It’s not you, it’s me.

One of the things I’ve learned from this blog after nearly eight years of keeping it daily, or nearly so:

Sometimes you’re just not that into it.

I suppose it’s inevitable. The election nearly killed many of us, and even though the news has not stopped or even slowed down — economic meltdown, brink-of-disaster-Detroit, Mumbai bloodbaths, hello newspaper what horrors have you brought me today? — it lacks a certain frisson of late, and that frisson is: Opposition. You could get into the election because no matter who you were rooting for, there was a guy on the other side, and you were working toward the crushing defeat of that guy, and when it happened or didn’t happen, we had, what’s the word? Closure. I hate that word, because it’s bullshit, and because it implies that stories end. Stories never end, which we’re discovering now. To be sure, a curtain rang down on November 4, but on November 5 Sarah Palin was still with us and campaigning was giving way to governing and the narrative wasn’t nearly so clear.

It isn’t just me. Even Rachel Maddow is getting on my nerves of late. Keith Olbermann has gone back to being supremely annoying. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert keep their standards high, but if it weren’t for that Christmas special, who knows how I’d feel?

Anyway, it just seems like a little air has gone out of the balloon, and many days I sit down to the blinking cursor with one thought uppermost in mind: Meh. It’ll pass; it always has in the past. And this isn’t navel-gazing. I’m telling you so if one day you check in and see a sign reading, “Gone to Texas,” you’ll know it wasn’t you, it was me.

Texas. I should be so lucky.

So today the New York Times has a story on Page One, about the way cost-cutting is hitting local TV news, and that is: Farewell to the highly paid local-TV anchor. I am hearing the sound of the world’s tiniest violin, and it is playing a sad, sad song. While a part of me can empathize with any journalist who’s feeling a moving rug underfoot, anyone who’s worked in newspapers isn’t going to be moved much by hearing the local show pony down at Channel 6 is losing their six- or seven-figure salary. Especially those of us who’ve worked outside the big cities, and may have known a few of these lucky bastards personally, may have trouble empathizing. It’s hard to accept, sometimes, that simply by virtue of showing up every night at 6 and 11, they have the power to command advertisers, and hence earn their dough. You think: Even viewers in this town aren’t that stupid. And yet they are.

It’s the passing of an era, to be sure. How many entertaining stories have we heard through the years? The adulterous male-female anchor team, caught making the two-backed beast in a deserted state park somewhere. The blow-dried talking head, annual salary somewhere north of $450,000 a year, enraging the local stripper community with his attempts to tip with quarters. (They called the station to complain.) The female anchor, arrested for DUI after her car pinballed off the Jersey barrier one too many times. Another so thoroughly useless around the newsroom for any job other than smiling and reading, told by the news director that she needn’t bother trying to actually write any copy. Dinosaurs stumbling into their own version of the tar pits. All that will be left are the veneers and the toupees.

Off to start the day with a little exercise. Envy me, world: I have the metabolism of a 50-year-old 51-year-old woman.

Posted at 8:51 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' |
 

110 responses to “It’s not you, it’s me.”

  1. brian stouder said on December 1, 2008 at 9:14 am

    I used to intensely dislike Olbermann – back before the election cycle (his picture appears next to the word ‘unctuous’ in my online distionary)…but through the primaries and the general election, he became my hero! (I see that he just signed a megabuck contract – which very wisely expires right at the start of the next presidential election cycle!)…and now – I don’t return his calls (to watch his show); and the idea of seeing Richard Wolf and Howard Fineman on his show, night after night, just doesn’t appeal.

    I think that the realization that it was over between Olbermann (and Rachel) and I was when they were doing whole segments on how the “No Drama Obama” tight ship had ended, and now they leaked and leaked! It was an “Oh, come on!” moment – the shift from campaigning to governing was being treated as a newsworthy problem!…night after night.

    Whereas I do look forward to the pomp and hoopla of the inauguration, my appetite for punditry has passed, too. (it brings into sharp focus something that would have puzzled me a few weeks ago: the runoff election for the Senate seat in Georgia will almost certainly have a lower turnout than the first time ’round. It is said that runoffs ALWAYS have lower turnouts, and thinking about it now, that makes perfect sense.)

    That said – didja see where Chris Matthews is considering running for Specter’s Senate seat from Pennsylvania?

  2. John said on December 1, 2008 at 9:14 am

    G.T.T., what an appropriate reference for these troubling times!

    Hope you had a gut-busting T-Day and a Happy B-Day!

  3. coozledad said on December 1, 2008 at 9:17 am

    What’s got me a little concerned is the remorseless fool still occupying the White House, who has now proclaimed himself “The Liberator of Iraq”. The interview ,which could only have been conducted by another one of the mouth breathers in his pitiless arriviste family, reveals him to be living in a mental world entirely his own. It reminds me of the maudlin self-justifications of Richard Speck, or Charlie Manson. Or even worse, the Last Will and Testament of Adolf Hitler.
    There ain’t nothin’ but bozos on his bus, and the fucker’s still got his shaky ass hands on the nuclear football.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=6353033&page=1

  4. Peter said on December 1, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Gee Nancy, it’s not so bad outside.

    One of the things I’m so thankful for in this Thanksigiving season is that the local grocery chain’s been running radio ads with a Sarah Palin imitator touting Alaksan King Crab, with “good looking legs you betcha, and talk about family values – they’re on sale”

  5. alex said on December 1, 2008 at 9:31 am

    I saw Chicago anchor Diann Burns mentioned in that article. Here’s a vintage Eric Zorn piece that perhaps better explains her demise than the fact she was earning a ridiculous $2 million a year:

    http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2006/05/diann_burns_is_.html

  6. JGW said on December 1, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Once again, happy birthday!

    I read the anchor story also. I always imagine there is real tension in some studios. Like here in Ft. Wayne now, my wife and I are convinced WANE is pointing one weatherman (not Sandy) toward the door since they hired a new person who is younger, and female, and has a name that makes me wonder if it’s her real name. Hint: it’s a color.

    TV News in Fort Wayne is an amateur hour since I grew up in the NY area. That’s the one market they cited for being able to maintain high paid anchors – it’s because Sue Simmons , et al, are good! The first time I saw a farm report I almost pissed myself. In NY you can indulge yourself with excellent local tv news starting with WNBC’s live-at-five and the local content flows until 6:30 for the network news.

    Here they can’t even muster a solid hour of local news, so they run entertainment shows at 5:30, then go back to news. They do that to the today show also, cut to Regis then back to today later. Why?

    And now, with the digital tiers the local NBC affiliate is unveiling a 24 hour news channel on 33-3. I was thrilled for about ten seconds, then found out it would not be real news like MSNBC, nope, just reruns of the local news 24-7.

    And about the digital stuff – we dumped cable six months ago, and make due with digital stuff for free. Better picture anyway. Everybody should check out the extra channels, I love Create on PBS.

    If anyone is interested, you can build a homemade digital antenna that works awesome for about $5. I have a fancy powered one also, and the $5 “redneck reception,” one works just as well, just won’t support long cable runs or multiple sets. I can post the links if anyone cares. It would make a great backup in case the cable goes out).

  7. Dorothy said on December 1, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Hey guess who turned 50 today? Charlene Tilton! There’s a blast from the past, eh?

  8. nancy said on December 1, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Oh, don’t mind me. I’m fine. I just need to let the enthusiasm well refill. And it will.

  9. coozledad said on December 1, 2008 at 9:37 am

    And I can’t get my damned printer to work:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1RUdkAcuw0

  10. Laura said on December 1, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I lost any respect I may have had for local news anchors many years ago when I was a young PR gal working for a central OH nonprofit. I watched Doug Adair (!) read my news release word for word on the air. No rewrite, no fact check call, nothing. They weren’t even trying back then, let alone now.

  11. Jeff Borden said on December 1, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I can top that Doug Adair story, Laura, from the days when he and his wife, Mona Scott, left the Cleveland market to go slumming in Columbus, Ohio.

    One night the weatherman was warning of an imminent freeze as an “Alberta Clipper” blew in from Canada. Doug, completely seriously, asked the weather guy if they were now naming winter storms after women, just like they did with hurricanes. I can still recall the weatherman’s face frozen in horrified rictus by the stupidity of the question and the challenge of responding to doltish Doug without undermining the anchorman’s authority. He eventually managed a choked little chuckle, pretended Doug had been joking, and reminded Doug, ha ha, that Alberta was a Canadian province.

    And to hundreds of thousands of Central Ohioans, Doug Adair was a respected journalist.

  12. Julie Robinson said on December 1, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Yeah, it’s dreck. Post the antenna info, please! The DH also likes Create, and he really lurves the radar channel, which I guess you no longer get with standard cable around here.

  13. MichaelG said on December 1, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Sometime back I commented about a long time TV anchor woman named Lois Hart. Her published age varies but she’s pushing sixty with a very short stick. She’s co-anchored the evening news at KCRA Channel 3 here in Sacto with Dave Walker, her husband of 29 years, since 1990. Before that they anchored the very first newscast on CNN and were there for some years. You may remember them. They retired last week and were given a great send off by the station. The linked article makes me wonder if maybe management suggested it was time for them to go. Hart and Walker were both excellent, professional TV journos of the old school. In fact, KCRA puts on one of the very best TV newscasts anywhere. I would stack it up against any news show anywhere, New York, LA, Chicago, anywhere.

