Venison stew.

A deer came to an unfortunate end at Eminem’s house this week, after it failed to clear an iron-picket fence and presumably died in a highly unpleasant bleed-out while hanging from it. (Extremely graphic photo here; you’ve been warned.) A perfunctory Freep story says the singer “is expected to have the meat processed and given to a family in need.”

“Winter’s Bone” notwithstanding, there may be a few needy families in the metro area who still possess the knowledge to prepare venison, but I’m betting their numbers are dwindling by the year. We’ve been over this ground before here, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth noting again — cooking skills correlate to income, and until we untie them, I think we’ll continue to have an obesity problem. (Let’s leave out the upper class for now, the people with showplace kitchens who can’t make a peanut-butter sandwich.) Mark Bittman once bravely let a video crew into his small New York apartment and showed them where he makes his own personal foodie magic — in a spartan space, with few tools, very limited storage, not even much of a refrigerator. It can be done. But if you’re smart enough to know this, you’re far less likely to be needy, these days.

May I just say, also, to those who are considering the racial angles to all this, that every week at the Eastern Market I see obviously smart shoppers, many of them African-American, buying the raw ingredients for some serious dinners, much of it southern-style, bushels of mustard or collard greens, every edible part of the pig, chickens by the score. These people aren’t needy, but I’d wager many of their recipes were born from neediness — not much else explains chitterlings, in my opinion — so I know the skills are out there. But they’re fading.

That deer obviously died in agony. I thought adrenaline was bad for the taste of game, or is that an old wives’ tale? Basset’s our resident deer hunter, maybe he can say.

I don’t wish to start every report here with a weather report, but it is currently 10 degrees and we’re not expected to see 20 again until Wednesday. Might be time for my winter walk on the lake this weekend. We haven’t had a great deal of snow yet, and last weekend I walked a couple loops at Lake Front Park and watched a guy running his golden retriever out on the ice. He was on skates, taking advantage of the vast stretches of mostly clear ice to keep pace with the galloping dog, which had just enough snow under its paws to run without slipping. It looked like a lot of fun.

Downside of a cold snap: The cold. Upside: The sunshine. Caribbean-blue skies at the moment. Good thing I bought some fleece-lined jeans this year. My ass and thighs carry plenty of natural insulation, but I can always use a little more.

Some bloggage to ease into the weekend:

James Wolcott, his usual fine self, on political entertainments, from Stewart to Palin. A taste:

Think back on the Iraq war and the W.M.D.’s, the Terri Schiavo circus, the iguana contortions of John McCain under the guise of maverick integrity, the Wall Street meltdown and bailout—TV satirists and late-night hosts drove much deeper nails into the marrow of what was happening than the editorial pages of The Washington Post, that prison morgue of Beltway consensus. A new political-entertainment class has moved into the noisy void once occupied by the sage pontiffs of yore, a class just as polarized as our partisan divide: one side holding up a fun-house mirror to folly, the other side reveling in its own warped reflection.

Many laff lines, including the best single description of Glenn Beck in the flesh I’ve yet read:

Round and beige, he resembles one of the squeamish pod sperm awaiting launch instructions upstream in Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex.

Only in Detroit: Two scrappy babes overcome a would-be car thief and try to perform a citizen’s arrest, getting zero help from the Detroit police. A Wayne State patrolman finally came to the rescue. Bonus weirdness factor: One of the scrappy babes is named “Officer.”

John Dingell, gunning to be the Strom Thurmond of the House, announces his intention to try for a 30th term. We’ll see. Redistricting will come between then and now, and Republicans control the Statehouse top to bottom.

OK, time to put on the fleece jeans and tackle a very cold day. Have a great weekend.

Posted at 10:16 am in Current events, Detroit life |

113 responses to “Venison stew.”

  1. Bob (not Greene) said on January 21, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Yep, too damn cold. Zero degrees here. Car wouldn’t start this morning. The only redeeming factor is that it’s Friday, although I have an electoral board hearing to cover tomorrow morning. Maybe the car will start by Monday.

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  2. Mark P. said on January 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

    “Strom Thurmond of the House …”

    I presume you mean by getting really, really old in office, not by aping Thurmond’s racist politics.

    And considerably off topic, I once met Thurmond’s second wife, who was 44 years his junior. She was a 22-year-old beauty queen who, I suspect, married the 66-year-old Senator expecting wealth, status and a fairly quick widowhood. Surprise. He lived another 35 years. And they had four children. Although I am not far from Thurmond’s age at that time, and consider myself not to be especially decrepit, I find it hard to imagine a 22-year-old enjoying the procreative act with an old fart like that.

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  3. coozledad said on January 21, 2011 at 10:46 am

    When I was in high school, I worked at a seafood place run by a couple of guys who didn’t know what part of the hog chitlins came from. One of the fry cooks asked them if she could use the prep area to clean and boil some to serve at a post-funeral meal. She brought them in Saturday midday, and by the time the restaurant had to open for dinner the entire place reeked of pigshit. It was slow that evening.
    I’ve heard that the Chinese are big on chitlins, too, and there’s a similar gulf between food expectations between the north and south. A friend of my wife’s from Beijing told her, “Those southerners will eat just about any damned thing.”

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  4. basset said on January 21, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I have heard adrenaline mentioned as a palatability issue with commercially processed beef, never with deer though – don’t know that you could do much about it in the wild, sometimes they’re tense and sometimes relaxed depending on what they’ve heard, smelled, or seen around them.

    That said… deer do need to be bled out and cooled as soon after their demise as possible. Once that’s done, letting them age for a few days before you freeze the meat does make a difference, wild venison is much better if you let rigor mortis relax out of it. Ideally, you would… forgive me… hang the gutted deer someplace where the temp is just above freezing and it won’t be disturbed, takes 3-4 days.

    and speaking of donating meat to the needy – google “Hunters for the Hungry” and see what they’re doing in your state, HftH brought in over 1/2 million pounds of donated meat here in Tennessee during the 2009 season.

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  5. Peter said on January 21, 2011 at 10:52 am

    “Snowflake Snooki”! That’s just about as good as his Ann Coulter “the toxic toothpick”.

    And speaking of Snooki, I found it funny when Jay Leno noted that Snowzilla’s show only lasted one season but Snooki’s gone on to season no. 3.

    I bet Snooki’s book is a better read.

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  6. Jeff Borden said on January 21, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I think SheWho crossed the Rubicon with her “blood libel” speech on the very day memorials were set for the slaughtered innocents in Tucson. She’s not going away –her fans are as rabid as Deadheads if considerably less cool, intelligent and knowledgeable– but her narrative has been altered in an extremely negative fashion. Only Sean Hannity is obsequious enough to interview her these days and, as Jon Stewart so beautifully illustrated, Hannity mostly set up her responses with his questions.

