To the New York island.

At some point during the HBO broadcast of Obama’s inaugural celebration — I think it was when Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi, of all people, took “A Change is Gonna Come” to a new place — Alan expressed relief that Obama had won the election. Otherwise, he said, we might have been watching Kobe Teeth, Hank Jr. and other Sarah Palin-approved entertainers kick out the jams for the Real America.

Say whatever you want about Democrats, but we generally put on a better show.

I’ll shut up now.

But I thought the “This Land is Your Land” performance was fantastic.

OK, now I’ll shut up.

My favorite verse in “This Land is Your Land”

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

Woody, you old Commie, you. Now I’ll shut up.

But where were the Dixie Chicks?

OK. Shutting up now.

Why should I shut up, after all? Out of sensitivity to my half-dozen Republican friends? Knowing they’re seething, watching all this? Their gloom is something to behold, after all; I look around at the blogs and see a range of emotions from grim resignation to outright hostility (with a few outliers like Jeff TMMO, who has the audacity of hope). Here’s my problem: I have empathy. I know just how they feel, although I like to think that if I were Peggy Noonan, and had previously embarrassed myself with a toe-curling passage about the beauty of Ronald Reagan’s foot, I’d hold off writing that presidents are just men, after all, and those feet turn out to be made of clay. For a while, anyway.

It’s no fun to see the wrong guy win. So now they get to see what that’s like. Although I wonder about their perception, frankly. The other day I noticed the Journal Gazette, the other paper in Fort Wayne, the one I didn’t work for, has a Facebook page. I was reading its Wall posts, and came across this comment from a reader:

To be honest, I am not really a big fan of this newspaper. The editorial board is a throwback to marxist ideology.

I checked the Marxist editorial page. In a random sample, I found approval of two police shootings of civilians, approval of the Republican governor’s State of the State address, and… oh wait, here’s some Marxism — an endorsement that lawmakers consider residents’ opinions in setting school policy, and disapproval of administering the death penalty to a batshit-crazy multiple murderer (who was, of course, found fit to stand trial).

In other words, I don’t trust these folks’ baseline brain power.

Oh, well. Let’s enjoy these special few days before we can return to the utter delamination of our economy and individual job situations.

So, bloggage:

Farewell to abstinence-only education, and good riddance. I mean, I hope the other drivers on the road are safe operators, but I still wear my seatbelt, too.

Michael Kinsley asks the whimsical question: Just who is the voice of God? Answer: James Earl Jones, with Morgan Freeman as an understudy. Hollywood always has fun with God depictions, at least post-“The Ten Commandments.” Look, God is George Burns, a little old man with a little old man voice! And so on. Tell me, though: Won’t you be disappointed if you go to heaven and discover God’s voice is that of Bradley Schlozman?

I know what it’s like to be out of work and I empathize, so this is reported straight-up: The Wingnut Welfare Train is fully booked, seek alternate transportation. That is all.

Posted at 10:29 am in Current events |

75 responses to “To the New York island.”

  1. Sue said on January 19, 2009 at 10:48 am

    If we have the Dixie Chicks, can we have Heart, too? Ok, I’ll shut up now. And the Voice of God is Alan Rickman, speaking for Alanis Morissette.

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  2. Ellen said on January 19, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Oh, honestly. What are we getting with Obama? Can we look at substance instead of entertainment choices?

    I’ll close Gitmo right away…er…not

    I’ll get us out of Iraq really soon…er…not

    I’ll be all hope n’ change…pardon me while I nominate the Clinton administration for my cabinet…

    And really, Nance, doesn’t the cultishness of this event, the quasi-religious hope that people are putting in Obama creep you out even a *little* bit?

    Put out all the snappy one-liners about hick GOPers that you want, but I can’t believe you’re uncritically on board with this train. Disappointing.

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  3. brian stouder said on January 19, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for the link to the niggling Noonan piece. I was struck by the crabbed, contingent nature of this passage (with emphasis added, to her conditions):

    To [President-elect Obama’s] Thursday’s speech itself. It had a clean and clearly stated but rather grand opening: “Throughout America’s history, there have been some years that simply rolled into the next without much notice or fanfare. Then there are the years that come along once in a generation—the kind that mark a clean break from a troubled past, and set a new course for our nation. This is one of those years.” This may well turn out to be true, but is perhaps best said by others and in retrospect.

    Or, rather, perhaps not!

    Who was the president who said – in a statement to Congress (essentially a State of the Union message):

    “Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We — even we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.”


    It has a clean and clearly stated but rather grand sound; and it more or less did “turn out to be true”.

    Perhaps it would have been best said by others, and in retrospect, yes? We better off without clear-eyed, evocative communication from our president? Grandeur should NOT come from there, but only from the scribbling class?

    (Does Peggy have prose-envy?)

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  4. del said on January 19, 2009 at 11:17 am

    With his grating voice, irritating manner, and authoritarian style, it seems likely that Bradley Scholzman endured much as a child.

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  5. jeff borden said on January 19, 2009 at 11:20 am

    It is hard for me to feel much sympathy for the outgoing party and its followers. It was this group, after all, that accused me of being a traitor and an appeaser because I saw no sense in launching war on a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11. It was this group that branded me a godless bastard because I believe in a strict separtion of church and state. It was this group that accused me of harboring sympathy for terrorists simply because I believe torture is morally indefensible for a nation that presents itself as a beacon to the world. It was this group that called me an elitist (a pretty nifty trick for a kid who graduated in the bottom fourth of his high school class and got his college degree from a land grant college in Ohio) because I believe decisions should be based on science, knowledge and experience, not gut feelings. It was this group that called me a stupid tree-hugger because I think this planet is worth protecting. It was this group that politicized everything around me –movies, music, books, plays– and demonized anyone who doesn’t live in small town Americana.

