City of lights, city of magic.

I don’t think Alan’s been to Lansing since we’ve lived in Michigan, and now that I’m here a day or two every week, it’s not like I’m an expert or anything, but I know my way around more than he does.

The other day I commented that Lansing reminded me of another place we’ve lived before — Fort Wayne.

“Really?” he said.

Sure. Sorta-high-rise buildings, a certain Stalinesque look to a few of them, a domed structure at the middle of it all, and of course, that low, evergray sky.

He was surprised. He thought Lansing was like Ann Arbor, with a major university weaving its way through the town, his wife wandering out at lunch to eat at some cool vegan restaurant where the wait staff all have dreadlocks. That kind of thing.

Alas, no. East Lansing is nowhere near the capitol building. Here’s the sign on the lawn of one of our neighbors:

Ah, the rich economic loam of a white-collar government-dependent city — consultants. My favorite is CPAN. And, of course, the Rockstar Factory.

If there’s a cool vegan place within walking distance, I haven’t found it. The other day we ambled over to the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

Speaking of government, perhaps you’ve heard what’s happening in Detroit these days. The city is teetering on the brink of Chapter 9, with fighting over what role the state will take in whatever comes next — emergency financial manager or consent agreement. There are public meetings and lots of yelling.

So, you might ask: What’s the city council president up to? This.

You know what I love best about this? It’s a two-camera production.

I know the set of “fans of smart medical ethicists” isn’t very large, but I’m in it, and my favorite is Art Caplan. He used to write a syndicated column that was distributed on the Knight Ridder wire, and I admired how he could take cases from Baby M to something you never heard of, and always manage to say something interesting about them. Later on, I’d love him for a more personal reason — you could call him, and even though he’s a big fromage and you’re just some yutz from Fort Wayne, he would take your call, or call you back, or give you his personal cell number, or whatever.

Anyway, he’s leaving the University of Pennsylvania, where he’s been forever, and going to New York University. The Philadelphia City Paper marked his exit in their Bell Curve column:

Famed medical ethicist Arthur Caplan is leaving UPenn to work for NYU. “They promised me an unlimited supply of drifters to just fuck around with in my lab,” he shrugs. “I’m making a monster that I plan to marry and then hunt for sport. Is that wrong?”

Both Ron and Derek had good blogs at 42 North yesterday. Ron’s here — on lying liars and their lying lyingness, and Derek’s here, about the various outrageous abuses of sunshine laws in this state, and probably yours, too.

These issues wouldn’t be so critical if we didn’t have so many people like this holding public office:

Five (International Baccalaureate) students who traveled to the Dominican Republic over spring break – Abhijay Kumar, Rahul Gannapureddy, Kyla Roland, Jessica Khoury and Kate Kreiss – described a program that makes them want to come to school every day.

“You learn how to talk to people who have different views than you, in a constructive way,” Kreiss said. “I personally believe the IB program is preparing me more for the real world.”

…Board member Murray Kahn said students who spoke glowingly of the program used some of the same language he had read on the IB program website.

“I’m hearing indoctrination,” he said, “and it concerns me a lot, because of where this program originates.”

Your school board. Hard at work.

Hello, weekend! Think I’ll do our taxes.

Posted at 12:44 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

89 responses to “City of lights, city of magic.”

  1. Dexter said on March 23, 2012 at 1:39 am

    I kind of follow the Detroit story through WJR. It’s confusing, Mayor Bing recently said the city has to have some cash by summer or declare some sort of insolvency.
    There are some differing opinions as to who owes what to who and how the bailout cash would be dispersed.

    I should finally get up to Lansing. It’s not all that far, just 103 miles. I have the co-ordinates to the cemetery in Haslett where an army pal is buried and I should go place a flower or something on his grave.

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 23, 2012 at 6:33 am

    Arthur Caplan – count me a fan, too. The campus ministry I was in before seminary had somehow ended up getting the Hastings Center newsletter, and I started waiting for it to arrive even before the Christian Century. Kaplan’s column was the main reason. But I’m not sure about hunting for sport something you’ve married. Ethically, wouldn’t you have to divorce it first?

    Oh, and I’ve spent the last four days writing a press release about an event, six weeks away, whose program is not entirely planned, and whose details are being worked out through the process of group-editing the document, entirely by e-mail. There are nine people involved, all of whom the project director says must be consulted and largely agreed with when they suggest changes. Only one of the nine had heard of Google Docs, and five of them even after being given the chance to look at it said “it’s too complicated to use.” (One when I asked “what’s your browser” replied “what’s a browser?” – and I’m possibly the oldest person involved in this project other than the director.) So it’s all e-mails.

    We’re up to draft 40-something, and my re-sends now have a time-marked header. I knew this was going to be bad, and thought “Version a, etc.” would do, but English only has 26 letters. You may, for the moment, skip the parenthetical (mild-mannered one) for me and call me (the homicidally-tending one).

    Put this on the list of things I will never do again, no matter what the pay. But the event on May 5 is going to be cool, despite all these pointless wrangles over phrasing and idiom.

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  3. Suzanne said on March 23, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Re: the IB program story. When, in this country, did we get to the point that anyone who says he/she can understand someone else’s point of view is immediately considered suspect? I see the same thing happening in church circles. As soon as you mention that you can see where a Muslim is coming from, or you can grasp the challenges in a third world country, you are branded some closet pinko atheist who doesn’t love America. I don’t get it.

