17…18…19…OOOPS!

Lo,these many weeks have brought a dilemma. I can no longer count to twenty….at least if one would ever believe the old joke about needing all ten fingers and toes to reach that number. It’s generally thrown at hillbillies or other forms fo life deemed to be inferior to the speaker.

Well, as of 8 days ago my ability to use the unsophisticated method of counting has been diminished by one, the work of a demonic doctor who, even as we speak, is undoubtedly wearing the little digit from my right foot as a souvenir of his vicious attack on me. Oh, yes, there are some who share his strange teachings that would have you believe robbing me of my precious toe pinky was actually for my own benefit, the infection raging inside my foot  considered to be more dangerous than mere lopsidedness. DEATH! HA! I spit in its face!

I have learned those medical degrees do have meaning after all and the knowledge they signify has been put to good…not nefarious…use.

I will spare you the details but suffice to say the entire experience has not been nearly so pleasurable as you might believe.

Too, within this process I ave discovered something called “blood sugar” mine apparently being at a level not heretofore seen since the sugar embargo was implemented against Cuba. Surely I must have billions of tiny Cuban sugar refugee granules seeking asylum within the borders of my body.

BUT……and a terribly big but (or butt, in my case) I have been instructed in how to dispel these refugees from my shores. All it takes is paying attention, following doctors’ orders, and self-discipline. None of these characteristics were ever explained to me by Mrs. Steele in 3rd grade so this 66 year old dog must now become familiar with some new tricks. WOOF WOOF!

One of the ways I am being treated is with a “wound-vac”. That is a device which is attached to the wound on the side of my foot creating a vacuum and a small machine with the decibel power of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally does its sucking. The tubing from foot to machine is clear so I have the added advantage of seeing those globs of poison being evicted from my system.

I am also undergoing rehabilitation, though not for anything those of you who know me well would have ever suggested an intervention. Rather I am whiling away my days demonstrating that I can walk and lift 5 LB weights for an hour.

Seriously this is a rehab hospital that does great work with severely injured or ill patients to help them live better lives. It has a dedicated staff that really seems to care. I’ve needed more assistance doing everyday things the past ten days than I have in a very long time and no reasonable request has been denied.

Perhaps more on this topic later but I’ll leave you with this. A good friend…a fraternity brother…has suggested my primary loss is that I will no longer be ables to go “wee, wee,wee, wee, wee!” all the way home.

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Comments

  • Little_Minx  On August 18, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    My mother-in-law underwent a similar un-fun procedure for the same reason (because t certainly beat hell out of dying needlessly of gangrene). The good news is that even though she lived a good many more years, she never lost any more pedal (or otherwise) digits — and died of something else entirely which, owing to your gender, you’re unlikely to get.

    Best of luck with the rehab; isn’t physical therapy a marvel (sez the greezer who regained nearly full, not to mention painless, use of a once excruciatingly frozen shoulder)? Keep us posted on your progress, as well as on the newly acquired additional wit and wisdom of the UMOC. Hugs, Minx.

  • Anonymous  On August 18, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Godspeed and God bless!

  • toadsly  On August 18, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Godspeed and God bless!

  • Richard Russell Wood  On August 19, 2013 at 6:15 AM

    Thinking of you, UMOC. You’re gonna’ be OK.

    Look forward to seeing you at the next Reg-ulator summit!

    – theartisteformerlyknownasthescarletpumpernickel

  • Devildog  On August 19, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Good luck and best wishes!

  • Reg Henry  On August 19, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Get well soon, mate.
    Reg

  • toadsly  On August 19, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Hey, Umoc, send reg an e-mail. He’d like to contact you, bit he doesn’t have your e-mail address.

  • Deke James  On August 19, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    UMOC, hope you have a good recovery. God Bless.

  • Little_Minx  On August 19, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    *waving to Artiste, DD, Deke and toadsly! And of course to UMOC*

  • Tourist  On August 21, 2013 at 4:33 AM

    Would someone who comments on the P-G via Facebook kindly explain something. Reg Henry’s new column drew its first comment, and then a little while latter the comment was gone. Reg refers to President Obama’s allegedly having been born “in what used to be called Darkest Africa.”

    The words of the comment were: “Darkest Africa. Stay classy Reg.” I don’t remember what punctuation was used.

    I can’t see Reg or the Powers removing something like that, much less at three in the morning. Is it possible in that system for people to remove their own comments, or might this be a glitch of some kind? I’m just curious. Thank you!

    • Richard Russell Wood  On August 21, 2013 at 6:11 AM

      Hi Tourist.

      Two early-morning comments:

      1.) I believe that it’s possible for a FB user to delete his posts.
      2.) For whatever odd reason, I often see posts, even seemingly innocuous ones, disappear and sometimes reappear on the P-G. Can’t figure it out.

      This seems to be my experience, anyway. Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes.

      — scarlet

      • Tourist  On August 21, 2013 at 7:36 AM

        Thank you, my oldest internet friend, whom I still owe a Sapporo.

        • toadsly  On August 21, 2013 at 10:34 AM

          Tourist: If I comment using my Dell laptop, I can edit or delete my comment at leisure, after I post it. However, if I’m using my android phone, I’m not afforded that option; then, like Ponty Pilate was apt to say, “What I have written, I have written!”

          • Tourist  On August 21, 2013 at 6:24 PM

            Wow. Rewriting history – some can, some can’t. The mind boggles, Toadsly. How many don’t even know? Let the breakdown begin! (I’ll watch.)

  • Richard Russell Wood  On August 21, 2013 at 6:12 AM

    Hi Minx! Hope all is better than well!

  • Tourist  On August 21, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    We all came out to Montreux,
    On the Lake Geneva shoreline,
    To make records with a mobile.
    We didn’t have much time.
    Frank Zappa and the Mothers
    Were at the best spot around,
    Till some stupid with a flare gun
    Burned the place to the ground.

    Smoke on the water.
    Fire in the sky.

    ===

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/08/16/national/explosion-wounds-59-at-kyoto-fireworks-festival-19-left-with-critical-injuries/#.Ug9HdhzbFCd

    The link is about a fire at a fireworks festival. It may not have been the pouring of gasoline from a can with the generator’s engine running, as the article suggests. It may have involved venting, or not venting, the can. Either way, the death toll is now three.

    I often voice sympathy for decision makers while disagreeing with the decisions, and, as a variation, for those expected to anticipate and be ready for a thousand unknowns who are then held accountable for the one (or the 1001st) that occurs.

    There have been problems at festivals like this in the past: direct safety issues, emergency preparations, even just the adequacy of exit routes (a single pedestrian bridge over the road) as the entire crowd leaves at the end.

    From what I know of this one, the organizers, conscious of the history and determined to do it right, did it right – did everything they could reasonably have been expected to do. The event was well planned. Contingencies were planned for. Water supplies had been secured. Firefighters were standing by. Paramedics were standing by. Police were on hand for crowd and traffic control.

    Till some stupid with a gas can . . . .

    • Devildog  On August 21, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      In the old days, there would not have been a need “to hold” someone accountable. Disembowelment would have made it unnecessary to point a finger. Just think. Benghazi? We would have a different front runner for Dem 2016 nomination.

      • Tourist  On August 21, 2013 at 9:09 AM

        That’s an excellent response, which I personally am not up to answering this instant. Was it really ever our standard that the leader or the board resigned? For things they had not personally done? How much do we want to hold people responsible for things they had not personally done? Why? Valid reasons or gamesmanship?

        Seriously, really, what do we want?

        • Devildog  On August 21, 2013 at 9:42 AM

          I was referring to the “Japanese way” of doing things. Here, people get “paid” quite handsomely, whether in money, power and/or prestige and when the results (as I have written previously) turn out less than expected/demanded, they are replaced or neede to be replaced. Whether their fault, as in baseball manager, CEO or POTUS or not.Seems to me that’s happening much more often now than in the past.

          People get rewarded for results and conversely should suffer the consequences… I’ld rather be lucky than good!

  • Anonymous  On August 21, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Your dark humor makes this sound not so awful. However, I doubt that it is anything but horrible. By the way…going wee wee wee all the way home is highly over rated. Take all the meds they are willing to give you, and having gone through the ordeal of a massive, antibiotic resistant abdominal infection, my only other advise it try to avoid making too many sexual advances to the nurses.

  • Tourist  On August 21, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    If anyone has the time, the comment thread to the P-G’s current climate-change editorial is worth reading. You need to give the time, though, and recognize the kinds of things that are being said by the two camps.

    “Unfortunately for all of us, the science is very clear: Tar Sands, Natural Gas leaks, and Coal will cause climate change to go beyond the control of humans . . . . there is now the probability that earth will go the way of Venus. If humans allow oceans to warm to the point where the 50+ million year buildup of methane hydrates currently sitting on ocean floors are released into the atmosphere, our planet will warm too much to support life.”

    “ . . . in addition, look up carbon fingerprinting: the predominant form of carbon we find in the atmosphere today is carbon 12, which comes from the fossilized plant matter that created fossil fuels . . . . the acidification of the oceans [from] excess CO2 is absolutely irrefutable. The pH is dropping, changing in decades what was, for millions of years, a chemo-static system. The sea life that makes up the base of the food chain, and some our most prized food species (shellfish) cannot adapt . . . . What I can’t understand is what drives people to make light of all this. I have young daughter . . . .”

    “If I could buy a TV that ran on coal I would buy it. I am sick and tired of tree hugging environmentalists trying to destroy every job in America.”

    “I plan to burn a tire when the report comes out. Its the same way I celebrate earth day.”

    Actually, there are calls every year on Earth Day to turn on the oven with the door open, open the windows and run the air conditioning. Denial isn’t enough. They want vandalism.

    I’m swinging back the view that we are doomed, and it is not because of climate.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/editorials/change-is-coming-another-report-confirms-warming-of-the-planet-700118/

    • Devildog  On August 21, 2013 at 10:05 PM

      So, Tourist, it appears that you are disheartened by the comments re the PG editorial on climate change and, even worse, are leaning to the belief we are doomed. I share that doom scenario so I have come to the conclusion that whether from climate change, nuclear nightmare, second coming or whatever, I should enjoy life to the fullest, to hell with future generations. Why should I change my lifestyle. Small cars, share my commute with others or take public transportation, be cold in the winter and hot in the summer, pay more for everything, etc., etc., etc,. No way Jose. I’ll leave that to the tree huggers, which should extend life as we know it for a couple of weeks or so thanks to their efforts.

      I’ld say the easies and best way to save the world is to replace all fossil fuel power plants with nuclear energy. Even if there were a few accidents around the world, the trade-off between deaths from those accidents and destruction of the world would be worth it. But NIMBY, and NIMBY for windmills also, especially where I can see them from my estate on Hyannisport

    • Anonymous  On August 21, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      Deniers’ motto: Let’s wait till it’s too late to survive!

    • toadsly  On August 21, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      Deniers’ motto: Let’s wait till it’s too late to survive!

      • Devildog  On August 21, 2013 at 11:31 PM

        For those who neither confirm nor deny (at this time), perhaps the feeling is that if we can’t wait a number of years to confirm before taking “drastic action”, it is probably too late to take action now that will do anything to delay the inevitable for any significant length of time. So it is the deniers vs. the chicken littlers with the reasonable people adopting a wait and see attitude.

        • toadsly  On August 21, 2013 at 11:43 PM

          Reasonable = obtuse

          • Devildog  On August 22, 2013 at 9:19 AM

            If someone told me that unless we starting taking steps now, our coastal cities might be flooded in a couple hundred years, I would say could be and let’s go ( but we already are taking such steps now so let’s continue with perhaps ramping it up a little).

            If someone tells me that unless we immediately take unilateral drastic steps the coastal cities will be flooded in 40 years, I say let the sky fall. Apparently, the doomsayers have never had read to them, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

            Parenthetically, has any sky is falling prediction ever come to fruition in the long history of the world? Ever? There’s been many of them. I don’t think so. Take it easy. Don’t push so hard. Oh, yeah, it only takes being right once to destroy the world.

            • toadsly  On August 22, 2013 at 9:37 AM

              Awesome???

              • Devildog  On August 22, 2013 at 9:55 AM

                Did you mistakenly put question marks rather than an exclamation point after”awesome”?

                • toadsly  On August 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM

                  Nope

                  • Devildog  On August 22, 2013 at 5:32 PM

                    Aw shucks! How disappointing!

  • Little_Minx  On August 21, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    How badly gerrymandered are PA. and OH’s Congressional Districts, you might well ask? Disgracefully so:
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2013/08/gerrymandering_jigsaw_puzzle_game_put_the_congressional_districts_back_together.html?google_editors_picks=true

  • Little_Minx  On August 22, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    “California raised a bunch of taxes this year. Its economy hasn’t collapsed”:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/22/california-raised-a-bunch-of-taxes-this-year-its-economy-hasnt-collapsed

    “Unemployment isn’t as good of a measure as job growth, because it includes people moving in and out of the labor force. Still, the stats show California’s unemployment rate a) remains higher than the national average and b) has fallen faster than the nation’s since January, dropping a full percentage point […] Eight months after raising sales and income taxes, California is still adding jobs on par with the rest of the nation.”

    Arthur Laffer’s head must be exploding by now — oh, the humanity!

  • Tourist  On August 23, 2013 at 3:27 AM

    Devildog (at 10:05 PM), sorry about this, but we all know you well enough to know that you are – in the words of someone near and dear to me – “just trying to agitate.” At worst, as you like to say, on this and other questions, you don’t know. You’d rather appear a skeptic than the concerned softie you actually are.

    Is saving the planet worth an occasional nuclear accident, you ask? Put like that, of course it is. Is that the only way to put it? Probably not. NIMBY? Is saving the planet worth having government tell people what they must and must not do?

    I do not agree at all with Devildog at 11:31 PM, and he apparently wasn’t satisfied either because he elaborated at 9:19 AM. I still disagree, but the second one is better. Many liberal environmentalists would probably accept the first paragraph of it. Others would insist it’s more urgent.

    Urgency is the second paragraph. If urgency is claimed and the only hope is for the U.S. to take “unilateral drastic steps,” then, according to Devildog: “Let the sky fall.” The P-G editorial we were talking about referred to that as the “’Why should we act when China and India don’t?’ argument.”

    Why?

    Is saving the planet worth having to do it ourselves?

    Jobs and heathcare were both on the agenda when President Obama, hallowed be his name, took office. The stars were aligned. People needed healthcare. People needed jobs. What was wrong with jobs in healthcare? An engineer would call it an elegant solution. I didn’t think it up. The idea was floated as a policy direction. You know who was against.

    Same with pollution, the environment, energy. When the Kyoto Protocol (commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions) was adopted in 1997 but before it came into force in 2005 – it’s meaningless now; that is not the point – industrial nations began declaring that they would treat it as binding already and would begin to work to the targets. The United States objected to their doing that. The United States objected to other nations’ voluntarily working to limit their own emissions.

    Why?

    Because to meet the targets, they had to begin buying the emissions-reducing equipment necessary for their factories and so on, and the U.S. did not have many companies competitive in that global market. We didn’t want anyone buying until were in a better position to sell.

    There is a lot of good business to be done, making and keeping people healthy, and there is a lot of good business to be done, saving the planet.

    That’s the part I don’t get.

    ===

    “There was a time in the history of everything that works when it didn’t work.”

    What about Solyndra?

    What about it?

    • Devildog  On August 23, 2013 at 8:24 AM

      More later but the why should we act when India and China won’t argument is that we would have to destroy our economy merely to save the world for a few days, weeks or months and i don’t think that’s worth it. i’ld rather just “lie back and enjoy it” while I can. Your explanation why the Kyoto Protocol was rejected by the Senate (check the numbers) is preposterous. Dan Simpsonesque!

      • Tourist  On August 23, 2013 at 8:53 AM

        I said nothing about the Senate. The treaty was not (I think) ever even submitted to the Senate.

        You: “. . . we would have to destroy our economy merely to save the world for a few days, weeks or months and i don’t think that’s worth it.”

        Neither would I. Where did “days/weeks/months” come from?

        Later.

        • Devildog  On August 23, 2013 at 10:07 AM

          Tourist, you must have been in a hurry not to have checked this out. On July 25, 1997, in a ” sense of the Senate” vote, by 95-0, the Senate indicated, in effect, that it would reject ratification of the Kyoto Ttreary/protocol, if presented to it.

          Days, weeks or months came from me. Without India and China on board, what is your estimate (or that of the “experts)? Will we know only after it is passed, implemented and years have passed by? As great as we are, we cannot save the planet by ourselves-or, IMHO, make a dent significant enough to do the sacrifice. Canada withdrew because it couldn’t meet its own self-imposed standards. Besides which, I ‘m not convinced of the science-but if it proves correct, I believe there will still be time to take corrective action. That, actually, is my main point.

          Jobs and healthcare? This and Kyoto indicate to me you were having a bad day. Hope you get a good night’s sleep and tomorrow is better.

  • Tourist  On August 23, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Devildog, one piece at a time:

    I know that before the Kyoto Protocol was adopted at the meeting in Kyoto in December 1997 the U.S. Senate went on record in July 1997 against it – probably why the actual treaty was then never submitted to the Senate.

    That does not explain why the U.S. worked to discourage other countries from making the effort on their own, which was to give American companies time to catch up with foreign competitors in that new market. I twice avoided saying it, but since this is the third time: Bush.

    You: “As great as we are, we cannot save the planet by ourselves.”

    Perhaps not, but don’t sell us short. If we actually tried, you don’t think we’d have ways to bring others on board? Beyond that, it was a hypothetical on saving the planet: Would it be worth the cost of unilateral, drastic American steps to save the planet? You say, and I agree, not for just a few months. That wasn’t the question.

    You: “I’m not convinced of the science – but if it proves correct, I believe there will still be time to take corrective action. That, actually, is my main point.”

    I know that is your main point. You are far from the Earth Day tire-burners or those who say climate change must be false because the UN says it’s true.

    BUT . . . The scientific consensus is that climate change is both real and threatening. You are “not convinced” – not convinced enough to commit to drastic action at this time. That’s okay. As I said earlier, your position is often that you “don’t know.”

    Yet “if it proves correct,” you DO know (“believe”) that “there will still be time to take corrective action.”

    (1) How do you know that? How can you be so confident of one and so skeptical of the other? (2) How should a decision-maker process the two? We’re still talking about saving the planet.

    You: “Jobs and healthcare?”

    Yep! Could have.

    Need for more healthcare plus need for more jobs equals opportunity.

    Need for cleaner energy plus need for economic growth equals opportunity.

    Need to carry stuff plus NFL rule on clear bags equals opportunity.

    The American Way.

    Think Different.

    • Devildog  On August 23, 2013 at 6:33 PM

      Tourist, glad you had a good night’s sleep.

      Are you saying that Bush discouraged other countries so that “we” could develop the technology (creating jobs) to compete with companies in other countries (and create jobs here). Oorah! Rather far-fetched though. Evidence please.

      Bring others on board? Who, India and China? In theory, maybe. In practice, no.even as great as we are. But here’s as great as we are. We will save the planet, just as we have saved it, to an acceptable degree, from famine and disease(acceptable, at least to me).

      Is there not a difference between ” DO know” and “believe”. I believe because of our greatness and the past performance of us and our human predecessors. It also goes back to me belief/intuition that if we don’t have time, it’s too late to do anything now anyway. Time heals all wounds. I’m neither confident nor skeptical (actually a little skeptical)-just doing the best I can under the circumstances and doing “the best” does not necessarily mean taking an action, any action).

      Equals opportunity-the private sector will determine wherein lies opportunity-if left to its own with adequate rewards at the end if successful. Take away profits and income and reap the results for investment and development.

      • Tourist  On August 23, 2013 at 7:50 PM

        “. . . the private sector will determine wherein lies opportunity . . . .”

        Yes, for itself. The private sector is a sector. Of society.

        It is not the private sector’s job to give everyone a smartphone. It is the private sector’s job to maximize its smartphone profitability by selling the right number of smartphones at the right price. Anything everyone gets is too cheap.

        It is not the private sector’s job to make sure everyone has healthcare – not it’s job to provide *more* healthcare, but to find the most profitable balance between those with healthcare and those without.

        It is not the private sector’s job to “solve” unemployment. The private sector benefits when unemployment holds wages down and there is an abundance of applicants to choose from.

        All of that is how the Great Pumpkin intended the jungle to work.

        Jobs, food, healthcare and smartphones for all are the concerns of . . . wait for it . . . government.

        Jobs in healthcare was an opportunity. For society.

        • Devildog  On August 23, 2013 at 9:00 PM

          An opportunity for what? To provide jobs? Anything and everything is an opportunity for the government to provide jobs. What jobs in healthcare are you talking about? We need more primary care docs. Solution-Gov’t can mandate lower incomes for specialists and higher for primary care and voila. Not enough seats in medical schools-build more with affirmative action affecting admissions. There’s no end to what it can do, not necessarily efficiently and effectively but it can do most anything. Hire a million people, raise taxes and control drug prices. Oops, that might adversely effect R&D and drug discovery. But gov’t can draft all researchers and pay them what it wants. Build all the roads itself so it doesn’t have to worry about shovel ready.

          Get this about profits. Profits come when a company provides value (ok, I’m with reasonable anti-trust enforcement). No value, no profits. Banks and airlines charge fees. Don’t like it, don’t avail yourself of the opportunity. Price gouging, no such thing. Charge “too much”, competition comes in.

          Solving unemployment is not the mandate of the executive branch, neither by the Constitution nor by legislation. It is one of the two mandates of the Fed, which it is certainly doing its best in that area despite what Nobel laureate Krugman might write.

          Where are we with all this. Oh, yeah, thank God (if there is one, or more if there are more than one) for global warming, sorry, now climate change, because of the opportunities it has created. And that’s why we should take it so seriously.

          • Tourist  On August 23, 2013 at 9:44 PM

            “An opportunity for what? To provide jobs?”

            An opportunity to solve the problem of too many people without healthcare, unless you don’t consider that a problem, or, if you do, one which the private sector, although it has so far somehow managed not to, could obviously solve better if we just wait long enough, and, yes, an opportunity to *generate* jobs, which, if such is not “the mandate of the executive branch,” why do they all run on how well they’ll do it?

            The *opportunity* was to combine them – do them both.

            Admissions to medical schools? Incomes for primary care versus specialists? Drug research?

            Details are for staff. I’m talking about vision and policy, not management.

            Industry X is growing. Invest in it.

            You sarcastically: “Thank God . . . for climate change, because of the opportunities it has created.”

            No. Make lemonade.

            • Devildog  On August 23, 2013 at 10:27 PM

              Somehow Tourist, you have turned a climate change discussion into a solution to the healthcare problem/jobs-which is ok with me.

              As to why do they all run on how well they will generate jobs, may I suggest a slight distinction in what is really meant (a distinction with a difference). Some say we will generate jobs by micromanaging the economy and throwing money to our chosen people. Some say we will get out of the way (not totally), in several ways, and let private enterprise do their thing.

              How can you talk about government vision and policy, and leave details for staff, and not be concerned or cognizant about (mis)management?

              Leave it to your kind and climate change will result in fewer rather than more jobs. On the other hand, it may result in fewer jobs in the short run and more jobs in the long run but in the long run, we all will be dead.

              So, if you want to combine healthcare reform and more jobs, what are you talking about. Last time I checked, you may be right because the latest healthcare reforestation has created more jobs, albeit of the part-time category.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On August 23, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    It still seems that the fact the urate would be 11% if labor force participation rate remained constant since 2008 isn’t enough proof that spending a trillion doesn’t improve social welfare all that much. It’s hard for me to believe that a trillion dollar tax cut would have done worse. For that matter, O’s own economist said that if no action was taken, we would have outperformed the stimulus – as this graph shows.

  • Tourist  On August 24, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    Devildog,

    “Somehow Tourist, you have turned a climate change discussion into a solution to the healthcare problem/jobs-which is ok with me.”

    I’m glad you liked it.

    “How can you talk about government vision and policy, and leave details for staff, and not be concerned or cognizant about (mis)management?”

    Good point. Not too much mismanagement – I agree. (Do we have to be perfect?)

    With a little input from his or her friends, the CEO decides that the company will shift from making widgets to making gizmos, approves the closing/conversion of widget plants, the selection of states for new gizmo plants, and tells the team to make it so. After that it’s carrots and sticks all the way down.

    The Decider did not plan battles. He pointed to Iraq and said go.

    Direct ascent, earth-orbit rendezvous, the “tanker method,” lunar-surface rendezvous and lunar-orbit rendezvous were the five concepts being kicked around in the late 1950’s for getting to the Moon someday. John F. Kennedy knew nothing about any of that. What he said on May 25, 1961, was that the nation should commit itself to achieving the goal within the decade.

    “We’re going to need thousands of people, special facilities, technology and material that haven’t been invented yet,” Robert Gilruth tells James Webb minutes after the speech. JFK was not involved in any of that either.

    You: “So, if you want to combine healthcare reform and more jobs, what are you talking about?”

    I’m talking about committing the nation to achieving the goal of healthcare for everyone through the allocation and application of available resources, including a workforce in need of work, into the work of providing additional healthcare. Details are for staff.

    That’s past tense. We are going about it differently now.

    Knowing the Senate would have to concur and that the president himself would have to go along, House Republicans have convened to vote to repeal Obamacare, what, forty times? There are differences among them at the moment as to whether shutting down the federal government or defaulting on America’s debt obligations would be the better next step.

    This, they say, is the nation’s most urgent business.

    Obamacare is a law about healthcare insurance – healthcare insurance – not the fall of the republic. Opposition – “want him to fail” – as it was being enacted accounts for most of its shortcomings, which will eventually have to be fixed. So be it. But it *was* enacted through the American legislative process. It was passed by the House; passed by Senate; signed into law by the president. It was challenged in the courts, the constitutional case against it was heard by the Supreme Court, and it was upheld. Repealing it was the centerpiece of the Republican presidential campaign in 2012. They took it to the voters and lost again. As they say, the American people have spoken. Never, of course, all of them.

    “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains. Think about that for a while.” (Ebby Calvin LaLoosh)

    ===

    I’m out till Monday.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On August 24, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      30M Americans still won’t have insurance with Obamacare

      • Little_Minx  On August 24, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        As opposed to 45 million without health insurance before Obamacare.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On August 24, 2013 at 11:22 PM

          At what cost? And I though Obamacare was going to mean insurance for everybody?

  • MZ  On August 25, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Get well soon. Had a diabetic colleague sidelined with MRSA in his foot. He was in danger of losing the entire foot (I think he lost his big toe in the process) and was waylaid for almost 2 months.

  • Devildog  On August 25, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    So, Tourist, Obamacare was passed by the legislative process but defunding it or repealing it if successful will not have been accomplished by the legislative process?

    You still haven’t indicated how committing the nation to healthcare for everyone would result in a positive effect on jobs.

    I believe you have commented that at times you cannot figure out what the hell (my language not yours) I am trying to say. Try this on for size. ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION!

  • Tourist  On August 25, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    “You still haven’t indicated how committing the nation to healthcare for everyone would result in a positive effect on jobs.” (Devildog)

    Yeah, I have. I said “through the allocation and application of available resources, including a workforce in need of work, [to] the work of providing additional healthcare.”

    Again: “the work of providing additional healthcare” and “a workforce in need of work.” Unless you think the additional healthcare will be by smartphone, that’s doctors, nurses, technicians, administrators, labs, clinics, hospitals.

    I also said that when an industry is growing, “invest in it.” Tens of millions of people (pick your favorite multiple of ten) in need of care and coverage looks like a growing market to me. It’s win-win, or that other word: opportunity.

    Is there any particular reason you don’t want it to happen?

    “Obamacare was passed by the legislative process but defunding it or repealing it if successful will not have been accomplished by the legislative process?” (Devildog)

    Sure it would. How many failed tries do you need?

    “30M Americans still won’t have insurance with Obamacare.” And: “At what cost? And I thought Obamacare was going to mean insurance for everybody?” (Pittsburgh Dad)

    Permit me to repeat myself here, too: “Opposition – ‘want him to fail’ – as it was being enacted accounts for most of its shortcomings, which will eventually have to be fixed. So be it.”

    Abortion protesters in Kansas recently argued that a clinic should be shut down because children should not be exposed to the photographs the protesters where carrying.

    ===

    Toadsly, the revising of comments on the P-G after they have been answered has begun. I knew we had readers!

    • Devildog  On August 25, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      Don’t want what to happen? Invest in doctors and nurses who are out of work- don’t know any who are. Build more hospitals-build them and they will come. Your platitudes about “investing” in healthcare is worthless. What you really mean is Obamacare is passé, bring on a single payer system that will bankrupt us even more and provide worse healthcare. Liberal becomes progressive, global warming becomes climate change and spend becomes invest. Must admit-sounds good. I know you want to leave the details to others but can you expound a little on your vision-how are you going to invest in doctors, for example-pant them less. Are you going to invest in the drug industry by controlling prices and encouraging frivolous class action suits. Flood the country with more hospitals and expensive machines-that certainly will create jobs. More administrators-just what we need. You got your play book from systems in more trouble than are we.

      Opposition/want him to fail? “We” believe Obamacare is a train wreck (as do many of yours). It’s a belief not a want-what the hell do you want us to do? Try it? In some cases, yes. In this case, no. Above all else, “we” don’t want history to give a Black president a crowning achievement. Tourist, you know I’m being facetious but for the record and others, I’m being facetious. Don’t doubt though that some will believe that it’s like a drunken outburst. There’s goes my chance of being POTUS.

      How has opposition caused the problems that have already arisen. Other than being able to get MSM to flood the airwaves Andy print with negativity about Obamacare, what have we, including Congress accomplished in “causing the problem”?

      • Tourist  On August 25, 2013 at 8:12 PM

        No, let’s do it the other way. You tell me. What’s your plan? Or the Repubicans’ plan? Please be specific.

        Or be general. Be anything except *against*. Please.

        • Devildog  On August 25, 2013 at 8:31 PM

          Addition by subtraction is a plan not an”against”. I’ve said it before that it started with Bork and it has reached a peak (so far) by pushing through on a straight party line vote a very significant Bill widely opposed by the public. Which might be ok if it had a reasonable chance to succeed but it doesn’t and won’t.

