I spent the early hours of Bloomsday — happy Bloomsday, all, especially you, stately plump Buck Mulligan — riven with insomnia, so I took the chance to catch up on some reading. First, Michelle Goldberg’s closer look at Michele Bachmann as something other than comic relief. Although lord knows, you have to laugh. First, a scene-setter with Bachmann at a 2005 town-hall meeting, and what happened when two lesbians tried to have a conversation with the congressional candidate:

A few dozen people showed up at the town hall for the April 9 event, and Bachmann greeted them warmly. But when, during the question and answer session, the topic turned to gay marriage, Bachmann ended the meeting 20 minutes early and rushed to the bathroom. Hoping to speak to her, Arnold and another middle-aged woman, a former nun, followed her. As Bachmann washed her hands and Arnold looked on, the ex-nun tried to talk to her about theology. Suddenly, after less than a minute, Bachmann let out a shriek. “Help!” she screamed. “Help! I’m being held against my will!”

Arnold, who is just over 5 feet tall, was stunned, and hurried to open the door. Bachmann bolted out and fled, crying, to an SUV outside. Then she called the police, saying, according to the police report, that she was “absolutely terrified and has never been that terrorized before as she had no idea what those two women were going to do to her.”

GOP front-runner! Yes!

Actually, a more useful response is not to mock. Dave Weigel points out that it’s far wiser to look closer and try to figure out where she got so many of her crazy ideas. Like the one about the slave-owning founding fathers “working tirelessly” to end slavery. That one comes from a man she describes as an intellectual mentor, John Eidsmoe, a professor at the law school at Oral Roberts University, and yes, they have one there:

In books by Eidsmoe and others who approach history from what they call a Christian worldview, this is a truism. Despite his defense of the Confederacy, Eidsmoe also argues that even those founders who owned slaves opposed the institution and wanted it to disappear, and that it was only Christian for them to protect their slaves until it did. “It might be very difficult for a freed slave to make a living in that economy; under such circumstances setting slaves free was both inhumane and irresponsible,” he wrote.

Weigel notes there’s always a market for historical revisionism, and he’s right about that. Particularly for those who backed history’s losing horses, it’s always nice to see, a few years down the road, a critical re-examination of the race that shows your horse was misunderstood, or slipped a mickey in the saddling area, or whatever. You could almost argue that history is revisionism, that no one has a monopoly on truth, and that when you look at things with different eyes, a story looks different. But whether facts do or do not equal truth, this seems a stretch.

Off-topic, but via Ta-Nehisi Coates, a few notes on Shelby Foote’s own peculiar historical myopia.

Then I read, or reread, having skimmed it earlier in the evening, an ex-CIA guy’s account of how the Bush administration requested the agency go after Juan Cole, the University of Michigan scholar and influential Middle East blogger who rose to prominence as one of the most well-informed critics of the Iraq war and related fiascos. I was struck by this passage:

Professor Cole said he would have been a disappointing target for the White House. “They must have been dismayed at what a boring life I lead,” he said.

I don’t doubt it. Cole was one of our seminar speakers the year I spent in Ann Arbor, and my overwhelming impression is that he was a college professor right out of Central Casting’s nerd closet, a multilingual wonk whose idea of fun was to stay up all night reading al-Jazeera and other Arab and Israeli news sources in the original languages. In fact, after that year, when I was doing a brief job tryout at Minnesota Public Radio, I suggested him as a guest for a morning news show. The producer said she’d asked before, and that he declined all live interviews before lunchtime, as he slept late after his overnight web perambulations, and couldn’t be articulate at an early hour.

But I also don’t doubt the administration would do such a thing, either. He was pretty relentless. I bet Cheney was behind that one.

By then I was feeling rather sour, so I read my old college pal Mark’s project, in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, on military suicides. Very grim. Suicide is now the leading cause of death among active-duty personnel. Not what you’d call a day-brightener, and by now daylight was only a couple of hours away.

So I slept a little. Still, I could use something silly at the moment. Time to stop by Cute Overload, where they did not disappoint. A kitten video! Yay.

This is the very last, final, no-more-after-today day of school. Yesterday was a half day, today was a half day. Why not have one last full day and call it a year? Dunno. You’d have to ask an administrator. The only event of the day is yearbook distribution and the talent show, and from now until the day after Labor Day, I am free to sleep until I feel like not sleeping, which I estimate will be 45 extra minutes a day. My nature is to be an early riser, and even sleep deprivation doesn’t really get in the way of that. Dammit.