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  4. beb said on March 23, 2012 at 7:57 am

    The interesting thing about East Lansing is that, unlike East Detroit, it hasn’t felt the need to re-brand itself as something other than “… Detroit.” (Eastpointe, next to the Grosse Pointes, used to be “East Detroit.”

    The sad thing about all the talk between the governor and the mayor over the future of Detroit is that in the end it all sounds like a recitation of “Gentleman! We must protect our phoney-baloney jobs!” I don’t think anyone has a plan, they just want to be the one in charge. Certainly Mayor Bing has had three years to do something but he hasn’t even settled the labor contract negotiations that began before his election! Of course, the sticking point is that, like the businessman he is, he wants drastic cuts to workers pay and benefits. City workers, who do not get cost-of-living adjustments feel like they have sacrificed enough for the city’s health.

    Governor Snyder has triggered part of Detroit’s distress by cutting state revenue sharing even though you don’t need a consultant to tell you that Detroit’s problem is that it has too many unemployed people that require large amounts of government assistance, ie, people on social security, disability, without cars, without health insurance, etc.

    And don’t get me started on the millions of dollars of federal funds being pulled from the city because the funds have been mis-managed. Bing has been in office for three years. He ran as a reform candidate. He hasn’t done anything.

    Not to be cynical, OK, being hyper-cynical, of course Art Caplan returned your calls, what else does a medical ethicists have to do?

    As for the ethics of hunting down something you’ve married. A) It’s called murder-suicide, it’s the great American pastime. B) Since you made it before you married it, it;’s not technically alive so there’s no ethical conflict in hunting it down later. Kind of like dynamiting that old laser printer that kept jamming at the worst possible time.

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  5. alex said on March 23, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I found the IB story disheartening as well. Because I don’t listen to right-wing demagogues I really don’t know much about the one world government conspiracy theory, but the impression I took away from the story is that it isn’t just right-wing Christians who are coming unhinged but zionists who are afraid Palestinians might be portrayed as anything better than subhuman. Looks like Mr. Kahn is worried about indoctrination all right—the fact that 130 bright kids each year might manage to escape it.

    On edit: As for the ethics of hunting down something you’ve married. A) It’s called murder-suicide, it’s the great American pastime

    I think beb won the thread before it hardly began.

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  6. brian stouder said on March 23, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Well, I my Fort Wayne-centric eyes first read Resch Strategies as saying “Massage. Planning. Experience. Results” which immediately intrigued me!

    If I had more time, I’d go on and on (as usual!) about how much I love Fort Wayne Community Schools, and our school board, and especially our superintendent, and more especially the schools our young folks attend, and the AP classes and IB program at South Side; and I’d surely go on some more about Diane Ravitch’s marvelous book – with yet another comment about how great her lecture was, and then a digression about the upcoming (March 27?) announcement from IPFW about WHO their 100th Omnibus lecture will be presented by.

    My bet: Shelly O….but we shall see…

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  7. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 8:54 am

    What do they make at the Rockstar Factory. Steve Perry and Neal Schon (Mr. Michaele Salahi)?

    Speaking of unhinged rightwing “Christians” (I will never type that term without air quotes again), I heard Pat Robertson wish injury on Peyton Manning last night, because of Tum Tubow’s “shabby treatment” by the Denver Bronco’s. People in the Mile High City should probably be on natural disaster alert. There’s the thing. Is the God of Christian broadcasting petty enough to visit plagues upon John Elway for lack of respect for a barely mediocre QB? How does that comport in the remotest way with anything Jesus says in the NT?

    Damage to municipalities (and to states) has resulted in large part from anti-stimulus osbstructionism from GOPers in Congress. In the interest of forcing public sector layoffs to retard any economic resurgence, Repubs in Congress have halted the traditional flow of cash through the states back to localities. You would think from their heated rhetoric, return of those funds to local control would be a pillar of GOP political economic philosophy and policy. But you’d be fooled again, sucka. It’s what I say, not what I do with these bastards. Like their support for the Canadian scheme to seize pipeline rights of way by eminent domain, to ship tar sands oil to be refined into China-bound diesel in tax and duty-free Port Arthur, TX with maximum environmental risk and zero economic benefit to the USA. How is any of that GOP-approved. A few years ago, anything to do with eminent domain was absolutely anathema to the GOP, a shibboleth as powerful as the “coming to take your guns” bullshit.

    Gov. Snyder has done what bullshit-walks grandstanding Teabanger Repub governors have been doing all over the country: Protesting loudly against stimulus money, claiming to repudiate it altogether, then, quietly injecting the cash into states’ general funds to cover their own budgetary bungholes. The hypocrisy is spectacular, and the intention is to cause public sector layoffs on local levels to tamp down employment figures and hinder the economic recovery. And voters are too fracking stupid to see this happening? Sad state of affairs.

    If GOPers get away withgutting veteran’s benefits after putting service members through ten years of unmitigated hell on earth for the benefit of Dickless Cheney’s stock portfolio and the other pipeline, I will give up on the idea of American participatory representative democracy. Anything else will require greater cynicism than I possess. How is the VFW not howling about shit like this? Pat Robertson told them the pie will be made high in the sweet by and by, after Armageddon in the Middle East and the return of all the Jews to Jerusalem? Fracking morons. None of these idiots even make enough money to benefit from the Koch Bros. tax cuts. The extent to which GOPers are willing to treat contracts with citizens as so much Charmin is astonishing, considering their personal responsibility mantra. End Medicare and SS, Ryan, you muthafucka dickhead? Give me back all my money paid in, lump sum. Everybody else too. How’s that balance your budget, shitheel.

