The pink heels.

I was driving home from our boat haul-out chore when I saw a sign for an estate sale. I had an hour to spare, so what the hell. It was a house in the Shores with the usual For Sale sign; I’d seen the listing for it earlier and remembered the ad mentioned a wide variety of designer clothes. I was actually looking for my usual — a lovingly used copper gratin pan, some interesting glass for my sister, whatevah — and not the clothes. Designer clothes are bought by skinny bitches, not women like me. So I approached the closet expecting to find the usual size zero, 2 and 4. Imagine my surprise when I grasped the first item, an Escada shell of wool, cashmere and silk, and glanced at the size:


That’s a European 46. Size L/XL in the U.S. A rich lady of normal size! Oh, happy day!

Not only that, she also had either a shopping problem or was one of those women who motivates herself to lose weight by buying nice things in a smaller size and hanging them in the closet as a goad. Because her stuff ranged from size 12 to 20, and much of it was NWT — new with tags. As in, never worn. As in:

That’s a pair of Miu Miu satin platform heels, probably about $375 in the store, never worn. Regrettably, just a hair too small for me. Because while that’s not a pair of shoes a girl needs, exactly, that is a pair of shoes that can change one’s life. (Yes, yes, a broken ankle is life-changing, too.)

As for me, I went through everything and tried on a lot. But I restricted myself to things I would really, actually wear. (Just because it says Lanvin on the label doesn’t make it so.) Came home with the original Escada shell and a Max Mara black cashmere sweater, NWT, for fifty bucks. I passed on the Ralph Lauren black label evening skirt, 100 percent silk, for $65. I haven’t worn an evening skirt in seven years. Even at that price, I wouldn’t get my money’s worth.

I mourn those heels, though. One size up and they? Would be mine.

We need a little shopping talk on this dreary Monday, don’t we? It’s dreary here, anyway. Eight more days to you-know-what, and it’s like the last miles of a very long race — they’re just longer than all the ones that came before. Sarah Palin was in Fort Wayne Saturday, and the crowd got bitchy when they had to wait hours to clear security. (Please don’t read that story far enough down to see the TSA referred to as the “Traffic Safety Administration.” Don’t you know editors cost money? And everyone makes misteaks.) And the DetNews parachutes in to Angola, Ind., and calls it a “tiny college town,” which made both Alan and me say huh over breakfast; while technically true, a more accurate description of Angola would be “farm hamlet with a significant population of homesick Malaysian engineering students.” Anyway, it’s either the epicenter of an era of epochal change for the Hoosier state, or the closest town to the Michigan border that one could set a foot in and earn the dateline.

In other local races at this hour, I have the opportunity to vote on medical marijuana and embryonic stem-cell research, both of which I intend to approve. Medical marijuana may sneak through; lots of people are voting yes just because it sounds goofy, and by the time-honored polling technique of “asking people I know,” I predict a landslide. Besides, with the state circling the drain as it is, can anyone mount a credible argument for not staying stoned around the clock? Stem cells are a little harder-fought, and the opposition is targeting and fine-tuning their advertising: For farty old Republicans, it’ll cost taxpayer money. For religious conservatives, it’s about dead babies, and adding Welcome to the Island of Doctor Moreau to the signs at the state border. And for African Americans, it’s Tuskegee all over again.

I’m voting yes. I’m considering, for this very special election year and this year only, voting a straight bug-the-GOP ticket. That’ll mean giving my vote to lots of people who, quite frankly, don’t deserve it, but at this point my greater aim is to punish the opposition on every possible front. Congratulations, John McCain — it took a moderate Republican to do what even Newt Gingrich couldn’t.

So in that spirit, on to the bloggage:

Do you use FedEx? Might consider an alternative.

New York magazine assembles a Top 10 list of daffy old coots, complete with YouTube clips, here. The Cloris Leachman clip alone is worth the price of admission.

Meanwhile, here in Detroit, the former mayor checks into the Graybar Hotel tomorrow, but not after one last f-you to the city he claims to love — a dine-and-dash incident at a local club. He signed his name to the $126.16 bill, called “charge it to the city” over his shoulder, and walked out. We may not be a swing state this year, but does that ever happen in squeaky-clean Indiana? I don’t think so.

Finally, wassup? Wassup:

Posted at 10:14 am in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

84 responses to “The pink heels.”

  1. alex said on October 27, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Well, even if they didn’t get the characterization of Angola exactly right, they’re definitely onto something. Lots of Obama signs in Steuben County, far more than I would have expected. I was there just this weekend.

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 27, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Hey, on a point of relative comity, y’all see how Lauren Bacall and Mary-Louise Parker are starting the nudge-ment in TV ads to push for federal single payer insurance? I mean, the “Partnership To Fight Chronic Diseases.” (They’re a coalition of health care players calling for nationally supported prevention and wellness initiatives, and support for early intervention in long-term, hyper-‘spensive health problems, which is a good prelude to single payer.)

    When Lauren says “Ladies, you know how to ask, don’t you?” I hear senators crumbling left and right.

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  3. Colleen said on October 27, 2008 at 10:49 am

    OHhhhh. Those shoooooeeeessss. I could only sit in them, they would be useless for walking, but ohhhhhh.

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  4. John said on October 27, 2008 at 10:52 am

    “Just pucker up and blow”, although the alternative line from Steve Martin’s Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, “You just put your finger in the hole and make tiny little circles” works too!

