Still reeling.

JohnC drops in with a writing lesson. The lede from the Freep’s mainbar on the Kilpatrick story:

Shortly after Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick wakes up in jail this morning — still reeling from becoming the first sitting mayor in Detroit’s 307-year history to spend a night behind bars — Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is expected to charge him with felony assault.

John points out that when a story is this dramatic, you don’t have to overwrite it: Just let the facts speak for themselves. And while this isn’t a terribly turgid passage — you have to go to TV for that stuff — there’s just a hint of it there:

I’m talking about the phrase “still reeling from.” Not to take anything away from those guys, who’ve done a fantastic job on that story. Never mind the fact that the reporters have no idea whether the mayor will be “reeling,” one of my pet peeves is over-writing a story that pretty much tells itself. Take that phrase out, and you have a much, much stronger top.

Yes, I agree. If ever there was a case for letting the facts speak for themselves, it’s this. I was pleased to see my friend Ron French’s byline (one of three) on the News’ contribution. Ron’s hallmark as a writer is a keen eye for the ironic detail. Let’s see if we can find it here:

Kwame Kilpatrick’s lips quivered. He sat in silence, his hand pressed to his face, as 36th District Judge Ronald Giles cut another string of the thread by which a once-promising political career hung. “If it was not Kwame Kilpatrick sitting in that seat, if it was John Six-Pack sitting in the seat, what would I do?” Giles asked the mayor. Bond is revoked, Giles said. Then, the man who already was the first sitting mayor in Detroit’s 307-year history to be charged with a crime became the first to be locked in a jail cell in his own city.


It’s hard to teach this stuff. You have to have the eye and the ear and the perspective to know when the facts need no additional underlining. A very good reporter I once knew was struggling with a story about a nursing-home company in Chapter 11, while its owner lived like a pasha. He asked a colleague, also a good reporter but a very skilled writer, to take a shot. The second writer examined the facts for a few moments and came up with something like this:

As the XXXX chain of nursing homes slid closer to bankruptcy, owner XXXX knew he had to do something to stop the bleeding. He cut staff. He trimmed services. He lowered thermostats and curtailed extras. But he didn’t give up his private company plane, owned by the corporation but used exclusively by XXXX and his family. Nor did he sell the company retreat, which served as XXXX’s summer home. Nor did he…

It was a thing of beauty. In a just world, Mr. Moneybags would have shit his pants and died when he saw it. As it was, he probably just lit a cigar with a $20 bill and thought, “Good thing this rag won’t be around to bug me in a few more years.”

That concludes today’s writing lesson.

JohnC gets the Freep home-delivered; we get the News. Both were a little, eh, excited today. BEHIND BARS, the News’ front page shrieked, in a font size suitable for a stadium’s Jumbotron. I’ve ruminated here how the traditions of print journalism are being adapted by digital media, mostly in the widely imitated, rat-a-tat-tat phrasing of Drudge, who ripped it off from Walter Winchell and others from the golden age of print. Amusingly enough, you see this most often in gossip columns: “Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake are back together! The former flames will record a duet for her new album, OK! can exclusively reveal…” But nothing will replace the screaming headline. Especially not Drudge’s ambulance light, or whatever that thing is.

OK, something will replace it. But we don’t know what it is yet. This seems as good a time as any to reveal that I’m now in a new digi-media space. Among the casualties of Saturday’s kayak trip was my old pink Razr cell phone, which disappeared sometime between 5 p.m. and 6:10 p.m., during which time I was out on the water. I have no memory of it going plop into the drink. In my last memory of it, it was sitting on the dock, which suggests it was either stolen, eaten by a duck or kicked down the boat ramp, but it doesn’t matter now because it is gone, gone, gone.

That was bad news. Until it turned into good news:

Alan accused me of losing my old phone on purpose. I did not. But that is my new iPhone 3G, it has a near-broadband connection and web browser, and I’ve been spending some time reading news on its index-card screen. I have news for all of you journalists: This is a game-changer. I’m trying to see where it leads me, not impose my habits upon it, and so far, it’s telling me that breaking news is going to be cell-phone news in the future. They’ll clip “still reeling” from ledes for space reasons, not for the esoteric ones discussed above.

