Inappropriate anger.

Wow. A new Pew Research Center survey now says that 1 in 5 Americans think the president is Muslim, and perhaps as many as a quarter believe he was born outside the U.S. I pause now for a moment and thank whatever gods may be that I don’t live in Indiana anymore, because I would surely know a few of them, and my head would have exploded by now with the strain of keeping a civil tongue in it. Hell, for all I know my current neighbors are totally down with this. One already told me her Polish priest had said he hadn’t seen so much socialism since he left the eastern bloc. I flapped my hand and said, “Gotta run.”

Truth be told, I’m trying to be more tolerant in my old age. Fat chance, sure, but I’m trying. It’s been my experience that when people are upset about something, they don’t say, “I fear a lonely death,” they say, “The president is a Muslim.” One sounds pathetic, the other like you’re engaged in civic life. For as much as they bitch, moan, and bitch some more, most people have very little to fear from individual presidents, with obvious exceptions — soldiers, Foreign Service officers, etc. Their local city council and school board representatives make more decisions that they’ll see the results of day-to-day, but even there, things are all out of whack. What starts as a curriculum change to encompass AIDS education gets all wrapped up in anxiety over one’s baby growing up and developing an inner life that does not welcome a parent, and the next thing you know you’re standing at a podium begging the board not to undermine your home teaching, which is that AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuals.

No, not begging. Demanding. The police had to take a geezer out of a recent city council meeting in Eastpointe this week. (I’d link, but the DetNews site has been hosed for the last hour.) He hit the police chief on the head with a cell phone. He was upset that the council is considering a tax increase to cover shortfalls in the city budget. Eastpointe is a blue-collar suburb, and like every other municipality around here and probably around you, too, the council is grappling with how to sustain operations when property values, and tax receipts, have fallen off a cliff. They cut and cut and cut, and finally say, OK, here we go, it’s either a tax increase or we all start burning our garbage in the back yard. Chances are excellent that geezer will still be paying less in taxes than he did even a year ago and certainly five years ago, but for now this is worth hitting a cop with a cell phone.

What would he have done if a city councilman had leaned forward, smiled gently and said, “There’s help, you know. There are people out there who want to help you. Contact your local council on aging.” Probably showed up with a rocket launcher.

Meanwhile, thanks to Jason T., for showing me I need some new T-shirts:

Or maybe this one:


Well, it’s plain I’m a dry well at the moment, so let’s forge ahead and get the hell outta here:

This isn’t as funny as Coozledad’s account of how his bull, Llewd, got out of the pasture one night and tried to breed his own daughter, but there’s something about this clip that amuses me, and yes, I will stipulate that at the moment, I am not feeling the milk of human kindness.

Art Caplan, everybody’s favorite medical ethicist, on what happens when hospitals say treatment is futile but families say, “Press on.”

I love the internet, because there are people out there who will watch “The Rachel Zoe Project” for me, and make it far more entertaining.

And now I’m gone. Apologies for lameness. It’s just my way, today.

Posted at 11:13 am in Current events |

72 responses to “Inappropriate anger.”

  1. Peter said on August 19, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Mad props to Jason T and Nancy – my christmas shopping just got way easier!

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 19, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Hey, I got mocked on Glenn Beck’s TV show yesterday! Top that, LAMary!

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  3. Sue said on August 19, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Here’s a day-brightener:

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  4. Bob (Not Greene) said on August 19, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Sorry, Jeff (tmmo), I could only make through about 30 seconds of Beck before I hit the switch. Also I saw the clip was 20 minutes long and didn’t want to sit through it. Did he mock you personally? Like something you wrote or said? Can you give the short version?

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  5. coozledad said on August 19, 2010 at 11:40 am

    “I’ve soiled myself and I can’t find my way home. That’s why I’m.. uh. Tea Potty!”
    I was just killing Llewd’s horseflies and giving him a scritch on the brisket yesterday. He just mumbles stuff like “Instant karma is going to get all up in people’s asses”, and “Dr. Laura is the Ofay of the world”.
    I’ll send pictures.

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  6. brian stouder said on August 19, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Jeff, I can’t watch ’til later, but if you actually were the target of bug-eyed Beck,I’d say you win the thread, plus the week, plus the month and year!

