A break more ordinary.

This is spring break in our neck of the woods. As usual, we didn’t go anywhere. I thought just this one year we’d have company, but it seems the need to escape a Michigan winter trumps recessionary income downturns. Also, everyone in Michigan has a relative in a warmer state, so even if you can’t afford a cruise, you can visit the siblings or parents in Clearwater for a few days. So Kate is stuck moping around the house. Yesterday’s weather made it worse — a chill all-day rain with temperatures in the 40s. At midafternoon I cracked, and we went to the mall.

I needed a new printer, anyway, a scan/fax model for those times when I need to do one or the other. Kinko’s charges $3 a page, anything out of the area code is considered long distance, and yes, you must have a cover sheet, although they cut you a break on that — it’s only a buck. Freelancers have to fax a lot of tax forms. And of course, on the next rainy day when everyone’s out of town, I can send the kid to the printing station to scan her butt and face.

Went to the Apple store — let’s pay top dollar! The geniuses had but three models in stock, none on the floor, and gave me that Genius Bar smile that suggests printing is so last century, it’s kind of cute that I asked for it. We left without one, and as a consolation prize, I bought Kate a pair of red Chuck Taylor high-tops, on sale. Chucks are very big with her crowd. I tried on a pair and marveled that men once played basketball at a professional level in these things. No wonder the dunk is a fairly recent innovation in the game.

And today? More shopping! Today we’re going for the full Monty, an hour’s drive to the world’s biggest outlet mall, or something. All I know is, they have an Aeropostale store, which will take care of the bulk of Kate’s list (brand loyalty, thou art a 12-year-old girl) and Under Armour, which will take care of mine. The rest of the time we will wander and drink Starbucks. Female bonding.

I wonder if we’ll see any teabaggers along the way. If so, I’ll take pictures and notes.

We have some amusing bloggage today:

Sandra Tsing Loh takes a second look at Paul Fussell’s “Class.”

Couldn’t the Obamas have found a dog that was somewhat less adorable? I’m starting to think they’re not playing fair; can’t they conjure some asymmetry or imperfection to make the rest of us feel less bewitched? Meanwhile, my “awwww” at Bo’s appearance on my TV last night prompted Alan and Kate, one floor up, to say, “It must be video of the new puppy.” Those mismatched white socks! That fluffy coat! I am entranced. (Oh, and sorry, but I’m not buying the allergy-free line, either. I’d tell the pediatrician: “It’s a big house” and leave it at that.)

Jeff TMMO just posted this in the previous thread, so let me post it here, another elegant Dan Barry dispatch from, whaddaya know, Jeff TMMO’s hometown. It’s about the difficulty of nurturing art and an artistic temperament in a place like Newark, Ohio. I was struck by this passage:

Here in Newark, half the students are poor enough to receive lunch free or at a discount. The system also has one of the highest dropout rates in Ohio; nearly a third of the high school students do not graduate. That elevated percentage seems out of place given the Middle America setting, but officials have a theory:

Back in the day, you could drop out and still get a good job at one of the many manufacturing plants in town. You could pay the mortgage, buy a car new, take holiday trips — all without a high school diploma.

“Now those jobs have gone away,” says Keith Richards, the city’s schools superintendent. “But the mindset has not.”

It echoes something I heard on the radio yesterday: In the latest survey of Michigan parents, half — HALF — thought their kids would be able to earn a middle-class living with only a high-school education. Half. Earlier in the show, the host referred to the auto industry as “economic crack.” A lot of people have yet to detox, apparently.

Me, I’m off to spend a portion of my tax refund.

Posted at 10:04 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

43 responses to “A break more ordinary.”

  1. mitchalbomfan said on April 15, 2009 at 10:13 am

    2005: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism!”

    2009: “Teabagger.”

    Check the outlet store for deals on asbestos furniture.

