A quick bite before I leave.

For a Friday when I’m racing to complete a long to-do list ahead of leaving on a much-needed vacation, just some bloggage today. I’ll be in and out of here next week as the spirit moves me; it may move me a lot, or not at all, but I’ll be connected via e-mail and cell, and I’m sure you folks will think of something to talk about in my absence. Note to Chicagolanders — and yes, Peter, I’m looking at you — we’ll have a table Saturday evening at a tapas place in Lincoln Park, so if you want to come, e-mail me for the deets.

So, let’s get to it:

I’m not a fan of Caitlin Flanagan, but there were a few snickers in this piece, ostensibly looking at a new biography of Helen Gurley Brown. It takes a turn into more contemporary figures toward the end, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

A friend sent me this YouTube clip a few months ago; it’s part of a longer piece for Current TV (don’t do any work for them near the North Korean border), in which Ira Glass talks about storytelling, but as usual, it’s about something more — about soldiering on when you don’t feel like it — and you should invest five minutes of your time in it.

A friend of mine makes this sound effect when things don’t go well — MWAH-mwahhh. If he could read this story, he’d make it now. Just to entice you to click:

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (AP) – Police say a Buffalo-area tow truck driver was juggling two cell phones – texting on one and talking on another – when he slammed into a car and crashed into a swimming pool.

HT: Rob Kantner, FB friend.

Off to the bank, on the bike. Errands + exercise = multitasking.

Posted at 9:59 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

93 responses to “A quick bite before I leave.”

  1. LAMary said on August 14, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I’m sending that Ira Glass clip to my younger son who has just started in a new, more demanding school. He is so frustrated with one of his classes, a subject he shone in at his previous school but is struggling with at the new school. Ira Glass is saying what I’ve been trying to get across for the last four weeks. Keep working, keep reading, keep writing. Your work will catch up with the idea in your head.
    I went through this with drawing. It took years but eventually my drawing started to be a more like what in my mind I wanted it to be.

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  2. ROgirl said on August 14, 2009 at 10:56 am

    I remember a comment by Dick Cavett about Helen Gurley Brown that she should walk into the ocean until her hat floats.

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  3. annie said on August 14, 2009 at 11:16 am

    That Atlantic piece on Helen Gurley Brown was mesmerizing. I don’t know anything about the writer but based on this article, I think she’s pretty fantastic. Don’t know why you say you’re not a fan.

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  4. Danny said on August 14, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Hmm, yes, good article. I didn’t know of Helen Gurley Brown until you mentioned her this morning. I love her middle name though because it just kind of goes with her. From the picture in wikipedia, she looks like she was mighty fine in her prime.

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  5. nancy said on August 14, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Flanagan is a gifted writer whose gift is wrapped around some fairly retrograde attitudes, as well as a general cluelessness about what other women’s lives are like (and an unwillingness to cop to the insane luxuries of her own). With most of my to-do list still to do, I can’t get into it at length, but Joan Walsh sums it up pretty well, here.

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  6. LAMary said on August 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Danny, I have never heard Helen Gurley Brown described as mighty fine. She wasn’t ugly. Just sort of average with the cosmetic help available in the early sixties.

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  7. Dexter said on August 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    All Ohio banks now have big notices posted on the main door: REMOVE ALL HATS AND SUNGLASSES BEFORE ENTERING
    so-o-o-o-o what about burqas, turbans and sun-sensitive lenses that take more time to darken than it takes to perform a banking transaction? http://www.nypost.com/seven/07122009/photos/018_bank_robber.jpg

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  8. MaryRC said on August 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Annie, Caitin Flanagan (like Phyllis Schafly and for a while Danielle Crittenden) makes a good living at putting down other women who work for a living.

    Speaking of Danielle Crittenden, you don’t hear much from her anymore but back when she was making a career out of criticizing working mothers who abandoned their children to nannies, someone pointed out to Danielle that she herself employed a nanny. “She’s not a nanny,” snapped Danielle. “She’s a babysitter.”

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  9. Danny said on August 14, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Mary, we’re at an impasse. The only person I know of who can break this deadlock is Brian. Brian, please click on the Wikipedia link and tell us what you think of the picture.

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  10. brian stouder said on August 14, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    I also enjoyed the Atlantic piece, although it was somehow – ‘uncomfortable’ fits better than ‘irritating’ – and I couldn’t quite say why…until I read the proprietress saying

    a gen­eral clue­less­ness about what other women’s lives are like (and an unwill­ing­ness to cop to the insane lux­u­ries of her own)

    The ‘peeing by the side of the road’ captures it; yes, this is off-putting…but a second thought erases the revulsion that the author intended, and leaves one vaguely…maybe “irritated” IS the better word!

    Good stuff nonetheless

    edit: looking at the wiki pic of HGB on the desk, she’s HOT!! or indeed, mighty fine!!

    Sorry Mary – but after 4 decades admiring women, I can say that those gams would turn my head every time!

