What rough beast?

Well, this is typical. You take one day off and news breaks all over the place. The state legislature passed its redistricting legislation yesterday. I used to live in the 13th Congressional district; now I live in the 14th. Behold the 14th, via the Detroit News, and you can click it bigger, if you’re a poli sci student:

My state House district has been similarly FUBAR’d, and right now I have to chase that down for my other site. So sorry, but I gotta go.

John Conyers is my new representative, by the way, who will be stretched from Lake St. Clair to southwest Detroit all the way up to Pontiac. I ask you.

OK, play amongst yourselves and I’ll be back tomorrow, and possibly later today.

Posted at 10:00 am in Detroit life |

60 responses to “What rough beast?”

  1. Connie said on June 30, 2011 at 10:32 am

    We’re neighbors, I am still in the 11th. My rep is Thaddeus McKotter, who appears to be campaigning in Iowa this week. I find it interesting that the “lost” congressional district comes out of the Detroit metro area.

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  2. nancy said on June 30, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Conventional wisdom is that this was done to bolster McCotter’s power. His district grew a tail that just happens to be Republican. Oh, and he’s running for president.

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  3. coozledad said on June 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Does this mean we’ll get to see another right-wing geek with a guitar slung over his shoulder douchebag his way through a Foghat travesty on TV?

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  4. Deborah said on June 30, 2011 at 10:45 am

    How does redistricting get done, that’s what I want to know? How do they figure this out? There must be people out there who have careers where this is what they do. I’d like to meet one of them.

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  5. nancy said on June 30, 2011 at 10:48 am

    It’s done by state legislatures in the year after the census. Traditionally an ugly, partisan episode, no matter where it happens.

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  6. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Isn’t FUBAR a far better acronym than SNAFU? And shit, You could do a whole lot worse than John Conyers. Mine’s Joe “Liar” Wilson. Who has at least faded into lockstep moron Republican obscurity, since his teabagging fundraising heyday. He’s pretty much an annoyingly stupid nonentity, spouting horseshit party talking points. Which reminds me, All of those Progressives that were praying for the Democratic party version of George Lakoff? Is that what you really want? Dumbassees relentlessly spewing on-message talking points? And people dissatisfied with what Obama has acchieved against spectacular odds, I have two words+: Supreme Court. Proven innocence is no defence, These are assholes Republics appoint to the Court of last appeals. I’m sensing there may be a Ralph Vader rebirth. God, if peope are that fucking stupid, they should at least know what a walking creepshow and umbilicus gazing asshole that guy is. I’ve got personal history in Worcester with this weenie, and he is a bona fide asshole, basically a weenie wagger that has never considered the horrible effects of his self-aggrandizement.

    Why are Republicans so utterly clueless about music. Bachmann thought Tom Petty was going to agree to her using American Girl? What a dumbass, bitch.

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  7. alex said on June 30, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Eegads. I just googled McCotter and saw his mug and recognized him from some TV program a while back where he was peddling a book. Looks like another unelectable candidate joining a crowded field of them.

    I was imagining what it would be like if Bachmann were the nominee. Would Obama be able to maintain his customary calmness and civility in a debate with that screaming meemee?

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  8. LAMary said on June 30, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Back in the late 80s my city council district was redone four times in two years. I had four different councilpersons representing me without an election happening.

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  9. coozledad said on June 30, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Alex: All Obama would have to do is calmly point out how much she and her marriage partner have sponged off Medicaid with their queer-cure grift.
    We need to get these people back out on the road hustling Okies at a dollar a pop. Make them wallow in the trash for that goober money.

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  10. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Let McCotter run for President. Let the ignorant and the deluded state their cases. One time, one of my brothers made the seriously racist, but right on the money comment about a do-rag on my own head: they’ll put anything at all on their head and call it a hat. Alex, these are strange and disturbing times. Seriously, people might vote for one L ?

    this is fucking weird world. Insane woman yes. Black guy no way.

    And I have to find it hilarious that every whacko Republican thinks it’s got a presidential run in it’s pockets. Mordor is involved.

    And would everybody pray Ralph Vader keeps his self-absorbed person out of everything?

