A couple weeks ago, scanning the police reports, I came across one that didn’t make the final cut. It didn’t really have much of a local angle. A doctor at one of the local hospitals had his prescription pad stolen, and there had been a number of attempts to pass phony scripts since, most of them deep in the inner city, where my guess is pharmacists see this every day.
The report detailed what drugs the perps had tried to get. Most were obvious abuse candidates — the opiate pain meds so popular with Hollywood starlets and the like. But I was struck by the rest of the list, which included cholesterol regulators, asthma meds and even folic acid — iron pills. A day or two later, I came across a story in my news-farming about the difficulty of administering AIDS drugs in desperately poor countries (and neighborhoods, for that matter). Patients who are feeling well find it too tempting to sell their meds on the black market. A full bottle can bring hundreds of dollars on the street — an enormous amount for people living in poverty, especially in Africa, or even New York.
Just connecting dots casually, I wonder if the people trying to pass the fraudulent scripts aren’t trying to get high so much as get by. When your kid is wheezing, an albuterol inhaler is probably worth more than all the Lindsay Lohan fruit salad in the world. Ghetto economies are as complex, in their way, as more aboveboard systems.
Of course, poor people, especially poor children, have other options to get their drugs legally. Maybe you can get high with albuterol. Maybe I’m just talking out my ass here. It has happened before.
Alex once told me about a drag queen of his acquaintance who could wad up a cocktail dress into a mass smaller than a softball and practically palm the thing, all while seeming to look through another rack of dresses. Me, I’ve never been able to steal more than a ballpoint pen from my office without breaking out in hives. Born middle class, and I’ll stay there the rest of my life.
So. I saw this thing yesterday while dropping in and out of Weingarten’s chat. It’s about the upcoming nuptials of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, and it’s not nice, and she loses me entirely when she gets into the religion part, but then, the column is called “The Spirited Atheist,” after all. In some ways, the anger Susan Jacoby exhibits here reminds me of that period between Labor Day and Election Day, 2008, in which the world met $.P. for the first time, and a large chunk of the population was left scratching our heads and asking, what the–? And then we got angry, and stayed angry, and have only sublimated it, barely, since. Jacoby:
Although the children of politicians are generally off-limits, Bristol is an exception for two reasons. First, she has made herself into a public figure not only by sharing her personal life with the world but by her loopy performance as a spokesperson against teen pregnancy. (I wonder how it promotes the message that teen pregnancy is a bad idea when a young woman is financially rewarded and glamorized by the media precisely because she was a pregnant teen lucky enough to be the daughter of a famous mom.) Second, Bristol was used by her mother as an asset to placate the religious right-wing base of the Republican Party during the 2008 campaign. She was a living demonstration of Sarah Palin’s opposition to abortion: Look at my teenage daughter, she made a mistake and did the right thing by having the baby. The only more shameless aspect of Sarah’s campaign was her constant exhibition of her Down Syndrome son. Look at me, I didn’t have an abortion like those terrible elitist women who make fun of me for not reading books.
… Sarah Palin pushed her pregnant 17-year-old daughter on stage, displayed her next to her boyfriend, and fed the fantasies of every deluded teenage girl in America by suggesting that the two were “engaged.” Now, since Levi left the Alaskan oil flelds to make an easier living by posing for Playgirl, Sarah has apparently had second thoughts about the high school dropout as her daughter’s knight-in-shining armor. You can be sure of one thing: if Sarah should become the Republican nominee: She’ll have cleaned up the Bristol-Levi-baby trio into something more suitable for middle-class consumption. Because the truth is that Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are most middle-class American parents’ worst nightmare, but they are a nightmare that arises directly from the daily dream world propagated by politicians like Sarah Palin and her supporters.
Whenever I hear liberal-to-centrist pundits saying that even if Sarah gets the Republican nomination, she will only ensure Obama’s re-election, I shudder. That this representative of pure ignorance, retrograde religion, and class envy is being taken seriously at all speaks volumes about the dumbing down of America. The Bristol-Levi story, promoted by dumbed-down media, is what you get when you put Sarah Palin’s values into action. Will Americans refudiate this stupidity, or will they, in 2012, show that no ignorance is too ignorant if it is cloaked in reflexive anti-elitism and dubious family values? That is a question the pundits should be taking seriously.
