The Heartland speaks.

Moe et al, take note: The New York Times has parachutes on the ground in Defiance, Ohio. I always wanted to see this, maybe in a movie: A gathering on the village green…the sound of a low-flying aircraft, all eyes look up and see THREE SKYDIVERS descending, and soon they land — a WRITER, a PHOTOGRAPHER and a MULTI-PLATFORM NEW MEDIA GRAPHIC ARTIST. As the trio gather their PARACHUTES, the townspeople approach. The WRITER steps forward and extends a hand.


Good morning. We’re from the New York Times,
and we’re here to take your temperature.

Anyway, the Times is, was, in my husband’s hometown. I read him the headline, Democratic Ohio Town Loosens Its Party Ties and we both sort of scratched our heads. Defiance is Democratic? Maybe in the ’60s. Maybe when the UAW still had something to swing. But as far as I can tell, the little D is the textbook example of the Reagan-era strategy of the GOP — get working- and middle-class blue-collar types to vote against their own economic interests through strategic dog-whistle “values” issues. Despite a move toward blue in 2008, it’s still in no danger of holding a gay pride parade anytime soon. However, don’t let that get in the way of the temperature-taking:

Will Parker, 24, finished college in 2009 with a degree in marketing and communications. In six months of looking, he found no work here in his hometown and had to take a Web-page job in Columbus, 115 miles to the southeast, that he feels is a dead end. Mr. Parker voted for Mr. Obama and said he now felt “voter’s remorse” because “it feels like we’re creating a welfare state.”

OK, first: Will? If you’re looking for work in marketing and communication, you’re looking in the wrong place. Generally speaking, towns of fewer than 20,000 souls don’t support much work in that field, even less so in recent years. Even Fort Wayne saw the loss of small ad shops and related jobs in the post-internet crash, as business consolidated in places like Chicago. If you desire that small-city lifestyle, Will, you should have picked a different major, and if you feel you’re in a dead end at 24, you lack imagination. Among many other things.

The rest of the story has that cognitive dissonance I hear so often these days, people who think that stimulus-funded bridge being built down the street is a great idea, but OMG health care! “Rammed down our throats,” was the phrase employed by, get this, an insurance agent. Yes, a woman who sells insurance frets about a bill that requires Americans to buy insurance. She’s probably worried about the death panels. They also dislike the bank bailout, but that of General Motors, which provides the highest-paying jobs in town? Mumble, mumble.

And this?

Local suspicion of government has also been fueled, (Mayor) Armstrong said, by a costly federal mandate to build a sewage system to protect the Great Lakes, requiring huge increases in local water rates.

Good lord, they were talking about that in Fort Wayne — upriver on the same waterway that flows through Defiance — when the first George Bush was president. This is the separation of storm and sanitary sewer lines, an expensive but necessary process brought to a crisis in many Midwestern cities by booming housing development through the ’80s and ’90s, all these new subdivisions flushing their toilets into inadequate, outdated systems that sent excrement into the rivers every time it rained. Let my husband offer an eyewitness report:

“We used to fish for carp off the bridge by my mom’s house and watch turds, rubbers and tampons float by.” This is when he was a boy. Damn President Obama for making us stop doing that!

Anyway, as this liberal-media report clearly indicates, the people of our nation’s heartland have turned against our president:

Karl Kissner, the restaurant’s owner, may represent a more vocal and influential attitude in Defiance. He calls himself a Democrat but says he did not vote for Mr. Obama, and his opposition to the administration has deepened.

A Democrat who didn’t vote Democratic in 2008? ‘Round these parts, we call those folks Republicans. But then, I don’t work for the New York Times.

Discuss. There’s a pretty good Metafilter thread about the same story, here.

Bloggage? Sure. Jim Griffioen at Sweet Juniper, along with his wife, have a knack for making the cutest Halloween costumes for their kids. But this one is extra-cute in situ: Ladies and gentlemen, Robocop.

And let’s leave it at that. I’ve reached the point of mega-saturation with politics at the moment, and would rather think of cute kids in Halloween costumes. Have a great day — I’m off to Wayne State.

Posted at 9:15 am in Current events, Detroit life |

65 responses to “The Heartland speaks.”

  1. alex said on October 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Leave it to the NYT to get it all so, so wrong. Gawd, I’m sounding like a Republican, no?

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  2. prospero said on October 28, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Well, there used to be the liberal MSM. Not for years and not by a logshot. These guys lean right so much you’d think its a slice. The idea that there’s a liberal media, well, there’s Arianna, that’s still fucking that gay Repuplican on the steps of the Lincoln, and where were we?

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  3. Dorothy said on October 28, 2010 at 9:46 am

    The Robocop thing is just too cute for words. That little boy is going to remember that costume for years and years. The icing on the cake was his encounter with real policemen.

