Back to school.

Today is the first day of classes at Wayne State, which means day one of Nance’s Open House, in which I encourage all my public-affairs reporting students to stop by, meet their online instructor face to face, get briefed on my expectations and so on. In the past, this means I would see three or four students today, two tomorrow, and over the next fortnight receive emails from the rest, offering excuses why they couldn’t make it, and promises they’ll be there next week, etc.

However, in a move designed to curb class-shopping, everyone has to be in-and-committed by next week, so maybe it’ll be different this time. We’ll see. I head off to campus in an hour with my stack of student questionnaires, my class list and a hopeful heart. This summer I had three interns and watched them show actual improvement over the course of the term, so who knows? Maybe I can teach them something.

In keeping with the calendar, it’s overcast and dreary. I will probably forget my OneCard and drop my laptop in a puddle. Transitions are hard.

So with little time to spare, let’s hop, bunny-like, to the bloggage:

Dahlia Lithwick on the Cheney memoir:

Who knows why Cheney wants to keep relitigating torture in the face of a factual record that has concluded for the thousandth time that it is neither effective nor legal. Maybe it’s good for his book sales. All I know is that when almost everyone with any expertise in the matter, and any knowledge of the torture program (up to and including Matthew Alexander and John McCain) says that it hurts more than it helps, Cheney starts to sound a little like the crazy lady in the attic.

Detroit — and many other cities — gets an abysmal score for pedestrian-friendliness. The duh passage:

Metro Detroit isn’t unusual. Many developed areas across the country, especially in high-growth suburbs, feature multi-lane roads with shopping centers and housing developments nearby, but no easy way to walk or bike from one area to another.

This has been my No. 1 complaint about newer suburbs since I was old enough to swing my leg over a bicycle, and it’s sort of appalling it’s only now that it’s being discussed. If developers are going to profit enormously by converting farmland to suburbs, platting worm-bundle street plans leading off former country section roads, and not have a simple paved bike or walking/running trail running between subdivisions, they should share in all the misery that comes with getting from one to another via something other than a motor vehicle. Not that they’re likely to lie awake nights under their million-thread-count sheets fretting about it.

Speaking of suburbia, if you didn’t see this yesterday via comments, how Bill O’Reilly used his own local police as muscle in his domestic dispute. As I think Coozledad remarked, the most depressing thing about this is how readily the cops go along with it. You’d think they’d know better.

With that, I’d best get moving. Onward to the temple of learning!

Posted at 8:48 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

51 responses to “Back to school.”

  1. brian stouder said on August 31, 2011 at 9:45 am

    From the previous thread: Here’s wishing a very happy birthday to Dorothy, who is no doubt busily working at her own Temple of Learning. (For whatever reason, I love that term!)

    Beautiful women like Nance and Dorothy should be careful about going to Temples, lest they be mistaken for the sacrificial offering

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  2. ROGirl said on August 31, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I thought the really telling passage from the article about sidewalks was the one about Bloomfield Hills residents who “feel that sidewalks would infringe on their properties.”

    In other words, keep those people hoofing it up Woodward to or from Pontiac (minorities who take the bus) off our verdant and extremely affluent streets.

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  3. Connie said on August 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

    I had a suburban branch library for which the county building department had required sidewalks as a condition of building permit approval. So there it sits, less than half a mile from a high school and a junior high, on a busy two lane through road, and the only stretch of sidewalk within a mile. Gotta wonder.

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  4. Peter said on August 31, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Growing up in Aurora and Chicago, I always thought that sidewalks were a given. It wasn’t until I visited my sister at Purdue that I found out that sidewalks are optional.

    There are several Chicago suburbs that have an extremely wide arterial street and strip malls on either side. Getting from strip mall to the opposite strip mall is like crossing No Mans Land.

    I did a project in a shopping center that had multiple Foot Lockers. The landlord told me that was done so wherever people parked they wouldn’t have to walk the entire mall to get to a Foot Locker. Too much effort.

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  5. brian stouder said on August 31, 2011 at 11:07 am

    You would think that the ideal Foot Locker customer wouldn’t mind the walk….

    For the record, I think sidewalk advocacy is just a monstrous lie and a Ponzi scheme

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  6. Julie Robinson said on August 31, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Happy Birthday to Dorothy!

    The rest of today’s topics are too depressing to contemplate. Forgive me, but I need some show tunes.

