Eh, I don’t know how much gas I have left in the tank tonight. How about some bloggage for an all-link post, eh?

(I went shopping after work. Trying on pants always takes it out of me.)

Has your neighborhood had any major blackouts this year? Get used to them.

Is having two Detroits — one relatively prosperous and safe, the other impoverished and lawless — a good thing? After all, a few years ago, it was all impoverished and lawless.

Clip art. Old clip art. Very entertaining.


Posted at 12:20 am in Current events |

65 responses to “Beat.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 19, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I grew up in northwest Indiana; U.S. Steel had twelve blast furnaces, there were probably close to two dozen when I was born from the southern edge of Chicago up around the lower bight of Lake Michigan to Gary and Chesterton, all running around the clock, seven days a week, with a few banked down over Christmas, but the glow distinct on the northern skies if there was even a hint of cloud cover. When you drove from Valparaiso into Chicago, you drove past a forest grove of belching plumes growing together into the sky, and from those plumes our snowfall from lake effect snow showers would have multi-colored streaks across our yards, and moms would tell us kids not to eat that stuff . . . so we would taste it, and then leave alone the tinny metallic remainder of what we’d scoop up.

    By the time I left for college, USS was down to two blast furnaces running, and about eight total on the lakeshore. There were a few execs with Bethlehem & Republic who saw the changes coming, and some union officials too, and pushed for mini-mills and continuous casting operations, but the execs were overruled by their boards and the union bosses (a few, but they were countable) were pressured by their rank and file and old guard officers to keep the focus on the biggest, oldest, most labor intensive technologies. There was dumping and price supports coming from overseas suppliers, but that was a handy excuse. The real gutting of Gary & Portage & Da Region was due to a broad-based unwillingness to change, which would have forced large numbers of people to accept new work conditions and different measures of productivity and effectiveness and compensation, which was strongly resisted . . . so they held onto the way things had always been done until the plant was outright shuttered, the furnace turned off, and the workers & management unemployed all together.

    There’s still steel made in northwest Indiana, but it’s essentially all made in continuous casting mini-mills, in batches, and no one runs a massive 24/7 glowering coal and coke eating beast that hurls light and smoke into the sky. They knew how to do this in 1965 or earlier, but they didn’t until they were forced to, management & union alike.

    We don’t do “transitions” very well in this country, probably in large part because we simply have less experience of it. The Old World has seen a few of these phase changes before, and while they may not have done it ideally or well, they’ve been through “the mill” more than once. And the Third World tears down and rebuilds the plant from bottom-up every year or two as a matter of course. The US has had one giant industrial fluorescence and is still struggling to finish our first transition that’s taken much of the last century to negotiate, leaving scars across northern New Jersey, Pittsburgh’s circumference, and my home region, let alone Detroit.

    I’m mildly encouraged by reading that one of the newer industrial giants, Boeing, has started building planes that have their ultimate recycling destinations designed into their construction. School districts are starting in Ohio to include in their building plans the question “what will this building be situated to do for the community at the end of its lifespan as an educational facility?” And I think labor & management in much of today’s industry has a different sense of shared interests than they did in the 1960s.

    But we’ve not entirely gotten past a national assumption that you build big, extract quickly, hold on tenaciously, then walk away at the end, lighting out for the territories as our next challenge arises beyond the horizon, and clean-up or re-tooling is for the suckers, or the losers. So we (all of us) walked away from Gary, and Detroit, and Birmingham, and the Ohio River valley from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, and from the ore-carrier lakeports, and headed for California and Florida and the Rio Grande. Cheap energy has made that “walk away” model feasible much longer than it should have been defensible, but the grim faced good news is that the era of cheap energy is passing (a last flail of natural gas and fracked-up petroleum notwithstanding), and the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle communities and plant facilities, not just commodities, is going to drive more of the economy.

    Meanwhile, I guess we blow the dust of the garden produce grown in abandoned lots of Detroit and hope it does no more harm than that colorful snow did to me, so far.

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  2. alex said on July 19, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Well, Jeff, the up side to all of this is that Mother Nature has healed herself in Da Region, Pittsburgh and northern New Jersey. In the ’60s no one would have thunk it possible. In fact, I remember the acid rain scourge of the ’70s in northern Indiana when precipitation was eating automobile finishes like a solvent. I also remember how grungy Pittsburgh was back then. Today it’s simply gleaming by comparison.

