He was there.

Chickens, how to put this? There are days when I open my little laptop and launch my wee browser and call up my NN.C WordPress dashboard page, and a single thought fills my skull:

I hate you.

Sometimes it goes into greater detail:

I hate you I hate me I hate everybody I don’t want to do this How did I get myself roped into this Why am I not writing a book Why am I wasting my time on this crap.

Usually it passes. I think of this page as batting practice, and these protests are, 99 days out of 100, just the creaking of the old muscles before they warm up and loosen up and start connecting with the ball. On the 100th day, it’s not, and that’s why I’m glad for you folks, because you’re all fabulous and many of you are better writers than I am, and sometimes you send photos. So let’s let our correspondent MichaelG, occasionally furloughed California state worker, carry the ball today. He left this in comments over the weekend, but he sent me some pix to go with it. He went to the AMGEN 2009 Tour of California when it rolled through his town:

The Amgen Tour of California kicked off today in Sacramento. Those who count such things tell us more than 100,000 people showed up to watch the race between the bicycle people and the impending storm. The bicycle people and the rest of us won. The race was a prologue. 136 riders started at one minute intervals to race the clock over a 2.4 mile course around the State Capitol. There were some fast cyclists in the first 118 riders and 118 minutes (notably the Marks Renshaw and Cavendish) but the last 18 minutes and riders were the cream. Zirbel, Hushovd, Kirchen, Boonen, Hincape, Tyler, Zabriskie, Armstrong, Vandevelde, Cancellara, Basso, Rogers, Landis, Leipheimer. This was where the racing and the times got serious. The suspense all day, the waiting for the arrival of the storm and the elite riders had the crowd greeting the late riders and the persistent good weather with cheers of approbation and relief. The cheers grew louder and louder as rider after rider lowered best time only to be shunted aside by a succeeding rider. It was a great day to stand on a curb in Sacramento.

I was a volunteer worker and my station was right at the finish line. The time clock on the arch over the line provided a rough idea of when to expect a cyclist and the cheering of the people a block up the street lent another visual signal to a rider’s arrival. They crossed the line and flashed past me at whatever speed a world class cyclist attains with an eight block run on a flat street. Taking pictures proved futile since they were going so fast and also since they tended to hug the fence upon which I was leaning. I could have picked one off with a seven iron. The same with watching, as the best view I could see was the advertising plastered on their asses as they slowed after the finish.

The collegial happiness of the crowd, the electricity generated by a world class event, the spectacle and the general all around fun made for a terrific day. The whole thing was capped by the news that the dipshits in the big white building across the street had finally reached a deal.

In the end I was standing right before the stage. I was in front of all the print people and photogs and behind the VS camera guy. I had a fantastic view of all the jersey presentations and my boss the Governator and got a ton of great pix. I have one of Cancellara (the winner) being interviewed. It’s a mega close up since in the crush he was actually leaning on me. After the interview he was mobbed by young women. I’m not jealous. Leipheimer had his bike with him and showed it to me. No pix here but I’ve never seen anything like it. It was the most beautiful bike ever. I’m not jealous.

Other than Armstrong who is a professional celebrity, the riders seem to be pleasant, down to earth guys who are embarrassed by the media attention and are amazingly accessible. Cancellara in particular seemed overwhelmed and almost frightened by the press of the press. At one point I thought he was going to throw up. You should have seen his face, his throat working and his hand over his mouth. I’d also like to see his paycheck.

A most enjoyable day. Afterwards, I fell into a pub down the street with a friend for a pint of Anchor Steam. It was delicious. Details and pix available on dozens of web sites. KCRA, SACBEE and VS (all dot com) are three good places to start. The rerun on VS starts in about 10 minutes. I can’t wait. Live coverage and reruns will be on VS for the next 10 days or so. Davis to Santa Rosa tomorrow. It’s as good as the Tour de France. Same cast on the road and on the TV including Liggett, Sherwen and Roll. Don’t miss it.


