Miles to go.

Why we still have a lot of work to do on gay acceptance. When a guy like this doesn’t feel the need to marry a woman and have sex with men in parks, then maybe we’ll have made real progress.

Oh, what am I talking about? We have made real progress. When I had a bad riding lesson, my instructor would counsel the long view: Don’t think about where you are today. Think about where you were six months ago, and how much you’ve improved since then. It’s depressing when a married father of four, faced with arrest in a gay cruising spot, panics and things escalate to the point of violence. But where were we a few years ago? At least some gay people can get married and live out ‘n’ proud. I ran into a married father of two the other day in the grocery store, but he’s married to another man, the kids are adopted and if they were any more decent and upright, they’d be in danger of being elected to office.

I got an e-mail from a friend the other day:

I wouldn’t call it a milestone, but it’s a definite ministone, one of those little markers that show how the complexion of ordinary life is changing. During a four-hour stint at the Wells County 4-H Fair yesterday, I stumbled into a long talk about, broadly speaking, the gay experience. Met a guy I went to high school with, we had eons of time to kill watching our kids in the same events, and we started comparing notes on politics. I found that Mr. hyper-Catholic is a low-key gay-rights booster, and it’s a serious area of friction he and his uber-conservative wife have with their extended families.

Their “radicalizing” experience: Another of our classmates, a close friend of theirs, came out to them in the late ’90s. Mr. Catholic had no clue, and he said he was left speechless and fumbling to react. “I gotta hand it to my wife. She gave him a big hug and said, ‘Do you have someone special? Tell us all about him!'”

On one hand, hers seems a corny reaction, like something Grandma would say. But mostly it’s charming that she could suppress all her religious worry-wartism in a blink and flash him what I think of as the universal old-biddy code for demonstrating acceptance of gay people: “Dish the gossip on your romantic life, on the double.”

This is, I remind you, one of the most conservative corners of one of the most conservative states in the union. As I said a while back on another website: It’s over. The skirmishes will continue, but the war is over.

But the skirmishes will likely continue for pretty much ever. Societal acceptance will help. The passage of time will help. But there will always be gay people who feel their attraction to people of the same sex is wrong, somehow, and want to change it. That’s the part of the pray-the-gay-away movement that interests me — the people who seek it out, for whatever reason.

We like to think that those people are self-loathing, and no doubt many of them are. But what about those who aren’t? What about people whose sexuality falls somewhere in the middle of the continuum, who want to push it closer to the other side? Do they have anything interesting to say in this? Consider that classmate in Wells County. The traditional path for a young gay person in such a community would be to head to Indianapolis or Chicago after high school or college, somewhere with old houses to fix up and community theater and softball leagues and Teva sandals and other stereotypically gay things, and settle in among the critical mass a smaller community can’t produce.

But what about the guy — let’s assume a guy, for this argument — who may be same-sex attracted, but actually wants a female wife and children and whatever else goes along with it? Is he going to Chicago? What if he likes small-town Wells County life? What if he wants five acres on the edge of town and a Rotary Club membership? Is he ever going to be completely comfortable in his skin? I don’t know. Probably not. My guess is, he’ll head to Chicago a few weekends a year, on business, and cruise the parks. I think the closet will always be with us. I think all we can do is make it smaller.

OK, then. I front-load my week: Monday is the busiest, de-escalating until Friday, when I try to take a little me time. But lately it’s been a full-speed blowout through Thursday, and pals? It is getting on my last damn nerve. So let’s cut to the bloggage before I hop to the shower:

“Scream 4” wraps in Plymouth. I blew up that picture of Courtney Cox and was reminded of Coozledad’s description of Madonna: “A stew bird.” Man, I’ll say.

The Andrew Breitbart business yesterday leaves me nearly spluttering with rage. When I get spluttery, I turn to Roy to channel it into coherence.

Oops, almost forgot: MRIs of vegetables. Because we can.

Me, I’m off.

Posted at 10:59 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

41 responses to “Miles to go.”

  1. LAMary said on July 21, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Courtney Cox isn’t as stew birdy as Madonna. Her arms aren’t scary. Madonna photos make me jump back a little and gasp.

