Gamesmanship, part 2.

It seemed the sun would never rise today, and I imagine it will be in a big hurry to get out this evening. I understand there’s a reason for that. It’s also the reason I’m feeling lamer and blanker than usual this morning. It couldn’t possibly be that I had four glasses of wine on a mostly empty stomach last night. As I had the night off and we were home before 11, I followed them with an over-the-counter sleep aid, ’cause I had the rare opportunity for a full night’s sleep and I didn’t want anything short of a wailing smoke alarm to penetrate it.

And sleep I did, but I still feel wrapped in cotton wool. After breakfast and two cups of coffee. Oh, well. If you’re not allowed a third cup four days before the winter solstice, when are you allowed?

And, not making excuses here, but I have work to do on a story. So let’s go to the bloggage early, shall we?

(Third cup, in progress.)

You’ve probably heard of PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times’ website, which strives to bring light to the darkness by fact-checking claims made by politicians. It was the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner for Public Service, i.e., the best of the big P’s, and has been widely emulated around the country — there’s a version of it in Michigan now, run by a non-profit think tank, and original-recipe PolitiFact has licensed its name to other papers, as well. Seven states have PolitiFact sites now. (Don’t worry, Indiana. I’m sure you’ll get one…some day.)

This week, PolitiFact named its Lie of the Year. Before you click, see if you can guess. Anyone? Anyone? OK, Iet’s cut to the chase:

PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen “government takeover of health care” as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats’ shellacking in the November elections.

Remember, earlier in the week, when we discussed the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and how they game the system? They have company: The Center for Science in the Public Interest, another group of nutritional busybodies. Yesterday they were a player in this story, which had the conservative blogs and Facebook rockin’ with outrage:

With perfect Grinch timing, a consumer group has sued McDonald’s demanding that it take the toys out of its Happy Meals.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group, claims it violates California law for the hamburger chain to make its meals too appealing to kids, thus launching them on a lifelong course to overeating and other health horrors. It’s representing an allegedly typical mother of two from Sacramento named Monet Parham. What’s Parham’s (so to speak) beef? “Because of McDonald’s marketing, [her daughter] Maya has frequently pestered Parham into purchasing Happy Meals, thereby spending money on a product she would not otherwise have purchased.”

The story goes on to harumph about Parham’s lack of parenting skills, blah blah blah, to the point that you can almost ignore a few key phrases:

You’re probably wondering: How is this grounds for a lawsuit? No one forced Parham to take her daughters to McDonald’s, buy them that particular menu item, and sit by as they ate every last French fry in the bag (if they did).

No, she’s suing because when she said no, her kids became disagreeable and “pouted” – for which she wants class action status. If she gets it, McDonald’s isn’t the only company that should worry. Other kids pout because parents won’t get them 800-piece Lego sets, Madame Alexander dolls and Disney World vacations. Are those companies going to be liable too?

No, New York Daily News, all the conservative bloggers in the world and MMJeff, they aren’t. Filing a suit and seeking class-action status isn’t the same as winning a suit or getting class-action status. I know we have many lawyers in this house, who can maybe speak to the possibility of Ms. Parham’s suit getting anywhere beyond the pages of the New York Daily News, but at this point, it hardly matters. They’re in a New York daily newspaper, their message has been amplified, they’ve put McDonald’s on notice that it has wandered into the crosshairs of the media-savvy Center for Science in the Public Interest and WIN WIN WIN.

The CSPI is the group behind the “health scares” of the ’90s, which really showed how this ridiculous gamesmanship works, the “studies” that showed fettuccine alfredo, Chinese food and movie-theater popcorn is bad for you. Remember the phrase “heart attack on a plate?” That was theirs.

Another Xtranormal winner: Why your waiter hates you.

Did you know Coozledad has a pet chicken? And that he talks to the animals, just like me? He does.

Phone’s ringin’. Gotta go. Have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 10:23 am in Current events, Media, Same ol' same ol' |
 

75 responses to “Gamesmanship, part 2.”