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  5. Heather said on October 27, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Oh mah God, you hit the designer goldmine. That never happens to me here in Chicago–too picked over. What did I do this weekend? Spent money I don’t have on a dress at a pricey boutique. But it was 30 percent off!

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  6. del said on October 27, 2008 at 11:06 am

    My Fed Ex story. While representing a fired FedEx employee, I presented the U.S. Court of Appeals with a True Copy of FedEx founder Fred Smith’s indictment for forging a document to start his company in 1972 (he was acquitted after a 5 day trial, the jury accepted a legalistic defense, perhaps not wanting to punish the Vietnam-era veteran golden boy). My client too, had “forged” a document as an expedient, and not, as Smith had done, as part of a fictitious corporate resolution to procure a $2M loan for his company. Of course, we lost. (At that time I still believed, naively, in the system.) Anyway, one of the appeals judges had grilled me unfairly — a Reagan appointee (while Bush I was VP). I wondered what was up with that? Years later I read in the NY Times that Smith had been his fraternity’s president at Yale — a positition next assumed by George W. Bush. That’s America in a nutshell. Businessmen who push the limits and work the system are praised as “visionaries” and real people are routinely squashed. And one other thing — it’s always the Trial Lawyers’ fault. Bwaahaaahaaa!!!

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  7. LA Mary said on October 27, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I just bought some black suede ankle boots with a 3 inch heel. OK, they’re Aerosoles so not so wild, but for me it’s a real stretch. They also came in my size (11) which pretty much sold me. That and the fact that my jerk boss is 5’7″, and in three inch heels I’m 6’1″.

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  8. moe99 said on October 27, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Oh shoes! I love shoes. In fact bought two pair this weekend, one at the new DSW store (what a delight!)

    But I do not do heels anymore. I have a problem disk in the S-1 area to take care of and heels are not the answer.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 27, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Heels — flying back from Kansas, i finally got to watch the Steve Coogan/Michael Winterbottom “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story,” based on one of favorite novels of any time.

    Rob Bryson and Steve Coogan, in the movie w/in movie parts of “Tristram Shandy” have a running bit going on about heels in their 18th century costumes, their height, and whose are higher that is almost as funny as the conversation the two have under the closing credits (if you get the dvd, keep watching, really).

    But that would be men’s high heels, a slightly different subject. Same vertebral discs, though.

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  10. brian stouder said on October 27, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Hey – a shoutout for North Carolina, and coozledad – and the thousands of other motivated grass roots workers

    an excerpt, which I found particularly striking:

    After the training, we talked with Crandall about what he’d seen in Charlotte. He estimated the office would train 75 doorknocking volunteers just that day, just in that one Charlotte office. One thing that struck him was the way the campaign trusted its volunteers to take responsibility if the campaign simply provided the tools and overall direction. “The delegation of responsibility was tremendous,” said Crandall. “Suddenly people who five minutes before hadn’t had a connection to a campaign” were now taking on duties and responsibilities for operational details of the ground effort. The inclusiveness of Barack Obama’s grassroots campaign is a refrain we’ve heard from coast to coast during this trip, and no less so in North Carolina, where an incredible number of newly-inspired volunteers and voters are on the verge of painting the state Carolina blue.

    Huzzah!! Huzzah!!

    Pull my finger, and I’ll share a rant that has been building within me, this morning

    (or don’t!)

    PS – Mitch Harper’s blog was surprisingly rough on the Palin visit. The agreed-upon line that seems to be emerging (on the radio and in the paper, anyway) is that “it’s the Secret Service’s Fault”….but the whole thing looked like an exercise in goat-roping, days in advance, to me (the oddball ticketing arrangements, and “VIP tickets”, and so on and so forth – looked like a recipe for a debacle)

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  11. Cathy D. said on October 27, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Angola, Indiana–place where rich (Clear) Lake people go to buy stuff they forgot to bring from home.

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  12. Linda said on October 27, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Cathy D.–
    Yeah, my sis and her hubby own lakefront property in the area (on the Ohio side) and that’s where they shop, too. The confluence of 3 states, the surrounding counties all full of resort areas and campgrounds, make it the place to do cheap shopping.

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  13. coozledad said on October 27, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Apparently McCain just referred to Pelosi, Reid and Obama as “a dangerous threesome”. I know partisan rhetoric has been notching up, but I think such speculation should be left in the locker room where it belongs.

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  14. brian stouder said on October 27, 2008 at 11:58 am

    I know partisan rhetoric has been notching up,

    and especially amongst the legions of lip-flappers on Free Hate Radio.

    Glenn Beck, a genuine lunatic amongst lunatics, has finally fallen completely off the turnip truck. He is exhorting his listeners to arm themselves against the coming takeover of the marxist-communist-global warming totalitarian fascists, with Obama at the vanguard (and interestingly, GW Bush blazing the trail for Obama and his minions, with the nationalization of the banks!)

    CNN at least had the brains to NOT STOP the turnip truck to pull the bellowing little feller back aboard….so of course his TV show is going to Fox, whilst his radio-ravings continue unabated!!

