Day one under the bridge.

First day’s conference rock star: Fareed Zakaria, whose act, polished though it may be, was still pretty good.

Meanwhile, here’s a cake in the shape of the state of Michigan. I didn’t eat any:

Back to work!

Posted at 2:55 am in Current events |

40 responses to “Day one under the bridge.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 30, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Looking forward to hearing if Tom still has glowing reports on China as a model for us to follow. Zakaria is a pretty sensible, rational pundit, which is probably why you feel this vague sense of unease hearing his positive spin: it’s usually based on an implicit assumption that things could work out well if more people thought the way he does, when we know that among either voters or politicians, there’s rarely that much thoughtful reasoning in play.

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  2. Deborah said on May 30, 2012 at 7:11 am

    ” ” ” ” an insurance company with an army ” ” ” ” (all the quotation marks because I’m quoting Nancy quoting Zakaria quoting Ezra Klein). But it’s sure true, sad but true.

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  3. beb said on May 30, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Isn’t it about time that the Dow Chemical corporate logo be superimposed on a biohazard sign?

    As for the cake, thee should be one in the shape of Rick Snyder, perhaps made out of red velvet so people could have a chance to plung a knife into…the cake!

    I hope Nancy is wearing hip-waders today because if Thomas Friedman is speaking, the conference is going to be flooding with bull.

    And I see Zakaria is part of the catfood commission. Yes, retired people have had it too good for too long. They need to be driven into poverty now to free up money for…? You do know that research and development is not part of most company’s business plans, right? That manufacturing is not part of most company’s business plan, right? (extracting money for the CEOs is).

    We hear that the future is for those with a college education, then why is higher education left unfunded? And of course we could is the crazy insane Republicans would stop cutting taxes on the obscenely rich.

    And I’m starting to rant, aren’t it.

    Over the weekend rising TV pundit, Chris Hayes appears to have made a career ending gaffe when he wondered if our habit of calling all men and women in the military “heroes” was debasing the concept of heroism and encouraging us into further reckless military adventures. This is a good question. Unfortunately, questioning the god-like status of our bots and girls in camo is the closest thing to treason we have. Hayes as already apologized but I wonder how long will it be before MSNBC decides it doesn’t really need a weekend TV show and cuts Hayes loose.

    This is incredibly like when Bill Mahar suggested it wasn’t very heroic to sit at a desk miles away from any battleground and launch missiles.

    The other interesting comment I wanted to share was the suggestion that John Edward’s trial for campaign fraud was less about any crime and more about punishing him for trying to start class warfare with his Two Americans talk. On the one side is that Edward’s projected a sweet, likable, innocent kind of front so people felt betrayed when it came out that he had had an affair and a child came out of that affair. Especially since, if there was anyone more likable than Edwards it was his wife. But a lot of politicians have had mistresses. And a lot of politicians have spent money that was not theirs to spend to cover up or pay off their mistresses. Sure, it’s wrong but most politicians, even when caught with their pants down don’t get sent to a big trial with a 30 year sentence hanging in the balance. And a lot of politicians have been caught using their campaign money for other things. While Edwards’ explanation that the money he used wasn’t actually given to him for campaigning seems pretty flimsy, other politicians have skated on campaign finance allegations with just as weak a story as that. I’m not saying that what Edwards did wasn’t pretty sleazy and he’s lost my respect but it is curious that he has been singled out for punishment and not any of his fellow law-breakers.

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  4. nancy said on May 30, 2012 at 9:04 am

    That wasn’t Zakaria’s point at all — cutting off old people, that is. Rather, he’s advocating more of a rebalancing of resources. It’s insane to be spending so much *more* money on older people than young, especially at a time when all agree the economy/workforce needs radical surgery. Invest in kids? I’m for that.

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  5. coozledad said on May 30, 2012 at 9:06 am

    beb: Paul Fussell caught a lot of grief for reminding folks that so many of that “greatest generation” deserted the front during the liberation of France that the army just threw up its hands and let them go back to Paris to run grift. There were too fucking many of them to shoot.

