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Washington Post Pulitzers

One day many months ago, Post editor Tom Shroder called up Gene Weingarten and said, "Gene, I have a story that you were born to write."

Tom asked Gene to write a piece about absent-minded parents who accidentally leave their babies and toddlers in cars in summer, with fatal results. Gene is, as you may know, the absent-minded type. So's Tom. They both could imagine doing precisely this sort of horrible thing. From that empathic leap, Gene and Tom produced a story that has just been named the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. [Wild applause; huzzahs.]

That gives Gene two of them, both edited by Tom. Here is the full list of writers who have won a Pulitzer in feature writing more than once:

Gene Weingarten.

I have one thought about this, other than the obvious sentiments (How did Achenblog get overlooked again? And isn't it nice when nice things happen to people in their old age?), which is that what elevates a story to greatness is not just a compelling topic, or a certain level of reporting, or some set minimum number of column inches, or even excellent packaging. A great story is one in which the creators refuse to let it be merely good.

This means, in Gene's case, that a lot of pens get chewed. I don't think I'm giving away a state secret when I note that Gene is a compulsive pen-chewer who renders a typical pen into something that looks like it's been fed into a chipper and then soaked in acid and then ripped apart by wild dogs. A typical Weingarten magazine opus is 75-chewed-pen operation. This latest Pulitzer-winner may well have set a new chewed-pen record. I think he may have chewed beyond recognition at least 200 pens.

I know how Gene celebrated his win earlier today, because I was there: attending the funeral of an extremely talented, quirky, wonderful writer named David Mills. David was our colleague at Style some years ago and passed away suddenly while working on the new TV show "Treme." David Simon, his friend, gave one of the eulogies and said something that captured the intensity of David Mills: "He didn't have interests, he had obsessions." A lot of people can write something pretty good. But how do you shove that piece of writing the final few inches, to make it completely different, surprising, fresh? The answer is -- stay up later, get up earlier, rewrite mercilessly, never accept that good enough is good enough. Chew more pens.

[The Post won three other Pulitzers: Sarah Kaufman for her dance criticism in Style, Anthony Shadid for coverage from Iraq, and Kathleen Parker for her opinion columns. In addition, David Hoffman, the former AME Foreign, won the Pulitzer for general non-fiction. (The Post was also a finalist for local reporting, for its coverage of the Fort Hood shooting.) Here's the full list, via the wires:

JOURNALISM:
Public Service: Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier.
Breaking News Reporting: The Seattle Times staff.
Investigative Reporting: Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman of the Philadelphia Daily News and Sheri Fink of ProPublica, in collaboration with The New York Times Magazine
Explanatory Reporting: Michael Moss and members of The New York Times staff
Local Reporting: Raquel Rutledge of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
National Reporting: Matt Richtel and members of The New York Times staff
International Reporting: Anthony Shadid of The Washington Post
Feature Writing: Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post
Commentary: Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post
Criticism: Sarah Kaufman of The Washington Post
Editorial Writing: Tod Robberson, Colleen McCain Nelson and William McKenzie of The Dallas Morning News
Editorial Cartooning: Mark Fiore, self-syndicated, appearing on SFGate.com
Breaking News Photography: Mary Chind of The Des Moines Register
Feature Photography: Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post
------
ARTS:
Fiction: "Tinkers" by Paul Harding (Bellevue Literary Press)
Drama: "Next to Normal," music by Tom Kitt, book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey
History: "Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World" by Liaquat Ahamed (The Penguin Press)
Biography: "The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt" by T.J. Stiles (Alfred A. Knopf)
Poetry: "Versed" by Rae Armantrout (Wesleyan University Press)
General Nonfiction: "The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy" by David E. Hoffman (Doubleday)
------
MUSIC:
Violin Concerto by Jennifer Higdon, premiered Feb. 6, 2009, in Indianapolis (Lawdon Press)
------
SPECIAL CITATION:
Hank Williams


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By Joel Achenbach  |  April 12, 2010; 3:10 PM ET
 
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Comments

I am really torn, because I love Gene's feature writing, but as a mother of a young toddler, I found that article almost impossible to read. I think he did a good job with a horrific topic, but at the same time I really could have done without visualizing what those parents and babies went through.

Posted by: chiquita2 | April 12, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Even awesomer.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, Gene!
International Reporting - Anthony Shadid of The Washington Post

Feature Writing - Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post

Commentary - Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post

Criticism - Sarah Kaufman of The Washington Post

Special Citation to Hank Williams, posthumous, for lifetime achievement.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 12, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow. What an amazing accomplishment. I remember that article, and all the angst that went with it, very well. That Mr. Weingarten managed to write this piece in a way that was neither maudlin nor judgmental leads us to one, and only one logical conclusion.

That Tom fellow is must be one whale of an editor.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I thought that Barney & Clyde deserved the Pulitzer.

Posted by: hlabadie | April 12, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "is" or "must be" Take yer pick.

Seriously, Gene has shown many times that he is capable of writing with profound sensitivity. This was truly Pulitzer-worthy work.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Chicquita, understand what you say (write). However, Gene (and I am not a huge fan of some of his stuff) advances the argument for viewing each other always with compassion and understanding.

Baby in the carseat in the car closed in hot weather! I could have done that; so too many people. However, our response to tragedy like that is to distance ourselves sometimes to the point that we demonize the hapless and wretched doer. And, that parent suffers and agony known only to a few: babyloss. Compound that with complicity in the death AND what the community does to you....well, I might eat a gun and who would not understand one shard that I had my reasons.

I think his article reminds us that the world can turn on an instant, with our complicity. The terrible moment can never be taken back. Babies die; and a parent's momentary lapse the cause? Oh, the suffering possible in this wonderful life.

That Gene's piece can move one hardened heart, then worth it. And, his piece very well may have moved a brace of hearts.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 12, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

One might even say the Post won five, because the general non-fiction book award went to "The Dead Hand," by David Hoffman, a post contributing editor and former Moscow bureau chief.

The rival NYT got only three (one of them shared, and freelanced to the magazine by outsiders). Chicago papers: zero. LA papers: zero. Miami papers: zero.

