Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 9:22 AM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Newt makes his pitch

By Joel Achenbach

Newt Gingrich clarifies some misconceptions about his view of God and American history and American exceptionalism and whatnot in his latest Human Events letter, or column, or white paper, or campaign position paper, or... well, actually, I don't know what it is, because it devolves into a protracted commercial pitch for a book written by his daughter, with various links to other things Newt is selling, literally.

So it's a hybrid. And thus very American. The "Essential American" is, perhaps, a guy with something to sell. It's not enough to be merely (as some of us are) self-absorbed and self-aggrandizing. You have to close a deal. This is ultimately about money, my friends. You need to think more like Newt -- Ka-ching. Get in the game, people!

Anyway, to digress for a moment about the actual content of what Newt is saying. He clarifies what American exceptionalism is and isn't:

Asserting American Exceptionalism is not a vain exercise in building our national self-esteem by boasting about our country's great wealth and military capability.

It is also not an argument that says America can "go it alone" on the world stage.

Nor is it a belief that America's success is pre-ordained by the Almighty, no matter what we do (which is not to say [fudging...fudging...JA] that the hand of Providence cannot be seen during key points in American history.)

Instead, American Exceptionalism is an idea as old as our country itself. The Founding Fathers understood that the vast resources at our fledgling country's disposal coupled with our puritan roots and lack of a feudal past meant that the United States was uniquely positioned to thrive as an exception to the corruption and poverty of other countries.

True enough. One thinks of the famous George Washington quote in which he recognizes the special position of the young nation -- see GW circular to the states, 8 June 1783, in Fitzpatrick, ed., Writings, Vol. 26, pp. 483-96:

The Citizens of America, placed in the most enviable condition, as the sole Lords and Proprietors of a vast Tract of Continent, comprehending all the various soils and climates of the World, and abounding with all the necessaries and conveniences of life, are now by the late satisfactory pacification, acknowledged to be possessed of absolute freedom and Independency; They are, from this period, to be considered Actors on a most conspicuous Theatre, which seems to be peculiarly designated by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity.

But then Newt goes on to talk about God and the "natural order" of things. It's not his most persuasive passage. One senses (or am I cynical) political constituency-building rather than objective historical scholarship:

America's great freedom of religious practice did not evolve based on a simple desire to create social harmony. It is a direct consequence of this historic understanding of the relationship between God, the citizen and the state. If "our Creator" is the source of our unalienable rights - including the right to know and worship God - then it is illicit for government to get between the citizen and the worship of God.

The modern distortion of the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which has been used to justify the tearing down of crosses on public land and the harassment of civic organizations like the Boy Scouts of America, is an explicit violation of this natural order.

Call me crazy but I think he's running for something. Or selling something. When does he get his reality TV show?

By Joel Achenbach  | December 1, 2010; 9:22 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Safe again to talk religion and politics
Next: Redskins still in playoff hunt, but not TCU

Comments

He may be selling, and running for something, but I ain't buying and I sure as he11 ain't voting for him.

Thanks for your diatribes in the last boodle, SciTim. Amen, brother, AMEN.

Posted by: slyness | December 1, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

It is a source of endless surprise to me that Newt's history degree is from a reputable institution (Tulane), as he consistently betrays a stupefying lack of awareness of actual history, historical forces, and historical precedents as a guide to anticipating the outcome of specific policies. My degree is in, y'know, physics rather than history. My knowledge of American history is not all that deep. And yet, time and again, Newt will make some bold pronouncement about How We Ought to Do Things that has a pretty solid antecedent in American history, an antecedent of which even I am perfectly well aware, that provides clear lessons on precisely why we abandoned that course of action. But Newt never thinks of those things. For instance, Newt has advocated abandoning the foster care system in favor of orphanages, presumably operated by contractors. It was his advocacy of this policy position that persuaded me that I need never take the time to seriously consider another word out of his mouth, but could safely assume that he is lying in order to manipulate someone.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 1, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Just had a call from Cassandra. She has a grandson! He was born last night at 11:59 and weighed 5 lbs 6 oz. Mom and baby are fine. She sends her love to all.

Posted by: slyness | December 1, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Got mudged at the end of the last kit...reposting here.

Good morning, y'all.

Warm pumpkin and banananana breads, coffee and OJ on the table.

Regarding the "Right Turn" blog: The GOP will hold a majority in the US House come January, so WaPo sorta has to give them some virtual space. Those left-of-center boodlers skilled in the art of ignoring know how to respond.

TWC is experiencing its first measureable snowfall of the season. Barely measureable, but official. It's quite pretty as long as one doesn't have to drive in it.

For those interested in the $$$ origami ornaments project, here's a sample.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28367496@N06

Everyone enjoy the day.
---------------------

As to this kit, I am wondering why Mr. A didn't provide a link to a pre-order page for the upcoming book. Ka-ching. Get in the game, Mr. A!

Posted by: MsJS | December 1, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Woohoooo on Cassandra's happy announcement! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 1, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Great news! Thanks for passing it along, slyness.

Posted by: MsJS | December 1, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

My problem with the Right Turn blog is the implication that the rest of WaPo is relentlessly liberal requiring rebuttal.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 1, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

//Instead, American Exceptionalism is an idea as old as our country itself. The Founding Fathers understood that the vast resources at our fledgling country's disposal coupled with our puritan roots and lack of a feudal past meant that the United States was uniquely positioned to thrive as an exception to the corruption and poverty of other countries.//

And how's that working so far? Sounds like more of the same blaming others for poverty--if they just worked as hard as I do they'd be fine! That's a generic I. Everybody works harder than I do.

Don't get me started on corruption.

Thanks, friends, for your kind words about my aunt. She kept the cleanest house in the world. She lost her first child soon after birth. When my cousin was about 15, my aunt lost her husband, forcing her to work outside the home. And learn how to drive. She always kept moving and learning, that's a fine legacy to leave to the family. She didn't really drink, having had maybe 5 whiskey sours in her life. That's what most of us drank at lunch after the funeral.

Starts one thinking about one's legacy.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 1, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Great news about the grandcritter. CONGRATS!

Posted by: yellojkt | December 1, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I don't drink much either, dbG, but I shall have a whiskey sour in her memory before dinner this evening.

Posted by: MsJS | December 1, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Front page alert, BTW. Hope the bunker is in good shape.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 1, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Right Turn leads me to thinking of No Left Turns, the biography of J. Edgar Hoover that showed the world just how bat guano crazy he was.

Cassandra-congratulations!

It snowed all day yesterday in Our Fair City, and appears to be headed for the same today. A good week for preparing meals out of the Chez Frostbitten freezer and pantry since a grocery shopping trip is just not worth doing. Brown fried rice with a stir fry veggie mix and left over taco meat turned out to be tasty enough to do on purpose some time.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 1, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The Hand of Providence... is that Joe Beats or H.P.Lovecraft?

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 1, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Newt is always running for something to sell something and make yet more money.

Posted by: cfeher | December 1, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Wild cheering for Cassandra's grandbaby! Between Boodlette, frostbaby, and Cassandrette, we're collecting quite a crop this fall.

dbG, I too am sorry about your aunt. She sounds remarkable.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 1, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

in other words the Founding Fathers were nothing more than the leaders of a bunch of thieves and traitors to the English crown, who stole the country away from its rightful owners.

The real mystery though is why the British took over the country by force in 1812,and then just turned their backs on it and walked away.

but if you want to talk about "divine intervention" there you go.

Posted by: chucklebuck | December 1, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt - the WaPo clearly has that reputation, deserved or not*. And to be honest, The Plum Line, Ezra Klein, Milbank, Dionne, vanden Heuvel, and even Pearlstein tilt pretty left, most of the time. Heck, even this blog veers center-left more often than not. Not to say that they aren't well-written, worthwhile reading and even correct a lot of the time, but they have their viewpoints.

My concern based on a 5-minute scan of Rubin's blog is that it's more based on pro-Israel policies than right-wing policies. NTTAWTT, but doesn't seem to be consistent labeling.

*Said reputation based at least in part on the paper's electoral endorsements. The last time the paper endorsed a Republican for President is honestly believed to be "never" based on a search of records.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

http://www.borders.com/online/store/SearchResults?keyword=joel+achenbach&type=0&simple=1

Ka-ching!

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 1, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The majority of the inhabitants of Upper Canada (Ontario) were either exiles from the United States (United Empire Loyalists) or postwar American immigrants. The Loyalists were hostile to union with the U.S., while the other settlers seem to have been uninterested. The Canadian colonies were thinly populated and only lightly defended by the British Army. Americans then believed that many in Upper Canada would rise up and greet a United States invading army as liberators, which did not happen. One reason American forces retreated after one successful battle inside Canada was that they could not obtain supplies from the locals.[24] But the possibility of local assistance suggested an easy conquest, as former President Thomas Jefferson seemed to believe in 1812: "The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us the experience for the attack on Halifax, the next and final expulsion of England from the American continent."

Some British officials – and some dissident Americans – charged that the goal of the war was to annex part of Canada, but they did not specify which part. The states nearest Canada strongly opposed the war.[25]


wiki, "the war of 1812"

Posted by: chucklebuck | December 1, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

//Heck, even this blog veers center-left more often than not//

shocked! I am shocked, I tell you! :)

thanks, imom. Msjs, you have moved me to tears.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 1, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

That's what I've always liked about the U.S. - the Vast Tracts of Continent.

Posted by: engelmann | December 1, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The War of 1812 from a Canadian perspective

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Bg-8cZrq-M&feature=fvsr

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 1, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

dbG, my mom did not drink a lot either, but one of the drinks she would have was a Whiskey Sour, I was fascinated by that drink when I was young, but have never had one - if I remember next time I have the opportunity I will have one and toast your aunt and my mom.

Cassandra - Congrats to you and your daughter.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 1, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

chucklebuck, I think the war in Europe had more to do with why Britain was not consumed with retaking America - they were more preoccupied with that than the war in the New World.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 1, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

But, but, engelman WE have even Vaster Tracts of Continents!
I admit however that the US has a better selection of Climates of the World. We got shortchanged on that.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 1, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Newt reminds me of Humpty Dumpty. Apparently words mean what he tells them to mean. [from imperfect memory] "You should see 'em crowding round of a Saturday asking for their pay."

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 1, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Better that Vast Tracts of Incontinence.

Someone had to say it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 1, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

WaPo has a liberal Op-Ed page? Will. Krauthammer. Kristol.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 1, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Michael Gerson's no pinko, either.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 1, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

So please to see that Newty from May-retta is inspiring the best of boodle wit this morning. We'll need it if the cut-and-paste crowd finds Mr.A's kit on the front page.

Wonderful news for Cassandra and her family! I've been holding my breath.

My mother only drinks Whiskey Sours, too. I'll have one with the rest of you in a toast to dbG's aunt, etal.

Posted by: talitha1 | December 1, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Given my beverage proclivities, I hope you all won't mind if I raise a Diet Pepsi with Lime to dbG's aunt... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 1, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Now, is Newt is real name or is it a nickname he picked up because of his personnality?

I remember that in August the papers were full history of Newt's serial infidelity. He's the one who haggled divorce terms with wife no.1 while she was hospitalysed and recovering from cancer surgery. He had already proposed to Wife no.2 of course. The one he was cheating on with a staffer while conducting Clinton's Lewinski inquiry. He's a slimeball.
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_08/025136.php

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 1, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody remember that Newt once argued that public tv is unnecessary because of commercial TV programs like the Learning Channel?

Posted by: scottandrewtaylor | December 1, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen, Hyatt and Parker, the Socialist Triumvirate.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 1, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

chucklebuck: the two preceding paragraphs in that same article read:

"Almost all accounts of the 1811–1812 period have stressed the influence of a youthful band, denominated War Hawks, on Madison's policy. According to the standard picture, these men were a rather wild and exuberant group enraged by Britain's maritime practices, certain that the British were encouraging the Indians and convinced that Canada would be an easy conquest and a choice addition to the national domain. Like all stereotypes, there is some truth in this tableau; however, inaccuracies predominate. First, Perkins has shown that those favoring war were older than those opposed. Second, the lure of the Canadas has been played down by most recent investigators".[16] Some Canadian historians propounded the notion in the early 20th century, and it survives in public opinion in Ontario.[17]"

According to Stagg (1981) and Stagg (1983), Madison and his advisers believed that conquest of Canada would be easy and that economic coercion would force the British to come to terms by cutting off the food supply for their West Indies colonies. Furthermore, possession of Canada would be a valuable bargaining chip. Frontiersmen demanded the seizure of Canada not because they wanted the land, but because the British were thought to be arming the Indians and thereby blocking settlement of the West.[18][19] As Horsman concluded, "The idea of conquering Canada had been present since at least 1807 as a means of forcing England to change her policy at sea. The conquest of Canada was primarily a means of waging war, not a reason for starting it".[20] Hickey flatly stated, "The desire to annex Canada did not bring on the war".[21] Brown (1964) concluded, "The purpose of the Canadian expedition was to serve negotiation, not to annex Canada".[22] Burt, a leading Canadian scholar, agreed completely, noting that Foster—the British minister to Washington—also rejected the argument that annexation of Canada was a war goal.[23]

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I simply cannot buy the notion that WaPo owes conservatives a platform because they were successful in recent elections. The whole proposition that the WaPo is an advocacy publication that needs and ought to be opposed is an evil concept that is sold by people who distinctly ARE advocates -- advocating a particular set of political outcomes, and demanding to present their own "facts" to support that outcome. I don't buy that notion; it's an assault upon the basic notion of a civil society, in which we can argue over strategies and tactics to achieve desirable goals, but we accept basically one set of verifiable facts as the premise from which we work in striving to achieve those goals.

The so-called conservative approach to "journalism" is to deny that dispassionate reporting is even a worthy goal, preferring an adversarial approach, as in a court room. The thing is, courtroom advocacy is not about the determination of facts; it is about the determination of interpretation and the response to facts, the arena in which advocacy is appropriate. Facts, however, are supposed to be the province of oath-bound witnesses, police investigators, and dispassionate experts such as crime-lab analysts, furnished equally and without prejudice to all sides. Yes, even these people have their biases, which is why it is such a big deal when one of these persons is found to have violated our trust in his objectivity and truthfulness, acts which can send them to prison, themselves.

It used to be that we could all agree on certain desirable goals for society: establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for a common defense, promote general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves (and our posterity). You might recognize these words. With these goals, everything else is just an argument over methods. "The liberal media" serves these strategic ends by attempting to learn and to share actual verifiable facts that have a bearing on decision-making. Yes, there is bound to be some bias in deciding which facts are worthy of reporting, which is why it is so important to have competing media. In journalism, as in science, my parochial ambitions are best served by showing that the other guys missed something important, or misinterpreted the situation. Just as in science, I have to show that everything I claim as fact can be verified and is accurate, both in mere factual character and in context. These, if anything, are basic liberal values. I fail to understand why these are not also basic conservative values. I fail to see why these values require "an opposing voice."

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 1, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"Thiessen, Hyatt and Parker, the Socialist Triumvirate."

The WaPo Opinion page http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/opinions/ lists 34 opinion writers. Some of them defy easy characterization as "left" or "right" (e.g., Kamen, Yardley). Of the rest, I think that all of the right-wingers - Krauthammer, Will, Thiessen, Hyatt, Parker, Kristol - have been named. I'm often wrong, and may well be again, but nobody else on that list strikes me as particularly conservative. So that makes, what, about 20 to 6, with about 8 not categorized?

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

You're one of those liberal planetary astrophysicists, aren't you?

Posted by: bobsewell | December 1, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

** Standing and Applauding for ScienceTim **
Also known, today, as VoiceOfReasonTim. Well said.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 1, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"The real mystery though is why the British took over the country by force in 1812,and then just turned their backs on it and walked away."

They discovered that an American that they captured during the last-ditch defense of Washington carried within his DNA the unmistakable sign of descent from Arthur, King of the Britons. Knowing us for their kin, and unable to make war on fellow Britons, they turned aside, preferring to pursue diplomatic options in concert with their allies, the Vorlons.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 1, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

When I saw "Newt makes his pitch" I thought "please let it be a horseshoe." His argument is beyond poor and has moved firmly into bites territory. He says it's wrong for government to come between people and God, but then uses examples of government being the wall between government resources and God. Sort of makes the opposite point. Logic is not his forte.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 1, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The man's name is Newton Leroy Gingrich. Born in Harrisburg, Pa. but raised in Ga. Unlike some other famous Newts, he was born a Newt rather than converted by witchcraft, and consequently there is no reason to hope that he will "get better."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr8DIg3oHFI

Posted by: kguy1 | December 1, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Ah, now this is a Boodle! A B5 reference quickly followed by an MP callout... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 1, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is more or less an overt advocate for the current Republican party and its platform. His entire expertise to write informed opinion is that he was once a Bush speechwriter. The columnists who columnize on distinctly non-political topics (Givhan, Shales, de Moraes) shouldn't count one way or the other. The supposedly "liberal" voices, such as Milbank, are, for the most part, people who are willing to tweak both sides. However, their willingness to tweak conservatives about equally, pretty much permanently brands them as "liberal" so far as conservative commentators are concerned. Will goes after a conservative Republican about once a year (I am spitballing that number; I know that he does it, and I know that it is not all that common).

It seems to me that the purpose of most of the Post's political columnists is to show hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty wherever it happens. The only way that this can happen equally is if both sides are perfectly equivalent, which is statistically unlikely, or by preferentially ignoring the foolishness of some. In general, the governing properties will be: who is acting foolish; and whose foolishness is of greatest consequence in actual decision-making. Given these requirements, it is perfectly possible for an honest columnist to repeatedly hit one side of the political divide without actually advocating for a specific political philosophy.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 1, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I think Newt would make a great president and will bring back the worlds respect to the office.He is what this country needs.

Posted by: votingrevolution1 | December 1, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

King Arthur: I am your king.

Woman: Well I didn't vote for you.

King Arthur: You don't vote for kings.

Woman: Well how'd you become king then?
[Angelic music plays... ]

King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king.

Dennis: [interrupting] Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

Dennis: Oh, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.

Dennis: Oh but if I went 'round sayin' I was Emperor, just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away.

Dennis: Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

King Arthur: Bloody peasant!

Dennis: Oh, what a giveaway! Did you hear that? Did you hear that, eh? That's what I'm on about! Did you see him repressing me? You saw him, Didn't you?

***************************

There is no discussion that cannot be leavened by a soupcon of Pythonese.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 1, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat - I'm not sure how you went about categorizing those writers, or even counting them (Huffman, for example, is long gone), but I think that darned few liberals would claim Michael Gerson or Robert Samuelson as members of their tribe.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 1, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, two excellent posts there (12:41 and 12:22). The problem is that author bias is often interpreted by the reader. Suppose there was a columnist who, over the last two years, criticized Democrats/Democratic actions 80% of the time and Republicans/their actions 20%. While some might say "she's a centrist who's just reacting to the fact that Democrats hold all the power, and thus their actions have more relevance," others might say that "she's a biased conservative/Republican/idiot/..."

(One of my degrees is in statistics; this might be equated to whether one is a probabilist or a Bayesian.)

(Full disclosure: I'm a Democrat; my wife is a Republican. We've been married for 25 years. Two of the kids are Democrats; one is a Republican, and the fourth is too young to decide. So I've had a long history of living with dissenting opinions. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Took over what country by force in 1812? Turned their backs? Walked away? What the hell are you talking about, chuckleback? There's a massive difference between "taking over" on the one hand, as opposed to what actually happened, on the other.

