Wednesday Afternoon Open Thread: On the Cover of the Rolling Stone

Look who made the cover of Rolling Stone -- Snooki. The interview is filled with Snookisms. For example, on the cover picture of her sitting on a rocket:

"Vinny definitely compares to the rocket I sat on," Polizzi said of her co-star, with whom she's shared some, er, intimate moments on the show. "I would probably call that rocket Seabiscuit because that's the same size as Vinny's ding-dong."


On filming Jersey Shore: It's like prison with cameras:

Being filmed 24/7 is incredibly stressful. "It messes with your head," Polizzi says. "That's why we go crazy. That's why we fight with each other. That's why we drink. We're living in a house for two months with that sh*t. We can't have cellphones, TV, radio or the Internet. If the president died, we'd have no idea. There's no normalcy. It's just like prison, with cameras.

On her future plans (aside from Jersey Shore spinoffs):

What I'd like is to turn out like Jessica Simpson, with her whole brand. She makes millions...I'm trying to build an empire, because after this I can't get a normal job. I mean, how do I go and sit behind a desk?"

You can watch the video of her photoshoot here. Catch her eating a pickle wearing only a barrel:

Here's Dr. Hook and On the Cover of the Rolling Stone:

I'm sure there are more important things going on in the world today than Snooki and Rolling Stone, but we're busy at work, so here's an open thread to discuss them. All topics welcome.

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    Shameful bill passes Ohio Senate... (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by Anne on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 07:39:31 PM EST
    From David Dayen (emphasis is mine):

    Senate Bill 5, which will limit most collective bargaining rights for public employees in Ohio, bar all strikes under penalty of law, and ban binding arbitration, just passed the Ohio State Senate by one vote, 17-16. Republicans have a 23-10 hold on the State Senate, and six of them dropped off this anti-union bill. But they were just able to get enough support for passage.

    In order to make it work, Ohio Republicans had to shuffle two committees to ensure they had the votes to pass the bill out. They had to take Bill Zeitz off the Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee to get the bill out of there. Then, they had to yank Scott Oelslager off the Rules Committee to avoid a deadlock there. The bill, which is close to 100 pages long, passed both committees and the State Senate in a single day, just one day after a new set of amendments were publicly released.

    Needless to say, the tactics used to pass this bill out of the Senate show how divisive it has become. Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga released this statement:

    Today is a sad day for Ohio's middle class. With the passage of Senate Bill 5, Ohio Senators have shown they would rather push a partisan agenda to punish the middle class than work on solutions to our jobs crisis.

    The amended version of the original bill is only smoke and mirrors. This bill remains an assault on the middle class because the foundation of this bill is still rooted in a broader anti-worker agenda. You can't fix something that was already broken from the start.

    The bill now moves to the Ohio House, which is also strongly Republican, but where the bill may also run into some trouble.

    This is just too much.

    Marching off the cliff (none / 0) (#82)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 10:52:34 AM EST
    I realize that a lot of people vote with their heart and not their head.  Can't they see that the Republicans philosophy on economics only works for a very select few? Wages have continued to stagnate for the working class since the Reagan era, while the wealthy have had an amazing boom.

    Evidently the Democrats have done a really poor job on messaging! If it's really true that people vote on pocket book issues, then there should be an absolute Democratic majority throughout the country.

    This is like sheep being led to the slaughter. And the pathetic aspect of it all is that so many are cheering it on.


    And yet, at the federal level, (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:51:52 AM EST
    we're seeing what amounts to a difference of degree with respect to fiscal/economic policy: Republicans are determined to cut, but the Dems are only determined not to cut as much...for now.  And it's not much of an "as much," at that.

    I added the "for now" because Obama has decreed a period of negotiation in a bipartisan effort to reach consensus on the Continuing Resolution to keep the government open, and we all know by now what it means when Dems negotiate, don't we?  

    Here's the statement:

    I'm pleased that Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together and passed a plan that will cut spending and keep the government running for the next two weeks. But we cannot keep doing business this way. Living with the threat of a shutdown every few weeks is not responsible, and it puts our economic progress in jeopardy. That's why I'm calling on Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress to begin meeting immediately with the Vice President, my Chief of Staff, and Budget Director so we can find common ground on a budget that makes sure we are living within our means. This agreement should cut spending and reduce deficits without damaging economic growth or gutting investments in education, research and development that will create jobs and secure our future. This agreement should be bipartisan, it should be free of any party's social or political agenda, and it should be reached without delay.

    I'll forget for the moment the pervasive and ongoing dissemination of this myth that the federal government has to "live within its means," and the fact that this is exactly the wrong time for the government to be pulling money out - which just seems to me to be right out of the Republican playbook.  Notice, if you will, that there is nothing in this statement that distinguishes it as being issued by a Democratic president.  Nothing.  It could just as easily have been issued by a Republican.

    I grant you that at the state level, we are seeing much more of an effort on the part of Democrats to protect the people Republicans have decided should bear the brunt of any budget-cutting, but at the federal level?  It's more like the Democratic wing of the Republican party is pushing back - weakly - against the Republican wing: it's now pretty much just one, big, ugly party in power at the federal level.

    Too bad for us, huh?  


    Definitely too bad for us (none / 0) (#97)
    by mmc9431 on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 12:10:49 PM EST
    Does the party even have a platform anymore? I can't think of a single Democratic principle that the party isn't willing to dump.

    We need our own "Gang of Six" Democratic Senators that will refuse to allow the party to crumble. I just don't know if there's any left that would stand up and fight.


    You missed the best part of SB-5 (none / 0) (#84)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:07:51 AM EST
    It includes a "mini-DOMA" provision in Sec. 3101.01:

    A marriage may only be entered into by one man and one woman. Any marriage between persons of the same sex is against the strong public policy of this state. Any marriage between persons of the same sex shall have no legal force or effect in this state and, if attempted to be entered into in this state, is void ab initio and shall not be recognized by this state. The recognition or extension by the state of the specific statutory benefits of a legal marriage to non-marital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes is against the strong public policy of this state. Any public act, record or judicial proceeding of this state, as defined in section 9.82 of the Revised Code, that extends the specific statutory benefits of legal marriage to non-marital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes is void.

    It's just more ugliness that (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:53:57 AM EST
    hurts people; beats the hell out of me how anyone could be proud to support this.

    Says a lot about the quality of the people running government these days.


