Paging Tim Gunn.

I didn’t see most of the debate last night, although I heard a fair amount. I took the French journalists to a GOP grassroots fundraiser/debate party, but we left 15 minutes after the green flag, and after that I had to rely on NPR for most of it. My impression was of someone who had competently deployed the me-so-dumb advance strategy, enough so that any performance short of pants-wetting would be seen as a resounding victory, but otherwise: Meh.

Admittedly, I wasn’t predisposed to like her. But in the company of journalists, I tried to watch it with a journalist’s eye, and still it was pretty meh. I know soccer moms with similar resumes and qualifications — they are thick on the ground in the GP — who would have blown her doors off.

But as usually happens, it left me thinking about something else, i.e., ways to be a public woman. The old Hollywood joke about the three ages of women — babe, district attorney and “Driving Miss Daisy” — still seems to apply. I wasn’t the biggest Hillary fan, but my heart went out to her for the fight she put up, to be taken seriously amidst a barrage of abuse about everything from the size of her ass to the sound of her voice. How easy it is to step into a niche that comes with pre-arranged stereotypes and expectations, and all you have to do is put it on like a uniform.

Which is to say, about 20 percent of my problem with Palin comes from my general dislike of folksiness. Fifteen percent more is about how folksiness is supposed to substitute for preparedness, as though al-Qaeda can be slain single-handedly by Marge Gunderson.

Sixty percent is about her lack of qualification. The rest is unease over her apparent religious weirdness, but notice we’re down to five percent here. Living in Indiana taught me there are many paths to God; I’m just suspicious of the Assemblies of God version. That’s all.

And right now I’m going to cash in a few markers, picked up when various sexist shitheels were trashing “Shrillary” and her voice, and say, Palin’s gets on my last nerve. On the other hand, if somehow the Republicans pull it off, I doubt I’ll hear it much. She’ll be redecorating Cheney’s dark lair.

Enough of her. A little goes a very long way.

I’m sick of the routine, anyway, so let’s shake things up a bit. I need a ruling from the group on something I found in the hall closet the other day:

It’s Alan’s old motorcycle jacket. Relax, it’s no misplaced Italian or English gem, just an incredibly sturdy old no-name leather jacket built to take the punishment meant for your skin should you need to lay your bike down in a pinch. It’s very heavy — the scale says it weighs five pounds, and I believe that’s fairly accurate. And it’s a size 38, a ship that sailed for Alan many years ago, but it fits me pretty well. So my question for the group is: Is it acceptable for a 50-year-old woman to wear her husband’s old motorcycle jacket? I tend to dress in a rotating wardrobe of blue jeans and neutral tops, and I freely acknowledge I didn’t inherit my mother’s fashion sense. (You should see her in pictures from her teen years — the height of the Depression, and she was a total babe, in clothes she made herself, right down to the hats.) It’s possible I’m looking in the mirror and seeing Carla Bruni, when the rest of the world sees a lesbian without a mirror.

And if the answer is yes, would adding an Hermes scarf just be impossibly cliché?

Whatever the answer, I’m not getting rid of this jacket. Kate will look smashing in it, someday.

Squiring the French around town this week, I didn’t have time for collecting all the week’s tasty bloggage, but assuming Jolene and some of our fleet-fingered number are still on the job, you’ll have plenty to read. Well, maybe you have a moment for this, yet another of Coozledad’s charming little recollections of people from his past. You don’t have to be a writer to be a good writer. You just have to write.

Have a swell weekend, all.

Posted at 9:55 am in Current events, Housekeeping |

110 responses to “Paging Tim Gunn.”

  1. Jolene said on October 3, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Scarf w/ jacket: Great look! Go for it.

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  2. nancy said on October 3, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Jolene, you’re right: Peggy Noonan has lost her mind. For good this time, I think. The GOP must be making her pay for that open-mic slip big-time.

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  3. Fort Wayne said on October 3, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Ask Stacy and Clinton.

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  4. Randy said on October 3, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Every commentator I heard last night seemed to regard her performance as a moderate success. It seemed to come down to the fact she held poise for 90 minutes. Well, pageant contestants do that too, but they don’t get handed the VP office… When people read the transcript of her answers, I think they will be less charitable.

    Here in Canada, we had a televised leader’s debate at the very same time as the VP debate. (Our election is on Oct. 14th). Problem is, we have five parties running, so it was just a bunch of people around a table, cutting each other off. The “moderator” had no chance of controlling anything.

    I give Biden credit for ignoring her and going straight for McCain. I think it was the only approach that could work for him.

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  5. ellen said on October 3, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Yes on the jacket and the scarf, but like all things you must wear it in the true effortless, go-to-hell spirit that Europeans and people of a certain class (old money, possibly no longer even rich, but with well tailored heirlooms in their wardrobes) wear their clothes. You’ve spent the better part of a week with French people, surely they have infused you with some elan.

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  6. Jolene said on October 3, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Speaking of loss, this is worse than what seems to have befallen Ms. Noonan. A 12-minute piece from a SoCal TV station re foreclosures in that area. The piece focuses on “trashing out” houses, which means taking out every single thing people left behind. Amazing and very sad to see what people leave behind when they are completely out of options. Made my throat clench as I was watching it, and, honestly, brought tears to my eyes.

    The piece also shows the reach of the tentacles of foreclosures. One I’d never thought of: When people leave their SoCal homes, they leave behind swimming pools that, left unattended, quickly become breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes. The municipality then has to send crews to pump them out, something they can ill afford given their reduced tax revenues. Ugh.

    I’m looking for a really comprehensive analysis of what led us to our present circumstances. I know that people will be writing dissertations about this for decades, but if you’ve seen something that looks at the role of legislation governing banking, governmental efforts to increase home ownership via the CRA, the surfeit of foreign investment in our markets, the role of mortgage securitization, I’d be interested in knowing it. It’s a huge order, I know, but my mental image of all this lacks cohesion. Pieces have gotten filled in over the past couple of weeks, but there are many gaps.

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  7. brian stouder said on October 3, 2008 at 10:39 am

    So my question for the group is: Is it acceptable for a 50-year-old woman to wear her husband’s old motorcycle jacket?…….It’s possible I’m looking in the mirror and seeing Carla Bruni, when the rest of the world sees a lesbian without a mirror.

    Just don’t wear a chain that connects to your wallet (which is in your back pocket), and you’ll be a hot chick.

    Didja see the other night, when Rachel Maddow had some senator on her show, and at the end of the conversation, as they exchanged concluding remarks – she thanked him, and he said “Thank you, sir…Uhhh….Ma’am! I apologize!” – and Rachel didn’t miss a beat, replying with “it’s OK, happens all the time!”

    Her show is great!

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  8. alex said on October 3, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Awesome jacket, Nance. Amazed you didn’t glom onto it sooner. It’s the kind of thing you can wear whether you’re dressing down or up. Would love one of those myself.

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  9. LAMary said on October 3, 2008 at 11:02 am

    You need a longish oblong scarf, doubled with the ends put through the loop with that jacket. Whatever pants you wear should be clearly feminine in cut so you have the “oh I just threw on my boyfriend’s jacket” look rather than the “you got a problem with me wearing men’s clothes?” look.

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  10. nancy said on October 3, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Alex, that’s why they call those jackets “gay minks.”

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  11. LAMary said on October 3, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Regarding Palin’s voice: it really sets my teeth on edge when she says anthing with the K or CK sound. Like “cracks in the glass ceiling,” or “hockey mom.”
    And if she winks at the camera one more time I’m going to need some sort of sedation.
    I appreciated yesterday’s comment about her name really being Paling.

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  12. Jolene said on October 3, 2008 at 11:28 am

    The “Paling” comment cracked me up too. And add my name to the list of people who can’t stand the way she talks. Remember that I grew up in ND, so I’m accustomed to, shall we say, hick accents, but they wear better on Norwegian farmers than prospective national leaders.

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  13. Lex said on October 3, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I’m not much of a scarf expert. But definitely wear the jacket. I’ve also got a size-38 bomber on which my ship has sailed, but Victoria will probably be in a position to sport it by about the time she gets her driver’s license.

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  14. brian stouder said on October 3, 2008 at 11:40 am

    I’m still recovering from that beyond-the-pale Noonan num-num article, linked above.

    She had a line in there, something like ‘she is a woman of action, and not thinking’ – and it was meant as a compliment!

    true enough, women of impulsive (as opposed to thought out) action tend to have many stars next to their names in the little black books of the men who meet them at parties, but no matter how much I try, I cannot see how that commends a person to the head of the National Command Authority of the United States…and Noonan’s article made progressively less sense, as it continued from there!