    Honestly, truly, and sincerely I say: these yappers go on and on about the horrible threat posed by the potential re-introduction of the Fairness Doctrine. My question is – how many people will load up their shootin’ irons and load up Ryder trucks with explosives, if the day comes that over-the-air radio is again dominated by agricultural reports, helpful home-maker tips, and national news loops with traffic on the 5’s and weather on the 8’s – as opposed to raving lunatics rousing the rabble with racial fears and end-of-days rhetoric? What would be wrong with consigning the likes of Limbaugh and Sh*t-for-brains Hannity and all the rest to satellite radio along with Howard Stern and the other panty-sniffers and fart-joke purveyors? Where is it written that these fear-stoking radio programs MUST be allowed on free, over-the-public-airwaves radio? What public good are they advancing, with their endless fomenting of foam-at-the-mouth hatred and fear?

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  15. nancy said on October 27, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Mitch Harper’s blog was surprisingly rough on the Palin visit.

    I suspect he was one of the ones who didn’t get to his VIP seat.

    I don’t understand how it was supposed to work. If they were expecting a full house — and in FW, of course they would get one — and could admit people at the rate of 2,500/hour, how could it NOT take five hours to get everyone in? That’s why I never go to events like that without a press badge; it’s just not worth it when you can watch it on TV at home.

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  16. Catherine said on October 27, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    These are a few of my favorite things: my new brown boots, 1 1/2″ heel, inside zip, brass rings with leather straps at the top, equestrian but not too equestrian. Finally found them at Nordstrom after untold hours of online searching. Paid full price, but amortized over the number of wearings they will have, WEP.

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  17. LA Mary said on October 27, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Off topic
    Mad Men’s season finale was interesting, no?

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  18. beb said on October 27, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Astonishingly, I, too, just bought new shoes. Though in my case they were 13 wide with velco fastenings, which only goes to show that I’m old and getting Dick Cheney feet (poor circulation). In other news our daughter just turned 16, or as we like to say, “Sweet sixteen and never been indicted.”

    In politics (from which death will not release you) The latest word is that Sarah Palin has reprudiated those GOP bought clothes while the cranky old man is claiming that a third of the outfits ($50,000) have been returned. Boy, talk about store credit! I wonder what they’ll spend it on? Maybe something in prison orange for Norm Coleman?

    Since they’re talking snow overnight, Nancy, I don’t think this week will get any better….

    FedEx is one of those companies that don’t like unions and don’t like full-employees. Packages arrive as their sorting centers in pulses and they’d like to send people home between pulses instead of paying for a straight eight hour day.

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  19. Gasman said on October 27, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    As for Beck and the other right wing nuts calling for violence, the last time the Republicans promoted this kind of anti government hatred, we had the Oklahoma City bombing. Fringe groups like Posse Comitatus and everybody’s favorite, the Michigan Militia were whipped into an even greater paranoid frenzy than normal. Beck, et al. and McCain should be held responsible if there is a reoccurrence of some kind of domestic terrorism from these hate groups. This is cowardly shit from pathetically flaccid losers incapable of swaying people through reasoned debate.

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  20. Catherine said on October 27, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    That link to the Fred Smith article was enlightening and the comments were hilarious. As I said to my husband this weekend, when the conservatives get mad, they just get mean, but when the liberals get mad, they get funny.

    Seriously, though, I wonder about Fred’s notions of productivity and job creation, and its corollary notion that mark brought up a few days ago when he asked, “When was the last time a poor guy hired you?” Certainly the engine of job creation in LA is small businesses, just like JTP, most of which gross less than $1MM/yr. (That’s gross, not net, Joe!) I’d guess that many of us here, or our spouses, work in government jobs in one way or another. And, I keep reading about (without noticing any good statistics on) the vigor of the not-for-profit sector in the US. And my anecdotal info puts plenty of job creation there, too. So, here’s my question: Is it really true that the rich guys are the ones creating jobs?

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  21. Dorothy said on October 27, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Did someone say “shoes”?? I just bought 3 pair about 3 weeks ago, when visiting friends in South Carolina. I even took a picture of them (to show my daughter).

    I needed the boots for a Halloween costume, so I figured I might as well get something comfortable and fun. I would have snapped up those pink heels in about 5 seconds about 25 years ago. I have 5 sisters. SOMEONE would have been the right size.

    And yes, Mary, I enjoyed “Mad Men” last night.

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  22. moe99 said on October 27, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    I was at my favorite consignment store Saturday, bemoaning to the proprietress and friend the fact that she had all these cute shoes but they were size 7 or 6.5. “I’d have to cut my toes off to fit into them, I moaned.” So I go into the dressing room to try on a blouse and this other woman walks in the store and starts exclaiming about how many cute shoes there are just her size. I laugh out loud and walk out to find that its a woman who dated the same guy I dated back in Kentucky 30 years ago. We had quite a visit there in Seattle Sat. We’re getting together for lunch later this week.

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  23. LA Mary said on October 27, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Well, if we’re showing shoe photos, here’s mine.

    As I said, not exciting, but for work with the standard pantsuit, not so bad.

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  24. Dorothy said on October 27, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Mary those look a lot like the shoes that Meredith Vieira was wearing this morning. I like!

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  25. Julie Robinson said on October 27, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    And moe, did you ever notice how the same shoes, which in size 6 were adorable, in size 10 resemble boats? Sigh.

    In other off-topic news, excitement for all the singing geeks out there: a story in yesterday’s JG about a male acapella group at IU. Their 1998 send-up of 12 Days of Christmas was seen by a music exec on youtube and they have recorded a Christmas album. Their name is Straight No Chaser; here’s the link: Guaranteed to bring you a smile and help you forget the election for a few minutes.