    Alas, the energy industry thinks retooling means fracking and shale oil and would love to dismantle the EPA and do far worse damage to the environment than steel mills ever did.

    Anyhoo, I’m heartened to see pockets of renewal in Detroit. Even Fort Wayne doesn’t have a Whole Foods. I’m impressed. And if I could have a luxo loft for $200K I could be persuaded to live in Detroit too.

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  3. beb said on July 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Blackouts? We’re having a brownout at home at the moment (I’m writing from work where the electricity is just fine). A blackout would be better. While the overnight temperatures were not as high as the night before’s It was still too high to sleep comfortably.

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  4. brian stouder said on July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Jeff’s post eloquently encapsulates the active ingredient – or over-arching mindset – that underlies Nancy’s links to the ‘two Detroits’ and the failing power-grid stories.

    Having said that, the image that is stuck in my mind, going forward, is the one in the black-out article, wherein a bald eagle dropped a fawn into a substation, thus blacking out a community.

    I mean, wow! Talk about your super-meta metaphorical (or allegorical) imagery

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  5. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Ann RMoney’s horse has it’s own jet, but it doesn’t do this. It line dances like Urban Cowboy. Less athletic, more GOPer. But as Michael Jordan once said: “Republicans buy shoes too.”

    Anyone that enjoyed the misadventures of William Boot in Evelyn Waugh’s great newspaper novel Scoop, might find this homage to Brit tabs amusing, even though it’s based upon current golf:

    Unlike their counterparts in America, the UK tabs don’t even pretend to report truth.
    another fine fictional presentation of the world of tabloids across the ocean is Martin Amis’ much-maligned Yellow Dog, which I found hilarious.

    different measures of productivity and effectiveness and compensation

    This phrase in Jeff’s well-reasoned and beautifully written piece above really caught my notice. Robber barons and hoarders of capital figured out how to divert the paths of compensation and productivity back in the mid-70s, and have perfected the divergence at present by a dire form of economic blackmail. Work 60 hr. weeks or we’ll find someone that will be happy to. From WWII until 1973 or so, productivity and compensation rose together at a steady rate. Since then, compensation basically flatlined while productivity practically doubled. The result, played out against a flat constant of capital expenditure, is monstrous redistribution, consolidation, and concentration of wealth upward. Of course, a rational capitalist would understand implicitly that this kills markets and demand, but the feudal masters have been blinded by greed and have pulled in their resources behind a guarded portcullis and ramparts guarded by a bought and paid for political organization. Behind the walls of the castle keep, the owners of the means of production toy with the economy and produce ridiculous thaumaturgical devices like derivatives that turn gold into economic pyrites.

    And that eagle that bombed the substation with a fawn was a messenger from Artemis the Hunter.

    Also from Jeff, and no one runs a massive 24/7 glowering coal and coke eating beast that hurls light and smoke into the sky. They knew how to do this in 1965 or earlier, but they didn’t until they were forced to, management & union alike. Well, China did into the 70s and flooded world markets with cheap steel from old production models on the backs of what amounted to slave labor and wages.

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  6. brian stouder said on July 19, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Bullshit alert!! Bullshit alert!!

    Key passage:

    “We are not a political institution,” Scalia said. “I don’t think any of my colleagues on any cases vote the way they do for political reasons.”

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  7. Joe K said on July 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

    If anyone is a Indy car fan. I am currently sharing space in a fbo with Ryan Hunter Ray, seems like a nice kid.
    Pilot Joe

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  8. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Productivity growth has frequently been labeled the source of our ability to raise living standards. This is sometimes what is meant by the call to improve our “competitiveness.” In fact, higher productivity is an important goal, but it only establishes the potential for higher living standards, as the experience of the last 30 or more years has shown. Productivity in the economy grew by 80.4 percent between 1973 and 2011 but the growth of real hourly compensation of the median worker grew by far less, just 10.7 percent, and nearly all of that growth occurred in a short window in the late 1990s. The pattern was very different from 1948 to 1973, when the hourly compensation of a typical worker grew in tandem with productivity. Reestablishing the link between productivity and pay of the typical worker is an essential component of any effort to provide shared prosperity and, in fact, may be necessary for obtaining robust growth without relying on asset bubbles and increased household debt. It is hard to see how reestablishing a link between productivity and pay can occur without restoring decent and improved labor standards, restoring the minimum wage to a level corresponding to half the average wage (as it was in the late 1960s), and making real the ability of workers to obtain and practice collective bargaining.

