Still the first week.

For those of you asking, yes this stuff exists and yes you can buy it:

And that is Basset’s hand and he must have been bored up in that tree stand because he made several comments here and sent me this picture. It’s getting to where Da Yoopers’ version of deer season needs an update to feature Twitter and shaming photos:

Whatever else happened yesterday, I hope Basset got himself one. Although the weather is pretty damn perfect for spending another day out in it, if he’s so inclined.

I’m thinking a can of that deer pee would make an excellent mischief-making aid. I bet they sell a lot to frat boys exploring new frontiers in hazing.

Did anyone watch “The Dust Bowl?” I have to admit — sometimes Ken Burns gets on my nerves, but this one dragged me in. The photography alone was awe-inspiring; I simply can’t imagine what it must have been like, seeing one of those terrible clouds bearing down. If it’s on a replay anywhere near you, I recommend it. Steel yourself for many dead children, however. Not easy.

I have a feeling this week will be a pretty light-duty sort of stretch, but yes, there’s some bloggage:

The faces of medical marijuana.

Leslie Mann, the least-funny comic actress in Hollywood today. Nepotism is an irritating thing.

And that’s it for me.

Posted at 12:42 am in Same ol' same ol' |

73 responses to “Still the first week.”

  1. Jolene said on November 20, 2012 at 3:38 am

    I second the Ken Burns Dust Bowl recommendation. Definitely one of his better efforts. Also, it’s only four hours, so it’s not quite as much of a commitment as some of his enterprises. Should be rebroadcast on PBS this week, so set your DVR. Will definitely make you thankful.

    Of course, the events he’s describing are more recent than in some of his other works, which means more film footage and fewer (but still many) still photos. Also, lots of very engaging interviews w/ people who were children in the Dirty Thirties. Very impressive interweaving of ecological, political, and cultural history, and lots to think about in terms of what we are doing now in our confrontations with nature. Also, of course, the combination of problematic agricultural practices and drought that produced the Dust Bowl coincided with the Depression, so there’s lots about government efforts to counter both. The discussion of the WPA left me wondering why, oh why, we didn’t create WPA 2.0 in 2009.

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  2. Deborah said on November 20, 2012 at 4:28 am

    I missed the Ken Burns Dust Bowl piece, will try to catch reruns this week. The WPA produced some good artwork. I’ve always been fascinated with artists like Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton. I agree Jolene, we should have had a WPA in 2009.

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  3. Basset said on November 20, 2012 at 5:40 am

    I figured nobody from yesterday’s discussion would believe that stuff existed if
    I didn’t provide some visual proof. Didn’t get a deer yesterday but will try again Friday. Our rifle season is a lot longer than Michigan’s, started last Saturday and runs through the end of the year.

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  4. Linda said on November 20, 2012 at 6:54 am

    The menfolk came back from firearm deer season this year–my brother, niece’s hubby, his son and grandson. The son and grandson actually got a deer apiece, but not the old guys. So their facebooks have been showing carcasses.

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  5. Deggjr said on November 20, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Nepotism is an irritating thing. That’s a good description of the Bears game. Everyone in the Bears organization inherited it, will inherit it, or was hired by the heirs/heirs in waiting.

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  6. Suzanne said on November 20, 2012 at 7:17 am

    I saw most of the Dust Bowl. Fascinating. I knew a little about it, but did not realize that it went on for years and years. I was astounded by the size and frequency of the storms, especially the one that made it all the way to the East Coast. The very end which discussed the irrigation in the plains depleting the huge underground aquifer (I think that’s the right term) made me think that maybe we haven’t really learned all that much from the Dust Bowl.

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  7. coozledad said on November 20, 2012 at 7:21 am

    There was a buck out in the front yard early this morning. He must have been eating leaves with my mule Fred when I walked out to get some firewood and spooked him.

    I wish we’d done the WPA thing too, instead of letting the Republicans prescribe the remedy for what they’d wrought. You don’t have to look too far to find the things of lasting value the public works programs created.