    Sadly, she’ll still cash in on the long con practiced by so many washed-up politicians. Newt Gingrich has made a career of speculating about running for the White House, which makes him relevant again for a long enough time to sell some books and deliver some six-figure speeches. Rudy Ghouliani, whose consulting firm has supposedly come upon hard times, is again talking about running for president, which is clearly intended to generate some fresh headlines, generate some new business and keep those speaking engagements coming. SheWho will follow the same path.

    I’ve never seen an episode of “Jersey Shore,” but know about it through cultural osmosis. Can anyone tell me if Snooki’s voice is as irritating as SheWho’s nasally Mat-Su inflections? I think if I were trapped on a desert island with SheWho, the first thing I’d do is find a sharp sea shell and puncture my eardrums to avoid hearing that horrible, horrible voice.

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  7. adrianne said on January 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I knew I had really relocated to upstate New York when my neighbor hung his gutted deer carcass from his basketball hoop for a few days. Gave quite a thrill to the kids driving by to see Bambi on display.

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  8. Scout said on January 21, 2011 at 11:16 am

    That Wolcott piece is a jewel. But as he points out, only the choir will understand it: “This disinformation addiction puts the political satirists on the left at a disadvantage—how do you poke fun at nonsense that’s intended to be nonsensical, an ideological crack pipe blowing smoke into millions of brains? Swiftian satire clicks only for those already compos mentis.”

    Regarding She-Who, he nails it:”Palin’s worst enemies have never been David Letterman, the “lamestream media,” or Katie Couric but her own insatiability for attention, a narcissism with no Off button or volume knob.”

    I had to speed read through the impaled deer report. Too sad.

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  9. Judybusy said on January 21, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Today I found some comfort in that while the windchill is -29 in Minneapolis, the air temp was a truly chilly -40 in International Falls.

    Not really on topic, but the wars are on my mind today. I am a social worker, and heard of a case today of a vet whose brother, also a vet, suicided, as well as a guy from our client’s unit. He is self-destructing now with booze and symtoms of PTSD. I usually don’t share much about my job, but hearing this guy’s story just brought back all the rage about the senselessness of what’s going on over there. It’s part of the reason I thought Nancy’s snark about the lack of Cheney’s heart was right on the money–those bastards didn’t care a bit about the price our people pay for their misbegotten wars. Thanks for listening.

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  10. mark said on January 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

    The food issue is a vexing one and kudos to you for even suggesting, however slightly, a “racial angle.”

    Food prices for the things we ought to be eating daily are rising, and the very convenient highly processed stuff that we ought to consume only on occasion will enjoy an even greater price advantage. There are so many long term negative consequences. My strong libertarian defenses weaken in this area and I’m more inclined to join the “something must be done” crowd.

    Most of the bizarre (to me) food concoctions, and recipes that involve the odd “parts,” arise either from attempts to avoid starvation or to create erections. The best (that don’t involve endangered species) are quite good but typically labor intensive. In a country where starvation is rare and Viagra plentiful, most of us seem unwilling to put forth the effort.

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  11. Sue said on January 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

    My daughter works at a kid’s emergency shelter in Milwaukee. Everyone takes turns cooking. One night she made my potato dish, passed down from my mother, which is nothing but sliced potatoes layered with onions and butter – Paula Deen levels of butter. She added chicken and used it as the main dish. The kids tore into it. “Miss _____, you cook just like my mother!” It was, of course, the vast quantities of butter that did it.
    A few weeks later her tofu chili didn’t go over nearly as well with the kids, but all the commie social worker employees loved it.

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  12. Tom M said on January 21, 2011 at 11:29 am

    See Roy’s link to a NatRev. Corner poll where the denizens of the Corner (of the attic) think the Palin actually helped herself.
    There’s dumb and then there’s stupid and I can’t figure out which her followers are.

    Well, yeah, you’re right, I guess it really doesn’t matter.

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  13. Kath said on January 21, 2011 at 11:48 am

    A couple years ago, the Star Tribune did a story about the people who are on a list to be notified by police when a car hits a deer in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. Basically, they drive to the scene, field dress the deer, and then take it home and eat it. Best quote: “Yeah, you might have to deal with a dent in the rump roast,” . . . “But beyond that, it’s the finest meat you’ll find.”

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  14. Mark P. said on January 21, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Eating odd parts of an animal doesn’t have much to do with anything but hunger. In the old days on the farm, when you slaughtered a pig or whatever, you ate every single thing you could possibly eat because you needed the food. And then you put whatever was left in soup. It’s only fairly recently that we started thinking that the only edible cuts are the best cuts.

    Which is not to say that I wish I lived back on the farm. I suspect I would be the skinny guy if I were regularly served some of that stuff.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on January 21, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Tom M.,

    I also find it odd that men and women who position themselves as conservative intellectuals (if that is not yet an oxymoron) champion and defend SheWho. I mean, isn’t William Kristol a Harvard or Yale grad? I loathe his chickenhawk ass with every fiber of my being for his role in whipping up the invasion of Iraq, but I cannot deny he seems very intelligent, if misguided. I can’t see this guy sitting in his library with a glass of port having a conversation with a low-class grifter like SheWho, yet he was and remains one of her biggest boosters.

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  16. alex said on January 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I can’t seem to find any studies corroborating it at the moment, but I’ve been told by some vegetarians of my acquaintance that livestock raised in crowded, unhealthy conditions overproduce cortisol as a result of their distress and that this is passed on to those who partake of the flesh. They say this is why you should buy free range if you’re going to eat meat.

    Regarding the common belief that we’re getting antibiotics via livestock that have been fed them, my physician tells me this is bunk. The antibiotics aren’t retained in the flesh. They’re pissed out into the environment where they cause all sorts of other harm.

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  17. crinoidgirl said on January 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Jeff B., as long as she can maintain her looks, she’ll have plenty of followers.

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  18. nancy said on January 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Cooz, that’s the second chitlins story you’ve told, and it’s just as funny as the first one. (I think that’s the one where you described the smell as that of a cholera epidemic.) I intend to steal that line someday.

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  19. nancy said on January 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Meanwhile, another Tom & Lorenzo to draw your attention to: I’ve loved Camilla Belle since “The Ballad of Jack and Rose,” and although her new movie sounds awful, she looks so goddamn fabulous here, I don’t even care.

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  20. Sue said on January 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    alex, this vegetarian doesn’t really care what meat eaters ingest, I think you should eat free range because – in general – free range farmers have made a commitment to raising their animals in a better environment. It’s all about providing a clean (relatively speaking) and safe place to the cows and chickens right up to the end; some smaller farms even contract for more humane slaughter. There is a small but high-profit market for that.
    I am lucky enough to know someone who raises chickens, so I get happy eggs at a good price. All my other livestock comes from the tofu farm.

