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The Curse O' Les Boulez

Kornheiser has spent years writing about The Curse O' Les Boulez -- the fact that there was good luck, bad luck, and Bullets luck. Now Wizards luck. The Washington Wizards are the most cursed team in the history of professional basketball. Who else competes for that superlative? The Wizards make the Clippers look like the Lakers.

Their best players get hurt, arrested, banished from basketball -- sometimes in a single night! When the Wizards are in the lottery they get unlucky and wind up with the table scraps. When they do pick number one, they draft someone for whom playing basketball probably shouldn't be the primary career aspiration. For decades the franchise has clanged off the rim like one of those foul shots/throws by Shaq.

The latest data-point is that their superstar, Gilbert Arenas, though a wonderfully generous person by many accounts -- please read the Steinberg piece -- apparently did everything he could to obscure the true nature of the gun incident at Verizon Center in December, inspiring prosecutors to recommend 3 months in the slammer. Gilbert said the gun incident was a misguided prank. Nah, said the prosecutors. It was more menacing than that, and when the incident came to light Gilbert allegedly lied up a storm.

(The confrontation with teammate Javaris Crittenton began on a team flight, with a 45-minute argument during which Arenas "threatened to shoot Crittenton in the face, and set his Cadillac Escalade on fire.")

So the Arenas situation has gone badly for the team, is what I'd say.

Now, Andre Blatche, who has been playing like an all-star for weeks, suddenly decides in the first quarter of a ballgame that he doesn't feel like being a basketball player anymore. Or at least, not a basketball player who has to listen to coaches.

Coach Flip Saunders:

"Coaches went up to him three different times, he just said he didn't want to play. Fifteen years, never seen anything like it. Never....

"He can be pissed at me or whatever, but you never leave your teammates out to dry like that, no matter what. Especially when you've lost 11 games in a row and you've got a chance to win a game. Uncalled for....

"Sixty percent of the offense is run through him. And no matter what, the coaches aren't wrong. No matter what. When a coach wants to teach you something and you think that you're above that because you've played 16 games, good games? I mean, I had Kevin Garnett. That guy, you'd say one thing, and he's up there, what do you want coach, what can I [do]? He wanted to get better any time. He never copped that type of attitude. I mean, that's ridiculous, it really is. I am disappointed. I am the most disappointed I've ever been in 15 years in a player. The most disappointed."

In sports, as in life, character is destiny. The great players show up every night. Did Michael Jordan ever phone it in? Magic? Bird? I don't think so.


Ruth Marcus chews on some of the health care uncertainties that I was nattering about yesterday.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 24, 2010; 7:50 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Are my taxes going up?
Next: Human origins: It's complicated


Setting fire to someone's Cadillac seems a magnitude or so smaller than shooting him in the face.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 24, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning, Boodlers,

Had a brief blackout this morning but power was restored within an hour.

An article on why Chile will recover against all odds:

Have a good day, everyone :)

Posted by: Braguine | March 24, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

It's nice to read Marcus's noninflammatory column. The freshly passed bill isn't The Answer, just a start toward what natural resource managers call "adaptive management" where you try something and monitor the results with the intention of making changes as needed. A simple notion that becomes difficult when applied to, say, salmon.

I think just recently a study using new tagging methods largely absolved dams on the Snake River, perhaps meaning there's no need to remove them. If I'm not mistaken, that's a huge surprise.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 24, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

As I said last night, we seriously need to redesign how people access the health care system so that they go to the appropriate, least expensive place for care. Huge savings will accrue if we can do that.

What gets measured gets managed. Again, we should proactively decide what are the important inputs and outcomes and design the measurements to see how well we're doing by them. We can argue about interpretation, but good data trumps just about everything.

Posted by: slyness | March 24, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Can I say I got 'mudged??

Anyway --

Why is this terribly disquieting news so entirely unsurprising?

And why am I not holding my breath waiting for the demagogues to decry such tactics?


I'm not going to mention a certain potential reality TV show.

I am, however, going to side with yello -- the answer to horrible speech is better speech, not preventing speech. *letting-my-First-Amendment-flag-fly Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 24, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Ah, The Curse along with the annual prediction of the 9-20 record to start the season.

Manute Bol, Muggsy Bogues (gotta put those two together, right?), Hot Plate Williams, George Muresan, C. Webb, 'sheed, Rip, Gugliotta, Kwame Brown (thanks, Mike), J.Howward, Stackhouse, Mark Price (how many games did he play? Like, 5?) - where are you guys now?

Now, Rod Strickland -- I think I know where he is; I thought I saw him as an assistant coach at Kentucky under Calipari. No word if he still eats pizza and hot dogs pregame, though it's less likely he purges on the bench or during the half.

Jordan didn't phone it in here, but he did peel out of the Verizon Center parking lot with it in his Aston convertible.

We'll see where Arenas ends up after all this, but America does love second chances. Just look at the new NFL post-season overtime rules the rules commitees are proposing...


Posted by: -bc- | March 24, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, that article is so much more than disquieting. It makes me feel as if were rolling right straight into mob rule. Do these fools not see that they are undermining their own precious personal freedoms? Those freedoms they feel Democrats are taking away from them?

Posted by: Raysmom | March 24, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Raysmom. Death threats from "pro-lifers" -- uh-huh.

*ducking and weaving to avoid the slime what are crazy, loony, nutzy people masquerading as "patriotic "real" Amurricans*

Been up since 5 (a half-Mudging myself), we've had breakfast, he's showered, and we're both working. That is, he's working and I'm trying not to fall out of my chair into a deep, deep, restful sleep.....


Oops. Forehead onto keyboard moment. There will be many more, I fear.

Time for more tea.

*snore* (a variation on the theme)

Posted by: -ftb- | March 24, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

That is the problem with wingnuts that refuse to accept government handouts. If they would just let the Death Panels do their job, they wouldn't need to make threats themselves.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Yes, while it is really sad to hear about stuff like those death threats from Tea Partiers, I actually think that in the long run, the worse those wingnuts behave and carry on, the better it is for the Good Guys come November. It exposes them for what they are, and what they are is rightfully repugnant to the vast "middle," which is where the battle lies. So go ahead, TPers, do your worst.

There's few things more disturbing than a 5 a.m. half-mudging, ftb. One needs full daylight and one's wits about them to properly savor a full mudging, however.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

It used to be that the Bad Boys of Sports were more like teenagers whose parents were out of town for the weekend. They were a rare breed, these Bad Boys, and stood out because they were good players having too much fun. Like John "Loosen up Sandy baby" Riggins. Now, they're not having too much fun; they're too angry. The Bad Boys act like 1st graders (I'm taking my ball and going home!) or like they *want* a rap sheet more than they want an MVP award. There are so many of them they're not even interesting. At least before, we got to giggle. Now, we cringe.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 24, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a big basketball fan, so excuse me if this sounds more ignorant than usual, but I wonder if the nature of the game sometimes fosters iconoclasts.

It seems to me as if the functional relationship between individual basketball players is less well defined than in other sports.

In, say, baseball, each player has a very specific role. So too in football. But in basketball, or so it seems, the roles are more fluid.

Sometimes you are on defense, sometimes on offense. There is the choice to pass the ball, or to hold onto it. You can choose to move into the key as part of a coordinated drive, or you can hang back and go for a three-pointer.

All of which makes me wonder, sometimes, if this is truly a "team" sport as much as a loose confederacy of individual players. And because the players are not required to work within rigid roles on the court, perhaps this fosters, or at least tolerates, a similar rebel spirit off of the court as well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 24, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I will not tolerate anyone disparaging Mark Price. That Oklahoman was one of the greatest shooters ever and a genius point guard. He took Georgia Tech to its first ACC championship by stunning North Carolina. A game I will never forget.

He holds the NBA record for free-throw percentage and made Cleveland a powerhouse. Too bad that the Wizards got him in his waning days. That is their fault not his.

***deep breaths***
***letting blood pressure lower***

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I was amazed to find that Kris's recording of his own song was actually the fifth release. I have never heard the earlier versions by Kenny Rogers or Gordon Lightfoot.

My lesbian girlfriend in high school was a huge Kris Kristofferson fan which is part of what attracted her to me (much like my love of ABBA gave me an in with my wife). She even wrote so in my yearbook:

She was also a Dallas Cowboys fan, but nobody's perfect.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

What worried Roosevelt was the inability of ordinary people to see the danger of this proliferation of cogs and cylinders and coins in American life. The corrupt power of corporations was increasing at an alarming rate, directly related to the "rush toward industrial monopoly." In the twenty-five years between the Civil War and 1890, 26 industrial mergers had been announced; in the next seven years there were 156; in the single year 1898 a record of $900,000,000 of capital was was incorporated; yet in the first two months of 1899--Roosevelt's initiation period as Governor--that record was already broken. What chance did women, children, cowboys, and immigrants have in a world governed by machinery? Clearly, if flesh and blood were to survive, all this cold hardness must be grappled and brought under control.

--Edmund Morris, in his 1979 "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt," p. 694.

*Very groggy this a.m., studying in more detail the history of the Hunt-Lenox Globe (Here Be Dragons") quite late last night.*

No future President has made his maiden speech in surroundings as inspiring as those framing Theodore Roosevelt that afternoon. Since its completion only three years before, the New York State Assembly Chamber had been acclaimed as the most magnificent legislative hall in the world. ...Behind him on the north wall, loomed a vast allegorical mural by William Morris Hunt, "The Flight of Evil Before Good." With pleasing symbolism it depicted the Queen of Night on a chariot of dark clouds, being driven away by the radiance of dawn. --Morris, "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt," p. 167

Posted by: laloomis | March 24, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I'll meet your groggy, Loomis, and raise you an unconscious. Which I am (mostly). Like, I just typed "groogy" and couldn't figure out why it didn't look right. And then I only wanted that red underline thingy to disappear, so I figured it out.

Mudge, you are sooooooooo funny (or is that foony?).