    The NNc Hall of Fame shimmers in the middle distance…

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 19, 2010 at 11:52 am

    He doesn’t mention me by name, but talks about “so-called scholars who have rejected the (Newark) Holy Stones because they couldn’t figure out which way to hold the objects; they were reading them upside down, that’s why they couldn’t understand them!”

    There are precisely four “scholars” who have published on the Newark Holy Stones as a hoax, and two of them happily would state they just cite us two (Brad Lepper and myself) in a larger argument. So when Glenn is riffing on the ignorance of those who don’t see the Hebrew inscriptions the way he and his LDS/Mormon cohorts do, he’s talking about me and Brad.

    I’ve already e-mailed Beck and every conservative pundit I’ve ever corresponded with to offer to answer questions directly. We’ll see what happens. Brad’s on a family vacation in California and trying to avoid e-mail and internet, of course.

    Our main argument can be seen at

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  8. nancy said on August 19, 2010 at 11:58 am

    In that case, congratulations! You’re now a so-called scholar.

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  9. Sue said on August 19, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    MMJeff, I couldn’t watch it either, but in my opinion if a chalkboard wasn’t involved you’re not in the big-time yet.
    And there is a Glenn Beck “not knowing how to hold the holy stones” joke in here somewhere.

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  10. Bob said on August 19, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    “It’s been my expe­ri­ence that when peo­ple are upset about some­thing, they don’t say, ‘I fear a lonely death,’ they say, ‘The pres­i­dent is a Mus­lim.'”

    This is excessively charitable on your part, Nance. Many people are quick to accept false assertions, as long as they dovetail with their religious, political or social prejudices. Distinguishing truth from lie isn’t a top priority for everyone. Truth is less tidy.

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  11. Jeff Borden said on August 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I fear I’m becoming a cranky old man at age 59, mostly because of politics. My scorn for the political class grows daily as I watch a sclerotic Congress grandstanding on silly issues like the Islamic community center in Manhattan while the real unemployment rate is probably around 15%, when all the folks like me who are “underemployed” are factored in. Sometimes, I think we’ve reached the point where we are largely ungovernable. It will only get worse when more GOPers are added to the House and Senate, too, so I expect my low boiling anger will rise next year. What a happy thought.

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  12. Bob (Not Greene) said on August 19, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Holy Stones? Holy Crap!

    Beck is making some argument using the “holy stones” as a basis? (Jeff, you’ll have to humor me here, because I am not prepared to sit through that guy’s mutterings). I mean, tell me if I’m wrong, but it seems the only reason you’d use those stones for anything is to prove some racist argument and try to convince people that the U.S. something like the Holy Land. Am I way off base here? I hope I am, because it sounds completely looney and I can’t believe people are that dumb. There you go, Nance, I get less tolerant the older I get. Mainly I hate the stupid.

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  13. Jolene said on August 19, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    “It’s been my experience that when people are upset about something, they don’t say, ‘I fear a lonely death,’ they say, ‘The president is a Muslim.’”

    This is excessively charitable on your part, Nance.

    No kidding. I suspect fear of a lonely death occurs among Democrats, too, but it does not lead them to adopt distorted views of the president’s religion.

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  14. nancy said on August 19, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    It probably is. Self-delusion, that is. I’m less charitable with others. The latest is the “Obama is stupid” thing that’s been pinging around the right blogosphere. As far as I can tell, it goes like this:

    Obama did something risky > He must be stupid > But wait he went to two Ivy League schools, wrote two books, speaks in complete sentences > But he’s black > Therefore, he must certainly be an affirmative-action moron > Therefore he’s stupid > Time for lunch.

    The fact these connections are made by people whose sheepskins came from land-grant diploma mills is only more galling.

    Also, how many more times does Obama have to demolish them in one-on-one, off-the-cuff sessions before the “he’s helpless without a Teleprompter” meme dies?

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  15. Jeff Borden said on August 19, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Oh God. Mama Malaprop has taken to the defense of Ms. Schlessinger, saying she should not retreat, but reload. $P also misrepresents the First Amendment –again– as meaning any one can say anything without repercussions.

