Closeout sale.

I know I’ve spent most days in recent weeks opening with a whine about how much work I have to do and how I shouldn’t be wasting time blogging, and today? Today will be no different. Maybe I should just put it on a user key. For now, accept a macro:

[Whining boilerplate.]

In my defense, there is much to do and much to cover of late. The big news here is the Twilight of the Dealerships, and as you might expect, the Reaper is not sparing us. Go ahead and scoff, but what’s happening here is…well, it’s very bleak. Families who have been in business selling cars for decades are going to be stepping off a cliff in just a few weeks. History is so much less alarming when you’re watching it on television. Living through it can be a real bitch.

But hey, the Red Wings won last night. There’s always that.

So let’s go bloggage-plundering, shall we?

As you might expect, Obama killed at ASU yesterday. Here’s a YouTube link to the first part of his speech. You only need to get through 4:00 and change to hear the joke that cuts the legs off their stupid diploma-mill pretentiousness. Of course, the Daily Show was funnier, and meaner.

And then there was this, waiting for him at home. Sasha is my favorite Obama.

Brian wants you all to read this very nice profile of Robert Gates, from the WashPost. A taste:

In a small building next to the tarmac, an officer briefed the defense secretary on the four deceased troops arriving that evening. They had been driving along a rutted road near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, when their Humvee hit a powerful roadside bomb.

Gates flashed with anger, according to people with him that day. He had spent most of his tenure in the Pentagon pushing to replace Humvees in Afghanistan and Iraq with Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, built to withstand such blasts. “Find out why they hadn’t gotten their goddamn MRAPs yet,” he snapped at his staff.

Clad in the black suit he had worn to work that morning in the Pentagon, Gates climbed into the cargo hold of the white 747 bearing the remains. From the ground, troops could see the defense secretary as he knelt, alone, by the flag-draped transfer cases. Five minutes passed.

Prayer is private (or should be). But I’d love to know what he said to God. (I bet it wasn’t, “Sorry for the blasphemy.”)

Funny story about what happens when police respond to a report of a black panther crouching menacingly in a culvert. They draw their Tasers! They approach! They fire! And then…well, I hope they laughed.

And now I see the morning is waning and I still have too much crap to do. Be good, and we’ll try for a little more calm next week.

Posted at 11:21 am in Current events, Detroit life |

51 responses to “Closeout sale.”

  1. Sue said on May 15, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Re the Daily Show’s ASU segment. How did Jason Jones find those clueless students? They’re the supposed Daily Show demographic, and should have known they were being set up big time. It was embarrassing and hilarious.
    And for those on this comment board who insist that the Daily Show is soft on Dems, check out video from last night’s lead which links the torture argument with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and places it rather brilliantly in Obama’s lap. Very well done.

    469 chars

  2. caliban said on May 15, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Most of them Black Panthers are pretty old and decrepit by now, or they’re deceased.

    Isn’t this Nancy Pelosi red herring hilarious? I mean, to take it seriously, you have to buy, first, that the misAdministration ever told the truth to anybody about anything, and second, the incredibly convoluted argument that none of this was illegal, but if it was, she went along with it.

    I like to think the best of mankind, but anybody buying the Cheney roadshow is seriously too stupid to be allowed to vote.

    And isn’t it spectacularly telling and predictably misogynistic that this is all about Pelosi. Weren’t Bob Graham and Richard Shelby and Porter Goss at those “briefings”? With the exception of Goss and Shelby, these are fiarly honorable and trustworthy people. Do any of them have anything to say on this subject?

    And I really think God doesn’t just understand blasphemy in the face of all the garbage thrown at mere human beings and their mistreatment of one another, She appreciates it. And is probably a closet practitioner. Like, what the hell was I thinking when I created these miscreants? Holy crap, is that My Image and Likeness? And avocado pits? What was I thinking?

    Oh, and that black panther sighting, that was in Warren, where the Force of oxycontin and meth is strong. Those hillbillies ought to be scraped off the mountaintop and dumped in a holler.

    1380 chars

  3. moe99 said on May 15, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I’m at the airport going to my oldest son’s college graduation. I ran into a woman who I have known since 1982. I asked about her son, who I remember as going to MIT. “Oh, he’s 41 now,” she responded. Where does the time go?