Bristiol, Va., Herald Courier (who dat?): 1
Seattle Times staff: 1
Milwaukee Sentinel Journal: 1
Dallas Morning News: 1
Des Moines Register: 1
Denver Post: 1

Curiously, the one that got printed in the NYT Magazine was in the feature category and would have competed against Gene, but the Pulitzer board took it upon itself to move it to the investigative journalism category.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 12, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey! An appearance by Weingarten pal and semi-celebrity Horace Labadie, writer, grand Floridian and antiquities and sci-fi buff (and no mean wit, one might add, quite respectfully)! Hey, HL, you oughta hang out here and post more often.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 12, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I still remember reading this story a year ago in the Sunday Post it was that strong. Amazing writing, and highly deserving of the honor. Congrats Gene.

Posted by: ksrgatorfn1 | April 12, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Kathleen Parker? Really? I mean, *really*?

Posted by: -ftb- | April 12, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I can't even find the Herald Courier online. The closest I come is the TriCities website. The headline there?

BREAKING NEWS: Road closed due to traffic crash

Dr G and I will be staying in Bristol on our Route 58 trip. I'll be sure to pick up a copy of their Pulitzer-prize-winning newspaper.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

BTW, JA, I hope you are attending and photographing the Post newsroom's celebration right now, and will post photos as you did two years ago at Gene's previous win.

Must say I have great pity and compassion for poor Gina Barreca, who will never, ever, ever live this down, and will be the one who must suffer the consequences.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 12, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Here's my take as to why Gene Weingarten can be such an effective writer. Time and time again I have read his work and seen evidence of a mind that has the focus and energy to untangle the complexities of a topic and then express the underlying concepts with startling clarity. It isn't just that he writes well, he also thinks well.

Usually.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I know, ftb, I know.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 12, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree with CP on this. Gene's piece stripped away the smug certainty that bad things only happen to people who, in some way, deserve it. This is a hard conclusion to accept. It is terrifying in its implications. This is what made it so effective and, ultimately, important.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Gene. I never could bring myself to read the story, which I'm sure is great. I know I could not get through it; motherhood sensitizes a person to stuff like that. My kids are grown, but I know my limits.

Posted by: slyness | April 12, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I am not always a fan of Gene's writing. His humor is sometimes a bit mean, and he refuses to admit that his opinions could ever be questionned in his weekly blog. However, the prize-winning article was one of the best I have ever read and fully deserving of this and any future award it may win.

Posted by: justmike | April 12, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

There were several times that I felt like I was just an inch from disaster when the ScienceKids were little. I'd go to work and forget to deliver to day care before reaching my own office, or I'd start to head home before realizing I had to go get them. I am an absent-minded person, and so I've had to come up with strategies and habits that will make the right things happen, even if I don't consciously think to do them. The fact that these poor people and their poor babies had to suffer in this way is not a sign of moral superiority on my part, or a lack of intelligence or morality on their part. It's just a horrific error, and anyone who believes it couldn't happen to him or herself is a fool.

----------------------------------------

I am always bemused by people who find it surprising that a person can be funny and yet also be sensitive. If a person isn't sensitive to what moves people emotionally, then he cannot be all that funny. To be funny is to touch a scary facet of the human condition. There are many actors and writers, known primarily for their humor, who can work seriously and with great emotion (Robin Williams, Bill Murray, Cary Grant, Jack Lemmon, Dave Barry, Weingarten, Sam Clemens, Kurt Vonnegut). There are very few actors and writers who are known primarily for their serious tone and depth, who can be genuinely funny.

----------------------------------------

I'm not sure "celebrate" is the right word for reacting to Weingarten's win this time. This sounds like maybe the best emotion one could have is satisfaction.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 12, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh, come on y'all. Gene may have won the talent portion of the competition, but you've got to admit that Kathleen is definitely the prettier of the two.

Posted by: kguy1 | April 12, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

And so we also now know the full name of "Tom the Butcher". OTOH, it may be telling that only the NYT and the Post, among the "great papers" got any awards.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 12, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

As much as I criticize the juvenility of his humor, this was a amazingly insightful article and a well deserving award. Perhaps it will inspire Weingarten to change his Twitter icon from a soft-serve pile of excrement to a pair of Pulitzer trophies (they do get an actual trophy or something, don't they?).

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Repost from March 10, 2009:


Gene Weingarten should win a Pulitzer for this article in Post Magazine.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/27/AR2009022701549.html

The topic is a very, very serious one - car seat deaths where a child is inadvertently left in a vehicle. Amazing, gripping, emotional story.

Posted by: engelmann | March 10, 2009 1:17 AM |

Posted by: engelmann | April 12, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad that WaPo won so many awards because otherwise they would run out of people to offer retirement buyouts to.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I want to call kguy and rashomon's attention to one of the pieces Sarah Kaufman won her Pulitzer with, this great essay on Cary Grant in North by Northwest: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/09/AR2009010901212.html

Kaufman isn't a movie reviewer, she does dance. But that's precisely the point of her essay: Grant's physicality and movement.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 12, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Buy some lottery tickets engelmann :-). Congrats to Gene, it was an excellent choice and a great article on such a difficult topic.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 12, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Seeing how the boodle has managed to stay with the kit so well, I had better come back another time.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 12, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm with ftb on that Parker Pulitzer. Really? I noted last week that Parker is one of the only columnists in the Post's ever-growing conservative stable that I still bother to read -- mostly because she's one of the only ones who isn't consistently a raving nutcase. But I also find her pretty lightweight. I can't help thinking that she won because she's one of the few conservative writers who's actually willing to criticize conservatives.

Posted by: rashomon | April 12, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Come back, weed. I'm done stroking Gene's ego and ready to move on. It's not like our words are going to make him any humbler.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Clear thinking on the part of the Post to have captured a comic with the soul of a poet, and an intelligent conservative.

Posted by: Geezer4 | April 12, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

When Gene declared that the one person who objected to his turd avatar had returned to his Twitter fold, he was wrong on one of two points: 1) I didn't return, or 2) More than one of us complained to him about it.

Does he still use it? I just couldn't bear to see it on my timeline, and I'm certainly no prude (is that the right word?).

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I read that article mudge, and I've noted what she was talking about in a some of Grant's films I've seen over the last few months. She's absolutely right, and that was a pretty good trick, to get me to appreciate something new about an actor whose movies I've been watching my entire life.

Posted by: rashomon | April 12, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I thought Tom's last name had been known for quite a while. Doesn't he own a cat or something?

