Re: Button Gwinnett is Too A-List for This List

1

"Moleskine", unless your notebook doubles as a blister preventative.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 7:53 PM
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1:Oh. Duh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 7:55 PM
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Also: "jot" not "dot", right?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 7:56 PM
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It's actually "doot".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 7:57 PM
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Tittle.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 7:58 PM
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I intended "dot"; am I not allowed to dot things? I feel like I do.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 7:58 PM
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So, I'm leaving "dot"; ari, tell me someone cool for my list, dammit.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:01 PM
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Nellie Stone Johnson.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:04 PM
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9

Timothy Pickering.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:06 PM
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Hazen Pingree.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:08 PM
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11

Tony Curtis?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:12 PM
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12

Bartolomé de las Casas.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:12 PM
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13

Andrew Furuseth


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:14 PM
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14

I don't give it away free, Stanley.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:14 PM
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Thanks, Natilo and teo. I'll amend the original request to say, I'm certainly likely to Google all of these names, but it might foster discussion in comments if you mention a thing or two you find interesting about the person (or event! let's include events!). And then we can all have a juice box.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:14 PM
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Wait, we're supposed to be fostering discussion in comments?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:16 PM
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Only if you want the conditional juice boxes. Sniping gets no juice boxes but is allowed.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:17 PM
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Anyway, Pickering was a fairly prominent but now very obscure Federalist politician, and Pingree was a rich businessman who became mayor of Detroit and shifted to supporting substantial social and economic reforms.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:17 PM
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[juice box]


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:18 PM
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Procopius Waldfogel. Second European movable type maker, a little more succesful than Gutenberg while alive, now forgotten.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:21 PM
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21

Browsing though my Ken Hite for anything interesting I come across this passage about, Jehan de Mandeville:

Leonardo da Vinci owned only one book of geography. It was the same book Columbus studied his Chinese from, and the work that explorer Martin Frobisher depended on for evidence of the Northwest Passage. Which, if you're paying attention, gives it something of a mixed record as an encyclopedia -- but serves merely to highlight its power on the misty boarderland between Thought-It-Was and Yonder. It was the Travels of Sir John Mandeville . . .


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:21 PM
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I've been reading a bunch of stuff about the early feminist movement, so there are a lot of secondary yet important names there, but I'm damned if I have to actually foster discussion about them at this time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:22 PM
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Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:22 PM
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24

Tony Curtis was an actor. Can I have some juice?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:24 PM
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What sort of historical figure are you looking for? Someone who was actually involved in events of import? Or just someone who seemed to be in the right place at the right time an awful lot?

Walter Berry is kinda funny. A scion of a major New York political family (descendant from major Dutch landholders, I believe) who went to Paris around the turn of the century, practiced international law, headed the American Chamber of Commerce in France, and seemed to know every major writer in the place. He comes up in a number of biographies and correspondence from the time, and everyone seems to think he was a pretty swell guy. Edith Wharton regrets not marrying him! Marcel Proust and Walter Berry had a total bromance going!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:25 PM
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I want a biscuit-conditional juice box. Actually at first I typed "jukebox", so let's go with that. A biscuit-conditional jukebox.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:25 PM
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NSFW.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:27 PM
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Alessandro Malaspina, sort of the Spanish equivalent of Captain Cook (although he was actually Italian).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:28 PM
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29

I know of Andrew Furuseth, one of the founder of two separate sailors unions, from this passage in Joe Glazer's book:

[Furuseth] was ascetic, even aloof and melancholic. He never married. The sailors on the ships were his family, and his home was the sea, the docks, the ports, and the union hall.

During World War I, when Furuseth threatened to pull his sailors out on strike if working conditions were not improved, the government threatened to throw him in jail. "Put me in jail," he responded, "but you cannot put me in quarters more cramped than I knew as a seaman. You cannot give me worse food than I have always eaten. You cannot make me more lonely than I have always been." These words are carved into a granite base on which sits a magnificent bust of Furuseth, overlooking San Francisco harbor.