    Jeff call the first 39 Beta and the one you have now 1.0.

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  8. Connie said on March 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Lansing and East Lansing are definitely two very different separate places. Back in my MSU days, oh so long ago, the two cities were separated by what can only be described as the red light district on Michigan St.

    Speaking Of MSU, this was the amazing sight in my living room last night: My 80 year old father watching the NCAA games while at the same time reading “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” on his Kindle Fire. Which was a gift from my brother the Adobe exec who synced it with his own account so Dad can read Bill’s books.

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  9. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Great new song by Mac Rebbenack (Dr. John) with Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys:

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  10. alex said on March 23, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Krugman’s good today. Don’t worry about using up your freebies; everything after the question mark in the URL has been scrubbed and supposedly this is how to get around the firewall per one of the commenters here.

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  11. Jolene said on March 23, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Check out Hank’s very good commentary on the new season of Mad Men, beginning Sunday night.

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  12. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 10:15 am

    With regard to Krugman’s comments on Romney and the great gas price conspiracy, it’s not rocket science figuring out the whole thing is a foul crock of shite. In trying to foist Keystone XL on Americans, the GOP is embracing a project that would not increase domestic oil supply by one drop, while embracing taking of land for rights of way by eminent domain, to benefit a foreign corporation, while using the line to ship refined tar sands oil to China through tax-free Port Arthur , TX. How many aspects of that plan would cause rightwing howling and foaming at the mouth were Democrats and Obama to propose it?  The only part they like is the part about the white guys behind the scheme, even though they are hoseheads.

    Interesting statistics for US supply and demand for gasoline. Overall supply is more or less even, whiile domestic supply is historically high, no matter what the lying bastards say about Obama’s policies, while demand is considerably lower than for one year ago. In fact, demand for gas in the USA dove to a nearly historic low about one month ago. So why are prices so high at the pump? Price is following futures rather than actual supply and demand. Is that how capitalism is supposed to work? This represents speculators that are opposed to the political agenda of the President trying to create trouble by meddling in the futures market to manipulate consumer prices. So much for the benevolent hand guiding the markets.

    Even the business press and Goldman Sachs admit it:

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  13. Jason T. said on March 23, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Re: the IB program story … we had something very similar happen in Upper St. Clair (a tony south hills suburb of Pittsburgh) and some of the very same comments were made by school board members about “indoctrination.” A couple of parents accused the school board of “abdicating control of schools to a foreign country.”

    FFS. I swear these people all listen to the same talk shows, watch the same TV shows (on Fox News) and read the same websites … speaking of “indoctrination.”

    I also really, truly blame fundamentalist, un-affiliated mega-churches. I used to work part-time at a small cluster of radio stations on Sunday morning and had to listen to all of the religious programming we ran. Some of the crazy, paranoid crap that I heard really scared me, and a lot of it is violently isolationist, especially regarding Europe. (And the anti-Asia rhetoric is practically xenophobic.)

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  14. Kath said on March 23, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Count me as a Arthur Caplan fan too. I talked to him while he was still at the University of Minnesota when I was looking for an expert witness in an assisted suicide case. He was helpful and collegial. In the days before the internet, I spent hours talking to academics about arcane topics and enjoyed it immensely. Now with Google it would take all of 15 minutes.

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  15. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Turner Classic is airing the great 1944 version of Jane Eyre tonight, with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine, and a small but electric part played by Agnes Morehead, one of my personal favorites, as Jane’s cruel guardian, Mrs. Reed.

    The Tennessee state legislature is busy at the moment trying to inject Creationism into the science curriculum. It never dawns on these people how stupid it makes them look.

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  16. Sue said on March 23, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Well, well.
    Geraldo Revera went there. Like rape victims, Trayvon was asking for it:
    “I’m not suggesting that Trayvon Martin had any kind of weapon, but he wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way and if he had been dressed more appropriately… I think unless it’s raining out, or if you’re at a track meet, leave the hoodie home.”

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  17. Julie Robinson said on March 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Every kid I know wears a hoodie. Unless they’re wearing two. Geraldo is a caricature of a caricature.

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  18. Catherine said on March 23, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I am presently wearing a hoodie. Geraldo can stick it.

    Have he and John Stossel somehow merged their DNA into a single, immortal alien being? Time to call in airstrikes.

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  19. Jolene said on March 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Airstrikes, wow! Can’t say I disagree, but . . .

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  20. nancy said on March 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

    The anti-Girl Scout jihadist won’t. Back. Down. As we touched on yesterday, I am astonished at the level of persecution these people are capable of imagining being inflicted upon themselves.

    Once again, he makes several statements of fact that can’t be verified outside the right-wing echo chamber.

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  21. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I wear hoodies. In fact, I have an NWA hoodie. Would probably count double in the NRA’s Whack-a-Presumed-Thug game. It’s very convenient at the beach, and for bike riding. And we’re surrounded by gated communities, in fact our condo is in a gated community. In a career filled with pure jackassery, that may be Geraldo’s crowning moment. And, um, Geraldo, it was raining you Fing idiot. Go back to bed with Bowie and Jagger in Capone’s vault, or go find some more retarded children to capitalize on. Whatever, just STFU you whore.