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  2. nancy said on July 21, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I was more struck by CC’s legs. Hard to tell from the photo, but that looks like visible blood vessels in her legs. I’ve never seen that before.

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  3. Deborah said on July 21, 2010 at 11:26 am

    I have a lot of gay friends, probably because I’m in the design world. A gay couple I know adopted a child two years ago and they just found out recently that the birth mother had just had another child that she wanted to give up. So they adopted the second child who is the real half brother of their daughter. I think that is the best story I’ve heard in a long time.

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  4. coozledad said on July 21, 2010 at 11:31 am

    You’re right about a visit to Roy’s giving some nuanced perspective. But the best thing I found out there today was this:
    I know it’s just John Stossel getting his circuitbreaker tripped, but you can imagine him as Breitbart, or O’Reilly, or Hannity, and console yourself with the idea it’s very likely to happen to them. One day.

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  5. Mark P. said on July 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

    The war is not over in Georgia. One Republican attack ad in the gubernatorial primary campaign was that a particular Republican candidate lied about being a strong enough opponent of gay rights.

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  6. Snarkworth said on July 21, 2010 at 11:49 am

    So they adopted the sec­ond child who is the real half brother of their daugh­ter. I think that is the best story I’ve heard in a long time

    It’s a lovely story, Deborah. But if I may: In Adoption Land, the word “real” is red-flaggy. “the biological half brother of their daughter” would be preferred.

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  7. nancy said on July 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

    How about just “their daughter’s half-brother?” The people I know in blended families object to the “half” anyway, but since no one uses the term in anything other than blood relationships, it would work.

    Now, the editor must start fuckin’ editing.

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  8. bobolink said on July 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    My dad was recently remembering his college football playing days in the early 50s (go blue!) and how when the teams were preparing for the blue/gray game (a kind of all star event with players from all different teams), the black guys all sat at a separate dining table in a separate room. He said “I should have stood right up right then and said: hey, that’s wrong – we are all one team and we should eat together!” But Dad, I said, at that time, everyone accepted that kind of thing. Some day, I don’t know when, there will be a generation that is as shocked, puzzled and confused over America’s treatment of G&L people as something “less” as we are with respect to the separate treatment based on race only 50-odd yrs ago. To Nancy’s point, it won’t ever be universal, just like it isn’t with race, but it will be better.

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  9. LAMary said on July 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Speaking of the word “fuckin’.” I freely admit to watching the Real Housewives shows. They are crap and I know it. Two weeks ago the villain housewife on the New Jersey version used the phrase,”that’s a fuckin’ nuff.” I love this. It’s not enough. It’s a nuff. And that’s a fuckin’ nuff.

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  10. Snarkworth said on July 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Nance, I think that might work. Generally, the “half” seems distancing, but in this family’s situation, it’s actually something extra special.

    But for most purposes, my biological son and my adopted son are plain ol’ brothers.

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  11. Sue said on July 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Softball leagues are stereotypically gay? Perhaps your next movie can be about a gay person from Wells County who moves to Chicago to join a softball league as a way to meet people who share his interests. Hilarity ensues.

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  12. Sue said on July 21, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    The latest on the Breitbart thing: he’s implying that the farmer’s wife is a plant.

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  13. Deborah said on July 21, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Snarkworth thanks for the tip. I’ll remember that. My daughter has two step sisters that she never refers to in that way. Her two step sisters, have two half sisters. They are all just sisters.

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  14. velvet goldmine said on July 21, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    The wife’s gracious reaction to the friend coming out reminds of the time my friend Dave was feeding our mutual friends’ cats while the friends were away. (I know, I know — what a Mark Trail sentence THAT was.)

    Dave was planning a sex change operation and often dressed as “Deborah” but had only told me and a few other people — not including the cat owners. Naturally, they came home early, while “Deborah” was still at their house, in dress, hose, wig and a fire engine red lipstick.

    Mrs. Cat sputtered for a few moments, finally saying, “Look at you! You’re all…dressed up!”

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  15. Chris in Iowa said on July 21, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I guess dancing in the dark really would be the only way Bruce Springsteen would dance these days with Courtney Cox.