Busy day today, so on to the bloggage:

Coozledad on his dual roosters, Sid and Nancy. See what a good writer can do with both white and dark meat.

Jim at Sweet Juniper goes shopping in Ann Arbor. Finds some toys, but not for the kids.

Every Thursday night, as I reach the end of my editing shift, I check to see what TBogg’s bassets are up to. Satchmo is sick (sad story), but Fenway, that irascible pup, is on the roof. Funny story. Reminds me of when Spriggy discovered he could climb onto the dining room table.

Roy, in a contemplative mood.

And me, outta here.

Posted at 11:31 am in Uncategorized |

34 responses to “Still reeling.”

  1. beb said on August 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    I wasn’t thinking of weak jounalism but when I saw this article earlier today, linked in the Freep’s front page as Odd News I knew I had to offer it up to you.

    The problem with this story is that I this story a couple years ago. That stretch of highway in Oregon has long had a history of drivers throwing their “pee bombs” out their windows. It’s hard to imagine that its gotten significantly worse.

    Then we learn that drivers travel “very slowly” through the area. Well, it is a hill, which probably a long steep grade, but why would truckers be any more likely to throw out a pee bomb there than anywhere else? I mean wouldn’t it be fubn watching the bottle explode on impact while traveling at high speed?

    Then there’s a police’s comment that truckers are probably driving past truck stops because they are traveling so slowly. Um, trucker’s often are paid by the mile. They don’t get paid for potty breaks. That’s way there have been pee bombs in this area for years now. Truckers probably are slowly down, from 70 to 55 because the fuel saving is too good not to. If they are paid $1 a mile, which I doubt, slowing down costs them $15 but if it saves four gallons of diesel, they come out ahead.

    In conclusion, if these drivers are going in pop bottles, as the original story I read suggested, they must have pretty tiny units.

    1458 chars

  2. coozledad said on August 8, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    That one’s for you, Nancy.
    I’ve got to make posters for a voter registration drive tomorrow at Miracle Barber Shop at 612 West Main St. in Roxboro. I feel like I did when I was painting a backdrop for a Christmas pageant in elementary school.
    If these guys shave heads, I might be a different man tomorrow afternoon.

    321 chars

  3. beb said on August 8, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Jim’s tale of trying to be a better parent at Sweet Juniper sounds so like me in that time between hearing those words “I’m pregnant” and our daughter’s first squall. Everything after that becomes one compromise after another away from our early golden ideals. I’m plan not to spank our child has given way to dreams of throttling the insufferable brat, but then neither of s were very good children so why should we expect our child to be any different or better?

    464 chars

  4. jcburns said on August 8, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Oooh….nice phone.

    I’m now trying to imagine in what universe a duck, coot, or merganser would waddle up to a pink Razr and gulp it down.

    142 chars

  5. LAMary said on August 8, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Maybe Detroit ducks are like Detroit squirrels.

    47 chars

  6. nancy said on August 8, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    If the duck was a scrapper, it’d find a way.

    44 chars

  7. LAMary said on August 8, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Off topic…
    Here’s an article about the Beijing Olympics. The best part is the slide show of the pyrotechnics. Amazing.

    163 chars

  8. caliban said on August 8, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I had a lesson in journalistic restraint when a great JSchool professor named Charlie Kopp told a newswriting class I could always be counted upon to be colorful. I was suitably abashed, I guess, but I also sensed approbation from somebody I admired. To this day, I still believe in writing simple as a precept, but one to be smashed to bits, because, writers, like girls, just want to have fun, and because we can.

    In the particular instance, my argument with ‘reeling’ would concern accuracy. While a reeling Kwame would be a thing to reckon with, I doubt he reels except after a few fifths of Cristal at the Love Shack (somewhere around 13th and Indiandale). ‘Seething’ was probably more like it, a ‘churning urn of burning funk’, and I’ll bet ‘homicidally enraged’ wouldn’t have been entirely innacurate. All in all, had editors allowed the reporter to describe Mayor Kilpatrick as ‘supremely pissed off and looking for revenge with murder in his heart for the police’, journalistic objectivity, accuracy, and readers would have been well served.

