The Roman way.

Sarah Palin neologism of the day: alikeness, n. the quality of, so to speak, sharing a characteristic or, I don’t know, maybe, trait with another. SYN: similarity. USAGE: “I would think we all tear up during the national anthem at the beginning of a baseball game, don’t we? That’s an alikeness between Alaskans and New Yorkers.”

If this lady keeps giving interviews, we might be able to make this a regular feature.

Current temperature: 9 Fahrenheit. Forecast: Light snow, followed by colder temperatures, with an overnight range of 4 above to -2. Just a warning: Mommy’s in a bad mood.

When you’re feeling this way, it’s interesting how everything you read in the papers seems to underline it. It’s really interesting to me how many of these Wall Street scumbags are opting for the Frankie Pentangeli exit, although, comically, some screw it up. There was an interview on NPR a few days ago with a financial historian who said the infamous suicides of 1929 are an urban myth, that close examination of newspaper reports and other contemporary records show no change in the suicide rate around the time of the stock-market crash, and the whole myth seems to have been based on a single report, later retracted.

Doesn’t surprise me. Bra-burning was the same way.

Anyway, this year it seems the fallen “wealth managers” of the Tarnished Age are convinced it hurts a lot less to fall on your own sword than to fall on some guy’s wand in the prison shower, I guess. Marcus Schrencker, the Indiana wussypants, crashed a perfectly good airplane before he was found trying to die in the ignominious venue of a KOA campground. He has one foot in the club of the successful suicides we discussed a few days ago and my guess is he’ll someday come to see he’s better off alive, but you never know. Just once I want to see one of these shitheads take a more medieval view of permanent redemption, cover his head with sackcloth and ashes and spend the rest of his miserable life in repentance, maybe dishing up beans in a soup kitchen.

I mean, Michael Milken gave up his toupees. Now there’s a sacrifice.

A bit o’ bloggage:

Ryan Seacrest tries to high-five a blind guy.

Someone asked the other day if I read that Albom thing in Sports Illustrated. Answer: Some of it. My eyes crossed when I reached the line, “(Detroiters) celebrate Sweetest Day” and I couldn’t go on. So no comment.

Leads that do not inspire confidence:

Timothy F. Geithner, the man tapped to lead the nation out of the greatest economic crisis in decades — and who would oversee the Internal Revenue Service — trekked to Capitol Hill yesterday to explain to senators how he made almost $43,000 worth of mistakes on his own tax returns.

These people cannot leave Washington fast enough for me. If only they were pursued by pitchfork-wielding mobs. More here, if you can stand it.

And now out into the cold and snow and too-much-to-do. At least I feel fortified with bitterness!

Posted at 9:55 am in Current events |

46 responses to “The Roman way.”

  1. moe99 said on January 14, 2009 at 11:05 am

    I had a law school classmate, Andrew Thornton, who had been a Lexington blueblood, but got into police work, specifically the drug trade before he went to law school. In law school, he went from busting drug purveyors to purveying himself, a lucrative career that he expanded upon graduation. He got into flying up large kilos of cocaine from Mexico or Central America, and throwing them out the airplane with parachutes attached to them in the Great Smoky Mountains with transponders attached. But his plans went awry when he jumped out of the plane (which was set on automatic pilot and crashed into Smokies further up) carrying a bale of cocaine and his weight and the bale were too heavy for his parachute. He bought the ranch, so to speak, in the driveway of some really surprised Tennessee homeowner as I recall. There was an execrable book written about it titled The Bluegrass Conspiracy. He was someone I stayed way far away from in law school because he was a real asshole.

    ps. when the police went to track down the cocaine bales in the mountains, they found one very dead bear next to one. Seems the bear had sampled liberally of the contents. Nice way to go.

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  2. Hank Stuever said on January 14, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Along with Wall Street suicides and bra burners, I add Vietnam vets who were “spat on” when they got home. As if there was some sort of ritual hippie expectoration team waiting at all airports and bus stations.

