Day two under the bridge.

Not exactly scintillating stuff, but what the hell, every click counts: Yesterday’s story.

I have to tell you: I understand the thinking here, but there’s something dispiriting about making the case for treating little children well on a dollars-and-cents level. On the other hand, that’s how our society values everything, right? The important thing is, it gets done.

And now, the head goes down for the final day of maximizing, incentivizing, and other verbified nouns. In two hours, Tom Friedman! What is two hours in units of Friedman?

Posted at 8:01 am in Media |

127 responses to “Day two under the bridge.”

  1. Lex said on May 31, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Speaking of Friedman (which I do so only reluctantly), this just justified the continuing existence of Gawker. Let it not be said that we do not live in an age of miracles.

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  2. brian stouder said on May 31, 2012 at 8:33 am

    So, a question: was this public policy conference open to the public?

    And another question – is that Hoekstra guy there? For whatever reason, his name popped up on Maddow’s show last night, and they had a map of Michigan with a red dot on Mackinac…

    Aside from that, I liked* your latest Bridge piece, about the tangible benefits of early childhood education; a genuine win-win proposition.

    *”Like” in the non-FaceBook, genuinely publicly offered sense!

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  3. alex said on May 31, 2012 at 8:33 am

    What is two hours in units of Friedman?

    Unfathomable. I used to give him about two seconds back when it didn’t cost anything to check things out at the NYT.

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  4. nancy said on May 31, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Yes, Hoekstra was here, and I saw him yesterday. He was asked about his Office of Birtherism, and he wasn’t happy about it, although he didn’t lose his cool. Rather, HE STARTED TALKING IN ALL CAPS. IT WOULD BE MAYBE THREE PEOPLE. THEY’D VERIFY THE CANDIDATE, AND THEN DISBAND. IT’S RIDICULOUS THAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THIS. And so on.

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  5. Kim said on May 31, 2012 at 9:30 am

    One of the school divisions here just cut their special needs Pre-K budget in favor of keeping a 5th grade instrumental program. Why? Because the parents of the special needs Pre-K kids aren’t as vocal as the ones who declare the world needs arts education in public schools. I don’t argue with the premise, just the priority. It all comes down to what you’re willing to pay in order to meet the expectations. For many it turns out the answer is “not much,” though they usually say “too much!”

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  6. susan said on May 31, 2012 at 9:45 am

    ≈0.0004629 in F.U.s

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  7. Prospero said on May 31, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Oh my. People with all of that bidness experience RMoney wants codified into the Constitution in favor of publicly funded preschool. But attacking head start is as sanctified and etched in stone a GOPer shibboleth as the bidnessman-politician. How can they react to this rending of their Bizarro world time-space continuum? Perhaps apoplexy and swallowing their oleaginous tongues, with all the EMTs laid off. And Mitt, G. Washington’s bidness was making rye whiskey. T. Jefferson’s was growing hemp. You sure ’bout that Constitutional Amendment? Can’t pass the Mormon test. And R. Raygun wouldn’t qualify. Of course he was a union president, so he ought to be disqualified automatically, not to mention his child conceived by his second wife while he was still married to his first.

    Two hours in units of Friedman? Reminds me of a story priests used to tell to describe eternity (in hell, generally). A vast cathedral, a la Notre Dame. A sparrow returns once a millenium and brushes a flying buttress with its wing. Eventually, the edifice is reduced to a pile of rubble. All that time, but a moment to eternity. That be 1 Friedman. Guy is a great honking horse’s ass and a doofus.

    edit: Next thing you know, apostate bidnessmen will insist that pizza and ketchup aren’t vegables.

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  8. adrianne said on May 31, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Susan beat me to it, but definitely we’re talking F.U.s And it needs to be measured in terms of “hours of my life that I’ll never reclaim.”

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  9. Bitter Scribe said on May 31, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I would settle for declaring a mandatory waiting period of at least two weeks between:

    1) a conservative politican doing a classroom photo-op with minority children, and

    2) said politician announcing cuts for schools and/or programs that serve minority children.

    Seriously. It used to be that whenever Dubya or someone like him showed up in a minority classroom, it meant somebody could kiss funding goodbye.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 31, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I love that ESPN covers the National Spelling Bee. It gives me at least one reason a year to look up what number that is on the remote.

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  11. Dorothy said on May 31, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Jeff remind me what time is the show? Is it tonight? I try not to miss it, being a spelling nerd and all my own self.

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  12. Bob (not Greene) said on May 31, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Jeff (TMMO), there’s a local kid competing today.

    Of course, our cheap ass newspaper company doesn’t have cable, so I can’t keep track. Let me know how Marlene Santora does!

    EDIT: Looks like she’s out already! Missed her first word in the semis.

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 31, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Yep. Sorry, Bob!

    For all the writers here, which is pretty much all of us but the most dyed-in-the-wool lurkers (and you are still part of the family, invisible friends): Talk about a letter that stands up to the test of time. Written in 1947, but I’d be willing to sign that and send it today to someone asking me a similar question in 2012.

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  14. Prospero said on May 31, 2012 at 10:53 am

    What that petroleum industry corporate welfare buys. These tax espenditures dwarf federal money spent on Head Start.

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  15. Charlotte said on May 31, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Here’s a cheery little story for you all about our local, non-affiliated thrift store:

    They put a lot of $$ back into the community. Also, I get nice shirts for $2. And if anyone has a spare $200K, our food bank is looking for donations to build on the lot they bought — looking to build a combo food bank/community kitchen for small entrepreneurs. Someplace certified by the health department where individuals can make stuff to sell. Also cooking classes — how to live on food stamps by cooking (Batali just did this for a week). Just asking, you know, in case ….

    And sigh about tiny kids, preschool, and the bidniz “community.” I’m so tired of what Schumacher called the “religion of economics.”

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  16. Bob (not Greene) said on May 31, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Jeff (TMMO) it’s ironic she got knock out on “freddo” the Italian word for cold. She’s Italian! It’s like Ralph Kramden getting knocked out of “The 99,000 Answer” on the name of the man who composed Swanee River.

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  17. Linda said on May 31, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Mr. Hoekstra could have saved himself a lot of grief and embarrassment if he grew a pair and told the crazies to step off. His troubles are entirely of his own making, as are the GOP, and it may cost them lots in the future. You only own the crazies for a minute. Then, the crazies own you.

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  18. Prospero said on May 31, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Happy Augie Meyers’ 72nd birthday. That’s Doug Sahm on the giant guitar and Augie playing the cheesy Farfisa. On the Trini Lopez show.

    Pete Hoeker’s greatest hit:

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  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    The boss has posted her precis on El Tombo.

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  20. brian stouder said on May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Linda – agreed. One thing that used to puzzle me whenever the birther-bullshit cannons from the rightwing begin blasting again (as they always do, and always, always will) is that even if they could show that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States (which they can’t), nobody disputes that his mother was an American citizen – so that he would still be a ‘natural born’ American, regardless where his mother gave birth.

    But of course, the whole idea of this rightwing bullshit barrage is distraction/misdirection/doubts and delegitimization, and not any sort of actual, factual discussion. So the paradox is that Romney – having apparently agreed that McCain was wrong not to have immersed his national campaign in this manure lagoon – has to allow himself to be coated in the bullshit; and the president has to ignore it as much as possible, since Romney’s whole goal is to simply HAVE this argument, and run the clock out, period.