    Still, the proper target for outrage is the Koch-funded ALEC initiative that writes bullshit laws like SYG and buys legislative sponsors for them, in cooperation with insidious anti-American political infuences like the NRA. The NRA has won all the big fights on the backs of greedy, cowardly legislators, so to remain relevant, they are burrowing into foundational law, like the general right to not get shot for wearing a sweatshirt with a hood while buying Skittles. Not only should everyone be packing, but everyone should do whatever she pleases and skate scot-free no matter the consequences. What could go wrong with demanding that people be allowed to bring concealed weapons into a barroom? Shit, can’t imagine.

    Every single fracking thing GOPers say about gas prices is a franking lie.. And they actually described the truth feverishly and repetitiously in trying to protect W and McCain from gas price blowback in 2008. That will come back to haunt their mendacious asses.

    Sensible comment on American oil dependence.

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  22. brian stouder said on March 23, 2012 at 11:34 am

    The Assignment Editor at Fox News must be akin to the event promoter at a WWF event.

    (“Hmmm – This week, Geraldo the ‘stache will join Zimmeran the Zapper, and take down the Innocent Kid; Good Girl Greta will spit-shine Santorum; and the Ferocious Flapping Lip-men (O’Reilly, Hannity, et al) will continue throwing chairs (etc) at The Hated President, and in support of Really Sorta Manly Mitt Romney”…..) etc

    edit: I skimmed that fairly angry essay that Nancy pointed to, and one “nut paragraph” (so to speak) that jumped up was

    As for the culture wars, the left had just dispensed with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation when they turned their attentions to me. Today, they are bludgeoning Rush Limbaugh and tomorrow they will find a fresh new target. My advice to that target is to never back down.

    Leaving aside that the examples he points to have backed and backed and backed down, isn’t it troubling that an elected official – a representative of all the people in his district – celebrates the idea of everyone segregating and separating and walling-off?

    Is intolerance the New Virtue?

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  23. John (not McCain) said on March 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    “Agnes Morehead, one of my personal favorites”

    Mine as well. When I bought my kindle a couple of months ago, one of the first books I bought was a biography of her. Which contains the following story which still makes me laugh every time I think of it (paraphrased):

    In the early 70s, Agnes Moorehead is at a party at a producer’s house, when said producer’s teenage son comes in. The son is introduced to AM and, having met lots of stars, is pleasant but not all that enthusiastic. The producer takes the son aside and chastises him for his less-than-stellar reaction at meeting AM, and the son says “But she was just Endora on Bewitched! It’s not like she was in Citizen Kane!”

    Best part: Agnes overhears, and starts laughing. If I ever get 3 wishes, no. 3 will be to be transported back to that party so I can hear that laugh.

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  24. beb said on March 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    “asking for it…” I’ve read that the girl Trayvon was talking to at the time he was killed had urged him to run away. But Trayvon refused to run because that would only make him look like a criminal. Some days earlier I read where Trayvon, realizing that he was being stalked put up his hoodie. I might then this was ‘a bad move – that makes you look more like a gangbanger.’ There all sorts of rules for walking while black, like not looking people in the eye because that could be a challenge. Blacks may live in America but they live in a whole different world.

    Going on-topic for a change… great article y Ron French on how reporters should go about informing readers that certain politicians are lying. I thought he was sipping a little bit of Charlie Pierce’s wine for the final paragraph. (Which is a good thing). Referring to that reappointment decision, I suppose a report could note that the Republicans explaination doesn’t explain why the reduced number of Commission seats disadvantages the Democrats? But how do you deal with the spectacularly bald lies of Mitt Romney? Steve Benen now at posts a list every Friday of that weeks’ biggest lies from the Mittster, with links to the corrections. I suppose would could insert a “These claims are not supported according to research from ….”

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  25. Suzanne said on March 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Rep. Morris and the GSA…read the comments from the article. Not only is he full of looniness, there is a crowd cheering him on.

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  26. Catherine said on March 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Jolene @19, you’re right, I shouldn’t advocate violence; but if they’ve created a new life form, well, maybe it’s time for drastic measures… Can you tell I just re-watched Men In Black?

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  27. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Back in the 70s a college friend of my FIL dame to Boston in the cast of a production of Don Juan in Hell. The cast included Paul Henreid and Agnes Moorehead. We had drinks with the cast in the lounge of the Eliot Hotel, and it was a fascinating night. The theater people were all brilliant raconteurs and the hight flew by. Ms. Moorehead was every bit as arch as Endorra, but more humorously than haughtily, and her laugh met Grande Dame expectaions. Ms. Moorehead was in one of the greatest episodes of Twilight Zone, ever: The Invaders. I loved that one, and it’s a treat every time it turns up on TV to this day. That website used to have the episode available to view, but copywright infringement did them in, apparently.

    Full-goose looney. And who was responsible for granting access?

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  28. alex said on March 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Not to worry, Suzanne. The constituents who put Morris in office didn’t know by his campaign what a kook they were voting for. He held himself up as a businessman first and foremost, with all the usual yada-yada about being pro-life and conservative which is pretty much what every pol in this hick town does. A patently offensive wack job like him isn’t going to be re-elected. It’s just too bad that this latest screed probably won’t get the local publicity it so richly deserves.

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  29. nancy said on March 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Oh, this is good: One of my former colleagues in the Fort just remembered this chapter from Morris’ career. Note the knee-jerk grovel to “soldiers, police and firefighters.” What a nose-picking little shit this guy is. I’d compare him to Niedermeyer, but at least he had the balls to go to Vietnam. I’m sure Morris elected to stay home and fight the war of ideas.

