Have a heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day. And thanks to the Carolina Biological Supply Company, which in return for providing today’s image would like a linkback. Yeah, whatever. That’s the organ all the fuss is about, the twitchy little fist of muscle that keeps it all going. Bisected. Kind of gross-looking, isn’t it?

Human heart, bisected

But let’s move on from this Hallmark holiday — yes, yes, I love you all. Very much. THIS much. Mwah. This, on the other hand, is amazing: Sweater Vest is beating Mittens in his home state. What’s more, Santorum is “surging,” the polls say. Santorumentum! (As Roy would say.) How did this happen? How does Romney find the strength to get out of bed day after day and face an electorate that, frankly, dislikes him so much it would vote for Rick Santorum as an alternative? I’ll say this for the last two presidential election cycles. They’ve been excruciating, but they haven’t been dull.

Meanwhile, I hope your VD is going well. I think this date hits some people harder than others. Alan and I are both working hard enough that we’ve agreed to put off any celebrating to the weekend. I think a chocolate pie will be involved, and yeah, probably some wine because what else is there to do in February? (Did you know that more babies are born in November than any other month? Because what else is there to do in February?)

I don’t have any more links. I’ve been up to my eyebrows in research and student papers all day. And all I want to do is imagine Mitt Romney, candy and flowers in hand, being kicked to the curb by Michigan. So chime in with your own. Please.

Posted at 12:01 am in Current events |

71 responses to “Have a heart.”

  1. Hattie said on February 14, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Your Valentine’s Day posting is my favorite so far.
    (BTW: URL is wrong but can’t fix it)

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  2. Dexter said on February 14, 2012 at 2:32 am

    I love you all this much, as much as a Santorum “Surge”. (Only farm kids will get the Surge reference)


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  3. Dexter said on February 14, 2012 at 2:42 am

    My Valentine song for the nn.c-ers:


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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 14, 2012 at 7:11 am

    [lobs grenade, runs to monthly staff meeting where this morning, someone is getting fired (but I have an immunity totem)]


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  5. beb said on February 14, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I may be nauseous for a while. Not the sort of thing I was to see right after breakfast.

    November babies, huh? I thought it was just my family that tended to have babies in October/November. So every one is doing it. (Damn rabbits!)

    I was reading an article about MF Global today where one of the bankrupcy trustees suggests that the amount of lost customer money may be closer to 1.6 billion instead of the previously suggested 1.2 billion. I’ve often wondered if the MF in MF Global stood for some version of “mofo” because it certainly looks like a people got fk’ed by the company. But mostly the article was about how difficult it has been to determine who is owed money and whether any of the MF Global money held by other banks will ever be returned. I was under the impression that people who receive stolen goods are required to return them to their original owners. But apparently with money it is strictly “Finders Keepers.” But the biggest question of remain: why hasn’t anyone been prosecuted?

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  6. coozledad said on February 14, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Carolina Biological Supply is about a half-hour’s drive from us. They used to give tours. When I visited, they were still getting a few human skeletons from Sri Lanka. They told us those arrived pre-cleaned. Animal skeletons were cleaned by African dermestid beetles in a small room on site. The staff would cut the lights and you could hear the beetles start to crunch away on the stringy ligaments and tendons of whatever rhesus monkey or cassowary they were processing.
    If I had a few million bucks, they’d be the first stop I’d make for home decorating.

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  7. heydave said on February 14, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I love that movie: “For a Fistful of Heart.”

    And now picture Mittens in his very own sweater vest! The joy that image will bring me today…

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  8. adrianne said on February 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I’m severely amused by the Republican race…Let’s see, what happened Monday…Rick Santorum ahead of Willard in Michigan and national polling, House Republicans cave on the payroll tax, Bam’s polling numbers move into positive territory…you just keep on keepin’ on, Mittens.

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  9. del said on February 14, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Great song Dexter.

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  10. Dorothy said on February 14, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Cooz for the win!

    Speaking of vests, my Valentine to all of you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZhwfVRdwbc&feature=related

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  11. Peter said on February 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Dan Savage must be in hyper attraction-repulsion mode right about now.

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  12. mark said on February 14, 2012 at 9:37 am

    OK, this time Iran has made it personal (for me). http://www.usatoday.com/news/story/2012-02-14/bangkok/53086498/1
    Bomb away, Israel.

