The bad penny.

Of all the things we can worry about today, I’m choosing this: What is Baby Doc doing back in Port au Prince?

I admit to a small interest in the former Haitian dictator. I was a Vanity Fair subscriber in the mid-80s, when Jean-Claude Duvalier and his wife, the scarily beautiful Michéle, ruled over the island with a sort of heedless hauteur and corruption, and the magazine published several long articles about their last days, which I always thought sort of clever of the editors — you had a story that was legitimately important in terms of world affairs, but with all sorts of gossipy details about the people involved. This is from Michéle’s Wikipedia entry and the usual cautions apply, but it’s of a piece with much of the reporting of the time:

Mrs. Duvalier’s family amassed wealth at an unprecedented rate during the later part of Jean Claude’s dictatorship. By the end of his fifteen-year rule, Duvalier and his wife had become famous for their corruption. The National Palace became the scene of opulent costume parties, where the young President once appeared dressed as a Turkish sultan to dole out ten-thousand-dollar jewels as door prizes, while the homeless were encouraged to watch the festivities on televisions that had been set up in the parks where they slept.

Alas, the Duvaliers have since divorced, and any entertainment in Baby Doc, the Sequel will have to be provided by someone else.

I recall, during the expulsion of the Duvaliers in 1986, an audio clip on NPR of the howling crowds outside the presidential residence. One shrieked that Michéle was a layz-byan and a voodoo priestess. Wouldn’t surprise me. It would certainly beat sex with Baby Doc, one of those unfortunate disappointing sons inevitably described as “pudgy.”

And that has been your Inane Ruminations on Deposed Dictators for Tuesday, brought to you by Masterpiece Classic, now showing “Downton Abbey” on a PBS station near you. Check local listings.

I hate the beginning of the week. Monday is insane, Tuesday is mostly insane. It’s not until Wednesday that I can finally relax, get a workout in and maybe do a little writing for myself. So let’s skip to a brief bit of bloggage today. Drumroll for the..

Born this way blog. Just outstanding.

Other heart-transplant candidates join a long waiting list. Dick Cheney merely decides whether he wants one. Then he sends out for a young man to be freshly slaughtered. Civilized by popular demand: Then he consults his doctors to see if he might be a candidate for such a procedure, and joins a list to wait weeks, months or longer for a donor heart, all the while promoting awareness of the organ shortage and encouraging others to discuss the option with their loved ones, and sign the back of their driver’s licenses to indicate their willingness to donate, should the occasion arise. And all of his friends get together and hold a spaghetti dinner and silent auction at the VFW*, raising $800 toward the roughly $787,700 procedure.

* Venue suggested by Sue.

Now, commence chattering about the goings-on at Downton Abbey. I have some copy to move.

Posted at 10:15 am in Same ol' same ol' |

62 responses to “The bad penny.”

  1. coozledad said on January 18, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the presence of Franklin Graham and his goldiggers are a big factor in his return. These Righty shamans always cultivate some local criminal to spearhead their quest for cash. I’m baffled as to what they think Haiti has that they can exploit a la Charles Taylor, Pat Robertson and the diamond trade. Who knows? Maybe Haiti offers a number of safe harbors for coke subs.

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  2. Sue said on January 18, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Downton Abbey: I know it’s kind of soapy but I’m enjoying it. I want to see if Thomas and the lady’s maid get their comeuppance (there I go, talking all British again).
    Cheney’s heart: the comments were great, from “he has one?” to “how are they going to find one three sizes too small?”. This being Murka, and not some commie state where the dacha-owning folks who are more equal than others get preferential treatment, I’m sure he’ll just get in line with everyone else. The only thing he won’t have to do is hold a benefit at the VFW to try to raise money for medical expenses.

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  3. Peter said on January 18, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Well Nance, when I saw that NYT article on Sunday I thought that it’s official – Haiti has hit rock bottom, lower then Bangladesh, even lower than Wasilla.