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  3. alex said on January 14, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Ah, the bra burners. I seem to recall some really crap-ass made-for-TV movie in the early ’70s featuring a bra-burning rally. It had Farrah Fawcett in it.

    Just looked it up. It was called “The Feminist and the Fuzz.” (For those of you young ‘uns here, the Fuzz in the title wasn’t a reference to body hair.)

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  4. lou gravity said on January 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    To debunk the debunkers: 3, 4, or 20 high profile suicides are certainly not going to change the overall suicide rate. That’s a disingenuous approach.

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  5. nancy said on January 14, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Link to the original NPR story. Note the commenter who agrees with you.

    Moe, one of my favorite Dave Barry stories was about a case in Miami that got a bit of national press at the time. A small plane suspected of carrying drugs was being chased by the DEA, and was jettisoning cargo as the pilot flew very low over residential areas. Barry said there was an organizational meeting for a Crimestoppers chapter going on in Homestead, and everyone was outside on the back patio, listening to a local police officer brief them on how you could detect drug activity in your neighborhood. Only the officer was drowned out by this plane engine, and everyone looks up just in time to see a bale of pot come hurtling down into the pool.

    He swears it’s true, and given the state of Miami at the time, I believe him.

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  6. beb said on January 14, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Lou Gravity writes: To debunk the debunkers: 3, 4, or 20 high profile suicides are certainly not going to change the overall suicide rate. That’s a disingenuous approach.

    But where there 3, 4 – 20 high profile suicides? Were there any? And who would constitute a high-profile suicide? A Rockafeller, a Vanderbilt, Carnegie? Debunking debunker’s is a skill that requires more than simply contrary accertions.

    My sympathies to the bear who had unwittingly sampled civilization’s rot.

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  7. Gasman said on January 14, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Bradley Schlozman is an unremarkably odious turd on the shit sandwich that is the Bush administration. That he is fairly average in his mendacity and arrogance amongst this present manifestation of conservatism which has infected our nation for the last eight years speaks volumes as to the depths of Republican depravity. How many Republicans nationally have decried such behavior? A deafening silence from their ranks. And they wonder why they lost the election so decisively.

    Schlozman’s fate is of special interest to me because his activities are directly related to the firing of former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. Iglesias, former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, chronicled the improper and illegal activities of Bush’s Justice Department that led to his (Iglesias’) dismissal for refusing to engage in overtly political prosecutions of Democrats right before the 2006 elections. It was Iglesias’ sworn testimony before Congress that led to the resignation of veteran Sen. Pete Domenici, the ultimate defeat of former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) in her run for Domenici’s senate seat, and led to the entire New Mexico congressional delegation being Democratic for the first time in 40 years.

    I hope that the Obama administration will begin a rigorous course of prosecutions of illegal activities committed during the last eight years, especially those originating in the Justice Department and the White House. The reason that these arrogant bastards feel that they are above the law is because, until they are prosecuted for what they have done, they are above the law. A few well place heads on pikes would serve remarkably well as deterrents for future appointees that feel that they are not bound by the rule of law.

    This type of conduct is why I am so disgusted with conservatives. This is the legacy of conservatism; lying, rank hypocrisy, and dripping, condescending arrogance that holds all others in contempt.

    Let’s send Bradley Schlozman to the prison cell where he belongs. I’m sure that we could find plenty of other “right-thinking Americans” to keep him company during his stay.

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  8. Catherine said on January 14, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    As someone who is essentially self-employed, and has attempted to be responsible in paying taxes on various nannies and a cleaning lady, I look at Tim Geithner’s situation and say, “There, but for the grace of God (and well, lack of nomination to federal office) go I.” Until you have tried to do the quarterly state and federal employer tax forms yourself, I suggest that you go easy on Tim. Instead of Tim being the one who has some ‘splainin’ to do, I frankly think the senators should be explaining to him why they have made doing the right thing so effing difficult.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 14, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Ditto Catherine. Quarterly estimated for self is hard enough (although i get tired every four years of being asked to feel sorry for people who hire low wage foreign nationals to run their lives).

