Open primaries.

I’ve lived in open-primary states all my life — first Ohio, then Indiana, now Michigan — and have been immersed in GOP Nation for so long that I can’t remember when voting wasn’t complicated. To vote offensively, or defensively? How strategic does my ballot need to me? Vote for someone, or against someone else?

We have a primary coming up in just under a couple weeks. There are a few interesting races on the table, and apparently I’m not the only one who’s strategizing.

Our state house district is reliably Republican, but no longer a lead-pipe cinch. Six Republicans and four Democrats are running for the seat opened by a term-limited exit. Normally I’d vote in the Republican primary, just for that feeling of not being disenfranchised, but the U.S. congressional seat is in play, and that one’s more interesting.

The current occupant is the Detroit mayor’s mother, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, an imperious, high-handed dame who behaves as though the seat was bequeathed to her by God. Unfortunately, her son’s problems have many suburbanites slavering to punish him by booting his mom from office — at least, if I’m reading the sudden appearance of yard signs for her opponent, Mary Waters, along such unlikely thoroughfares as Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe.

Here’s Waters’ TV ad, with Mrs. K’s famous meltdown of a couple summers back.

And here’s how the mayor is greeted in his hometown by a crowd of hockey fans, certainly a heavily suburban crowd. This is a fairly restrained response, based on what I’ve heard in private conversations.

Today brings fresh outrage for the ‘burbs: The mayor’s being investigated for allegedly shoving a sheriff’s deputy, who was trying to serve a subpoena on his good friend Bobby Ferguson. This happened at the home of the mayor’s sister, who is married to Bobby’s cousin, and yes, others have noted that nepotism seems to be a theme with these folks.

Anyway, I’m not sure which ballot I’ll request. It depends on whether the Republican spot for the state House seat looks to be in serious play. I don’t think it is — I think it’s going to a nice blonde lady whose qualifications include “in line to be the first female commodore of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.” Oh, how nice. Meanwhile, Kilpatrick and Waters “sparred,” as they say, on a local public-affairs show last weekend, and the former sneered to the latter, “You couldn’t carry my bra.” And people wonder why I like living here.

Of course, it would help if one of the weeklies would cover the race, but they’re too busy covering a new swimming pool opening. (Headline: Splish, splash! Zero-entry pool opens)

Dunno if you non-subscribers can read this, but there’s an interesting piece in the WSJ today announcing the “end of the Reagan Revolution,” i.e., a return of government regulation. After a bellyful of Chinese lead, the mortgage-and-banking fiascos, collapsing freeway bridges and various other train wrecks, voters are saying, “You know, maybe the endlessly creative marketplace isn’t the best overseer for this stuff.” And I know you can read this AP piece about the same issue, in tighter focus:

WASHINGTON – One of the worst outbreaks of foodborne illness in the U.S. is teaching the food industry the truth of the adage, “Be careful what you wish for because you might get it.”

The industry pressured the Bush administration years ago to limit the paperwork companies would have to keep to help U.S. health investigators quickly trace produce that sickens consumers, according to interviews and government reports reviewed by The Associated Press.

The White House also killed a plan to require the industry to maintain electronic tracking records that could be reviewed easily during a crisis to search for an outbreak’s source. Companies complained the proposals were too burdensome and costly, and warned they could disrupt the availability of consumers’ favorite foods.

The apparent but unintended consequences of the lobbying success: a paper record-keeping system that has slowed investigators, with estimated business losses of $250 million. So far, nearly 1,300 people in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Canada have been sickened by salmonella since April.

When we were in Cali, garden to the U.S., this was a very big story. Tomato growers were worried about losing their shirts while investigators tried to find the needle in the haystack. Meanwhile, consumers refused to buy tomatoes, restaurants pulled them from their menus and the nation twiddled its thumbs. Good thing the availability of our favorite foods wasn’t disrupted.

OK. Friends, I am looking out the window at what appears to be a lovely day. Time to exercise the Freelancer’s Option, and go enjoy it. Good weekends to all.

Posted at 10:30 am in Current events, Detroit life |

38 responses to “Open primaries.”

  1. Dorothy said on July 25, 2008 at 10:53 am

    I can’t believe Mary Water’s ad has “Yaw’s boy” spelled that way. Should it not be spelled “Y’all’s boy”? I know that’s not the salient portion of the message… but I’m like that about things I see in print. I want them to be CORRECT. That being said, it’s a good ad anyway.