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  15. Jolene said on October 3, 2008 at 11:58 am

    More Palin clips coming soon–actually available now. According to Marc Ambinder, she is giving an interview to Carl Cameron of Fox News, and they are going to play pieces of it all day. I just saw one in which she said that Obama had said things that, in her world, would disqualify him as commander-in-chief. Charles Krauthammer, though, thinks he will win.

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  16. WhiteBeard said on October 3, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    So my question for the group is: Is it acceptable for a 50-year-old woman to wear her husband’s old motorcycle jacket?…….
    YES, absolutely, even with one of those thick turtlenecks, sans scarf. It would give you a don’t-mess-with-me look when you are talking on your Iphone as you sit on a bench with your bike nearby.

    As for Palin cloyly winking and flashing those grinning teeth, Is she imitating Tina Faye; is it life imitating parody or parody imitating life? My friend down the road says turn off the sound when she speaks and you get a lip-snarling, mean-looking biker babe with a moose-skinning dagger you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley.
    And since when do you say you do not choose to answer the question and switch subjects and just read from your notecards?

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  17. Catherine said on October 3, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    The jacket is nice, and exactly what Mary said about the scarf and the trousers. Or, maybe consider a long loose skirt with knee-high boots?

    And, thanks for the fashion question, that’s about all I can handle this morning (covering eyes to avoid reading Peggy Noonan).

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  18. sue said on October 3, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    As a 50 year old woman myself, I say save it for Kate. That jacket belongs on a young gal, 16-25.
    Get yourself a figure flattering, short, RED leather jacket. (Not “orangy” red, but cabarnet red).
    My 2 cents worth, since you asked.

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  19. Jeff Borden said on October 3, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Wear the freaking leather jacket and enjoy it.

    Re: Sarah Palin.

    Aside from the many winks at the camera and her laughably folksy hello to the 3rd graders at her brother’s elementary school and the constant scanning of her note cards and her emulation of the Wee Man from Crawford with her pronunciation of nu-ku-lar, what continues to gall me is the use of that poor infant with Downs Syndrome as a stage prop. It was after 9:30 p.m. Shouldn’t an infant be in bed at that time instead of being passed around like a Cabbage Patch kid?

    It just seems tacky to me, but I’m clearly not her base. Anyone else find this use of poor little Trig unseemly?

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  20. del said on October 3, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Agreed Jeff. Wear the freaking leather jacket (w/elan) and enjoy it.

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  21. MichaelG said on October 3, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    I think the mispronunciation of “nuclear” was deliberate. Palin’s handlers know how to say the word. If they had been so inclined, they would have had her say it correctly. It’s part of the folksy presentation package. She didn’t care what Biden or Ifill thought. She didn’t care about the questions. She wasn’t talking to them. She wasn’t there to answer questions. She was making her campaign speech to targeted people in targeted states. I find that “Joe six-pack” appellation extremely patronizing in a way that “soccer mom” is not.

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  22. Scout said on October 3, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I laughed when you wrote about your mom, the fashion plate, because I have long held the theory that fashion sense skips generations. My mom at 70 is still a head turner with a killer wardrobe that she does not spend a fortune on; my daughters always look like the people you see in department store ads. Then there’s me in the middle, the frump. And from all early indicators, my grand daughters are going to be just like me! Bottom line, I have no idea if that old jacket is cool or not. The fact that I probably would wear it may work against the idea.

    Brian – I saw the Maddow remark too – she is so cool. I have a major crush on her.

    The Palin ordeal is finally over. I doubt there will be much more of her, as the Sarah wranglers will put her back under wraps now that she managed to soldier through the debate without swallowing her tongue. The note cards and the refusal to actually answer any questions were annoying enough, but WTF is up, seriously, with Republicans who cannot pronounce the word nuclear? It is pronounced exactly how it is spelled! The dropped g’s also set my teeth on edge. Her rambling and repetetive speaking style paired with that chain saw voice make even Dubya sound presidential in comparison. The horror, the horror.

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  23. Jolene said on October 3, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Re this jacket vs. the red one Sue suggests: Two different looks, I think, both good. Fitted red jacket, long skirt, boots. Alan’s jacket, scarf, jeans, boots.

    And, yes, I do think it’s odd to be schlepping the baby around. I’m not sure I followed the hand-offs exactly, but I think that, after she held him, she handed him to the seven-year-old! What about the dad? One of the bigger kids? One of the grandparents? Having the kid hold him while sitting down during the convention speech was one thing, but handing him to her to carry off the stage was something else. I’ve been wondering where those kids are. Not that it’s any of my business, but, well, I just wonder. Willow seems to be traveling w/ her. They all seemed to go to Arizona. Has Trig been on the campaign trail and in the hands of babysitters or family members when Mom is on stage? Or has he been in Alaska w/ Dad and/or other family members?

    Here’s Matt Yglesias on McCain-Palin policies that affect children. As with the gap between her idealized image as a mom and the seeming casualness of her treatment of her kids, Palin is casual about the relationship between what she says should be done in policy terms and what her campaigns stated policies are.

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  24. deb said on October 3, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    My friend Amy has been observing all along that Trig always looks like a rag doll…limp, almost lifeless, never awake. I don’t know what’s going on there and I’m not suggesting anything is. It’s just strange. And heartbreaking. That handoff to the seven-year-old bugged me, too.

    Speaking of things not quite right, was anybody else bothered by the fact that, after Biden tells that poignant story about losing half his family — something he handled very well, without being maudlin — Sarah can’t even muster a perfunctory “sorry for your loss” but just goes RIGHT back to cheerleading for McCain? Maybe she just wasn’t listening. Either way, it was an affront.

    As for her voice: It’s Judy Tenuta. Seriously. Make her stop speaking, somebody.

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  25. WhiteBeard said on October 3, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Ok, I confess that I cannot spell Tina Fey’s last name, maybe it is an aversion to the word fey from my childhood. But my daughter in Montreal sent this bit. “According to Isabelle Carreau of the blog TV Squad, the newspaper Le Soleil accompanied a story about Palin with a photo from Fey’s most recent “SNL” turn as the candidate. The photo also included Amy Poehler, who played CBS anchor Katie Couric in the sketch.”
    My wife was also appalled about baby Trig being handed over to the young daughter. What is going on here, RePugnant PhotoOp 101?

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  26. coozledad said on October 3, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks, Nancy.
    I say go with the jacket and get a red one too. This is a good time to invest in winter garments, as well as canned food.
    There’s an Indian company, Jyoti, that makes pretty good canned entrees like mattar panir, sambar and dhal makhani. They go well with rice, or you can pad them out with wild hickory nuts and boiled leaves.

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  27. moe99 said on October 3, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    I’m on vacation, visiting my son at macalester college but I love the look!

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  28. alex said on October 3, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Hey, cooz, my sister-in-law down in Marrietta, GA, has a friend who has started a business selling ingredients for authentic Indian food — ready-mixed packets of spices. You supply the meat and veggies. The dishes I’ve tried so far are pretty darned good.

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  29. Gasman said on October 3, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    It is interesting that the conservative columnists seem to be lining up in resignation that Obama is going to win. Some of them are even critical of the actual content of what McCain and Palin are saying. Others like Noonan, are obviously unimpressed, but keep their remarks ostensibly private.

    Krauthammer, however, seems to be conceding an Obama victory, but limits his criticisms to McCain’s campaign strategy of going to the “hail mary” pass too many times. Krauthammer continues to try and trot out all of the discredited charges of Obama being unfit because of his personal associations. If we apply the same metric to McCain and Palin, I think they are even more vulnerable with their personal association baggage. Why the double standard for Rs and Ds? I think that the overwhelming reliance upon hypocritical double standards is one of the big reasons that the Rs did so poorly in 2006. I suspect it will lead to further R losses this year as well as an Obama victory. Let us hope that it is also the last election when Rs place all of their eggs in the fundamentalist Christian basket.

    Maybe the Rs will learn something from the spanking they are about to receive.

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  30. Catherine said on October 3, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    As someone who has tried many of the possible work-family setups, I’m always interested in other people’s childcare and family arrangements. Sarah Palin’s is particularly interesting because it’s got so many variables. I’d like to learn more. The only thing I’ve learned along the way is that “what works” is a moving target. The setup that worked last month, even, might not be working this month. Flexibility is key, and it takes pretty egregious behavior for me to start going all judgy. Last thing on this is that my 8 YO is always first in line to hold the babies, and she’s actually pretty good at it — with supervision, of course.

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  31. moe99 said on October 3, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Finally on a decent public computer at the library at Macalester. The best comment I heard about the debate last night came from a historian at George Mason University who said Palin came across as “Gidget goes to Washington.”

    Sat through a discrete math class this morning with my son and it was all Greek to me. Gotta look up Fibonacci since they covered Fibonacci number sets.