Jeez, read a damn book, wouldja? And while you're at it, look up the Napoleonic Wars some time.

----

By my count it is 13 to 10, with a bunch of largely neutral or non-politicals in the middle-- pretty much the same demographic as the country as a whole.

By my count: Conservs: Applebaum, Diehl, Gerson, Hiatt, Huffman, Kagan, Krauthammer, Parker, Samuelson, Thiessen (a raving lunatic), Will, Rubin, and Kristol. Don't argue about Kristol not being on staff. I admit Hiatt is debatable.

By my count: Libs: Capehart, Cohen, Dionne, King, Klein, Milloy, Robinson, Sargent, Vanden Heuval, Zakarias.

That's 13-10, or 12-10 if you wanna put Hiatt in the middle bunch (which I don't, but I won't force it one way or the other).

I count at least 13 people who are either more-or-less in the middle, or basically non-political. Milbank's tough to classify, because he does some humor. Cilizza's tough to classify, because he's just Cilizza, and he's all about the Cilizzamachine. I don't count Joel as being left/lib mainkly because he doesn't blog relentlessly on political stuff. When he covers politics on news stories, he is scrupulously neutral, as a reporter should be. When he blogs, 80% of it is non-political, and splits between science and plain flat-out humor and/or random stuff of no particular bent (whatever comes into his head, as the promo says). Yardley is mainly about books, and a little bit about society and the arts and culture.

I cannot concieve of any way to spin the overall tilt as anythuing but slightly to the right. Yes, it used to be steadfastly liberal. Well, it ain't any more, and hasn't been for a while. In particular the freelanced op-eds and Outlook stuff they've been running have been heavily rightwing, IMHO.

The notion that because the GOP won the midterm election and therefore the WaPo "owes" them something is absurd. A newspaper can do any damn thing it wants to, and for wehatever reason -- usually money, which is fine by me, since at the end of the day it is a business -- but the idea that it somehow "owes" one party extra space is just not tenable, and especially not due to a midterm swing. Did they add a bunch of lib and Dem columunists and commentators when Obama won in 2008 in what was clearly a mandated landslide? Hell, no. You don't tweak a newspaper this way and that dependent upon the prevailing breeze that season.

The prevailing change took place several years ago, not because of any given election, but rather when the WaPo brought in Marcus Brauchli from the Wall Street Journal. There was your political sea change from soft left to soft right. And that change was about money, not ideology.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The editors of the WaPo OpEd pages are the ones who endorse candidates, and they are a mixed bag politically, with liberal generally seeming to prevail. Nonetheless, they were solidly pro-war in the runup to the Iraq invasion, so go figure.

All the same, the important point is that the news division, which is entirely separate, has no such bias - and it is that which is trashed regularly by such as sweet Sarah, with her "lamestream media" epithet. Undeservedly.

Posted by: Pamsm | December 1, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Pamsm, there are those amongst us here who'd prefer the news division have a bit more (OK, a LOT more) bias -- towards proper copy editing, of course. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 1, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't agree with you more, Scottynuke. It's appalling.

Posted by: Pamsm | December 1, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

BTW -- Welcome, Pamsm. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 1, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Bob, Huffman isn't gone; the WaPo opinion portal page carries him on its list.

ArmyBrat, the term "bias" doesn't apply to anything ANY columnist or opinionator writes, whether it is left, right, center, up, doen, sideways, lunatic, humorous, or what. In order to make a charge of "bias," you have presume they are supposed to be "unbiased" in the first place. But no columnists is expected to be "unbiased." They write about ponion, their own and others.

The charge of "bias" comes in when attacking what is thought and presumed to be "neutral," non-biased news coverage, not opinion stuff.And the other location where "bias" supposedly enters is in the newspapers editorials -- as opposed to the op-ed and Outlook stuff, which is different. That a newspaper's editorial board routinely (or even "always") endorses politicians of one party or the other isn't "bias." It is simply that paper's owner/management expressing its own political philosophy, as it is entitled to do. The old Washington Times was perfectly entitled to be right-wing; it was owned by a rightwinger, and since it was his paper, he was entitled to do whatever he wanted with the editorial page, and even entitled to bend the op-ed stuff this way or that.

The trouble starts only when you get to the newsroom and what is supposed to be neutral reporting. That is the location where charges of bias have import.

The charge against the Post wasn't that it's opinionating was liberal; it was that its reporting was distorted liberal.

In theory, in American journalism during the last half of the 20th century, the "theory" (underline that) was that news-gathering and reporting (print, magazines or TV) was supposed to be neutral and un-biased. Whether it was or not, and how much or how little, is subject to some natural debate. It mainly has to do with the notion of perfection and the notion of whther there is or is not such a thing as objectivity. People inside the trade argued about this stuff all the time, as they were supposed to do.

But then along came the growth of the Conservative movement, which wanted to create a Conservative media. But the only way you can do that is if you first destroy the notion of objectivity and the notion of unbiased reporting. Only then can you have "conservative" reporting. So they twisted the question of whether the MSM was merely "imperfect" (which it always must be, because there is no such thing as perfection) into whther it was "biased" and "liberal."

You can only establish a rightwing media AFTER you claim that the neutral media was a fraud, was biased, and was liberal. Then it becomes fair game. But if you regard the MSM was essentially trying to be neutral (but perhaps failing here and there), then you cannot claim it is okay to be conservative. You have to destroy the center, and neutrality, in order to justify ideology.

It's just like you have to destroy "science" and its culture in order to be a creationist.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

My 50-year love affair with the Washington Post ended when I realized that, in the search for "balance" the paper more often than not balances truth with lies.

I'm sorry, but it doesn't work that way. For me, at least.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 1, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"The editors of the WaPo OpEd pages are the ones who endorse candidates."

This is simply flat wrong. There is a difference between the op-ed pages, and the editorial page, which is to say, the editorials themselves. People keep conflating them and thinking they are one and the same, but they aren't.

Joel, please back me up on this. Only the editorial board (perhaps with guidance from above). They aren't the same people who run the op-ed and Outlook, etc.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hear, hear, Curmudgeon6!

And thanks for the welcome, Scottynuke. I read frequently, but only occasionally comment, as I find that someone else usually says what I wanted to say...:)

Posted by: Pamsm | December 1, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, excellent post. I think we're in agreement with something ScienceTim said earlier about facts. The news department of the WaPo, WaTimes, etc. should report facts, and there should be one set of those. The reality is that for reasons of time, space, and money it's not possible to report all "facts" describing a situation. The job of the reporter is to write down the facts pertaining to the story. The job of an editor is to ensure that the most important facts get printed in the space allotted to the story, and chop the less-relevant facts to the floor.

Which is all fine and dandy in theory. But does the reporter's bias enter into which facts are initially written down, and which which are omitted? And does the editor's bias enter into which facts are cut, and which remain?

In theory, there's no political bias entering into those decisions, only decisions about which stories and facts the public should know, and which ones will sell more dead trees/draw more clicks so that the reporter and editor have a chance of working until retirement age.

But in fact?

To illustrate the probablist/Bayesian allusion I made earler: a fair coin has an equal chance of coming up heads or tails on each flip. There's a small but finite chance that a fair coin will come up heads 100 times in a row.

A probablist says "there was a chance this could happen; it was 1 out of 2 to the 100th power; we've just witnessed an unlikely event." A Bayesian will look at a priori probabilities plus observed reactions to develop an a posteriori hypotheses: "umm, is it possible that maybe this wasn't a fair coin; heads actually has a higher chance of coming up on each flip."

So with news stories. Suppose there are 100 stores in the Metro news about Michelle Rhee and her policies, and 75 of them can be interpreted as having a "positive spin" while 20 are "neutral" and 5 have a "negative spin." A "probablist" might conclude that, since the reporters and editors are unbiased although imperfect, she must be doing a great job. A "Bayesian" might conclude that "for whatever reason, the reporters and editors are great fans of Michelle Rhee, and that influences their writing."

We don't know which is the correct inference to draw without further information. But we can understand the different inferences drawn.

"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is." ....attributed to Yogi Berra, among others

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I understand that the Editorial Board members are those doing the endorsing and writing the editorials, as opposed to the Op-Ed writers, but my understanding was that they were also the editors of those pages. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that doesn't alter my larger point...

Posted by: Pamsm | December 1, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat1,
A news story should have no "spin" one way or the other. It should report the facts. If one of those facts was that Mayor Fenty thought that what Michelle Rhee was doing was wonderful, that's still just a fact - do with it what you will. If you happened to think that Fenty was an ass, it would not then be considered a positive by you.

Posted by: Pamsm | December 1, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Pamsm, in theory you're right, there'd be no spin. But I don't believe that that's possible given that humans write and edit. Look at a story on today's front page; e.g., "Commission's final deficit report preserves controversial spending cuts." Consider:

"Among the most painful of those decisions, Bowles said, is a recommendation to reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent by the end of the decade, eliminating 200,000 jobs. "
- why is that "painful"? Painful for people who lose their jobs, certainly, but for the country as a whole? Maybe; maybe not.

"It also calls for a 15-cent hike in the federal gas tax. The top income tax rate for both individuals and corporations would be dramatically lowered, however, from 35 percent to 29 percent or less."

- "dramatically?" Why is that adverb necessary? The reporters/editors used descriptions to indicate that this is a huge cut. It would be equally factual, but have a very different meaning, to write the same sentence as "...The top income tax rate for both individuals and corporations would be set at 29 percent, lower than the 35 percent that would exist if the Bush tax cuts are not extended, but higher than desired by some."

That's "spin." And it's unavoidable.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I'M BAAAAAAAAAAAAACKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

but on newt? i got nuttin cept i can't stand to look at his pinched funky face...

i'm pretty much a tree hugging liberal agnostic/athiest so there u have it...

mo

Posted by: mortii | December 1, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Oops - I hadn't seen any Huffman columns since last spring and assumed he was no longer with us. But he's certainly still contributing at PostPartisan. Mea culpa.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 1, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"Painful" is a quote, from Bowles. Just a fact.

I suppose that what's "dramatic" in one person's eyes may be less so in another's, but that is a pretty big change, and "dramatically" isn't necessarily favorable or unfavorable.

You're going to have to work harder.

Posted by: Pamsm | December 1, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"The job of the reporter is to write down the facts pertaining to the story. The job of an editor is to ensure that the most important facts get printed in the space allotted to the story, and chop the less-relevant facts to the floor."

Army, that is such an over-simplified description of what a reporter and an editor do that it is pretty much useless. To confine "reporting" and "news" to nothing but "facts" is itself a gross, usless over-simplification. It's about like saying that what cops do is arrest bad guys.

There are a hundred kinds of news stories that aren't about "facts," or just about facts alone. And if a reporter goes out covers a politician's speech, that's about as fact-free as a story can get. There ain't sight nor sound of an actual "fact" anywhere on the horizon. Reporters aren't stenographers, and they don't take dictation. And editors aren't just hall mionitors and spell-checkers.

There are "trend" stories, there are he-said/she-said stories (often political), there are what used to be called "analysis" stories (sometimes called "thumb-suckers," there are prediction stories (which I hate, but that's not the point; reporters aren't supposed to be predicting; that's for psychics and other charlatans). There are "human interest" stories, There are "tour d'hirizon" stories, there are wacky/crazy man-bites-dog stories, there are updates, follow-ups, whatever-happened-to, what's-the-current-status-of, their are "poll" stories (which I also hate; 98% of them should be trash-canned; the other 2% are OK). There are stories that call attention to problems, there are stories that are simply informational/education, i.e., they lay out a problem or situation and describe the two, three, four, whatever ways people (society, the state, the relevant agency, the dog-catcher) can deal with it. The list isn't quite endless -- but it goes on waaay beyond "facts."

I deally, a reporter goes to journalism school (although there are other ways), and gets four years of training on exactly "how" to become a reporter and/or editor. And believe me, you don't just spend 4 years learning how to write down "facts." (There's drinking, cussing, cultivating morbid black humor, reportial fashion sense, war stories, Cynicism 201, goofing off, parody and lampoon, disrespect, fudging expense reports, caging free meals/booze/tickets, gambling, card-playing, stakeouts, voyeurism, how to wear a fedora, oh a thousand intangibles beside the gathering of facts.)

Editors learn how to butcher copy and torture innocent young people and destroy souls.

It's complicated, see? They don't let just anybody do it. (Well, that was then. Now, yes, they let anybody do anything. But I'm talking about what it was like 1,000 years ago.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen is a war criminal. Hiring him for balance is akin to giving Goebbels equal time to Eli Wiesel. Yes, I broke Gideon's Law. Deliberately.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 1, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen is a war criminal. Hiring him for balance is akin to giving Goebbels equal time to Eli Wiesel. Yes, I broke Gideon's Law. Deliberately.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 1, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

MO!!!!!!!!!!!

Again with the hugging!!!!!!!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

yello, your 2:31 gets unconditional absolution. Your pardon is in the mail.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Godwin. But elsewise, correct.

Nice discussion(s) today. Opinionators have leeway but they don't have the right to make stuff up. Or, in my opinion, use dirty tricks. Like misuse of statistics, etc. I'd say the righties do that far more, although the moonbats are prone to it; that's what makes them moonbats.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 1, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

It is complicated-an article may be full of facts and not be true. "'Iraq has WMDs,' he said." Yes, he said it. But was what he said true?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 1, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I think I left out drug use, but that's because drugs hadn't beoome widely available when I started J-school. I was a junior before glaucoma test piloting came on the scene. We were in the pre-drug, alcohol-only era.

(Yes, there was such a time. You'll just have to trust me, or look it up.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post but it bears repeating. Hiatt is running a halfway house for wayward neocons but O'Reilly still gives him grief (including airing his photo for would be assassins) for running Milbank. There is no percentage in appeasement.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 1, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Since one of the metrics of effective economic performance is job creation, the elimination of 200,000 jobs due to Federal spending cuts is reasonably painful as a political matter. This goes to the point of one of my frequent hobby-horses: we can't solve the Federal government's problems by cutting spending. The reason is that most of that spending stays within the country -- it is the classic "redistribution of wealth". Those people perform a job, one that the private sector does not/did not perform on its own. Unless the economy is such that there is, at the time, zero unemployment, that also means an increase in the unemployment rate by (let me see, here, roughly 45/80 of the population is of employable age, 330 million people, that means 186M employables) about 0.2/186 --> 0.1%. Or so. Cutting spending by a certain amount means cutting the country's wealth by the same amount. Zero sum.

Cutting 200K people means cutting about 10% of the Federal workforce and cutting about 10% of what the Federal government does, for a savings of about $50B. That ain't chicken-feed, but it also ain't close to the current deficit of something like $1.2T (IIRC). I seriously doubt that the G'ment actually can cut 10% of what it does. Instead, that work would get farmed to contractors. Practical upshot: no net change in employment, a decrease in Federal workforce, and an increase in contracting. Contractor pensions, unlike those nasty long-term civil service pensions (to which they are still entitled), are paid up front. Contractors also earn a profit. I suspect the net result is that cutting civil servants will cost MORE in the short term. Contractors, unlike civil servants, can lobby, which means more money is in play to distort the political process. Finally, because these contractors will be hired to do work that is a long-term responsibility of the Federal gummint, they will become a structural part of government, so they will never go away. The worst of all possible worlds, brought to you in the name of cost-cutting.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 1, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Frosti raises a great point. Journalism and news stories aren't just about "reporting" the facts. You are also supposed to challenge them, examine them, figure out if they are true or not, etc. Sometimes you have to dig them out yourself, not let other people tell what they are. Sometimes they need context. Sometimes they are fuzzy. Sometimes they need explaining. Sometimes they eak out a dribble at a time (how the Maconda disaster happened is a good example). Facts usually need some sort of interpretation. They can be "true" and misleading. They can be right for the wrong reasons and wrong for the right reasons.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, remember that a corollary to Godwin's Law is that the deliberate invoking of Godwin's Law doesn't count; you have to start over.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

In both those examples, "painful" and "dramatically" were both perfectly good, perfectly clear and acceptable adjectives. There was no reason to challenge either one of them. No editor and no reporter would have blinked an eye.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Here is my amusement for the day, a google search for this story will lead to many articles each with their own spin, often through what details are added or subtracted.

I am greatly amused by the comments made by the State department, but really question how they use the term "anti-American". Is there an element of anti-Americanism, yes, I guess but it makes my blood boil when people term others anti (insert favorite topic here) simply because they disagree on something or several things.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/world/americas/02wikileaks-canada.html?src=twrhp

Posted by: dmd3 | December 1, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

MO!!! *vroom vroom vroom* :-)))

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 1, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, sounds a *heck* of a lot more interesting than majoring in Physics, Statistics or Computer Engineering. Darn; I always did pick the wrong majors. :-(

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Well, "dramatically" is an adverb, not an adjective, but I get your point. :-) (Sorry; remember that despite being an engineer I was raised by an English teacher. :-)

Pamsm is right; despite the lack of quotes it appears that "painful" came from Bowles vice the reporter. However, "dramatically" was inserted by the reporter and it does set the tone for that part of the article. And it was the reporter's choice to use that word, rather than a phrase that made the drop look trivial.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Army, we always said back in the day that being a journalism major was easier than going to college.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Thiesen is a war-criminal? You'd make that case? What is the crime, and what is the evidence? Apparently, I have not kept close enough tabs on this guy. I thought he was merely a twit.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 1, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"I read frequently, but only occasionally comment, as I find that someone else usually says what I wanted to say...:)"
-----Pamsm

You've probably noticed we don't begrudge repeating and echoing one another 'round here much!
________________

Wow! Great reading this afternoon. I've been off in the loom tomb for several hours and returning is a joy. Mudge, thanks for pointing out the difference between the Wapo editiorials and the op-ed/columnists "bias". It's a distinction I learned long ago in my (very limited) journalism studies.

Posted by: talitha1 | December 1, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Ooooops! Meant to add that Talitha (one of my great-grandmothers from whence comes my 'spiritual' name) was married to Newton, my great-grandfather. No one ever shortened it into a nickname ... he was a formidable man!

Posted by: talitha1 | December 1, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I think yello was using a bit of hyperbole, but (IMHO) pretty close to justifiably so. Thiessen is pretty much a full-blown opinion thug. When yello likens him to Goebbels, he's "over the top" -- but only by an inch or so. Thiessen's not even in the same league with Gerson, Parker and Will, and in my judgment surpasses even Krauthammer and Kristol in utter mendacity and evil. K & K are saber-toothed ideologues, but T is worse. It's kinda like the difference between Lenin and Stalin.

No, he's not a twit. Palin and O'Donnell are twits, which is to say, lightweights. This guy is Luca Brasi.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Newt Dobbs, of Lonesome Dove, is my favorite newt by far....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 1, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim - when the Government hires a contractor, it pays for the contractor's pension, but only for that period of time for which the contractor works for the Government.

The names have been changed to protect the guilty, but this is an example. I mentioned that I was a Fed, for a long time. In the 1990s the outsourcing of Government work really accelerated, largely due to Gore's desires. (Or so that was the story; it was Gore vice Clinton.) I was about to be promoted to Senior Exec, and had a couple of talks with my Department Head. He described the increased emphasis on outsourcing everything to contain long-term costs. His point was that we had a boatload of Govvies who were experts on Signalling System 7 telephony (not the real area), but IP networks (also an alias) had overtaken SS7. So we had all these people from 40 - 50 years old, drawing GS13 - GS 15 salaries, who couldn't be used on the new problems; who would take two-three years to retrain; and who would continue on for another 10-15 years before retiring, at which point they'd collect their pension for life. He wanted to outsource everything to a contractor. The initial cost per hour would be higher, but then when technology switched from IP to "whatever came next", he'd just terminate that contract and issue another one. Those IP contractors? Not his problem. No more pension; no more health care; no retraining expenses; no more paying while they were retrained; etc. etc. etc. He asserted that the ability to "fire" the staff made it cheaper in the long run. (That's about when I left the Feds.)