    The damage they leave in their wake –domestically and internationally– will take decades to repair, if it can be fixed at all.

    I am happy to watch them leave. No, I am overjoyed at watching them leave. I wish them a long, cold visit to the barren political wildnerness, where perhaps they can learn how to govern a nation instead of 51% of the country.

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  6. Susan said on January 19, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Nancy, sometimes I think you sell us conservative FW hicks short. I’ve lived in the Fort for almost 20 years and – although I’m conservative – consider you a “friend” (if that’s not too pathetic to say since we’ve never met). I’ve loved your writing since reading your columns years ago. And, though I would never vote for someone of Obama’s beliefs, I don’t wish him ill. When Bush won, I didn’t feel like gloating to my democrat friends. I know some (on both sides) do; just don’t paint us all with that brush so quickly.

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  7. brian stouder said on January 19, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Jeff – not even “51% of the country” – but only 51% of the “likely voters” in the right combination of states! And – if the overall likely-voter turnout needs to be reduced (or suppressed) to get the right result on election night – so much the better!

    Karl Rove, who looked like an electoral genius (or evil genius, take your pick) several summers ago, now looks like a giant termite, hollowing out the branches and the trunk of the GOP, so that now it has pitched over – and they are left with a rotting log on the floor of the forrest….which makes ground-bound gnawers like Limbaugh perfectly happy…

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  8. alex said on January 19, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Here’s betting the local ignoscenti are picking up all this “Marxism” shit from reading the blog at Nance’s alma mater, where her former colleague Leo Morris invokes Marxism quite promiscuously in just about everything he writes. He refers to Obama as “Wealth redistributionist in chief,” and generally a day doesn’t go by when he isn’t also pimping for the global warming deniers or the NRA.

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  9. del said on January 19, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Ellen, Obama gives people hope. Nothing wrong with that.
    Whenever I want a sense of what rabid republicans are up to I turn on Fox “News.” Right now they’re giving the Obama inaugural nonstop coverage to create implausibly high expectations for the man and to discredit and marginalize Democrats generally. It’s the opposite of the Sarah Palin pre-debate spin by which the GOP sought to lower public expectations for Palin. Create a backdrop of assured failure for Obama. And trivialize the Democratic base. A typical FOX News piece would place a microphone in the face of the most outrageous inaugural reveller to be found and then have the solemn news anchor shake his head at the enthusiasm of a “typical” Obama acolyte.
    Ellen, Nancy’s not being uncritical. The train hasn’t even left the station . . .

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  10. nancy said on January 19, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Alex, I wish I could feel anything for my alma mater other than pity at the moment. Circulation’s barely holding above 20K. What’s more pathetic than reading that blog and then seeing the first commenter is always the even more pathetic Bob G., who chimes in like Ed McMahon: LOL! Leo, you are ONTO SOMETHING. 😉

    Oh, as for the quasi-religiosity of all this, I actually do have some thoughts, but they’re not gelled yet.

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  11. jeff borden said on January 19, 2009 at 11:56 am

    You’re quite right about where the Republican Party finds itself right now. Your phraseology is elegant yet pungent. And the role the “turd blossom” played in creating this predicament cannot be overstated. I’d be much happier seeing that little popcorn fart in federal prison for his many dirty deeds, but recognize that will never happen. I fully expect W.’s last extended middle-finger to the nation he betrayed will be a host of pardons covering the vermin who got us to this place.

    That said, there is no small amount of satisfaction in watching the rickety political architecture built by Rove collapse while he watches. From genius to bonehead in four years. . .quite a feat, Karl, quite a feat. Enjoy the rancid fruits of your labor, Karl.

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  12. moe99 said on January 19, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    I was in the Carter administration, a political appointee, who got to watch the gleeful Reaganauts take over. I remember the rise in conspicuous consumption that accompanied them, the increase in use of limousines was the most apparent outward sign. Their glee was loud and shrill and it lasted the full 12 years. Whatever the Democrats are doing now is only at best on a par with the Republicans when they came into power in 1981. Rat bastards.

    And, while I was in the Grand Canyon, I had dinner at the swanky El Tovar hotel in the south rim and had to listen to a fat, right wing American asshole loudly proclaim to a group of Europeans that Obama was nothing but a Marxist/socialist whore. It seems that the term has been passed around to the faithful neo con underground. I expect to see much more use in the future.

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  13. Sue said on January 19, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Ellen, I respect your opinion; don’t think many of us haven’t been a little nervous about some of the directions Obama has taken. For myself I can point to FISA, pre-election, as my “keep yourself calm, he’s human” moment. Just please don’t accuse “our side” of giving in to religious fervor, quasi- or otherwise. We’ve been watching politics-by-way-of-religion from the sidelines for 8 years, and we have, indeed, learned from what we’ve seen. First lesson: injecting religion into politics will backfire, and the severity of the damage will be in direct relation to the ham-handedness of the tactics.

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  14. LA Mary said on January 19, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    I second everything Jeff B said in his first comment, and agree completely with the Bettye Levette/Jon Bon Jovi comment.
    I am so very happy to see the assholes who have been declaring themselves spiritually correct, moral, patriotic and protective for the last eight years GONE. They have been none of the above.

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  15. Gasman said on January 19, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Jeff Borden expressed my sentiments quite well. How the hell did you get in my head, Jeff? It’s kind of creepy.

    Nancy, I was troubled by your line expressing empathy for the hand wring Republicans out there:

    “ It’s no fun to see the wrong guy win. So now they get to see what that’s like.”

    Anyone who is still in dismay over the fact that John McCain lost, that Sarah Palin is NOT (I repeat, NOT, HALLELUJAH!) a heartbeat away from being responsible for repairing our economy, resurrecting our national sense of pride, and managing our national security is, quite plainly an imbecile. (Ashley Morris would have said it more colorfully than I.)