    Deborah: I’d add Rockwell Kent, J.J. Lankes and Wanda Gag to your shortlist.

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  8. basset said on November 20, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Anyone want to share a good turkey stuffing/dressing recipe? Need to try something new and different this year.

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  9. brian stouder said on November 20, 2012 at 7:59 am

    So I clicked on the medical marijuana link, expecting to see Mr Rogers or Aunt Bea – and wasn’t disappointed; but that kitty cat appears to be trippin’, too! (has that somewhat paranoid look – like “Hey! No pictures!”)

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  10. Dorothy said on November 20, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Basset I have never eaten stuffing with chestnuts in it, but over the weekend I saw “The Best Thing I Ever Made” for the first time and Ted Allen was making it. Made my mouth water and my tummy grumble! The tip I’m going to steal from him? Chop up the turkey liver and add it in with the melted butter, onions and celery. He said the diners will never know and you’ve added a healthy ingredient. When my right hand is completely healed I plan to try to make this dish, maybe for New Years Day.

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  11. Deborah said on November 20, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Oh Coozledad, I love Rockwell Kent but had no idea he was WPA. How did I not know that? I just now googled WPA artists and was astonished how many there were. And even names like de Kooning and Rothko. What a great program.

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  12. Deborah said on November 20, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Dorothy I have used turkey liver and giblets in dressing all my life, I thought everybody did that.

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  13. Deborah said on November 20, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Coozledad, also thanks for reminding me about Wanda Gag, I just look at bunch of her illustrations on Google images. Nice.

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  14. Deborah said on November 20, 2012 at 8:50 am


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  15. Dorothy said on November 20, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Deborah we cook the giblets and then use the liquid in the gravy, along with the turkey drippings. In our house the dogs get the chopped up giblets! Not the neck, of course, but the liver, heart and lungs.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on November 20, 2012 at 9:17 am

    My late FIL was part of the WPA, providing him with a safe place to sleep and regular meals. He hadn’t had that level of security for many years, since his own father had lost his moorings when his pregnant wife died in the Spanish flu epidemic. We certainly have a lot of infrastructure needs, and it seems like a no-brainer.

    Look at you, Dorothy, how well you’re typing now. That right hand must be healing fast, or else you’re just getting good at being a lefty. Hope it’s the former!

    Have you Illini heard about Squeezy the Pension Python?
    It would be hilarious if my mom wasn’t part of the Illinois pension pool. She’s already had to pick up her health insurance premiums despite supposedly iron-clad promises they’d be covered for life.

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  17. LAMary said on November 20, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I heard this stuffing recipe on NPR and I’m planning to make it. It’s pretty much my usual stuffing but it has figs and madeira added.

    Recipe: Fig, Pecan And Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
    Recipe courtesy of Tanya Holland, executive chef and owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen and B-Side BBQ in Oakland, Calif.
    Makes 8 to 10 servings
    1 recipe plain buttermilk cornbread
    1 pound pork sausage (I used spicy Italian)
    1 cup Madeira wine
    3/4 pound dried Calimyrna figs, stemmed and cut into eighths (about 2 cups when prepped)
    2 cups pecan pieces, toasted
    8 ounces unsalted butter
    3 cups finely chopped onions
    1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
    2 tablespoons chopped sage
    2 tablespoons chopped thyme
    2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
    2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
    1 teaspoon ground white pepper
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Prepare cornbread, and when cooled, crumble and set aside in a large bowl. Remove sausage from casing, if necessary, and crumble. Cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through; set aside. Place Madeira and prepped figs in a small saucepan over medium heat in order to re-hydrate figs. All of the liquid should be evaporated; this takes about 10 minutes.
    Toast pecans in a small skillet over low heat for about 5 minutes. In a large skillet, melt butter and add onions and celery. Cook over low to medium heat until vegetables are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add herbs, salt and pepper and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add sausage, figs and onion mixture to the crumbled cornbread and loosely mix, using a wooden spoon or large kitchen spoon. Gently press stuffing mixture into 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish (12″X8

