Johnny Weir, his Wikipedia bio (locked to further editing until “disputes are resolved,” hmm) tells us he is a Russophile who taught himself to speak and read Russian. Well, that explains a lot — why his name is written on his skates in Cyrillic letters, why he speaks to his Russian coach in Russian, why his signs of the cross just before performing have a certain Orthodox flavor to them, perhaps even why, when he looks at the ceiling and gives thanks for not turning his triple Axel into a spinning buttfall*, you can clearly read his lips saying, “спасибо” — “spasibo” for those of you who don’t have the Cyrillic keyboard set installed, or, in ‘merican, “thanks.”
* “spinning buttfall” — phrase attributed to Dave Barry
I love Johnny Weir. I love how people want to ask him if he’s gay. Why do you even need to ask? Isn’t it obvious? Although it’s true, in a world where gay people have joined the mainstream and a fair number of them look, speak and act just like us, that some are still unnerved by how unlike-us he is. You’re not one of them Anderson Cooper-type queers, are you, you can sense them asking. Well, hell no. He’s fierce! He’s fabulous! When I look at him, I think of the line from “Little Big Man,” after Dustin Hoffman has returned to the Indian tribe of his boyhood and re-met Little Horse, his very sensitive chum with the great feathers: He had become a “heemanee” for which there ain’t no English word. Johnny Weir is a heemanee; there is no English word.
Anyway, I thought he got robbed. I was really pulling for him, and I thought he put on a fine show, and yes, I speak as one of those every-four-years skating fans, which is to say, I can’t tell a triple Axel from a triple toe loop, although I think I finally know a triple Lutz when I see one — the knee sticks out. Both the Lutz and the Axel are named for the skaters who first did them. And that’s about what I know. But that’s OK, because Scott Hamilton and Dick Button are both excellent color commentators. I encourage you to read this story on Button, the transcript of an NPR story that aired a couple days ago. Button’s opinion on Weir is one I can respect (the fierce costumes and “conservative” skating are like “two feet going off in opposite directions,” and hence the low scores).
When Button leaves us, I hope Weir gets that job. We need a heemanee’s take on the figs.
OK, then. I’m writing about figure skating to avoid writing about Angry Joe Stack, the kamikaze pilot. The question now seems to be whether the attack was or wasn’t terrorism. Hmm. I’m going to stake my position out thusly: It depends. The attack is roughly parallel to what Tim McVeigh did in OKC, with one major difference — I don’t think Stack identified himself as part of a movement, although lord knows there are many more out there exactly like him. McVeigh’s attack wasn’t a suicide bombing because he hoped to do it again. He thought he had compadres out there who would join him in his helter-skelter homemade revolution. (He did and he didn’t, and I recommend “American Terrorist,” out of print but still widely available from used bookstores and presumably your public library, as the best single book on the subject. No flashy theories, no big-journo showboating, just dense with facts by two plodding, diligent reporters.)
A lot depends on how those others react to this, and we’ve seen from past events that frequently one crazy asshole with a big idea gives a lot of other crazy assholes the strength to carry out their own big ideas. I know this sounds muddled, but all I can say is, like pornography, I know terrorism when I see it, and while I see some of it here, it doesn’t appear to be clear-cut. It will likely lead to more security in government buildings, however, which are already secured to the point of a Detroit liquor store. Expect paying a call on the Social Security or IRS or even the post office to become even more of a pain in the ass.
This is maybe more of a question for Pilot Joe, but I wonder what sort of attention general aviation gets from law enforcement these days. I wonder what’s stopping the Black Sunday scenario. It would appear the answer is: Not much.
With that, I’m sure I’ve irritated enough of you that it’s time to make an exit. Still much to do today. Much to do over the weekend. Much to do, period.
Bob (not Greene) said on February 19, 2010 at 11:20 am
I was mulling the is-he-a-terroist thing yesterday as well, and the best I could come up with is, “not yet.”
Unless there’s evidence to the contrary, I believe he was a desperate, deranged man who finally went off the deep end after a very long walk toward the cliff. The fact that he used a means of expressing his rage that has been linked to terrorists doesn’t automatically make him a terrorist in my mind.
Now, if it turns out he was part of some organized anti-government militia or had sought flight training funded by the Taliban in Pakistan or some homegrown paramilitary group, then OK it’s terrorism. I don’t think the shootings at West Virginia or Columbine were terrorism either. Crazy guys with guns.
On the other hand, if this act somehow fuels some movement that needed something to rally around, I guess I could move this into the terrorism column from its current position in the probably-not-terrorism column.
At this point, in my mind, it’s simply “terrible.”
Jeff Borden said on February 19, 2010 at 11:23 am
Bad economic times bring out the worst in most of us. When you already are halfway wackadoodle, the result can be crashing an airplane into a federal building.
The target brings to mind Timothy McVeigh, but otherwise, I see few similarities. McVeigh was heavily influenced by the racist claptrap of “The Turner Diaries,” which celebrated the overthrow of the U.S. government by white supremacists. He and his fellow dim bulb losers honestly thought the Oklahoma City bombing would light the fuse of white power. Stack seems more like someone who “went postal” over slights real and perceived and decided to take his revenge. I don’t know if this action fits the general description of terrorism. Stack was on a suicide mission and he wanted to take out the tax collectors.
