Snowpocalypse now. Er, Tuesday.

Finally, the Midwest is getting its very own snowpocalypse. The word went out over the weekend, prompting a stampede to groceries and liquor stores, so as to be fully stocked for the forecast foot of snow. Yes, a foot. Accuweather says it could be more. But Accuweather — feh. Scary maps, but two feet of snow? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Less hysterical forecasts say it will top out at eight inches. Eight inches or 12, we’re in for a screwin’. I plan to retain my equanimity. The snow will be followed by bitter cold and high winds. Yay, a blizzard. It’s times like this I’m glad I live in a city. Less panic buying in the groceries, for one thing, although I’m running low on bread and chances are, when I stop to get some today, all that will be left is Hillbilly brand high-fiber.

A forecaster — an actual meteorologist, not one of those TV guys, but someone who works for the National Weather Service — told me that forecasting is never more than an educated guess, and all the fancy technology has done is lengthen the guessing window, not improve accuracy. A three-day forecast then, a 10-day forecast now, but it’s still just a guess. I find that oddly comforting. In the meantime, I liked this map from the comments thread of that Gawker link, above:

How was your weekend? Mine was some work, some play, but I still feel like a dull girl today. Watched “The Wicker Man,” the original, not the Neil LaBute remake, and friends? That was some freaky shit. Full of ’70s hair, ’70s filmmaking technique, ’70s attitudes and, just for you gentlemen, a lengthy Britt Ekland nude scene. Photo at the link; I think that woman had the most perfect breasts in Christendom. Or pagandom. Or wherever. If you read past Britt’s boobs at that link, you’ll come across some plot spoilers. I had the advantage of knowing basically nothing about the film going in, beyond that it was remade by LaBute, Mr. Happy, and that the original had a cult following. I see why.

I wish I could see more movies that way — before I’d read a word about them. But if you have to parcel out your time, you really have to rely on reviews to decide what’s worth it. Roger Ebert’s review of “Monster” notes that he had no idea who was playing the lead until he saw her name in the credits. Oh, to have that sort of virginal experience with anything in pop culture these days. Can’t do it. Thanks in no small part to bloggers like me.

OK, so let’s get some bloggage down, so I can commence the week. We have a car theme going on today, what with Gene Weingarten’s cover story in the WashPost Sunday magazine yesterday. He took the Chevy Volt out for a several-thousand-word test drive. Because it’s Weingarten, and because it’s several thousand words, it’s about a lot more than the car, and worth a read.

And I hope the Wall Street Journal has left this link on the free side of the paywall, because it’s pretty doggone amusing, a review of the new Cadillac station wagon. I used to subscribe to Car & Driver for writing like this:

Let’s say you bought this car, a Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon, with a 6.2-liter, 556-horsepower Corvette V8, six-speed manual transmission, magnetorheological dampers (I’ll get to that), Michelin SP2 gumballs, 15-inch front Brembo brakes with six-pot calipers, and microsuede wrapping on the steering wheel and shifter. Well, first of all, you’d be one strange cat, which is to say, unusual. Notwithstanding any nitro-burning ice-cream trucks or flying boattail Rollses in your neighborhood, this wagon is about as esoteric an automobile as you’re likely to find. Statistically speaking, General Motors will sell exactly none of these cars, the Detroit equivalent of Zoroastrianism.

It gets better from there. But when you’re writing about a car that has a freakin’ G-meter in the instrument cluster, you better.

And with that, I must fly. Monday, etc. So we commence a snowy week. Let’s hope it lives up to the billing.

Posted at 9:30 am in Uncategorized |

58 responses to “Snowpocalypse now. Er, Tuesday.”

