Tedding tomorrow.

First, some housekeeping: No conventional blog entry tomorrow, but probably something — I’m attending TEDxDetroit all day, and my usual blogging time will be colonized by…something inspiring, I hope. I will admit to skepticism about this event, and fear an all-day pep rally, but what the hell, I guess if it is, no one’s holding me hostage or anything. I expect the hall will be wired and wi-fi’d to a fare-thee-well, so that we can tweet and status-update and blog and all the rest of it. In any event, I’ll have my laptop and will be ready to mojo something, should it become necessary. I’ll also be operating on about five hours of sleep. Better pack some business cards, so I can introduce myself if words fail.

Regarding pep rallies: The wife of a friend worked in sales, for a radio station. Let me stipulate upfront that while I know many of our readers are radio people, or were, my brief time in radio convinced me it was the worst business on earth, or maybe second to sex slavery. Certainly it was the weirdest. I was always meeting someone who gave me hope, followed by 10 social outcasts, weirdos, nitwit provocateurs or other oddballs, who would make me despair. I remind you that both Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, before they were loathsome public figures, were just regular old radio guys, and no doubt fit right in at whatever station employed them. Certainly I met many less-talented or less-ambitious versions of both, and I was only a dabbler. So, that said, my friend’s wife said her station’s main competition started each day with a meeting of the sales-department staff, and that it was always styled as a pep rally.

“They have to clap and cheer every sale, and then they end with a chant: KILL MAGIC! KILL MAGIC!” she said, Magic (or “Majic”) being the station she worked for. I guess the bosses saw it as motivational; they were all men, and this sort of display was imported directly from the locker room or team huddle. I can tell you right now, being asked to participate in a Two Minutes Hate like that would be a dealbreaker. I refer you to observations about the radio business, above. (Public radio being the exception, although nowhere near as much as they’d like to think.)

Did you know that you have to apply to attend a TED conference? Srsly. That right there almost put me off. The original TED requires an invitation and a $6,000 ticket, in fact. Local TED only wanted my Twitter handle, “three links to help us learn more about you,” and a voluntary contribution of $21. Apparently there is a waiting list, so I can say I was at least more desirable as an audience member than someone, although my guess is, knowing a member of the organizing committee didn’t hurt one li’l bit.

Anyway, we’ll see. But since pickings are already slim, let’s skip to the bloggage.

And the MacArthur goes to…Mr. Laura Lippman (and at least occasional reader and once-or-twice commenter here at NN.C). I still get fewer than 1,000 unique visits a day, but as I like to tell people, they’re the right ones. Congratulations, David Simon. If I ever get to Baltimore or New Orleans, YOU are buying.

(I bet Mr. Lippman gets bombarded with invitations to TED conferences.)

In other TED news, today is the 50th anniversary of Ted Williams’ last game. In another month, it will be the 50th anniversary of “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” John Updike’s first and last baseball essay, but maybe the finest one ever written. Charles McGrath pays tribute. Essay here.

Richard Reeves: The Tea Party has it backward.

And now, with papers to grade and stuff to post, I’m off to…pour some more coffee.

Posted at 9:25 am in Current events, Housekeeping |

83 responses to “Tedding tomorrow.”

  1. coozledad said on September 28, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Maybe TED can snag this guy for a speaker:

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  2. beb said on September 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    TED sounds like a gathering of not nerds and geeks, but wankers and wannebes. Nancy, you’d be better off just going back to bed.

    Thanks for the link to the Richard Reeves essay. His conclusion that the new patronage job is no-bid contractor services is spot-on. My friends at the EPA has said as much. Detroit unions argue that the Mayor could save more money by eliminating contractors than he will save by Dowop (Days off without pay).

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  3. MichaelG said on September 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    TEDx sounds like a merger between a failed United Airlines subsidiary and a package carrier.

    Ken Levine often has interesting things to say about radio. Today for example:


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  4. alex said on September 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    TEDx sounds like fishnet support hose.

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  5. LAMary said on September 28, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Here’s a recruitment video my workplace just put up on the web:


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  6. paddyo' said on September 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    The Stephen Colbert kerfluffle inside-that-damned-Beltway reminds me how very far out of it most of the “MSM” to whom I once belonged have become . . .

    Cue here the empty rhetorical question in a thinner-than-vellum attempt to connect two things — the Joaquin Phoenix caper and Colbert’s congressional testimony — that don’t connect at all:
    “And so the query arises: Can you take a joke too far?”


    In a word?

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  7. moe99 said on September 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I will note for the record that I posted about Mr. Laura Lippman’s award here first, yesterday.

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  8. nancy said on September 28, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Noted. Or is it stipulated?

    Oh, and by the way, Paddy? You’re so right. I simply don’t understand the unbelievable amount of self-importance in and around Washington. It’s been routine for some time to get celebrities to talk about this or that — I remember actors testifying about farm bankruptcies during the ’80s — and it didn’t seem Colbert went all that far. His final statement was eloquent, in fact. Screw all these humorless bastards.

