Too soon.

Two noteworthy deaths over the weekend, which lately I’ve been trying not to take personally. Every light extinguished before the threescore-and-ten mark is a reminder to be aware of how close eternity is, how suddenly it can be your time. Although, if longevity is your aim, it helps not to be a crack addict, too. Right, Whitney?


First was Jeff Zaslow, the Chicago/Detroit journalist and best-selling author. He plowed the same ground as Mitch Albom — inspirational, uplifting nonfiction — and managed to make you want to smile rather than roll your eyes, no small trick for a veteran eye-roller like me. I confess I didn’t read any of his books, but only because inspirational, uplifting nonfiction isn’t my thing between hard covers. But I was a fan of his columns and longer features in the Wall Street Journal, the former of which were loosely organized around themes of personal growth and change, the latter just good stories. Poynter has organized a links page with some of his best work. My favorite — an account of the Miss Cass Pageant here in Detroit — is there, but the link only takes you to the teaser page. Grr. There’s plenty more to read, however.

Many people in Detroit knew him well, but I barely knew him at all, having toiled alongside him in the press corps at the 1983 Miss America pageant. Zaslow was working in Orlando at the time, and Miss Florida that year was a real spitfire, the wealthy daughter of an orange grower who came into the pageant just weeks after being arrested for drunken driving. He was following her. I was following Miss Ohio, who wasn’t a spitfire, just a pretty girl with an operatic singing act that didn’t get her into the top 10. Miss A was still proudly clutching its modest pearls at the time, and getting 10 minutes with a random Miss was only slightly less difficult than scoring a nothing-off-limits, full-access week of immersion with Callista Gingrich. So we reporters spent a lot of time hanging around together, throwing stories back and forth. Zaslow had a lot of them. Miss Missouri, the youngest contestant at just 18, had fingernails so long her mother had to help her get her pantyhose on. Miss Florida’s talent, Jeff told us, was “an erotic dance,” which made us all laugh, but then her night of the prelims came and, well: Her 90-second routine featured a move where she put her hands on her butt, rolled a distinctly oh-mama move, threw her hair over her shoulder and gave the audience a look that suggested she was a Miss in the technical sense of the word only. I think we went to the boardwalk parade together, the early-week news event, featuring 50 classic convertibles, 50 Misses perched on the back deck, and thousands of howling Atlantic City gamblers bellowing, SHOW US YOUR SHOES. I think Miss Florida slipped hers off and waved it for the crowd. I don’t think Miss Ohio did.

Zaslow was a bundle of energy, curiosity and fun, the ideal mix for a reporter. Everybody loved him. His week was going great, mine less so — around about Wednesday, I learned that my stories were being cut by 30 percent and wedged inside the B section. “Too much Nancy Nall and not enough Miss America,” one copy editor reportedly sniffed in a meeting, and if she’s reading this, she is still invited to kiss my ass. I was sitting in the press room, sending my copy via Teleram or something, and I wondered aloud why I was bothering. Zaslow asked why. I told him. He became indignant on my behalf. “They should be putting this on Page One,” he said. I wondered what it was like to work in a functional newsroom, where everyone wasn’t fighting all the time and writers got the support they needed.

Another writer I hung with that week: Elsa Walsh, the future Mrs. Bob Woodward.

A real loss, Zaslow was. The one weekend we get some actual snow in Michigan, and this happens.

As for Whitney Houston, well. Never much of a fan, so I don’t feel the loss. I heard a segment on some NPR show a few weeks ago about vocal health, featuring doctors and a Broadway warbler whose name was unfamiliar to me; I was impressed by the work that goes into staying in good voice, and my takeaway was that the more extraordinary the voice, the more it must be treated with care. It’s probably safe to say inhaling crack cocaine year after year was not the best idea for either her career or her life, but that’s addiction for you. It reminded me of a piece by Mark Steyn — perhaps the only piece of his I think I ever liked — about the dangers of entourages for wealthy performers. The column was pegged to the 2001 death of R&B singer Aaliyah, whose overloaded small plane crashed on takeoff, weighed down by equipment and a couple of 300-pound bodyguards. If I recall correctly, Steyn describes an incident where he was asked to escort Houston across the street in New York one night. He was at some event with her, and she needed to go to her hotel across the avenue, and evidently the very idea that she could make such a trip by herself was unthinkable. Amazing. I mentioned this to Alan after reading it, and he said, “That must have been like leading a racehorse through a forest fire,” a pretty good quip for Alan. I tried to find the column, but it has disappeared from the internets, and isn’t available on Steyn’s website, either. Sorry about that. As we all know, nothing needs protection like decade-old newspaper columns.