  1. Joe Kobiela said on December 17, 2010 at 11:01 am

    I think Billie Shakespear was right, Kill all the lawyers. They delayed school last week for a skiff of snow, we are suing McDonalds because the kids whine, for God sakes the nfl players are crying about playing out doors in Minnesota. This country is turning into a bunch sniffiling whiney PUSSEYS. I’m sick of politicians,lawyers,movie stars,rock stars,media stars,athletes,right wingers, left wingers, stupid people, Taliban, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. They can all burn in hell, bunch of fuckin fuck mooks.
    Cheers from West Lafeyett Ind
    Pilot Joe

  2. Peter said on December 17, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Hi Everyone,

    Maybe it’s due to my being really sick lately, but I’m very sad at the passing of Blake Edwards, partly at the somewhat dismissive obits I’ve read (though NYT’s was pretty good), partly because I can’t believe it’s been THAT long since Victor/Victoria. I guess it just reinforces the what have you done for me lately ethos.

    If I’m not mistaken, is that Center for Science in the Public Interest the same group that comes out with press releases every so often with the same lede: (delicious food item) is a heart attack on a plate? If it is, that group’s chairman is Jerry Reinsdorf’s brother in law. How would you like to have that schmoe be in your owner’s box during a Bulls or Sox game and not shutting up about the stadium food?

  3. Peter said on December 17, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Joe, just saw your comment while I was posting. I’m only going to add to one part of it – as an architect, I’m just stunned that TCF Bank Field can’t operate when it’s below 30 degrees. IN MINNESOTA. Where it gets colder than 30 degrees in September.

    Though I haven’t seen visual proof, I think one of the main problems is that the field is icy. Even when it’s super cold, places like Lambeau put out the tarp and have a few heaters blow nice warm air over the turf to keep the field clear. It’s one thing to have a lot of snow, but icy fields are just an invite to injuries.

    The other main problem is that the Vikings had a big ceremony planned for this game, and want to go ahead with it. That’s real nice; have your fan base come to an outdoor stadium where the temp is predicted to be 5 degrees and subject them to a 30 minute pregame ceremony. What a bunch.

  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 17, 2010 at 11:14 am

    It was just the “my kids pouted” part that got me. Can they actually run this stuff with a straight face? Doesn’t it actually hurt them, as an organization, or is it just a publicity flurry to rally their own vegan base, and herd in some EOY donations? ‘Cause I can’t see the upside of this filing for them otherwise. There’s a school of thought that says there’s no such thing as bad publicity (aka Charlie Sheen and/or al Qaeda), but for issue advocacy, I’d think that might not be true.

  5. Sue said on December 17, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Did anyone watch Daily Show last night? If you didn’t, please go to the website and click on two segments: ‘First Responders’ and ‘9/11 First Responders React to Senate Filibuster’
    Jon Stewart is now elevated to National Treasure, in my opinion.

  6. Connie said on December 17, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Peter, my understanding is that the under 30 degrees thing applies only to the concession areas, and they have already brought in heaters. The real question is: Will there be beer? I enjoyed the story of hundreds of volunteers coming out to help shovel the field.

  7. Bob (not Greene) said on December 17, 2010 at 11:34 am

    The “let’s kill all the [enter your choice here]” sounds all very Tea Party to me. Here’s what one lawyer had to say in response to the common misuse of Shakespeare’s quote:

    “The accolade is spoken by Dick the Butcher, a follower of anarchist Jack Cade, whom Shakespeare depicts as ‘the head of an army of rabble and a demagogue pandering to the ignorant,’ who sought to overthrow the government. Shakespeare’s acknowledgment that the first thing any potential tyrant must do to eliminate freedom is to ‘kill all the lawyers’ is, indeed, a classic and well-deserved compliment to our distinguished profession.”

    As I said, very Tea Party. Here’s the guy’s whole essay if anyone cares.

    http://www.howardnations.com/shakespeare.html

  8. Joe Kobiela said on December 17, 2010 at 11:35 am

    According to the Chi Tibune, NO ALCHOL will be allowed. I think they could tarp the field and blow warm air under it to thaw by Monday night.
    Pilot Joe

  9. adrianne said on December 17, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Sue, God bless Jon Stewart for calling out the GOP hypocrites on their failure to pass the 9/11 health bill for first responders.

    And…rut roh, Kwame, the feds have “gone RICO on your ass,” as Talking Points Memo put it today. Federal corruption indictment against the D’s former mayor. And the feds don’t mess around!

