It’s all local.

You’re never too old to learn something new. I managed to report the results of every contested race in the Grosse Pointes last night in a single tweet with not even a shortened URL, and given my tendency to run on at the keyboard, I think this shows not only admirable brevity but heroic restraint. Ahem:

Millages: Passed. School board: Pangborn, Dindoffer, Jakubiec. Woods judge: Metry. Park council: Arora, Grano, Robson. Park judge: Jarboe.

There is no such thing as platform-neutral journalism. That’s actually 138 characters — two to spare. Good thing the Woods judicial race wasn’t won by the candidate with the double last name.

While we’re keeping it brief, might as well three-dot our way into this note from J.C. that arrived last night from his vacation in the American west, regarding the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald. Dateline Willcox, Ariz.:

Actually, live TV happened all the time in the 1950s and 1960s. Even black and white microwave live shots date to the early 60s. But what happened in the case of Oswald was that they had a pool b/w big old RCA studio camera, a remote truck, and a hardwired, literally, big ol’ cabled connection to ‘telco’–AT&T, just like for a baseball game. Expensive, but to Dallas stations this was a big deal.

That video fascinates me because its so crisp and so clear in its black and whiteness and Dan Rather, Robert MacNeil, Bob Schieffer and so on were so young.

He’s my go-to authority on all television matters. He told me once about the day Mike Wallace came in to our college station, WOUB, for an interview, back in the day when sets were two chairs in front of a lattice screen and a ficus tree. J.C. was running one of the studio cameras. Even then, in the mid-’70s, Wallace looked impossibly wizened and old and not at all like the “60 Minutes” hero. Wallace took his seat and started directing the floor director on how to adjust the lights — bring this one down, that one up, the other one around. J.C., watching through the camera, said it was amazing: “He became ‘Mike Wallace’ right before our eyes.” Years later, he pointed out to me how every new season of “Sex and the City” took the lighting lower and lower (on a lateral plane, not in intensity), until it seemed the gals were living in a world lit only by footlights. Does wonder for female faces of a certain age.

And finally, if you didn’t follow the comments yesterday, please don’t miss Gene Weingarten’s take on the Henry Allen career K.O. It is wise and funny and dead-on, and shows why Weingarten is not a writer to underestimate, either, although I doubt he’ll punch anyone in his final act:

The first thing I want to say is, hooray. Hooray that there is still enough passion left somewhere in a newsroom in America for violence to break out between colorful characters in disagreement over the quality of a story. (Obligatory mature qualification: I of course decry any breakdown in comity and collegiality and civil discourse in the workplace, and urge all young people to maintain decorum and respect others, to be tolerant of opposing viewpoints, to seek compromise, and to not punch each other out in spit-flying scrums.)

Still, hooray. Newsrooms used to be places filled with interesting eccentrics driven by unreasonable passions — a situation thought of as “creative tension” and often encouraged by management in eras when profits were high and arrogance was seen not as a flaw but a perquisite of being smart and right. Sadly, over the years newsrooms have come to resemble insurance offices peopled by the blanched and the pinched and the beetle-browed; lately, with layoffs thought to be on the horizon, everyone also behaves extra nicely to please the boss. In the face of potential ruin, journalists have been forced to reach accommodations with themselves: New strictures, new styles, new protocols, new limitations on what is possible are now meekly swallowed. In the frantic scramble for new “revenue streams,” ethical boundaries are more likely to be pushed than is the proverbial envelope. Some of all this has leached out into the product. We all feel it. You do, too.

There’s more, and you should read it. Bonus: A couple of excerpts from Allen’s peerless journalism, which I neglected yesterday.

UPDATE: Hank weighs in, and considers the gay-insult angle.

Getting back to the election: On my errands the other day, I passed a traffic island in a busy intersection. It sprouted two candidates’ yard signs. Specifically: Abdalla Awwad and Karen Wojcik. When you get depressed about the future, reflect on that little miracle, impossible or at least highly unlikely in Don Draper’s day — an Arab-American and a Polish-American woman, running for municipal seats in a blue-collar suburb deep in the heartland. Although — drumroll — both lost. (Trumpet wah-wah.)