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  18. LAMary said on November 20, 2012 at 9:29 am

    ooops, cut off the last line:

    1/4″X2 1/2″); the top should be textured and rustic, not smooth. Bake stuffing for 1 hour at 350 degrees

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  19. nancy said on November 20, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Speaking of recipes, I picked up Cook’s Illustrated’s book on one-pot suppers from the remainder shelf at B&N last week. It has the famous French pork stew with prunes adapted for the crock pot! I’ll scan it and post it when I get a minute.

    Although it doesn’t really feel like French pork stew weather here yet. Temps in the high 50s for the rest of the week.

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  20. Dorothy said on November 20, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Julie I am wearing a splint on my right hand. I type very slowly, not at the breakneck pace I’m accustomed to! I went back to work yesterday but I could feel it in my achy wrist and thumb by 1 or 2 PM. I used an ice pack for about a half hour. Surgery was two weeks ago today. Doc said the arthritis he found was quite severe. I’m very glad I committed to having both thumbs operated on.

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 20, 2012 at 9:56 am

    A weekly if not daily pleasure in my village, a 1938 WPA mural in the post office:

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  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 20, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Also, a riveting read whatever your politics or level of tech-savviness.

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  23. alex said on November 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Wow, Jeff, what are all those angry villagers doing with that battering ram? That’s one interesting mural.

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  24. Peter said on November 20, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Deggjr, I can second that Bear’s comment: about 30 minutes into last night’s game, I decided to watch something less depressing and I switched over to The Dust Bowl. Much better.

    My favorite WPA mural is no more: when I was younger I would go to the Hild Library on Lincoln – now it’s an outpost of the Old Town School of Folk Music. The children’s library had a mural that showed children dressed up in occupational clothes, with smiling adults looking at them – there was a future doctor, lawyer, scientist, architect, etc. It was really inspiring, but even back in the ’60’s it had a lot of water damage and was not long for the world.

    My brother-in-law made a White Castle stuffing some years back – but all I remember about the recipe is to make sure to remove the pickles from the sliders prior to filling the cavity.

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  25. Peter said on November 20, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Oh, and Julie, the Squeezy the Pension Python has got to be the dumbest gimmick pulled by a politician since – well, it ranks right up there with “Mission Accomplished” and “Whip Inflation Now”.

    Sweet Lord, before this stunt Quinn acted like he was a few tacos short of a combo platter, but this is unbelievable.

    On top of that, I loved it when he said at the press conference that this is something that people should talk about over Thanksgiving dinner. You got to be kidding me.

    But who’s dumber? Crain’s released a poll saying that most Illinois voters want individual districts to resolve and pay for then pensions, instead of the state. For what? Do people think you get a discount if it’s done at the local level? It’s better to raise property and sales taxes instead of state taxes? In one sense, teachers deserve this – if they had done a better job teaching citizens would realize teachers are owed a decent pension and made sure the state was on top of it instead of passing the buck for 30 years.

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  26. Julie Robinson said on November 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Great news, Dorothy, and I hope it continues.

    Jefftmmo, thanks for that link. Much of it was over my head, but it was heartening to know that Obama won, at least in part, by hiring the smartest guys around. Could we turn them loose on the legislative process next?

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  27. Julie Robinson said on November 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Peter, after I watched the Squeezy video, I wasn’t even sure what the selling point was supposed to be. Was it in favor of cutting pensions, or raising taxes, or what? Totally unclear, and dumb to boot. They need the Obama nerds!