    Detroit politics has always been down and dirty, and Chicago lays claim to roughhouse, but y’all are pikers. Mayor Curley ran Boston from inside, when he was away. Will Dee-troit step up. Don’t free Kwame. (Why is it that you can’t find an interested American that won’t claim her own homies produce the most despicable, crooked politicians?)

    1399 chars

  9. SusanG said on August 8, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    You’ve no idea how much you’re going to love your new iPhone, Nancy. Good choice.

    81 chars

  10. Eric said on August 8, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I think the freep writers met Nancy’s standard here with this line about the mayor:
    “His shimmering gray suit, matching vest and French-cuff shirt with “Mayor” embroidered on the sleeves were replaced with a jail-issued jumpsuit.”

    Luckily, proper etiquette allows elected officials to retain their honorifics after they’ve left office. So no matter what the outcome for Mayor Kilpatrick, he won’t have to buy new shirts.

    426 chars

  11. brian stouder said on August 8, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    You’ve no idea how much you’re going to love your new iPhone

    Judging from the great picture, wherein the smile on the Proprietress is more lit up than the i-phone, I think this is true!

    And some duck is now the envy of all the others, with her snappy ringtones and funny glow (at least ’til the battery gives out)

    and then there’s this ancient story –

    So John Edwards’ new song might be I Shot the Sheriff, only with the lyrics modified to “I betrayed Elizabeth; But I didn’t knock up Rielle, too.” (I guess I’m an old guy, but how is “and I don’t love her” any sort of DEFENSE? To me, that makes him a heel all the more…!)

    690 chars

  12. caliban said on August 8, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    He is still the mayor, right? Somebody wallowing in the same trough got him into trouble in the first place. The idea of the jacket emblazoned with the political honorific puts me in mind of Joe Ely, a great (if that’s not overreaching diction) Texas singer, songwriter and guitar-slinger. Joe’s got a Nudie suit we’ve seen him perform in with kingsnakes embroidered on the lapels. (Red touch yellow, and etc.)

    I’m all for reporters just stating the facts. W lied his ass off and fabricated evidence. Dick Cheney would kick the Constitution’s ass beyond the Magna Carta. Nobody wants to just admit to facts. Read that stifled hysterical schoolmarm Howard Kurtz, who regularly equates legitimate criticism with outright lies and rounds them up under the banner of ‘going negative.

    People like that with good jobs on papers of record said that pointing out lies and dealing with facts about W’s lack of service (well, technically, it was actually desertion) was somehow the same thing as some Nixon psychophant making up alternative reality about Kerry’s service in both VietNam and across a couple of borders. These things aren’t commensurate.

    It seems the basic problem is the inability of Americans to confront reality, read English, separate truth from bullshit, consider the welfare of others, sniff out liars, act like the Christians they claim to be in overwhelming numbers, think, I guess.

    And there’s the rub. Words are code agreed upon, and pictures are easily manipulated code. In my opinion, the description of Kwame Kilpatrick’s clothing was fairly obviously trying to portray him as Shug.

    You can fall all over yourselves insisting that the Skinny Guy, phallic symbol, Brittany, phallic symbol, Paris ad cocntained no racial intent. Same guy made that ad made the Tennessee ad about the Playboy Mansion and ‘Call me Harold’. They’re coming for our women.

    My companion says they may be coming for her, and while those black bucks are alluring, I’m still OK.

    A lot to consider. Who changes your copy and should anybody, ever? No.

    who writes the misleading heads? Nobody’s going to admit to it. Every paper in the world had heads insisting that the ‘terriss’ Hamdan was found guilty. No he wasn’t. Before he took the horrible tour and was subjected to torture, the Yemeni guy with a grade-school education said he took a job driving Osama, to pay his bills. He was convicted of driving not ms. Daisy but it might as well have been. Let’s get KennyBoy Lay’s driver to Gitmo. And these assholes will insist on keeping this guy forever like he’s dangerous, instead of just like every poor bastard trying to find a job because the moron fried the economy.