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  16. paddyo' said on July 21, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Glad (GLAAD?!) for the discussion on the gay-life dilemma, but I couldn’t help noticing another detail that tripped MY trigger, so to speak, in that NJ incident:

    That man was the SIXTH person KILLED in Essex County NJ police shootings this year. (Not just the “fifth shooting,” as the original link mentions; a second link there goes deeper . . . )

    Now, I realize every case deserves to be considered on its own merits, and that some shootings are undoubtedly justified . . . but I also think one of the byproducts of our gun-happy society is a higher propensity for folks on the other end of law-enforcement encounters, violent or not, to end up dead.

    Regardless of how this one turns out, the death-by-cop track record (I’m not including “suicide-by-cop,” BTW) generally bugs the hell out of me . . . maybe because for a while here in Denver, the police were pulling triggers in a lot of cases, and the DA (now our not-running-for-a-second-term governor) ruled every last damned one “justifiable,” including the ones that didn’t seem so.

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  17. Dorothy said on July 21, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    My cousin Kate adopted two girls who are biological sisters. It was the same situation as your friends, Deborah. The birth mother got pregnant again and contacted Kate and Bill’s lawyer and wondered if they’d like to adopt her second child. Of course they said yes. I don’t know if they are half or full sisters and we don’t really care – we always just considered them to be Kate’s daughters. They are 26 months apart. The older one was born on my 36th birthday so when we see each other we always shout: BIRTHDAY TWIN!!!!!!

    I noticed Courtney’s legs in that picture, too. I don’t know if the quality of the photo was bad but they looked kind of strange, like she had bumps all over them. And yes the veins really stood out. I disliked her shoes immensely. Too clunky with that lovely purple sheath she was wearing.

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  18. coozledad said on July 21, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Sue: Breitbart’s already swinging wildly, about to go down. He’s got that sweaty look of marsupial terror Republican operatives get when they’ve gone too far, and the Scaifes and Murdochs of the world are forced to cut them loose. Now he’s even trying to feign “pity” for Sherrod. He’s finding out about the “depth” of Republican loyalty, and why he is so fucking dead.

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  19. beb said on July 21, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Nancy said it all so well. I have only a limited number of friends but among them are openly gay, closeted gay and probably bi. I don’t talkl about my sex life, they don’t talk about theirs and everything is find. I was brought up in a fairly conservative part of Indiana so I still have a cringe respond around the gay. Which reminds me, in a wekk I’m attending a conferance where one of my friends will be attending who has just come out as transgender. That may take a little getting used to.

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  20. Deborah said on July 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I found this on Talking Points Memo, David Frum wrote this (oh yes he did!) about the Sherrod situation:

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  21. Joe Kobiela said on July 21, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Ya’ll taling about brothers and sisters and half Sisters and brothers, there is a great song called I’m my own Grandpa, can’t remenber who wrote it but remember it being funny.
    Pilot Joe

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  22. Little Bird said on July 21, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Uh, Deborah, I call them my step-sisters. I correct people when they call them my sisters. I don’t want to misrepresent them or myself. Their half sisters I refer to as my hop-skip-and-a-jumps.

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  23. deb said on July 21, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    nance, you have seen blood vessels like that before….you linked to a similar photo of renee zellweger back in aught-seven. now, as then, i wonder: what kind of punishing exercise regimen or lousy diet produces legs like that? on second thought, never mind. i don’t want to know.

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  24. Jeff Borden said on July 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Andrew Breitbart has created a cottage industry in embarrassing black people with slickly edited videotape, but he and Fox News never suffer any consequences for the shit they pull. ACORN is dead because of his phony “pimp and prostitute” scam. Of course, an investigation of ACORN found absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing. Now, it is a good-hearted woman whose real story was her own revelation that she was behaving in a bigoted manner and she realized it. Plus, the incident occurred in 1986!

    I sincerely hope Shirley Sherrod hires a very good lawyer and sues this hate-mongering shithead.

    Fox News is below contempt. I understand the core audience is older, angry white people who want someone to feed their fury, but Jesus, the network is alarmingly close to inciting racial warfare with over-hyped coverage of things like the so-called New Black Panther Party.

