Half a day to do it.

Remember that line in “Witness” before Harrison Ford witnesses the touching purity of Amish neighborliness, and makes lots of eyes at Kelly McGillis? The old Amish man, witnessing the tumult of the barn-raising threatening to fall into just another day of socializing, barks out:

“We’ve a barn to build and a day to do it!”

Well, I have 2,500 words to write before noon today. Not quite a barn, but not quite a whole day, either. So enjoy yourself an open thread, and I’ll see what I can dig up this afternoon.

Conversation starter: If you’re counting on a Democrat being elected president in November, and it doesn’t happen — never underestimate the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory — could you live with President John McCain? Why or why not? (My take, in a nutshell: Sure. If I could live with George W. Bush, I could live with anyone. But, you know, I’m a crazy dreamer.)

Or: Discuss the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Every time one of those guys came down hard on that cement decorated with dead grass masquerading as turf, one of my ribs cracked in sympathy.

Now, off to the mines for me.

Posted at 8:47 am in Current events, Housekeeping |

32 responses to “Half a day to do it.”

  1. john c said on January 21, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Like most Democrats I feel pretty good about our chances this year (the sound all of you can hear across the country is me knocking on wood.) Then this thought occurs to me. Any Republican – and I mean ANY Republican – is miles and miles better and smarter than Dub-yuh. And this country elected him twice. (Shudder). Whoever we throw up there will be slimed with middle school-level lies, while Republicans will canonize someone like Mitt Romney, who lies through his pearly white teeth every time he opens his Ken-doll mouth. Don’t get me started.
    McCain is a guy I fear. He’s a wee bit nuts. And I don’t like a lot of what he says. And I wouldn’t vote for him in any scenario I could imagine. But he has a few qualities I admire – he speaks candidly and he doesn’t change his position every time he sees a new poll.

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  2. nancy said on January 21, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Popping back in from the mines for just a second: McCain is nuts. But the next time you think sexism is something we left behind in the 20th century, ask yourself why Hillary gets called “overly ambitious” for wanting to be president, and McCain, who’s been running for president seemingly since my infancy, is not seen as ambitious at all. Plus, he’d keep us in Iraq until the 23rd century.

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  3. brian stouder said on January 21, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Say – speaking of presidents, let’s go right to the pinnacle, shall we? Gerald Prokopowicz, who was the historian at the Fort Wayne Lincoln Museum for 9 years (and a Friend of Nance, along the way) has a new book out called Did Lincoln Own Slaves; And Other Frequently Asked Questions about Abraham Lincoln….and I got my copy from the Lincoln Museum on Friday and read it over the weekend, and LOVED it!

    Gerry’s informative and engaging book made me laugh out loud several times – including in the foot notes and end notes (loved the anecdote about dinner with the brass at Lincoln Life, when Dr P was their newly-minted Lincoln Historian, and committed a conversational faux pas!) And indeed, despite the 4 dozen (give or take) other Lincoln books on my shelf (and in some cases, BECAUSE of them!) I’ve learned many things I didn’t know, and UNlearned several incorrect things I thought I knew (That Lincoln did NOT say “I can’t spare this man; he fights” about Grant was a particular surprise, to me)

    The dust jacket puffery is 100% accurate; Harold Holzer calls it a page-turner, and it certainly is that. And indeed, the questions in the book range all across the spectrum of Lincoln-related topics, and all are dealt with seriously and informatively (a typically humorous aside was when The Number One Question of this generation comes up, and the other major questions – that otherwise would be The Number One Question – grumble a bit! A very painless, entertaining, and memorably educational way to deal with the historiography surrounding which questions people ask – and why – ensues)

    My 12 year old son Grant is now reading the book that was making dad laugh all weekend.

    And here’s the kicker – his book tour will bring him close by, and if you get the chance to go hear his talk, by all means you SHOULD!

    Fort Wayne, IN. Sun. Jan. 27 7 pm –Mitchell Books

    Grosse Pointe, MI Mon. Jan. 28 7 pm — Border’s (on Kercheval)


    Ann Arbor, MI Tues. Jan. 29 7 pm — Shaman Drum Book Shop (on State St. down the street from the location of the first Border’s store in the country)


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  4. Jeff said on January 21, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Y’know, numbness is numbness no matter how tough you are. I wonder the Packer line was too clever by half with that sleeveless thing goin’ on. But you could just hear the train-whistles in the background as they lined up for the Giants’ last field goal.