    Aside from that, this article was interesting to me, as the young folks and I frequently discuss what the words “all natural” really means. (This discussion has apparently arisen a time or two at school, sparking their interest)

    an excerpt:

    The Tropicana lawsuits are partly the result of a 2009 book about the orange juice industry, Alissa Hamilton’s “Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice.” Hamilton, a doctoral student at Yale when she started researching orange juice, spent five years learning about the industry, interviewing Tropicana employees, growers, farmers, and others. Hamilton, who has consulted with one of the firms involved in a Tropicana lawsuit, said she would like to see Tropicana be clearer in its labeling and stop using words such as “fresh,” ”natural” and “pure.”

    “It’s not simply orange, it’s complicated orange,” she said. “I’m just trying to advocate for more honesty and more transparency.”

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  21. coozledad said on May 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Vandehei and Allen are longtime stenographers for the Republicans, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see them calling attention to themselves and Politco this way:

    I wonder which Republican rang up and dictated this to them. I hear they can take dictation real good.

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  22. coozledad said on May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Flamenco flashmob hits Bankia. These folks are good.

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  23. Connie said on May 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Jeff said For all the writers here, which is pretty much all of us but the most dyed-in-the-wool lurkers. I’m not a writer, didn’t think I was a lurker. I disagree with you about the pretty much all of us part. Many of us yes. All of us no.

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  24. JWfromNJ said on May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    @Brian S,

    So what’s the scuttlebutt out of Fort Wayne with the lady found dead in the 2012 Hyundai Equous? Her husband is the sales manager at Fort Wayne Hyundai, was or is in a lot of their ads. Family is connected to the family that owns KPC media and FW Business Weekly. Just seems like an odd one…

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  25. alex said on May 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Republicans who backed Lugar in the primary are campaigning for the Democrat to win this fall. Hot diggity!

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  26. Bob (not Greene) said on May 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    In other news, this headline made it through to print.

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  27. Bitter Scribe said on May 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    the young folks and I frequently discuss what the words “all natural” really means

    It means nothing. It’s purely a marketing concept.

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  28. Prospero said on May 31, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    This looks ike a pretty enjoyable outdoor gardening project, particularly for kids.

    Didn’t Nancy have something more or less about mudpies and a community garden or something like that a while back? When I see all natural I always finish the phrase with “plus all kinds of Godawful chemicals to make it last forever on the retail shelf or to not be babydoo ochre or some other incredibly unappetizing color.

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  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 31, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Connie, you may be putting the bar a little high. Writers write. If you write — and yes, I include heartfelt, coherent blog posts in that — you’re a writer. Getting paid is ideal, but as Cowley and many others say, it can’t be the only benchmark.

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  30. Kim said on May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    The only reason they’ll never get cable, BobNG, is because that place is the Center of the Universe.

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  31. Catherine said on May 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    The Bridge post was pretty scintillating to me, and what I appreciated most was the use of the phrase “early childhood education” instead of “childcare” or “kindergarten.” It was also a very concise and engagingly-written summary of all the good economic arguments for quality, universal early childhood education. Love economics or hate it, it’s the language you’re gonna need to speak to get the attention of those with the purse strings.

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  32. brian stouder said on May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    JW – no scuttlebut for you; but indeed, the story looks very strange, and has turned Pam’s and my head.

    I was taken aback by the neighbors who noticed the car sitting there – running – for more than 12 hours, before they took a closer look.

    The area isn’t particularly dodgey, although I think many renters live over there. I assume people become accustomed to ‘turning a blind eye’ to a certain amount of comings-and-goings (if not gunfire!)….but an idling car would draw my attention.

    Catherine – agreed, 110%!

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  33. JWfromNJ said on May 31, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    The latest in anti-gub’mint paranoia from the right wing. Cattle ranchers in Nebraska and Iowa believe that EPA pollution monitoring flights are spying on them:

    This GOP congressman weighed in:

    “Nebraskans are rightfully skeptical of an agency which continues to unilaterally insert itself into the affairs of rural America,” Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., said in a statement.

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  34. Prospero said on May 31, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    What sort of nefarious shit are those cattle ranchers up to in Nebraska and Iowa. They already have an immense gummint subsidy for grazing that cattle on public lands for nothing or nest to it. Are they pot farming?

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  35. alex said on May 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    From the political party that has unilaterally inserted itself up Nebraskans’ and rural America’s asses.

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  36. Deborah said on May 31, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    I’d be interested in hearing what you folks think about John Edwards acquittal. I have mixed emotions. While I think the guy is a complete shit I’m relieved that his younger kids with Elizabeth don’t have to live with the death of their mother compounded with the incarceration of their father. I also think it was an impossible case to prove because of the vagueness of the law in that area. Sad but true. Those folks don’t want to get caught doing something illegal so they make it as iffy as possible.

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  37. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    The charges should never have been brought, and jail’s too good for Haircut. He came out in front of the cameras after the “decision” and made it clear that public humiliation isn’t possible for this man.

    The Other America deserves a better advocate than this cretin. If he meant a word of his speech, he’d step out his back door, find a place of quiet, humble service, and get to work. But I heard the moral equivalent of “I will devote the rest of my life to finding Nicole’s killers,” and suspect the same outcome.

    Shall we start a pool on the month and day when Rielle first calls the police with a domestic violence complaint? I’m not saying he has or would, either, but she’d gonna make that call, I’m just sure of it. Give me March of 2014.

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  38. alex said on May 31, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    The spectacle of Edwards being tried for fucking a bimbo was reminiscent of what the Republicans did to Bill Clinton, and even if Clinton was a despicable prick, he came out smelling better than the purulent ass pustules who tried to bring him down. Henry Hyde, Bob Barr and others got their faces rubbed in their own shit and ended up stepping down.

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  39. Scout said on June 1, 2012 at 1:49 am

    John Edwards has already lost any respect he may have ever had, and is a proven horndog creep, but I think the outcome of this show trial was the right one. It never would have even happened if he was an R. Comparing his stupidity to OJ’s terrible crime is a bit of a stretch, IMHO.

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  40. MarkH said on June 1, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Doesn’t count for Nebraska or Iowa. Not any federal lands to graze on there; more likely state lands. You have to go further west to beat up on freegrazers.

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  41. Linda said on June 1, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Catherine @31, here’s another take on early childhood development work, and in another direction: teaching kids English who are coming from (increasingly) non-English speaking households:

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  42. coozledad said on June 1, 2012 at 6:47 am

    David Vitter paid hookers to rub his face in his own shit, and he’s still head of the Republican senatorial special ethics commission (Miss. Delta dogleg).

    What little earthly justice Edwards got is due to his aides blowing the whistle on him to the Obama campaign, just as he was starting to try to jockey for some position in the future administration.
    One day, when Edward’s ability to compartmentalize is diminished, he’ll be delirious with ghosts rending his waxy shell.

    Vitter, on the other hand, will be on Meet the Press with the freeze-dried mummy of John McCain, asking Dave Gregory to pull his finger.

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  43. brian stouder said on June 1, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Jtmmo, gimme Thanksgiving 2013 (similar to Woods); Edwards + holidays + extended family = National Enquirer front page, baby!

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  44. beb said on June 1, 2012 at 8:23 am

    John Edwards was already tried and crucified in the court of public opinion. Trying him in a court of law just seems like piling on.

