And away we go.

I made fun of Mitt Romney’s op-ed in the Detroit News the other day, but it had a more serious focus that’s getting serious blowback:

Former Obama administration auto czar Steve Rattner called Romney’s position on the $85 million bailout “clueless.”

“Romney’s op-ed piece once again demonstrated that he is either completely clueless or thoroughly disingenuous when it comes to the auto rescues,” Rattner said Tuesday. “The fact is that had the government not stepped in (under both President Bush and Obama), GM and Chrysler would have closed their doors and liquidated, bringing down the entire auto sector, with them. With suppliers also closed, Ford would have had to shut, at least for a time. More than a million jobs would have been lost. Michigan, and the entire industrial Midwest, would have been devastated.”

“Romney’s suggestion that private capital could have been found is utterly fantastical. The Auto Task Force spoke diligently to every conceivable provider of funds and at that moment, with the stock market in free fall and the economy shedding 700,000 jobs a month, no one — I repeat, no one — had the slightest interest in funding these companies on any terms. I challenge Romney to produce one single individual, investment fund or other source of money that can demonstrably disprove the conclusion of every member of the Auto Task Force and virtually every independent expert who was consulted.”

Well, hell yeah. How can memories be so short? It was only three years ago. Those were nail-biting days around here. Around everywhere. But especially here. The government arranged a shotgun marriage between Fiat and Chrysler. Private equity? Private equity was all on the phone with its bankers in Geneva, screaming about krugerrands and safe rooms.

Still, tomorrow Romney will win the endorsement of the governor. No hard feelings, I guess. Whether it’ll be enough to fend off the Santorumentum remains to be seen. Two weeks to the primary, and the ads are just starting. Here’s one of Romney’s. It’s kind of the opposite of the imported-from-Detroit spots — Detroit sucks, ain’t it a shame? Rope-a-dope!

And I think the Hoekstra ad was a rousing success, having spread his name far and wide, even as every passing day brings more umbrage. Mission accomplished.

I can already feel the teeth-grinding setting in. Oh, it’s 2008 all over again.

Can we lighten up? Sure.

The hair and shoes I’m not crazy about, but I really like this dress of Katy Perry’s. I’m such a sucker for a good color-blocking.

Sorry, can’t stay light. Vaginal-damn-wanding? Are you kidding me? I think Roy has the best one-liner on this.

I’m going to bed.

Posted at 12:46 am in Current events, Detroit life |

77 responses to “And away we go.”

  1. Sherri said on February 16, 2012 at 12:53 am

    I’ve had multiple transvaginal ultrasounds, and I’d like to demonstrate how that wand works on a few Virginia legislators.

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  2. MarkH said on February 16, 2012 at 3:37 am

    One more from yesterday:

    A site which should know weighs in: REAL

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  3. coozledad said on February 16, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Do The Virginia legislature and Bob McDonnel have to go out of their way to prove that Sherman should have commanded the Army of The Potomac?

    The South is never going to stop being that crazy aunt who likes to fuck in the cemetery until the feds stop propping it up with money from the United States.

    304 chars

  4. basset said on February 16, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Refusing to let yesterday’s AMC thread die:

    and another from about the same period:

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  5. beb said on February 16, 2012 at 8:05 am

    You know, John Kerry was never going to become President after that video of him saying “I was against the war before I was for it.” (Or was it the other way around?) It branded him a flip-flopper and there was nothing he could do to reverse that appearance. Romney claiming — now — that he would too have bailed out Detroit after famously saying it should go under just won’t be forgiven in Michigan. The trouble is that opposed to Romney is a man who has, in the past, said that all contraceptives are harmful to women. So our choices are between a man who wanted to send Michigan to hell in a hand basket or a man who wants to send all women to hell in a hand basket.

    Thank God I’m a Democrat.

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  6. Julie Robinson said on February 16, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Sherri, once was enough for me, although I felt even more raped when I got the bill. I will decline to have it repeated unless it’s life-and-death-necessary.

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  7. Suzanne said on February 16, 2012 at 8:43 am

    My son had a friend in high school who will someday be Mitt Romney. His dad owns a factory, they are dripping in money, but the kid is reasonably well adjusted and overall decent. However, he has no clue whatsoever about how 90% of the world lives. He’s smart and a college grad with a job (at dad’s business) who lives at home because it’s easier that way; no grocery shopping, no laundry, nothing like that. I’m sure he knows business and could run a business, but laying off half the workforce wouldn’t faze him because he can’t fathom living on $30,000 a year. He is well remembered at my house for once saying that he didn’t get why so many of his friends had their shorts in knots about paying for college. Someone had to explain to him that some colleges cost more per year than many people earn. He was quite surprised…

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  8. adrianne said on February 16, 2012 at 9:53 am

    The women hatred is strong with what passes for the GOP these days. And I speak as one who has undergone “transvaginal wanding” for health purposes. It’s not awful, but it sure shouldn’t be mandated for women seeking abortions. Virginia House of Reps, you take the prize this week for misogyny!

