Costume party.

I can’t get over the known facts of this (like a good journo, I say: alleged) wiretapping attempt in Louisiana. Every part of it is a forehead-smacker, up to and including the priceless detail that this escapade is, hello, a felony, meaning right-wing hero James O’Keefe is now in very very big trouble. Which doesn’t make it any less funny.

If the facts of the case turn out to be anything like the allegations of the case, it’s pretty clear what happened here: A stupid, heedless young man, drunk on attention and looking for a followup to a coup that landed him on all the big Fox talk shows, made the mistake of assuming that because he’s smarter than a criminally dumb Acorn office worker, he’s smarter than everyone. You have to admire his logic: I was on “Fox & Friends,” ergo, I am smart. In a better world, his ridiculous pimp outfit alone would have gotten him laughed out of anything other than a Halloween party; instead, he got a hidden-camera scoop. And so he learned the lesson every reporter learns after his or her first big story: Sooner or later your editor is going to wander past your desk, stop and say, “So, what do you have coming for tomorrow?”

O’Keefe appears to have been lining up his second act when he and his buddies were arrested, “wearing jeans, fluorescent green vests, tool belts and hard hats.” Because that would fool anyone, right? Everybody needs a hard hat to work in an office phone closet.

I used to work with a bulldog of a reporter who once tried to sneak into a hospital ER — a homicide scene — wearing a white lab coat and carrying a clipboard. He was thrown out almost immediately, but it scored big A-for-effort points with the bosses and people called him “doctor” for a while afterward. It’s funny how disguises work: Badly, most of the time. You can go to the uniform-supply store and stock up, but you almost always get important details wrong. You forget the way nurses put stickers on their name tags. You wear the wrong shoes. (Maybe you’ve been watching “House” and assume all female physicians wear stilettos and plunging necklines, like Dr. Cuddy.) You forget to erase the expression from your face and give off a nervous vibe. There’s a reason good actors make good money. A believable impersonation is no small achievement.

That this ridiculous caper was attempted in the company of the son of a U.S. attorney only makes it funnier. Things may look grim for Democrats in 2010, but as long as there are young men like James O’Keefe in the world, we’ll always have entertainment.

A tangent, but it just popped into my head: I remember, in the film “Crumb,” a scene where Robert Crumb goes out making sketches of the little infrastructure details in American cities. He was about to move to France, and wanted to get them down so he wouldn’t forget to put them in the backgrounds of his drawings — high-tension wires, street lights, fire hydrants, concrete blocks at the end of parking places, all visual clutter we see-but-don’t, and only notice when they’re missing. That’s what people forget when they’re trying to be someone else.

A few years ago, I looked up from my desk in the newsroom to see Sen. Evan Bayh walking past, en route to a meeting with the editorial board. He is exactly what he appears to be in his photos — tall, slim, blonde*, blandly handsome in that vote-for-me kind of way. His suit fit him well without being overly European. If Hoosiers can be Brahmins, that’s what he looked like. Behind him scurried a number of aides, the lead one carrying all the hardware; his pants sagged from the weight of the multiple cell-phone holsters, pagers and PDAs he carried, this being before the era of consolidation in a single device. The way his navy-blue blazer stuck out at strange angles at his waist — that was the detail a costume designer trying to duplicate the look for a movie would struggle with. But it was the detail that established his station in life, the way Bayh’s slim weightlessness distinguished his own.

And with that, a discussion of misbehavior and one of the aide’s burden, we can segue neatly to the wisps of John Edwards’ dignity, blowing in the wind now that his own factotum is turning on him:

According to Young, (Reille) Hunter called him in May 2007 to say she was pregnant. Young says that when he informed Edwards, the senator told him to “handle it,” to which he replied: “I can’t handle this one.” Young writes that Edward unloaded on Hunter as a “crazy slut,” said they had an “open relationship,” and put his paternity chances at “one in three.” Young says that Edwards asked him for help persuading Hunter to have an abortion. Young writes that Hunter believed the baby to be “some kind of golden child, the reincarnated spirit of a Buddhist monk who was going to help save the world.”