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  7. Deborah said on August 31, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I wrote a comment earlier and it disappeared? I’m a big walker as I’ve mentioned here before. I’m very defensive as I cross streets, always checking out where the damn taxis and giant SUVs are around me. I’ve had many near misses even though I almost never jaywalk (though Littlebird will disagree about that). An elderly woman was struck by a taxi and killed, it happened in a crosswalk near here, she had the right of way. That could have been me. I scream like a crazy lady at taxis when they come careening around corners, I hit one with my umbrella once.

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  8. Suzanne said on August 31, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I saw a PBS program a few months back (Frontline? maybe. Can’t remember) that discussed the growing problems of an aging population in a suburbia with few sidewalks, nothing within walking distance even if there were, and what happens when all those formerly young suburbanites can’t drive any longer.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 31, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Dorothy, in front of your office, I once jaywalked and almost got hit by an Amish horse & buggy. That’ll larn me!

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  10. Jeff Borden said on August 31, 2011 at 11:40 am


    You hit on the reason why my wife and I are committed to staying in Chicago. When the day comes when we are not allowed to drive, we will be able to walk the three blocks to an el stop or catch a bus at the end of the street. Pharmacy, grocery, theater and plenty of restaurants lie within four blocks. Three of the greatest teaching hospitals in the U.S. are within the city limits and on the public transportation grid.

    I have no beef with those who choose suburban life particularly because they usually have much better schools, but there is a price to pay. It’s one I cannot afford.

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  11. Sherri said on August 31, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    My current home has sidewalks, but nowhere to walk to. There’s no retail within a walkable distance, and a strong opposition to putting retail anywhere near by the people who live here, “because it will bring more traffic.” Meanwhile, more houses keep getting built, and everybody in those houses has to get in their cars to pick up a gallon of milk, or get a coffee, but no, retail would bring more traffic.

    My plan is to move out of suburbia once my daughter is out of high school in a couple of years. The schools here are good, but once she’s out of school, there’s no reason to be here.

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  12. crinoidgirl said on August 31, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Deborah (from yesterday) – Instead of hoarding emails, I use Evernote, which is free and stores stuff in the cloud. You can put things in named notebooks and tag them. Also, instead of printing out stuff I’m interested in, I just clip it and store it in an appropriate notebook. It also supports attachments.

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  13. brian stouder said on August 31, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Just as an aside – the quality of the three urban schools our young folks attend is second to none, period.

    Here in Fort Wayne and Allen County, I would move FROM the ‘burbs and TO the city, in order to be in the (flatly superior)FWCS district.

    Just sayin’

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  14. april glaspie said on August 31, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    what happens when all those formerly young suburbanites can’t drive any longer.

    They’ll continue to drive and the results will be hilarious. When I was a kid and lived in Bloomfield Hills, some of our streets were oiled, not paved, and anybody walking to work in Southfield or Ferndale from Pontiac, much less Detroit, had better start day before yesterday, or they will be way late. And last time I was in the Bloomfields, storm drainage was handled by ditches and swales, so sidewalks would be a severe disruption. I understand the idea of “walkability” but good grief, any idiot could build a reasonable sidewalk. This could lead to government sponsored employment and get the ni-, ni-, what Gabby Johnson said, reelected. Horeurs.

    And it’s really not kosher to ride a bike on a sidewalk. And Dahlia Lithwick is brilliant, a great writer, and a babe.

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  15. beb said on August 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I see where the AG of Nevada is suing Bank of America / Countrywide because the bank has not abided with an earlier consent agreement about fraudulent loan and foreclosure practices. The AG argues that there is no point to a new consent agreement with BOA because they can not be trusted.

    I’ve been reading Matt Tiabbi’s Griftopia and calling the entire banking system a criminal enterrprise seems among the more moderate things he says.

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  16. Bruce Fields said on August 31, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    “If developers are going to profit enormously…”

    My understanding is that sometimes they’re forced to build that way even when they’d rather not–e.g. there may be minimum parking requirements to keep voters complaining about insufficient parking and/or keep cars from circulating waiting for parking.

    When you’ve got streets all like that for mile after mile it’s not because *everyone* wanted it that way….

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  17. A.Riley said on August 31, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    We just rented “Inside Job” — an excellent documentary on the bankster-caused meltdown. The part of it that sickened me the most was the academic economists who sold themselves so very cheaply and then blink innocently when someone suggests that they’re not as pure as the driven snow. And then get mad and say “You’ve got three more minutes before I ask you to leave my office.” Honest to God, they damn themselves deeper with every sentence.

