Old man smell.

This one’s for the Buckeyes in da house, yo. I found it buried in a side rail over at John Scalzi’s site, and it’s old, so forgive me if you’ve already seen it:

On the October 15 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, (host) Bob Grant said: “[W]hat is that flag that Obama’s been standing in front of that looks like an American flag, but instead of having the field of 50 stars representing the 50 states, there’s a circle?” He then said: “Is the circle the ‘O’ for Obama? Is that what it is?” Grant later said: “[D]id you notice Obama is not content with just having several American flags, plain old American flags with the 50 states represented by 50 stars? He has the ‘O’ flag. And that’s what that ‘O’ is. That’s what that ‘O’ is. Just like he did with the plane he was using. He had the flag painted over, and the ‘O’ for Obama. Now, these are symptom — these things are symptomatic of a person who would like to be a potentate — a dictator.” ‘

You want more? Sure you do. Grant went on:

Hey, I could be wrong. But I wouldn’t say this on this great radio station if I didn’t think there was some merit in this conjecture. And I stress conjecture. And so much of what we talk about is conjecture, is theory, is opinion based on intuition, based on some facts, based on some history.

Because, of course, it’s perfectly reasonable to believe that Obama had his own special stars-stripes-and-an-O flag made for him, because he’s an elitist, you know, and that’s what elitists do. Why, as I write this, my own personal NN.C standard is flying over the roof, as it always is when I’m in residence here at NN.C central. My subjects demand nothing less of their leader. Grant goes on:

I don’t want to overdramatize this. Being dramatic, I must confess, does come easy to some of us, because, maybe that’s why we’re in this business. It is show business, is it not? I know some of my colleagues don’t want to admit that, but they are the greatest showmen in the world. And I tell you this. I tell you this quite seriously. I am alarmed at the prospect of his election. I — I would hope that if he is elected, that I could come before you one day and say, “Hey, there was no need to be alarmed, I was wrong.”

If you knew nothing about Bob Grant at all, you’d know he was old by this point, wouldn’t you? Aren’t you already getting the smell of Dentu-Creme in your nostrils from that last part? I think it’s the “greatest showmen in the world” phrase that does it. It’s like Jerry Lewis in the 22nd hour of the Labor Day Telethon. You just know, any minute, he’s going to start crying.

Well, Bob Grant is old — 79. Because older people generally got a more classical education, you’d think at some point he might have caught a glimpse of the Ohio state flag:

buckeye flag

I guess not. Back to gumming your food, Bob.

It’s always good to start the day with a big laugh, isn’t it? A big laugh and a huge cup of coffee. On Saturday I had lunch with three of my zombie colleagues, and the talk turned to the things we put into our bodies that are bad for us. The youngest person at the table said he was going to give up coffee for a while.

“Why?” asked the oldest person at the table, who was not me, I’m relieved to say. “You’ll get terrible headaches and you’ll feel awful.” That, in a nutshell, seems to sum up my middle-age attitude toward toxins of all sort: Why abstain? If one is not abusing them, if one uses them only for their mild mood-elevating properties, and in moderation, why fret? Sooner or later something is going to kill each and every one of us. It might as well be coffee.

I’d like to see what death by coffee feels like, some day. Maybe like the depictions of vampire-blood tripping in “True Blood.”

OK, then. When the campaign news becomes too oppressive for me — something that happens several times a day — I’ve become fond of clicking over to WeSmirch, which aggregates gossip blogs. In recent days it’s been led by news of the cross-table sniping in the Madonna/Guy divorce. The rundown: He’s cold, not “spiritual,” entitled. She’s cold, spiritual to the point of looniness, entitled. He wasn’t nice to her after she fell off the horse and broke her arm. She is too tired to have sex, sapped by her four hours of daily exercise, which leaves her feeling, in Guy’s arms, like “a piece of gristle.” In other words, about what you’d expect.

But the best part was when Guy was said to have “abused” Madge by telling her she couldn’t act.


BWA HA HA HA HA HA. It’s worth walking away with a relative pittance for that kind of satisfaction.

I’m gym-bound. Fueled by coffee. Let them try to stop me today.

Posted at 9:46 am in Current events, Media, Popculch |

87 responses to “Old man smell.”

  1. Steve said on October 23, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Why all the snarky “old” stuff?

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  2. James said on October 23, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Nancy… it’s not a flag, it’s a pennant, in fact, it’s the only state pennant in the U.S. I’m so proud…

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  3. brian stouder said on October 23, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Well, another old-man-smell thought for the day, which I learned on Chris Matthews’ show last night: Do you know the last time a Republican ticket won the presidency WITHOUT a Bush or a Nixon on it?


    hint: Bob Grant wasn’t quite born yet!

    PS – msnbc (maybe Olbermann, or maybe Matthews) ran the Grant thing last week, and it was hoot! Re-reading it today, thanks to msnbc, I cannot help but hear his happy-talk am-radio crooning voice

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  4. Heather said on October 23, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Great reveal!

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  5. Jeff Borden said on October 23, 2008 at 10:47 am

    As an ex-Ohioan who will never return to live in that woebegone state, I have to say I rather like the flag. It’s bright. It’s bold. It’s colorful. And, as James accurately notes, it’s the only pennant among the 50 states.

    The Illinois flag is ghastly. . .a white background with the usual spread-winged eagle. Luckily, I rarely think of my self as an Illinoisan. I’m a Chicagoan. And the Chicago flag is pretty cool, though if that dyspeptic ol’ racist Bob Grant got a look at it, he’d probably flip out over the presence of four red stars!!!!

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  6. jcburns said on October 23, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Someday, the state of my birth will save up enough money to have an actual rectangular flag made to replace that ol’ pennant. That said, I think the Ohio state seal, complete with the view of the southern Ohio mountains (okay, mountain-ettes) from Chillicothe, is one of the prettiest out there.
    Hey, when a newspaper in New Philadelphia, Ohio endorses Obama, I think there’s something good goin’ on. Amish country, scary Constiutionalist party people, this paper has had a history of endorsing Republicans. But ask them how the economy’s doin’ there in that part of the state.

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  7. Peter said on October 23, 2008 at 10:50 am

    And what’s so wrong about a personal flag?

    Years ago I designed an ad agency office for a Detroit firm. The head guy’s office had a couple of flags in the corner. I didn’t recognize one of them; and the director told me that it was his personal flag. It was a takeoff on the presidential seal, except the eagle was dazed looking and instead of arrows and olvie branches he was clutching a bottle of whiskey and a bunch of cigars.

    Whenever there was a big staff meeting, his secretary would take the flag and walk around the office, and then everyone would march into the conference room behind the flag.

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  8. coozledad said on October 23, 2008 at 10:55 am

    We were handing out sample ballots at one of the polling places yesterday, and one elderly woman walked up and asked us who they were for. My wife pointed to me in my head to toe Obama attire (I may as well be wearing Underoos. Oh the sacrifices I have made for my country).
    The woman semi-jokingly told my wife “I ought to choke your neck!”* Her daughter basically repeated the sentiments expressed by old Bob. “I hope you two aren’t sorry about your vote one day.”