    224 chars

  4. jeff borden said on May 15, 2009 at 12:27 pm


    This is a significant difference between liberals and conservatives. Can you imagine a Sean Hannity snarking at Lindsey Graham or a Rush Limbaugh mocking one of the endless series of stupid things Newt Gingrich says? Stewart, in contrast, has just been banging away on Obama and Pelosi on torture and his snarky takedown of those piling on Miss California Carrie Prejean was absolutely brilliant. (I was cringing because I had been mocking her mercilessly. The nude photos weren’t the issue for me as much as a beauty queen with store bought breasts who is crapping all over her contract with the Miss USA pageant by working with that wingnut marriage group now invoking God’s name. Who knew Satan stalked the catwalk as she demonstrated her bikini stroll??)

    Anyhow, we are lucky to have Jon Stewart around. His program was a tonic during the long slog of the Bush years and he’s proving to be just as bracing with a Democrat in the White House.

    956 chars

  5. Another Connie said on May 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Am I the only one who feels like after DECADES of ripping off consumers, it’s about time that car dealers get their come-uppence? NADA is running ads now saying how they’ve been great supporters of community groups like little league, and they employ x thousand people (“good paying jobs” my a$$), but that doesn’t make up for the crud I have to scrub off my body after every car-buying encounter.

    397 chars

  6. beb said on May 15, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Digby at Hullabaloo
    writes frequently about the police use of tasers, because they have a surprisingly high death rate for a “non-lethal” weapon.

    About a year ago the Freep rans some articles on the Big 3, comparing them to the US based Japanese competitors. One thing stuck out. Toyota was selling as many cars as GM with half the dealerships and with maybe 2/3 of the inventory. It stood to reason that since Toyota didn’t have to finance as many built cars as GM they were going to be in a more profitable position. The article also mentioned that all car manufacturers spend a lot of money supporting dealerships, so again Toyota’s smaller network was saving them money. As much as it hurts, GM and Chrysler will need another round of – steep – cuts before they get their sales expanses within reason.

    Gates under Obama has been a better DOD Secretary than he was under Bush.

    921 chars

  7. Sue said on May 15, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I have heard some criticism of the Daily Show because the interview segments supposedly “slow down” the tempo. Not so, I think, and I’m not talking about the Jim Cramer-type segments that get all the publicity. I think they find fantastic, thoughtful guests and I’ve found some authors through the show that I would never have known about otherwise. Several weeks back he had the author of “The Unforgiving Minute” on the show, and I bought the book for my son with the request that he lend it to me when he finished it. He read it in two days and I recommend it to anyone on this multi-viewpoint board. In fact, I bought the book just before Nancy’s Kickback Lounge started up so it was a lost sale for Nancy. Sorry about that, missed it by a couple of days.

    765 chars

  8. jeff borden said on May 15, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Another Connie—

    It’s not fair to equate my experience from 30 years ago with the way things work today, but I do recall being absolutely amazed at how nice the salespeople at Honda and Toyota dealerships were when I was contemplating my first Japanese car purchase. The Honda guy, in particular, threw me the keys to a 1978 Accord and told me to drive it around for awhile to see what I thought, which led me to try it on the interstate, local streets, a state highway, etc. In contrast, the Chevy and Ford dealers would wedge into the seat beside me and tell me to drive around the block a few times.

    In short, the U.S. dealerships simply weren’t very accomodating. The Japanese dealerships were. Again, that’s not likely the case these days, but a lifetime of automobile purchases can be altered simply by the people you meet in the course of your research and test drives.

    I feel more pity than revenge for our friends at the Big Three. Even in thes eco-conscious times, I love a sleek, fast car and enjoy driving more than I should. The loss of these family-owned dealerships is really sad, but this economy is sparing no one. Maybe they’ll be back in business in a few years with a new hybrid line? Battery cars? Solar cars? All we know is that it’s going to be quite different from the automotive world of today.

    1329 chars

  9. Connie said on May 15, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    When I was in college – long time ago, as my kid is about to be a college senior – I did occasional mystery shopping work for my aunt’s business. Once I did “young single woman” tries to buy new car. The first place I went – a Pontiac dealer – told me to come back with my father or my boyfriend. I was kind of irritated when I left. Then my car wouldn’t start, and most of the dealer staff helped me with it. Back when I was young and skinny and the blonde was natural.

    475 chars

  10. velvet goldmine said on May 15, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Boy, that panther reporter really harshed his own buzz with that last graph. “It was tense, then it was funny, then we all remembered this teen cops killed with a taser last month. Crrazy, right?”

