Tents, shacks and salvation.

Jeez, it’s cold. August 28th, it’s just above 60 degrees outside and we’re looking at a day of rain. The acorns are falling on the roof with such violence it sounds like we’re under sniper fire. The squirrels come down and eat them on the deck, leaving the shells to embed themselves in your sandals (which it’s almost too cold to wear) so you track them through the house, and find them later, shrieking, “Is that BUNNY POO?”

But it’s not. In fact, Ruby seems more or less trained to go in her cage, although that hasn’t really been tested. All I know is a) she hasn’t gone outside the cage, and b) when I put her in her cage, she goes. She hasn’t hopped to her cage to eliminate when the urge hits, which is the gold standard for me. This will do for now. Her explorations are a little nerve-wracking, as she doesn’t come when called or make any noise, so tracking her down for caging before an extended absence from the house can be an exercise in frustration — there’s a reason the captain warns Luke of gettin’ the rabbit in him, and I don’t need to explain that reference, do I?

What a great movie.

I’m not complaining about the weather, exactly. I’m just whining a little bit. The weekends of warmth are dwindling, and we haven’t really had too much of it. Still, this beats January with a stick. And the lake’s nice and full again. I’ll take it.

I can’t stop thinking about this poor woman in California, the one abducted at 11 and kept as some creepazoid’s slave for 20 years. The latest is, he’s given at least one interview from jail, and oh I can’t wait for the next six weeks of Nancy Grace now:

Mr. Garrido gave a telephone interview from jail to station KCRA in Sacramento, saying, “In the end, this is going to be a powerful, heartwarming story.”

“My life has been straightened out” in recent years, he said. “Wait till you hear the story of what took place at this house. You’re going to be absolutely impressed. It’s a disgusting thing that took place with me at the beginning, but I turned my life completely around.”

The story goes on to note postings from a blog, in which he writes, “I have produced a set of voices by effectively controlling the sound to pronounce words through my own mental powers.” Great. Another untreated schizophrenic sex offender left to wander the world for most of his life. I suppose the shitstorm will fall upon the parole officers or other corrections personnel who failed to notice he had a “compound” in his back yard with three prisoners. I’m sure MichaelG can tell us more about the caseload a California parole officer carries in a slow week, much less one in a state with no money. (And I believe this municipality is Michael’s, or was, as well.)

The interview is really a trip, combining Garrido’s insanity with a certain TV preacher delivery. And now this girl, this woman, gets to live the rest of her life. Remember, God loves us all very very much!

I should dig up some bloggage, but I’m too lazy right now. I just ordered Snow Leopard and am about to order a new, ginormous hard drive for my laptop, so now I’m going to plan all the new software I’m going to install, and how carefully I’m going to store my data, and how everything is going to be tagged and filed and where I can find it when I need it, including pictures and music and video. No more digital slovenliness for me, no sir.

OK, no bloggage, but this anecdote from one of Alan’s co-workers, who stopped at a Detroit IHOP for a very late dinner a couple Fridays ago, and was met at the door by a security guard, who first asked if he was carrying any weapons and then subjected him to a pat-down search before allowing him into the inner sanctum of pancakes. God, I love this town.

Have a good weekend, all. See you Monday.

Posted at 11:04 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

64 responses to “Tents, shacks and salvation.”

  1. LA mary said on August 28, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I’ll trade you my predicted high of 107 today for your 60 degrees. I will shortly leave to go sit in line to have my repaired headlight inspected. I got a fixit ticket,fixed it, and now have to let the LA Sheriff’s department confirmed it’s fixed. There are two good sized fires burning nearby, so between the smoke (it looks like dusk right now at 8 AM.) and the heat, it’s a perfect day to sit in line outside the LA Sheriff’s office. I don’t take these vacations days for nothing.

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  2. Catherine said on August 28, 2009 at 11:14 am

    I would take cold and raining acorns over extremely smoky and raining ash. Which is what it’s doing here in Pasadena.

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  3. Sue said on August 28, 2009 at 11:15 am

    From yesterday’s comments: Connie, did you know that your miniature schnauzer has a Dogbert tail (as in tiny wags)? Watch out for world domination:
    Speaking of movies, my husband doesn’t try to get me to see “Inglorious Basterds” and I don’t try to get him to see “The September Issue”. Anyone want to go with me?

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  4. moe99 said on August 28, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Jaycee and her family will probably require years of therapy to deal with all she has been through, to try to mainstream her two daughters (can you imagine not being in the world for your entire life only to find out you’re the product of statutory rape and be a teenager to boot?), and the guilt her mother and stepfather must feel, even though it’s probably not deserved. At this point, it is not a happy ending yet, despite the media’s attempt to put a smiley face on it (read: CNN). I can only hope that good things will eventually come from this evil. But, for now, it’s not all roses and puppies.

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  5. coozledad said on August 28, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I’m just happy that humans are able to get B vitamins in a different manner than rabbits.
    The rabbit we actually kept indoors could be relatively easily located by the sound of furniture legs being reconfigured.

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  6. Danny said on August 28, 2009 at 11:57 am

    That story has had my attention too, Nancy. I was reading it to my wife this morning while she was getting ready for jury duty. It was hard to keep my voice steady as I was reading.

    Moe, I really don’t know how well the therapy works in these situations. The reading I’ve done suggests that there might be some hope for the 11 and 15 year old, but it’s likely that the girl (their mother) who was originally abducted is ruined beyond repair. One article already hinted at her guilt for Stockholm Syndrome she experienced and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    It reminds me of those boys they found a few years ago at the pizza shop manager’s house. The one they found in the first few weeks of captivity will probably be okay, but the other one that was there for years… not so good.

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  7. derwood said on August 28, 2009 at 11:57 am

    We trained Killer to come with two sounds one was for him to come and he gets petted…the other he gets a treat. All we have to do is make the treat noise and he scurries down the stairs and bumps into your ankles to let you know he has arrived.

