Fed up.

It’s just as well that the weekend is coming, as I need to unplug from the internet and stop paying attention to politics for a while. I’m starting to feel that old sourness, the simmer I maintained from roughly 2004 through 2008…no, through now, that pecked-to-death-by-ducks feeling.

Part of it is — when will I learn? when??? — paying attention to Sarah Palin again. She “slammed” Michelle Obama over her breast-feeding proposal, in CNN’s headline. In the copy, she “took a swipe” with this nonsensical comment:

“No wonder Michelle Obama is telling everybody, ‘You’d better breast-feed your baby,” she said at a Long Island appearance on Thursday, after slamming President Barack Obama for rising gas prices and other items — like milk — since he took office. “Yeah, you’d better, because the price of milk is so high right now.”

Because the price of milk is, what? The White House’s responsibility? Is she making a joke? Infants aren’t fed milk, at least not directly. Should we bother to point out no one is saying “you’d better” breastfeed? Or by doing so are we falling into her trap?

Meanwhile, her wingman, Michele Bachmann:

“To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump for my babies? You wanna talk about the nanny state, I think you just got a new definition.”

Oh. Again, no one suggested government should “buy” a breast pump for anyone, only that women should consider it for their babies, and that the IRS considers the cost deductible as medical supplies. This sounds very reasonable to a reasonable person; the benefits of breastfeeding are well-known, for both mother and child, and encouraging more of it is like encouraging healthy eating across the board, but as we well know, $P is opposed to that, too. Except when she’s claiming we all have first responsibility for our own health, in which case it’s a good thing.

(Most poor women — the ones most in need of financial support for breastfeeding — will find many pumps out of reach, financially, at least when they’re purchased new. However, there is a wide range of alternatives to the one I used, the Medela Pump in Style, which retails for $350. Those include the vast secondhand market (I paid $100 for mine, used), rental and the old favorite, “hand expression,” i.e. self-milking. But I wish more women would give breastfeeding a try; it is truly one of the best things I ever did. And I did it for a year, working most of that time. I never needed one of these. Mrs. O’s on the side of the angels here.)

And I’ve been watching the Wisconsin protests with mixed feelings, as I cannot avoid the spin from both sides, but having it all spun through my brain leaves me with this conclusion: This is not about public employees learning to give back or whatever. This is about busting their unions, and don’t even tell me it isn’t. Anyway, I guess this is the left’s tea party. The capitol building was so packed the people who work there were having trouble getting through the halls. And while this legislation will no doubt pass eventually, I can’t begrudge folks a few days of …well, not rage, exactly, this is Wisconsin. Disgruntlement? The Democrats’ run-and-hide strategy is nothing new, either; Molly Ivins wrote some of her best columns about this when tactic was used in Texas in the ’80s. Meanwhile, wait until the unions are gone — then the fun really starts. Wisconsin teachers are prohibited from striking under terms of their current contracts. When those are gone, well, careful what you wish for, King Walker.

(For an alternative on how one might successfully bargain with a union in a time of diminishing public resources, see here. I’ve linked before, but there you are.)

All is not grim, however: “I Am Number Four” looks like the best generator of hilarious bad reviews since “Sex and the City 2,” even without the “smells like number two” headlines. Ebert:

I like science fiction. The opening shot of “I Am Number Four” holds promise, as John (Alex Pettyfer), the narrator, explains that he is a Mogadorian, no doubt from a planet named Mogador. Specifically, he is Mogadorian No. 4. Don’t expect me to explain the Mogadorian numbering system. He is hiding out on planet Earth and doing everything possible to disguise himself as a box-office attraction like Edward Cullen.

Paul Constant:

Oh, and there are aliens called Mogadorians, who are evil and who want to murder John for some evil reason. They have evil monster dogs that look almost exactly like every other evil monster dog in cinematic history, from Ghostbusters onward. And John has some kind of power that can do whatever he needs at any given point. (He can cast light out of his palms like a flashlight, push things around with telekinesis, blow shit up, and… jump-start cars?) It’s just one scene of generic sci-fi garbage after another.

And so on.

So. Here’s to an internet-free weekend. Think I’ll clean a bathroom.

Posted at 9:48 am in Current events, Movies |
 

143 responses to “Fed up.”

  1. brian stouder said on February 18, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Well, this story from the BBC Motorsport section provides a little palate cleanser, amidst the upheaval in Bahrain:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/9400392.stm

    Bernie Eccelstone always reminds me of Professor Marvel in the Wizard of Oz; more contrived than actually crooked, and vaguely in control of everything. For example, Formula One is scheduled to practice and race in Bahrain in two weeks. Presumably this is causing major angst amongst their various stake-holders, and so Bernie commented to the press. Here’s an excerpt from the BBC’s article:

    Ecclestone added: “I spoke to the Crown Prince (Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa) this morning. He doesn’t know any more than you or I, but they’re monitoring exactly what is going on.” The Crown Prince is the eldest son of the Bahrain King, Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa, and is the heir apparent and deputy supreme commander of the Bahrain defence force.

    Huh.

    I particularly loved the dismissive “He doesn’t know any more than you or I…” – in a statement where the goal was (presumeably) to inform and reassure people. Plus, if that crown prince doesn’t know any more than you or I, about a country that is no larger than Dallas, Texas (which itself is akin to a foreign land, these days, but we digress!), then presumeably we’re in the land of “unknowable unknowns” [to paraphrase Rummy]; and we’ll glide past the blood on the hands of that crown prince, if indeed he runs the security aparatus)

  2. Dorothy said on February 18, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I’m still trying to figure out how that crazy Alaskan connected breastfeeding to the price of milk. Instead of getting up in arms about her wacky statements anymore, I’m trying to focus on the fact that she’s revealing more and more of her lack of brains and it will expose more and more people to her brand of nuts. She just keeps digging the hole bigger and bigger and eventually, if things go my way, she’ll be swallowed whole by it and sink into oblivion.

  3. Mark P. said on February 18, 2011 at 10:11 am

    The Yahoo is king on the right. Ignorance is the greatest virtue. Baseless opinion is deepest philosophy. Loud, foolish whining is highest public discourse.

  4. Deborah said on February 18, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I’m with you Nancy, on breastfeeding. I breast fed Little Bird until she was 14 months old. But I’m creeped out when I hear about women doing it until their kid is 3 or 4. $P and Bachmann, just go away. Please.

  5. Connie said on February 18, 2011 at 10:26 am

    FWIW, “I am Number Four” is an excellent YA novel.

  6. 4dbirds said on February 18, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I managed to breastfeed while on my maternity leave and for a little while after returning to work. Being in the army and finding time to pump milk was extremely hard. Still, I’m glad I did it. My step-daughter who is due in May has no interest in breastfeeding. I can’t talk her into it at all.

  7. Joe Kobiela said on February 18, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Just so I have this straight. When gas prices rose when GWB was in office it was the presidents fault, But when they rise with Obama in office its not the presidents fault?
    Greetings from Monongahela Penn.
    Pilot Joe

  8. 4dbirds said on February 18, 2011 at 10:54 am

    The only thing I remember about any Bush and milk was that GWHB didn’t know how much a gallon of milk cost. Or am I remembering that wrong?

  9. LAMary said on February 18, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I breast fed both kids until they were a year old. In that first year there were no ear infections, ever. My mother in law and one sister in law thought it was disgusting to breastfeed and both were very serious when they told me I had no way to see if my kids were getting enough to eat. The fact that both kids were growing, peeing and pooping wasn’t enough proof.

  10. coozledad said on February 18, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Sarah Palin wouldn’t know from breastfeeding because she’s got silicone tits, and her spawn were likely wet-nursed by someone brought in from a state where they don’t cook meth for breakfast.
    It wouldn’t matter if she did know jack shit, anyway. It’s not her job description. She was selected to show her ass like a mandrillus sphinx in oestrus, with the dual purpose of enchubbening the moldy cashews of bloated white guys (who, let’s be honest, have never had it in anything that didn’t have an air valve and thermoplastic seams) and goading liberals to say something that might be construed by “dresses like a pedo” socialite leghumper George Will, as sexist.

  11. Julie Robinson said on February 18, 2011 at 11:15 am

    There are so many difficult, intractable political issues right now. Instead of attempting to solve them, the cynics on the right would rather distract the public with artificial outrage. It’s much easier to rant about breast pumps than to present a reasoned, in-depth examination of our economic woes. How many people will it even affect? To deduct medical expenses you must exceed 7.5% of your gross income. This isn’t going to cost much.

    BTW, I breastfed #1 but developed major medical issues that forced me to wean #2 at six weeks, and I was devastated. The knowledge that you are providing everything your babe needs from your own body is empowering.

    My cold isn’t much better but I am feeling the need for creativity and thinking about sewing something. With great music playing instead of talk radio. Happy weekend all.

  12. Sue said on February 18, 2011 at 11:29 am

    What’s going on in Wisconsin is not “the left’s tea party”. No one’s brought a gun to make a point; not one person has implied that any public official needs to be ‘taken out’. All the signs are spelled correctly.
    But the biggest reason that this is not the left’s tea party is that in spite of three days of demonstrations by thousands of people throughout the state, with more to come, the only support coming from our elected officials is in the form of 14 Dem senators who’ve taken the drastic step of leaving the state in an attempt to slow the process down. Nationally it’s been very quiet. Obama finally made a cautious comment two days in. Nancy Pelosi tweeted on it last night. Elected officials are not afraid of these people enough to even pretend that this matters. Paul Ryan told a national audience that Wisconsinites exercising their right to peaceably assemble are rioting.
    And, oh yeah, there is some evidence that the budget crisis that Walker is pinning this legislation on may not exist.

  13. Bob (not Greene) said on February 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Joe,

    Thanks for changing the subject and making no sense in doing so. First of all, no one’s talking about gas prices. Second, if you can strain yourself a bit, try to understand the argument. What Nance is asking is how breastfeeding and the cost of milk are related and how the cost of milk is attributed to the White House in any case. They aren’t and it can’t. $P simply made the connection to take a political cheap shot — one that is red meat to the yahoos but makes no sense whatsoever. Kind of like your response. Gasoline, out of thin air. You gotta do better than that.

  14. Bitter Scribe said on February 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Since when is Michele Bachmann against lowering someone’s taxes?

    Oh, yeah: When that someone isn’t rich.

  15. Dave said on February 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    “I Am Number Four”, written by two authors, when I saw the planet the main character was from, I got curious, the younger of the two is from Spencer, Ohio, right down the road from Mogadore, Ohio, more or less. Jobie Hughes also attended Ohio University.

    The other is James Frey, he of the fictionalized life that blew up on Oprah.

  16. nancy said on February 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Dave,

    Sort of. But not exactly.

  17. ROgirl said on February 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I had the opportunity to see a sneak preview of “I am Number Four,” but after I read some of the descriptions of the movie I decided I really wasn’t interested in a movie about an alien who comes to earth in the form of a teenager and ends up in the US midwest.

