A deep cleansing breath.

OK, folks, in honor of Labor Day and our blood pressure, I’m closing comments on the previous post. This one will be open, but please let’s stay away from speculation on Sarah Palin’s pregnancies — Four or five? Inquiring minds want to know! — and otherwise keep our hearts and minds out of the gutter.

However, feel free to check back. We are heading off en famille to downtown Detroit, hoping to catch the Labor Day parade and perhaps a glimpse of that nice young Irish politician everyone’s talking about, Barry O’Bama. May blog some pix from the road, and will be carrying the Flip in case of shoving matches.

Solidarity forever, for the union makes us strong!

Posted at 8:55 am in Current events, Housekeeping |

42 responses to “A deep cleansing breath.”

  1. alex said on September 1, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Sorry so late to the party.

    So the McCain ticket isn’t going down in a ball of flames after all. With a Guns & God veep choice, it can pretend to go down in a blaze of glory.

    I’d bet anything that Romney, Hutchinson and the others took a pass.

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 1, 2008 at 10:24 am

    For Labor Day relaxation — slices of Better Boy tomato out of the garden, shredded cheddar on top, sprinkle rosemary and thyme (from same garden), put under broiler just long enough (i have no idea how long that is, it’s a look thing).

    I’d grill, but there’s been too much red meat thrown our way the last few days . . . time for some vegan love.

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  3. basset said on September 1, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Same for us, maybe a little homegrown basil chopped up and thrown on there too… mostly Bradley tomatoes here, though.

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  4. moe99 said on September 1, 2008 at 11:11 am

    btw, the Republicans at the convention in St. Paul may not have donned hairshirts and sackcloth and ashes in solidarity with NOLA:


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  5. coozledad said on September 1, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Just for a minute, imagine what they’d have said about Chelsea, or what they’d say about a hypothetical teenage daughter of Obama.
    I will only say this: Mr Palin needs to shave that pornobilly beard immediately.

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  6. moe99 said on September 1, 2008 at 1:07 pm


    Think about if this had been Chelsea….

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 1, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Dang, i used all the basil making pesto, hence the rosemary/thyme combo.

    The only reason the “it isn’t her baby” story had legs was because folks couldn’t believe someone would do a risky thing to have their baby born in Alaska. If you’d asked any Texan, they got it: if they’d been giving a speech in Alaska, they would have done the same to have the baby born in Texas.

    And the narrative of “we’re a family just like yours, only with mountains in the background that’s not on a pulldown” just builds and builds . . .

    If i still had fresh basil, it woulda been mozzarella or cream havarti on that tomato.

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  8. coozledad said on September 1, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    A family that preaches abstinence only education.
    Poor child.

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  9. moe99 said on September 1, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Uh, Jeff, I know that many families have daughters who are pregnant out of wedlock, but is that the meme they want to be playing out over the country right now?

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 1, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    27 minutes to the abstinence-based education crack: Danny, did you have the long pool, or the short? I missed by 7 minutes, but i should know by now never to bet on the nose.

    Once again, for the third year in a row, my Hungarian peppers are all rotting before they’re ripe. Can’t be too much rain, either. Ideas, anyone? I’m willing to plant again if i had some hope of not seeing my pepper butter dreams go blackish-brown again.

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  11. Catherine said on September 1, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Jeff, I really do appreciate how you use humor to defuse situations.

    All the same, let’s deal with the question at hand. Take as a given that noone thinks it’s a good idea for unmarried 17 YOs to get knocked up. So, if abstinence-only education is not to blame for this girl’s pregnancy, what or who is?

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  12. alex said on September 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    No clue, Jeff. Mine turned out teensy, but at least yellow. Weird gardening year in general. The squirrels are chomping my tomatoes and batting the peppers around on the ground like playthings.

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  13. coozledad said on September 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    More an observation than a crack, but whatever.

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 1, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Catherine — there’s no one to blame for a pregnancy. I’ve said that from pulpits, and not just liberal ones (actually, i haven’t preached from lots of those, but some). Unless a crime’s involved, blame isn’t in the picture.

    I’m guessing a young man and young woman had sex, and a pregnancy resulted. That’s gonna happen. All we can do as communities and a culture is figure out which direction we want to nudge the general trends — towards sex mainly within marriage, or “marriage-neutral” on sexual behavior and expression? (I know, i know, we’ll discuss gay marriage another day, promise.)

    But no one, liberal, conservative, whatever, is well served by saying that a) you can do more than nudge, you can’t dictate, and b) sticking with your nudging agenda when you face reality. Sometimes, no matter what you teach, say, or do, young unmarried people will get pregnant because they will have sex at a certain rate, no matter what.