These nuts are always among us, but the grinding recession, high unemployment, incendiary public rhetoric and lust for the mantle of victimhood are increasing the likelihood they will act on their sick fantasies.
Quite honestly, I fear for the census workers this year. All this anti-government talk. . .congressional Republicans like Michelle Bachmann casting dark aspersions on the underlying purpose of the census. . .the reemergence of the nutty militia groups. . .the fact that many census takers may well be young minorities unable to find any other kind of employment. . .would all seem to be a recipe for real danger.
Joe Kobiela said on February 19, 2010 at 11:31 am
To answer Nancy’s question on G.A. security, not much. That is one of the selling points on charter and corprate flying. We don’t make you get undressed to fly, however the differance is we generaly know who are passengers are. We pilots also tend to be self policeing when it comes to people wandering around airports. This suicide, and I call it that because it wasn’t a terrorist act, was one twisted guy and not a reason to shutdown g.a. flying. He could have caused much more damage by using a truck or car bomb than flying a Piper into the side of a building. Could someone steal a plane and fly it into a sporting event or public gathering? Absolutly, but someone could steal a boat and fill it with explosives and park it under the Golden Gate bridge and blow it up. I guess what I’m trying to say is, we don’t need to employ any more restrictions on airplanes than we already have.
4dbirds said on February 19, 2010 at 11:36 am
I’ve been a wage slave most of my life and I’m asking a real question here. Are we truly overtaxed in the U.S.? I’ve never felt that way and I’m someone who found myself with a 14K tax bill that I had to pay off over a couple of years. The IRS didn’t hound me. They said I owed it, I did and I made payment arrangements. Maybe it’s because my dad was career army and I made a career of the army that I have a respect for the federal government and what it can do (build dams, rebuild countries, deliver a highway system, power to rural areas etc). I have never had to tell my kids they couldn’t eat because my taxes are too high. I don’t get it.
EDIT: I watched the skating only for Johnny Weir, but I thought the Russian should have won.
ROgirl said on February 19, 2010 at 11:40 am
The other thing that sets him apart from the likes of McVeigh is that he set fire to his own house while his family was still in it before setting off on his airplane ride. A conflation of the murder-suicide scenario carried out by disturbed men (usually) with the burning hatred, resentment and eventual orgy of violence against the demonized enemy, be it the federal government or a former boss or employer. The means of action against his enemy was clearly inspired by the 9-11 hijackers, which brings it into the realm of terrorism, but it’s an indirect connection rather than his raison d’attaque.
Jeff Borden said on February 19, 2010 at 11:47 am
Like you, I found myself owing a considerable amount to the IRS when I took a buyout from my old employer. I was actually astonished at how lenient my treatment was and how helpful the IRS representatives were on the phone. Like you, I paid it off in installments with a very modest penalty.
Taxation is in the eye of the beholder. I have many Canadian friends and they often chafe at all the rules, regulations, taxes and fees and intrusive law enforcement in Ontario province. But they do not worry about paying for the education of their children (or themselves), about what will happen to them when they become seriously ill, about the safety of their bridges, tunnels and roadways due to deferred maintenance, about how they will survive in their golden years.
Is that peace of mind worth sky high taxes? Or would you prefer to keep as much of your own money as possible, knowing that when the time comes for college or a quadruple bypass heart surgery, you’d better have significant money in the bank?
Deborah said on February 19, 2010 at 12:08 pm
On our trip to Finland last summer we found that the Finns seemed perfectly fine about paying their sky high taxes, at least the ones we met. It just seemed to be part of their culture to care about each other in that way. We also toured their version of a “Federal Social Security Administration” building in Helsinki because it’s a famous example of architecture designed by Alvar Aalto. It seemed to be an agency the Finns have a lot of respect for.
Sue said on February 19, 2010 at 12:08 pm
Funny how the discussion immediately revolved around the “terrorist/nonterrorist” aspect of the situation. That’s the first thing anyone thinks of these days when a mentally-ill person finally loses it. No discussion, no reporting on the state of mental health care in this country, or the stigma attached to mental illness, or anything that might actually address or call attention to a root cause of some of the spectacular workplace/public/home violence we’ve been seeing. Nope, just “can we label him a terrorist, and if so, who can we blame for it”.
Thank goodness we finally have a legislated mental health parity act to force insurers to cover mental illness equally (as of January 1). Too bad it’s only for group policies (50 employees or more), and too bad the people who most need that kind of parity often can’t get it at any price, because they are least likely to be employed in that kind of setting and so would be denied coverage for their pre-existing condition. I’ve never read Kafka, but even I know the term ‘kafkaesque” applies here.
paddyo' said on February 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm
I can’t believe anybody is even mentioning “terrorism” in this case — but then, it’s one of those favorite words of the finger-pointing, big-mouth blah-blah-babies of the cable news commentariat. Sheesh. Jeff Borden beat me to the word, but yes, this guy simply “went postal,” sort of. Can’t we just accept that lone wingnuts lose it on their own now and then? Hey, ain’t it the American way?