    The travesty that is the Mackinac Island conference is that it hires keynote speakers like Zakaia and Friedman who are the epitome of The Village. They come with plans and formulas for fixing the future that have nothing to do with the reality of things. Who they should have are people like Paul Krugman who will explain to them in words small enough that they’ll understand, what is wrong with the present course. They need people like the historian Howard Zinn to narrate how history looks to to 99%. They need to be shocked, ashamed and embarrassed about the conventional policies they intend to continue. But that will never happen. The Villagers want to be told their the Greatest Generation, not that they’re “the most evil people in the world.”

    SpaceX has successful landed their Dragon spacecraft following a highly successful mission to the International Space Station. I am totally geeked about that.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 1, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Ingluvies? C’mon.

    The whole speaker racket just makes me tired. It’s the newest form of sinecure or royal allotment. You earn a certain degree of fame and official approval, and as long as you don’t mind live much of the rest of your life like Dave Bowman in a monochrome suite with perfectly presented tasteless food, you get these ludicrously large checks after 20-40 minutes of work.

    Jon Meacham is the only one I’ve seen in years who came down on the main floor after the speech and “Q&A” and talked to everyone who wanted to ask him questions or bounce ideas off of him, until the hall was basically empty. David Brooks was a close second, and I think his campus minder was more concerned with moving him along than he was. I missed Stan McChrystal, but was told he worked the campus cafeteria after his speech, and did three class/seminars beforehand, so I have to give him that. Jonah Goldberg asks the first few who come up post-talk “where can we go?” and ends up leading a large group to somewhere on the edge of campus, buys the first round, and talks with everyone until closing time (he’s been here twice).

    The rest do a timed, negotiated stretch of managed Q&A and bolt for their presidential suite always begging “I have to catch a flight early tomorrow,” $8-30,000 check in hand. It’s quite a racket.

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  46. brian stouder said on June 1, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Jeff – truth.

    Leaving aside Goldberg in particular, this is the thing that makes the Lincoln Colloquiums that I have attended so neat. The scholars all drop anchor for a weekend, and you can wander from one to the next and gab with them informally.

    I got the chance to politely argue with Michael Burlingame, about how unfairly and unduly harsh, in my view, he is to Mary Lincoln*; and before we were done talking, he not only inscribed my copies of both volumes of his (otherwise marvelous!) Lincoln biography, but he asked to borrow them for use during his lecture, as he didn’t bring copies and the venue didn’t have it!

    The whole atmosphere at events like that is just immensely pleasing and engaging (although Beb’s incisive points regarding the 30,000′ perspective that some speakers may bring to a discussion must be taken into account)

    *I learned that the favored retort, when in a contested discussion with a scolar is “where did you read that?”. In this discussion, I immediately pointed to Jean Baker, who wrote a great (and sympathetic) book about Mary Lincoln….and then I learned another go-to line in such a discussion: “Oh – she doesn’t use Primary Sources”…which Ms Baker most certainly did, along with secondary sources; which Burlingame also most certainly did in his magnum opus, too – but we digress!

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  47. Prospero said on June 1, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Mark H is right about public grazing. The cattle ranchers that suck the public teat do so in the western states, like almost all of Nevada. And they pay for about 1% of the cost, in fees that are set at minimum 19th Century levels. Those same cattle barons maintain their feed lots for fattening up the cattle for market with antibiotic-ridden corn feed in Nebraska and Iowa, presumably closer to rail and Interstate hubs, and to the tainted corn supply. At the feed lots, the industry wants to police it’s own compliance with laws and regulations that protect ground water and aquifers from the intense biopolllutants (nitrogen-rich cowshit) produced by heavy cattle concentrations. Yea, like Wall Street financial concerns police their own behavior.

    And that is welfare no GOPer is ever going to do anything about.

    On the spelling bee: A kid spelled “harengiform” correctly. Pronounce Herr-en=ji-form, meaning shaped like a herring. How the hell is this word not spelled Herringiform? And doesn’t this cast a sorry light on the sort of rote torture required to compete successfully in such contests. Nobody that had not studied that word, which is presumably a term of art in ichthyology, would ever get that spelling, since it makes no sense whatever etymologically.

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  48. Judybusy said on June 1, 2012 at 10:08 am

    It’s a bright and shiny day here in Minnesota. On the topic of peace and social justice, Mercedes Sosa has been a favorite for a long time. Here she is singing Gracias a la Vida. Enjoy!

    I don’t quite get all the vitriol aimed at Friedman. I enjoyed The World is Flat and it gave me a lot to think about. Even so, I also believe that Krugman is better-grounded and does more for people–especially women–on the ground.

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  49. Dorothy said on June 1, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Have to share this – two young lady teachers using a different way to teach quadratic equations:

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  50. Sue said on June 1, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Deborah, I direct you to the statement from CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), which says it all, in my opinion:

    “Today’s verdict in the trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards isn’t just a black eye for the Department of Justice (DOJ), it’s a knockout punch for the once vaunted Public Integrity Section. As noted by nearly every campaign finance lawyer who considered the matter, this was a lousy case. All the salacious details prosecutors offered up to prove that Edwards is, indeed, despicable, were not enough to persuade the jury to convict him.

    It is all the more astounding DOJ brought this case, given the Department’s refusal to prosecute other politicians, such as former Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), Rep. Don Young (R-AK), and now-deceased Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), all of whom engaged in much clearer crimes. Further, the Department botched its last prosecution of a high profile politician, now-deceased Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK).

    It is hard to imagine DOJ will retry Edwards, but given the choice to bring this case in the first place, anything is possible. You’d think DOJ would recognize there are more pressing issues confronting our nation than whether Roger Clemens took steroids and John Edwards hid his mistress, but maybe not. DOJ should apologize to the American people for wasting scarce taxpayer dollars and focus resources on serious matters like the widespread mortgage fraud or the financial crisis that harmed millions of Americans.

    While this case is over for Edwards, federal candidates remain in a quandary with little guidance as to what is and is not a legitimate campaign expense. If Edwards could be prosecuted for failing to report third parties’ payments to his mistress, there is no telling what else the Department will consider a campaign contribution. DOJ should immediately issue guidance on this point and explain if and when candidates can rely on the Federal Election Commission. The U.S. criminal justice system requires fair notice of what is and is not against the law. Sadly, DOJ seems to have forgotten this fundamental American precept. Luckily, the jury remembered.”

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  51. MichaelG said on June 1, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Don’t forget Robert Reich. He’s every bit as sensible, sane and grounded as Krugman.

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  52. Charlotte said on June 1, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Don’t get me started on the cattle ranchers. They’re always the ones bleating loudest about “freedom” from the government while demanding free land, and that we keep the native wild animals (like buffalo) off it. We discovered yesterday when we went off to explore a new drainage, that leases open on June 1 around here — we got stuck behind a bunch of cattle trucks on a normally-quiet road, then stuck behind a bunch of cattle, being driven by what looked like the weekend-warrior version of wranglers (probably amateur team ropers from the manner in which they were clumsily and unnecessarily swinging rope). Unfriendly to boot. Luckily we found a lot of morels, so we cheered up, but they pissed us off.

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  53. Sherri said on June 1, 2012 at 10:58 am

    My recollection of reading “The World is Flat” is that in addition to being superficial, Friedman got almost everything he wrote about the computer industry wrong. My vitriol is reserved, though, for his writing leading up to the war in Iraq.

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  54. Prospero said on June 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

    New album we just got in the mail, Arrow, by Heartless Bastards, and, yeah, CDs suck compared with vinyl, but they rule compared with the ultra-compression of digital downloads like mp3:

    Great female rock ‘n’ roll singers are few and far between, but this woman, Erika Wennerstrom’s, contralto is off the charts in my opinion. Compare this other-worldly, growling, snarling scary vocal to autotune horsecrap like gaGAH or her progenitor Madge, or bigbusty little girls like Beyonce and Katy Perry. This is gutsy music.