  1. coozledad said on January 31, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I’m not a car enthusiast, but I’ve always loved Dan Neil’s stuff. He used to write for The Independent down here. But he was too good for us.
    The article that got him fired from The News And Observer was hilarious:
    Firing from the News & Observer
    In 1991, Dan Neil had been moved from the newsroom of the News & Observer to the classified advertising department with the expectation “that he would write dealer-friendly pieces to attract readers to the newspaper’s automobile classified section.”[4] In contrast to the newsroom, where Neil had worked with editors, he noticed his copy was no longer edited.[4] “For seven years, I had unfettered access to 200,000 readers.”[4] Neil’s writing eventually reflected the lack of constraint.[4]
    Neil’s January 1996 review of the Ford Expedition described a back-seat encounter with his girlfriend,[3] writing “this was loving, consensual and — given the Expedition’s dual airbags, side impact beams and standard four-wheel anti-lock brakes — safe sex.”[4] The News and Observer reported Neils recollection of the column in an interview years later:
    “I wrote at some point about the kids getting into the Ford Expedition and commenting on the ‘footprints’ on the windshield. Well, that was just it! People went crazy! It was kind of like Janet Jackson’s costume malfunction — a none too daring transgression, overall, but the thing that finally sent people over the edge.”[5]
    Put on probation for the article, Neil was instructed to have his articles reviewed by an editor as well as the director of classified auto advertising.[4] Refusing, he was subsequently fired,[4] and wrote in a later Durham Independent article that he was fired “for refusing to have my column vetted by the classified advertising department.”[6]
    Editors from The News & Observer contended that it was disingenuous to suggest that advertisers pressured the paper into firing Neil,[6] since Neil worked for an advertorial section of the advertising department at the time.[6]
    The incident highlighted the growing issue that newspapers, under economic pressure, have in maintaining the virtual wall between the “church” of news gathering and the “state” of advertising sales, sometimes known as a Chinese wall.[4][7] Notably, Keith Bradsher — author of a book about SUV’s called High and Mighty — indicated that among critics, “auto reviewers are the most likely to be compromised by the industry they cover.”[7] Speaking in a 2005 radio interview with Brooke Gladstone, after receiving the Pulitzer Prize, Neil described the symbiotic relationship between the automobile industry and its critics:
    “The entire environment is incestuous. They introduce new cars. They fly journalists in and put them up at really nice hotels and, you know, treat them to experiences that they would never possibly in a million years — they wouldn’t even be allowed in these hotels ordinarily. You know, and that’s not supposed to affect their judgment. But it is a compromised business, and it is also true that newspapers are under a great deal of revenue pressure on this score, and so yeah, a favorable editorial/advertorial content is often created to satisfy that need.”

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  2. 4dbirds said on January 31, 2011 at 10:08 am

    The original “The Wicker Man” scared the bejesus out of me.

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  3. Julie Robinson said on January 31, 2011 at 10:18 am

    We saw The King’s Speech, which was, as all have said, marvelous. But we also had a virginal experience with (I’m almost embarrassed to say) On the Waterfront. What an amazing movie/morality play! Somehow all I knew was the famous “I coulda been a contender” speech. How had we missed seeing it before? It was also the rare movie where I had no idea of the ending. Fantastic and thought-provoking.

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  4. Deborah said on January 31, 2011 at 10:21 am

    We’re bracing for the storm too, I’ve got to buy some more gin so we can continue to have martinis throughout. And I can’t believe we’re almost out of olives, since we bought a giant boatload at Costco last time we were there. We try to go not more than twice a year for things like that. My husband likes three olives in his martini so they go triple fast.

    I’m going to New York this weekend, and part of the agenda is a party where the last time I went I spoke with Tina Louise (Ginger from Gilligan’s Island as you all probably already know, as I’ve told that story a million times). I don’t know if she’ll be there but my friend (an artist rep) told me she was invited again as usual. The snow is supposed to be in New York on Saturday, so just my luck.

    Happy Monday everyone.