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  9. MarkH said on February 16, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Excellent finds, basset. Surprised to see AMC’s stock car racing involvement in the mid-’60s, especially road racing at Bridgehampton. But as a kid then I remember MOPAR and Ford and a little bit of Chevy. The Marlin was truly an ugly car and I question the notion that the early Charger copied it and not the other way around. Could be surprised again, though.

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  10. Bitter Scribe said on February 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

    The GOP rationalization is that abortion is an invasive procedure, too, so what’s the big deal? Makes perfect sense, if you’re a misogynistic moron.

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  11. coozledad said on February 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Turning the Republicans out in November could be a boon for the job market in so many ways. Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan can patrol the nation’s bathrooms as cops, busting former Republican congressmen looking for a little terrazzo wrasslin’,and newspapers will get a new lease on life when former Virginia legislators purchase them by the thousands as “self-intimacy screens” for their forays into public parks.

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  12. MichaelG said on February 16, 2012 at 10:35 am

    MarkH, you are, of course, right about the AMX and about Penske/Donohue.

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 16, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Hey, I just learned I won a third place Osman C. Hooper Award as a columnist in Class D-size Ohio newspapers — why do I feel like I’m writing the set-up for Richard Russo’s next novel when I say that? Col’s Dispatch alums: who was Osman Hooper, and should I feel good about this, or hang my head in shame? And who names their kid Osman, even a hundred years ago?

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  14. Joe K said on February 16, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Don’t forget the soldiers could also patrol the internet for Dems showing there junk in tidy whiteys.
    Pilot Joe

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  15. coozledad said on February 16, 2012 at 10:41 am


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  16. Sue said on February 16, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Here’s something to help you lighten up. DAMN that Obama, showing his love for those unions and specifically Wisconsin Local 1848!,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf

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  17. MarkH said on February 16, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Congrats, Jeff(mmo)! This should fill in some blanks for you:

    As an OSU J-School grad, you’d think I would have heard about this guy. The blur of back then becomes even more enhanced now….

    And, yes, Jeff, why not feel good about it?!

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  18. Scout said on February 16, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Maybe they should simply change the name of the state to Vaginia and be done with it. Here’s Pierce on the issue. He is always so right on.

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  19. Kirk said on February 16, 2012 at 11:03 am

    By all means, Jeff. Way to go. Have to confess that I had never heard about the guy, but it sounds as if he was as old when he was the book editor as the book editor was when I started at The Dispatch. Ernest Cady made it into his 90s. When I was the overnight guy, he occasionally would call in to see how the Reds did.

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  20. MarkH said on February 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Scout, the politics of all this speaks for itself. But Pierce asks the real question that could knock it out of the park: Where ARE the doctors? What about the AMA?

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  21. MarkH said on February 16, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Kirk, a question for you: Do archived pages of the Dispatch exist and how far back to they go? I lost copies of my stuff from 30+ years ago and would like to recover as much as possible.

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  22. Julie Robinson said on February 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Stephen Colbert’s show cancelled taping last night and for the rest of the week, and his Twitter feed has also gone silent. Lots of speculation; no real information.

    Congratulations to you, Jeff! And I’m betting someone is thinking about naming their kid Osman right now.

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  23. Sue said on February 16, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I love dogs, but I can’t say these photos give me a warm and fuzzy feeling:

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  24. Kirk said on February 16, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Our stories have been archived since sometime in the early ’80s, I believe. Don’t know that stuff is available by the page, and also not sure about its general availability.

    I have access to what’s there, though, and might be able to help. If you want to get into specifics, feel free to contact me by email. Nance is authorized to share my email address with you.

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  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 16, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Thank you, MarkH; he’s as quirky as I could have hoped for. For anyone who cares, the key line is “Hooper spent 58 years at The Columbus Dispatch, beginning as a telegraph editor in 1880.” Died in 1941 after serving as a “literary editor” which I’m not even sure “The New Yorker” still has.

    Third place is probably about right for me! But Osman, the telegrapher/litterateur — that’s a prize beyond rubies.

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  26. alex said on February 16, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Where ARE the doctors? What about the AMA?

    Probably hitting Romney and Santorum fund-raisers with the expectation that their tax bracket will be lowered yet again.

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  27. caliban said on February 16, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Santorum/McDonnell. Likely GOPer dream ticket. Allahu Akbar. They’ll lose by 20%, lose 40 House seats and 10 in the Senate. And a bunch of statehouses.

    The VA object rape statute is stunning in its total lack of any legal, logical or medical credibility. It is plainly and simply vindictive and spiteful, like many provisions of Sharia. It’s also unquestionably an unConstitutional search by invasive medical procedure, in complete abscence of any criminal conduct, for which no judge with a shred of integrity would ever sign a warrant. This should be dead on arrival on appeal, but the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals is the most reactionary group of activist legislating judges short of Scalia and the SCOTUS Gang of Four. The law should probably be called the If It’s Inevitable, Lie Back and Enjoy It Act.