So, bloggage?

Eric Zorn is collecting the various over-the-top things being said on the GOP campaign trail these days. Hey, Zorn: Here’s one for you, via Fort Wayne’s own Tim Goeglein, who is apparently now wearing bow ties (!!!!), perhaps because he heard they were extra-masculine or somethin’. Stripped of some of its adverbial filler:

In the history of the United States …we have never had a president who has more radically, but more intentionally, savaged and attacked man-woman marriage, the dignity and sanctity of every human life, and now… has begun to redefine and therefore attack our basic religious liberties and individual consciences.

That link takes you to a one-minute-and-change video. I urge you to check out this weekend’s iteration of the man our own Coozledad said made Fred Rogers look like Dick Butkus. I wonder if they realize how fucking obnoxious that sort of statement sounds to a person who isn’t quite as full-up with the Kool-Aid as they are. And now they’re the anti-birth control party. Good luck selling that line to the moderates, guys.

Maybe because I’ve written my share of pieces like this, I still read them, but can’t like them, not even a little bit. Novelist Walter Kirn on the Super Bowl:

A ball was tossed around and then Madonna sang. She’s the diva of super-prosperity, that woman. Her high-kicking legs and vast, pansexual dance-troupe conjured up glitzy memories of the boom years, back before our national descent into paranoid partisanship and pessimism. She ran through her hits and the years melted away, revealing a core of American contentment that suddenly seemed like our default condition, the one that the candidates labor to convince us will never return but has really never left us. I missed the Clint Eastwood commercial intoning that “It’s Halftime in America.” But I gazed at the faces around me. They had that look of people who who understand that they’re watching live, in person, what tens of millions of their countrymen are taking in electronically, on screens. One nation under Nike, is how it felt.

Oh, shut up, Mr. Pretentious Novelist Butthead.

Finally, a long video to sit through, but fascinating. Rachel Maddow on how the Ron Paul organization is gaming the GOP’s system to pile up delegates, contrary to the generally accepted idea that delegates belong to the winners of individual primaries and caucuses. This is a good story. I’d like to hear more about it.

And with that, I think IIIIII-eeee-yiiiiii-eeee-yiiiii have bored you enough. Happy Monday and good weeks to all.

Posted at 12:12 am in Current events |

56 responses to “Too soon.”

  1. caliban said on February 13, 2012 at 3:06 am

    Thanks, Ozzie. Best thing about Rachel is that rightwingnutcases accuse her of lying like Fux News. Wvery word incontrovertible, or she corrects herself. Ever a correction on Fux? Didn’t think so. Their problem seems to be that Rachel Maddow is smarter than they are, and actual logic is just so difficult to follow. I kinda wish she weren’t a lesbian, because I might be in love with her. The woman is brilliant, and pretty, and fiercely committed to the truth and right-thinking politics. That was the beginning of Crazy Train, right?

    It’s entirely possible Steve Nash is the most thoughtful and intelligent professional athlete on Planet Earth. He did call out Dumbleyou on the invasion of Iraq.

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  2. caliban said on February 13, 2012 at 4:25 am

    And the only song for these scary times:

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  3. beb said on February 13, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I remember reading that when The Doors were recording one of their albums (maybe LA Woman) they would drive to Jim Morrison’s apartment and more or less pull him out of bed so that when they got to the studio he had ruined his voice with smoking or drinking. Morrison was another train wreck like Houston; dead at 27.

    Eric Zorn’s goal of making of list of every outrageous GOP comment is a Sisyphean task. They make more faster than you could possible record. It’s pretty much a safe bet that anytime they begin with the phrase “Never in the history of America…” that whatever they finish with is a lie. President Obama has killed more jobs, raised more taxes, lost more wars, apologized to more country, waged war on Christianity, betrayed blacks, betrayed whites…. I don’t think they listen to themselves when they speak because the contradictions are so endless.

    How many people out there have watched the “Napoleon Dynamite” animated TV show? It’s on Fox on Sundays. When the series was first announced I couldn’t see the point since the one time I tried to watch the movie I gave up after five minutes. But I find that I enjoy the cartoon version. It’s off-beat and weird but also surprising witty and clever in a very dry, esoteric sort of way.