    Also got Tramp, by Sharon van Etten:

    Both of these women are also guitar-slingers as well as excellent singers. Neither album has a cut I’d skip. Like throwbacks to Chrissie Hynde and Maria McKee.And my new bike just arrived by Fed Ex. The staples are all missing from the exterior packaging, so much trepidation. But, it’s all there, undamaged. This bike is going to be an inside bike.

    Judybusy: I think a major problem with Friedman is that he used to be a fairly reliable source of fairly progressive (I still hate that Deanie-Baby term) common sense, and in the last two or three years he’s become indistinguishable from a milquetoast twit like David Brooks.

    Charlotte: The ranchers also expect the feds to shoot bears and mountain lions for them. And they shoot raptors, like eagles, from helicopters.

    Sue: Not only should Ensign be in jail, his parents should be in there with him.

    Our Amazon order came with two extra copies of Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin.

    edit: DOJ did about as well prosecuting Edwards as they did with Barry Bonds.

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  55. brian stouder said on June 1, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I thought this was funny; and indeed, I think the term “whiskey fungus” sounds like a book title.

    The lead:

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A group of Louisville residents is suing three distillers claiming ethanol emissions produced by making booze has caused a black, soot-like growth known as whiskey fungus to bloom on cars and houses.

    The residents claim that ethanol emissions by Diageo America’s Supply, Brown-Forman, and Heaven Hill Distilleries are not necessary to make or store liquor at three separate facilities in the city. The group claims that the whiskey fungus clung to metal, vinyl, concrete and wood and has marred their property and lowered its value.

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  56. Deborah said on June 1, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Brian, Brown-Forman was my client when I worked on the Labrot & Graham Woodford Reserve distillery museum in Versailles. They have deep pockets. And I never saw so many smoking employees as they had there. Their motto seemed to be “thank you for smoking”.

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  57. Charlotte said on June 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Prospero — ranchers have gotten better about bears and lions, at least down in our corner of the state. Wolves still make them pretty crazy (despite the fact that predation numbers are limited, and they’re compensated for losses). What really has the Cattlemen’s Assoc. going here in Montana is the buffalo issue — Schweitzer managed to get some quarrantined bison out of Yellowstone and up onto the Rocky Boy reservation, and there’s a movement afoot to reintroduce them on the Charles Russell Wildlife Refuge (which is, after all, a wildlife refuge). The cattle ranchers are hysterical about the prospect. Mostly because they know it’s a losing battle. But they seem to genuinely feel that all the public forage belongs to them and their cattle. Wildlife, apparently, impinge on their “freedom.” Sigh.

    Morels cheered us up, as did the spectacularly festive skunk we watched cruise down a gully below us. We saw lots and lots of bear sign. I was relieved not to see a bear, Himself was disappointed.

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  58. beb said on June 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Juudybusy, a couple of other posters covered most of the ground explaining why Thomas Friedman is not held in high regard by people on the left. Let me add one more bit. Thee “Friedman Unit” (AKA six months) was coined by blogger Atrois (Duncan Black) after noting that Friedman was in the habit of saying that “the next six months” will be decisive in our (mis)adventure in Iraq. Six months would roll around and nothing had changed. But Friedman would be back saying that the next six month would be decisive…. He was supposed to be a foreign policy expert, yet he seemed to know nothing about everything.

    MichaelG: Robert Reich would be another great speaker.

    I work right on the Detroit River. Every so often there is a distinctive, yeast smell permeating the area. I always thought it was a bakery somewhere nearby making bread. No, I was informed that it the Canada Club brewery across the river making their mash. I don’t find that yeasty smell pleasant and their plant is a long away from where I work. I would certainly hate to live close to them.

    Another for the “no way, no how” list would be Alan Greenspan, who is worrying today about inflating spiraling out of control. What inflation I wonder. Matt Taibbi devoted an entire chapter to Greenspan in his book, Griftopia. Greenspan never saw a bubble inflating in his life. Never acted except to pump more free money into the Financial markets. Taibbi called him the worst person in the universe. It takes something to earn that kind of a reputation.

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  59. Prospero said on June 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Ranchers are anti-Obama, and aside from innate racism, it’s because the administration wants to raise the ridiculous public land grazing fee from $1.35 per animal per month to $2.35. And hunting eagles for sport from choppers with shotguns is grotesque and repulsively pathological behavior:

    RMoney lies his ass off, pathologically. And Americans are so fracking stupid, they lap it up. The lie about jobs rebound and number of public vs. private sector is an almost unimaginably huge whopper:

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  60. Bob (not Greene) said on June 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Beb, that’s how the entire city of Milwaukee used to smell when it was the beer capital of the U.S. I remember going there when I was in college with some friends. We went on a brewery tour — a couple actually, we hit Miller and Pabst for sure. Maybe Schlitz. Anyway, that rancid yeasty smell was overpowering. I remember it distinctly.

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  61. EllenT said on June 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Molly Ivins was my favorite guest speaker at college. Delivered the main lecture and guest-taught a couple of journalism classes.

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  62. Prospero said on June 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    beb and Bob: Could be worse. When you drive through Richmond on I-95, it smells as if you are trapped inside a pack of cigarettes.

    Jack Anderson came to speak when I was in JSchool, at the height of Watergate on TV. He was uproarious in his unabashed enmity for Milhous.

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  63. Bob (not Greene) said on June 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Actually, THE worst place to drive through that I can remember as a kid was Gary, Ind. The sulphur smell would choke you and the sky was a hazy yellow from all the smoke pouring out of the stacks at the steel mills. You’d get another hit of that around Hammond/Whiting; not as bad but still brutal.

    Also bad was driving past chicken farms along the state highways in North Carolina on the way to the coast.

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    …and then the Schlitz plant right before the Skyway.

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  65. coozledad said on June 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Bob(not Greene): Speaking of the coastal stinks of NC, there’s a big paper mill on the Albemarle sound that produces the world’s largest egg fart forever. My college band traveled to Plymouth? to make an eight track demo in the early eighties. We asked the studio owners “Who lit that turd fire?” and they were too suffused with local pride and wannabee recording engineer douchebucketry to affect amusement. The demo was a stinker, too.

    Speaking of douchebuckets and recording, Gawker’s Kid Rock takedown today includes a link to Eric Clapton’s 1976 racist rant. Now I can be proud of the fact that I always hated that cheesy bastard’s Anglo-thug take on the blues, as well as the proto 70’s creepiness he lent the Beatles. “A Dose of Clap” would be a good name for any recorded restrospective of his junkie warbling, in my book.

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  66. Prospero said on June 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Well, Clapton was always an acolyte of BB King, which has always struck me as moronic considering truly great blues guitar players. Hubert Sumlin, Lightning Hopkins, Freddy King, Buddy Guy, John Lee, every one far better than BB. Of course Clapton warn’t no Peter Green, neither:

    Not even Jeremy Spencer. Clapton went off the rails entirely when he fucked up JJ Cale songs and put out faux country drivel like Lay Down Sally (truly puke inducing). Clapton’s best was the stuff Jack Bruce wrote for him, and Steve Winwood was responsible for much of the good guitar playing from Blind Faith. Watch Clapton’s set in The Lat Waltz. He looks the whole time like he thinks he’s too good to be there. With The Band, for God’s sake.