Crazy Agnes of God believed she was carrying the Almighty’s baby. Crazy new-age girls believe they’re Buddha’s baby mama. It’s all crazy, and it’s all cringeworthy, through and through.

Guerrilla bridge-makers step up to do what city won’t. I’m intrigued to learn this pipe has been leaking across a New York City sidewalk for “years” — I thought that only happened in Detroit. Down near Alan’s office a couple years back, a broken water main leaked into the street for months on end before it was repaired, and the city’s jury-rig for the winter was to come down from time to time and dump a load of salt on it, simultaneously appalling and funny. When we went to Buenos Aires, I noticed how broken sidewalks and other pedestrian hazards were far less likely to be cordoned off with tape or marked by cones. Walk at your own risk! It’s a dangerous world out there.

And I must turn to work. Enjoy Hump Day, however you spend it.

* Hoosier readers object to the designation of Bayh as a blonde, and after examining the photo record, I think they’re right. I always picture him as sort of an ashy dark blonde in my head, but now his hair is dark brown. He’s almost certainly covering the gray; maybe going darker is more believable than keeping him light. Whatever, only his hairdresser knows for sure. Corrected.

Posted at 10:17 am in Current events |

53 responses to “Costume party.”

  1. brian stouder said on January 27, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Enjoy Hump Day, how­ever you spend it.

    Hah!! Just so you know, I’m stealing that one

    (it’s akin to the old George Carlin sportscaster line “for those of you scoring at home, and also if you’re alone”)

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  2. Jeff Borden said on January 27, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Your assessment of James O’Keefe is, I think, right on the money. The lure of the spotlight to a young man on the make looking to burnish his right-wing credentials must’ve been nearly impossible to ignore. And now, this laughably inept caper that is going to generate anything but chuckles in the homes of these four young douchemongers. Well, given the murderer of Dr. George Tiller is raking in donations from pro-lifers, perhaps the deeper-pocketed among greater wingnuttia will help these creeps defray their expenses. Or maybe not. A little time in stir –most likely at a minimum security facility but it is still prison– might benefit these children of privilege.

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  3. coozledad said on January 27, 2010 at 10:53 am

    My fear is that somehow, with the fundies clotting up the DOJ, they’ll find a way to deliberately mishandle the case so you get another prefab po white boy sob story.
    I hope not, but we live in a country where Gordon Liddy can not only walk around without fear of being stoned to death, he’s paid for his opinion.
    EDIT: “Loaded diapers” Vitter is already threatening to block the replacement for the Bushie DA and father of one the retarded telephone service guys.

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  4. Sue said on January 27, 2010 at 11:16 am

    “They then told the staffer they needed to perform repair work on the main phone system and asked where the telephone closet was located. The staffer showed the men to the main General Services Administration office on the 10th floor, and Flanagan and Basel went in. There, a GSA employee asked for the men’s credentials. They said they left them in their vehicle.
    The U.S. Marshal’s Service apprehended all four men shortly thereafter.”

    This does not make Landrieu’s office staff look particularly bright, either. No one asked for IDs until they had been in at least two separate offices in the building? That should be standard training, right, especially in a Federal Building? Maybe one staffer was calling the cops while the other got them out of the office.

    The article seems to indicate that Mr. O’Keefe still hasn’t realized the magnitude of the trouble he’s in. “The truth shall set me free”? Whose truth, sweetheart?

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  5. Jeff Borden said on January 27, 2010 at 11:18 am

    C’mon, Cooz! We all know “Diaper Dave” Vitter is a staunch defender of traditional family values and an avowed enemy of Nazihomoliberalsocialistfascisteducatedelitistfeminists. Can’t a brother take his pants down with a prostitute once in awhile if he is doing all that good work?

    You ever wonder how many of our 100 senators are really just stupid people? I think I could stop 10 folks on the streets of Chicago and they’d be smarter, on average, than Vitter, John Ensign or James Imhofe, who truly seems almost too dumb to breathe and walk at the same time. Think about it. There are only 100 of these jobs and a significant proportion of them are performed by people who are so dumb they need to remind themselves not to look up at the rain lest they drown.

