Running on fumes.

On a good day, I can travel between Grosse Pointe and Lansing in one hour, 40 minutes. Yesterday was a good day in the morning, less so in the afternoon. I spent what seemed like forever traveling just a couple of miles, while watching my very accurate miles-remaining gauge drop from 10 to zero. Which meant an early freeway exit for fuel, which meant Connor between Warren and Mack and the sort of fueling experience I don’t get in my neighborhood, i.e.:

I’ve never seen one of those locking frames before. It seems to be there to keep rampaging scrappers from, what? Stealing the innards of a gas pump? I’m mystified. Someone already got the face plate for the receipt printer. It was the kind of place you don’t let your guard down, although at 5 p.m. or so, it’s not that bad. Bought 13.85 gallons. My tank holds 14. Close call.

I’ve said it before: Detroit really resets your bad-neighborhood meter. This was near the soup kitchen where I volunteered in the after-school program a couple years ago, near this guy, near the corner where I saw a dead pit bull lie in the street literally for weeks, being run over and over and over, until it was little more than a leathery patch. Never was cleaned up. It snowed deep again, and I never saw it again. Probably the plow ground it into atomic particles, and that was that.

Sorry about no post yesterday. That will happen from time to time. The new job, and commuting, and teaching has me pretty strung out. Know, my little peaches, that you’re always on my mind, but there’s always something else to do. The Center for Michigan has a feature called Truth Squad, a Politifact-like feature, and yesterday I TS’d the Pete Hoekstra Debbie Spend-it-now spot — it’ll be here pretty soon, if not by the time you read this. There’s always something to do, somewhere.

That’s a good thing, I hasten to add.

So, some links?

I liked Dogs Against Romney on Facebook because I found them amusing, but they are filling up my feed with pitches to buy bumper stickers and T-shirts, and I may have to unlike. One joke can stretch pretty far, but you have to be decent about it. Still, credit where it’s due. It’s a good one.

One of those stories that makes you wish the internet would disappear.

And now I think I’ll watch “Southland.” Just…because.

Posted at 12:38 am in Current events, Detroit life |

49 responses to “Running on fumes.”

  1. caliban said on February 8, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Southland is much more than just because, it is a perfect example of why every minute of “unscripted” TV is robbing my airwaves. Southland is compelling. It reminds me of the Crossing Jordan episodes with Wallace Shawn. There is a lot to be said for good actors on TV. And reality? There is nothing good to say about it. The opening title credits run on Southland is better than all of The Voice put together. In recent years, bullshit like bad singers have been foisted upon all of us to sell obnoxious ads on the backs of unprofessional and most commonly quite bad singers. I’ve about had it with Facebook period because I believe these aholes are invading my privacy. But where else am I going to see instant pictures of my darling grandson?

    It’s the hook that can’t be denied, and Nancy, so far as putting the car company bailout to bed, it is Mitt that won’t let it die. And he was so fucking wrong on the subject, let’s let him run with it. Vulture capitalism was horse-shit and it’s obvious. The wisdom of the loans is incontrivertible. 2million jobs, you moron. How do these assholes turn this on the black guy? They call him the black guy.

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  2. caliban said on February 8, 2012 at 1:44 am

    I sincerely did not wish to post first here, but the slighting reference to Southland kinda struck me as annoying as shit. It’s brilliant, And I’m one of those people that thought The Wire was stolen whole cloth from Homicide. In fact, you can watch the Araber arc on Netflix, and that Frank and Bayliss interrogation of Moses Gunn is better than anything that ever happened on The Wire. If you have ever made a reference to some seriously dogass reality shit, you should not make any slightly derogatory reference to a very good cop series. Just bad form.

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  3. Dexter said on February 8, 2012 at 2:10 am

    The lock and cable on the lock-frame are a joke for Detroit. The lock I used on my bicycle that was stolen from a Plum Street light pole was an industrial heavy-weight, a Yale, and the chain was a super-heat-treated chain that I heat-treated myself, slowly, case-hardening a little at a time. No problem at all for Detroit thieves. And that cable is just a little snip-job. I actually had to snicker when I saw that. No hope for security there.
    You are busy, and it’s hard to keep filling the tank to ensure you don’t go under a quarter-tank, but it’s scary to read you were down to almost total-empty.
    Man, Detroitblogger John makes it sound like it’s the fourth quarter and Detroit is behind by seven touchdowns, not just halftime like Clint said. Who speaks the truth, the former mayor of elite artist colony Carmel, California, or John?

