The good stuff.

If you read newspapers, you might notice the ombudsman/reader representative is occasionally called upon to respond to the hand-wringers among the subscriber base who complain there is never any “good news” in the paper. This isn’t difficult, because it’s simply untrue. Every single edition of virtually every metro daily printed contains a heapin’ helpin’ of so-called good news, and except in extreme cases — 9/11, say — there is usually at least one such story on the front page.

They never answer the obvious follow-up question: Why would anyone want to read nice stories about brave Boy Scouts when you can watch the video of the bridal shop brawl — a story that comes with a great, made-for-tabloid name — on YouTube? I don’t know much, but I do know this: Right now, a producer from “Bridezillas” is speed-dialing that family and praying someone else didn’t get to her first.

Why would you want to read about upright public servants, when you can read about disgraced former Detroit city council president Monica Conyers, who went to court to be sentenced yesterday and unleashed the furies. To be sure, you could wonder if this even counts as news, as Monica’s furies are rarely leashed at all; she can’t even check into a hotel without the police being called. After trying to withdraw the guilty plea she negotiated and signed eight months ago, she threw this into the mix: “My husband is an older man,” and presumably incapable of caring for two teenagers (although he retains chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee). John Conyers didn’t show, by the way, although he was said to be in his office in the same building when the hearing was taking place. Yet another strange marriage in a world full of them.

Speaking of which, I wonder what Mrs. Massa is thinking these days. I met a gay veteran in a bar in Key West once. Which branch? I asked. “The Navy, of course,” he replied. “Of course?” Weeks at sea on a floating tub full of men. Draw your own conclusions.

Well, pals o’ mine, I wish I could tell you the Buckley’s did the trick, but it didn’t. I feel as awful today as I did yesterday, but now I have twice as much work to do, so I must away. A little bloggage:

I’m wondering if Kate is going to want to see “The Runaways.” My guess is, not if it means sitting next to her mother while Dakota Fanning sings “Cherry Bomb.” The whole movie looks a little, uh, mature.

This is very obscure, but I had no idea: Lynda Barry went out with him? Really? Really.

God, I feel like crap. Please to forgive. We’ll try again tomorrow.

Posted at 9:50 am in Current events, Popculch |

50 responses to “The good stuff.”

  1. Sue said on March 11, 2010 at 11:09 am

    My brother was in the navy. He said that only applies to submarines – “100 guys go out, 50 couples come back”. Something about close quarters.
    Here’s something for all you gardeners out there – only 7 bucks a packet for special members, guaranteed to keep for 20 years. Just this and your arsenal and you’re all set.
    I believe Coozledad is actually Matt Taibbi, notice the similarities?

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  2. Julie Robinson. said on March 11, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Re Miss Fanning, another headline today: Corey Haim, dead at 38.

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  3. Bob (not Greene) said on March 11, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Don’t get me started on the “why isn’t there ever any good news in the paper about (fill in the blank).”

    Answer: Here’s a list of front page stories answering to that description. You didn’t read them because you don’t open the damn paper (which is delivered to you front doorstep every week — for fucking FREE in many cases) unless someone alerts you to some OUTRAGE uncovered by the nosy reporters always looking for something bad to write about.

    You know, I can see what the attraction must have been –Lynda Barry and Ira Glass kind of look alike.

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  4. john c said on March 11, 2010 at 11:45 am

    When I get the “never any good news beef,” I also remind people that it simply isn’t true. Then I offer this: Neighbor One walks by and comments on how nice your lawn looks. This is good news. It is enjoyable and you nod your head and say thanks and you move on. Neighbor Two walks by and says: “Say, did you notice your chimney is crumbling?” This is bad news, and makes you feel bad. You look up and agree and feel worse. You call a chimney guy and hear his estimate and feel even worse. Then the chimney guy gets up on the ladder and tells you the thing was about to crash on your roof, or maybe your car, or maybe the kids playset. So you fix it, knowing you avoided a far worse fate.
    Now I ask you, when you see Neighbor One at the grocery store later in the week, are you going to walk up to him, pump his hand in earnest and say: “Thanks for telling me how nice my lawn looks!” Didn’t think so.