    Like Bob N.G., it’s the overwhelming stupidity that is so galling. A half-wit, half-term governor of a state containing fewer than a million people continues to command attention on the national stage. Everytime I hear or read about something this photogenic idiot says, it feels like my IQ dips another point.

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  16. Sue said on August 19, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    What’s a land-grant diploma mill? I thought land-grant colleges were legit and included a lot of flagship state schools.

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    • nancy said on August 19, 2010 at 12:58 pm

      “A land-grant diploma mill” is my cruel caricature of many fine schools. It just bugs me when I hear someone’s sparkling opinion that a member of the Harvard Law Review must be stupider than the speaker, especially when you consider the speaker often went someplace like Ball State.

      I’m a land-grant diploma-mill graduate myself. And a proud one!

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  17. Bob (Not Greene) said on August 19, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Jeff B., I saw that too. The thing is that, I’ve concluded, many, many people are this stupid and $P says things they recognize as their own ignorant opinions. Every time I don’t publish a letter to the editor filled with outright falsehoods or edit out the odd 500-word extraneous rant, I’m depriving them of their freedom of speech. It’s their “opinion” and they have a right to have it published in a privately owned publication. It says so in the Constitution. I call it editing, they call it censorship. hence the $P babbling makes a lot of sense to them. There’s nothing you can do to convince them otherwise. The stupidity is that ingrained.

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  18. Bob (Not Greene) said on August 19, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Hey a new put down — land granter!

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  19. moe99 said on August 19, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I saw a post on an outdoor church bulletin board yesterday that said: “The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.”

    Got that right.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on August 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Count me among the land grant graduates. I believe my education was very, very good. Not Ivy League good, perhaps, but pretty damned good.

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  21. Mark P. said on August 19, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I’m getting old but I’m not getting more conservative or more tolerant of stupidity. I’m getting impatient; I don’t have that much time left to waste listening to idiots. I’m also beginning to think it’s counterproductive when “our” blogs refer to Obama as the Kenyan Islamic usurper or whatever. I know few right wingers read these blogs (assuming they read anything), but we know they are severely irony impaired.

    Damn, I am getting tired of waiting for the rapture. We need to clear some of these people out so the rest of us can get something done.

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  22. Sue said on August 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Re $P, you folks have missed a couple of things:
    Sarah’s congratulating her for quitting. For QUITTING. Birds of a feather…
    Lots of people are pointing out that Dr. Laura wasn’t a huge Sarah fan a few years back. Salon brings us Laura’s own words: “I’m stunned – couldn’t the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain? I realize his advisors probably didn’t want a “mature” woman, as the Democrats keep harping on his age. But really, what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth?”
    Where’s Mama Griz?

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  23. alex said on August 19, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Nance, regarding what people in Indiana are doing these days, you don’t know the half of it. Inane alarmism has become the new normal, just as center-right conservatism has become the new liberal.

    My community association newswletter — ordinarily a benign organ full of corny good cheer — is now publishing incoherent rants from neighbors I heretofore hadn’t suspected of being moronic. Here’s one from a middle-aged widow whom I used to help with gardening:

    “Neighbors, please inform yourselves as to what is going on with our government. We have people that want to fully control your life. BUT we also have people that want us to get back to GOD and our founding fathers. Which way will we go? Please do not say I did not know.”

    What a day brightener.

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  24. coozledad said on August 19, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Re: Land grant colleges. Me too. Graduate from one. Since I’m one of tribe, I make joke about them.
    There was some righty moron swinging his balls over at “Runnin’ Scared” yesterday, about standin’ up to Muslim encroachments or some such shit, and his English reminded me of the people I used to help with term papers in exchange for cigarette money. So I summoned the ghost of Randall Jarrell (who taught at a land grant college before he flung himself in front of an automobile), and nobody gave a damn.

    The little death of the ball-less turret gunner

    From my mother’s sleep, I fell into the state college
    And I hunched in the bleachers till my fingers nearly froze
    Miles from an education and my own damn language
    I woke to a black president
    and Muslim rec halls,
    And they had to wash my pants out with a hose.