    *Idiomatic Southern for “Well bless your heart”.

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  9. LA Mary said on October 23, 2008 at 11:06 am

    If Hillary was our candidate Bob Grant could say the same thing about her in Colorado. Big ol’ C on that flag. For Clinton.

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  10. brian stouder said on October 23, 2008 at 11:17 am

    When it comes to the c-word, McCain had a slip of the tongue (so to speak!) at a rally yesterday..!!! Good ol’ Olbermann! (he’s an acquired taste, but I have now well and truly acquired it!)

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  11. LA Mary said on October 23, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Yeah, I head that clip Brian. I think it’s a word that McCain uses a lot, so the slip was not a surprise.

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  12. Jeff Borden said on October 23, 2008 at 11:28 am

    The funniest fictional flag has to be the one depicted in the original, brilliant 1979 version of “The In-Laws,” with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin.

    The Latin America dictator General Garcia laments to the leads how the church will not let him fly his new flag, which is like a black velvet flag with a topless woman in the center.

    Probably Bob Grant would be all right with it.

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  13. Hooiser said on October 23, 2008 at 11:35 am

    I understand the slip-of-the-tongue word is one that he has called his wife…in public. The smelly old man is telling us in his stump speeches that he’s ready to meet the challenge; he’s been tested. Presumably he’s referring to his POW time. Well, he failed that challenge. Doesn’t anyone remember, or did you not know that he signed a confession for better treatment? Many POW’s did not. THEY are the true, tested heroes. And re: $ spent on Palin (and family) clothes, did ya catch the fact that the smelly old man is spending in XS of $8K on a makeup artist so that he doesn’t look so old & tired. By the way, if I had contributed to the RNC and found out they were buying maternity clothes for an unwed teenage mother, I’d be pissed.

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  14. JGW said on October 23, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Surprised that no one brought this nonsense to the table yet:


    It’s the Obama was born in Kenya stuff, but there is a federal suit and DNC and Obama failed to respond in time, therefore certifying a lot of the plaintiff’s claims, or so he claims.

    I’m not buying this but I stick by my assertion that McCain is also not eligible to be President due to his birth in Panama

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  15. Connie said on October 23, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Indy Obama event today is streaming live (right now though there is no one at the podium yet) at indystar.com and wishtv.com. Oddly enough the indystar version is a much clearer picture than the TV station’s.

    Ooh. I can see men with guns on nearby roofs.

    Oops. Let’s just say men in black, no visible guns.

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  16. bill white said on October 23, 2008 at 11:44 am

    I dunno – death by coffee is kinda scary. A few years ago I visited a friend who had just gotten into home coffee roasting. We spent the whole day sampling all sorts of coffees, and late that night he sent me home with some powerful Kenyan brew that kept me perfectly alert on the drive home and all the rest of that night. For the next two days I had a classic hangover along with numb hands and my first-ever “ohmygod I’m dying!” heart palpitations. Since then I’ve become an old man and switched to decaf – just a single cup of regular nowadays will set my heart off.

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  17. brian stouder said on October 23, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I can see men with guns on nearby roofs. Oops. Let’s just say men in black, no visible guns.

    Sooooo – they’re just happy to see you?!

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  18. Jim said on October 23, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Brian, by my calculation, it was 1928, when Hoover was elected. Thanks for waking up my brain on that one! Wow!

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  19. coozledad said on October 23, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Jeff: I always thought Arkin was underrated as a comic actor. I still like his spit take from the sardine liqueur sequence of “Big Trouble”.

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  20. nancy said on October 23, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Bill White, Jon Carroll once wrote about home-roasted coffee, and had much the same experience. Must be something about the freshness.

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  21. LA Mary said on October 23, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    The original In Laws is one of my fave silly movies. Serpentine…serpentine….

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  22. paddyo' said on October 23, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Here in “battleground” Colorado [motto: Home of one of the ugliest state flags in the Union, complete with that big giant gaudy ol’ C ( http://www.50states.com/flag/coflag.htm ) ], we got rather used to seeing the Obama logo EVERYwhere during the DNC. And really now, that’s all it is, isn’t it? A LOGO. All the candidates have or had ’em — McCain’s single star, Hillary’s bunting-like banner, Huckabee’s flaggy emblem, Mitt’s eagle-flag creature . . .
    Actually, I enjoyed how OB’s image makers did up a not-the-presidential-seal for his speaking podium over the summer, which incorporated the campaign’s “sunrise” logo into a contemporary take on the POTUS seal, complete with Latin phrase (“Vero possumus” — “Yes, we can”) . . .


    Boy, I’ll bet that one had the HE-PAINTED-OVER-THE-FLAG!!ranters apoplectic . . .

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  23. Julie Robinson said on October 23, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    An addition to our discussion about cooking a couple days back: a place called My Menu has opened up here and it’s nothing but overpriced frozen crap pretending to be food. My candidate for worst offender is CheezGrillz: http://www.mymenustores.com/product.asp
    That’s right–toasted cheese sandwiches (or cheese toasties as they’re known around here) that you heat up in your microwave. Each portion is 3.5 oz, and there are 6 in the bag for 8.99, on sale this week for 7.99. I’m actually spluttering as I write this. What kind of moron doesn’t know how to make toasted cheese and would pay 7.99 for 6 of them? What’s next? Pre-made peanut butter sandwiches? Wait, the Uncrustables people already thought of that.

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  24. Jeff Borden said on October 23, 2008 at 12:12 pm


    Your assessment is right on the money. Alan Arkin was always brilliant. Well, maybe not in “Catch-22,” but nobody got out of that film looking good.

    I know that any time I’m in a lousy mood, watching “The In-Laws” will relieve my funk. Funny, I don’t know if it was considered a hit, mildly successful, a flop. I do know I gave wide berth to the remake, even though I like Albert Brooks.

    When I don’t have time for a whole movie to lift my spirits, I just watch the dog scenes from “There’s Something About Mary.” Seeing Matt Dillon doing mouth-to-mouth on Fluffy and begging, “Stay away from the light!” and then using a lamp cord to jumpstart the dog’s heart never fails to reduce me to laughter.

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  25. Catherine said on October 23, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Thank God for coffee and WeSmirch. Try ripping either of those out of my hands!

    Julie, do they have those cook and carry franchise places in your part of the world — where you pre-assemble a week’s worth of “homemade” meals from a sort of buffet of “ingredients?” They are popular with a certain segment of Arbonne-selling soccer moms around here. I have my suspicions but haven’t actually tried ’em so should probably try to hold off my judgyness.

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  26. LA Mary said on October 23, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    You mean Dream Dinners Caterine? I’ve wondered about those too. I think you need a lot of freezer space to be part of that club, and my freezer is full of stuff like chicken and Italian sausage.

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 23, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Hoobert Heever, in the blessed days before Nixons and Bushes, eh?

