We were killing time before going out to dinner the other night, and caught at bit of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony/concert on HBO (read: lotsa profanity). The speeches — both the introductions and the acceptances — went on ridiculously too long, but what are you going to do? It’s a hall of fame; if ever there was a time to run on at the mouth, that’s the time.

There were about a million archival clips, one of which included the Famous Flames, James Brown’s band. Three background vocalists were taking turns at the mic, dancing between ooh-wahs. I was reminded of one of the Original Kings of Comedy bits, where we are told the difference between ol’-skool R&B and hip-hop: Five guys/one microphone vs. 20 guys, and everybody gets a microphone.

Anyway, everybody getting inducted was missing a member, one way or another. A couple of the Faces were dead, and I guess Rod Stewart had better things to do, like maybe put finishing touches on his next collection of crap. Axl Rose stood up the rest of Guns ‘n Roses, but Slash was there. Alan theorized that all that hair is actually part of the leather top hat, that it’s actually stapled to the lining.

Maybe actually stapled to his head. From what I recall of Slash, he probably lost feeling in that extremity long ago.

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty good. Kate’s last jazz concert of the season. They played this, although a different arrangement. I’m going to miss this program, and not for the Wednesday-night me-time. She worked with some excellent musicians and learned a lot, and it washed out, in price, to about $4.50 per hour of instruction. On the other hand, I should probably spend Wednesday evenings at the gym for a while.

Found this on Sunday morning, Edmund White’s recollection of attending Cranbrook a few years ahead of Mitt Romney. I’m telling you, this story will have a peculiar sort of legs for a while, I think; for every “oh, pfft, boys will be boys” there will be at least one person who, like Alex remarked over the weekend, is glad this sort of bullshit is getting the attention it deserves. White:

I already knew I was gay by the time I got to Cranbrook, and I looked forward to this all-male environment. In vain. The school placed the boys in individual rooms in order to cut down on buggery. Kids were run ragged with endless sports practices that consumed the entire afternoon. There were only two brief fifteen-minute periods during the day when boys were allowed to smoke (with their parents’ permission) and to socialize. I did manage to seduce two or three fellow students while at Cranbrook, but only after Casanova-like strategies, whereas I’d heard that some prep schools in the East were real bordellos. I’ve written a novel, “A Boy’s Own Story,” based on my experiences at Cranbook.

I was friends with two writers while at Cranbrook, both of them resolutely straight though strangely tolerant of my “tendencies.” One was Thomas McGuane, who turned out to be a talented novelist and a real Montana rancher and cowboy, a man who’s had movie-star lovers (Margot Kidder and Elizabeth Ashley) and who’s now married to Jimmy Buffett’s sister; he’s said in print that he knew I was gay in school and thought it was “funny.” The other one was Raymond Sokolov, who became a preëminent film and later food critic, who’s lived in Paris and worked for Newsweek, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and whose wife is on the curatorial staff of the Metropolitan Museum.

Thomas McGuane again. I recall interviews in which he told stories about his own problems at Cranbrook, something about copying some Rimbaud poems and submitting them to a clueless teacher as his own, then getting them handed back with D’s and F’s scrawled across them. For all this hoop-de-do about the best and brightest, the place seems — or seemed, then — to be a breeding ground for gentlemen’s-C students from the upper classes.

Or maybe psychopaths.

Since we’ve already skipped to the bloggage, then:

Incorrect headline, shocking story nonetheless. What sort of criminals are we breeding these days?

For laziness, for stating-of-the-obvious, for sheer unadulterated yeah bitchez I gets paid for this, it’s hard to beat Mitch Albom this week. I just don’t have the energy to take it apart. Sorry.

Monday! Another week awaits! Let’s kill it, eh?

Posted at 12:35 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

49 responses to “Slashed.”

  1. Crazycatlady said on May 14, 2012 at 1:18 am

    I was glancing the headlines of the Freep this afternoon at work. I read Albom’s headline and said to myself “Nancy’s going to blow a gasket!” I admire your self control, Nancy. Really.

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  2. Linda said on May 14, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Yes, the Romney story has weird legs, but it’s because it strikes a chord in people, confirming something they already feel. It cements a feeling that he’s, as one writer called him, the bad guy in every teenage movie–handsome, rich, conceited, entitled and mean. Once people get a “feeling” about a public figure, no matter how wrong or right, they will latch onto information that confirms it. That’s why the tank shot of Dukakis had a huge shelf life. People already thought he was a wimp with oversized pretentions.