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  30. Julie Robinson said on March 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Morris was appointed to fill a vacant seat and then relied on the power of incumbency for his one campaign since then. He’s way too young for Vietnam but I don’t think he’s been in any of the armed services. Although I didn’t vote for him, it is true that before he was appointed, he was known as the guy who protested high gas prices by riding his horse to work at his health food store. He didn’t reveal his true craziness until after he was in office.

    One more thing: I talked to someone who knew him in high school and said he seemed like a regular guy, who subsequently paid his way through college by running a lawn service. It would be instructive to learn where things went wrong.

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  31. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Oh, Edward Mulhare was also in that cast. Incredibly suave. (Devon on Knight Rider, the captain on The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, looked a bit like Michael Caine, and was in the great Our Man Flint.) Henreid was in Casablance and Goodbye Mr. Chips, and a bunch of Alfred Hitchcock episodes on TV. If I were a reviewer describing the sound of Agnes Moorehead’s laughter, I’d (pretentiously) say “an imperious throaty contralto, closer to Elizabeth Ashley than to Talullah Bankhead. That’s a great story about AM her I’d never heard, John. I always thought the secondary characters, Endorra, Dr. Bombay, Aunt Clara, Gladys Kravitz and her hubby were what made Bewitched watchable until they jumped the baby witch shark. And Dick York, please.

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  32. LAMary said on March 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    MichaelG was right.

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  33. alex said on March 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    The nutjobs were out in full force today having a “rally for religious freedom.” I happened to walk by earlier as they were setting up their sound stage, not quite realizing what was about to go down. Here’s some representative rhetoric:

    Jason Freiburger, vice chancellor of the diocese, said, “An individual has usurped this power and taken upon himself the power to change the laws of this great land.”

    He warned that, “gatherings like this may not be available to us a year from now.”

    A couple of speakers objected to mandatory insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs. Former Fort Wayne City Council member Liz Brown accused the Obama administration of “forcing us to embrace the culture of death.”

    And here are two people I used to respect who will never receive my vote again:

    County Commissioners Therese Brown and Nelson Peters also spoke against the contraception mandate at the hour-long rally.

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  34. brian stouder said on March 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    “An individual has usurped this power and taken upon himself the power to change the laws of this great land.”

    Aside from the gratuitous use of the word “usurped” – this seems to me a strange political complaint.

    Anyone who runs for any political office, executive branch or legislative, gains the power to “change the laws of this great land”, yes?

    Unless the person who said that is reflexively and inalterably opposed to every elected official (a sort of Old Testatment approach to Law), then this statement is like complaining that some firefighters put out fires, or some police enforce laws. (I suppose that the speaker really means that some people are just uppity)

    (and, I never DID like Nelson Peters)

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  35. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    What infringement on religious freedom concerning Christians has there ever been in the Colonies. Aside from whacking them Catholics that were Christians several hundred years before we were? Americans don’t tell other loyal Americans that practice a different faith, particularly an Abrahamic faith, to get out, If somebody believes that
    ‘s WWJD, that person is guided by Satan, not by Jesus. And claim Martin Luther’s recalcitrant turds wern’t the progenitors of the Reformation? anon Caco, ergo non Sum, eh’Luther and if I offended anybody, I didn’t intend to. It’s sort of like the religious version of SYG. And what’s the law on voudon? When Pat Robertson wishe ill on Peyton Manning I believe he left Jesus” oritection and ventured into casting curses. Shouldn’t an earthquake swallow up hi multi-milliaon buck estate and rid ys alll of his unseemly visage?

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  36. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Brian, “usurped” is code for a son of Cain, i.e. a black guy being elected President, and these fuckers are positively nuts. I was reared to belive in Jesus’teachings about the Great Commandment (try Matt. 22:36), before anything else, and I take it seriously. People like this weren’t. And it is obvious. If they hijack American politics, we are all in the outhouse basement.

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  37. Jolene said on March 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I spent essentially every Sunday going to church when I was growing up, as well as a fair number of Sundays during several years in my late twenties and early thirties. During all that time, I simply don’t remember hearing this sense of Christians as victims. As i recall, the exhortations from the pulpit focused on being a better person, caring more, doing more to help others.

    Seems like, in these fundamentalist congregations, there’s an assumption that the people are good, but the outside world is bad–not that there are problems in it for us to solve relying on Christian ideals, but that we are the victims of evil forces.

    I don’t get it. It’s hard to judge which is more unappealing–the self-righteousness or the self-pity.

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  38. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Alex, these people seem to mean freedom to dump diarhea on our own religion while trampling anybody else’s. They have no clue about actual theology which has long ago transcended individual identifications of sects and divisions. I’ve deliberately studied theology and what makes sense to me is Teillhard. Creation becoming gradually aware of it’s creator. That’s the way I see it, anybody correct with a more concise viewpoint. From a point of view of believing in God, which I do, isn’t the idea that God made it complicated and very difficult attractive? And isn’t the idea we’re all in this together a good one.. I’d never in a world try to espose Teillhard to a bunch of skeptics and people that actively dislike religion as y’all. But, as things hang, you are a buncha my best friends. But on this subject, I will not put up with some idiotic giggles about the existence of God. If you think not, you have no leg to stand on. My proof of God? Billy Preston: Npthing from vothing. I saw Billy on the day Bobby got shot in Washington. Otherwise known as the day America croaked. My last memory that night other than my mom coming in from a night out, was her holding me and crying. That is when real America croaked.