Hats off to all the Posties!

yellowjkt: retirement bailouts. Excellent.

DLD

Posted by: DLDx | April 12, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

TBG, Gene has showed up in my Facebook suggestions box with that icon. I haven't sent a friend request. I mean, really!

Posted by: slyness | April 12, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I have a more favorable opinion about Parker's Pulitzer win. She may not be the deepest. but she's not an idiot. She is an avowed conservative who is willing to actually think, including justifying her own views and occasionally ceding a point that she has lost. In the current climate, those are pretty big deals.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 12, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Here is a link to an editorial on the Huffington Post today written by a friend of Son of G's.

She is the editor-in-chief of Northwestern Univ's North by Northwestern and a huge fan of Gene's. In fact, SofG says Amanda wrote about Gene's writing in her application essay to Northwestern...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-litman/memo-to-msm----pay-attent_b_534012.html

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

TBG,
I'm still amused that I got under his skin enough that he twittered about me following him.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2009/06/weingarten-twit.html

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Kathleen Parker is by far the least noxious of the Conservative Pundit Welfare Aid Society recipients that Fred Hiatt has assembled. If that sounds like faint praise, it really shouldn't.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Tim on Kathleen Parker. She has a good sense of humor and writes with a welcome light touch about political matters that is all too rare these days. I enjoyed this column of hers about the contrast between southern and northern Republicans. It starts off by quoting Walker Percy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/04/AR2009080402424.html

Posted by: -pj- | April 12, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Tom Scocca of The Awl shares my opinion of Ms. Parker (the non-Dorothy one):

"She's one of the better op-ed columnists at the Post, but it's hard to express how minor an accomplishment that is. That just means she's not obviously an imbecile, a partisan hack, and/or a liar."

http://www.theawl.com/2010/04/the-shadow-editors-awlcast-todays-top-stories-pulitzers-babies-and-wapo-headlines

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, pj, that's not bad, but I didn't get the "Southerners weaned on Harper Lee" thing. Yes, "To Kill a Mockingbird" provides an iconic image of the South, but the ideas conveyed in it are certainly not those heard in the "dog whistle" Parker talks about. The whole Republican/Southern thing is complex and interesting, and I didn't think that column quite got it. Again, not bad, and she is someone I tend to read, but, hmm, Pulitzer? Congratulations to her, in any case.

Posted by: -bia- | April 12, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I actually thought Parker was a good choice. I appreciate hearing from the 'other' side, argued rationally. If I didn't, I'd be what I accuse 'them' of being :)

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

One of the finalists in the General Nonfiction category was Joel's sparring partner's "The Evolution of God." Congratulations to Robert Wright for making it that far.

Posted by: -pj- | April 12, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I view industries or associations that award themselves on occasion with detachment. If the news media want to pat themselves on the back, like the movie industry does, they are certainly entitled to do so.

I doesn't impact me one way or another who wins a Pulitzer any more than the Academy Awards or the Nobel Prizes do.

Fish and chips with fresh asparagus on the side for dinner at CasaJS if anyone's inclined.

Posted by: MsJS | April 12, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the Voinovich reference either.

I never quite get what "dog whistle" is supposed to mean. Younger southerners would be post-segregation (and thus reared on Harper Lee), and might actually find Palin's din painful to listen to.

But the writing is so ambiguous in the next paragraph that it could mean these particular Southerners either got excited or went into agony.

Not the finest example of writing, that particular bit, nor the close. She needs a better editor to push her capacities.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Ah, this may explain it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog-whistle_politics

See, why do I have to know such code words to read a plain old op-ed?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Kathleen Parker? Really?,indeed.

And, as CQP put it, G.Weingarten's piece
" . . . moved a brace of hearts." YEAH!

Posted by: talitha1 | April 12, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Dog whistle = code words that appeal to a certain group without raising the attention of others not clued into the jargon.

Examples:
states rights
maintain law and order
respect life
control our borders


Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

George Voinovich is saying that the Nixonian Southern Strategy is now the tail wagging the dog. Appealing to the latent racism of Southerners is a dog that just won't hunt anymore. If Republicans can't run with the big dogs in the Rust Belt, they should just stay on the porch.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Parker's "dog whistle" was confusing at all. All she was saying is that Palin is basically putting lipstick on racism. Wink wink.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Gee Wilbrod, is it really that odd to learn a new term? And that one...even if you didn't know its use in politics, it still fits....a particular listener hears something others don't. Maybe you're looking at the term from a dog's perspective, not a human's?

Posted by: LostInThought | April 12, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

TBG,
Bravo. Worthy of Tina Fey.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse


btw, Tom the Butcher and I have traded a couple of emails over the last year . . .
I find him to be quite handy with the cleaver.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 12, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

One feature of the iPad I've used a LOT (available on all e-readers, I assume) is the dictionary feature. Especially reading books from a different era.

Touch the word, touch the "dictionary" choice (other choices are "highlight" and "bookmark") and a pretty complete definition pops up.

I'm finding myself looking more things up than I ever did just because it's so easy... and so pretty, too...

http://i44.tinypic.com/2utjbz7.png

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Stop the dog whistles!
Those sound like birds sh*ting cats
Can't folks ask nicely?

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Er, yes I was, LiT.
Let's just say I depise cliches like that.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Also, I think it's insulting to imply that people come running like dogs just because a code word is used.

Even those who recognize the code, don't necessarily live by it, and judging by the heavy criticism of code words, I don't think those words were particularly opaque to start with.

Think about the possible implications of its usage, saying that a given minority group "hears the dog whistle of racism" or other key issues and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

DLD,
Thanks. I find it ironic that WaPo has given Weingarten money to quit writing Pulitzer quality articles but still pays him to craft limericks that rely on the last-line-doesn't-really-rhyme trope.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

What Yoki said. Although I don't agree with Parker a lot of the time, that really isn't the point. If I just wanted to read something I was guaranteed to always agree with, I would just write letters to myself. As a columnist Parker makes me think and I can't always predict what she is going to say.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I suppose I should read Parker more often. I skip Krauthammer and Gerson reflexively. But I'm afraid I often skip the op-eds completely. Just not interested.

Posted by: slyness | April 12, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

That's a nice try at a concept, that "dog whistle" thing. Cute. I'm not so sure of its reality, is all. I disliked the Wikipedia entry about it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 12, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

General impression of Gene -- dog poo

Gene's PP story--haunting.

