A fresh thread.

We have no cell service, and no USB cord for picture-showin’, but we do have internet. This is just a fresh thread to make room for the ripostes to Jeff, who moments ago dropped this dead mouse on the table:

I continue to be fascinated by how easily folks accept calling Palin stupid and crazy. Couldn’t be sexism, since it’s liberal folk calling her those two traditional marginalizing labels for women who won’t behave properly, so it just must be true. Fascinating.

Jeff? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes stupid and crazy? Is just that.

Raining, but the skies are clearing. Might not be a beach day, but it could be a Saugatuck day.

Posted at 9:29 am in Current events |

108 responses to “A fresh thread.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 20, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Have some fudge for me, and drink an espresso toast to the late, lamented Lloyd J. Harris plant, where condos now graze and pies are no longer made. Nothing like cranking the chain ferry across to Mount Baldhead when the breeze came out of the south when the line was making cherry pie.

    I already said “it must be true,” right?


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  2. Snarkworth said on August 20, 2009 at 9:34 am

    I jumped the gun below. Here it is again, since you asked…

    I rarely post here, but occa­sion­ally, some­thing makes me de-lurk. Jeff, you dis­ap­point me — you who usu­ally are an elo­quent voice for rea­son and thought­ful­ness. Your “Palin-critics-are sex­ists” argu­ment doesn’t wash. Lots of men get called stu­pid (or more accu­rately, in Palin’s case, igno­rant). And LOTS of men get called crazy. Just because the per­son act­ing igno­rant and crazy is a woman, doesn’t make her crit­ics sexist.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 20, 2009 at 9:38 am

    To which i said:


    I dis­ap­point many. It’s my curse.

    . . . to which the reply sayeth;

    Snarkworth said on August 20th, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Well, don’t let it hap­pen again!

    I like this place because of the feet-on-the-ground Mid­west­ern­ness of you all, plus the fact that there’s actual dia­log between peo­ple who dis­agree pas­sion­ately. It’s edu­ca­tional, and not at all easy to find these days.

    * * *

    There, now we’re all caught up. I have to go strap a gun on my hip and head for a town hall with our Blue Dog Dem rep, Zack Space, and have a dialogue about health care and birth certificates.

    Hoping to come back to an extended discussion of the joys of Saugatuck in the rain!

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 20, 2009 at 9:39 am

    P.S. Does anyone have a gun i can borrow? Drat.

    Anyhow, everybody wave at Nancy — Hi, Nancy!


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  5. brian stouder said on August 20, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Well, here’s a classic “developing story” (so to speak) which could quickly derail even a well-intentioned commentator


    an excerpt:

    BERLIN – A day after winning her first 800-meter world title amid a gender-test controversy, the father of South African teenager Caster Semenya dismissed speculation his daughter is not a woman.
    The 18-year-old runner’s father, Jacob, told the Sowetan newspaper: “She is my little girl. … I raised her and I have never doubted her gender. She is a woman and I can repeat that a million times.”
    Semenya dominated her rivals to win the 800 on Wednesday despite revelations that surfaced earlier in the day that she was undergoing a gender test. Her dramatic improvement in the 800 and 1,5000, muscular build and deep voice sparked speculation about her gender.


    In 2006, the Asian Games 800 champion, Santhi Soundarajan of India, was stripped of her medal after failing a gender test. Perhaps the most famous case is that of Stella Walsh, also known as Stanislawa Walasiewicz, a Polish athlete who won gold in the 100 at the 1932 Olympics, who had ambiguous genitalia.

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  6. Connie said on August 20, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Saugatuck? I thought you were in Wisconsin! The pie thing in Saugatuck these days is Crane’s Pie pantry, which is actually baking down the road in Fennville.

    We had a day in Saugatuck two Sundays ago to see my brother in the Mason Street Theater’s production of Pump Boys and Dinettes. Lead female was Carrie Tillis, daughter of Mel, and she told me after the show she wasn’t sure she could leave the Crane’s Pantry pies behind.

    Have a burger at the Butler for me. And if you are seeking opportunites to shop in the rain I would highly recommend downtown Holland, a few miles north, and its many gift shops, galleries and restaurants. I recommend the soup bar at the 8th st Grill. And don’t miss the Peanut Store on E 8th , the unchanged candy store of my childhood.

    It did take us 3 and ahalf hours to get home instead of one hour/45 due mostly to free way construction on 31/196 just south of Saugatuck, followed by a monstrous storm.

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  7. nancy said on August 20, 2009 at 10:55 am

    We’re in South Haven, actually. Its rainy-day charms are fairly thin, so we thought a run up to fabulous gay Saugatuck might be in order. However, now the storm is passing, and it’s looking like another beach day. Suckas.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on August 20, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Ambigous genitalia, now there’s a name for a rock band.

    “The test, which takes weeks to complete, requires a physical medical evaluation, and includes reports from a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, an internal medicine specialist and an expert on gender.” Sounds humiliating.

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  9. LAMary said on August 20, 2009 at 11:01 am

    “I like this place because of the feet-on-the-ground Mid­west­ern­ness of you all…,”

    Now you’ve pisssed me off twice in one morning, Jeff. First the Sarah Palin comment. Then saying that I am either a Midwesterner (feh) or that only Midwesterners have their feet on the ground. A friend of mine from art school days created hieroglyphs for all his friends, and mine showed a tall person with a large head and in my friend’s words, “feet very firmly on the ground.” I’m planted, Bucko, and I’m from New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Denver (the West) and LA. Zip Midwestern.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 20, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Well, Douglas is fabulously gay; Saugatuck tries to keep a harbor open to all boats, however they float.

    It’s a fabulous area however you approach it. Check the webcam linked above for current weather!

    LAMary, check the sequence (i just pasted in the last of yesterday’s thread) — i didn’t accuse you of Midwesternism, truly.

    I see the webcam isn’t refreshing; looks like you’ve been hammered on NOAA/CONUS radar, but it’s clearing out for your stretch of coast —

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  11. ROgirl said on August 20, 2009 at 11:06 am

    I once had the privilege of staying for a weekend in an adorable little one room cottage on Mary St. in Saugatuck.

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  12. Connie said on August 20, 2009 at 11:07 am

    South Haven, be warned,all that construction is on 31 between you and Saugatuck. And don’t miss Clementine’s in downtown South Haven for a fine restaurant experience. It is a regular winter stop for Sunday lunch as the members of my family here in Michiana (one brother, me and assorted family members) get together with those members who are still in Holland (one brother, one dad.)

    M-140 from South Haven (exit 18) is a great scenic drive through orchard and vineyard country. I took that route earlier this week on my round trip to visitation at a Holland funeral home. (where I learned that the girl cousins with whom I shared watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show at the home of the deceased had no memory of the event.)

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  13. Connie said on August 20, 2009 at 11:10 am

    I just realized that my last 3 posts contain restaurant recommendations.

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 20, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Thread-hogging while on hold again — but if you wondered what you saw if you looked *down* where Kate was standing, that viewpoint (somewhat) actually just popped up in another of my usual web reads today:

    Scroll down a bit, and the pic is looking down at two charming small ones and the feet of the photographer . . . and 100 stories [shudder].