Should I be looking for more obscure names?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:29 PM
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30

I assume you already know about Bernardo O'Higgins.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:30 PM
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31

The Kern brothers (artists who accompanied several mid-nineteenth-century western surveying expeditions) are pretty interesting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:33 PM
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32

My list is pretty dead-white-male so far, isn't it? Hm.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:35 PM
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33

I assume you already know about Bernardo O'Higgins.

Looking sorta Irish and donning sideburns while living in Chile made me well aware and in fact earned me a nickname with my host family.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:35 PM
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34

Herman Husband (and here).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:36 PM
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35

What sort of historical figure are you looking for? Someone who was actually involved in events of import? Or just someone who seemed to be in the right place at the right time an awful lot?

I'm just interested in stories, so, really, any of the above.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:36 PM
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Tony Curtis was an actor. Can I have some juice?

Considering your expressed tooth woes, I'll do you one better:

[vicodin box]


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:38 PM
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Nellie Stone Johnson
A Biography Report by Natilo Paennim
September 22, 2010
Mr. Stanley's class

Nellie Stone Johnson was an important African-American activist in Minnesota. She grew up on a farm near Hinckley, Minnesota which is famous for the Great Hinckley Fire and also for Tobies which has famous cinnamon rolls.
Nellie Stone Johnson grew up in a political family as her father was active in the Non-Partisan League, which was a league of rural people in the early 20th century that was radical in nature.
When Nellie Stone Johnson grew up she studied at the University of Wisconsin and had her own tailor shop.
Nellie Stone Johnson was a labor and civil rights activist and a union organizer. She believed that the most important thing for people was to have a good job. She worked with organizations such as the NAACP and the Hotel and Restaurant Employees' Union.
She was honored for her lifelong work to improve people's lives. Nellie Stone Johnson died in 2002.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:39 PM
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36: Yes. I'm going to take NyQuil and see if it will put me out. I've tried to sleep twice and failed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:39 PM
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But seriously, Nellie Stone Johnson was pretty hardcore. Not one of your big self-promoting professional activists, she always made her money from working, not from being a pie-card. And she never let herself get bought out, even when she was working within the system.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:41 PM
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40

Popé, the leader of the Pueblo Revolt, is probably pretty obscure outside of New Mexico.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:41 PM
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41

40: The other leaders of the Pueblo Revolt were real publicity hogs and crowded him out of the history books.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:44 PM
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42

Admittedly part of the difficulty is saying who would be "minor", especially if someone's a huge presence in a smaller field. I find Vladimir Shukhov pretty cool, but he's probably very well known by anyone who dealt with structural engineering.

Basically, brilliant Russian dude from the late 1800s, early 1900s who developed some of the earliest methods for calculating stress and deformations of building materials on curved surfaces. He developed one of the first large-scale oil pipelines, as well as the first steel-lattice structures using hyperbolic geometry. And somewhere in there he also developed one of the earliest cracking systems to produce more gasoline from crude oil and picked up photography as a hobby.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:47 PM
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Jack Jouett is someone I probably wouldn't have heard about if not for living where I do:

John "Jack" Jouett, Jr. (December 7, 1754 - March 1, 1822) was a politician and a hero of the American Revolution, known as the "Paul Revere of the South" for his late night ride to warn Thomas Jefferson, then the Governor of Virginia, and the Virginia legislature of coming British cavalry who had been sent to capture them.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:48 PM
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Sticking with Natilo's theme of upper Midwest activists, Karleton Armstrong was one of the bombers of the Army Math Building on the University of Wisconsin campus in 1970. For a really fantastic treatment of the episode, you can watch The War at Home.


Posted by: Qari | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:50 PM
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So are these names for songs in the TMBG vein of making history fun by elucidating the lives of otherwise boring figures? Or is it more of a Lipstick Traces secret history deal? Or a Paul Harvey, "The Rest of the Story" thing? Or what?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:50 PM
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James Eads, in addition to building the Mississippi River Bridge in St. Louis, also designed and constructed the jetties at the mouth of the river. Eads also built gunboats for the Union during the Civil War and later got involved in a bunch of Isthmian railroad schemes.