    The “housekeeper vetting” seems to be an issue they ought to offer a class on at the Wharton or Kennedy School of Gov’t or Harvard Biz, for anyone planning a career in public service.

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  10. Gasman said on January 14, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Dan Froomkin of WaPo has an apropos summation of the eight year disaster that will be Bush’s legacy:

    And to think that there are plenty of people that would have been content to see a perpetuation of this kind of governance.

    Less than a week before the criminal investigations and prosecutions can begin in earnest.

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  11. jcburns said on January 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    And since nn.c is the site to turn to for coverage of breaking news:

    BREAKING NEWS: Apple chief Steve Jobs taking medical leave until June

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  12. Rana said on January 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    This is probably a stupid question, but since we’re on the topic, aren’t nannies and the like self-employed? If so, shouldn’t they be the ones paying their taxes, not their clients? It seems odd to me that they’d be considered as employees of a household, rather than as independent contractors.

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  13. moe99 said on January 14, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Geithner employed a housekeeper who was legally in the U.S. and married to a citizen when she was hired, and who was in compliance with immigration laws until about three months before she stopped working for the Geithners. He is being criticized for not catching the change in her status during that three month period while she was still employed by them. To which I say – are you kidding me? In those circumstances, unless somebody showed me that he had actual knowledge of the change in her status and didn’t do or say anything about it, that ought to be a complete non-issue.

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  14. MarkH said on January 14, 2009 at 6:30 pm

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  15. harrison said on January 14, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    nancy, it’s cold here in central indiana. with luck, i won’t have to leave my place until saturday at the earliest.

    then you said about that rat bastard schrencker:

    Just once I want to see one of these shitheads take a more medieval view of permanent redemption, cover his head with sackcloth and ashes and spend the rest of his miserable life in repentance, maybe dishing up beans in a soup kitchen.

    unfortunately, people like that rat bastard usually don’t repent. they’re somewhat sociopathic — and that helps their success in their fields.

    and the indy star today had the angle of “this man had two sides” — devoted dad and dark dealer, to paraphrase the headline on the front page.

    i’m not surprised. if a person has a front that seems a little too perfect to me, most of the time it means he (or she) harbors and hides a nasty secret.

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  16. MarkH said on January 14, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Jeff, Catherine and moe, why are you giving this guy a pass? He was high up in the IMF and ascended to the top of the New Yok Fed, fer cryin’ out loud. And, it was more than a three-month issue because he failed to pay FICA and Medicare for four years. There is no excuse for a man of his stature not to have an accountant that knows what he’s doing. I have no axe to grind with Geithner, but this is pretty simple stuff for someone like him.

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  17. joodyb said on January 14, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Wikipedia says in the 80s Geithner worked for a Ford Fdn microloan program in Indonesia that Obama’s mother had a hand in. He grew up mostly outside the US. Wikipedia lists him as the engineer of the March 08 Bear Stearns sale and many bailout dominoes that fell after. he will replace Hank Paulson, of the GOP (born and bred, staff assistant to Nixon) it’s-my-turn pedigree. Disturbing that at least on the surface, Geither’s personal understanding of the IRS and attendant responsibilities does not paint him as a guy who cares about his own minutia. if he really wanted a White House job, esp. coming from NY Fed, why wasn’t he more diligent? then again, his accountants weren’t compelled to raise flags. Several noted today that taxpayers deserve at least a detail man. otoh, even the PowerLine guys say this is not big deal. I wash my hands and i’m sure everyone applauds.

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  18. joodyb said on January 14, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    oh, chatty cathy forgot to say: when i left at 315p my car said 6F. when i got to work, it read -4F. we are headed for
    -20 tonight at MSP, where it was -24 Monday night.

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  19. april glaspie said on January 14, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Geithner paid his taxes. Does anybody that wants to find such fault with this fuy want to ask Cheney about Iraq contracting and Halliburton/Blacjwell profiteerubg and whether he made a bundle on tainted water and those slow-boat fuel shipments? Didn’t think so. It’s fairly obscene that the military-petroleum complex is getting religion at this point and don’t want to question Cheney about his energy luncheon-mates.