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  2. Randy said on April 15, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Under Armour is pretty awesome, I must say. I did my first bike commute this morning, and my long-sleeve shirt combined with a vented rain jacket kept me nice and cozy in weather a few degrees above freezing.

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  3. mark said on April 15, 2009 at 10:32 am

    I read and commented on Jeff’s link under yesterday’s blog entry. Not surprisingly, we had a little different take on things. For the amusement of the correct thinkers here, my comment was as follows:

    Thanks for the link, Jeff.

    I’ll let my conservative and other bias run loose and get straight to the point. I don’t buy the “Tiffany’s afraid to leave the small town, it’s all she knows” stuff. Tiffany is looking for love and approval from a deadbeat young man who has no interest in her potential or her success.

    There are a hundred good universities that would pay to have a talent and success like Tiffany on their campus. But Trevor the unemployed drop-out is conducting this performance.

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  4. Connie said on April 15, 2009 at 10:42 am

    You could change Newark to Elkhart in that quote and it would all still be true.

    I learned in my Ohio year that the city’s name is Nurk.

    Rep for Boys and Girls Club is picking up our donated pickup truck today. I have a clarinet that we are planning to donate to the instrument drive a local music store conducts every year to provide instruments for low income kids in the local schools.

    I will add – as I have before – that it is rather strange to have the mobs of national media in town as we have here these days. MSNBC has a team here for several months for their “Elkhart Project”. Wash Post has someone here for a long term project. ProPublica has someone here on a project for ?NPR?. It is also strange to see people you know on the msnb news page. But, hey, please, feel free to come and spend your money here.

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  5. Jolene said on April 15, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Heartbreaking story, Jeff. It would be nice to think that seeing herself in print would give Tiffany the courage to find her way into college, but that may be too much to hope for. A very brave, talented girl. Amazing to think what she is doing just by surviving on her own at such an early age . . . and to think how many others like her–or in worse circumstances–there must be.

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  6. LAMary said on April 15, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Keith Richards is the superintendent of schools?

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  7. nancy said on April 15, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I, too, hope Tiffany gets the sort of counseling and direction she needs. She’s certainly not two-year college material. In the meantime, jeez, Mark, a little less social Darwinism, please? The girl’s trying as hard as she can, with less support than the Obamas’ dog will get learning not to piddle on the carpet. Let’s give her some credit.

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  8. Jenine said on April 15, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I tried to read the Sandra Tsing Loh article and found it didn’t compute for me. I got to the bolo ties and realized that my southwest relatives didn’t fit in the class analysis very well. Maybe if you’re a coast-er…

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  9. Jolene said on April 15, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Have you folks seen this week’s feel-good YouTube video? If not, have a listen to Susan Boyle. It’s worth the whole seven minutes.

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  10. Dexter said on April 15, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Just finished sending my taxes. We have a relatively new “School District Tax” that is a killer…gotta mail off a check for hundreds, but then I’ll be done with it for another year.
    My Indiana brother was bragging how he pays six times less property tax than I pay, pays no city income tax, and never heard of a stand-alone school district tax. Good for him, sheesh…..

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  11. brian stouder said on April 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    For all y’all who don’t know better, THIS is the really BIG news of the day



    I’ll be quiet now, unless someone talks about KERS, which will prompt a 100 word attack!

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  12. jeff borden said on April 15, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    One thing that is quite striking after a few years of teaching at the college level is the overwhelming preponderance of women students. Figures I’ve seen cited suggest that among college students, women now account for a full 60% of enrollment. At the Catholic liberal arts university where I teach part-time, the students in my classes estimate the ratio of women to men is more like 70% to 30%.

    While I think this presages an interesting future as these bright women move into the real world and take the good jobs it’s also more than a little puzzling about why fewer men are pursuing degrees. Is this some kind of weird demographic bubble, a generation where there are far more females? Are more guys opting for military service first to help pay for college?