Made some more tea, this time spearmint. Let's see if it werks.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 24, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of little-credited songs, I was nearly as shocked as my wife was to find out that Jackson Browne was the cowriter of 'Take It Easy'. That is particularly embarrassing on my part since I will be standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona on either April 9th or 10th (just in case any Boodlers want to plan a vacation around meeting me there) looking for a girl (my lord) in a flat bed Ford.

I have been rehearsing that song for my video shoot on location. I predict the final product will be an even bigger YouTube sensation (over 1600 views) than my version of 'Hot Blooded'.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Thank you for the link to Ms. Marcus, Mr. A. I confess I felt the column should have been about half as long, but that's me. I'll leave my comments on her doorstep, not yours.

The behavior described in the link Scottynuke provided is symptomatic of huge frustration and anger, the likes of which we see periodically in this country. When groups who previously received unequal treatment or status move toward equality, it's rarely achieved without upheaval.

Posted by: MsJS | March 24, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"When groups who previously received unequal treatment or status move toward equality, it's rarely achieved without upheaval."

MsJS... please explain how you see that this particular group has received unequal treatment.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

YJ, you better watch out for those 2 who want to stone you.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 24, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think it's funny that the ad banner at the top of Politico was showing
"GE: Proud Presenting Partner, The Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration."

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

It's Quiz Time! I ain't sayin' what it's about, but I did get 100% correct with no guessing.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 24, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Unequal doesn't always mean worse. Seems to me that those with the unequal treatment depends on where you stand. The group in question here most likely got unequal treatment in the way of lower insurance premiums, and don't want to lose that to pay for this.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 24, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I think U of O should be embarrassed that free speech only extends to the like-minded on campus. They should recall that I'm-a-dinner-jacket was able to speak at Columbia. Back in Canada for another comparison, Netanyahu also had to cancel a speech.

Posted by: engelmann | March 24, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I agree that this group got ANY unequal treatment. I think they BELIEVE they did--or will--because they're being told so. Remember: they are the same group who are saying, "Keep the government out of Medicare!"

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Only 4/7. I need to go to kguy remedial film school.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I just gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

6 out of 7, missed the Scorsese/Goodfellas question. That's one tough test, though.

Since when do "huge frustration and anger" explain the making of death threats to Congress people? In part, this implies the "frustration and anger" were rational or at least justifiable. How many death threats emanated from the frustration and anger at 8 years of the Bush administration?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Nah, YJ, I'm the 'one see she's a friend of mine.' Football and beer, not champagne and symphonies.

TBG, regardless of the stupid stuff they say, if one side of the equation is unequal to the other side, the reverse is true. If 2 does not equal 3, than 3 does not equal 2. (FWIW, I think their fear is not that we're bringing everyone up to the same level, but that they will have to move backward a little so that others can be moved forward a little.)

Posted by: LostInThought | March 24, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I've seen a couple of off-base comparisons of the protests over HCR to the civil rights movement, inexplicably mostly by conservatives who don't seem to realize they aren't on the right side of history here.

Somehow this is being seen as a government giveaway to an undeserving minority (the uninsured) rather than as a consumer protection act that will largely benefit the middle class. Again, I blame the Democrats for poor marketing and letting the opponents of the bill define it in their terms.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I might have missed someone's previous link to this, but Coulter's speech was cancelled.

A great deal of protest and outrage -- but tellingly, no report of any death threats by anybody.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

dmd had that story at 9:36 PM yesterday:

And dmd had another link that followed up on it.

Without those, my entire discussion with Yoki (psst, I love you poking me; gives me a reason to check FB more than I should) is out of context.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only person you don't follow links from. I used to take it personally.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I apologize, TBG, for not being clear.

In my view, which hardly matters except to me, most of the tea party crowd are libertarians at heart and espouse the belief that you're not entitled to anything unless you work for it yourself. So these people could become angry at any legislative attempt to provide health care coverage for those who lack it and might consider a variety of actions to return things to the unequal status quo.

Mudge, I don't claim the death threats are rational. To me frustration and anger are personal responses to external events. They create chaos from which little, if anything, that I consider rational can emerge.

Posted by: MsJS | March 24, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, and nothing personal, yello...but as a rule, I only follow maybe 20% of links, and usually when I have some idea of the topic (a quiz, or a specific topic of interest). I frequently do NOT follow YouTube music links at home, only because my home computer/Ubuntu/Firefox doesn't play many of them well or at all. Sometimes people's introductions to what they are linking are obscure. Sometimes I follow, sometimes not, depending on how busy I am at the moment, etc.

And yes, sometimes whole stretches of chat go by where I am clueless about what's being discussed.

However, I will say that you are quite fortunate that LiT wasn't one of the ones who wanted to stone you. Had she been one of the ones who wanted to own you... now that would have required some deep considereation as to the pro's and con's. Not an easy decision, methinks.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"I actually think that in the long run, the worse those wingnuts behave and carry on, the better it is for the Good Guys come November. It exposes them for what they are, and what they are is rightfully repugnant to the vast "middle," which is where the battle lies."

You're darn tootin', Mudge: The battle *is* for the middle because this health care Thing was passed without any consensus for it.

I don't mind holding legislators personally responsible for their votes. I will stipulate that breaking down doors goes a trifle beyond that.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with state legislators in a small group (three of them to six of us) on the topic of enforcement of traffic statutes favoring motorcyclists. Enhanced penalties are required by state law when an automobile driver causes grievous injury by violating the right-of-way of a motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian. However, these penalties are not being assessed in all jurisdictions. On the contrary, the DA in my home county plea-bargained away a right-of-way violation resulting in death to a motorcyclist to obtain a conviction on one involving injury to his passenger.

I happen to think that lawyers are some of the sanest people around: They have *to be* to ply their trade by listening to the craziest people around. If you ever suspect you may be crazy, talk to a lawyer about what ails you. He'll set you on the straight and narrow, and he won't charge nearly as much as a psychiatrist.

Now, we met with lawyers in their capacity as legislators in their offices in the State House. I'm sure they were eager to do it there to avoid our going around to their homes. They were extremely cordial. When confronted with our complaint that state law was not being enforced in all cases, one volunteered the notion that it was unreasonable to expect equal application of the law in all jurisdictions because in some it was just impossible to secure convictions of little old ladies, for example. He was right, of course.

But it's hard not to take legal matters personally.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 24, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, MsJS... that's a good way to look at it. And LiT, too. Thanks for the explanation. I see what you both mean, now.

I understand the fear that they will lose something, even if they don't really know what it is.

When I pointed out the silly things they say, I'm only doing that to show who we are dealing with... not much upstairs judging from their words and actions. So what I mean is that what they SAY they are fighting for isn't necessarily that they ARE fighting for. Does that make sense?

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

That's funny Mudge. I got to thinking about something you said to turn my head around. I've come up with something, but it would require a cabana boy. Which brings us back to owning YJ.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 24, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I didn't follow any of the Bobby McGee links, but only because I'm familiar with those versions (and agree that crazy Janis's was the unapproachable best). Kris's isn't "bad," it's okay, but the Janis just has that raw power and anguish no one else can do. There's probably some mellow Pat Boone cover of it out there that would make me barf. To me, Janis "owns" that song.

In a way, it's probably the same reason k.d.lang's "Hallelujah" is infintely better and more powerful than Leonard Cohen's soporific version (and he wrote it). Ditto Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," one of my alltime favorites, though I love Tina Turner's cover even better. You can hear the pleading in her voice that the Rev. just doesn't have.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

TBG, it makes perfect sense.

Posted by: MsJS | March 24, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

btw mudge,
From the article you linked to, Ezra Levant might disgree with your assessment of the threat level, but I would tend to discount his opinion:

"It would be physically dangerous for Ann Coulter to proceed with this event," said conservative political activist Ezra Levant inside the hall. "This is an embarrassing day for the University of Ottawa and their student body . . . who chose to silence her through threats and intimidation."

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Levant often (usually?) strikes me as an annoying blowhard, but he does tweak some noses that need tweaking.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 24, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Just as a matter of curiosity, Entenpfuhl, how do you feel about laws requiring motorcyclists to wear DOT-approved helmets?

Laughing, LiT. If you can get yello to bring you a mai-tai to your cabana on the beach, go for it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

As I've said before, the way to understand many in the far right is to realize that they are in a defensive crouch. These people are terrified of losing things that are valuable to them. So the way to deal with them is to attempt to assuage their fear. Which is exactly what Obama is setting out to do.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 24, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Theoretically, I'm against helmet laws, seatbelt laws, most gun control, and nearly all speech restrictions.

Practically, they're useful, and easily ignored by those who feel strongly about it.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 24, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the cancellation of the Coulter event at the U of O, her physical safety could have been planned for. Levant's statement doesn't wash with me. He's just looking for someone to blame and it's more convenient to point fingers at the political opposition than the event organizers.

Posted by: MsJS | March 24, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm only amused because the url had the phrase "ann-coulter-speech-cancelled-after-thousands-protest" right in it. You didn't even need to follow the link to figure out what it was about. At least you now know what a LUG is. Peace, bro.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Levant merely said he thought it would be "dangerous" for her to speak; that's not the same thing as a demonstrable "death threat" that has already been made. And whether he's right or wrong, he's expressing an opinion about what might happen. Having two death threats already in hand is, IMHO, substantially different. (Then we get into a discussion about how much credence to put into them, etc.)

What sort of explanation can there be for the [expletives] who used the N word and spit at John Lewis and the other Congs the other day? To say that the protestors were "angry" and "frustrated" simply doesn't cover. We've all been angry or frustrated at something or other, but we don't go around spitting on Congressmen and calling them N words and F words.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

And Elvis Costello's anthemic "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding?" knocks the pants off of Nick Lowe's original.

Posted by: rashomon | March 24, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping that the Secret Service keeps a good eye on him as he does that, RD.