Posted by: Windy3 | April 12, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I think the dog whistle thing is a great metaphor. My earlier examples were fairly obvious. Much trickier are phrases that relate to Biblical passages of great import to evangelical Christians but meaningless to the general public. These generally infer that the speaker is one of 'them' without causing umbrage among people unfamiliar with those verses.

While Wikipedia says the phrase goes back to Australia in 1995, Ronald Reagan pulled off a very symbolic dog-whistle when he gave a speech praising states' rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi where civil rights workers had been killed.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the dog whistle analogy as meaning people "come running" as much as it means that the right people hear the message and the rest ignore it (because they don't really hear it), exactly like a dog whistle.

And of course not EVERYONE in the south is a racist and bigot... we know that. Again... the dog whistle: the folks who ARE can hear the message loud and clear.


Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

They're evil squawkers;
Some sit up and pant to them,
but they hurt all dogs.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me while I go coax Wilbrodog out of his sulk.

Probably some microwave beep-beeps and treats will do.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Woof!

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I don't recall hearing the dog whistle phrase before, but from the context I assumed that it was something that caused an instinctive metaphorical response in the appropriate audience. "Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?" (sorry, wilbrodog!)

Posted by: -pj- | April 12, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

TBG is quite right. The people the message is intended for hear it loud and clear, and nobody else hears it at all.

This explains a lot of politician's speeches that just sound incoherent to me, among them our very Stockwell Day.

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, there are certainly code or buzz words on different issues (eg choice vs. life). Outside clear contexts the dog whistle metaphor can be over-used as a way to call the target a racist. Personally, as a furriner I think "states rights" is the one code word that might qualify, as it never seems to prove to be a prelude into a much-hoped-for discussion of the minutiae of constitutional analysis.

It should be noted that the dog whistle metaphor suggests that the hearers are either less "human" or in on some conspiracy. I can't imagine any credible person saying that so-and-so was engaging in dog whistle politics with their [non-while] constituents.

Posted by: engelmann | April 12, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Liberals can have dog whistles as well. One example I googled accused Barack Obama of using dog-whistle phrases while campaigning against Hillary Clinton in South Carolina. The gist was that by frequently mentioning Hurricane Katrina he was subtly make a racially-based appeal to African-American voters.

I don't quite get it, but then I'm not supposed to.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

does tinnitus count in the dog whistle
argument/metaphor?

I tend to turn a deaf ear when beckpalinian ephemera enters my living space.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 12, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

engelmann-thanks for taking credit for your Pulitzer prediction. I recalled the story, and the prediction, but could not remember who pegged it. Buy lottery tickets indeed!

Like others here, I'm often not so fond of Gene's humor, but man can he write a feature story.

Congrats to all, but particularly that Bristol newspaper. I imagine it's not so different from the Pulitzer winning Grand Forks (ND) Herald.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 12, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Kathleen Parker won for her Sarah Palin hate pieces. Given that Eugene Robinson won last year for race baiting, it seemed only logical that Palin bashing would win this year. My bold prediction for next year: Pope bashing.

Posted by: diehardlib | April 12, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Mega-props to Gene, I mean really...

And I have no issue w/Ms. Parker.

Not having a single spare workday minute to get on the Boodle? Now THAT is an issue!!! :-O

*gonna-get-through-all-this-somehow Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 12, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Snuke!

Will you and NukeSpouse be coming to the BPH on Thursday?

Posted by: -ftb- | April 12, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

diehardlib,

Maureen Dowd already has a Pulitzer.

///end troll-feeding

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | April 12, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm likely an odd duck. I love Weingarten AND Parker. She falls into the rare category of pundits: one whose columns are predictable. He is just great.

Posted by: steveboyington | April 12, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, frostbitten. I recall that I hadn't adequately backboodled before posting that (more of a comment than a prediction), and it turned out that there had been quite a discussion already. If I win the lottery I'll get a Group of Seven for the bunker.

Back to dog whistling, maybe one for the Dem side was the Clinton camp suggestion that Obama was "unelectable".

Posted by: engelmann | April 12, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Note to self: use the "preview" once in a while. That should read her columns are NOT predictable. Sheesh.

Posted by: steveboyington | April 12, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Sadly no, ftb... :-((( I gotsa be outta town on bidness that day.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 12, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

WB -- I wondered about dog whistle too, thinking about the layers of metaphorical meaning. The idea of coded language for a selected group is a bit like the dog whistle idea itself. KP blew on a dog whistle by even saying dog whistle....and I missed the metaphor as I was out of range, knowledge -wise.

So, glad to look it up, which I know you do often.

The language is huge and mutable and changing always. We must keep learning and paying attention and deciding to reject some language abominations:

to disrespect somebody (verb!)

I can live with 'dissing' because it is lively and appropriates the word into a creole or patois as it were.

Again, WB, dog whistle caught me with my pants down. But, recently I was informed by students about the ickey bleching vomit-worthy verb of

tea bagging.

Wow. Guess sometimes the learning of words and concepts is noxious or unctuous or obnoxious....or all three at once.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 12, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

It is sad, but if you are a Republican who said what most people know, that Palin was ill-suited to be on the ticket, you get an award of some kind. Is partisanship so steadfast that anyone that turns from it is a hero?

Parker is a good read most of the time. She is the equivalent of a swing state.... some common sense built around the typical partisanship. There are few swing-state pundits nowadays. The partisans on both sides don't like them. I get tickled when back to back to back to back posts call her a lackey for the other side. She must be doing something right.

Posted by: steveboyington | April 12, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Dog-whistle speechifying is much more an art form. Anyone (like, say, Huckabee today) can just hit the same old buzzwords, like comparing gay marriage to marrying a dog or your sister. Dog-whistle take talent.... like saying "family values" instead of "women, get back in the kitchen".

Posted by: steveboyington | April 12, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

CqP,
You need to see more John Waters movies. That phrase goes back to at least 1998 and I doubt it was original to him.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I learned teabagging a couple years ago. The concept is vomit-inducing, but also so doggone stupid that it's difficult to believe anybody would actually copy such a habit from little dogs.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

SteveBoy....
I agree; thinking can and should create odd bedfellows idea- and policywise. For example, I am pro-life feminists. Imagine the catbird seat in both those communities. And, similarly, a pro-life Dem. One of my proudest moments years ago was helping a relative write arguments to convince a group of somewhat conservative churchy-type elder ladies/gents to carpool to a March for Life with this bunch: Gays and Lesbians for Life.

