Ship of drunks.

Kid Rock is leading his own Kid Rock-themed cruise this week, from New Orleans to Cozumel and back. Twenty-seven hundred booze-soaked fans, plus a reporter and photographer from the Free Press, are on board. Tell me if you can get through this paragraph without an involuntary shudder:

For this heavy-drinking, heavy-smoking crowd, it’s an itinerary that includes all-hours bars, pole-dancing classes and performances by 16 acts, including Rev. Run, Gretchen Wilson and two up-close-and-personal concerts by Rock himself.

I guess this is the big thing for entertainers now, particularly musicians, but really, anyone whose work can be easily digitized and stolen. Not cruises, necessarily, but added-value revenue streams. No more guitar-shaped swimming pools and a daily trip to the mailbox for royalty checks, now you gotta werq, hon.The Wall Street Journal did a story a while back about performers doing more private shows (ladies and gentlemen, welcome to St. Bart’s and Mr. Qaddafi’s exclusive New Year’s Eve party. Now put your hands together for Beyoncé!), or offering tiered pricing of tickets, with the big-money level (four figures and up) offering such extras as backstage receptions with the star, photo ops, even short VIP encore sets with branded souvenir chairs.

Not sure what the entertainer known as Kid Rock is getting for this thing, but my guess would be: Plenty. Tickets range from $600 to $3,000. Times 2,700… Minus a few grand for the hot dogs and Natty Light… Equals not too shabby.

Five days stuck on a boat with more than 2,000 wasted rokkers? You’d have to pay ME. But clearly, I’m not the target audience.

Sigh. Another Friday, another rainy one. It’s Opening Day in Detroit, infamous for its nasty meteorological surprises, so I guess this is pretty typical. Still. It would be nice to see my forsythia dare to put their yellow heads out.

So, let’s blog on, shall we:

Matt Taibbi on the Ryan plan:

Republicans, quite smartly, recognize that there is great political hay to be made in the appearance of deficit reduction, and that white middle class voters will respond with overwhelming enthusiasm to any call for reductions in the “welfare state,” a term which said voters will instantly associate with black welfare moms and Mexicans sneaking over the border to visit American emergency rooms.

The problem, of course, is that to actually make significant cuts in what is left of the “welfare state,” one has to cut Medicare and Medicaid, programs overwhelmingly patronized by white people, and particularly white seniors. So when the time comes to actually pull the trigger on the proposed reductions, the whippersnappers are quietly removed from the stage and life goes on as usual, i.e. with massive deficit spending on defense, upper-class tax cuts, bailouts, corporate subsidies, and big handouts to Pharma and the insurance industries.

One of our lurkers-but-not-commenters, Michael Heaton at the Plain Dealer, has what a friend of mine used to call a Socks on the Lampshades Weekend. I enjoyed this piece because it reminds me of a simpler time, when newspapers found a little room in their pages for writers who didn’t always have to inform, but could simply entertain. One simple declarative sentence after another, no fancy transitions — if you read it aloud it would almost play as cruise-ship stand-up, but it made me smile, and I hadn’t even been drinking.

With that, my weekend beckons. Hope yours is great.

Posted at 11:05 am in Popculch |

54 responses to “Ship of drunks.”

  1. LAMary said on April 8, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Sorry to go off topic on the very first comment, but Tom and Lorenzo have wonderful photos of Isabelle de Borchgrave’s paper clothing. It’s better than it sounds, trust.

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  2. Connie said on April 8, 2011 at 11:32 am

    We are having a Tiger’s Home opening day hot dog lunch today at the township hall. We are supposed to wear Tiger shirts. I am wearing the only team shirt I actually own. Go Butler!

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  3. coozledad said on April 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    It’s a good thing I don’t have Richard Branson’s money, because instead of using it to build a “flying sub” to smash myself like a bug on the ocean floor, I’d be using it for spectacular acts of public vandalism, like putting a big hole in Kid Rock’s pukeship.