    I’ve seen that movie before. Isn’t that Superman?

  18. coozledad said on February 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Wasn’t Bruce Willis in “I am #2”? Sorry, that was “Die Hard”.

  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    The James Frey thing — he’s a graduate of Denison University, and a number of the non-occuring events described in his “memoir” took place/didn’t happen here in Granville. It’s hard to be ambivalent about him, but all his professors say he was courteous, hard working, and quite frankly one of their best students ever.

    For what it’s worth. But I’m still not going to see #4. Hoping to take the Lovely Wife to “The King’s Speech” after watching the DU drama dept. do “The Drowsy Chaperone” tonight — if you’re near Granville, this weekend and next you can see some B’way for central Ohio prices.

  20. Dorothy said on February 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you Bob (not Greene) for that observation. I thought it was just me.

  21. Catherine said on February 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Sue, I hope this is some solace: My local NPR station here in CA is presently doing a live talk segment on the situation in WI, with 3 state senators on the line. So, at least a few people are hearing about it outside of WI. You can listen to the live stream at http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2011/02/18/wisconsin-dems-walk-out-over-controversial-budget-/

  22. mark said on February 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Sue- The Washington Post reached a different conclusion about the degree of elected official involvement in the Wisconsin stuff, and didn’t find Obama quite as cautious. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/17/AR2011021705494.html Don’t personally see why that matters one way or the other.

    I’m not bothered by the stuff in Wisconsin, though some of it (Hitler posters, camping out at politicians homes) I wouldn’t do. Felt the same way about the Tea Parties. Vigorous debate in peace-loving America.

  23. coozledad said on February 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    The Man Who Fell to Earth was a pretty good take on how this planet might chew up visitors and spit them out. Buck Henry was good in that one, unless I’m misremembering. Not a lot of shit blowing up, though.

  24. Peter said on February 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Bob, not Greene, I think your comment is mean spirited at best. If YOU would take the time to look at Madame Palin’s comment, she DID blame Obama for rising gas prices, as well as other items, such as milk. Joe is correct in stating that W got the same treatment when gas prices went up during his administration, and it was just as stupid then as it is now.

    However, Joe, the problem with the argument is that the people who were complaining about gas prices under Bush are just about the same people who are beefing about Obama now. I do remember a few conservative commentators stating that invading Iraq will lower gas prices, without realizing that disrupting gas supplies is one large cause of price swings, no matter how the gas is disrupted.

  25. Deborah said on February 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    James Frey sounds like a royal a-hole from that link to the New York Magazine article.

    I never got the appropriations thing in art that Richard Prince does. While it’s supposed to be high concept it just seems lazy to me.

  26. Sue said on February 18, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    mark, it matters because this is going to be a national issue. WI isn’t the only state where Republicans are targeting unions with union-breaking legislation. Not weakening legislation, no effort to take away rights incrementally, this was union breaking work and they are doing it because they think they can get away with it.
    Union organization is very, very important to Democratic candidates, whether those candidates realize it and recognize it or not. And Obama saying something along the lines of “it seems” like an assault on worker’s rights isn’t exactly frothing at the mouth fury (which he doesn’t do anyway, yes I know).
    Kill the unions and you are one step closer to that dreamed-for permanent Republican majority. The Dems do not have a myriad of business groups behind them funneling money their way, nor do they have an entire network spinning things their way.
    It’s probably not a coincidence that when Scott Walker announced this bill last Friday the Club for Growth was running anti-union ads the next day, before any teacher or DPW guy or county nurse knew what hit them.
    That’s why national Dems should be paying very close attention to this and trying to benefit from all this energy. As usual, they’re late to the party and still unsure if they should have brought a hostess gift. For the first several days of this protest, average folks were doing the heavy lifting and they were working by themselves. For the most part they still are.

  27. mark said on February 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Sue- thanks for the explanation. My “doesn’t matter” meant I don’t think it inappropriate for Obama or anyone else to weigh in. It is a big issue and I’m all for debate.

    I suspect my side will get the better of things, when the dust settles. As a matter of strategy, I don’t think shutting down the schools plays well with the average folks. We shall see.

  28. Bob (not Greene) said on February 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    No, Peter, it’s mean-spirited at worst. At best, it’s the truth. Look, I’m done with letting people throwing bombs and telling tales without receiving something in return. Me, I’m through. The discussion posed by Nance and any report about $P’s comments about breastfeeding were about that only. Joe made a bid at redirection and was called on it. Plain and simple. It’s not a coincidence that this post is title “Fed up.” For too long I wanted to give people the benefit of the doubt and courteously hear their points of view. Those days are over.

  29. Jolene said on February 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Also, FWIW, I just don’t recall all that much criticism of Bush when gas prices spiked in the summer of 2007. What I remember is a John McCain and Hillary Clinton advocating a gas tax holiday, and Barack Obama saying it was a bad idea.

  30. Jeff Borden said on February 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    As one of the resident grey beards, I was friends with the sons and daughters of more than a few unionized auto workers in Northeastern Ohio while in high school inthe 1960s. Yeah, one of the parents was some kind of a “shop steward” and he bragged about doing nothing but sitting at a desk and drinking coffee and talking about the Browns. But my recollection of many, if not most, is that the union families lived a fairly typical lower- to middle-middle class life: the occasional new car, the yearly trip to Florida or Disneyland, a decent but not ostentatious house, dinner out once in awhile.

    I’m not trying to defend the unions, per se, and I’m quite aware of the excesses of some union leaders, the absurdity of some of the union rules (which I once famously ran afoul of while at the Dispatch), etc. Yet I cannot imagine the American middle-class would have emerged without unions. Those men and women back in the day risked their lives against hostile cops, Pinkertons, scab workers, etc. to build a better life that didn’t require enslavement by an employer. And they were dodging bullets, clubs and rocks, not tear gas or social approbation. So, I tend to cut them some slack.

    Unions are just about the last bulwark working people have against a table that now is heavily weighted against them, especially after SCOTUS gave the corporate elite an even larger club with Citizens United. Even if you do not belong –and given the tiny percentage of Americans who claim union membership that is the rule rather than the exception– the work they do helps ensure YOUR workplace maintains some semblance of sanity.

    If Scott Walker and his ideological cronies succeed in Wisconsion, there will be a wave of this kind of effort in the many states govered by the GOP. I guess we have to start accepting the idea that those represented by unions are “bottom-feeders,” as the Oxycontin Kid said earlier to day, while also accepting the idea that Paris Hilton and her ilk deserve the fat tax cuts Republicans have worked tirelessly to give them.

  31. Jolene said on February 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    The idea that Michelle Obama is dictating anyone’s behavior is so out there I can’t get my head around it. Seems to me she has bent over backward to shape her anti-obesity initiative so that it focuses,in large part, on what institutions can do to make it easier for individuals to eat well and exercise more, and, in focusing on individuals, she always emphasizes choice, balance, moderation rather than restriction and rule-following.

    But, really, the opposition is just opposition. The real problem is that Michelle Obama has taken s position on something. Thus, Bachmann, Palin and others must take the opposite position.

    What’s funny is that she appears to have lovely, high-achieving (Sasha tried out her Chinese on President Hu!), fit, well-behaved children. If she were married to a conservative, she’d be regarded as a model of motherhood.

  32. Mark P. said on February 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Jeff Borden, you reminded me of a practice by the owner of the newspaper where I worked many years ago. He would hire out his production crew to newspapers where the union was on strike. He was a wonderful man with a nice plantation, a helicopter to get to it from home, and a newspaper in the great north-northwest, and a jet to fly there for hunting I mean business trips.

  33. Sue said on February 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    mark, that’s why what’s going on in WI is different. No one besides the usual suspects is really screaming about schools closing, which is unheard of – most people seem to think at minimum that it’s a good civics lesson. It’s both bizarre and heartening to see people with all different viewpoints coming together on this matter, just enough to say ‘hey, this isn’t right’. The three unions who are exempt from this legislation (coincidentally, all three endorsed Walker in the election) have members showing up anyway. An amusing part of this is listening to union members who voted for Walker expressing their shock about it; in a nutshell they thought he was going to go after someone else (I’ve had interesting conversations with three of these folks).
    Not everyone is on board, of course. No Republican is backing down, in spite of talk of recalls and without thought to the consequences of their political careers. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel thinks taking away most bargaining rights and placing restrictions on the rights that are left is just fine because of this budget crisis. No one except for a progressive newspaper in Madison seems to be looking into the report by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau that there might not even be a crisis.
    I think ultimately the Republicans will get what they want but may pay a bigger price than they intended. Bottom line is that the longer this goes on the better chance union members have to make an impact not just on Wisconsin but on the nation. And whatever happens, Scott Walker has done more for organized labor in 7 days than anyone in years.

  34. Dave said on February 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Mark P., you’ve described it perfectly and what, in a barebones essence got unions started, I’ve got mine and I’m keeping it for ME.

    As for James Frey, when I first started reading the article our hostess linked to, I thought I was going to read an article that would remind me of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. I should have known better, what a jerk.

    Yes, I confess to reading The Bobbsey Twins, which were some of the first books I ever read, when I was about eight and had a newly minted library card.

  35. MarkH said on February 18, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Further to Jeff Borden’s post-

    I’m not a union guy, but belonged to one once, the Steelworkers Union in the late ’60s – early ’70s. I generally think unions have overreached. But a few weeks ago I watched Matewan again. If you haven’t seen it, watch it next time on TV. Just an excellent John Sayles film. This one scene is a most compelling plea for worker organization, at least, as it was needed in coalfield West Virginia in the ’30s. Chris Cooper is effing fantastic in the film, as is James Earl Jones and Dorothy’s favorite, David Strathairn, as the redoubtable Sid Hatfield.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwEMIvDEFy4

    EDIT — Dorothy, is my memory correct on your affection for Strathairn? Or was it one of the others here?

  36. brian stouder said on February 18, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    No one except for a progressive newspaper in Madison seems to be looking into the report by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau that there might not even be a crisis.

    Rachel Maddow was the first place that I heard that somewhat astonishing fact; that the state was in SURPLUS and the new governor handed all out the surplus – and this “deficit/crisis” is a two year projection.

    So rather than a house-on-fire, break-windows-to-get-out emergency, we (at worst) have a very sobering inspection report, upon which we must act.

    And the governor shrieks and blusters, and whips open his fly and openly dangles the idea of deploying the National Guard (!!!???!!) against the (rightly) upset citizens of his state?

    I mean, Good God in Heaven above!! Imagine if some candy-assed, freshly-minted, wet-behind-the-ears darling of the Democratic party threatened to sic a god damned army on citizens who DARED to express their displeasure with their newly elected government!

    Instead, the roaring teabagger defenders of liberty and free speech and the right to mouth-off have suddenly lost their voice! Suddenly, they’re an amen-corner for their own brand of infallible-State judgement; suddenly, their default position with regard to those with whom they disagree is not just saying “go to hell”, but instead naked aggression and outright threats of state-sponsored intimidation (if not terrorism, outright), for anyone who dares to protest.