    One obvious thing is that they don’t want to open up Raygun’s and HW’s records to scrutiny. That cash from Pineappleface might look bad, particularly when Noriega’s got the goods on Bush.

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  20. april glaspie said on January 14, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    They’re all just looking to get out of Washington without getting caught. When the Pretzeldent thinks he has to admit to torture but claim it was justified, you’d have to be an idiot not to wonder what sort of war criminals these assholes are. They sid, quite ungrammatically, ‘We don’t torture’. Well, yeah they did. And you can posit the shibboleth hypothetical, if lives were at stake, but that was never remotely true, and these bastards were so drunk with extra-Constitutional power, they just did it any way.

    Shrub said he was assured it was all legal, but his counsel and his justice department were under dire pressure from the stovepipe gang to say it was legal beforehand. So the question is, didn’t they just want to do it in the first place? Because they thought they could get away with it?

    Are they sadistic whack-jobs? Cheney’s trying to clim that the CIA convinced his fat ass that Saddam was connected to the bombing of the world trade center. This is just patent bullshit. Fact is, the biggest Constitutional terriss that ever lived were running the government on the basis of two stolen presidential elections.

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  21. brian stouder said on January 14, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    It’s fairly obscene that the military-petroleum complex is getting religion at this point

    Amen to that, Sister April (or brother Caliban)

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  22. Catherine said on January 14, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Rana, the IRS is unfortunately crystal clear about nannies and household cleaners. The choices for doing their taxes are hire thru an agency, pay a payroll firm or DIY. DH does it himself for our every-other-week cleaning lady, because we are too cheap to part with ~$200/quarter for a firm. We want to do the right thing, and she wants to pay in to SS. But boy, is it a headache, and the penalities for screwing up even by a nickel add up really fast.

    MarkH, to clarify, there are 2 issues with Geithner: The 3-month issue is the household employee issue. Moe makes an excellent case on that one — the employee’s status changed while she was in his employ, and he didn’t think to ask about it. The other issue is back taxes on income he made while self-employed. Yes, a decent accountant would have insisted on him paying the self-employment taxes. But, the bigger question here is, why is the tax code so punitive to the self-employed? We pay double on certain taxes, and unlike other workers, have heinous quarterly tax paperwork. Imagine doing your taxes 4x/year instead of once! Have you ever had to file quarterly self-employment tax forms? I thought not. The responsibility for the failure is at least in part Congress’s, and I think they should be as much embarassed as self-righteous.

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  23. april glaspie said on January 14, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    I wasn’t around for the plummeting Wall Street guys, but I’d bet they opened their parachutes to float down unscathed with bib buvcks in the Caymans while pension funds crahed. Meanwhile, Cheney’s Halliburton stock increased in value by 3000%, mainly because he lied his ass off after creating the invasion and occupation.

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  24. Dorothy said on January 14, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    It’s always so nice when Sybil … errrr… caliban stops by for a chat.

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  25. april glaspie said on January 14, 2009 at 9:14 pm


    I don’t know how my name changed. I do use the aprilglaspie name sometimes. April Glaspie was the Dtate Dept. employee that was sent by HW to tell Saddam the US didn’t give a shit if he invaded Kuwait when those notorious liars were slant drilling oil out of Iraq. She was an unwitting pawn in an obvious setup for launching Desert Storm. Far as I can tell, April Glaspie has disappeared. This is how these bastards do business.

    April Claspie is sort of a hero of mine, because she went public at exactly the same time as the Kuwaitis squealed like little pigs and the world was treated to thee story of Iraqi soldiers ripping kids from incubators. Wjich was totally invented by her dad, who made up another famous story about Iraqi rockets landing in Kuwait City.

    So, she lies her ass off because her dad lies his ass off. , two generations of Bushes apart.

    HW assured April she was telling the truth to Saddam The ramifications of intentions gone bad is spectacular. When Bush I was dealing with Saddam before he became persona non grata, he was an ally against the Ayatollah.