    More seriously, the Iranian situation has the potential to do a tsunami on the other election issues. My own prediction- if Israel attacks early (March, april, May), Obama’s re-election effort is seriously damaged. If they attack late (August, September, October), the president gets a boost in ratings/support.

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  13. alex said on February 14, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Just as all this exciting Santorumentum gets going, a glass of sauvignon blanc tips over onto my MacBook keyboard and fries the fucking thing. Damned stupid top-heavy stemware.

    So I may be stopping in a little less often in the near term.

    Hoping a data recovery and transfer are possible when I scrape together enough coinage for a new machine.

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  14. Sue said on February 14, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I don’t understand – didn’t Romney clearly state he would have let the auto industry go belly up rather than support a bailout, and didn’t he say this after the bailout worked? I would assume, son of Michigan or not, he pissed off a lot of people with that. That would be like a native son of WI declaring he would have helped kill the dairy industry; even Wisconsinites whose only contact with cows comes at the dairy barn at the fair would feel proprietary anger.
    And can we stop with the surge talk? That’s so last week. It’s time for serious journalists to come up with a new line. If you ask me, Santorum has exploded, leaving quite a mess behind, and I can only hope that he finishes earlier than he wanted.

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  15. Bitter Scribe said on February 14, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Has Santorum been banging on Romney’s willingness to let the auto industry die? I haven’t heard that he has, and it doesn’t sound like him…he refused to pile on to “vulture capitalism” when that was a thing.

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  16. Linda said on February 14, 2012 at 10:11 am

    It could be worse–people used to believe that your emotions came from the liver, and that’s really disgusting. Although in many species, it’s good eatin’.

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  17. brian stouder said on February 14, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I dunno Dorothy; I’m thinking Adrianne won the thread, and the day, and the week – with this Valentine’s Day bon-bon:

    I’m severely amused by the Republican race…

    It’s still tickling me! (and I have officially stolen it, for use today)

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  18. Kaye said on February 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Alex, best of luck with the data recovery. Try some stem-less wine glasses; more stable than stemware yet not as gauche as tumblers.

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  19. Connie said on February 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Romney is not only a son of Michigan, he is the son of a former president of AMC, American motors.

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  20. Deborah said on February 14, 2012 at 10:35 am

    mark, I don’t get why Israel bombing Iran in the spring has any effect on Obama’s election? Why do you say that?

    I really hope we don’t get into another middle eastern war.

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  21. Dorothy said on February 14, 2012 at 10:39 am

    brian, I just liked the mental images I got from Cooz’s statement about decorating his house with finds at the Carolina Biological Supply Company after the bugs got done munching on the bones. Which is a vision I never, ever dreamt I’d have in my head!

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  22. Dexter said on February 14, 2012 at 11:00 am

    This is more to do with Alan D’s line of work than nance’s, but it’s just stunning…the Chinese just want to eliminate the USA it seems! I mean…nothing reeks Americana like the Ford F-150.

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  23. Catherine said on February 14, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Carolina Biological is very amazing. They have the best owl pellets: http://www.carolina.com/home.do

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  24. Jeff Borden said on February 14, 2012 at 11:59 am


    I can’t speak for Mark, but an attack on Iran by Israel will reap the whirlwind and roil the already unsettled international economy. There likely would be more oil embargoes. . . probably terrorists attacks around the world as payback. . .and would put Obama in a tough spot as both the leader of the military and the leader of the economic comeback.

    It is no secret that Netanyahu and his party despise Obama and have done everything possible to undermine him. They want to attack and they want us as partners, so they’re praying one of the GOPers wins. With the exception of Ron Paul, every Republican presidential candidate has sounded bellicose notes with Iran and more or less pledged to prevent it from gaining nuclear weapons.

    Israel might be willing to wait for an attack until the election is settled. But if it acts between now and November, it will upset the dynamics of the entire presidential race.

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  25. caliban said on February 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Valentine’s Day song.

    And Liz Trotta is just brimming with St. Valentine’s Day goodwill. Does she have a poorer opinion of women or of men? Seems to me she used to be a serious journalist.