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  4. Joe Kobiela said on January 18, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Come on nancy, thats a pretty cheap shot at Cheney. You know as well as I that you dont just decided to go get a heart transplant when ever you feel like it. After he decides to go ahead and have a transplant, he will be put on a list just like everyone else and have to wait for a match. You know this is the stuff that Obama was talking about in his speach. When are we going to cut out the snipping at each other? The left comes out after the shooting in Arizona all worked up about Palin and the targets on a map, yet Wanda Sikes can tell people she hopes Rush gets a kidney disease and every one including the president laughes. How is that different? Clinton had a “war room” On Orielly last night he showed a democratic map with bullseyes on them targeting Republican canadates. I guess what I’m trying to say is BOTH sides are guilty! Agreed?
    Pilot Joe

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  5. LAMary said on January 18, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Dick, I vote no. Leave the available donor hearts to younger folks with in my judgement, better reasons to get one. You’ve got your battery thingie that lets you wander a bit and have no pulse. You can creep out your grand kids(check grampy’s pulse…hah! I don’t have one! Pull my finger…)

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  6. nancy said on January 18, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Granted, a cheap shot at Cheney. Better than ONE IN THE FACE, however.

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  7. 4dbirds said on January 18, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Ignoring Joe, I love Downton Abbey. Hubbie is rolling his eyes at another period piece with English accents taking over his Sunday evenings.

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  8. coozledad said on January 18, 2011 at 11:20 am

    That’s it! Franklin Graham and Baby Doc are in Haiti to harvest organs. If anyone can find Cheney a heart, it’s the Tonton Macoutes.

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  9. Mark P. said on January 18, 2011 at 11:20 am

    The old saying is that if you can’t say something nice about someone, then don’t say anything at all. So I’m not saying anything about Cheney. I’m not going to say anything about Iraq II, or billions lost, or thousands of Americans dead, or tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, or Halliburton, or corruption. Nothing. Not one word. Count me among the kinder, gentler crowd.

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  10. Bitter Scribe said on January 18, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Graham Greene’s “The Comedians” is one of my favorite novels. Set in the Haiti of Papa Doc’s day, it delineates the brutality and horror of that regime in a unique way. It also is one of the very few Greene novels with sympathetic American characters. (Of course, they talk like Englishmen, but you can’t have everything.)

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  11. Sue said on January 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    With all due respect, Joe, you don’t just get put on a list to wait your turn. There are many variables and money is one of them. If it were just a case of getting on the list and waiting your turn, those people on Medicaid in Arizona who were removed from the list because of budget cuts would still have some hope, instead of facing death with no options.
    Try finding a job with insurance after becoming too ill to work.
    The bottom line is that an elderly man made a public statement which seemed to strongly presume access to a rare commodity on demand. Perhaps it’s only his usual center of the universe attitude, I don’t know. I do have trouble giving him the benefit of the doubt, I admit that.

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  12. Dave said on January 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    When I saw that Baby Doc returned to Haiti, I immediately thought he must have gone through all the money he stole. Now he’s back for more. Ought to send him quail hunting with Dick Chaney.

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  13. nancy said on January 18, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I have civilized the offending passage for the sensitive. My deepest apologies. (Yes, I have signed my donor card. It says “any needed parts.”)

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  14. 4dbirds said on January 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Thank you Sue, I think you summed up what bothered me most about Cheney’s statement. He just assumes he can get a transplant as easily as picking up a bunch of bananas at the supermarket.

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  15. Heather said on January 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Downton Abbey is great. I’ve also seen the rebooted version of Upstairs, Downstairs and enjoyed it as well. I will watch anything that features the great dames of British theatah.

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  16. nancy said on January 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I recall Dave Barry’s year in review story from 1986, and he mentions the Duvaliers complaining that the US-provided jet they escaped Haiti in “lacked sufficient overhead storage for all the cash they were carrying.”

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  17. Sue said on January 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Nancy, did you… did you kind of steal my VFW line? Because if you did I will feel like I just got lady-knighted by the Queen.
    Let me know if you did so I can commence preening.

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  18. Rana said on January 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    We are loving Downton Abbey here as well. Last Sunday’s episode was a bit startling, however. We were both expecting a steady stream of small dramas raised and resolved against the backdrop of “what happens to the estate” – we were not expecting something like that.