    The legacy of Republican rule is abysmally pathetic. If you can think of anything, and I mean anything that this president did right, I’d sure like you to point it out, because it has eluded me. He did not keep us safe on 9/11/01, when he should have. If you think that we are safer now than when he took office, you are deluded. He totally fucked New Orleans (you’re welcome, Ashley). He did the same to our economy. He arrogantly strode around the globe offending allies at every turn because they were not his obsequious lapdogs. Guess, what? The French were right.

    These are the mental pygmies that gave us Freedom Fries, that questioned the patriotism of anyone that did not march lockstep with their neo-fascist quest to crush American democracy. This is the crowd that contended the founding fathers were full of shit with all their Marxist pussy longing for habeas corpus, public declaration of criminal charges, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to think of anything other than what THE PARTY says, and the pinko notion that the president should be bound by the rule of law.

    These folks had us teetering on the brink of a fascist dictatorship, and I don’t remember hearing hardly a word of dissent from their side of the aisle concerning violations of domestic and international law. They have been content to see our Justice Department turned into a giant federal hit squad that manufactured evidence and brought charges against Democrats in order to engineer their vision of a permanent Republican majority. If that is not akin to the tactics of Hitler, WTF is?

    These folks cheered wildly as we went to war against a country because they LOOKED like those who were responsible for 9/11. They gleefully abandoned our most cherished values, they scuttled our national sense of character, they ignored those noble ideals which guided us for over 200 years. And I am supposed to feel sympathy because now they are now wailing and gnashing their teeth?

    They not only did all of these things, and they did so arrogantly, disdainfully characterizing any and all who did not enthusiastically support their idiocy, violence, and criminality as somehow being un-American. If they had retained control of the government I fully believe that it could have meant the end of American democracy as we know it. And they did not seem to care. They were too interested in shouting down anyone who dared to speak out.

    So, I say, God damn them and go to hell. I have no sympathy or patience for anyone that was not outraged by the last eight years. They have done as much damage as they possibly could and now they want to sulk. Screw them and the horses they rode in on.

    Guess what? Even if Obama screws up, the Democrats will not take away any of your rights. And if they tried to, I would scream just as loudly to protect your sorry-ass rights as I would my own. That seems to be one of the main differences between liberalism and conservatism. We will not engage in any of the wholesale violations of law that Bush & Co. did on a daily basis. The mere fact that Obama displays intellect and character imbues me with a sense of hope that we might begin to at least right the very long list of wrongs that have been done to our country.

    It seems that since Goldwater, conservatives have not been content to merely attain office and rule, they’ve felt compelled to reach for permanent single party rule. Sounds like something right out of Stalin’s or Hitler’s playbook. They have tried to marginalize, criminalize, and eradicate liberalism once and for all. They do not do so in the free marketplace of ideas, but with the might and force of a government that remade itself in the image of an increasingly strident, narrow minded sect of true believers within one party.

    So, do I feel empathy for those Republicans now wringing their hands? Hell no. Suck it up and get over it. Unlike what you might have done to me had you won, you will not be jailed for your beliefs. If you think you can sway voters to your side, good luck. You will just have to do so without the aid of the military or the Justice Department.

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  16. moe99 said on January 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Ah, but it seems that they still have the mainstream media to do their bidding.

    HBO also failed to introduce the Gay Men’s Chorus, though they’d intro’d every other group performing.

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  17. Colleen said on January 19, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    LA MARY said:

    “I am so very happy to see the assholes who have been declaring themselves spiritually correct, moral, patriotic and protective for the last eight years GONE. They have been none of the above.”

    Yes. This. I’m all about the hope Obama is representing. Let’s do some things differently. Because the same ain’t workin’.

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  18. Jeff Borden said on January 19, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I can think of three instances in which Bush’s instincts were actually good and true. First, no president has done more to fight disease in Africa, particularly AIDS and malaria, than Bush. Second, he was on the right side on the immigration issue, though he gets demerits because he did not lead or push his party to address this vexing issue in a way that is both legal and humanitarian. Third, while they were largely incompetent, he included more people of color in top roles in his administration. Unfortunately, he chose Condi Rice, Alberto Gonzalez and John Yoo.

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  19. beb said on January 19, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    So departing Republican appointees can’t find any work. Need I remind them that the army is still looking for a few good men and women. Afghanistan will still be with us for years, and then there’s Durfar which needs a large military presence to crush the terrorists there. Republicans have always said how they support the troops…why not support the troops by becoming them!

    Overall, what Gasman said. The Bush administration came in to loot the place and take over as if they were an invading cabel. They couldn’t have done a better job of destroying out country if they tried. Even under Nixon and Reagan I never thought they would so utter undermine the rule of law.

    I didn’t even know Woody Guthrie was still alive! Land O’ Goshen, I wish I had broadband so I could download and hear him singing. The verse about the tresspassing sign was get but reminds me too much of the worst song from the Hippie era — “Signs.” Where the guy jumps over the fence and yells at the house “what gives you the right?” I also imagine both barrels of a 12 gauge going off about there.

    Economist Dean Baker has floated an idea that I like. He proposes a Transaction Tax on financial instruments. The rate would be very low, 0.25 percent of face value. But because so much money passes hands every day this would add up to $100 billion a year in revenue, largely from the very rich, who can afford it. One side-effect he mentions is that because this tax would hit every transaction it would especially penalize the speculators who buy stock then sell it an hour later. This tax would enforce a more long-range approach to investing, reducing the huge swings we see in the market now. I’m not a business person, but I like the clarity of this approach.

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  20. beb said on January 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Jeff Borden, you are wrong about Africa. Bush’s administration gave a lot of money to fight AIDS but it was all tied to anti-birth control, anti-condom programs. Bush’s policies actually increased the amount of AIDS in Africa because using condoms is the best way to halt its spread.