    I think I shall be scrubbing our bathroom this weekend, too

  37. coozledad said on February 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Bob (not Greene). That’s a wise choice. I wouldn’t even hire one of them to dig a shit trench out here. If our teabag legislature manages to pass a voter ID, I’m hoping they’ll include party affiliation, so I can ask for that card when I’m getting a deck built, or a foundation poured, and I can at least tell the registered Republicans to go do the full yogic intestinal cleanse with a Gadsden flag.
    We had a Democrat out the past couple of days to do some electrical work. No Rush Limbaugh blaring from the truck radio, no thuggy in-yer-face Bible waving, no casing the place for articles to steal later, and no passive- aggressive billing practices. Breath of fresh air, I tell ya.

  38. Sue said on February 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    brian, in the interests of fairness I need to mention that Scott Walker at first only mentioned that National Guard troops would be deployed to take the place of workers if there was a strike. Subsequent comments have been a little fuzzier.
    And he ran on a platform of giving tax breaks to attract businesses, so that shouldn’t have been a surprise when he actually did. The whole ‘we’re broke and it’s your fault because you negotiated contracts years and decades ago, so we have to destroy you’ – now that was a bit of a shock.
    Living near Milwaukee, I’ve never seen Scott Walker really angry, even when he couldn’t get stuff like this past the Milwaukee County board. He is really, really pissed right now and he’s showing it. That’s a major mistake, even if as I said before he is probably going to get what he wants or something substantially like it.

  39. brian stouder said on February 18, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Sue – understood; but the other day, I stopped at McDonalds for a burger and some cookies and a Diet Coke ($3!), and they play FOX news on their big tv there, and this was the first place I heard about the National Guard possibly being called up in Wisconsin.

    The blonde with the the pretty eyes who does their mid-day news was playing it up for all it was worth; she was visibly excited (in a serious, faux-newsy way) and was speaking in grave tones about military intervention as they ran the live-feed of people protesting at the state house.

    I took her very seriously, and I take your ridiculous governor very seriously. There’s no over-stating this.

    The message was very, very clear.

  40. Jeff Borden said on February 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I guess we’ve traveled quite some distance as a nation when we develop collective amnesia over the highly-compensated bastards in the financial arena who destroyed the national economy and then were rewarded for their malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance with billions of dollars in bail out money, but we think it’s an outrage that a retired teacher, fireman, librarian or police officer should be able to keep the benefits and pensions they worked so hard to obtain.

    Marie Antoinette was ahead of her time. If she were in America these days, she’d be financially backing a teabagging organization devoted to demonizing the middle class.

    Madness. . .absolute madness.

    Well, when we’re all dining on Tender Vittles and sleeping in an old refrigerator box behind the Wal-Mart, I hope we’ll be grateful that, by God, Kim Kardashian’s taxes are low.

  41. Halloween Jack said on February 18, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Honestly, I couldn’t care less if Frey was “courteous, hard working, and quite frankly one of their best students ever.” He’s a hack and a liar, a failed Hollywood screenwriter and producer who exploited the pain and misery of others (including a high school classmate who died in a car-train collision, whom Frey claimed to be the best friend of) to get a toe-hold in the publishing industry, and is now busy exploiting MFAs who will do literally anything to get published with the worst publishing contract in the business. I want his movie to fail for about the same reason that I wanted Tucker Max’s movie to fail, and it looks like it’s going to, which puts a little ray of sunshine into a dismal time.

  42. name redacted said on February 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Today’s interesting fact about the Governor Who Would Be King: He does not have a college degree. Which is no slam on others who don’t. But if you’re going to fuck up my state by swinging the big one after a month in office — axe high-speed rail, axe stem-cell research, blow up the UW System and Milwaukee Public Schools, throw out decades of collective-bargaining rights (Wisconsin was the first state to offer those, folks), demonize state employees and bust unions — thus opening the door to strikes, which those very same collective bargaining agreements prohibit — you’d better be a helluva lot smarter than this guy.

  43. Jolene said on February 18, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Speaking of high-speed rail, does shutting down those projects really make the fiscal sense that the new Republican governors say it does? To me, the idea of a Great Lakes system that would connect Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, and Minneapolis, Omaha, and St. Louis–or most of those places–makes a tremendous amount of sense. Seems like it could really be revitalizing for those cities.

  44. prospero said on February 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    The new Republican governors are asshats and could not care less what makes fiscal sense. In fact, they know about enough about fiscal sense to fit in Dhris Shritie’s sizaBLE butt. He knew so much he cancelled the tunnell project that would have created several hundred thousand jogs. Why? It would have created jobs. The black gu/t might have gotten ctedit. He’s a fat twat with no brains. Hell it’s Jersey. What’s not to like?

  45. Moe99 said on February 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    In Hawaii til next Thursday. Good time to let current events slide. Aloha

  46. Deborah said on February 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Jolene, you are so right about high speed rail connecting all of the Midwest cities you mentioned. It just makes so much sense to me in terms of job creation and the environment. Business travelers between those cities would eat that up because the time would be very similar to air travel (given security lines etc) and most times you would be deposited in the center city instead of the far out exurbs where many airports are located resulting in a pricey cab ride.

  47. Hattie said on February 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I always sign off on the weekends, too. The world can wait a while for my personal revelations and dazzling insights, and I can even get some reading done.

  48. coozledad said on February 18, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Moe: Bliss out. We had seventy degrees here today, but it’s a blip. Not complaining, though. I was listening to this lovely distillation of 60’s California pop and getting very little done:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOFbj3Fk4fw
    In my opinion, songwriting is pretty good these days.

  49. Brian Cubbison said on February 18, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    And of course, “The Man Who Fell to Earth” was written by Walter Tevis, who taught writing at Ohio University.

  50. joodyb said on February 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    go moe. right behind ya.

  51. prospero said on February 18, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    The new Republican governors are asshats and could not care less what makes fiscal sense. In fact, they know about enough about fiscal sense to fit in Chris Chritie’s immense butt. It is exploding big-ass heads up their asses like Chris Christie whose parents were obviously monstrous assholes He knew so much he cancelled the tunnell project that would have created several hundred thousand jobs. Ain’t that a man. hae’s a piece o’ shit.Why? It would have created jobs. The black guy might have gotten credit. He’s a fat twat with no brains. Hell it’s Jersey. What’s not to like? bigasBedgord HLEY BAR Bedgord s piece of suet and gristle. Rwpublican Governor’s You mean like Nathan Bedford Haley Bartbour. Now there is a real presidential canfidate. He just lobes him some racists.

    Does anybody that voted for him in the first place recognize the radical, reborn, whack-job Tim Pawlenty? I doubt they’d have voted for the new idiot version of the cuter Angle, the guy that let the bridge fall down, because his BFF W wanted to cut taxes when everybody rich was rich and living it up. Infrastructure? We doan need no steenkin’ infrastructure. And that wouldn’t put people to work anyway. Neither would building high-speed trainlines. We’re the Republicans. We want you to live without a government, Sort of like Thunderdome, but Sarah P. not Tina. Rich Lowey is seriously yanking it about now. She winked right at him. Well she was a governor, at least for two years, or almost two years. And then there’s Mitt, that invented Obamacare before the GOP fucked up health care reform. Oh, geez, he’s a republican, and he invented Obamacare. Ever Mind.

    Jolene, you are thinking with your brain. There is no way shutting off those projects makes a bit of sense, unless you are a scumbag Republican pol intent on getting the darkie out the White House. For sure, the insane anti Obamaism is straight out of Birth of a Nation. This is racist bollocks. If Obama said tomorrow deregulate the banks, Republicans would say they trust the banking industry to refudiate itsownself., and the president is an African socialist intent on letting the financial buttfucks refudiate themselves in the manner of Bernie Madoff. He is just the wrong color for these Dukes of industry and the stock market. Fatass white guy, that’ll getcha/ everything will be humming then. Oh, and the Michelle Obama is obese morons try a real woman not an inflatable doll,. She weighs about what Laura Bush did and she’s at least 5 inches taller. And I mean no offense to Mrs. Bush, she can’t help if her husband is a dildo for Dockless Cheney’s butt, but seriously, if you have a brain in your head. That dickhead didn’r come up a bit short. I mean the lobotomy and all, And people are considering anothe Bush. I will move to Vancouver, Certainly this would take divine interventiob from Saint Antonin, That asshole foisted W on the country. With partisan politics and malice aforethought. The Justices that know better will never recuse themselves when they know the Koch cash is in play. You can’t sell your shit like you can if you pull the string on the Xupreme Court thing. Clarence does it for the cash and that mildly unattractive bimbo he’s marrried to. Scaia does it because he knows better than you do what some 18th Century wahoo with a beoom up his ass was thinking at any given momwent. And it sure as shit had anything to do with legal protections against search and seizurwt. Or militias. Arm ’em all with snlarfed magazines. Let God sort ’em out. That’s what God said when hHe anded down hte Constitution.Judfe Scalia, uber alles. Supreme Coirt, where we make totalitarian corporations into just plain folks, And make bun of the English language and grammar just a bunch of namby=pamby bullshit that doan mean dick, like in the second amendment. And corporations and evil twins, they’re people too, The Koch Brothers. I picture the Dukes. And all of that anti Dan, this was one hilarious movie. You also forgot about Vacation, which is [ossible the funniest move ever made/. Well no, that’s Raising Aroapm, qhich is also one of the best movies ever made. Actually Republocan Gpvernors are fppls in general, and have no leg to stand on. Republican fovernors are the fat=ass Gkenn Beck lookalike, the half-termer when she realized she could make more cash bashing the semi=literate baby.daddy of her illiterate kid, Miss some caribou with a really big gun preaimed for youavrwe you lcaimed to be all shooting from a helicopter. You can’t shoot a rifle for shit when you are propped up with sandbags. You lie and you can’t stop. It’s pathological. You just have an insatiable need to lie your ass off, That governor? Wee, half or so? Republican dovernora. . They loe thay asses off. Black Guy? White House? Does not compiute. You are talking about the “Willie Horton” scumbags/ HW let much more heinous folks free, but Willie Horton with face seriously blackened ruled. That’s the modern Republican PartySomeday in the near future, they’ll look back on when they used to be the majority.
    So these assholes figure that giving a minuscule tax break for purchasing what is undoubtedlt medical apparatus equals the ultimate apogee of the nanny state. No pediatrician that ever lived didn’t think mother’s breast milk wasn’t best for kids. Nestle and other conglomerates have made this a big deal by pushing powdered formula in third world countries with substandard water. The let’s give infants sholera jam. Knowinlgly pulling that bullshit is the sane thing as outright murder, And the perpetrators are pulling a fast one on the First Lady. I’ve gpt no lady lumps. I can only contribute good looks and a Y chromosome. But my dad was a spectacularly well-known and serious pediatrician He believed wholeheartedly in the efficacy of breast-feeding. It’s what mammals do. Last I saw, we are mammals, right? Why is it that whackjobbers jabe a problem with this. Dan’t stand the sight of a bteast? Driven over the edge into sexual rage by the sight of one bare breast being suckled? Looking at Michelle Bachmann, I’d say those were wizened and all dried up, probably poisnous. Yuck. Who’s more revolting, Sarah or Michelle. Both with NWSED in my opinion. But Rich Lowry She does appear sort of human.

