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Posted at 12:15 PM ET, 01/11/2011

Oil spill report: Anderson Cooper zinged

By Joel Achenbach

I'm paging through the Presidential Oil Spill Commission's final report, a massive, Dickensian volume that came out this morning with a thud heard round the capital. This represents a lot of work by some smart folks who spent much of the past year figuring out why the April 20 Deepwater Horizon disaster happened and what it all means and what we ought to do about oil companies poking holes in the sea floor. To honor the comprehensive and probing nature of this work I'd like to single out a paragraph deep in the book and, you know, make too much of it. I just think it's a nice nugget. (You know the saying: Have blog, will trivialize.)

From Chapter Five, page 139:

"Local resentment became a media theme and then a self-fulfilling prophesy. Even those who privately thought the federal government was doing the best it could under the circumstances could not say so publicly. Coast Guard responders watched Governor Jindal -- and the TV cameras following him -- return to what appeared to be the same spot of oiled marsh day after day to complain about the inadequacy of the federal response, even though only a small amount of marsh was then oiled. When the Coast Guard sought to clean up that piece of affected marsh, Governor Jindal refused to confirm its location. Journalists encouraged state and local officials and residents to display their anger at the federal response, and offered coverage when they did. Anderson Cooper reportedly asked a Parish President to bring an angry, unemployed offshore oil worker on his show. When the Parish President could not promise the worker would be 'angry,' both were disinvited."

In fact, the "Obama's Katrina" meme never quite took flight, perhaps because it was a bad rap. The government wasn't ready for this, but neither was the oil industry, and after a few miserable weeks of serial screw-ups and technological failures, the government finally figured out an oversight role and BP eventually got some traction with the subsea technology. William Reilly said this morning, "Despite some allegations, this was not Obama's Katrina."

Hang on, let me keep reading....

By Joel Achenbach  | January 11, 2011; 12:15 PM ET
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Next: Obama's speech in Tucson


Pushing an emotional storyline instead of sticking to the facts?? I'm shocked, shocked... *eye roll*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 11, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

You mention that eventually the government figured out how to fulfill its oversight role in the termination and clean-up, and BP figured out how to work the tools. I am wondering whether these lessons will persist and help us the next time around (there's *always* a next time) or:

(1) is every bad oil-related event so unique that no prior event gives effective lessons?

(2) is there an order-of-magnitude problem? so that bad events will continue to get worse-- not necessarily in terms of volume of oil, but in terms of technical difficulty;

(3) are bad events sufficiently far apart that lessons-learned always get unlearned just in time for the next disaster? Is that why the next disaster happens, because we forget what we have learned or believe that we can afford to scale back our efforts because "that doesn't happen any more"?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

No way did the 24x7 media machine fabricate outrage for news ratings! Tell me it's not so... Yawn.

Posted by: lanlord10 | January 11, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama didn't spend enough time circling in Air Force One looking detachedly sorrowful.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 11, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

... or smirky, yello.

Posted by: ftb3 | January 11, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Never thought I'd be relieved to see an 'oil spill disastrahoochie kit' again. As Scotty and ScienceTim's posts above point out however ... one subject (and the reaction to it) tend to carry over into the next one, don't they?

While I'm on here let me thank all boodlers for the reasoned and the humorous posts over the last days. This place is a comfort in such times.

dmd ... I enjoyed the video about the gentleman from Norway that you posted last night ... thanks.

Posted by: talitha1 | January 11, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

It's beginning to snow here on the western shore of the Chesapeake!

Posted by: rickoshea11 | January 11, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Front Page Alert, of course...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 11, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Joel is reading and digesting that report, so we don't have to. He'll then turn it into a coherent narrative we will all read and understand.

Enjoy your snow, Rickoshea. I'm back in, resting after shoveling a path through the ice to the mailbox. Bushed, I am.

Posted by: slyness | January 11, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

If Obama loved America we would have invaded Cuba and blamed them for the disaster. Not necessarily in that order...

Posted by: veritasinmedium | January 11, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Fox foremost, followed by CNN and then by the major networks, have long been breaking the old rule of the news - report the news, don't be the news. Not only do they do news as entertainment, but they too often try to create the news. The disinviting of the Parish President and unemployed oil worker are prime examples. And way too often, the newsies try to discover or invent a scapegoat for everyone to throw stones (or bullets) at.

The oil spill could never really be "Obama's Katrina". It was a new type of disaster with which no one really had any type of experience. We've had LOT'S of experience with hurricane disasters, and the abyssmal pre-storm planning and post-storm response were squarely and properly put at the feet of the Bush adminstration.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 11, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I wish we'd normalize some trade w/Cuba. Good for the economy.

I have said it before, Joel, you print guys err when allowing yourselves to be lumped with those TV people. Most of the time, anyway.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 11, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Been snowing down here in Suthin Merlin for two hours, Rickoshea, but its not accumulating.

How's the knees? Hope yer getting about better.

Tim raises the question of whether we learn from experience and prior events. The recent events in Tucson suggest nobody learns nuthin' about nuthin' in my view.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 11, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

It's not the knee this time, Mudge; it's the foot. I'm still wearing Das Boot, and it's been 4 months now, with 2 more to go.

Leaving the house with snow on the ground is just treacherous for me, so I rely on the kindness of neighbors to 'do' for me.

I could get used to this pampering.

Posted by: rickoshea11 | January 11, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad you said that, jumper, I've been saying for decades that print and TV were two different species of journalism. Glad to know I have doubled the number of believers.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 11, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Mudge. That was what I was trying to say. Tim's #2 and #3 points could apply to Tucson/oil spill, VaTech/Katrina and, as the King of Siam said, et cetera ..... and so forth.

Posted by: talitha1 | January 11, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm looking at snowflakes, too. Very pretty, all in boxes and all made out of ticky-tacky. Sorry. Saw the homage on one of PBS stations on Pete Seeger's 90th birthday. Stuck with me. Like glue.


I really, *REALLY* dislike the "infotainmentalization" of the so-called "news". It's really all about the advertisers and related capitalistic issues. I make it a point to boycott the products and the manufacturers thereof. After all, there isn't so much that we *really* need outside of basic necessities.

That, and the boodle.

Posted by: ftb3 | January 11, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Ah so the right wing was using a tragic situation to push their point of view and destroy Obama and the Democrats. I wonder why the left wing is trying to do that with this shooting? Hummmm? And I suppose the positions were reversed in the media with Rush and Fox yelling about Obama and showing Governor Jindal every 5 minutes.

Posted by: Ralph_Indianapolis | January 11, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Ah so the right wing was using a tragic situation to push their point of view and destroy Obama and the Democrats. I wonder why the left wing is trying to do that with this shooting? Hummmm? And I suppose the positions were reversed in the media with Rush and Fox yelling about Obama and showing Governor Jindal every 5 minutes.

Posted by: Ralph_Indianapolis | January 11, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm not entirely convinced the report should have tried to cover public relations and media coverage. Media relations are a huge part of any disaster, but there's few generalizations to be obtained from a unique mess like this one.

I just checked Gov. Jindal's web page and found that he's confronting a new crisis: fake bath salts. People smoke the stuff and hallucinate.

I don't think this one has reached Florida.

For what it's worth, here's my freeze-ravaged yard.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 11, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh great. The @@#$%^&&** wackerdoodle nutjob pekkerheds from the Westboro Baptist Church are going to picket the funeral of the little girl shot in Tucson. Where do I go to apply for membership in another species? This one is beginning to get to me.

Posted by: kguy1 | January 11, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Love the flowers, Dave!

Won't we all be glad when spring gets here?

Posted by: slyness | January 11, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm concerned that Jindal was able to orchestrate this little bit of theater so easily. Politicians will always try to spin things the way they want. The whole notion of a free press is to prevent them from doing so.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 11, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Well, after counting approximately 5 snowflakes, it unceremoniously stopped snowing. Nothing.

*so disappointed*

I'm with you, kguy. Speaking of profound mental illness ......

Posted by: ftb3 | January 11, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

gmbka, thanks for your comment on depression from last kit. Of course depression can lead to sudden death.

Hypertension can also lead to sudden stroke and death, given other factors (irregular heartbeat, etc.)

There are so many physical conditions that cause depression or can be confused for it. Inappropriate diagnosis can actually kill a patient who has a heart or a thyroid condition.

And we all know about porphyria by now and how that has an underlying medical cause that has specific triggers.

That is the foundation of my comment. Don't stop at the cough, do a full workup to be sure the lungs don't have pneumonia, it's not a dry cough which could mean cancer, no blood is being coughed up; the patient doesn't smoke or have asthma, heart problems, etc.

My mom nearly died when her walking pneumonia was misdiagnosed as "adult onset asthma." At age 63, too.

Actually, anybody with depression almost needs the same thorough workup as somebody with a cough. Heart, oxygen (breathing, anemia), thyroid, weight gain/loss, anything hurting physically, sleep habits, evidence of physical illness, tremors, etc.

And you need a cooperative patient for self-reported symptoms. Many cultures disapprove of depression symptoms so these symptoms may be somatized or masked or omitted altogether unless the doctor specifically asks.

So yes, I favor a comprehensive workup.
Something that suggests depression could be a stoic's way of indicating a serious physical problem. Culture sadly matters in how readily and clearly symptoms are reported; health communication does have to be learned.

Because of my disability and my experience with doctors, I find the problem with seeing a doctor when you're sick is that you're too sick to communicate well, and that is dangerous for symptoms that need to be self-reported.

In that case, I prepare information before going in, and have recommended that to many others who are worried about communicating with the doctor due to how sick they are.

Depression is also a risk factor for unclear communication.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 11, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Hardly original, Ralph. That's why each side is characterized as having its own subspecies of either wingnuts or moonbats. A pox on both the crazy houses.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 11, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Man. That Phelps and his church sure give @@#$%^&&** wackerdoodle nutjob pekkerheds a bad name.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 11, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

These reverse hypotheticals are getting tedious because there never is a true equivalent.

"What if a crazed PETA activist poisoned Michelle Bachmann? Would you want stricter limits on chemicals?"

"What if Rahm Emanuel called for someone to 'take out' John Boehner? You wouldn't have a problem with that, would you?"

"What if Obama declared war on Belgium to get the arugula crop? I bet all you libs would be in favor of endless war then."

It's a rather tired rhetorical game of shifting the focus. A nut case emptied a magazine into a crowd. A politically controversial Democrat nearly died. What is the contrapositive of that?

Lax regulation of the oil industry led to a massive environmental disaster. Give me the example of too much regulation resulting in a months long crisis.

I'd be happy with a thought-provoking exposure of hypocrisy, but this knee-jerk table-turning is just tiresome.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 11, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

As appealing as it would be to blame Fox and the Right-Thinking Media for this recursion to old-fashioned (19th-century) standards of news reporting, I don't think we can particularly blame any of them, of any political stripe. Not particularly.

It has long been claimed that the success of "60 Minutes" was the moment when TV news became profitable in concept, and therefore capable of being prostituted and corrupted in search of profit. Once profit-driven thinking takes over, methods for increasing profit are put into direct conflict with ethics. The business may be run by ethical people in any given generation, but it seems nigh inevitable that ethics will get eroded unless the conflict can somehow be resolved. The failure in TV news to make ethics and profit go hand-in-hand is more-or-less self-evident. The Invisible Hand won't do the job by itself, it's a job for the FCC -- except that it puts us at risk of government control of free speech. Overall, this problem is a tough nut to crack.

Anyway, there obviously are precisely two ways to increase profits:
(1) increase revenues;
(2) decrease expenses.
Anything else is a scam that combines both (1) and (2) while pretending to be neither until after the mark has been fleeced.