  10. Sue said on December 17, 2010 at 11:40 am

    And, adrianne, God bless him for pointing out very forcefully how badly news organizations have dropped the ball on this.

  11. ROgirl said on December 17, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Kwame? Corrupt? OMFG!!! It’s been going on since he was in the state legislature. He won’t be getting out of prison for a long, long time.

  12. beb said on December 17, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    When Shakespeare writes about killing all the lawyers it was, IIRC, a part of a plot to usurp the throne of England. Obviously with all the lawyers dead, who would be able to claim that the act was illegal.

    Sue, I agree. What Stewart said was that it was a travesty that the Republicans killed this bill AND that the national media did not say one word about it.

    And the Republicans killed the omnibus spending billing after spending a year dictating to the Democrats what they wanted in it. Republicans have gone beyond beyond shame and hypocrisy to outright treason. They have done everything in their power to prevent our government from working.

    Kwame Kilpatrick is the son of a career politician, a point well wirh considering any time the son or daughter of a politician runs for office. These people grew up under extraordinary privilege. What looks normal to them is not how we see things.

  13. MichaelG said on December 17, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Denise from yesterday’s comments, are you referring to Roseville, CA?

    That lady suing McDonald’s is here in Sacto and the story got quite a bit of play here. She’s claiming that her kids aren’t sophisticated enough to discriminate between programming and advertising and that McDonald’s . . . I don’t know what. I hope she doesn’t mind being a laughingstock.

  14. Kath said on December 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    TCF stadium has been used in temperatures this low before. My brother went to the last home game of the season this year (Nov. 27) and it was in the teens, which is what they expect for Monday. The field is not heated though, so hitting the ground will be unpleasant.

  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    It’s a college campus where the stadium sits, and as we all know, there is no alcohol on college campuses.

    They probably have to argue a certain painful consistency if they’ve recently cracked down on college game day tailgaters, as many schools have.

  16. Dorothy said on December 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Hey y’all – this morning we had our appointment with the doctor to find out the results of the biopsies. She found no cancer! This does not mean there is none – when they do the surgery and do the pathology on what they remove there’s a possibility that they could find some. The cells they found in the tumor are “high-grade dysplasia” cells, which is the stage they would be in before they turn cancerous. The surgery will be on January 5th.

    Now I feel like I can breathe again.

  17. brian stouder said on December 17, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Dorothy – SUPERB!

  18. Sue said on December 17, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Oh, excellent Dorothy. What a way to start the weekend.

  19. Deborah said on December 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Good news Dorothy! Take deep, deep breaths.

  20. nancy said on December 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Thrilling news, Dorothy. Just great.

  21. Bitter Scribe said on December 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Wasn’t “government takeover” a phrase that Fox News anchorcreatures were mandated to use by one of those Politburo-type memos from management?

    And Nancy, CSPI may be shrill, but they’re no PETA. They’re serious people and they do good work.

  22. 4dbirds said on December 17, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Good news indeed Dorothy.

  23. Bitter Scribe said on December 17, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Oh, and second Sue on last night’s TDS. My fave moment: When Stewart showed a clip of some jerk Republican senator bitching about working on Christmas, and an FDNY guy responded that firefighters do that all the time and never consider it sacrilegious. He brought the house down.

  24. Rana said on December 17, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Whew. Glad to hear the good news, Dorothy.

  25. mark said on December 17, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Great news, dorothy

  26. Julie Robinson said on December 17, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    A special Christmas blessing, Dorothy! We’ll continue to pray for more good news post-surgery.

  27. coozledad said on December 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Glad to hear it, Dorothy. And in time for the holidays!

  28. ROgirl said on December 17, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Good news, Dorothy.

    This is one smart kitty.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFPu1QYEk30

  29. Jeff Borden said on December 17, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I hope my graduate degree in education helps me find more work because I intend to donate as much money as possible to defeat Republicans. All Republicans. As a political party, it is as vicious, as ugly, as mean-spirited and, quite honestly, as stupid a group of individuals as has ever sullied public life. I don’t use the word hate lightly, but I truly do hate the GOP and its lotion boys in the conservative media. I wish them nothing but woe and ill in large, generous measures.