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  5. Peter said on March 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    John C you are so right. For instance:

    Dick Cheney recently had a heart attack – good news!

    His daughter is just as evil as he is – bad news!

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  6. Bob (not Greene) said on March 11, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    It’s the complete ignorance that frosts me. I guess I should be used to it after over 15 years of hearing the same thing.

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  7. Cathy D. said on March 11, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I think you need to go to Canada…to the doctor.

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  8. MaryRC said on March 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I have no idea who Ira Glass is but I love Linda Barry’s work. I have to say, that article that you linked to has the perfect ending. If only we could all look up the boyfriends who dumped us and have them admit to the world “I was an idiot, I was wrong. Anything bad she says about me, I can confirm!”

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  9. beb said on March 11, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    I am surprised that someone has asked why John Conyers married such a young (relatively speaking) and volitile person. The term ‘beard’ gets thrown around a lot but geeze, he could have found someone better.

    Come to think of it, managing a congressional committee has got to be a lot of trying to manage a couple of teen-agers.

    No word yet on when Kwame gets thrown back in prison. As I recall, he’s in contempt of court for not making court ordered payments.

    “Digby” writes that she feels sorry for Massa beccause he’s having such a massive personal meltdown in front of the media. I agree with her. He’s got problems and needs some private time to work them out. People keep asking if he is gay and the answer is: “Honey, even the dog knew before he did.”

    Since Gawker crashes my browser I had to fired up ye olde IE6 to see what you all are talking about re:Dakota Fanning. Of course since work blocks all videos, I could only see one globby still. My only question is: Has Dakota Fanninh ever been involved in a Disney produced movie or TV show?

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  10. MaryRC said on March 11, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    About Corey Haim — I’m seeing headlines everywhere along the lines of “Another child star that Hollywood chewed up, spit out and destroyed”. I guess I’m being cold but … he was luckier than his peers for a few short years and was extravagantly rewarded, then no-one wanted what he had to offer anymore. Was Hollywood supposed to keep him on the payroll for the rest of his life? I feel sorry about his short and apparently not very happy life but I don’t see any higher lesson in this other than don’t take drugs, they’ll make you waste your life and then kill you. And if the business you’re in doesn’t want you, move on and find something that does.

    Wasn’t he a friend of the late Julia Phillips (You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again)? Or was that the other Corey?

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  11. nancy said on March 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Corey Haim is one reason you wish more people would follow the example of Bill Withers.

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  12. prospero said on March 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Are y’all suggesting Harrison Ford, Kurt Jurgens and Robert Mitchum are gay? What about Admiral Nelson and Commander Crane?

    Is Detroit actually this far gone? This sounds like Eurotrash Brit doing bad French intellectual, and the writing is hilariously atrocious, like that hyphenated French guy that seems to have something criminally damning on the editors of the Atlantic , but it’s disturbing. Those Megacity One urban jungle auto plants this guy is talking about make it fairly obvious he was out at Willow Run or Dearborn, rather than Clark Street Assembly.

    Of course, this is Julien Temple, who took sides with Malcolm McLaren against the Sex Pistols, and redeemed himself with Earth Girls are Easy. Stick to film, bud.

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  13. Sue said on March 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    MaryRC: For some reason after I read your entry I thought “Bobby Sherman became a paramedic”. I am so, so old.

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  14. MarkH said on March 11, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Not Mitchum, prospero. His destroyer chased Curt Jurgens, who was in the sub. And don’t forget Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Jack Warden, Cary Grant (twice), John Garfield, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine and Glenn Ford. I could go on.

    MaryRC, tune into npr Saturdays for “This American Life”. Ira’s in charge.

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  15. prospero said on March 11, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Isn’t it fairly obvious that Massa’s problems, aside from anything else, have to do with drinking?

    Is it possible that people can be defined, as in ripping and tearing vs. unwrapping, between Lita Ford and Joan Jett. Ms. Jett is actually a talented actress, starred in the single best episode of Highlander, and the estimable rock movie Light of Day.

    Dakota Fanning is on the way to being Jodie Foster redux. Brains, talent, total lack of pretension.

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  16. James said on March 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Admiral Nelson? Gay as a Jaybird.