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  3. coozledad said on May 14, 2012 at 6:36 am

    We’re definitely breeding psychopaths. There aren’t really any good primate models for how humans achieve reproductive success, because among the great apes there’s a demonstrated reliance on altruistic behaviors. We’re steadily losing a grip on ours. There might be some nutritional component, maybe genetic damage through environmental toxins,or a variety of transgenerational epigenetic insulin resistance that doesn’t produce obesity so much as scores of emotionally stunted antisocials.
    As a species, we resemble these kids more than primate empaths.
    I was reading David Samuels’ article “Wild Things” in Harper’s yesterday, quoting the director of the Bronx Zoo on the human impact on climate, water and food resources:
    “You go into Africa and it’s a dry season and it’s a drought. And all of a sudden there’s nothing…The animals that you see are horribly, horribly depressed. I mean, you want to take water out of your bottle and give them water. they’re lying there, weak. They can’t move. They’re covered with flies, their babies are dying, they can’t nurse. the lions are skeletons. There’s no water, there’s no game coming to the water hole. Your dream’s been to go to Africa, so you save $12,000 so you and your spouse can go, and you want to go see Eden, and this is what you see.”

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  4. Suzanne said on May 14, 2012 at 7:19 am

    The rich tend to be mean and heartless? I’m shocked. They forgot to mention clueless as in they think a financial crisis means you have to tap into your trust fund, not that your kid will have to skip college because you can’t pay that and your house payment.

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  5. Connie said on May 14, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Rod Stewart was too sick to come to the Hall of Fame induction and made it very clear that he was dismayed to miss his second induction for the same reason he missed his first.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 14, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Charles Darwin watched ichneumon wasps at their very practical, methodical work, laying their eggs in living prey, and stood not long after at his daughter Anna’s bedside, praying one of his last prayers, and heard nothing and saw only suffering and horror before him. With her death, he laid aside any hope of a tidy compassionate universe with a benevolent Deity who comes when called, and struggled the rest of his life to make sense of what human life meant, without making us the jewel dangling at the end of the Great Chain of Being. And he wrestled with at least the idea of a Creator, whose absence was more strongly felt than the hope that still came, in faint ripples, when he considered the reliability of the cosmos and the inexorable laws he dimly discerned like vast monoliths on the horizon of a moonless desert night.

    So he fought to educate the working classes who were, in his day, considered beyond the scope of book learning let alone fine arts, and respected the churches of his day while being utterly unafraid to call them out when they chose to directly oppress and aid exploitation, his Wedgewood ancestors’ anti-slavery impulses still alive in him to the end, genetically and culturally. He believed their was a point to life, but he ruefully asserted, quietly as to not disturb his wife any more than he had to, that there was so little good evidence for subjective immortality as to be implausible. Objective immortality, in something a bit more comprehensive than DNA, meant a person should live with more than a little regard for the generations to come, but he wished to demur as to how much any Charles Darwin would enjoy those future joys.

    All of which comes down to a question Darwin often got, even from his adherents: if we are descended from monkeys, are we continuing to advance, and will we not further evolve to some higher state? Ever the pragmatist, his reply (in “The Descent of Man” and I think the possible wordplay in the title not accidental at all) was that “progress is no invariable rule.”

    Which leaves open the questions of what progress is for humanity as a whole, and however you answer that, what is the proper means to pursue it? Eugenics were a first reaction to Darwinism so-called, and a sequence from restricting marriage to limiting childbirth through birth control and sterilization to the genocidal plans of Ottoman Turks & Nazi Germany. We’ve recoiled, mostly, from the whole logic of eugenic thinking, but it’s worth pointing out that the roots of two of our most contentious social/political debates today coil back to this unresolved snarl of humane reflection: marriage licenses from the state are a direct outgrowth of this period (we’ve drawn out of the question the whole “blood test” issue, but in general, the history of the legal paperwork of the matter is clear), and the concerns of Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood began with a desire to control a very particular class of birth, with timing and scheduling of “family planning” only a convenient side-effect from the better class of women helping provide “birth control” to those whose unrestrained child bearing, it was believed by “all decent people,” would only degrade the human race as a whole.