    Sue, the funny thing about the President’s Wisconsin foray is how Scotty “Rat Dog” Walker bailed on the post-tarmac itinerary. According to Milwaukee’s mayor, the visit included a jaunt through a Wisconsin area victimized particularly egregiously by bank fraud and robosigning, a day after Walker announced he intended to redirect all of the funds from last week’s bank settlement away from the victims to the state’s general fund, to cover the budgetary problems he created himself, deliberately, to fuel his attack on public employee unions. Apparently he didn’t cotton to visiting a place where he might be tarred , feathered and ridden out on a rail. He wasn’t too keen on a tour of the union shop at MasterLock, either. Hard to tell if this scheduling was fortuitous, or brilliant politics from the Obama team. Walker claimed to have been taken ill at the last minute. At least he didn’t pull a Jan Brewski at the airport. Alert security team members kept the governor away from the mini-bar.

    Jeff, it’s a journo award. Not like it’s named for Conrad Black or William Loeb, the famous media criminal and the infamous publisher of the Neh Hampsha Union Leader and BFF of Meldrim Thompson:,5891443

    Seems as if Mr. Hooper was a distinguished old time newspaperman. Enjoy it. Google yourself.

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  28. Deborah said on February 16, 2012 at 11:45 am

    The AMA is headquartered in Chicago and I’ve had two design projects with them that were complete fiascos. The group that runs the organization is really disorganized. They have lost an amazing amount of membership over the last few years. I can see why docs don’t want to be associated with them as much anymore.

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  29. Icarus said on February 16, 2012 at 11:48 am

    who will end up paying for the vaginal wanding?

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  30. Sue said on February 16, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Oh my gods, didn’t anyone make the connection?

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  31. brian stouder said on February 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Sue – that is brilliant!! I saw that commercial last night on one of the yap-yap shows, and I never made the connection.

    (or at least, not conciously)


    And really, you gotta admire the genius who decided that Santorum needed to embrace his inner-Google.

    He all but says – “Yeah, I know my name is forever associated with disgusting intestinal discharges, but Romney is the one who ejaculates this stuff all over the airwaves of every damned state we visit!”

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  32. Bob (not Greene) said on February 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    A few observations about the Virginia transvaginal ultrasound law.

    Just 16 of the 100 members of the Virginia state house are women and just 7 of 40 in the senate are women. So it’s easy to see why such an anti-woman law passes so easily.

    On the other hand, of the 16 women in the House, 7 voted in favor of this law, and a woman also sponsored the bill. Not a majority, but more than I would have thought. In the senate, interestingly enough, just 1 of the 7 women voted in favor of the law.

    If the women of Virgina can’t see that the state is declaring war on them, I don’t know what the hell it’s going to take.

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  33. basset said on February 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    MarkH, Bridgehampton was part of a “northern tour” that NASCAR used to do in the mid-60s… there, Watkins Glen, forget where else. Back then they ran 60 or 70 races a year, anywhere from Daytona to dirt quarter-miles.

    An example:

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  34. caliban said on February 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    who will end up paying for the vaginal wanding?

    They will have right-wing perverts lining up to do the dirty job for free. Or those NYPD officers that got away with sodomizing Abner Louima. If I were a doctor, I’d insist forcing me to have anything to do with this cruel, punitive and intrusive behavior offended my morals. Of course doctors don’t do this procedure, sonagram techs do (mostly women). When are the GOPers going to trot out a John Woo legal memorandum to justify this overt form of vindictive psychological torture?

    Reactionary wingers claim Fox News is “too liberal”.

    Despite the fulminations and frothing of Santorum, Gopers and fundagelicals, true Christianity embraces social justice. If that’s no longer to be the case, I resign.

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  35. Heather said on February 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Is anyone following this crazy hearing on the birth control mandate in Congress? It’s unbelievable to watch a panel made entirely up of men talking about why religious institutions shouldn’t have to provide us sluts with the means to have sex without making a baby–even if many women use birth control for other health reasons. The Twitter feed on #issacircus is bitterly hilarious:!/search/%23issacircus

    On Jezebel, someone suggested an all-women panel should debate the ethics of forcing coverage of boner pills.

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  36. caliban said on February 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Santorum for sale at the CPAC Klan rally:

    That Issa hashtag is hilarious. Issa was well known for years before he entered politics as a car theft/chopshop kingpin, and let his brother take the prison time for him for an arson for profit.

    I’d like to hear the American bishops’ explanation of how all the sexual activity made possible by Cialis and Viagra is intended for procreation.

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  37. Jeff Borden said on February 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I am honestly amazed that any woman can ever vote for a national Republican candidate. This is not hyperbole. Okay, I can see how evangelical women, who’ve been browbeaten into the whole man rules the household bullshit might, but how can any reasonably intelligent, independent woman embrace a party that HATES them?

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  38. alex said on February 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Speaking of vaginal wands, anybody have one that can make this insufferable poof go away? Er, I mean this insufferable harpy go “poof.”

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  39. Connie said on February 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I agree Jeff. News reports have noted that evangelical women wouldn’t vote for Gingrich, I say good for them.