    “Lee, get the flying sub ready…”

    (nudge, nudge…)

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  17. nancy said on March 11, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Prospero, anyone who can come to Detroit, shoot an entire film and still write, “People have virtually nowhere to buy fresh produce” is not to be listened to further.

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  18. LAMary said on March 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Corey Haim died about thirty feet down the hall from my office. He was probably dead already when he got to the ER.

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  19. prospero said on March 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    When Robert Mitchum was asked what school of acting he followed, he said “the Smirnoff School”

    Robert Mitchum was pretty much a sardonic, self-deprecating quote machine, and smoked more pot than Woody Harrelson.

    Anybody that claims The Enemy Below is not the greatest submarine movie ever made is a poseur, and the Germans singing So Leben Wir is a perfectly humanizing anti-war statement.

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  20. ROgirl said on March 11, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Lynda Barry used to appear on the Letterman show a long time ago (I think when he was still on NBC). She was delightfully quirky and funny, and Dave seemed to enjoy having her on the show. Then she disappeared from the radar and I wondered what happened to her.

    Reading her worst boyfriend story was a treat, and I’m glad I didn’t scroll down to see who he was, because when I saw the picture I laughed out loud and said, “Ira Glass?!” He kind of redeemed himself with his comments about what a dick he had been, but Lynda managed to eviscerate him so effectively with her charm and artistry.

    On another note, and maybe I missed a lot of coverage over the years, but I’ve been wondering about Monica Conyers and her background: how did she meet and get involved with John Conyers, when did she first run for public office, has she always been crazy and ethically challenged? If she were a national figure there would have been a lot more coverage about her, but it seems like there hasn’t been much information about what makes her tick and how she ended up where she is today.

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  21. Jolene said on March 11, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I’m interested to see whether Monica Conyers’ incarceration will become an issue in Congress. Seems like being head of the House Judiciary Committee, which John Conyers currently is, while your wife is in prison on corruption charges might become a little awkward. This issue came up in a WaPo web chat today, w/ a reporter who noted that the Judiciary Committee oversees federal prosecutors.

    The Repubs are trying to make Massa’s problems stick to the Dems, even though he has resigned. Can’t imagine they’ll overlook the opportunity to add the Conyers situation to their list of corruption charges.

    Conyers has long been a leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, which is already mad at Obama, so White House efforts to sideline him are not likely to be favorably received.

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  22. Bob (not Greene) said on March 11, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    LA Mary,

    Does that count as one of Letterman’s “brushes with greatness”?

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  23. LAMary said on March 11, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    …Does that count as one of Letterman’s “brushes with greatness?”…

    On a very, very low level.

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  24. beb said on March 11, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Monica Conyer’s arrangement and plea bargain both happened a long time ago. This is the last part, sentencing. If the Republicans were going to make hay out of this they would have tried a long time ago. I am surprised that they haven”t tried, but clearly Conyers is made of teflon.

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  25. coozledad said on March 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Sue: I’m not Matt. I wish I could think on my feet like he does. I did go to college with one of his former colleagues at Rolling Stone, Mark Kemp. Mark had a very pretty hippie girlfriend who was a respectable singer. I have some vague memory of playing guitar and singing with them a couple of times when I still had hair.
    Lynda Barry also lived in a yurt with Matt Groening.

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  26. Jeff Borden said on March 11, 2010 at 3:32 pm


    I love “The Enemy Below,” which is a great submarine movie, even if it was Americanized from a British novel, but I can’t think of a film that more perfectly captures the experience of being inside a cramped steel tube for days at a time than “Das Boot.” When I saw it in the theater so many years ago with a date, we were both so depressed at the ending that we walked into a bar and drank a couple of Scotches in silence.

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  27. MichaelG said on March 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Y’all’s own Ohio congressman, George Hamilton Boner is hot after Massa, demanding an investigation.

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  28. Kirk said on March 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    He’s definitely the most orange congressman.

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  29. Julie Robinson. said on March 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Das Boot was not only depressing, it haunted my dreams for months.

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  30. jcburns said on March 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Bohner is astoundingly orange when you consider he comes from one of the most consistently overcast parts of Ohio. I’m trying to picture him at a campaign rally in Troy, surrounded by the pastiest-white of the pastiest-white.