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  4. coozledad said on February 8, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I used to wake up at 4:30 AM to drive half an hour and start casing mail early during the Christmas rush. Several times I was still asleep when I stopped at the gas station to feed the gaping maw of whatever 70’s piece of shit I was running mail in.
    What I’m trying to say is, I was an unconscious gas-pump scrapper. Specifically the nozzle assemblies.
    I must have driven off with at least three still hanging in the filler tube before I learned how to function better in a semi wakeful state.

    I remember pulling up in the driveway evenings, telling my wife “Got another one”, and holding it aloft, a sort of trophy for somnambulism.

    It was nearly always the same gas station, too. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t start tacking a repair fee onto my bill, except they had a lot of turnover on the graveyard shift and nobody recognized me.

    EDIT: I always hated hearing that Ka-thunk! sound as I pulled away from the station.

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  5. alex said on February 8, 2012 at 7:47 am

    So Obama codifies what’s already a widespread practice and suddenly it’s the crime of the century.

    He rips off Romneycare and suddenly Republican policy becomes communism.

    Maybe he should declare himself anti-gay, anti-abortion and pro-Bush tax cuts so the right will cede all of that territory as well, and declare the U.S. a Christian state so that the evangelicals will disavow their faith.

    The left is right. He really hasn’t been using his powers to their best advantage.

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  6. coozledad said on February 8, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Alex:I don’t know why these pro-pedophilia types feel so emboldened. There have already been enough documented instances of childfucking and subsequent coverups to justify an international tribunal, and haul Ratzi up on RICO charges. Not singling out Catholics, either. It seems institutional Protestants are just as likely to rape minors. Goes hand in hand with the “mentoring” thing, dunnit?

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  7. beb said on February 8, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Is this Michelle Obama in swashbuckler boots?

    On closer inspection it was something in the background that made her pants look like boots. But, still, The idea of the First Lady is pirate boots…. I like!

    There’s a Marathon station just north of I-94 at Connor which would have been a lot closer. I stopped there once (once!) because I was on fumes. It didn’t have bars around the pumps but it certainly didn’t feel any friendlier.

    The Hoekstra ad is so awful that people are beginning to think that was the whole idea. Because here we are a hallf-week later still talking about it. And let’s face it, the only people offended by that ad are people who would never have voted for Koekstra over Stabinow anyway.

    Clint Eastwood is here only to sell us cars not tell us how good (or bad) Detroit is. Leave that to Detroitjohn and Sweet Juniper. And me. I don’t blog but I’ve lived here for 30+ years. There are times when I think the very name “Detroit” has become to toxic that the best thing to do would be to disincorporate the city and cede land to the various border communities.

    The HOekstra TruthSquad isn’t up yet but I did like the take-down of the Mounon bridge ads. God, those ads were so deceptive.

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  8. JWfromNJ said on February 8, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Sounds like a very close call. You might want to start carrying a small gas can with you or topping off during your lunch.

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  9. Bob (not Greene) said on February 8, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Nance, the locks on the pumps are to keep people from stealing gasoline.

    There was a rash of these incidents last year at one particular gas station in a town I cover. Someone drives up, pries open the frame of the gas pump and cuts the meter cable. Then for as long as they can (usually about an hour) they have people they know come in, and pay the clerk in advance for a small amount of gas. Then those people go outside and fill their tanks and pay a cut-rate price for the gas to the guys who disabled the pump.

    In consecutive nights last May more than 1,000 gallons of gas from one station.