    When we have him out for floor time he always goes back to his potty. The only time he ever pee’d outside of that was the first day we had him inside after rescuing him and he backed up to Robin’s stomach and unloaded a gallon of piss.

    I laughed, she didn’t see the humor.


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  8. Jeff Borden said on August 28, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I was driving home yesterday and swung off LSD onto Fullerton. While waiting for a traffic light, I saw a guy desperately trying to hold onto his beagle, which was baying like a hound and charging madly into the foliage. As dog and owner crossed into the plants, three rabbits came darting out on the street side of the growth, hauling ass like nobody’s business. I guess that’s why beagle owners unleash their dogs at their own risk.

    I, too, read the story about the poor woman in California. While I am usually queasy about capital punishment –there have been dozens of cases here in Illinois of convicted men having their cases overturned by new evidence– I don’t know if there is a punishment that matches the crime this bastard committed but I’d love to help devise one. What a sick S.O.B. And he’s giving interviews? Well, whoop de do. There’s nothing I want to know about this upright offal except what the state of California is going to do to him.

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  9. Jenine said on August 28, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    We have a huge oak in our yard. During acorn season I like imagining the tree pelting us with acorns intentionally, “you need to eat — here, have some acorns!” Bang, bangity, bang on the porch roof.

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  10. Rana said on August 28, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Rabbits do tend to stick to one spot, at least for peeing and pooping. Note, however, that rabbit “pellets” – which are not quite the same as poop, being greener and less-digested – may be strewn with less care as to location. The good news is that rabbits eat them (that’s their purpose), but that’s little comfort if one ends up stuck to your bare foot.

    On not hearing the bun – maybe a cat collar with a jingle would help?

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  11. paddyo' said on August 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    The Bozos are loose in Idaho, where when they opened applications for the state’s new wolf hunt (since the species was “de-listed” as endangered/threatened and the present governor himself said he’d be first in line to apply), FOUR THOUSAND people sought permits.

    So at a fundraiser for the GOP candidate for gov’, somebody equates wolf permits with “Obama tags,” and ha-ha-ha now folks, the candidate was only kidding when he joined in the yuk-yuks:


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  12. Danny said on August 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    paddyo’, moe already mentioned this yesterday. It really sickened me to hear it. There are some real idiots in public service.

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  13. paddyo' said on August 28, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Yeah, and today the candidate made it worse with his line about how he was joking because Idaho has no authority to issue hunting licenses in DC.
    ‘Course, that’ll probably get him at least 5-10 more points in the campaign polls …

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 28, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    For all the tragedies that we know about & hold a person in a cold, hard headlock for the rest of their lives, there are people smiling and scanning their groceries in the aisle next to you who have been through the unimaginable and nearly indescribable, and they carry that as they move along among us.

    My seminary pastoral counseling prof often said “I’m not quite as interested in the details of how childhood trauma leads to dysfunctional lives, only because it usually makes such good, linear sense — the molested becoming molesters, and so on — what utterly fascinates me is trying to understand the 60 to 70% who are deeply marked and scarred yet manage to lead a peaceful, even often happy life. That is amazing, and actually more common, but we understand it the least.”

    The (no longer quite so) young woman in California just might make it through to a life that lives out in brighter, celebratory tones, even though some darkness will always peer through in the gaps. May that hope be hers.

    Nancy, it sounds like you’d think a just and loving God would not allow schizophrenia. I don’t have an answer, other than agreeing it isn’t part of any world i’d plan. It’s either an intrinsic design flaw by a lazy architect, a wicked joke from an evil genius, or something broken that needs fixing. My leaning is to the third option, and trying to figure out what my role in that ongoing repair work is.

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  15. Christy S. said on August 28, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks for that, Jeff. If we don’t have hope, we don’t have anything. I am one of those “teflon kids” — you know, the ones who refuse to allow their parents’ shit to stick to them and instead live happily. I have my blue OMG days but I mostly realize sick people do sick things and not everyone is sick, thank God (or whomever we should be thanking, if anyone). Still, few of us experience anything close to what Jaycee and her daughters endured. Pure evil.

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  16. Sue said on August 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    MMJeff, not really trying to joke here, but I’ve long thought that the Entity who designed female plumbing has a cruel streak that can’t be dismissed as ‘just joking’. Now that I’m barreling through menopause, I’m more convinced than ever that either there is no God or He deserves such a smack…

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  17. paddyo' said on August 28, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I second Christy’s motion, Jeff — and, sadly, that backyard “compound” might indeed have been undetectable.

    Looking at Google Maps just now, the one- or two-block-long Walnut Ave. where this demented guy and his “family” lived appears just semi-rural enough to hide anything, perhaps.

    And it’s a creepily ideal location, it would appear: Backwater spot just south of the RR tracks, not far from a bridge over the San Joaquin, and within a couple of blocks of not one, but two, count ’em, two cemeteries.

    I can already hear the screenplay “treatment” being tappity-tapped out on a Hollywood keyboard . . . sigh.

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  18. Scout said on August 28, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    The big question for me is why is this criminal getting airtime at all? It’s like the gun crazies who strap one on to attend an appearance of the President who then end up on Chris Matthews’ show. Great! Let’s encourage all the other sickos of the world to act out so they too can have their 15 minutes.

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  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 28, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Spider Robinson built a short story, and later embedded that story in a novel, around the declarative statement “God is an iron.”

    His point was — “If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron.”

    But please, please, please, do not give this guy’s own words, in his own voice even (oh joy), any airtime. It absolutely does encourage them, even — especially — those who seem to lack control over their thinking due to mental illness or dysfunction. When getting your voice to come out over the TV is the heart of your obsession, why help that person persist in their delusion? Print a few phrases on the screen and let Wolf Blitzer read it in his uninflected a-rhythmic best, but don’t play the tape, please.

