This week, this endless week.

It took some hard pushin’, but I birthed ‘nother project for Bridge. Public-employee pensions, woo, but it’s over. I spent a chunk of today reporting a much lighter piece, and once the end-of-the-term grading is done, I’ll have a much lighter step to match.

Parts one, two, three, four.

And in the meantime, all I have to do is kill dozens of comments out of my email, not from Bridge readers but from Mlive, the newspaper/digital platform where we share our content. Apparently there are people in the world who have nothing better to do than snipe back and forth on newspaper comment boards.

Life is too short for that, but maybe not when your main point consists of honk and the person you’re arguing with says honk-honk.

Good lord, but there’s some bloggage to get to today, so let’s.

This was destined to go viral the minute the judge said, “Hot dog!” So enjoy. (You can’t see his hot dog.)

A naked man runs through my neighborhood. And I MISSED IT. Streaking isn’t back; he’s just a meth casualty released from the psych ward too soon.

Frank Rich on something that isn’t exactly news, but a decent primer on the sugar daddies swinging their moneybags in the current election.

And speaking of public-employee pensions, David Von Drehle tells a story better than I ever could — Rhode Island’s.

Off to edit some copy.

Posted at 1:11 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

78 responses to “This week, this endless week.”

  1. Basset said on April 25, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Honk, honk indeed. I just barred a commenter from our work Facebook page for being obnoxious and was informed a day or so later that he had “filed,” I think that was his term, for an “ACLU investigation” because I had violated his freedom of speech and I better just watch out. So if I suddenly drop out of sight, you’ll know the forces of righteous liberty got me.

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 25, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Sadly, that’s become the new “I’ll sue” — “I’m going to go to the state Civil Rights Commission about this!” EEOC & CRC filings don’t require a lawyer, and you can make your boss or a co-worker or a public entity go through the mill without the expense (or coherence) of having representation. Of course, you rarely get any money out of the deal, but that’s usually not the point anyhow.

    “a perfect storm of stress and recrimination” — I’m giving notice of my impending plagiarism of this, somewhere, somehow. Does it make it okay if I admit I’m going to do it?

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 25, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Nancy, your link for Part Two is currently a repeat of the Part One link. Feel free to delete this post once fixed!

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  4. beb said on April 25, 2012 at 8:16 am

    God, now I’m really depressed…..

    Oh, and FYI. It seems like Nancy’s links One, two, three and four point to the same web page.

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  5. basset said on April 25, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Completely different link – a whole bunch of travel routes:

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  6. nancy said on April 25, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Sorry for the fubar’d links. Fixed now.

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  7. Kim said on April 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I’ve found people confuse their right to say whatever shit they want with my obligation as a private enterprise to publish it. And of course they want to be anonymous. What’s become of personal responsibility? I guess the ripped judge could answer that one.

    Looking forward to reading the pension stories, Nancy.

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  8. brian stouder said on April 25, 2012 at 8:40 am

    The thing is, “freedom of speech” refers to the people who operate the website or the newspaper (or whatever). If you write a letter to the editor, for example, the paper is not bound to print it; but the government cannot stop the paper from editorializing about whatever they want (theoretically)

    edit: what kim said! and btw, I had a brilliant post yesterday, but it would not publish. And when I tried again, it said something like “Ooops! looks like you’re repeating yourself”

    So – I wuz robbed! And censored! “Citizen’s Arrest! Citizen’s Arrest!”

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  9. coozledad said on April 25, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Charles Pierce rips the Gospel According to Douthat a new asshole. No indulgences:

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  10. MarkH said on April 25, 2012 at 9:41 am

    It’s even more simple than that, Brian. Ignoramuses will confuse the freedon of expression/speech with a right to be heard. It’s why on/off switches were invented.

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  11. alex said on April 25, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Now, now. Douthat’s the NYT’s token conservative. We really should cut affirmative action hires like him some slack. Who knows? He may amount to something someday.

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  12. basset said on April 25, 2012 at 9:49 am

    MarkH, at first I read your post as “freedom of aggression.” Which is about right in many cases, come to think of it.