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  28. Icarus said on November 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Did anyone see this


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  29. Charlotte said on November 20, 2012 at 11:09 am

    The old part of Lake Forest High School is a WPA building — built, much to the consternation of the Armours, Swifts, McCormicks et al to educate the children of the “servants and the working people.” Rich people in town send their kids there now, but even when I was in high school all the rich kids went off to prep school so they didn’t mix with our “bad element” (mostly strivers with professional or middle-management parents at places like Baxter). Of course, all the drugs came back into town with the prep school kids at break.
    Gorgeous building though — our classrooms had beautiful built-in glassfront bookcases, and the basketball gym has one of the loveliest wood floors I’ve ever seen anywhere. We were all relieved at our 30th reunion to see that even though they’ve built an obscene 10 million dollar building around the old one, the old one is still the core of the school.

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  30. Dorothy said on November 20, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Alex if you scroll down past the picture there is a description, including these paragraphs:

    The mural depicts the makeshift pulpit created by the Congregationalist settlers of Granville. They chopped down a tree near the center of the village and the stump served as a pulpit for their Sabbath service of thanksgiving. They had come from Granville, Massachusets and had much to be thankful for, having survived a long and difficult journey of about seven hundred miles over the Appalacian mountains. Remember, this was 1805!

    The story has it that another early settler, a Welshman named Theophilus Rees, heard the congregation singing as he was in the area searching for some stray cattle. He must have liked what he heard, for he was said to visit the church frequently after that.

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  31. alex said on November 20, 2012 at 11:37 am


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  32. Connie said on November 20, 2012 at 11:49 am

    How bored are you?

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  33. Bob (not Greene) said on November 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Peter, part of the problem with teacher pensions specifically is that school districts adopted a practice of jacking up salaries late in careers as teachers retired. That translated into higher pension costs, and since the school districts themselves were not on the hook for the huge bumps, there was no incentive for them to hold those retirement raises down. It was a complete giveaway. Those retirement raises are now capped, but still pretty generous.

    And at least around here in the Chicago suburbs, school administrators make ungodly amounts of money. One of the outgoing grade school superintendents (district of 5 schools totaling about 1,600 kids) makes more than $300,000. The districts also pay the administrators’ (principals, superintendents, director level folks) entire annual pension contribution and health insurance premiums.

    I think pensions are great; I sure as hell wish I had one. But they have also been abused. And, of course, now the school districts around here are quaking in their boots that the liability might end up falling to them. Now they’ll be on the hook for the pensions on those jacked-up salaries (high school teacher salaries in suburban Cook County have gotten especially generous) and they aren’t to keen on making that nut.

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  34. Scout said on November 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Basset, you have very nicely manicured fingernails. 🙂

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  35. Sherri said on November 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I’ve Tivo’ed The Dust Bowl for watching during the Thanksgiving break. If you haven’t read Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time, his book about the Dust Bowl, I highly recommend it.

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  36. nancy said on November 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Yes, what Bob(NG) said. Many of the same things happened in Michigan. The whole concept of “30 and out,” i.e., work 30 years and qualify for a full pension and health care, originated with the automotive companies. It made sense for people who work the line, less sense for management. And because the automotives set the benefits bar followed by others, you have many city governments and others staggering under pension (but especially health-care) costs. School employees here can buy up to five years’ service, which many do, usually early in their careers, when the cost is lowest. And so, last year, when the state was trying to pass pension reform, the unions put up a number of teachers who were still in their late 40s to complain bitterly about the ruination of their plans to retire — next year.

    I’m sympathetic to complaints about rules changing midway through the game, but when you’re asking for something the vast majority of people who support the system with their taxes can’t afford, you’re not going to make a lot of friends.

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  37. coozledad said on November 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Mitt looks like he’s having a tough time with this. What is it about way too much money and the Howard Hughes vortex?
    At least he can afford his own Lysol production facility

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  38. nancy said on November 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Rana, I found three of your comments in the spam filter, told the filter they weren’t spam, and approved them. Sorry about this. It happens periodically and cures itself for no apparent reason. If it continues, let me know.

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  39. Rana said on November 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks! It’s not like they were wonderful jewels, but I did wonder where they went.