I keep meaning to change the nightstand book to “Game of Thrones,” which I just finished reading on the iPad. Despite my oft-mentioned distaste for fantasy fiction, I have to say, it’s worth the trip. Not a lot of style in the prose, but the plot makes up for it. As an introduction to e-reading it’s a little frustrating, as the technology doesn’t accommodate my flip-around style, but I’m getting used to it. My sister has taken to her Christmas-gift Kindle like a duck to water, and now reports paper books get on her nerves. Not so much with me, but she has a six-month jump on me. And for those of you who are watching the series, I can only say, DO NOT MISS THE FINALE SUNDAY. You won’t believe the cliffhanger. Or maybe you will. The foreshadowing’s been there all along, but even I was wowed.

OK, at nine minutes to quitting time, I’m slapping some frosting on this misbegotten cake and calling it done. They can’t all be masterpieces. Next time, more sleep.

Posted at 9:55 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

52 responses to “Insomnia.”

  1. coozledad said on June 16, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Republicans really know how to manage the “marketplace of ideas”. Instead of abusively deriding people they disagree with, they start picking through their garbage. I’m surprised they didn’t get a little rougher with professor Cole, perhaps using the IRS to target his immediate family. Sippenhaft, after all, is a Republican M.O.
    EDIT: The white trash in the NC legislature overrode Bev Purdue’s veto, and voted to defund Planned Parenthood. The Republican war on the vagina continues apace.
    These guys are horrified of pussy. I wonder if it’s a Patrick McHenry complex or if, to paraphrase David Sedaris’ brother, they ain’t had none in so long if they actually saw one they’d throw rocks at it.
    Maybe someone can ask Rick Perry, or his lieutenant governor, for their take on it.

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  2. nancy said on June 16, 2011 at 10:11 am

    He was up for a job at Yale during that time, which was shot down when the usual boob chorus got their panties in a knot. I’m happy he stayed at UM, but it should have been his choice.

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  3. Kim said on June 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Let the games begin. In Virginia, where we have a ban on same-sex marriage that was voted on statewide in 2006 (those voting to ban “won” 57% of votes cast), the tide seems to have turned. The WaPo did a poll last month that is worth a look.

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  4. Peter said on June 16, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Nance, what do they have one of at Oral Roberts? A law school? Or a professor?

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  5. Jolene said on June 16, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Kim, is there legislation re adoption by gay parents under consideration in VA? I don’t keep up w/ the state legislature as well as I should.

    Am hoping that NY finds the one more vote needed to approve same-sex marriage. The effort to strike down Prop 8 in California took one more step forward yesterday. Having both NY and CA legalize gay marriage would be a really big deal.

    Re Michelle Bachmann and other GOP candidates, I am getting scared that Barack Obama might not be re-elected. Have to hope for unemployment to decline and the opposing candidates to reveal their various forms of lameness, but it’s a lot to hope for in a world where the judgments of so many are unimpeded by contrary facts.

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  6. Lou Gravity said on June 16, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Shelby Foote – just another war wimp. Big nonsense about fighting for the Confederacy, yet somehow manages to avoid action in World War II.

    In 1940 Foote joined the Mississippi National Guard and was commissioned as captain of artillery. After being transferred from one stateside base to another, his battalion was deployed to Northern Ireland in 1943. The following year, Foote was charged with falsifying a government document relating to the check-in of a motor pool vehicle he had borrowed to visit a girlfriend in Belfast — later his first wife — who lived two miles beyond the official military limits. He was court-martialed and dismissed from the Army. He came back to the United States and took a job with the Associated Press in New York City. In January 1945, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, but was discharged as a private in November 1945, never having seen combat.

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  7. Michael said on June 16, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Someone whom I trust on these matters ordered me to stop watching “Game of Thrones” on HBO until I read the book. I am complying.

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  8. Mark P. said on June 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Nutcases live in a world that seems almost like some kind of parallel universe with different physical laws. I simply cannot understand how they can believe what they believe. I’m sure that’s my own personal failing.

    I hope the Republicans self-destruct like they did with Goldwater. But of course you need a savvy opponent to make sure that happens. I keep hoping Obama is that savvy.

    Defenders of the Confederacy make me about as mad as anything political these days. If it’s possible to hate a dead person, I do hate the Southern politicians responsible for the Civil War. The upsetting part of that is that there are quite a few Southern politicians around today who would be up for it again.

    Oh, and about ebooks – I got a Kindle pretty much free, and I really like it. It’s great for travel, but it’s good in general. I forget that I’m not reading an actual paper book.