    I don;t know but question whether Bush have a more diverse administration than Clinton, but his selection of the likes as Rice, Gonzales and Yoo takes away any credit Bush might have for hiring people of color.

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  21. moe99 said on January 19, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    What beb said wrt to the ultimate failure of the Bush AIDs in Africa policy.

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  22. whitebeard said on January 19, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    In my weekly newspaper column about car problems, I mentioned ” I think Detroit’s automakers are in a bind right now that is not entirely their fault, but is shrinking their sales.
    “Sure, they may have built too many big sport utilities, but they did not put wheels and tires under toxic derivatives that burned up so much money it crippled the world economy.”
    And I get a response like this: “The last item I would like to say you should never put your political point of view in the article. Respectfully J.D. Rocky Hill”
    Does anyone think I hit a hand-wringing Republican who equates any comment about the destruction of the economy as a political point of view.

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  23. jeff borden said on January 19, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    My source for the Africa initiative has been coverage of progressives including Bono and Bob Geldof, who went way out of their way to praise Bush for his African efforts. Believe me, I know what you mean about the abstinence efforts, which hopefully will be shut down soon. It’s an incredible waste of money.

    Maybe my sense of what Bush did is completely off-base. I’m simply trying to find something, anything, in the smoldering wreckage of this little man’s eight years that looks reasonably promising.

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  24. whitebeard said on January 19, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Likewise, what Beb said about Africa and the failure of the Bush program because it was tied to anti-condom stupidity when that is a vital part of battling AIDS

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  25. Gasman said on January 19, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Jeff B.,
    ‘Fraid not, mi amigo. Three strikes for Bush on those issues. Fisrt, on the AIDS issue, Bush clung tenaciously to his evangelical leanings by withholding funding to programs that even mentioned abortion or family planning. Since Abstinence Only worked so well here, he thought it would sweep across Africa bringing American style democracy in its wake. He wanted to strong arm NGOs and African nations into towing the Republican Party Line without regard to African history and culture. He had this One-Size-Fits-All mentality to nearly everything he did that reduced all questions to dualistic choices between absolute right and wrong. He also has not lived up the the level of promised commitments in Africa.

    Second, I live in a border state and the general consensus here is that his immigration policy is about as effective as No Child Left Behind. It is utter crap. Since the numbers of illegal immigrants are down, Bush has contended that is proof positive of the efficacy of his policy. It has more to do with the downturn in the economy than the brilliance of his stance on immigration. Since he’s responsible for driving the economy into the ditch he can claim responsibility for inadvertently lowering the number of illegal immigrants. As to the much vaunted wall, if it was truly a matter of national security, as W contended, why did national security concerns disappear at gaps in the wall on Republican owned land? The uber-Republican Hunt family got an exemption from the wall on their land as did a big swanky – and presumably Republican dominated – country club. This was typically lame, ineffectual, ham-fisted Bush league politics as usual.

    Third, I see much more cynical motivation for some of the choices he has made in picking people of varying ethnic or racial backgrounds. Alberto Gonzales was picked by W for state work while I lived in Texas. The Republicans saw Gonzales as someone to groom for higher office, not because of his accomplishments, his intellect, or even his potential for same, but because he was Hispanic. That is just as bad as picking people for positions because they’re white. Gonzales proved that he was incompetent and nearly totally ignorant regarding the Constitution. The choice of Gonzo was not enlightened, it was a cynical attempt to appear more culturally ecumenical. To the Rs it didn’t matter that Gonzo was a moron; in their eyes all Hispanics were interchangeable.

    Haven’t convinced me yet. Anyone else care to chime in on W’s successes?

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  26. Julie Robinson said on January 19, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Amen, Beb, especially on the enlisting idea! If you click on Moe’s link you can read Bishop Robinson’s (no relation) powerful prayer. It’s hard to see how any person of faith could object, but I’m sure some will find a way.

    This morning’s JG asked citizens about Bush’s legacy. My favorite: “good reflexes”.

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  27. jcburns said on January 19, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Ellen. You DO understand if Obama tried to close Gitmo today or do any of these other things, they’d say “uh..dude…you’re not the President yet.”…?

    Please give him a chance, take a breath, keep hope alive, and so forth.

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  28. John said on January 19, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) is no longer with us. I think it may have been Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen singing “This Land”.

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  29. brian stouder said on January 19, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Bush’s legacy.


    Inertia. Presumption. Delegation of duty, up to (and beyond the threshold of) dereliction of duty.

    His attainments in life owe to his ambition, coupled to his presumption that if his dad could do it, he could too – leaving aside that his dad climbed the mountain and set the ropes for him.

    One is tempted to think that his iron-clad trust of his “gut instincts” – as if THAT was the key to life (and successful leadership) slipped, in the end. What is the shortcut to effective leadership? What if that ‘shortcut’ doesn’t really exist?

    Anyway – if he (or his ghost writer) infuses creeping self-doubt into the latter chapters of his memoir, it will at least make it readable, even if it’s not true

    edit: psssst; John – I believe Woodie WROTE the song the proprietress was referring to!

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  30. LA Mary said on January 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Moe, did you dine in the huge room with the fireplaces at El Tovar? Such a great place.

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  31. LA Mary said on January 19, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Pete’s grandson was the lead voice on “This Land.” I’m glad they did all the verses.

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  32. Sue said on January 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I found Woody through Arlo by way of Steve Goodman, but the biggest impact Woody had on me was the frightening story of the disease that killed him, Huntington’s chorea. Couldn’t watch Arlo without wondering if it was going to hit him.

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  33. Catherine said on January 19, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    That verse of This Land Is Your Land is often left out — considered too commie, I guess — but I love it. Give me that and all the verses to America the Beautiful and I will definitely well up (no matter who’s taking office).