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  6. Sue said on January 27, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Oh, let’s have some humor, shall we?

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  7. moe99 said on January 27, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Nance, your description of Bayh could have been of the ex as well. The guy, who for most of our marriage couldn’t exercise because of his two bad knees, now is a fitness and tanning booth hound. And Italian loafers and very nice suits. I should use all the photos of him from when we were first married and he was still wearing double knits and had his gold front tooth, as blackmail if he runs for governor in 2012 as is rumored!

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  8. brian stouder said on January 27, 2010 at 11:51 am

    moe – I’d hang on to all that stuff, and at precisely the right moment, sell it to TMZ (or whoever).

    If he looks like he’s going to win, that ‘right moment’ might be a month after his election

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  9. paddyo' said on January 27, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    The SETI project thing reads like The Onion, doesn’t it, Sue? Ahh, science . . .

    I know these undercover-disguise capers work only on TV and in movies, but a lot of places still have poorly paid, distracted rent-a-cops minding the front desk, even post-9/11. I guess it’s too tempting, even for a former fake pimp . . .

    Though I never participated in such a scheme for a news story, I did have a part in a successful, no-harm-no-foul caper 20 years ago last month in the then-highly charged “newspaper war” between The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News.

    The Rocky, No. 1 in circulation at the time, had outbid the syndicated “Garfield” comic strip out from under The Post earlier that year. It celebrated at Xmastime by planting giant, two-dimensional figures of the fat cat (in a Santa hat) and his canine pal Odie atop the newspaper’s wedding-cake-tiered rooftop downtown. Looking out our newsroom window from The Post about four blocks away became too much for one of my colleagues, who hatched our plan to put an equally giant copy of The Post in Odie’s mouth.

    On the appointed morning, Jim and I walked through the front lobby of The Rocky, both in overalls and he in a Rocky ballcap. We carried a red toolbox (with a camcorder inside) and an aluminum extension ladder (Garfield and Odie were one level up from the unlocked, 3rd-floor patio where we were headed). The guards waved us through and we took the elevator.

    Five minutes behind us, fellow reporter Jennifer carried a giant package, 4 feet by 8 feet, wrapped in butcher paper and a big red bow. The guards even held the door for her. She told them it was “for the Christmas party.”

    We all met on the patio, raised the ladder, and Jennifer and Jim hung the “newspaper” (painted on a sheet of foamcore with The Post’s mast and a “MERRY XMAS” headline by my then-wife, an artist) in the cartoon dog’s mouth while I videotaped.

    Another reporter, Michelle, waited curbside downstairs in our getaway vehicle. Across the street, one of our staff photographers took pix, and one or two of the local TV stations got footage. Our gift stayed up there for more than an hour of the morning rush until men in suits and ties hurriedly scurryied out on the roof to tear it down.

    We like to think it helped us turn around the circulation war (for the time being, anyway). It sure was a morale booster in our shop . . . probably not the outcome for little pimpboy Mr. O’Keefe.

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  10. Sue said on January 27, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    paddyo’ that is a great story. Do any pictures survive anywhere?

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  11. deb said on January 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    my favorite factoid from the latest john edwards revelation was his (alleged) directions to his aide to steal one of the baby’s diapers so he could do his own paternity test with the DNA. poor elizabeth. she really is married to a monster.

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  12. nancy said on January 27, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    The key detail in Paddy’s story is “over 20 years ago.” That’s when you could walk around in coveralls with an extension ladder and get away with stuff. You ought to see the hoops you have to jump through to get into an office building in downtown Detroit these days. Some of it’s crime, but most it’s the old “in the wake of 9/11…” Sometimes I think the terrorists really did win that day.

    There’s a funny story about Mike Peters, the cartoonist, coming in to a meeting of the Dayton Daily News editors via the window, wearing a Superman suit, from at least that long ago, and maybe a few more decades.