    Our son is part of a similar group here and it’s almost his favorite activity.

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  26. Andrea said on October 27, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    LA Mary, a fellow size-11. I used to be a 10, but post-two babies, definitely now an 11 and it’s very hard to find shoes in general, let alone cute shoes.

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  27. LA Mary said on October 27, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Ditto here. Those pregnancies gave me bigger feet. Zappos is a great place to find shoes in size 11. So is Shoe Buy.

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  28. Bill said on October 27, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks fir the Straight No Chaser link, Dorothy. I pre-ordered their Christmas album on iTunes.

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  29. LA Mary said on October 27, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Sarah Palin will be giving her clothes to charity soon. I doubt if they will be hung on the racks in the thrift shop. More likely you can bid on them. There might be some deals there. Those Cole Haan boots she had on one day were pretty nice.

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  30. brian stouder said on October 27, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    But first you’ll have to win the bidding against the stiff (so to speak) and ardent bidding of the fetishists

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  31. MichaelG said on October 27, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Those’d be some shoes to fill.

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  32. Jolene said on October 27, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Not as much fun as shoes, but if you are interested in the latest Drudge-driven brouhaha re Obama’s 2001 radio interview (mentioned at the bottom of the last thread; I’m just catching up), you should check out the commentary at The Volokh Conspiracy. Not being a legal scholar, I was intrigued about this discussion, and this comment explains how “redistributive” is used in legal contexts as opposed to, say, Hannity & Colmes.

    Especially liked the following passage:

    What I don’t understand is why this is surprising, or interesting enough to be headlining Drudge . . . At least since the passage of the first peacetime federal income tax law about 120 years ago, redistribution of wealth has been a (maybe the) primary item on the left populist/progressive/liberal agenda, and has been implicitly accepted to some extent by all but the most libertarian Republicans as well. Barack Obama is undoubtedly liberal, and his background is in political community organizing in poor communities. Is it supposed to be a great revelation that Obama would like to see wealth more “fairly” distributed than it is currently?

    It’s true that most Americans, when asked by pollsters, think that it’s emphatically not the government’s job to redistribute wealth. But are people so stupid as to not recognize that when politicians talk about a “right to health care,” or “equalizing educational opportunities,” or “making the rich pay a fair share of taxes,” or “ensuring that all Americans have the means to go to college,” and so forth and so on, that they are advocating the redistribution of wealth? Is it okay for a politician to talk about the redistribution of wealth only so long as you don’t actually use phrases such as “redistribution” or “spreading the wealth,” in which case he suddenly becomes “socialist”? If so, then American political discourse, which I never thought to be especially elevated, is in even a worse state than I thought.

    Just listened to McCain inveigh against the redistribution of wealth, a stance that doesn’t seem entirely compatible w/ the idea of “full funding” for education for kids w/ disabilities, a goal announced last week by Sarah Palin. But, what the heck. Logic is such dull stuff.

    Shoes, on the other hand, are exciting! Or, they used to be, before a severely broken ankle put an end to my ability to wear heels and my size 10s turned into size 11s, reducing the range of possibilities.

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  33. brian stouder said on October 27, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Jolene, this whole npr/redistributive talking point is precisely what sent the radio lip-flappers over the side of the turnip truck today, which I was reacting to up-thread. At lunch time, Fox news was wall-to-wall with it…they had to know this was a weak card – but it’s all they had, and they saved it ’till now.

    Still, it’s little better than polemical liars’ poker

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  34. moe99 said on October 27, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Julie, thanks for the Straight No Chaser heads up. I’ve ordered the CD and it should brighten the holidays considerably.

    btw does anyone know what breitbart tv is? Someone I know on another forum keeps posting vids from it claiming that it shows the resurgence of McCain. Like this one, for example:

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  35. Dorothy said on October 27, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    I used to wear size 9, then pregnancies changed my feet to a size 10. Now I wear 9.5. Why is that anyway?

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  36. del said on October 27, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    LA Mary . . . I had you figured for those shoes. Very stylish.

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  37. LA Mary said on October 27, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Dorothy, just to make you crazy. It’s next to impossible to find size 9.5.

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  38. Julie Robinson said on October 27, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    I just noticed the Straight No Chaser CD goes on sale tomorrow, and Wednesday happens to be my birthday. Anybody out there know my hubby?

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  39. caliban said on October 27, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    I’d drag your asses back to Troy Davis. No physical evidence. Nine eyewitnesses, seven of whom have recanted. Who bears responsibility for ending a life in the name of the state? One of the eyewitnesses is the most likely murderer.

    If the Supreme Court isn’t capable of seeing injustice, isn’t the GOP argument about Court appointments obscene. These Republican-appointed aholes said in a binding decision that proof of innocence is not enough proof to overturn a guilty verdict. Yup, they said that. This guy probably didn’t commit a crime. It’s almost sure as shit he didn’t kill this off-duty cop. The doubt is monumental.

    Does Scalia get this from his reading of the Federalist Papers? Nope. He’s an asshole that delivered the Florida disenfranchisement. This scum of the earth’s interjection of his perverted Constitutional beliefs aside, Troy Davis is pretty clearly an innocent man. If he’s executed by the state, well, I believe capital punishment is murder, but this murder may be more heinous than most. This guy was framed, and it’s pretty obvious.