The point is that your scenario for what would happen IF the Feds cut 10 percent of their workforce is not necessarily what will happen. I'm not advocating for that (I still have tons of friends who are Feds), but the doomsday scenario isn't a given.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that, dmd. I liked this line-

Mr. Judd “observed that the images would no doubt trigger ‘knee-jerk anti-Americanism’ and ‘paroxysms of moral outrage, a Canadian specialty.’ ”

Having recently visited Toronto, Peterboro (Canadian Canoe Museum!), and Ottawa, I cannot recall ever witnessing any "paroxysms of moral outrage." I did see a fair amount of poutine however.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 1, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I say this with all sincerity, very envious you went to the Canoe Museum kguy, a little ticked that there was no announcement you would be in the area but I will get over it.
Hope you enjoyed the trip.


One of the articles I read stated the diplomat was upset because the show "The Border" featured a story on secret renditions - how dare we make that up!

Posted by: dmd3 | December 1, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

scc: from who(m)?

Posted by: talitha1 | December 1, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry dmd, but Director Panetta gets antsy if I publish my movements in advance.

Dr. K had a meeting in Ottawa and we drove by way of Niagara Falls and Toronto to see more of Ontario. Foliage was great.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 1, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

If we know the diplomat is upset, then it's not a very good diplomat. Inscrutability is a necessary (but not sufficient) professional trait in that game.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 1, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Hope that trip included a drive on Hwy 7 from Peterborough to Ottawa, not the fastest route but scenic.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 1, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Newt (the little girl) from "Aliens" was pretty endearing.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 1, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Trying to think of something I've read that was completely without bias, and all I can come up with is the directions that come with Ikea furniture. And that seems to be translated by someone who doesn't speak English.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 1, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Theissen was very funny on the Daily Show a while back while promoting his book. Not intentionally, though. Stewart was respectful, but disagreed with most of Marc's points. Theissen kept complaining that Stewart was cutting him off, not letting him make his points, etc. All he managed to do was to make himself look like the choad that he is. And then I noticed that he had been brought onto staff at the WaPo. I haven't been impressed.

Posted by: GomerGross | December 1, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/17/iwashington-posti-hires-c_n_465804.html


http://mobile.salon.com/politics/war_room/2010/11/24/hack_list_6/index.html

http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/torture/cia-historian-rips-marc-thiessen-says-hes-got-ciatorture-history-wrong/

Posted by: yellojkt | December 1, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Newt from "Aliens" was mostly endearing. Mostly.

Posted by: GomerGross | December 1, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"American Exceptionalism is an idea as old as our country itself. The Founding Fathers understood that the vast resources at our fledgling country's disposal coupled with our puritan roots and lack of a feudal past meant that the United States was uniquely positioned to thrive as an exception to the corruption and poverty of other countries."
****************************************

Yes??? There is a new book (The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley | Flipkart Books) that clearly describes the Aryan Super-race viewpoint of our
Nation during Teddy Roosevelt's Administration. He widely proclaimed American Aryan White supremacy and justified taking other's lands, AND elimination of their subhuman natives (American Indians, Chinese, and Philippines’ [the Japs were his political buddies, and he literally gave them Korea].
OUR, yes the USA's, rape, water-boarding, and shooting of thousands of Philippines’ (often for “sport" & with orders from high brass to shoot males over 10 yrs old) during the Spanish American War makes the Jap's Nanking Massacre look like a Soccer Match!
Read it - it ain't revisionist - it is TRUE
Unflattering History that you will NEVER hear about from the likes of Gingrich, Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Palin, Fox, etc.

Also, none of it was in any of my elementary and high school history text books (they must have been written by Texas’ school Boarders)

Of course we must recognize that at Teddy’s time ONLY white males voted and held political and judicial positions, and ALL minorities were considered to be inferior. Even Will Rogers treated Step and Fetch It as an inferior --- Black.

However, the Huge scale of OUR rape, torture and slaughter in our own West AND the Philippines should not be redacted by Gingrich and others of his ilk, anymore than Bush’s attempts to redact his disgraceful and destructive acts! Nor Cheney’s single vote that gave his ultra-rich cronies their huge, unpaid for and undeserved Tax break.

Truth is Truth, however unflattering ....and despite Palin's and Gingrich's ignorance and Tea Party idiots.

Posted by: lufrank1 | December 1, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Ummmm... *checking*

Nope, no Front Page Alert at this time.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 1, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat, in my own experiences, the contractors are forever because they perform essential roles that never go away. That seems to me like a clearcut case in which the job should not be outsourced, because the task does not go away. There certainly are cases in which the job has a specific lifetime, and that is precisely why contracts exist. However, the fetish of outsourcing that took hold in the Reagan administration has also outsourced core task. As a result, the contractors become an essential part of government services, but they cost more while doing so.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 1, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Newt has read his Machiavelli.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 1, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

We did in fact take Hwy 7 and it was lovely. Perhaps the most fun of the trip was the hotel in Ottawa. Our stay coincided with the annual conference of the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals and the our hotel was filled with 850 folk musicians playing in the lobby, the hallways, the elevators, the bar, the restaurant, you name it. They were even playing in the Tim Horton's next door.

We breakfasted at the Scone Witch- YUMMY!

Posted by: kguy1 | December 1, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Now picturing Dr and Mr. K, miggling with the cast of "A Mighty Wind". :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | December 1, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Since I’m in full-blown rant mode today, I may as well finish the job. This next piece is a rant I’ve wanted to do for 20 years. It concerns the oft-repeated notion that reports are “liberals” (one sometimes hears “too liberal,” which is like being too pregnant).

There are two things wrong with this accusation. First, it kinda aims in the right direction – which is that by and large, reporters do indeed have a rather pronounced mindset. (This is a good example of something being “right for the wrong reason.”) The accusation always come from the Conservs/Rightwing; you never hear a centrist or apatheticist complaining that reporters should be more centrist. And what the rightwing means when they say this is they think reporters are “liberal” and or “Democrats” (two terms that often mean the same thing to the undiscerning Conserv eye).

One of the largest failings of the entire Conserv/Rightwing, IMHO, is its complete inability to distinguish shades of gray across the spectrum. You see it all the time: they can’t tell the difference between a moderate Democrat, a liberal Democrat, a flaming liberal Dem, a Socialist, a Communist, or an anarchist. To them all those distinctions don’t exist. To the C/R mind, all cats are black at night, and anything left of Mitch McConnell is some sort of flaming whatever. Not only can they not make such distinctions, they aren’t even much interested in trying. Hence, Obama is both a socialist and a Nazi. Doesn’t matter to them; they’re both the same thing. It’s not just ignorance; it’s also not caring about possible gradations. Gradations are irrelevant. Yer either for us or agin us, that’s all that matters.

And here’s their error about reporters: It’s not that they are “liberals” or “Democrats.” It’s that, by and large reporters tend to be apolitical. Or cynical, or apatheticist. Part of it is training: one is taught (ideally) to have a neutral and objective mindset about a lot of things. It isn’t that reporters don’t “care” about an issue they are covering; they are simply taught and trained and hopefully disciplined in not letting their own ideology – if they even have any – get in the way. But see, to the C/R mindset, they cannot distinguish between neutral/objective/don’t care and “liberal.” It’s the same thing to the C/R.

Most reporters aren’t liberals; they are flaming cynics and anarchists. They often tend to regard BOTH parties as equally absurd. But the C/R says, aha! You don’t like C/R’s; therefore you MUST be a liberal/Dem (because in their world there is no other alternative kind of person).

more

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

2

That’s the first point. The second point is this: A good reporter “ought” to be exactly that way. A good reporter ought to NOT, NOT, NOT, be a Conservative/Rightwinger. Not because they ideology is all wrong (although it is); it’s because having ANY ideology gets in the way of doing the job. You are SUPPOSED to be a cynic and something of an anarchist and/or apatheticist. You are SUPPOSED to regard all politicians as charlatans and fools: it’s what lets you do your job. But this necessarily means you must regard serious Conservs/Wingers are charlatans and fools – and that’s enough right there for the C/Rs. If you ain’t one of us…you’re a commie socialist bleeding heart liberal. Because in their whole world there are only those two choices. So guess which ones reporters have to be. Right.

An example from the field. You’re a reporter (male or female, doesn’t matter) and your desk editor calls you over and says, “I want you to go do this story. It’s about two gay guys who want to get married (alternatively two lesbians. Alternatively, two of whichever but instead of marrying they want to adopt a child. Mix it up any way you want).

Now, if you are a C/R reporter, and especially if you are also pretty religious, what is your mindset toward this story? Do you already have an opinion about these two people? Probably. Do you like them, as humans? Probably not. Do you have an opinion about gay marriage, or gay adoption? Probably. Are you going to be able to talk to these two men or women, get them to open up a little, talk to you, trust you, let you see their human side and their humanity? Welllll…maybe…but more likely the odds are not in your favor. By definition you don’t approve of them as people, you certainly don’t approve of their politics and lifestyle, and you don’t approve of their goals. So try to tell me how the hell a C/R journalist is going to do a good job on this story. You’re carrying a lot of baggage into this story and chances are it will get in the way.

Same story, different reporter, and he/she is a routinely cynical, allegedly “liberal” but basically apolitical apatheticist type. Does this reporter care that the people are gay? Nope, doesn’t give a crap one way or the other. Does the report care deeply against gay marriage or gay adoption? Nope. Couldn’t care less. Mazel tov. Why should straight people be the only ones to suffer. Does the reporter like these people? Don’t know/can’t tell, but at least there’s no predisposition against them. Hell, the reporter might not even HAVE an opinion about gay marriage or gay adoption. Whether the reporter can get these people to talk and whether he/she can write a good story are significantly higher than for the C/R reporter.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

LiT - your ikea directions had WORDS??? mine are just pictures... that look nothing like the furniture i bought...

just a couple of years ago there was a big push to downsize the number of gubmit contractors... i think it was due to security (post 9/11) not money... but DC and the fed gubmint (thankfully) cannot run without contractors. the client (gubmint) can expand or shrink their workforce at will and can shop for a specialist for the particular project instead of getting handed a govie (who, no offense to govies on here, but they have a reputation for terrible work incentive)

mo

Posted by: mortii | December 1, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

3

Early 1960s. Editor calls you up and says, “Son, we’re sending you down to Birmingham to cover the race riots. Bull Connor and a bunch of locals and cops are beating up on black people, siccing dogs on ‘em, using firehoses. Go down there and get me that story.”

Two reporters, one an incipient C/R type with some definite ideas about race, and black people knowing their station in life and not being so all-fired uppity and trying to mix races and date white women, wanting jobs and generally just making trouble and letting the commie pinkos dictate whether a god-fearing white store owner should let some black people eat at his lunch counter. The other is your basic bleeding heart liberal white reporter who has some silly notions about the equality of mankind, doesn’t give a crap who dates his sister or marries his daughter, and wouldn’t be caught dead using the you-know-what word and similar kinds of words.

Now, you tell me which reporter, simply based on his general ideology and beliefs alone, is going to do a better job getting that story. Which one is more likely to get both sides of the story? Which reporter is more likely to see the underlying humanity? And the underlying cruelty? Which reporter is more likely to gain the trust of one of the black protesters, and get his/their side of the story?

My point isn’t that newspaper reporters ARE generally liberal. It is that there are plenty of good reasons why they HAVE to be reasonably liberal, open-minded, non-judgmental, authority-distrusting, apolitical, even to some extent amoral (in the sense of not having deepset “moral” principles; not immoral, just a-moral, operating outside of or despite a moral framework).

In a nutshell, my opinion is this: You cannot be a very good reporter or editor if you are carrying around in your head a whole passel of baggage and ideology and ideas, and if you are judgmental about people, if you dislike them based upon some prejudice or other having to do with their race or creed or orientation or religion (muslims, Mormons, hippy Buddhists, hari krishnas, Jehovah’s Witnesses), or whatever it is that’s stuck in your craw. You. Simply. Can’t. Do. The. Job. Well. Unless. You. Are. What. Is. Widely. Regarded. As. A. Flaming. Liberal. Or at least, trained pretty well to think and act like one, which is to say, leave your prejudices on the doorstep. There are just too many times when the person you have to interview may be unlikeable or objectionable to you in some way, and you just have to be loosey-goosey and put that objection aside. It could be a cop, a politician, some racist redneck moron, some ax murderer, some Tea Party activist. You never know. But a loose, “liberal” bleeding-heart mindset is an asset, and a Conservative one -- especially one unable to distinguish shades of gray-- isn’t. And that’s a truth the C/Rs have to try to destroy. That's why reporters "ought" to be "liberal."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

There's a recent, British, history of the War of 1812. I think it views the effort as pretty successful, despite that after-the-peace disaster in Louisiana.

The new US was exceptional in its potential for housing a vast population. But it already had problems. The British had worried about North Carolina becoming a big blob of poverty, a haven for 18th century trailer trash. Farming practices destroyed soil and ruined streams, even in southeastern Pennsylvania, where erosion rates went from negligible (stream beds were organic-sediment beaver meadows) to severe. The societies and economic interests of New England and the other northeastern states were opposed to those of the South, so much so that the Constitution is chiefly remarkable for gaining acceptance on both sides. The young country would more logically have fallen apart by 1800.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 1, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Hey, listen, the good Dr. and I are somewhat traditional in that we don't miggle outside of marriage.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 1, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I respectfully request the capitalization of Apatheticist. My Apatheticism requires me to add "but, whatever."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 1, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Snort

Posted by: dmd3 | December 1, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The rain turned to snow. The yard is flooded by 4in. of frigid water. We can't have a big freeze right now or I'll lose trees again. One large black walnut and two mature sugar maple trees died the one time we had these conditions, about 10 years ago. The root system explodes with the expansion of the ice.

Happy you like the Scone Witch kguy. The ugly brown 25+ floors building you see from their porch houses my cubicle. It was probably still wrapped with scaffolding at the time; the 40 year old building got a window sealing and paint job this summer.

The problem with Highway 7 is that the speed limit varies constantly and the OPP sets speed traps at carefully selected spots. I haven't been hit yet but co-workers have.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 1, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Done, Frosti, and I'll remember to do that in the future.

Did I ever say how much I love you, my friend?

Excellent rant, Mudge. Close-minded people let their ideology get in the way of reality. It's a fatal failing.

Posted by: slyness | December 1, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Speed traps? How provincial.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 1, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Flooded with near-freezing water. Yuk.

lufrank1, I suppose you know that Newt despises Roosevelt--both Theodore and Franklin. He probably doesn't care about Theodore's foreign policy, but he no doubt detests his Progressive reform agenda and creation of all those National Forests and National Monuments, which need to be given to the States or maybe sold directly.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 1, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, when I was 7 my grandmother died, she had two funeral, one in the town they lived and the second in Ottawa where she was buried.

We traveled to Ottawa on Hwy 7 (at least in part), I still remember bouncing up and down in the back seat of the car singing, "Daddy got a ticket, Daddy got a ticket", that was 40 years ago.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 1, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Great comments today. As is frequently the case, either (1) my thoughts are already very aptly expressed, or (2) my thoughts can't keep up with the commentors. I love this.

And,

MO IS IN THE HOUSE!

Warmest Regards,

CowTown

Posted by: jp1954 | December 1, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Yo, MO!

Haven't had much time to backboodle, but I have grazed a tiny bit. As expected, Mudge and SciTim are in superb form.

About maybe 25 years ago, I was going to lunch at some hotel with some friends/colleagues and met up at the door (back door, which may make more sense in the context) with the Newt himself, accompanied by either his wife du jour, or his mistress du jour. I recall having a snarky snicker with my friends about that. He did open the door for us and gave us a beeeeg smile.

He's such a jerk.

Posted by: ftb3 | December 1, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Slyness-back at ya

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 1, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to say that Newt is a big fat idiot, but that phrase has been used to apply to another equally annoying person of limited brainpower. You are all in rare form today, proud to know you all (or most of you anyway [know you, that is]).

Can you tell I'm in a hurry? Congrats to Cassandra and her daughter on the new grandson!

Posted by: badsneakers | December 1, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't resist a look-see at "Right Turn" when I fired up the PC after work. Rubin has posted 10 different entries on this day alone which have attracted just over 200 comments cumulatively. (No surprise that the post concerning Mama Grizzly garnered over 50 comments ... par for the course.) I'm going off to Clorox my hands before making a little supper.

Posted by: talitha1 | December 1, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Gingrich as my President. Kevorkian as my bartender. On the same plane of likelihood, if I have any say.

Posted by: baldinho | December 1, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Just watching the rerun of "The Daily Show," and I thought Stewart would have made a bigger deal announcing he'd cloned Victoria Jackson... *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 1, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I keep getting email and Facebook links to the Handel "Hallelujah" flashmobs in the Canadian food court and the Philadelphia old Wanamakers (with the organ). These things are great. This is a tremendous example of the power of good music in public places. The thing is, I can't watch one of these without crying. That first singer starts and I get a great big smile on my face and the first tear falls. Before long I'm just sobbing, grinning as I mop my face. I thought at first it was just seeing it for the first time but no. Happens every time. I'd love to participate in one of these things here, but god help me if I get caught in one as a spectator. I just hope I have a clean handkerchief.

Nice rant, Mudge. Also, good work ScienceTim.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 1, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Newt had his shot and blew it. I don't wan't to see him again.

A relative of mine from Seattle just shared this. I thought it might be of interest to those who fancy footwear.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/archives/230249.asp

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 1, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

As far as the whole "Right Turn" (Wrong Turn?) thing goes, Mudge touched on what I think was the basic rationale - money.

Anyone see what Fox News is paying these days? That end of the media spectrum seems to have some money to spread around, and I'm sure the folks at WaPo don't mind tapping into that cash flow.

But I can't help but remember the Post's "Red America"/Ben Domenech (sp?) fiasco a few years ago...

RD, I really like those hiking shoes, but I'd do something about those straps. I think a basic black or grey leather with chrome hardware would be nice.

For those that observe Hanukkah, may you and yours have a joyous Festival of Lights.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 1, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I am with you Ivansmom, love the flash mob links, and went looking for some - they are just fun.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 1, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom -- the same thing happened to me when I saw the Wanamakers one. My Zambian brother was with me when I ran it for him. We were both verklempt, and I'm not even a C. The music and the voices were gorgeous and very moving.

I'm all whacked out from doing declarations and finishing up my pleading (almost in final condition, but I need to sleep on it, but it's due, along with all that stuff, tomorrow (good thing we have until midnight)).

I look forward to a complete zonking out tomorrow night.

A huge congrats to Cassandra and to Frosti grand-wise.

Time to fall asleep over the dead-tree-edition.

Posted by: ftb3 | December 1, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of good music (and to change the subject for a moment), I received a pre-Christmas present I bought for myself and "S" today. Straight No Chaser Christmas boxed set. They are just wonderful a capella singers. Here's a sample and a very funny song too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E-47VmFopE&feature=artistob&playnext=1&list=TLv_dxyYxBMUM

Posted by: badsneakers | December 1, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

mudge - what the heck, I'm in kind of an argumentative mood (14-year old daughters will do that :-) and this is fun.