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  19. nancy said on January 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Yes, I stole your line and will add an acknowledgement. (Civility is hard!) I would have said “Elks hall,” but thought that would be derivative.

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  20. Sue said on January 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    **preen, preen**

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  21. Bitter Scribe said on January 18, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Update: Duvalier just got arrested. This should be interesting. It certainly makes Nancy’s question even harder to answer.

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  22. Dorothy said on January 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    You all have ensured that I’ll be in charge of the television viewing tonight. We have company with us for a week and we could not watch Downton Abbey on Sunday due to a preference for watching the Golden Globes. There will be enforced viewing of DA tonight if I have anything to say about it!

    By the by, we found out last week that Mike did indeed have stage 2 colon cancer, but it’s all removed. He sees an oncologist next week who will presumably say what the surgeon said: no need for chemotherapy at this time. He’s feeling better every day and will go back to work next week half time (four-hour days).

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  23. LAMary said on January 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    From that same Vanity Fair story I recall Michelle Duvalier and her buds calling Baby Doc “Baskethead” behind his back.

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  24. LAMary said on January 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Dick Cheney couldn’t be a member of the VFW. He’s not a V. He had other priorities.

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  25. 4dbirds said on January 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Wonderful news Dorothy. I too hope there is no need for chemo.

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  26. Bob (not Greene) said on January 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Scribe, I’m still unsure whether he’s actually been arrested or if they’re simply escorting him to his new desk. I love how news reports refer to people they have interviewed who are “nostalgic” about the old days. Those day were, presumably, when they could live on the streets without fear of danger.

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  27. jcburns said on January 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Pilot Joe. Not agreed. The Republican leadership has taken the terminology of guns and warfare to new extreme levels and we have to call them out on it. I’m calling them out on it.

    I’m ready to applaud ANYONE on the Republican side who says “we went too far, tone it back, take a breath,” without the childish “well the Democrats are as bad as we are.” Even Roger Ailes.

    But nope. The Republican leadership took this to stratospheric heights and that’s very very very different from what the Democratic side has done. I’m not saying that this rhetorical excess “caused” anything, but it does exist, it’s on the record, they should stand behind their overinflated words or APOLOGIZE and ROLL THEM BACK.

    Phew. Almost up to Prospero-level passion, at least for me, there.

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  28. Sue said on January 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Congrats, Dorothy. Very good news.
    After the first episode of DA, I borrowed the “Manor House” dvd from the library and have been watching it in dibs and dabs as I can get the TV. It’s interesting but in the end it’s still a reality show, darn it, with emphasis on conflicts and no real explanation about why the conflicts are even allowed. I mean, did they cast people in roles without giving them information about how ridiculously hard the work would be, and then encourage them to have tantrums? The scullery maids didn’t know they would be first up and working their butts off?
    Not enough interesting things that actually spoke to the times (like the lady of the house trying to arrange a seating chart that won’t destroy her husband’s social standing) were interspersed with way too much manufactured conflict (shouting matches in the kitchen among workers who would never, ever have been allowed to get away with it).

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  29. nancy said on January 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Is “Manor House” one of those PBS reality shows? I saw “Frontier House” and whatever the turn-of-the-century house show was called. They were pretty good, but the first was spoiled by the casting of a family of Malibu twits, who actually cheated and smuggled a box-spring mattress into their house. The turn-of-the-century house was better; I recall the women sneaking out to the drugstore to buy shampoo and modern sanitary products. Our rose-colored glasses tend to forget those parts of the good ol’ days.

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  30. Sue said on January 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Yes, I think the US versions took the British idea, if I remember correctly.
    Was ‘Frontier House’ the one where there was more than one family? I remember watching a wilderness reality show and thinking if I wanted to watch neighbors fighting I could just go to my office (part of my job involves handling complaints and no one is more creative in trying to get someone in trouble than a neighbor).

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  31. Sue said on January 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    And actually, I’m more interested in the non-rose-colored glasses view, which probably explains why I know more than I should about the downside of the good old days. I think it might be because I’m the kind of person who knows that in life lottery I wouldn’t be the lady of the manor, I’d be the scullery maid.

