The bankruptcy of Art.

Because I spread my newspaper reading throughout the day, I didn’t see this gem from yesterday’s WSJ until after I’d posted for the day. Besides, as it’s a WSJ story, I don’t even know if many of you can get to it. It’s about a pair of Bernard Madoff’s more unusual victims; I’ll try to clip judiciously and summarize efficiently.

Hed: Couple’s Dreams of Immortality at Death’s Door, Thanks to Madoff / Artists Who Design Homes to Prolong Life Lost Their Life Savings; Undulating Floors

Of all the dreams that were crushed by Mr. Madoff’s crime, perhaps none was more unusual than (Arakawa and Madeline Gins’), of achieving everlasting life through architecture. Mr. Arakawa (he uses only his last name) and Ms. Gins design structures they say can enable inhabitants to “counteract the usual human destiny of having to die.”

The pair’s work, based loosely on a movement known as “transhumanism,” is premised on the idea that people degenerate and die in part because they live in spaces that are too comfortable. The artists’ solution: construct abodes that leave people disoriented, challenged and feeling anything but comfortable.

They build buildings with no doors inside. They place rooms far apart. They put windows near the ceiling or near the floor. Between rooms are sloping, bumpy moonscape-like floors designed to throw occupants off balance. These features, they argue, stimulate the body and mind, thus prolonging life. “You become like a baby,” says Mr. Arakawa.

Yes, what Japanese designers are to fashion, so too are Arakawa (who is himself Japanese) and Gins to architecture — insane. The slideshow of the couple’s work is simply hilarious; the description of “sloping, bumpy, moonscape-like floors” doesn’t really do justice to the real article, which look as though even a crawling baby would have problems negotiating them. The story quotes a curator at the Guggenheim, who says “many of their supporters don’t literally accept the couple’s message on immortality but appreciate it in a ‘metaphorical’ way.”

Well, that’s comforting. And what about the clients?

At least one tenant says he feels a little younger already. Nobutaka Yamaoka, who moved in with his wife and two children about two years ago, says he has lost more than 20 pounds and no longer suffers from hay fever, though he isn’t sure whether it was cured by the loft.

There is no closet, and Mr. Yamaoka can’t buy furniture for the living room or kitchen because the floor is too uneven, but he relishes the lifestyle. “I feel a completely different kind of comfort here,” says the 43-year-old video director. His wife, however, complains that the apartment is too cold. Also, the window to the balcony is near the floor, and she keeps bumping her head against the frame when she crawls out to hang up laundry, he says. (“That’s one of the exercises,” says Ms. Gins.)

Alas, however, this architectural fountain of youth is at risk of drying up, as the couple invested their life savings with Madoff, and you know how that story ends. They’re trying to sell their “seminal work,” a series of 84 eight-foot-high panels, for $17 million, but failing that, their dream of building a “‘reversible destiny’ village with homes and parks that would combine their theories of life into one community,” alas, will, dare I say, die.

Which I can say I appreciate in a metaphorical way.

(Peter’s going to show up to lecture me for being a Philistine any minute now, I’m sure.)

Actually, I’m sorry to see Arakawa and Gins’ work be compromised. When the only people Madoff was stealing from were run-of-the-mill greedheads, you could make an argument for complicity. But when he came for the artists? To quote Bugs Bunny: This means…war!)

As I looked at the slideshow of Arakawa and Gins’ work, I thought about the purposes of the avant-garde, not just in architecture, but elsewhere. Are they cultural stalking horses or just…Bjork? Take Newt Gingrich, embryonic Catholic. I vote, in this case, for “just an asshole.”

The morning is slipping away and I have a 39-page bolus of copy to plow through, part of a new project I’m working on, which I’ll tell you about in due time. (It’s not a book.) There will also be some minor housekeeping announcements here and there, but nothing that will change your NN.C experience, except in the sense that I’ll be spread even thinner and more easily distracted. However, I’ve learned over time that when that happens, it’s rarely the blog that suffers, mainly because I have so many supporters who keep me at it. Take, for example, my webmaster J.C., who sent an e-mail yesterday announcing he’d been messing around with “SQL queries, and had identified the times I’ve duplicated headlines for a post, followed by a damn list:

(Groan.) (2 times.)
A day away. (2 times.)
Can’t talk now… (2 times.)
Cancel my subscription. (2 times.)
Caught up. (2 times.)
Discuss. (2 times.)
Dry. (2 times.)
Excuses, excuses. (2 times.)
Following up. (2 times.)
For your consideration. (3 times.)
Good news, bad news. (2 times.)
Grr. (2 times.)
Happy Halloween. (2 times.)
Happy new year. (2 times.)
Homework. (2 times.)
I ask you. (2 times.)
It’s a tough town. (6 times.)
Link salad. (2 times.)
Memento mori. (2 times.)
Monday, Monday. (2 times.)
Moving on. (2 times.)
My back pages. (2 times.)
No comment. (4 times.)
Ouch. (2 times.)
P.S. (2 times.)
Proud to be an American. (2 times.)
Recommended. (2 times.)
Ripped from the headlines. (2 times.)
Saturday morning market. (3 times.)
Sigh. (2 times.)
Snicker. (2 times.)
State fair. (2 times.)
Teevee. (2 times.)
The tyranny of choice. (3 times.)
Thinner. (2 times.)
Tids & bits (2 times.)
Tuesday night pie. (2 times.)
Update. (2 times.)
What’s it worth to you? (2 times.)
Wrong number. (2 times.)
Yawn. (2 times.)