    I’ve had occasion to watch Rick Rodriguez and the KSEE news in Fresno. One word covers both: abysmal. He is (or was) an arrogant sourpuss.

    I recently read somewhere that TV stations were in for a long hard time now that the elections are over. They made tons of money from political commercials – until Nov 4. One of their biggest money makers has always been car commercials and that revenue has diminished considerably along with the rest of their retail advertising $$. Things are gonna be interesting after the first of the year.

  14. moe99 said on December 1, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Well, if you need Christmas gift ideas, there are the necklaces made by the displaced women of Uganda.

    http://www.odpu.org

    I can put you in touch with a friend who is selling them on behalf of the organization in Seattle. The Seattle Public Library is also selling them. The prices range from $8 for earrings to $15 for multi strand necklaces.

  15. Jolene said on December 1, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Nancy and Brian’s observations bring together some of what I’ve been thinking re the news since the election. On the one hand, it’s opposition that gives it juice; on the other hand, the efforts to generate controversy through claims of dissatisfaction on the left re Obama’s supposedly hawkish national security team are totally lame and tiresome.

    I wish they would use their resources to teach us something. There are all sorts of possibilities: What does the national security advisor really do? What challenges will Clinton face in strengthening the State Department? Can an administration less focused on unilateralism work effectively through the UN to achieve either humanitarian or peacekeeping goals? How is the Department of Justice balancing its responsibilities to fight ordinary crime and to detect terrorist plots? Is the Department of Homeland Security maturing into an effective agency, or is it still flailing?

    Answering questions such as these would be a real service to the public, but doing so requires real work. I’ve no doubt that there are reporters who’d like to do it, but someone has to pay for it. News organizations would be doing themselves a favor if they would work to build demand for this kind of news-gathering.

  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Jeff, i think they let Jym Ganahl do an incoming weather orientation with all prospective anchors at 4 in Col’s nowadays; they all feign utter fascination with space shuttle overpasses and which planet is in the sw tonight and how a low pressure system can spin high winds of a converging high, which delights me no end (and keeps me watching 4), but the attempts they make to banter off of those weather closers are always fun — all except Colleen, the current longtimer, who actively doesn’t care, which may have something to do with the fact that she finished her law degree a few years back. Smart lady, that Colleen Marshall!

    But it still looks to me like they have zero full time staff reporters, just a vast herd of three day a week street stand-up folk. I’m guessing engineers, camera operators, weather crew, and anchors are their total full time staff (many of their producers are “part time” but surely they have a few full-timers).

  17. Linda said on December 1, 2008 at 11:14 am

    The whining about Obama’s picks is amusing to me. As someone who actually talked to the public about Obama (did a lot of knocking for Barack, as opposed to pundits who don’t talk to the hoi polloi), I found that a lot of his supporters–especially the older ones–did not especially want the new broom to sweep clean. Some people wanted him to pick Hillary for veep, many wanted her somewhere in the administration. Many just wanted the Republicans out. One woman told me with a straight face, “I would vote for Satan if he were a Democrat.” A lot of post-convention volunteers for Obama were in fact ex-Hillary supporters. I think a lot of people are happy he picked ex-Clintonites, since they were remnants of the last competent administration they remember.

  18. nancy said on December 1, 2008 at 11:29 am

    One of the local anchordudes in Fort Wayne was retired a year or so back. (My usage should suggest that while it was a voluntary severance, there was an undercurrent of “now would be an EXCELLENT time to retire, if you were thinking about it, Keith.”) He immediately started a blog, and while it lasted, it was an absolute hoot. Utterly semiliterate, written in stream-of-consciousness style…with ellipses…if you can imagine it…and manny manny missspelinggs.

    I don’t even want to think what that guy was knocking down before he left. Colleen probably knows.

  19. Kirk said on December 1, 2008 at 11:41 am

    In the ’70s, Channel 6 in Columbus had a female anchor who was stopped multiple times (and let off) by the cops as she drove around under the influence of downers. But she was a pro. A technician-type person told me of the night that she just went to pieces right before the evening newscast, distraught about a boyfriend breakup. But when the red light came on, she composed herself, read the news and kept it together. First commercial break, she was back in tears, but when it was time to go back to work, she sucked it up and the viewers were none the wiser. It went on that way throughout the show.

  20. JGW said on December 1, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Julie & anyone else interested —

    HOMEMADE HDTV ANTENNA

    A Google search of “”homemade HDTV antenna” will yield these results, I found these links to be the most informative, especially the video linked to on the metacafe site

    http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30918

    http://larry50.wordpress.com/2007/12/19/homemade-hdtv-antenna/

    http://www.satelliteguys.us/hd-over-air-ota/119733-very-good-2-00-homemade-antenna-hdtv.html

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/762088/coat_hanger_hdtv_antenna_better_than_store_bought_amazing/

    PARTS AND TOOLS:

    6 clothes hangers
    12 washers and wood screws
    2.3 to 3 foot piece of wood
    tape measure
    cordless screwdriver
    sandpaper or knife
    wires
    wire cutter
    cable length
    balun
    pen and pencil

    BASIC directions – watch video!

    I have made a few of these and gave some to friends in ft. Wayne using rabbit ears. I also recycled some McCain-Palin sign frames I (found) which worked better than coat hanger wire. I also add two washers on each connection – the way the guy in the video justholds them down with a screw was flimsy and if the bowties shift the antenna doesn’t work as well. It’s all about the angles and distances between bowties.

    Other ideas: Use Solder, Bore out holes for antenna parts,
    Use better wire or metal lengths, Spray paint for camo install

    ONE CAUTION: This will be useless for VHF stations. But once they switch over in Feb., all tv will be UHF.

    And it’s not a pretty antenna, but if you live closer to antennas it can be hidden in the attic or even behind the entertainment center.

    I’m in Bluffton and roughly 25 miles from the TV broadcast towers and it works fine, but is mounted outside.

  21. Colleen said on December 1, 2008 at 11:49 am

    No idea what the payroll was for The Guy. My own opinon is that the people doing the real work, the producers and reporter, get paid crap wages, and the big bucks go to the pretty news readers.

    My most surreal news anchor experience: I was one of the questioners during a school board debate in western Kansas. The Wichita anchor was the moderator. after the debate, she was signing pictures for people. SHE HAD A WHOLE PAD OF THEM. She’d just rip one off, hand it out, sign another, hand it out….and these were grown up people who were acting like they were having an audience with Audrey Hepburn or something…..

  22. LA Mary said on December 1, 2008 at 11:59 am

    I’m with you on being tired of Rachel and Keith. Before I got weary of them, I made a big decision somwhat based on Rachel admiration.
    I had an eye exam. Lucky me, I now need bifocals or the lineless equivalent, which means I have to have sort of largish lenses. The nice lady in the optometrist’s office kept showing me Sarah Palinish frames. Over and over. No amount of telling I did really didn’t want to look like Sarah Palin discouraged her. Then I spotted a pair if Buddy Hollyish frames. They looked ok on me. I figured, if they’re good enough for Rachel, they’re good enough for me, and Sarah Palin would never be caught dead in these glasses. They were also the least expensive frames in the place and completely covered by my insurance, so today, with any luck, I’m picking them up.

  23. Dwight said on December 1, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Outrage is easy.

    Meaningful solutions are hard.

    Now your guy is measuring the drapes. Get ready to see him (and — by proxy — you) blamed for every single injustice in the world.

    OPEC jacks up gas prices? Effin’ Obama. Won’t fix it.

    Iran nukes a neighbor? Effin’ Obama. Wimp. He let it happen.

    Troops not home in 18 months? OBAMA LIED! HE LIED! HE LIED!

    Dumbasses keep signing for loans they cant pay back? Effin’ Obama. Probably trying to feather the pockets of real estate developing friends like Rezko.

    (Yes, Rezko is the new Haliburton.)

    Gitmo closing causes a resurgence in Al Queda cells? Effin’ Obama. Didn’t I tell you that was a bad idea, honey? I didn’t? I thought it was a good idea? Oh. Must have been because Obama mislead me.

    Yup. Outrage is easy.

    When you demean and “dufus-ify” your president, you demean and dufusify the presidency.

    And now you chickeeeeens…

    Have come hoooooooome…

    To roost.

  24. Gasman said on December 1, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    I’ll readily acknowledge a certain snarkiness in Olbermann and even Maddow – albeit she twists the knife with a much prettier smile. However, as their programs are among the few national on air TV shows that are truly liberal in stance and are factually based, I don’t mind their theatricality. I suspect that they will continue to have a market niche as long as the right wing bloviators on Fixed Noise continue their shrill bleating. Criticize the tone of Olbermann and Maddow, but they are at least accurate. Unlike O’Reilly and Coulter, when they make mistakes, they acknowledge and correct them like good journalists are supposed to do.

    It has been somewhat amusing to witness the mainstream national press tentatively exploring the use of their spines over the past couple of years, especially during the presidential campaign. After 5-6 years of inactivity they decided that indeed, Bush and Co. were arrogant incompetents and liars. As I stated in a thread months ago, I think that Olbermann is one of the few true heroes in American media today. He was speaking the truth and exercising independent critical thought toward Bush when the rest of corporate media thought that they should either be cheerleaders or at least be silent. If our paths ever cross, I’ll buy Olbermann a very big glass of whatever it is that he drinks. Snarky or not, he has done us all a great service by pointing out that not only does the emperor have no clothes on, neither has he a sense of ethics, a brain, nor a sense of shame.