    My son met at least 3 dozen FBI agents when he was 9 years old during a visit to Quantico when his uncle (my brother) was an instructor for the National Academy. Josh decided after that weekend that he wanted to be in law enforcement for life and now he is. You never know what inspires kids. And speaking of that, you’re exactly right about the 24 year old communications major. Surely at some point an adviser informed him of his potential career options. I’ve met some young folks (through theater) in their mid-20’s who don’t want to leave this small town but bemoan the availability of jobs here. I feel certain their chances would be much better in Columbus but most of them groan about not wanting to live so far away from “home.” I feel sorry for them. My mother always said the number one goal of a parent is to raise their kids to be independent. I think I can say I did that with mine. They call us less and less these last few years but that’s a healthy thing as far as I’m concerned. They’ve learned how to solve problems pretty well and only occasionally need us to chime in with advice.

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  4. Judybusy said on October 28, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Speaking of media’s fair and balanced coverage of all issues, this made me want to sick up. Really? Two sides to the gay teen suicide issue?

    It makes the Sweet Juniper post even sweeter! Thanks for the tonic.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on October 28, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Roots and wings, right Dorothy?

    My husband can verify that quote about the rivers around here 40 years ago. It makes me a little sick when I think about it.

    Non-elitist bulletin: Oprah has the cast of Sound of Music on today. I may have to watch her show for the first time ever.

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  6. coozledad said on October 28, 2010 at 10:24 am

    It’s the old “I got out and busted my ass for Obama, but now I think the SS death squads were fighting for American values” schtick.
    Has anyone noticed the photos that accompany the wolfenscheiss of the North’s political pac? I can’t decide if she’s wearing Kim Jong Il pajamas or one of Goering’s old uniforms. In any case, she’s got a nice eagle clipped straight off the top of a Roman standard on her lapel.
    The best I can hope for is that Amway hooker soaks a few thousand trailerbound anti-Semites for the last of their egg money.

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  7. Jeff Borden said on October 28, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Damn that government for forcing us to clean up our rivers and creeks. Those communist bastards! It is our right to pollute and destroy our natural resources. Says so right in the Bible. Once our lord and masters of the Republican Party retake Congress, we’ll be able to stop all this sissified cleaning up of our water supplies and concentrate on extending vast new tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while rewarding corporations for sending more jobs to India and China. It’s gonna be so great!

    The NYT maintains a bureau in Chicago and uses materials produced by something called the Chicago News Cooperative, which is made up largely of ex-Tribune reporters. Still, at least once per year, the august Times refers to the stretch of Michigan Avenue between the river and the lake as the “Miracle Mile,” not the “Magnificent Mile.”

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  8. brian stouder said on October 28, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Hmmmm. If fort Wayne has anything approaching a “Magnificent Mile”, I suppose it’s the mile between downtown and Swinney Park (Washington? Jefferson? The one that goes west; although eastbound, toward town, is pretty nice, too). Call it our “All things considered, pretty good mile”

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  9. Dorothy said on October 28, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I’m recording Oprah today Julie. I’ve seen some of the actors before but having them all together will be pretty cool.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on October 28, 2010 at 10:54 am


    LAMary would know for sure, but I think there is a “Miracle Mile” somewhere in Los Angeles.

    I don’t know that the section of Michigan Avenue is magnificent. You have some architecturally significant buildings, yes, but also plenty of rather dull commercial structures. I like your description better, lol.

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  11. moe99 said on October 28, 2010 at 11:00 am

    My parents voted for Nixon over Kennedy in 1960, thereby putting politics over religion, which was not insignificant on my mother’s side for the time. And I recall when JFK was shot in 1963, there were guys in my 6th grade class (Abby Stratton was the teacher, Alan) that cheered. As I had been raised to believe that FDR was a dirty word, I didn’t realize the significance of the assassination or the cheering until much later. All I knew is that it ruined Sat. morning cartoons on my birthday, the 23d of Nov.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 28, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Assembled for my son an Agent P costume, Perry the Platypus from “Phineas and Ferb” for those of you not condemned to experiencing large amount of Disney Channel in your lives. He’s ecstatic, but I was pulling for Dr. Doofenshmirtz.

    Tonight is Beggar’s Night around here; my son is young enough to still want to enjoy the costume making and the trick-or-treating, but old enough to join intelligibly in the dinner table conversation about the advent of “Beggar’s Night,” which, no matter what else you’re told about “safety” and “issues” is simply local governments wanting to avoid having to pay overtime and/or doubletime weekend pay to police and fire staff. Feh.

    Sunday is still the proper eve of All Hallows’, Hallowe’en, when the veil between life and death is stretched thin . . . . and the very shadows themselves begin to move with intent, the skeletal limbs of trees clutching fretfully at passers-by.

    Our Jack-o’-Lanterns will be burning that night, cost savings for municipalities or no.

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  13. John g. Wallace said on October 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

    There is a “Miracle Mile,” here in Vero Beach. It took me a while to catch the drift in conversation because according to signs and Google it’s 21st Street. It’s where our very fancy Publix sits across the street from Fresh Market and other upscale shops.
    I no longer have an excuse to shop at Fresh Market though – in Fort Wayne it was fresh seafood, East Coast deli items, and fresh squeezed OJ. None of those items are in short supply elsewhere in Vero.
    Is it too early to begin taunting you with Florida weather updates? Yesterday set an all time high of 91 degrees.