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  10. Rusty said on February 8, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Thank you for the mention. I’m sorry about the merch showing up in your feed. Have you seen all the requests for new and different items I get from the members of the pack? I’m trying to take care of everyone’s wishes – and we are raising funds for animal welfare in addition to trying to stop meanie Mitt. If you’ll go to your news feed and click the little tab in the upper right corner of one of my posts you can select “Hide All from Dogs Against Romney.” *wag* *wag*

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  11. caliban said on February 8, 2012 at 9:45 am


    Ever been to Carmel? It is wonderful. Best California has to offer. Fact is, as usual Clint’s words are iron.

    There is iron in your words of death, for all Comanche to see. And so, there is iron in your words of life… No signed paper can hold the iron. It must come from men. The words of ten bears, carries the same iron of life and death. It is good that warriors such as we meet in the struggle of life, or death. … It shall be life.

    –Ten Bears, in The Outlaw Josie Wales

    And I’m asking again. Has Clint ever done ads before?,0,7149998.story

    Ran out of gas once. In the South Bronx. During the Carter Years Gas shortages. Was pushing the car with babby in carseat to keep in line. Asshole pulls up in Caddy, waves a pistol, pulls to front. I’d been up nearly 24 hours, was ready to confront the asshole. Sensible ex intervened.

    Nancy Brinker on Planned Parenthood:

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  12. Connie said on February 8, 2012 at 9:46 am

    My piece of the metro area is only an hour from Lansing. Of course I’m also almost an hour from downtown D.

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  13. caliban said on February 8, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Oh, and my brother and I once stole gasoline. Driving to Detroit from Worcester, MA we were on fumes and had no cash (spent on brewskis). Left a Canuck gas station without paying. What else were we supposed to do? Seems that same night, nefarious bastards robbed the Windsor Raceway. There were lights-blaring copcars all around us, and we were pretty stoned.

    Chris will remain unnamed. He’s an officer of the court.

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  14. JWfromNJ said on February 8, 2012 at 10:18 am

    @Caliban – never stole gas but sure was tempted during a very rough time in my life. Had moved to Ft. Wayne 24+ years ago from the NY-NJ region and was dumbfounded that you paid after you pumped which would never have worked back east. That was in the pre-video surveilance days and would have gotten away with it but I found $1.75 in the crevices of the back seat of my 1981 VW and got home.

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  15. Peter said on February 8, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Caliban, while I agree with you about Carmel – to an extent – I really liked Cambria, which is at the south end of Big Sur. Seems to be a more relaxed attitude there.

    To me the only problem there is that it’s next to the Hearst Estate – I have an attraction/repulsion thing for that place big time. Not only for the estate in general, but how the state runs it as a shrine.

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  16. jcburns said on February 8, 2012 at 11:06 am

    That’s why you “store” change in car seats and in the nooks and crannies of your house. I figure if we ever get down to the bottom of the barrel we can pick this house up and shake it and find a few hundred dollars in coins.

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  17. Dexter said on February 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

    caliban, I lived in Monterey/Seaside on Fort Ord for my year there while a soldier. I had a car and I since I only had to work a 40 hour week in the hospital, I had a lot of free time to explore the Golden State, and boy did I. Carmel is just down Highway 1, and I spent countless hours there, mostly walking the beach up and down…I still recall the sunsets that inspired my best meditating and thinking. (Should I go to Vietnam or desert the army? I went.)

    coozledad: I never left with a pump handle in my filler cap ; my bugaboo the past few years is placing my cane/walking stick on top of my van while loading groceries into the van and then driving off. I lost two folding canes and two homemade walking sticks. I retrieved the walking sticks but I never found the two folding canes, dammitt! Now I prohibit myself from putting anything on top of the car, period.
    This started forty years ago when I set a six pack of cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon on top of my VW Bug and drove home. Four miles oh highway driving…got home, beer still there. Odd.