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  32. Dave K. said on October 3, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Nancy, I’m certainly not qualified to weigh in on the scarf but I love the jacket. Just go for it, “…without blinkin’…”. (Sorry, it just slipped out). Thought I’d give Joe a break so I tried to listen to Rush today. Friday is “Open Forum” call-in day. He started around noon, I listened for 10 min. before meeting my wife for lunch. Got back to my truck around 1:00 and he was just about to take the first call. I missed almost a full hour of Rush being Rush. Thank goodness for slow service!

    His take on the debate, “Sarah mopped the floor with him!” He praised her for refusing to answer questions, saying that she was simply refusing to be subjected to anything like Katie Couric’s “gotcha” questioning, or worse yet her “vicious follow-up questions”.

    Damn, let’s just talk about Nancy’s jacket some more.

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  33. coozledad said on October 3, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Alex: I’m glad to hear Indian food is catching on. It hasn’t been very long since my wife and I had to travel to DC or New York to eat even standard Northern Indian food. Now there are a lot of Southern Indian buffets relatively close by, along with food stores boasting library-like collections of pickles and spices.
    I visited one the last time I was in Cary, and purchased what I thought was a condiment. The proprietor told me it was in fact a powerful laxative.
    I guess I’ll have to learn Sanskrit.

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  34. Jolene said on October 3, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Dave, that is hysterical. “Vicious follow-up questions”, indeed. Outrageous!

    Re baby-holding: I agree, Catherine, that young kids can be fine w/ babies. It didn’t bother me that Piper held Trig while she was seated w/ grown-ups nearby at the convention. But last night, having her handed to him while she was standing and walking, w/ no one obviously watchining her, seemed a little out of line.

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  35. nancy said on October 3, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    I think a lot of kids with Down Syndrome have poor muscle tone in infancy.

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  36. LAMary said on October 3, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Speaking of babies, one of my co-workers just invited me to her daughter’s baby shower. I’ve never met her daughter, and I know the daughter is having her third kid by a third dad at the age of 20. I figure she needs things desperately, so I’ll send along a Target gift card or something, but I have to say I find it pretty annoying I was invited. Jeez.

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  37. brian stouder said on October 3, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    baby shower…her third kid by a third dad at the age of 20

    sounds more like a ‘baby monsoon’!

    a slight digression; I have many friends/co-workers who are died-in-the-wool R’s, and who have no use for Obama at all; and over the past week many of them (the count is currently at 4) have essentially given up hope that McCain will win….and they all proceed to tell me ‘now it will all be YOUR fault!’

    I think there is a strong note of fatigue in that sentiment…Bush is complete bust at this point….but also there is almost a hint of remorse; almost as if they are seeking forgiveness, while warning that Obama supporters won’t be forgiven (to overstate the case)

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  38. Jolene said on October 3, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    In fact, Nancy, people w/ Down syndrome have poor muscle tone throughout their lives. Wikipedia, of course, has a detailed description of its manifestations.

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  39. deborah said on October 3, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    ‘She is not a person of thought but of action.’ Personally, I like my veeps to be able to do two things at once. Like walk and chew gum or, say, think and act. I listened to the debate on NPR and thought I had tuned in to Prairie Home Companion by mistake and was listenin’ to Sue Scott, gosh darn it.

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  40. Jeff Borden said on October 3, 2008 at 4:04 pm


    I think your coworkers are beginning to understand just how badly the Wee Man from Crawford has screwed the Republican Party and that an entire generation will look upon him as this generation’s Herbert Hoover.

    The damage he and the neocons have wrought is so deep, so devastating and so expensive that we will be a generation repairing it. That’s assuming our nation doesn’t go bankrupt first.

    These guys didn’t loot the country. They strip-mined it.

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  41. Gasman said on October 3, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Palin’s debate prep notes have been leaked. They explain much about her performance:

    I am struck by the perceptions of those few that rated Palin the winner of the debate. They seem drawn to her not because of what she says, but because of how she says it. They have reduced her performance a kind of campy hillbilly pantomime replete with Mussolini-esque chin juts, sneers a la Cheney, winks, nods, and the ever present beauty queen smile, all of which they heartily approve. Add to that the white trash folksy jive and you have a theater of the absurd for the “less learnin’ iz good” crowd. It is hard to imagine any setting nationally or internationally where such conduct would be useful for a president or vice president. Thankfully, it appeals to a scant few.

    I guess I can excuse Limbaugh’s reaction; he was probably semi-comatose from the Oxycontin. She probably made sense to him. Noonan, however, is obviously groveling for forgiveness for her unbeknownst-to-her live mic incident where she got caught, uncharacteristically, telling the truth. With the likes of Will, Parker, Zakarias, et al questioning her competency, it is becoming harder and harder to contend that W3 is indeed presidential material.

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  42. Jolene said on October 3, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Brian, on the notion of becoming the ones who are responsible, I find this video of Obama speaking to the staff in his Chicago headquarters very encouraging. I’ve posted it before, I think, but, if you missed it, it’s worth taking a look at. (There’s a shorter version somewhere, but I couldn’t locate it. The nut of this is toward the end.)

    I like it because he makes clear that he knows that people are really depending on him to win and to do things that will make their lives better. There’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to do that, especially since our difficulties seem to have gotten worse since this tape was made.

    But I have real faith that he will always be trying and that he is smart enough to let people know exactly what he is trying to do and why. That’s a much approach to creating and sustaining support for policies that might require sacrifice or take time to bear fruit than scaring people to death, which has been the approach of the current White House occupant.

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  43. Jolene said on October 3, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    I have an intermittent technical problem that I’ll just mention here. I don’t want to clog up a good conversation. Here’s the deal: Sometimes, when I’m trying to watch videos, they hang. That is, after about the first two seconds, they just stop running. Less frequently, I’ll encounter one where the video plays, but there’s no sound.

    Most often, if I shut down my browser (using the Task Manager in Firefox) or restart the computer, the video will play, but that doesn’t always work.

    I’m running Vista and using the most recent version of Firefox as my browser. To me, this sounds like some kind of software compatibility problem, but I have no idea what it might be. The fact that it only happens intermittently is especially puzzling. Until just now, I’d had a good two or three days w/ no problems, which is rare. Generally, the breakdowns occur more frequently.

    If anyone has any ideas about things to try, I’d be interested in hearing them. Am going out for a while now, but will check back in a few hours.

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  44. MichaelG said on October 3, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Moe — “Gidget goes to Washington.” I love it.

    My daughter was a math major. I idly picked up one of her text books one time. It meant nothing to me. Nothing at all. The whole thing was written in some kind of alien script.

    Trader Joe’s has a good selection of Indian foods. There is a selection of pre-done ones in pouches that you heat in the microwave or in hot water. They’re not bad at all. Also pretty inexpensive. Just don’t think of the processing facility in India where the stuff was prepared and packaged while you eat.

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  45. joodyb said on October 3, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    i know how you feel about Rachel Z., nancy, but let me just say: I die.
    the j. peterman catalog may be gone, but the esthetic lives. + leather ought to be making its umpteenth rebel-fashion comeback as kate is ready for it.

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  46. joodyb said on October 3, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    oh, and welcome to the Twins, Moe.

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  47. Gasman said on October 3, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    W3 is whining about Katie Couric’s unfair treatment of her. Palin said, “I did feel there were a lot of things she was missing in terms of an opportunity to ask what a VP candidate stands for, what the values are that are represented in our ticket.” More here:

    What specific questions did Palin think were unfair? I actually was surprised that Couric’s line of questioning was as pertinent as it was. I was also impressed that she would not let Palin simply bluster her way around questions without addressing them.

    What does Palin think were the questions Couric should have asked? “Tell me Governor, what are your thoughts on accessorizing with fur?” Or better yet, “Governor Palin, America is dying to know how you remain so gosh darn perky?”

    What specific questions did Palin think were unfair? I actually was surprised that Couric’s line of questioning was as pertinent as it was. I was also impressed that she would not let Palin simply bluster her way around questions without addressing them. I guess that any question that was deemed less than deferential was unfair. Also unfair, any line of questioning that made poor Caribou Barbie’s head hurt from any unplanned thinking. Oops! I just exposed myself as a hater.

    She seems to be self inflated from last night’s performance. Unless she and her handlers are careful, she might feel so emboldened that she does or says something really stupid. She really is a loose canon.

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  48. alex said on October 3, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    If anyone has any ideas about things to try, I’d be interested in hearing them.

    An Apple.

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  49. Jolene said on October 3, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Very funny, Alex. You’re probably right, but I was hoping for a solution that didn’t involve a large outlay of cash.

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  50. crinoidgirl said on October 3, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Hmmmmm, Jolene, I use Firefox on both my work laptop (XP) and home PC (Vista), with no probs.

    I’m thinking it’s more your connection than the software.

    OTOH, what version of FF are you using? The current release, or the beta? Have you tried using another browser, like IE (god forbid), or Opera? With what results?