    The Republicans (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 12:23:16 PM EST
    are against unions and against "unions".

    don't let the voters off the hook: (none / 0) (#103)
    by cpinva on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 01:32:11 PM EST
    Says a lot about the quality of the people running government these days.

    these people got elected, they didn't gain office by virtue of writing the winning 500 word essay on "Why I should be in the state legislature/Gov's office". no, a majority of the citizens of ohio, wisconsin, indiana, et al voted for them. presumptively, they knew what they were getting. if not, shame on them for being uninformed.


    Screw you too... (5.00 / 0) (#80)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 10:30:01 AM EST
    Pacific Maritime Association...and the 9th Circuit.  

    Lemme get this straight...you can drink a pint of vodka every night and be a longshoreman...but if you failed a drug test in 1992 you're blacklisted?  That makes a whole lotta sense...not.

    Judge people on their character, their ethics, their work...not the content of their urine.  Doesn't that make so much more sense?

    unbelievable (none / 0) (#81)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 10:31:42 AM EST
    cant even believe this

    An employer can refuse to hire someone who has ever tested positive for marijuana or other drugs, even if the applicant is now clean and sober, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

    is constitutional


    Dude... (5.00 / 0) (#89)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:31:43 AM EST
    reefer is involved, thats an automatic  constitutional right null & void....how else do you explain the whole W.O.D. shebang?

    Interesting comments (none / 0) (#92)
    by nycstray on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:39:49 AM EST
    I read through the first couple pages and everyone seemed to agree. I thought that was weird until I realized the paper was the SF Gate :)

    Where are our friends... (none / 0) (#94)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:49:01 AM EST
    on the right to complain about the activist judges of the 9th circuit? lol

    lol!~ seriously . . . . (none / 0) (#101)
    by nycstray on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 12:32:46 PM EST
    In honor of Women's History Month (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 01:24:32 PM EST
    The White House releases the first "Women in America" report since Eleanor Roosevelt took up the cause.

    Some stats:

    -Women are marrying later and have fewer children than in the past.  A greater proportion of both women and men have never married, and women are giving birth to their first child at older ages.

    -Although more adult women live in married-couple families than in any other living arrangement, an ever-growing number of women are raising children without a spouse.

    -More women are remaining childless, although eight out of ten adult women have children.

    -As the baby boom generation ages, a growing share of women - and men - are older. Because women live longer, women continue to outnumber men at older ages.

    -Women are more likely to live in poverty than are adult men.  Single-mother families face particularly high poverty rates, often because of the lower wages earned by women in these families.

    and this

    -The participation of women in the workforce rose dramatically through the mid-1990s, but has been relatively constant since then.

    -Workforce participation among men has declined, but women are still less likely to work in the paid labor force than are men.  When women do work, they are much more likely than men to work part-time.

    -Women continue to spend more of their time in household activities or caring for other family members; they also do more unpaid volunteer work than men.

    -Despite their gains in labor market experience and in education, women still earn less than men.  

    -In part, this is because women and men work in different occupations, with women still concentrated in lower-paying and traditionally female occupations.  

    -Because women earn less and because two-earner households have higher earnings, families headed by women have far less income than do married-couple families.

    Why, why, why? (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:19:22 PM EST
    Has this woman survived way past her 15 minutes?

    She's like (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:30:59 PM EST
    the Kardashians (or, for that matter, Paris Hilton, who's "star" seems to have faded)- famous only for being famous.  No discernible talent except for being on reality shows and being the subjects of relentless publicity in the gossip magazines.  OTOH, they've all certainly made plenty of money this way (not that Paris needed it, with the Hilton fortune).

    I Could Easy.... (none / 0) (#16)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:41:18 PM EST
    ... make the same arguement about half the pop stars and actors, no discernible talent.  Why this obsession with people who do neither still being famous.

    They have talent, if they didn't know one would care.  Just not a tangible talent.


    Hey, I don't (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:59:39 PM EST
    begrudge them their fame, and I agree that there are a whole lot of pop stars and actors who couldn't sing/act their way out of a paper bag if their lives depended upon it.  I am just bemused at the whole "reality show" thing.  If they've figured out a way to extract money legally from credulous people, more power to them.  I'm just not into that whole scene.

    youandme (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:03:48 PM EST

    that's an insult (none / 0) (#104)
    by cpinva on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 01:38:00 PM EST
    to the cast of Goodfellas, most of whom have more talent in their pinky fingers than the whole "cast" of
    Jersey Shore
    shlubs combined.

    Nicely Put (none / 0) (#79)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 09:59:37 AM EST
    I have so many talents that haven't made me $.05 doing, why oh why can't someone find my pointless talent worthy of some cash.  

    My accuracy with a lugi is legendary, I can talk myself out of anything, and most importantly, my name is non-existent in Google.


    because she's funny (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:21:41 PM EST
    and entertaining and cute and likable. Her 15 minutes are just beginning.

    Lord help us (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:23:57 PM EST
    and because (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:22:35 PM EST
    she's not smart enough for it to be an act.

    Which begs the question (none / 0) (#86)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:09:04 AM EST
    Why do talentless and frankly, dumb, people with no real redeeming qualities (for TV) get fame and fortune and why do reasonably intelligent people watch them?

    to make themselves feel better (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by cpinva on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 01:41:39 PM EST
    and why do reasonably intelligent people watch them?

    about themselves. "thank god i'm not nearly as much a brainless twit as snookie!"

    i don't begrudge the girl her (very brief) moment of fame and some fortune. soon, she'll be back waitressing in the truck stop eatery on Rt. 1.


    I begrudge her (none / 0) (#106)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 01:45:32 PM EST
    only because I don't watch her show, but yet I still have Snookie and her ilk in my face - everytime I pass a magazine rack, when I click on links on the internet, when I watch other TV.  I know way more about this young woman than I need to or care to!

    Escapism? (none / 0) (#87)
    by christinep on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:20:30 AM EST
    yea (none / 0) (#91)
    by CST on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:39:40 AM EST
    a reality tv show filled with "reasonably intelligent people" would be pretty boring

    And real actors are expensive.


    There are literally (none / 0) (#93)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:46:35 AM EST
    hundreds of other shows to watch - even other reality shows (where there's a competition or such - something with a point).