          Now, to address a “specific plan” other than eliminating Obamacare. I have no plan. I don’t believe in too much statism or regulation. I believe in cycles, getting out of the fucking way(excuse my word please-I just thought it fit in and that it might bring a smile to its main proponent, UMOC)), within reason, of course and letting the chips fall where they may (with an appropriate safety net for tose who really need it but without disincentivising the basic human nature of trying to better oneself. That “program” is not laissez faire (I don’t know how to look up the spelling without losing my message), it’s limited government.

          Is that specific enough for you?

          • Tourist  On August 25, 2013 at 8:53 PM

            I would not call that specific. I would say it’s clear. As my grandfather used to tell me when we played pool: “Trust to luck.”

            Re “widely opposed by the public”: Are you factoring in this: “But a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday also indicates that more than a quarter of those who oppose the law, known by many as Obamacare, say they don’t support the measure because it doesn’t go far enough”?

            http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/27/poll-do-you-support-or-oppose-the-health-care-law/

            • Devildog  On August 25, 2013 at 9:00 PM

              What about the other 75%? Are you sure “oppose the law” is the appropriate phrase rather than “do not believe the aw goes far enough”. Quite a difference don’t you think-especially as you are one of the 25%?

              • Tourist  On August 25, 2013 at 9:18 PM

                ???

                Support: 43%
                Oppose: 54%

                Why oppose?
                Too liberal: 35%
                Too conservative: 16%

                • Devildog  On August 25, 2013 at 9:45 PM

                  I guess you don’t know the meaning of the word “oppose”. Are you really suggesting that more than 50% are in favor of a law “stronger” than Obamacare”? Even you aren’t that audacious. Or are you?

                  • Tourist  On August 25, 2013 at 9:53 PM

                    “Are you really suggesting that more than 50% are in favor of a law ‘stronger’ than Obamacare”?

                    I didn’t, but I’d take that bet!

                    If 16% want it stronger and 43% “support” it, I suspect a good percentage of the 43% would be in favor of “stronger,” too.

                    Are you really suggesting that the 16% who say they want it stronger therefore want it repealed?

                    • Devildog  On August 25, 2013 at 10:31 PM

                      Figures don’t lie but… We need a statistician to look at this. Would you take the bet that 59% of the people are in favor of Obamacare or a stronger version. if yes, you are an outlier (that’s adding the 43 and 16 in your 9:18 post). You don’t really believe that, do you. If one shouldn’t add those numbers, those numbers cannot be used to support your position. It’s meaningless!

  • Tourist  On August 25, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Not quite. I said I’d take the bet on “more than 50%.” I wouldn’t claim the full 59%.

    • Devildog  On August 25, 2013 at 10:45 PM

      Don’t believe the numbers, eh?

      • Tourist  On August 25, 2013 at 10:50 PM

        Is that smoke, mirrors, or waving your arms and kicking up dust?

        • Devildog  On August 25, 2013 at 11:07 PM

          Say what! No comprendo.

          • Tourist  On August 25, 2013 at 11:09 PM

            My sentiments exactly.

            • Devildog  On August 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM

              Good night!

              • Tourist  On August 25, 2013 at 11:19 PM

                Sweet dreams!

                • pittsburgh_dad  On August 26, 2013 at 2:21 AM

                  Tourist is actually on to something, Wow, did I just say that? Well, busted clock and all…..

                  I looked at the poll and 16% of the 53% that oppose it do so because it isn’t liberal enough. Now, it doesn’t mean that all of that 16% would rather have Obamacare than what we have now (or some alternative conservative plan). Some of that 16% may want to go straight to single payer because Obamacare really doesn’t change things other than driving up costs (you know, 30M still uninsured; but I know Tourist, that will get ‘fixed’ later). Some others may be OK with Obamacare if it means that someday we will have single payer. What is that breakdown? No idea.

                  While I am actually for shutting down the govt at this point unless Obamacare is delayed in full for one year, I think the fabled GOP ‘Old Guard’ believe their jobs would be in jeopardy if this happened. The truth is their jobs are in jeopardy whether the govt is shut down or not. If they bend over for the Dems (again), they will get challenges from Tea Party candidates that some of them will definitely lose (cough) McConnell (cough). Even if Mitch survives the Tea Party challenge, he’ll lose to the Dem because the hard right won’t turn out for a RINO

                  • Tourist  On August 26, 2013 at 4:49 AM

                    I believe the saying is: “Even a busted clock finds a nut once in a while.”

                    But, no, I am not “onto something.” There were three choices to the question: (1) support; (2) oppose because too liberal; (3) oppose because not liberal enough.

                    43%, 35% and 16%, respectively, have been the – if you’ll pardon the expression – facts all along.

                    The distortion all along has been that since only a plurality picked door #1, a majority opposes.

                    How terribly hard is this?

                    How dishonest is it to write “54% Oppose Obamacare” headlines? To what end are they written?

                    Nobody likes to think they have been manipulated. But if those who think they are in the majority in their opposition to Obamacare could be persuaded to look at the three questions, look at the three numbers, they might wonder if their sources have been dealing with them all that truthfully on, say, as well, the need, nature, content and effect of Obamacare – and on other subjects.

                    I doubt it, but I have a dream.

                    • Devildog  On August 26, 2013 at 9:00 AM

                      (Most) everyone agrees there are some aspects of Obamacare that are good. Everyone thinks it can’t stand as is. Some think it needs minor tweaking, some significant overhaul and some we need to start from scratch.

                      As most polls, this one is worthless, in no small way because of the questions asked. So, Tourist, I guess that makes me a sore loser.

                    • pittsburgh_dad  On August 26, 2013 at 10:38 AM

                      This is rich. The MSM, which has bent over for your Lord and Savior more often that a $5 hooker with a crack addiction, is being manipulative here.

                    • Little_Minx  On August 26, 2013 at 9:14 PM

                      Let’s hope you don’t kiss babies with that mouth.

  • toadsly  On August 26, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Little_Minx – Did you catch “Silk?” I enjoyed it, and learned a little more about the British legal system.

  • Devildog  On August 26, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Hi, Tourist. Hope you made it okay to another day.

    Polls show that Americans are against providing military assistance of any kind to the Syrian rebels unless the government uses chemical weapons (and then we should). So, we should sit on our ass if a couple of hundred thousand are killed using conventional weapons and a couple of million are displaced but if chemical weapons kill a few hundred, we should “act”. Apparently, Obama feels the same way, and I once again plead not being smart enough, not having enough info, nor having a high enough pay grade to have an opinion as to what to do. Thank God we have Obama as CiC to make all these tough decisions.

    But it seems absurd to me that a chemical weapon red line will determine whether we act or not. Just as absurd as blowing up a car of terrorists with a missile is okay (or at least minimally acceptable in an asymmetrical “war”) while droning that car is not okay.

    I can only shake my head in wonder!

    • Tourist  On August 26, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      Hey, Dog! I have to do some things and it will probably be well past your bedtime before I’m finished. Meanwhile, on these kinds of questions, when I can’t decide what I would do, I generally go along with what Fred Kaplan would do. Here he is on Egypt (what we should do), and coming separately is a link on Syria (his prediction of what we will do).

      Egypt:

      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2013/08/president_obama_should_end_aid_to_egypt_the_country_s_generals_act_on_their.html

        • Devildog  On August 26, 2013 at 10:14 PM

          Tourist, thanks for the Kaplan links. He seems very “learned but no more than me and he doesn’t know what to do either. Also, he’s very inconsistent

          He claims Obama is more interested in how actions affect national interests rather than for moral reasons but how does that explain Libya (and even Kosovo).

          He’s comes out against military aid to Egypt but doesn’t indicate how that would benefit us so I come to the conclusion that the only way it would benefit us by saving us a paltry $3 billion rather tan being if geopolitical benefit.

          Re Syria, we’re back to getting allies, curiously enough all of whom are Sunni countries, to fight the Iranian/Shiite supported Assad. This is just an old-fashioned Sunni-Shiite conflict. So our air strikes will show the world we will not countenance the use of chemical weapons- that’s where our national interest comes in, eh?

          Why did we topple Qaddafi? What was our national interest?

          Follow the money! Remember that? Follow whose interest it was to use chemical weapons!

          • Tourist  On August 26, 2013 at 10:37 PM

            Devildog,

            Kaplan is very good. Just FYI, here is his archive at Slate in reverse chronological order. It’s slow-going because you get so few per page and then you have to keep hitting “older.” You might enjoy clicking through it, though, and reading any that look interesting to you.

            Note that after this first page the page address will include a number (2, 3, 4, . . .). You can manually change that to a higher number and jump back farther, blindly, sort of like Sam did in Quantum Leap.

            http://www.slate.com/authors.fred_kaplan.html

            • Devildog  On August 26, 2013 at 10:52 PM

              Would it surprise you Tourist if I knew all about Sam and Quantum Leap? Well, guess what? I’m not going to surprise you.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On August 27, 2013 at 1:50 AM

              Fred Kaplan? I think Gabe Kaplan might be more insightful

            • Devildog  On August 27, 2013 at 2:48 PM

              Tourist, on June 17th, Kaplan wrote, “Obama’s Gamble in Syria” and said O needed to explain his arming of the Syrian rebels. He said the decision was not about “humanitarian intervention” but was about balance of power politics between Sunni and Shiite, between Sunni allies and Iran/Hezbollah expansionist ambitions. To which I go back 60 years when one of the sayings of me and my friends was, “no shit, Dick Tracy” (anyone else who used that). That’s what everything in the Middle East is about, not the Israeli/Palestinian whatever.

              Kaplan goes on to imply that Obama doesn’t know hat to do/what he is doing or not doing or he knows but Kaplan doesn’t know what his objectives/end game is. But, Kaplan probably believes the former as so many believe. If arming the rebels was not humanitarian intervention, what about taking military intervention over crossing the red line?

              I finally have a recommendation as to what our objective should be, in Syria as well as Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, “Palestine” (I mean between Hamas and Fatah), and probably a few others. The objective-produce a stalemate between competing interests, regardless of the internal “collateral damage”.

  • Tourist  On August 26, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Little Minx, to yours at 9:14 PM:

    It’s disappointing, isn’t it? It’s the derangement. Plus, he just had a very bad week at the P-G. I feel his pain. (Chortle-snort.)

    • Little_Minx  On August 26, 2013 at 9:46 PM

      I wish UMOC had “Like” option I could select for your comment.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On August 27, 2013 at 2:50 AM

      Since Minxy posted that 9:14P post to me, I will assume it was directed at me (again Tourist, hoping it isn’t delusional). So Tourist I assume your comment is about me (again, hoping not being delusional and if I am, please tell me so).

      But accepting this is true, my comment would be ‘What?’

  • Tourist  On August 27, 2013 at 4:20 AM

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    I remember Kotter – Gabe Kaplan. Thanks for the memory. But why can’t you post something nice like that without making it an insult of somebody?

    And what exactly are you saying about Fred (or Rob or Reg or Tony) when you say Gabe is more insightful? You dispute Fred Kapan, for example, where?

    What do I mean by your “bad week at the P-G”? Ask me again.

  • Devildog  On August 27, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Kerry says the use of chemical weapons is a “moral obscenity”, implying what happened before is not that. Go figure! Not that I necessarily advocate a military strike now or advocated one before. I just don’t know. Kaplan said Obama acts in our national interest rather than for moral reasons. His actions are not based on any rationale-he, like I, do not know what to do. Not easy but his pay grade is higher than mine.

  • Tourist  On August 28, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18416-war-on-syria-twenty-pounds-of-stupid-in-a-ten-pound-bag

    That’s an article by William Rivers Pitt, which is blistering on how “stupid” (in the title) any military attack on Syria would be.

    (Quote)

    . . . our presidents like nothing more than to flip a few cruise missiles at other countries, combined with a few bombing sorties for good measure, because it’s a hell of a lot easier than actual statecraft. Besides, it looks good on television, and all those meanies in Congress can’t accuse the Commander in Chief of not doing anything. Oh, also, cruise missiles and bombs cost a lot, so if we pull the trigger on Syria, someone will get paid handsomely . . . . Flatten a few buildings, blow some children sideways out of their kitchens during breakfast, take a victory lap on the Sunday morning talk shows…what could possibly go wrong?

    Quite a bit, as it turns out . . . . In essence, any attack on Syria could quickly escalate into a full-scale war that would further destabilize the region and quite probably lead to the kind of conflagration found in the last chapter of the Bible. Finally, and not for nothing, but if Mr. Obama and his generals manage to come up with the perfect military plan and successfully end the Assad regime, the folks who will take over Syria in his absence are exactly the kind of people we started this whole “War On Terror” to confront and destroy in the first place.

    (Unquote)

    There’s more.

    Dropped in near the end is this: “If it is established beyond doubt that chemical weapons were used in Syria, either by the Assad regime or the rebels, a response of some kind is both necessary and justified.”

    Oh. Okay.

    ===

    Have the attacks begun? I haven’t been able to fashion the presentation I would like, but I want to at least get my vote in first.

    As President George W. Bush said, referring to his in-box: “If they were easy decisions, somebody would have made them.” I think you try to solve problems if you think they are solvable and if they are important enough. I think if events can go various ways and you have a preference and it’s important enough, you try to influence the outcome. You take risks. I like being a superpower. “Why us?” That’s why.

    Attacks as seem to be imminent would not produce any outcome we could reasonably want to achieve in Syria or the Middle East. They are not an effective means to any valid objective. Worse, while we obviously call few of the shots at present, what would happen next would be totally beyond our control.

    It’s all risk. Don’t do it.

    • Devildog  On August 28, 2013 at 8:18 PM

      Well Tourist, we finally agree. Not just agree but I agree 100 % with what you have written. Having said that, however, you need not have quoted Penn and I wish you hadn’t with his tiresome military/industrial complex,” someone will get paid handsomely”.

      • Tourist  On August 29, 2013 at 3:32 AM

        Devildog, it’s an honor to be agreed with by you. A day or so ago, I did not have a clear position. As I worked mine out, I kept coming back to what you’ve said a few times about doing nothing sometimes being better than doing something. This is one of those times.

        At some point in the process I was considering that “ineffective” strikes (shorthand rather than repeat the objectives argument) might not be so bad, in that we’d have backed up the “red line” talk (a mistake but spilt milk), assuming Russia, China, Iran and Syria itself didn’t overreact to them. There would be collateral damage, but the situation is already horrific, isn’t it?

        Then this morning I watched some extended TV reporting from Syria. It was about the fighting, of course, but a lot of it showed normal life pretty much going on. Those were the people we’d be killing. The reasons weren’t good enough.

        That’s part of why I used the Pitt article. The things he says are not wrong. I also used it because of that part at the end. After raging about the stupidity, he says a response of some kind to chemical weapons would be “both necessary and justified.”

        He clearly meant – said – just not a military response. Fine. Still, “I don’t know what to do, but something, but not that, but I have no ideas,” is not the most useful advice.

        I have an idea.

        When a leader paints himself into a corner with “red line” and “better not do it again” and “shot across the bow,” coming up with one – getting him out of it – can be a challenge for staff.

        Remember in 1999 when we bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade by mistake?

  • Tourist  On August 29, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    Toadsly,

    I had to look up “skid marks.” Yous guys aren’t much into these, I guess.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=washlet+toilet+images&hl=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=cQofUtLbOoyXkgWMrYB4&ved=0CCgQsAQ&biw=1164&bih=411#hl=en&q=washlet+images&tbm=isch

    • Tourist  On August 29, 2013 at 4:59 AM

      That links seems to work for a fraction of a second and then fail.

      Google: washlet images

      Then click the link that says: Images for washlet

      • Anonymous  On August 29, 2013 at 8:13 AM

        No problem opening images of mankind’s greatest invention.

  • toadsly  On August 29, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    No problem opening images of mankind’s greatest invention.

  • Devildog  On August 29, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    You’ll look like an idiot (again) and so will we, your words will be meaningless (again) and so will ours, our standing in the world will be lower than it has ever been ( but so what), you’ll be the butt of late night jokes (live with it), just do the right thing (for once). And that’s nothing.

    • toadsly  On August 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      U b ratchet divo!

      • Little_Minx  On August 29, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        “U b ratchet divo!” Oh, you kids with your slang nowadays!

        • toadsly  On August 30, 2013 at 1:32 PM

          Speaking of kids: When I turned 50, it didn’t bother me; when I turned 60, it didn’t faze me, but when I recently received my Medicare card, I experienced a stabbing pang of finiteness (if that’s even a word?)!

          • Little_Minx  On August 30, 2013 at 1:53 PM

            I have the advantage of Mr. Minx passing through every life landmark before I do, so I have time to adjust to the impending change in my own life, and am thus ready for it.

            • Devildog  On August 30, 2013 at 2:27 PM

              And all this time, I thought men and woman react differently to almost everything. Silly me! Must be doing something right though since it’s been 48 years (or married the only woman in the world who…).

              • toadsly  On August 30, 2013 at 2:33 PM

                You must be a good guy. I married the girl of my dreams 42 years ago, and I still can’t believe she said yes.

                • Devildog  On August 30, 2013 at 2:54 PM

                  Good guy? Don’t insult me like that. Actually, a good guy maybe but only to a very few. I am well aware of that. But I do take credit for asking the right one. That she is totally apolitical helps. She often asks who she should vote for and she never s says yes or no-except the last two times when she said she doesn’t agree with my recommendation. That’s why he won-apolitical people who were dazzled. We survived that as will the country.

      • Devildog  On August 29, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        Gomenasai, no comprendo!

  • Little_Minx  On August 29, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Simply in the interest of completeness of record — given our mutual connection to the erstwhile ROW — here’s the URL to Reg’s column this week

    “Syrian scenario seems bad case of deja vu”:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/reg-henry/syrian-scenario-seems-bad-case-of-deja-vu-701016

  • Tourist  On August 29, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Devildog: Who you? He or me?

    Toadsly: Who u? He or he?

    You know what I mean.

    • Devildog  On August 29, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      Way above my head what the hell is going on. Must be brilliant though.

    • Little_Minx  On August 29, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      Huh???

      • Tourist  On August 29, 2013 at 5:48 PM

        If I’ve reduced Minx o “Huh???” I’m very sorry. But I’m holding out for Toadsly.

    • toadsly  On August 29, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Well, I’m not a noble gas, and I don’t pass none, neither.

  • Tourist  On August 29, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    I’m going to pretend this conversation has gone exactly as I hoped it would, declare victory and move on.

    The editing/deleting of one’s own comments on the P-G is quickly getting out of hand, or I’m just now noticing. Either way, allowing for an occasional good reason and no harm, isn’t that pretty low? And this as those conversations have otherwise been getting better.

  • Tourist  On August 29, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    Varying greatly depending on topic and forum, the comments to an article are often the best part. The link below is to an article at TPM on John Cornyn and the tea party. Thirty-some comments in, “The Admiral” begins with “My 85yo father-in-law, . . .” and it’s an interesting discussion of race from there. Note that when The Admiral talks about his father-in-law talking about the Democrats as they used to be, he means the “segregationist confederate faction of the Democratic Party” from the prior comment. It goes on for quite a while.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/08/how-the-uber-conservative-john-cornyn-ticked-off-the-tea-party.php?ref=fpb

    • Devildog  On August 29, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      So, Tourist, you found the comments to be the ” best part”. How not surprising since it’s the same bullshit to which you subscribe. Disagree with a Black liberal president and you’re a racist. Disagree with a White liberal president (about almost anything) and you’re a racist. A Republican who agrees with you is a “good” Republican, that is, until he disagrees with you (see McCain, the former media darling).

      Here’s some shocking news for you-your extremists control your party to too large an extent. Just watch your Congressional leaders. Compromise- yeah, your Party is not my way or the highway. It’s the other side, who wants to defeat the Black president at any cost.

      But continue to enjoy “the comments” on all those liberal sites you peruse. Do you enjoy the comments on the conservative sites, if you read any? Those people on this site who comment on the PG sites are really great.

      • Tourist  On August 29, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        You can be very hard to talk to.

        • Devildog  On August 29, 2013 at 9:35 PM

          I know you’re the kind to give second, third and more chances(how many have I used up) so don’t give up.

  • Devildog  On August 30, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Last is first! The least important factor in determining whether we shoutd taken military action against Syria/Assad is whether chemical weapons were used. Yet, …. Go figure. Saving face is yet another item imported here from the Far East.

  • Little_Minx  On August 30, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    For anyone who’s missed WDUQ-FM, good news — “Jazz station set to launch: 88.1 WYZR-FM”:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/tv-radio/jazz-station-set-to-launch-881-wyzr-fm-701371

    “…features former WDUQ-FM staff members Tony Mowod, Chuck Leavens, Scott Hanley and John Lasanich as hosts, along with sports broadcaster and radio personality Bill Hillgrove and jazz broadcaster Bobby Jackson.”

    I ♥ Billy! (BTW, I understand that he started out in radio on DUQ as a student. Like me, he loves both classical music AND jazz!)

  • Little_Minx  On August 30, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    “Jazz station set to launch: 88.1 WYZR-FM”
    By Adrian McCoy / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Jazz is returning to the local airwaves — at least in areas south of the city. On Sunday, WYZR-FM (88.1) is scheduled to go on the air.

    The new station is being launched by Pittsburgh Public Media, a group of former WDUQ-FM staff members and other jazz supporters. Pittsburgh Public Media bought the signal from Bethany College in West Virginia in May.

    Initially, programming will come from the online Pittsburgh Jazz Channel (www.pghjazzchannel.org), which features former WDUQ-FM staff members Tony Mowod, Chuck Leavens, Scott Hanley and John Lasanich as hosts, along with sports broadcaster and radio personality Bill Hillgrove and jazz broadcaster Bobby Jackson.

    Because the transmitter is on the West Virginia border at the former Bethany site, the new station won’t cover the entire Pittsburgh metro area at first. The coverage area is south of the city — South Park, Mt. Lebanon, Peters and Washington County, along with Green Tree and areas west toward the airport. It also extends to Wheeling, W.Va., and Youngstown, Ohio, giving the new station a regional presence.

    The jazz community has been without a radio station since the former WDUQ was sold in 2011. While people are excited at the prospect of jazz returning to the airwaves, Mr. Leavens, president of Pittsburgh Public Media’s board of directors, urges them to be patient for a while.

    “We’ve got to manage our expectations. If we’re expecting a big local Pittsburgh signal, this isn’t it. This is a start. We have to get on the air and make improvements. Everything is a step by step process.”

    The next step will be to improve the signal and increase coverage, Mr. Leavens said. They’re replacing the old transmitter with a new one that will improve the signal quality.

    They’re working on new studios, which are at Donaldson’s Crossroads in McMurray. After studio construction is finished, the station will feature live jazz programing, including Mr. Mowod’s evening show. They hope to add a live local morning show, in-studio performances and live jazz concerts in the future, Mr. Leavens said, along with specialty programming on weekends.

    The launch of a fledgling public radio station also involves solid listener support. “This has been a monumental effort,” Mr. Leavens said. “We really need individual donations.”

  • Little_Minx  On August 30, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    The launch of a fledgling public radio station also involves solid listener support. “This has been a monumental effort,” Mr. Leavens said. “We really need individual donations.” Listeners can donate at Pittsburgh Public Media’s website, http://www.pittsburghpublicmedia.org

    [The reason I divided this up was because if there’s >1 URL in a post, a message gets held for blogger review, and during his recuperation UMOC isn’t currently online as often as usual.]

  • Little_Minx  On August 31, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    What, no comments yet re the President’s Rose Garden speech this afternoon?

    • Devildog  On August 31, 2013 at 6:29 PM

      Was the speech before or after he went to play golf with Biden? Hold on! I’m told it was before. That doesn’t really matter though. What matters is whether he knows what the heck he’s doing. Maybe yes, probably no, but how can anyone comment when the hand that does the commenting is scratching the head that does the thinking?

      • Little_Minx  On August 31, 2013 at 7:55 PM

        Fleas, D-dog?

        • Devildog  On August 31, 2013 at 8:07 PM

          Unfortunately not. A flea problem can be taken care of in a lot less than 3+ years. The world awaits your analysis of “the situation” though I’m pretty sure you prefer to have the sly one speak for you.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On August 31, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      What is there to say? Amateur hour. He painted himself into a corner and now he is looking for a way out. And apparently, he believes that everybody is going to ‘stand down’ (where have we heard that before?) and wait til Congress decides if he is ‘allowed’ to do something that he has at least stated that he believes he already has the authority to do

      All of this to do what? Tomahawk missile a couple of vacated tents outside of Damascus. That’ll teach ’em.

  • Tourist  On August 31, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    The Pirates and the Steelers (Devildog is saying “whaaaaaat?” already) are teams made up of individuals, but “Steelers” evokes something that “Pirates” does not. Even at 8-and-8 the Steelers are not just a team among many. America is We the People and it is more.

    The next time a British prime minister speaks for the nation, will it be judged the same way after the smackdown from Parliament? No matter how you feel on the primary question, that’s in play for us now, too.

    When I woke up to today’s headline, my first reaction was that Obama had found his way out. The more I think about it, I think he’s betting on approval.

    A couple days ago I came down against “attacks as seem to be imminent,” as being “all risk” without realistically furthering any aspect of our Middle East policy. That overrode my view on the “chemical weapons” (shorthand) issue. I do think there should be a response to that. It can be, and has been here, argued that killing with chemical weapons is not logically different from killing comparable numbers in more respectable ways, just as it can be argued that 9/11 was a crime like any other. We and the world decided 9/11 was different, and we as part of the world decided chemical and biological weapons were different.

    To be clear: (1) I think it’s important that the use of chemical weapons be punished. (2) That could but does not have to be by military strikes, ever or right now, which is why I oppose go-it-alone strikes now; but I think not that long ago “the world” would have struck Syria for this already without much hesitation. What undercut that consensus/determination was that the world took a similar stand against torture, and then the previous American administration decided torture was dandy. So what we may be in need of now is for the world to restate its commitment to some of these values. (If, at a time like this, Devildog can cheap-shot Obama over golf, I can remind us of some of the proud accomplishments of Bush. Call it a proportional response.)

    Where was I? Right.

    “Policy” strikes? No. “Chemical” strikes? Not now. But the implications and consequences of Congress voting to authorize or not authorize? (If I were president, I would not be asking.)

    Threading the needle: Congress votes to support the president and the president finds another way out.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On August 31, 2013 at 8:31 PM

      Blaming Bush? In the words of Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked. To blame this on Bush’s torture (which worked BTW, just ask the CIA) shows the vacuousness of the liberal mindset

    • Devildog  On August 31, 2013 at 8:52 PM

      Point of order, Tourist.

      Cheap shot-I wrote, “that’s doen’t really matter though”.

      9/11 was a crime like Pearl Harbor was a crime-a declaration of war regardless whether the perp was a sovereign state or not.

      Bush again? The world would go along had we not waterboarded. Really now!

      Come back to the ‘burgh and even the country and see who now is America’s team.

      You oppose go it alone strikes now, the implication being that enough countries went along with it, you would be in favor a military strike now. How many, and which, countries do you require? Is Britain and France enough. Canada and Australia added if they chane their minds. Why? If it’s the right thing and we can do it alone, why not? Don’t you understand that almost every country in the world, whether they publicly object or not, will be happy if we take out Assad.

      Your post is a bunch of gibberish because you don’t know what to do but feel obliged to speak. But, it’s above your pay grade so you’re excused.

      Bucs, 7-1 at the end of four and a half

      • Tourist  On August 31, 2013 at 9:58 PM

        “Point of order, Tourist. Cheap shot – I wrote, ‘that’s doen’t really matter though’.”

        +++ You got it in, though. That’s how I’d do it.

        “9/11 was a crime like Pearl Harbor was a crime-a declaration of war regardless whether the perp was a sovereign state or not.”

        +++ You’re not listening.

        “Bush again?”

        +++ See above.

        The world would go along had we not waterboarded. Really now!

        +++ Not quite what I said.

        “If it’s the right thing and we can do it alone, why not?”

        +++ Because thanks to Bush we are no longer the go-to guys for “right thing to do.”

        “Don’t you understand that almost every country in the world, whether they publicly object or not, will be happy if we take out Assad.”

        +++ The strikes being contemplated would likely not do that. Would almost every country in the world be happy to roll the dice on what happens next? Ever heard the expressions “risk averse,” “known quantity” and “our son of a bitch”? Even business does not value maximum profit as much as it values predictable profit.

        “Your post is a bunch of gibberish because you don’t know what to do but feel obliged to speak.”

        +++ Minx asked. Besides, I said no to a policy strike and no to a chemical strike in current circumstances, and, if it wasn’t clear enough, I hope Congress votes to authorize and that the president then finds another way not to do it. That’s what the two weeks are for. Where don’t I know what to do? I “always” know what *I* would do – meaning I figure that out before declaring that others don’t know what they are doing. ‘Cause this isn’t sports.

        “Bucs, 7-1 at the end of four and a half.”

        +++ Go Bucs! Not what I meant, either.

        • Devildog  On August 31, 2013 at 10:28 PM

          Pissed again-lost a long reply so I’ll be brief.

          Can “argue” 9/11 was a crime-you got it in.
          “Undercut consensus”-you imply and I infer that absent that we would have a consensus/coalition. How many does it take and who to have a consensus?
          Even if weren’t the right guys to go to because of Bush, we now have te Nobel peace prize winner.

          Or devastated Syria, or inflicted severe damage or whatever-just as they were happy when Israel took out the Iraqi nuclear site.

          You only oppose certain strikes but you want action the type of which you are uncertain. Therefore, you don’t know what to do-no shame in that. If we could surgically strike Assad with a single shot-decapitation, without collateral damage, are you in favor of that?