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  21. Deborah said on January 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Josh Marshall has an interesting take on the SP over-exposure issue. He says we liberals have no idea how into her many, many people are and it would be dangerous for us to ignore her. I have a bad habit of assuming everyone thinks like I do, I live in a mostly liberal bubble, Lake Shore liberals at home and progressive designers of both the gay and straight persuasion at work. So what do I know? I do have a super right wing sister who gives me a clue of the crazy but mostly I only get inklings from blogs that report it, Like Alicublog or TPM so I don’t have to soil myself by reading the original right-wing sources. And of course places like this where happily the snark flows.

    I also read on TPM that conservatives are blaming Shelly-O (love that) for pedestrians getting killed. Their theory is that since Michelle Obama has called for people to get more exercise, more people are walking and thus more pedestrians are getting killed because they’re not paying attention to traffic or what-not. Amazingly ridiculous logic.

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  22. LAMary said on January 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I saw the Camilla Bell photos and them are some nice abs. Here’s another set of abs to contemplate:

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  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    It was a governor’s association of some sort that a talk radio outlet in DC pushed; turns out the pedestrian fatality rate went up from something like 1,850 to 1,872, hardly even statistically significant.

    But I can tell you I’ve already seen today a number of conservatives (National Review Online not the least) mocking the idea and the suggestion as heartily as you might hope. Michelle Obama’s making quite an impression with her consensus building, collaborative approach to community solutions for fitness and nutrition. (Of course, her husband may be impressing more conservatives than progressives these days for the same reasons, but I’m happy to salute them both.)

    Mark Bittman back here a few weeks ago made the case for the three simple steps needed to make a tasty, nutritious, cheap dinner (As I recall, it was a stir-fry, a chop salad, and a rice/bean/boil) within anyone’s means in the meanest of kitchens — the problem is that any cooking of any sort, even of what he’s commending, takes a modicum of pre-planning, and that’s what is getting lost as a family/social skill. Making it worse is that the very fastest, readiest to eat, no decision other than impulse food, bought out a car window or levered out of the freezer, is always going to cost more, and shockingly more as a percentage of the total budget for low-income families.

    That’s why I keep wanting to see more of what Jamie Oliver’s been pushing, and was/am delighted that the First Lady has been promoting his approach, since it’s totally NOT just about school lunch. It’s about reclaiming meal and life planning from the TV ads.

    Back under my rock! Sorry I can’t hunt links and paste today.

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  24. Sue said on January 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    MMJeff, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have both gone after Michelle Obama for her healthy foods initiative. So has Sean Hannity. And Rush Limbaugh. And Michelle Malkin.
    I’m happy to see that people aren’t jumping on the Michelle the Pedestrian Killer bandwagon, but I’m not sure I’m getting your point about making an impression re healthy food.

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  25. alex said on January 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Breaking snowbilly news! Looks like Todd’s been doin’ some, uh, imPalin’.

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  26. coozledad said on January 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Does this mean we have to sit through another fireside chat with our lady of perceptual affrontery?
    Shows how much I know. I always figured Todd for the camo assless chaps and snowshoes type.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on January 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Oh, goody!

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  28. LAMary said on January 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    How great is it that the hooker’s last name is Tripp?

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  29. Bob (not Greene) said on January 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    And I know that the National Enquirer is breaking the story, but they usually have their shit together on this stuff. They also broke the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter scandal. My question is, “Todd, is that the best you could do?”

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  30. Jeff Borden said on January 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    The National Enquirer does journalism the old-fashioned way: They pay for it.

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  31. Brian Stouder said on January 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    How great is it that the hooker’s last name is Tripp?

    Pretty great indeed!

    And, as Jeff B might well say, my guess is that the Message Therapist Tripp is bound by a secret codicil to whatever agreement she (no doubt) already has with the Palin syndicate, wherein any proceeds she gets from Playboy or Vivid (or whoever), down the road, have to be split 60-40

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  32. Scout said on January 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Like Sue, I am a vegetarian because of animal rights; the health thing is a nice bennie. I am not a paint throwing nutcase who hassles her friends when they eat meat, but I do try to educate when appropriate about the horrors of factory farming. People are generally open to having that knowledge, inconvenient as it may be.

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm


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  34. LAMary said on January 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    For Rana and Cooz

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  35. brian Stouder said on January 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I gotta say, Mary, that looking at your comic book cover, Ms palin could definitely rock some Rachel Maddow-style eyewear

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  36. Colleen said on January 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    A conservative friend made a snarky comment on Facebook about FLOTUS and her healthy food initiative, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what the conservatives are objecting to? That she’s pushing for healthier eating? Why is that bad? Can someone ‘splain it to me, because I can’t wrap my brain around it.

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  37. Dexter said on January 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    The simplest restaurant / stand I ever patronized was a tiny chili place near the Union Square Hotel, Powell Street, in San Francisco. A small storefront, featuring a huge pot of chili on a burner, stacks of ten ounce styrofoam coffee cups, a mini cooler stocked with Coca Cola cans, and nothing else. 25 cents got you one of those little cups of chili and a plastic spoon.
    Other simple meals I recall were a thirty-cents “walkaway shrimp /crabmeat cocktail” at Fisherman’s Wharf, which , on my 1996 trip back there, was $4.50–surely $8 now, I bet—and also there was a small diner on Market which had rotating ears of corn spinning in the windows…more expensive, 50 cents an ear. I remember that photographically…butter was dripping down on the ears of corn, making them irresistible. So I would enter, order a Coke and two ears, and the corn was totally overcooked and tasteless. But what great advertising that window display was.
    And…my 1996 walkaway crabmeat cocktail gave me food poisoning and I couldn’t eat shellfish for 12 years.
    My suitcase has quite a few stickers on it, but the one place I would visit again , before all others, is the San Francisco Bay Area.

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  38. Sue said on January 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Colleen, she is taking away the rights of Americans to make their own decisions. She is taking away parents’ rights to feed their children as they see fit. When she uses her superpowers to take her initiative to its obvious conclusion, Americans will be fined or imprisoned (by the food marketing police) for eating the wrong things, listeners to Rush Limbaugh’s program will be monitored for compliance, and the government will use this as a springboard to decide who people can marry and where they can work.
    So like I said yesterday it’s not surprising that Michelle is using mind control to kill pedestrians. And we thought that socialist Eleanor Roosevelt was bad.
    And while I think of it, I thought the government is quite actively working to make sure they get to decide who people can marry.

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  39. Colleen said on January 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    So THAT’S why I’ve been eating a lot of carrots lately…..

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  40. coozledad said on January 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I never really thought of Sarah as steampunk, but there’s an idea for a show: In a counterfactual history, a senile president McCain is constantly under siege from a shadow government led by Randelito Paul, Jr. who threatens from his underground bunker to either to blow up the Federal reserve or introduce bimetallism. Sarah travels the warmer states of real America in a steam-powered bus with “The woman of two faces” Gretamus Susteren, facing difficult questions with weekly guest stars Katie Couric or Charles Gibson, until McCain rewards her with a newly seceded Alaska.
    But by the time they meet Sarah’s contract demands, the show is reduced to using the guy who did the special effects for that Jack Nicholson wolfman movie and it’s cancelled after the first season.