I suppose yesterday’s polling will be spun as a sharp rebuke, or perhaps a warning shot, or maybe even a repudiation of Obama Nation. We’ll see. I don’t know enough about Virginia or New Jersey politics to say one way or another; the NY-23 race is far more interesting, the importation of an out-of-district carpetbagger to oppose a Republican nominee thought to be insufficiently conservative. They can run their party however they want, but so much for all that gassing about why Democrats won’t let pro-life members of their party address their conventions, etc. Make the tent smaller! That’s the ticket. Actually, this is the ticket:

NY-23 is solidly Republican but not especially conservative (it voted for Barack Obama last year), and Hoffman was a relatively uncharismatic candidate with poor command of the local issues.

Carpetbaggers are a hard sell. Although they do bring lots of media attention to their backers. Do I have lipstick on my teeth? No, Sarah, lovely as always.

I have nothing to say about that, either, because Jon Stewart said it all here. Drag your slider to the 2/3 mark, and don’t miss the Beck Test.

And now I have to call some of those folks in that opening tweet. The winner for my local judicial race is a young guy with not a lot of name recognition. But he stopped by my house three times and several times when I was out and about, I’d see him on his lonely shoe-leather quest to ring every doorbell in town. It’s true what they say, folks: It’s all local.

First, the crossword puzzle. Then phone calls.

Posted at 10:37 am in Current events |

47 responses to “It’s all local.”

  1. LAMary said on November 4, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Yes! That Jon Stewart piece about Hoffman was great. People who worried that he would run out of material with Bush gone so underestimated his genius. I think he’s been in especially fine form lately.
    I don’t think too much about some political shift should be read into Corzine losing in NJ. He was unpopular with both parties going in to the election and his campaign was obnoxious.

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  2. coozledad said on November 4, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Wouldn’t read too much into VA, either. Deeds started to run against Obama in August and pretty much cut his own throat. Look for the Republicans to start pushing their Regent grad as a presidential contender, at least until the public finds out where his dick’s been.

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  3. brian stouder said on November 4, 2009 at 11:44 am

    at least until the pub­lic finds out where his dick’s been.

    Reminds me of the line from a radio skit (either Bob and Tom, or some similar show) revolving around a car advertisement where the salesman finishes by saying “Come on down and bring your wife, and we’ll dicker”

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  4. adrianne said on November 4, 2009 at 11:59 am

    The people of the great expanse of Northern New York have spoken, and they say: stuff your conservative, Club for Growth candidate foisted on us by the likes of Sarah and Rush. It turned out as I thought: they went with the Democrat.

    And that chubby guy triumphed in Jersey – so much for Corzine’s fat jokes. I’m just glad I don’t have to see another Chris Christie/Jon Corzine campaign commercial!

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  5. Julie Robinson said on November 4, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    No election this year in the Fort, however there was this little nugget concerning the incompetent who ran for mayor last time: One of the puppetmasters is suing his puppet to repay the money he loaned him for his campaign. That would be the loan that caused the felony conviction to begin with. No doubt someone will write a letter to the editor about what a fine Christian man he is and that he is being needlessly persecuted. Despite that fact that he admitted everything and pleaded guilty. That’s how it works here.

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  6. brian stouder said on November 4, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Julie – you gonna catch Andrew Sullivan when he speaks at IPFW on November 10? I will almost certainly be there (probably with at least one of the young folks); his talk should be interesting, given the magic 8-ball election we just had

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  7. mark said on November 4, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Thanks for linking the Steuver piece. I’d also wondered about the provoking comment. In my book, you call somebody a “cocksucker” and you should be getting ready for a punch headed your way.

    I’d been thinking of the issue in terms of dorothy’s comment about a niece becoming conversant with the word “fuck.” I don’t think frequency and casualness of use changes the vulgarity of some epithets, and a change in tone or volume will get you or somebody else hurt. I hadn’t considered the possibility that Allen’s response was an instantaneous rebuttal of an assault on his heterosexuality.

    If so, would that make Allen’s punch a “hate crime”? Just kidding.

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  8. coozledad said on November 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm


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  9. LAMary said on November 4, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks for those, cooz. Unfortunately, I can’t explain to any of the other folks in my office what I’m laughing at. They either have no idea who Joe Lieberman is or they hate everything Obama does, especially health care reform.

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  10. Sue said on November 4, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Ezra Klein is unhappy with the Republican Health Care proposal. South Dakota, here we come. Comments, anyone?