    Oh, and what about presidential submariner Jimmy Carter? If he had any trysts below the waves, so to speak, there’s been plenty of time (and reasons) for that story to surface.

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  31. Dexter said on March 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    My circle of buddies when I was a soldier in Vietnam, about halfway through the US involvement timetable, included a really flamboyant gay guy who worked in Finance in the big headquarters building in Nha Trang. Nobody ever messed with him about his lifestyle, he never was attacked, demoted, or chastised about his very obvious gayness. A medical doctor who worked with us, who was a Filipino man, was another gay man who was so open about his sexuality he would drop hints , you know what I mean, to find men who would go off with him. No, the Navy had no monopoly in these matters.
    And the women in service? No shortage of lesbians there. This was 40 years ago, in California, and women would walk to and from the mess hall holding hands…never heard of any discipline. One lesbian couple held a mock wedding and wore each others’ rings…people thought it was just fine.
    Guess it would have been different in Mississippi, eh?

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  32. Jolene said on March 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I hope you’re right, beb. Not that I’m such a fan of Conyers, but it’d be nice if the Dems could get through the next few months w/o having to defend more ethically challenged members of Congress.

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  33. Dexter said on March 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Bill Withers truly is an amazing guy. When he released
    “Just as I Am” I thought he was poking fun at working folks, posing with that lunch bucket, but he was actually working, installing toilets into airplanes.
    I heard a long interview with Withers, conducted by Ron Bennington, XM 202, Sirius 197, last month. Withers just has an elevated view of human existence, is the best way I can put it.
    He still has the remnants of a stutter, but it doesn’t get in the way for him.
    I’ve met a few people like him before, those who seem to live in a higher-level dimension than we mere earthlings. Those people are rare birds.

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  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 11, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    If newspapers put more good/happy news on their front page every day, what would happen to “Grit” magazine?

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  35. LAMary said on March 11, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I remember Grit being on bad newsprint. When I had a job reading a dozen newspapers a day before one could do that online, Grit was briefly among the dozen. Then we figured out there was no news in Grit.

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  36. LAMary said on March 11, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Orange Boehner boner beener whatever his name is always looks hungover to me. Something about the saggy eyes and the grim expression.

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  37. moe99 said on March 11, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    On Nancy’s turf, everyone knows Lynda Barry. On the private lawyers’ blog I frequent, no one knows who she is. Which is why I looove you guys! Yay!!!

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  38. ellent said on March 11, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Way off topic, but just wanted to let you know that today the Texas State Board of Education has rejected the concept of separation of church and state.

    Also, the SBOE has inserted a requirement to teach the right to bear arms in the standards for the First Amendment.

    The Texas Freedom Network blog has been publishing the narrative.

    Pity Molly Ivins is no longer with us. Imagine the columns.

    Yay Texas! Perry 2012!

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  39. alex said on March 11, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    I was a guest at a party in the 1980s in Chicago attended by Ira Glass, a relatively intimate gathering where the hosts’ objective was to get Ira to come out of the closet. He didn’t bite (although he probably sensed we did).

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  40. moe99 said on March 11, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Why we need healthcare reform.

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  41. Kirk said on March 11, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Was Patrick Kennedy having the DTs or something yesterday in the House?

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  42. MarkH said on March 11, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    alex – IS Glass gay? If so, why did he go on Letterman a few years ago and trumpet his marriage to a woman who had previously dumped him, then wanted to re-connect after she saw him on an earlier Letterman talking about her and the ordeal?

    Borden and prospero – das boot, yes. Enemy Below? A great film of the genre. Mitchum does slightly less sleep-walking through this one. Jurgens and the Kraut sub crew were the best part. I don’t think I’m a poseur, prospero, but I prefer Run Silent, Run Deep, Red October, U-571. It’s too bad Alec Baldwin did not reprise his role later and let Harrison Ford ruin the franchise. Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger are good films, don’t get me wrong, if you’re into one-dimensional hero stuff.