I don’t recommend reading the comments on that piece. It’s a beautiful day, and you don’t want to consider sticking your head in the oven just yet.
But since we’ve set a theme here, some angry bloggage. From a posting Jolene made in yesterday’s comments, Ta-Nehesi Coates isn’t interested in having a conversation on race, because you can’t have a conversation with people who won’t listen.
And Thomas Frank has some issues with Newt Gingrich. But don’t we all?
Finally, the good news out of the Gulf of Mexico is balanced by bad news out of …Kalamazoo? An oil spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan? You better believe it. And a very very bad one.
Me, I’m off to spill some color on my gray roots. Have a swell one, all.
deb said on July 28, 2010 at 11:20 am
not a nice story, but she has some valid points about the way $.P. (love that, by the way) so shamelessly exploited her children by using them as props. i can barely even bring myself to mention my kids, except in passing, on my blog. i can’t imagine the kind of heartless triangulating required to put them in the spotlight the way she did. and continues to do. i hope bristol and levi know what they’re getting into.
Jeff Borden said on July 28, 2010 at 11:53 am
I find very little fault with the article and think it makes some points that need making now and then. It’s hardly limited to $P, but the embrace of anti-intellectualism, class envy and xenophobia on the right is troubling and should be cause for worry. Good Lord, our nation is in a terrible mess and we need intelligent, educated, sophisticated responses to our many problems, not bullshit that can be quoted in three words from a bumper sticker. This right-wing movement seeks to deny the complexity of the modern world and the interdependence of regions, nations, continents in everything from the price of wheat to the development of nuclear weaponry.
In brief, we need a boatload more elitists and a lot fewer fundamentalists to make things right.
As for Levi and Bristol? I’m sorry, but screw ’em. They have access to great gobs of cash from Mama Malaprop herself and can always peddle a few photos from their life of wedded bliss to some penny-ante tabloid. It’s the 99.9% of other teens who get pregnant who are worthy of our concerns — the ones without access to money and fame.
Peter said on July 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm
Thanks a lot Jeff. “Mama Malaprop?” Now I have to clean up the ice tea spray on my desk.
This is not a democrats do it too rant, but Monday and yesterday our former governor saw fit to bring his two kids to the courtroom to hear closing arguments. Then he and the missus got upset when some reporters noticed that the 14 year old had a Coach bag and the 7 year old a sippy cup.
Not to get all McCarthy/Army hearings here, but at long last, don’t these folks have any sense of decency? Say whatever you want about the Clintons, but their handling of Chelsea was all class all the way. Same thing about Obama; I couldn’t even tell you his kid’s names. I can’t stand politicians that shamelessly show their kids like some pimp. Talk about complete lack of class.
moe99 said on July 28, 2010 at 12:09 pm
Nancy, I’ll wave in your general direction when I’m landing at the Detroit airport Friday afternoon. Coming into Defiance for my 40th high school reunion this weekend. I’m having a darned hard time picking out what to pack. It’s like I’m back in high school or something…..
Jenflex said on July 28, 2010 at 12:15 pm
Peter re. Blago: I know…isn’t it depressing?
Deborah said on July 28, 2010 at 12:19 pm
His seven year old has a sippy cup? Good lord. Is that common for kids that old?
Jolene said on July 28, 2010 at 12:21 pm
It is remarkable how out of the limelight Malia and Sasha have been. They show up at appropriate moments (the WH Easter egg roll, WH concerts, the family trip to Maine), and otherwise they are out of sight. Yet I know they play on school teams, go on sleepovers, occasionally shop or go to a concert w/ Michelle. There’s usually something in the news after the fact, but no photos.
I saw something the other day about the girls getting allowances with certain guidelines for saving and spending, and Barack said that Malia would soon be old enough to take on babysitting jobs. Wonder what her rates will be.
It’d be interesting to know what they do about having their kids use the Internet. It both shocks me and breaks my heart to see the kinds of things people say about the prez and his wife. Can’t imagine what it would be like to be his daughter and be exposed to that rot.
