“The same guys who can deny others everything are famous for refusing themselves nothing”

Leigh Hunt

Recently we observed the 50th anniversary of when President Lyndon B. Johnson announced measures to be taken to mount a war on poverty. Contrary to popular opinion these measures were not limited to providing pure handouts to shiftless blacks and lazy scumbag poor white trash. Indeed aside from common notions of poverty aid, Johnson’s plans were much more comprehensive and included provisions and programs to not only provide direct payments but which were designed to move to eliminate or at least lessen the causes of poverty entailing health, education and other social programs that benefited entire groups rather than individuals.

Such widely accepted programs as Medicare and Medicaid and federal aid to education were large parts of the entire package as was the establishment of the Food Stamp program, now called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

Despite some criticisms from both liberal and conservative factions, the actions instituted did decrease poverty levels significantly in the first ten years, according to the prevailing metrics of the time. The poverty rate fell from 17.4% when the initiatives began to 11.1% in 1973, when the rate leveled off.

A good overview of the War on Poverty (not an official name) and related topics can be found here.

Also contrary to popular opinion the War on Poverty has continued to be successful, perhaps not so much in reducing the poverty rate itself to miniscule levels but to prevent more people from falling into that defined status.

In observation of this anniversary the New York Times (NYT) offers an analysis of the present state of poverty in America with information gleaned from various sources.

However, the writer refuses to frame the analysis in terms of winning versus losing.

So, collecting all of these facts, the answer to the question posed above is that it’s the wrong question, in that its inherent win/loss framing precludes a nuanced analysis of the play between many disparate factors.

The momentum to fight the WOP (War on Poverty) lessened considerably after 1973 and ground to a comparative halt in the past thirty years.

President Ronald Reagan notoriously virtually dismissed the entire WOP with his characterizations of the recipients of largesse as leeches looking to game the system at great cost to our country. The epitome of his scorn was the so-called Welfare Queen, traipsing in furs and driving Cadillacs while collecting thousands upon thousands of dollars in funds ideally directed to the neediest of our citizens.

While there was actually some truth to the alleged fraudulent schemes of of his main target, one Linda Taylor, legend has grown over the years that this woman was a myth created out of whole cloth and Reagan’s dementia fed imagination. But there really was such a woman who was convicted of welfare fraud but whose crimes, cons and scams were far more egregious than those petty misdemeanors, possibly even including murder.

(For an examination of Linda Taylor’s actual life—much undocumented—read the fascinating tale presented here.

Unfortunately the image of “Welfare Queen has been iterated and replicated many times over since Reagan’s tenure though he assuredly was not the first person of any stripe or prominent leader to make that erroneous generalization.

Of course the notion that the WOP is an utter failure simply feeds that stereotype and lends  support to arguments propagated by conservatives to seriously slash these social safety net programs because…well…they don’t work anyways.

Senator Marco Rubio has taken up the failure mantra but liberal Michael Tomasky, building on the NYT article, observes that

What’s wrong with thinking is that we have not, of course, been fighting any kind of serious war on poverty for five decades. We fought it with truly adequate funding for about one decade. Less, even. Then the backlash started, and by 1981, Ronald Reagan’s government was fighting a war on the war on poverty. The fate of many anti-poverty programs has ebbed and flowed ever since.

Arguably  Exhibit 1 of the decrease in willingness to attack poverty is the welfare “reform” enacted in 1996, that drastically altered eligibility requirements for  the primary cash payments to the poor. Morphing from Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) the number of families receiving such aid has dropped from about 12.3 million in the throes of the AFDC system to about an average of just under 4.5 million families receiving TANF.

With those reforms came a work requirement and a lifetime limit on benefits.

I do not maintain that these and the other changes did not have logic and a factual basis behind them. Just about any government program, social or otherwise, demands frequent reevaluation and revision to remain effective. I do note, however, that the poverty rate during the intervening years is substantially the same as it was prior to “reform”. That leads to a conclusion that there remains a crying need for assistance on the previously broader scale, even if some revisions assured that only the truly needy received aid and that fraud was minimized.

Indeed there are so many variables at play here that result in our poorest citizens as a class losing pretty much any hope of truly living the American dream——you know, the dream that has individuals living in spacious houses,  replete with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, with cars that are more than “beaters”, designer clothes on themselves and their children, and having said children obtain a good education in our public schools and going on to the college or vocational school of their choice so they can achieve these same goals.

But it ain’t so, Joe.

Our economic system is supposedly based on free enterprise and free markets, though many conservatives insist on portraying government as one big clogging influence that drags down our economics and taxes the “job creators” to death.

This canard is repeated over and over when it can be demonstrated that the government gives far more to these “business titans” than it asks in return. Not only that but income and wealth inequality in the United States has reached epic proportions, far exceeding that of the “Gilded  Age”

I have written on that particular aspect previously such as here.

The video linked to here is a real eye-opener that provides facts about what people believe the ideal income distribution should be (surprise, it’s not everybody gets the same) what people believe our income distribution is, and further facts revealing that the situation is far worse than many Americans commonly think.

Now is this growing inequality the fault of the “failed” WOP? Absolutely not. I have already mentioned the changes and reductions of help that have characterized the past forty years under Presidents of both parties. Indeed, what seems to be clear is that due to political expediency, philosophical adjustments, and a penchant for favoring guns over butter, we have reached the point where the average person finds it extremely difficult to move up the scale.

If only we had fought the war on poverty with the same fervor, unity of purpose and seemingly limitless expenditure of dollars that we have in attacking hapless nations we would have achieved far greater inroads against poverty.

But not only has the will to fight to end poverty been lost, today we find nefarious forces at work which are thoroughly hostile to the poor. (And since the middle class has been so ravaged I include them as the targets of the oppressors).

A quick glance through any news source finds the poor and middle class under attack as never before. They are being assailed for the lack of contents in their wallets while questioning their character. In other words, blame the victim.

Public school teachers, always underpaid in comparison to others of similar education, are now derisively attacked for the shortcomings of our public education system most especially if they have the gall to be union members.

Other public servants are barraged with allegations of greed, laziness and ineptitude, again more so if they are unionized. In Wisconsin and elsewhere their collective bargaining rights have been unilaterally removed. That is, except for police and firefighters. Ironically the most common instances of overreach of public servants are rooted in law enforcement. Certainly the offending parties are relatively few but annually they cost their cities and counties millions upon millions of dollars for illegal arrests, unjustified beatings and shooting, and outright corruption.

Unions and their members in general apparently are solely responsible for the near total demise of the auto industry recently and the steel industry before that. At least that is what you are fed every day by cowardly politicos and craven business moguls.

The image of the welfare queen has not faded but now is supplemented by the anger generated by the mere notion that someone on food stamps can actually buy soft drinks with them. Oh, the nerve!

One of the most successful public programs in history, Social Security, is beset by unthinking budget cutters wanting to curtail or reduce benefits or install new cost of living (COLA) formulas to hold future increases in benefits down. Of course, save for the short-lived SS tax reduction, not one cent from general revenues has ever been put into the SS Trust Fund nor has any benefit for retirees been paid out of general revenues. Also, of course, the current COLA formula already has prevented any increase in two out of the past five years.

I personally have seen my fixed living costs go up less than any increase in benefits I have received, meaning I have less disposable income than I did five years ago.

The evils of “Obamacare” are so horrific that Republicans want to eliminate it though its basic tenets were their original creation. The refusal of the governors in over twenty states (I believe all Republican controlled) to expand their Medicaid rolls under the Affordable Care Act and non-participation in the insurance exchanges will prevent millions from having coverage who live in poverty as well as making it more challenging for their citizens  to procure insurance on their own.

People making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year resent any move to increase the minimum wage to around $10/hour which would enable that earner to pocket $20,000 a year. This is so even with the fact that the current minimum wage is less in real dollars than what that figure was forty years ago.

Somehow these brilliant business folks are completely immune to and ignorant of the reality that putting more money into the hands of the less well off means it will be spent often generating more income for the rich while upping demand for jobs. Then they complain that President Obama isn’t creating enough jobs while out of the other side of their mouths comes the mantra that government does not create jobs, the “job creators” do. That’s them, naturally. So why in the hell have they not created more jobs while they and their business experience record earnings levels?

Every advantage is given to the rich. Their corporations face too high a tax rate, they moan, while paying no taxes at all. They bitch and kvetch about paying welfare mothers while they sit back and collect farm subsidies. (75% of those go to corporations, not family farms.) Some sit in their New York City penthouses and search their mail for their next subsidy payment while their Wyoming hunting camp doesn’t plant the crops that never would be planted in the first place.

While rich guys get billions in subsidies the poor are the targets of overzealous legislators convinced that they are all druggies and need to be tested before receiving benefits.

The unthinking Congress creatures and Fox news hacks decry the present movement to increase the minimum wage, futilely exclaiming that such an action will destroy the fragile economy when history proves otherwise. And, Dr. Watson, it is elementary that more money in the hands of those inclined or necessitated to spend nearly every cent they receive will increase demand for the very goods and services allegedly purveyed by the 1%.

Mitt Romney’s famous declaration that 47% of Americans pay no taxes and therefore must be totally disregarded drew much attention in the 2012 Presidential campaign. His unconscionable contempt for many of the same folks who are more naturally inclined to support conservative causes and ideals…you know, older people, military retirees and the like…may as well have been a major part of his standard stump speech. he never backed down from those remarks and, if you recall the recording, those vile words were spewed from his mouth almost in glee.

We have billionaires expressing the bizarre belief that any criticism of the rich is the equivalent of the Nazi degradation of the Jews and that a rich man’s “holocaust” is imminent. But we’ve recently learned that the 85 richest people in the world have wealth equal to the poorest 3.5 BILLION PEOPLE on this earth. So any extermination should be swift and not drain too many resources.

Of course that entire idea is preposterous and I can offer nothing but sarcasm for this idiocy.