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  9. Catherine said on September 28, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Somewhat OT, I’m celebrating Banned Books Week by reading Sherman Alexie’s excellent “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” + re-reading “And Tango Makes Three.”

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  10. Linda said on September 28, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    There is a corner of my shriveled, bitter heart that suspects the muck a mucks in Washington are jealous that Colbert gets laughs on purpose, as opposed as to why the public laughs at them.

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  11. LAMary said on September 28, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Stay cool, Catherine. When you noted it was 106 yesterday, it was 115 here in Burbank, or at least that’s what the thermometer in my car said. It was awful. Payback for a cool summer.

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  12. nancy said on September 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Mary, that’s impressive for a corporate video. I didn’t watch the whole thing, but note that your CEO has a New York accent, like half the people I’ve known in L.A.

    Also, what is supposed to be accomplished by walking a labyrinth? Can’t you just sum it up in a memo? This just in: Life is a winding path. Got it, don’t have to do it.

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  13. moe99 said on September 28, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Catherine, I’ve heard Sherman Alexie speak. They need to recruit him for TED pronto. He’s an amazing speaker. This was for the annual meeting of the AGO attorneys, back when we had money for stuff like that. He had us laughing so hard we were in tears.

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  14. nancy said on September 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Also, the TED people just sent their last-day memo:

    There’s no dress code for the event, although most folks will be business casual or creative casual. Be comfortable but be on brand – you could meet your future collaborator, partner or boss at TEDxDetroit.

    Add “on brand” to the lengthening list of mystifying dress-code recommendations, along with “cocktail casual,” “business cocktail” and “creative black tie.”

    Would anyone like to tell me what my on-brand look should be? Because I’m thinking my usual shoulder-season outfit of clean jeans, black sweater, scarf, blazer.

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  15. Bob (Not Greene) said on September 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I looked at the TED site and immediately got hives. Lots of inspirational wank-speak. I just can’t stand it. It’s like Six Sigma or Franklin Covey bullshit (I walked out of that one at an old job) for the creative crowd. And the dressing “on brand” ices it for me. Get me the hell away as fast as possible.

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  16. Deborah said on September 28, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I watch a lot of TED talks on my computer, especially these days with my fractured foot. One of my favorites is the one by the neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor about her stroke. It is quite moving. http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html. The guy who started TED, Richard Saul Wurman, has been on my radar for a long time, he worked for the office of architect Louis Kahn early on, later became a graphic designer, kind of invented information archtecture, and published the Access Press travel books, and now TED. He’s super rich too.

    Wow a MacArthur grant, congratulations David Simon

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  17. Julie Robinson said on September 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    “On brand” gives me a frightening Nascar-like image, with sponsor patches all over your clothing.

    It may be too new to be on the banned list but I’m thinking The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins will be heading there. Although it’s in the Young Adult category the ideas are very adult indeed, with totalitarianism and reality TV mashed together. It’s a thought-provoking and chilling read.

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  18. brian stouder said on September 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Julie, my lovely wife and son and older daughter all loved those Hunger Games books. They explained them to me, and I probably shot them a look that was just as mystified as the ones they shoot me, when they see whatever (nonfiction) I’m reading at any given moment

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  19. Julie Robinson said on September 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Brian, as much as you love political/historical writing, I think you’d find much to ponder. They seem inspired by post-911 events and laws. In fact, I’m thinking of BUYING them, maybe even in hardcover.* For a frugal librarian’s daughter, that’s rare.

    *Through the Kickback Lounge, natch.

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  20. Catherine said on September 28, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Here’s what’s on brand for this self-employed WAHM: REI quick-dry shorts, sports bra, 12 YO tshirt, no shoes/socks. Trying to stay cool — you too, Mary.

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  21. basset said on September 28, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    “Begin with the end in mind” was the only useful thought I got out of Franklin Covey. The other six habits… well, let’s see… “sharpen the saw” was one, can’t think of the rest.

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  22. ROgirl said on September 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Back when I was in the corporate world I called them The Seven Habits of Highly Anal People.

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  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Sherman Alexie and Stephen Colbert are great. If a Congressional committee was silly enough to invite Alexie to speak, they’d end up wishing they had Colbert back, but they’d laugh as they squirmed. In agony.

    LAMary, isn’t it just possible that you and your workplace are actually all inside of a snow globe, and you’re all just part of Tommy Westphall’s imagination?

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  24. LAMary said on September 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    The labyrinth has been in the garden for almost three years and I admit I’ve never walked it. I understand there is a spritual theme attached and I think there is even a brocure you can pick up that will guide you through some spirtual journey. I will say it’s a cool looking labyrinth. It’s at the end of a large courtyard. I tend to hang out at the other end where the Java City is located and I can hide at a table in the trees and drink my coffee in peace. It’s quite a beautiful hospital for the most part. The older section is sort of funky but that’s to be expected. That guy playing piano? He’s a retired studio musician who plays here every afternoon from one o’clock on. He’s very good.
    Oh, and our CEO is from Queens. I think he left Queens a long time ago but accent is still strong.