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  41. Rana said on January 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    LA Mary – Oh, dear. That is terribly, terribly wrong.

    I was all prepared to unleash a rant about how Sarah Palin’s worldview is about the furthest thing from a steampunk ethos, but then I looked at the link. Now I’m just thinking that it’s one more pathetic example of uncool people trying to be cool by co-opting the trappings of a counter-culture they don’t understand. Sad, really. And the idea that Sarah “Drill, baby, drill” Palin is a threat to big oil and the nuclear power energy?

    *collapses in a heap of wheezing laughter*

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  42. mark said on January 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Colleen, You should ask your conservative friend what he objects to, rather than making the global assumption that all conservatives object, or object for the same reason. Somebody here commented “Oh Goody” to the allegation that Mr. Sarah sought sex somewhere he shouldn’t have. Why is that an “Oh Goody” moment for you? That must be how all liberals react, right?

    If the report turns out not to be true (and the same NE issue attributes the President’s slender build to parasites), why do all of you liberals believe any rumor and spread it like it is true? You all do that, right?

    So far as I am aware, Mrs Obama has largely been promoting better nutrition practices through education and publicity, and promoting a dialogue about what we might do to improve nutrition in/through the schools. I don’t object and I applaud her efforts.

    IF she were lobbying for a federally dictated menu in every public school, I MIGHT object, because I tend to favor more local control over schools. She isn’t doing that so far as I know. IF she was trying to put a federal tax on sugar or junk food, I MIGHT object, because I think sin taxes largely take money from the poorest and least educated of society. She isn’t doing that so far as I know.

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  43. coozledad said on January 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Is it irresponsible to speculate? It’s irresponsible not to.

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  44. Julie Robinson said on January 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    When an idiot who for some reason has political power is potentially brought down by the hubris of her own family, then yep, “oh goody” is the way this liberal reacts.

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  45. mark said on January 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    No, it is not irresponsible to speculate. Some here apparently find real joy in the thought that a little marital infidelity will inflict pain on somebody they don’t like. I suspect that there are others here who object to SP’s politics/statements just as much, but take no joy in the possibility that her husband is cheating or in the ramifications that might have for her or her family. What would be irresponsible is for me to assume and assert that the more extreme view represents what all of you think.

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  46. coozledad said on January 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Oh come off it. from the moment McCain hauled her and her Lil’ Bo Peep diploma ass out on the national stage everyone without a dick for a brain could read her for a piece of scat porn ready to muck up the furniture.
    It’s just that no-one knew how deeply the pud-pounders on the right would drink the whole package in one big gulp, Tits, Ass, and Stupid.

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  47. Sue said on January 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I’m going to be busy this weekend, so I would just like to break into the bickering for a sec to say:
    Go Bears.
    See ya Monday!

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  48. nancy said on January 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    You know what? I’m coming down on Mark’s side on this one. While it’s entirely possible Todd enjoys happy endings, the sourcing is ridiculously thin on this one. That said, it *is* the Enquirer, the New York Times of sleazy gossip.

    But I think Gawker said it best:

    …what we’ve got is an anonymous email citing anonymous secondary sources who say they heard something that “sounded like” sex; proof that a massage therapist was giving free massages to someone on the Palin campaign; and proof that this same therapist was arrested for prostitution.

    Not enough for me.

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  49. moe99 said on January 21, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I don’t have a dog in the current marital fidelity matters involving Sarah and the first Dude. But I will note that it was the National Enquirer that broke the John Edwards story. Now how many right wing pundits went on air to criticize them when they did that?

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  50. ac jones said on January 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    As a regular and fond reader of this blog and its well versed comments, I would have to conclude that no fan of $p, she-who, and the thousand other names bestowed upon you-know-who(m), is as obsessed with her as the commenters on this blog.

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  51. Jeff Borden said on January 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    It’s not so much an obsession, acjones, as it is dealing with an ongoing irritant, like bedbugs or head lice.

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  52. coozledad said on January 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I’m more amused by the spectacle of supposedly grown men thrown completely off their game (Politics? Journalism? Punditry?) by a preliterate secessionist oil company hooker.
    Stupid country.

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  53. Linda said on January 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    The food issue, my take:
    For the poor, skill is only one issue. Another is price, as Mark pointed out, but another is access and transportation. Michigan actually had to create a nonprofit program to bring fresh food into the inner city of Detroit. How sad is that? How many poor people only have ready access to gas stations, drugstores, and party stores for their food, and would have to take a bus or two to get access to fresh food?

    And, as the Jamie Oliver show pointed out, many people have not been exposed to unprocessed food. I was shocked at the low recognition kids had for tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. And I grew up a poor, fat kid in the inner city, but I could make mashed potatoes or mac and cheese from scratch by the time I was 12. I have a friend (from a middle classed home) who was surprised that you can make those things from scratch. But exposure and access are key.

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  54. Cathie from Canada said on January 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I recall recently reading an article talking about sheep’s brains, in which the author marveled at why Scottish people would like such an odd dish.
    You dolt, I thought, they probably didn’t like eating brains at all.
    But when all you have to feed your family is a sheep carcass, then you make every single part of it edible.
    I realized then how detached many people in our society are from the realization that “like” and “dislike” become a moot point when you’re starving.

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  55. moe99 said on January 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Why Josh Marshall continues to pay attention to Sarah Palin. Makes sense to me.

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  56. Linda said on January 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    More on class and food exposure:
    Meryl Streep (who played Julia Child), said she did not know growing up that you could make mashed potatoes from potatoes, and was surprised as a teenager to see a friend and her mother peeling potatoes to make them.

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  57. alex said on January 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Mark, on a daily basis I listen to conservatives taking joy in all kinds of spurious rumors about our president, Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in general. Is it so wrong to feel like responding in kind? No, it doesn’t fix anything, to be sure, but it’s how I let off steam.

    Now let me get this right—are you suggesting that we have no business exercising our First Amendment rights here in the free marketplace of ideas? And you call yourself a libertarian?

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  58. coozledad said on January 21, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Considering one of their “ideas” is state-sponsored torture, it’s simply counterproductive to pretend to engage them on their other “ideas”. Legitimizing common criminality by pretending there is some debate over the use of extralegal detention and interrogation is a concession to the chromosomally damaged the Republicans are indebted to as a voting bloc. It’s the equivalent of putting a horse in the senate.
    Their feigned distress at the political climate they spent millions creating would be mildly funny if they didn’t deserve at least a thirty year long enchickening in a damp cell for their eight year theft/murder spree.

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  59. MichaelG said on January 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I don’t really know what drives peoples’ eating habits but I do have a couple of observations. Linda @53 has an important point. Poor inner city people (read “minority”) have less access to good, healthful food than the more affluent. They don’t have cars and there aren’t a lot of supermarkets in the hood. There is a supermarket not far from where I live but it has a surprisingly small produce section and a surprisingly small meat counter. The frozen food section is huge. The junk food variety is mind boggling. I don’t even know what half that stuff is.

