Empty shelves.

There’s nothing sadder than a bookstore on the eve of closing:

Our poor Border’s, currently being stripped to the walls, and beyond — the shelves themselves are all marked with “make offer.” Did you know you can buy a good used set of security towers — the things that sound the alarm when someone tries to sneak merchandise past them — for $500. Every book was $1.99. That was the good news. The bad news: There was nothing to read. I picked up Tom Perrotta’s “The Abstinence Teacher,” but couldn’t remember if I’d read it before. Oh, well — never could resist a bargain.

This is the last day. Any dummies out there looking to adopt a racing greyhound? Or a Jack Russell? I actually looked through that one a bit, then put it back. I could have written that book, and made it a lot shorter: Your dog is smarter than you are. Enjoy! The end.

It’s pledge week on public radio, and our local has been running spots proclaiming their dedication to unbiased news coverage. This is choir-preaching time for me, so I’ve been letting my ears glaze over, but about the third time around, I listened more closely, and heard the news director say that other news outlets claim Dearborn is governed by Sharia law. O rly? Turns out he’s right. It seems to be a truism of some right-wing media, in fact. It stems from an incident last year in which some members of a Christian group got themselves arrested at an Arab-American festival there. All they were did was set up shop at a cultural event and tell people their religion was inherently violent and evil. The police arrested them for disorderly conduct, they fought it, and were acquitted. This is proof enough to some people that if you’re caught stealing in Dearborn, you lose a hand. If only. Dearborn has plenty of strip clubs, a strange institution for a city allegedly run under Sharia law. And its mayor is named Jack O’Reilly. I wonder if his friends call him Osama O’Reilly when he stops by the bar for his 5 o’clock medicine. I would.

Anyway, I hope the police learned their lesson. Next time, stand back and let them get their asses kicked. Although that creates its own set of problems.

Not surprisingly, this case was accompanied by a weenie with a video camera. When did we become such a nation of jerkoffs? Watch the video, and you see a typical summer festival like any one of dozens of others. Then the Bible action team shows up and starts stirring the shit. But the video gives the impression of “truth,” because hey — it’s video. And can we have a rule? A sort of Godwin’s Law, part 2? The minute someone feels the need to say, “Hey! This is America!” we all get one free eye-roll, no penalty.

Oh, the coffee is slow to do its work this morning. Think I best head to the gym. But first, another video treat for the season, as Eric Zorn one-ups the Passover-themed YouTubin’ all up in this joint:

Disapproving rabbits. Because they will have no more of your nonsense.

One-hundred fifty years ago, it’s finally on. Disunion is daily reading for me. Should be for you, too.

Time to cut this short and hope for delayed caffeination. Good Wednesday, all.

Posted at 10:21 am in Same ol' same ol' |

71 responses to “Empty shelves.”

  1. MichaelG said on April 13, 2011 at 10:35 am

    (Carry over from yesterday – I couldn’t resist)
    Bitter, is that the Fecal Finger of Fate?

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  2. ROgirl said on April 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

    At first I thought the disapprovers were rabbis. Shondas for everyone.

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  3. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 11:33 am

    That Dearborn/Sharia Law merde is straight from the non-wise, non-babe (low standards on this from Republican neo-celibate hooker devotees like Rich Lowry) mouth of Michelle Bachmann. The grandiose stupidity of this, is that for every major division and splinter sect that populates world Islam, the term Sharia Law means something entirely different. This is not surprising from a bunch of neo-neocons (aka born-again Teabaggers) who had no idea there were Sunni and Shia before they invaded Iraq.

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  4. Mark P. said on April 13, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Hey prospero, they still don’t know what all that sunni and shia stuff is all about. They would rather just ignore it, like they do most of the inconvenient parts of reality.

    These current-day teabaggers remind me of nothing so much as the secessionists of 150 years ago. Both of them bring to my mind the Greek quote: “Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.” I just hope the teabaggers don’t take the rest of us along on the trip like the secessionists did.

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  5. Jeff Borden said on April 13, 2011 at 11:58 am

    The teabaggery never stops amusing me. The latest silliness is drama queen Lindsey Graham threatening to shut down the Senate because the deal cut by the right-wingers and Obama would cut $50,000 –yes, that’s the number, $50K– for a study of dredging out Charleston harbor.

    This is the essential problem with the teabaggers. They want to cut YOUR wasteful spending. The stuff that benefits them is absolutely critical and cannot be trimmed.

    I’ve been terribly disappointed by President Obama, but sheesh, compared to the rest of the political crowd, he remains a giant among pygmies.

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  6. alex said on April 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Wow, Nance, your Border’s is kaput too? I remember yours from my visit a couple of summers ago. Bought some great sale-price books at the time, but in order to get my discount I had to give them my e-mail address and they’ve been flooding my inbox with junk ever since.

