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Oil spill: Is it over?

Kinda, yeah. I think so.

Here's my web file, just posted:

It wasn't quite the stake through the heart, because that stake has to be made of cement, not merely mud. And the stake might have to be driven in from below, not from the top. But on the 107th day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the runaway Macondo well has been rendered "static" and now looks very much like a harmless hole clogged with 13-pound-per-gallon gunk.

Meanwhile, a new federal report declares that the oil slick, the once-horrific expanse of red-orange mousse and silver sheen, has largely dissipated. Millions of barrels of oil have been dispersed by chemicals, skimmed by boats, burned, weathered, evaporated and devoured by the Gulf of Mexico's permanent oil-eating microbial workforce.

Federal waters are reopening gradually to fishing. The success of the "static kill" boosts the odds of a permanent kill from the bottom when the relief well intercepts Macondo in the coming weeks.

The crisis isn't over. But it's not the same uncontrolled calamity that it was a month ago, or two months ago, when Macondo mocked the technological skills of the world's petroleum engineers and oil was slathering birds and turtles and tarballing hundreds of miles of coastline.

Federal scientists have said that vigilance would be called for even if the "static kill" procedure worked, which, according to BP in a 2 a.m. announcement, it did.

"It'll look like it's mortally wounded but may not be dead," said Tom Hunter, former head of the Sandia National Laboratory and for months a member of Energy Secretary Steven Chu's scientific team.

Chu, like the national incident commander, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen, emphasized that the relief well is still the ultimate killer of Macondo. His line Tuesday is one of the more memorable spoken by officials since this crisis began: "You want to make sure it's really dead dead dead. Don't want anything to rise out of the grave."

In a sense, this will not really be over until Allen feels secure enough to take that vacation with his wife that he had scheduled for Aug. 1. Allen came close Tuesday to declaring that any premature celebration of the end of Macondo would be a federal crime.

"The static kill is not the end all be all," Allen told reporters in his Tuesday briefing. "In the long run, drilling into the annulus and into the casing pipe from below, filling that with mud and then filling that with cement is the only solution to the end of this. And there should be no ambiguity about that. I'm the national incident commander, and that's the way this will end."

The broader crisis might go on for years economically and environmentally. Deep water drilling is under a moratorium, and the oil industry has to convince the government and the public that it's safe again to puncture the seafloor at depths where only robotic submersibles can perform tricky engineering tasks.

There are multiple investigations, including a criminal probe, into what went wrong on the Deepwater Horizon. And the legal battles in civil court will probably play out for many years.

Nor does anyone know the long-term impact of the spill on marine species, deep-sea corals and marshland. The heavy use of dispersants remains highly controversial and the subject of continued investigation, though the most recent analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency essentially defended the dispersants as the right way to go.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Interior Department put out a report Wednesday estimating that three-quarters of the roughly 5 million barrels of oil gushed by Macondo has been consumed by microbes, has evaporated, or has been captured, skimmed or burned. Only 26 percent remains in the water or on the shoreline, the report says.

"The residual amount, just over one quarter (26 percent), is either on or just below the surface as residue and weathered tarballs, has washed ashore or been collected from the shore, or is buried in sand and sediments. Dispersed and residual oil remain in the system until they degrade through a number of natural processes. Early indications are that the oil is degrading quickly," a NOAA press release stated.

This should terminate, once and for all, the more apocalyptic scenarios for the demise of the gulf. There is no sign, for example, that the oil is going to ride the Loop Current right out of the gulf and onto the beaches of South Florida, the Outer Banks, Bermuda, Ireland and so on.

The crisis might not be technically over. But technologically, the well has finally been brought to heel.

And the summer of the spill is almost over.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 4, 2010; 1:13 PM ET
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I for one will keep my fingers crossed until the &*$#@!@*&%$ thing is cemented.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 4, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I am grateful they are this far into the process and hope the rest of the way will not be troubled with problems.

Can we go back to tomatoes now?

Posted by: slyness | August 4, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Scotty, just like the vampire and the insane killer keep 'rising from the dead', I'll wait until the cement has done its job.

Did anyone see the aurora last night? It was too cloudy here.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 4, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

It was clear here but did not see anything, left my curtains open in case I woke in the night (never happens). Didn't see the aurora but did see a lovely sunrise.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 4, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Interest is waning, that sick feeling has dispersed, now it's just BOOORRRIING.

Here we go COWBOYS, here we go!

Posted by: teddymzuri | August 4, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Very glad top kill worked. I am of the opinion that despite the murder of countless larvae and microbial bottom-of-the-food-chain life, the dispersant is the better choice, given that clots of oil at surface would also kill various larvae etc. close to shore. I don't think BP could build enough skimming ships or bring them here fast enough to have gotten it all in any case. Putting a price tag on bottom-of-the-food-chain life when only statistical methods will be able to yield data long term is highly distasteful. I would yield the floor to Dave of C or other biologist on this matter, though.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 4, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

No Northern Lights here last night, but maybe tonight or tomorrow. There are links to some sightings in Minnesota and southern Canada -
(also note "lightening"!)

Posted by: seasea1 | August 4, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Cement? How long will that fix last under the conditions to which it will be exposed? Twenty years? Fifty? Two hundred? There is not authoritative answer but one - nothing made by man lasts as long as the forces of nature pitted against it. Nothing. That plug WILL fail eventually. What then?

As for the spill being "over", oh please. 175 million gallons of oil (the actual amount spilled and NOT recovered or burned) did not just disappear. The impact of this insult is just beginning. To suggest that "the worst is over" is an insult to the intelligence of anyone with an IQ above that of most Republicans.

Posted by: john971 | August 4, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

seasea those picture links are great, the one from Sask is just wow.

I am not sure what I am more impressed with the aurora pic or all the stars, makes me realize how much light pollution is in my area. I think seeing twenty to thirty stars is great.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 4, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

john, I'm not sure where you're getting the 'worst is over' part that you find so insulting. It was my impression that the point being made was that it's not an uncontolled leak anymore. I think JA even says that it will be quite some time before the impact is known.

As to the 'nothing lasts' part...gee, I don't know. While the Tower of Pisa is leaning something fierce (so many towers in Italy are), seems to me a couple of pyramids are standing pretty good. Regardless, I understood the cap is intended only to be a temporary fix until the bottom kill is done. So it doesn't really need to last forever.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 4, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

It is encouraging that once the oil was dispersed by man and by nature, through wave action, nature started to work on it.

Let's hope that nature has enough elasticity in the gulf to recover a lot by itself. If not, we have some resources to help it along.

I haven't been following terribly closely, but will one of the thingers they have been drilling kill the top of the well, while the other one works to pump out oil as was the original idea?

Posted by: baldinho | August 4, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

No, baldinho. The top kill has plugged the well's main pipe with heavy mud from the top. The relief well will pump concrete into both the annulus (space around said pipe) and the main pipe to permanently seal it from the bottom. Permanently in that they expect it to last well beyond the life of anyone currently living, anyway. (Good enough for you, John971?) It has been said elsewhere (in one of Joel's other articles, dunno which) that BP has stated that Macondo will never be used to extract oil.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 4, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't think BP will be getting more oil from this well. The point of the relief well is to kill it, dead dead dead.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 4, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Let us hope oil well cement lasts as long or longer than Roman concrete. Which is stronger than most sedimentary rocks anyway.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 4, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

baldinho, you are kidding, right? After the static kill from the top, the relief wells are the final death blows, from below, not to extract more oil.

Graphic on relief well

and another:

Posted by: talitha1 | August 4, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

How has the berm building been going? Weren't those berms supposed to stop the oil from fouling things? We need a berm cam!

Posted by: baldinho | August 4, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Ha, just reread your comment and picked up that you were referring to the second relief well. My bad. :)

No, that was just bottom kill insurance in case the first one got messed up or missed or something. The gov't figured one of the two would be able to permanently seal it from the bottom.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 4, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree - this isn't over; not by a long shot. On the other hand, how soon will we be saying, "How soon they forget..?"

One of the remarkable aspects of humanity is how successful we are as a species, given how often we repeat mistakes. The difference between knowledge and wisdom, I suppose (though I don't have enough of either to render a useful assessment).

Forunately, Mother Nature is very forgiving (except when she's not).

Note: "Uncontrolled Calamity" still available as a Boodle handle.

Which reminds me that it may be time to reconcile my bank statements.


Posted by: -bc- | August 4, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Well said LiT.

It really is hard not to interpret this well in an anthropomorphic way. From the very beginning there has been the temptation to view it as an evil malevolent force unleashed by the hubris of modern man. All it needed were some scaly appendages and pyrotechnic breath.

Of course, that's all silly. But it serves a purpose. It reminds us that without greater caution and humility sequels are all too possible. The words "The End," when they finally do appear, must be followed with a big sassy question mark.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 4, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Realize that the sea floor of the Gulf of Mexico is littered with dead wells capped with concrete. And by "dead" I mean economically dead. If these start to corrode, which some fear they will, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 4, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"The crisis might not be technically over."