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  32. coozledad said on January 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I’ve got an idea for a reality show that involves temporarily releasing a few people from a secure facility for the criminally insane and locating them next door to my old neighbors.

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  33. Kim said on January 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    My first thought on Dick’s possible need: Do you give an old man a new heart? Then I realized he’s not really that old – he’ll be 70 in a couple of weeks. My second thought: Do you think Dick would accept the heart of a homosexual? Or a liberal? Or both?

    Dorothy, that’s some really good bad news. I hope your man is on the mend quickly and back to normal and can carry the banner of early detection for many years to come.

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  34. Rana said on January 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Good to hear the good news, Dorothy.

    Manor House had its problems, but I enjoyed 1900s House, and whatever the one set in colonial Maine was called. This week someone posted a question in a steampunk forum I visit about what it is about the “Victorian era” that appeals to folks, and it’s been interesting seeing the replies. It’s a mixture of liking the material culture – clothing, gadgets, furniture – and appreciating the spirit of the times. I’ve been playing the role of observer only, simply because the period is within my professional purview and I don’t want to pop too many bubbles. Still, I do get the appeal of the various “houses” – I always think that I’d do well, given my experience with camping, history, and the “homely arts.” Of course, I’d have to live with pampered folks who freak out because there’s no electricity, but oh well.

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  35. Mark P. said on January 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Kim, 70 is not old (viewed from not that great a distance), but age is a criterion for receiving a heart transplant. One hospital says that one possible criterion for exclusion is an age greater than 65. The Medical University of S.C. excludes people 70 and older. One article I found said that the recommended upper age limit had been increased from 65 to 70 about five years ago by the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. Based on this very limited research, it seems that Cheney would not ordinarily be considered a candidate for a heart transplant.

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  36. Julie Robinson said on January 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Count me in as a sucker for Downton Abbey which is wonderful even before Maggie Smith comes onscreen. Heather–where did you see the new version of Upstairs, Downstairs? PBS also did a reality show set in London of WWII, where we learned a major cause of death was accidents caused by the blackout.

    These shows are great fun to watch but I am always happy I live in the age of antibiotics. They saved my life back in 1997, and I am eternally grateful to still be here.

    Dorothy, good news!

    jc, well said.

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  37. Sue said on January 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    One of the things that spoils “Pride and Prejudice” for me is the realization that if this were real life, Pemberley House probably survived because some descendent of Darcy and Elizabeth went to New York to pick up an heiress, and today any unworthy person can tour the place pretending they are either a gentleman or a gentleman’s daughter. Poor Pemberley!
    Like I said, I know more than I should, certainly more than I should if I want to live in the imaginary long ago.

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  38. Jolene said on January 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Another Downton Abbey fan here. I like to think I’d be Maggie Smith, but I’d settle for being the bossy cook.

    Speaking of family dramas, is anyone else watching Shameless on Showtime?

    I know about donor organ registries and such, but I do wonder about the possibility for corruption. Some years back, Robert Casey, then the governor of Pennsylvania, got a transplant at a speed that was widely viewed as suspicious. Am not sure how long Steve Jobs waited for his new liver, but it doesn’t seem like it was long.

    Am happy to hear your good news, Dorothy.

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  39. Jolene said on January 18, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Do you think Dick would accept the heart of a homosexual? Or a liberal? Or both?

    Not sure about a liberal, but he wouldn’t turn up his nose at the heart of a gay person. His many evil acts do not include bashing gays, likely because his daughter is a lesbian. Of course, he’s never done anything to overtly challenge his party either, but at least he’s said, in a couple of instances, that “freedom means freedom for everybody.”

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  40. Catherine said on January 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Jolene, I’ve read that Steve Jobs venue-shopped. He put his name on a number of different registries, which he was able to do because he could fly to wherever more or less instantly on his private jet. Not the same as buying the organ directly but money does facilitate things.

    Kim, your first thoughts were much more seemly than mine, which was: Can I write an exclusion for Cheney on my donor card?

    I know, the value of human life, not mine to judge, blah blah. Don’t worry, I’m not looking into changing the donor card.