    And in the immortal words of Tina Fey, Peggy Noonan can suck it.

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  34. jeff borden said on January 19, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Okay, okay. I whiffed on trying to find something positive about the loathesome man from Crawford. My liberal tendency to find something positive overwhelmed me, lol.

    I’m just so freaking glad he will be gone Despite the tremendous mess he is leaving behind, at least he can no longer add to it.

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  35. John said on January 19, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Bound For Glory is the bio-film about Woody which I viewed from NetFlix last year. I will not stop humping that company until they do wrong by me. Brian, Beb made a comment which questioned Woody’s present state. I merely tried to enlighten her.

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  36. Gasman said on January 19, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    My truck with conservatism in general is that it presupposes an a priori inequality amongst Americans: they simply know that they are better than everyone else. They feel this condescending superiority that allows them to dismiss and marginalize anyone that does not agree with them. This is as un-American an ideal as has ever been held. I find serious talk of “right thinking Americans” by Bush administration officials repugnant and antithetical to the notion of democracy. Why do they alone get to decide what defines “right?” Since when was being Republican more noble and patriotic than being American? It is the very embodiment of Orwell’s Animal Farm:

    “All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others.”

    If America stands for nothing else, it stands for equality for all, no exceptions. Republican rule as of late has been an Orwellian exercise in the mutability of history and the denial of reality. They have shown that they hold no truth to be sacred, no ideal sacrosanct, no principle worth fighting for except the acquisition and maintenance of power. They have been content to lie, invade, occupy, torture, spy upon U.S. citizens, kill, and dismantle the Constitution. Next, they have vindictively attacked any who questioned their actions.

    Their argument is not with modern liberalism, it is with the framers of the Constitution themselves. Conservatism has waged battle with the very ideals upon which this country was founded. For the conservatives to succeed, they not only have to silence present day liberals, they must denigrate and discredit Washington, Jefferson, Madison, et al. and the founding fathers’ legacy that is our notion of liberty, justice, and equality. To that end, they have not succeeded and I do not believe that they ever will.

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  37. Dexter said on January 19, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    After sleeping on the thought, I’ll call it a tie for Showstopper: grand old Pete Seeger & Bruce and all singing the Guthrie classic, and Bettye LaVette & Jon Bon Jovi doing the classic Sam Cooke song “A Change is Gonna Come”. That song was both written and performed by Cooke.
    Both performances brought tears of joy, for LaVette’s singing, and also for just seeing Pete Seeger running off the stage, after I had heard he was near-death three years ago…I am so glad that was a lie! I guess I didn’t know Jon Bon Jovi could belt out a ballad like that…man, he was great.

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  38. LA Mary said on January 19, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    When I saw Jon Bon Jovi doing an acoustic version of “Livin on a Prayer” on the post 9/11 fundraiser, I was amazed. He’s a lot better than most of his music would indicate.

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  39. Dexter said on January 19, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I don’t know much about this kind of thing, but has Bettye LaVette stepped into the void left by Odetta’s passing?

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  40. moe99 said on January 19, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    LAMary–Yes, that was El Tovar. It would have been a perfect dinner without that right wing SOB mucking up the sound waves. Right after New Year’s is a perfect time to visit because the crowds are down.

    PS: here’s some proof on the disastrous African AIDs policies of the Bush administration

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  41. brian stouder said on January 19, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    When I saw Jon Bon Jovi doing an acoustic version of “Livin on a Prayer” on the post 9/11 fundraiser

    gasman’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding –

    Bush has one credible claim he can make, and which indeed he (and his supporters) HAS made – assuming we don’t absorb a major terror strike in the next year (which would rightly be blamed on him, and not President-elect Obama), and that is that we have not been hit again since 9/11/01.

    Give the devil his due

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  42. jcburns said on January 19, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Yes, and he has protected us from meteors larger than, say, VW buses. Thanks ever so much, G.W.

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  43. mark said on January 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Sorry, Nancy. I’m not feeling gloomy. Not seething or hostile. I haven’t had the desire, today, to call anybody or any group morons or imbeciles, to wish suffering upon anyone or to express relish at the thought of such suffering. I’m ready for change.

    It is past time for Bush to go. I previously voiced my reservations about Obama’s likely economic policies and I still have reservations. But bush and Paulson, and a majority of Congress, did more to damage free market economics during three weeks last fall than Obama is likely to do in eight years.

    It doesn’t change the issues, the ideas or the discussion. It may provide a few new data points. I’ve never called Obama names and don’t see any value to directing vulgarities at Bush and Paulson. I hope someday there is great investigative reporting on Paulson and what went on behind the scenes with TARP. I suspect cronyism at the least, but I deplore the action regardless.

    I have lots of hope for Obama. I admire his civility and lack of rancor. I think most of his views are sincerely held and the result of thought, not calculation. I like his style and his optimism. He inspires millions in a good way.

    Not at all politically correct of me, but I hope he becomes a motivating role model for black Americans. Something has to change the incarceration rates, illegitimacy rates, illiteracy rates and unemployment rates in that large corner of America. Fifty years of federal programs, angst and hand-wringing hasn’t been enough.

    Image isn’t everything, but it can be a lot. Obama’s image is very powerful and he projects it naturally. He is at ease with himself in a way I haven’t seen since Reagan. He instills confidence, which Clinton did for a while, Bush II and Carter couldn’t and Bush I didn’t. Lots of reason for optimism.

    If Obama’s economic views are enacted in full to the worst of my fears, I’ll survive and so will the US and the world. I’ll disagree and make my case the best I can. The ideas are important. But mostly I’ll follow along so I can adjust my own life as necessary to accomplish what I want for myself.