    So if you are ndeed irony-proof, and not inquisitive at all, I guess you’re a Lucky Man. People make fun of jackasses like you. You know, that’s how things stand. Nobody talks about Keating 5, but I guess if you languished, you must be telling the truth. Way I see it, dropping bombs from about a mile and getting shot down seems either incompetent or detached.

    How about this? I didn’t know McCain but I heard he was an ignorant cowboy with eyes on the prize. He made up those purple hearts. No wait, he didn’t have any. But he must be a hero because he was a POW. Kerry actually saved guys he cared about from being hurt or captured. So, what are these idiots carrying over to some old white-haired fool that never had anything to do with VietNam but killing civilians at the safe remove of several thousand feet? And he was such a fucking maroon he got shot down.

    Holy shit, he went through hell. In the first place, the Bush eternal campaigners denigrated this argument, and they’re right. Being a POW doesn’t make you either a war hero or a leader. NFW.

    Tell you what. Let’s bring up the W anti-McCain ads from SC. Seems fair, since this ahole is W incarnate. Bring those on. Actually, bith these idiots ckaim tp have seen service. This goes back and wy back. These two nitwits dishonored vets. Seems to be a Republican thing. Kerry wasn’t a hero. Kiss Nixon on the cheek goodnight and remember, there ws Eliot Richardson, who just was not buying the moral turpitude. Those were crooks. These assholes tried to destroy the Constitution.

    They ought to fry.

    4273 chars

  13. caliban said on August 8, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    This business about Hamdan found guilty is revolting. He was found guilty of being the driver. He admitted to that a long time ago. He took the job to provide for a wife and a kid. The guy has been globetrotted and anybody purporting to be American is a war criminal with a hand in slicing and dicing and terrorizing people that had no closer connection to terr than that they had Arabic names. That’s a fact.

    409 chars

  14. basset said on August 8, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Caliban… shut the (expletive deleted) up, at least until you have something coherent to say.

    Our basset, Eudora, lived to be almost seventeen. We got her when we lived in Mississippi, and every now and again we’d run across some local who was genuinely offended that we had named a dog after one of their cultural treasures. Which we hadn’t, but in Mississippi that doesn’t matter, particularly if you’re a Yankee.

    423 chars

  15. brian stouder said on August 8, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Basset – Eudora Welty? I suppose you could have called him Dale or Petty or Awesome Bill…or some other latter-day cultural hero! My brother named a dog Daytona; if I was going to name a dog after a racing venue, maybe Hockenheim or Spa Francorchamps…

    As for c-ban – at this time of year the saying in Indiana is that if you sit still enough and listen closely enough near a cornfield, you can hear it growing….and similarly, if c-ban listens closely enough, he might just hear the creaking of the Big Cultural Gears beginning to turn again.

    The Democrats are undeniably in the ascendant just now, and the decade (give or take) of righteous indignation at Republican Establishment hypocrites and fakers and liars is sliding between the gears, and the notion that all (or even most) public virtue and honesty resides with the Democrats is inevitably going to get pulled in there, too, and ground into dust, right before our eyes

    939 chars

  16. basset said on August 8, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    I honestly don’t remember where the name came from… we were living in Jackson, Miss., and got her from a breeder in Michigan. Richard Petty was just about to get his last win, and I was mainly a Lake Speed fan.

    ran across someone down there who claimed to actually know Eudora Welty and said she would have found it funny. the only time I ever saw her in person was in the Jackson airport, closely guarded by some artsy young woman who was determined to make sure that none of the commoners invaded their cultural treasure’s personal space, to the point of glaring at anyone she caught looking too closely. or at all.

    if I was gonna name a hound dog after a race track, the name would be Elnora. first place I ever saw a race, UMRA three-quarter midgets in the late Sixties, back when they used to run Crosley engines.

    831 chars

  17. caliban said on August 8, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    I was thinking about the term ‘reeling’. Lo and behold, we have Steely Dan, a song so great it needs no introduction.
    these guys paid some literary ante up.