    I thought the Ohio pennant was a burgee, just to be totally geeked out about it. The older version of the seal had a canal boat in the foreground, passing before the shock of wheat and bundle of arrows, which i really like (and is in stained glass up at the top of the Rotonda of the uniquely Greek Revival Ohio Statehouse.

    I really should learn how to html the links like that into a single word link, shouldn’t i.

    [the web guy edited the link.]

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  28. Catherine said on October 23, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Yes, Mary, that’s the place! I think there are other franchises elsewhere. And, yes, my freezer is full, too, things I think I’m going to use someday like Parmesan cheese rinds for soup base and extra homemade breadcrumbs.

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  29. Julie Robinson said on October 23, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Yes, we had 2 or 3 but I think they’ve all closed. The prices were pretty high there too, and we don’t have a separate freezer. Another objection I have to these places is the amount of trash they produce–mostly aluminum containers that could be recycled but likely won’t, since they’re a lot of work to wash out.

    I’m going to adopt the word judgyness, reminds me of truthiness.

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  30. Laura said on October 23, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Hey, Jeff Borden:

    Why are you hatin’ on Ohio?

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  31. Connie said on October 23, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    My daughter just called and screamed in my ear: “I just shook Barack Obama’s hand!”

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  32. brian stouder said on October 23, 2008 at 1:01 pm


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  33. alex said on October 23, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    The In-Laws — is that the one with a comic scene where Paula Prentiss is going psychotic in a shrink’s office? I have a vague childhood memory of that one.

    Well, the bitch with the bronze war paint is coming to our town this weekend, Hank Williams, Jr., in tow. Maybe she can score some points with the yokels by invoking the name of Paul the Preacher. (There really is such a guy, although he’s a philanderer whose flock has moved on to greener pastors.)

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  34. John said on October 23, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Hyperlink is what you are looking for Jeff.

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  35. crinoidgirl said on October 23, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Oh, that was BAD, alex!

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  36. jcburns said on October 23, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Ohio, The Canal State. They focus-grouped that one back in the late 1800s, and it was going nowhere.

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  37. LA Mary said on October 23, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Hey, Catherine I have bread crumbs and parmesan rinds in my fridge too. You can’t make minestrone without parmesan rinds.

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  38. MichaelG said on October 23, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Gawwwd. I bought some Italian sausage a couple of weeks ago intending to freeze them. I discovered them in the back of the refrigerator last night. What a waste.

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  39. caliban said on October 23, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    This mailer from the RNC goes beyond muck to tar pit:


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  40. Dexter said on October 23, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Last summer Da Trib ( I think it was ) ran a series of what’s bad for ya…chewing gum and soda, I read.
    Soda pop, pop, soda, cokes, whatever you call it, it is really bad for ya, so bad that I stopped drinking it for three days.
    Coffee is alternately good and bad for you. Lately, “good for you” is winning. Overwhelming print evidence confirms it: coffee is not bad for you. Tea is great for you, but the green tea is best. The problem is that to get quality green tea , and you live in a non-urban area, you have to spend big bucks to order online Chinese teas.
    It’s Bad For You. (sigh)…HBO has been running George Carlin’s last HBO Special , of the same name.
    And TrueBlood , which I told everybody I was boycotting because I don’t like vampires, has become my “I can’t wait until Sunday!!” show. Alan Ball is genius at sinking the hook into an audience.

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  41. moe99 said on October 23, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    October 23, 2008
    Politico’s Ben Smith:

    “Upon arriving at the Hamilton County Board of Elections in Cincinnati to vote early today I happened upon some friends of my mother’s —three small, elderly Jewish women. They were quite upset as they were being refused admitance to the polling location due to their Obama T- Shirts, hats and buttons. Apparently you cannot wear Obama/McCain gear into polling locations here in Ohio…. They were practically on the verge of tears.

    After a minute or two of this a huge man (6’5”, 300 lbs easy) wearing a Dale Earnhardt jacket and Bengal’s baseball cap left the voting line, came up to us and introduced himself as Mike. He told us he had overheard our conversation and asked if the ladies would like to borrow his jacket to put over their t-shirts so they could go in and vote. The ladies quickly agreed. As long as I live I will never forget the image of these 80-plus-year-old Jewish ladies walking into the
    polling location wearing a huge Dale Earnhardt racing jacket that came
    over their hands and down to their knees!

    Mike patiently waited for each woman to cast their vote, accepted their many thanks and then got back in line (I saved him a place while he was helping out the ladies). When Mike got back in line I asked him if he was an Obama supporter. He said that he was not, but that he couldn’t stand to see those ladies so upset. I thanked him for being a gentleman in a time of bitter partisanship and wished him well.

    After I voted I walked out to the street to find my mother’s friends surrouding our new friend Mike — they were laughing and having a great time. I joined them and soon learned that Mike had changed his mind in the polling booth and ended up voting for Obama. When I asked him why he changed his mind at the last minute, he explained that while he was waiting for his jacket he got into a conversation with one of the ladies who had explained how the Jewish community, and she, had worked side by side with the black community during the civil rights movements of the ’60s, and that this vote was the culmination of those personal and community efforts so many years ago. That this election
    for her was more than just a vote … but a chance at history.

    Mike looked at me and said, “Obama’s going to win, and I didn’t want to tell my grandchildren some day that I had an opportunity to vote for the first black president, but I missed my chance at history and voted for the other guy.””

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  42. jcburns said on October 23, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    wow, moe99, that’s a great story…Mike the Gentleman, that’s my kind of Ohioan. Very proud of my fellow pasty white big guy from the Buckeye state.

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  43. Jen said on October 23, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I recently half-switched to coffee – I tend to drink a big cup of coffee in the morning and a can of diet pop in the afternoon. My grandmother drinks two cups of coffee every day, and she is not only surviving at the age of 78, but she’s thriving, despite the fact she has multiple sclerosis and just had her second knee replacement.

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  44. MichaelG said on October 23, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Off the subject, but here’s something scary for you L.A. folks. I needed to know the depth below ground surface for groundwater at a site in Van Nuys. According to my consultant, the ground water in 1983 was 52.7 feet bgs. In Sep 2007 it was 173.7 bgs. The calculated depth to water at the site was 184 feet in Sep 2008.

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  45. Jeff Borden said on October 23, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Hey Laura,

    I don’t hate Ohio. I am disappointed in it.

    First, it is in decline by almost every measure. The population is aging, household income is falling and the smartest kids are leaving for out-of-state colleges and not coming back. The Buckeye State lost more than 200,000 jobs over the past eight years and stands to lose more in this recession. While Columbus will stay healthy –government, education and insurance never go out of style– the outlook for the rest of the state is pretty grim.

    Second, it is no longer the “sensible shoes” kind of state I recall from my youth. Ohio rarely drifted too far left or right. You can’t say that any more. The anti-gay rights legislation of 2004 was as Draconian as anything they might cook up in Alabama. The efforts to disenfranchise minority voters –by a black man, no less– would’ve brought a smile to the face of Bull Connor. And how many thousands gathered on the lawn of the Statehouse to hear a certifiable lunatic named Rev. Rod Parsley depict the United States as the chosen nation to make war on wicked Islam?