Beg to differ, Joel. With the news that the well is plugged and the oil has largely been dissipated, the crisis is over. No one knows for certain all the long term effects but experience with previous blown out undersea oil wells gives us hope that it may be minimal. It certainly moves us out of crisis mode.

Posted by: edbyronadams | August 4, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're back to heat advisory weather tomorrow in D.C. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 4, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

OK, the Macondo well appears to be dead, and the plan is entomb it in concrete and mud. What happens next? That may depend on what we do with the future regulation of deep-water drilling. BP, or someone may decide that the reservior tapped by Macondo is big enough to warrant drilling a new well in the vicinity. I suspect that a lot of those old capped wells are that way because the reasonably recoverable oil has been drained and they pose litte threat even if the caps eventually fail. Regardless, the environmental damage to date is massive, and we won't know for years or decades how bad it really was.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 4, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Why should I start believing their math now? And how many Exxon Valdezes is 26% of whatever fictitious number everybody has agreed on?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 4, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I am having a hard time believing so much oil has disappeared, out of sight perhaps, I have no technical expertise to back this up but it just seems like a best case scenario that so much oil was recovered, dispersed - call me skeptical.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 4, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Just driving by to fax a part of my imaginary blizzard to Snuke.

I think it's time for Mother Nature to conjure up another mood swing, don't you?

Posted by: ftb3 | August 4, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Send that blizzard up here as well, we are under a heat advisory here, very hot and muggy - again.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 4, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

*turning the fax in dmd's direction full blast*

Posted by: ftb3 | August 4, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I see the California judge threw out the anti-gay marriage proposition. Well done, Ted Olson. Well done, David Boies.

Ted Olson is excellent. There should be more "conservative" people like him.

Posted by: baldinho | August 4, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

The local weatherman just said that this coming weekend will be 'exquisite'. I don't think we can do better than that! It was fairly hot and humid here today but the stiff breeze has saved us from the extremes of heat that others are experiencing. I'll fax you all some breeze.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 4, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

An Op-ed from Olson on the topic of the case:

Posted by: baldinho | August 4, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

oh oh, more bad oil in the news. Seems EVOO is probably EAOO (extra adulterated). Even Rachael Ray is tarred.

Posted by: bh72 | August 4, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

5 Exxon Valdez's, I heard.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 4, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

That's too bad. I'm sure the world can use all the extra virgins it can possibly
muster at this point.

Major windstorm with black skies here in the Shenandoah. Battening down.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 4, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I choose to celebrate good news when it comes to me, and the kill is good news in my book.

As a Canadian, that same-sex marriage is still even a debate completely baffles me. It seems like a human rights no-brainer to me.

Posted by: Yoki | August 4, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Hi folks--trying to catch up in between car repairs, camps,--oh, yeah, and that full-time job. I'm glad that the immediate worst of the Macondo disaster is over, but yeah, I also fear subtle, long-term stuff--and am afraid that oil interests might use the "success" of shutting down this well as an example of the feasibility of shutting down other out-of-control deepwater spills.

Posted by: balancingact | August 4, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you Yoki, the kill is very good news indeed. And, yes, the whole debate over same-sex marriage is a mystery to me too. Can't figure out what the opponents think they're accomplishing with this fight.

And then there's this,

I never really liked Nixon but now it's driven home for me.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | August 4, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Skies now getting scary here at the P.G./MontCo. border. Hope all those nice Pepco line crews are standing by...

Posted by: balancingact | August 4, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Olson's Op-ed is quiet, no-frills argument that can't be refuted. I used to be one that said same-sex marriage should not be marriage. I was a civil union person, until i actually thought about it. My thought was as others have said: what harm does it do? It does no harm at all, and allows so much good.

No brainer.

The people that argue that same-sex marriages somehow make theirs less valuable are truly confusing to me. Who feels that their marriage, an agreement between two spouses, can be changed or ruined by anyone but the two spouses?

All marriages are individual compacts.

Posted by: baldinho | August 4, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

MotP! *Grover waves* :-)

Yes, good news on the Calif. decision.

There's a fair amount of hatch-battening here at the NukeAbode, as well.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 4, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey MoftheP, long time no see. Reading that piece about Nixon made me remember just how much I loathed him. No good he did will ever erase all his chicanery and downright criminal acts.

Baldinho, I know what you mean about gay marriage. I had some trouble wrapping my mind around it at first but, like you, I realized that it was only fair and proper that everyone have the same rights. Opponents puzzle me, why do they care so much? It doesn't affect their daily lives at all. It certainly has never affected mine in the five or so years its been legal here in MA.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 4, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Yes, in front of a TV with time to watch SYTYCD!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 4, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before, but what the heck-
Most gay marriage opponents are really opposed to gay s3x. If they want gays to stop having s3x they should encourage them to get married.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 4, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Funny :)

Just spent an hour cleaning the memory in my BlackBerry because SMS messages were disappearing as soon as they came in. That explains all the texts people have said they've sent that I've never seen.

Tomorrow, I'm off--a comp day for the past few weeks. And the following Thursday as well, then the Thursday afternoon after that. Cleaning and the library.

TBG, how's that basement?

Have a good night, all.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 4, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Funny :)

Just spent an hour cleaning the memory in my BlackBerry because SMS messages were disappearing as soon as they came in. That explains all the texts people have said they've sent that I've never seen.

Tomorrow, I'm off--a comp day for the past few weeks. And the following Thursday as well, then the Thursday afternoon after that. Cleaning and the library.

TBG, how's that basement?

Have a good night, all.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 4, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I liked Jon Stewart's remark to the gay marriage issue: "why not let them give it a try" or similar. Frostbitten, there is evidence in some of the baby carriages that there is sex after marriage.

Posted by: gmbka | August 4, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

SCC, after weddings.

Posted by: gmbka | August 4, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Ted Olsen says, "simply because something has always been done a certain way does not mean that it must always remain that way. "

Isn't that the opposite of "conservative"?

I think that Republican Ted Olsen must have a close relative or friend who is gay. The only time any of them every care about others is when they are personally affected.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 4, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you may be correct, but an interesting belief of mine is that EVERY conservative has a close friend or relative that is gay. They just may not know it, or care to acknowledge it.

It really comes down to knowing people. Olson says his relationships with varied people during his life have been what has set his position in this matter. Those relationships are powerful.

So many people I know have no real relationships with anyone other than people that are exactly like themselves. That situation sets up so many gaps in knowledge and so many unknowns. It is easy in that situation to look at live in two dimensions rather than three.

Posted by: baldinho | August 4, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

You are so right baldinho. To explain my point even further, Republicans have no empathy. If they are not experiencing it, it's not a problem (hunger, unemployment, lack of healthcare, etc).

I have full belief that Ted Olsen really means "gays should be able to marry so that my [daughter, son, brother, cousin, neighbor] can get married."

I doubt, from what he's shown us before, that he gives a damn about civil rights for everyone.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 4, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

SCC: arggh. I meant life instead of live.

I just reread the Olson piece. Atticus Finch would be proud.

Posted by: baldinho | August 4, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

We did an exercise in Sunday School a couple of weeks ago about diversity that was an eye-opener. Given a large bucket of colored plastic beads, we were asked to find the assigned color for various folks in our lives, friends, family, doctor, hairdresser, banker, etc. My basket was white except for the one for my doctor, who is Indian. Most of us had all-white baskets. That does not say good things about us.

And it's one reason I treasure my friendship with Cassandra! (But only one, the main reason is that she's just an awesome person and I am privileged to know her.)

Two of my favorite people at church are a gay couple, great guys, both of them. They are very low key about it, though, in self defense. I look forward to the day when it's not an issue.

Posted by: slyness | August 4, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

TBG: from Wikipedia

Theodore Olson was born in Chicago and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in Mountain View, California. He graduated from Los Altos High in 1958, completed his undergraduate degree at the University of the Pacific, and a law degree at the University of California, Berkeley.

Methinks he may have met and made many friends that do not share his politics.

The wikipedia entry on him touch on his history and more notorious cases. Other than his role in The American Spectator, I don't have issue with anything he has done.

He seems to be a conservative thinker, but not an a hole. Those can be rare. He could be on my Supreme Court any day. I would relish the chance to debate him on topics that we don't agree.

Posted by: baldinho | August 4, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

My college roommate came out of the closet six months into our three years of rooming together. He was also the best man at my wedding, so I was a little ahead of the game on the whole 'some of my best friends are gay' thing.

On Gawker and Wonkette it is axiomatic that any anti-gay conservative is a deeply troubled closet case. Dan Savage also regularly discusses these hypocrites on his podcast.

Dan also had a very interesting insight about that lesbian mommies movie, 'The Kids Are All Right.' It has more wild sex involving lesbians than any movie short of pr0n. It truly has something for everybody.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 4, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

TBG - While generalizations can be useful, it's probably not useful to toss around memes like "Republicans have no empathy".

It's true that some (or even many) Republicans sometimes (or even often) act (or publicly pose) as if they have no empathy. But life is long, circumstances change, and there's little good to be accomplished by dehumanizing an opponent.