    Now if anyobdy wrote better lyrics:

    I remember the thirty-five sweet goodbyes
    When you put me on the Wolverine
    Up to Annandale
    It was still September
    When your daddy was quite surprised
    To find you with the working girls
    In the county jail
    I was smoking with the boys upstairs
    When I heard about the whole affair
    I said oh no
    William and Mary won’t do

    Well, yeah lot’s of people did. Sue me. Still pretty excellent. I assume she’s got legs. W & M is sort of below our social class., and if Liberty is what we aspire to for law school, we’ve been hoist by our own petard.

    It’s an interesting question, whose bitch are you? Obvious answer. Not one you meant to antagonize. Who brought up this odious subject? Old white-haired dude that seriously looks like the crypt-keeper. No other way ou could cut it, He should have shut the hell up.

    All of this is mind-bogglnmg. Paris Hilton is smarter and reads a teleprompter so much better than McCain, he comes across like Barney Fife on meth. And on energy, McCain’s campaign says, what she said. That is what they said, right?

    1259 chars

  18. Deborah said on August 9, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Speaking of hypocrits Brian, what about Edwards? I hate, hate, hate giving right wingers fodder but this Edwards thing is really depressing. He did a really stupid thing of course, but what kind of woman would sleep with a guy who was married to a woman struggling with cancer? That woman seems evil to me. And no, I’m not excusing Edwards and I have no idea what his private relationship with his wife was like, nor should I. I just find it so sad. What is wrong with people?

    476 chars

  19. moe99 said on August 9, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Basset, our basset hound in Defiance was named Digby. My father could not bear to neuter him, so he grew up a wanderer. Became a special pet of the students at Defiance College because he showed up there so much. He was finally adopted by a Defiance College student after he graduated and went to live with him. He was great.

    And, Basset, I think Caliban is right about Hamdan. This guy’s actions did not violate any laws on the books at the time they were done. Plus, he’s not going to be released after his 5 and a half years up but kept indefinitely as a enemy combatant. This is not the America I grew up with. We don’t play like Soviet Russia, at least we didn’t used to.
    As an attorney I am sickened by how they twisted the laws to get this result. Here’s the American Constitution Society on it:

    845 chars

  20. brian stouder said on August 9, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Deborah – Edwards’ electoral insolence is precisely what prompted that comment about hypocrisy and the fleeting nature of political Righteous Indignation.

    I was taken aback that part of his defense is “but I didn’t love her”. To me, that’s all the more off-putting.

    In my opinion, this cosmopolitan “it was only sex” attitude is a myth, if not an outright lie. When people keep going back to each other, at least one of them must feel like it is a relationship; and if only one thinks that, then certainly the other knows – and encourages that notion.

    I will confess to one bit of schadenfreude; I know a few people who were 100% pro-Edwards, and who are bitterly anti-Obama – considering him the weakest candidate that the Democrats could have nominated, in what should be (so they say) a slam-dunk Democratic year.

    Clearly THAT’S not true!! If John Edwards had won the nomination, the convention would be thrown into a 1968-style death spiral, and the Wrinkled Up White Haired Dude would be smiling like a racoon in the corn crib.

    edit -moe – in your legal readings, have you studied the trial of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination military tribunal? In that case, Joseph Holt was the presiding officer, and the defendants could have a lawyer, but were not entitled to one…and if they didn’t have a lawyer, then Judge Holt would act as their defense attorney at the same time he was prosecuting them!

    1475 chars

  21. moe99 said on August 9, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Brian–I’ve only recently come back to reading American history and it has been focused on the Civil War. Do you have a book on this you can recommend?

    I understand Edwards campaign manager, former US Rep David Bonior, is pretty pissed about Edwards. I do not fault him for that. I’d like my donation back too, as I feel it was given under false pretenses. And don’t think that I haven’t speculated about how the ex would feel if his peccadillos during our marriage came out these days, as he’s running for state office.

    525 chars

  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 9, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Um, while John Edwards is helpfully absorbing the media frenzy quota for this week —

    If anyone can think of a way this scenario isn’t actually playing out right in front of our eyes (with Bill doing everything but winking at the camera), i’m interested . . . but this outline looks like it holds up no matter which side you push on.