    When Hamas was a rival of Fatah, the Israeli government built them with American cash. Now we have Hamas elected democratically and the Israelis pursuing apartheid in Gaza, and we have the Taliban resurgent thinking about Americans like the second coming of the Soviets. And Afghanistan is poppy central. Just say yo.

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  26. mark said on January 14, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I thought it was excessive poiltical correctness when Zoe Baird and others were disqualified over nanny taxes and similar issues. I’m not going to change my opinion now over Geithner. If the IRS is satisfied, penalties paid and no crime, move on.

    I disagree with the suggestion that self-employed filing requirements are too difficult for even the supposedly brilliant to be expected to comply. I’ve done it that way for the last 15 years. It’s a pain in the ass and more complicated. What is not complicated is understanding that you have to do it. The 1099 should have been a nice reminder.

    It’s now being reported that the IMF gave reporting instructions to its contractors and even made a year-end “gross up” payment to them to compensate for the taxes they would owe. If, as reported, Geithner filled out a form for this gross up payment each year, and certified he understood he had to and was paying the taxes on his IMF income, then I think he has to answer a question or two.

    But if there was no crime, let Obama have his guy.

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 14, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Why is my son dancing and screaming and laughing around and around the living room? Oh. Curse those auto-calls from the school superintendent — what happened to crouching anxiously around the radio in the pre-dawn morning like members of the French Resistance, listening for the secret code phrase from the BBC on shortwave: “School is cancelled tomorrow.”

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  28. caliban said on January 14, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    People believe they can game American representative democracy. Cheney’s made a bundle, and he’s laughing at everybody that thinks a vote matters. It doesn’t, if you have the Supreme Court sewed up.

    You can shoot a guy when you’re under the influence. He was, or why did the Secret Service keep him from the cops so long, He believes hes supposed to get away with anything. He knows what heinous war crime he wants to commit, so he bullies a bunch of political appointee turds that are scared shitless of him into backing his ludicrous story, while he retreats to his bunker.

    Ever read Scerwtape? That’s Cheney and W, Wormwood licking Scretape’s ass.

    If you’re comfortable with treating the Constitution like toilet paper, Cheney is your boy, but why not steal an election for Kommissar Karl. These people, to use that term loosely, think the Constitution is a joke. But you nitwits vote for them. Not this time.

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  29. caliban said on January 14, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Geithner’s alleged failure to file had to do with the IMF. Did Wolfowitz meet all of the international requirements while he was attempting a John Bolton on the organitarion?? No. Ask the comb.

    Here’s the deal. If Republicans want to raise procedural and idiotic roadblocks, who had lunch with Cheney when he was making energy policy?. Might seem silly, but if it was some Enron type, that’s obstructionof jusice, no doubt. Cheney believes he’s covered his trail, but bunker or no, this guy is a criminal. He’s a war criminal, but he’s a criminal in the US Justice system, too. Actually, he agetted Karl Rove in eviscerating the Justice Department and turning it into an RNC campaign tool.. These two assholes pulled this shit and they’re going to get away with it? These two are crooks Nixon only dreamed of.

    The Bush administration, right up to W are guilty of war crimes that are embarrassingly obvious, You get right down to it, every signing statement by W ws a crime. W? Moron or coconspirator? Lying your ass off to Congress, under oath or not, you broke the law.

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  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 14, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    So, in honor of Ricardo Montalban —

    and it was from watching this very movie, as an exchange student in Greeley, Colorado in 1949 that Sayyid Qutb wrote the book which was the basis for what became . . . al-Qaeda.

    See also for the context of what so disturbed Qutb.

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  31. Catherine said on January 15, 2009 at 12:10 am

    I just found a good article about the Geithner tax issues in the WSJ. The IMF reimbursement payments cover US income taxes but not Social Security and Medicare. So, I still think it’s understandable that he didn’t know he needed to pay self-employment tax. And, I think we can still all agree that the tax system for freelancers is punitive and overly complex.