    Abstinence-based education, as i encounter it in this area, does not hide or refuse to discuss birth control — that’s what they get hammered for, in fact. What they say is that your protection from pregnancy is not absolute, and that your protection from myriad diseases is much less than you’d think, especially considering how careful people are in cars after midnight or parent’s beds at 4:15 pm.

    But they get ’em out, discuss ’em, and are candid about their limitations. For that, they’re called “abstinence-only.” But they aren’t, except to say frequently that “only abstinence” gives you 100% control of your body and your options.

    So then, we moderate/conservative folks say, if that’s out of bounds, what exactly is “comprehensive sex ed”? Descriptions vary, and i don’t assume everything Dobson’s shop mails out is generally true even if it happened once in Massachusetts. But the main difference in the curricula is a) they, IMHO overstate the effectiveness of contraception, and b) hand out stuff directly. Otherwise, not so much.

    Bristol and, i gather, Levi clearly had a contraceptive failure of some sort. Could have been juvenile assumptions about Cola douches (that was still prevalent among college juniors in 1980, as i recall), could have been a break, a tear, a half-on slippage . . . what i don’t believe is that if there was a fishbowl of condoms at the school front office, they wouldn’t be thinking about where to hold the ceremony right now. Anyone can get ’em easily, and you can see how to put ’em on right whether on the package, on-line or on TV readily enough (i’ve seen the banana trick on the NBC Evening News).

    So i don’t blame a style of sex ed, though i’m betting Sarah and Todd are blaming themselves for some failure of their parental monitoring plan of their 16 year old daughter. When a baby enters the picture, you just sit down and figure out what there is to celebrate (they rarely come at a convenient time even for couples with a careful plan), even if adoption is at the other end of the process for you.

    Catherine, thanks for the question; Alex, someone must know about peppers — more help, please, anyone!

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  15. coozledad said on September 1, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    More on the subject here. NSFW:

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  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    rotfl, cooze

    Just caught this at NYTimes —

    “Mr. Obama, in his first remarks on the matter, raised his voiced when asked whether his campaign or other Democratic operatives were working to advance rumors surrounding the Palin family.

    “Our people were not involved in any way in this and they will not be,” Mr. Obama snapped. “And if I ever thought there was somebody in my campaign that was involved in something like that, they’d be fired, OK?”

    Mr. Obama said the pregnancy “has no relevance to Governor Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president.” He added that, “my mother had me when she was 18. How family deals with issues and teen-age children – that shouldn’t be the topic of our politics.”

    “So,” he added, “I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories.””

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  17. coozledad said on September 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Yep. The daughter’s pregnancy has nothing to do with the candidacy, but bad policies certainly do. That’s our future President. Dignified, sober, and correct.
    It would seem some folks at the American Spectator take a more extreme view:

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  18. Gasman said on September 1, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Jeff (tmmo)
    I am quite in favor of limiting teen pregnancies, but statistically, the abstinence only model has not proved to be effective. If it worked I would be 100% in favor of it. I’ve taught in high school and it is incredibly naive to think that in a society awash in sexual images on/in TV, popular music, movies, etc. that abstinence only will have any chance of working. Let’s do what has proven to have the greatest chance of success. If parents aren’t doing an adequate job at home, it’s time for someone else to step in and fill the void.

    Church seems to be a logical and safe choice, but how many denominations are willing to even discuss sex openly with teens let alone actually provide them with facts concerning sex. My wife and I taught a sex ed. curriculum that the Presbyterian Church designed. It was very frank but sought to demystify sex and get the teens to be able to talk openly about it. Make no mistake, it did not advocate sexual activity by teens and did convey the message that the only sure method of birth control and disease prevention was abstinence. However, it also provided teens with ample facts regarding all aspects of sexuality. Any data that I have seen indicates that such programs have the highest chance of success. I’m not talking liberal/conservative anything, I’m talking about limiting the number of teenage pregnancies. Abstinence only simply does not work. If you have data which disputes this, please share it with me.

    Americans are generally unable to talk about sex, and the church is missing the boat by not stepping in and providing guidance. God created us as sexual beings and it seems like the church as a whole would rather pretend that keeping teens ignorant will solve the problem. It hasn’t worked yet and is unlikely to do anytime in the future.

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  19. Catherine said on September 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    So, is a “parental monitoring plan” the same thing as parenting?

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 1, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Hey, the Presbys had a very interesting position paper trying to take a Biblical, not Biblicist approach to sexuality (no, i’ve made up Biblicist, but if Andrew can make up Christianist, then fair’s fair), using a construct they called “justice love.”