    413 chars

  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 9, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Oh, and at National Review Online, Byron York notes that the Edwards coverage between last night and this afternoon on the web version has undergone an intriguing change:

    Cutting Palmieri and Hickman Out of the Picture [Byron York]

    Last night I posted part of a New York Times article on John Edwards, an excerpt that described his damage-control team:

    “When The Enquirer first reported the affair, a group of Edwards associates, including from past campaigns, assembled at his headquarters to try to stop the story from moving from the tabloid into major newspapers. They declined to respond to questions or issue any statements that might produce news reports, according to those involved in the effort. It was led by Jennifer Palmieri, a longtime associate of both Mr. and Mrs. Edwards.

    But by this summer, the team had shrunk. Ms. Palmieri managed the crisis again, working mainly with Mr. Edwards and Harrison Hickman, Mr. Edwards’s longtime pollster. Initially Mr. Edwards argued that he could ride out the latest report, but several associates said that if they were not true, he should denounce them.”

    That was last night. Looking at the same story today, the same passage is a bit shorter — the lined parts have been cut from the Times story:

    “When The Enquirer first reported the affair, a group of Edwards associates, including from past campaigns, assembled at his headquarters to try to stop the story from moving from the tabloid into major newspapers. They declined to respond to questions or issue any statements that might produce news reports, according to those involved in the effort. (Strike the remainder of the text as missing now, at 2 pm Sat.) It was led by Jennifer Palmieri, a longtime associate of both Mr. and Mrs. Edwards.

    But by this summer, the team had shrunk. Ms. Palmieri managed the crisis again, working mainly with Mr. Edwards and Harrison Hickman, Mr. Edwards’s longtime pollster. Initially Mr. Edwards argued that he could ride out the latest report, but several associates said that if they were not true, he should denounce them.” (These last four sentences were all in strike-through, which i haven’t figured out how to do on Nancy’s site.)

    [Now that’s an interesting “whoops.” – jeff]

    2278 chars

  24. Jolene said on August 9, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Jeff, I don’t think those breadcrumbs lead anywhere. In talking w/ a small group of supporters about the possibility of becoming the nominee after all, Hillary said, just a few days ago, “That is not going to happen.” I think we should take her at her word.

    259 chars

  25. LA Mary said on August 9, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    The woman in question was formerly known as Lisa Druck and was portrayed in Less Than Zero as a sexual predator. This is not excusing John Edwards one bit, but it does answer the “what kind of woman” question.

    209 chars

  26. LA Mary said on August 9, 2008 at 8:03 pm wasn’t in Less Than Zero. It was in The Story of My Life and her character’s name was Allison Poole.

    115 chars

  27. brian stouder said on August 9, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    This is not excusing John Edwards one bit, but it does answer the “what kind of woman” question.

    Good heavens! “what kind of woman”?

    Jay McInerney writes a novel that, according to Wikipedia is “narrated in the first-person from the point of view of Alison Poole, an ostensibly jaded, cocaine-addled, sexually voracious 20-year old.” – and then lets it be known in interviews that he based the character on his ex-girlfriend (Rielle Hunter)…..and we are to accept this, as fact?

    “What kind of man” is Jay McInerney? (one assumes he’s the sort of bastard that believes in keeping score, and evening that score at every opportunity).

    I think the key here is that his character is “20 year old” and not a 42 year old….plus the Edwards campaign certainly had access to Google/Wikipedia when they paid this woman more than $100,000 – surely they knew who this person is now – moreso than an imaginative ex-boyfriend from two decades ago.

    Anyway – moe – the most recent thing I read that touched on the legal aftermath of the Lincoln assassination was an enthralling (but dark) book called American Brutus by Michael Kauffman, which concludes with an interesting look at the military tribunal that tried, convicted, and condemned to death the four co-conspirators they captured, including Mary Suratt, who ran the boarding house where Booth and his colleagues often met. The footnotes were quite as captivating as the text…one of the US Army generals on the tribunal was Lew Wallace (of Crawfordsville, Indiana!) – the guy who would write Ben Hur – and he spent his time lobbying Judge Holt for appointment to another military tribunal, the one they eventually tried Henry Wirz (the commandant of the hellish Andersonville POW camp). Wallace succeeded in that effort, and ultimately served on that tribunal and condemned Wirz to the gallows, too.