    Or you could read a book to escape too.  :)


    Yeah - an escape to the life and times of Snooki (none / 0) (#107)
    by ruffian on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 02:11:04 PM EST
    seems more like torture to me.

    dont think its escapism at all (none / 0) (#108)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 02:23:23 PM EST
    I think people like watching these show because they make them feel good about themselves.  

    you know, as opposed to a regular show where people (good guys) are smart and compassionate and make them feel inadequate.

    much more comfortable to watch someone you can feel some superiority for.  if for no other reason than you dont live your life in front of a camera.


    Agreed... (none / 0) (#15)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:37:24 PM EST
    If she gets the right people working for her, her brand will be a cash cow that keeps giving and giving.  Simpson was a perfect analogy, she got famous being stupid, now she's past that on onto bigger and better.  

    I don't watch the show, but I have caught it and it's funny as hell.  Stupid for sure, but so was Gilligan's Island and Threes Company, just a new medium.  

    No one believes this is their normal lives, they know without the shenanigans their shelf life would be expired.


    in all fairness (none / 0) (#18)
    by nyjets on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:44:59 PM EST
    I have never seen Sookie so I can not comment about what talent she does or does not have.
    However, at least Jessica Simpson has a very good voice and can sing reasonable well. IOW, she at least has some talent.

    to each his/her own (none / 0) (#19)
    by CST on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:52:32 PM EST
    honestly I find Jessica Simpson's voice to be extremely annoying, and it's not just the music she sings, I have nothing against pop in general I just really don't like her voice.

    I think of Sookie as a Ryan Seacrest type of famous.  He's not an actor or a singer, but he's got "personality".  Sookie could have a talk show or something.  I wouldn't watch, but I'm sure others would.

    As to whether or not that qualifies as "talent", who knows.  But it's something that has been around for a long time.  What "talent" did Pat Sajak have?


    Actually you hit in on the head (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by nyjets on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:57:58 PM EST
    What is talent to one person is garbage to another person. You are correct.
    Honestly, IMO, having a 'personality' (to have a talk show)is not talent. But I can see why some people would. (And I would not watch either)

    Pat Sajak is one of life's mysteries. Why people actually like the man is beyond me.


    I think of Snooki (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:03:20 PM EST
    Not at all :)  Charlie burnt down the house and I thought I was finally free, but nope...Snooki is still delivering junk mail to the address :)

    Sports Illustrated criminal backround study (none / 0) (#6)
    by CoralGables on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:57:29 PM EST
    Only the preseason top 25 from last year were included in the study leaving out the other 94 schools. This is the ranking of those 25 for the most players with criminal records on their 2010 football teams.

     1. Pittsburgh-22    
     2. Iowa-18    
     2. Arkansas-18    
     4. Boise State-16    
     4. Penn State-16    
     6. Va Tech-13    
     7. Wisconsin-9    
     7. Oklahoma-9    
     7. FSU-9    
     10. Miami-8    
     11. Ohio State-7    
     11. Florida-7    
     11. Oregon-7    
     11. USC-7    
     15. Alabama-5    
     15. N Carolina-5    
     15. Cincinnati-5    
     15. Utah-5    
     19. Nebraska-4    
     19. Ga Tech-4    
     19. Oregon St-4    
     22. LSU-3    
     23. Texas-2    
     24. Stanford-1    
     25. TCU-0    

    Perhaps one of you defense attorneys may want to move to Pittsburgh

    Maybe if the colleges (none / 0) (#8)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:15:03 PM EST
    actually went back to the old idea of "student-athletes" (I know, I know, it's been a long time since that happened, and it was probably always more of a PR idea than an actuality), they wouldn't wind up with so many kids on their rosters with criminal records.  It's past time to stop pretending that most of these players are there for a degree.  The colleges serve as the minor league farm teams for the pros (at least, in football and basketball).  Let's admit that, pay the college athletes, and they can simply forget about being "students."  It absolutely frosts my @ss when people talk about all the money that these big athletic programs bring to the universities.  When have any of those athletic dollars been used to build a new library, endow a chair in the history department, fund a science lab, or give scholarships to academically worthy but poor students who are not athletes?

    That is an actuality (5.00 / 0) (#48)
    by Towanda on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 06:48:58 PM EST
    in the NCAA's Division III -- which was created to showcase "student-athletes" so that schools would not have to compete with, and the NCAA would not have to clean up, criminal elements in higher education.

    Here's a better alternative:  Make pro football teams and pro basketball teams create their own farm-team system, rather than having higher ed do so, another form of corporate control of campuses.


    I'd certainly (none / 0) (#49)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 07:00:34 PM EST
    go for that.  But then you run up against the rabid alumni and locals.  Maybe they could take these Division I teams, move them off campus, let the pros treat them strictly as farm teams, and still call them "University of Pittsburgh Panthers."  Or whatever.  The pros could pay the universities a hefty fee for the use of their names.   ;-)

    Time for one of the advocates of (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:24:09 PM EST
    "These are not mature brains" to pipe up.

    Does the article define criminal record? (none / 0) (#13)
    by samtaylor2 on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:34:24 PM EST
    Also, how can these kids' (which are only a year away from a juvenile record) records be public?

    I was wondering the same thing (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by CST on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:04:10 PM EST
    about how they got the records.  Although apparently in some states (like Florida) they are more or less public.

    As to the other question - "Of the 277 incidents uncovered, nearly 40 percent involved serious offenses, including 56 violent crimes such as assault and battery (25 cases), domestic violence (6), aggravated assault (4), robbery (4) and sex offenses (3). In addition there were 41 charges for property crimes, including burglary and theft and larceny"

    Also interesting, it doesn't say that 22 of players on Pitt were found guilty, just that they were charged.

    "In cases in which the outcome was known, players were guilty or paid some penalty in nearly 60 percent of the 277 total incidents."

    Which means that for 40% of them they weren't...

    I don't really get what this article is supposed to make you think.  But here's a link.  In general I find the article to be misleading and full of fear-mongering.

    For example - from the article: "Seven percent, that's way too high. I think two percent is too high. You certainly don't want a large number of people with criminal backgrounds involved in activities that represent the NCAA"

    I wonder how that compares to the overall (male) population.  Remember, we are talking arrests here not convictions.  My guess is, it's not that far off.

    Now obviously you don't want a serial rapist on your team, and there are some bad situations where things have happened.  But I'm not convinced that those individual cases are representative of a widespread systemic problem.


    I want to toss this one (none / 0) (#7)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:08:35 PM EST
    out there and see if someone wants to grab it and run with it.  The topic came up a few days ago on another board, and surprisingly a couple of published authors, one prominent in the field whose name and previous book came up here a few weeks ago, expressed a mighty peculiar theory (see c below).