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  5. Dorothy said on January 31, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Oh crap, really Deborah? Snow on Saturday in NYC? My boss is scheduled to fly back that morning. Well I don’t trust a forecast that is 6 days away so we’ll take a wait-and-see attitude. I plan to hunker down and stay home tomorrow from work. Boss is gone for the week and I just don’t like driving when there’s the mere suggestion of ice in the forecast. A quarter to a half-inch of ice? No thanks. My black and gold sock might just get done this week after all! (Yes, just one sock. I’m a slow knitter.)

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  6. Rana said on January 31, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I still feel ashamed for telling some friends of mine what/who “Rosebud” meant in Citizen Cane. They were watching it for the first time, in installments, and had somehow remained unspoiled on that front, unbeknownst to me.

    You know how they say when it rains, it pours? Well, when an ice storm’s coming, that’s when car batteries die and you realize you’re scheduled for your semi-annual fasting blood test as well. At least I was able to reschedule the latter, but I’m gearing up for an afternoon among men in coveralls and grease under their fingernails. Here’s hoping it is, indeed, the battery. (I don’t remember ever changing it – not atypical for my experience with my Honda’s parts, for all that it’s now looking at 15 years of use. It even boggles the dealers how much mileage I get out of things.)

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  7. Julie Robinson said on January 31, 2011 at 11:20 am

    It’s not the driving that scares me, Dorothy, it’s the sidewalks and parking lots. My shoulder still reminds me of a close encounter I had three years ago. I was planning errands for today anyway; after that I can hole up and be very comfy as long as we have power. DH is made of sterner stuff and the last time his boss called to say he could come in late, he had already left for work.

    Rana, our daughter has a trusty little 2000 Ford Escort, and when the battery died this summer we realized it was the original. It’s been a great car for her, aside from its propensity to get caught in speed traps!

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  8. Dorothy said on January 31, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Oh it’s all that for me, too, Julie. I fell in the driveway two weeks ago and the bruise on my hip/thigh is just now starting to fade. And the battery on my car died on Thursday December 9th at approximately 12:45 PM. How do I know this? We had just come from Mike’s colonoscopy and had the news that they’d found that nasty tumor, and we were still feeling like crap from that news when the car would not start when we stopped to fill up the tank.

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  9. Rana said on January 31, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Oh, I find the icy sidewalks terrifying too. A couple years’ back a friend of ours wiped out, chin first, after hitting a patch. We ended up spending the night getting her to surgery in another city (ours is too small for that kind of procedure) and she ended up on a liquid diet for many weeks. So now we all “walk like old people” when we see/feel ice underfoot.

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  10. harrison said on January 31, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I have come to tolerate winter weather, but I truly hate — HATE — freezing rain. It can truly fuck up the roads. If it comes, I tend to stay off interstates because I have an irrational fear of slipping off and getting hit by a semi as I’m trying to get out of the situation.

    Julie, I’m envious that you saw On The Waterfront with more or less new eyes and a clear mind. The acting sticks in my memory: Marlon Brando, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, and Rod Steiger. I had an unintended laugh when Malden says in the movie, “Well, I’m just an Irish priest” when he was, in real life, an Orthodox Serbian-American from Gary, Indiana.

    Malden was torn when Eli Kazan received an honorary Oscar for his career. If I remember correctly, he said, “I’m not politically active. I vote, but my wife’s active in that stuff.”

    And you’re right, Nancy. Ms Ecklund possess a nice pair of breasts. I say this as an experienced heterosexual.

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  11. velvet goldmine said on January 31, 2011 at 11:42 am

    We got our own two-footer storm a week or two ago, so I guess I could archly say, “Believe it now.” The storm broke records in Connecticut, but it didn’t feel that different than any other big storm, to be honest. Maybe because The Big One featured light and fluffy snow. But the records continued to get broken in terms of total monthly snowfall, so that monster two-footer became part of an overall 5 to 6 feet — which means schools are closing down even on sunny days to widen roads for the next storm. Like 60 percent of the country, the next snowfall for us is tomorrow, with an expected layer of ice expected after that to protect those snow banks from the exertions of mankind.