This is sort of comforting, because I thought it would have been more. “It’s a tough town” is actually an old Knight Ridder joke, so obscure I don’t dare detail it here. But now you know.

Posted at 10:27 am in Current events |

77 responses to “The bankruptcy of Art.”

  1. moe99 said on March 25, 2009 at 11:06 am

    As a former Catholic, I cannot get past the fact that the Catholic Church is ignoring Gingrich’s two failed marriages to welcome him into the fold. The admitted adultery, I realize, can be wiped away by confession, but the marriages? They have to go back and change history. Which of course they do when they annul marriages ex post facto divorce. I know of one where the unhappy couple was both Catholic to begin with! I wanted to ask the wife, who had sought the annullment, if that made her two kids illegitimate, but I refrained.

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  2. nancy said on March 25, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I briefly — very briefly — took a reconciliation class with the idea of returning to the One True Church after Kate was born, and we discussed this. The teacher told us, basically, to get over it. Frank Sinatra was married four times and received three annulments. The procedure doesn’t bastardize children, it only says the marriage they came from wasn’t “truly spiritual.” It is, down to the very last detail, a Catholic divorce. This was one of many reasons I decided I was better off shut of the place.

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  3. Peter said on March 25, 2009 at 11:23 am

    I was going to go Philistine Bitch on you before my inner Dave Barry kicked in and I thought that would be a pretty good name for a rock band.

    Seriously, I have seen a review of their work and they have one thing in common with Newt – just more proof that there’s still too many drugs and excess leisure money around.

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  4. jeff borden said on March 25, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Ah, yes, Newt Gingrich lecturing others on issues of morality. It’s not just that Newtie is an adulterer –but that he’s a bastard of an adulterer– serving wife No. 1 with divorce papers after her cancer surgery and cheating on No. 2 with the soon-to-be No. 3, an aide in his office. The S.O.B. couldn’t even be bothered with trying to hide it.

    The essential hypocrisy from all those bleating about stem cells is their absolute silence while the previous administration unlawfully took us into a war of choice that has killed tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands. How very noble of Bush and Co. They refused to allow stem cells to be harvested from embryos that most likely would be destroyed, but they averted their gaze from the sufferings of actual humans caused by their hands.

    We like to say in our house that these folks are not pro-life. They are pro-birth. Once that little bundle of joy arrives, you’re on your own, baby. Don’t come looking to us for any kind of help.

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  5. Sue said on March 25, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Has anyone told Newt there’s already a pope? If I were Benny, I’d watch my back.

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  6. Joe Kobiela said on March 25, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Uh, don’t forget uncle Teddy my pants fell off Kennedy, I believe he had a Marriage annulled also. Just saying.
    Pilot Joe

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  7. coozledad said on March 25, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I always thought a large segment of the human population would wind up living either outdoors entirely, or in communities built out of stacked concrete culvert pipe. There would definitely be weight loss and a profoundly different sense of one’s connection to the environment.

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  8. Rana said on March 25, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I must be odd, because I liked those apartments – bumpy floors and all. Maybe it’s the bright colors and little nooks – I’ve never liked the big, bland, high-ceiling-ed things that seem to be so popular among builders these days.

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  9. beb said on March 25, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    coozledad — I never thought much of connecting with nature through the inside of a wolf’s stomach, which of course is where I’d most likely end up.

    Pilot Joe: The Democrats have never made a commandent out of divorse and re-marriage the way the Republicans have. So when a Democrat remarries — so what, but when a Republican re-marries they’ve violated one of the cardinal planks of their party. So, yes, it’s a big thing.

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  10. nancy said on March 25, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Meanwhile, one of our regulars e-mails me privately:

    Could you please start a drinking game where we have to drink everytime someone brings up Ted Kennedy when it’s completely out of context?

    Nah. We’d all be face-first on our desks by mid-afternoon.

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  11. Sue said on March 25, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Ted Kennedy! Ted Kennedy! Ted Kennedy!

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  12. moe99 said on March 25, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Or Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. At that rate, we’d not make it to work sober.

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  13. paddyo' said on March 25, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Me, too, Rana. Bright, vibrant color, encasing what looks more like something from a miniature golf course (obstacles, obstacles) or, hey, don’t the bumpy parts look like sand dunes, and the living spaces/pits like foxholes. Zounds! It’s Iraq!

    I don’t know if living in that place in the slideshow will extend life. I’m thinking more like the opposite — that a slip and a header into one of those jagged table edges or into the foxhole-pit will probably shorten it. But I’ve seen far, far worse examples of “art” silliness.

    As as for Newtie and the Blowhards, what Jeff B. said, times 10.

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  14. alex said on March 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    So when a Democrat remarries — so what, but when a Republican re-marries they’ve violated one of the cardinal planks of their party. So, yes, it’s a big thing.

    Nah. As long as you talk the talk, you can fuck around all you want. You can even have a knocked-up teen-aged daughter and the wingnuts will still love you.