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  13. Andrew Jarosh said on April 15, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I don’t care how much higher my property taxes and cost of living here is in Fort Myers. I don’t have to file state taxes; Florida is sans income tax, so it’s only a federal form for me. The lack of a second batch of income tax forms and schedules and copies of wage statements is priceless.

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  14. Jim said on April 15, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Newark could easily be Elkhart, or Fort Wayne, or Warsaw or plenty of other places in the Midwest that have thrived for decades on the automotive industry. I grew up in Fort Wayne with kids whose life plans stopped after “go to work with Dad at the Harvester.” I’ve been saddened to see people in my extended family marry right out of high school, at age 18. When I ask what they plan to do with their life? “I don’t know. Go get a job at XYZ factory, I guess.” That lack of ambition drove me crazy when times were good, let alone now. There are plenty of guys in Indiana who are now in their 40s and feeling like, “Huh? What happened?” I’m afraid of lot of those guys are pinning their hopes on the automotive industry returning to what it was. It won’t. Tom Friedman’s “The World is Flat” should be required reading for every high school student.

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  15. Julie Robinson said on April 15, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Dexter, ask your brother why he has to write in his school district on his Indiana tax form. They don’t stand alone, but we certainly do have school taxes. And property taxes can be deducted on your federal form if you itemize. Ours went so low this year that we couldn’t itemize, so our income tax was higher. Plus our sales tax went up, as well as that of the desperately poor. But the teabaggers in Carmel are happy about their property taxes. As long as we take care of the rich, who cares about the middle class and the have-nots?

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  16. Jean S said on April 15, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I agree that Tiffany is an amazing kid. But the odds of making a living in classical music…not so good, even for incredibly talented people. I know so many people who opted out, even after high-level conservatory training. Most went into financial fields.

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  17. paddyo' said on April 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Note to Mark:

    The most telling line in the whole Tiffany piece is not the “afraid of imagining life beyond Central Ohio” part (which is a bit less definitive than the way you stated it)…
    It comes, rather, a paragraph earlier:

    “She is a complicated young woman, says that teacher …”

    Gee, you think?
    That calls for a little more understanding and a little less judgment — particularly a rush to judgment. You don’t have to sympathize to empathize. Absent and/or not-very-good parents evidently aren’t helping Tiffany deal with daily life or imagine a brighter life beyond. Yeah, maybe the boyfriend’s a deadbeat, but nowhere does the piece say or imply that he’s THE reason. “Complicated” lives hinge on many things … and at age 18, how many of our own lives were far less complicated.

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  18. basset said on April 15, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Brian, I’d go to an ARCA race before F1… at least it’s on the same continent.

    what really struck me about the Tiffany article was… Mark’s right, Trevor is running the show… and the obvious undercurrent of condescension. I mean, some of these kids have never even been to New York, how good could they be?

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  19. Dexter said on April 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    JulieRobinson: Touche. I remember reading the response a man had as he read how a lotto jackpot winner was screaming “This is the American dream!”

    This man’s response was regarding what a shame it is…it’s true…the American dream of a house and home, two cars and a garage , a couple kids and a debt-free life has vanished for the average joe. And hell yes I did indeed just buy a lotto ticket for tonight.

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  20. moe99 said on April 15, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    wrt the tax protests today, I feel like I did when Bill Clinton’s dalliance forced us parents of small children to provide sex education a bit early. I had no idea that ‘tea bagging’ was something else entirely.

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  21. jeff borden said on April 15, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Some of the folks on the right fringe of the conservative movement are so averse to pop culture that they have no idea when they have wandered into double-entendre territory. Teabagging is a recent example, but another is the looney group led by Maggie Gallagher to oppose gay marriage. They have launched an effort to recruit 2 million people to sign petitions in support of traditional marriage, but decided it would be much catchier to label their movement 2M4M rather than two million for marriage. Apparently, these dolts have never scanned a personals page or they’d realize they were advertising for a gay threesome.