Henry Shreve successfully challenged the Fulton group's monopoly on the lower Mississippi, opening the river to commerce, and then later designed and built snagboats that made the Mississippi relatively safe in the years leading to the Civil War. And he got a crappy town in Louisiana named for him as a result.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:54 PM
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30 cracked me up, until 33 revealed that Bernardo O'Higgins is a real name.

I understand that Stanley wants stories, and yet I must say that I encounter a lot of names in the bookselling trade. Yesterday we had someone by the name of [redacted].


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:54 PM
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48

For a good story (actually a horrible story), Lady Florentia Sale.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:55 PM
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45: I just think it's a neat topic, and I'd been compiling names at a slow rate and figured you all might weigh in on a conversation about it. I might use some of it for a songwriting project, but I'm currently off in another direction, songwriting-wise.

I'll buy each of you a million-dollar house when Songs About History really start to pay off; that much I promise you.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:56 PM
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50

John Ross, the Cherokee Principal Chief during the removal era, is pretty interesting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:56 PM
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41: The other way around, actually.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:58 PM
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50: I could recommend further reading, but I wouldn't want to be immodest.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 8:59 PM
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52: And you call yourself a Californian. It's to laugh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:01 PM
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54

Juan Lorenzo Hubbell, one of the early traders on the Navajo Reservation, is definitely interesting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:02 PM
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53: He may call himself a Californian, but he's still a Canadian at heart.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:02 PM
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Ignatius Donnelly, a mostly-unsuccessful leftist politician (he served three terms as a Republican Congressman from Minnesota in the postbellum 19th century; later he wrote a sort of proto-Looking Backward about the workers of the world uniting in revolution in the distant future of 1980), who is mostly remembered today for his crankdom: he wrote an influential early crazypants Atlantis book and seems to be the source of the idea that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:03 PM
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57

Speaking of Canada, let me suggest J/hn O'Neill, for his invasion of Canada.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:03 PM
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Actually, Stanley, could you redact the google-proofed name in the last sentence of 47? Sorry for the extra work; I should have thought twice.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:04 PM
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Ok, the first name in the moleskin I'm using presently is Alfred Lichtwark, an early director of the Hamburg Kunsthalle from 1886-1914. More interesting is Thomas Chubb, a friend of Coleridge's with whom he lived in 1807. According to Wikipedia, Chubb "had no learning, but was well up in the religious controversies of the time, and bore his part in them creditably," all of which makes him sound admirably suited for the internet. Even more interesting yet is OldChubb, a pretty good beer which, besides being fun to say, will really hammer the hell out of you.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:04 PM
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Carlo Gesualdo's music is lovely and sad. The cause of his unhappiness: While they disagree on some details, they agree on the principal points, and it is apparent that Gesualdo had help from his servants, who may have done most of the killing; however, Gesualdo certainly stabbed Maria multiple times, shouting as he did, "she's not dead yet!"


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:06 PM
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How about Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant, trapper, distiller, publican and reprobate, founder of St. Paul? I dunno if he's obscure enough, now that there's the beer named after him and stuff.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:10 PM
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Damn, I thought I closed that tag; and I thought I spelled "moleskine" with an "e." Too much Old Chub, I suppose.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:11 PM
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58: At your service, incautious commenter.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:12 PM
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Just all the Simon Frasers in general. The one who died in 1747 was the last man to be beheaded at the Tower of London, for example. (last man executed there: a Nazi)


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:13 PM
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Andrew Douglass, the inventor of tree-ring dating.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:18 PM
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66

What, dinner and a movie aren't good enough anymore?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:23 PM
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67

Although Terence V. Powderly was only the second most famous leftist US politician of his time with the middle initial V, he had a quite interesting career. Elected Mayor of Scranton three times on the Greenback Party ticket, he basically enabled US labor unions to become national forces by removing the pageantry that had led them to be condemned by the Roman Catholic church. After the collapse of the Knights of Labor after the Haymarket massacre, he was put in charge of President McKinley's anti-immigration policies.