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  6. brian stouder said on May 30, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Very interesting and evocative Bridge post* from Nancy, and I agree with all Beb’s general points.

    Aside from that, these macro-policy/macro history colloquiums are marvelous, aren’t they?

    *Can’t resist responding to Nancy’s “Day one under the bridge” headline with the request that she say hello to Dwight/Jimmie for me, while she’s down there in the weeds

    edit: Cooze – you reminded me of a superb TV show that I haven’t seen in several decades, the one that made Martin Sheen a star. It was about the trial and execution of Private (Eddie Slovak?), for desertion

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  7. Bitter Scribe said on May 30, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Sometimes I wish that someone, somewhere, would give at least a passing thought to the millions of civilians slaughtered by those soldiers of whose sacrifices we are incessantly reminded.

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  8. LAMary said on May 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I liked beb’s typo about bots and girls in camo. Or was it a typo?

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  9. Dorothy said on May 30, 2012 at 10:14 am

    At the end of Nancy’s post yesterday she said “Let’s make it a good one.” And I inwardly cringed – only because I had sat in the lobby of the Hampton Inn at the Arch in St. Louis on Saturday morning while I was knitting and people watching for about an hour. The young man at the front desk had the same mechanical, albeit friendly, refrain every.single.time someone came up to him with a question. And that was: HAVE A GOOD ONE! So badly I wanted to yell at him “Change it up already, would ya?!” I’d get bored hearing myself say that over and over and over again all day. It showed a distinct lack of imagination, at least in my opinion.

    We had a terrific vacation with our son and his fiance. So much fun that as I was falling asleep last night I said to my hubby “I think I forgot how to do my job.” That’s not true. Fell back into the routines immediately when I got here this morning. I tried to keep up with Thursday, Friday and yesterday’s comments but really could not do so, what with all the shenanigans we were up to.

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  10. Deborah said on May 30, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I think I’ve said this here before, but it rankles my Vietnam veteran husband when people prattle on with “thank you for your service” statements. He thinks they’re often done in the interest of commerce, like when Southwest airlines makes a big deal about it. I always think he’s being too critical, but then I never fought in a war, so what do I know. He has much to my embarrassment stopped a flight attendant or two and given them the business for being phoney and insincere about it.

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  11. LAMary said on May 30, 2012 at 10:20 am

    My Tuesday bit it big time so I’m hoping today will be better. I arrived at work and as I was getting out of my car someone in a brand new BMW SUV hit the car pretty hard. I’m fine but I have to deal with getting the car fixed and all that. The driver was a classic LA stereotype. Young USC grad with a brand new car that probably cost close to what I make in a year. Likely a graduation gift from the rents.
    Today I have a big recruiting event. What Dorothy said about repeating the same thing over and over? I’ve got that ahead of me but it’s going to be,” we are only hiring experienced nurses right now.” I’m guessing I’ll say that at least 60 times today.

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  12. brian stouder said on May 30, 2012 at 10:51 am

    So, I hit the Google, and whaddaya know – Eddie Slovik turns out to be a Detroit guy, of course.

    One tidbit, from a 1999 Detroit News article:

    Bernard Calka, a former Macomb County commissioner, fought to have Pvt. Eddie Slovik’s remains brought back from France to be reburied next to his wife, Antoinette, in Detroit’s Woodmere Cemetery. Calka continues to seek a pardon for Slovik.

    Bitter – my fine young son dragooned me into watching Memphis Belle with him (one of the movie channels has a free week going, on the satellite), and there’s a heartfelt scene in there where the pilot of the plane absolutely refuses to drop his bomb load until the bombardier can clearly site the cloud-obscured target, since a school is right next to the factory he wants to hit. They heroically DON’T drop the load, and then come back around for another pass, and another cascade of heavy flak…whereupon the bombardier sites the target through a break in the clouds – and it’s bombs away!! As all the planes drop all the bombs, and the music swells and the crews breathe a sigh of relief, I couldn’t help but comment to Grant that if the bombs really are on target for that factory, then that school that’s right next to it is surely having a bad day, too!