Increasing revenue is hard, because it means cleverness, creativity, and struggle with competitors who are trying the same things in order to win the attention of the unreliable and fickle public. Expenses, on the other hand, are within direct control and the fiscal value of cutting expenses is calculable and immediately apparent. Hence, the efficient cost-contained world in which we now live, in which news organizations have hardly any foreign bureaus, limited capacity for original reporting, no copy editors to enforce standards of quality, and all the other ills that are well known. Since there is little left that can be cut while continuing to acquire revenue, that means that revenue must be increased. Since TV "news" organizations no longer have the ability to distinguish themselves on the basis of having anything informative to report that is not reported by their competitors, because none of them do much of their own reporting any more, they have to differentiate on style. And that's where we are now.

Also: a Nation can only Perpetuate itself when Citizens are born from Natural Citizens. It's in the Law of Nations! Really! Truly! No Artificial or Foreign Presidents!

And also: Carthago delenda est!

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow, talk about taking something out of context! At least Joel admitted it, with his "have blog, will trivialize" crack.

The section of the report from which that paragraph is taken is titled "The “Social and Political Nullification” of the National Contingency Plan(April 29–May 1)." Its main point is this: while the official plan for hurricane response is to have the state and local governments lead the response with Federal support (got that, ebtnut?), the plan for oil spill response - the National Contingency Plan - "gives the Federal On-Scene Coordinator the power to direct all response actions."

Frankly, the state and local officials didn't trust the Feds to do their job, having been burned in Katrina and several other disasters. Also, the National Contingency Plan sees the responsible party - BP/Transocean/Halliburton - as an important ally, which philosophy enraged the local yokels.

So, the section explains how the state and local officials maneuvered to get power in the response.

The point about the media response was that it helped put pressure on local, state and Federal responders to not be seen as being in league with BP - not so much Obama.

Context, folks.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 11, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but those Belgians have it coming.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 11, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Also - pet peeve rant alert.

Any argument that begins with the phrase "suppose the positions were reversed," or "suppose this had happened to a [fill in the blank]" is meaningless. This little rhetorical device is used all the time by all sorts of people and I wish it would vanish.

When considering any event, nobody knows what would happen if any discrete characteristic of the participant, including but not limited to gender, color, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or sports-team preference were switched.

Those who assert that they know what would have happened in such alternative universes are doing nothing but advertising their biases.

Let's look at and evaluate what actually did happen, and leave alternative histories to fiction writers.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 11, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"Expenses, on the other hand, are within direct control and the fiscal value of cutting expenses is calculable and immediately apparent."

Gotta disagree with you there, sir.

BP, Transocean and Halliburton may all have been cutting expenses in order to get the Macondo well drilling project back on budget. Do you think the "fiscal value" was "calculable" during the time before the explosion? If your answer is yes, then they more or less expected 11 people would die, which I rather doubt.

Posted by: MsJS | January 11, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh sure, yello. But what if *I* would have made the same argument but not nearly as cleverly as you did.

Wait. That really did happen.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 11, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Anyway, best wishes to Joel on processing the big report's serious and probing stuff, so we can read the short, articulate version in April. I think it's supposed to be April. Check your favorite online bookseller.

My copy of Cass Sundstein's "On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done" arrived.

My father, a dentist, was once shocked when he attended a public meeting on fluoridation for the county health board. I've been amazed at the spread of creationism. A distinguished scientist nearby will be giving the lowdown on the false belief that vaccines cause autism. I wish him good fortune and no tomato-throwing.

During the Gulf oil crisis, beach resorts as far south as Marco Island were deserted even though there was no oil. Even the panhandle beaches were swiftly cleaned up. Everyone thought it was oil everywhere.

People still apparently are avoiding Gulf seafood. Vietnamese shrimp instead of Gulf.

How can the White House, a governor's office, or even BP hope to manage public relations when the public seems to prefer fake facts?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 11, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I hate to be picky DotC but I believe I have spotted a misspelling in your 3:21. I think the word you mean is "cretinism".

Posted by: kguy1 | January 11, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I get the point about context, ArmyBrat, and yet -- you are making an argument that the end justifies the means, which has been the road to disaster throughout history. In the particular examples cited in that paragraph, it is clear that Anderson Cooper's program fabricated the perception of a widespread public sentiment that was not actually widespread; and Bobby Jindal colluded with co-opted press to intentionally foster the impression of immediate disaster and impending doom in order to provoke a reflexive response that he could control.

What were the ends that were justified by these means? Unlike you, apparently, I haven't read the report, but one end that is widely known was that the considered opinion of engineers and coastal environment specialists was overruled in order for Bobby Jindal and local politicians to simulate effectiveness by getting their useless berms constructed.

I do not know for certain what other ends were served by these ethical lapses. Unless I am misreading you, you seem to feel there is justification in the incompetence of the previous administration and that "The point about the media response was that it helped put pressure on local, state and Federal responders to not be seen as being in league with BP - not so much Obama." I do not understand how to parse the phrase "... not so much Obama" -- is that a dig against him, or a statement that he actually managed to avoid being manipulated? Please tell me how this end, to poison working relationships because of a fabricated false impression that resulted from mendacious reporting and presentation, actually served the public good?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I don't disagree with you one bit. If the patient has not seen his/her PCP, the clinician should send the patient there first. I just wanted to point out that depression also can be an illness all by itself, without an underlying physical ailment.

As to the example of hypertension as an illness and a symptom, I am in denial about the dangers of hypertension because I have it and I am treated more or less successfully. Yes, I can have a stroke and die right away, but death is not quite as certain as in suicide.

Posted by: gmbka | January 11, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I didn't say they did the calculation right, MsJS. You also have to consider that they more or less incorporated probabilities in their calculations (even if they didn't know that's what they were doing): they made an estimation that the expectation value of the cost from increased risk was counter-balanced by the definite retained value resulting from the fixed expenses that they cut.

There are three ways to interpret this situation, one of them more evil than the other:

(1) Less evil: they were fools who failed to appreciate the dangerous consequences and the magnitude of increased risk from their thoughtless actions.

(2) More evil: they understood perfectly well that they were rolling the dice and even more-or-less understood the magnitude of the risk they were taking. They place bets by using these expense-cutting measures over and over again, and most times they win the bet, but they understand that occasionally the bet goes against them. The only question is whether the expectation value of that loss is greater than the benefit that accrues from all the other times that they won that bet.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Forecasters now saying the storm is redeveloping to our north, no significant snow expected... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 11, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Tim - sorry for not being clearer. The point about the "not so much Obama" was that Joel presented the paragraph as the media, Jindal, et alia slamming Obama. Note the "Obama's Katrina" mention, which nowhere appears in that Chapter of the report, if in the report at all.

When read in context of the entire section, it's clear that the report implies the media, et alia were working to slam BP and its partners.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 11, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Lizzie O'Leary, Bloomberg News...

Thanks, Army Brat for your 2:59. Ah, context!

Posted by: laloomis | January 11, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Snuke -- no *sob* snow????


SciTim, I still *heart* ya.

Posted by: ftb3 | January 11, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

William Reilly and Conoco Phillps...

Posted by: laloomis | January 11, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

You mean like this internal BP presentation where they explicitly said that the safest but most expensive option is not always the best choice:

I was regularly pilloried during the oil spill for attributing all sorts of evil motives to BP and its subcontractors. Now I have to expand my cynicism towards the media as well.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 11, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

SCC: ConocoPhillips

Posted by: laloomis | January 11, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Your argument was plenty clever. And much more succinct.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 11, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. And yet, cars kill people. Car-makers know this perfectly well. They know how to stop cars from killing people: make them immobile. Failing that, they could make them really well-padded and incapable of moving faster than human walking speed. As a society, we do not like that option because we consider a car to be useful only when it can go an order of magnitude faster than we can walk (or run). We also do not like all the padding that would be required to make such a fast car safe for its occupants, fellow motorists, and pedestrians. We could do it, but it would have enormous costs in manufacturing individual cars, in fueling them, and in building roads wide enough that these pillowed behemoths could pass each other. So, we don't do that stuff, and we live comfortably with the knowledge that these cost-cutting measures kill people.

The fact is that we make these cost-benefit analyses all the time. We don't just make them for ourselves, we make them for other people -- I accept that you are at more risk if I chose to drive an SUV rather than an econobox, I accept that soldiers are more likely to go to war if I drive an SUV rather than an econobox, I accept that my family is at more risk if I choose to drive an econobox rather than an SUV.

Organizations that deal with powerful machines, vast quantities of explosive fluids, extreme environments, and so forth, are denied the luxury of pretending that their decisions do not put people's lives at risk. Even more, they know for a fact that it will kill *somebody*; they just don't know who, and they don't know when. BP may be more evil than other oil companies, or they may not be, but let's remember that it's a continuum, not a binary quality -- we all make decisions of that sort, all the time, but most of us can hide behind the notion that our particular fraction of a collective decision does not connote actual guilt if the action goes badly. Which is why half the American people re-elected George W. Bush and most of us Americans feel no sense of guilt or shame that our deposing of a nasty dictator (Saddam) has led directly to the destabilization of a sovereign nation, near-Civil War, the deaths of many thousands (let's not get into exactly how many thousands -- multiplicity is more than enough).

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

How did a discussion of the disastrahoochie suddenly expand to include an anonymous "we", the Iraqi conflict, and auto manufacturers, SciTim?

Posted by: MsJS | January 11, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I got your snow right here (in se michigan)...

and as for this: "The recent events in Tucson suggest nobody learns nuthin' about nuthin' in my view."

truth. nobody knows nuthin either. Nobody.

Posted by: underhill | January 11, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Risk assessment. Plus the random drunkard's walk of any boodle. I plead guilty as an accessory in leading SciTim astray.

All oil companies are evil. That is my sour grapes default position ever since I didn't get that job I applied for back in 1986 at AMOCO, one of the precursors of BP. Which makes BP more evil than other oil companies.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 11, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey slyness -- I got my Doonesbury retrospective today! Cool as hell. Very excited to get into it and relive the memories of my *cough* youth.

Posted by: ftb3 | January 11, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

underhill -- *where* in se michigan (my home state)????

Posted by: ftb3 | January 11, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

You'll enjoy it immensely, ftb! I know I am, when I pick it up. Like I said, put it on the dining room table. It's too heavy to hold in your lap.

This is all the relationships, not much of the political strips. I understand why he did that, but some of the political satire is among the best in the world.

Posted by: slyness | January 11, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse


Could you tell me a little bit more about the cough situation, and in language that is a bit more on my level, like ABC, 123?

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 11, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

To prove yello's point ('random drunkard's walk of any boodle') he made me think of a traditional patchwork pattern called "Drunkard's Path".

And with those curved seams it helps to be stonecold sober to piece it, too! Now I'm off to remedy that particular state of mind. 8~)

Posted by: talitha1 | January 11, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm kind of slow this media-cycle.

ScienceTim and Mudge tossed around the question of whether anyone would learn from the BP disaster, and how long we'd remember.

It took about 2 generations to de-rate the knowledge about financial markets gained in the Depression. Some fringe economists find evidence of 2-generation long swings in the economy (Kondratieffs) or politics and other public affairs.

Here, though, we have a bit denser body of technical knowledge, and I'm guessing a large chunk of tacit knowledge based on the feedback generated by direct experience. Technical knowledge is potentially recordable, though how thoroughly is subject to dispute. (Nuclear weapons scientists demand continued funding on the theory that a hiatus or even substantial decline would lead to a dangerous loss of knowledge embedded in individual scientists.)

Tacit knowledge is hard to elicit - situational wisdom, gut feelings. It can only be passed on in-situ. I'd guess 10 years without a spill would take the people who built up tacit knowledge out of the field, preventing it's transmission.

Posted by: j3hess | January 11, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I'm making a funny with the ABC, 123, it's a Micheal Jackson song, but I'm really want the information about coughs, and didn't quite understand everything you said. I hope you didn't get offended, not intended that way. I have a cough can't get rid of, but had pnuemonia also, and have ashthma too.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 11, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"Pillowed Behemoth", by the way, would be a terrible name for a rock band. Too hard to say. It's got no rhythm.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt: "All oil companies are evil."