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  7. Dexter said on April 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I could have used the Jack Russell Terrier for dummies book ten years ago ; now I need one for Labrador Retriever-Rottweiler one year old rescue dogs. Pogo is a real challenge, getting better, but still having the accident once in a while.
    All she has to do is tell me, but she just goes when she has to. I thought I had her trained, only to fine a few dog logs on her designated carpet remnant last evening . At least she understands enough to try to hit that rug.
    I didn’t want the dog, she was a gift almost six weeks ago. Of course, I am determined to train her to get outside every time, not just some of the time, but it’s a challenge. Even then, I caught hell when she pooped in a vacant lot yesterday. A neighbor with a nice high fence didn’t appreciate my dog going in the crappy vacant lot. Sheesh. Dog owners have a lot of haters. (Picking it up doesn’t impress the dog haters). Enough poopie talk…sorry.

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  8. MichaelG said on April 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    See, Dexter? It was the fecal finger of fate.

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  9. alex said on April 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Guess I won’t be ordering a hot brown for lunch.

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  10. coozledad said on April 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Couldn’t that moron find a t-shirt with a bigger cross on it?
    Someone ought to start a line of casual wear with 12 foot nerf crosses stapled to it. Abramov’s people could assemble them in the Marianas.

    The lingerie line could be called “Mine 2 Bare”.

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  11. JC said on April 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I could have written the rescue greyhound book: Your dog is faster than you are, but not smart enough to not run into traffic after a paper bag. Enjoy! The end.
    The Borders in my neighborhood had that haunted look of a store about to close the last time I was in it. That was just before the announcement about the store closings and I think the store manager wasn’t too confident about her odds.

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  12. LAMary said on April 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    My fundy co-worker frequently mentions how oppressed Christians are in the US and all the anti-Christian stuff the government and media and just like everybody says and does. As an atheist, I find this remarkable. I work in a Catholic hospital and I’ve never gotten any shit from the nuns and priests or chaplains, but the fundy protestant at the next desk has real problems with my not sharing her beliefs. Tolerating is not enough. I must agree they are correct. She also says Catholics are not really Christians. She is very smug about all this. She’s also a birther and believes Obama is a socialist. I listen to my IPod a lot.

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  13. Jeff Borden said on April 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Ahh, the wonderful smugness of the faithful, so convinced they are going to be sitting on the couch next to Jesus watching “The Ten Commandments” in HD while you and me are roasting like chestnuts in Satan’s hellfire after the rapture and armageddon.

    If Cotton Mather were to emerge these days, he’d find plenty of followers like your coworker, LAMary. It’s not enough that they find salvation, I guess. You must burn or it’s no fun at all.

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  14. Mark P. said on April 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Fundamentalists are fundamentally insecure; they need constant reassurance that their beliefs are right, and not the ignorant, superstitious drivel they suspect it to be. Deep down they know that they are ignorant. I once dated a fundamentalist girl. I mentioned some of the contradictions in the Bible, and she said that she didn’t really know what the Bible said but she believed it was literally true. Every word!

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  15. beb said on April 13, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    After Sodom and Gomorrah Lot’s daughters slept with their father in order to perpetuate the race. I always found that a bit creepy. As did God’s testing of Job. If you are all knowing and all-powerful you hardly need to take a dare from the devil…

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  16. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    LAMary, As a Catholic, that crap about Catholics not being Christian strikes me as hilarious. I just ask the jackasses making that assertion which church can trace its founding to Jesus and the Apostles, and which only goes as far back as Martin Luther’s painful bowel movements. And why do they think they are called Protestants. Usually shuts them the hell up, because they have no idea of when Luther and his breakaway fellow sectists came around–with the velociraptors in the OT? Of course there are the real nutcases that go with the Satanic Cult accusation, for whom there’s no hope but lobotomy. Franklin Graham, who pretty much espouses this line of thinking, actually dabbles in Satanism and has sold his soul to get his hands on his dad’s money (not intended to be a factual statement–I was surprised that was not your lead today Nancy).

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  17. Kirk said on April 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Borders filed for bankruptcy several weeks ago, so lots of its stores are in the process of closing all over the place. I went to one in Columbus a few weeks ago but wound up not seeing anything left that I wanted, books or CDs.

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  18. Suzanne said on April 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Ah, Prospero. I once worked with several Lutheran seminary students who did not consider themselves Protestants, but Reformed Catholics. They pretty much thought everyone but them was wrong and going straight down to the eternal lake of fire.