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  14. mark said on October 28, 2010 at 11:31 am

    You will have to remind me of all of those “strategic, dog-whistle ‘values’ issues” that Reagan used to persuade people to vote against their own economic issues and dump Carter. Just a few of the textbook examples will suffice.

    I recall that campaign as being about economics and national defense, with Reagan famously asking “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” and George H W Bush famously labeling Reagan’s proposals as “Voodoo economics”. 8 percent unemployment and 14 percent interest rates are what I recall, not big, distracting fights over gun control, gay rights and abortion. The hostages in Iran were of no help to Carter either.

    Why is it that with politics and issues of governance there are never competing ideas held in good faith, only the liberal or progressive view and the views held by people who have been fooled, or are “fundies” or racists or tools of corporate America? We don’t have to consider Will’s concerns about a welfare state because we can marginalize him for his poor choice to live in Defiance. Poof- there is no issue about the growth/role of government, just stupid people who wrongly claim there is an issue.

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  15. moe99 said on October 28, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Let’s talk about those hostages in Iran, mark and recall that the Reagan team negotiated with the Iranians to make sure that they weren’t released until after the election. That was sure playin’ by the rules, wasn’t it?

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  16. nancy said on October 28, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Mark. Puh-leeze. Have you been sleeping through the culture wars? Does the name Willie Horton ring a bell?

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  17. mark said on October 28, 2010 at 11:40 am

    No, it wasn’t moe. And Iran-Contra was pretty slimey and Nancy Reagan was creepy. Do you recall the dog-whistle values issues that Reagan used to fool people into voting against their economic interests? It’s textbook stuff, I’m told, and all we need to know about how Reagan won.

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  18. mark said on October 28, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Willie Horton came eight years later, I think.

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  19. nancy said on October 28, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I consider anything that came between 1980 and 1992 Reagan-era, Mark. Perhaps confusing, but if you’re going to make the guy a god-king, he gets to extend his influence a few more years.

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  20. brian stouder said on October 28, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Mark – I was a Reagan guy in those days, too. I liked him because, in those days, he was unashamed and he stood tall, while both his own and the other party reached post-war/post Watergate exhaustion; Reagan hadn’t “lost the faith”. Forget dog whistles, he spoke of “welfare queens” and so on, pretty overtly

    Do you recall the dog-whistle val­ues issues that Rea­gan used to fool peo­ple into vot­ing against their eco­nomic inter­ests?

    Now, think back. Lots of midwestern “Reagan Democrats” were union men and women, yes? And how did unions fare when RR was in office? (think PATCO)

    RR transcended (or defined) his era, for better or worse; and has become the plaster Jesus on the dashboard of nincompoops like Sean shit-for-brains Hannity and Rush Limbaugh – who never even voted for him!!

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  21. coozledad said on October 28, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Yes, we can count on Republicans to shrink government. Once they get that generalized holy war they’ve been creaming their pants over, the only function of government will be to coordinate the streamlined private collection of taxes and their disbursement to Halliburton and Blackwater.
    Republicans suck at governance. Always have, always will. Their crop of birth-injured candidates really takes the cake this time, though- Football thugs, Mosleyites, and diaper-clad Johns.

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  22. Jeff Borden said on October 28, 2010 at 11:58 am


    Of all the towns and cities and places in the United States, where did Ronald Reagan launch his 1980 presidential campaign?

    Philadelphia, Mississippi.

    This is the lovely little burg where racists murdered three volunteers working to register black voters in 1964, all in the name of states’ rights, of course. The same states’ rights Mr. Reagan invoked in his speech. That, sir, is dog whistle politics.

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  23. brian stouder said on October 28, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    That, sir, is dog whis­tle pol­i­tics.

    Forget the whistle; that sounds like red-meat, outright!

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  24. Sue said on October 28, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    A local businessman/community columnist mentioned about three years back (prior to the meltdown, anyway) the vast numbers of marketing majors graduating from one of the UW schools, and wondered where they all could possibly find jobs. His point was that they received degrees in selling stuff, and didn’t we already have enough people doing that? His point was similar to Nancy’s, wanting to know who was advising these students and at what point has a program reached graduation-saturation.
    Not to say that I agree with the screamers who want to know why students aren’t being ‘steered’ toward engineering and math degrees, like the degrees are interchangeable. A communications major would have as much trouble getting an engineering degree as an engineer would getting a communications degree. (That’s an engineering joke.)
    And I keep hearing that Reagan would be considered too liberal in today’s political environment. Your thoughts, Mark.

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  25. alex said on October 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Actually, Mark, Reagan first tooted the values dog whistle when he announced in 1980 that the Republican party platform would henceforth be anti-abortion (or pro-life, as the movement then began calling itself). This was his wet kiss on the ass of the Reverend Jerry Fallwell, who was trying to play kingmaker that year with his “Moral Majority,” claiming to control an enormous bloc of votes crucial to a GOP victory.