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  13. Dorothy said on April 25, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Jeff perhaps you know the answer to this question. Is it illegal to videotape a meeting in Ohio if you do not have permission from those at the meeting to do so? My husband belongs to a group here in town and one member has harassed all of the others so much by videotaping meetings/classes and then finding fault with them, posting the videos on YouTube, even got a lawyer to write a threatening letter to the group about it being his civil right to videotape if he wants to. They got so het up about it, they disbanded the group last week. Now they are starting a new, private group by invitation only, with the intention of keeping out this pain in the ass. Any thoughts?

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  14. Dexter said on April 25, 2012 at 10:23 am

    here cum de judge
    here cum de judge

    nice job, charlie LeDuff

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  15. Judybusy said on April 25, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I’ll just throw in a little levity this morning, with the Prez slow-jamming the news on Jimmy Fallon.I think I heard on NPR that there is bipartisan agreement to temporarily delay the increase on the interest rates for some student loans, which are due to double this summer unless Congress acts.

    I’ll have to read the articles about pensions later. It’s near and dear to me, as my pension is one of the tripods to our retirement plan. (The other two are and social security. I hate feeling that all three are at risk. I got plans for those golden years, and they don’t include eat ramen noodles!)

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  16. coozledad said on April 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Alex: Jonah will clear everything up in his new book ” The Tyranny of Douché: People Making Fun of me From Hillary Clinton to The Department of History at Shoo-Fly Community College.”

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  17. Bitter Scribe said on April 25, 2012 at 11:03 am

    IMO, there are four kinds of Christians:

    1) Those who are more annoyed by other Christians who don’t believe as they do than they are by atheists;

    2) Those who are more annoyed by atheists than by other Christians who don’t believe as they do;

    3) Those who are equally annoyed by both;

    4) Those who practice their religion without obsessing over and judging others’ beliefs and behavior.

    Those in category four tend to put the most stock in “love thy neighbor as thyself.” My observation is that people who ostentatiously love God are like those who ostentatiously love animals: They’re not so crazy about other people.

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  18. Deborah said on April 25, 2012 at 11:27 am

    well said Bitter Scribe. OT, but I would be interested in how you got your nom de plume. Same for Coozledad and some of the others here. Why did you pick the names you use? Just curious.

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  19. Peter said on April 25, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Dorothy, I think that’s a good one. I know there’s the case in Illinois where you can’t record any policeman without their prior permission, but that’s being argued in court. If your husband is in a public group, I would think you’re allowed to record those meetings. However, the school district one over from ours has a similar problem to your husband’s, and I think they get around it by going into executive session for most of the meeting.

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  20. coozledad said on April 25, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Deborah: We had a rescue cat named Sam Beaucoups, AKA Sh’coozle. I was his “dad”, and he was the devil. That cat drew a lot of blood before he calmed down (de-nutted) and became obese.

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  21. Charlotte said on April 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Oh coozeldad — Thank you for that link. This sentence made my week: “Simply put, Elaine Pagels has forgotten more about the events surrounding the founding of Christianity, including the spectacular multiplicity of sects that exploded in the deserts of the Middle East at the same time, than Ross Douthat will ever know, and to lump her work in with the popular fiction of The Da Vinci Code is to attempt to blame Galileo for Lost in Space.”

    Saw Pagels give a lecture when I was in grad school. One notecard on the lectern, handheld mic in hand, 50 minutes onstage — one of those people who speaks perfect paragraphs. It was a high water mark of an unfortunate period ….

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  22. LAMary said on April 25, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I was just Mary until some other Mary came into the group briefly. I’m not at all a stereotypical “L.A.” type, so it’s a little misleading to call myself LAMary. I don’t ever get tan in any way, I’m not blonde, and I’m very judicious about how much I drive. A tank of gas lasts me two weeks. I seldom go to the beach or the movies and hate hot weather. I stopped driving my kids around once they were old enough to take public transportation and I don’t have a pool.

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  23. Icarus said on April 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Bitter Scribe, may I borrow/steal/use those distinctions?

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  24. Judybusy said on April 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    My real name is Jodi, which people often mistake for Judy, especially over the phone. In the 90’s a coworker teased me about having a very busy social life, and coupled it with the Judy thing. Here I am, all these years later with Judybusy. My favorite aunt was named Marion, but got the nickname Judy, so that adds to the sweetness of it. My partner and I use the phrase “in Judybusy mode” when I am busy around the house/garden and don’t want to stop to chat. Trust me, it’s better that way.