    They laugh in the faces of firefighters, police officers and average citizens who in good faith worked at Ground Zero –and let’s remember the Bush EPA announced the conditions around the smoking wreckage was A-OK– while servicing a few thousand ultra-wealthy individuals who need a tax break like I need another bald spot.

    This isn’t a political party or movement. It’s a gang of droogs, looking for someone else to fuck over, whether it’s women, gays, immigrants, intellectuals, the poor and the middle-class, kids, artists, whatever.

  30. Colleen said on December 17, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    So glad for your good news, Dorothy!

  31. basset said on December 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Dorothy, that’s wonderful!

  32. 4dbirds said on December 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I agree Jeff B. but how do they keep winning? I’m pretty sure people like Joe K. (who seems a nice and decent guy) will continue to pull the lever for them.

  33. moe99 said on December 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Oh, Dorothy, I am so happy to hear that!

    And thank you Bob, not Greene for the rousing defense of lawyers. We’re not all like that.

  34. Sue said on December 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Jeff Borden – Stewart was careful to ask the First Responders to explain why they were lacking the help they needed if they had insurance. The responders explained that insurance was calling it a workers comp issue and workers comp was requiring proof that the illnesses were work-related, the most graphic example given was a first responder who literally lost his nose as it was eaten away but could not prove it was because of the toxins he was exposed to over the time he was working onsite.
    What no one mentioned last night is that the mindset of the current and coming congress is fixed on the belief that things like workers comp (and unemployment insurance and medicare and medicaid and everything else) are either entitlements or luxuries we can’t afford, or both. These responders are lucky that there’s any health and safety laws in place for workers at all.
    From the NY Daily News, last May:
    “Calling the Sept. 11 Health and Compensation Act a new “entitlement program” like Medicare, GOP members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee argued the nation already has too much that it must pay for. They said obligating the feds for lifetime care of tens of thousands of 9/11 responders was too much of a burden.”
    Like I said, Jon Stewart is a treasure.

  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 17, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Dorothy, huzzah and hallelujah — and continued good cheer!

  36. deb said on December 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    dorothy, wonderful news! so happy for you.

    nance, thanks for the shout-out for politifact. at my husband’s paper, he’s on the committee that decides what truth-o-meter ranking to give to the statements the reporters investigate. (a small vicarious thrill for me.) and i love it that the worst ranking, reserved for only the most egregious baldfaced lies, is “pants on fire.”

  37. Jeff Borden said on December 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    4dbirds,

    An interesting question that can only be answered by arguing the GOP is adept at getting people to vote against their own self-interest.

    Sometimes, they can accomplish this by addressing the single-issue voters. Rabid pro-lifers might be living in a cardboard box, but by god, they’ll never vote for a pro-choice Democrat. Remember how Karl Rove energized the base in 2004 with anti-gay marriage rhetoric that helped turn out the base? It was a silly issue, but the hordes of dumbasses who hate homos fell for it and voted Republican.

    Other times the GOP seems to play to the idea that we’re all potentially wealthy folks and, by cracky, when we are rich, we won’t want those high taxes. And they’re champions at playing to class and racial resentments. You may not have much, my friend, but you don’t want to share it with those people, do you? Those black folks, those brown folks, those immigrants, etc.

    I have no illusions about the purity of lefties. We’ve made plenty of egregious errors over the years –creating vast tracts of public housing that became incubators of poverty, crime and hopelessness springs to mind– but more often than not they have been intended to help.

    Most cynically, perhaps, conservatives have managed to equate real and pertinent questions about the direction of our country into criticism of American exceptionalism. If you raise questions about why we maintain our far-flung military and naval bases, you are mocked as being unpatriotic. If you question the absurdities of our health care system, you are told we are home to the best health care in the world, which is a crock of shit. If you demand clean water and foodstuffs, you are standing in the way of capitalism.

    It’s a sad, sick stew. The GOP and conservatism are on the wrong side of the demographic equation, but sweet Jesus, they can sure fuck things up for awhile until they shrink into their much deserved status as a fringe minority group.