    On Edit: Come to think of it, Reagan not only withdrew the GOP platform’s previous support of abortion rights, but also the GOP’s support for the nearly ratified Equal Rights Amendment, which subsequently failed.

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  26. coozledad said on October 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Lance has a good piece about the conflating of the third of Americans who live in small towns and rural areas with some nebulous “Real America”, and how, oddly, the other two thirds have forfeited their citizenship by living elsewhere, or getting an education.
    You get the impression that “Real Americans” are the guys who know instinctively when you need to kick a woman’s head in, or just what kind of speech is subject to protection.

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  27. LAMary said on October 28, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I was going to bring up the anti abortion issue as well, so thanks alex. I hold Reagan to blame for the trend of the last thirty years requiring candidates to not only be Christian, but be really really Christian. Like bordering on speaking in tongues. Let’s all remember that W was the guy in charge of rounding up the fundamentalist vote for his dad. Between hating big guvmint while expanding it and allowing sleazebags like Falwell to have a lot of influence in who gets elected, Reagan has a lot to answer for. If I believed in hell, I truly think he’d be there.

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  28. Jeff Borden said on October 28, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I recall how after Ronald Reagan’s election, Jerry Falwell crowed that finally there was a “real Christian” in the White House, which was something of a surprise announcement given Jimmy Carter’s very overt religiosity. In fact, wasn’t Carter a minister of some kind? Clearly, not Falwell’s kind of Christian, but then again, I recall Falwell blasting Bishop Desmond Tutu and his efforts to fight apartheid. What a loathesome piece of shit he was. . .

    BTW, more evidence that our “can do” nation has become the “why bother” country.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as expected, put the kibosh on a second tunnel under the Hudson River over fears of cost overruns. The project would have generated 6,000 jobs and led to the creation of another 40,000 while easing the commute for almost 200,000 workers who now must depend on the 100-year-old tunnel containing just two sets of tracks. But when a man is primping for a run at the White House, who really cares?

    Pogo was right. We are our own worst enemy. We will throw trillions into ill-conceived wars, but ignore our own infrastructure and employment needs in the name of ideology.

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  29. beb said on October 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Moe @11: Hey, that’s my wife’s birthday! And my sister’s is a day earlier, the 22nd when Kennedy was shot.

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  30. paddyo' said on October 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I find it fascinating here in the state with the most expensive U.S. Senate race — more than $23 million in outside-group attack ads pouring in, the vast majority from the Right via those Rove-ian “non-profits” with anonymous donor lists, thank you SCOTUS — that Colorado GOP’ers are whining about Democratic Sen. Bennet’s repeated attacks on GOP candidate Buck’s social values positions (abortion’s only the start).

    Talk about pot-calls-kettle-black. But in a year when the discourse has been hijacked by virulently anti-Obama rhetoric, smears and distortions around $$, health care and the stimulus, Bennet has had to claw his way toward neck-and-neck by using the same approach the Right has used so often. There are “values voters” on both sides, after all.

    Nope, none of it is pretty, but it’s 2010 and that’s what we’re stuck with. This year’s spectacle (75 percent more outside-group spending on campaigns than in 2008, I believe was the figure I heard on NPR the other day) will make quite the trove of case studies for political scientists in the coming years.

    Of course, they may have to wear haz-mat suits to examine it all. That’s some hot slime being slung out there.

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  31. Sue said on October 28, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I’ve heard that the money going into these ads is in the millions, and the campaigns are costing millions more, for an amount that will go into the billions by the time this is done.
    Why hasn’t this influx of money into our economy created more jobs for marketing & communications majors?

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  32. mark said on October 28, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    “make the guy a god king”

    Maybe that’s my gripe, nancy. If I agree with ideas Reagan espoused about freedom, free markets, etc., which weren’t original to Reagan, you want to deal with the ideas only by reference to the less than perfect person, or by claiming I’m influenced by some cult worship thing. You must favor larger government involvement in health care because Obama is your god king, right? Of course their is no reason for me to make such a stupid assertion, as there are many reasonable arguments that might influence your view.

    The approach here seems to be to constantly belittle people who have what you view as bad ideas, as though that is a substitute for demonstrating that the ideas are bad and worthy of belittlement.

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  33. Christy S. said on October 28, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Will’s attitude is so typical of that generation (she says in her “you kids get off my lawn” voice). When I taught college, I was always surprised at how the students expected everything to automatically land at their feet with little effort from them. Their feeling was if they followed the rules — attended class, completed the assignment, got the degree, etc. — they would automatically get something for it. I’m sure this has something to do with the instant gratification society in which they’ve been raised, one that has no memory of a time before computers, microwave ovens or things “on demand.”

    But what’s really disturbing about that attitude is how it gets thrown back at those in leadership. “I attended class but didn’t participate –this school is not inspiring me.” “I did the assignment but got a bad grade — this instructor doesn’t teach well.” “I can’t find a job with my esoteric degree in my dinky hometown — that’s Obama’s fault.”