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  22. MichaelG said on April 15, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I love Sandra Tsing Loh. She’s making a joke. She doesn’t really hate bolo wearing 80 year old geezers. The example is a device to illustrate her point. I’m going to throw out all my bolos when I get home tonight.

    I kind of agree with Mark about the poor girl in Ohio. The part about the dead beat boyfriend. Why should she be supporting that parasite? All he’s doing is dragging her down and since he’s not going to succeed at anything, he’s going to do everything he can (craftily, of course) to ensure that she doesn’t succeed. Next thing she’s going to turn up pregnant and it’ll truly be over for her. At this point it looks like she still has some control over her future — if she dumps Mr.

    My daughter’s best girl friend is married to a jobless loser. He calls himself a stay at home dad in an effort to cloak himself in some shred of respectability. Fortunately my daughter’s friend makes enough money to afford to carry this bum (she’s a dentist) but she still has to come home every night and cook dinner, take care of the kids, clean house, do the laundry, etc. etc. while Mr. watches sports on TV. And my daughter’s all “but Dad, he’s not really a bad guy”. And my tongue is now sore and bleeding from my biting it.

    I agree, Brian, KERS is a curse. Bernie E’stone makes Don King look like Mother Teresa.

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  23. brian stouder said on April 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    KERS is a curse

    It WAS funny to see Kimmi Raikkonen have smoke pouring out of the dashboard of his Ferrari, as he gamely drove into the pits and then exited the car. In a KERS car, one must jump clear out – so that one’s feet hit the ground at once, and NOT while any other part of the driver is touching the car…or else, one risks electrocution and death!!

    >>note to the uninitiated: KERS is the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, wherein a massive, high voltage and high amperage battery is charged whenever the driver jumps onto the brakes, thence discharged when the driver hits a button on his steering wheel for a burst of extra horse power (“push to pass”)…but the upshot is, if the car is, say, involved in a crash, then the course workers have to work NOT to provide a path to ground for a highly energized and possibly damaged electrical hazard….and on top of that, the thing works best when it’s very hot (ie – at the point of failure) – so that it looks like a stupid idea all around!

    Basset is right; I should forget Formula One and take up Figure 8 racing!

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  24. jcburns said on April 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Nance, I always just send my W-9s and 1099s and so on as email PDF attachments (fire up Pages and fill them out…have a PDF or JPEG of your signature handy, and you’re set.). If some mindless administrative type says “you have to fax it,” I say “I haven’t faxed anything in this century.” Has worked great for me so far. So, fax machine…seriously?

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  25. Jolene said on April 15, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Also, you can scan them and send the file containing the scan.

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    It is fun having Keith Richards as our schools superintendent, but trust me, all the good jokes were done years ago.

    And college offers have piled in thru the day to NHS, and the “Call to College” office is working briskly to make sure every offer that’s made gets used by an NHS kid whether they’re named Tiffany or not.

    I em-ceed a tossed together concert last December for our area food pantry as local unemployment marched boldly up to the two digit precipice, and Tiffany was part of a string quartet that anchored the afternoon from the Sinfonia — they were playing gigs all over with the payment going to the New York trip. I got not one but two columns out of my conversations with the four, who represented the side of Newark High School’s story that needed some extra telling (oh, and it’s “Nerk” as in “Nerk, Ahia” – we are so in Appalachia, with much of the county some decades back traveling down through Athens to the “homeplace” every weekend and then back late Sunday night).

    The fact that Trevor is driving the bus, and that even thoughtful, dynamic young women cannot imagine a life that doesn’t include a guy slouched in front of the tube at home, is the source of great fury in my masculine soul. I don’t get it, but i work with it every day.

    The number and sincerity and intensity of response thru the day to this story has given me more than a little boost, and banked my anger into what i hope is a useful corner of my heart. And Dan Barry wrote a marvelous little essay of an article here, and many, many thanks to him for a fair and honest portrayal of our little corner of heaven among the foothills of Appalachia.