    And a Yeats reference gets me every time. I think it’s the third best poem ever writ. No. 2 is Wilde Swans at Coole, No 1, that is Under Ben Bulben. Yeats was simply a greater poet than anyone else.

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  11. Dorothy said on June 30, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I watched Letterman a couple of nights ago and he kept referring to Ms. Bachmann as “Michelle O’Bachmann”. He’s gonna have lots of fun writing jokes about her candidacy.

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  12. Deborah said on June 30, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I know that redistricting is done after the census by the state legislature. I want to know who sits down and figures it out block by block, what kind of a process takes place? How do they make assumptions etc? I don’t know why I find that interesting.

    My representative is Danny Davis, in the 7th District of IL.

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  13. Bob (not Greene) said on June 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm


    The party in power decides where to draw the lines. The GOP in Illinois had no say whatsoever and, as a result, is getting redrawn into Dante’s hell. The Dems consolidated power and drew districts pitting sitting GOP reps against one another. The Congressional map was just signed by Quinn about a week ago. The state house maps were signed around Memroial Day. In the redraw I got a new state senator, new state rep and new congressman. My new Congressman is now Danny Davis, as well. It doesn’t look like his downtown area changed much.

    Of course the Illinois GOP says they’re going to sue over the redistricting. I wonder if the GOP cares as much in places like Texas or Wisconsin or Michigan. I’m guessing not. When it comes to redistricting, there’s no better illustration of the saying, “To the victor goes the spoils.”

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  14. nancy said on June 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Yes, it’s definitely a suck-on-this practice. Done in secret, very like-it-or-lump-it. The angle I’m interested in is that this is a pretty seriously Republican area — although moderate Reps, the endangered-species variety — and so far this legislature has handed them one screwing after another.

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  15. Bitter Scribe said on June 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Deborah: You can do wonderful things with computers these days. There is highly sophisticated software that can take into account voting patterns and history, demographics, income levels, and probably underwear color, and spit out configurations according to who’s running the program and what result they want.

    If you live in a state where power is highly centralized, like Illinois, this exponentially increases the ability of political leaders to bend the borders to their liking. A legislator in the good graces of Mike Madigan, the demigod who has served as speaker of the Illinois House since the Earth cooled, can go to him and say, “I need two more census tracts [of reliably Democratic voters] in my district,” and lo and behold, they magically appear.

    Periodically there are calls to reform this process, but I haven’t seen one that strikes me as practical. They’re all based on nebulous, subjective concepts like “contiguous borders.” Bottom line is, as long as the system is administered by politicians–and it always will be–there’s no way to prevent system-gaming.

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  16. beb said on June 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Deborah, it didn’t used to be this way but recently Republicans realized that by redrawing districts they can create district which are overwhelmingly Republican or Democrat. Look at the map above. Pontiac, well removed from Detroit comes part of the 14th (Detroit) District so black voters won’t pollute the pristine whiteness of Birmingham. The key here is that both parties have maps of the state that shows party affiliations on a county by county basis (actually more like on a street by street basis)

    There are ways to relate length of boundaries to areas, even of irregular objects and I think one great way to reform government is to require that redistricting by constrained by some formula of length v area. Something like 5 times pi * diameter.

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  17. brian stouder said on June 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Here is my nominee for the Best Lead Sentence of the Year, So Far:

    The thrashing, jerking death of Roy Willard Blankenship has lawyers for death row inmates plotting fresh arguments against the drug used to execute him, even though they may never be able to prove that it caused the spasms in his last moments.


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  18. Bitter Scribe said on June 30, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    brian: Every couple of generations, a more “humane” method of execution comes along. And a few generations afterward, people look at that method and murmur, “How barbaric.” It happened with the guillotine and the electric chair, and it’ll probably happen with lethal injection.

    Bottom line: There simply is no “humane” way to take a healthy human being and kill him.

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  19. coozledad said on June 30, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Pareene elegantly deconstructs the creeps of Morning Joe. I’m surprised Joey didn’t try to get the producer fired.
    I’ll never forget the expression of sweaty cowardice that crosses Halperin’s doughy face when he realizes how badly he’s got himself in the shit.
    Comedy gold.