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  19. Rana said on April 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve been impressed by the New York Times‘ pieces on the Civil War. They’ve set up a pretty cool Facebook page, too, in which each day they share another piece of news, a document, describe an event, etc. from 150 years ago to the day. It’s like watching the war unfold in real time.

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  20. alex said on April 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    LA Mary, you have my deepest sympathies. I’m amazed HR hasn’t told your co-worker to cease and desist from antagonizing people with religion and politics. If I were you, I’d lodge a formal complaint.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on April 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Suzanne, they had to be LCMS, where I was told in confirmation class that only Missouri Synod members would be in heaven. Even at 12, I found it impossible that a loving God would have such exclusions, and Mary, I would like to apologize for that fundy co-worker’s hate speech. It’s wrong and sinful.

    Proof that the budget-cutting conservatives are not just mean, they are also dumb: WIC (Women, Infants & Children) has taken a big hit. WIC is a program that saves $3-4 for every $1 spent, just in emergency room visits for those not receiving health care. Most conservatives in the past recognized this and acknowledged it as a government program that works well. My sister has worked for WIC for 23 years, and she hasn’t had a raise for the last four.

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  22. Connie said on April 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Well Alex down there in Fort Wayne, it has always been my understanding that Hot Browns can be ordered only in the greater Louisville area. So where were you going to order that Hot Brown? Just wondered.

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  23. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Cuts to Women, Infants and Childrens program prove that Republicans care about kids before their born but not afterwards. Of course attacking Planned Parenthood would appear to mean that actual GOP concern for kids begins and ends at conception, since it would adversely affect developing fetuses by limiting prenatal care programs of PP. Assholes should answer up on their understanding of Matthew 25:35, if they profess to be Christians.

    Suzanne, I just deploy that argument for shock value, to make the dumbasses STFU. Mentioning Martin Luther’s notorious constipation as the inspiration for his Theses always takes these people aback, like answering the door to Jehovahs and Mormons with whiskey breath, clad in Utrou, and asking them “What the fuck do you want?” Very effective repellent mechanism. They don’t come around here no more.

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  24. Jeff Borden said on April 13, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I seem to recall drills in catechism when I was in Catholic elementary school that went something like “the Catholic Church is the One True Church,” but I don’t recall hearing we fish eaters would be alone in heaven. Then again, I was blessed to be a kid when the happy pope, John the 23rd, was on the papal throne. Since his death, the conservative wing of the church has done everything possible to close the windows of he threw open during his time.

    I think Mark P. is on to something when he attributes the need to see other faiths punished as symptomanic of a deep-seated insecurity among fundies. I wouldn’t care much about what they believe or what they do if they were not so insistent on pushing themselves into other areas of life, most particularly education. I fear for a nation’s future when scientific inquiry is sacrificed on the altar of religious beliefs. How the hell are kids educated in, say, Texas going to compete in a global economy when the adults who oversee the schools insist on teaching bullshit like creationism?

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  25. Deborah said on April 13, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I’m asking for it, tomorrow night I’m having dinner with my right-wing sister in Minneapolis. I’m going there for a business trip and I felt like I needed to do my family duty. She’s going to rant about Obamacare and Sharia Law until my eyes glaze over, I’m just going to smile and think my own thoughts. And she’s a Missouri Synod Lutheran to boot. I know when it’s all over I’m going to wish I hadn’t told her I would be in town.

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  26. Julie Robinson said on April 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Deborah, my technique for my LCMS relatives involves changing the subject to their children/grandchildren, gardens/crops, and of course, the weather (see gardens/crops).

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  27. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm


    One of my brothers, closest to me in age, and my best friend all my life, grew up to be a selfish corporate lawyer Republican. He had a poster of Bobby Kennedy in his bedroom when he was young. We cannot talk about politics at all without getting into a physical altercation, so we see almost nothing of each other. This is a wound and a source of sorrow to me. I once spent a night in the Charles St. Jail in Boston to keep him from the same, and now we barely talk to each other.

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  28. alex said on April 13, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Connie, the Hot Brown is becoming a hot item on pub menus. I just saw it again the other day though can’t for the life of me remember where. (I used it this morning simply to keep the scatological thread going.) I had one in Indy once and I seem to recall the menu describing it as a Pittsburgh invention, originally served at some old downtown hotel.

    Was surprised to see bulgogi, a Korean dish, is now featured on the menu at my fave pub in Auburn. I bet you didn’t think we had any of that around here either.

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  29. Dorothy said on April 13, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    There were Hot Browns on the menu at some restaurants when I lived in Cincinnati. Louisville doesn’t own the rights to them! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_Brown

    It is sad about Borders, especially with my niece about to open her indie bookstore in Athens, GA. I sure hope she’s found her niche – she’s done so much publicity and research and marketing, it wears me out to read all the entries she puts about it on Facebook.