    I used to work for a mechanical/electrical engineering firm in Boston. We did some restoration work for Harvard U (famous as the school that produced Jeremy Lin) in the Museum of Natural History. Part of the work involved new heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems for a large dermisted room. Well the Harvards put a whale carcass in the room, released the beetles, and went of for an extended July 4 weekend. The AC and vent equipment broke down and temperatures soared. In the end, the incident cost the Carrier Corporation a bundle, a large portion of which was to replace all the dead insects, a larger portion for cleaning up the rotting, partially-liquified whale. Needless to say (but can’t avoid it), there was a big stink about this, and a rash of lawsuits.

    Mark, if Iran wanted to behave as Israel does, they’d take revenge for the mudered nukesters by raining down hell on Israel in the spirit of disproportionate retaliation that leads the IDS to drive tanks and bulldozersover Palestinian kids for throwing rocks, Or to level a large part of Lebanon a few years back because of violence perpetrated by Hamas, which would of course have no standing had not the Israeli government meddled in West Bank and Gaza politics to actively boost the organization to cause trouble for the PLO. Invariably, when Israel vows to “settle the score” thousands of innocent arab civilians with no connection to terrorism but common genes end up buried in rubble. If the Israelis bomb Iran, no matter when, it takes an issue off the table that has produced a hilarious dick measuring Kontest in the Klown Kar Kampaign, that seems capable of producing rabies symptoms in the GOPer base.

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  26. Icarus said on February 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    “which in return for providing today’s image would like a linkback. Yeah, whatever. ”

    Uh relatively new to this site so does that mean you don’t like giving credit back to someone or am I missing something that will make more sense the more I get to know your blog persona?

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  27. MichaelG said on February 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Palo Alto High produced Jeremy Lin. Sorry, Cal. Couldn’t resist. Local angle you know.

    I once had a friend who lived on a boat. Twice he cruised to Tahiti with his wife. In each case his wife delivered a baby the requisite number of months after returning to Oakland. I smiled at that and he shrugged. “Nothing else to do out there.”

    What is this stemware? I use an old peanut butter jar.

    Kidding aside, it’s a miracle that I haven’t dumped a glass of wine on a keyboard.

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  28. caliban said on February 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    The Massacre.

    Icarus, name from Ovid or Joyce?

    Daedalus interea Creten longumque perosus.

    Oh, and Nancy Nall has been on the frontlines of ensuring that people get credit for their own efforts:

    http://www.masson.us/blog/?p=2940 (Great headline!)

    Michael G. So where was Stanford hoops recruiting? Asleep at the switch. Watched Knicks-Lakers and was amazed by this cat. Bynum said “He’s like Nash, but more agressive to the basket.” He certainly made Derrick Fischer look ancient, sitting on his butt. My comment on Lin was more along the lines of Harvard pretension mockery.

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  29. Jeff Borden said on February 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    The garage on North Clark Street where Capone’s henchmen slaughted their rivals was torn down long before we arrived in Chicago. A senior citizens high-rise now sits on the site.

    BTW, the estimable Charles P. Pierce over at Esquire says that Mittens losing in Michigan will mean he will not be the GOP nominee. My early choice of Windsock Willard is looking less and less like a sure thing, though I can’t get my mind around the idea that a creepy little douche like Rick Santorum could actually pull this off. Could we actually have a presidential nominee you would not be able to Google without laughing?

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  30. mark said on February 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm


    Well, the short, general answer is that I too think any further war on our part in the middle east is a big negative, unlikely to generate long-term support with the US public and I think Iran will involve us if attacked by Israel. I know some here think Iran only pretends to be radical, but most who plan for these things think Iran will attack us. Our airbases in the UAE are especially vulnerable as Iranian missiles can reach them in about 60 seconds and we have billions in high tech gear there.

    The initial reaction, I think, will be to support the President. As time passes, I anticipate second-guessing and criticism. I give Obama/Clinton very high marks for handling most of the world’s hot spots. Iran is a notable exception, where a good argument can be made that we did nothing for 2 years, waiting for Iran to bend to the force of Obama’s press clippings.

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  31. Icarus said on February 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Caliban, Ovid, though thanks to you I learned something new today. While not nearly in the same league as Joyce, I too use it as my literary alter ego. I think my blog profile needs updating.

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  32. mark said on February 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Jeff B-

    You raise points I mostly agree with, and I do think the initial reaction to the turmoil you describe will be to support the President. That could move 5 or 10 percent of the electorate in his favor. The longer the problems persist, the more likely that support shifts to criticism.