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  20. Deborah said on June 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks for the responses. Bitter Scribe, of course you have the hit the nail on the head, computer data is compiled. I just had visions of some poor soul(s) sitting at a desk slogging away going block by block, house by house trying to figure it out.

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  21. Bruce Fields said on June 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I haven’t really been following the story, but apparently California made a serious attempt to reform redistricting that some think could server as a model. Googling around…. Discussion e.g. here:


    The redistricting is done by a commission that’s drawn up in a rather complicated way, that I don’t claim to understand, instead of directly by the legislature.

    (Or, Economist article that I originally saw discuss this: http://www.economist.com/node/18836108)

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  22. Deborah said on June 30, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I just read the Salon piece that Coozledad linked to and that reminded me of a rant I had this morning with my husband. I have no idea if Halperin is Dem or not, but would the Democrats please, please, please quit criticizing the president until after 2012. Can we please all get on the same page until after the election. We shouldn’t be blaming the president because he didn’t blame the republicans. We should be blaming the republicans in congress for being dicks about the economy. Let’s all quit whining about our personal issues and get Obama reelected. I know I’m preaching to the choir.

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  23. basset said on June 30, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Here’s a before and after, movable map of the Metro (combined city-county) Council redistricting we just did in Nashville:


    That would be the second-largest city council in the USA, behind only Chicago… 525 square miles more or less, 626-thousand and some population, 35 districts and five more at large.

    The issue here was getting all 35 roughly equal in population, plus or minus five percent, in spite of huge growth (over 60-percent) in some of the eastern and southeastern districts, a little less so in the southwest; some of the less populated districts didn’t change that much, but look at, for example, 31 down in the southeast corner. And everything you do to one district affects the one next to it, and maybe the next one and the next one.

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  24. coozledad said on June 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Deborah: Halperin’s a flack for the GOP, and a thinly veiled racist. He spent the entire 2008 campaign tongue-punching McCain’s fartbox* and never got called on it by his television compatriots. He’s one of the big reasons the Republicans feel like they can run mall prostitutes and secessionists and get it all under the public radar.

    *I wish I had come up with that phrase, but it belongs to a commenter at Gawker. Bask in it. It’s pure genius.

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  25. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    moderate Reps, the endangered-species variety. Which might those be? Redistricting is always Republican and it is always about gettin’ them darkies voting for just one, if we have to let them vote.

    Name one.

    And Deborah, no shit. Think about the Supreme Court with another GOP asshole appointing activist judges. Absolute proof of innocence doesn’t get you off death row. What sort of fucked up country is that?

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  26. Jeff Borden said on June 30, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Here’s some happy news on a Thursday afternoon. . .

    $heWho and her wanton offspring, the revirginized Bristol, made an appearance at the Mall of America, where the world’s worst abstinence advocate was signing her memoir of the first 20 years of her sad, empty life. Well, fewer than 300 people showed up and Alaska’s first family of grift left a half-hour early.

    Maybe, just maybe, this snowbilly trash has finally worn out its welcome among America’s goobers. A man can hope, can’t he?

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  27. Deborah said on June 30, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks Coozledad for clarifying which side Halperin’s on, but my rant still stands. The left needs to quit saying negative things about Obama until after the election, and they need to stop it right now. I’m talking to you Rachel Maddow.

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  28. Scout said on June 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Halperin is a Repub mouth, so it’s surprising he was censured at all because as everyone knows, iokiyar. But hear, hear, Deborah. One of the things that bugs me the most about “our side” is that it’s considered a sign of our superiority to bad mouth our own. We take fair and balanced to the extreme and then are surprised when the rubes keep electing nutjobs and tools.

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  29. Connie said on June 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I hit the Mall of America during what turned out to be NCAA Final Four weekend in Minneapolis (who knew?) and the autograph line for John Wooden went all the way around the mall. We had to track to the beginning just to find out why. And Butler Fans? The first Indiana high school championship basketball game to be played in Hinkle Fieldhouse in 1927 or 28 – captain of the losing team was John Wooden.

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  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Halperin is a GOP flack? Other than assertion of the case, how would anyone make that a factual statement? Or is it just not being a vocal advocate for progressive causes that earns you said designation?