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  25. Dexter said on July 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    My step daughters and I were introduced in 1975 when they were six and three, and I married their mom two years later, and then we had another daughter in 1977. I always just say “our daughters”, or “my daughters”, and they have always all called me “dad”.
    My brothers are the only ones who always say “your step daughters, from your second wife” and all that stuff.
    Their dad abandoned them, left the little family to get by, he had no contact with his kids at all except to say hello once a summer…no support payments, no letters, no calls…nothing.
    So I am just dad.

    For being a small-town guy mostly, I surely do seem to have known and know a lot of gays. In the US Army, sure, but right here, too, right next door. Lesbians in the front apartment, gay man in the back apartment, and the world still spins.
    I have been bloggin’ with Craig Crawford for over five years and I was happy for him when he recently came out, on Don Imus’s morning show. Craig and his David have been together for over 20 years. Craig quit msnbc but you can see him as a guest on Rick Sanchez’s show on CNN every now and then. I mean, it didn’t kill his career when he told Imus he was gay.

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  26. Bob said on July 21, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    “Now, it is a good-hearted woman whose real story was her own rev­e­la­tion that she was behav­ing in a big­oted man­ner and she real­ized it. Plus, the inci­dent occurred in 1986!”

    Jeff, that’s a great point about this mess. I hadn’t quite pinned it down that tightly. Vicarious experience doesn’t successfully teach lessons too often, but we sure as hell shouldn’t punish people for looking back on their shortcomings, their overcome prejudices and mistakes and reflecting on them publicly to perhaps save others a few of the same missteps.

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  27. 4dbirds said on July 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    My family is blended. I came into my current marriage with a son and my husband with a daughter. Together we had three more children. Nobody calls anyone a ‘half’. It’s always “My brother” or “My sister”. My youngest didn’t even know she had ‘halfs’ until she was a tween. Interestingly, when my youngest had her bone marrow transplant, her closest match was one of her ‘halfs’ (although he wasn’t her donor, her paternal aunt was). Little Bird, I love that hop skip and a jump. In our family we call those connections, shirt-tail relatives.

    Edit: I am reminded of a former co-worker who is originally from Sierra Leone. He is muslim and his father had many wives. He is one of 37 children. He told me they never made the half distintion. They were all brothers and sisters.

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  28. Jeff Borden said on July 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm


    Exactly. The irony here is that Ms. Sherrod was describing a “come to Jesus” moment in her life that changed her thinking for the better. The fact that the elderly white farmers –man and wife– are vociferously defending her and saying she literally helped them save their farm underscores Ms. Sherrod DID change.

    I’m not so naive as to believe that there are no prejudiced black people. Bigots come in every color. But what Breitbart did with his edited video isn’t simply irresponsible journalism –and I hate using that word and Breitbart in the same sentence– but race-baiting of the ugliest and most pernicious sort. He really does deserve to get his ass sued off, but I won’t hold my breath.

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  29. crinoidgirl said on July 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    “The White House formally apologized on Wednesday to a black civil servant who was fired for making racially tinged remarks that were taken out of context, just hours after top aides to President Obama pressed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reconsider his decision to dismiss her.”

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  30. Sue said on July 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    CNN is reporting that the White House has issued an apology to Ms. Sherrod, Vilsack has also apologized and offered her job back.
    Breitbart, meanwhile, feels sorry for Ms. Sherrod because of how the media misconstrued things.

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  31. LAMary said on July 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Agreed. The legs are stringy and odd looking. Mine are full of bruises all the time from dogs who jump on the bed and don’t take care to miss the legs.

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  32. Jeff Borden said on July 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I would like to see Andrew Breitbart suffer through a terribly itchy and painful case of head lice, but it’s not completely his fault. Press secretary Robert Gibbs said something compelling earlier today, to wit, that the same media creatures pressing the White House about the Sherrod case today had run the Breitbart story without vetting it yesterday.

    This is a game the right-wing has been playing for years. If the mainstream media ignores Breibart’s story, the journalists are in the tank for liberals. So, just to demonstrate how very, very fair they are, the MSM overcompensates and broadcasts his bullshit far and wide.

    At some point, responsible journalists are going to have to vet every single thing said by people like Breitbart, and they have to stop reflexively reacting to the absolute crap that passes for news on Fox. FNC is the propaganda arm of the conservative movement. Nothing it reports on can be assumed to be true. Nothing.