    As for Maddow, I have rarely seen someone able to metaphorically eviscerate lying on air weasels as effectively as she does. That she does so with a very pleasant smile and in the most genial way imaginable makes it all the more devastating. She is smart and she does not suffer fools lightly. Albeit with an open political slant, she is doing what mainstream TV news personalities have been unable or unwilling to do, exercise proper journalistic skepticism and independence. That she is a lesbian is just a bonus; I know that it pisses off the right wing no end to be regularly skewered by one of THEM.

  25. Dexter said on December 1, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    The Colbert Christmas special was very heartwarming, indeed.
    Of course I am an Elvis Costello fan from way long ago, and that just made it all the better.
    I, too, was a Keith devotee and now with the election fully faded to Cabinet selections, I don’t feel it necessary to watch him every night, and Rachel Maddow is fine, but I can’t stand her smiley-smirks she employs to segue to breaks, but I am not tired of her at all.
    Anyone who lives close enough to Detroit to have followed the Bill Bonds saga probably has an opinion on his career, his toupees, and his “fall from grace” leading to his becoming a shill for mattress companies or whatever it was/is.
    I watch Toledo and Fort Wayne anchors (WTOL Toledo CBS Channel 11 has a helluva website, btw), and while the FOX-Toledo station anchors and all the male anchors of all the Toledo stations are nondescript, Toledo is blessed with two female anchors that are superb, Diane Larson at CH. 13 and Chrys Peterson at CH 11. However, most Toledo residents really like 11’s Jerry Anderson, too…but the women are both outstanding.
    Oh…I spent the morning with TV techs in my house rewiring from Directv to digital cable boxes. It seems my equipment I bought ten years ago from Directv is obsolete and needed replaced…dish too…so —to hell with it…and as I waited for the guys to do their work I got online and a friend in Florida was having a satellite guy in her home changing from cable to Directv…pick your poison, I guess, what the hell….but no longer can you buy equipment from Directv, like the cable companies, you must lease the stuff…no big deal, unless UPS loses a high-dollar receiver and Directv says you owe them $475—what a mess that was!!

  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Meanwhile, from the remorseless fool in the White House, another reminder that life ain’t simple. We can probably all agree with his StoryCorps statement on Thanksgiving Day, if for different reasons: “I am a lowly sinner seeking redemption.”

    I was about to be snarky about the Trib’s use of apostrophe in the hedline, but as a lowly sinner myself, plus not being sure (Bushs’? Bushes? No, that’s plural, right?), i’ll just seek redemption for myself.

  27. nancy said on December 1, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    What queered me (sorry) on Rachel last week was the Mumbai coverage, or lack thereof. I forget what night it broke, but it seemed important enough to be the dominant story for the night, and called for perhaps scrapping the script, wrangling some south Asia experts and playing it by ear. That’s what I was looking for, anyway. But what we got was a sketch at the top of the show, and then on to the inside-baseball cabinet-pick coverage.

    MSNBC also needs some new pundits. People whose faces and opinions I am sick of: Richard Wolfe, Eugene Robinson, Dana Milbank, et al.

  28. Julie Robinson said on December 1, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Keith, pretty?

    Thanks to whomever sent the antirebate.com site; I just picked up some ultra cheap SD cards to go along with a couple of digital Christmas gifts. To quote the kids: sweet!

    LAMary, come talk to me when you get your trifocals. And then try to read in bed with them, carefully locating the sweet spot where you can actually see the print without contorting your neck. And then go buy an MP3 player so you can listen to audiobooks in bed instead.

  29. Linda said on December 1, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    When you demean and “dufus-ify” your president, you demean and dufusify the presidency.

    …If only Republicans knew that when they were ripping on Bill…

  30. Dexter said on December 1, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    I’m glad you didn’t shit-list my blog-buddy Craig Crawford !
    Thumbs still up for Eugene Robinson and Richard Wolfe…thumbs down on Milbank.
    I’d like to see more of Katrina Vanden Heuvel.

  31. jcburns said on December 1, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    I think it’s one of the legacies of the Bush administration that it forced people into jobs and roles that they’d rather not be doing. I’m pretty sure Olbermann didn’t want to pick up the mantle of lone voice speaking truth to power night after night after night…but it’s certainly true that no one else with that audience was willing to stand up and say “this is wrong, not just in a your-team-versus-my-team sense, but in a this-is-contrary-to-all-we-stand-for sense.”

    I just watched Patrick Leahy (someone in Washington I admire greatly) talk on C-SPAN after Obama’s National Security press conference about what a big deal this is that the incoming team is sworn to do their best to clean up the mess and restore our standing in the world. He talked about how difficult it was to deal with Dick Cheney’s office as essentially a fourth branch of power…and how morale at the Justice department was rock-bottom during the reign of Gonzalez. He effectively painted a vivid picture of why the Attorney General’s office (“Notice,” Leahy said, “It’s not called the Secretary of Justice…it’s always been Attorney General.“) is at its best is almost an entirely nonpartisan place where the mission is to treat everyone fairly and equally.

    Maybe we do need hours of televised education about why this stuff is important. With fancy music and touch-screen panels, sure.

    Americans who say “I don’t give a damn about what the French think of us” really don’t get the core of what makes this country special. And when we get it right, we’ll re-earn the admiration of the French, the Syrians, heck, maybe even Canada. Not as a goal in itself–but as a clear indicator that we’ve rediscovered what this country’s about–and what it most certainly is not.

  32. Dorothy said on December 1, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Mary it’s not true that you have to have large lenses for bifocals with the “line” missing. I’ve been wearing bi’s for about 10 years or so now, and the pair I got recently are very small and smart looking. In other words, non-Sarah-ish. Here’s a pic of me in them:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/truvy57/2996127638/

  33. Danny said on December 1, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Jeff, that story reminds me that Bono said President Bush had done more to help Africa than any other American president. Doesn’t matter. Apologies will get you no traction here.

    Nancy, I too was bothered by the lack of coverage. I did chalk it partially up to the holiday though.

    Dwight, right you are. I was kinda hoping that the Dems actually got the super-majority in the Senate and I almost sure that they’re glad they did not (yet).

    I’ll readily acknowledge a certain snarkiness in Olbermann and even Maddow…

    {Snort} a certain snarkiness? That’s like acknowledging a certain wetness to water. Thanks for the information, Captain Obvious.

  34. LA Mary said on December 1, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I’m actually looking forward to having odd Buddy Holly glasses, and trust me, I’m not feelign sorry for myself about hitting bifocal time. I’m a month away from 56 and all my brothers have been wearing bifocals since their late 30s. Hah. Also, I now have two vision insurance policies, as my employer has started providing vision insurance free, and the ex is still paying for vision coverage for me, so I can get a second pair of glasses after January 1 if I don’t care for the big strange ones. Or I can have sunglass lenses put in the BH frames and get myself something else for clear lenses. Anyway, I usually have had sort of weird glasses, so no one will be shocked. I’ve had the little John Lennon round ones for years, sometimes black wire frames, sometimes frameless.

  35. Laura said on December 1, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    No worries about Dana Milbank for you MSNBC-watchers; he moved to CNN a few moths ago.

  36. Dexter said on December 1, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    I knew I had seen him someplace!

  37. Gasman said on December 1, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Danny,
    Thanks for the smart-ass backhand. I haven’t been the recipient of your cattiness for awhile. I’ll stand by the snarkiness of Olbermann and Maddow, will you do likewise for the small cloud of snarky right wing bloviators? As for Bush doing some good in Africa, he gets not a word of praise from me. He hasn’t lived up to his commitments and he didn’t come to the table without being dragged kicking and screaming. He also still wants to impose his conservative religious views upon Africa by making funding contingent to avoiding any discussion of anything other than the failed Abstinence Only educational model. It didn’t work in the U.S., it isn’t going to work in Africa. Ignoring that is the typical xenophobic arrogance that has supplanted diplomacy during the last 8 years.

    You trumpet Bush’s aid to Africa as if it excuses his pissing on the Constitution here at home. Bush has thoroughly screwed up everything he has touched. His one partial success will not save his legacy and does not excuse his record of utter incompetency and mendacity. As with nearly everything Bush has done, his record in Africa is less than promised and less than stellar.

  38. Jeff Borden said on December 1, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    As someone who has worn glasses since the fifth grade –when a school nurse examination revealed me to have exceptionally terrible eyesight– I believe strongly in embracing your frames. Contact lenses were not an option for me for many years due to stigmatisms, but even so, the idea of pieces of plastic in my eyes was tough to overcome. I tend to wear pretty large frames, usually by a company called Anglo-American, but am currently wearing some really large black metal frames made in Italy, the better to hold my ginormous bifocal lenses.

    Trying to pretend you’re not wearing glasses by getting those tiny, rimless frames doesn’t really fly with me. Just as I advise balding men to embrace their baldness and quit with the horrible combovers, so too do I call upon the near-sighted and the far-sighted to embrace those big, fat frames!

    LA Mary, you doubtless will be stunning your thick black Buddy Holly frames.