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  15. del said on August 20, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Back to Sarah, then. You know my theory Jeff. There is such thing as love at first sight and Cupid has stilled your heart as to that mavericky Wasilla woman who’s a good shot with a rifle. I don’t think that it’s just her bone structure either, it’s gotta be something deeper. Maybe you’re enchanted by her “virtue?” As it says in the Old Testament, “Beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

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  16. Sue said on August 20, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Connie, from yesterday’s thread, yes we did check out the bridge construction and got over to Big Glen because they left it open. Our outdoor activities included a bonfire at Glen Haven on August 12 to watch the shooting stars (Hi Mr. Park Ranger! No alcohol here!), time on the boat serving as watchers for my water-skiing brother-in-law, and time on the boat playing with three small, life-vest wearing dogs (forgot the tennis balls so I sacrificed my hat for a fetch toy). I am not an active person nor a water person so reading at the beach was my favorite outdoor activity. The three cool wet days we had were spent shopping and wine-touring. I already have a Lake Michigan Unsalted shirt but wanted an M22 long-sleeved T this year, no luck on that. My husband found his yearly pirate Tshirt (“The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves”) but I couldn’t find anything even at Michigan Rag Company. The Farmer’s Market at Glen Arbor on Tuesday was wonderfully small and hippie-intensive. Just in general a lovely relaxing time.

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  17. Snarkworth said on August 20, 2009 at 11:25 am

    LA Mary, I take full blame for the Midwestern meme. Jeff is innocent. And I mean it as the highest praise. A hearty appreciation of pie and the internal combustion engine can only be good.

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  18. Sue said on August 20, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Not to mention all that common sense. We like to hear about how much common sense we have. And being salt of the earth, too. Except for those people who live in or near Chicago. Who do they think they are?

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  19. coozledad said on August 20, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Tom Ridge says the Bush Administration wanted to use the terror alert system for political purposes. Blackwater was commissioned by the CIA to create assassination squads to go after Al Quaeda leaders. We can safely assume these guys wouldn’t at any point feel emboldened to target domestic political enemies, especially since Eric Prince is such a standup Christian soldier.
    Lots of good stuff out today.
    Oh, and the panty-sniffers at Fox get their asses handed to them. Again:

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  20. 4dbirds said on August 20, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I understand how knowing the true sex of a person is important for fairness in sporting events. Surely there is a matrix that is used to medically determine a person’s sex. The shape of genitalia, certain chromosomes, hormone levels, internal organs etc. 1 from column A, plus 2 from column B, plus 3 from Column C.

    Heck they did this with my daughter’s leukemia diagnosis. For example:

    All 3 of the following:

    No Philadelphia chromosome or BCR/ABL fusion gene.
    Peripheral blood monocytosis >1 x 109/L.
    Less than 20% blasts (including promonocytes) in the blood and bone marrow (blast count is less than 2% on average)

    2 or more of the following criteria:

    Hemoglobin F increased for age.
    Immature granulocytes and nucleated red cells in the peripheral blood.
    White blood cell count>1 x 109/L.
    Clonal chromosomal abnormality (e.g., monosomy 7).
    Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) hypersensitivity of myeloid progenitors in vitro.

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  21. 4dbirds said on August 20, 2009 at 11:40 am

    My mom is from Marceline, Missouri and my dad from Brookfield, Missouri. I was born in Fairfax, Virginia. Does this make me a native born Midwesterner?

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  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 20, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Marceline, MO? The very birthplace of Main Street, USA? You don’t say! (Bows deeply, twice.)

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  23. brian stouder said on August 20, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Speaking of sex determination: Cooz – I clicked the link you posted, and immediately got sidetracked by the (unambiguous) Dr McSteamy threesome sex tape! Had to skip the nsfw stuff, but I forwarded the link to Pam, who admires that guy

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  24. 4dbirds said on August 20, 2009 at 11:53 am


    They are very proud of that Main Street, USA distinction. I never lived there except for a year when my dad was in Korea. Ten years ago, my mother brought back her childhood home and now lives in Marceline fulltime.

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  25. Rana said on August 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I under­stand how know­ing the true sex of a per­son is impor­tant for fair­ness in sport­ing events.

    Actually, I don’t understand it at all, personally. There’s a pretty wide range of abilities within sexes, just as there are across sexes, and a lot of those abilities have more to do with body type and sport than they do with one’s chromosomes or one’s genitals. Think of one of those long-distance runners trying to compete in the weight-lifting division, or one of the weight-lifters going head-to-head with Michael Phelps, or Phelps himself trying to run a marathon. There are women who can run rings around men, and men who can outswim women. Sorting people by their biological sex markers is a weak shorthand attempt to acknowledge these differences in human bodies, and is based on cultural notions about male strength and female weakness, not on the actual abilities of specific individual athletes.

    Put another way, is Michael Phelps an amazing swimmer because he has unambiguous male biological markers, or is he an amazing swimmer because he is Michael Phelps? Is Caster Semenya as good an athlete as she is because she’s a man in disguise, or because she’s Caster Semenya?

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  26. ROgirl said on August 20, 2009 at 11:57 am

    That athlete’s family (and others) might be interested in reading “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides, who happens to be a Midwesterner.

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  27. Connie said on August 20, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Sue, we have lots of M22 stuff, including Facebook Flares. I have an M22 sticker on my van, and earlier this week I was surprised to see one on the car in front of me on Main St., Elkhart. The m22 stuff is available online, http://m22online.com/.

    In a complete departure you may enjoy this: The NYTimes share patron complaint forms and responses for challenged books at the Brooklyn Public Library

    These days the complaints are all about sex and gender in books for young adults.

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  28. LAMary said on August 20, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    4DB, I need to see a birth certificate to make a decision on that.

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  29. Sue said on August 20, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Rana: oh, yeah, I remember Michael Jordan in a White Sox uniform. He was still good enough to make the minors, as I recall.

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  30. Catherine said on August 20, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Exactly what Rana and ROGirl said re the gender investigations.

    And, to walk a rather thin line, just because some of the criticism of Sarah Palin is sexist, it doesn’t follow that she’s not crazy.

    Can’t wait to read the library complaint forms. I pretty much just take the ALA Banned Books list and hand it to my kids with a, “Here’s a bunch of really good books.” Banned Books Week is 9/23 – 10/6 this year and we will celebrate with an orgy of book buying at our local independent bookseller, followed by a visit to our local branch library with several bags for the book sale.

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  31. coozledad said on August 20, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Brian: I guess I have to confess to a grudging admiration for any man past the age of nineteen who can hold up his end of that bargain. The closest I ever got to a three way was in college, when the admissions exceeded dorm space, and they put three to a room. One of the standard single beds was replaced with a bunk, and I took the top, because I was a pack a day smoker at that point, and rarely slept anyway. My roomates picked up some unfortunate girl at one of the wet T-shirt competitions downtown, and brought her to the room while I was trying to get some rest before an early morning exam. They proceeded to exchange fluids on the bottom bunk, in apparent effort to break the spot-welds on the bed. I had to grab my Bury and Meiggs history of ancient Greece and head downtown myself, to drink coffee and smoke myself awake. I hated college.