  52. jcburns said on February 18, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    I think Mark, if you’re endorsing any message you got out of Matewan about worker’s rights, then I think you’re saying, if not standing up and screaming that you want people to have the right to organize and bargain collectively, absolutely (just clarifying for you what side you’re on.)

    We can have all the arguments you want about how pensions should be structured these days and the percentages we pay for health care, but I draw the line with the biggest damn laser I can find in the marble steps of whatever statehouse you have when it comes to making the right to organize and the right to bargain collectively illegal.

    That is wrong. Plain and simple. Workers deserve tools to leverage their collective power against businesses that, left unregulated, will pay them next to nothing, employ teenagers or children in 18 hour shifts, fire them and swap them out like interchangeable widgets, and then chalk all that inhumanity up to the mysterious hidden hand of the market.

    Have we become a nation of such a wounded workforce that we blame our attempts to secure fairness for our misery? Do we begrudge people who have managed to hold onto pensions squandered and mismanaged in so many other lines of work…so we say, let’s move the goalposts and yank em away after the fact from those retirees who bargained for more in retirement by taking less week-to-week?

    I sure as hell hope not. We cannot be this mean and unfair to ourselves. Stop me before I prosperoize further. G’night.

  53. coozledad said on February 18, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Start fucking with the cop’s unions, and at the very least you’ll be unleashing a weapons trained force into the general public who have probably had plenty of run-ins with smug Libertarian shites in punch-my-face frames.
    I know that in a brief absence of administrative constraints, the cops extralegally assassinated a creepy biker/murderer in Durham, NC. They would tell you about it with minimal prompting. Some of them even donned their undercover biker gear and attended the funeral.
    This might turn out for the best.

  54. Dexter said on February 18, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    jc burns: Your rant was worthy of a soap-box stance in the Wisconsin statehouse, or earlier in time, shouted out from Bughouse Square, that great old place of yesteryear in Chicago, the “blogs” of that era.
    http://encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/178.html
    I refrained from commenting until now because I have let it be known here recently that I am a retired union member, and I was a shop steward and two-time trustee of our local, and generally speaking I believe the power of collecting bargaining is the cornerstone of dignity for the workingwo/man.
    Today it’s the teachers and other middle class jobholders who are threatened.
    It’s so political, of course…for example, if the firefighters and cops in Wisconsin had shown solidarity with the teachers at the polls when this republican was elected Wisconsin governor, they possibly could have denied Walker the office … stopped him cold. No, they rallied for him and got him elected.

  55. MichaelG said on February 19, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Busting unions is striking at the very heart of what has made this country great. Unions embody the idea that every working woman and man has the right to a life of dignity and prosperity. Unions achieved a level of status and honor for all working people, members or not, that would not have been possible without their efforts. Instead of trying to help all Americans to attain a living wage with good working conditions and health benefits and an honest retirement, the Republicans are trying to return the working people of this country to an eighteenth century serfdom. And by working people I mean every person who draws a salary regardless of type of job or number of $$ on the pay check. As it stands now, we are on a very fast track to the third world.

    Don’t tell me about the excesses or abuses of some unions or some union bosses. They aren’t a wart on the ass of the abuses of big business or Wall Street.

    Here’s one for the late evening after a few glasses of wine and thoughts of a blown relationship from a poor, crazy, self destructive woman.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfC6CCtZjxk

    And yes, it has caused me to weep.

  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 19, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I wasn’t defending James Frey’s better qualities (if he has any), just noting what was surprising to me. I would have expected him to have been a jerk in college; the fact that I can’t find anyone to support that view makes me wonder what I might be missing in the narrative overall.

    Still not seeing the movie.

    The state budget debates are about the fact that we’ve created a system where large numbers of state workers can work for 30 to as little as 20 years, then retire and make more than they did for the next 30 years than they did when they were working. Legislatively, dismantling this unsustainable approach to affirming and supporting necessary and vital work, if only so that we don’t create more of that category of worker, looks like . . . what’s going on right now. Breaking public service unions? I don’t see how this even cracks them around the soffit and fascia, let alone damages the foundations. “Collective bargaining” is not the principle in danger here.

    Sadly, I have to agree with Coozledad on having “Christian” businesses do work, especially on and in my home. A “fish” on the pickup door is as often a warning you will get your ear bent more than the work done than it is any indication of quality and professionalism. Plenty of good faithful people doing quality work that don’t put a Bible verse in their ads, and it is almost a reverse incentive for me — too many Christian businesses assume their religion insulates them from customer dissatisfaction.

  57. Sue said on February 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

    MMJeff, if collective bargaining is not the principle in danger here, how come Governor Walker refused to budge even after the the head of the state employee’s union said flat out ok, we’ll give you what you’re asking for on the money issue, but don’t break our unions?
    Walker will not budge. He is breaking the unions and willing to wait them out.

  58. alex said on February 19, 2011 at 10:55 am

    MMJeff, there’s an electrician in my neighborhood whose business is named “Genesis 13.” I think it’s cute and clever but he doesn’t have a prayer of getting called to do work on my house.

    Actually, this weekend dealing with the frustration of helping my elderly and technologically challenged parents deal with a telecom service provider that is either utterly incompetent or utterly indifferent and perhaps even both. They changed because their cable rate got jacked and the new provider, Frontier, which bought out Verizon’s local TV/internet/phone service, is now pushing bundled service with Direct TV accompanied by Frontier’s DSL services. Frontier installed the phone and internet already and then Direct TV came out and says doesn’t want to put a dish on the property because they claim there’s no way to get a signal. So my parents are basically fucked unless they go back to their cable provider, Mediacom. The minimum hold time when you call Frontier is a half hour to 45 minutes and when you finally get a real live human being you get someone who’s unhelpful at best.

    Frontier sucks and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.

  59. coozledad said on February 19, 2011 at 11:06 am

    For the teabaggers being bussed up to Wisconsin (with apologies to Paul Simon.)
    They rounded us teabaggers up and we’re off to Wisconsin
    I stashed some oxy right here in my bag.
    So we bought a case of Miller Lite
    Skoal Bandits and Moon Pies
    And rode off to teabag Wisconsin
    Cathy I said as we boarded the charter in Branson
    Dollywood seems like a dream to me now
    It took me four hours to clean up
    from eating those hot dogs we got at the Stuckey’s
    Snacking on the bus
    Little Debbies and Fritos
    She said the man in the corduroy looked like a Jew.
    I said be careful he probably works for George Soros!
    Toss me a Xanax there’s probably one stuck in your waistband
    right by that cheeseburger and your cellphone
    So I knocked back another beer
    She passed out in the seat
    And a green fart rolled out the window.
    Cathy we’re going to be lost when we get to Wisconsin
    What they call barbecue ain’t the same thing
    I hope they’ve got us some motorized shopping carts
    I’ve come to teabag Wisconsin!
    Done come to teabag Wisconsin!

  60. del said on February 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I was going to comment, but now will take a moment to let the melody of Simon and Garfunkel ease from my brain.
    Cooz, you had me at “chubbening” (and later at “that socialite leghumper George Will.)”

  61. del said on February 19, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Now my train of thought is ruined. I’m recalling Stephen Colbert’s Paul Simon interview, specifically, the look on Simon’s face when Colbert asked him, “Mr. Simon, in the song Cecelia, why do you sing that you were making love to Cecelia and got up to wash your face? Why in the world would you have to wash your face while you were making love?”

    It’s almost noon, right?

  62. MichaelG said on February 19, 2011 at 11:55 am

    “Breaking public service unions? I don’t see how this even cracks them around the soffit and fascia, let alone damages the foundations. “Collective bargaining” is not the principle in danger here.”

    What kind of fatuous comment is that, MMJeff? It sounds exactly like the semi-literate, red necked idiocy one sees in the SacBee’s comments only with better spelling.

    The business in WI is most assuredly about doing away with the unions and collective bargaining. What else do you think the fuss is about? I love the crazy legends that float around the countryside concerning state employee retirements. Get more money retired than when working? Why the hell are any of us working? I would have retired long ago. There’s also a story going around that has the State supplying us with free gas. Even after all these years I’m still amazed at how much hatred for public employees there is.

  63. del said on February 19, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    There’s a huge dichotomy between what unionized and nonunionized workers get in the way of salary and benefits. Typical union worker asks me about the length of his work breaks; typical non-union worker asks who will pay for his kid’s surgery after his struggling employer has pocketed the employee’s health insurance premiums.

    An issue I’m in the middle of now is pension fund withdrawal liability, that involves the matter of who’s gonna pay all the promised defined benefit pension plans when there’s not enough money in the pension fund. The Teamsters Central States Pension Fund, which covers several midwestern states, is about $20 Billion underfunded alone. How is the Walmart working taxpayer going to react when the government wants to tax him to ensure payment of the defined benefit promise? Not all promises are kept.

    Bliss out Moe!

  64. Jakash said on February 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Re: Christian workers. I know somebody who’s a lefty Christian and wears a cross, has a fish on his SUV, etc., but usually recoils at the idea of displaying the American flag. I try to point out to him that, just because a lot of right-wing zealots like to feature the flag, it doesn’t make it any less of a symbol of what it actually stands for — freedom, democracy (of some sort), the Constitution and the history of a great country. And, though he knows what the Christian symbolism means to HIM, and I wouldn’t gainsay that, necessarily, his display of these symbols must often end up associating him to casual observers with a certain kind of zealot for whom Christianity is a brand that is just as easily abused as the flag is. Of course, I guess what would really concern me would be someone displaying a fish, next to a flag, next to a SheWho bumper sticker…

  65. nancy said on February 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Breaking my silence to do some school chores online and check comment e-mail. (Cooze, I’m taking your song to the next open-mic night I hear about. When I get my contract, you’re coming with me.)

    Anyhoo, something found en route to looking up something else. Are these excerpts from James Frey for real? Does he really write like this? I think a steel-cage match between him and Albom is the only thing that can crown the King of Mush.

  66. del said on February 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    MichaelG, just saw your comment. I could have anticipated the WI debacle as there’s been a brewing anti-public sector union vibe on FAUX News for many months. My FNws watching friend tells me that that public sector unions elected our president. Hmm.

    Much as detest the current world-view of the Republican party, I do believe it’s shrewd politics by them to exploit a potential conflict among the Democratic base.

  67. Julie Robinson said on February 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    A chuckle from this morning’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me: They found the Wisconsin Democrats by offering a Groupon for half-price James Taylor tickets. DH listens to a LOT of James Taylor. It all sounds the same to me.

  68. Dexter said on February 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    alex…two of my DeKalb County email friends can’t receive emails. Both use Frontier. One lives in Garrett and the other lives in rural Butler.