Powderly on Labor Day
Powderly on the 8-hour work day


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:24 PM
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If we're talking about US leftist politicians, I'll mention the Socialist mayors of Milwaukee: Emil Seidel and Daniel Hoan. The latter was mayor for twenty-four years.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:27 PM
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Helen Gloag, queen of Morocco.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:28 PM
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67: A high school history teacher loved Powderly and Gwinnett. The teacher also bore an uncanny resemblance to the "inconceivable!" guy and would do an impression precisely once a year at an unstated moment. It was something of legend at the school. (Will: did you have that guy, too? That would be wild shit.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:32 PM
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Lewis J. Duncan, Socialist mayor of Butte. Had confrontation with the IWW.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:33 PM
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72

Anna Symms Harrison, wife of President William Henry Harrison, was not only the first lady who spent the shortest length of time in the White House, but was also inventor of the famed "Symms Doiley". It is said she learned to crochet at the feet of Dolly Madison herself.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:43 PM
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72: I visited the Madisons' house a while back; Dolly really was apparently famous for her ice cream. Noted popular flavor: oyster.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:47 PM
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63: Thanks, babe.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:48 PM
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75

John Rankin, Presbyterian minister and abolitionist whose house in Ripley, Ohio on the river was a famous first stop on the Underground Railroad. The story of one slave he helped likely served as the basis for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Eliza.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:53 PM
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Minneapolis had a socialist mayor too! Thomas Van Lear. Pro-IWW.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:57 PM
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77

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_O%27Hara


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 9:57 PM
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78

John Colter, teller of tales (and fast runner).

George Bird Grinnell, who saved the buffalo.

Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, second president of Texas.

Edward G. Watkins, inventor of the timeclock.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 10:01 PM
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Thomas Cochrane - Royal Navy captain, the inspiration for Patrick O'Brian's Lucky Jack Aubrey.

Alexander Pearce - Irish/Tasmanian cannibal (alas, there's already a song about him done by Weddings, Parties, Anything).

Alfred Packer - Colorado cannibal. Wikipedia says there are several songs and even a movie about him.


Posted by: Hank | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 10:06 PM
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Alfred Packer ... Wikipedia says there are several songs ... about him.

How funny, I was just looking up the Phil Ochs song about him just two days ago.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 10:09 PM
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A high school history teacher loved Powderly and Gwinnett. The teacher also bore an uncanny resemblance to the "inconceivable!" guy

So, sort of, a "The Fever" Wallace Shawn?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 10:10 PM
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The Wikipedia page about Packer is interesting. Alas, it seems the "There were seven Democrats in Hinsdale County and you ate five of them!" quote is apocryphal.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 10:16 PM
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83

||

Hellcats is a horrible show but they have the good sense to feature a Janelle Monaé song at length.

|>


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 10:18 PM
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So, sort of, a "The Fever" Wallace Shawn?

Exactly. Told me all about the one-side-names-the-battles-for-the-rivers; other-side-for-the-towns thing. Rumor had it he was a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 10:19 PM
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85

Oops, screwed up that accent.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 10:19 PM
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86

Elbridge Gerry - invented gerrymandering. If this isn't sufficiently obscure, kindly keep that to yourself.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 10:34 PM
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87

Phenomenal Smith, the best-named Dodger in history.

Alice Wells. America's first female police officer and a member of the then-progressive LAPD.

I've kept it local. Of course, there are many obscure people in history.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 11:06 PM
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there are many obscure people in history.

This would make for a good opening sentence for some kind of book, I believe.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 11:10 PM
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89

There are many obscure people in history, and this book concerns one of the obscurest: DRACULA.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 11:12 PM
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90

89 sounds like a book T-Rex would write.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 11:17 PM
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See, Dracula couldn't go out in the sun, so he was always in the dark, which is to say, he was OBSCURE, or alternately, OCCULTED (cast in shadow).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-22-10 11:26 PM
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Drimakos, putative leader of the only successful slave revolt in Greek antiquity.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:03 AM
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21: I'm not sure I'd call John Mandeville a "minor historical figure". For a start, he probably wasn't a historical figure at all. Second, "The Travels of John Mandeville" was one of the most popular books in the Middle Ages. So if he was real, he wasn't minor.