    BTW, I think Obama also pledged that Iran will not get nuclear weapons. I hoped he meant it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDLp2qEXfLc

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  33. Jeff Borden said on February 14, 2012 at 1:21 pm


    We all should worry about any nation getting nukes, but I think we are way overheated in our worries about Iran. Yes, there are lunatics who would love to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, but Iran is also a large nation with a solid middle class, a grumbling young adult population and a lack of unity between the religious and the political leaders. Launching a nuke would be an act of suicide and I think huge numbers of Iranians recognize that fact.

    I wonder why we all fret so much about Iran getting nukes when the numbers of conventional weapons floating around are mind-boggling. They’re a lot easier to get, too. Geez, look at the damage the insurgents did with improvised explosive devices.

    And then, I wonder if we’d even be having these conversations if the previous administration had not devoted itself to the removal of Saddam Hussein. As much of a bloodthirsty bastard as he was, Iraq was a strong corrective to Iran. Now, it’s virtually a satellite state of Iran.

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  34. caliban said on February 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    The best way to do something about Iran pursuing development of nukes is to convince Israel to destroy the 200 or so warheads they deny they have out in the Negev. The country that assented meekly when India, Pakistan and Brazil (WTF?), as well as bellicose Israel, built nukes really has no credible moral dawg in this hunt. Hell, the USA let Mossad steal fissionable material and tech to build it’s own nuclear arsenal. Oh, and the opinion of military intelligence experts is currently that the Irani nuke labs are now buried beyond the depth bunker busters can penetrate. If Israel breaks out the nuclear weapons, it will become an ultimate pariah state, and it’s difficult to see how it would be beneficial for the USA to back them on such an outrageous action. Of course GOPers that believe that the morning after pill is murder by a victimized woman also are not fazed for a minute by Shock and Awe, or, as they like to call it, enhanced capital punishment.

    Ovid’s Daedalus and Icarus was my favorite reading in HS Latin. Until Latin 301 in college, with the nasty, filthy, priapic, and hilarious satires of Juvenal, and to a lesser extent Horace and Martial.

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  35. mark said on February 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Well, Jeff, I hope you are correct. It seems likely to me that Iran will have nuclear weapons within the next 5 years, so your opinion may get a real world test.

    But I also think Israel will try to stop Iran, even if the odds of success are long. They have experience with existential threats and with the consequences when the world ignored unambiguous threats because they were considered too crazy to be credible.

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  36. caliban said on February 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm


    There are also, undoubtedly Israeli lunatics that would love to nuke Iran, posthaste, like yesterday. What Israel did to Lebanon in 2006, in responses to a Hezbollah military raid into Israel. Does Lebanon fund or arm Hezbollah? Nope. And this country has nuclear weapons in large numbers? I’d sure as shit want to get my own deterrent were I Iran. You’d think all those cold warrior GOPers would understand the sentiment.

    Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter trailer.

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  37. coozledad said on February 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm


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  38. Sherri said on February 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I’ve been reading that Iran was likely to get nukes within 5 years for at least 15 years, so I find the whole thing a little less than credible at this point. The evidence that Iran is even trying to build nukes is kinda shaky.

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  39. del said on February 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Good point Sherri.

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  40. mark said on February 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Sherri and del,

    Why do you think Obama is increasing economic sanctions on Iran based on shaky, less than credible evidence? Why would he inflict such suffering on the Iranians?

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  41. MarkH said on February 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    The current defense secretary goes on 60 Minutes and says Iran has a nuke in one year. Panetta by all accounts a smart, reasonable public servant and he’s Obama’s man at the Pentagon. Is he lying?

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  42. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    For Downton Abbey fans still needing a Valentine image: http://chad-thomas.com/?p=553

    I think I’ve said this here on V-Day’s past, but when I was a little kid, there was a elderly man in my hometown who was a Revenue cop, and was among the early (but not first) arrivals on the scene; his account of the Massacre as he understood it, along with Machine Gun Jack McGurn et alia, was the lasting memory of a dog still dying off to one side. Describing that would bring tears to his 80-something then-blind eyes and a lump in my nine or ten year old throat in 1969 or so. I always think of Chris Melgaard when I hear about the event; he met Capone a couple of times, too. So I met a guy who met Capone, which is cool. To me, anyhow.