BTW, David Axelrod was on Charlie Rose last night - interesting interview. Axelrod kept mentioning Obama's long view. The night before, when Judd Greg was on, I was throwing things at the TV because Charlie refused to challenge him on his assertion that the Republicans were locked out of the whole process - rather than taking themselves out. Sometimes Charlie is too nice.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 24, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

But do we know she's a LUG? I thought she outed herself as "bi," and is now married to a guy. That doesn't make her a LUG, necessarily. (Does it?) I'm still trying to figure out if LUG is a derogatory term or merely descriptive. I dunno. How does the gay community feel about the term?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

TBG-MsJS clarified her own meaning, but I'd say the same thing with this meaning-They have received unequal treatment-as in too favorable. Unwilling to acknowledge that circumstances and the system have done more than their own hard work to account for their stations in life they don't like it when the playing field is leveled.

Losing an advantage is identified as disadvantage by the cognitively impaired and empathy bankrupt.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 24, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Hello, all!

I proudly scored a golden raspberry on the quiz. Movies are really not my thing, so the fact I got 3 is an accomplishment. However, I nailed the "Birth of a Nation" question. It reminded me of when my husband (community college adjunct history professor at the time) would have his students watch it cold, with no intro on his part, and write an essay on their thoughts. Generally, this was after he had just finished teaching Reconstruction, and the very early 20th century. Every semester he would get at least a couple of essays saying they were surprised to learn that the KKK wasn't all that bad and that they were just trying to help the black people.

Critical thinking fail. Sheeple, to borrow AS's phrase.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | March 24, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Mudge.

They chose to channel that anger and frustration in, to put it mildly, inappropriate ways. As to why they chose that path, I don't know any of them and haven't a clue, except that it was a deliberate choice.

Posted by: MsJS | March 24, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I see I should refresh more often. That whole "unequal treatment" discussion was already resolved.

A thousand pardons.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 24, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Every time someone such as Ruth Marcus states people need health insurance, I think they are implying that the only way to get health care is through insurance companies. I would repeat what Weiner said on Scarborough's show a while back. Scarborough was unable to defend insurance skimming 30% off the top, for a moment unable to answer Weiner at all.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 24, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Why would you be against helmet and seat belt laws, Bob? They *do* save [lots of] lives. (I do the reports with the numbers.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, somewhere down deep I'm an anti-authoritarian near-anarchist libertarian. But my theoretical leanings in that direction are heavily tempered by practical observation & experience.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 24, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Entenpfuhl, what do you mean "without consensus?"

If I understand correctly, this country legally and overwhelmingly elected a president who campaigned on the promise that he would bring a healthcare reform bill to congress in his first year. After the economy (actually healthcare reform is part of it), healthcare was the second-most-important issue of the campaign for Obama.

And the members of Congress who voted for it? Same thing. They promised it; they were elected; they carried it out.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm reposting the link to the Courtland Milloy column about the Tea Partiers because it's buried in the back pages:

"I am sick of these people -- and those who make excuses for them and their victim-whiner mentality.

They aren't racists, the apologists say. They just don't like deficits and government takeover of health care. So what does using vile epithets for black or gay congressmen have to do with that? The tea party people didn't refer to white Democrats using racial epithets. No one yelled "white trash" or "redneck cracker" at any of those congressmen. And none of their own ever stands up and declares that such practices are morally wrong."

OTOH, a column I read noted that the spitting and name-calling helped to galvanize the House Dems on Saturday. It's difficult to turn the other cheek and rise above this sort of behavior - and I hope no one gets hurt.

Also, I realize that saying that Charlie Rose is too nice during interviews may be the understatement of the year.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 24, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"These people are terrified of losing things that are valuable to them."

RD already knows this, but "those people" don't often even have those things they are afraid of losing.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

yello if you're going to be a cabana boy, you're going to have to stop sipping the drinks as you deliver them.

And maybe step up to a speedo.


Posted by: -bc- | March 24, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Somedays I'm like that myself...but I still think 6-year-old kids should be strapped in. It's not like they have the power to make rational, intellectual safety decisions for themselves. Ditto a 54-year-old testosterone-overdosed biker who has just downed six boilermakers.

You liberatrians (and the bikers themselves) are killing a couple thousand bikers every year, by the way. Just thought you might want to know what. The mystery to me is why us bleeding-heart liberals care so much. Maybe we should just be grateful you're culling the herd, especially in six southern states including one whose brief name I dare not mention. (But the numbers are quite impressive.)

But then, we wouldn't be very good bleeding-hearts if we thought that, I suppose.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Agree strongly with TBG's and seasea's 12:52 posts.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Which is why it is so amusing that the wingnuts in rural America get the most whipped up over increases to estate taxes or capital gains rates rather than FICA phase-outs or dual income penalties. The whole vote-against-their-natural-interests effect is nearly pathological.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Under HCR, insurance companies will only be allowed to skim **20%** off the top. There is change we can agree on.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

That bulge in my bicycle shorts is just the padding. Honest. And every time I deliver a pina colada to a well-bronzed cougar, I can't help but hum that Rupert Holmes tune cootie:

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

And don't think that the TP ranks are populated by the uneducated. Among their number are a couple of my college-educated in-laws. Who happen to be without health insurance.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 24, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Since I missed some backboodling while I was "away" in DC last weekend, did anyone invite you all to join the Coffee Party Movement?

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I never personally said uneducated, Raysmom. I merely implied stupid.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The biggest Tea Partiers in my circle are well-educated and fairly prosperous, but that is most people in my circle regardless of political philosophy. One has been unemployed for nearly a year, but he has a public sector spouse to fall back on for insurance.

Call me when the Bourbon Party gears up.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't call them stupid, TBG. Misguided, yes. Able to tolerate massive levels of cognitive dissonance, fer sure. Able to act against their own self-interest, most definitely.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 24, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Stupid is exemplified by this bullet point in a memo I just received:

What you can and cannot recycling

Posted by: Raysmom | March 24, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I've been thinking about this Coulter thing at the U of O last night. Ezra Levant is a professional sh1t stirrer who really likes to paint Human Rights/liberal/academia people as speech-denying fascists. Then he organizes a series of AC speeches in universities. That is big places largely populated these days by young people of all shades, sexual orientation and religious believes. There is a very significant element of provocation there.
AC cancelled her speech on the advice of her bodyguard yet they did not ask the campus security, nor the Ottawa police, for assistance.
I have a feeling Mr. Ezrant went to bed a happy man last night, nodding off with the smile of the cat that just ate the canary.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 24, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

So did Ann Coulter, Shrieking. She was very happy to cancel and cry "censorship!"

I'm sorry, but someone who continually acts against his own interests is stupid. That may very well describe me at times, but I'm willing to take it.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, yello, at least I didn't say "man-thong."

Eh, as I said yesterday, the anti-Dem/anti-Obama forces are going to do or utilize anything they can to make an advantage or leverage point (suppose someone who was called a name took a swing on camera?), and press it home any way they can.

Speaking of dumb moves caught on camera, a friend alerted me to ex-Pres #43's wiping his hand on #42's sleeve.

I hope they have seperate bathrooms.


Posted by: -bc- | March 24, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

So Coulter self-censored after stirring the pot and without consulting the authorities. Being shouted down by people of an opposing view is not censorship. As has already been pointed out it's calculated and self serving, but it doesn't have anything to do with free speech protections in a modern western democracy.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 24, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, I must confess here that I doubt I could render a sentence even remotely as cogent as that in Hindi, Farsi, or Mandarin.


Posted by: -bc- | March 24, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, sd.

It was a "don't throw me in the brier patch" maneuver that had nearly no downside for AC. She either made a speech and outraged some people or didn't give a speech and became a martyr to her core constituency. As street theater, it was flawless.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I just went through my email inbox and unsubscribed to exactly 30 e-newsletters I can live without. They were all from emails that I received between 3/19 and today.

I just received an auto-reply from Travelocity that says, "We received your request to cancel all subscriptions you may currently receive to all Travelocity promotional email communications."

They forgot to add, "but we're going to ignore you starting immediately."

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

It is possible that the TPers are escalating their dangerous behavior. A 'slashed' propane gas line at Congressman Perriello's brother's house (whose address was posted online in error by Nigel Coleman, a TPer).

I hope the President is very very well guarded, this behavior is becoming more and more scary.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 24, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

FB, your empathy comment is right.

I sometimes think that people forget the health care is not what it was in pre-1920s time. Then, we got sick and died easily. Health care was based in the community and consisted of care-giving primarily, with the occasional

mustard poultice
castor oil
steam bath
swill o' whiskey
dose of laudanum

etc. I guess, in that time, the occasional doctor visit was handled either as a mercy (for free), for two bits, or a crate of chickens or promise of woodworking.

We are so far afield from that -- blessedly so -- but I wonder if that aura of old-timey-make-do-and-be- grateful is part of the vision of those who disagree with my views on HCR.

My grandfather practiced medicine on the prairies starting in 1914, continuing with a g.p./surgery practice until he died at 82 in 1973. He saw all the changes, including these two transformative ones:

penicillin, that became standard in communities just after WWII and
insurance, which took off in the 1950s.

He used to say that penicillin truly made life better for his patients. Insurance meant that he was paid in money instead of jars of honey, produce, sides of beef, credits for cars/gasoline, etc.

We Americans can be a sentimental people long for the good old days? Is that why people decorate in country style? Is this why we love the SUV, which is an icon somehow of our cowboy-pioneer spirit?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 24, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Cabana! OK, let's have poolside treats for lunch. I have a tray of bacon-wrapped shrimp with two dipping sauces: duck sauce and a hot peanut-Thai thingie. Ice water at the ready.

I also sliced two pineapples. Mudge, I am looking at you, DON"T STEAL AND STASH the tiny plastic swords. And, Slyness, take ONE OF THE Umbrellas for your mai tai...One. I counted them.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 24, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't love SUVs. Pickup trucks are where it's at.

SUVs just combine that truck lust with the passenger practicality of a station wagon or a mini-van-- poorly.

(I got a dog, a pickup. Wonder if a bike rack looks anything like a gun rack?)