Anyway, my nomination is Emperor Norton I, who despite being a failed rice speculator and complete lunatic managed to get a new currency accepted in San Francisco in the 1800s.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 2:32 AM
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Is Henry Marten too famous for this? Republican, regicide, religious nonconformist, drinker, womaniser, respecter of no persons whatsoever. He's my personal political hero (male variety).

Some stuffed shirt making an interminable speech in the Long Parliament noticed that Marten and some others had fallen asleep, and moved that they be thrown out of the chamber. Marten woke up and said, "Mr Speaker, there is a motion that the nodders be put out. I move that the noddees be put out also."

After the restoration he lived under house arrest with his mistress for twenty years.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 2:58 AM
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Jan Van Helmont, founder of chemistry, arrested by the Inquisition for arguing too vigorously about the ways in which wounds might be healed remotely.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 4:54 AM
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96

Ernest Shackleton!


Posted by: Boo | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 5:16 AM
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97

||

Look will started advertising.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:08 AM
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Shackleton's definitely too A-list. Try the Rosses, uncle and nephew. Nephew was an early-Victorian romantic hero and discovered the South Magnetic Pole; uncle was a cantankerous old Orcadian who tried to get through the North West Passage in a steam ship of uncertain reliability ("I now conceive that there is not a particle of this engine but was designed to cause me as much irritation and inconvenience as possible").


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:11 AM
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97: I thought the same thing when I saw that.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:12 AM
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100

A comma or standard capitalization would make 97 more readable.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:21 AM
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101

George Washington Plunkitt -- a corrupt Tammany Hall politician who wrote a very entertaining memoir about being corrupt while still providing services ("honest graft"). I'm not sure he's quite obscure enough, but I like him.

And Harold Hardrada, although a king of Norway is again probably not quite obscure enough. But I remember being delighted by finding out that the Viking mercenary hanging around Constantinople as the Emperor's bodyguard in 1040 was the same guy as the Norwegian king who invaded England a couple of weeks before William in 1066, and died at the battle of Stamford Bridge.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:32 AM
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OT: For the past ten years, I've skipped the dentist with no obvious consequence. I think I'm about to get hit with 10 years of dental bad karma.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:40 AM
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101

George Washington Plunkitt -- a corrupt Tammany Hall politician who wrote a very entertaining memoir about being corrupt while still providing services ("honest graft"). I'm not sure he's quite obscure enough, but I like him.

No surprise there. Is there any corrupt Democratic politician that you don't like?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:42 AM
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104

Nah, I'm pretty easy that way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:45 AM
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105

LB has a "James Michael Curley" tat on her lower back.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:48 AM
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106

Dyspeptic Shearer is funny.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:48 AM
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107

103, 104: James Traficant?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:56 AM
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105: it was always entertaining listening to my elementary school teachers trying to explain the place Curley held in Boston history. Probably at some schools in the area they would have simply explained that he was a hero, but I don't think our teachers were comfortable with that. "Well, he was... he served as governor from jail, and they have a statue... two statues of him... because... uh... they want people to... remember... that..."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:57 AM
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Curley was (I believe) primarily responsible for the commemoration of Evacuation Day. Unfortunately, I didn't go to school in one of the affected districts, so we didn't get St. Patrick's Day off.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:01 AM
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110
When asked how to achieve success in politics, Curley replied, "Become a Republican; and then they won't criticize you for doing what I've done."