Now suppose you're the reporter and your editor calls. "Hey, this 'Tea Party' thing is having a national convention at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. Every right-wing radio station will be broadcasting live from there, too. Get your tail down there and get me the story. Are these people for real? Is there a national organization or a bunch of local loony bins? Are these people all just fringe Republicans? What about social issues - is this just about taxes and money; or do they as a group care about abortion rights, gay marriage, etc. etc.?" Who do you think gets the story - the cynical left-winger?

Here's another example. "Hey, get over and do a story on this 'Gabriel Project' thing. It's a bunch of people providing housing to pregnant women so they won't have abortions. Find out the story behind it. Is it associated with some religion? Do they take all women regardless of age, race, religion, immigration status? Do they do anything for them once the kids are born, or do they just kick mom and baby out into the cold? What's the deal? Find out." Again - who gets the story?

My answer is: the reporter who can come across better to the subjects; who can project sympathy; who can listen without expressing judgment; and who can then distill the facts.

I don't think it matters as much whether the reporter is a left wing loony or a right wing loony. I think it's more a matter of style and personality.

But then I'm just an engineer so I'm probably wrong. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Tim - I happen to agree with you philosophically about outsourcing - I left the Feds because it was clear to me that all the "fun jobs" that I wanted to do were going to be outsourced, and I'd rather do the fun jobs than have the job security. But outsourcing wasn't my decision to make.

And the outsourcing started to gather steam under Reagan, but it went downhill on a bobsled under Gore/Clinton. Gore's whole push to get rid of Government standards (remember the smashed ashtray on Letterman?) and use COTS products; commercial solutions; etc. because Government is a business and should be just like one.. was really the engine that drove it. In my organization, 7 times as many jobs were contracted out under Gore/Clinton as under Reagan (I went back and checked the numbers).

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 1, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, speaking of music, I have just been exposed to something called the "BC Clark Jingle." I've been told that it is a key element of the Yuletide in Oklahoma. Is this so?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 1, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Do we really have to go looking under wet rocks again for more political strife?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 1, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Alas, yes, you are wrong, Army. First off, you made the very confusion I described, calling the reporter a left-winger, when I tried pretty hard to dissociate "left-wing" (and liberal) from apolitical, non-partisan/skeptical of both/all sides. I spent three full posts trying to say reporters aren't left-wing liberals; they tend to be apolitical anarchists/Apatheticists.

The very last person you want to send to a Tea Party event is a confirmed right-winger/conserv who is quite likely to be a sympathizer. This is more than likely NOT a person who will ask tough questions. There is a sometimes unfortunate tendency in journalism to sometimes send out antagonists. This is one such case. But no, you keep your rightwing reporters (if you have any; they are rare beasts) away from that side. He/she covers fires, floods, grip-and-grins, and business stories.

In the second case, you send your most hard-nosed, cynical suspicious type. This will be the person who probably hates BOTH political parties equally.

So how do I get you to break that stereotype? Obviously I've failed thus far.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 1, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, Cassandra! Condoldences, dbG.

Interesting discussion.

RD, I believe Ivansmom has Boodled about the jingle before, so it must be so.

One of the advantages of working downtown is seeing all the Christmas lights. I need to make time to go look at the big tree - it's just a block or so away from where I catch the light rail. The Christmas decorations in my building are a bit disorienting in their lavishness (I suppose they're actually holiday decorations, of the pagan variety).

Posted by: seasea1 | December 1, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Do they make reporters like that any more, Mudge? My dad was one. He would pick up that something was on the (secret) agenda, talk to a few people, write a story. Then the politicians would be mad because he figured it all out. But that came from being intimately familiar with his beat (City Hall), knowing all the people, having been around the block several times.

The reason he was effective was his institutional knowledge. That's something many of today's reporters don't have, because 1. it's not valued and 2. they never stay in one place long enough to acquire any. I would posit that one reason Joel is such a great journalist is because he has the deep knowledge about his beat and can ask the right questions, even if it's a subject new to him. Oh, and he's open-minded and curious.

I hope that makes sense.

Ivansmom, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who gets emotional about flash mobs singing Handel. Had to wash my handkerchief recently, I'd used it too often.

Posted by: slyness | December 1, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Why, yes, RD! It is indeed time for the BC Clark Christmas jingle! Thank you ever so much for mentioning it. Although it is the Christmas jingle, this is as secular a piece of advertising as you will hear. It is also a holiday season tradition which cuts across all religious and ethnic boundaries. First aired in 1956, it has remained a mainstay. As the jeweler's web site says, it has evolved into Oklahoma's Christmas carol. If you are from Oklahoma or have lived here for any length of time, you can sing the jingle. Hearing it will instantly remind you of Oklahoma, wherever you are. Boodlers and lurkers with Oklahoma ties, is it not so? Apparently Megan Mullally recently sang it for Letterman.

Go to www.bcclarkjingle.com. Click the links. Sing along. You'll notice that the "original jingle" contains a "Christmas wish" bridge line which was later dropped. This may have been due to time constraints but I suspect it was a way to make the "holiday" character of the jingle less religious in nature. After all, they want everyone to buy their jewelry.

That's www.bcclarkjingle.com. Make it a Boodle tradition! You'll all thank me when you're older.

This public service announcement will be repeated during the holiday season, in abbreviated form, to enhance your listening pleasure.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 1, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

To me,it just seems like all sorts of Kooks are lining up to run to be our next President.

Lets see their is Newt,Mitt and "the bubble headed beach blonde who comes on at 5,she can tell you about the plane crash with a gleem in her eye"

It all scares the hell out of me.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 1, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

And of course, this ticks me off:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/01/AR2010120100838.html?hpid=topnews
Balancing the budget on the backs of the unemployed. I got a letter from my state employment agency, saying that if and when the extended benefits are not renewed, they'll let me know what that means for me (glad I have a job, at least for now). To hark back to the so-called liberal bias, I don't see much there. I would like to see the Republicans raked over the coals for this, especially for their magical thinking about cutting taxes for millionaires to create jobs. Rachel Maddow had a economist on her show last night who calmly explained that the economy's problem is demand, and that won't be helped by cutting government spending and giving the super-rich tax cuts.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 1, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm not fully caught up with all the day's discussions (though it looked interesting) but I did want to pass on this interesting link (my apologies if same or similar already posted).

From James Fallows at The Atlantic:
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/12/why-not-just-stamp-secret-across-the-front-page-of-the-ny-times/67310/

Back to work on this windy and rainy night. Keep up the good work folks. Hopefully I'll have time to catch up on the discussion at some point.

Posted by: cowhand214 | December 1, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I should have mentioned that my link is about the Wikileaks document release and a couple interesting responses to it across the government and academic institutions.

Posted by: cowhand214 | December 1, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I-mom- Mr. F and I met in Lawton, OK on Oct. 27, 1990. Normally he has but a fleeting acquaintance with popular culture. For him Glee is not just not to his taste, it is totally incomprehensible. But, I daresay even he could come up with a line or two of the BC Clark jingle.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 1, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

This is more like it:
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/12/the-dickishness-of-the-gop.html

Posted by: seasea1 | December 1, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Yes, frostbitten, it does stick in the brain. The Boy has just finished and sent off a term paper. In celebration, I think I'll go sing him the BC Clark Jingle. Vaya con queso, y'all. Buenos gnocchis, and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 1, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I got that memo today! I interpreted it to mean, from your government computer - but on closer reading, I guess it means from anywhere. Not that I would be quoting any leaks anyway - to me it seems profoundly wrongheaded and unrevealing. And don't get me started on security clearances. I had one for awhile, worked in a secure facility, and while I would never knowingly violate the rules, they seemed to be inane and ineffective. And that was before widespread use of home computers and the internets.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 1, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

cowhand - Nothing new there. Fairly explicit instructions for producing fission & fusion nuclear devices have been widely published (repeatedly) over the years. But that very same information is still classified in ways that make its dissemination through "official" channels verboten.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 1, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Straight No Chaser look like they are the older brothers of the Warblers.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 1, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Florence knows how what to do with a kiss with a fist:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SmxVCM39j4

And if you prefer her as a redhead:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQZhN65vq9E

Posted by: yellojkt | December 1, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

yello-thought the same thing about Straight No Chaser. I liked the Tina/Mercedes version of Dog Days better than the Florence original.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 1, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Loved that Straight No Chaser video. So quick and clever and musical.

Ivansmom, I too was overcome by those flashmobs. Of course, I`ve been sending myself to sleep playing Messiah (very quietly) for the last week. When not, a CD of lullabys and American folk-songs that is rather, um, personal.

This is my personal favourite song parody for Hanukkah. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CovKq3QxFw

Happy Hanukkah, dear Boodle!

Posted by: Yoki | December 1, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

fb,
Busted. Tonight was Glee night since I was at a team-building retro-bowling party in Austin last night (don't ask).

So the Warblers were fresh in my mind when I clicked the SNC link. And you also followed my Glee/Florence+theMachine non sequitur. Scary.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 1, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

And these guys are the voices of the Warblers:

http://www.bubs.com/

Posted by: yellojkt | December 1, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

yello-not a non sequitur at all, just a continuation of the season long Glee discussion.

Toodles boodle and sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 2, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I`m thinking I would rather be in the Austin music-scene than a team-building exercise, any day. Blues.

Posted by: Yoki | December 2, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

wicked front passed through here last night, bringing this to mind:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUwC__2dQag&feature=related

now it's just cold. well, at least in a relative sense. by sc standards.

Posted by: -jack- | December 2, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

jack.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6C61sxbjII

Posted by: Yoki | December 2, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

Dawn patrol duty, rooty toot tooty!

dbG, your aunt might have liked our family cough medicine recipe: equal parts lemon juice, honey and whisky. Pretty close to a sour with no ice, maybe a slice of orange, just for the Vit. C.

Yea, Mo!

And, Cassandra has a new sweet baby grandson to rock-a-bye with that new, warm sweet baby fragrance. Wonderful. Our Nation's future....

Well, looks like this boodle has pretty much finished up with the jerkyhood of Newt. His infidelity to his first wife was his downfall for some of us. I always wonder if the second spouse in an infidelity can trust the infidel that she/he married? I know, I know, it happens all the time, just wondering......

Fresh, fresh orange juice, sweetpotato pie and country sausage in the bunker, folks.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 2, 2010 5:44 AM | Report abuse

I took another quick look at Joel's kit, here. Call me cranky, but he is just playing over-fed guy sitting at a desk talking to too many people who really do nothing productive in their lives about work, which they don't do. They don't produce anything. They are essentially doing finger gymnastics.

It is basically unproductive gibberish that serves no purpose.

I am stunned that the Republican party is just so controlled by K Street leaving Main Street in the ditch all broken down.

They are so concerned about fighting Obama at every turn that they deny our nation a chance to take care of what we can do and that is to put Americans back to work.

Just as those folks who measure everything except military spending and kickbacks to the ultra-wealthy against its impact on the deficit, I would propose that we measure all words against what does it do to put middle-class Americans back to worth.

Further, if you do nothing to put folks back to work, then you had darn well better take care of their minimum living requirements with an unemployment insurance extension.

Basically, I look at wikileaks, N. Korea, and every other "international crisis" through the lens of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine. I know that we are becoming a non-functioning society. We are Hoovering ourselves in broad daylight and we can't see it.

Loomis posted a reference to Freidman's piece about the Republican party just ignoring the manufacturing opportunities presented by new energy--for the express purpose to beat up Obama and the Dems, when their concern should have been for the American worker. In my book, it's the same thing. K Street and Fox playing tunes and no one really cares.

As we say in our idiom, "and why should I care?"

Posted by: russianthistle | December 2, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Can one of our Canuckis confirm that these are real shows?

http://gawker.com/5703871/your-guide-to-canadas-favorite-anti+american-primetime-dramas

Posted by: yellojkt | December 2, 2010 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Cake is a personal favorite and one of the best hipster doofus bands ever. Their latest is a classic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi9MLL8QOY0

Posted by: baldinho | December 2, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Oh baldi...fun. Will admit to looping songs from Train for the same effect....including Hey Soul Sister, and the ukulele is simply so happy goofy pinging....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVpv8-5XWOI


Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 2, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Yup, actual shows Yello, not sure if they are the "most" popular though, have seen a few episodes of The Border, and love Little Mosque on the Prairie.

I will note that the only federal political assisnation we ever had in this country was committed by a Fenian, American I think - the shooting of D'Arcy McGee.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_D%27Arcy_McGee

Posted by: dmd3 | December 2, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Hmph... Seems there's something going around, today's the second day in a row we're down several people at the office.

*raised unibrow*

And I have to agree with 'Mudge (shocking, I know) regarding the use of skeptical reporters who lack existing biases to cover controversial topics.

*feelin'-much-mo-bettah-with-some-cawfee-and-the-sun-rising-through-broken-clouds-(and-we-thought-they-were-hard) Grover waveS* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 2, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

So in this journalism school where they explain the differences in the various grades of rot-gut whiskey, do they teach any math other than how to tip on bar tabs?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2009/02/25/LI2009022502075.html

Or is this something we can blame on the extinction of copy editors?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 2, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Yello, while that Gawker story says that "no less than four hit primetime dramas that play on negative American stereotypes," that ain't the half of it.

Gawker is apparently unaware of the content and tenor of every single one of our tv comedies and two-thirds of all interpersonal conversations that are not primarily about the weather or hockey.

But we're working diligently to bring those numbers up.

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 2, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

yello, you think journalists TIP? *ROFL*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 2, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Canadians have conversations that don't involve weather or hockey?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 2, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

yello, J-schools don't teach you about rot-gut whiskey; you're expected to learn that outside of class.

And the answer to your other question is "yes" to both. Reporters are notoriously math-challenged, as that link says. And the lack of copy editors means that less and less of the mistakes get caught.

Which is why, in writing political stories, I keep harping over and over again on the theme of "learn to count," because most people, and most reporters can't.

In the copy editor conferences I go to every other year, there is always an entire class devoted to math and stories with numbers.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of which, here's a story about my boss, referencing a report with lots of numbers in it. (And lots of drugs, too.)

The report in question happens to be fabulously well edited. The puncuation is especially dazzling.

http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/drug-use-rises-in-fatal-accidents/?hpw

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Sometime we discuss beer or poutine.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 2, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Gawker obviously did not search Youtube for old Rick Mercer "Talking With Americans" bits, or things like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F42qk5S0qgM&feature=related

I've seen a couple episodes of The Border and it's good as cop shows go, they just don't like our gun laws and general propensity for violence. Can't blame them.

Haven't seen Little Mosque on the Prairie lately, but it is a sitcom and if the writers couldn't mine a lot of humor out of the US then Canada is subsidizing Canadian content a bit too much. (Do they still do that? sorry for the cheap shot)

Good morning boodle! Headed to St. Paul this afternoon, thence to Tampa tomorrow to watch the Bucs play the Falcons on Sunday. We'll be on the pirate ship so prepare the faxes for beads and other silly swag.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 2, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

For Yello and others, that diplomats were upset about our shows has been a source of amusement for many up here,

example,

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/television/john-doyle/from-briefing-notes-to-black-ops-in-the-embassy-tv-room/article1821312/

Posted by: dmd3 | December 2, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Rick Mercer did stop the "Talking to America" bits after 9/11, believing, I think rightly that is was no longer appropriate.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 2, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

dmd-I think more than enough time has passed to revive "Talking to America."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 2, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Now I know where Leno stole his Jay-Walking bit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhTZ_tgMUdo

Posted by: yellojkt | December 2, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Love the title Little M. on the Prairie... makes my day.

Follow up from the theo-discussion earlier and ongoing: that so many of our actions are unkind and fly in the face the holy face of what God asks of believers, and also, of nonbelievers, really.

As VL said the porch of cosmic love boodling is HUGE. We should be praying about the things that are breaking God's heart (that we sin and sin and sin against our brothers and sisters constantly); and we should resolve to work harder to be the big tent of love, the canopy of YES....

OK. Then. DONE. Continue with your day.

AND, Cassandra's grand event is a LaddieBaby!

---
Don't forget the NASA 2PM exobio press con. Can we get liveSciTimmy boodle-knowhowing?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 2, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

My favorite one of those Rick Mercer bits was him asking people in Seattle or San Diego or some similar port city on the West Coast whether they would object if Canada "stored" its Navy near their city since Canada is a "landlocked" nation. It was heartwarming to see how many of my fellow citizens were moved to charity by Canada's geographic misfortune.

Asking for donations for the melting "national igloo" (where Parliament meets) was also pretty good.

Posted by: cowhand214 | December 2, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

This is my main gripe with Canada. They keep Strombo and Mercer for themselves and send us Bieber, and she who will not be named. I also want Timbits!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 2, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I suspect many reporters are TERMED "liberal" by righties because of possession of some common sense. For example, the no-regulations crowd has not spent much time in courtrooms, I suspect, or has not thought of the ramifications of throwing every single tort back in to the courts on a case-by-case basis, were regulations significantly curtailed. I believe the libertarians want pay-to-play justice, a system I can't support.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 2, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Although why a landlocked country like Canada needed a navy was always a mystery to me until I realized, aha!! they need it for the invasion!!

Now it all makes sense. And stationing it in San Diego is pure genius-- they can attack from the north AND the south! Classic pincer movement!

I'm telling you, those people are devious and wily.

I think a plot that clever would succeed against most countries, but fortunately we down here are exceptional and not likely to be so easily fooled and duped and distra -- oh, look, shiny!!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"I'm telling you, those people are devious and wily." - curmudgeon, here.

"I knew those canadians [sic] were a dirty filthy people." - DorkusMaximus, Celebritology.

Just you wait until Commander Bieber sails into San Diego Harbour - yeah, "HARBOUR" - at the helm of the HMCS Shatner. You, for one, will welcome your new hoser overlords.

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 2, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Landlocked indeed. One could make the case that Canada is a peninsula attached to the rest of North America by that Tract of Continent spreading from Thunder Bay to Vancouver.
Too bad the US diplomats weren't listening to some of the Canadian shows made in French. The level of ignorance about the US could be mind-blowing at times. At any rate, everyone should be careful to make sweeping statement about a nation of ver 300millions spread over Vast Tracts of Continents.
Should we expect an astrobiological kit soon? That could be fun. The intertubes are filled with wild speculation.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 2, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Colbert breaks character for interview:
http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/ee20j/stephen_colbert_has_answered_your_questions/

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 2, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

That was a pretty good interview. Thanks for the link, jumper.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Piling on to thank Jumper for the link.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 2, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Check your translator, byoolin --

You, for one, will welcome your new hoser overlords, eh?

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 2, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

SD, meet you here at 1:50 EDT...we will live boodle the astrobiogoodies with or with them...my first job was at NASA Ames in that origins of life/chemical evolution group....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 2, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree completely with Sports Illustrated's headline on the 2022 FIFA World Cup selection:

"Qatar? Really?"

*raised unibrow*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 2, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

2 corrupt/authoritarian states loaded with petrodollars, what a coincidence.
Russia is defensible, I guess.
Septic Blather (TM DNAgirl) and friends must have cleaned out badly.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 2, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, Rick Mercer mentions! Love Rick Mercer. This is his best rant of all time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6f8Fs8TRyc&feature=related

(The disclaimer on that is that when I worked for the Torontonians, my two best friends in the company were from Edmonton. They could have written this rant themselves.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 2, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Hi all! Been an influenza victim since last Thursday evening, so I'm just getting back into the swing of things. Next year I will go for the shot, I swear.