  38. prospero said on December 17, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Treatment of the WTC first responders is a shameful echo of the negligent treatment of American service members exposed to Agent Orange by GOP chickenhawks, basically stonewalled ’em to death. It’s not surprising that a bunch of yahoo politicians that considered SCHIP extensions some sort of Commoniss plot, like OSHA or bike lanes, would vote down benefits for the first responders, it’s just a nauseating level of hypocrisy when many of them could not get a sentence out without including a reference to 9/11 during the last three campaign cycles.

    Happy news, Dorothy. Thanking God here. Aded y’all to a Mass card when I sent money to my old HS in Detroit, so continued prayers on the way. from a bunch of Jesuits and several hundred students.

  39. beb said on December 17, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    MichaelG at 13. Denice was referring to Roseville, MI, not CA.

  40. moe99 said on December 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Another note about drinking alcohol in cold weather. My dad did a 2 year residency at the Mayo Clinic in anesthesia when I was a senior in high school and a freshman in college. I remember one of his stories had to do with snowmobile riders who put their flasks in the back pockets of their snow suits then would take them out for a big ol’ swig in the midst of nowhere after riding for an hour or two. Alcohol can go much lower than the freezing temp for water, and what they did was they froze the inside of their throats. Very dangerous stuff to hear my dad tell it.

  41. Jolene said on December 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    . . . how do they keep winning?

    Answered in Nancy’s post: They lie, their main news source lies, and most people are oblivious to anything but the sound bite version of reality.

    I don’t like to be contemptuous of my fellow citizens and, really, I’m not, but we have poll after poll that tells us that people don’t know how many justices there are on the Supreme Court, what the name of the vice president is, or where to find Iraq on a map. Why should we be surprised if large portions of the population don’t understand the implications of a fee-for-service healthcare system?

  42. LAMary said on December 17, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Great news, Dorothy. It’s like you get two Christmases.

  43. jcburns said on December 17, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Good news indeed Dorothy. Hello to all from 32,300 ft high over Jasper, Alabama, thanks to Google’s ad supported big free wifi on many flights this holiday season. Evil? Naah, not at this exact moment.

  44. MichaelG said on December 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    That’s terrific, Dorothy. Just terrific. I’m so pleased.

    The Roseville question was because we used to foster kittens and volunteer at the adoption center at the Roseville, CA Pet (co or smart, now I can’t remember which it was).

  45. Jolene said on December 17, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Forgot to add . . . yes, good news, indeed, Dorothy. Am happy to hear it.

  46. Dexter said on December 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    CSPI has been the loudest voice for consumer protection from food ingredients for many years. I supported them financially for many years, reading the monthly newsletter all those years. I know, a lot of people don’t want to hear about theater popcorn, meat, salt, and additives, but Michael Jacobson also makes sure to evaluate multivitamins and food supplements, also. Recently, the online newsletter had a story on salt.
    I remember seeing Michael Jacobson on TV in 1979 or 1980, and immediately subscribed to his newsletter.
    https://www.cspinet.org/salt/

  47. Denice said on December 17, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    We were cruising the Grosse Pointes tonight. Nancy, Why was that searchlight in front of your house???? I assumed it was your house, since you are a bright light in the darkness.

  48. Dexter said on December 18, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Dorothy, you dodged the same type bullet my wife did. This is really a good day. Best wishes on the 5th…but until then just enjoy your holidays.
    It’s really pretentious to tell someone “I just know this will work out fine, everything will work out for you.” Common sense tells us that is a pretty empty promise to tell someone in trouble, but an old guy , 86 years old, told me that a long time ago when I was sort of twisting in the wind awaiting answers; I was envisioning a horrible outcome to my situation, but the old man’s comforting statement allowed me to keep on with my daily routines, and in the end, it turned out it was all in my head, I was worrying too much, and everything turned out just fine and got much better than it had been, by a great deal.
    I don’t have the power that the old man had, to foresee my future and tell me he knew it was going to be just fine, but I FEEL it for you, that being that everything is going to be just fine.
    This is very personal, but I communicate with a friend in New York City who suffers from leukemia and is frequently in a hospital undergoing treatments, and he is great at cheering people up, even as he has drips going into his body. He says my words of encouragement really help him get through another day. My cousin died of leukemia in June, so if my words of hope and cheer keep my friend smiling even for ten seconds on a bad day, I’ll keep it up.

