics fear. But I don't have a daughter so my opinion has not been tested.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I truly doubt that I am the only boodler with prurient interests (or a love for musical theater for that matter) but I'm one of the few willing to share them and occasionally exaggerate them for comic effect. It's up to the reader to determine where the oversharing ends and the ridiculous implausibility begins.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

*duck w/fake eyebrow glasses, moustache and cigar falls from ceiling holding "ridiculous implausibility" placard*

TBG, tell yello what he's won!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 8, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I agree about never getting a reasonable 'explanation" out of Hasan, Scotty, but also keep in mind, he'll never get a civilian trial. He'll almost certainly get a military court-martial, a quick verdict and death penalty sentence, and they'll hang him at Portsmouth or Leavenworth, wherever the military does that sort of thing. No ten years on death row, no innumerable rounds of appeals, no round of shrinks all saying a hundred different things but agreeing he was crazy.

His being in the military will turn out to be the silver lining in this horrible cloud: he's toast, and is in the super express lane.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 8, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Another beautiful sunny day. Perfect leave picking weather.
It was a perfect day to walk the dogs this morning. Walking the dogs has become a 2-step affair. To the end of the street and back with both dogs (1km or so) then a real walk with the VLP. The Ancient Giant Black Lab is spent after one km of slow walking but wishes to do more. The VLP is just getting warmed up but absolutely wants to get back to his couch/carpet/cushion and so the first couple of hundred metres is a towing the (strong and heavy) dog exercise. After a while he picks up speed and gets to enjoy the walk.
Mrs. D is heading west this afternoon. I think She had only 2 full weekends in the past 7 or 8.
She requested a lentil soup as lunch so I'm trying a roasted butternut squash&red lentil indian soup. With the garam masala, garlic, fried onion and cilantro that should be savoury enough.
The poisoning of the American political discourse with abortion and gun rights amazes me. I'm surprised the NRA is requesting to suspend funding to hospital not permitting conceled weapons in the building.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 8, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The military hasn't executed anyone since '61. The only one of 6 on death row who seems close todeath is a guy (serial killer) whose execution was approved by W. I believe he was convicted in the late 80s early 90s. Besides the obvious need to abolish the death penalty (that's my bias and I'm sticking to it) it seems a bit odd that all the men on the military death row are minorities.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 8, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

On-kit, was McVeigh crazy? No, crazy implies a medical condition. Evil? No, evil does bad for the pleasure gained from the act. McVeigh's outlook provided him with what he perceived to be justification for his actions. Chances are, this is Hasan too. Not evil, not crazy, but acting out of a sense of righteousness.

Friendly fire implies an accident, a case of wrong place wrong time, or a case of 'ooops we thought those were enemy tanks.' Hasan's actions weren't friendly fire. He was taking out those he perceived to be an enemy. Same with McVeigh.

Off to enjoy the beautiful weather. Have a happy day.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 8, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I've said it before and I will repeat it until you've grown tired of it (as if you aren't already): Hasan committed premeditated murder. Killing other humans (excluding self-defense and Augustinean 'just war' circumstances) is always wrong regardless of the motivation. Everything else is irrelevant.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

yello, in regard to your BCP discussion immediately above, while I agree that teenagers should be given birth control (and EDUCATION about its use and all possible side effects), I note (and perhaps other Boodlers of the female persuasion did so as well) that you indicated only the use of birth control by females.

It brings to mind the old saying of telling daughters to be careful and telling sons to get lucky. It also evokes one of Gloria Steinem's great lines that "if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament." She's 75 this year (and remains ageless).

*I wonder if the Lions can trample the Seahawks today*


Posted by: -ftb- | November 8, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

(Laughing, Scotty)

Rainforest's remark disturbed me in ways I will have to think through over a period of time.

One thought I had is that Hasan simply switched sides - defected - in the middle of his allotted time as a soldier. Which is despicable on a whole lot of levels. I just can't come up with a simile at the moment.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 8, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse


That double standard is disturbing and not one I endorse. I used to paraphrase an old stand-up comedian that said that if any boy showed up to pick up his daughter in a van, he'd chase him off with a shotgun. But if he had a son, the first thing he'd buy him on his sixteenth birthday would be a van.

We sold our van long before my son turned 16. He got my old Camry instead. While not impossible to use as a love-nest, it's much less comfortable than a Grand Caravan. (Here is where I resist making a 'Mallrats' allusion.)

My mother (my dad never talked to me once about sex) pushed the "wait until you're married strategy" because that's what worked for her generation. Knowing that was painfully unrealistic for my generation, let alone my son's, we went with the "avoid casual hook-ups and become close friends with a person before entering a sexual relationship" theme. Perhaps that is just as naive.

We also pushed that an unplanned pregnancy is a bad idea and that birth control is both partners' responsibility. Perhaps not in so many words, but, trust me, he got the message.

Another perhaps disingenuous ploy to encourage the use of condoms among young men is to play up the "conniving women will try to 'trap' you, so don't take their word on it" angle. While false and a little misogynistic, it does emphasize the need for having to take personal responsibility every time.

No, I haven't bought him a box of condoms and told him to use these only if my sage advice went askew. Color me hypocrite for that. But I think he knows where to find some if he needs them. If only I had that level of availability to those when I was in college.

Also, I work with a Seahawks fan and he does not share your hopes.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

More than a little.

Posted by: Yoki | November 8, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* Well, at least the Lions beat the Redskins.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 8, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, yellojkt.

As for your "disingenuous" ploy, I've known enough women who might do exactly that to say that it's actually a very valid warning, especially for causal sex where he doesn't know the other person
that well.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey, badsneakers! You drove the Falmouth Road Race route? I assume you are referring to the foot-race event, but there also once was (maybe there still is) the Tour de Woods Hole bicycle race, the one bicycle race in which I ever competed. I came in a spectacular #17 out of 67. I thought that was pretty good for a 14-year old. The critical point is that I beat my Dad's exercise-nut military friend in an all-out sprint to the finish line. Dad came in at #20 -- however, he had an injured leg muscle. I think he could have taken the #17 slot otherwise, possibly even #15. Of course, the entire route was only 7.5 miles. Not one of your longer bicycle road races.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 8, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

RD, that joke's not dreadful. I love it, it so perfectly describes all televised football games.

"Clash of the titans"

"the agony of defeat, the ectacsy of victory"

(fill in your favorite football announcer cliche.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I see no way that I could contribute to yellojkt's discussion on birth control options without seriously over-sharing.

You're welcome.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 8, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Hi Science Tim. Yes, the foot-race route. It is a very pretty drive, especially the first few miles past the lighthouse and thru' the woods. "S" hadn't been aware of the whole route altho' when we did the second half, it was dark, but I think he got the idea. I don't know anything about a bike race, was it the same route? If it was, it would be about 7 miles.