  69. Julie Robinson said on February 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Frontier said it didn’t matter that they were small, they could still provide the same great service as Verizon. Now they say they are too small to get competitive cable rates and that’s why they have to raise prices. Our internet just went up and we’re about to cut the cord on the home phone, but I’ve been putting off making the call. 30-45 minute hold times? One might think they don’t want people to call them.

  70. alex said on February 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Julie, I don’t believe for one second this malarky that they’re too small to provide competitive cable rates. They’re too greedy is the problem. And too rinky-dink to provide adequate customer service.

    The phone numbers on their promotional materials are fucking out of service. Which should have told my parents something, but oh well. As I understand it, they aren’t interested in providing or maintaining their FiOS service. They just want everyone to get a DSL phone line and a satellite dish from DirectTV.

    If you have other options available, I would give them some serious consideration, Julie.

  71. nancy said on February 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Alex, I may be wrong on this, but isn’t your parents’ house in a dense woods? It’s been my experience that dishes don’t work well without a clear “eye” to the satellite. I’ve known many people who had Direct TV installed in January or February, and it worked fine until May, when the trees filled out.

    I have Comcast. Reliable service, but ‘spensive. I’m trying to figure how I might downgrade something, but with phone/internet/cable bundled plus HBO, I’m over a barrel. And Alan vetoes dropping home phone service, even though every time it rings, it’s someone bugging us.

  72. Deborah said on February 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Now I’m obsessed with reading about James Frey, what an unbelievable creep he is. I read the Smoking Gun piece and Granville, Ohio has a leading role, Jeff (tmmo) I didn’t quite grasp that from your comments here until I read TSG. Nancy, your link about the excerpts of Frey is hilarious. I especially liked the writer of the piece comparing tears to eye cum. I got obsessed with reading about John Edward’s mistress Ryelle Hunter too. People like Frey and Hunter fascinate me sort of like Charles Manson fascinates me. They represent the dark side.

  73. brian stouder said on February 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    My FNws watching friend tells me that that public sector unions elected our president. Hmm.

    Rachel Maddow*, whose style and intellect appeal to me greatly, set aside dog whistles and subtlety and simply stated the cold political “facts on the ground” the other night.

    Click this link, and see the video link of Rachel. It’s a 14 minute excerpt, but you can push the arrow up to the 7 minute mark and start there (if you want), and get the core of her commentary on ‘what’s wrong with Wisconsin?’

    http://www.mnprogressiveproject.com/diary/8463/rachel-maddow-explains-the-importance-of-the-protests-in-wisconsin

    Soon we’ll be asking “what’s Ohio on about?”, and “is Indiana actually insane?”; and Rachel has outlined a pretty good theory.

    Completely aside from all that, I can report that Pam aquired a “Nook” a fortnight ago, and she loves that thing (especially now that she has added a clip-on light). Aside from the urge to make a weak pun, I’ve gotta say that her Nook does nothing for me; although I was suitably impressed when she succeeded in getting the thing to borrow e-books from the Allen County Public Library.

    *Check out this older article on Rachel; it’s quite good.

    http://nymag.com/news/media/51822/index3.html

    This excerpt reminds me of….somebody

    She recognizes that part of her on-air charm comes from being unschooled enough to take risks: to explain Dada, or spend 22 seconds reading from John Hodgman’s book, or lavish airtime on Zimbabwe’s new $10 trillion bill. She gets her information mostly from the Internet, then picks what she thinks is interesting.

    hmmmm

    edit: I’ve heard many unpleasant Frontier stories, too; we were Verizon FIOS internet people and Direct-TV customers already, so we haven’t had to deal with their customer disservice…yet.

    I’d as soon cut our landline, too – but Pam consistently vetoes that notion. There’s probably a research paper waiting to be written, about people which technologies people will not let go of.

  74. Julie Robinson said on February 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Yeah, I agree with you Alex re Frontier. We’re in FW, so as far as I know the only real alternative for internet is Comcast. We have FIOS internet and when we want to watch a streaming movie or Daily Show, we just hook up the laptop to the TV. If they don’t maintain the FIOS line we’d switch, I don’t think DSL would be fast enough.

    But still, the phone rings about twice a week anymore, I’m not thinking it’s worth $25/month. None of their online material tells you what the internet would be without phone. Nor does that of Comcast. They don’t want well-informed customers, do they. Good luck, Alex. I hope Mom & Dad appreciate your help.

  75. Julie Robinson said on February 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Our answering machine doesn’t record an outgoing message anymore and three of our phones intermittently cut out, which strikes me as a sign from the gods that it’s time to cut the landline.

    I’ve been considering a Nook, especially since the library started circulating e-books (for free!). I’ve been using the audiobook downloads since those started and they both appeal to the tightwad in me. With our daughter’s job search concluding, there’s more traveling in our future and an e-reader would be a great option.

  76. Dave said on February 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Frontier. A friend of a friend’s daughter, employed now by Frontier, tells that they are completely lost and overwhelmed and have no idea what they’re doing. We, too, are Frontier customers and I’ve no idea what we’re going to do when our contract runs out, I’m really disgusted with Verizon for selling out and Frontier for lying. I used to hate Comcast and switched to Verizon as quickly as I could, was happy with Verizon and our greatly improved TV picture, but Verizon sold out.

    I’m sure we could do without a phone, especially now, and after we get our youngest off our cellphone plan or he starts actually paying for his portion of it, we might consider that, meanwhile, he usually uses the majority of our minutes. We don’t go over but sometimes, with him, we come close.

    Brian Stouder, my SIL has a Nook, he loves it, too. Isn’t it backlit, why is there need for a light, it it too dim?

  77. alex said on February 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Nance, their house is in a dense woods and so is mine and DirectTV made it work for me. They installed it in summer when things were at their densest. Years ago both they and Dish said it couldn’t be done. Then I got an installer who said he could make it work if I’d grease his palm, which was nao problemo. It works. And my Frontier DSL phone/internet work tolerably well, enough so that I never found out what dipshits their customer service people were until I started trying to get help for my parents.

    Frankly I’d drop them right now if I weren’t bound by a contract because I think they deserve a horse’s dick in their eye sockets that’s shit-smeared from raping the asshole of Christ. (That’s a favorite Hungarian curse, by the way.) As they’ve failed to fulfill their promises to my parents, I don’t think there’s any contractual obligation.

  78. Jakash said on February 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Julie, we have ATT DSL at a speed of 1.5 whatevers and it’s good enough for watching streaming Netflix, ESPN 3 and what-have-you. Often not a GREAT picture, but good enough for us. Sometimes much better than other times. It’s certainly good enough for watching the The Daily Show, random videos, etc., IMO.

  79. jcburns said on February 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    MMJeff, at its core, this is all about collective bargaining. The situation you describe—”large numbers of state workers can work for 30 to as little as 20 years, then retire and make more than they did for the next 30 years than they did when they were working”—tells me a bunch of things maybe it doesn’t tell you. First, they made a deal, on faith in the system, to work for substandard wages for x years so that they can draw a decent pension in retirement for y years. These are the deals that were made, and what the WI governor wants to do as much as not make those deals in the future is to go back on those deals made decades ago! But more than that, he wants to set the rules without the workers themselves being able to have any say in it. They can’t, in his imperious world, affect the deal by banding together. They can’t strike, bringing attention to their cause in a way that a single disgrunted employee cannot. Their choice is to accept the boss’s terms of employment or look elsewhere. How is it we’ve developed so much amnesia about how bad an idea this is? It was bad at the dawn of the industrial revolution and it’s no less bad at the wherever the hell we are in the information age.

  80. Jolene said on February 19, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Nancy, it’s not likely cancelling your phone service would save you money–or at least that’s what Comcast told me. That is, the bundled price is what the separate prices for Internet and cable service are.

  81. Jolene said on February 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    The effort to undermine the public employee unions in Wisconsin is not, simply, a matter of the strain on public coffers. According to this article, the evil Koch brothers, tea party financiers, were major supporters of Scott Walker’s campaign and are now working directly to build public support for Walker’s actions.

  82. Jolene said on February 19, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    One more piece worth looking at: Ta-Nehisi Coates has, as he so often does, an unusual and compelling take on the disclosure of the assault on Lara Logan. It gets to the issue of the bravery of disclosure that we discussed earlier in the week, taking a very powerful stance on the value of tolerating some additional suffering in the name of a long-run (and likely not personal) benefit. Take a look.

  83. Julie Robinson said on February 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I just finished a lengthy political survey that was obviously commissioned by the Indiana Repubs. The questions were all about high-priced teachers, union-busting, right to work laws, and privatizing state agencies (which has been disastrous in the Welfare agency). It was fun to skew their results and satisfying to state that I strongly disapprove of both Daniels and the Republican legislature. I did find it amusing that the surveyor could barely speak English and the phone line so scratchy I often had to ask her to repeat the questions. Guess they just went for the lowest bid on that one!

  84. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    JC, I’ve been looking on websites left and right, and trying to figure out if you’re correct (before, that is, I saw your comment); I don’t see where previous agreements are getting rolled back, just that they can’t keep offering the same retirement packages moving forward. As for underpaid/substandard state employee pay & benefits, I suppose anything I say will be flamed, so I’ll just note that this is not at all my impression or experience.

  85. del said on February 19, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Brian, the Maddow link about unions was great. Jcburns, agreed. Non-union workers have been getting whupped for years. Michigan lawyers know that employment law is something of a dead-letter here. Workers think they have protections they don’t. Employment discrimination statutes have been effectively gutted by the Michigan Supreme Court Republican majority’s contortions of judge created burdens of proof on employee plaintiffs. In Michigan judges may dismiss employment discrimination claims for lack of proof a smoking gun — evidence that a manager was actually boneheaded enough to say something expressly reflective of discriminatory animus. In other words, an employee must show a Michael Scott moment and the manager must be caught saying words to the effect of, uhm, I am firing you because you are disabled/black/old/female. Of course, if an employee does have such evidence the courts have adopted a way to disregard such evidence by creation of the so-called “stray remarks” doctrine. Courts discount evidence of discriminatory statements by labeling them as “stray remarks.” Nice.

    Then there’s the whole business of “temps” and the burgeoning employee leasing, I mean, professional employer organization industry. These outfits are expert in gaming the system and the myriad laws purporting to protect workers. They game workers comp, unemployment, you name it. (Look up FUTA and SUTA tax dumping if you’re interested.) And of course, when a leased employee has an employment right they wish to assert they may be confronted with managment playing a game of hide-the-ball. Who’s your employer? We’re not your employer, we’re the PEO.

    Yep, as for workers in this country, a hard rain’s gonna fall, or, as Nance put it, be careful what you wish for.

  86. Jolene said on February 19, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Jeff, here’s a new article that summarizes what the Wisconsin governor is trying to do, along w/ a discussion of the implications of his actions. I do think that changes in contract terms, as JC has said, are at stake and, most important, the proposed legislation would circumscribe the range of issues subject to negotiation and impose new organizing burdens on unions. See also the salary comparison graph on the left.