  49. brian stouder said on December 18, 2010 at 9:15 am

    JC – very cool! Was it a clear night with lots of twinkling lights, or were you above clouds?

    Jolene at 41 – you spoke truth when you said I don’t like to be contemptuous of my fellow citizens and, really, I’m not, but we have poll after poll that tells us that people don’t know how many justices there are on the Supreme Court, what the name of the vice president is, or where to find Iraq on a map.

    Add to the list people (like me) who read or hear the news, and don’t always think, or think clearly, about what they read or heard.

    I think you won the last thread, when you made an astoundingly important observation about a news article which I posted; and the thing you pointed to – which was in plain sight in the article – had completely eluded me!

    In the article about my spanking-new, tea-partying Member of Congress, the thing that drew pretty much ALL of my attention was his ridiculous excuse and reaction for missing his FIRST congressional vote (he left his Blackberry off, and he said “My bad”. The vote he missed was the Dream Act, which he would have voted against, as his fervent tea-party backers would avidly insist. Plus, Ollie North’s name came up).

    But, as Jolene immediately saw, the key to the story was that our new Member of Congress was attending a fundraiser keynoted by Ollie North.

    A fundraiser!!

    The guy (our new Member of Congress) literally had not even cast his first vote yet; in fact he forsook his very first vote, in favor of something that was more important to him – which was a fundraiser.

    That’s the Big Problem That Has No Easy Answer right now – the effect of cubic money and deep-pocketed lobbies – in our politics; and I’m part of that problem. I looked right at it, and didn’t even see it.

    When cubic money is well spent by this or that huge lobby, the effect is the same as a black hole; it exerts gravity without readily revealing its own existence.

    People like me look at all the odd and bizarre effects, and don’t readily see the source.

    But people like Jolene did, and do.

  50. Deborah said on December 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Brian, living under the rock that I do I’ve never heard the term “cubic money” before. I googled it and didn’t find much. I think I know what it means ($ to the third power, in other words boatloads of it) but could you elaborate on what it means?

  51. Jolene said on December 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks for the compliments, Brian, but I owe that particular insight entirely to the Washington Post, which has published at least a couple of articles about the rush to K Street as a means of retiring campaign debt, focusing particularly on newly elected tea party peeps, who won election by touting their independence from the evils of Washington.

    No one can blame these people for wanting to pay off campaign debt, especially House members as they must run again in two years, which, by modern campaign standards, might as well be tomorrow. What’s unfortunate–beyond unfortunate, horrible–is that it’s corporate lobbyists who have the money to help new lawmakers get rid of debt and enable them to begin collecting the resources they need to launch the next campaign.

    Paraphrasing the Fallows reader I quoted, the National Association of Social Workers can’t get the kind of access–anywhere–that the American Petroleum Institute gets on any given Tuesday. Hence, our policies on taxation, energy production and consumption, trade, transportation, and probably other things that haven’t occurred to me at the moment.

    In the end, I am only saying again what has been said many times in many ways. The struggle of the powerless against the powerful underlies much of human history, and, as the great Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

    The powerful forces of the hour are not, of course, slaveowners in the antebellum South, but corporations whose primary interest is maximizing profit rather than human welfare. Our job is to raise over and over again the concerns of people who champion unpopular causes with limited resources. Every once in a while, there’s a small victory. To wit, the possibility of a filibuster against DADT was just defeated in the Senate, with votes from six Republicans joining the Dem majority. So, by Monday, DADT will be a thing of the past.

    That’s not going to do much to undermine the power of corporate lobbyists, but it’s something.

  52. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 18, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I visualized stacks ‘n stacks o’ cash, which I assume is the image intended. Like it, might use it!

    Love the Frederick Douglass quote. His house is an undervisited site in the DC area. Worth a trip of twenty minutes off the Mall and Monument Row.

  53. DellaDash said on December 18, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Well put, Jolene. Respect due.

  54. Snarkworth said on December 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Preach it, Jolene!

  55. crinoidgirl said on December 18, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you, Jolene.

  56. Deborah said on December 18, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    DADT repeal about to pass (I hope).

