More misery.

It’s looking as though Mark was right when he remarked, late in yesterday’s comments:

I really fear that the situation in Haiti is about to become much worse. The absence of even water could turn things into a Mad Max scene. With 48 hours of hindsight, I’m thinking we should have air-dropped 20,000 Rangers loaded to the gills with water, MREs and ammo. I hope I’m wrong.

Well, you be the judge:

A photographer working for Time magazine, Shaul Schwarz, told Reuters he had come across two roadblocks made from rocks and corpses. Residents had apparently set up the roadblocks in central Port-au-Prince out of frustration over the trickle of assistance.

“They are starting to block the roads with bodies,” Mr. Schwarz said, quoted by Reuters. “It’s getting ugly out there. People are fed up with getting no help.”

That sounds pretty Mad Max to me. The Big Picture blog just posted a 48-hours-later update that looks the same. It’s Katrina to the power of 10, or maybe 100. It’s frustrating how this nation, so close to the United States, is still so hard to reach, having had sketchy infrastructure in the best of times, and now even the relatively simple act of landing a plane is a chest-clutcher:

“The main thing is to try to establish some order at the airport so we can start getting planes in and out,” said Col. Patrick Hollrah of the Air Force, whose disaster-response team arrived Thursday night from New Jersey aboard a C-17 cargo plane.

In the cockpit of the plane, air traffic chatter could be heard through headsets, giving some sense of the barely controlled confusion in the skies. Planes were being forced to circle for two to three hours before landing.

Yeesh. Meanwhile, what do we think of this? That’s Sanjay Gupta, the CNN correspondent and neurosurgeon, stepping between roles to treat a newborn on camera. I didn’t see it, but the L.A. Times said the network gave it significant play, which sounds about right for CNN — sure, there’s devastation as far as the eye can see, but our handsome staff doctor treated a baby with a cut on her head.

I have CNN on now, and learned that treating the desperate and dying is a daunting task. God damn alliteration. You want a news medium ripe for a total reinvention? Take TV news. Please. I’m often struck, whenever I watch news, either local or national, how paint-by-numbers every part of it is. The local team will feature a man and a woman, one of a non-white persuasion but not threatening to white people, that variety Jon Carroll once brilliantly named Gene Eric Ethnic. The national anchor, usually a hot babe, boots to the correspondent in the field with their strange line readings and head/hand gestures:

Celia, I am STANDing in front of the remains of what was once [gestures] a GROCery store here in Port-au-PRINCE. As you can see, the building is partially collAPSED, and those Haitians who were able to get OUT [furrows brow] are now trying DESperately to help those…who were left [cocks head] beHIND.

You want to know why Rachel Maddow is such a success? She breaks the mold. In some ways, I wish she wasn’t so overtly partisan, just because I’d like to see how she could bring her big brain and no-journalism-school training to straight reporting.

That’s one reason I like much of the web reporting newspapers are doing now. Perhaps because their reporters are too homely to put on camera, they avoid the brain-dead standups and walk-and-talks you see on the local stations.

Which seems as good a time as any to segue to the bloggage, in which it seems to me that the big swingin’ schvantzes of Fox News are taking the opportunity to show the new young doxie on the team who’s the big dog in town. This TPM post about Glenn Beck calling “bullcrap” on Sarah Palin gives an incomplete view of the total weirdness of the segment. For that, you need Jon Stewart, national treasure.

The story made reference to Beck asking Palin to “name her favorite founding father.” She tried the Couric Evasion (“all of them”), which didn’t work then and isn’t working now, because this is Glenn Beck, dammit, and he doesn’t take answers like that from you, missy. Sarah finally settled on George Washington, “because he led them all,” and everyone went away happy.

(I would have said, “Thomas Jefferson, of course — the cute one!”)

Elsewhere, well, two words: Chihuahua airlift.

A local story, but a significant one: A beaten UAW puts its country house on the market. Includes the ashes of Walter Reuther.

Early meeting. Gotta run.

Posted at 9:25 am in Current events |

87 responses to “More misery.”

  1. brian stouder said on January 15, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I would have voted for John Adams of Massachusetts; Jefferson is over-rated (same old story – great writer, horrible human being). And just to throw Beck off his game, I’d have named Abraham Lincoln as the most important ‘founding father’ of modern America.

    Aside from that, the young folks and I are going to the Red Cross tomorrow. it’ll be a twofer; they will have the tangible experience of handing a little money right to them, and I’ll do the pheresis thing.

    Finally, and indeed – where IS Danny?

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  2. LAMary said on January 15, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Maybe Danny is the “other man” in the divorce filing of Tamra, one of the Real Housewives of Orange County. He’s lying low until the media frenzy is over.

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  3. MarkH said on January 15, 2010 at 11:00 am

    I can’t believe Nancy’s Jefferson quip went over your head, Brian.

    EDIT – Didn’t it?

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  4. Sue said on January 15, 2010 at 11:22 am

    1. I hear the blond on Morning Joe said Lincoln, but I’m not sure if she was joking.
    2. Danny is busy, he mentioned that awhile ago. Nancy should give him a nudge via email, tell him we miss him and come back but don’t be too annoying, please.
    3. Favorite Founding Father: James Madison, because, well, DOLLEY, people. Boring Rich Guy Who Gets Things Done finds love with Smart Cookie. It’s the American version of Pride and Prejudice, minus the dramatic tension and most of the story. Even the century overlap is right.
    4. Nancy’s into Russian stuff. Does she like dill?

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  5. brian stouder said on January 15, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I can’t believe Nancy’s Jef­fer­son quip went over your head, Brian.

    EDIT — Didn’t it?