    From this:

    Isn’t that Pacific Standard article a pretty fair argument for the sort of infrastructure spending the President favors? And ultimately, isn’t it a cautionary tale about privatisation of something government would probably do better?

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  9. brian stouder said on July 19, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Hey Joe – and RHR is on a hot streak, with the championship lead!

    Tell him “Hello!” from the cheap seats; and that when he wins at Indy, keep the trophy away from Michael!

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  10. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 11:08 am


    Scalia should have suffered the fate of the wicked Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon as those words left his mouth. Meretricious, mendacious SOB.

    Just canceled my Rolling Stone subscription:–20120718

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  11. Joe K said on July 19, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Marco and Michael just stopped in also. Michael told Marco and the boys to hit the head, their going to Edmonton and its a 4hr flight. I leave the celebrity’s alone, unless they look bored or sit down close. Did have a nice chat with Jeff Burton once in Pennsivalnia. He is NASCAR driver
    Pilot Joe

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  12. brian stouder said on July 19, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Jeff Burton is the one NASCAR driver that I really like…well, him and his former team-mate, Mark Martin.

    When they talk to the cameras, they come across as genuine professionals, and not some hyped-up ‘bad-boy’ character.

    Really, DE Junior impresses me, too, in that series

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  13. coozledad said on July 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

    If you thought for a minute the Republicans would ever abandon the antisemitism at the core of the party’s anima, remember: all that apocalypse today, apocalypse tomorrow and apocalypse forever noise for the benefit of the snake handlers may force them to take on a token Jew here and there, but ultimately, their intellectual heritage derives from the American Legion of the 20’s or the Klan, if you want to get all redundant.

    When you hear one of these Hohenzollerns making concessions to any modern sensibility, remember that their views are primarily shaped by a kind of feudalist lechery:

    That’s straight out of Der Sturm.

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  14. Catherine said on July 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    My favorite comment from the article Coozledad links: “Am I the only one that finds it a tad weird that we know where she sent her kids to summer camp but we can’t find out where SwissMitt hides his vulture fund money or if he pays any taxes?”

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  15. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Hohenzollerns = great catchall term for reactionary GOPers.

    One of my prized possessions is a Wobblies songbook with tablature given me by my first and only guitar teacher. Lyrics and chords to Joe Hill. Guess I should self-deport. Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador? Rmoney wins, I’m gone, fast as I can sell this condo.

    Maybe the Daily Caller will lobby for this guy to testify at Groshen’s confirmation hearings:

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  16. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    GOPers lying about stimulus spending:

    This ad is bought with superpac cash. Seems pretty partisan and well-coordinated with the RMoney campaign to me. Issue ad? Not fracking hardly.

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  17. brian stouder said on July 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    “Am I the only one that finds it a tad weird that we know where she sent her kids to summer camp but we can’t find out where SwissMitt hides his vulture fund money or if he pays any taxes?”

    …or if, in fact, he’s a billionaire instead of just a hundreds-of-millions aire..

    Question: Why does Romney want to be president so badly?

    I mean this literally; the guy is clearly intelligent, and plenty wealthy enough to afford lots of other intelligent women and men to help him.

    So, when the governor lost the Senate race to Teddy – and Bain was a big part of that, and lost the Republican nomination in ’08 (with Bain again being an issue), and after getting pounded on Bain (etc) in ’12 before finally outlasting the clown-car field and their relentless attacks on his vulture capitalism, didn’t it occur to him – at any point – that releasing tax returns (and whatever ghosts of ‘Christmas past’ that they contain) would inevitably become an issue?

    In other words, why not either decide to take the hit early, or else skip the whole thing?

    (And this is where the retroactive conspiracy theories will begin, right after Romney finishes his concession speech on election night)

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  18. basset said on July 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Prospero, surely that songbook’s out of copyright by now, if it wasn’t in the public domain to begin with… power to the people and all that. Post some scans somewhere…

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  19. Deborah said on July 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I read this on the CNN website yesterday (I think it was yesterday). It’s one of the best explanations I’ve seen about what could be at the least embarrassing in Rmoney’s tax returns:

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  20. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    What Brian says @17. RMoney has a zero tax paid year or two in his recent past, and foolishly thought he could keep it secret.

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  21. beb said on July 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Ann Romney has another Marie Antoinette moment today when asked on ABC’s morning show if her husband was going to release any more of his tax returns. ‘We’ve Given All You People Need To Know.’ By ‘you people’ did she mean the black reporter who was interviewing her or just anybody with less than a quarter billion dollars in net worth?