Some English guy once wrote something to the effect that if you prick them, they might even bleed, almost like real people.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 4, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

You know, I don't really care how anyone comes to do the right thing, so long as they do.

For me, it has been organic, life-long; I've been part of artistic/fashion circles for a long time, and was the daughter of intellectually-enlightened WASPs who just couldn't reconcile walling-off with a commitment to human rights.

So really, since birth, I've had no implicit bias (see Harvard) against gays or people of colour or the poor or WASPs that was intellectually sustainable. Though the WASPs deserved such bias, if anyone did.

Posted by: Yoki | August 4, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt: I also had a gay roommate in college. He was not out, but it was pretty well known. He lived very close to campus, and went home every weekend. My guess is that made it easier for him to socialize.

The first job I had in high school was working at a small-town convenience store run by a lesbian couple. They lived in a small house on the farm owned by one of their families. They were the nicest folks ever.

My eyes roll at the thought that they are and were somehow evil.

Posted by: baldinho | August 4, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Man, I miss Keith Moon!

Posted by: Bob-S | August 4, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Excellent reasoning from Ted Olsen. Bravo!

Re the general who has been exonerated: will his heirs collect on the difference in his pension? I assume that his pay and pension were affected; can anyone elucidate?

I'll bet not, but I'd like to know.

Posted by: slyness | August 4, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Why, Bob? I don't!

Posted by: Yoki | August 4, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, that was intended as a throwaway line, based on yellojkt's "The Kids Are Alright" reference.

If you start making me justify all of my stupid jokes, I may not have the courage to make them.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 4, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

It took me a while to backboodle and catch one of the threads of tonight's discussion. Took me another while to locate this post from a discussion I participated in earlier in the week. I think it pertains. Scroll past if it's too long because I can't post a direct link.


Posted by: talitha1 | August 4, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse


The Kids Are Alright (1979)

The Kids Are Alright (film)

Posted by: Bob-S | August 4, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Trying again ----

It took me a while to backboodle and catch one of the threads of tonight's discussion. Took me another while to locate this post from a discussion I participated in earlier in the week. I think it pertains to much that you all have said. Scroll past if it's too long because I can't post a direct link.

"Don't underestimate the willful stupidity that a bigot is capable of.

When my dad moved out to California with my mom from his family home in Nebraska, his family, who all believed that California was the modern Sodom and Gomorrah, all cautioned him to "be careful about the queers out there." (My dad told us kids that and two of his sisters independently repeated it to me.)

The guy who lived next door to us was an unmarried guy who, over the 15 years that he lived next door to us, had a succession of male roommates in their late teens- early twenties. Not one single time can I remember him ever having so much as a female visitor.

He wasn't effeminate in any way; he rode a big Harley motorcycle and he was kind of a tough-looking dude. He also happened to be the science teacher at a local high school.

Well, my dad through the years had a lot to say about "queers" and "sissy-men" and epithets for homosexuality. Views very plain.

So one day at a family dinner he proclaims for the zillionth time about the family warning against queers. "And I've been in California for decades now and I've never met anyone who who was queer!" he proclaimed.

Literally the next day there was an article in the paper about how our neighbor had been arrested in a dressing room of the local department store for engaging in a lewd act with a teen-aged boy. My dad was drop-jawed dumbfounded and couldn't believe it.

We'd moved several years earlier, so my dad decided that our neighbor had "turned queer" AFTER we moved, since it was inconceivable that he could have been gay the whole time we were living next door to him. Heck, my dad had frequently talked to him about his motorcycle and about science-related things and the guy had never once "done anything queer." So he must have changed after we moved...

And that's what he believed, right up until the time he died."

I thought, though it was anonymous, a brave thing to write.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 4, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Believe me, I will never do that. 'Cause then I'd have to. And that is not sustainable.

Posted by: Yoki | August 4, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

The thing that is great to me, now, is that nobody has to be anonymous. At least for me.

Posted by: Yoki | August 4, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I really detested Ted Olson back when he was helping Paula Jones and getting Clinton impeached and then getting W the presidency. I could not stand his wife Barbara, who unfortunately was killed on 9/11 - no one deserved that fate. But it really surprised me when I heard he was working with David Boies on this. Here's a NYT article where he explains how he came to do this:
He even addresses what TBG brought up:
“For conservatives who don’t like what I’m doing, it’s, ‘If he just had someone in his family we’d forgive him,’ ” Mr. Olson said. “For liberals it’s such a freakish thing that it’s, ‘He must have someone in his family, otherwise a conservative couldn’t possibly have these views.’ It’s frustrating that people won’t take it on face value.”

He's also been married 4 times...maybe that influenced him too!

Posted by: seasea1 | August 4, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, you are blessed.

I hope that, although none of you have seen me face to face, I am no longer anonymous to you.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 4, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Yoki - Now I regret having edited the line of my previous comment which started out:

"If you start making me justify all of my stupid jokes, I may not have the courage (or stamina, for that matter) to offer them."

Posted by: Bob-S | August 4, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

No, talitha. I put my arms around you and say, "Hello you!" As though you are at a BPH, or IBPH, if I'm lucky.

We all hug the heck out of each other.

Posted by: Yoki | August 4, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Much better, bobsewell.

Posted by: Yoki | August 4, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Thinking further on what Yoki wrote " For me, it has been organic, life-long; I've been part of artistic/fashion circles for a long time . . ."

That has been my experience since I became aware of homosexuality as a child. Two of my parents' best friends from their college days (late 40s) were a male/gay couple. I never questioned their devotion to one another because my parents never made an issue of it. I'm sure they were probably closeted, it being Georgia in that day and time, but I was spared the disapproving tut-tuts by my parents' open and non-judgemental friendship with them.

And, like Yoki, working in any art/fashion/theater/name-it industry as an adult since those "closeted" years just makes gay/bi- friends and cohorts matter-of-fact.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 4, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Lots of hugging at the BPH! I think I once a Greenpeacewoman hug a fur-wearing nuclear power industry representative. It was a beautiful moment.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 4, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Too funny. Thanks, bobs.

Posted by: Yoki | August 4, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

talitha, you are a wonderful addition.

Temp is down to 79 but with the humidex added in still feels like 93 and only expected to go down to 90 overnight, still and sticky out with enough cloud cover to obscure any possible northern lights viewing. For yellow dewpoint 68.7. What we really need is rain but despite some threatening skies no rainfall just a few drops that increased the humidity. Fingers crossed maybe rain tomorrow otherwise well into next week before it will rain, and I can't believe after last summer I am looking forward to rain but we need it.

Enjoyed the discussion tonight, night all.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 4, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

You know what?

That was sloppy writing on my part. "They" and "them" is, even in an attempt to explain a child's dawning awareness of "others", just a plain dumb use of words. I'm going to work on that . . . . . tomorrow while I finish the mindless sweeping and dusting and rearranging of furniture. I'll rearrange my thought processes a tad, too.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 4, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I'll concede that if you cut me in half you wouldn't find so many annual growth rings that you should trust any of my stories from the 1940's, but I can assure you that by the mid-to-late 1960's (in Savannah, Georgia) my parents & relatives kept regular company with friends of the family who were darned-well known to homosexual. Circumspect behavior was practiced, but then I never witnessed my parents or any of my other adult relatives groping each other with wild abandon, and as far as I know they were mostly entangled in differently-sexed couplings.

This wasn't clear to me at the time (I think that was the intention of the circumspection) but my born-in-the-1920's/1930's/1940's/1950's relatives were not so callow & clueless as I. They may not have been prepared to march in the streets demanding civil rights for gay couples, but they sure as heck weren't unaccepting of them. And I most assuredly was not raised in a secret backwater garden paradise of unusually liberal southern sentiment. Nope, I think mostly people accept stuff that (they come to realize) isn't threatening.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 5, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I know this runs counter to the wisdom of the ages, but sometimes familiarity can also help thin the herd of contempt.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 5, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Bravo, bob-me-love and fellow Georgian. The hills and mountains north of you teemed with "those that refused to see" what was in front of their noses and scoffed in their fear. I may be the coward for escaping to cold western climes.
I don't look back with any sort of regret.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 5, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Good heavens! Why is this necessary?

Posted by: Yoki | August 5, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Dunno, Yokes. At some point in my mid-teens I pointed out to someone that it was simply, and boringly, obvious that this was already decided. Just a matter of time till everyone got the message.

The person to whom I said it in the mid-1970's, and some people still, just aren't good at getting messages, I suppose.

The frantically-defending-their-emotional-turf people are slow, but the not-fitting-into-externally-defined-relationships people are inexorable. As are (eventually) those who get exhausted just by listening to the former.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 5, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

My stump is stable now because I haul it with me whenever I take a stand. I can shim it up with experience. And I won't tolerate those who attempt to kick it out from under me. It took a few years of self-imposed exile to find my voice, though. That's the cowardice of which I'm ashamed.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 5, 2010 3:29 AM | Report abuse

Hi Scotty and Sneaks! Thanks for the hellos and grover waves, I've been gone for a while but am back lurking again. It's like coming home again :).