The Affordable Care Act has been under assault from the date of its passage. As I cited earlier much of the resistance to it is an overt way to stick it to the poor or at least would have such an effect as an underlying consequence.

Poor students in one Salt Lake City school had their lunches taken away because their parents were not fully paid up. How thoroughly embarrassing for the kids thought it does seem that those who received totally subsidized lunches were not affected. But elsewhere there have been calls to eliminate any free lunches and substitute a work requirement for the kiddies to “earn ” their way.

I can detail so many examples of the way our lawmakers want to punish the poor for merely being poor, with the support of far too many factions in our society, most disgustingly some “Christian” groups.  But I believe these odious proposals are not only Unchristian but also Unmuslim and Unjewish and probably Unzoroastrian.

Let me say here I do not condemn those who are rich for merely being rich.

I do condemn those who are rich who possess the mistaken assumption that all beneath them are dirt.These reverse Robin Hoods desire to take from the poor so that the troughs of the rich can become ever more bloated with lucre.

I do condemn those who are rich for limning the poor as poor in character, not only in financial resources.

I do condemn those who are rich for their desire to have it all, not just most of it, to bleed every dollar from every transaction to line their own pockets.

I do condemn the rich who portray themselves as victims and under siege. They know very well that farcical that is.

I never advocate violence and mayhem as a solution to a problem, but the sentiments of this song are difficult to ignore and repress.

“Eat The Rich”

Well I woke up this morning
On the wrong side of the bed
And how I got to thinkin’
About all those things you said
About ordinary people
And how they make you sick
And if callin’ names kicks back on you
Then I hope this does the trick’Cause I’m a sick of your complainin’
About how many bills
And I’m sick of all your bitchin’
Bout your poodles and your pills
And I just can’t see no humour
About your way of life
And I think I can do more for you
With this here fork and knife[Chorus:]
Eat the Rich: there’s only one thing they’re good for
Eat the Rich: take one bite now – come back for more
Eat the Rich: I gotta get this off my chest
Eat the Rich: take one bite now, spit out the restSo I called up my head shrinker
And I told him what I’d done
Said you’d best go on a diet
Yeah I hope you have some fun
And a don’t go burst a bubble
On the rich folks who get rude
‘Cause you won’t get in no trouble
When you eats that kinda food
Now their smokin’ up the junk bonds
And then they go get stiff
And they’re dancin’ in the yacht club
With Muff and Uncle Biff
But there’s one good thing that happens
When you toss your pearls to swine
Their attitudes may taste like shit
But go real good with wine
[Chorus]Wake up kid, it’s half past your youth
Ain’t nothin’ really changes but the date
You a grand slammer, but you no Babe Ruth
You gotta learn how to relate
Or you’ll be swingin’ from the pearly gate
Now you got all the answers, low and behold
You got the right key baby but the wrong key ho, yoBelieve in all the good things
That money just can’t buy
Then you won’t get no belly ache
From eatin’ humble pie
I believe in rags to riches
Your inheritence won’t last
So take your Grey Poupon my friend
And shove it up your ass!
[Chorus]Eat the Rich: there’s only one thing they’re good for
Eat the Rich: take one bite now – come back for more
Eat the Rich: don’t stop me now I’m goin’ crazy
Eat the Rich: that’s my idea of a good time baby

Writer’s Notes

Though I have included some citations for quotes and source materials, I drew from many more for my views expressed here. Below is a list of resources utilized here as well as some interesting reading which is related to this topic and will enhance your knowledge. I read each of them in preparing this post.–2

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  • toadsly  On January 31, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    Massive post; that said, cannibalism is off my agenda.

    • umoc193  On January 31, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      A bit of explanation here. I have been working on this since the first of the year and due to pressing medical needs I could not sit down and write it in one fell swoop as I usually prefer. During these delays I kept finding more and more material that was pertinent.

      I tried to temper my outrage that I felt nearly every step of the way. I don’t believe I went off the deep end but there may be some areas where I lost my focus.

      If I did not make myself clear enough I do not fault anyone for being rich, assuming they gained that status lawfully and ethically. What does concern me is that so many of the rich somehow find it easy to maintain that they became rich solely through their own efforts, not due to any type of government intervention.

      One example is Paul Ryan who I have pointed out several times belongs to a rich construction family that initially gained traction on government contracts to build railroads in the 19th century. Then, the company grew larger in the recent century by building interstate highways and O’Hare Airport, again due to the government.

      Yet Ryan and others with similar stories discount the legitimate role government can play in promoting the economy via public works. I mean there is nothing in the Constitution about the power to build airports, railroads, or highways. So arguments made to curb or eliminate government spending as outside the realm of the powers the founding fathers envisioned are disingenuous at best and totally specious and hypocritical at worst.

      There is much room for valid debate as to the extent of any government spending for any program. But these same critics of spending for the poor somehow never met a bloated Defense budget they didn’t like or, even worse, support needless wars that favor spending for guns over butter to the extreme.

      Too, though I haven’t discussed possible remedies, I do not have in mind solely raising more taxes from the rich and spending more money on the poor. That is far too simplistic. A rearrangement of priorities is only the first step after, naturally, admitting there is any problem at all. And this is where most conservatives/Republicans deserve failing grades. They completely ignore all the evidence of inequality or at least consider it the primall order of the universe.

  • Little_Minx  On January 31, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    Hooray for signs of intelligent blogger life again! How are you doing, UMOC? I’m just hoping that rascally groundhog fails to see his shadow this Sunday.

  • Devildog  On January 31, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    The rich, the rich, the rich! Money, money, money. The root of all evil and the salvation of all problems. Same song over and over again. “Progressive” ideas? Not hardly. Not needed. Not necessary. Just increase the amount spent on the old “successful” ideas. As Mr. Tripp said on the Reg blog, destroy the right (all of them not just the Tea Party) and happy days will be here (again?).

    • Anonymous  On January 31, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      I wish the rich well, and hope, eventually, they will pay their fair share of the tax burden.

      • umoc193  On January 31, 2014 at 8:02 PM

        It’s not so much simply paying more taxes but the systemic advantages the rich have. They keep complaining about wealth redistribution but as I noted in an earlier piece cited within the only wealth redistribution had been in favor of the rich.

    • toadsly  On January 31, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      I wish the rich well, and hope, eventually, they will pay their fair share of the tax burden.

  • Devildog  On January 31, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    From what I have read, even taking the most progressive opinion of what is the “fair share” for the rich to pay would not making a dent in fulfilling the vision of the progressives (though it might make them/you feel better). One would need to go deep into what many claim to be the middle class to do that-I’m talking about fulfilling the vision of how much money should be spent not the vision of solving the problem. But then, of course, the vision of how much money should be spent will increase dramatically once again. The dog chasing its tail. It will never be enough money spent.

    • toadsly  On January 31, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      In rebuttal: Did you know that after washing old, stiff socks, if you rinse them in water containing hair conditioner, they will be quite a bit softer after they dry?

      • Devildog  On January 31, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        Thanks. I’ll pass that on to the old, stiff sock washer (old referring to the socks).

  • Devildog  On January 31, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    Hi, UMOC. I appreciate your latest post and comment and hope it means that you are over the hump and on the way to full recovery or as much as possible under the circumstances. Eliminating rather than merely tempering outrage may help.

    I have not heard of anyone, including Paul Ryan, who wants to eliminate infrastructure spending per se (or even curb it) on the basis of it being unconstitutional (my word). I believe just about everyone would favor “worthwhile” projects at reasonable costs but, of course, the devil is in the details and abuses occur on both sides. The public good!

    In “ignore evidence of inequality”, what kinds of inequality are you talking about and how do you propose to remedy them. I’m certainly aware of many inequalities that the government has attempted to remedy (successfully in some cases) but many other inequalities are beyond the reach of you, me and the government and any attempt to do so by the government not only will fail but will be counter-productive. Do you believe that or are you striving to remove inequality entirely? I doubt that but what are you talking about? I believe that you can increase spending on education as much as you want and it will do little for the students. Cap executive pay and it may hurt the “executives” but it won’t help anyone else.

    I go back to what I’ve said before. “You” want to help “the folk” and know how to do it and “we” want to keep them in bondage for our own greed. Well, maybe I should take some of that back since you did write that there is room for. Valid debate about the extent of spending for any government program but, somehow, I don’t think that included any program you cherish, and that goes for decreasing the propsed increase for any such program which “you” would label a cut in that program.

    Glad you’re (apparently) feeling better!

  • Tourist  On February 1, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    You call for a pizza and you tip the deliverer a couple of bucks. You call for six pizzas for your Super Bowl party. It’s a single delivery, single trip. What’s fair? Are you generous to give five, or cheap? Does the deliverer appreciate five or feel stiffed?

    Devildog asks, not for the first time, what one’s “fair share” in taxes is. There is an answer. The question is, do we want it, or do we each want *our* answer?

    The answer is not: “I think it’s fair for you to pay” or “I don’t think it’s fair for me to pay.” We will always feel like that, but those are not workable answers.

    We are a nation of laws. I can pop one open, pour, or drink from the bottle in any park in Tokyo. (I don’t actually need a park, but curbside is not my style.) In Pittsburgh? How childish. I’m offended. It’s the law.

    Virtually every country in the world is satisfied to tax the income of its residents, as well as the income of non-residents that it determines was earned there. The United States, virtually alone, also taxes the income of its citizens, wherever they are, wherever the money was earned – elsewhere, from a foreign employer, not linked to the U.S. in any way. “Fair”? What’s that? It’s the law.

    “Fair” can never settle it or be the test, except in the sense that We the People, through the process we learned in 7th grade Civics, generate the laws we are able to live by because we accept them as fair.

    That’s our convention. The tax code is fair or there is no “We.” We write and we can change the tax code.

    But we need faith in the process. What I think UMOC is getting at (a combination of his words and mine) is corruption, special interests, undue influence, rigged game.