    I still have family in Ohio. I still root for the Cleveland Indians. But there is literally nothing in Ohio that would ever tempt me to leave Chicago, despite its many flaws and a culture of political corruption that continues to surprise and amaze.

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  46. brian stouder said on October 23, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Worth noting again, since apparently Joe the Plummer is the poll star (so to speak) that McCain is steering his ship by

    Outside Toledo, Ohio, on Sunday, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was approached by plumber Joe Wurzelbacher, a big, bald man with a goatee who asked Obama if he believes in the American dream.

    “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year,” Wurzelbacher said. “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

    Obama said, “First off, you would get a 50% tax credit so you’d get a tax cut for your healthcare costs….. if your revenue is above 250 – then from 250 down, your taxes are going to stay the same. It is true that from 250 up – from 250 – 300 or so, so for that additional amount, you’d go from 36 to 39%, which is what it was under Bill Clinton. And the reason why we’re doing that is because 95% of small businesses make less than 250. So what I want to do is give them a tax cut. I want to give all these folks who are bus drivers, teachers, auto workers who make less, I want to give them a tax cut. And so what we’re doing is, we are saying that folks who make more than 250 that that marginal amount above 250 – they’re gonna be taxed at a 39 instead of a 36% rate.”

    Responded Wurzelbacher, “the reason I ask you about the American dream, I mean I’ve worked hard. I’m a plumber. I work 10-12 hours a day and I’m buying this company and I’m going to continue working that way. I’m getting taxed more and more while fulfilling the American dream.”

    “Well,” said Obama, “here’s a way of thinking about it. How long have been a plumber?”

    Wurzelbacher said 15 years.

    Obama says, “Over the last 15 years, when you weren’t making 250, you would have been given a tax cut from me, so you’d actually have more money, which means you would have saved more, which means you would have gotten to the point where you could build your small business quicker than under the current tax code. So there are two ways of looking at it – I mean one way of looking at it is, now that you’ve become more successful through hard work – you don’t want to be taxed as much.”

    “Exactly,” Wurzelbacher said.

    Obama continued, “But another way of looking at it is 95% of folks who are making less than 250, they may be working hard too, but they’re being taxed at a higher rate than they would be under mine. So what I’m doing is, put yourself back 10 years ago when you were only making whatever, 60 or 70. Under my tax plan you would be keeping more of your paycheck, you’d be paying lower taxes, which means you would have saved…Now look, nobody likes high taxes.”

    “No,” said Wurzelbacher.

    “Of course not,” said Obama. “But what’s happened is that we end up – we’ve cut taxes a lot for folks like me who make a lot more than 250. We haven’t given a break to folks who make less, and as a consequence, the average wage and income for ordinary folks, the vast majority of Americans, has actually gone down over the last eight years. So all I want to do is – I’ve got a tax cut. The only thing that changes, is I’m gonna cut taxes a little bit more for the folks who are most in need and for the 5% of the folks who are doing very well – even though they’ve been working hard and I appreciate that – I just want to make sure they’re paying a little bit more in order to pay for those other tax cuts. Now, I respect the disagreement. I just want you to be clear – it’s not that I want to punish your success – I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you – that they’ve got a chance at success too.”

    Wurzelbacher said it seemed as though Obama might support a flat tax.

    Obama says, “you know, I would be open to it except here’s the problem with a flat tax is that if you actually put a flat tax together, in order for it to work and replace all the revenue that we’ve got, you’d probably end up having to make it like about a 40% sales tax. I mean that’s the value added, making it up. Now some people say 23 or 25, but in truth when you add up all the revenue that would need to be raised, you’d have to slap on a whole bunch of sales taxes on. And I do believe for folks like me who have worked hard, but frankly also been lucky, I don’t mind paying just a little bit more than the waitress that I just met over there who’s things are slow and she can barely make the rent.”

    Obama said, “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

    That’s the key moment McCain is jumping out…”when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.”

    “But listen,” Obama said, shaking Wurzelbacher’s hand, “I respect what you do and I respect your question, and even if I don’t get your vote, I’m still gonna be working hard on your behalf, because small businesses are what creates jobs in this country and I want to encourage it.”

    “Guys I gotta get out of here and go prepare for the debate,” Obama said, “but that was pretty good practice right there.”


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  47. Laura said on October 23, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    I hear what you’re saying. Columbus (you’re right, it’s the only growing part of the state) has great quirky pockets of fun. We have lots of sensible shoe-wearers, too (but not in the way you meant it, lol), which makes for a nice cross-section of folks.

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  48. Jolene said on October 23, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    It really is worth watching the tape of Obama’s encounter w/ Joe, as it shows how false so much of what’s been said about it is. Obama has been accused of, essentially, invading Joe’s neighborhood when, in fact, Joe approached him and of not wanting to answer Joe’s question when, in fact, he spent several minutes w/ him, going on even when Joe seemed to think the conversation had ended. He could hardly have been more courteous to Joe or more respectful of his concerns. McCain is a scumbag to distort that exchange and to claim that somehow Obama did something after the fact to attack, undermine, discredit, or expose Joe.

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  49. Jolene said on October 23, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Interesting and very sad statement about Ohio, Jeff. Nothing good happens when communities start coming apart at the seams.

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  50. Dexter said on October 23, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I agree. Few young people can justify staying in these small towns…it’s Columbus-or-leave-the-state. My daughter lives there as do most of her friends who left here (NW Ohio) to attend The Ohio State University twelve years ago.
    I have only lived in Ohio for 31 years, but what a difference! When I moved here, Pepsi had a thriving bottling plant. ARO Manufacturing provided hundreds of good-paying jobs. Ohio Art was pumping out Etch-A-Sketches and dolls and employed three shifts of workers. A new sub-division was going up, lots of construction jobs. A plastics factory and an auto parts factory employed hundreds more. Many other smaller factories offered employment . We had many gas stations, more than several full-service. A new Grant’s store was being erected. It was busy…a few mom & pop pizza & sub shoppes, a half dozen barber shops, a deli, a NEWSSTAND !! , an all-night diner, lively bars…I could go on and on…I loved my new little city when I moved here.
    Today it’s a shell of its former self. Etch-A-Sketches are made in China. The big factories have been downsized and sold and leased, and most are derelict now. One has leased floor space to a packaging business, which pays little to its workers. Most of the bars have closed, the steak house is no more. The best restaurant has been sold at least three times and is struggling. A new restaurant was built, failed, and is now office space. The Hardee’s closed. The all-night restaurant closes at 8. The Chevy dealership had three lots…now one, hardly any inventory. The town is no longer a fun place. We’re not quite “The Last Picture Show” – dismal, but I wonder how long it will be before we are.

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  51. Dorothy said on October 23, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    sniff, sniff… I’M in Ohio and I’m a fun person, Jeff Borden!! You don’t have to stay long if you come back, just come have lunch with me in Gambier some day. You won’t be sorry.