Michael gives the photo ID on this as: Arnold, Cavendish, The Fabe, Levi and Lance. It’s remarkable mainly for the unnatural hue of the governor’s hair. And finally, what’s a volunteer shift worth if you can’t grab a few photos of yourself for the scrapbook? Ladies and gentlemen, your correspondent:


Thanks, Michael. I’m taking the rest of the day off.

Posted at 7:48 am in Friends and family |

51 responses to “He was there.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 17, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Candor is a gift; candor shared with love is a blessing. Hate us as you need to, ma’am, we’ll still be here.

    MichaelG didn’t share whether or not the Governator hit on him or not.

    (Nancy, think of us all as the elliptical machine for your mind; we go round and round in circles so you can build strength and resilience for when you step off.)

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  2. brian stouder said on February 17, 2009 at 8:36 am

    think of us all as the elliptical machine for your mind

    I like that! Jeff would be some comfort-giving efficient ergonomic whatsit, and Caliban is a fly wheel, and Alex/Dorothy/Mary are ballast…and dwight is the motivational picture of a swine on the wall

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  3. nancy said on February 17, 2009 at 8:51 am

    It’s not you or anyone else I hate, Jeff. Only that goddamn blinking cursor. For now. For today. Something’s already brewing for tomorrow…

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  4. Colleen said on February 17, 2009 at 8:56 am

    “I hate you I hate me I hate everybody”

    Get outta my head.

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  5. coozledad said on February 17, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Having just suffered through Edward Hoagland’s essay about how he’s happy about getting ready to become compost, I wonder why MichaelG isn’t being paid by Harper’s instead.

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  6. John said on February 17, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Off to Negril tomorrow, leaving at o’dark-thirty. I don’t know if I’m happier because I’m going to Jamaica or that I’m not going to be at work in Connecticut for still more depressing winter.

    Nancy, as much as I love reading your work, take off whenever you feel the need. Missing days is much better than one day opening your site and getting 404 Error!

    Think of me on the beach when you read about yet another Northeast storm heading this way.

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  7. LA Mary said on February 17, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Interesting that you think I’m ballast. Recently the household has decided that Max, our great dane mix, is at his best as ballast. On a windy day you want some weight in the back seat of the beetle, and Max is more than willing to help.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 17, 2009 at 11:11 am

    You hate us virtually, which no reasonable person takes personally. Hoagland is just channelling the overall Harper’s “memento mori” vibe that Lapham honed down to a fine point before he sort of kind of left but didn’t.

    Like Lapham’s Quarterly, though, and it isn’t all morbidish, until they choose the inevitable theme of “Death” for some upcoming issue.

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  9. LA Mary said on February 17, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Ahnuld was at my workplace a few months ago and his hair and skin were unnatural shades. Maybe he tones down the spray tan in the winter.

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  10. jeff borden said on February 17, 2009 at 11:24 am

    My wife has been leaning on me to write a book ever since I became “underemployed” almost five years ago. (BTW, what’s the next level down from underemployed? I’m in free fall to whatever it might be called.) My problem as someone who spent almost 35 years writing down the words and thoughts of others for a salary is that I find it difficult to write without the guarantee of some form of reward at the end, ie., money. And, worse, I don’t believe I have anything interesting to say. This does not deter my better half, even when I explain that 95% of book authors don’t earn enough to just write. My circle of friends includes a woman who pens Harlequin romance novels and a pair of superb business journalists who labored more than year to detail the rise and fall of an iconic Chicago firm. None of them can/could subsist on what they were paid for their work.

    You always have been a better writer than me and you have a great eye for the world around you. That said, instead of a book, why not work on a screenplay? I have two that I noodle around with on occasion and, without giving away my plot line, one of them might be more sellable in the wake of “The Wrestler.” Hah!