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  43. Minnie said on February 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I was so upset at this news that I inadvertently posted it to the previous day’s thread. Here it is again:

    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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  44. Jeff Borden said on February 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm


    Believe me, I don’t like the idea of Iran getting nukes any more than you do. But I wonder how much harder they are working on that capability after watching the U.S. invade and occupy a neighboring nation with no serious deterent like a nuke? Or, as Caliban has noted, by looking at an increasingly belligerent Israel that already has nukes and is making a hard and aggressive right turn politically?

    I’ve generally admired and supported the State of Israel and was generally on board with many of the preemptive actions it has been forced to take over the years, but the way Netanyahu and his followers are building settlements and the ferociously anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim rhetoric coming from the fundamentalist sects over there are forcing me to reconsider our automatic support for everything Israel does.

    It could well be Israel, not Iran, that lights the fuse in the Middle East. Regardless, our nation and our world will not be the better for it.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Hey, if anyone here wants to feel good about the future of shoe-leather reporting, look to my northeast, and Kent State, where students have done what used to be known as “investigative journalism,” and no doubt earned the undying appreciation of the Board of Trustees [/endirony].


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  46. alex said on February 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Yay, a reprieve from our state’s radical right legislature. They’re probably putting it on hold until next year when it won’t gum up the elections.

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  47. Judybusy said on February 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Minnie, that truly is disturbing.

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  48. Deborah said on February 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    I don’t have any idea what should be done about Iran, I only hope that folks more knowledgeable than I am, know what they’re doing. I fear that the Republicans can’t wait to pull the trigger and that scares me to death.

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  49. Deborah said on February 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    The grandfather of a good friend of mine in high school was the prison doctor for Capone while he served time. Capone had Syphilis then, I think he served time for income tax evasion or something like that because they couldn’t get him for his horrendous mob crimes.

    Jeff B, I didn’t realize that where the high rise home for the elderly near me now, was where the massacre happened. I had heard that Capone ran a flower shop that was a front for his criminal business (now a parking lot) which was across from the Catholic Church on State St and Chicago Ave that’s still there. I forget the name of the church. I think many of the mob members were members of that church, some say still are.

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  50. moe99 said on February 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Mark, the Israeli’s hands are not clean in this matter either:


    Israel is gunning for this by provocations such as the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.

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  51. brian stouder said on February 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Alex, what a story.

    Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Education relentlessly (and rightly, I suppose) pushes and pushes to improve low-performing schools – including (more questionably) threatening to take control of low performing schools, and amidst the endless quest for adequate yearly progress and balanced scorecard reviews and standardized testing and increasing class sizes and increasing teacher workloads and increasing teacher accountability and increasing main-office accountability and always-tight budgets….amidst all THAT – these elected state representatives would argue that injecting creationism into the curriculum would do ANY good at all, for any person or any thing?

    Bah, humbug!

    Friend-of-Nance and President of the FWCS Board of Trustees Mark GiaQuinta made an interesting point last night at the school board meeting. He pointed out that there is a difference between “reform” and “change”. You can change and change and change stuff, but if you do this without regard to measurable results, then what are you accomplishing?


    FWCS has made many, many changes over the past 5 years or so, and they have very solid, proven results. Grades and test results are up, attendance is up, AYP mandates are being met, and the systemic reforms have taken root.

    Clown cars full of drive-by legislators, throwing water balloons at our public school system is worse than pointless and ridiculous; it’s actually counterproductive and damaging; and I almost think purposely so.

    In fact, with the stupid (and I think unConstitutional*) voucher system that Indiana has, this Creationsism thing is even less than pointless. Anyone who wants can ‘cash-out’ and go to some parochial school where they can talk creationism all they want (while sidestepping the athletes that such schools recruit – but we digress!)

    *Indiana’s state Constitution, that is.

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  52. caliban said on February 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    That VA sonogram law is an act of pure and gratuitous cruelty and spitefulness. There is absolutely no medical benefit from it (hell, GOPers don’t even want to pay for prenatal care), so this kind of shit is flat-out vindictive.

    moe: That’s standard Israeli government modus operandi. Always augmented that any criticism of Israel’s poor world citizenship is “anti-semitism”, a hilarious misnomer, since all those Palestinians are as much genetic semites as any Israelis, many of whom are not really semitic in the slightest.