After 9/11, my editors got all lathered up about the potential for “terrorism in the heartland.” Since my bureau was in Denver, I became the logical go-to guy for the first go-round of the nascent Homeland Security beat. Off I went to check on everything from the security of feedlots and slaughterhouses (hitting us where we, uh, eat) against chemical/bio-warfare/poisoning plot scenarios . . . to the safety of the cropdusting fleet against all those Jihadists itching to spray anthrax, sarin and other imperialisticides upon us all.
Which is to say, it seemed like general aviation got about five minutes of attention (plus bonus minutes because some of the 9/11 guys had general aviation training) before the hysteria moved on to the next topic. I think that one was maybe the security of the power grid and how some mid-continental sub-sub-substation link outside Sidney, NE suddenly got a pile of Homeland Security money to Keep Up Our Guard against invading hordes of Muslims in electricians’ toolbelts.
Or something . . .
I pretty much quit watching Oly figure skating after splitting about a decade ago with my wife, herself a skater. Although to hear the local TV anchors sniggering about it this week, the men’s costumes sound like they were just ab-fab, huh? (Weir had a blouse with some kind of a pink-laced-up front in the short program, right?)
But I totally agree: Hamilton and Button are GREAT color commentators, perhaps the best in the Winter Olympics, in ANY sport.
Jeff Borden said on February 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm
You’ve hit on something important. American culture celebrates the individual to a greater extent than many other developed nations. It’s not surprising that many Europeans and Asians see paying taxes as the natural order of things while we often view them as a parasitic intrusion. Yet many of the most heavily taxed nations in the world rank among the highest in terms of the happiness of their citizenry. This is particularly true in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
I’m an aging boomer who grew up to the constant mantra that everyone wanted to move to America because it was the best country in the world. Western Europeans, Japanese, South Korean and, increasingly, Chinese and Indian citizens might beg to differ.
beb said on February 19, 2010 at 12:46 pm
ROGirl makes a good point that this looks more like a murder-suicide attempt than actual terrorism, except that his rant covers so many of the same points as the tea baggers. He sounded just like one of them, only he decided to put words into action. And this is sort of how the Anti-Abortion people avoid complicity when abortion doctors get murdered. As long as the killer wasn’t a member of their organzination they’re not responsible even though they may have incited people to violence.
But “digby” offers an interesting into Stack’s provblems with the IRS in this essay
The shoprt version is that years back there were some scammers selling people on ways to avouid paying taxes and Stack may have lost his money to one of these scammers. And is only blaming the IRS fir his own stupidity.
On the Taxed Enough Already angle, yesterday reports were coming out that the 400 biggest tax payers in this country were paying only about 19% on their earnings compared to around 30% for people like you and me. It seems to me that some people are being taxed nearly enough. And it’s not you and me.
nancy said on February 19, 2010 at 1:00 pm
I wrote a little bit about tax protest, and for a while it seemed northeast Indiana was a hotbed of that sort of I’m-a-sovereign-nation nonsense, so I’m familiar with a bit of what Digby writes about. It sounds like Stack may well have been a member of that movement. Can anyone answer this question, though? I keep hearing Stack set his own house on fire before leaving on his mission of destruction. Some reports say his wife and daughter were inside. Did they escape unharmed? If so, I look forward to what the wife has to say about him.
One of our GPT contributors is a retired IRS agent from the enforcement division. I asked him if he did any tax protest work and he said yes, but he avoided it if at all possible. When I asked why, he said, “I understand crimes of greed. I don’t understand crimes of passion. And tax protest is a crime of passion.” I’ll say.
Sue said on February 19, 2010 at 1:16 pm
nancy, CNN reported a correction last night that the wife and child were not even at home at the time; they came home to find their house on fire and husband/dad gone.
Julie Robinson. said on February 19, 2010 at 1:22 pm
It’s probably unrelated to yesterday’s events, but there was another shooting this morning at Northern Illinois University, two years after the mass shooting that killed five and injured 19. http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/2010/02/19/98366281/index.xml
Mom lives two blocks away and this will send her into another emotional tailspin. She is surrounded by students, walks the campus daily for exercise and goes to as many (non-sports) events as she can fit in. She feels like these are her kids and she mourned for months after the first shooting. So to her, the shooters are terrorists, because they inflict terror on her life.
On a happier note, men’s figure skating. They were all sparkly boys last night, and isn’t it great there’s a place for that? I think most men would be happier if they didn’t feel the need to be macho and could be in touch and have an outlet for their emotions. And yes, Johnny got robbed but only a little, and Plushenko should have been marked much lower. The right man won.
BTW, axels are the easiest jump to identify because they are the only jump that takes off forward.
Sue said on February 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm
What’s with the Baldwins and odd public behavior?
brian stouder said on February 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm
Yes – there was a ‘domestic disturbance’ (code 43 on the Fort Wayne police radio) and the woman and child spent the night in a hotel.
I think we have to define “terrorism” – because if a public act like this, symbolically directed at the government and attempting mass-murder ain’t it, then I don’t know if anything ever really is.
moe99 said on February 19, 2010 at 1:30 pm
If 9/11 had never happened, then there would not be the deep symbolism attached to flying an airplane into a building.
And given the Murrah bombing, an attack on a government building also resonates deeply.