Posted by: badsneakers | November 8, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

The route you describe sounds a lot like the bike race route. I don't recall too many details, it was 33 years ago. Let's see, Water Street to Woods Hole Road to Church Street, Church Street down to Nobska Road, up around the Nobska lighthouse... after that, I just followed the markers. We came back around by the golf course, down School Street and back to Water. (Google Maps helped me a little on remembering road names). I nearly wiped out on the turn from School back onto Water. Powering across the draw bridge was exciting and scary -- I normally would drop my speed over the bridge, as it doesn't provide a lot of traction on the metal lattice-work, and I shudder to think of the injuries that would result from a thinly-clad and unhelmeted body hitting that surface at 30+ mph (it was the olden days -- no helmets). But I had to win that final sprint!

Afterwards, I had an experience that has proven to be once-in-a-lifetime: when I got off my bike, my leg muscles all locked into a straight-leg position and I had to clutch a parking meter and use it to lower myself to the ground to recover from the last sprint. It was an odd feeling. No pain, but my knees wouldn't bend.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 8, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

^%$#*&^%. I had the Cards picked ever since Tuesday...and then about 10 minutes before game time I switched to the Bears. *sigh*

As for this week's installment of Pathetico-Tragi-Mockery Theater, the less mumbled the better. At least I had the good sense to pick the Falcons.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 8, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Just back for a lovely 60th anniversary lunch for my in-laws, the location was a nice restaurant on the lake, today is sunny and calm and although a little hazy the views to the lake were nice.

Enjoyable company and a great celebration combining their 60th and a nieces birthday and congratulatory celebration for passing the NY Bar exam.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 8, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I agree with everything yello says about birth control and birth control pills, but now that I have a 16 yr old daughter (and a 20 yr old son) I find that I agree *in theory* and that it's much harder to actually put into practice.

Most of it has to do with fear of too much hormone therapy. My mother died of cancer after years of hormone replacement therapy. My sister had breast cancer at age 37 after years of taking birth control pills.

No one knows if those things are connected, but I find myself very wary of introducing it into Daughter's body at such a young age.

Of course, the antibiotics she's taking for her complexion may be more dangerous than any hormone treatments. But I'm satisfied with that chance at the moment.

And the minute she need BCPs for real, they'll be in her hands whether insurance pays for it or not.

Anyway.. thanks to yello for speaking so honestly and also for understanding that he's speaking as the father of a son. I think he's doing right by his son, giving him the right advice and guidance.

Also.. yello... frosti's 10:06 this morning was written, I'm sure, with affection--and was most definitely read with such by me.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 8, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I have advised eldest that any teen sex, requires a mandatory two forms of birth control, and that becoming sexually involved requires responsibility - along with discussions on many related topics, pretty sure she wishes I would just shut up.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 8, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I disagree with the idea that teenagers should be implanted with Norplants.

Those birth control hormones have many physical side-effects, and the fact is that the neurobiological effects of birth control through teenage and young adulthood years aren't known.

Let's just say that many of those birth control pills are intended to mimic some of the hormonal effects of pregnancy.

'Nuff said. Where are the perma-implant condoms?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I'm sorry to hear of the cancer issues in your family.

(Xeno)estrogen exposure is increasingly being linked to a lot of different cancers, not just breast cancer.

It's why I am very wary of encouraging young women to take hormonal birth control unless they do need it; I think too many doctors fail to adequately explain the risk, which can also include increased risk of stroke, etc.

There are other options.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I need the all-wise Boodle's opinion: when prepping potatoes (as in for a roast), do you guys always remove the eyes, or leave them in?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 8, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I always remove the eyes. They don't look appetizing to me. Since Mr seasea cooks most of the time, I sometimes wonder if he even bothers to wash the potatoes...

Posted by: seasea1 | November 8, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Always remove the eyes.

Roasted potatoes shouldn't have too many eyes, really, that means you're using old potatoes.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I always remove the eyes. Ivansdad has convinced me that they contain a special and insidious poison. Sometimes "remove" means "scrape off visible portion with fingernail".

Are there anything other than old potatoes?

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 8, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Besides, too many eyes on potatoes is creepy. I don't want those things looking at me while I eat them.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 8, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to the "reversible vasectomy"?

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 8, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

*no jinx* *no jinx* *no jinx*

Detroit is leading Seattle 14-0 in the first period!!!

*no jinx* *no jinx* *no jinx*

Posted by: -ftb- | November 8, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Laughing, ftb. No only did the Lions score 14, so did the Panthers agains the Saints. Unbelievable.

Even more amazing, TBG picked the Packers upset loss to Tampa.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 8, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

*faxing ftb some smelling salts* Lions kicked a field goal. She must surely be having the vapors.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 8, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

ftb-Tampa beat Green Bay, I think this is going to be your week *no jinx* *no jinx* *no jinx*

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 8, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Lions up 17-7 in second quarter.

Gonna disappear from watching the score.

*I just can't stand this!!!*


Thanks, Mudge. The smelling salts just sailed me to the floor. The unfortunate part of that is that now I can't get up . . . .

(giggling in glee)

Posted by: -ftb- | November 8, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Tim, it sounds like your bike race took the scenic route by the lighthouse but then crossed over the main road in order to go by the golf course and circle back to Woods Hole. The road race (foot type) goes by the lighthouse but continues to follow the shoreline (more or less) into Falmouth, around the harbor and finishes at Falmouth Heights.

Ick, potato eyes must be removed, sometimes with a knife, sometimes with a fingernail.

Posted by: badsneakers | November 8, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Wait, wait, wait... I just saw an article on the home page about this lumberjack from Maryland who is in the World Series of Poker, or some such idiocy. All week, they have been flashing his lumberjackness on the home page, but this time they mentioned his name up front: Darvin Moon. Excuse me, but you have a man playing a high-stakes game of luck, and you get no mileage out of a last name like Moon in your headlines? Shoot the Moon, Fly Me to the Moon, Moon River, Moon Over Las Vegas, none of these options occurred to them as more enticing than weak log-rolling puns?

And people wonder why the journalism business is in decline.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 8, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I not only read the story about the poker player, but read and linked to an earlier one (months ago) - because J. Freedom du Lac wrote it. I think he wrote the story below the AP story, but the link doesn't work (saw it last night).

Posted by: seasea1 | November 8, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I *knew* I shouldn't have looked. Lions still ahead at beginning of 3rd quarter, but now it's 17-13.

Now I'm *really* leaving!