Well, yes. I'll agree to that, certainly.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Pillowed Behemoth, SciTIm, could mean a verb as in bedded a big one....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 11, 2011 5:58 PM | Report abuse

The VLP in HIS 3-place sofa is a pillowed behemoth.
120lbs of dogs occupying that much prime real estate in front of the TV is just wrong.
Shoo. Go away you silly puppy.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 11, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Also: yes, yello was exactly right that I was going down a path of thinking about risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis.

BP gets pilloried for callousness in cost/benefit analyses that involve human lives. I am making the point that what some call "callous" is indistinguishable from "honest." Except that we (see below) don't want them to be honest, because honesty implies the certainty that serious decisions about serious matters that involve human lives always demand that we implicitly decide how many human lives we are willing to expend. Not "risk" because risk implies that you could get lucky. Expend: a predictable number of people *will* die as a direct consequence of our society's collective decisions.

Automobiles provide a useful context in which to address the risks: we know that the continued operation of automobiles in the United States next year will kill about 40,000 people (Wikipedia). I, as an individual, can expect to get lucky; as a society, I know that a lot of people will die next year in order that I (and everyone else) can drive a car. We can quibble about details, but zero traffic deaths is not a realistic prediction and therefore we are tacitly accepting that automotive use *will* kill people.

The "we" is not anonymous, it is all of us who are members of this society. Even if individuals disagree, we have collective social decisions: set a non-zero legal speed limit, drive cars, allow gun ownership, use oil, go to war over oil, pretend that it's not 'blood for oil', etc.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

DOTC, your garden is making me reconsider my retirements options. I'm so envious it hurts.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 11, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

A thousand errors in that last comment!

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 11, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, that collective "we" is still anonymous. The so-called collective social decisions you mention are made by government officials and regulators, none of whom I know.

Just saying not everyone shares your definition of society, nor feels connected in any way to decisions others may make in its name.

Posted by: MsJS | January 11, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat, first, whoever the media was trying to slam is sort of irrelevant, isn't it? They're not supposed to drive the news. They're supposed to report it.

About context, certainly *at the time* fingers were being pointed at the fed govt and specifically Obama for the collective inability to cap the well, and the words Obama's Katrina were tossed around pretty frequently back then. JA's mention of that now is certainly relevent. (Were you here in the boodle back then? Sorry, the memory is the third thing to go...)

Whether AC was hoping to paint BP more negatively (is that even possible?) or not, what's to say that in this drive for ratcheting things up, they don't contribute to driving some troubled soul over the edge? Considering the events of last weekend, shouldn't we at least stop for a sec and consider if it wouldn't be better for us to expect the media to find the *average* guy, not the outlier?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 11, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Pillowed Behemoth is available as a Boodle handle, of course...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 11, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Pillowed Behemoth is available as a Boodle handle, of course...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 11, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I blame my internet connection, not Movable Type, BTW...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 11, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I was kinda thinking "Billowed Pehemoth," Scotty.

I was kinda thinking "Billowed Pehemoth," Scotty.

Just thought I'd save Movable Type a couple of steps.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 11, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I found the Wiki definition of society helpful:

It does not mention you have to agree with decisions that are collectively made, you are still a member of the society.

Posted by: gmbka | January 11, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Who needs grover waves when you can have Kondratiev waves?

I'm looking to hang ten on the next one.

Posted by: baldinho | January 11, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Pilloried Polyphemus...that is my new handle.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 11, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

gmbka, you may very well agree with the wiki statement. That's fine. Not everyone will.

Just because decisions are made in society's name doesn't mean they are actually for all in the society. In the US, the decisions to allow slavery and deny women voting rights were made in society's name at one time.

Posted by: MsJS | January 11, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

And, Tevatron may be offline soon because is being pilloried by the behemoth Hadron Collider....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 11, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

I cannot agree with you, MsJS. First of all, as a citizen of a republic, you --and I, and the other citizens -- DO bear some responsibility for decisions made by government officials, because it is in our power to replace those government officials. Even those of us who don't vote bear some responsibility, because that inaction may be what permitted the officials to think they were representing their constituents in a certain way. Those of us who oppose those decisions also bear responsibility, because we were ineffective in persuading others to join our (obviously correct) point of view and prevent that decision.

But, I champion an even more expansive concept of society: the complex web of trade relationships and personal interactions makes me a part of every interconnected part of human society, albeit in an increasingly tenuous fashion as relationships become more and more indirect. If I choose to remove myself from society then that decision, too, has repercussions in the society of other humans. It may be a good decision, it may be a bad decision, but it has some influence on the decision-making of society and so I bear a piece of that responsibility, or that credit.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

This just in from the Borowitz Report:

January 11, 2011

Fox News Reports No Link Between Matches, Gasoline and Fire

Beck Busts ‘Mainstream Media Myth’

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – The Fox News Channel today attempted to bust what it called a “mainstream media myth” by reporting that there was no link between matches, gasoline and fire.

“Gasoline and matches don’t start fires,” said Fox host Glenn Beck. “People start fires.”

Mr. Beck went on to say that there was no link between “oxygen, hydrogen and water.”

Elsewhere, Verizon trumpeted its new iPhone, announcing, “For the first time, consumers will have a choice of which wireless carrier drops their calls.”

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 11, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Terrible decisions have been made in the society I am part of and I cannot do much about it: it is still the society I live in, it's my society. The best you can do is to convince as many people as you can of your point of view and hope for a different election outcome. That was the way the US got rid of slavery and we got the right to vote.

But this is does not mean that I am politically active, it is more about how I should be. Sigh.

Posted by: gmbka | January 11, 2011 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Science Tim, some of the people who made the news big-time in recent years have removed themselves from society. In the worst case scenario they become terrorists.

Posted by: gmbka | January 11, 2011 8:28 PM | Report abuse

At times I feel that much of the technology of today is a huge waste, and that so many vital resources are wasted so that people can do stupid stuff.

Tonight, however, I rejoice in the resources that went into the creation of "Safety Dance Gamera" on YouTube.

Posted by: baldinho | January 11, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

".hctib, eiD" reads one of the notes, just released, that Jared Lee Loughner wrote, as reported by CNN's Parker and Spitzer.

Note, to get these chilling words past the filter here, I had to write the letters in reverse order.

Posted by: laloomis | January 11, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Seems carbon capture needs some work on the technology.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 11, 2011 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Evening all. Just back from a work function. We went to go see our new office space (very nice! lots of windows!) and then to dinner. Not a bad evening at all. Funny stories were told, the food was decent, and no one felt the need to make long rambling speeches.

I'm just glad we got it in under the wire. The snow is supposed to start tonight up here and go throughout much of the day tomorrow. It's always a little disconcerting to see my next day's forecast be presented simply as "blizzard."

On a completely different note, I'm anxious for Mr. Achenbach's book to come out as I think this is fascinating stuff. I caught the tail end of an interview on the drive home with Senator Graham and one of the other commission members (whose name I'm blanking on) that seemed really interesting. They were talking about raising the liability cap and why abolishing it completely might be a bad idea. I want to go back and find the rest of the interview as it seemed really good.

Posted by: cowhand214 | January 11, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

And the drunkard's walk of the boodle always takes a stroll past needlecrafts.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 11, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Hi Cowhand, yep, blizzard conditions tomorrow. I just had a lesson on using the snow blower. My boss knows how close to work I live, so I am expected to be there. It should be a very interesting couple of miles. I have the faint hope that I may not be needed and I'll get to stay home and just enjoy the snow...

Interesting Kit, Joel. I too am looking forward to your b**k.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 11, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Snowy winter night here, lake effect snow.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 11, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

After four days of what EC called a "near blizzard," this morning the snow stopped, the wind fell, the sun came out, and we're up to -20C! Practically Spring.

Posted by: Yoki | January 11, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

See there is the difference Yoki, your area can experience that and I hear nary a whisper of the new, now where my area to experience that the news would switch to 24/7 urgent appeals to save the wretched souls of Southern Ontario.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 11, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

You all enjoy your snow, you in northern climes. Tomorrow school is closed for the third straight day and the residual ice will make the morning commute interesting. I'm ready for it to GO AWAY.

Posted by: slyness | January 11, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

...and speaking of societal decision-making one might not agree with, this just in:

Glock Pistol Sales Surge in Aftermath of Arizona Shootings

By Michael Riley - Jan 11, 2011

After a Glock-wielding gunman killed six people at a Tucson shopping center on Jan. 8, Greg Wolff, the owner of two Arizona gun shops, told his manager to get ready for a stampede of new customers.

Wolff was right. Instead of hurting sales, the massacre had the $499 semi-automatic pistols -- popular with police, sport shooters and gangsters -- flying out the doors of his Glockmeister stores in Mesa and Phoenix.

“We’re at double our volume over what we usually do,” Wolff said two days after the shooting spree that also left 14 wounded, including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 11, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

3 minutes.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 11, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

You made me laugh out loud, dmd3. "Wretched souls" indeed!

Posted by: Yoki | January 11, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

We're supposed to get snow here sometime, but the temperatures are supposed to warm and turn it to rain. We shall see. Everyone got scared silly because it was supposed to hit at rush hour...after-school activities were cancelled, people left home early, people took transit instead of driving. I still have not seen a flake, although I hear it's snowing just south of me.

Thanks for the diversion down the drunkard's path, past the Amish quilts. Wish I had indulged in some when I had a chance in PA years ago, before the Great Recession. But I was too frugal then, and sure can't afford them now. Love the neon purples and blues on black. And somehow the craft of quilting eludes me.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 11, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, just came on for a little time and backboodled.

For a cough, the CPR ABCs are always good :-p.


1 Sputum
2 Triggers
3 Frequency & Duration

Cancer can sometimes be indicated by a persistent cough but it's generally dry and doesn't seem to be associated with a cold or allergies, doesn't get worse or better with anything really. You always want to get a mysterious cough checked out even if it's not bothering you much. Sometimes it could be heart problems instead.

My dad is asthmatic but he got himself tested for lung cancer when he couldn't stop coughing no matter what he did. It turned out to be a different kind of cancer altogether. Good prognosis right now, but it was touch and go for a while.

These are two major causes I know of for chronic coughs that won't go away, and I'm not a doctor. There may be more-- maybe side effects.

As for asthma, get the roaches out, for your health :(. It's always a problem in apartment life.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 11, 2011 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Thunderstorms manufacture antimater. Really.

Bizarre, almost unimaginable physics overhead. Why did I major in biology (not counting flunking calculus on the first try)?

Movie class was a recent one, "City Island" with Andy Garcia, who was looking like he'd fit into the next Damon/Wahlberg/Bales/Affleck thing from the blue-collar Northeast.

New book of the day: Alan Graham, A Natural History of the New World. University of Chicago Press. Actually, American vegetation since the late Cretaceous. Sounds ambitious. I hope it mentions camels and horses and llamas and guinea pigs.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 11, 2011 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I just saw some shots of Charlotte on the news, you've got a bunch of ice on top of your snow and it appears that Southerners don't really know how to walk on that stuff. (Baby steps, flat footed, arms out for balance.) Somewhere around here I have some gripper thingys that fit over boots for traction on ice. They work really well.

Mudge, saw that report about the sales of Glocks. Apparently a lot of people think they'll be banned now (yeah,like that's gonna happen) so they're buying them all up.
What is it with this country and guns?

Posted by: badsneakers | January 11, 2011 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I ... I don't know what to say. That is just ridiculous, grotesque, evil, stupid, awful, horrible, wicked, monstrous. No adjective is powerful enough for that.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Bad, I can just never understand the tortured thinking of the people who think some guin or guns in general are on the cusp of being banned. Who is going to do the banning? Do they not understand they now control the House? Do they somehow think any kind of ban legislation can pass? In order to think that somehow the government has the power and the numbers to ba, one must necessarily believe that the gun-banners are in a majority of the public. Ipso facto, they must therefore understand themselves to be in the minority ion this issue.