    Cooze, I can’t imagine calling you anything else. It just fits. Mary, I will now have to re-imagine my entire picture of you. 😉

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  25. Connie said on April 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    My real name. Sort of obvious. I will note that most of us Connies are around the same age. There are no baby Connies out there.

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  26. Jeff Borden said on April 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I chose the name “Jeff Borden” because there was this devastatingly handsome, flagrantly witty, immensely talented guy who worked in the newspaper industry some years back and who wouldn’t want to be like him?

    After reading Frank Rich’s piece, I guess it’s unseemly to hope those rich old bastards succumb to the gout or something. But I’m sure they have sons and daughters who will carry on their obscene work.

    I have to give the GOP credit. They’ve convinced huge swaths of voters that the party’s support for the 1% somehow will translate into better days ahead for everyone else, leading millions to vote against their own self interest. I look forward to campaign commercials portraying Willard the Windsock as “everyman,” a salt o’ the earth fellow who golly-gee-whiz just wants to help.

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  27. jcburns said on April 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    That explains why i couldn’t register under my real name, “Jeff Borden.”

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  28. Dave said on April 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Yes, Jeff Borden, I just heard some idiot on one of the brilliant local shows, probably the one Brian always refers to as the local “lipflapper”, call in and say he hoped to be a millionaire one day and he wasn’t about to pick on those who he hopes to join.

    The Kochs are sons of a right wing, John Bircher-type. I’m sure there are Koch sons, I didn’t read all the article, it’s too dismaying.

    Meanwhile, although I think Lugar should retire, I fear his primary opponent is going to beat him and that’s worse. Everything I read about this man Mourdock makes me unhappy.

    I’m Dave because I didn’t take time to think of a clever alias, my name is David and you aren’t finding many babies named David these days, either. I don’t know which is more scarce, Connie or David.

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  29. Linda said on April 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    From the Time story:
    “Boldest of all, the changes applied to current retirees, not just future ones. This feature, which Raimondo defends as simple fairness, is sure to draw a legal challenge from the unions, which argue that it amounts to breaking a contract.”

    Yes, it could, and for good reason. It is. Current retirees depended on that money to live. And if you are a lifer in public employment, you have no other pension or Social Security to go back on (public employees are barred from participating in S.S. during their public service). And as a lifer in public employment, I can see myself thrown into that “bold” little boat, even though my future pension bennies have been shrinking for the last 10 years, because a lot of our investments went to hell. And yes, recruitment of future government workers will be hindered, but for the GOP that’s a feature, not a bug.

    P.S.–And you know that since I’m a real Linda, I’m a woman of a certain age. It was wildly popular in the baby boom, but they don’t make a lot of baby Lindas any more, either.

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  30. Bitter Scribe said on April 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    “Scribe” is because I keep body and soul together as a writer/editor. “Bitter” is because I have to share this nation and planet with the kind of idiots who are regularly exposed on this blog. I should add that my bitterness usually is confined to the socio-political realm; in real life, I’m the happy-go-lucky type.

    Icarus, borrow away. That’s what it’s there for.

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  31. alex said on April 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I’m a real Alex. They’re making a lot of baby Alexes these days but they all have hoo-hoos instead of wee-wees, so perhaps I’ll get a sex reassignment surgery to keep myself feeling youthful.

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  32. Deborah said on April 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I was given the name Deborah at birth, my parents called me Debby. I changed that to Debbie and then later Deb. When I turned 30 I decided Deborah was more appropriate. I’ve never liked my name. And I really don’t like it when people spell it Debra. My sister got the coolest name, one that you can shorten to 3 letters that ends in z (not Suz). Ditto on the fact that there aren’t baby Deborahs anymore.

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  33. Prospero said on April 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    RMoneys (both Biff and Muffy) should come with simultaneous translation. What the hell did Posh RMoney intend to say?

    Avid Bookshop article from the Athens GA indie weekly Flagpole. Pardon, but I can’t remember right now whose niece the proprietor (Janet Geddis, great photo with the article) is (Dorothy, I think), and no time to look it up. I’m going to be up there for a football weekend 9/1 and the bookshop sounds like a “must” visit.

    Prospero is my third favorite Shakespear character, after Caliban (the monster) and Richard II (the deposed king). Prospero is a wizard whose powers are in serious decline when he’s shipwrecked on Caliban’s island, and the name sounds cool to me.