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  25. Jeff Borden said on August 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    $P is so addicted to fame that she will weigh in on just about anything if it generates some attention, even if it means expressing sympathy for a woman who trashed her a few years ago. And, as we’ve discussed, our media industry will be happy to spotlight anything the half-wit quitter says.

    What I find particularly interesting about $P’s action this time, however, is how is runs counter to all the efforts the teabaggers have made to show they are not racists. She’s defending a crone who used the N word repeatedly on the air. . .but she’s also out there insisting the teabaggers are not motivated by any kind of racial anger. You can’t have it both ways, Princess.

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  26. Dexter said on August 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    This two minute video, in the style of Creighton Bernette of Treme, is right on-topic here today. It’s droll and damn funny. I found it searching for info on this goober named Gohmert.

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  27. Joe Kobiela said on August 19, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    So are you saying Nancy, that some one who didn,t go to a Ivy league school is not as smart as some one who went to I.U.?? Then what must you think about us that did not attend or graduate from any college?? I’ll tell you what, I’ll take common sense over book smart any day of the week. And right now I think we need LESS Ivy league and a little more common sense.
    Pilot Joe

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  28. coozledad said on August 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    I see me some cigarette money.

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  29. paddyo' said on August 19, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Stupid Obama Went to Harvard
    That’s Why I’m Voting
    Land-Grant Party

    (Nevada-Reno, class of ’75)

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  30. Sue said on August 19, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Behave, Cooz.

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  31. nancy said on August 19, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I think you have your negatives mixed up, Joe.

    Here’s what I think: I think anti-intellectualism — and sneering at our president as “stupid” when he’s plainly not clearly qualifies — is an ugly strain in American politics. Thass all.

    And Cooze, I love your poem.

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  32. Dexter said on August 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    It’s conjecture, this classifying the US presidents by their “smartness”, but gee, according to this linked blog, James Garfield could write Greek with one hand while simultaneously writing Latin with the other. Beat that.

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  33. Dave said on August 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it true that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, never showed the tablets the Book of Mormon is (allegedly) written on, to anyone. He must have been very persuasive or charismatic and there must have been a lot of malleable folks about or, as I’ve often thought, a lot of men who bought into it for the polygamy.

    I’m not religious, far from it, but how anyone buys into beliefs and practices of the LDS Church is something I could never grasp.

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  34. Sue said on August 19, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I got most of my information on the LDS from a South Park episode. It was surprisingly informative.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    James A. Garfield, by the way, the only ordained minister ever elected President of these United States, and in my tradition no less, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I can write in cursive backwards with my left hand while writing forwards with my right, but not Greek.

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  36. Sue said on August 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I can barely hold a pen with my left hand. I’m very right-handed. I can, however, write backwards and upside down so the person across from me sees it as normal (though a bit shaky) writing.
    Forget all this Ivy League vs. Common Sense stuff. Let’s have a few more folks with first-class temperaments no matter where or to what level they were educated.
    (FDR haters collectively faint)
    Oops, is that Theo instead? I seem to remember FDR but now I’m not sure. I thought Theodore was pretty brainy.

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  37. Jolene said on August 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I’m not religious, far from it, but how any one buys into beliefs and practices of the LDS Church is some thing I could never grasp.

    True, but, really, how different is it than any other religion? I mean, all those Muslims kneeling in prayer can look kinda funny to your average Westerner, but what’s so different from dipping your fingers in holy water and genuflecting?

    I still enjoy some of the religious practices that I grew up with–hymns, particularly–but aside from appreciating the comfort of familiarity, I’m moving in a Hitchens-esque direction. Am so tired of controversies based in religious suspicion, ignorance, and hatred.

    Speaking of which, Andrea Mitchell just reported that the Red Cross had received only $50,000 in response to calls for help in Pakistan. During the same interval following the Haitian earthquake, they received $34 million.

    So, make yourself feel good. Send some money to your favorite international relief organization. Mine is Mercy Corps, but, as we all know, there are lots of others. World Food Program, UNICEF, Oxfam, and on and on.

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  38. Connie said on August 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Land grant here too, MSU to be specific. Not all state schools are land grant colleges, I believe each state has only one. You can figure it out by looking for the big ag school, which means, OSU, MSU and Purdue in these regions. I was always amazed by the existence of the big MSU rodeo. And always bought the Dairy Club’s cheese packages at Xmas.