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  32. Dexter said on August 20, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Since we’re in a Chicago mood…

    My wife’s ex’s family owned a marina (later a dockominium) right beside where the Holiday Inn is (maybe was?) in Grand Haven. We’d take the kids to see these fine people a couple times a summer and take day trips to Saugatuck and Douglas and up to Hart and the sand dunes sometimes. Now everybody’s long gone, of course.

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  33. brian stouder said on August 20, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    y’know Cooz, the closest I ever came to a menage a trois, I was 19 – and so – by your (quite reasonable!) standard – it was not really remarkable.

    Thinking back, that story would sound like something a 19 year old would invent, and indeed, I coulda’ been all wrong about the vibe – but even now, I think I almost stumbled upon plutonium (as Seinfeld would say), and would have had to start wearing silk smoking jackets

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  34. Connie said on August 20, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    So, Catherine, do you have to reread Tango every year? It has been at the top of the list for the last several years.

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  35. Rana said on August 20, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Re: Sarah Palin, there are also ways of pointing out craziness or stupidity in ways that don’t implicate other women (sexism). Saying that she’s stupid or crazy because she believes in “death panels” is not the same thing as calling her “Caribou Barbie” and saying, “What do you expect? She’s just a dumb bitch after all” or “Well, obviously she’s just coasting on her beauty – we know that Republican men all think with their dicks.” The first focuses on something specific she did, while the others tap into sexist ideas about women’s supposed inherent lack of intelligence, or that women are valued more for their looks than their brains, and so on.

    I find her political positions both incoherent and disturbing, I have trouble reading her writing because of all the grammatical mistakes and awkward phrasings, and I think that if she were to be given power she would be dangerous. And none of that has anything to do with her being female.

    (Here’s a quick check – try reversing the gender in all of the above comments. If it sounds awkward or silly or nonsensical, odds are it’s probably sexist.)

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  36. Sue said on August 20, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Connie, what’s a Facebook Flare? (I hope I’m not embarrassing myself.)

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  37. John said on August 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm


    As in “The minimum is 14 pieces of flair.”

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  38. Sue said on August 20, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    I thought it was fifteen pieces of flair, but I wouldn’t know, since I never wear less than 37, myself.

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  39. John said on August 20, 2009 at 1:05 pm


    You are probably right. But here’s your flair right here!!!!

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  40. Sue said on August 20, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Meet me at Chotchkie’s for lunch, John?

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  41. mark said on August 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm


    I think the encounter you sort of almost experienced would have been her three-way, not yours. Depending on your preferences, of course.


    Kudos to you on your Palin comments. Beg to differ on the gender in athletics. A little early to double the teams and do away with Title IX, unless you want to put the ladies back in the stands.


    I don’t think the Palin stuff is sexist, just ridicule to scare off the curious. Not much different than the cool kids in high school abusing the nerds, so everybody in between gets the message on who (whom?) to admire. Dare to take that approach, or think that way, or set those goals, and we will ridicule the crap out of you using whatever we think will hurt most.

    Hillary Clinton got lots of it from conservatives- her looks, her weight, her laugh, her failure because Bill’s a hound-dog. She could handle it, but it sends a message to the onlookers. In the eighties, there was a pretty good conservative effort to define “femminism” as Bella Abzug writ large- ugly and obese, or filled with lesbians. Just an effort to scare away all the pretty women and even those who worried that they might be thought ugly.

    If there is a sexist component, I think it is more a matter of relying on stereotypes to decide where to twist the knife. But the point is twisting the knife so others can fear what might happen to them if they don’t get in line. It worked pretty well in high school. I’ve had a few large women friends describe the hell of school and the relief of moving on to adulthood, where people are generally polite enough not to say every nasty thing that might cross their mind. I wonder how many overweight women might have been discouraged from speaking their mind in disagreement, or seeking office, because they didn’t care to get the Hillary pants-suit or thick ankles treatment.

    So today if you don’t like _______ proposal, then you drank the Beck kool-aid or your evil like Karl Rove or dumb like George Bush or bought and paid for by Dick Armey. If you want to avoid the disparaging labels (and one of them just might play to some personal insecurity), be wise enough to keep your mouth shut.

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  42. Rana said on August 20, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    A lit­tle early to dou­ble the teams and do away with Title IX, unless you want to put the ladies back in the stands.

    mark, that’s definitely a comment to make one stop and think. I guess, upon mulling it over, that my response is that I don’t see letting women participate in men’s sports (or vice versa, however one wants to define “men” and “women”) invalidates the the premise of Title IX. Physically, there are a lot of flaws in restricting athletes according to their genitals (or their chromosomes, or their levels of hormones, whatever), but that’s different from acknowledging the significant cultural differences between how male athletes and female athletes are treated.

    Put another way, Title IX is important not because female athletes have different bodies than male athletes, but because female persons are treated differently than male persons. It’s less about whether women can compete side-by-side with men, and more about whether they are permitted or encouraged to compete at all.

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  43. Catherine said on August 20, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Connie, I love “And Tango Makes Three,” and I’m thinking of picking up “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” even though the household is mostly past picture books. Is it good?

    I’m also a huge Rudolfo Anaya fan — I even have an autographed copy of The Farolitos of Christmas.

    Mark, “dou­ble the teams and do away with Title IX” is a big logical leap from what Rana said. There are plenty of baby steps, once you acknowledge the social construction of gender. ROGirl suggested one — read Middlesex.

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  44. moe99 said on August 20, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Palin quit the job she was elected to do with almost two years left in her term. She is a QUITTER, regardless of anything else. Anyone who supports or defends her is an idiot. Period.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 20, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    I’m an idiot, stipulated.

    But i thought we’d established that.

    And stop calling me Shirley.

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  46. brian stouder said on August 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    once you acknowl­edge the social con­struc­tion of gen­der

    There is indeed a “social construction” that can be (and should be) acknowledged and dealt with rationally (as opposed to inertially). The US military, for example, is moving beyond social constructions, and utilizing women for pretty much all the jobs they do (although women were still excluded from submarine service, last I knew).

    But you can throw the baby out with the bathwater (so to speak) all too quickly, if the argument ignores (blindly) he “physical construction of gender”

    Generally, men have more strength and speed; if the question is always (and only) “who is fastest? Who can kick/hit/throw/run the ball the best?” – it’s almost always going to be a man.

    And – considering scholarships and so on, it would be unfair (in my opinion) to essentially freeze women out of athletic scholarships, just for starters, in some brave new “gender-less” society

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  47. 4dbirds said on August 20, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I’m with Brian on this. Of course there are sports where men and women can compete equally but if you’re talking about strength and speed where each elite contender is in their specific event, a man is going to win. The very best Michaela Phelps is never going to beat the very best Michael Phelps in swimming although Serena might kick his butt in tennis. That’s where unfairness comes into play with track and field events. If Caster is actually a man with the larger heart, lungs and muscles that go with it, then the women (s)he’s competing against don’t have a chance.

    I’m happy to see that necessity is finally opening up opportunities for women in the military. I was in the army and constantly told that certain jobs, assignments and schools were closed to me because of the shape of my genitals. I wanted to scream because we were shut out for arbritary reasons. Don’t tell me I can’t go without sleep, or make critical decisions under stress because I don’t have a penis. I might agree with you that I can’t be part of the M60 machine gun team because that sucker is too heavy but they don’t put smaller guys on that team either.