    I assumed it was a reference to that movie (can’t remember the name); still, I’d have changed the discussion on the Beckster, so as to have him explain why the 18th century guys who invented a system that broke down COMPREHENSIVELY just 80 (odd) years later deserve his unreserved admiration; while the flawed folks who presided over the INHERITED political crisis of the mid-nineteenth century (ending in a catastrophic war) seem to merit nary a thought? What president did MORE to elevate individual rights in America – both at the time, and for all time – then President Lincoln? Certainly none of those rich white slaveholding planters from the 18th century. (although I’d agree that Washington surrendering power at the end of his second presidential term was critically important and eternally admirable)

    And by the way, I adore alitteration (just a-sayin’)

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Danny was going through a major work responsibility change last I exchanged e-mails with him. Lots of fun engineering detail that sounded pretty absorbing . . . and hey, anyone with work is thankful right now, even in San Diego, I suspect!

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  7. Jeff Borden said on January 15, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I’ve always been a Ben Franklin kind of guy. Certainly not the most glamorous of the FF’s, but he did cut quite the swath through the ladies of Paris. Statesman, publisher, inventor, entrepreneur. All in all, a pretty cool guy.

    Ratings for the appearances of She Who Must Not Be Named went through the roof, so Roger Ailes prints money again with his bold move. I could not sit through an hour of her with Glenn Beck. Just the clips shown by Jon Stewart are enough to make my skin crawl. What a pair of smug narcissists.

    BTW, lest anyone ever suggest that Fox News Channel is anything other than the propaganda wing of the GOP, there’s a fascinating accounting of how much time Fox spent on Haiti, which obviously is one of the greatest natural disasters in recent history. On Beck, O’Reilly and Hannity on the day of the quake, Haiti coverage accounted for a combined seven minutes. Seven minutes! Clearly, the hiring of She Who Must Not Be Named is far more important than the violent deaths of up to 100,000 people.

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  8. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Your observation re Rachel Maddow is on target, Nancy. She often does a remarkable job of adding something substantive and serious, and she is terrific at drawing people out to make things clear. But, even though she and I are generally on the same side of the political fence, I am regularly put off by the combination of partisanship and insider snark. (Even so, she is much better along these lines than Keith Olbermann, whose heavy-handedness and self-righteousness are almost unbearable, even when I agree with him.)

    Last night, Maddow interviewed Tracy Kidder, who has written a book called Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World. Farmer is one of the founders of Partners in Health, the organization Jeff(tmmo) chose for his Haiti relief contribution. Kidder wrote about Partners in Health in a NYT Op-Ed the day after the earthquake. Farmer is currently Bill Clinton’s Deputy U.N. Envoy to Haiti.

    I wasn’t able to find a link to the Kidder interview, but I’ve liked some of his other books so will check out this one. His point last night was that, despite the years of efforts by non-profits of every description and the occasional positive government action, Haiti has remained desperately poor. He claims that Partners in Health has been more successful in building capacity w/in the country than many others, so kudos to Jeff for putting his money in a good place and kudos to Maddow for bringing some attention to this organization.

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  9. jcburns said on January 15, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I vote for John Adams because he was the voice of KITT the talking car in Knight Rider. Oh, wait.

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  10. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Oh, Brian, you are just showing off. The idea that either Palin or Beck ever gave five minutes thought to the relative merits of the Founding Fathers is beyond absurd.

    But, speaking of the Founders, I found out last night that I had something in common w/ George Washington. He is believed to have died of epiglottitis. (I learned this from my sister, who’d googled the name of the disorder while I was knocked out.) There’s an account of his final illness that is certainly consistent w/ what I experienced. Fortunately, my doctors didn’t try to bleed me or apply “a cataplasm of wheat bran” to my feet and legs.

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  11. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Speaking of the Founders, I found out last night that I had something in common w/ George Washington. He is believed to have died of epiglottitis. (I learned this from my sister, who’d googled the name of the disorder while I was knocked out.) There’s an account of his final illness that is certainly consistent w/ what I experienced. Fortunately, my doctors didn’t try to bleed me or apply “a cataplasm of wheat bran” to my feet and legs.

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  12. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Speaking of the Founders, I found out last night that I had something in common w/ George Washington. He is believed to have died of epiglottitis. (I learned this from my sister, who’d googled the name of the disorder while I was knocked out.) There’s an account of his final illnes that is certainly consistent w/ what I experienced. Fortunately, my doctors didn’t try to bleed me or apply “a cataplasm of wheat bran” to my feet and legs.


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  13. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I’ve been having mystifying posting experiences here. Last night, I posted a message that didn’t appear. When I tried to repost it, I got a message saying that I was trying to post a duplicate message, but the original never appeared. I asked Nancy to check re whether it was lost in moderation, but it wasn’t. Now, the same thing just happened again. That is, after the long message re Rachel Maddow, I posted another message, and that one vanished. Anybody else having this problem?

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  14. blue flea said on January 15, 2010 at 11:58 am


    The interview with Tracy Kidder is in this segment of the show.

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  15. coozledad said on January 15, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I’ll go with the “premature anti-monarchists”, Herman Husband and William Butler:

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  16. brian stouder said on January 15, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Jolene, that’s also happened to me before; no idea why.

    Maybe Pat Robertson has a point; sometimes something (who knows what) annoys the internet gods, and the (unsubmitted) post simply vanishes into the ether, and cannot be recovered. We (or one of our relatives!) cut off some sonofabitch in traffic, or drank the last Diet Coke, or rolled over and fell asleep too soon – and the price has to be paid

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  17. nancy said on January 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Jolene, I just checked comment moderation, and found only one piece, and it wasn’t from you. I don’t know why this happens, but from time to time WordPress just gets possessed. The last time it picked out Jeff TMMO, and everything I tried, failed. I made him an author on the site, ramped up his permissions, blah blah blah, and zippo. Then one day the curse just lifted, and everything was fine. I’ll tell J.C., but I don’t know what’s to be done.