    Doubtless Gingrich takes Catholicism about as seriously as he takes marriage. He had no compelling need to make his current relationship legal until he decided to run for president in 2012.

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  15. nancy said on March 25, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    This is not a poke at Joe, but I notice that whenever annulment is discussed in the pop culture, i.e., by non-Catholics who may not appreciate its procedures and nuances, the Kennedys are always the first name that comes up. To be sure, they’ve had their share; I think one of the lesser Kennedys was at the center of a book where the ex-spouse wanted to stop the annulment from being granted. (It wasn’t. In my direct knowledge, that almost never happens.)

    Andrew Sullivan, himself a faithful Catholic but one who seemingly knows less about his church than little old lapsed me, once wrote that annulments were rare, very hard to get, extremely expensive and mostly limited to Kennedys. When the truth is, they’re as common as squirrels, cost about $300-$400, and are only hard to get if you and your witnesses object to the lengthy forms you’re required to fill out. (As a writer, it was a snap for me. I breezed through a couple dozen essay questions for my BFF’s annulment in about an hour.) A spouse’s objections don’t seem to mean anything, as the finding is whether your marriage was truly spiritual, and the fact you split up is the single biggest piece of evidence that it wasn’t. Ex won’t cooperate? Ex hates your guts? Just more evidence on your side.

    Oh, and as I recall, several of the questions asked if I knew whether the couple in question had used artificial birth control. Answer yes, and that’s another big win for the applicant.

    The main point of the procedure seems to be this: Give you a few pain-in-the-ass hoops to jump through, require you to open up your marital secrets to a third party, so you’ll think twice the next time. As far as I know, Teddy’s been married twice, with one annulment. Sounds like it worked for him.

    The multiple annulments sort of stretch my patience, as do the ones of very public, out-there, emulate-us-because-we’re-role-models sorts of people. I remember there was a case in Cleveland a few years, of a couple that ran a trad-Catholic website and magazine, wrote about themselves and their faith constantly — how strong Jesus made them, how they prayed the Rosary nightly with their tribe of homeschooled children, the whole bit. Then one day, whoops, dad announced he was leaving and oh by the way, I’m seeking an annulment. The wife went apeshit and started a counter-campaign to stop it, on the grounds that if there was ever a truly spiritual marriage entered into by two clear-eyed adults, they had one. Didn’t work.

    EDIT: Looked up the case, and I have my facts wrong. He only sought divorce, not annulment. His wife still went apeshit, and is now demonizing no-fault divorce. Because apparently we have to go back to the suing-for-extreme-mental-cruelty days. Oh, joy.

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  16. Joe Kobiela said on March 25, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I was referring to Teddy as a Catholic not as Democrat.
    To me, most all politicians are nothing more than overpaid under worked Gasbags that think the American people are gullible enough to fall for their bullshit. Most of them,couldn’t make a living in the real world. I would not hire any of them to clean up after my dog.
    Pilot Joe

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  17. Danny said on March 25, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I saw a headline that indicated they were making a movie about the Lewinsky affair. Something about Julianne Moore playing Hillary, I think. Anyway, I won’t be seeing that one.

    Which reminds me, did anyone here watch “W?” Or more likely, buy the collector’s edition Blu-Ray with the See-n-Say-Bushisms Talking Action Figure?

    Sue, it’s a joke. Don’t leave.

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  18. Gasman said on March 25, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Oh come on. Joe is at his oratorical zenith when he trots out Ted Kennedy. TK is one of about two arrows in his rhetorical quiver. Deprive him of that and he’d be even less fun to read.

    We liberals have it easy. The right has given us so many examples of hypocrisy, incompetency, moral turpitude, ludimocrosity, etc., etc., etc. and who does Joe have? Ted Kennedy.

    Seriously, what will the right do when Ted shakes this mortal coil? Whom will they demonize when he is gone?

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  19. Jolene said on March 25, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    You defame legislators when you’d say they’d be able to make a living outside of politics, Joe. After all, Tom DeLay, I hear, had a successful career as an exterminator.

    But, seriously, who cares? Isn’t the question whether they are good at politics and governing?

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  20. Sue said on March 25, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I actually did see W. Rather cartoonish and a strangely sympathetic portrayal by Josh Brolin. All you good Republican boys should see it just for a hot Laura Bush as portrayed by Elizabeth Banks. George Sr. doesn’t come off well, Thandie Newton mimics Condoleeza Rice more than portrays her. Absolutely nothing that anyone hasn’t seen or heard before. And when a very good conservative friend of mine found out that I saw it, he was so angry at me that it caused a rift that hasn’t healed yet. I was totally blindsided by his anger. To me it was a movie, to him it was nothing short of a betrayal of our friendship.

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  21. LA Mary said on March 25, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I think Ted Kennedy and Clinton/Lewinsky are heroes of the Republican party. The moral failings of those three have justified torture, domestic spying, going to war for false reasons, letting New Orleans drown and rot, and probaly the deaths of over a hundred thousand people. If only Bill hadn’t got that BJ, so many lives would have been saved.

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  22. Scout said on March 25, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I know you were engaging in snark, LA Mary, but sadly, I think you might actually have a valid point.