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  48. Rana said on August 20, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    but they don’t put smaller guys on that team either.

    See, this is where the point you’re making falls apart somewhat. What if, instead of having men competing separately from women, you have people of a certain speed or weight or strength class competing with others also in their class. I mean, hell, they do that in boxing, where, yeah, they’re nearly all men, but you don’t put a heavyweight fighter into the same ring as a featherweight.

    Then you don’t have to worry about it’s fair that a “man” is competing in a woman’s event; you simply put that particular athlete into the “heavy-weight” category and let him or her compete with other heavy-weights.

    Basically, a lot of the reason why we sex-segregate athletes is because it seems easier to do than to ability segregate them, or to separate them on the basis of aerobic capacity, speed, and strength – and because the common assumption is that because most men are relatively [insert positive trait here] than most women, that all men are always better athletes than all women. Not only does this not hold up biologically across the board (women are often better at endurance sports, and they tend to outnumber the high-ranking sharpshooters, and they compete on an equal footing in equestrian sports) it confuses our common “wisdom” about men and women with what specific individual athletes can or cannot do.

    Notice, for example, that the reaction to Caster Semenya’s abilities isn’t “Oh, I guess women can be a lot more powerful than we’d assumed” but rather “I wonder if she’s a man (because no woman could possibly be that strong).”

    That’s not about her abilities as a woman – it’s about our assumptions about women in general.

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  49. brian stouder said on August 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    There is some genuinely black humor in the photo of the Libyan mass murderer (which is presumeably intended, by the news outlets who published it) – the only person convicted in the destruction of a PanAm 747 over Scotland, set free and boarding a plane via a staircase with a banner ad on the side that beseeches one to”RELAX BEFORE YOU FLY” next time….if there IS a next time.

    (You may or may not see the picture here:)


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  50. Danny said on August 20, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    My wife can smoke me in ping-pong. I remember when we first played at a friend’s party. She thought I was just goofing around.

    “No, Dear, I really suck at this.”

    Now, I’m guessing that there are no female riders in the Tour de France for a competitive reason. I imagine that there is a biological hurdle that has something to do with being able to endure sitting on a bicycle seat for 3 weeks straight. Just a guess.

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  51. Sue said on August 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Maybe there are no female riders in the TdF because we have our own endurance equivalent? I wonder if, when you get a bunch of TdF riders in a room together, they all start swapping “enduring sitting on a bicycle seat for three weeks straight” stories, a la the “my labor was awfuler than your labor” stories you get at any baby shower. And the younger TdF riders all go home scared.

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  52. LAMary said on August 20, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Danny I have female friends who do the San Francisco to LA AIDS ride every year. It’s not three weeks, but it’s pretty daunting.

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  53. Danny said on August 20, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Yeah, and I know that there are female cyclists who are quite good, I just don’t know if there is a female event that compares to the TdF.

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  54. Jolene said on August 20, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Catherine: Band Slam, the movie you mentioned in the previous thread, is not bad. I saw it as part of a family outing w/ two tween nieces and three other adults, and everybody had a pretty good time.

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  55. del said on August 20, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Maybe John McCain’s Tweet from Khaddafi’s ranch had something to do with the release of the Pan Am bomber…

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  56. alex said on August 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Notice, for exam ple, that the reac tion to Caster Semenya’s abil i ties isn’t “Oh, I guess women can be a lot more pow er ful than we’d assumed” but rather “I won­der if she’s a man (because no woman could pos si bly be that strong).”

    Same mentality at work in the case of Sojourner Truth. Her famous “Ain’t I a woman” speech was in response to being publicly stripped naked by a kangaroo court of angry white men. They accused her of being a man because 1) it was illegal for a woman to address a crowd as a speaker and 2) they refused to believe that a woman could carry herself as boldly and confidently as Sojourner Truth. So once her breasts were exposed for all to see, she told the crowd about all the white southern aristocratic babies she’d fed with them.

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  57. Danny said on August 20, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    We’re in South Haven, actu­ally. Its rainy-day charms are fairly thin, so we thought a run up to fab­u­lous gay Saugatuck might be in order. How­ever, now the storm is pass­ing, and it’s look­ing like another beach day. Suckas.

    It’s beach day pretty much any day here. Now who’s the sucka, sucka?

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  58. LAMary said on August 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Danny, ya know, when it’s always beach day it just isn’t the same. Just like fireworks. I’ve never before lived in a place were you can see fireworks pretty much every night. Whether it’s at Dodger Stadium across the freeway from me or at Disneyland, there are always fireworks. That sort of diminishes the specialness of fireworks for me.
    Now if you’re talking out of control wildfires, we’ve got Nancy’s part of the world beat most of the time. They’re always special in their own terrifying way.

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  59. Catherine said on August 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Jolene, thanks for the words of encouragement. Maybe the weekend is salvageable!

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  60. Danny said on August 21, 2009 at 1:55 am

    Mary, I’m actually a melancholy personality type by nature. All of this sunshine kind of gets to me at times. I enjoy overcast and rain.

    Oh, well. We all have our crosses to bear {snicker}

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  61. Dexter said on August 21, 2009 at 2:00 am

    LAMary: I had an army buddy , last name Alonzo, who lived close enough to Dodger Stadium to see the lights from his house . He lived either near or in Elysian Park. I am a baseball nut and I thought that was cool,
    but of course Alonzo didn’t care a bit about baseball and had never gone to a game. He was a young teen when the stadium was being built around 1960 and he watched it go up. I did see one game there on my whirlwind tour of LA way back then. I just watched (TV) the Cubs get beat up by Manny and company there, also, with catcher Russell Martin hitting a grand slam. Dodger Stadium is 47 years old and still the standard of stadii.

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  62. coozledad said on August 21, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I think Mark H mentioned in a previous thread that some of us let everyone know where their goats are tethered. Not me. I really don’t want the advocates for the insurance industry to jump my fence and commence fucking them. Because that’s consistent with the moral and intellectual tone every damned one of your spokespeople and elected officials have taken. It’s like a PTL Club episode, dumbed down and edited for people incapable of chewing.
    Here’s another one of the leading lights of the deather movement, proving once and for all why bothering to get a PHD in “Constitutional History” is the same as inhaling an entire box of Whip-Its.
    Oh, and thanks Mr. Stewart, for doing what Television Journalists are too gutless to do.

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  63. LAMary said on August 21, 2009 at 11:11 am

    I haven’t been to a Dodger game this summer. I can’t seem to get everyone in the household either enthused or available at the same time. As the crow flies we’re pretty close to the stadium, but there are some serious hills and a freeway between it and my house. I always enjoy the game when I go, but hate getting out of the parking lot at the end. No exaggeration, it’s over an hour to get out of the parking lot. I can even get discount tickets through my employer but the motivation’s been low this year.

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  64. Sue said on August 21, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Alex, I thought that speech was in response to suffragists who were refusing to fight for the right of black women to vote – I just finished a bio of Alva Vanderbilt and it referenced some of the racist history of the US women’s suffrage movement (like compromising with suffrage chapters from the southern states by excluding black women). I thought she gave that speech at a women’s conference and the point was not male/female but kind of like “hey bitches what about the sistahs”. Only more polite.