    I was about there when (time zones) I was needed to render an enthusiastic opinion on clothing necessities for my wife at a shop that wisely provides “husband chairs.” When we got home, there was more on topic from UMOC and Devildog.


    I would be pleased to co-sponsor UMOC’s comment at 8:26 p.m. Devildog’s at 9:54 p.m. comes from the other side of the aisle. Devildog can often be too sarcastic for his own good. It can be hard to appreciate what he is getting at. There is none of that in this one (9:54). If we want dialogue, discussion, substantive responses, there’s one. It’s also an olive branch. Saying that will not please Devildog. He doesn’t care what people think of him. That’s why he’s been with us since Reg on Wry, enduring our abuse, and why he and Minx have been working most directly to keep this blog alive in UMOC’s absence, with a little help from their friend Toadsly.

    I was going to ask UMOC, re the opus as well as 8:26, what, then, he wants the court to do. “What relief are you seeking, counselor?”

    Devildog is a lawyer, too. What relief, counselor?

    • Devildog  On February 1, 2014 at 9:16 PM

      Tourist, me thinks your ox is being gored. The answer to “fair share” in taxes, and elsewhere is simply to eliminate the word “fair” from our vocabulary. Similarly, the combination of the words corruption, special interests, undue influence, and rigged game (as well as words such as excess profits) should be eliminated from our vocabulary and replaced by legal or illegal.

      “Enduring our abuse”. Had I recognized it as such, I would have left with my tail between my legs-I thought it was just give and take. “Olive branch”. Why, did I do something wrong or did someone else do something wrong to me that I should offer an olive branch?

      What relief you ask.How the hell should I know! I’m smart but not that smart. What I am barely smart enough to do is sit in the Coliseum and give a thumbs up or thumbs down. It seems to me, though I could be wrong, that Obamacare, with some exceptions, deserves a thumbs down (one time, though, i thought I was wrong but I was wrong).

  • Tourist  On February 1, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    “How the hell should I know?” says Devildog.

    “‘Once the rockets go up, who cares where they come down? That’s not my department,’ says Wernher von Braun.”

    – Tom Lehrer, “Wernher von Braun”

    Which is funny but grossly unfair. When the first of von Braun’s V2’s hit London, he said: “Die Rakete funktionierte perfekt, nur leider landete sie auf dem falschen Planeten” – “The rocket functioned perfectly except for landing on the wrong planet.”

    Unless he didn’t.

    What in the world (hmm . . . which world?) am I talking about? Beats me. Are we having fun yet?

    • toadsly  On February 1, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      Tourist, speaking of rockets, have you seen “Gravity?” Speaking of WW2, can’t wait to catch “The Monuments Men” next weekend.

      • Tourist  On February 2, 2014 at 12:25 AM

        Toadsly, I was stoked for Gravity and still am. We are spoiled by two wonderful multi-theater complexes in our neighborhood – modern, clean, rarely crowded, and well controlled when they are. Most major movies come right to us. But not all. Gravity didn’t, and the theater experience in more bustling areas is not always pleasant. We were not up for chasing it. I’m resigned to seeing it on the small screen when the DVD comes out.

  • Little_Minx  On February 2, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Speaking of “Downton Abbey,” have you seen this article?

    “The Transformation of Lady Edith / For Lady Edith on ‘Downton Abbey,’ Laura Carmichael, a Shift to Roaring ’20s Fashion”: (with a few photos)

  • toadsly  On February 2, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    Hubba! Hubba! The ugly duckling will be no more. Must admit I’m not into fashion, so thanks for this peek into the future exploits of Lady Edith, based on her wardrobe’s evolution.

  • Tourist  On February 3, 2014 at 3:45 AM

    Justice vs. Our Own

    In 1997, a 19-year-old English au pair was tried in Massachusetts for first-degree murder in the death of an eight-month-old infant in her care, convicted of second-degree murder, and sentenced to a minimum of 15 years. What happened and when (i.e., when the injuries may have been sustained) remains disputed. Evidence seems to suggest what we now call “shaken baby syndrome.” That it was “murder” seems a little over the top (my editorializing).

    An appeal revealed confusion among the jury as to their options, with no one believing anything wrong by the au pair had been intentional, whereupon the judge reduced the conviction to involuntary manslaughter and the sentence to time served. The prosecution appealed this and the reductions were upheld. The au pair was released, returned home to England, and, it is my recollection, was cheered by the people of her home town.

    I am not Spock. I sympathize. I think a human/legal miscarriage was averted, but a child died and the young woman may well have had something to do with that. I thought the townspeople discredited themselves. It was unseemly. I didn’t like that part at all.

    I have absolutely no position one way or the other on the factual guilt or innocence of Amanda Knox. I hope justice is/was/will be served. That’s all I can say.

    The title of a current article is “The Italian Justice System Is Insane – Amanda Knox Is Completely Innocent.” Inside, the article itself claims that she is “probably” completely innocent.

    The proclaimed insanity of the Italian justice system is that “This, of course, would never happen in a U.S. court.”

    The American Constitution prohibits “double jeopardy.” See, for example, O.J.

    In fact, “no double jeopardy” is a near-universal value. It is enshrined in most legal systems, in the European Convention on Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which 167 nations have ratified or signed although North Korea wants out. Simply, however, not every nation sees “first time” the same way. Both the European Convention and the International Covenant refer to a “final” conviction or acquittal.

    Knox was convicted at trial. The conviction was reversed on appeal. That reversal was thrown out on further appeal and a new trial ordered. Knox was convicted again.

    In some countries, the prosecution can appeal an acquittal at trial. This was not that. Knox was convicted, continued through the process, and eventually received a new trial. People convicted in the United States fight to get new trials every day.

    American public support for Knox is based, and largely has been from the beginning, on two things: (1) People not in any position to know, believe her. Totally fine. (2) We do justice. A system not mimicking ours is unjust.

    The Italian authorities allowed Knox to leave, pending the final result. I will not pretend that if I were Knox I would return voluntarily now. If it comes down, then, to a refusal to extradite, I wonder what reason the U.S. will give.

    • toadsly  On February 3, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      Law is for the learned, but justice is often a joke.

    • Devildog  On February 3, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      Tourist, I am surprised you don’t recognize that American support for Knox is because she is Caucasian-and good-looking. Who knows, but we should leave the Italian “justice” system alone. There are plenty of places to vacation outside of Italy. Extradition? That will take as long for “us” to decide as the Keystone Pipeline-which means it will never be decided if the extremist Dems keep winnig or she will be an old woman by then and receive clemency.

      • toadsly  On February 3, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        Being Caucasian and good-looking didn’t save Patty Hearst.

        • Devildog  On February 3, 2014 at 2:25 PM

          1. There’s a big difference between public opinion (which I thought we were talking about) and the judicial system.

          2. Didn’t help her? Sentence for bank robbery commuted by Carter after only two years and conviction commuted by Clinton.

          Good looking? Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and while I wouldn’t kick either out of bed, my first choice would be Knox.

          Having said all that, my first comment was merely playing to the crowd of “progressives” inhabiting this site.

  • Little_Minx  On February 5, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    Hey Tourist, I just heard about this scandal (shades of Milli Vanilli). I imagine it’s a big deal there. “‘Japanese Beethoven’ admits he is a fraud”:

    Embarrassing for Daisuke, too, although since had no way of knowing IMHO he’s an innocent victim.

    • Tourist  On February 5, 2014 at 10:35 PM

      Hey, Minx! “Flabbergasted” might describe the reaction. Not much I can add. A little more Rembrandt, maybe, than Milli Vanilli. This doesn’t add much either, but note all the apologies, in contrast to “We did nothing wrong.”


      Samuragochi “says it is totally inexcusable and he deeply regrets (what happened),” the lawyer said. “He is mentally distressed and not in a condition to properly express his own thoughts.”

      Nippon Columbia Co., Samuragochi’s music label, will stop shipping his CDs or selling his pieces online.

      Music publisher Tokyo Hustle Copy Inc. plans to cancel next Tuesday’s scheduled release of one of his musical scores.

      An official with the organizer of his nationwide concert tour said: “It is difficult to continue his tour . . . .” [“Difficult” is a favorite way of saying no. So are “That’s an interesting idea” and “I agree in principle. Let’s talk again.”]

      NHK apologized on a news program Wednesday for having featured Samuragochi several times without uncovering his deception.

      Other commercial television stations, including Tokyo Broadcasting System and TV Asahi, also apologized Wednesday for identifying Samuragochi as the composer of past works.


      This *should* have no effect on Takahashi and probably will for the same reason.

      • Devildog  On February 6, 2014 at 8:53 AM

        Tourist, you want us to note the apologies. To me, they are the same, same, even the one from the agent. I would be more impressed by an act of hara kiri.

        Here’s my question. Are the works themselves worthy of adulalation or are they worthy of adulation only because of the supposed condition of the composer? Should a deaf composer’s works be “toasted” more than a “full-bodied” composer even though generally considered to be of lesser quality?

        This question has broader applicability than just this case.

      • Little_Minx  On February 6, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        Many thanks for the insights, Tourist. Let’s hope that society has progressed to the point that the practice of seppuku (the correct term) has become obsolete, however.

        • Devildog  On February 6, 2014 at 5:28 PM

          Imitation the the most sincere form of flattery and seppuku (thanks Minx for the education) is the most sincere form of apology. All others fail in comparison.

  • Tourist  On February 6, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    The music is highly evaluated. (Music is not my field.) It’s also a product in a highly competitive marketplace. Devildog says his question has “broader applicability.” It sure does.

    As the truth unfolds, the current outrage (the word is way too strong; disappointment, maybe) has little if anything to do with the challenges Samuragochi supposedly faced – he was admired, not an object of sympathy – but rather that the claimed inspiration for the works was untrue: their “meaning.”