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  27. LAMary said on April 15, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Jeff tmmo,
    Pointing out Keith Richards’ name was sort of like when Jamie on Mythbusters walks over to some engine that’s on fire and says, “Well, there’s your problem right there.”

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  28. caliban said on April 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    It’s entirely possible that some sort of return to respected trade skills would produce a society in which people with high school reading and ‘rithmetic skills could earn a living wage. In the rush to call dot.com criminals and financial crooks the best and the brightest to be rewarded with millions for failing utterly, everybody’s lost sight of individual contributions to society. And, yeah, I suppose considering everybody’s contribution equal in value is socialism, but trying to deny the idea is radically, in the sense of radix, roots, is denying the tenets of Christianity.

    Did slave-owning Plantation owners denigrate the brawn and the brains and the crop management expertise of their minions? Well, yeah, they did. Is there a Big-Farm Agribusiness that didn’t take the best of the family farms they subsumed and wipe any sense of intelligent land management from corporate consciousness? Did the Lord ever have any expertise at growing crops? Can the Donald fix his Maybach when it craps out?

    The gross imbalance imposed on modern economics by concentration of wealth and bogus claims about how wealth was generated led directly to the greed and elitism characterized by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey.

    Meantime, no matter, and to the great chagrin of these Teabaggers, it’s the anniversary of Jackie in the Big Leagues.


    I never realized this happened on his birthday. And please tell him I said Happy Birthday, although I imagine he’s being curmudgeonly about the entire idea.

    Kinda makes these Teabaggers seem like they’ve got no nuts in there unless they’re shredded. How much did Armey and Newt and their corporate overlords spend on this mindless excercise in futility? How does the Stimulus rise to an affront to anybody but millionaires about raising the upper marginal rate to 3% less than what they were paying under Raygun? And of course, all those fools are still thinking they’re part of the Republican Big Tent. Says a lot about gullibility and enfranchisement, and is this stupid or is it delusional?

    Jackie Robinson became a Republican, I’d imagine because of Eisenhower, but what do these amoral idealogue Republicans and their mindless flock have to do with the guy that left public life with a prescient and explicit warning against the neocons and Blackwater?

    His baseball statistics were ridiculously good:


    And he stole home 19 times, which is astounding. And he even did it in the World Series. His military career was fascinating:

    Robinson was commissioned a second lieutenant and re-assigned to Fort Hood, Texas. There he joined the 761st “Black Panthers” Tank Battalion.

    Jackie was drafted to the United States Army and was assigned to Fort Riley, Kansas. White men with Robinson’s level of education were allowed to go to Officer Candidate School, whereas blacks were not allowed. Robinson asked Heavyweight Champ Joe Louis, whom he met during basic training, for help to be allowed to train to become an officer. After Louis talked with a friend in Washington D.C. the army allowed Jackie and several other black men to train to become officers. Robinson was commissioned a second lieutenant and re-assigned to Fort Hood, Texas. There he joined the 761st “Black Panthers” Tank Battalion.

    Robinson was charged with insubordination, disturbing the peace, drunkenness, conduct unbecoming an officer, insulting a civilian woman, and refusing to obey the lawful orders of a superior officer, for an incident that occurred aboard an Army bus. The driver ordered Robinson to the back of the bus and he refused. When the bus reached the end of the line the driver summoned the Military Police, who took Robinson into custody. Robinson confronted the officers on scene and the officers recommended he be court-martialed. The charges were reduced to only include Robinson’s alleged insubordination. He was acquitted by an all white panel of nine officers.

    So, is baseball a skill, a talent, an intellectual pursuit? What’s the value to society. I’d say, you just don’t know. White people insisted on thinking they were superior? In the cas of athletics, it seems clear they knew that was bushwa and tried to put off the inevitable. Every race has it’s champion, and I’d prefer to think of the competition in terms of me and my brother playing whiffle ball games, batting righty and lefty, pitching righty and lefty, keeping score with actual box scores from the `963 Dodgers and Yanks.