    The father of one of my buddies here was a WWII submariner and praised the Gable/Lancaster face-off as highly accurate. In his later years before he died, he made sure to attend the annual WWII boat reunions at the sub pens in Georgia. All these old guys would go there to be feted with all the newest in sub technology and an enthusiastic reception from all the current crews. They are almost like rock stars to the modern submariners. One year Tom accompanied his dad, met many of his old crew and captain, and witnessed this treatment. Tom asked a young lieutenant, “What to you think of these guys? It seems to be really special to you all when they come for these reunions”. “It’s really simple”, he replied. “Everything with us now is the same as it was then for them; they did the same things we do. Except they went out on patrol, their equipment didn’t work.” Hyperbole maybe. But Tom did hear a few harrowing tales of what it was like.

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  43. Denice B said on March 12, 2010 at 12:36 am

    A firefighter friend here in Detroit says Monica Conyers, nicknamed ‘Ghetto’ by city staffers, frequently trolls firefighter bars looking for young men to service her ‘needs’. It is commonly known that John Conyers is gay. But it matters not at all. Monica is headed to a prison where she will have plenty of ladies to smack her down if she pulls any kind of rank over them. I bet she hits the cell ready to rumble!

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  44. alex said on March 12, 2010 at 7:48 am

    MarkH, Ira Glass’s story on Letterman may have been calculated to change impressions for all I know. He reminds me of several other sexually nebulous guys I’ve known who look and act as gay as a goose but never take a gander.

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  45. John said on March 12, 2010 at 7:48 am

    The Bongo Straits…

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  46. ROgirl said on March 12, 2010 at 8:17 am

    The John Conyers story isn’t surprising. He and Monica must have struck quite a deal.

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  47. Dexter said on March 12, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Kirk: What we saw two days ago was the last flickering candle in the furthest room of the Camelot castle being nearly blown out. Aside from every other issue, I felt sorry for Patrick Kennedy, genuine sorrow at his so-obvious breakdown he exhibited. I believe he is a man of many meds and he just had a bad day.
    What also disturbed me a bit was the content of his entire rant, one of praise and commitment to the troops, no call for the down-the-giant-rathole flushing of the US national treasury in order to maintain these wars to cease; he was most irritated at the fact just two reporters were covering the House proceedings.
    While I loved Kennedy’s pointing out just what comprises Afghanistan, he stopped short of calling for pulling the plug on the cash machine that finances US involvement in Afghanistan.
    I have seen Senator Byrd become even more worked-up over in the Senate, but I can’t recall such an emotional outbreak in the House, although I realize there may have been thousands before, but how would we ever know with no press corps letting us know?

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  48. Bob (not Greene) said on March 12, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Don’t worry, Dexter, the citizen journalists will be on the job, blogging all about it. Right?

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  49. MarkH said on March 12, 2010 at 10:25 am

    We’re all going back there, John…

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  50. prospero said on March 14, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    How is it Americans can be so stupid? No Republican politician has said a single thing true in 13 months. Not one. Not a single thing. And Americans are buying this crap. And anybody believes in the democracy? Republicans don’t. These aholes actually believe that 60-40 was written in the Constitution.

    You know, they claim it’s normal partisan politics to put holds on every Presidential appointee and attempt to stymie government altogether. No it isn’t. Nothing like this obstructionism has ever happened, and of course if you aren’t clear on the concept, he’s an honest black guy. Why are Americans so stupid they believe this?

    Was W having the DTs for eight years while thinking he was running shock and awe to no effect but fucking up Iraq for the sake of some loony tune PNAC pipe dream about owning all the oil in the world? P. Kennedy was a reasonably good Congressman while Republicans screwed over the entire world for fun and for profit.

    Republicans intelligent enough to manipulate a keyboard know for a fact they are absolutely full of merde. It’s dawned on them in their later years. PNAC? Nobody could be that fricking stupid. But you all were. W for Pres? Moron, but Scalia loves shooting ducks, If you think it’s your Constitution, and you think it’s your government, think again.

    DickCheneyworld. Holy shit. Don’t Americans have an ounce of decency? Seriously, fuck you racist aholes. You’ve all got to be kidding. Republicans have a single message. He’s black. Must be untrustworthy.

    Nobody named Ahmed can be trusted at security? Nobody can be trusted, you moron, When did Americans get so fucking stupid?

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