    Bitter Scribe, I’d love to know more about the no-doubt proprietary software that takes the census data and polling crosstabs to give you the ability to figure out which blocks get split to create the district you need without monkey wrenching an adjoining district. The smoke-filled backroom has given over to the air-conditioned, hard-drive whirrring backroom, with Red Bull swilling (instead of cigar smoking) insiders hunched over the laptops saying “OK, give me district 14 with adjustments for union households making under $50K, but non-smoking.” Like college textbooks, you could only sell this stuff 50 times (well, 100, if you are wargaming what the other side is trying to do), so the per unit cost is gonna be big — but I’ll bet the coders make serious coin on it.

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  31. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 2:57 pm


    I’d like somebody to ask Scarborough, straight up, no prep, about Gary Condit. Maybe he’ll confess.

    And who would knowingly have sex with Bristol Palin? Sorry, she is revolting. She did the rohypnol. Or it was Rich Lowery. She is a particular form of nasty and she can stop whining about being treated whichever way by the lamestream media. Bitch got rich by becoming a ho for the grand unwashed morons. What a seamy asshole. How much longer can these asshole hilbilly’s milk this moron shit?

    Jeff, Michele one L actually graduated from a make-believe Law School, almost Pepperdine, so it’s difficult to understand how the baggers embrace her. I guess mutually assured stupidity does the trick.

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  32. beb said on June 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Bitter Scribe: Actually the guillotine was a more humane improvement over the previous method — a man swinging an ax. Instead of perhaps repeated chops to sever the head, the guillotine took it off the first time, every time.

    The electric chair, however, was never advertised as a humane way of killing someone. It started when Thomas Edison was trying to destroy Tesla’s alternating current electricity by electrocuting dogs at fairs. DC’s 12 volts wouldn’t kill anyone but it could travel more than a couple miles while AC could travel for hundreds of miles. The Electric Chair pretty much had to be chosen because it was more cruel than hanging, not because it was more humane.

    As for lethal injection I’ve always wondered when they didn’t just give the guy an overdose of heroin. The supply is cheap — look in any police evidence bin — and if you give them enough don’t they just go to sleep?

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  33. mark said on June 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    “but recently Republicans realized that by redrawing districts they can create district which are overwhelmingly Republican or Democrat.”

    Sorry, beb, but you are making Michelle Bachman look like an accomplished historian. “Gerrymandering” has been around since the late 1700s and, as Nancy noted, it’s an ugly, partisan process pretty much wherever it occurs. As the article she linked to notes, the Wayne County redistricting was a Republican concession to Democratic party demands.

    With the Democratic party, power is allocated primarily with seniority, and it is a good bet that Conyers has the district drawn to his liking, so he can die in office without any contest of any significance. Which is also why the Democratic Party probably won’t challenge the Republican plan.

    Detroit lost congressional representation because it lost more population than any metro area in the country. Redistricting that moves minority neighborhoods into heavily minority districts is hardly an effort to avoid “polluting” white districts. Republicans would be happy with that kind of pollution so long as it is sufficiently dilluted so as not to affect outcomes. To the contrary, a number of court decisions have required this kind of manipulation with the conclusion that doing otherwise disenfranchises the minority neighborhood.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on June 30, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I’m snatching a break from our basement clear-out party. (We have one every time a kid comes home.) My mom is a moderate Republican who feels left out of the party these days due to the extremism and her pro-choice stance. And, I’m very happy to see that America seems to be getting tired of the whole snowbilly clan.

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  35. coozledad said on June 30, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Only a flack could have his “world ruled by Matty Drudge”, and only a flack could parrot roger Ailes in a communion with his brethren:
    Conservatives forever braying about a liberal bias in the press received a big boost last month when Mark Halperin, director of ABC’s political unit, took to the airwaves with the reddest of Bush partisans — talkers Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Hugh Hewitt — to voice his heated agreement that the mainstream press treats Republicans unfairly.