    Savannah used to stink pretty badly, but the paper plant installed efficient scrubbers, and the stench is a thing of the past. When the gorgeous “new” bridge was built, there was a newspaper contest to name it. One suggestion: The “Honey Did You Fart” Bridge.

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  67. Bob (Not Greene) said on June 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Jeff (TMMO), that was Falstaff!

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  68. coozledad said on June 1, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Prospero: My undergraduate adviser looked like a Greek Albert Collins, but shorter.

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  69. brian stouder said on June 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Well, I like ol’ Eric Clapton, and he’s an F1 fan – frequently showing up on the grid, at their various stops around the world – which may or may not bolster the case against him(!).

    As for things I have smelled while motoring here and there, Plymouth Indiana has a rendering plant that puts a generally terrible smell into the air, and which you will almost certainly smell if you get within a mile of it. In fact, good ol’ Logansport, Indiana has a Tyson plant that processes hogs, and when they’re up and running the smell is fairly heavy.

    On the other hand, I very much recall how good Battle Creek, Michigan smells, when you get close to the Kelloggs cereal operation.

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  70. Prospero said on June 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Compare this bad Nashville from Clapton:

    and this similar expression from John Fogerty:

    One is rock ‘n’ roll. One is decidedly nothing of the sort and fares very poorly in comparison. Which guy is enjoying himself?

    Hershey PA used to smell wonderful.

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  71. brian stouder said on June 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    This issue caught my ear yesterday – and despite the somewhat jimmied headline (Big Sodas Today; Bagels with a Schmeer Tomorrow?), it ends up being a pretty thoughtful article:

    an excerpt:

    The more ho-hum reality is that many of the policies restricting individual choice in the name of public health seem almost benign, like curbs on fireworks sales or enforcement of motorcycle helmet laws. But such moves represent a “constant creep until all of a sudden its extremely obvious,” said Mattie Duppler of Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative anti-tax lobbying group that regularly spotlights examples of what it considers overreaching “Nanny State” public policy.

    She points to moves by governments, like the city of Richmond, Calif., to impose taxes on sugary sodas and moves by states like Utah, which widened a ban on indoor smoking in public places to include electronic cigarettes that don’t emit smoke.

    The term “nanny state” always makes me sigh, and I absolutely knew it would turn up (and of course, from a “conservative anti tax lobbyist”*, to boot), but it gets better.

    *’lobbyist’ is a word I would have mis-spelled, if I were in a spelling bee

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  72. Connie said on June 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Midland Michigan used to smell awful too. When we lived in southern Indiana a very large egg producer, Rose Acres farms stunk up and brought bugs to many rural neighborhoods,

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  73. Bob (not Greene) said on June 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I know we have a lot of blues guitar aficionados here, but I wonder if there are any surf fans. Give these guys a whirl if you get a chance.

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  74. paddyo' said on June 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Charlotte @ 57: And you probably know that what makes Montana cattlemen crazy about wild bison is brucellosis, the CATTLE disease from Europe that ranchers accidentally introduced back in the day when they first brought their “range elk” into the West. Wild bison (principally in Yellowstone National Park, the largest remnant of the wild herds that once roamed the Plains) picked it up from them and/or from actual elk (wapiti) that range farther and more freely in that part of the country than do bison. But both wild species are victims, dare I say scapegoats, of a ranching-introduced disease (it causes infected animals to abort).

    More annoying is that no one has ever proven a single case of transmission of brucellosis from wild bison to domestic cattle. Elk are believed to have transmitted it back to the occasional cow here or there — again, it’s a disease that originated in domestic cattle, not wildlife. Its country of origin is believe to be the island of Malta.

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  75. brian stouder said on June 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    …and now I’m hungry for a burger and a chocolate malt

    (and of course, an extra large icy cold diet Pepsi)

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  76. Deborah said on June 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    The smelliest place I can remember is Mobile, Alabama. When I was a kid growing up in Miami we used to drive through Mobile on our way to the midwest to visit relatives every summer. We had to hold our nose going through that town. I think it was because of paper mills or something. And more recently driving past Colorado feed lots. Whew, terrible smelling for miles.

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  77. Prospero said on June 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Sure, Bob (NG): I like this one:

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  78. Scout said on June 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I’m from near Hershey. We were always proud of how nice that area smells. It smells better than Hershey’s chocolate tastes, that’s a fo sho. Give me Belgian chocolate any day!

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  79. Deborah said on June 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Bad numbers in the jobs report today. But watch this video of Krugman holding his own with a couple of austere Brits

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  80. JWfromNJ said on June 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    LA Mary and I grew up in neighboring NJ towns although a good decade apart but we share the same memory: when it’s about to rain you can smell cookies. The Nabisco plant that made all the animal cookies was nearby.
    Beyond my memory but still well recalled before malls and sprawl took over, many people recall Paramus and Secaucus NJ smelling of the pig farms that are long gone now.

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  81. ROGirl said on June 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    I remember driving through Gary on the way to Chicago and having to roll up the windows. We used to call it Stinky, Indiana, singing the tune to Gary, Indiana from the Music Man. Muskegon has a paper mill and it’s pretty bad when the wind blows in the wrong direction.

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  82. Brandon said on June 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    @Deborah: You’ve probably never been to Kau when the sugar mills were still in operation. It smelled like fermented cornflakes.

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  83. Kirk said on June 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    When the wind was right, we could smell the stink of the Mead paper plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, about 25 miles away. Driving past it was pretty bad; it smelled so bad you could taste it.

    At least that was an organic smell. During a stop at a gas station in Terre Haute, Ind., about 35 years ago, this horrible chemical smell about knocked us over. “Oh, that’s just the bug-spray factory,” the attendant told us. I wonder what the average lifespan was there in those days.

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  84. MarkH said on June 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Aromas remembered:

    The good: while in high school and college a bunch of us had summer jobs at a parts packaging factory in eastern Cincinnati. Right across the street was the huge Keebler plant. It ran 24 hours a day and the cookie smell always took the edge off the factory work drudgery.

    The bad: 1.) going to State College from Pittsburgh to visit my sisters meant going through Tyrone, PA and suffering its paper mill odor. 2.) Kirk, is that what we all smelled coming in to Columbus from the south on I-71 just about at the turnoff for route 315? Nothing said welcome home to OSU on Sunday nights like that paper mill odor. I never knew where it was till now.

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  85. Kirk said on June 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    MarkH, that could be it, though there’s a wastewater-treatment plant south of Columbus that used to be extremely funky a few miles south of where you pick up 315. That definitely wasn’t a paper-mill smell.

    The South Side long has had a rich combination of horrible odors, collectively known as the South Side Stink. That included a rendering plant that closed a little more than two years ago.

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  86. basset said on June 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    No, Prospero, EC was an acolyte of Freddie King. Big difference, surprised you couldn’t tell.

    I know, I know, if it’s not SRC, the MC5 or other such Detroit stoned hippie mush, how good could it be, right?

    Regional stink where I’m from was the oil wells in Plainville, Indiana, right above Washington on 57. I always thought Terre Haute smelled like canned cat food.

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  87. Linda said on June 1, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Bad smell: as a previous poster said, Gary, Ind. However, my old neighborhood on the east side of Detroit had it terrible–it was downwind from a rendering plant.

    Good smell: in Toledo, there is a factory that is now owned by International Multifoods, but once was owned by General Mills, and you could smell them making Cheerios.

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  88. alex said on June 1, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I know of the place in Plymouth of which Brian speaks. I put up the windows and have the ventilation on “recirculate” when I pass through that place. And I still hold my breath for the worst 10-20 seconds or so.