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  40. Sherri said on November 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    The school superintendent in our district makes around $200K, and our district is K-12 with ~25000 students, so $300K for a 1600 student district does seem more than a little excessive.

    Health care costs represent the biggest problem we have. The only way I see to solve it is to kick away some of those who are feeding at the trough, and I’m not talking about patients, I’m talking about following the money to see where it’s going, and cutting some of it out. Obamacare is just a small first step, and it’s going to be a bloody battle with entrenched interests screaming socialism all the way.

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  41. Connie said on November 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm FBI raids Detroit Public Library main offices

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  42. Dexter said on November 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I had to pass on the Dust Bowl because I watched Oliver Stone’s absolutely fascinating series opener about American History that we never learned in school.
    I suspect only the true presidential scholars among us were not surprised at the wealth of information we learned about Stalin, FDR, Churchill, and especially about Henry Wallace. What a man he was, Wallace, what a visionary, absolutely screwed out the Presidency by crooked politicians granting favors at The International Amphitheater in Chicago in 1944. This documentary does not paint a glorified portrait of Harry S Truman, rather it shows Truman to be a hick from Missouri with a chip on his shoulder, and ignorant and I’ll say a bit stupid to boot.
    Just from this show , which was part 2 on the Showtime series, I became convinced that The Bomb would never have actually been more than an unused threat had Wallace followed FDR into the White House instead of the bumpkin Harry S Truman. Well…next Monday night the episode is “The Bomb”. We’ll know more then.

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  43. Basset said on November 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Scout, you are too kind… I assure you it’s purely accidental.

    When I was a single man I woulda run with that, though…

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  44. Dexter said on November 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Alex…Have you ever been in the Ketch Can Tavern in Waterloo? It was Smith’s Tavern for decades; we all called it Smitty’s.

    Sometime in the 1930s an artist with family ties to Hamilton, Indiana drifted through Waterloo. For the price of a sleeping room and a few meals, he offered to paint a mural on the walls of the place. The artist’s name was John Rea. For years I saw those beautiful murals as I drank beer and shots. My brother who has lived in Chicagoland since 1965 but went to Waterloo High School stopped there for a beer about ten years ago and became fascinated by the murals. He arranged a photo shoot of the murals using his professional photographer’s gear, and on a day when the joint was closed it was done. He did this as a labor of love for the Waterloo Library , and I believe Linda the librarian accepted the photo shoot project as part of the town history section. I have not been inside old Smitty’s for well over 20 years now, but I bet those murals are still there, and the bar was turned around 180 degrees so patrons can stare at the murals through the bottoms of their beer glasses. Hell, maybe I should go in there and have a sarsaparilla just to see the murals one more time. They depict pioneer life and they are stunning.

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  45. brian stouder said on November 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Several weeks back I was summoned into jury duty, and to make a much longer post short – the Beaux Arts Allen County Court House is the star of the show….and indeed, as the experience of a criminal trial engulfed me, the idea of a judicial cathedral suddenly made a lot of sense to me

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  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Julie @ #26: I second the motion! Although the number crunching geeks at the CBO, including an old friend of mine who used to keep stats for the basketball team while I kept the towels and water and clipboards, and was valedictorian of our class who went on to Yale and a dissertation on Karl Popper, are pretty close. They could just use some back up.

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  47. LAMary said on November 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    The high school my sons went to was built in 1931. Not sure if it was WPA or not, but it’s gorgeous, and there are wonderful touches like hand made tiles with heraldic images pressed into them.

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  48. alex said on November 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Dex, I haven’t actually been in the Ketch Can but I’m quite familiar with it. I’m acquainted with the owners, Steve and Sharon Rees, as well as Steve Junior. I’ll have to go in and check out those murals some time.

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  49. Bob (not Greene) said on November 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Lots of WPA remnants around my house.

    Here’s the neighborhood grammar school:

    Here’s the mural in the local post office:

    Here’s the WPA retaining wall and walkway (since altered but still there) along the Des Plaines River in Riverside

    Here’s the Oak Park Post Office

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  50. Jolene said on November 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Health care costs represent the biggest problem we have.