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  18. Dexter said on February 8, 2012 at 11:37 am

    caliban, my army buddy Frank moved to Detroit from Italy when he was 14, and he quickly learned the ropes of the Motor City.
    When he was 16, he worked at a cut-rate gas station, and this was before anybody pumped their own gas. Where he worked, nobody got out of the car and they kept their doors locked when they got gas, and nobody even shut the engine off…it was nearly totally a splash and dash for cash.
    Frank learned to sense when he could steal a few bucks. Say an older person pulled up . Most people got three dollars worth, maybe five bucks and back on the road, quickly. But when someone came in and bought a buck or two bucks worth, Frank stuck that dough in his pocket, because the next car’s occupant was going to buy that gas along with what he actually got in his tank. In other words, the two bucks would just be paused on the pump, the next guy orders five bucks worth but only got three dollars worth of gas.
    Frank worked a few hours after school but they gave him ten hours on Saturdays. He said one Saturday he cleared an extra $115. This is when he was getting paid $1 per hour wages.
    He never got caught, and he never even came close to stealing as much as fifty bucks a shift ever again. It was just a magical day for thieving.

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  19. MarkH said on February 8, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I also appreciate beer with determination, Dexter.

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  20. Dexter said on February 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    MarkH, ever see the Errol Morris commercials for Miller High Life?
    This one’s my all-time fave. I wish Mr. Morris would make an ad about the six-pack that refused to bail.

    I dunno…this one might actually be my number one:

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  21. Jeff Borden said on February 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    One of my gauges for judging a neighborhood is how many bars/gates are in evidence? I’ve driven through some rough areas of Englewood and saw those kinds of bars on the windows of virtually every house and building. Occasionally, there are news stories of people being unable to escape burning homes because of the barred windows.

    And so the hot topic in politics today is. . .Rick Santorum? A god-bothering creep who talks constantly about “freedom” but would refuse to apply that word to women and their choices, a cheap corporate bagman who ran the infamous “K Street Project,” a fellow described by more than one of his former colleagues as the dumbest fence post in the Senate and a guy who cannot even Google his own name without it returning a hilarious grotesquery at the top of the column?

    Wow, the GOP base really, really, really hates Mitt Romney.

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  22. caliban said on February 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm


    I once went to midnight mass in my Uncle Paul’s TBird down the 1. Miracle we ever got there. Drunk as Skunk. Thankfully we got back with my dad driving.

    And I most certainly stole gasoline on the very same night as the Windsor Raceway heist took place. Screaming blue lights streaming past us while we were sure we were caught. Pretty hilarious, in retrospect:

    As far as ads are concerned, try Putney Swope. Truth and Soul.

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  23. Bitter Scribe said on February 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    “Wow, the GOP base really, really, really hates Mitt Romney.”

    Can you blame them?

    Although I think “dislikes” or “holds in contempt” may be more accurate than “hates.”

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  24. Hattie said on February 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Vandalism and poverty and dead dogs on the street in the U.S.A. I’m shocked.

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  25. coozledad said on February 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Citizens United handed what was left of the post-Drinky McDumbass GOP to a small donor base with liquid assets. That such donors would necessarily trend toward a bunch of vulgar, paranoiac white trash and set the party conscripting the lowest of the low information voters to conform with their gilded age ideology shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone.
    But the GOP will always whip its various Sturmabteilungen into line around one of the nominees most acceptable to the oil and finance industries, through extortion, blackmail, or a Kenny-Boying if necessary.
    Somebody’s already been designated to sweat Santorum.
    And isn’t that a nice thought?

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  26. Sue said on February 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    So, all you reporters out there…
    I think I see a marked preference for the use of the word ‘surge’ to describe Santorum’s wins last night. Am I imagining it?

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  27. JWfromNJ said on February 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    @Sue – nope. As long as Santorum is surging it’s best to carry baby wipes.

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  28. Deborah said on February 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I asked and my right wing sister in Minnesota said she voted for Romney. She said she likes Santorum but doesn’t think he can win against Obama, while she thinks Romney can. Don’t know what that has to do with what other Republicans think but I was actually surprised that she hadn’t voted for Santorum. She doesn’t much like Romney.

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  29. mark said on February 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Apropos of nothing except my love of the story-

    Hardly news, as I think I first read of this more than 30 years ago. JFK certainly had style and excellent taste in cigars (among other things).

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  30. LAMary said on February 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I’ve got neighbors with bars on the windows and I’ve got neighbors who never lock their doors. I it all works out about the same in terms of who gets robbed. I’ve never been burglarized and I don’t have bars, but I’ve always had a big dog or two or three.