    As a slight digression on this discussion of legal matters and due process – there is a WONDERFUL book about Mary Lincoln, by Jean Baker (who is marvelous!), which opened my eyes to the legitimacy of “Women’s Studies”. Amongst many other fascinating things, I learned how it came to be that Mary Lincoln was declared legally insane. In a nutshell (so to speak), Mary returned to her home in Chicago from shopping – it was maybe 11 in the morning – and the sheriff was waiting for her, along with an attorney with a writ, and she was taken downtown. There, an already-empaneled jury – all men – was awaiting her arrival, along with a defense attorney already selected for her by her son Robert – who had of course set the whole thing in motion!

    She was tried, and the jury retired, and then returned their finding that she WAS insane, and that she be immediately sent to a sanitarium…..

    So that the “due process” that the widow of the martyred President of the United States received; the woman who sat right next to him, holding his hand when a bullet was blasted into his brain….the “due process” including being arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced, and hauled away – began before lunch, and was ended before sundown!!

    I never, ever let pass casual remarks about how Mary Lincoln was “crazy”

    3254 chars

  28. brian stouder said on August 9, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    btw – I clicked over to tbogg, and a bog it is. If I was going onto an internet diet, sites like Tom Boggioni’s would be the first to go; although I suppose his site is probably pleasant enough if one shares his prejudices

    280 chars

  29. coozledad said on August 10, 2008 at 7:26 am

    I don’t know what prejudices you’re referring to Brian, but if It’s the one most Democrats and a plurality of the nation share against the people who’ve been dicking the country over for the past eight years, then those are prejudices I think should be promoted. TBogg is a check on folks like the above quoted Tom York, who is stunned that Democrats would consider remanding Bush and Cheney to the Hague for war crimes.
    I’m prejudiced against Republicans alright: in the middle of ginning up that war with Iraq, Bush, et. al, made sure his media painted Democrats as a fifth column, working directly with Sadam Hussein and Bin Ladin to destroy your right to own a Hummer. I read Republican editorials in the South calling for us to be shipped en masse to jail for refusing to equate Bush with the US itself. Unlike Jonah Goldberg, TBogg seems to know which party affiliation is more likely to incline one to prance around in a little black uniform and scream about defilement of the blood. I distinctly remember hearing Republicans bitching that Tom Daschle didn’t “get his hands in some a’ that powder”, and Republican humorist and peroxide spider monkey Ann Coulter calling for us to “invade and convert” Arab countries”(Most likely with the exception of Bush’s beloved Saudi Arabia).
    I would fight for a Republican’s right to vote, but I’m not willing to venture that they’re capable of humor, at least any variety other than removing the top from a salt shaker. There’s just a defensiveness and smoldering contempt that seems to be rotting in them, and they clearly don’t give a shit about voter enfranchisement.
    We were out registering voters yesterday. We were wearing our Obama T-shirts, but we were registering everybody. That’s what Democrats do. We had finally found a grocery store whose manager would let us enable people to participate in the process. About half an hour in, some shapeless sack with a Colonel Sanders beard climbs out of his Escalade and walks toward us shaking his head. “I ain’t votin’ for that…Obama” (At least I see that the New South can claim some measure of restraint among its racist garbage). A moment later the manager walked outside and told us people were complaining, and we had to leave.
    There’s your Republican, and there’s why I read TBogg.

    2298 chars

  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Coozledad —

    A few months back, we had a community meeting to discuss college/village (aka town/gown) issues. A speaker offered the concern that as an Arab-Turkish-woman of color bisexual person, it was deeply oppressive to her that the four corners of the main intersection were churches, and she had to pass under their steeples’ collective shadows (no, a phallic comment was not made, but i think we were all waiting for one. too obvious, maybe.)