MarkH said on July 28, 2010 at 12:28 pm
Strictly OT —
We clearly never have enough to worry about (at least in the UK):
Jeff Borden said on July 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm
Peter and Deborah,
Agreed and agreed and agreed. Bringing those two poor girls –and trying to convince the jury of the youngest one’s youth by saddling her with a sippy cup at age 7– was one of the more disgusting scenes from a politician who clearly lacks a shame gene. One of the columnists in Chicago has written more than once that Rod Blagojevich is genuinely delusional.
I suppose the little creep could walk, but I think all those tapes and the juicy details like his penchant for rich clothing even as he cries poverty at every turn will resonate enough to get him convicted on at least some of the charges.
ROgirl said on July 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm
Nobody should misunderestimate $P and her shameless exploitation of her family as she defends against the MSM.
Jeff Borden said on July 28, 2010 at 12:46 pm
You are correct, ROgirl. Make that mistake and, like William Shakespeare, $P will refudiate you.
Julie Robinson said on July 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm
Moe, at my reunion the prevailing color was black, since it’s slimming. I hope you enjoy yourself.
I know way too much about the Blago affair since Mom lives near Chicago, always disliked the man, and loves juicy political gossip. Me, I’m concentrating on another type of criminal: the cherry-tomato-munching chipmunks I’ve seen the last two mornings. The little devils pick them and sit on the garden wall eating them. I swear they’re taunting me.
Linda said on July 28, 2010 at 1:38 pm
Re: Ghetto economy. Poor folks have their own word of mouth network for people/institutions that help them out. For instance, pharmacists who will sell a scrip pill or two, rather than the whole scrip, if you cannot afford the whole thing, or which health clinics who are nice/not nice to white people, etc., just like rich people pass along inside investing information to each other. Or middle-class info on who’s hiring.
Little Bird said on July 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm
Julie, try sprinkling cayenne pepper around and on your tomato plants, it won’t hurt the plants. It won’t hurt the critters either, but they certainly won’t like it. You’ll have to do it every few days or so. This is what a friend of mine does with her plants. She claims it works.
Dorothy said on July 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm
Have fun at your reunion, moe! I’m going to my 35th high school reunion over Labor Day and I too have been wondering what the hell I’m going to wear. Since I’m heavier than I was 10 years ago (last time I attended) I should probably go the black clothing routine, but that’s just not me. I like colorful stuff! I’ll probably say “screw it” and wear a bright blue print blouse with white capri pants.
Deborah said on July 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm
I’ve not been to any of my high school reunions and I’ll never, ever go in the future. I hated my high school experience. I went to one of my husband’s and won’t do that again. Boring.
nancy said on July 28, 2010 at 2:18 pm
Speaking of women who don’t care what others think of their looks, isn’t Hillary looking nice lately?
Rana said on July 28, 2010 at 2:38 pm
Julie, I had to build metal mesh cages to protect my tomatoes from squirrels. If you do it, be sure to wear gloves – the edges of the cut wire are very sharp!
moe99 said on July 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm
Looks like the Michigan AG has an exciting backstory here, perhaps….
brian stouder said on July 28, 2010 at 2:42 pm
isn’t Hillary looking nice, lately?
Yes, indeed she IS looking nice lately! Aside from the jacket (which they make fun of), I like the whimsical bracelet and necklace; she seems to be enjoying a day off. And you have to love that her phone (or whatever it is) matches her clothing
MichaelG said on July 28, 2010 at 2:52 pm
The old lady across the street sells prescription drugs. There’s a steady procession of customers in and out of the place all day which can be annoying at times. Oh well. She needs to make a living somehow.
MarkH, “Boffin” is Brit speak for “Scientist”. I got as far as the 2182 impact date and stopped reading. Ain’t my problem.
Dexter said on July 28, 2010 at 3:09 pm
I love Hillary’s jacket. I will try to refrain from ranting about how disgusted I am with the latest administration folly: funding these never-ending wars with billions of US dollars from a broke treasury.
I caught up on my HBO docus last night.
1) “Motel Kids of Orange County”
2) Ted Haggard
Both these are works of Alexandra Pelosi .