          • Little_Minx  On August 31, 2013 at 10:51 PM

            Any chance that the President’s bluffing, in order to make Assad blink first? Parallel to the Cuban Missile Crisis is hardly on point, and yet…

            • pittsburgh_dad  On September 1, 2013 at 12:42 PM

              No, because Assad lives in the real world while O lives in a worlds where there are no radical Islamists

  • Little_Minx  On August 31, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Toadsly! — and anyone else here who’s been watching “Doc Martin” on PBS. Did you catch tonight’s episode? If not, or even if just want to read a reprise, here’s the link to the recap:
    http://www.kcet.org/shows/doc_martin/recaps/recap-for-doc-martin-episode-25-perish-together-as-fools.html

    • Little_Minx  On August 31, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      General guide to all “Doc Martin” episodes (don’t peek ahead, if you want to avoid spoilers):
      http://www.kcet.org/shows/doc_martin/web-extras/episode-guide.html

    • Anonymous  On September 1, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      Caught tonight’s episode. Like the series. Doc snd I have similar personalities. So says “she, who must be obeyed.”

    • toadsly  On September 1, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      I always watch snd enjoy “Doc Martin.” “She who is always obeyed” claims we have similar personalities.

  • Tourist  On August 31, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    Devildog (10:28 PM),

    “You only oppose certain strikes but you want action the type of which you are uncertain.”

    I have been clear on every decision that could conceivably be made today. I remain open on decisions that can be put off until later.

    What would you do today, President Dog? How would you vote today, Senator Dog?

    Or was calling him the Nobel Prize winner supposed to be a substantive hint?

    • Little_Minx  On August 31, 2013 at 10:55 PM

      On the one hand, Senator Cornyn (R-TX.) had sent a message to President Obama earlier today urging that Congress be allowed to vote on it — and now Rep. Peter King (R-NY.) is denouncing the President for wanting Congress to vote on it (on grounds that Obama is shirking his mandate as Commander-in-Chief). I tell ya, some days Obama can’t win for losing.

    • Devildog  On August 31, 2013 at 11:07 PM

      The only hint was to you to stop blaming Bush.

      I vote nay because I can’t see how it would be in our national interest-plain and simple.

    • Devildog  On August 31, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      As President, I would consult with Butch Harmon for a week.

      • Little_Minx  On August 31, 2013 at 11:43 PM

        Who??? Any relation to Mark Harmon?

        • Devildog  On September 1, 2013 at 12:17 AM

          Who’s Butch Harmon? Probably the most noted (best?) golf instructor in the world. My advisors (remember I’m the president) don’t know s from s about anything.

          Good night!

  • Devildog  On August 31, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    Any chance (to be generous) the President has not yet made up his mind what to do?

    So Cornyn and King don’t agree with each other on this issue. Outrageous! The President just can’t win. Poor guy.

  • Little_Minx  On August 31, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    Returning to the original topic of this blog post, I’d like to give a shout-out to our UMOC, in hopes that his recovery is proceeding apace (so to speak) and that he’ll soon be back online more frequently. Presumably the ‘Eers victory over W&M brightened his day, right?

  • Devildog  On September 1, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    It is, in my opinion, a 100% certainty that we will take some sort of military strike againstSyria (that is, Assad and his administration), regardless of any vote in Congress, because Obama is so far out on a limb. So, it is almost certain that Obama believes it is almost certain Congress will approve. Otherwise, it will be embarrassing (to say the least) to attack in the face of Congressional disapproval. To be that certain of Congressional approval, one can be certain that there will be many severely twisted arms among Democratic members of Congress.

    See how certain everything is, that is, everything is certain except the outcome of the attack.

  • Tourist  On September 1, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Iceman to Maverick: “You may not like the guys flying with you, they may not like you, but whose side are you on?”

    Any strikes on Syria, before they are launched, will be described as limited, carefully targeted, designed for maximum effectiveness with minimum risk and civilian casualties – words to that effect.

    Is it fair to assume that those who oppose them now (still including me) would, if they do take place, hope they “succeed” as stated?

    • Devildog  On September 1, 2013 at 7:50 PM

      tourist, you “got it in again” and I’m not going to answer your insulting question.

      • Tourist  On September 1, 2013 at 8:55 PM

        Devildog,

        “Support the troops” is insulting, as if anyone doesn’t, so I suppose you could see my question as insulting, too. I apologize and take the answer you won’t give to be “yes.” I would be shocked if it were otherwise. I think we both recognize what it means to disagree with something while hoping for the best.

        On December 12, 2012, i.e., *after* President Obama had been reelected for four more years, one among us wrote of his hopes for the American economic recovery: “If a recession is avoided, O can take the credit. The only hope is that between UCA, regulations and European recessions will limit growth and the urate increases anyway.”

        I was wondering about people like that when “O” acts as commander in chief.

        I suspect that now we’ll never know.

        • Devildog  On September 1, 2013 at 9:04 PM

          Peace, my amigo!

        • pittsburgh_dad  On September 1, 2013 at 10:24 PM

          I will say it again but it won’t matter. I believe the policies implemented by ‘O’ are hurtful to this country. If polls are accurate, many people are agreeing with me. It wouldn’t matter who the prez is, if he/she/it wants to implement policies such as the ones promoted by ‘O’, it would be un-American to support them

          • pittsburgh_dad  On September 1, 2013 at 10:29 PM

            O’s policy with respect to Syria is already a failure. This is the liberal philosophy and O’s ego at work. Liberalism doesn’t allow for the possibility that we are in a war with radical Islam and O believes his mere existence, along with an apology for America’s past ‘transgressions’ in the Middle East, will lead to radical Islamists laying down their eons old animosities and sing Kumbaya like they are living in a 1960s commune. When this didn’t come tor fruition, something easily predicted, we get Benghazi, Egypt and Syria

          • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 4:07 AM

            You’re right. Saying it any number of times won’t matter. If your son chose a career you had advised against, would you hope he did well for himself and his family, or would you want him to fail to so you could say you were right? There is a world of difference between having your doubts and wanting the worst.

            The “only hope” is recession? The “only hope” is higher unemployment? Not for the nation or the people needing help – just *your* hope that nothing “O” does will work so that no one gives him any credit.

            His policy on Syria has failed “already”? Under Rob Rogers on Syria you called him a war criminal already.

            “Liberalism doesn’t allow for the possibility . . .”? “O believes his mere existence . . .”? You don’t even give your rhetorical “Why else?” this time for how we know he believes that his mere existence, blah, blah, blah. I’m sure people are tired of me, too, asking you what any of that means.

            The answer, of course, is that it does not have to mean anything. You and yours just have to keep feeding each other’s derangements, like with the “apology tour.” There was none. Every single claim, every quoted statement (limited to the ones the president actually made), has been looked at in context – sometimes the whole sentence was enough – and debunked. Not that truth has ever stopped you. As you said: “Free speech.”

            So! What would you do on Syria?

            • pittsburgh_dad  On September 2, 2013 at 12:20 PM

              My son’s career – why am I advising against it? Is he doing something illegal? Is he somehow hurting people by performing his job, although the things he is doing aren’t necessarily illegal and he wouldn’t lose his job if he performed it in a way that didn’t hurt people? If he insisted on doing things that unnecessarily hurt people, I would hope to convince him to stop. If he didn’t stop, I would hope he failed. May even do something to make this happen, if possible.

              The rest of your usual nonsense – it is clear that his policies are hurting America. This is what I said would happen 5 years ago and it is what I said before the 2012 election. This isn’t Monday morning quarterbacking. Name one policy, domestic or foreign, that has improved this country. The fact is his policies will hurt this country for generations. The ‘hoping he fails’ stuff is like being glad Detroit failed. I feel bad for the people in the moment but in the long run, they will be better off because progressivism, a cancer on this country, will be diminished and controlled. I don’t think this will happen to the extent necessary to really benefit this country but O’s failure, along with Detroit and other major cities going bankrupt, will hopefully convince people that govt isn’t the answer to our problems, it is the problem

              You can call it whatever you want, O made it clear that he believes many of the issues Muslims have with this country result from America’s policies towards Arab countries. When the truth is that 98% of their problems are self-inflicted and there is nothing America did that would alter their current state to such a degree that they wouldn’t be declaring a fatwa against the US every time we turned around. The issue they have with us is that we exist. Has O’s approach to the Middle East improved our relationship with our allies in the region? How popular with our ‘allies’ in the region is O right now? Weren’t the Egyptian people burning him in effigy a couple of weeks ago? He is supporting our enemies – Muslim Brotherhood, rebels which include Al Queda in Syria. You believe Bush created the animosity towards the US. The truth is most rational Muslims were thankful for what Bush did. The only ones that weren’t thankful are the radical Muslims that are now taking over the Middle East thanks to O’s ignorance

              Syria – do you know the ‘red line’ comment was off the cuff? The problem is he made the statement. My belief is he did it without thinking. He never had any intention of acting on it. His arrogance led him to believe he wouldn’t have to. After all, he is the One we have been waiting for. While he has fooled half this country twice, he didn’t fool radical Muslims. In fact, radical Muslims are thrilled with O. O’s policies have allowed radical Muslims to endanger not just the Middle East but also the US and western Europe.

              There is no good choice with respect to Syria. There isn’t even a good choice among the bad choices. But this is his doing. Without that statement, he can easily justify not intervening. Most Americans want us to stay out. He is just embarrassing himself at this point. He blinked. When was the last time a US prez blinked? He pulled all of the troops out of Iraq allowing Iran to gain influence there and in Syria. The powerful people in these countries do not want democracy. To think otherwise is naïve. I don’t think Neville Chamberlain was this naive

              My belief is that he should carpet bomb the airports and create a no-fly zone over the country. Would he ever do this? There is a better chance I will marry Kate Upton

            • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 1:18 PM

              Tourist, I’m only going to comment on four words in your post (having to do with the so-called apology tour) and those are “looked at in context”. It is meaningless to look at the preident’s words in context in that situation just as it is meaningless to look at “red line” in context. The cat is out of the bag in both instances. Overall impression counts more than context. I have no idea, and neither does most anyone else nor does it matter, what was the context of the “red line” statement. So don’t bother debunking, even if you can make the case, a red line claim.

              I’m not drawing an analogy between these two incidences; I’m merely debunking the importance of context vis a vis general impression concerning a president’s words (or, for example, a candidates-see Romney).

              • Little_Minx  On September 3, 2013 at 8:52 PM

                Are you saying that if Side A says something in context, then Side anti-A takes it out of context in order to create a false impression, then Side A has no right to correct the false impression?

  • Little_Minx  On September 1, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Toadsly! Were YOU able to view tonight’s episode of “Silk”? We weren’t. Channel 13 had several minutes of their “Please stand by” placard onscreen starting at 9 PM, then substitute programming (rerun of the Angela Lansbury infomercial/pledger for “Downton Abbey,” followed by a Rick Sebak thingie). Perhaps a bird crapped on WQED’s satellite dish downlinking “Silk”?

    • toadsly  On September 1, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      I got lost in a piece I’m writing and the evening vanished. I’m a night owl, and often catch “Masterpiece” when it’s rebroadcast shorty before dawn.

      • Little_Minx  On September 2, 2013 at 10:18 AM

        Toadsly! Was “Silk” aired in the wee small hours of this morning? Not that I’d have gotten up in order to watch then. Am just curious whether WQED got the feed.

        • toadsly  On September 2, 2013 at 3:24 PM

          Yep! At one in the morning. That’s unusual; usually is much later.

          • Little_Minx  On September 2, 2013 at 11:39 PM

            1 AM? Fuhgeddaboudit!

  • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Deterrence? Punishment? In for a penny, in for a dollar! All forces ready to go! Cut the head off (not the tail)! Where’s the head-where does our national security interests really lie? If we (or an ally) is going to go for it later (alone), why not go for it now-all our systems should already be on high alert. Better than giving two week alerts.

    Just a thought, never happen. Probably shouldn’t.

  • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Devildog (1:18 PM),

    Re “Overall impression counts more than context”: But who created the impression?

    “I think he had made a practice of trying to apologize for America. I personally am proud of America.”
    –Former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Feb. 20, 2011

    “I will not and I will never apologize for America. I don’t apologize for America, because I believe in America.”
    –Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (author of “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness”), Feb. 11, 2011

    “Mr. President, stop apologizing for our country.”
    –Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Feb. 11, 2011

    I agree with you that claims of “context” can sometimes be weak, tricky, technical defenses. Impressions count, but the truth still counts a little.

    You limited your comment so so will I, to one example.

    In the words of Karl Rove in “The President’s Apology Tour,” Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2009: (Quote) Mr. Obama told the French (the French!) that America “has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive” toward Europe. (Unquote)

    In the words of President Obama in Paris: “In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”

    In the words of President Obama, not stopping there: “But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual, but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what’s bad.”

    In the words of the Washington Post: (Quote) In none of these cases does Obama actually use a word at all similar to “apologize.” The Latin American comment might have resonance with Rove’s old boss, since that was Bush’s charge against the Clinton administration in the 2000 campaign. The Prague and London quotes are not apologies at all. The Paris quote, which is often cited as an apology, is taken out of context.

    . . . . Obama was making the case that both sides had misunderstood each other . . . . The two sentences are a matched pair; there is no apology.

    (Unquote)

    In the words of me: “Apology Tour” is catchy. With context, it’s a lie.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2011/02/obamas_apology_tour.html

    • pittsburgh_dad  On September 2, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      America is the most exceptional country in the history of the universe. Followers of the progressive philosophy want to diminish our exceptionalism in the eyes of the world. That is, America has committed transgressions that have done much to create the animosity that Europeans and Muslims have toward us. This justifies the Anti-Americanism and in the most radical of minds, justifies 9/11, the Boston bombing, the USS Cole, etc… Successful presidents want the US to be respected first, liked second. Obama wants the US to be liked first. As a result, we are now neither liked nor respected

    • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 5:02 PM

      Tourist, you don’t like apology tour, eh! Try this then. I don’t condone his committing murder but I can understand why he did it. Europe, in America, we don’t appreciate what you bring/have brought to the table, we have shown arrogance and even been derisive so, while I don’t agree with it, I can understand why there is an insidious anti-Americanism. You don’t consider that an apology for our arrogance and being derisive. That’s your opinion and that of the WashPost (and many others-almost all of whom are on the left). But, a rose by any other name stinks the same.

      The truth may count but in the words of one of my favorite actors, in one of my favorite movies, you can’t handle the truth.

  • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Syria:

    We have a new vote for cutting off the head (with the hedge that we probably shouldn’t) and another for carpet-bombing Damascus.

    Is it disputed – I’m asking because I’m the one who said it – that what would happened next after *any* intervention would be beyond our control? Okay. If the first casualty of battle is the plan, why bother to have one, I guess.

    Beyond the scale, “head” would imply that the enemy is the regime. “Damascus” implies the enemy is all of them.

    I said my ideal solution would be for Congress to support the president and for the president to then find another way not to do it. If the president does do it (with or without Congress), I will hope for the best – nothing involving Israeli nukes. Since I cannot count on that (“beyond our control,” above), I’m now firmly in favor of Congress voting no.

  • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    P.S., “it’s a lie”? Because you (and others) don’t agree with the categorization of his travels and speeches as an apology tour-because he didn’t say, “I apologize”. Apparently, you(and others on this blog as I previously stated) don’t know the difference between an opinion and a fact. As I showed in my latest previous post, there’s enough there to have a reasonable basis to call it an “apology tour”.

    Besides which, who cares about this or Syria because the Bucs just won again.

  • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Tourist, despite my failures to communicate adequately, everything in my 9:43 post should lead a learned one to conclude that “the head” is Iran and its nuclear facilities. If you need further explanation, let me know.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On September 2, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    When you think about it, O’s ineptness may be a good thing in the sense that we are going to have to deal with Iran sooner or later. I guess our only hope is that Bibi does what O would never do. Just like O, Bibi may be worried about his legacy. Unlike O, this is a good thing

    • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      “When you think about it, . . . .”

      Think deeper.

      • pittsburgh_dad  On September 2, 2013 at 6:32 PM

        You know me Tourist, I, along with all people with any common sense, like to keep things simple. When you make it more complex, you get the clusterfuck we are in now with Syria

        • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 6:37 PM

          You don’t do nuance?

          Apocalypse On!

          • pittsburgh_dad  On September 2, 2013 at 6:38 PM

            Where are we headed now?

            • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 6:51 PM

              No one *knows*. Since no one knows, anything could happen, possibly for the better. That might depend a little bit on us. If so, we should probably act responsibly. It’s called trying. It’s the opposite of giving up.

              It’s the opposite of “bring it on.”

  • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Devildog, I expect things like Pittsburgh Dad’s 4:58 PM comment from him. But yours of 5:02 and 5:22 PM? I don’t understand the difference between an opinion and a fact?

    Which is this?

    “While I don’t agree with it, I can understand why there is an insidious anti-Americanism”?

    (1) That is not an apology. (2) Nobody said it other than you. (3) You are criticizing the president for your own paraphrase.

    You see what you want to see.

    That’s just my opinion.

  • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Tourist, inmy 5:02, I did not put in quotes, “While I don’t agree with it, I can understand why there is an insidious anti-Americanism” and I believe it is a (very) fair paraphrasing of what you put in quotes as having been said by Obama (4:19 post).

    Apology tour, is that a lie or is it your opinion that it is a mischaracterizations? Calling that a lie is like saying Powell wasn’t mistaken, he lied. Not like you to have called it a lie to call it an apology tour, it’s an opinion both ways and to call those disagreeing with you liars is…

    Time for your apology tour.

    • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      Or you could pretend that I made one.

  • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    (Quote)

    The letter, from Syrian ambassador to the U.N., Bashar Ja’afari, . . . called on “the U.N. Secretary General to shoulder his responsibilities for preventing any aggression on Syria and pushing forward reaching a political solution to the crisis in Syria”. . . . Ja’afari said the U.S. should “play its role, as a peace sponsor and as a partner to Russia in the preparation for the international conference on Syria and not as a state that uses force against whoever opposes its policies.”

    (Unquote)

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/09/02/syrian_government_writes_to_u_n_leaders_asking_for_protection.html

    There’s another one. As irritating as it is to have to listen to that kind of thing from Syria in the circumstances, “the world” coming together to take up Syria, with chemical-weapons sanctions (instead of U.S. missile strikes) as an assumed part of the resolution, is another way out.

    It’s doable. I wouldn’t be surprised if the president had it in mind all along.

    • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 7:37 PM

      Tourist, your Slate link is worthless and adds nothing to the discussion and that your even raising the possibility that “the president had ‘it’ in mind all along” is beyond absurd.

      I would “pretend” you made an apology if you uttered words similar to those uttered by Obama!

      • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 8:25 PM

        “Worthless.” “Adds nothing.” “Absurd.”

        Each such a classic example of a hard fact that nothing more needs to be – or was – said.

        How can the link (article thereat) be worthless? It’s today’s news. It added facts to our discussion. I took it in the direction of being a way to avoid missile strikes. It may not work out that like that but it ain’t chopped liver.

        That the president might be thinking two moves ahead? Funny, maybe, but not absurd.

        I regret if anyone was offended.

        • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 8:47 PM

          Never offende by you-and I mean that. But, that Syria is asking the U. N. to mediate and stop U.S.agression is somehow news? And Obama and Syria getting together to both save face-by using the UN.? Yeah, I know, no one either implied or said that but that’s the import. Yeah, something like apology tour. Yeah, that’s my “opinion”.

          How can you think two moves ahead when you can’t even think to make even one move. That’s a little more fact than opinion!

        • pittsburgh_dad  On September 2, 2013 at 8:58 PM

          If W was prez and someone made the argument you are trying to make, what would your response be?

          • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 9:18 PM

            Setting aside that I don’t understand the question, that W was the one who boasted about not doing nuance, and that W was the one who invaded Iraq without a plan for occupying it, firing General Eric Shinseki for pointing this out (“Stuff happens,” shrugged the Secretary of Defense when Shinseki was proved right), my response would be that it looked like a doable way to avoid missile strikes or carpet-bombing.

            • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 9:40 PM

              This doable way, what is the possible agreement? Any possible outcome? What is the process-other than we and the Russians reaching an agreement and someone enforcing it? And how long will this take to reach agreement-months, years. But, of course, years are worth waiting in this matter. But this might only affect chemical and biological weapons, maybe, so the conventional killing might go on.

              But the best of all worlds-fear of Obama will cause all parties to reach agreement. But, of course, at the end of all this, Assad stays and makes a few worthless concessions. Wonderful!

              Let it be a fight to the finish between Sunni and Shia and we can then step in with a Marshall Plan (or Hillary Plan or whatever.

              Cut off the head, the Sunni countries will feel less threatened, and maybe they’ll then really go after the al Qaida types who they will no longer see as a counter-weight to the Shia and will as the only remaining real threat to their monarchies.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On September 2, 2013 at 10:00 PM

              Put another Band-Aid on a heart attack – just like the stimulus. At least he’ll be consistent.

              Liberal philosophy – there are no costs as long as we aren’t in power when the shit hits the fan. We can just blame it on conservatives and low info. voters will believe it. It’s worked out pretty well so far

    • pittsburgh_dad  On September 2, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      Slate, the UN?? Who’s next? Santa Claus? I would actually prefer hearing from St. Nick. At least he knows who is bad and who is good

  • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    “This doable way, what is the possible agreement?” (Devildog)

    +++ I honestly don’t know yet.

    “How long will this take?” (Devildog)

    +++ Is there somewhere you have to be?

    “Let it be a fight to the finish . . . .” (Devildog)

    “It’s worked out pretty well so far.” (Pittsburgh Dad)

    You might say that, yes. Since we’ve already invoked Santa Claus, let’s do George Patton (the movie, of course). From memory, because I don’t care enough to dig it out, but something like this; everyone will remember it: After the defeat of Germany, speaking about the Russians: “We’re going to have to fight them sooner or later anyway. Give me ten days and I’ll have us at war with the Commie bastards and I’ll make it look like their fault.” My understanding is that he was indeed in favor of something like that.

    The funny thing is that for a couple of generations we and they managed not to go to actual war with each other and I for one am not sorry.

    They say any child can grow up to be president. Thank God not!

    Not Patton:

    • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 11:01 PM

      Watch this or don’t at your leisure, but please skip now to the 0:54 minute point and watch six minutes, to 1:00.

      • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 11:29 PM

        I can’t, or at least don’t know how to, fast-forward so could you please tell me what you are trying to get across.

        • Tourist  On September 2, 2013 at 11:45 PM

          Devildog, my friend, if I could, adequately, I would. You’re probably watching it beautifully on your full iPad screen. Doing *something* — perhaps touching somewhere — should bring up controls of some kind. There will probably be a progress bar with clock times and a slider for you to move the bar. If this does not help, ask a little child in your vicinity, or watch the whole thing from the beginning. You’ll like it, I’m sure.

          • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 11:49 PM

            Good night!

    • Devildog  On September 2, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      I’m all for it Tourist. The only downside is the U.S. and Obama losing face. The upside-no military strike, negotiations and U.N. resolutions go on forever (and ever) with the two(or more sides) fighting to the finish killing as many of each other as possible, and the…-see scenario in previous post.

      Obama is a self-sacrificing genius. Why didn’t I think of that-I guess I can’t think two moves ahead. Patton wanted a fight between us and them. I want a fight between them and them-that is, if there has to be fighting.

      Your head must be spinning trying to figure out what you believe in-other than peace of course. Maybe we should send Rodney King to Syria to mediate.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On September 2, 2013 at 11:05 PM

      The War Games analogy is inappropriate in this situation. As crazy as Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev were, none of them believed they were going to receive 72 virgins in heaven. You cannot deal with people that value their afterlife more then their life here on Earth.

      Most people realized this after 9/11. At least, most people with any common sense

  • Little_Minx  On September 3, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Satire by Andy Borowitz

    September 3, 2013
    “Republicans Offer Syria Strategy: ‘We Must Defund Obamacare’ “:
    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2013/09/republicans-offer-syria-strategy-we-must-defund-obamacare.html#entry-more

    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—As the debate over Syria moves to the United States Congress, a leading Senate Republican said today that the only way to resolve the crisis in the war-torn Middle Eastern country is by “defunding Obamacare at once.”

    Appearing on the Fox News Channel, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told host Sean Hannity, “If we’re trying to send a strong message to [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, I can think of no better way to do that than by defunding Obamacare.”

    Elaborating on his strategy, Sen. Cruz added, “By defunding Obamacare, we would basically be saying to Assad, ‘This is how we attack our own President, so just imagine what we’ll do to you.’ That would make him think twice before he pulls another one of his stunts.”

    “You can fire off as many Tomahawk missiles as you want,” said Sen. Cruz. “But they won’t have the same impact on Syria as defunding Obamacare.”

    Shortly after his appearance, Sen. Cruz’s statements drew a sharp rebuke from a fellow Republican, Arizona Senator John McCain, who called the prospect of bombing Syria “the only thing I have to live for.”

    “Look, I’ve been in a very dark place since the 2008 election,” Sen. McCain told reporters. “There have been a lot of mornings when, quite frankly, I haven’t had a reason to get out of bed. It’s all well and good for people like Ted Cruz to criticize Tomahawk missiles, but hitting Syria is all that’s keeping me going.”

    • Devildog  On September 3, 2013 at 5:24 PM

      Caaaan’t stooooop laughughughing whiiile I wriiiite thiiis. Soooooo fuuuuuny my haaaand is shaaaaking.

  • Devildog  On September 3, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    I’ve been watching some of the Senate debate and I don’t think watching any more will help me make sense of the situation. We will fire a shot across the bow in a limited operation with the objectives of showing the world we care and degrading Assad’s capabilities. Kerry says Assad will be able to crawl out of his hole afterwards and the civil war will continue. It seems agreed that he used chemical weapons to avoid losing (and, presumably, being killed). But we degrade him enough and he is losing, wont he use what he has on a much greater level? If we achieve our objectives, does it not make it more likely not less that these weapons will be used in the future?

    When you try to kill the king, better make sure you succeed. In this instance, our objective is to wound. Very confusing!

  • Devildog  On September 3, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    I think I know what most people here think of Rand Paul, and I think I know the political affiliation of most people here and what they think about our taking military action(in general). But, i urge people to listen to the give and take between Paul (I’m not a great fan of his in general) and Kerry-though it might make you feel a little uneasy.

  • Little_Minx  On September 3, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Toadsly! et al., does anyone know whether WQED will be airing “Last Tango in Halifax?”
    http://www.sfgate.com/tv/article/Last-Tango-in-Halifax-review-Elderly-romance-4781628.php

    “Last Tango in Halifax: Drama. 8 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 8-Oct. 13, on PBS.”

    • toadsly  On September 3, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      I saw a promo for it after first “Silk” episode.

      • Little_Minx  On September 3, 2013 at 8:36 PM

        Thanks! That sounds like good news.

        • Little_Minx  On September 3, 2013 at 11:42 PM

          Spotted a promo sign for “Halifax” on-screen tonight on Ch. 13.

          • toadsly  On September 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM

            Great!

          • toadsly  On September 4, 2013 at 2:58 PM

            Read in paper-newspaper that 13 will rebroadcast “Salt” epispde 2 from 11pm until 1am Saturday night.

            • Little_Minx  On September 4, 2013 at 4:48 PM

              Wasn’t “Salt” an Angelina Jolie film? You mean “Silk,” don’t you?

              • toadsly  On September 4, 2013 at 7:56 PM

                Correct. Dementia is setting in!

              • Tourist  On September 4, 2013 at 8:29 PM

                “Salt” is great fun and the ending screams sequel. It was written for Tom Cruise but he decided it was too much like his Mission Impossible character. Clever start: It’s Friday afternoon at the CIA and the super-agents are sitting around talking about the weekend, when an old Russian man comes in and says he has information. Yawn. This apparently happens a lot. Notwithstanding, someone has to interview him. It falls to Angelina Jolie. He’s being cagey, not revealing anything till he gets a deal; she wants something substantive. He says there is a double agent in the CIA. Not enough. They dance. Finally he says the name of the agent is Evelyn Salt. Angelina Jolie is Evelyn Salt. Is she or isn’t she? Either way, she’s in a room in the bowels of the CIA and her colleagues have just heard her accused on closed circuit monitors of being a spy. She’s out the door.

                “Salt” should be paired with “Hanna” – super woman on the run versus super girl on the run.

  • Tourist  On September 3, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    I have not been watching the hearings and so far haven’t read much more than headlines. I tried to do what Devildog urged (5:57 PM). I watched five minutes on YouTube of Kerry and Paul in the Senate, and seven minutes of Paul with David Gregory. Paul and Kerry both make strong arguments – thus the dilemma – and both arguments have flaws.

    Kerry claims, in answer to Paul’s claim that striking Assad will make it more likely he will use chemical weapons again, that it’s more likely that he will if we don’t. I think Kerry said “certain” and invited Paul to a classified briefing on that. You can never say “certain” and I think the answer probably has more to do with the Russians than with us. Similarly, while I, too, am on board with acting in response to the use of chemical weapons, nothing in the complexity of this situation – limited objectives, options, and no control over outcomes – makes it essential that we do this now.

    Paul’s weakness is that, on Gregory, when pressed on how we could not act in support of such a long-standing, near-universal rejection of chemical weapons, blew it off with something about not seeing what our “interest” is. Standing for something is in our interests.

    Paul was good on a president backing away from a mistake – the “red line” comment.

    Devildog last night (11:04 PM) saw losing face as the only downside to an international conference. (I’m not signing on to all of Devildog’s hopes for the upside!) How about this: “The United States shares the international community’s strong determination to act decisively in response to the unacceptable situation in Syria. All options are on the table. Where do we sit?”

    I have no doubt that efforts are underway behind the scenes to avoid an American strike. I think the hope is realistic. The question is, is there enough time?

    ===

    There may not be much else from me today.

    • Devildog  On September 3, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      The international community’s strong determination to act decisively-who, when, where, how?

      • Tourist  On September 3, 2013 at 8:50 PM

        Devildog, allow me to quickly rewrite the paragraph just for you:

        Devildog last night (11:04 PM) saw losing face as the only downside to an international conference . . . . How about this as something the United States could say as a face-saving statement to avoid losing face when agreeing to participate in an international conference intended to keep the United States from losing face after the United States had said it intended to launch missile strikes and was instead agreeing to participate in a face-saving conference in lieu of launching missing strikes, which could otherwise, without the statement casting the international community as being in synch with the United States, i.e., implying that the United States was getting what it wanted all along, be seen as the United States’ losing face: “The United States shares the international community’s strong determination to act decisively in response to the unacceptable situation in Syria. All options are on the table. Where do we sit?”