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  11. Danny said on August 14, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    There, the “eyes” have it.

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  12. LAMary said on August 14, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I think that my memories of seeing HGB on talk shows in the sixties may be what’s causing the different perception of her appearance. That may be the best unretouched photo ever taken of HGB. There were lots of very heavily filtered and retouched pictures back in the day with her wig and all that.

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  13. Tori said on August 14, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks for posting the Ira Glass piece; it’s where I go to for that extra kick in the rear with my writing. Have a great vacation and enjoy your tapas!

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  14. Jeff Borden said on August 14, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I’m with Danny and Brian. She was a very good-looking woman.

    I’m feeling extra spiffy right now because I just read another website focusing on the unhinged rants of the clownish Glenn Beck. For all the sturm and drang this upright offal generates, he draws an average of about 2 million viewers, or less than 1% of the American audience. And major advertisers –Geico, Progressive Insurance and Procter & Gamble– have yanked all advertising on his hate-a-thon because they no longer wish to be associated with his racist ravings. God, I love capitalism.

    The Chicago Sun-Times has a small interview with Zeke Emmanuel, who has been demonized by the trogs who think the Obama plan would mean pulling the plug on granny. His stance, of course, is 180 degrees from their depiction as he is a vocal opponent of doctor-assisted suicides or any other form of euthanasia. Unfortunately, these truths will not register with those screaming the loudest, but facts are facts.

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  15. Danny said on August 14, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Yes, have a great vacation, Nancy.

    Hey, just so everyone knows, while Nancy is gone, I’m the moderator: tough, but fair. Cooze, your S.O.L this week. Sorry, dude (like how John Belushi was sorry when he smashed the guy’s guitar against the wall in Animal House).

    Hey, so I’m listening to a lot of old Genesis (from “Trespass” to “Wind & Wuthering”) these past few weeks. I’m enjoying “Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” as I type this. For those of you familiar with them, who has the better voice, Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins? My vote goes to Peter.

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  16. coozledad said on August 14, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Speaking of hot, they released Squeaky from federal custody today. I’d say she’s the hottest little number ever to carve an x in her forehead (and wields a clawhammer like a pro wrestler). I also hear she can use a shovel in fairly tight spaces.
    Can someone remind me why we’re afraid of incarcerating terror suspects here?

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  17. Danny said on August 14, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Jeff B., you’ll like this old send up of Beck from the days he was still on CNN.

    I’m not sure if any of you are familiar with “Best Page in the Universe,” but the dude can sometimes be funny. Here is a good one he had about Cameron Diaz.

    Down at the bottom of his home page, he “rates” children’s refrigerator art. Also pretty funny.

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  18. Jeff Borden said on August 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm


    Why? Because you can score cheap, easy points. These fools don’t seem to realize that tens of thousands of German prisoners worked American farm fields while the real farmers were off to war. Or that high-ranking Nazi officers were kept at the Greenbrier Inn in West Virginia.

    My dad, who fought in Europe with the Big Red One, seethed that our government put up the Nazi officers in luxury quarters. They were even allowed to attend movies in town and were seated with all the other white folks. Patriotic Americans who happened to be black were forced to sit in the balcony. So, white was still right, even though the Caucasians in question were Nazis. Sickening, even after all these years.

    Sometimes, I really wonder what is in the water out in Kansas.

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  19. Jeff Borden said on August 14, 2009 at 1:04 pm


    The guy is an entertainer, at base, but his schtick these days is beyond unbalanced. While I tend to believe that Ann Coulter takes purposefully outrageous positions to sell books, I’m not so sure about Glenn Beck. And, of course, I worry that some of his more passionate fans might act on his outrageous commentaries.

    Anyhow, there are more advertisers on the list. ConAgra is another huge conglomerate that has told its media buyers to avoid Beck’s program. His show can’t cost much to produce, but if he keeps bleeding advertisers, even Fox is going to have to start looking at him for hurting the bottom line.

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  20. Linda said on August 14, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I think I can figure out the basic impasse between Danny and Brian vs Mary: women assess other women’s looks in an impartial, structural sort of way: does this fit? Does that work, etc.? They tend to be much tougher judges of looks. Whereas, I am convinced that straight men are influenced in their judgement by whether they get a vibe that a women might give it up for them. And, to tell by the bio, HGB gives this vibe up in spades. Even in pics.

    But I’ve heard of her a lot, and she always sounded like a calculating, shallow person. Sorry, but I’m with Flanagan on this one: not every materially successful woman should be shoehorned into feminist heroism.

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  21. MaryRC said on August 14, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    My memories of HGB are from her later days when her poor face was so lifted and stretched that you could have bounced a quarter off it. I agree with LAMary, the Wikipedia photo is a nice, natural-looking glimpse of her back in the day.

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  22. ROgirl said on August 14, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    She made the most of what she had, and she kept herself in good shape, but she wouldn’t have made the cover of her magazine. She looks kind of scary now.