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  12. alex said on January 31, 2011 at 11:50 am

    What about Britt’s rosebud? (I didn’t dare look as I’m here at work.)

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  13. nancy said on January 31, 2011 at 11:59 am

    You don’t see Britt’s rosebud, Alex, and the hindparts were body-doubled, if the film-trivia sites are to be believed. She insisted on the backside double because she’d just discovered she was pregnant. (I don’t quite follow her reasoning, either. Although that may explain why her breasts seem positively buoyant.)

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  14. brian stouder said on January 31, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Although that may explain why her breasts seem positively buoyant.

    And so was born the noun “Mae West” (for Navy life preservers); and indeed, if I was at sea I’d prefer Mae West to Britt Ekland

    Boys gotta love ‘bouyancy’; a good thing in all cases!

    (Still, I’ll have to research this Ekland site, this evening!)

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  15. LAMary said on January 31, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Britt’s breasts look nice at least partly because they look real. There are some cheesecake shots of Betty White on the web these days. She’s cute and she has real looking breasts too.

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  16. Mindy said on January 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    The store was insane at 10:30 this morning. Milk and bread were going fast, but I was very surprised to see how many people were buying cases upon cases of soda. And mostly sweet stuff at that, not much suitable for mixing with rum or whiskey.

    Recently I bought a cookbook that I figured would get used sooner or later – Apocalypse Chow: How to Eat Well When the Power Goes Out. Too bad that might be sooner instead of later. Here’s a quick recipe from it:

    Almost-instant Black Bean Chili

    2 15.5-oz cans black beans, drained (and rinsed, if possible)
    1 16-oz. jar salsa (hot or mild)
    2 to 3 tbsp chili powder, or to taste
    1 tbsp dehydrated minced onion
    1 8-oz. can corn, drained
    1 cup water, or as needed

    Combine the ingredients in a saucepan, reserving half the corn. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Add as much water as needed to create s sauce and to prevent mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
    Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently until heated through, long enough to cook off any raw taste from the chili powder, about 15 minutes. Garnish with the remaining corn.

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  17. Jeff Borden said on January 31, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I remember when custom car guys would take a Coupe de Ville and turn it into a pickup truck or a station wagon on a lark. Now, geez, the whole Caddy image is tied up in things like the Escalade. I know the farm kids who went to high school with me would probably laugh out loud at the idea of an Escalade. The trucks those guys had at home were meant for work, not hip-hop stars and athletes.

    How Cadillac became a “performance car” while the Pontiac brand, which had been built on that premise since the late ’50s has disappeared, amazes and appalls me. It will always be a rich, retired geezer mobile to me. (I’m 59 and nearing geezerhood, so I feel qualified to use that word.)

    Car and Driver still rocks, though the vehicles themselves are more sedate. I recall an article back in 1969 or 1`970, when C&D took a Dodge Coronet Super Bee with a whopping 440-cubic-inch mill down south and let a couple of moonshiners drive it on the backroads. It was such a great, great story. I recall they admired the speed and handling but the bright yellow Dodge with all the bumblebee stripes and decals would attract too much attention. (The ‘shiners drove a souped-up `55 Chevy and a plain 1967 Ford sedan equipped with the police interceptor V-8).

    Cars had personality back then and C&D knew how to address those personalities in its writing.

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  18. Jolene said on January 31, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    My most painful encounter with ice occurred in Pittsburgh. We’d had a big ice storm, and the local news had reported that many people were showing up inn ERs with broken wrists and ankles.

    So, when the need arose to take my Aussie for a walk, I let him go off leash. We were just going around the block, and there were few people out. He would, as a rule, stay close to me, but he sometimes pulled on the leash, and I didn’t want him to pull my feet out from under me on the slippery sidewalks.