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  4. nancy said on April 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Movie idea: Kid Rock’s ship hits hidden WWII depth charge. (We’d have to redraw the course, natch.) Sinks in 90 minutes. “The Poseidon Adventure” meets “Pirate Radio” meets “Animal House.” Jessica Simpson in the Shelley Winters part. I’m lovin’ it.

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  5. beb said on April 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Forget the WWII landmine, let’s use a delusional fan who blows up the ship because Miley Cyrus won’t flip him some tits. Mmeanwhile rescue efforts are thwarted because Billy Idol is trying to out punk Kid Rock….

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  6. coozledad said on April 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    How’s this for the soundtrack:
    Oy, Collapse-O
    The shit tank has emptied
    Into the sea where we’re going to go drown
    Oy, Collapse-O
    We’ll be just like Skynrd
    but with fewer abrasions when we finally go down
    Yodel ay hee hee hee hee etc.

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  7. Scout said on April 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Kid Rock’s cruise… wow. Just wow. I’m clearly not the targeted demographic either, because I seriously would rather punch myself in the head repeatedly than be trapped on the high seas with a bunch of puking drunks and bad music.

    The Taibbi piece is definitely worth a click. He nails the crux of the biscuit. “But the icing on the cake comes when a guy like David Brooks – like me (Taibbi) a coddled, overcompensated media yuppie whose idea of sacrifice is raking one’s own leaves – comes out and calls Paul Ryan courageous for having the guts to ask seniors to cut back on their health care in order to pay for our tax breaks.

    The absurd thing is that Ryan’s act isn’t even politically courageous. It’s canny calculation, but courage it is not. It would be courageous if Ryan were, say, the president of the United States, and leaning on that budget with his full might. But Ryan is proposing a budget he knows would have no chance of passing in the Senate…

    …No matter what, Ryan’s gambit, ultimately, is all about trying to get middle-class voters to swallow paying for tax cuts for rich people. It takes chutzpah to try such a thing, but having a lot of balls is not the same as having courage.”

    More immediate is the budget stalemate that threatens to shut down the gubmint tonight. Looks like the Dems are holding fast to their refusal to make Planned Parenthood a sacrificial lamb. Of course with Republicans, compromise means only one thing. They get their way. The end.

    Mark Morford’s (SFGate) Facebook update: “BREAKING: Republican Party hates and fears women so much, they’re willing to shut down the federal government over it. God bless America.”

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  8. Jeff Borden said on April 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    The Republicans are barking mad. Period. They’ll burn the government down to the ground over Planned Parenthood funding and the guy with the biggest torch is Hoosier loser Mike Pence.

    I wish we could put all the teabagging shitheads aboard Kid Rock’s cruise, then sail that fucker into the Bermuda Triangle. We’d be rid of a second-rate entertainer and a literal boatload of first-rate creeps.

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  9. Deborah said on April 8, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    LA Mary, LOVED the paper fashion. Really beautiful.

    Cruises in general horrify me (read A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, by David Foster Wallace). A Kid Rock cruise is beyond imaginable to me in a very, very bad way. “Pukeship” indeed.

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  10. Rana said on April 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Deborah, I agree. I have trouble believing that a cruise would even be fun. For a day, maybe, but I get bored when I have to stay in one place and stare at a bunch of fellow tourists. I feel the same way about all of those various club beach vacations where apparently the primary appeal is getting to lie on a beach all day drinking alcoholic things with umbrellas and fruit in them. Boring! I’d rather travel about, or stay in an actual city, or go hiking, or something.

    Jeff B – you’ll get no disagreement with me about Pence. I have this special bitter laugh for when people suggest that I “contact my representative” about some issue or other, and it comes directly from my experience with him.