    Those who simply “must” write are figures of great admiration to me. Over the holidays, I read a long Stephen King novel (“Duma Key”) and his latest collection of short stories and marveled again at this man’s visceral need to be read. I am not equating King with the greats, though I think he is often unfairly maligned. Rather, I’m struck by how this already fabulously successful and wealthy author cannot stop writing. If I wrote one book that made me a lot of money, it would be the last book I ever wrote and I’d be e-mailing you from the dining car of a train somewhere outside North America.

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  11. MichaelG said on February 17, 2009 at 11:32 am

    The Governor’s hair is indeed a shade not known to nature, though he didn’t appear to have been spending his days in the tanning booth.

    Cancellara appeared sickish to me on Sat. not because he was nervous about the press, but because he was sick. He was forced to withdraw the next day because of the flu.

    Turns out the optimism about a budget deal was premature.

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  12. brian stouder said on February 17, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Interesting that you think I’m ballast.

    Mary, reading that again, I see the inherent problems with that word! Of course it was a meant in an endearing way; counterbalancing foo-foo silliness and snark at nnc (such as posters like me have to offer) with real intelligence and insight.

    (on my best days, my role within the elliptical machine is something very like the cupholder)

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  13. jeff borden said on February 17, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I wonder how Republican governors desperately fighting to keep their states afloat (see, Schwarzenegger, Arnold and Palin, Sarah) feel about the grandstanding of their GOP colleagues in Washington? I’m sure they are thrilled that Eric Cantor is patterning himself after Newt Gingrich, because we all know how well Newt’s shenanigans worked 15 years ago.

    Meanwhile, it’s beyond amusing to see the House Republicans who did everything possible to derail the economic stimulus package now running home to their districts to brag about the goodies they’ll receive. Too bad we can’t deny them their share of the bailout since they worked diligently against it, but that would be punishing the voters for the stupidity of their elected officials.

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  14. Scout said on February 17, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Jeff, maybe ‘punishing’ their constituants is the only way to stop this endless nonsensical posturing and power playing. And I say that as a resident of Arizona who would be affected by such policy due to having McCain and vile Kyl “representing” me, although I never have and never will vote for either of them. If they actually were held accountable to voters by way of financial hurt to us, it could make them just a tad more cooperative and bi-partisan and less prone to putting their party above their country and only hurting both.

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  15. Catherine said on February 17, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    MichaelG, wow, you really made that sound like fun! The 7th stage winds up here in Pasadena next weekend. Do you think the finish line festivities are family-friendly?

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  16. Gasman said on February 17, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    While attending grad school in the Dallas area in the late 80’s and into the 90’s I took up bike racing. One of the up and coming locals was Lance Armstrong. In the very first time trial I ever did I started behind none other than a 15 or 16 year old Armstrong. He beat me like a rented mule. My visions of him were brief as he sped away from me at a pace I could not hope to match. That was our first and last head to head encounter.

    I saw him race maybe a dozen or more times throughout the next couple of years and he was strong, dumb, and exceedingly arrogant. He was always the strongest rider, but he had no tactical sense of how to race. Consequently, he lost most races. He was so cocky that it was unpleasant to even be near him.

    A few years later, we saw a couple of stages of the old Tour Dupont. We were at the first stage that Lance won. I got to talk to Sean Yates, who was one of his first professional teammates and one of the most respected pro riders of his day. Under Yates’ tutelage, Armstrong learned to save his efforts for the right moment. Lance was smart enough to learn from his teammates. Then he began to win. In those pre cancer days, however, he was still as cocky as when he was racing locally in Dallas.

    For the record, I think he was guilty as hell of doping, pre-cancer. However, I think that he has been clean since. He has backed himself into a corner with his blanket denials and cannot now admit to any use in his earlier career. It’s a shame, because I think that an admission to previous doping would make a clean post cancer comeback all the more impressive.