    Since Ann Romney can’t keep her patrician voice shut I’m surprised Team romney ever lets her out to be interviewed.

    Pros, I don’t think we should assume that a fire-gone conclusion that Romney had a $0.00 tax bill somewhere in the last few years. As some economists have pointed out that would be pretty hard to achieve even for a man who mostly earns money from capital gains and carried interest. It’s more likely that in some year, 2009 seems most likely he only paid 3-5% of income in taxes which would just as embarrassing as paying zero taxes.

    Likewise it seems unlikely that McCain saw anything in Romney’s 23 years of returns that prevented him from being his VP pick. Rather, McCain was a colorless, unappealing character and there was advantage to putting another colorless, unappealing character on the ticket. They needed someone to excite the base and Palin was exactly the person to do that. By the time they found out just how uninformed she was about anything, it was too late.

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  22. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Lost in the Ozone Happy 68th B’day to George Frayne, Commander Cody to you, who has an MFA from U of M, aside from being a wildman rocker. Saw CC and the Lost Planet Airmen once at UGA. Spectacular show opening for Doug Kershaw.

    Commander apparently made the video too.

    And, I really liked Batman Begins better than the sequel, but since the tertiary edition has Rash Limpballs all hot and bothered by naming the villain Bane, we’re going to see it this weekend:

    You’re probably right Beb. But Nelson Bunker Hunt paid 0 tax the year he and his brother tried to corner the silver market back in the Nixon years, and he had mor money than RMoney. It could have happened for Willard, in the years following McCain’s loss. I’ll put a link in a minute. Anyway, his recalcitrance on the subject makes it fun to speculate. If it’s true and somebody proves it, he must be toast.

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  23. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    How Mitt might have pitched a perfect 1040:

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  24. Sherri said on July 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Romney has been running for President for years. Why would he not clean up his tax returns? He’s got boatloads of money. He couldn’t stand to kick a few more dollars into the public till for 2009 knowing he was going to run for President in 2012? It’s not like he didn’t know it was typical to release tax returns, since his own father started the practice.

    It makes you wonder if his hand wasn’t forced – if that Swiss bank account wasn’t as clean as it could have been. We know he had a number of dealings with UBS, and 2009 is when UBS was forced to turn over names to the IRS. The IRS offered amnesty; pay us now, and we won’t come after you for penalties or criminal charges. Maybe the issue is not that he paid little to no taxes in 2009, maybe the issue is that he had to make up for hiding assets from the IRS in the past.

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  25. Sue said on July 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    A couple of things:
    I was surprised to find, when the Emmy noms came out today, how many categories contained at least a couple of favorites for me. It’s an exciting list. The weird thing is that I’d love to see lots of wins for Breaking Bad, a show so upsetting to watch that I haven’t seen it in two years.
    George Zimmerman is an awful, awful, horrible man.

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  26. Dexter said on July 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    But Sue…George Zimmerman is saying he “prays for the Martin family every day…”. And, of course, we are told by the medicos that candy kills us, and remember, Trayvon was armed to the teeth, maybe not just TO the teeth with Skittles, a particularly nasty killer candy, he probably was armed IN the teeth with Skittles. He had to be shot for that.

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  27. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Eugene Robinson on William Raspberry, a great journalist.

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  28. brian stouder said on July 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    That was a great link, Pros

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  29. Jakash said on July 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    That was a fantastic essay, or whatever it was, at the top, Jeff (tmmo). Thanks for taking the time to post it. I always wonder about the state of those mills as I close the windows while driving by Gary. I certainly remember when there used to be a lot more flames shooting into the air when we’d go by. And it’s always kind of creeped me out that “Harbor Country”, one of the places Chicagoans escape to in the summer, is downwind of what’s left of the mills. Also makes me wonder about the quality of the water and beaches in that area. Some of the Dunes National Park is so close to smokestacks, it’s remarkable. Your comment about the colored snow just about makes me cringe.

    Of course, that’s all window-dressing compared to your main point, which is compelling and depressing. I just don’t see how we ever get back to an economy featuring a prosperous and growing middle class in this world of “find me the country where we can pay people the least to make this, and we’ll pocket the difference” globalization.