    As much as I’d like to blame every mishap in my life on someone else, I’ll admit most of the crap that has happened to me was due to my own bad choices. Until folks can come to that conclusion, we will continue to have a society bent on “the next new thing,” whether that is a kitchen gadget or a president, with the hope it will finally bring the marvelous, carefree life we’ve all been promised.

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  34. LAMary said on October 28, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    I hire new grads twice a year and lately there have been a lot more new grads than jobs. Maybe a 100 to 1 ratio or worse. There are still a few who will call when they don’t get a job demanding, not asking, to know why they didn’t get hired. They want my boss’s name and my title and they are going to go to the top and demand I get fired dammit. Explaining that I had 680 applicants for six jobs makes no difference. I am sympathetic, beyond sympathetic, to those who believed health care was the key to getting a good job right out of school, but when someone feels they are entitled it dilutes that sympathy a good deal.

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  35. nancy said on October 28, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    OK, Mark, here you go:

    I think my primary complaint in this blog entry is with the NYT, for calling Defiance a Democratic town in the first place. Alan and I have a range of familiarity with the place ranging from “intimate” to “more familiar than a dropped-in journalist,” and as such, I see the story as the basis of a straw-man analysis. Straw town, if you will: Here’s a town we’re calling Democratic, and it’s not so much anymore. Ergo, the president is a bum.

    But yeah, I picked on Will a little bit. He is presented as a Voice of Defiance, and his voice came across as whiny and disappointed. I think he’s needlessly so in the first case. I may have my heart set on being manager of a Saks Fifth Avenue store, but it would be pretty dumb to pursue that dream in a city that will never have one. As for his comments about the “welfare state,” I don’t think unemployment benefits are welfare. (As Will may find out one day.) I also don’t think requiring people to buy health insurance constitutes a welfare state.

    Is that respectful enough for you?

    As for the mayor, his complaints about the sewer system make no sense. Of course many residents of many towns don’t really care that they’re flushing their poop downstream, but when the time comes to fix it, and when the fixing is a process that has covered decades already, it’s pretty dumb to blame it on a president two years into his term.

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  36. paddyo' said on October 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Huzzahs to Christy S. and the Proprietress. Could NOT say it better.

    And BTW, just because those of us who say it are near or over 50 (in my case, a couple of years shy of 60), does not make it less true, nor does it reduce what we say merely to “get-off-my-lawn” old-fogie-talk.

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  37. Judybusy said on October 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Here is a poster which neatly sums up much of today’s discussion about the NYT piece. Mark, you best not click on it. It’s snarky.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 28, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Back home, stringing fake cobwebs, hoping someone else has a costume-making story about their kid/grandkid/neighbor kid.

    Bought our tenth house for developmentally disabled adults (, which is over the last four years, and my oh my, the closing paperwork just keeps growing, and growing. I’ve got a neat set of data points to compare with, and I think it’s easily twice the height stack of stuff from late 2006 to today.

    Good news for everyone — ABC has “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on tonight at 8 pm EST. Love the whole French countryside sequence, let alone the theological debates in the patch.

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  39. nancy said on October 28, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    And as long as I’ve gone off on a rant here — and while I wait for a crepe at the yuppie-slime, non-real-America lunch place I’ve chosen, let me add this:

    I think the bank bailouts were deeply unpleasant, but necessary. I don’t think most people realize how close we came to the economy seizing up altogether, and the banks, for better or worse, provide the gas and oil the economy needs to keep from seizing. I think its administration could have been a million times better, but it was a tradeoff between that and truly raising the alarm about how much trouble we were in, which would have brought its own set of problems. We had enough.

    I notice that, for all the government largesse it was extended, Wall Street’s reaction was to complain, whine and demand their continued obscene compensation for having fucked things up, and when they were denied it, one master of the universe actually compared the president, personally, to a Nazi. Classy.

    As for the automotives, you all know my bias. I don’t grant them any slack for having screwed up their businesses so badly in the first place, but having done so, once again, the alternative was worse. GM and Chrysler lying dead on the ground? Michigan wouldn’t recover from that in 10 lifetimes, and neither would most of the Midwest. The unemployment rate would be over 20 percent. Even the Wall Street Journal now admits that, while smelly, it was something that needed to be done. Paul Ingrassia:

    But what alternative, really, did Mr. Obama have? Had GM and Chrysler collapsed and been liquidated, investors would have picked up some of the pieces. That would have taken years. Meanwhile, the parts makers that supply GM and Chrysler would have collapsed too. Those same parts makers also supply Ford, Honda, Toyota and others, whose U.S. factories would have faced havoc.

    For having done all this, the public now believes:

    1) Fistfuls of cash were doled out to lazy shitheels who bought houses they couldn’t afford, when in fact the cash went to the banks, only a tiny handful have gotten a workout, and most of those who went under ended up on the street.