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  4. Bill E. said on February 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Hey, Nance, crossing the street can be more difficult than you might imagine. Back in my pop critic days I was scheduled to interview twirly girl Natalie Merchant a couple weeks before her concert in Columbus. She was in Dallas and I called her hotel room for an hour and no one picked up the phone. I gave up and started working on something else. I’d forgotten all about Natalie when my phone rang and she launched right into her apology: “I’m sorry I wasn’t here when you called. I went out for a walk and ended up on the other side of the street from my hotel and couldn’t figure out how to cross over.” In her defense, she said it was a six-lane street and that she’d somewhere earlier in her walk gone below street level and couldn’t figure out how to get back under/over/back, etc.

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  5. brian stouder said on February 13, 2012 at 9:42 am

    … I’ve been trying not to take personally. Every light extinguished before the threescore-and-ten mark is a reminder to be aware of how close eternity is, how suddenly it can be your time.

    Indeed. 48 is sounding pretty young to me, too, although it’s a ripe old age for people who tumble into substance abuse.

    A co-worker related story he heard at church(!); one of his fellow congregants was at a comedy bar the night before, and when word spread that Whitney Houston was dead, the comedian immediately grabbed up some straws and said “Here’s my impersonation of Whitney Houston” and jammed the straws into his nose. (Another example of why comedy bars ain’t for me!).

    And btw – if that editor who complained about “Too much Nancy Nall” knew anything at all, then she (or he) should have known that THAT is precisely what readers want. (or else, why not skip sending a reporter in the first place)

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  6. Scout said on February 13, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Nancy, one thing you never are is boring. You could write about paint drying and make it clever and interesting.

    Whitney lasted longer than her lifestyle should have allowed, so maybe her handlers were better than those of say, Winehouse or Morrison. I’m not usually a fan of soaring ballads, but back in the day she really could kill those high notes. Her music was the kind you listen to, not try to sing along with. Bobby Brown has taken most of the blame for Whitney’s downfall, and it is probably deserved. Although, I read somewhere that she was finally, finally, finally done with him about three years ago, so other than being the gateway actor to the lifestyle, he wasn’t directly involved with her death. I guess that’s debatable, but if it hadn’t been him it might have been somebody or something else that would have driven her addictions.

    My dearly departed Gram loved the whole Miss America pageant spectacle. It’s probably good she can’t witness how it has devolved.

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  7. Bitter Scribe said on February 13, 2012 at 10:16 am

    My goodness, Nancy, you’re cranky today. (And I love it. More, please.)

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  8. Deborah said on February 13, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I just read the Zorn piece, and the comments too. I just don’t know how you respond to stuff like this (from the comments): “I see a President who has increased discretionary spending significantly, expanded the government payrolls, increased the debt by $5T and counting, used the stimulus and other government programs as a slush fund to reward his friends for donation bundling (see: Solyndra and many others) presided over an ATF that sold guns (that later killed a US border agent) to Mexican drug lords, broke the contracts of the bondholders and used billions in taxpayer money to give GM (which will be in trouble again somedday) to his union supporters, continued aggresive Bush policies (that he assailed in the campaign) in the Middle East, expanded on intrusive Bush terrorism policies here at home by allowing assassination of Americans suspected of terrorism, hasn’t signed a budget in 3 years, passed an unaffordable, unconstitutional entitlement (Obamacare) against the will of the public, and presided over the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression. I could go on all day but I don’t have time.
    We’ve seen a few nice job reports and Obama has benefitted from the workforce shrinking to all time lows to reduce the unemployment rate, but there is no guarantee it will continue. Which of his policies do you attribute to the recovery? Stimulus was done years ago – that money did not have the immediate stimulative impact he predicted. Could it be a Republican Congress? The Payroll Tax Cuts – why, I thought tax cuts didn’t work! The thing is, nobody knows for sure. Anybody can invent a narrative that credits their side. I just find it comical that everything for 3 years was Bush’s fault – then when the first positive job report was seen – it was due to Obama’s policies. You should try looking at all sides of an issue for a change. Clearly, any sane American can take a look at this corrupt administration and conclude it needs to be replaced.”

    What do you even say to people who think like this? I have a right wing sister who is in-line with that kind of talk. Most of the time I just remain quiet and shake my head or something.

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  9. brian stouder said on February 13, 2012 at 10:54 am

    What do you even say to people who think like this?

    Well, when I hear certain things – like for instance this one –

    government programs as a slush fund to reward his friends

    I would immediately laugh and give the person an “A” for so accurately aping the memes of the flying monkeys of the right-wing airwaves.