(and thanks ever so for the support)

Posted by: -ftb- | November 8, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh, no umbrage was taken whatsoever at the 10:06. A fella just has to defend his reputation. Once rumors start, you know.

I walked three laps around Centennial Lake which is about seven and half miles. It took me three podcasts to finish. I listened to Stuck In The 80s, Paul And Storm Talk About Stuff For Five To Ten Minutes...On Average, and Indecent Exposure (it's about photography, you pervs).

I'm afraid I haven't see any of Woods Hole except the parking lot for the Martha's Vineyard ferry. I'll have to go back. Cape Cod has great biking. I did the entire rail trail two summers ago.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Was out at My Refuge without power, so just catching up on the boodle and football.

In re birth control, YJ, I pushed the same themes with T1 and T2. So far, so good. But what do I know. TBG (Ya Ya), it gets easier. Wilbrod, risk factors vary person to person, family to family. Besides, since effectiveness is rather important, the other options for a young woman aren't all that attractive.

In re football, I need another good week, but my guess is the afternoon games aren't going to be a whole lot of help. Maybe tonight...

Have a happy night all.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 8, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm clearly unqualified about the long term effects of BCP hormones. There has to be something to it, because it's not nice to fool Mother Nature. And there's all that research out there now about how women are not supposed to have as many menstrual cycles as the do because up until the past fifty years women spent their fertile years either pregnant or dying in childbirth. It's a brave new world and the final results aren't in yet.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, in ostensibly secular Turkey, creationism is taking hold.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, jeez! Now it's 17-16 and it's still the 3rd quarter.

Time for a snack, I think.

I'll read the score tomorrow.


Posted by: -ftb- | November 8, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

yello-My 10:06 was indeed meant with affection, and a little frenvy. Wish I got to NYC as often for shows and celebrity stalking.

We may not know what long term hormone use does to young people, but we sure as heck know how pregnancy at an early age is likely to affect their lives and long term health. Notice I did not say "unplanned pregancy" as many early pregnancies are planned-not smart, or rational (to us), but planned.

Beyond that I'll follow SciTim's example and not over-share.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 8, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

SCC- "unplanned pregnancy" not sure what pregancy is, but it can't be good either.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 8, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

For those of us missing Boston and the Cape, here's a native Bostonian explaining the language. Though I quibble with some of her pronunciations, it's about 95% accurate, though some of her references are dated.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 8, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

This caught my attention from the article yellojkt linked on Turkish creationism: ' "Why I'm so interested in seeing creationism succeed in Turkey is that evolution is an evil concept that has done such damage to society," said Morris, a Christian...'

This is a position I can respect -- that is, if he didn't say anything beyond this, such as the usual claim that evolution is disproved by available evidence (it isn't, in case you were wondering). I don't agree, of course. But his claimed dispute with the concept of evolution is on the level of concern over its societal effects. He is, at least, setting an arena in which creationism and evolution could be considered as equally legitimate philosophies, the arena of shaping the nature of human society. Personally, I want to live in a society in which people strive to accomplish more than their forebears, in which they believe that learning and intellectual accomplishment are good things, in which people come to grips with empirical reality. But I can see the appeal of the opposite. I just don't want to live there.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 8, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

And then there's this.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 8, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

But yellojkt, if everyone believed in evolution people would start acting like animals! All Hell would break loose!

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 8, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

LiT-- if you're comfortable with your risk factors, I can't tell you otherwise.

I will say that pregnancies CAN occur on birth control, and it offers no protection against STDs. Nothing's perfect.

Because pregnancies can occur while on birth control, I think you should look up DES and how its effects are being felt into the third generation.

Also, xenoestrogens can be stored in fat tissue, so it may not even be required to to be actively taking synthetic hormones for their effects to be felt during pregnancy.

Every version of birth control has its drawbacks, of course; for instance, latex allergies are rife among people my age or younger now.

I've known people who didn't realize that condoms weren't supposed to itch so extensively until they figured out they were allergic to latex, so I'd include checking for latex allergy (personal or otherwise) as a tip to all young men.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

DES wasn't prescribed for birth control.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 8, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

DES was prescribed for morning sickness.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 8, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Thalimonide was prescribed for morning sickness, as it was an anti-nausea medicine.

DES was prescribed for miscarriage risk, and it is a synthetic estrogen. It was aggressively marketed for miscarriages even after it was found not to be effective. After 1971 (just before it was pulled), some doctors prescribed it as a morning-after pill.

It was also even given to young girls to start earlier puberty so they wouldn't "be too tall." It was also used as an early form of birth control in the sixties.

My point holds.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Gotta tell ya, that TBG has been kickin' some butt, football prognostication-wise. She landed three underdog picks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 8, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Spelled thalidomide, Wilbrod.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 8, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

ftb, just watched the end of the Detroit game, feeling for you, but it couldn't have hurt as much as the Red Wings losing last night. Feeling guilt that I may have been a jinx first games I have watched in a while, watched three plays of the Lions game any guess where I jumped in - so sorry.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 8, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

To lighten things up a little, I shouldn't laugh at this headline, but couldn't help it.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 8, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

We need birth control in a number of forms available now and not yet thought of. We also need to see the utter sacred and mystical component of sexuality. We are not there yet.

Hey: on kit WaPo article about Vatican conference on astrobiology.

Pushing Bright Star the movie. See it before it leaves theaters: Keats, love, costume drama, true love, loss, Italy, consumption....what's not to love, save for consumption?

And, stitchery in it too. Love.Love.Love. and some butterflies and bluebells too.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 8, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Jeepers what an odd discussion.

Wilbrod, I'm not exactly sure what your point is. Are you saying that all birth control should be banned because it are dangerous? If so the DES argument is kinda weak. To say that one substance that may or may not have been prescribed 45 years ago is bad invalidates the safety of today's hormones doesn't really follow. It's like saying because the Corsair was a bad car implies that the safety of all modern cars is equally suspect.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 8, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey, what is "too tall" for a girl?! Tall rawks.

Posted by: Yoki | November 8, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree Yoki, at just a tad under 5'7" I am the runt of the adult women (including 2 full grown neices) in the family.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 8, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

What is this "too tall"? I am unfamiliar with this concept. I discovered this weekend that almost all the Boy's middle school friends are now taller than I. However, being good kids, they were all very polite to me.

Without over-sharing, I'm with frosti, LiT, and RD on the birth control discussion as I understand it. Many teen pregnancies are improvident but planned. This is particularly true here in OK, buckle of the Bible belt where many teens have nothing to do except have sex. Whoops. After they get pregnant they feel compelled to marry. High divorce rate, anyone?