Yet, of course, they don't believe any of that. They just need to postulate some sort of mythical sub-unit inside the government has the power to ban something (and the will to do it).

Such nonsense even further requires the idea that once such a ban is "ordered" by somebody, that there is a body of federal employees who can and will carry out the ban. Somebody's gotta go door to door and round 'em up. Who? These people never get remotely close to figuring out the insanity of the logistics.

But hey, just in case their government somehow passes a lawful order to round up Glocks, they are gonna rush out and buy one before it is too late.

In the event some of them believe such an order to be UNlawful, then they must postulate that their gummint can and does issue unlawful orders all the time. But they don't seem to think that. The alternative is they must believe the gummiont will perform this heinous unlawful act once and only once, rounding up Glocks. The omnipotent government's first act would be to round up a specific kind of weapon. It wouldn't be to take over the media, or to round up and imprison (execute?) the opposition party. No. It's first step would be to remove Glocks.

There is just no way to explain this kind of irrational magical thinking.

BTW, whose turn is it to keep the black helicopters flying tonight?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 11, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I hope it's not my turn. I've been trying to fly my model helicopter around the house, and I'm not very good at it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Amen Mudge. My old boss got on a kick about how if Obama was elected he'd ban guns. I actually laughed at him when he said that. Then I tried to reason with him but I don't think it took. The scary thing was that he is not a dumb person and I'm not even sure he owns a gun himself (he's a big fishing enthusiast), but he was buying into the whole 'fear' thing. Of course, he also had a mad crush on Sarah Palin, so his judgment in general was a bit off.

Jon Stewart just did a great bit with Larry Gilmore on the controversy about taking the 'n' word out of Huckleberry Finn.

Gotta get some rest so I can fight the snow in the morning.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 11, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Saw Ruth Marcus's column on Glocks.

I suppose one Saturday at a nicely landscaped parking lot, somebody's pistol will go off as he's showing it to a friend, or drops it, or something. Somebody will get hit, somebody else will think it's an attack and will shoot person #1, causing someone else to start shooting. A chain reaction will ensue. To judge from news stories, this sort of thing seems to happen occasionally in poor neighborhoods. An upscale version seems possible enough to me. Not that I would ever want to see it happen.

Tenner's brief comments are apropos. Of course fear of firearms control sells guns.

I'm surprised that high-quality hunting rifles sell so poorly.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 11, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

So what you're saying, Dave, is that evolution works.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 11, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Just finished shoveling and cleaning off about 3" of snow and a bit of ice from this afternoon (note to self, next time try to start before 10:30 PM). Most of it was nice fluffy stuff, though -- good for East Coast skiing, but not as good as Rocky Mountain powder.

Can't say I'm suprised by the para JA picked out for this Kit. Most televised news content (call 'em 'shows' if you like) don't stay on that fine line between news and entertainment any more. A significant number seem to hop off the line in search of eyeballs and money, with editorial bias serving as a show's theme.

It can be good TV to assign blame as long as the recipient cooperates by making big mistakes or taking an active role in doing Obviously Bad Things.

The Gulf thing didn't work out for the Obama Haters, so they've moved on to Health Care legislation and other Terrible Things.


Posted by: -bc- | January 11, 2011 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Book reviewer Michiko Kakutani seems to have gotten the New York Times to print a bunch of unprintable works in her piece on defanging Mark Twain.

Evolutionwise, bromeliads are strictly new-world plants and they seem to be evolving like crazy, maybe as much as daisies and pea trees. I can envision Indonesia suffering an invasive bromeliad crisis.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 11, 2011 11:55 PM | Report abuse

always liked aaron brown better than ac. many hours spent outdoors today with the kids, sledding, 4 wheeling, etc. as much fun as could be had in an urban setting, without standing by the roadside chucking snowballs at passing motorists. the latter was a ritual of ba**siness in the suburbs of TWC, where the snowbanks could provide cover. if the victim saw you, there was a 50/50 of being dead meat, and a 50/50 of running the paths of the neighbourhood so that you weren't caught. of course, being caught throwing snowballs at vehicles today is likely a class b felony, and under the right circumstances, could have you rendered to another country to explain just exactly what your motives for throwing projectiles at moving vehicles was. more likely, you'd be shot by a motorist with a C/C permit, and they'd be off the hook 'cause you happened to be the assailant, and retaliation *is* justified.

Posted by: -jack- | January 12, 2011 12:07 AM | Report abuse

this, just because steve gaines will always be cool.

Posted by: -jack- | January 12, 2011 12:12 AM | Report abuse

weeds, Dave. weeds, i tell you. my wife adores mimosa plants, and cherry trees. how weedy they are. gimme a tulip poplar. please.

Posted by: -jack- | January 12, 2011 12:18 AM | Report abuse

hat. sorry for being such a bh.

Posted by: -jack- | January 12, 2011 12:32 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. I can't sleep, woke up coughing.

Thanks Wilbrod for the information. I guess if I can get out of here safely will probably make a run to the doctor's office. I get so tired of going there because for people like me, they don't do anything really. When you're old, they kind of figure, what's the point?

My sister had a constant cough before she died but she was a heavy smoker. I have cough syrup but despise it.

On CNN they're talking about the victims of the shooting, those that lost their lives. I think about what our children will think of us. What are we teaching them? What impact will this have on them, and I get even sadder.

In Raleigh,NC, the tea party is having its way with Wake County school system. They and the Republican party are taking the schools back to the time before intergration. It's a mess there, and I'm afraid it might get worse, I hope not. They feel like it's a victory for them and for the people they serve, but it's not. It doesn't matter how much one wants to go back to that time that was good for one, we can't go back. It just doesn't work that way.

I may have to take the cough syrup in order to sleep.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 12, 2011 1:35 AM | Report abuse

When I moved in this apartment, did not see one roach, now they're literally coming out the woodwork! The apartments are hooked together, and some of my neighbors have them real bad. That stuff I'm spraying probably isn't good for the asthma or the cough! The exterminator comes monthly and will come more often if the problem is really bad. My neighbor says he's the one bringing the roaches! She says he does that to keep his job! But these are old apartments, no telling what's living behind these walls, and whatever it is has more than likely built up an immunity to whatever is thrown at them.

Everybody gone to bed?

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 12, 2011 1:43 AM | Report abuse

I have no current interest in possessing a firearm. When I was younger I wanted a .22 rifle to go plinking, but my father correctly pointed out that while I would almost certainly have the good sense not to injure anyone, I would almost certainly not have the good sense to avoid shooting at inappropriate targets.

But I am theoretically in favor of 2nd Amendment rights, so that's emboldened me to embark upon a bit of minor arms-trafficking. I took (some amount of money) and (ahem... informally) bought all of the guns at a local pawnshop (favorable prices since I was buying in volume, dealing hard cash, and not actually taking possession) then made a deal with the owner that he could have them back at 2.5% above the price I'd paid him, no questions asked.

So far, I've made $85 in a little over a week (which works out to quite a lot more than the same investment would have made at my bank) and the prospects are good that I will receive all of my capital back in less than two months, at what will work out to be a genuinely usurious rate of return. And I'm making my money from a pawnbroker. It's like making a profit selling coals to Geordies!

Who knew that gun-dealing was so easy? My name's not involved unless I take them off the broker's hands (technically, I'm buying gun mortgages, not actual guns. I gave him a loan, but he still gets to holster them), and he's not anxious for me to do so because he knows he can sell them for more than I paid him. He and I are both in balance about the fact that I'd have to file papers to take possession, but he'd have to file papers to give 'em up.

I should probably feel bad about this, shouldn't I?

Posted by: Bob-S | January 12, 2011 2:04 AM | Report abuse

I'm still here, dear Cassandra, and worried a bit about your cough. It surely cannot be true that your doctors do nothing? The thing that worries me for you, is that you never stop. In that way, we are sisters. We're both busy people, Energizer Bunnies.

Bob, I was talking to a friend last night about how much we both love the *skill* of shooting, but are against guns (das ding an sich) and gun ownership at all, at all. My brothers and I used to target-shoot (mid-70s) and each of us owned one rifle (mine, a very beautifully-crafted German Ruger .22), but we also skied X-country, swam in cold Canadian Shield lakes, ran, climbed and rappelled down mountain faces, hiked, camped, fished, rode our bikes all over a big city. Just, it seemed to us, that we were preparing ourselves to be full Canadians. To survive the harsh-lands and the coming ice-age or guerilla war in Rainy River. Which is why I still love the Olympic Winter Games, particularly Biathlon.

I was always a completely anti-war pacifist hippie, but, wanted to be able to carry my babbies to Kuala Lumpur on my back, in a straightened circumstance, on a forced march.

Posted by: Yoki | January 12, 2011 3:20 AM | Report abuse

Guten tag boodle!

I used to think the US needed more gun control laws (and still do) but in my time in public office became convinced that we need a cultural shift first-as we did with smoking and seat belts.

Tuesday's revelation was a new-to-me Austrian/Bavarian dessert called Germknodel.
The one I had was swimming in much more butter and as noted in the link was appropriate for a sweet main dish. In my gluttony I first had goulash soup then some spaetzle with jaeger sauce a beer and a shot of something I can only describe as lacquer thinner. I'm learning enough German to order food and at least look like I'm making an earnest effort.

Later gators.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 12, 2011 3:52 AM | Report abuse

Yo, frosti! Glad to hear that you've had that gustatory 'sperience. I did too, with my dear old Dad.

Posted by: Yoki | January 12, 2011 4:00 AM | Report abuse

Yoki-thought of you, and other fine foodies from the boodle, as we dined. Mr. F is here for a conference so there are many people we know in town. The next time someone asks me "what are you going to do today?" I shall be honest and simply reply "eat."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 12, 2011 4:10 AM | Report abuse

Remember Julie/Julia the movie? I'm nearly as good at eating as Julia was.

Posted by: Yoki | January 12, 2011 4:20 AM | Report abuse


I've had this cough since my bout with pneumonia, and it had eased up a bit, but has come back with a vengence. I will go back to the doctor, but I get weary of them as I suspect the feeling is mutual.

I keep thinking perhaps I'm not clear of the pneumonia. The doctor in the emergency room wanted to admit me, but I refused, and after the results of the blood work, and an IV hook-up, they said it was ok to come home.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 12, 2011 5:04 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. Cassandra, I think you need a ct scan of your lungs. Sometimes being admitted is not a bad thing.

Not much snow, one inch, cold as a well digger's behind, tho.

I've enjoyed reading some very thoughtful, weighty posts on this boodle. Some good links, too. Thanks.

Posted by: VintageLady | January 12, 2011 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Guten Tag, frosti!! I'm terribly eifersuechtig over your Germknoedel!! :-)

I really don't mind when the forecasters are wrong on the low side, it was nice to wake up to a sedate blanket of white. Didn't even mind a quick shovel of the walk before heading off to Dawn Patrol.

Cassandra, here's the WaPo take on the Wake County shenanigans:

Astounding to see how some people think. *SIGH*

*hoping-it's-a-Happy-Hump-Day-for-all Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 12, 2011 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and I'm rather ashamed of my home state legislators today:


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 12, 2011 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Snuke, I have been intently reading the boodle and been very intrigued with the conversation... not feeling like I have much to add.

I will say that I am thinking back to all those folks openly packing weapons at public events where Obama has been.

Of course, and others... in an attempt at intimidation. (Why else?) just because, isn't a good reason.

I fully support the 1,000 foot limit on weapons near public officials other than authorized police and security officers.

Linear thinking has us trying to say why the shooter in Tucson did what he did. I was really struck with Mudge's point yesterday about how we all affect other's lives in some way large or small. It is an American "truism" that it is much more likely that we demand rights and opportunities for ourselves before we grant them for others.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 12, 2011 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. I slept in till almost 7 and have been lazing around this morning. I justify this because of the snow/ice shoveling yesterday afternoon.