    I observed in response that of the four churches, three affirmed GLBT rights, ordained persons regardless of orientation, and two offered marriage/union ceremonies to all and sundry. She replied that she knew all that, but their presence was still oppressive for all that. Much head nodding ensued.

    Yeah. Last New Year’s Eve, literally after dark, work crews moved in and at the cost of over a million dollars removed the three massive granite panels with the name, seal, and date of founding of the local college, replacing them with an identical version in every respect except removing one word from the inscription “A Christian College of Liberal Arts.” One guess what word was absent, and hint — it weren’t “liberal.” The seal is staying, for now, even though it is an open book. Fortunately, the pages of the book in the official design are blank (cue irony machine for bubbles and confetti).

    As for Roy — my life is largely lived in three spheres: homelessness assistance (transitional housing), juvenile justice, and Scouting (cue the boo hiss from the left, yeah, yeah). We get our funding cut to Scouting every year as the Big Brothers chapter in our area has had not one but two major molestation cases. I don’t agree entirely with the national Scouting policy, but the main point is that they screen, train, and restrict adult leadership like crazy these days, and reserve the right to be silly and capricious in saying “no,” including not screening only for convictions (which is all background checks and fingerprinting gets you). Many of us are working to get Scouting to a more reasoned, nuanced policy — much like the American Red Cross blood donor policy needs changing, but i still give every 60 days (11 gallons and counting), and don’t “not give” because their policy is stupid.

    My point to Roy and any and all is this — in all three areas i work in, religious conservatives, by which i mean people usually waaaay more conservative than me, work their tails off helping people face to face, with little or no direct proselytism going on at all. I live in the aforementioned college town where all my friends and neighbors actually spent time wondering what we should “do” about the fact that four churches (three hugely liberal) sit on our main intersection.

    Yes, my town went all eight precincts for Obama last primary day, when the other 150 in the county went for Hillary. Yeah. Anyhow, when Roy says “their otherwise puzzling lack of interest in the world at hand and the people who live in it,” he has NO idea what he’s talking about. None. If only liberals came and got their hands dirty and their hearts broken working with the last and the least out on our potholed and corrupt streets, but they don’t much.

    TheoCons i’ve learned to work with because that’s who shows up. And it does rub off a bit. A lesson for liberals, perhaps?

    3353 chars

  31. nancy said on August 10, 2008 at 11:42 am

    C’dad and Brian were talking about TBogg, not Roy. I will fight to the death anyone who besmirches Roy unfairly, because yea he is a national treasure. TBogg runs hot and warm, but I love his doggies, which is why I linked.

    Both confine their contempt to religious conservatives who have blogs, columns and/or high-profile sinecures at right-wing think tanks and say stupid things in connection with them, not the ones out doing actual work in the world. I defy anyone to read The Corner for a week or two and make the case these people are truly interested in the world outside of it.

    588 chars

  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Not besmirching Roy unfairly, i trust, since he said (in fuller quotation) “It is the blissful prospect of a world beyond that makes sense of their otherwise puzzling lack of interest in the world at hand and the people who live in it. ”

    I felt somewhat smirchified by that one. But hey, i like cats more than dogs, too. A trial to my friends and a bafflement to my opponents, that’s my true calling I guess.

    On the short list of times when i thought of it at the moment, not on the stairs heading out — Bob Taft, trying to be funny i’m sure, saying to me “you’re such a nice guy, why are you with this group causing so much trouble?” And i grinned back to him “Governor, i’m really not such a nice guy!”

    715 chars

  33. Deborah said on August 10, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    ugh, ick, sexual predator Lisa Druck, Riele Hunter, Alison Poole whatever her name is… what a creep. I hope she gets strung up by the press, she deserves it. Again, not excusing Edwards, he sure seems like a naive fool. I have a problem with opinion being against the straying husband solely… I think the “other woman” bears some responsibility in the immorality. She wasn’t snookered, who are we kidding.

    409 chars

  34. LAMary said on August 11, 2008 at 10:44 am

    She’s only a fictional Poole. We real Pooles are much more discreet about our sexual predation.

    95 chars