    I think anything creative must to some degree stand on its own. Appreciation can then be legitimately enhanced with fuller understanding of intentions, circumstances and so on.



    Aristotle contemplating the bust of Homer thought often of Socrates while Rembrandt dressed him with paint in a white Renaissance surplice and a medieval black robe and encased him in shadows . . . .

    Rembrandt painting Aristotle contemplating the bust of Homer was himself contemplating the bust of Homer where it stood on the red cloth covering the square table in the left foreground and wondering how much money it might fetch at the public auction of his belongings that he was already contemplating was sooner or later going to be more or less inevitable.

    Aristotle could have told him it would not fetch much. The bust of Homer was a copy . . . .

    We have the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” but no proof that the composer of these epics was real. On this point scholars agree: It is out of the question that both works could have been written entirely by one person, unless, of course, it was a person with the genius of Homer.


    We know of only two times [Rembrandt] left Amsterdam . . . . We can be sure that he sometimes went out into the countryside, for there are landscapes by him of incredible dullness that some people think of as great . . . . He did still lifes so poor that people who own them are ashamed to come forward . . . . Like other Dutch artists of his time, he had students make copies of his paintings, which he sold. The better the student, the more valuable the imitation . . . . There were times Rembrandt made more money selling imitations of himself by his students than selling his originals . . . .

    Rembrandt did some fifty-two self-portraits that have come down to us, and several of these Rembrandts are not by him. It is hard to conceive of self-portraits executed by someone other than the subject, but here they are . . . . At least four of the copies of Rembrandt self-portraits are judged superior to their originals. On two of these copies the draftsmanship and brush control are finer than anything Rembrandt himself ever could accomplish. Unless, of course, the copies are by Rembrandt . . . .


    The bust of Homer that Aristotle is shown contemplating is not of Homer. The man is not Aristotle.


    – Joseph Heller, “Picture This,” 1988

      • Devildog  On February 6, 2014 at 8:49 PM

        So, Tourist, if the guy does not have a hearing problem, do you still want us to “note all the apologies”? Seppuku seems, more than ever, to be the only honorable course of action. Apologies said or written are worth neither the words said nor written.

        As for Dais K, don’t worry about her. The judges will lean over backward for her-not only because they feel sorry for her but to avoid criticism that they held this against her. That’s the world we live in today (but maybe it’s just this country).

        • Tourist  On February 6, 2014 at 9:00 PM

          Devildog, what are you going on about with “note all the apologies”? I said that. You’ve swung at it twice. My point was, this is like ESPN apologizing for having interviewed Aaron Hernandez years ago, without a careful investigation.

          Four “hers” is not a typo, either. Please step away from the six-pack, or at least offer to share.

          • Tourist  On February 6, 2014 at 9:23 PM

            A note on “Daisuke,” a common-enough man’s name. The final syllable, “ke,” is pronounced “kay.” Rendering the name Dice-K as they did in Boston gets it exactly right. Change the “e” to “i” and the syllable is pronounced “key.” “Daisuki” means “like a lot” or “love.” Whenever we get an athlete named Daisuke, his fans invariably turn it into “daisuki.”

            Because you needed to know.

            • Little_Minx  On February 7, 2014 at 4:04 PM

              Daisuke Takahashi is one of the world’s finest male figure skaters. I’ve only ever heard sports announcers pronounce it “DICE-kay,” as you say, Tourist.

          • Devildog  On February 6, 2014 at 10:17 PM

            Tourist, my deepest and most heartfelt apology if you were offended or felt personally attacked by my going on about noting the apologies. But why did you want us to note them-not to point out the cultural differences between here and there, I hope.

            How the hell was I supposed to know that Dais K was a he and not a she-all the he figure skaters look and act like she’s.

            Share? Any time. Your place or mine?

            • Tourist  On February 6, 2014 at 11:26 PM

              I take everything deeply personally. I feel under perpetual attack. I am perennially offended. Why is all of that not obvious by now?

              Not to point out the cultural differences, you hope?

              Why not?

              • Devildog  On February 7, 2014 at 12:01 AM

                Because if your suggest that to note the apologies was to suggest that Japanese apologies are “better” than U.S. apologies that’s pure bullshit-as was demonstrated in this matter. All verbal and written apologies (without some sort of action) everywhere are questionable (especially when issued by one’s lawyer or agent).

                • Tourist  On February 7, 2014 at 12:17 AM

                  “Because if you suggest . . . that Japanese apologies are ‘better’ than U.S. apologies that’s pure bullshit . . . .”

                  I should perhaps then point out that I didn’t, and stop there.

                  • Devildog  On February 7, 2014 at 8:33 AM

                    Agreed! Good place to stop.

                    Being where I was last evening, I was kind of forced to watch men’s figure skating. The Japanese guy (not sure but I think it wasn’t Dice K) was clearly first in class. Not only due to his skating but also his costume and music. Figure skating-a “real” sport.

                    • Little_Minx  On February 7, 2014 at 4:07 PM

                      Yuzuru Hanyu.

                    • Devildog  On February 7, 2014 at 4:22 PM

                      Thanks Minx. I thought it was the Japanese equivalent to gesundheidt until I looked it up.

                      If Dice Kay is better than this guy, maybe I’ll make a point to watch him. But a “sport” it ain’t.

  • Devildog  On February 7, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Immigration bill/Obama/Executive Orders/implementation of laws.

    Hoisted on his own petard!

  • Tourist  On February 8, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    1. an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.

    “We’re not athletes. We’re baseball players.”
    – Jack Elliot, “Mr. Baseball”

    The longest ski jump in Olympic history as of then took Bronze because of style points.

    Higher, faster, farther, heavier, or last contestant standing – objectively won.

    That ship has sailed. Another opening, another show.

    I’m partial to faster. Whatever happened to speed skiing, straight down the mountain? Steering is by tiny movements of the head because at 150 m.p.h. wind-deflection is enough.

    I only watch women on the beam in replay, after I know they didn’t get hurt.

    I’m watching my replay of the entire Sochi opening now, having already seen highlights. Are there really people who want this to fail? Sarajevo, in my subjective recollection, was the last one actually staged by the local community. It was grand. That was February ’84, followed by the summer games in Los Angeles. Remember McDonalds?

    Leading up to the L.A. games, customers got scratch cards with each purchase, revealing a specific Olympic event. There was nothing to do. It was a giveaway. If the U.S.A. took Gold in that event, you got a free Big Mac; if Silver, fries; if Bronze, a milk shake, or maybe it was a Coke. Two medals? Two items. If the U.S.A. swept, you got the whole meal.

    The U.S. had led a 65-nation boycott of the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Two months before Los Angeles, the Soviet Union, East Germany, Cuba and most of the Eastern Bloc pulled out. People who never realized the Soviets’ feelings might have been hurt when the U.S. wrecked their games were taken by surprise.

    McDonalds, for example, when it had estimated the cost/benefits of its giveaway, had assumed American athletes would have competition. With the Americans poised to clean up, and with small print saying “offer subject to change without notice,” McDonalds looked at the huge loss it would incur if it honored its promotion, and declared: “Honor it.”

    For two weeks every McDonalds in America did little more than hand out free food.

    U – S – A !!!

    I like curling. Really, I do.

    • Devildog  On February 8, 2014 at 7:56 AM

      Thanks Tourist for the historical narrative of some of the Olympic Games . Hope you enjoyed the Opening.

      Are you serious that I should take seriously a definition that includes “skill OR physical prowess” and “OFTEN” of a competitive nature”. Hunting and fishing are sorts? My friend at the gym was bragging how he just shot an alligator in Florida who was half in the water while the other half was sunbathing. Hmmm! How many men around the world have the goal of competing in Olympic figure skating? 100? Last man standing with less than two falls wins. Same for women on the beam. Went to a Pens game Monday. That’s skating skill,among other athletic endeavors such as boxing. To each his own.

      Good luck Dice K. Hope they neither hold it against you or favor you and that there aren’t too many Chinese, Russian and Eastern European judges.

      • Tourist  On February 8, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        Devildog, I’m not sure what taking or not taking a definition seriously means. It’s a dictionary. That’s where we get definitions. No doubt you could find another dictionary that puts it differently. Fine by me. What we’re talking about, though, is what we like and why. I distinguished between winning by some objective measure and being judged best. I think your classification of “sport” versus “real sport” was something else, but okay. The point of sports is to argue meaninglessly about them. Is auto racing a sport? What possible difference does that make to the reality of auto racing? Is figure skating a “real sport”? Well, it’s a centerpiece of the Olympic Games.

        I don’t like it . . . . I don’t agree . . . . It shouldn’t be . . . . I don’t accept it . . . . It isn’t.

        All according to me.

        The first two? My right.

        The third? Who am I?

        The last two? Whoa!

        • Devildog  On February 8, 2014 at 4:10 PM

          Whoa Tourist. The last two are not me. Enjoy. What is a (real) sport and why yes or no is one of the discussions I initiated at lunch during my working days. I like to see how people reason not for the right or wrong of the answers. Kind of like a (legal) bar exam.

          IMHO, those who “enjoy” men’s figure skating probably like quiche. Me-the third.

  • Tourist  On February 9, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    For the record, I pulled speed skiing out the air and tossed it in on February 8 (your time). Today, the 9th, Slate is up with this. It probably is its own answer to why it’s not there.

  • Tourist  On February 9, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Minx frequently mentions NHK. That would be NHK World, the international output. Fair enough. I’m not familiar with it. NHK itself is a public broadcasting network, state supported. It purports to be unbiased. It has never been unbiased. If it’s your only source, you are not always getting the full story. Meanwhile, content ranges from news and sports to long-running entertainment to historical dramas to in-depth political, scientific and cultural investigations. Quality is very high. It’s New Year’s Eve musical program is Japan’s equivalent of watching the ball drop in Times Square.