Put that together with a man who at least in the 80s associated with the no tax folks, got in trouble with the IRS and spent the better part of his suicide note railing against government and trying to encite fellow citizens to overthrow the government by violence (Allons, citoyens!)
Why didn’t he fly his plane into a Goldman Sachs or GM building? He had problems with those guys too. But no, he chose the IRS. For very obvious reasons. It was a terrorist act. But when it’s done by a white person, even with all the facts attendant here, it still seems very hard to call it that.
Deggjr said on February 19, 2010 at 1:35 pm
I read this blog for the irritation, thanks, I appreciate it.
jcburns said on February 19, 2010 at 2:03 pm
Is a white guy in his 50s who ‘goes postal’ committing any less of a terrorist act (note, I’m not calling it an ‘-ism’) than crazy underwear guy or crazy Ft. Hood guy or crazy shoe bomber guy? I think we have to talk about the ‘-ism’s as one thing, and their acts as something else, and yeah, I do think it’s helpful to have conversations that ask, in a sane way: have our bureaucracies become too insane?
Or better still, have they become so overlaid with cruft that they push reasonable-ish people who are out near the edge over that edge?
My answer is I feel as if I’m paying fair amounts of taxes but it sure feels as if the encumbrances on how government works these days…the layers upon layers, is indeed crazymaking. But me, I can deal. Angry Joe couldn’t.
I don’t blame the government for that, but I think the more effective repair work we do after something like this is not come up with even more totalitarian security, but instead what can we spend money on that will result in the pressure being taken off just a bit, the crazymaking dialed back a few tenths of a percent, so that those edge people are on firmer ground, for now…as are we all.
brian stouder said on February 19, 2010 at 2:05 pm
moe – that was a good article. Thanks for the link.
moe99 said on February 19, 2010 at 2:34 pm
New Republican Senator Scott Brown from MA has said he can identify with Mr. Stack’s frustrations. And they are cracking jokes about it over at the CPAC Convention.
How soon before he becomes a martyr for certain far right wing or far left wing elements?
Deborah said on February 19, 2010 at 2:34 pm
To some degree I think these guys are looking for outlets for their crazy anger. Some of them seem to join protest groups of whatever sort because they can rant and rave with impunity. I went to the Pro-choice March for Women’s Lives in DC a few years back, there were some really creepy, scary guys carrying anti-abortion signs stating the most extreme rhetoric to communicate their views. They were completely surrounded by cops because it was obvious that given the chance they would have perpetrated violence on us. All you had to do was look at the hate and outrageous anger on their faces to know that they weren’t involved in the anti-abortion movement because of their love of life for the unborn or anyone for that matter, just the opposite. These guys were in it because it gave them an opportunity to vent their anger and possibly get to physically attack people.
Jeff Borden said on February 19, 2010 at 2:35 pm
Stephen Baldwin is to the right-wing as Alec Baldwin is to the left-wing. He’s now a terribly overweight, heavily tattooed Jesus freak who mixes evangelical Christianity with conservative political commentary.
CPAC is trying desperately to make the conservative move look “cool.” Baldwin is just about the only “celebrity” they can claim as their own and he is hosting a youth-oriented “lounge” at the event. At least Baldwin says he is praying “for” President Obama, as contrasted with some of the loonier Evangelicals who are praying for the president’s death.
Jeff Borden said on February 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm
You won’t be surprised to learn some loons started up a Facebook page to honor Mr. Stack. I saw a story on it earlier today. Apparently, even though many of the comments have been scrubbed, it’s a descent in a diving bell to the very bottom of the fetid swamp of hatred.
Bob (not Greene) said on February 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm
And Moe, that is why I’m not writing off the “terrorist” thing completely. When mainstream politicians or the publishers who shill for them begin using this shit to fan some sort of political flame they believe will benefit them, then you get yourself some trouble. Then you’ve got a (probably) small but dangerous bunch of fringe nutcases who think they’re doing either God’s or the Founding Fathers’ (or both) mysterious bidding by loading up the rifle and polishing the lens on the scope.
nancy said on February 19, 2010 at 3:21 pm
Quick, someone say “retard,” so we can even the score again.
(That’s the video for the incident Moe describes upthread.)
ROgirl said on February 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm
When the free-floating anger of the marginal and/or mentally unbalanced gets channeled into extremist causes by the exploiters anything can happen.
On an Olympic note, a friend from my gym is a seamstress and she made the costumes (Bollywood and Phantom of the Opera) for Charlie White, the national ice dancing champion who’s competing this weekend with his partner Meryl Davis.
beb said on February 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm
‘amuck’ I’ve heard comes from the Phillipines where people suddenly going crazy and attacking anything in sight, apparently, was common enough for them to devote a word to it. To an extent what we are seeing are people running amuck, only instead of being armed with machetes, they have guns, airplanes, cars and the internet. And it certainly isn’t wise trying to run a political party with people ready to go amuck at the drop of a hat.