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  25. coozledad said on September 28, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I always thought they should write a counter volume to “Who Moved My Cheese?” titled “How Did My Supervisor Impale Himself on My Screwdriver?”.

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  26. cosmo panzini said on September 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Goddamn Sam. The John Updike essay about The Kid’s final at-bat was, hell, I don’t know, like listening to Sinatra sing a Cole Porter song with the Nelson Riddle orchestra backing him. In other words, it don’t get any better. At least not on… this… planet.

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  27. LAMary said on September 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    That’s how John Updike is. He makes it look easy and it all comes together so elegantly.

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  28. MichaelG said on September 28, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Wow, Mary. 115. Glad I don’t have to go to Burbank this week although it’s 103 here today.

    When I lived in Auburn we had a neighbor with a labyrinth in her yard. We would walk it from time to time. I never felt anything from it but E claimed it did her some good.

    Re your “on brand look”, Nance: When I had lunch with T a few days ago she was wearing jeans, silk tee shirt, blazer and scarf. She looked like a million bucks and knew it. She certainly drew enough stares. Sigh.

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  29. Catherine said on September 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Close your eyes and listen to Mary’s CEO again, and then tell me if he doesn’t sound just like Ken Olin (thirtysomething, Brothers & Sisters). Goes nicely with the overall excellent production values. Is the older guy/patient in the beginning an actor?

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  30. JayZ(the original) said on September 28, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Homo sapiens californicus has a very limited range of temperature tolerance.

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  31. LAMary said on September 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    He’s not an actor. He’s a volunteer. No actors were used.
    And hey, JayZ, I’ve lived in places where -14 happens so we’re not all hothouse flowers here. 115 feels horrible. People die from this.

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  32. JayZ(the original) said on September 28, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Mary, I live in Oxnard. Every day I witness the migrant workers in the fields nearby who toil under such miserable conditions. I am poking fun at myself when I say we are such fragile biological organisms, we operate only within a 16 degree temperature range.

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  33. Deborah said on September 28, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    LA Mary, nice video. I guess it’s because of all of the production houses in your area, being the movie capital of the world and all. I have a friend who designs labyrinths, he’s really into them. He makes them out of raked leaves (very ephemeral) and all kinds of stuff. He’s also British, don’t know what difference that makes, just thought I’d mention it. 115 degrees, that’s outrageous.

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  34. Jean S said on September 28, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    As someone who lived in San Francisco once upon a time, I see those temps and all I can think is, “Earthquake weather!” Hope I’m wrong.

    I’ve walked a labyrinth or two. No insights, no special quieting of the mind, no mystical experiences, no nuttin’. Just me going around and around and getting ever so slightly annoyed and twitchy.

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  35. LAMary said on September 28, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    “As some­one who lived in San Fran­cisco once upon a time, I see those temps and all I can think is, “Earth­quake weather!” Hope I’m wrong.”
    Shhhh…. the earthquakes will hear you.

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  36. Deborah said on September 28, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    LAMary, is this the season for the Santa Ana winds (Anna?). The ones that blow hot dry air around So Cal and cause a lot of forest fires? I hope not.

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  37. brian stouder said on September 28, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    While Nance is TEDing, check out magnificent Mike Pence’s faux pensive (and somewhat unhinged) political ad, wherein he makes the point that…uhhhh, actually, it’s unclear what the hell his point is.


    He seems to be indicating that President Obama is a “storm” that he will “drive out”, although he never actually says what he (Pence) wants; another term in congress? Indiana’s Governor’s office? Head storm chaser?

    Or – maybe he wants to sell us gold coins and freeze-dried foodstuffs?

    What a maroon.

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  38. Dexter said on September 29, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Kirk…What a helluva great way to win a division crown! (The Cincinnati Reds won their ticket to the playoffs with a dramatic game ending home run Tuesday night.)
    I watched the entire post-game partying and this bunch of players and their manager deserve their crown. What a year.
    Nance…Thanks for the story on Teddy Ballgame’s last homer. I remember seeing the film on teevee the night he hit it. Our Motorola black and white television set. God, I treasured that TV.

    Here’s what it’s like to work in a factory , lose a good paying job and then just plain struggle…my wife and I know two people in this story.

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  39. alex said on September 29, 2010 at 6:32 am


    Yep, it looks like Pence is testing the waters. Sounds like he’s threatening to rain on Barack Obama’s parade while his party continues to hose the American public. Fortunately most Hoosiers are probably too stupid to recognize the darkening skies as a metaphor for dark people being allowed to be in charge of things, but I could be wrong.

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  40. brian stouder said on September 29, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I could be wrong

    I don’t know how a guy can vow to “drive out the storm” without implying that our president is the black cloud; but I could also be wrong.