    They took a pounding from conservative groups, and then did what drives us moderates crazy — they totally flinched, and you can’t even find a link to the paper or the discussion anywhere from Witherspoon St. to the furthest reaches of the internets. My denomination has taken a try or two at having a discernment process over sexuality and a Biblical morality (that’s the whole Bible + tradition, vs. Biblicists taking isolated verses and hanging the Titanic from them, hook by hook), but one anguished scream from the right, and the left folds up like a house of Obama pamphlets.

    If schools are saying not “abstinence-only,” but are allowed to say strongly and clearly “only abstinence” is a guarantee, and has honest and accurate info on contraceptives, most conservatives in most communties will be content, along with asking for an opt-out for the folks we know are off to our right flank. That’s what we negotiated in this town — but i got pegged as “abstinence-only” because i refused to tolerate people demonizing the folks teaching the previous curriculum.

    But we moved to a comprehensive curriculum, and i think two kids out of 600 were opted-out. I say we all won (well, not those two).

    But i wish the Presbys would take a second try with the “justice love” theological analysis — they had something going there for all us vast, mushy middle folks in the mainline denominations with lots of anxious neo-theo-whoa-conservatives in our congregations.

    ps — Gasman, i guess what i’m saying is that most abstinence-only programs (so called) aren’t in practice what the debate makes them seem, and it isn’t that hard to build consensus on this issue. Cath, there’s parenting, and then there’s . . . well, after about 14, you’re mainly parceling out the money and watching to see how much of what you taught actually took. You get some opportunities, but not a lot of new room to maneuver, except when they ask you how to sign up for the college classes you actually want and how to deal with bosses . . . and even then, they don’t always listen. At that point, you’re monitoring as a parent. Fair?

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  21. Suzi said on September 1, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Did Bristol even have the abortion conversation with her parents? Did she have the option of terminating the pregnancy 5 months ago? Would her mother have allowed her to terminate? According to the Feminists for Life bunch of which Palin is a prominent member, rape and incest vicitms would not have abortion rights much less anybody else so I expect her Mom and she had a come to Jesus meeting about having the baby. Poor child is right. Poor women of America if this broad ends up POTUS.

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  22. Suzi said on September 1, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Obama and Biden dropped in on Indiana lake country yesterday — had lunch and schmoozed the Hoosiers.


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  23. jcburns said on September 1, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    I’m really charmed by the above story. I wish there was enough time for Obama and Biden to do much the same throughout Indiana, Michigan, Ohio…and Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

    Just stop in, share a sandwich, listen and chat and let them see he’s human, he cares, he’s smart, he can change things.

    It’s bizarre in some ways after this seemingly neverending primary process that the general election campaign is much more of a sprint.

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  24. moe99 said on September 1, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Do not forget that the Bush Administration, whose views are shared by McCain and Palin, this summer proposed regulations that would make it ok for health care workers in hospitals to refuse to provide IUDs and birth control to patients, if it was against their religious beliefs.


    People who are in the health care profession are in a secular profession. If they object to providing birth control pills, they need to find another career.

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  25. Suzi said on September 1, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Moe, you are so right. Next, or maybe it’s already happened, they’ll refuse to treat openly gay patients.
    I’m so GD sick of these religious aholes trying to control every GD aspect of our lives.

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  26. Suzi said on September 1, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    If I had been up at Pier 32 when Obama dropped in, I’m afraid I might have asked him if he has the balls to stand up to Dobson and his clan.

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  27. Jolene said on September 1, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Biden and Obama seem to be charming lots of people. Two pieces from the Washington Post and their 60 Minutes interview.




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  28. Jolene said on September 1, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Whoops! Part 2 of the Biden/Obama 60 Minutes interview.


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  29. beb said on September 1, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Catherine asks: “So, if abstinence-only education is not to blame for this girl’s pregnancy, what or who is?”

    A turkey baster,perhaps? Worked for Mary Cheney. Otherwise someone’s dick. I guess they forgot to douche with coca cola, the sure cure for unwanted pregnancies…

    Day by day Palin is proving herself to be the perfect Republican – in trouble for abuse of power, pregnant minor children…. I don’t think this is what McCain had in mind when he picked her but this is so “what you sow so shall you reap” moment.