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  9. nancy said on June 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Actually, Michael, the series is a very good adaptation, in general. I’d call the two equivalent, although I’d like to read the next book ahead of next season, whenever that might be.

    One difference, and typical for HBO: A lot more sexytime in the TV version, some of it ridiculous. New York magazine provides a helpful slideshow.

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  10. MichaelG said on June 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Well, I can see why Foote might have been scared off pussy.

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  11. basset said on June 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Meanwhile and totally unrelated, the Weiner situation has now come to Nashville… a Council candidate with the same last name is losing yard signs:

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  12. John G. Wallace said on June 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    @basset – my congressional district in Northern New Jersey in the early 1990’s had a Republican candidate for congress named Joe Bubba. The guy’s name was perfect too, just like weiner’s. They couldn’t keep the signs in place for one night. Truckers would pull over and steal them. Those were the days of pre-internet life with AOL, bulliten boards, etc., but his campaign today would have made money selling signs, bumper stickers, and other schwag on the website.
    Bubba lost to Herb Klein and slithered away – a few years ago I had heard he ran for Pompano Beach city counil – almost my neighbor again and further proof everyone from NJ moves to Florida at some point in their lives.

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  13. Bitter Scribe said on June 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Comparing the Ku Klux Klan favorably to the French Resistance?

    That’s it. I am not taking Shelby Foote seriously about the Civil War, or any other subject, ever again.

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  14. Moe99 said on June 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    News today is Sean Bean was stabbed outside a bar in London after he confronted a guy who made lewd comments about the 22 year old Playboy model he was with. Reports were he refused to go to a hospital for treatment (does he not know what happened to Khal Drogo?). Went back into the bar and had another drink

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  15. Carl said on June 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    “…there’s always a market for historical revisionism, and he’s right about that. Particularly for those who backed history’s losing horses, it’s always nice to see, a few years down the road, a critical re-examination of the race that shows your horse was misunderstood, or slipped a mickey in the saddling area, or whatever.”

    Uh huh. Which is why you resurrected the ghost of Jimmy Carter for a second term, right?

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  16. Lou Gravity said on June 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I’m reminded of a local election some years ago (I’m also from New Jersey) where the Republican candidates were a Violet Cox and a Jack Ball. They had signs all over the township: Vote for COX and BALL, COX and BALL for committee, etc. You could look it up. (I guess.)

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  17. Jeff Borden said on June 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    The most extreme Republicans aren’t that different than the professional busybodies in the Arab world, who chase after women who dare flash an ankle or, God forbid, drive a car. If I had a daughter, I cannot see how I would ever even consider supporting this terrible, awful, no good party. The Republican obsession with sex, sexual organs, sex, gay equality, sex, abstinence education, sex, contraception, sex, abortion, sex and sex is almost comical, but has real impact on women, particularly those on the lower end of the socio-economic scale. But then, that’s the Republican way, is it not?

    Meanwhile, a friend on Facebook notifies me that Ohio is considering a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons into bars and stadiums. What the fuck is going on with Ohio? Is it trying to be Texas? Are there that many GOP legislators who need to augment their withered penises with pistols, or has the NRA dropped a shitload of money into the Buckeye State? I’ve never regretted leaving Ohio in 1985 and have never considered for a moment returning, but Lord, I have family and friends there. Do I need to buy then Kevlar vests if they want to go to a Browns game? Can an Ohio-based NNCer fill me in?

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  18. Sherri said on June 16, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I’ve had a Kindle since the first version, and I love it so much that I’ve upgraded to each new version. It is great for travel, but it’s also great for all the running around I do, which often involves a lot of hurry up and wait. A Kindle easily fits in my purse, is lighter than a book, and has my library on it. When my eyes get tired at the end of the day, I can just bump up the font size. If I can’t remember who that character is, I can search for her, and see where she was introduced. I can set the Kindle down and it stays open to the page I’m reading.

    I love books as much as anyone, but I have too many. I don’t have more wall space to devote to bookcases, and I’m terrible at culling.

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  19. LAMary said on June 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    My older brother runs for office in NJ, not far from Jack Bubba’s district. Our family name is interesting too. Here’s the town website, and he’s the councilman from the third district. He’s also the guy wearing the really horrible green tie in the photo.

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  20. prospero said on June 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Riots in Vancouver? Say it ain’t so. Who’d have ever thought a Canadian hockey team could produce so much unattractive whining behavior? Jesus saves, but not like Tim Thomas.