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  65. brian stouder said on August 21, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Well, Mary, here in the well-grounded midwest – we have shuttle buses for just the sort of thing you describe. It might cost two or three bucks a head, but they are priority-in and priority-out.

    Cooz – I completely agree with your post 62. The only thing I have to add, after seeing your linked video (won’t be able to hear and enjoy it ’til I’m home) is that I have to admit – that insurance shill/mouthpiece at least had the courage to drag her talking points into Jon Stewart’s lair.

    To that extent, she has my respect

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  66. LAMary said on August 21, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Brian, we have shuttle buses too. It’s farther for me to drive to the shuttle bus station than to the parking lot, though. We use the shuttle buses when we go to the Hollywood Bowl or the Greek Theatre or Griffith Observatory.

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  67. Danny said on August 21, 2009 at 11:53 am

    For all you well-grounded mid westerners, just thought I might add that the Griffith Observatory is not where you go to see old Andy Griffith shows.

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  68. LAMary said on August 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    It’s where you go to see James Dean.

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  69. brian stouder said on August 21, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Mary – as a matter of fact, on several occasions over the years I have been driving south on I-69 toward Indianapolis (to see the F1 boys practice and qualify, when they used to come there in the fall) and seen numbers of vintage cars and James Dean wannabes, all beating a track into Fairmount, Indiana… because, of course, JD was one of us, before he became a rebel that had no cause


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  70. Sue said on August 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Illinois lays claim to that other super-cool midwesterner, Ronald Reagan. What, did you think I’d mention Abe?

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  71. Catherine said on August 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    OK, journalists (and everyone else), what do I do about this?

    My local paper, self-professedly “relentlessly local” ran a ridiculously wrong story on the front page a few days ago about the local public school test scores. The headline was something like, “Pasadena schools continue to fall further behind on state standards.” I had just read the district’s press release on the scores, and it definitely spun it the other way. So, I downloaded some data from the state website (easily available) and crunched some numbers to see for myself. The whole thing took me 20 minutes. The article was dead wrong. I was not the only one to notice this — within a few hours, the paper was besieged with emails calling them out. After some stock denials, the managing editor started to actually read the fucking data that parents were sending him, and realized that the reporter screwed up. Today, another front page article appeared, correcting the previous article, with a mea culpa from the editor. Problem solved, right?

    Except that this situation is chronic with this paper’s coverage of this school district. I don’t know whether (as many claim) the paper is just biased against the district, or whether the reporter (OK, all their reporters) is/are absolutely hopeless with actual data. All I want is accurate, in-depth coverage of the schools, both public and private. Is this too much to ask?

    So what do I do? Do I finally just cancel my subscription? Do I keep writing to the editor? Thoughts, anyone???

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  72. LAMary said on August 21, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Isn’t the Pasadena Star News the paper that has outsourced some of its coverage to some reporters in India?

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  73. Catherine said on August 21, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    LAMary, no, it was a weekly here… can’t think of the name. The reporter on this story is physically present and has been covering the district for at least a year.

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  74. alex said on August 21, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Sue, you’re right. Multiple sources say “Ain’t I a woman” was a speech at an 1851 women’s rights conference in Ohio.

    I’m confusing the title of that speech with an incident in Indiana where, as described above, she was accused of impersonating a female.

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  75. paddyo' said on August 21, 2009 at 2:53 pm


    One year on the school beat doesn’t make an expert of a reporter . . . nor does it make him/her good at math or analysis.

    But you’re up against a bunch of factors here, especially the fallout of the downward spiral of newspapers — severe staff cutbacks, reporters having to juggle more duties than just a single beat, etc. Weekly papers generally have much, much smaller staffs than dailies. The exodus from newspapers through layoffs, buyouts, etc., is leaving less “institutional memory” and just plain less experience in the reporting ranks.

    All of which leads me to suggest a very direct and very personal appeal to the newspaper’s editor and/or publisher. NOT a “letter-to-the-editor” (the kind meant for publication) if you’ve already been doing that. A letter, yes — an e-mail, sure. A phone call, why not?

    What good will any of this do? I guess you won’t know until you try. After 33 years in the business (I jumped about 20 months ago), I cringe at what you’re facing there, but it’s probably the only way you’ll get their attention BEFORE you actually cancel your subscription.

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  76. Danny said on August 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    How about a letter bomb? That’ll learn ’em!

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  77. MichaelG said on August 21, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I have the Sacramento Bee delivered on weekends. Last week I got a letter attached to my Sat paper exhorting me to view the Bee’s on line presence and to join their “V.I.P. Club”. The letter was signed by somebody who bills himself as the Bee’s “Senior Vice President, Audience Development & Membership services”.

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  78. brian stouder said on August 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    See?! Years of training at club-NN.c, and now you’re ready to fly right into bigtime, VIP kibitzing!

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  79. coozledad said on August 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    There is, as far as I know, no constitutional guarantee of the right to have children by your own children, and then let them blather in the public sphere about how proposed health care legislation will not let them bear arms when they’re on the road gang for public crosseyed masturbation. I know there are parts of Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alaska, and Michelle Bachmann’s district where keeping it in the family is regarded as a civic virtue, but really, isn’t twelve fingers on each hand going a little overboard? And in the wake of the recession, I hear the demand for white earless pygmy children has all but dried up.
    But these people have a champion. Right here in Chromosome, NC:

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  80. brian stouder said on August 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Cooz – what a link.

    For the record, Paul Helmke – the voice of reason in the piece -is a good, solid midwesterner; he was the mayor of Fort Wayne, approximately 3 lifetimes ago.

    Didja happen to catch Chris Matthews the other night? He had a gun-rights mouthpiece on there, and – in typical Matthews style – he drew out the guy’s argument (that every restriction upon armed citizens is an unreasonable and dangerous infringement on their rights) until the absurdity of it made the whole thing collapse. Matthews asked him whether he was troubled by the spectacle of armed citizens milling around at presidential events – and pressed him as to what the limit should be? Should law-abiding citizens be allowed INTO the venue with their firearms? Did he think it would be a good idea for, say, a thousand armed people to be in a field house with the president? Should armed citizens be allowed to approach the president? How’s about armed citizens on airplanes? The guy had no objection to ANY of those things! Chris thanked him, called him crazy, and then as an afterthought asked him if he was armed right then and there? (I was laughing too hard to hear the answer)

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  81. caliban said on August 21, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Dptty to intrude. Here’s an article that is right down the alley of you journos that love newspapers. I have since I was a kid. It’s not the same as electronic books. The books were always there, the newspaper stories are epheneral but make a slam bang appearance and a lasting impression. Idiots that quote Twitter as gospel rely on newspapers on line. Anybody that denies that the net leeches don’t report but report hard-earned reporting, well those are people that propagate email monstrosities about health care.

    When I went to the Grady School, we had a reading room. At least 100 dailies, including the SacBee, the Mercury, and. of course, you know, the NYT and WaPo and Chicago Tribune.

    But when I was a litttle kid and an Eagle Scout, we had the Birmingham Eccentric. http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/lessons_from_the_birmingham_ec.php.