    Third shift sucks, bigtime, but this is very good news.

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  53. Sherri said on February 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Mark, sadly, I fear that Obama may indeed be willing to inflict suffering on Iranians on shaky evidence, for various reasons. See the following article by Mike Lofgren, who was a Republican staffer in Congress for three decades before retiring last year: http://www.truth-out.org/iran-war-drums-beating/1328560738

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  54. caliban said on February 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Uzbeki-beki-stan-stan-stan does not heart St. Valentine’s Day.

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  55. Jeff Borden said on February 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm


    It was actually an Irish gangster, Dion O’Bannion, who ran a flower shop across the street from Holy Name Cathedral at State and Superior. Like Bugs Moran, he was a North Side wheeler-dealer, which made him an enemy of Capone and his South Side mob. I believe O’Bannion was gunned down inside his shop, but don’t quote me.

    The city hates it, but there actually is an Untouchables bus tour that circulates through the various places in Chicago where gangster mayhem occurred. I’m pretty sure there is a drug store or some such on the South Side where you can still see pock marks left by machine gun bullets during an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate one of Capone’s men.

    Those were the good ol’ days. Thugs killed other thugs. Today, gangbangers are so quick to shoot and so inept that they frequently kill and injure innocents.

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  56. Deborah said on February 14, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Jeff B, I stopped at the high-rise for the elderly on my way home from work just now, that you mentioned, or at least the one I think is the same one you were referring to. Is it on Rush and Pearson? Anyway, when I asked the young woman at the front desk if it was the site of the St. Valentine’s day massacre many years before the current building was built she didn’t know anything about it. Maybe I had the wrong building, or because the woman was very, very young she may just not have known. There were a few people who were obviously eaves dropping in the lobby and it seemed to peak their interest.

    Edit: ok I just googled it and I was way off on the location, Wikipedia says it was in Lincoln Park.

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  57. mark said on February 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm


    I read the article you linked. I didn’t see any discussion at all questioning the conclusion that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Nor did I see any factual assertions that would cause me to doubt that, for example, Panetta based his statements on credible evidence. Perhaps I missed something.


    What’s your point? I’m not trying to weigh in on the relative merits of the Israeli and Iranian governments; I was giving my opinion that there is a high likelihood that Israel will attack Iranian nuclear sites before our November elections and that, depending upon the timing, the influence of the event on our elections could be large. For the record, though, I’m all for Israel bumping off Iranian scientists if it will delay their nuclear ambitions, forestall an attack and give sanctions an opportunity to work.

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  58. caliban said on February 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    For the record, though, I’m all for Israel bumping off Iranian scientists if it will delay their nuclear ambitions, forestall an attack and give sanctions an opportunity to work.

    Fine, so long as they don’t act like they hadn’t done anything to cause retributive behavior and decide to take it out on Lebanon or the West Bank, the usual MO.

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  59. Sherri said on February 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Mark, I don’t have any factual assertions about Panetta. Facts and the possibilities of an Iranian bomb don’t go together very well. I’m not particularly inclined to trust that Panetta has credible evidence, when the US government has been so willing to act on less than credible evidence, or indeed to make up evidence when it suited them, regardless of party affiliation. From ‘Remember the Maine’ to Tonkin Gulf to yellowcake uranium, credible evidence is never a problem.

    If you follow the first link in Lofgren’s article, you’ll find a very long list of links of articles convinced that Iran was close to a nuke. It’s really pretty spectacular to see it all laid out like that.

    Meanwhile, we’ve been funding the increase of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal the last ten years. That’s more troubling to me than Iran gaining a nuke; Pakistan is just this side of a failed state, with a nuclear armed enemy on its border.

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  60. MichaelG said on February 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    That’s truly disgusting, Minnie @ #43. Truly sick. I’m continually amazed at the wide spread hatred of women.

    Thankfully for them, Caliban, I am not in charge of Stanford recruiting. Also I think that Lin generally slipped past the radar of college recruiters. Poor kid. Condemned to settle for a Harvard education.

    One of the terribly tragic elements of the Iranian situation is the fact that there are very close ties between Iran and the US. We have so many Iranians living here and they have family in the old country and travel back and forth all the time. There are over a dozen Iranians on the floor where I work alone. Some of them are close friends. The effects of a conflict on them and on their families would be devastating.