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  18. jcburns said on January 15, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Just a reminder: sometimes the caching involved with WordPress will not show you your own comment immediately after its posted…but someone else can read it just fine. this is lousy for immediate gratification, but it does put way less load on the webserver. So, um, have faith that it’s there.

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  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm


    (and amen to reading “Mountains Beyond Mountains” linked above by Jolene)

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  20. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    In this case, though, jc, the comments didn’t appear, but the system seemed to think they had. That is, when I tried to repost, I got messages saying that I was entering a duplicate comment, but the original never appeared. What’s odd is the sequence. Last night, I had the vanishing comment experience. Then, this AM, I was able to enter the Maddow/Kidder comment. Then I tried to post a different version of the post I’d tried to post last night, including a specific link and got the vanishing comment problem again. Then I was able to enter the comment saying that I was having problems.

    Is it possible that there’s something about particular kinds of links embedded in messages (can’t imagine what it would be) that causes this?

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  21. Deborah said on January 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    My husband made an interesting comment about Fox ignoring Haiti. He says that the media is having a Haiti frenzy and are letting important developments in politics etc get glossed over or just plain left out. He says that’s what makes the right wing machine so effective. They stay on message period, no matter what happens in the world that could distract from it. He thinks the Dems could learn a thing or two about that. While I think 8 minutes devoted to Haiti just shows how much compassion they lack my husband does have a point. He also mentioned that this was the week congress was going to question bankers about their outrageous salaries and bonuses. Those bankers are probably high-fiving themselves about how lucky they are that a major disaster happened to shift the attention of an angry public away from the bankers’greediness.

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  22. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Might be interesting to follow this blog for the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Deschappelles, Haiti, i.e., outside Port-au-Prince. Scroll to the bottom to see daily entries since the quake.

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  23. paddyo' said on January 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Excellent link, Jolene, for the hospital blog’s no-histrionics descriptions of the work, the conditions, etc.
    And BTW, re: your earlier posting problem . . . I’m reminded of that great old “Far Side” cartoon, with the guy holding a vacuum cleaner and saying, “I command that you demons come Ouuuuut!” — the caption, of course, was something like: “Vacuum cleaner exorcists”

    So if this problem continues, I’m up for online intervention, either with voodoo or exorcism. (That should straighten Pat Robertson’s curly eyebrows . . . )

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  24. Deborah said on January 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I’m trying to donate to the Albert Schweitzer Hospital on line through the link that was on the blog but am having no luck making it work, I put in all my info but it keeps telling me there are errors which aren’t there. That’s a shame, since it would go right where it’s needed. I guess I can mail a check but it would be so efficient and timely to do it on line. If any one can make it work please let me know how you did it.

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  25. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 2:06 pm


    It worked for me. I just clicked on the link at the bottom of the blog, which took me to a page w/ a big “donate” button. Maybe just try again in a little while. Could be just that there are service disruptions or that their server is overwhelmed.


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  26. Dexter said on January 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    John Adams.(“The Quiet One”, lead guitar) He didn’t take no shit from nobody, including old Ben Franklin as well as Jefferson.
    This thread-theme points out the direction Haiti is heading for. I saw a cell phone video of a woman watching the city crumble during the 12-second first rumblings of the earthquake—she is screaming “The world is coming to an end! Arrgghhh!” How true.
    Gangs fighting in the streets, hacking each other to bits with machetes, currently going on.
    A reporter for FoxBusinessNews stated he had walked for miles, observing yesterday and did not see one single bottle of water or any food given out to the parched and starving people. It’s there, but like so many disaster operations areas, it is just impossible to effectively distribute it.
    Right now, it appears Haiti is about 30 hours away from total chaos and unbelievable violence. They are past the looting stage and well into gang warfare in the streets.
    There is no way well-meaning civilians should try to go there and help…the only people who venture into the scene must be soldiers , heavily armed, ready for battle.
    And as Stuart Varney said on the Imus In the Morning Show today, “What do their commanders tell them? (U.S.A. soldiers) Shoot the people? I don’t know.”

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I don’t watch Fox much, but in flipping about, my guess is — they don’t have enough assets down there. One could argue that NBC/MSNBC & CNN may have too many people and cargo containers down there (honestly, Roker & Curry & Williams . . . oh my), but they are going with live shots, even when it’s sat phone jiggly cam, and stand-ups, while Fox seems to have one person on the island and Major Garrett at the White House.

    My more general impression has always been that they aren’t spending hardly any money on reporting from the field, and they have little or no bench (and crews) to fall back on. At this point, they’re more than a day late and a dollar short.

    But I don’t think you can call it racism or the political side so much as their myopia on the global scene in the first place, and the troubling fact that this blinkeredness doesn’t hurt their ratings one little bit. It’s pretty much all studio chat, sofa salons, and Shep’s giant Cube, which doesn’t travel well.

    Whatever else you say about Sanjay Gupta — he’s there, and he’s doing something. As i recall, he did brain surgery when he was in Iraq (he is a neurosurgeon, isn’t he?), and I’m sure he will do more actual work while in Haiti, unless he really has become another heartless, soulless network suit. And I’m not seeing that.

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  28. Dorothy (green is my favorirte color, but not Greene) said on January 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I hear Twilight Zone music coming from Jolene’s direction.

    edited to add – did not mean for that extension to be coming off of my name. I’ll correct that before my next post)

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  29. Dexter said on January 15, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    JMMO: Brian Williams is on top of the world all the time, and I was not surprised to see him in Haiti, first plane in.
    Al Roker is there, too…why? I guess his Weather Channel gig is just a time-killer. He adds nothing to the reporting. Ann Curry’s work over the past year has convinced me she would be the third female 6:30 national news anchor if Williams wasn’t around. I like Williams so much I boldly tell my friends that he will go down in history as second to or equal to Walter Cronkite when it’s all over. Love the guy.

