There’s so much good bloggage today, and four hours of student meetings starting in about two hours and change, that today is a mixed grill, eh? You pick, you choose, you pay a la carte. OK? Let’s go:
Lately I’ve been intrigued by a number of “what can I do” charities or other efforts to do good. I’m charmed by people who, when faced with a need, don’t dither around and maybe flip a few bucks into a hat, but ask themselves, “What can I do?” And then do it. Like the Mower Gang, “renegade landscapers” who mow abandoned or neglected parks in Detroit, so kids can play. And Dan Savage and his “it gets better” video campaign, aimed at reassuring despairing gay and lesbian students that if they can just hang on a little while longer, life will improve. It sounded gimmicky to me until I watched a few of them, like Savage’s own, and now Tim Gunn’s. Such a simple act, but one of such generosity, too. I think lives are being saved.
What was I just saying about radio guys? Radio guys now run the Chicago Tribune, and:
There have been complaints about Mr. Michaels in the past, however. In 1995, Mr. Michaels and Jacor settled a suit brought by Liz Richards, a former talk show host in Florida who filed an E.E.O.C. complaint and a civil suit, saying she had been bitten on the neck by Mr. Michaels and that he walked through the office wearing a sexual device around his neck.
“They were like 14-year-old boys — no boundaries at all — but with money and power,” Ms. Richards said in an interview.
…A woman who used to work at the Tribune Company in a senior position, but did not want to be identified because she now worked at another media company in Chicago, said that Mr. Michaels and Marc Chase, who was brought in to run Tribune Interactive, had a loud conversation on an open balcony above a work area about the sexual suitability of various employees.
In an effort to shake up (WGN, the Trib’s radio station), the management jettisoned a sports talk show at night and installed someone with no radio experience, Jim Laski, an Illinois politician who had been convicted of a felony.
Steve Cochran, a longtime midday host who has said he was dismissed as he was walking out of the bathroom this summer, said the changes seemed aimed at destroying WGN.
“This was supposed to be their comfort zone, what they were good at, and they have ruined a radio station that has had an 80-year relationship with its listeners,” he said.
“This is a collection of carnival workers who are only looking after their friends, giving jobs to their buddies. Blagojevich is on trial and you bring in a politician who has done time in jail?”
Oh my is that a good read for anyone who once loved the Trib. I think Bob Greene left too soon. He might have been president of the company by now.
Put yourself in Sarah Palin’s shoe’s: Her chief enforcer speak’s.
Fascinating: The Islamification of Mariah Carey photos. I like the one where she appears to be taken over by the Cat Blob.
Finally, while there’s no way I can improve on Roy’s witty description of this story, about the firemen who let a family’s house burn to the ground because they hadn’t paid their annual $75 fire-service fee — i.e., the Ayn Rand Hook & Ladder Company — I guess this is the world, libertarian-style. All heretofore public services, fire protection, schools, what-have-you, are now available cafeteria-style. Feel lucky, punk? Then you don’t need a fire company or police department. And so on. I expect these arrangements will continue; it makes perfect sense for a cash-strapped municipality. Remembering what it used to be when it was widely accepted that, for instance, a well-educated populace was a benefit to all citizens, whether they had children in public schools or not, and that a working fire company was of great benefit not only when your own house was on fire but when your neighbor’s was as well — all I can say is, I will miss it.
When Fort Wayne was aggressively annexing its unincorporated suburbs, the newspapers would regularly publish nitwit, whiny letters to the editor from people who claimed they’d “chosen” township life because they wanted to be “free” of city concerns. The fact the township was filled with subdivisions and hard by a city of several hundred thousand, that it provided them not only with their jobs but with all the other things people like cities for — arts and entertainment and pro sports and good shopping and decent restaurants and proximity to well-maintained freeways — never seemed to occur to them. To these folks, they were livin’ the minimal-government life, and expected to pay the discount price for it. My colleagues and I would occasionally chuckle over these screeds, and I developed a retort: Move to Mongo, Mongo being a remote outpost that would satisfy all their freedom needs without asking much in return.
I guess sooner or later, we’ll all move to Mongo.
Off to Diversity U. See y’all tomorrow.