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  39. Dexter said on August 19, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    JMMO and Sue, your talents with the pen are impressive. I have seen video of Rasheed Wallace shooting basketballs from 35 feet simultaneously , ambidextrously, swish-swish, but I never saw people writing with both hands at once. This crazy upside-down, backwards, sideways, scrambled letters writing is beyond my scope. I did pick up Morse code quickly when I was a kid. A neighbor’s dad was handy with stuff and he built his son a “play telegraph”. We would send messages. I got to be good at it, as did my friend.
    I recently quit texting, though, had it disabled on my phone…small phone, big thumbs.
    I heard that soon we will have a tiny phone that projects a beam of light which shows a keyboard onto any surface you may want, and we will be able to type and text on that virtual keyboard, and not have to use all thumbs anymore. I like that idea.

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  40. Bob (Not Greene) said on August 19, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Degrees from two land grant institutions — Purdue and Wisconsin. And in another week about to ship off No. 2 son to Wisconsin to join the proud tribe of the Land Granters.

    I agree with Nance, by the way. It’s not land grant vs. Ivy League. It’s anti-intellectualism or the canard that someone with an advanced degree somehow loses the capacity of “common sense.”

    What “intellectuals” are taught to do is think a bit more critically. For me, there are way too many people who see the world as black and white and need simple answers to buttress their view of the world.

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  41. Bob said on August 19, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    “I’m not reli­gious, far from it, but how any one buys into beliefs and prac­tices of the LDS Church is some thing I could never grasp.”

    I don’t get it, either, but I give Mormons and Scientologists the same free pass as Pentecostals and Catholics to embrace improbable doctrines. I think all that friction among competing theistic ideas actually creates some cultural space for those of us who think even the business about the fella dying and coming back to life three days later is too far-fetched.
    And when I get too angry about the rotten side of religion, I remind myself that on the whole, religion has helped more than hindered America, beginning with the civil rights and abolition movements. I don’t imagine that a society entirely composed of crabby agnostic nitpickers like me would be utopian.
    Plus, the world has to thank Christianity for a lot of great music, right?

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  42. coozledad said on August 19, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    From one of Nabokov’s lectures on literature:
    “Commonsense has trampled down many a gentle genius whose eyes had delighted in a too early moonbeam of some too early truth; commonsense has back-kicked dirt at the loveliest of queer paintings because a blue tree seemed madness to its well-meaning hoof; commonsense has prompted ugly but strong nations to crush their fair but frail neighbors the moment a gap in history offered a chance that it would have been ridiculous not to exploit.”
    — Vladimir Nabokov

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  43. paddyo' said on August 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Did that Nattering Nabobokov attend a land-grant school, Cooz?

    Sue, I, too, got a lot of my understanding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from that “South Park” episode and its (mostly) straight, dry-eyed explanation of Mormonism — and I used to cover religion and even attended one of the church’s semi-annual “conferences.” It was a week-long assemblage of thousands of faithful to hear uplifting speeches from the Quorum of the Seventy and even the female head of the church’s version of a women’s auxiliary. And yes, the Tabernacle Choir sang — uplifting for believers (and non-believers) of any stripe.

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  44. LAMary said on August 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Hey! I can write upside down and backwards and backwards upside down too.So can my ex. We actually sort of met that way in college. This must not be such a rare skill.
    I can’t write Greek but I can say go eat shit in Greek. Does that count?

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  45. coozledad said on August 19, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Isn’t “retsina” Greek for drink shit?

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  46. 4dbirds said on August 19, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I can’t write upside down but I can read upside down. It was a skill developed while in the army whenever I was called into the first sergeant’s office or company commander’s office.

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  47. Jim said on August 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Ball State 1986, B.S. Journalism/Public Relations. But I got my master’s degree from Seton Hall, for whatever that’s worth.

    As for reading upside down, I learned that as a newspaper reporter, interviewing the mayor. He never figured it out.