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  52. joodyb said on October 23, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    most of my fam is still there too, Jeff Borden, and i echo everything you say. having come of age in Columbus (when it was NOT the biggest city in the state and had something of a complex, despite its capital status) i know it will survive no matter what, for all the reasons you gave. but for what was really a very sophisticated state bureaucracy to have devolved into one so dysfunctional and politically slavish as to let its education system just die off the vine is heartbreaking, and that is at the root of everything wrong with ohio. the us-them rich-poor atmosphere is suffocating anymore, and i grew up in a part of the state where nobody had a lot of money but nobody thought anyone was poor. i’d love to be able to go back and claim my ancestral land, but i can’t imagine living there.
    i think the buckeye flag is beautiful too. the original is breathtaking, if you’ve never seen. i’ve never heard that word burgee, jttmo, so that’s my word for the day today. i try to find one daily. thanks.

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  53. Jeff Borden said on October 23, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Regarding Ohio, there is some bad luck to blame but also much to lay at the feet of elected officials, who were late in realizing the manufacturing base was eroding fast and took little or no action.

    I once thought that the widely dispersed population of Ohio with good-sized cities in every part of the state save the southeast corner was a good thing. Now, I’m not so sure.

    Chicago and its suburbs are the main economic engine for the entire state of Illinois, so while there is much grousing and complaining from downstaters, there is a general understanding that policies benefitting this area benefit the state. With different population centers in Ohio competing for finite dollars and political influence, maybe it’s harder to mount a strong comeback to economic doldrums.

    For the record, I lived in Columbus for more than 10 years and generally enjoyed it. Return visits have underscored how much more sophisticated it has become since I left some 23 years ago, particularly with regard to good dining.

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  54. del said on October 23, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Michigan started to come untethered too a few years back. All the same problems of Ohio, but worse. The Republican party dominated all branches of government, especially the courts. In May a University of Chicago law review article ranked Michigan’s supreme court 52nd in the country for partisanship (behind Guam and the Virgin Islands). Amway heir Richard DeVos — who hosted George W. Bush at dinner 2 weeks ago — emerged from a deserved place in the social shadows to run as a Republican for governor — a frightening combination of free-market capitalism and evangelical Christianity (i.e, a true believer in in every sense, whose Calvinism holds that personal wealth is a manifestation of divine favor and public proof of one’s predestined status as “elect” rather than “damned”). A ballot initiative that the Catholic church backed served (as I recall) to prohibit same-sex benefits such as health insurance. Altogether grim in this state, it was. But the Amway guy lost, and the tide has been turning politically. Yes, I think, a hard rain’s startin’ to fall . . .

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  55. mark said on October 23, 2008 at 4:22 pm


    Who accused Obama of not wanting to answer Joe’s question or of not being courteous to Joe? I hadn’t heard that. I know the Mainstream Media has been slow in reporting about the actual conversation, but it has been out there for a couple of weeks and it is obvious Obama was his normal, pleasant self. And joe was pretty polite too. Has McCain said something to the contrary? Has anyone?

    And who accused Obama of “invading” Joe’s neighborhood? That’s a new one to me. Did they claim guns were involved? I missed the story completely. When did McCain say that?

    I thought Obama was campaigning in Joe’s neighborhood. is that wrong? Was Joe walking around Chicago instead?

    The only thing better than knocking down straw men is pretending McCain erected them and cursing him for doing so.

    Obama’s ideas about “spreading the wealth around” are worthy of discussion and scrutiny. The issue isn’t whether Joe is better off with a MCain Plan or Obama Plan. If MCain wanted to tax happily married guys with lots of kids in order to send a check to divorced guys with no kids, I’d make out well. It’s still a bad idea. Obama’s comments suggest he wants to move in a direction this country has been hesitant to take.

    Traditionally, we have argued about what the federal government ought to do- national defense, roads, EPA, subsidizing ACORN (?), etc. Somethings we have a high level of agreement, others are controversial.

    Then we figure out how we pay for what we want from the feds. That bounces around a bit, but we have pretty much accepted a progressive tax system, where the wealthy pay more both in actual dollars and in rate. We argue about how progressive, and we have a tendancy to load up weird tax breaks to offset progressivity when we make it more progressive.

    Obama seems to be talking not about taking wealth to pay the costs of government, but because there is some separate virtue in “spreading it around.” Once you or I have “enough” the government should take the excess to give to those who need a little more. If that isn’t what he means, he should explain himself. If it is what he intends, he should be upfront about it.

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  56. Catherine said on October 23, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    MichaelG, I’ve heard that the water table is at its lowest level ever measured in the San Gabriel Valley, too. Whoever said a while back that LA is returning to its natural desert state is probably right. I am trying to figure out the $$ and the crazy regulation patchwork to install a greywater system at home. My small contribution to deferring the water wars, which I expect have just begun in CA. On the other hand, um, no more pesty liquifaction zones!

    Mary, mmmm, minestrone this weekend I think.

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  57. Jeff Borden said on October 23, 2008 at 4:36 pm


    The essence of the Obama argument is the wrong people and entities are getting tax breaks. His position papers on economic policy don’t show a man pursuing a punitive form of taxation on the successful, but rather someone who seeks to incentivize better behavior through tax breaks.

    My read on the guy is that corporate tax breaks should be for those who create jobs and not for those who ship them overseas. On the individual tax front, Obama seeks only to reinstate the tax rate on the wealthiest households to what it was during the Reagan years. I seem to recall the “go go 80’s” being a fairly prosperous time despite those rates for the top 5%.

    This is the usual Republican boiler-plate blather meant to scare people into voting against their self interest. After what the GOP has done to the USA over the past eight years, forgive me if I call b.s. on their economic policies. We’ll be two generations digging out from under the Bush disaster. If we’re lucky.

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  58. Gasman said on October 23, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    As for death by coffee, or whatever vice you’d care to substitute, Pogo said it best:

    “Don’t get drug down by life — it ain’t nohow permanent.”

    The political quote of the day is dedicated to Mel Martinez who actually called Obama a communist. I turn again to Adlai Stevenson’s words of 56 years ago:

    “The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live, and fear breeds repression. Too often sinister threats to the bill of rights, to freedom of the mind, are concealed under the patriotic cloak, of anti-communism.”

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  59. del said on October 23, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    A big problem in southeast Michigan has been racism, racism exacerbated by Detroit’s popular mayor Coleman A. (“Aloha motherfuckers!”) Young. [Entertaining guy, no doubt.] Sociologists say that racism is strongest where less skilled laborers compete for the same jobs, and that typified Detroit. Detroit is the western world’s case-study in white flight and whites have fled to the ‘burbs for decades and the city’s population’s dwindled. (Caliban knows that story.) Its kids graduate from high school at the lowest rate in America by far (about 1/2 as often as they do in Baltimore). Nearly hopeless. Can you imagine what an Obama win would do to inspire young African American kids to achieve? I can. And I’m especially hopeful for young men.

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  60. brian stouder said on October 23, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Who accused Obama of not wanting to answer Joe’s question or of not being courteous to Joe?

    McCain himself always says that JTP was the very first guy to ever ask a tough question, and get a real answer from Obama.