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  13. Prospero said on May 30, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Jarring to see that big red DOW logo on the verdant cake, up by Saginaw and Bay City. Used to ride up there from Detroit in caravans to bitch about napalm, only to have geeky little plastic pocket protector and slide rule scabbard types come out to tell us that jellied gasoline wasn’t made in Michigan and we should go to California. The LBJ chant was popular. Where we obviously belonged. I’ve got a new company motto for those bastards:

    Dow Chemical, fouling earth, air and water, and mindlessly killing humans for more than a century.

    And Mary, you are not fine. Your back is killing you and your neck is whiplashed.

    Chris Hayes expressed my sentiments exactly, and unlike many of the horrified critics of his comments, I have skin in the game. My nephew, who’s my godson, is an army helicopter mechanic. Not a hero, though I believe he would be in some circumstances. Mainly a kid that was drifting directionless and put his life in order by enlisting when it was one of the few good choices available to him.

    Brian, somehow, I figure Shock and Awe in Sadr City didn’t play out with that sort of restraint. (very conservative numbers; the Lancet survey, with no axe to grind, puts the number of civilians dead by violence during the invasion and occupation at 600,000+.)

    The only heroism apparent in that Slovik story is Mr. Calka’s.

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  14. Dorothy said on May 30, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Deborah we experienced that “Thank you for your service” line several times over the weekend when people assumed, probably because of my son’s lack of hair on his head, that he was in the military. He is embarrassed no end about it. He is gracious but would really prefer no one say anything. He is in the National Guard, has not been deployed yet and seen no active duty at all. It’s like a tic people cannot control.

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  15. brian stouder said on May 30, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Prospero, I was especially affected by these two passages. From the beginning of the Detroit News compilation of photos and news about Slovik:

    Slovik, the son of immigrants, spent much of his youth in the Michigan Reformatory School for stealing candy, chewing gum and cigarettes from the Cunningham drugstore where he worked. After his parole from reform school in 1942, he went to work at Montella Plumbing Co. in Dearborn, where he met Antoinette Wisniewski. They were married Nov 7, 1942, and after a three-day celebration that featured an overworked bar and 200 guests dancing to “The Beer Barrel Polka, ” they moved in with Antoinette’s parents in Dearborn. When Eddie got a job at the old DeSoto plant, they got their own duplex. For the next twelve months, Eddie and Antoinette were, for the most part, happy and secure in the belief that ex-convicts would not be drafted. Slovik had been classified 4F because of his prison record, but was reclassifed 1A during a military manpower shortage and received his draft notice shortly after the couple’s first wedding anniversary.

    And from near the end of the Detroit News piece:

    At his execution, a member of the firing squad said to him, “Try to take it easy, Eddie. Try to make it easy on yourself—and on us.” “Don’t worry about me,” Slovik replied. “I’m okay. They’re not shooting me for deserting the United Stated Army—thousands of guys have done that. They’re shooting me for bread I stole when I was 12 years old.”

    Dorothy, when I see people in uniform, I generally nod and/or wave or smile – and let them move along

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  16. James said on May 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I was trying to articulate that fine line between service and heroism over this weekend. I don’t believe everyone who serves is a hero, nor is everyone in the service who dies. Some are victims, some are collateral damage. A few might be heroes.

    Unlike Chris Hayes, I didn’t a)think I had figured out the right way to express it and b) have a tv show career I could blow by attempting to.

    Ok. Here goes.

    A hero is someone who risks their lives doing something they know is dangerous in order to save another. Some might equate that with simply enlisting, but I think that inflation cheapens the cost and valor of true heroism.

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  17. beb said on May 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    LAMary @8: ‘bots” was a typo, but now that I see it, I like it. Brings up the whole use of Predator drones than seems to be a drift into bloodless (for us) warfare.

    Nancy @4: we’re on the same page, only using different fonts. You’re tping in Times New Roman, I’m writing in gibberish. We should be investing more in our young. I was thinking of those Scandinavian countries that essentially guarantee a college education to all citizens. What’s hard about that? The problem is where’s the money going to come from? The Pentagon’s budget is enormous. The White House wants to trim some of the bloat out of it and the Republican party is having a fit. It will leave is too weak oppose third world dictatorships, or something. You can’t just cut off Mom and Dad at a million dollars lifetime medicare and the Republicans think the taxes, which are at historic lows for the past century, are still too damn high. It’s one thing to believe in three impossible things before breakfast but running a country on three incompatible policies is a disaster.