Instead of a HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS, I might put a HONK IF YOU LOVE PEOPLE.. REALLY. bumper sticker, though.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 24, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

E.J. Dionne's column today on the value of conservatism is good reading. Clipped two paragraphs:

Many who call themselves conservatives propose to cast aside even government programs that have stood the test of time. They seem to imagine a world in which government withers away, a phrase that comes from Friedrich Engels, not Buckley. Or they tie themselves up in unruly contradictions, declaring simultaneously that they are dead-set against government-run health care and passionate defenders of Medicare.

And while modern conservatism has usually supported the market against the state, its oldest and most durable brand understood that the market was an imperfect instrument. True conservatives may give "two cheers for capitalism," as Irving Kristol put it in the title of one of his books, but never three.



Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 24, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Yet another recent human species?

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 24, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Another human species?

My theory is that they're gone because Homo Sapien tea-partiers kept them from getting decent health care.

Posted by: rashomon | March 24, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Cool. Middle Earth is starting to seem less like fantasy and more racial memory by the year.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 24, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, looks like you got the jump on me.

Posted by: rashomon | March 24, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

That depends on your needs Wilbrod. If you need a truck (too many steep mountain roads, too much snow/ice, too many roads that aren't paved, too many big things to carry) with back seat passenger space (small child), you might say an SUV combines the truck and the station wagon pretty well.

CqP, I can whip up a pitcher of pina coladas and mini-caprese on sticks in no time. We can hide behind our Foster Grants and people watch.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 24, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

TBG - you make a very profound point when you suggest that some conservatives who are defending what they have might be fooling themselves. Yet, self-delusion can still be a motivation.

CP - Good point. Insurance was a lot cheaper because medicine was a lot less capable. Although on occasion, that swill o' whiskey might still have some merit. (At least after viewing the bill.)

Further, I worry sometimes that not all of the money spent on medical care today really has a proportional increase in one's standard of living. There does seem to be a point of diminishing returns.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 24, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh wow. A pool party. Can I show up? I promise to wear appropriate swimwear and not to splash.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 24, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh quick! Someone get the pool chairs and tables ready! They're still in storage.

I can sweep away the leaves from the deck, but the water's too cold still for swimming. And a tad bit brackish.

But the setting is perfect for drinks and nibbles. I'll see you there!

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

LiT -- yes, and now the Jeepers, Creepers, Wheredidjagitdose Peepers song....people watching. Very good and the caprese are delish.

I am teaching a class tonight on campus about the religious/spiritual basis of choosing to live simply. Will take people through the Catholic Worker movement (commies for Christ), with a whirl to Sojourners in DC (they started in Chicago) and then a whiff of Franciscan -- Capuchin style -- teachings. I will close with clip from Brother Sun Sister Moon: the famous disrobing before the Pope/Parents scene.

Apparently these young-ens want to talk about the old hippie days. I must disappoint because I just missed that era, born in 1960 and all.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 24, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Of course RD! You're bringing the music, right? I've got backgammon.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 24, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

TBG and LiT -- let RD swim anyway. SOMEBODY has to baptize that water for the season. Toss him in. BUT, I will light up the Chiminea-thingie that I picked up on Freecycle for nothin'. And, LiT has really fluffy towels.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 24, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

More wisdom from Andy Borowitz via Twitter...

@BorowitzReport: Teabaggers need to find something new to be angry about - I mean, besides the whole Black president thing.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Yep, and I'll bring the custom-built speakers. But, for safety's sake, I will insist that people not stand directly in front of the woofer.

Also, i assume everyone is aware of Biden's colorful comment about the Bill accidentaly caught on mike? Well, this interpretation made me laugh out loud.

Go here:

Scroll to March 23, and click on the "graphic of the day." (And yes, the word is written out.)

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 24, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Possibly three human-type species coexisting with megafauna on an arctic steppe even more ridiculously cold than it is at present?

Would've thought everyone would be living somewhere more comfortable.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 24, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

But...but...but...[little boy voice] I like those little swords.


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

And, students just told me about the NSFW definition of teabaggers....ever so elliptically they hinted at this. I just checked and MY GOODNESS. Serves such mean people to have some off-color activity as part of the connotation of their name. Sheesh and blech. Double blech on them, even more than the OTHER THINGIE.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 24, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Yet ANOTHER extinct species identified

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 24, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Yes CP - there was an infamous "Sex in the City" clip going around some time ago. Not entertaining from any perspective, if you ask me.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 24, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

And regarding the pool. I was raised in the Pacific Northwest. I do not fear cold water. It fears me.

(And no, I have no idea what that means. It's been a long day.)

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 24, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

But MUDGE, last time you stabbed SN repeatedly in the shoulder when you thought I wasn't watching. SN did not tattle.

And besides, I put pirate Playmobile dolls with swords -- er action figures -- in your secret Santa stocking. Play with those and if you poke or even pretend-poke anyone in the eyes, timeout and confiscation for you, Mister.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 24, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you can borrow DC's lightsaber. She's also got a Knights Templar shield, but you might have to rassle her to the ground for that one.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 24, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, really feeling my inner school marm. LiT, LiT give me some better peepers, you know the ones an Italian starlet would wear. Help me unleash my inner Gina Lolabridigda (sp! and apologies).

And, Mudge, sashay over with some of that chino/madras classic cool of yours...Top Siders or Bass?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 24, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Yes, CqP I've wondered how many tea party rally attendees, especially women, are aware of the various modern definitions of teabagging. The word might even qualify to be included in WaPo's purity-bot ap.

Posted by: MsJS | March 24, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@BorowitzReport: Teabaggers need to find something new to be angry about - I mean, besides the whole Black president thing.

Last night's late researching also led me to poke around in Gary Boyd Roberts NEGHS, (New England Genealogical Historical Society) archives--to find this. Turns out BHO is cousin--*my* distant cousin. *l*

Among the Senator’s Virginia forebears, Martha (Thacker) Hickman was a daughter of Henry Thacker and Eltonhead Conway, daughter of Edwin Conway (about 1610-about 1675) and his wife Martha Eltonhead, another immigrant of royal descent. ...The best royal descent of Martha Eltonhead Conway is almost certainly from Edward I, King of England (died 1307) through the Bohun, FitzAlan, Goushill, Stanley, Savage, Bold, Gerard, and Eltonhead families of medieval and early modern England.

Maybe Borowitz needs to brush up on *his* research?

Posted by: laloomis | March 24, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

DotC, I'd say that people are pretty adaptable, no matter what their backgrounds. Though I imagine that if was involved in some sort of time machine accident and had to move in there myself, they'd look at each other and say, "There goes the neighborhood."

A pool party - yay! And I just happen to have a Gladitorial swimsuit.

And I'll wait to put the EV olive oil (for tanning purposes, of course) on *after* I swim. Wouldn't want to have the pool seem like it's about to have a two tons of uncooked fusili dumped into it.


Posted by: -bc- | March 24, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I guess nobody else read the Kit title and thought of 20 century "modern" music? Pierre Boulez? No? No.

I'm late to the pool party - blame the incredibly vanishing Internet connection which seems to be affecting large segments of our state gummint today. I brought bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeno thingies and rum drinks. I'll distribute the Boy's light sabers and swords. We should have enough for a pitched Boodle battle.

There are days I'd surely like to sit down and say "I don't want to play." Alas, in the real world, when the coach benches you he often stops your pay as well.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 24, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Bass in college, before I slipped completely into the boating world, where ONLY Topsiders would do. (Although, rogue that I am, I always wear Timberlands, now. Much better sole and foot/arch support. Those Topsider soles were always way too thin.)

Yanno. much as I liked the original Star Wars, it's been bugging me for decades now why such an advanced civilization would run ariound with SWORDS, fer cryin' out loud. Swords? Now what is *that* all about? Could it possibly be more ph@llic? And exactly how blind horrible a marksman do you have to be to join the Emporer's Imperial Guard? Because those cross-eyed idiots couldn't hit a Larry King softball with a tennis racquet. Sometimes I get a little carried away.

Pass the canapes, please.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Sigh, Glenn Beck called Jim Wallis of Sojourner a "Marxist" last night. Apparently, Beck is spending the week with this "take down" of socialism in the churches.

Is a litmus test emerging for faith-based Christian-ey groups/denominations/communities?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 24, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

AP's article on the hominid fossil is today's example of a "science" writer who doesn't seem to know much science -- or is, at least, unfamiliar with the definition of the word "ancestor." It actually contradicts its own headline and lede in the 9th graf.

Posted by: rashomon | March 24, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Dadgumit, CqP, I was gonna use those drink umbrellas in my Peeps beach diorama!

Posted by: slyness | March 24, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I read that title and thought of Kornheiser wearing the Fortune Teller's hat with the big faux jewel in the middle. But then, I'm a local.

Heck, I saw les Boulez when they were in Baltimore. Oy.


Posted by: -bc- | March 24, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

SLYNESS, I grant you an educational exemption. Order more, since you are the supply czarina.

Thanks for the sunglasses, LiT; very Italian Contessa and I shall try to wear them well. Off by bike to teach the class. Such a day for biking that my heart is very very glad.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 24, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

They're on the order that will go out in the morning, CqP, thanks for that.

Have a nice bike ride and a good class, m'dear. I'm off to Wednesday night supper at church and then to my brother's. He's having a torn tendon in his shoulder repaired in the morning and I'm taking the kids to school.

Posted by: slyness | March 24, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Cool. Middle Earth is starting to seem less like fantasy and more racial memory by the year.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 24, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

*aiming the healing mojo gun at BroSlyness*

When I think of pool party food I always remember the movie "Mermaids" and all the appetizer Mrs. Flax (Cher) fed her kids. A lot of it was on skewers and would fit right in.

Posted by: MsJS | March 24, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

My cousin points out on Facebook that this is probably why Boehner hates the healthcare reform bill..

Shame on his body!

Posted by: -TBG- | March 24, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I keep thinking of the movie "Quest for Fire," Wilbrod, with it's various bands of hominids.