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  11. Mark P. said on April 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Hey Nancy, it’s not so far-fetched to imagine a cruise ship in the Gulf hitting some old WW II ordnance. The Germans had subs there. I can picture the opening scene – a barnacle-encrusted depth charge breaks from the bottom one night and floats silently upwards, where it bobs on the surface. Meanwhile, a luxury cruise ship steams towards it, lights gleaming, music booming, passengers puking over the side. Hmm. Do we recall Jaws, or Titanic? Spielberg or Cameron?

    On the budget and gov’t shutdown – I work in a field with mostly engineers and a few scientists in a conservative part of the country. It’s discouraging to hear otherwise quite intelligent people talk about the budget, the Republicans and government in general. They identify with the ultra-rich who benefit from such idiocies as Ryan’s budget proposal and don’t even understand that it’s suckers like them who end up paying for tax breaks for the rich. I have to leave the room when they start.

    My wife and I took an Alaska cruise a few years ago and it was a lot of fun. It started with a train ride inland, then a few days at Denali and some other places, then we boarded and sailed south. I would consider doing that again.

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  12. Judbusy said on April 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Bobolink–thanks for the book tip in yesterday’s thread. I’ll follow up and recommend it to my niece!

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  13. Deborah said on April 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I completely forgot that I have been on a cruise, it was so unpleasant that I guess I blocked it from my memory. It was an overnight cruise from Finland to Sweden a couple of summers ago. I know I’ve commented about this here before. First off, while boarding on a series of escalators going up to the top deck we were nearly killed because a group of tourists stopped at the top of the escalator to have their picture taken. All of us ascending behind them started toppling like dominoes because they completely blocked the top landing. No one was hurt but it could have been very ugly. And then we woke up before 4am (sunrise, because it was in the summer up there) to watch the collection of archipelagos that you go through on the way to Stockholm. That same group of tourists came out on the quiet and peaceful deck where we were blissfully watching the seascape and started singing Christian hymns accompanied by a hideous blaring saxophone, and they all sang way out of tune. It felt like hell to me. Thank god it was only one night. Never again.

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  14. Dexter said on April 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I love The Kid. The irritating Piers Morgan tried to get in Kid Rock’s kitchen a couple weeks ago and several times Kid Rock just made Morgan look stupid .
    Yeah, like Kid was going to describe intimate details of the Pam Anderson days.
    Wouldn’t a Kid Rock cruise just be an extended Mardi Gras party?
    I can think of a million things I’d like less than to be the only sober one on that boat.

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  15. John said on April 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    No comments about Iggy Pop’s prime time foray last night? If you missed it, consider yourself lucky.

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  16. Sue said on April 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Masterpiece is airing the new Upstairs/Downstairs episodes starting this Sunday, fyi.

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  17. brian stouder said on April 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Other than a very nice dinner cruise on Lake Michigan – with the beautifully lit up Chicago as a backdrop; and another dinner cruise on whatever that lake is at Holland Michigan, that leads out to Lake Michigan (help me, Connie!) – I have never been on a cruise. Pam’s mom and dad have a tremendously funny story about the time they took the ferry across from Michigan to Wisconsin, amidst a storm. Pam’s mom was pregnant, and so many people were barfing from stem to stern, that she did, too. It must have been very like the scene in Stand By Me, wherein the barf-o-rama takes place. (they indicated that there was a movie theater aboard the ship, which they very briefly went into, owing to an overpowering stench of vomit)

    By way of saying, the (inevitable) Youtube videos from Kid Rock’s ship of fools* might be mildly entertaining!

    *I think the movie should be an updated Titanic – with the sub-premium ticket holders making their own fun down in steerage, as the top-tier ticket holders cavort and carouse topside. Maybe Kid Rock can do Pamela Anderson in a Ferrari down in the cargo hold – and then….a horrible intestinal flu epidemic hits the ship. As the non-stop party rages on, Kid Rock has a big dramatic soliloquy as he struggles to clear his bowels in his private head, in which he realizes that his whole life has been a pointless exercise, albeit a commercial success. As the movie ends, we see the Rock standing at the bow of the ship, and the question arises – will he jump off? But then he smiles enigmatically, just before Somali pirates race into frame – leaving the possibility of an exciting sequel!