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  13. deb said on January 27, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    re reporters in disguise, an editor i once worked for directed a baby-faced twentysomething to hang out in an area of the city with a lot of gay bars and “see what happens.” that was about the extent of his instructions.

    the kid spent an uncomfortable night lounging on street corners, fending off advances and inquiries like “hey, how much?” (his response: “more than you can afford,” which might have been enough to collar him if the questioner had been a cop.) it’s a miracle he came back to the newsroom with his virtue intact.

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  14. Jeff Borden said on January 27, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Great story, Paddyo.

    I was never all that clever, but when I covered the police beat, I took pains to look like a plainclothes detective. I would pull up at a crime scene in a car festooned with antennas and emerge in a cheap sport coat, slacks and tie. My hair was neatly trimmed and sans beard back then. I even bought a metal clipboard that looked like the ones the police carried. Any civilian who saw me would generally assume I was with the P.D. and talk to me when I asked questions.

    I was very young and callow –really right out of college– and did not recognize (or maybe I hid it from myself)that I was being unethical by not identifying myself as a reporter straight up. I figured if bystanders thought I was a cop, great. If they asked, I was honest. Nancy knows the old bird I was working for at the time, a guy who wanted results and who advised me time and again to never ask for permission to do anything at a crime scene. His dictate was that if the cops told me to stop, I was to take two more steps.

    The whole gambit collapsed when the newspaper decided to quit buying its own press cars, which traditionally were white four-door sedans equipped with radios, scanners, etc. in favor of leased Buick Century two-doors. Nobody in Columbus would buy the idea that coppers were driving around in flashy Buicks.

    Nance’s edit: He would also call from the press room at police HQ and say, “This is Borden down at police headquarters. What’s going on?” Not a lie, but not the whole truth. People fell for it all the time.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on January 27, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Ouch. I forgot about that one. It was an incredible time saver, given how frequently 7-11’s were robbed. Still, not one of my proudest moments.

    Nance: Oh, don’t go having second thoughts now, you pussy. Borden also taught me this old trick: “Can we have a photo of the deceased, ma’am? …Oh, that’s a nice one. …So is that one. …Say, do you mind if I take all these pictures with me back to the newspaper, so our photo editor can choose the best one? We want your son to look his best.” And then, when the C-J or a TV station rolled by to do their interview, all the pictures were in the hands of the competition. Just remembering it makes me want to put on my fedora and yell COPY!

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  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Nothing got uncommunicative people to talk to you faster than nodding understandingly and saying “Sure, I see you aren’t ready to talk to anyone; is there anyone else you think I could talk to about him/her/them?”

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  17. Michael said on January 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    In 1972 I was an undergraduate and summoned to be Senator Birch Bayh’s driver for the day when he was in town to speak at the annual Jefferson Jackson Day dinner. He was exploring a presidential bid and making the rounds. I was surprised several months later to get a call from his office asking me to accompany the Senator as aide de-camp when he appeared at a political meeting in Marquette in Michigan’s upper peninsula. I met his plane at Detroit’s Metro Airport and we went to an executive hanger and got in a four seater for the flight north. I was in the co-pilot seat consciously keeping my hands in my lap lest I actually touch any of the controls.

    I spent the day taking notes, collecting business cards and just standing by in the event anything was needed. One of the good Democratic ladies gave the Senator a blueberry pie and I brought it back to his hotel room.

    The only time he was out of my sight that day was when he said I’m going to call my son, Evan. This was the pre-cell phone era and making a phone call required the act of finding a phone. He made it a point to say that where ever he was he always called his son at the same time every day. That made a huge impression on me. It’s a practice I followed with my own son.

    At the end of a long day of smoozing Sen. Bayh and I had a late dinner at the Big Boy. He gave me a sly look and said “I don’t think they will miss that fork if you pick it up and put it in your pocket.” I was confused. “Don’t you remember, there’s a blueberry pie back in my room”.

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  18. beb said on January 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Nance, Jeff B., you guys are putting me in the mood to watch His Gal Friday. I didn’t think the newspaper biz was as outrageous as that movie made it out to be.