    Unfortunately, I managed to fall on my own, and, since I hurt my wrist badly, wasn’t able to pick myself up right. A man driving by in a pickup stopped to help, but Sam, ever the protector didn’t want to let him get near me. I had to get Sam to come to me, which he was reluctant to do because it required giving up his protective barking at the presumed assailant, but I finally succeeded. The Good Samaritan then tied the leas to his truck and helped me up, and we went on our way,

    I had an appointment w/ another doc that afternoon, and, by that time, my wrist wasn’t hurting badly, but it wasn’t working either. He took a look at my range of motion and sent me to the ER I’d been hoping to avoid. The upshot: X-rays, surgery, a conversation-starting device attached to my wrist for six weeks, lots of exercises, and a permanently weakened right wrist.

    Not sure there’s a moral here, but it’s always struck me as both unjust and amusing that my effort to protect myself not only didn’t work, but, instead, interfered, at least briefly, with getting help when the fate I’d feared befell me. So much for planning ahead.

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  19. ROgirl said on January 31, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I just got back from my local Meijer’s and it was snowpocalyptic insanity. I could barely find a place to park and people were stocking up on groceries like they’d be in Siberia/off the grid for the next three months.

    I have a gas stove that works when the electricity goes out. I just have to light the burners.

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  20. Dorothy said on January 31, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Mindy how, pray tell, does one cook that meal if the power is out?

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  21. Jolene said on January 31, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I wondered that, too, Dorothy.

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  22. Julie Robinson said on January 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Jolene, the moral of my ice fall was compassion/no compassion. I was worried about our many elderly volunteers and went out to put additional ice melt on the parking lot when I fell. My injury made working at a computer painful yet I was excoriated for not working hard enough or fast enough, which was the eye-opener that I was in a toxic work environment. I had sorta known but was trying to work through it, and suddenly I realized it wasn’t going to happen. My sister’s heart surgery and subsequent need of semi-long term assistance was a graceful way to exit.

    We can light our gas stove burners to cook but with no heat or fireplace we can’t last long.

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  23. Little Bird said on January 31, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I’m reasonably sure there is enough chili and enough pea soup in Deborah’s fridge and freezer to ride out the blizzard. BUT I intend to make the trek to two different stores to stock up on other things.
    If we lose power here, we (and everyone else in the two high rise buildings) are screwed. Maybe we can all band together in someone’s apartment and huddle for warmth. Though, I don’t think we really know any of our neighbors quite well enough to huddle with them.

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  24. coozledad said on January 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    For some reason I keep thinking of Rod Stewart on his deathbed, muttering “Britt’s rosebud..Britt’s rosebud…”

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  25. Mindy said on January 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Dorothy and Jolene – The cookbook features recipes that can be prepared in one pot on a single butane burner. Of course that’s assuming there’s a few nonperishables in the pantry.

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  26. Julie Robinson said on January 31, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Snowpocalypse prep report: It was very busy at the library and downright ugly at the grocery, starting with the parking lot. And no milk to be found; luckily we didn’t need any.

    I see that some places are already posting that they’ll be closed tomorrow. All this before a single flake has fallen.

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  27. brian stouder said on January 31, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    We interrupt our regular Weather Terrorist drumbeat for the following special bulletin:

    here’s a funny little Faux News Alert screen shot, that’s worth a chuckle (check out where they locate Egypt)

    Jolene – maybe you should send that marvelous CIA world facts link to the folks at Fox News. I bookmarked it, and expect that it will be clicked upon regularly.

    Talk about your 24-hour snow jobs!

    (think of all the silly middle east puns one can make about this….Seria-sly; I-rack my brain)

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  28. Sue said on January 31, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Another judge rules against the health care law, and voids the whole thing.
    I thought I was really well informed about this – how did I miss that no one bothered to tuck a severability clause in? What. The. Hell.

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  29. Rana said on January 31, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Huzzah, it was just the battery. And I’d gotten ten years out of the thing!