    197 chars

  11. basset said on May 15, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Some of the non-US brands have their share of high-pressure serpents too – one of our, well, never mind what kind of car, stores here is particularly bad about it, you come onto the lot and they’re right there on top of you. Just trying to be helpful, y’know, anything I can tell you about that one? Sure is a nice color, and the seats are real comfy too, want to drive it?

    Finally got so bad that we started leading the salesman around the lot just to see where he’d follow us. Three times around this car, four around that one, circle back to the first one and examine it from another direction – by the time we got tired of the game and left we were playing peeky-boo around the SUVs with him, he never did catch on. Bought the car, finally, from another same-brand dealer about a hundred miles away; looked at their stock on the net, called, visited, drove it, no problem.

    885 chars

  12. brian stouder said on May 15, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Connie, Pam and I have discussed that patronizing, sexist way car dealers treat women; she bought a dealer-new Olds Calaise back in the day, and it was recalled for some reason or other. When she came in for the recall, the service guy asked if she needed an oil change, and she said “no” – whereupon the service guy said something like “you DO KNOW you need to have the oil changed, don’t you?”. Honestly – I just can’t picture a fellow taking such a condescending tone with another fellow (young or old)

    I believe I’d pay $50 for a picture of Pam at just that moment, as she responded to him.

    Re Gates – aside from being a genuinely interesting fellow, that article in the Washington Post just struck me as very well constructed (and indeed, quite flattering to Gates). The opening grabs you, and the conclusion tightly (and evocatively) bookends that opening. Good stuff, Maynard!

    890 chars

  13. Julie Robinson said on May 15, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    The sexist attitude is still alive and well, at least in repair shops. Our daughter has been taken advantage of several times. But then, so has my DH, who is, like Jeff, mild mannered. Now we have a very dependable independent mechanic who always tries to save us money.

    I’m not sure how closing dealerships saves Chrysler money. Aren’t they individually owned? I didn’t think Chrysler owned them as part of their corporation. Anyone know?

    448 chars

  14. brian stouder said on May 15, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I’m not sure how closing dealerships saves Chrysler money.

    Julie, I had the exact same reaction, but Beb’s post #6 above addresses that question, and illuminates things I had not been aware of

    204 chars

  15. coozledad said on May 15, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    When I bought my postal delivery vehicle, it was from a dealership that had a big inventory of Porsches and BMW’s. I never got to speak with the dealer much,partially because we had already arranged our own financing, and partially because he was running his ass off selling German sports cars to eighteen to twenty year old “entrepreneurs”. Just as well, he reeked of mall cologne and deliquescing hair gel. I’m trying to recall if my wife and ate enough garlic before we showed up there. We likely did.

    504 chars

  16. paddyo' said on May 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Actually, Velvet, go back and read that Freep story again. It’s brilliant, without a touch of harshed buzz. The reporter wasn’t playing it for laughs at all . . . and to his credit, he didn’t. If anything, he played it for the devastating irony — which was that month-ago-fatality.
    Then the pompous police chief made that “by-any-means-necessary” garbage remark, just begging for a journalist smackdown. And boy, did he get it, right in the teeth.

    There’s a reason they call the final paragraph “the kicker.” It did just that to Warren’s taser-happy thugs-in-blue.

    And Nancy, I’ll bet no one laughed …

    611 chars

  17. jcburns said on May 15, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Folks are equating having your dealership franchise revoked with being fired by a large company. First of all, they could try for…a different car company’s franchise? It’s not like they’ve been banned from car salesdom. And a lot of these “mom and pop dealerships” sure seem to have multimillionaire owners.

    309 chars

  18. brian stouder said on May 15, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    And a lot of these “mom and pop dealerships” sure seem to have multimillionaire owners.

    Well, but these dealerships also have clerical workers and secretaries and sales staff and mechanics. I agree that the best of the disenfranchised dealers will still survive, and/or be picked up by other car makers (ie – non-American); but this is still very bad news for lots of non-millionaire folks (ie – “moms and pops”)

    426 chars

  19. MichaelG said on May 15, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    A bit off the topic. I spent the last couple of days in Hollywood and Glendale. LA Mary – Based on your recommendation, I had an excellent corned beef sandwich for lunch at Billy’s in Glendale. Terrific old timey place. Dark wood walls, high backed booths and even an elderly waitress who called me “Baby” and “honey”. The pickles were fabulous. Which Cantor’s should I try first? North Fairfax or south?