    Amen! If we suddenly had a dictator, he or she could do us a lot of good by taking control of the healthcare system and squeezing out excess costs, all of which, of course, would involve goring someone’s ox, but too bad for them and their oxen. Not too long ago, I saw a great documentary called Medicine and Money that focused on cost disparities across institutions as well as other indicators of irrationality in healthcare spending. Some estimates suggest that as much as 30 percent of what we spend on healthcare in unnecessary.

    One example from the doc: rates of Ceasarean births, which are much higher than they need to be nationwide. But healthcare organizations that have focused on developing systemwide indicators as to when C-sections are needed have dramatically lower rates than other instituions. If applied nationally, those guidelines could save billions. And that’s just one procedure. End-of-life care is, of vourse, another area where major changes are needed.

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  51. Bitter Scribe said on November 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    The Bears just got stomped by a superior team with a superior coach. Who knew Jim Harbaugh would turn out to be a coaching genius?

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  52. Prospero said on November 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Can anybody explain how, in a country with a governments of laws, an overpaid, incompetent and grossly incompetent governor can just bag legal contracts with public employees, that involved no duress, and be applauded for it? Not the American way. We are supposed to honor contracts. Why can’t I just tell the bank, I can’t make that house payment. What a joke. It’s a reminder of the great GOPer mantra about term limits: “Stop me before I vote again.” Don’t these assholes claim to be the responsible citizens?

    And on a similar note, the aholes that ran Hostess into the ground think they should get bonuses before any of the employees see pension money or any of the creditors are paid:

    Who is responsible in these deals?

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  53. Kim said on November 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    BobNG – I love the OP Post Office design, especially the different ways the post was dispatched, which are depicted in the metalwork. That Berwyn mural is so beautiful – stunning that it’s an “ethnic picnic” still in that town. Ethnic Picnic would be a great name for a band.

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  54. brian stouder said on November 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    We’re embarked on a crash-course internship on that ‘end of life care’ thing.

    Suffice it to say, it is by turns amazing, upsetting, comforting, and (always) enlightening. (for one thing, I hadn’t realized how many assisted living/nursing home operations there are in Fort Wayne, and we’re building more!)

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  55. Jolene said on November 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Thiis essay–on how doctors die–is one of the most interesting things I’ve read on end of life decisions.

    My thoughts are with you, Brian, in the decisions you’re making. It was a tough, tough thing when my parents had to move from the home they loved to assisted living.

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  56. MarkH said on November 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Dexter, I’m not sure I’d be taking Stone’s view at face value, although I will watch the Showtime series. This Daily Beast article linked below tells how a lot of what he came up with is not new, just supressed over the years. Truman, for example, was widely derided as a hick when Roosevelt settled on him for VP in ’44. A failed retailer who was fowarded by a powerful Missouri political machine, many then said he was stupid as well. But in the “what-if” dept., maybe the bomb wouldn’t have been dropped without him. What about the consequences of a further prolonged war on an already weary nation about to be bankrupted by the conflict? And, who would have derailed MacArthur and his demagoguery?

    Author Michael Moynihan is controversial as well (see Wiki for starters), as the comments attest, and this article won’t settle anything either. It just raises some good questions. I have liked Stone’s films, even the BS-filled JFK was entertaining. He just ain’t Doris Kearns Goodwin.

    Just my $.02.

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  57. del said on November 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I second Nancy at #36.

    A defined benefit promise is, at best, full of actuarial guesswork. How much money must be contributed today, to produce how much of a return, for how long into the future? All unknowns. Not all pension promises will be fully honored.

    Since ERISA was passed in the 70’s we’ve been shifting from a defined benefit retirement system to a defined contribution system. That’s sensible. It involves fewer speculative promises.

    And there should be a process by which defined benefit plans can be morphed into 401k style plans.