        • Little_Minx  On September 3, 2013 at 8:55 PM

          Is not losing face the most important thing for the US?

          • Little_Minx  On September 3, 2013 at 8:59 PM

            Rewrite, for clarity: Is not-losing-face the most important thing for the US?

        • Devildog  On September 3, 2013 at 9:28 PM

          I’m, as is often the case trying to understand your posts, quite confused about all this-as you are sometimes confused by my feeble attempts at being facetious. So, allow me to say this. I don’t give a damn about saving face. It has no affect on anything. It doesn’t affect our dealings with other countries and domestically only “scores points”.

          It’s ridiculous to think whether we act or not will determine how Assad, or any other foreign leader, will believe we will act in the future. If we don’t act now, and Obama loses faces, maybe that will mean he will be more likely to act (and stronger) if Assad uses chemical weapons in the future. Paul is right-no one has any idea how this will turn out-but I can’t see anything good coming out of it. If I could, I would say go for it.

          This Kabuki dance is just talk. Act if it will be good for us, don’t if it won’t. I still can’t see how a limited, across the bow shot will benefit us (or anyone else except Obama’s (and ours) face. It does not predict any future action or inaction, especially since Obama will never again declare a red line. Can you imagine-that utterance being the only reason we’re going to “war”.

          • Tourist  On September 3, 2013 at 9:52 PM

            Excellent.

            Two quibbles: One: People do care about face – being embarrassed, being seen/shown to be wrong – most people, I would say, at least when it’s them. In American politics in particular, we use past mistakes against people forever. When we say face is not much of a reason for doing something, maybe it’s other peoples’ faces we’re thinking about then. So when we don’t want an actor to act and the actor is doing it (at least in part) to save face, giving the actor a facing-saving way out is, to coin a phrase, in our interests.

            Two: What to do about Syria – the fighting, the chemicals, the whole smash? Most cannot go along with nothing. If we/they don’t want it to be us acting unilaterally, getting together to come up with something else is logical, potentially effective, and at the very least buys time.

            • Devildog  On September 3, 2013 at 10:12 PM

              I’m the POTUS! I don’t care that, “people do care about face-being embarrassed…”. I don’t care that, ” Most cannot go along with nothing”. I’m the POTUS! I’m above all that. I’m the most powerful man in the world and i do what I was elected to do-act in the best interests of my country, regardless how it might affect my face or how I will be thought of by future historians.

              Still dreaming about getting together. Forgeddaboutit!

              • Tourist  On September 3, 2013 at 11:04 PM

                Are you having fun?

                Hypothetically: A president speaks, regrets, and reverses himself, accepting responsibility for the personal and any national embarrassed.

                Does the loyal opposition commend him for rising above face to act in the best interests of the country as he finally recognized it, or does the loyal opposition commend him for acting in the best interests of the country despite knowing he would be impeached for deficiencies in judgment, leadership, competence, and not faithfully caring out the duties of the office?

                Is only the POTUS expected to put the nation first?

                • Devildog  On September 3, 2013 at 11:26 PM

                  Does it appear like I’m having fun? I’m a multi-tasker-doing this, reading and watching the Bucs, who just won again a few minutes ago.

                  Hypothetically, some do and some don’t, on both sides if the aisle. The POTUS is not the only one to take the oath but he is the “face” of the country.

                  I’m here to have fun and give a counterpoint to this liberal blog. How could this not be fun when most of my friends are like me(or to the right of me) and it’s no fun to preach to the choir.

  • Little_Minx  On September 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Tourist, I hope you’re keeping dry in the terrible storm there (just saw the weather report on NHK World Newsline).

  • pittsburgh_dad  On September 4, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    This is the quintessential not seeing the forest through the trees. The question that must be answered is ‘What’s in America’s best interest?’ That’s it. I don’t care what any other country or any other non-American thinks about whether we should strike or how we should strike or the degree to which we should strike. None of these actors care about America: this includes our real allies (Britain, Germany, Israel, France (meh), etc…) and our ‘Arab allies’. None of these groups are concerned with America’s best interests. The only thing that matters is what decision is in our national interest? I really don’t know the answer to this. I don’t think doing nothing is what is in our national interest. Sending a ‘message; by sending a couple Tomahawk missiles into some desert outside of Damascus won’t accomplish anything, is worse than doing nothing and is a waste of a $2M. If we want to send a message, it is much cheaper to send a text.

    If we’re going to do something, whatever that is, it has to be a serious action. Not to save face, not for political reasons, but because it’s the right thing to do. And the right thing to do should depend on what is in our national interest. Whatever that is.

    • Tourist  On September 4, 2013 at 7:03 AM

      Pittsburgh Dad,

      You’re right, but not quite.

      I can’t claim to never use the words “national interest,” but I try not to, for the reason you illustrated twice: “The only thing that matters is what decision is in our national interest? I really don’t know the answer to this.” And: “The right thing to do should depend on what is in our national interest. Whatever that is.” I try instead to talk about our “objectives” and “what we want to accomplish” because they are a little more concrete.

      There is usually no problem in mixing the terminology because there is substantial overlap in the two concepts and because it’s taken for granted that accomplishing our objective must be in our interest. At this point we have to shelve questions of philosophies and worldviews. Anything X can say is in our interest, Y can say is not. Mutually exclusive actions can be in our interest according to conflicting values on different time scales. This is a black hole.

      Say, if you wish, that doing nothing is not in our national interest, or that a couple of Tomahawks would be worse than doing nothing, or that the reason should be that it’s the right thing to do, but recognize that those are all X vs. Y. You are no more wrong than I am, and no more right.

      Doing nothing could brand us amoral or a paper tiger or reaffirm our rationality, whether or not the last is the objective. A couple of Tomahawks could get us off a hook, particularly if that is the objective. It’s complex and complicated and X vs. Y, until something better comes along.

      “Forces and factors” plus “minds of deciders” equals “best we can do.”

      I hope it works!

      • Devildog  On September 4, 2013 at 8:06 AM

        Can’t disagree with either you or Pd but how we might be “branded” (temporarily especially) and whether it might “get us off the hook” (temporarily especially) should not be factors in the decision-making.

        What is our objective? If it’s to prevent further use of WMD’s, by anyone, difficult to achieve that objective with only chance being to wipe out Assad, his friends and family. That would be the best way of stopping him and warning others. Regime change-same thing. What is supposedly planned will achieve no objective-except saving face, and it will not even do that.

  • Devildog  On September 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Perhaps someone (Tourist ?) can explain some Congresspeople’s concern/vote no if we “have to go it alone” if a military strike is so vital/important. It will be almost entirely our weapons, personnel and money anyway. What good does it do us if a few other countries “join us”., even Britain, Turkey, whomever. What cover does that give us.

    If we’re going to attack, kill people, then kill two birds with one “stone”. In boxing, the saying is kill the body and the head will fall. In war, it’s kill the head and the body will fall. The head is Iran and its nuclear facility and the body is Assad and his regime (and Hezbollah).

    I’m not advocating this except as a substitute for a limited, across the bow shot at Assad that will accomplish nothing.

    • Tourist  On September 4, 2013 at 11:24 PM

      “Perhaps someone (Tourist ?) can explain . . . .”

      I’ll take a swing at it for you, Dog. You know I’m here to serve.

      I haven’t been listening so I’m not referring to anyone in particular. Three flavors: One: If the person has already come out in favor and regrets it, “not going it alone” can be a way out. This could be stretched to “X-number are not enough” or “not without A, B and C.”

      Two: It allows a person to talk tough and be shocked, shocked, without having to do anything.

      Three: No matter what the neighbors think, the vast majority of things you do in the privacy of your own home are nobody’s business, but communities everywhere insist that some things are. Given the right circumstances, outsiders will break down your door, drag you off for punishment, or take your kids away.

      Those things/circumstances vary from place to place and have evolved up and down over time. This is fundamentally good.

      The approximate global counterpart to “privacy of your own home” is sovereignty. The global community is somewhere in the Wild West on this. “Norms” and “standards” and “laws” exist but the few courts of competent jurisdiction lack subpoena and contempt powers, so “justice” depends on the sheriff, except there isn’t one. Somebody has to be nominated and accept, or volunteer and form a posse, because a volunteer sheriff without a posse is a vigilante.

      “Not going it alone” means they don’t want us to be sheriff on this one. Maybe they don’t value the particular norm, don’t see why we should care, don’t see what’s in it for us. Maybe they just don’t think we should bear all the burden or take all the risk. Maybe acting violently alone doesn’t smell right.

      • Devildog  On September 4, 2013 at 11:45 PM

        Having a coalition matters only if the members of the coalition will contribute significantly to the fight, whether with money, manpower, weapons, or whatever. Otherwise, it’s meaningless. Did the coalition provide any “cover” for us in Vietnam or Iraq 2?

        Sarcasm sometimes has some truth to it. Choose between shot across the bow/limited strike, do nothing, and cut off the head (Iran). Or is there a fourth option on the table?

  • toadsly  On September 4, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Say, just a thought: If I’m Bashar al Assad, l’m in a position to be able to predict where the USA is going to strike. Why don’t I start herding innocent civilians into those areas and then publicize this strategy. Doubt many Americans would want innocent blood on their hands.

    • Devildog  On September 4, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      Wouldn’t that, though, (if Assad did that), violate established norms and probably a treaty or two?

      • toadsly  On September 4, 2013 at 11:19 PM

        That’s what despots do.

        • Devildog  On September 4, 2013 at 11:34 PM

          Oh! Then shouldn’t we eliminate all despots, depending of course on how despotic they are or have been?

      • Tourist  On September 4, 2013 at 11:34 PM

        I think the safest way to read Devildog is to assume some degree of sarcasm, always.

        • Devildog  On September 4, 2013 at 11:46 PM

          Is that an objection, counsellor, or merely some good advice?

          • Tourist  On September 4, 2013 at 11:54 PM

            Hardly an objection. Just trying to further the cause of peace, love and understanding.

            Having ears, hear they not?

            • Devildog  On September 5, 2013 at 12:02 AM

              Phew! Now I can go to sleep (in peace). Btw, you’re doing a good job at what you wrote that you’re “trying to further”. Good night-maybe I’ll have something worthwhile to read when I get up-I should be so fortunate.

            • toadsly  On September 5, 2013 at 12:14 AM

              No cheese in the trap, no mouse.

              • Tourist  On September 5, 2013 at 12:18 AM

                Is that the same as honey and vinegar?

                • toadsly  On September 5, 2013 at 12:46 AM

                  Turds attract the most flies.

                  • Tourist  On September 5, 2013 at 12:48 AM

                    Beer attracts hornets.

                • Little_Minx  On September 5, 2013 at 12:47 AM

                  It would help if sarcasm, when not immediately obvious, were labeled as such. After all, that’s part of what smileys are for 😉 🙂

                  • Little_Minx  On September 5, 2013 at 12:48 AM

                    Not referring to your 12:46 AM, Toadsly!

                    • Little_Minx  On September 5, 2013 at 12:51 AM

                      Calling it a night now. Write on, amphibian!

                  • Tourist  On September 5, 2013 at 4:21 AM

                    Smileys, Minx? He doesn’t know how to copy and paste or fast-forward a movie, and he keeps losing his work. Have some tech-sympathy. You weren’t always an ace.

                    “Carrying on, surviving the times,
                    Making some reason out of the rhyme.”

                    By the way, where are the smileys on this site?

                    • Little_Minx  On September 5, 2013 at 12:44 PM

                      I only use three smileys on this site (although there could well be more). Remove the spaces in the following to achieve these faces:
                      ; – ) = 😉
                      : – ) = 🙂
                      : – ( = 😦

            • Devildog  On September 5, 2013 at 8:51 AM

              Know ye by your enemies (and friends). I take comfort in the comments.

  • Devildog  On September 5, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    One needs more than ears to “hear”.

  • Tourist  On September 5, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Thank you, Little Minx. I didn’t think of that. I had thought you might be copying them in. Clever, too, to explain it the way you did: spaces, but omit. I know you write, but was your field math? 😉

    • Little_Minx  On September 5, 2013 at 8:38 PM

      Excellent deduction, Tourist! Math was indeed one of my fields.

  • Little_Minx  On September 7, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Congratulations, or sympathies (as the case may be), Touris:
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OLY_2020_VOTE?SITE=PAPIT&SECTION=NATIONAL&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Tokyo has been awarded the 2020 Olympics, capitalizing on its reputation as a “safe pair of hands” and defying concerns about the Fukushima nuclear crisis…

    I wonder if Tim Hutton will star in a remake of his father’s movie “Walk, Don’t Run” (with original co-star Samantha Eggar in a cameo role this time).

    • Little_Minx  On September 7, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      Typo correction: “Tourist” Sorry 😦

    • Tourist  On September 8, 2013 at 7:50 AM

      It was a happy nation on the Sunday shows, Minx. Few expected it. Readers of tea leaves had Tokyo third for quite a while, in no small part for the Tokyo governor’s having declared that Tokyo was a better choice because it was a safer city than Istanbul or Madrid. In my unbiased mode, I thought it was time for Istanbul. I came off the sidelines for the home team this past week as the Japanese athletes who were much of the public face of the effort were beaten up repeatedly over Fukushima. I’m happy for *them* that they don’t have to shoulder defeat for having no answer to *that*.

      Anyway, it’s done and I’m in! When a decision is made, I want it to go well.

      ===

      We’re just back from “Populaire,” called “Typist” in some markets. It reminded me of “Rocky.” It was also interesting seeing Berenice Bejo, the lead actress in the 2011 silent film “The Artist,” play something else.

      Speaking of “The Artist,” for those who remember, for the viewer a question ran throughout regarding him, the lead male character: “Why?” Or (either way): “Why not?” It was answered with the one spoken line at the end. The movie was a global hit and big here, and for the most part Japanese audiences did not get the punchline. They heard it and saw the subtitle, and understood what was said, but most did not grasp the accent.

      • Little_Minx  On September 8, 2013 at 6:59 PM

        I’d have chosen Tokyo, because of the political situation in Turkey and the combination of economic stresses in Spain and the moral bankruptness of King Juan Carlos and some of his family.

  • Tourist  On September 7, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    To recap, I have come out clearly against these strikes now in Syria, while sharing the desire to do something and hoping anything that is done succeeds. In other words, I’ve done the best I could to have it both ways.

    Here’s Nicholas Kristof on September 7:

    (Quote)

    When I was a law student in 1982, I escaped torts by backpacking through Syria and taking a public bus to Hama, where the government had suppressed a rebellion by massacring some 20,000 people. The center of Hama was pulverized into a vast field of rubble interspersed with bits of clothing, yet on the fringe of it stood, astonishingly, a tourism office . . . . After a bit of small talk, I pointed out the window at the moonscape and asked what had happened.

    “Huh?” one [tourism official] said nervously. “I don’t see anything.”

    It feels to me a bit as if much of the world is reacting the same way today . . . . As one woman tweeted to me: “We simply cannot stop every injustice in the world by using military weapons.”

    Fair enough. But let’s be clear that this is not “every injustice”: . . . . [T]ake it from one who has covered most of them: Syria is today the world capital of human suffering.

    Skeptics are right about the drawbacks of getting involved, including the risk of retaliation. Yet let’s acknowledge that the alternative is, in effect, to acquiesce as the slaughter in Syria reaches perhaps the hundreds of thousands or more.

    . . . The United Nations can’t stop the killing in Syria any more than in Darfur or Kosovo. As President Assad himself noted in 2009, “There is no substitute for the United States.”

    . . . That’s why I favor . . . . As I see it, there are several benefits . . . . If you’re thinking, “Those are incremental, speculative and highly uncertain gains,” well, you’re right. Syria will be bloody whatever we do.

    Mine is a minority view . . . . A Pew survey this year asked voters to rate 19 government expenses, and the top two choices for budget cuts were “aid to the world’s needy” and the State Department. (In fact, 0.5 percent of the budget goes to the world’s needy, and, until recently, the military had more musicians in its bands than the State Department had diplomats.)

    When history looks back on this moment, will it view those who opposed intervening as champions of peace? Or, when the textbooks count the dead children, and the international norms broken with impunity, will our descendants puzzle that we took pride in retreating into passivity during this slaughter?

    . . . To me, the lessons of history in this area are complex and conflicting . . . . In most cases, diplomacy works best. But not always. When Yugoslavia was collapsing into civil war in the early 1990s, early efforts at multilateral diplomacy delayed firm action and led to a higher body count.

    Some military interventions . . . have worked well. Others . . . worked very badly. Still others . . . had mixed results. Afghanistan and Somalia were promising at first but then evolved badly.

    So, having said that analogies aren’t necessarily helpful, let me leave you with a final provocation.

    If we were fighting against an incomparably harsher dictator using chemical weapons on our own neighborhoods, and dropping napalm-like substances on our children’s schools, would we regard other countries as “pro-peace” if they sat on the fence as our dead piled up?

    (Unquote)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/opinion/sunday/kristof-pulling-the-curtain-back-on-syria.html?ref=global-home&_r=0

    Note that while many are on board because of chemical weapons, that’s not key for Kristof. Also, saying that “[the United States] simply cannot stop every injustice in the world” or “Let Allah sort it out” is not the same as championing peace.

    I hope this helps.

    ===

    Aid to the needy is the top choice to cut?

    • Devildog  On September 8, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      Well, Tourist, as the saying goes,”figures don’t lie but liars figure” (talking about Kristof, not you and ” context). Surprisingly (to you maybe), I was able to pull up the Pew survey.

      The survey was conducted in light of the upcoming sequester and in the context of if cuts had to be made, where should they be made.

      Even in that context, more than half were against cuts to the world’s needy.

      All categories other than aid to the world’s needy had to do with domestic needs and concerns. Any wonder then …

      Many who are against military action here is not because they are against military action per se (or Obama) but because of several reasons, which can be included within “it’s not in our national strategic interest” and, because if you want to deter future use of these weapons, you need to eliminate the perp. That would be the best, and probably only, way to deter.

      • Tourist  On September 8, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        “Even in that context, more than half were against cuts to the world’s needy.”

        Thank you very much, Devildog. My faith is restored. Those statistics do not support what Kristof was implying. Context does matter.

        There are two kinds of people (bosses, readers) in the world, those on the alert for flaws in the work, and those who pounce on the first flaw to proclaim that they can’t trust any of it.

        I don’t want to do this now because I don’t think “now” is critical and I want to do something better.

        I think that’s what you’re saying.

        • Devildog  On September 8, 2013 at 6:09 PM

          I’m saying two things, neither of which was your implication.

          1. Another knock on the U.S. and it’s citizens, probably the most generous to “foreigners” in the world or, at least, one of the most generous(I’m pretty certain you can come up with numbers otherwise.

          2. Talk, talk, negotiate, negotiate, diplomacy, diplomacy (more diplomats, baloney, baloney. Talk works only when the sides want it;that is, they have been forced by the conditions on the ground to do that.

          And, if those conditions are not ripe, like now in Syria, talk does no good. Let them fight it out for who knows how much longer and, yes, how many more are killed, and then let’s talk.

          So, boss, maybe now you know what I meant!

        • Little_Minx  On September 8, 2013 at 7:04 PM

          Oh you poor dear benighted Tourist,

          Some people set store by impressions rather than context — even when those impressions are created by spinmeisters dedicated to distorting the truth. We’re no longer allowed to consider context here on UMOC. See above thread you began September 1, 2013 at 6:44 PM.

          Best regards, Minx.

  • toadsly  On September 8, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    U.S. ranks 21st in giving foreign aid when measured as a % (.19) of GNP. Sweden is tops (.99). China is unique among super-powers, because it gives its aid with no strings attached.

    • Devildog  On September 8, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      How about subtracting defense expenditures from GNP, since we have to defend the free world, the unfree world and the rest of the world, and then figure out the percentages. China gives aid like contributions are made to politicians-so you can determine whether both or neither are made “with strings attached”. Yeah, they’re more good-hearted than are we. I would like to say, mainly, that Kristof’s inclusion of the sentence about aid to the needy was gratuitous in nature and this one sentence had nothing to do with the import of his article. Why then did he throw it in. I’m not really debating which country is more or less generous but his “knock America, blame America” intent in including it.

      Context, Minx. Let’s look for the context in “I didn’t set a red line” and “this is not going to war”. There isn’t any “damaging” statement ever made that wasn’t “taken out of context”. You don’t give a hoot, do you, whether Romney’s 47% was in or out of context. But this is America and you can put anything you want in context-as you explain the context to suit your beliefs.

      • Tourist  On September 8, 2013 at 9:37 PM

        “Kristof’s inclusion of the sentence about aid to the needy was gratuitous in nature and this one sentence had nothing to do with the import of his article. Why then did he throw it in? I’m not really debating which country is more or less generous but his ‘knock America, blame America’ intent in including it.”

        Kristof is arguing for intervention in Syria. He sees at least some of the opposition to be part of a general isolationist trend among Americans. He used that poll result as evidence of an isolationist trend. It was about isolationism, not generosity. It was also, as we have all agreed, used improperly. It was wrong. I don’t see “gratuitous.”

        Nor was it “knock America, blame America,” any more than “Ichiro deserves as Series” was a knock on getting there on merit.

        • Devildog  On September 8, 2013 at 10:10 PM

          Okay Tourist, we probably don’t have too much disagreement. I must have missed, though, the we all agree it was used improperly and was wrong comments. Also, I would see isolationalism as more foreign (military) entanglement, including military aid than aid to the foreign needy, especially when compared to the domestic needy and other domestic needs-but, I guess, I can see the point a little-but so little I still call it gratuitous.

          Ichiro “deserves” again. What a memory! Kristof doesn’t believe America/Americans give enough aid to the foreign needy. That’s a given! That’s, therefore, a knock-small maybe but a slap nonetheless in this particular area and, I believe, in too many others that he writes about. In the eyes of the beholder, you know.

  • Devildog  On September 9, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Oops! Sorry Tourist. I missed your comment on Kristof’s use of the poll.

  • Devildog  On September 9, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Look, Tourist, don’t you realize that Syria is not Iraq. What is
    wrong with you? Damn Bush and his Iraq folly. If it wasn’t for him, the American people wouldn’t be war-weary and would come to their senses and support this humanitarian war (oops, I forgot it’s not war, at least in the conventional sense). Pd, if you are listening, this time it is Bush’s fault. Just another of the bad after-effects of Iraq. I hope Obama can overcome this unreasonable opposition to the “right war”-but I’m not too optimistic considering the Bush legacy influencing the left and Obama’s race the right.

    Smiley face, smiley face! Tourist post 9/4 at 11:34. Any more hints needed?

  • Devildog  On September 9, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    One month from now (maybe two, three, or forever). No strike, no vote in the Senate (House?), lots of talk (so-called negotiations), no action whatsoever re chemical or biological weapons in Syria. “We” look like fools.

    Just one man’s prediction who, of course, could be wrong.

  • Little_Minx  On September 9, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    However on earth will Obama’s enemies will spin it if negotiations succeed in peaceably defusing the CW crisis in Syria?

    • Devildog  On September 10, 2013 at 8:21 AM

      And your definition of success is…? I guarantee that whatever happens or doesn’t happen will be declared a success (by some) and a failure (by others). IMHO, there cannot and will not be a success-only some results worse or better than others. If there was a possibility of success in Syria (and it may not have been possible), it expired a couple of years ago through inaction/bad policy.

      Again, your definition of success?

      • Little_Minx  On September 10, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        There’s a whole spectrum of possible definitions of success, from the minimal “not screwing up horribly” through removal of chemical weapons through diplomacy, to regime change, to bombing Syria back into the Stone Age, to…??? No matter what the US does (or doesn’t) do, though, there will be those who criticize the outcome just because it’s Obama who’s President, so they want to spin the story as a failure because that’s their agenda. Heck, the tea-party would probably have proclaimed Kennedy a failure for his handling of the Cuban missile crisis.

      • Little_Minx  On September 10, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        “Obama’s Syria push scrambles Hill alliances”:
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obamas-syria-push-scrambles-hill-alliances/2013/09/10/0edc7ba8-197a-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story.html (p. 1)

        It’s a free-for-all on Capitol Hill. The usual polarization, the simple calculus of R vs. D, has been blown up by the Syria issue. As President Obama seeks authorization to strike the Syrian regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons, he’s looking for support anywhere he can find it on the political spectrum — even on the fringes.

        He could use a “yes” vote, for example, from Rep. Trent Franks, the Arizona Republican and tea party favorite. Here’s Franks, in a subterranean corridor, emerging Monday night from a high-level briefing on Syria:

        “It just seems that everything the president touches in foreign policy, he injects it with chaos and death.”

        So, not an Obama fan. The “chaos and death” phrase is one Franks uses a lot (“I know that sounds partisan, but the record reflects it,” he said, almost apologetically). But he also abhors the Syrian regime. Conundrum: One instinct says to hit Syria hard, and the other says to do the opposite of whatever Obama wants. Franks said he’s “undeclared” on how he’ll vote. Undecided? No, just undeclared. He wouldn’t even confirm that he’s made up his mind.

        This is an unusual Washington moment, completely unscripted, with few if any precedents in recent memory. The situation changes by the hour. The Russian overture — an offer to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control — further scrambled any sense of where this is leading. Obama will address the nation in a prime-time broadcast Tuesday night in an attempt to sell his Syria policy to a skeptical citizenry.

        The only thing certain at this point is that a military strike against Syria would arrive with the same element of surprise as Christmas.

        Decisions on war and peace are always fraught with constitutional questions, and the War Powers Resolution, passed in the 1970s after the Vietnam War, gives Congress a certain degree of authority to approve or deny the deployment of forces in war zones.

        But Congress’s role is also circumscribed by that same resolution. The president has up to 90 days to take military action without seeking congressional approval, and there is always debate about when, precisely, the clock starts ticking, and what, exactly, constitutes hostilities, said Douglas Kriner, associate professor of political science at Boston University and author of “After the Rubicon: Congress, Presidents and the Politics of Waging War.”

        Kriner and other historians said they can’t think of a time when a president went to Congress on a military authorization vote when the vote was very much in doubt. Obama seemed poised to order airstrikes against the Syrian government 10 days ago, but at the last moment, he shocked his aides and many allies by kicking the question to the Hill, where the president has few close friends among Democrats and where many Republican lawmakers are loath to say yes to anything the president favors.

        Barring a Russian breakthrough, or some other diplomatic solution, Congress will have to do something it doesn’t like to do and hasn’t been good at doing for a long time: Make a decision.

        • Little_Minx  On September 10, 2013 at 3:10 PM

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obamas-syria-push-scrambles-hill-alliances/2013/09/10/0edc7ba8-197a-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story_1.html (p. 2.)

          In Washington, indecision on big matters has become a refined art. This week, for example, congressional leaders will once again deploy a favorite tool of collective indecision on the budget, the “continuing resolution,” a way of punting harder decisions until the end of the year. The sequester is already chewing through agency budgets even though most everyone who created those budget cuts agreed that they were a terrible way to trim spending. It’s just easier than making decisions on how to do that.

          Obama, in effect, is forcing Congress to share the ownership, for better or worse, of American military policy toward Syria, a situation that offers no attractive options. If Congress votes yes, Obama will at least have some brothers and sisters in arms going forward. If Congress votes no, Obama will take a short-term hit to his prestige, but Congress could wind up looking worse if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad uses chemical weapons again.

          If Obama had gone ahead with the military strikes in August, and they had turned out badly, then opponents in Congress would “just sit back and hammer him on it,” Kriner said. They’d have called for investigations and held hearings for the rest of Obama’s presidency, the political scientist added.

          President George H.W. Bush was confident he’d win authorization to prosecute the Persian Gulf War, and he got it, though many Democrats voted against the president. President George W. Bush also knew he had the votes for the 2002 invasion of Iraq.

          Vote counters believe that even if Obama prevails in the Senate, the House is unlikely to give him authorization to go ahead. Obama could potentially ignore the House, but that would be another reversal of course and most political observers consider that unlikely.

          Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican who skews libertarian, has threatened to filibuster the resolution in the Senate. “We will ensure that it’s a 60-vote margin,” he said as he entered a senators-only elevator on his way to the chamber. Of the possibility of Russia rounding up Syria’s chemical weapons, Paul said, “That’d be much better than bombing Assad to make him so unstable that these weapons get into the hands of terrorists.”

          The whip counting is full of leaners — lean yes, lean no — as Obama and his proxies work the meeting rooms on the Hill to make their case that Assad violated an international norm. Obama went to both Senate caucuses Tuesday; his meeting with Republicans on their home turf was a rare event for this president.

          “Pretty late in the administration to start making friends,” Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, said late Monday.

          Some members of Congress want nothing to do with the decision. They think the president should have acted straightaway rather than drawing in another branch of government.

          “I think this is a circus. We ought to take a timeout,” said Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican who serves on the House Intelligence Committee. “This is ridiculous that they’re putting the Congress through this.”

          Rep. Peter T. King, a New York Republican, said Obama had the power to act without congressional approval and should have done so in August.

          “It was a terrible dereliction of duty,” King said. Why didn’t Obama attack Syria? “My own feeling is, he flinched.”

          But many other members of Congress had asked to be looped into the decision. And the fact that the process has become messy is just the way democracy is supposed to work, said Rep. John B. Larson, a Connecticut Democrat and one of the president’s allies on the Syria issue. Liberally paraphrasing the famed Judge Learned Hand, Larson said, “Democracy and freedom is that which leaves you not too sure.”

  • Little_Minx  On September 10, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    Toadsly! (et al.): How’dya like the final episode of this series of “Silk”? “What about “Last Tango in Halifax”?

    • toadsly  On September 10, 2013 at 2:46 AM

      Enjoyed both shows Sunday; especially, “LTiH.” It even featured a thrilling car chase, terminating in a collision. Quite exciting for a PBS comedy-drama-soup opera. The female protaganist in “Silk” is tough, intelligent, voluble, loyal and caring. Quite a woman in my opinion. Long live PBS!