    However, the article goes into a bunch of other smaller tax infractions, including improper small business deduction, ineligible charitable contributions, expensing of utility costs that were personal, and my personal favorite, using dependent care tax credits for overnight camps (it’s super-clear that only day camps qualify). At some point, it starts to look like a pattern. Whose, I don’t know. Maybe an overly aggressive accountant? But why would someone in Geithner’s position (or anyone who’s trying to be honest) hire someone who plays so close to the lines? I’m starting to think that a modest coal-raking might be called for after all.

    Ugh, must stop obsessing about taxes. Starting to feel like Ross Perot.

    Jeff, congratulations and condolences on the snow day. Everyone in the weather, take care.

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  32. Dexter said on January 15, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Hank Stuever said:

    “Along with Wall Street suicides and bra burners, I add Vietnam vets who were “spat on” when they got home. As if there was some sort of ritual hippie expectoration team waiting at all airports and bus stations.”

    Many Viet-vets were spat upon, Hank. I have two close friends who were . I was told I “stunk” merely because I had a military haircut. I wrote before here at NN of a couple experiences in bars when women found out I was a Vvet.
    I suppose you don’t believe we were called “baby-killers!!” either? How about yes, we were, in my case by a chanting large group of antiwar protesters outside the gates of Oakland Army Base, the jumping-off point for Vietnam.
    Maybe your point was it wasn’t as widespread as you were led to believe, but many vets were indeed cursed and berated and spat upon…people just plain fucking hated us, and let that be known. As if we WANTED to go to that goddam place.

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  33. caliban said on January 15, 2009 at 1:19 am

    What pisses me off is that the biggest liars in the history of, possibly, the world, are getting away with questioning good people about niggling bullshit, These bastards and their lackeys in the Senate and House are strutting when they rugger-stamped every foul trashing of the Constitution that’s gone on for eight interminable years.

    Don Vitter sitting there and raising questions of personal ntegrity is almost hilarious, but there are people that despise Hillary Clinton that are too dense to get the irony.

    People are so goddamned stupid, they don’t see there’s something parodic about Joe Wurzlewhatever getting paid by Republican Propaganda Inc. to report on another egregious invasion and occupation and say media shouldn’t be allowed to report on invasions and occupations while he’s allegedly reporting on an obvious invasion.

    Rich people ought to admit they got rich with no effort, for the most part, and just pay up. The cash the Bush brethren got from Prescott, that was from Naxis, so give it to Israel, but make them turn over the nukes. The middle east lives in the shadow of Israel’s nuclear weapons, Iran is ssssssssomething like ten years from nuclear capability. So who’s a nuclear threat. Given Israeli politics, I’d say the Israelis.

    The world’s not safe when anybody has these weapons. But expecting Iran to live with Israels capability of nuking the entire Middle East is ridiculous. Worst comes to worset, wouldn’t it be like Pakistan and India? And worst comes to the unthinkable. wouldn’t we get Israeli politicians acting tough in a parliamentary run-up and just blowing up Iran? That sort of imperialistic aggression is the way Israeli democracy works, isn’t it?

    But they’re cute. Bibi and Tzipi, you know. It’s like the Marx Brothers. I think her name must be Tzipporah, and the abject criminal’s name is Binjamin. Is it a requirement of Israeli government that you be indicted and convicted of fraud and larceny? Used to be you only had to prove you had once been a member of Gush Emmum or Hagannah or the Stern Group or Irgun (now they could teach Hamas something about terrorism). Motto: murdering Palestinians since 1948.

    So as long as there are choppers and $4bil annually of American cash, this whole threatened victim thing is kinda ludicrous, especially wityh the nukes and effective delivery systems sourtesy of the USA. The entire region lives in danger, and it’s not from unguided home-made Hamas missiles.

    W was enamored of democracy in Legananon Israel blew that to smithereens. No roads, no water, no fuel. That’s what’s been done to Gaza, and now they’tr just blowinh up kids.

    I cab’t believe Americans buy thi bullshit.Gaza needs medical supplies and access to docotrs. Three hours a day is tea. Israel has imposed a debilitating apartheidembargo for 18 months and now they’re blowing the place up, and killing emergency personnel. Sounds likee genocide. But, having had that done, Israelis aren’t capable of that sort of behavior. Are they?