    I watch food programs, but they are all on cable or NPR. I’m not aware of a lot of food programming on network TV but am aware of an awful lot of prepared food advertising there.

    The array of stores selling wonderful fresh foods of all kinds here in Sacramento is truly astounding. Unfortunately, I see relatively very few black people at the many, many Asian, Hispanic, specialty food or open air markets. Why? I don’t know.

    I always thought of chittlins as more of a rural south thing. By the way, is there anybody who understands Wikipedia’s pronunciation scheme? They say we should pronounce chittlins ” /ˈtʃɪtlɪnz/”. It looks like some weird Turko-Bulgarian curse. My tongue is in a knot.

    And I must say that Camilla Belle looks delicious and that that guy Mary linked to looks worse than the deer.

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  60. Rana said on January 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Excellent point, cooz. I remember arguing myself blue in the face on a number of progressive blogs that decided that “debating torture” was a good idea. Once you’ve accepted the idea that it is indeed something possible to debate, as opposed to wrong in all cases, you’ve bought into your opponent’s framing of the issue. It’s either wrong or it isn’t; if you posit it being acceptable in some instances but not others, you’ve de facto accepted that it’s okay.

    Debates over whether people should be detained without trial is one thing; but debating whether such incarceration is illegal is another. It is. Full stop.

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  61. Rana said on January 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    MichaelG : more than you’ll probably need to know about linguistic symbology:

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  62. MichaelG said on January 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    The torture heads always seem to want to justify their jones by saying that it would be necessary to get that guy to tell us the codes to inert that nuke-u-lar device at the airport. The fact that this has never happened and the fact that the cops or whomever could always make an exception if they wanted never seem to be noticed.

    As Rana says, “what’s wrong is wrong”. To debate it drags it from the realm of the wrong to the realm of the let’s talk about it. I guess that’s where they must be on the issue of Abortion.

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  63. MichaelG said on January 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Yeah, I knew that, Rana. I was trying to make a lame joke and I also think that that’s too complicated a means to demonstrate pronunciation. There are easier, more accessible ways.

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  64. Rana said on January 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Ah, sorry. Sometimes I miss jokes. It’s the too-literal pedant in me, I suppose. That, and I spent a good portion of today fielding questions from confused students.

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  65. Catherine said on January 21, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    IPA is a pain in the æs.

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  66. Catherine said on January 21, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Does no one have anything to say about the scrappy babes? I did something like that once, when a couple of Italian dumbasses tried to steal my backpack on the night train to Florence. Yeah, I’m still BAMF.

    Also, apropos of the merkin discussion, why not take it one step further? Don’t just re-fur, re-virginate:

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  67. coozledad said on January 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    That label “libertarian” is currently a comfortable elision for Republicans who don’t want any truck with the dingleberries who work for them. My political theory professor (many, many years ago), who was a remorseless hardass and a stickler for history, said they were “similar to Bakunin absent any discernible ethical framework.”

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  68. LAMary said on January 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Just read the scrappy babes story and I’d say I’d want them on my side in a scuffle.
    My grandmother fought off two kids, preteens, who tried to steal her purse. She was in her seventies but was about 6’1″ and was the type to not fuck with when it came to money.

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  69. Linda said on January 21, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Wow. I can understand why young women under intense threat/pressure would want the option of revirgination, but a chick who was married 17 years? Is that so her hubby could have the thrill of doing someone who doesn’t know what to do all over again?

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  70. basset said on January 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    >>Poor inner city people (read “minority”) have less access to good, healthful food than the more affluent.

    Exactly. Here in Nashville, just a few blocks from expensive and exclusive Vanderbilt University, is one of our city’s worst food deserts:

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  71. A. Riley said on January 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    I did a li’l volunteer service thing this summer with one of the many small urban farms in Detroit – basically a house lot where the house was long gone, and this nonprofit started growing veggies there. They do amazing work. But a neighbor lady who dropped by told us that the grammas know all about veggies; their grown kids know what they are but they won’t eat ’em; and the grandkids don’t have any idea that veggies are something to eat. They think you can only eat stuff that comes in a bright wrapper, preferably from the drive-up window.

    They’re trying hard to re-start a fresh food culture but it’s an uphill battle.

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  72. DellaDash said on January 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    I’ve been coming around here long enough to know I have a treat in store as soon as I get a chance to view “The Ballad of Jack and Rose” on Netflix Instant Play.

    Not too good at telling jokes, so I never remember any…but this one stuck with me when I heard it after moving to Nashville:

    What’s the difference between a northern and southern zoo?

    Not too much except in a southern zoo the description of each animal includes a recipe.

    The Jamie Oliver show was an eye opener in so many ways. It IS hard to wrap your mind around the rampant resentment in xenophobic obese ghettos against interfering outsider health missionaries. Jamie Oliver has been adroit in demonstrating that scimpy school budgets can afford fresh produce in appetizing institutionalized meals; and that hardened-artery kitchen routines performed by over-worked, under-paid staffers on autopilot can be creatively retooled for the benefit of growing, susceptible children.

    SheWho somehow pushes so many of my buttons, that no matter how much I want to, I can’t NOT pay attention to her. And every time I have to swallow rather than spit out the malicious bile produced by all these unappealingly irresistible media morsels…such as when talking to my elderly mother with whom an exchange of harsh words is simply not on…I’m in desperate need of a Tina Fey or Jon Stewart or Palin-Snarkfest healing. So, count me in with the letting-off-steam posse. I may not have the chops to launch a rant worthy of my sense of outrage, but keenly appreciate those who do…starting with the reigning Provocateuress Herself.

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  73. DellaDash said on January 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Interesting article, Basset. Looks like a big part of the problem is our transit system. Funny how the food deserts on the map form a semi-circle around the downtown farmer’s market.

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  74. Connie said on January 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Wow. Good bye Keith O. I would like to know the behind the scenes story.

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  75. Dexter said on January 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    KO abruptly signs off and *poof* is gone forever. Phil Griffin , nice guy on the surface in the day but a snake in the grass at night, is behind this, as Murdoch moves slowly to try to muscle in on msnbc. Now that GE takes a back seat in the machine that drives NBC-msnbc, as Comcast will dictate content, who knows where this ends.?
    “General Electric and Comcast announced a joint venture worth a combined $37.25 billion on Thursday that will give the cable company eventual control of NBC Universal.­”

    Thirty-Seven and a quarter BILLION dollars. Holy Cabbage, Batman!

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  76. moe99 said on January 22, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Anderson Cooper said it was the Comcast merger that gave the heave ho to Keith. I miss the old days when the govt was agin’ media monopolies.

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  77. Kirk said on January 22, 2011 at 2:58 am

    Catching up . . .

    Camille Belle. Never heard of her, but, as Dirty Duck would say, “Oocha-magoocha.”