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  18. Prospero said on May 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I’m not Polish, but I’m sure I would have enjoyed Pvt. Slovik’s wedding reception.

    Chris Hayes is an acute and astute political commentator that is widely despised by wingnuttery because he’s associated with Rachel Maddow and he’s an example of that famous factual bias in a liberal direction. Undoubtedly, since they are GOPers, the majority of villagers shaking pitchforks and torches at Hayes are chickenhawk phonies.

    Concerning Pvt. Slovik, it’s difficult not to relate his military experience with that of the appointed Pretzeldent who went AWOL from the Tejas AirNatGuard.

    Sounds right, James.

    edit: Doc Watson, with David “Dawg” Grisman and Jack Lawrence. Lightning in a bottle, great song, Shady Grove.

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  19. Sherri said on May 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I’m all for investing in young people. Problem is, I don’t believe the cat food commission people will really do it. They’ll destroy Social Security, and then declare victory. People like Zakaria who go along with them in the name of wanting to invest in young people are suckers.

    If you really want to do something about investing in young people, you simply have to do something about taxes, and the ridiculous idea that “job creators” shouldn’t be taxed. If you want to move money from old people to young people, the place to do it is not from Social Security, but from end of life health care. That’s where the money goes, and the amount of money going there is larger all the time.

    I know, let’s start with Dick Cheney’s health care…how many college scholarships could his taxpayer funded health care pay for?

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  20. Scout said on May 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Charles Pierce is classic today on the by now non-event of Willard Windsock, (R-anatomically correct presidential candidate action figure) clinching the Clown Car nomination. Or as the ABC story on google headlined it “clenches the nomination.” A rather interesting typo, I thought. Speaking of typos, RMoney’s people’s new iPhone app: For Mitt; A Better Amercia.

    Favorite part:
    “I’m Mitt Romney, bitches, and I’m all you got left.
    You thought this was a campaign? I kept telling you that it wasn’t. It was a transaction, from start to finish, and not a very complicated one, either. There was nothing I could do or say that I couldn’t buy my way out of. There was nothing any of the others could do or say that I couldn’t drown out. They all worked for me. They were actors in my theater, finger-puppets on a master’s hand. They were a fun bunch, though, weren’t they? Perry, with the English he learned from Ukrainian babelfish? Gingrich’s ego? You should have seen how hard it was for his people to wrestle him out of that toga and into a suit before every debate. Cain and Bachmann? What a pair they were. Put ’em both in a barrel, roll it down a hill, and they’ll always be a nutball on top. You know what we call those kind of people out in La Jolla, where I’m building a $12-million estate and buying me a sunset?
    Lawn ornaments.”

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  21. Jeff Borden said on May 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    It will be tough enough for President Obama to win a second term given the enormity of the shitmess he inherited, the stubborn economy, the brainless goobers who still fret about his citizenship, etc. That’s why it’s so freaking scary to see what is going on in Florida, where the Republican governor has hired a Georgia firm to “purge” voting rolls of so-called fraud. Not surprisingly, most of this fraud appears to be limited to people whose skin does not require SPF 35 on a sunny day. Other rightwing douchenozzles are doing the same thing in other states.

    The irony of a political movement constantly trumpeting its support for FREEDOM!!! and LIBERTY!!! spending so much time denying others their fair vote in a democracy is clearly lost on a party that also laments government intrusions into our lives except when it comes to vaginas.

    Republicans: We Can’t Win Fairly So We’ll Cheat!


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  22. Prospero said on May 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Borden, Rick Scott is himself such a miscreant it’s difficult to believe he’s the Goober-nor of FLA and not a permanent resident of some Club Fed. Medicatre fraud architect that outdid all other Medicare fraud put together. How does that ahole get to vote much less get elected? I imagine the Painted Lady, Katherine Harris is poised to shed her Michele Bachmann persona and make a grand return to the FLA political stage.