    This elitist tax eruption today? The Obama stimulus raises the .01 tax rate to 3%less than what Reagan wasted on Star Wars. That’s a fact. This is utter bullshit, and the people standing out there in tricorn hats are tools. And they don’t deserve it when nobody but Dick Armey’s clients stand to gain anything. The puppet=masters here are disgraceful. And FOX, well they should have their FCC licenses pulled.Shameless promotion of ‘grass roots’ Armey and Gingrich and the military industrial complex. For cash, I’m sure.

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  29. Cosmo Panzini said on April 15, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    As usual, B Stouder cuts through all the b-s and gives us what really matters–Formula One. Thank you, sir. As for the t-baggers, I get the sense that they’re really pissed off, but they don’t know what exactly they’re mad about. Listen when any of them are interviewed–they sound like mental patients off their meds. If they have a point, they certainly are having lots of trouble expressing it in their native tongue. Possibly as a result of that, Fox is confining their coverage mostly to their own talking heads, who don’t have much intelligent to say either, but they sound better.

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  30. nancy said on April 15, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    It’s funny — one of the things that always embarrassed me about “my” team is their tendency to try to mash everything they dislike into one big meat-eating, gay-bashing, earth-polluting patriarchy. This is a joke in places like San Francisco, where a scan of the signs at any given protest, even one specifically focused on, say, the war, becomes a mashup of liberal complaints.

    Well. Listening to the t-bag coverage on the way home, it sounds like the crowd in Lansing was about the same. One guy interviewed is pissed about government spending in general, and admits he’s getting a tax cut. Another guy says bring back the gold standard. (Yes. Really.) A third one thinks Obama’s a fascist. And so on. It’s exactly as Cosmo describes: They’re just generally mad and are looking for a crowd to join and wave signs with.

    Oh, and the featured speaker? Joe the Plumber. Get the hook!

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  31. caliban said on April 15, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Nancy, the objection to the teabag baloney is claims that it’s grassroots. That’s idiotic. People that haven’t much are being taken advantage of by rich bastards. Otherwise, it goan mean shit. It doesn’t take Phil Gramm’s nor Dick Armey’s degrees to understand that almost everybody get’s a break from the stimulus. These bastards are lying their asses off to align their victims with their unholy selves. This is simple arithmetic.

    The Bush misadministration exclude the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from the budget. Obama’s made the honest conclusion that that’s money spent that has to be accounted for. Emergency spending? Assholes planned for this when they sent the first PNAC letter trying to bamboozle Clinton into illegal invasion of Iraq. These traitors need to shut the hell up.

    Gramm and Armey devised the assault on the banking system. Hell, they created a banking system that isn’t anything of the sort. How dthe hell is Goldman-Sachs a bank? There’s no way any of this had to do with actual banks except they were coopted by gigunda financial firms that people like Gramm and Armey allowed to call themselves banks.

    Economics is fascinating. Macro, that is. When extremely greedy Republocrats can fuck with the economic system, it’s pretty much like they turn it all into a puddle of goo and blame it on anybody else that’s not melting. You’ve got to be an idiot if you don’t see how Newt and Armey and Phil Gramm haven’t reaped billions for their dogass apologias now.

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  32. caliban said on April 15, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    I wouldn’t guess I’m on your team. I wouldn’t say I ever mashed anything together. Maybe I’ve been pointillistic in some fashion.

    It’s a weird day for me. My dad’s birthday. Tax day. The anniversary of Jackie, and aside from that, his innate importance, which he must have hated, dut that was one of the best baseball players that ever lived. Stole home 19 times.

    I’m 57 years old. I don’t remember being introduced to a black person, because it never entered my parent’s realm of reality that it made a difference. My folks were shodowed by the FBI because they had friends that were African Americans.

    These tortures that have been running the country, take it with a grain of salt when they criticize their successors that are trying to do things right.