    Scalia believes Sirhan should sit in solitary for having killed the best man America ever produced. But he believes with no extant evidence that this guy should be executed. Well, Scalia is one despicqable shit that beleved Bobby Kennedy was usurping the Nixon imperial presidency. VP runs things anyway. Steal Florida. Steal Ohio. Vote fraud, registration fraud? What’s the difference unless you’re an idiot?

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  40. Dorothy said on October 27, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Don’t I know it, Mary? No wonder I bought 3 pair recently when I found them.

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  41. moe99 said on October 27, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Breaking: Ted Stevens guilty on all counts.

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  42. Jeff Borden said on October 27, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    My prediction? Sarah Palin announces for Stevens’ seat as soon as the dust from the election settles.

    BTW, my wife and I took advantage of early voting in Illinois. We made it to a field house in a park near our house about lunch time and still waited about 15 minutes to cast our ballots. This on a Monday with temps in the low 40s and a howling wind. My neighbors tried to vote early Saturday and found the lines out the door, down the block and around the corner. A twp-hour wait.

    This is going to be a big, big turnout.

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  43. Connie said on October 27, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    The 9.5 shoes are out there. But never in WW. I have resorted to, where at least i can order double wides. 9.5 WW, though can settle for a 10 W.

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  44. Jolene said on October 27, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Stevens is up for election now, Jeff, so the conviction almost certainly means that his seat will go to his opponent, Mark Begich.

    Check out this photo from McCain’s appearance in Ohio today.

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  45. Snarkworth said on October 27, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Catherine, I, too have been mulling mark’s earlier question about job creation. The way I see it, while it’s unlikely a low-income person will give you a job in a direct sense, it’s likely that, when he has money to spend, he’ll spend it at your neighbor’s store, boosting business. Then your store-owning neighbor will hire you.

    We’ve seen how trickle-down policies have worked out. About time to try stimulating the economy with more spending power at the lower echelons. It always trickles up.

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  46. Jolene said on October 27, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    I know it’s tiresome to rail about dishonesty and misrepresentation in political campaigns because, really, what do you expect, but this idea that Obama’s tax plans are going to cripple small businesses kills me.

    The proposal is to raise the tax rates by 3% on the portion of a company’s profits that exceeds 250K. It strikes me that this is a problem that a lot of business operators would be happy to have.

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  47. mark said on October 27, 2008 at 4:57 pm


    You do find the most interesting things. I admire your research abilities.

    If “redistributionist” has some peculiar legal meaning, separate and apart from its standard meaning, that wasn’t covered at Vanderbilt University School of Law, nor did I encounter it in the following 20 years.

    Yes, there are many things we do currently that are “redistributionist”, such as Medicaid. Progressive taxation is not an example I would give, as I think it is more about how to fund things we agree upon and the somewhat accurate assumption that the wealthy are disproportionately large consumers of some government services.

    But to suggest, as I think the author does, that some evidence of existing redistributive intrusion equates to a general acceptance of “redistributionist change”, hidden only by our low level of political discourse, is incorrect. Free government cheese for the poor does not mean we all want “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” and agree that the government exists to enforce this balance.

    You raise an interesting point w/ Palin’s recent proposals about kids w/ disabilities. Setting aside that such a program didn’t seem to be a burning issue, and has a heavy pandering aspect to it, it is consistent with the type of redistribution that we have slowly come to accept over the last century- that which is aimed at providing a minimal amount of sustenance for those who are unable to do so for themselves.

    We are the wealthiest society in the history of the world, and it has enabled us (through government) to demonstrate an ever greater commitment to compassionate treatment of those who struggle. But traditionally, that compassion has been demonstrated through specific programs to identifiable recipients. I have lots of problems with the way these programs are run, particularly with the levels of waste and fraud, but not necassrily with the program. Lots of “post-Katrina” credit cards went for booze and gambling, but I don’t have a problem with “redistribution” in the circumstances of a hundred year natural disaster. I feel very differently about aid for multi-millionaires who insist upon building luxury homes on slide prone California hills because the view is great.

    But, for me, the difference between what Obama seems to want (and what so many of his associates who did not influence him at all clearly want) is a matter of moral and legal authority. If we collectively decide it is appropriate to increase funding to educate kids w/ disabilities, and we fund that through our generally progressive tax code, then there is an element of “redistribution” but also voluntary reliquishment through the political process.

    What I fear about Obama, based upon my reading including his autobiography, is that he thinks beyond a certain point, your “right” to the fruits of your labor (or invention or investment) is less than society’s collective “right” to it. We don’t need your permission to take it. If you make 250K and I only make 40K, you have violated my rights, and restructuring is fair (which really equates to moral, doesn’t it?) without consideration of any circumstance other than the disparity. Or worse yet, as has occured in every modern society that has enthusiastically attempted a redistributionist philosophy, disparities are acceptable when they benefit those who lead us, saving us from the unfairness of our greedy neighbors. Dear Leader is entitled to his excesses because he does the important work of making us all equal.

    “All animals are equal; some are just more equal than others.” Somehow I don’t think that book is on Obama’s reading list.

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  48. jcburns said on October 27, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Mark, do you think you can make your points without sarcastic name-calling? “Dear leader”? Seriously? You are equating Obama with a North Korean dictator?

    Actually, I’m extending that request to everyone on all sides.

    We’ve got a week to go. There are important issues to discuss.