    Scout, when they say “clenches”, I guess they mean between his buttcheeks.

    Sherri, I’m about to start taking back my payroll tax money, and GOPers that get in my way will wish they hadn’t, one way or another. The fascinating point about SSI to me that nobody seems clear on, is that had GOPers and Pretzeldent Shrub had their privatizing way, SS recipients these days wouldn’t be able to afford cans of L’il Friskies, because Wall Street would have taken the whole safety net down with it. It’s depressing that American voters are too fracking stupid to comprehend the simple fact of this bullet barely dodgeI think the new RMoney iPhone app is actually supposed to be “Mit uns”.

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  23. Dexter said on May 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    LA Mary: In our area we have a local FM radio station that is totally locally owned, and they use local announcers only. One of the hosts was interviewing a man whose sister works for Facebook in Palo Alto. He mentioned the amenities such as free daycare, free gym, great world class food in the cafeteria, all this stuff, then he told an amazing story.
    The night before the Facebook IPO event, there was not a Bentley or a BMW luxury class automobile to be had anywhere near the Bay Area.
    All those dealerships extended instant credit to any Facebook employee who walked in their doors.
    He then probably did a little “TMI”…he said his sister took all her overtime pay in stock, not cash, and she was was an initial employee, was there at start-up, and she had accumulated forty thousand shares. On paper, before the value of the shares sank to twenty-four dollars before a slight rebound, when the IPO hit and the shares were at thirty-eight dollars, she was worth $1,520,000. Instantly.

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  24. Julie Robinson said on May 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Romney would gain a little of my respect if he would distance himself from Donald Trump and the birther movement. So NOW he wants to be a big tent Republican? Wrong tent, Mittens.

    Dorothy, I hope your son will stay un-deployed because we will have ended the need for deployment.

    In happier news, for those who love musicals and/or Hugh Jackman, here is the first trailer I’ve seen for Les Miserables:

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  25. Bitter Scribe said on May 30, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Prospero: If the 1974 TV movie with Martin Sheen as Slovik can be trusted, yes, that was quite an enjoyable reception.

    Stephen Ambrose pointed out that the Nazis executed tens of thousands of their soldiers for desertion, cowardice, etc., while the Americans executed only Slovik. Which to my thinking is setting the moral bar awfully low. One of several reasons I thought Ambrose was overrated.

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  26. Dorothy said on May 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I hope the same thing, Julie. And Brian I do what you do – although sometimes I do something a little dorkier than just smiling and waving. Going into a rest stop area on Thursday last week a soldier was coming out. I had on my grey tee shirt that had A R M Y on it. I smiled, and then pointed at the letters on my shirt and wiggled my fingers back and forth as if to underline the word. He smiled and just waved at me as he walked to his car.

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  27. Prospero said on May 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Julie, Mittens himself rendered that wishful thinking when his campaign “released” his birth dertificate the same day he partied with BadHair Trump in El Vegas, and Mitt annointed the Blowhard with his asinine 50.1 comment. That’s not a tent, that’s the backyard privy, dumbass.

    When fracking Wolf Blitzer makes a fool of you on TV you ought to have the brains to STFU.

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  28. Deborah said on May 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha

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  29. Scout said on May 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    heh heh

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  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Speaking of pointless death and heroes not to be found, anyone else watching “The Hatfields & the McCoys” on the Hitler Channel? It’s turning out to be fairly good, and Kevin Costner is proving himself to be an actual actor again, while Tom Berenger is so compellingly evil you find yourself rooting for his painful death against your own better angels’ urgings. Uncle Jim is still alive heading into tonight’s final of the three episodes, but I’m not sure what I fear most: Uncle Jim Vance surviving this narrative and dying while buying a round of whiskeys for his kin, or my own sick satisfaction at seeing “justice” done.

    My forebearer, Uncle Dyke Garrett, baptizes Devil Anse Hatfield tonight, triggering the end of this Appalachian agony, and I’m quite curious to see how they present that storyline. And Costner’s band, Modern West, is providing most of the soundtrack. With all that and innovations in oil spill recovery technology, what can’t that man do?