    And I remember childhood trips through Gary, before there was such a thing as the EPA. And the giant fish kills on the beaches around Chicago circa 1970, although I seem to remember that the alewives were an alien species and a horrible pest of some sort, so they didn’t get a lot of sympathy.

    And just now having ruminations on abortion. It appears quite common in the animal kingdom, and though I’m all for abortion rights, this is to my dismay. I’ve been delighted multiple times this year to find wildlife nesting, then disappointed to see them abandon their nests because the human traffic is evidently too close for comfort. I live in an idyllic place, at least as far as Indiana goes, and being able to watch nature up close is one of the few redeeming things about a place where my state senator wants to put creationism into public school curricula and a state rep from a nearby precinct thinks the Girl Scouts are the devil incarnate masquerading as innocent young children.

    Just now there was a very large baby bird—a hawk I’m guessing—that’s still very immature and clumsy at flight. It’s crying for its mother. It’s huge, but still small enough that it might have a difficult time taking on some of the other critters around here.

    Last week there was a duck that laid a huge pile of eggs under a canopy of hostas and day lilies. Right on the very edge of the driveway of all places. She hasn’t been seen for a couple of days now, probably freaked out by cars and people. The first time I saw her I was driving up the driveway and she flew out of her nest all curled up and looking like a cannonball.

    Before that there was a sparrow that built a nest in an outdoor wallhanging of woven evergreen boughs and dried flowers and berries—a grave blanket, I think it’s called. Mama abandoned a nest with a live baby and an egg. One other egg had mysteriously ended up smashed on the ground, perhaps yanked by a raccoon.

    The human race has always had a rather uneasy truce with nature. Alas, even those of us who embrace nature have a negative impact on it.

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  89. Prospero said on June 1, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Employment in the USA is under constant assault by the GOP. It is their primary campaign strategy against President Obama. The trickle down from the job creators scheme failed miserably to do anything except damage the middle class and distribute wealth upward from 2000-2008. RMoney and the GOPers want Americans to sign on for four more years of the same useless, dangerous bullshit. It leaves me with little hope for the nation if people are too gd stupid to see this happening.

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  90. Suzanne said on June 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Terre Haute, IN doesn’t smell anymore. It’s kind of the passing of an era since that was it’s signature for so many years. My son went to school there, so I know this first hand.

    There used to be a rendering plant between Fort Wayne and Chicago, near Plymouth on Highway 30. Lordy, did that ever stink, especially in hot, humid weather!

    We lived for a time in the south suburbs of Chicago. There was a bad smell there, but the locals didn’t even notice it they were so used to it. I think it was the landfill, which wasn’t too terribly far from there. The stockyards in Chicago were closed by then but the old timers could tell stories about the stick that created!

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  91. MarkH said on June 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    paddyo’ — The brucellosis issue is huge here in Wyoming as well. It is almost exclusively due to the potential transmission to cattle from elk herds. For that and other reasons, there is sporadic pressure to close down the elk feedgrounds here in the western part of the state, including the cessation of feeding in the National Elk Refuge as it helps spread the disease. Regardless of how it was brought into this country (while Malta is the acknowledged source, there is still debate about which animals), elk have been known to transmit it and we have had several cases in the state over the past 10 years or so, forcing cattle herd quarantines. Regular vaccinations via dart guns are conducted on the Refuge and feedgrounds to contain the problem. But the real puzzler is the perceived threat from bison. Yellowstone bison are known to carry or been exposed to the disease, even though, as paddyo’ says, there has never been a proven case of transmission from bison to domestic cattle. This is what puts the Montana ranchers in orbit, not competition with bison for grazing land. In the winter, when they wander out of Yellowstone Park into Montana, the state wildlife division just went in and sent them to slaughter, until last year. Governor Schweitzer put a stop to it. While it was ostensibly to side with the ranchers in stopping the spread of burcellosis, it ended up making both sides if the issue mad.

    Contrast this with the northern end of Grand Teton Park, where a small allotment of cattle still grazes alongside the bison herd there and there has been no talk of the brucellosis threat to these cattle.

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  92. coozledad said on June 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Barrett rips horribly disfigured forceps baby Scott Walker. Scott Walker doesn’t simply hire felons, he is one, if his campaign fund shell game is remotely in accordance with Wisconsin law.

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  93. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Bob (NG): amazing the tricks memory plays! Of course it was Falstaff, a brand I haven’t seen around for a long while. And I miss Old Style, or maybe I just miss the ads during Cubs’ games.

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  94. Prospero said on June 1, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    That Kid Rock slagging from Gawker coozledad was talking about. Mighty funny. More than anything else about the schlub, what annoys me is his absolutely shameless attempt to ride Seger’s coattails. Bob made some crap in his late career, but he also wrote lots of the best rock ‘n’ roll songs ever. Kid Rock is not fit to carry Seger’s jockstrap. And Kid’s Lee Westwood All America schtick is obnoxious and a far cry from Seger’s prescient song about the Teabangers decades before they swarmed out of the ground like bloodthirsty locusts:

    Far cry from this too:


    Damn they made some dogass beer in Milwaukee. The beer that made Milt Famey Walkus. Almost as good as the Pardon me Roy, ain’t that the cat that chewed your new shoes? joke and the great Fuckawe joke. It’s hilarious to this day to see photos in the Voice of hipsters drinking PBR because they convinced each other it’s cool. DSumb as grunt.

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  95. Prospero said on June 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Fox News is accusing Planned Parenthood of violating tax rules for political participation by running an anti-RMoney issues ad. Well, it was PP’s PAC that paid for the ad, and a few days ago, Fox ran an anti-Obama ad and claimed it was news, a scumbag trick for which the FCC ought to yank their licenses so fast it would make snap their pencil necks. Clueless aholes.

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  96. Dexter said on June 2, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Gary, Indiana , as I remember it in the late 1960s, was as if Hell had pushed itself to the open air and was holding court.
    Multi-shades of yellow, orange, gray, brown, all painted the canvas of the clear blue skies. The stench to us clear-lung folks from the pristine air zone of further east was bearable but disgusting.
    We got through Gary and as we were a little north of Wolf Lake we smelled the rendering plant which was so sickeningly foul with a putrid-sweet odor it really made us kids want to ralph.
    And the times we avoided the Skyway and came around on the Borman and eventually the Dan Ryan, we drove past the Sherwin-Williams paint factory. Jesus Kreist! How could anyone survive around that chemical airborne soup?
    By the time we got to the ball park or museum or wherever we had shaken off the nausea and had fun, but damn!

    Muskegon was awful…is that paper mill still there? In Fort Wayne, by Swinney Park off Jefferson Blvd., Rea Magnet Wire really stunk that entire area up badly.
    That paper mill on I-75 that has it’s vapors mix with the fog and cause frequent deadly compound crashes also stinks awfully.
    Now, where I live, Bryan, Ohio, our air is frequently perfumed by the heavenly smell of Dum-Dum suckers cooking. It’s wonderful. I am truly blessed.

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  97. Connie said on June 2, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Chicago magazine gives away some of the secrets of the Leelanau Peninsula.

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  98. brian stouder said on June 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Connie – I was thinking of you just now, when I saw this:

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  99. Prospero said on June 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Here’s a bulldog mascot:

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  100. MichaelG said on June 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Deborah, thanks for that link to the Paul Krugman discussion. You could talk to those idiots until you’re blue in the face (I’d more likely be red in the face) and never get through to them.