    Q:  What is the most plausible story you've read about the circumstances in which JFK ended up with LBJ on the 1960 ticket?  There are several competing versions in the literature, with the LBJ-camp version, a more benign account, being a little more dominant than the RFK oral history version, which features quite a few dramatic moments.  The basic versions:

    a)  LBJ camp:  JFK came up to Lyndon's hotel room, made a solid offer for the VPcy, and Johnson reluctantly accepted.  RFK then came up later to try to talk him out of it, to Johnson's great annoyance.  JFK later calls Lyndon to tell him Bobby has been out of the loop and was acting on his own.  Johnson believes this, and never forgives RFK thereafter.

    b)  RFK version:  JFK only intended to sound out LBJ about his possible interest in the #2 slot and never actually made a real, valid offer, which (per Clark Clifford) the day before had been offered to Sen Stu Symington and accepted.  LBJ acted though as if an offer had been made and accepted.  JFK returns to his room, stunned, and tells Bobby, "You won't believe it -- he wants it.  What do we do now?"  RFK is sent back to Lyndon's room on his brother's instruction to tell Johnson he can't be on the ticket, causing too much discord w/n the party, and (on Bobby's 2d visit) Johnson would be given head of the DNC instead.  But LBJ puts up tremendous resistance, begins "crying" and making a scene, and Bobby has no choice but to say okay, it's yours.

    c) alternative author version:  LBJ for a long time, perhaps as early as 1959, knowing a Southerner back then could never be elected prez in a straight election, sought always to maneuver himself onto the ticket but in the #2 slot.  Then, through accident or design, with the president removed from office, he would become president.  Re "accident" or related:  LBJ is on record as telling Claire Booth Luce around the time of his swearing in as VP, when asked why he was taking the job:  "Because I've studied it, and found out 1 in 4 presidents dies in office -- and darlin', I'm a gamblin' man."

    I'm most interested in your comments re the RFK (b) version, which is the one I've always found rings most true.  Logical or factual critiques are welcome.  Also, if you've seen (with cite preferably) an interesting variation on the major versions offered or something entirely different, those too I'd like to hear.

    I think that (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:31:50 PM EST
    he needed Johnson to win, because he needed Texas, and that a whole lot of backroom deal-making was going on.  Symington was from Missouri- not as many electoral votes as Texas.  Even if JFK had lost Illinois, he would have won as long as he had Texas.  I'm not going to endlessly rehash the old Republican meme that LBJ's political machine stole enough votes to swing Texas to the Democrats, but very frankly, it would not surprise me.  Lots of voter fraud went on back then, and Texas was rather infamous for it.  (And lots of voter fraud occurred on the part of both parties.  The Chicago Daley Machine is often cited, but there were also many signs of Republican voter irregularities in southern Illinois.  Voter fraud- the equal opportunity gambit.)  

    Agreed. (none / 0) (#17)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:44:44 PM EST
    Texas was the key.

    I highly doubt LBJ cried for the slot.


    See my below: TX (none / 0) (#23)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:00:15 PM EST
    becomes the (or a major) key in an LBJ #2 scenario.

    But if he's not on the ticket, CA (which JFK ended up losing, but with more EVs than TX) is much more in play and given added attention by the ticket.  The south, and TX, is left to non-ticket surrogates like Johnson to work.

    As for Johnson "crying", if RFK made that up, what would have been his motive for fabricating?  LBJ was well known for manipulation and deception, and putting on a crying act -- Bobby called him the world's greatest actor in politics -- would be consistent with Johnson's low character and tendency to pull out all the stops to get his way.


    I think that Zorba's point is well-taken (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by christinep on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:48:49 PM EST
    While I almost idolized Robert Kennedy (and would be fortunate enough to cast my first vote for him in the Indiana primary), his motive for a version less favorable to LBJ would have been to strengthen brother JFK vis-a-vis the "partnership" that was necessitated by circumstances and, while so doing, to keep the powerful LBJ in his place.

    While my memories of the incidents during the convention week--where everything did seem up-in-the-air to the public (per my dad and other relatives conversations and news accounts at the time)--are those of a young girl, my impression was that the twosome ticket was considered a coup for the sake of Texas and other southern connections that only LBJ could bring. JFK ignited all of us young 'uns and the generations immediately before me; but, the context of realpolitik didn't just include the so-called "Irish mafia" led by the Kennedy patriarch but very much involved the well-known power politics of LBJ. I believe that--at the outset--they very much needed each other.


    clarification (none / 0) (#40)
    by christinep on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:50:05 PM EST
    "...the Indiana primary" referred to above is the 1968 primary that RFK would win in that tragic year.

    Re para #1, (none / 0) (#44)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 06:16:48 PM EST
    that's interesting, but in trying to bring down LBJ a peg, as you suggest, Bobby actually ends up making himself and his brother (in his oral history account) look indecisive and not very flattering overall (in his statements, he ended by saying his brother said neither should ever talk about what really happened, the story was that unflattering to all concerned).  

    Why would Bobby include such unflattering details, plus unfortunate summary of the day, if the point was to set out to make LBJ look bad by comparison with his late brother?  I mean, why not fabricate a different tale leaving out all the negative about himself and Jack?

    As for your para #2, I don't really follow you there.  But re TX, recall that in such a huge state, and traditionally Dem one, even with LBJ on the ticket, they won by only some 46k votes out of a couple million cast.  Johnson was respected there, but not liked or trusted.  Re elsewhere in the south, Symington (border stater and previously Sec of the Air Force) also would have had vote getting clout in that region.


    As for the slim victory (none / 0) (#53)
    by christinep on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 07:25:38 PM EST
    Especially in the southern Texas...think about the "Catholic issue."  Growing up Catholic, perhaps the sensitivity for myself & family were there, but I believe that there are enough reported tales or anecdotes of scare stories in areas not highly populated with nor familiar with Catholics.  (That was every bit as big a breakthrough in many respects as we witnessed in 2008. Lots of antipathy was stirred up in both situations.)

    No question christine that (none / 0) (#62)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 08:46:25 PM EST
    JFK's Catholicism hurt him badly in the South, including TX.  After it was all over, his father said that Jack would have won in a landslide had he been born Presbyterian.  The post-election surveys by the Univ of Michigan (reported and analyzed further in the famous Sorensen book Kennedy) also suggest that the primary factor in the election was the negative one of JFK's religion.