    I don’t think we’re “breeding psychopaths,” but there’s something to ask out loud here about the psychological outcomes of promoting short-term thinking, removing reinforcements for learning impulse control, and living lives largely untethered from consequence. The answer simply can’t be a return to an Eden built along AMC Rambler, Good Housekeeping, inserting “Under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance lines. That garden is forever closed to us by an angel of a sort with a brightly flaming sword. What we need is for people to feel connections, no matter how messy or discomforting, to their local landscape, to each other, and to their past as strongly as their future. My departures from conservative orthodoxy are generally where business and industry interests are pushing for the maintenance of structures that keep people fragmented, detached, malleable consumers who are more easily shoved about the economic landscape by fearful impulses. My relative disinterest in modern liberalism is deeply rooted in its passion for affirming individual values and goals over community concerns, while happy to make common cause with their own institutional behemoths who are as disinterested in the individual life as any profit-seeking corporation.

    Whatever the political program, I come back to Darwin’s quiet warning: “progress is no invariable rule.”

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  7. Linda said on May 14, 2012 at 8:12 am

    JTMMO, that’s a good post. It would be good to see people “feel connections, no matter how messy or discomforting, to their local landscape, to each other, and to their past as strongly as their future,” without it dissolving into mean-spirited tribalism. The Balkan wars of the 1990s were caused by politicians who could push those buttons and set people against each other. Those kinds of connections are also pushed to set poor whites against minorities in this country. I laugh out loud at public figures who hyperventilate about “class wars” when much of the last 30 years has been setting people against each other like crabs in a pot. We have to remember–all of us–that we are all in the pot together, and find some common ground. At one time in the 20th century, the people at the top of the food chain in this country had a feeling that they were part of the country, and had a role to play in contributing to the rest of society and preserving its economic well-being for everybody. But conservativism has worked not to strike down the concept of victimhood, but to recreate the wealthy as another victim class that has to fight for its put-upon rights.

    The truth is, we secretly admire borderline psychopathic people. We admire people who get what they want, and we don’t ask a lot of questions about how they got it. We put down people who ask those uncomfortable questions as “jealous.” When people act entitled, especially rich and powerful people, we fall right in line. And only when the psychopathology plays out to its natural end do we act horrified.

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  8. coozledad said on May 14, 2012 at 8:25 am

    the concerns of Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood began with a desire to control a very particular class of birth, with timing and scheduling of “family planning” only a convenient side-effect from the better class of women helping provide “birth control” to those whose unrestrained child bearing, it was believed by “all decent people,” would only degrade the human race as a whole.

    And the concerns of the framers of the Constitution were how to walk the tightrope between the profits of slavery and the fact it had already turned a particular class of cavalier gentlemen into worthless, drunken, impotent trash. After all, we were going to need a shit-ton of snotty white babies to finish eradicating the Indians. Hey! Maybe that’s why bleeding heart conservatives are seeking to defund the United States as well as Planned Parenthood.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 14, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Actually, I have not a single disagreement with that. “Tightrope between the profits of slavery” and their awareness that this wasn’t going to end well for “their sort,” let alone the slaughtered enslaved, nor with the fact that the Norquist faction of the right wing wants to defund that which makes the United States something worth fighting for . . . even if I do wish we could find a metaphor other than “war on . . .” or “fighting for . . .”

    Cooze, you would angrily enjoy a book titled “Preachers Present Arms” looking back over the “Onward Christian Soldiers” pit that mainline Protestant preachers marched into around 1916. The author wrote afterwords for WWII, and lived long enough for another near the end of Vietnam. Instructive reading, and it should be required in seminaries, but it barely stays in print even as it never quite vanishes from sight. Like most unpleasant realities.

    Speaking of which: today, I mourn the opening of Ohio’s first full-on, straight-up casino. Does that make me a moralistic prude, an interfering busybody into other people’s innocent amusements, a progressive standard-bearer for the fight against regressive taxation, or a deeply repressed libertine who can’t come to terms with his own desire to risk large sums on random outcomes overlaid with the illusion of skill and strategy? Probably a little of all four, but I still am sad about this. That, and the fact that major media is gleefully jumping in headlong, feet-first, helping flack the gala festivities and sucker in the rubes with the fig leaf of “good jobs,” which, oh by the way, is a LIE. Have a nice day.