    Then there’s the other side of women buying cars. My wonderful daughter who was eighteen, just out of high school and in her first real job decided to buy a new car for herself without telling us. She simply drove her brand new Geo Metro (yep, she’s cheap) home one evening convulsed with laughter at the way she had worked the poor schlub of a Chevy salesman. Her story was a little sketchy but it involved a few undone buttons on her blouse, some vague promises, etc. I don’t know how the deal got past the sales manager or the F & I guy or whomever but I saw the paperwork and she did steal the car. That was 12 or 13 years ago. Her husband still drives the thing while she tools around in the new soccer mom van. One of the many things I love about her is that she’s a great story teller. She got all the good stuff from her mom. The potty mouth came from me.

    1316 chars

  20. LA Mary said on May 15, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    MichaelG, that was Cathy the waitress. She’s been there forever. Either Cantors is ok. You need to try Porto’s too. Either Glendale or Burbank. Get the medianoche sandwich and some potato balls.

    195 chars

  21. Sue said on May 15, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    My husband likes to buy the cars in the family and I don’t mind if he does; I don’t care what I drive and we’re down to one car anyway. When he goes into a dealership, he does like to mention that his wife and daughter prefer to drive a stick shift, just to see the reaction from the sales people. After they make some unintentionally stupid remark, they show him the one vehicle on the lot with a stick shift and he ends up buying an automatic anyway. I miss the (perceived) control of driving a stick. Apparently that makes me a freak.

    542 chars

  22. jeff borden said on May 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm


    I’m also a stick shift kind of guy, but the last two cars we’ve had came with automatics, which is something of a blessing when you are inching down Lake Shore Drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic. What I really miss in the winter is the ability to use the car’s torque by starting out in second or third gear. I swear to God, I never got any of my manual shift Accords stuck in the snow, but it has happened a couple of times with our current car.

    The automatic transmissions today are pretty marvelous, but I’m also old school and continue to believe the stick is the best for exerting control over the car. I have some hot Jones for a Mini Cooper convertible these days and I’d never even consider one of those roller skates without stick shift.

    756 chars

  23. paddyo' said on May 15, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Jeff B, I think that’s why here in Denver we see so many idiots in the ditch during snowstorms — well, that, and the fact that they think 4WD allows them to go 65 mph on an icy curve or off-ramp. The vast majority drive automatics, and they have no control beyond brake and gas.
    I’ve never been stuck or lost control with my now-11-year-old, stick-shift Honda Civic sedan. Alas, I expect that before too long, manual-transmission passenger cars will go the way of the rotary-dial telephone.

    492 chars

  24. alex said on May 15, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    I’m a stick guy too. Never get speeding tickets because I always have a better sense of how fast I’m going and also feel more in control of the car. Never use cruise control either. Not long ago got pulled over in my pickup (it has an automatic) and didn’t even realize how fast I was going until a cop car going the other way slammed on the brakes and did a U-ie. He was decent about it and let me go. But that doesn’t happen to me in my car because I’m much more engaged when I’m driving it. In fact, I think sticks are better for kids to learn on because they’re forced to reckon with what they’re doing. Sure, they’ll learn how to roll a doob and hold court on a cell phone while steering with their knees, but they’ll still be more cognizant of what the vehicle is doing than if they’re just cruising along on autopilot.

    Unfortunately, my Pontiac Solstice is going to be an orphan without a whole lot of kin to rely on for organ transplants when it gets on in years. GM finally brings back a car with a stick and then screws me over yet again. Too bad it’s so much fun to drive or I’d garage it and wait for it to become a collectible. Or an organ donor.

    1169 chars

  25. LA Mary said on May 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    The whole time I lived in Denver I had a stick shift and never had four wheel drive, and those same idiots were tearing around at 65, spinning out or going off the road on snowy or icy roads. You can always tell the out of towners. I had a VW Rabbit with front wheel drive, and once, only once, I went into spinning all over the road on University Boulevard on black ice. I came to a stop unscathed after several 360s, and nearly got religion.

    452 chars

  26. Deborah said on May 15, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Sticks for me too.

    18 chars

  27. Colleen said on May 15, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Stick girl here. My current Subie is an automatic, and Husband has the old Subie, with a stick. He doesn’t care for it. I agree with Alex..I think it forces you to be more engaged and “present” when you are driving. I can drive a stick and eat an ice cream cone….but I didn’t come outta the box that way, I had to work up to it! And it’s the best in the snow….