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  20. sarah kenny said on August 28, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I got one of these left on my windshield the other day, too.


    Gosh, that is sad. So very sad. Makes you wonder about the festering hate and intolerance of people these days.

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  21. Cathy D. said on August 28, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I hate this [Indiana] weather and am burying all my sunglasses and then driving a stake in their hearts then doing a pagan sun ritual. Or I may just go to the tanning bed. Whatever.

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  22. Jeff Borden said on August 28, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I think all of the Midwest is having Seattle-style weather. We’re just in the first week of classes at Loyola and four of my students showed up today with colds.

    Speaking of unhinged, hateful loons, what about this preacher man in Tempe, Ariz., who is praying for Obama’s death and who rants to the heavens about homosexuals? One of his flock was the black man who showed up at an Obama appearance with an AR-17 (?) slung over his shoulder.

    If I were a betting man, I’d wager that sooner or later this fine upstanding preacher will pull a Ted Haggard and be revealed as gay himself. There has to be a serious streak of self-loathing to drive a guy to the kinds of rhetoric this creep engages in, right?

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  23. Julie Robinson said on August 28, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    About to leave the house on errands, the heavens just opened up and I have lost my will. Suddenly that sewing project and pile of ironing look much more appealing. Not that I’m a wimp, just exercising my alternatives.

    Sarah K, that was an unbelievably vile thing to leave on your car. Maybe the heavens are weeping for mankind.

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  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 28, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    May i gently note — doubly vile, since it is attempting to implicate the Tea Party protesters with imagery that is both vile and imposed upon them? Sadly, you might need to look at it again and think it through — this is the work of someone wanting to portray the “tea baggers” as Klansfolk and lynchers, while (apparently successfully) leaving the confused impression that it is a flyer from that side. It isn’t the handiwork of even the miniscule rabidly-ranting minority against the Obama administration, but from a counter-protester against the “tea party” meme.

    (And i feel, about the imposed “tea bagger” sniggering label, the way many of you feel about references to the “Democrat party” which i used once, provoking a storm of outrage. It’s a puerile, peculiar attempt to project a weird spin on a perfectly ordinary protest theme against taxation.)

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  25. Connie said on August 28, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Or, Cathy D., you could cruise over to Elkhart County and swim in my very cold pool.

    I have a branch library parking lot all ripped up and this morning’s three inches flooded out our temporary parking area. Also known as lawn. After pulling the first four cars out of the mud we shut it all down for a day and order a truck load of gravel.

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  26. moe99 said on August 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    How do you explain away, then Jeff, the rhetoric coming out of the Idaho gubenatorial race? Is this also a misrepresentation of the teabagger/neoconservatives? I saw a whole lot of hate, rage, violence expressed against Obama by the tea baggers, that has not been denounced by the Republicans in DC yet.


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  27. Rana said on August 28, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Sarah, that is astonishing. I am beyond disturbed that such attitudes are now seen as acceptable in the light of day, instead of in the dark corners where they used to lurk. The Secret Service must be popping a vein every second these days.

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  28. 4dbirds said on August 28, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    JTMMO, The teabag flyer could be a convoluted Spy vs Spy game for either side to use against the other.

    In our area of Virginia, about once a year the KKK would leave racist flyers (in clear plastic bags with a small rock since they were thrown from cars) in people’s driveways. Not so much anymore. I think they’re all on the Web now.

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  29. James said on August 28, 2009 at 3:39 pm


    Except… the teabaggers called themselves that, and then people snickered.
    Democrats have always called their party the Democratic Party, and to not do so deliberately is to invite scorn. You know this, and yet, you still argue the point.

    If these are the rules of the game, can we call the Republican party the Moronic, interbred, racist goofball party? Cause I like the sound of that.

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  30. Jeff Borden said on August 28, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I give John McCain props for standing up to the hecklers in his town hall meetings and telling them that, yes, Barack Obama, who was a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, does indeed know the workings of the Constitution. (Mccain was booed by his own constituents for this comment.) It almost makes up for his foisting Sarah Palin upon us.

    I’ll not brand an entire political party or movement as racists by the actions of a few, but sometimes, it is hard not to. In the past couple of days, we’ve heard a Republican congresswoman from Kansas lament the lack of a “great white hope” to counter President Obama and more recently a douchenozzle GOP gubernatorial candidate in Idaho lament he cannot buy an “Obama tag” to allow him to hunt the president. (This referenced the “wolf tags” hunters out there can buy to hunt.) Or what about the creepy GOP rep Wally Herger of California’s response to a creep at his town hall meeting who identified himself as a “proud right-wing terrorist.” The crowd roared with approval and the Congressman replied, “Amen, God bless you. There is a great American.”

    Does the Democratic Party have its own loonies? Doh. Cynthia McKinney can surpass the crazy of a Michelle Bachmann without even trying. Stupidity and/or demagoguery is not the province of a single party.

    Right now, however, this kind of language is far, far, far more prevalent on the right. And it’s damned dangerous talk. As we bury a senator who saw two of his brothers gunned down by assassins, it would be nice to see someone besides John McCain step up and refute the hatefest.

    I’m not holding my breath.

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  31. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Tea Party/9-12 is all i’ve seen. Haven’t seen any calling themselves “teabaggers.” But OK, it’s fine. I would ask you to look at that flyer and tell me “yeah, the teabaggers put themselves in Klan hoods, you know, out of pride.”

    Right. C’mon, even ticked off y’all are smarter than that.

    Off with eight family members to celebrate a couple of family birthdays, where we’ll no doubt jovially ask each other where we were born, and if we can prove that. Courthouse burns down, files lost, grainy photocopies . . . hey, we’re all birthers now. Happy birtherday to everyone!

    And i promise to ask the waitperson if s/he has hot tea, preferably Earl Grey.