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | August 5, 2010 4:00 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, MotP!! The old sayin' ain't so -- You CAN come Boodle again! :-)))

Bob, are you sure that was fur? *L*

*oddly-fully-awake-before-the-first-cuppa-cawfee-and-off-to-the-Dawn-Patrol Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 5, 2010 5:29 AM | Report abuse

The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, more commonly called the National Contingency Plan or NCP, is the federal government’s blueprint for responding to both oil spills and hazardous substance releases. The National Contingency Plan is the result of our country’s efforts to develop a national response capability and promote overall coordination among the hierarchy of responders and contingency plans.

Pursuant to NCP Section 300.310, “As appropriate, actions shall be taken to recover the oil or mitigate its effects. Of the numerous chemical or physical methods that may be used, the chosen methods shall be the most consistent with protecting public health and welfare and the environment. Sinking agents shall not be used.”

Sinking agents means those additives applied to oil discharges to sink floating pollutants below the water surface.

The question is whether BP’s dispersants are “sinking agents” when they are applied a mile underwater at the source of the well leak.

David Hollander, a University of South Florida oceanographer, headed a research team that discovered a six-mile (10-km) wide “oil cloud” while on a government-funded expedition aboard the Weatherbird II, a vessel operated by the university’s College of Marine Science.

The underwater contaminants are particularly “insidious” because they are invisible, Hollander said, adding that they were suspended in what looked like normal seawater. “It may be due to the application of the dispersants that a portion of the petroleum has extracted itself away from the crude and is now incorporated into the waters with solvents and detergents,” he added. He said dispersants, a cocktail of organic solvents and detergents, had never been used at the depth of BP’s well before, and no one really knows how they interact physically and chemically under pressure with oil, water and gases.

Hollander said the contaminants raised troubling questions about whether they would “cascade up the food web.” The threat is that they will poison plankton and fish larvae before making their way into animals higher up the food chain, Hollander said.



Posted by: brianjdonovan | August 5, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

This morning's self-aggrandizing comic:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 5, 2010 6:40 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 suspect if we eat fish or any other creature from the Gulf, we'll probably eat those chemicals. So much of what we eat these days isn't good for us, and much of the time we eat food not really knowing what it is about or its troubled history. I can think of one, there are others. Chickens. If one raises it from a baby chick, it is one nasty bird.

The weather person is promising heat and more heat, in fact today is pegged to be the hottest. Heat index of 105 and above. Might not be a good idea to ride in a car without air. Oh, well.

Time to get started before the numbers get higher. Anybody had a Mudge sighting yet?

Have a wonderful day, folks. Love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 5, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

*I* wouldn't stay either, Yello!

Morning, all, happy Thursday. Cassandra, I dreamed that you and your kids from the center came to camp in my fair city and we had a good time. I love happy dreams like that!

Busy day ahead, so I'd better get started...

Posted by: slyness | August 5, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

I've just been informed that Snooki is a dead ringer for a Sleestak.

I can't argue that point. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 5, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Melon (cantaloup) soup for lunch:

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Well Scottynuke, she does indeed have that reptilian glassy-eyed look.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 5, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, RD_P.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 5, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I do love cantalope (or honeydew) and proscuitto, reminds me of warm Sunday evenings at my grandparents' house. Now, where are the breadsticks?

I wonder how many folks are feeling a bit let down over the lack of drama with the various "kills" in the Macondo well this week? Or is it simply a lack of dramatic video feeds?

Personally, I'm fine without the drama, and if the shutdown of this well is as visually dramatic as operating a water tap, that's fine with me.

Same with the cleanups and investigations. Long, difficult work that's hopefully low drama video.


Posted by: -bc- | August 5, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Well, it is a bit anti-climactic. Maybe they could blow something up just for effect.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 5, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Has anybody heard if BP is going to haul the BOP up to the surface for a look-see, or will that remain a skeleton in BP's closet?

I know its made of steel, and all that. But it is five stories tall (with all the new cap and stuff), and rather slender. Tall, slender things will not necessarily stand up straight forever.

Kinda makes me glad that *I* have a low center of gravity.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | August 5, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Hi Don!

And, the new-old masthead for the online post -- what does this mean? I guess a branding move, though for a while the two venues distinguished themselves by color and font.

TBG? What do you think?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Off topic: The crepe myrtles are blooming magnificently this year and I've enjoyed them all over town. My favorite has always been the watermelon pink, but I've seen several dark red ones that are simply gorgeous. Now to find places for them in *my* yard.

Back to your regularly scheduled boodling...

Posted by: slyness | August 5, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Aren't they nice, Slyness? I have two; one was a volunteer I dug up from my old place and transported here, and the other one from a construction site where new landscaping was going in, and some established 15-foot crape myrtles were going to be taken out. Both watermelon pink although the transplanted whole tree is a bit darker. I like them in the fall too when the foliage turns fiery red. When setting sun shines on them then they will take your breath away.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 5, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Glad to go to work today as the dewpoint here is 74, way high for us. A/C here I come!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 5, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Don, I believe I'd read somewhere that once they were sure that they'd achieved what they wanted with the top and bottom kills (that *is* an unfortunate word in this situation, IMO), there were plans to bring the blowout preventer up, bring it ashore, and look it over (which may include complete disassembly) as part of the investigations.

If it were me, that's what I'd want to do. The more we know about what happened, the better positioned we'll be to prevent it from happening again. Failure analysis, y'know?


Posted by: -bc- | August 5, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Regarding slyness' question yesterday: Gen. Lavelle was reduced in rank, but his pension was not affected by the demotion, according to the article. Referencing the work of noted philosopher Mr. Shakespeare, Lavelle was not robbed of his purse but of something infinitely more valuable, his good name.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 5, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Precisely, Tim. I'm glad, though, that the demotion didn't affect his pension. And now he has his good name back, FWIW. I hope that means quite a bit to his family. Thanks for the answer.

Posted by: slyness | August 5, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

A while back, the rest of you were commenting on the current Time magazine cover. I have now seen it. I would say that the cover, alone, is a very effective bit of advocacy journalism.

ScienceKid#2 has mentioned that I am source of some humor and bemusement to the younger generation because of my reflexive and uncompromising stand on gender equality and my extreme distaste for any humor that turns on an assumption of gender inequality. I can now point to that Time cover as the extreme end of a continuum of which I want to have no part.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 5, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse


That is a happy dream, and happy dreams are always good because the reality of the real world doesn't creep in. I would love for the kids at the Center to be able to deal with the "happy" and the "not so happy". To have the strength of body, mind, and spirit to deal with it all. In this life we get to eat from both tables, don't we?

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 5, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

This suggestion that 75% of the oil is gone is dubious. I don't believe it. And even if it is dispersed, it is still in the water at high concentrations - meaning that people and their children will be exposed to this substance when they visit the beach. And there is methane in the water. If interested, see this video from a local TV station in S. Alabama where they actually had local samples tested by a chemist ( And the state/fed government are opening up fishing grounds which are despoiled -

Posted by: citizenwangpeng | August 5, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, C.S. Lewis also writes about being at tables:

"At this feast it is he who has spread the board and it is He who has chosen the guests. It is He, we may dare to hope, who sometimes does, and always should, preside. Let us not reckon without our Host." END -- From The Four Loves.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I read some of the comments earlier on the discussion about the Prop-8 ruling. Opinion in the commentariat appears surprisingly evenly divided, for as far as I read. Interestingly, both sides of the debate appear to agree whole-heartedly with the basis for the judge's decision, with the anti-Prop 8 people demonstrating their agreement with the judge through logic, and the pro-Prop 8 people demonstrating their agreement by example: the only argument they have to make is their deeply-held personal belief that gay people are inferior and wicked, an argument which they do not even remotely attempt to bolster with any serious logic or rational analysis.

Isn't nice when both sides in a discussion can come together and agree on a fundamental truth, which is that one side of the debate does not have a leg to stand on? What's odd, of course, is that that side of the debate does not perceive that they should retire from the field and cede the battle to the forces of equality and support for human and civil rights.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 5, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, and one thing that could stand to be changed as well are so many unnecessary laws giving biased treatment to married people (tax benefits, penalties, etc.)

There are many very good reasons to say marriage is a civil rights issue, and the exclusion of gay people or transgender people is only the tip of the problem.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 5, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Well, Wilbrod-Gnome, marriage carries its own fairly well-known responsibilities, too, as well as tax benefits. As a civil rights issue, I think the tax code comes out as kind of a wash. I know very few people -- okay, actually, none -- who make their marriage decision on the basis of tax law. My beef would be with the unnecessary complexity of the relevant tax laws, which attempt to accomplish equitable treatment by remedying individual instances of inequitable outcome, instead of reforming the system so that treatment is inherently equitable. I recognize that the barrier is quite high to reforming the whole tax code, while relatively low for reforming one little obscure corner at a time. That doesn't make it all more sensible, it just makes it more excusable.

I remain a proponent of what I guess could be called a modified flat tax: provide a realistic deduction per person that actually resembles the ordinary cost of living, then tax what's left (the discretionary portion of income) at rather high rate. Say, 50%. No mortgage-interest deduction, no special deductions for aging racehorses, etc.