    Honestly, I’d like to be wrong about this; I’d like to think that the “morning in America” GOP will eventually emerge from all these T-Storms (so to speak).

    At the least, I’d hope that a sufficient number of those “red dots” in this part of Indiana will reject the red meat on offer

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  41. Laura Lippman said on September 29, 2010 at 9:13 am

    I’m not sure Mr. Lippman knows what TED is. Seriously.

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  42. LAMary said on September 29, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Yes, it’s Santa Ana season. No scary fires yet this year but there’s still October.

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  43. Catherine said on September 29, 2010 at 11:51 am

    The sad story of a too-adventurous mountain lion, some unlucky livestock, and the people who enabled the whole mishegas: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/09/28/3061908/cougars-roam-is-too-close-to-home.html#storylink=scinlineshare

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  44. moe99 said on September 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Matt Taibbi visits a Tea Party rally and lives to write about it:


    These folks define idiotocracy.

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  45. paddyo' said on September 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Marvelous Taibbi piece, as usual — inspired headline, too (we ex-newsies really love a good hed).

    But seeing that line “the red-hot mamma of American exceptionalism” reminded me of an issue that grates-grates-and-grates whenever I hear the word. A troubling majority of our fellow citizenry, whether Teabaggy or not, subscribe to this peculiar belief in our country’s pre-destined Divine Right as savior of the world, “shining City on a Hill,” blahblah. Going against “exceptionalism” in ever-widening circles is practically tantamount to grabbing a new “third-rail” in American politics. ZAP!

    Brian S., I like your “T-storms” image . . . I myself have resolved to call it, if I ever have to mention it again, the “T-for-Taliban Party,” because that’s the fanatical direction in which those nutballs are going, whether on Medicare-paid scooters or not . . .

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  46. moe99 said on September 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    In a marvelous case of serendipity I found this on the web right after my post, where five scientists tell about the most accurate science fiction in their fields:

    My favorite along these lines is a classic, Cyril Kornbluth’s “The Marching Morons.” It’s the original version of “Idiocracy” — the basic idea is that selection now favors the stupid, and so if we go forward in time, that’s what we’ll see. The concept is simple and well-drawn; the consequences unexpected.


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  47. Deborah said on September 29, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    “the basic idea is that selection now favors the stupid” … I’ve always thought that we are experiencing devolution of the human species, IMHO it peaked in the 1960s. But what do I know.

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  48. alex said on September 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Taibbi rocks:

    A loose definition of the Tea Party might be millions of pissed-off white people sent chasing after Mexicans on Medicaid by the handful of banks and investment firms who advertise on Fox and CNBC.

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  49. Deborah said on September 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Everyone should read that Taibbi piece that Moe linked. Here’s another great sentence from it:

    “Buried deep in the anus of the Bible Belt, in a little place called Petersburg, Kentucky, is one of the world’s most extraordinary tourist attractions: the Creation Museum, a kind of natural-history museum for people who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old.”

    Great writing, and spot on perspective.

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  50. coozledad said on September 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    One thing Taibbi gets at, which the press has ignored in discussing the Tea Party, is the ridiculous notion that any of these people protested the policies of George Bush. When they scream, “I want my country back” they are in effect saying they want George Bush back. All it took was for George to say he’d quit blow, wrap himself up in the Bible and the flag and blow up a few hundred thousand brown people and the sadasses who represent the target of this excruciatingly stupid infomercial conflated his person with the national will. Fuhrerprinzip straight, no chaser.

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  51. Jeff Borden said on September 29, 2010 at 3:42 pm


    Do you think the teabaggers would be as passionate about their “movement” if Hillary Clinton had been elected? I don’t like the idea of tarring an entire movement as racist, but I wonder if these alleged patriots would be quite so fiery and energized if it were a white woman rather than a black man in the Oval Office. Perhaps instead of the Kenyan anti-colonialist Marxist label, would they be shouting about her for being a “feminazi,” or throwing her “It Takes a Village” book in her face? I honestly don’t know, but I’d wager the sexist remarks would be as intense as all the slurs directed at President Obama, most recently by that odious bag of fetid shit Rush Limbaugh, who is now referring to “Iman Obama.”

    I still think of the teabaggers as descendants of the Flat Earth Society. They are not swayed by facts, figures, research or cogent arguments. They believe what they believe against all argument.

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  52. Kirk said on September 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Dexter at 38: Amen. A wonderful way to wrap up a title. Very exciting. And a good crowd on hand. You are right: For as good a team as the Reds are, they haven’t been drawing enough.

    Deborah at 49: The Creation Museum isn’t that far from Cincinnati. Displays portraying cavepeople (modestly dressed, of course) cavorting among the dinosaurs with whom they cohabited the Earth, no matter what them fossils say.