    Confirming their longstanding fears, Halperin insisted that reporters are “overwhelmingly liberal,” they “hate the military,” are “blind” to their bias, and should use the closing weeks of the campaign season to “prove” their worth to right-wingers. Suddenly, instead of conservatives working the refs — badgering journalists with complaints of bias in hopes they would get the benefit of the doubt next time there was a close call in the newsroom — it was one of the refs (Halperin) working the refs.
    I guess once he takes that job with Fox News he’ll have made the full transition to Man Of Conscience like Juan Williams.
    The fact Halperin is an idiot and will sell his ass to the highest bidder is a fairly strong indicator of his political leanings.
    He might as well have said what was on his mind today, which was, transparently “Obama’s getting uppity.” Just phrased in a chummy, nutless, junior journalist chess club voice, in the company of a DC legacy airhead and a giggly murderer, which made it more delicious in a “casinos of the Third Reich” sort of way.

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  36. Bruce Fields said on June 30, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    “Republicans would be happy with that kind of pollution so long as it is sufficiently dilluted so as not to affect outcomes.”

    Yeah, with some assumptions at least the optimal strategy for your party is to give yourself a narrow majority in the largest number of districts possible, then cram all the leftover opposition into a small number of districts that are overwhelmingly theirs.

    But the individuals involved have more than their party’s interests at stake, they also want to keep their seat. So there’s also likely to be a strong bias towards incumbents.

    But the people who do this for a living (good grief!) probably know it’s 100 times more complicated than any of that.

    The whole thing is so sad and corrupt. Hopefully we’ll find some way out of it eventually….

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  37. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Deborah, No joke. The mantra about having both houses when the insane filibuster shit overrides everything is the dumbest bunch of shit ever. Getting ACA passed is astounding. Puts the Pharma licking they heinies, But they wil just pay Psychiatrists to invent markets What does anybody expect. And there are so-called progressives that will vote for Ralph Vader. Assholes. No joke, think about the Supreme Court, you self-righteous idiots. And now, the Scaiffes and Koch Bros. are corporations with 1st Amendment rights. But that Bong Hits 4 Jesus had no rights. It’s hard keeping your prejudices in favor of fixing elections and violence-porn from affecting your judicial behavior when you are a psycopath. Any GOP asshole replacing Obama will replace Justices with mor Scalias. Does anybody think that is a good idea? Kiss my ass goodbye.

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  38. MaryRC said on June 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    This may explain the poor fan turn-out at the Palins’ book signing in the Mall of America: Sarah would only sign copies of her book if you bought Bristol’s book too.

    Sometimes grifters just push it too far. They can’t resist a grab that appears unseemly even to their besotted fans. Or maybe people just aren’t interested in the memoirs of a 20-year-old who’s never done anything besides have a baby and take part in a reality show.

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  39. Bitter Scribe said on June 30, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Jeff, a quick Google turned up this article from some Brookings staffers that may be of interest.

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  40. Sue said on June 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I can’t wait to hear Fox’s coverage of the Halperin oopsie:
    “In other news, MSNBC indefinitely suspended Mark Halperin for calling President Obama a ‘dick’. Mr. Halperin’s mention of President Obama as a dick was not meant to be heard on air, but a mixup caused Mr. Halperin’s use of the word dick to describe President Obama to be broadcast even though he had been assured that describing President Obama as a dick would not make it on the air. This caused the description of President Obama as a dick to be heard by MSNBC’s liberal audience, which would normally object to anyone calling President Obama a dick. Mr. Halperin has apologized for saying President Obama is a dick, and will be unable to call President Obama a dick for the immediate future due to the suspension which came about when he called President Obama a dick.”
    And just out of curiosity, was $P excused from Jury duty to go to the MoA?

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  41. Bruce Fields said on June 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Bitter Scribe, that’s an interesting article, thanks!

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  42. LAMary said on June 30, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    “…And just out of curiosity, was $P excused from Jury duty to go to the MoA?”

    I think visiting Mall of America is an accepted excuse.
    Speaking of jury duty, older son turned 21 last Saturday, and he got a jury summons in the mail on the same day. Yay! You’re an adult now. He’s going to have to subcontract his dog walking/sitting business to his younger brother for a few days.

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  43. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    So, Scribe, Raygun wasn’t always some Oldtimers jerk, at one time he was an evil political mastermind. Somebody put those words in his mouth. And all y’all, all of that airplane talk made me think of this, Steve is the obviously better guitar player, but these two belong together, where they’re best. Buffalo Springfield was the best band ever.