    This is also a good day for me to keep telling people — if you haven’t read Taylor Branch’s “America in the King Years” trilogy, at least pick up and commit to reading “Parting the Waters.”

    I’m a conservative, and for an assortment of reasons i end up bumping against a great many folk who feel the need to make negative comments about MLK himself on and around this day. I always tell ’em: “you’ve heard J. Edgar’s POV for all your life — promise me to hold your judgment on whether this holiday belongs on the calendar until you read “Parting the Waters.””

    Most probably never actually do — it isn’t a short book, none of them are — but i’ve had a satisfying number of folks tell me later, “Well, um, OK, yeah.” There is much to break your heart, and more to lift your spirit about this country and about how community really works when you have a group of visionary leaders who don’t quit easily.

    If you haven’t read it, this is a fine day to find it at the library or buy it online, and this winter is the right time to plow through it. An epic, a tragedy, a comedy, a great story.

    And it’s why there’s quite a few Republicans who think if Obama is elected, and the rest of the government maintains their weary, foot-dragging, obstructionist ways, what’s the harm and look at all the good. I barely trust government to confirm and secure what groups like SNCC and CORE accomplish; what keeps me from being an actual Democrat is that the governmental systems will never be the source of such social change, nor should they. They can manage Medicare passably, Social Security adequately, and we gotta jump on ’em to get them to maintain levees and borders properly.

    Today, forget the candidates, and remember the community organizers. (Whoops, i just unintentionally endorsed Obama again . ..)

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  5. john c said on January 21, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Don’t dismiss the “overly ambitious” tag as mere sexism. That’s part of it. Another very large part is this- and I am not saying I agree with it. Hillary is married to a man who clearly has never been able to keep it in his pants, who has humiliated her and her daughter over and over with his womanizing. And yet she remains loyal to him. Me, I say their marriage is their business and try to figure out if she’ll be a good president. Others, though, see a person so ambitious that she sacrifices her dignity and allows her marriage to be a mockery of political calculation. Like I said, I don’t necessarily agree with this. But frankly, I’d like Hillary a bit more if she were divorced. And as much as I long for the days when we had a thinking president like Bill, I always felt he was overly ambitious as well – by which I mean he was too quick to sacrifice principles for political expediency, rather than to try and convince people that his position was right. I always go back to the death penalty. You KNOW that both he and Hillary are, deep down inside, opposed to the death penalty, as they rightly should be. Yet not only do both support it because, well, they can read the polls, but Bill was a governor. He put people to death.

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  6. Jeff said on January 21, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Whoa — just after hitting send on my comment, i just saw my first Obama ad in Ohio . . . and he has Claire McCaskill speaking in it, but also Dick Lugar shown prominently.

    And it talks a bunch about community organizing . . .

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  7. Jolene said on January 21, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Another MLK Day suggestion: Some of the benefits of reading Taylor Branch can be obtained with less effort by watching Eyes on the Prize, showing today on my PBS station and possibly yours too. I watched it all the way through for the first time last year and came away thinking, “Those people were brave.”

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  8. Scout said on January 21, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Americans are shallow. If McCain is the best of the Elephant herd running, (and sadly enough, he seems to be,) I don’t see the image obsessed average voter pulling the lever for a guy so far past his sell-by date. A guy who sounds like his Poli has lost its Grip with every sibilant ‘S’, his voice is a ringer for the ancient pedophile character on “The Family Guy.” Has anybody besides me noticed that?

    Huckabee crossed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” line last week when he was a leeeetle too forthcoming about his Santorum-ish views on homosexuality. Although many folks who make up the Bible Base eat that stuff up whole, most people are uncomfortable having the relationships of gays they know and love being equated with bestiality.

    The Mitt Happens campaign is always going to have to be dodging the wedgie of being the Funny Underwear Candidate. In flip flops.

    The comb-over hero of 9/11 is still bouncing around beneath the bus under which he was thrown after certain things came to light about his Mayoral Romp and Stomp. The very fact that the Corporate Media was permitted to report the truth about Captain 9/11 9/11 9/11 speaks volumes. He has been expended.

    The Ron Paul R-3V0J-ution has been halted in its tracks by the establishment as well. No way they were going to allow disrespect for the 100! no, 1000! year war to define their candidate, no siree.

    And Thompson. He obviously thought he was the heir apparent to the former-actor-turned-politician throne. Content to leave the campaigning to the gaffers and lighting techs while he napped in his trailer. This is a man lazier than the idiot we have now.