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  51. crinoidgirl said on October 3, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    And in case y’all are wondering, most of us big ol’ dykes have a crush on Rachel, as well. (What a brain!)

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  52. brian stouder said on October 3, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Jolene – Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!

    That Obama speech at his campaign headquarters was excellent! I was somewhat taken aback by the jerky cinema verite’ quality of it (I think they had to have used three cameras, and edited the thing together so that it had continuity)….but by halfway in I wasn’t paying attention to things like that – I was smiling broadly and laughing out loud at the nominee’s jokes (and what was the issue, toward the beginning, when the two workers fooled with something or other?).

    Anyway – you’re right; Obama clearly recognizes the genuine weight of the responsibilities careening toward him.

    At lunch today, some friends and I hashed over last night’s debate, and one thing that several of us agreed about was – Obama is our Bobby Kennedy – our “real-deal”, real thing, true belief guy (the oldest of us [including me] was 7 years old when RFK’s life was ended). We’ve voted against some candidates, and settled for others, and cast a vote or two on cruise-control….but Barack Obama carries our hopes and our aspirations with him; he represents the best of our generation, and not just incidentally embodies an epochal (if literally superficial) shift in United States social and political history.

    If it comes to pass that Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, just 3 weeks before the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th (and greatest ever) President of the United States, prideful tears will almost certainly stream down my face. The inauguration of Barack Obama of Illinois, if it comes to pass, will make for an altogether fitting and proper commemoration of the life and legacy of Lincoln. Obama’s intelligence and his expansive, inclusive view of America seem (to me) to emulate the best of Lincoln’s legacy of shrewd political leadership, and a view of government as an agent of positive change.


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  53. crinoidgirl said on October 3, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Frost advisory tonight!

    I’m bringing the tomatoes in now.

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  54. Deborah said on October 3, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    I’m back home in Chicago from a trip to Des Moines for business from Monday through Thursday. While I was in Des Moines McCain was speaking less than a mile away. Weird. I watched the video of McCain speaking to the Des Moines Register folks. Geez he gave me the creeps with his eye squinting and chin thrusting. He was soooo angry. I am not a newspaper reader anymore (sorry Nancy) but I read the Des Moines Register every morning while I was there and was very impressed with it. I’m curious about it’s reputation in the newspaper world. Where does it stand compared to other papers? I received USA Today every morning at the hotel and the Register just seemed to beat it in every way shape and form. I was heartened to find out that Obama is doing very well in Iowa. Yes!

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  55. joodyb said on October 3, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    those crazy Cowleses sold the register to Gannett in the mid-80s, but it remained a respected paper that had quite a heyday in the 90s. google Geneva Overholser. a lot of industry drama. more than a dozen pulitzers, i’m sure. a lot of pride in election reporting because of iowa primary. landing a job there was a plum for budding political reporters. iowa is a writing hotbed: there’s the iowa writers workshop. and the infamous davenport business fellowship!
    the register building is an amazing place, too. i’d have told you to go there if i’d known!

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  56. Gasman said on October 4, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Thanks to my Mom in Fort Wayne, I learned that Sarah Palin is a post turtle. You say you don’t know what a post turtle is?

    The story goes like this:

    After suturing a cut on a 75 year old Texas rancher, whose hand had been caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the rancher. Eventually the topic got around to candidates – specifically Sarah Palin

    The old rancher said, “well, ya know, Sarah is a post turtle”. Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a ‘post turtle’ was.

    The old rancher said when you’re driving down a country road, and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a post turtle. The old rancher noticed a puzzled look on the doctor’s face, so he continued to explain.

    “You know she didn’t get up there by herself, she doesn’t belong up there, and she doesn’t know what to do while she is up there, and you have to just wonder what kind of idiot put her up there in the first place.”

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  57. Gasman said on October 4, 2008 at 12:53 am

    We have a snow advisory (3-6″) above 8500′ for tonight. I hope that it doesn’t freeze here, or my tomatoes and peppers will be finished off. At least we don’t have the 2-6 feet predicted like the San Juan Mountains in Southern Colorado (S.W. corner, Durango, Silverton, & Ouray). We’d planned on going to Ouray this weekend. Glad we didn’t. However, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta may get rained or blown out.

    Once in your life, it is worth a trip to ABQ to see the Balloon Fiesta. This year will feature around 700 balloons. Some days they all go up at once. I believe that you can watch it via web streaming video, on Saturday and Sunday at 9-11 a.m. Eastern (7-9 a.m. Mountain) here:

    If that does not work, go to and look for “Ballon Fiesta” links.

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  58. MichaelG said on October 4, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Wow! Big weather here too! Temps plunged into the sixties. Normal at this time of the year is mid eighties. We are expecting our first real rain since Feb 24. So sez the TV weather peepul.

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  59. Dexter said on October 4, 2008 at 2:39 am

    There’s a Downs man in my neighborhood; I know not where he lives exactly, but most days I see him once or twice . First, he rides his big tricycle towards the business district in late morning, then in late afternoon he walks past exercising his dog.
    He is about the same age as my daughter . My daughter progressed through school here, moved on to a large university and never came back to this small city, choosing to live in the fifteenth largest city in the USA.
    The man never had that chance; I’d see him through the years on the pages of the local paper holding another Special Olympics trophy, now I observe him as he performs his routines . Is he happy, never having had grand worldly experiences, having a life contained in this small burgh? I don’t know, but lately I wonder.
    The motorcyclist’s jacket is fine, wear it well.
    I never had a leather jacket; I fancied army field jackets.
    I had a few army fatigue blouses (shirts) and my field jacket when I came home from the army , and I wore them out over the ensuing years. My favorite military rag-shirt was not mine, however. It mysteriously appeared at my dad’s home; Dad had no idea where it had come from…maybe a long-ago workman had forgotten it?…but I knew it was hanging in his closet. I had stopped in for a minute on my way to a midnight shift at the factory and Bob Dylan and Joan Baez were on the TV singing “Hard Rain(‘s Gonna Fall)”.
    I noticed Dylan had on a USMC fatigue jacket exactly like the one in Dad’s closet. I thought that since Bob Dylan thinks it cool, by god so do I! That damn fatigue jacket was in tatters but I wore it for years.

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  60. Jolene said on October 4, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Dexter: Your description of the contrast between your daughter growing up and going away and the man in your neighborhood w/ Down syndrome staying and repeating the same activities was, for me, very poignant.

    I have a cousin, now in his early 60s, who has Down syndrome, and your description exactly fits how things have been in our family. As kids, we played kids’ games w/ him, to the extent that he was able, but, of course, we all grew up and moved on, while he remained a kid.

    At one point, he was pressing his parents to buy him a car, and their response was to argue that “the other boys” in the family didn’t have cars yet. But those boys were my nephews–20 or more years younger than he was.

    Although his difficulties complicated the lives of his parents and sister enormously (mostly because, for many years, his father wouldn’t accept the reality of his circumstances), he has had a reasonably happy life. The tough part is now. His parents have died, and he is living in a group home. He does pretty well there, but is lonely.

    My aunt once told me that she prayed that she would live at least one more day than he did so that he wouldn’t be left on his own, but that prayer wasn’t answered.

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  61. Jolene said on October 4, 2008 at 9:11 am

    On another topic, Gene Weingarten has a touching essay in this week’s WaPo magazine. It’s about old dogs and will likely bring tears to the eyes of anyone who has ever loved one. It’s very Gene, both whimsical and perceptive, personal and philosophical.

    The essay is from a book called Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs, just out. I’m guessing that, come Christmas, it’ll be a big seller.

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  62. moe99 said on October 4, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Ok, Jolene, I’m in tears. What a wonderful story about Harry. My black lab is 10 now and I’m watching his inevitable decline, as I have my other dogs through the years. My first word as a child was not “MaMa,” it was “doggie” with a soft ‘g’ and I grew up with a variety of dogs in Defiance, who were never chained or fenced and as result, many died and only one that I knew of lived to old age, because my parents gave him to a student at Defiance College who had adopted him on one of his many peregrinations (he was an unneutered basset hound named ‘Digby’). Gene Weingarten has it just right when he talks about how dogs love us wholly and unashamedly. We are so much the richer for their being here.

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  63. alex said on October 4, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Gasman, I’m nuts for New Mexico green chilies. Once brought back a styrofoam cooler full of them frozen hard and wrapped in newspaper. They survived the journey — including an overnight layover in the Dallas airport on a hundred-degree night. (That was the year of the Texas summer from hell.)

    Do you know what the genus is? Think I’d have any luck trying to grow them in Indiana?


    O.J.’s been put away! Yay!

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  64. Bill said on October 4, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Gasman: Hope the weather gets better. We’re coming to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta next weekend. Any good restaurant suggestions?