    Hey, anyone here enjoying the latest Obama nontroversy regarding teleprompters as memed by the ubiquitous Ron Fournier? Sullivan comments as does Bob Cesca. And apparently even Letterman weighed in.

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  23. Jolene said on March 25, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Yes, the teleprompter meme has been getting a lot of play in the right-wing blogosphere. Their idea, apparently, is that Obama is too stupid to think of anything to say if it hasn’t already been written down–likely by someone else. How this squares w/ his appearances at numerous debates, press conferences, and townhall meetings, where he’s had to speak off the cuff, is beyond me.

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  24. brian stouder said on March 25, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Scout – the day that Sarah Palin emerged from her media meteor in Ohio (wasn’t it?), much the way Clark Kent did (from the planet Krypton), the very FIRST damned talking point out of our local rightwing radio parrot was “and she didn’t use a teleprompter!” –

    which immediately perked up my ears, since of course Obama is such an inarguably fine communicator (remember when that was greeted as a huge strength of Ronal Reagan’s?) the other side had to devalue that strength somehow!

    I went onto the google and quickly found that the “no teleprompter Palin” trial balloon was all over the right side of the blogosphere….except that if you watched the video of Sarah’s high-energy emergence onto the national political stage, you could easily see teleprompters!

    So now the lazy haters have reverted to the teleprompter canard, saying President Obama is lost without one. Whatever.

    Unrelated item for Dorothy: So I saw this headline on msnbc: Opinion: Don’t let Pitt’s close calls worry you

    And I honestly wondered “what sort of risks is Brad Pitt taking?” – I was thinking he was doing too many of his own stunts or something

    And then I clicked it, and had to chuckle while realizing that you probably knew exactly what they meant!

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  25. coozledad said on March 25, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I don’t know why we’re still hearing from the Republicans. I thought they were supposed to be returning the Philippines to the halcyon days of Marcos, or enjoying the Costa Rican diet of Velveeta and canned ham. And there’s always the Romanov restoration project already underway in Russia.
    Anastasia did not scream in vain!

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  26. Danny said on March 25, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    It’s quite arguable that Bill’s BJ distracted him from his RJ (Real Job) and led to 9/11. And Mary, remember, Arnold was only alleged to have a BJ and you thought him a pig. Funny stuff.

    And Gas, don’t you worry, your bench is quite deep. Practically a murderer’s row of charlatans, ne’er-do-wells and incompetents. Dodd Pelosi, Reid and Frank are gifts that will keep giving.

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  27. coozledad said on March 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Yeah, I remember when Clinton got that memo: “Bin Laden determined to strike in US”, and went down to Crawford to juice and do a little freshwater fishing. And when he was advised there was a cell in the US, he blew off the guys who delivered the report: “You’ve covered your ass”, he said smugly, before turning to the complicated task of masticating a pretzel. It’s easy to understand why the Republicans blame him for what happened seven months into George Bush’s presidency.

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  28. Danny said on March 25, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Believe me, Cooz, a year or two into Obama’s presidency and you’ll all still be whining about how it’s all Bush’s fault. And it’ll undoubtedly be one of Obama’s platform messages in the 2012 election.

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  29. Sue said on March 25, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    OMG, George W. masticated while President? Why haven’t I heard this before?

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  30. LA Mary said on March 25, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Danny, I think Bill Clinton is a pig about women. Does that make it all OK? And I assume you’re joking about the 9/11 stuff being related to the BJ.Do you think people can’t have sex and be the president? Hang on, you are a Republican. Think Nixon. That man hadn’t had sex in years. Cheney having sex is something I don’t want to contemplate.
    Arnold’s a pig in many ways, Danny, and now he seems to have abandoned all the things he ran on. Remember him reversing the car registration tax increase? Kiss that one goodbye. It’s doubling. Arnold is an opportunist, nothing else. He was more interesting than Gray Davis, but then nearly everyone is.

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  31. coozledad said on March 25, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Oh, it’s not all Bush’s fault. There was his gun running, coke peddling daddy, that casting couch slut Reagan, and football without a helmet Ford, and our own little Juan Peron, Dick Nixon. And the lovable sidekicks, Liddy, Rumsfeld, Poindexter, Colson, Cheney, Jesse Helms, etc. Bedshitters every one of them.

    I just noticed that the Postal service is starting to burn through its retiree’s money. Seems I remember hearing a little pep talk back during the first Bush saying they’d have to remake themselves as a private company. Then management built a little party shack for themselves in Atlanta, and started handing out bonuses to douchesacks who had about this level of managerial competence:

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  32. Dorothy said on March 25, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Funny, Brian. I knew IMMEDIATELY they were referring to Jamie Dixon’s team when I read your entry (#24 above). We’re so jazzed at my house. My husband went to Pitt and a few years ago I made the unfortunate pronouncement that “every year they find a way to break your heart again!” regarding Pitt basketball. I’m going to miss the game tomorrow as I’ll be at rehearsal. But if they win I won’t budge from the t.v. on Saturday for the next game.

    Sue you crack me up on a regular basis. Keep ’em coming!

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  33. jeff borden said on March 25, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I’ve never been able to buy the idea that 9/11 would not have happened if Al Gore had won enough electoral votes. Fanatics willing to die for their cause are tough to stop.