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  34. Dexter said on January 15, 2009 at 1:59 am

    what else can you call it, caliban? “self defense?”…the videos of the wounded dying kids in Gaza makes me sick. I am hard pressed to recall such horror as this caused by Israeli bombs. It’s no Shock and Awe, but Bush is in a class by himself on that issue. We will never know how many thousands of innocent civilians were obliterated by Bush , just in the first round of Baghdad bombings. Now the war-focus moves to Afghanistan, where Obama is going to double US ground forces immediately or as soon as he possibly can. That first seg on CBS 60 Minutes was most interesting last Sunday.

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  35. moe99 said on January 15, 2009 at 2:24 am

    wrt whether Vietnam Vets were spit on, I offer this piece by Jack Shafer in Slate:

    And I offer that as someone who was a friend of Lou Puller, Jr., Chesty’s son.

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  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Camille Paglia in on Sarah Palin —
    “Ideology-driven attacks on Palin became clotted liberal clichés within 24 hours of her introduction as John McCain’s running mate. What a bunch of tittering lemmings the urban elite have become in this country. From Couric’s vicious manipulations of video clips to Cavett’s bourgeois platitudes, the preemptive strike on Palin as a potential presidential candidate has grossly misfired. Whatever legitimate objections may be raised to Palin on political grounds (explored, for example, by David Talbot in Salon) have been lost in the amoral overkill that has defamed a self-made woman of concrete achievement in the public realm.”

    Then she went on to say a bit more about Katie . . . which even i thought was a bit over the top, but she does represent an interesting pov.

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  37. nancy said on January 15, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Palia is “interesting” insofar as it’s “interesting” that an academic with the attention span of a flea and the intellectual depth of a late-night channel surfer has somehow convinced a liberal website to carry her column. She’s the Coulter of the academy, Jeff, and I’m surprised you pay any attention to her.

    A long time ago I realized there’s always a buck to be made in “contrarianism.” Be a woman who denounces feminism, or a Democrat who rejects political correctness, or any X who might be expected to believe Y — but doesn’t! — and just wait for your op-ed slot. Kathleen Parker built her early career on being the first kind (feminist who rejects feminism) and recently switched to the other kind (Republican who rejects Palin). SInce then, she can regularly be found in the Washington Post. It’s like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, an act that never gets old.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2009 at 9:26 am

    So, i could position myself as a preacher who rejects God, i could get a nationally read column gig?

    No, that wouldn’t work, because it’s been done to death. Maybe i could be a geek who despises geekdom, or a housing advocate who hates the homeless (i’ll bet PajamasMedia would hire me for that gig!).

    Truly, i was interested last spring in the kind of governor Palin represented, along with Jindal and Crist, although i can happily hear critiques of any of the three. This last election, on both sides, was a self-reinforcing aberration of Senatorial Gravitas — no matter how well President Obama does, i think his successors of whatever party are going to be state governors again, because governance choices are clearer and better measured out of that position than from the relatively negative stance of the Senate (not a slam, that’s their Constitutional job, to mainly vote stuff down).

    For ’08, the Senatorial snowball just built steam, and it was not a good time for Gov. Palin to stick her head up out of an Alaskan snowdrift. We’ll see if some of her choices as governor hold up in a tightening economy, ditto Jindal, or how they will shift to respond to them; here in Ohio, i think Ted Strickland (D) will be heard from on the national scene in a few years, but very dependent on whether his attempts to reform the education funding and tax structure work out, along with neighbor Granholm up your way, even if neither runs for president.

    Plus, we have a huge unseen crisis in MR/DD issues & funding nationwide, which autism is a tip o’ the iceberg angle only. It’s what’s breaking school district budgets, and as we reform that side of the public funding equation, we’re going to have to put back out on the middle of the table who/how/when kids with special needs are handled. Palin, Strickland, and other governors are up to speed on that in a way few in Washington since Jim Jeffords even comprehend.

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  39. brian stouder said on January 15, 2009 at 9:41 am

    along with neighbor Granholm up your way, even if neither runs for president.