    Re: your comment about DSL yesterday, alex. We have DSL, too, and have the same problem with YouTube, etc. Sometimes while watching videos, it seems like the audio is accompanying a long series of still photos. Evidently, we’re too cheap to do anything about it, however…

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  30. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Rep. Steve King (Cretin, IA) turns Congress into a death panel:

    Of course GOPers also used the Farm Bill to trash WIC and food stamps, because GOP voters don’t use that sort of handout, even when they’re infinks.

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  31. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    RMoney is a lying sack o’ compost, parbly laced with BGH and antibiotics. A clear and present danger to America.

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  32. coozledad said on July 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Close personal friend and fundraiser for the Romneys confirms that the Romney campaign is prepared to go full metal O’Keefe. Even down to the rape boats cabins.
    But you people know all you need to know about his relationship to the Romneys, so shut up.

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  33. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    While RMoney whines about Obama’s ads, he’s running an ad that misrepresents comments by the President to the point they wind up unrecognizable. What’s new. The first anti-Obama ad the bastards ran pretended the President quoting McCain was Obama’s own words. Fracking pathological liar:

    Whoa cooze, GOPers will claim that cabin was built with funds from Clinton’s bailout of the Salt Lake Games. Guy sounds like the villain in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. As $Palin would say “Pallin’ around with rapists”.

    Genuine simulated impromptu music event in Times Square:

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  34. brian stouder said on July 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Cooz – THAT slimeball-guy gives slime a bad name. You just gotta exhale, when reading the following, which shows that the voter-supression/papers please has certain other upsides for Republicans, besides just eliminating the votes of American citizens who are probably members of the Democratic party:

    In another case, Peterson allegedly met a woman online, went to a movie with her and then threatened to report the woman to immigration authorities after learning her visa had expired. The Tribune reported he allegedly then drove her to the cabin and sexually assaulted her there.

    And then his last facebook entry unintentionally presented almost the correct imagery, as he becomes entangled in his own twisted web of violent crimes against women.

    His most recent Facebook post was at 3:49 p.m. on Wednesday with an image of a spider in a web. The photo mocked a recent speech by President Obama with the text “Nice Web. You Didn’t Build That.”

    Nice web, indeed. Maybe the bastard would get away with this, if he had committed these acts at Cranbrook, eh?

    Edit: Prospero, I think you win the thread (pardon the spider pun) with the Palin-esque “Palin’ around with rapists” thing. That photo with Mitt and the rapist shit should be in the next attack ad from a Democratic pac.

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  35. coozledad said on July 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    George Mcgovern: 35 missions in a Liberator, Distinguished Flying Cross, and 90 years old today.
    Dick Nixon has been dead and roasting on a spit in hell for how long now?
    Republicans just don’t know what it’s like to be a real American.

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  36. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Wonder if the Peterson guy ever borrowed Mittens’ state trooper costume to further his rape games.

    Joe Walsh vs. Tammy Duckworth:

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  37. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Flannery O’Connor as a visual artist.

    If McGovern had come along to run against Poppy Bush, GOPers would have swiftboated his military record when it was Poppy that bailed out on his crew.

    From comments at cooze’s link:

    McGovern also tells a hilarious story about how he’s responsible for Norman Podhoretz becoming a wingnut. It seems they were having lunch once, and McGovern pointed out a truly horrifically ugly woman seated at a nearby table. It turned out to be Mrs. Podhoretz, the equally loathsome and wingnutty Midge Decter.

    That’s funny.

    Lowest American TV moment ever:

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  38. ROGirl said on July 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I can’t comment from work any more.

    My power went out late on Tuesday night after a fire at an electrical substation, due to a blown transformer, so they shut off a lot of customers in the area. Mine came back on yesterday afternoon, but some people didn’t get theirs until today. Antiquated equipment that couldn’t keep up under the power demands in 100 degree heat?

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  39. Charlotte said on July 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Our local wingnut politician acts out — cops have to take him “to the ground” for refusing to honor the road blocks during a grass fire. SF Chronicle picked it up —

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  40. Jolene said on July 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Re Jeff’s post at the top of the link, I think the reasons we don’t do transitions well are, at least in part, built into the American ethos. First, there’s rugged individualism, which leads to the conclusion that people deserve what they get and get what they deserve. Why bother to make rational plans or adjust policies based on evidence if the outcomes we have are more or less what God ordained. Also, there’s good old American exceptionalism, which holds that we are distinct from and better than all other nations. Every time I hear Mitch McConnell and John Boehner say that we have the best health care system in the world, which they do frequently, I want to throw a shoe at my TV. But heaven forbid that we would try to learn anything from other countries that provide universal health care–with better health outcomes–while spending a lower proportion of their GDP on healthcare than we spend while leaving millions uninsured?