    Uncle Rush is particularly fond of the “slush fund” remark, which strikes me as oddly dated; like a score-settlement over the old Nixon slush fund scandal.

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  10. Sue said on February 13, 2012 at 10:57 am

    “And now they’re the anti-birth control party”
    No, this isn’t a sudden thing, they just finally feel comfortable enough with their base that they can really let their misogynistic freak flag fly. As the states go, so go the feds, eventually, and the states have been leading on anti-woman’s health legislation and regulations for a long while. Repealing the requirement that insurance companies cover birth control was one of Governor Scott Walker’s first budgetary priorities.

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  11. Sue said on February 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Anyone here watch The Sports Reporters on ESPN? What was with Mike Lupica yesterday? I noticed that he seemed to be rather aggressively responding to Mitch Albom and I don’t think it was because Mitch somehow managed to work Whitney Houston into his opening comments.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on February 13, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Deborah, to balance out your sister, my mom is looking into de-registering (her term) from the R’s because of their new attacks on birth control. Mom is 79 and has been Republican her entire life, so this is of no small significance. I’m still convinced it’s all to distract the electorate from the real and difficult problems we face, the human equivalent of “squirrel!”.

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  13. Dexter said on February 13, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Geraldo was on a talkie today raving as to how Bobby Brown murdered Whitney, slowly…introducing her to coke from weed, then onto crack and whatever else she desired.
    I don’t even argue with people or printed theories on this topic. I have my own theories I have learned about personal choices; does one person really “get someone drunk or on a cascading free-fall of drugs?” Really?

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  14. Bitter Scribe said on February 13, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Deborah, the comments in Zorn’s posts are overgrown with that kind of stuff. It’s like kudzu. There are a couple of “libertarians” who apparently have nothing better to do than make long-winded posts 10 times a day about how no one should ever have to pay a dollar for any service he (and it’s almost always a he) doesn’t use. It’s getting so I don’t even read the comments anymore.

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  15. DellaDash said on February 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Not too surprising that your unapologetic sass has probably been the bane of many an insecure co-professional, Nancy. Seems to me you are likely to shine out the most when you go gonzo.

    As for Whitney, her ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ can cut through the hardest-cored patriotic cynicism like lime through scurvy. The real heartbreaker, though, is viewing clips of her clean and innocent gospel-soloing youth.

    ‘They’ say that crack is the one drug you can’t experiment with…one try and you’ll be hooked for life. Of course that’s a myth, but it has teeth…the high is like a day-long orgasm…but with NO CLIMAX! So what? Anyone chasing such a prolonged physical groove won’t be caring about that or anything else. Furthermore, there’s no hangover to notice, only the driving desire to bounce back up onto that chemical featherbed of sensation. Anyway…RIR, Whitney Houston…Rest In Release.

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  16. Sue said on February 13, 2012 at 11:52 am

    As usual, Athenae says it better than I ever could:

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  17. coozledad said on February 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Speaking of comments sections, remind me not to read the ones for AP wire stories.
    I wonder if the bishops’ hissy-fit here stateside has anything to do with the implosion of the Vatican’s in-house bank.
    Is the Italian faction that aims to replace Benedict mobbed up with the Camorra, Cosa nostra, or the Russians? And which one of these organizations has their hand up Rick Santorum’s mudflaps?

    EDIT: It’s Reuters. I reflexively associate Yahoo with AP.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on February 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

    As usual, Roger Ebert had a perfect summation of Whitney Houston’s death: “So sad. Not necessary. Not unexpected.”

    And may I say, the N-S could really use a little Nance these days.

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  19. Casey said on February 13, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Nancy, if Bitter Scribe is right and you are cranky, I’ve got just the thing for you. Tom and Lorenzo’s take on the Grammies. With thanks for introducing them to me last year. They’re book marked on my iPad; love it when they call their readers kittens. Makes me feel so special!

    Woke my husband up last night laughing as I read your comments about the copy editor….”she is still invited to kick my ass” and the Houstonian singing sign off.

    Thanks and here you go: Hope it serves to uncrank you if needed.

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  20. Bitter Scribe said on February 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    If you really want to be revolted, go over to the Fox News site and read the comments on their coverage of Whitney Houston’s death. I’ve never seen so much shrill, raw, naked racial hatred. Charles Johnson, the Little Green Footballs guy who has grown disgusted with his fellow right-wing bloggerati, called them out on this.