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  65. Ricardo said on October 4, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    I listened to the first part of the debate on radio because I was still driving home on my 30 mile commute. Every time Palin spoke I felt ill to my stomach. When I finally got home and turned on the TV, the ill feeling left.

    If I had followed Palin’s example and watched her on TV with the sound off, I probably would have enjoyed her on the debate. And, to the natural conclusion, having the TV and radio off and not thinking about Sarah Palin, I actually feel pretty good.

    And why is it, she has to lie about EVERYTHING? It is all so easily disproved. One person described her brain as being so crammed with sound bites and talking points it is like Fibber Mcgee’s closet. When the door opens, words come crashing out in any kind of random order and making no sense.

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  66. Dorothy said on October 4, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Oh lord but I am sobbing after reading that article about Harry, Jolene! In the back of my mind, while reading it, all I could think about is my cousin Nora, who had to put her beloved Chesapeake Bay Retriever to sleep on Thursday night. I haven’t had the heart to call her for the details. She just sent out a text message to a bunch of us to say it was sudden, and that Clancey had cancer. Clance had been diagnosed as diabetic a couple of years ago, too, and they dutifully gave him his shots twice a day. I hope he was able to give them a kiss good-bye, too.

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  67. Ricardo said on October 4, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Jolene: if you are running Vista, add more RAM to your computer. You can run Task Manager to see how much of your RAM is being used, it will max out at 80% then it will begin swapping programs to disk (you will hear your disk drive constantly running). The last computer I worked on, I added 1.5GB to a notebook with 1GB existing (using 80% or 800MB constantly). After the upgrade it was constantly using 1000GB constantly so you can see it was constricted and thrashing. The extra RAM is pretty cheap and the resulting performance was great. I don’t know why Vista needs to gobble up so much RAM, but at least I know how to fix that problem.

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  68. Jolene said on October 4, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    How do I determine how much RAM I have? I’ve already added some, but perhaps I need more. Is there an upper limit?

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  69. Jolene said on October 4, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    One last thing about Palin (Well, at least I’ll try not to keep harping about her): Andrew Sullivan links to a snippet from a debate that she was in as a gubernatorial candidate. What’s interesting about it is the absence of the heavy-handed folksiness. The accent is there, but there’s no winking or nose-wrinkling and no “gosh, golly, darn, gee whiz.” She just talks in a fairly reasonable way.

    After having this pointed out, I realized that, the same was true for the C-SPAN interviews I linked to a week or so ago. That is, the “aw, shucks” style was much less prevalent. She wasn’t necesssarily better on logic, and the odd way of dropping words was still there, but the absence of all that goofiness made her much easier to take. And the contrast makes the goofiness seem worse, because it suggests that her style is all just part of the show. Ugh.

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  70. mark said on October 4, 2008 at 4:40 pm


    In an earlier post, you wrote about Obama’s policies “that might require sacrifice or take time to bear fruit.” I’m sure you know more about most of his policies than I do. In all seriousness, which of them do you think are calling for sacrifice?

    I know that the top 5% of wage earners are asked to sacrifice through higher income taxes. Who else will be making sacrifices?

    Among my reasons for not supporting Obama is my belief that it is unwise to foster class envy or to create a country where 50% or more think that the key to ever more services is to just tap the top 5 or 10%.

    My father made sacrifices for his college degree. He delayed it to work because he had no money. Military service intervened (and provided GI bill benefits), but by then he had a wife, two kids and a third on the way. He went to a University 30 miles away, full time, while also maintaining a full time job as a tool and die maker for Chrysler. No parties, football games, etc.

    I made much smaller sacrifices. Between college and law school, I borrowed over $80,000 (in the late 70s, early 80s), to attend pretty good private schools. Below market rate government loans. I worked summers and a few hours a week during school. But i went straight through and usually had a little spending money in my pocket. No big spring breaks for me, though.

    This is an area where Obama apparently thinks people are currently sacrificing too much, as he supports new and additional financial assistance.

    Help me understand where Obama wants nore sacrifice. At present, I tend to think of his general approach as: the wealthy have more than they need, so we take a little more of what they earned to do lots of good things.

    I liked your comments about sacrifice and taking a longer view of what we need. I just don’t see it reflected in the Obama policies that I think I know.

    Perhaps this will make it easier: What sacrifice will the typical person, making 40K to 75Km be asked to make for his/her county by a President Obama?

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  71. Jolene said on October 4, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Mark: Great question. I don’t have a quick answer and am on my way out the door — to volunteer at the local Obama campaign office. Will write when I get back. Of course, someone else can answer in the meantime.

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  72. MichaelG said on October 4, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    You’re absolutely right, Mark. We don’t want “class envy” . So to avoid any danger of “class envy” we should give the richest 5% another large tax cut on top of all the other cuts they’ve gotten in the last eight years. We certainly wouldn’t want to gang up on the poor saps.

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  73. Julie Robinson said on October 4, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Hey Mark–I went to college in the 70’s, too, paid out of state tuition and my last year it just topped $1000/semester. You could get a good summer job and pay for most of the cost. Our son worked full time for the county this summer and earned a little over $4000, which didn’t cover his expenses for one semester. He sacrifices by living at home and riding his bike to class. College costs have gone up exponentially over what students can earn. It’s ridiculous.

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  74. brian stouder said on October 4, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    My father made sacrifices for his college degree. He delayed it to work because he had no money. Military service intervened (and provided GI bill benefits), but by then he had a wife, two kids and a third on the way

    Indeed, Obama’s education plans include a tax credit for the first $4000 of tuition, on condition that community service hours are performed – so that we don’t have to fight a shooting war in order to extend secondary education benefits to young people.

    In the wake of the financial markets debacle, I’ve been pondering the “what do we get” part of the equation. I’m about full-up with commentators who fulminate against “minorities and poor people” who had “no business” getting a mortgage.

    Re-read the history of the Panic of 1873, caused in part by the collapse of Jay Cooke for example.

    from Wikipedia –

    After the (Civil) war, Cooke became interested in the development of the northwest, and in 1870 his firm financed the construction of the Northern Pacific Railway. Cooke fell in love with Duluth, Minnesota, and decided he must make it successful, the new Chicago. To this end he began purchasing railways with the dream of reaching the Pacific to bring goods through Duluth into the Great Lakes shipping system and on to the markets of Europe. In advancing the money for the work, the firm overestimated its capital, and at the approach of the Panic of 1873 it was forced to suspend. Cooke himself was forced into bankruptcy. Jay Cooke was heavily involved in financial scandals with the Canadian Government and caused the Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald to lose his office in the 1873 election. Cooke’s shares in the Northern Pacific Railway were purchased for pennies on the dollar by George Stephen (Baron Mount Stephen) and Douglas Smith (Lord Strathcona) who then finished building the Canadian Pacific Railway.

    So, there WAS a lasting public good (the expanded railroad network), but also plenty of political scandal to go around (including for President US Grant), and genuinely hard times for regular people “on Main Street”.

    I think the more folks from the lower end of the economic spectrum become homeowners, the BETTER for everyone; a lasting public good, indeed. And indeed, the more folks who live in their homes, the more value that EVERY homeowner (from top to bottom) realizes. Yes – the market over-heated, and yes – there was a bubble; and no – I don’t really like the idea of the $700 billion (so far) hit we all took….but if it keeps generally Hard Times at bay, and moves us forward to renegotiated mortgages for employed, over-extended people, then I’m down for that.

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  75. Julie Robinson said on October 4, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Did I say that our son sacrifices by living at home? It goes both ways!

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  76. Gasman said on October 4, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    There are several varietal chiles that they grow around NM. My favorite, and the hottest, are the Chimayo. They are considered and heirloom variety. I think the most common ones are the NM Big Jim 6-4. The chiles that they grow near Hatch grow bigger than the ones that grow up north. It may simply be the altitude, the northern climes being much higher. I think that you could probably grow any of them in Indiana. Plant them as soon as you can after the first frost. Full sun, but don’t over water. It gets hot enough in Indiana to make the peppers feel at home. To be sure, speak Spanish to them. That should help.

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  77. Gasman said on October 4, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I’m kind of assuming that if you’re coming to ABQ that you are looking for Northern NM cuisine (don’t call it Mexican). Old Town offers several good options. I would suggest spending an afternoon in Old Town. For last year’s Balloon Fiesta we took an out of town friend to La Placita Dining Rooms. As a relatively new New Mexican, I enjoyed it. (If your family has been in NM less than 400 years, you are a newcomer.) Truth be told, there are many good restaurants on the Plaza in Old town. A place that I want to go is Church Street Cafe. I’ll include a couple of links to help.

    Be sure to bring fairly heavy jackets. As of this weekend it’s starting to be cool to cold in the morning. The morning temp will probably continue to drop throughout the week. By afternoon it’s warm to hot.