  39. MichaelG said on December 1, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    I’ve had blended (lineless) trifocals for years. I still use cheap supermarket type readers for the computer and for reading in bed. As Julie R. noted, it’s tough to do with trifocals. As it happens I’m going to the eye guy this aft. If I can find the place in the fog.

  40. Dexter said on December 1, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    It’s been a year since Imus moved from msnbc to RFD-TV and WABC radio. I watched Imus for several years on msnbc and then started again when he moved.
    He says his show is so much better…better guests, all that…but now his guests are right wing FOX personalities and he praises the right wing commentators incessantly. Limbaugh and Hannity always get a good word. The only bright spots on the show are the frequent appearances of Dick Gregory and the show’s own Tony Powell. Also, Imus pimps his recording so much it is sickening. Now I am free from Imus , as Time Warner cable does not carry RFD-TV.
    Imus continually trashes msnbc, but his show was MUCH better when it was from Secaucus. Farewell, Imus and your goddam hit record…never again do I have to hear Dwight Yoakum …but I did grow fond of Brad Paisley these past few years.

  41. Dexter said on December 1, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Jeff Borden: I embrace my hair loss with safety razor and Barbasol. Everything gone but the brows.
    I wore glasses a while in jr. hi…but here I am now at 59 years of age and I don’t wear glasses unless I drive at night (just to make things appear sharper…I don’t “need” them…and to avoid eye strain I wear cheap magnifying readers when reading The New Yorker, but during the day, nope…and my brother is 61 and he is the same way. Lucky, I guess.

  42. jcburns said on December 1, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Um…all Digital TV will NOT be UHF. There are some DTV stations that will operate in the VHF band. Depends on where you are.

  43. LA Mary said on December 1, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Jeff, my rimless frames were nicely odd, not fashionable or an attempt to look like I wasn’t wearing glasses. For years I wore my dad’s first frames from 1928, which were gold and had sort of hexagonal lenses, slightly rounded at the bottom. While I don’t think I would do white frames or red frames, quirky works for me. I had some of those weird fifties flesh colored clear plastic frames for a while. Forty years of eyeglass wearing have afforded me many possibilities.
    On the other hand, there is this subgenre of eyeglass frames that architects frequently wear. Especially archietects with foreign accents. Think IM Pei for one. Big black round frames. No one except archietects knows where to find these frames.

  44. mark said on December 1, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    jc-

    I hope Obama shares Leahy’s thoughts on the AG’s office being best when it is largely non-political. With all the Clintonites around him, I’m afraid Obama might be persuaded to follow Clinton’s precedent and demand resignations from all 93 US Attorneys.

    Let’s hope not.

  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    What happened to Sally Jesse’s red rims?

    And why does it seem like the sun is setting at 2 pm?

    I just try to embrace the suck, and click over to http://www.neatmail.com/hornscam/twebcam32.jpg to more fully accept the wintry mindset. (Main drag on Mackinac Island, atop Horn’s Bar – click it New Year’s Eve, and you wouldn’t believe how many snowmobiles you can fit into that scene.)

  46. brian stouder said on December 1, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    What queered me (sorry) on Rachel last week was the Mumbai coverage, or lack thereof.

    I had the exact same reaction (presuemably on the same evening) – and flipped to Fox. When there is breaking news, Fox is often my choice. (They were running the New Dehli TV English language feed right through) Although they tend to be a little breathless, that’s OK when events are breathtaking – and people simply want to know “What is happening?” – and forget the dime-store “analysis”

  47. Jolene said on December 1, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    mark: Clinton requested the resignation of the US attorneys when he took office. They are political appointees, and it was well within his rights as a new president to appoint new people to those offices. In fact, GWB also dismissed most US attorneys when he took office. What isn’t standard practice is firing people in the middle of their term for political reasons, as GWB did. There are many places to read about this online. Here’s part of what Wikipedia had to say:

    By tradition, U.S. Attorneys are replaced only at the start of a new White House administration. U.S. Attorneys hold a “political” office, and therefore they are considered to “serve at the pleasure of the President.” At the beginning of a new presidential administration, it is traditional for all 93 U.S. Attorneys to submit a letter of resignation. When a new President is from a different political party, almost all of the resignations will be eventually accepted.[75] The attorneys are then replaced by new political appointees, typically from the new President’s party.[76][77][76]

    A Department of Justice list noted that “in 1981, Reagan’s first year in office, 71 of 93 districts had new U.S. attorneys. In 1993, Clinton’s first year, 80 of 93 districts had new U.S. attorneys.” Similarly, a Senate study noted that “Reagan replaced 89 of the 93 U.S. attorneys in his first two years in office. President Clinton had 89 new U.S. attorneys in his first two years, and President Bush had 88 new U.S. attorneys in his first two years.”[78]

    In contrast to the 2006 dismissals, Presidents rarely dismiss U.S. attorneys they appoint.[76][77] Kyle Sampson, Chief of Staff at the Department of Justice, noted in a January 9, 2006, e-mail to Harriet Miers: “In recent memory, during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, Presidents Reagan and Clinton did not seek to remove and replace U.S. Attorneys they had appointed, but instead permitted such U.S. Attorneys to serve indefinitely under the holdover provision” (underlining original).[79] There is no precedent for a President to dismiss several U.S attorneys at one time while in the middle period of the presidential term in office.[80][81]

    The few examples of forced dismissals available are based on misconduct. The Congressional Research Service investigated the precedent of dismissing U.S. Attorneys over the 25 years 1981-2006 and identified 54 attorneys who did not serve their full 4-year term. Of these, only two were documented involuntary dismissals . . .

  48. Dexter said on December 1, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Zbigniew Brzezinski still has it…saw him on teevee this morning analyzing Jones and HRC and Gates…hawks, hawks, more hawks—well, you knew Obama is a hawk if you paid any attention…no surprises so far.

  49. beb said on December 1, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    It’s hard to find much sympathy for something making a seven figure income losing their job when I’m making only 5 figures. Especially when the job they do appears to read a script without stumbling and smile.

    When it comes to overpaid news readers the worst in my book is Brian Williams of NBC evening fame. Not only does he read the news without seeming to breath but his even and unctuous tones seems to offer no breaks from one news segment to another. He could be talking about the terror in Mombai one second and segue to puppycam without missing a beat or having a change of tone. He makes all the news, good/bad important/trival seem the same, mostly trival and unimportant.

    Keith and Rachel have been dwelling far too much on political news now that the campaign season is over. There is other news in the world and it might help them to look at some of it. Things like ‘who fired the first shot in the Georgia v Russia war? Starvation in Zimbabwe, the attacks on aid workers in durfar. China’s environmental efforts, their financial/industrial meltdown, censorship of China’s Internet Cafes, and so on. Things I’ve heard about from reading blogs but stuff you never see mentioned on the evening news.

    The reason Keith and Rachel seem snarky is because politicians continue to be the worst liars in the world. They’ll say something outrageously stupid and/or racist and when called on it, try to deny having ever said it, forgetting that they were probably recorded saying that stupid and/or racist thing. Who wouldn’t be snarky when you can first play tape of someone denying something and follow up by playing the tape of them doing exactly what they denied doing. But Keith and Rachel still have lessons to learn from the king of snark Jon Stewart. Both Keith and Rachel are trying to find ways to do what Jon has been doing for years, but doing it not as a comedy show but as a real news program.

    Keith does tend to use the same pundits night after night. Eugene Robinson is a relief because he’s newish to the show. Craig Crawford on the other hand is such a blowhard and a tool that when he comes on I find myself hating the South just because of his damned drawl. Keith should spread out and get fresh blood, Nat Silver, who did a great job explaining polling. Keith should look to people like Duncan Black (Atrios) who was explaining what was wrong with the economy a year before it collapsed. Or Nathan Newman to explain labor issues, and so on.

    For what it’s worth, it took me a couple years to get over my 50th birthday, so don’t stress out if you still feel in the dumps.

  50. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Beware, Jonah Goldberg is going on an extended, multipost rave-fest about “The Wire” over at http://corner.nationalreview.com. This on the day Pres-elect Obama put a Marine general into the top “frequency of access” position in his cabinet after the CoS. Rahm and Gen’l Jim trading appointments through the morning most days – wow. The world, as my ten year old would say, looks really interesting upside down!

  51. Kirk said on December 1, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Those last sound like Edith Head frames, Mary.

  52. mark said on December 1, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    jolene-

    I know (generally) the history and I know US Attorneys are presidential appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president. They can be dismissed for entirely poltical reasons. I was agreeing with Leahy and jc that the AG’s office should be as non-partisan as possible. I hope Obama agrees with us. Do you disagree?

    Ambassadors are also presidential appointees, but the large majority of them, and almost all of those in significant posts, are career state department or (a few) have other significant backgrounds that make them appropriate for the post. Pete Peterson, the first post-war ambassador to Vietnam is an example of the latter.

    Unless Obama drastically changes things, there will be no similar purging of ambassadors. This, I think, is a more rational model to follow for US Attorneys, most of whom are pulled from the ranks of career federal prosecutors and have no significant policy issues before them.

    Of course, as you point out, the president can do as he chooses, dismissing all or none, for reasons good or bad, whenever he wishes.