    I decided, since I was by the Meier, to stop in and grab a few emergency candles. I got the last box, and one of the last three lantern kits (as a man who was staring at them in the aisle with me noted, the kit didn’t cost much more than a lantern plus oil, and, anyway, all the oil was sold out). It was really crowded, and they were running out of carts as they were piling up outside, and the clerks were all too busy to go and fetch them. Apparently it’s been this crazy all day; I can’t imagine what it will be like once five o’clock hits and all those people hit the grocery on the way home from work.

    Now I should go and eat something; I expect to be in bed by the time the storm hits, so hopefully I won’t have to eat cold soup later on.

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  30. Scout said on January 31, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    It rained here in Phoenix today… and it’s chilly. I am wearing long sleeves.

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  31. Jolene said on January 31, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Scout, when I lived in Tucson, I had a friend who referred to this time of year as the gloating season. The local paper always printed at least one front-page image of someone digging a car out of a snowbank or some such thing.

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  32. beb said on January 31, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I loved the map. Looked like the most honest weather map ever. I prefer Snowmageddon over Snowpocalyps.

    Sue hadn’t heard about this new judge but I’m guessing Federalist Society dingbat.

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  33. mark said on January 31, 2011 at 5:53 pm


    My understanding is that the lack of a severability clause is not accidental. The individual mandate provisions were recognized as the most problematic, cfonstitutionally, from the beginning, But without the mandate, which is calculated to bring in billions from young, healthy uninsureds, there is nothing to offset the increased cost of all the new requirements.

    From the perspective of a proponent of the plan, the only thing worse than striking down the entire plan is striking down only the individual mandate.

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  34. del said on January 31, 2011 at 5:59 pm

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  35. Sue said on January 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    mark, I agree that the individual mandate can’t be taken away, everyone who’s followed this knows that it must remain for the whole thing to work. One of the biggest irritants to me is the results of poll after poll showing majority numbers in favor of most of the aspects of reform, with the consistent exception of the individual mandate. In other words, I like the give it to me part but not the pay for it part.
    It seems to me that a calculated move like leaving out severabililty would be a gamble that Dems would be too hesitant to do.

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  36. Jakash said on January 31, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    There are lots of pros and cons with living in a big city like Chicago, but one thing that never gets old is not needing to have a car to get along. Especially for the next few days. I was walking by Lake Michigan and heard this uncharacteristic soft noise. Like leaves rustling in the trees, but it was the broken-up snow and ice mixture on top of the water being jostled gently by the waves. Hard to believe there’re supposed to be monstrous swells threatening Lake Shore Drive by tomorrow night.

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  37. brian stouder said on January 31, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Lemme just say, those Brit Ekland garbonzos are really quite nice, indeed – and for just the reason Mary points out.

    As a palate cleanser, here’s some other racey photos that I’ve been drooling over this evening, as the F1 teams unveil their new 2011 cars

    Looking at the expressions on the male faces as they gaze upon the meticulously sculpted beauties is pretty much half the show!

    As for health care, the ultimate question, it seems to me, is whether our nation can or cannot govern itself. I will be genuinely surprised if the Supreme Court actually strikes the health care reform act down. One would think they’d be loath to strike down the handiwork of our elected congress and president – but we shall see.

    Meanwhile, and not for nothing, it is worth noting the exceptionally unpalatable tactic of trying to get the judiciary to void progressive legislation. We’d have no national child labor laws, for example, if conservatives of only a few generations ago had had their way, in an effort very like the one being played out today.

    I think if the Supreme Court actually strikes the act down, the very least of the ramifications will be the damage it does to President Obama. Granted, it would wreck his presidency, but what else? If we’re going to have a runaway Court, that believes it knows how to govern better than the women and men who have won election to the congress and to the presidency, then what other inconvenient laws might it strike down?

    Those national child labor laws really DO make us uncompetitive versus the Chinese – and where does the Constitution specifically provide for those laws? And the EPA – it cannot be Constitutional, can it? If the state I live in doesn’t mind if I dump 10,000 gallons of sludge a day into the river, than what business is it of the Federal government to say otherwise?