    I do believe, however, that our excellent adventure in Iraq would never have occurred if Gore were president, which is reason enough to mourn the election of W. And I doubt Gore and the Democratic Party would have politicized the response to that attack for their advantage as the Republic Party did at the urging of Karl Rove.

    The opportunity to create a global response to violent Islamic radicalism was right there for the taking –even the ultra-leftist Le Monde had a headline reading “We Are All Americans” after 9/11– but the petty little man from Texas and his enablers shredded that possibility from the get-go. And we all know the road that was taken from that point. I believe it’s called the Unconstitutional Boulevard and is home to unlawful warfare against a sovereign state uninvolved with 9/11, unwarranted telephone and Internet surveillance, abrogation of habeas corpus and the Geneva Conventions, torture, abuse of the military through “stop/loss” policies, enriching of contractors through no-bid contracts and the ultimate destruction of American exceptionalism.

    My friends on the right can throw Ted Kennedy and Chappaquidick or Bill Clinton and blow jobs at me and it really doesn’t matter. The Republic Party marched in lockstep with W. for eight frigging years that devastated our nation at home and abroad, never uttering a harsh word about him. (Contrast that with the drubbing Obama is taking from liberals after just two months in office.) We’re still taking account of all the damage done and it will take years to catalog all of it. Neither Kennedy nor Clinton are saints. I don’t much care for either of them. But they never dreamed of doing to our country what W. and his party have done.

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  34. Scout said on March 25, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Jeff Borden, you are the smartest boy in class today.

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  35. Gasman said on March 25, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    You appear to be applying a totally different metric than I when I cite liars, lunatics, or the sexually amoral. You just trotted out the names of people you disagree with. How do Pelosi and Reid make the list? Certainly not for sexual indiscretions. Can you cite lies from either? Maybe you feel that anyone that disagrees with you is a lunatic, but that’s a pretty big club and that’s a pretty weak contention.

    As for Frank, unless you are contending that being gay is an automatic qualifier, I’m not sure how he makes the list either.

    When I cite my list, I pick those whose place of infamy is unquestioned because of their copious record of lying, lunacy, or sexual indiscretion. To wit, in no particular order:
    Sara Palin
    Joe the Plumber
    Bobby Jindal
    Rush Limbaugh (he scores high on all three counts)
    George W. Bush
    Dick (and I do mean Dick) Cheney
    John Yoo
    Donald Rumsfield
    Condoleezza Rice
    Eric Cantor
    Alberto Gonzales
    David Vitter
    Laura Ingraham
    Bill O’Reilly
    Jonathan Golberg
    Sean Hannity
    Michelle Bachman
    Newt Gingrich
    Paul Wolfowitz
    All of FoxNews
    etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum.

    These are just the ones that I could think of in about 90 seconds. I bet that I could come up with 3-4 times that number with a few minutes of reflection.

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  36. Danny said on March 25, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Do you think people can’t have sex and be the president? Hang on, you are a Republican.

    Haha, Mary!

    BTW, I agree with you that Arnold has turned out to be a big disappointment.

    These are just the ones that I could think of in about 90 seconds. I bet that I could come up with 3-4 times that number with a few minutes of reflection.

    Gas, it took you a whole 90 seconds to cut and paste from all of your former posts? Whaddaya got carpal tunnel?!?

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  37. Joe Kobiela said on March 25, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Good Grief,
    To hell with them all, I’m going flying.
    Pilot Joe

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  38. Jason T. said on March 25, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Dorothy @ # 32, around our place, we were more heartbroken by this:

    On the one hand, they went 21-12 this year after going 3-24 three seasons ago (and having several players get shot in ’06).

    (And they were thisclose to going to the big dance.)

    On the other hand, gee whiz, Aaron Jackson scores 46 freakin’ points and they still lose in the first round?! Aw, man!

    Wait’ll next year …

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  39. Danny said on March 25, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Aw, Joe. Don’t let it get you down.

    Hey, bringing this forward from yesterday’s thread. What do you newsies think of the plans being floated to save newspapers?

    Here’s an article about a bill with some novel ideas that would be aimed at saving the newspapers. Letting them restructure as non-profits…hmm. Interesting. And the added benefit would be no political endorsements. I think there was some discussion here a few months back about this being an odd practice for an editorial board anyway.

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  40. Jolene said on March 25, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    You basketball fans might be interested in (or horrified by) this NYT article by Michael Sokolove re the kids who want to be the stars of the future. I had no idea that training and competition were so intense at such early ages.

    And yes, clap, clap, clap for Jeff Borden.

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  41. brian stouder said on March 25, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    So where’s Caliban been?

    I hope he hasn’t choked on a pretzel or something (that would be a cruel twist of fate)

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  42. Kirk said on March 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    OK, Nancy, gotta ask: Should I be able to see a number for each and every posted comment here? Because the only ones that have numbers on them on my screen are those posted by your own self.

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  43. nancy said on March 25, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    It’s probably your monitor. The numbers attached to you muggles’ comments are pretty pale gray, whereas mine are a nice inky black. Try adjusting the contrast.

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  44. LA Mary said on March 25, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    If imminent Catholic Newt is on Twitter, I am even less inclined to use that medium. It strikes me as the the really uncool online social network that old farts get. I’m not ready to be that uncool or old yet.