I realize this will never happen. The repeal of the mortgage-interest deduction would destroy the current housing economy even more badly than in recent years. A fella can dream (a really boring dream).

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 5, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I'm also thinking about health insurance, vistation rights, estate and inheritance laws which all revolve on marriage. I'm not saying that's wrong, but when a gay couple has to spend thousands of dollars in lawyer fees to get even some of the benefits a marriage license would afford them, you gotta stop and think.

Why do I, as a single person, not get to extend my health insurance to a roommate or close friend, while a married person can cover a spouse?

I know somebody who used the same-sex partner law in DC to wed and cover her roommate's health insurance during a serious crisis.

Also, you can marry somebody from overseas and get a green card for that person once all paperwork's been done. Gay people can't.

I've also known somebody rumored to engage in marriages to give others green cards for a fee.

As present immigration laws now stand, green card marriages are the safest way to immigrate to America-- if you don't get subject to domestic or financial abuse.

The current work visa system in America is not that far off indentured servitude, and we all know that was the genesis of permanent slavery back in colonial times.

The reason I say this is that a work visa only authorizes a person to work for a single employer, and does not stipulate the employer provide fair wages or treatment.

I have known a woman who had to quit her job because the company stalled on the work visa renewal forms and she didn't want to work illegally while her permanent green card from her marriage was pending.

I've also known others who wound up working illegally when their employers hired them on the promise to sponsor them for a job visa and never did.

So who's the criminal here? By law, the immigrant working illegally is, and the employer too-- but the employer won't lose his job and get barred from international travel and possible prison time for violating the law.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I ain't seen no businessmen in jail for hiring immigrants illegally.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 5, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

So, who pays the dowry?

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 5, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Well, this is an example of why we need to partition a problem into soluble components, W_G. You are conflating many inequities and issues there -- let's just deal with the ones that we can handle. For one thing, if you make the argument that gay people should be able to get married because it would enable them to skirt the law just like straights and provide a green card for self-hating gay islamofascist jihadis (potentially) -- well, it would be hard to imagine getting more rope with which to hang yourself and lose your argument. Argue the issues one at a time, on their own merits, or you will doom yourself through lack of focus.

The problem with extending spousal privileges to your roommate, simply because the two of you happen to cohabit for economic reasons, is that the whole notion of it being a marital civil-right issue is ridiculous. Neither of you has made any formal legal commitment to accept responsibility for the other one's debts, for example, so why should you incur the legal privileges of a spousal relationship? Also, those 'privileges' really are responsibilities, too -- being a spouse means that you are the primary person to make end-of-life decisions for your partner, and you can enter into contracts on behalf of your family unit. Are you prepared to confer those 'privileges' on your rent-sharing cohabitants? Do you want to hold those powers for them?

Then you propose the big step of actually getting married in a sham marriage. The problem that you are attempting to rectify -- the practical unavailability of health insurance and health care for the economic lower middle class -- is a real problem, but please do not try to claim that it is an issue related to the inequities of civil marriage. A sham marriage in order to convey spousal health benefits is an action of questionable moral and legal standing that you propose because the bigger problem is beyond your grasp. Again, your argument that gays should be able to marry because it increases the range of opportunities to commit fraud for morally-justifiable reasons, is hardly likely to win the day for civil rights.

Indentured servitude was not, IIRC, the genesis of institutionalized slavery in the colonial US. Slavery has existed for many thousands of years. So has economic servitude of the sort that became codified as indentured servitude. What was "peculiar" about New World slavery were the concepts of the sub-human status of slaves and the birth of children into a permanent state of slavery. The child of an indentured servant was not born indentured, and an indentured servant could not be beaten to death with impunity "as an example for the others."

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 5, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Dispersed oil isn't yet gone.

We should know fairly soon whether there was a vast proliferation of oil-eating bacteria. I suspect that at any depth, oxygen would be limiting.

It would not be a bad time for the Loop Current to go ahead and disperse some of the pollution into the open Atlantic. Except maybe that water reaching the Cornwall coast would no longer be toasty warm, so bacterial degradation would be slow.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 5, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Don't I also recall that indentured servanthood was for a specified length of time, not a lifetime?

Posted by: slyness | August 5, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I don't think there are any immigrants in jail for working illegally either. Unlike using fraudulent documents, it's not a criminal violation.

Employers have certainly been fined for knowingly hiring or retaining non-eligible workers, but obviously enforcement in that area hasn't been sufficiently vigorous to make a lot of changes in the situation.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 5, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Bernard Bailyn's "Voyagers to the West" used a bunch of runaway ads and speculative color illustrations to get readers to appreciate that indentured servitude in British North America was not a nice business.

During the colonial period, slavery developed into a far worse business.

Interesting how indentured servants disappeared during the Revolution while slaves would likely have been better off had the British won.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 5, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

*Tim - I think that to many, the Prop 8 question isn't about logic at all (despite the rationalizations), it's a matter of belief or faith and attempts to manifest them in society and law.

Emotions and beliefs are as real as any ideas, even if they may not hold up under intellectual scrutiny or logical arguments (based on the context of the United States at this point in time) as you see them.

Personally, I believe that all people are equal, and that who people choose to love and to have in their lives is their own business.

But others don't feel that same way. Calling any opinion on about human relations 'truth' can be a slippery business, particularly when humans are involved.



Posted by: -bc- | August 5, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, when I was a school kid, indentured servants were presented as people whose transportation to British North America was paid off by the indenture, fair and square. What a wonderful deal.

A quick search finds some negative teaching materials. This one sounds like the "Toy Story 3" toys getting shoved into that day care center room for little kids who smash everything.

What I remember of mortality rates in British North America is that New Englanders obsessed about death, even as their longevity was possibly the world's best. Mortality got bad along the Chesapeake and was terrible--similar to the Caribbean or West Africa--in South Carolina.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 5, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I agree with you bc. The problem is that one group of people wants to impose their personal preferences for the behavior of other people on the entire population, but the best argument that they can muster is "because it grosses me out to think about gay s3x. Hot, sticky, sweaty, passionate gay s3x. Body sliding against body in a private jazz session of pleasurable improvisation. Day and night, all I can think of is gay s3x. It imperils my marriage, and I won't stand for it!"

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 5, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Many Africans came as indentured servants and worked for 7 years. Then it became life-time. Then we had born slaves.

I stand by my remark; indentured servitude provided the cultural context for slavery to flourish in the New World.

SciTim, marriage itself has been conflated in our legal system, to the point that it has often forced progressive exclusion or restriction of rights for the non-married.
That's precisely my point.

Marriage shouldn't be a solution for immigration issues. It shouldn't be a solution for health insurance issues. It shouldn't even be a solution for the right to visit somebody in the hospital or the legal costs of incurring power of attorneys and other temporary measures to ensure a person has somebody safeguarding their interests while in hospital.

If you think "sham marriages" under the law are ridiculous, tell that to the people who have benefitted in ways they couldn't have otherwise.... often trying to meet basic needs such as the ability to buy medical care, letting others be their safety net, the chance to work and feed themselves. They're alive and where they are today because they were married.

I know people who married for the normal reasons who can also say that, just not to that extent.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 5, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. We had five days of 100-plus degree temperatures this week. Our main air conditioner went out at midnight of the fourth day, and Ivansdad's car air conditioner went out on the fifth day. Today it is only expected to reach 99 degrees. We are just giddy over this break in the weather. Our new AC/heating unit might be installed tomorrow but will most likely be installed Monday. Our heat&air guys are working as fast as they can. We were their last service call last night; the owner got to our house sometime after 10 p.m. It is a good thing the back two rooms of the house are on a different unit. Beatrice is moved into a cooler room with her very own fan.

ScienceTim, that was a fine analysis. While many legal analysts (including me) believe that marriage benefits are a legitimate subject for a civil-rights discussion, the issue is among various persons who want to be granted the status of "married". This is fundamentally different from either the status of "not married" or the status of "single", and it is those fundamental differences which drive the discussion. While there may be arguments that single people not engaging in a "married-type" relationship might deserve some benefits accruing to those relationships, they are not really civil-rights arguments.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 5, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

To be clearer, I agree with ScienceTim that there is no real comparison between the question of roommates who wish to share spousal-privilege type benefits and the civil rights issues surrounding the marriage debate. I also agree with his analysis of sham marriages. He didn't say they were ridiculous; that reference was, I think accurately, addressed to the roommate issue. ScienceTim said sham marriages were morally and legally questionable and amounted to the commission of fraud. This is certainly true. That people might engage in sham marriages to remedy other policy failures in other areas is a real problem. However, sham marriage not a marriage-status civil rights issue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 5, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

One thing I was wondering about gay people being married was whether Social Security benefits would apply. Not that I completely understand how that works for heterosexual marriages...I do know that Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued the case that got males spousal benefits under Social Security. So all this evolves.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 5, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Serious storm outside, thunder/lightning going on outside my office window. Hide under my desk stuff.