MaryRC said on February 19, 2010 at 4:17 pm
This is why I hope they throw the book at James O’Keefe and his gang of would-be phone-tappers. Anyone who works in any kind of government office seems to be at risk these days. A message that you just don’t walk into a government office and start messing with them would help.
moe99 said on February 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm
Johnny Weir stuff: I wish that the blog of our NBC tv affiliate, KING5, would get an editor:
” Johnny Weir dawns a hat of flowers after 6th place finish”
The word is DONS not DAWNS
nancy said on February 19, 2010 at 4:39 pm
That’s nothin’. I had the Olympics on the other night and looked up at a drug commercial, just in time to see words flying by on the screen: SAFE…AFFECTIVE. Argh. No one has more money to spend on advertising than Big Pharma; can’t they find an agency with copywriters who know the difference between affect and effect? I didn’t catch the drug’s name, but I’m keeping my eyes peeled. Maybe if I’m first to tip them off, they’ll give me a mixed grill of mood elevators to settle me down.
Dexter said on February 19, 2010 at 4:52 pm
I could never make this up, but it stuck with me: “Johnny Weir, the flaming queer with the fabulous rear.” (Ron Bennington, Sirius-XM radio)
I only watch figure skating every four years, too, but after Evan from Naperville’s program, even I knew the pressure was really on the Russian. The Russian skated perfectly too, but his ankle was a little off-center after one element and it seemed to get caught in a little rut which threw his program off just the slightest bit…and that cost him the Gold. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I ever watched the finals before…good show. “The Animal” nee “The Flying Tomato” Shaun White really was the bright star so far. He lit up the night.
nancy said on February 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm
The TV cameras picked up Shaun White’s coach telling him to “stomp the shit out of it” before he went on. Alan kept yelling, “Stomp the shit out of it!” as the sequin guys last night.
Julie Robinson. said on February 19, 2010 at 5:19 pm
ROgirl, I like your friend’s style. So many of the ice dance costumes are just plain ugly, but Davis and White’s are gorgeous and fit the music. If she ever wants to sew you anything, take her up on the idea!
You bet that Johnny endeared himself to the fan who gave him that rose wreath/headdress. It showed how comfortable he is in his skin.
Sequins are so 80’s–everyone uses Swarovksi crystals now. More skating on tonight, yay! It’s been a long, hard week and I’m looking for distractions.
Sue said on February 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm
And let’s not forget, US vs. Canada in hockey on Sunday.
Bill said on February 19, 2010 at 7:27 pm
Totally off-thread, I don’t know how many of you are Chicago area theater fans, but my community theater is wrapping up a wonderful production of “Effects of Gamma Rays on Man In The Moon Marigolds” this weekend. One reviewer said, “By virtue of the superior acting of Theatre of Western Springs’ current production, ‘Marigolds’ is must-see theatre that rivals any of Chicago’s professional Off Loop companies. With new Artistic Director Kurt Naebig at the helm, it bodes extremely well for the future of this 81-year-old suburban treasure. Patti Roeder’s Beatrice is a volatile hurricane, a blistering mass of despondency and delusion. It is a masterful, award caliber performance that takes no prisoners. It is refreshing to see this quality of performance from actors young and old.”
Check it out at http:www/theatrewesternsprings.com
coozledad said on February 19, 2010 at 7:52 pm
I still love Thomas Berger’s book. Are they going to wait for him to die to give him an award for it?
MarkH said on February 20, 2010 at 12:16 am
Strictly OT –
A while back I suggested in interesting site called Danger Room, from the folks at Wired. Anyone ever go here? Noah Shactman and his crew of ex-DOT veterans scour the defense and national security wires and journals for stuff you need to KNOW! For example:
The first two stories, tips to Soviet soldiers for properly invading Afghanistan, and great moments in border security device advertising, are pretty cool. But for real “tell me something I didn’t know” info, scroll down and read how “Nuke-Hunting Robo-Roaches” are going to save your ass!
Also cool: that photo of the B-2, B-52, B-1 formation. Nuke delivery through the ages…(with all the potential of back to the stone age).
Denice B. said on February 20, 2010 at 12:23 am
When the plane hit and the news was coming in, I was at my sister’s home and her hubby was watching on Fox News. I said that the pilot is probably a Fox News Viewer. Stack IS a terrorist. He wanted to instill fear and make a call to action from the angry masses. That IS terrorism.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2010 at 8:19 am
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2010 at 9:09 am
The sign the fellow in 1927 made so painstakingly can stand in for the Austin pilot’s longer internet rant – http://daggy.name/tbsd/tbsd-501.jpg
The point being this kind of insanity, obsessively focused on blaming others conspiring against you for your troubles, has a long history.
MarkH said on February 20, 2010 at 11:26 am
Good point, jeff. As far as being a “terrorist” goes, I would compare Stack to the unabomber more than anything else. One guy on a vengeful mission.
Jeff Borden: How much money was spent to tell us this?:
Did you see this study, and was there anything in here you didn’t know or genuinely surprised you?
brian stouder said on February 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm
Good point, jeff. As far as being a “terrorist” goes, I would compare Stack to the unabomber more than anything else. One guy on a vengeful mission.
Honestly, sincerely, and in a spirit of genuinely friendly sentiment – I cannot discern any single point (“good” or otherwise) in the Bath school attacks, and the “criminals are made, not born” apocrypha.
If the point is: some people are nuts, and who knows what the hell they’ll do? – agreed.
But that would imply something inborn; something inborn and not “made”, yes?