    Prospero – neither of you is getting any younger. You should put aside the discussions about politics and just be brothers again. Be the bigger one and call him – he will probably be overjoyed. Fingers crossed!

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  30. ROgirl said on April 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    You can never go wrong with Tom Lehrer’s classic lyrics:

    “Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics
    And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
    And the Hindus hate the Moslems
    And everybody hates the Jews.”

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  31. Connie said on April 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I lived just north of Louisville for years, and they certainly claim the Hot Brown as theirs, invented at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. I’ve only walked through but did attend a wonderful performance of Zap Mama at the renovated Brown Theater.

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  32. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Texans are pissed off about a space shuttle being put out to pasture in LA. Somebody should remind them that the jerk with the Blago haircut they keep electing governor doesn’t consider Tejas part of the USA.

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  33. Bitter Scribe said on April 13, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    The best take on sharia law I ever saw was when some troll railed about it on a leftie site–might have been Sadly, No! Only it came out “shania law.” It wasn’t a simple typo; he repeated it several times throughout his post.

    Of course the regular posters had a field day. Under Shania Law, attractive women will have to bare their abs at all times, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” will be the national anthem, etc.

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  34. nancy said on April 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Hot Browns are a staple at Zino’s in Cincinnati, which also has great pizza. Mouth watering just thinking about it now.

    I would totally like to live under Shania Law.

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  35. Mark P. said on April 13, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Dorothy, I sure wish your niece well. Maybe an independent bookstore will do well in a university town. I would expect it to be hard, and I imagine it will be a lot of work to make it work. I have to admit that I do most of my book browsing at Amazon these days.

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  36. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 3:06 pm


    Tom Lehrer was brilliant, but I prefer a more categorical cataloging of the world’s pathologies by Tonio K, with big ol’ loud electric slide guitar. And these days, nobody loves the Jews in Israel more than American fundamentalists. They believe they need all Jewish people to assemble in “the Holy Land” so the rapturization can commence.

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  37. Sue said on April 13, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    You know what Lutherans are, right? Catholics who are going to hell.
    Or so I’ve heard.
    And re the Civil War interest here, think I’ll grab my copy of Mary Chesnut and visit with that remarkable lady for awhile. Her most famous quote, I believe:
    ‘like the patriarchs of old, our men live all in one house with their wives & their concubines, & the Mulattos one sees in every family exactly resemble the white children-& every lady tells you who is the father of all the Mulatto children in everybody’s household, but those in her own, she seems to think drop from the clouds or pretends so to think.’

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  38. Little Bird said on April 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Deborah, You will spend an evening with your (slightly insane) sister this week. I will spend about four nights at my (very insane) aunt from the other side of the family. The things we do for family. It’s a good thing we love ’em, otherwise we’d despise them.

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  39. Judybusy said on April 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Deborah, if you and sis will be eating out, there are tons of great places to eat in these parts. Of course, if her culinary taste goes with her politics, you will be forced to eat at Red Lobster.

    Depending on your budget and taste, may I suggest Blackbird, Brasa, Red Stag, Heidi’s, King’s, Cafe Maude, Restaurant Alma or the Modern Cafe. The last would appeal to someone who likes “normal food.” However,it’s really, really good. All of these places are chef-driven, local-in-the neighborhood places. For Vietnamese, I’d head to Quang’s on Nicollet. Ok, I’ll stop now. There are just so many incredible places.

    My family learned long ago not to bring up their stupid politics with me. Two weekends ago, my sister revealed she didn’t know who Geraldine Ferraro was. I hope she forgets to vote–she’s in Michelle Bachmann’s district, and I would bet my left foot she voted for her.

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  40. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Pardon, but Shania was born on the wrong side of the Ambassador Bridge, in Windsor. That would just be one more furrin’ ideolotry burrowin’ into the foundation of the Constitution. Damn hoser canucks out to destroy our Murrcan way of life because they hate our freedom.

    Rep. Bachmann is scheduled to be just across the bridge from us on Saturday, and I think we’ll attend. There may be Teabaggers, but we plan to bring signs. Since I have no sidearm, I think I’ll wear my toolbelt with my two-lb. sledge where my trusty 22 oz. Estwing straight-claw framing hammer usually resides. For some reason the ninny is coming to Bluffton, a sort of neo-hippy, artsy kind of place, instead of the local Sun City which calls itself “@ Hilton Head”, even though it’s 15 miles away on the mainland. an absolute hotbed of perverse GOPutrid politics that has hijacked local politics by packing in Oltimers cheek to jowl and does nothing but bitch about paying property taxes since they’re empty-nester anti-government types. Shit, if they’re taking up physical space in one place and claim to be part of another to boost their property values, I think they should pay twice.

