Hero or fool?

Factoid of the day, unsourced, from a newspaper account of Detroit’s experience during the Great Depression:

But poverty had not diminished moral rectitude: a man who had accepted a charitable donation of a shirt returned the diamond cufflinks he found in the cuffs.

I’m the kind of sap who would do this. I’m guessing the man who donated the shirt would not.

Posted at 12:59 pm in Detroit life |

25 responses to “Hero or fool?”

  1. moe99 said on January 26, 2010 at 3:56 pm


    Just to make everyone’s day. The guy who surreptitiously filmed Acorn employees got cuaght trying to do a bit more ambitious tape of Sen. Mary Landrieu in New Orleans. FBI is investigating.

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  2. Sue said on January 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    The “Hale Boggs Federal Building Scandal” sounds so much more clumsy than the “Watergate Scandal”, doesn’t it?
    Apparently one of the young men is the son of a US Attorney.

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  3. Bob said on January 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Give Icarus cell-phone video, and he’s bound to fly too near the sun. Predicted fate of ACORN-buster: Plea deal, probation, GOP rehab stint as Focus on the Family’s Minister of Agitprop.

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  4. Hexdecimal said on January 26, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Nance – The unsourced line about the cuff links probably came from a back issue of Detroit News itself. The picture of the man carrying the sign wanting work [in the linked article] is also the same picture published in the (1969)Time/Life book titled “The Fabulous Century 1930/1940 – The Thirties”. It’s on page 48. The Book’s picture credits list it as coming from The Detroit News.

    After rereading the article I see at the bottom it says “This story was compiled using clip and photo files of the Detroit News.”

    BTW, The politics of hate that we’ve been living through the last 10 years seem eerily similar to the politics of the 1930s. The only thing different are the faces.

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  5. Jeff Borden said on January 26, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Fit Glenn Beck with Father Coughlin’s collar and voila.

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  6. coozledad said on January 26, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Bob: I was thinking he’s a shoe-in for AEI’s Al Jolson award. What a trifling little racist prick.

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  7. Julie Robinson said on January 26, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    We’re saps, too. When we found a $100 bill on the floor of a movie theater, we took it straight to the manager, and almost immediately an older man came up and described the distinctive way it was folded. It was his Christmas shopping money. The manager gave us some movie passes, but we didn’t do it for the reward. I could never have kept that money and slept at night.

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  8. Jeff Borden said on January 26, 2010 at 5:54 pm


    A little time in federal stir will be most enlightening for Mr. O’Keefe, who will find himself a tender little morsel among grizzlies.

    Those are big-time felony charges. It’s hard to see how there would be anything but some jail time if O’Keefe and the other three idiots are convicted, but as Bob notes, there always is the possibly of a plea bargain.

    Interesting, too, that one of these mopes is the son of a U.S. attorney. I guess dad forgot to explain that wire-tapping is illegal, huh?

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  9. coozledad said on January 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Jeff Borden: I don’t know how it is elsewhere in the US, but in the South, there’s a Brotherhood of Richard Nixon, Martyr. Wire-tapping is just one of the stations of the cross.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on January 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    He has his apologists everywhere. One of the most loathsome was the always irritating Ben Stein on the occasion of the death of the guy who was Deep Throat. In Stein’s view, Nixon was winning the war in Southeast Asia, but the Watergate scandal tripped him up, so a pox on Deep Throat because he caused Vietnam to fall, Pol Pot to rise, etc. etc. It was quite an amazing commentary delivered on CBS Sunday Morning, if I recall correctly.

    Just thinking about the bad old days of Richard M. Nixon reminds me even more of how pathetic our situation is these days. Senior members of Nixon’s own party went to him and asked him to resign, not for the good of the GOP, but for the nation. They were not interested in winning elections or extending power, but doing the right thing. Very few of those kinds of people live in Washington these days and we are all the worse for it.

    I tend to maintain a nice, low level of despair. My personal motto is, “Things can always get worse.” But I really wonder just what the &^%$ we’re going to do as a country.

    We lost 10 million jobs in the past decade and I see no way of creating 10 million new ones. Debt and entitlements are eating us alive. Our critical infrastructures –highways, bridges, railheads, waterways and ports, public buildings– are aging and decaying. Our public schools are a wreck in many places and our universities increasingly are beyond the means of all but the upper middle class. Consumer spending, which has driven our economy for so very long, is in the tank as Americans confront their big credit card bills. Housing is underwater.

    And what do we get from D.C.? Bullshit.

    I loathe the ideology behind the Tea Partiers, but I understand their anger. I’m pissed off, too, but it isn’t because I believe President Obama is a secret Muslim radical socialist. I’m ticked because I expected him to roll up his sleeves and get shit done, expend some of the political capital he earned with a solid majority in the 2008 election, rather than delegate it to the wankers and dilettantes in Congress.

    We may have officially hit permanent gridlock. We have recalcitrant Republicans on one hand and scaredy-assed Democrats on the other. How the hell does anything get done??

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  11. Bob said on January 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Jeff, Cooz: You’re probably right on the O’Keefe Prison Outlook. I’ve chatted that up with a couple of lawyers since I posted, and they say he’s well and deeply hosed. Sadly, prison time would ensure that he’d be embraced forever by the bitter Right as its Michael Moore, no matter how trivial his future video eavesdroppings.

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  12. Jeff Borden said on January 26, 2010 at 7:09 pm


    His chief enabler, Andrew Breitbart, remains silent, but in fairness, the Rage Imp, Michelle Malkin, lays the guy out in a bed of clover. When you offend a wingnut like Malkin, you have truly colored outside the lines.