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  39. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    When I think about Bobbie, I think about how my generation’s best was offered up and these scumbags killed them. In Bobby’s case, this was pretty much fucking inexcusable. Martin was asking to be a martyr and willing. Bobby was the best person you could possibly be. Unless you were some sort of psycopath that hated Kennedys. Political murder with no doubt and doomed the USA.

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  40. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    On the internet, according to vapid NRA apologists of vigilante behavior, Trayvon Martin was bigger then “Refrifertor” Perry. Fridge was a good human being that would have felt sorry for these racist vifgilante idiots.

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  41. David C. said on March 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    If I was Trayvon’s dad, Geraldo’s tonsils would be wearing his mustache.

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  42. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I will never understand how belief in God suddenly renders me some sort of simp when i’m better educated, smarter and parbly better looking. Fridge would have crashed down on Zimmerman before the 250lb. bulk jumped on the 240 lb. kid. This whole thing is in NrA’s lap. Some ahole with a gun was going to claim self-defense. Everyone knew this would happen. This sad little pOS man dilled somebody. The kid was a bucckforty soaking wet. A threat? In what alternative universe?

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  43. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I always mean everything I say to al of you, however you may choose to interpret it. I have never directed a salutation nor a comment to any of you than was meany pluperfectly admirably.

    The NRA believes if you shoot someone with no reason you should get off. That is a fact.

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  44. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Could we all consider this Trayvon case for a moment from the Richard Pryor viewpoint? That kid was scared shitless of the hulking, frothing white guy, with a fucking gun. If he tried to defend himself is that difficult to understand?

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  45. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    And i mean frothing, like just said that fucking coon, this was a died in the wool racist piece of shit.

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  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Prospero, back away from the chalupa.

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  47. coozledad said on March 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Why does the National Review use Rider Haggard’s She as a style manual? Is Imperial Gothic the only way they can escape from the shame of routinely having their pants ride up in their crack?
    I’ll let Rider himself answer from the grave:
    Yes, to cast them (the pants) off, to have done with the foul and thorny places of the world; and like those glittering points above me, to rest on high wrapped forever in the brightness of our better selves, that even now shines in us as fire faintly shines within those lurid balls.

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  48. Suzanne said on March 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    National Review was an interesting read back when Bill Buckley was in charge. I used to enjoy it. Now, it’s just a predictable rag. A relative gives me a subscription for Christmas every year. It promptly gets tossed in the recycling bin.

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  49. coozledad said on March 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Suzanne: Well there you go. The dark hordes have won.

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  50. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Not the dark hordes, surely.

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  51. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Bill Buckley when Conservative didn’t mean infernal obstructionist ahole. This is all they do these days, and anybody that claims it isn;t is a wholly racist is a fracking liar. Let them claim a single claim to any political claim that is not ust anything but Obama. The racisim is so unadulterated it reeks of rotting infrastructure.

    These bastards can deny it, but it is rampant. They can’t stand a black guy being President when God made the USA for white people. Jeff. I wish some idea of racist America were something that could be backed away from, but it isn’t.
    And I don’t think there is any such thing as a chalupa that wasn’t invented in a Taco Bell ad. Not real food. The guy is clear on the police tape saying fucking coon right before he shoots the kid to death for no reason. The internet is ablaze with how Trayvon was actually Lawrence Taylor size, What is wrong with the NRA idiots trying to excuse this murderer? Trayvon was 6-1, s0 that made him frightening? I’m 6-1. I weigh 75 lbs than that murderer. should he have been justified in shooting me? I would have been buying jerky, not skittles. This was a cod blooded murder. Asshoe staked his victim on police tape. This is no-brains. Unless somebody finds Zimmerman non composs mentis.

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  52. Prospero said on March 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    The people that support the actions of

    zimmerman are a bunch of phony Christians that also support the death penalty while howling about the preborn. Do they not understand the grotesque error in their logic? If the preborn is sancro-sanct, you can’t possibly support killing the post-born murderers. God must have meant them to murder. Well He didn’t but He gave them free will. But fundygelicals don’t believe in free will, do they? Even though Jesus made that part quite clear? So, you assholes don’t believe in Jesus, do you?

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  53. Bob (Not Greene) said on March 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Jeff @46 you are one of my favorite guys. Even if you are a Republican.

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  54. MichaelG said on March 23, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I knew a girl named Penelope Chalupka when I was in collitch. Kinda rolls off the tongue, huh? Penelope Chalupka.

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  55. Linda said on March 24, 2012 at 6:57 am

    It had to happen: a whole tumblr of Geraldo wearing hoodies.

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 24, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I may preach tomorrow wearing a hoodie. Can a 6’5″ white guy do that and not get shot? Check back Monday and see (I may even carry some weaponized Skittles just to complete the test.)