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  32. Sue said on August 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Wow – apparently the program my daughter is considering joining after college is the SS. Perhaps I should warn her about the monochromatic fashion requirement.

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  33. coozledad said on August 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Jeff Borden, James: It’s the reappearance of cargo cultism among intellectually disenfrachised whites. Deprived of the educational basis for effective public discourse, they nonetheless cultivate the symbols of it to will themselves into the G-spot of barn-burning rhetoric. Here, for example, is Glen Beck trying to construct a critique of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by tying Obama to the weather underground, Huey Newton, Huey Lewis and the News, Genevieve Bujold, Carl Perkins, Philip Roth, and Buddy Hackett. The resulting acrostic, while novel for it’s comic contribution, falls somewhat short, and is more on the order of constructing a mock airplane of driftwood and rocks in hopes that a real one will crash on his lonely island with a crate of rum.

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  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Sue, i just conducted a swearing in ceremony for 21 new AmeriCorps members on Monday — it’s a way cool program (clearly, i have not been reading my RNC/Beck talking points), we’ve now sworn in just over 100. No brownshirts in the batch, lots of khaki slacks, though. Happy to tell you more about it . . . “grandchild” program of the New Deal CCC.

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  35. Sue said on August 28, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Her biggest question right now is if they will allow her to work while working, so to speak – she doesn’t think the stipend (or whatever it’s called, she’s still getting details) will cover her expenses and is pretty sure she’ll need another job.

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  36. Jeff Borden said on August 28, 2009 at 4:57 pm


    I understand the essence of the anger and its roots in the feeling of many white people that their day has come and gone, that the nation they recall –admittedly through rose-colored glasses– is changing irrevocably, that the simple messages of bumper sticker philosophies are largely irrelevant in a complex and interconnected world. And this comedown occurs just four and a half years after W. had been reelected and Karl Rove was pontificating about a permanent Republican/conservative majority, so there is an element of whiplash, too.

    What continues to amaze me, however, is the willingness of so many of these people to buy into memes that are on their face ridiculous. Glenn Beck tries nightly to equate Americorps with a private army of Obama thugs, to imply that gramps and granny will soon be croaked by the feds because of their advanced ages and ailments, and to suggest that FEMA is building concentration camps to hold all the angry white people like him. And while it is true his audience is miniscule –about 2 million viewers– these ridiculous viewpoints and conspiracy theories rocket around the mediasphere and gain traction amongst the weaker minded.

    Consider the FEMA concentration camp scenario. If the federal government is building these detention facilities, who is doing the work? Where are they being constructed? Wouldn’t citizens sort of notice if a huge prison camp were being built? Wouldn’t GoogleEarth show it?

    My stomach already aches at the prospect of the mid-term elections next year. It is going to be a season of High Crazy with each and every pinheaded goober trying to one-up the other.

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  37. Julie Robinson said on August 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I’ve just been through the birth certificate process myself. All I ever had was a small photocopy on black paper with no seal. I’ve used it all my life for driver’s licenses and passports but now Indiana has a new draconian system which is supposed to comply with homeland security requirements. So I asked Mom, who brought me the copy she had–identical, except it had the seal, but also a line lopped off diagonally.

    According to the Iowa state website I could get a new one after I filled out a bunch of paperwork, had it notarized (only took half an hour at the credit union), sent in a check for $15, and copied the front and back of my current driver’s license. That’s right, the one I got with my crappy old unsecure birth certificate. Does this strike anyone else as ridiculous?

    The website warned it might take 60-90 days but the new certificate arrived in less than a week, and several days before the check cleared. Apparently there are still many trusting people in Iowa. Jeesh!

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  38. moe99 said on August 28, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Seattle’s Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist on the teabaggers and gun toters.



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  39. coozledad said on August 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Jeff Borden: I was at a Tractor Supply in South Boston, VA, yesterday, and some elderly guy was spluttering something to the sales clerk about “someone’s gone have to do somethin’ bout that Obama”. I figure he was listening to Neil Boortz on the way to pick up his meds and a couple gallons of roundup. Boortz is the listening choice of most of the unreconstructed knights of the KKK in this area. You can’t get brake work done or buy a bag of grass seed without having to hear about how Barney Frank and the rest of them “Urban Liberals’ sabotaged the economy. He’s probably already shopping his version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion along with dick pills and carbon monoxide alarms to these pathetic goobers.

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  40. James Moehrke said on August 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I heard on the radio this morning that the parole office on the case of that sex offender/kidnapper had a lighter than usual caseload, only 40 to 1. More normal is 70 to 1. No blame has been placed yet, but that’s sure to come.

    Apparently the home was subject to a multi-agency search just a few years ago as part of a regular spot check, and not one of the searchers thought to look beyond what appeared to be the back fence into the part of the lot with the sheds and tents where the captive(s) were.

    A quick Google Maps search of the address turns up a really deep lot with three or four blue tarps visible. But it’s one of those neighborhoods where many of the lots have three or four or even more vehicles parked every which way, so a few extra sheds and tents wouldn’t really stand out.

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  41. MichaelG said on August 28, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    I’ve been in Hollywood and Burbank for the last couple of days and is it ever miserable down there. It’s a rare day when I come home to Sactown from Burbank to cool off. The smoky air is awful.

    While I worked for Dept of Corrections for ten years, I don’t have any special feeling for paroles. I was in the Planning and Construction Division which is a long way in every sense from the custody folks. The street folks are not called parole “officers”. They are parole “agents”. I always did hear, though, that they had very heavy work loads. James above has some numbers.

    Jaycee was kidnapped from her home in a town on Hwy 50 called Meyers. Meyers is right on the outskirts of South Lake Tahoe. South Shore and Meyers are in El Dorado County where the assholes will be prosecuted. Placerville is the county seat of El Dorado Cty. The house where they all lived is in Antioch in Contra Costa County. The home is in the farther reaches of San Francisco’s East Bay.