Dorothy said on October 6, 2010 at 9:01 am
Her chief enforcer speak’s?!?!?!
nancy said on October 6, 2010 at 9:04 am
Follow the link, Dorothy. It’s a joke.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 6, 2010 at 9:07 am
“Oh, ho, ho, irony! Oh, no, no, we don’t get that here. See, uh, people ski topless here while smoking dope, so irony’s not really a, a high priority. We haven’t had any irony here since about, uh, ’83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was tired of being stared at.”
John said on October 6, 2010 at 9:15 am
Would they be fur lined mukluk’s?
Dorothy said on October 6, 2010 at 9:18 am
my bad- figured it out while reading about “her shoe’s” – mea culpa! I got interrupted several times while reading you and the link – dang co-workers messing up my morning.
Peter said on October 6, 2010 at 9:28 am
I have a hard time with the Ayn Rand Hook and Ladder – I can sympathize with their predicament.
A LOT of people move way out to avoid paying anything at all, living the Libertarian Life, then are shocked, shocked that they don’t receive the same level of service as paying customers. It is heartless to watch the house burn down, but many of these owners are the same ones who rant about welfare mothers who go to emergency rooms on the public’s dime. Well Mr. Pot meet Ms. Kettle.
And for the Tribune – sheesh, what a depressing story. Every passing day it seems that the ’60’s and ’70’s were an aberration, and I’m just a brontosaurus trying to figure out how to outlast the cold snap.
brian stouder said on October 6, 2010 at 10:14 am
One can only wonder about that fire deal in Obion. Couldn’t they have fought the fire anyway, and then billed the homeowner?; surely the insurance company would rather get a $5,000 bill, than having to stand a total loss of a home? How on earth can the program be so “digital” – on or off? If three houses are on fire, and the up-wind one didn’t pay the fee, would they fight the downwind fires, and leave the other to spread?
Speaking of insurance, how tangled will the lawsuits become? Will the homeowner have to sue his insurance company, once they disallow his claim for failing to pay this fee? And will the insurance company sue the township – or whatever governmental unit made this a fee-based (rather than tax-based) public service? I saw on Olbermann’s show last night that Glen Beck loves this whole thing, for whatever absurd reason; and if we’re going to be absurd, I wonder: if real-live Islamo-terrorists systematically commit arson on each property that hasn’t paid the fee – would a total non-reaction by their public safety establishment STILL be the proper response? Afterall, if the fire department and their investigators cannot/won’t touch properties whose owners haven’t paid the fee, then arson becomes the perfect crime, since no cause can be officially established.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 6, 2010 at 10:34 am
Brian, they can — by putting a lien on the property. Which becomes an expense and a PR burden of its own. I can see why they didn’t act, but it was a mistake. It’s not a nationwide major news cycle issue, but it was a mistake. Ten years ago, no one would have even gotten there until the place had burned to the ground and the response would have been to prevent grass fires.
The homeowner is not impressing me with his “I called and said I’d pay anything, and they wouldn’t come.” This is the same problem with the non-mandate approach to health insurance: we’re going to continue to see folks waiting, including their kids, to file for insurance until there’s a need. What you have to have for effective fire service or health care is a system where everyone pays in a small amount across the board to cover the big intermittent expenses. That’s why it’s not about “should we” end up with national single-payer health coverage, but “when.” Ben Franklin would understand.
Connie said on October 6, 2010 at 10:38 am
When I lived in Jackson County in southern Indiana it was standard practice to pay an annual fire fee to the local volunteer fire department. I remember it as $10. Homeowners received one letter, then a follow up visit from a fire fighter. We always paid, never needed the fire department, but did have the experience of a water truck wrecking part of our yard while going to a pasture fire next door. We just fixed it. Better put out the pasture fire next door then see where it might go.
Julie Robinson said on October 6, 2010 at 11:07 am
And here in the Fort some of the neighborhoods that fought annexation are now begging for city water. It seems that the private utility produces rusty water and is asking for a huge rate hike for the second year in a row.