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  45. Jolene said on March 25, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    A couple things of potential interest:

    Kim O’Donnell, who writes a blog called A Mighty Appetite for the WaPo, has an item re food writers for various publications who’ve been laid off and the blogs they’ve started as part of their efforts to make new careers. Lots of links and, in some cases, some great photos along w/ the recipes/chat.

    And Andrew Sullivan’s analysis of the presidential press conference is headed by a striking photo–a long shot of Obama walking into the room on the red carpet. Worth clicking on the link just for the pic, even if you’re not a Sullivan fan.

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  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 25, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I miss a couple days, try to scan down, and i see, glancingly, “a hot Laura Bush”?

    Whoever was cranking on the subject of us conservatives not helping people after the kid is born, my most cheerful, congenial, well-intended “Bite Me!”

    And my son and i are off to, as it happens (it’s our Wednesday) to feed a roomful of worried, nervous people, and work through some credit counseling and tax prep work for those under 150% of poverty, which will pretty much be a gimme for the room. Don’t even ask me my opinion of Ja#$son-Hew&^t, and i won’t think well of Magic Johnson ever again. Leeches on the desperate and needy, may they fall into an AIG sized hole and never escape (scratch-offs, SCRATCH-OFFS! while you wait for your “refund advance,” which ends up meaning you get 40-45% of your refund — loan sharks are more humane).

    Anyhow, “Bite Me!” and i’ll try to find out by tomorrow what’s up with a hot Laura Bush . . . is she in this month’s Maxim?

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  47. Scout said on March 25, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    A man of the cloth saying, “Bite me?” That is a total LOL … and I never use LOL.

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  48. Kirk said on March 25, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Yep, now that I’m looking for them, I see those numbers, in pale gray.

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  49. jeff borden said on March 25, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Jeff TMMO,

    Re: Pro-birth but not pro-life? That was me, brother, but I refuse to bite you. Instead, I’ll ask you why conservatives are so strongly opposed to abortion but are generally quite comfortable with the death penalty. Or why those who weep at the idea of using stem cells from embryos likely to be destroyed are silent when servicemen and women are sent off to kill and be killed in an illegal war. Or why those rightwing politicians who are so quick to condemn the idea of terminating a pregnancy under any circumstances generally oppose funds for the kinds of social programs that can deliver pre- and post-natal care, proper nutrition, extended pediatric care, etc.?

    Feel free to bite back.

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  50. mark said on March 25, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    jeff borden-

    You might be forgetting the Catholic church, which is pretty pro-life all the way around. I’m conservative and anti-death penalty. Perhaps a narrower brush next time.

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  51. nancy said on March 25, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Yeah, like that devout Catholic and anti-death penalty activist, Antonin Scalia.

    It always slays me how many Catholics claim utter fealty to the Pope on abortion issues, but will tie themselves into rhetorical knots conscientiously objecting to the death-penalty stuff.

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  52. moe99 said on March 25, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Funny that pro-life all the way around. Notre Dame, the pre-eminent Catholic institution of higher learning which is now embroiled in the “how dare you invite that fiend Barack Obama to speak at graduation because he’s an abortion supporter!” has had other presidents deliver commencement speeches, who have supported the death penalty, among them George Bush pere et fils. It seems that once you’re born, all bets are off as far as protection and the Church goes.

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  53. coozledad said on March 25, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    jeff borden: Occam’s razor says it’s all about keeping the woman in the house, or at least keeping her on a leash. If you can call the shots for women, you’re well on your way to reversing the gains made on a variety of fronts against the entire neolithic mindset that governs fundamentalist Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, and Islamic extremism. They don’t want to hear it, but they’re all cut from the same shitty cake. It’s slowly getting harder for angry white males to convince the world they’re adept at anything except fucking the whole world over.

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  54. jeff borden said on March 25, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    I tried to narrow my brush by using the words “generally.” I don’t doubt for a moment that you,
    Danny, Jeff TMMO, are good people and I applaud your stance. I’m talking more, I guess, about the general conservative movement. And, yes, I know that there are many movement, doctrinaire liberals who will bend their beliefs, too. One of the most damaging impacts of Clinton’s fellatio episode was the silence from women’s rights groups about an older man in power taking advantage of a female subordinate. This most definitely is a two-sided blade.

    Moe and Cooz,
    One of the most intriguing things about the basic tenets of religions of which I am familiar is the second-class status (or no-class status among some faiths) of women. Why is it that the most fundamentalist strains of Christianity, Judaism and Islam are so freaking terrified of women? It’s not just that they cannot be leaders of the faith but that they must completely subordinate themselves to males, even to the way they dress. And while the Islamic fundamentalists may be the biggest sticklers, remember those women from the Texas polygamy cult with their ankle-length dresses and sausage curls mandated by their male leaders? Was it the story of Eve and the apple in the Garden of Eden that so tainted the well of religion against women?

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  55. MichaelG said on March 25, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I don’t know about New York, but in CA that nutball architect would run into some serious code issues with his hamster habitat.

    I’m a recovering Catholic. My first wife was a divorced Methodist. We went to the Archdiocese of San Francisco to see about an annulment of her first marriage so we could get married in the Church. This was 1970. They quoted us a year’s worth of paperwork, counseling, yada, yada. We got married by a Unitarian minister. My second time, we were both divorced Catholics. The SF ArchD sneered at us again. This was ’78. This time I got married by an Episcopalian priest. That one lasted thirty years until recently. No more marriage. No more papists.