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  40. caliban said on February 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    One of the members of that committee Heather is talking about is Joe “Deadbeat Dad” Walsh, $100grand in arrears on child support. How is that asshole not in jail? Congressman Walsh at work addressing constituents (a good idea of how this shitheel deals with women and everybody else):

    He may find reelection a tough uphill battle.

    Pimping for Paul:

    Alex: That Leininger guy is a Vesuvius of ignorance out of touch with political reality. The Bishops, Opus Dei nutjobs, and assorted GOPers don’t really qualify as contraception “backlash” The true backlash is clearly outrage at misogynistic fundagelictalictmen fulmination adopted as policy and campaign strategy by Cong. Oompa Loompa, ex-Sen. Fecal Matter, and Granny Panties McConnell the schoolmarm.

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  41. Bitter Scribe said on February 16, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Regarding the auto bailout, the new wingnut talking point is that “the bondholders” got screwed. Meaning…that they would have been better off if the auto companies went bankrupt? I’m no high-finance expert, but that sounds screwy to me.

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  42. Sherri said on February 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Weren’t “the bondholders” supposed to be taking a risk of default? Isn’t that why bonds pay interest? Oh, I forgot; in wingnut world, bondholders are supposed to be bailed out, but not workers.

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  43. Scout said on February 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    This pack o’ loonies just keep outdoing themselves. Frothy’s money guy said to Andrea Mitchell, “Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

    Mitchell: Excuse me, I’m just trying to catch my breath from that, Mr. Friess, frankly.

    Yee-ha! It must be some kind of fun being a Republican woman.

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 16, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I just about lost my laptop – MSNBC was on while I was sitting writing, and my head snapped up in amazement: did he just say . . .

    Yes, he did. Oh, dear.

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  45. caliban said on February 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    In GOPer World, coupon clippers are never supposed to incur losses based on inherited wealth and risk, and should never be subjected to taxation. That’s how they create jobs.

    Friess theme music. Whee doagies, Gomer:


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  46. nancy said on February 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Who said what, Jeff?

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  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    The aspirin between the knees jibe on Andrea Mitchell’s program, a live interview with Friess. And he said it just like a guy who looks like him would while sitting in one of the rocking chairs at Cracker Barrel on a Sunday afternoon (preacher went long, they didn’t beat the Baptists this week to the door), laughing and rocking and pleased with his own throwback humor. Not a clue in the world, not a blessed clue.

    But Joe Walsh, now, I don’t mind hearing from.

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  48. Lex said on February 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Probably hitting Romney and Santorum fund-raisers with the expectation that their tax bracket will be lowered yet again.

    Or their Medicare/Medicaid payments not reduced.

    A number of economists have pointed out how the professions are shielded from international competition in a way that, say, textile or furniture workers never were. True of bankers, as well.

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  49. MarkH said on February 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Full disclosure here — I’ve met Foster Friess, twice. He lives here. Nice guy, gives away a lot of money and I’m not talking about political money either. But the more I hear him lately due to his support of Santorum, the more he has been skirting the edges of saying something like this. Now he’s gone over it. I’d never heard of this aspirin contraception thing, either.

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  50. Sue said on February 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    MarkH, the aspirin contraception thing is an old joke, and I assume if he has to spin it that will be the way he goes (‘can’t you broads take a joke?’).
    Like the Catholic Condom – if you must sit on a boy’s lap prior to marriage (because of course, that’s exactly as far as a good Catholic girl will go), put a magazine – or better yet, the bible – between the two of you.

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  51. caliban said on February 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    It’s the “always leave room for the Holy Spirit” idea. Because abstinence programs are successful, aside from making scads of cash for GOPer slush fund buds.

    FEMALE ELIGIBLE VOTERS participated in the 2008 ELECTION at a higher rate than male eligible voters—65.7% versus 61.5%. NEARLY 10 MILLION MORE WOMEN VOTED THAN MEN.  
    Overall, for the first time, black female eligible voters cast ballots at the highest rate among all voters.”:

    Rick Snyder as a colonial governor.

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  52. Bitter Scribe said on February 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    A jerk in the Illinois Legislature uttered a variation of the aspirin thing–“If you keep your legs crossed, you won’t have that problem”–to a female audience some years ago. This got thrown in his face at the next election, and he lost.

    Somebody had a good line after the election: “Poor Ralph. He should have kept his lips crossed.”

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  53. Deborah said on February 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    My right wing sister weighed in on the contraception thing yesterday or the day before, I try to block this out of my mind so I don’t exactly remember when. She said that she was so happy that the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod sent this out: “Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, In response to President Obama’s announcement Friday concerning an “accommodation” to a previous mandate that health plans must cover all forms of birth control (even those that can kill the unborn), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) remains deeply concerned. We strongly object to the use of drugs and procedures that are used to take the lives of unborn children, who are persons in the sight of God from the time of conception. Drugs such as “Plan B” and “Ella,” which are still included in the mandate, can work post-conception to cause the death of the developing child, so don’t be fooled by statements to the contrary… etc etc… The government has overstepped its bounds. This controversy is not merely about “birth control” and the Catholic Church’s views about it. It’s about mandating that we provide medications which kill life in the womb…etc etc…As we have vividly experienced in discriminatory state legislation with respect to homosexual adoption, we, and our institutions (and those of other religious citizens of good will), are being robbed of the right to the free exercise of religion absent government intrusion or threat…etc.