    When significant portions of the citizenry and many policymakers are unwilling to contend with empirical facts, it’s pretty hard to develop rational strategies to deal with changing times.

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  41. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Outstanding essay on Finnegan’s Wake by Michael Chabon.

    Michigan politics as FUBAR as Wisconsin.

    heaven forbid that we would try to learn anything from other countries that provide universal health care–with better health outcomes–while spending a lower proportion of their GDP on healthcare than we spend while leaving millions uninsured?

    Jolene, that is unacceptable failure to buy into American exceptionalism. Along with GOPers inner Calvinist and Hobbesianism. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

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  42. Jolene said on July 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks for linking to Gene Robinson’s piece on William Raspberry. Pros. It’s a great commentary on a well-lived life.

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  43. Sherri said on July 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    But just because we won’t invest in infrastructure doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be sucked out of the system by the banksters! We may not be able to improve the grid, but we can always manipulate the market!,0,4749635,full.column

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  44. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I was a religious reader of Raspberry’s columns. He was a journalistic hero of mine. Dionne has anoth nice appreciation piece:

    Charlotte: If that asshat were black, he would have been tased and aerated, bro.

    Elizabeth Warren takes no prisoners:

    That’s why I sent cash to her campaign. (Also because Scotty is a dildo.)

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  45. mark said on July 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm


    Which countries would you prefer to go to for your own health care, or that of your children, if that were an option?

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  46. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Brilliant PSA from America’s dentists:

    Typical whited sepulcher GOPer.

    Positive proof that Senate GOPers are aholes out to sabotage the US economy for a ludicrous tax break. Norquist pledge vs. Article III, Section 3, US Constitution. This is treasonous behavior.

    Mark, I’d take Canada, Mesico, Costa Rica and any of the Scandinavian countries. They all have longer lifespans and better infant mortality rates than the US and care is universal, covered by taxes. And don’t bother with that Newsmax shinola about how infant mortality is quantified. It’s tortured.

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  47. MarkH said on July 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I, too, mourn Mr. Raspberry and enjoyed the eloquent tributes posted here. I first heard abut him when I left Columbus, and in my first assignment in an oil exploration job that eventually took me out west. That assignment was in Raspberry’s home town of Okolona, Mississippi. The local paper carried his column whenever it ran, noting he was a native son, something I thought astounding considering the rampant racism I encountered while working there. He was an excellent writer with a wise and fair outlook on his subject matter.

    Having said, here’s a surprising example of his eloquence and fair-mindedness from about 20 years ago. I didn’t expect anyone else to post it here (it certainly was not in any of the obituaries or other tributes), especially Prospero, whose head might explode. But here he is on Rush Limbaugh, like it or not:

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  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
    Alive as you or me;
    Says I, “But Joe, you’re ten years dead,”
    “I never died,” says he.
    “I never died,” says he.

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  49. MarkH said on July 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Let me add my appreciation to Jeff tmmo for post #1 today. It sure hit home with me and brought back lots of memories of growing up in Pittsburgh. I’m sure Dorothy and Jason T. can say the same, especially Jason. Like him, my roots are in the Monongahela Valley. We used to visit the grandparents in McKeesport and watch and listen to the mills, where my grandfather spent his working life, overlooking the river from atop Lee Street. Like Jeff said, they worked 24/7 and the glow would fill the night sky. There is an excellent, if exhaustive, book on the decline of the US steel industry, particularly in the Pittsburgh area, which details what Jeff described, “And the Wolf Finally Came”, by John Hoerr.

    And, yes, Pittsburgh has come out of it all very nicely and is a beautiful city now.

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  50. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Mark, Rush has had 20 years to ferment in his own repugnant juices since Raspberry wrote that. Since then, Younger Rush has been locked away somewhere while his picture pranced and burbled borborigmously in public and became scarred by it’s own innate evil. He’s a revolting caricature of himself now, and his racism is a large portion of his being. Mr. Raspberry would be as repulsed as any other reasonable human at the impious slavering hillbilly heroin addict cretin Limbaugh has become.

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  51. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    RMoney ads and selective editing:

    And shouldn’t the US House of Representatives censor Bachmann for her outrageous McCarthyism outbreak? What a shitheel. Why doesn’t Hillary rip the harpy a new one?