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  58. Prospero said on November 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    One of my brothers and I took care of my dad’s end of life, in his house. It was very difficult caring for somebody that I thought of the most brilliant and strong man I’d ever met reduced to a shell of himself, but in hindsight, I’m glad I did. I was there practically by myself for many of his last days, and I had a new understanding of what Jesus felt in Gethsemane. Let this cup pass. It was endless, and difficult, and I actually had access to morphine, and ended up using it in the end. I didn’t end his life, because he was a doctor and a Catholic and did not believe in any sort of suicie. It dawned on me that I would have been ending my own pain not my dad’s. His last day was a Sunday, and I got Sunday Mass on his college radio station WFUV/Fordham (my dad was a classmate of G. Gordo Liddy), and the sacred music raised his spirits. I’ve been clear with y’all about my own intentions when I head downhill fast. Mucho LSD with some heroin and lotsa pot, with the Progressive masterpiece by Procul, In Held Twas In I on the stereo, very loud. Maybe some Your Move, if I hang on a while.

    Jolene: ACA has identified ample savings from current accepted US health care practice, which, in the most recent election, Ayn Ryan and his pard matched to their unquestioned Medicare gutting. There is no honest basis for discussion with GOPers on health care. I was able to spend time with my dad when he died. I’m sure lots of people would find a similar experience overwhelming. I don’t know how I got through it alone. Well, he couldn’t take sustenance but for ice chips, and my ineptitude at getting the chips right led us to a discussion of Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Usually in my family, I introduced books. This one was my mom’s and we all dove in. It is a brilliant Scandinavian crime novel, and my dad and I spent hours discussing it while he was dying. I want my daughter Emily to read the book, so when I am kicking it, we’ll have a book to talk about, other than Stuart Little, which Emily has hated with a passion since she could read.

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  59. LAMary said on November 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Brian, Medicare.Gov is a great source for Skilled Nursing and Assisted living lists. It will give you the score of the last survey (inspection) as well.

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  60. Prospero said on November 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Notre Dame? bullshit. Herschel runs over they ass. Gurshall is bettter than Bama Sherri. You have to admit it’s very likely

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  61. Prospero said on November 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Sherri, I enjoy your sports knowledge. Dawgs have a better QB. Anybody that thinks JohnnyFootball is a better WB is a moron. Aaron is way better, And Mantei is better than Jarvis, what a fricking moron. Why the Jarvis is undernearh that ND character’s bed? Because Jarvis is under his bed,

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  62. Kristen said on November 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Why not call it “The Buck Stops Here” ??

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  63. Sherri said on November 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Prospero, this is one time when all those questions will be settled on the field. We’ll get to see just how good your Dawgs are on Dec. 1. I don’t think they can beat ‘Bama, but I’ll be happy if they do! And if they beat ‘Bama, and ND beats USC, then we’ll probably see Georgia and Notre Dame play for the national championship. (Assuming Georgia doesn’t forget to show up against Georgia Tech; stranger things have happened.)

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  64. brian stouder said on November 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Mary – that’s a great website; thanks very much.

    Honestly, this whole thing has been very like jury duty; unpleasant, essential, and consequential.

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  65. Charlotte said on November 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Brian and Prospero — we’re into the final lap with my 101 year old grandmother as well. She’s lived with my aunt, her youngest child, for 25 years or so, and there is some professional help, and hospice, it’s harder than anyone thought it was going to be. My aunt is dedicated to being there for this, but it is as Prospero notes, “endless, and difficult.”

    I am not looking forward to having to see my mother through the same … and although childless, I’ve told my “borrowed” five, especially the twins who really were my babies (it was the year I was so greif-stricken and there was always a wailing baby to hold), that they have to come see me when I’m old. To my surprise, Lola, at 8, has taken this mission quite to heart. Hmm. Might have to put her through college or something …

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  66. Brandon said on November 20, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Mantei is better than Jarvis–Prospero

    Prospero, Manti Te`o is huge in Hawaii. They just had a special on our local news, Manti Te`o: The Making of a Legend.