    Garrido didn’t exactly give an interview to KCRA (which I have extolled before as having an excellent newsroom that I would match against any TV news operation in the country, major markets included). What happened was that Garrido called Walt Gray, the senior anchor at the station, Thursday afternoon while Gray was having a cup of coffee at his desk. This surprised the hell out of Gray and KCRA. KCRA taped the call and bits have been aired all over during the last twenty four hours. I assume KCRA is working on a plan to maximize their return on their good fortune.

    It’s interesting that in these cases the victim is so often reluctant to run or scream or otherwise work to end his or her captivity.

    Let’s just hope that Jaycee and her daughters get a gentle and easy introduction into a tough world. They deserve a break.

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  42. Jolene said on August 28, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Jeff: There is nothing that McCain could do to make up for foisting Sarah Palin on us. The best that can be said about it is that, while she introduced a lot of horribleness (and not a little comedy) into the campaign, her presence on the ticket contributed to McCain’s defeat.

    Fortunately, the gun-totin’ guv seems to shooting herself in the foot at regular intervals, so we can hope that it won’t be too long before her outbursts stop attracting attention.

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  43. Jolene said on August 28, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Am watching a somewhat delayed version of the EMK memorial service. Wonderful speech by Chris Dodd. Everything such a speech should be–warm, funny, personal, and inspiring.

    If you’re in an earlier time zone, you still have time to catch it. Will likely be available on the CSPAN website and others as well.

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  44. basset said on August 28, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Back to teabaggers for a minute, and similar wordplay… anyone remember the Leon Redbone ad for, if I recall correctly, Long John Silver’s? The one where he sang about “shrimpin'”? Don’t think it ran for very long.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 28, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Sue — usually the answer is “no,” depending on the hours expected from the member in return for the stipend. (It is called a stipend, which means “amount of money that can’t be seen without magnification.”) But the assumption is that the stipend plus the educational benefit is their focus, and usually “outside” work is discouraged if not outright banned . . . if you deliver the services expected and can make reasonable progress on your committment hours, and don’t bring up your job evenings at Dollar General, the supervisors aren’t likely to bring it up, even if we (ahem) run into you at the register at DG at 10:30 pm.

    YMMV, or in this case, Your Daughter’s Mileage May Vary, YDMMV.

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  46. brian stouder said on August 29, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Well, let me just say – the Town Hall meeting that our Member of Congress (Mark Souder) put on was… interesting.

    When I arrived, a group of people in a roped off area off to the side of the main entrance had signs supporting Healthcare Reform and the president, and they smiled politely at my Obama teeshirt, so I stopped and snapped a picture of those good folks, and went on in.

    The venue would hold 1600 people, and I rolled in 15 minutes before the scheduled start, and it was probably approaching 1/2 full. The Member of Congress eventually took the stage to a round of polite applause (including me), and then some of the folks down front stood up – and the applause extended to the point that I quit, while the continuing luke-warm applause was trying to morph into slouching/standing ovation. That effort petered out, and then the main event began.

    In hindsight, this bit of theater was Clue One.

    The long and short of the meeting: while the event wasn’t massively disappointing or troubling, it was nonetheless troubling and disappointing.

    I’ll give Souder this much credit: every single person who got in one of the four lines (positioned around the auditorium) to ask a question – or more often give a rabble-rousing speechlette – was going to get their say. The meeting began at 7 pm, and I finally bailed at about 10:15 – and they were still going strong. So, good on the congressman – he truly did make himself available.

    The setup was – they would go around from one station to the next, taking the comments of four people in a row – and then the congressman would respond with comments or answers.

    I quickly learned that if a speaker had a foreign accent, then they were from (insert name of BAD, BAD SOCIALIST FOREIGN COUNTRY here) and by God, “we don’t want it!”. This pattern was repeated by at least 4 different speakers in the three hours I was there.

    But the disappointment, although not really a surprise – was that no matter how often the President of the United States got called a Nazi or a Brown Shirt or a Communist or a Socialist, our member of congress never once saw fit to offer even the mildest nudge back toward reality – let alone comity (a word that he used several times, in connection with his regret that there doesn’t seem to be enough, back in ‘Warshington’)

    Truly, I quit counting the epithets directed at the president when it got north of 20; and they were always, always met with hearty cheers and applause from the crowd.

    As Cooz points out in his post from Tractor Supply, other names that got invoked regularly and with much derision – and which never failed to get a big (and favorable) crowd response included “Nazi Pelosi” and Barney Frank and Senator Bayh(?!) and (interestingly) Senator Lugar.

    And, dammned if Lonesome Roads Beck (as Olbermann calls him) was directly referred to by no fewer than 4 different speakers, and always to hearty cheers from the crowd.

    So – it was mostly a crowd of genuinely pissed off white people; people who lamented the loss of the way things were, and who blame everything on (say it with spite) “Obama”! Oh – there may have been some ‘astro-turf’; the guy who came in scrubs and affected a heavy Russian accent (think Checkov on Star Trek) and said he was a doctor “in the old Soviet Union” was probably younger than me – prompting me to think “bullshit” while he went on and on about how he “loves Ameerikuh” and that we should not “do eet” (whatever “eet” is that Obama is attempting to do).

    Interestingly, the congressman was overtly worried about “astroturf” from the left! One rule he specifically insisted on was that each questioner giver their full name and city or town they live in – so as to counter any of the Move-On types who – Souder had it on good authority – were actively recruiting people from out of state to come to these meetings and stir things up.

    As the evening progressed, honest to God, I began to ponder how my walk back to the car (which was a good ways out in the parking lot) was going to be. But a benefit of the loose format of the meeting was that people gradually began exiting, so that when I departed, maybe 200 people or so remained, and the good ol Fort Wayne Police were present and visible.