    Aggravating anti-teabag sign ideas welcome.

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  41. Judybusy said on April 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Prospero, perhaps you can come up with something inspired by this latest crazy stuff from Bachmann. Maybe, “No, YOU’RE the public health threat!” But, that maybe a bit too obscure….

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  42. Sue said on April 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I’m very hesitantly being guardedly optimistic in a cautious way about the possibility that our President just might have a little fight in him after all. Maybe.

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  43. Jeff Borden said on April 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm


    That sounds hilarious, man. You might even think about toting a squirt gun to send up the teabaggers’ manly need for a big ol’ shootin’ iron on their hip. Be careful, though. If you spell all the words on your sign correctly, they’ll know you’re not a teabagger, LOL.

    Has the GOP ever been at lower ebb? Even after Nixon there were intelligent, credible people in the party, but these days it’s nothing but a parade of insane clowns. Bachmann may be the looniest now that Our Lady of Wasilla has gone well beyond her sell-by date, though even a batshit crackpot like Bachmann speaks better English.

    I still think Willard Romney will get the GOP nod simply because no one else can pass the sanity test and he’s been a reasonably decent foot soldier for the GOP. I suspect one of the teabaggers will mount some kind of third-party effort, which will only hurt the Republican nominee but make all those righteous idiots feel good about the purity of their beliefs.

    Ironically, Romney likely would be a very formidable candidate if he had not prostituted himself to curry favor with the trogs and dolts. Now, we know only that he stands for nothing. . .that he will say or do anything. . .that he has the moral scruples of a slug and the spine of a Cheetoh. Mittens should’ve remember the old axiom, If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

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  44. coozledad said on April 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I have no idea what my family gets up to at their feeds these days. Probably cook some side meat over a flaming cross, or something. They’ll talk serious shit about you if you’re not in the same room with them. Sometimes this gets back to someone who’s still there, and there are words.
    The drunks learned to stay out in the yard by the pig cooker to avoid being caught up in the really nasty stuff and doing something untoward. That’s the closest any of them ever get to tact.

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  45. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 4:52 pm


    Thanks for the encouragement. Listen, if there is a perfect place to open an independent bookstore, it might be Athens. It’s a beautiful town filled with historic architecture and a vibrant cultural atmosphere, a wonderful place to live and bookstores have thrived historically. Do you know where in Athens the store will be located? If I didn’t own a home at the beach, I’d probably live in Athens.

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  46. brian stouder said on April 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Disunion is daily reading for me. Should be for you, too.

    Say, friend-of-NN.c Gerry Prokopowicz has an internet audio-show (somewhat ironically called Civil War Talk Radio), which is pretty good stuff anyway – and which features an interview with head writer for the NYTimes Disunion series Jamie Malanowski, Friday at 3pm.


    Dr P is a genuine gentleman and scholar, and the show will surely be marvelous (check his archives for many other interesting interviews)

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  47. coozledad said on April 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I think this is the same guy who found Madonna’s pap smear.

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  48. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    From the Atlantic publication of the advance text of Obsama’s budget speech linked by Sue:

    Part of this American belief that we are all connected also expresses itself in a conviction that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff, may strike any one of us. “There but for the grace of God go I,” we say to ourselves, and so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, and those with disabilities. We are a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further – we would not be a great country without those commitments.

    How many rich Americans for whom a SS check amounts to couch change will howl if the income cap is raised from the current paltry $106,800, yet they take the checks even though they are based on the same contribution that I will have made when I hit 62. I would have gladly paid to a higher level of income, but I actually believe in some aspects of Christian belief informing social policy in the interest of all Americans.

    Do Senators and members of the House need free health care. Most of them certainly do not. Do they take it when it could be better spent to enhance the security and health of all Americans, the Commonwealth. Hell yeah?

    Do these greedy toady’s believe that industry will regulate its own behavior to protect our shared environment? Not unless they think Thomas Hobbes was a founding father and Adam Smith was right about a benevolent guiding hand for supply and demand and unfettered markets, requiring Panglossian naivete, abject stupidity or white sepulchre hypocrisy beyond comprehension.

    Unfortunately, a representative democracy is susceptible to the wilfully uneducable credulousness of it’s most easily bamboozled voters. I suppose the teabaggers are so delirious with the vapor of an idea of being included with Republican oligarchy, some intense shock would be reuired for them to awaken to the dire situation of upward redistribution of wealth at red-shifting velocity. As Mencken said, they know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. And they will, but probably too late. At that point, vengeance along the lines of Marat/Sade will be the best to hope for.