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  10. beb said on May 14, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Jeff, that is an impressive morning meditation. Thank you for writing it. Your concluding thought, My relative disinterest in modern liberalism is deeply rooted in its passion for affirming individual values and goals over community concerns, while happy to make common cause with their own institutional behemoths who are as disinterested in the individual life as any profit-seeking corporation. is very much like my own feelings except that I see conservatives emphasizing the individual over the community. I guess this is why I’ve accused you in the past of being a closet liberal. We see the same root causes but assign different culprits to it. [G]

    Actually there is no “progress” in evolution just better reproductive outcomes. The ants have become very successful the way they are. There’s no reason to assume that a 100 millions from now they will evolve into people. I also reject the idea that eugenics comes out of Darwin’s theories. I feel that eugenics was a reflection of the racism of the time. Whites shouldn’t marry blacks because that “pollutes” the white race. Once you’ve identified yourself as a member of “The White Race” and see yourself in competition with the Black, Brown, and Yellow races everything devolves to questions of how to shore up the white race. So, no intermarriages, not allowing mental defectives, or the physically disabled, or the homosexual to marry (or even live) kind of becomes the “logical” conclusion. But this has nothing to do with evolution.

    And I don’t think that the party bus killings indicates that we’re raising a generation of psychopaths. The guy didn’t didn’t just shot into the bus for no reason at all. He was robbing a guy and they were witnesses. And what have we learned from all the crime shows and movies since the Godfather? — Leave no witnesses. Sure there are a lot of people turnong to crime but what else is there to do? There’s no jobs here.

    And Coolzedad, I wouldn’t look to the Great Apes for lessons in civility. Apes are very tribal. Within the tribe members get along about as well as among humans, but between tribes, it gets very vicious. The robber in that story belongs to one tribe, the victim to another and the people on the party bus to a third. This isn’t an aberration of human behavior. It’s pretty much what we’ve always been.

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  11. beb said on May 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Casinos are an exercise in the worst kind of magical thinking. People go there thinking that for some obscure reason they were defy the offs of statistics and actually win more than they’ll lose. Governments think that casinos are a pain-free way to raise revenues, not considering the added expenses of families left destitute because ma or pa has gambled away all their money. But also casinos make enormous amounts of money only when they are the only game in town. The casinos in Detroit are in a life and death struggle with the casinos in Windsor. Now they have to worry about losing business to Toledo, a hour’s drive away. Plus lots of other cites in Michigan think they can solve all their problems with Casinos, too. When casinos become as ubiquitous as Starbucks cafes, then no one is going to be making any money.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 14, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Except the house. Because the house always wins.

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  13. Deborah said on May 14, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Jeff tmmo, I’m with you on casinos. I don’t like them. But today is starting out as one where I should just shut up and read the excellent comments.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on May 14, 2012 at 9:49 am

    And those good-paying jobs the casinos supposedly offer are reserved for the big bosses. Ugh. Governments should not be profiting from the misery of their citizens, much less enticing them to such misery.

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  15. Linda said on May 14, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I know I’m not a repressed prude when I view casinos with dismay, because I don’t like to drop my cash and get nothing back. But the freak-out headlines in the Detroit papers (“Waaaa. The Ohio casinos will take our money”) could have been predicted. Of COURSE they will drain off your ill-gotten gains with competition to take ill-gotten gains of their own. There’s only so much cash anybody can drop. That’s why Keeno did not prove to be the Ohio state budget savior that former Ohio governor Ted Strickland thought it would be. Casinos always get their money from people who think they can get something for nothing. Some of these people are suckers with a roll of quarters in their hands; some of them are sitting in statehouses. As Julie says, they should not be making money off the misery of people with compulsive problems. But we want stuff from the government that we don’t want to pay taxes for, and we view our gambling citizens as marks, just as the casinos do. And we don’t pay for stuff we want with taxes, or decide to cut what we want, which is what grown-ass people would do.

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  16. brian stouder said on May 14, 2012 at 11:12 am

    This evening I’ll see if I have anything worthwhile to contribute to this marvelous discussion (don’t bet on it!) (pardon the pun).

    But in the meanwhile, I puzzled over what “error” Nancy was pointing to, in the Detroit Free Press headline about the shooting for a minute or two….and THEN it hit me (and again, pardon the poor-taste pun).