    Alex, UGA Bulldogs football team has twin brothers on the roster, the Ogletrees. One is named Alec and the other is Zander. I’ve no idea whether either is actually an Alexander. Zander is sure to be an All-America at some point and very likely will play professionally. Both are honor roll/Dean’s List students. I wonder how much all of the distaff Alexes have to do with the beautiful assistant DA on L&O: SVU, Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March).

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  34. Judybusy said on April 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Linda, I am surprised to see public employees can’t conttibute to SS; I have been with the county for seven years and still get my yearly statement, and the years of the county are added. My paycheck also reflects that it is taken out, so I better see something! My financial advisor has never mentioned this either.

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  35. Dorothy said on April 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Don’t get me started on the dearth of Dorothys. Hey that sounds kind of cool! I think we’ve discussed this before, and at the risk of repeating myself, I will remind y’all that my dad named me after a nun he had in school. And did I not confess once upon a time here that I briefly wanted to change my name to Dorthalena when I was 8 or 9? Yeah that came and went really fast in my young life.

    Oh God bless ya, Prospero, for linking to the story about my niece’s store! I was going to do so here, but I worry that I’m bragging about her way too much. It’s such a great article, though. We really are crazy with pride over her success!

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  36. Sherri said on April 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Sherri’s my name, never had a nickname that I really liked that well. It’s not that common in the current generation, but neither is my daughter’s name (Susan), so among people who know us both, I regularly get called Susan.

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  37. Cara said on April 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Lots of wonderful links today at nn.c and will give me great reading this evening.

    I am Carolyn, and like Connie and David, there aren’t many young ones being so named. I grabbed Cara because I’ve never had a real nickname, except “Bunny” at home as a kid. And harebrained as I can be, just wanted something a bit more ‘responsible’.

    Locally our candidate pool has had to vow allegiance and jump through hoops for RTL in order to be considered ‘worthy of leadership’. Never mind that they co-mingle personal and campaign funds, file for double homestead expemptions on properties they own, or frequently drive while bat-shit drunk. One RTL sign-totin’ jaunt around the beautiful courthouse square will put them right with their constituency, Glory-Be, Hallelujah, Amen! That’s entertainment, folks.

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  38. Prospero said on April 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    No problemo Dorothy. Glad you saw it. I was delighted when I came upon it. We’re planning a definite visit on the first ballgame weekend. Hill Street and Prince Ave. is a superb location, one of the prettiest parts of town. Right near the Taco Stand, and around the corner from my favorite house in Athens, the restored home of Prof. Phinizey Spalding and his wife Margie. I wonder if the building is one of those that R.E.M. bought through Bertis Downs, since that is sort of the outskirts of Normaltown, as they did the old CoCola plant. Dr. Spalding was an expert on James Oglethorpe and the history of colonial Georgia, but, even better, he was a first cousin of Walker Percy.

    Edit: The story of how the research and groundwork for the Bookshop were done sounds like a Harvard B-School case study.

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  39. Connie said on April 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Linda said public employees are barred from participating in S.S. during their public service. I only know this to be true in Ohio. It is not the case in Michigan or Indiana, although in Indiana public units could select non-participation, though it is rarely done.

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  40. MichaelG said on April 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    My name is Michael G., though I only had my parents’ word for that. I am a State employee here in CA and I participate in SS. As a matter of fact, they send me a check for a couple of grand every month. I would be very unhappy if they changed the retirement benefits for those already retired or those who are old but still working like myself.

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  41. Little Bird said on April 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Deborah asked me if I would share my name story, so here goes.
    My actual name is Jena, after the city in Germany. But apparently Jena in Arabic means “little bird”. On other sites I go by Avis, to keep with the bird theme.
    Not terribly interesting, I know, but I figure it might clear up the fact that I am by no stretch of the imagination little.

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  42. Prospero said on April 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    What prototype Teabanger shitheel Virginia Foxx (NC) says about doubling interest rates on student loans:

    “I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that. We live in an opportunity society and people are forgetting that. I remind folks all the time that the Declaration of Independence says ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ You don’t have it dumped in your lap.”

    This is an integral part of Ryan’s “austerity” (applying the term obscenely loosely), so Willard can’t really detach himself.