Jeff Borden said on October 6, 2010 at 11:10 am
On Sarah Palin: I doubt I’m the only person who thinks a woman who spends an entire morning on a freaking Facebook page is not exactly presidential timber. And I love the fury of Mr. Anger Bear, who really ought to lie back and enjoy the luxurious life his wife’s grifting has delivered. You’re rich, Todd, for no other reason than the empty-headed lady you married warms the loins of goobers who honestly believe they want a president who is just like them.
On Randy Michaels and Tribco: None of these revelations come as a surprise to anyone who ever reported on this terrible man when he was running Clear Channel. He’s as loathesome as they come. He’s getting the chance to do to Tribco what he did to commercial radio, to wit, destroy it. He and another Sam Zell hire, Lee Abrams, are primarily responsible for the wholesale destruction of radio creativity. If Michael had his way, there’d be eight deejays in Cincinnati doing all the radio from coast-to-coast. And Abrams, of course, is the geek to strangled FM radio with his cursed “Superstars” album-oriented rock format, which detractors dubbed “apartheid-oriented rock” since it banished any artists of color except for Jimi Hendrix. Abrams also is famous for his ridiculous memos. The word is that many Trib managers have worn out their ‘delete’ key sending Abrams’ memos into electronic oblivion.
Peter said on October 6, 2010 at 11:41 am
Brian, that whole insurance thing would be a mess – but I’m betting that Mr. Homeowner doesn’t have insurance- too socialist.
If he did have insurance, or better yet, an escrow account arrangement with his lender, they would have paid the fee and billed him for it, since it’s in their best interest. Just like property taxes.
Dexter said on October 6, 2010 at 12:42 pm
Now how would you know about Mongo unless you have been there?
There used to be an old war vet who lived there, name of “Sarge”.
Sarge ran The Mongo Tavern. There was a cannon out in the yard.
On Veteran’s Day a bunch of us would leave work about 10:00 AM and drive up to Mongo to commiserate with Sarge and his wife, listen to Sarge spin a yarn about the old days in WWII, flip through Sarge’s scrap books (all worn out from all the viewing over the years) , and drink a whole lotta beer and a few shots, too, by God, to toast Sarge.
This bar was in an old bank, it must have many decades since it was a real functioning bank.
After we had all gotten “good ‘n likkered up” , we would go out in the yard and prime the cannon. I only attended a few of these events so I never got to actually do the honors, however. After much hoopla and a flag -raising ceremony, one of the experts torched that damn cannon..KA-BOOOM!
Life was peaceful in Mongo, except on November 11, until Sarge passed on to the big barracks in the sky. About 13 years ago I drove through Mongo…quiet as a graveyard by then.
Deborah said on October 6, 2010 at 12:47 pm
Regarding what Jeff B said, “…who honestly believe they want a president who is just like them.”
You guys may have covered this already, yesterday was a day from Hell for me and I didn’t have much time to spend at nnc, but have you seen the ad that Christine O’Donnell is running? One of the lines is “I’m not a witch, I’m you”. Most of the commentary I’ve heard about that is the fact that she has to discuss the “witch” part and not about her declaration, “I’m you”. Why folks want an elected official just like them, someone they can hang out on the deck and have a beer with, is beyond me. I want the smartest, sharpest, most competent, best educated, well traveled, amazing leaders out there. NOT someone just like me, not by a long shot.
Joe Kobiela said on October 6, 2010 at 1:09 pm
Sarge was a tail gunner in b-29’s over Japan if I remember right. I too use to stop by and lift a few with sarge. Guy served a great ham sandwich. His wife was named Loretta. Lots of great memeories.
moe99 said on October 6, 2010 at 1:24 pm
Glenn Beck is actually using dogwhistles to alert the Mormons the end times are coming.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm
It’s not a dog whistle, it’s “C’mere, Spot, good boy, got a treat for you . . . hey Spot, c’mon home!”
adrianne said on October 6, 2010 at 1:41 pm
Randy Michaels=What.A.Dick. Thanks for destroying a once-great newspaper company!
brian stouder said on October 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm
From the article that Moe linked:
[this] phrase is often attributed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church. Smith is believed to have said in 1840 that when the Constitution hangs by a thread, elders of the Mormon Church will step in — on the proverbial white horse — to save the country.