    I’ve been through a few sothren towns that sported paper mills, including Savannah. Ugh.

    Chino (just south of Ontario) is home to a huge dairy industry that dates to the nineteenth century. The smell of the animals and their pee is, or was, overwhelming. I have to admit that I haven’t been to Chino in ten years or so but you can still get a healthy whiff of it at the Ontario airport when the wind is right. The cows have been pissing on the ground for so long that it’s saturated. I’ve driven down a two lane road there in the rain and the ditches were filled with a mixture of piss and water. I understand there are similar problems with pig raising operations in Virginia and the Carolinas. Ugh again.

    Also, I remember the Sherwin-Williams paint factory on the south side of Chicago dumping paint into the Calumet river back in the fifties. One day the river would be red, another day it would be yellow and so forth. Three ughs and I’m out.

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  101. Prospero said on June 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    GOP economic policy is either bone-stupid or insane, unless one sees it as a deliberate strategy with a single aim: defeating the brown-skinned, Kenyan anti-colonialist, Muslim, Socialist President. Austerity is guaranteed economic auto da fe currently, and these treasonous bastards are willing to tank the economy

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  102. alex said on June 2, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    My memories of Gary in the ’60s are certainly sepia-toned, Dex, and everything else is in Kodachrome.

    Had a most unfortunate brush last night with a conservative woman. I should not have allowed myself to be drawn in, but when someone tries to tell me in complete earnest that Barack Obama is a Muslim and hates America, I have to ask that person how she could possibly take me for being so gullible. She was deeply offended at that and things only went downhill from there. When she started harping on the liberal media, I told her that I find Fox News so offensive to my sensibilities and insulting to my intelligence that I’m glade we don’t have a liberal equivalent. I don’t approve of using dishonesty in the advancement of the things I believe in.

    I’m sure I didn’t change a mind or win over a heart, but with any luck she’ll never go there again when I’m present.

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  103. brian stouder said on June 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Well, at work I’m known as a (quiet) Obama supporter, and every so often folks will run things past me to get a reaction. Often as not, I ignore and/or smile and move along, it being a work environment and all (not that this ever restrains the others, but we digress).

    And then sometimes I drop my chin and look (whoever) in the eye and ask them as sincerely and as brotherly as I possibly can if they really and truly believe (whatever horse-shit thing) they just told me.

    I was sincerely taken aback and surprised by the resurrection of all the “birther” talk a few weeks ago; the first I heard of its resurgence was when a particular fellow called me over and asked me whether I really believed that Obama was born in America! (see reaction above). I was genuinely astonished by the question; my first question to him was to ask what brought it up again. (I was thinking Drudge or National Enquirer or Fox had touted some “new” theory)

    His line of argument was – and I am very nearly quoting here – don’t you think the President of the United States can have any document he wants (a birth certificate, for example) produced?

    This conversation lasted maybe 3 minutes, and the other fellow had two colleagues nodding in avid agreement with all the junk-thought he was spewing.

    I asked him what the odds were – if there was anything at all to substantiate any part of his foreign-born-fever-dream – that Boehner’s unhappy tea party colleagues in the House would waste even a single moment before immediately launching a congressional investigation, if not a full-blown impeachment proceeding.

    There is no “there” there; we’re into tin-foil hat territory; and the “issue” will never go away, because President Obama will always be black and therefore if not genuinely illegitimate, then still not “one of us” nor a “real” American “in his heart” – as that one jackass in congress was caught saying last week.

    And indeed, Alex, it is early in the cycle, and we’ll hear lots more before we reach the end. I take some consolation from the idea that people who latch onto (and repeat) such ridiculous stuff were never going to vote for Obama anyway….and indeed, they may be too stupid to successfully cast their Romney ballot, so there’s that, too

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  104. LAMary said on June 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    The political dynamics in my office are about to change drastically. It used to be me, the religious right wing person who inherited buckets of money and congratulates herself for being so successful while condemning people who can’t afford healthcare/mortgage/food, and the sort of right wingish one who doesn’t let facts interfere with her opinions. She’s leaving and being replaced by a gay man who makes me look like a facist. This will be interesting. He stopped by to see where he’ll be sitting the other day and I told him about a conversation I had with the bible thumper regarding her belief that being gay is a choice people make. I asked her when she decided to be straight and how she came to that decision.

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  105. coozledad said on June 2, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I don’t even know what you’d tell a birther. They don’t really deserve any more than an off you fuck, and I doubt the sentiment “I’ve lived too long, read too much and opened myself up to too many delightful educational experiences to permit myself to be slimed by a third rate being who should be picking bugs off my organic produce” will do anything but provoke the pithicanthropenes to teeth baring and bottle throwing.
    “Eat shit and die, you sad, stupid monkey” at least has the virtue of brevity.

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  106. brian stouder said on June 2, 2012 at 9:19 pm


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  107. Bob (Not Greene) said on June 3, 2012 at 12:03 am


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  108. Minnie said on June 3, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Good smell: When I was a kid in Jackson, Mississippi, there was a cotton seed mill just northwest of downtown. What ever they were doing there smelled like baking ham.

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  109. Dexter said on June 3, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Bruce is summering across the pond:

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  110. coozledad said on June 3, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Bob(Not Greene): That’s a good one. The color saturation in those Gene Kelly movies!

    Mittens, chillaxin’ at the club:

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  111. Jakash said on June 3, 2012 at 11:24 am

    The fact that this birther nonsense is having another moment in the sun simply boggles the mind. I certainly agree with Brian “that people who latch onto (and repeat) such ridiculous stuff were never going to vote for Obama anyway” and there’s small consolation there. But that there are so many of them and they’re so shameless is disturbing.

    What’s telling to me is that this is the best they have to offer. I credit Obama for not making many actual serious missteps which would open the door to legitimate outrage, thus, the type of person looking to foam at the mouth about something has to settle for flat-out bullshit.

    As far as serious issues go, I just don’t see the economy doing much by the election to help Obama’s chances with people who base their decisions on reality. Why he’s held responsible for the hole he had to dig out of, why it’s off-limits to point out that Bush drove us into the ditch and Obama has simply been trying to tow us out, why, as Prospero refers to above, it’s considered acceptable for the Republicans to openly state that they’ve hidden the keys to the tow truck — all this annoys me a lot, but does not bode well for November, I fear.

    “What’s the matter with Kansas?” has become what’s the matter with the whole country, and unless more of the 99% actually get out and vote for their interests, instead of those of the 1%, or unless Romney picks She-Who as his running mate, which seemed to put Obama over the top last time, I think this election is up for grabs, which I don’t believe should be the case when you compare the two candidates objectively.

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  112. brian stouder said on June 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I think this election is up for grabs, which I don’t believe should be the case when you compare the two candidates objectively.

    jackash, agreed.

    One thing is certain, for me: if Romney gets elected, I will never, ever sound the way the Obama-isn’t-one-of-us people sound, with regard to Romney.

    If my dissatisfied fellow citizens outnumber those of us who wish to retain President Obama, and they decide to hire Romney, then that’s that.

    But I do reserve the right, for example, to question the legitimacy of Romney’s election, if he (for example) wins Florida by, say, 537 votes, after their Governor Lex Luthor purges a few tens of thousands of voters who are not white enough….but we’ll see.

    Meanwhile, and speaking of Florida, I am reminded of the approaching hurricane season…and the rapidly approaching release of whatever the United States Supreme Court decided regarding the Affordable Healthcare Act.