  53. moe99 said on December 1, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Mark,
    I’ve only been practicing law for 32 years, so I may not have it quite right, but in this time, every time there was a new, incoming president, the US Attorneys were reshuffled. I don’t think you can find, even when Bush 1 succeeded Reagan, a case where that did not happen. And to try to somehow claim that Obama is a bad guy if he does it too, just will not wash. From the war on drugs, to illegal immigration, US attorneys deal with issues that are shaped from the policies above, and as a result, the person is charge is fully within rights to ask for the resignations of the US Attorneys. And as for the State Department and ambassador appointments, there are more political pork appointments there than you would think, xref. the failed Hormel appointment to Luxembourg. And even where careerists are appointed, this is the time that they are shaken up, sent back and reshuffled out. I used to follow it more closely as I passed both the written and oral Foreign Service exams and turned down 3 offers to join, as I had just married and moved with the ex to Seattle and thought that love trumped all. More’s the pity.

  54. Jolene said on December 1, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    I know (generally) the history and I know US Attorneys are presidential appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president.

    Then why make a snarky remark about Clinton, who followed the practice of presidents both before and after him? It’s GWB who tried to use the Justice Department to achieve political ends and staffed it with the political hacks of the lowest sort. Don’t make remarks like that and then, when called on them, come back w/ a holier than thou response re how the Justice Department and ambassadorships should be managed.

    Sorry to speak so sharply, but your disingenuous arguments try my patience.

  55. Julie Robinson said on December 1, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Brian Williams isn’t as bad as Tom Brokaw, who always seemed to have knocked back one too many pre-show cocktails.

    And here’s a woman who blogs about Williams’ ties: http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081201/FEAT/812010317

  56. JGW said on December 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    J.C. – you may be right but I think I had read that they will all go UHF until after the broadcast spectrum “auction” occurs, then in limited markets they will have the option of going back to VHF.

    The Digital TV FAQ on Antennas Direct notes:
    Q: Are all Digital Channels on UHF?

    A: No, but currently, 91% of broadcasting DTV stations are on UHF. A few cities, such as Chicago and Las Vegas have DTV stations on VHF as well as UHF. While Many DTV stations are now occupying UHF broadcast channels, the plan may allow some broadcasters to move back to their original VHF
    or UHF TV channels once the transition to DTV is complete. However, this may not occur for another 10-15 years.

    They also noted:
    One potential problem with re-using low VHF (2-6) and high VHF (7-13) TV channels for DTV is the possibility of interference from other signals during certain times of the year. “Skip” may bring in distant broadcasts on the same channel and create interference. The physical size of low VHF and high VHF antennas is much larger than that of a UHF antenna.

    Julie –
    It was me with anti-rebate, and sometimes they find deals that are so sick people don’t believe them. Last week for two days they had a deal where if you created a fatwallet.com account (free, and another deal site) and combined a coupon code from each, you could buy $25 restaurant gift cards from major chains for $1.50 each.
    My own Dad refused to believe me, but it was true and some friends and I scored.
    Today they have two great laptop deals – Compaq Presario Laptop with AMD Athlon X2 QL-60 Dual-Core Processor, 2GB DDR2 memory, Dual Layer DVD+/-RW Burner, 15.4″ widescreen, 160GB hard drive, NVidia GeForce 8200M graphics, b/g Wireless, Windows Vista Home Premium with SP1 for a super low $399.99, and a Dell Vostro A860 Laptop for only $349. Intel Celeron M 2.13GHz processor, 1GB DDR2 memory, 24x CD burner/DVD combo drive, 120GB hard drive, b/g wireless, 15.6″ wide screen, Windows Vista Home.

  57. Jeff Borden said on December 1, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    I am as far from a techie as you can get, but I got my government stipend and purchased a digital converter box for an antenna only TV in our kitchen. In Chicago, I’m getting 31 channels in virtually crystal clear reception. This is particularly interesting because the CBS affiliate, Channel 2, always has had terrible signal problems. With my converter box, it’s clean and clear.

    Interestingly, the PBS station is now running four DTV channels, but my favorite is a low-budget UHF outfit, WMME, which has three channels and shows a lot of the great old b&w shows. They have Sunday night noir on one channel, broadcasting the old Boris Karloff-hosted “Thriller” series. Great fun.

  58. brian stouder said on December 1, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Julie – THAT was funny!

    And – the northeastern Ohio nut is named Nance!!

    (money quote:

    Three ties she despises are in Williams’ “Axis of Evil.” A pedestrian tie worn too frequently is “TWSNLBRAINDTM,” or Tie Which Shall No Longer Be Reviewed And Is Now Dead To Me. Donnelly is still recovering from the orchid tie Williams wore on Nov. 14. She wrote: “Those Crayola blue stripes that seemed to run and blur at the right edge of this unholy cravat gave the whole broadcast a weird, Dali-esque vibe, and I kept watching and waiting for the rest of his tie to start melting and running off his shirt and onto the news desk into a puddle of purple and blue.”)

  59. Jolene said on December 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    The problem w/ the Brian Williams tie blog is that there are no pictures. It’s no fun to read the commentary w/o seeing what she’s commenting on.

  60. mark said on December 1, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    jolene-

    I don’t think I made a snarky comment about Clinton. I agree with Leahy.

    No names of “political hacks” come to mind whren I think of GWB’s DOJ appointments, but several incompetents do. Perhaps the difference is a matter of semantics.

    I’ve only known a handful of US attorneys, but none of them were what I would consider political hacks. They were all pretty competent and professional, whether Bush or Clinton appointees. I’m sure you have a more thorough list.

    I don’t see much of a distinction between replacing the other guys political appointees with your political appointees at the beginning of a term, and replacing your own political appointee with another political appointee mid-term. If I cared to be outraged and to exercise my outrage selectively, I’d be more upset by the former than the latter. But as I’ve said, I agree with Leahy and think the AG’s office should be as non-partisan as possible. Including the US Attorneys, most of whom have heavy case loads, experience and expertise unique to their district, in political musical chairs seems stupid to me.

    moe-

    The foreign service is far less political than it was thirty years ago. Few ambassadorships are given out as political favors as the Senate, thankfully, doesn’t go along the way it once did- unless, of course, the appointee is a Senator. Ambassadors drawn from within the State Department are all senior foreign service, a designation that required prior congressional approval. They are not easily treated in a dismissive fashion solely for political reasons.

    One differentiating factor is that ambassadorships are, by State department practice, generally limited to three year terms. The president could change this, of course, but the past couple haven’t. This undoubtedly makes it easier for a new president to look more benignly upon a holdover amabassador.

  61. jcburns said on December 1, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Nope, again, there will be VHF DTV transmitters in a bunch of markets, in major cities and smaller towns, including Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas…well, a lot of places. As you said, this move, for some, will wait until after February…but what I hear from actual TV chief engineers is if they have the option to keep a VHF allocation, many will and are.

    On a related subject, I think there’s going to be a huge amount of tweaking and changing and adding translator stations and so on..but it’s all going to happen after February, because when it comes to how all these digital allocations are going to perform in an analog-free world…well, they have a lot of real-world testing to do.

    But again: at one point they wanted it all to be UHF, but it’s gonna end up as more of a VHF-UHF mix than folks originally expected. Oh, and a lot of UHF off-air antennas do a good job on the ‘fringe VHF’ channels, like 12 and 13…but UHF only antennas do a lousy job on VHF-low, like 2 through 5-ish.

    So, to tie that together, Jeff, you’re actually watching WBBM-DT on DTV channel 3…after February they want to move to DTV 12…still VHF, but in that UHF-friendly fringe. (And all that is hidden from the Chicago home viewer because the PSIP channel will remain good old comforting channel 2.)

  62. Sue said on December 1, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    The frightening atmosphere created in the Justice Department, an atmosphere intended to put pressure on employees who are supposed to be above politics, may have contributed to the wrongful conviction of a State government employee in Madison, Wisconsin. Georgia Thompson (hired by the previous Republican governor) lost everything (her home, her job, her savings, her pension) trying to defend herself against charges brought by the U.S. Attorney (Steven Biskupic) in Milwaukee. Mr. Biskupic’s jurisdiction did not extend to Madison, but he went after her anyway. She went to prison, and no one, not even the Democratic governor she was supposed to have been trying to curry favor with, defended her. Her photo was used in attack ads against Governor Doyle, trying to tie him to her supposed criminal behavior and put a Republican governor in place. Only problem was, the charges were bogus. In April 2007 the US Court of Appeals not only overturned her conviction, they demanded that she be released immediately, and they were not afraid to express their outrage. Requests have been made to make her case part of the US Attorney investigation. She has a happy ending, sort of: she has been reinstated at a State job at her previous pay, back pay has been awarded, and Governor Doyle (the one who would not defend her) has stated that he would like to meet her. What has been going on in the Justice Department these last few years is so far from standard procedure that anyone trying to defend it needs a very basic course in civics. If you are 56 (Georgia’s age), you should be looking toward retirement or finding decent bifocals or trifocals, not losing everything you have because someone has lost track of the difference between politics and government and doesn’t care if ordinary citizens pay the price. Ok, back to lurking. See ya.

  63. JGW said on December 1, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I shouldn’t get too concerned about living with only digital broadcast TV.

    I survived the last few months of the election cycle without cable, and I guess I might be better off for that, though I had to endure way too many Ohio casino ads and look at Mark Sauder too many times. I like how he played the grandkids card, but still I always wonder if he had a grilled turkey sandwich off camera.