    About how many people listen to Sarah Palin: Who knows? But I must say that my dad is a very conservative guy, but a thoughtful one, and he is well aware that Palin is an ignoramus who he could never vote for.

    The people who bitch about people “dictating” their diet are the same ones who loudly declaim their “right” to drive a gas-guzzling tank.

    And, jeez, I’ve tried long and hard to hold my powder on this, but citing Wikipedia as an authoritative source on anything is a serious symptom of laziness. You and I can get in there and make it say that Richard Nixon led the Bolshevik revolution. One reason I hang around here is that everyone here is smarter than that. C’mon, folks.

    And I bid you good night.

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  78. Suzanne said on January 22, 2011 at 8:50 am

    My parents, Fox newsers all the way, and retired with nothing else to do, are all up in arms about the healthy food initiatives. And about the government takeover of health care–“they are just going to let all of us old people die!!”. Sadly, they don’t see the connection between the two in that morbidly obese, unhealthy people drive up health care costs for ALL of us.

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  79. basset said on January 22, 2011 at 9:46 am

    You’re right about the transit system, Della… pretty much all hub and spoke centered on the downtown bus station, makes it tough to get anywhere going east or west unless you’re right on 70 or West End.

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  80. MichaelG said on January 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    People are writing blog comments here, Kirk, not a PhD thesis. Wikipedia is a quick and easy info source. I’m sure everyone’s aware of its weaknesses but, your thoughts aside, it’s usually pretty accurate.

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  81. Jean S said on January 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    at first, I thought the conservative bashing of the healthy food initiative was a version of the Second Amendment twitchiness (“You can’t make me put down my Freedom Fries!”). Now I’m wondering whether some conservatives are worried that poor folks might actually get their nutritional acts together and get healthy…

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  82. Rana said on January 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I wouldn’t cite Wikipedia for a professional paper, nor allow my students to do so for academic research papers, true. But I’m perfectly fine sending them to it in order to get a general overview of a topic, and I use it myself that way.

    Actually, in this regard, I treat it as I would a published encyclopedia, which is also unsuited to academic sourcing. If you’re digging into a topic in any degree of depth, even a published scholarly encyclopedia is only really useful as a mental jumpstart. Citing one is the equivalent of an undergrad starting his or her paper with a dictionary definition of a key word.

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  83. prospero said on January 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Interesting take on America’s guns OCD. I still believe the SC showed an appalling lack of command of grammar with their bullshit call on 2nd Amendment. But what’s original intent compared to virulent judicial activism. Notice how the activism meme went up in smoke when it became undeniable that Scalia and Robin were the chief perps.

    The Ballad of Jack and Rose is available for free at the moment on Netflix., for those with subscriptions. One gorgeous actress, and Daniel Day-Lewis is ridiculously good in everything he does. Bill the Butcher, Christy Brown playing soccer.

    Wikipedia demands a willing imposition of disbelief. Most people should have the critical thinking faculties to suss out being sold a line of merde.

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  84. beb said on January 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Colleen at 36 wonders why conservatives are so upset about M. Obama’s healthy foods initiative. Sue at 38 said it was because Michelle is taking away people’s right to make choices. But it’s simplier than that. It’s because MichelleO. is a Democrat in the White House. It’s not even that she’s black, though that adds to the outrage. Just as the Republicans in Congress have opposed anything Barry has proposed, so do conservatives outside Congress oppose anything Michelle proposes. It’s kneejerk politics at its jerkiest.

    I am astonished that MSNBC fired Olbermann. Talk about killing the goose that paid the golden egg! But the obvious animus involves was Keith’s politices because his replacement with e center-right apologist Lawrence O’Donnell rather than the more senior and more Keith-like Rachel Maddow.

    I started reading Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United states. I’ve only just got past the Revolutionary War. I was struck,while reading about the original Tea Party how much like the latter-day Tea Party they were. Both were started with rich men wanted to drive a wedge between a threat and themselves. Back then it was the British,today it was the Democrats. And it was about the power to tax in either case. And in both cases once the mob was stirred up they ran out of control, burning the Lt. Governor’s mansion and threatening to loot the houses of other rich people. Shay’s Rebellion was about a foreclosure crisis cause by Congress not immediately redeem their paper money at full value. The Whiskey Tax rebellion was also a tax protest because the tax hit harder on the poor farmer who used home make whiskey for barter while not taxing the rich in proportion to how much of the nation’s wealth they held. Fascinating comparisions.

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  85. Deborah said on January 22, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Rana, your description of a typical undergrad paper that starts out with a dictionary definition of a key word made me smile. I can’t tell you how many design briefs I’ve read that start out that way. Granted, these are usually written by designers not writers.

    And I agree about Wikipedia, it’s a good source for people like me to use as an overview about most things, but I would not expect newspaper reporters or published writers to be using it as their ultimate source, that would be really lazy.

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  86. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Sue, Go Bears! This is going to be a fun if frigid afternoon tomorrow . . . and the chance of a Bears-Steelers Super Bowl is almost like contemplating a second Christmas morning.

    My first American ancestor fled arrest for being part of the Whiskey Rebellion in western PA; given that he was a deserter from the British Army at Saratoga, he probably had a healthy disregard for authority of all sorts.

    (Lawrence O’Donnell is center-right? That seems a bit of stretch; maybe someone thought they heard him moaning about about capital gains taxes in the next room, when he was really just massaging a script.)

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  87. Deborah said on January 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Just back from doing some errands and there are a LOT of Greenbay fans in town, I saw a bunch of hard looking women in Greenbay sweatshirts in Bloomingdales, no coats with them and it’s freaking cold here, it’s that bone chilling wet cold too, with winds from the northwest. It’s possible they’re staying in the Four Season’s Hotel that’s in the same building but they did not look like the type that would stay there.

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  88. MarkH said on January 22, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Olbermann was NOT fired; it was his call all the way, although Phil Griffin is apparently not sorry to see him go. msnbc had no actual warning for last night’s stunt, although he has been making noise for a new contract for some months, according to this source:

    I’m surprised Olby didn’t stick around for a fight. It has been known for some months that Comcast was going to take over and editorial changes might be in the works. But it seems so un-Olbermann to not engage in a battle before his (likely) eventual departure. But then again, he has never had a political opposite on his show for an honest debate, unlike Maddow, Schultz or O’Donnell.

    And, beb, Jeff is right. Since when has O’Donnell been center-right, or an apologist, or anything but a liberal? Have I missed something or been easily fooled all these years? I may be center-right, but O’Donnell is one liberal I pay attention to. He earned my eternal respect in the 2000 campaign when he called bullshit on Gore’s social security lock-box statements, got into it with Eleanor Clift on the McLaughlin Group and actually outscreached her.