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  33. coozledad said on April 15, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    The revolutionary war drag is the tell. I remember during the sixties and seventies television shows would always have some guy in a Napoleon costume to erase any doubt that a scene was taking place in the bughouse. When, as Roy says, the pigs come down on them, man, will it be with canisters of Thorazine? or will we have to wait until they start wearing Catwoman costumes.
    This makes me a whole lot less embarrassed about the giant puppet thing. Well, a little less.

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  34. alex said on April 15, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    So the governor of Texas is pandering to secessionist crazies says the Huffpost: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/15/gov-rick-perry-texas-coul_n_187490.html

    They really are like a foreign nation, them Texans. They require their women to cover their heads with fake blonde hair and their faces with clown makeup, an affront to human dignity every bit as bad as the mandatory burqas in some Islamic nations. At least women are allowed to run for governor, as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is said to be doing. She’s evidently pretty tepid about all this tea-partying, unlike her incumbent rival.

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  35. brian stouder said on April 15, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    See, as ridiculous and irrational as Formula One politics are, today’s ‘grass-roots’ protest is even less intelligible.

    Alex – I saw Rachel Maddow do a riff on the Texas governor, and she played the video of him talking about secession*, and then demolished that strutting peacock’s pretensions by pointing out that just five days ago this same fellow was requesting (and receiving) Federal help with wild fire fighting efforts, and not so long ago asking for (and receiving) Federal troops for border control duty, and not long before that requesting (and receiving) Federal aid for hurricane-related emergency response and rebuilding….so that he’ll coyly flirt with secession, even as he begs for and receives Federal aid of all sorts.

    Before Rachel’s show, Olbermann took a look at the essentially incoherent ideological veering about by Uncle Rush Limbaugh…”incoherent” that is, unless you reduce it to simply being ardently opposed to anything President Obama does.

    That, to me, sums up the tea-bag thing; it is simply a somewhat limp (so to speak) pep rally for the down-in-the-mouth (so to speak) losers of the 2008 election (cue Joe the Plumber).

    This evening I called our local radio lip flapper, who is a pleasant enough fellow. One can usually get through, and if you have a calm point to make, he lets you proceed. This evening he had gone on a riff about some government worker in New York who worked near enough to the massive slaughter at the immigration class to have been in a day-long lock-down.

    This worker, it was emphasized, was a UNION man, doncha know, and what is the one thing this guy is working on now? Getting paid for the hour’s lunch he missed out on, during the lockdown! This made me laugh, but our local host was (apparently) trying to make a real point of the fact that this UNION man could only think about getting remunerated for his missed lunch-hour….the government worker had become his symbol for ALL that’s WRONG with UNIONS in America, doncha know?

    I thought ‘OK – that’s it’ and called in, and boom – got right onto the airwaves…where I good naturedly pointed out that it was about as fair to point to this one little fellow as the personification of ALL that’s WRONG with labor unions in America, as it would be to point to radio lip-flappers such as himself, and ascribe all this horrible gun violence onto them….and I got the greatest compliment possible, which was a seamless seguay into a commercial!

    *ignorant-ass talk about “secession” on the very anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln is somewhat obscene, especially coming from the uppity governor of a state that was indeed treasonous and disloyal back when the chips were really down

    Back to Formula One, baby! It’s Shanghai this weekend – and oughta be sublime!

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  36. basset said on April 15, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    >>Basset is right; I should forget Formula One and take up Figure 8 racing!

    well, any other kind of motorsport is obviously far less refined than F1, being a little short on poison dwarves and Nazi-bondage-philes… but there’s a Pakistani running in ARCA this year, does that count for anything?

    (no, there really is: http://www.alimotorsports.com)

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  37. Gasman said on April 16, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Rick “Good Hair” Perry is a prick. He is simply posturing and biding his time until he runs for Prez. Given that his predecessor made it to the White House, he thinks that he has more than a snowball’s chance in hell. Silly prick. But, he does come from that magical land of Texas.