    And calling the President a dick? Well, Nobody Ever called Pablo Picasso an Asshole

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  44. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Beb, I thought something like the same thing. Massive acid. Could be cruel, undoubtedly unusual.

    ON the GOP’s chopping block:

    Social Security
    Tax cuts for people making less than $500,000
    Government programs and services that tens of millions of Americans depend on each day

    NOT on the GOP’s chopping block:

    Tax giveaways to Big Oil
    Tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas
    Tax loopholes for hedge fund billionaires
    Wasteful tax loopholes used by huge corporations to avoid paying their fair share
    Tax breaks for yachts and vacation homes
    Tax breaks for people making more than $500,000

    Somebody should have to explain to me how doing away with oil depletion allowances is raising taxes. This is Engrish, right? And the hedge fund assholes, put those assholes all in jail and take their cash.

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  45. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    This SC misbehavior explains perfectly Justice Scalia’s obsession with Human Centipede. God forbid kids find out about sex. And Clarence is in the middle. These arbiters of morality are clearly fucked up. Is there now, according to the originalist activist, a vested 1st Amendment right to free speach? Well you disgusting Godfather, explain that to the Bong Hits 4 Jesus kid you slimy Republican asshole. No joke. Kids have rights or they don’t, you scumbag. With Scalia, I think this has most to do with kiddie porn. How is there an excuse for this piece of shit and his homunculus? And if you are wondering about voting Obama or you’re conscience, Nader, think about the SC you fucking idiots. When he wants to quash kids’ rights, the originalist claims they have none. When the right is to foul and unmitigated violence-porn, that’s all fine with Mr. Interlocutor. Judges can be impeached and removed. Isn’t this pretty clear evidence there is something wrong with Justice Scalia. I mean, he’s gotten to be like an Anthony Burgess character.

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  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 30, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    BS, fascinating. Computing power means there are all kinds of things that used to require a corporate/major institution mainframe which can now be done in a poorly finished basement by a couple of interns with a case of Mountain Dew. Thanks!

    Cooze, there’s too many broken quotes there for me to take it as a coherent blanket indictment, but I obviously don’t agree that someone saying that reporters are “overwhelmingly liberal” means that they’re in the tank for Reince Prebus, let alone Roger Ailes. The cheap conflation of “being on the air” in the “same week”, using some of the “same nouns” as Rush Limbaugh, meaning that you’re his soulmate, isn’t a standard that avoids the “works both ways” standard.

    I liked Mark Halperin before this morning when he made my head jerk up from the coffee mug, and he deserves his suspension for rude and distractingly coarse commentary that cast no light onto any obscure corner*; today I’m still willing to give Morton’s son a chance. Yes, his dad helped get the Pentagon Papers out into daylight, another reason I’m skeptical that Mark is a big ol’ righty at heart.

    *There are times when a harsh comment is the only way to make a point, but when you overuse it, there’s no special leverage in doing so. IMHO.

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  47. Jolene said on June 30, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I don’t think Halperin is a conservative so much as he’s a know-it-all. He acts as if he’s got an inside line on just about everything, and it’s not evident to me that his observations are sufficiently novel or insightful to justify that confidence.

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  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    [looking for “like” button on Jolene’s comment]

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  49. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I think Mark Halperin has made a career of duping people that think he must be the guy that wrote Refiner’s Fire and Winters Tale. . He is certainly on the AIPAC payroll which is as perverse and damaging to American government as any organization this side of AQ. He’s predisposed to dislike any President not in that particular pocket. Now he’s got one and the guy is a Schwarze. I wouldn’t cut this guy a foreskin of slack. He’s not remotely that good a writer. Have y’all ever had a book that basically took over your whole family for a while? Winters Tale, Watership Down did mine. But I always thought Refiner’s Fire and Ant-Proof Case, and Plague Dogs were altogether better. When I spent seemingly endless hours with my dad while he was dying, I spoonfed him crushed ice. This got us talking about Smilla’s Sense of Snow, another family favorite, which I think is a brilliant novel. This was probably the greatest conversation I’ve ever had. I don’t expect to have a better.