    2) That the government demanded GM — Guvvamint Motors haw haw — make a bunch of models no one will buy, because of course they’ll suck.

    As for the stimulus? Shrug. I’m sure, when the books are finally closed, we’ll find that a lot of the money was squandered. I’d still like to see more of it spent on shoring up physical infrastructure and, yes, helping little Defiance pay for its new sewer system, as well as that aforementioned NY/NJ tunnel. But most of it has yet to be spent, and waste and duplication never stopped anyone from loving defense spending.

    Sorry if I sound testy. I always wondered what it would be like to live through a revolution, and it looks like I’m finding it out. I just thought, having seen a few Hollywood movies on the subject, that my fellow bit players would be better-looking and have snappier dialogue.

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  40. nancy said on October 28, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Oh, and because I have to return to a positive note, may God-as-you-believe-in-him bless Jeff for all he does for the poor and unfortunate of Licking County, Ohio. I am dead serious. The world is a better place because of him.

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  41. LAMary said on October 28, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Did any of you happen to hear the woman on NPR this morning who was contemplating a “strategic default” on her mortgage? She and hubby bought a million dollar house two years ago and it’s lost 20 percent of its value, so she’s thinking of not paying her mortgage because it’s such a bad use of her money. She’s not broke. Both she and her husband are very gainfully employed. They just don’t like it that the bloated chunk of real estate they bought is no longer something they could sell for more to some bigger fool. As her hubby said, they can rent in the same neighborhood for less than a mortgage payment so why keep making payments? Just walk away and let the bank sort it out.
    Oh, and she’s a CPA.

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  42. Jolene said on October 28, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Mary, strategic default is common enough that it has its own Wikipedia entry.

    If you google it, you’ll find estimates of prevalence, analyses of whether it’s the right solution for you, instructions re when and how to do it, and discussions of ethics.

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  43. brian stouder said on October 28, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    And, really, “Strategic Default” sounds so very much better than “deadbeat” or “no account” or “people who had no business getting those loans in the first place”.

    Forget acorns – these folks are like societal spirochetes, insidiously making our body politic trend toward insanity

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  44. Jeff Borden said on October 28, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    I know I would get along fine with Mark and that we probably have more in common than might at first meet the eye, but I have completely and utterly lost any faith in conservatism as a governing principle, in general, and in the Republican Party, in particular, at least in its current form.

    For the record, my parents were Republicans and so were their parents. None of my grandparents had any love for FDR, believe me, but then both my grandfathers were lucky enough to maintain employment through the Great Depression. Mom and dad were Eisenhower Republicans, however, not Reagan Republicans, though I’m sure they voted for him. They did not view government as an enemy –in fact, my father said when he finally made enough money to have to pay taxes, he considered it a significant milestone– and they did not view Democrats as unholy demons. They were “live and let live” Republicans, if you will, and the older they got, the more they chafed at all the litmus tests the GOP began administering. They also were appalled at the race and gay baiting of the modern GOP.

    Conservatism as embodied by the GOP means hands off bank regulations, environmental rules and workplace safety issues, but this laissez-fare attitude does not extend to a woman’s body, a person’s sexuality or a non-religious person’s desire to be left alone. (At least three of the teabagging Senatorial candidates argue there is no separation of church and state.) It is a mean-spirited movement that demonizes the unlucky unemployed, arguing that the unemployment benefits these workers contributed to are now turning them into fat, lazy slobs who won’t take that job at McDonald’s. It is a movement that celebrates stupidity, mocking the accomplished as “elitists” while worshipping at the altar of a half-term governor of little or no accomplishment. It is movement that demonizes the religion of 1.5 billion people based on the actions of a tiny fraction, that sneers and spits at immigrants who seek only a better life, that ignores the rivers of blood running in our streets rather than ruffle the feathers of the NRA, and that believes the wealthiest and most powerful 1% of the population really isn’t wealthy or powerful enough so let’s cut us some taxes again.

    I would love to engage in a debate of ideas with a Republican someday, but I’m afraid at the moment this is a party with few ideas and those few it embraces are loathesome.

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  45. Jolene said on October 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    You won’t be surprised, I’m sure, to see that Jon Stewart et al. found an interesting twist on the strategic default issue.

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  46. Sue said on October 28, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    ‘For hav­ing done all this, the pub­lic now believes’…
    Last night President Obama was on the Daily Show. Jon Stewart was polite but persistent in his efforts to get Obama involved in a less-superficial discussion about what was promised vs. what’s been delivered. The President pretty much stayed on point and emphasised what had been accomplished. It was pretty clear that Stewart wanted a Stewart-style discussion and Obama wanted talking points, and at one point Obama looked very slightly irritated at the questioning. So, the President had a chance to reach out to young, liberal potential voters who wouldn’t be watching the Daily Show if they did not at least in general agree with Jon Stewart’s more progressive opinions, and his version of reaching out was to stick to the script. And while it seemed that Obama controlled the interview more than I’ve seen a guest on the Daily Show do, he did not take the opportunity to be really clear about what happened and did not happen in the last two years and why.
    ‘The public now believes’ this crap because Republicans own the message. In my opinion, last night’s Daily Show, while entertaining, showed why.