    “Fox News: We’re not racist. Just our viewers.”

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  21. caliban said on February 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    GOP nutcase poster boy. This bastard is an immmigrant Brit that’s a Nativist white supremacist. And he’s the racist star of CPAC. He ought to self-deport.

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  22. Jeff Borden said on February 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Ah, the return of the culture wars. I must give our right-wing butt monkeys credit. The economy is improving, albeit at a snail’s pace, Obama’s numbers are up, albeit slightly, and even Clint Eastwood is arguing for more comity and less confrontation, so what better time than to dredge up boogeymen like Planned Parenthood and forcing the One True to treat their employees properly.

    It would be luvverly if our Catholic officeholders and seekers would perhaps look at all the OTHER things the American bishops have called for, such as not going into Iraq, ending the death penalty, assuring all Americans of medical coverage, no preemptive war, no torture, etc. Instead, as usual, they fixate on anything that deals even tangentially with sex, even though a significant number of women use contraceptives for purposes other than avoiding pregnancy.

    And American bishops? Maybe if you cleaned up your pedophilia mess and quit demonizing gays, you might have a larger audience. As is, 98% of American Catholics are in favor of using contraceptives.

    And finally, what a fucking freak show at CPAC. Three white supremacists on one panel decrying multiculturalism, Mittens describing himself as “severely conservative” and more word salad from the Quitta from Wasilla. I might also point out one of the most blatantly racist “rap” acts by a couple of lame white guys wearing white powdered wigs and substituting the word “knickers” for the N word. You’ll be unsurprised to note that one of the assholes is married to Fox mouther Dana Loesch. The other is some kind of a contributor to Fox News.

    But Fox is fair and balanced. Just ask them.

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  23. Bitter Scribe said on February 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Wow. I had no idea that this Brimelow asshole was head of VDARE. I never heard of him, but I knew all about VDARE. And that’s the face of conservatism these days?

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  24. Jakash said on February 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Yes, Jeff B., and when the method of birth control that the bishops have somehow managed to allow for in the past involves the selection of young boys as one’s partners, it beggars belief that they are so interested in making an issue of this topic, at this time.

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  25. beb said on February 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs: Back in the day before there were only OCs and Macs I own an Atari ST – their imitation of a Mac. Nice machine in some ways. There was a cottage industry for writing small apps that improved on the machine, one of those programmers was Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. He wrote a nice file selector that I used with pleasure. It was a disappointment to learn that he had become a right-wing nut. But it’s even stranger that he’s taken a turn away from the Dark Side. But that just shows how extreme the Republican party has become when the hard core begans to complain that the rest of the party is too hard core.

    Bobby Brown: At first I felt that Bobby Brown had a lot to answer for regarding Houston’s untimely death. But as I heard that she had shed him some years before but had continued on her addicted life it seemed as if Houston always had that drug-shaped hole in her soul and that Bobby was simply the first person to fit into that slot. If not Brown it would have been someone else.

    The strange thing about Republican assertions about our Democratic president is how much projection is in their complaints. “Slush fund to help his friends…” Not that he has but all those no-bid contracts to Dick Cheney’s Haliburton falls in that category.

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  26. Jeff Borden said on February 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    What’s striking about the contraception vs. Catholic Church is the enormous gulf between American bishops, who live a cosseted life of great luxury and isolation, and those who actually labor for Catholic health services, such as the nun who has been advising the Obama Adminstration. I’ll trust a nun on the front lines before I’ll listen to, say, Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, who lives in an immense red brick mansion overlooking Lincoln Park and has consistently demostrated all the warmth, kindness and sympathy of your average forensic accountant.

    If we really want to twist rightwing knickers into a wad, why not start suggesting that if we allow this, any company owned by Muslims will be permitted to subject workers to sharia law, or any company owned by a Scientologist need not offer psychiatric coverage, etc.

    I keep hoping against hope that the Republican Party has finally reached the bottom, but the bastards keep digging ever deeper. Please nominate little Ricky Santorum, our modern-day Torquemada, so we can destroy the conservative movement in 2012. Please, please, please.

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  27. Brandon said on February 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    @Jeff. I found the video for the CPAC Rap:

    (No serious rapper has worn an Adidas track suit since the mid-80s.)

    I liked the movie, and enjoy the cartoon version of Napoleon Dynamite. I also think Allen Gregory was underrated and cancelled too soon. Does anyone here watch American Dad?