  87. brian stouder said on February 19, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    1. Jeff – if/when I ever post anything that you interpret as a ‘flame’, then I sincerely apologize.

    I respect your opinion on all matters, and especially on any social/political/sectarian (or non-sectarian) one, as you have “skin in the game”. Today Shelby and I worked a shift at the Community Harvest Food Bank, and we were very impressed with that facility and the people who run it; those people made me think of you.

    2. Dave – Pam tells me that her Nook is not backlit (why does that sound so much like beauty salon cross-talk? Like the time I heard a lady discussing her bunions, and another countered with how she lanced a boil on her significant other’s butt). She says that she heard that the backlit ones are glarey, and so she specifically avoided those.

    3. Aside from that, Grant and I went to the dollar movie and caught Jack Black’s Gulliver’s Travels. Paraphrasing Nance’s quoted line from Robocop, I was happy to buy a ticket to that movie… for a dollar!

  88. mosef said on February 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    What is the purpose of a union? Isn’t it to protect workers from being exploited by a profit-grubbing corporation? So why do employees who work for non-profit government entities need that protection? Government unions are oxymoronic, and moronic.

    Sorry, the politicians lied. Your benefits and pensions are totally out of line with the private sector and are not sustainable. Now you are being told the truth – cf C. Christie. The truth sucks, but pretending that the facts are other than what they are doesn’t help anyone, including the union workers. Government workers – you are going to have to join the 21st century economy. To paraphrase E.C. Welcome to the working week. I know it don’t thrill you, but it won’t kill you. Welcome to the working week.

  89. MichaelG said on February 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Thanks for the great link, Brian.

    Don’t play the victim here, MMJeff. A couple of people have disagreed with you but you have not been flamed. What JC said @80 is very true. Certainly it is in California. The deal has always been that people take a public sector job for lesser pay in return for better benefits and job stability. Absent the latter two factors and it’s not hard to guess what kind of employees the public sector is going to saddle itself with.

    The WI employees have indicated that they will agree to wage and benefit cutbacks. What they are fighting is the Governor’s imperial attitude and the planned destruction of the union and collective bargaining. They have this weird thing about wanting to be treated like real people, not serfs.

    We’ve given up lots here in California without folks hitting the streets. Why? Because everything was discussed or is being discussed at the bargaining table.

  90. brian stouder said on February 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    What is the purpose of a union? Isn’t it to protect workers from being exploited by a profit-grubbing corporation?

    Mosef, I was with you right up until “profit-grubbing corporation”.

    Unions protect workers from being exploited; they make sense in any large pool of employees, and particularly government employees.

    Think about it; the other alternative is patronage all the way across the board. Do we want to return to the days when Ms. Ima T Bagg wins office and then summarily fires everyone and hires all her own peeps?

  91. Dexter said on February 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Dropping my land line a couple years ago was a great move. We have Sprint cell phones now…maybe not perfect but it suits us.
    People told us we would still need a land line to activate new cards and so forth..that’s just b.s.—you just tell the human on the line that you no longer have a home land line…no sweat.
    Phone companies have no interest in establishing new hard lines or even maintaining current ones. Fuhgeddaboudditt.

    But I am not all for modernization. My Grapevine pamphlet (A.A. print edition) has an editorial…they want us to convert to the online-only edition and cancel our print pamphlet. I am not ready. I read all my newspapers online. I like my little pamphlet. It was hard giving up newspapers; this is too much for me to latch onto.

  92. del said on February 19, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Mosef, there are differences sure, unions are for worker protection regardless of whether their employers are for-profits, non-profits or governments. Civil service laws protect workers in such ways too.

    Your point seems to be that government workers are more likely to get fair treatment than their private sector counterparts and that’s probably true, at least I hope it’s true. But I get the gnawing feeling that private sector employees resent government workers generally and that that resentment drives too much of the debate.

    Though I’m not familiar with details of the Wisconsin dispute it’s utterly implausible to me that those workers are being paid an “unsustainable wage.” The Detroit Tigers’ catcher got a $50 million contract and pulled up to spring training last week in a Rolls Royce Ghost. That’s unsustainable. Someone upthread commented it’s absurd that we as Americans have lost sight of Wall Street’s role in our current mess. I agree.

  93. brian stouder said on February 19, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Non sequitur Alert!! Non sequitur Alert!!

    My lovely wife and I have a friendly disagreement that arises every so often, and which came up this evening.

    We called up Casa’s Italian restaurant, and placed a to-go order. I went and picked it up*, and made a further stop at McD’s (nugget happy meal for Chloe, which included a little Barbie princess).

    Here’s the question: when you pay for a pick-up at a ‘real’ restaurant, should you tip?

    *further non sequitur: while rolling on the food gathering mission, I played my Florence + The Machine cd – which is absolutely sublime!! I love her music. This got me pondering other crushes I have had on women in the airwaves. Mary Tyler Moore was one, and Mary Anne (Dawn Wells) on Gilligan’s Island, and Natalie Merchant, and Edie Brickell, and Janeane Garofalo, and now Florence Welch. These folks aren’t “Always on my mind” (as Willie Nelson might say), but thinking of them – or hearing them – always makes me smile.

  94. Kirk said on February 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    No tip, unless they bring the food out to your car or something.

    We often get carry-out from the Chinese restaurant up the street — definitely a real restaurant — and I’ve never tipped in that situation. On the other hand, when we go there and eat in the place, I tip generously (as long as the waiter does a good job).

  95. brian stouder said on February 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Kirk – Pam agrees with you! I generally don’t tip when I go and pick up, but it always bothers me. If I stop at a pizza place, that’s one thing, but the real restaurants sort of leave me conflicted.

    Anyway – you’ve helped Pam, which is (I have found) generally always a good thing.

    These issues arise on vacation trips, too. Anymore, I always leave something in hotel rooms for the cleaning staff, but only on check-out day. And then the question arises – how much do you leave? A fiver per day seems enough at economy hotels…but then again, maybe not enough?

    And if a guy helps you with your bags – a rarity, but it happens – how much then? Plus, unless I think about it ahead of time, I almost never have cash anymore. If you watch North by Northwest anytime soon, count how many times Cary Grant tips someone. He must spend $100 a week, just on tips

    …but we digress

  96. Kirk said on February 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I’m a big believer in tipping, and would tip someone who helped me with my bags (or made sure they get on the plane) or the people who cleaned up my hotel room — but not someone who just hands me food that I had to come pick up. Carry-out food is carry-out food, wherever it comes from — even the Tip-Top.

  97. MichaelG said on February 19, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I wouldn’t tip at a take out place. Yes I leave a tip on the bathroom vanity in motel rooms and I tip sky caps on the rare occasions I use them and yes $5 seems right to me. Maids and sky caps work hard and are paid squat.

    I keep my land line because I need it for my DSL, because the Sat TV provider requires it and because my alarm company requires it. I haven’t talked on it or answered it for years.

  98. Jakash said on February 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    brian s., we follow the opposite tack with the motel tipping. Tip every day BUT the day we check out. We’re trying to ensure good service while we’re there — the last day I feel like we’re tipping for the next people that are gonna be in the room. Uh, we might not quite make it $5 a night, either. Though we’re probably staying at cheaper places! Obviously, this policy is suspect and we should tip EVERYday, but, given that years ago we never tipped at all, I feel this is at least a step in the right direction…

  99. brian stouder said on February 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    You make an excellent point about the wisdom of tipping every day at the hotel! I shall incorporate that, going forward. (also – I think I might spend a week a year – all told – in hotels/motels – and generally $60-90/night places are where I’d be.)

    Another F1 digression –

    Bernie Eccelstone, the wizard of F1, still kills me. On one hand, he might represent Unfettered Free Market* Capitalism. On the other hand, government officials tend to give him trunkloads of cash, so he’s also a sort of plutocratic intergovernmental plenipotentiary (not to say – bagman)

    A choice quote or two, from this latest BBC article on Bernie’s Bahrain bugaboo, in which he ponders whether they should cancel the extravaganza scheduled for March 13 (with testing the week before that):

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/9402227.stm

    Speaking before reports of security forces opening fire again on protestors in the capital Manama on Friday, Ecclestone said: “Our people there say: ‘It’s quiet, no problems’. “I’m more hopeful today. I hope we don’t have to do anything. Let’s hope this all blows away. In these parts there’s always been skirmishes. Perhaps it’s a bit more than that.” But the unrest in Bahrain has continued on Friday in the wake of the deaths of three people in the early hours of Thursday morning when police cleared protesters from a square in the centre of the capital Manama.

    and then

    And Ecclestone told BBC Sport in a second interview later on Friday: “I don’t know what has happened this afternoon because I’ve been travelling but from what I’ve been told it’s a bit different to this morning because of this funeral that’s gone on which is what you would expect I suppose.”

    and then

    Asked on Friday about potential damage to the image of F1 if the sport visited the country at this time, he said: “It seems as if people thought it was democratic a few weeks ago.” “Let’s wait and see, because we don’t know what the protesting is really about.”We’ve never been involved in religion or politics. We’ve never made a decision on this. It’s not for us to run a country.”

    There then follows several more paragraphs of blather, and we end the thing with this as the very last sentence:

    Ecclestone said he was planning to speak with Crown Prince Salman ibn Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa – the Bahrain King’s son and heir apparent, who reportedly pays $30m a year to host the race – later on Friday to discuss the growing tension.

    It’s good to be king, they say; but I’d rather have Bernie’s job.

    *thought experiment: define “Free market capitalism”. I think that’s a term that has no actual definition

  100. Jakash said on February 19, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Regarding the phones, I MUCH prefer talking on our decades-old landlines than on any cellphone and it will be a sad day if we ever feel compelled to leave the ole wired connection behind. The one thing I always know is that if there’s a problem during the conversation — it gets fuzzy, there’s a sudden hang-up, there are slight delays in voice transmission, there are odd noises indicating that a charge is failing, etc. — it’s ALWAYS because of the other person’s equipment. How’s that for a Luddite opinion?

  101. Kirk said on February 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I’m with you on the phone thing, Jakash, which is one reason that I’m one of the last Americans who doesn’t own a cell phone. On the rare occasions that I use someone else’s, I handle it as though I have just picked it out of a pile of dog shit.

  102. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    “The King’s Speech” was just amazing, though respect must be paid to Hitchens’ objection that Churchill was in no way in favor of abdication (Winston is used as a general stand-in for about five British politicians known to about that many Americans).

    All I’ve found on NYTimes & WaPo on what’s in play in Wisconsin boils down to this summary pair of paragraphs:

    “At times, the two sides seemed to talk past each other. The governor’s supporters said state workers needed to accept increases in their pension and health care costs, just as other Americans have.

    Many in the union crowd said they were willing to accept the proposed cuts — and labor leaders have expressed willingness to do so as well — but would not agree to the bill’s broader provisions. Those measures would prohibit unions from bargaining over issues other than wages, stop them from having dues deducted from state paychecks and require them to hold annual elections to stay in existence.”