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  78. Gasman said on October 4, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Interestingly enough, the latest push by conservative commentators has been to launch a new attack on “minorities and poor people” who had “no business” getting mortgages. This is poorly disguised racist code. I suspected with Obama as the Democratic nominee, the bigots would be unable to restrain themselves from injecting race into the election. How easy it is to blame those crafty “minorities and poor people” who subtly conned all of those benevolent bankers and CEOs. They might as well don their sheets proudly.

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  79. Joe Kobiela said on October 4, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Please stick around.
    I have asked a few of these questions my self, but the only answers I seem to get are yelling and screaming and being called all sorts of names. I can’t figure out how you can give a tax cut to 95% of the American people when only 70% pay taxes. How do you give a tax cut to someone who doesn’t pay taxes? Also Obama keeps talking about the rich and using 250,000 as a cut off. I wonder how many people do not realize that if you and your wife have a combined 100,000 in salary, plus a 100,000 dollar house plus 50,000 in savings 401 and stock, you qualify as rich, at least the way it has been explained to me, it’s not your salary but your worth.
    People on the left claim every thing Palin and McCain say are lies, and people on the right say everything obam says is a lie. who do you believe? The one thing I did like about the debate was when Palin said, The Government needs to get out of the way. Any way you look at it, right or left, they need to quit spending so much of OUR money.
    So stick around Mark, and help the only other conservative that reads Mrs, Nall out.

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  80. Snarkworth said on October 4, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Joe, income taxes are calculated against income, not net worth. You don’t pay income taxes on the value of your house or your savings. Obama’s cut-off of $250,000 means that the vast majority of us won’t pay more income tax. Those who have done extremely well over the past eight years will pay more, which seems to me entirely fair.

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  81. Bill said on October 4, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Thanks, Gasman. We’ll be in ABQ for 4 days so we’ll have plenty of opportunities to try out your suggestions. I’ll let you know how we do. I’m taking my camera, so I may be able to share some pictures of the Balloon Fiesta.

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  82. Gasman said on October 5, 2008 at 12:07 am

    I can cite McCain/Palin lies. In abundance. I am not speaking of generalities or vague innuendo, but specific words linked to times and dates, usually with accompanying video that can be easily disproved, in McCain’s case with video of him disproving himself.

    If you can come up with similar instances for Obama, please do so. So far all I’ve heard is “he did it too!” with not a shred of evidence to back it up. As I said in an earlier post to you, if you are going to make charges, you should at least be able to back them up with something stronger than “because I say so.” If you want to be taken seriously, you need to buttress your arguments with a little more intellectual meat.

    I am willing to cite chapter and verse for McCain/Palin lies. Can you do the same for Obama/Biden?

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  83. Gasman said on October 5, 2008 at 12:43 am

    Digital cameras are best for Balloon Fiesta. Last 2 times we’ve gone I’ve shot in excess of 300 pictures each time. It is a magical event that makes you feel like a little kid.

    If you can make it up to Santa Fe, there’s lots to do. The fall foliage is at its peak up toward the mountain at Ski Santa Fe. If not, take the Tram up to Sandia Peak in ABQ. The ride alone is worthwhile, but you get great views of ABQ from atop the mountain and I’m sure that the foliage up there is in prime form right about now. I’ll post tomorrow night after watching the 5 day weather forecast.

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  84. alex said on October 5, 2008 at 1:35 am

    Gasman, the chilies I remember were everywhere. Even the McDonalds’ had them on their burgers. Went to a Sonic on the way between the Albuquerque airport and Santa Fe. Got an unusual case of the trots I refer to as the Bernalillo Burn.

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  85. Dexter said on October 5, 2008 at 2:03 am

    Oh god…that story about Harry the dog…I can’t stand it…my Labrador Retriever is ten and healthy but stiff sometimes…my best friend. I enjoy every minute I have with her doubly these days. I could not love her any more than I do.

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  86. MarkH said on October 5, 2008 at 4:54 am

    “…shred of evidence.”:

    All are documented, most more so than others (Newsweek, WaPo, US News, St, Petersburg Times, etc.) Stomach what you can, Gasman.

    Joe, I’ve been lurking, with occasional posting, for years, have enjoyed all the comments, and posted when I’ve felt it contributed. I’m more in line with you, Danny, (lower case) mark and Jefftmmo. More center than right, I guess.

    Speaking of which, I lament Jeff’s temporary departure, but did I miss something with Danny? He’s absent as well and it’s not evident why. At least it’s not just you and mark.

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  87. Jolene said on October 5, 2008 at 6:37 am

    MarkH, the link you provide is, to be polite, garbage. It’s a fact-checking site in the sense that The National Enquirer is a newspaper. There’s the occasional element of truth, I’m sure, but in only a few minutes, I found numerous errors and omissions. In just one example, an excerpt from was truncated, completely changing its meaning.

    You’d do better to stick with original sources–in this case, the original factchecking sites–rather than to rely on partisan (or, more accurately, nutty) sites where people whose interests are in defeating Obama rather than in being objective have pulled together bits of text that may or may not represent the truth of the source from which they were drawn.

    I’m giving you three possibilities, so you can cross-check whatever issue it is that concerns you. But, seriously, stay away from that site you linked to. Reading that stuff could lead to permanent brain damage or, at least, to embarrassment should you repeat what you learned there.


    For info on the debates. From

    McCain-Obama Debate

    Biden-Palin Debate

    From The Washington Post:

    Vice-Presidential Debate, Part I

    Palin Twists the Facts on Darfur

    VP Debate: Part II

    Presidential Debate Live Fact Check

    For more general info, go to these sites. home page: Deals w/ a wide variety of issues from the campaign. An independent, non-partisan source. Examines statements made by the candidates and their campaigns, campaign advertising, and Internet rumors.

    Washington Post Fact Checker: Fairly detailed analysis of statements made by candidates and their campaigns. Has cute system in which they award “Pinocchios” to indicate how true the statement in question is. A fact-checking site put together by The St.Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly. Provides analysis of debates (click Articles tab), as well as the campaigns as a whole. Also has cute system for labeling statements by candidates and campaigns, including “Pants on Fire” for statements that go totally off the rail. Has links to still other fact-checking sites on lower right side of home page.

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  88. Jolene said on October 5, 2008 at 6:54 am

    I’ve wondered about Danny too, MarkH. Are you out there, Danny?

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  89. Jolene said on October 5, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Lowercase mark: Re the issue of sacrifice and Obama’s policies, I said, “But I have real faith that he will always be trying and that he is smart enough to let people know exactly what he is trying to do and why. That’s a much [better] approach to creating and sustaining support for policies that might require sacrifice or take time to bear fruit than scaring people to death, which has been the approach of the current White House occupant.”

    So, just to be clear, I was praising what I see as Obama’s moral and intellectual seriousness and his willingness to say challenging things, rather than specific policies that he has set forth. It was the idea that this approach would help him should he have to ask us to sacrifice in some way that I was pointing to, rather than already stated policies that ask for such sacrifices.

    Still, I believe we can see in some of the things he’s said, the idea that he is willing to ask for sacrifices. Before I go further, though, I should say that he has not always been a hero in this regard. For instance, neither he nor Biden has been willing to say what changes in the policies and programs that they’ve proposed might be required, given our new commitment to pay our bankers $700 billion. When pressed, they mentioned delaying proposed increases in foreign aid. I suspect most Americans would not view such a delay as a hardship, even if they knew how pitifully small is the amount of foreign aid we offer compared to other rich nations.

    But he has sometimes been willing to tell the truth when avoiding it would have been easier. Early in the campaign, he gave a not-very-well-received speech in Detroit regarding the need for higher fuel efficiency standards. News reports describing the event made it clear that the people in the audience sat on their hands, but, of course, he was right.

    On a more intimate level, he’s challenged men, especially African-American men, to act like grown-ups and take care of the children they father. I think Obama understands the problems of the urban underclass intimately. He’s not of it, but he has certainly seen it in more detail than McCain and, really, most national politicians. And that knowledge seems to have made him aware of both the importance of the impediments that people living in poverty face and the importance of grasping opportunity and of struggling forward.

    Not too long ago, he spoke at a gathering of minority journalists in Chicago and, when asked about affirmative action, said that he thought people w/ wealth and power had an obligation to create ladders of opportunity (or, at least, to support policies that create such ladders) and that people on the bottom were obliged to jump onto those ladders and do whatever they could to pull themselves up. He also talked about how affirmative action in, say, college admissions is irrelevant to many African-American and Hispanic kids because a very high proportion of them have dropped out of school long before the question of whether to go to college becomes relevant.

    There’s lots of evidence that early childhood education programs, esp. programs that involve parents in supporting their children, promote educational achievement, and Obama wants to invest in these programs. Such programs wouldn’t exactly require a sacrifice of the parents, but they would require an investment. Most important, they would emphasize that, whatever the power of past and present racism, overcoming it requires individual effort, as well as governmental action.