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  49. mark said on April 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Jeff B.-

    I thought low tide for the GOP was December ’08, when you pronounced it dead for generations.

    There are lots of serious Republicans (and Democrats, progressives and conservatives) discussing lots of serious issues. But the most partisan among us prefer to challenge the merits of an idea by diminishing the person who holds it- a technique I’m sure you would criticize if used by your speech students. Sarah Palin and others are useful in that effort.

    Here’s a talented right-winger discussing a very difficult issue: http://csis.org/publication/libya-no-fly-unstable-stalemate-or-regime-kill
    But it is so much easier to take something that a Phyllis Schlafly disciple in Texas said about an incident in Dearborn and extrapolate it to all of those “teabaggers” and dumb and mean conservatives.

    The Sharia law issue is a real one and deserves discussion. Germany and France wish they had discussed it earlier. Briefly put, will we bend our laws to accommodate the dictates of one religion, perhaps to the same degree that we have done for the Amish? Do we do so when the accommodation conflicts with our accepted notions on critical issues like women’s rights, appropriate treatment of children and regulatory oversight of business and financial enterprises.

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  50. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 5:41 pm


    But how can they prove the authenticity of this sort of fundamentalist demi-grail without admiitting that radiocarbon dating actually works? And what does that do to the literal biblical timeline? And Creationism? And wasn’t the real plunger handle up Martin Luther’s rectum just this sort of iconography, and profiting from it by selling attached indulgences?

    Oh, and the advance copy of the budget speech reminded me of a joke from Julian Bond. He said that the press hounded his staff for advanced copies of speech texts, and it had always puzzled him, since they would hear the whole thing when delivered. One day it dawned on him, he said, that they were hoping to catch him straying from the written text so that they’d get a headline reading: Julian Bond caught in textual deviation.

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  51. Mark P. said on April 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    The sharia law issue is a red herring. We have a constitution, and that takes care of it. Muslims get the same rights as Christians and Jews. One day maybe we can add atheists to that list. The only reason most people want to discuss sharia law is so that they can figure out a way to discriminate against Muslims, and maybe along the way make sure their own religion is favored.

    I don’t hear of many Republicans who are truly wiling to discuss much of anything. Most of them are too frightened of primary challenges by teapartiers to talk about anything in a reasonable fashion. Let’s see how many teapartiers want to refuse to raise the debt ceiling, and damn the consequences. And let’s see how many Republicans at least give lip service to that idea.

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  52. Dexter said on April 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I missed the Hot Browns during my trips to Louisville, but a historical report confused me. The Brown Theater hit hard times in the thirties and was used only as a movie house until 1962 when it had its first renovation. It was then being used as a real theater. The report I read said nothing about movies, but I saw the first run of the Hellman-Schlesinger production of the movie “Midnight Cowboy” there in late September of 1969. I guess the report was simply incomplete. Two more rehabs in 1971 and more recently, too, have restored The Brown to elegance.
    I was in the army then, had a drink at The Brown Hotel , and have only returned twice , for the Kentucky Derby Festival basketball all-star game in 1977 and for the KY state fair in 1993.
    Louisville was fun.

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  53. Suzanne said on April 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Interesting point about the Amish. Having lived around Amish for most of my life, it has always interested me that no one seems to have any problem with them following their own sort of laws. I don’t know if that is because they are Christian, or pacifists, or if it’s the notion that they are our fringe religion and so alright, while veil wearing Muslims are somebody else’s fringe and thus not alright.

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  54. nancy said on April 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Our accommodation to the Amish is fairly limited, though. We accept that they will leave school after eighth grade, that they might not have to put slow-moving vehicle signs on their buggies (an utterly foolhardy concession, in my opinion), and what else? Child labor? I remember when an Amish restaurant in Allen County gave food poisoning to 50 people one weekend, and not one but two legislators came running to exempt them from all health codes. Mercifully, that one died quietly short of enactment.

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  55. MarkH said on April 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    mark – you are dead on. The UK (most of it anyway) wishes they had a chance to discuss it earlier as well.



    Sharia Law in civil matters among muslims is now the law of the land in the UK. How does anyone know where that will lead? While we do have a different constitutional set up (but good point about the Amish, mark), it’s spectre is real and needs to be discussed. Any nation that entertains the idea is having no less than their sovereignty threatened. Notwithstanding that the Dearborn sharia issue Nancy brought up is a red herring, as Mark P. suggests.

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  56. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Which part of American jurisprudence do Amish get a dispensation from or a mulligan on or whatever? They can’t drive surreys on the Interstate system. It’s not illegal for a religious community to shun somebody. If a kid goes on Amish spring break he can’t be publicly intoxicated or break into a liquor store any more than your average Florida Gator football player, except in Talahassee, where the miscreant gets off scott free if he’s not packing. There’s no law against homespun highwater pants or straw boaters. Exactly what sort of legal exemptions do y’all claim Amish are afforded? Is wife-beating or spousal rape ignored if it’s reported?