Posted by: rashomon | March 24, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

We have crocuses and snow drops! The Christmas roses are not far ahead. Yes!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 24, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

That new human ancestor who wondered off north and was never seen again? Great uncle Lucius. I'd bet anything on it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 24, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The tanning tax was a replacement for a Botox Tax. The HCR bill was being used as an in-joke between Pelosi and Boehner.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

People know that the Supreme Court is reviewing Second Amendment cases and it is possible the District laws on guns will be held unconstitutional. But who ever wants to cut Gilbert some slack. I don't know him, but he seems to have a lot of writers mad at him and who want him to go to jail. That ought to show him.

But is it fair?

Or even legal?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 24, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh, dear. Robert Culp died (79 years old) from a fall. Brings to mind "I Spy" that launched Bill Cosby to fame outside of comedy clubs.

Ivansmom -- I, too, thought of Pierre Boulez for a nanosecond, and then thought "Nah. That would never happen." Little did I know ... oh, wait.

Boy, am *I* flagging. Although I must admit that working while unconscious is kinda cool. No worries, just happy, happy, happy ... sorta.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 24, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Here is a response from one of the scientists who is a personal friend of mine quoted in the AP hominid article:

"Unfortunately, we never get to edit science writer's copy."

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

RIP, Robert Culp.

I luvved 'I, Spy'. That show was way ahead of its time with the great dialog and snappy patter.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Ohh I loved Robert Culp, I, Spy was great.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 24, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Aw, man, Robert Culp. Damn. *sigh*

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 24, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Neil Macdonald is Norm MacDonald's brother. So it's almost a Week-end Update.

"The poop on Ann Coulter"

"Ezra Levant, clever bugger that he is, has just proved once again that you can count on Canada's university crowd to behave like suckers. This time, his tool was Ann Coulter, the right-wing comedienne and thrower of stink bombs who used to be quite a sensation here in the United States."

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 24, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

sd-I agree wholeheartedly with at least one piece of your quote. Ann Coulter is a tool.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 24, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I remember Culp best from "The Greatest American Hero".

Homework and Culp and that other guy.

Posted by: omni3 | March 24, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I was just reading that Shriek, made me laugh and sigh all at once. I much prefer Neil to Norm.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 24, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I've often looked at the NBA in the last 15 or so years and wondered "Why is everyone trying so hard to be Charles Barkley? They think the Clown Prince of the NBA was serious?"

I don't follow how Coulter's right to free speech was constrained by her choosing to pull out.

While I can sympathize with claims of excess of political correctness on campus (having done my fair share of baiting), lobbing insults at any group is bound to provoke an angry reaction. If you abandon civility in your discourse you give up any right to expect your audience to listen politely. Clearly a BS accusation by Klein.

Universities hate this stupidity. It's a no win to host this kind of event. If it happens you get accused of fostering hate speech. If you refuse you get accused of muzzling free speech. IIRC a university in Montreal moved a speaker off campus because of the threat of potentialy violent protest and they needed a more secure location. They got vilified for repressing free speech because they didn't allow the speaker to use the original location. Nothing but theatre.

Posted by: qgaliana | March 24, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Phil and Wendy Gramm & Co. sighting.

My husband and I went to our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Chaparral in Helotes, for dinner. The service was generally slow tonight, so after we finished eating and after the check arrived, I told my husband that I would wait for him oustside. I excused myself early from our table because the restaurant was a little crowded and noisy, because an elderly woman at the table next to us had a a loud cackle for a laugh, and mostly because the night sky was so beautiful, with the last of the storm clouds moving across and away from San Antonio.

While my husband was waiting for the waitress to run the credit card, a man passed by the table and my husband thought he recognized him. Later, my husband said that if the waitress had been quicker, he could have shared the bank of urinals with the former Texas congressman.

As it turns out, my husband suppressed his urge and follwed the Gramm party--Phil and Wendy and an older couple--out of El Chaparral. My husband said that he had raised his hand high in the air and was pointing at the Gramms, a gesture that I failed to see.

What I saw instead, at first glance, was a short Oriental woman dancing the wildest dance between a wide striped zone between two cars as she emerged from the restaurant. My husband said that the other older man was also dancing. The music wasn't conjunto, but one of the old, classic canciones. What was kind of funny, was she kept dancing and dancing and dancing. Sort of a cross between the twist and the watusi. A wild, uninhibited dance it was.

Then I saw Phil Gramm, whom I recognized immediately. Then Wendy saw me, and I was making a rolling camera motion with my hands. "Wendy, I've got a video camera trained on YOU!" I blurted. Phil was smiling. She walked straight as an arrow to their car; their dinner companions crossing in front of me, also smiling, to reach their car.

The only question I have is, "Wendy, quantas maragaritas?" For the rest of us, "Riase todos los dias." (Laugh every day.) Tonight, Wendy Gramm was the evening's entertainment! Shake it up, baby!

Posted by: laloomis | March 24, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Talking about Levant, not Klein *sigh*. Gotta stop letting my brain autopilot that way.

Posted by: qgaliana | March 24, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

According to the home page, it's now "at least" 10 Congress people who are getting enhanced protection. The TPers are just digging themselves deeper and deeper.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 24, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I guess there aren't a whole lot of politicos to spot in Helotes. In the DC area, you spot them everywhere...the grocery store, church, the dry cleaners, the service station. Head up Constitution Ave, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one or two. It's like looking for a skinny blonde babe in LA.

BTW, Mrs. Gramm is an American.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 24, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Global warming is a fraud update.... It is official. Lake Winnepesaukee in NH was officially declared ice-out today. It is the earliest date ever, or at least since they have started calling ice-out (when the major ports are open for tourist boat travel). That is the earliest ice-out in 120 years.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 24, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I just noticed that the Post's article on the fossil not only uses the incorrect "ancestor" in the headline, but goes on to call it a "new species," a claim that the researchers have been careful to avoid based on the mitochondrial DNA alone. Maybe researchers should get to edit science writers' copy.

Hmm. Safari's spell checker is telling me "mitochondrial" is spelled wrong. Stupid spell checker.

Posted by: rashomon | March 24, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

BobSewell: I tend to think a lot like you, but also tend to have experienced enough of the real world to realize that curbs on pure freedom are often acceptable.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 24, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

That's nasty Mudge :-(

Without wanting to renew discussion about the overall merits of hate speech laws (which I'll admit can be debated), that's pretty much the sort of behaviour that causes them to get passed.

Posted by: qgaliana | March 24, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Some people find the word 'Oriental' offensive. My source is the song 'Everybody Is A Little Bit Racist' from Avenue Q:

Go to the five minute mark for this bit of dialog (it helps to know that the character named Christmas Eve is a Japanese-American social worker and is married to the unemployed Brian):

Kate Monster:
Oh, come off it, Brian!
Everyone's a little bit racist.

I'm not!

Oh no?


How many Oriental wives
Have you got?

Christmas Eve:
What? Brian!

Brian, buddy, where you been?
The term is Asian-American!

Christmas Eve:
I know you are no
Intending to be
But calling me Oriental -
Offensive to me!

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm 90% sure I saw George Will once, about 20 years ago, in the mall area. I wasn't absolutely sure because he wasn't wearing glasses. He passed me swiftly on the sidewalk, as I think he saw that he'd been recognized. Either that or he was some guy who resembled George Will and didn't want to be mistaken for him yet again.

RD is right about the "defensive crouch" -- a perfect way to express it.

People with rural roots, even a couple of generations removed, only remember how hard everybody worked (true) and how dangerous it was (true), and equate this to total self-reliance (false). There was the Homestead Act to distribute land; there was the U.S. Army to take it away from the Indians in the first place. Later on there were farm subsidies and price supports, which for some reason, don't count in their eyes as government programs.

Plus, the memory of what our great-grandparents said around the dinner table is lost. I suspect that the anticommunist fervor of the 1950s probably caused the convenient erasure of a lot of historical memory. There was a lot of rural activism once upon a time, and some of it was pretty far left.

So there are a lot of people out there feeling kind of historically marooned. They've lost contact with the real past and meanwhile, life has changed, and they are no longer considered typical or quintessential Americans.

Not excusing, just musing.

Posted by: woofin | March 24, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I may regret being on-kit for a sports kit, let alone to a ABBA tune, but... voulez-vous listen?

A sense of desperation hanging in the air
Oozing out a spark
Across the court your tears are glowing in the dark
And here we go again, we know the start, we know the end
Mourners of the scene
We’ve suffered it before and now we’re back to cry some more
You know what I mean

Les Boulez (ah-ha)
Make shot now or leave it (ah-ha)
Loss is all we get (ah-ha)
Nothing promised, no delights

Les Boulez (ah-ha)
Ain’t got big precision (ah-ha)
You know what to do (ah-ha)
Repulsion, c’est les Boulez
les Boulez...

I know what you hope
This team means business so I’ll offer them a rope
Looking mighty peeved
I see you leave your seat, pushing through, all grieved
I’m really shocked you came, you know the rules, you know the game
Mourner of the scene
We’ve suffered it before and now we’re back to cry some more
You know what I mean

Les Boulez (ah-ha)
Make shot now or leave it (ah-ha)
Loss is all we get (ah-ha)
Nothing promised, no delights

Les Boulez (ah-ha)
Ain’t got big precision (ah-ha)
You know what to do (ah-ha)
Repulsion, c’est Les Boulez

And here we go again, we know the start, we know the end
Mourners of the scene
We’ve done it all before and now we’re back to cry some more
You know what I mean

Les Boulez (ah-ha), etc.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 24, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

SCC: should be:

"Make shot now or leave here..."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 24, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I have just given up back boodling. Too many posts. I am tired... worn out. I worked hard. I know, I have family from the farm belt. (boodle reference).

I had a 1 and half inch thick ribeye marinating for a day in a chipotle concoction. I don't think that I have grilled outside any better and accompanied the beast with broccoli sauteed in butter, Olive Oil, parsley, vinegar, marsala, pepper and sea salt.