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  30. Dorothy said on January 15, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    *Testing* have to do this one to reset my “Leave a Reply” section

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  31. Sue said on January 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Agree on Brian Williams, Dexter. How can someone who can go on Daily Show as a “giant head” still manage to be taken seriously as an anchor? At this point I think he’s the whole package.

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  32. Sue said on January 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Oh, and thank goodness someone can keep a clear head during this crisis! Who is Taylor Momsen, anyway?

    ‘Last night, OK! caught up with the leggy teenager at the Victoria’s Secret store in NYC’s SoHo district, where she was promoting her new fragrance, Love Rocks. And when asked if she’s planning to follow the lead of stars like Wyclef Jean, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who are making high-profile donations and pleas for help, Taylor told OK!, “Um, right now I’m trying to just finish my record and getting through the last season of Gossip Girl for right now. So not so much thinking about that.”

    But before you think she’s both clueless and heartless, Taylor added, “But it’s awesome that everyone is ya know working towards a good cause.”’

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  33. Connie said on January 15, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Text Haiti to 20222 to make a $10 contribution to the Clinton Foundation’s Haiti relief fund. I saw Prez Clinton talking about this on CNN this a.m. and his words about the potential to come from millions making small donations convinced me. The Foundation raised $35 million yesterday.

    But he wasn’t what inspired me. That was Lisa B. at work. I called into the front desk today to beg for books – any books – to be sent to my neighborhood branch for me. Lisa, who makes about one fourth of what I do, immediate told me she had contributed $10 this morning by texting Haiti to…. It was one I saw on CNN yesterday. And so when I saw Clinton’s info a few minutes later I followed her example.

    My cellulitus condition remains the same, my antibiotic has been upgraded to a drug mostly used for TB, and I have been ordered to report to the ER tomorrow at noon if there is no reduction in the infected area by then.

    This antibiotic has the unusual side effect of turning your clear body fluids – tears, saliva, urine, sweat, an orangish color. My guy is looking for an interesting photo opp.

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  34. Dexter said on January 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Connie, nine years ago I was cut by some metal banding at work and cellulitis developed, which didn’t really upset me until I got online and read about it and chatted with fellow patients in cellulitis rooms. That is what freaked me out.
    While it can turn worse, you have every reason to believe your doctor knows what he is doing and you will recover nicely from this episode. My legs looked awful but the meds healed me, and just keep the faith that they will cure you, because they will.

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  35. Jeff Borden said on January 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Jeff TMMO,

    You have hit the nail on the head. Fox is not really in the business of breaking or even reporting news, but in reacting to it. The network is hardly alone in that stance, of course, but the trumpeting of the channel’s news gathering skills is one long, sustained sour note.

    Roger Ebert today is calling for Rush Limbaugh to be horse-whipped for his comments on Haiti over the past couple of days. I’d rather see him dropped off in Haiti and forced to fend for himself for 72 hours, but then, you all know what a kind and generous liberal I am.

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  36. Sue said on January 15, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Extreme Bad Taste Alert! Do not read further if you are easily offended.
    Jeff Borden, I assume that Rush will react to Roger Ebert’s “attack” with a counter-attack of his own, as he usually does. Perhaps by imitating and ridiculing Roger Ebert’s medical condition in the same way he imitated and ridiculed Michael J. Fox’s.
    Except, Roger Ebert can’t speak as a result of his surgeries and treatments.

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  37. Jeff Borden said on January 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    And even speechless and weakened, Ebert is one-thousand times the man Limbaugh will ever be.

    I have absolutely no problem with Limbaugh milking “rube rage” –hmmm, I should trademark that– by attacking the president, the Democrats, the liberals. But using this kind of mind-blowing tragedy, where the very weakest and poorest of our hemisphere are once again laid low by disaster, for political purposes is beyond revolting. He is truly a hateful, racist punk.

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  38. Jeff Borden said on January 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    And then there are people like this to remind you that, despite his inflated sense of self, Rush Limbaugh is a pimple on the ass of humanity. Here’s a story about a bright young woman who died trying to help others less fortunate than herself instead of exploiting them for ratings and controversy.

    From the Seattle Times:

    The family of 22-year-old Molly Hightower, of Port Orchard, was told early today that searchers found the young woman’s body in the wreckage of the Haiti orphanage where she worked as a volunteer.

    Her father, Mike Hightower, said the word the family had been dreading came in a phone call from the organization that runs the orphanage.

    A public memorial for Molly Hightower is set for 7 p.m. today at St. Louise Catholic Church, 141 156th Ave. S.E. in Bellevue. A private memorial service was to be held this morning at her high-school alma mater, Bellarmine Preparatory High School in Tacoma.

    A friend of Hightower’s, who was pulled from the seventh story of the wrecked building Tuesday, told the family that Molly was on the fifth floor as the enormous earthquake struck Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area.

    Hightower was a 2009 graduate of the University of Portland. Her majors included sociology and French. She arrived in Haiti in June for a year of service working for Friends of the Orphans, which operates with the help of several hundred international volunteers. She helped at an orphanage, at a hospital and also worked with disabled children.

    In a blog, she had written about the challenges of her job, such as helping to console a 7-year-old with a cleft palate who had been abandoned by his mother.

    “I’ve never encountered an abandoned child who is aware of his situation, or one who feels the pain so freshly. It broke my heart,” Molly Hightower wrote in a December blog entry.

    In another December entry, Hightower reflected on the swift passage of time during her time in Haiti.

    “It’s very weird to think that my trip is more than half over at this point,” she wrote. “I have a ticket back to Seattle on June 8th, so really, I’m only here for five more months and some odd days. My frappachino maker is waiting for me.”