    Catholicism cost him Wisconsin (none / 0) (#64)
    by Towanda on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 09:08:36 PM EST
    in the election, after the crucial win there in the primary, when it was the first primary.  The "anti-Papist" campaign ratcheted up in several parts of the Midwest after that primary, I read.  Not a big problem in largely Lutheran areas of the Midwest.

    And of course, an anti-Catholicism campaign could not cost him Chicago, and Daley made sure of that.  But the anti-Catholicism was the reason that JFK needed all those electoral votes from a big state, and that meant Texas, and that meant LBJ.


    Maybe later I'll track down (none / 0) (#67)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 09:28:58 PM EST
    the exact quote, but I'm pretty confident that Jackie was quoted by historian and Kennedy aide Arthur Schlesinger (perhaps in his diaries?) making a negative comment about Wisconsinites after her 1960 experience campaigning there in the primaries with Jack.  Something about the people there not warming to JFK the way they seemed more able to elsewhere.  And indeed, in that primary, he failed to win I think some of the heavily majority Protestant areas, and so it was on to WVa to further try to knock out the religion issue for Dem convention delegates.

    As for TX, again I bring up CA and how that would have figured more prominently in a Kennedy campaign with a different guy in the #2 and less emphasis on the Lone Star state.  More EVs in CA than TX, and JFK nearly won it even with some poorly thought out final week's campaign scheduling: Kennedy wanted to spend more days there in the final week, but was told by his aides that campaign dates back east (and in states he already had locked up) and in Chicago for that period were firm and couldn't be broken short of a major intraparty firestorm.  Kennedy was furious, but back then, in a different era, there was nothing he could do about it.


    BTW brodie (none / 0) (#65)
    by christinep on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 09:15:33 PM EST
    Great discussion topic.  You make some good points about RFK and motives. Myself, I believe that Bobby Kennedy really came to himself and to the nation when he recognized and seemed to inculcate the reality of poverty in the Appalachian tour. He was a pragmatist (as witness his approach in the Gary area--"da region"--of northern Indiana), but he also understood the dreams of man as Aeschylus said.

    The "what ifs" are so many, and yet so real. One of the things that I came away with at the time, and is reinforced now, is that the strongest alliances in many ways may be born of proud foes, political rivals because each brings what the other is missing.  As that youngster who could barely tolerate LBJ and cheered later when he announced he would not ssek reelection, I do discern now the complementary strengths of JFK & LBJ at that unique point in 1960 time. (The teaser now, obviously, is how the great "foes" of the prolonged 2008 Democratic confrontation found the same strength in combining for a mutual purpose.)


    Re the complementary (none / 0) (#70)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 09:46:40 PM EST
    strengths of JFK and LBJ, while they ended up winning (barely -- and we'll never know about that other alternative ticket ...), once in office they were hardly what one would consider a closely working political partnership.  Au contraire in fact.  

    And the matter of not getting along at all easily with each other actually began during the campaign, not long after the convention, when JFK invited Lyndon to Hyannis to go over g.e. strategy.  Lyndon just got on his nerves with some of his annoying personal habits as Johnson was more interested in talking and lecturing than listening.  

    And, in short, it didn't get any better between the two of them once in office -- LBJ tried a double-power grab, both with the senate (to remain as de facto Majority Leader!) and with the VPcy (Johnson sent Kennedy a memo asking him for complete control over various agencies and other things -- JFK quietly filed it away and never brought it up).

    For more of the personal relations lowdown, some of it quite stunning and troubling, I'd recommend Evelyn Lincoln's second book of memoirs, Kennedy and Johnson.  Read and decide for yourself from someone who was there every day.

    Now 2008, O and HRC -- clearly the difference is that with Hillary you have someone with honesty and integrity who O knows will act loyally at all times, even when there's disagreement.  Hillary:  team player, smart, capable and loyal.  About all you can ask for in a pres'l aide.  


    Well, Symington: (none / 0) (#20)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:55:14 PM EST
    actually, he had greater national appeal as a vote getter than LBJ, who was a regional (Southern) figure.  Also, in a JFK-Symington ticket scenario, it's not just MO in play but presumably both would have made greater efforts in states like CA -- where JFK lost as narrowly as the ticket ended up winning by in TX -- where someone like Symington could have helped carry, with his greater personal appeal there than Johnson had.  

    Also, iirc it's in Symington aide Clark Clifford's memoirs that JFK had offered him the #2 spot the day before LBJ stepped into the picture.  Clifford wrote that Symington had reluctantly said he'd be willing (his wife was against), only to get a phone call the next morning from Kennedy saying that for the first time ever he'd have to withdraw an offer, but only because he had no other choice.

    Also pro-Symington as #2 would have been -- very important -- the personal factor with him being on a ticket and in an admin with Kennedy (both got along fine as senators and respected each other) as compared with the much more difficult and hypersensitive LBJ, whom Kennedy had already come to know as a "chronic liar" (JFK's quoted in private from 1960) who had often failed to honor verbal commitments to JFK.


    It might be useful, brodie (5.00 / 0) (#41)
    by christinep on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:56:34 PM EST
    to read the accounts in the newspapers of the day leading up to the selection during convention week. The reason? The years that followed led to all sorts of individuals burnishing their own credentials/remembering things differently/revising a bit here & there.  IOW, different theories seemed to be embellished with the passage of time.  Symington, e.g., clearly was very well known and all that you say...but, the Kennedy's did need the power of an LBJ. Whiny, hypersensitive, high-strung or whatever, LBJ knew hardball as well as the Kennedys. That was very important.

    Re the newspapers, (none / 0) (#46)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 06:30:02 PM EST
    in the later (history book) accounts, some noted how LBJ's people were planting stories (WaPo publisher Phil Graham was a huge Johnson backer and was one of those later to help spin the Johnson version of events) early in convention week to the effect that LBJ would want #2 or at least want to be asked (right of first refusal).  

    The latter situation, imo, came into play when JFK went to Johnson's suite to a) sound him out about #2 and b) probably give him that right of first refusal -- but only in the context of JFK fully expecting LBJ to turn him down (Kennedy, paraphr:  "What, the Majority Leader, the 2d or 3d most powerful job in the land when I'm president, is going to want to give all that up to take a powerless job like VP?")