They all carpooled from rural New Hampshire to Boston for the event...and now, a few of the group are actually friendly to one another, seeing each other outside of this yearly political mission.

So, let's keep thinking and examining our values and talking about them; Let's respect the freedom to differ. Let's agree to be ruled by spirited discussion and verbal sparring and a written constitution, rather than ugly and armed conflict.

And, by the way, the treatment of Bart Stupack and his wife by some pro-lifers later is abhorrent to me. IHRC, KP was rhetorically incised and too harsh on him, which rather surprised me...off to check that column out...

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 12, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

And I am terribly, terribly sad about that, Scotty. :-((((((

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Since Gene is a dual-Pulitzer Prize winner could he now be termed a Dualitzer Prize Winner?

Hey, language evolves.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh RD, you sly language-dog!

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, I think maybe Gene has been bi-kudoed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 12, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse


Could the Boodle give me a signal?
(I posted to no effect twice recently, with nothing of significance, I assure you, but it ain't showin'up.) Or if banned, I'll take it in stride.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 12, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I see you, Talita.

SCC: learned ABOUT teabagging. Not the act itself, which requires masculinity to execute.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to the posties, particularly to Gene.

Posted by: --dr-- | April 12, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

talitha, there is basically no "ban" mechanism here. However, there is a 500-word limit, and if any post overruns it, it won't go through. Also, the mechanism will post three links (used to be only two), so that's one consideration. And it has what we call the Wirty Dird filter: there are some naughties it doesn't like, some of them even innocent ones. For instance, it doesn't like the actor's last name who played Mary Tyler Moore's husband in the Dick Van [hmm=hmm] Show. So we lave learned to spell his name Dy ke to get around it. Or use the @ in place of "a," a zero in place of an "o," a one instead of an ell, etc.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 12, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I see you, too, Talitha. Sometimes that happens and then your posts will all appear at once. Or not.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse


well call me a sophomore
and you all kind profs

my apologies

Posted by: talitha1 | April 12, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse


*shucks and digging toe into earth*

Posted by: talitha1 | April 12, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Nice to know that Paul and Ringo can now sleep better at night...

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/article/793835--vatican-forgives-beatles-for-lennon-s-jesus-remark?bn=1

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse


. . . imagine . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | April 12, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I think the Vatican should be concerning itself with it's own actions right now.

On a happier note, and no way as big as the Pulitzers, but it seems our eldest has made the high school softball team, huge for her. We are a little fuzzy on this but fingers crossed it is accurate.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 12, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

dmd... that's GREAT NEWS. Hope it's accurate, too. :-)

Posted by: -TBG- | April 12, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

That doesn't surprise me in the least dmd! Anyone who can play hockey so well can surely deal with shots and nets. Congrats to your #1!

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Pulitzer season crept up on me this year. Congrats to Gene, again. Kathleen Parker - not so much. She seems lightweight to me too, and she goes off the deep end anytime abortion is involved (I had forgotten about her column on Obama speaking at Notre Dame. She was against it.)

Note to Vatican:
1. The Beatles broke up 4 decades ago.
2. John Lennon was murdered in 1980 (and is still dead).
3. The statement was true.

They need to worry about gaining their own forgiveness.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 12, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey, recent and long-standing Boodlers!

I find a fair amount of GW's humor unfunny because it is insensitive and sometimes have trouble reconciling that with his sensitive articles. Sometimes I like Parker, sometimes I don't, but I respect the guts it takes to take some of the stands she does.

My ex once graded a paper which stated someone had won the "Poet's Surprise" award. I wonder if it was the same student who wrote about a "doggity dog" society.

Just finished my taxes! E-filed federal, will send PA's in because their online questionnaire is frustrating. Just put up the d@mn forms and let me type in the values!

I don't know why, for the first time in my life, I'm finishing things before they're due. Not sure how I feel about ditching my traditional last-minute panic motivation burst, but I think it's okay.


Posted by: -dbG- | April 12, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

dmd, that's great! I'm sure she'll bring her hockey determination to softball.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 12, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

dmd, that's great! I'm sure she'll bring her hockey determination to softball.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 12, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Eh, two sports, two posts. Seems fair.

Night, all.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 12, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

dmd, congrats to your daughter!

I used to procrastinate on my taxes, till one year when I unexpectedly owed money, which I did not have. Luckily the IRS has an installment plan. So I learned to at least do a rough estimate by Feb. Plus when I get a refund, I want it asap. I have a friend who sends his in on April 16.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 12, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Hank Stuever has a funny preview of Glee, which returns tomorro night ast...wait for it...9:28. Yes, 9:28. Don't ask me why.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/12/AR2010041202892.html?hpid=artslot

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 12, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

dmd,
Congrats to dmd-dot for making the team. Tell her that all your imaginary internet friends are really proud of her. That won't embarrass her at all. Trust me on this.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

dmd, congratulations to daughter #1, that's terrific news.

I'm not crazy about Weingarten either but that piece was very powerful, even tho' very hard to read. Parker does seem a reasonable person, haven't read back to see what piece she won for, it's been a busy day.

I babysat for a sick granddaughter all day and then had a tennis lesson tonight. The other granddaughter has joined a new group at her school called Bully Busters. The idea came from the assistant principal and from what little I learned today, the older kids are meeting with the younger grades about combating bullying. This granddaughter is only in 5th grade and I'm impressed that they are involving kids at this grade level. I'll find out more as I am watching them again on Wednesday afternoon.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 12, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse


Does anyone on the Boodle stay up to watch Jon Stewert and Stephen Colbert?
Just wondering . . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | April 12, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Watching Jon Stewart right now, but just about to go off to bed or I will be useless at work tomorrow. Thanks for the kind words all, she is a keeper this girl for many reasons but what I admire most is the good decisions she makes and her heart that is so giving.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 12, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Not me!

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

It probably won't surprise you that I'm usually awake when Stewart/Colbert are broadcast, but I'm typically not watching them. I generally enjoy both when I do see them.