See, right there! That’s a perfect encapsulation of the fact-free, free-association world that Glen Beck lives in, and broadcasts coast-to-coast, for his own (and very great) personal enrichment.
Because if there was even one scintilla of actual truth in that belief, then legions of Mormons mounted on white horses SHOULD have saved us twenty years later, in 1861, when the Constitution really and truly WAS “hanging by a thread”, and our then-president was gazing out his window at the White House, wondering if there really was a “Union” anymore, or whether it was all just a fiction (and that he’d be hung from a tree on the White House grounds)
alex said on October 6, 2010 at 4:26 pm
Speaking of Diversity U., Nance, councilman Mitch is serving up a mixed grill of red meat today at Fort Wayne Observed: http://indiana.typepad.com/fwob/2010/10/mayor-henry-touts-sending-kids-to-multicultural-human-rights-camp.html#comments
I’m somewhat puzzled by his remark about 18th century ideas of individual rights intrinsic to every person. Does he mean every Anglo-Saxon peniform person as contemplated by the founding fathers?
brian stouder said on October 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm
Alex, I posted your very point at Mitch’s blog a few days ago, and it didn’t make it past the gates (although a very nice “Amen, brother” post did get in there)
JayZ(the original) said on October 6, 2010 at 5:40 pm
“. . . ask themselves ‘What can I do?’ And then do it.”
I am involved with three very different organizations that started because of the efforts of such people. Amnesty International was founded by a young Englishman who read a newspaper article about two Portuguese students who were imprisoned for “drinking a toast to freedom” in a bar. He encouraged people to write letters protesting this injustice. Now AI is a respected nonprofit human rights organization with thousands of members worldwide.
Elderhostel was developed in New England by two young men who saw college dormitories sitting idle over the summer and thought they could be utilized to provide educational/travel opportunities for senior
citizens at affordable prices. It, too, has expanded to become an international organization. Unfortunately, the prices have expanded also in the last decade; baby boomers demand nicer accommodations.
Then there is Mono Lake in California. It was a lifeless chemical cesspool in the 60’s, as a result of L.A.’s Department of Water and Power diverting its tributary streams. A young member of the Audubon Society was appalled when he came across it while birding. The movement he started 50 years ago to save the lake has been so successful that the damage has been reversed, and it is now an ecological treasure.
moe99 said on October 6, 2010 at 6:04 pm
Answering the question we already had figured out here….
paddyo' said on October 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm
Deborah @ 14 —
Yeah, well, remember back in the Bush years how he was regularly described as the kind of guy that voters WOULD want to have a beer with, vs. those funereal dead-fish Dems Gore and Kerry? I could never stomach that stupid preference, either (on a par with “What’s your favorite color?”), but there you go. Some not-insubstantial segment of the American populace does NOT seem to care whether their elected leaders are the smartest guys/gals in the room, in the land, on the planet.
Call it anti-intellectualism, or some kind of class warfare in our supposedly class-less society — or hey, how about just plain lunacy?
But it IS there, baffling as batshit . . . and so it makes that O’Donnell commercial a brilliant wink-and-a-fist-bump to a lot of mindless peeps out there . . .
What makes me crazier still is an on-the-street interview I heard a few days ago on NPR. They were talking with people who had been energized to register and vote in 2008 by that “Yes We Can!” Changemobile that was Obama — but who, this time around, are both clueless (Mid-term elections? What’s that?) and lazy and can’t be bothered to vote this year. More pathetic poster children for an all-of-the-benefits, none-of-the-responsibilities approach to citizenship.
And this election, fewer Latinos — who vote heavily, though not exclusively, Democrat, and who ought to see the Arizona anti-immigration law and support for it elsewhere as at least a troubling sign — are likely to vote: According to a new poll out this week, just 51 percent of registered Latino voters say they definitely plan to vote, vs. 70 percent of all registered voters.
Jeff Borden said on October 6, 2010 at 7:33 pm
Great point. I always wonder if these dingbats who say they want an average person “just like them” instead of an accomplished elitist as a leader would be willing to undergo, oh, say a root canal performed by me. I am “just like them” in the sense I have no dental training.