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  31. dull_old_man said on February 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    The most heavily fortified gas station I have used was the one nearest LAX in Los Angeles. I needed to fill a rental car. It was scary.

    Generally I like heavy security. I was glad when the fried chicken place in my neighborhood put in bulletproof glass, sending me my order on a lazy susan. At least that means I won’t get shot by the staff, and I know they are armed. I’ll take my chances with the other customers.

    The two times I have seen a handgun waved: At a gas station in Chicago’s longest-running slum (Uptown) and at golf course when someone in my foursome hit a ball into the group in front.

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  32. MarkH said on February 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    mark, which category does his recently confirmed intern predation come under, style or those “other things” in which he had excellent taste?

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  33. deb said on February 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Only time I drove off without paying for gas was a total accident. Running late to pick up my kid at school. Bought a couple grocery items, stood in line for-freaking-ever, then just swiped my credit card and walked out. Checked my receipt at a stoplight and…wuh-oh. Eight bucks was definitely not right. Checked my rearview in panic; surely the next squad car was there to pull me over. But no. When I went back to settle up, the clerk pulled out her running tally of drive-offs. It was a long one, with plate numbers, car and driver descriptions, etc. Mine just said “Pump 10, $23.87, no idea.”

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  34. caliban said on February 8, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Re: JFK and his dick. Nancy was a few months preggers with Patti before Raygun was divorced from Jane Wyman. She had shown up on the Black List and needed his help to get work. Sounds like a predator to me. The great Union Buster went to work and got her cleared. Mr. Family Values. Purveyor of the idiocy of Trickle Down. Conservative family values. Like Ole Dan Burton and St. Henry Hyde. It’s them damned Demmycrats that can’t keep it in their pants.

    JW, that is nasty by implication.

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  35. Jeff Borden said on February 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    If you want to read a savage but quite worthy takedown of St. Ronaldus, I point you toward Charlie Pierce at Brilliant stuff.

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  36. caliban said on February 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Ronaldus Maximus personified everything ever wrong with America. Dumbnass once told Whit House movers he had played Grover Cleveland once in a movie. Maybe none of it was his fault. Like murdering Archbishop Romero for his freedom-fighter buddies from the School of the Americas.

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  37. mark said on February 8, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Mark H-

    I’m aware of the intern story but honestly haven’t looked at it in detail. Is it now “confirmed”?

    Kennedy was a flawed man but also an amazing one. Don’t know that the intern has to fit under style or excellent taste. Maybe under hubris.

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  38. caliban said on February 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Mark H,

    Couldn’t produce an orgasm, that Raygun? Must need a physician? Seriously? No joke? Mr. family values. Will conservatives shut the fuck up about this sort of garbage, It is impossible to understand why anybody would bump uglies with these toads, but apparently there were girls that would.

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  39. caliban said on February 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Raygun was a blithering scumbag. A nitwit. A slavering fool. And his wife was Matie Antoinettte.

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  40. alex said on February 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    When I first lived in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood there were gates and grates and all kinds of protective gear over the storefront windows, as well as strumpets strolling Broadway and used condoms lying around all over the place. And a stripped vehicle in every third parking space or so.

    My first apartment was in a newly rehabbed building. When I came home from work one day, the door across the hall was in splinters and the whole place ransacked. My neighbor told me the only things missing were credit cards that they managed to find by destroying every stick of furniture.

    Uptown, the neighborhood described by Dull Old Man upthread, made my area look absolutely ritzy by comparison. In fact, I remember a friend who was having buyer’s remorse after Uptown. By this time I’d bought a condo in Lakeview, figuring it was a safe investment. At the height of the real estate bubble my place had merely quadrupled in value. My friend made off with about a half a million in equity after paying only $100K. Sure wish I’d had the balls to homestead in Uptown.

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  41. MarkH said on February 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    well, that didn’t take caliban long. My attempt at having fun with my lower-case doppelganger certainly brought out all the usual republican flip-side antics. Oh well.

    mark, I agree, and flaws abound in political life to be sure, and Kennedy may have even been great had he two terms. It all depends on which side of the deal you’re on as to whose flaws are acceptable, as we hear every day.