MsJS, nice dollar-gami. The trees and the wreaths were my favs. Very cool.

Congrats, Cassandra!

I've never liked Newt, he's always given me a slimy vibe. Why anyone pays attention to anything he says is beyond me.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | December 2, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

A classic Armybrat and as a native of the Toronto area, completely true, we should just be lucky we live on the good side of Lake Ontario

Exhibit A, a few flurries in the air today and below freezing while across the lake a mere 40 km,

http://thestar.blogs.com/weather360/2010/12/snow-strands-hundreds-of-motorists-on-buffalo-highway.html

Posted by: dmd3 | December 2, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of DNA, I'd say this was pretty big (and had been alluded to in the Boodle previously):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/02/AR2010120203102_pf.html

I've always thought there was something missing from my life - now I know it's arsenic.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 2, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

off topic (am i EVER on topic?) bc and i were saying that we HAVE to do a holiday BPH!!! who is in?

mo

Posted by: mortii | December 2, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to step on the NASA presser with my link there, CqP.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 2, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that story is wiefully anticlimactic.

*sigh*

There's more than one way to build a life form. Whodda thunk. And here I've been told we're exceptional. Apparently not so much.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking just the same thing, mo! Let's figure this out! *again with the HUGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 2, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Mudge: in the space of a few days, "American Exceptionalism" has given way to "Arsenic Exceptionalism."

Little-known-possibly-true fact about arsenic-based life forms: they taste just like chicken. But fatal.

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 2, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, combine that with recent astronomical findings that may triple the estimated number of stars in the Universe - to 300 sextillion (3 with 23 zeros) - and well, that notion of exceptionalism may be simply be a case of every snowflake being different...

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/triple-amount-of-stars-discovered-101201.html

300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, and I still can't find a pair of boxer briefs that fit me right.

What innahellkinda Universe is this, anyway?

Sheesh.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 2, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I suppose the terms "Arseniophilic" and "Arseniophobic" now have a second meaning beyond whether one likes former comedian/talkshow hosts who created that hoot-hoot thing.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Tee-hee: bc said "sextillion."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey,bc, I can't open my Yahoo Tiarapalooza site at work. Does anyone need a reminder to get their pick(s) in before 7:55 p.m. tonight?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

However, I would note that I'd expect a Universe of sextillions to be *quite* lively.

Arsenic or not.

bc

PS - An open bar would help.

Posted by: -bc- | December 2, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

And, I am sure, so very, very, very sure that Jesus loves arsenic-based lifeforms too.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 2, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Can't open it from work here, either, Mudge.

But yeah, those engaged in the Battle for the Tiara, get your pick in for tonight's game, and the scoring tiebreakers by 8 PM.

Thank you.

bc (the Commish)

Posted by: -bc- | December 2, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but I can't support the lifestyle of organisms who choose arsenic.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 2, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, CqP. We haven't yet heard from the very powerful and exclusionary phosphorus-based lifeform lobby. I don't think they're going to take this radical new "alternate" lifestyle thing in a good light.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Rats. I hoped they'd declassify the Jupite

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 2, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

This discovery about arsenic begs the question - can organisms subsist on old lace too?

Posted by: lostnspace | December 2, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Science probably won't have the arsenic bacteria report up until 5.

Economists will view the bacteria as a fine example of resource substitution. If phosphorus is in short supply but something similar is superabundant, you make a switch.

We'll similarly be driving SUVs using different fuels in a few years. And maybe building houses out of discarded plastic bags.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 2, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

My grandfather subsisted on Old Spice, LiT.

When I was a kid, we were so poor we lived in discarded plastic bags, Dave.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

You HAD plastic bags, curmudgeon? We lived in tents made from newspapers that had been used to wrap fish. And we were GLAD to have the smell remind us what food was. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 2, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh, you catch on sooooo fast, AB. Well done.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

You had fish? Our newspaper tents had been used to wrap arsenic-based bacteria. We couldn't even go inside. We slept outdoors, sheltered by the bones of all the wildlife which nibbled the paper.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 2, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, y'all.

I've been holiday shopping for me today. I got me a new laptop and printer and ordered a wireless network for CasaJS.

Hope you're feeling better MotM. The wreath actually makes a great desk doodle toy once the ribbons come off.

Great to have you resurface, mortii.

DotC, I remember once The Capitol Steps did a parody of Martha Stewart building a house out of hair from the drain catch.

Anyone here got some recipes featuring arsenic? If these lifeforms pop over during the holidays I want to be a gracious host.

Posted by: MsJS | December 2, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

My family couldn't afford children, so I was born old.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 2, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Arsenate, schmarsenate. Why not antimonate while we are at it. It will be found in the next shadow biosphere maybe.
It reminds me of the excitement when the T. thiooxidans were found. They do with sulphur exactly what the well known T. Ferrooxidans does with iron. As both bugs produce sulphuric acid as a metabolic waste they are important corrosion promoters.
The SF writers are all hoping for a silicate-based life form. Then the Machines could really take over.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 2, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Anyone here got some recipes featuring arsenic? If these lifeforms pop over during the holidays I want to be a gracious host.

Posted by: MsJS

*****

Remember, it's helpful (and generous) to let the in-laws handle the taste-testing. One doesn't want to fill up before the meal itself, does one?

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 2, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Science is up. Their news story indicates there's going to be plenty of unconvinced scientists who will think those bacteria are surviving having some arsenic in their DNA, etc. The poor things are perhaps pining for phosphorus.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 2, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Or probably pining for the fjords.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 2, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, curmudgeon. :-) FWIW, my oldest daughter gets a kick out of your reporter diatribes. She wants to go into publishing vice journalism - double-majoring in Communications and English - so she follows this kind of thing. And by her own proud admission she's a "flaming liberal." (Her story is that she'll turn 22 in April, graduate in May and move back home in June. It's the NEXT daughter that will be the engineer/scientist; this one likes the liberal arts path. Ah, what the heck - she's my little angel because God sent her down to make me a daddy.:-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 2, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, the Bush Tax Cuts look like they live on (but only for a little while! we'll REALLY stop them next time!!!!).

I would rather they toss them all than extend them all.

Posted by: baldinho | December 2, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat, I have a niece who'll also turn 22 in April, etc. My bro and s-i-l are going from being empty nesters back to having children at home. Niece#1 is already living there whilst attending grad skul (speech pathology).

Posted by: MsJS | December 2, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

... You mean Arsenio Hall wasn't an arsenic lifeform after all?

This is a big claim, and needs big proof; ATP with arsenic? If arsenic compounds are more unstable than phosphorus in water, it's very probable the reactions are embedded in some kind of lipoprotein structure or a heme-like protein to control energy transfer.

Some key enzymes would have slightly modified structure, too. The turnover would be quicker, but less efficient energy-wise. I don't think those bacterial cells would be very quick metabolically, so they'd die out among real competition from non-arsenate bacteria.

I also highly doubt that those arsenic-based organisms would turn out to be of different origin-- intensive selection alone would explain this; modifying a chlorophyll/heme-like (the two are related) protein to mop up and trap arsenic compounds would in turn stablize them enough to use them for energy transfer, most likely by giving places for enzymes to dock.

The central reaction would be reducing As04- to As and back with a modified nucleoside of unknown property (adenosine= ATP.); likely an arsenic-containing nucleoside itself-- some were found in a giant clam once from algae.

http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/1992/P1/P19920001349

Okay, end geek mumbo-jumbo. Been a long time since I had to think about this stuff.

Quite a trick, that.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 2, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Tell her I would highly endorse her strategy, AB. It's always been my theory that being an English major doesn't teach you to write; it only teaches you how to read (and perhaps analyze, though not necessarily in a useful way). What journalism teaches you to do, IMHO is "write," by which I mean at a very basic level it forces you to sit down in front of the computer (in my day I'd have said typewriter) and learn how to grind out sentences. It is, almost literally, nothing but learning how to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. It's almost like hand-eye coordination, only it is hand-brain coordination (usually left brain). So a double major in English and journalism would teach both to read and to write. Which, if you wanted to end up in publishing, would be ideal.

(Does she know how to drink martinis? Shop for Jimmy Choo's during her Manhattan lunchhour? Does she own a simple black dress and a strand of pearls? And she needs to read this: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/fashion/02JACKIE.html?hpw Will she become my editor at Alfred A. Knopf? Will she take me to a power lunch at Serendipity?)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Mo I'd do my best to get to a BPH over the holidays.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 2, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

At a bacterial streetcorner deep under Mono Lake:

"Hey! You've got arsenic in my DNA!"

"And *you've* got DNA in my arsenic!"

[voice over] Two great tastes that taste great together.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 2, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, they now offer writing majors, although not necessarily with the correct emphasis for journalists.

A reporter can't go wrong with a very solid liberal arts education and some math/science literacy, too.

I think good reading would save a lot of bad reporting, myself.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 2, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

And for no particular reason:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR_kO6gbIMo&feature=related

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh, NASA confirms my musings. Just mutant bacteria, not a second biosphere.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/12/101202-nasa-announcement-arsenic-life-mono-lake-science-space/

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 2, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Also this on the actual biochemistry:

http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/12/bacteria-can-integrate-arsenic-into-its-dna-and-proteins.ars

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 2, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I was going to attempt a velly velly bad arsenic pun based on an Underdog character.

Then I got better.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 2, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

There is an Wikipedia article for about everything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Underdog_characters

Posted by: yellojkt | December 2, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree tremendously on the liberal arts background, Wilbrod-- I think a J major ought to take as many electives in all sorts of things, and maybe pile up a healthy "minor" in at least one other subject, perhaps in the intended area of specialization-- poli. sci., music, movies, art appreciation, criminology, wherever the J-person thinks he/she might go.

As long as it isn't TV.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 2, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Mono Lake--so deeply etched in the memory, year after year, summer after summer.

My father would rouse us during the morning dark. We would traipse across Tehachapi, towing the old mint-green family trailer (such as it was) loaded with camping gear, then once we descended the mountains, always veering left to head north along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. After so much driving, my father would always need a long nap, and invariably the need came at Mono Lake, where my sister and I, who dozed in the backseat while he drove, would explore.

On the rare occasion, we would make it to Lake Tahoe in the same day. Other times, we would stay at an inexpensive motel in Carson City, when we would again get up in the dark for the drive to the lake, so that we would be the first in line for a campsite at the Tahoe City campground, back in the days when people would line up in their vehicles before the ranger station opened, back in the what-now-feels-like-ancient days when a family could pick its own campsite based on where you and your family car were in line.

This YouTube video gives great scenes of the unusual Mono Lake, including the well-known tufa towers. I can almost reach out and touch it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i28UEoLXVFQ

The arsenic embedded in the rock of the Sierra Nevada leaves several alpine trails, near old mines, toxic.

http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-06-23/news/21921340_1_mine-waste-rand-mining-district-arsenic

And surprisingly, no one mentioned Old Lace.

Posted by: laloomis | December 2, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

This discovery about arsenic begs the question - can organisms subsist on old lace too?

Posted by: lostnspace
______________

I've been doing it for years. Well, with ample supplements of green velvet and tweedy yarns. ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | December 2, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Note that some of the images on the Cinderella video and song YouTube clip above are not Mono Lake, but the old, nearby (to Mono Lake) eastern Sierra Nevada mining town, for some time now a ghost town, of Bodie.

More Bodie here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIi6o_EukI4

Posted by: laloomis | December 2, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little disappointed in the NASA announcement. I mean, when I hear NASA I am expecting something more, well, out of this world. This is cool, of course. But I'm pretty sure the world will recover from its philosophical swoon fairly quickly.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 2, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, talitha, for the catch on old lace.

My attention for this week is not on the the Boodle. Two days of shuttling or chauffeuring my husband and dog to appointments. Bumper crop of acorns this year--getting them up out of the lawn, and an apple crisp pie to remove from the oven--NOW!

Posted by: laloomis | December 2, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, to quote the great Dr. Frank-N-Furter, "I didn't make him for you!"

Posted by: Bob-S | December 2, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

loomis, my post was made while backboodling, not in correction of you.

Posted by: talitha1 | December 2, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

My question with this whole arsenic thing is, does this bacteria ideally include arsenic in its DNA? It seems like it doesn't. Given the choice, it would use phosphorus, but it is awesomely adaptable and can use arsenic in a pinch.

It's cool and all, but where in the world does one get "shadow biosphere" and "new lifeform" from that? If the arsenic building block remains in the face of phosphorus, and is inherited, then maybe it's a new lifeform, but not really before. It's a recently discovered nifty trait of a known bacteria.

I welcome being shot down about this, I'm not a biology SME by a long shot, but I kind of think it's been blown out of proportion and subject to the "gotcha" headline treatment.

Anywho, it's time for home and a warm meal. Toodles, boodles!

Posted by: MoftheMountain | December 2, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

And my (tongue-in-cheek) post referred to RD_Padouk's comment confessing to less than total excitement about the new critters, and not to laloomis post immediately following.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 2, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, have you seen this series? Fascinating...

http://www.slate.com/id/2274626/entry/2274627/

Posted by: slyness | December 2, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Good, slyness, thanks.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 2, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

MotheMountain-- it may ideally include arsenic in its DNA given enough generations, but it's still just a variant on either bacteria or archaeobacteria, and did not evolve separately from all other life forms; Mono Lake hasn't been polluted long enough for that.

http://www.astrobio.net/pressrelease/2172/archaea-the-bug-next-door

But the really interesting thing would be to see if those bacteria could swap their arsenic genes with other bacteria via plasmids.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 2, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Apropos of not much at all, I just don't understand why there's any question about letting the Bush tax cuts expire. Yes, absolutely, let it go. The taxes will rise not at all on individuals making under about $30,000/year and households making under about $40,000/year in adjusted taxable income. Above that, marginal rates would increase about 2-3%.

I don't mean to blithely dismiss the effects of rising taxes upon folks who are just barely holding it together, but let's be serious here. I spent a goodly portion of the years 1993-2006 getting by on gross (pre-deduction) paychecks of $200-400 per week (much of that time dreaming about how easy life would be if I could just average $400 per week!), and seldom was I in a situation where a tax increase of $6-12 per week would have materially worsened my comfort or prospects. Neither of which were too darned good! And let me reiterate this: The Bush tax cuts didn't affect anyone (and their expiration won't affect anyone) swimming anywhere near as low in the pond as I was.

For the time being, just let 'em go up in smoke. My concern for the folks making taxable incomes in excess of $150,000/year, whose taxes would increase by all of $30-per-$1000 on the amount over $150K, is not vast because I strongly suspect they will manage to scrape by until we get around to truly overhauling the tax code. The folks who most need the money are affected lightly or not at all by this whole thing, and the folks most benefiting from the lower tax rates aren't spending enough to make the economy a roaring success as things currently stand but are managing to hold on to an increasing share of the total wealth pie.

(Don't get me wrong. I'm sure they deserve every penny. We just need to borrow it for a while. They're smart, they'll figure out how to earn it back.)

Posted by: Bob-S | December 2, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

An NPR program on Kurt Vonnegut:

http://www.onpointradio.org/2010/12/kurt-vonnegut

Posted by: yellojkt | December 2, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

And more on the unemployment benefits - hardly anyone, from Senators to journalists, seems to understand what the bill does:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/02/john-barasso-blocks-unemp_n_791268.html

Got my letter from the state today. I've got a whopping $361 left! Thank goodness I'm working - hope I can get my claim recalculated if my temporary job truly is (temporary).

Posted by: seasea1 | December 2, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Yello, as a Vonnegut fan, you may want to check out the Paris Review interview with Kurt Vonnegut back then.

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/3605/the-art-of-fiction-no-64-kurt-vonnegut

However this is on the art of writing. There are also interviews with Hemingway, yadda yadda for any writer groupies.

Those are fun interviews to read.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 2, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

seasea - I'll spare you my extended rant on that subject, other than to agree wholeheartedly with you that much of the argument seems to be conducted in defiant ignorance of the underlying facts. When it comes to stimulating the economy, nothing has a bigger bang for the buck than food stamps & unemployment benefits, because those folks tend to spend the money immediately, not stash it away for a rainy day.

I'm very fortunate, and very grateful, that I finally found a steady job not too long before the wheels started coming off.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 2, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I've been dumping sidewalk and street acorns on the lawn. They sink into the spongy St. Augustine grass.

The backyard lawn has verdant ryegrass, which might possibly compete against the winter weeds. The front yard doesn't have weeds. Dumb luck.

A few Christmas amaryllises, recently planted in a repurposed bed, are flowering. Nasturtiums are sprouting, too. Summer's "profusion" zinnias (low bedding plants, unlike the big traditional cut flowers) are finally fading away.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 2, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

The Nabokov interview is very interesting, he speaks of Lolita and pulls no punches about Humbert Humbert's character.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 2, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod,
Thanks for the link to that Vonnegut interview. It has one of my favorite quotes of his:

"There is no shortage of wonderful writers. What we lack is a dependable mass of readers."

Posted by: yellojkt | December 2, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Golly. That IS a great quote.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 2, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

a musical interlude:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zsqr1dbL7IM

Posted by: -jack- | December 3, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

key to the highway

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eK9E6-Eu3-Y

Posted by: -jack- | December 3, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

awesome blues

Posted by: Yoki | December 3, 2010 12:59 AM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kL6TMjsygw

Posted by: Yoki | December 3, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Bob S, I pretty much agree. We will never get anywhere except further in the hole if our "leaders" agree that NOBODY ever has to pay any more or take any less.

Let them all expire. I'll pay more, and so will most folks, except the truly low earners and the unemployed.

There are times when bipartisanship is terrible. Those times have been frequent lately. The bipartisan agreement on taxes and spending? They'll agree to not cut spending and not raise taxes.... again.

Posted by: baldinho | December 3, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Krugman points out that the federal pay freeze was symbolic, but in a very bad way.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/03/opinion/03krugman.html

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

jkt, we see repeated over and over again why Obama has presented problems to his supporters. He gives away the high ground all the time. He doesn't ask the Republicans to take any stands ... Sadly, we see Pelosi and Reed doing it in Congress.

I don't doubt that his (Obama) intentions are sincere, but he has to be dumb as a board to think that "this time" they (the Republicans) will be bipartisan.

It is just a simple case of clear speaking. EVERYBODY, rich and poor, get a break on the first $250,000 of "earnings."

I don't think that many Americans really support tax breaks on folks making the amount of money above that level.

They do back Republicans on some grounds, as yet rationally defined.

We just suffer from bad messaging from the White House and really crappy reporting from sources such as the Washington Post amongst many.

Booo.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 3, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

If Obama knew he was going to freeze federal pay he was in a damned if you do, damned if you don't position. If he held it as a bargaining chit, he looked weak if he bargained it way. But throwing it on the table pre-emptively was worse. It was declaring that he could be rolled. And he again allowed the Republicans to define the debate.

Where is the firebrand who will go on a soak-the-rich crusade so that modest tax hikes can look like a moderate compromise? By making the starting point not renewing tax cuts for the rich, a half-loaf is guaranteed.

And by making the cuts on the middle class a temporary extension, Democrats are giving Republicans a ready made 2012 campaign issue. It's like they want to lose.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. Cassandra, we miss you! Hope the little one and his mother are doing well.

When tax withholding was changed, what, a year and a half ago? I went back and returned mine to the previous level. I'd rather pay upfront than get hit with a big bill at the end.

My brother the Republican says he doesn't understand how government get money and then he gets furious about taxes. WTF? It seems pretty straightforward to me.