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  18. LAMary said on April 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    The photos from the cruise look so really unappealing. Speaking of unappealing, I had to re-read your sentence about clearing bowels in his private head, Brian. I know that’s what you call the bathroom on a boat, but I was reading a lot of hallucenogenic implications into it.

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  19. prospero said on April 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Bob may be a dumbass, but he’sfairly talented, He’s ripped off Seger like it’s going out of style, but not the best. You really had to be teenaged in those days to get it, MC5 was awe inspiring, Quackenbush, not Clapton, was God. Quackenbush Bros were still the best. Sustain and Hammond. You hVE to be kidding. We all thought IGGY was kinda a joke, There were really good bands with great guitar players, Stooges didn’t invent punk, Listen to God Save, That’s Sonic they are imitating.JMmes is ok, but he’s not remotely classic Detroit Rock ‘n’ roll. That would be Mitch Ryder more likely. Jeff, calm down, these are assholes but the country cannot be that fucked up. At this point we’re supposed to believe even Teabaggers are,t quite as stupid as Ryan. Wnen I attempted that message to the WaPs I found out Teaabaggers is unacceptable speech. That is what they CALLLED THEMSELVES ORIGINALLY, right? And WAPo is the quintessentially liberal press, right? Republicans in the House are making Planned Parenthood their whole budget point. Are these people fucking motons. They are supposed to care about kids before they are born, Which is mainly what PP does. GOPublics want to make sure those kids don’t get decent food after they are born to ensure Raygun’s Welfare Queen isn’t buying Vodka and cigarettes, a racist idiot if there ever was one. He did once say “Why when I was a young man, who even knew there were black people.” But Lee Atwater and Kommissar Karl taught him quickly. About Willie Horton and darkening newsmagazine images. If anybody doubts the Republic racist agenda, just look at the birthers, which pretty much includes all of these assholes. He’s not one of us, he doesn’t share skin color with Haley the Hutt. Does Trump share hair samples with anybody born on this planet? I think he killed Mexican women working in maquiladoras for his phony pelt, And Seventeen per cent of Republics prefer this asshole over MR. Magic UNDERPANTS?.

    How does this country play with no government at all, Because that is what Republics are aiming for. This is Grover’s wetdream. when his automatics get him everything he ever wanted, including laid for the first time in his sorry existence. Why should attractive guys like Newt have all the fun? Pindick, it don’t matter, we rule the Supreme Court where even Clarence can be Long Dong if he plays his cards right. That place he claims to come from near Savannah is actully called Pin Dick.

    With herex-
    Pretty much a per Why Neal is always better with Steve.fect voice and awe-inspiring guitar Steve is a way better guitar player. And it’s clear, whatever their differences, these guys are best buds.

    Perfet Voice.

    Huckleberrybee He just lies his ass off. Worse than W. Tied with Trump for Republlics. What a singular bunch of maroons. Lets see the Indonesia MQU mqu emao;sm and the ones he got from Kommiwwqr Darlqboit the UEW attotney’s office, Worrym deleted.

    Actual Patriots..

    <a href=""Heavy Music.

    Ramblin’ Gamblin.

    People like Pal Ryan put a lot of their credibilityity in the WWJD basket and how that makes them real Murrocans. Well, I’m Catholic, which despite what Babdiss say makes me a charter member, not a member of a demonic cult. Jesus would not be pleased with fucking over the elderly, the infirm, and the very young living in poverty. Republics are freedy assholes that want to screw over the least of my brethren. WWJD? They do the opposite, and then campaign against Plannred Parenthood is favoring the unborn child over the actually born child These assholes take hypocrite to whited sepulcher. These people are monsters. and creeps. There really is no excuse. But people that put their entire identities into being Christian hang on to these specatacularly greedy and selfish bastards that fuck over WJWD for a living and act like that makes them proud Muuocans. Think about the Rapcha you boneheads.