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  23. Danny said on August 14, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Can some­one remind me why we’re afraid of incar­cer­at­ing ter­ror sus­pects here?

    Probably because terrorists don’t always go to prison in our system. Bill Ayers is a standout in this regard.

    I remember a good while back (last summer?) how Moe was waxing all nostalgic and sentimental about how Bill Ayers was such a swell, misunderstood guy who had been undeservedly maligned by the evil right wing. That was pretty laughable. I mean, this is the guy who dedicated his book “Prairie Fire,” to Sirhan Sirhan, the guy who shot Bobby Kennedy.

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  24. nancy said on August 14, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Another great piece of Nora Ephron journalism was the piece she did on Helen Gurley Brown. Made much of HGB’s self-description: “mouseburger.” (Which never made any sense to me.) One of my FB friends said he used to see her eating sushi with David at his fave NYC hole in the wall.

    And the stuff in the Flanagan piece I liked was the part about the Edwards’ marriage. That was a neat evisceration of Rielle Hunter, like one of those assassins to shanks you so fast he’s wiping off his blade before you know you’re dead on your feet.

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  25. coozledad said on August 14, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I’m too much of a schlub to venture an assessment of feminine beauty. I can tell you it’s frequently situational, exceedingly temporal, and does not translate fully into the conventional expectations of succeeding decades, until a male starts to get old. Then even people you know are dead start to look good. This chick has got it going for me:
    But then again, so does this one:

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  26. Dorothy said on August 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Can’t resist this after reading all these comments on HGB’s looks:


    or better yet: http://cache.jezebel.com/assets/resources/2007/09/helengurley092607.jpg

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  27. moe99 said on August 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Danny, cite please.

    And, iirc, in the USA, one is presumed innocent and must be proven guilty in a criminal trial using the standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ Ayers was not tried b/c the FBI botched his case. You don’t want the protections afforded by the law to apply to him? Then they apply to no US citizen. Whether they apply to foreign nationals being held by the US on the accusation of terrorism, is another question.

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  28. LAMary said on August 14, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    I remember HGB on talk shows having the same sort of whiny thing that Maureen Dowd lapses into. I’m thinking Dick Cavett got it right.

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  29. Julie Robinson said on August 14, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Those are some scary pix, Dorothy!

    Isn’t Ira Glass wonderful? His premise is similar to that of “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcom Gladwell. Gladwell believes you have to invest about 10,000 hours in any endeavor to beacome really good. Or, as Mom always said, practice makes perfect.

    Hope you enjoy Chicago, Nancy–they turned on the heat just for you. We’re headed there ourselves to help our daughter move into her new, unairconditioned, third-floor apartment. But the cross-breezes are supposed to be great!

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  30. Danny said on August 14, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Here you go, Moe, from November 8th 2008:

    And Bill Ayers finally speaks up:


    I admire his restraint during the election. I think he was unfairly targeted and subject to some scurrilous abuse. Yet, I wish he had a better editor for the article.

    Then you basically fell all over yourself the rest of the thread explaining how he should be forgiven for something for which he has explained that he is not sorry.

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  31. 4dbirds said on August 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I remember HGB from her many appearances on the various talk shows of the day. I think the term one would use is ‘handsome woman’. She was terribly thin and wore cute clothes. She had a funny way of clenching her teeth when she spoke like she was trying to hold in some dentures or a bridge. Anyway, when she talked of her husband it was obvious that she adored him.

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  32. moe99 said on August 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Oh Danny boy… Why don’t we just read the entire thread to get the full context.


    There are a number of other commenters who rounded out the discussion rather well.

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  33. brian stouder said on August 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Cooz, I agree completely about Elsa’s allure – but the Venus portrait hasn’t any hair, and looks a bit like a Cub Scout at bath time.

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  34. coozledad said on August 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    brian: Yeah, but you’ve got to keep in mind that back in the day, hotness was almost exclusively measured by the presence of teeth.

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  35. moe99 said on August 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Guys, guys, we’re missing the real story. Jenny Sanford has moved out of the Governor’s mansion in S.Carolina and the Buenos Aires beauty is in the US and Mark’s in contact with her!!



    Gotta love these fellows….

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  36. Carter said on August 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Damn, Nance, I’m going over to Benton Harbor the one weekend you’re copping to coming to Chicago. And inviting readers. My wife and sis-in-law went to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba last week and then walked to the Billy Petersen play “Blackbird” at Victory Gardens. Is that your plan, huh, huh??

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  37. Danny said on August 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    If by “rounding out the discussion” you mean “supporting a terrorist because he happens to be a lefty” well then yeah, I guess you could characterize it as such…

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  38. jcburns said on August 14, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Bill. Ayers. Is. Not. A. Terrorist.

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  39. Danny said on August 14, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Crap, I thought you went to Chicago too! LOL!

    EDIT: He is too. Neener neener.