    As for the Kennedys "needing the power of LBJ" (for what?), they also knew he was impossible to work with on a personal basis in the senate.  There was also the matter of how LBJ in the days leading up to the convention had conducted a slashing personal hit-job campaign against JFK (leaked rumors of his alleged Addison's Disease) and especially against his Munich-backing father, which to Jack and Bobby crossed the line of acceptable intraparty politicking.  

    In that context, JFK was unlikely to be of a mind to graciously forget what Lyndon and John Connally had wrought trying to get their guy the nom, and turn right around and make him a full, official political partner and then member of his admin, a mere heartbeat away.  But in the circumstances, I do think JFK felt forced to at least make a right of first refusal "offer", which he fully expected the powerful Majority Leader to turn down.


    LBJ was viewed as being able to carry (none / 0) (#54)
    by christinep on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 07:32:58 PM EST
    southern interests, bring in the electoral vote, etc. Whether that was true, it was the "conventional wisdom" and--in line with Zorba's take--the power of his own machine.

    You do have (none / 0) (#29)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:12:13 PM EST
    a good point about Symington.  But it's hard to know all the undercurrents and deal-making going on way back then.  It's also entirely possible that LBJ "had" something on JFK and muscled his way onto the ticket- who knows?  I just don't see that JFK would have given in to any LBJ tears and said, "Okay, okay, Lyndon, don't cry, you can be vice-president."  The Kennedys were a lot tougher-minded than that.

    On the crying issue, (none / 0) (#32)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:27:34 PM EST
    I don't think the Kennedys were reacting out of sympathy to Lyndon, but to a strong sense that if he was going to put on such an emotional scene about not being #2, imagine what he would do to us in the election season by a) leaking the ugly story of the "offer withdrawn/doublecross" by JFK at the convention, or b) later as senate Majority Leader with an angry and vengeful LBJ always looking for sneaky ways to get back at the Kennedys (deliberately botched legislation, more press leaks, etc).  

    Iow, Johnson's crying sent the signal that this guy was now far more of a problem if removed from the ticket with no control over him, than if kept on (with only sore feelings towards Bobby but under some control by the Kennedys).

    Re the theory that LBJ muscled his way on with, say, ugly blackmail info against JFK (as some authors posit):  then why didn't he use that info earlier in the primary season when it could have been used to knock JFK out of the race and put LBJ in the driver's seat for the nom?  And what blackmail material exactly?  Further, wasn't LBJ himself vulnerable to plenty of blackmail?  


    We could (none / 0) (#38)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:42:18 PM EST
    rehash this endlessly- it's fascinating speculation.  (It's also interesting to speculate on what would have happened if Nixon had won in 1960- no assassination?  What about Viet Nam?  No Watergate?  Who knows?  We could write reams about this.)  Great topic, brodie.  

    I appreciate your (none / 0) (#42)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 06:05:29 PM EST
    thoughts, Z.  I just want to get some TL posters' views on the actual 1960 convention matter, if they've read about it, and definitely I want to see whether I'm justified in adhering to the RFK version of events, so I'd like to see some good arguments poking holes in that one if possible.  I mean, why would Bobby (known for his honesty and integrity) make all that up?  Didn't make him or his brother look that good ...

    I think too that the Symington angle has to be addressed since there is evidence (Clark memoirs) it nearly happened or that was the plan, but for LBJ intervening apparently, and therefore discussion of how a JFK/Symington ticket would have campaigned isn't entirely irrelevant.  I.e, the electoral strategy changes depending on who's on the ticket.


    Bobby grew into (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 06:26:31 PM EST
    his role.  I loved RFK, don't mistake me, brodie, but the man was not a saint.  Remember that Bobby was assistant counsel to Joe McCarthy's subcommittee and "retained a fondness for McCarthy." Link. The Kennedys were gifted politicians, but they could also be ruthless if the circumstances called for it.  This is not a criticism- it's just just the way things are, and there are times when ruthlessness may be called for.  I have long since given up putting any politician on a pedestal.  They all have warts, and they all must also be seen in the context of their times.

    No one is saying anyone (none / 0) (#47)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 06:44:15 PM EST
    is a saint, Z.  Not JFK or RFK or MLK or LBJ or anyone else.  All flawed mortals (some, obviously, with a few more moral flaws than others ...)  As to McC and RFK -- all of a few months work on that comm'ee (job arranged by his father Joe), and Bobby ended up quitting in disgust over McC's methods and those of his ass't with whom Bobby fiercely argued during his brief time there).  

    McC (before his final meltdown) was also quite popular in JFK's home state (more popular there -- Irish Catholic pol -- than in any other state outside of Wis), was personally known to Kennedy's family (one sister had even dated McCarthy) and so, presumably, were some of McC's human weaknesses known to Bobby.  I think Bobby always detested McC's methods (particularly once he saw them up close) but for the man, he apparently had some residual sympathy.  (compare yours truly today, posting to acknowledge the awfulness of Charlie Sheen's violent conduct, but to express feelings for his addiction -- and Bobby may well have sensed that Joe McC had a drinking problem ...)

    All that said, I'm not sure again why I shouldn't believe Bobby's 1960 account.  Lying in a way that makes the Kennedys look bad doesn't make sense, and that's the major problem I have with the suggestion that he fabricated in his oral history interview.  Yes, he could be tough -- even ruthless! to his enemies -- and no doubt did some "spinning" of things as a pol, but making up a whopper of a tall tale with all sorts of negatives thrown in for good measure for both Kennedys -- sorry, thet dawg don' hun' ...


    My thinking is that both (none / 0) (#56)
    by KeysDan on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 07:46:34 PM EST
    (a) and (b) have elements of truth and elements of spin.  From Johnson's perspective, he knew that being Majority Leader with a Democratic president would not be the same as it had been with Eisenhower, and was anxious to move to the vice presidency. It was unlikely to be a reluctant decision.

    From JFK's view, asking LBJ onto the ticket was a southern strategy, particularly for the electorally important state of Texas--a state, as you note, that barely went for the Democrats even with LBJ on the ticket.  Stuart Symington was an also-rann in the primaries, but ran behind LBJ.  Moreover, Symington, unlike JFK and LBJ, would not speak before segregated audiences in the south--which did not play well into that southern strategy.