    And we know, beyond any doubt at all, that whatever the decision is, an absolute shit storm will overwhelm our popular media….and the ‘paid media’ (that both sides are heavily prepared for) will presumably explode amid that hurricane….and loads and loads of stuff that isn’t true will overwhelm us all, for 20 weeks

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  113. beb said on June 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Coozledad at 105 wonders what can you say to “birthers.” One might remind then that the President’s mother was an American citizen and by law that makes Obama an American no matter where he was born. One might also mention that if there was even a hint of non-Americanness to Obama Hilary Clinton would have used it in 2008 to win the nomination. She did so obviously there was no evidence. Also McCain was born in Panama and Mitt Romney’s father in Mexico. And none of that means anything.

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  114. brian stouder said on June 3, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    And, in furtherance of my morbid and slimy desire to be FIRST in the internet death-race (as that one block-headed lady went on about, in a link Nancy posted a week ago, and which ran in today’s Journal Gazette), there’s this, about Richard Dawson, who wasn’t THAT old, but who nonetheless lived a full llife:

    I won’t say he was like my father; maybe more like the uncle who always kissed everyone a bit too aggressively

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  115. Prospero said on June 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Another battle for freedom from regulation for financial industry crooks that GOPers will be fighting.

    The role of Richard Dawson’s lifetime.

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  116. Crabby said on June 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Most of the credit for the South Columbus miasma belonged to the now closed rendering plant that was just north of the sewage treatment plant at I71 & Frank Rd. The rendering plant closed after being flooded with raw sewage backup from the treatment plant.

    I work next door to the Mead (now Glatfelter) paper plant, it not as aromatic as it once was, Kinda smelled like kimchi in the fermentation stage of prep – like 10,000 tons on kimchi maybe – lots of sulfur containing compounds were used and produced in the pulp mill.

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  117. brian stouder said on June 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Further to the local aroma discussion, one which I forgot to mention, but which I was very directly reminded of this afternoon, is the very pleasant scent of baking bread in downtown Fort Wayne, when Perfection Bakery (or Aunt Millie, or whatever) is cranked up.

    Today I had to drive across town to get to my mom’s house, so that she and Pam and Shelby and Chloe and Aunt Deb (ie – “the Stouder women”) could saddle up and go to Pioneer, Ohio (or maybe Bryan, depending on where the party actually is) for a ‘bachelorette party’ for my niece Emily.

    Got stopped cold at Main Street, for a procession of motorcycles. I’m not sure what the parade was about, but I shut the engine off and watched several hundreds of the machines sail by, most with two people aboard. I was initially concerned that this was going to make me LATE (and Pam is always, always upset when I am late, which is fairly often in any case)…and then the baking-bread aroma descended upon me and it was all good!

    I think 15 minutes elapsed before it was over – trailed by two police cars with lights and sirens – and in all that time I was again struck by what must be an IRON-CLAD rule (if not, in fact, a law of the universe) in the world of motorcycles. In amongst all those hundreds and hundreds of machines were male drivers and female drivers and males with females hanging onto them and males with males hanging onto them….but not one single machine with a female driving it and with a male hanging on to her.

    It seems to be the one damned thing in the world that simply isn’t done.

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  118. Prospero said on June 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Brian, OK, but GOPers stole FLA in 2000 and OH in 2004.

    Suzi Quatro was born this date in 1950, in Detroit.

    Somewhere between Joan Jett and Leather Tuscadero. And Ron Howard looks hilarious pretending to play a guitar:

    Wet scrubbers are efficient at paper plants. Savannah has been stench free for a few years thanks to good corporate citizenship. I used to ride an MBTA bus past the New England Candy Co. fortress on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge every day, but no aroma was ever evident. Must have been making those wafers elsewhere.

    edit, Stouder, You and Proust.

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  119. Prospero said on June 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Wow, ex-OSU coach Jim Tressell is an ahole:

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  120. Prospero said on June 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    There’s a basic bargain in America. It says that no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re willing to work hard and play by the rules you should be able to find a good job, feel secure in your community, and support a family. I have worked in the White House since the day President Obama took office. At every juncture — every big decision, every major policy development, every negotiation — I have seen President Obama fight for the things that help our country preserve that bargain for all Americans, rich or poor.

    Valerie Jarrett makes the case for President Obama, but , of course, she’s one of his socialist, un-American fellow travellers:

    40th anniversary of maybe the most stunning (anti) war photograph ever made.

    Better living through DOW chemicals.

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  121. JWfromNJ said on June 3, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I am friends with the poor soul who is the AP reporter for Palm Beach County, and I’m your guy if by some fluke this hinges on Indian River County. We have an excellent supervisor of elections here and I expect to be done by 10:30 that night, which is great, but if we become the linchpin and i’m camped out for weeks the $100 AP pays doesn’t sound as attractive.

    Would we be as bad as the right if we decided to make Mitt a one term guy and place obstacles to our own people and economy in his path? Cause that’s what these T bag f’ers have done. DErailed economic programs and construction projects that would put people to work. Lingered on Soylndra when we should be looking at Chrysler and GM. I’m already deep into plan B, networking as much as a working journalist can with the only progressives in my county, although they are by Indian river county standards incredibly wealthy folks who won’t sit idle for four or eight years.

    But I am hopeful that once the ads get flowing, and Barack gets into campaign form after Labor Day, which is all the typical voter can remember besides American Idle (oh I sound like Caliban-Prospero now) we’ll pull this one out. Shit, reach into the Lee Atwater playbook and have us a good war. I was pissed to see the conservatives trying to turn the cyberwar with Iran into a fail, when it delayed them two years, and the only downside was Israel hacked the worm and let it escape. So our man Barry needs to reinevent himself and spell it out so the average voter knows – the failure to advance our economy is the fault of congress and if your congressman-woman was elected in 2008 or 2010 send them packing.
    And no, Prospero didn’t hack my account.

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  122. Prospero said on June 3, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Would we be as bad as the right if we decided to make Mitt a one term guy and place obstacles to our own people and economy in his path?

    GOPers have no control at all over the Teabangers, and those stupid racist schlubs will go after RMoney, because he is no more one of them than President Obama is. I’m looking into property near the beach in Baja. I’m getting old and could use Mexican health care.

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  123. brian stouder said on June 3, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Prospero, I had read an article or two about that photograph and that young lady, and that AP photographer, who snapped that photograph and then worked to save her life.

    The article you linked is superb.

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  124. JWfromNJ said on June 3, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Prospero, build a rental hut in baja and I’m there. I’ll help with the gardening.

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  125. Bob (Not Greene) said on June 3, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Pros, thanks for the link to the story behind that famous photo. As Brian said, it’s superb.

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  126. Deborah said on June 3, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Wow, another excellentt Mad Men tonight. Sally’s surprise is something 50% of the population can relate to and yet that’s probably a first for national TV.

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  127. MarkH said on June 4, 2012 at 3:03 am

    beb – Article two, section one, clause five of the constitution states, “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution shall be eligible to the Office of President;…”

    Now, while this, of course, has been subject to recent new interperetation, it has traditionally meant someone born on US soil, whether a state or a territory. Just being a citizen is not a qualification, or there wouldn’t be all this hubbub, would there? Also, McCain was born in what was then the Canal Zone, a US territory, of US citizen parents in the military. And Mitt Romney was born on US soil of US citizen parents, regardless of where they were born. Both men qualify, as does Obama. My question is, why did it take bama until 2007 to finally pull the plug on all the Kenya stuff.

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