    On my windshield I found a card from a candidate for congress, which said “Rachel for Congress” – and in smaller print, it said “Rachel Grubb”. I think “Grubb for Congress” more fit the evening – but that’s just me, I suppose.

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  47. Dexter said on August 29, 2009 at 12:39 am

    “…one of Alan’s co-workers, who stopped at a Detroit IHOP for a very late din­ner a cou­ple Fri­days ago, and was met at the door by a secu­rity guard, who first asked if he was car­ry­ing any weapons and then sub­jected him to a pat-down search…”
    Just before Tom Monaghan bought the Detroit Tigers, it was a joke and great fodder for the Detroit editorial cartoonists regarding the process of being admitted into Tiger Stadium. Let’s say it was a cold April day. Two tough looking security guards nabbed you as you went through the turnstile and ordered you to remove and shake out your wool hat . Then you were commanded to raise your arms and another guard FRISKED you ! I shit you not! One of the Detroit cartoonist drew two old ladies, sitting around bored, and one says,”Let’s go to Tiger Stadium and get frisked!”
    This bullshit ceased when Tom Monaghan took the helm of the Tigers.
    How the following happened, and why, I never heard. See, all the tough security guards who frisked everyone (there was an army of them…just imagine…thousands of frisks, and no they didn’t get every single fan, but only due to the fact that would have taken ten thousand guards) were African Americans. When Monaghan took over, these guards went elsewhere and Monaghan brought in scrubbed white kids in colorful blazers and ties to do the security. It was a radical departure, a complete changeover, and very strange.

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  48. MichaelG said on August 29, 2009 at 1:10 am

    My present neighborhood used to have a fine congressman named Robert Matsui. He served long and honorably and, unfortunately, died four years ago. His wife, Doris, ran and won the special election against token opposition. Doris is a very nice lady but she’s yet another argument against electing surviving spouses to vacant seats. She won’t do a lot of harm in D.C. but that’s about all that can be said for her.

    Anyway, when I got back from Southern California there was a message on my machine to call a given number to participate in a telephone town hall meeting with dear Doris. The drill was that I was to call the number Doris left on my machine (for it was Doris’ voice on the message) and they would then give me the time and the phone number for the town hall thingy. Doris’ corporal being, I’m sure, will be on a cell phone in an Embassy Suites in Albuquerque or Amarillo.

    She’s going to do a telephone town hall with selected and screened Democrats. Whoopdee fucking doo. Time to go, Doris. And the Dems wonder why everybody makes fun of them.

    At least your congressman showed up, Brian.

    I’m about ready to give up on the whole fucking thing and start reading comic books.

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  49. ROgirl said on August 29, 2009 at 7:04 am

    The town hall process has been effectively hijacked and subverted into a circus of insults, idiocy, a forum for dangerously deranged attention seeking wackos and a few seriously pissed off and afraid, but enormously and wilfully uninformed and misinformed people who would rather hang onto the myths they’ve concocted and/or been fed than listen to a different and more complex version of the narrative that’s closer to reality.

    I couldn’t help but think about the complicated life of Ted Kennedy, how he existed in a cocoon of enormous entitlement and indulgence (entwined, of course, with tragedy), eventually confronted his demons and became something of a mensch. He never used his religion for political purposes, but his actions spoke for themselves.

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  50. alex said on August 29, 2009 at 9:16 am


    Glad I skipped the town hall. I weighed my duty as a good citizen to go there and try to outflank the crazies but in the end decided I’d rather go have stuffed walleye at Lake of the Woods.

    The fake Russian doctor sounds interesting, though. You should have videotaped him and sent it to Huffpost.

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  51. nancy said on August 29, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Many thanks, Brian. Mitch Harper, on his FB status last night, called it something like a thrilling example of democracy in action. I believe you, not him.

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  52. brian stouder said on August 29, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I was one row in on the second tier, and I think I saw him over on the wing above stage-left (make of that what you will!).

    Rather than a “thrilling” example of Democracy in Action, I thought it was a little more like a thrilling example of a restrained mob. There were several folks who pretty politely expressed support for the president and the initiative, and they were hooted, heckled, and hollered at – whereas any yayhoo could call the president a nazi and draw cheers and applause.

    Alex – you didn’t miss a thing.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but once I decided to go, it was a snap decision to wear one of my Obama teeshirts. But I confess – small thing that it is – when the moment arrived to saddle up and go, I gave it (the shirt) a second thought, and then a third!

    First, I couldn’t find my favorite one (which was more irritating to me than it should have been!). My second choice Obama tee is OK, but still….or maybe I could just wear a Lincoln tee…or maybe just wear a bland polo and be done with it.

    But no.

    In what might be worth – say – 1/2 a point (on a 100 point scale) for ‘moral courage’, I wore my second-choice Obama tee and rolled off.

    So now I have one scintilla of what it feels like to be “out” in a room full of “in”s…

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  53. nancy said on August 29, 2009 at 10:50 am

    God bless our my former colleague Bob Caylor:

    A pervasive theme in the meeting was suspicion of Obama and his Cabinet. In part, the listening session became a venting session for people frustrated by the massive spending by the Obama administration. At the most offbeat end of the spectrum, some wondered whether the Illuminati (secretive groups seen as controllers of world affairs) play an integral role in health care reform, compared Obama to Vladimir Lenin and suggested that the president is scheming to raise a private army of 21st-century brownshirts.

    Late in the evening, one woman asked Souder, “Is our president counseled by Marxists and communists?”

    “I do not believe he is, honestly,” Souder told her. “You don’t have to be a committed Marxist or socialist” to believe that expanding government is the best answer to health care problems.

    That’s not in the Journal Gazette story, btw. Although this is:

    Ann Englehart, 38, said although her family had to move into subsidized housing when she was a child after her mother was injured in an accident, she doesn’t trust the government to effectively manage health care.