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  2. Sue said on July 25, 2008 at 11:45 am

    “Tomato growers were worried about losing their shirts while investigators tried to find the needle in the haystack. Meanwhile, consumers refused to buy tomatoes, restaurants pulled them from their menus and the nation twiddled its thumbs. Good thing the availability of our favorite foods wasn’t disrupted.”
    Certain of my relatives are convinced it’s the dirty mexicans picking the produce who are at fault. With this kind of attitude, we might as well hang it up right now. If that communist (communist, socialist, what’s the diff?) Upton Sinclair wrote some version of “The Jungle” today, it wouldn’t raise a peep. It certainly wouldn’t cause the sitting Republican president to respond in ways intended to protect Americans. I want Theodore back.

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  3. brian stouder said on July 25, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Sue – our local radio lip-flapper has repeated the “it’s the Mexicans” mantra again and again; the better to make it into ‘common knowledge’ that actually ain’t. In his tale, the tomatoes came from Mexico; and now the scare is over because they’re out of season in Mexico, and it’s shifted to the peppers and so on.

    …and the beat goes on

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  4. Catherine said on July 25, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Many of those farms in Mexico are actually or de facto owned by Americans. There is a great story there for an enterprising, bilingual journalist. Upton Sinclair, we miss you. Teddy, too.

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  5. Danny said on July 25, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    It didn’t end up being a big deal for us. The vine ripened varieties, which are the only edible ones IMO, were readily available because they were not suspected.

    Anyway, another topic. I am totally into a “new” group that I just discovered: The Cranberries. And I’m only 10 or 15 years late to the party. Dolores O’Riordan’s voice is wonderful. Love that little Irish accent too. I’ve asked my wife to start affecting it, but she just rolls her eyes. She’s not “such a fool” for me sometimes.

    Oh and Brian, I almost forgot. Recently, VH1 has been celebrating the career of The Who with lots of shows and concert footage. Great stuff. But you would have been interested in some of the accompanying Eddy Vedder/PJ footage. He is interviewed extensively praising them and Pearl Jam did a very kickass performance of several of their songs from the Quadrophenia album (my favorite Who album).

    PJ and Eddy really, really nailed it. His vocals just rocked on “Love, Reign o’er Me.”

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  6. whitebeard said on July 25, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    The big supermarkets and food producers have us in their grip and react strongly to any notion to control them. Have you ever gone to a giant supermarket and been told your favorite product is no longer made but then you find it in smaller locally-owned grocery stores. That’s because the manufacturer has dared to refuse to pay the big supermarket “blackmail” for shelf space to carry its product. Yes, that happens all the time. There is even an extra fee charged the suppliers for the coveted end-of-aisle display.
    Sometimes, the shelf wars become hilarious; in one local giant supermarket near me, the store manager had to end a squabble between soft drink rivals, which alomost came to physical blows, by using a tape to measure out the exact shelf space “bought” by the bottlers.
    And, products will vanish because the store’s damned computer will note that sales of that product have decreased and curb purchases. Even if sales are down because the shipment was lost en route because of a highway accident, the computer is king when it comes to re-ordering and couldn’t care less that the product didn’t arrive.
    Computers are quick, but they are essentially dumb and do whatever they are told to do. Take the famous, or infamous, time a copy editor used the word-replace function to be politically correct and the city budget story reported how finances, which had been in the red for years, were now in the African-American.

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  7. Howie said on July 25, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    One of my souvenirs from my recent whirlwind trip to NYC is a copy of the metro, “The world’s largest global newspaper.” People hand it out for free as you head into the city. I saved it because of this left-column teaser headline:

    Killer tomatoes attacking N.Y.

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  8. brian stouder said on July 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Danny, thanks for the tip; I will look for that show. I’ll take Eddy and the boys over anyone else, every time

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 25, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    And turning up the volume to 11 for “Had Enough” is always a good way to conclude a Friday . . .

    “If you find something better, can you save my place?”

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  10. Danny said on July 25, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Is that your favorite album from The Who too, Jeff? I think I read somewhere that Pete thought it was the best he wrote and will ever write.