No form of birth control is perfect, and no form is right for everyone. However, the Pill is still far and away the most reliable and simplest method. I never considered anything else for that reason alone. If I had a sexually active daughter (breathing sigh of relief otherwise, and thanks to aforementioned Pill) and assuming she could take it, I'd take her to get a prescription.

"Aforementioned" is a common lawyer word. Please accept my apologies. I usually viciously excise such evil legal jargon.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 8, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I think aforementioned is a most excellent word. I like it very much. Of course, I also like tall women.

'course, I've been known to take a shine to short ones as well.

Not to mention the ones of middlin' height.

Hmm. I guess this would make height not a key driver. Speaking of jargon.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 8, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Legal jargon is acceptable in this context, Ivansmom. As the mother of two adult women and adoptive mother of another adult woman, I am all for good birth control. One child gave me the eye-rolling MOOOM when I advised her to get herself to student health services when she found a boyfriend, but she did. I am grateful for that.

The other side of the coin is what happens when a woman uses fertility drugs. We are all grateful for two happy, healthy, adorable boys, although the doctor promised her she'd only have one. His bad, our good.

Posted by: slyness | November 8, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Yep, and I think all forms of birth control should be covered by health insurance - not sure they are, even in this day and age.

Here's the link to J. Freedom du Lac's blogging about the poker player:

It has the link to the story he did a while ago, if you're interested. I miss Freedom. There is also a headline in there which would satisfy Tim.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 8, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

RE: Ivansmom's aforementioned use of "evil legal jargon"

Given Imom's pursuit of good in perpetuity, all references to "evil" must therefore actually mean "good," res ipso factoquitor...



So mote it be.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 8, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

It is a bit easier when you are dealing with boys. You can discretely hand them things when you think the time is appropriate and just pray that they don't end up making water balloons.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 8, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Not wanting to overshare but this is important too: I tell CPBoy that he will have little to no choice about an unplanned pregnancy. That is how the apples fall, if this tree is shook prematurely with complex results. He was stunned first then seemed to understand. I hope this makes him more cautious and thoughtful. He will not be about to force or urge an outcome really. Girls (women and protowomen) decide. They bear a burden surely but are agents here. Boys, not so much. Protomen also, not so much.

We watched this play out this summer. Everybody is working hard on this and the new little person is greatly beloved. But, tis complex. And, we saw that babydaddy watched on tenderhooks to see what would be. He had no say, neither did his parents. All are responding beautifully, humanely, and lovingly. But, tis hard. Tis so hard.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 8, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

On a definite side in this birth control discussion. There are many things in life where all you can do is the research and your best. Nothing's perfect.

Every day on my way to work I pass a clinic and there are almost always a few protestors there, complete with signs and poster-sized photographs (weekends draw more of a crowd and a police car or two). Some days, it's all I can do not to stop and tell them to mind their own business (the irony does not escape me), go home and get their own lives.

Speaking of own lives, I'm making oatmeal cookies for the return of a colleague after the birth of his 3rd child. I'm not the only person making cookies (a plus) but am trying to become someone who can say, "Eh, maybe I'll stop in the drive-thru pretzel bakery and pick up a bag for everyone if I have the time and a spare $7," instead of being the baker.

Checked my garden today. Too much celery for 1 person to use anytime soon--fax you some?

Posted by: -dbG- | November 8, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Here's the thing. Of course we all want safe medications. This is why the FDA is so important. But all meds have risks, and assessing the the risk/benefit ratio is always tricky, especially when you are dealing with offspring. But blanket statements about what is acceptable risk are inherently unfair. This is often a very personal choice, and parents can get a bit testy when others dictate which medicines are worth the risk and which are not.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 8, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

dmd, loved the article you linked to. I have much empathy for Charles and Camilla. Whatever style might have rubbed off onto the Prince from Diana is long gone. He and Camilla have that horsey thing going, which just makes them seem very ordinary. There's nothing wrong with that except people expect 'royalty' to be anything but. It does make those of us of a certain age who have neither the money nor the inclination to 'do' anything to ourselves feel better.

Posted by: badsneakers | November 8, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Actually badsneaks, there was another nice article I read about Camilla, while she was touring the Royal Agricultural Fair by herself, purchasing gifts (she actually carries her own money) for her grandkids, and milling with the vendors, horse owners etc. The journalist noted how much more at ease she was in that venue.

I will also note I consider myself very unglamourous so giggled at both the headline and story.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 8, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I can appreciate and respect a religious or moral decision to abstain from using birth control.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 8, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to mention thalidomide, one thread of that discusssion should certainly lead to Sir Harold Evans and his memoir, released Nov. 4 (earlier in England), "My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times." "(Attendees at the Texas Book Festival could get it autographed on Oct. 31. *w*)

From Wiki:

During his 14-year tenure as editor of the Sunday Times, Evans was responsible for its crusading style of investigative reporting which brought to public attention many stories and scandals which were officially denied or ignored.

One such report was about the plight of hundreds of British Thalidomide children who had never had any compensation for severe birth defects some had suffered. This turned into a campaign for the newspaper's Insight investigative team, and Evans himself took on the drug companies responsible for the manufacture of Thalidomide, pursuing them through the English courts and eventually gaining victory in the European Court of Human Rights. As a result, the victims' families won compensation after more than a decade. Moreover, the British Government was compelled to change the law inhibiting the reporting of civil cases.

Posted by: laloomis | November 8, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

As the father of three daughters, I think I'm better off staying away from the public discussion of birth control.

RD, nudge, nudge, I think you meant "Corvair," buddy.


Posted by: -bc- | November 8, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

DMD -- we are glam in a garden gal way. Very poetical and milkmaid are we, even if a few years plus. So, let's raise a glass to real beauty and freckles.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 8, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

LiT -- I always appreciate what you have to say. Worked (s) for me.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 8, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

RD, are you an expert on biochemistry?

I daresay I know a little more about this subject here than you do.

Many xenoestrogen do their function by only stimulating certain types of estrogen receptors, and not others. It is this action that actually causes all the effects of estrogen.

In a woman, every cell potentially has estrogen receptors, not just the "significant bits." Estrogen receptors exist in the brain, breasts, everywhere.

It doesn't really matter if you have different kind of "xenoestrogens" if their effect is the same hormonally.

You cannot load the body with xenoestrogens to prevent the normal ovulation cycle and not also stimulate breast tissue growth, etc. The only difference between modern birth control is that the active dosage is much lower-- the least effective dose needed to achieve the dose is the ideal.

This is not hard chemistry; we're talking about life-- sensitive systems that are designed to receive specific signals and act on it by sending feedback to modulate signals according to their programming.