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  17. LA Mary said on February 17, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    I didn’t take offense at being called ballast. I just thought it was interesting and possibly a family trait.
    Of my three dogs, Max is not the smartest and being ballast may be his role in life. I know I have skills other than ballast. When we were watching Westminster the other day, we figured there was a group that was being left out, and Max belonged there. Not Sporting or Non-Sporting. Not Working, but Non-Working.

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  18. MichaelG said on February 17, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Absolutely, Catherine. That’s one of the charms of the event. Saturday was a big family day. The start and finish lines can get crowded so you will end up standing for quite a while but other then those areas find a spot and bring a picnic. If it’s not raining.

    Jeff B. – Gov.Schwarzenegger has his own home grown Republican collegues to worry about. With our 2/3 majority budget requirement, we are down to just a single Republican Senate dead ender holding up the whole shoot’n match. One can only wonder at what these folks have going on in their heads.

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  19. Catherine said on February 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Michael, thanks for the feedback. Barring rain, we’ll give it a try!

    So, we went to the science museum on Sunday. There was a exhibit comparing the brain sizes of a human, a frog, a rodent and a praying mantis. I imagine the next one in the progression would be a Republican state senator.

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  20. jeff borden said on February 17, 2009 at 2:53 pm


    I’ve been reading about the three Republicans who represent the logjam. A pox on them.

    From 1980 to 1989, I visited Los Angeles at least once per year on business and was always blown away by California. The landscaping on your average exit ramp of I-405 was lovelier than many of the parks back in Ohio. Of course, I knew about the poverty-stricken portions of the city, but my travels rarely brought me into contact except on my way to and from LAX. The impression SoCal left on me was of a very happy, very wealthy, very together locale.

    It’s truly staggering to see what the tax nuts have done out there. Tip o’ the hat to you, Howard Jarvis, for all you’ve done to drive the state into the ground from beyond. But this budget thing is one of the craziest political stories ever. Three men are willing to set fire to the nation’s most populous state rather than budge from their doctrinaire beliefs? Beliefs that have been proven to deliver nothing but misery???

    The scary thing is the ripple effect. If California goes down, it’s going to take a lot of the country with it.

    I fully expect the GOP wankers in Congress to act like this. They are well-paid, have access to the nation’s best health care, fat pensions, scores of staffers to serve their every need and a post-governmental career on K Street if they want it. They live a sweet, cocooned existence. They never feel the impact of the stupidity they embrace.

    But at the state level, it’s harder to fathom. Those obstructionist Republicans will see, hear and feel the agony of their stupidity every day. But their precious ideology clearly trumps common sense.

    We’re billions in debt in Illinois, but our entire nut is probably only 10% or 15% of the deficits the Golden State faces. I wish you all well. The U.S. needs a healthy, thriving California. I’m sorry a trio of pissants cannot understand that simple fact.

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  21. mark said on February 17, 2009 at 2:54 pm


    You should hope that Reublican hold-out holds out. If GM is too big to let it fail, so is California. Let the Feds pay your bills. That way it doesn’t cost anything and it stimulates the economy.

    Now is not the time to make painful decisions. Now is the time to let others help you out.

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  22. Dave K. said on February 17, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Brian S., Having just returned from the local YMCA, I would like to say that the cupholder, (or Ice Cold Diet Coke holder), is a very necessary and appreciated component. Cheers!

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  23. jeff borden said on February 17, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    What if the painful decision is to raise taxes? Was Oliver Wendell Holmes incorrect when he said he liked paying taxes because he was “paying for civilization?” This aversion to paying for goods and services supplied by government has just about reached the end of the line, hasn’t it? We’re at a point where cities and states are selling and leasing assets to raise cash, where every government entity is jacking up fees and fines to make up the difference.

    Case in point: Five years ago a building permit issued by the City of Chicago cost $165. Today, it’s well past $300. A parking meter violation was $10. Today, it’s $50. My taxes have not gone up, per se, but that’s scant comfort when all other fees and fines are soaring out of sight.