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  40. brian stouder said on August 14, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Moe, I will confess that these high-profile marital trainwrecks have been turning my head, too; and indeed, your links about the thoroughly smitten South Carolina governor and his (apparently irresistable) sexy South American siren* made me snicker.

    The woman seems to be a bit of a mystery (not to say cipher); on the other hand, as Danny might well point out, the disgraced Republican Governor seems to be a straighter shooter (so to speak) than the Democratic former-senator and former presidential candidate and vice presidential nominee; Sanford has apparently (if surreptitiously) stuck with his sweetheart (not to say “soulmate”!), whereas Edwards simply disposed of his, like a cheeseburger wrapper from last week.

    To be honest – and despite that this will make folks groan – Jon Gosselin is the philanderer that really upsets me, and in much the same way as Nance’s essayist was put off by Edwards’ antics all the more, owing to her great admiration for Elizabeth. I have always greatly, greatly admired Kate Gosslin – and I now detest her soon-to-be-ex husband.

    Aside from that I gotta say, Danny, the whole Ayers/terrorist thing is soOO “2008”, y’know?

    Ifn’ you REALLY wanna have that argument again, then we’ll point to McCain’s habit of palling around with damnable domestic terrorists, like the bomb-throwing anti-abortion crowd, or what’s-her-name’s husband’s association with secessionist shit-heads in Alaska….but what would the point be?

    * have you noticed this quiet woman’s name – Maria Belen Chapur – is oddly reminiscent of the unstoppable psycho killer in No Country for Old Men? (maybe Governor Sanford is just exactly the old man that doesn’t belong in that country!)

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  41. Danny said on August 14, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Brian, what your saying is pretty much the point that a few people tried to make in that thread:

    A: Wow, it’s so far in the past, can’t we just forgive and forget about it? Let bygones be bygones? (which I was okay with even back then)

    B: McCain had some questionable associations too. (which is a counterpoint to a point that no one is making today)

    Item A ranges somewhere between quaint nostalgia to revisionist history and B is equivalent to saying, “Gee-whiz, Mom! Everyone else is doing it!” and is really a non sequitur because, as I said, we’re not discussing President Obama’s association with Bill Ayers (at least no one is today). And none of this would have come up even back in November of 2008 if Moe had chosen then to bring it up in fawning fashion of a misguided apologia.

    Now we’re talking a little about terrorists in our legal system today courtesy of Cooze and I remembered that thread and thought it apropos.

    And that’s all. I’m not trying to bring up the whole Ayers/Obama saga in order to criticize our President.

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  42. moe99 said on August 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm


    fun for Friday night.

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  43. beb said on August 14, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Jeez, Nancy’s been gone only part of a day and the blog is already going to hell…. Bill Ayres? I lived through 60s and I don;t recall him. He’s a nothing, a non-entities. Danny’s obsession with him is just sad and pathetic.

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  44. coozledad said on August 14, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Not bad, for a keyboard band.
    These guys are better:
    I think it’s the hair.

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  45. Dexter said on August 14, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    jeffborden…you might enjoy this very short blurb about Ohio German POWs.
    I watched the TV show…not only were the POWs treated humanely, the local girls liked their looks and as impossible as it might seem until you think about it, those POWs apparently got a whole ‘nuther kind of action than their brethren did on the European battlefields.

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  46. 4dbirds said on August 14, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    In my early army days in Augsburg, Germany, hubby and I used to work the night shift. A local pub opened at 8am for those of us wanting some food and drink. Herb was the owner and he loved Americans. He spent his 18th year in a POW camp in Texas. The POWs worked on the local farms and ranches. He said he was treated well and ate better than when he was a ‘free’ German soldier. After the war he returned to Germany but vacationed in the States often. He said nothing would make him happier than if one of his daughters married an American. I think his experience was pretty common for most German POWs. I’d like to think that their experiences and the fact that they came home alive and well is one of reasons so many Germans of a certain age are fond of America.

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  47. moe99 said on August 14, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    4dbirds: Just think what their reception would be in the US these days? What were we thinking???? Oh, the humanity (g).

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  48. Jolene said on August 14, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I had a similar experience. Met a German guy who’d been an American POW during WWII in a Munich beer hall, and he told me how very kind his American captors had been to him.

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  49. brian stouder said on August 14, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    I grew up in Southeast Fort Wayne, within a mile or two of what had been a prisoner of war camp. I remember my brothers talking about riding their bikes out to Camp Scott – and they were always trying to sell me the idea that “hobos” lived out there


    an excerpt or two

    In newspapers, letters to the editor complained bitterly of the good treatment given to the German prisoners. Especially irksome was the daily allotment of two packs of cigarettes to prisoners, while rationing prevented locals from buying more than one pack.