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  11. Old-time Editor said on November 4, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Following the Weingarten link yesterday eventually led me to a poem by John Updike about the death of a dog that’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. I don’t consider myself a sentimental dog-lover, but I keep thinking about it, and its final words–“Good dog”–even today.
    It reminded me of the very sad death of a dog in William Maxwell’s novel “So Long, See You Tomorrow.” Maybe I am a sentimental dog lover.

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  12. Scout said on November 4, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Does anyone here have any thoughts on the current trend to put measures on ballots that allow a majority rule concerning the civil rights of fellow citizens? Yes, I am talking about Maine.

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  13. MichaelG said on November 4, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Yeah, there’s really no way around it. Joe Lieberman is a total scum bag. Has been all along. I loved his moral superiority when Bill Clinton was in trouble.

    I’ve also seen “health care reform” all along as nothing but welfare for the insurance companies. Especially without the “public option”.

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  14. coozledad said on November 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Scout:The only thought I’ve got about it is some folks never feel so free as when they’re meddling in other people’s lives. They’re usually the same folks who gin up reasons to kill other people. It’s creepy. And besides, it’s the political equivalent of panty sniffing.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on November 4, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    There wasn’t a lot that surprised me yesterday. Jon Corzine not only ran an obnoxious, arrogant campaign, but he’s forever linked to Goldman Sachs. Nice of him to pump millions of his own dollars into the media markets, though. Creigh Deeds was down double-digits from the start and ran a horrible campaign, too. He spent the last several months trashing Obama, which made him sound just like McDonnell except hypocritical.

    NY-23, however, did surprise me. A district that last elected a Democrat to the House in 1871 seemed likely to give the Conservative Party Hoffman a chance, but as Nancy noted, it’s tough for a carpetbagger out there. We saw that humiliating spectacle in Illinois a few years ago, when the moldering shell of what is the Illinois GOP imported the certified lunatic Alan Keyes, who took an apartment in nearby Calumet City to establish residence, then went out of his way to act like, well, Alan Keyes. Still, the hateful little man got more than a quarter of the vote, which is basically my sense of how many really silly people live in Illinois.

    Meanwhile, the GOP lost a reliable vote on everything except choice and gay rights by forcing the GOP candidate into the ditch. Great job!

    Finally, as an ex-Catholic, can I apologize for the One True’s obsession with gay rights, which led to the sad news yesterday in Maine? The whole anti marriage effort was directed by the Roman Catholic bishop up there, who apparently had plenty of time leftover after ministering to his flock to deny an entire class of people their rights. Truly a sad, revolting spectacle.

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  16. nancy said on November 4, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Someone help. I just wrote this lede:

    A municipal election noteworthy for its lack of contested races concluded with few surprises and much relief for educators, who face steep state funding cuts but were at least rewarded with a continuation of existing tax millages.

    It sucks, I know. Someone help me rewrite it. I’m already sick of this election, and it barely happened.

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  17. Julie Robinson said on November 4, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Scout, it’s disappointing but long term I think the tide is changing. Not much comfort now, I realize.

    Brian, next week is all about preparing a sermon for the following Sunday. Yep, my church is crazy enough to let me preach and I’ll need to focus on that. Anyway, I’m not totally into political sausage making.

    All the discussion about live TV reminds me that when my Dad did live radio broadcasts back in the 60’s and 70’s it was over a long distance telephone line. He had to haul in equipment and plug in little gizmos to make it work and was dependent on the quality of the line he could raise. Small town radio being what it was, it was a one man show, and in Dad’s case, a one armed man, so he often recruited us kids to help carry in equipment. It was a soft sell since it meant we got in free and then were on our own to explore or hang out with friends. We often came back to watch Dad broadcasting and when we were older we’d help with statistics. Acutally, I never cared enough about football to do those stats, but I loved basketball.

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  18. moe99 said on November 4, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I really like Hank Steuver and what he writes generally, but I think that he is being a bit too sensitive on the use of the term, c***sucker, that spurred Henry Allen to fisticuffs. Frankly, after reading examples of Allen’s writing, I think the goad to Allen’s sensibilities was that he was no longer sufficiently on top of what constitutes “journalism,” not that he was somehow gay.

    In that regard, I am proud to note that the gay rights initiative passed handily in Washington state yesterday. Yay! And the tax rollback measure was defeated! Yay! And the former tv news personality who is on the board of the Discovery Institute and was not so secretly funded by republican right wingers was defeated in her bid to be King County executive. Yay!