    No one wants to see money wasted by government. We get it. We also get that reforming free-spending politicians and civil servants is an ongoing project. But California looks to be going right into the ditch. Isn’t it time to consider some tax increases?

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  24. Kim said on February 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Nancy – I read as often as time permits, and then some; comment seldom just because of a ridiculous, deadline-crazy schedule; wish I had the time to join the conversation because the virtual bunch is good & keen as a collection of strangers can be. You’re a fine writer, better than most even on days when you declare you’re “off.” All this muscle flexing will make that other writing project easier once you land on it. You’ll see – and the great thing is we will, too.

    MichaelG – thanks for the pinch hit. I still hate CA, but the biking (watching biking, that is) sounds like a blast, even though I also hate being a spectator in almost all instances.

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  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 17, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Can anyone point me to Republican congresscritters who are bragging back in their district that they’re bringing targeted dollars back with the Stimulosity Bill? I promise to write them a heated note immediately, but i’m not finding any such in my GoogleNews searching.

    This is no Stimulus package, it’s a three year budget with policy changes that have been rushed through, unread, using the very real economic crisis as a pretext. The very real problem is that, since we need an economic stimulus package, and the Stimulosity Bill is barely a quarter direct, this year stimulus, we’ll see Stimulus II within months, maybe weeks.

    My objection isn’t hardly different from any other Republican speaking out right now — it isn’t that a stimulus package isn’t justified, but that this isn’t one, no matter how often the Congressional Dems call it one. And they know it . . . we will see pressure for Stimulus II before the year is out, and worse luck for Rs, it will have to be passed. Which may be why they know if they don’t raise an objection now, they surely can’t say a word in June when Son of Stimulus comes shambling down the pike.

    JeffB, my wife and i are up to 34% of our gross income going out in federal income, FICA/self-emp, state, local, property, and sales taxes. How high should that number go for families in the mid five figures? And how is it that our roads are still potholed and bridges corroding and schools holding bakesales for dry erase markers in the spring? Over the last 25 years defense spending has gone down versus percentage of federal budget, of GDP, and every other inflation adjusted measure, so that doesn’t explain how federal and state government have managed not to keep up the national & state parks and maintain front line service staffing in agencies. Where’s it going? I honestly don’t know, and will vote for either party’s candidate who actually shows some sign of trying to pull all that out into the daylight.

    Instead, i heard twice in the last week alone smart, well educated people say “if we taxed churches we wouldn’t have these budget deficits.” In Ohio they just figured out how to assess non-profit properties to maintain dams and levees and spillways, and it’s just the start. Pardon me for having thought the state was already doing that — but it turns out they haven’t touched ’em for thirty years. So we have to “assess” churches and Scout camps and retreat centers.

    “Paying for civilization” isn’t convincing me that’s what we’re doing with tax revenues.

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    And while i’m in a “pox on everyone’s house” mood, what th’eck is Detroit thinking with this?


    It’s the kind of thing that helps Kunstler and Dreher make a nauseous sort of sense. You can’t seriously make a vehicle like this, even as a concept car in-joke, and put it out on the floor as we read stuff like this:


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  27. Catherine said on February 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    All that truck needs is a Mad Max-lookalike spokesmodel.

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  28. mark said on February 17, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    jeff b-

    I haven’t paid enough attention to California specific issues to really comment. They ought to have the services they want to the degree they are able to pay for them. Cut services, raise taxes or both.

    My point really goes to the “law of unintended consequences.” If the federal government will pay your deficit, why not let them? Lay off some cops for a couple of weeks and default on a few bonds to show them your serious about your willingness to go down in flames. Think Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles.

    It’s working for Detroit and Wall Street. California’s prettier and bigger.

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  29. Sue said on February 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    “It’s working for Detroit”. (Everyone gets very quiet and starts to step back carefully.) Mark, nice knowin’ ya.