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  21. John G. Wallace said on June 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    @LAMARY –

    I used to cover Hawthorne for The Suburban News and The Shopper. Once they put the city council meetings on cable it turned into a marathon process and brought out the worst in some elected officials and gadflys. I think with the more working class roots, the proximity to some hardscrabble neighboring towns Hawthorne brought out the inner gripe and grouch in many people. Totally unrelated but the standard to which we hold all fried calamari to in our house is Puzo’s in Hawthorne – they were on Lincoln Ave., which later moved downtown near the train station and movie theater. Do they still have a movie theater?

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  22. coozledad said on June 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    LAMary: I looked at that photograph, and reflexively clicked on that tie, thinking it would embiggen the picture.
    That’s what I call a power tie.

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  23. Connie said on June 16, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    LAMary, I looked at the picture at your link and my reaction was “that’s a big bunch of old white men.”

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  24. LAMary said on June 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    My brother is 6’5″ and very white. His tie is hideous. If I lived closer I would break into his house and take it away for his own good. One of those piano keyboard ties is better than that tie. He’s a good guy. We have very different politics so I keep the conversation light, but he raised great kids and he’s done good for the local schools. He coaches little kids in baseball and soccer and basketball. I just can’t talk politics with him, or any of my brothers for that matter.
    When I lived in Hawthorne, there was one black family, zero Hispanics. I left in 1971.
    John, Puzo’s was called something else then. I can’t remember the name but it was and Italian place and very good then. I have no idea if they still have a movie theater. I remember the phone number of the Hawthorne theater though (HA-7 6868.) I haven’t been to Hawthorne in about ten years. My 40 year High School reunion is this fall, but I already politely declined. No interest in going back to Hawthorne.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on June 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    That tie is just sinful 🙂

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  26. Mark P. said on June 16, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    When I looked at the picture of the Hawthorne council, I started to think, “Well, old white guys are all conservatives, aren’t they?” And then I remembered – I’m an old white guy, and I’m not a conservative. And I live in a state where EVERY old white guy is a conservative. I don’t know if that proves anything other than “I’m different and I don’t care who knows it.”

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  27. John G. Wallace said on June 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I couldn’t resist this photo of love (or something along those lines) in the midst of the Vancouver riots:

    I was hoping to enlist those fans as surrogate Yankees fans – they have the “Hate it when Boston wins,” part down, but I can’t figure out how burning down their city helps. There are some other great pictures in that photo blog, the drunk and devil may care look on the about to be rioters faces where they prod at the police shield is great also.

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  28. LAMary said on June 16, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I think the council is mostly conservative, but not all.

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  29. coozledad said on June 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Good take on the riots. Apparently they build sportapalasts for developer scum in Canada, too.

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  30. Jeff Borden said on June 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    I was mortified when the Chicago Bulls won the NBA title in 1992 and the hordes of drunken oafs on Division Street spilled onto the street, engulfing a couple of taxis. The cabs were trashed, of course, and set ablaze, but the cops were fairly effective and made quite a number of arrests. I suppose it will not surprise you to hear that most of those arrested were from the suburbs, but never mind, the images were there to show all of Chicago sports fans as drunken punks. It got worse in 1993, when the mobs marauded down Michigan Avenue, smashing windows in everything from a small bookstore to a Gap.

    The first time I remember this happening was after the 1984 World Series, when Detroit Tigers fans went crazy outside the old Tiger Stadium and used cop cars, taxis and other vehicles as bonfires. There were probably other instances before Detroit, but this seemed to me to be the dawning of a new way of celebrating a sports championship — by trashing the city in which it was won.

    Given Canada’s reputation as a more mellow and less aggressive population, the riots in Vancouver are pretty shocking.

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  31. Bitter Scribe said on June 16, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    A clever Tweet:

    When Boston upsets a Canuck
    He answers by burning a truck;
    What witnesses saw since
    Is outside their province:
    Canadians running amok.

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  32. brian stouder said on June 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Regarding the Bachmann link…. I mean, wow. Wow.

    I really and truly AM turning into an old guy.

    Not along ago, it was a truism that an American politician had to “get right with Lincoln”; every president in my memory has worked Lincoln-phrases into their State of the Union addresses (and so on), so that it is always sort of a fun thing to wait for them, and of course, to hear them. And now….now voters within “the party of Lincoln” in Iowa and New Hampshire may well go for a Minnesotan who doesn’t understand – to any degree, at all – the single greatest catastrophe that ever occurred in her nation’s history?

    She “admires” a professor who “claimed that Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than Abraham Lincoln.” Really?