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  11. brian stouder said on July 25, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Music for Friday:


    Better Man


    and that’s just the drive home! Later on, when things are quiet and the sun is setting, turn it down to Ten (pardon the PJ pun) and play Drifting (and when the day comes that the kids ask for the keys to the car, crank up Eddy & the boys covering Last Kiss)

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  12. Gasman said on July 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    The WSJ and AP stories kind of deflates the Repubs incessant “Free-Market-is-Always-Better” mantra. What they really mean is that they want Republicans to be “free” from financial risk. They are all for financial Darwinism when times are good, but the minute their reckless tactics backfire, they come running to the government for bailouts. The free market has done wonders to the financial markets, food production/delivery, and health care. Maybe a new president who isn’t a corporate whore can bring a bit of sanity and fiscal responsibility back to Washington.

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  13. nancy said on July 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    I can’t believe Danny’s just now discovering the Cranberries. Wait until he hears about this crazy new act out of Seattle, called Nirvana.

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  14. Danny said on July 25, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    …and after I find out about the tradgey that the MTV-gen must refer to as “The Day the Music Died,”, I’ll probably discover some of the spirit of Nirvana lives on in the Foo Fighters.

    I know, it is crazy I hadn’t heard of The Cranberries. I just love this group now. Been listening to them for a week solid and have even acquired two bootlegs of their concerts, one from 1994 and one from 1996. Both are excellent recordings right from the soundboard. Full fidelity. Wonderful.

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  15. Sue said on July 25, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Oh, goodie… now let’s all choose sides in the never-ending “Nirvana’s lyrics are profound reflections of contemporary malaise as evidenced by the single line ‘Oh well whatever nevermind'” vs. “Nirvana’s lyrics show just how badly fooled people can be by talentless hacks as evidenced by the single line ‘Oh well whatever nevermind'” argument. Danny, since you are a Who fan and might know something about this type of argument, you get to choose first.

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  16. brian stouder said on July 25, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Here is an article that I think is unadulterated balderdash*, which parallels a recurring subject for meditation hereabouts; the effect that the internet has on ink/paper publishing.

    The article is written as a snarky open-letter to JK Rowling, regarding a copyright infringement that has compelled her to launch a lawsuit

    an excerpt:

    So anyway, this forward-thinking group of Internet savvy individuals got together and started a non profit organization called Creative Commons to deal with the unique copyright needs of the Internet. They created copyrights which allow others to expand on your original work to varying degrees, depending on the level you choose.

    Since a Creative Commons license isn’t nearly as restrictive as a traditional copyright, it allows others to build upon or reference your original idea, within in the limits of your choosing. I mention this mostly because this Creative Commons business is how things are going to go in the Internet’s future, like it or not. That’s just one of the reasons you might want to consider the wise words of the judge who advised that you kids, and all your lawyers, find some creative way to settle this nasty business.


    ‘You do all the cooking, and we’ll plate it, and pat ourselves on the back for our creativity’

    I hope ol’ JK wins the lawsuit and makes her adversaries howl

    *come to think of it, how would one adulterate balderdash?

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  17. Dan said on July 25, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    “maybe the endlessly creative marketplace isn’t the best overseer for this stuff”

    Cause lord knows, there were no food poisonings, no bridge collapses, and no banking fiascos prior to the Reagan years and deregulation… and now you can hardly eat a salad or cross a bridge or pay for your house without dangerous tummy rumbles.

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  18. Danny said on July 25, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Sorry, Sue. I’m not a Nirvana fan in the least. Too depressing. Which is saying alot, coming from a hardcore Pink Floyd fan.

    Hear, hear, Dan. That needed saying.

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  19. Gasman said on July 25, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    I’ll be more than happy to let you total all of those kind of screw-ups by Democrats and I’ll do the same for Republicans. Do want to bet which pile will be bigger by a factor of 5-10? I’ve come to expect a certain amount of dishonesty and incompetence from both parties, but come on, since Reagan the Rs have taken imbecility, arrogance, and lately totalitarianism to hitherto unexplored heights. On top of all that there is this smugness, this sense of condescending imperiousness and hypocrisy that is insulting and galling beyond belief. Does anyone remember “Heckuva-Job” Brownie? After 7.5 years of failure (19.5 out of the last 28), isn’t it time to admit that things haven’t gone so well? Or are we still blaming Clinton and Carter for everything bad?

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  20. coozledad said on July 25, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I’m always shocked that my favorite band of the nineties is also the the one I hear most often in grocery stores. It’s just that when they rolled around to that difficult third third album, they’d already burned themselves out.
    I still miss The Sundays, though. This is supposed to be live, according to whoever posted it, but I have a little trouble believing them:

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Nirvana has lyrics?