How can you not like that?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:05 AM
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101.1: When your NYTimes retrospective the week after you die is headlined "Old-Time Tammany Leader Saw His Opportunities and Took Them" you know you were cooking with gas.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:06 AM
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107: I once taught a "returning student" (aka grown-up) class at CA College. One of my students would not hear one bad word about Traficant, or rather, she'd hear them, but she pretty much didn't care. She's a single mom, and at some point in the early aughties her ex-husband (in the military) stopped paying his child support. The army couldn't/wouldn't do anything, and she didn't have the money for a lawyer. Finally, in desperation, she called her congressman's, Jim Traficant's, office. Within 24 hours the entire matter was sorted. As she put it, "In my entire life, I have only asked a politician for one thing, and Traficant came through on this, immediately, when no one else would help me." Corrupt politicians used to have a near-religious devotion to constituent services. It's sort of too bad that that aspect has gone out the window.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:06 AM
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108: I have a soft-spot for the smiling Irish bastard type, I have to say.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:08 AM
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112.last: Corrupt politicians used to have a near-religious devotion to constituent services

They've just re-defined who is and isn't a constituent. Residence in the district or state is optional.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:08 AM
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near-religious devotion to constituent services

My parents hated Jesse Helms with a purple passion, but when the IRS took out a lien on their house over taxes that they repeatedly demonstrated had already been properly paid, they contacted Helms' office. The issue got resolved and they received a very contrite letter of apology from the IRS within the week.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:13 AM
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There's a certain "hooker with a heart of gold" appeal to the corrupt politician who takes good care of their constituents. Yeah what they do is illegal, but look at how warm and generous they are!

The corrupt-but-generous politician probably has about as much basis in reality as the hooker with the heart of gold as well.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:20 AM
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112: in my experience, however, the unfortunate corollary that high-minded civil servants with tremendous devotion to larger issues of policy and governance are terrible about constituent services still seems to hold.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:20 AM
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I always thought "constituent services" was a myth. Every congressman has what, 600,000 constituents? Good luck with that.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:23 AM
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I dunno, I think Curley genuinely cared about doing right by his constituents, and not just because they were the source of his fortune. It's just that he defined "his constituents" somewhat more narrowly than "the constituents of the Governor of Massachusetts" (for instance) would ordinarily be defined.

I mean, just talking about Curley, his first prison stint was for doing something that was both fairly generous and thoroughly illegal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:24 AM
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117: I'm trying to think of any information I've heard either way about Kucinich's constituent services. I don't know anyone around here who has asked anything of him, but we live at the conservative, Republican end of his district. I know he doesn't do pork. We can't point to anything that was built around here because he horse traded for some special budget appropriation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:31 AM
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Louis Riel - too well known?; his wife had a baby while he was leading a rebellion against the Canadian gov't
Gabriel Dumont - helped Riel in the rebellion (Metis too)

Rollo Beck - killed a lot (10,000?) of birds off California coast to establish the collections at the UC-Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and the American Museum of Natural History; also went on an expedition to the Galapagos and killed the last Galapagos tortoise


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:42 AM
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also went on an expedition to the Galapagos and killed the last Galapagos tortoise

No he didn't. There are lots of Galapagos tortoises still left. (Irrefutable argument coming up) David Attenborough said so.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:48 AM
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Edward Carpenter -- invented the entire beards-and-sandals arts&crafts gay vegetarian look/stance/meme, in the late 19th century -- nice big book just came out about him


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:53 AM
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122. There are several species/subspecies of Galapagos tortoise. Some survive, many were exterminated by human agency, and I don't see why Beck shouldn't have contributed to this.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:55 AM
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123. Also, critical link in the sexual chain that links Walt Whitman to Allan Ginsberg.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:55 AM
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123: I think Walt Whitman predated him in some of those attributes...


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:58 AM
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Wally Pipp. See Gehrig, Lou.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:00 AM
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Pwned on Walt Whitman. At least 125 confirms that non-American people know who he is.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:00 AM
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108: I have a soft-spot for the smiling Irish bastard type, I have to say.

Well, hello. Laydeez.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:01 AM
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126. Obviously he did. Whitman had a "Whitman number" of 0 by definition. Carpenter had a Whitman number of 1; Ginsberg has a Whitman number of 4.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:02 AM
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Sorry, I read 126 as to 125


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:03 AM
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Malcom McLean - "father of containerization" (mid-50s).