Then I watched
3) “Lucky” , a docu featuring past LOTTO winners, some now broke, some doing great. All three are great, as are almost all HBO docus.
Jeff Borden said on July 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm
In Chicago, there used to be a brisk business in paper “license pending” tags, which poor folks could put on their autos to avoid purchasing state plates. The racket collapsed when Illinois belatedly joined the 20th century and began issuing large, cardboard temporary plates meant to be displayed where the permanent plate belongs, not in the back window.
Expect to hear long, loud howls, moans and screams from your average right-wing radio and TV outlets tonight over the judge’s decision in Arizona to void some of the more egregious elements of SB 1070. Bwaaaaa haaaaa haaaaa.
On a related note, I read a column somewhere within the past week or two that noted what a number Sen. John McCain and Gov. Jan Brewer were doing on Arizona’s tourism business. Not simply because they are endeavoring to make Arizona less attractive to those with swarthy complexions, but in their over the top descriptions of the situation out there — descriptions that have no basis in fact.
McCain has declared lawlessness along the border has never been worse. (This, of course, is utter bullshit according to sheriff’s in the border counties, where crime rates are lower than in 2000.) Brewer has described gruesome crimes including decapitated victims in the desert. (This, of course, is utter bullshit as the Arizona Republic could not find a single instance of this occurring.)
brian stouder said on July 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm
McCain has declared lawlessness along the border has never been worse
Santa Anna would presumeably disagree, as would Congressman “Spotty” Lincoln, but we digress!
Julie Robinson said on July 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm
We have tomato cages and a wire fence around the garden because we used to get rabbit competition for food. The chipmunks are using the wall at the back of the garden and grabbing the fruit from the tallest plants. I suppose we could put a netting over them, or I could get out earlier in the day to pick the ripe ones. I will say this for the chipmunks, they don’t pick until they’re ripe.
It’s great that Hillary seems comfortable in her own skin, and Dorothy, it seems you do too. And I think that’s what made my own reunion fun–for the most part, we could be grownups and well past all the crap that separated us in high school. We could enjoy each other and laugh about aging.
MichaelG said on July 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm
The Guv has reinstituted furloughs for State Employees. Three days per month until the budget passes. Furloughs for some employees that is. Those who work for revenue producing agencies are exempt. Rank and file employees who are in bargaining units that have signed MOUs with the Gov for new contracts will be exempt and will be required to work on furlough days but their supervisors and managers will be furloughed. Go figure that one. I think I’m getting sucked into that alternate universe.
John said on July 28, 2010 at 5:47 pm
I just saw a bunch of my classmates at a memorial concert (for another one of our classmates). 35 years and 20+ pounds smooth over a lot of differences and I loved seeing them.
Jolene said on July 28, 2010 at 6:30 pm
No reunion, but I’ve had recent occasion, too, to chat w/ people I went to high school with and hadn’t seen for years. The high school I went to was very small–all four years of it wouldn’t have made up a single class in most schools of its day–and, in our homeroom, we sat in the same alphabetical order year after year. I can still name everybody in the class by visualizing how we were seated.
What’s been most entertaining is seeing some of the guys who were complete screw-ups in high school as perfectly reasonable men who’ve had at least reasonably successful careers and now have grown-up kids and grandkids. All those years ago, I’d never have predicted that anyone would pay them to do anything.
Rana said on July 28, 2010 at 8:01 pm
I have to admit to having no desire at all to attend any reunions for my high school. Having a few classmates connect up with me on Facebook in the last year or so only confirmed that feeling. There was maybe a handful of people I liked and who liked me (the rest were a big indifferent mass – large school), and of that handful, I didn’t stay in touch with any of them after I graduated.
College reunions, now… that I’d consider. But, again, given that I’m in touch with most of the people I’d like to see already, I don’t know what it would do for me that reading the alumni magazine doesn’t already provide.
Larkspur said on July 28, 2010 at 8:58 pm
Oof. I missed my 40th high school reunion – Southfield High School, the original hell-mouthy accept-no-substitutes Southfield High School. It took place last year, and I stumbled upon news of it purely by accident. It was a huge class, I didn’t know anyone very well, and I never got on any mailing list, and I wouldn’t have gone. But damn, it was weird reading about their grandchildren. High school doesn’t seem like yesterday to me; it’s definitely something that ended 40 blessed years ago.