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  18. Chris in Iowa said on August 31, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    This is off topic and, I’m sure, no else cares, but here goes: What in the world is the Detroit Free Press doing publishing a photo in which the shadow of the staff photographer is clearly visible? Good grief. Has Gannett laid off all of its photographers and editors in Detroit who know better?

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  19. Deborah said on August 31, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    crinoidgirl, the company I work for has a computer system of shared project folders where we are supposed to put all of our files. Only it’s a great big black hole as far as I’m concerned. I can never find anything again once I’ve put something in there. So I keep everything on my own computer until the project is done, unless there are a lot of people working on the same project, then I have to keep everything in the dark tunnel of the shared project folder. It takes me a long time to find things and it wastes a lot of time. Everyone says this. We’ve tried to devise all kinds of codes and labels for our files but it never works. I worked for about 25 years before I had to use shared project folders so it isn’t second nature to me like it is for a lot of other people. My own system works great, for me.
    And I meant to say this yesterday about the e-mail hoarding subject: even if you always immediately delete your e-mails after sending and reading, isn’t there still a trace in the inner sanctum of your computer? Aren’t the law enforcers always confiscating people’s computers and getting data out of them that people had deleted?

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  20. Judybusy said on August 31, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    There is good news on the low-impact transportation front in Minneapolis. Several major streets are being re-paved (yay) and many have added bicycle lanes. We also have a great bike trail system and a bike boulevard program. I have one of the latter near my house, and now I know what exactly it is, having linked the info.

    I am also having a social work intern this academic year. I love having a student, helping them develop themselves in what can be a challenging profession. My student from last year just got hired on, too. It’s her dream job, and she is so excited. Sadly, our supervisor is leaving for another position. She’s the best I’ve ever had and I am selfishly hoping something will happen. It won’t, but we’re all wishing she never had to leave.

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  21. JayZ(the original) said on August 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Deborah at 7
    I can picture you doing your best Ratso Rizzo impersonation, “I’m walking here. I’m walking here.”

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  22. april glaspie said on August 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Two PIs and a whole cop shop, and nobody can identify Mrs. Spinmeister’s Valentine? Seems like Loofah-boy is having one of his Peabody Award winning delusional moments. And what sort of fruitcake would marry that hump for any reason but cash?

    Ratso Rizzo.

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  23. Dorothy said on August 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Thanks to the birthday wishers. I appreciate them all. I heard two pretty inspiring songs on the radio while I drove into New Albany for an appointment with my hand surgeon today: Simply Irresistible and I’m Too Sexy. Those don’t describe me PERFECTLY on my 54th birthday but I’ll take ’em!

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  24. mark said on August 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    We are so screwed by the mortgage loan mess. After the next election, both parties will begin to come clean on their decision to make US taxpayers contribute trillions of dollars to cover the promises of corrupt bankers. The dollars involved are too large to keep the issue under the rug indefinitely.

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  25. Connie said on August 31, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Happy Birthday To Dorothy, I’m two years ahead of you as of Saturday.

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  26. Deborah said on August 31, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    So happy birthday to BOTH Dorothy and Connie.

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  27. april glaspie said on August 31, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Dorothy, Robert Palmer and Right Said Fred? Nah. Beatles and Ramones:

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  28. alex said on August 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Happy birthday, Dorothy! And Connie!

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  29. Dorothy said on August 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I’m headed to Pittsburgh on Saturday, Connie, so I’ll tell you now in case I forget – happy birthday, fellow Virgo!

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  30. coozledad said on August 31, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    April: I’ve been reading some about Bobby Fuller. He was found dead in his car outside his apartment shortly after he had a hit with this tune. There was a container of gasoline in the car ( some of it in his stomach) and he had a broken finger and petechial bruises on his face (possibly from trying to vomit the gasoline). The police report checked off the box for “suicide”. He was dating a girl whose dad was a known mobster, but his rhythm guitarist (the amiable guy with the bowl haircut in this video) said on his deathbed that it was a hit ordered by Charles Manson, who was yet to be released (1967) from prison to embark on his more famous mayhem.
    I’m still trying to figure out if Charley had him killed because Bobby did a better Buddy Holly imitation.