Oh, it was good and left overs for a sandwich tomorrow.

Dessert will be sliced mango--no work, ready to go and already sampled (very good).

If I can just get some work done tonite, that would be great!!!!

Posted by: russianthistle | March 24, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

When I arrived at my graduate-school university, it was puzzling that the students were wearing Topsiders. Inland university, no boats around. First rainstorm, I discovered that the brick walks were nontraction, except for deck shoes, which were purchased immediately.

Currently using two pair of deck shoes from CT Shirts (a British outfit that specializes in selling shirts to Americans--go figure) with several original-model Topsiders in reserve.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 24, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Good one, Wilbrod!

Posted by: engelmann | March 24, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'll have to split this up....

"Why would you be against helmet and seat belt laws, Bob? They *do* save [lots of] lives. (I do the reports with the numbers.)"

Thanks, Mudge, for the opportunity to do a little Springtime consciousness raising among drivers. Here we are still experiencing nights below freezing, so motorcyclists are few in the early morning and late afternoon. I am sure they are more prevalent at all hours where you are. You all be sure to be on the lookout for them, you hear? A leading cause of motorcycle fatalities (second only to running off the road) is collision with a vehicle in motion that gets in your way. The only national database I know of in the US is the NHTSA's list of traffic fatalities, so I assume that's where the figures come from.

You can't slice and dice the fatality figures very fine because you quickly get down to sample sizes that have no significance. Suffice it to say at least one study concludes that helmets are about 30% effective in preventing fatalities. Other studies conclude that helmets prevent serious injury in collisions up to about 10 mph. This makes sense to me. In many crashes the motorcyclist initiates avoidance maneuvers including slowing down, so it's quite likely that helmeted riders are surviving low-speed crashes but not high-speed ones. Also I fear many unhelmeted riders succumb to low-speed or no-speed crashes such as tipping over at a stop and hitting your head on a curb. BTDT -- in my helmet, and I can attest I was dazed and surprised. You can die from that!

Now I want to tar the mandatory-helmet law proponents with an ad hominem argument analagous to that used against Global Warming Deniers: Mandatory-helmet law proponents are backed by big money campaigns run by the health-care and insurance industries. If they have their way, you can forget about downhill skiing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, ATVing, and any of a number of other legal but risky sports, and that wouldn't be all bad, but motorcycling is not a sport, it is a means of transportation, which is likely to become more and more vital to commuters as our standard of living declines, the cost of vehicles escalates, the price of fuel increases and Global Warming advances and as citizens cease to venture so very far from home. Right now, though, it would be foolish for any government-paid economist to discount the revenue that motorcyclists spend on equipment, clothing, fuel, and travel. States that have instituted helmet laws have seen these sources of revenue dry up. States that have repealed helmet laws have seen these revenue streams rebound. Think of it: In the future the only place you will be able to see people enjoying riding on two wheels is in YouTube videos from India.


Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 24, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse


That's what I think of helmet laws. Now here's what I think of statistics, using this little hypothetical as a straw man: A little old lady in all innocence goes out one day for a drive in her car. During the course of her travels she cuts in front of a motorcyclist because she doesn't fully appreciate that his vehicle may be an obstacle to where she wants to go. The motorcyclist is killed. His passenger is severely injured. Neither are wearing helmets. Clearly the car driver is at fault, but is she 100% at fault? Or are the motorcyclists 30% at fault for not wearing helmets? Or would that be 60% because there are two of them? MORAL: If you plan to run into a motorcyclist, look to be sure he's not wearing his helmet and, if possible, pick one who is intoxicated; otherwise, it will be all your fault.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 24, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

And let's not forget the fine addition of unhelmeted riders to the organ donor reserves.

I've seen what motorcyclists wear to prevent against wind chill and slap-- heavy leather jackets and gloves.

So, you saying that the face's tougher than your chest and arms and hands? You're saying that motorcyclists can suffer such rapid cooling of the brain and maintain normal reflexes and thought at high speeds?

Methinks you need to prove that unhelmeted riders are as able as helmeted ones, and that they don't collide with vehicles more because their brains are half blue with cold, slowing their mental and physical reflexes?

Okay, that's a non-factual attack, but it's worth a look. I KNOW I would never ride without a helmet because the wind chill would have that exact effect on my reflexes. I also know that a good percentage of the American population would have similar adaptation issues to such wind chills, as well.

We take people off the road for health or intoxication problems. Driving on public roads is considered a privilege, not a constitutional right (although travel in general is--.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 24, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

On the Rachel Maddow show, currently on MSNBC in the west where she is talking about threats made to Democrats, there is a large banner or block on the screen with the word "intimination" on it.

I don't think that is a word ---

Posted by: nellie4 | March 24, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Testing of the efficiency of unhelmeted riders vs helmeted riders could well show that they, unless it is a very warm day, function as though they were drunk.
This would only strengthen the argument for helmet laws.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 24, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse doesn't think it is a word

Posted by: nellie4 | March 24, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

(Obviously, I don't own or care to use a convertible; the effective temperature for comfort is too low for me-- and I could convert with a button push. Try putting a helmet on while doing 70 down a highway.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 24, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

"Word" doesn't think it is a word!

Posted by: nellie4 | March 24, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I read recently that Emergency Room patients are rarely used as organ donors. There is too much controversy over declaring the exact moment of death and getting a team to harvest the organs in a timely manner. If so, that is a shame and all those motorcyclists riding without helmets are not contributing to the health care system as much as they think they are.

As a bicycle rider, I have had a helmet save me from serious injury at least once. And as one motorcyclist I knew used to say, "Protect your head with whatever you think its worth. If you have a hundred dollar head, wear a hundred dollar helmet. If your brain isn't worth anything, don't bother with a helmet."

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, I think that's a play on intimidation and nation. But I thought the same thing when I first saw it. She also called out Scott Brown for sending out a fund raising letter (to out of staters) claiming she was going to be running against him. She's not, never even thought about it, and Brown never called to check with her before sending the letter. Nor will he now correct the letter's claim or return her calls requesting that he come on her show. He was interviewed on a local Boston radio show today (she played clips from it) and is still giving the impression that she is running against him.

I'm still steaming that my fellow citizens voted for him, he's a fairly typical Repub and I'm not sure he's especially intelligent. Too bad Rachel's not running, she'd wipe the floor with him.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 24, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I think there's room for mail fraud charges there, badsneakers.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 24, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

"They promised it; they were elected; they carried it out."

TBG, what we got (HCR) is not what they (Congress) promised.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 24, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Badsneakers, that makes sense. It is an intimidation-nation.

Unfortunately my mind just turned into a spell checker!

Posted by: nellie4 | March 24, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

"Okay, that's a non-factual attack, but it's worth a look."

Yes, Wilbrod, it is worth a look ... can't think why nobody's come up with the money to do the study.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 24, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

After last night, I swore to my solemn self never to come back here, but I need to challenge this. Entenpfuhl.

Helmets do not, and no epidemiological study has ever claimed they do, reduce overall injury rates in traffic accidents. What they dramatically do, is reduce catastrophic brain injuries, by up to 60% (depending on the study you study), often less. But let me tell you, catastrophic brain injuries that don't result in the victim's death are *terrible* for both the victim and the victim's family. When you have a veg-brother, knowing that he's never going to sit up, or blink, or squeeze your hand, much less recognize a loved one, or take pleasure in a bite of food, whether he feeds it to himself or not, but he's still *there* in a bed, taking our hearts' feeling and nursing care that could be spent on someone with a hope of recovery, well, that's about as bad as it can be.

And I'm a witness to say that if legislated helmets reduce those sorts of injuries by even 15%, then that result is better by far than if we didn't have those sorts of regulations.

Posted by: Yoki | March 24, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Traumatic brain injury that don't leave people vegetables can leave them permanently disabled mentally, with short-term memory loss, emotional issues. Some fail to form any new memories and get stuck in a specific year for the rest of their lives.

Even the most mildly injured-- I know somebody who has permanent neurological damage from a car accident-- can be unable to work simply because their brain no longer can coordinate their body's functionings properly and they suffer from frequent headaches, weakness and other symptoms

Traumatic brain injury is frontier of medicine so wild and untamed that there is no actual cure for those who survive; one must let the body heal itself as best as it can, and recognize the human brain, sadly, was never designed to regenerate itself. It can rewire many functions, but not if the essential coordinators of memory, mood, and movement sequencing are knocked out.

One such I read:

I'm with Yoki 100% on this. Why wear a jacket, boots, and tough pants to protect your skin, but not anything on your head?

Why complain about helmet laws, but not "driving nude" laws?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 25, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Well, if this joint ain't good enough for Yoki, it certainly ain't good enough for me. When Yoki goes, I go!

As a current non-rider, I'm not gonna wade too deep into the helmet law waters. I have no standing, ya know? But my point (much earlier) was philosophical rather than empirical. Lots of things are a bad idea if maximizing longevity is your only goal. If humans had a life expectancy of 5,000-10,000 years, rather than 50-100 years, nothing as insanely risky as human-piloted automobiles would be allowed. The expected survival rate of people who spend even 500 years on and around the highways & byways is so close to zero that the difference is just statistical background noise.

When I was younger, I often rode without a helmet when the weather was nice, with the full knowledge that it was foolish. When I buy my next scoot (and I shall), I'll probably do it again occasionally.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 25, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

My policeman friend calls them Donorcycles, FWIW.

On the failure to wear a helmet while in a not-at-fault accident, here there is de facto cap of 25% reduction for contributory negligence where the negligence only made the injuries worse, but didn't contribute to the accident itself due to the relative moral blameworthiness.

Posted by: engelmann | March 25, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I'm not a big fan of the anti-nudity laws either. But you probably knew that.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 25, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

"And I'm a witness to say that if legislated helmets reduce those sorts of injuries by even 15%, then that result is better by far than if we didn't have those sorts of regulations."