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  89. Dexter said on January 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I am only a less than average pro football fan, but I like big games in any sport. I’d like to see Da Bears beat the Cheeseheads, yes.
    But for me this weekend, I am really more geeked to see the Jets go up against the Stillerz in Pittsburgh. My Lions and Browns never do anything, never even come close to the playoffs, so I pick an “A List” team this time of year and I root for my choice, big deal. It’s baseball where I am a shameless bandwagon jumper!

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  90. Jolene said on January 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    O’Donnell has a long history of involvement in Democratic politics, but as a technocrat, not a politician.

    From 1989 to 1995, he was a key legislative aide to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.[2] From 1989 to 1991, he served as senior advisor to Moynihan. From 1992 to 1993, he was staff director of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, then chaired by Senator Moynihan. And then from 1993 to 1995, he was staff director of the United States Senate Committee on Finance, once again under Senator Moynihan’s chairmanship. He thus led the staff of the Senate’s tax-writing committee during the consideration of President Bill Clinton’s first budget, which Congress enacted in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.

    He was also involved in creating The West Wing, which portrayed a Democratic president and his administration in very favorable terms.

    From 1999 to 2006, O’Donnell was associated with the television drama The West Wing. Over that time, he wrote 16 episodes. From 1999 to 2000 he was executive story editor for 12 episodes, in 2000 he was co-producer of 5 episodes, from 2000 to 2001 he was producer of 17 episodes, from 2003 to 2005 he was consulting producer for 44 episodes, and from 2005 to 2006 he was executive producer for 22 episodes.[6] O’Donnell won the 2001 Emmy award for Outstanding Drama Series for The West Wing, and was nominated for the 2006 Emmy for the same category.[7]

    He’s also called himself a socialist. He is not, though, quite as self-righteous as Olbermann, acknowledging at the same time he called himself a socialist that most of America doesn’t share his views.

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  91. Ricardo said on January 22, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I guess Eminem can tell Ted Nugent he can keep his bow and arrow.

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  92. beb said on January 22, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    I’m saying that the goalposts have been moved so far to the right over the past 30 years that what’s considered centrist today would have been conservative back in Nixon’s day. And being a Democrat is not the same as being a liberal. If you want to know if a person is liberal today ask them one question: Does Social Security benefits need to be cut to balance the budget. A liberal will say no. O’Donnell waffled.

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  93. Dexter said on January 23, 2011 at 4:30 am

    Now it appears I have a bad Integrated Circuit on a memory module and I must replace my RAM or end up with a beeping computer and a dark screen. Two beep hell. At least this is a home-fixit-job. Even I can change memory cards, even though I always somehow get them in the wrong slots.
    My daughter upgraded and she is giving the old man her old laptop. Talk about late to the party! Nope, never owned a laptop.

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  94. coozledad said on January 23, 2011 at 10:45 am

    If you’ve got the stomach to gaze into the moral abyss of the liberteens, Roy and his commenters are dismantling hebephrenic mall queen Megan McArdle.
    The Atlantic spends way too much money for its shitpaper section.
    I’m beginning to wonder if McMegan isn’t subsidized by the Chinese government under its “let a million douchecurds roam” five year plan.

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  95. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Beb – depends on what you mean by “cut.” Are you saying a “true liberal” doesn’t agree that people with over $100K in retirement income should not receive Social Security checks, or at least a whole lot less? This is a simple, reasonable point that AARP screams over like the proverbial stuck pig every time it’s raised. If FICA only applies up to a certain level, then beyond that level of retirement income, I think you shouldn’t get checks for Social Security. Some call that cutting benefits; I call it rational fiscal policy.

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  96. brian stouder said on January 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Some call that cutting benefits; I call it rational fiscal policy.

    Jeff, I could not possibly agree with you more completely, if I tried.

    I’ve heard O’Donnell defend Social Security repeatedly; the program is currently sound, and will remain so for 40 years or more, despite that my generation (or at least the other almost-50 year-old people I know and I) had always accepted the “common wisdom” that the program wouldn’t be there when we got old enough to qualify for it.

    I was ready to argue with Cooz if alicublog had been working over Megan McCain; but then I read the macro-economic gibberish at that link, and was ready to agree; and then I comprehended it was Megan McArdle, and not the much more sensible young McCain.

    Anyway, someone up-thread referred to Zinn’s history of the US, which I’ve seen referenced before, but which I’ve never read. I gather that it is an unvarnished look at American history, and if so, it can only be good (or at least, good ballast against all the balderdash one can so easily “learn” from mass-media know-it-alls and demagogues).

    I’ve begun reading Madison and Jefferson, which starts right out with a fairly cold-eyed view of those landed scions of Virginia aristocracy. It has been interesting to see the centrality of slavery and the slave-power interests right at the get-go in the Virginia colony’s calculations and machinations toward war against the British; and indeed, the British colonial governor’s response to the nascent American revolutionaries was to arm former slaves against the revolutionary insurgents. (and we know what happens four score and seven years later)

    Semi-non sequitur: Pam and I went on a date yesterday afternoon, and caught True Grit – which was every bit as good the second time around (Pam hadn’t seen it yet). There’s something about that movie which I find quite moving. There’s a bit of a sexual undertone (with regard to the Texas ranger, and – more menacingly – the various bad guys that cross our heroine’s path), but also a protective, fatherly aspect (with regard to Rooster).

    Plus, the way the movie concludes is simply sublime. It is a very empowering movie; and it almost seemed to faintly echo the Jane Addams book I just finished – not least because it deals with an assertive, idealistic young lady, coming of age in the very same era.

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  97. beb said on January 23, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Raising the age for retirement is a cut to benefits since the people who do hard work for a living do not live as long as pencil pushers and DC pundits. Limiting COLA to under CPI instead of at CPI is a cut in benefits. Means-testing SS,however, turns it into a welfare program, not an insurance program, and that begins the delegitimization of SS.

    The thing is, old age retirement is secure for the near 40 years and is 70% solvent after that.

    Disability retirement is bleeding red as more people seek early retirement. Not because they’re scamming the system (eligibility for disability is stiff) but because more people are getting crippled by the work they do.

    Medicare is a money pit. When people talk about spending cut they lump the solvent Old Age Retirement in with Disability retirement and then both in with Medicare so that it all looks bad. Then they want to start cutting the only one of the three that’s *NOT* in trouble.

    O’Donnell is in that crew so, no, he’s not a liberal.

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  98. prospero said on January 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    The sheer volume of political largesse, corruption, ineffective spending, and outright graft in the military budget makes the entire budget-cutting/debt discussion an exercise inpure mendacity. No matter what anybody says, W’s dismantling of the Clinton balanced budget and gigantic surplus was accomplished by running bullshit wars without paying for them. When adults accounted for the massive cost of the neocon adventures and intervention, voila, big deficit.

    Why do the Koch brothers cash SS checks, when every year, basically forever, they stopped paying FICA by about January 2? These guys and their peers feel it’s acceptable to loot pension funds to pay golden parachutes to ridiculously incompetent CEOs and fight a class war that is wiping out America’s middle class, and now they believe it’s OK to balance the budget on the backs of workers that made them insanely wealthy, and stop paying into a national retirement fund on annual income of more than $106 grand.