    A friend of mine is a dental technician one county east of Cincinnati, down near the river. A few years ago, as she was working on a patient, the patient asked the old question about why people have wisdom teeth, which seem to be good only for making dentists money. My friend went through the explanation of how, long ago, wisdom teeth served a purpose for humans but their importance vanished through centuries of evolution. “Yew believe in evo-LOO-shun!?!?” her patient exclaimed. She said it was her wake-up call that such people are out there, keeping the Creation Museum in business.

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  53. brian stouder said on September 29, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Do you think the teabag­gers would be as pas­sion­ate about their “move­ment” if Hillary Clin­ton had been elected?

    I think if our SecState had been elected president, all we’d hear is endless speculation about her marriage/temper/sexual identity; and whether her husband was really running the government (raising a bogus Constitutional question), or conversely – whether she was running things back in the ’90’s.

    You could fill all the airtime you want with frippery like that, as we have seen

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  54. Jeff Borden said on September 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    In other right-wing clown car news, James O’Keefe, the pimply little shithead who used heavily edited videotape to bring down ACORN, but then was caught trying to tamper with the office telephones of Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, has a new adventure. It seems this pathetic waste of skin planned to lure a CNN reporter working on a profile of young right-wingers onto a boat, where he would tape her while coming on to her with various sexual suggestions. He planned to have a wide variety of sex toys and photos and paintings of naked women hanging in the boat to cloak it as a floating “pleasure palace.” The plan blew up because one of O’Keefe’s confederates got cold feet and clued in the CNN reporter.

    And this little douche calls himself a journalist?

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  55. brian stouder said on September 29, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    And this lit­tle douche calls him­self a jour­nal­ist?

    forget “rosebud”; his mantra is probably “duuuude”

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  56. coozledad said on September 29, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    JeffBorden: It comes down to who’s punching those goober’s buttons. I think the objective is to rehabilitate the Bush kleptocracy in all but name, at least initially.
    His silence on the Sufi Rec center tells me he’s either already styling himself as the Marcus Aurelius of shitheads, or he’s more gutless than anyone could have even imagined.
    Could be he’s just kickin’ back in Dallas, bathing the sorry remnant of his frontal cortex in ethanol.

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  57. Deborah said on September 29, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Kirk it was the intro to that sentence I quoted that slayed me

    “Buried deep in the anus of the Bible Belt,…”

    Although the Creation Museum would be a hoot to visit. I’d probably have to be carried out because of hyperventilating.

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  58. Jeff Borden said on September 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    I guess W.’s long trek back from the national ruins of his eight years begins with his “book” release this fall. I was disappointed he didn’t title it “The Decider,” but I’m sure all his disjointed efforts at English will thrill me anew as he makes the rounds of the talk shows.

    The thought we might return to the embrace of his destructive policies because of the economy he helped drive into the ground has created an anti-incumbent nauseates me. He really is the gift that keeps on giving.

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  59. LAMary said on September 29, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    I saw a story on the news last night related to the study about knowledge of religion/atheists. The reporter was asking people questions from the study and more than one said they didn’t need to know about relgion, they just believed. It was about belief, not the tenets of the religion or the backgound of beliefs.
    I think there are a lot of idiots out there who feel the same way about the constitution. They know they believe in it and think it’s sacred and all that but other than the second and parts of the first amendment they’re clueless. It’s ok to be ignorant of things you’re passionate about as long as you’re passionate. Don’t throw in any facts to muddy things up.

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  60. Jeff Borden said on September 29, 2010 at 4:39 pm


    I have friends and relatives in the Cincy area and toyed with the idea of visiting the Creationism Museum for a lark, but the thought of putting even a penny into the coffers of those lunatics prevents me from acting on my impulse. And, like you, I doubt I’d make it through without collapsing on the floor, helpless with laughter.

    Which would be rude.

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  61. nancy said on September 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I read that Taibbi thing last night, after work, which means I had to stay up until 1:30 a.m. to finish it. That’s saying something. This is my favorite passage:

    The individuals in the Tea Party may come from very different walks of life, but most of them have a few things in common. After nearly a year of talking with Tea Party members from Nevada to New Jersey, I can count on one hand the key elements I expect to hear in nearly every interview. One: Every single one of them was that exceptional Republican who did protest the spending in the Bush years, and not one of them is the hypocrite who only took to the streets when a black Democratic president launched an emergency stimulus program. (“Not me — I was protesting!” is a common exclamation.) Two: Each and every one of them is the only person in America who has ever read the Constitution or watched Schoolhouse Rock. (Here they have guidance from Armey, who explains that the problem with “people who do not cherish America the way we do” is that “they did not read the Federalist Papers.”) Three: They are all furious at the implication that race is a factor in their political views — despite the fact that they blame the financial crisis on poor black homeowners, spend months on end engrossed by reports about how the New Black Panthers want to kill “cracker babies,” support politicians who think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was an overreach of government power, tried to enact South African-style immigration laws in Arizona and obsess over Charlie Rangel, ACORN and Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Four: In fact, some of their best friends are black! (Reporters in Kentucky invented a game called “White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo,” checking off a box every time a Tea Partier mentions a black friend.) And five: Everyone who disagrees with them is a radical leftist who hates America.