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  20. Linda said on April 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    John: What a coincidence. I missed Iggy’s appearance, but my sister in law didn’t. She said that when she saw him, her first thought was: your’e old, and ugly, skinny and orange. None of these kids know who you are. Go home!

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  21. Connie said on April 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Brian that would be Lake Macatawa, generally referred to as Lake Mac. I once got to do a fireworks cruise there courtesy of my bff who worked at Squirt before it was sold to Dr. Pepper and moved to Texas.

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  22. prospero said on April 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    I seeriously don’t get the Bob diss, and MarshallMathers and Jim attraction here, Name a vood song by the Stooges. MPT CLOSE.

    Ramblin, Gamblin?

    Persecution Smith:

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  23. Crazycatlady said on April 8, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I just don’t get Kid Rock. I don’t like any of what he passes off as music. I just don’t understand what the draw is.

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  24. Dexter said on April 9, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Wow, Michael Heaton. It was a helluva long time ago when the Plain Dealer was delivered here locally at the newsstands. Michael Heaton was one of the big reasons I bought the paper. I haven’t thought of him in many years. It’s great to see he’s still around. Jim Fitzgerald of the Freep wrote with the same light flair, some self-deprecation, but just enough to make one laugh. Fitz was an old man, though, and Heaton is hip. Heaton is a rocker and a Rock and Roller…here’s a taste of his work from last fall when Keef released his autobio:

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  25. prospero said on April 9, 2011 at 1:16 am

    just lie. Shameless, flaming liars. And people will be repeating this shit like it’s John 23 all over the net, like its true. Bullshit.

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  26. prospero said on April 9, 2011 at 1:24 am

    Robert Plant, Ship of Fools., but Bob’s a bimbo? Which instrument does Marshall play? One guy;s an asshole, the other isn’t.

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 9, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Re: John 22 & 23, I know Prospero is telling us that of the lies told in Washington this past week, “If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

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  28. mark said on April 9, 2011 at 10:11 am

    It now looks like the last-minute threat to Planned Parenthood was more about pressure to get a couple billion more in budget cuts. Not sure what I think of the tactic, as shutting down the government over abortion- which is how the press would have played the issue- would have been a disaster for fiscal conservatives. But the gamble worked, and Republicans should get the credit for a small step in the direction of fiscal responsibility.

    This should play well with the moderates and independents. Obama must think so, as he is trying to claim some of the credit for successfully cutting the budget he proposed.

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  29. coozledad said on April 9, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Fiscal responsibility, my ass. I love the old Libertarian schtick- if it smells like a bunch of pimply fucks getting away with shoplifting a case of beer from the grocery store, then it somehow dovetails with their idea of moral truth.
    They’re a cancer.

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  30. Sue said on April 9, 2011 at 10:53 am

    mark and cooz:
    I’m in a dilemma. Next winter when some poor person or persons freezes to death or dies in a fire caused by creative heating methods, do I blame Obama for proposing cutting that portion of the bill that provided heating assistance, or the Republicans for pushing the thinking that that kind of shit is ok?
    Because I am petty about these kinds of things.

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  31. coozledad said on April 9, 2011 at 11:08 am

    You’ve got a press that doesn’t permit a discussion of issues, but continues to suck Reagan’s dick, because they believe in their hearts if that mediocre shitsack could get his foot in the door, then they can too.
    We will never have a liberal president. Forget it.
    The choice is between someone who will give the Right pretty much everything it wants, and a motherfucker who will write them a receipt for your house.
    They should have dug a pit for the banksters and immolated every one of the sons of bitches in 08. But as Mark has often said, we cannot survive without that sweet, sweet talent.

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  32. del said on April 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    prospero – thanks for that MC5 Black to Comm link.

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  33. mark said on April 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm


    Examples of that happened this winter. Who did you blame?