Someone smarter would probably move away from the window, but that's not me.

Just saw a pretty good multiple strike on a lightning rod across the parkway. Yowza.

How do they expect me to work through this?


Posted by: -bc- | August 5, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Must be the same storm that grumbling outside my window at the moment. I guessing the real stuff will hit here in about 10-15 minutes.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 5, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I'm guessing... Lights here just flikered. Hope it blows through before I hit the road.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 5, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse


We're applying for about 10 jobs in Rockville, MD for my husband.

That means I could come to a BPH. :D

I've never really liked the "D" smiley face--it's just off center. But I thought it was warranted.

Same here storm wise. Been going since last night. Hoping my house doesn't slide off the mountain with mud.

Posted by: Sara54 | August 5, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Sara! LTNS! Good to hear from you, I hope everything is well.

Posted by: slyness | August 5, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Here, too, bc and ebnut! Lovely smell of ozoned air too.

One comment about marriage as a legal institution conferred by two people as a contract: no fault divorce laws in some states sometimes mean that the financial peeling apart of a couple (often a family) sometimes does not meet the contract dissolution standards that apply in business.

I am not advocating for no fault divorce laws, necessarily. Just, that the marriage legal protections we think exist, when undone by one or more of the two espousing parties, may not really exist. Or, as is sometimes the case, exist on paper legally, but would be so expensive as to enforce (pay an attorney to plead before court to compel the recalcitrant party) as to not exist.

The UK is trying to address this in ways based upon mediation but also by examining the laws that government business dissolution, with some emphasis on penalties for contract breaking.

State practices vary, as does whether or not common law protections exist.

Not sure really, what the legal differences are (by state) between civil unions and marriages. Imom? EMan (on the Canadian custom)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Everything is good here! Last semester for my husband in college and then we'll be real people.

Posted by: Sara54 | August 5, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Hi Sara!!

Y'all stormy folks be careful out there.

It is not quite 90 degrees here with a little cloud cover. Let the rejoicing commence.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 5, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Sara! So good to hear from you, lady.
I hope everything works out for one of those jobs for your husband.

It would be wonderful to see you at a BPH, for sure.

Storm seems to have passed, weather seems to be heading back to DewPoint Hades. [Where's yellojkt when you need him...?]


Posted by: -bc- | August 5, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Sara! I lived and worked in Rocketville (as my hippie friends called it) for many years. Don't recognize the place now.

A little birdie answered my earlier question about Social Security benefits - no, they don't apply, because of gender-based definitions in the Social Security Act and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Elena Kagan has been confirmed to the Supremes.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 5, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

WooHoooo Sara! Rockville, you say? Imagine that... *silly grin*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 5, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Yup, Rockville. There are some bioinformatic research centers there. So far it's Maryland, Massachusetts, or Minnesota.

Posted by: Sara54 | August 5, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Sara's man must mail multiple missives, mais non? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 5, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

So, Sara, what is your preferred location?

Posted by: slyness | August 5, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

You're kind of stuck in the middle of the alphabet, Sara. But what a pleasure to see you here again! I hope something turns up great for you and even nicer if it is in this area!

Posted by: -pj- | August 5, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Elena Kagan is now going to SCOTUS! Woo-hoo! Now there will be three wimmin on the Court. Very cool, eh?

Of course we down here still have a way to go before we reach the loftiness of Canada (we need something to aspire to, after all). But, still. . . .

It's getting dark and grumbly outside again. Pleeeze don't lose power, PLEEEEZE!

Hey Sara -- been awhile. Welcome back!

Posted by: ftb3 | August 5, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I fell asleep.

My preferred location is probably Minnesota, because that's my home. :)

There's also California, and that has Disneyland...

But yes, mostly stuck in the middle of the alphabet.

Posted by: Sara54 | August 5, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I'll stay out of the debate between SciTim and Wilbrod_Gnome, but I will add that the idea that people will get into sham marriages just to get health care coverage for a friend is an issue that should make those folks who love to "defend" marriage want to enact... universal healthcare.

If you stopped allowing things to happen based on the idea that someone somewhere might scam the rules, you wouldn't allow most things to happen.

Posted by: baldinho | August 5, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Kagan confirmed is good news. Apparently there has never before been three women on that bench at once.

Posted by: Yoki | August 5, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

All of the women who have ever served on the US Supreme Court are on it right now, except for Sandra Day O'Connor, who retired in 2006.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 5, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals are being lured to the Theme Park Region near Kissimmee, for spring training. It's not as if Orlando feels a big need to keep up with Tampa. In a few years, Orlandans might have fast trains direct to the stadium. It could be easier to get to the game from the Orlando stations than from various places in Tampa-St. Petersburg.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 5, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else think that Linsday Graham's quote doesn't quite match his vote?

He apparently said that he would support Kagen 2 weeks ago (, but why use that quote then?

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 5, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Ah, never mind, I think the WaPo switched Grassley's and Graham's quotes.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 5, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is truly a courageous bunch, eh? Who cares what I think, they say, it is what my partisan primary voters think!

The GOP really is circling the wagons right now. They are using the "if none of us do anything to make the rest of us look bad... then we can just say that we aren't bad... it is just the liberal weenies that run the whole world that say so."

Posted by: baldinho | August 5, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

CqP, that's an interesting point about enforcement, state law, and no-fault divorce. If state laws undermine the contractual basis of marriage, that would suggest there is a chance there will eventually be a federal ruling concerning state marriage laws-- and it might not be about gay marriage at all.

Ivansmom-- the two roommates were women. Same civil rights issue concerning gay marriage, but the fact they lived in a area that recognized domestic partners and required health insurances to extend benefits to them was why they benefitted.

They divorced because they couldn't get a green card for the non-american; another friend offered to marry the non-american to keep her here. So, in effect they had to commit marriage sham because federal immigration law wouldn't recognize the domestic partnership the same way marriage would be.

Exactly, baldinho. The thing is, those potential protections (scammable or not) only apply through marriage, which bothers me. Many single people who don't have roommates still have relatives they'd like to help out.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 5, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Somehow complaining about rights of the married reminds me of complaining about the handicapped getting parking spaces.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 5, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, TBG, my comment is not meant as a spoiler. Just, that, I was surprised to find that the marriage contract law is not the same a business contract law, in terms of finances and property, etc.

WB -- nothing about marital contracts will happen at the federal level. Like schools and driver' licenses and business incorporation, marriage is squarely in the province of states.

Wonder if civil unions differ from marriages in states....are they identical in terms of what is contracted and what benefits/responsibilities ensue?

Have wondered for a long time if as an aging person, I could set up mutual household for many shared benefits of support, housing, even some aspects of medical decisionmaking, that would be a very communal living situation but not marriage....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

CquaP, I've often thought the same, and my older brother and I have a sort of hypothetical plan (I know that sounds oxymoronic) that, should things come to that, we might share a household for just those purposes. That would be far in the future, of course.

Posted by: Yoki | August 5, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

About medical decisionmaking and families, I have been part of many complex ongoing situations...and despite love and communications, not always are families the ones the "sick agent" might want making decisions.

For example, in my big family, total division about our mother's last six weeks. My father, as was his right, overrode her living will, when she could not make decisions....horrid smoldering suffering and very human drama about father does not want me near him in such a situation. I understand, but I keep saying that "dad, will do what you want which is eVERYTHING STAT AND ETC.!! He wants to go out IVs ablazing....well, ok then.

Me? I have learned that only two of my sibs would do as I children are too young now for me to see what their predilection would be.

My current durable medical power etc. is in the hands of a dear, dear friend (27 years in the area, raised children together, same faith, same critical eye toward faith, funny, and we have spoken our minds on all the options and trust each other to do the bestest thing do-able). Vice versa. We believe our children will go with this, generally. We have told them. However, when they get older, well, have to see if we change the arrangement.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Yoki! You can be SafeHarbourTwilight north and I will head up SafeHarbourTwilight...lots of fun things AND, Frosti will hold ElderDangerCamps....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

SHTwilight MidAtlantic....Slyness and Cassandra will run SHTwilightSouth.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of which, a couple of women attorney friends of mine and I have been mumbling for years (decades?) about "The Old(e) Lady Lawyers' Home". We decided to invite so-called "affiliate" members, and my friend who came up with the idea has dibs on picking (so to speak) the houseboys. With a well-deserved *snort* we shall defer to her, um, judgment.

I suspect that we will all have to have our separate wings, as I don't think for one moment that any of us will be able to live with each other for more than, perhaps, five minutes at a time. But there will be side-by-side rocking chairs at the ready, so that if one of us don't know *that word just on the tip of my tongue* the other one will.

I hope.

Posted by: ftb3 | August 5, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

CqP, I haven't even asked my siblings that kind of question-- right now it's moot.

But years ago I set up an emergency plan for Wilbrodog if I was hospitalized: my sister would advocate for him and made sure he got to where he needed to be: with me at the hospital, say (she's my emergency medical contact)-- but my brother would keep him at his place as needed. Stress, divided.