    I think the comment that O’Keefe ought to have known better because his dad was a USA has it exactly backwards. That no crime exists unless a USA decides that it was a crime. I’m not saying his father would have refused to prosecute just that there’s a lot of slop and arbitrariness to prosecution.

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  19. paddyo' said on January 27, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Sue, somewhere the black-and-white photos do survive, but not online. I’ve got one framed at home; guess I should scan it or something. A nice pic did run in Westword, Denver’s alt-weekly, with appropriately snarky cutline dinging both papers. No idea, though, if it’s in any online archive. I suspect not, seeing as mid-December 1989 was still firmly rooted in the Dark Ages of snip-tearsheet-and-file-in-an-envelope newspaper archiving.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on January 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm


    When I entered the business, there were really two kinds of newspaper people. Folks like me and the proprietress, who had attended journalism school, and those who had come by their writing and reporting skills simply by doing it for many years. Many of those older guys were damned fine reporters and scribblers who had a lot to share.

    One guy was famous for writing a story about a high-profile case in which the defendant was acquitted. The jury had been sequestered, and had gone out to dinner to an Italian restaurant before returning to ponder the case. This guy wrote a lead that read something like. . .”filled with spaghetti bolognese and reasonable doubt, the jury in the Joe Dokes case found him not guilty.” As Kenny Banyon might say, “This is gold, Jerry, gold!”

    This same fellow was a hopeless alcoholic by the time I got to Columbus, so they tried to squeeze as much work out of him before lunch, when he would retire to the State & 4th Grill for a lunch of gin and tonics.

    Today’s press corps is much better educated and far better behaved. I’ll withhold judgment on whether they are as much fun to hang around.

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  21. paddyo' said on January 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Oh — and hey Nance and Jeff B.: Not to get all fedora-and-inky about it, but I’ve always loved the term we all used for those photos-of-the-deceased. It turned up on the daily news budget, and in every conversation between city desk and night cops guy: “Piano art.”

    Whoever went to see the grieving relatives usually found that their favorite pic of the beloved departed was framed (or suitable for such) and sat atop the family’s living-room piano (or bureau or mantelpiece). I guess today it’s, “Wait a sec, I’ve got about 200 pictures of him here on my iPhone. What’s your email address?”

    And Beb, “His Gal Friday” is wonderful, but so is “Deadline U.S.A.” — Humphrey Bogart as hard-bitten newspaper editor, and the absolute best closing scene for a newspaper movie ever:

    Presses rolling with the big expose’, and Bogie shouting into the telephone to the crime boss subject of said blockbuster story:

    “That’s the press, baby, the press, and there’s nothing you can do about it, nothing . . . “

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  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 27, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Or “Citizen Kane” . . . (and I unashamedly like “Continental Divide,” which did at least do some shooting inside the old Sun-Times newsroom)

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  23. moe99 said on January 27, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Brian, The photos plus the graphic emails he sent his (unknown to me) girlfriend in TN while we were still married, and he in his first election campaign making a big deal about family values, should do the trick.

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  24. brian stouder said on January 27, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    moe – you may get the chance to say to him

    “That’s the press, baby, the press, and there’s noth­ing you can do about it, nothing”

    Make sure to ‘Bogie’ it up, a little

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  25. Jeff Borden said on January 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm


    Bogey as an editor kills. It’s a great little flick. I also have a soft spot in my heart for the dull but earnest Jack Webb film, “30.” There’s a great scene where David Nelson (Ozzie and Harriet’s kid) is mocking the whole enterprise, which occurs during a hellish rainstorm in Los Angeles that has swept a young child into the drain system. Webb delivers this blistering,passionate tirade about the importance of the press and lays the young whelp out in a bed of clover.

    A newspaper movie to avoid despite its pedigree is Ron Howard’s “The Paper.” Absolute garbage despite a stellar cast. Give it a very, very wide berth.

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  26. paddyo' said on January 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Hey, no shame in “Continental Divide,” JTMMO . . . the Royko-esque Belushi was a hoot, and as a bonus, the lovely Blair Brown. Every Colorado 14’ers climber’s end-of-the-trail fantasy . . .