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  31. brian stouder said on May 30, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    …and Costner delivers a pretty powerful eulogy, too, as we learned at Whitney Houston’s funeral service.

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  32. Prospero said on May 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Scott Walker is the odious, creepy surrogate union buster for the Koch Bros. Kriminal Konspiracy in Wisconsin. Mayor Barrett of Milwaukee is Walker’s opponent in next week’s recall election. In this video, the Mayor dissects Walker, coolly and surgically. As much as Jeff (tmmo) wants to see justice for Bergeron’s character , Mutiply it by a million, and that’s how much I want to see Scott Walker get his wretched lunch. I can’t stand the mole-faced weasel.

    When I was a little kid and my dad worked at the free miners’ care hospital funded by Kaiser-Permanente, we lived in Turkey Creek, Pike County, KY, where much of the Hatfield-Mccoy vendetta played out. A Hatfield descendant was a sherrif’s deppity, and created a run-in with my mom one day at a road construction site. He ended up holding her at gunpoint and cuffing her. Wrong accent I think. We were on our way to the country club for swimming lessons. Fortunately, the sherrif, who was a local contractor that built the house we lived in and was good friends with my parents came by to prevent serious mayhem. My mom was irate, and we had to beg her to take her ticket and get us the hell out of there. Had she been armed, gunplay would not have been surprising. It went to court and the lying sack of Hatfield claimed my mom had tried to run him down with our old ford ranchwagon with the padded dash. My seven yo self testified, said the brute dragged my mom out of the car with his gun to her head, and threatened to shoot her. I cried on cue, and justice prevailed. The county was dry, and confiscated beer and liquor all made its way to our house via the Sherrif’s Dept. from that day on. Party Central for the Yankee hospital staff. Literally, on the bank of the Tug River, that once flooded our house.

    How that NASA and SpaceX collaboration works.

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  33. LAMary said on May 30, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    I troll Linkedin looking at jobs and SpaceX is looking for a recruiter. I wonder if my nurse recruiting skills translate to techie/astronaut recruiting skills. Another company that has an ad online is Leonie. I looked into the company a little and it was interesting.

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  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Prospero, I’m not a “Dancing With the Stars” fan, but still . . .

    Brian — agreed. I was impressed with that eulogy in all sorts of ways.

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  35. Connie said on May 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    You need to research that company a little more thoroughly LAMary.

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  36. Linda said on May 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I’m sorry, but Zakaria lost a lot of cred with me when he jumped right in to discuss the “bravery” of the Paul Ryan plan as soon as it hit the streets. He sort of retracted it a bit when Krugman did the math and called things by their right name (Krugman essentially stood in front of a Washington Village stampede/swoon and hollered “stop.” And he was about the only one that did). And I’m with Sherri. There’s a sleight of hand going on by many people who argue that (some federal program) should be cut because (some other cause) should be better funded. The truth is, most conservatives and libertarians don’t think anything should be funded by the government except the military–and that the funding for the latter should go in large part to private contractors. I hate to be so cynical, because Nancy has a point, but it’s the truth. The “bravest” people–like Ryan–don’t want to see money go from the old to the young, but from the poor and middle classed to the rich.

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  37. Hattie said on May 31, 2012 at 12:18 am

    I see people’s financial worlds collapsing around them because they thought rich folks were going to give them some and let them play. No way. Read your Vonnegut. The world is theirs, including the sun in the morning and the moon at night. And don’t you forget it. And defend SS. You’ll need it some day!

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  38. coozledad said on May 31, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Absent the rule of law, the rich will thieve until there’s nothing left, and there are too many hungry people for their police forces to slaughter. Then a bunch of them get their heads cut off, and those that manage to escape to other countries seek their natural level as pimps and whores.
    This is the definition of laissez-faire.

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  39. beb said on May 31, 2012 at 7:51 am

    What Linda said @36 and what Coozledad said @38.

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  40. LAMary said on May 31, 2012 at 9:34 am

    No kidding, Connie. Scary.

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