    And really, why does ANY of my tax money end up paying for someone else’s bread? Are they just laying in their hammock, while I go to work? Where is my “severability” in that deal? Where is my “severability” if I don’t want to go to war, but we do anyway? I’m forced to pay for it, certainly with money, and possibly with blood, like it or not.

    We shall see, I suppose

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  38. Little Bird said on January 31, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I just got back from the local Trader Joe’s. It was a MAD HOUSE. I stood in line for half an hour (I really did NEED the items that I got) because it seemed like half the city was determined to empty the store. The employees almost couldn’t keep items on the shelves. And people were cranky. I was rammed a few times, and snapped at several times. We get snow and people lose all social graces apparently.

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  39. Tom M said on January 31, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Edward Woodward is a favorite mainly for his role in Breaker Morant along with Bryan Brown. Good flick for Anglophobes like me; why my daughter is the opposite (junior year at UEA, masters at Cambridge) I don’t know but I liked the movie about the Boer War.

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  40. brian stouder said on January 31, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    From the United States Constitution (with emphasis added):

    Section. 8.

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

    To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

    To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    To provide and maintain a Navy;

    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And

    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

    and so on.

    In fact, section 10 says:

    No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into ANY Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

    so that it could be argued that the (mostly Republican) state governors and AG chuckleheads who tout how they’re working together, are explicitly violating the United States Constitution by that very act.

    edit – Tom – agreed absolutely, about Breaker Morant and Edward Woodward

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  41. Deborah said on January 31, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Brian, isn’t it all about damaging Obama’s presidency?

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  42. brian stouder said on January 31, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Deborah, absolutely.

    And the very people who today cheer the loudest for Judicial obstructionism are the ones who would screech in the most piteous way, if a “liberal activist” court put a pie into the face of a president who they liked.

    Suddenly, these unelected law-givers would take on a much more sinister cast; surely, the flying monkeys of the right wing airwaves would see the parallels between our black-robed, life-tenured judicial elite as some sort of American aberration – a sort of western version of the Mullahs of the middle east.

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  43. Rana said on January 31, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the quotation, brian – always good to go back to the source. I think that the decision to make the “health care” bill about making health insurance mandatory was one of the most stupid concessions the Democrats made in this whole snafu. Nobody likes insurance companies, so telling people that the only way you’ll have health care is by giving your money directly to those companies, under penalty of law, is political suicide. If the bill had focused on providing access to care, and did so by funding it out of the budget rather than out of people’s pockets directly, it would have been less of a problem.

    I want universal, publicly-funded health care, and felt that this law was a weak but necessary step in this direction, but I am not displeased that the precedent of the government mandating people to pay private corporations for a required service, with no opting out, is being challenged. Given the increasing influence of corporations in the political realm, I worry about having such precedents. At least when we’re taxed, in theory we can vote in representatives to defend our interests, and we have that right simply by being citizens. There’s no such thing when it comes to rule-by-corporation, where the only people who matter are ones who already have power and wealth.

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  44. David in Chicago said on January 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I went to my local Dominick’s when I got home from work to get some food. It was pretty crowded, but not crazy. I had to buy “organic” bananas – the ordinary everyday bananas I usually buy were sold out.

    On Facebook, a friend of mine is soliciting nicknames for the coming storm. My favorite so far: SNOPRAH!

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  45. nancy said on January 31, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    There’s a #snoverreaction hashtag working on Twitter, too. And #SnotoriousBIG

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  46. Dexter said on January 31, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I went to Walmart for a few essentials…I got the last loaf of decent bread, and all that was left were three brands of “lite” “lo-cal” or “non-fat” bread.
    People would rather starve than eat that stuff.
    Maybe a few more folks than usual, but no panic, no maniacs.
    NBC News: “…perhaps the biggest storm to ever hit this country.”

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  47. Connie said on January 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    The big storms I remember are the Blizzard of 78 when I was snowed in in Ann Arbor, and the famous Minneapolis Halloween Blizzard of 91, which I spent in the downtown Hyatt Regency.