      • Little_Minx  On September 10, 2013 at 2:21 PM

        Martha Costello seems to have the maturity and moral compass of, say, Foyle or Inspector Lewis.

        • toadsly  On September 10, 2013 at 5:57 PM

          I was impressed by the way she handled being the prosecutor in the teacher-hits-obnoxious-student case. Her adversary / law-firm colleague was such a dolt, and she didn’t let her career plans or fear of offending and exposing a chump-peer prevent her from influencing the outcome of the trial in the defendant’s favor.

  • Devildog  On September 10, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Your definition of success, Minx. What is it? There is none because of what has already happened and will continue to happen (whether or not it could have been prevented by past decisive action). But I suspect you’ll be one of those claiming success regardless-but it’s only the tea party whose opinion can be predetermined right.

    Cuban missile crisis-check it out. Nikita was more interested in ensuring we would not again try to remove Castro and would not place missiles into Turkey than having missiles in Cuba and he got what he wanted and what may have been his motive in the first place.

    • Little_Minx  On September 10, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      I suspect you’ll be one of those claiming failure regardless — but it’s only Democrats whose opinion can be predetermined, right?

      • Devildog  On September 10, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        Wrong! Both sides but in this case, because of what has already transpired, and will continue, I just can’t imagine any outcome that I will consider a success. But, maybe pigs can fly. Well, how about Assad goes and is tried and hanged at The Hague, Muslim terrorists leave the country, new Syria cuts ties with Iran and Hezbollah, signs a peace treaty with Israel and maybe one or two other things. Then, Obama gets his second peace prize.

        FUBAR? Think MUBAR-messed up beyond all recognition. Remember, FUBAR comes out of the south Bronx. Anyone else remember FUBAR?

        • Little_Minx  On September 10, 2013 at 5:51 PM

          You should’ve used smiley faces for this joke.

          • Devildog  On September 10, 2013 at 6:39 PM

            Still waiting for what you would consider a success. C’mon, go on the record. Does Assad have to go? All Cw’s destroyed or under international control. A shot across the bow? What?

            C’mon, go on the record. I did, without a smiley face.

            • Little_Minx  On September 10, 2013 at 11:10 PM

              Quoting a great thinker at:
              https://umoc193.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/17-18-19-ooops/#comment-6707

              • Devildog  On September 10, 2013 at 11:40 PM

                Brilliant, I’m sure, but I have no idea how to access comment#6707. Good night.

                • Tourist  On September 11, 2013 at 12:51 AM

                  Devildog, her reference was a link. You should be able to click it. The “great thinker” at comment #6707 is you. There was no smiley face either.

                  I hope I’m reading this right.

              • Tourist  On September 11, 2013 at 1:22 AM

                Another life-or-death moment in “Apollo 13”:

                Grumman representative: “Gene, I want you to understand we’ve never tried this before. Burn, cold soak. Burn, cold soak. Burn, manual control.”

                Gene Kranz: “Look, it will ignite, will it not?”

                Grumman rep: “I just want you to know the engine’s never been tried like this. That’s all I’m tryin’ to tell ya.”

                Kranz: “Look, I know what you’re tryin’ to do. I guarantee I won’t hold you personally responsible. If it lights, it lights. Let Lovell do the rest.”

                ===

                Minx, there’s no right answer. We’re all in. What would be “success”?

                ===

                After the burn:

                Grumman rep: “I knew it! How ‘bout that LEM, huh! How ‘bout it!”

                Kranz: You get to keep your job.

                Grumman rep: “You betcha!”

  • Devildog  On September 10, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Once again going back to my teen years for a saying, I give you FUBAR from Ft. Apache, The Bronx.

    • Little_Minx  On September 10, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      I have no idea what any of that means.

  • Tourist  On September 10, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    If Khrushchev got what he wanted out of the Cuban Missile Crisis, “what may have been his motive in the first place” (Devildog, 4:00 PM) – i.e., being universally seen as backing down, Castro believing he’d been betrayed by the Soviets, and Khrushchev himself ousted from power not long thereafter – Kennedy met the threat and redeemed himself for the Bay of Pigs, so it was win-win, I guess.

    “I suspect you’ll be one of those claiming success regardless.” (Devildog, same)

    “What is it [success]? There is none . . . whether or not it could have been prevented . . . .” (Devildog, same)

    “I just can’t imagine any outcome that I will consider a success.” (Devildog, 5:08 PM)

    We’re talking about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. We are not, according to Devildog, talking about whether or not the current dilemma could have been prevented “by past decisive action.” We are talking about immediate decisions, the dilemma itself, where last week we were looking at apparently imminent missile strikes that “nobody” wanted, and now the possibility that there won’t be any, which Devildog would not accept as success of any kind.

    Does Assad have to go? When do we attack Iran? What about the Israelis and Palestinians? Why can’t the Shia and Sunni get along? Whither Saudi Arabia?

    More than 180 nations have denounce/renounced use of chemical weapons and seemed unable to address their use in Syria, leaving the United States to strike alone, which, again, “nobody” wanted.

    American strikes. A world unable to address. Those are what this missile crisis is still about.

    Latest developments offer the prospect of no strikes and the world addressing the weapons.

    How do you spell “relief”? Or “success”?

    General Curtis Lemay, Air Force chief of staff at the time, called the peaceful end of the Cuban Missile Crisis “the greatest defeat in our history.” He wanted to attack, not blockade. He wanted to attack after the blockade succeeded and the Soviets agreed to withdraw. Soviet missile commanders in Cuba, with at least twenty warheads, had been given authority – not Moscow! – to launch nuclear missiles at the United States if attacked. Lemay wanted to attack them.

    He was disappointed. Patton was disappointed. I don’t know what Devildog wants.

    • Devildog  On September 10, 2013 at 9:50 PM

      Tourist, I have to ask whether you were fully awake from your sleep when you wrote your post. I’m going to be brief.

      Castro felt betrayed when, supposedly, he received assurances that we would not attempt another Bay of Pigs? Redemption? Not to mention no missiles in Turkey. Le May-just another bogeyman you guys throw out like tea party.

      This “peace proposal” is analogous to that. Nothing will come of it (I’m willing to stand corrected) except, perhaps, we will renounce military action in return for some promise that will not be fulfilled-and you all and Obama can claim victory/success.

      But, in the short and long run, Obama will do what I suggested-nothing, and nothing will change in Syria except Assad will not use chemical weapons, that is, unless he’s desperate and believes he has to in order to save himself.

      FUBAR!

      • Tourist  On September 10, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        You: “This ‘peace proposal’ is analogous to that. Nothing will come of it . . . .”

        Possibly including Armageddon.

        Castro? Instead of Russian missiles protecting him from the U.S., he got our word. This is from wiki; the footnoted source for it is “Fidel Castro – My Life,” a series of interviews conducted by Ignacio Ramonet and published by Penguin Books:

        “Cuba perceived the outcome as a partial betrayal by the Soviets, given that decisions on how to resolve the crisis had been made exclusively by Kennedy and Khrushchev. Castro was especially upset that certain issues of interest to Cuba, such as the status of the US Naval Base in Guantánamo, were not addressed. This caused Cuban-Soviet relations to deteriorate for years to come.”

        You: “But, in the short and long run, Obama will do what I suggested – nothing . . . .”

        I still don’t know what you want to happen or, more specifically, what you want him to do this week, so let me guess: You don’t have an answer for that.

        • Devildog  On September 10, 2013 at 10:31 PM

          I want him to do nothing-but it’s okay if he goes along with the Russians and plays the game. We’re in a box, a quagmire, and I’m going to remain mum on who may have done something to prevent this previously because I don’t know.

          Yes, no Armageddon!

          Russia would have used its missiles to protect Castro from us. See John McEnroe’s most famous quote. Oh, and Castro felt partially betrayed has nothing to do with Russia’s game plan-no missiles in Turkey. None in Turkey, none in Cuba. A quid pro quo!

          Brilliant speech tonight, no!

          FUBAR!

        • Tourist  On September 10, 2013 at 10:43 PM

          McEnroe quote?

          “This taught me a lesson, but I’m not quite sure what it is.”

          That one?

          • Devildog  On September 10, 2013 at 10:44 PM

            “You can’t be serious”

  • Tourist  On September 11, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    “Brilliant speech tonight, no!” (Devildog)

    I think that means the speech was not brilliant. Substance or style points? Me? I don’t know what else he could have said, or how else he might have said it. Is there anything between brilliant and not brilliant, or is it like “success,” where a drop short of overflowing means the glass is bone-dry?

    I didn’t watch live but I saw it on one of the YouTube posts just now. Under that particular posting the first comment was: “This makes me sick.” The second comment was: “What makes you sick?” The third comment was: “Every fucking word is a god dam lie.”

    I see most of these things as complicated. Others see them as simple. I get and accept that sometimes. Sometimes the key is to simplify to the most important principle, although working out which principle is the most important can be complicated. Here, “every word is a lie” is probably simplifying too much. I’m not sure it’s fair.

    • Devildog  On September 11, 2013 at 7:59 AM

      Well, Tourist, you can choose style, or substance, or both. This is very complicated. I suppose he had to speak to the people but, unfortunately, he had nothing to say. I am sympathetic though for the mess we are in. I’m not going to say he caused it but it did happen on his watch.

      Why do you guys post a comment made by one or two right-wingers as if that’s an indictment of all. Some of you seem to enjoy that. I don’t bother with what’s coming from your side. Oh, yeah, you were just trying to say it’s not simple. No shit, Dick Tracy!

      I tried the Minx link but it didn’t work. Mind telling me the date and time so I can confirm how brilliant I was/am?

      • Tourist  On September 11, 2013 at 8:05 AM

        Devildog On September 1, 2013 at 7:50 PM

        • Devildog  On September 11, 2013 at 8:13 AM

          Thanks. I think you would/should agree it was a brilliant retort-much unlike Minx’s of course which attempted to dodge a legitimate question.

          Btw, I am watching MSNBC, Morning Joe (yes I do watch that Communist channel occasionally-Joe is one of the best/fairest on tv) and they’ve gone through many of the assessments of the speech from Obama’s (former) friend’s. with friend’s like that, who needs enemies. Good thing I was able to switch back and forth between the speech, Pirates game and U.S.-Mexico soccer.

        • Devildog  On September 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM

          Tourist, do you think the great Japanese sportsmen will walk Balatien intentionally as they have others in the past? Wasn’t done here with Maris (well, maybe a little bit)!

  • Devildog  On September 11, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    Please. Someone, anyone, help me.

    Over a year ago, Obama said Assad must go but gave little to no aid to the opposition.

    Obama sets a red line which gets crossed but Obama does nothing.

    The red line is crossed again and Obama says limited military action is imminent but then goes to Congress for approval or advice or whatever.

    Russia throws Obama a lifeline which may or may nor result in Assad giving up hs chemical weapons but will result in Assad remaining and we agreeing not to support his overthrow (does it really matter if Assad admits he has those weapons, supposedly a victory for Obama).

    So,here’s where I need help. What is our first priority? Is it that Assad has to go or that his weapons be controlled or destroyed or that he not use them again. Or is it something else.

    Oops! Sorry Minx, I missed your post as to what you consider evidence of success. What was the date and time of the post, please?

    • Tourist  On September 11, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      Priorities:

      First: Not precipitating Armageddon unnecessarily.
      Second: Any outcome widely accepted as a good one in the circumstances.
      Third: Sharing in the credit for the first and the second.
      *
      *
      *
      Nearly last: Consistency with past comments.

      • Devildog  On September 11, 2013 at 8:38 PM

        Armageddon-are you having bad nightmares.

        Outcome widely accepted as good-that’s easy. Contrary to public pronouncements of some, doing nothing and allowing them to duke it out would be widely accepted as good. As far as I’m concerned, Obama need not be consistent with past comments and can share in the credit for doing nothing.

        Was that your priorities or was that an answer as to my “search” for our (I really meant Obama’s) priority? Can you figure out his priority?

        Speaking of priorities, just as the Soviets achieved its in the Cuban missile crisis, Russia will achieve its which is keeping Assad in power and preventing Muslim extremists/terrorists from eventually taking over. Why does Putin understand,and Obama not, what’s at stake. As for those weapons, Putin only cares that they not fall into the hands of you know who.

        What a losing hand we are playing!

        • Tourist  On September 11, 2013 at 8:58 PM

          “What a losing hand we are playing!”

          Clean up your metaphor. Do we have a strong or a weak hand? (Relative to other players or in absolute terms?) Are we playing it well or poorly?

          • Devildog  On September 11, 2013 at 9:41 PM

            Clean up my metaphor-what do you mean? Very weak relatively and absolutely-Assad just about assured of staying (and winning). Russia gets what it wants, no doubt about it, the rebels lose so their hand is weaker than ours but that doesn’t count. Our hand. What’s our priority-whatever it is, how can we win-unless any possible priority that can be achieved is unknown to me at this time.

            Are we playing it well or poorly-in the present tense, we are not playing the hand, we laid it down but unfortunately don’t realize that. The hand was lost when Obama said Assad must go but did nothing to further that apparent objective. All we are doing is staying in while playing dead (if you understand poker terminology). Obama would do better by listening to Kenny Rogers and not worry about saving face or our credibility. He’ll get severely criticized for that but not by me-though I would continue to doubt his abilities for the job.

            What is Obama’s objective?

            • Tourist  On September 12, 2013 at 6:59 AM

              “Obama would do better by listening to Kenny Rogers . . . .”

              Doesn’t the song also say:

              “You never count your money
              When you’re sittin’ at the table.
              They’ll be time enough for countin’
              When the game is done.”

              Aren’t you booking our losses a little soon?

              • Devildog  On September 12, 2013 at 9:40 AM

                Fold your hand. Gracefully walk away from the table-the game is over. Of course, that is very difficult to recognize. Ichiro is not there yet but he is close and will he be one of the few that walks away at the right time.

                When I say the game is over, I don’t mean just walk away but recognize it and play “the game” accordingly.

                P.S., you are amazing! I mean that in a good way-you can “find” anything and everything. The voice of reason here!

              • Devildog  On September 12, 2013 at 10:16 AM

                Btw, I’m not “booking our losses” because we’re going to win-of course, my version of “winning” is, I think, different than Obama’s (but, of course, he and his acolytes will claim victory).

                The end game-Assad stays, the fighting and killing continues, no military action by us-a victory. Some sort of agreement on chemical weapons that will prove meaningless-if Assad has tons and tons of those weapons, does anyone really believe that at the end of the day, he will not retain “enough of them” to satisfy him.

                As for the threat of a military strike having made this possible, that is ludicrous because of what was happening in Congress but, more importantly, Assad and Russia are getting what they wanted in the first place. What the threat did, maybe, is put us in such an untenable position that we are forced into agreeing to no military action. So, as it turns out, the threat of military action was good as the result I but not Obama will be achieved-unless he is so brilliant that … No, I don’t think so.

  • Tourist  On September 11, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    “Why do you guys post a comment made by one or two right-wingers as if that’s an indictment of all?” (Devildog, 7:59 AM)

    For the same reason I wish I could point out more exchanges like this – at the moment two comments to a P-G editorial, by Francis Kalinsky, and then by John Wenskovitch.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/editorials/moon-dust-a-lunar-mission-attempts-to-learn-more-about-light-702705/

    I wonder how much of what Mr. Wenskovitch wrote that Mr. Kalinsky knew. I wonder what Mr. Kalinsky thinks about what Mr. Wenskovitch said. Mr. Kalinsky’s opposition needn’t change. Mr. Kalinsky is entitled to his priorities, and obviously this was a good reminder to Mr. Wenskovitch that there are skeptics.

    Regardless of where you come down on any particular question, it’s the quality of the arguments, the thinking (“waste of money”; “every word is a lie”; “every policy has been a trainwreck”), and because it’s not “one or two.” It’s a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives, among other examples. There’s a pattern to it.

    • Devildog  On September 12, 2013 at 9:33 AM

      Oh! Now I understand! Hope you and the others keep up the good work. We need to be reminded what’s out there! I don’t do smiley faces since we have only brilliance here on the blog-present company excluded.

  • Tourist  On September 12, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    The good news is, UMOC has surfaced again on the P-G blogs and he sounds motivated.

    Break’s over.

    • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      Wonderful news, Tourist! UMOC underwent an arduous ordeal, and I’m delighted to be able to surmise that he’s doing better now.

      • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        Could you please post URLs to some of the pages where UMOC has commented lately? Thanks.

        • Tourist  On September 12, 2013 at 6:28 PM

          Minx, I saw a one-liner under Reg Henry’s column about chickens. As Devildog understands, I take the good where I find it and try to help it grow. What I meant was, he needs to get his ass out of bed and back on the couch.

          • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 8:41 PM

            One set of grandparents was extremely poor, lived on a subsistence farm (without electricity, phone, hot water, etc.) in the wilderness where they raised nearly all their own food — including a few hens for eggs and poultry; whenever a wild predator breached the hen house overnight, the discovery in the morning was no small tragedy. Mr. Minx’ family lived on an only slightly more prosperous farm (power, hot water, 4-way party line), where the task of dispatching chickens for food fell to him as a lad after his father died very young. So neither of us harbors any illusions: when you have to live that way in order just to survive, it’s not the fun that upscale suburbanite dilettantes are having.

            • toadsly  On September 12, 2013 at 8:46 PM

              When my Grandma finally killed a precious chicken, she used every part. I still remember the chicken feet in my soup bowl.

              • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 8:54 PM

                I remember homemade soup made on the wood-burning kitchen range, with her special recipe dumplings. She claimed they were a southern dish, but as an adult I realized that Matzo meal wasn’t big in the erstwhile Confederacy 😉

  • toadsly  On September 12, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    This is a post from Ciejai on her Facebook. She and Dave are FB friends. So, she shared this update from UMOC’s FB. And since I’m a FB friend of Ciejai, I was able to view his post, and now I’m sharing it with you.

    David Hammond

    More tales from the dark side.

    My incarceration has now reached 33 days. Er, I mean my hospital stay is now that duration. Last Thursday I was moved from a rehab hospital to a skilled nursing facility. I cannot return home as yet due to daily doses of antibiotics by IV. Home health care can only come about three times per week. That regimen is scheduled to end Sept. 21 and I hope to be back in my apartment soon after. My cockroaches miss me, I’m sure.

    One advantage of this place is that I now have a laptop in my room so I can try to catch up with the internet. Also I can get passes to leave which I anticipate doing at least twice this week.

    My wound where my toe was amputated is healing well, but slowly, so I will likely have the wound-vac for several more weeks.

    I have lost about 30 pounds (only 873 to go) and plan on continuing eating right and exercising when home.

    I very much appreciate all the kind thoughts and best wishes from all. I’ll tell you though, seeing how much worse many of my fellow patients are makes me feel like I should have little to complain about. Not that that stops me.

    More later

    • Tourist  On September 12, 2013 at 8:18 PM

      Thank you, Toadsly.

      • toadsly  On September 12, 2013 at 8:21 PM

        My pleasure, Tourist.

        • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 8:50 PM

          Thank you so-o-o-o much, CJ and Tourist, for sharing that with us! Having been hospitalized with IV antibiotics for an extended period some years ago, I can add that one of the special miseries is when the IV port has to be changed every few days because the miracle drug eats the hell out of it. Between that and all the blood-letting, I mean sample-taking by the phlebotomists, the anti-clotting heparin shots thrice daily which leave the abdominal area a wall-to-wall bruise, etc., you soon start to feel like a human pincushion — not to mention a quart low on the magic blue fluid department (it only turns red when it hits the air). My sympathies to you, UMOC, and wishes for continued recovery. Get well, ya big lummox 😉

          • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 9:09 PM

            Just imagine having an illness like UMOC’s if there were no Medicare, nor Obamacare for those under 65. Oh wait, that’d be right-wingnut utopia…

            • Devildog  On September 12, 2013 at 9:20 PM

              Alert, alert, most Americans without Medicare and Obamacare have insurance and for those who don’t, the exact same standard of care, hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses, filing of bankruptcy,and then an agreement to pay $100 a month for life. Now imagine taking away those “excess” profits from those evil drug companies and people dying from medical advances not made because of fewer dollars to invest and without there being sufficient incentives.

              • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 9:29 PM

                Oh yeah, piling up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, filing for bankruptcy, then being in debt for the rest of one’s life — where did you get that $100/month figure, not that it’s paltry for someone in dire financial straits? — is a veritable paradise on Earth.

                • Devildog  On September 12, 2013 at 9:35 PM

                  Someone in dire financial condition could be on Medicaid, someone in reasonable financial condition should have bought insurance and someone in between can pay the bankruptcy settlement amount. But everyone will get the same standard of care.

                  • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 9:43 PM

                    No, the person without health insurance is far likelier not to receive preventive care, nor to get care as soon as a person with the same condition who has health insurance does. Thus uninsured people run a greater risk of not being cured as well because of the greater severity of their condition by the time they finally go for medical attention.

                    • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 9:46 PM

                      Which is to say, a person with UMOC’s condition who’s uninsured, so waits longer for treatment, might wind up not being able to count to 19 any more.

                  • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 10:04 PM

                    Define “someone in reasonable financial condition should have bought insurance,” especially bearing in mind that many regions of the country have much higher costs of living than our tri-state area.

                    • Devildog  On September 12, 2013 at 10:25 PM

                      I respectfully pass.

  • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    UMOC, once you’re back home and having to fix some of your own meals according to the new regimen, I have a few non-recipes — really, more like really simple cooking procedures, for dishes that serve 1 or 2 — using approved ingredients that I’d be glad to share (Mr. Minx’ diet is limited, so we’ve been through some of this). I’m guessing lots of whole grains, fresh produce, small servings of lean meat and eggs, low-fat, low-salt, no sugar, minimal alcohol, right?

  • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Esp. for Toadsly! “Fifteen Agonizing Minutes in the Life of Post–Downton Abbey Dan Stevens”:
    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2013/09/downton-abbey-dan-stevens-dan-stevens?google_editors_picks=true

    • toadsly  On September 12, 2013 at 10:57 PM

      Thanks for this. I hope “The Fifth Estate” is a blockbuster, so Dan Stevens can escape his “Downton Abbey” past…at least a little.

      • Little_Minx  On September 12, 2013 at 11:01 PM

        “‘Foyle’s War’ returns with crimes of espionage:”
        http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TV_FOYLES_WAR?SITE=PAPIT&SECTION=ENTERTAINMENT&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

        “…Longtime fans may miss cast members who weren’t able to come along this season, including Anthony Howell as Detective Milner and Julian Ovenden as Foyle’s war-hero son. But consolation comes with the return of Honeysuckle Weeks as Foyle’s loyal sidekick, Samantha, married to a political hopeful (Daniel Weyman), and Ellie Haddington as the chillingly efficient MI5 bureaucrat Miss Pierce…”

        • toadsly  On September 13, 2013 at 7:40 AM

          I’m glad Honeysuckle Weeks is returning.

          • Little_Minx  On September 13, 2013 at 8:16 AM

            She seems to have that effect on men (Mr. Minx, too).

  • Little_Minx  On September 13, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    “Being poor changes your thinking about everything”:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/13/being-poor-changes-your-thinking-about-everything

    Re “U.S. poverty, poverty in the developing world, and another form of poverty, which we don’t really call “poverty” but you might want to call just ‘financial distress,’ which many Americans are actually feeling because of this recession.”

  • Tourist  On September 15, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    I just saw this comment to the latest Rob Rogers cartoon:

    “The ‘rising tide’ quote was from JFK and JFK knew that this rising tide occurred as a result of tax cuts. O’s failed stimulus is the perfect example of how liberal policies have the exact opposite effect of their supposed intention. The Law of Unintended Consequences is undefeated. After all, it is why progressivism is a failure.”

    Quick and dirty:

    First sentence: Kennedy reduced World War II’s marginal tax rates because he was aware that we were no longer fighting World War II. (Republicans opposed the reductions.) Of course, the biggie is what “marginal tax rate” means. Hint: not “tax rate.” Anyway, this is interesting: “As the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation explained at the time, the bottom 85% of the population received 59% of the benefits of JFK’s tax cut. The top 2.4% received 17.4% of the tax cut, and the top 0.4% received just 6% of it. Those on the right who see themselves as descendants of the Kennedy policy are either deeply confused or they assume you won’t bother to learn the truth.”

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_09/the_rights_misplaced_love_of_j032417.php

    Second sentence: Spending stimulates, which is what the stimulus did. It is logically impossible for a stimulus to have the opposite effect. It could/should have been bigger, which is the true criticism.

    Third sentence: Of course the law of unintended consequences is undefeated! It says there will be unintended consequences. Three kinds: unanticipated; worse; better. One way or another, the law is always true. (Or is it?)

    Fourth sentence: the failure of ascendant progressivism. ‘Nough said.

    ===

    When yachts are targeted for lifting, the lifting force is not a tide.

    But that’s physics. You have to believe in science. And truth.

    • Devildog  On September 15, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      When yachts are “stuck in the mud”, a rising tide will lift them. That’s physics and economics.

    • Devildog  On September 15, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      Boats and even ships also! Is not our “recovery” stuck in the mud?

    • Devildog  On September 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      As I said quite a while ago, Bush must still be president because “the President’s friends on Wall St. and the oil patch are doing great while Main Street suffers”.

      • Little_Minx  On September 15, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        Bosh — that’s just the old discredited “trickle-down theory” dressed up in yachting attire. Public programs that put more money into poorer people’s pockets help the economy more, because those people are likelier to spend it, which in turn stimulates a whole sequence of spending (as opposed to rich folks, who are likelier just to hang onto whatever they get back).

    • pittsburgh_dad  On September 15, 2013 at 8:56 PM

      Tourist, only because I am in a good mood. Maybe that’s because I have been working for the past month. BTW, it is quite a coincidence I got a job about 3 weeks after my UC benefits ran out 😉

      1. Repubs who voted against JFK lost their jobs in 1964. A lesson the GOP should never forget.

      2. The stimulus led to millions of low paying, part-time jobs with little multiplier effects. When you add the trillion dollar deficits it has created, the stimulus will damage the US economy for generations. The idea it should have been bigger is ludicrous. We have had this conversation. The govt inherently overvalues the activities it decides to ‘invest’ in. This is why Solyndra isn’t the exception to the rule, it is the rule.

      3. I will addend the construction of the ‘unintended consequences’ comment. I changed the comment and I now realize it may be interpreted incorrectly. Progressivism is a failure. This is true because liberal policies always have the opposite effect of their supposed intention. Assuming liberals have sincere good intentions (meh), this means the effects of liberal policies are always negative (and before you wax poetic about NASA again – it is the exception that proves the rule). With liberalism, the Law of Unintended Consequences, by definition, provides a negative result.

      4. See 3.

      • Tourist  On September 15, 2013 at 10:20 PM

        “Tourist, only because I am in a good mood.”

        I’m honored, then.

        Congratulations on the job! I hope this one works out. The timing a coincidence? I don’t think so. You’d been telling us for two years you could “get a job tomorrow.”

        I know, I know. You think everyone could get a job tomorrow. You think you prove your point.

        What makes you different from those taking advantage of what the imperfect rules allow – I don’t know how to design or administer a system to be perfectly perfect, at least not without the kind of excessive bureaucracy and governmental intrusion into private lives that I refuse to support – is that the rules as written did not allow you. You were not eligible. You extorted your former employer to provide false documentation and then fraudulently milked – stole from – not one but two separate assistance programs.

        Oh! In your euphoria you missed in your “1,” in response to my “first paragraph,” the major recipient of JFK’s tax cuts: the bottom 85% of the population.

        • Tourist  On September 15, 2013 at 10:32 PM

          * my ‘first sentence,” . . . .

          • Little_Minx  On September 15, 2013 at 10:49 PM

            Private sector jobs aren’t the only ones that are worthwhile. You’ll recall that CCC camps not only helped build public infrastructure during the Great Depression — a good in and of itself, assuming you don’t favor privatizing national parks, e.g. — but also taught the “campers” HOW to work, i.e., the responsibilities necessary to fulfill in performing jobs, and the satisfaction of a job well done. Thus when private sector employers later hired the CCC “campers” they too were benefiting from the public fisc — Federal welfare for the private sector, if you will — by getting employees who had already learned (at public expense!) how to work and thus were better employees than those not so trained.

            • Devildog  On September 15, 2013 at 11:12 PM

              And now it’s McDonalds training people, at its own expense, for future higher-paying jobs. We should be grateful that the training is being done without public expenditures instead of castigating McDonalds for paying wages that are deemed too low by some.

              • Little_Minx  On September 15, 2013 at 11:38 PM

                Why not “both”/”and”? That way even more future workers could get trained!

                • Devildog  On September 15, 2013 at 11:50 PM

                  I think we already have quite a few Government training programs in existence. But, of course, we need more,and more and more. There shouldn’t be any limit because there’s a multiplier effect. Same multiplier when we give money to the poor and unemployed (like PD). Every dollar the government spends has a beneficial multiplier of between five and ten so i don’t know why anyone would complain about the debt.

          • pittsburgh_dad  On September 15, 2013 at 10:52 PM

            I am all for tax cuts for everybody. While the wealthy no doubt benefitted the most from the Bush tax cuts in total return, as a percentage of income, it was the poor and middle class that gained the most. I know I posted info. from a WSJ article on this on Roger’s old blog but I don’t feel like digging it up

  • Little_Minx  On September 15, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Toadsly! et al. Did you catch last night’s “Doc Martin”? If so, did you recognize Mrs. McLynn? Her name is Phyllida Law, and besides being a veteran British actor she’s also the mother of Oscar-winning screenwriter/actor Emma Thompson. The one thing that didn’t ring true was Mrs. McLynn was only supposed to be 68, but she sure looked a lot older than that to me; turns out Law would’ve been pushing 80 when the episode was filmed.

    • toadsly  On September 15, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      Was Ms. Law the lady who had the serious vision problem?

      • Little_Minx  On September 15, 2013 at 10:40 PM

        Yes, the one who drove her husband, and crashed her car into Auntie Joan’s.