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  43. Scout said on April 25, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    So after last night it looks like Mittens, (R-Unmanned Drone) is all but official. He’s sure to do well with the Whites-Only Country Club demographic in November. Hopefully he and his supposed biggest asset, Ann-droid, keep nattering on about how tough they’ve had it.

    My nn.c name is borrowed from my cat, Scout. He is a handsome black haired, green eyed, fluffy guy who just turned 17. If I were more clever, like coozledad, I’d be scoutmcatmum or something. My real name is Jeanne and it’s pronounced Jeannie, not Jean. Another boomer name from the late 50’s. My coffee name is Jenny because baristas are always flummoxed by trying to get the first letter right and it’s just faster and easier that way.

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  44. DellaDash said on April 25, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Couldn’t have predicted 28 years ago what a chronic annoyance hitching my fresh-minted married name to my maiden name with a hyphen would be; but have long since intended to officially strip off both names and keep the Dash. First name comes from both grandmothers – Della and Idela.

    Thanks to this blog, I found Ann Patchett’s indie bookstore (Parnassus) just 2 miles from where I live. High-tailed right on over…wallowed in the embarrassment of riches…asked the mellow cashier to order ‘The Dud Avocado’…bought ‘The Family Fang’ (exactly the right place to spend a bit of my meager discretionary funds, even if the book can be borrowed from the library)…parked my ass in a comfy armchair, near a speaker playing an excellent mix, to read a few chapters of ‘High Wind in Jamaica’ (careful not to crack the softcover spine) so that I could join in the book club discussion that evening; while making myself scarce at home, in order to give my tightly-wrapped, tigercub of a Chinese roommate free rein (or reign) in the kitchen for rather dubious attempts at cooking for her new, potential (bio-ticking baby-daddy) vegetarian boyfriend.

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  45. Bitter Scribe said on April 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    DellaDash–OMG, “A High Wind in Jamaica”! I haven’t thought about that book since freshman year in prep school. Our teacher made us read a whole bunch of stranded-traveler novels: “Lord of the Flies” (natch), “The Sea Wolf,” “Lost Horizon,” “Captains Courgeous” and maybe one or two others. “High Wind” was the best of them, IMO, with “Sea Wolf” a close second.

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  46. Jolene said on April 25, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    You’re not surprised, I’m sure, to hear that my real name is Jolene. I’ve only once in my life been in the same room w/ another person who had that name. I’ve spent my life repeating it when being introduced, as people inevitably hear Julie, Jodi, Joanne, or something more common. If I have to give my name for someone to write down, I always say, “My name is Jolene, J-O-L-E-N-E,” as it’s misspelled at least as often as it’s misheard. To make matters worse, my last name is a fairly common name with a non-standard spelling. Somehow, though, I’ve managed to survive these trials.

    I was astonished to learn, when I entered graduate school, that people thought of my name as Southern, as there is not a Southern bone in my Upper Midwest farmbred body, but Dolly Parton made it official by using my name in a song.

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  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Linda, public employees may or may not be able to participate in Social Security, it just depends on state law. Which varies, he said wearing his Captain Obvious hat, from state to state.

    I have, sadly, nothing to dispute in Bitter Scribe’s typology. I would say I respect Elaine Pagel’s earlier work more than I do her more recent, much more highly speculative work, and I dispute Mr. Pierce’s easy dismissal of Douthat’s points about the Christian church today based on Dr. Pagels’ having a larger knowledge base about the early church and Gnosticism, of which she has little competition.

    Dorothy, I’m baffled as to your situation, other than to say that if there’s a public dollar of any sort involved in a group, then you probably can’t do much about a compulsive videotaper at all, other than turn to him and say politely “My, you really don’t have much of a life, do you?” The only civil rights-ish issue would be if a group that is privately funded and organized that has public meetings could not just exclude one guy in particular and not others; the fact that no one else is wanting or asking to videotape the group might not apply. But if a group (like a church Bible study or independent rec commission) voted on a policy limiting videotaping of meetings to those who had previously asked permission of the governing board or something like that, and said videotaper continued without such permission, you could ask to have that individual removed from the property for trespass.