Cassandra, I hope you'll make a run to the doctor today and get some help for the cough. Are you allowed to have pets in your complex? I understand the best remedy for roaches is a cat. Of course, that may not be the best idea for someone with pulmonary problems.

When I moved into my house, it was infested with big roaches, an inch or more long. They drove me crazy. The next-door neighbor said they had them, too. After we had the exterminator for the earwig invasion several years ago, I haven't seen any roaches. May they never return!

I hope life returns to normal today. School's still out and we haven't gotten a paper since Sunday. I think I'll go to the grocery store first thing, maybe I can get ahead of all the moms who have to bring their school aged kids.

Posted by: slyness | January 12, 2011 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Scotty! I thought THAT episode by the newly-emboldened NH GOP legislature was weak compared to some of the other stuff individuals are pushing.... like defunding New Hampshire Public Television.... or this'out+of+context'&articleId=7813c98f-e86e-46cd-9ba7-2bfbd45de2bd

The NH legislature is so big that it is impossible to have "discipline", but sheesh.

Posted by: baldinho | January 12, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, Al Baldasaro is probably the worst person in the NH legislature, at least regarding intemperate statements and general jerkiness. I think he would likely agree with me, in part. That is his schtick. His constituents love him for it.

Some other of Al's greatest hits:

The current makeup of the legislature is that the GOP has veto-proof majorities in both houses. That has emboldened a lot of the true partisans and more intemperate people. I trust the leadership will rein them in.

So far they are looking to: defund NH public television, withdraw from the regional greenhouse gas emission agreement, strike down gay marriage, and pass a constitutional amendment to ensure it stays that way, pass a law that any business that displays a sign in a foreign language has to display the message in six different languages, etc.

Many of the bills won't get passed or even voted on, and some of this is just putting down markers, but it could get ugly.

Posted by: baldinho | January 12, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Sheesh indeed, baldinho... *SIGHHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 12, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse


My doctor's office is closed on Wednesday. And yes, we can have pets, dogs or cats, and although I love both, they're so much like children because of the care. Sometimes don't feel like taking care of me. We have ice too, so much of it. I went out yesterday, but I seriously don't want to fall, and that's possible with the meds and the gait. Probably should stay in, but I want to see the baby too.*sigh*

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 12, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

frosti - I am SOOOOOO jealous! Love, love, love Bavaria; just haven't figured a reason to get back there that will pass muster with both the wife and the budget. Gotta work on that one.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 12, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, there is that, taking care of the animals is neither easy nor cheap. That's one reason why there are no pets in my household. Whatever the crud is, don't let it get worse or pass it along to anyone else.

Posted by: slyness | January 12, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I truly hope you can get some help for that cough. "S" is on a medication that lists a cough as a side affect, could any of your meds be the culprit?

Just used the snow blower for the first time. It was fine except for the end where the plow came by as it is sleety snow here and the water content is huge. I didn't realize that there was a tool on the blower to unclog the shoot so used a garden trowel instead. It worked. I wore the wrong gloves so my hands got soaked and my fingers are still a bit sensitive. I guess I'm going to make it to work :-(

Posted by: badsneakers | January 12, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

No Kinder Eggs in the US? How can you deprive parents of helping to put together all those minute toys!

Posted by: dmd3 | January 12, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Cassandra, take care o' you today.

Those with snow, take extra care and I hope you have time to make a snow angel for others to admire.

Guten Tag, frosti! Have fun!

BobS, lots of folks know gun-dealing is that easy.

Off to the doctor today. I'd ask him about your cough, Cassandra, but he's a neurologist and the epitome of medical specialization. He'd probably have to look up the word cough in his medical reference book.

Posted by: MsJS | January 12, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Hi badsneakers! Be safe out there!

Mornin' all. It's snowing pretty heavily here at the moment. Fortunately, I'm not responsible for clearing any of the white stuff from the apartment property. Unfortunately, that means I'm pretty much at the mercy of whenever they decide to come and clear it so I can get out of the driveway. It's too long to shovel by hand in a reasonable amount of time.

For all the advantages of being able to work from home one of the major disadvantages is that snow is no barrier to my attendance at work. And the office never closes. That's our policy.

I wouldn't mind just working for awhile but maybe they could cancel all conference calls and the meetings that have now been replaced with conference calls since everyone is at home. I predict that would give everyone a nice "snow day" feeling!

Sadly, while I have bread and milk it didn't occur to me to stock up on something I could do in the crock pot or simmer on the stove while I'm at home today. That also would give a nice "holiday" air to the event.

Posted by: cowhand214 | January 12, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse


You are so right! I hadn't thought about that. And I just started taking a new one! Sometimes just feel like throwing the whole lot in the trash!

I'm probably not familiar enough with facts pertaining to gun control, but I've been thinking (and that's limited!), why do we have so many guns here in our country? I don't like guns, but when I was younger, I tried to buy a gun. I was going to use this gun to protect myself from an abusive husband. So the frame of mind I brought to this action was that I was going to use the gun. Now the question has to be asked, who are all the gun owners going to shot? We are armed to the teeth to shot...? I wanted the gun because I was afraid. And I realize the argument is not that simple, but then it is simple, because first a target has to be in place, correct? No one buys a gun just to have it, except perhaps collectors, and even they want a "working" gun, right?

And why are we so afraid to talk about our obsession with guns? I don't mean talk going back to rights and that sort, but deep down discussions of the fear and animosity we hold even in trying to broach this subject. There's fear in wanting to possess guns and fear in saying, well, perhaps this isn't the best thing to do, maybe it's a tad overboard.

I did buy the gun, but got rid of it. I'm too afraid of guns to have one in my possession, don't even like to be around them. I've had a gun pointed at me three times in my life, and all three times my knees folded, and prayers were on my lips.

We see the terrible consequences of guns in the wrong hands, yet it doesn't push us to act like adults concerning this subject, fear rules the day. And I know the world is not a good place, it's horrible at times and people can be animals, yet without facing the consequences of doing nothing about so many guns and more people buying guns, we'll keep losing people and trying to heal hurting hearts.

When each one of us walks out our door each day we face a risk of losing our very lives, and gun ownship heightens those odds. Can't we just have a grown discussion about this?

The NRA is calling my house everyday, someone should tell them they most certainly have the wrong number. God is good people, He answers prayers. I know from first hand experience. I suspect Congresswoman Giffords does too.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 12, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"Blood libel?"


Talk about not grasping a term's definition properly... *SMH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 12, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Gee, Cassandra, you run with a rough crowd! A farmer let loose a shotgun blast in my general direction when I was a kid liberating produce from his fields, but that's about it for guns pointed at me in anger.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 12, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey Sneaks! I'm listening to WGBH 99.5fm ... for the past 5 hrs. My weather in the Boston region and Classical music since 6 am. Nice thing about the internet, eh?

Maybe you could internet some weather in like I internet in some music.

Truth be told, I like Laura Carlo's voice. I would give her a Grammy for reading the phone book.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 12, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I am in complete agreement with you. The lack of true and serious adult discussion of issues that touch the nerve endings on guns and on race merely perpetuates the stereotypes and exacerbates the fears and it goes in a perpetual circle, never being resolved the way it should be.

That's why I like Obama, as he acts like an adult in a role that requires "adult" (not that it's ever (with minor exception) been filled by an adult). For those fans of so-called "reality" television, who merely wish to be entertained like children, Obama's not that person. Whence, the tantrums, increasingly deadly.

I'm also faxing you some comforting tea with lemon and honey for your throat (even though the cough is coming from the lungs -- I know). Hugs, too.

frosti -- don't forget the Schlag on your dessert and/or in your coffee. Sehr gut!

Posted by: ftb3 | January 12, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse


Is this like a game of Marco Polo for crazies?

Posted by: russianthistle | January 12, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The new ad blocker really speeds up my computer. Sorry, WaPo, you tried to jam so much in each page they were crashing me...

Tim and yellojkt said important things well yesterday; better than I.

Scotty, they ought to tag the story with "pundints" as Ms. P. says. Must be the new newcular.

Cassandra, the roach bait pastes work pretty well. After going 10 years here free of them, the guys across the street had so many when they got evicted and the owner sprayed, they swarmed across an open field and got in here. Yarg! Unfortunately the pastes are hard to find. They squeeze out of big syringes like toothpaste and dabs under the sinks work pretty well. Unfortunately it might take a group effort and the majority of the people in the building do it all at one time. That's how we do fleas around here; gather up the entire neighborhood of dogs and do them all at once with flea drops.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 12, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Bob, I have a general rule, never walk around on farmland anywhere within 2 miles of Larry Czonka.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 12, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Weed, I was using LOLspeak for "Oh really?" :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 12, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra - different people want guns for different reasons. Some are collectors, who value well-made items from the past. Some people want them to hunt. Some people honestly enjoy target shooting. Some people want them because they perceive they need protection. And others want them just because it's a "toy" much like the newest iPhone or BMW or other flashy, high-priced item. A relatively small group of people wants them explicitly to commit crimes with them.

It's the last group that should be the primary focus, but unfortunately, that's really hard. In many cases people are committing crimes using guns, when it's already illegal for those people to have the gun in the first place. The laws help, but they don't solve the problem by themselves.

Hunters sometimes cause accidents - I've had three friends from high school killed in hunting accidents in the many years since graduation. (It helps to understand that my final high school was in a rural area not too far from New Orleans; too many idiotic city folk get a new gun for Christmas and go out in the woods, blasting away. One shooter told the ranger that he was surprised to see an orange deer, but when he saw the flash of orange and heard the rustle, he just shot.) Hunter safety is a big, big issue, and reputable organizations work hard on it.

Those who want the gun for protection are the ones that should be the focus of many adult discussions. Do they really need protection? Some do, but many don't; there's no real threat to them. They just have this image of "one day there'll be a shooting or a crime; and I'll whip out my piece and save the day." These folks need to carm down.

Other than the out and out criminals, though, the group that worries me the most is the "toy" group. They're very likely to have accidents, because they tend to not be as skilled or as careful. They're also likely to have their guns stolen, which then gets back to the criminal group.

(BTW, not all collectors require the gun to be in working order; they're for display. Yes, it's better to have one that works, just as it's better to have an uncirculated silver dollar, but that's not always a requirement.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 12, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat, well said. Lots of folks have guns for lots of reasons. Many that have them for protection are realistic... the guns will help them defend themselves from intruders. Until I live in a high-crime area, I will not criticize these folks.

Others that have them for "protection" don't really need them for protection... they just like having them. They have every right to have them.

It all gets ugly when they use them for things other than recreation or protection.

Posted by: baldinho | January 12, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

What new ad blocker, jumper? Details?

I'm not sure a general societal discussion about guns would be very useful or not. In theory the idea sounds good, just like we say it would be useful to have a good societal discussion about race, or religion, or sex.

But at present, there are some topics that are just so overwhelminly freighted with emotion (some rational, a lot of it not) that I don't think any kind of board, national discussion is possible. Just look at it: people have been saying we hould all talk about race and race relations for at least 40 years, by my memory, and by and large we still haven't done it. The same thing is basically true about religion -- there's never been a time when a calm, rational, intelligent discussion could ever be held about it.

There's a common trueism one hears all the time, that there are two things one should never discuss at a cocktail party or other social event: religion and politics. But it's also pretty true of guns and sex (the general field, not the specific acts...although...), too. I think the wisdom behind the caution is the recognition that in any such discussion, before too long somebody or other is going to say something inflammatory -- probably by accident -- and somebody else is gonna get mad, and next thing you know people will be throwing canapes at each other, feelings will be hurt, and the party will be ruined.

So we are all cautioned and on our best behavior, so we don't generally talk about these broad topics unless we know we're in a generally safe environment among close friends, and where we know we can talk comfortably.

Also, such general discussions tend to require a high degree of general civility, careful thought before speaking, careful language, and perhaps above all a high degree of tolerance for the other person's point of view. Sometimes you can get all that at the start of a cocktail party, but seldom after a couple of drinks.