I do like Jeff’s point that nothing is new here; history shows us lots of previous examples of what we would now call terrorism; but I would not agree that since historic examples weren’t called “terrorism”, current day things that are comparable to those events are therefore also NOT terrorism.
If some sad-sack son of a bitch wants to kill himself, may God have mercy on his soul; but if he decides to take an elementary school full of children and teachers with him; or an office building full of work-a-day people including folks who work for the United States – then that’s terrorism, period.
How is it not?
For the record, I would define terrorism as a purposeful public attack, aimed at causing mass death of people as some sort of abstract protest or demonstration.
Frankly, I would also add that targetted political murder equals terrorism.
And, in all honesty – and admitting in advance that this is my opinion and I may well be wrong – I agree with Denice B above on her Fox News point. When a nutball gets enough public affirmation for his hatred (whether from Fox of Uncle Rush or whatever the left wing fever swamp equivalent may be), then he may reach his tipping point, and then the rest of us get the “BREAKING NEWS” alert on our computer.
By way of saying – it should make all reasonable people uncomfortable when a national figure such as Rush Limbaugh (for example) uses the word “hate” 6 or 8 times within 5 minutes, during a monologue about the President of the United States
moe99 said on February 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm
“The point being this kind of insanity, obsessively focused on blaming others conspiring against you for your troubles, has a long history.”
Sure does, Jeff, just look at the rants Osama Bin Laden put out there prior to and after 9/11.
No argument from me.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm
Hey, I’d say 75+% of what are called “al Qaeda” bombings and attacks are more Andrew Kehoe and Joe Stack type acting out of inner disturbance than anything coherently political. I think you could make a case for Qutb being obsessively unhinged, too.
How you apply that to those who get a systematic grip on the levers of power, like a Hitler, or (?) an Osama, I don’t know. It’s like most murder — insanity is almost a given. Very little coldly calculated, rationalized killing for rational personal benefit out there in the real world, just lots of “crimes of passion” and bizarrely reasoned pre-emptive self-defense. Likewise, to lead a movement like the 1920s Klan or German National Socialism, you need to be a little . . . something.
But some would say you have to mildly sociopathic to be good at politics to start with. In my experience? I’d hate to make the comprehensive case against it. The data weigh towards that theory. Which isn’t quite the same as wanting to exterminate those who disagree with you, though.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm
By the way, I see that Al Haig can no longer say “I am in control here.” Peace be with him.
crinoidgirl said on February 20, 2010 at 2:49 pm
I’m sure he’s in control wherever he ended up lol
brian stouder said on February 20, 2010 at 4:06 pm
I remember the day President Reagan was shot; I was playing Scrabble against my soon-to-be-first-wife’s mom (who was a marvelous, marvelous Scrabble player, and who was younger at that moment than I am now), and her youngest daughter came out of the basement complaining that her soap opera was interrupted by news bulletins.
This caught her mother’s and my attention, and when we asked what happened, she said “something about the president being shot” – and we BOLTED from the table and went straight for the TV.
Somewhere in the ensuing coverage, out came SecState Haig to take the podium (at the White House?) – clearly all het up – and he said something like “Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State; I am in control here” –
and I came off the sofa!!
It was only in later days that we learned that Haig had come to blows with the SecDef (Weinberger?) just before that announcement.
Whatever fine point he did or did not have, it looked a little bit “Seven Days in May”. Just imagine if SecState Clinton had occasion to say such a thing
Jeff Borden said on February 20, 2010 at 4:38 pm
I cannot argue that Cook County is not a cesspool. We voted for Toni Preckwinkle, who is a very, very smart woman and a pretty tough leader. It will take decades to clear all the muck from the county stables, but it’s a start.
If there were a viable candidate, Mayor Daley might face a serious situation when he’s up for election. The parking meter debacle, silly as it sounds, has been the famous straw on the camel’s back. People may have shrugged off all the other bullshit that has happened on his watch, but man, anger at the stupidity of the parking deal has not abated. Every time you use one of the freaking things, it just burns you up. Last week, I parked near the Water Tower and saw signs directing me to a parking kiosk a block away, so I slogged through the slush, put in my credit card, slogged back to the car to put the paper on the dashboard, then set off again. The simple act of pushing a few quarters into a meter right by your vehicle took all of 10 seconds, but that was simply too easy. It’s even more fun when the wind chills are 20 below or its raining hard.
Ah, well. It’s just a 75-year lease. I’m sure we’ll all get used to it.
alex said on February 20, 2010 at 5:16 pm
I’ve been gone from Chicago a few years and haven’t yet had the opportunity to park under the new metered system. Do people ever return from the kiosks to find their vehicles ticketed? It wouldn’t surprise me. One time in East Lakeview I went to the home I was visiting to get a parking pass to put on the dash and in the 1-2 minutes I was gone my car got ticketed.
Julie Robinson said on February 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm
Jeff B, the younger generation loves the new meters. Our daughter often forgets to carry any cash, much less quarters, and she thinks it’s great she can put her debit card in the meter. I’m with you.
nancy said on February 20, 2010 at 5:59 pm
Detroit has coin-less meters, but the pay stations are every 10 spaces or so.
alex said on February 20, 2010 at 11:34 pm
Tonight said ‘night-night to Casa’s on Fairfield. Bittersweet. Lotsa loyal patrons turned out and the wait was long, but the veal saltimboca was faboo. And the closet case in the red shirt (with wife and family) staring holes through hubby and I the whole time was quite something also, especially craning the neck all the way out on the way out. Hope tonight’s wank’s a good one, bud.