    And I’m not sure the Israeli g’ment could get much farther right than it is now.

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  61. JayZ(the original) said on February 14, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    To all you current Chicago residents:

    I realize we’ve been discussing Capone, not Dillinger, but is the Biograph Theatre still there?

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  62. Dubyabee said on February 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    61 comments and I’m the first one to notice: “Meanwhile, I hope your VD is going well”? Ah, well… Thanks Nancy! Hope yours is going well also….

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  63. Jeff Borden said on February 14, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Jay-Z, yeah, the Biograph is still there, but it has been converted into a live theater space.

    Deborah, the site of the massacre is on west side of North Clark Street, just south of Belden.

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 14, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    South of Belden on Clark, Cousin Jeff beat me to it.

    Alex, it’s been useful in keyboard liquid encounters before to pile a bagful of dry rice over and around the keys overnight — the rice pellets draw moisture out of the circuitboard. Also leave it next to a working furnace vent this time of year with rice piled atop it (NOT cooked rice, to belabor the obvious, but out of the bag dry grains).

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  65. JWfromNJ said on February 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    With us now pressuring to suspend Iran’s ability to participate in SWIFT, an international financial transaction clearing system, we’re really poking that hornets nest with a short stick.


    If anything sets them off this will be it, and forgive me for the long post (nothing new) but they can hurt us a good deal even if this doesn’t end up in an all out conflict:

    Iran is pretty well-tuned in asymmetrical force to counter the US.
    1) The Iranians have three Russian advanced Kilo-class submarines. These are considered to be some of the quietest subs in the world and are ideal for laying in the mud at the bottom of the Persian Gulf or the Gulf of Aden for weeks at a time. When doing so, they are virtually undetectable. This is exactly how a North Korean advanced Kilo-class sunk a South Korean state-of-the-art ASW corvette in the Yellow Sea. If you wanted a perfect weapon to use against a carrier task force, this is it. Both the Chinese and Russians take great delight currently in surfacing, previously undetected, in the middle of a carrier battle group. The subs fire the Hoot super-cavitating rocket torpedoes.
    2) The Iranian navy has put a lot of effort into the pocket subs which are small, but inexpensive. They have 17 of the first generation, at least 1 of the second generation and a third generation in late design phase. These subs were specifically designed to operate in the shallow Gulfs of the region and are in sufficient numbers to overwhelm a carrier task force. These subs can also fire the Hoot rocket torpedoes. Both the Ghadar and Hahang class subs are domestically produced though there was probably some North Korean design assistance. They are adding about 6 of these subs a year.
    3) The Iranians also have an unknown number of Sahiba “swimmer delivery” subs that would be used to land commando teams to blow up oil platforms, offshore oil terminals and POL storage facilities among other easy targets.
    4) The Iranians have a huge number of various torpedo boats, missile gunboats, and very high speed (VHS) light torpedo boats. These fast and highly maneuverable boats are perfect for use in the Hormuz Straits where larger ships would have trouble maneuvering. A torpedo does not really care whether it is launched from a billion-dollar cruiser or a $20k fiberglass speedboat. These boats could easily overwhelm a carrier, especially in the Straits.
    5) The Iranians have a huge number of Chinese-made C-802 anti-ship missiles and reverse-engineered copies (Noors). They also have a better anti-ship missile called the Qadar. These are stationed all along the Iranian coast, mostly in hardened facilities with a high percentage of dummy launch sites. In large numbers these sorts of missiles would be very difficult for a carrier task force to evade and too numerous to shoot down.
    6) While much of the Iranian Air Force is indeed older US-made aircraft, they are in increasingly better repair as replacement parts are locally manufactured. The F-4 and F-14 can still give a good account of themselves and they have locally reverse-engineered F-5 copies as well as Su-24’s and MiG-29’s. Iran might not be able to have air superiority, but they would be difficult to deal with since they would operate from under the Iranian air defense umbrella. Their most likely roles would be to strike poorly defended targets — refineries, POL storage, oil rigs, oil transshipment facilities, pipelines, and slow-moving oil tankers. But they would also serve as HICAP to keep carrier-based fighters from being able to give their full attention to myriads of high-speed torpedo and missile boats.
    7) We really don’t know what the Iranian missile capability is. They have successfully put satellites into orbit, so, in theory, their missiles could strike anywhere in the world. More likely, they would retaliate against Israel as their furtherst military objective, but would also target American military installations where huge amounts of war materials are stockpiled. They are also working on an anti-carrier ballistic missile with Chinese help. Such a missile would be very much easier to develop considering that it would only need to hit targets in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Aden.
    8 ) And last, but certainly not least, the Iranians have a highly developed and well-funded terror network with a world-wide presence. The problem this presents is that to defend against terror (asymmetrical) attacks, the US and allies would need to guard every inch of every installation at home and abroad — a clearly impossible task. But a terrorist would be able to focus all its resources on a very small number of targets. This is a very difficult situation for the defender and good numbers for the attacker.
    Clauswitz said that the greatest mistake any military man can make is to underestimate his enemy. The concept of asymmetrical warfare on the modern battlefield. It isn’t so much that they are “no match” for our military, but that they have chosen to spend their military dollars to produce weapons that capitalize on the ability to hit an American carrier task force with a good chance of success.
    One of the lessons of Vietnam was that you cannot expect an enemy to play by your rules. Westmoreland spent his entire MACV effort toward trying to lure Giap into a set-piece conventional masses battle where Americans would have the ability to dominate, but we all know that isn’t how things worked out.