    Somebody just shoot me now.

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  54. MarkH said on February 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    OK, so I just watched the clip. Only Andrea Mitchell would have let that condescending remark go while she “catches my breath” and moved on to something else. Foster was lucky it wasn’t Matthews, Maddow, Schultz or O’Donnell, all of whom most assuredly would have let him hang trying to explain it. It’s surprising to me that he didn’t sense the discomfort on his own and dismiss it as a joke. Which the whole issue is not.

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  55. caliban said on February 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Actual history of Catholic theology regarding abortion:

    Of course Santorum and the fundies are well-versed in all of this when they leap to the defense of the Bishops’ religious freedom, even though the Catholic Church is “the whore of Babylon” and a “demonic sect”. STFU you aholes. Me, I’m with Thomas Aquinas, although it’s clear a mother’s right to life is as sacred an interest as a fetus at whatever stage of development.

    Plan B contraception prevents pregnancy by disrupting fertilization, not by interfering with a fertilized ovum’s implantation in the uterine wall, so people that call it by the wilfully inflammatory term “abortiofacient” are telling a gargantuan lie. When it comes right down to it, commentary and proclamations on the right on this subject in general are one giant dunghill of ignorance, misrepresentation, dissembling, and deliberate mendacity accreted over four+ decades.

    Meanwhile, the OK senate has passed a “personhood” measure:

    This newly favored approach of the fundamentalist right is bald-faced dishonest rhetoric, but halway clever enough for the half-witted. In the meantime, it’s difficult to fathom how the defenders of the right to life can inveigh against contraception with a straight face, just as their opposition to funding for prenatal care, WIC, and SCHIP brand them with an allegorical Scarlet letter H, for hypocrite.

    And how does personhood work in practice? Does a woman working illegally in the US, that miscarries because of unconscionable working conditions or exposure to ag chemicals, have an “anchor baby” claim? Are moms on public assistance going to be eligible for payments for another dependent upon conception? Are states that fail to provide adequate prenatal care going to be liable in wrongful death actions when mom’s miscarry. Are alky society mom’s going to be held responsible for offspring with fetal alcohol syndrome, or will this be used as a tool for oppressing poor and minority women? I don’t think the “personhood illiterati” have a sufficient grasp of the English language to have thought these things through fully.

    Deborah, re that last bit, are these fuckers so dumb they do not understand the premise of their argument puts them diametrically opposed to their own claims regarding adoption by same-sex parents? They don’t get to tell anybody else what they can and can’t do by codifying their own morality and religious beliefs. Ignorance is strong with this bunch.

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  56. MarkH said on February 16, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Matthews is already all over this.

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Foster Friess just made a major donation to the Obama campaign with that comment. This is what happens when the donors start thinking they’re players. On the other hand, you get a similar outcome when Hollywood big donors start opining on policy and legislation – they just don’t know what not to say, and how not to say it. So perhaps it’s all good that the money folks are too eager to take credit on 24 hour cable for their Pygmalions.

    Heard an interview, live/in-studio with Jon Huntsman (I think it was MSNBC, could have been CNN) this afternoon. It was striking how much more friendly, engaging, and direct he sounded, with 39% less arrogance; when he was running, and making speeches, and in debates, he sure didn’t sound this easy on the ear. For some, the public persona just undergoes an awkward shift when you’re pleading for support (even when you aren’t), and it sloughs off as soon as you aren’t a candidate anymore.

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  58. brian stouder said on February 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Yes Jeff, this whole super-PAC thing and their (apparently inevitable) attendant loopy uber-rich men, who are bound to say almost any damned thing one can imagine, during any given news cycle, theoretically means that the major campaigns themselves lose control of their own message, as the calendar rolls forward.

    I have heard that the Obama campaign very specifically kept their fund-raising “in house” 4 years ago, specifically to keep their specific message under their own tight control.

    Presumably, the Obama campaign will scrape into a few walls (and hopefully not SMASH directly into one of them), as they, too, unleash the hounds of their own super-PACs, here in 2012.

    Aside from this increasingly disturbing campaign season, here is a palate cleanser, of sorts…or maybe a ‘palate demolition’

    the lead:

    PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man trying to kick the smoking habit was puffing on an electronic cigarette when a faulty battery caused it to explode in his mouth, taking out some of his front teeth and a chunk of his tongue and severely burning his face, fire officials said Wednesday. “The best analogy is like it was trying to hold a bottle rocket in your mouth when it went off,” said Joseph Parker, division chief for the North Bay Fire Department. “The battery flew out of the tube and set the closet on fire.”

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  59. MarkH said on February 16, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Friess just posted on his facebook page that he’s going on O’Donnell at 10:00 PM to “set the record straight” on his “aspirin joke”.