Deborah said on February 21, 2010 at 1:26 am
Run don’t walk to the nearest theater to watch Scorsese’s latest flick “Shutter Island”. Just go, and maybe read Ebert’s review of it before you go.
brian stouder said on February 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm
Alex – Never even thought of Casa’s last day. Last night the young folks and I saddled up and went to the Mad Ants game – and probably by the end of that, we’d have been money ahead to have done Casa’s ($7/ticket= $35; not a bad deal; $4 to park – our Chicago friends chortle, and I agree, not so bad; one bag of popcorn, one glom of cotton candy, and two Diet Pepsi’s = $15; subtotal = north of $50 = a grand meal for all at Casa’s, I’m pretty sure)
Right now Pam and the girls are making beer bread. For this recipe, one needs a bottle of beer. Pam wondered if one could even buy a single bottle, and I said “oh, sure – at a liquor store” – whereupon I was tasked with acquiring said bottle of beer.
So yesterday afternoon we stopped at a nearby establishment, and in I went. All the way in the back of the store was beer*, and I looked up and down and then saw 40 ounce bottles of Budwesier, and picked one out. A clerk had noticed my deer-in-the-headlights look, and asked if he could help. I told him about the recipe, and he very sportingly pointed out that they had smaller single bottles, whereupon he pointed out a 22 ounce bottle of Bud, for which I thanked him. I believe it saved me (and cost him) about $2
Then, when I went to buy it, it was something like $2.10, and all I had were singles – and the clerk pulled a dime from his little penny-pot. So I bought one of their MDA shamrocks, to try and even the balance a little – and then they put my Bud bottle in one of those small brown bags, so that I walked out of the place with the classic brown paper package; all-in-all, it was an unfamiliar sort of mid-day noir-experience.
Pam asked what I was laughing about when I got into the van again, and I handed her the nondescript bag and said “Let’s go home, baby”
*only later did it hit me that I probably didn’t need to buy a COLD beer(!) – rookie mistake
MIchaelG said on February 21, 2010 at 1:37 pm
We have those kiosk/central parking meter things here in Sacto as well. There are two per block so the walk isn’t really that far but it is a pain in the ass on a cold, rainy day. The instructions are to peel off the backing and stick the ticket to your window. Sure. I just leave the ticket on the dash. They take quarters and credit cards. I started out hating them. Now I don’t exactly like them but I’ve gotten used to them
Deborah, also read Ken Levine before you go: http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/
Brian, don’t they sell beer in the grocery store? You need to hang out more at liquor stores and bars. Sounds like you had a misspent youth.
Deborah said on February 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm
OK MichaelG I went to your link but found no review of Shutter Island by Ken Levine?? Still thinking about the movie by the way, all day, a real plot twister. I have my theories but won’t elaborate here because of the possibility of spoiling a fabulously entertaining and deep movie for others. Just go. I’d love to have a discussion here about it when you go.
crinoidgirl said on February 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm
“Are you nauseated and frightened by the growth of Tea Party organizing, and the zany old white people in funny hats at the center of the current media blitz? It’s time to fight back! Join The Cocktail Party, a barstool-roots movement for left wing urban homosexuals and the people who love us.”
Julie Robinson. said on February 21, 2010 at 5:54 pm
Oh, Brian, what a priceless story! I remember being told to boil bratwurst in beer before grilling and we set out on a similar mission. Neither of us can stand the stuff and we were as clueless as you. I think we did buy ours at the grocery, and all they had were six packs. The remaining five cans sat around for years, because we decided we didn’t like beer flavored bratwurst. I wonder if the beer flavor will remain in the bread?
Dexter said on February 21, 2010 at 9:45 pm
My brother-in-law underwent 9 freakin’ hours of heart surgery today in Toledo and lived through it. Man, what an ordeal for him. He’s 71. Modern medicine…amazing.
brianstouder: In Vietnam beer is served like you like Diet Coke: icy cold. I learned that from Andrew Bourdain’s show. They pour the beer over a large hunk of ice in a glass. When I was there they served beer cold like everyone else does. I wonder when they decided to serve beer on the rocks? It sounds disgusting…it’s not like they don’t have refrigerators in Ho Chi Minh City.
Your story reminds me of my mom & dad…about once every two years they would decide to have a beer. Dad would go into a bar and buy one bottle. They took it home and split it. I think I saw my dad drink beer three times in my life and mom two times.
MIchaelG said on February 21, 2010 at 11:31 pm
Deborah, Levine’s site had a funny thing about movie goers, not a review of Shutter Island. It was meant to be amusing.
brian stouder said on February 22, 2010 at 12:14 am
Dexter – here’s hoping all remains well for your brother-in-law. The fellow who owns the company where I work just lost his mom this past weekend; but in her case, she had reached the end of an admirably long and productive life, and her departure from the earth was not unexpected, nor unwelcome.