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  27. Dorothy said on January 27, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    brian @ 1: for some reason this line from a Woody Allen movie just popped into my head and I can’t stop smiling about it.

    (Woody after having sex with a woman): That’s the most fun I’ve ever had without laughing!

    Speaking of hair color, I accidentally switched the channel to Wheel of Fortune last night and noticed that Pat Sajak has become a redhead! Talk about bad dye jobs, it looked ridiculous.

    My husband and I love “Continental Divide.” Belushi was so good in it, as was Blair Brown. Have you seen her lately? I think I caught her in an episode of Law & Order not long ago.

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  28. Deborah said on January 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I love it when you guys talk about newspaper journalism. Keep it up.

    More Verizon woes, I spent another hour on the phone with them today. Earlier this week or late last, I got a letter from the fraud department that the phone that was ordered and sent to another address had been removed from my account as not my fault and all was well with the world. But I had still not been sent a bill for what I really owe for normal services. So today we get a notice via text that our bill is unpaid and our service is about to be cut off. The total they said we owed still included that phone that was scammed and on top of that something called an equipment charge because after 30 days of purchase that phone was never activated. I was boiling mad that no one even mentioned the equipment charge earlier. As soon as this gets straightened out I am getting an iphone with ATT. Not that ATT is much better but this is driving me crazy. If you’re thinking about going with Verizon, think again.

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  29. Jessica said on January 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    On the details thing – anybody remember a science fiction story from the late 60s where a time traveler is nabbed because he sits down but doesn’t do that thing guys do where they pluck the top of their trouser legs to pull them up a bit for comfort?

    Fading memory says it is a Heinlein, but that’s just fading memory.

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  30. Sue said on January 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Deborah, have you considered contacting your local paper or TV station(s) to see if they have a consumer advocate? The threat of tv or print exposure sometimes gets things moving before a company has a chance to ruin your credit rating.

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  31. Dexter said on January 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    My vote goes to Bogie. That was a great film; TCM showed it last fall.
    This has been a great thread. Thanks to you folks who shared your J-stories, very enjoyable reading.
    The first TV editor from my childhood was the great John Hamilton, Perry (DON’T call me CHIEF!!) White of the Metropolis Daily Planet. I loved the Mike Peters anecdote that nance posted.

    I see it’s almost a year yet until The Gray Lady starts a modest pay-to-read plan. It won’t be at all like the failed TimesSelect deal. Only regular readers will be made to pay. We’ll get a few hits for free per month, then access will be denied until we pony up. Fair enough.

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  32. Bob (not Greene) said on January 27, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Oh my God, O’Keefe is such a sanctimonious, self-righteous doofus:

    Asked to comment, O’Keefe said only, “Veritas,” which is Latin for “truth.”

    This is what happens when you start believing your press clippings. Dope.

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  33. ROgirl said on January 27, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Dorothy, I’ve been trying to figure out why Pat looks so funny lately (he was on celebrity Jeopardy and did really well). I thought his head and face were looking kind of squinched into each other and the forehead is very wide and unlined. Maybe he’s had some work done, too.

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  34. Jeff Borden said on January 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Well, here’s another reason I’m not unhappy to be out of journalism. Mr. O’Keefe declares himself “a journalist.” Yep. And I am the Queen of France. Honest.

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  35. paddyo' said on January 27, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I’m with you, Dexter — I get home delivery, 7 days a week, of the NYT, and it’s ridiculously expensive. But I love that damned paper, and if I can just wean myself from the idea of the newsprint by then and still pay fairly for the online content, I’ll probably go that way come 2011.

    Except, maybe, for the Sunday dead-tree edition, even if it’s no longer quite the whale-sized mound of information that it once was.

    Actually, the Sunday LA Times WAS called “the whale” back in the day. A mighty Cetacean of paper and ink, it landed on your porch (or in my dad’s geraniums) like a beached whale. Hell, it probably made the Richter Scale jump, too.

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  36. brian stouder said on January 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    This is what hap­pens when you start believ­ing your press clip­pings. Dope.