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  31. april glaspie said on August 31, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I remember seeing Bobby Fuller on either Shindig or Hullabaloo, and he had braces. Lot of covers of that song. Clash version is excellent, but there is something about Mike Ness’s version that is spectacular. I’ve seen the E Street Band play it, and have a recording of it by Social Distortion, which is excellent.

    Lou Reed’s twisted version. About as nasty and sarcastic as Positively Fourth Street.

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  32. Dave said on August 31, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Poor Bobby Fuller, another rock n’ roller that you have to wonder about what could have been. I knew that there has been great mystery and questions about what really happened to him and why, another of those mysteries that we’ll never know the true answer.

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  33. april glaspie said on August 31, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    That’s a sad story about Bobby Fuller Cooze. Now that I think about it, I think the TV performance I saw featured Bobby and his band wearing prison stripes with balls and chains.

    If it was Manson behind a murder of a Texas rocker, I’m just glad he didn’t go after Roky.

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  34. basset said on August 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    No need to, Roky did enough to waste himself.

    About walkability, two words… complete streets. Brilliant concept, just search it.

    And for some reason I am not surprised that we seem to have a clutch of Virgos here, I’m up Friday. Older than Nance, younger than April, I think about the same as Cooze but with fewer guitars.

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  35. Deborah said on August 31, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Wow, it’s happy birthday to Dorothy, Connie and now Basset. A huge party is in store.

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  36. Kim said on August 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Many happy returns, Dorothy!

    Deborah, Jeff, other Chicago dwellers – just returned from there and spent every moment in that great city’s grip. Love, love that place I was born.

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  37. MichaelG said on August 31, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Happy birthday, Dorothy and Connie!

    I’ve lived in the city, in the suburbs and in the country and, in the end, my vote goes to city living for all the reasons Borden lists and more.

    Danger? A woman was killed a couple of weeks ago in San Francisco by a bicyclist who ran a red light.

    Crossing streets? Try Le Loi in Saigon in front of the Binh Thanh Market. Luke Nguyen even did a feature about it on his Cooking Channel show.

    Deborah, it shouldn’t be so difficult. We have a similar scheme. Every project has a number (my West Covina DMV project is 128595) and a folder by that number is located on the server. We can add sub folders for plans, specs, pix, correspondence, etc. Works beautifully.

    Bobby Fuller fought the law and the law won.

    I went to Kaiser this AM to see the eye doctor for my cataracts. Suddenly I can’t see for shit. The appt was with “C. Leng, MD”. First I saw a very nice young woman who was some kind of tech. She did a bunch of tests and disappeared to consult with the dr. C. Leng, MD turned out to be Cheri, a young, totally American, Chinese woman made up and dressed to the nines. She was extremely attractive and straight out of a movie or TV. I couldn’t believe my dim eyes. She was better looking than several of the actresses on the medical shows. Also single. A nice catch for somebody. One glance through her magic eye doctor scope at my failing peepers and all she said was “God, are you ready.” Unfortunately, no surgery slots until late Oct.

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  38. moe99 said on August 31, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Happy, happy day to Dorothy, Connie and Basset! And many more.

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  39. Deborah said on August 31, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Michael G, at my last eye exam my opthalmologist told me I am in the beginning stages of cataracts. It bummed me out for awhile. Getting old is the pits.

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  40. Dexter said on August 31, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Happy birthdays extended to Dorothy, Connie and Basset.

    Roky’s mentally ill, y’know…not just a wasted talent.
    Daniel Johnston is another great lyricist that a lot of people ignore.

    I really enjoy the connected bike paths here…and I fondly recall the pathways all around Naples and Bonita Springs, Florida. It was easy to get to many shopping districts via safe bike paths. Fort Myers was another great place to cycle.

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  41. LAMary said on September 1, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Happy Birthday to Dorothy, Connie and Basset. You scored with your two songs, Dorothy. I have an IPod shuffle and my run this morning started with another song mentioned today, Positively Fourth Street. Not quite as encouraging as your tunes. In a click I hit I Walk the Line and that felt better.

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  42. Connie said on September 1, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Thanks for all the greetings. I am expecting a quiet weekend with a trip on Saturday to the Oakland County Farmer’s Market and perhaps a swim at our subdivision beach. My husband claims my birthday dinner out will be at the foot court at Twelve Oaks Mall.

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  43. MichaelG said on September 1, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I know, Deborah, but as they say, it beats the alternative.

    And a Happy Birthday to Basset as well!