    And Uncle Rush and Sh*t-for-brains-Sean (et al) repeat every day that the Obama campaign is now seeking to destroy poor ol’ JTP, for daring to elicit the unvarnished socialist/extremist/redistrubutionist TRUTH from Obama the Liar!

    But, I suspect you knew that

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  61. Jolene said on October 23, 2008 at 4:57 pm


    The “poor Joe” meme has been popular in the right-wing blogosphere and on Fox News, but it has also cropped up in McCain’s speeches. He’s said, and this is a close paraphrase, “Isn’t it awful what’s happened to Joe? And all he wanted to do was ask Senator Obama a simple question.” And that was said w/ the emphasis and repetition you’d expect in a stump speech.

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  62. Jeff Borden said on October 23, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    McCain continues to destroy what tiny shreds of dignity he has left. In his interview alongside Sarah Palin with Brian Williams, he cites D.C. and NYC as places where the elites gather.

    Now, aside from being pissed off that the good Senator does not think we have any elitists in Chicago –apparently domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers don’t count– he’s singling out the two cities targeted on 9/11.

    Sheesh. Maybe we could have avoided the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq if we’d thought that through. If only snooty East Coast elitists are going to die in terror attacks, why not let `em continue? If we believe the rhetoric of McCain and Palin, none of us who live in places with more than 100,000 people are even real ‘Muricans.

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  63. del said on October 23, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Mark, I liked the straw man remark. But please be careful with references to the Mainstream Media. The primary decriers of the so-called mainstream media are clearly part of just that — FOX News (highest rated cable news) Rush Limbaugh EIB network. Even G. Gordon Liddy is syndicated on over a hundred and fifty radio stations. What about all the Clear Channel stations, over 1,000? Mona Charon is read around the country as are Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, etc. The cry of “mainstream media” bias is a real straw man. And its false assertion by that media is used to amplify and underscore its message as it holds out the speaker as a bold voice daring to despite (pretend) pressure to speak up. Yeah, right. It’s really just the opposite, they’re feeding their audience red meat. (see also, the term “politically correct.”)
    But as for Joe the Plumber, you’re right, Obama was very thoughtful. If you saw the entire exchange (as I did on TV) you would know that “spreading the wealth” was not the essence of Obama’s communication — he only passingly observed that good can flow from that. Yes, good can flow from taxes. Taxes always “spread the wealth.” But of course now you want to discuss it as “Obama’s ideas.” Stick to Obama’s precise plans and McCain’s precise plans and that’s fine.

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  64. del said on October 23, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    John McCain lost my respect several weeks ago. A pity. Win or lose his dignity is compromised.

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  65. Jolene said on October 23, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    I am really hoping for the inspirational effect you describe, del. The little boy in this picture doesn’t seem to lack either parental attention or enthusiasm, but he illustrates the kind of excitement a black president might create in young black boys.

    More generally, I am tired of the stupidness in our public discourse, and I am hoping the professorial Mr. Obama will turn the White House into a schoolhouse. For instance, I would love to see him spend half an hour explaining some basic facts about our health care system and what the advantages and disadvantages of certain approaches to reform might be. Seems like such presentations could lead to a much higher level of water-cooler conversation and, possibly, broader support for sensible reforms.

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  66. Jenflex said on October 23, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Hey, JeffB, as a Peorian (also transplanted from Columbus, weirdly enough) I’m going to respectfully disagree with you on the Chicago-drives-the-state-economy argument. All I see downstate is higher taxes and lotsa potholes (8.25% sales tax…honestly!!). I’d also draw a parallel to New York State, where I have family living in upstate (10.0% sales tax, last time I checked…no wonder Buffaloans are migrating).

    The large cities seem to be a net expense/drain on resources, overall, on the states they inhabit. The sales tax is higher, the infrastructure demands greater/concentrated in the macro-metro area. They sure as heck don’t seem to be throwing anything off, downstate, except maybe sprawl. And I am sure Caterpillar, State Farm, and others would have something to say about being discounted as economic engines.

    Just my $0.02. And oh, yeah, Illinois’ state flag does suck, compared to Ohio’s.

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  67. Jolene said on October 23, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    The Republicans need to stop w/ the disparaging talk of elites and elitism and get w/ the program in terms of attracting minorities. If they keep going as they are, they will soon be holding their national convention in a phone booth.

    Forgive me if I’ve posted the following paragraph from David Brooks before, but I found it fascinating.

    The Republicans have alienated whole professions. Lawyers now donate to the Democratic Party over the Republican Party at 4-to-1 rates. With doctors, it’s 2-to-1. With tech executives, it’s 5-to-1. With investment bankers, it’s 2-to-1. It took talent for Republicans to lose the banking community.

    Brooks attributes the loss of these well-heeled, well-educated people to anti-scientism and a level of cultural conservatism that is unappealing to people with cosmopolitan tastes.

    As for minorities, we all saw the audience at the convention in St. Paul, where I believe 1% of the delegates were non-white. That seems to describe the parts of “real America” that Sarah Palin likes to visit too.

    If they’re losing college-educated elites, failing to address the economic needs of the working class, and spurning large sectors of the population, well, they’re going to have a hard time getting back in the game.

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  68. mark said on October 23, 2008 at 6:07 pm


    Yes, I’ve heard McCain say that. And many (not Obama that I know of) have turned the focus to Joe’s lack of a license, tax lien, etc. I recall most of the comments here were about those things. And one guy here ranted about Joe being a McCain “plant.” I haven’t heard Obama accused of calling Joe a racist, but why not assume that has been said and blame it on McCain, the scumbag?

    It all avoids the question of what does Obama mean about spreading the wealth around? On it’s face it sounds to me like he embraces redistribtionist thought to a greater degree than I find acceptable. Certainly he has associated with a number of people who lean that direction pretty severely.

    Joe the Plumber has already caused Obama to change his income tax cut proposal so that the recipients, even if they paid no income tax, will at least have to work in some fashion to qualify for a check.

    I’d like to know more about how much (or little) Obama wants to use the labor of the successful not merely to fund government, but to give the less successful direct assistance to compensate for their struggles. But the only thing I’ve heard him say is that Joe doesn’t understand that Obama will give him more money than McCain will.

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  69. Jolene said on October 23, 2008 at 6:19 pm


    I don’t have any more info than you do about Sen. Obama’s tax plans. They are all spelled out on his web site, so you can review them there. I could be wrong, but I haven’t heard that he’s changed those plans in the past couple of weeks, although I have heard him draw more attention to the fact that even people who don’t pay income taxes do pay taxes.

    Here’s a chart that shows how income growth in the U.S. has been distributed over the past few years. It might give you a sense of why the idea of a little redistribution doesn’t seem all that horrible to a lot of people.

    And, as I’m sure you realize, your guy has his own redistributionist plan, embodied in the health care tax credit.

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  70. mark said on October 23, 2008 at 6:19 pm


    I should define my terms. For me, “mainstream media” really means just the network TV stations. That’s what I grew up with and until a few months ago, I’d never had cable. There is still enough diversity in the print media that I really didn’t intend to include it. You are correct, there are dozens and dozens of news sources of every stripe.