    Thought experiment:

    Imagine if some self-righteous black fellow had been caught doing exactly the same thing at Senator McConnell’s office, as this O’Keefe oaf and his crew of screw-ups were attempting at Senator Landrieu’s. Further imagine that one of the self-righteous fellow’s colleagues was the son of a public official that the White House was defending against replacement; or – for that matter, that the kid was related to Rev Wright in some way.

    And just to top it off, imagine our black ring-leader declaring himself a ‘freedom fighter for the truth’, and that he was given to pithy one-word declarations (maybe instead of the slightly snooty “veritas”, he would say something slightly gritty like “truth bomb”)

    What would be happening, right now?

    My guess is that the right-wing air waves would be black with screeching flying monkeys, and Fox News would again be directly organizing street thugs to carry silly signs and spew hate, and McConnell (et al) would be tossing off remarks about “What did the White House know, and when did they know it?”, etc etc etc

    Just thought this was worth mentioning. so that we can stay fair and balanced in our reaction to Fox-gate.

    edit: on the other hand, there’s the “There’s something going on” crowd, like this

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  37. Jeff Borden said on January 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Those looking to wallow in the sad plight of James O’Keefe might want to visit Facebook. Someone has set up a page suggesting Mr. O’Keefe be waterboarded and the number of volunteers for this duty is rising hourly.

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  38. Ronbo said on January 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Like I said in the article from my blog you linked to –

    “Senator Landrieu was concerned that her offices had been bugged by FBI, on Holder’s orders? (and therefore on Obama’s orders?).

    Somehow this concern was communicated to William J. Flanagan (US attorney for western Louisiana).

    In turn, he accidentally or purposely reveal this information to his son, Robert.

    Robert then conspired with O’Keefe and a couple of other conservative wise-guys to reveal the FBI wiretapping operation.

    Their plan? A purposely clumsy attempt to pose as telephone repairmen and tamper with the phones. They knew that if the FBI had wiretapped the phones, the FBI would be there in a matter of minutes.

    At which point O’Keefe would use his cell phone to make a video of the FBI agents showing up.

    In other words, O’Keefe, etc may have been springing a trap.”

    It looks like Ole Jimmy O’Keefe has taken a leaf out of the Watergate playbook and turned it against you guys, and boy are you are folks yelling FOUL!

    Turnabout is fair play in love and civil war.

    What Ole Jimmy did down Dixie way may have started the ball rolling for impeachment of Obama in Phonegate.

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  39. joodyb said on January 27, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    more re hair color, because yes, i am just that superficial: Here in the land of 10,000 blonds, I’ve been told more than once that natural (scando-type) blondes/blonds darken as they age, sted of graying. i have no scientific basis in fact for this.
    more germane trivia: present AP style dictates that ‘blond’ is the term for a male with blond hair as well as the adj form; ‘blonde’ is the noun for females.

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  40. Dexter said on January 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    paddyo’ :
    Keep up with the Sunday Times. That will qualify you for all-access online content, the way the plans currently are laid out for 2011.

    Anybody like Jazz? Diana Krall:

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  41. Jeff Borden said on January 27, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I wonder if anyone in the NN.C community can come up with a great name for these four brave* young conservative warriors? The best I can conjure is the thoroughly hackneyed Four Stooges.

    *not brave enough to enlist, of course, because they are too valuable to the conservative movement, lol.

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  42. brian stouder said on January 27, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Well, I cheated and went to this site for some Louisiana lingo –

    and came up with

    1. The self-Boucherie Crew (pronounced “BOO sher ee”)

    2. The Gumbo Ya Ya Gang

    3. The Pauve ti bete teabaggers (POVE tee bet)

    1. Boucherie: a cooperative slaughtering with each member furnishing his share of the animals

    2. Gumbo Ya Ya: When everybody talks at once

    3. Pauve ti bete: Poor little thing

    I think #2 is the one I’d pick

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  43. Rana said on January 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Jessica, that does sound like the kind of thing Heinlein might have written.