  103. Dorothy said on February 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Our cell phones don’t always work where we live in the country, hence the necessity of a land line. Having had a husband fall off of a ladder in another house about 4.5 years ago also reinforces the safety aspect of needing reliable phone service in case of emergency. I hate paying for it, but it’s sort of an insurance policy that we must subscribe to.

  104. brian stouder said on February 19, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Dorothy – excellent point; and the reason Pam’s folks keep a landline, too.

    Say – see the bar-chart graphic that Ezra Klein put up, regarding public employees’ and private employees’ compensation in Wisconsin

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2011/02/are_wisconsins_state_and_local.html

    an excerpt

    If you prefer it in non-graph form: “Wisconsin public-sector workers face an annual compensation penalty of 11%. Adjusting for the slightly fewer hours worked per week on average, these public workers still face a compensation penalty of 5% for choosing to work in the public sector.” The deal that unions, state government and — by extension — state residents have made to defer the compensation of public employees was a bad deal — but it was a bad deal for the public employees, not for the state government. State and local governments were able to hire better workers now by promising higher pay later. They essentially hired on an installment plan. And now they might not follow through on it. The ones who got played here are the public employees, not the residents of the various states. The residents of the various states, when all is said and done, will probably have gotten the work at a steep discount. They’ll force a renegotiation of the contracts and blame overprivileged public employees for resisting shared sacrifice.

    And just for the record, our bathroom is now scrubbed clean, too.

  105. MichaelG said on February 20, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Several years ago I wrote a strong and somewhat scathing post directed at Brian. Whatever I said, I was wrong. Brian’s comments are consistently the most thoughtful, honest and genuine comments on this blog. Of course, that’s easy because he comments so prolifically. To be serious, he sets a high standard and I believe he is a big reason why the comments on this blog are so well considered and civil.

    So, Brian, a belated tip of the hat. But I still think Bernie Eccelstone is the devil incarnate.

  106. Jolene said on February 20, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Right you are, MichaelG. Brian’s comments are also warm and humorous–very appealing.

    Deborah, this is for you: A paean to Mayor Daley on his retirement.

    Also came across this very thorough, but very clear, Nook vs. Kindle vs. iPad discussion. It’s slightly out of date in that new Android tablets are becoming available now, but the premises hold. It helped me make up my mind, and I thought some of you might find it useful too.

  107. Dexter said on February 20, 2011 at 1:17 am

    It was Ivan Seidenberg who made the comments on the declining landline business. It was in September, 2009. He was or maybe still is the honcho at Verizon.
    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/verizon-boss-hangs-up-on-landline-phone-business/
    After reading that story, I just killed my home phone line.

    Now about Luddites…I avoided cd s for years because my tech magazine advised to wait for the mini-cd s to overtake the standard cd. I kept waiting, kept buying cassette tapes…until finally I realized I had been had, that mini cd s never were coming. Now, for the past year, the music aficionados call cd s “old school” devices for music. Hey, it’s all I-Tunes now, doncha know? That and vinyl. They wanted to kill vinyl thirty years ago but they never did. Lots of young folks are scouring the ‘net for turntables.
    I firmly believe were it not for Pearl Jam and in particular Eddie Vedder, vinyl records would now be extinct. Eddie always insisted on releasing his group’s newest releases first on vinyl records…thus allowing the kids of the early 1990s a chance to hear the richer-sound music. Of course, I grew up buying vinyl so I didn’t need convincing. I guess the only types of recorded music I never delved in were the ancient old wax cylinders and reel-to-reel tapes.

  108. Dexter said on February 20, 2011 at 1:54 am

    We write much about Roger Ebert here but his old work-partner is mostly forgotten.
    Gene Siskel passed away twelve years ago today at age 53. And my muse, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, killed himself on this date six years ago.

  109. Catherine said on February 20, 2011 at 2:54 am

    I’d like to go back and thank Jolene @83 for that link. I have always thought of telling about a rape as a personal decision (still do); and never thought of telling about rape as a powerful, self-abnegating tactic of non-violence. When he wrote, “secrecy is the handmaiden of evil,” I realized that, though I know a number of women who’ve been raped, I can’t name a single one of their rapists. Isn’t it obvious who benefits from this culture of silence?

  110. Deborah said on February 20, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Jolene, thanks for the Daley link. As I’ve said here before I think he’s done a great job. Chicago works, I hope it will continue. And thanks for the e-book, tablet link. I want to get an iPad in the next couple of weeks before our next trip to New Mexico in mid-march.

  111. Connie said on February 20, 2011 at 9:53 am

    As to the ebook reader – Public libraries are adding downloadable ebooks to their downloadable audio programs, all in the standard epub format used by every device except, you guessed it, the Kindle. Will you want to be able to use your library’s free ebook checkouts?

  112. alex said on February 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I did without a land line for a couple of years but got one again because cell phones run out of juice and die when you’re on hold trying to talk to customer service reps about whatever happens to be on the fritz.

    As for carryout tipping, there are places that take good care of me when I’m at work and need food on the run and I always make sure to leave an extra dollar. This is also to offset the charges the restaurants face when accepting debit cards for small purchases.

  113. Deborah said on February 20, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I decided that today’s the day I’m going to get my iPad. It’s a miserable rainy day and I’m off tomorrow for Pres day so why not?

  114. Julie Robinson said on February 20, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Thanks, Jolene, for the e-book reviews. Our library had a fair where you could try the Nook, Kindle, Sony, and iPad and that helped me zero in on the Nook. The Kindle had gray on gray print which I found difficult to read. And as Connie mentions, the service our library uses for e-books is not compatible with the Kindle. The Sony was okay but the Nook just felt better to me. But I can still use the Kickback Lounge when I buy my Nook, since Amazon is happy to sell them in addition to their own product. The Nook will have to wait until we recover from needing a new dryer, microwave, and vacuum cleaner.

  115. Jeff Borden said on February 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    I saw an interesting article on one of the left-leaning web sites about the value of unions to a democracy. It noted that time after time, when a dictator emerged from a coup (they focused on Libya), the first thing they do is eliminate unions.

    The more I read about Scott Walker, the more I see a sleazy political operator instead of a valiant, hard-nose conservative. He’s appointed a bunch of his wealthy contributors to big state jobs –including a 68-year-old father of two of his biggest allies to the top state police job after the guy had been defeated in a county sheriff’s race. I’d also like to note that the nastiest pair of rich pricks in America –the fucking Koch brothers– contributed the maximum to Walker’s campaign and funneled another $1-million into Wisconsin through the Republican Governors Assn. Thanks, Citizens United! This upright turd might never have been elected without all that outside money.

    The transparency of the right and its fealty to the wealthy and powerful is on display for anyone who cares to see it. Sure, the left has its own dogs in the hunt, but I cannot recall the kind of bare-naked assaults on business and the wealthy ever being a part of a liberal agenda. Yes, there is always the tax issue. I get it. But dammit, our tax levels are at about the same as they were in 1950.

    One last side note: Did anyone see how the GOP folded like a cheap tent when the issue of the Defense Department spending $7-million per year sponsoring a NASCAR vehicle promoting the U.S. Army came up for debate?

    We are too poor to help the poverty stricken heat their homes, buy their groceries or treat their kids’ illness, but by God, we are not going to trim even a morsel from the Department of Defense.

  116. coozledad said on February 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    It’s because Republicans are a naturally obsequious group, and they’ll kiss anyone’s ass that smells remotely of money. They’re the same folks who propped the corpse of feudalism up well into the age of enlightenment, and enjoy watching their vehement god work his wonders of poverty and misery as a counterpoint to their own smugly lived little lives.
    Strangely, it always seems to come as a shock to them when the wolf lurches through their own door.

  117. Moe99 said on February 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    The WI law kills collective bargaining rights which essentially neuters any union. As a state employee myself (albeit one who is not a union member –attorneys are exempt as ‘professionals’) I know that I make a third of what my counterparts in private practice do on average and 80% of what the county prosecutors make. The governor of WI is doing nothing less than breaking the state unions and anyone who says it’s not that bad is seriously reality impaired.

  118. Deborah said on February 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I’m sending this via my new iPad. I walked down to the Apple store on Michigan Ave, a few blocks away in the pouring rain. Not too many people there and the blue t-shirted, skinny jeans wearing dudes were way more interested in talking to each other than helping me. I finally got one of them to pay attention and here I am. Jolene that link put me over the edge on this purchase.

  119. Jolene said on February 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Am happy to have stimulated you to stimulate the economy, Deborah. Enjoy your new gizmo. If I hadn’t bought a new laptop recently, I think I’d be looking at an iPad too. Since I did, though, I think I’m going to go w/ the lower-priced color Nook, which, as the review indicated, has some of the iPad’s computer-like functionality in addition to being an eReader.

  120. del said on February 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    In Michigan there’s lingering anti-union resentment among rank and file workers. Macomb county voters may have inspired the term “Reagan Democrats.” The gap between union and non-union work benefits is pretty great here. Local non-union machine shop workers who may work up to 12 hours a day for low wages get in a lather about their union counterparts’ work situations rather than demanding fair treatment for themselves. They rail against union workers pay and benefits as “unsustainable.” It’s bizarre. My theory is that they’ve been worshipping at the altar of the free-marketeers for too long. People, wake up. With foreign competition the value of manufacturing work in Michigan is a pittance. Same’s true with information jobs. I just spoke with a person in India in connection with an American company’s local business.
    Incidentally moe, Macomb county’s prosecutors are in a union. I hear the professors at Wayne State are in a union too.

  121. Moe99 said on February 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Yeah, del. I think the prosecutors are unionized. The Consumer Prptection Division in my office tried to unionize. They were litigated out of existence by the then Democratic AG who is now the hub of WA

  122. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Everyone should like Candy Crowley’s last two interviews this morning on CNN’s “State of the Union” — http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/politics/2011/02/20/sotu.washington.jefferson.intv.cnn.html

  123. DellaDash said on February 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Okay Brian, our incomplete movie spat has been nagging at me…

    As for ‘Kids’ (hate the full title, no matter how it’s spelled), I have to concede that if the story and/or characters don’t resonate with you, then the sex is gonna seem gratuitous. It’s too subjective to be bickering over a definition of terms. I like how I got totally played, though. The Annette mom hooked a ring through my nose and led me through a virtuoso gamet…from intense initial dislike of her over-bearing control-freak bitchiness, to unexpected sympathy (rather than petty satisfaction) when she discovers she’s been done wrong, and finally to a slow-dawning appreciation of what a true mama grizzly is all about, never mind alterna-stream trappings.

    Now…’Network’…I think it’s going to win because it is the opposite and craved antidote to what actually IS a painfully current dark side of American innovation (brilliantly greedy Wall Street bubbles).

    For sheer sensual, cinematic pleasure my vote goes to ‘True Grit’.