    Another Washington woman was caught in earthquake rubble but was pulled out three hours later, according to family members.

    Katie Zook, 22, from Arlington, had been teaching in Haiti on a mission with the Free Methodist Church. She was on the top floor of a five-story building that collapsed and suffered chest, leg and spleen injuries, according to her grandmother Laurine Zook.

    “Her chest was compromised, and she couldn’t breathe well,” Laurine Zook said.

    After being rescued by a U.S. doctor, Katie Zook was treated at a United Nations hospital, then flown to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where her condition worsened. She was then flown to a Florida hospital, where she appears to be doing well after additional surgery.

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  39. alex said on January 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Jeff B–

    “Rube rage” is so good it should be all the rage. Another one I’d like to add to my vocabulary is “the undie bomber,” coined by Eric Zorn (or if not, he was the first and only writer I’ve seen using it, anyway).

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  40. moe99 said on January 15, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Limbaugh: “The U.S. military is now Meals on Wheels. It always is with Democrat presidents”

    I hope this man dies from infected piloidal cysts. and soon.

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  41. mark said on January 15, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    After Katrina, it seemed to me that we should turn over the really gigantic disaster response responsibilities to the military. It wasn’t until the army’s trucks were rolling through the waters that things started to improve.

    That was a big change of heart for me, as I was previously anti- “nation building”, “peace keeping” and policing duties for the troops, and I didn’t like the constitutional aspects of federal troops assuming control in a state.

    But, practically speaking, it just isn’t possible for FEMA to stockpile the supplies and equipment, and the skilled people, necessary to respond to a once a decade gigantic disaster. And nobody has duplicated the military for a chain of command that works well in a crisis. The military probably should be expanded anyway and doing so in the disaster relief skills would provide a lot of valuable training (from logistics to heavy equipment operation) that would be in demand in the private sector post-service.

    While Haiti may be the poorest, there are a dozen or more other countries in our neighborhood where disasters of this scale could produce similar results, and the world will expect us to respond. And we want to help. I don’t see an alternative to asking the military to take on this responsibility and to staff and equip for it.

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  42. Jeff Borden said on January 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Right on, Mark.

    There was an excellent column by Neil Steinberg in the Chicago Sun-Times this morning that noted how obsessed we are now that Haiti lies in smoking rubble, but how little attention we have paid to it despite our geographic proximity. I guess this is human nature. Everyone wants to volunteer and give to charity during the Christmas holidays, but who thinks about it much in March or August?

    Moe, I echo your rage, but will argue that Rush Limbaugh should stick around for a nice, long time as the symbol of American conservatism. He’s a vile racist, homophobic, sexist bastard. Sure, the loons on the far right worship the ground he waddles on, but to most Americans, he is the ugly symbol of resentful white male entitlement.

    As Peter from “The Family Guy” likes to say: “Look, the two symbols of the Republican Party! An elephant and a fat white guy who is scared of change.” Whenever I hear that clip, an image of El Rushbo appears in my mind.

    It would be ironic if his cyst did cause his demise since it was those anal cysts that kept him out of Vietnam.

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  43. Dexter said on January 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    mark, agreed. In this case, the only one who could help outside the military is nn.c fave Snake Plissken

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  44. Sue said on January 15, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Connie, is it ok if we wish cellulitis on Rush, too, while we’re at it?
    Can you get anal cellulitis?

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  45. Dexter said on January 15, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Mark, agreed. Nobody but the military and nn.c fave
    Snake Plissken

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  46. moe99 said on January 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Ironically, the Posse Comitatus Act, in force since the end of Reconstruction, would only grant to the US Military, a “meals on wheels” type of function in situations such as these.

    Back when Mount St. Helens blew up in 1980, I remember the discussion that took place at DoD General Counsel’s office as to whether the military could intervene and offer assistance in that disaster, without running afoul of Posse Comitatus. The decision was reached that humanitarian aid was not included in the statutory prohibition.

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  47. mark said on January 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    You are right, moe. For my idea to work, the governor would have to invite the military in. If that is where the help is to be found, I suspect the invitation would be extended.

    I envision giving the military this role only for the gigantic disasters, not random tornados and seasonal flooding.

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  48. Connie said on January 15, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks for the encouraging words Dexter.

    And Sue, I have learned that only babies get anal cellulitis. I if I am going to wish something on Rush it would be someting much worse.

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  49. ROgirl said on January 15, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Anal cysts? Are they the result of people saying,”Blow it out your ass, Rush,” whenever they hear him?

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  50. Dexter said on January 15, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Closing the UAW’s Walter and May Reuther Education Center in Onaway comes as no surprise. That damn golf course was just too extravagant for the spirit of the place, it was Stephen Yokich’s folly, and I have to believe it just rankled Ron Gettlefinger to no end.
    Gettlefinger is like no other UAW leader ever has been; he’s deeply disciplined , religious to the point of Bible studies and prayer meetings, true family man who takes his wife everywhere and clears out anyone around him who has any less than his moral standards. I use these points to illustrate that he is serious about his job, and oh yeah…he hates golf with a passion, and his posse do not bring along clubs when they travel to conventions and meetings. Uh-uh-no-way.
    So while we (retired UAW , me) lose the education center at great woe and maybe a few tears, some of us will rejoice when that golf course is off the books. Good riddance. Reuther’s ashes? Sheesh…creepy. Oh well.

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  51. alex said on January 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Tonight on CBS News, Harry Smith said “More from Katie in Haiti” and it sounded simply bitchy.

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  52. brian stouder said on January 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Regarding Uncle Rush and other dark stars in the airwaves of America, I’ve been pondering the saying “Ignorance is bliss”.

    Aside from wondering if he has any idea how much he doesn’t know (even as he yammers on and on, every day), I also wondered how genuinely ignorant I am.