    What exactly was accomplished by publishing the Pentagon Papers. Somebody find out something they didn’t already know? Milhous got more paranoiac than ever? G. Gordo was set in motion? It didn’t really mean “dick” so to speak. Anyway, will the real Halperin please stand up. If you wanted to call a President a dick, dumbass, you had ’00-’08, but, technically, he was a dickhead, not a dick.

    And what I said earlier about Nader and conscience, I rescind. That ahole is a despicable Onanist. I’ve had personal dealings with him, and he is the most self-centered shitheel in the history of America. We’ve all got the sorry remnants of W thanks to Ralph’s ego. Jesus what a jerk, as Randy Newman would say.

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  50. coozledad said on June 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Because I could not stop myself
    They mercifully stopped me.
    (Mark Halperin Dickinson)
    To fight aloud is very brave
    But gallanter, I know
    To exploit the seven second delay
    when you’re on Morning Joe
    Who joke and Nations do not hear
    Who wisecrack with the host
    whose shitty jokes no one mistakes
    but for a farty ghost
    We trust in plumed lardasses
    such as got their jobs
    and joined the ranks of pundit stank
    whose fathers gobbled knobs.

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  51. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Jolene, with Halperin, it is decidedly about AIPAC and the criminal pirate Netanyahu. American presidents are supposed to Ben Dover. Obama doesn’t. Ergo: He’s a dick.

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  52. Deborah said on June 30, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Coozledad, nn.c treasure.

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  53. Rana said on June 30, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I’m sorry, Deborah, but if I can’t criticize a president when he remains mute on issues that are what get me into the voting booth in the first place, and actively pursues policies hostile to them (including in situations where Republican input is not an issue), then when can I?

    First I’m supposed to give him a chance because he’s new in office. Then I’m supposed to hold my tongue because it’s the midterm elections. Then I’m supposed to cut him a break because the balance of power shifted during those elections. And now I’m supposed to shut up and keep quiet because his own re-election is looming?

    When, exactly, is it okay to call him out? Why is it not okay to do so? I’m told I should shut up out of party loyalty (even though I’m not a Democrat) or out of fear of the other guys (but on several fronts that are important to me Obama’s been worse than Bush, truly, no exaggeration), or because I might “spoil” the election by voting my conscience, or because if I don’t vote I shouldn’t have a say, or, or, or…

    Brief version: I’m damn well going to criticize any president who deserves it, no matter what anyone else tells me. It’s my right as an American, one of the few rights that’s still defended, at least in public, by all parties.

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  54. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Rana, the balance of power never shifted. The Senate is a piece of shit because of the moronic and anti
    -Constitutional filibuster rule, which sure as shit has nothing to do with the Constitution. Motherfuckers are nothing but blackmailers. The fact that the President has the camel’s nose in the tent on health care (the exact place where the economy can be fixed) is nothing but miraculous. And which issues are those on which the President is mute? Seriously, I don’t get it. Call him out on what?

    And if you think your right to criticize is defended by all parties, you apparently don’t consider the implications of Republican appointees to the Supreme Court. Scaliathomas. They believe that if you have been sentenced to death, you die, even if it is proven, for a fact, that you are innocent. There is a mighty serious difference, in ideology, public Christianity, and morality. They believe that the Koch Bros. Incorporated is a person that can buy any election they choose to. These people are assholes and, in many cases (Scalia for instance) evil. And I will guarantee, they do not agree with anything you believe about public policy on anything.

    For those that think Obama has failed them, what more could he have accomplished? So shit, vote your conscience for some navel-gazer like Darth Nader, just another asshole like John Anderson that gets seriously ahole Republicans elected. Good luck on the issues you care about enough to bag Obama over. This isn’t a case of better of two evils. Obama’s walking a tightrope. And the alternatives are a buncha fuckin’ loony toon neo-Nazis.

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  55. prospero said on June 30, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Excuse me, please, if that came across as doctrinaire, but the claim that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats is infuriating and painfully stupid, and voting Green or Ralph is voting for Republicans, which is heinous, no matter how morally defensible the voter may think it. Oh and Republicans are pro-life, from conception to 20 weeks, then they’ll starve mom and deny prenatal care to the foetus.