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  28. DellaDash said on February 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    …what you said, Dex@13 and Beb@25

    The alchemy between Bobby and Whitney was potent and undeniable…addicts are particularly instinctive in sussing out co-dependents. Ultimately though, nobody else can be blamed for how each one of us deals with our personal demons…nor can anyone else rescue us, although addicts are cunning in the ways of exploiting any and all who try.

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  29. JayZ(the original) said on February 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing Kathleen Turner in “Red Hot Patriot — The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins”. There were many moments during the show when I wished feisty Molly were here to comment on the current political shenanigans. I think you journalists would have approved of how your publishing world was portrayed. Ms. Turner did an outstanding job, by the way. These one-person productions must be difficult for an actor because there is only the audience reacting to lines and giving feedback. Fortunately this liberal
    Southern California audience was most receptive.

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  30. DellaDash said on February 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    So, JayZ(to) – “Red Hot Patriot” is a one-woman theatre piece? What a curiosity draw Kathleen Turner playing Molly Ivins has to be! What’s the venue…Mark Taper Forum?

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  31. Dorothy said on February 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I read this entry at about 9:30 this morning for the first time, came back to look at comments just now and only NOW am I seeing Nancy’s great next-to-last sentence. No wonder I read so few other writers on the web – this is the bestest place ever.

    So I take it none of us are swallowing what Ms. Houston told Diane Sawyer 10 years ago, that ‘crack is whack’?

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  32. Lex said on February 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Good luck selling that line to the moderates, guys.

    It ain’t for the moderates, it’s for the base. It’s how the Republicans, stuck with an uninspiring cult member at the top of the ticket, are going to turn out their Mormon-suspicioning evangelical nutjobs in November.

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  33. LAMary said on February 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    The Molly Ivins play is at the Geffen, near UCLA.

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  34. DellaDash said on February 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Thanks, LAMary…got a friend heading out that way soon

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  35. caliban said on February 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Nancy Brinker’s expense account.

    Scariest thing I’ve seen since either Poltergeist or Aliens. I guess they’re all Juggalos in that Klown Kar.

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  36. DellaDash said on February 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Dorothy – it’s true, crack is (or was 10-odd years ago) 10 times cheaper than ‘pure’ cocaine…it’s also 10 times (at least) stronger and the high lasts 10 times longer.

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  37. Sue said on February 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Nope, those conservarepublifoxnewswingervangelicals aren’t anti-woman:

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  38. Marc G said on February 13, 2012 at 3:15 pm


    Finally, a blog day worth reading. Where you been, girl? No such thing as too much Nancy Nall when she got her groove on. And Caliban, you never been in love with a lesbian? You gotta get out more, man!

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  39. Deborah said on February 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Regarding my comment #8, I know you can refute each point the Zorn commenter made:

    Obama has increased discretionary spending, expanded government payrolls as well as helping Detroit and Big Banks because the alternative was so much worse. The packages put together were imperfectly designed because something was better than nothing into the teeth of the wind of intransigent Republicans. The recovery is so slow because the problem was so large and because he has received so little help from conservatives and corporations withholding money from the system. The American workforce has been steadily shrinking for a long time now as baby-boomers retire, fewer people there to replace them, Bush’s economy that just “puttered” along and then the Big Recession. Obama hasn’t signed a budget in three years because Congressional Republicans won’t pass one.

    Solyndra is anecdotal and there are not “many others.” The overall record of government-assisted industries that have bankrupted fits all the expected success ratios of any private entrepreneurial lender models. The ATF program was begun in the Bush years and its consequences only became apparent in the Obama years.

    There is no evidence to my knowledge that Obama has assassinated suspected American terrorists here at home. He has slowly but surely extricated the US from two wars, is preventing others in Iran and Pakistan, basically destroyed Al Quaeda/Bin Laden and so on. This author’s foreign policy comments are particularly unfounded and melodramatic.

    Obama was very cautious about the recent job reports. He knows how fickle these numbers can be. Others may be crowing or even saying he is crowing. Obviously he is pleased. But to say that he took credit is, once again, to use a straw man strategy: set up something wrong so you can knock it down.

    There is almost zero evidence that corruption has played any sort of significant role in the Obama administration. Compared to the relationships Cheney and Rumsfeld had with military contractors and the relationships they plus Bush had with energy and religious organizations, the Obama administration is squeaky clean.

    Tax cuts are clearly unprovable as policy. So neither side should tout them. What is provable is that more revenue is required to prime the system. More taxes is one of the best and most reasonable way to do that since we have become so out of balance economically among the populace.

    etc etc etc. All you can hope to do is convince someone on the fence, not someone that far gone.