If that's only a service dog (while very important to me), I can't imagine burdening just one person with all the things associated with medical care. That seems unfair. I've been in the situation where I had to talk and do paperwork for a friend in the ER and that was hard enough.

Sure one person may need to decide critical care, but somebody has to look after the house and pets and check mail; or help straighten out the paperwork and prescriptions or do some calling around. No reason that has to all be the same person.

When my mom was seriously sick, I phoned my dad everyday (maybe twice a day) to get updates and then I did an e-mail blast to everybody-- my dad didn't know everybody's e-mails and he was too overwhelmed to take the time to go home and type them, and he didn't want to field calls from 10 people daily.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 5, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

WB, I was thinking more about final directives, actually. And then I would be no more!

May I change the subject? I have been drinking watermelon lemonade all week. How did I live so long without this? Melon into the blender and enough water with a dash of lemon juice to tartify...yum and refreshing.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Sad news to report, came home today, as went to sit outside, strategically place so I can enjoy the evening fragrace of my moonflowers. The vine looked a little sad - thought perhaps it was a little wilted from the heat today, then I noticed that the entire top of the vine had been chopped off. Apparently my fence neighbour was not as enamoured of the sweetly scent white blossoms.

I am so not amused, I would have happily trimmed their side had I been asked, vine was loaded with blooms. Hoping it will survive at least in part.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 5, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

I understand, CqP. That's what I haven't asked. It's quite hard to look at a sibling the same way after they say, "Sure! I'll pull the plug on you if that's what you want!"

You should try rhubarb tea-- not quite the same as watermelonade, but nicely addictive in summer (also an extravagant waste of rhubarb-- but it's what we want to do with it.)

I love frozen watermelon-- made much the same way as you make the watermelon lemonade, only less water.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 5, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

CqP, watermelon lemonade is a keeper! I have to try this soon. I will add water; and plenty of ice. Melon juice can get pretty sweet. I like your thinking. How'd you arrive at the idea?

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 5, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh dmd, that's terrible, you live next to someone who doesn't appreciate flower aroma, how sad for them and especially for you! Hope the plant recovers and puts out more blooms.

We had a t-storm around dinner time but it's still very steamy out there. They are promising better for tomorrow and the weekend, hope so as I'm playing tennis in the morning before work.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 5, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Cooling breezes have arrived here, a few beautiful days promised before the humidity returns, but what we really need is rain, preferably not the monsoon variety we got two weeks ago, a nice gentle all day soak would be great.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 5, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, the heat, the heat, and thinking about melon soup more generally, I suddenly said aHA.....I am sure others arrived at this, and perhaps there is an official watermelon lemonade page....

WB, yes, hard but the alternative is worser, way worsies. I am the designated decider for SealBoyCPBRo....the decision tree goes like this: if he can play basketball in a wheel chair, then go ahead and try hard, if not, well then, plan a good wake and sing the old old songs.

DMD - abomination!!!

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Having recently been one of three siblings who in fact said, "Sure, pull the plug!" (and there was nothing cavalier nor cheerful about it) I can assure that I look at my remaining brothers with a great deal of respect, gratitude and love, and trust either them to make a similar decision on my behalf, should I not be in a position to express my own wishes.

Posted by: Yoki | August 5, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

WB, I reread your comment about hard to look at a sib after the final directive discussion takes place. Actually, for me, that conversation with my brother yielded love and gratitude. Life is not for whimps, and settling something momentous of great import did not make me look at him with worry or worse, and vice versa. We both watched poor communication and the psychology of desperation make our mother's death a rack of protracted pain. Morphine does not work on nerve disfunction. And soft-coma states do not prevent the veil of pain from falling hard and in such waves.

So, we looked at each other with confidence and relief about honoring each other's wishes and trusting for a good and honest decision in what may likely lie in a grey area.

My other sibs want to go out in an Alamo of effort. The are hearty that way. Go for it. I defend their wishes to do this.

But, no humor or upset in the look after the conversation: simply honor and love and understanding.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I think I trust my entire family to do that. It's just moot to discuss that before I send them copies of my living will.

How good their-- in fact anyone's-- final decisions will be depends on what the doctors tell them about the prognosis, though. Some I feel to be more able to take that information in and consult on how they should decide according to my wishes.

In any case, I will write a solid directive and if that fails or the doctors confuse them about the outcome, I will forgive them in advance for doing the best they could in the worst job anybody could be asked to do. We all die in the end.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 5, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

WB, not moot to discuss! The directive is not enough! My sibs all love each other and we thought we all knew what would be right at the time. But, those days are like nothing else. NOTHING else. We can pray to slip away or go in a flash but the suspended state with a decision. Assume nothing of the ability of people to hang in and do what you think they will do!!! Talk now.

Sorry for the intensity here but my goodness, I lived the experience. You do not want to even be on my data point of the distribution of final days horror.

So, good night. Off to not talk about this any more.

Great that you forgive in advance. That is good.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 5, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Death happens, and I don't think anybody I've ever known even moderately well is unaware that I have no interest in a prolonged existence that includes little humor. As it happens, I've never heard any of my family members (both sides of the family, several generations) express any feelings that run counter to that.

I am, whoever, pondering the fate of another creature. There's a good-sized spider which has recently taken up a nightly residence right about where I like to lean on my deck rail while I smoke a cigarette and strain to read from the light coming from inside the house. Don't have an outside light on the deck, so I'm pretty limited in the places I can stand unless I haul a flashlight with me.

The first night we met, I brushed into one of the web strands, she scurried up and out of sight, and that was the end of it. Since then, she seems to have modified the placement of the anchor strands so the nearest ones don't lay on the rail I lean against, but are attached lower on the deck. This keeps her about 8-10 inches from me if I'm in my usual position.

I'm mildly disconcerted (not a big fan of large spiders near my face) but am willing to live and let live for the time being. Anything that's willing to capture and eat some of the flying critters is certainly doing God's work.

But if she ends up crawling on me some night, I think we're gonna tangle. At that point, she'll have to get lucky to escape my frantic & frenzied blows. Even then, her days will be numbered very low indeed unless she decamps at least to the other end of the deck.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 5, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I had never read FDR's 1st inaugural, just heard the sound bites.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 5, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - While I've read it before, it had been many years. Not entire without relevance today, eh?

You gotta love the chutzpah of a guy who states flat-out in his first inaugural address that if Congress doesn't get their crap together to start solving problems, he intends to start doing end-runs around them.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 5, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

TBG, just why do you think handicap parking exists at all?

Fraud happens more when the parking spaces offer perks other than what they were designed to be-- simple access (i.e. free when all other spaces are metered, etc.) Also, some handicap spaces are badly designed and unusable by many in need.

On the other hand:

I, you, and everybody else can and do use curb cuts, ramps, elevators and other accessiblity designs without limiting the access rights of those who need it the most. Every mom hauling a stroller over a curb cut should thank those who fought for those changes to society and realize that the fight isn't over for them yet.

Gay people are not fighting for the emotional right to exist as stable couples.

They are fighting to have the same access to laws and loopholes in regulations to help protect the welfare of their household and families as married people do.

They don't have the same access to these laws because they're not allowed to get a marriage license.

Here's a real-life example. Gay couple raising kids together. Biological parent loses job with health insurance. Non-biological parent has job and insurance.

If they live in a state that does not mandate benefits be extended for domestic partners, the parent and kids lose their health insurance, unless the non-biological parent has paid to legally adopt the kids.

Now, imagine you being a single mom (no dad in the picture) raising kids with your sister, who will be their guardian if you die, that's in the will.

Same situation happens. You don't have the insurance, she can't cover you or her kids because her insurance/workplace won't allow that and the state doesn't mandate that coverage.

Why is the first scenario more of a violation of civil rights than the second?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 5, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - hmmm... You've either not understood what Tim pointed out earlier, or have decided that it's without value. While I'd highly encourage almost everybody (at nearly all times) to consider my remarks to be without value, I'd also encourage you to consider Tim's remarks a bit more carefully.

When you conflate these issues (the unevenness of public policy that differentiates between gay & not, the difficulty of obtaining affordable healthcare for those who aren't earning luxurious salaries, the various legal & tax treatment differences between married couples and unmarried folk) your argument generally loses steam. But hey, it's your argument, and not everything needs to be steamy all the time.

And you completely lost me with the handicapped parking remark. I'm fascinated (of course, sometimes I'm easily fascinated) to know what it is that you thought TBG was saying, to which you were responding.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 5, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Of course gay people should be allowed to marry. Straight couples shouldn't have any exclusivity on misery.

Not only should gay couples be allowed to get married, they should be required to. Why should they get a tax break solely because of sexual orientation?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 5, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

My point is that marriage is a legal issue that has been conflated beyond what it should be.

People who complain about handicap parking see it as a privilege, not the effort to remedy a barrier that it is. By using that parallel, she's implying marriage creates barriers unique only to married folks that those laws solve.

When I'm talking about curb cuts, I'm talking about barrier-free laws that benefit all who have need of them, without need to get a special permit.

What's the problem there?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 6, 2010 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I'm a huge fan of separating the concept of "marriage" from civil contract law. The concept has been discussed here often, fairly, and knowledgeably.