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Oh, I’m sure Lawrence will be happy to help him set things aright for Rick’s campaign.

    WAIT, what? O’Donnell’s show? He really is delusional. You’re joking, right?

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Oh, Lord, I’m watching it. Lawrence is toying with him, batting him between his paws.

    OK, it’s over — there must be some history there, or something. You could feel O’Donnell contemplating going in for the kill, and pulling back. Did it two or three times, too; it actually ended up feeling like he was giving Friess a chance to re-state himself in a better light.

    Politics are just getting weird(er). It’s like you can’t trust anyone.

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  62. Little Bird said on February 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Deborah, I say this with love…. Your sister is nuttier than squirel poo.

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  63. brian stouder said on February 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Agreed, Jeff; he let’m up easy.

    Mr Friess stepped away from his aspirin “joke” and got several gratuitous shots off about “Muslims”, and Lawrence let it all go past; in fact he gave the guy a chance to make a positive pitch as to why he supports Santorum. (and this is the forever-difference between MSNBC’s delicatessen-style presentation of its worldview, and the ideological meat-grinder that is Fox News)

    Lawrence probably should have gone after the millionaire’s (or is he a billionaire?) blithe assertions that women who need prescription drugs (which may or may not be needed for contraception), or who simply choose to have control of their bodies and whether they shall become pregnant or not, and who cannot afford it without help from their insurance plans – still will have plenty of free availability.

    Or, maybe Lawrence could have suggested to Mr Friess that maybe a man should CHILL OUT, and keep his pants on and his willy on furlough, instead of “joking” that unplanned pregnancy is the fault of women with their knees apart.

    I really thought Lawrence should have gone after that guy’s assertions about all this magical “choice” that women who have no money can exercise, when it comes to obtaining free or reduced price birth control….but on the other hand, with Issa’s completely ridiculous Congressional hearing about women’s health – which included no women witnesses at all – O’Donnell probably struck the right tone with Santorum’s flighty financier.

    And next, Rush Limbaugh’s fat ass gets barbecued….so it’s all good!

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  64. Dexter said on February 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    I saw it, and thought it was the old joke about keeping your knees closed together for the obvious reason of preventing pregnancy, but the panel after the O’Donnell visit made it sound like nobody got the joke, and it wasn’t the obvious, it was something else intended…and the whole damn thing was turned into a confusing mess. I switched over to the trucker show.
    And I truly hate Romney and I want to see Santorum win the nomination and debate Obama. What a treat it will be to see that loser Santorum spouting his bullshit to a true national audience.

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  65. DellaDash said on February 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Carville simply scoffs at the idea of SantorVest getting the nom. Says it’s gonna be Rom.

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  66. caliban said on February 17, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Willard Windsock, Scott Brown, Mike Huckleberrybee, Shrub Bush, George Pataki, all kinds of GOPers, all over the country and across the narrowly descried winger political spectrum have been backing contraception coverage mandates for 11 years, mostly aligning with Obama’s original mandate requirements. These asseyes are lemmings trying to outrace each other to the political suicide cliff with their current hypocritical bombast on the subjects of contraception and religious “liberty” (sure smells like Frank Luntz’ grubby little fingers all over it), when they all supported mandates in the last decade. GOP women that rely on birth control, at least, can’t possibly be such fracking morons they’d fall for this patriarchal bullshit. Elizabeth Warren eviscerated the bastards on this subject on Rachel Maddoe Show. Nice to hear two people discuss this political minefield (in which the GOPers have planted the mines and are walking right on top of them) in eloquent American English without raising their voices or interrupting one another.

    65% of eligible woman voters cast ballots in 2008. Only 61% of men. 98% of American women have , will have or do currently employ some form of contraception in their lifetimes. Good luck on this issue, you morons. Oh, and Seamus’ cruel massa, Chrysler ended 2011with its largest annual profit ever.You gonna use those pistols of whistle Dixie?

    Anthony Shadid died. This man was a genuinely great and fearless reporter, I think:

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  67. nancy said on February 17, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I remember the aspirin joke, and it dates from the ’60s, when all of a sudden you could take a pill to avoid pregnancy, and not have to deal with devices, creams, foams and the like. It really was revolutionary. Aspirin is a pill, too, and so that became the joke — there’s always been a pill that’ll keep you from getting pregnant, etc.

    I think I first read this in an Ann Landers column. And this has been today’s edition of Nance Explains the Punchline.

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  68. beb said on February 17, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Jeff @57: I saw Jon Huntsman on, I think it was The Daily Show — while he was still campaigning — and he seemed relaxed, at ease, very friendly, humorous, etc. I could easily have voted for him except that he does hold some pretty conservative ideas. He’s still a better choice than either the friction-free weathervane Mitt Romney or the frothy mix of man-on-dog sex Rick Santorioum. Fortunately I don’t have to choose between either because I plan to vote for the black guy who hasn’t fucked up the economy.