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  30. Gasman said on September 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    I agree with Obama that Palin’s daughter should be exempt from politics. Sarah Palin, however, is another matter. I have been unimpressed with her statement gushing about how “proud” they were of her. Palin is a role model not only to Alaskans but ostensibly young girls across the country. She should have either remained totally silent on the matter or expressed her disappointment with the unplanned pregnancy and then made a statement about how difficult it would be for her daughter. This pregnancy is totally at odds with Palin’s abstinence only policy. She is sending very mixed messages to teens across the country. This should not be portrayed as an option teens should consider.

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  31. Gasman said on September 1, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    I was at Pier 32 a couple of weeks ago when we visited family in Ft. Wayne and Woodburn. My uncle is friends with the owners and my grandmother has actually invested some in the place. The owners seem to be a nice couple and have a nice little restaurant.

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  32. Terry WAlter said on September 1, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Whaddaya expect from the girl? Any NASCAR fan can tell you Bristol is known for rubbin’ and bangin’.

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 1, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    Time visits Wassila — http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1837862,00.html

    Obama or McCain on Nov. 4, i like the national conversation we seem to be having. This isn’t something we’re going to solve or anything, but if we can toss out the “abstinence only” myth and the “condom cure-all” myths as equally unfair to both their advocates and the kids who are trying to become adults listening to it all, i’m good with everyone. Really. If we can figure out what to say to 14 year olds who are trying to figure out if they have same sex attraction or are just admiring the heck out of a cute friend, we may actually be healthier as a society for talking about all this.

    My personal bias is still that you shouldn’t have sex with anyone you couldn’t even remotely imagine having a child with — i’m not Catholic, and i don’t mean you have to want that outcome, but my teaching & preaching benchmark is exactly that: if you would absolutely not want to raise a child with a person in your imagination, you shouldn’t, um, yeah — do that.

    Where that puts me on premarital sex is anyone’s guess. Scary news flash — the Bible has nothing to say on that subject. I waited, but i’m a cautious, methodical guy, as is the wonderful woman who chose to marry me. Caution, not scripture, led me to that choice, because there is not a Biblical verse that unpacks that little question. But i think a Biblical (not Biblicist) approach leads you to exactly this — if you wouldn’t even remotely want to have a child with them, don’t do it, even with protection.

    Perversely, i think that advice works in a hypothetical way even for gays and lesbians. Had a deacon at a former church who was quietly partnered with another lady (i prayed at their service, did not conduct it, applauded happily with all at the end), and she thought it worked as a standard, even if it didn’t, ah, work.

    Good night, sweet princes and princesses! May flights of Alaskan coots wing thee to thy rest, and a blessed Labor Day.

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  34. Suzi said on September 1, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Gasman, I’ve heard good things about Pier 32, will have to get up there some day soon.

    So, to drone on about Palin, do y’all suppose she’ll carry and deliver another baby while in office? fine if she does, I just wonder if the pill is acceptable now that she has had a Downs baby and may become veep. ya gotta wonder, right? So many rabid anti-choice folks are against, you know, abortifacients.

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  35. Gasman said on September 2, 2008 at 12:03 am

    I have never heard of this “condom cure-all” method of which you speak. Nobody that I am aware of is selling sex-ed that is condom only. That is this teacher’s classroom experience. That’s the canard that the evangelicals toss out to scare people into believing that liberals like me want their children to go around fornicatin’ all over everywhere. Plenty of folks, however, definitely are selling the absolutist “abstinence only” line as being God’s own sex-ed curriculum. They have been told by Jesus, Joseph, and Mary that anything else is a sin and if you disagree, then you are of the devil hisself. That kind of logic does not serve our society well. I’ve seen these folks up close and they don’t want to hear any rhetoric other than their own.

    It seems to me that the more controlling and absolutist the stand on abstinence, the more likely that there will be teen pregnancy. It seems when you take a hormone laden teen and say to him/her “just say no” and expect them to make rational life altering adult decisions you are not fully preparing them for reality and you are deluding yourself.

    Teens brains aren’t fully developed. We don’t let them sign contracts, but we’ll let them procreate because it makes us uncomfortable to talk to them about sexuality of any kind. They definitely want to know about sex and if they’re not getting information from their parents/church/school we can be pretty sure that they will be conducting field experiments on their own. Add barrels of hormones to an underdeveloped brain and you’ve got kids begattin’ kids.

    If you truly want less teen begattin’, then we need something other than “just say no.”

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  36. Laura said on September 2, 2008 at 12:08 am

    McCain’s camp says they knew about the pregnancy all along. Really?

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  37. Gasman said on September 2, 2008 at 12:13 am

    I looked at the photo in the JG and to my surprise, Obama is sitting where I sat and Biden is in what was my wife’s chair. I didn’t realize that we would be their opening act, so to speak. On Sundays they have a pretty good lunch buffet. They had enough seafood and salads to keep this vegetarian happy.