To use a metaphor, it doesn't matter if you take an ax, knife, hammer, etc. to a particular circuit, the end result is the same; the only question is the extent of collateral damage.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Wind-riffled hair
Paging Mudge for a long pome or DNAg for a pithy one.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 8, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

So many SCCs in that one. My bad.

Pardon the language, but it's so not like building a car, dude.

It's more like jamming significant components in one and hoping the rest doesn't overheat, blow gaskets, tires don't fall apart, etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I am earthy :-)!!

Posted by: dmd3 | November 8, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

You are correct bc. Although I bet a corsair would be pretty unsafe on the roads as well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 8, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. The night of many lectures.

Posted by: -dbG- | November 8, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I like that Camilla article - I'm with her. And I've got to go with the horsey type.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 8, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

RD, there are medical reasons to use birth control that do outweigh long-term risks.

I'd personally prefer to see work on real cures rather than palliative treatment through birth control, because I've seen friends find out birth control works for a few years and then doesn't help anymore.

Also, I've seen significant mood swings actually worsen on birth control than off it.

So, I really think this choice should be a medical decision, not a faddish decision. It's a lot easier to stop taking birth control pills than it is to take a Norplant out.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused. I thought the topic, as it related to birth control, was the necessity for balancing risks - of efficacy versus allergy, toxin or worse - in any medication, and the presence, absence or unknown quantity of long-term effects. One offshoot of that discussion, I thought, was how a parent chose to balance that risk when considering medication for a minor child, and how any woman chooses to balance that risk for herself. I don't see how specialized knowledge of biochemistry, or any other science particularly, comes into play here. We all make those choices and the biochemical features of any given medication are not necessarily controlling factors in the decision. If they play into a specific situation, the decisionmaker probably has awareness of and access to that information.

As some here are well aware, every medication has the possibility of significant risk. It is a decisionmaker's job to determine whether the risk is worth it. For some of us, say adult women considering birth control options, this may be relatively easy. For parents it is often an unenviable task.

As frostbitten said, the adverse effects of teen pregnancy are well documented and worth avoiding, even if it requires risking some unknowns.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 8, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

No Wilbrod, I do not have a degree in that subject. (And I must admit amusement at your sudden embrace of argument by authority. I assume that the next time the topic turns to physics you will immediately meekly demure to my views. But I digress. )

The weakness is in your logic. As you point out, modern birth control pills have much lower levels than older ones, so any assessment of the risk must be based on current studies of current drugs. Which you haven't referenced.

Besides, the issue isn't an assessment of risk, per se, it is the risk/benefit ratio. Nobody here is denying that hormones, indeed prescription drugs of all kinds, have risks. That's why they are prescription drugs.

The problem, at least for me, is your implication that this risk is unreasonably high, and this has little to do with biochemistry and everything to so with the subjective value of the benefit. You cannot presume to dictate the value of those benefits to others and not expect a certain degree of irritation.

And evaluating the subjective notions of risk and benefit of medicines is something that I certainly do know quite a lot about.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 8, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

seasea, you would so love the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 8, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I remember that when I took my older daughter to college, we visited the bookstore, and I noticed that Planned Parenthood was upstairs. I strongly mentioned that she visit it. After all, I am a old fashioned Boston Irish Catholic.

How funny is it that when I saw an ad on the TV about wire hangers from Old Navy, I thought of the old days before Roe v. Wade.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 8, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

dbg, sorry about that.

But I got my sex ed as a teen when AIDS was at epidemic levels. Other STDS are even more prevalent; genital herpes may affect 1 in 4 Americans.

Pregnancy isn't the worst thing that can happen.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

What Ivansmom said...

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 8, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

> Pregnancy isn't the worst thing that can happen.

True! But the zero sum risk life is not worth living. :-)

Everything's a decision people need to make for themselves and agonize over for their children until they can make it for themselves.

Posted by: -dbG- | November 8, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

WB -- every semester the campus health center asks us to talk about herpes infection rates in young people. The rate of infection -- with many vector-people unaware of their infection -- is very, very high. So, I hear you.

I think that sexuality and personal freedom are such powerful drivers...what to say, what to do?

I am glad that we have some options and choices. i am glad that we are free to make choices, with what we have.

The sciences -- even physics -- cannot tell us what do do. Nor should it.

I suspect the RD would not want to rule the world, as cool and useful as physics is.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 8, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

What dbG said...

Okay, going to bed now. Cheers to all.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 8, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Are you now advocating an abstinence-only argument? I can't go down that road tonight. There's a game on. Goodnight all.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 8, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

RD, I like your phrase - subjective value of the benefit. When I was in college, the benefit of not getting pregnant outweighed virtually any risk I had presented to me. That subjective value was overwhelming, and a good thing too.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 8, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mudge, How 'bout dem cowboys? Can you believe it? No time left and they are threating>

Posted by: bh72 | November 8, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Ahem. *I* am a juicy crone.

Carry on.

Posted by: slyness | November 8, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Am watching the game too. Go Philly...what would Mudge do? I go with this footballwise.

Shall we talk knitting? dbG, fax me some celery please. Should do the trick with soup tomorrow.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 8, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Can I rule the world?

I thought not.

That's okay. I'm pretty busy as it is. Maybe I'll try again after the Boy makes it to college.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 8, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

RD, if you tell me about physics, I'll listen and ask questions.

No, I'm not implying the risks are unreasonably high. I am stating outright that not all risks are disclosed to the patient.

If you read the history of DES usage, you have to ask yourself-- what safeguards are there to stop this from happening again?

I heard a lecture years ago from a FDA scientist who actually tracked down the birth defect effect of thalidomide. She was talking about how back then all drugs were tested on men, and how medical thinking back then caused them to overlook problems until thousands of Americans were already affected.

We have only recently begun learning about the effects of hormone disruptors in the environment. We have finally learned that frogs are being born with birth defects and male frogs being infertile due to a crop pesticide with estrogen-like effects. In those regions, men have lower fertility and higher abnormal sperm counts too.

We may not even have the expertise yet to really judge the long-term safety effects of newer birth control methods.

If you find what I say irritating, too bad. The truth often is.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Celery! I almost forgot. I'll take some, thanks!

The Ivansdad et al. are watching the Cowboys in the other room. That's why I'm quietly cowering in here.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 8, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

How much do you want, CQP? Two heads? Three?

I'll send some parsley, sage, oregano and thyme with it. Rosemary has succumbed.

Posted by: -dbG- | November 8, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

The choice of family planning method is a personal and private matter. My wife and I have used four different methods over the years. Five if you include 'none'. None are perfect and none are without risks. I'm just glad to be in the homestretch of the reproductive dice game.