May I assume your answer to my question is that you believe that TBG was saying that complaints about marriage preference, like complaints about handicapped parking, are merely sour grapes? And that you disagree with that perception of hers?

Or have I misinterpreted your answer?

Posted by: Bob-S | August 6, 2010 2:04 AM | Report abuse

And why should I be in an argument (or make an argument) just to express an opinion, anyway?

I'm allowed to express off-the-wall opinions without explaining my reasons for "conflating" things.

I ain't forgotten the day you all jumped on me for saying hormonal birth control wasn't always appropriate and could have severe birth defects and shouldn't be pushed on teenage girls.

I wound up telling some of you what was none of your business just to shut y'all up.

Y'all can find other people to chide now. I'm not taking no more. You don't like what I say, talk about something else, don't try and push into my private thoughts.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 6, 2010 2:14 AM | Report abuse

My answer is already made, Bob-S.

What DO you think she meant? I'm more interested in that.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 6, 2010 2:18 AM | Report abuse

go nuts.

oh, and take a powder.

Posted by: -jack- | August 6, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I got nothing for you here. Other than pointing out that I thought you'd given too little weight to Tim's observation that combining too many arguments at once tends to be ineffective, I've disagreed with nothing you've said lately.

Given that you and I and TBG are communicating through the very same string of text messages, I was just curious as to how this: "Somehow complaining about rights of the married reminds me of complaining about the handicapped getting parking spaces."

Led to this: "...why do you think handicap parking exists at all? Fraud happens more when the parking spaces offer perks other than what they were designed to be-- simple access (i.e. free when all other spaces are metered, etc.) Also, some handicap spaces are badly designed and unusable by many in need."

I noticed a gap in my understanding, and hoped you'd help fill it. I neither require, nor particularly desire, that you should justify your thoughts or opinions to me or anybody else.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 6, 2010 2:35 AM | Report abuse

Gotta say, that hormonal birth control thing doesn't really sound like my style. But who knows... maybe I had just Googled something and temporarily considered myself an expert!!

[Casual archive searching indicates that the 'boodle (from November) under discussion is here:
The conversation spilled into the next 'boodle. I was not involved. At all.]

Posted by: Bob-S | August 6, 2010 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Bob S. What I was getting upset was on a series of comments focused on correcting me for not agreeing with Tim. I've experienced that in the past-- the birth control one was a notorious example-- and it feels like a concerted boodle attack, often by people who didn't bother to read what I actually said before dittoing others' critiques. I cannot describe how painful that is and how I feel such things throws the boodle off to no good purpose for any of us.

I was not really interested in arguing my point. It's just a gesalt feeling based on all those little laws focusing on marriage- that some of them are going to be tweaked. Name changes, blood tests, the list goes on. Immigration law is particularly concerning for me, because I don't think other countries have marriages decided by their states, and a flurry of little law changes all over could indeed cause a lot of red tape chaos.

Honestly, what TBG said-- I really didn't like the analogy, but tried to use it as a metaphor for what I'm talking about. The curb cuts and other accessibility measures to meet the ADA do not require a permit at all. They, thus, can be used by the non-disabled without prejudice and beccmes a social good.

Now imagine the situation if cops ticketed you for using a curb cut because you're not disabled, etc. or you got arrested for using a scooter because "you don't look disabled" and you had to prove your disability for those choices...
Well, many disabled advocates truly fear mass governmental tracking of disabled or permits/id made mandatory for simple access rights. The Final solution started with mass killing of the disabled before they moved on to the Jews and others, so I understand that fear.

This is also why gay marriage activists don't want civil union laws, they want marriage laws because they don't want segregated files for people identified as gay in governmental records which homophobes could access.

If you make too many rights dependent on getting or showing a handicap permit, you're going to hurt a lot more people's civil rights than you help them. The same goes for marriage licenses, I think.

A handicap permit exists for one reason only, to park a vehicle in a handicap space. The driver may not be disabled, simply transport a disabled person, nor does that permit go on a car. It's not obligatory for most handicaps, even.

That permit doesn't get used on tax forms, etc. (I do agree with Yello and Tim on that). It doesn't entitle you to a name change. It doesn't entitle you to anything, just the right to park in a zone that minimizes your walking in a safe area near a curb cut so you hopefully don't get hit by a car while falling down on your crutches. And that privilege only lasts six months or whatever your doctor decides. You don't need to go to court to undo your decision.
So-- comparing the two feels like comparing tomatoes and watermelons. What's the point there?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 6, 2010 3:53 AM | Report abuse

No you weren't, Bob-S. Purely innocent on that score, same for TBG.

A remark of mine was misunderstood and people started piling on me for somehow saying it was evil and being anti-birth control. The apologies came well after the damage was done.

I don't want people to start piling on me for being anti-marriage of any kind, just because they saw others type "Wilbrod, actually..." "Wilbrod, maybe you should..." and jump to conclusions without fully backboodling.

I truly hope everything works out for the best.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 6, 2010 4:07 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of quizzes, if any of you know how many feet there are in 80 chains, bc and I could have used you in The Bunker last night.

From now on I never enter a trivia contest without at least one sports nut on my team.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 6, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

That would be 5280 yello, as 80 chains is a mile. I have no idea why I know this.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 6, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

All this talk of death and flowers reminded me...this is for you dmd:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 6, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

And of course, tatsuya has a series on gay marriage:


Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 6, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

And a dash of chaat masala would be great in watermelonade (thanks for the idea CqP!)

Chaat masala has cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt, pepper, amchoor (dried raw mango powder), and something else I forget, and, most important, kala namak (black salt/rock salt;

A pinch of kala namak alone would be great too, I think.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 6, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, this is the type of forum where thoughts/opinions are tossed around, twisted, dissected, bent, folded and mutilated. It's done to your posts, mine, everyones. Regular boodlers, drive-bys and trolls alike. Sometimes an idea ends up as mental origami. Intelligent discussions happen (as do silly ones).

I was going to post something to your post in re: siblings sharing benefits about what would happen if one decides to marry someone else, would siblings divorce, and how in these parts that's a punchline, but let it go because I thought 12 hours on an off-kit topic was probably about enough and I feared my joke would be misunderstood, and we'd go even farther down a road that was a tangent in the first place.

I avoided the topic all day because of my own personal situation and how it relates to the marriage/civil union issue...I think many of us do that from time to time. No biggie. And no need to reveal personal details you'd like to hold close.

I'm sorry you feel like there was piling on. Didn't look like it from my desk. It seems to me *Tim made some good points, and I'mom posted to her (learned) perspective. You went from marriage laws to slavery, health care, medical directives, and then to curbs and parking and finally the Holocaust. You are an educated person. You know how difficult it is to discuss something that keeps morphing into something else.

I hope you feel better today, and that when you go back and read again, you'll see how maybe there wasn't a personal attack on you, and how maybe others might perceive it as you poking them (like BobS, that's how I read your post to TBG).

But it's a new day, and hopefully a happy one. I vote for leaving yesterday to the history books and moving on.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 6, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Dragging yesterdays with you gets tougher every day, you know...


*doing-the-fish-slapping-dance-cuz-we-all-need-a-laugh Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 6, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Thanks DNA girl, I appeciate that.

dmdspouse in enroute to the airport to, the kids are off for a 10 day adventure out west, shopping, mountains, white water rafting, horseback riding, prairies. Entrusted to the loving care of their aunt and uncle - they will have so much fun - but I will miss them.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 6, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Well said LiT.

And you too Scottynuke. Of course, having followed Richard Thompson's comic "Cul de Sac" what I really want is to see a fish-slapping bear.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 6, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I'm sure you will miss the daughters, but it's fun to be 'single' for a while too, I remember those days.

Yes, well said indeed LiT. Too hot for controversy. Altho' the weather is a bit better today, which is good as I'm off to play tennis before work. Working again is certainly hard to get used to after so long ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | August 6, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

yello-I see you subscribe to the David Brooks theory of gay marriage. Although he also adds that marriage makes him a better person. I'm still evaluating that claim (in my own case, no basis to judge his).

Off to Tampa, after the drive to St. Paul. I can't believe I let myself get caught up in Our Fair City's affairs yesterday and didn't get the heck out of here last night. The delay wasn't all about selfless public service though, the vacation rental is not an "income property" if one doesn't do what needs doing to generate some income-in this case boat rental, and it's taking far too much of my time. Is there no man, or woman, under age 30 who can start an outboard motor without an extensive lesson on what a choke is? Have our national math skills deteriorated so much that the numbers 50:1 do not immediately bring to mind a ratio? (in this case gas to oil) I'm beginning to see a need to sneak some real learning into the Dangerous Camps franchise. Sigh, the point was to do stupid stuff and live to tell the tale.

Later gators. 54F here this morning and sending it east for all to enjoy.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 6, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

sneaks-I am quite sure I missed congratulating you on your return to the work force. I hope it doesn't put too much of a crimp in your tennis and grandma activities, but was glad to see you are employed.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 6, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. New kit.

Posted by: slyness | August 6, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

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