    I think Rachel Maddow hit it pretty squarely last night. Bachmann may well win the Republican primary in Iowa, as Huckabee did 4 years ago; and she may well benefit from Romney and Pawlenty splitting the votes in New Hampshire, and win there, too. And then there’s SOUTH CAROLINA – home of John C Calhoun (woo hoo!)…..I’m about willing to bet an icy cold Diet Coke that Bachmann will be the Republican presidential nominee! (seriously!) And the rule in American presidential politics will no longer be “get right with Lincoln”, but instead “Get right with John Calhoun”…??

    Not to jinx anything, but I simply do not see any of the current crop of Republicans defeating the lanky lawyer from Illinois (neither their jilted one from the 19th century, nor our modern one). Still, if one of them manages to pull it off, will we have to listen for allusions to “gag” rules and “states rights”?

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  33. Scout said on June 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Bachmann is insane. She’s ever so slightly smarter than She-Who, but not smart enough to take on Obama no matter how bad the economy. The Party honchos will squash her if she gains too much steam.

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  34. Jeff Borden said on June 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    One of the pleasures of attending college was delving more deeply into history with entire courses set up to explore a certain movement, a person, a particular number of years, etc. It was far more satisfying than the broad brush strokes of elementary and secondary school studies and it opened up my eyes to the nuances of history. It did not demean my view of Lincoln, painted as a virtual saint in my earlier education, to learn he was far more interested in preserving the Union than ending slavery and that he had uttered a phrase pretty much summing up that idea.

    But damn! You have to be living in bizarro world to accept some of the quasi-history idiots like Bachmann and her ilk embrace. Has her mentor read a damned thing about the Founding Fathers? It would appear not.

    I doubt Bachmann will do much in the primaries, but she can move conversations ever rightward and more toward the theocratic ideals she would like to see in our public places. That’s more than enough damage right there.

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  35. MarkH said on June 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Brian, I’ll take that bet. As far as an ability to defeat the “modern one”, if a stagnant economy with questionable job growth persists, he’ll get the blame, deserved or not. Then the door swings wide for a greater number of those GOP candidates, whether I like it or not. It’s WAY early, but I think it will be either Romney or Huntsman in the end with the nomination.

    Do we know if Lincoln enjoyed icy cold Diet Cokes?

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  36. brian stouder said on June 16, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I dunno, Jeff. The Iowa Republican caucus crowd is a self-selected lot that a Bachmann can surely win.

    New Hampshire has an increasing number of ex-Massachusetts citizens, who value the no-income-tax/no-sales-tax aspect of their new state more than anything, and would also be potential Bachmann backers. With Romney and Pawlenty splitting the rest, Bachmann could win New Hampshire, too…and then there’s South Carolina, which (if Bachmann then has a three-bagger going) would compel Romney and Pawlenty to simply keel-over, and be done.

    I take Bachmann much more seriously than, for example, Perry (another neo-secessionist bag of shit) of Texas.

    And so I’m back to muttering “wow” again.

    I mean, like, wow.

    edit – Mark, noted. Honestly, the economy thing is a “truism” of our age, but I wonder. I think if the election was tomorrow, Obama would defeat any one of the Republican candidates (announced and unannounced). Assume lots of advertising that makes their one person a household name, and debates and news coverage wherein we learn about that individual in some more depth, and then decision time….and I still believe it’s Obama in a walk.

    Then, we might discuss whether Obama is “the exception that proves the rule”, or whether there ever really was a rule. (For example, I couldn’t believe when Ford went down to Carter, but my parents always always bitterly reminded me that Ford pardoned Nixon. And I think Carter went down to Reagan because of the failure at Desert One, as much as anything. And Bush-1…I was persoanlly angry at him for his cavalier “read my hips” dismissal of his “read my lips” promise; he was shown to be a liar)

    And apparently Lincoln was a coffee guy; I’ve never, ever been a coffee guy

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  37. prospero said on June 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    The political company Pawlenty keeps.

    Where Palin and Bachmann get their incredibly messed up views of American history. This maroon, David Barton, says Thomas Paine, who died the very same year Charles Darwin was born, dismissed the Theory of Evolution.

    And all that voter fraud nonsense spewed by Republicans who can not produce any actual instances of shuch, well here’s a real one: Mittster Romney.