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Jeff B @ 26, Cardinal O’Malley of Boston sold the regal palace et alia on coming into the archdiocese, and lives in a room on a hallway with fellow priests in the Cathedral rectory, pretty much a dorm.

    So they’re not all like that. But Fr. O’Malley is a Capuchin, which might explain the variation in style in his case.

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  41. Dorothy said on February 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Yeah Della, I’m aware of those crack facts. I was smarmily reminding folks that Whitney claimed she didn’t use crack – a few comments today and over the weekend referenced her use of it. Guess we’ll never know now. Not that it matters.

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  42. beb said on February 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Apparently alcohol and xanax are did her in. Both are perectly legal. Just never use them both at the same time.

    A one-woman show about Molly Ivins? That I would love to see.

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  43. paddyo' said on February 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    No Mr. Pretentious Novelist Butthead on Conan‘s coverage of Super Bowl LXVIXCDLXIII, just his “reporter” Billy Eichner’s very funny, in-your-face and over-the-top quest for Madge:

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  44. brian stouder said on February 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    btw, I clicked the Rachel link and realized I had already seen it; but isn’t she wonderful? She pretty much never fails to have new information and/or a fresh perspective on big stories.

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  45. MarkH said on February 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I’m surprised it took this long for Nancy Grace to come forward with this case-breaker:

    Caliban, release the hounds!

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  46. caliban said on February 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Bunny reabbits! To bathe or not to bathe. A seriously acrimonious discussion in Comments.

    I too would love to see the Molly Ivins show. And casting Kathleen Turner as Anne Richards’ BFF is a genius selection. I saw Ivins speak at UGA JSchool. She was hilarious I was wearing a “George Bush-Shrub or Noxious Weed” T-shirt and she asked me where she could get one for herself. Of course that was HW, not W.

    Acerbic satire regarding Citizens United. Right on the money, which is, of course, speech.

    This whole defending the Bishops from the assault by President Obama by funagelical GOPers is a fracking riot. Seven or eight years ago, it was a great crowd pleaser among those people to call Catholicism a demonic cult. And having lived in Babdissland for much of my life, I’m quite inured to being told that I’m not a Christian because I go to Catholic Church. What a buncha yayhoos.

    Rachel Maddow is one exceptionally bright woman, and her show is one of the best hours on TV. Of course the Free Republic crowd insists nothing she says is true, a crock of shit that would embarrass a reasonable human being. GOPers are very short on the capacity for being embarrassed by lying their asses off. She regularly invites Republicans on, and shreds them, as she did in 2010 with the demi-intelligent Rand Paul. Almost felt sorry for the ninny.

    MarkH, That picture of Medusa Grace scared the shit out of me. It’s probably only a matter of time before she claims Casey Anthony killed Whitney. But what aTri-Delt twat thing to say: “They were medicating her out the ying-yang.” Stay classy you white trash cracker.

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  47. Deborah said on February 13, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Jeff B, I’ve been told that the nuns who take care of that Bishop’s house and garden live in the carriage house out back, and there are a dozen or so of them who live there. I walk past there all the time and see the nuns scurrying around doing the work. They wear full habits, even out in the garden in the middle of the summer.

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  48. caliban said on February 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Catholics and birth control. Seriously, it’s the Bishops and certifiable Opus Dei types that wear hair shirts and practice self-flagellation versus normal Catholic human beings.

    In case the revelation escaped anybody, Kommissar Karl Rove is a supreme shitheel. Apparently, Rove doesn’t know that Chrysler already paid the loans back.

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  49. brian stouder said on February 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    You know, speaking of Rachel and her incisive interview of the Ron Paul operative, I believe I’m officially off my pins now, with regard to what the hell those people (the GOP) are actually, ultimately going to do.

    I read that Romney is down – and by double digits! – in the Michigan polls. I didn’t really (really) believe it when the polls indicated he was going to get creamed in South Carolina by Newtie McPherson, and then that came to pass; and I wouldn’t believe he could lose (and lose badly) in Michigan, but now it looks like that may well be exactly what will happen.

    Thinking about the canny Ron Paul, and the feckless Mitt Romney*, and the earnest rigidity and certainty of that Santorum feller – for the first time in my lifetime I think we actually may see a “brokered convention” come to pass.

    And then, I don’t care WHO the convention ends up nominating, a very large percentage of the GOP “base” has simply got to be disaffected and alienated, no?