    Seems odd that grocery madness would occur in the Detroit metro area today when the storm isn’t actually going to hit us until tomorrow evening.

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  48. moe99 said on January 31, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Rana, if the judicial decision in FL is upheld, there will be NO health care reform whatsoever. he threw out everythng.

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  49. Deborah said on January 31, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    It seems to me like it’s all going to come down to justice Kennedy. Does anyone have any idea where he’s going to come down on this? Either that or this is a briar patch situation that’s way, way over my head.

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  50. joodyb said on January 31, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    flakes be falling here. nigh on 18 hours probably, now. 5 more inches. nobody cares. i do, a little, because i’m driving a 12-pound rental car in the worst possible weather. can’t get it in or out of the garage, it’s so damned light. can barely park it on the street, it gets stuck so easily. and this is because my darling car got smashed a week and a half ago, and i’m still waiting for the verdict. the side curtain airbags blew. everyone sez that means totaled. (nance: i will probably buy a new version of the same thing. god i love my car.) as a precautionary measure, we drove a couple audis saturday. mark did not like them, from a passenger standpoint. what i need: 4wd, heated seats and satradio. any recommendations welcome. oh, and i’d prefer a wagon.
    connie: i was in both those blizzards too! i did the 78 in newark, ohio, though. didn’t get home to columbus for a week. was cozy in my colleague’s victorian attic on a super fluffy futon though. memories.

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  51. Jolene said on January 31, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Can you imagine being Obama right now? His health care law is under attack, he somehow has to get Mubarak to leave office w/o the Middle East blowing up, and his ambassador to China has announced his resignation and is likely to run against him in 2012. All he needs is another oil spill.

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  52. Jakash said on February 1, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Here’s an article discussing the increase in ice-related accidents lately, apropos of some of the comments earlier today:,0,1542891.column

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  53. Little Bird said on February 1, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Okay, this may sound waaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of line here, but why is Murbarac Obama’s problem? I get that what is going on is a HUGE deal. But why is it Obama’s problem to solve? Don’t we have enough going on HERE?

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  54. Dexter said on February 1, 2011 at 2:12 am

    joodyb: What you might love is a Subaru Forester. Heated front seats available, you can get your sat-radio, too. I have never owned one, but I know they are great cars.

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  55. Jolene said on February 1, 2011 at 2:15 am

    A propos of nothing in particular, here is a cute little video that answers all your questions re what is and isn’t part of the the UK, Great Britain, the British Isles, and the British Commonwealth. Helpful, actually.

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Joodyb — Newark OH, coated in ice, says hello!

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  57. Rana said on February 1, 2011 at 10:12 am

    moe, I know that. I’m not happy about that, though apparently a large part of it is because the original drafters didn’t include language that allowed the dropping of one part but keeping the rest. I still think it was poorly planned… perhaps on purpose… and included a lot that wasn’t really about making sure people have access to doctors and medicine. Really, it was a bill (and law) that was designed to fail.

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  58. brian stouder said on February 1, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Really, it was a bill (and law) that was designed to fail.

    I honestly don’t agree with that. I think that the bill is unavoidably complex, as it addresses a complex problem. Adding to that the inevitable complexity of all human governance (aka “political action”) means we’ll always start out with these creaky, Rube Goldberg-type solutions to big, complex challenges. The only reasonable hope for such a sweeping change is that, first, something that is adjustable gets passed (which has happened), and then that structure can be improved, as any such Big Legislation surely will require, in the fullness of time.

    But if we are to be reduced to either “Fully Acceptable” or “Wholly Rejected”, with nothing in between – then one is left to ponder whether indeed we remain capable of day-to-day, year-to-year self government. Our relatively recent financial crash shows what happens when we wave away everything until we reach a crisis. I would like to believe that we (our nation) is better than that, but possibly we really aren’t

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