Man,when I am going to the doctor, the dentist, a mechanic, etc., I want someone far superior to me doing the job. When I go to see a baseball game, I want to see someone whose athletic superiority to me is infinity and beyond. When I enter the Art Institute of Chicago, I want to see works by artists whose mere paint drippings would shame any effort of mine to create a picture.
Maybe these teabaggers and the Palin worshippers need to read some Kurt Vonnegut. I cannot recall the exact book, but it was about a future in which everyone was required to be equal. Thin people wore bags of sand to make them heavier. Those with excellent eyesight wore lenses that distorted their vision. Is that really what these cretins want?
Catherine said on October 6, 2010 at 8:30 pm
Voting in the guy you’d most like to have a beer with is as American as cherry pie. There is an interesting review in the WSJ of Ron Chernow’s new book, Washington: A Life. The money quote: “The George Washington who emerges from this truly magnificent life is an acute, consummate politician who posed all his life—with next to no justification—as a bluff but successful soldier.” Cuz apparently smart, well-educated, ambitious and politically savvy is unelectable.
Joe Kobiela said on October 6, 2010 at 8:50 pm
The problem is I don’t think any of them in washington are smarter than I am. They may have the “education” but none of them seem to have any fucking common sense.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 6, 2010 at 9:05 pm
Be careful starting one of these social service efforts — you can find yourself 17 years in and can’t get anyone to take over as board chair for you.
On the other hand, when it’s cold at night and the wind is blowing, you sleep very well.
Jeff Borden said on October 6, 2010 at 9:35 pm
Agreed. On a percentage basis, the number of idiots in Congress is probably far higher than your average office. That said, I know that Barack Obama is mega-Muy smart –far, far more intelligent than me– and I take some comfort in that fact. I admire principled conservatives such as Richard Lugar, who is a very right-wing senator, but someone who is bright, committed and intelligent. So, I’m not drawing any distinction between lefties and righties. The conservatives may have idiots like Mike Pence, but we have had idiots like Cynthia McKinney.
My point remains. I do not want someone like me leading the free world. I want someone waaaaaay smarter and better than me. I doubt I would enjoy a beer with Barack Obama and that’s fine with me. I don’t want my president to be my buddy. I want a president who sees the world clearly and has ideas about how to proceed through the minefields it presents. We have a lot of problems in our nation. We do not need an “average guy or gal” to solve them.
prospero said on October 6, 2010 at 9:56 pm
Mongo likes Sheriff Bart. I believe Gabby Johnson’s got this one right.
Who is buying American elections?
The GOP has produced lunatics out of the woodwork. As I’ve said before, if you can be proved to have voted for a full-goose loony, you should be disenfranchised, and probably permanently.
How does any sane human being go to a voting booth and vote for Sharron Angle, or Carl Palladino, or Christine O’Donnell?
If you don’t vote for these whackos, headless zombies will cross the border and FUBAR you somewhere in the Sonoran desert. And about them immigrants? Who is buying American elections?
And with talk about Supreme Court recusals, why did everybody including the press sit on their hands when Scalia didn’t recuse himself on Cheney’s tea party after the caged duck murders? No lawyers to shoot in the face there? It is truly amazing how the knee-jerk liberal mainstream press fails to pull the itchy triggerfinger on blatant crap like this.
The have a beer with idea? I had a beer with Julian Bond one time, waiting for a plane. I’m pretty sure some coked-up mindless idiot that had Barney piss on his head when a pretzel wrestled him to the floor would not have been as good company. The part about acting like a war hero when he was a draft-dodger and accepting gigantor money to paint an actual war hero as something else, I suppose that’s acceptable to children of privilege and fucking rubes.
But it does bring up something. What if Ken Blackwell and Diebold hadn’t gotten away with the blatant heist of Cuyahoga County. OMG.
Is there something I’m missing? Are Joe Wilson and Jim DeMint actually sane and sober people that want the best for everyone? Yeah. Right. Is Nikki Hartley not a liar?
The whole having a beer with business, I’d take honesty and intelligence. Not having the integrity to wipe the bar down with? That would be the Bagger candidates. W, included. Little Dick believed he went to war defending the O-Club. What a pathetic ahole. Made up everything and ran the country into the ground for somebody else to clean up. Somebody says that’s not so, let’s hear it.