    Perhaps we need to set priorities, rather than just pushing for government to do everything until the money runs out. Is heating assistance more important than $7500 tax credits for people who buy 40K hybrid vehicles or, or even bigger credits for people wealthy enough to be buying new homes? How about tax subsidies to get Spielberg to film his next blockbuter in Detroit or Nashville, rather than in CA. I think the basic needs are more important.

    And while people like cooz have a need to declare moral superioity over anyone who dares to disagree, and to make things up to justify his claim, there are a bunch of us conservatives who opposed bailouts for bankers and billions in stiumulus to successful businesses. The bankers suffered little from the mortgage mess but the victims of that scheme are still struggling. Thank you government for protecting Wall street. I don’t like the handouts to corporations whether it is Republicans doling it out or Obama cozying up to and applauding Jeff Immelt as he ships jobs overseas and GE pays no taxes.

    But when government becomes so big, and controls 25 cents of every dollar spent in the entire country, everybody and their brother will make campaign donations, hire lobbyists, and persuade the politicians that buying their product or service, or subsidizing it, or giving it a tax break, is in the national interest.

    We are spending about 4 trillion a year and we have to borrow more than 1.5 trillion of that. That’s not sustainable. I think I am agreeing with you in saying that government should assist those who arein short or long term need of help with food, clothing, shelter and medical care, and that we are more than wealthy enough to do that and to do it in a meaningful, dignified way. That doesn’t mean I have to applaud every government expenditure or think that it makes sense to send social security checks to the Ross Perots of the world.

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  34. Sue said on April 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    mark – then call Paul Ryan – right now – and tell what you just told me. Then in a year call the next budget darling, and the next.
    These folks don’t listen to people like me. They listen to the people who vote for them.

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  35. moe99 said on April 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Sue, they don’t listen to the people who vote for them, they listen to the people who finance their campaigns.

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  36. beb said on April 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Sue, The horrible, horrible thing is that when people start freezing to death next winter you can blame both parties equally. I’ve had it with Obama. He’s a Democrat In Name Only. He’s a horrible negotiator and has no liberal values or any sort. Come the election in 2012…. I can only hope that the Aztecs are right and the world is endng because there won’t be a candidate that won’t make Pol Pot proud.

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  37. Sue said on April 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I understand that Moe, but once the politicians have received their orders from donors, they have to convince voters to come on board. These ideas, the ones that hurt people at my level and below, have become part of our collective thinking. It’s why my in-laws were convinced for so many years that voting R was going to make them wealthy (never happened), it’s why another relative of mine, who is in her house right now because of a program Obama put in place, adores Paul Ryan and wouldn’t think of voting D.
    If these ideas and policies are unacceptable, the ones to convince the Republicans that they are unacceptable are Republican voters. I’m just not hearing that Republicans are doing much beyond what mark just said, accepting some really nasty treatment of some Americans so others preserve their own status quo because ‘something has to be done’.

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  38. del said on April 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Sidney Lumet died. Here’s a scene from The Verdict – interesting take on the pressure a trial lawyer can feel as judgment day nears:

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  39. moe99 said on April 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    This video was sent to me from a fellow choir member (back when my vocal cord wasn’t paralyzed and I could sing). It brought a smile to my face:

    Sue, you are right but it’s the donors that give the Republicans their talking points that the sell to the voters. I’m not sure how we can drop the scales from the voters’ eyes.

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  40. Sue said on April 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    moe, I can tell you that here in Wisconsin more voters suddenly have a better understanding of who the Koch brothers are and their relationship both to politicians and to groups like Americans for Prosperity. Suddenly people were thinking a little bit more about connections between ‘talking points’ groups (on both sides) and their effect on both politicians and voters. That kind of better understanding had an effect, I think, in the Supreme Court election of last Tuesday, although ultimately it still didn’t make a difference for the people who were trying to get Kloppenburg elected.