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  62. Julie Robinson said on September 29, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    LAMary, I saw a similar story, no doubt based on the same survey. Two people who had just left mass were asked what the four gospels are, and did not know the answer.

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  63. LAMary said on September 29, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    And then there is this:


    The same ass-hat who did that pimp act at the ACORN office tried to “punk” a CNN reporter and seduce her, then using the tape to show that reporters are bimbos or something. The story is also in Gawker and one of the comments mentions a photo of this guy O’Keefe, trying to look like a big shot, lighting a cigar with a one dollar bill.
    Ass-hat of the first order.

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  64. coozledad said on September 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    From the comments at Alicublog, a couple of real winners begin the journey to Republican sainthood:

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  65. Deborah said on September 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I went to an event last week that was highlighted by a presentation by Dan Heath. He and his brother Chip wrote a book called “Switch” (and before that a book called “Made to Stick”). They both seem to be self help books about business, a genre I avoid like the plague. But it was one of the best presentations I have ever been to in terms of visual clarity. The gist of it was about three components to effect change. The thing that struck me was how much it described the republican strategy for getting what they want. The components this guy described are 1. reason 2. emotion and 3. the path or environment. Number 2 was pictured as an elephant (emotion), number 1 was depicted as a very small person (reason) riding the elephant and trying to steer it down the path, the path or 3rd component was shown as an arrow on a stick(?). I know I’m not doing it justice here. It seemed like a coincidence that the emotion component was shown as an elephant, there was no overt reference to politics. The republicans have so adapted this strategy, which is to use emotion, get everyone riled up as much as possible, reason has very little to do with it and the emotion gets all out of control, like a big clumsy elephant that crushes everything in it’s path. When it was over and I got back to the office I looked up the Heath brothers on line. I was disappointed in their website, it didn’t match the clarity or humor of the speech.

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  66. paddyo' said on September 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Cooz @ #56: Not just gutless W., but clueless, lazy and unworthy even of the appellation, “former president.”

    W. could take some lessons from Jimmuh, Bubba and even his father, Poppy B., on how to be an active, involved and distinguished bearer of that title. Instead, he hides away, smug in the delusion that he made a difference. (Oh, he made a difference all right, one we’ll all be suffering for years to come . . . .)

    That frontal cortex you refer to is rather like the Oakland, CA of Gertrude Stein’s scorn. Ethanol-soaked or not, there simply is “no there there.” Nobody home, and no forwarding address. What a pathetic disgrace . . .

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  67. moe99 said on September 29, 2010 at 7:46 pm


    For C’dad especially.

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  68. prospero said on September 29, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Please allow this opinion. Obama hasn’t accomplished economic miracles? Hasn’t ended wara? If you don’t vote, you put these assholes in charge that caused these problems in the first place. It’s a fact that PNAC perfidt and Republican tax-cut idiocy put the country in a dire situation.

    If you all act like Naderites and stay home, you’re no better. Stay home and you vote for looney-tunes and racists. If you claim there’s no difference between the parties, you are a fucking idiot. And I defy you to point out to me how I’m wrong. This Deanie-baby shit doan get it.

    Or I suppose you think that super-majprity is written in the Constitution. Is that sort of government what y’all want? Sorry, but that jack-boot shit from assholes that toe the corporate line, I thought we signed up for majority rules, not secret holds and phony filibusters

    The obstructionism is pretty much beyond conception. Blaming that on Obama isn’t just stupid, it’s monumentally counterproductive. Do Progressives, self-described, xare about their alleged policy passions, or are they really just Naderites and Deany-Babies? You can’t sit this one out and claim you care.

    There is a class war. Republican politicians are fighting it. For the last several years, the Suprem Court has been fighting it too. That activist judge shit, if you think they are “liberals”, you are a moron that gets what you deserve.

    Letshesr it for the anti-democratic idea that companies are people and they should be allowed to buy political advertising anonmously. When it’s the Koch Bros and the most vile human being on the face of the earth Richard Mellon Scaiffe, what the hey? And George Soros. Right?

    George Soros doesn’t stoop to Swift-Boat bullshit, jack. This was inconceivable. W was a despicable little POS that unquestionably dodged while going out of his way so people buy bullshit from Bushies,to support the war. Kerry’s crewmates said his service was exemplary and pretty much heroic. What is an idiputable fact is that W avoided service like it was going out of style. How did this shit work? Murricans are way too stupid to be allowd to vote. We seem to be so stupid we think that the Senate requires 60 votes, and we blame the President for every common sense thing that doesn’t pass.

    Buncha fuckin morons, and it’s all the President’s fault.

    Somebody want to attempt the trickle=down argument? Republicans fucked the economy and they went out of the way to deregulate the bastards that stole everything. And that bank bailout? Who signed TARP? Just another perfect example. People ar too dumb to vote. If you are such a dumb mofo you don’t know that TARP was a W bill, should you actually be allowed to vote? Because, you don’t have a clue about it but you know you hate it becausee it must have been that socialism from that Muslim.