    Occasionally NHK itself is a story, as it is right now. I don’t want to try to deal with the whole issue. This article is enough. What’s different this time is that it’s in the open. Chairman Momii should be fired.

    It’s one thing to perceive a slant in the broadcasting. It’s always been another to illustrate it. I sometimes cite two examples from my personal viewing experience. In one, a family member of one of the abductees to North Korea, a spokesman for the group of families, said – on another station – “We appreciate what the government has done. We would like it to do more.” NHK showed him saying only: “We appreciate what the government has done.”

    Because he had spoken the words, this was not at the Fox News level of making things entirely up, but it was egregiously dishonest.

    The second one goes back a few more years. A North Korean family of five or six attempted to seek asylum at a Japanese consulate in China. They had organized support – an amnesty-type NGO or something – so their sudden dash from the street through the gate, up the driveway and into the consulate building was filmed by the supporters.

    Chinese police chased them onto the Japanese grounds, into the building, and dragged them back out and away while Japanese officials stood and did nothing. This was diplomatically outrageous and humiliating for Japan. It was lunchtime. It was breaking news and in-depth at dinnertime on every station here except NHK.

    My take: “It’s a big world. All kinds of things are happening. Maybe this will not become a story. Let’s wait and see.”

    From the next morning, NHK covered it like everybody else – after holding off as long as it could, hoping it would not have to embarrass the government.

    • Tourist  On February 10, 2014 at 6:24 AM

      Wow! (Sort of.) I posted that link on NHK and added a thousand words or so. I also sent the link – naked – to a friend in Europe, who has lived here, would get it, but is not invested. He’s not American. Why should he care? What would he know? His response to the link, in full:

      “While not exactly owned by the government, Fox News was one of several
      English-language channels in my Sheraton hotel in Mexico recently. I
      couldn’t believe the negative coverage of Obama. It seemed that just about
      any news story had to have a pointed interview in which an “expert” was
      framed a question that invariably led to some anti-Obama response.


      • Devildog  On February 10, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        The last two posts gratuitously denigrate Fox. Why the mention? Government-funded broadcasting is the real issue. MSNBC? Maybe it wasn’t mentioned because it doesn’t exist. Or does it? More “impartial” than Fox? Quite the opposite-politically and even impartiality. Fox gives the other side a chance to vent. MSNBC not.

        Speed skiing? If an event, winter or summer, appeals to women (rhythmic gymnastics, another one of my favorites), it’s in. Otherwise, it has to fight/politic to get in.

        • Tourist  On February 13, 2014 at 6:46 AM

          When seeking to photograph life/people, two valid approaches are to go out and actively try to find what’s happening, or to sit passively in a good place and wait for something to happen.

          It was asked several days ago and not immediately answered, why my “gratuitous” shot at Fox News?

          Unfolding at the moment is another Republican “scandal.” (I’m referring to a specific situation, but which one does not matter.) A comment in a discussion thread to an article about it says: “The question is whether [he] will become a Democrat on his own, or if Fox News will do it for him.”

          I love that! I would not be surprised if most people do not get that. I do! I’ve tried to make the same point many times around here over the years. When a Republican transgresses, Fox News invariably labels him a Democrat for several cycles. *Calls* him a Democrat!!!

          Eventually Fox changes that. It never *corrects* it. Fox viewers who view Fox because they like what they expect and get from Fox, see all they need to know in the first three or four or five lies.

          Nevertheless, I agree: Freedom of speech. Free press. It is not right to question Fox.

          • Devildog  On February 13, 2014 at 9:49 AM

            Poor baby! If it wasn’t for Fox, Obamacare would… And the Dems would control the House. And Obama would be on Mt. Rushmore. But I do believe in free speech. How … of you!

          • Devildog  On February 13, 2014 at 3:46 PM

            Tourist, your last post is not like you. I hope nothing is ailing you-other than concern about the upcoming election. Getting ready to pay the blame game, eh!

          • Little_Minx  On February 16, 2014 at 8:57 AM

            Reports re initial website problems with Obamacare will fade from memory, to be replaced by higher and increased satisfaction with it, as additional un- or under-insured people sign up, then need to use it when illness or injury strikes. Real-life user satisfaction will trump theorists’ objections.

  • Tourist  On February 13, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Devildog, thank you for your concern.

    The charge was lying – making things entirely up. Your justification is “free speech”? How far does that go?

    Well, we’ve seen how far it goes: All’s fair in war. Therefore, this:

    A story a day or two ago was MSNBC’s Krystal Ball (I looked her up: real name, just like Gracie Gold) calling on Hillary Clinton to not run in 2016, so that Elizabeth Warren might. Putting Warren aside, Ball said America had reached a “moment of existential crisis” and that Hillary is not right for that moment.

    I think Hillary is exactly right for this moment. She’s the one who will finish you (plural) off.

    • Devildog  On February 14, 2014 at 2:35 AM

      First things first, Tourist. 2014! I’ll worry about Hillary later. And just whom do you mean by “you” as in finish you off? And is that literally or figuratively?

  • Tourist  On February 14, 2014 at 5:40 AM

    Pendulums, lanes, swings, balances.


    “When you strike at the king, you must kill him.”

    The tea party and friends went for it, struck at America, to unmake it, remake it, for them.

    They lost. America won. Is it over? Not quite.

    “When the fall is all that’s left . . . .”

    Details are for staff.

    • Devildog  On February 14, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      The Tea Party. Neocons. Koch Bros.- they will all fade because they are just used as bogeymen by you so-called progressives. It’s kind of what we tell recruits at boot camp-you may be killed but the Marine Corps will live forever. So, These names may/will fade from the headlines but the ideas will carry on. Then you can attack the next groups, but this time from the outside looking in. Fox News-keep attacking it and Minx can provide us with her links. And you will never come “home” , at least not until a charlatan once again comes along.

      • Tourist  On February 14, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        The Corps is more important than the individual? Wow. I guess that’s your business.

        If the Corps were given a mission, and some didn’t like it, didn’t support it, made clear they couldn’t be counted on, wanted it to fail, the Corps would, patiently, give them every opportunity to come around, to get with the program, but if they didn’t, and made clear that they wouldn’t, and continued to threaten the mission, how would the Corps deal with that?

        • Devildog  On February 14, 2014 at 8:39 PM

          There are a few “good men” who are willing to risk (somewhat different than sacrifice) their lives for what they perceive to be the greater good.

          A main purpose of boot camp is to weed people out before they are in a position to cause the deaths of other members of their unit. This doesn’t, of course, always work. Patiently give them a chance to come around? Surely you jest. Depending on the circumstances, Code Red or court-martial.that is, after boot camp. During boot camp, there is an effort to see whether they have what it takes to make it. Afterwards, when they become Marines, … You wouldn’t understand.

          This is not a school or football game we are talking about. Maybe you should see A Few Good Men again. And as for Johnathan Martin and Richie Incognito, HST had it right (and I don’t mean the buck stops here). If you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, get out. Martin was being tested and failed, not just in the locker room but on the field.

          P.S., I don’t think Martin would have made it to becoming a Marine.

          But, I don’t think you wanted me to really go into this. Your motive was whatever but I was happy to respond nonetheless. Code Red, blanket party, football locker room-yeah, life is tough.

        • Devildog  On February 14, 2014 at 9:15 PM

          The marriage partner is “more important” than oneself? Is your wife “more important” than you? Wow! I guess that’s your business. Same principle.

  • Tourist  On February 15, 2014 at 1:09 AM


    “I don’t think you wanted me to really go into this.” (8:39 PM)

    I was hoping you’d tell me what the Corps would do about the tea party – elements within it that, beyond barracks bitching, set themselves above it, obstruct the mission, refuse to go, endanger their fellows, endanger the Corps, and endanger those who have put their trust in the Corps, granting that such elements believe the mission to be risky and not in their personal best interests.

    You did. You suggested that, one way or another, they would not survive in the Corps. Indeed, thank you for clarifying that the Corps would not be patient. My mistake.

    • Devildog  On February 15, 2014 at 1:58 AM

      Tourist, you believe too much of what you read in the msm about friction in the party. There is a common goal that you will see come to fruition in November. The Corps and the Tea Party? Apples and oranges. But, tactics and strategies are discussed, the C.O. Makes a decision and off we go. The C.O. Is “the people” come Election Day not any one person, especially in the party that doesn’t have the presidency.

      • Tourist  On February 15, 2014 at 4:11 AM

        Devildog, I want to be precise. I would dispute your claim that I believe too much of what I read. Also, your apples-and-oranges dismissal is a little off my mark. Beyond those two minor disclaimers, everything you said in this comment I agree with, believe in, hope for, and expect. Fruition is in the eye of the beholder.

        Worry about that.


        The right’s only hope is to splinter. Some of you might slip away, deny your complicity and survive. That’s what I was asking: What would the Corps (the collective people, the institutions through which they work; in the absence of unanimity, the winners) do about an obstructionist faction that had demonstrated its determination and to some extent means not merely to oppose loyally but to thwart in every way possible and imperil the survival of the whole as a whole? That’s still my metaphor.

        “The players tried to take the field. The marching band refused to yield.”

        • Devildog  On February 15, 2014 at 11:34 AM

          And what is it Tourist that this obstructionist faction is thwarting that has imperiled the survival of the whole? Wow! Obamacare, immigration reform that would give people here illegally an advantage toward citizenship over lawful people waiting in line, unlimited spending on programs thatat best have not been demonstrated to be successful, trying to amend programs that are projected to go bankrupt, not raise taxes. What is it you find so disturbing? Principle?

          Better cut down on that sake. Or is that what it takes for you to sleep peacefully considering the grave danger your country is in.

          • Tourist  On February 16, 2014 at 5:19 AM


            We can survive ignorance, bigotry, criminal greed, but not pride in them.

            “What is it you find so disturbing?” you ask.