        • toadsly  On September 16, 2013 at 7:11 AM

          I think the older redhead, who laid that unexpected smooch on Doc, is quite sexy.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On September 16, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Tourist, I have a friend who works for the PA UC office. She is a supervisor – the training manager. That is, she trains the people that take unemployment claims over the phone. She also trains examiners – the people that make decisions about who gets unemployment

    When she retires she is planning to get a part-time job in her friend’s salon and then have the friend lay her off. You can’t get benefits if you retire from a job but she will be eligible when she gets laid off by her friend. The benefit rate is based on your high quarter salary in what is called the base year, 1st 4 of the last 5 calendar quarters. So for my friend the benefit will likely be the maximum because it will be based on her salary at the UC office.

    I don’t think it will be 63 weeks of benefits like it is now (although more progressive policies might actually return us to 99 weeks) but that is 26 weeks of ‘fraud’ by a PA UC manager

    • Devildog  On September 16, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      Pd, that is an outrageous accusation against, and generalization of people on unemployment compensation. As we have often heard from leading politicians, all of whom may be Democrats but that is besides the point, almost everyone on UC wants to be gainfully employed. Apparently, you and your friend are the exception-which proves the rule.

      • Tourist  On September 16, 2013 at 5:24 PM

        Devildog, you start with “outrageous generalization,” which could be read straight, and end sounding like you’re laughing off open criminality. Would you mind clarifying where you stand on stealing?

        • Devildog  On September 16, 2013 at 6:14 PM

          Tourist, I am law and order all the way. I’m not laughing-I’m crying thinking of all the people out of work or underemployed in this weakest of all recoveries not due to anything they have done or not done and I am appalled at those politicians who don’t understand that when you allow undeserving people to benefit from government largesse, you are taking away from deserving people.

          This is not exactly a zero sum game but damn close to it. Pd is not always wrong! People, many, many of them will game the system and not many seem to care that so many of these programs are being drained by the gamers. Throw out the baby with the bath water. Not exactly but… We can’t just keep going on spending, wasting, throwing more money at problems.

          I forgot to put a smiley face on my previous post!

  • Tourist  On September 16, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    It’s interesting where people congregate on a topic, when there are editorials and blogs and articles to choose from. Right now a letter to the P-G on Syria is getting a lot of action.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/letters/putin-is-getting-what-he-wants-in-syria-703554/

    If there has been clichéd agreement on anything concerning Syria, it has been that there are “no good options.” Nor has it been disputed that the United States was not calling the shots heretofore. According to the letter writer, the result now will be “what should have been our position in the first place.” May I pause to then wonder what the objection is?

    The letter writer refers to “some unworkable agreement on the weapons.” Does that mean that if the agreement works – on top of “what should have been our position in the first place” – it will be a bonus? Will the president get credit? Like Reagan won the Cold War? May we wait and see?

    I don’t get where Putin/Russia is all that committed to Assad personally.

    I also don’t get the obsession with how Putin looks, not specifically in the letter, but comments to it, and by various politicians and commentators. At least as to Syria, Russia will affect the outcome more directly than the U.S. will, just as China determines more than we do what happens in North Korea. The Cold War was between two superpowers. We won that one. What are we so afraid of?

    I read Putin’s op-ed when it appeared, just once. Big picture: An opportunity arose to avoid missile strikes on Syria that “nobody wanted.” The opportunity was enjoying momentum. The biggest threat to the opportunity was concerted effort to do disparage it. The op-ed gave the opportunity a boost. What? We’re back to wanting strikes?

    Two things Putin said were tactically interesting. He challenged “American exceptionalism.” It was up to him to do that or not. I would have thought long and hard about it. Was it necessary? Did it help?

    He declared pretty much flat out that the rebels, rather than the government, were responsible for the chemical attacks. That was foolish. Unless . . . .

    A United States Senator said comments by the president of Russia made him want to vomit.

    That helped, too.

    • Devildog  On September 16, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      Au contraire, Tourist, there is a good option(or, at least, a best option, and it appears that is where we are headed-that’s the “do nothing” option. What is the objection? It’s not the result but the serendipitous way we got there that demonstrated the President’s total ineptitude (unless you believe in his brilliant think ahead, fairy tale, chess moves). From Assad must go to blunder after blunder to getting the right result, but not the result he said he wanted.

      Will he get credit if everything turns out great, of course. As I said many posts ago, it’s results that count. I’ll rather be lucky than good. But it don’t engender confidence in Obama for this crisis as it unfolds or for future crises.

      The headline in the letter you cited, IMHO, did not reflect the intent of the writer. I don’t think it had nearly as much to do with Russia, Putin, how he looks or his objective as it had to do with our bumbling president and his administration and how it might affect this crisis and future ones-and nothing to do with his”face” or the face of this country.

      I ask, has his performance re Syria increased or decreased confidence in his abilities, here and elsewhere in the works? Come on, you “acolytes”, be honest!

      • Tourist  On September 16, 2013 at 10:31 PM

        “. . . the President’s total ineptitude . . . blunder after blunder . . . . I ask, has his performance re Syria increased or decreased confidence in his abilities, here and elsewhere in the world? Come on, . . . be honest!”

        I’ll answer. “Be honest” is insulting. 🙂

        I don’t see “total ineptitude” or “blunder after blunder.” The mistake was “red line.” Personally, I have absolute confidence he will not make it again. He has, moreover, effectively managed to get himself out of it. I give points for that, too.

        In addition, if “an agreement,” etc., accomplishes something on the weapons and maybe even on the broader situation, more than your “do nothing” option with its 2 million refugees, hundred thousand dead and counting, well . . . .

        Is there a reason you don’t want to see it that way?

        • Devildog  On September 16, 2013 at 11:02 PM

          Tourist, I asked Obama’s acolytes to be honest and you found that (personally?) insulting so I must conclude that you admit to being one of his acolytes.

          Sounds like your “confidence” is limited to not making the “red line” blunder again. Okay, you don’t foresee “total ineptitude” and “blunder after blunder”. Are you arguing that I am exaggerating or about ineptitude and blunders?

          “Effectively managed to get himself out of it” or luckily got out of it-does it matter which is correct for confidence in future decision-making.

          Yeah, there’s a reason-hate of the man and his race is more important to me than love of this country and humankind. There, you’ve got me to admit it I don’t care if it prevents me from being elected to office. Smiley face, smiley , lol, lol-whatever it takes.

          • Tourist  On September 16, 2013 at 11:24 PM

            “hate of the man and his race is more important to me than love of this country and humankind”

            Really? I’d have thought it’d be the other way around – that you hate America so much you don’t want to see it do anything right, no matter your respect for the accomplishments of the individual. I learn something every day.

            • Devildog  On September 16, 2013 at 11:31 PM

              Okay. Whichever way you prefer. As long as disagreement with performance and policies is not “it”.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On September 17, 2013 at 12:28 AM

          How would you interpret O’s comments about Iran in this article? Is he drawing a ‘red line’ on Iran? Is it another ‘mistake’ or more ineptitude?

          http://nypost.com/2013/09/16/obamas-new-red-line-iran/

          “My suspicion is that the Iranians recognize they shouldn’t draw a lesson that we haven’t struck [Syria] to think we won’t strike Iran,” Obama said in an interview aired on ABC’s “This Week.”

          I love how the media spin O. ‘He is trying to do the right thing. He can’t make people (Putin, Assad, Boehner, the Tea Party) do the right thing. As a result, if it doesn’t turn out the way he wants, it is not his fault.’ Nope, nothing is ever His fault.

          • Tourist  On September 17, 2013 at 3:04 AM

            Pittsburgh Dad,

            Because I’m in a good mood: Semantics count a little bit. I don’t see where he called it a “red line.” I also don’t have the dates handy, so correct me if I’m wrong, but I think he has been saying Iranian nukes would be unacceptable since well before the Syrian comment, so, no, he’s not making “another mistake” now.

            How do I interpret his comments? It sounds like he means it.

            Here’s the last paragraph of your article: “Meanwhile, Iran’s Fars news agency reported Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted Tehran’s invitation to visit and help work out a strategy on its nuclear program.”

            That sounds like Putin thinks Obama means it, too – sounds like Putin thinks Iran as well as Syria is due a dose of the famous Putin charm.

            I don’t know if this means much, but it fits:

            “From the Russians’ perspective, the Iranian nuclear program itself does not represent a serious threat. Yet a radical Islamist regime in possession of a nuclear weapon of mass destruction (WMD) is unacceptable to Moscow. And the Russian authorities have never concealed their view that a nuclear-armed Islamic regime on Russia’s southern flank could be far less cooperative in Central Asia and the Caspian basin and could undermine Moscow’s influence in these ex-Soviet regions.”

            http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/russias-position-on-irans-nuclear-program

            “More ineptitude”? If I may, please see mine of September 17, 2013 at 12:26 AM, already posted below.

            I’ll give you this: If one worked in an administration, the job would include defending that administration, virtually on everything. Basically the opposite would be true for the administration’s professional political opponents. But there’s a whole big “everybody else,” with their biases and preferences and differences, who are also presumed to be – whatever you want to call it – a little more objective, open-minded, honest.

            You say you “love” how “nothing is ever [Obama’s] fault.”

            What does it say about people to whom everything is?

            • pittsburgh_dad  On September 17, 2013 at 4:12 AM

              As I have said before, name one success

              • Tourist  On September 17, 2013 at 4:25 AM

                I’ve answered that before.

                Aren’t we clever?

                • pittsburgh_dad  On September 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM

                  I think the question I should have asked is ‘what is the media’s job?’

            • Devildog  On September 17, 2013 at 7:51 AM

              No country should “draw a lesson” from what another country, or it’s leader, has done or not done in the past. The past may not be prologue.

              Despite Obama being one tough hombre (who though has a weak-kneed Congress), I and probably Iran would fear Israel more than the U.S.

  • Devildog  On September 16, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Finally, a social science study of value-p. 1 of today’s PG. “lower your voices, Mom and Dad. Harsh verbal discipline from parents to 13 and14 year olds were more likely to result in symptoms of depression and behavior problems. And to think I was laughed off these types of studies.

    Smiley face, smiley face! LOL!

    Multi-tasking while watching the Steelers and Bucs.

    • Tourist  On September 16, 2013 at 9:52 PM

      That’s apparently the paper version of the P-G. I couldn’t find it on the website. I read, instead, two articles about that study in The Wall Street Journal and Medical News Today. Mixed extracts from those:

      (Quote)

      Parents who yell at their adolescent children for misbehaving can cause some of the same problems as hitting them would . . . .

      . . . love, emotional support and affection [are] not enough to outweigh the negative effects of verbal discipline.

      . . . yelling at children “out of love” or “for their own good” does not lessen the damaging effects of shouting . . . .

      Indeed, parents sometimes think yelling will make their charges listen and behave. But the study found the opposite to be true.

      (Unquote)

      Devildog, I glad you knew all that. It sounds like many parents don’t.

      What I’m curious about is the age line. This was for 13 and 14 year olds. When do the effects change? Fifteen? Sixteen? One can enlist in the military at 17. Are we doing boot camp wrong?

      • Devildog  On September 16, 2013 at 10:12 PM

        Well, Tourist, I’m glad you asked that question(kind of, and kind of of me) so I’ll give you the scoop with some background.

        These “researchers” decided (why I don’t know) to do this study and, as I have indicated previously, I think I can predict the result based on the subject (and researcher). So, my answer is, the result would be the same regardless of the age group and would be the same even if the study was of Marine recruits at boot camp, Parris Island, S.C.

        I’m going to inform the Commandant, U.S.M.C. of this study!

  • Tourist  On September 16, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    With the candidates now chosen for the New York City mayoral race, it’s small-chuckle time:

    (Quote)

    This leaves New York City voters and reporters with the most predictable general election in a decade. De Blasio, the candidate of the Democratic and Working Families Party, will face Republican Joe Lhota . . . . No one has polled this match-up since June . . . ; in that poll, conducted when de Blasio was running fourth for the Democratic nod, he still led Lhota by 37 points. The path to a Lhota victory is so narrow as to be basically non-existent.

    But here’s the path as Lhota allies see it. They will hammer de Blasio for being “divisive,” . . . .

    (Unquote)

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/09/16/bill_de_blasio_will_be_the_next_mayor_of_new_york_no_matter_how_often_someone.html

    • Devildog  On September 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM

      If DeBlasio is on the ticket of two parties, Democratic and Working Families, I suppose that means he is seeking the votes of Democrats and Republicans.

      P.S., is there a problem with running against the Dinkins administration?

      Good night!

    • Little_Minx  On September 17, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      Tourist, exactly whom would DeBlasio be dividing — mainstream Republicans vs. tea-partiers?

      • Devildog  On September 17, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        Minx, if I may (provide an answer to your question).

        The pot is calling the kettle black. The champions of race-baiting/playing the race card are saying that the Republicans are linking the Black Dinkins with DeBlasio and his Black wife and their accusation of divisive is Black vs. White. That’s the way the author sees the slim path to victory taken by Lhota and his allies not necessarily how they see it.

        If Democrats can link current Republican candidates with Hoover, is it not fair to link DeBlasio with Dinkins who, fairly or unfairly, is considered to have had an unsuccessful mayoralty.

  • Tourist  On September 17, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/editorials/syrian-solution-diplomacy-to-end-the-war-still-has-a-long-way-to-go-703664/

    That P-G editorial on Syria just went up.

    That ain’t workin’
    That’s the way to do it
    Let me tell ya
    Them guys ain’t dumb.

    • Devildog  On September 17, 2013 at 7:59 AM

      The Simpson led PG editorial board is true to form. Diplomacy solves everything, adroit diplomacy? (Are you kidding) and, of course, it’s Israel and/or it’s U.S. traitor supporters pushing us to war. This time, though, the military/industrial complex was inexplicably left out.

      • Little_Minx  On September 17, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        Do you believe that solving a problem without “saving face” = defeat?

        • Devildog  On September 17, 2013 at 7:17 PM

          Solving a problem? I would say the result reached in the long run was the correct one. The problem-it is not the result Obama wanted and his performance throughout does not engender confidence for the future. The result he wanted-Assad must go. The result that came about-Assad stays. Chemical weapons- a sideshow-don’t kid yourself that anything will come of it. Assad now admits he has chemical weapons-big deal, so what!

          I suppose something good can result re chemical weapons but I’m neither expecting it nor rooting against it (got that Tourist).

        • Devildog  On September 17, 2013 at 7:26 PM

          Btw, what “problem was solved”? And, FYI, I care nothing about saving face. The concept is ridiculous as far as countries are concerned and should not be a factor in interpersonal relations.

          You don’t have to answer the question as to what problem was solved. See, I’m giving you an out to allow you to save face.

  • Little_Minx  On September 18, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    No doubt our resident free-marketers blame her.

    “Death of an adjunct”:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/death-of-an-adjunct-703773
    September 18, 2013 12:06 am
    By Daniel Kovalik

    On Sept. 1, Margaret Mary Vojtko, an adjunct professor who had taught French at Duquesne University for 25 years, passed away at the age of 83. She died as the result of a massive heart attack she suffered two weeks before. As it turned out, I may have been the last person she talked to.

    On Aug. 16, I received a call from a very upset Margaret Mary. She told me that she was under an incredible amount of stress. She was receiving radiation therapy for the cancer that had just returned to her, she was living nearly homeless because she could not afford the upkeep on her home, which was literally falling in on itself, and now, she explained, she had received another indignity — a letter from Adult Protective Services telling her that someone had referred her case to them saying that she needed assistance in taking care of herself. The letter said that if she did not meet with the caseworker the following Monday, her case would be turned over to Orphans’ Court.

    For a proud professional like Margaret Mary, this was the last straw; she was mortified. She begged me to call Adult Protective Services and tell them to leave her alone, that she could take care of herself and did not need their help. I agreed to. Sadly, a couple of hours later, she was found on her front lawn, unconscious from a heart attack. She never regained consciousness.

    Meanwhile, I called Adult Protective Services right after talking to Margaret Mary, and I explained the situation. I said that she had just been let go from her job as a professor at Duquesne, that she was given no severance or retirement benefits, and that the reason she was having trouble taking care of herself was because she was living in extreme poverty. The caseworker paused and asked with incredulity, “She was a professor?” I said yes. The case- worker was shocked; this was not the usual type of person for whom she was called in to help.

    Of course, what the case-worker didn’t understand was that Margaret Mary was an adjunct professor, meaning that, unlike a well-paid tenured professor, Margaret Mary worked on a contract basis from semester to semester, with no job security, no benefits and with a salary of between $3,000 and just over $3,500 per three-credit course. Adjuncts now make up well over 50 percent of the faculty at colleges and universities.

    While adjuncts at Duquesne overwhelmingly voted to join the United Steelworkers union a year ago, Duquesne has fought unionization, claiming that it should have a religious exemption. Duquesne has claimed that the unionization of adjuncts like Margaret Mary would somehow interfere with its mission to inculcate Catholic values among its students.

    This would be news to Georgetown University — one of only two Catholic universities to make U.S. News & World Report’s list of top 25 universities — which just recognized its adjunct professors’ union, citing the Catholic Church’s social justice teachings, which favor labor unions.

    As amazing as it sounds, Margaret Mary, a 25-year professor, was not making ends meet. Even during the best of times, when she was teaching three classes a semester and two during the summer, she was not even clearing $25,000 a year, and she received absolutely no health care benefits. Compare this to the salary of Duquesne’s president, who makes more than $700,000 with full benefits.

    Meanwhile, in the past year, her teaching load had been reduced by the university to one class a semester, which meant she was making well below $10,000 a year. With huge out-of-pocket bills from UPMC Mercy for her cancer treatment, Margaret Mary was left in abject penury. She could no longer keep her electricity on in her home, which became uninhabitable during the winter. She therefore took to working at an Eat ‘n Park at night and then trying to catch some sleep during the day at her office at Duquesne. When this was discovered by the university, the police were called in to eject her from her office. Still, despite her cancer and her poverty, she never missed a day of class.

    Finally, in the spring, she was let go by the university, which told her she was no longer effective as an instructor — despite many glowing evaluations from students. She came to me to seek legal help to try to save her job. She said that all she wanted was money to pay her medical bills because Duquesne, which never paid her much to begin with, gave her nothing on her way out the door.

    Duquesne knew all about Margaret Mary’s plight, for I apprised them of it in two letters. I never received a reply, and Margaret Mary was forced to die saddened, penniless and on the verge of being turned over to Orphan’s Court.

    The funeral Mass for Margaret Mary, a devout Catholic, was held at Epiphany Church, only a few blocks from Duquesne. The priest who said Mass was from the University of Dayton, another Catholic university and my alma mater. Margaret Mary was laid out in a simple, cardboard casket devoid of any handles for pallbearers — a sad sight, but an honest symbol of what she had been reduced to by her ostensibly Catholic employer.

    Her nephew, who had contacted me about her passing, implored me to make sure that she didn’t die in vain. He said that while there was nothing that could be done for Margaret Mary, we had to help the other adjuncts at Duquesne and other universities who were being treated just as she was, and who could end up just like she did. I believe that writing this story is the first step in doing just that.

    Daniel Kovalik is senior associate general counsel of the United Steelworkers union.
    First Published September 18, 2013 12:00 am

    • Devildog  On September 18, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      Not for me to judge anything about a person who just died, and besides which, I wouldn’t rely on a column by a self-serving union organizer (or community organizer) as to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But thanks for the link.

      Btw, “what problem was solved”.

      • Little_Minx  On September 18, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        Sauce for goose = sauce for gander:
        https://umoc193.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/17-18-19-ooops/#comment-6888

        • Devildog  On September 18, 2013 at 4:50 PM

          Ok, Minx. That’s a deal but please give me the date and time and I’ll look it up and respond-probably after I get home from the Bucs game.

          • Little_Minx  On September 18, 2013 at 4:58 PM

            Devildog On September 12, 2013 at 10:25 PM

            And as a freebie, here’s the quote:
            “I respectfully pass.”

            • Devildog  On September 18, 2013 at 10:19 PM

              My end of the deal-someone in reasonable financial condition is someone who could afford to buy insurance without it affecting BASIC necessities but chooses to gamble and spends money instead on more than the basic necessities of life plus a little more to lead a lifestyle of their choosing that does not include health insurance.

              Your end- what problem was solved-hopefully, you’ll give an example that wasn’t of Obama’s own making. And won’t say the problem of chemical weapons “has been solved”.

              That’s the point-I don’t know anything about this woman but neither do you and you chose to link it as if it has some deep meaning while throwing out a barb at free-marketers. It’s a propaganda piece from someone with an ax to grind. I blame Obama for a tepid recovery after five years and Obamacare which have caused part-time jobs to flourish.

              • Little_Minx  On September 18, 2013 at 10:59 PM

                It’s your reaction to Ms. Vojtko’s plight that’s “a propaganda piece from someone with an ax to grind.”

                • Devildog  On September 18, 2013 at 11:04 PM

                  Okay Minx, you’re right. Sorry about that.

                • Devildog  On September 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM

                  What problem was solved?

                  • Little_Minx  On September 19, 2013 at 11:32 AM

                    When you say “I respectfully pass” in lieu of answering a question you expect it to be accepted, but when I say it you continue to badger me. Equal rights for all here.

                    • Devildog  On September 19, 2013 at 3:02 PM

                      Minx, I thought we had a deal. I answered the question-but I promise not to badger you any more and I promise not to ask again what problem was solved.

                      Now for adjunct professors and Ms. Vojtko (for whom I truly have the greatest sympathy for her situation).

                      I didn’t read the 1,000 or so comments but I got the gist after a few and there are two aspects.

                      One is the plight of adjunct professors(and what I have to say has nothing to do with Ms. Vojtko). These people are college graduates and have chosen a certain “track” in their lives. As I said before, many have other jobs and do it for a variety of reasons, apparently not one of which is for financial gain. Others who do not have other jobs chose this “track” and knew or should have known what was ahead of them.my sympathy does not lie with them but with Ms. Vojtko.

                      And now for the villain in the story, which is neither Ms. Vojtko nor Duquesne, which kept her on until she was 83 (and neither anyone else nor I know whether or not her performance deteriorated). Some caring person sent a letter to Adult Protective Services and what does this caring, but idiotic, Kovalik do. He listened to her plea and cals the service up saying don’t worry about her, she’s a professor. It should have been obvious to him (I would think) that she has needed help for some time but he was an enabler.

                      There must be quite a few people out there working in charities (including many Catholic ones) who are asking why didn’t someone contact us, we could have helped. One answer is that there are too many enablers out there like Kovalik-was he too focused on organizing to see what was going on with her.

                      The moral of the story is that there are many people out there that need help, especially the elderly living in poverty and/or having mental issues. Don’t be an enabler!

                    • Little_Minx  On September 19, 2013 at 3:42 PM

                      I propose that it’s fine to ask others a question here — ONCE — and askees (?) have the options of answering, stating that they decline to answer, or not answering at all.

      • Little_Minx  On September 18, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        Because libs always lie, while administrators always tell the truth. Yeah, right… NOT!

        • Devildog  On September 18, 2013 at 4:54 PM

          No, because there’s a lot more to it than someone being an adjunct for 25 years and not doing anything else. Adjuncts usually have a ‘real’ job other than being an adjunct. You need to be a little more discriminating when reading propaganda. Go Bucs! Bye for now.

          • Little_Minx  On September 18, 2013 at 5:00 PM

            So it IS her fault, even though you don’t know any other details of her life.

      • Little_Minx  On September 18, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        Which specific parts are untrue?

        • Little_Minx  On September 18, 2013 at 4:53 PM

          Or is an ad hominem attack sufficient refutation?

  • Tourist  On September 18, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    Little Minx,

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2013/09/17/lifestyle/get-lost-in-inokashira-park-and-find-yourself-in-ghibli/#.UjpKsRz_ZCd

    The article does not paint a particularly vivid picture, and that’s a terrible selection of three photographs, but it’s where I live. (No, not in the park.)

    I have one of the homemade DVD’s that Broom Duster Kan sells. The park is indeed large. There is a registration system for the performers and crafts-sellers along the paths; each displays a little laminated card showing they are authorized to be doing whatever they are doing. The registration numbers are mostly in the hundreds: 0429, 0126, and like that – not that there are ever that many at one time. Broom Duster Kan’s registration number is 0001.

    Regarding the rule against photographing at Ghibli, you should see my set. I didn’t take them surreptitiously and it was not personal defiance. It was consensus – I want to say “realization.” The admissions procedure (the article explains) amounts to needing a reservation. That makes going an event. People take cameras. Then they confront the prohibition. Because this is Japan, everyone reacts exactly alike: “No pictures? Here? Of this? Yeah, right!” Since Mr. Miyazaki was wandering around at the time and posing with some of the groups, I’m not sure breaking the rules wasn’t the intended lesson in the first place. Check out what the article calls the museum’s theme.

    Japan is often thought of as a society of rules and regulations. Yes, but also, again, consensus, and above all practicality. A few years ago a law was enacted that the child-seats on the backs of bicycles had to be of a certain new, protective type. Good. But for everyone to suddenly have to go out and buy a new seat, or several seats? Yeah, right! The law was the law. Within a couple of years, it was being complied with.

    For that matter, bicycles are vehicles. They are supposed to be ridden in the street, not on the sidewalk. The law is clear. Yeah, right! Even the police ride on the sidewalk!

    • Little_Minx  On September 18, 2013 at 11:11 PM

      You must live in a really hip section of town, Tourist. Of course, I’d expect nothing less from you!

  • Little_Minx  On September 18, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette announces plan to charge for digital-only content”:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/pittsburgh-post-gazette-announces-plan-to-charge-for-digital-only-content-703823
    September 18, 2013 10:23 pm
    By Deborah M. Todd / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Following in the footsteps of some of the nation’s most prominent news organizations, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette announced Wednesday that it will begin charging for access to its digital content.

    Starting Oct. 1, the Post-Gazette will charge $9.95 per month for digital-only readers for unlimited access to its website, smartphone app, tablet app and to electronic editions of the newspaper. Post-Gazette customers with home delivery subscriptions to the newspaper will have unlimited digital access for free. Non subscribers to the newspaper will be permitted access to a limited number of stories each month on the website.

    The Post-Gazette, Western Pennsylvania’s largest newspaper, and Post-Gazette.com, the region’s most visited site, reach 1 million readers per week.

    “The decision to implement a paymeter grows out of our fundamental belief that our customers recognize the value in our local news products. This model allows us to continue to provide quality journalism to our readers,” said Post-Gazette president Joe Pepe.

    The move to implement the paymeter puts the Post-Gazette on similar paths as papers such as The Wall Street Journal, which implemented the first newspaper paymeter in 1997; Tthe New York Times, which has charged for online content since 2011; and The Washington Post, which implemented a paymeter in June. The Blade of Toledo, the Post-Gazette’s sister newspaper, has been using a paymeter since late last year.

    For a list of frequently asked questions, visit http://www.post-gazette.com/faq. Readers can also call 1-855-743-6763 or send an email to pgforme@post-gazette.com for more information.

    Deborah M. Todd: dtodd@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1652.
    First Published September 18, 2013 10:32 am

    • umoc193  On October 8, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      It’s a damned shame the P-G will now charge for digital access, but not a shock as many papers are doing so. That said, does anyone know the monthly limit? I read the FAQ linked to here but that question was not addressed.

  • Little_Minx  On September 18, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    Ah, the old “Your comment is awaiting moderation” trick. Will split up the article instead.

    “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette announces plan to charge for digital-only content”:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/pittsburgh-post-gazette-announces-plan-to-charge-for-digital-only-content-703823
    September 18, 2013 10:23 pm
    By Deborah M. Todd / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Following in the footsteps of some of the nation’s most prominent news organizations, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette announced Wednesday that it will begin charging for access to its digital content.

    Starting Oct. 1, the Post-Gazette will charge $9.95 per month for digital-only readers for unlimited access to its website, smartphone app, tablet app and to electronic editions of the newspaper. Post-Gazette customers with home delivery subscriptions to the newspaper will have unlimited digital access for free. Non subscribers to the newspaper will be permitted access to a limited number of stories each month on the website.

    The Post-Gazette, Western Pennsylvania’s largest newspaper, and Post-Gazette.com, the region’s most visited site, reach 1 million readers per week.

    “The decision to implement a paymeter grows out of our fundamental belief that our customers recognize the value in our local news products. This model allows us to continue to provide quality journalism to our readers,” said Post-Gazette president Joe Pepe.

    The move to implement the paymeter puts the Post-Gazette on similar paths as papers such as The Wall Street Journal, which implemented the first newspaper paymeter in 1997; Tthe New York Times, which has charged for online content since 2011; and The Washington Post, which implemented a paymeter in June. The Blade of Toledo, the Post-Gazette’s sister newspaper, has been using a paymeter since late last year.

  • Tourist  On September 18, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    To the original “Death of an Adjunct” article that Minx linked to, there must be a thousand comments.

  • Little_Minx  On September 19, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    UMOC, you’ll be interested in today’s “Fresh Air” on NPR, interviewing Evan Mandery re his new book “A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America”:
    http://www.npr.org/2013/09/19/221451565/years-after-historic-ruling-execution-still-a-random-justice (transcript should be online by tomorrow)

  • Little_Minx  On September 19, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/09/19/the-morning-plum-panic-sets-in-among-gop-elites/?tid=pm_pop

    * PUNDIT NARRATIVE FAIL ON SYRIA, EXPOSED: David Ignatius has an important column this morning that breaks with Beltway conventional wisdom on Obama’s handling of the Syria crisis […] Crucially, Ignatius notes D.C. elites and the public have sharply different views of the situation, with elites remaining obsessed by process while the public cares about outcomes:

    “Obama has accomplished goals that most Americans endorse, given the unpalatable menu of choices. Polls suggest that the public overwhelmingly backs the course Obama has chosen. A Post-ABC News survey asked Americans if they endorsed the U.S.-Russian plan to dismantle Syrian chemical weapons as an alternative to missile strikes; 79 percent were supportive.