    And, good news, Dorothy!

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  41. Julie Robinson said on January 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Have I ever mentioned that my Dad received a heart transplant? He was on a waiting list for over two years, and sadly his body rejected the heart. Dad and I had a lot of differences but I would not have denied him a chance at longer life just because I didn’t agree with some of his life choices. So I reluctantly must say Cheney gets to go on the list.

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  42. Dorothy said on January 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Sue my daughter got to tour “Pemberley” when she was doing her semester abroad in 2004. I was so envious when I heard she was there!

    Cooz I really dislike reality television but I dare say I’d tune into the show you’re proposing.

    Thanks all. Mike is on the mend and feeling pretty good.

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  43. Mark P. said on January 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    “Cheney gets to go on the list.” Except that his next (70th) birthday will put him beyond the recommended age limit for a heart transplant. He’s already older than the previous recommended age limit of 65. It may be harsh, but why put a good heart into someone with a short life expectancy, with or without a transplant, if it can go into someone who will live longer?

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 18, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Dorothy, thanks for sharing the good news. Glad to hear some.

    Personally, “Steampunk House” would have me riveted to the television. That’d be some destination viewing in this home.

    Nancy, I thought the early coverage both said Baby Doc came back with his wife, and a wife-ish looking woman in shady sunglasses was next to him in all the shots from him waiting in customs at Port-au-Prince. Has he picked up a new First Lady, or did she come back for the second pass through the Treasury?

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  45. DellaDash said on January 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Cheney talk is reminding me of a Terry Southern short story called ‘Blood of the Wig’. Check it out.

    I’ve recorded the first 2 episodes of ‘Downtown Abby’, but haven’t watched yet. Looking forward to it. Also ‘Boardwalk Empire’ when I can Netflix the whole season and over-indulge.

    The only TV that’s got me strung out from episode to episode is ‘The Good Wife’.

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  46. Jolene said on January 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Has he picked up a new First Lady, or did she come back for the second pass through the Treasury?

    The caption in one of the clips I saw referred to said woman as his companion and publicist.

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  47. moe99 said on January 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    That is great news, Dorothy! I’m pulling for Mike! Chemo is no fun and if he can avoid it, so much the better.

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  48. Sue said on January 18, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Apparently the Governor of Alabama spoke at a church that MLK used to pastor, on MLK day, and was a little less than inclusive. Frankly, I have misgivings about the content of his character.

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  49. Mark P. said on January 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Isn’t it ironic that the new governor of Alabama spoke those words in a church that MLK used to pastor? If you are old enough, you may remember that many white racists insisted that MLK was not a christian at all, but was, in fact, a communist. Lots of the more rabid racists and fundamentalist christians still say so today. Bentley says he’s color blind? Yeah, right, blinded by the white.

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  50. Rana said on January 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Jeff (tmmo), the thought of Steampunk House made my heart skip a beat with joy.

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  51. paddyo' said on January 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Well, the Guardian says “charges” have been filed against Baby Doc (corruption, etc.) and the case assigned to a judge, while Monsters & Critics says he’s been “arrested” . . . I find it hard to believe he wouldn’t have sorted all this out before returning to Haiti, but maybe karma’s a bitch and it’ll stick. At best, a long, long time in lockup; at worst, a gazillion hours of community service. I’d recommend at least six months of orderly duty on a cholera ward, preferrably in a cardboard-and-tent city, not an actual hospital. Perfect for a “man of the people,” right?

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  52. paddyo' said on January 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    PS — Dorothy, glad to hear your Mike is on the mend.

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  53. Jeff Borden said on January 18, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I despise Richard Bruce Cheney as much as is humanly possible, but I would very much like for him to receive a heart transplant so he can live a long, long life. If we’re lucky, the old bastard eventually will be indicted somewhere for war crimes. But, at the very least, I want him to see his misguided policies and viewpoints utterly and thoroughly repudiated (or is it refudiated??) by history.

    He is a foul, foul man who appears to be without any socially redeeming aspects aside from his acceptance of his gay daughter. Even that, however, is tainted by his failure to ever challenge his own party on its hatred of gays.