            That. The endless loop of clever, cute, parrying questions, paired with answers such as, when you are asked in search of the aforesaid “highest common ground”: “I don’t have an answer.” “I don’t know the solution to that.” “How the hell should I know?”

            “How the hell should I know?” was your answer to: “What relief, counselor?” I was asking you what you wanted?

            How the hell should you know.

            Sometimes doing nothing is better than doing something, you like to say. Yes, but rarely. And “nothing” ain’t leadership, personally or nationally, which you also seem big on.

            You guys are so afraid. (Americans?) You think so small. (Americans?) When you reduce everything to “my rights, my rights, my rights,” where is America?

            That is a question.

            • Little_Minx  On February 16, 2014 at 8:50 AM

              Devildog = Reg-on-Wry’s Centinel?

              • Devildog  On February 16, 2014 at 11:52 AM

                Whatever. I’m sure Tourist will agree with you. You da man! Keep up the good work.

              • Tourist  On February 16, 2014 at 6:07 PM

                Sorry, Minx. He isn’t — as sure as I can be.

            • Devildog  On February 16, 2014 at 8:02 PM

              Tourist, I knew you find many things about me disturbing and I appreciate getting a list of those from you but when I asked what you find so disturbing, I was not referring to me but rather the obstructionist factor imperiling the survival of the whole (presumably the Tea Party).

              Doing nothing rather than something may rarely be the answer but a glaring example of that is Obamacare-not withstanding the opinion of one of our own who seemingly has the answer to everything. Making a deal with Iran (not talking about sanctions), and intervening in Libya and Syria are others examples.

              Ah, this concern about America, Americans, American values, etc. once again. Me? I am an ostrich who exudes optimism about the future notwithstanding Obama and his executive orders and Obamacare (some of my brothers might disagree about that). But I firmly believe that God has chosen us to be exceptional.

              Now what question is it you want me to answer?

  • Little_Minx  On February 16, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    “Ted Wells’ independent investigation of the Miami Dolphins and the culture of their offensive line is the opposite of a whitewash. The investigators’ 140-plus page report on the events leading up to Jonathan Martin’s departure from the team is judicious, persuasive, and a public service. Carefully sifting through the evidence, it concludes that Richie Incognito and two teammates who acted as his henchmen humiliated and harassed Martin, another unnamed teammate, and an assistant trainer for months in ways that no employee should have to endure. This report should be required reading in management courses and for anyone who wonders how ugly, demeaning, and corrosive treatment can lie beneath a façade of ‘all in good fun’ workplace ‘teasing'”…

    • Devildog  On February 16, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      Just what I would expect from an academic who writes in Slate and doesn’t know what the hell she is talking about. Why would someone write such a voluminous article and leave out perhaps the most salient point of the Wells report, one also omitted from most other reports.

      What was Incognito’s intent? It was to make Martin a better player, tougher in the trenche, a teammate that can be counted on when the going got rough, one who has your back-nothing like the schoolyard bully. More akin to Marine boot camp, In fact very much like that. Tried and true in Corps history and in NFL locker rooms. Unfortunately for Martin, he couldn’t take it; neither in the locker room nor on the field. Get out, which he did. He couldn’t be counted on in the trenches. That’s what this “bullying” and Corps “bullying” find out.

      Workplace! Gimme a break! But things will change because that’s the way it is. And in the Corps? It will change but only a little. It’s not the Army where people join to get an education.

      Martin’s problems started long before Incognito and for whatever reason weren’t handled then. Now, at least, he will get the treatment he deserves. I don’t fault him but I don’t fault Incognito either.

      • Tourist  On February 16, 2014 at 5:54 PM

        I agree with Devildog. Incognito’s intent was not at all that of schoolyard bully. It was to make Martin a better player, tougher in the trenches, a teammate that could be counted on when the going got rough, one who would have your back – and the Jap, Chinaman, dirty Communist, North Korean, fucking chink trainer, too.

        • Devildog  On February 16, 2014 at 7:25 PM

          C’mon Tourist. Get real. That’s the way I talked when I was a kid, kids still talk that way today, many of the football players are still “kids” as you can tell from there actions in many areas-ergo, ….. Read what you want into that and I will do likewise. Maybe you grew up differently, maybe you were and are now more mature than me, are more civilized, more sensitive, know better what is right and wrong, maybe, maybe, maybe, but maybe I know what the real world on the street and locker room and military is like more than do you. Time will change everything and the locker room will change also but it was what it was at that time.

          Btw, the Wells report did say Incognito’s intent was not malicious. And that Martin had problems before he ever heard of Incognito that should have been treated. And, btw, I don’t know Incognito other than what I’ve read but I think he’s the kind of guy I would go to war with, actual or football and we probably would have fun going at each other in the locker room (verbally, that is). Martin is another after-maybe over tea would probably be ok.

          Oh that terrible guy. Look what he did. Let’s crucify him. How’s this-I don’t condone what he did but I understand why he did it. He’s merely a product of his upbringing. We need to take that into account. He’s really a good boy at heart. He loves his mother and is nice to the old ladies in the neighborhood.

  • Little_Minx  On February 18, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Toadsly! The costumes of “Downton Abbey” at Winterthur:

    • toadsly  On February 18, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      Love this read…perhaps I’m gay? Winterthur had a staff of 250…Would make a great, close getaway trip. Thanks, Little_Minx

      • Little_Minx  On February 18, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        Nah, just a loving husband. I bet Mrs. Sly would be thrilled if you arranged a getaway to Winterthur!

  • Little_Minx  On February 18, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    Oh no! Someone must’ve castrated Devildog’s helpful hero! “Richie Incognito tweets apology to Jonathan Martin”:

    • Little_Minx  On February 18, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      How dd must pine for the “good old days” before on-the-job harassment of any sort was illegal. Or when fraternities* could haze a pledge to death without facing any criminal charges.

      * Mr. Minx’ house (a large national fraternity) had his pledge class repave the parking area at the back of the driveway, as their morale-building activity.

      • Devildog  On February 18, 2014 at 6:40 PM

        I think I posted previously that apologies aren’t worth nuttin, whether said or written or tweeted. I also said that squishy people could never understand.

        Do me a favor though-please. Ask Mr. Minx, and let me know, whether the pledges’ self-esteem was adversely affected by paving the parking lot and whether anyone who reused became a member. Of course there are abuses but the I and M incident is not one of them. This is not a “job”, it’s football. How can I pine for the good old days when I can’t remember that far back.

        Martin is a victim of some kind of medical/mental problem not a victim of Incognito, who had no way of knowing of that infirmity. Judging from something that his father allegedly said to him lately and probably during his teen years, something like man-up, Martin didn’t receive the guidance/treatment he deserved then. And his problem(s) just grew and got worse. But, that’s ok, blame Incognito because it fits your narrative. Btw, I heard Incognito is an admirer of Limbaugh and Cruz.

        • Little_Minx  On February 18, 2014 at 8:09 PM

          Martin is sane. Incognito is the whack-job, with a whole long history of abusive behaviors. This is a losing side for you to take, so stop trying to defend the pig.

          • Devildog  On February 18, 2014 at 8:13 PM

            Ok, I’ll stop trying. But what did Mr. Minx say?

            • Little_Minx  On February 18, 2014 at 9:09 PM

              Mr. Minx said that the teamwork built camaraderie. (It also helped that a great deal that many of the guys had cars that they parked in that lot!). BTW, the salient point of mentioning their work detail was that it was a constructive, non-violent and NON-BULLYING situation — and was held during the week break between terms. The choice for a work project was even decided by the pledge class themselves.

              …as opposed to the stereotypical abuse (don’t know how many frats are this extreme — a topic for UMOC to address) of holding initiation during a week when they were classes, paddling pledges hard, depriving them of sleep, branding them, forcing them to drink alcohol to excess (one occasionally hears of a pledge dying of alcohol poisoning), etc. — one or more of the above.

              • Devildog  On February 19, 2014 at 12:00 AM

                Thank Minx for responding. Here’s my point, to which you may or may not agree (you won’t, I’m certain). The intent, whether Mr. Minx’s situation, Marine boot camp where the D.I.’s give the recruits hell or the football locker room is to help achieve the goal, the objective, of the group and not to humiliate the individual.

                That’s all I’m going to say because I don’t want to try to defend “the whacko”. But even if he is that, Martin needed help much sooner, needs help now and has sought help. And that is not on my man Ritchie.

  • Tourist  On February 18, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    Someone sent me a forwarded e-mail on the atomic bombings of Japan. I’m not going to post the e-mail, which is dated February 18, 2014. It is essentially the first post in this comment thread, dated February 17, 2014. No issues with that. I just want to be clear about what I’m doing.

    The topic is the bombings versus casualties from an invasion. A planned invasion was called Operation Downfall and there is a detailed wiki page about it.

    I am in no position to take issue with the description of the plan or its estimates. I am not going to get into the bombings themselves again. I have before. As I noted, every year Americans ask why Japanese go on and on about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Every year Japanese ask why Americans go on and on about Pearl Harbor.

    I want only to make two points. The bombings were 69 years ago. Everything about them is fair game for study and analysis for the sake of making ourselves wiser. The first paragraph of the February 17 post declares: “There should be no American guilt now or ever!” (Exclamation original; typo corrected.) The final sentence of the post declares the “ignorance” of those who disagree. This is not study and analysis for the sake of wisdom.

    The second point is that, also from the first paragraph of the post: “Dropping the nuclear bombs on Japan saved millions of lives.”

    Only compared with the invasion plan.

    There are always plans. Was it one or the other? The only choices were to A-bomb or invade? From the wiki page:


    Prior to the Quebec Conference, 1943, a joint British-American planning team produced a plan (“Appreciation and Plan for the Defeat of Japan”) which did not call for an invasion of the Japanese home islands until 1947–1948. The American Joint Chiefs of Staff believed that prolonging the war to such an extent was dangerous for national morale. Instead, at the Quebec conference, the Combined Chiefs of Staff agreed that Japan should be forced to surrender not more than one year after Germany’s surrender.