    Eat your hearts out, nn.c ers. I got my annual case of asparagus this aft. 18 pounds of gorgeous, prime Sacramento River Delta best grade asparagus. The best asparagus in the world. Picked this morning.

    I don’t like Bill Clinton either. I agree the Lewinsky affair was shameful. I don’t see it as an impeachable offense and I certainly can’t understand how it was worse than the multitudes of crimes and deaths attributable to the Bush administration. And I still say that two of the defining characteristics of the Republicans are hypocrisy and self delusion.

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  56. LA Mary said on March 25, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Jeff B,
    The new guy in my office, who is a Mormon, felt the need to remind me that men follow Jesus and women follow men. He was serious. I made note of the comment, noted who else was present in the room, and have saved this comment for possible future use.

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  57. jeff borden said on March 25, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    LA Mary,
    How very gallant of him, huh? I don’t know much about LDS aside from what I have gleaned from several non-fiction books including “Under the Banner of God,” but two things stand out from those readings: women are meant to be have lots of kids and the wealth and power you accrue in this life carries over into the next.
    I admire your self control, Mary. More than a few women of my acquaintance might have gelded that guy.

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  58. MichaelG said on March 25, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    That’s the thing, Mary. They not only have these beliefs, they feel compelled to tell everybody. That shit is really objectionable. Talk about your hostile work environment.

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  59. coozledad said on March 25, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    LA Mary: Sounds like he’s got daddy issues. My wife knows better than to trust me when I’m holding the damn AAA map.

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  60. basset said on March 25, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    MichaelG, sounds like you’re gonna be peeing green for awhile.

    Mrs. Basset and I were married in a Unitarian church… premarital counseling consisted of sitting down in the minister’s office and him saying to her, “I’ve known you since you were little and you wouldn’t do anything stupid. Any questions?”

    wouldn’t do anything stupid, what does he know… she did, just a few days later.

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  61. MichaelG said on March 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    It’s not the green, Basset, asparagus makes your pee smell strange.

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  62. coozledad said on March 25, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Michael G: Some people are genetically gifted with olfactory bulbs that can detect the presence of asparagus in piss, others like myself, only smell it as piss.
    As I get older, mine begins to smell like one of the rest stops on I-95; specifically the one closest to the Waffle House in St. Petersburg, VA. I think I need to see a urologist.

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  63. Jolene said on March 25, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    What will you do w/ 18 lbs. of asparagus, Michael? That’s a lot to consume in a few days.

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  64. Catherine said on March 25, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Mmmmm… steamed with a little lemonaise?

    Grilled with a little balsamic vinegar?

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  65. Joe Kobiela said on March 25, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Back from flying and feeling better, nice night by the way, even Detroit looked nice from 7,000ft. I personally think abortion should be legal, I don’t agree with it but that needs to be up to the woman. The problem I have is MY TAXES shouldn’t be paying for it. Clinton getting a hummer in the white house was not illegal,it wasn’t smart, but when the sob looked in the camera and lied about it is what pissed me off, if he lied about that,what else was he hiding, and I don’t want to hear the it wasn’t technically sex argument. and didn’t congress approve the war in Iraq? so how is it illegal? Just askin.
    Pilot Joe

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  66. MichaelG said on March 25, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    By the time you see the stuff in the stores it can be ancient. This is especially so as the distance between you and the source increases. What I have here will last a good four to five weeks. The secret is that you do not refrigerate. I can’t eat all of it so I’ll be sharing with other folks. In past years I have consumed an amazing amount of the stuff, though. I’m going to try pickling some this year. I’ve eaten Peruvian and Mexican asparagus and truly, none of it can compare with Delta asparagus. The best, like I have here (admittedly through dumb luck), is sweet, tender and flavorful, the thickness of a finger without that unfortunate grassy taste or any of those strings or toughness that you see in some asparagus. It’s too bad the cheap Central and South American imports are killing the local farmers and developers are buying up the land. There are lots of ways to cook it. However you prepare it, just don’t overcook it. You want it still deep green and with a tooth. Mary and Danny and Catherine should see it in the store this weekend. It’s worth the $3.99/lb it will likely cost at first.

    The Delta is located between San Francisco and Sacramento and the land has become immensely valuable. If I wasn’t such a lucky mooch, I would pay the $3.99 myself. I’ve learned that the growers lose money at lower prices and are selling their valuable land rather than lose money at $1.99. I can’t blame a guy for wondering why he should knock himself out for pennies when he can sell his acreage for millions and retire to the South of France. This is one more disappearing American treasure.

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  67. Gasman said on March 25, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Last time I checked, there was but a single provision for war in the United States and it involves a congressional declaration. No such act occurred. Find the words “authorization of combat” anywhere in the Constitution. You can’t because they aren’t there. That was created out of whole cloth by a bunch of spineless pussy Democrats who lacked the cajones to oppose W when attacking anybody seemed like a good idea.