    The then important opinion-makers, Joseph Alsop and Phil Graham urged JFK to select Symingon, and selection of LBJ caused substantial initial shock and discord in the party. Indeed, Harry Truman did not attend the Democratic Convention that year because his man, Symington, was not on the ticket. Hence, the importance of self-serving spin of Johnson made them do it.  After the election and until the assassination, Vice President Johnson was pretty much put on the shelf, he had served his purpose.


    Agree Keys with your (none / 0) (#60)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 08:37:12 PM EST
    analysis in para 1.

    As to Symington and segregated audiences, arrangements to avoid such problems would have been worked out with Kennedy's able advance team.  I just don't see it as a ticket-disabling obstacle and I wonder if either Kennedy or Symington brought it up when JFK (again according to Symington's top aide Clifford, who had enormous cred in political circles back then) made the previous day's offer of #2.

    Re your #3 para, I think you meant to write that Alsop and Graham both urged the selection of LBJ, not Symington as you wrote.  Both were in the L.A. hotel suite with Lyndon all week, pushing his candidacy for prez but also putting out word (WaPo and elsewhere) that he might also be available for the VP slot, and at least would want to be asked.

    Re Truman, he started out pro-Symington but -- iirc -- when that didn't work out, shifted support at the convention to LBJ.  And I vaguely recall seeing him on the platform at the LA Coliseum when JFK delivered his outdoor acceptance speech on the final night.  Sure would have been major negative news for Kennedy and the Dems had Truman not shown up, evidencing signs of party disunity, but I don't think that happened.


    Checking my dim (none / 0) (#66)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 09:16:13 PM EST
    memory with the video record, only partially right on Truman.  JFK mentions him by name in his acceptance speech, noting that he welcomes now having Truman's support, HST obviously having earlier issued a statement supporting the new Dem nominee.  But the camera doesn't show him, so he might well have skipped attending the entire convention.

    Not a big issue though, and anyway JFK and the Dems carried MO that year, even with some lukewarm HST backing and no Symington on the ticket.  

    Although one hopes that in that crucial campaign against Nixon, that Truman at some point once again made publicly known his very negative feelings about the GOP nominee, someone he once described as a "no good lying ba$tard who can lie out of both sides of his mouth."  



    Yes, Thanks. (none / 0) (#73)
    by KeysDan on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 10:34:11 PM EST
    Joseph Alsop and Phil Graham worked to persuade JFK to take Lyndon Johnson.  Apparently, the initial offer to Symington was withdrawn in favor of LBJ.   (Katharine Graham, Personal Life, 1997).  I think Truman refused to be a delegate to the Convention, feeling the fix was in for JFK. According to Bob Dole (read somewhere) Truman did not like the father, Joseph Kennedy--saying he was not afraid of the Pope but the pop.  

    Let's remember what Gore Vidal (none / 0) (#78)
    by Harry Saxon on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 09:46:33 AM EST
    said about RFK in 1967:

    More pieties crumble in Vidal's 1967 essay on the Kennedys, "The Holy Family." He didn't hate Robert Kennedy, but he was skeptical about his rise toward the power of the presidency:

    "One does not necessarily demand of our leaders passion (Hitler supplied the age with quite enough for this century) or reforming zeal (Mao Tse-tung is incomparable), but one does insist that they possess a sense of community larger than simply personal power for its own sake, being first because it's fun."

    Click or Gore Vidal Me

    Ah, Gore Vidal on (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by brodie on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:06:01 AM EST
    the Kennedys.  Sort of like searching for the objective truth about the Clintons by seeking out comments from Dick Morris or Christopher Hitchens.  

    Poor Gore has been holding a grudge against the Kennedys -- more Bobby than Jack -- ever since that unfortunate incident in the WH when Bobby had him tossed out for drunkenness and for insulting guests.  

    Perhaps he'll get over it one day, when he grows up, and realize he needs to acknowledge his own shortcomings first and then perhaps learn to forgive himself as a way to begin to learn to forgive others.


    A lot of what Vidal has written about (none / 0) (#98)
    by Harry Saxon on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 12:19:18 PM EST
    the Kennedys has been confirmed by other sources, and I'm not quite ready to make RFK a saint as some would around here.

    What is the movie in which, (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:23:23 PM EST
    at the end, one of the main characters is riding atop a missile?  (Probably not "Dr. Strangelove," but of about that vintage.)  

    Anyhow, is the Rolling Stone cover "fair use"?

    "Dr. Strangelove," (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:33:33 PM EST
    fred wins (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:34:35 PM EST
    We need counter protest (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:13:10 PM EST
    Even if it were my husband, I would not want them shut down.  I would want a counter protest though 50:1 of THEM.  I would say that if you want to honor my husband's service to his country...please come counter protest Westboro evil at his funeral and create a human wall between them and his funeral.

    I watched a video of them kicking a flag on the ground and stepping it into the ground and I fear for them right now.  I don't give a rip about the symbol of the American flag, but this is very serious business to many soldiers.  I suppose it originates in that capture the flag scenario that is "winning a war".  I watched the video though and I thought to myself that one of them is going to get snuffed by some crazed PTSD soldier.  I do not want this to happen but they keep kicking up the most vile insults and then I saw the recent video where they did that and I cringed.


    You need the Angel Wings. (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by caseyOR on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:28:03 PM EST
    Seriously, this is a group that was started by a young woman to protect Matthew Shepard's funeral from Phelps and Co. They wore giant angel wings to shield the mourners and block out Phelps and his people.

    Angel Wings performed the same kindness at the funeral of Christina Taylor Greene, the young girl killed in the Tucson shooting.

    At Elizabeth Edwards' funeral, another Phelps target, a people barrier singing Christmas carols protected the mourners.


    Military families also have the option (none / 0) (#34)
    by caseyOR on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:35:46 PM EST
    of asking the Patriotic Guard Riders, a motorcycle group, to provide the protective barrier against Phelps and Co. The PGR does not just show up. They come when the family of the deceased soldier, sailor, marine, pilot, etc. requests them.

    Disgust with the tactics used by Phelps seems to cross many socio-cultural-economic lines. Of course there are people who support what Phelps does. We will always have bottom-feeders,. The majority appears united in rejecting Westboro.


    You beat me (none / 0) (#36)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:38:28 PM EST
    to the punch, casey.  

    We could have angels and patriots (none / 0) (#75)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 07:17:00 AM EST
    What a party.  I miss that duo hanging out regularly together anyhow :)

    This is what (none / 0) (#37)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:39:08 PM EST
    I would like to see much more of.