    For example, this evening Pam ran off to scrapbook with her friends, and while I was bustling around in the kitchen I dropped one of her large ceramic casserole dishes. The damned thing exploded into a million pieces – and scared me! I hustled the young folks away from the area, and told them to stay away, while I swept it up (all the while envisioning one of them stepping on some missed piece of debris).

    It brought everything in the house to a halt, and was disquieting.

    This was the largest personal challenge/brush with ‘danger’ I’ve had since….I don’t know when.

    So there’s really no understanding at ALL, on my part, of losing one’s entire house in a few seconds of violent shaking, let alone dealing with horrible physical injuries or death of loved ones and neighbors (and lots of other people in every direction); and with no organized help on sight, nor in sight; no clue of what might be coming next, good or bad, if anything is coming at all.

    I think I’m adding Uncle Rush to the list of people who’s Name I Shall Not Say.

    (today at work a colleague stated flatly we shouldn’t help Haiti at all, because “whatever we do we’ll be hated”. The statement was so ridiculous that I laughed and said that if we’re going to be hated anyway we might as well do the right thing – which drew an angry response! And there it was – the multiplier effect of a coast-to-coast Know Nothing upon a fellow who is prone to Rube Rage*)

    *Jeff B: Alex is right – that’s a Great term; I’ll be using it regularly (just so ya’ know)

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  53. Deborah said on January 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Simply bitchy Katie in Haiti. That’s why I come here.

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Dexter, i’m not find a reference that spells it out — is there a memorial structure or columbarium or something that the Reuthers’ ashes are in, or is it that they were scattered on the grounds, on the assumption that this property would never be sold?

    That’s the thing about scattering ashes on someone’s backyard garden plot or plutocratic 18th green — property changes hands.

    Church groups are selling camps & conference centers left and right all around the US. Interesting to see another type of non-profit in same boat . . . our United Way report breakfast is next Friday, and the memo was as grimly worded as i’ve ever seen, since these folks normally find a happy, uplifting spin for any outcome.

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  55. Dexter said on January 15, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    JMMO: …from
    “Walter and May Reuther’s ashes were spread in a simple ceremony atop a hill across from the Main Lobby area. This area is marked by the flame in the Japanese lantern, donated to the Center by Japanese Trade Unions in their memory.”

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  56. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    So, anyway, here’s the little story that went off into the ether last night.

    Historical fun fact: I learned from my sister that I now have something in common w/ The Father of Our Country. When I became ill last week, I gave the docs the name of one of my sisters before going to the OR, and they contacted her during the time I was knocked out.

    Googling “epiglottitis”, she found that George Washington is believed to have died of it. American history buffs may be interested in this account of his final illness, written by his private secretary, Tobias Lear.

    Fortunately, my doctors had better ideas about treatment than did his, whose therapeutic approaches included bleeding him, applying plasters of wheat bran, administering various emetics, and a few other things. Not surprisingly, none of those efforts did anything to kill the bacteria that were leading his throat to close down.

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  57. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    So, anyway, here’s the little story that went off into the ether last night.

    Historical fun fact: I learned from my sister that I now have something in common w/ The Father of Our Country. When I became ill last week, I gave the docs the name of one of my sisters before going to the OR, and they contacted her during the time I was knocked out.

    Googling “epiglottitis”, she found that George Washington is believed to have died of it. Fortunately, my doctors had better ideas about treatment than did his, whose therapeutic approaches included bleeding him, applying plasters of wheat bran, administering various emetics, and a few other things. Not surprisingly, none of those efforts did anything to kill the bacteria that were leading his throat to close down.

    There’s an account of his GW’s final illness at Written by his private secretary, Tobias Lear.

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  58. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    So, anyway, here’s the little story that went off into the ether last night.

    Historical fun fact: I learned from my sister that I now have something in common w/ The Father of Our Country. When I became ill last week, I gave the docs the name of one of my sisters before going to the OR, and they contacted her during the time I was knocked out.

    Googling “epiglottitis”, she found that George Washington is believed to have died of it. Fortunately, my doctors had better ideas about treatment than did his, whose therapeutic approaches included bleeding him, applying plasters of wheat bran, administering various emetics, and a few other things. Not surprisingly, none of those efforts did anything to kill the bacteria that were leading his throat to close down.

    There’s an account of his GW’s final illness at http://​www​.doc​torze​bra​.com/​p​r​e​z​/​z​_​x​0​1​d​e​a​t​h​_​l​e​a​r​_g.htm

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  59. Jolene said on January 15, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Anyone interested in the GW story can find it by googling “George Washington, epiglottitis”. The domain name of the URL is doctorzebra.

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    I think a plaster of wheat bran would sap my will to live, right now. But if my son pukes on the living room carpet again, I might consider applying one to him. (Dang rotavirus.)

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  61. alex said on January 16, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I once had a history prof who said Jefferson, not Washington, should have been dubbed “the father of his country,” at which time my freshman virgin ears were first exposed to the concept of slave-fucking.

    The well-traveled Franklin, it occurs to me, had polyglotitis, an affliction far preferable to amen-orrhea, the Tourette’s-like condition that’s pandemic in low churches.

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  62. Jolene said on January 16, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Very good, Alex. Took me a few minutes to get your “amen-orrhea” because, you know, there really is something called amenorrhea.

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  63. Jolene said on January 16, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Wow, now I’m really embarrassed. I thought that George Washington story was interesting enough to tell once, but not three or four times. But thanks to jc and Nancy for figuring out what was happening to the vanishing posts. Briefly, Nancy’s spam filter was dubious about the “doctorzebra” link, and my efforts to repost just made things worse. JC’s instruction: If you are trying to post something that doesn’t appear, notify him or Nancy rather than doing the same thing over and expecting a different result.