    Ever read John Rawls AND Robert Nozick? Brilliant men with diametrically opposed ideas of how to achieve a just and prosperous society. For one to be right, the other had to be wrong and wrong in a way that works against their mutually desired goals. They were great friends, had offices in the same hall and lunched together routinely.

    Perhaps if Olberman and Hannity had been ascendant years earlier, Nozick and Rawls could have used zealous and excessive punditry by TV personalities as justification for ridiculing and belittling each other instead.

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  44. jeff borden said on January 19, 2009 at 4:25 pm


    I think that’s a tough call to make, but by and large, I’ll agree. However, it could be pointed out that al Queda has no reason to attack us again because they already got everything they wanted from the first strike:

    1.) American armed forces have been bogged down and damaged for six years and counting.
    2.) Our spending to support those troops and try to stabilize Iraq continues to bleed hundreds of billions of dollars.
    3.) The ongoing presence of American troops in a Muslim country is a powerful recruiting tool for jihadists.

    Though it surely matters not to Osama bin Laden, he got a bonus: Our own leaders turned their backs on our Constitution, the Geneva Conventions and the rule of law.

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  45. Adrianne said on January 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Let me just give a shout-out to Pete Seeger, my Hudson Valley neighbor. He was more jazzed about performing with schoolchildren at the Beacon Baptist Church today on MLK Day than his appearance at the Lincoln Memorial Sunday. There’s a movement to get Seeger nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Here’s what he told one of our local reporters about that: “It’s just one more bit of fame, and fame is a snare and delusion.”

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  46. Gasman said on January 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    You wrote:

    Bush has one credible claim he can make, and which indeed he (and his supporters) HAS made – assuming we don’t absorb a major terror strike in the next year (which would rightly be blamed on him, and not President-elect Obama), and that is that we have not been hit again since 9/11/01.
    Give the devil his due

    No fucking way. By that logic, since their were no incidents of foreign terrorism on American soil, Jimmy Carter was a better president in terms of national defense. Bush could also claim that any bad thing that did not happen is because of his steady leadership. Nonsense.

    You cannot plausibly make the case that Bush gets to take credit for a lack of attacks post 9/11 if you do not hold him responsible for what happened on his watch prior to that date. There are mountains of indisputable proof that Bush & Co. had received many warnings of imminent threats of attack from Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, yet, even then they were focusing on ginning up reasons to attack Sadam Hussein. They promoted discredited intelligence, cherry picked intelligence, and manufactured intelligence to justify an attack on Iraq.

    Aside from outgoing neo-cons or their right wing media bitches, there is almost no credible national security expert that believes that we are safer now than when Bush took office. How could we be? Al Qaeda has a greater global presence in 2009 than it did in 2001. Our military forces are stretched to the breaking point and cannot continue to be used as they have been. At present, we would be unable to respond to a genuine military crisis elsewhere in the world in a timely manner because of their tenuous condition. We have lost credibility with our allies. Conservatives love to bitch and moan about our allies, but we cannot succeed militarily in a global war without their help. We never have up until now.

    Because of his unwillingness to listen to the best judgement of informed intelligence experts who were predicting an Al Qaeda attack on American soil, Bush is directly responsible for what happened on 9/11. He arrogantly dismissed anyone’s advice that did not mesh with the doctrine of his neo-con handlers. Why should he lay claim to every good thing that happened on his watch yet assiduously avoid responsibility for the bad?

    They don’t get to claim credit for the sunshine if they do not also claim the rain.

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  47. Deborah said on January 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I’m going to play the school marm here. Believe me, I’m a big bleeding heart liberal and I can’t wait till noon tomorrow when we can refer to FORMER President George W. Bush. But can we temper our rhetoric a bit. When we’re talking to the choir we can say whatever we want, rant, shout, let it all hang out but not in mixed company. Somehow, someway this country needs to lose the polarization that has paralyzed us for so long. Yes, we all know which side had way more to do with those divisions. Even so, can we start the healing process? Let’s be the adults in the room.

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  48. jeff borden said on January 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Eloquently argued. I don’t know if anyone can say with any certainty that 9/11 would not have happened if Al Gore had been in the White House. What we DO know is that a Gore Administration would not have ginned up a bullshit war with Iraq. Gore would not have been surrounded by war-mongering chickenhawk neoconservative lunatics.

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  49. Gasman said on January 19, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    I, nor any other liberal in the land, are responsible for the deafening levels of partisan rancor that have increasingly beset our land for well over a decade. Mine is but an itemized list of grievances in response to that partisanship and to ineffective and dishonest rule.

    Liberals are highly unlikely to torture, wiretap, or arrest any who disagree, so why the consternation from the right? Could it be that if liberal leadership produces demonstrably better results it will once and for all dispel any vestigial claims to conservative superiority?

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  50. mark said on January 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    I don’t think the taxpayer investment in Chrysler is going to work out well. The sidebar google ad on Nancy’s site from Chrysler has a lead for “Chevrolet hybrids”. You all might want to click on it, several times, to see what I mean.

    Edit: Damn. The thing is gone now. I swear it was there just moments ago. Perhaps if we all click on all the ads, several times, it will return.

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  51. Lex said on January 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    @Gasman 12:42: Dang, I need a cigarette. And I don’t smoke.

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  52. mark said on January 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    For those who prefer to stay more overtly political, I just discovered there is also a google ad for an Obama collector plate. You will have to click on it, however, to realize what a “historic and priceless value” it is. Free Obama collector coin too!

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  53. nancy said on January 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks, Mark. I’ll add it to this.

    BTW, I once read a very quavery column in a major newspaper defending this sort of thing as important to the non-elitists who love our outgoing president. So it cuts both ways.