I can’t postpone it any longer. I have to go check out what is happening in Kalamazoo.
prospero said on July 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm
The Iowa Republican Party wants to strip William Faulkner, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Toot, Cordell Hull, Ralph Bunche, George C. Marshall, Linus Pauling, Ernest Hemingway, James Watson, and Martin Luther King of American citizenship posthumously to embarrass President Obama. It’s rumored they’ve hired Orly Taitz as their general counsel.
And I’m kinda surprised none of y’all have expressed an opinion on the Conservatives Gone Wild outrage over the indignity to his Office of the President appearing on The View. I’d bet my condo that none of these Tenthers and Party of No members expressed misgivings about the Ws’ coffee klatch with Dr. and Mrs. Phil six years ago. Except Gov. Rendell. Of course, his criticism came in a conversation on a serious news outlet–Morning Joe.
These loony-tunes antics are pretty compelling evidence that Obama enmity stretches way deeper than mere political disagreement.
brian stouder said on July 28, 2010 at 11:31 pm
Prospero, your link is broken. This might be what you were pointing at – but even if not, check this out:
Here’s a passage that made me gol (groan out loud):
Lord pushed back on the semantics, but also on what he called the “larger point”: “My colleagues seem not to understand the connection between what they are seeing in the headlines every day—and history. There is, I’m sorry to say, a direct connection between Southern racists of yore and, say, the Obama Administration policy in Arizona. The Black Panther case. And what Ms. Sherrod was doing in her speech when she ever so casually linked criticism of health care to racism, which is to say not supporting a (her words) ‘black President.’ ”
Lord has gone on to offer dictionary definitions of “lynching,” en route to suggesting that Sherrod used the word to rev up Democratic voters, and to make his larger point: that the Democratic Party—not the GOP—is the party that, over the years, has been most guilty of racism.
wow. I mean, leaving aside the string of obscenities and inarticulate howls that this sort of willful dishonesty tempts me toward, let’s think about what this fellow is saying.
When he says “My colleagues seem not to understand the connection between what they are seeing in the headlines every day—and history”, all I can say is Agreed!
Of course, once he subordinates his OWN “understanding of history” to his present day understanding of paranoid political invective, he sinks hopelessly into the lunatic fringe fever swamps.
This fellow’s “larger” (hah!) point that “the Democratic Party—not the GOP—is the party that, over the years, has been most guilty of racism.” is essentially meaningless. If a person honestly thinks about racism in America, that person has to admit that it is not something that either major party owns or disowns, but instead a base human impulse that has historically been exploited by both major parties.
The key thing is, the region of our nation that was hard-core racist (and once treasonous and literally anti-American) was nominally and traditionally Democratic, right up ’til the Democratic Party redefined itself after the Second World War.*
These folks didn’t redefine themselves, but instead abandoned the Democratic Party and embraced the Republicans (or vice-versa).
By way of saying, the attitude of Americans is the engine that propels the political parties, and not the other way around. Viewed that way, it is pointless and fruitless to argue which party is “most” racist; it’s like asking which religion has the highest percentage of sinners (my belief: 100% for all of them)
America has plenty of racists – most assuredly including this Lord fellow.
Aside from that, I heard one of the flying monkeys of the rightwing radio airwaves ranting about “judicial activism” with regard to the partial stay on the Arizona “Papers Please” law, and had to chuckle. I don’t recall anything from those people when the heavily invested judge stayed the Federal moratorium on off-shore drilling. ‘Course, it’s all about “Grrrreat Prrrrinciples” at stake now, whereas apparently none of those “Grrrreat Prrrrinciples” were at stake as 200,000,000 gallons of crude oil shot into the Gulf of Mexico, and headed for the American shoreline, at the hands of foreign corporate combinations
*edit: I caught a few moments of a panel discussion on C-Span last week, regarding racism in America, and one of the people on it made an arresting point that was so good – and so obvious – that it had NEVER occurred to me before. He was talking about Reconstruction, and the old 3/5s clause, wherein the South used to get the added bonus of 3/5 of the population that was “held to service” (ie – slaves), and therefore disproportionate congressional representation and presidential electoral power (compared to the North).