    I have great faith that the American people are ready for a change and will vote accordingly. If an honest election is held, there will be a Democrat in the White House this time next year. But after what has happened the past two presidential election cycles, I do not have warm fuzzies about the integrity of the electoral process. So I guess I DO have to assess how I would feel about McCain in office.

    I think I’ll keep my passport up to date.

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  9. Sue said on January 21, 2008 at 11:49 am

    What John C said. Plus: I believe I have said this before: When Hillary the lifelong Cubs fan put on a Yankees cap and stated that she had “always liked” the Yankees, I knew I could never vote for her. Although it sounds petty, as a lifelong Cubs fan I can tell you that it says more about her character than just about anything else. Political expediency should not be the basis for some decisions, and not understanding that in relation to a concept as basic as sports or sports rivalries should be considered a major “big picture” problem for Hillary.

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  10. Jon said on January 21, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Does McKain ever remind anyone else of Bob Knight?
    Is it the red sweater or is it also his speaking mannerisms?
    Or is it just me?
    Hoosiers, any comments?

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  11. Kirk said on January 21, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Maybe if Bobby Knight took a Quaalude every eight hours or so.

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  12. Jeff said on January 21, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    They both start way too many sentences with “Look . . .” but Bobby doesn’t always follow that imperative with ” . . . my friends,” and goes on to let us know how he and all right thinking people see reality.

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  13. alex said on January 21, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    McCain reminds me of a prehistoric reptilian bird in a National Geographic book I have at home. A dead ringer, I tell ya. And his trophy wife looks kinda like Nicole Brown Simpson.

    As for the Clinton marriage, no one believes it’s idyllic. Close, yes. But no cigar.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on January 21, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    McCain seems to be an honorable, if old, man. As much as I disagree with many of his positions, esp. Iraq, I think I could live with him. But then, call me crazy, I like Kucinich.

    My current book is the Tom Brokaw version of the 60’s, “Boom”. I’ve just been reading about the 1968 presidential election, and how Nixon co-opted the Wallace voters by playing the race card. I’m just a little too young to remember that, plus my parents were still grieving the Goldwater defeat from 1964. I was a great disappointment to them when I put the “D” next to my name.

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  15. brian stouder said on January 21, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    But no cigar.


    Last night Pammy and I sat down to watch Sleeping Dogs Lie, an unrated movie.


    We didn’t have much of an idea what it was going to be about (it looked American Beauty-like, but was written by Bobcat Goldwaithe, which, in hindsight, shoulda’ been Clue #1)… and as the movie began, it was emitting a strange vibe…a bored young woman is sitting in her apartment one evening, while her large male dog rolls on his back on the floor.

    I said “If she does the dog, I’m outta here” – and 90 seconds later, I was reading my book in another room.

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  16. Danny said on January 21, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I feel a great deal of disappointment over the current field of “choices.” Sad all around, but conservatives are more screwed than anyone else. At least for the libs, Obama seems genuine. I just don’t think he has the experience.

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  17. brian stouder said on January 21, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I just don’t think he has the experience.

    Other than Grover Cleveland, no one ever has

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  18. Danny said on January 21, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    I realize that “experience,” is a double-edged sword. How much is enough to have it, but yet not be jaded and owned by lobbyists and special interests? Who knows.

    But one would think that only two or three years in congress is not enough. Especially given that he has mainly been running for the presidency for the past eighteen months and has not really been a part of much legislation.

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  19. Michael said on January 21, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    I’ve always thought McCain would make an OK president. He’s not perfect, but he’s no GWBush, either. And I honestly don’t think he’d engage in the insane manipulation of American democracy that’s been the hallmark of the Cheney Administration.

    Personally, I’d be OK with McCain, not that I’d actually vote for him.

    And: Bobby Knight? No. I don’t see that one, personally. And I’m a Hoosier living in Puerto Rico, so I’m double-Knighted. Har, har.

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  20. Jeff said on January 21, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Got any outstanding warrants still laying about, Michael? Or has Bobby sent an attorney back to tidy things up. . .

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  21. Pete Mosscutter said on January 21, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    The very thought of another Clinton in the White House leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
    Would Bill be referred to as ‘the First Ladies’ Man’?

    McCain is too old. Same with Thompson. Guiliani should have run for Hillary’s Senate seat last election cycle. It would have ended Clinton political aspirations.