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  54. prospero said on January 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Anybody interested in the social dynamics of houses with servants should read Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.

    Downton is pretty good. I haven’t watched one of these serials on PBS since Cap’n Poldark was buckling swashes back in Welch copper country (if I don’t count adaptations of Robert Graves). Downton has the downstairs intrique jacked up, with two exquisitely despicable villains, one of whom has knowledge of a potentially devastating skeleton in the upstairs closet. The mechanism for setting the plot in motion is ingenious and immerses one immediately in the undemocratic caste system world of early 20th Century England. The acting and the writing, particularly the asides, are excellent. Very different from Upstairs, Downstairs. We missed ep. 1, so watched them out of order. I think this enhanced enjoyment of the first episode.

    You can watch the two episodes that have aired already here.

    Dorothy, good luck to you both, along with prayers.

    Cheney took six deferments during the Vietnam era, because, as he said, he had other things to do. Since then, he has relished sending young people to senseless wars on which he’s made obscene personal profits (blind trust, my ass) for decades, so I think Nancy’s original statement is not that far afield. What exactly could be more revolting than a war-profiteer chicken-hawk?

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  55. prospero said on January 18, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Also, the casting of Downton Abbey is really good. The resemblance between the femme fatale and her mother is fairly remarkable.

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  56. prospero said on January 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Jeff: Cheney’s failure to ever challenge his own party on its hatred of gays is pusillanimous, like supporting the Vietnam adventure while weasling out of personal complication in it with every trick in the book but the two that would have done him in forever in GOP politics: conscientious objection, and professing homosexuality. Republicans prefer things like anal cysts. Devastating condition for assholes, of course.

    I agree on the war crimes. I’m still waiting for Kissinger to face some reckoning. For killing the Allende family, for blowing up Omar Torrijos’ plane. Who do you think set up Basket-Head Duvalier (his popular itian nickname) in Paris? Baby Doc was supported by the Reagan administration, because, after all, he was the opposite of a Sandinista. When Duvalier left Haiti, American foreign policy in this hemisphere continued to support pathologically murderous dictatorships. The attitude towards more forward-looking attempts at freedom and democracy was economic strangulation, ostracism, and funding vicious insurgencies. Kissinger Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ollie North were all in this anti-democratic horsecrap up to their eyeballs. Protecting the homeland from the Fidel, the Sandinistas, Western hemisphere dominoes, and training despots and death squads at the School of the Americas.

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  57. Jolene said on January 18, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    The mechanism for setting the plot in motion is ingenious and immerses one immediately in the undemocratic caste system world of early 20th Century England.

    Also interesting are the foreshadowings of changes to come, including the maid who wants to leave service to be a secretary and the reference to a Lloyd George in the discussion of the hospital. Wikipedia tells me that he was a liberal reformer who established the UK’s Ministry of Health, which led to significant improvements in public health.

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  58. moe99 said on January 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I realize that this may set off prospero, but I didn’t know that Bush’s cyber guru was killed in a plane crash 3 years ago:

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  59. prospero said on January 18, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Absolutely right, Jolene. The Lloyd George national health reference made me sit up and pay attention. TVs changing channels all over the country, probably. Most interesting is the way in which inheritances work. Are men really in the driver’s seat or are women? And of course, how the applecart might be upset by scandal.

    And Cousin Mary is really played by a gorgeous actress.

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  60. velvet goldmine said on January 18, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Julian Fellowes didn’t write episodes of “Monarch of the Glen,” that I know of, but he is marvelous as the generous but stuffy neighbor Kilwillie. We’ve been glorying through the DVDs these past weeks and our favorite line to quote around the house is Kilwillie’s elegantly enraged “Mark my perfectly enunciated words…” I refuse to believe he didn’t have a hand in writing some of his character’s dialogue. It sounds perfectly catty, like much of Downton Abbey.

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  61. Dexter said on January 19, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Happy Birthday Paul Cezanne

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  62. Jim Sweeney said on January 19, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Is it possible to be an organ donor, but stipulate that your heart cannot, under any circumstances, be given to Dick Cheney?

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