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  38. MarkH said on June 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm


    Brian, that was my point about the economy. Whether he deserves it or not, he’ll get the blame for any negatives. Conversely, he will take the credit for any positives. It’s very clear that a president has very little real control in these situations. Also as I said, it’s EARLY. So, of course, if the election is tomorrow, Obama wins. November, 2012? The jury is definitely out. Only two viable repub nominee candidates will emerge from this, and Bachmann ain’t one of them. She’ll hang in there, but will not survive the absolute shredding she gets from her opponents and the press in the next year. Maybe they won’t need to shred her. She’ll just keep mangling history until she gets everyone’s attention, then self-implode.

    “…another neo-secessionist bag of shit.”

    And you didn’t understand what (lower case)mark was talking about yesterday?

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  39. brian stouder said on June 16, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Well, up here in the cheap seats, we talk a little trash, it’s true. And, I confess that my opinion of the secessionist bag of shit who governs Texas is a lot closer to “abusively disagreeable” then anything Jolene ever, ever, ever says.

    In fact, I’ll agree that calling that striped-suited, slicked-back son of a bitch a “sack of shit” flatly IS being “abusively disagreeable”.

    Indeed, I apologize to any and all who are offended by the way I refer to him, and the way I will probably always refer to any actual, elected, major political figure on the American scene who so cavalierly (or worse, calculatedly) does this latter-day/reverse Waving of the Bloody Shirt-secession talk.

    Considering the cataclysmic cascades of blood that the United States spilled all over Virginia and Maryland and Tennessee and Georgia and Pennsylvania and Mississippi, I tend to have a zero-tolerance* for shit-for-brains talk about “secession”; much as I wouldn’t put up with a German politician/shithead who (for example) attaches romantic remembrance to their more recent cataclysmic embrace of master-race shitbag blather.

    *and see! Now I’m in trouble with the Proprietress for embracing zero-tolerance “thinking”. I just can’t win, today!

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  40. Mark P. said on June 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    On the other hand, it might not be so bad for the rest of us if all those sfb’s gathered in some place and formed their own government. I don’t think it would be long before they turned on each other. I imagine it would be something like the scene in the zombie movies where the zombie horde descends on a hapless living person, only in this case they would be eating each other.

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  41. Jolene said on June 16, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    In today’s WaPo, the great Michael Dirda reviewed a reissued historical novel by David Stacton called The Judges of the Secret Court: A Novel About John Wilkes Booth. An excerpt from the review:

    Far more than just “a novel about John Wilkes Booth,” “The Judges of the Secret Court” — haunting title — depicts the complex aftershock of the Lincoln assassination on a surprisingly large circle of people, including the various conspirators, the famous Booth family of actors and the Washington politicos who seize on the death of the president for their own purposes. Every one of these characters, even if he or she only appears for a paragraph or two, is conveyed with vivid, blazing life. For instance, Stacton sums up the care-worn Lincoln: “He was wistfully a little tired of doing his best to be the world’s father, when what he wanted, sometimes, was someone to bring him a shawl when he was cold.”

    Sounds good, no?

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  42. Deborah said on June 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Will someone please clarify the identity of the nnc community Marks for me? I think there’s an H and a lower case one, and a P. But I’m confused. I think I’ve got the Jeffs figured out, tmmo and B. There seem to be a couple of Johns too but I’m not sure.

    Edit: and now there’s a Michael and a Michael G. I’m Deborah but there’s also a Deb.

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  43. alex said on June 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    If populist uprisings of the past are any indication, the Teabaggers will probably get fed up with the GOP and create their own toothless third party if they don’t turn on each other first. Given the current crop this may take a while as this particular cohort of true believers seems exceptionally slow, but as tetchy as Michele Bachmann is it’s surprising she hasn’t defected and threatened to take the boobocracy with her already, to the relief of the establishment.

    The Republicans have yet to produce a candidate who’s even remotely electable, so Obama faces a cakewalk. It’s my hope, and that of many others, that he’s saving his so-called liberal agenda for the end game where he doesn’t have to run for reelection. And even if he isn’t, whatever happens will be a better alternative to what the party that hates Lincoln has to offer.

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  44. brian stouder said on June 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Rachel Maddow had a truly good OID story this evening; a positive turn of events after a series of troubling reports on the impending closure of Catherine Ferguson Academy by Detroit Public Schools.

    Apparently it has become a charter – which normally would induce me to cringe – but which is certainly a good thing in this instance

    edit: Jolene, that does sound good. I read (and liked) Kauffman’s American Brutus, about Booth (et al) a few years ago; I’m about due for another Booth book, I suppose.

    Watching our present-day political institutions gyrate and pretend and compulsively pick itself apart and then cobble things together again is particularly unsettling, when viewed in the foreground, with our exceptionally and tragically bloody domestic history in the (near) background.