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  17. nancy said on May 14, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Sometimes they fix incorrect headlines for the web, and I wondered if it had been fixed. Answer: No. For those of you with better things to do: A “crossfire” generally refers to gunfire coming from two directions, and a person hit by same is caught in the middle. The people on that bus weren’t in a crossfire. The triggerman just shot them. Dumb error.

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  18. coozledad said on May 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

    The inherent wisdom of human invention, paired with the holy ghost of free enterprise:
    The fuckheads just might get us blown up before they manage to shake us down completely.

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on May 14, 2012 at 11:33 am

    When I was at prep school, we were always calling each other faggots. I think it went beyond the normal teenage-boy fatmouthing. It was an all-boys school (except for my senior year, when we went coed) and we never even saw girls except at dances called mixers. (I think they called them that because they put your self-esteem through a Waring blender.) It was like we were desperately trying to convince ourselves that there was some form of sexuality worse than our utter sexual desolation.

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  20. Dorothy said on May 14, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Whew. That’s what I thought the mistake was in the headline but I was so afraid I was missing an even bigger boo-boo.

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  21. Jenine said on May 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I was very disappointed in the last Democratic governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sibelius for her consistent message that gambling would be a boon to the state economy. I miss her otherwise but that never sat well with me. The point is well made above that gambling is profitable when it is a destination activity; if you can’t do it anywhere else than Casino X. If every state has it, the profits are diluted. Looking for other info, I’m told that Australian betting shops are legal and are everywhere in their cities. Anybody know what societal effects the the Aussies report?

    And thanks Jeff, that was a good satisfying chunk of prose about the big picture on the human race.

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  22. Jeff Borden said on May 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I covered the onset of casino gaming in Illinois and everything that has been written and said about them are correct. Basically, the Land of Lincoln got into the business because the gamblers were racing to Indiana to drop their cash.

    Of all the communities hosting casinos, Joliet has probably been the smartest. Revenues generated by the casinos are used only for capital improvements, not ongoing operations, so there are miles of new streets, sewers, water lines, street lights, etc. Yet the city fathers were wise enough to see that casino booty might rise and fall and did not allow Joliet to become addicted to that money.

    I enjoy playing poker with friends and have made the odd sports bet, but I hate casinos. The pace of play is guaranteed to empty your wallet quickly. . .there is little or no conversation among players. . .the drinks are watered down and the food is terrible. And within any glance is a tragedy playing out, some sap dry humping a slot machine, some schlub bumming money from his wife for just one more hand of Texas Hold `Em, etc. I find them about as glamorous as a car wash.

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  23. LAMary said on May 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I love the stereotypes they show in the casino commercials here. My fave is the grey haired white guy surrounded by adoring Asian young women.

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  24. ROGirl said on May 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Casinos came to Detroit because people were going over to Windsor to gamble. I have nothing against gambling, but when the question was on the ballot I voted against it because it was being sold as a revenue booster. I went to some of the casinos when they first opened and haven’t been back since. There were a lot of people who didn’t look like high rollers.

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  25. Bitter Scribe said on May 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Years ago I read a short story in a magazine. It was one of those pieces of fiction where you just know it was based on actual experiences.

    A guy applies for a job on the security force at a riverboat casino. During the job interview, the questions all have to do with whether he can swim. When he tells them he was a varsity swimmer in high school and is a certified lifeguard, he’s hired on the spot.

    Turns out his job is, you guessed it, to sit all night in a small rowboat and try to rescue desperate gamblers who throw themselves into the river. He’s told to be especially vigilant around dawn, because that’s when the losers see the light coming through the casino windows and realize they’ll have to go home and tell their wives they gambled away the family’s life savings.

    There’s something extremely unhealthy about raising money this way.

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  26. JWfromNJ said on May 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Album may have made a point about magazine covers.

    Plenty of them are offensive and should be covered. When I’m stuck on a line at Publix, which isn’t often as they have plenty of cashiers, I like to take the little white plastic modesty shield from Cosmo and cover Paula Deen. The manager confronted me once and I explained, “I find her more offensive.” In typical Publix “Kiss the Overcharged Customer’s Butt,” fashion she promised to note my objection to the store manager.

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  27. nancy said on May 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    You know that’s fiction, BS, because everyone knows there are no windows in casinos, there never have been windows in casinos, and there never will be windows in casinos. Nor clocks. For obvious reasons.