    It’s no secret here that I will cave and pay for cable or dish about a week before Battlestar Galactica (the best show on televison) returns. As Dwight Schrute said:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk3L4RjfJbk

    (OK, it’s not for everyone, and I don’t advise starting to wathc now, get the dvd’s. But it was called that by time, tv guide, the american film institute (2 years in a row), and plenty of others. It’s very dark and twisted, and the score is amazing, Bear McCreary is very overlooked.)

    Can I call it the best frakking show on televison?

  64. Jolene said on December 1, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t see much of a distinction between replacing the other guys political appointees with your political appointees at the beginning of a term, and replacing your own political appointee with another political appointee mid-term.

    The difference, in the soon-to-be-over administration, is that the people replaced in the middle of the term were replaced because they refused to use their positions for corrupt political purposes. That’s quite different from replacing the whole team as one of the prizes associated w/ an electoral victory.

    As for political hacks, you might want to look up Monica Goodling and the recruiting practices she pursued.

  65. Gasman said on December 1, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    mark,
    I find it odd that you are so concerned about the political hacks that Bush brought it to replace the ignominiously fired 8 U. S. Attorneys.

    David Iglesias, who was NM’s U.S. Attorney, has been very outspoken about the process of his firing. He maintains that it was unethical and illegal pressure from state and national Republicans that led to his firing. He was contacted by NM state Repub. leaders, and by outgoing Rep. Heather Wilson and Sen. Pete Domenici. Domenici announced he would not run about two weeks after he admitted lying about his contact with Iglesias. Domenici said that it was due to a degenerative brain disorder, but Iglesias speculated that the reason Domenici decided not to run was because he faced the real possibility of losing given his admission of untruthiness. The aftermath of the whole mess? NM has an entirely Democratic line up in Washington for the first time in decades.

    For the record, Iglesias is just about the only Republican that I have an ounce of respect for. He was willing to call Bush/Gonzales, et al. to task for their politicization of the Justice Department. He put country, ethics, and the law before party. What other Republican has done so lately?

    Within the last week or so, it was revealed – IT’S A MIRACLE!!! – that Domenici doesn’t have the disorder after all. It’s gone, poof! Like it never existed. Hmmmm. What is more likely, that Domenici did have this rare disorder that was miraculously healed, or that it was a made up diagnosis to divert attention from his unethical and illegal behavior meddling in the U.S. Attorney’s business concerning a federal grand jury?

    I’d be very upset if Obama did not purge the U. S. Attorneys appointed by Bush. Under Bush, the entire Justice Department was made just another subsidy of the Neo Con political machine. Get rid of the entire lot and start over with people appointed because of their competency, not their brown noses.

  66. mark said on December 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    gasman-

    I find that odd too. Perhaps it is odd because I haven’t expressed such a concern at all. I don’t find it odd that you would attribute to me an argument I haven’t made or attack a position I don’t hold with typical hyperbole.

    I disagree with presidents using US Attorney positions as “political prizes.” It sounds like Leahy might feel the same way. I’m hoping that a President Obama, who once promised a post-partisan approach to government, will consider replacing the incompetents and keeping those doing a good job in difficult areas. The positions are too important to disrupt things every 4 or 8 years to collect prizes.

    And it certainly doesn’t surprise me that you want a purge. That’s how you see the world. Full of labels and all either good or bad based upon the label you apply. That keeps things simple for you. I’m grateful Obama has a more nuanced approach to things.

  67. Julie Robinson said on December 1, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    So, JGW, thanks twice! The 4gb SD cards were 2/11.99, shipping included. And there are two people getting those digital items. Staples had some for $7 or $8 on Black Friday, but it’s on the other side of town and I’m too old and too sensible.

    And because we are also too frugal, the DH will just have to wait for Battlestar Galactica on Netlfix, where they are still a season behind. What the frak?

  68. moe99 said on December 1, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    You know, Mark, it gets a bit tiresome this ‘bipartisan’ line being used like a carrot or a stick for Obama especially with regard to the appointment of US Attorneys. This is how the game is played. It’s not like there are not a large group of attorneys who could come in and do a great job for the new administration. I remember when Clinton Yale school classmate, Kate Pflaumer, got the nod here in Seattle. She didn’t have much experience in criminal yet she managed to run a very professional shop. And no one was muttering darkly about how the appointment somehow tarnished Clinton’s bona fides as our president on both sides of the aisle. I think you should just give it up.

  69. mark said on December 1, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    alright moe, i give up. We should make the US Attorney office as partisan as possible since doing so doesn’t tarnish the president. And regardless of how good a job Kate was doing, or how important or sensitive the issues she was overseeing, she should be shown the door when her party is on the outs because doing so won’t tarnish the new president’s bona fides.

  70. Danny said on December 1, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    JWG, isn’t the new Battlestar like the original? You know, where this guy named Dumbledore Calrissian needs to return the ring back to Mordor?

    I hope you saw that Office episode where Jim was teasing Dwight. BTW, we love Battletsar too. Soon it will be back!

  71. Danny said on December 1, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Mark, be careful. A few delicate people around here have suddenly developed allergies to sarcasm and wit … and reason.

  72. mark said on December 1, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    danny-

    I consider my role here therapeutic for those few. After years of increasing demonization of all thing Bush, a period of controlled decompression is best. Like extended “debriefing” for special forces coming out of the field before you send them to Bangkok for R & R. Fewer civilian casualties that way.

    The funny thing is I’m probably more pissed at Bush for what he and Paulson have done to the US in the last few months than others here are about their particular Bush grievance. But anything less than 100% agreement is not well received or even open for discussion by some.

  73. whitebeard said on December 1, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Mark, many of your posts start off with “I don’t think I made a snarky comment about …. ”
    Well, obviously, most other people think you were snarky and remarked on it even though you don’t think you did.
    OMG, I hit on what is happening, you still do not realize that the election is over and you are still fighting the same battles with the same tired arguments that didn’t work the first time around.
    Get real, Mark, and don’t let the sand in the political desert where you have been banished get in your boots. And watch out for those Republican snakes, they are so shaken that they will bite their “friends” at the drop of a hat.

  74. JGW said on December 1, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Yeah, it’s almost the same show, frame by frame!

    The Office is my only other TV addiction…

  75. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Huh. I realized, reading this, that i’m actually pretty unclear as to what a US Attorney is, so i went to the Galactic Encyclopedia on Trantor, and found:

    Role of U.S. Attorneys
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Attorney

    The U.S Attorney is both the primary representative and the administrative head of the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the district. The U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) is the chief prosecutor for the United States in criminal law cases, and represents the United States in civil law cases as either the defendant or plaintiff, as appropriate.[12][13]

    The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia has the additional responsibility of prosecuting local criminal cases in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the equivalent of a municipal court for the national capital.

    * * *

    So, they are the “local” Attorney General, and as such, ought to be appointed by the Executive in office. The kerfuffle seems to be the fact that the Judicial Branch has had the right of interim appointments, and Bush took that away in the Omnibus-Patriot-Act-To-Do-Stuff-We’d-Been-Wanting-To-For-a-While.

    Arguably not a good move (the OPATDSWBWTFW), but there is an interesting separation of powers question here. At any rate, i think a person could argue simultaneously that a) the US Attorneys should be highly qualified, with political affiliation a secondary quality to that, and b) you can’t just say that because someone graduated from Liberty or Regent they are ipso facto dumber than a box of Veritas hammers with crimson handles.

    The fact that there are stupid Regent grads (let alone chancellors) is no more pertinent than the fact that the stray Phi Beta Kappa has spied on his country for the Soviet Union. But that there should be no stupid US Attorneys i happily concede . . . just don’t make graduating from a religiously oriented college a trigger for that measure (Notre Dame, anyone? BYU?).

  76. jcburns said on December 1, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I think Bush and Cheney’s demonosity will survive any attempts at decompression…or rehabilitation, for that matter. Folks can spin vast volumes trying to rehabilitate Richard Nixon…citing all kinds of foreign policy and other “achievements”…but you know what? At the end of the day (at the end of this day), he was still a crook, something of a racist and anti-semite, and a poster child for paranoia.

    Oh, and about Regent (formerly CBN…CBN!?…university)…they are apparently “committed to a jurisprudence based upon a Higher Law…that is, law based upon the Law of God…” As far as I know, Notre Dame isn’t teaching that devotees of a Christian God and their precepts trump the U.S. Constitution. If they are, they’re whack as well.

  77. Dexter said on December 1, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Another opinion of Brian Williams follows. I watch every night because Williams is the best newscaster on all of television.
    He does not drone on through segues at all , and can express great emotion under composure ; he can express disgust with mere facial expressions, in a subtle way…he’s perfect at it.
    He gives away precious minutes to colleagues like Dr. Nancy Snyderman (native of FWA) in addition to coordinating reports from Ian Williams, Anne Thompson and Ann Curry, and especially Richard Engel from the war zones. It’s the best newscast and it’s accessible online, also.
    Craig Crawford a “blowhard”, beb? Craig would laugh his ass off at that…and I think I’ll email it to him so he can ! It’s too bad you have formed a negative opinion of him, because he’s a pretty cool dude, and he’s funny as hell.

  78. moe99 said on December 1, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Well, Liberty is not fully accredited as a law school, so you wouldn’t catch me attending there. And accreditation is not some sort of partisan witch hunt either.