Onward into the day. Yesterday, we decorated the Christmas trees in the sanctuary, in anticipation of the noon concert there today, to be broadcast with live audience over the local classical music radio station. It will get me in the Christmas spirit.

Posted by: slyness | December 3, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I complain about messaging and can't be clear, myself.... boo, me.

There are two things upon which almost economists will agree: (1) barring the puffery, the more money we put into the hands of the middle class (consumers) and the lower economic classes, the better off we will be. PERIOD. (there is no supply-side economic affect that even approaches a demand driven system; Stockman has recanted)

and, (2) We need more manufacturing... why not use this moment to re-tool our power grid and individual and community energy and green conservation systems. We should recycle the investment in those systems within our own country and community. We need to turn dollars over in our own communities.

My point earlier, is that, if you accept what I just said above (as most economists and scientists will), then everything the government considers should include that measurement as well as constantly suggesting that we only should look at the budget impact. The budget impact is only one gauge on our economy. If the deficit goes up by 2, but our GNP goes up by 4, then that is considered an "INVESTMENT in OUR SOCIETY."

If Congress acts in such a way that causes our national wealth to be held by fewer and fewer hands, it is just putting a gun to the heads of small business people everywhere in the country. After all, we can't all have jewelry shops on Rodeo Drive. Some of us have bakeries in middle class neighborhoods.

In the past 20 years, we have gone through a severe redistribution of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the ultra wealthy of this country (and amazingly to people outside this country).

The 112th Congress will be filled with a good number of wealthy simpletons who do not intend to represent the common American and their economic well being. We can't just use the phrase, for instance, that we "cannot afford" Medicare for seniors at the age of 65.

That is a stupid thing to pull out of your arse. Can we as a nation afford not to? When I say the nation, I mean the people. What I am suggesting is that each of us has to consider the value of these services as taken along with all of the other impacts on our life.

While the shot at Federal Workers was almost an arbitrary "singling out," each of us are going to take a shot of arbitrariness along with a big tall glass of stupid, while we are at it.

My point is that we must all band together and "stop the madness." We need to get rid of the Alan Simpson mentality, here, and get some thoughtful conversations going.

I fear that we will need to wait another 2 years for that, at least for it to take place in Washington, DC, the same disregard for low level and mid-level Federal workers is going to be shown to kids living in poverty; people with life-threatening health conditions; the unemployed; the under-educated; the manufacturing workers without a factory in which to work and so on and so on.

All this is why I think that N. Korea is just us acting out the Shock Doctrine.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 3, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I complain about messaging and can't be clear, myself.... boo, me.

There are two things upon which almost economists will agree: (1) barring the puffery, the more money we put into the hands of the middle class (consumers) and the lower economic classes, the better off we will be. PERIOD. (there is no supply-side economic affect that even approaches a demand driven system; Stockman has recanted)

and, (2) We need more manufacturing... why not use this moment to re-tool our power grid and individual and community energy and green conservation systems. We should recycle the investment in those systems within our own country and community. We need to turn dollars over in our own communities.

My point earlier, is that, if you accept what I just said above (as most economists and scientists will), then everything the government considers should include that measurement as well as constantly suggesting that we only should look at the budget impact. The budget impact is only one gauge on our economy. If the deficit goes up by 2, but our GNP goes up by 4, then that is considered an "INVESTMENT in OUR SOCIETY."

If Congress acts in such a way that causes our national wealth to be held by fewer and fewer hands, it is just putting a gun to the heads of small business people everywhere in the country. After all, we can't all have jewelry shops on Rodeo Drive. Some of us have bakeries in middle class neighborhoods.

In the past 20 years, we have gone through a severe redistribution of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the ultra wealthy of this country (and amazingly to people outside this country).

The 112th Congress will be filled with a good number of wealthy simpletons who do not intend to represent the common American and their economic well being. We can't just use the phrase, for instance, that we "cannot afford" Medicare for seniors at the age of 65.

That is a stupid thing to pull out of your arse. Can we as a nation afford not to? When I say the nation, I mean the people. What I am suggesting is that each of us has to consider the value of these services as taken along with all of the other impacts on our life.

While the shot at Federal Workers was almost an arbitrary "singling out," each of us are going to take a shot of arbitrariness along with a big tall glass of stupid, while we are at it.

My point is that we must all band together and "stop the madness." We need to get rid of the Alan Simpson mentality, here, and get some thoughtful conversations going.

I fear that we will need to wait another 2 years for that, at least for it to take place in Washington, DC, the same disregard for low level and mid-level Federal workers is going to be shown to kids living in poverty; people with life-threatening health conditions; the unemployed; the under-educated; the manufacturing workers without a factory in which to work and so on and so on.

All this is why I think that N. Korea is just us acting out the Shock Doctrine.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 3, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Preach, thistlebrother; then, read about steady state economics and the most excellent Herman Daly...off to impart chic lits of wisdom. I shall copyright my teaching technique....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 3, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

russianthistle, just to be argumentative (remember that I'm a D married to an R :-) - this comment:

"The 112th Congress will be filled with a good number of wealthy simpletons who do not intend to represent the common American and their economic well being. "

To which party are you referring? Seven of the 10 wealthiest simpletons carry a "D" after their names - Harman, Kerry, Warner, Polis, Kohl, Rockefeller, and Feinstein. Only three with an "R" - Issa, Buchanan and McCaul. Overall, if I count correctly, there are slightly more "D" millionaires than there are "R" millionaires. If you really care about this stuff, opensecrets.org has a really cool database at http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/search_cid.php
(Of course, that only has members of the current Congress; newly elected members haven't filed financial statements and so aren't listed.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 3, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

AB,
It's not so much the wealth of individual members. They are all rich b@stards and if they aren't now, they will be eventually. It's amazing how good the investment savvy of congressmen is. While few are as good at futures as Hillary Clinton, they all manage to make some smart investments.

What is crucial is who they are beholden to. If their base is funded by teabagger puppetmasters, the loyalties will be to fat cats and resource extractors. If unions (gummint workers and teachers about the only ones you hear about anymore) financed the campaigns, you would hope some policies aimed at the working class would shake out.

The first two years did have some nice breaks for the average consumer like credit reform, but for the most part, it's gonna be back to placating the comfortable for the foreseeable future.

I'm even a little suspicious of how wide a margin the food safety law passed my. That means it wasn't nearly tough enough.

I'm pretty appalled by how whiny the rich have gotten. It's one thing to be ruthless glassbowls, after all that's how they got rich, but they are such babies about it lately.

Back to my hypothetical angry populist: How about a healthy upping of the capital gains tax offset by a huge investment tax credit? If we are going to give tax breaks to the rich in hopes of it trickling down, let's at least grade the trough the right direction.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

There are 535 members of the House and Senate. 261 of them have assets of $1,000,000 or more. 51 have assets north of $10,000,000.

And now for something completely different-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-11908583

Posted by: kguy1 | December 3, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

AB, again, I was getting ready for a meeting when I typed that, so it was not clear, but I think, as jkt pointed out, it is the understanding of econometrics that the 112th will come up a bit weak (at best).

Of course, everyone comes with a point of view. My thought is that so many of us have terrible understanding of facts.

We can measure things like each person's financial situation. We can assign values to their predicted quality of life. We can give you a reading on almost anything, if we care. I used to work in a Federal agency that suggested that it could measure Quality of Life for patients.

I am just suggesting that Congress shouldn't "suppose" what it is doing to 250 million Americans, it should measure it.

I ask you AB, if what you say is so, why are so many Republicans (like all of them) standing in a straight like saying THE ONLY THING that counts is permanent tax cuts for 1 to 2 percent of the population?

Now, if they were so "principled," they would be making a stand like: "Not one more factory job gets sent overseas."

In fact, the Republican party Congress people have, for over a decade been pushing jobs overseas and creating tax incentives to do so. What's more, way beyond to comprehension of the average American voter, the same group has been legislating tax holidays for ultra wealthy Americans who have taken their manufacturing and production overseas, so that they may "repatriate their profits."

I am not saying that the Democrats are better than the Republicans, I am saying that they are trying to do things for me, and the Republicans are working for the rich folks who live here and, amazingly, overseas.

Which brings me to the amazing end of this response where I will tie this up with a bow and bring you back to the Citizen's United decision and its impact. Foreign individuals and corporations could and did pour millions of dollars into the last election. Foreign corporations and individuals are doing better by the Republican members of Congress than I am.

Doesn't that seem a little bit misguided?

Hey, if it were just that we are taking my money and, in affect, giving it to the rich through tax policies, but we are doing the same for foreign individuals and corporations, as well.

AB, as the Church Lady says:

ISN'T THAT SPECIAL!?"

Posted by: russianthistle | December 3, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. If any of my kids ever even thought about half the stuff here, there'd be some serious discussion about the differences between awesome and crazy, but I'm guessing some of these kids didn't exactly discuss this stuff with their parents ahead of time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo0Cazxj_yc

Posted by: LostInThought | December 3, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I just read Gene Robinson's column, which sounds suspiciously familiar. I swear I hadn't seen it before my rant last night.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/02/AR2010120204560.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Posted by: bobsewell | December 3, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Ron Santo has passed away. One of the best, my bias as a Cubs fan not withstanding.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-ron-santo-chicago-cubs-obit,0,1699814.story

Posted by: -jack- | December 3, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

bobs,
You and Robinson seem to echoing the entire center-left continuum. I really can't imagine a more audacious policy than extending tax cuts to the rich while cutting unemployment benefits AT THE SAME TIME. This is anvil-on-the-head Scrooge versus Tiny Tim levels of irony and they are getting away with it. Absolutely nothing is beyond the pale. Really.

Upcoming next: Relaxing water pollution standards while cutting cancer research funding in the same bill. Call it the "I Don't Trust Water I Can't Taste Act".

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I was listening to NPR on my way to work this morning. This whole Bush-era tax cut debate drives me nuts. I'll not wander into the details too much since I think others have said it before and really I don't have anything new to add.

However, there was one thing that struck me this morning. I didn't catch her name but one of the panelists on On Point was saying that Olympia Snow (R-ME) has a proposal out that would use unspent stimulus money to offset the unemployment benefit extension. I don't know what the GOP caucus would do but this panelist said that the Democrats will not go for this use of stimulus money. I guess my question is: why? I mean if the "stimulus" money hasn't been spent then do we really thing spending it in 6-12-18 months (or whenever it's supposed to be issued) is going to make a difference? Whereas spending the money as unemployment benefits is almost the same as pumping it directly back into the economy b/c so many people receiving it have no buffer savings and so must spend the money.

Of course, I'm not sure the "rent" and "grocery" sectors of the economy are really the ones that need a jolt of consumer spending but . . .

Anyone else here about this?

Posted by: cowhand214 | December 3, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Would that be the Wile E. Coyote version of Scrooge, yello?

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 3, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Anyone else hear about this?

Posted by: cowhand214 | December 3, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

More like the Animaniacs version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzEqEgOyDlQ

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Good day, y'all.

As jack mentioned, RIP Ron Santo. A great ballplayer, an hysterical colorman on Cubbie radio broadcasts, and an all-round great human. I will miss him.

ArmyBrat, have you checked out Conor Williams' inaugural effort as WaPo's next great pundit? Oy vey!

As to the lame duck session of Congress, there seems by design to be something for everyone to get angry about. So I've decided to buck the trend and smile.

Macadamia nut cookies anyone? I've also got a crudite platter w/ hummus for dipping and strawberry lemonade.

Posted by: MsJS | December 3, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama's in Afghanistan, surprise visit. Caught Petreaus in his bathrobe and bunny slippers.

Meanwhile, there's something about the entire "Afghanistan is horribly corrupt" theme I don't get. A-stan was ALWAYS horribly corrupt, as is almost every place in the mideast, south and central America, most of Africa, and good bit of Far East. In most of the 3rd world corruption and bribery are basically a way of life. Were we not aware of this? Did we think we could enforce an entire change of culture? Why are we not using the bribery and corruoption in our favor? (I.e., bribing some of them to behave "our" way? We flew billions of dollars over there on big skids and pallets in cargo planes. Is the problem that if we bribe some village chief he doesn't stay bought?

We need to subcontract out or bribery enforcement program to the mob.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 3, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

We might be able to do better than that, Mudge.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avw0n9b2o9U

Posted by: cowhand214 | December 3, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Continuing today's theme-

http://gawker.com/5704960/idaho-man-rings-in-holidays-with-ku-klux-klan-snowman

Where are those snow sculpture snatchers when we need them?

Posted by: kguy1 | December 3, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

MsJS - just saw the Williams post. A bit simplistic, but not terrible. But it doesn't address a couple of areas: 1, other states have been providing college tuition through Government funding for years (e.g., Georgia's HOPE Scholarships; Louisiana's "Taylor's Kids" program), so this is not unique; and 2, not all kids are destined for college. Like it or not, America needs plumbers, electricians, carpenters, auto mechanics, bricklayers, HVAC maintenance people, and other occupations that are somewhat frowned upon in upper-middle class enclaves.

(I was not a fan of Williams during the contest, and was somewhat surprised he won, but we can hope he at least matures into something useful.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 3, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Xmas in Texas

http://www.curiouscountrycreations.com/images/products/tumbleweed-snowman_01.jpg

Severe and extreme drought just to our west. People here are just crossing their fingers that the lack of rain during the last several months isn't a carbon copy of the horrible Sept. 2007 through Sept. 2009 drought. The current La Nina pattern produces warm, fair days, mild evenings, and dry, dry, dry everything else.

http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/DM_south.htm

Posted by: laloomis | December 3, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

mudge, it possible that the Afghani politicians are simply like Louisiana politicians - they cannot be bought.

You can't buy a Louisiana politician; you can only rent them. And if you don't make your next payment on time, the politician will be repossessed and will vote against you next time.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 3, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

My favorite comment on the Klan snowman story was:

"Someone's been dreaming of a white Christmas."

Posted by: bobsewell | December 3, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Danny Noonan: I planned to go to law school after I graduated, but it looks like my folks won't have enough money to put me through college.

Judge Smails: Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 3, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat, except for the factual errors it was OK. Very much in keeping with his idealistic personality, so I guess he gets points for authenticity.

I wondered about how other programs are doing as well. Got a friend whose daughter is at Georgia Tech under the HOPE program.

Here's hoping he evolves into a worthy pundit.

Posted by: MsJS | December 3, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

MsJS - my wife's brother lives in Georgia. His daughter was getting ready to graduate from high school. If she Aced her last final exam, she'd get a B in the class and graduate with a 3.02 GPA. If she did less well on the final, she'd get a C and graduate with a 2.97. The HOPE Scholarship pays full tuition and fees at GA public colleges if you graduate from high school with a 3.0 or above; it pays nothing if you graduate with below a 3.0. B-I-L spent hours trying to convince his daughter how important that final was; she planned to just blow it off because she'd get a C in the class even if she failed and what was the big difference anyway? ARRRGGGH!! (B-I-L knew the teacher; he called her and explained the situation and the daughter got an A on the final. She SAID the daughter really did ace the test. Who knows, though?)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 3, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"Did we think we could enforce an entire change of culture?"

-curmudgeon

Well, yeah, in short. When our former fearless leader decided to try and install democratic governments in nations that had never had them, that's exactly what we were (and are) trying to do. When the people believe that it is right and moral to murder a daughter or sister for bringing horrible shame upon the whole family by audaciously being raped (I'm pretty sure that usually happens against the will of the victim), a democratically elected parliament does not seem to be high on their list of things they need.

It is rather high on OUR list, but then we have a different culture, one that would probably fight as hard against the implementation of "honor killings" as some Afghans (and Iraqis) are fighting against democracy.

Posted by: GomerGross | December 3, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Another snowman story, direct from today's Carolyn Hax livechat .......

"Thumpety thump thump!: Just walked past a holiday crafts fair downtown and saw 2 security guards helping the 8' Frosty the Snowman mascot down the sidewalk. I assume there's a wardrobe malfunction, but with Frosty's head lolling around and the 2 officers it looks like Frosty is being arrested for public drunkenness. Look at Frosty go!"

Posted by: talitha1 | December 3, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The wife and I did a cost-benefit analysis on moving to Georgia to establish residency for the HOPE scholarship. At the time my son was not completely sold on GT even though that is where he finally decided to go. It helped that he didn't get accepted to any of his more expensive 'reach' schools.

We figured that the loss in salary of my wife's teacher job ate up half of the tuition savings and that was assuming I could match my salary in Atlanta, which I probably couldn't. In the end we stayed put, but my son sure is envious of those in-state kids coasting by on a 3.0 GPA to stay HOPE eligible and I am even more so.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't paid attention to the pundits during the contest. Interesting that Williams did time in the Teach for America corps. Is he another of Michelle Rhee's ex-husbands by any chance?

Posted by: bobsewell | December 3, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to the Milbank chatter who tipped to this -

http://www.moronswithsigns.blogspot.com/

From the site:
"I appreciate anyone who has the gumption to protest despite their handicapped abilities to articulate what they oppose. Their right, and ours, to a freedom of speech is something few in this world can savor. Another right we should not forget to savor, though, is the right to mock them."

Posted by: kguy1 | December 3, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

HOPE only covers tuition, fees, and some books. Room and board are full rate. One of my son's friends had to become a Presidential Scholar (GT's only non-need based financial aid) in order to attend since her parents refused to pay a dime. That is some pressure to do well in high school.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - true GT story. Last year I interviewed a guy for an engineering position. He's a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins, with a major in Physics and a minor in Philosophy. He's from Atlanta. I asked him about why he chose Hopkins rather than GT. He told me that he had inherited $100,000 from his grandmother. He could have gone to GT free on a HOPE Scholarship, or paid full tuition at JHU. But he couldn't minor in philosophy at GT while also majoring in Physics, and he could do that at JHU. So he chose to spend his inheritance on tuition. Now, my mind is warped by the fact that I'm currently paying tuition for THREE kids in college at once - money we've saved over 20 years is flying out in a few months. So, it was very difficult to write up a hiring recommendation for him, knowing that he turned down a free education like that. :-(

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 3, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I'll reiterate my general idea for reducing the deficit.

1) freeze spending on just about everything. Yes, that means that most or all beneficiaries will see a slow erosion of benefits. SS does not count, but Medicaid and Medicare will see their growth drop off or stop. My idea would be that if spending was added (unemployment extension?) then other spending would have to be cut (there has to be something that could be cut... Sen. Snowe has an idea I guess).

2) Lets all the Bush tax cuts expire. Yes, that will mean just about everyone will pay more in taxes. It will also mean that the wealthy will see far and away the majority of the increases.

I think my ideas will cause "pain", in that everyone will be hit. Just about everyone will be mad.... and will look to take it out on someone.

I hope that after taking the hit, people woud look around and realize that at least everyone took the hit, and would feel less mad. In addition, everyone who took a hit would see that we were still running big deficits... despite the hit. That might allow the quick-to-get-angry nature of folks to slow down.

It is all a dream, for nobody would ever enact my plan. Nobody and I mean nobody would let it happen. People would spend millions of hours and billions of dollars to prevent anything of that nature from happening.

So it goes.


To me, the Bush tax cuts are a self-evident failure. Weren't they supposed to stimulate stuff so much? They were just so crucial to a new boom of wonderfulness and growthitude. Funny, I don't see it. Do you?

They were dubious then and are dubious now.

The GOP uses a consistent argument over new spending programs: the liberals love to enact them, because once the beneficiaries start getting stuff, they get used to it and will never let it go away.