    I bet that newspaper was Nance’s News-Sentinel….and one wonders at what the reaction would be in 2009, if it came out that we were plying our ‘illegal combatant’ inmates with 2 packs of cigarettes a day!!

    and then there’s this

    But they also were paid the competitive rate that other workers were paid; their earnings were put into savings accounts, to be withdrawn at the end of the war. With the money they were able to keep – about 80 cents an hour – they could buy things in their own canteen. Unauthorized local women visiting the camp after hours seems to have been an occasional problem.

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  50. Catherine said on August 15, 2009 at 1:23 am

    While I loved the shanking of Rielle Hunter, and was glad that I’m not alone in my previously-confessed girl-crush on Elizabeth Edwards, somehow that article felt like it was more about the author and her feelings about the Edwardses & Rielle, than about HGB. Why is that the one and only case she looks at to prove/disprove HGB’s central theses?

    Also, the class issues are only glancingly acknowledged — perhaps because, as Nancy says, the author doesn’t generally “get” them. At the end of the day, the most telling criticism of much feminist theory is that it ignores economics. Seems to me that would have been a better criticism of the book than, “She’s wrong because look at what a skank & a loser Rielle Hunter is.”

    On edit: Have a great vacation! We are nearly home after 10 days in Mendocino, Monterey and San Luis Obispo. Lovely, relaxing time & I am ready for school to start!

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  51. Dexter said on August 15, 2009 at 2:26 am

    brian…nah…they were paid eighty cents a DAY , not an hour.

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  52. brian stouder said on August 15, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Dorothy alert!! Dorothy alert!!

    I saw this link at fivethirtyeight.com, and immediately thought of you.


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  53. del said on August 15, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I am singing this line for you, Danny:
    “There’s Howard Hughes in blue suede shoes,
    smiling at the majorettes smoking Winston cigarettes . . . ”

    Rock on Garth.

    P.S. Calling on Brian to break the tie as to Helen Gurley Brown was very clever.

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  54. Danny said on August 15, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Awesome line, del. I’ve been diggiing on that particular song a lot recently. And “Back in N.Y.C.” kicks so much butt. Love how Peter shouts on that song.

    Yeah, Brian is a stone-cold lock in these situations. On the money, I tell you!

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  55. Danny said on August 15, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    This is a fun little story. Someone reported a stranger wandering around their neighborhood and Bob Dylan, who did not have an identification on him, was asked to come back to a police station by some young cops did not know who he was.

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  56. Dorothy said on August 15, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    oh Brian THANKS!! That’s a gorgeous picture! Made my heart leap. I was in the ‘burgh last weekend, but unfortuntely no time for fun stuff. Those days will return eventually.

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  57. Dexter said on August 15, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    That Fort Pitt Tunnel is horrible for a claustrophobic. The lights hypnotize me and I start trippin’ in the most unpleasant way.

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  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 15, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Overlong but very specific and well-founded analysis of the newspaper sit’n — some silver linings sighted, but only a few bits of threadbare edgings i fear. There will be papers in the future, but very small and sparse on the ground compared to, say, 1973. Or even 1993. Meanwhile, i’m hearing that a startling uptick in the number of college textbooks that are on Kindle may shift into a Kindle norm for textbooks in less than three years; profs are already planning to avoid texts that are not Kindle-ready, so as to make their entire required and even suggested lists “e-book” only.

    I have no idea how i will catch-up here — can anyone sum up the last two weeks of comment back ‘n forth and byplay? Thanks.

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  59. Danny said on August 15, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I have no idea how i will catch-up here — can any­one sum up the last two weeks of com­ment back ‘n forth and byplay?

    When in doubt, I was right.


    No problemo. It’s who I am. 🙂

    Del, are you a Genesis expert by any chance? If so, in “Broadway Melody of 1974,” (the lyric you quoted from this morning), is that all Peter’s voice or did Phil join in? And when he went from normal register to low register (e.g in the verse: “The cheerleader waves her cyanide wand; There’s a smell of peach blossom and bitter almonde”) was that two different takes or did he sing that all at once?

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  60. moe99 said on August 15, 2009 at 7:48 pm


    generate your own Kenyan birth certificate.

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  61. del said on August 16, 2009 at 1:08 am

    Danny, never really gave it much thought. I always figured it was Gabriel alone though it seems almost spliced somehow. My only expertise is having listened to that album probably hundreds of times. Puts me in another place . . .

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  62. caliban said on August 16, 2009 at 4:09 am

    I know there are a bunch of newspaper people that read Nancy’s blog. Isn’t this head incredibly offensive?


    Reporters bear the brunt of criticism unfairly when when whiskey soaked ink stained copy editors put bogus headlines on stories. Recent attempts at being fair and balanced when no Republican has said anything remotely true about health care must have tried their souls. But this one dishonors service, and it’s [retty much as inexcusable as anything they tacked on to a Grassley story. I’m waiting for the Alzheimers slug.

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  63. coozledad said on August 16, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Pal’in around with terrorists:

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Coozledad — that may qualify as the strangest tweet i’ve yet received, and i’m still waiting for some explanation or context for WTF that’s about. You’re right, it’d be as if Obama lost, then less than a year later is Twittering about having hummus with the head of Hezbollah in south Lebanon.