    “I just feel like people are putting too much faith in the federal government,” Englehart said.

    Englehart said she does support smaller stop-gap measures to protect families facing unmanageable health care costs.

    “I mean, it breaks my heart, because I’ve been there,” Englehart said.

    What might those smaller, stop-gap measures be? Hmm. I’m stumped.

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  54. MarkH said on August 29, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Is everyone here familiar with what Olbermann is referring to whe he talks of Beck? Go rent the 1957 film, “A Face in the Crowd”. It was, of all people, Andy Griffith’s star turn as a populist radio and TV host named Lonesome Rhodes. The story is of how, on the airwaves, he captures the public’s imagination, and eventually becomes corrupted, finally exposed by a violated Patricia Neal, in a great performance. When I first saw it about 15 years ago, I thought of Rush Limbaugh, but Beck is a better resemblance.

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  55. brian stouder said on August 29, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    What might those smaller, stop-gap mea­sures be? Hmm. I’m stumped.

    Me too. And agreed about the blessedness of Bob Caylor; his article hit it much more squarely than the JG’s front-page puff piece.

    But about that incoherent woman – Caylor’s article reminded me of one of the more striking bits of blather from the congressman himself (with emphasis added):

    Fort Wayne attorney David Van Gilder asked Souder a pair of fundamental questions: Is health care a fundamental right or a privilege? Will saving the public costs of health care reform the president advocates outweigh the increased costs for Medicare, Medicaid and other government health care if nothing is done to stop cost increases?

    “I believe access to health care is a basic right,” Souder told him. “Do you have a right to have other people pay for it?” Souder argued that in the spirit of charity, Americans should fund medical care for people who cannot afford it. But that doesn’t mean such charity should become a government institution.

    It would be charitable to the congressman if we were stumped by that – but no. There is an answer in there, and it’s “no”.

    No “stop-gaps” for the incoherent woman, no “death boards”, no “pain-pills for grandma” – no nothin’, unless – by God, you can pay for it! And if the death-board at your private insurance company thinks whatever you need is too expensive – well, sucks to be you!

    If we applied the same thinking to food aid, then the fact that we have well-stocked supermarkets everywhere means we all have “access” – and if you cannot afford any food, then go beg!

    And really – why should school be free? Our (seemingly infallible, divinely inspired) “founding fathers” didn’t have any subsidized ‘public-option’ schools, right? Shut ’em down!

    And the scarey part is – if this had been spouted by someone in the hall last night, it would have drawn cheers from the crowd and no comment from the open-collared congressman!

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  56. Jeff Borden said on August 29, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I’d been mulling the opportunity to attend a town hall meeting in Skokie with liberal Rep. Jan Schakowsky, but now I believe I’ll stay home and read. Skokie is a wealthy little burg with a large Jewish population and ought to be considered a fairly liberal, progressive area. Yet the massive amounts of misinformation being bandied about and the large number of seniors in Skokie who believe the lies about rationing promise to generate the same kind of heat –but not much light– as was observed in Indiana.

    Oh, well, I read recently that meganutjob Michelle Bachmann was booed at her town hall meeting, so even the wingiest of the wingnuts are not safe from the storm.

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  57. mark said on August 29, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    No, no smaller measures that anyone can think of. If we want to provide better care for the poor and the uninsured, you just can’t get there without first re-writing every insurance contract for the 200 million plus who like what they already have. Programs for the people who need it don’t work unless the government controls everybody’s care. And of course, increasing care for the poor and uninsured will not change the current care of anyone else one bit and will actually lower the total cost. That’s obvious.

    And in America, you get no care, nothin’, unless you can pay. There is no Medicaid, no Medicare, no SCHIP, no free clinics, no requirement that hospitals provide necessary emergency care regardless of ability to pay, no state run programs in Massachusetts or Tennessee or Hawaii. Just plain nothin’.

    If people weren’t too stupid to see the truth, and confused by all the exaggerations, we’d have Obamacare tomorrow.

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  58. Judith said on August 29, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    I got in a question at Mark Souder’s Town Hall, and he answered it. I only got a low rumbling against my points. I was gratified that everyone got to speak who wanted, even the man who warned us that secret diseases were being planted in the drugs we take, even aspirin, and that one day something would trigger the dormant poisons and the villians would take over the world.

    Mark Souder made some good points. He did forceably tell a woman that he does not feel President Obama is a Communist, nor is Obama trying to convert us to Socialism. But he feels Obama, though meaning well, being very intelligent, and wanting what is best for the country, is misguided. Actually he used the word, “misguided” often when talking about those who disagree with him. He said that unfortunately for Conservatives, the last election was disasterous for them. He pointed out how important elections are, and that we are in the situation we are in now because there are too few Conservatives in Washington D.C. He said Obama promised “Change” and that is what he and other Conservatives are trying to limit.

    Actually, Mark Souder was quite passionate in his advocating of Conservative values and the direction he feels is best for our country. He even read from the proposed legislation and defended his beliefs that there is euthansia and recommended suicide in the language! (This doesn’t make any sense, because in 2003 205 House and 40 Senate Republicans, and many D’s) voted for nearly identical language regarding end-of life issues in the Medicare revision of that year. And in 1992 hospitals and nursing homes were mandated to offer this info at every admittance.)

    I just hope that Tom Hayhurst can put out enough information about the differences in their philosophies and persuade the voters that “Change” is what is best for us. Souder said the Conservatives cannot compromise with Democrats to form vital health care reform because the value systems of each group are so different.

    Souder felt he had to apologize several times for his vote for TARP. His business background made him sure that TARP was needed, but many kept harping him about his vote. He stressed that he did not vote for the Stimulus!

    The people in the Town Hall were participating as citizens should. I’m glad we did not have the disruptions shown in many Town Halls across the country!