I only suggest Norplant over The Pill because most kids (and they are kids until at least the age of 25) can't remember to take their backpack to school all the time let alone keep track of a pill every day. If you forget your homework, you can make it up. If you miss a period, that's a life altering issue.

As amazed as I am by all the intelligent discussion this has engendered remember that it all started as fall-out from the decision of the House to pass a bill defunding abortion coverage from public plans.

This is a camel nose step for a variety of groups that to different degrees wish to take away reproductive choices from pregnant women, sexually active minors, and eventually consenting adults, married or unmarried.

Furthermore, I respect and understand the decision by the parents of teenage girls to protect their privacy, but if there were more open discussion of the topic, there would be less stigma. But perhaps I am being naive. It's been known to happen.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Happy to, Ivansmom.

I planted 8 seedlings, they didn't do much all summer, but now they've come home to roost. Or something like that.

In IT, we have something called analysis paralysis--you spend so long rehashing the factors and overresearching that the software never ships. Subjective value of any benefit needs to be employed.

Posted by: -dbG- | November 8, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for reminding me dbG to bring in my rosemary plant - probably tomorrow before the weather gets cold again, luckily it has not yet been hurt by our fewlight frosts.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 8, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

At one time in high school I obsessed over how small my fingers were. My mother blamed it on the thalidomide until I learned it had been taken off the market two years before I was conceived. Now I just blame it on fetal alcohol syndrome. She's never denied drinking while pregnant.

I hope that doesn't offend anybody that may know of someone truly affected by chemical induced birth defects, but that's what passed as humor in my household.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I'll take some parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme as well.

(Not who you think it is)

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

All this talk of the long term effects of prescription drugs, including BCP, is making my head spin. No pun intended. The five of us could be a longitudinal study, as we're all asthmatics. I've been told that the congestion I experienced as an infant/toddler was such that the MD considered a diagnosis of CF. Thankfully this wasn't the case, and I've carried a chronic asthma designation ever since. I was on a combination of KI (a decongestant preparation so bitter as to be only taken with grape juice), Tedral, and allergy shots from age 12 to 18, various inhalers until the present, plus all the rest of the pharmaceuticals I've consumed. Our #1 dott has such a sensitivity to her own hormones that it compelled her attending MD to prescribe BCP to mitigate the near migrane headaches and nausea associated with the monthly gyrations of her body's attempt to maintain homeostasis. All three of the children have been on some sort of med to combat their inherited allergies/asthma, thus I wonder how they'll fare physiologically and psychologically down the road. CTTOI, it's a wonder we can collectively function at all. This is an on kit long shot, but perhaps it will be discovered that Maj. Hasan had a bad reaction to a magic combination of medicine and psychological stress. Thinking even longer, this ties to Caitlin's story that was the subject of discussion a couple of days ago. Stress and drugs can transform what appears to be otherwise normal humans into the stuff of the dark side.

Posted by: -jack- | November 8, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I agree, yellojkt. I've always been against abortion because I know the same people want to then demonize birth control too.

I firmly believe people need help available not to become parents earlier or more often than they expected to be.

But it really bothers me that the most popular birth control being discussed here is all hormonal and thus prescription (because of the dangers involved).

Dependence on prescription birth control means people can be denied the chance to obtain birth control, especially in small towns, either because they're too embarrassed to ask the doctor, or because the pharmacist is a religious jerk.

On the other hand, you can order condoms and spermicides and get them delivered no matter what kind of town you live in.

Only recently are female condoms now available in the USA (non-latex too).

Those are all options to consider before pushing hormonal use on minors when there aren't any other indicators making birth control more beneficial, such as dysmenorrhea, PMDD, or other health issues worsened by cycles, etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry about your daughter's monthly migraines, Jack, and I hope the prescriptions work.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 8, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 8, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Jack, can I order this for my gravestone?

Game Over
High Score

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 8, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Me too, Wilbrod. My bigger concern is the cumulative effects of long term meds, not just with respect to my children, but on the physical well being of all, especially children.

Posted by: -jack- | November 8, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Would you like the inscription in Mandarin, CqP? A one off fitting for one of your grace and stature...

on the subject of the short term effects of pharmaceuticals...I'm guessing this was shot at the Fillmore West.

Posted by: -jack- | November 8, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

killed it?

Posted by: -jack- | November 8, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | November 8, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

dbG, is the homegrown celery much better than the store bought variety? I imagine fresher is always better, at least where vegetables are concerned. So, yes, I'd love some too.

I would love the Royal Winter Fair, dmd, I'm sure of it.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 8, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

That does sound like a pharmacological nightmare. My best wishes to everybody.

There's a new bad sitcom called 'Accidentally On Purpose' starring Jenna Elfman WHO plays a middle-aged woman WHO gets knocked up by twenty-something slacker after a one-night stand. When asked by her friend why her birth control failed, Jenna explains, "It seems the condoms only work if you take them out of your purse." The baby daddy moves in with Jenna on some sort of semi-platonic basis and brings his slacker friends with him.

Hilarity ensues.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

yello, thanks for your understanding.

Am watching the Dallas/Philly football game while folding laundry after a nice long afternoon enjoying family, friends, football and plenty of homemade food.

A fine day.


Posted by: -bc- | November 8, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I've got the parsley, sage, and thyme. No rosemary - it gets so big here, and Mr seasea isn't very fond of it, so we have none at the moment. I had some in a pot for years, but it succumbed during a stretch of cold weather last winter. I'll have to get a bit in the spring.

yellojkt, you crack me up. Now I know where you get your sense of humor.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 8, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, seasea. I never quite know who 'gets' me. It's probably a lot fewer than I assume.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 8, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Not at all dead, just waiting for my vivacity! Hee hee.

What Ivansmom, CquaP, LiT and RD_Padouk said.

Posted by: Yoki | November 8, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | November 9, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Many of us get you, yello. We just disapprove of ourselves on that account.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Such a cacophony of subjects in the boodle...always a treat and never boring.

Slyness and Ivansmom and others who might care, my appendicitis was totally out of the blue...couple days of not feeling too well and then BAM! Hey, it could happen to you, too! But hope not. Actually much, much better and back to the job site tomorrow...with caution.

Posted by: Windy3 | November 9, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Somehow I missed until now the fact that there is a freakin hurricane headed right towards me.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 9, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

And just think, Jumper, there was an article today lamenting the lack of hurricanes this season. Easy for him to say.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 9, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

They predict a hard right turn through Jaksonville environs, so no major ferocity predicted here in NC. Still, I've been through way too many of those things. Makes me nervous.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 9, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

We had the scariest lightning yesterday. It went on for about 3 hrs and it looked like it was targeting my neighbour’s music room (I know it’s the music room because I hear music booming in that specific corner of the house all the time.) Good thing I had shut down my computer.