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  56. Rana said on July 1, 2011 at 12:15 am

    I’ve never claimed that the two parties are the same.


    It’s equally foolish to claim that the Democrats should be held above reproach, simply because the Republicans are worse.

    As for voting Green (which is not an option I’m even given in this state, due to the gerrymandering and election hurdles, but whatever), for me it’s not a choice between voting Green and voting Democrat. It’s a choice between voting Green and not bothering to vote at all.

    And do NOT throw up Republican pro-life legislation up at me. I’ve been following those issues with a very particular, personal intensity that you have no freakin’ clue about. Yes, the Republicans are the ones who are putting those horrible bills up for vote, but the Democrats, including the president? Are pretty much sitting on their thumbs, watching it happen, the great majority not even uttering a peep in challenge. Some of them are even voting for said legislation.

    I’m one voter, in a state rigged to render my vote meaningless, regardless of who I vote for. The votes of Democrats in Congress and the state legislatures? Not so. And yet, they rarely bother to even speak up, let alone go on the record as defending my rights. In this case, apathy in the powerful is just as dangerous as active persecution, and I am not comforted by your soothing reassurance that one is oh so much worse than the other, nor your scolding me into thinking it’s somehow MY fault that my right to control my body is in the crosshairs.

    Talk about blaming the victim!

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  57. prospero said on July 1, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Shit, I didn’t intend any of what you seem to think I meant. And I am dead serious about the Supreme Court. Look at the record of the GOP appointees, particularly Scalia and his little Long Dong homunculus, on the 4th Amendment. Believe me, I meant no offense. I’ve been through hell about an abortion, and I would never presume to tell anybody how to deal with it. Look, I’m sorry if I offended you, but I don’t actually understand how I did.

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  58. Deborah said on July 1, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Rana, I hear you and I used to agree with you about criticizing the president. But the reality of the situation we are in with the looming right wing is critical. We can not lose the election, we can not. Too much is at stake. We have to be on the same page for about 16 months or we are doomed. Is that so hard?

    Sorry I don’t see how you can say that Obama is worse than Bush in any way shape or form. That’s the dangerous kind of rhetoric I’m talking about.

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  59. brian stouder said on July 1, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Well, if you ask me, one modern generalization that distinguishes a stock Democrat from a stock Republican is that, once elected, the D will more often try and compromise and govern, whereas an R will try and implement this or that hobby horse/belief, or obstruct the process if he can’t have his way. Remember when the accusation against President Clinton was that he NEVER left campaign mode? I was a Republican back then (although admittedly, I voted for WJC as against GHWB), and still thought that charge was laughably – willfully – false. The guy cut a huge compromise on “welfare reform” (for one example) and put the national budget into surplus….he was governing. I think Obama’s press conference was a pretty clear signal that he’s ready to hit back and do the political stuff now, which I (for one) will find viscerally pleasing; and he’s been governing quite well up to this point, I say.

    All in all, I think the Obama re-election campaign will steamroll whichever moon-eyed Republican extremist gets put up against him; or if they actually nominate someone with a brain (like Romney or Huntsman), then their moon-eyed base will stay home and President Obama still wins re-election. (And then…it’s right back to governing again)

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  60. Rana said on July 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Deborah, I’m not exaggerating, unfortunately. If you look at his environmental record, Obama is indeed worse than his predecessor. He’s orders better on lots of things, but not that one. Note that I didn’t blanket-condemn this administration across the board – I was very careful to word it so that I didn’t. But this is one of the issues that matters a lot to me, the one that gets me writing letters, sending money, and into the voting booth, and he has done a craptastic job in this area.

    Yes, he talks up green energy, and the need to deal with climate change, but when you look at who he’s appointed, and where he’s directed federal funding, and the sorts of actual projects he’s funded, this administration is terrible. And don’t even get me started on his indifference to protecting endangered species (Bush’s administration actually listed more than Obama’s has, and Clinton’s list was about nine times larger than that) and his championing of coal and deepwater oil drilling – including after the Gulf disaster – and forms of large-scale solar production that are little more than subsidies of corporations (most owned by oil companies, in fact) at the expense of old-growth ecosystems.

    So don’t tell me that my assessment is merely rhetoric. I wish that it were.

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