    And your beginning sentence, Nancy? I think that the last part should come first, not the other way around, but I am too foggy to suggest how to do it this am.

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  19. Peter said on November 4, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Julie: Preach, Preacher! Good luck on the sermon. We’ll be praying for ya.

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  20. coozledad said on November 4, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Nancy: Do you want the right or left wing perspective?
    Right: The voters have permitted shiftless mind warping thugs to continue looting state coffers.
    Left: The voters have essentially pissed on any educators’ hopes of a Thanksgiving dinner this year. The lucky ones will be eating dog food.

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  21. nancy said on November 4, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Excellent advice, you two. I think my problem is, I feel like a douche whenever I use the word “noteworthy.” I always want to put my finger aside my chin and, you know, note something.

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  22. Jeff Borden said on November 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    What about “an election lacking contested races…”

    Eliminates noteworthy and it’s shorter.

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  23. 4dbirds said on November 4, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I’m a Virginian and knew Deeds was going to lose it when he disappeared after the primary. When he did show up, he compaigned as Republican light. Huh? We already had a Republican running. Democrats stayed home. I couldn’t get my son to vote and believe me, I really put on the guilt trip. He said no, it was a protest on his part. No more blue dogs is what he said.

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  24. Jolene said on November 4, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I think you are trying to make one sentence do too much work. How about:

    With no contested races, yesterday’s municipal election concluded with few surprises, but the results were good news for local educators who had feared that voters would choose to cut existing millage rates, further reducing resources already strained by state budget cuts. Instead, existing millage rates will be continued, with the ballot measure passing with 67% of the vote.

    [or however you would express that result]

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  25. brian stouder said on November 4, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Here’s my vandalism of Nance’s lede

    A munic­i­pal elec­tion with few con­tested races climaxed with few sur­prises in general, and much relief for edu­ca­tors in particular, who face steep state fund­ing cuts but steady local support with a con­tin­u­a­tion of exist­ing tax millages.

    What can I say? I like climaxes followed by relief

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  26. Jason T. said on November 4, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    What can I say? I like cli­maxes fol­lowed by relief


    I’d cut that lede up … those sentences are working too hard:

    Though there were few surprises, yesterday’s election at least brings some relief for local public school systems. While Michigan public schools still face steep funding cuts on the state level, local voters by a x-point margin agreed to hold existing tax millages steady.

    Few contested races were on the ballot in ….

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  27. Sue said on November 4, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    brian stouder, work a cigarette reference in there and I think Nancy’s got it.

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  28. Deborah said on November 4, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    It’s fascinating watching the lede happen right before our eyes. Let us know how it ended up, please.

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  29. Dorothy said on November 4, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    What Deborah said! I love the hell out of you guys…

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  30. Kirk said on November 4, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    A couple of periods can do wonders for many of the leads I see every day.

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  31. Jolene said on November 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I was about to ask why some journos say “lede” and some say “lead”, but thought I could look it up for myself and that you might be interested in what the dictionary had to say.

    Which is more commonly used?

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  32. mark said on November 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Were there actually any surprises in an election with no contested races? Or were the surprises unrelated to the uncontested races?

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  33. Kirk said on November 4, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Around our shop, more people probably use “lede,” but I use “lead” because that’s the way I learned it and it relates to what the word means. “Lede” is a reflection of the tendency of every field, business or profession (and journalism is not a profession) to have its own lingo.

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  34. alex said on November 4, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Where’s Connie been?

    Haven’t seen hide nor hair of her since our fun outing a couple of weeks ago. She was planning to drive up to Grand Rapids for dinner with her brother before heading home from the library convention, quite an ambitious itinerary.

    Speaking of ledes, grafs, etc. … I remember some hot-lead-specific jargon from my first job in a publishing house. (This was in Chicago after the Tribune told the printer’s union to go screw in 1979, but before other employers had worked up the same nerve. Jobs in the obsolete mode of typesetting still existed until the late 1980s at the behest of the union, many of whose members didn’t want to transition to electronic methods.) To my untrained ear, one job was called the “bees knees,” and it seemed to fit with the mostly older crowd performing it. It was actually “B’s & E’s” (or Beginnings & Ends) and it involved proofreading by matching up the lines and grafs of galleys and printed pages.

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  35. coozledad said on November 4, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Carrie Prejean dropped her lawsuit against the Miss USA pageant after they showed her fifteen seconds of her XXX movie. She didn’t even make it to the shower curtain scene.
    Family values my ass.