    As I just posted to Jolene, I’d like to hear more from Obama about his remark. Sticking just to his programs, his income tax “cut” goes to people who don’t pay income taxes. And I recall one interview, during the primaries, where Obama was asked (I think with reference to capital gains) about some historical evidence that a higher rate might lead to less revenue. He challenged the premise but then indicated that he would still do so as a matter of “fairness.”

    For me the tax code ought to be about raising revenue. I recognize we have moved a long way from that, but I hate subsidies and social programs dressed up as tax policy.

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  71. Gasman said on October 23, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Joe was a plant. How is it that his figures that he mentions to Obama are the exact threshold that Obama’s higher tax rates kick in? It certainly isn’t because that is what that business generates; a two man plumbing business with unlicensed plumbers is not going to net $250,000.

    As for Joe’s veracity, he said to Obama, “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year.” When questioned later by Diane Sawyer, he admitted that while he’d like to buy the business, he was not “getting ready” to buy it. Given his lack of professional credentials and his pie in the sky attitude, he will likely never exceed $250K.

    If he did manage to make that much, his taxes would go up under both McCain’s and Obama’s plans. They both advocate a graduated progressive system that taxes higher incomes at higher rates. Joe wants a flat tax, and neither candidate is proposing that.

    Joe needs to get off his ass and pay the taxes he already owes before he starts bitching about taxes on mythical future income.

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  72. Dexter said on October 23, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Here it is: DetNews’s sordid docu-link…saucy text messages start about 3/4 of the way down…scroll away! (Oh baby! I’m coming RIGHT NOW, sez Kwame…..)


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  73. mark said on October 23, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Yes, gasman, Joe is only a plumber, so he couldn’t poossibly kmow that Obama has said many, many, many times that his proposed tax increases only hit those making 250K or more. He is only a plumber, not a smarty accomplished person like those posting here. Therefore he must be a McCain plant. Finding myself trapped by the cold steel of your flawless logic, I surrender.

    In truth, McCain used large portions of his wife’s limitless inherited wealth to purchase entire neighborhoods in many cities in battleground states, filling them with bogus plumbers. The mortgage crisisd would be much worse but for these candestine efforts.

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  74. Rana said on October 23, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Dexter – you might try Stash’s green tea. It’s in a lot of grocery stores (even in small town Indiana) and I think it tastes about as good as green tea gets. Too many green teas have that “grassy” taste that a lot of cheap Chinese teas have; I prefer the nuttier taste of Japanese green teas. (Somehow, and don’t ask me exactly how, because I don’t know, they taste “like food” to me. Umami triggering compounds, maybe?)

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  75. MichaelG said on October 23, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Mark, you claim to be a lawyer. That suggests you also claim a certain level of intelligence and education. I simply cannot imagine any educated person, especially one trained to follow the fine print believing that Obama is espousing communist ideology. He may use the phrase “spread the wealth around”. So what? The rich have had benefit of mind boggling tax breaks over the last 10 years — at the expense of the middle class. The gap between rich and poor has widened dramatically over that same period. This is a serious and continuing redistribution of wealth that needs to be halted and reversed. The rich need to pay their fair share. The opposite of “spread the wealth around” is “restrict the accumulation of wealth”. It’s plain that you and the rest of your Republican elitist friends are and have been in favor of restricting the accumulation of $$ for some time and have been extremely successful in your efforts. You’ve turned it all on it’s head. What we have now is socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.

    As for Joe’s plumbing business, the figure was $250,000 to $280,000 as a purchase price for the business. A business with two employees that has a net worth of two hundred some grand is in no danger of paying either of them a $250,000 annual salary.

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  76. Jolene said on October 23, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for that very clear, crisp statement, MichaelG. I like both the discussion of taxation and the reference to Joe. Your summary reveals why he might have been treated dismissively, if indeed he was: Once his real circumstances became known, it was apparent that the question he was asking was irrelevant to his current circumstances or any circumstances he was likely to find himself in.

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  77. alex said on October 23, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    I think it’s a sign of the McCain camp’s extreme desperation that they’re resorting to allegations of communism and socialism in the absence of any real plan for our current crises. A very good article a while back talked about the GOP’s lack of purpose since the fall of the Soviets and hence its demise right before our eyes these last few years. What held the party together under Reagan is no longer its raison d’etre, and the disparate interests who coalesced then are now going at each other’s throats.

    All Obama’s proposing to do, for those of you like mark who evidently don’t bother to research facts for yourselves, is to restore taxation to what it was before Bush exempted the top five percent from its previous obligation before he spent us into oblivion. The old conventional wisdom about the GOP being fiscally responsible and the Dems being profligate no longer holds.

    Too bad the public is so slow to figure things out. It took about six years for Joe Sixpack to realize that Iraq didn’t perpetrate 9/11. (Actually a lot of Joe Sixpacks still don’t have a clue, but at least the Eddie Merlots aren’t being suckered at this juncture, a critical enough mass to throw those Republican bums out.)

    What’s happening now is restoring my faith that the American system of government really is great. It does correct itself when things get excessive. Half a century ago, many were appalled that it took so danged long for people to get wise to Joe McCarthy, but they did eventually. McCarthy’s only defender in the world today is Ann Coulter, whose demagoguery is part of the reason intelligent people have had enough of the GOP and want to give them a time out.

    mark, quit being such a friggin’ sucker.

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  78. del said on October 23, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Alex, great post.
    Mark, thanks for clarifiying your definition of mainstream media. It seems to me that when that expression is used, however, the person uttering it then typically reveals a truth gleaned from other, very readily accessible media.
    Joe the Plumber continues to fascinate. How many plumbers do you know who can work “10 or 12 hours a day” but only earn 40k? Not a bad guy, but, like many ‘murricans, doesn’t want to play by the rules. Skips taxes, skips licensing, etc. I don’t want to be accused of apophenia by Jeff tmmo but does anyone see a divisive socioeconomic and racial subtext to the story of this ordinary Joe?
    Jenflex, I hope you’ve not left the thread as I just had a conversation with a relative that reminded me of your remarks. It may be tempting to blame cities for problems in the heartland but it would be wrong to do that. Cities generate wealth. They generate enormous tax revenues. And because the people are so densely distributed the infrastructure is far cheaper than in other areas.

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  79. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 23, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    By George, John, i think i’ve got it! Something like — Haunted Granville

    Y’know, i knew that schmack ten years ago, but i hadn’t even tried to think about it for so long nothing was showing up when i banged on the pipes.

    (Insert John McCain age joke here, with or w/o html.)

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  80. brian stouder said on October 23, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    You know, the most remarkable thing to me, about Fort Wayne-bound Sarah Palin, is that we still haven’t found a pale beyond which she is not.