    As a New Yorker, I tell you I’ll NEVER vote for a Cliinton. Obama has no ‘gravitas’.
    As an Irish Catholic registered Democrat I may just NOT VOTE for a Presidential candidate, but support only local candidates this Novemeber.

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  22. Danny said on January 21, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Hey, michaelj. Just got a bit of news about Philip Rivers. He played that whole game without an ACL. No partial tear. Completely gone. And he secretly got his knee scoped last Monday to clear out loose cartilege.

    I agree with you that he runs his mouth way too much, but I was impressed with the recent news.

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  23. basset said on January 21, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    dunno who Philip Rivers is but I’m not so sure you got the right information about a whole game with no ACL.

    tore mine clear off playing basketball at the rec-league level, took a bunch of cartilage & stuff with it and I couldn’t even stand up, let alone make cuts on it.

    not that I have ever been in anything like NBA shape but that knee is gonna swell up something fierce right after the tear no matter who you are, even if you can stand the pain you’re gonna lose mobility.

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  24. Cosmo Panzini said on January 22, 2008 at 2:04 am

    I started out thinking B. H. Obama was a light-weight, but his early and adamant opposition to the Iraq nonsense intrigued me. Now after watching him navigate the bullshit- maze of this campaign, I”m beginning to be impressed. Here’s hoping he can avoid Oprah the rest of the way.

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  25. Cosmo Panzini said on January 22, 2008 at 2:21 am

    And Nancy–Hillary Clinton is called “overly ambitious” because she IS OVERLY AMBITIOUS. Look at her w/out the feminist blinders, and it’s pretty glaringly obvious. Her shuck-and-jive regarding her votes for Cheney’s Iraq adventure reminds me of John Kerry.

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  26. john c said on January 22, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Experience is overrated. Dub-ya was governor of a big state, which many consider to be the highest level of experience. Problem is, he is an amoral moron with no concept of what it is he swore to protect and defend. Harry Truman was perhaps the least qualified President, and he was surely one of the best. I watched part of the debate last night and thought Obama was standing up pretty well to the Clinton machine. We’ll see, though. Hillary came off okay too, considering she was on the attack. But with all due respect to all the ladies in the house (say yay-uh), she and her folks are treading dangerously close Page 1 of the Al Sharpton book of politics, substituting the key word. Say something bad about Hillary, my friend, and you must be a knuckle-dragging sexist. She’s not quite there, yet. But she’s close.

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  27. Danny said on January 22, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Speaking of feminist blinders, I think we all should remember how Hillary and N.O.W. completely lost their taste for feminism when it came to Bill. Several women alleged he had assaulted them, but they didn’t care.

    Most succinctly put, Hillary has BLIND ambition.

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  28. LAMary said on January 22, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    It was also alleged that Hillary arranged the murder of Vince Foster because she was having an affair with him, and it was alleged she was a lesbian, and it was alleged that she and Bill had ordered the murders of lots of people. You’d think she would just disappear and never show her face again with all those allegations.
    Bill messed around with a lot of women. Lots of husbands do. Hillary did not end her career because of this.

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  29. Danny said on January 22, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I’m not talking about the “messing around” ones, Mary. I’m talking about the ones he assaulted, allegedly. But you knew that.

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  30. LAMary said on January 22, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    I knew it was alleged.

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  31. michaelj said on January 23, 2008 at 5:45 am

    Witness is a great movie. It’s not Blade Runner, but as Gaff would say, what is? I believe Harrison Ford made his living as a carpenter before he was Indiana. Pegs instead of nails? I know how that’s done. Bet he does too. Danny Glover in the granary, Arthur Hitchcock, eat your heart out.

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  32. michaelj said on January 23, 2008 at 6:22 am

    Fearless Leader:

    Having protected the OClub Jack Daniel stash, W knows what it is to put his life on the line. Well, mission accomplished, ahole. Good luck in Cambodia, or Syria or whatever, you fraud. Chickenhawk, extraordinaire. He did actually enter the militarywhen Dheney had other priorities. My hero

    Does John Edwards get itchy when people in the press talk about Bill doing the pit bull that NP candidates are supposed to do? Somehow, I missed his attack on the neo-Nixon Raygunian Short Boat liars back in ’04. As Randy Newman says, Jesus, what a jerk. That was his job. Yeah, he didn’t drive a boat into Cambodia, but his boss sure as hell did, and the opposition had other priorities, like destroying his septum searching for coot in Alabama..

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