    Since the subject got so much discussion the last few days, rather than try to reprocess it as a comment, I’ll just post my column on “The Hunger Games.” And note that, since I sent this in to my editor, I’ve heard my son talk about the film, and how his entire 8th grade class reacted, who went en masse yesterday on busses to watch it (last day before spring break, 25% of kids gone anyhow, so I see why they did that). Let’s just say my wife has gone from “well, he’s reading on his own finally” to “this is really disturbing” to “I’m angry and appalled.” But I’ll stand by this for now:

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 24, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Interesting. New copy editor, probably not at our paper since everything is now shared amongst five papers in our “Media Network of Central Ohio” which is a title for “Everyone does five people’s jobs and be glad you have one.” So the third para from end:

    So, what is “The Hunger Games” a parable of? The jury still is out. Many note you have to look at the trilogy, it begins as a whole, but I will hint that the end of the first story and the grim games is not with just the one traditional survivor,

    The comma after trilogy was inserted, and the final comma in this excerpt should be a semicolon. I’ll have to train a new newbie: these are columns, not 4th grade reading level 250 word articles. I know the articles never are allowed to use semicolons these days, but either leave my dang semicolons alone, or change it to a full stop and start a new sentence (which arguably, I should have done, and my old editor would have). But this newspaper horror of semicolons — feh. Plus trying to figure out where they’re sending Sat. content for editing.

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  58. brian stouder said on March 24, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Excellent column, Jeff. It took me several runs at the sentence (within the article) before I got what was intended with “the trilogy it begins” (without comma) – but I caught on!

    This afternoon I have transport duty for several young folks (including our own 13 year old girl) to the movie and then to an after-movie party/discussion at the PTA president’s home.

    I confess I have not read the books, although the young folks all have.

    Our local rightwing radio lip-flapper spent Friday drive-time attacking the idea of young kids seeing the movie….or rather, hyping hyping hyping the movie. His complaint seemed to be that some schools are encouraging young folks to read the books and see the movies (which precisely describes our older daughter’s situation, except that no one had to encourage her to read the books; she had already read them all before this plan came about). The thinking seems to be: Public schools are evil; Some public schools are encouraging this book; therefore – this book is part of an evil plan! AHHHHHHHHHAAAARRRGH!

    Whatever the ‘real’ value (positive or negative) of these specific books, it strikes me as pretty cool when a bunch of young folks read the books and then see a movie based on them. If nothing else, when the kids compare and discuss how this movie differs from the books they read, a glittering and pretty cool lesson in reading comprehension and critical thinking will unfold before them. It will truly be memorable.

    As for the violence in the movie – hellfire! I grew up with war movies as entertainment, war tv shows, and even war sitcoms with laughtracks. As a parent, I identify with Jeff’s notion of looking over our kids’ shoulders, to see what they’re reading. And in this case, we (moms and dads everywhere) do well to gently pat their shoulder and then ponder the morality (or immorality) of smuggling a candybar and an icy cold Diet Pepsi into the movie theater

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  59. Kaye said on March 24, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Go see the movie. It follows the books closely enough to not be irritating yet does not seem as violent as I had feared. I was disappointed with the “girl on fire” dress; the version in my imagination was much more impressive.

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  60. alex said on March 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Speaking of statements of fact that cannot be verified outside the right-wing echo chamber, here’s someone who outdoes Bob Morris every time.

    It isn’t loss of religious freedom these people are whining about but rather loss of their religious authority over others. Religious freedom has never been healthier, thank you very much, and that’s what really chaps their ass.

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  61. DellaDash said on March 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I like your article, too, Jeff…especially your openness to what seems like a very valid YA POV.

    And I like the minutiae about commas…semicolons…copy editors.

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  62. Prospero said on March 24, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Everyone does five people’s jobs and be glad you have one.

    Translation: You are serfs. We are GOPer feudal lords. Be happy we don’t crush your ass while we jack corporate salaries by 390%.

    Brian. re transport duty: Have you seen the youth hockey Subaru TV ad that uses If I Should Fall From Grace of God for music? It’s actually a good ad and I think the music is the best part, but I love The Pogues and wish Shane better teefes, but my god Kids and Pogues is spectacularly inappropriate. There was never anybody funnier than Richard Pryor.

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  63. Prospero said on March 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Pardon me, but the racial animus is clear, and anybody that claims that’s not so is a liar. Just like Gabby Johnson said. The Sherif is a nig…..
    How so these racists comtinue to get away with claiming to not be racist assholes? The proof is so redolent. These people are scum. Amd tjey get to vote? Too fucking stupid.

    How are these massses convinced tp vote agaunst their own best interest? I’d say it’s connected to shaving landing strips. These people are isiots,

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  64. Prospero said on March 24, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    It might be a sane world when

    wmen other than

    varlu Fiorino grab al the obscene budks at the base slaries her undelings earned. You can;t get around this.

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  65. Prospero said on March 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    But what I’d imgined.

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  66. ROGirl said on March 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    There were people outside the Troy Library today with petitions for the recall of the mayor, Janice Daniels, the Tea Party sweetheart. I told them I’d sign if I could, but I’m not a Troy resident. They thanked me.

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  67. Michael Dixon said on March 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    to drag this back to the IB discussion, as I have already weighed in on Facebook re: the other issue, I am shocked, shocked, that the right wing nuts have taken out after IB, which is, in my opinion the only thing making many of our urban public schools productive in educating our youth. That being said, as soon as I saw the headline, my mind flipped to the MACOS controversy of the middle 70’s. I was a student, who was taught the curriculum, so didn’t really know about the whole firestorm until as an adult I researched it. The research started with a simple google of the curriculum. I remembered it as a seminal piece of my own education and development. Of course, I became a main line Christian and a Libertarian, so maybe the right wing has a point.