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  44. coozledad said on September 1, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I’m pretty much sick now of the creeping Jesus approach Obama has taken with the Republicans, as opposed to recognizing them as a homoerotic misogynist cult who ought to be reduced to living in a couple of caves in Appalachia and regularly struck with predator drones.
    I didn’t fight a bunch of emotionally stunted rednecks to help get this guy elected so he could turn around and let them continue to steer this country away from its embrace of civilization and toward the standard of living of Turdsmouth, Mississippi.
    I want jail sentences for the previous administration, bottom to bottom. The malfeasance. The fucking outright treason. They ought to be digging coal with their bare hands while one selected from their own vicious tribe beats them with a fucking shovel.
    Sometimes I think Obama would walk up and shake Robert Eric Rudolf or Tim McVeigh’s hand and thank them for their participation in the political process.
    In the meantime, you’ve got George “Pussywhip” Will and the empurpled dry revenant of Cokie Roberts’ vag on television telling us Obama is Rap Brown because he’s read a fucking book.

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  45. april glaspie said on September 1, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Roky was declared mentally ill by the semi-great state of Tejas because he was caught with pot, and then subjected to repeated rounds of electro-consulvive therapy without his consent. He still writes fantastic (literally) songs and has what I think is a fine singing voice.

    Roky Erickson’s most normal and most gorgeous song:

    Although I prefer Two-Headed Dog and Cold Night for Alligators.

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  46. Dexter said on September 1, 2011 at 10:55 am

    april glaspie: my fave roky tune

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  47. LAMary said on September 1, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I don’t deny I have a sick fixation on some parts of our current reality TV junk culture. Here’s a story that combines so many wonderful things. The charmless, talentless Kardashian sisters, the complete degradation of Annie Leibowitz, and terrible photoshopping:

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  48. brian stouder said on September 1, 2011 at 11:21 am

    What Cooz said.

    While I generally believe that fighting fire with fire only results in a bigger ash heap, it seems past time that the ‘adult in the room’ should impose some order, and begin kicking some ash.

    And, I don’t want subtlety; since the President will be addressing the joint session of Congress the night after the Republican circle-jerk, he should name names and specifically attack some of the more spectacularly stupid “job creation” schemes the assembled Republican presidential aspirants said the night before.

    From here on, it should be ON – full blast – baby!

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  49. april glaspie said on September 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Dexter, that’s Michael Stipe’s favorite too. There is a very fine tribute album of covers called Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye, on which REM does a version of I Walked With a Zombie. Includes a great cover of You’re Gonna Miss Me by Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers and Sir Douglas’ kids, ZZTop do Reverberation, loud and distorted, and there’s a wild version of Fire Engine by Richard Lloyd. Poi Dog Pondering does a beautiful rendition of I Had to Tell You.

    How exactly is Obama supposed to impose order. If he were Claudius, he could send the Praetorean Guard to make the assholes behave or fall on their swords. At this point, I’d be all for that. All of the self-righteous more progressive than thou types that bitch about this, present company excluded, should do something about the bastards strangling Congressional action. And somebody needs to do something about the anti-American Senate rules. Seriously, what weapon is available, other than an all out effort to take back the House and make the Senate obstruction-proof?

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  50. LAMary said on September 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Obama is going to my hometown of Paterson, NJ on Sunday. I understand the river is still higher than all the bridges there.

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  51. brian stouder said on September 1, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    How exactly is Obama supposed to impose order?

    AG – agreed, it cannot be done.

    What I advocate is some serious stuffing-knocking, as in – knock the stuffing out of these overstuffed political memes that seem to be all the R’s have to offer. Social Security is a “monstrous lie” and a “Ponzi scheme”? 54,000,000 Americans – who receive Social Security benefits, and whoare mostly all old enough to vote, might tend to disagree with the “monstrous lie” part. And if taking money in from a large pool of people and paying it out again to a smaller group is always a “Ponzi scheme” – then ALL insurance of ALL kinds is a fraud….which is self-evidently stupid and wrong. The only damned thing that “privatizing” Social Security would do is put some glass-tower types into the mix, where they can legally scoop out their ‘profits’ – regardless whether they fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities (see – October 2008 Bank Crash; Lehman Brothers; Bear Sterns, etc)

    He has been rope-a-doping these people, and the dopes have fallen heavily for it. I’m just impatient for Obama to unleash his counter-punches, and to call bullshit on these people unceasingly, and I know that his campaign will. He just hasn’t hit the “GO” button, yet

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