Does it? Does helmet legislation reduce brain injury by 15%? Why stop there? Why not ban motorcycles altogether?

This reductio ad absurdum is not for you, Yoki; I know you are not making this kind of argument; it is for anyone else who might be swayed by this line of reasoning. My condolences....

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 25, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, then, that Bob is here, keeps me here.

I confess, I ski and toboggan and sledge helmetless (early conditioning, doncha know). Toqued, but not helmeted. Of course, I ski fairly slowly and only on groomed blue squares and black diamonds (mostly blue squares). But I always wear a bike helmet when biking, and a motorcycle (Bell) helmet when motorcycling. And if ever I sky-dove, I'd wear a sky-diving helmet.

Posted by: Yoki | March 25, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

badsneakers, that's insidious... I'm feeling less and less understanding. The Repub leadership are playing with fire just to show that they can. I'm not that much of a lefty (more in the same category as yello), but it's hard to avoid being pushed in that direction by the sheer pressure of stupidity from the other side.

Posted by: woofin | March 25, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Entenpfuhl.

Posted by: Yoki | March 25, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't have the standing to comment on helmets specifically, either, except that I don't put much stock in slippery-slope arguments. Society has the right to put reasonable restrictions on dangerous activities, and does so all the time, utterly without controversy. Why is this one different?

Posted by: woofin | March 25, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

I used to ride. On certain days in certain traffic conditions I would go without a helmet. Most times I wore one because either where I was riding, or weather, or heavy traffic; made it stupid to go without. At all times I was careful to know 360 degrees and be prepared to go off the road rather than be hit. Or have a blowout right when a telephone pole was coming up. Defensive driving squared. Can take away some of the fun.

Conspiracy to commit negligent littering with one's own corpse would be the general charge for riding helmetless in most cities and interstates, thoroughfares.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 25, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Because I am (among other things) a play-with-the-numbers kinda dude:

Using very round numbers, roughly 30,000 U.S. folk bought it in traffic misfortunes in each of the past few years, out of a population of around 300 million. One in ten thousand, which means we've got a survival rate each year of .9999

I have to apologize for overstating the dangers of automobiles. It turns out that after 500 years, the survival rate is still over 95%, and it takes nearly 7,000 years to drop below 50%.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 25, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

I think it comes down to political possibility. To suggest that we can outlaw motorcycles and bicycles, yes, that would make everyone on our roads safer. It is never going to happen, because there isn't the will in either the legislature or the public to do such a thing (and I'm not arguing that they are wrong to resist a restriction on freedom). But, if we have helmet regulations, some percentage of the population will comply. So, a small increase in safety. I'm OK with incremental improvements in outcomes.

I really think that anyone who wants the freedom to not-comply with safety regulations, would also want to not be scraped up off the pavement and be kept alive by the System. I'm sure Bob is comfortable with this.

Posted by: Yoki | March 25, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Depends. Would there be free beer?

Posted by: bobsewell | March 25, 2010 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Neither am I.

Posted by: Yoki | March 25, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

But of course. And the white wine would flow like water over small river-tumbled stones.

Posted by: Yoki | March 25, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

"Society has the right to put reasonable restrictions on dangerous activities, and does so all the time, utterly without controversy."

You know, woofin, I can't think of any ... probably it's because it's too late. Oh, you mean like playing with fireworks. No, that's controversial, and any regulations are honored more in the breach than in the observance. What do you mean?

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 25, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Good night, Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | March 25, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

It's 1:35 am and Sen. Max Baucus of Montana is explaining why the Republican amendment of the moment is a Bad Idea. When he was younger, Sen. Baucus sounded somewhat more like John Wayne than he does now.

I wonder how long the Republican slowdown will continue. Milbank's report that Sens. Webb and Graham "went rogue" and held a subcommittee meeting regardless of objections sounds a bit encouraging.

I feel for the poor Clerk who has to read everyone's name, so many times.

Once, I was in London when the House of Commons pulled an all nighter. I guessed the building would be open whenever the MPs were sitting, so I hurried over, and there were several people in line. Got to see the amazing Westminster Hall. Way bigger than the ones at Hampton Court or the hard-to-find Eltham Palace.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 25, 2010 1:49 AM | Report abuse

You'd think the boss said don't talk about helmut laws

Posted by: omni3 | March 25, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Helmut Laws. It's not widely known that he (a great uncle on my maternal grandmother's lover's side of the family, and widely considered [in the Monkeys Eyebrow area of Ballard County, Kentucky] to have been one of the more daring debauchers of both the chaste and the jaded in that part of the commonwealth) was one of the founders of a great mayonnaise plantation just outside of Lyon in the early 1820's, upon land that he'd won in a game of Pilotta from a Cypriot with a mysterious Tunisian mistress and a necrotic left pinky finger.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 25, 2010 2:47 AM | Report abuse

BTW, Mrs. Gramm is an American.

No kidding? Let's see, having lived in California for most of my life, having reported, having taught in Hawaii for two summers, I guess it just slipped my mind that Wendy Lee Gramm is of both Korean and Hawaiian descent.

Knock it off, LiT.

As far as the word, Oriental, yello, what I saw coming out of El Chapparal was, at first, not a woman whom I recognized as Wendy Gramm, since I didn't see her face clearly. What I saw was a woman with Asian or Oriental features, a woman dancing like a whirling dervish, not knowing immediately if the person whom I saw dancing wildly was Asian-American. Asian or Oriental, yes, certainly. Couldn't say she was Asian-American at first sighting. One never knows with so many tourists from around the world who visit all parts of Alamo City exactly who is American at first glance, who might be a naturalized citizen, who is an American of many generations of descent. (See Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s recent PBS series--or when a border crosses over them, as is the case with the Longorias.) Since Phil Gramm was calmly stepping out of the restaurant, with a wide grain on his face, he's the one whom I recognized first (go back and read what I wrote).

Read, folks, read.

Posted by: laloomis | March 25, 2010 2:56 AM | Report abuse

I hope I made it clear that the Cypriot had the necrosis, not the mistress. No, her dusky skin was as flawless as the pearls which my great uncle showered upon her mother in an attempt to use unfair family influence to win not only the Cypriot's land but his lover. This plan's lack of success not only helped instill in Uncle Helmut the depraved single-mindedness of purpose that would later lead him to become the most feared mayonnaise mogul of...

Oops, I've just been reminded of the time. More later, perhaps.

G'night, all!

Posted by: bobsewell | March 25, 2010 3:05 AM | Report abuse

Why was any description of her race necessary at all? What bearing did it have on the anecdote?

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 5:44 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. I'm not familiar with the health care bill. In other words, I don't know what it entails or what it is about. I don't know the details or where the money will come from. I don't know.

I feel that a lot of the anger, frustrations, violence, and other bad behavior is not coming so much from the passing of the health care bill as it is from personal feelings of hate. There's no other way to define it.

I think that in this country, some people are willing to go to any length to have their way, and tearing up the country doesn't mean squat to them. They feel they can rebuild and everything will be set right.

What they fail to understand is that once you start a fire, sometimes it is very hard to extinguish that fire. There's a group of people in this country that pay no attention to the details of daily doings. They're not really interested. They could care less. But sometimes something will trigger their interest, and once it's triggered, one has a hard time getting them back to their beginning.

As a country we have suffered for the past eight, nine, years, and still suffering to some extent. It has been hard, and for some, it's still hard. People are still trying to hold on, but with all the uproar going on today, it seems we may be losing that battle.

I don't want to be around when the lid blows off this thing. I don't want to see it. I'm praying, doing a lot of praying, and believe that God is able. Yet we've had so many blessings in this country, and we don't necessarily count them.

Have a good day my friends. As one that lives in rural North Carolina, and has done lots of different kinds of work, and been out of the loop of so much of what the world is about, perhaps this is just rambling and an over active imagination, but it is worrisome.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 25, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Good morning ye Boodlers!

Can you believe this?
The coast in the vecinity of the fishing port of Lebu rose 2.5 meters (7 feet)during the earthquake. Together with the tsunami, this caused extensive damage to the fishing fleet.

Salmon Chile, a company operating in the far south donated fifteen boats, which began arriving yesterday.

We, at Desafio, Levantemos Chile (Challenge, Let's Raise Chile) began work on a second school, this one for 800 pupils in Cauquenes.

We are building a web page in English and working to make it possible to accept donations from abroad.

In Spain, a renown chef is organizing a food festival to finance the construction of a school on Robinson Crusoe Island in the Archipelago of Juan Fernandez 200 miles off the Chilean coast.

Volunteers are busy helping fishermen repair their boats.

We only have 54 more schools to build and see how many boats can be fixed. Two thousand were destroyed.

I have a busy day. Have a good one, everyone.


Posted by: Braguine | March 25, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

laloomis, I know ancestry is important to you, though why you'd always want to be looking backward is beyond me. I was trying to point out to you (nicely) that again, you identify someone by ancestry. A very risky business, and socially unacceptable. You do know you do that, don't you? Within the first sentence of describing someone, you throw out race.

Trying to define someone based on their ancestry is pointless. It's about as relevant as shoe size.

If you have *really* lived in Hawaii or worked as a reporter (you know, had an editor, gotten a paycheck) you'd know that the word 'oriental' is considered by many here in the US to be offensive. If you didn't know that, YJ pointed it out to you (also nicely). Rather than learn something, you've attempted to defend your post by reiterating it and then accusing us of not reading.

If someone should knock it off, that someone would be you.

Now, let's move beyond this. I've got a very busy morning, and I don't want to sour this beautiful day with an argument.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 25, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

LiT -- such a nice pool party yesterday. In boodle floriferous news: the Albert Einstein daffodils are up and blooming. These flowers are white with a snub-nosed orange center disc. Lovely variety not widely grown. Named in the 1940s for AE.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 25, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Here is Professor Einstein:;Les-Cleveland;Saddle-Hill;closeup;daffodil;petal;pollen;professor-einstein;stamen.html

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 25, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Brag -- thanks for the update. Keep us posted on the easy-click donation page.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 25, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Interesting commentary:


By Alan Hu
Usenet Posting, circa 1993

OK, so a long time ago, people in Europe used to refer to everything to the east of them as the Orient, including for example the Middle East, since orient means "east". So far, so good. This mysterious area was the source of all sorts of wonderful things like silk and spices, so the Europeans attached also sorts of exotic, mysterious connotations to the Orient. As Europeans gained a better concept of world geography, they eventually used "the Orient" and "Oriental" to refer to East and Southeast Asia, where people look "Oriental" in our current usage.