    The US Navy urged the use of blockade and airpower to bring about Japan’s capitulation. They proposed operations to capture airbases in nearby Shanghai, China, and Korea, which would give the US Army Air Forces a series of forward airbases from which to bombard Japan into submission. The US Army, on the other hand, argued that such a strategy could “prolong the war indefinitely” and expend lives needlessly, and therefore that an invasion was necessary. They supported mounting a large-scale thrust directly against the Japanese homeland, with none of the side operations that the Navy had suggested. Ultimately, the Army’s viewpoint won.


    At least some seemed to think we could continue to “bombard Japan into submission” without an invasion. At least some seemed to think Japan could be starved into submission with a naval blockage, without an invasion.

    Others, in the face of casualty estimates from an invasion, seemed to want to do that anyway. Others seemed to have given themselves a deadline: no more than a year after Germany, whatever it took. Their concern seemed to be American “national morale.”

    • Tourist  On February 18, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      Operation Downfall:

    • Devildog  On February 18, 2014 at 7:42 PM


      1. The implication that we dropped the bomb because of morale concern is “unfair” (how I dislike the words fair and unfair). Morale is tied to military preparedness and to keep a military on military readiness for three years is not practicable.

      2. As for alternative ideas and plans to “dropping the bomb”, they went away from the military after Iwo, Okinawa and the like which demonstrated to most what it would take for Japan to unconditionally surrender. Whether we should have demanded unconditional surrender and/or it was moral for us to drop the bomb I will leave to others but I am convinced only an invasion or the bombs would have brought about an unconditional surrender.

      3. Japanese ask why Americans go on and on about Pearl Harbor. Really? Is that the case? Who? How? They can think that way but that’s not the case. We built/helped rebuild the country and I see no evidence that Americans go on and on about Pearl Harbor. The day is hardly recognized. And are there really Americans who wonder why the Japanese go on and on about Hiroshima-I see no evidence of that even from those people who are pro-bomb.

  • Little_Minx  On February 18, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Tourist, how are you holding up under that record snowfall? It made the network news tonight here.

    • Tourist  On February 20, 2014 at 7:13 AM

      Howdy, Minx! I and mine held up well. Pittsburghers don’t need to be told about snow disruptions, but there were a few details. The brunt of it was on a weekend. Temperatures, while cold for us, were plus/minus freezing. It was a lot of snow not destined to last. I saw some water-over-the-wheels traffic scenes on TV because the melting couldn’t drain away fast enough, also brief.

      Because such things are rare, there is not much snow *removal*. People, more than authorities, shovel it to the sides of the streets. The streets dry quickly and the piles on the sides linger. What is normally two lanes requires cooperation for a while, but Japanese drivers rarely pack handguns.

      All of that is Tokyo. Our supermarket suddenly looked like it did after the earthquake: empty shelves. In the hinterlands, roads were impassible for days. Distribution was seriously affected. People who do not understand that “climate change” is a fraud are suddenly aware of this, too. Whereas “disaster” used to mean only earthquakes, the realization is that there are other kinds.

      • Devildog  On February 20, 2014 at 9:26 AM

        Apparently Tourist, not only are “other” kinds of disaster caused by climate change but every disaster is caused by climate change.

        • Tourist  On February 20, 2014 at 5:45 PM

          I like how Twitter’s nerdyjewishgirl, a.k.a. Justine, put it: “Re: global warming and the cold weather . . . Liberals keep telling me the Titanic is sinking but my side of the ship is 500 feet in the air.”

          • Devildog  On February 20, 2014 at 6:13 PM

            I’m trying to figure out Tourist why you like it. It’s not clever, funny or anything else that should make anyone like it. Besides which, since climate change can cause any one or more of any number of “disasters”, it seems to me that there isn’t even one person on this earth who is not in danger from one or more disasters, even those whose part of the ship is 500 feet in the air.

            I think you might have that special feeling for Jewish girls, even nerdy ones.

            • Tourist  On February 20, 2014 at 6:15 PM

              “It’s not clever, funny or anything else that should make anyone like it.”

              May I please like it anyway? Pretty please.

              • Devildog  On February 20, 2014 at 6:23 PM

                You may, even though it’s stupid. But, I guess I like some stupid things too although I can’t think of any. And about “pretty”. Don’t call me pretty-not that there’s anything wrong with a man being pretty or being referred to or called pretty. Some of my best male friends are pretty

  • Little_Minx  On February 18, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Conservatives’ view of how America should be:

  • Tourist  On February 20, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    According to Tom DeLay (he’s baaaaack), the country “got off that track when we allowed our government to become a secular government, when we stopped realizing that God created this nation, that He wrote the constitution, that’s based on biblical principles.”

    I see the flow: God’s perfect start, and then fallible Americans freed the slaves and gave women the vote. Now we face the need for “second-amendment remedies” to get things back the way they were.

    Wait a second. Did God write the amendments?

    • Devildog  On February 20, 2014 at 9:39 PM

      Thanks Tourist but who is Tom Delay and what do you mean he’s baaaaack? Is he the the guy who was subjected to a criminal trial by a Democratic prosecutor for political reasons whose conviction was overturned by the appeals court and formally acquitted because the evidence was legally insufficient to sustain the conviction?

      And the reason for your post concerning an individual who doesn’t hold public office and is not an official spokesman for any group is?

      • Tourist  On February 20, 2014 at 11:16 PM

        The charge was money-laundering, not being a Republican.

        Was O.J. acquitted because O.J. didn’t do it?

        DeLay’s conviction by a jury – the finder of fact – was reversed by an appeals court as a matter of . . . uh, what? Matter of law? That’s how it’s supposed to work.

        What I find quickly, and as far as I intend to go (so there!) is: “The evidence was legally insufficient to sustain DeLay’s convictions” and “The evidence shows that the defendants were attempting to comply with the election code limitations on corporate contributions.”

        The first sounds like a matter of law, kind of, maybe. The second, “attempting to comply” – I assume that was an issue, a question, in the trial – sounds like fact, and the second-guessing of a finding of fact by the jury.

        If I say X and you say Y, the jury is entitled to decide which of us to believe. Was or was not DeLay attempting to comply? The jury found that he wasn’t. The appellate court found that he was. How? Why? I don’t know. What this means, though, is that DeLay is innocent. Like O.J.

        That was to last September. Also as far as I quickly find, the district attorney’s office plans to appeal the reversal.


        My reason for commenting “concerning an individual who doesn’t hold public office and is not an official spokesman for any group”?

        The same has his.

        • Tourist  On February 20, 2014 at 11:44 PM

          * The same as his.

        • Devildog  On February 21, 2014 at 12:03 AM

          Get a life Tourist!

          • Tourist  On February 21, 2014 at 3:53 AM

            Devildog: Minx and Toadsly won’t talk to you. (I can understand that.) UMOC is focused on keeping his brand alive in other forums. (All due concern for his health issues.) As a practical matter, I’m all you’ve got. I demand a little appreciation for taking you seriously.

            Toadsly, Minx: Do not expect Devildog to abandon his belligerent sarcastic questioning easily. He believes it is a service. I suspect that is indeed *him* and also that it is a mask. He was a Regulator, too. We are down to four.

            • Devildog  On February 21, 2014 at 9:53 AM

              Ok, Tourist, you post something from a guy named Tom Delay, whomever he is “now”, that comes out of left field, and I respond. I suppose I could have been “so nice” to you all the way through but there’s comes a time to say to say it like “I think” it is. Sorry if you were offended. Get a life in my lingo is merely enough of this. You have my respect which I can’t say about some others.

              As for Minx and Toadsly, why should they talk to me when they have each other to talk to and pat each other on the back and say how stupid everyone on the other side of humanity is. I don’t take it personally because I know from whom it comes.

  • Little_Minx  On February 22, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    Toadlsy! Did you watch “Doc Martin” tonight (the start of the next season)? We laughed so hard at Martin and Louisa’s predicaments, and hope you enjoyed them as much as we did 🙂

    • Little_Minx  On February 22, 2014 at 11:15 PM

      ToadSLy! Profuse apologies for the typo 😦

    • toadsly  On February 23, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      I did! I did!

      • Little_Minx  On February 23, 2014 at 12:45 PM

        At the end of the episode, we were uncertain whether the farmer died, or whether Martin’s makeshift emergency surgery had saved his life. It hardly made sense for them to shlep a corpse all that way in a wheelbarrow, so we inferred the patient was still alive — yet when Martin spoke afterwards of having watched a man “exsanguinate,” if sounded as though he’d died.

        What was the diagnosis Chez Amphibian?

        • toadsly  On February 23, 2014 at 3:57 PM

          Exsanguinate means bleed to death, I guess. Martin rarely uses metaphors.

          • Little_Minx  On February 23, 2014 at 8:00 PM

            Well, the guy WAS exsanguinatING (bleeding profusely) before Doc Martin operated, so why would he have wheeled a corpse to the highway when he could’ve left it in the house with no change in the man’s condition? That would make more sense if the man was still alive and needed to go to an ER. Oh well, perhaps all will be clarified in the next epi. BTW, what did you think of the electrician/baby-whisperer?

  • Little_Minx  On February 22, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    Tourist, I’ve missed the NHK World News the past two weeks owing to watching Olympics TV coverage. But I’m sure that Mao Asada’s disappointment in the short program was heartbreaking for her many fans. I always hope that all competitors perform at their respective highest levels, so victories are based on excellence rather than the bad fortune of others.

    • Little_Minx  On February 23, 2014 at 1:18 AM

      I’m sure there’s great elation especially in Sendai and Fukushima over Yuzuru Hanyu’s gold. One can only imagine how great he’ll be by 2018!