    Color me mystified. And not pleased.

    (Next, Sarah Palin tweets “having brunch with Kate Michelman, makes a tasty omelet!”)

    C’ban, not sure “G.I. Jane” is received as offensive among female combat support soldiers. Lady Marines might not like it, saying “that’d be Army women, bub,” but offensive? Maybe my Y chromosome disability is making me miss something in that hed, but i’m not getting it. The offense, that is.

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  65. Catherine said on August 16, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Maybe John McCain means “interesting” the way that Cokie Roberts does. Then again, I don’t think he’d balk at saying “fucked up.”

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  66. MichaelG said on August 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    The Alvarez article about women in combat appeared in today’s Bee under the headline “Breaking Barriers”.

    It’s like a joke, Jeff. If it has to be explained . . .

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  67. whitebeard said on August 17, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Caliban, I do not see anything offensive in the headline, although I agree with coozledad that G.I. Jane might shoot someone in the foot and say, I am a Marine, Bub. But a dictionary http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/GI acknowledges that G.I. refers to enlisted members of the United States armed forces, without a sexual difference

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  68. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 17, 2009 at 11:42 am

    G.I. — General Infantryperson

    FYI, there is no nickname for women Marines. Which may be the point, Jane-wise. Occasional ref’n to “Women Marines” to clarify a training variation or somesuch, but we’ve never had a variant (WAVES, etc.).

    Marines are perhaps far too fond of a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, though: “The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the USMC…”

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  69. brian stouder said on August 17, 2009 at 11:43 am

    ‘GI Jane’ struck me as an attention-grabber; maybe too flip, but not irritating.

    But on another subject, if we put much stock in the numbers that Nate Silver sees (and I most certainly do), then ‘public option’ in the health care reform effort is probably dead.

    One suspects that if the Insurance industry had to accept some bill, but could nix any one thing about it – that the ‘public option’ would be precisely what they would axe.

    It is funny how, in the most general sense, the workings of a (small d) democratic process are so hugely complex; while in another way, things are so easily amenable to boilerplate explanations.

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  70. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 17, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    How to get a goodly number of moderate conservatives and even not-a-few conservatives on board —

    1) Enhance CHIP enrollment and access. Half the sad stories i hear doctors using to defend “the plan” (that doesn’t quite exist other than HR 3200) would apply to kids who should be enrolled in CHIP, but for whatever parental reasons are not. States are dragging their feet on this because they know as much as 1 in 3 CHIP qualifications will inevitably add adults to Medicaid, and they’re scared witless of those numbers shooting up. Tough.

    2) Push the public option as the core program — a federal plan (co-op, pool, whatever) that is aimed specifically at people rejected by existing insurance due to pre-existing conditions; in fact, let that be a key criteria — application and rejection by current insurance policywriters. Make it the “bankruptcy insurance” type policy that isn’t going to encourage most employers to push their employees onto . . . oh, and 2b) talk specifically about how you think you’ll keep Walmart and Disney and Sodexho from shoving most of their workers into this plan. But if the “public option” is clearly targeted at those unable to get insurance any other way, there’s support even on the right for that.

    3) Talk candidly about what we will and won’t cover for undocumented workers and their children. Contrary to popular belief, we heartless rightwingers aren’t content to say that children, illegally here or not, should get no care because of their parents’ status — but we’re acutely aware that a huge factor in health care problems (and the numbers used to talk about uninsured), especially in places like California, Texas, and along the Mississippi up through Chicago, is the 15 to 20,000,000 population of illegal immigrants. And yes, we suspect there’s some cynical vote-swapping behind the Democratic Party passion for covering “all people.” No, conservatives don’t think we should pay everything for all people — but we will inevitably pay some costs for health care for this population segment, because WE ALREADY ARE. So let’s talk about what care, what services, under what amnesty provision.*

    *Because the Social Security/Medicare trainwreck will happen much, much sooner if we lost around 10,000,000 people working illegally, and so paying into a system that they will never see a dime out of (since they’re all using fake SSIDs), and know it — meaning those 10 mil are paying bills for our elderly and disabled RIGHT NOW and almost no one on either side wants to talk about THAT. But they all have one version of an amnesty or another in mind as they throw stones at the other team, because we cannot afford to lose all those illegal workers for FICA reasons alone, any more than we can afford to have China stop buying our indebtedness.

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  71. brian stouder said on August 17, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    …aimed specif­i­cally at peo­ple rejected by exist­ing insur­ance due to pre-existing con­di­tions

    I’d join you in voting for that, if we were members of congress.

    One suspects that soon enough the situation would be like the bifurcation between public schools and private schools, wherein all the hard-cases and special-needs folks would be turned away by the ‘privates’ and end up on the ‘public option’; and then we’d get the endless stream of stories about the “failed” public health system, as opposed to the relatively pristine ‘private’ one. But I’d take that 10 times out of 10, since those hard-cases would be getting something, which beats ‘getting nothing’ all to hell!