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  30. mark said on February 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Sorry, Sue. I meant the auto companies, who are back for another 8 billion that will never be repaid.

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  31. MichaelG said on February 17, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Raise the bridge or lower the river. Cut spending/services or raise revenues. In California the budget is roughly 90% cast in concrete with that much mandated by the legislature or by voter passed propositions. That leaves 10% of the budget subject to legislative discretion. I’ll leave it to you to guess which children, sick people, poor people and old people this 10% affects. There is simply not enough meat in that discretionary spending to cover the budgetary problems faced by the state. We have to raise revenue. Period. The budget requires a 66 2/3 majority to be passed. There has been a 66% majority for some time now. We need the other 2/3 of a percentage point. The trick is getting (at this time) one Republican Senator to vote yes. Jeff B, you mentioned three. Two are on board (for the moment). We have here the 33% minority ruining the state. First we need to instill a measure of sanity by instituting a simple majority budget and taxation set up and second we need to make it more difficult for rich guys to get their pet projects on the ballot. Then we can start to work on details. Jeff B is making a lot of sense.

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  32. Scout said on February 17, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Jeff(ttmo), maybe Jeff B is referring to this article:
    The headline reads: GOP lawmakers tout projects in the stimulus bill they opposed.

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  33. jeff borden said on February 17, 2009 at 4:57 pm


    I hope I’m not coming off as some unthinking booster of big government. I’m really not. But we need to restart the conversation about how we fund our common interests. In most states, our schools, our infrastructure, our parks, our libraries and other critical facets of life are a mess. Liberals and conservatives should be able to agree on that premise. Now, let’s have an honest debate on how best to improve and/or rebuild.

    In Chicago, for example, the use of tax increment financing (TIF) has been amazingly successful in rejuvenating many parts of downtown and the neighborhoods. All taxes collected within the TIF district must be spent within it. There is short-term pain for the school district, for example, which loses those revenues, but the trade is a nicer neighborhood with businesses generating more taxes in the long run. (At least before this economy hit.)

    Or, perhaps, we can have a different dialogue about what we are willing to do without. Close parks and libraries? Let potholes go unrepaired? Lay off cops and firemen and accept the higher rates of crime and deaths by fire?

    But this whole Joe the Plumber schtick “pay your bills and cut taxes” is nothing but a pipe dream to a state facing tens of billions in deficits.

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  34. beb said on February 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I gotta admit that I think the Feds ought to withhold California’s portion of the bailout money until they, like the car companies can present to Congress a plan to get out of debt. No body can work with a 2/3 majority requirement for budgets. That’s plain crazy.

    As for Nancy’s early morning screed…. that’s why I don’t blog. I know that after a week or so I would become bored and rush off doing the next new thing, then feel quilty about not keeping up with the blog. To blog like Nancy does is a relentless treadmill. She has all my sympathy and if she wants to take off for a day or a week. We’ll survive.

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  35. Dexter said on February 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    The Golden Gate Bridge was not spectacular at all yesterday as the rain was so bad the cameras must have been knocked out as when I tuned in later all we had were Craig Hummer and Sherwen and Liggett talking about the race at the finish line in Santa Cruz. At that point the race was only half over…I will return to the recording I made and see if it picked up the stage later on.
    I may have linked this before…at the 1:02 marker of this video my brother was asked, in French, “Do you like those?” as he modelled some sun glasses. This was at the Paris-Brest-Paris race

    When I had access to newspapers from coin boxes or stores, I would always buy a Trib, for Mike Royko (he left the Sun-Times when Murdoch bought it) , and for Bill Granger, and I would buy a Freep for Jim Fitzgerald and Bob Talbert, and I would only buy a FW News-Sentinel on the days a column appeared by the name of “Telling Tales”. I can’t remember the author, but when she left , she left a helluva hole there at that enterprise on Main Street. Here’s one of those columns, it’s in the middle of this complicated link.