In the present national cultural environment, I'm not sure ANYTHING could be broadly discussed, let alone guns.

I think the biggest problem with guns is that they are so deeply embedded in our history and culture, very often in a benign way (hunting, sportsmanship, camping, target practice, plus perfectly acceptable military usage, plus deeply embedded in movies and TV) that to try to discuss guns outside of that culture is impossible.

The other major, major barrier to any such discussion is that the overwhelming majority of all the pro-gun people view themselves (perhaps over much) as the "good guys," and they don't see they've done or are doing anything wrong. And I don't think it is possible to get around that first stumbling block.

The second major barrier is that there is zero trust between the two sides, total, absolute zero. So how do you get past that? You can't. So each side just preaches to its own choir.

Just another major social problem without a feasible human solution.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 12, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm concerned about the loopylapin. That "blood libel" post seems a natural habitat, but I saw neither hide nor hare.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 12, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Gun ownership is okay with me. Many people in my neck of the woods wouldn't be able to adequately feed their kids without hunting. I can also appreciate owning a gun for personal protection. While there are hunting accidents, there's very little gun violence here, maybe one a year. Bar fights never end in a gun being pulled; B&Es happen when no one is home. I suspect because everyone knows everyone else has a gun too. But you have to prove you actually know how to drive a car/truck/motorcycle and then you have to register the vehicle, get insurance, take it annually to prove that it's still safe, in some jurisdictions even pay an annual tax, etc. You have to prove to the shelter that you'll take good care of a dog (complete with a home visit) before they give you one, and then you have to register the dog, make sure it stays rabies-free, etc. So I don't see what's the big deal about mandatory gun safety classes, registering your gun, proving that you will be a responsible gun owner. AZ should reconsider the policies they have in place.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 12, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

The three most common arguments for owning handguns are that they are a deterrent to government encroachment, they are a deterrent to violent crime, and that they are needed for home defense. (Not the tone of libertarianism inherent in all of these.)

The first is the most ludicrous to me. The United States Government has access to trillions of dollars of advanced weaponry. Glocks aren't gonna be much of a deterrent to martial law. The factors that keep the Government in check are the patriotism and good character of its employees, a powerful cadre of Inspector Generals, and a free press. The importance of the latter cannot be overstressed. When discussing programs that might be viewed as encroachment, the term "Washington Post Test" comes up frequently. Which means that if you are really worried about government encroachment don't buy a gun, but a newspaper.

The second notion, that guns suppress violent crime sounds good, but fails in practice. In Guntopia as soon as a bad guy pulls out a gun a dozen armed citizens would pull out theirs and cut him down. The problem is that as soon as folks start shooting it's hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Pretty soon everyone with a gun will start shooting at everyone else with a gun. (Indeed, one gun-totin' citizen in Tucson is reported as having been dangerously close to shooting the guy who disarmed the assassin.) And the more guns flying through the air, the more innocent bystanders get killed.

I have sympathy for the notion of home defense. I can see the fear of home invasion. But, in this case, the solution seems to be a regular six-shot handgun, or a shotgun. Anything else seems useless and is most likely to be turned on the homeowner - or stolen.

Or, just do like me and get a loud nasty vicious killer dog.

Armed with lasers.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 12, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

RD, my household has pet sharks.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 12, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Brilliant RD.

My daughter was speaking the other day about what she would do if someone hurt our dog, it involved shooting someone multiple times, stabbing and kicking them. She is 10 and really can't judge the scenario, but I used that discussion as an opportunity to express my thoughts on guns, explained how an innocent young girl just a little younger than her had been killed along with other people and many were injured - that joking or kidding about gun play just wasn't funny or harmless. She ended the conversation by saying she hoped she died at 100 painlessly in her sleep, I suggested that is how all people should die.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 12, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I use the method of buying a house in a nice neighborhood, in which I can (through indolence and neglect) transform my own house into the one that makes the neighbors sigh with exasperation. If you have a choice between robbing the house in which the people buy quality stuff that they keep in good repair, versus the house in which the people can barely keep the walls from collapsing, which one would you rob?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 12, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

It's is a good point that many people keep guns for recreational purposes. And I can see this. Hunting and shooting are part of the culture. But, again, there is a difference between a rifle, a six shot handgun, and a semi-automatic. I don't think the intent of the Second Amendment was ever to protect toys.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 12, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Here's a very germane piece about the Tucson shootings and the idea of the armed citizen hero-

Posted by: kguy1 | January 12, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

dmd3, that's why I suggest that everyone try sharks. You see, it is almost impossible to look at a shark and tell if it is a pet shark, or not.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 12, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I should add I clearly stated to my daughter that we do not handle situations like that ourselves, we have police and the legal system - that is their job, they are trained.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 12, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

There are no guns in my home. My ex bought an AK-47 knockoff for protection, but then he also built an air raid shelter under the garden shed so he could wait out the coming nuclear disaster. There are many reasons we are not still together.

The only gun I've ever been around was my father's service revolver, a 1918 Colt 45. I wonder if he bought it when he got out of the Army, or if they let him have it. Dang thing is heavy as all get-out; I never would have been able to hold it up to shoot someone. By the time I was old enough to remember, he had gotten rid of the bullets. My mother gave it to my brother, still in its original leather holster.

Posted by: slyness | January 12, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Not me, bobsewell, on two of those occasions, I was with my friends(much younger day) and we were going to clubs to enjoy ourselves and ran into the wrong people. The third incident, thought I was in the right place, but it turned out, not so. But I believe because I am an African American, I more so than any of you here, would probably run into situations where there is a gun. I mean folks that do the odds on any number of scenarios always show African-Americans as most likely to get shot or killed with a gun, and many times from our own hand. And those odds tend to rise when placed in other habitats that are not our own. True?

There are many reasons why people own guns and everyone seems justified in their reasoning. Yet the tragedy we're going through now makes it all seem so feeble.

As for the cough, my daughter sends me pictures of the baby on my cell phone. I don't go there unless she ask me to sit while she runs to the grocery store, etc. And then I wear the thingy(why can't I remember the name of that!) that covers half of your face. We all wear that now because the baby has a cough. And we use hand sanitizer when handling the baby. Since the weather is so bad, don't go out much, so don't come in contact with a lot of people.

Yes, I want to see the baby, but don't want to make the wee one sicker either.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 12, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

That'd be a 1911 Slyness. And he was an idiot, an AK47 is as bad a protection weapon as I can think of. Unless he feared an invasion of Zombies, of course. They aren't called assault weapons for nuttin'.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 12, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

dmd - except that's not always possible. When my kids got to be old enough to have jobs - Safeway, CVS, that kind of typical first retail job - I talked to them about dealing with situations. After making sure they understood their employer's rules and policies about dealing with such situations, I described my one experience facing a gun. I was working at a gas station and got robbed. A guy walked up at about 9:30 pm and stuck a handgun in my face. No police to help in that situation; you get to make the life-or-death decision on your own. I made it clear to the kids that in that situation, I gave him the money, but also would have filled his tank and changed his oil had he wanted it. :-)

I told the kids that I hoped they never had to face that situation, but if they did they'd have to figure out how to handle it, because the police couldn't get there in time.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 12, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Bravo RD!

I'd like to add a very skeptical sigh about people who think their handgun is going to protect them from some sort of crime in their home. Oh that it were so. Unfortunately it is far more likely to result in an accidental death, or maiming, or escalation of a domestic dispute into something not just ugly but irrevocable.

As I like to say (stolen from Yello)-no one with a spouse should own a handgun.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 12, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and the abusive husband died of natural causes. Just got away from that life.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 12, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

But ArmyBrat that was the correct response in the situation, in my opinion. Call police if necessary after, chances are had you a gun you may have been hurt. No store owner should expect an employee to defend the store, they should protect themselves.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 12, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

But ArmyBrat that was the correct response in the situation, in my opinion. Call police if necessary after, chances are had you a gun you may have been hurt. No store owner should expect an employee to defend the store, they should protect themselves.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 12, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

SciTim, I like your logic on where you live. Our house is in a decidedly rural area, and we have two neighbors with shooting ranges in their backyards. Most of the folks in the neighborhood have loud barky dogs, for companionship and help with intruders.

We don't have either, but with the makeup of the neighborhood, a crook just has to ask himself: does he feel lucky?

Posted by: baldinho | January 12, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

My home protection method is two-fold. Similar to SciTim, live in a nice neighborhood (in my case, a rural farming community), practicing benign neglect in home maintenance ... nice garden and tidiness but questionable structural integrity.

Number two - the guard frogs, some with scary warts and some with lethal, poisonous skin and forked tongues. 8~)

(I do own an antique single-shot black powder .45 Derringer pistol. But it takes me a while to load the dang thing and I might forget to keep the powder dry. It'll blow a good hole in tree trunk though.)

Posted by: talitha1 | January 12, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

URL says it all. The genealogy of this 64-year-old Daughters of the Republic of Texas member is interesting, her family roots stretching back to Texas' earliest days.

As the article points out: "It was the second homicide of the new year. Six slayings last year by civilians were ruled justified, most of them in response to home intruders."

I shudder at SciTim's comment, as this describes our next-door neighbors' Bates Motel upkeep of their home. As it turns out, their home was robbed just several months ago. So their logic of having the most ratzin-fratzin neglectful, shameful, dirt-yard, weedy appearance of their property backfired.

Posted by: laloomis | January 12, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

ps ... my .45 is really a prop for period teaching and living history purposes, y'all realize. I have fired it on occasion in a safe, shooting range environment but wouldn't consider having a gun for home protection.

Cassandra, I've had a gun held to my head point-blank by a domestic partner (almost 38 years ago) and consider myself blessed to still be around to tell the tale. So glad the outcome of your particular situation did not result in bloodshed. This is something I've never spoken of to anyone before (except the cops I called after the fact and my escape). I feel safe here.

Posted by: talitha1 | January 12, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Howdy. I have previously expressed to the point of tedium my professional observations regarding the obscene correlation between the presence of handguns and assault weapons, and the escalation of crime from assault to homicide. I agree with RD, ScienceTim and frosti.

I will say that Cassandra made an excellent point. She said she bought a gun because she intended to use it. In my experience, far too many people who keep or carry guns for protection view them as a magical totem. If they have the gun, they think, the bad person will go away. On the contrary. If you pull a gun but aren't prepared to use it, chances are excellent that your intended victim will take the gun away from you. Chances are also good that you will have annoyed this person enough they will probably use your gun on you. The only safe way to have a gun for protection is to know how to use it, actually be prepared to shoot, and do so. Just pointing it won't help.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 12, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

shriek's right, slyness: that would be a Model 1911. Yes, it may have been manufactured in 1918, but that's not its model type. That particular gun (Model 1911, manufactured 1918, and given to a soldier in WWII) would be fairly valuable today to a collector, on the order of maybe $900 or thereabouts, with a possible range of $500 to $2,500. It probably shas "Property of the US Government" stamped on it below the slide.

If it has sentimental value to your brother (or to you), keep it. If neither of you wants, it, sell it to a collector -- but have it appraised first. Having it in the original holster would add considerably to its value. That's part of its "provenance." Your brother may want to keep it in the family, pass it on to his son, etc.

When he was discharged I'm sure he was allowed to take it home with him.

Whenever somebody talks about a Colt .45 (automatic), or there's one on TV, most of the time they are talking about or seeing that Model 1911. It was the standard issue sidearm for about a thousand years (OK, not that long), and its the Hollywood standard issue for most movies and shows.

Scotty, did they issue you one of those when you were out there defending the Fulda Gap?

Weed, what model shark do you have? The classic Mako 8-foot Maneater with the target sights, the Biscayne Bay Hammerhead .357? Certainly not a Great White (not for home protection anyway), not even the baby magnum with the shrouded hammer.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 12, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Why yes, 'Mudge, I was dutifully issued (and therefore trained in the disassembly, assembly, care, feeding, aiming and use of) the Model 1911 .45 Colt semiautomatic handgun.