    What a wonderful name, right? And now that I’m older and watching Papers of Record act like everything is he said and she said, and outright lying and presentation of facts should be treated as equally valid, I’ve got The Island Packet for a daily. Nobody but an idiot is going to actually claim that anybody’s heath care initiative covers abortions (much less encourages them). It’s already prohibited by federal law that federal money can fund abortions.

    Nobody that’s not a racist att heart is going to propagate a lie that health care reform bills propose covering illegal aliens. (Every version of the bill specifically denies care to anybody in the US illegally.)

    Why does anybody believe this fabricated crap? Well they see those freedom fighters with big guns. And news services report this as if there’s a level playing field, instead of dogass lies versus truth. Y’all are fairly astute. Is there a single thing the Republicans have said that approximates the truth?

    Which brings me back to local papers. Isn’t the best strategy for survival telling the truth and pointing out that equating facts versus lies is some cover your ass baloney?

    The despicable assholes that attacked Kerry and date back to Nixon’s insane dislike, that produced the spectacularly and demonstrably scurrilous Swift Boat crap, well they’re knee deep in this campaign, Most decent people feel remorse when they lie. If there are people that will lie when they know they’re lying, and a bunch of the populace that’s so ill-informed and scared they won’t actually avail themselves of easily ascertainable facts, how’s a representative democracy any way to run a government?

    Three things:

    1. There aren’t any death panels. And, Medicare has already dealt with the idea of end of life decisions. So we pay for it. And that encourages ma and pa to off themselves? It’s difficult to think Americans are stupid enough to buy that. My Dad’s 87 and in failing health. He’s a doctor and a lawyer, and he’s served his country in both functions, and served his country as a veteran. Why not ask him instead of some scumbag insurance company shill.

    2. All of this garbage about health care in England and Canada, all anybody needs to know is that the purveyors of this lie brought up Stephen Hawking. If you’re stupid that to tell an outrageous lie about the smartest person in the world, you have got to be dumber than grunt

    3. If Republicans are lying their ases off, they’re trying to obviate repudiation of every thing they stand for. Including the sort of outright racism behind the birth certificate crap.

    If the local papers want to make a point that they’re valid and viable, they need to promote the truth.

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  82. Catherine said on August 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Paddyo’, thank you for the suggestion, I will definitely try contacting the publisher. Danny, a letter bomb not so much, but if I could send a “screamer” a la Harry Potter, I would.

    A friend has a piece in the Huffington Post about the whole kerfluffle, in which he views it as a victory for community organizing. Which maybe it is. Here:

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  83. caliban said on August 21, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    What in the world is a reporter thinking that reports calculated and outright lies as legitimate balance to the very facts that disprove the lies? They did this in 2004. There’s the well-known case of Dan Rather and the W National Guard papers. To this day, everybody’s convinced they’re was fraud. The expert hired by Scaife said he couldn’t be sure. The secretary that would have typed the documents says unequivocally that the facts are incontrovertible.

    We’re supposed to think Dan Rather is a nutcase with an anti-Bush agenda and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck are credible?

    Is there a community paper in the Grosses that has any journalisitc credibility? They probably believe Kommissar Rove had nothing to do with political manipulation of the Justice Department, and the lying sac of shit deserves an apology. Puh-leeze.

    Nobody in the history of American politics has lied on a dime like the current Republicans, and as far as hypocrisy is concerned, In 2004, they hated Kerry more than anybody on the face of the earth. He exposed Reagan as an anti-democratic supporter of death squads and his administration as a bunch of war criminals that thought fucking over the Constitution was a right given them by Grover Norquist.

    Slander Kerry, make up idiot crap out of whole cloth about health care. These are unprincipled people and they think the Constitution couldn’t apply to them because, they’re exceptionable. And thanks to tp newspapers, the NYT and the WP, reasonable Americans are led to believe it’s just fair and balanced, and pointing out that abortion isn’t covered and illegal aliens are specicifaclly excluded is an opinion rather than a fact, aand the opposing
    ‘viewpoint’ is worthy of consideration. Man, that isn’t journalism.

    There are facts and there are lies. If the guys that were on Kerry’s boat say he was a hero, maybe he was. If a jerk that never had anything to recommend him than that Nixon thought he was clean cut and never went on those riverine expeditions denigrates Kerry, what sort of idiot would buy the bow-tie and seersucker suit?.

    Here’s something instructive about the way these people think. Chuck Colson went ballistic on Kerry because he only spent four months in Viet Nam. How many months did Chuck spend?

    Alll I mean is that these bastards lie without compunction. Once again, I ask you, has one Republican said a single thing remotely true about health care? And are Americans this stupid? It’s interesting Obama’s brought up the morality of a system that denies 49mil, most of them kids, any coverage. His opponents claim to be Christians. I am too, but I’m a devout member of the Whore of Babylon. You know, Catholics. We believe health care is a basic human right no matter what the profit margin is. I’d be willing to bet Jesus thought just about the same thing and He wasn’t real concerned about failure to compete on the part of colluding insurance bastards.

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  84. moe99 said on August 21, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    c’ban, frankly, I think Howard Dean was far more demonized than Kerry was and in hindsight, with the Ridge revelations coming out, it seems that Dr. Dean was right and Kerry was a wimp back in 2004 on the raised terror alerts by the Bush administration for reelection purposes.

    What a surprise. Not.

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  85. brian stouder said on August 21, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    moe – I gotta agree with caliban on Kerry getting the worst of it, in ’04.

    Dean simply looked like he wasn’t up to the job; his impressive machine flew right off the tracks in Iowa, and that was it – his campaign never recovered.

    John Kerry, though, had something in 2004 that the Republicans lusted for but did not have – genuine “war hero” status. Since they couldn’t favorably match their nominee’s resume’ with the Democrat, suddenly we had to hear that Kerry really wasn’t that heroic; some of those medals he got were “inflated” and undeserved (and never mind that the GOP nominee stayed entirely out of the hemisphere where the war was, let alone that he never lead soldiers under fire, nor faced up-close and personal horrors of war)….and anyway – Kerry was “anti-Amurikin” with all that “winter soldier” crap, doncha know? Forget Kerry on the small boat engaging in riverine combat in Southeast Asia – lookit these pitchers of ‘m with all that long hair, mispronouncing “Jangus Con” and talkin’ all uppity about American “atrocities” in Veetnam, why doncha!

    By way of saying, I cannot agree that John Kerry was a wimp; but I would agree that he apparently didn’t understand what the GOP was going to do to him. He should have forcefully rejected the horse shit attacks upon his war record, using salty ‘sailor talk’ (if the spirit moved him) – and called out the states-side Air National Guard incumbent to either disavow the slanderous lies Bush’s campaign was deploying, or else have the guts to say them to Kerry’s face, at the debate.

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  86. caliban said on August 22, 2009 at 12:30 am

    I didn’t know y’all when the Gop was lying it’s ass off about John Jerry. Surely this swiftboating on health care must strike you as foul, Do something. Yoy’re American citizens. There are wack-jobs packing AKs at Presidential rallies, This isn’t normal, and it isn’t acceptable. Plaxico Butrress gets two years for shooting himselg at a club but it’s OK to wear a TShirt about murdering the commander in chief and pack an automatic.? You Mark Furman assholes. He’s a black guy that isn’t from Kenya.