    I propose we call these Senators and Governors by their actual names and try to show some respect. Issues, ideas, not fear-generating.

    You too, Caliban.

    –jcb (completely a namby-pamby idealist, I know.)

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  49. mark said on October 27, 2008 at 5:14 pm


    that wasn’t a shot at Obama. The sentence that preceded it should have made that pretty clear. I don’t know of any Obama excesses and the only person I referred to as Dear Leader is the guy who insists his people refer to him that way, and the guy that leads one of the few countries that still adheres to an aggressively Marxist form of government.

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  50. Jolene said on October 27, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Mark, I apologize if I misstated something re the use of redistribution as it’s used in law. In the article I cited, it seemed to me that there was something at stake other than the meaning that’s being thrown around now, but I could be wrong. As the kids say on the Internets, IANAL.

    But, as for Obama, I can’t read his mind, so it seems best to stick to what he has said. For now, he seems to be proposing a level of redistribution that is not too different from our present state. I haven’t followed all the tax proposals for capital gains, inheritance, and whatever else, but, as to income taxes, he is only proposing that people in the highest tax brackets return to paying the rate they were paying during the Clinton administration. Doesn’t seem so outrageous to me.

    Whether he thinks that you have a right to my income, I cannot say, but I promise you, you would not be happy with it.

    As for Palin’s pandering, glad to hear you call it that. According to one analysis I read, fully funding education for special needs kids, under current law, would consume everything that Obama has proposed for early childhood and K-12 education. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, but it is a sobering matter that raises questions not only of compassion, but, yes, distribution.

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  51. Dexter said on October 27, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    wassup? Pretty good video there. We all know wassup here in the USA…Change , for sure. I will not feel secure even a little bit until a week or so after the election… after Gore was robbed and then Bush’s party stole the 2004 election. I am convinced if Bush was running here in 2008 he’d win again, too…I am still a bit dumbfounded as to how so many voters voted for Bush in 2004 after the disastrous first term.

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  52. LA Mary said on October 27, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    I’ve got to the point where I skip the long angry entries, no matter which side they’re on. I know who I am voting for and it would take something very major to change my mind. Name calling and snarkiness aren’t major. Neither is maverickiness.

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  53. Jolene said on October 27, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    I ignored the “Dear Leader” remark, so no offense taken. I do think, though, that we’re quite a ways from having to worry about the excesses of dictators in our leaders. I mean, a guy was just convicted for failing to disclose that someone had given him a fancy chair.

    The general point is: Why take everything to the extreme? Does Obama really seem like an extremist to you?

    He’s a liberal, for sure, but he seems mostly interested in trying to give the people at the bottom a better shot at getting a little further up the economic ladder. It’s not such a bad goal.

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  54. moe99 said on October 27, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    mark, I am surprised that you, an attorney with many years under your belt, are not familiar with the Volokh web site or the luminaries of the right wing that populate the blog. They are, truly, heavyweights in this business, with better policy discussions than on many blogs both right and left. Take a look:

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  55. Catherine said on October 27, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    If there’s one thing this election will be cursed for, it’s the coining of the term mavericky. Not that I don’t use it.

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  56. Gasman said on October 27, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Interesting Orwell quote. I could just as easily apply that toward McCain and Palin. Their co-opting the theme of patriotism certainly springs to mind. I’m currently re-reading “1984” and was struck by the level of similarity between Orwell’s “Party” and our present day Republican Party.

    McCain/Palin have relied upon “Newspeak” and “Doublethink” throughout their entire campaign. Indeed, it seems to be impossible to support the McCain/Palin ticket without totally embracing the concept of “Doublethink.” Negative campaigns = positive campaigns, deregulation = regulation, being for earmarks = being against earmarks, lack of ethics = ethics, status quo = change, and the truth = lies. I could go on.

    You’re grasping at straws with the Orwell analogy. The model of both “Animal Farm” and “1984” was meant to be Stalin. Which party has done the most to stifle individual liberty? Which has sought to feed the “proles” a steady diet of disinformation? Which party is the most divisive, the least inclusive? Which party has displayed unabashed disdain for our constitution? Which party has been totalitarian?

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  57. Jolene said on October 27, 2008 at 5:58 pm


    Barbara Wallraff, who has a blog on language at The Atlantic, has a short list of words from this election that she never wants to hear again, maverick among them.

    She made her list on October 10, so it didn’t include redistribution or anything to do w/ plumbing.

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  58. mark said on October 27, 2008 at 6:37 pm


    I really have no interest in your “our side is good, your side is evil” diatribe. I am NOT a McCain supporter. He is, for me, simply the lesser of two evils.

    Prior to 4 weeks ago i don’t think McCain ever thought about the economy at all, let alone in a philosophical manner. I admire his stand against earmarks, which he has backed-up with action for a couple of decades. He ran around like a chicken with his head cut-off over the bail-out bill and his “buy the mortgages” proposal is as overtly redistributionist as Obama’ “tax cuts” for people who don’t pay taxes. It is pandering and it bothers me a lot, but not as much as it would if I thought it reflected a deeply held view of what he thinks is the role of government.

    My Animal Farm reference wasn’t an analogy to either party.
    Orwell presents a compelling narrative against power that portrays itself (and even begins as) benevolent based upon coercion used to make us equal. You can have a debate with yourself about Mccain/Palin and their responsibility for all that is wrong with the world. I’m not interested. I do, however, appreciate your omitting any reference to Mccain’s penis in your last post. I’m sure the frequent references are essential to advancing your arguments, but the visual….