    “Yet the opinion of elites is sharply negative…He can propose what the country wants, succeed at it and still get hammered as a failure.”

    Yup. I’d only add polling also shows Americans just don’t view the question of what constitutes true leadership through the same prism as do elite pundits, who have arbitrarily decided adapting to changing circumstances equals weakness. That’s the core point here. Again, none of this means there is isn’t plenty to criticize. It’s just that the punditry is focused on the wrong criticism.

    • Little_Minx  On September 19, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      “Obama is criticized for right result on Syria,” by David Ignatius:
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-obama-is-criticized-for-right-result-on-syria/2013/09/18/b2a08acc-1ffb-11e3-b7d1-7153ad47b549_story.html

      “…Obama has accomplished goals that most Americans endorse, given the unpalatable menu of choices. Polls suggest that the public overwhelmingly backs the course Obama has chosen. A Post-ABC News surveyasked Americans if they endorsed the U.S.-Russian plan to dismantle Syrian chemical weapons as an alternative to missile strikes; 79 percent were supportive…

      “● Russia has been drawn into a process of collecting and destroying Syria’s chemical arsenal. This has been a goal of U.S. policy for two years…

      ” ●The United Nations has taken new steps to affirm the international norm against the use of chemical weapons… If you’re frustrated by a feckless and unreliable United Nations, you should be encouraged by a line in the opening paragraph of the report: ‘The international community has a moral responsibility to hold accountable those responsible and for ensuring that chemical weapons can never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare.’

      ” ●The United States and Russia have restarted their push for negotiations in Geneva toward a cease-fire and a political transition in Syria. Yes, it’s unfortunate that Assad is still in power, but is his hold really stronger now that he has been forced to admit he has chemical weapons and agreed to destroy them? I’m not so sure…

      ” ●Amid all this diplomacy, Obama has pressed ahead with a covert program of training and assistance for the moderate Syrian rebel forces headed by Gen. Salim Idriss. My Syrian sources say that these CIA-trained commandos make a difference as they take the field: They begin to tip the balance away from the jihadist fighters associated with al-Qaeda, who (as the Russians correctly warn) are a dangerously potent factor in the opposition…”

      • Little_Minx  On September 19, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        Closing line: “[Obama] can propose what the country wants, succeed at it and still get hammered as a failure.” Oh, the humanity!

        • Devildog  On September 19, 2013 at 6:08 PM

          Oh, poor boy! Oops, sorry. Poor man. Have to be careful about using old sayings.

          What a bunch of hogwash. And that poll question-what a joke. Since 79% oppose a missile strike, 79% would vote for negotiations instead of a missile strike. Even I would have voted for negotiations rather than a missile strike.

          But Minx, thanks for the link. Too bad I missed the 100 opposite viewpoint you linked. But they were from pundits inside the Beltway unlike Ignatius

          • Little_Minx  On September 19, 2013 at 8:52 PM

            It’s not MY place to link to a 100% opposite view. But feel free to cite some Rush or Glenn or their ilk on the wacko right…

            • Devildog  On September 19, 2013 at 9:19 PM

              Sorry Minx, I only do wackos like Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, Michael Morell (recently retired CIA Deputy Director, and the two Letters, all of whom appeared in today’s PG. But it was good to learn from Ignatius, through you, that he has Syrian sources saying that the CIA-trained commandos are making great advances in the fighting, despite not having U.S. supplied arms (at least, according to the Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff we haven’t supplied any).

              While it might not be your place to link the opposing view, intellectual honesty might suggest that you not link a view that is such a distinct minority as if it proves your case, or even has any probative value.

              • Little_Minx  On September 19, 2013 at 11:16 PM

                How dare you, of all people, impugn my intellectual honesty.

                • Devildog  On September 19, 2013 at 11:31 PM

                  Excuse me!

                  • Little_Minx  On September 20, 2013 at 10:22 AM

                    Insults and bullying demonstrate a poverty of ideas.

                    • Devildog  On September 20, 2013 at 1:48 PM

                      Agreed!

  • Little_Minx  On September 19, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Tourist, Caroline Kennedy was confirmed today as US Ambassador to Japan. She testified, inter alia, something to the effect that her father, as a WW II veteran, had hoped to make a peace-time visit there as President.

  • Tourist  On September 21, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    Is anything happening on the Duquesne matter? I saw someone refer to how it played out, and I don’t see that it did that at all, except maybe for nothing having changed.

    To the original op-ed, which should indeed have been read with an ear tuned to the possibility of an agenda (not that there’s anything wrong with that), the bulk of the comments were of two types: “How awful” and “This is the reality in American higher education, and it’s awful.” (A few countered the second with: “That’s how the market works.)

    A day or so later a couple of affirmative defenses of Duquesne appeared (agenda?), and I have to say they read pretty thin.

    But are the sides taking about the same thing?

    It seems to me one is saying the game is unfair. The other is saying it plays by the rules.

    What’s the issue.

    • Devildog  On September 22, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      Tourist, what is so difficult to understand about the “Duquesne matter”? Though I may be unfairly accused of being cold-hearted in one of the things I’m about to say, it all comes down to two things.

      One is that there are many people out there who need help but they either aren’t able to recognize that or don’t know how to find that help, there are many agencies and people out there who are able to and want to provide help, there are people out there who are in either denial about those people and/or are enablers, and we must do a better job of identifying people who need help and helping those people. The elderly are particularly vulnerable!

      The second “matter” is that a union is seeking to organize people where they see an opportunity to organize and where I suppose they and certain people in that group believe they are being unfairly treated. So what’s new?

      What does Duquesne being a religious based university have to do with this “matter? Nothing!

      • Little_Minx  On September 22, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        Tourist, the “Duquesne matter” continues to grow. NPR did a story re it on “Weekend Edition Sunday” just this AM, reporting that the incident has gone viral, and IamMargaretMary has become a happening hashtag on Twitter.

        The fact is that Duquesne pays/treats its adjuncts abominably, then thinks it can spin the story that tossing Vojtko a few scraps of charity (as though an letting old lady stay in a houseful of priests is all that great — really?) will paper over the outrage.

  • Tourist  On September 22, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Devildog,

    I have a lot of passwords and keeping them straight is a pain. There is software to manage passwords now. It’s a product, for sale, and it’s tempting.

    Ballplayers do not negotiate with teams. Agents do. Authors, artists, actors, CEO’s – agents, consultants and lawyers. In the skilled, professional middle, it’s a little more one-on-one. For most, it’s “take it or leave it.” On the old P-G blogs a free-market champion said workers should be paid “as little as they will accept.” That sums up the theory perfectly. Like doin’ the limbo: “How low can you go?”

    I was asking if that’s the reality we want. One might ask if it’s even sustainable.

    When everyone had three passwords, there was no demand for software. It’s a question of need.

    In a free market, unions sell unionization.

    • pittsburgh_dad  On September 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM

      I have some bad news for you Tourist – we have lived in that reality for about 240 years. Even at their height, union membership was about 27% of total employment. And while unions helped attain some important benefits for workers – 8 hour work day, increased safety standards – their usefulness to the average worker is long since past. In fact, they hurt employment by limiting who can obtain jobs to those lucky enough to be in the union.

      The funny thing is that Obamacare will put the nail in the coffin of unions. The biggest attraction of being in a union now is the health care benefits they are able to negotiate for their members. Now that people can get insurance in the exchanges, firms are just going to dump their employees into the exchanges. This is why the unions are suddenly opposing Obamacare – the union leaders are going to lose their cushy jobs.

  • Tourist  On September 22, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    We saw “Elysium” yesterday. It’s *sort of* a waste of time, not in a bad way. It’s an action-packed visual spectacular that presents very little to think about. Contrast “Oblivion,” which is a grand puzzle with answers at the end.

    A few observations: The “haves” on Elysium (what little we see of them) are not evil. They are a few generations into their lives of rich, isolated privilege and don’t know anything else. They are indifferent at worst to people they simply don’t identify with. The “have-nots,” 99% of humanity living in a global slum, are not lawless barbarians. The divide is maintained by a security apparatus. The knowing, brutal exploitation of labor is corporate, done out of sight. In the end, everything turns on healthcare.

    Sorry. What were we talking about?

    • pittsburgh_dad  On September 22, 2013 at 7:24 PM

      So you were the one who saw that dystopian pile of crap movie

      • Tourist  On September 22, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        Would it be possible to get a thoughtful answer from you on this? After the ending of “Elysium,” will the world (as a whole, the new society) be a better or a worse place? I’m not asking about the transition.

        Take your time if you like. I’ll be out for a while.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On September 22, 2013 at 11:50 PM

          Here is my thoughtful response: it’s a movie that has no relationship to reality except to liberals who see evil in everything but the government when the truth is that it is the government that is evil.

          • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 12:02 AM

            Pd, were the last 12 words in your response really necessary-do they detract from the valid point that you made before that?

            • pittsburgh_dad  On September 23, 2013 at 12:07 AM

              Good point DD

          • Tourist  On September 23, 2013 at 7:32 AM

            “It’s a movie”? It was a question. Moot court in law school, case studies in business school, hypotheticals throughout academia (you said you taught) are just exercises? Shakespeare is just entertainment? “Animal Farm,” “1984,” “The Plague” are *about* things, you know.

            Sad, really, if that’s as far as you can take it. Maybe that says something.

            • pittsburgh_dad  On September 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM

              It’s all that it is worth,

              • pittsburgh_dad  On September 23, 2013 at 12:12 PM

                Shakespeare? One of his most famous plays, assuming he actually wrote it (not necessarily a good assumption), is Romeo and Juliet. What relationship to reality does it have? At best fleeting. A woman killing herself over a guy. Not exactly a common occurrence.

    • Devildog  On September 22, 2013 at 8:53 PM

      Tourist, you asked, ” is anything happening on the Duquesne matter”. Certainly not anything unexpected. But what is “the Duquesne matter”? Simply a union trying to organize and a woman who has deteriorated in her old age and through no fault of her own or of Duquesne has fallen through the cracks of available help (and has died) and is being exploited by the organized left and others who will fall for any story that engenders sympathy-without any understanding of the background.

      Gone viral! Why?

      • Little_Minx  On September 23, 2013 at 12:07 AM

        …viral because of the exploitation of and disrespect for adjuncts by many universities and Duquesne in particular, especially because it flies in the face of one of Roman Catholicism’s missions. Instead of correcting the problems, Duquesne threw Vojtko a few sops of charity that demeaned her dignity. Worth noting that Catholic Georgetown University’s adjuncts are unionized, and it’s a darn sight better school academically.

        • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 12:22 AM

          Went viral because adjuncts are being disrespected and exploited by a Roman Catholic institution? Oh, now I see why it went viral. Thanks for the info. Now there should be an article on how Duquesne underpays its janitorial staff, and will make them part-time with the unfounded excuse that it has to do that because of Obamacare-and that can go viral also.

          • Little_Minx  On September 23, 2013 at 1:32 PM

            Well, one certainly can’t abide having workers organized and standing up for their rights and safety, now can one? See: ongoing case of UPMC workers trying to organize (under the SEIU) as well.

            • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 2:22 PM

              I don’t care if any group of workers organize or don’t organize as long as both sides comply with existing law. It’s up to them. I, unlike you, do not know what is “fair”. Perhaps you wrote your 1:43 post prior to reading my 1:39. Or perhaps you still don’t understand why Ms. Vostok was in the predicament she was in; that is, little or nothing to do with her conditions of employment.

  • Little_Minx  On September 23, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Toadsly! Did you watch PBS tonight? If so, did you recognize “Kate” in “Last Tango in Halifax” as (also) “Kate” in “Silk,” and “Gillian” in “LTiH” as “Evelyn Greene” in “Foyle’s War”?

    • Toadsly  On September 23, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      Sorry, didn’t watch PBS Sunday night: Went to see “Prisoners” movie, then caught second half of Steelers game.

  • pittsburgh_dad  On September 23, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    Tourist, the top 1% is 3M people, 700,000 families. If these people disappeared from the face of the earth tomorrow, will this improve the standard of living of the 99% or make it worse? You can assume that the wealth of the 1% is distributed ‘fairly’ among the 99% (whatever fair actually means and, at this point, I wouldn’t have the first clue what it does mean).

    If you think this would make a real positive difference, I have some more really bad news for you.

    The left’s obsession with the 1% is why progressivism is a failure. Whatever you do to the 1% has virtually no impact on the 99% and if there is an impact, it is almost certainly negative. After all, it is the 1% that does the most to drive the economy.

    • Tourist  On September 23, 2013 at 2:22 AM

      Disappear? Distribute their wealth? Do to them?

      You really think that is what any of this is about?!?

      “Eat the Rich” is only a T-shirt. So is “Spay and Neuter Liberals.”

      The only way you know how to grow is to keep more. There’s not a company in your mind that can survive another dollar in taxes or wages because there is no way for it to create, innovate or sell more. From the day you got here your talk has been “growth” and your walk has been “zero sum.”

      Henry Ford . . . $5 . . . buy the product . . . . You know the story.

      You: “After all, it is the 1% that does the most to drive the economy.”

      So that’s where the failure lies.

      ===

      “My guard stood hard when abstract threats
      Too noble to neglect
      Deceived me into thinking
      I had something to protect.”

      That’s only a song.

      • pittsburgh_dad  On September 23, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        The 1% is the lefty focus. Where did I say it is zero sum? Capitalism works because everybody benefits from what it creates which in America is the highest standard of living in the history of the world.

        Failure of the 1%? LOL

        You want real failure? Check the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

        • pittsburgh_dad  On September 23, 2013 at 12:22 PM

          You really think that is what any of this is about?!?

          It is what you think it is all about. As I said above, the movie has no relationship to reality. Apparently neither do you

  • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Tourist, back to your 4:30 P.M. Post of 9/22. If unions want to organize, within the law (secret ballot), so be it. If adjuncts want to join a union, so be it. Some unfortunate woman through no fault of her own lived in dismal conditions and under dismal circumstances and was enabled unintentionally by a union organizer who was her friend but failed her-that not a story deserving of going viral except in the eyes of exploiters and sypathicos.

    The only real story is the one repeated too many times-the mentally challenged and the elderly fall through the cracks when there is help available. Otherwise, we are just left with adjuncts being unfairly treated and only if they would join unions would they obtain a form of nirvana, or at least be able to afford food, clothing and shelter.

    • Little_Minx  On September 23, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      Ms. Vojtko’s memory is NOT being exploited: she supported the unionization of adjuncts.

      • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        Yes she did Minx but her story did not go viral because she supported unionization. It went viral because of the dismal conditions she lived in and she was exploited because her condition had nothing to do with the wages and working conditions of her being an adjunct but for reasons that should be apparent to all. And who might have been in the best position to help her and failed her. None other than The author of the article,

        her “friend”, the union organizer!

        The exploiter is the one who failed her and, despite that, is using her to further his efforts to unionize adjuncts! Why can’t you recognize and accept that. Whether adjuncts should get paid more or should unionize is not the issue in this matter because nothing would have helped her but outside help.

        • Little_Minx  On September 23, 2013 at 3:43 PM

          No, her condition had EVERYTHING to do with the wages and working conditions of her being an adjunct. It’s Duquesne that exploits the adjuncts it underpays, without benefits. Ms. Vojtko supported the unionizing movement BECAUSE she recognized the university’s dismal treatment of adjuncts, whereas the unionizers are the ones trying to help the adjuncts.

    • Little_Minx  On September 23, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      If Duquesne treated its adjuncts more fairly, the unionization effort there would soon go pffft. It’s not, however, because Duquesne has decided it would rather dig in its anti-unionist heels, so the school is simply reaping what it’s sown.

      All workers should be able to earn enough “to be able to afford food, clothing and shelter” — those are basic human rights, no? But Nirvana? That’s up to each of us to find our own.

      • Little_Minx  On September 23, 2013 at 4:29 PM

        In Devildog-land, war is peace, and organizing to help exploited workers is exploitation. The mind boggles.

  • Little_Minx  On September 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    UMOC, were you able to leave the skilled nursing facility this past weekend? We hope your recovery is continuing apace, and that soon you’ll be able to spend more time with us.

  • Tourist  On September 23, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Minx, Devildog,

    Ms. Vojtko’s story and memory are being used to bring attention to the adjuncts’ situation and to rally support for the adjuncts’ cause. It’s hard to say “exploited” when she supported the cause. Either way, it’s not about her now – which makes who could have helped her a legitimate question but a side issue. Unionization per se is also a side issue. Unionization is a means to an end. The main issue is the system of adjuncts and whether we want it be the way it is.

    As I tried to put it above: One side says the game is unfair. The other side says it plays by the rules of the game.

    When I asked if anything was happening on the matter, I meant, are we as a society going to – is it time to – take look at the game?

    We may do that, you know.

    • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      Tourist, I would have expected you to understand better than certain others. That Ms. Vostok was an adjunct who supported a union is valid but is not a story without the organizer, Kovalik, telling how she was nearly homeless, etc., implying that her situation was caused by her low wages and being fired at 83, is exploitation of the lowest kind when any person with any sense would know (how shall I say this) that she was mentally challenged. That this Kovalik guy almost brags that he saved her from Adult Protective Services shows that this guy doesn’t have a clue. Have not you, have not we, all read about reclusive elderly people living in similarly difficult conditions who have mucho dinero stashed away some place.

      The adjunct situation can be repeated for many other types of jobs and you want to know what type of society are we/do we want to be. Here are two possible ways to proceed. We can have a government czar to determine wage scales and job security for every position in this country or we can let the market determine the value/desire ability to society of each job. I can guess which Minx prefers-how about you.

      The main issue is the system of adjuncts and whether “we” (emphasis added) want to do something about it; that is, do we want it to be the way it is. Are you serious? I say let the universities and adjuncts decide whether they want it to be the way it is and if, for example, the adjuncts can’t get an agreement they like, they should find another job, or profession if you like. After all, they are college graduates, aren’t they.

      I only have so much sympathy in me and I’ll rather direct it at people like Ms. Vostok who can’t help themselves!

      • Tourist  On September 23, 2013 at 8:29 PM

        Devildog,

        Have you been reading the comments? They go beyond sympathy for one poor woman and who may or may not have been responsible for her fate. They are about – the issue is – what the most recent letter in the P-G calls the “adjunct business model.”

        (Quote)

        Duquesne officials also argued they pay part-time teachers more than most other schools do, though they did not dispute the notion that adjunct professors are underpaid in general.

        “The least that an adjunct professor could be paid is $3,500 for a course, $7,000 for a given semester,” Duquesne Provost Tim Austin told NPR. “Whether those are appropriate in a yet larger context is … a matter that the academic world has not yet found a decisive answer.”

        (Unquote)

        http://news.yahoo.com/adjunct-professor-death-190047241.html

        “I say let the universities and adjuncts decide . . .” (Devildog)

        +++ Do you mean negotiating collectively and in accordance with the laws of the land? If so, of course. I can’t think of any other way.

        The dollar-an-hour business model, the 100-hour-workweek business model, and the child-labor business model were all addressed historically and deemed bad for society. Is the adjunct business model good or bad for society? I don’t know.

        • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 8:44 PM

          Tourist, you may not know whether the adjunct business model is good or bad for society but have you thought that it may be of no significance to society so it’s neither good nor bad. Not everything is! This is de minimus in the grand scheme of society. This is a matter for the parties to decide. I’m not even interested in the subject. I only got involved because this damn article from this enabler went viral, not because of the adjunct debate but how this unfortunate woman was used by this exploiter.

          Do you really want a discussion about whether the adjunct system as it currently exists is good or bad for society? As Samuel Goldwyn (Yogi’s brother of sorts) once said, “include me out”.

        • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 8:58 PM

          Btw Tourist, I read the Yahoo article and some of the comments and I’m pissed off at you for directing me to such tired bullshit!

          • Little_Minx  On September 23, 2013 at 11:07 PM

            “That Ms. Vostok [sic] was an adjunct who supported a union is valid but is not a story without the organizer, Kovalik, telling [it]…”

            Ms. Vojtko is unfortunately indisposed, so should her story die with her?

            • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 11:45 PM

              No Minx, as I previously wrote, her “story” should be told loud and clear. But what is her story. It’s one that occurs all too often. A person who needs help doesn’t get that help, even when it’s available-for a variety of reasons. That’s the story that needs to be told, not the plight of the adjuncts.

              • Tourist  On September 23, 2013 at 11:54 PM

                Minx,

                He has indeed been saying that. Devildog has always been sympathetic to the people falling through the cracks and in wanting to help them, and I have wanted today to work in an acknowledgment of that in Ms. Vojtko’s case – except he’s been so pigheaded about union organizers, union organizers, union organizers, that I didn’t really care that much.

                • Little_Minx  On September 24, 2013 at 12:58 AM

                  No, it’s not a matter of giving a person charity on an individual basis — that’s demeaning to the recipient and unfair to his/her adjunct colleagues, because administrations are always organized. This is a matter of workers organizing to negotiate a better situation for ALL adjuncts, so the latter can earn what they deserve in terms of pay and benefits, rather than as little as Duquesne can get by with using the old divide-and-conquer routine.

                  • Tourist  On September 24, 2013 at 3:53 AM

                    Minx,

                    You: “This is a matter of workers organizing to negotiate a better situation.”

                    +++ Yes.

                    Devildog: “I say let the universities and adjuncts decide . . . . [If] the adjuncts can’t get an agreement they like, they should find another job.”

                    +++ Yes.

                    Apart from your differing enthusiasm for unions, you are saying the same thing.

                    Mugsy once asked why he couldn’t have a Learjet. (He later denied it, saying he’d take nothing less than a Gulfstream.)

                    May I refer to mine down below of September 23, 2013 at 9:57 PM? If adjuncts are a major part of the teaching workforce, they ought to be able to successfully negotiate (collectively) better arrangements for themselves, including, possibly, security against the insecurity of semester-to-semester hiring whims and manipulations to keep essentially full-time workers from ever qualifying for full-time status and benefits. Are the people who think those things up proud of themselves?

                    Not Ms. Vojtko, not Duquesne, not unions or union tactics – that is what this is about. Either nothing will really come of it, or there will be a larger rethinking, restructuring, rebalancing. It’s the “Is this the system we want?” question I get mocked for.

                    But if the latter happens, and skilled, dedicated teachers working full time are rewarded with a “living wage” and opportunities, then a skilled, dedicated teacher on a less-than-full-time schedule probably should not expect a “living wage” for that service alone, just as Mugsy cannot simply claim a Learjet or G.

                    Devildog believes in leaving valuations to the market. We all do to a great extent. No one does to an absolute extent. Where market results would be extreme, we differ on what’s best. Some want rules and programs for the common good. Others want freely given charity. I disagree with Devildog, among others, on this and much more, but there are worse things to be than an advocate of charity.

                    Devildog is cynical, sarcastic and exasperating but he is not a big bad meanie.

                    • Devildog  On September 24, 2013 at 8:16 AM

                      Tourist, I also believe that people make their own individual evaluations (as does the marketplace) and they do so for many reasons including prestige. A person who collects garbage may do so for the money. Another person may accept less money for the privilege of wearing a white collar. That’s the system, a system of equilibrium.

                      Do Minx and I also agree on religion? “If yes” in my writing does have some meaning. Once again my failure to communicate my ideas adequately.

                      Fighting for adjuncts to change the system is the wrong fight at the wrong time. Absent the dead Ms. Vostok, not deserving of too much sympathy. I’ll rather fight against the arcane tenure system.

                      Nothing wrong with government programs that work. How many do?

                    • Little_Minx  On September 24, 2013 at 5:15 PM

                      Fighting for adjuncts to change the system is the RIGHT fight at the RIGHT time — now!

                • Devildog  On September 24, 2013 at 8:34 AM

                  Tourist, union organizers are like other working people, just doing their jobs. I have no animus to them in general, only to anyone(union organizer or otherwise)who is too stupid or mean-spirited to fail to recognize and/or help a person in need-and then exploits the death of that person.

                  I believe I said previously that if you want to organize, go right ahead.

                  Cynical, sarcastic, exasperating-can’t object to any of those. Not a big, bad, meanie-can’t object to that either since you included big and bad.

                  • Little_Minx  On September 24, 2013 at 5:23 PM

                    Ms. Vojtko — not Vostok, as you repeatedly misspell it — herself wanted the union to use her case to illuminate the plight of adjuncts. To blame the union for not affording her charity — which is NOT what she wanted — is what’s mean-spirited. It misses the point entirely, which is that ALL Duquesne adjuncts should be automatically protected, rather than on a case-by-case basis that employs divide-and-conquer tactics

                    • Devildog  On September 24, 2013 at 5:58 PM

                      Minx, I don’t proofread so when my iPad changes what I write, Vojtko to Vostok, I don’t pick it up. But you, unfortunately, seem entirely incapable of comprehending what I have written. Where did I blame “the union” for not recognizing Ms. Vojtko’s (the iPad finally gets it right) problem and not acting accordingly. I blamed an individual not the union but if you want to make the connection, your right and privilege. I didn’t think government run programs were charity rather than a God (excuse the word) given right, or maybe a constitutional one.

                      As for this being the right fight now, something like Obama’s Afghanistan being the right war now, go all in. How many fights can you do contemporaneously. I can do justice to do only one at a time so right now I am defending Native Americans by trying to get the Washington football team to change its nickname from Redskins to Blowhards. After that my fight will be to tax and regulate Walmart out of existence. And then I will fight poverty and then global warming. But first adjuncts at religious based universities-and to accomplish that I will fight to eliminate tenure. I’m just itching for fight after fight. You’ll be glad to know that fighting against Obamacare is last on my list.

  • Tourist  On September 23, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Pittsburgh Dad,

    You: “As I said above, the movie has no relationship to reality.”

    It’s futuristic fiction. It has a gated community, haves and have-nots, the haves kept safe by the forces of law and order, the have-nots laboring for low wages in conditions of high unemployment, grateful for the work. I offered my personal take that the haves were not knowingly evil, merely remote.

    The immediate plot-driver is a need for emergency medical treatment, universally available to the haves, but not to the have-nots. Because of the futuristic nature of healthcare delivery, the needs of the have-nots could easily be met; they simply aren’t. (I’m trying to avoid spoilers on principle.)

    Some of that changes at the end and I think my question, whether society will ultimately be better or worse for those changes, is a good one.

    I’m disappointed you are afraid to discuss it.

    • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      It must be futuristic Tourist since emergency medical treatment is available now to the have nots and is all sorts of non-emergency treatment via the emergency rooms at hospitals. Inconvenient perhaps, and expensive to the system, but it is there. As is food, clothing and shelter, unless of course one is too mentally challenged to take advantage of that and/or has a “supporter” to dissuade the authorities from providing that assistance.

      So what changes are you talking about?

    • pittsburgh_dad  On September 23, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      I am always willing to discuss reality.

      • Tourist  On September 24, 2013 at 12:18 AM

        Thank you. Maybe you can help me with Krugman:

        http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/paul-krugman-free-to-be-hungry-704602/

        • pittsburgh_dad  On September 24, 2013 at 12:41 AM

          Krugman? I said reality.

          • Tourist  On September 24, 2013 at 12:44 AM

            Is he wrong about something?

            • pittsburgh_dad  On September 24, 2013 at 1:31 AM

              He is a liberal. It’s by definition. In this case, it’s all part of that ‘perpetuating cycles of dependency’ that we have discussed for the last year. In the long-run, they hurt the people they are supposed to help because it provides disincentives for work. This also has a negative impact on society as a whole as a result of the lost output from those people not working.

              • pittsburgh_dad  On September 24, 2013 at 1:54 AM

                Not to mention but it is not a cut in food stamps but a rather small cut in the ‘growth’ of food stamps

              • Tourist  On September 24, 2013 at 2:08 AM

                “Wrong by definition”? I was ready for better.

                “Cycle of dependency”? “Disincentives to work”? “Lost output as a result of those people not working”?

                Do you mean the elderly or the disabled or the children? These children: “children who received early assistance grew up, on average, to be healthier and more productive adults than those who didn’t — and they were also, it turns out, less likely to turn to the safety net for help. SNAP, in short, is public policy at its best. It not only helps those in need; it helps them help themselves.”

                And I’m still wondering if any of it is wrong.

                • pittsburgh_dad  On September 24, 2013 at 2:41 AM

                  …it helps them help themselves?????

                  How does it help people help themselves? You know, give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach him to fish, feed him for a lifetime. Food stamps are the equivalent of giving a man a fish.

                  You may not accept that it perpetuates cycles of dependency, provides disincentives to work and results in lost output, but it certainly does these things.

                  Again, we are talking about an almost insignificant cut in the ‘growth’ of food stamps. The amount that is either wasted or obtained through fraud is certainly a multiple of the proposed cut in the ‘growth’ of food stamps

                  • Tourist  On September 24, 2013 at 3:34 AM

                    You: “Food stamps are the equivalent of giving a man a fish.”

                    Krugman: “. . . . almost two-thirds of SNAP beneficiaries are children, elderly or disabled, and most of the rest are adults with children. . . . [Children grow up] to be healthier and more productive adults . . . less likely to turn to the safety net for help.”

                    Me: “Hunger” as a synonym for “desire” is only supposed to be figurative. Food stamps let children learn to fish.

                    • pittsburgh_dad  On September 24, 2013 at 3:48 AM

                      I am all for cutting food stamps by 1/3rd. Did I interpret your comment correctly?

                      Children of working parents almost certainly grow up to be much more productive adults than children of welfare parents since, as you certainly know and agree with, welfare perpetuates cycles of dependency and teach children that the govt will take care of you from cradle to grave and, as a result, you don’t have to worry about learning how to fish.

                    • Little_Minx  On September 24, 2013 at 5:28 PM

                      “He is a liberal. It’s by definition.”

                      So that means that I get a free pass to use the argument “He is a conservative. It’s by definition” at will, right?

                    • Little_Minx  On September 24, 2013 at 5:32 PM

                      “I am all for cutting food stamps by 1/3rd.” Why? It’s such a microscopic fraction of a fraction of a percent of the Federal budget as not to constitute a significant tax savings, nor to add to, say, DOD or whatever program you favor. But the loss to those in need of Food Stamps is significant. Kick ’em when they’re down.