  79. Gasman said on December 1, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    mark,
    I guess you’ve got me all figured out. I don’t want a purge of the Justice Department because “that’s how I see the world.” I want to see competency restored. You do that by removing incompetents and political hacks. And the only label I would apply in this case is “Justice,” what you have ostensibly argued for in making appointments as U. S. Attorney non-political. I generally would agree with that notion, but you cannot ignore the very unjust and political conduct of the JD under Bush. Dozens of former JD officials, both D’s and R’s, have complained about the way Bush & Co. have used the Justice Department to mete out political vendettas, reward political toadies, and generally ignore any sense of professional ethics, justice, and the rule of law. Let’s appoint a slate of U. S. Attorneys based on merit and legal scholarship and then see about making them career positions. Grandfather in folks that were participants in the JD under Bush and Gonzales? No way.

  80. caliban said on December 1, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Way I see it. You’ve never said a single dumb thing in your life. Yeah, right.

    Eric Sevareid said “Men want power in order to do something. Boys want power in order to be something. “ Bill Clinton’s flaw was not understanding the depth of penetration of the claws. In 1998, the New American Centurions wrote Bill about shock and awe and laying hold. He dismissed them as the little boys that thought they could rule the world and be somebody.

    But the little boys had cash and armies by 2002, and they thought they could do anything they pleased. Their target was their ally, Saddam. They trashed the world, because they could. And then they stole almost every vote in Cuyahoga Count and perpetuated a moron Fratboy way of seeing the world.

    (And aside. Lot’s of this has been ascribed to “jock”culture. Not in a million years. I’m an ex-jock but only because I have arthritis and those ex-jock ideas come back regularly to haunt me. Was W a jock? Was Cheney a jock? I admit, I went to a small school on 7Mile run by Jesuits, but we all thought we should contribue. And there is nobody didn’t think, well, we ruled.

    So. Nancy. What would makeof the way things are and the way you started out with?

    I’d say listen to Ray Davies

    Babe ruth called wcweybody

  81. caliban said on December 1, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    So, what about eggplamt?

  82. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Well, if they ain’t accredited, they ain’t dancing. End of song.

    JC, i’d neither ever want to attend nor would ever recommend Regent to any aspiring legal talent in my neck of the woods, but i still bridle a bit at assuming that any graduate is therefore a talentless hack. See Yale’s grad list for an elaboration of my point.

    Obama is, to date, appointing a stellar group of talents and skill sets to the West Wing. I will continue to nurture high hopes, and will not automatically assume mindless liberal cant just because an appointee was with EMILYs List or the ACLU. Like you, with Regent, it is reason for me to listen a little more closely, but it shouldn’t make me assume.

    Will Cheney write a book? I’m not eeeeeven saying i’d buy it, but i’d lean against an end cap at B&N and skim it with interest. He has a motivation that is something a bit different than skinning young children to sacrifice at Moloch’s altar, but durned if i can figure out what it is at eight years’ remove. I suspect it is the contrapositive of Peak Oil scenarios, and has to do with the geopolitics of oil, the western economic system, and the landscape of the Persian Gulf, but i wouldn’t bet my next freelance paycheck on even that.

  83. Jolene said on December 1, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    This conversation hasn’t been about allergies to wit, sarcasm, or reason. It’s about integrity in argument. Mark started off w/ his wholly unjustified little snark bomb re Clinton and never did back off or apologize. It’s just plain silly to treat the traditional changing of the guard among US attorneys that occurs when new presidents take office and the politically motivated midterm firings that took place under Bush as if they were the same kind of animal. They’re not. End of story.

  84. alex said on December 1, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    A few delicate people around here have suddenly developed allergies to sarcasm and wit … and reason.

    Sarcasm? Wit? Reason? Show me some, Danny a/k/a mark. It would be a first.

  85. MichaelG said on December 1, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    No political hacks at Justice? How about starting right at the top with Gonzales. Rachel Palouse? Hans Von Spakovsky? Monica Goodling?

    Comparing Liberty to Notre Dame? Notre Dame (last Sat. night notwithstanding) is a legit, well respected educational institution. Liberty is a thinly disguised match book cover.

    At the eye dr today I asked about Sarah Palin glasses. They said interest died after the election.

    Gasman, did you check to see if Domenici maybe made a quick trip to Lourdes?

  86. coozledad said on December 1, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    MichaelG: The University of PO Box 2000 comes to mind. Why be an assistant fecal engineer when you can be a fecal engineer? (My wife just looked this up trying to find the old National Lampoon cartoon, and it took her directly to Georgia State University. HA!)
    Regents is similar to Campbell Law down here. A lot of Fundie kids who can’t or won’t avail themselves of the scholarships available at NCCU (a traditionally black university that shares the teaching staff of Duke and UNC), who prefer the notion that their law degree will make them a footsoldier in the war for the return of segregation.

  87. brian stouder said on December 1, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Mark/Danny/Gasman – if you guys keep it up, mom is gonna pull over and stop the car! (and then I’ll probably get smacked in the head just for good measure!)

    I’m not eeeeeven saying i’d buy it, but i’d lean against an end cap at B&N and skim it with interest.

    You know – I JUST got back from B&N (Pammy said “Give me a list of books you want” and so Grant and I saddled up) and the short list I compiled follows – but DO please clue me in on the one (or two!) book(s) you’d add to the list:

    The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama

    The Strongest Tribe, by Bing West

    Mellon by David Cannadine

    Giants by John Stauffer

    American Lion by Jon Meacham (another dreaded msnbc pundit!)

    Warlord by Carlo D’Este

    In fact, I was quite literally leaning against an endcap skimming American Lion, when Grant said (for the 4th time) “Let’s go!”.

    There is an icy glaze falling from the sky, and we really should have stayed home (the drive there and back was “high adventure”, crossing two bridges where there were total of eight vehicles spun aroiund and smashed up, including one police car)

  88. Jolene said on December 1, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Have you read Jon Meacham’s earlier books, Brian? Both Franklin and Winston and American Gospel are supposed to be very good. Also, a couple of friends have strongly recommended FDR by Jean Edward Smith.

  89. brian stouder said on December 1, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I read Jean Edward Smith’s biography of US Grant, and enjoyed it very much. I’ve caught him on C-SPAN a time or two, and always found him to be interesting (Brooks Simpson has some excellent books about Grant out, too)

    The D’Este book is a Churchill book, which I have heard nothing but good stuff about.

    But to answer your question – NO – I have not read Meacham’s earluer books.

    I very, very, very much enjoyed Sean Willentz’s short book about Andrew Jackson, and his much longer one about The Rise of American Democracy (from Jefferson to Lincoln)

  90. MarkH said on December 1, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    “…most they say, hooray for our side…”

    Like my old sales manager told me, “it all depends on which side of the deal you’re on.” Just sayin’…

    Hey, what’s all this conspiracy theory about (lower case) mark and Danny’s doppelgangedness? It’s the second time I’ve seen it here (I don’t troll as often as I’d like). I say, au contraire. Danny’s supposed to be an engineer, but he writes like a smart-assed lawyer. mark’s supposed to be a lawyer, but his writing is dry (if more snarky), more plodding, like an engineer. Hey, wait a minute…!

    BTW, Brian, the talk of Chris Matthews’ interest in the PA senate seat has been out there, probably from him, for about 6 months, now. And I’m sure his dust-ups with Olbermann were only more gasoline on the fire od his desire that he should move on to something more serious than msnbc punditry.

    Also, Brian, do you get American Heritage magazine? The latest issue has half the book devoted to Lincoln. For those of you (like me) who have not read as much on him as Brian, I recommend its multiple articles. Also in the issue is a Gus Russo-authored take on the Cuba connection to JFK’s murder. Yeah, yeah, I know, ANOTHER one. Russo is (one of) the most thoughtful and exhaustive researchers of the assiasination, and in this exerpt from one of his books does a fascinating comaprison of the brothers Kennedy and Castro; how the younger ones (Bobby and Raul) being smarter, more aware, very much guided their older siblings’ sensibilities and policies. Right, with the obligatory account of Fidel’s condonement/encouragement/approval of the act.

    And speaking of Keith and Rachel, their act is wearing thin, post election. If you look at the ratiings (see mediabistro/tvnewser), in all age categories, but most notably in the treasured 25-54 area, they are both on the wane. With all the run-up to Obama’s election, the faithful needed all the enabling they could get. Well, they got it, and got the win, too, so now it’s as if, “(yawn) what else is on?” FWIW, though, I will never latch onto Olberman’s ego outside a sports venue, but Rachel, I found, I can can stick with for longer periods than I thought. Very smart, whatever else she is.

  91. Eric Zorn said on December 1, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Le Mot “Just” —
    Thanks, Nance, for making a LIAR out of me. I plumped for your anti-just campaign in the Tribune print editions Sunday and you come out firing Monday morning with a triple-just —
    “Sometimes you’re just not that into it…It isn’t just me…. it just seems like a little air has gone out of the balloon.”
    You’re a just slut. Always were. Always will be. And I just should have known better.

  92. nancy said on December 1, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    And to think, I changed three justs to simplys.

    Really, Zorn. Don’t you have Diann Burns to pick on? Instead of little old me?