--

I was pondering the messy/ugly comments problem, and have seen it suggested that maybe all that's necessary is a "mute" button that allows you to tune out the comments from a particular user. I think that idea has a lot of merit. When combined with the "report abuse" function to delete genuinely offensive comments, it would allow each individual to easily filter out repeat annoyances.

There's a game site I use occasionally called "Kongregate" [fun free site, many excellent time wasters] which has a chat board constantly running on the side of the screen. While I don't have much to say ((since I'm about twice or thrice (or more) the age of most participants, I figure it would be kinda creepy!)), I am annoyed by some of the crap that comes down the comment pipeline, and it's only the work of a moment to "mute" that user. Problem solved.

Posted by: bobsewell | April 12, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Sort of like "Hide" on facebook, eh, BS?

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Indeed.

Posted by: bobsewell | April 13, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

I usually watch Jon Stewart, then switch to Charlie Rose...but I'm 3 hours behind...

Posted by: seasea1 | April 13, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Goodnight, dear Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | April 13, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

BobS, I just proposed that same Idea of what you call a "mute" button on the ombudsman's current blog about the proposed comment ranking system, with the note that I wasn't sure the software was up to it -- good to know that it's already being implemented elsewhere. I also suggested letting a blog's writer opt out of the ranking system. I'd hate to have my comments on opinion pieces relegated to some lower level of hades because I enjoy discussions that wander way off topic on the Achenblog. Like this one.

Posted by: rashomon | April 13, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

I use to read Gene’s article every week. He was funny then. Later, when he sounded like someone who was not funny trying to be funny, I stopped. Well, not stop stop. Once in a very blue moon, I’ll check and see if he’s funny again. I would imagine it’s difficult to be funny all the time.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 13, 2010 2:13 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, Cerberus can take over a vast part of the military industrial complex because bankers are willing to lend them money to do it. I bet there are a lot of powerful people behind Cerberus besides the one mentioned in wiki. Powerful people’s names are intangible assets. The mere fact that powerful people are involved can make a banker ignore a double-in-debt balance sheet.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 13, 2010 2:35 AM | Report abuse

This para make Russia look really bad:

"....members of the Polish elite killed in a Russian-made plane in a run-down Russian airport, guided in by Russian air traffic controllers, while on the way to commemorate Poles murdered 70 years ago by Russian hit men."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article7095406.ece

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 13, 2010 5:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm sad about it too, Yoki!!! :-(((

Congrats to the dmdDot! :-)

If Gene keeps winning, d'ya think they'll rename them the Wurlitzers?

*quitely-fading-into-the-Dawn-Patrol-sunrise-to-avoid-the-incoming-tomatoes Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 13, 2010 5:32 AM | Report abuse

Morning. Scotty, that was a very bad pun. Hahaha.

Hi Cassandra! Hope you will have a nice day.

Mr. T is out of town for a couple of days, so everything is very quiet around here. I managed to wake and arise at the normal time, however.

Onward into the day...

Posted by: slyness | April 13, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Greetings, all.

I must weigh in on the genius of Weingarten. Although, like others, I find his humor sometimes cringe-inducing, I congratulate myself for having recognized his talent when I first encountered it--we're talking, close to 30 years ago. One of his most impressive abilities is the discernment of extraordinary talent in others; hence he has helped to bring us Dave Barry and T.M. Shine, both of whom have enriched my life with their writing. It's indirectly because of Weingarten that I followed Joel's career, after his showcase job as Mr. Know-it-All in Tropic Magazine. So congratulations, Gene, and thank you for everything!!

Here's Gene's editorial about T.M. Shine:

http://tropicfan.com/The%20Shining%20by%20Gene%20Weingarten%20-%20intro%20to%20Confessions%20of%20a%20Company%20Man.htm

Posted by: kbertocci | April 13, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

did somebody mention bears and taxes?

Pearls before Swine from yesterday:

http://comics.com/affiliate/washington_post/?ComicID=70

Posted by: omni3 | April 13, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Sunday's PBS was also one of those pun type of stories they run all the time.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

I've been following the Helena Guergis story from Canuckistan with some amusement. People in power sometimes do silly things.

For those Murrikans who haven't read about it, here's the latest installment from The Globe and Mail.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/chauffeur-claims-guergis-frequently-let-husband-use-government-car/article1532461/

Posted by: MsJS | April 13, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Looks as though the Pulitzer for new American (classical) music is coming to an end. That award has been important to a relatively obscure community--there's lots of composing going on, but the orchestral music world today resembles a museum where the newest piece of art on display is Picasso's Guernica. The musical equivalent is Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, written during World War II. The commission provided Bartok with much-needed income.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 13, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Good morning ye Boodlers!

Special congratahoochies to the Purlizarians.

Today, eleven tall sailing ships will make their stately entry into Valparaiso Bay. For the first time in over a hundred years, this Worl Heritage port will resemble what it looked like in its glory days before the Panama Canal was opened.

The vessels are school-ships from The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and eight Latin American countries participating in the Bicentenial Regatta. The Race started in Rio de Janeiro and will end in Veracruz, Mexico.

Your fearless Boodle reporter will be where the action is.

Brag

Posted by: Braguine | April 13, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Would have popped in an hour ago, but as usual when kb appears I'm sent off to read, or re-read, some great writing. This morning it was TM Shine and his WaPo magazine story on being laid off, and then the discussion that followed.

Brag-pictures on your blog perhaps?

Gray and dreary in Our Fair City this morning, though still unseasonably warm. Last night's city council meeting held the shocker of someone asking for consideration of a new liquor license to open the first new business in town in at least a decade. Job seekers rejoice, or prepare for the end times. This is either a sign of economic recovery or there is a planet destroying asteroid headed our way.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 13, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Been trying to post pieces of an AP story out of Oklahoma, but the filter won't let me do it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 13, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

We'll go with the former, Frosti.

Hmm, Mudge, I guess we'll just have to go looking for a story out of Oklahoma ourselves. Where's Ivansmom this morning?

Posted by: slyness | April 13, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle! And a shout out to Brag!

Disappointment to a gargantuan degree that Snuke will not be at the BPH. But elation to the same degree that His Royal Mudgeness will be there.

I simply cannot fathom why my seasonal allergies are more pronounced when it rains. Itchy, drippy eyes, along with an increased amount of snorffling. . . . And, yes, waiter, I *will* have some hot sauce with that!