    Simply put, Brian Williams of NBC asked the governor, point blank, if abortion bombers are “terrorists”, and she said

    “I don’t know if you’re going to use the word ‘terrorist’ there”

    Ay yi yi

    “It’s unacceptable, and it would not be condoned, of course, on our watch. But if what you’re asking is if I regret referring to Bill Ayers as an unrepenting domestic terrorist, I don’t regret characterizing him as that.”

    If Sarah Palin is the future of the Republican party, then that party has no national future, at all.

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  81. Jolene said on October 24, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Pictures from Obama’s rally in Indianapolis, along w/ a YouTube message from Ron Howard.


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  82. Dexter said on October 24, 2008 at 12:24 am

    alex…if only Alan Greenspan shared your optimism about the country correcting itself. A bent, flustered, embarrassed Greenspan testified today and was clearly broken, realizing he had been SO WRONG about deregulation all along. He had trusted Wall Street bankers to do the right thing, and they bit the Greenspan legacy squarely in the ass.
    Then there’s the little “war thing”. You’d think that so quickly after Vietnam , Congress would have vetted W a little more before pushing him along on his adventure into his murderous Iraq invasion & occupation. This country does not fix itself, it goes crazy with greedy capitalists at the ship’s helm.

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  83. Gasman said on October 24, 2008 at 1:15 am

    The whiny smartass tone is not very effective for swaying people to your argument. I made not a single derogatory comment about plumbers, that was your addition. I noted that he was unlicensed, which indicates a certain lack of dedication to his craft. Show me any two person plumbing business that nets more than $250K. That is high for any two person business. I know that plumbers charge a hefty fee per hour, but their expenses would be quite high. Joe also did not mention wages, healthcare, parts, fuel, etc. He was coached and he was looking for camera time.

    And again I would note, if Joe experienced that jump in income, his taxes would go up under either plan.

    As to the charges of socialism or communism, please. That barb was more effective in the 1950’s, but is pathetically out of date in 2008. Your side really needs to update their playbook. The Rs boilerplate rhetoric is laughably stale.

    Face it; the Trickle Down crap has not worked. The rich have never been richer than they are right now. If there was ever any merit to the theory, we should all be vastly better off economically in 2008 than we were in 2001. Care to make an argument that our economy is thriving?

    And please tell me if you can, if the McCain/Palin ticket is so vastly superior, why do they rely on stunts like Joe the Plumber? Just the latest of the many blind Hail Mary passes by McCain into an empty end-zone. They assiduously avoid openly debating issues and constantly resort to gossip, slander, lies, and increasingly, racist subtexts. If they thought that they could win on the issues, they would abandon the gimmicks and try and persuade us with the logic of their position. They know they are shootin’ blanks in the logic department.

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  84. Dexter said on October 24, 2008 at 1:23 am

    Rana: “Dexter – you might try Stash’s green tea.”

    I have used a half dozen boxes in the past couple years…I also love Stash Chai Spice Black Tea, daily. Stash is good and cheap.

    bill white:… “ohmygod I’m dying!” heart palpitations. Since then I’ve become an old man and switched to decaf – just a single cup of regular nowadays will set my heart off.”
    Bill…I had that problem when I also drank alcohol. Since I quit beer , wine, and distilled booze, I drink a quart of Starbucks home brew every morning and never miss a heartbeat.

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  85. John said on October 24, 2008 at 8:32 am

    The Washington Post writes: “Like her or hate her, Palin remains VERY much in the mix as a 2012 candidate.”

    I still can’t see her trying to run in the primaries, meeting with tepid audiences, competing for air time, participating in debates. Particularly against Romney and Huckabee. Sure she is the Fox-y Darling right now, but a lot of that is because she is the only game in town.

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  86. Gasman said on October 24, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Anyone who is touting Paling as the presumptive Republican nominee for 2012 is jumping the gun by about four years and is ignoring some very compelling reasons for why she is unlikely to be playing in the majors by then. This view is also is dependent upon some assumptions regarding the political landscape in 2012 which I think are unwarranted.

    Paling faces the very real possibility of being removed from office and of even facing criminal charges for her conduct as Governor of Alaska. The retroactive “amending” of official state financial documents to indicate that her children where performing official state duties, all to justify more than $21,000 worth of travel expenses for the kids could constitute fraud. If this isn’t folded into the current ethics investigation, it could launch a new one. This could be more problematic for her than her conduct surrounding the State Trooper scandal. Let’s add in the per diem expenses she has taken from Alaska and not declared as personal income. She was not being reimbursed, so there is no way that the IRS is going to accept that money as anything other than personal income. If she goes down for tax evasion, her career is over.

    The second, Paling approved (sort of), ethics investigation into the firing of Public Safety Director Walt Monaghan. The panel exerted unexpected independence and appointed an investigator, who at the very least, is unlikely to be biased toward Paling. A second finding that supports the first would be incredibly damaging to her and would likely finish her politically.

    What are Paling’s greatest strengths? She is physically attractive and she has extremist views regarding hot button issues within the party such as abortion, gun control, immigration, etc. Paling seems to be able to induce involuntary hardwood salutes from the male conservative movers and shakers. Bill Kristol, et al, openly acknowledge her sex appeal in rather irrationally goofy displays. This infatuation seems to explain why relatively intelligent men would be so smitten by someone who has exhibited an absolute lack of perception regarding the constitution, foreign policy, domestic policy, energy, etc. ad infinitum. As to her extremist views, see #4 below.

    The demise of the Christian fundagelicals. It was apparent that the fundies were not a dominant force in the 2006 elections, and there is no reason to suspect that they will reverse that trend in 2008. There is also evidence that the issues that most enervate older Christian fundagelicals do not have the same motivational power over their younger brethren. According to a short story which recently aired on NPR’s Morning Edition, “A new survey shows young Christians are diverging from their elders on social issues.”


    The old hot button issues do not motivate the younger generation and may increasingly cease to be hot button issues with each successive election.

    Paling’s hubris and naiveté. Far from being bright, Paling has this rather comical way of continually stepping on her own rakes. Often, as is the case for her views on the role of the vice president, the same rake multiple times. Likewise, after a bad interview with Charlie Gibson of ABC, Paling appears to have done absolutely no homework concerning the issues before she sat down with Katie Couric. And, ditto with Sean Hannity. She doesn’t seem to feel that she is required to have any actual subject matter command. Somehow, she feels that her good looks and personal charm are exemptions from basic knowledge of topics that all other candidates must be conversant in. When push comes to shove, her rivals within the party are unlikely to give her a pass on her scant familiarity with seemingly anything important.

    When you add up all of Paling’s liabilities, it doesn’t seem likely that she will be the Rs’ chosen one in either four or eight years. I suspect that her time as a national candidate is quickly drawing nigh. She will, rightly or wrongly, be seen as being a major reason for the spectacular failure of the Republican Party which is about to hit them like a ton of moose poop.

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  87. Linda said on October 24, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Nancy, I read a much crazier rumor than THAT about the Ohio flag. In free republic, there was speculation that it was really a separatist New Africa flag, and that Obama was going to slice off a piece of the U.S. for a new African homeland.

    http://www.freerepublic.com: Our crazies beat everybody else’s.

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