    I truly do think that this notion of using the threat of defaulting (using the extension of the US debt ceiling, and with it the Full Faith and Credit of the United States, as a blunt object with which to bludgeon the president) is a genuine “Fort Sumter moment” for our dissatisfied tea-bagger fellow citizens. Even if crisis is averted in 2011, one fears that this is the foreshadow – just as the nullification crisis that Andy Jackson faced down* foreshadowed the Constitutional crisis and national disintegration that ocurred 25 years later.

    History isn’t dead, and 150 years ago isn’t really that long ago (at all), and our leaders aren’t smarter now than they were then.

    *and we’re back to John C Calhoun!

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  45. Mark P. said on June 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Deborah, this Mark (I have never been in any community with so many Marks) lives in Georgia. I used to be a newspaper reporter, but that was many years ago. I went back to school (Georgia Tech, not a law school like about a half dozen of my fellow reporters) and obtained a PhD in atmospheric science. But for the last 25 years I have worked in the defense business. I still sometimes look up at the sky.

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  46. brian stouder said on June 17, 2011 at 12:32 am

    By the way, thanks to the Proprietress for the Shelby Foote link. Foote’s greatest feat, really, was his casting as the all-knowing guy with the great voice and lilting accent, by Ken Burns, in his masterful PBS series on the Civil War.

    Remember when we all (or most of us) watched Ken Burns’ (superb, superb) Civil War series, on PBS, for the first time? President Bush-41 was ginning up for Gulf War One, and this marvelous series was sweeping across the nation, and some White House person – in a memo, if I remember the story correctly (I think the story was in one of the Woodward books) referred to General Schwarzkopf as “McClellan”, for his endless preparations before going forward against Sadam in Kuwait? And this caused an obscenity-filled shouting-match phone call between Colin Powell and Schwarzkopf?

    I ended up getting Foote’s trilogy, and reading it all, and enjoying it (the ‘No footnotes’ thing was a bit of a red flag, but wht the hell, right?). I read several subsequent books about this or that battle or campaign (Stephen Sears’ books, especially his Landscape Turned Red, about Antietam, were particular favorites); and then memoirs – Grant’s memoir is tremendously good, as was Sherman’s (in Sherman’s memoir, he refers to getting the war concluded and going home to see the “young folks”, and I really liked that!); and all roads kept pointing back to Lincoln, who is that rare personage that becomes all the more interesting and admirable as you read more about him.

    By way of saying, reducing the Civil War to just the combat, as Foote wants to do in this interview, reduces the whole thing to incoherence….and I think Shelby Foote knew that at one time. I think that the coherent view of that war is one that is simply too awful to accept, if one wants to believe the (impossible) fairy tale that BOTH sides had their good reasons for fighting.

    The plain truth is, one side – the Union – was yanked into a fight it did not want and did not seek, and which it was unprepared for; and the other side seems to have blundered into a horrendous mistake, and started a war for terrible reasons (the enrichment of a very few, literally on the backs of slaves, and at the expense of practically everyone else who was stuck in their realm), and then doubled down and fought that war to the bitterest end. And upon our national reunion, the historical imperative became to sanitize just what the hell the South was fighting for, and blur things up a bit, and get along down the road.

    And here we are, 150 years later, and as we continue down the road, the suspicion grows that we’ve seen some of this scenery before. Surely we haven’t been travelling in a big circle, have we?

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  47. cosmo panzini said on June 17, 2011 at 3:54 am

    toJBorden at 17: What’s happening in Ohio is pretty simple really. The 2010 election brought in the usual mid-term 180, with Republicans taking back enough seats in the legislature to allow the gun crazies their way. They, the crazies, almost immediately proposed allowing concealed carrying of guns in bars and restaurants, something that hadn’t been included in previous concealed-carry legislation. Well, what do you know, in spite of opposition from damn near EVERY responsible newspaper and organization in the state, including the FOP, this insanity has now been passed by both the House and Senate and awaits only the governor’s signature. He has said he will sign it into law.
    When this issue first came up, I thought it was some kind of trial balloon sent up by the gun lobby to see who their real friends were, and that it would be voted down by those legislators still sane. Wrongo. The apathy regarding this, at least among people I talk to, is disturbing. Next, I guess we’ll see laws lifting bans on bazookas, mortars, and grenades. Hey, you can’t be too careful. Hope they don’t forget machine guns too.

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  48. Linda said on June 17, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Your link on the Catherine Ferguson Academy is interesting. We have money to run it, apparently, from the state…as long as it’s in private hands. But we can’t possibly afford public education! That would be expensive! And evil!