But (and this was the arresting part) – AFTER the war that the South started and lost, the Southern states got a RAISE!! The black population suddenly counted for 5/5 (100%) – while the establishment systematically disenfranchised them in most of the south, and the Ku Klux Klan (et al) power structure suppressed and indeed lynched at will, all through the region.
The fellow put the issue into stark terms, and made me stop in my tracks, all over again
prospero said on July 28, 2010 at 11:35 pm
alex said on July 28, 2010 at 11:44 pm
Obama’s still one percentage point in his approval ratings over where Reagan was in his in their respective presidencies. The left don’t like him because he’s more subtle than Reagan was about kissing off the people who would never vote for him anyway. As legacies go, it will endear him. We’ll never again hear him going off about insecure people clinging to guns and religion, but some of those people may just loosen their cold dead fingers.
Dexter said on July 28, 2010 at 11:48 pm
It ain’t My Fault!
prospero said on July 28, 2010 at 11:54 pm
This sounds like unmitigated mail fraud.
brian stouder said on July 28, 2010 at 11:55 pm
Prospero – on one hand, it’s amazing that a group of supposedly serious minded Iowans would do this 13th Amendment thing. On the other hand, some people buy gold at the behest of Glen Beck (et al), so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me afterall.
And really, if they got their way, we should blow that foreigner Teddy Roosevelt’s visage off of Mt Rushmore, too, eh?
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 29, 2010 at 12:49 am
For what it’s worth, while I mix bidness and (family) pleasure this week in DC, the House side Dem offices are fun, vibrant, and conversational, while the GOP staffers are quiet, wonky, and not given to humor or reaction thereunto. Sheila Jackson-Lee’s office is a stitch, and her staff is smart & funny — I could sit in their lobby all day (it’s in the Rayburn) and Jim Clyburn is very friendly and conversational (ditto). Dennis Kucinich is an angry troll, stay away. Peter King I held a door for at the Cannon HOB and didn’t even get a sideway glance or grunt, let alone thank you; ditto Ed Markey.
I liked the Longworth HOB cafeteria, which is also the greenest operation you ever have seen this side of Oberlin. Great salad bar, good prices, plenty of conversation. Still haven’t even gotten over to Senate side, other than a quick tribute stroll thru the Old Senate Chamber.
Security presence justifies the use of the word ubiquitous — my question is: necessarily, or is it just a chance to exert more control and exclusion on the visitors/taxpayers/employers who visit? Some of the electronic confiscation is just silly, but you can defend anything by saying the magic numerals “nineoneone” and gin up another layer of security cordon. Then you look at the Capitol dome by moonlight with your family and think “Flight 93 might have destroyed all of this,” and excuse much . . . except what does that have to do with taking even my car key lock fob as “a device”? I think they just dislike having it too well documented how much of the floor action is Kabuki theater.
On the other hand, we saw pandas today, b/w and red, all enjoying a frozen treat that looked exactly like what the church ladies used to make to put in the punch bowl with the cranberry/pineapple/7-up fancy beverage. They looked happier than Peter King wrestling with those icy rounds. Hope the Midwest is coping without us. Did someone say Bob Greene got another column into print? Huh?
Denice B. said on July 29, 2010 at 12:51 am
The book ‘Freakanomics’ really does a good job explaining the world of Ghetto economics. It talks about why most drug dealers live with their mamas and never get out of the ghetto with their drug money. It’s a fascinating study of the slum economy. As is that book “Nickeled and Dimed”, Working for Minimum Wage In America. About a woman’s struggle to live on minimum wage. Very scary.
Jolene said on July 29, 2010 at 1:36 am
Jeff (tmmo), I give you props for having the strength to be a tourist here today. The temperature wasn’t quite as high as on some recent days, but the humidity. Ooh, la, la!
Speaking of Clyburn, did you catch this video of him introducing Joe Biden? A sweet moment, and Clyburn has always seemed to me to be a genuinely good guy.