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  48. Sue said on August 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Is the University of South Carolina a land grant school? My friend Goob went there and they have the best unofficial school slogan ever, it includes the word “lick”.
    Anyway, besides Goob, they have many other excellent graduates:

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  49. mark said on August 19, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    25% answering “Muslim” is pretty appalling in light of no direct evidence to support the conclusion and circumstantial evidence that is weak and inductive at best. It does, though, seem that this figure should be considered in light of the mere 34% (and less than 50% of Democrats) who correctly guessed “Christian.” Is there some nefarious explanation for half of all democrats blowing the quiz?

    While Obama has clearly proclaimed that he is a Christian on a few occasions, he speaks infrequently of his faith and keeps any outward expressions of it off camera and microphone. That’s his right and it doesn’t bother me. I’ll take him at his word because there is no reason not too, but absent his words there isn’t much to justify a guess one way or the other.

    As someone who follows his words pretty closely, I do think that if Obama is addressing religion, it is more likely than not that he is speaking about Islam. And if he is speaking about Islam, the odds are strong that he is praising it, either historically or in a contemporary context. More so than any other high-profile politician, he avoids connecting Islam to anything negative, even to the point of referring to the brutal beheading of Daniel Pearl, immediately following Pearl’s forced recitation of his Jewish lineage, as a “loss” that reminds us of the dangers journalists face.

    I’m pretty certain that Obama’s words are chosen largely as a part of his sincere desire to influence foreign policy and improve the US image in the Middle East and elsewhere. I think there is little evidence that his kind words have made any difference, but I don’t doubt the sincerity of the effort.

    But more so than any President I can recall, Obama does not wear his faith on his sleeve or anywhere else where it might be noticed by casual observation. Christians of a certain stripe may refuse to acknowledge him as one of the fold because he doesn’t. If the confusion bothered him, it wouldn’t be hard to correct.

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  50. brian stouder said on August 19, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Well, I have no tricks or special talents, at all.

    So leaving that aside, around mid-day I heard Uncle Rush ranting about the “smug” nature of the press reports about large number of people with “uncertainty” about the president’s religious faith- and of course blaming the president for these people’s doubts.

    Aside from the oxymoronic insistence upon certainty about another person’s faith, (and that the burden for this falls upon the person, rather than the nibby-nosed observer!) it reminded me of another (supposed) scoffer president’s joke about the secessionist fire-eaters’ rationale, with regard to assigning blame for the breakup of the nation; something like the robber who points a gun at a person and says “Give me all your money, or else I will have to shoot you, and then you’ll be guilty of murder”

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  51. Bob (Not Greene) said on August 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Yeah, Mark, there is a reason for Democrats blowing the quiz. A lot of them are stupid, too. Hell, they sure can’t count. They still can’t figure out they control both houses of Congress and the presidency.

    What I don’t get Mark is why anyone CARES about Obama’s faith — we didn’t elect him archbishop. It is a secular government and should remain so. All this handwringing over why Obama doesn’t go to church or doesn’t declare Jesus as his lord and savior all the time is, to me, just another sign of stupidity.

    And I gotta tell you that this business about Obama fawning over the Muslim faith like he’s in thrall or afraid of it or something is bullshit.

    He’s speaking about Islam a lot, I’m guessing, because our troops have been shooting at a lot of Muslims in two wars that Obama inherited.

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  52. Jeff Borden said on August 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Dang Mark, I am agreeing with you more and more, LOL.

    Personally, I would prefer a lot less of the public piety of politicians. Listening to dingbats –most recently Sharron Angle or $P– talking about how their political careers are being guided by God turns my stomach. So, too, do morally compromised creeps like Newt Gingrich, who went to the trouble to have his second marriage annulled by the Catholic Church. Oh, sure, Newt, NOW you’re moral.

    The less my politicians talk about their religion, the better I like it.

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  53. coozledad said on August 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I believe that Obama’s desire to turn the United States into “One Great A.M.E. Church” is addressed fully, and without equivocation, on the “Whitey” tape. It’s right after the part about reparations for slavery, and the forced repatriation of the Bush family to Saudi Arabia.

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  54. Julie Robinson said on August 19, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    My only special ability is that I can wiggle my ears. So there.

    I’m currently in Chicago helping our daughter pack up all her crap and have learned that the family hoarding tendencies skipped a generation and landed with her. So I’m trying to think happy thoughts amid the heat and dust and I haven’t read every single comment. But I think the one about being ungovernable has hit the mark, and we see it all over. Can anyone think of a city, county, state, or nation where things are working well?