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  28. Jakash said on May 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Fine post, Jeff (tmmo), as usual.
    “the inexorable laws he dimly discerned like vast monoliths on the horizon of a moonless desert night.” Beautifully stated.

    And I certainly agree with you and all the casino opponents. I just don’t see how they’re a valid solution to any community’s long-term problems, though they’re a swell representation of the short-term thinking rampant in this society.

    Gotta agree with beb about that one sentence, though. “My relative disinterest in modern liberalism is deeply rooted in its passion for affirming individual values and goals over community concerns…” I thought that was the Tea Party’s brief. And that of those chatty libertarians. Seems to me it’s the liberals who want to pool some resources for the benefit of all, but certain of the conservatives who are content to hole up in their gated communities as long as their taxes are kept low.

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  29. Dexter said on May 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I really enjoyed the Hall of Fame induction show. The best was the Laura Nyro induction. There are many videos on You Tube, mostly shot with phones so the quality isn’t good.
    Laura Nyro was such a great , great song writer, but never as famous as, say, Carole King. She wrote so many great pop songs made famous by so many big-time artists.
    Cancer took her at age 49.

    And now word comes that we have lost Duck Dunn in his sleep, in Tokyo, where he was working. You will remember him as the bassist in The Blues Brothers Band, but his real fame was bass player for Booker T and the MGs. He worked with so many giants, Clapton, Dylan, CSN&Y, Albert King, Wilson Pickett…even the great Otis Redding. Donald Duck Dunn was just seventy years old.

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  30. coozledad said on May 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Jakash: Well, if we’re going to ignore history altogether and declare liberals “fascists”, we might as well fail to underscore the distinctions between classical liberalism (Remember that from high school? Gilded age capitalism and laissez-faire ring a bell?) and modern liberalism- as espoused by Robert Wagner, Eugene Debs, John Dewey, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman. It’s an error of fact underlying an insipid argument.

    Once you’ve accepted, counterfactually, that Roosevelt was a fascist and that John Derbyshire is an authority on how to get laid, it’s nothing but freewheelin’ on the wide open road of historical revisionism.

    At least now there are more stark reasons to conclude the substance of “the Goldbergian thesis” was always composed entirely of vaporized feces. But you’ll have to ask Goldberg’s adviser and amanuensis, this fucking Nazi:

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  31. Julie Robinson said on May 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Presumably the new streets and sewers in Joliet will eventually need repairs, so the city still needs to set aside some extra for that purpose.

    When Fort Wayne got an off-track betting facility, its revenues were not as predicted, and the manager made a comment that perhaps the residents were not sophisticated enough to appreciate their offerings. Or perhaps we’re not as dumb as he thought? It’s still open, but I think they got permission to add some other types of gambling. I’m not sure I’ve ever talked to someone who has gone there.

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  32. Linda said on May 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    And JTMMO, who said this: “And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.” Why, that leftist nag, Margaret Thatcher.

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  33. beb said on May 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    To add to what Julie Robinson said, there is a lot of money available for capital improvements, new roads, bridges and whatnot. There has never been a revenue stream dedicated to infrastructure maintenance. We’re hog-wild to build new things. Not so much to keep what we’ve got going.

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  34. LAMary said on May 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I have had three offices since I started in my current job. One in the basement with no windows or clocks. One in an interior hallway with no windows and clocks, and my new one which has three windows and two clocks (only one works). I no longer tell applicants I’m interviewing that my office is just like Vegas.

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  35. Kirk said on May 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    JW@26: Good for you. That’s hilarious.

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  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Linda, I am partial to Gandhi’s apocryphal comment on what he thought about Western Civilization.

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  37. Prospero said on May 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    11 year old rock climber. This kid is astounding.

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  38. 4dbirds said on May 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I play poker in the casinos. The house takes a ‘rake’ but has no advantage over the players. Almost all poker rooms are non-smoking. I don’t play the other games, the house will always win.

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  39. LAMary said on May 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Off topic.
    There must be a special ring in hell for ex spouses.

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  40. David C. said on May 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    It seems like we’d be better off if they just put flashing lights and bells on vending machines for people who enjoy such things. At least they would get a Coke out of it.