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  59. brian stouder said on October 27, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    He [McCain] ran around like a chicken with his head cut-off over the bail-out bill and his “buy the mortgages” proposal is as overtly redistributionist as Obama’ “tax cuts” for people who don’t pay taxes.

    Let me snap up this remark, and immediately agree with it! One could argue with the “people who don’t pay taxes” canard, but we’ll skip that discussion, this time.

    It is pandering and it bothers me a lot, but not as much as it would if I thought it reflected a deeply held view of what he thinks is the role of government.

    But this remark made me sit and ponder, and ponder some more.

    So – redistributionist policies are mildly bothersome if they are thoughtless, or based on unthinking drift and political pandering – but extremely irksome if the exact same measures are the product of a concerted, thought-out, and overtly expressed campaign program?

    Political expediency and insincerity is a virtue, and “straight talk” about the changes one is seeking merits fear and condemnation?

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  60. basset said on October 27, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    ordered a pair of 13-wide waterproof hiking boots from LL Bean last night, that’s my shoe story.

    just called Mrs. Basset over to look at the pink heels… “ehh, maybe I’d like them better if they were all pink.” she wears New Balance sneakers about ninety percent of the time, both on and off work.

    Zappos… they have a million-square foot warehouse outside Louisville with an outlet store in one corner. quite a sight, I have seen groups of women in there acting like it was a destination event.

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  61. Jolene said on October 27, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Reaching back to the top of the thread: Loved your reference to the “asking people I know” polling technique, Nancy. It’s amazing how popular that technique is and how much more reliable than commercial public opinion polls, which, as all losing politicians tell us, “you can’t believe.”

    Worse than the losing politicians, though, is that lots of regular people seem to rely on this strategy for understanding what’s going on in the world. I’ve seen people on several comment boards say that McCain will do better than the polls suggest because “all their relatives” are voting for him. Imagine how surprised I was to hear that people who, most likely, have in common religion, geographic roots, economic status and educational experience–not to mention DNA–have similar political preferences. Who’d a thunk it?

    If I were in charge, I’d start teaching research methods–including sampling and statistics–in sixth grade and keep repeating the lessons at increasing levels of complexity every year. Our propensity to rely on experience and what we can directly–entirely reasonable most of the time–can really get us into trouble.

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  62. moe99 said on October 27, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    I adore Zappos. Free postage both ways and the selection is great. Best place for shoes on the internet.

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  63. John said on October 27, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    No one loves old movies anymore?

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  64. brian stouder said on October 27, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    No one loves old movies anymore?

    Watching Rachel Maddow this evening, I laughed out loud as the discussion turned to all the recriminations and sniping emanating from the McCain campaign, including Palin “going rogue” –

    all the while with “The McCain Mutiny” as the rubric on the screen!!

    Makes me want to go right out and get the Caine Mutiny – one of my all-time faves. I often thought that that movie should be required watching for any group of people who have to work together; just a wonderful picture. (I have read that Herman Wouk once met an admiral who told him that he’d met every one of those sons of bitches – but not all on the same ship!)

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  65. Gasman said on October 27, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    “All animals are equal; some are just more equal than others.” Somehow I don’t think that book is on Obama’s reading list.”

    That was your quote, not mine. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought you were applying it to Obama.

    Show me any of my posts where I have written “our side is good, your side is evil.” Once again, your words not mine.

    Mark, not once in my entire life have I ever thought, or until this moment written about John McCain’s penis. Again, that one came from your febrile mind, not mine. I need no reference to that party organ to make any point.

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  66. Bill said on October 27, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    For all the shoe afficionados, this Chevy Traverse commercial:

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  67. Gasman said on October 27, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    After reading about the Secret Service rousting of attendees at the Palin rally in Ft. Wayne, I wondered, why? Have there been threats against her life? Just today, we learned of yet another group of white supremacists who had hatched a plan to kill Obama. After uncovering more than one such threat, I have not heard of the Secret Service being nearly as thorough in searching Obama supporters at his rallies. Why? It would seem logical if the searches would be more extensive for Obama than Palin. Thoughts?

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  68. Catherine said on October 27, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Jolene, what you said about teaching statistics, sampling and research methods. Many math curricula contain references strands labelled as statistics starting as early as 2nd grade, but it’s frequently taught by people who barely passed their one required college statistics class.

    My favorite recent celebrity statistics misadventure: Charlie Sheen saying that the odds were in favor of his wife having a boy, since he already has 3 girls. Sorry, Charlie, those are unique events. Sadly for the teachable moment aspect (but happily for the family), it turns out she is expecting 2 boys.

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  69. Jolene said on October 27, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Thanks, Catherine. Maybe in my next life, I’ll be able to make more of a contribution to teaching scientific reasoning. In this life, I haven’t made much progress . . . perhaps because I’ve spent too much time reading random stuff of the Internet.

    Here, for example, is a nice little story about support for Obama in the anthracite coal mining region of PA–Scranton and its surrounds. No special news, but it’s nicely done w/ lots of detail and has good news for Obama fans about support for him in an unlikely jurisdiction.

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  70. John said on October 27, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    The Caine Mutiny was a classic. The confrontation between Van Johnson and Bogey was great. You want the Captain to be destroyed but then the bottom falls out and you see the other characters in their true light. A Few Good Men has a similar confrontation.