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  55. LAMary said on August 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Jeff TMMO, I was quoted in the NYT once. BY NAME.
    My boss needed a quote about a blizzard. And I’ve been mentioned in acknowledgments in a book once. I shook hands with Andy Warhol…

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  56. Jeff Borden said on August 19, 2010 at 4:16 pm


    There are places that are well-governed, but you might not want to live there. I would wager Salt Lake City, for example, has less corruption, sleaze, incompetence and malfeasance than Chicago, but I don’t think you’ll be seeing me and my wife moving to Utah any time soon. My time in Charlotte convinced me it’s a very clean city, scandal-wise, but it’s a dull place compared to Chitown.

    Nationally, that’s another story. We no longer have many statesmen left in Congress who will put their nation before political expediency. It’s a sad state of affairs and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

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  57. Mark P. said on August 19, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Dave, as I recall (barely) the original tablets that were given by the Moronic angel to Smith were “lost.” He later dictated them from memory or inspiration from behind a curtain. I think a lot of men believed it because of polygamy, and a lot of women rolled their eyes about it like they do when their husbands say they are going out to the garage, where the beer refrigerator is, to work on the lawn mower.

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  58. mark said on August 19, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Bob NG- I don’t know how many people do CARE about his religion. The Pew people ran a poll and the media plays it like a big deal. But Sandra Bullock and Brittany Spears routinely appear on my Google news line-up, too. The Pew poll also says a majority are comfortable with the degree to which they think Obama’s religion influences his policy.

    It’s a big story primarily as a bat to put up the side of the heads of 20% who label him a Muslim, a la today’s blog entry. Fair enough, perhaps. But then to use that chorus of criticism to further extrapolate some unusual obsession about or hand-wringing over Obama’s religious leanings seems a bit much to me. A few hundred people answered a poll question. Everything else is media-driven.

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  59. Bob (Not Greene) said on August 19, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    If the poll had said 97 percent of people believe Obama is a Muslim and 99 percent think he was born outside of the U.S. no one would be talking about it at all, because it would reflect the fact that the country has its fringe element of loons who believe in flying monkeys.

    But 20 and 25 percent? That’s coming from somewhere. And it’s a hell of a lot different than news about Britney Spears. Light news and celeb news has its place. It’s filler. It is what it is. That 20 percent of any cross section of the U.S. public still believes Obama is a secret Muslim or that he was born somewhere else is downright alarming. That’s why it’s news.

    And you’re right, it’s media driven. Driven by a right-wing media where no lie is too great to repeat several times a day, everyday until the weak minded begin to believe it. It worked in Germany, and, brother, it’ll work here too. It’s the same game plan.

    Those 20 percent need the bat upside their heads to knock some sense into them.

    And you can bet, Mark, that many, many people do, in fact, CARE, about Obama’s religion. Here in the U.S. it will probably always be thus.

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  60. Sue said on August 19, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I still wonder about the accuracy of these polls, if they do not include cell users. A big demographic (Our Young People) is being ignored if that’s the case. Of course, if Our Young People were routinely included in polls, chances are you’d get results similar to those yearly high school surveys:
    “In other news, a new Pew Research Poll indicates that 17 out of every 12 Young People take many illegal drugs while mainlining vodka and engaging in noisy sexual activity as their parents are in the next room watching reruns of Touched By An Angel.”
    Here would be the Obama’s religion question results:
    “In other news, a new Pew Research Poll indicates that 17 out of every 12 Americans believe that President Obama is prohibited by his Muslim religion from having any children until he has the minimum-required six wives and therefore has purchased at least one of his children from Kenya. The other child is an android-thing from another planet, which explains the numerous photos of the president trying to look presidential as he talks on a cell phone, trying to get through to the call center in India where multi-planetary tech problems have been outsourced.”
    What? It makes as much sense as anything else.

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  61. Connie said on August 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    At last I can beat – or at least tie – LAMary. I have been quoted by name in Rolling Stone. Right under “Kurt Cobain recovers from suicide attempt” which tells you how long ago it was. I was quoted in a story about efforts to ban Rolling Stone from the library in John Mellencamp’s hometown.