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  66. Deborah said on February 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Ok then JW from NJ you know a heck of a lot more than I do about Iran. What do you think we should do?

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  67. JWfromNJ said on February 14, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Deborah – It’s really a no win situation for this administration. Caliban had some good ideas about calling Israel out on their nukes – the last thing we need as a nation is Israel trying to go this alone. We’re turning a blind eye to their encouragment and engagement with terrorists. Both Iran and Israel are taking advantage of this being an election year and playing on the fears of segements of our society that do not support this president.
    Other folks here have noted in past threads that the people of Iran are educated, intelligent, and young. We need some way to engage them in a dialog.
    I wasn’t claiming to have answers – just going with what i know about military hardware and that region. Sure enough they challenged the USS Abraham Lincoln today as it entered the Straights of Hormuz – charged at it with a patrol boat and back off a little less than 2 miles away. And that was the regular Iranian Navy, not the really hardline revolutionary guard. Those guys are the ones to worry about.
    We can’t be thinking counterforce though. And we shouldn’t risk abetting an Israeli solo job – the latest stuff making the rounds on the military aviation sites is that Israel would like at least three of our KC-135 (707) tankers to supplement their three homegrown ones – which would facilitate them using 6 F-15’s to hit Iranian nuclear sites. they can’s do it effectivly with just three, and it’s likely they can’t do it without at least 6 F-15’s and our conventional bombs.
    It does worry me though that a really quiet diesel-electric sub like an advanced Kilo could engage the Abe Lincoln and perhaps succeed, and we’d look as dumb as we did after 9-11 when Condi Rice was saying we never envisioned anyone using aircraft as weapons. Tom Clancy sure did because it happened in one of his novels written in 1994, albeit against the U.S. Capitol building.

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  68. Deborah said on February 14, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Thanks for the response JW from NJ I obviously have way more research to do before I can pretend to have anything to say about this issue. Let’s hope we can engage the educated, intelligent and young in Iran in a dialog before it’s too late.

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  69. Minnie said on February 14, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks, too, for responses to the news of the Virginia General Assembly having passed the sonogram bill. I was – and am – so incensed by the action that I blurted it out with no concern for the discussion of the Iranian situation. While I have nothing to add to your informed posts on that topic, I have learned something about it here at nn.c.

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  70. MichaelG said on February 15, 2012 at 12:27 am

    It’s my impression from talking with Iranians here in Sacto that large numbers of Iranians are secular at heart and sympathetic to the idea of normalizing relations with the west and the US. For whatever that’s worth. They’re just as much unhappy bystanders in this affair as we are.

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  71. caliban said on February 15, 2012 at 1:00 am

    The Virginia mandatory sonagram law is an attempt at codifying an illegal search when no crime has been committed, no honest judge would even issue a warrant, much less find the “statute” Constitutional. The word to describe this particular GOPer mindset is vindictive. The word to describe turning back decades of established law on contraception is actually more than one word: delusional, moralistic, bullshit, and political suicide. Have a happy afterlife you Goober idiots.

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