But you’re going to be flat-out lying.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 6, 2010 at 10:07 pm
Prospero, do you occasionally read the other posts, or do you just wind up and pitch?
Joe Kobiela said on October 6, 2010 at 10:18 pm
The politicians may be more educated,but I don’t think they are any more inteligent, Obama included.
prospero said on October 6, 2010 at 10:56 pm
I read every single one, Jeff, mild mannered. If you reconsider, I was talking about Mongo. I also commented on the idiotic “have a beer” meme. And by idiotic, I mean Catherine is right, and we should be careful.
Raygun was one of those barstool guys, and he was such an idiot he bought into those Schol of Americas thugs. If somebody could prove he didn’t have Cheney and Rummy cavorting with the Ayatollahs to screw over American elections and ensure Americans didn’t remain captives until after the election, let’s hear it. That is what the bastards did.
Apparently, I was either prescient or I was reading along. I’m concerned there’s another John Anderson/Nader mistake coming. But, yeah, Jeff, I read what y’all have to say.
Jolene said on October 6, 2010 at 10:58 pm
A note re the fire in Tennessee: Cranick, the now displaced homeowner said he did have insurance on his home and that he had, in previous years, paid for a subscription for fire service. He said that he had simply forgotten to pay this year.
But whatever his behavior, it’s a stupid system.
prospero said on October 6, 2010 at 11:17 pm
My quuetion would be, what if the fire started on a property that was covered and spread to another, alas, uncovered? Would they fight the first fire and ignore the second? This is Rand Paulism taken to it’s most asisine conclusion.
Are people nuts? Does the bible say you’re supposed to slice and dice about who is worthy? In the end, how can you claim to be Christian if you vote for assholes that make a point of insisting they don’t give a shit about the least of my brothers.
moe99 said on October 7, 2010 at 12:35 am
You know, Joe, I’m just going to have to disagree with you there. I think Obama is far more intelligent and has a savvier political sense than most people, myself included. I would say the same about Winston Churchill, having just watched The Gathering Storm. I think that’s who Cheney (and a large part of the W administration) modeled himself after. Only problem is Winston was right about Hitler and Cheney was wrong about Saddam Hussein.
Denice said on October 7, 2010 at 1:35 am
For the Honor of living in Detroit, we get to pay and extra $300 a year for the bulk pick-up of large items. At one point, Detroiters were deprived of large bulk junk pick-up. So the citizens took to dumping old couches, chairs and junk on public property like parks, parking lots, school grounds and on the streets! And they never were able to catch the culprits. So now we pay, pick-ups are four times a year. And people still dump. *sigh*
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 7, 2010 at 6:49 am
Thanks for the response, Prosp.
Trash pick up makes a good discussion point between conservatism and tea partyism. You can certainly make the case that at one point the market and individual responsibility and community standards took care of waste disposal. I think it’s fairly obvious that at some point of populations density, community size, rentals, and complexity of what’s being disposed of (recycling, toxics, etc.), you need a public service. “Charter” trash pickup isn’t going to maintain the civic good in an adequate fashion, any more than charter-only will give us an adequate educational system.
Keep enough profit and private motivation in the system to maintain an efficiency of service and re-use, but a regional trash system should be a non-negotiable.
ROgirl said on October 7, 2010 at 7:41 am
I doubt if reality gets in the way of most tea partiers’ thoughts. It’s very easy to make pronouncements about the way they think things should be in the world, but they don’t actually want to give any consideration to what’s really going on outside of their fear-based fantasies. The fact that they’re being manipulated and orchestrated by the Koch brothers, Glenn Beck, etc.? Well, whipping up fear and prejudice isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. There’s always someone out there who will buy it.
John said on October 7, 2010 at 8:46 am
Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, if anyone is still wondering. But with this crowd, the presumption is that you already know the answer.
Dorothy said on October 7, 2010 at 8:57 am
Hey y’all – Turner Classic Movies is running Tony Curtis movies this coming Sunday all day. I was happy to see “The Sweet Smell of Success” is on at 8 PM that night. Set your DVRs if you care to record it and watch later!