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  36. alex said on February 17, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    beb, as a former blogger who managed to publish almost daily for a few years, I can say as Nance did above that it’s really more like batting practice. When your primary job is writing, there’s nothing like pumping out a 5,000-word essay first thing in the morning to get the juices flowing for the rest of the day. When my job changed to one where the writing is dry and clinical and there’s relatively less of it, my blogging habit fell off. I lost much of my stamina and also much of my voice. It’s like going from a strictly cardio workout to one that consists only of bench pressing.

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  37. LA Mary said on February 17, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    That truck is so awful. What’s worse is that I’m sure there are folks out there who want one. I will reveal a prejudice. If you want one of those, you’re an asshole.

    I could supply some less than pretty neighborhood photos of LA if anyone wants some. What’s odd is that even in the poor parts of town here, there are some very charming houses and gardens. The climate is kinder here. We have more than our share of ugly stuff too. Lots of one story stucco dumps with bars on the windows and chain link fences all over town. This one was torn down down the hill from my house:


    The Avenues gang used it as a party house for years. The Avenues is a very old Latino gang based here in NE LA where the streets are Avenue 34, rather than 34th Avenue. I live on one of the Avenues. In 25 years on this street I’ve had no gang issues other than taggers in the park behind my house. No question they’re a very nasty violet gang, though. What attracted the most recent attention was the shooting of a deputy in the street in front of his house, here in NE LA.

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  38. Dexter said on February 17, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    TY 4 the link, LAM…I heard a long report about “The Satellite House” a couple hours ago on NPR. An enforcement officer said he “…will go wherever they relocate and bulldoze that , too!”
    Keep us posted on the travelling bulldozer.

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  39. Dexter said on February 17, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    That truck? The F-650 has been a fave of NFL linemen for years…not QUITE so fancy, but they’re out there. Big trucks for big guys (with millions $ cash to burn)

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  40. mark said on February 17, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Unbelievable. GM is apparently saying it needs another 30 billion in taxpayer money. The company has a market cap of about 1.3 billion. They want 20+ times the value of the company to keep it alive for another few months.

    If I was in the 5% that pays 80% or so of all the income taxes, I would band together with my fellow 5%ers and contribute the 700 million necessary to buy a majority stake, replace management, tell the government no, and throw the thing into bankruptcy. Losing the whole 700 million investment would be cheaper than paying 80% of the 30 billion bail-out.

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  41. MichaelG said on February 17, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    You wanna go to downtown LA from LAX, just drive down Manchester to Broadway and up Broadway. Probably take you no longer than any other way. This is the scenic route and it will quickly disabuse the traveler of any notion that LA is an enclave of the rich.

    I get your point Beb, the 2/3 thing is insane. Don’t forget, however, that Calif kicks into the US Treasury a helluva lot more money than all the car companies together and gets a damn sight small percentage of it back.

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  42. LA Mary said on February 17, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Michael’s route recommendation will definitely disabuse you of any delusions you have about LA being glamourous. Hit Broadway in downtown just after dark and see all the homeless claiming their sleeping spots for the night, or go over a few blocks to skid row, and you will no longer think it’s all Bel Air here. The estimate of homeless I heard this morning was 78,000.

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  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 17, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Scout, good catch — i owe Mica and Young little love letters later tonight. Of course, Young has been a tool, one of the blunt instruments, for some time . . . i shoulda figured he’d be that dumb.

    JeffB, i suspect we’re largely on the same page. What i can’t figure out, specifically in Ohio, is how i can be paying out the percentage of our household incomes that we and our friends and neighbors are, and yet we keep hearing about stuff that’s been “underfunded” for decades or hasn’t been done at all — like this watershed thing in Ohio, which in theory i support (clean water, good; dirty water and floods, baaaad). But suddenly we learn it hasn’t been touched in decades, and they’ve created a new tax [koff] assessment that hits rural churches with a ten acre cemetery with a huge bill that they’ve never had and never saw coming. How did that not get done already? We’ve gotta do it, i’m gonna pay my property taxes and refuse to use any of the tricks that are out there to drive that bill down, but darn it, this is bugging me.