    Anyway . . . to make up for boring you w/ my epiglottitis story, here’s a link to someone who is matching donations to Partners in Health, the organization jeff (tmmo) mentioned. Cliff Landis is just an ordinary citizen who seems to have 10K of disposable cash. I think there are enough testimonials to indicate that he is legit, but, of course, there are lots of other ways to help too.

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  64. Mosef said on January 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Remember “Overnight”? I still can’t figure out why nobody has even tried to replicate it in the past 25 years.

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  65. brian stouder said on January 16, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Jolene – we went for the non-sexy emergency relief donation, and gave each of the young folks a 10-spot* to hand to the Red Cross folks today. Then I went in to do pheresis and got turned away with a high bp (the second number cannot be higher than 100, and mine was 104)

    I had Chinese food on Friday (at a buffet, no less), and that is what I am blaming

    *this caused the lady to have to fill out a receipt for each of them, which we were ready to tell them wasn’t necessary – but we were the only folks there at that moment, so it was all good

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  66. Sue said on January 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Mosef, would that be NBC News Overnight? With Linda Ellerbee? I loved that show, it was a lifesaver night after night as I stayed up with my baby boy, the one who was born in the middle of the night and proceeded (for the next 18 years) to think night was day and day was night. David Letterman, then Overnight. Access to a little wit and intelligence for a new mom suddenly deprived of both.
    Linda Ellerbee is matchless and underappreciated. The closest we have today is Rachel Maddow.

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 16, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Now there would be an interesting comparison — Ellerbee and Maddow. Apt, and would probably resolve to the credit of each.

    Oh, as for Founders? I like to hat tip a) Roger Sherman, who got the trifecta (signed all the major documents, was there to help write most of ’em, had 15 kids by two wives) & b) Paul Revere, who signed nothing because he tended the home front with cheer and wit (and also had 15 kids by two wives). That should qualify you as a Founding Father . . .

    And for Ohio bonus points — who created the phrase “Founding Fathers”? You might be surprised.

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  68. basset said on January 16, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    “Overnight” was brilliant – one of the few television news programs which didn’t take itself too seriously.

    On another topic – anyone know anything about Italian food? Went to a semi-nice Italian place in Nashville last night, ordered a pizza with pancetta (Italian bacon) on one side, it showed up plain with the pancetta raw on another plate. The waiter insisted it was cooked, so I put some on a couple of slices and ate them, pretty bad.

    So the way I figure it, there could have been two reasons for this: either the waiter messed up the order and was trying to cover himself (which is entirely possible, our salad never got there at all and we had to ask three times for oil to go with the dry bread) or he realized that we don’t know anything about food and decided to have a laugh at the ignorant hillbillies’ expense (entirely possible because when he started going through the wine recitation I told him I didn’t know anything about wine, just bring me some house red).

    So… would Italian places normally serve the pancetta on the side, or put it on the pizza and cook it like anything else?

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  69. Mosef said on January 17, 2010 at 12:46 am

    What Overnight got right is:
    1) If you turn off the picture and you can still follow the story, then it isn’t TV, and
    2) If you let journalists tell the stories that interest them, then the viewers will be interested too.
    I have not watched a network (or cable for that matter) news show in 15 years. I tried during the San Diego fires (local), but was shocked to discover that they’re not saying anything.

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  70. Dexter said on January 17, 2010 at 1:15 am

    I don’t think we mentioned this last month, so I’ll post this link. Bob Heft designed the 50 star flag, it is a cute story how it all went down, and now Mr. Heft has left the world. I am sure Moe and Alan have heard the story more than I have , and I have read about it many times.

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  71. alex said on January 17, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Loved Overnight and was disappointed that it went off the air. I always made an effort to see anything Ellerbee was involved in after that, and I remember enjoying the autobiography she wrote in the ’80s, which was delightfully bitchy. I suspect her candor about the TV news biz may very well have cost her a career in it.

    Today I thought MoDo told a good story:

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  72. beb said on January 17, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Our Hysterical Age:

    An 11 year old student brought to school a home-made motion detector consisting of a 2 liter gatorade bottle with some electronics hanging out of it. The principal decided it was a bomb, evacuated the school and called the bomb squad. Apparently he never asked the boy what it was. After the bomb squad spent half a day X-raying the device and concluding it was safe a statement was issued saying the boy’s family would not be prosecuted for the expenses but that they should get some counseling. Shesh. I think the principal should pay the expenses and be the one required to get counseling. He was the one having the panic attack.

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  73. MichaelG said on January 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Good Lord, Basset. Pancetta is pork belly, it’s a type of Italian bacon that’s salt cured and rolled but not smoked. If it looks raw it is raw. Of course it should be on the pizza, not served as a side dish. Who knows what those people were thinking. But then I remember when my daughter lived in Clarksville. Things are different from where I live. Stay away from that “restaurant”. Don’t even drive past it. Go around the block.

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  74. coozledad said on January 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I’ve seen pancetta served that way at a trendy restaurant. One of the managers was having a dish of it at the bar. He left for a moment to speak to a customer and one of the waitresses (a vegetarian) kept touching it and pulling up a ribbon of slime. She said “I would never eat this shit. I think it’s fertile”.

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  75. crinoidgirl said on January 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    OK, I’m having trouble figuring out how to use the Kickback Lounge. Somebody help, please!

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  76. Jolene said on January 17, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    crinoidgirl: I think you just click on the Kickback Lounge icon at the lower right of this page and then click on the “Powered by Amazon” button in the top right of the next page. That takes you to Amazon, where you shop as usual, w/ their systems allocating funds to Nancy as warranted.

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  77. crinoidgirl said on January 17, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks, Jolene! That seemed too obvious, and I was worried that it wouldn’t track back to Nancy. If I’d paid attention, I would have seen the tag in the URL. D’oh! So much for my finely honed editing and proofreading skills.