I'll use the same thing about the Bush tax cuts. The GOP pushed them through KNOWING that nobody would ever have the stones to get rid of them... because everyone got used to them.

Hogwash. Do it now. Waiting until some magical tomorrow never ever works.

Posted by: baldinho | December 3, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

This story is awesome. A whole new catchphrase: go cross the street in Orlando, jerk!

http://news.yahoo.com/video/odd-15749658/street-sign-gives-people-the-finger-23304887

Posted by: baldinho | December 3, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

AB,
Our classic story is a coworker of my wife's whose daughter turned down a scholarship at Vanderbilt to pay out of state tuition at Virginia Tech because VT was the better engineering school, arguable at best. The mom had to go from part-time to full-time as a teachers' aide (lots of cash there) and take a second retail job to cover the cost difference.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

AB,
They may not have had a philosophy minor then, but they do now.

http://www.philosophy.gatech.edu/minor.php

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Great story, ArmyBrat. I knew about the HOPE GPA requirement and wondered how kids on the bubble responded to it.

BobS, the question you raised was not lost on this year's pundit peanut gallery and was a source of some snickering. This year's winner has many things in common with last year's but being a Rhee ex does not appear to be one of them.

Posted by: MsJS | December 3, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I applaud those folks who are willing to pay full tuition. They are taking to heart my admonition that those who can afford to eschew benefits from pooled-fund resources must do so if we're to be able to provide those benefits to folks who can't afford to pay their share.

I question the wisdom & judgment of doing so when you can't afford it, but I'm sure Virginia Tech appreciated the fact that it freed up some scholarship/grant money for another student.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 3, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The opium trade goes on, and on. No easy answers so the default answer is... what? The press don't much care to point out its effect on the U.S. efforts. The U.S. doesn't much care to publicize its own acquiescence. And the Bush appointee from Unocal sits, and stays.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 3, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Here is a great test.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgnHEyeMECc

Are you smiling now? You should be.

Posted by: baldinho | December 3, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

baldinho,
The expiration date on the tax cuts was always an end run around the accepted budgeting processes. Everybody always knew the 'tax cuts' blew the deficit on the out years. What they completely missed was it blew the deficit on the 'good' years as well. And yes, the Democrats got played by putting the expiration into their term to force them to bite the bullet. It's not like these strategies are top secret or tough to figure out.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Who knew Israel had enough trees to mount a decent forest fire? I guess all those "plant a tree" programs I remember from my youth (and my parents & grandparents youths) were at least moderately successful.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 3, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

As Obama took office, I predicted that pretty quickly his biggest critics would be the most left-leaning of his supporters.

Krugman has spent a year proving me right.

Posted by: baldinho | December 3, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

RIP Elaine Kaufman of "Elaine's," the tony NY eatery and gliteratti watering hole. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/04/nyregion/04kaufman.html?hp

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 3, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

In memory of Elaine Kaufman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEea624OBzM

So it goes.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

baldinho, Krugman backed Hillary in 2008. He would have been in her inner circle had she prevailed.

Having backed the wrong horse, he has never been what you would call an authentic Obama supporter. There was a truce of sorts after Obama had Krugman over for dinner in 2009, but it wasn't long lasting.

Posted by: MsJS | December 3, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... I don't think I've ever really considered Krugman an authentically political animal. He's certainly liberal, but he's not really a guy that I'd want to count on for explicit personal political support, should I ever need any. I just don't think that's what he does.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 3, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"I don't doubt that his (Obama) intentions are sincere, but he has to be dumb as a board to think that "this time" they (the Republicans) will be bipartisan."

I have heard this a number of times, and I think it is a deeply flawed description of the situation. No, I don't think Mr. Obama has the faintest hope that the Republicans will behave differently. If they *do* act differently, it would be welcome, but he is at least as perspicacious as any of us and can see perfectly well that the Republicans think their best course is to remain stubborn and petulant. The point of repeatedly extending this olive branch is to establish that he really did make a credible attempt at compromise, so that when it comes time to vote, the people may remember that and think about who is *really* to blame for the big disaster. It didn't work in the mid-terms, because the Republicans still could claim (albeit falsely) that they were not offered an opportunity to contribute. They can no longer hide behind that lie, as they now control half the legislature and they have no choice but to seek compromise or shut down the government.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 3, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

BobS, I know many boodlers respect Dr. Krugman. It's no secret that I'm not one of them, so I'll refrain from saying any more about what I think he is or does.

Posted by: MsJS | December 3, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes, SciTim, and I recall how well that worked for Newt when he tried it.

Posted by: slyness | December 3, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to defend the Bush tax cuts, per se, but we need remember that when they were voted on, we were still basking in Clinton's budget surplus. The real problem, which the GOP-ers conveniently don't mention, is their complicity in not doing something about paying for the wars. Then came the bubble burst, which also occurred on their watch. So now that there's a Democrat in the White House, its time to blame him for all these problems and cleaning up the mess they left/ignored.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 3, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, many of us believe, other than the fact that there are olive branches scattering the floor that Obama has, himself, failed to deal with the opposition party appropriately.

Clearly, that is my opinion and it varies from yours. Hey, I like Obama and, in a real world, he should indeed do what he is doing, but not with this crowd. He has to bully them worse than they are bullying him. The only thing the republican party will respond to is chicago politics.

(where's his bloodline?)

Posted by: russianthistle | December 3, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

If memory serves correctly, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon & Clinton all managed to get re-elected (Ike & Nixon quite handily) while both houses of Congress were majority-led by the other party, and Democrats held at least a fifty-seat majority in the House of Reps during Reagan's entire presidency.

Having plenty of vehement congressional opposition is no bar to presidential reelection.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 3, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Of course, we weren't really discussing re-election politics, but my point is that Obama might as well do what he can to accomplish whatever he can, even if it means "wasting" conciliatory moves. The idea that these moves somehow show weakness which will come back to haunt him is historically suspect. As Tim pointed out.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 3, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

RT, about the 'appropriately' in your post. Yeah, I get where you're coming from, and in terms of the last elections there's an argument there, but as to the policy issues at hand there's something of a dance to it all and the band's still playing. Hard to know how many twists and turns are coming up, who dips who, how low, etc.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 3, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I do not have anything to add to the current discussion but do want to pass on a public service message. As I was snarkily comparing our weather with that of Buffalo, a co-worker was in her car, for 16 hours caught in the mess on the interstate.

For anyone who travels in areas with potential bad weather, get your emergency kits in the car, a blanket, water, snacks, a candle, flashlight.

The co-worker is fine and in good spirits, just tired from a long sleepless night, she was afraid to go to sleep in case she forgot to turn off the car, which was started for 5 minutes every half hour.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Hiya all. I've been sorta backboodling off and on today. We filed our pleading last night and *I* think it's dang good (seeing as I wrote it. The hearing is in about two weeks, so after that we'll know what the future holds for our client.

That being said, all of the intensity of the research and the writing and the time and all left me operating in slo-mo today (as opposed to "Yo Mo!"), so I did a little bit of work and mostly just f@rted around. This weekend I aim to relax some more, if only to hit the ground hobbling on Monday.

I also think a holiday BPH would be terrific, so count me in!

Posted by: ftb3 | December 3, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

*standing ovation for Ms. Townsend*

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/03/AR2010120303209.html

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 3, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, DMD, for the reminder. Twill be chilly here tonight and tomorrow. Take care all. I find that I have nothing to do save become ready for Christmas. St. Nicolas' Day on Sunday. We still put out shoes with hay and carrots for the reindeer....and get socks and underwear in return.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 3, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Wow, a big ship full of canola seed is adrift near the Aleutian Islands due to engine failure. The article states the ship has 10,000 gallons of lube oil.
As Mudge is an old salt black gang sailor, maybe he could extrapolate on how a ship recently out of port with lots of lube oil could have engine failure.
And does the great circle route out of Canada go way up around by the aleutians?
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/12/03/national/a121034S54.DTL&tsp=1

Posted by: bh72 | December 3, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

To me, Obama doesn't really have the ability to jawbone and unleash the wrath of common sense on the GOP. He seems to have no base of supporters that the GOP fears.

What is Obama's base of core supporters that the GOP risks alienating? It seems that the attack machine of the right has done an effective job of peeling off most of the people that "converted" to him in 2008. The combination of "he's not one of us" and closeted racial stereotyping seems to have really worked to turn any working class and middle class males against him with a passion. The misinformation about the health care reform bill has most of the aged givng him the stinkeye. He still has the youth vote, but they are notoriously inconsistent in their participation in politics.

In short, who is going to make the GOP pay for going over the top? Who will punish them? I see no significant voting blocs that the GOP feels it needs to win that it has to play nice to appeal to.

It was said about George Herbert Walker Bush: his support is a mile wide and an inch deep. I fear the same is with Obama.

American voters are just too easy nowadays. They turn on a dime for varied reasons. All the poltical strategists have become too good at what they do.

Posted by: baldinho | December 3, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat, had I been asked such a question, I'd have said, "have you BEEN to Georgia, specifically Georgia Tech?"

Sometimes the easy choice isn't the right choice. Sometimes it is.

100K for an education anywhere is a freedom of choice not to be sneezed at (and for all you know, the will specifically said "college education and associated expenses" only.) However, I'd have done some background checking on whether he had qualified for a HOPE scholarship in the first place. In short, if your gut soured, maybe it wasn't just the tuition issue.

Yellojkt, I personally was expected to work towards my college education with my first summer job onwards.

Anybody turning down a free scholarship (without working to get another such scholarship) in my family would be fully expected to work summers, falls, winters, and springs to help cover tuition costs.

My parents only paid about 4K towards my college education, and that was still a lot.

I'm hoping the mom insisted on having the daughter pay her share of tuition, too. There's nothing wrong with turning down a scholarship as long as you're willing to live with the consequences, not make others do it for you.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 3, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I could have used a better word when I called Krugman an Obama supporter. I should have said he is a prominent person within a group of people that would normally wholeheartedly support Obama.

Posted by: baldinho | December 3, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

New York Times writer Frank Bruni passed up Yale for a Morehead Scholarship at North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Free education.

Israel has a significant bit of forest. It seems the conifers can make it in surpisingly dry places. I recall a scientific finding that an Israeli forest was actually hotter than surrounding non-forest land in summer because the needles are dark (heat-absorbing) and were evaporating very little water--the trees were effectively dormant.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 3, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod,

You know I went to Georgia Tech and I have been on and around the Johns Hopkins campus many times. They each have many wonderful things going for them and they have very different cultures, but I can't categorically call one better than the other. Your sneering attitude towards the state of Georgia, which has one of the finest public higher education funding programs in the country, and Georgia Tech in particular is mean-spirited and unbecoming.

We have some variation of this conversation every year and it always decamps into the give-your-kid-every-advantage side and the they-should-lift-themselves-up-by-the-bootstraps group. I fall into the former. The greatest gift my parents have ever given me was the expectation I would go to college and the means to do so. My life is so much richer in every way, intellectually, socially, and yes, materially than if they had not.

I worked a co-op job in college but mostly to finance my personal expenses which were for their day far in excess of the rather austere lifestyle my son lives. While I would like him to have work experience the economy is so dismal I just hope there are jobs for him when he graduates. We are outsourcing so much engineering and other intellectual capital we are hollowing out the advantages our country has in the global market.

Like health care, education costs have risen much faster than general inflation and it is mind-boggling expensive compared to even half a generation ago. A person would have to work a $10 an hour job full time all year just to pay their way to a four year in-state college.

The advantages my parents gave me are the reason I can do this for my child, and I would never begrudge him the same consideration. Not everybody can afford the college education their children are capable of and that is a crime against society we should rectify. But any parent who denies their child an opportunity in order to teach them a lesson is teaching the wrong one.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I think that is the first time I have thought so highly of KKT. You go girl!

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

My favorite version .....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Thls_tMuFkc

Posted by: talitha1 | December 3, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Someone asked awhile ago why the Democrats don't want to use stimulus funds to pay for unemployment benefits. This article explains:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/02/scott-brown-unemployment-benefits_n_790383.html
"To Democrats, "paying for" extended unemployment insurance is not the same as paying for just anything. They have two objections. The most important one -- though not the one they tend to make first -- is that cutting government spending from one part of the budget to pay for extended jobless aid diminishes the economic benefit of the aid."

"Democrats' other objection to paying for benefits -- typically the first thing they say when asked -- is simply that they don't usually pay for benefits. Federally-funded extended benefits have been put in place during every recession going back more than half a century, and they usually have not been fully paid for, according to research by the House Historian."

Guess they don't want to start down that slippery slope...OTOH, if they don't get extended at all...

Posted by: seasea1 | December 3, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

This song was the Final Jewpardy clue at the annual Hanukkah party we go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_G1jF4Pnh0

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Sneering? I meant that people can't judge a college's fit based on reputation alone.

For instance, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is highly esteemed, yet they had only one interpreter contracted to work with them. I would never consider going to school there because of how dismal their accessibility accomodations were at so many levels, and I did have that opportunity.

There are perfectly valid reasons for people wishing to study within a very short drive of the Nation's Capital that do not slur the good State of Georgia.

The Smithsonian, for one. The Library of Congress. Access to the best hospitals. The thriving aerospace industry in Maryland and abundant internships available to students, as well as the possibility of working in the Pentagon. Not to mention the bullet train to New York for broadway musicals.

There IS a reason you're working here, not in Georgia. Why shouldn't an engineering student consider studying in the same area he might want to work at in the future, or at least give himself enrichment and experiences of the type he couldn't get at Georgia Tech?

I know Atlanta is a great, hot, hip city now, but no one city can provide everything on earth, not even New York City.

I'd like to say that you're reading way too much into my comment and that you also stubbornly missed what I said about "sometimes the easy option is the right one, sometimes it is not."

If I had 100,000 dollars to spend on my education however I wanted and no pressure to get good grades, I'd be studying art in Paris right now.

While I appreciate your willingness to give your only child every opportunity to succeed, take a step back and imagine your issue multipled by more than one child.

I'm the youngest of many children and my parents are proud they put us ALL through college, and they worked long hours and took out a second mortagage for that. My dad was an engineer too.

So, I personally took out loans. College now costs nearly twice as much as when I attended, or more. I thank god I really don't have to worry about that as much as I did when I went the first time.

I do understand this point. I also think you missed my point; which was not that the daughter should pay for the whole college herself, but that she shows herself as willing to invest financially in this choice as she is asking her parents to do.

The consequences of overinvesting in one child's education in a multi-sibling household can mean others lose out or become jealous and resentful over preferential treatment.

I am just saying this is how it was in my family, and I do not appreciate your implied slur on my family in return, either.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 3, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't recall mentioning your family at all.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, congratulations on the adoption!

Posted by: -dbG- | December 3, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I offer an opinion about asking children to invest in such a major expense, and back it up with my family experiences.

In response, you imply my position was that of denying opportunity in order to teach life lessons-- as "any parent who denies their child an opportunity in order to teach them a lesson is teaching the wrong one."

How do you possibly derive that interpretion from my personal example without slurring my family?

As for your son, he has a home in this area, and an education where he wants to study. He'll be in a good position to job-hunt in two regions by graduation, and he will benefit by that.

Sometimes reputation is NOT the thing that matters as much as location and fit, and there's nothing wrong with that choice, as long as you're choosing between two good schools.

(This is in response to ArmyBrat.)


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 3, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

The chow puppy got adopted? Great news for the chocolate fuzzball!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 3, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod,

I was responding specifically to this statement of yours:

"I'm hoping the mom insisted on having the daughter pay her share of tuition, too. There's nothing wrong with turning down a scholarship as long as you're willing to live with the consequences, not make others do it for you."

I have no idea what contributions this family expected their daughter to make. I know the daughter worked nights and weekends at a sandwich shop and that she has two younger sisters. But anything else is none of my damned business.

My own father told me I would have to accept an ROTC scholarship if I wanted to go to the more expensive school I was accepted to. I took the choice that cost him a lot more money. He could have told me to take the scholarship anyways or not go to college. That is the type of punitive hypothetical I was opposing.

My family had no explicit revenue sharing plan I was aware of. My brother went to a large in-state school, but I suspect my parents paid for a good part of his MBA since they also helped my wife with her masters.

My sister was going to a fairly expensive small liberal arts college before she was expelled. My folks have continued to help with her vocational training over the past couple of decades.

We all want the best for our children and I am sure your parents did the best they could with the resources they had. I have no knowledge of your personal situation and wasn't casting any aspersions.

You completely ignored my comment that people should be able to get the education they need regardless of ability to pay. Perhaps after we institute universal health care and stronger primary and secondary education, we can get around to that as well.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

bh72, a ship could have engine failure for any of a hundred reasons having nothing to do with lube oil. It could blow a gasket somewhere, a piston could fracture, the piston shaft could break, it could overheat and freeze up -- pretty near anything. I found a site that says her turbocharger is inoperable, so she's underpowered. The other problem is that she was running into 30-foot seas, so she needs all the power she can get. If the weather was calm, a broken turbo wouldn't be such a problem.

The latest story -- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131799323 -- says she is underway again but at reduced speed. She's heading back to Dutch Harbor.

Here's her photo. She looks a tad bigger than my old ship.

I can't tell anything about her route until I know where she was headed, which none of the stories seem to say. But the Bering Sea comes as far south as the Aleutian chain, and if she left Vancouver the great circle route would easily carry her inside the Aleutians if she was going to China, Korea or Japan.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 3, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

A Facebook friend posted this Grateful Dead video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxj43DKrTf4

Is there no place safe from DeadHeads?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

And just for the heck of it, consider me to have made some sneering remark, full of lack of empathy and understanding.

Good night, all.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 4, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Done and done, Bob S. Anything to make you happy! :)

Posted by: -dbG- | December 4, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Night, all.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 4, 2010 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, what you said is fine, she's working and she wants that school.

I looked at the costs for Vanderbilt vs Va Tech. Wow, that's one expensive school.

So, that would be a LOT of pressure for her to keep the scholarship. If it wasn't a full scholarship after the first year, she could be paying more in one year for Vanderbilt than she would be for Va Tech-- for three years.

I'd have refused, too. Speaking from experience, I didn't have my scholarship renewed despite a good GPA, and I wound up paying more than I thought I'd pay, but that was only a couple thousand more-- not 40K+. Still, I had planned to transfer but couldn't do it once I had made friends and all.

So, not so irrational a decision there; falling in love with Vanderbilt and losing the scholarship and wanting to stay there anyway would have been very difficult to solve.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 4, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

Done, and forgiven, too, Bob S.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 4, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Hey, it's finally dipping below freezing at night, winter's here! *L*

Not a lot to comment on, so I hope everyone's warm and happy this morning!!

*caffeine's-kicking-in-so-off-to-the-weekend-chores Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Chilly today with thin blue sky. msJ and Wilbrod have the white stuffies. Sounds like December to me.

Still smiling about LaddieBabyBoy for our Cassandra.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 4, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

A delicious op-ed with an actual, sort of, death panel. Guess which party did the paneling?

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/04/opinion/04collins.html?hp

Posted by: baldinho | December 4, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Yes Baldi, Collins nails it once again. King at the Wapo has a nice take on Palin vs GOP. His Mencken quote is a killer.
It was a refreshing -7C/20F for the Puppy's walk this morning. Cold enough that the twigs and branches touching the creek's water were making little rings of ice. It is winter indeed even if there is no snow on the ground. The flood had receded to a smallish zone when this deep freeze came;I think I will not lose any tree.
On the program today is the resuscitation of a dying laptop. I infected the poor thing myself with a shot of vi$ta. It's been dying a slow death since then.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 4, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. A cloudy, raw, cold day in the Carolinas. Mr. T is in the throes of Christmas decorating; he's working to get the outside stuff up before precipitation sets in. There is a small chance it may be snow.