    This is what people believe. They are fucking morons, and if the are allowed to vote, whar sort of joke does that make of the cherished idea of American Democracy?

    How many registered Republicans voted for the certifiably mildly insane Ms O’Donnell? 30,000. How many registered Republicans are there in Delaware. 185,000. I think folks are wetting their pants about nothing.

    But you deaniebaby and Naderite assholes that elected W because you were more liberal than thou, you are a particular bunch of assholes, but do not stay home and put OOmpa Loompa and Mitch Mountaintopping in charge of the Congress.

    You thought there was a magic wand. You were idiots. Incremental is outstanding. In the face of absolute political obstructionism, it’s heroic.

    Vote or stay home because you think your agenda hasn’t been met If you stay home, you will make sure assholes like Boner will be running things.

    Generally, it’s not right to talk about the lesser evil. These Republicans, they are so fuking evil and so Goddamn stupid. Ask me about the tax cuts.

    Look, all I ever said is that people are clearly too fucking stupid to be allowed to vote. The vote was so clearly hijacked in 00 and o4, there’s no sense discussing. If you don’t think 2004 was jacked in Ohio, after Ken Blackwell said he would and could do it, sorry, but you are an idiot if you think that scuzzy ahole didn’t steal Cuyahoga County for the pointy little head. W never won a Presidential election.

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  69. prospero said on September 29, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Paddyo, we spell that Jimmah down here in the Southren portion of the US. I have to say, I’ve never been prouder of a former politician than when James Earl Carter actually noted, as everybody else refuses to, that the government of Israel is practicing something so close to Appartheid you’d need Rabbinical judges to tell it apart. Occupation? Well, the US can’t really take the high moral ground. Outright piracy and building luxury condos in occupied land over olive groves, I think we ought to object. Jimmy Carter does. Settlers? It’s not Michael Landon and Merlin Olson. It’s bigoted and exceptionally violent invaders.

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  70. Deborah said on September 29, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    pssssst prospero, can we talk over here? I respect you, I really do. I think you’re an intelligent guy. You seem to have a grasp of the facts but somehow you seem to think that we here at nn.c are a bunch of nincompoops who aren’t going to vote, that we think our not voting will teach Obama a lesson or something. I feel pretty confident in saying that most if not all of the folks who read and comment here will vote and most particularly will vote for the Democrat when faced with the choice of the loonies that are the alternative. So when you call us (me) a moron who isn’t going to do the right thing I find that offensive. I have a hard time getting through your lengthy screeds when you go on about this. Hang it up, you’re preaching to the choir here.

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  71. prospero said on September 29, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Sorry Deborah. I’m not confident you’re right. I didn’t call anybody (least of all, you) a moron.

    According to everybody that claims to know anything about voting and turnout, Democrats won’t. I won’t bring this up again, but if you think it’s ridiculous to worry about this, you’re wrong. The petulant Spock and Deanie-baby left is perfectly capable of sabotaging any President that wants to move things forward, or buying some bullshit to convince themselves that electing W is better than that snotty rich guy. God knows why. The magic wand does not work quickly enough? But they most certainly are capable of auto da fe. So, you aren’t one of these dumbasses. I know there are some characters here that are.

    I never attempted to make any point other than you all need to vote. I wouldn’t encourage that behavior if I didn’t think y’all were smart enough to realize that 60-40 thing isn’t what anybody would describe as democracy with a small d.

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  72. moe99 said on September 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Prospero, my belief is that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain, so I always vote. I’ve only missed one election in over 35 years of voting now.

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  73. Linda said on September 30, 2010 at 12:13 am

    I’m hoping that folks get out and vote, and not take it out on the Dems because of the economy. I understand the hurting, but it would be like kicking your husband out because he’s a barfly, and moving in with a crackhead. Sorry, you don’t get to dump the barfly for either singlehood or Prince Charming, so choose wisely.

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  74. MichaelG said on September 30, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Prospero, I argee with msot of what you wirte. I might point out, however, that the Obama administration has, if anything, tightened up on the spying and secrecy policies initiated by the W administration. This to my great dismay.

    Ended wars? My daughter and her two kids are long sufferingly waiting along with T and I for her husband’s return from Afghanistan where, as far as he can see, the war goes on. Obama has gotten himself mired in the same morass that claimed LBJ.

    Moe, I have said exactly that same thing many times. I staple my ballot receipt to a piece of paper, label it “License to Complain” and hang it outside my cube. Done it for years. I’ve been voting without a break since ’66.

    And, Moe, how are you doing?

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  75. moe99 said on September 30, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Thanks Michael for the inquiry. I’m making a long convalescence from the flu. I have a cough that sound like a walrus fart and I’m flat out tired by the end of the day, but other than that can’t complain. You can always check on me at http://www.moesmisadventures.blogspot.com
    How are you? Heat levelling off?