    Where has the money been going? Specifically, on the state level? And i agree that Howard Jarvis did immeasurable damage — Ohio has it’s own bastard child of Prop 27 or whatever that craze was in the 70s, but i say again: i’m over a third of our household income to taxes. How close to we get to 50% for families like mine before we’re “paying our fair share”? And what is it going for that so much is undone from the past, let alone not getting covered right now, so we have to mortgage my son’s retirement in advance?

    To balance all this angstyness — http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/02/12/40_years_worth_of_thanks/

    Watch the video, keep hankies near. We should pay for firefighters, and even a new shiny truck from time to time. Truly, JeffB and i aren’t arguing, we’re just dissecting on this subject.

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  44. Dexter said on February 17, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    You guys ever play around with Gigapan? It’s fun.


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  45. Catherine said on February 17, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    California needs a new state constitution. Between the 2/3 majority-for-a-budget nonsense and the initiative process (yes, that’s how we got Prop 13, and yes, I am aware that it was a Progressive Era notion and I still think it sucks), it’s no wonder things are so fouled up. While we’re at it, we should take on the Ed. Code, which would be an even more obvious disgrace if it weren’t overshadowed by the constitution.

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  46. Jolene said on February 18, 2009 at 12:16 am

    Mark: You have the numbers wrong. The automakers are looking for more money, but only about half as much as you said. Together GM and Chrysler want $21 billion, $15 billion for GM and $6 billion for Chrysler.

    In related news, “The companies said they plan to cut another 50,000 jobs worldwide, drop as many as six brands and shutter 14 plants in an attempt to survive one of the deepest recessions in decades.”

    Feel better now?

    P.S. The Post has several articles re what’s going on w/ the auto companies, the labor unions, and the government. Worth a look.

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  47. mark said on February 18, 2009 at 12:43 am


    What are you doing up so late?

    The first article I saw used the 30 billion figure. A couple I’ve read since indicate your numbers are the right ones under the companies’ “likely projections for car sales. 30 billion is a “worst case” scenario for sales. Trouble is, I think even their worst case estimates are too optimistic.

    No, I don’t feel any better. I think things will get much worse for us all soon. Hope I am wrong. A new car isn’t something anybody needs when times are tough.

    Thanks for the Post suggestion. I’m strangely sympathetic to the UAW, given that I also think they deserve a good share of the blame. But if they have to give up every advantage of union representation to make a deal, their reason for being ceases. The shareholders and bondholders need to be wiped out. They are all gamblers at this point.

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  48. Dexter said on February 18, 2009 at 12:49 am

    recession? maybe in most of the USA…but in Detroit, it’s a DEPRESSION.

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  49. LA Mary said on February 18, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I moved to LA right after prop 13 was passed. Everytime I needed some very basic governmental service like garbage pick up or the police, I’d get the prop 13 speech from the agency who failed to show up.

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  50. brian stouder said on February 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Mary, I thought this story about your town was both very cool and sorta funny


    an excerpt

    LOS ANGELES – Scientists are studying a huge cache of Ice Age fossil deposits recovered near the famous La Brea Tar Pits in the middle of the second-largest U.S. city.

    and the funny part –

    Such a rich find usually takes years to excavate. But with a deadline looming to build an underground parking garage for the next-door art museum, researchers boxed up the deposits and lifted them out of the ground using a massive crane.

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  51. LA Mary said on February 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    La Brea Pits (I refuse to call them the La Brea Tar Pits because La Brea means Tar) are remarkable. They are always finding amazing things over there, and oily tar is oozing out of the ground. That’s a big downside to taking the kids there because they get tar all over themselves. People are very casual about the occasional mastodon jaw they find while excavating for sewer lines or such.

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