Anyway, that usage of "Oriental" has survived a long time, and it still frequently carries all of the exotic/foreign/inscrutable/mysterious connotations. These connotations happen to coincide with many of the stereotypes held of Asian Americans. Furthermore, by definition, the word "Oriental" is Eurocentric, referring to things east of Europe. For these reasons, some Asian American activist types decided that "Oriental" was a Bad Word, and that "Asian" was more accurate, less Eurocentric, and less loaded with strange connotations. No big deal, right?

Well, a lot of people didn't want to change their language usage. Some people grew up using "Oriental" and saw nothing wrong with the word. Others came from other parts of the world, where hip-activist-American-English-linguistic-evolution hadn't hit. Still others never encountered anyone aware of Asian American politics, so had never heard of this word usage change. Some people were exploiting the exotic mysticism connotations and resisted change. (Very early on, you would see articles about business and trade in Asia, whereas the travel articles would talk about visiting the Exotic Mysterious Orient.) Finally, some people were convinced that this was a typical case of left-wing-politically-correct-thought-police-mind-control (which it was) and decided in typical right-wing-politically-correct-knee-jerk-response that the word usage change was intrinsically evil and had to be resisted at all costs.

For a while, therefore, you could identify a person as being an American who was aware of and sympathetic to Asian American politics by his/her word choice. Now, however, many exploitation-types have realized that saying "Asian" instead of "Oriental" is the cool thing to do, without changing any of their stereotypes and misconceptions. (You can force a person to change his/her behavior, but you can't force a change in thought.)

The upshot is to use whatever word you feel most comfortable with, or that makes your listeners most comfortable, but don't be surprised if someone takes offense. And in the time you save by not worrying about word-usage, try to make the world a better place.


RT, here, I found the discussion recently sort of interesting.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 25, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

CqP, it was fun, wasn't it? We've got to do that more often. The food, the drinks, the laughter, all good. I've even gotten used to Mudge playing Kublai Khan while the rest of us play Marco Polo.

Einstein daffodils...pretty. And way cool that he's got a flower. Somehow, it seems fitting it's a daffodil and not a rose.

Time to get ready to head to the city (the nearby one, not the big one down the road). Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 25, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

RT, thanks for that. Interesting. FWIW, some state legislatures have banned the use of the word in official documents.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 25, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Electron is the name of a saturated hot pink rose:

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 25, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

And, this coreopsis is called Big Bang or Red Shift:

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 25, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Well said LiT.

And thanks, CP, for those pictures.

Also, the phrase "a Big Bang Bouquet" is fun to say.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 25, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Chile Earthquake, Partial Balance Sheet

94,081 housing units heavily damaged
89,629 housing units lightly damaged
17 hospitals out of service
8 hospitals with structural damage
54 hospitals need repairs
1800 schools need to be rebuilt (700,000 pupils affected)
2245 vessels damaged or destroyed

Damage to businesses and industry 5.347 million dollars.

Estimated cost of reconstruction 29.6 billion dollars for a country of only 17 million people.


Posted by: Braguine | March 25, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

That's similar to the cost of a serious (but not catastrophic) hurricane in Florida, which has about the same population. Australia has a few more people.

I think the number of damaged housing units is fairly similar to what you'd see in that bad Florida hurricane.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 25, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The rise of the Chilean coast at Lebu of 2.5 meters seems to be opposite what you'd expect in a subduction earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, where the 1700 earthquake brought about that much subsidence.

Needless to say, having the coast suddenly 7 feet up or down is disruptive.

Oregonians are no doubt thinking harder about the likelihood of another big earthquake (the 1700 event caused a damaging tsunami in Japan).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 25, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Thanks, Brag. When your DLC gets the English site up be sure and post it. And again I will thank you personally for your on-the-ground work. It is easy to talk about what people should do to recover from a disaster. It is something else again to do it.

LiT, Weed, yello - I think the whole "identify visually by race" practice is doomed. The Boy's generation already thinks it puts people firmly among the dinosaurs. So many of his friends are a little of this, a little of that, a bunch of something else. Back in my day, if you were what we called "mixed-race" you often felt compelled to pick one to identify with - as Obama has chronicled so well. Now many of the kids seem happy to be a mixture and claim Asian (that's what they call themselves and thus what we all call them, for what it is worth), African-American, Hispanic, Indian, as they wish.

Just generally, the less homogenous Middle America gets, the less possible it is to identify by race. We have large Asian and Hispanic populations here in Oklahoma, along with our 39 federally recognized Indian tribes (not all of whom look "Indian" in the stereotypical sense). Over generations they marry across racial and ethnic lines, have children who do the same, etc.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 25, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. I got the kids to school early; our only bump was was A left his sneakers in his mom's car so he had to wear his crocs. It's pajama day at his school, so the crocs were perfect. Surgery for my brother is supposed to start at 9:30, I hope it goes well.

What's the big deal about wearing helmets? It should be a no-brainer, IMHO.

The dog and I are going to have a nice, quiet day. I may take her for a walk when the temperatures get high enough.

Have a nice day, all!

Posted by: slyness | March 25, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

(continued post)
The unreliability of visual racial identification is changing the practice of law in criminal jury trials. A lawyer cannot reject a potential juror solely on the basis of race. This was designed to prevent wholesale rejection of black jurors. However, race or ethnicity are not questions jurors answer. Used to be, a juror would look black, the lawyer would make a record stating that it looked like the juror was black, and they'd go from there. Now you often can't tell a juror's race by her name or appearance. One big legal question is whether a lawyer tries to kick off all people of color, or singles one or two out for other, legitimate reasons. Again, that record used to be easy to make - on appeal we'd see a lawyer say this was the only black juror, or something like that. Now, "foreign"-sounding names are common so one can't tell by juror name, and the whole concept of race has changed. Now it is almost impossible to conclude from a written transcript that there were no other people of color, if we don't have an explicit record stating that everyone else on the panel is definitely white (and, since those questions aren't asked good luck with that).

The times they are a'changin', and for the better. I know this isn't yet true everywhere in the country, but there is hope. Oklahoma was never as homogenous as people thought: after the Civil War we were a destination for freed slaves who started a lot of all-black towns, and of course Oklahoma's statehood was accelerated because Indian nations looked like they might succeed in starting the Indian State of Sequoyah. However, we're finally acknowledging our diversity. If the Boy's peers are anything to go by, soon race will be just as unremarkable as, well, shoe size.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 25, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Brag, what Imom said. I feel fortunate to get news of Chile from you.

Nice day here but more rain is coming. So far this month we have had over eight inches of the stuff, north and west of here they have had much more. I'm grateful for a dry basement.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 25, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The test here is:

Were other people in the story described by their race, or just the people that weren't white?

Would you ever describe anybody as 'occidental'? Then why use 'oriental'?

My wife who is Vietnamese has been chastised for using 'oriental' to describe her eyes. She was at first perplexed to learn the word was politically incorrect. Since she deals with a lot of people from a wide variety of cultures and national origin, she tends to use the name of the country they are from. Her Vietnamese students are very different in their needs from her Korean students.

My rule of thumb is that rugs can be oriental but that people are Asian. If you have to describe them at all.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I just got nearly mudged. New kit.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 25, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Hmmm. The Repubs combed out a few nits from the HCR legislation and they're likely to try to send the whole thing back to the showers. Who'da thunk it?

Cassandra, I think it's as much about fear as hate.

Brag, thanks again for the updates and for letting us know how we can continute to help.

As a guy who races cars (and has spent a fair amount of time on motorcycles), I can tell you that there are differing opinions on what constitutes "acceptable risk." I'd never get on a bike without a helmet, and never start a race without all the safety equipment I can afford implemnted properly and cinched up tight. No one's immune from Bad Stuff happening - Dale Earnhardt tried to get a little advantage at the end of that fateful Daytona 500 by loosening up some belts so he could turn and look around a little better, and a normally survivable impact killed him.


Posted by: -bc- | March 25, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Bob, your highway fatality estimate (in your 12:48) of 30,000 a year is a bit off, on the low side, by about a quarter.

2009 (early projection): 33, 963
2008: 37,261
2007: 41,259
2006: 42,708
2005: 43,510


Meanwhile, it is quite difficult to explain the height, width, depth, magnitude and degree of utter ignorance in virtually all of Entenpful's arguments. But in particular, his one assertion that the problem with motorcycle stats is that the sample sizes are too small to be meaningful constitutes an absurdity of Monty Python proportions.

And I attribute the fact that he is unable to think of any uncontroversial restrictions society has placed on dangerous behavior, as woofin rightly suggested, may be due to the necrosis in his pinky finger creeping to his brain, which is clearly non-functioning and not open to introduction of factual material, logical argumentation, clear and convincing statistics, etc. For instance, he seems unable to recall that government has laws against driving drunk or stoned out of one's gourd. Apparently he thinks this is some unreasonable and controversial Big Brother interference on his sacred right to operate a dangerous weapon on the highway while blotto. And he probably thinks he has the right to drive into a bridge abuttment at 80 miles an hour if he wants. He doesn't realize many of these prohibitions are not to protect him, but to protect the innocent bystanders he might kill. Children, little old ladies, people like that. But Entenpfuhl thinks its just all about him.

What he *ought* to do is spenmd a day or two browing the various links and reports on this page -- -- but of course, he won't.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 25, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

'mudge - yeah, but my numbers made the math a lot easier to do in my head!

Posted by: bobsewell | March 25, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

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