    What’s wrong with health care reform is the fact that the President is a black guy. Or how do you explain these idiots that want government hands off their Medicaare?

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  87. caliban said on August 22, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Brian, the GOP was running a bitch that talked one game and bailed.

    Heroism is an interesting thing. Buy all accounts of his shipmates, Kerry was willing to ridk his life for his mates. Couple years ago, I went into a rip and pulled out a floundering swimmer. I figured I could outswim anything the ocean had to offer. I swim in that shit all the time. Kerry got shot rescuing crewmates. Republicans, apparently, say he only sort of got shot, and it wasn’t as dangerous as W defending some Tejas OClub.

    The point about things like this is that all of the Republicans found bizarre ways to avoiid danger. Sometimes, it was six deferments. But they thought the cause was good and friends of mine that died served a noble purpose. If there are voters that buy this horseshit, how is there a reasonable representative democracy? And how does anybody with a brain buy opposition to universal health care from people that claim to care what Jesus might think? And if voters are this dumb, what’s the difference?

    If you can just spend money and lie your ass off and entirely misrepresent legislation, and get wackos to show up at Presidential appearances with AKs that are somehow legal, isn’t the country a piece of shit occupied by idiots?

    Heres the deal. No Republican politician has told the truth about any health care bill. The opposition? There is not a single claim that isn’t an outrageous lie. And there are Grandma’s shaking in their button-ups about losing some of those Medicare benefits provided them by AIG out of the goodness of their corporate hearts.

    And thank God and Humana and the life-saving free surgery from Bill Frist that we’ve still got that genius Steven Hawking, that would have been written off by a death panel if he was a Brit. How can so many people be so stupid?

    I’ve been a lifelong devotee of the exquisite sarcasm of HL Mencken. Somehow, I always hoped it couldn’t be true that Americans were such morons en masse.

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  88. caliban said on August 22, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Do Americans believe you should be taken care of if you’re sick? So Americans purporting loudly to be Christians believe that Jesus woiuld have cited wildly unrelated precexisting conditions to refuse help? Do Americans that get sent to make lud fools of themselves at town hall meetings actually believe their Medicare coverage isn’t managed and funded by th federal government? Dp Americans beliebe the VA is run by Blackwater, or XE or whaever these murderers for hire call themselbes? So what are these idiots talking about?

    And why are cops just fine with redneck bozo Timothy McVeigh wannabes packing automatics within a few hundred yards of a President they don’t think is legitimate despite his stomping his opponent born in the Panama Canal Zone?

    Why is the President pilloried for saying an arrest in a Cambridge home of a Harvard professor when rhe ocp had azscertained the homeowner’s legal status and his identity within six minutes was stupid? Sergeant Crowley’s behavior wasn’t stupid? Calling backup and claiming his momma (?!) was insulted? Tht wasn’t a cop acting stupid?

    It was stupid. That’s a fact. tough job cops have to do? Well, but this was an infirm little guy and you knew for a fact he was in his own house.

    This isn’t really worthy of consideration. I lived in Cambridge for years, abd I’m white, and it’s my opinion based on several encounters that Cambridge cops refularly act like thugs.

    This became an issue because the President that remarked on the unmistakable stupidity of the cop’s behavior is black. So he’s not really a citizen. So he isn’t really legitimateley the President. Because he’s Kenyan.

    Okay. These people are nutcases. Senators and Members of the House promote this idiocy by promulgating claims they cannot be stupid enough to know they aren’s lying, and they are inciting dangerous people.

    So serious wckos bring guns to Health Care Town Halls when they couldn’t care less about, haven’t even memorized the absurd talking pointlies, about Health Care. People like Chuck Grassley can act like they’re civilized, but they go out of their ways to encourage this sort of irresponsible and repressive behavior. They clam to be acting responsibly when wvery single thing they say is a hateful lie couched in inflammatory terms.

    What bothers me more than anything is people holding up bibles. If there is a valid New Testament message, it’s certainly that we are all responsible for “least of our brethren”. What’s the point when some teabagging zombie holds up the Bible? I’m all right Jack? I don’t think it’s in the book.

    So have these people thought anything through? If it’s Jesus, well, His actions and His statements were pretty clear about moral responsibility to take care of everybody. He wouldn’t have been keen on freedom fighters raping Maryknoll nuns, murdering them and burying them in shallow graves. Raygunites though that was just fine while they claimed they were Christian Soldiers.

    So Obama’s got a point about health care and a moral imperative. It’s just not compelling with phony Christians out to hire Blackwater.

    It’s one thing when Republicans flat out lie to scare people. It’s another when they believe they’re ordained and it’s Christian Jihad, and W can be appointed by Scalia, but the actual President must be a muslim sleeper because he was born in Hawaii and he’s not a generic frat boy or an ugly old shriveled white guy.

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  89. coozledad said on August 22, 2009 at 8:02 am

    A guy I talked to who worked at Abu Ghraib said they were pulling this shit. It was systemic under the previous administration. They also faked “defections” among the prison population so the other prisoners would beat the “defector” to a pulp.
    I don’t want to share oxygen with these people, much less have them in the legislature.

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  90. MichaelG said on August 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Brian’s pal once said something about fooling some of the people all of the time . . . He forgot the most important part, though. It’s possible to fool enough of the people enough of the time. The Republicans have exhibited genius beyond measure at this technique. I’ve been baffled for years at their ability to convince so many Americans to act and vote against their own interests.

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  91. crinoidgirl said on August 22, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    God is protecting Florida from hurricanes at the governor’s request:


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  92. crinoidgirl said on August 22, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    President Obama on health care:


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  93. Dexter said on August 23, 2009 at 1:21 am

    spy report…the blog host is home…from Facebook

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  94. coozledad said on August 23, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Preening narcissist and terrorist-bedder McCain says Obama must drop the public option. You’d think that being so fresh off his “Quadafi’s knob don’t taste so bad” tour, some in his party leadership would be begging grampa flippers to stifle it.
    The Republican party:Every day a new low.

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  95. beb said on August 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Obama’s approval rating have fallen over the last month, apparently because he’s losing his BASE over healthcare. They insist on a public option (and pray for single-payer) and the he wobbles on this, the less they like him. Between Obama’s failure to make a speedy withdrawal from Iraq, his increase of troops in Afghanistan, his defense of warrentless wiretaps, of indefinite detention of unaccused people, his failure to discipline Wall Street, his failure to repeal (as pledge) The Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Obama has opens up 2012 for a challenge from the Left.

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  96. Dexter said on August 23, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I now have two grandkids at universities in Bowling Green, Ohio and Las Vegas, Nevada. Tempus…it sure do fugit!

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  97. Danny said on August 23, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    A “challenge from the Left?” Un-huhn. That’d be fun to watch. How about John Edwards? He’d be a good candidate for that.

    The reason that President Obama and the super-majority lefty congress aren’t doing the things that you want them to do are because they’re mostly pretty bad ideas. Particularly as pertains to the war effort. The Wall Street thing would be nice but, it ain’t never gonna happen because that’s who’s paying off all of the politicians. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be repealed, but it’s probably a priority thing.

    Is anyone here “praying” for a single-payer system?