    It’s additional evidence that conservatives do not believe in small government, so much as a government that funnels money away from the public to the smallest, richest segment of the population and the biggest businesses. An incredible example comes out of (where else?) Wisconsin where craft beers will be legislatively put at a disadvantage against their large competitors.

    The concealed gun law in Ohio is a trip. I’m a librarian, and an angry patron called me the day this came up to a vote. She was amazed that legislators could vote that people could bring concealed weapons to a bar, and that the “reasonable” part was that bartenders could refuse to serve them! “But if they’re concealed, how will bartenders KNOW they’re carrrying? This is CRAZY!” Yes, ma’m. That’s your legislature at work

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  49. alex said on June 17, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Linda, here in Indiana the librarians are up in arms, so to speak, because our Republican legislature also just made it possible for people to pack at libraries and pretty much anywhere else. As Cosmo was saying above about Ohio, our legislature is doing likewise—along with defunding Planned Parenthood, privatizing public education and offering up a whole lot of other things near and dear to the cold hearts of their “conservative” constituents. Last year they bamboozled the public into voting to amend the state constitution to include permanent property tax caps so that our already struggling local governments and schools will be forever broke while the rich won’t have to contribute their fair share toward anything. I see Ohio is contemplating the privatization of its Toll Road, a fait accompli here in the Hoosier state, so that the sitting politicians can enjoy a windfall without a care about the state’s long-term economic health. Meanwhile, the general public is pretty much comatose with regard to any of it.

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  50. Dexter said on June 17, 2011 at 9:32 am

    brianstouder: Maybe the reason we don’t see Abe Lincoln Pancake and Egg restaurants is because multiple sites report that all Lincoln would have for breakfast is a cuppa joe.
    While I can document my alcohol drinking history clearly from memory, I have no idea when I became a coffee addict…my parents were lifelong instant coffee users, for one thing. I may had an occasional cup as a teen, but I don’t think I even had a coffee pot until I was 22. Now, decades and many espresso and coffee makers later, I am a slave to my one addiction, ground arabica beans with water dripped through. Served boiling hot. If your coffee sucks, goodbye restaurant.
    The worst thing about alcohol-recovery meetings is that people are encouraged to help “do stuff”. Frequently some do-gooder volunteers to make the coffee, unaware that coffee is the unofficial, sacred beverage and spiritual connection to our history; these people are frequently non-coffee connoisseurs, and they make the pot either weak as hot water or thick like mud. I make my own , pour into a thermos, and hit the road.
    But the reason for this post is to hopefully clarify something, brianstouder. You frequently describe your adoration for “icy-cold Diet Coke”.
    Please please please tell me you are not one of these people that go into a McDonald’s at 7:00 AM and order a breakfast sandwich and a Diet Coke. Cuz that ain’t natural.
    Seriously, how the hell did soda pop become a breakfast drink?
    When Huckleberry Finn was contemplating how he would spend the dough he got from the Injun Joe caper, the $6,000, put out at interest with Judge Thatcher as overseer, and fetching “most a dollar a day in interest, more’n a body could ever spend…”, his dream was to “drink a glass of soda everyday.”
    Now, and for many years, people seem to have to have a quart of Pepsi in their gut before they can even clear the cobwebs in the morning.

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  51. brian stouder said on June 17, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Nahh – often as not I fill a large cup with lemonaid* and off I go to work.

    On the way back from lunch I will sometimes stop at a quicky-mart (or whatever) and snap up a 99 cent ‘bellywasher’, but never at McDonalds, as their soda pop mix varies between “blecch” and “terrible” .

    Anyway, turns out that the sodium content may eventually put me off the stuff

    *WalMart brand lemonade, in little containers. We use one of those in a gallon pitcher of water, and stick it in the ‘fridge, and end up with…nicely flavored cold water, which is pink.

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  52. Dexter said on June 17, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Good call, brian. Now I feel better. 🙂

    Part of my judgmental verdict on morning soda guzzlers reflects my wife’s lifelong addiction to DP, the dreaded giant 24 ounce bottles of Diet Pepsi, purchased in six packs for $4.88 , or luckily last week for $2.50. She starts upon rising and quits at bedtime, and she drinks a six pack a day,which is like 12 twelve ounce cans, and she has always done it since way before we met in 1975. Her late papa used to plead with her to cool it on the pop, but oh well. I can’t say a damn word because, well, years ago I used to drink a little beer, don’t ya know….

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