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  33. prospero said on July 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    What do y’all think about women singing rock ‘n’ ‘roll’? I mean, it’s a whole lot more interesting than POS Oompahs making absurd shit up or trying to claim Kiss can play.

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  34. brian stouder said on July 21, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Jeff – agreed.

    Our “national media” have become no better than any local rag with an axe to grind, except that they have this huge reach

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  35. Catherine said on July 21, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Speaking of responsible journalism and vetting, the Portland Tribune ran a long piece about why they DIDN’T publish the masseuse’s allegations about Al Gore, here:

    So is the piece a bunch of excuses or an example of responsible journalism?

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  36. Deborah said on July 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    They’re still filming the Transformer 3 movie here in Chicago. They’ve moved from Michigan Ave, to Wacker just south of the Chicago RIver between Michigan and Wabash. This evening on my way home from work I was walking across Wacker when one of the actors was heading over to meet the crowds of people who had gathered. I realized that I was between the actor and the stampeding people heading towards him. Yikes, I quickly scampered around behind him, I was about 2″ from him. I had no idea who he was until I asked one of the gawkers. His name is Tyrese Gibson. Some of the young women were so excited to be near him they were weeping. I Googled him when I got home and found out he’s a musician turned actor. He was very good looking.

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  37. alex said on July 21, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    I watched the full Shirley Sherrod speech tonight, and now I’m not all that pissed at Breitbart. He killed two birds with one stone—not only did he discredit right-wing media, he also brought attention to a poignant message of healing and redemption. Shirley ought to be a celebrity making bazillions for speeches, not She Who.

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  38. joodyb said on July 22, 2010 at 12:22 am

    from Breitbart’s Wikipedia cv:
    “His early jobs included a stint at cable channel E! Entertainment Television, working for the company’s online magazine, and some time in film production.[6]

    In 1995 he saw the Drudge Report and was so impressed that he emailed Matt Drudge. “I thought what he was doing was by far the coolest thing on the Internet. And I still do.”[4] Matt Drudge introduced him to Arianna Huffington, when she was still a Republican,[6] and Breitbart subsequently assisted Huffington, after she became a “Progressive”, in creating her website.”

    Not a lot of shoe-leather mileage. the old bloggers-are-not-reporters meme ought to be surfacing (ya gets what ya pays for Amerika), and the White House had better start reading/watching before pulling the trigger. Entire abortion = everyone’s skimming and no one knows ANYTHING.

    Oh, and in the meow category, he looks pretty chewed up for 41.

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  39. Randy said on July 22, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Referring to the cop and ceo story you linked, one of my friends routinely hooks up with married guys, usually in the back seat of his car, late at night in some secluded parking lot or corner of a park. He finds it thrilling, but I worry sometimes that he’ll meet one of those guys.

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  40. prospero said on July 22, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Wouldn’t it be a better country if David Gergen were a typical Republican?

    Shouldn’t somebody beat the shit out of Breitbart? The lie and the manipulation in this case are stupendous. At the least, shouldn’t any news outlet claiming to be legitimate just put the kibosh on this mendacious asshole? And what sort of representative government can America claim when large numbers of people, and putative voters, buy this shit hook, line, sinker?

    Look, Drudge is bullshit and Breitbart is so full of holes he’s hilarious. These people are absurd, but there are people that eat this shit up. If you add these looney-tunes to the solipsistic aholes that think Obama hasn’t lived up to their demands, well.

    The accomplishments make a litany. You know, nobody ever mentioned the public option during the campaign in 2008. If people are so stupid they reject incrementalism, and doing the best thing politically possible, knowing for sure it gets the camel’s nose in the tent, well, Naderite assholes, and we’d rather starve than take the half loaf.

    These people aren’t just assholes. They’re navel-gazers that think they’re more important individually than any political cause they claim to believe in. Just like Darth Nader. I gaze at my omphalos. It’s the universe’

    So WaPo says 60something% don’t like the health care legislation. They choose not to tell you that a good 30% are self-righteous assholes that wouldn’t approve anything but single-payer. How in the world is that remotely legitimate reporting?

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