    369 chars

  28. Dexter said on May 16, 2009 at 12:47 am

    I posted a few times Friday but none showed. This seems to work from IE8 instead of Firefox…I thought I had been banned.
    I had posted how I had become rather dubious regarding small cars after one crash (my Honda CVCC) and my Chevy Citation crash, both involving drivers in big car and big truck; one sent my baby daughter to the hospital with a concussion and one crash cut my car in two and I am a “Saved By The Belt” survivor, said two cops at the hospital. After that second deal with the Citation, I swore off little cars for three years.

    550 chars

  29. ellen said on May 16, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Different topic, but re the Sasha photo: The shirt she is wearing is from Target. My daughter has a similar one. It is current season, meaning it was purchased after they arrived at the WH. Maybe $8. Do you think it was a stylist’s choice or another example of the first lady’s commitment to keeping things “normal”?

    316 chars

  30. Dexter said on May 16, 2009 at 1:09 am

    jeff borden…you will enjoy this one:

    84 chars

  31. Catherine said on May 16, 2009 at 1:19 am

    I’m going with keeping it normal, ellen. Also the fact that her hair wasn’t all tidy. Very typical for that age, said the mother of an 8 YO.

    I finally watched the video of the Obama ASU graduation speech, and yes, he killed. Seems like college graduation speeches fall into two camps: awful and fabulous. I worked a graduation where Geraldine Ferraro spoke, not long after she ran for VP, and it was just a variation of her stump speech and was awful. Diane Sawyer spoke at another graduation and she was absolutely fabulous. Best line: “Remember, it’s not who you know. It’s whom you know.”

    603 chars

  32. Bob said on May 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Naturally, this is a stick-heavy crowd. Set aside the control issue and manual transmissions still have these benefits: Typically 10 percent higher mpg. About $1,000 cheaper than automatics in most new cars. Less prone to mechanical failure than automatic trans, and cheaper to fix when they do fail. Here’s one I hadn’t thought of until recently — I think there’s a kind of contrarian prestige in driving a stick. My status-conscious 15-year-old insists on learning to drive a stick, so that she can show off by doing something most other kids can’t.

    553 chars

  33. Dexter said on May 16, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    why i miss my pickup truck : delivery charges . damn.

    55 chars

  34. MichaelG said on May 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I’ll take a stick as well although my Taurus is auto. Many things went into selecting that car, not the least was bang for buck. My ’70 F-250 is a stick. My Ex has a stick PT Cruiser and a stick Geo Metro. Yeah, her too. Daughter’s Geo is a stick as well. I taught her how to drive in an old VW. I think everyone should learn to drive a stick. It makes you a better driver and greatly enhances your all around driving skills and understanding of how a car works. Also you’re prepared if you have to drive somebody else’s car in an emergency.

    549 chars

  35. MichaelG said on May 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Check out today’s weather forecast for Sacto. Scroll down.

    It’s going to get warm.

    202 chars

  36. Dexter said on May 16, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    saw on TWC it will be 100F, M-G—here it is 61F but was 56F all morning.

    I have had so many cars and trucks with sticks as well as automatics, I get no thrill out of either anymore. Most cars come with autos so that is what I end up with. I drove forklifts for years, that was the job, not occasionally hop on, I mean driving hell-bent the entire shift, and when we got some automatic tranny forklifts it was so much better.
    Of course my 1969 VW Microbus has a stick, but it will soon be sold, as it is rotting away faster than I can keep up with it…it needs all new everything, and it is a financial impossibility.

    626 chars

  37. nancy said on May 16, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    In one of those “things I learned about the auto industry en route to looking up other things,” I recall that there’s a stubborn 10 percent of car buyers who like manual transmissions, seek them out, and buy them religiously. So I doubt they’ll go away entirely. The question is, what models will they be available on?

    J.C. has a ’95 Explorer with a stick — try to find an SUV with a stick now. But Alan’s Subaru Outback and my VW Passat were easy to find in manual models.

    478 chars

  38. Deborah said on May 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    As I said I like sticks, but I also had a series of small convertible sports cars and they just go together. I had 3 MGs in a row and a Miata after those, another Miata after that one (what a relief the first Miata was after unreliable MGs, but the MGs were always cute and fun). I don’t own a car now that we live in Chicago. My husband has a BMW (stick) that sits in the garage most of the time. When we travel we always end up with automatic rentals (except in Europe). Do they even have manual rentals here?