  57. prospero said on December 18, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Etymologically, “cubic money” seems likely to me to be a coinage derived from the palette-loaded cash shipments that actually were the chief aspect of Bush’s Iraq surge. Hundreds of millions that purchased the Sunni Awakening. Easily moved into holds of Globemasters with forklifts. The Sam’s Club packaging also made it easier for Blackwater and Halliburton to just load up and abscond. Pretty much like DC lobbying, come to think of it.

  58. Lorne Marr said on December 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Apparently the purpose of all these crazy statements is to destroy McDonald’s reputation since the company is the best target for criticism as far as unhealthy eating habits are concerned.

  59. prospero said on December 18, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Fine Christmas smackdown of two whited sepulchers. WWJD about DADT, the DREAM Act and new START. If you have to ask, Sen. Demented, how do you claim to be a supporter of Christian values?

    Shut it down, that worked well last time, right. Rand Paul can get by without his Social Security check for a few weeks., thank goodness. There will be some seriously unhappy teabaggers.

    Repeal roundup: move along to DREAM and START now you lazy bunch of goldbrickers.

  60. brian stouder said on December 18, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Well, we were at the Stouder Christmas today; a very nice gathering wherein we rent the room at the firehouse near Homestead high school (eases holiday house cleaning stress immensely, plus takes the TV out of the equation). Pam has nice pics on her Facebook page of the assembled rabble.

    Anyway, re: cubic money

    I can’t claim coinage (so to speak) of that term. If you follow any sort of racing (Formula One is my choice) for any length of time, that term will present itself. I believe it is a retort or twist on an old racing saying that ‘you can’t beat cubic inches’ (think engine displacement), wherein cubic money IS a way to beat cubic inches.

    (that, and the great old saying that the way to make a small fortune in auto racing is to START with a LARGE one!)

  61. MichaelG said on December 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I don’t know about “cubic money” but “cubic bucks” is an old, old phrase that I’ve used and heard for decades. Maybe it’s a West Coast thing.

  62. paddyo' said on December 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Speaking of Frederick Douglass house, JeffTMMO, this ran in the Wash Post a week ago. Time timing, and hopeful . . . “the Lion of Anacostia,” indeed.

  63. Jolene said on December 19, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks for pointing out the story re the baby orators, paddyo’. Maybe I’ll check out the contest next year.

  64. moe99 said on December 19, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    The Secession Ball is tomorrow night in Charleston. Tickets are $100 per.

    http://www.thesunnews.com/2010/12/19/1876942/our-freedom-rooted-in-bondage.html

    http://www.southernstudies.org/2010/12/the-secession-balls-revisionist-history.html

  65. brian stouder said on December 19, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Moe – the Sun News article was very good, and the comments after the article were mostly astonishing and depressing.

  66. coozledad said on December 19, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Moe: I used to visit this house (the Pet Burwell mansion) and photograph it when it was in a kind of gorgeous decay. The fact it was constructed prior to the Civil War gave it a mystique to a subset of North Raleigh types. Now you can have an ante War of Northern Aggression wedding there. They actually refer to the Civil War that way.
    White. Trash.
    http://www.magnoliamanorbnb.com/

  67. Jolene said on December 19, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Right you are, cooz. From the site at your link:

    This historic Warren County gem fell into disrepair following the War of Northern Aggression and has been respectfully rehabilitated to its original grandeur.

    I didn’t see any mention of slave quarters as part of the original grandeur. Just an oversight, I’m sure.

    Really, I don’t know if I can stand the idea of five years of “commemorations”, especially living here in Ol’ Virginny. I may have to move to some part of the country where there are no streets named after Jefferson Davis.

  68. coozledad said on December 19, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Jolene:It made a beautiful ruin. I suspect the only reason it survived is the postwar generation of louche bankers. They shored it up hoping for the economic situation we enjoy today.The place actually enjoyed its heyday postwar, when they built a lumbermill and razed the place of every scrap of timber.
    I got pictures!
    And I’ll bet my ass there wasn’t a soul in the south who believed it was a War of Northern Agression until the poor white trash who fought it, and survived, were let down into their graves. Now it’s any Amway fucker’s interpretation.
    Following the war, they billed it as a kind of Baden on the Roanoke, where the sulfur water could cure your pellagra.