And, now, orff to do what I hafta do.

Posted by: -ftb- | April 13, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Was this it, Mudge?
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100412/ap_on_re_us/us_tea_party_militia

It appears some residents of the Sooner State haven't untwisted their underwear lately.

Posted by: MsJS | April 13, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Yup, that's the story, MsJS. My favorite line in it is: "It's not a far-right crazy plan or anything like that," Berry said.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 13, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

A quick observation on communications and language:

Isn't language simply the means of communicating information and ideas - in an abstracted form, of course - from one person to another? People use specific idioms and words to communicate complex ideas to their desired audience - one that presumably understands those terms, or is at least willing to try to. Scientists communicate with each other using technical jargon that may be incomprehensible to others not versed in that particular discipline (like, me), and there's nothing wrong with that - I'm just not the intended audience for that communciation. Just as two gentlemen behind me on the elevator this morning were speaking Russian to each other - I was clearly not the intended audience there.

I think the intent of word usage is a slightly different matter - I don't think the intent of the phrase "dog-whistle" is/was intended to be anything other than a shorthand way of conveying a complex idea about what is perceived and what is not in a given communication. Whereas using the term "teabaggers" in reference to people participating in a political movement is clearly disparaging due to its connotation for an intimate act.

Speaking of which, it's interesting how some words enter common usage - if I had said "that sucks" near my grandmother she'd have clouted me over the head with whatever was handy and told me to never talk like that again. To her, it was a shorthand implying an intimate act. Now children use the term, and you hear it on radio and TV all the time, with no thought as to what it may mean to some folks who were around before its usage became common.

There is a problem that one cannot always be responsible for what the reader or recipient of a communciation takes from it, but it makes sense to avoid charged language (such as using terms implying denigrations) unless one intends to draw attention to that word or phrase as part of communication on an emotional level (and thus may be subject to more drastic reactions). Using such terms for satirical purposes is a tricky thing...

Naturally, a living language changes over time. Archaic words and phrases distract, as well as newly minted terms and technical jargon, depending on the audience. A once-common word in past decades may cause offense when used now, and words which once were offensive may now be broadcast on the Disney Channel.

I never know exactly what ideas my words are planting in someone's head, so I try my best to communciate with the ambiguity knobs turned up to 11.

Sorry for the length, I wanted to get that off my chest.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | April 13, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm a fan of: "Even the proponents say they don't know how an armed force would be organized nor how a state-based militia could block federal mandates."

So the proponents of this plan have no clue how it would work but by gum, they want the Okie Lege to authorize it anyway.

Exactly how do they plan to pay for it, I wonder?

Posted by: MsJS | April 13, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

By reducing taxes.

Or reducing Texas. One or the other, they haven't decided yet.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 13, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

FYI, the notion of reducing Texas was submitted by a militiaman with dyslexia.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 13, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The thing about the teabagger term is that the ones who used it for the protester group first were the protesters themselves. They didn't know the urban dictionary definitions. Then other people picked it up to disparage them, or at least highlight their cluelessness.

Seems like the efforts of folks in OK would be better spent organizing health care clinics or something.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 13, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if our Wilbrodog is participating in the Pudgy Puppy Chat now (supoosedly) going on at http://live.washingtonpost.com/chow-hounds.html

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 13, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I was afraid that was Mudge's story. It is really shocking that people would consider an armed militia here, of all places. The memory of the Oklahoma City bombing (home-grown patriot, militia hanger-on) is very vivid here and informs much of our public discussion.

The money quote, for those of us that live here, is the whole phrase: "It’s not a far-right crazy plan or anything like that,” Berry said. "This would be done with the full cooperation of the state Legislature.” This year is the first time the full Legislature has been controlled by Republicans in the history of the state. While much of the leadership are fiscal conservatives, their opportunities are curtailed since we have no money and cannot afford to further cut our meager revenue; thus the extremely vocal social conservatives have been driving much of the legislative discussion.

Seasea, the folks interested in an armed militia would not see the connection between health care clinics and their problems. They truly believe that the federal government has infringed on states rights wholesale, and the health care bill is just one example. As far as I can tell they want to avoid all federal interference, including federal money, giving us the right to be poor, unemployed, sick and ignorant. Apparently they're willing to take up arms in defense of this. Fortunately it is not a mainstream position.

bc, nicely said.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 13, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm, the Tax Foundation indicates OK receives $1.36 in federal spending for every $1.00 paid in federal income tax.

If these non-mainstreamers really want the federal gummint off their backs, can Washington take back the overage OK receives over par?

Posted by: MsJS | April 13, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Anybody (beside me) submitted a question to Gene's chat yet? Starts in 20 minutes.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 13, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Yes, MsJS, that is part of the irony. The people complaining about gummint interference often do not realize that we actually contribute less money and receive more gummint services than many states.

of course, some of these same people (including some quoted in the news story) would be willing to give up those benefits because they don't believe gummint should be providing those services. I suspect that many others who sign on to the general idea might balk a bit when they realize what practical consequences would flow from their demands.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 13, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Fewer people than we might hope realize the practical consequences of anything.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 13, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm not among Mr. Robinson's fans, so I'm gonna pass. I think his current column could have run about 50-60 words and been just as effective. One of the reasons I'm not a fan.

I-mom, I understand the frustration some of the intense states-righters are experiencing. What I don't get is why they are proposing a plan even they admit won't solve their dilemma, not to mention there's no money to pay for it.

Posted by: MsJS | April 13, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

It's not fat, it's all double-muscle.
The VLP

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 13, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Mudge was referring to Gene Weingarten, not Gene Robinson.

I rarely read him. Hop those who stop by the chat enjoy it.

Posted by: MsJS | April 13, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Suddenly, the Weingarten Pulitzer discussion fails to load. Nefarious forces at work!

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 13, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, knowing how a plan would work or how to pay for it are seldom criteria for introducing legislation here or, I'd venture to guess, some other state legislatures.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 13, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow!!

Vienna: Gene -- who among the journalists you read regularly would you say have been neglectfully overlooked by the Pulizer Committee?

Gene Weingarten: Until they finally won a few years ago, both David Finkel and Anne Hull had been finalists so many times they lost count...

Joel Achenbach should win every year for Explanatory Journalism.