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  98. moe99 said on August 23, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    I belong to one of the two health cooperatives in the country–Group Health cooperative–and have been a member for 25 years. I have received excellent health care overall, as have my children. When my daughter Sarah was 16, the doctors detected and successfully removed a dermatofibrosarcoma about the size of a small apple. It’s highly unusual to occur in someone so young, and, as a result my father, the doubting Thomas pediatrician/anesthesiologist in Lexington, had the pathology independently analyzed and the diagnosis was confirmed.

    I don’t see a problem with single payer. It would beat all to hell the present, bloated system, where a large percentage of our population is not covered whatsoever and we who are covered have increased costs when hospitals must pay for their emergency room visits.

    Here–why don’t you take a look at a summary of the present House bill, written by one of the smartest attorneys I know (he lives in Illinois). Then you tell us what you think:


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  99. 4dbirds said on August 23, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    McCain against a public option? How rich. Born into a Navy family, then a Navy career and then a career in the Senate. He’s been on the public option his whole life.

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  100. derwood said on August 23, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    I would take single payer in a heartbeat.


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  101. coozledad said on August 23, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Another white knuckle ride for St. Christopher:

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  102. Mosef said on August 24, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Hostess, Come home. Your site is soooooo boring without you. (Who know that there could be 101 comments and nothing said?)

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  103. Jolene said on August 24, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Danny: There’s an interesting article comparing the US health care system to systems in other industrial democracies in the Outlook section of yesterday’s WaPo. Very much worth checking out.

    The main reasons Obama’s health proposals are drawing opposition are not because they are bad ideas but because (1) the Republicans would rather defeat Obama than solve problems and (2) many, perhaps most, Americans are ignorant of important facts regarding the cost and quality of healthcare in the US, both as compared to other countries and in terms of what actually goes on here.

    As a committed empiricist, I’m horrified that so many people are speaking so loudly on this topic when they have so little knowledge of the facts.

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  104. mark said on August 24, 2009 at 7:20 am


    As a committed empiricist, has it occurred to you that perhaps most people have had good experiences with the US healthcare system, and are unwilling to change to a system that is sold on promises and projections? Indeed, a an empiricist, what would cause you to conclude that the US government can provide a service more efficiently or at less expense than the private sector? Indian Health Service, VA, Medicaid or Medicare? Empirically, which of these initiatives have proven cost effective?

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  105. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 24, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Actually, whatever plan we end up with, i still favor taxing health care as a benefit, with an appropriate credit to families — yes, yes, the McCain plan — since a big wobbling variable in the national debate is that the vast majority of people don’t have any idea of what their health insurance costs. More today than five years ago, but still, there’s a huge amount of ignorance about what employers have actually been spending. People going from never even thinking about it (i.e., paying nothing for health insurance) to paying a rapidly increasing percentage of the costs, all are asking questions now some of us have been trying to figure out for years, decades even. My ministerial denominational “group plan” for family coverage has gone from under $7,000 in 1985 to about $16,000 today, with about eight other decisions to make (deductibles, etc.) that most of my colleagues never had to even consider until the crack o’ the millenium.

    On the other hand, i think casual statements about “a large percentage of our population is not covered whatsoever” are not helpful in getting to a workable plan. The 47 million figure, including undocumented aliens and those who simply have chosen not to spend their money on insurance, is a problem, but it still doesn’t justify saying we should run roughshod over the current system (or demonize the opposition to the un-defined plan(s) that aren’t even on the table yet).

    When i hear many of my co-workers and associates say “we aren’t getting our money’s worth,” i think that is a debateable assumption. I dislike that when i even raise the question, i’m immediately told that i’m throwing babies to the wolves behind the troika of capitalism, profit, and greed. No, i think we are cost-shifting rather unproductively (my plan costs as much as it does because of Medicare cost shifting, sugar price subsidies, and chronic tv watching just for starters), and i’m up for a debate, but there’s simply not a willingness to debate in this debate.

    If we say we spend 35% of our income on housing (rent/mortgage, utilities, upkeep), and about that on taxes to pay for current government expenditures federal, state, & local, we’re down to about 30% for transportation, food, cable, and our iPhone two year contract, etc., let alone what we see as “new” health care insurance costs. The irrationality, such as it is, in the health care debate is that pretty much no one until a few years ago calculated the total income of their family using the actual expenditure of their employers on health care and pension. Now that those numbers are getting foregrounded and negotiated, we’re still comparing “total package” to these new “expenses,” but we never knew what our total package was before. Apples to apples, y’know.

    If nothing else is accomplished by this August’s furor, it’s that we’ve brought some new transparency to the discussion, but we may need to let the water settle out a bit to see it, given the clouds kicked up from the bottom — by both sides.

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  106. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 24, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Oh, and may i repeat – i very much favor a public option aimed at those who cannot get insurance otherwise. My foregoing paragraphs are aimed at people who want to say “and that includes those who can’t afford it.” That is the category that effectively stretches out to cover all of us. The immediate step, that could find consensus pretty readily, is that there needs to be an insurance plan for those with pre-existing conditions and other factors that make them uninsurable under standard policies: and it seems perfectly reasonable for that to be a state/federal role.

    But just saying “good insurance shouldn’t cost me more than $6,000 $8,000 a year” (heard at a local town meeting this weekend) as a reason for a public option does not get me on board a political consensus. I don’t know what the “right price” is, but handing the entire population over to universal single payer isn’t going to set that right price any better, likely worse. The 38-40% of the population currently on single-payer are pre-qualified, easily definable populations, and their rates are “low” in part due to cost shifting over to those paying full rates with standard insurance, so you can’t just argue it’s a small and reasonable adjustment to move the US from 40% to 100% single payer and see the savings (and ongoing innovation and creativity) rain down on us all.

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  107. del said on August 24, 2009 at 9:31 am

    “but it still doesn’t jus­tify say­ing we should run roughshod over the cur­rent sys­tem (or demo­nize the oppo­si­tion to the un-defined plan(s) that aren’t even on the table yet).”

    That’s the money quote. Nobody should run roughshod over anyone, or demonize anyone, but why the opposition to undefined plans that aren’t even on the table yet? Our health care system is seriously screwed up. The health care bureaucracy is an enomormous drain on our economy.

    I was involved in a physician-partnership dissolution in which a medical billing assistant preferred one doctor’s patient billings over his partners. I spent 5 hours learning the billing procedures and terminology directly from the biller — but then I had to unlearn it as others used different procedures and different terms. A complete nightmare.

    In Michigan, legislation was passed more than 30 years ago letting auto insurers decline to pay medical bills relating to auto accident injuries so that health insurers would pay them. Allowed cheaper auto insurance policies. Health insurers then wrote language in their policies excluding payment of such medical bills. So, when my grandmother broke her wrist in an auto accident both her health and auto insurers refused to pay (until I wrote to the Insurance Commissioner).

    It took the Michigan courts 12 years to finally decide who has to pay such bills, auto insurers or health insurers. 12 years of legal uncertainty. Unbelievable.

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  108. sarah kenny said on August 24, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    WOW! You’ve actu ally met Sarah Palin, Nancy??? WOW!

    “The enemy prop erly goaded and guided in his reac tion will be your major strength” — Saul Alinsky

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