    The tuition support he is offering comes with a requirement to contribute to the community in some way. That’s quite different than the additional tax cuts John McCain is offering to the richest Americans. I don’t think there’s a community service requirement attached to that proposal.

    Rather than class envy, what I hear from Obama is that “we’re all in this together”. He is calling on people to think about their connections to each other, not emphasizing divisions.

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  90. brian stouder said on October 5, 2008 at 10:57 am

    One subject that should be raised at Tuesday’s debate might be – the most unstable border in North America – between Mexico and the US. David J Danelo wrote an interesting article about it in this month’s Proceedings magazine, in which he points out that more than 2,500 drug-related killings have occurred in Mexico so far this year, with half of those in border cities. A large proportion of the casualties (more than half) have been police officers.

    I found the article – or at least the stark numbers – somewhat stunning. There really is a “drug war” going – and not a metaphorical “war”, but a real shooting war, and our next door neighbor is losing it.

    and then I saw this, today on msnbc

    More than 400 people have been killed in drug-related violence in the city across from San Diego this year, including at least 49 this week. On Friday night, two men were found shot to death in the same empty lot near the elementary school where the 12 bodies were found Monday. Execution-style killings, beheadings and shootouts have soared across Mexico since the army and federal police intensified their fight against the drug trade nearly two years ago

    This is Iraq-like, only without the photogenic IED detonations

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  91. nancy said on October 5, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Brian, one of my search terms in my night-shift editing is “drug,” and I have been following this war, too. Did you hear about the heads-on-the-dance-floor caper? A bunch of dealers infiltrated a disco in enemy territory, and then stopped the show by rolling six or eight heads of their recently deceased enemies — and compadres of the patrons — onto the dance floor.

    I can’t believe no one’s making a movie of this by now.

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  92. mark said on October 5, 2008 at 12:17 pm


    Thanks. That was a prety good response, partly because I don’t think you exaggerated what is there. A couple of items (like his comments on energy policy/use) I had already thought of. The others reminded me of things I have heard or read but filed away.

    Of my many gripes with Bush, one of the largest concerns his failure to mobilize the population following 9/11. After much thought, he urged us to go back to the malls and theaters, leaving our military and future taxpayers to bear the burden of our response. There are many things he could have suggested that would have had a long term impact.

    Health care is an area where nobody seems to be willing to sacrifice anything. As a result, the sacrifice falls routinely upon the poor and occassionally on others, with no real rationale for when that occurs. It continues to amaze me that people earning hundreds of thousands of dollars have insurance plans with only a $500 deductible and 50% copay on the next thousand or so.

    Food, clothing and shelter are essentials, but things we hope people budget for. Education, entertainment and savings are less essential, but still budget items. Why wouldn’t health care be treated the same.

    Years ago, when I worked with a pretty large law firm (we had several hundred insureds in our plan), I suggested that we consider a plan where the deductible and co-pay were tied to income. Deductible would be 3% of compensation and co-pay would be half of the next 4% of compensation. Everyone was at risk of 5% of their gross income being consumed by doctors each year. With the cost savings for our plan, every non-partner would recieve a 5% raise, with a specific notation that it was to compensate for the change in the plan.

    At the low end of the pay scale, with errand people and copy center employees, the deducible was actually less and they got the raise. For everyone making 100K or less, they came out pretty well, except they would have to watch their expenses (where you can) to come out really well.

    To my amazement, the biggest objection came from the opposite end. Even though the partners were paying 80% of the cost of the plan, and would recieve 80% of the benefit of lower cost, guys making 400K per year were aghast at the possibility of having to pay (potentially) 20K per year in out of pocket medical expenses. Some of these people budgeted that much per year for car payments and many spent far more than that each year for housing payments. A few spent far more each year for clothing.

    If Obama succeeds with a health care plan, and I hope he doesn’t, I hope there is some recognition of individual responsibility for cost, other than through tax dollars that support the program. Free routine health care for the wealthy makes as much sense to me as sending Ross Perot a social security check.

    Well, i’m just rambling…

    Thanks for your response.

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  93. Jolene said on October 5, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    mark, I like your comments re means-testing in health care. It’s a difficult issue, but I believe that some form of it will likely be necessary in the years ahead.

    As Michael Kinsley has written, the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, which imposed a huge new cost on the government, was enacted “without even a theory about how it will be paid for.”

    Clearly, health care costs can’t rise forever, and we will face some difficult choices. It would help if our leaders would point out, over and over again, some of the hard facts that make those choices necessary. For starters: We spend a higher proportion of our GDP on health care than any other rich nation, we leave a higher proportion of our people uninsured, and we get worse health outcomes (e.g., life expectancy, infant mortality rates than in many other Western nations.

    I think we will be hearing more about healthcare during the next few weeks. Since Tuesday night’s “debate” is actually a townhall meeting w/ questions from audience members, it seems likely that someone will raise questions it. It’d be nice to hear some straightforward responses.

    We need to get beyond throwing around terms such as “socialized medicine” and “government-run healthcare”. People are so afraid of * government involvement that they fail to consider that some things could get better. Administrative costs are lower, for instance, under Medicare than under private insurance programs.

    *I didn’t realize this at the time, but when Palin quoted Ronald Reagan in the debate last week re how if we didn’t protect our freedoms, we’d find ourselves telling our grandchildren what America used to be like when we had them, she was quoting a speech in which he was talking about Medicare. It was socialized medicine that was going to be the undoing of our Constitutional rights.

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  94. Jolene said on October 5, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Re my previous post: Here’s a comprehensible description of McCain’s healthcare proposal, written by a liberal.

    I think it’s reasonably accurate–that is, consistent w/ other analyses that I’ve seen–but should be supplemented by other descriptions/analyses.

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  95. moe99 said on October 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    I’d be careful of they have some things in there that are hastily written and badly sourced. I’m at a Mac computer and cannot cut and paste from it, because I can’t figure out the controls, but will do so when I get logged onto a PC at the college library.

    There’s also this editorial today from Frank Rich at the NYT that I think is worth a read:

    And in response to an earlier question, you can add a certain amount of RAM to your hard drive, but eventually it lowers your computing speed.

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  96. Gasman said on October 5, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    You have got to be kidding! ObamaWTF? The WTF part is most appropriate; when I read some of the “lies” I thought to myself “WTF?” From the few that I waded through this appears to rehash the right wing drivel that has been thoroughly discredited. It appears to be largely rumor or innuendo. Some of them appear to be legitimate errors that Obama corrected. It isn’t really a lie unless there is intent to deceive. I am not harping on McCain misspeaking. When he appeared to mistake Spain and Latin America, I attributed that to fatigue and inattention, not stupidity or dishonesty. I will grant any candidate a certain amount of mistakes.

    When McCain/Palin pedal the bunk about little miss Sarah saying “thanks, but no thanks” to congress regarding the Bridge to Nowhere, they were intentionally distorting the record. When they continued to use the line for two weeks after every news agency (even Fox) said it was not true, it is a damn lie. When McCain continues to insist that Obama is a “babykiller” that is a damn lie.

    If that site is the best you’ve got for citing sources of Obama’s mendacity, you are really scraping the bottom of the cesspool. I think it is very fair to question the site’s objectivity. In all seriousness, if you think that site passes the “smell test” for objectivity or veracity, it speaks volumes about either your gullibility or your honesty.

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  97. moe99 said on October 5, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    The full Tina Fey schtick from SNL last night. I sure wish I could figure out how to use this MacBook better.

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  98. brian stouder said on October 5, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    I can’t believe no one’s making a movie of this by now.

    Indeed; whereas I’m sure we’ll get another spate of Wall Street melt-down movies in the next few years.

    Speaking of movies, this weekend I picked up the Dr Strangelove dvd – it was a buck to have it for a week, and after enjoying the picture last night, I watched all the special features – which were EXCELLENT!

    I learned that Stanley Kubrick bought the rights to a serious novel called Red Alert, wherein a (dare I say it?) ‘maverick’ air force commander launches a nuclear first-strike against the USSR, and intended to make it into a serious movie. But as he and a partner worked into the late hours night after night on how the movie should proceed, they became punchy and started laughing at the ridiculous nature of the The End of the World as We Know It….and began to wonder -would this movie actually make more sense as a black comedy, than a serious techno-thriller?

    Made me think of the Proprietress and her film projects. It seems that even at the very pinnacle of the art, late-night bull sessions can be where the best work gets done.