  • Little_Minx  On February 22, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    UMOC, how are you doing these days? Hope you’re continuing to improve, and that wintry weather hasn’t inconvenienced you unduly.

  • Little_Minx  On February 23, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    CIEJAI, do you ever come around? Hope all is well with you and yours.

    • Little_Minx  On February 23, 2014 at 8:02 PM

      DEKE, SCARLET, anyone else? (Apologies if I’ve omitted anyone inadvertently).

  • Little_Minx  On February 24, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    Tourist, do you find that this article, by the esteemed science writer Laurie Garrett, sums up well the situation in the wake of Fukushima?

    “At Fukushima, a radioactive mess wrapped up in plastic with nowhere to go”:

    • Tourist  On February 24, 2014 at 6:46 PM

      I’ll try to answer that, Minx, but it may take just a little while.

      • Little_Minx  On February 24, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        I was just curious what you’re hearing in mass media, as well as among your friends/acquaintances/colleagues/neighbors, during the run-up to the 3rd anniversary, Tourist. NHK World Newsline has some coverage every day (watched tonight, now that the Olympics are over).

        • Tourist  On February 25, 2014 at 7:00 AM

          In that case, Minx, I excuse myself to be a little more freewheeling. It’s a well-written and entertaining article. It says some important things. I don’t know what the last sentence of the first paragraph refers to. What place at sea level went plummeting to the depths? But I don’t mind or care because the meat is Fukushima.

          “On March 15, just four days after the disaster shook the prefecture, one of the nuclear reactors exploded, . . . .”

          No. None of the reactors exploded. Hydrogen from zirconium-water reactions accumulated in the air inside the reactor buildings and in three of them the hydrogen exploded. From March 12 to 15, reactor buildings, not nuclear reactors, exploded. At Chernobyl, a nuclear reactor exploded. There is a qualitative difference.

          I looked up the writer and saw that she won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism.

          Please do not hold me to my standards.

          I would encourage people to read the article. I’ve already sent the link to several. It paints the picture on the ground very vividly. Whenever one focuses on the big picture, human needs and consequences can be overlooked. When one gets immersed in the human stories, effective strategy suffers. As always, it’s complicated, continuous, inconsistent and impossible – less finding the right balance than juggling sharp knives.

          The article refers several times to “the government and TEPCO,” creating, I think, the impression that they are working together. Only in the broadest sense. Their interests are different. The government must secure energy for a nation and believes nuclear power is indispensible. The mantra of the nuclear industry is: “There is no future for nuclear power in Japan without restoration of Fukushima.” Government (and the industry) must get that done, and it won’t be done – not to the extent promised and expected. TEPCO just wants to get out from under the mess. It wants the government to take responsibility for Fukushima so it can return to making money for its shareholders. It’s a corporation.

          Nuclear power around the world owes its survival to global warming. Twenty years nuclear power it was in decline, on the ropes, the handwriting on the wall. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, recognition of the waste problem; even the economics of it were less attractive than they seemed on the surface. The argument that finally won support again was “no greenhouse-gas emissions.” Even that’s a little off. Nuclear power generation (generating the electricity) emits no greenhouse gases. Associated mining, manufacturing and process emit a lot. Nevertheless, nuclear is an “environmental” power source now.

          As a result, there is a huge new market for nuclear reactors in emerging economies and Japan, Russia, France, the U.S. all want in on it.

          Then there is decommissioning. There are 400-plus nuclear power reactors in operation worldwide, each inevitably to be decommissioned, and very little decommissioning experience to match. It isn’t that people don’t know what needs to be done. It’s that there is much to learn about doing it efficiently, competitively, to make money. Fukushima is an R&D dream for decommissioning technology and the global industry is scared to death that Japan will find a way to monopolize the know-how. Thus, everyone wants to help.

          One way or another, after treatment to some degree, all that water at Fukushima will end up in the Pacific. Radioactive water is not mystical. It’s water with radioactive materials in it. Dump sand, silt, salt, sugar, oil or cesium into water and there are means for getting it back out – at least most of it, although the volumes are staggering. What the Fukushima water would add to the Pacific would be a fraction of what’s still there from bomb tests in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. For all I know, the dirt, too, might find its way to the bottom or the sea. Not that any of this is anyone’s first choice – certainly not mine – but the well of good ideas is nearly dry.

          This is not “high-level radioactive waste” – the spent fuel. From the article:


          All over the world waste disposal is the primary conundrum facing the nuclear power industry: Though there are more than 400 nuclear plants in some 30 countries, there is no repository anywhere in the world for high-level nuclear waste . . . .

          Where in the United States of America would a power company or government authority safely bury 250,000 tons of radioactive soil, millions of gallons of high-radiation water, and the detritus of abandoned homes and farms across thousands of acres of land?


          Sometime in the late-Eisenhower or JFK years, a book was published, which became a series of them, of photographs of famous people saying silly things they were not actually saying, such as a smiling Dean Rusk announcing: “I just ticketed Gromyko’s car.”

          Another had perhaps Gromyko, or maybe it was Khrushchev, speaking at the UN, telling the assembly: “Soviet scientists have discovered that fallout is good for you.”

          • Little_Minx  On February 25, 2014 at 2:11 PM

            Thanks, Tourist — very interesting! And thanks for the laughs at the end, too (reminds me of folks who say the same thing re industrial air and water pollution, cough cough) 😉

  • Little_Minx  On February 24, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    If nothing else, Fukushima Daiichi reminds me of how lucky we Keystone Staters were during Three Mile Island.

  • Little_Minx  On February 25, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    “Fukushima radiation could reach Pacific coast by April”:

  • Little_Minx  On February 27, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    That great humanitarian and builder of character, Richie Incognito strikes again (literally) 😦

    “Cops say ex-Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito smashed his own $300G Ferrari”:

  • Tourist  On February 27, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    I flagged this for y’all sometime last year. It was the only time we could not get into our local theater and had to come back another day.

    I didn’t know you would get it dubbed into English. I was assuming subtitles.

    • Little_Minx  On February 27, 2014 at 11:15 PM

      Actually saw a commercial for it on TV tonight!

      • Tourist  On February 27, 2014 at 11:21 PM

        Was the theme song, “Hikoki-gumo” (“vapor trail,” literally “airplane cloud”), sung in Japanese or English?

        • Little_Minx  On February 28, 2014 at 5:12 PM

          No idea, because we “Mute” all commercials 🙂 If I see the ad again, I’ll keep the sound on and let you know.

    • Little_Minx  On March 5, 2014 at 11:22 AM

      Alas, it didn’t win the Oscar in it category.

  • Little_Minx  On March 5, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Erstwhile Reg-ulators, don’t miss the good news in today’s column (and if you’re on Facebook, leave a congratulatory comment, as at least one of our crew already has)!
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Little_Minx  On March 11, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Tourist, you have been in my thoughts during this third anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and damage at Fukushima.

    • Tourist  On March 12, 2014 at 4:54 AM

      Thank you, Minx. It was the tenth anniversary of the Madrid train bombings, too.

      I made a point of reminding myself just how long five minutes is. Since that day I have said the earthquake was “five full minutes” and I’ll stick with that. I see it given as six in a lot of places now. There must be something official. I don’t know how they decide.

      Obviously it was far greater (“great” is in fact the technical classification) than any I had experienced prior to that, as were the first two or three aftershocks, subjectively the same thing all over again, within an hour. Yet I’d experienced some pretty strong ones over the years. The difference, beyond, again, magnitude, was that those lasted tens of seconds – 20, 30 – and then they stopped. They always stopped. This one didn’t stop. Five full minutes.

      That’s been the question every time since. Earthquakes happen here.

      Will it stop?

      • Little_Minx  On March 12, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        Earthquakes will continue to occur beyond our lifetimes. A five-minute temblor is mind-boggling, though. I heard on NPR a report re disagreement over whether to build a huge seawall in Miyage prefecture, to protect against future tsunami flooding.

  • Little_Minx  On March 11, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    Poetic justice 🙂 “49ers acquire Jonathan Martin from Dolphins”:

  • Little_Minx  On March 20, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Toadsly! et al.: Saw a promo on Ch. 13 last night for the next season of “Call the Midwife” starting Sunday, March 30. Opponents of socialized medicine will doubtless get their knickers in a twist again.

    • toadsly  On March 22, 2014 at 12:48 AM


  • Little_Minx  On March 20, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Tourist, is Friday, March 21, a holiday in Japan? NHK World’s Newsline broadcast (aired in Pittsburgh at 8 PM the day before) had just a skeleton crew, without either regular anchor Catherine Kobayashi — not that substitute Ross Niihara isn’t plenty easy on the eyes and ears 🙂 — or a weather forecaster (just 3-day prediction graphics).

    • Tourist  On March 21, 2014 at 5:36 PM

      As will be September 23rd, Minx, and, no, not to honor Bruce Springsteen. Think of it. Most holidays everywhere mark things of human origin – wars, other birthdays; here also Culture Day, Sports Day, Children’s Day, Respect for the Aged Day. It’s instructive to pause and reflect on the great celestial occurrences as well. I’ve always thought we should get the solstices off, too.

      • Little_Minx  On March 21, 2014 at 9:33 PM

        The older I get, the more I think Respect for the Aged Day sounds like a good idea 😉

  • Little_Minx  On March 29, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    “‘Costumes of Downton Abbey’ dresses the part at Winterthur” (through Jan. 2015):

  • Little_Minx  On April 2, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    Adorable column by Reg in today’s paper + nice comments already by some Reg-ulators — don’t miss!

  • Little_Minx  On April 5, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    Wow, Toadsly! That was a bleak episode of “Doc Martin” tonight. Hope that “Call the Midwife” isn’t such a downer tomorrow evening.

  • Toadsly  On April 11, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    Hope you and yours are well, Little_Minx.

    • Little_Minx  On April 15, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      Likewise, dear Toadsly! Today’s snow came as a shocker, though 😦

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