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  54. coozledad said on January 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    This “Ooh. scary religiosity” from the people who venerate that plaster saint Ronald Reagan? These are the same people whose unswerving faith in capitalist religion let a bunch of Amway salesmen destroy the nation’s wealth. I’d be more inclined to feelings of charity if there weren’t so many dead.
    There seems to be an endless reserve of self pity among the disgraced party. They don’t need mine.

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  55. mark said on January 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Gotta love collector plates. I’m convinced a centrally planned economy would neglect the important market for chotchkies.

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  56. caliban said on January 19, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I’m so proud of my country I just can’t stand it. My mom and dad blackmailed a maternity ward in Little Rock into accepting a black patient that was my dad’s med student, and a black woman. My dad carried her into treatment while my 5′-2″ mom held off the Little Rock cops.

    But that’s not what makes me proud. It’s the outpouring of blog commenters that have stood their asses up to claim they’re just as qualified as Caroline Kennedy to be a member of Congress How about inuring yourselg against the iniquity of taking bribes like Ted Stevens. . How in the world did Harvard and Columbia Law manage to process all of those students? There was Dan Burton who was well into his forties , and the odds that he’d gotten over his predilection for sex for cash were slim and none.

    Why would anybod prefer a good mother with a history of looking out for the least of God’s creatures, and raising spectacular amounts of cash for NYC’s least considered, with an admirable educational background and a solid grounding in doing the best for people in a bind be qualified to be a Senator? She never ingested malathion like Tom DeLay. She’d never used her spouse shamefully like Mitch McConnell.

    But why I’m proud? Millions of nitwits can claim this woman is not qualified. Newspapers would prove she is. The internert is whatever truth you make of it. And mostly, it’s bullshit. Seriously. Palin vs. Caroline? Sorry, if you pick the bimbo, you’re an idiot. So why am I proud. Not, really. It’s a country that devalues female intelligence. Women don’t think women are smart because they’re women. You’re just smart or you’re stupid. And maybe you’re racists.

    Racists amongst you, wake up. It’s a brand new world, and that wedge disappeared.

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  57. Gasman said on January 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Was? Dennis Miller is a piker. The big pussy.

    As for all of the Obama schwag out there, it has not a damn thing to do with liberalism. It is an expression of pure greed from hucksters cashing in on whatever they think will sell. If the Rs had won you’d have had all sorts of schlocky moose huntin’ trinkets and John McCain commemorative plates replete with him in his uniform in a bomb laden jet.

    I feel about the same way as those that market to gullible born again fundagelicals that think you simply have to adorn yourself, your home, and your car with tacky “Jesus” crap that was made in China by slave labor.

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  58. joodyb said on January 19, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    mark: does the phrase MADE IN POLAND ring any bells?

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  59. Linda said on January 19, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Gasman, I understand your contempt about inaugural trinkets. But a local news station just did a bit about a laid off auto worker who is hustling these things till her job–or any job–comes back. I understand that.

    But when it comes to empathy, my give a damn is busted when I think about the Republicans who are getting thrown out of work. These were the people who had the nerve to refer to poor people as “lucky duckies” because they supposedly sponged off the system. Let them find out first hand that the minimum wage is really not minimum for survival. Also, let them get a real job–not stoking the echo chamber, but actually producing a good or service–in the free market system they love so much.

    This is especially sweet for me, as a person who works in the public sector (librarian). They are all hot about cutting the public sector–meaning the people who actually do somebody some good, while feathering their own nests with more public money than I will ever see. To hell with them.

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  60. caliban said on January 19, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    When I was a little kid, People showe’ed up at my house in Fedorahs. We werem’t threats to anybody’s sedcuriity. W was on vacatton. He goy a PDB that said Bin Laden was going to grab a plane.
    that didn’t alert gis sorry ass? Let me put it this way. If it had been some warning about the Me Kong. Kerry would have pulled that bastard out of the drink. W would have feen defending the O Club in, what, Austin?

    Swigt-boat assholes were the biggest liars that ever lived, if you don’t count Ken Blackwell. He robbed Gore and he robbed Kerry. The assholes roffed two presidential boyrd and installed the most despicable, pitiful failed Pretzeldent that ever lived. These people did this got cash. Cheney has made his money.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 19, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Spent the day supervising sledding by 8 to 10 year olds, but only after my 10 year old and i parked ourselves on the sofa and watched/listened to the CNN noon broadcast of the full, uncut, original “I Have a Dream” speech by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. As a preacher and storyteller, it’s endlessly riveting to watch him after about 11 minutes, when the draft speechwriter insists Mahalia Jackson called out “tell them about the dream, Martin,” and he flips the text over in front of him, and you see in the film the facial responses of a man who is working without a net, but with a firm sense of foundation beneath him.

    To be fair, there’s a moment when he’s working out the “sweltering . . . injustice . . . sweltering . . .” and my heart is in my mouth, thinking “ok, dream, dark side, flipping to the hope out of . . .” and then he pulls it out and just RIPS into the finale, swinging old Amos’ verses like a righteous swift sword, cutting through every ambiguity.

    Y’know, there’s lots of conservatives and Republicans who are dad-gummed hopeful and encouraged, and who still think many of Obama’s chief supporters think a little – no, lots – of socialism would be swell, but are more happy to have the Mosbacher-Fahrenkopf wing of the GOP tossed out on their ear than i am worried about creeping Cominternism. Count me among their number!

    Anyhow, then, after talking about who King was and what was happening tomorrow (“Dad, are you crying?”), we went out into 17 degrees and soaked up what ice rimmed sunlight there was — my Facebook page has the evidence of our misspent afternoon if you’re curious.

    I’m looking forward to hearing from my colleague up on the dais how the encounter between Rick Warren and Gene Robinson goes in the Capitol chapel, right before they all walk out onto the West Front. If i learn anything i can pass along, i will so do. Enjoy tomorrow, y’all, and smile — ya won!