    I didn’t see Friess’ appearance on the Lawrence O’Donnell show but I’m not surprised that he apparently went light on the guy. O’Donnell always seemed wishy-washy. he has that innate politicians habit of never trying to offend, cut for a middle course. Now if Friess really wanted to apologize he should have gone on The Rachel Maddow show and accept a brow beating from her, because apologizing for insulting woman to another man really doesn’t cut it.

    Then there was Rep. Issa’s little show trial in which all men debated the merit of mandating birth control in health care programs. Sure, Issa said they were debating policy not woman’s health issues, but what about having one of the nun-run business explain how they can live with offering birth control in their health plans.

    And of course Issa could have asked the Cardinals why they care since it isn’t the offering of birth control that matters but whether they’re being used.

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  69. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 17, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I think the story of Sam and Bethany Torode is instructive as to the possibilities & hazards of where this debate is going — for both Democrats & Republicans.

    This was quite a boomlet in the early Aughts, 2000-2005; what I’m sure most of you would see as the neo-Duggar side of evangelical Christians was a florescence of abstinence and purity (yes, those father-daughter dances) and complete unity in trying to celebrate sexuality from a conservative point of view. It was yet another attempt to show that the traditionalist view wasn’t anti-sex or anti-women, but was struggling to draw a bright line between a life of faith and what was and is seen as the dominant culture’s celebration of sex without limits.

    These two painfully young, wonderfully earnest people wrote a book (around 2002, after a few magazine articles) from an unambiguously evangelical Protestant viewpoint to say that the Catholic moral teaching about the use of contraception as a barrier to true intimacy was useful, and true; they presented a case for saying they still weren’t going full-Roman on their evangelical fellows, but that this point should be carefully considered by Protestants of a conservative stripe, and they wanted to present themselves and their four children in six years as exhibit A.

    Stipulating that, for all they said about the joy and enhanced marital communication to be found in Natural Family Planning (NFP), they clearly hadn’t yet tried using that for birth control purposes, they wrote a charming and winsome book that rattled cages far and wide for five years, and were discussed if only to state qualifications and reservations . . . but it became very clear to me through all of it that evangelicalism in America was profoundly uneasy with the contraception that equally clearly they were actively using. The language and reasoning and theology that conservative evangelicals were using to talk about marriage & faithful use of sexuality as a gift of God simply didn’t deal well with the issue of contraception, and the Torodes’ book drove right through that huge gap in the mainstream of evangelical moral reasoning and set up camp, with lots of folks coming by to visit if not many pitching camp next to them.

    And it’s too easy to snicker at the aftermath. They broke up, both started going to much more liberal churches, and last report (see above) is that they don’t go much, but are still asking questions and looking, and that at least Bethany voted for Obama last go ’round.

    All of which is to say — the contraception issue is being presented on one hand as a slam dunk win: if Santorum really believes that it’s a basic ill of society and while he wouldn’t vote or sign laws banning it, he won’t back down on that personal belief, then he’s toast. I’ve heard multiple versions of that in recent days, and I think that’s a poor political calculation (except for the use of the issue to keep your base mobilized to go vote against him, which may be the main energy behind that argument). But I think you can’t underestimate how many women, not just beehive wearing gals in dresses who go to church three times a week and twice on Sunday, are not entirely happy with the world of The Pill either, and Santorum may be striking a chord more than you want to admit with a general electorate.

    Likewise, I think the GOP had better look at the arc of this couples’ life and experience. Are they typical? In many ways, no, but I suspect in some pretty significant ones, they might well be.

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  70. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 17, 2012 at 8:47 am

    From the other direction, to make the same double-edged sword point: just a few days ago, Chelsea Handler on Rosie’s talk show – – made a head-snapping set of statements about how a) she got pregnant at 16, b) she wanted to keep the baby, c) her parents forced her against her wishes to have an abortion, d) now, as a smokin’ hot TV star, isn’t it great they did that? plus she would have been a terrible mother because, hey, look how she lived her life after those events, and of course e) “You should do whatever you want with your body and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you what to do. It’s your decision.”

    And some of y’all wonder why conservatives stay conservative. Chelsea probably helped keep a whole bunch of viewers, voyeurs at a train wreck though they might have been, thinking “OK, that’s just sad.”

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  71. nancy said on February 17, 2012 at 8:56 am


    I’m late putting up a post today — I’m learning a new chore at the job that also involves WordPress, and what a boner it would be to post NN.C under the Michigan Truth Squad — but all this talk about contraception and the NFP couple leaves me cold. I think the deep conflict you speak of is pretty widespread, but I don’t think it’s conflict at all. I think couples want to live the way the NFP couple did, in the sense that they want to get back to the land and have an organic garden and clean their whole house with white vinegar and live an all-around ideal life. Then reality kicks in, and they realize gardening is hard work and bleach is a much better toilet cleaner.

    The fact is, contraception is a pain in the ass, but unwanted pregnancies are a lot worse. The couple learned this. So have many, many others.

    I think the bigger lesson from the Torodes is: Getting married at 18 is frequently a very bad idea.

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  72. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Your middle paragraph/sentence nails it — but I’m still impressed/bemused/horrified by how durn popular their stuff was for a few years. And that “all-around ideal life” that doesn’t live as well as it shoots for the photo layout drives far too many votes to be dismissed out of hand.