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  72. Julie Robinson said on August 17, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Well. Brian, both my kids went to a “private” school and I was part of the school board for 6 years, and during that time the number of students we turned away was zero. In fact, we often got the hard cases that had been kicked out of school after school, where we knew they were never going to pay their tuition and that, yes, they would drag down our ISTEP numbers and need a larger portion of resources. But we took them anyway because our “private” school is sponsored by our church and dang it, that’s what we church people do. We will just keep on caring even when it’s not reasonable. A lot of those kids didn’t stick around for long due to parental instability, but I’ve always hoped and prayed that we made a little bit of difference in their lives.

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  73. brian stouder said on August 17, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Julie – I apologize for that ‘broad brush’ I used! It sounds like your school is the real deal, when it comes to genuinely working for everyone.

    Speaking of ‘real deals’, check this clip out from Danny-ego. The local news station reports on a peaceful townhall meeting….peaceful because the people IN FAVOR of health care reform are all being PAID!!


    worth a chuckle, or two

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  74. coozledad said on August 17, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Are we going to have to listen to Sarah Palin and Chuck Grassley bitch about how Obama wants to give granny a bikini wax? Some signs say yes:

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  75. jeff borden said on August 17, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    I tell you, the Republican Party is the party of wild sex. You have people waving around signs about the “pubic” option or embracing the deliciousness that is “tea bagging.” I thought the Dems were the libertines but these GOPers are giving me second thoughts, LOL.

    Man, it did not take long for President Obama to display feet of clay. Walking away from the public option strikes me as walking away from the key element of the reform movement, namely, to assure that everyone would have access to some kind of coverage. Substituting cooperatives does not seem like a great idea.

    I have to keep reminding myself that the Democrats won big last fall. They sure don’t act like it. All these years later, the words of Will Rogers are still as salient as when first spoken.

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  76. mark said on August 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm


    Did you see that the LA Times, of all papers, editorialized against extending Obamacare to illegal aliens?

    Jeff borden-

    Yes, Democrats won a big victory last fall. But if much of that victory was fueled by ginning up hatred and contempt for the other side, victory doesn’t necessarily translate to similar support for policy. Just one of the downsides to the “let’s make it personal” approach to politics.

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  77. Julie Robinson said on August 17, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Forgiven of course, Brian. Stereotypes can be so inaccurate. I hold many myself so I too have to ask forgiveness often.

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  78. brian stouder said on August 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    But if much of that vic­tory was fueled by gin­ning up hatred and con­tempt for the other side

    Somewhere in that shit sandwich of a thought, there IS a kernal of truth. But first, we have to remind Mark that Obama’s victory very specifically did NOT turn on “ginning up hatred” – whereas if Senator McCain and the governor had won – they very specifically WOULD have won in just those terms.

    So, looking at the proposition sideways, one might conclude that the hate-fueled GOP national campaign of 2008 has given us what we have right now: a hateful opposition party that has no clue what to DO – and is dead-set AGAINST ANYTHING that President Obama tries to do. It’s their right to be this way if they wish, although longer term, that sounds like a ticket to irrelevancy.

    I suppose the larger point is that it WOULD be nice if our political discourse was more civil….but it ain’t, and really – other than an anomalous period of time during and after the Second World War, it never really has been.

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  79. Danny said on August 17, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Danny-ego has a nice ring. So does Fort Stouder.

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  80. coozledad said on August 17, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Mark: Let’s not go to the “ginning up hatred” thing. Especially when it’s been at the core of all Republican electoral strategy since the days of Nixon. If you want me to quote your boy Lee Atwater, I will, gladly. I don’t know what the operatives were telling your side during the election, but they sure were pissy, and hate-filled.

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  81. Jeff Borden said on August 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm


    I think the bigger story is that the people who were so juiced up by the election of Obama have receded into the woodwork, allowing the much smaller but much noisier rightwing element to elbow its way onto the stage. The White House should have been much more aware of how its enemies would work to demonize this issue.

    Then again, who could predict that a respected senator like Chuck Grassley or an alleged conservative intellect like Newt Gingrich would aid and abet the ridiculous “pull the plug on granny line?” I expect that kind of rhetoric for a professional know-nothing like Sarah Palin, but figured these more accomplished figures would take a higher road. How foolish of me.

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  82. mark said on August 17, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Yes, brian, the GOP is awful. Obama and all dems won on the strength of their policy ideas only. And the failure of the most articulate president of the last 50 years to pass one of his most enormously popular ideas through a democratically dominated house of representatives is due only to a temporary blip in the space-time continuum.

    Meanwhile, what are Palin, Limbaugh and Beck up to?

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  83. mark said on August 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Your input is usually limited to talking about people, which is your right. I prefer to talk bout ideas. I won’t be offended if you choose to ignore my posts.