                    • Little_Minx  On September 24, 2013 at 5:34 PM

                      pittsburgh_dad, you’d have loved life in the City of Mahagonny — see: “The Rise and Fall of…” — where the greatest crime was not having enough money.

                    • pittsburgh_dad  On September 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM

                      Minx, yeah, you can say ‘He is a conservative. It’s by definition.’ Of course, you would be indicating that the argument the conservative is making is right.

                  • Tourist  On September 24, 2013 at 3:55 AM

                    Interpret correctly? Not sparring: No, you didn’t.

  • Tourist  On September 23, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Devildog,

    I started reading about adjuncts a week ago, too. As for the Yahoo article, I wanted something for my previous comment on Duquesne’s official stance toward the union, because I’m still not sure what it is. Instead I found the Duquesne official agreeing that adjuncts are in general underpaid. I was in a hurry so I used that instead, without belaboring the point that “underpaid” means the system is not working, by definition, according to theory. I did not read any of the comments to that Yahoo article, so you can’t blame me for those.

    What I have taken away from the thousands of comments to what has appeared in the P-G are two things: (1) The argument that adjunct professors are supposed to be outside specialists teaching a course or two in their field – a practicing lawyer presenting “real” family law, for example, or an author or painter or engineer, each giving the students a practical perspective and picking up a few bucks. (2) The argument that that is not how it is in practice; that at colleges and universities everywhere across the country, X (high) percent of the teaching is by adjuncts because they are cheaper.

    That’s where the idea comes in that it’s a business model – a careful scheme to, as they say, maximize shareholder wealth.

    In the pre-Facebook P-G blogs, a small business owner in Pittsburgh explained the breaks in employment he made sure to provide for his dozen or so long-time employees – offered this as advice – so that they would remain technically temporary. I don’t think this was for the survival of his firm. The firm bore his name and I think he was just maximizing shareholder wealth.

    Obviously we hear similar stories now regarding some aspects of Obamacare. (Here he comes.)

    What does it mean to be a worker in Europe? What does it mean to be a worker in Japan? What does it mean to the a worker in the United States? I’m not sure it’s supposed to mean this, and that makes it potentially more than “de minimus in the grand scheme of society.”

    • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      Tourist, you want to compare workers in in Europe and Japan with those in the United States. Fine, do that. Since you are from Pittsburgh and live in Tokyo (or one of its suburbs), why don’t you contrast for us the difference of workers in those two places in their living quarters. Feel free to contrast other things as well such as cars, flat screen televisions (47 and above-at least two in each household) etc. I’m talking about adjuncts being de minimus but if you want to cite them as an example of the poor, downtrodden American worker, go right ahead. You might also tell us of the effect of20 years of nothing for the Japanese economy which, I think, must have adversely affected the workers, including from what I have read the demise of lifetime guaranteed employment with one company.

      As for European workers, how many of the countries are you talking about. Last I heard, Greece, Italy, Spain and some other similarly situated countries are in Europe. Do you really want to compare European and Japanese workers with those in the U.S., especially since we now have Obamacare.

      • Tourist  On September 23, 2013 at 11:29 PM

        Europe and Japan have nothing to do with it. Skip those two sentences if it helps you. I was not comparing anything to anything.

        Yes, I was. I was comparing what we like to think being “an America worker” means, and what it seems to mean in reality for a growing number of people.

        You either see no gap, or you like the gap, or you want to do something about it.

        • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 11:56 PM

          Times are tough and Obama hasn’t helped-maybe hurt. Government can do some things but so can nature, probably more and better. There are gaps and always will be but, contrary to left-wing doctrine, a rising tide lifts all ships. I would favor any government program that can make the tide rise but I am dubious about just about all of them.

          Maybe the only one I favor is equal pay for equivalent work which would require only a czar to determine which jobs are equivalent. Like a garbage worker and an adjunct. Who can argue that the adjunct is not at least equivalent in value to society. Are you or Minx available if asked?

          If you don’t like my suggestion, do you have an alternative solution to “the problem”. No need to answer quickly since I’m going to go to sleep.

  • Tourist  On September 23, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Devildog,

    “So what changes are you talking about?”

    As a movie, it was a benign waste of time, but that’s subjective. I prefer them a little more complex. Wiki notes “generally positive reviews,” including: “on its own terms, it delivers just often enough to satisfy.” But, with respect, when you say that emergency room treatment is available today, you’re on the wrong page. Granted it’s hard if you haven’t seen it!

    The have-nots had medical care; the haves had life-and-death better. The reason was arbitrary. That’s all that changed at the end of the movie. More presumably will. There will always be dirty jobs and someone will have to do them. Maybe that will be me, but no longer because you arbitrarily deny me a chance at a better one.

    The wall of arbitrariness came down.

    I asked the question there: Will society be better or worse for it?

    • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 11:36 PM

      The Bucs are in the playoffs and why are you still up..

      As to the rest, whatever.

      • Tourist  On September 23, 2013 at 11:37 PM

        I’m up ’cause it’s lunchtime.

  • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    Oh, I forgot. Must be the champagne I just drank. Not really. It’s afternoon there. Why am I still up.

    • Tourist  On September 23, 2013 at 11:38 PM

      Okay. Messages crossed.

      The Bucs are goin’ all the way
      All the way
      All the way
      Oh, the Bucs are goin’ all the way
      All the way this year!

  • Devildog  On September 23, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    I do the best I can. Well, maybe not my best. Is there a heaven and, if yes, how do you get there. Not what you believe but what you do. How can it be otherwise.

    • Little_Minx  On September 24, 2013 at 1:05 AM

      How can it be otherwise? How about because once you’re dead you’re dead. That’s all there is, there isn’t any more. Secular humanists do good because they know it’s right, not out of fear of where they’ll go after death.

      I’d also point out that in a lot of religions, including Christianity, faith trumps deeds, so unless you believe the prescribed dogma you can be the best person in the world and still wind up burning in hell (which is why I stopped believing at age 12, when I was first exposed to that view and immediately realized how wrong it was).

  • Devildog  On September 24, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Some people read the PG online as soon as it becomes available (midnight?). I read it in print, usually at night as I am doing now when I have time while usually watching some sports event as I am doing now (while others watch more “cultural” programs). So, I have just read Ken Gormley’s column. Other than “an 83 year old woman he hardly knew”, my reaction is “hmm”.

    • Tourist  On September 24, 2013 at 11:10 PM

      You’re only reading the advocates. You should bring it up online and read the jury comments.

  • Tourist  On September 24, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    Except for a rhetorical concession, Devildog (11:40 PM) and Minx (1:05 AM) are saying the same thing. (Didn’t I just say that somewhere else?)

    I was never as confrontational as some, but I know I took belief to be a weakness, along the lines of: “Why do they need that?” Which was never to say that churches didn’t do good community work – you don’t have to believe in God to believe in priests – and if believers were moved to kindness and generosity by their faith, what was wrong with that?

    I’m not talking about holy wars, “Christian nation,” and so on.

    A few years ago I saw something on TV, and later read a few articles, involving electrical stimulation of the brain that produced hallucinations of God – of the test subject being in the presence of God. On TV, I watched the subjects in the chamber describe it. This was popularized as the discovery of the “God spot.” Actually, results were inconsistent; which “spot” in the brain it was was inconsistent. I never went too deeply into it and don’t know where that research stands now.

    At the very least, though, there seemed to be something to it.

    It does two things: (1) It puts God in the brain, not “out there.” (2) It makes God a human brain function, not something I am in any position to call a weakness. (Maybe I’m the defective one.)

    The “why” of this is probably as some sort of survival mechanism – comfort, reassurance; and I imagine the realization of inevitable death could be debilitating without some way to come to terms with it.

    “Secular humanists do good because they know it’s right,” says Minx.

    What makes it right, I wonder?

    “Once you’re dead you’re dead. That’s all there is, there isn’t any more.”

    I know.

    So why are we good? Why care?

    In this life, we probably don’t need anarchy, but why do for others any more than we have to? No reward. No punishment. Can’t take it with you.

    “[Secular humanism] posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god . . . . [T]he humanist life stance emphasizes the unique responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions.” (Wiki)

    Ethical? Moral? Unique responsibility?

    To whom? To whose ends? Whose purposes? Whose standards?

    God’s?

    • Devildog  On September 24, 2013 at 11:02 PM

      Say what? I can’t quite see how anyone can intellectually be either a secular humanist or a fervent believer.

      Has the non-story “Duquesne/adjunct” debate now been put to bed?

      • Tourist  On September 24, 2013 at 11:15 PM

        One side wants it put to bed. Minx says they’ve only begun to fight!

        • Devildog  On September 24, 2013 at 11:31 PM

          Let them fight! Good luck. Pick your fights. Where do adjuncts stand in line compared with the great inequities that exist in this country? Is anyone in the adjunct fight promoting the firing of deadwood tenured profs or there forced retirement at 70 that would open up opportunities for adjuncts much for than joining a union would? If not, why not? Is that not the real problem?

          • Tourist  On September 24, 2013 at 11:35 PM

            “Is anyone in the adjunct fight promoting the firing of deadwood tenured profs or there forced retirement at 70 that would open up opportunities for adjuncts much for than joining a union would?”

            That’s a good question. Who might know?

            • Devildog  On September 24, 2013 at 11:55 PM

              The “Shadow” and Minx! I doubt whether the USW is advocating the firing of “dead wood” and forced retirement at a certain age so who else is there to promote that fight? Really, there can be only a certain amount of permanent, high-paying, Heath-benefit positions at an institute of higher learning without greatly increasing tuition and/or eliminating football. Oops!

              • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 1:34 PM

                It was Margaret Mary Vojtko herself who wanted the USW to continue the fight, even after she died.

                Re “forced retirement at 70” of tenured profs, I believe there’s a law — passed during the, ahem, Reagan administration, no less — outlawing it in most instances.

      • Tourist  On September 24, 2013 at 11:21 PM

        Your first paragraph: Care to elaborate?

        • Devildog  On September 24, 2013 at 11:40 PM

          Certainly, Tourist.

          1. Can’t quite understand what you are saying.

          2. Can’t see the intellectual basis for believing in God But can’t see it for rejection either. Anyway, who cares (that means me). If there isn’t a God, so what. If there is, what follows from that is still hocus-POTUS. Be good, regardless. No anarchy.

          3. Ms. Vojtko is a footnote in history and the attempt to organize adjuncts is just one if many attempts at organizing various groups and except for the individuals involved is of no significance, including quality of education. Those comments you asked me to read were from those who have a dog in the fight and those usual cast of characters who bleed for whomever they believe are the underdogs vs. “the system”. That might include you.

          Daniel Snyder, change that nickname! Now!

          • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 12:03 AM

            Re #1: Thank you.

            Re #2: Not equal. Intellectual basis for rejecting? Yes. Think about it. For believing? No. It takes faith.

            “Be good, regardless.” That ought to be enough.

            Re #3: Convergence of forces. At some point you should count the dogs.

          • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 7:29 AM

            No, let me take another swing. I think part of what I’m trying to say is that while we don’t need “God” to explain things – other explanations exist or the answer is we don’t know yet – one of the things we (science, etc.) cannot explain is what makes us human. Minx says we do good because it’s right. I don’t mean to do the whole circle again, but how do we get to “good” or “right”? Not the definitions – we know them when we see them. But what’s the motivation and where does it come from?

            My guess is intelligence. Doing bad is probably limiting or self-defeating. Doing good works out better. Somehow it aids our survival. Somehow we saw that, absorbed it, and know it now as “right.”

          • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 7:31 AM

            And would someone please pass the pitcher.

            • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 8:38 AM

              Tourist, Dr. Hubel’s work just may be more important than those trying to determine whether or not there is a God.

              Btw, I just noticed my pocus was changed to POTUS. I remember now that a long time ago, it seems, my ciejai was changed to something derogatory and boy was I dumped on-not by her but by others-probably Minx. iPad now accepts it without changing it. Hi Ciejai!

              • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 8:46 AM

                Hi, Ciejai!

                Dog, I noticed POTUS. I thought it was more humor flying right by me.

              • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 1:29 PM

                “…my ciejai was changed to something derogatory and boy was I dumped on-not by her but by others-probably Minx.”

                No idea what you’re talking about, but it’s just plain defamatory and you owe me an apology if you can’t cite what it is.

                • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 1:33 PM

                  Minx, I don’t have the know-how to go back that far. Tourist, is it too much to ask for your help.

                  You want an apology. Sure! But I said “probably”. How about the standard “if anyone was offended…”.

                  • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM

                    “If any was offended” isn’t an apology, just a CYA. We are not deceived.

                    • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

                      Oh, Minx. Sorry if my apology offended anyone. You are “undeceivable”!

                    • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM

                      “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” to quote a great thinker.

  • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    In the matter of the Redskins:

    I remember even as a child hearing that it was wrong to use people as mascots. That didn’t sound right. What was a Pirate? But I did feel vague unease at lumping Cochise, Sitting Bull, Hiawatha and Tonto in with Tigers, Bulldogs and Rattlesnakes. Nothing came of it for fifty years and I never gave it much thought.

    The very first time I encountered the term “political correctness” I thought it was a good thing. We probably should be a little more sensitive to the effects of our words. That’s not how that concept evolved either.

    Those who find “Redskins” offensive will not be satisfied until it’s gone. Those who do not find it offensive will not be happy giving it up. The latter group will get over it. If it were me, I’d roll out a new name, proudly, with flash and flair, and move on.

    In the debate, however, a week or so ago, this column by Rick Reilly, someone good sports fans everyone are apparently supposed to know and I don’t, was being ripped as even more, if possible, offensive than the name itself – particularly its final word.

    I thought the final word/line/analogy was devastating and the argument for the position that happens not to be mine to have been made about as powerfully as it could be.*

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9689220/redskins-name-change-not-easy-sounds

    ===

    * Almost. The father in law wants it both ways.

    • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 8:29 AM

      Tourist, I moved to D.C. In 1960 and became a redskins fan-because they were one of the worst teams. Btw, their theme song starts off, “hail, to the Redskins”. But that makes no difference does it. Can’t remember the rest of it.

      • pittsburgh_dad  On September 25, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        The name will change when Goodell and Snyder (the owner) determine that the return from new merchandise sales that result from the name change exceeds the cost of changing the name (lost tradition, fans preferring ‘Redskins’ not buying the new merchandise). Ain’t capitalism great??!!!!!!

        DD
        Hail to the Redskins
        Hail victory
        Braves on the warpath
        Fight for old DC

        BTW, the original owner of the ‘Skins was George Preston Marshall, a racist who didn’t sign a black player until 1962 (NFL was integrated right after baseball was in the late 1940s)

        • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 10:51 AM

          Pd, Bobby Mitchell, first Black on team. Redskins had a vast radio network from D.C. South. Was Marshall a racist or just a capitalist?

          • pittsburgh_dad  On September 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

            Well, he set up a foundation after his death, The condition was that it should not direct a single dollar toward “any purpose which supports or employs the principle of racial integration in any form.’

            Now, was it more profitable to not have black football players? I don’t know but doubtful.

            • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 1:29 PM

              Well pd, I think the foundation is an indication that he might have had racist leanings. Did they get Mitchell due to league pressure or because the team was so bad without Blacks?

              D.C. Was a Southern town when I got there in 1960. It took a lot of effort to get JFK to push civil rights. Of course, had he lived, we wouldn’t have gotten deeply into Vietnam and he would have been as big a proponent of civil rights, if not bigger, than LBJ. Camelot, you know!

              • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 1:55 PM

                Cecil Rhodes set up a foundation stipulating the awarding of scholarships strictly to white males, but first the racist, then the sexist limits were overturned.

                A retired teacher at my high school set up a posthumous scholarship fund at our mutual university restricted to male students, and those funds were tied up in court for years before finally the court determined that what the will stipulated was illegal and so the scholarships had to go to students irrespective of gender.

                • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 2:01 PM

                  “Hail to the Redskins” also uses an instrumental section of “Dixie” in the extended-play version, as well as a fake-Indian melody/rhythms in the bridge between verses. Racist much?

                  • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 2:38 PM

                    So Minx, where should my primary effort be directed-Redskins, adjuncts or elsewhere? Can’t be everywhere at the same time.

                    • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 2:49 PM

                      You never heard of multi-tasking? 😉

                    • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 3:00 PM

                      I set priorities. Any recommendation? Off to see my granddaughter star on her 7th grade school basketball team-my priority for the moment.

                • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 2:41 PM

                  The courts and government take my money when I am living, when I die and for many years thereafter. The only answer-don’t make money and live off those whose money is being taken.

                  • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 2:52 PM

                    Not quite sure of your point here: Are you saying that Cecil Rhodes was wronged, and that his scholarships should still be reserved for white males only (and that the old high school teacher’s fund at our alma mater should be only for male students)?

                    • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 2:58 PM

                      Whose money is/was it? As long as it’s a moral judgment not a crime.

  • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    “Ms. Vojtko is a footnote in history…”
    I’m sure the segregationists claimed the same re Rosa Parks.

    …and the attempt to organize adjuncts is just one if many attempts at organizing various groups…”
    It eventually succeeded at, e.g., Georgetown University. No reason to think it won’t spread.

    “…and except for the individuals involved is of no significance, including quality of education.”
    Did you happen to hear the discussion of the Duquesne adjunct case on WESA-90.5 this noon-hour? In order to make ends meet, some adjuncts are teaching as many as 7 courses at 3 colleges, with shlepping around among those campuses. Quality of education is affected in that the amount of time involved, not only in the classroom and commuting but especially in preparation, grading exams and papers, being unavailable for many if any office hours, etc., degrade the caliber of the education.

    “Those comments you asked me to read were from those who have a dog in the fight and those usual cast of characters who bleed for whomever they believe are the underdogs vs. “the system”.
    Same arguments were used throughout the civil rights movement: Blacks were self-serving, Whites were Commies and/or “n—–lovers” blah, blah, blah. If those who are oppressed, and those who believe the situation should be changed, are dismissed for speaking up, it would’ve taken longer to abolish slavery in the US and we’d have had de jure segregation a lot longer.

    Who do you think SHOULD speak up for the adjuncts, if not the adjuncts themselves (as well as their families, friends and those who are able to help them organize)? Oh I know, the university administrations, because they’ll Deus ex machina see the error of their ways, just as slaveholders spontaneously did, right? Oh wait, they didn’t? To quote UMOC, “Ooops!”

    • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      Equating organizing adjuncts with the civil rights movement. Wow!

      Schlepping adjuncts probably do a better job of teaching than over 70 tenured profs. No disrespect intended but if an adjunct was really good, a full-time job is available somewhere.

      • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        Let’s see, unions used picket lines and boycotts in their organizing effort long before Dr. King came along.

        “No disrespect intended but if an adjunct was really good, a full-time job is available somewhere.” One could say this about whatever it is that you do/did for a living as well.

        Did you not listen to WESA-90.5’s program? Adjuncts take those jobs because they can’t get better ones, and hope that adjuncting will lead to something better.

        And an over-70 tenured professor could likely be vastly superior to an adjunct by virtue of all his/her experience and acquired wisdom.

        • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 4:24 PM

          Discrimination, exploitation, unfair treatment, lousy treatment, difficult circumstances.

          Same? Different?

          • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 4:30 PM

            ‘Morning, Tourist! You’re certainly up early (or is it late?).

            • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 4:32 PM

              Early. Had to see how it was going here.

              • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 4:46 PM

                You can’t quit us, huh?

          • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 4:43 PM

            Let’s say an adjunct teaches 5 courses/semester for three trimesters a year, at an average pay of $3K/course.* Plus, typically each semester-unit of a course = 1 classroom hour + at least 3 hours’ prep (lesson-planning, grading exams and paper, administrative paperwork), so 5 courses/semester = a 60-hour workweek — all for the princely annual income of $45K, which would still qualify a family of 4 for food stamps (except for those who would deny such a person food stamps).

            * Until last year, Duquesne was only paying adjuncts $2,500/course.

            • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 4:49 PM

              So, in my list at 4:24 PM, that would be “difficult circumstances”?

              • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 4:57 PM

                I was thinking of “difficult circumstances” in the job sense — having to shlep to different college or university campuses, little or no time for office hours to meet with students, likely no office space on campus, less personnel-infrastructure support, etc.

                • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 5:12 PM

                  I remember an article on pricing photography for full-time free-lances. The idea was that the photographer should, with some sense of potential customers and demand, estimate the number of pictures he or she could reasonably expect to sell in a year, figure all the costs, etc., and then how much the photographer needed/wanted in order to live at his or her desired level of comfort and so on, do the arithmetic, and charge that much.

                  If the market won’t pay it, rethink the intention to do it full time.

                  • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 5:35 PM

                    Tourist, should not the free-lancers be the beneficiary of a government mandate that they be paid the amount necessary to enable them to satisfy not their needs but their wants. If the government will not do that, then unlike your suggestion that they find a different life, I suggest they organize.

                    Btw Minx, assuming adjuncts successfully organize, what do you suggest their objective should be? A few more bucks? A living wage? Full-time employment-that would result in almost all of them being out of a job entirely.

                    Adjuncting will lead to something better. Sounds like the argument for not raising the minimum wage rate at McDonalds.

                  • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 5:45 PM

                    On one hand, it could be argued that EVERY business calculates the minimum it needs to charge that way, then adds in as much profit as it can possibly get by with. Heck, all permanent full-time employment could be abolished and all workers hired on a basis of, say, lowest bidders. OTOH, the reason for permanent full-time employment is that it’s to the employers’ benefit! Colleges and universities need to grasp that exploiting adjuncts is ultimately harmful to the education they offer — Georgetown University has done so by recognizing their adjuncts’ union as those faculty’s collective bargainer.

                    • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 5:48 PM

                      Logging off now. Type to you later.

                    • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 5:50 PM

                      Just asking but what benefit did the adjuncts get from having a union?

                    • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 5:52 PM

                      “OTOH, the reason for permanent full-time employment is that it’s to the employers’ benefit!”

                      Great! Make the case! Don’t forget society as a whole.

                      Let me be clear about the adjuncts. I’m on their side. I think the schools are holding down costs (as they are expected to do) by capitalizing on what is effectively a loophole (not the way most like it to be done). The remedy is to negotiate better arrangements or to close the loophole. Passion for teaching and how hard they work will only take you so far. Make the rest of the case at the same time.

  • Little_Minx  On September 25, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    Devildog On September 25, 2013 at 5:50 PM
    “Just asking but what benefit did the adjuncts get from having a union?”

    Srsly???

    • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 10:05 PM

      Minx, his question plays into your hands. Search this thread for “Georgetown.” It only appears four times. Note what was said, and wasn’t. This is your chance to explain.

      • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 10:33 PM

        Just asking so why can’t you just answer, in English, instead of search this thread for Georgetown (whatever tat means).

        • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 10:37 PM

          Why are you yelling at me on behalf of Minx?

          • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 10:46 PM

            What! Me yell! My question did not have Minx as the addressee-though it was a reply to her post. That’s not relevant though. If you have an answer to my question, how about providing it, remain silent, or direct me in English to where I can find it.

            P.s., I only yell at my dog-who’s looking at me lovingly right now.

            • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 10:54 PM

              “If you have an answer to my question, . . . .”

              I don’t, specifically, and you originally asked Minx, not me. She passed — I’m sure respectfully. I butted in, urging her to seize the opportunity to answer you — to sell her position on the merits — because she knows more than I do.

              And you’re still asking me!

              Your granddaughter’s team must have won. The champagne again?

              • Devildog  On September 25, 2013 at 11:15 PM

                Tourist, why would I “yell at you” if my granddaughter’s team won. Actually, they did. Like love-it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Same with sports.

                Minx knows more than you do (about adjuncts and their union at Georgetown)- I would say you know the same as she does, which is nothing. If it’s not an independent union, they will be out dues to the national and, probably but I don’t know either, get litte in return. I can’t imagine anything of significance that they can achieve through negotiation-no permanency, no healthcare, maybe a little more money. But I could be wrong.

                “Make the case”! For what! For a union or for giving adjuncts what.

                • Tourist  On September 25, 2013 at 11:31 PM

                  Devildog, make the case for what, you ask? That permanent full-time employment is in the employer’s interests. That was also to Minx, after she said it.

                  Devildog, I also thought your point/question that if adjuncts aren’t held artificially to part time, but are able to teach and are treated as full time, there will likely be less need for part-time adjuncts (fewer of them able to work at all), and did the “adjunct side” have a view on that, was valid. Minx, do you happen to know the answer?

                  Devildog, that question was to Minx. It was yours. I’m repeating it. I’m not volunteering to answer it. Please don’t ask me. Ask Minx, if you like. As I did. Because she might know. I don’t.

                  Go ahead. Have another.

                  • Devildog  On September 26, 2013 at 12:16 AM

                    Hi, Tourist. I know it’s Minx’s statement not yours that full-time employment is in the employer’s best interest but it gets me when people claim to know, and expound upon, what’s in the other party’s best interest. Minx make the case? You cannot be serious.

                    You say you don’t know the answer to my question whether converting adjuncts to full-time will greatly decrease employment for the left-out adjuncts. You can’t be serious. Stop toying with Minx!

                    With that, having finished the six-pack, I’m off to bed. I look forward to reading you in the morning but, unlike you, I’ll be damned if I get up early to see what’s going on here.

                    • Tourist  On September 26, 2013 at 3:42 AM

                      Morning, Dog!

                      1. I really do not know what the “adjunct side’s” position is on loss of employment for some adjuncts so that others might be employed more advantageously. Collateral damage? Survival of the fittest? Countermeasures ready to be sprung? In rough concept, if schools pared only from the top (I think this was your preference), maybe everyone could move up. But Minx says the top is where it’s at – “vastly superior” – so that’s probably counterproductive. I don’t know. Somebody has to have thought it through, though. It’s why I asked. [Prediction made and sealed here.]

                      2. Stop doubling on me with Minx. I’m getting dizzy. The way you two tag-team people is unseemly. Not fair! Not fair! I liked it better when you talked past each other and didn’t listen.

                      3. I have to put this acknowledgement somewhere: Pittsburgh Dad said something germane yesterday.

                      4. I got up to go to the bathroom. Okay?

                    • Devildog  On September 26, 2013 at 8:15 AM

                      Good evening, Tourist. Finally, I think I understand what you were saying about Georgetown and the thread (but I could be wrong). It was mentioned four times as the shining beacon on the hill(with the adjuncts being organized) but no one indicated what benefits resulted from that-and, probably no one will because of lack of knowledge and/or lack of significant improvement in the results or model.

                      In the case of adjuncts, what results can be achieved? Pare from the top? How about paring from everywhere based on merit? Can’t do that though, there are unions involved. Yeah, I know, can’t do that because then favoritism would come into play and we can’t have that.

                      Anyway, unionization of adjuncts continues to be off my radar as to a fight to be fought and should be off everyone’s, except theirs but only if they want it. But, it has occupied time and space and involved the cyber world. What’s the next issue?

  • pittsburgh_dad  On September 26, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Tourist: 3. I have to put this acknowledgement somewhere: Pittsburgh Dad said something germane yesterday.

    Thx??

    I will say this – it’s difficult responding to the inanities spewed by the followers of a failed philosophy

    • Tourist  On September 26, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      Pittsburgh Dad,

      Do you mind a friendly suggestion? Take the inanities one at a time as they come up. Stick to facts. Be specific. Don’t try to deal with the entire philosophy by yourself.

      • pittsburgh_dad  On September 27, 2013 at 2:44 AM

        So you agree that the posts are inane?

        • Tourist  On September 27, 2013 at 2:52 AM

          I think thinking that that is a clever retort is.

          Did you delete your “Obamacare smells like a pile of [crap]” comment from Rob Rogers, or did they bounce it?

          • pittsburgh_dad  On September 27, 2013 at 12:42 PM

            It was “Obamacare (tastes) like a pile of [crap].” I deleted it. I didn’t like the analogy because you’re not literally eating Ocare. Although it is being shoved down our throats

  • Toadsly  On September 26, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Here’s an incredible piece of writing;

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/perspectives/margaret-mary-the-adjunct-professor-704756/

    • Devildog  On September 26, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      Agreed. This should have been written in the first place and not made necessary by Kovalik’s column and the brouhaha that followed. This is Ms. Vojtko’s legacy.

    • Tourist  On September 27, 2013 at 5:26 AM

      It’s a warm, well-written story, and I agree that it was “made necessary” by earlier spinning, both in the initial telling and in the rebuttals.

      Wars are wars no matter how they started – shot heard ‘round the world, Pearl Harbor, Tonkin Gulf, significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

      Who knew, not that many years ago, that their sneakers and T-shirts were being made by child slaves?

      Whatever happens or doesn’t from now in the matter of adjuncts will have nothing to do with Ms. Vojtko and it may be that her story should never have been part of it. But now we know about adjuncts.

      Knowing is good.

      • Devildog  On September 27, 2013 at 8:37 AM

        And Tourist, what is it about adjuncts that we know now that we didn’t know? That they are part-time, don’t get paid as much or have the benefits of full-time? That they are not unionized? There was no spinning in the rebuttals though you will no doubt come up with something to “prove” otherwise. What have/will the unions at Clarion and the other schools have accomplished at Clarion and the other schools that are terminating even tenured profs. Nowadays, the “model” is to have market forces prevail-for long term good or bad.

        So in addition to being compared with the civil rights movement, the fight for adjunct unions are being compared with actual wars. Hmmm! Adjuncts are college graduates teaching in universities who are trying to better themselves. Good! Go for it. Everyone should try to better themselves and the opportunity should be available to all. Before school teachers started getting laid off like factory workers, I would have suggested to some that they lower their goals, qualify to teach in grades K-12, and get a full-time job teaching their (if they thought it might be a “good” move. Adjuncts, why do they deserve all this attention-because they are college grads who can’t achieve what they desire. There are many others out there at least as deserving of our concern.

      • pittsburgh_dad  On September 27, 2013 at 10:43 PM

        Child slaves? Have they told you they believe they are slaves? Are they being forced to work in those factories? Do they not have free will?

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