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  41. Dexter said on April 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    weekend musical interlude…the totally irascible Van Morrison, still the best , though. Some call him A-Hole, I call him genius.

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  42. Linda said on April 9, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Mark, why is it that none of the conservatives who object to subsidies and breaks for the rich are in Congress or employed as pundits? There are a few “show” libertarians somewhere in Congress, but when it comes to fighting tax breaks and subsidies for the wealthy, they fold like a cheap tent.

    Sue: I know what you mean about the disconnect between people who benefit from government programs, and how people feel about them. I heard my neighbor gripe about the government, when Obama’s energy program insulated her house and fixed her furnace last winter and cut her heating bills by half, and whose granddaughter bought her first house via a first time homebuyer program.

    I think that mentally, people disbelieve that government programs they like are actually part of the government. For instance, people like my employer, the public library, but don’t think of it as a “government program.” Part of that is because people know as much about how the govt is funded on the state, local and federal level as the average 5 year old knows about how their baby sister got born. When I quit a public library in TN and moved here, people asked me if I got a transfer.

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  43. Deborah said on April 9, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    A marvelous night for a moon dance. Dexter, Van Morrison is one of my favorites of all times. A genius for sure.

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 10, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Beb, it’s the Mayan calendar that doesn’t actually say the world ends on Dec. 21, 2012.

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  45. Dexter said on April 10, 2011 at 12:57 am

    “You can call me Jim.” The Best, the GREATEST…

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  46. Jeff Borden said on April 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm


    If there were several million honest conservatives like you in America, we’d all be doing a lot better. I’m a liberal only too happy (with the occasional muffled sob and teardrop) to admit that a lot of the ideas liberals and progressives embraced to help others backfired. Public housing, which warehoused the poverty-stricken in a communities of hopelessness, is a prime example. The progressive push for an all-volunteer armed forces means that roughly 2% of our population bears 100% of the burden of our wars of choice and that politicians can send our men and women into battle without worrying about the hue and cry of their parents and families, which helped drive a lot of the opposition to the Vietnam War. So, no question, a fair number of liberal ideas have bombed.

    My question to conservatives is simple: what would you do better? I fail to see how destroying the safety net that keeps the wolf from the door of millions of people works if something else isn’t substituted. We’re the wealthiest nation the world has ever seen, but about 20% of our citizens live in poverty. What, exactly, are we to do?

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  47. Linda said on April 10, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Jeff, I understand that some liberal ideas didn’t pan out, but Social Security and Medicare have. Those are 2 biggies. Before SS, lots of elderly were poor, and now most are not. Medicare provides medical care more cheaply than a lot of private insurance does. The ones that have panned out the best were the ones that simply gave people cash, without trying to reform or change them. Having more cash makes people less poor–what a concept!

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  48. Deborah said on April 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Let’s not forget bussing that was a big liberal boondoggle that I freely admit I thought was a good idea until I didn’t. Bad idea. I think liberals are more able to freely admit mistakes. Conservatives seem loathe to do the same. Empathy is a huge issue now, in neuroscience, and even David Brooks talks about it now. Something we all could use a lot more of.

    Brian Stouder, yesterday on a long walk through Lincoln Park we encountered some re-enactors of union soldiers. They had tents set up and other authentic looking props. When we happened by they were all huddled below the sculpture of Lincoln near Dearborn and North Ave getting their picture taken. It was very moving to see.

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Fixing Medicare troubles me — If someone can show me math that says the current track can be resolved simply by raising the payroll tax income maximum and a bit of means testing for recipients, I’d go for it. The problem is that we’re cost shifting Medicaid into Medicare, just like hospitals charging $59 for an aspirin because they can only charge $159 for medical procedures that cost $398. And I’d be even more assertive for Medicare Part E-for-everybody as the best way to manage costs & shift the curve level if I didn’t have a major concern about the law of unintended consequences. The market doesn’t solve everything, or even most necessary things, but I think the market does do innovation better than top-down planning does, which holds me back from full-throated single-payer support.