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  41. Dexter said on May 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    JWNJ @26…I love it! If you haven’t already, check out Rob Bartlett as Paula Deen.

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  42. Minnie said on May 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    LAMary, that sounded heart felt.

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  43. Julie Robinson said on May 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    So sorry, Mary. Share if it will help you vent.

    John Roberts deserves his own ring for this: I’m spluttering so much I can barely type.

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    LA, one phrase I weary of is “it takes two to tango.” More often than not, the hell it does. A soloist can dance their own little recitative of acted-out misery for an audience of many, all while gesturing towards a partner who refuses to tango or foxtrot (let alone whiskey). Don’t get sucked into their do-si-do.

    And sorry to hear you’re having to work with that sort of choreography; that was a running trial for our Moe, and it was often all she could do to keep from getting sucked into her ex’s terpsichorean trials.

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  45. brian stouder said on May 14, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Julie’s link is for a lengthy article by Jeffery Toobin, and it is very, very good.

    Here are two excerpts; one about now-Justice Kagan, and the other about Justice Sandra Day O’Conner:

    On the morning of September 9, 2009, a car arrived outside the Justice Department to take the government’s team to the Supreme Court for the reargument of Citizens United. Elena Kagan, the Solicitor General, took the front seat, and three of her deputies piled into the back. She had been confirmed by the Senate a few days before the first Citizens United argument, and the reargument would mark her début before the Justices. Kagan, at the age of forty-eight, had never argued a case before an appellate court. Citizens United would be the first time.

    “C’mon, guys,” she said to those in the back. “It’s my first day. Psych me up!”

    The deputies looked at one another, and, after a lengthy pause, one whispered, “Go get ’em.”

    When Justice O’Conner spoke here in Fort Wayne, she emphasized the necessity of the Court not acting too abruptly, nor of getting too far ahead of the elected branches of government. This was my main take-away from her lecture, as reflected here:

    There was a striking difference in the ways that O’Connor and Kennedy handled being the swing vote. O’Connor was a gradualist, a compromiser, a politician who liked to make each side feel that it won something. When she was in the middle in a case, she would, in effect, give one side fifty-one per cent and the other forty-nine. In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, in 1992, she saved abortion rights; in Grutter v. Bollinger, in 2003, she preserved racial preferences in admissions for the University of Michigan law school; in Rasul v. Bush and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, in 2004, she repudiated the Bush Administration’s approach to the detainees held at Guantánamo Bay. O’Connor split the difference each time. Yes to restrictions on abortion but no to outright bans; yes to affirmative action but no to quotas; yes to the right of detainees to go to court but no to the full constitutional rights of American citizens. In describing her judicial philosophy, O’Connor liked to point to the sculpted turtles that formed the base of the lampposts outside the Supreme Court. “We’re like those turtles,” she would say. “We’re slow and steady. We don’t move too fast in any direction.”

    But indeed, she’s off the Court, and Chief Justice Roberts and Kennedy the “swing” voter have shown a radical tendency to act very dramatically.

    I’ve been assuming that Roberts (et al) would NOT overturn the Affordable Care Act for just those sorts of institutional reasons…but this long article Julie pointed to pretty much dispels that whole notion.

    Presumably, we shall see what the Supremes have wrought within the next 4 weeks or so. Before then, follow Julie’s link; it’s very good stuff (if deeply troubling, too)

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  46. Deborah said on May 14, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Jeff tmmo and LA Mary, that lament also made me think of Moe and how much I miss her here. Mary I’ve got an ex too. He doesn’t bother me personally but he gets to me mightily in how he treats our daughter, which is mostly horribly.

    Edit: also read the Toobin piece about Citizens United, excellent, Julie and Brian thanks for linking and commenting. Well worth the time.

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  47. garmoore2 said on May 15, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Julie R. and Brian:

    Here’s a link to the article on about Toobin’s article. I think the writer’s description of what likely happened is closer to my understanding of how SCOTUS works (I spent about 13 years working for appellate courts and spent a fair amount of time talking with the SCOTUS staff about how their court functions):

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  48. LAMary said on May 15, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I appreciate the understanding without me explaining what is going on. It is about the kids and the house and being made to jump through many hoops.

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  49. deb said on May 15, 2012 at 11:41 am

    LAMary, you’re a class act. Clearly, your ex didn’t deserve you. And JTMMO: terpsichorean? Splendid.

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