    511 chars

  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    In the Gates WaPo story — “The bureaucracy’s first impulse was to deny that the demand really existed . . .”

    Carve that in stone somewhere as one of the immutable laws of the universe.

    188 chars

  40. beb said on May 16, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Coozledad – saw a program on Discovery today (Saturday) that made me think of you. It was about a family that harvest hardwood trees from their land. It’s been in their family for four generations. What was interesting was that they use a team of mules to drag the logs out of the hills to the nearest service road. They said the mules tore up the surface less than a tractor would, was more maneuverable than a tractor and cost less to maintain because they eat hay. I’m not sure about all their claims, but the forest is on a mountainside so part of the maneuverability, compared to a tractor that could tip over, would be true. They use a four horse team to pull 18 foot log sections.

    687 chars

  41. jcburns said on May 16, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    That’s exactly right Nance, and the dealer, of course, tried to talk us out of custom ordering the stick version (which, by the way, was some $200 cheaper!) every way we could. But you know Sammy. And me. (Stubborn? Nah.)

    221 chars

  42. coozledad said on May 16, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Beb: Yeah. We only have harness to work them four abreast, but a team of four hitched two abreast is very agile, even in dense woods. We’re in the upper Piedmont, which is a weird combination of hilly and platelike. Our farm sits on an apparently flat piece of land, which breaks quickly into uncultivable, heavily forested slopes. The place sits over a big aquifer straddling the Dan and Hyco River Basins. Last year, we were setting out fenceposts and cutting sumac and aileanthus out of a field that looks like South Dakota prairie. This year we’re constructing a perimeter fence in terrain that reminds me of hiking in the Pisgah forest. We’ve had to employ people with tractors to bush hog and fence across the highway that bisects the place. We would have never made it over there.
    Mules are excellent workers, but you quickly realize it’s wrong to expect too much of them. They’re at least as intelligent as humans on the emotional scale, and they’ll work hard to please you, but a little overzealousness and you’ll find yourself with a dead one.
    I’ll never buy a tractor.

    1083 chars

  43. moe99 said on May 16, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Commencement speker today was Tonderai Chikuhwa, a graduate of Macalester College and a UN officer charged with trying to rehabilitate children who have been kidnapped from their families and forced toserve in rebel armies or as sexual slaves in many parts of Africa. It was a different kind of commencement address–much more sobering and very graphic but it was powerful because it spoke truth.

    And hopefully it was something that I will not soon forget when I deal with my own troubles, which seem rather more mundane tonight.

    532 chars

  44. Catherine said on May 17, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Moe, sounds like that one was squarely in the fabulous territory. Is video or the transcript available online?

    111 chars

  45. basset said on May 17, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    back when I was still in news we… not me, my station, I was doing something else that day… covered the loading of a huge Air Force cargo plane (C-141) with mules at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Your tax dollars were buying them for the Afghan mujahideen, since much of the territory over there is too rough for trucks, and I’m sure that their descendants are being used against us today.

    388 chars

  46. LA Mary said on May 17, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Back in the seventies, I spent summer weekends visiting my then boyfriend, a geological engineering student from Colorado School of Mines. He had to do a summer field study course which relocated every week. I would show up on Friday nights with a cooler of nice food and beer and some clean clothes. One campsite was in Canon City, on BLM land. Our camp was visited regularly by mules. They had US Army branded on them, so I guess they were put out to pasture there to retire in a nice idyllic setting. They were like big dogs. They would stand there waiting to get ear scratches and whatever food we had that might be mule appropriate.

    638 chars

  47. brian stouder said on May 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Watched President Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame, and let me just say –


    94 chars

  48. Scout said on May 17, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Here’s the transcript of the ND commencement:

    155 chars

  49. coozledad said on May 17, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Looks like old miss daddy complex is trying to float her college excuses for plagiarism. What a load of shit. And why does the Times insist on keeping this dreck?

    244 chars

  50. basset said on May 17, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    >>I would show up on Friday nights with a cooler of nice food and beer and some clean clothes

    and he let you get away? sheeeeeesh.

    144 chars

  51. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 18, 2009 at 8:14 am

    This is good, which is to say, awful —

    96 chars