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  22. Danny said on July 25, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Hmm. The Sundays. I’ll have to check them out. The wiki entry says that they are concentrating on raising their children. Sounds kinda like what The Cranberries are doing.

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  23. brian stouder said on July 25, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Their triumphant reunions could be combined some summer, and called the Cranberry Sundae Tour

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  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 25, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Ah, drat — Randy Pausch has died. Read Wikipedia before Mitch gets ahold of him, and better yet, click for the UVa link to the video of his updated “Last Lecture” from last fall:

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  25. beb said on July 25, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    The Rowlings story is more complicated than it at first seems. The people she is suing started a website – an encyclopedia of all things Harry Potter. Content they created by reading the books exhaustively, noting all the characters, magical terms, detailed plot synopeses, etc.

    In the past Rowlings has praised the site and even said, if I recall correctly, that she used it herself. The issue is that the people who created the site want to produce a bound, paper copy of their site. Rowlings is suing on the grounds that this will disadvantage her when and if she gets around to producing a Harry Potter encyclopedia.

    As far as I know the people on the site have not greated one word of original Harry Potter fiction — on the site. She is in effect arguing that you can’t produce a Cliff’s Notes for her Harry Potter books because that would be copyright infringement. That, to my mind, is going too far.

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  26. brian stouder said on July 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    beb – Cliff Notes would be one thing, but this looks like another.

    If I put together an exhaustive compendium of Mickey Mouse material and then marketed it, I bet Disney would be upon me – if only because (according to my limited understanding) ignoring an incursion onto a copyright actually justifies further incursions, and you (the original copyright holder) lose everything.

    One might say that JK should never have been complimentary to these people and their website ‘back in the day’, for precisely this reason.

    It just always strikes me as funny that so many bloggers/internet denizens seem so avid to deride ‘old fashioned’ print media, even as they always seek (and eagerly cite) any validation from old fashioned media that they score…..and then these guys, with their “new media” electronic compendium decide that – what the hell – old fashioned printed books that people will actually BUY at a bricks-and-mortar store ain’t such a bad thing afterall!!

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  27. Dexter said on July 25, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Brian, I gave the lads their dues in Cleveland. When the Rock & Roll Museum was nearing completion, the “final I-beam” was laid across some sawhorses in between the then-Jacobs Field and the then-Gund Arena.
    Large Sharpie-type markers were provided and anyone could write a message, allegedly for all-time, to be erected in the HOF building.
    Now remember I was there for a baseball game, and this thing was a surprise, so I thought a second and scribbled “From The Beatles to Pearl Jam, Rock & Roll will never die!!”
    I know I short-changed Bill Haley and all the other rock pioneers, but I didn’t exactly have time to think things out.
    I wonder if that pole ever got erected ? I used to go down there to the gift shoppe once in a while but never took time for the museum tour. It’s on 9th Street at the bottom of the hill right on the lakefront, right beside Burke Lakefront Airport, home of the goddamdest airshow I ever saw.
    I was at the Indians game, just up 9th Street from the airport, and those jets continuously shook the ballpark. It was a memorable experience, for sure.

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  28. Danny said on July 25, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I agree with Rowling. Creating a bound encyclopedia does infringe.

    Believe me, I think fan sites can be great. It is the only way that I could have kept track of all of the characters from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. But printing a bound volume? For profit? Nah, not cool.

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  29. beb said on July 25, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    brian stouder says:
    beb – Cliff Notes would be one thing, but this looks like another.

    If I put together an exhaustive compendium of Mickey Mouse material and then marketed it, I bet Disney would be upon me…

    For what? If you list all the cartoons Micky Mouse appeared in isn’t that information “public”? If you list all the writers and artists credit in those cartoons — isn’t that public information? If I describe the events in each cartoon, where is the copyright infringement? This is a description of copyrighted material, not the copyrighted material itself. If you can not talk about a cartoon you’ve seen without the express written concent of the Disney Corporation, how can anyone write a review? How could anyone write a descriptive listing in TV Guide? Just because Rowlings wrote these stories does not mean that she also owns all discussions, observations,indexed or annotations of her stories, but that is what it sounds like she’s trying to do.

    Then, of course there’s the whole issue that Rowlings is claiming that if they publish an encyclopedia it will diminish her chances to profit from writing an encyclopedia, as if any Harry Potter fan would refraim from buying the author’s encyclopedia because “they already have one.”