    As to Mimi Alford, the then-intern in question, it is confirmed, by her, as evidenced here:

    The story is fascinating in its genesis and denouement. I remember when the incident and her name came out several years ago, then went away when she refused to talk, conveniently creating time to write a book on the matter. As shown in her appearance on NBC, she liked all of it and would do it again.

    This hasn’t had much play here at nn.c, but maybe Nancy will have some comment.

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  42. Dexter said on February 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    deb, Once I was talking with a co-worker after work at a gas station, bought my stay-awake coffee and hopped into the Volvo. I was a regular customer so the clerk wasn’t mad when she came sprinting after me. I had simply forgotten to pay the $22. No harm, but very embarrassing. I remember thinking “I already paid her!”, but that’s what third shift (11 P to 7 a ) does to the human brain.

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  43. coozledad said on February 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Poor Ross Douthwat. After decades of being humiliated by erectile dysfunction, he’s been force fed the “Sacred Balls of Arimathea” Timothy Dolan loaned him:

    If Ross can’t tell a gal what to do cooterwise, the worldview of many other doughy, repugnant men is srsly, srsly in danger of appearing stupid for stupid’s sake.

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  44. Sherri said on February 8, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Douthat really did lump Plessy v. Ferguson in with other “culture war debates.” Wow.

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  45. caliban said on February 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Ross Douthat is an idiot. I think his mom’s name is actually Goldberg. He believes what the GOPers ALL believe. Darkies were better off when slavery kept nuclear families together. And a nigger in the White House is much worse than in the woodpile. The GOPer prefunding of the PO pension is the single most outrageous piece of shit in the history of American government. This is how things work when Grover Norquist runs Congress. I don’t want to pay $14bucks to mail a letter. And wasn’t the Post Office Ben Franklin’s idea? Commie, pinko.

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  46. Connie said on February 8, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Actually Caliban his mother’s last name is Snow. so what’s with the Goldberg bit? Anti-Semitic insult or what?

    One of my co-workers said something to me yesterday about the coloreds around here, left me with my mouth hanging open. Today I get caliban’s Goldberg plus the n word.

    And here I thought things had gotten better.

    I don’t think I had heard anyone refer to the coloreds since my grandmother. Time to go to bed, perhaps I’l feel better about it all in the morning.

    Anyone want an invite to my library open house on Sunday? You’ll love the new teen room.

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  47. brian stouder said on February 8, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Connie – I think Caliban’s ‘goldberg’ reference is to that Goldberg woman who was so involved in the Clinton/Lewinski scandal – and who has that son (Jonah?), who inherited the flying monkey wings from his mom, for entree upon the right wing airwaves.

    I am generally put off by this whole faux “church versus state” thing, and I agree with Rachel Maddow that – sound and fury to the contrary notwithstanding – this is a huge, huge loser for the Republican party nationally (if not for the Catholic church itself), and NOT for President Obama.

    It was pointed out that, looking at how women voted in the 2008 presidential election, Senator McCain lost to Senator Obama by 13 points(!)

    So, this 2012 go-to-hell attitude toward contraception(!!!) and women’s healthcare in general (read: Big Government Telling Women What They Can and Cannot Do!) by the national Republican party is, very simply, an excess that the GOP canNOT afford.

    It has nothing to do with “religious freedom” – anymore than laws against polygamy or “honor killings” or public stonings do.

    Rather, this all strikes me as relentlessly and icily misogynistic.

    Aside from that, I’d LOVE to come see your library, Connie, although I suspect I’ll not be able to get there this weekend. Still, maybe you can post a photo or two, eh?

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  48. Jolene said on February 9, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Lucianne Goldberg is the woman Caliban was referring to. She is, in fact, the essence of the nastiness of the right wing.

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  49. moe99 said on February 9, 2012 at 12:51 am

    “In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn’t provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today—and because it relies on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Employers that don’t offer prescription coverage or don’t offer insurance at all are exempt, because they treat men and women equally—but under the EEOC’s interpretation of the law, you can’t offer other preventative care coverage without offering birth control coverage, too.”

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