    But the Lauren Bacall quote (from above) was from To Have and Have Not which had a great Bogart performance. And Walter Brennan to boot!

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  71. del said on October 27, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Mark, your comments were well put. Still, for me, I don’t share your concerns at this time. It’s tough to speculate precisely about what Obama might do as president other than what he represents. As Americans we’re ingrained to fear “redistributive” philosophies — the serfs storming the castle. But I think that’s not the right narrative for our times. The converse type of injustice shoud be feared too — powerful societal interests taking advantage of vulnerable groups. Those folks, ordinary Americans, don’t need equality; they don’t want equality. They want hope.
    Nor do they want references to John McCain’s penis or euphemisms about whether his soldier salutes. Rim shot.

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  72. brian stouder said on October 27, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    John – and don’t forget Fred MacMurray! What a great slimebag he was!

    For awhile there, I really liked the actor John Garfield; he always seemed to play conflicted bad guys; if he was in his halcyon days now, he’d be in all the Scorcese movies.

    Gasman – I think the Palin stop in Fort Wayne was screwed from the get-go. I think the Secret Service is being scapegoated instead of the real source of the trouble; the McCain-Palin campaign itself.

    It does appear that the wheels are coming off, and the the RNC has an agenda, and the McCain people have another agenda, and the Palin people actually seem to have yet another agenda. One has to believe that there’s simply no single authority making the calls right now.

    The first tip-off was the whole “ticketing” thing…they even had different sorts of tickets – “VIP” ones that were supposed to get the bearer closer to the candidate, and “regular” tickets that would get you into the arena….and they announced again and again that if you had no ticket you would not get in at all.

    But now we hear that they weren’t even checking for tickets (anyone could get in, if you waited long enough) – and that they threw the doors open so that one and all could go into the “VIP area” – which was the floor in front of the nominee.

    In the past few months I attended a talk by President Clinton, and a “picnic” event around the entire Obama family here in Fort Wayne, and all one did was show up, get in line, and proceed into the venue. The Obama picnic requested an “rsvp” (via e-mail) – which we did – but there were no silly “tickets” and all the rest. They DID have you sign up once you were there, and volunteer (or not) to make calls and so on….and of course it was May and not late October!

    I recall that as the line to enter the Obama picnic lengthened, various people began moving the line around – they had us got “serpentine”, and some dozens of people who had not been there as long as the rest of us got ahead of us in line.

    After they shifted us around, we got shifted again – and the process (wherein newcomers got ahead of folks who had been their longer) repeated itself.

    But here’s the key – the Secret Service was not moving the line around. Campaign volunteers moved us once, and Fort Wayne Police moved us another time, and the volunteers moved us a third time… – in my opinion – THAT is what happened at the Palin event.

    Here locally, Pat White on the radio went on and on about how it was the women’s fault!! He said that women with purses held up the security checks and everyone had to wait because of that!!

    All I know is – at the Obama event they wanted your camera turned on and your keys and phone out – and that was it…the security line couldn’t have taken 5 seconds per person, and the volunteers kept moving up and down the line telling people what they needed to do when they got to the Secret Service (which was impressively on the scene at the gates)

    I don’t buy that the Secret Service fouled up anything at Fort Wayne’s Palin event

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  73. Jolene said on October 27, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    Del, what a nice statement. I think you’re right. In fact, it doesn’t even have to go as far as taking advantage of vulnerable groups. It can just be allowing all kinds of vulnerability to grow in many quarters, with indifference to the effects of that vulnerability.

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  74. del said on October 27, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Yes Jolene, that’s more accurate still. It’s indifference to the actions of those who would take advantage of others.

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  75. Jolene said on October 27, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Staying up late? Michelle Obama and Chris Rock are going to be on Leno.

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  76. del said on October 27, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    Gawd. I wanted to go to bed an hour ago . . .

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  77. Gasman said on October 28, 2008 at 12:09 am

    I stand corrected. I did reference John McCain’s “little maverick” in the last thread. Great! Now it’s going to take an episode or two of “Teletubbies” to get that out of my mind. Ewww! I guess my mind is just as febrile as yours. Now, let neither of us ever, ever, EVER mention this subject again.

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  78. mark said on October 28, 2008 at 12:34 am


    I appreciate moments of agreement, however small or brief. I’ll stand by my own words on McCain’s mortgage pandering- it bothers me a lot. Unfortunately, I find myself caught between what I percieve as Obama’s honestly held rock and McCain’s pandering hard place.



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  79. mark said on October 28, 2008 at 12:54 am

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  80. Cosmo Panzini said on October 28, 2008 at 1:04 am

    all this damn political stuff is makin my head hurt. that cloris leachman link—now yer talkin. what a babe–first saw her in Kiss Me Deadly, the Mike Hammer movie, first one I think. with Ralph Meeker, from 1955 I think.

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  81. Gasman said on October 28, 2008 at 1:06 am

    See my post directly above yours regarding my mea culpa.

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  82. John said on October 28, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Disney made Fred MacMurray a nice guy, but he was a total creep (at least his roles) before The Shaggy Dog.

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  83. LA Mary said on October 28, 2008 at 10:51 am

    John, ever been stung by a dead bee?

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  84. John said on October 28, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Especially if they was kind of mad when they got killed.

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