    It seems to me that there have always been guides to various media phenomenoms — whether Star Trek, Star Wars, Xena Warrior Princess, Middle Earth, Narnia or Harry Potter. No one before Rowlings has raised a fuss.

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  30. del said on July 26, 2008 at 4:38 am

    Sue’s comment about Nirvana lyrics reminds me that I will see The Police tonight in concert –“Da doo doo doo, da dah dah dah, is all I’ve got to say to you.” Meaningful or not? (Elvis Costello to open BTW.)
    Been listening to the Sundays for a long time. Breathy, sensual vocals.

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  31. Judith said on July 26, 2008 at 9:28 am

    As to Open Primaries, Indiana by law does not have an open primary. The law states that when asking for a ballot, the voter is stating that he/she either voted for a majority of candidates of that party in the last election, or (sometimes interpreted) plans to vote for a majority of candidates of that party in the next election. However, this law is seldom enforced, and therefore should be repealed. Even Dan Parker, chairman of the state Democratic Party, was interviewed by NPR just before the primary, and he agreed that Indiana has an Open Primary. Parker, however, disagreed with Rush Limbaugh who was urging Republicans to vote for the candidate Rush thought would be more easily defeated in the General Election. Parker at that time said these voters would be challenged by poll workers and not allowed to vote in the primary unless they followed the law.

    Since I’m adding a comment, I will also state how disappointed I am that our County Commissioners here in Allen County have announced they will no longer maintain the bridges of incorporated areas (such as in Fort Wayne, Indiana) and they expect the city/town governments to take over. Of course, that challenge was refused, and we are now in a situation where no one is assuming responsibility. The county governments of all Indiana counties have always maintained all bridges not covered by state or federal maintenance. And the county receives tax monies from all of the county, including incorporated areas.

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  32. basset said on July 26, 2008 at 10:40 am

    >>Their triumphant reunions could be combined some summer, and called the Cranberry Sundae Tour

    I’m too old to have any acquaintance with either of those bands… but it reminds me of the suggestion that, since the Who’s drummer and bass player are both dead, and the Beatles’ drummer and bass player are the only ones still alive… the survivors could unite as the “Whotles.”

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  33. Danny said on July 26, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Basset, Ringo’s son, Zak Starkey, is playing for The Who now (and has been for several years).

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  34. coozledad said on July 26, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    You know, I nearly forgot about this kid. I’m not a big Zep fan, but this boy was clearly their heir, in a good way.

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  35. basset said on July 26, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    >>Ringo’s son, Zak Starkey, is playing for The Who now

    and with Oasis for several years before, or maybe during, that… their version of “I Am The Walrus” is one of my favorite Beatles covers ever, dunno if he’s on it though.

    (the rest of the top three… 801’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” and Wilson Pickett’s “Hey Jude” with Duane Allman on guitar)

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  36. moe99 said on July 26, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Dorothy Dunnett, the best writer of historical fiction ever did not object to the creation of two encyclopedias helping her readers keep straight the amazing tangle of history that she used in both the Lymond chronicles and Niccolo series, to weave the stories. She was very generous to her numerous and enthusiastic fans.

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  37. caliban said on July 27, 2008 at 12:48 am

    Anybody that came from MA would embrace the Pixies as a prety good bamn. They’re not the Lyres, who were much better, Their no Barrece and and the Savanes, who could really rip it. Not Limbo Race, nor the Zulus. Now we’ve got Birdsongs, and, holy crap, Burma.

    I grew up in Detroit. I used to sit in center field and dtalk to a bunch of huys that could have been Joghn Kee Hooker. I have to listen to morons rgaarding Detroit music. Now We have to deal with trashing Boston music at the same time? I’d say you’d have to remit to Barry and the Remains. ‘Truth is the light, light is the day, more folks know, less they have to say.

    Tell you what. I could decide a death penalty case, but I’ve got to tell you right now, No way is it right to take anybody’s life, no matter what you thought he did.

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  38. brian stouder said on July 28, 2008 at 10:00 am

    No way is it right to take anybody’s life

    hmmmmm…..people who tailgate on the interstate, while on their cell phones might deserve ol’ Sparky; and it’s off to the gallows for the Abercrombe people, who assault your nose with overpowering perfume in the mall; and up against the wall with all who insist on acting like pigs at a trough at the free breakfast bar in the hotel…..

    (we ran off to Indy this past weekend)

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