    Granholm really IS disqualified from being president for not being ‘native born’; but one wonders what mechanism would stop her if she said “What the hell” and ran for it anyway. (the airy dismissal of all the bogus claims against President-elect Obama’s natural-born citizenship based on a ‘lack of standing’ by the plaintiffs gave me pause. There is probably a compelling short story that could be written, with a Granholm/Schwarzenegger-like candidate making a run at the presidency. Who has legal standing to complain? What if that person won’t?)

    As for the superiority (or better qualifications) of governor to be president, an interesting point to ponder, indeed.

    Recently on C-SPAN, a very entertaining hour and a half (or so) show with Fritz Hollings recently aired. I remembered him as a Central Casting-type southern senator (from SC), but he was also the governor of South Carolina before that.

    He vigorously advanced the argument that no one should get to be a Senator before serving a term or two as a governor.

    His point was that governors all have to live within a budget; they all have to make hard decisions and choices, and if the dollars run out, things get very much harder- and voters will give you hell!

    But Senators who have never had to deal with a state budget, on the other hand, reside in a fiscal lala land….it was an interesting thesis, buttressed with many coloful anecdotes

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  40. nancy said on January 15, 2009 at 9:45 am

    I wouldn’t vote for Jennifer Granholm for mayor of Grosse Pointe Woods. She’s got a lot more working against her than her birthplace.

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  41. MichaelG said on January 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

    I did two tours in Vietnam during the war and spent three very enjoyable weeks there in 2000. It’s a beautiful country populated by friendly, hard working people. I love the place. While in the army I passed through numerous airports and never got spit on, never had any conflicts with anybody. I’m inclined to believe that such incidents probably happened, but were rare and over reported.

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  42. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Huh. I’ve heard pro-lifers pretty harshly condemn Granholm on abortion, but i really hadn’t heard any other critiques about her work — she’s fairly well spoken of, and Ohio doesn’t tend to say nice things about Michiganders, you may have heard. What’s she not doing well?

    (And i promise that the moment Palin isn’t whacked at as a pinata anymore, i have absolutely no interest in bringing her up. She just keeps leading posts and comments here, i like to help maintain a 1 to 10 ratio for her at NN.C. Should she have talked to John Whatsis with his “Why Obama Won” pseudo-film-docu-thing? Probably not.)

    But i am curious about Granholm. CNN sure likes her, she’s on every other day — or is that the beef? More national media time than work on the front lines of Michigan?

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  43. nancy said on January 15, 2009 at 10:18 am

    I’d say my problems with Jenny come down to sheer ineffectiveness. A lot of what’s wrong with MIchigan — most of it — is out of her control, but events in Lansing aren’t, and I haven’t seen her do much other than look good on TV. The state budget shortfalls are cartoonishly large, and she can’t seem to guide the party in any direction other than “let’s increase taxes.” I’m not knee-jerk against tax increases, but at a time when the state is on life support and hemorrhaging population, it’s not a helpful solution. Last year they finally amended a hated business tax and instituted a “service tax” which was even worse, because it was Swiss cheesey with holes depending on which industry had more effective lobbyists. (Skiing=taxed. Golf=not taxed.) It was repealed less than 24 hours after taking effect, and replaced with a surcharge on? Yes, the business tax. Where is leadership? On CNN, looking pretty.

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  44. coozledad said on January 15, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Paglia always seems to find someone who is similarly desexed to puff up into an avatar of whatever the fuck it is she feels like going on about at the moment. First, there was Madonna, who apparently was told by her handlers that she’d have to put in sixteen hour days to convince the world she had a twat. Madonna’s high school acting skills were apparently enough to convince Paglia she was the second coming.

    Sarah’s just another coatrack on whom Paglia can hang her master’s thesis “The sublimation of intercourse into the oblique harangue”.

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  45. MichaelG said on January 16, 2009 at 9:13 am

    A while back there was talk among the Rs about killing the citizenship requirement so Arnold could run for POTUS. Haven’t heard any of that stuff lately. He’s hiding from lynch mobs now. At least in this town.

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