    Texas is weird – I did 14 years there – but I think that Good Hair overplayed his anti-guvmint thing by quite a bit. As strange as Texans are, I think that they are smart enough to see through Perry’s assholiness. I think that he will probably have his ass handed to him by Kay Bailey Hutchison. KBH is no real prize, but she is about as sane and credible as anything the Repubs got right now.

    It will be interesting to see how Perry, Palin, Sanford, and Jindal make out in their respective re-election campaigns given their high stakes gambits of refusing, or at least appearing to refuse, the federal stimulus money. My bet is that the move will backfire for all of them.

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  38. Gasman said on April 16, 2009 at 1:28 am

    Rick “Good Hair” Perry is a prick. He is simply posturing and biding his time until he runs for Prez. Given that his predecessor made it to the White House, he thinks that he has more than a snowball’s chance in hell. Silly prick. But, he does come from that magical land of Texas.

    Texas is weird – I did 14 years there – but I think that Good Hair overplayed his anti-guvmint thing by quite a bit. I think that he will probably have his ass handed to him by Kay Bailey Hutchison. KBH is no real prize, but she is about as sane a credible as anything the Repubs got right now.

    It will be interesting to see how Perry, Palin, Sanford, and Jindal make out in their respective re-election campaigns given their high stakes gambits of refusing, or at least appearing to refuse, the federal stimulus money. My bet is that the move will backfire for all of them.

    Also, the Teabaggers are all morons. What nonsense. Couldn’t the folks at FauxNews come up with anything more lame?

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  39. Gasman said on April 16, 2009 at 2:22 am

    Ah, I hear that Dick Armey is behind the “Dick Army” that constitutes the Teabagging bullshit nonsense. With other intellectual luminaries such as Newt Gingrich, Sen. David Vitter, and the intellectual pygmies at FauxNews, the turdblossoms Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, and Neil Cavuto, we should not be surprised that the whole debacle is utter ludimocrosity.

    Dick Armey was my congressman when I lived in Texas, so I maintain a special well of contempt just for him. We affectionately referred to him as “Our Dick in Washington,” and we meant it. He was a moron. He is a moron. He is also a sanctimonious prick.

    Don’t these twits realize that the “skyrocketing tax rates” that they are ostensibly protesting are the very same rates that George Bush and the Republican House and Senate gave us? These are Bush taxes, not Obama taxes. Obama has not changed them at all. What douchebags.

    Just a few more reasons to not vote Republican.

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  40. mark said on April 16, 2009 at 8:13 am

    jeff tmmo-

    Sorry if my assumptions about Trevor and Tiffany are close to accurate. I’m glad that the article has been a boost for you and the school.

    And I’ll bet that trevor is shaking in his bought-by-somebody-else boots. Tiffany is going to have hundreds of people, with more brains and better intentions than him, taking an interest in her. He’s not going to like that at all, but it may provide the support or the impetus for her to set her sights a little more in line with her talents, discipline and character. It’s worth a prayer, anyway.

    Keep up the good fight!

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  41. mark said on April 16, 2009 at 8:21 am

    jeff tmmo-

    I just read the comments to Barry’s article.

    Be afraid, trevor. Be very afraid.

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  42. Jim said on April 16, 2009 at 8:31 am

    If the people of Texas think their taxes will go down if they secede, they are crazy. Wait ’til they have to start paying for their own army, navy, air force, highways, bridges, schools, etc.

    And I don’t understand the whole tea-party thing. Was there some drastic, radical increase in federal taxes since Jan. 20 that I haven’t heard about? Are federal taxes higher now than they were a year ago — or eight years ago, for that matter? Or do I understand the whole tea-party thing too well after all?

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  43. Ricardo said on April 19, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Cartoonists are pissed. Those Portuguese Water Dogs are really HARD to draw.

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