Yoki, your comment about my “common sense” comment made laugh at myself. I have posted before that your common sense is not my common sense. Yet, here I am, making the assumption that common sense is the same the world over. I can’t think of a word to describe myself right now so give it to me, Yoki. I can take it.

To a Muslim soldier being sent to Iraq, it is like going there to kill their brothers and sisters. They feel very very deeply about their religion. There were a couple of incidents with Muslim soldiers who were sent to fight in Iraq.

Posted by: rainforest1 | November 9, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Lovely. And always interesting. Those are the only two words I can think of to describe you, rainforest.

Just, different contexts, you know? I do.

Oh, and very good for us in North America, to hear from, whenever you have time for us.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, thank you. You're most kind.

This darn work gets in way every time.

Posted by: rainforest1 | November 9, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, take care. I heard there is a hurricane heading for the Gulf Coast - Louisiana - too.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 9, 2009 2:02 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Boodlers!

Had a busy weekend. Just now read Joel's kit. It is the most even-handed piece on the Ft. Hood shootings I've seen. Very good to bring in the McVeigh example.

Everyone else is just feeding anti Muslim hysteria.

Posted by: Braguine | November 9, 2009 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Windy, I'm glad to hear you're on the mend! Not fun, having a major illness pop up like that. That's what killed my grandfather in 1896, at the age of 24.

Good morning, all, and happy Monday. Cassandra, are you with us? I hope so!

Jumper, a November hurricane! Amazing...I hope it brings down most of the willow oak leaves and that's all.

Posted by: slyness | November 9, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

up and at 'em! Chocolate chip pancakes and bacon, with proper coffee, in the ready room. Off to spin the props and warm up the DP squadron.

Posted by: -jack- | November 9, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse


Good morning boodle, back to a busy week of mostly reading via blackberry and not being able to comment. Sooo frustrating.

Heard via NPR that Sen. Lieberman is calling for an investigation into whether or not the military knew Hasan held "extremist views." Hello, holding "extremist" views, particularly with regard to religion, is not a bar to military service.

Later gators.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 9, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, you say the sweetest things.

Video of the deer that survived a lion attack at the National Zoo only to be put down by the zoo vets.

And the WaPo story with the sad ending:

Bet somebody is having venison for Thanksgiving.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm... Bacon! :-)

It's kinda nice to have a two-day week, a day off, and then another two-day week.

*not-sure-whether-to-offer-Monday-style-or-Thursday-style Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 9, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

The "truth" Wilbrod? Well that's the problem here in a nutshell. Neither your own personal subjective notions of relative value, nor your generalizations from unacceptably small sample spaces represent "the truth" in any scientific sense. They are more akin to articles of faith.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 9, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Is the bacon crispy? I sure hope so for I have a busy couple of days.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 9, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Here's a nice trip down memory lane. Peter Jennings reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall. Still gives me chills.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 9, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

*sigh* After the double whammy of the Redskins game, then the Iggles game, I had gto go out to the local convenience store to get some sodas. I think the store video captured me on tape, but I'm not sure.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. I am consumed by visions of dbG's celery coming home to roost. Roosting celery. Roosted celery. I'm glad I didn't read this before sleeping; I'm sure it would have colored my dreams.

Rousted celery, pulled from its perch first thing in the morning. Perch of course are also fish. Celery poached with perch. Roasted celery.

Good thing we have bacon!

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 9, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I miss so much.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. A beautiful warm day is ahead of us.
Interesting discussion on birth control last night. Yello, there's an even cheaper solution than rubbers; a commie-state funded vasectomy. The total cost of BC for the last 16 years in the Denizen's household was spent on acetominophen in the first few days after the snip was done. I won't overshare again but to paraphrase Kermit, it's not easy to be blue.
The easy half of the season is over for the Warshington Snyders with a record of 2-6. They will face losers (Oakland) only once until the end of the season. It's going to hurt.
I'm starting to suffer from Stockholm syndrome, I think. I was sorry to see the Lions lose so badly. Seattle socks but yet the Lions managed to snatch defeat just in time out of the jaws of victory.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 9, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. *Chuckling* re: birth control methods, yes, I can barely remember birth control. When you're both 71 years old, the methods are not something to ponder anymore. :-)

Jumper, I had concerns about spawning a hurricane when we had our windows washed last week. I do a little of the window cleaning, but honest to pete, some of these windows have not been cleaned in over a year, so 'tis now time for a storm. Hope it stays on course and we both miss it.

Posted by: VintageLady | November 9, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

SCC "had not been cleaned"

Sometimes I can't make any sense of my tenses....

ps, why oh why do you all even think about the 'skins this year? RIP

Posted by: VintageLady | November 9, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Funny you should mention that, sd. I just finished 'Home Game' by Michael Lewis and


the last chapters deal with his vasectomy. I'm a little shy around sharp instruments and his tale of terror did nothing to alleviate my fears.


I still hold out hope that either Melissa Etheridge or Jodie Foster will need a contribution on my part sometime in the future.

I admire the men that have made that sacrifice but I have managed to dither and defer that decision so long that I'm nearly home free. The best time to sell that procedure is while the youngest child is still in diapers.

And the best advice I got from a guy that has been snipped is to get something tangible from the deal like some new golf clubs. He clearly and emphatically said not to fall for the line about more frequent and more spontaneous sex. Those promises are unenforceable in a court of law.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm still on celery. Rousted from its roost with perch and poached or roasted with - roach! Roach being another fish, of course.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 9, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Somehow my SPOILER ALERT got eaten by the HTML (mis)interpreter. Replace the '>>>>>>' with:

[[[[[[[SPOILER ALERT]]]]]]]]

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

WaPo photo box headline: "Finding an artland in the heartland."

WTF is an "artland"? What do we do, just make up words now?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Not a big celery fan. The other day a recipe I used called for a leek and the only size it came in was the giant needs-its-own-cart quantity. Since I don't have a lot of call for leaks otherwise, the rest rotted in my crisper. My refrigerator is where produce goes to die.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod wrote: "I heard a lecture years ago from a FDA scientist who actually tracked down the birth defect effect of thalidomide. She was talking about how back then all drugs were tested on men, and how medical thinking back then caused them to overlook problems until thousands of Americans were already affected."

I'm wondering if that scientist is Frances Oldham Kelsey, Canadian by birth, who is responsible for blocking the distribution and sale of thalidomide in the U.S.? (I suspect that she was with the FDA about the same time as Vader Loomis in the investigational new drug division.) I doubt it was "medical thinking," but business thinking along with some political pressure.