    So, Clinton lies about a BJ and he should be impeached? What the hell about the thousands of lies that W told with frightening regularity? Who died because of Clinton’s willie seeing some intern action? What is the death count for W’s lies? At least in the 100,000+ range, probably a damned sight higher.

    We know that W wiped his dumb Texan ass with the Constitution way more often than he read it. Torture, illegal spying, illegal war, lying to everybody on the planet, and a couple of rigged elections, but a BJ trumps all that! And you wonder why we think you should use the oxygen while you’re flying?

    Clinton was tacky. W is responsible for untold death, destruction, and suffering. No question as to who was worse.

    Your priorities are mightily skewed.

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  68. MarkH said on March 25, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Pilot Joe –

    In your flying career, have you becoem familiar with Sparky Imeson?

    Mountain flying legend, his luck finally ran out:

    He was quite the character, grew up here in Jackson Hole where his family and my wife’s family were close neighbors.

    AND, happy springtime, y’all! 24 deg. and a blizzard to beat the band going on outside; a foot of snow expected by morning. A little odd, even for here in late March, but, it’s happened before. It was 55 deg. last week.

    EDIT: Here’s a better version of the Imeson crash

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  69. Gasman said on March 26, 2009 at 12:44 am

    I think your blizzard is headed our way. You can keep the damned thing, thank you very much. They’re saying 6-12″ in the higher elevations, maybe 2-4″ here. However, add to that the predicted gusts of up to 50 mph. Teens for a low as well. Travel might be interesting tomorrow. It was 71 deg. here earlier this week. Springtime in the Rockies can be exciting.

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  70. moe99 said on March 26, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Well, I hate to say it, but back in the day, I actually wished out loud that Clinton would resign after the impeachment, even though he was not removed from office. His behavior, although consensual on the part of Lewinsky is considered per se sexual harassment and grounds for dismissal, had it been a Univ. of WA professor and a student, which is basically what it was given the relative placement of the participants to the activity in question.

    Clinton is a very smart man, as long as he thinks with his higher brain. He was a frakkin’ idiot and as a consequence I have no respect for the man. Don’t care that he was the president. He befouled the office.

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  71. coozledad said on March 26, 2009 at 1:13 am

    Moe: True. We need to use this to reinforce a standard that culls the DC male from the breeding pool.

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  72. Dexter said on March 26, 2009 at 2:35 am

    I really enjoyed President Clinton’s appearance on “Elvis Costello With:”, the interview on Sundance. It is very entertaining, especially the story of how his mom took him to Al Hirt’s club in New Orleans and Little Bill had to beg Mr. Hirt to let him in—Al Hirt did, and brought him a Coke.
    President Clinton is such an interesting man, always has been.

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  73. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 26, 2009 at 7:39 am

    There is an interesting counterfactual to consider, if Clinton had resigned (not been impeached, a mistake on many levels), as many of us thought would have been the proper course for Hounddog Bill.

    Al Gore would have become President, picking up the advantage of incumbency, a known asset even beyond being “obvious successor,” perhaps even showing a bit of leadership and statesmanship during his brief tenure.

    Arguably, that would have given Gore an insuperable lead over the fellow who would narrowly beat him (ok, in the electoral college, but you know what i mean), meaning that on 9-12, Al Gore would have had to figure out what to do next, and Joe Lieberman would have been in the secure undisclosed location.

    Meanwhile, now redeemed ex-President Clinton would have been a more useable asset for international diplomacy. Mrs. Clinton would . . . well, my wife thinks she had the NY senate option figured out by ’93 or so, and that was gonna happen regardless. Can’t see how she doesn’t beat Lazio under a Gore admin as well as under Bush, so that alternate reality looks the same, but the real wild cards are Iraq, and energy policy. Of course, i don’t see any scenario that actual works any differently in outcomes with a Gore admin — it’s the politics of it that play out differently, which is a much more volatile blend of reagents, and i can’t work out that kind of math in my head.

    But you can project some pretty amazing outlines of history starting with Bill Clinton resigning, none of which mean “and you never hear from Clinton again.”

    Hey, JeffB, didn’t mean to leave a mark. My “bite me” is generally meant, as well. Your distinction is appreciated, but i still think the general canard about conservatives always trying to “cut” school lunch or child nutrition programs is a goof, and a mean-spirited one at that. As for the abortion/death penalty thing, that’s a closer split than most realize, with the Southern Baptists still working out their theology and politics on this one (hate to tell ’em, but they’re wrong, they just don’t know it yet – if abortion’s bad, death penalty is bad, as well as stupid).

    If you want a shock, google “southern baptists,” “abortion”, and “1971.”

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  74. John said on March 26, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Waffle House…mmmmmmmmmm. The nearest one here is just over the Pennsylvania border on I-78. Lack of Waffle Houses and Sonics are just two more reasons why New England blows.

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  75. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 26, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Someone should give Michael Steele a large box of very chewy yeast donuts without a glass of milk, and tell him to just start eating . . . and don’t talk with your mouth full.

    Now — spring break + rain + young boys = insanely loud “science” museum. Pray for my ears, and my patience. Adios!

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  76. coozledad said on March 26, 2009 at 9:01 am

    John Hope Franklin is dead. I used to see him around the campus at Duke when I’d go to the library. You could tell the kids just loved him.
    I’m glad he lived to see Obama elected.

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