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  78. Jolene said on January 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Speaking of Sanjay Gupta, as Nancy did on Friday, did you folks see what happened on Friday night?

    Some Belgian doctors were operating a fairly rudimentary field hospital, with maybe a couple of dozen patients present, some of whom were very ill (immediately post-op and other problems). Gupta had gone there as a journalist and discovered that the Belgian medical team was leaving on a bus, along w/ much of their equipment and supplies. At the time, Gupta was told that the UN had told the doctors they had to leave for the night. Gupta was slack-jawed at the idea of doctors leaving their patients, so he and his camera crew stayed the night, w/ the crew helping to care for patients under his direction. All the patients made it through the night, which Gupta says would not have happened if they’d been left alone.

    In the morning, the UN said that they had not told the Belgian team to leave. Gupta asked another CNN reporter to look into what had happened; that reporter later interviewed the leader of the Belgian team on the air. He (the Belgian doctor, that is) said they’d been told at the airport that they could not be guaranteed armed protection after dark. The best the UN could offer was a bus ride to (presumably) the airport. So, he decided that the team should decamp for the night, and they returned and resumed care of the patients at 6 AM.

    Gupta didn’t criticize the Belgian team on the air, but it was pretty clear that he was appalled by the idea that doctors and nurses would desert their patients. Although I obviously have no idea what sort of threats they might have perceived, I found it fairly shocking myself. Gupta and his team seem to have had a quiet night w/ no one disturbing them as they took care of the people at this site.

    Anyone else see all this? If so, what did you think?

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  79. brian stouder said on January 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Jolene – I did see that; Sanjay will write a marvelous book, someday. Just in the past year he went from President Obama’s Surgeon General appointment to the human wreckage strewn across Port au Prince; his story seems to genuinely be about the exploration of peaks and valleys.

    I also watched the story Nance referred to, wherein he doctored an infant’s head wound. Juxtapose that with anopther story (don’t remember if it was on CNN) that highlighted members of the US Coast Guard jumping in to perform medical procedures – despite not knowing anything other than what a corpsman or other paramedic might be able to shout to them. Gupta’s actions with the baby drew a somewhat jaded glance from Nance, which I more or less agreed with. His actions in the wake of the Belgian’s waffle at that field hospital were nothing less than heroic; heroic in the same sense that firefighters or police (whether on duty or off) are frequently heroic; they have reponsibilities and capabiliites – and when the need arises they simply jump in there and utilize their skills.

    I have noticed that Anderson Cooper has been sounding a little overwrought, but on the other hand – and for God’s sake! – the unfolding cataclysm down there demands nothing less, for anyone with a breakable heart, or a discerning soul.

    Jeff, I cheated and googled your Founding Father’s question, and I don’t agree with the answer. I recall many references from President Lincoln about the founders, famously including ‘our fathers’ in the Gettysburg Address, and other references.

    But – whatever!

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  80. LAMary said on January 17, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Sanjay Gupta did a little surgery in Iraq when he was there.

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  81. Jolene said on January 17, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    One winner in all this horribleness: Tracy Kidder, whose book, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World, Jeff and I both mentioned above.

    In addition to being interviewed on Rachel Maddow and publishing the NYT op-ed on Wednesday, he appeared on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show today and Zakaria recommended his book at the end of the show. It’s now #49 on Amazon. Not bad for a book about a fairly obscure subject first published in 2003.

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  82. MarkH said on January 17, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    beb – FWIW, the fifth graph in the story states the authorities examined the device and after talking to the boy, they made the decision to evacuate, not the “uninformed” principal. This thing played out as it should have, in my view, especially if my kid was in that school. No one had a “panic attack”. I do wonder if the counseling was recommended for the right reason, though.

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  83. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 17, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    On the Gupta thing, if you follow his Tweets (and those of some of the other CNN folk), you could actually see it develop thru this morning, as he basically called off work with this flimsy excuse of “um, busy saving lives” thing. It was pretty amazing. In fairness to the team they “replaced,” there appears to be another side to the misunderstanding, but Gupta gets credit for sticking with the patients no matter what.

    Paul Farmer was on 60 Minutes — i haven’t seen it, but it’s available on their website/CBS/Facebook (i’ve linked to it) in a piece on PIH, the 82nd Airborne, and the ongoing tragedy and moments of triumph.

    And why does Jack Bauer never try CPR on anyone?

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  84. paddyo' said on January 18, 2010 at 9:45 am

    While awaiting today’s fresh posting, another vote here for NBC-TV’s “Overnight” program, which was so far ahead of its time (I became an absorbed fan during a Gannett “loanership” in DC in early 1983).

    But something else Mosef said about broadcast reporting could apply to print reporting, too: If you let journalists tell the stories that interest them, their READERS will find them interesting, too. That’s one of the reasons this ink-stained wretch took a buyout from newspapers a couple of years ago and moved on . . .

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  85. basset said on January 18, 2010 at 9:48 am

    MichaelG, you can actually get a good pizza in Clarksville – there’s a brewpub downtown which has an interesting approach, including a “Tunisian” pizza with garlic butter, honey, curry, and chicken.

    A manager came around as we were leaving after our raw-bacon experience and asked how our dinner had been – asked him, nicely, if that’s how they serve it and he just grumbled and looked disgusted, didn’t really answer.

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  86. basset said on January 18, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Just did some Googling and it looks like that nasty stuff is indeed served raw sometimes:

    I bow my head in shame at my ignorance and lack of sophistication.

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  87. brian stouder said on January 18, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I bow my head in shame

    Better that, then power washing your bowels till your head explodes.

    Re Overnight/Ellerbee – I also fondly remember that show. Didn’t Garrick Utley also host it? “And so it goes…” etc

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