    Medicare? Take the Part D drug giveaway back from the drug companies? This was the most irresponsible tit-for-tat politics for campaign financing in Congress’ history. In general, admit that other developed countries just have a more sensible economic and political approach, more sensible tax rates, and a more patriotic, Christian and humane class of obscenely rich people.

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  99. MichaelG said on January 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I agree with Beb that adding a means test to SS changes things big time and once there, who knows what’s next. You know, the camel’s nose is in the tent. That’s what bothers me so much about this current ill conceived contribution “holiday”.

    If you want to talk about means, what SS should do is raise or eliminate the max contribution level. At present earnings above, I think it’s $125,000 are exempt from SS. What this means is that mid and lower income people are disproportionately funding the program. Why should people who make lots of money be given a free pass on earnings above 125 grand?

    Also retirement and SS money woes will substantially subside in thirty years or so when all the boomers have died off. Not that I give a shit but my grand kids will be happy.

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  100. MichaelG said on January 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    As long as I’m here, I’ll agree with Prospero. $106,000?

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  101. coozledad said on January 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    They are coming for social security. When they talk about it, cover your balls: This was the last word on it.

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  102. moe99 said on January 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Brian, I too went to see True Grit last night. Wasn’t looking forward to it because I didn’t like the original very much (saw it 4 months ago to bone up for the new one and it just seemed wooden and not very real). But like you I came away very amazed at the powerful reaction it engendered in me. I wonder if it will beat The King’s Speech out for Best Picture? A quintessentially American movie vs. a quintessentially British movie–the type of conflict that I like to see!

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  103. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Medicare should be means-tested, too; the camel/tent argument is akin to the slippery slope argument beloved by, well, me and most conservatives — it’s viscerally appealing, but not all that convincing to those not already tending to agree with you.

    The idea that SS/Medicare aren’t social welfare programs is, arguably, balderdash. The fig leaf of “accounts” was a political artifact that, like the business tax deduction for employee health insurance during WWII (the only reason we stand alone among industrial nations in tying health insurance to employment status), should be pitched like any other political artifact that’s actually obscuring more than it clarifies, and creates problems rather than solving them.

    I think you can find plenty, even a plurality of actual voting, living, breathing, working/employing conservatives (vs. the usual “but that’s not what Limbaugh-Hannity-Palin say) who agree that social welfare is a necessity in a modern industrial democracy. Acknowledging that Social Security (see previous comments for the income exclusion details) is a pretzelized transfer payment, and that Medicare is a tax-redistribution-justice issue — neither would then lead to their getting defunded by Congress. The question is whether we can afford even the current level of benefit management & payment under any feasible taxation system, and the general answer is no. I don’t really mind if anyone wants to read Larry O’Donnell out of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, it just seems like FICA fundamentalism isn’t going to help us figure out how to fix a system that has a pretty dismal forecast, whether you buy a 2021 or 2047 crack-up date.

    Noting again for the record, I favor a basic single payer Medicare-Part-E system rising out of the demolition of employer-based health care deductibility. Beyond that, a free market system for enhancements and add-ons will have plenty of work for the HICs to stay busy with. I see no way to fiddle with Medicaid, CHIP, TANF, or Medicare, or HMOs and private insurance coverage’s various injustices or inequities, on a piecemeal basis.

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  104. brian stouder said on January 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Moe, our 15 year old son and 12 year old daughter and I caught that movie just before the Golden Globes – which I had not really paid any attention to at all – and THEN I discovered that the Globes entirely bypassed True Grit, on all levels (not one nomination for anything).

    After enjoying it again yesterday, that mystifies me all the more, but whatever. Nobody asked me, but Hailee Steinfeld is the best actor of the year, period, regardless whether Golden Globes or Academy Awards (or blue ribbons or red roses) tumble her way or not.

    If she’s not in every scene of that movie, she’s in the vast majority of them; she drives that movie, and carries the story, and she cements the audience to her cause. I was a little wary of bringing our 12 year old daughter to the movie – it being the Coen brothers and all – but I think that was the best movie we could possibly have taken her to see.

    Yesterday, when the movie ended, Pam exited so as to powder her nose, but I stayed still to see all the credits*, and hear the last of the score. I cannot pay any movie any higher praise.

    *I noticed a credit for “Matt Damon’s abs double” – and the person who got the credit had “Coen” as a surname. So I Googled that, and found a funny little story. Check it out:

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  105. Deborah said on January 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    We are under a Pack attack.

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  106. Deborah said on January 23, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Oh well

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  107. Jeff Borden said on January 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    I’d give you three Jay Cutlers for one Aaron Rodgers. The Bears were thoroughly outplayed in every area including special teams, which is usually one of their strong points.

    Not that it matters. The Steelers will shred the Packers in the Sooper Bull. Damn, they are making the Jets look like a Pee Wee team.

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  108. Dexter said on January 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Horribly un-entertaining football games…and ouch! NFL players on Twitter are tweeting nasty, cutting remarks about Cutler of the Bears.

    J-Bo you are right. Aaron Rodgers is really, really good, and in his prime. I don’t have strong feelings either way about the upcoming SuperBowl.

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  109. Jolene said on January 23, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Does anyone know why there’s a cap on the amount of income subject to FICA taxes? What is the theory there?

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  110. Little Bird said on January 23, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    How many baskets does it take for a homerun?
    Yes, I know how the sports work (sort of), I just don’t really care who wins.

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  111. Dexter said on January 24, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Jolene, while I know we could Google the actual reason, I only offer what was told to me and my co-workers years ago. I have no idea how much of this is true:
    1) The FICA was a program to enable old people to have an income; it was not organized to benefit rich people, nor penalize them, but the rich folks and highly paid workers would have to pay up to the cutoff anyway, in essence, a sort of forced social act, and of course they would collect also, needy or not when the time came.
    2) In reality, it caused bitter feelings as the years went by, because a lot of workers busted their butts, working tons of overtime, so by the middle of November or the first of December they would have made the cut-off amount and could be paid FICA-free for 5 or 6 paychecks.
    By the time I retired in 2002 nobody on the factory floor was offered enough overtime to achieve the cut-off point…it was always a carrot-on-a- stick deal. It was really a game for us, and a few times I got a few end-of-year paychecks FICA-free…a nice holiday bonus.
    The “real” answer to your question is probably very wordy and chock-ful of legalese.

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  112. moe99 said on January 24, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Hey, Nancy. Tell Alan that my brother, Mark, Alan’s friend from Spencer School is doing good these days:

    I am so proud of him. He worked hard to raise the money and get the equipment.

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  113. beb said on January 24, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Jolene, I think the answer is that payouts are capped at a certain amount and since payouts are based (somewhat) on income levels, taxes are capped at the maximum payout level.

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