    If it’s a community group with civic dollars involved in the building they meet in or underwriting the budget, you probably don’t have much recourse at all. But if you invited just one under 18 year old to join your meeting, the goober taped the proceedings with the juvenile visible, and posted it without parental permission, you could make life somewhat miserable for the fellow that way.

    Oh, and I’m “mild-mannered” not because of any major attitudinal distinction between me and Monsieur Borden, but because in the midst of le affaire Goeglein, another Jeff jumped into the fray and flung feces like a zoo monkey for a few days, and I had to modify my name to keep clear who was saying what, and just never deleted it after he went away.

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  48. brian stouder said on April 25, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I love all the name stories. All I can add is that my last name rhymes with “hooter” and not “shouter”, which is a source of chagrin for the young folks and amusement for me.

    Elaine Pagels: A very fine book that (I’m guessing) must be copyrighted from the late ’70s was The Cosmic Code, by Heinz Pagels. The book made quantum physics accessible to work-a-day rubes like me, at least for awhile.

    That book introduced me to all sorts of fascinating concepts, well before Stephen Hawking swooped into the picture.

    My understanding is that Heinz was killed years ago in a mountain-climbing accident, which makes sense, in a random sort of way

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  49. DellaDash said on April 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    The consensus of the (predominately female boomer) book club was that ‘High Wind’ is disturbing, something of a chore to get through, more fantastic (or satirical) than realistic, unpredictable and topsy-turvy (generalizations about things like tropical islands, pirates, and British justice are turned upsidedown) . Only the lone male, sitting next to me, was enthusiastic about Hugh’s genius (he was 29 years old when he wrote ‘High Wind’). I had planned on just listening, but couldn’t keep my big mouth shut when it came to talking about Jamaica. When we were done, my bookbuddy insisted I take his copy so I can read it all the way through. It’s now on my nightstand.

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  50. Bitter Scribe said on April 25, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Della–Your club’s litcrit is dead on, as you’ll see once you’re done with the book. (Except I differ with the “chore to get through” part—found it compulsively readable. When I hear “chore,” I think Melville, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, most of Shakespeare’s plays…)

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  51. basset said on April 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Never liked my real first name, still don’t, not gonna say what it is, went with my totem animal instead.

    Della, I live maybe six or eight miles from Parnassus, out off 100 in Bellevue but Green Hills makes me glare and grit my teeth so I go to the new McKay’s. (For those outside Nashville, that’s a new and enormous used-book store, much more interesting than BooksAMillion down the road.)

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  52. Scout said on April 25, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Jolene, I know two “real-life” Jolenes, one is about my age and the other is a youngun’ in her early 30’s. I can relate to your common last name; mine is Smith. Even after I ditched the husband from whom I took the name, I kept it because I kind of liked the anonymity of it. But when I give my full name and people ask how to spell it, meaning my first name, I always reply S-M-I-T-H. It never gets old.

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  53. DellaDash said on April 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Scribe – I think you’re right that I’ll end up on your side of the fence (where Jack London dwells). Already, I like the descriptions of sundry Jamaican details, although I don’t believe that locals, even newly-emancipated and fresh off slave rebellions, would let any pickney in their proximity, their own or those of their white ‘downpressors’; run wild, barefoot and neglected. Also, there are plenty of snakes in Hugh’s Jamaica to add to the overall insect-ridden tropical malaise…but at some point, the British bought in mongooses, and now there isn’t a snake to be found on the island.

    basset – my ‘hood is Belmont-Hillsboro. I remember you locating yourself near Bellevue, and sometimes amuse myself with wondering if random passing strangers might be you when I’m out that way.

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  54. Dexter said on April 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I took the name I use from this genius:

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  55. Deborah said on April 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Lovely story about Dorothy’s niece’s bookstore. Reminds me of a bookstore I used to frequent in St. Louis, just a few blocks from where I lived for many years in the Central West End. It was called Left Bank Books, I hope it’s still there on the corner of Euclid and McPherson. It was tiny, so no place to sit except the floor, but lordy I spent a lot of time there.

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  56. DellaDash said on April 25, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Dex – you’re the biggest surprise…funny it never occurred to me that Dexter is a nom de guerre…it fits you like Tim Olyphant’s hat in ‘Justified’ (and your own hip derby or bowler in your gravatar).