    He thrives on being a spectacle (none / 0) (#63)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 09:06:50 PM EST
    MLB quit showing people that ran on to the field of play because that's exactly why they did it. Maybe the media should quit giving this poor excuse of a human being any air time.

    I realize that it's easier said than done, but if he is ignored he'll probably fade away. Kids rarely throw tantrums in an empty room.


    Maybe we need (none / 0) (#35)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:37:26 PM EST
    the Hell's Angels and the Patriot Guard Riders and other biker groups to counter-picket.  They've done it before.  (Not that I would necessarily want the Hell's Angels at the funeral of a loved one, but I also wouldn't want Fred Phelps and his creeps.)

    It's a job (none / 0) (#43)
    by waldenpond on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 06:16:47 PM EST
    I don't think these people care about soldiers.  This is their job.... to offend, hope someone takes a swing at them, and then sue.  They support themselves through lawsuits.  If you aren't religious and you look at this as their way of scamming money, they are weird rather than offensive.  To me, it's no different than a few Charlie Sheen's standing out there popping off about tiger blood.

    are you a BC comics fan? (none / 0) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:05:05 PM EST
    you can now ride one of those wheels.

    -- Here's a Better Looking, Less Awkward SegwaySegways are nerdy and awkward, there's no way around it. This solowheel, a "self balancing electric unicycle" is just as nerdy as a Segway but slightly less awkward. The Solowheel only weighs 20 pounds and comes in a relatively small package and is definitely no where near as unwieldy as a Segway. Plus, it doesn't come with the reputation of mall cops and weirdos. It's supposed to come out in March for $1,500.

    in case you are lost (none / 0) (#28)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:06:08 PM EST
    Cool (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 05:14:00 PM EST
    Makes getting one for Joshua that much easier :)

    Akaka being (none / 0) (#57)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 07:51:38 PM EST
    the other 86 y.o. Dem senator from Hawaii.  First elected to the senate when JFK was still president ... omg ...

    Well, at least 2012 is only a year away, and in Akaka's favor I don't recall him doing what the other fellow did wrt protecting Reagan and Poppy from being held politically accountable during the Iran-Contra hearings.

    Unfortunately, we have to wait until 2016 for the other guy, who apparently was re-elected (massively) in 2010.

    Nothing against oldsters holding office, but sometimes some of them stay too long.  As with some of our Dem senators in recent times.

    Brodie, you're thinking of (none / 0) (#58)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 08:04:26 PM EST
    Daniel Inouye, who became a Senator in 1963.  Akaka became a Senator in 1990.

    You're right -- (none / 0) (#61)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 08:39:52 PM EST
    I'd gone to Inouye's site to find out when he would be (hopefully) announcing his own retirement, then came back to post and conflated some facts.  

    Easy to do when we're talking two 86 yo Dem senators from Hawaii!


    My recollection of the (none / 0) (#72)
    by brodie on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 10:01:54 PM EST
    story is that both co-chairs -- Inouye and Rep Hamilton -- along with ill-advised advice from Speaker Jim Wright and Majority Leader Bobby Byrd, agreed before the hearings began to keep the investigation away from RR and Poppy.  

    This group thought it was too soon after Watergate, Reagan only had a couple of years left to serve, was an older sympathetic figure, and golly the country was so delicate, it could come apart at the seems if an actual full investigation holding all higher-ups to account were held.

    As to other culprits in covering up the truth, no question the MSM played a key role, and played along with the investigative charade.  Yes, they uncovered some wrongdoing down below, but the real hard work of investigating wherever the trail leads no matter whose ox is gored would only come later with independent counsel Walsh and not with that pompous group of mostly unhelpful and timid congresscritters.

    But kudos to Inouye if in fact he did call out North in public on that one matter.  Still, the investigation should have involved the public applauding the committee as a whole for outstanding and courageous work, as with the senate Watergate comm'ee.  Instead, it was a carefully circumscribed congressional circus for public consumption.  I was not impressed.


    Better to do it in a Pres. election year (none / 0) (#59)
    by andgarden on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 08:15:11 PM EST
    Who do you like for this race?

    Agree about the ultimate outcome (none / 0) (#71)
    by andgarden on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 09:47:10 PM EST
    I'm a little shocked that you picked Case, though. Didn't he run a primary challenge from the right in 2006?

    An Interesting Read (none / 0) (#74)
    by CoralGables on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 10:49:12 PM EST
    as to how charitable donations may effect governing in Louisiana:

    Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana's Children

    we are officially announced. (none / 0) (#76)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 09:20:25 AM EST
    we made the April cover of Game Informer.  a pretty big deal in our small world.

    April Cover Revealed - Saints Row: The Third

    While the original Saints Row felt familiar to fans of the open-world crime genre, its sequel separated itself from the pack with almost cartoonish over-the-top action. Whether you were chainsawing elderly people in half or spraying a pool party down with a poop truck, the franchise was clearly heading in its own direction. Saints Row: The Third takes things a step forward as the most insane installment yet, and it's our April cover.

    the best comment I saw:

    Ahhhh, the trailer trash of gaming.

    Rubber (none / 0) (#77)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 09:35:15 AM EST
    RUBBER is the story of Robert, an inanimate tire that has been abandoned in the desert, and suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the bleak landscape, he discovers that he possesses terrifying telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move. At first content to prey on small desert creatures and various discarded objects, his attention soon turns to humans, especially a beautiful and mysterious woman who crosses his path. Leaving a swath of destruction across the desert landscape, Robert becomes a chaotic force to be reckoned with, and truly a movie villain for the ages. Directed by legendary electro musician Quentin Dupieux (Steak, Nonfilm), aka Mr. Oizo, RUBBER is a smart, funny and wholly original tribute to the cinematic concept of "no reason."

    Great Video (none / 0) (#90)
    by dead dancer on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:33:31 AM EST
    what happens (none / 0) (#100)
    by CST on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 12:23:24 PM EST
    when you strictly limit premium increases on health insurers like the Gov. of MA did last year?

    Do health insurers go bankrupt?  Will they lose money?  Can they continue to operate with such strict regulations?

    No, no, yes.  The sky is not falling.


    "The three biggest health insurers in Massachusetts posted financial gains last year"

    ""I anticipate that we will be living in an environment of scrutiny and close [insurance] rate oversight into the future,'' said Jim Ducharme, chief financial officer at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, based in Wellesley. "That is something that won't be going away.''"

    let's hope so.