  93. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    “Team of Rivals” will be selling well in a new edition this month . . . and i recommend very highly for a general but thoughtful reader any of John Dominic Crossan’s recent co-authored books, “Excavating Jesus,” with Jonathan L. Reed, ISBN 0-06-061634-2; “In Search of Paul,” with Jonathan L. Reed, ISBN 0-06-051457-4; “The Last Week,” with Marcus J. Borg, ISBN 978-0-06-084539-1; and his most recent (which summarizes the Jesus and Paul books he did with Reed), “God and Empire,” ISBN 978-0-06-084323-6.

    John Nagl wrote a foreword for the University of Chicago edition of “The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual (2007)” which is an oddly compelling read, ISBN 0-226-84151-0. To get a sense of where foreign policy and implementation is going in the next few decades, read this manual, and then read “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” by Tracy Kidder, which is the story of Dr. Paul Farmer and Partners In Health, maybe the most important organization in the world right now that no one’s ever heard of — ISBN 978-0-8129-7301-3.

    [Nancy, is there a way we can link these so you get a cut off of Amazon?]

    If you only buy to get or give one book this Christmas, get “Mountains.” Not sure? Read this — http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-klempner/a-conversation-with-tracy_b_91799.html

    ps — “American Gospel” is quite good; i haven’t gotten to Meacham’s latest. He was at Denison just as “AG” was published, and i got to talk to him about The Episcopal Church’s travails, and he was grimly candid about the “bad faith” (my summary, not his words) on both sides, and he couldn’t see where the end game goes for TEC either.

  94. beb said on December 1, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Will Dick Cheney write a book? After spending eight preventing any and everybody from finding out what he was doing, why would he write a tell-all book now? His secrets are going to the grave with him.

  95. Danny said on December 1, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Hey, what’s all this conspiracy theory about (lower case) mark and Danny’s doppelgangedness?

    LOL!!

    MarkH, it’s not so much a theory as a wish of some here. That way they have less people who actually disagree with them.

    But seriously, I’m actually Jeff (tmmo) and you too. I’m Jeff when I’m feeling magnanimous and kind … and smart and I’m you when I can’t think of another name besides “mark,” so I just press the shift-key and add an “H” and voila, out you come, another alter-ego.

    Oh, and I’m Dwight and Joe K too.

    I’m Sybil. Fly me.

    if you guys keep it up, mom is gonna pull over and stop the car! (and then I’ll probably get smacked in the head just for good measure!)

    Noted, Brian. I hope neither me or mark gets slapped, cuz that’s gonna leave a mark (so to say) on one of us!

  96. Danny said on December 1, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Team of Rivals” will be selling well in a new edition this month . . . and i recommend very highly for a general but thoughtful reader any of John Dominic Crossan’s recent co-authored books, “Excavating Jesus,” with Jonathan L. Reed, ISBN 0-06-061634-2; “In Search of Paul,” with Jonathan L. Reed, ISBN 0-06-051457-4; “The Last Week,” with Marcus J. Borg, ISBN 978-0-06-084539-1; and his most recent (which summarizes the Jesus and Paul books he did with Reed), “God and Empire,” ISBN 978-0-06-084323-6.

    Okay, Mr. Dewey-Decimal-System. What’s with all of the ISBN numbers? Does someone want to show off their brand new Library of Congress library card?

  97. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    I am Danny.

    __

    [No, i just want to help people order the darn things without putting in so many links the comment will go to moderation purgatory. Seriously, Nancy, is there a way to link these so you get a gratuity? It is only right. (h/t Order of the Arrow guys)]

  98. moe99 said on December 1, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    If we’re recommending books all of a sudden, let me put in a plug for the best escapist fare this side of George RR Martin. Joe Abercrombie has a trilogy out that is a great quest by mostly ordinary, hard living folks in some sorry fantasy land. The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and The Last Argument of Kings. Makes me wish I hadn’t read them yet to be recommending them to y’all.

    Because I get enough non fiction in my real life.

  99. brian stouder said on December 1, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Team of Rivals was better than I was expecting; I only read it because DKG was coming to Fort Wayne, so I wanted to read it before hearing her discussion.

    The human intimacy that she illuminates, in the private letters from Chase and Seward (and even Stanton) was marvelously interesting.

    Mountains Beyond Mountains looks interesting. the most important organization in the world right now that no one’s ever heard of reminded me of Samantha Power’s wonderful book A Problem From Hell, which introduced me to Raphael Lemkin – maybe the most important person of the 20th century who nobody ever heard of

    Usually I don’t do non-fiction, but the Abercrombie books look interesting, if only because moe99’s recommendation of (the misleadingly titled!) Lincoln’s Dreams was so pleasing!Laura Lippman’s short story collection (Hardly Knew Her) was on the ‘off the top of my head’ list.

    Anyway – what EZ said!!

  100. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 2, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Eric — can i just add my weariness with “just” as extemporaneous prayer filler, as in “Lord, we just want to thank you, because we just want to praise your name as we just try to do your will; Lord, it’s just the most amazing thing when . . .”

    Every so often i get the chance at a clergy gathering to say “can we declare a moratorium on the word ‘just’ for prayer purposes?” and i get the most amused, sheepish, generally agreeing reaction — “wow, we just say the word ‘just’ too much in prayers, don’t we?’

    Yeah. We just do.

  101. Gasman said on December 2, 2008 at 12:22 am

    If it’s Lincoln bios you’re after, the best is still Carl Sandburg’s six volume “Abraham Lincoln: War Years/Prarie Years.” I bought the full first edition set as a present to myself for surviving grad school. I read “Team of Rivals” when it came out in hardback 2 or 3 years ago. It is an interesting twist that Doris Kearns Goodwin puts on Lincoln’s political skills, but I believe that all of the letters cited in her work are in Sandburg’s voluminous tome. Leave it to the poet from Illinois to write the definitive summation of Lincoln.

    MarkH, I’m betting that Domenici didn’t do Lourdes; being a good New Mexican, he came to Chimayó, our own homegrown pilgrimage destination. Each Good Friday about 30,000 Catholics walk from Santa Fe (and points beyond) the 30+ miles to El Santuario de Chimayó. They line the highway and walk throughout the night. You can’t spit without hitting a papist! The dirt is alleged to be holy. Here’s the history in a nutshell:

    http://chimayo.org/history.html

    In addition to the holy dirt they have an abundance of heroin and crime. No kidding. “Need heroin? Come to Chimayo.” Not much of a travelog slogan.

    brian, Why do I get dinged for the conduct of my blogmates? moe99 & Jolene have been thumping Dan-mark more than moi!

  102. Danny said on December 2, 2008 at 12:25 am

    I loved this line by San Diego UT sports columnist Nick Canepa on our lowly Chargers’ slim chance of having a post season:

    Oh, we’re going to hear that, despite Denver’s win over the Jets Sunday, San Diego hasn’t been mathematically eliminated from the AFC West, the Broncos leading by a mere three games with four to play.

    Go ahead and fiddle with your slide rules and do something with a hypotenuse. They have been physically and mentally eliminated. I majored in watching manure, so I know it when I see it.

    I mean, “Go ahead and fiddle with your slide rules and do something with a hypotenuse.” What a great line. I need a laugh when considering the Chargers. Wish the Colts were still in Baltimore .. and Johnny U was still the QB.

    … sigh…

    EDIT: And now someone is making a documentary on Ryan Leaf.

    .. double sigh…

  103. moe99 said on December 2, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Brian, I hope you know that Abercrombie’s books were fiction. Which I use to escape. A good book and my bus ride turns into a very pleasurable ride. This morning, instead I did a phone conference with a judge and opposing counsel on the bus. “That’s ok, your honor, I’m not driving.” I prefer a good book however.

  104. Danny said on December 2, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Moe, are you a SF/Fantasy reader? I am.

  105. moe99 said on December 2, 2008 at 2:29 am

    In a major way, Danny. Who are your favorite authors?

  106. MichaelG said on December 2, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Gasman, that was moi, MichaelG, who raised the Lourdes query. This is the second time you’ve confused me with Mark and I can’t imagine how you do it. We are not all that similar in our commenting.

  107. baldheadeddork said on December 2, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Getting back to cable news after the election (I know, a day late…), I had either MSNBC or CNN on in the background all day for the first eleven months of 2008, but in the last three weeks I’ve pulled a muscles lunging for the remote after just a few minutes.

    As they say about Florida, it’s not the heat – it’s the stupidity. My tolerance for their “areyouf*ckingkiddingme?” standards of reporting evaporated the moment the election was decided. Maybe I never needed to know what was happening every minute of the day during the campaign, but that was the only reason that made watching even tolerable.

    I’m not surprised by their horrible coverage of the Mumbai attacks, or their psychologically sick obsession with Bill and Hillary Clinton.

    Now I’m back to relying mostly on the NewsHour, reading good papers and blogs that deserve my time.

  108. Dorothy said on December 2, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Jeff (tmmo) THANK you for that about the use of “just” in prayers. It gets under my skin when I hear that over and over, and it seems so snotty to complain about, when I should be concentrating on the prayer and what is being experienced. But it really is grating.

  109. Gasman said on December 3, 2008 at 12:42 am

    MichaelG,
    This time I’ll cop to being brain-dead late at night after a long day. I won’t promise I won’t do it again, but I’ll at least make an effort to open my eyes when I type my next response. My bad.

  110. joodyb said on December 3, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Gasman: I first went to Chimayo a year ago, and it is amazing. the shoes! the dirt! the place has an aura.