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  36. Jolene said on November 4, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    Al Gore will be on The Daily Show tonight–just in case that floats your boat.

    Gore was on Letterman last night. Although watching Letterman is a little creepy now–and he seems a little tight in terms of what he says–I haven’t broken the habit yet. And I do think that he’s always been good at interviewing serious people in a way that gets at questions that people want answered. Also, he’s mentioned several times that he’s concerned about climate change, so he and Gore had a pretty detailed conversation about it–that is, for a conversation on a talk show.

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  37. Deborah said on November 4, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    We call it, “Cleavage for Jesus”. In reference to coozledad’s post about Carrie Prejean. We see a lot of young rightwing Christianite women with their cleavage all hanging out. What’s with that?

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  38. crinoidgirl said on November 4, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    I’m now officially poor. My unemployment has run out. The freelance stuff won’t manage the house payment and the power.

    I have an interview next week in Ann Arbor for $17/hr that I originally turned down. I have to ace this or I’m screwed.


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  39. coozledad said on November 4, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    I am led to believe Carrie’s movie starred only herself and her hand. It wasn’t “Straponzel” or “Bubbles Swallows a Ford”, dammit.

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  40. nancy said on November 4, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Straponzel. Milk just came out my nose.

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  41. moe99 said on November 4, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Betcha didn’t know that! Ha!

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  42. brian stouder said on November 4, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    and the winner was:

    A municipal election short on contested races concluded with few surprises and much relief for educators, who face steep state funding cuts but were at least rewarded with a continuation of existing tax millages.

    So, as Miss California might well agree – if you want a ‘climax’, you have to do it yourself

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  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 4, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I can’t believe i’ve never read Henry’s piece on the News-as-you-seen-it-on-TV-um. Delightful.

    Moe, delighted that you’re simply fuzzy. May it all be a happy blur until health snaps back into focus. And i think we should all jointly write Julie’s sermon, just like Nancy’s lead para. Oh what fun a sermon by committee could be, hee hee hee.

    Everybody plan to come to Ohio and gamble with us, OK? Sorry ’bout that, Indiana; we’re swapping ill-gotten gains with you next year, losing the Hoosier State $100 million in tax revenue for starters, and gaining our own new, larger class of addicts, because we don’t have enough compulsive self-destructive tendencies.

    What Michigan’s gonna do to make budget i have no earthly idea. Yeah, i know, raise taxes.

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  44. brian stouder said on November 4, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Moe – what will the birthers say about this? Obama ain’t just a foreign born liar enthralled with commie socialist leftwing unAmerican unConstitutional subversion, but in fact he’s in cahoots with space aliens!

    Dammit – I knowed we shoulda’ put ol’ Sarah a heartbeat away from the Oval Office! Hell – all she’d a’ had to do was accidently-on-purpose emerge from a shower with a skimpy towel on (at the right moment), and the old naval aviator might have punched right out, and we coulda had down-home cluelessness instead of crafty alien Visitors who like socialist commie acorns

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  45. beb said on November 5, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Carrie Prejean had a sex video? Will wonders never cease? This woman is like a neverending story of mirth and embarassment. I guess her next step will be to join that reality program with Ron Jeremy so they can have intimate discussions about techniques and stuff.

    “Cleveage for Jesus.” Obviously, if God didn’t want to see a little titty he would never have put breasts on women.

    I’m just glad I wasn’t drinking any milk when I read “Straponzel.”

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  46. Dorothy said on November 5, 2009 at 9:43 am

    I would have been having my morning cup of tea but hadn’t fixed it yet, otherwise I too would have doused my keyboard with a beverage over “Straponzel.”

    Brian I have been wondering about Connie as well. I’ve been trying to find a quilt show to go to in Indiana so I could arrange a meet-up with her. One of these days….

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  47. Julie Robinson said on November 5, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Jeff tmmo, I love it! Here’s the lessons: Daniel 12:1-3, Psalm 16, Hebrews 10:11-25 and Mark 13:1-8. I’m thinking of using the Hebrews quote from Jeremiah about the new covenant’s law being written on our hearts and what that looks like in the world. Then I can riff on all the ways women are serving (did I mention it’s women of the church thankoffering day?). I’m thinking about calling it Role Models. There are some absolutely amazing women who spend their days helping other people out of love and I’d like to lift them up.

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