    As for Palin, I’m sure she’d get pregnant while in office. After all, it’s totally up to God to determine who gets pregnant. For her delivery, she’d fly back to Alaska, drop the kid in the field while drawing a bead on a bull moose. She’d then cut the cord while gutting said moose. Then, she’d slap her newborn child onto a tit and gnaw on some raw moose meat while extolling the virtues of the second half of the second amendment. Glory, glory hallelujah!

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  38. Dave K. said on September 2, 2008 at 12:37 am

    I forwarded the WAPO links from Jolene to my brother, “Pilot Joe” for his consideration. He replied via e-mail:

    “You should broaden your horizens to include more than a left wing paper. You now have time to catch some real news. Try Mike Mconnell on 700 wlw around 9 till noon.And Rush is on wowo at noon. Keep a open mind, and listen to another view.”

    At first, I just thought that using “Rush”, “real news”, and “open mind”, in the same statement was was kind of funny. Then I realized that many voters really think just like that, and now they don’t even have to admit they won’t vote for Barack because he’s black, they can say they’re being open minded and voting for a woman! Not funny at all.

    Thank you for the “60 Minutes” link. I thought Senators Obama and Biden were outstanding. (Is “60 Minutes” “…real news…?)

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  39. MarkH said on September 2, 2008 at 3:25 am

    Strictly OT, and going back to the car entries on Aug. 28:

    New and rare, yes. Supercharged, yes. But, MR MARK and Nancy, both those cars are the all-new ZR-1, not the Z06. All 6.2 liter, 638 horsepower and $102,600 base price of them. HUGE difference in price and performance.

    And, Alex, while I congratulate you on your choice of the Solstice, please don’t insult it with comparisons to the ’70’s Vette. Completely different animals. Have you ever seen, let alone driven, one of these behemoths?


    The closest Corvette to your car, and its Saturn Sky cousin, in size and spirit is all the way back to the original, the ’53-’55. Still underpowered, until they put a V8 in the ’55, but all the original spirit was there. The 1962 was the last of this style and still comparable to the Solstice in its soul.


    It isn’t reasonable, nor acceptable to me, to lable everything GM puts out as crap, or to say no one wants or buys it. Yes, they are in big trouble now, due to the kneejerk market changes. But beginning in 2000, they started a real turnaround in offerings with style and, yes, build quality. Alex, you can’t be faulted for assuming your car is “still in development”, because GM always had a history of rushing a car to market and let the consumer (and dealer) sort out all the issues. And, when they finally got it right, after five or seven years, the public had lost patience and quit buying them. Some examples: Pontiac Fiero, Olds Aurora, and the ’70’s 350 diesel, which, yes, they eventually did get right. But, who cared by then?

    I’m not an apologist for everything GM has done to the public. It’s just that since Bob Lutz came on the scene after he got shafted at Chrysler, a real car guy HAS had some influence on product design and development at GM. He is responsible for the Solstice and Sky. As Alex pointed out, for way too long in the ’70’s and ’80’s, the bean counters had way too much influence. GM needs to shed one more line, probably Buick, lean out the model offerings, and they’ll be back.

    If you want some no-holds-barred inside info and opinion about what really goes on in Detroit, here’s one of my favorite sites:


    DeLorenzo is not hopeful about Detroit, but he does offer some solid criticism GM, Ford and Chrysler had better heed.

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  40. alex said on September 2, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Shit, I was a stone’s throw from Pier 32 on Sunday and missed all the fun. Boated over on Monday and had a cocktail there and listened to all the people oohing and aahing about the events the night before. Then encountered yet another rube who said he’d heard about Obama having two birth certificates and how he can’t vote for someone with a Muslim name when we’re at war with Muslims.

    How do they broadcast this shit to people’s dental fillings anyway?

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  41. alex said on September 2, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Hey, Mark H. Totally missed what you said above.

    Yeah, the Solstice is much more like the original ’50s Vette in terms of size, but some of its tricks, like the roof and the shape of the front fenders, are borrowed from the ’70s.

    No offense intended as regards GM. It’s just that I haven’t yet forgiven them for all of the bad cars I’ve had over the years. I’m giving them another chance after having sworn “never again.” This time I’m simply unimpressed, as opposed to feeling like I’ve been screwed in the ass.

    Thanks for the link to autoextremist, btw.

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  42. Suzi said on September 2, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Gasman, you’ve presented such a compelling vision of Ideal American Womanhood, I think I’m gonna have to switch parties and get me an assault rifle.

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