    Other interesting trivia that I did not know: they had to change a line in the movie before it was released, when President Kennedy was assassinated. Remember the scene where Slim Pickens takes inventory of the survival kits that each man in the B-52 has? He lists $100 cash, a 45 caliber pistol, 3 pairs of nylons, chocolates, prophelactics…and he says “Hell, a fella could have a fun weekend in Vegas with all that!” …..but the city he actually named is “Dallas”! with “vegas” dubbed over it (watch his lips, and you can see)

    Also – there was a lawsuit by Kubrick and Columbia pictures against the folks who made Fail Safe; the contention was that the Fail Safe people were violating the rights Kubrick had purchased to the book Red Alert…and Kubrick won the suit

    In short – I highly recommend the Dr Strangelove dvd!

    edit: Joe Biden’s mother in law just passed away. Not a good day

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  99. crinoidgirl said on October 5, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Something absolutely disgusting happened in one of the Detroit suburbs last night.

    My partner was delivering newspapers. At 2 AM she encountered a house with an Obama/Biden lawn sign.

    The house had been tp’d. The car had swastikas and “KKK” and “nigger-lover” spray painted on it.

    We have an Obama lawn sign. Kind of uneasy about it now…

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  100. whitebeard said on October 5, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    I just discovered this story, with an interesting wrinkle “ Sun Oct 5, 10:25 AM ET The oldest-known tracks of a creature apparently using legs have been discovered in rock dated to 570 million years ago in what was once a shallow sea in Nevada.” and he seemed to be carrying a tiny sign that read “McCain for Cavern Big Cheese”

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  101. brian stouder said on October 5, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    crinoid – did you see this, from Florida?

    A person in our family, who I would like to expect better from (but who, it turns out, is capable of worse) clued me in on this “joke” a week ago….but indeed – how the hell is this not enough to immediately terminate – TERMINATE! – the teacher who shared it with all his classes?

    from the article:

    Howard will be reassigned to teach in the district’s Adult Education Program. “We feel like the punishment is sufficient,” Moore said. “We did not feel he had to be fired.”

    Suspension? Reassignment to “Adult education”??? for this teacher of ignorance?

    Overt, unambiguous, hateful racism seems to me to be cause enough to summarily whack the small-minded, anti-intellectual little man

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  102. alex said on October 5, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Anyplace I’ve ever worked, antics like that would be grounds for immediate termination. Shit, I’ve seen terminations take place over innocent misunderstandings where even the black people who were supposed to be offended were taking up for the accused malefactor.

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  103. brian stouder said on October 5, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    So now we have Sarah Palin saying that Barack Obama “Pals around with terrorists”?

    And that her “heels are on and her gloves are off”.

    Well – the bulldog with lipstick (and heels, but no gloves) is married to a secessionist who doesn’t subscribe to “Country First” but instead “Alaska First, and always”, and dog-goned if she’ll answer any pesky questions, at least when those media types are around; all they wanna do is clobber her anyway, right?

    And, not for nothing, we see what regard Governor Palin has for the rule of law, right? The legislature of the great state of Alaska issued a lawful subpoena to her and to her husband, and she simply flouted it. If that is her reaction to the duly elected state legislators, what will she do if she becomes the Vice President of the United States?

    One would call her an ’empty suit’, but that gives her the benefit of the doubt. What she really looks like is a Cheney with charisma – a very bad mix!

    edit: Moe – that is a GREAT story!

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  104. moe99 said on October 5, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Hey, Joe and whoever’s left here supporting McCain: I’ll bet you cannot come up with a story comparable to that.

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  105. Catherine said on October 5, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    The part that kills me about Brian’s link is that the teacher was reassigned to adult ed. Talk about failing up. Reminds me of my HS English teacher, known as Mr. Coke, who was reassigned to the admin building after his drug habit became evident even to the grownups.

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  106. Joe Kobiela said on October 5, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Moe,No I guess not,
    All McCain did was refuse an early release from the North Vietnamese. So he couldn’t be used for propaganda. Then suffered more torture than I or anyone else I know, except for Obama, could stand.
    I was told I needed to put up facts, but I figure, why go to the trouble. No one on this sight would believe anything a conservative wrote anyway, but yet I am suppose to bow down to anything printed by a Liberal, because we all know they would never stretch the truth or twist anyones words to fit their agenda.
    Oh well, guess I’ll turn in for the night. Only a few more hours and “The View” will be on, so I can catch up on the news from a reliable source.

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  107. Gasman said on October 6, 2008 at 12:15 am

    The bit about McCain refusing to be released from the the North Vietnamese is pure fiction cooked up by McCain to burnish his image. Don’t believe me? How about John Dramesi, who was a fellow prisoner of war in North Vietnam along with McCain. Unlike McCain, however, Dramesi did not break under pressure and did not offer up any confessions to his captors. This is what the recent Rolling Stone article says of Dramesi’s characterization of John McCain’s “heroic” refusal to be released:

    “Dramesi says he has no desire to dishonor McCain’s service, but he believes that celebrating the downed pilot’s behavior as heroic — “he wasn’t exceptional one way or the other” — has a corrosive effect on military discipline. “This business of my country before my life?” Dramesi says. “Well, he had that opportunity and failed miserably. If it really were country first, John McCain would probably be walking around without one or two arms or legs — or he’d be dead.”
    In the official McCain narrative, this was the ultimate test of mettle. He could have come home, but keeping faith with his fellow POWs, he chose to remain imprisoned in Hanoi.
    What McCain glosses over is that accepting early release would have required him to make disloyal statements that would have violated the military’s Code of Conduct. If he had done so, he could have risked court-martial and an ignominious end to his military career. “Many of us were given this offer,” according to (Phil) Butler, McCain’s classmate who was also taken prisoner. “It meant speaking out against your country and lying about your treatment to the press. You had to ‘admit’ that the U.S. was criminal and that our treatment was ‘lenient and humane.’ So I, like numerous others, refused the offer.”
    “He makes it sound like it was a great thing to have accomplished,” says Dramesi. “A great act of discipline or strength. That simply was not the case.” “

    Who is John Dramesi? The Rolling Stone article continues:
    “Dramesi… attempted two daring escapes. For the second he was brutalized for a month with daily torture sessions that nearly killed him. His partner in the escape, Lt. Col. Ed Atterberry, didn’t survive the mistreatment. But Dramesi never said a disloyal word, and for his heroism was awarded two Air Force Crosses, one of the service’s highest distinctions.”
    Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. “McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man,” Dramesi says today. “But he’s still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in.” “
    In speaking of Dramesi, John McCain said that he was “one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met.”
    These are his former comrades in arms, the men who spent time in the same prisons as McCain, and in the case of Dramesi, did not break under torture. They are speaking out, in public, on the record. So, Joe, save us your genuflecting sycophancy for this “hero” that so willingly inflates his own service ahead of his fellow prisoners for his own professional and political gain.

    I’m pretty sure that you cannot be bothered to actually confront an article that does not conform to your attitude about McCain, but to be fair to you, the Rolling Stone article is linked here:

    As to your charge that you needn’t put up facts because us Liberals won’t give you a fair chance is a sub-intellectual copout and it is petty. You won’t put up facts because you can’t. If you can’t hurl epithets or ad hominem attacks, you can’t seem to participate in discussions involving actual issues or facts. Don’t give me that crap that we Liberals don’t play fair. You have offered nothing but unsubstantiated rumors, gossip, and outright lies, then when you get called on them, you whine. Spare me your martyr act. “If you can’t stand the heat…”, as Harry used to say.

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  108. moe99 said on October 6, 2008 at 5:03 am

    Just to cut off the next line of attack. It seems that right wingers are going to claim that Obama’s related to and supports a Kenyan politician named Raila Odinga Obama. The BBC reported the alleged relationship in Jan. of this year, but the Obama camp has steadfastly denied any connection and/or support of Odinga, who is, in some circles, reputed to be a terrorist. I don’t have the ability to further research here, but just wanted to put out an alert.

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  109. Jolene said on October 6, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Living, as I do, in a fairly benign part of reality where people, if they have them, keep their prejudices to themselves, I’m always a little surprised to hear about incidents like the teacher Brian wrote about and the vandalism that crinoidgirl wrote about.

    But clearly the racial issue is a big deal for a lot of people. I’ve heard, in a number of places, concerns that Obama is going to enact policies that favor black people. Over the weekend, I happened across a couple of interesting articles in which people talk about these concerns–one set in Michigan and the other in rural Virginia.

    The article re Virginia mentions that labor unions are taking on the race issue directly in their campaigning. I guess when your constituency is plain-spoken people, you can speak plainly about what concerns them. There’s a video of Richard Trumka, the AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, going around in which he hits the racism issue hard.

    Matt Yglesias thinks that if Obama is elected we can expect to see more appeals to racial animosity in our politics. I hope he’s not right.

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  110. Laura said on October 6, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Not to get all maudlin or anything, but I wear my husband’s exquisitely-soft brown leather jacket. He died in February and he looked so sexy in it. I certainly don’t, but I feel pretty damn close to him when I wear it. So, Nancy, go for it.

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