    This is the point where the flagrant hypocrisy of GOP fring scare tactics on the coded business of “Sharia Law” gets fascinating. Didn’t the GOP state lege in Oklahoma or Nebraska or some other stat I wouldn’t live in without large, continuing cash payments just try to get away with subdividing rape into forcible and non?-forcible rape and get humiliated into backing off? And GOP nutcases rouse the TeaParty by claiming they’re protecting women? Yeah, right.

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  57. Deborah said on April 13, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Thanks Judybusy (and others too) for the lists of places to eat in Minneapolis. I made reservations at 112 Eatery based on a recommendation from a colleague from my company’s Minneapolis office and from checking it out on-line. It’s kind of pricey but seems like very good food. My sister will undoubtedly order the most expensive thing on the menu as she usually does but I don’t care how much it costs, if I have to be there with my her and her husband I might as well enjoy the food, I sure won’t be enjoying anything else.

    Little Bird plans her family trips so that she doesn’t have to go to church with her aunts and uncles on her Dad’s side, she never stays over a Sunday and hopes there won’t be a Wednesday evening service while she’s there (Lent or Advent season).

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  58. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I believe it’s also true that there is a very large body of Mosaic and Rabbinic law in Judaism, that is adjudicated by councils of rabbis and occasionally enters into American jurisprudence. Since we do not live in a Jewish or a Muslim state, but have our own Constitution and body of case and statutory law, it’s difficult to see a difference in the way either Islamic Law, in all of its manifestations, and Jewish law differ in any respect regarding believers of either religion in US courts.

    This crying wolf about Sharia (an incredibly innacurate term as Americans perceive it as monolithic, without regard for Shia, Sunni, Sufi, Ahmadiyya and the Druze, who aren’t even considered Muslims by the other sects or denominations) is as much an appeal to wilful ignorance and communal fear as “death panels” or “anchor babies” and “headless corpses”. And it’s fine to call all this merde de cheval a red herring, but it’s the stock in trade of a viable GOP presidential nominee, who can’t spell her first name properly, and a Teabag superstar, Sharon Angle.

    Edit: And states are required to give full faith and credit to the laws of other US jurisdictions.

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  59. mark said on April 13, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Unless things were changed fairly recently, the Amish do not pay into nor receive benefits from Social Security and Medicare. They are exempt from most, maybe all, federal labor laws. I’m less certain, but I think as a class they are exempt from selective service and were exempted from the new health care law. There are many other examples.

    Sharia law has become an issue in US divorce cases, where the parties agree to, want and claim their religion requires an agreement that is contrary to our minimum expectations for support and education of children. Sharia lending practices are also contrary to our laws in many respects. I didn’t specify how I think these issues should be resolved, i said they need to be discussed. People who begin and end their input with a generalized attack on the character, intelligence and personal hygiene of any and all who disagree, add nothing to the discussion.

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  60. Mark P. said on April 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    prospero, along the same lines, there is a large group of people, many of whom have their panties in a wad about sharia, that would love to institute Mosaic law in the US. What’s the difference? Oh, yeah, they’re Christians, or claim to be, so it’s OK to force their religious laws on the rest of us.

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  61. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm


    Pretty much my point. And that too is Merde de cheval. Irrelevant, and entirely superfluous to pass laws banning it. Passing superfluous laws is deleterious to the legal system. This is the consistent conservative argument about creating new protected classes. People would do better to question why the US won’t sign on with the ICJ. Oh wait, that would expose neocon war criminals to prosecution.

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  62. Mark P. said on April 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Pastors can opt out of Social Security. That’s not exclusive to the Amish. Other religious persons can become COs, but, since there is no draft, that objection is pretty much irrelevant. A pastor of a church that observed Saturday as their sabbath was allowed to refuse to work on Saturdays at the local Post Office in my home town, while everyone else had to. Whatever sharia law says about things like lending contracts, a contract that is contrary to law is not enforceable (see your local lawyer for details). So although I do not favor special treatment for any religious group, I am not worried about Muslims any more than any other religion.

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  63. brian stouder said on April 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I think the scare-tactic in the “Oh my God!! They are instituting Sharia Law!!” is that, somehow, this mysterious law will direct our government in how it will treat all of us.

    This either willfully or ignorantly obliterates the difference between liberty (in this case, keeping the government out of an individual’s or a faith community’s life choices, as much as possible) and onerous governmental regulation, which forces one into compliance with a particular religion.