The beer bread was very good; crusty, dense, and tasty. Pam thought it smelled a little beery, but I think that was her imagination; and the girls loved sifting the flour and so on, in the process of making it.
As for the icy cold Diet Coke I love so much, I heard a story with a headline like this one on the radio the other day:
Study links soda-pop to pancreatic cancer
CHICAGO – A new study is linking those sugary soda drinks to one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Researchers found those who drank two or more soft drinks a week increased their risk of pancreatic cancer by 87%. People who drank mostly fruit juice instead didn’t have the same risk.
Two or more per week?? Good God, I have two or more before lunch each day! If this is true, then surely I’m a dead man walking, right?
But reading further, we see that there has not been a causal link made directly to the icy cold Diet Coke (it could be other factors in the lives of the folks who drink the pop) and indeed, even in the worst case (that it’s the pop) – there’s this:
In the United States, 37,680 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in a year and 34,290 die of it, Reuters reports.
So that in a nation of 300,000,000 people, each year 37,680 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, or one person in 8,000; or about double the chance of getting onto an airplane that will be involved in a terrorist incident (according to fivethirtyeight).
I’m just gonna whistle a bit, as we mosey past this story..
Dexter said on February 22, 2010 at 2:10 am
I saw a headline recently: “Sodas: the Next Cigarettes”. I didn’t read it.
We all know the roller coaster ride coffee took for so many years.
Stories everywhere about the poison it is.
I have not seen one lately; it seems most have concluded that coffee is harmless. I make a pot every day and pour a quart thermos full and pour a cup full also, and that lasts me until noon. Then it’s water . I still drink a 2 liter of soda every 3 days or so . I could kick the soda anytime, but I would pitch a bitch if you take away the java. I have a cup of tea every day, too, but again, that’s no big deal, just a sort of ritual.
The pancreatic cancer story is true. My dad battled pancreatitis for years before two surgeries by the late Doc Bob Edwards of Auburn, IN cured him.
That cancer is rougher, but quicker. Few cancers put you down like that sumbitch does. It killed our US mail delivery lady, it killed Billy Carter, the list is long.
moe99 said on February 22, 2010 at 3:48 am
Aticle about the IRS worker killed in the plane/building collision last week.
alex said on February 22, 2010 at 7:03 am
When one of my uncles died of pancreatic cancer back in the 1980s, it was my understanding at the time that it was a very rare disease. By coincidence, a co-worker was battling the disease at the same time. (She survived radical surgery, and actually returned to work about two years subsequently, but I have no idea whether she’s still living.) In the years since, it’s a form of cancer that has been getting a lot more attention because of its unexplained increasing incidence.
beb said on February 22, 2010 at 8:17 am
I don’t even think you can walk into a 7-11 amd find a single can of beer unless its a ’44’. which is about 28oz more than you need for beer bread. Grocery stores seem to only stock the case lots of the stuff.
As for soft drink and pancreatic cancer…. Recently I read that the fructose in high-fructose corn syrup was not readily absorbed into the blood stream like the sucrose from cane sugar and there for had to be dealt with by the… now I thought I read liver, which is involved with breaking bad things down for elimination but it could also have involved the pancreas, which is involved with maintaining sugar levels. So it looks to me that rhe villain here isn’t the soda pop but the unnatural sweetner used in it. THEREFORE: for the health of Americans the sugar quotas must be discontinued!
In any case the greater danger of soft drinks is that they rot the teeth. All that acid in them can’t be good for soluble minerals like calcium carbonate.
brian stouder said on February 22, 2010 at 8:27 am
With any luck, aspartame (as opposed to fructose and sucrose and so on) earns one a “by” in this risk-factor tournament!
I’m on the cusp of turning 49, and I still have all my original-recipe teeth. I mentioned to the dentist once that I assumed I’d have trouble there, with the daily soda-pop bath they get, but he pointed out that using a straw (as I almost always do) greatly reduces the consequences.
Peter said on February 22, 2010 at 9:30 am
Re: Parking Meters – ooo, I just HATE the new parking meters in Chicago; and to answer someone’s question, I DID get a ticket while I was paying the meter down the street – I got out of it but it was quite the hassle.
What really gets me mad about it is:
1. There’s time limits on the meter, usually two hours. If you’re going to stay longer, you have to repeat the wonderful process. Paris, which have had the same setup for years, is different in that you can pay for a month if you feel like it – just pump in the bucks and the spot’s yours. The whole time limit concept is just to jack up tickets, which is where the City gets their share of the parking revenue.
2. Last I checked, we’re in the closest thing to a depression. Small businesses are getting clobbered. So here’s an idea – let’s jack up the parking rates (they’ve gone up over 400 percent) and screw the businesses that need every source of customer to make ends meet. Sure, a lot of people live in Wicker Park and Lakeview, but if you live in the suburbs or outer neighborhoods, are you going to drive to Clark Street, look for parking, and then pay, or are you going to Evanston and pay a quarter, or go to another suburb and not pay at all?
AND (pardon my rant) taking public transportation is hardly cheaper! If I want to take the L to work, I have to park in the City’s lot (all neighborhood streets having restricted parking), AND pay $6.00, AND pay $4.50 for the “L” to and from work; if I get to work early enough I can pay as little as $10.00. Some savings!