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  62. Jolene said on August 19, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Pew is a respected organization that does survey research on many topics. Here’s a note about the methods used in this survey, as well as some news about how people see his practice of religion that doesn’t make us look like quite such dumb clucks.

    The new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life – conducted July 21-Aug. 5 among 3,003 respondents reached on landlines and cell phones, and interviewed in both English and Spanish –finds that despite increasing uncertainty about Obama’s religion, the public generally says he handles his religious beliefs appropriately.

    The public sees Obama as less influenced by religion compared with George W. Bush when he was president. Yet relatively small percentages say Obama mentions his faith too infrequently or that he relies too little on his religious beliefs when making policy decisions.

    Currently, 41% say Obama relies on his religious beliefs “a great deal” (14%) or a “fair amount” (27%) when making policy decisions; in August 2004, 64% said Bush relied on his religious beliefs either a great deal (26%) or a fair amount (38%).

    Nonetheless, as was the case with Bush, the public generally says that Obama relies on his religious beliefs the right amount when making policy decisions. Roughly half of Americans (48%) think that Obama relies on his beliefs the right amount when making policy, while 21% say he relies too little on his beliefs and 11% too much; in 2004, slightly more (53%) said Bush relied on his beliefs the right amount when making policy. In addition, about as many say Obama (53%) mentions his religious faith and prayer the right amount as said that about Bush (52%) in 2006, though far fewer say Obama mentions his faith too much (10% vs. 24% for Bush).

    You can find an overview of the full survey here. There are several paragraphs following those I’ve cited that discuss general views about the role of religion in politics and the importance of religious values in judging political leaders.

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  63. Chris Steinbach said on August 19, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Here’s an example of a well-spent $2.4 billion, which was used to build a section of border fence in Texas — right next to two unguarded bridges.

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  64. LAMary said on August 19, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Joseph Smith received some of the word of God from putting his face in a hat, didn’t he? I always picture this as a big stovepipe hat like Lincoln’s.

    cooz, retsina doesn’t get mentioned in the sentence I know or related sentences but I can understand why you might think it would.

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  65. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Oh, well, acknowledgements — there I might be able to lap you.

    But I agree: after this evening’s agony (I’d never watched a “Glenn Beck Program” from pole to pole before), it’s clear I won’t be called out by name nor pic posted on the blackboard. Still want to see yesterday’s program in the second half, and that’s when he was talking about my patch specifically . . . the video and transcript that’s posted right now is just the first twenty minutes.

    Tonight he did mention Zanesville, and had some point he was trying to work around to about Ohio that doubtless tied, in his mind at least, to yesterday’s material, but it made little sense to me. And he defamed Darwin, which always gets me riled (“father of modern day racism” — he means Herbert Spencer, whom Darwin disliked intensely), and said tomorrow is 1900 and following.

    But our Visitor’s Bureau got calls steadily from 9 to 5 today, half locals saying some version of “WTF?” and half people wanting to know when they can come visit.

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  66. Dexter said on August 19, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    LA Mary: Yes, yes, yes! Andy Warhol counts, with 100 bonus points. As of today, I am happiest that I had a brief mail exchange with Studs Terkel years ago, and he sent me a book, inscribed to me, which I’ve told here before but I love to tell it.
    Warhol, Nancy, Sid…contemporaries…

    nance posted on facebook she is here, and this link says the joint serves no alcohol….

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 19, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    ˙οοτ ‘κεεργ νι δνα ‘uʍop ǝpısdn ʇuǝɯɯoɔ ɐ ʇsod uɐɔ ı

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  68. coozledad said on August 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Via Digby, a little foretaste of the rule of the scum of the earth:

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  69. Rana said on August 19, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Jeff (tmmo), thanks for that laugh!

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  70. Deggjr said on August 20, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Great riff on ‘The Death of a Ball Turret Gunner’.

    Lucy Harris smart smart smart. Martin Harris dumb.

    Pilot Joe, I don’t have a pilot’s license so I don’t fly planes (which proves my common sense).

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  71. LAMary said on August 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Does that say na fas skata’ Jeff?

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