    Let’s say that Candidate X emerges from the Republican Convention at Tampa; a person who – no matter who she or he is – spent no (or very little) shoe leather in Iowa and New Hampshire and all the other places; who logged no miles (and miles) to one diner, and another school gymnasium, and another senior center, and another parking lot at another mall, etc etc etc; who shook no hands and snapped no photos and ate no corn dogs and kissed no babies, in all those places.

    Next, let’s say that 50% of the Ron Paul voters are True-Believing, Howl-at-the-Moon, Dyed-in-the-Wool, Ron’s-Our-Man-Until-The End people; and since Paul has (let’s say) 20% of the national vote, that’s 10% of the base that’s flatly unhappy with candidate X.

    And if we posit that Santorum has 30-40% of the GOP vote, and 10% of them are rabidly (etc) pro-Ricky; that’s another 3% of their national base that’s bummed out.

    Ditto for Newt, and some lesser number of Really True Believers for Mitt, and we arrive at about 20% of the national GOP base that says “This whole thing is a fraud and I ain’t votin’ for Candidate X”…..or put another way, it seems to me that a brokered convention equals a broken Republican party, just as surely as a serious third-party run would be.

    *I’m still pondering Romney’s feckless and flat-footed rhetorical style, and I think I’ve about concluded that it’s a 1% thing. The man has almost always been a Master of the Universe; the Boss; the guy that can say stupid shit and everyone around him has to nod their agreement. Whereas Obama had an academic/legal background, and students presumably might be expected to leap on weak arguments and poorly stated cases, Romney had empty suits nodding their agreement all the time. Anyway, that’s my latest theory. I actually do kind of like the guy, despite (or maybe because!) he’s such an oaf when it comes to extemporaneous speaking.

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  50. Deborah said on February 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Wow, have you guys seen “The Scar Project”? powerful stuff, “breast cancer is not a pink ribbon”. Amazing photos, talk about strong women…

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  51. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Brian, just whisper to yourself, softly, as if trying to remember a long-lost girlfriend who never, actually, was your girlfriend, but you thought she was, for so long that the imagining became a reality of a sort — imagine whispering a name in that way, as so many in Alexandria, VA and Dobbs Ferry, NY and Boca Raton, FL do; a repeated whisper, insistent, quizzical, hopeful, but with a plaintive sense of “she’s not that into you,” except it’s not a she, he’s a he, a real man of a man, albeit not threateningly so, but a pleasant, indistinct, yet reassuring man, whose antecedents and colleagues if not his descendants, exactly (or brothers, most certainly) can inspire secure confidence. He comes from a good line, if not a lineage, and his name, his name, that’s what you whisper each time you reflect on the field as it is, and when you think of what it might be, and then in faith and hope and yes, even love, you say his name again . . .


    Jeb. You just say it quietly, and continue as a sort of invocation, for we all know as night falls that naming calls.


    Jeb. Jeb Bush.

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  52. Deborah said on February 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Jeb Bush? Are you fucking kidding me?

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm


    But they’re whispering that name to themselves in Boca as they go to their troubled, high-thread-count sleep.

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  54. Jakash said on February 13, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I’ve got no business disagreeing with Brian Stouder, one of the shining lights of this peanut gallery, so forgive me. But I think your 9:41 analysis, while provocative (and one that I’d be delighted to accept), underplays the rabid gotta-get-BHO-outta-my-life sentiment that is the most animating feature of the right-wing zombies. Any group that can pinball from SheWho or Trump or Huckabee or whomever was originally their hearts’ desire to Michele Bachmann to Rick Perry to Herman Cain to Rick Santorum to Newt Gingrich and then back to Rick Santorum can certainly be talked into Jeb Bush, or any other mildly plausible non-Mormon conservative alternative, if the need arises. Or so it would seem to me, based on the circus that we’ve witnessed thus far.

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  55. Minnie said on February 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Today the Virginia General Assembly passed, over strong protests from Democratic members, a bill requiring all women seeking an abortion to submit to a medically unnecessary trans-vaginal ultrasound at their own expense. This, in effect, forces medical personnel to commit object penetration rape on women already in a vulnerable state. It makes me want to vomit to imagine these Republican perverts’ sexual excitement over the images they can call to mind while congratulating themselves on saving the “pre-born”.

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  56. Ann said on February 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Interesting piece with more details about Jeff Zaslow’s time with the Chicago Sun-Times here.

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