More importantly, Wilbrod, I'm wondering if you have anything to back up your/her assertion that ALL new drugs at the time were tested on men? The story of the promotion of and lack of testing by the German company, Chemie Grunenthal, which manufactured thalidomide, is that little or no testing of the drug was done, including on animals. Thinking of reaching for Sir Harold Evans' book...

Posted by: laloomis | November 9, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

A friend asked about whether prostitution is legal in Nevada (I thought it was rather widely known that it is legal). I suddenly wondered: what is the sex-education curriculum in Nevada? Is it a form of vocational training? Abstinence-only?

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 9, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Evans, "My Paper Chase," p. 363

Collected in three suitcases, the German papers, when tranlated and indexed, were to reveal a get-rich-quick mentality at Chenie Grunenthal. The mother's safety during pregnancy while taking Contergan (as they called the drug) was a main selling point, but the company had not tested Contergan to see if it could pass through the placenta to affect the unborn child. Chemie Grunenthal sales leaflets for doctors stressed the drug's safety, quoting a March 1960 article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology by Dr. Ray O. Nulsen, practicing in Cincinnati, Ohio, the hometown of Rishardson-Merrill. In his deposition for the German trial, however, Nulsen admitted that he had not tested the drug on pregnant women at all and was not even the author of the article. It had been written for him by an employee of Richardson-Merrill--who'd relied for information on Chemie Grunenthal.

As Evans points out on page 358, Britain-based Distillers Biochemicals wasn't a long-established pharmarmaceutical company (a subsidiary of Distillers, the giant liquor and spirits company retailing famous brands of whiskey such as Johhny Walker). It had no research sceintists and didn't hire a pharmacologist until it decided to manufacture thalidomide under license from the German Chemie Grunenthal. Richardson-Merrill sold it as Kevadon in the United States. Millions of American mothers escaped the catastrophe because Dr. Frances Kelsey at the FDA, while not predicting the phocomelia deformities, became suspicious of Richardson-Merrill's sloppy procedures.

Posted by: laloomis | November 9, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Shriek . . . . the Lions did indeed snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. If the Lions can win just one more game this season, the season will be regarded as successful.

Goes to show ya.

I would be surprised if the Redskins win another one this season, tho.

Work beckons. Cya later.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 9, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Since it seems a good bit of that prostition seems to take place on ranches, SciTim, maybe it falls under the heading of livestock management. Probably a Nevada Dept. of Agriculture program.

Of course, it *does* give whole new meaning to "Home on the Range."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Legal in parts of Nevada. Not legal in Las Vegas. I would suggest a box set of HBO's 'The Cathouse' about the Moonlite Bunny Ranch for any aspiring sex workers.

For those of us that only get Showtime, 'Diary of a Call Girl' is a little more upscale and not as gritty.

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

The state of Nevada mandates high school sex education but there is no set curriculum or mandatory work-study requirement.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

As I approached Sir Harold Evans in the signing tent after the last session Saturday at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, I exclaimed, "My distant great-grandfather Edward III founded the Order of the Garter, but I've never, stateside, stood in the presence of a knight!" He deadpanned, "You soon get over it."

Sir Harold bent the knee at Buckingham Palace in 2004, dubbed a Knight Bachelor (though presently married to the Daily Beast's Tina Brown) of the British Empire. As Evans informs readers in a photo caption in his very recent book, "they've" been awarding KBEs since the reign of Henry III (Oct. 1, 1207-Nov. 16, 1272) so Evans dubs himself a Johnny-come-lately.

Evans is the former president and publisher of Random House, so when he learned by name, he immediately asked if I am related to fabled Random House editor Bob Loomis. "Distant cousin," I replied. So Sir Harold asked for my e-mail address (I could hardly refuse a knight, could I?), said he was to meet (last week) with Loomis and would pass along my e-mail. I'm not holding my breath.

Regardless, Evans' talk was among the best of those I attended at the book fest. He could have sat a little closer to the mic, but I hung on his every word, including his explanation that a set of his grandparents were illiterate. He chose to tell the of his paper's coverage of the thalidomide and Philby spy scandals. His powerful talk, wih no time left for Q&A, was an important reminder of the power of a democratic press.

Posted by: laloomis | November 9, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I was just reading the story about the wild deer that got into the lions' habitat at the National Zoo. The editor who wrote the blurb on the front page needs a vocabulary check; since the deer had to be euthanized, it is hardly a 'rescue.'

Anyway, I thought how happy the lionesses must have been to have live prey upon which to exercise their nature, while everyone else seems to have been appalled. I don't know what that says about me.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I have known only one thalidomide baby for certain. Brilliant guy -- the defects were in his body, not in his brain. His arms were about half normal length, limited function in his wrists and fingers. German, by the way. Thalidomide was widely used in Germany -- one of the most recent examples of why people should stop bad-mouthing the FDA for the long and expensive process of approval for new drugs. On his behalf, let me once again plug College Park Cycles and Mt. Airy Bicycle Shop (both owned by Larry Black): Larry makes it his personal mission to put everyone on a bike, and cheerfully modifies bicycles he sells, typically at his own expense, to fit them for special needs. For my German friend, he constructed a super-long handlebar stem and modified the shifters so that one could be used as a brake control to match the range of motion my friend had with his stronger hand. Whenever I need a new bike or bike repair, I try to give College Park Cycles the first crack at my business.

I knew another guy in college who might have been a thalidomide-baby: small and withered left arm, practically no function in the hand. Maybe thalidomide, maybe he was just unlucky. Not German -- a fellow hoosier.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 9, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Oh please, what article of faith is there in saying that synthetic estrogen use can cause serious consequences?

It's on the bottle. It's in the research.

This reaction is about a grudge from earlier arguments, not here and now.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 9, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, I share a dread of heavy weather, however, this set me a bit more at ease, as Ida has been downgraded.

Posted by: -jack- | November 9, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

But Wilbrod, no-one has suggested there isn't risk associated with hormonal birth control. Only that that risk may be perfectly tolerable in relation to its benefits.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse


We get to talk about health care some more.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Jack, for reminding me to check this morning. I looked at the projections again right after my last post. I keep this bookmarked
because lots of the maps don't show the center of the Gulf. Also, I'd swear there are more Gulf coast radars folded into this pic than usual:

A friend had some visitors from China he was showing around the neighborhood a couple of months after Hugo tore up Charlotte. (I thought Frisbee was worldwide but I was wrong) These guys spoke practically zero English. They kept gesturing around at the trees and the leader managed to ask "What happened here?" and we kept saying "Hurricane." No comprehension. Finally I said "Typhoon." Comprehension.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 9, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

No Wilbrod. The reaction is because you seem unwilling to process what Yoki said.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 9, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Tis quiet.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

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