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  84. Danny said on August 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Jeff B. et al, regardless of what poeple are saying loudly and stupidly at town halls across the country, if health care reform fails I’d be hard pressed to see it as anything other than the fault of congressional Democrats. They control both houses very decidedly.

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  85. coozledad said on August 17, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    A couple of “ideas” from Lee Atwater, Republican strategist, from a 1980 interview.
    ”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

    ”And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.”’

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  86. Danny said on August 17, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I’m not sure about the context there, Cooz. Atwater seems to be talking to a political scientist about campaign strategy and not taking a stand on race himself. Then you have this:

    Atwater was also a musician. He briefly played backup guitar for Percy Sledge during the 1960s and frequently played with bluesmen such as B.B. King. Atwater recorded an album with King and others on Curb Records in 1990 entitled Red Hot & Blue.[11] He once sat in with Paul Shaffer and his band on Late Night with David Letterman.

    As a teenager in Columbia, South Carolina, Atwater played guitar in a rock band, The Upsetters Revue. His special love was R&B music. Even at the height of his political power he would often play concerts in clubs and church basements, solo or with B.B. King, in the Washington, D.C. area. He released an album called Red, Hot And Blue on Curb Records, featuring Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes, Sam Moore, Chuck Jackson, and B.B. King, who got co-billing with Atwater.[11] Robert Hilburn wrote about the album in the April 5, 1990 issue of the Los Angeles Times: “The most entertaining thing about this ensemble salute to spicy Memphis-style ’50s and ’60s R&B is the way it lets you surprise your friends. Play a selection such as ‘Knock on Wood’ or ‘Bad Boy’ for someone without identifying the singer, then watch their eyes bulge when you reveal that it’s the controversial national chairman of the Republican Party…Lee Atwater.”

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  87. brian stouder said on August 17, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    And the fail­ure of the most artic­u­late pres­i­dent of the last 50 years to pass one of his most enor­mously pop­u­lar ideas through a demo­c­ra­t­i­cally dom­i­nated house of rep­re­sen­ta­tives is due only to a tem­po­rary blip in the space-time continuum.(emphasis added)

    Well, it ain’t over ’til its over…and it ain’t over yet, Mark.

    Try again

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  88. coozledad said on August 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    It’s difficult to explain the cultural differences between Southern racism and the racism that exists in areas where de facto segregation was normative. People in the South often had very close associations with their black neighbors, but the tell is when, in a moment of crisis, there is some perception of an imbalance in the old order, the old caste system is instantly resurrected. In the wake of the Watts riots and once again following the King assassination, armed white men walked the streets of my neighborhood carrying guns. This impulse to fear and violence is the rule everywhere but a few urban areas. Eventually, even the Republicans are going to have to grow up and quit fomenting division down here. If you set neighbors against each other, you’re abetting the creation of an entropic society. This was the road Milosevic took to power.

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  89. John said on August 17, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    I won’t be offended if you choose to ignore my posts.

    I wouldn’t be offended if everyone chose this course.

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  90. brian stouder said on August 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    On a planet with 5 billion + people – several hundred million of whom with access or within reach of the internet, any post here might get the attention of – what? – 20 folks who might respond?

    So rejoice – you’re already ignored!

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  91. MarkH said on August 17, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Would that it was so easy for some of you to ignore a political pisqueak like Sarah Palin as easily as you would ignore mark. Which none of you will.

    Sorry it was such a shit sandwich for you, Brian, but my doppelganger does have a larger point. If you think hatred of GWB didn’t play a prominent role in Obama’s victory, don’t tell that to blue dog democrats, many of whom know full well why they’re in office in republican strongholds. I don’t think there was any way around an Obama victory, even if McCain did make the right VP choice; it was just iced by Ms. Palin. I’m surprised the victory margin wasn’t higher becasue of her.

    Interesting stuff on Atwater, Danny. I knew he was a musician with southern r&b roots, but most of that was new info.

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  92. brian stouder said on August 17, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    If you think hatred of GWB didn’t play a promi­nent role in Obama’s vic­tory, don’t tell that to blue dog democ­rats

    Mark – I have no disagreement with your remark.

    But I DO definitely reject the dop­pel­ganger’s dung-heap leap to But if much of that vic­tory was fueled by gin­ning up hatred and con­tempt for the other side

    On the contrary – Obama gets lots of derision from the LEFT, for always trying to play nice!

    No sale on that ‘organic plant food’

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  93. LAMary said on August 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    See below:

    “Lee Atwater who was also Karl Rove’s mentor was once called the “most evil man in America,” because he often aimed to completely destroy his opponent’s character.Lee Atwater’s Deathbed Confession before dying of tumors is as followed:

    “I was wrong to follow the meanness of Conservatism. I should have been trying to help people instead of take advantage of them. I don’t hate anyone anymore. For the first time in my life I don’t hate somebody. I have nothing but good feelings toward people. I’ve found Jesus Christ – It’s that simple. He’s made a difference.”

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