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  47. Hattie said on October 28, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Yes, and every time I read about NYT coverage of the politics of “liberal” Portland Oregon, a bastion of blue in a sea of red to their way of thinking, I laugh and laugh. How can they get it so wrong?

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  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Happy to debate some Republican ideas with you, Cousin Jeff; we are currently searching the sofa cushions to see if they slipped down into the upholstery. We know we have some, they were right here on the ottoman just a couple of election cycles ago.

    Nancy, if I were a good person, would I have eaten as many Reese Peanut Butter Cups as I have out of the bowl already by the front door? No, I would not have. Plus I plan to scare the snot out of as many kids as I can whilst they extract the seasonal toll of sugar & chocolate from our home. Bwahahahaha . . . .

    In the spirit of public service, and foreshadowing my Saturday column — if you hear about a VITA training event coming up in your area, and would like to help low income working families get the EITC that’s coming to them . . . not to mention their withholding that they’re often too insecure and uncertain to try and claim, go for it. 16 hours of training, usually two Saturdays, and you need to promise about 4 hours a week from Jan. 15 to Apr. 15 for it to be worth it.

    Also, if you know college students with plans to go into finance, financial services, etc., VITA volunteering (volunteer income tax assistance) is risk free, well supported, but gives you an awesome leg up in job apps out of college.

    We did almost 500 last year, brought $680,000 back to this county, a third of which was EITC, and the median household income? $14,000.

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  49. Jenine said on October 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    @Jeff tmmo: Your kid is going to be way cool as Agent P, but doesn’t that mean that *you* get to be Dr. D? Come on! You get to talk in that voice all night if you want to.

    I have had a great time helping my daughters with their costumes: Totoro (a cute fuzzy Japanese monster/nature spirit, it’s hard to explain so here’s the wiki page) and Lollipop Princess. I am so ready to carve pumpkins now.

    Looking forward to the spooky night on Sunday. And I agree, accept no substitutes. We’re spoiled for celebration choices that afternoon/evening and haven’t quite figured out how to have the most fun without burning out.

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  50. Deborah said on October 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Sue, I’d cut Obama some slack on the Jon Stewart interview. I thought he held his own and that Stewart acted a bit disrespectful. I love Stewart and Rachel Maddow, but sometimes they lose sight of the big picture. Obama was talking about the big picture, and that was, that we the people can not expect miraculous “change” in 18 months, it’s just not possible. Change comes in increments and that my friends IS happening. One step at a time.

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  51. Deborah said on October 28, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    This evening from 4-7 my office is having a Halloween party for the kids of employees. They haven’t had it for a couple of years, because of the economy or just because after all of the layoffs everyone was way too busy to plan it and run it. It’s a lot of fun watching my co-workers bring in their wee ones in costume. We were all encouraged to wear costumes. I wore all black today (like almost every other day of the year for me). I figure my big old monster boot for my fractured foot is scary enough. Speaking of which, I may be getting rid of the dang thing on Tuesday, if not then two more weeks after that.

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  52. brian stouder said on October 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Sue – if I get a vote, I vote for you being free of that on Tuesday!

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  53. alex said on October 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Defiance is a Democratic town like Christine O’Donnell is Albert Einstein. If the NYT’s reporters had wanted to do more than a hack job, they’d only need to look a few miles west at the relative cosmopolis that is Fort Wayne, where the big news today is that half of all hoosiers have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party movement and the Republican candidates here are about to win in a major rout. Yes, they’d prefer to give a House seat to a doofus with a high school education and a Senate seat to a K Street con man. The real story here is the triumph of right-wing media over all common sense. It’s enough to make me just wanna say fuck it and stay home on election day. But I won’t.

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  54. Dexter said on October 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I live near Defiance, in Bryan, about 25 minutes downtown to downtown.
    While we get our water from artesian wells, and it is the best water from the all-around best aquafier in the world, Defiance sucks up river water and treats it with sodium permanganate, ferris chloride, activated carbon, lime, phosphate, chlorine, and fluoride.
    It’s not nearly as foul-tasting as it was most of the past thirty years or so…I don’t know why, but it used to be so horrible I would refuse to touch it and if my wife drank any she would be running to the bathroom within minutes…something about it was really bad. I don’t know how they modified the process, but we ate in a Defiance restaurant last month and I did try the water and it was OK-tasting, but I wouldn’t drink it regularly.
    A good friend lived on the same river in Napoleon, Ohio…their home was right on the river, and six houses in a row on his street housed cancer patients, several of those homes had multiple cancer patients over a ten year span. I would think that may have had something to do with the water and the pcbs in the river, and all the other carcinogens floating .
    Here , it’s amazing, because in Montpelier, Ohio, they have had the world’s best-tasting water trophy many times, our water is excellent, but 15 miles south, on old US 24, if you stop in the Vagabond truckstop restaurant and wash your hands, your hands will smell like sulfur so bad you’ll want to puke.
    The smell of the water makes the restrooms smell horrible, just ungodly, from that sulfur.