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  52. DellaDash said on July 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Jumping in, having only skimmed the comments, but thought this might amuse y’all:

    ‘The Nashville Scene’ just came out with its annual “You are so Nashville If…” issue

    “You are so Nashville if…You felt embarrassed walking out of Parnassus Books with ‘Fifty Shades of Gray'”

    oh, here’s another one:

    “You are so Nashville if…You’re from Detroit”

    Most of this year’s submissions don’t come close to Cooze’s faintest effort to be offensively snarky…

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  53. DellaDash said on July 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Sue – I had to stop watching ‘Breaking Bad’ too, when I finally realized they intended to stay true to the title to the bitter end…too, too depressing

    Zimmerman makes me want a giant cockroach to climb up on the kitchen counter so I can hawk and spit on it

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  54. brian stouder said on July 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    MarkH, I think this is the ‘nut paragraph’ from that 20 year old essay; and as Prospero says, a whole lot has changed in the past 20 years:

    He seems to use his wit, his acute sense of exaggeration and his (yes) intelligence almost exclusively to attack the positions of those my friends and I consider “good guys.”And he seems to take himself less seriously than a lot of other talk-show types. Indeed, even when his audience is behaving as though his opinions are a matter of the life or death of the Republic, I get the impression that Limbaugh is mostly having fun.

    That may well have seemed true in the early 1990’s, but those “other talk-show types” have radically changed; Glen Beck shot across the airwaves and burned out (more or less) like a meteoric rock, but not before other right-wing talkers became (and have since remained) even more radicalized.

    Bottom-line: I think Rush takes himself much more seriously than he used to*, and his audience – mostly old white guys like me, but who hate Americans who aren’t white, and who think women – even white women!! – are stupid bitches who should shut their yaps (and who really don’t know how to properly vote), thinks he has pundit-ical infallibility.

    *The Republican takeover of control of the US House of Representatives in 1994 went straight to that guy’s drug-addled head, and it’s only worsened since then. Elected Senators and Representatives call in and apologize to him, when they stray too far from his prescribed positions.

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  55. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    W and the GOP kiboshed the FEC, maybe for good, but the latest RMoney ad is such a masterpiece of mendacity it couldn’t get past the FCC:

    Any media outlet that doesn’t air this bull feces out is aiding and abetting the lowest instincts of the very same GOP that rolled with Swift Boat. Scumbags.

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  56. Jolene said on July 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Which countries would you prefer to go to for your own health care, or that of your children, if that were an option?

    mark, the reports I’ve seen indicate that the Netherlands and France are the countries most worth of emulating. You can get a sense of how they differ and where we stand in relation to them in this news article and this brief report from the Commonwealth Fund, which is an American foundation concerned with healthcare.

    Note that I am not saying you can;t get good healthcare in the US. You absolutely can. But, as a nation, we are paying too much for too little–both in terms of quality and in terms of the proportion of people who have reliable access to care.

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  57. Basset said on July 19, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Della, you may remember that the You Are So Nashville entries a few years ago were so weak that no prize was awarded. Not a whole lot better this time around. Best one ever: “You Are So Nashville if you go to a Hank Jr. concert and pass out before Hank does.” Which I have, just about.

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  58. DellaDash said on July 19, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Ha ha, Basset

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  59. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 19, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    John Rawls’ “veil of justice” has always struck me as a useful ethical tool: in this case, the application would be “if you didn’t know what social status/class you would be dropped into, which country would you want to be randomly placed in?”

    What often is not mentioned in comparisons of national health care systems is that our stats almost always include the entire population, including undocumented residents, aka “illegal aliens,” while most other countries either have little or no people in that category, or specifically exclude them from statistical information on the country (or both). So infant mortality, benefits vs. expenditure, etc. are all weighted against the US situation. It’s like last year when much was made of a study that claimed to show how Chinese high schoolers were twice as smart, math/science-wise, than US kids; finally, media outlets admitted that the crosstabs clearly showed that the measures were of a set of magnet schools in the Shanghai vs. the aggregate US score, Texas and Arkansas and New York and Florida alike, with every student in the final number. It’d be like comparing Seattle private high school kids’ math achievement scores to almost any other whole country. Singapore ruthlessly screens low-achieving kids out as “special needs” and only publishes test scores for the “country” (city-state) for the top half of all students as if it were their whole population.