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  57. ROGirl said on April 25, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    My name is Rosanne and I live in Royal Oak, hence ROGirl. Unlike the Lindas and Deborahs, there weren’t any other Rosannes (or Roseannes) around when I was growing up. I used to get called Roseanne Roseannadanna quite a bit, but nobody under 45 knows who she was.

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  58. MichaelG said on April 25, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I really liked that bookstore story. It sounds like a great place and Dorothy’s niece sounds like a fine woman. Dorothy has much to be proud of.

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  59. del said on April 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    My real name is Jeff Borden; wait, jcburns used that line as the thread-winner.

    Actually my name is the shortened version of my full first name, Delmas. I was named after my grandfather and I think he may have been named after a character in a Gustave Flaubert novel from the late 1800’s called A Sentimental Education. When I read the book I was thrilled to see my name in print (at page 80).

    The thrill faded as Delmas was described as “proud as a peacock, and stupid as a goose.” So, I’ve got that much going for me.

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  60. Deborah said on April 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Thanks all, I have really enjoyed all the name/nom de plume stories. It makes me feel like I “know” you all a little bit better. Identity is a big deal.

    Keep them coming, please.

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  61. del said on April 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    The pension articles were great. Underfunding of defined benefit plans is a huge problem and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation only covers a small portion of benefits if a plan fails. Since ERISA was passed in the 70’s our country’s been moving away from defined benefit to defined contribution plans according to a Yale Law Review article I once slogged through. Many pension promises will be broken, at least in some measure. Happens with all variety of legal obligations. But with Michigan teachers there’s a constitutional protection and it’s a promise backed by the government. Nancy’s article does a fine job of describing (and challenging) the key arguments. One argument that I’m weary of is that teachers give up lucrative careers in the private sector to go into teaching. Maybe, but private sector jobs can really suck, as displaced newspaper folks have seen. One might also think of the private sector as Dunder Mifflin, a soul-sucking Kafkaesque existence. People stuck in such unrewarding jobs may deserve something more for the inherently less satisfying work.

    Of course I could still be peeved about the Detroit school teacher I represented about 12 years ago in a state circuit court. She was challenging the termination of her disablity benefits. She’d been on a disability retirement for 20 years and had received a full salary during that time, it was, oh, about $85,000 a year. She was about 83 years old when they cut her off. And of course she didn’t pay her legal bill.

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  62. Prospero said on April 25, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    I made a trainwreck, but Deborah made a great niece and a bookstore, and it is in a great town, I will guarantee, Athens rules, and it is way better with this bookshop.

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  63. Little Bird said on April 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I’m well under 45 and I know who that is ROgirl.
    But then, I’m not entirely typical.

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  64. Minnie said on April 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    It’s my given name. I was named after my paternal grandmother who was born in the 1870s when it was a popular female name. By the time I was born it was not. Once in my mid-20’s I introduced myself to a young woman who gaped and introduced herself as Minnie, too. We stared at each other, confounded, as neither of us had ever met a contemporary with that name.

    When I signed on here I used my name because I’m tired of thinking up IDs and passwords.

    These naming stories have added another enjoyable dimension to the conversation here. Thanks, y’all.

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  65. Minnie said on April 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Just read the article on Avid Bookshop. Well done, all involved. It’s cheering to contemplate a locally-owned, community-oriented book store that’s thriving. Makes me want to take a little trip to Athens.

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  66. Linda said on April 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Thanks for your input, Connie and JTMMO. I happened to have spent 27 years in two states–Ohio and Tennessee–whose public employees are not in the Soc. Sec. system.

    Minnie: “When I signed on here I used my name because I’m tired of thinking up IDs and passwords.” Hee. It reminds me of something I read: “When I make up online names and passwords, my present self gives my future self’s memory too much credit.”

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  67. Deborah said on April 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Prospero, that’s Dorothy’s niece who has the bookshop.

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  68. alex said on April 25, 2012 at 10:08 pm


    Are you a Minerva?

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  69. alex said on April 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Dunno whether the administration is making the argument that the Arizona immigration laws were motivated by animus but the law’s supporters seem to be making the case for them.

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  70. Dexter said on April 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    I used to find almost any used book I was looking for at David’s Books in Ann Arbor, now closed for a year or so. The old store on State was a real trip. It was always a run-through at Schoolkids Records and then a walk over to David’s Books, then lunch at a different place every time.