    However, Zuckerberg is, like, the avatar of my baby brother, and thousands of hackers like him…almost Asberger’s in their social ineptness…but whimsically, subversively, zealously pioneering cyberspace. My brother, who isn’t much of a baby anymore, has lived out of his car, then sold it, so that he could continue developing his own language and ‘entrepreneurial’ vision (setting up shop in internet cafes), while suffering get-a-job scorn from the rest of our work-ethic, high-earning-consumer family (except me, of course). He’s just now hitting his stride with some creative iPhone/iPad apps.

    Forget about the silly-sick fevers of campus raging hormones that provided the original platform for Facebook. It would be surprising if Zuckerberg spared any attention for who got voted the hottest, while he was capturing lightning in a bottle.

    Our whole social construct has exploded. For a variety of reasons, Facebook has zero appeal to me. But I had a twenty-something flatmate, a year ago, who would’ve gone into severe withdrawals without an FB hit every five minutes. Whenever we collaborated on a meal, I did the cooking (self-preservation), while she took pictures at each stage of preparation, posted, and regaled me with insta-comments. I might’ve been rolling my eyes, but it added spice to the goings-on. I get it.

    Then there’s the sucker punch to the ole lemonade-stand-school-of-business. William Gibson has been writing about it for years (see ‘Pattern Recognition’, ‘Spook Country’, ‘Zero History’, someone mentioned ‘Neuromancer’ in an earlier thread). Market share almost doesn’t apply. Napster DID shred the music industry…only rarified upper-echelon artists have a prayer of marketing a full-concept album these days. Business strategies have to adapt…like programmers to object orientation…linear scripting ‘if a = b, and b = c, then a = c’ just doesn’t fly anymore.

    So…’Network’ is an entertaining, seamless, state-of-the-art piece of filmaking that depicts the humanized birth of a global phenom. If you can’t get excited about it, go ahead and take a snooze.

  124. Moe99 said on February 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    guv not hub. Typing on an iPod is a bitch.

  125. Deborah said on February 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Duplicate correction.

  126. Deborah said on February 20, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Moe have you ever seen the site damnyouautocorrect.com?

  127. brian stouder said on February 20, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    MichaelG and Jolene – thanks very much; lately I’ve been working on not being such a prolific yapper (not that you can tell from this thread!); indeed you both have surely advanced whatever understanding I have of the world, as have pretty much all the regulars at nn.c. It is a genuine pleasure to inhabit the cheap seats at this great venue, and take in all the good stuff that goes on here; thanks to Nancy, and thanks to you all. (except Dwight TTT, but he doesn’t really count as part of the deal; he’s more akin to a streaker that occasionally jumps onto the field and runs across our view, displaying his intellectual shortcomings [as David Niven might say] to us)

    Jeff tmmo, that link was great! It was worth a chuckle when President Jefferson preached to Candy Crowley about the virtues of staying out of debt – given TJ’s extravagant spending and personal debts. Also, that Madison & Jefferson book I’ve been reading quotes TJ as adamantly against “original intent”; he was very much for every generation revisiting our founding principles, and adapting them to their own time.

    So – my previously low opinion of TJ has been on an uptick, while Madison strikes me as the hardest working founding father

    Della – I really liked Annette Benning’s character, too; every household has to have someone in charge, and (truth be told) in our house it’s Pam. In fact, assertive woman have an allure that I find fairly irresistable, so I liked her character better than the Julianne Moore character right at the get-go.

    On reflection, the movie was all right (so to speak), once I got past the complete disconnect between the movie I thought was being advertised, and the movie I actually saw.

    Couldn’t possibly agree more with you, regarding True Grit.

    The Face Book movie, though, impressed me as purposely dark and moody, and purposely engaged in misdirection. It really did strike me as an adult-version Harry Potter movie, that had a fair amount of sizzle, and not a lot of steak.

    When a movie uses real people’s names, I think the standard goes up, and the movie makers put themselves into a strange place, wherein being informative is dangerous, and being cinematic and fluffy (and indeed, disquieting) is the most prudent course. Really, though, I cannot disagree with you if you say I’m simply being grumpy about that movie.

  128. Dexter said on February 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    J-Bo: For a good primer about Koch-Walker, this I offer:
    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/02/wisconsin-scott-walker-koch-brothers

  129. Jolene said on February 20, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    The conflict in Wisconsin is attracting international attention.

    More.

  130. Sue said on February 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    MMJeff and those who do not understand what the big deal is:
    Under the new law, unions would only be allowed to negotiate wages. However, if unions want anything over the cpi, it has to go to a local referendum.
    So, for all intents and purposes, unions cannot actually negotiate wages either. Workers also have to vote yearly to recertify their local and cannot have their dues deducted from their paychecks.
    It’s a blatant attempt to kill unions in WI and make no mistake it’s part of a national plan. The idea of a permanent Republican majority didn’t go away with Karl Rove, this is just the latest effort and it seems to be working. Unions are the poor relation in the Citizens United wars and they’re about to be shut out.
    Workers in the US are so screwed if this moves to its logical conclusion.

  131. Sue said on February 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Wisconsin State Troopers’ union has taken back its endorsement of Walker:
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/labor-pains-pro-walker-troopers-union-repudiates-endorsement-in-wisconsin.php

  132. prospero said on February 20, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I KNOW y’all get a kick of that product called artisinal. We just bought a bag of salad labeled artisinal. Who’d be the artisan? God? No jokw. RTISINAL SALAD? ARTISINAL LWTTUCW LEQVES? WHO MAKES THQT AHIT? NO DISRESPECT INTENDED BUT GOD MADE LETTUCE, IS HE AN ARTISAN? I SUPPOSE HE IS. NOBODY WAS AROUND TO TELL HI, HOW TO DO IT. I SUPPOse HE Hs hD TO FIGUEW It OUT ON HIS OWN.. No shit. Coulsn’t we have Grace andd Earl back? It’s slightly more obvious.

  133. prospero said on February 20, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I KNOW y’all get a kick of that product called artisinal. We just bought a bag of salad labeled artisinal. Who’d be the artisan? God? No jokw. RTISINAL SALAD? ARTISINAL LWTTUCW LEQVES? WHO MAKES THQT AHIT? NO DISRESPECT INTENDED BUT GOD MADE LETTUCE, IS HE AN ARTISAN? I SUPPOSE HE IS. NOBODY WAS AROUND TO TELL HI, HOW TO DO IT. I SUPPOse HE Hs hD TO FIGUEW It OUT ON HIS OWN.. No shit. Coulsn’t we have Grace andd Earl back? It’s slightly more obvious. I just think its inda funy when lettuce is presented w qrtisinal. Who’s the artisan? God?. I mean, He kind of made lettuces of one sort or another, If we agree that abelling anything artisinal, like bread, is bogus, How absurd is abelling salad that needs no human hands artisina? How bixaarre is this oxbxept? Artisanal salad? I mean, what artisan made the lettuce? That could only be God. right? Brian Stoudar, please point me in the right direction.

  134. brian stouder said on February 20, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    …please point me in the right direction.

    Well, I know that if you’re standing precisely on the North Pole, no matter what direction you turn, you’re facing south.

    Other than that, anything a person makes can be artisanal, yes? And indeed, let us imagine that a salad doesn’t necessarily have lettuce, right? There’s macaroni salad (usually horrid – but what do I know about art, eh?), and chicken salad, and Hold the Mayo 3-Bean Salad; not even to mention fruit salads or…. or even brain salad surgery – which could set us off onto another Emerson Lake and Palmer digression….

    and with that, I bid you good night! (But before lights-out, let me say that Jolene’s links to the international/Egyptian connection with the protests in Wisconsin were fascinating, and Sue’s linked article was quite heartening. Here’s hoping the Wisconsin non-artisanal cheesehead governor bit off more than he can chew, after all)

  135. Jakash said on February 20, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Finally saw True Grit tonight. Don’t know what took us so long, as I knew we’d enjoy it and we certainly did. Deserving of all its accolades. Nothing like seeing The Dude on horseback and shootin’ things up left and right. I don’t recall what the conclusion here was among the cinephiles regarding the girl coming out of the river after crossing it on her horse. For what it’s worth, from what I was able to tell, I’d have to say she looked pretty dry in the scene that immediately followed on the riverbank.

  136. coozledad said on February 21, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I’m old enough to remember Republican twats in their Solidarity T-shirts. It also seems they were, in recent memory, beatifying firefighters and cops as part of the rollout of “The National Grief Which Must Be Assuaged By Blood” in the weeks following Prezdint Strabismus’ mighty ascent of the rubble pile.
    These fucks make the North Koreans look like Epictetus.

  137. Sue said on February 21, 2011 at 8:23 am

    The Troopers’ Union did not take back its endorsement:
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/police-union-official-pulls-down-anti-walker-press-release-after-news-coverage.php?ref=fpa

  138. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 21, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Brian, I’d missed your earlier comment — I’ve never seen you “flame” anyone! Let alone me. MichaelG, I think you are on occasion a fatuous prick, too, so we’re even. Why do you always go out of your way to make it personal? Let it go. Some people, me for instance, just are too hard-headed to see things your way. I’m sure there’s much I miss, and I learn quite a bit here, even if I’m not managing to raise my consciousness fast enough for some. Far from enlightenment, distant from satori. Sorry!

    And I’m still happy to organize either “Conservatives for Single-Payer” or “Conservatives for Free Public Education” as soon as I find a second member of either.

  139. coozledad said on February 21, 2011 at 9:27 am

    From the comments at TBogg:
    As GuyInMilwaukee points out in the comments over on First Draft:

    Only 5 states do not have collective bargaining for educators and have deemed it illegal.
    Their ranking on ACT/SAT scores:
    South Carolina – 50th
    North Carolina – 49th
    Georgia – 48th
    Texas – 47th
    Virginia – 44th

    Wisconsin is currently ranked #2.

    The Republicans’ sole aim is to fuck this country.

  140. Sue said on February 21, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Cooz, First Draft has been providing excellent coverage and their pics are something to see.
    The term “Wississippi” is being tossed around a little here. Also I saw a sign blaming Favre for this, a sure sign that Wisconsin has finally gotten over him.
    I followed the governor’s campaign pretty closely because I knew Scott had mentioned decertifying unions etc. What I never picked up on was how much funding he got from the Club for Growth/Citizens for Prosperity type groups, how much outside money was coming in to him not just in ads but directly into his campaign. That’s being pointed out a lot.
    If WI voters had any sense, every local candidate on this spring’s ballots would be asked where they stood on the union-busting portion of this legislation. The people who’ve been protesting this bill need to focus on local candidates as part of any big picture strategy.

  141. coozledad said on February 21, 2011 at 10:25 am

    R. Porrofato says that the previous governor, Jim Doyle, passed a budget that would have left a surplus this year. That’s before cruelly deformed forceps baby Scott Walker decided educational retardation worked well enough for him, so why not everyone else. Another C-average Republican monkey.

  142. MichaelG said on February 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

    My teeth are firmly compressed on my tongue. Consider it gone, MMJeff.