Also the stamped-metal .45 submachine gun affectionately known as the "grease gun."

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 12, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse


Great White, but that could explain why we have not been attacked by any seals recently.

This house does have guns, but they are for sporting use and are so damn secured that the only time that they might be used in self-defense would be if Helen Keller broke into our house.

Just so you know, other than the sharks, we have a 100+ lb German Shepherd who serves the purpose. The dog was a bit of a rescue project not being treated well and basically left outside without interaction. In the past year, the dog has really seemed to enjoy the training and order in his life.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 12, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Hope Sneaks is OK, Massachusetts is getting the full brunt of this storm:

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 12, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

While sharks sound tempting, I am holding out for ScienceTim’s giant yard raptors.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 12, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I had to strap on the Colt 1911 auto when on guard duty in the USN. Got pretty good at dissembling and reassembling in jig time. When an order came down from CentCom that all personnel had to be "qualified" on firearms they hauled us out into the dunes and had us fire off a few rounds from the .45, the M-1 and the .30 cal. carbine. With the first shot from the .45, I was half-deaf for about 3 days, further aided and abetted by the report from the M-1.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 12, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

When sharks with frickin' lasers are outlawed, only outlaws will have sharks with frickin' lasers.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 12, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse


Have you considered a

"Trespassers will Assume Mortgage"


Posted by: russianthistle | January 12, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, SD! I said 1918 because my dad took his final exams and skipped Commencement to enlist in June 1918. Glad to know that they let him have it. When I was in high school, a friend who was a gun fancier cleaned it, but that's been, oh, almost 40 years ago. My dad owned up to firing it one time, into the air at a July 4th celebration, or something like that.

Oooh, raptors would be just the thing! We have had two break-ins at our house, which is in a fairly good neighborhood. A 24 year old neighbor and her boyfriend were convicted in the first. The second was someone who broke into the garden shed and took Mr. T's old chainsaw, using a spreader to bust the lock. I don't recall if he even bothered to report that one to the police.

Posted by: slyness | January 12, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

On the security side we're lucky to have a house that's worth 1/3 the value of some houses that were sold in our street recently. Having teenagers going in and out of the house at every possible hours probably helped too but we are getting dangerously low on teenagers. Maybe I should consider a shark too.
The Giant Black Lab was a better vocal deterrent with its powerful voice but the VLP has the visuals for him. I'll never forget the 2 old Jehovah's Witnesses shuffling as fast as they could toward their car after they saw the VLP charging down the stairs. They were sure that the puny screen door standing between them and Death would not stop the Molossus of Hades. I'm still laughing.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 12, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

When you have yard-raptors, it's so important to have a garage-door opener that's in good working order. The raptors provide excellent protection from home invasion, but they can "backfire" on you if you are not careful, or if you are a little late with the food. They are very fussy that way.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 12, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

With the sharks, we were told that we would really need a moat. We didn't have the space, so we installed a motet, instead. We have found that this has caused a certain genuflection factor amongst the undesireds

Posted by: russianthistle | January 12, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The Tea Party has just come out against school integration (I am not making this up).

I guess like comedy, being morons is all about the timing.

And its in North Carolina. *sigh*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 12, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - your approach works well with cars also. I always park my Ion next to a Mercedes. Remember, you don't need to outrun the raptor. You just need to outrun the other person running from the raptor.

And as another advantage of raptors, you will keep the xkcd dude away.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 12, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - your approach works well with cars also. I always park my Ion next to a Mercedes. Remember, you don't need to outrun the raptor. You just need to outrun the other person running from the raptor.

And as another advantage of raptors, you will keep the xkcd dude away.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 12, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Now if you'd installed a catch, you'd have instant arrest. On the other hand, if you'd gone for a glee, you'd just have happy burglars.

It is too late for the mortgage sign. Everyone knows you don't really have to pay on your mortgage, right? The intruders will just leave the house for the banks.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 12, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

RIP, David nelson, Ricky's older brother. Age 74, after surgery for colon cancer.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 12, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I think it's true that gun owners have a greater chance of dying from gunshot. I'm not sure that statistic is driven solely from folks who shoot themselves, either, accidentally or otherwise.

A friend hangs with scared conservatives who were telling me that in the case of anarchy or invasion; or U.N. troops & black helicopters, (okay, I'm filling in that part myself, but I got hints of those fears) their guns would save them and the community. I just started laughing, and saying "no" and they wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise. I told them guns don't kill people, bullets do. As was said, the government has better guns, but not only that, lots more ammo.

In reality, if chaos descended, my local sheriffs would be in charge, or the State Police. While imperfect, this gives me a more grounded feeling than the crazies apparently have.

I learned a bit of shooting in the Boy Scouts. I'm a good shot. My father wanted to teach me some more; to shoot his pistol but I think he was mad that I was a better shot than he was.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 12, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes the Onion approaches something resembling subtlety-,18796/

Posted by: kguy1 | January 12, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

kguy, that's why I am a support and a donor to ThisPAC

Posted by: russianthistle | January 12, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

... errr

Posted by: russianthistle | January 12, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

This is sad and unsettling. I thought the conventional wisdom was that it was only Democrats who ate their own-

Posted by: kguy1 | January 12, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

After reading kuy's link I noticed a story that Westoboro Baptist church were no longer going to protest the young girls funeral. Glad to see that I read the short story - and it credited a radio station in Toronto as the reason - odd I though so I googled.

This is the radio station I have listened to on and off since I was about 14 - alternative, cutting edge, I am amused that they halted the protest so the station could once again display to their listeners what whack jobs they are. Weird story.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 12, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Jumper1 | January 12, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The Florida legislature is going to prohibit doctors from asking patients whether they have guns at home. Apparently a pediatrician offended a patient. This is something of a reversal from maybe 15 years ago when the public, at least in northeastern Florida, got fed up with a steady stream of reports of children shooting each other or themselves at home.

There'll be some further extensions of gun rights, also.

I remain reasonably certain that the state will not allow construction of high speed rail. Governor Rick Scott and all-important state senate president (and US senator-in-waiting) Mike Haridopolos want to ensure that no state money goes into the project.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 12, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

floods in Brisbane are awful... poor Aussies Down Under.

Posted by: MissToronto | January 12, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I just watched about 1/2 hour of PBS' "Frontline" on Haiti one year after the quake.

One word: despair. For them and for anyone trying to find a way to help them. It is hard to envision a way that it gets better, even though it can hardly get worse.

Posted by: baldinho | January 12, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Hot new fashion trend-

Posted by: kguy1 | January 12, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm hardly a Sarah Palin fan, but her apparently effortless ability to drive so many of her critics into paroxysms of rage is somewhat impressive.

She's got a gift! I think she just twitches her nose like Samantha, and blood pressures start rising.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 12, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I'd be more inclined to describe her with a two-word phrase that includes the word "savant," Bob... *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 12, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, K-guy, hot pants have been around for years. Don't you remember go-go?

Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin

Grrrrrrrrrr. Can't the nation PLEASE PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT HER!!!!!!


Uh, sorry for the all-caps. But I think maybe it was somewhat justified. I hope you understand. I am just so sick to death of that woman, and her face, and her omni-presence.

I *do* feel a little better now. Maybe I better go lie down. Or better yet, mix myself a Hendricks and tonic.

Yes, that's the ticket. A nice Hendricks, on crushed ice.


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 12, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: bobsewell | January 12, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I think you have the right idea. The cocktail hour cometh.

I'm just hoping we can keep our 5 o'clock "5 minute" status update closer to 15 minutes than to a half hour.

Posted by: cowhand214 | January 12, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Always happy to illustrate your points, Bob.

Hey, I wonder if I write to Jon Stewart, maybe we can get a movement started to have a National No Palin Day. A day when no media puts her picture on screen, on camera, on the Intertubies, nowhere. No stories about her. No reaction stories. Just... 24 hours without Sarah.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 12, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Adblock Plus, Mudge.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 12, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see that a local researcher participated in finding that thunderstorms manufacture antimater. Of all things.,0,7628674.story

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 12, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Transferring data from

I think the data is "not interested." Sure takes a long time, though. Another thing WaPo gets involved in to no good end.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 12, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Mudgie -- perhaps you should be listening to Jimi Hendrix at the same time, eh?

Fascinating that she thinks *she's* the victim in all of this. Gives a whole new meaning to narcissism.

*faxing fleecy slippers to Bad Sneakers and some liqueur of choice with which to lace her hot chocolate upon her return from work*

My law school classmate up in NH (is Milford near you, baldinho?) emailed me that the snow has reached his fine state. He also told me that local politicos are scared expletive-less because of the shootings in Tucson. People (loosely stylized) are using machine guns in the woods nearby where he lives. I'm sure the deer and wabbits are thrilled at that. Not to mention the humans.

*words fail*

Posted by: ftb3 | January 12, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

In the middle of backboodling and saw some concern for my welfare from Scotty. All is well here. I got to work fine as it was raining and the roads were just wet. Coming home was a bit more adventurous but not that bad. Just made chili and then went out to snow blow "S"'s driveway. The darn snow blower stalled out on me and I couldn't get it restarted but I had pretty much finished his side so I left him a voicemail and came in to check the chili. I may try to start it again or I may just wait for him to get home.

Lots of power outages around here today as the snow/rain/sleet was so heavy many trees came down. We are lucky. The storm is winding down now and we got maybe 6" of really heavy wet concrete. Other areas of the state got much more snow. We are doubly lucky!

Posted by: badsneakers | January 12, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Felony to ask questions? No.

To discriminate based on refusal to answer medical questions-- a fine, maybe a lawsuit.

Florida must be trying to bolster its reputation for being the strangest state in the union.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 12, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

But what would we call a NoPalinDay if we couldn't mention her name? Collective Sigh Day? No Betcha Day?

Posted by: talitha1 | January 12, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse


I'm with you on the Palin thing, but I'll pass on the cocktail. I flip the TV when she comes on, just don't want to hear anything out of her mouth. I don't know what she said this afternoon, but I had a feeling she was going to blame someone else for the words that flew out of her mouth!

We still have plenty of ice. A bit tricky getting to the trash container out back, but didn't break any bones. I'm thinking the kids just might go back to school tomorrow.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 12, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I won't watch her fb speech, but I read short excerpts. I don't expect politicians to write all their own speeches, but the contrast between her Ad hoc interviews and this is amazing. It was like when, a month or two back, willow disparaged a classmate and Bristol corrected it with an apology. They're finally spending a lot of money to sound like they're not wasillabillies.

On my way home tonight, I passed a 2 storey snowhill, created by ploughs. It was covered by some very happy kids.

Posted by: -dbG- | January 12, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

"S" is home, got the snow blower going and is outside neatening up what I did. Picture how 'Monk' would clean a driveway - that is how "S" is doing it. Of course it makes sense because it's going to get and stay very cold and any slush not cleaned up now will just harden into clumps of ice and make walking on the driveway a real test of balance.

ftb, I had the hot chocolate but remember, I do abstain from spirits ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | January 12, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Milbank has a policy that he only answers one Palin question per chat.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 12, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Just finished shovelling the driveway, think of how Monk would not do it! Had to clean up the heavy pile the plow left at the end of the driveway I was about 1/3 of the way through that when the plow came by again just to add some more.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 12, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

We want snow. We need snow. But we get nuttin'.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 12, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse


In order to forget she-who-shall-not-be-named, I think I'd like to lie down with some Christina Hendricks...oh yeah, and the tonic.

Posted by: Awal | January 12, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Pulitzer alert, for the last back and forth from Gail Collins and David Brooks today.

Gail Collins: Actually, you may be the only political columnist in America today who is both extremely popular and extremely moderate. What’s your secret?

David Brooks: Sexual charisma.

Posted by: baldinho | January 12, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

"...what would we call a NoPalinDay[?]"