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  62. del said on January 19, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Eight years. End of an error. And Bush’s time did not start well. After he “won” his contested election with Gore in 2000, during a church service or invocation near the time of his inauguration he invoked the Lord and spoke of how “everything happens for a reason.” As if he had been anointed. Think of it. All the pain of that contested election. Elected with a minority of the vote. But instead of humility he claimed to be an incarnation of Divine Will.

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  63. caliban said on January 19, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Betty La Vette? Aw we’re nor talkin bout Shaft. Not really, we mean Superfly.

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Oh, and God is Audrey Hepburn — watch the movie “Always,” with Holly Hunter, Richard Dreyfus, and John Goodman.

    Works for me. G’night.

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  65. caliban said on January 19, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Denis Miller is the most despicable pussy any ever came about. Senis Miller, not a joke anymore. He’s just a jerk.

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  66. ellent (not the 1st commenter on this ellen, but famous name-dropping one) said on January 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    And now a word in defense of Toby Keith: The man is a Democrat. And has said respectful things about Obama.

    The name line should say (not the same ellen as the 1st commenter on this thread, but the famous-name-dropping one)

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  67. Gasman said on January 19, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I heard a story on CBS tonight about how much money is being made via the sale of Obama schwag. From the report:

    “By some estimates, the Obama industry is worth at least a quarter of a billion dollars.”

    Hey, if it can help turn the economy around, I’m all for it. Let’s start marketing this crap abroad and see what worldwide sales will amount to.

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  68. nancy said on January 19, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I think Kobe Teeth must be confused about what being a “lifelong Democrat” entails.

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  69. caliban said on January 19, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    And Audrey Hepburn thinks these people are morons.

    know what? Here’s the deal you digraceful asshole. Kerry and Bush. One guy thought what the hey as long as someboduyelse might get hurt. Another guy thought they wo’nt get me when I’m protedting the O Club in Tejas.

    How does this little piece of shit pull this shit time after time.? Ketty’s a hero, Ws wooging coke aomewjere in Alanama. What was wrong with American voters in Cuyahoga County? Well their botes didn’t cound because Ken Blavkwell never intended they’re votes to count.

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  70. basset said on January 19, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Someone cut Caliban off.

    meanwhile, Flickr pics from tv photographers in and around the inauguration site:

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  71. MichaelG said on January 19, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Put me on the Dennis Miller is a jerk bandwagon.

    Terrorism is not dead. I’ve heard on good authority that the birds that brought down US Air 1549 were renegade Al Queda trained avian agents. They’re all around us. Whoops, time for Tony Bourdain.

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  72. Dexter said on January 20, 2009 at 12:44 am

    It’s finally here. Inauguration Day, 2009. Cheney’s in a wheelchair with a pulled muscle and Obama will be standing tall.
    And so the Bush era ends, hopefully the door is closed for good.
    It’s been a long, hard siege, living through the administration of the worst president in history.
    For the final time, I reiterate that I cannot understand how the electorate returned Bush to 1600 after his disastrous first term. I’ll let that go now.
    It looks like Obama has no interest in prosecuting Bush and his crew for illegal torture at Guantanamo Bay , or anything else. That’s a shame, but if we’re just leave the Bush hijinks inthe dust, let’s move on.

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  73. caliban said on January 20, 2009 at 12:52 am

    OK. The New York Island. Well the dickhead got the PDB that said Osama was interested in attacking in the US. It said he was interested in hijajacking planes. His Sevurity adviser told him this ws hair on fire. That was all before the WTC was bombed. How did the little moroon keep anybody safe?

    Asleep at the wheel while attacking mesquite.

    Agter that, there were the anthrax attacks. And those were sort of funny bevause they were clearly home-grown and the targets seemed to se Democrat and nobody that had luncheob with Cheney. So what the hell.

    Then we got serious. We caught the pizza guys, and the shoe-bomber, and that truck driver that was boing to take down the Brooklyn Bridge with an acetylene torch in broad daylight. Saved. Meantime, trains in Spain were victimized and whatever about some plot on the Btit Undergtound, where Brit cops murdered some innocent guy. Because everuybody was so scared.

    Going very well. And then there were those dastards in Miami that wanted boots. Tjhand Fod the little sjit saved us from those maserminds so he could continue Guanatanamo.

    More than 1000 people were plucked and incarderated. There are at least a couple of people with no connedyion to terror whatsoeber that were were snatched and flown to hgod knosw where for torture. How dos anybody yty to lvaim they were justified.? Doesn’t matter how you look at all of this. There were war crimesd commted.

    For W to claim he didn’t do anthing he knew was womg, wellm, he’s probably a liar. They left him out of the PNAC, and he so desperately wanted to be one of the big guys, he thought blowing up a whole country made him one of the foys..

    It wasm’t ever about the oil, with the Bush Family. It was all anout oil field services. Jussssssssst ask April Glaspeie. HW told her to tell Saddam it was cool to invade Kuwait for slant-drilling with American technology to rog Iraq blind., HW told Saddam to invade the part of Kuwait that is a historical part of Iraq. Cute.

    I don’t think that if you think back to that undniable Nazi collaborator Prescott (I mean. what choice did he have?

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  74. caliban said on January 20, 2009 at 1:16 am

    What exactly did the little shit defend us from” Those guys in Miami that wanted to net eVWRYBODY TOLD THIS FUCKINNG MORON AHEAD OF TIME, oSAMA AIMING AT BUILDINGS WITH CAAPTURED PLANES,

    oK, we know he’s an idiot, huy, holysahit, nobody is so goddamn fucking stupid t miss this. Ir’a the most amazing thinf. Peolple actually think this scurvy little shit protected then from anything? Fucking stupidiity is underrated. Look, you morons, this asshole endangered you.

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