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  68. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 24, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    It’s been a busy week, so my apologies if someone already posted this. But a great reminder that, like copy editing, graphic design is a profession worth appreciating, and consulting.

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  69. MichaelG said on March 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    A heart “transplant” for Cheney? I’ll leave the obvious comments out there.

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  70. brian stouder said on March 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Michael G. – indeed, he has been a heartless bastard for the past year or so, and had a mechanical device of some sort in his chest.

    And then, some suitable doner became available (sounds a little like Hunger Games), and viola! He is no longer a heartless bastard.

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  71. Sherri said on March 24, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Your tax dollars at work.

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  72. Prospero said on March 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Copy editing and head writing were my best things in J School. And Cheney has virgin hearts lined up in undisclosed bunkers to keep him going. He will haunt America forever.

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  73. brian stouder said on March 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Jeff – That candidate would get my vote, for absolute sure! (She should say that she will tirelessly stay abreast of every public concern)

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  74. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 24, 2012 at 10:07 pm

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  75. Deborah said on March 24, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I hope he got a nicer heart.

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  76. Prospero said on March 25, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Danielle Smith is…pneumatic. And tireless. You’d think an alien body like Cheney’s would reject a normal human heart.

    From Alex’s link to that absurd Leininger column:

    Women love freedom of choice, she said. But the federal government’s mandate that religious institutions provide free contraception to their employees gives women of faith no choice but to support “anti-life activities that violate their most deeply held beliefs.” (emphasis mine)

    What is wrong with these idiotic MFs? Nobody’s demanding or mandating anything be provided free. Never have. These dumbasses are still repeating one of the more moronic aspeccts of Limbo’s assholish spiel. And my Catholic friends that have used the Pill don’t feel that it affects their faith at all. The Pill allows sex without procreation, for pleasure, by prevventing conception. Saying otherwise is just more junk science from rightwing nutjobs that want to trash government agencies that actually take care of children after they are preborn. And the majority of them believe wholeheartedly in the death penalty.But seriously, would these idiots try to get the part about insurance and premiums and how that works RIGHT for a change.

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  77. alex said on March 25, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Prospero, the thing you have to understand about Leininger is that he bends facts through a prism of religious orthodoxy and Glenn Beck punditry inside his tiny little brain before they ever hit the page, even when he’s wearing his “objective” reporter’s hat instead of playing columnist. For all of his frothing at the mouth lately about the evils of birth control—or rather “abortifacients”—it should be noted that he has only one child with his Roman Catholic wife of some 25 or 30 years. He’s Missouri Synod Lutheran. I can only deduce from his writing that he must have one hell of a sexless marriage.

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  78. Connie said on March 25, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I kept seeing pictures of that bus, and couldn’t figure out the problem. Probably saw it a dozen times before it clicked. In the eye of the beholder, I guess my brain just doesn’t work that way.

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  79. DellaDash said on March 25, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    “Danielle Smith is…pneumatic. And tireless.”

    Hah, Prospero! You always manage to redeem yourself from dropping too much chalupa.

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  80. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Connie, you may have “Y Chromosome Deficiency Syndrome,” or YCDS. This will cause you to cognitively have trouble picking up on sexual innuendo, difficulty in remembering lists, especially in retail environments, and fail to recall various significant dates. There is no cure, only a supportive housing arrangement, where co-residing with a Y chromosome-bearing individual can help you navigate through such deficits as a person suffering from YCDS. You can also learn to enjoy “Mythbusters,” “Top Gear,” and “Dirty Jobs” this way.

    Good luck living with your YCDS! You can have a full, happy life regardless.

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  81. beb said on March 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Best comment on Dick Cheney’s heart transplant comes from Lawyers, guns and money:
    Condolences to the donor’s family, and to the vast majority of humankind. If I thought there were a remote chance my vital organs might wind up sustaining the life of an enfeebled war criminal, I’d gleefully ram a weed-eater through my own sternum. — davenoon

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  82. Prospero said on March 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Cecil explains how trickle down is a bullshit con foisted on America by Republicans. The JK Galbraith “horse and sparrow” explanation of supply side is a new one on me and it’s piquant. And really, there is no better-researched nor more objective source of information than The Straight Dope.

    GOPers want biscuits in the oven and buns in the bed. What fresh hell will be next from these nutjobs?

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  83. Linda said on March 25, 2012 at 6:11 pm


    LOL on the bus. It reminds me of how little kids used to “enhance” Land O Lakes Butter boxes by cutting and repositioning the knees.

    As for Connie’s reaction: It reminds me of the Lil Abner cartoon where they had to find the purest hearted person in Dogpatch by whispering a dirty joke in their ear. Lil Abner won because he was so pure-hearted that he didn’t blush at all–he didn’t understand it.

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  84. Connie said on March 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    I do live with one of those Y people and he does pick up more than enough sexual innuendo for the both of us.

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  85. MichaelG said on March 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Linda, my dad showed me that Land O Lakes trick when I was a teenager. I’ve passed it on many times over the years to the amusement of all. Glad to hear that it’s alive and well in your neighborhood.

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  86. Connie said on March 25, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    My Y guy showed me the Land of Lakes boobknees. Just goes to show.

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  87. brian stouder said on March 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    And indeed, it is a dairy product, so there’s that

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  88. Deborah said on March 25, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Excuse me while I smoke my hypothetical post Mad Men cigarette.

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  89. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 25, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    As did Megan. On the carpeting. Which has to be replaced.

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