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  71. Rana said on April 25, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    My name’s from the first half of my now rather neglected blog (which has no story behind its name other than that it just popped into my head when I was trying to figure out what to call the thing).

    On the issue of speech, and faux-legal threats about it, you might find what’s been going on at Regretsy interesting. (Warning: this post, and the two related ones preceding it are themselves fine, but sometimes the site features items that are of a decidedly “mature” rating, and the comments on this one are rather… gushing. Browse at work at your peril.)

    Anyway! Someone sent a word-salad-y “cease and desist” letter to someone for merely talking negatively (but accurately) about their client (or relative, it’s not sure which, exactly). The post I’m about to link to here is the glorious take-down by the pro bono lawyer who decided to defend the recipient of that letter. It is some mighty fine writing, I must say.

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  72. DellaDash said on April 26, 2012 at 12:09 am

    That’s some serious, non-bumptious legalese, Rana.

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  73. MichaelG said on April 26, 2012 at 12:16 am

    I think I’ve said this before and I think that others may have said similar things. Clerical and other lower paid employees of the California State Government typically make more than their counterparts in the private sector. And that’s as it should be given the wages offered by so many businesses. The State needs to show leadership. Employees at a professional level typically make significantly less working for the State than those in private enterprise.

    I work for the State of California as a construction project manager. In the private sector construction project managers make a helluva lot more money than I do even though I make a fair dollar. In this profession, the deal has always been that private sector folks have moved from job to job, place to place, project to project and have been vulnerable to layoffs in exchange for a large dollar.

    Working for the State has traditionally offered a significantly lower salary in exchange for job stability, benefits and a strong retirement. You make the choice.

    That equation has always attracted talented individuals to private enterprise and attracted talented individuals to the State. Different folks have split the cost/benefit analysis in different ways. It has worked just fine for decades.

    Now we are seeing a drive to cut benefits and job security for public employees without any effort to bring wages into parity with private sector employees. You can’t have it both ways. When the GOPers have their way, guess what kind of ash and trash we’ll have working for the State.

    The sad thing is that instead of trying to raise wages and benefits for all, the politicos have chosen to follow their masters and work to curtail if not destroy wages and benefits of a lucky few union and state employees so as to enrich their billionaire masters.

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  74. Dave said on April 26, 2012 at 12:18 am

    A little late but my wife is named Alice, another name you seldom ever come across. I don’t remember anyone named Alice in my schooldays, that I recall. Her mother once told me that she thought of it as a reminder of spring (which I never understood) and also that she’d wanted to name her Jane until her mother made fun by saying “Any old Jane”.

    Interesting thread today. Brian, I’ve always thought of it as Stooder, not Stoder.

    Yes, and it makes me feel old to realize that it’s true, those under 45 mostly have no idea who Roseanne Rosesannadanna is, but I have known a couple of Roseannes.

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  75. Minnie said on April 26, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Alex: Neither a Minerva nor a Wilhelmina nor a Mary. Somewhere along they way Minnie became a name in it’s own right, not only a diminutive.

    Linda: So well put.

    Night, all.

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  76. MichaelG said on April 26, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Gawd, Rana. The first girl I kissed was the sublimely beautiful Sandy Schechter. The fun thing is that my father had a serious but unconsummated thing for Sandy’s equally beautiful mother Kit Schechter. Kit was the first older woman whom I realized was attractive. They were a pair of tall, slim but curvy honey blondes. Kit must have been all of thirty five to forty at the time. Shee-it. That would put her around ninety today if she were still alive. Fuck, I’m old. I’m sure they’re not related to the people in your attachment.

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  77. Rana said on April 26, 2012 at 12:46 am

    When the GOPers have their way, guess what kind of ash and trash we’ll have working for the State.

    I do believe that’s deliberate. People whose whole political philosophy is “government is broken” really shouldn’t be allowed to be in a position to break it further to prove themselves correct.

    I doubt the Schechters of Malibu are related to your Schechters, MichaelG, which is probably a good thing, since the former are, how shall we put it delicately, “interesting” people.

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  78. basset said on April 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Della, I was in your “hood” just the other day, had a meeting at the emergency operations building under that big tower behind Belmont. We probably have some mutual acquaintances.

    Didn’t stop at Parnassus on the way home, though.

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