    He’d better hope one of the rightwing welfare agencies gives him a hand. Finding employment with a federal felony conviction next to your name is extraordinarily difficult.

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  13. nancy said on January 26, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    As much as you hate to wish federal prison on what is probably a 90-percent-harmless young man, a stretch of folding the cell block’s laundry will likely do him good. The details of this escapade suggest he’s too stupid and arrogant to make it at his current level of self-awareness. Federal Pound-Me-in-the-Ass Prison will smarten him up quick.

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  14. beb said on January 26, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Nancy, no man or woman deserves to be raped in prison. That’s thinking along the lines of feeding the poor only makes them breed more.

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  15. nancy said on January 26, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Of course not. I was just stealing the line from “Office Space.” For a kid like that, just having to eat macaroni and cheese three days a week would be punishment enough.

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  16. brian stouder said on January 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Well, beb – granted; but I confess that I laughed.

    In all seriousness – I think that anyone in their right mind would not want to go to prison; in fact, the prospect of prison should induce enough fear to make a person think at least once (if not twice) before acting in such a way as to end up there. Trying to put an electronic device in a Federal building, especially in our post-9/11 times, would seem to qualify as a plainly obvious way to land in prison

    And indeed, it is genuinely remarkable that these extra-silly charlatans would risk prison in such a spectacularly stupid attempt to score the next big Youtube sensation or Fox-news tempest-in-a-teapot.

    By way of saying, joking about the consequences of ending up in some God-foresaken prison somewhere, for such a stupid act, is much like watching “Jackass” and laughing at the idiots who drive snowmobiles off of garage roofs or whatever other numbskull things they do.

    So beb – I’ll vote for you to win the best “get off my lawn” remark for today!

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  17. nancy said on January 26, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I’m struck by how ham-fisted this seems to have been. The staffer noticed he’s holding his phone so as to suggest he’s shooting video? They say things like, “There’s something wrong with the main line?” I think I could improv a better script for them after five martinis.

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  18. alex said on January 26, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Well, on the bright side, if he learns firsthand what a pain in the ass it is to be powerless and shafted by the system, maybe he’ll change his ugly politics.

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  19. Rana said on January 26, 2010 at 9:50 pm


    I have to agree with beb. Prison rape – hell, rape, period – really isn’t anything to wish on a person, even in jest. Acting as though it’s an inevitable part of a legal punishment just normalizes it, both in and out of prison. I know that wasn’t the intent here, but it does contribute to that way of thinking.

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  20. Deborah said on January 26, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    I had a typical e-mail conversation with my right wing sister who believes that the latest Supreme Court ruling is all about free speech. My response to her was if corporations are individual persons with all the rights of human beings does that mean they get to go to heaven. She hasn’t responded yet. I don’t think she will.

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  21. coozledad said on January 27, 2010 at 1:26 am

    For kids of his stripe, prison is a place for blacks. The blacks he coarsely lampooned with his shitty, half-assed Acorn stunt. Karma is a motherfucker, Ofay.
    Deborah: Ask your sister about Chinese or Russian corporations, or anonymous societies based in Yemen, Saudi Arabia or Dubai being able to launder their surfeit of petrodollars through US political campaigns. A person is a person, after all. It doesn’t matter to Hadassah Lieberman or Karl Rove where their pin money originates.

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  22. Dexter said on January 27, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Maybe O’Keefe will find inner happiness like William Macy’s “Edmond” found in the David Mamet play made into a movie, “Edmond”. This is the prison movie which set the standard for such films, I would say.

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  23. Sue said on January 27, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Deborah, assuming your sister is God-and-country right wing, use the comment I made the other day: when a corporation can stand next to you at a Memorial Day honor service – the services that take place in town squares and village cemeteries, the services intended to honor those who fought and died for our freedoms – then they have the same rights to free speech as she does. In the meantime, the SCOTUS just gave corporations the right to use profits usually made from individuals like her to try to influence elections. Tell her that the next time her bank jacks up some fee, she’s indirectly helping them try to push an election their way. Is that how she wants to participate in the election process?
    If that doesn’t work, tell her that the decision applies to unions as well. That should have you picking her up from the floor.

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  24. Sue said on January 27, 2010 at 9:45 am

    And re Mr. O’Keefe and Co., anyone want to speculate on which apologist first uses the words “youthful hijinks”? Because it kind of was, just based on arrogance rather than beer consumption and elevated to felony level.

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  25. brian stouder said on January 27, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Because it kind of was, just based on arro­gance rather than beer con­sump­tion and ele­vated to felony level.

    Well Sue, I’ll say that if I was in their shoes – I’d want YOU on my jury. As nearly as I understand this – four individuals were arrested, and they had bugging devices and remote receivers. I’ll grant you that this may sound more impressive (in a negative way) to an old guy like me; presumeably this sort of stuff can be purchased at Radio Shack for $100 (or wherever).

    Still – this sort of malicious incursion at a federal building, let alone upon a US Senator’s office (!) really cannot be laughed-off; particularly when one of the young men under arrest is the son of a United States Attorney, and would presumeably have some idea how seriously this sort of attack would be viewed. Afterall, at some point they would want to publicize their wire-tap results, and this would have lead to the same situation that they are now in, except that we would have the added impetus of another “security breach” story (ala the White House gate crashers)

    By way of saying, I see your point – even as I cannot help but view this as a genuinely troubling story

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