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  55. LAMary said on October 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    “The smell of the water makes the restrooms smell hor­ri­ble, just ungodly, from that sul­fur.”

    Sounds to me like you’ve got some Satanic bathrooms, Dexter. Now I know where the devil goes to relieve himself.

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  56. nancy said on October 28, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Dexter, don’t tell a soul, but:

    I’ve eaten there. At Vagabond Village.

    Hey, does this qualify me for Real American status?

    On edit: Alan asks if they still have the porn theater downtown in Montpelier.

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  57. Sue said on October 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Change is incremental and Obama made that point very well last night, going back to the infancy of Social Security for his example. However, part of that message could have included information about the promise of several Republican candidates to repeal – not tweak or redo, repeal – the health care bill. Making the point that you can’t have incremental change when the other side is promising to kill it in the cradle would have been powerful too. If the President wants to do ‘stay the course’ messaging, I want lots of background reasoning.
    Last night Obama was reaching out to a group of people who do not fall into either the Fox News or Ed Show demographic: generally speaking, people who have no trouble following a Jon Stewart monologue – liberal independents. I will cut him some slack if you want. It’s just a comedy show, after all. Right?

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  58. Deborah said on October 28, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Agreed Sue, it’s just a comedy show, and a good one too.

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  59. moe99 said on October 28, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Goebel Brewing Company in Detroit 1905. Comments have a modern view of the site.

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  60. coozledad said on October 28, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I’m bookmarking that blog, Moe. I really love that period of industrial architecture.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 28, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Agent P, before his mission to fight evil.

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  62. beb said on October 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Dexter: “Defi­ance sucks up river water and treats it with sodium per­man­ganate, ferric chlo­ride, acti­vated car­bon, lime, phos­phate, chlo­rine, and flu­o­ride.”

    Drinking water production used to just dose water with chlorine (disinfection) and alum (a flocculant), allow the water to sit for a couple weeks like the flocculant settles out of the water, it is then filtered through a sand bed, chlorinated again and passed into the distribution system. The chlorine taste in a lot of treated water comes from over-chloorinating the water. The EPA has been trying to reduce the amount of residual chlorine in drinking water to prevent the formation of chlorine by-products.

    In the last decade the EPA has also mandated the addition of phosphate to the drinking water to control corrosion. The corrosion they are controlling is lead leaching into the drinking water from lead pipes present in very old houses, and from solder in copper pipes. The phosphate combines with calcium in the water to form an insoluble layer on the pipes. Then the EPA mandated that the pH of drinking water be kept around 7.5 standard units. So now some sodium hydroxide is added to control pH.

    Fluoride has been added to drinking water since the 50s to prevent tooth decay. Birchers have complained that this was some sort of communist plot to destroy America. I should point out that it was the Soviet Union, not the US that collapsed.

    Ferric Chloride, is used in wastewater treatment plants to precipitate phosphorous from the sewerage. It’s ironic that the freshwater plant has to add phosphorus that the sewage plant then has to remove. I don’t know why ot would be added to drinking water.

    potassium permanganate is an oxidizer sometimes used as an oxidant, but also is used to remove iron and hydrogen sulfite from water.

    Finally activated charcoal is used to control taste and odor in drinking water it is added at the settling stage and is captured by the filter beds.

    Water from wells can be easily polluted by chemicals dumped in the ground. My parents still live in the house I grew up in. In my youth I thought the well water was great, these days I find it so contaminated with sulfur that the water is undrinkable. Even my dad has begun to use a Brite filter to produce drinking water.

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  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 29, 2010 at 6:58 am

    The Hallowe’en Economic Index (HEI) last night showed that the economic recovery is still slow to stalled in this part of Ohio; store bought costumes continue to make up a smaller fraction of the total than at the height of the economic boom of the 90’s. Princess, knight, robot, and super hero outfits strongly outweighed ghouls, zombies, and various creepy undead figures, who predominated in more optimistic times of financial security. Families chose to work on iconic depictions of hope and confidence for Hallowe’en, as a countervailing force against the general pessimism and fearfulness that is their everyday reality.

    Only 2 rap star costumes out of 68; the HEI model still has not determined the significance of that imaging. The number remains constant, however.

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  64. brian stouder said on October 29, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Jeff – I’ll get some survey numbers for your HEI model, this weekend.

    Meanwhile, I was cleaning out my email and came across this little bon bon(parts of which we looked at before) –

    some puns for the weekend:

    1. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.

    2. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

    3. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’

    4. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

    5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

    6. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

    7. A backward poet writes inverse.

    8. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion
    allowed per passenger.’

    9. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says ‘Dam!’

    10. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did

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  65. coozledad said on October 29, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Pubic hair a deal-breaker? It’s a wonder fratboys get fucked anywhere outside the hazing room.

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