It makes no sense that David Von Drehle never won. Except in the sense that, yeah, it is a crapshoot.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 13, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

U R correct, I-mom. Ill-In-Oys does it all the time. Silly me for even mentioning it.

Hey, hey, Mr. A is deemed Pulitzer-worthy by Gene W!
"Joel Achenbach should win every year for Explanatory Journalism."

Posted by: MsJS | April 13, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I wonder when the militias will realize it was the Republicans who tried to seize total control of the National Guards in modifications of the Insurrection act passed in the
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Warner_National_Defense_Authorization_Act_for_Fiscal_Year_2007
effectively enabling federal martial law to be imposed on such renegades.
The law was later overturned.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 13, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I take it other people are able to load Weingarten's discussion? Every time I try, I get an instant notice that it does not load, "possibly" because the server is too busy.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 13, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

And a familiar handle:

byool, IN: Congratulations on becoming - if that Joel Achenbach guy is to be believed - the only (!) two-time winner of a Pulitzer in feature writing.

One thing I do wonder about, though, is if you and/or whoever sent the "See you next Tuesday: I see what you did there, Gene" thing in the update you posted last week had some secret foreknowledge. Because here it is, next Tuesday, and here you are.

Sneaky, Sneaky.

Gene Weingarten: Well, you would have seen me in the updates, anyway.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 13, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

//Fewer people than we might hope realize the practical consequences of anything.//

Guilty. Is it that obvious?

Posted by: -dbG- | April 13, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I hope you're able to get in. I backed in by accident just after Mr. W mentioned Mr. A. Hope I didn't take your spot cuz I stayed only for a minute.

Posted by: MsJS | April 13, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Still on topic!?!?!

Sheeesh! I'll check back later.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 13, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Well spoken back there at 11:00 or so, bc.

Posted by: nellie4 | April 13, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Good heavens, I remember this day:

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/aroundthemall/2010/04/houston-weve-had-a-problem-remembering-apollo-13/

My parents were in the VIP stand to watch the liftoff, courtesy of the family friend who was in NASA management.

Thirty years. I am old.

Posted by: slyness | April 13, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Gene did a very nice chat, and covered some important ground.

I especially enjoyed his discussion of the synergy between humor and drama. And that he mentioned that humor was subjective, you know, for *other* people reveals, once again, the self-aware absurdity of his wit.

Of course, that Gene called out Joel just indicates that, as kbertocci mentioned earlier, Gene knows talent when he sees it.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 13, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

If I'm repeating information earlier shared, too bad...

I've just discovered Rush will play "Moving Pictures" in its entirety during their upcoming tour.

Where's the fainting couch again? :-)

*submerging-beneath-the-waves-of-work Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 13, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I remember getting so mad that Apollo 13 wasn't going to the moon that I threw a modest little temper tantrum. Stupid meanies.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 13, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

What I remember most about the Apollo 13 days was that a couple of black activists happened to be scheduled to speak at my lily-white suburban school. They pointed out that there was more praying going on across America for the handful of astronauts on Apollo 13 than for all the people in our country's inner cities.

It was a jolt to consider the space program from that perspective.

Posted by: MsJS | April 13, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

One other thing. It is, of course, part of Gene's carefully crafted image to loudly and publicly denigrate editors and their wanton butchery. But I am sure Gene would agree that Tom's "butchering" did much to help craft the careful tone of both of Gene's Pulitzer Prize winning articles.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 13, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

One of the things to remember about Weingarten is he spent many years himself as an editor, so he understands that process more than most writers who have not themselves been editors. There are people who more or less go straight into editing jobs (often copy editors) without having first been ink-stained wretches. I've always thought it was vitally important to have worn both hats, as Gene has -- in order to be a good editor. I've never regarded Gene's blather about being "butchered" as anything but pure schtick and teasing. His respect for TtheB comes through in many of his remarks.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 13, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Ran across this while perusing the American Restroom Association website (my daily routine). Bags may fly free these days, but nothing else.

http://www.aolnews.com/weird-news/article/ryanairs-bathroom-policy-angers-customers/19434103

Posted by: kguy1 | April 13, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Hate to break it to you, slyness, but it was 40 years ago. Older and older. Someone mentioned BPH. Is there one tomorrow? Some chance I might actually be able to make it.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 13, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

kguy: http://www.theonion.com/articles/american-airlines-now-charging-fees-to-nonpassenge,2614/

BPH is Thursday, ebtnut.

Date: Thursday, April 15, 2010
Time: 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: The Quarterdeck Restaurant
Street: 1200 Fort Myer Dr
Arlington, VA

Posted by: Yoki | April 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

*throwing a major temper tantrum at not being able to attend the BPH*

*stomp stomp stomp cuss cuss cuss---oops*

*looking in purse for $20 to put in bunker cuss box*

Posted by: MsJS | April 13, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

What's going on? I still can't load Weingarten's chat. Maybe it's some kind of bad interference with local internet-usage restrictions? I dunno...

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 13, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Grumble, grumble (don't have the $20 right now) can't do Thursday.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 13, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Oops, you're right, ebnut! Which does make me even older...I was an English major, I've never done math well...

Posted by: slyness | April 13, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I'm pretty sure Weingarten spent years editing Tom the Butcher.

Tim - While I had no problem loading the Weingarten chat, it's been a constant source of annoyance to me for months that most of the chats won't load for me most of the time. It doesn't appear to matter whether I'm using Firefox or Internet Explorer, from home or from work.

Posted by: bobsewell | April 13, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the Weingarten chat continues not to load for me, even now. Probably some kind of Wirty Dird issue.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 13, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone read the other Gene's (Robinson) chat? I thought his Op-Ed was the usual terrific stuff, and the chat was quite revealing. If Haley Barbour does run for president (because he's well, um, well, *entitled*), I hope his comments about slavery get rammed up his veritables.

Strange day. Makes looking forward to the BPH and the actual being there a downright necessity!

Too bad you can't be there, MsJS.

Posted by: -ftb- | April 13, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

New Kit! Git ready to mudge yerselves!

Posted by: -ftb- | April 13, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

A Palin joke on Glee:

Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) to two cheerleaders: "You two may be the dumbest teenagers I've ever met. And that's saying something: I once gave a cheerleading seminar to a young Sarah Palin."

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 13, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

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