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  59. brian stouder said on August 29, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Souder felt he had to apol­o­gize sev­eral times for his vote for TARP. His busi­ness back­ground made him sure that TARP was needed, but many kept harp­ing him about his vote. He stressed that he did not vote for the Stimulus!

    And – speaking of TARP/stimulus – I had to guffaw when the crowd lustily cheered the cabinet-maker guy who said that GM and all the banks and so on SHOULD have gone broke and out of existence, just like he did!

    I mean – Allen County’s relatively new GM truck plant just in the past month or two picked up an additional production line (heavier trucks) – but our crowd was cheering the notion that it would be best if that plant was shuttered??!!

    I only got a low rum­bling against my points.

    Judith – what question did you get to ask?

    Agreed that democracy in action may be a rough-edged thing. It just griped me that all manner of right-wing lunacy got a respectful hearing – usually followed by cheers; while contrary opinion was interrupted with heckles and shouts.

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  60. LA mary said on August 30, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    I’m going to have a run at seeing how my HMO works. I signed on to a new HMO plan for 2009 and haven’t had any reason to use it until Friday night. Younger son Pete hit one of the famous extreme potholes of LA on his bike and went over the handlebars, landing on his chin. He limped home with blood coming out his ears and a scraped chin. A fast drive to the ER at my workplace, four CT scans, and a very freaked kid resulted. The good news is no brain or head injury, but a jaw broken in two places and the small bones in the ear area have some hairline fractures, which caused lacerations in the ear canal, hence the bleeding ears. So we’re looking at a week of visits to ENT docs and a surgeon who will wire my son’s jaw shut for about six weeks. So far this has cost 75 bucks for the ER visit and 15 for three drugs. I have no idea what restrictions or copays lie ahead, but it’s going to be interesting, I’m sure.

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  61. Judith said on August 30, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    LA Mary–So scary! I hope Pete is recovering well!

    Brain, As for MS Town Hall, you asked for this :’) -“Thank you for holding this forum. We agree on parts of health care reform: People who want to buy insurance should be able to at reasonable costs regardless of pre-existing conditions or job loss. Small businesses that want to provide insurance for employees should be given tax credits and be part of a group so that they do not pay 20% more per person than large corporations. And we know that our country offers the best medical care available.

    But at least 3 million more people are uninsured than the number who receive Medicare. We all know many who receive Medicare. Think of how many people have no insurance! And if Medicare were not available, think of how many more uninsured there would be.” (This was in response to Dr. Crawford’s earlier comment about the evils of Medicare.)

    “Every industrialized nation but ours guarantees basic health care to all citizens. The only plan we have for all people is that Emergency Rooms are required, by law, to evaluate, stabilize and treat everyone who comes in. Thus uninsured and non-paying patients receive the most expensive medical care and the costs are absorbed by the rest of us. Insurance premiums for the average Indiana famiy are estimated to be $1,200 higher per year because of passed-along costs. Why don’t you believe universal coverage would benefit all of us (low mutterings from the crowd) and do you favor changing the law so that ER’s do not treat those who cannot pay?”

    Mark Souder answered that insurance should be available to everyone (who can afford it) and that small companies can now pool together within a state to get lower rates. Earlier he had given numbers about who are uninsured and said many are because they choose not to buy insurance even though they could afford it, a number of illegal aliens are counted in the uninsured, and small businesses cannot afford to offer the insurance because of current tax codes.

    MS did not agree that costs would be lowered if all were insured. ER costs are less than us providing a way for all people to be insured. He is very much against a public option–government interference.

    Later MS reiterated that ACCESS to health care is a right of all citizens, but that doesn’t mean that others should have to pay for it.

    Many people have told me they didn’t go to the Town Hall because they knew they would be very upset at the attitude of many who were there. But MS is vitally concerned about the “Change” in our government, and only by getting enough people who believe he is the one who is “misguided” and who will vote for a change in the one who represents us will we be part of the new direction for our nation.

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  62. brian stouder said on August 30, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Judith – I remember those remarks and questions! I thought Dr Crawford’s comments were essentially absurd. If ‘seperating’ the patient from the payment process is a bad thing, then all insurance of all sorts is a bad thing.

    Honestly – the thing about this whole debate that I find the most intriguing is the relatively short time ago that indeed people (by and large) in fact DIDN’T have health insurance; I believe I read that well into the 20th century (at least up into the 1930’s) there really wasn’t any health insurance….and there really wasn’t much that the medical establishment could do for you anyway, if you were sick with cancer or heart disease or blockages, for example. Certainly not heart surgery, nor chemo-therapy, and so on.

    The meme that we always hear is how HORRIBLE it is to “nationalize” 1/6 of the American economy. But indeed, it seems to be an industry that sprang up in order to absorb as much of that insurance coverage as it can, while the insurance industry wants to maximize its own profits.

    Anyway – for a little black-humor laughter, check this out:


    an excerpt from this “How to Take Back America confab that made me laugh was this:

    Rep. Michele Bachmann will be our luncheon speaker on Saturday, Sept. 26. Rep. Bachmann is one of the few courageous conservative leaders of our day. From fighting wasteful spending to exposing ACORN, Rep. Bachmann is a tireless in her efforts to protect our freedoms.

    Didja spot the missing noun in that last sentence?

    It raises the question – Michele Bachman is a tireless….what?

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  63. Ricardo said on August 31, 2009 at 1:25 am

    A tireless wheel? One tire short of a set?

    The abducted girl is the exact same age as my daughter. I wondered what I would have done, both after the abduction and now, after the return. The father is about my age too, and now lives here in Orange. The abductor is also about my age and that makes him extra, extra creepy.

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  64. Judith said on August 31, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Tireless bubble-head?

    I especially found almost comical, if not so serious, her rant against Americore–that evil scheme to indoctrinate the minds of our youth with anti-American ideas. Then her son became a member of Americore–reported the next week. I wonder if he was jabbing his mother?

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