    EDIT — I should say that the idea Medicare needs “fixed” is what troubles me. It generally seems fine, except for how costs are continuing to increase so dramatically. Given the outcomes we get for that, it might be worth every penny we overpay for it: how do you value a general two year increase in life span? 700 more sunsets, two more Christmases, untold more “I love yous.” But some route to cost containment should be do-able, and demonizing pharmaceutical companies is getting less and less convincing as the principal villain.

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  50. brian stouder said on April 10, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Deborah – very cool.

    We spent the weekend in Logansport*, and their local paper had some very good articles on local descendents of civil war veterans. Over the years, we’ve visited several major battlefields of that war (including Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg), and there’s always a big Indiana marker present. And if you visit almost any small town church cemetery in rural Indiana, you’ll see markers for civil war KIAs and for Grand Army of the Republic veterans. The scope of the cataclysm is so inescapable that it is expected; it becomes background noise.

    And this is why Lincoln is so indispensible (it seems to me) to the whole narrative; he doesn’t just provide “talking points” or boilerplate. Instead, his life and his political trajectory – his mis-steps and successes, and his eternally clear speaking style and argumentation, comes to genuinely encapsulate and personify the national cataclysm, and all that we, the people of the United States, aspire to.

    All through his political career, flawed and imperfect as it was, he steadily grew and forged ahead, and although he hesitated and was sometimes unsure and/or tardy, he never took a step backward. (And indeed, for that he was murdered. I dislike the term “martyred”, because it seems to elevate the shooter, imo)

    *It was a trying weekend, with an automotive breakdown and a very tense tow job (what little hair I have left was falling out in clumps!), but we digress

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  51. moe99 said on April 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    The US seems to be a third world country, what with Ikea coming in and taking advantage of our workers:,0,5341610.story

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  52. coozledad said on April 10, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Moe: Danville, VA is the third world. It’s a kind of Johannesburg of perennial white serfdom. It’s as if the south had actually won, and finished the job of enslavement, down to the marrow of its people.
    I still can’t believe Ikea hired Dan River stooges solely on the strength of their ability to run a business into the ground.
    For years, the emblem of Danville was the Dan River Fabrics sign, busted off and threatening to dip into the fall line rapids. I think Ikea must have paid for them to remove this painful reminder of the gross public dicking the residents got from their bosses the last time.

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  53. Jolene said on April 11, 2011 at 12:35 am

    I just finished watching Ken Burns’s Civil War miniseries (replayed this week on PBS), and it left me stunned in a way that it didn’t when I first watched it because, I guess, I’ve just learned and thought more about the war since then. The numbers are so staggering: 620,000 dead, 60,000 Confederate deserters at Petersburg, so many miles of railroad destroyed, and on and on. Such big, awful numbers. It also made me think a lot more about what it was like to be in the South after the war, with so many dead and so much destroyed. It’s a miracle we became a country again, to the extent we did.

    This article re the descendants of some of the major figures in the war (Grant, Lee, Jeff Davis, Frederick Douglass and others) is, in parts, quite touching, although the Davis heir remains pitifully unreconciled.

    Your characterization of Lincoln seems just right, Brian. It’s hard to imagine how he found the steel to stay upright given his own suffering, the frustrations of disappointing generals, and the sheer hardness of the struggle, but he did.

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  54. coozledad said on April 11, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Jolene: There’s a telling passage at the end of Thomas Buell’s The Warrior Generals where he describes the evacuation of Petersburg and the flight of Lee’s baggage train toward Appomattox. The shoeless and hungry Confederate troops were startled to find carloads of shoes, clothes, and tinned food, even portable cooking stoves, that Lee and his officer corps had been hoarding against the day when the blue-bloods might need them.
    The only failure of Grant’s leadership I can see from here, is he didn’t let those boys string up their own general staff following the armistice.

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