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 12, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Bonus, Mudge! If "No Sarah Palin Day" is Rapture, then at the end of it she will be taken up from the earth, never to bother us poor heathen sinners again.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 12, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Heaven for the weather, hell for the company, right?

Posted by: Bob-S | January 12, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Gail Collins: Actually, you may be the only political columnist in America today who is both extremely popular and extremely moderate. What’s your secret?

David Brooks: Sexual charisma.

All I need to do is learn how to splice footage of Brooks and Mark Shields from the News Hour to this video and its gold.

Posted by: baldinho | January 12, 2011 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Surveyors' Day
Lupine Air Parity Day

Posted by: engelmann | January 12, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Non Dies Ursus Mater

Posted by: talitha1 | January 12, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

There's half a foot of snow on the garden, but 'mater talk is always good. What's everyone planting this year?

I was thinking the classic Jerseys, Brandywine and Mortgage Lifter.

I hope they don't attract bears. Last summer's skunks were bad enough.

Posted by: -dbG- | January 12, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: talitha1 | January 12, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Reading back some: ftb, Milford is not too close by, but close enough. My brother lives near there, and it seems he got about a foot of the white stuff. From the shoveling of our drive I can confidently estimate that we received about 16 inches.

Posted by: baldinho | January 12, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Refudmas? Gawd.
Show up more often SoC.

The tall skinny Man on TV speaks a good game.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 12, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

President Obama just gave a wonderful, heartfelt and inspiring speech at the memorial service in Tucson.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 12, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I watch most of the speech, very impressive and then the signing of "Simple Gifts" so beautiful.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 12, 2011 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I just finished watching the memorial service in Tucson. Quite moving at times and I thought the president struck the right chords. (Clintonesque in length!) I lost it when he told the crowd that Rep. Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time. The invocation and the music were outstanding. Will be interested in any boodler reviews.

Posted by: talitha1 | January 12, 2011 9:39 PM | Report abuse

"Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together."

"let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, it did not, "

Few people here could stand to pay attention to that.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 12, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

...elaborating on my previous comment: Jon Stewart mentioned the other night that it would almost be easier if we could point to uncivil discourse and blame it for crazy actions. If she put up a web site and it caused a nut to shoot, that would be easier to accept and to deal with. But that's not what happened here. A web site with targets or surveyor's symbols or whatever did NOT cause this tragedy. A mentally unbalanced individual unable to deal with his own demons caused this tragedy. And that's harder to deal with.

I was glad the President went there.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 12, 2011 9:51 PM | Report abuse

-dbG- Your skunks attracted bears?

Posted by: Bob-S | January 12, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Got home just in time to see the President speak. I thought it was very good - he hit the right chords. He always makes me cry. You could tell the little girl's death touched him deeply. I liked the parts about living up to our children's expectations, and being kinder and more generous. (That woman from the north should take note.)

Posted by: seasea1 | January 12, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I missed the President's speech, but am glad for the Boodle reviews. I will view it later.

Wow. I just finished hearing a 1947 recording of Furtwangler conducting the Berlin Orchestra in Beethoven's 8th Symphony, and they've started a 1947 recording of him conducting the Fifth. Wow. This was his first recording with Berlin since he had been cleared of all suspicion of collaboration by the Allies - you recall Furtwangler had to flee Germany because he was on a hit list for helping Jews. Very interesting, dramatic, emotional interpretations of both works.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 12, 2011 10:15 PM | Report abuse

It was indeed a very fine speech. Recent events (and reactions to them) have moved & horrified me, and he struck some very fine notes.

Posted by: Bob-S | January 12, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I didn't get to hear the speech, but I read it and yes, it brought tears to my eyes. Of course the child's death touched him, his daughters are close to her age. He said all the things that needed to be said. So nice to have a grownup with good speechwriters in charge. And it was great that he and Michelle went, that was the right thing to do.

Posted by: slyness | January 12, 2011 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Ah, missed it. Thank you for the reviews, ArmyBrat.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 12, 2011 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I read the text of Obama's speech. I think he hit precisely the right tone. Obama consistently surprises and inspires me by demanding that we choose the better path.

I appreciated his observation that, after such a senseless tragedy, we try and make sense of it, try to impose order on chaos. I recall a similar Boodle discussion. We talked about how, after an act of senseless violence, there is an overwhelming impulse to find some rational explanation - usually involving something which would allow us to keep the illusion that such a tragic event could not touch us, personally. That illusion is getting a little frayed. Obama has it exactly right: "Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath."

Beatrice likes the Beethoven. She banged around in her cage until I let her out, then she hopped to a place closer to the speakers.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 12, 2011 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom -- I, too, read the speech just now, and I thought it was excellent. I suspect there are those "out there" who will not read it or listen to it, and if they did listen to it, would not hear it. This president, when he speaks, speaks from the heart and not from some cynical place. I'm glad he's where he is.

Ah, Beethoven. When I was studying for the Massachusetts Bar Exam, I took all 9 symphonies of Beethoven (in vinyl, of course, as this was almost 30 years ago and in the olden days of the last century) and stacked them up and let them do their thing. After the first part of the 9th symphony finished, I took a break during the choral part, and then let the rest plop on down until it was time to start over again. I always took my break at the choral part, which I simply adore. When I took the DC Bar, however, I chose to listen to the Brandenburg Concerti, which was a huge mistake. I switched back to the beloved Beethoven. I suspect that Bach knew that I would get into the Brandies too deeply and would be simply unable to claw myself out to study for the Bar. Ah, well. Ancient history now. Beatrice is a dang smart bunny.

Past my bedtime. G'night Boodle.

Posted by: ftb3 | January 12, 2011 11:07 PM | Report abuse

i'm guilty of posting frivolous and self centered links. the following two, however, are in the interest of comparison and contrast. regarding the events in Tuscon last saturday, first Ms. Palin:

and, last President Obama:

ymmv. i prefer President Obama's tone.

Posted by: -jack- | January 12, 2011 11:25 PM | Report abuse

irony. nothing else.

Posted by: -jack- | January 12, 2011 11:45 PM | Report abuse

I highly recommend Colbert's "The Word" segment from this evening's Report regarding the tone of political discourse.
Funny as he!! and deadly serious.

Posted by: talitha1 | January 13, 2011 12:09 AM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat, I am again impressed that the most level-headed discussions of this tragedy have been by the political leaders of the country. I mean those that actually hold office, not the pundits or bloggers or whatnot that just think they are the political leaders of the country.

Posted by: baldinho | January 13, 2011 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like Mama Grizzly is just a tad nostalgic for the days when Burr and Jackson settled things like real men.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 13, 2011 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Managed to catch the President's tribute speech last night, and I think it -and his delivery - was as good as anyone could have asked.

As far as politicians being level-headed about the tragedy, I wonder if this wasn't so close to home that those usually given to hyperbole and extreme partisanship aren't having a moment of clarity.

I hope the moment doesn't pass before something positive comes of it.


Posted by: -bc- | January 13, 2011 6:40 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. I missed the President's speech, just went to sleep, but read and viewed the video this morning on the computer. Excellent. President Obama hit all the right notes. And talking about our children and what they see from us was right on time.

BC, excellent comment, and I agree 100%.

Have babysitting job this morning, daughter has a doctor's appointment and school is still out here. Will cover up mouth and take cough syrup, not breath on anyone, hopefully. I will try to get to the doctor's office today after my stint with the kids.

I hope things are clearing up where you guys live, those of you that had snow. We mostly have ice now and because the temps are not that warm, it's melting slowly.

Slyness, are you trying to do the walk in the mornings? If so, be very careful. I was encouraged to hear the Congresswoman is steadly making good progress.

Jumper, thanks for the information about the roach paste. I will try to find it. I'm currently using a spray, but don't believe it's good for my asthma.

Time to hit the shower. Have a beautiful day, folks, and love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 13, 2011 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Really a marvelous sunrise out there, hope the DC contingent has access to an east-facing window.

What I caught of the President's speech was indeed right on the money. Let us hope we can all work towards creating a future worthy of our children's cynicism-free vision.

*off-to-linger-at-the-window-before-tracking-down-the-usual-caffeine-infusion Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 13, 2011 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Cassandra, enjoy the babysitting, even with the mask! Schools here are on a 2-hour delay; this is the first time I ever remember them doing that. No walks so far this week; I've been on the exercycle but it's just not the same! Maybe tomorrow; I will check the route this afternoon to see how clear it is. When I went around the block yesterday morning, there was still lots of ice.

Posted by: slyness | January 13, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Always nice to have a fire alarm get the day off to a rousing start... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 13, 2011 7:53 AM | Report abuse

And I knew better than to glance at the WaPo poll on the use of "blood libel."

Of course, there's no option for "The term was used inappropriately and offensively."


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 13, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

RE: The president's speech. Impressive and eloquent. It was interesting to see the news commentary following the memorial service. On Fox they gushed. On CNN they were somewhat critical and dismissive. Charles Krauthammer seems to have become Obama's biggest fan.

Posted by: davemarks | January 13, 2011 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Sadly, the misuse of the phrase is not original to Palin. Glenn Reynolds used it in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago.

So even her misappropriation of a cultural reference she is not entitled to is second hand and out of context.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 13, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, go figure yello, she plagiarises someone else's mistake... *RME*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 13, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Great speech by the President in Tucson last night. If only the feel-good words of the President's eulogies lasted more than a 24-hour or 48-hour news cycle, brought lasting results or change in a significant way. If only.

April 25, 2010, President Obama

How can we fail them? How can a nation that relies on its miners not do everything in its power to protect them? How can we let anyone in this country put their lives at risk by simply showing up to work; by simply pursuing the American Dream?

December 2010, Huffington Post, excerpt

Despite widespread media coverage and passionate speeches by politicians promising swift action, a bill to improve miner safety and health took eight months to get to the floor of the House, where it was quietly defeated last Wednesday afternoon, failing to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass. The measure would have made it easier to shut down problem mines, increased penalties for serious safety violations and offered more protection for whistleblowers. Every single Republican but one and 27 Democrats voted against it.

Posted by: laloomis | January 13, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

If only...

November 2009, President Obama

Here, at Fort Hood, we pay tribute to thirteen men and women who were not able to escape the horror of war, even in the comfort of home. Later today, at Fort Lewis, one community will gather to remember so many in one Stryker Brigade who have fallen in Afghanistan.

Asked whether the United States was winning or losing in Afghanistan, Vice President Joe Biden said that "we're making progress on all fronts, more on some areas than in others." He contended that the July 2011 troop reductions will be "more than token," adding, "We are starting it in July 2011 and we are going to be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014."

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, speaking after his arrival in Kabul, promised that the United States would continue to support Afghanistan beyond the 2014 deadline for returning responsibility for security back to Afghan forces. "If the Afghan people want it, we won't leave in 2014," Biden said.

Posted by: laloomis | January 13, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

That 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week Sarah Palin show the TV people and others want to play has me repulsed. I see a funny resemblance here...

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 13, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

New kit

Posted by: slyness | January 13, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

ps ... always like going to your blog to feed the fishies

Azure brilliant morning here. Sending virtual icemelt and snowblowers to those what needs 'um, and a strong young back to employ if need be.

Posted by: talitha1 | January 13, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Let's see, the Ft. Hood shooting was Obama's Katrina. The Underwear Bomber was Obama's Katrina. The Wall St. Financial meltdown was Obama's Katrina. The Tennessee Flooding was Obama's Katrina and finally the BP Oil Spill was his Katrina. Do we not see a pattern of a concerted effort by certain media to vilify this President? Anyone who considers themselves a true Christian and contributed to this need to make amends and atone for their mistakes, plain and simple.

The media still has not corrected so many of the exaggerations about the murders and rapes during Katrina and the levee failures. As time goes on we are learning that most NOLA residents probably had more to fear from the Police and Blackwater Guards than their fellow citizens.

Paul Harris
Author, "Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina"

Posted by: patriotpaul | January 13, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

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