    And, with apologies to Mark, I think this scare tactic is generally of a piece with flat-out racist rejection of President Obama. The Donald (et al) says the president wasn’t born here; and if you pull their finger, they’ll say he’s not even Christian but instead “one of them”; an infiltrator, a plant, a BUG who hasn’t been zapped by the Men In Black yet*; a constant menace to Truth, Justice, and the American Way.

    This free country of ours tries to leave communities alone; and indeed, when was the last time that a fundie Amish community produced a mad bomber, intent on killing as many John and Jane Q Publics as possible?

    I ask this seriously. The other day at work I got an internet order for (4) 6″ dimater by 8″ long threaded pipe nipples, and (8) 6″ threaded pipe caps, from some guy with a credit card in South Carolina. This bothered me enough to call the guy, and ask him (ever so politely) just what the hell he was making over there. Turned out, he was a researcher at Clemson University, and the items were for a hydrogen storage project. A visit to their website revealed that the shipping address matched, and I found the individual’s name associated with the project – whereupon a few chuckles and a sigh of relief followed.

    And THEN – a colleague commented that the guy wasn’t “a towel head” – which caused me to (somewhat snappishly, I fear) retort that Timothy McVeigh wasn’t wearing a towel on his head, either.

    I suppose we’re digressing here; suffice it to say, I have no problem with birds of a feather flocking together (if they want to), even despite Hitchcock’s altogether marvelous (and silly) nightmare about what enough birds of a feather could possibly do, if they decided to. (and not for nothing, but the actual model for al Qaeda nihilistic attackers is that of a male loner, with western education and too much money and time on their hands; not members of faith communities)

    *see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men_in_Black_(film)

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  64. joodyb said on April 13, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Deborah, the 112 should be a good distraction. I hope it’s enjoyable enough that you’ll let us know what you had.

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  65. prospero said on April 13, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    brian, are you one of the grand prix racing guys here? Here’s a story that combines Formula 1 racing and a debate about a state budget crunch. Tejas is facing Draconian cuts in education, privatization of prisons, and other questionable initiatives from the most dishonest governor not named Scott Walker. It’s very difficult to believe this project will be finance without major league tax cuts. This is worth keeping track of.

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  66. alex said on April 14, 2011 at 8:34 am

    People who begin and end their input with a generalized attack on the character, intelligence and personal hygiene of any and all who disagree, add nothing to the discussion.

    Depends on what the discussion’s about, Mark. Anyone who buys into and promulgates odious canards like the one about sharia law being an imminent threat is most assuredly deficient in at least one if not more of the three areas you mention. And because it’s a discussion that never needed to happen in the first place, what does it matter whether anyone’s commentary “adds” to it?

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  67. coozledad said on April 14, 2011 at 9:07 am

    The Harvard Classics presented “Great Republican Ideas”, as an appendix to “John D. Rockfeller and The Humanitarian Impulse” as part of its World’s Skinniest Books series.
    Right there on page 1 (there is no page 2) below the part about mixing chestnuts with the coins you have to hand out to vagrant sprog, and hiring a wet nurse so you can live longer, is the blueprint for contemporary conservative thought.
    !. Money good.
    2. Mine.
    3. Black man scary. No money.
    4. Splosions fun.
    6. A first Century Jew who said the path to truth is poverty got killed for it, and he returned with a set of golf clubs, wearing a Stetson.

    EDIT: Also, this

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  68. Dorothy said on April 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

    The bookstore in Athens is not a brick & mortar creature yet, but she’s getting closer to it. It’s name is Avid Bookstore and the proprietress is named Janet. She’s a darling, funny, extremely intelligent young woman who is also fighting chronic migraine disease. She has a website for ordering books already, so if any of you are so inclined you might check it out. http://www.avidbookshop.com/

    I know many of us send some $$ Nancy’s way via the Amazon link, but maybe once in awhile you like to browse elsewhere online.

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  69. del said on April 14, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Gotta say the sharia stuff’s definitely a red herring.

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  70. ROgirl said on April 14, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Red herring? It’s a campaign strategy.

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  71. prospero said on April 14, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I understand the inclination to call that Dearborn Sharia garbage a red herring. What we’re talking about is American law enforcement enforcing American laws, against American citizens that the police thought were disturbing the peace and attempting to incite more serious and potentially dangerous civil disturbance. What in the world has that to do with Islamic law? Absolutely nothing.

    But what Newt, Bachmann and Angle are doing is philosopically identical to Willie Horton ads, and the illegitimacy of that sort of politicking was an article of faith to the GOP grand schemer who originated this particularly odious tactic, who famously repented this unethical and unAmerican behavior on his death bed.

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