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  67. Danny said on November 20, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    del/Nancy, here is my take on defined benefits versus defined contribution (and it may surprise some of you), but I do come down solidly on behalf of defined benefits and here is why.

    1. Defined contribution plans (aka 401k-style pension plans) transfer all of the risk of investing to the employee, but the deck is stacked against the employee for several reasons.

    2. First, most 401k-style plans have an extremely limited family of funds to choose from and it is not uncommon for all of the choices to be “dogs” in any given company’s choices.

    3. Second, even if there is an assortment of good funds to choose from, making wise choices requires that the employee have the time and wherewithal to do so. I find it laughable that an employee who is working full-time (or more) and who may not even feel comfortable doing market research, should be expected to be able to match the performance of a paid professional who administers a pension plan and whose core competency it is to understand investment in the market.

    4. Add to all of this the fact that we seem to be in an historically volatile period where we are going from one market “bubble” to another such that even paid professionals like Lehman Bros are getting their asses handed to them, it is just stupidly offensive to screw people and expect them to be okay with a switch mid-stream from a defined benefits plan to a defined contribution plan.

    5. My suspicions are that Wall Street sees the that the Boomers will retiring and moving out of stocks en masse over the next decade and they are wanting to backfill with younger investors in 401k-syle pension plans who will then be exposed to the vagaries of the market.

    All of that said, I am against public employee pension funds that have 90-100% of their last year’s pay as there annuity with the system further gamed by them getting sweetheart positions their last year and/or working outrageous amounts of over time and then this being counted as what their pension is based upon. I doubt any private sector employees get deals like this.

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  68. Danny said on November 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Note, although the above post is not particularly controversial, it should not be construed as chit-chatty, building-friends talk by some readers and may even be in disagreement with some. Those with delicate sensibilities are cautioned… /PSA

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  69. Sherri said on November 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Danny, I agree with you, with the addition that defined benefit plans have the advantage of pooling all the contributions together and spreading the risk and the time horizon out to make better investment choices than an individual could possibly make. I also agree with you about the abuse of public sector defined benefit pensions; another abuse that was going on here in Washington had employees at the state universities retiring with full pensions, then going back to their old jobs as contract employees.

    Public employee salaries are often lower than salaries for comparably qualified employees in the private sector; I’m not sure what a lifetime comparison including retirement would show. Working in the tech field, I never had a defined benefit pension plan, only a 401(k), but I also had the advantage of employee stock purchase plans and bonus plans that aren’t available to public sector employees.

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  70. alex said on November 20, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Why not call it “The Buck Stops Here” ??

    You could start your own brand—and be rollin’ in doe! It’s evidently pretty easy to synthesize Bambi whiz, says one chemist who broke it down and found it to be a crude concoction you could make in your garage. It may be a loose approximation, but it evidently works a fair amount of the time.

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  71. Connie said on November 20, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Defined benefit pensions for various government employees vary from state to state. The Indiana version pays 1.1% per year of service times your highest three year average salary. I am currently pulling early retirement based on 23.9 years of service. There is an additional annuity amount based on the 3% of salary per year employees are required to contribute.

    I believe the various plans I was in (long ago) in Michigan and Ohio were more like 2% per year of service. My current plan is more like a 401K investment plan to which the township pays 13% of each full time employee’s annual salary. Investment of such totally controlled by John Hancock.

    I will note that the Michigan plan (MMERS) plan I was in years ago was an independent group with a board of directors made up of participating employees, while Indiana’s PERF is totally controlled by state government and the legislature.

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  72. Sherri said on November 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    The best comment yet on the Petraeus scandal:

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  73. Deborah said on November 20, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Brian, I enjoyed your link. My husband has designed a few courthouses, a Federal one in St. Louis and some county courthouses here and there. Your points about how the design of places like that matter to how people behave and participate in the justice process is heartening.

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