  69. prospero said on December 20, 2010 at 2:38 am

    Gekkos meet the Fokkers about 60 Leagues Under the
    Sea? What is under the Sea? How does Robert KeNiro engage with a movie that has Fokkers in the title? Antiseptic soap please.How is any critic supposed to mock Kevin Costner after. If Pwtwr Caine will take any role for the cash, then just shut the hell up. Sometimes it’s gold, like Secondhand Lions, which is so good it’s ridiculous, and was panne by Manhola Dargiss.

    Cooz, no smarm intended, but define louche. I know what I think it means, and that kind of Brit characterized by second friend, p;ayed by Hugh Grant, in some seedy production of a second-rate Evelyn Waugh novel, the semi-handsome Brit reaching for another free champers, decent suit, ash too long, off a passing tray, can you actually be louche if you aren’t Leslie Howard or Michael Caine? i.e. Michael Caine as Alfiewould suit me fine, because I like the word and I think the movie is almost as good as Bladerunner, good as you can get. Peachy Carnehan conning Christopher Plummer in The Man Who Would Be King. Is that louche? It’s a great word in search of a definition, Like meq. It must be Fronsh, but what does it mean exactly? Back in the fall of ’69 I think all of us were trying for louche when we fooled with Zippos and cuodory Levis. Never got it right, I don;t suppose. Living with cattle and fowl probably doesn’t get it either, unless you roll your own with one hand,

  70. prospero said on December 20, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Louche=Jean paul belmondo in a two-button sharkskin suit with almost burnt-down Gaulloise between two long stained fingers, but its still hard to define, Great word, but please define. Oscar Wilde? Close, but not a definition, Laissez faire and debauched? I;m not trying to be an asshole, but what exactly does it mean? You don’t deploy words willy-nilly, and I know what you mean, but please define this word. Louche.

  71. prospero said on December 20, 2010 at 3:29 am

    Sleazy and don’t give a shit if it’s obvious. That would be W. Unaware just how sleazy and creepy you are? That would be W too, No joke. Y’all are smart. Definition of louche please. I know, a photograph of Cristopher Hitchens drinking with Martin Amis is a perfect definition, but that;s talking about “”know it when I see it”. Cheney shooting dead ducks with Scalia is revolting, but those assholes couldn’t be louche if somebody held a gun to their pointy heads, To some extent, you must be cool to be louche.

    No joke, I love this word, and I’ve never seen it defined. C’mon y’all. It has to do with with cynicismm, and debauchery and slovenliness in its face. Being a know-it-all and knowing everything is rien (another great Fronsh term).

  72. moe99 said on December 20, 2010 at 3:58 am

    Louche is from the French word for squinting.

    Here are some definitions that include more than you thought:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:louche&sa=X&ei=WRoPTZ-6HpG-sAOi0s2cCg&sqi=2&ved=0CBMQkAE

  73. DellaDash said on December 20, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Love the Louche riff, from Cooz to moe. Prospero, you’ve won me over.

  74. brian stouder said on December 20, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Della, agreed. Prospero has his moments (as we all do), and he always comes through in the last reel (like in any Capra movie; or the Boris Karloff-voiced Grinch in that wonderful Christmas cartoon)

  75. prospero said on December 20, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I believe all French directors are, by definition, or they just define, louche. Jean Luc-Godard. I, myself aspire to louche, that’s why I’d like to see it defined. Por Americain, I’d guess it’s Chevy Chase, in Foul Play, a wonderful movie, much under-appreciated, Hitchcockian, and Goldie Hawn rules. Or Bill Murray in any Ghostbusters. Dudley Moore in perpetuity, or, the opposite of Peter Cooke. I’d guess you have to be half-loaded to pull it off, but you also have to stay on you’re feet, unlike Dudley Moore in the movie aforementioned. You must remain Le Mec, which is always followed by de something, in Fronsh slang and is freighted, as they say. As in “Le Mec de Dom Perignon”. Lord knows who “they” are.

    Brian, I knew Boris Karloff was the voice in “Mr. Grinch” but I also always thought of Ho Ho Herschel Bernardi when I heard the Grinch song. Because of the the Jolly Green Giant.

    The amorous traverses of the actual Jolly Green Giant used to be legend in Detroit. Footprints from one statue to another. And Mayonnaise. Spirit of Detroit and the ballerina.