All fourteen trees in the front are up and working (initially an iffy proposition, with bulbs burnt out but found and replaced). Lights are on the post in the whiskey barrel in the back and also working. We need to blast Geekdottir out of bed so Mr. T can finish installing the lighted wreaths in the windows. Then we will consider inside.

Posted by: slyness | December 4, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Gee, Left coast football featured as the headline story on the NYT. Oregon State must be pretty good as they are only a 16 point underdog.

Mudge, I was only spoofing at you a little. As an old Coastie I know vessels at sea are most susceptible to Murphy's law. 10,000 gallons of lube oil seems like a lot.
The article says she was on the way to the United Arab Emirates

Posted by: bh72 | December 4, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

CqP, the white stuff actually arrived for the Thanksgiving turkey first.

But yes, it's definitely December now-- horse carriages in the snow pulled by percheons in santa hats, pictures with Santa, jingle bells karaoke, ugly christmas sweaters....

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 4, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Percherons.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 4, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all. Hope everyone is having a lovely Saturday. Cool and clear here. About to go out for a walk and maybe see about snagging some lunch.

For those who favor both winter and historic ships here are a few pictures of HMS Victory in snow:

http://www.oldsaltblog.com/2010/12/04/hms-victory-in-the-snow/

Posted by: cowhand214 | December 4, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Just made up a double batch each of Ginger Molasses cookies and Chai sugar cookies, eldest and I worked together and listen to broadway tunes, and of course glee songs while we worked.

Lots of fun and my kitchen smells wonderful and we haven't even cooked them yet, that will commence after a short break.

A lovely time.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 4, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I should be there in about 17 1/2 minutes, dmd.

*yum*

Posted by: ftb3 | December 4, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I can smell the cookies all the way out here...mmmmmmmmmmmmm....

Cold but sunny here! I've been finding lots of pine cones in the backyard. At first I thought they were from our balsam fir, but they look more like a white pine cone. So they're either coming in by wind or squirrel. I brought some inside and put them in a bowl - got pitch all over my hands.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 4, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

What a marvelously novel concept - collect information about a set of practices, and determine which of them are actually effective at producing their intended outcomes:

"Teacher Ratings Get New Look, Pushed by a Rich Watcher"
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/04/education/04teacher.html?src=me&ref=general

Posted by: Bob-S | December 4, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Gingerbread house pieces are done and cookies also. The granddaughters and their aunt (#2) will come tomorrow to decorate. "S" has just brought up all the Christmas stuff from the cellar so I guess it's time to decorate the house.

It sounds like Santa is on my roof but it's really the guys re-shingling the porch roof. The good news is that they'll be done by tomorrow, the bad news is that the house roof will need to be done within the next five years. Ugh. They're the same guys that did my kitchen, so I trust that they aren't just looking for work!

Posted by: badsneakers | December 4, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

You know, your roof will last a lot longer if you keep one of those Travelers Insurance umbrellas over it.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 4, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

A great day so far. The stove repairman fixed the oven, a failing igniter, just like the Internet diagnosed. Later, homemade cookies for the first time in months. He showed up right after I finished cleaning the kitchen, so, bonus.

Now a little shopping, then making Christmas ornaments for my sister. I bought dozens of vintage chandelier crystals and will connect them like jewelry for her tree.

Roast chicken tonight, to celebrate.

Hope something wonderful happens to you all today.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 4, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Since everybody seems to bake and decorate, here is some more Christmas fun:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: gmbka | December 4, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Cookies are now out of the oven, and I am once again crying over that video. Handel's Messiah is played so often throughout the Christmas season in Toronto, so many live performance, one of my favorites is by this group.

http://www.tafelmusik.org/concerts/messiah.htm

Posted by: dmd3 | December 4, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

A sample,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-2g7CNl6fE

Posted by: dmd3 | December 4, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

On a more secular note, from the upcoming Galileo Project album, Vivaldi 2 Violins,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtu9seqYu-Y

Posted by: dmd3 | December 4, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Many wonderful things have happened to me in the last 24 hours, and my streak does not seem to yet be over, dbG. I just know the Universe will get me for this.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/universe-admits-to-wronging-area-man-his-entire-li,18556/

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

The following poem was not found in an old Baltimore church:

Introduction

You are a fluke
Of the universe.
You have no right to be here.....
Deteriorata! Deteriorata!

Go placidly
Amid the noise and waste.
And remember what comfort there may be
In owning a piece thereof.

Avoid quiet and passive persons
Unless you are in need of sleep.

Rotate your tires.

Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself
And heed well their advice,
Even though they be turkeys.

Know what to kiss.....and when!

Consider that two wrongs never make a right
But that THREE.........do.

Wherever possible, put people on hold.

Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.

Chorus

You are a fluke
Of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
And whether you can hear it or not
The universe is laughing behind your back.

Remember the Pueblo.

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

Know yourself.
If you need help, call the FBI.

Exercise caution in your daily affairs,
Especially with those persons closest to you.
That lemon on your left, for instance.

Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls
Would scarcely get your feet wet.

Fall not in love therefore;
It will stick to your face.

Gracefully surrender the things of youth:
The birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan
And let not the sands of time
Get in your lunch.

Hire people with hooks.

For a good time call 606-4311;
Ask for "Ken."

Take heart amid the deepening gloom
That your dog is finally getting enough cheese.

And reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot
It could only be worse in Milwaukee.

Chorus

You are a fluke
Of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
And whether you can hear it or not
The universe is laughing behind your back.

Therefore, make peace with your god
Whatever you conceive him to be---
Hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin.

With all its hopes, dreams, promises and urban renewal
The world continues to deteriorate.

GIVE UP!

Reprise

You are a fluke
Of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
And whether you can hear it or not
The universe is laughing behind your back.

Performed by National Lampoon on "National Lampoon Radio Dinner," a 1972 recording by Blue Thumb Records. Lyrics by Tony Hendra.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1NAwlepnSs

Posted by: Bob-S | December 4, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

So... who has snow? (We don't.)

Posted by: -TBG- | December 4, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, BobS! That's always one of my favorites. I'm going to share it with the Boy, even though he may remain blissfully unaware of the original.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 4, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Fantastic, Bob-S! Thanks.

Lots and lots of snow, TBG. Oh, you meant locally? Never mind.

Posted by: Yoki | December 4, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

BobS,

I can't tell you how many times I've thought the "know yourself" and "two wrongs don't make a right" lines and the chorus from that song over the years since it was released. It's one of my favorite parodies, including the one of "We Are the World" called "We Are the Worms" which starts off:

We are the worms
Out on the sidewalk
We are the ones who make a squishy mess
So watch where you walk.

Posted by: -pj- | December 4, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

OMG - great article by one of my favorite former WaPo writers (dmd, you may need to avert your eyes):
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/03/AR2010120302725.html?hpid=artslot

There is link to the first Beatles concert in DC - snow! - incredibly good quality, under the circumstances, which were primitive at best. You can see jelly beans shooting through the air. I believe pj's brother was in the audience. I don't have time to watch it all now, but later, for sure.

No snow here, but plenty in the mountains, which is as it should be.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 4, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Paul McCartney is in town this weekend to receive one of this year's Kennedy Center Honors. The Beatles played their first concert in the U.S. at the old Washington Coliseum. (My brother was there.) Here's an article about that show with comments by McCartney and Al Gore and others. It includes a link to Apple's iTunes to a video of the concert. It is fascinating to watch and hear.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/03/AR2010120302725.html?hpid=artslot

Posted by: -pj- | December 4, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Great minds think alike, seasea!

Posted by: -pj- | December 4, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I've always believed the universe is laughing behind my back. I try to join in as much as possible, though.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 4, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Hi, pj! BTW, I'm still watching the concert - only a half hour, so what the heck. I'm taking a break from cleaning the windows, so the sun won't be hitting them directly.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 4, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I believe you're due. Enjoy and ask for more.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 4, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh, TBG, in my theology, the Universe is laughing with us...the Higgs Bosun particle is really the Higglety-Bigglety particle....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 4, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Just rain and sleet here, the mountains got snow, though. The folks at the App State football game were in it. I'm glad I'm not there.

The good news is that all the trees are up and lighted, inside and out. Starting to look like Christmas around here!

Yoki, enjoy the good fortune and keep going!

Posted by: slyness | December 4, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Back in the dark days of the late 1960s, when I was in a Delaware high school, I recall checking out Johns Hopkins (I had the wrongheaded notion that a place like that might admit me) but didn't think of Washington's private colleges. I was aware of Howard's important professional schools, but otherwise Washington seemed a backwater compared to Philadelphia, which in turn seemed a nasty place. I did apply to a couple of colleges in the Philly 'burbs, no luck.

Visited a tiny premium gift-fruit grower this afternoon. Their packing house is on a scale you'd expect in Japan. Schacht Groves.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 4, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Yoki,

Great to hear about your wonderful day! I hope it continues.

Posted by: -pj- | December 4, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

You all make me ridiculously happy!

Posted by: talitha1 | December 4, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Today I put pretty colored electrical lights on my house.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 4, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Dave - Well, in your defense, once WWII was over, there wasn't much action in D.C. until Monica Lewinsky hit town.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 4, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Another look back at the Beatles - Rubber Soul -
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-bradley/the-beatles-irubber-souli_b_792052.html

Posted by: seasea1 | December 4, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Amendment ....
I'm the one who's ridiculous.

You all make me incredibly glad!

Cookies baking
Snow
Twigtips frozen in ice
Santa roofers
Eight yard trees lit
Hay for reindeer
Young eyes making Momma smile
With Handel on the jukebox

Roast chicken and crystal ornaments for sister

Life is rich!

Posted by: talitha1 | December 4, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Cheryl Bernard!

Sorry, a bit of curling joy.

Posted by: Yoki | December 4, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Looks as though our new Senator for 2013 has already agreed to graciously accept the job.
http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20101204/CAPITOLNEWS/12040322/Haridopolos-to-run-for-US-Senate

Then again, Gov. Crist appointed a staffer to keep the 2011 seat warm for him. I think Haridopolos will quash any prospective Marco Rubios.

Haridopolos wants to save money on everything but NASA (the Kennedy Space Center is in his district) and presumably the Air Force (a base in his district, too).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 4, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Bob-S,
Washington did have some nice stuff--back then, much of the Capitol was open to tourists, the Great Falls were great, and if you wanted a job, you could work on the expressway tunnel crossing the Mall.

Not so nice was a short hospitalization (elaborate surgery for a minor problem) at one of the military hospitals.

Later on, a college friend was on hand for Wilbur Mills.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 4, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

BobS,

You are forgetting Fanne Foxe and Wilbur Mills! Fishing the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee out of the Tidal Basin was lots of fun. Not to mention Elizabeth Ray and Wayne Hays. Or John and Rita Jennrette having sex on the steps of the Capitol.

Posted by: -pj- | December 4, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

This fellow says what I think:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/04/opinion/04blow.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fopinion%2Findex.jsonp

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 4, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

What with one thing and another, Cheryl Bernard's fan base extends well beyond the hard-core curling crowd, I think.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 4, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't forgotten those salacious incidents. I just wanted to prompt someone else to say "Fanne Fox".

Posted by: Bob-S | December 4, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Blow might have gotten inspiration from the NYT story on a guy who figured bad publicity for his eyeglass website was as good for Google rank as good publicity. Google claims to have changed its ranking methods in response.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 4, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I know that I'll be recommending Charlie Blow from now on. I won't bother explaining it, either.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 4, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

One thing and another? That would be two things, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Yoki | December 4, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Question I am pretty sure someone on the boodle can answer, eldest just asked if she could watch Dr. Who on TV, is it still being shown, PBS? She has watched a few episodes on YouTube.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 4, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Our local cable (Comcast) carries a BBC channel that will be showing Dr Who on Monday at 10 pm.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 4, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

dmd, Dr.Who is shown on BBCAmerica, channel 264 on DirectV.

Posted by: Manon1 | December 4, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Dmd, Dr.Who never seems to escape my peripheral vision, yet ... I never, by my own limited vision I suppose, was enamored.
____________

I've got a question ... have any boodlers ever wanted to just stangle someone for doing something so perversely and stupidly mean that it makes joy 'hard to come by'?
Sure it's happened to each of us at some point. But, knowing the householder would need it, why would someone make off with the family-neighbors-holiday-card-address-list ... I ask you?

I'm ready to ride over the ridge with a band of warriors on red-painted ponies and, if nothing else, count coup!

Posted by: talitha1 | December 4, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Dr Who?

...knock, knock...

Posted by: SpendNomore | December 4, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, not on BBC Canada but Space channel up here and also available online, I do believe the boodle is faster than a google search!

Posted by: dmd3 | December 4, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Because he thinks if he sends cards it proves he's not a glassbowl, Talitha. Or maybe he's trying to give them his new address. Whatever, it's rude. Copies are cheap and easy.

Maybe it's time to consider sending out new years cards to people who send you Christmas cards? Just because you've never done it before? Or if it's important to you to do it now, call and email them to get addresses if they're not in whitepages.com. I promise you won't forget anybody important.

I did a lot of reframing those first few years. Sorry you're going through this.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 5, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh look! While I was out at a party, SpendnoMore came back and wrote a funny short comment with no incorrect nor inappropriate capitalization. There is hope!

It was a great party at which I stayed just long enough.

Posted by: Yoki | December 5, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

WhAT?!

Well, I spent the day at the farmer's market selling xmas trees for a friend. Some how, I became the tree carrier--a job for someone one-third my age.

I got home after a quick shopping stop at the grocery store to by a bunch of unnecessary items. After taking off a number of layers, I collapse on the bed. 4 and half hours later, I am up. I decide to make myself some pasta (hearty with sausage). After sitting down at the computer to try to do some development work--Data base design and implementation on my billing system, I get email from the server company saying that the techies were planning to do emergency maintenance at 7 am GMT. A quick Google tells me that I won't be working tonight--at least not on that.

I figure that I can putz around for an hour before going back to bed.

Everyone, have a wonderful Sunday.


Posted by: russianthistle | December 5, 2010 2:20 AM | Report abuse

Instead of putzing or schlepping around, RT, why not just climb into a hot bath, submerse your sore back, and press > for your favourite jazz/blues on the iPod-player.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWtUzdI5hlE

Posted by: Yoki | December 5, 2010 2:36 AM | Report abuse

*pre-dawn patrol ... white flag fluttering.

dbG, you made me smile - a bit ruefully.
Wish I had your tech savvy-tude, not to mention skills.

I understand about New Year's cards ... send them along with belated gifts almost every year to a few understanding friends. Heck, my stupid birthday fall in between the "two greatest holidays of the year".

It was still a dirty-dog-dang trick, dammit! Hard-copy, dead-tree and software ..... and all the photos off the shared software.

I don't have the where-with- or know-it-all to retreive 10 years of memory and, I tell y'all ..... I'm about to slap blue handprints on my red-painted ponies and call in the Huns!

*wave at Grover, who always makes me smile

Posted by: talitha1 | December 5, 2010 4:30 AM | Report abuse

If I may beg pardon ...apologies for spilling on the boodle. Until I get my painted ponies into the river and wash off their warpaint I'll keep my peace here.

But I'll paint the walls inside my lodge
dark green
and build a good fire
and burn words

Posted by: talitha1 | December 5, 2010 5:38 AM | Report abuse

No need to apologize for that curling joy, Yoki. :-)

And I laugh at the universe all the time, so turnabout's fair play.

Anyone ever have a night where your dreams last about 3 minutes, you wake up, roll over, rinse and repeat? For hours?

*Boodling-quietly-so-as-not-to-wake-da-Missus Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Oh T --hear on the war painted ponies....time for every thing, including anger and delicious revenge/avenge fantasies....and also the other feelings like release and an odd but emerging peace.

Tis still Hanukkuh and also the second Sunday of Advent.....so, two prayers for us all about light:

For the menorah: We light these lights for the miracles and the wonders, for the redemption and the battles that you made for our forefathers, in those days at this season, through your holy priests. During all eight days of Hanukkah these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them except for to look at them in order to express thanks and praise to Your great Name for Your miracles, Your wonders and Your salvations.

For the wreath: O God who probes our hearts gently and restlessly from afar, let us be ready to welcome your light. And in winter's chill, let us be your light for others: visiting the sick and imprisoned and lonely; including all at the banquet of earthly and spiritual meals; and knowing -- ever knowing -- that you pitched your tent among us as a poor child in a humble family in an oppressed corner of time and history.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 5, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Here's a useful perspective on the Wikileaks mess, from the Miami Herald's Latin America news columnist Andres Oppenheimer:
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/12/05/1958001/wikileaks-may-end-up-helping-america.html

Golly, there haven't been any cables proving that the US is engaging in Wicked Conspiracies. President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela must be disappointed.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 5, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

We lit 4 candles last night, and cut our Christmas tree yesterday afternoon. A very happy holidays time around here.

Posted by: baldinho | December 5, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. I feel like I spent yesterday looking at computers' screens, either rebooting or downloading files. I'm almost done yet I managed a roast chicken and pureed squash. The squash stash is getting low; we'll get through it before losing the gourds to a deep freeze.

Yoki, with regard to the snow question it would have been NO yesterday but it's a YES this morning. And it is still falling.
It's as cold as a switch's spit though, I'll break out the full-length coat for the first time this year.
Time to wake up the lumbering beast and have it moving. Have a good football day all.
I'm happy that one of the best game of the day is at a watchable time for me. (Black&Gold at Purple at 20:00)

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 5, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhh...

So much for my pleasant Sunday morning mood:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/03/AR2010120303266.html

Don't use a book review article to rehash all the tired "cell phone radiation -- Oooooh, SCAAAAAAAAAAAAARY!!" arguments, please. *SIGHHHHHHHHHHHH* :-(

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Talitha, hard-copy, dead-tree and software and all the photos off the shared software is not an absentminded, insensitive mistake. Definitely mean-spirited and cruel.

On the computer front, check the recycle bin because they may be there and you can restore them.

I know you're trying to keep your son out of this, but is there someone who would be willing to call him, point out how this looks to the uninvolved and negotiate copies? My guess is your lawyer would tell you it's not worth it.

Not to add to your pain, but did he take these when he left or has he been in the house since? Please change the locks in either case.

E-mail me if you'd like.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 5, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and change the password to the computer and all your sites, your e-mail account, etc.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 5, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

There was a light dusting of snow at the B&B I'm at in central VA, so I spent the morning wandering the grounds taking photos. Now it's time for a nap before hitting the winery.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

There was a light dusting of snow at the B&B I'm at in central VA, so I spent the morning wandering the grounds taking photos. Now it's time for a nap before hitting the winery.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Don't work so hard, yello. It's the weekend!

Posted by: Bob-S | December 5, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Ironically the only reason I'm in BFVA is because of work.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

My one holiday-themed rant of the season. The local TV stations are filled with commercials for the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, now playing in Boston... get your tickets now!

To me, and it may just be me, the Rockettes are really creepy and dated. They remind me of watching the Lawrence Welk Show as a child and seeing the one black guy tap dancing furiously in front of the all-white band. Creepy and dated.

I am sure they hold a special place in the holiday traditions of many people, but to me.... creepy and dated.

Posted by: baldinho | December 5, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

...new kit.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 5, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company