    It also reminds me of that bit in Huckleberry Finn? Tom Sawyer? where the male protagonist is hiding by dressing in girls’ clothing, but flubs it when a ball is tossed to him. He brings his knees together to catch it (he is sitting) while a girl of that time would have opened her knees to allow it to land in her skirt. As a kid I always found that interesting, because I would have done the “boy” thing, not having grown up wearing nothing but skirts.

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  44. brian stouder said on January 27, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    And speaking of the Gumbo Ya Ya gang – it appears that the gumbo will continue to thicken

    the lead:

    One of four men arrested on Tuesday for attempting to interfere with the telephones at the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu previously worked for a U.S. intelligence-funded program to train would-be American spies, Declassified has learned.

    One more excerpt:

    Online postings indicate that in April 2008 the program held a “colloquium” on “intelligence support for the War on Terrorism” at which at least three serving intelligence officials spoke: Ted Gistaro, the top terrorism analyst on the National Intelligence Council; an official named Joe Brittain of the National Counterterrorism Center; and an unnamed representative from WINPAC, a CIA office responsible for collecting and analyzing intelligence related to weapons of mass destruction. The daylong event ended with a reception featuring recruiters from various U.S. agencies, including NSA, CIA, and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Dai’s e-mail is listed on the program as a contact point for the symposium. Pauley said that she did not know what qualifications Dai had when he was hired to be the program’s assistant director, and she said that he left Trinity when the DNI grant that financed it ended. She said the program was entirely funded by money from the intelligence czar’s office. Other online postings, some of which are linked here indicate that Dai was a speaker at a “CIA day” last summer that was arranged by Georgetown University’s “Junior Statesmen Summer School”.

    things that make you go “hmmmmmmmm”

    (if this was a dime novel, this screwed up Op at the Federal building would lead straight back to Dick Cheney’s undead/rogue/shadow governmental apparatus)

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  45. Sue said on January 27, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    You can call them the Po’ Boys, because poor boys is how this will be spun, but that’s an insult to Louisiana cuisine. Something referencing the Village People would be amusing, but I’m not creative that way. Coozledad, step up, please.

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  46. beb said on January 27, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    The Gang That Couldn’t Wiretap straight.

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  47. coozledad said on January 27, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    The only thing I can come up with is “Pimpz 2 Linemen 2 McNuggets”.
    “I am a lineman for the party
    and I’ve got no defense
    My lawyer’s reaching up his ass for something that makes sense.
    We thought we’d tap into some wires
    we thought we’d get a show on Fox
    Now we’re Chicken McNuggets
    When we’re not busting rocks.”

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  48. Linda said on January 27, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    James Wolcott said it best:
    I mean, what are the odds that a white conservative provocateur dressing up in a pimp outfit might be judgment-impaired, huh?

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  49. alex said on January 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Gumbo Ya Ya. Sounds like OB/GYN war stories, kinda like the journos reminiscing above.

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  50. Dexter said on January 28, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Before anyone gets all upset over the internet storm Chris Matthews created last night with his “…I forgot he was black…” rant, see the clarification he made on Rachel Maddow’s show a little later. Matthews is a good guy, not a racist or dumbass.
    The clarification:

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  51. beb said on January 28, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Chris matthews is like a guy with Tourettes. He just spontaneously blurts out these disturbing offence comments. He should be retired.

    I can’t bear to listen to politicans give speeches so I never watch SOTU addresses. On the other hand I really loved the translation of the speech given by cultureoftruth at

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  52. brian stouder said on January 28, 2010 at 8:23 am

    I saw Chris’s moment, and it made me wince, too.

    Beb is right – Matthews gets on a roll and blurts things out in a sort of free-verse style. On his daily show, he asks a question of this or that guest, and then barrels right over any attempt they might make at an answer – so as to deliver his own.

    After President Obama’s address, Matthews was keyed-up and excited, and in complimenting the president’s efforts he made that ham-fisted racial reference, from which there was no good road back out again.

    But I do enjoy set-piece political oratory!

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  53. Ricardo said on February 1, 2010 at 12:23 am

    I hope they make O’Keefe wear that fur coat when he is in prison.

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