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  76. prospero said on September 30, 2010 at 2:55 am


    My nephew, my Godson, is in Afghanistan. As far as what Republicans call “homeland” security, the current administration is above-board about this crap. Everything is clear and open for public debate. They actually consult the courts instead of suborning, packing, and evading them. Major-league change from the previous eight years. Meantime, we are all stuck with the opprobrious 60 vote canard in the Senate. If Obama proposed shutting down Gitmo, Republicans would filibuster. Oh, wait, they already did that.

    There is actually no way of telling what the DParty might accomplish, because Americans seem to be OK with the fabricated Senate stymie.

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  77. prospero said on September 30, 2010 at 3:03 am

    Oh, and the legal system might be better and less likely to infringe upon individual Americans’ rights to privacy is Republican asshole Senators didn’t put anonymous holds on every single nomination with no rhyme or reason. It’s kneejerk, like the filibuster threats. I’d like to see Senate Democrats tell the jackasses to go ahead and stand up to argue why $700billion given away to 1% of the country will balance the budget. It’s idiotic, but people seem willing to buy it.

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  78. alex said on September 30, 2010 at 6:38 am


    I vote in every election and it’s not the Naderites staying home that makes me fearful for this administration and the Democratic majorities. It’s the apathy of the self-centered and uninformed people I encounter every day who, like the Christians who don’t know the first thing about their own religion, take it on faith that those who do show up at the polls will make everything all right.

    I have my fair share of arguments with lefties who excoriate Obama because Hillary didn’t get the nomination they felt was rightly hers, or that Obama isn’t pandering to them and their pet causes. I always remind them that Obama promised to be a centrist; the only surprise here is that he’s actually one of the few politicians where what you see is what you get. These people are politically aware enough to know that half a loaf’s better than none and they generally are as dedicated to voting as I am.

    That said, I wish Obama had more balls as regards the right’s fear-mongering about deficits and spending. I believe Paul Krugman is probably right that we need to spend our way out of the current financial crisis if we don’t want to end up like Japan, which has been languishing in a depressed economy for the last twenty years precisely because it did what the Republicans would have us do. If we kick start our economic engine, we’ll catch up sooner than if we don’t. I’m disappointed in the current Dems in Congress for punting on the tax cuts to the rich, but I’m not about to punish them by putting people in office who will surely make the wrong decision when the time comes. I’m sure this isn’t lost on the lefties either.

    I love ribbing some of the self-satisfied lifetime Republicans who employ me. When they tell me not to vote for the “Democrat party,” I tell them the Republican party is obviously not interested in my vote. “Hey, I’m not a fat cat like you and I’m not white trash. What has your party done for me lately?”

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  79. ROgirl said on September 30, 2010 at 8:14 am

    I saw a lawn sign for my congressman that had a hammer and sickle painted on it. Yes, he’s a Democrat.

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  80. brian stouder said on September 30, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I’m not a fat cat like you and I’m not white trash. What has your party done for me lately?

    Hah! I shall use that line.

    RO – This stuff occasionally gets me down, also; it always surprises me a little when our local airwaves get saturated with these somewhat shrill political hit-jobs. Lately I can’t decide if I’m more bugged by Pence-like clenched-teeth moralism, or the sort of over-the-top invective that you saw.

    But whatever. In 40 days, it throttles back again

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  81. coozledad said on September 30, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Alex: The comic genius of one Jimmy Earl Ray O’Keefe, for one thing.
    I understand he’s looking for a little capital for his next project, “Soul Man 2”. He’s going to infiltrate the New Black Panthers and distract them with some Flip Wilson records and a six of Old English 800 while a naked Anne Coulter “proves beyond a shadow of a doubt they’ll jump any white thang to rub it out”.

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  82. Deborah said on September 30, 2010 at 8:37 am

    prospero, while I agree that there is a possibility that a lot of Democrats won’t vote, the folks who read and comment here I’m fairly certain are smart enough to realize how wrong that is. It’s the preaching (rantiing) to the choir that I object to.

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  83. Tom M said on September 30, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Re the Richard Reeves essay, the AUMF contained a requirement that there be a Special Inspector General in Iraq and that the SIG report to Congress quarterly. The reports can be found through the State Dept. website.
    I don’t think I can remember any of those reports being noted by the press corps, just another example of how poorly the fourth estate has served the country.
    The depictions of fraud and mismanagement by those contractors we shovel money to are stunning.
    Early on, the SIGIR reported on the internecine battles in the Cabinet where Rumsfeld’s DoD took on the reconstruction task instead of State and basically tossed away the years of work State had done to look at the issues of putting Iraq back together. As a result, the billets for the jobs to administer the country went wanting and so Rumsfeld hired people whose sole experience was running parts of the Bush campaign.
    The kid they brought on the run the Stock Exchange forgot to renew the lease on the building the Stock Exchange occupied and so the exchange was shut down for over a year.
    Good times.

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