    There’s a story in the recent spate of stories about “the average Canadian is wealthier than the average US citizen,” where not only illegals but the First Nations peoples are factored out of the Canada number, but the US Native American population is included in the whole along with every other Census enumerated individual. Anyhow, it’s always worth looking closely at the basis of commonly quoted statistics, but when the tabs are hard to find, they tend to get overlooked if not intentionally glossed over to make a quick point.

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  60. brian stouder said on July 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    “You Are So Nashville if you go to a Hank Jr. concert and pass out before Hank does.”


    I think the Allen County, Indiana equivalent might be – You Are So Allen County if you’re an elected official and you get pulled over at 2am for suspected DWI, and you think it’s perfectly normal to call the sheriff at that hour; and you’re shocked! Shocked! to learn that people then have the nerve to think that you got special treatment!

    And – you’re even MORE white-bread Allen County Indiana if your defense is that – yeah, you WERE drinkin’, but you WERE NOT “drunk”; and anyway, if you were driving erratically it was only because you were TEXTING while you were driving!! Because Texting-While-Driving is no crime, right? Err…uhhhh….

    an excerpt:

    “I may have swerved. I know at the time and I shouldn’t have done this obviously, but I was receiving some texts from the individual that I was going to take my daughter and her friends to her home. So, I could have been looking at a text,” Moss replied.

    “Did it ever come across when you were sitting in the car or outside of the car when it was taking a long time that 2:30 in the morning is that the best time to be calling the sheriff,” Reust asked Moss.

    “I suspect that the Sheriff probably gets a lot of calls in the middle of the night. That’s part of being sheriff of Allen County for a variety of reasons. Again, hindsight I wish I wouldn’t have called him (Sheriff Ken Fries).”

    “Tying up the loose end here, we have this complaint now going in front of the ethics commission on Friday. Do you see that you did anything wrong,” Reust asked Moss.

    “I think based on all of the information that is out there I would certainly hope that they would essentially dismiss it and recognize it’s a former disgruntled employee of the county that filed the complaint,” Moss replied.

    What a maroon!!

    edit: Jeff – Huzzah!! Huzzah!! Huzzah!!

    I have finally stopped exclaiming something or other (usually “LIES!! DAMNED LIES!!” and/or “PAY YOUR TAXES, AND THEN WE’LL “DO THIS”!) everytime those dishonest and essentially meaningless Exxon “public service” commericals come on and show how terrible US test scores are compared to every other damned country on Earth, capped off by “Let’s do this”. The net effect, to me, is that it’s simply another attack on public education in the United States, which has become just about the top issue that causes me concern.

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  61. Prospero said on July 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I quit Breaking Bad for a year when Walt let Jane, the young woman Jesse had fallen in love with, die by aspirating on her own vomitous because he was in such a hurry to get away with their cash stash.

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  62. Dexter said on July 20, 2012 at 12:38 am|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

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  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 20, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Reading the section 1 material here is instructive.

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  64. alex said on July 20, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Brian, think of the bennies that come with the the old frat—Gamma Omega Phi. Being Republican exxonerates you from being a drunk, a kink, a hypocrite or any other sort of mess as long as you dress yourself up in God and Old Glory and maybe wave a couple of handguns. Me, I like me some Phi Alpha Gamma running around wearing bedsheets as togas. Commando.

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  65. MarkH said on July 20, 2012 at 4:09 am

    Pros, Brian — Some things to remember. Say what you want about the evolution of Rush over the last 20 years, Mr. Raspberry’s point was that he based his previous criticism of Rush on hearing other people’s criticism, not listening for himself. Rush was not exactly as viscious as he was led to believe. Rush may be taking himself more seriously now than then, but can you blame him? He is still the number one radio program in the country, surviving even the Sandra Fluke debacle. In 20 years Raspberry never walked back that column and I would think that if you could ask him today, he would still say Rush is laughing all the way to the bank.

    Lest you all think Rush controls every last aspect of the republican party in the universe, explain why the candidate he detests is about to be the nominee and not Newt, Bachmann or Santorum.

    Brian, if you think that Glenn Beck has “flamed out”, you’re not paying attention. Like Rush 20 years ago, TV was not kind to him, so he’s out of there. But he has the #3 radio program nationwide and has a growing audience and a new $100 million contract to prove it. Plus a thriving website.

    Brian, I do agree with you on one thing, sort of. Rush takes the easy way to dominate his callers by putting the lowest common denominator on the air, people you describe above. Easier to win arguments with your intellectual inferiors. But I don’t think that near reflects his entire audience.

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