    Plus, I think it all is another reminder: I may think the Catholic church is wrong, but their argument is internally consistent, and they can articulate it. Protestants, liberal & conservatives, basically are stuck rattling around in the vast gulch between not being totally anti-contraception (i.e., not Catholic, gosh no) and being against unbridled sexual expression. Even liberal groups like The Episcopal Church and the UCCs have trouble saying what it is they actually want to affirm — the Presbyterian Church (USA) started a conversation almost 15 years ago about “justice love” (and the one phrase doesn’t do justice to what they tried to start talking about in terms of a theology & ethic of human sexuality), and the shrieking from both extremes was so fast and so loud it got pulled down, still is hard to find online, and never became even an advisory document. So we keep debating and voting on ordination standards to nudge the goalposts around on what we’re against without ever actually getting to saying what we’re for.

    And to me, that’s a problem.

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  73. Suzanne said on February 17, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Jeff, the story of the Torodes says it all. I had a conversation recently with a friend who works at a Christian school who related a story of friends who were all about not using contraception and having as many kids as the good Lord saw fit. After kid #5, they decided that the good Lord must really mean that was enough and began using birth control. I am against abortion in most cases, but contraception is not abortion. It saddens me to see religious leaders leading young couples into believing huge families are godly but offering little or no financial support to help raise them. I had my eyes opened a few years ago after getting to know a number of students at the local Lutheran seminary who expressed hatred of socialism, of Obama, of government intrusion in their lives, but mostly were on Medicare or some other form of gov’t aid as well as gov’t funded student loans. And most of them had 2 or 3 kids. One student told me his second kid was “free” because his gov’t aid paid the bills.

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  74. Jenine said on February 17, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Contraception means that women have more control over the large arc of their lives. I am lucky to be living in this age.

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  75. caliban said on February 17, 2012 at 10:23 am

    The fact being loudly and roundly ignored by the chattering classes on this contraception settled policy non-issue is that the reactionary right spent the entire last decade promoting and voting contraception coverage mandates exactly, if not more stringent, than the one President Obama has on the table now. To a certain extent, the current GOPer outrage is kissing cousins with one of the oldest reactionary shibboleths extant: sex education. It’s an undeniable fact that abstinence as education is an abject failure and has frequently produced the polar opposite of the desired results (pregnancy pacts at the Christian Charter Schools). Generally, these curricula were introduced as a sort of privatization, buying canned courses from GOP slush fund buddy contractors, like Marvin Bush’s infamous reading program.

    When George Soros pays for ads that expose Romney’s or Santorum’s votes for and instigation of coverage mandates within the last ten years, I’ll be embarrassed but gleeful about what Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and Alito hath wrought, because these soulless bastards will not be able to hide from their undeniable political records. It all comes down to an illustrative question. Has any member of the GOP/Teabanger/rightwing crew ever referred to the Affordable Care Act? Nope. They call it Obamacare for a reason. This banal usage may be Freudian in nature, but they are honestly putting the emphasis on the aspect of health care reform they genuinely object to: it’s the policy initiative of a dark brown-skinned President that believes the federal government can act in a socially responsible manner. Quelle horreur. And the extent to which this attitude toward the actions of government comports with the wisdom and example of their Lord and Personal Savior gives them the shits. They believe they own Jesus, but won’t acknowledge His clearly collectivist leanings.

    I’m Catholic, and I can understand seeing Church policy on abortion as being consistent with the Church’s stance on a number of other issues. How people can be hydrophobically anti-abortion and pro-death-penalty simultaneously time is a mystery to me, suggesting hypocrisy or mental illness, and I was proud when J2P2 wanted to move to Bagdhad in the face of PNAC Shock and Awe. But conflating contraception with abortion is ignorance trampling science and produces no social good. In fact, it fairly obviously damages the world’s social fabric and the health of billions of individual souls. American rank and file Catholics blithely ignore doctrine on this behavior, guilt-free. In fact, on contraception AND on abortion, none of the Church’s current teachings actually rise to the level of doctrine. None of it is ex cathedra, so it is really the opinions of individual Popes. Anyway, the spectacle of seeing fundy-based politicians leaping to the defense of Bishop’s of a church the base describes as an unChristian cult is more than disconcerting, it’s a ludicrous anomaly in the American political process Mitch and Boner–STFU you anti-Catholic bigots. If they were willing to stand with the Bishops on social justice and environmental issues that might be another story.

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  76. moe99 said on February 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I can’t post it here, because I am at UW waiting for a Ct scan. The cancer has spread to the brain (3 lesions) so I have stereotactic radiation in my future on Feb 28 to be exact.
    BUT I posted on my FB site a history of the Catholic church’s inconsistent position on abortion and also Garry Wills’ excellent article in the New York Review of books about the hypocrisy of the Catholic hierarchy.
    My position is that this group of old men who won’t fully admit women to the church, and can’t keep their hands off young kids have no business dictating morality to ANYONE until they get their own act together

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