"On the morning of McLean's funeral, container ships around the world blew their whistles in his honor."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:03 AM
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What about today's bearded gay standard-bearer?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:04 AM
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129: I'd have to call you Uncle Gonerill and smirk while you sneaked off with the best man's wife at my cousin's wedding.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:04 AM
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104 is funny (but so is 103, actually).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:07 AM
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Whitman didn't make it a meme though: it needs the disciple to do that. (The same way the important invention is the SECOND wheel.) Hence if you google what whitman sandals the first two entries are for Carpenter.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:09 AM
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I mean walt whitman sandals: also you find the term Carpenter used for gay, which is kind of awesome...


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:10 AM
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129: I'd have to call you Uncle Gonerill and smirk while you sneaked off with the best man's wife at my cousin's wedding.

My people are stylish that way.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:15 AM
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137: Was it "adhesive"? Because if it was, he stole that from Whitman too!!!!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:17 AM
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The fervid comradeship (the adhesive love) of the Mineshaft must be repressed.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:21 AM
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138: Hey -- totally classy. Uncle John did that at the wedding of one of his nephews -- not one of his sons. Sheesh.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:27 AM
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141: And it's not like it was someone who was in the wedding party herself, because that could have disrupted things. The poor girl was probably at loose ends while her husband was racing around being best man, and needed to be amused.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:34 AM
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I am slightly inaccurate - Beck was a collector and he collected three of the last four individuals of a subspecies of Galapagos tortoise. So one of the human agency extinctions can be laid pretty nearly at his feet.

But! If you get a chance to go behind the scenes of MVZ, they have a huge collection of his stuff including his pith helmet and letters he wrote his wife while they were dating. They are great letters that include making sure she picked up tickets to the opera and feeling like he was slacking off because he was writing her instead of prepping study skins.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:36 AM
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Inez Milholland; great pictures of her on a caparisoned white horse; when Vincent writes "Take up the song! Forget the epitaph" you could provide the song.

Lt. Lightoller; surviving the wreck of the Titanic was probably the second or third most exciting thing in his life.

"the fastest man in the world" at the turn of the last century--argh, Major Tom? Captain Toby? Anyway. Heroic athlete, globally famous, and it came to nothing because he was black. The Australian race in which he was nearly killed, returned with serious physical trauma, and only wasn't destroyed because an Australian competitor was belatedly ashamed of the racist blocking and started blocking them deserves a ballad.

Several South China Sea pirates, eg Coxinga.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:38 AM
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I have to go bye-bye. See ya.


Posted by: Moby Hick's Bicuspid's Pulp | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:42 AM
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145: Drill, baby, drill!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:44 AM
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He said I needed a root canal. He never said anything about drilling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:48 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:48 AM
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147: Oh, ok. They send into tiny boats and gondoliers. Like Venice.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:50 AM
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Betty Zane was a not-really-famous Revolutionary War heroine from Ohio who fetched some gunpowder to help break the siege of Fort Henry. Contrary to what I learned in elementary school, Zanesville, Ohio was not named after her, but after her brother, Ebenezer.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:53 AM
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150: Molly Pitcher could totally take her.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:56 AM
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"the fastest man in the world" at the turn of the last century--argh, Major Tom? Captain Toby? Anyway. Heroic athlete, globally famous, and it came to nothing because he was black. The Australian race in which he was nearly killed, returned with serious physical trauma, and only wasn't destroyed because an Australian competitor was belatedly ashamed of the racist blocking and started blocking them deserves a ballad.

I've been googling for this: if you mean a bicycle racer, it's Major Taylor (the "Major" was a nickname from a job he had advertising for a bike shop by riding around in a flashy uniform.) But I can't find a description of the Australian race.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:59 AM
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But Molly Pitcher is famous! She has a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike named after her. Betty didn't even get Zanesville.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:01 AM
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151: And Margaret Corbin could take the two of them. From a distance.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:01 AM
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Major Taylor is pretty damn famous in certain circles.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:03 AM
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Beck was a collector and he collected three of the last four individuals of a subspecies of Galapagos tortoise

Did the subspecies mate with one another? Because if not and they were each down to one individual, um, well.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:03 AM
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97, 99:

I'm a kinder, gentler divorce lawyer.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:03 AM
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154: Pshaw. A Molly Pitcher copycat.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:03 AM
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159: Of course, Margaret's battle was first. But still.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:05 AM
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Edward Devotion was the unheralded third rider who, along with William Dawes and Paul Revere, rode through the Boston area to alert the citizenry that the British were coming. It's true, Mike Wallace says so! Except it's not true at all, and he actually probably died in the 17th century. William Dawes may well have ridden by his house, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:06 AM
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Anyway, for obscure Revolutionary War heroines, Deborah Sampson has 'em all beat. In elementary school, we learned a song:

Deborah Sampson,
Deborah Sampson
As a man, she volunteered
As a man, she persevered
Did everything but grow a beard
To join the Continental Army


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:09 AM
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Minor! Lionel Mapelson. Hung out in the prompter's box/in the flies at the Metropolitan with a wax cylinder recorder, giving us the only documents of certain singers considered important by people who consider singers important. Lots of them are pretty unlistenable but like oh my god, Jean de Reszke and Lillian Nordica singing Les Huguenots!. Obviously who cares except...this is a sound document from fucking 1901 of people who were household names.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:24 AM
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156: subspecies by definition can mate with each other, as long as they're not, well, on different islands...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:26 AM
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163: I would do anything for love, but I won't do that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:27 AM
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160: William Dawes and Samuel Otis were described by historian Hollis Hurlbut as being similar in historical stature to Jebediah Springfield..


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:29 AM
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Aline Sitoe Diatta -- the Joan of Arc of Senegal.

I learned about her in a history of religion class -- the professor studied religion in Senegal, and he compared to other cult leaders like Jesus and Mohammed.

Paul Morphy -- chess really isn't significant enough to be included in history, but it does seem interesting to me that for some reason every 100 years or so the United States produces a unique chess genius, who become world champion, and then goes insane.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:29 AM
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Harry Burn & Harry Burn's mother cast the decisive vote for the 19th Amendment.

The women [campaigning for suffrage] and their allies knew they had a one-vote margin of support in the [Tennessee] House. Then the speaker, whom they had counted on as a "yes," changed his mind.
(I love this moment. Women's suffrage is tied to the railroad track and the train is bearing down fast when suddenly. ...)
Suddenly, Harry Burn, the youngest member of the House, a 24-year-old "no" vote from East Tennessee, got up and announced that he had received a letter from his mother telling him to "be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt."
"I know that a mother's advice is always the safest for a boy to follow," Burn said, switching sides.

Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:30 AM
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161. My elementary school taught us this one. What is this obsession with inculcating 6-year-olds with a taste for cross dressing in uniforms?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:32 AM
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Also, Frederick Hicks and two other members of the U.S. House whose names I don't know. (A little research project for you, Stanley.)

[The women's suffrage amendment] came up before the [U.S.] House of Representatives in 1918 with the two-thirds votes needed for passage barely within reach. One congressman who had been in the hospital for six months had himself carted to the floor so he could support suffrage. Another, who had just broken his shoulder, refused to have it set for fear he'd be too late to be counted. Representative Frederick Hicks of New York had been at the bedside of his dying wife but left at her urging to support the cause. He provided the final, crucial vote, and then returned home for her funeral.

Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:34 AM
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What is this obsession with inculcating 6-year-olds with a taste for cross dressing in uniforms the knowledge that women fought and died in wars?

Putting starry visions in little girls' eyes of becoming drag kings is just a bonus.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:41 AM
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the knowledge that women fought and died in wars?

You're going to have trouble persuading me that this was an important goal for our singing teacher in 1957. A nice enough woman in all conscience, but pretty establishment even by the lights of those times.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:54 AM
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A bit of chilling historical news I learned this morning: my great uncle and a cousin are over in Europe doing genealogical stuff and went to the rinky-dink town in Southern Poland from which the Stanley clan hailed. According to what they turned up, at least one distant relative, who's now buried there, survived Auschwitz.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:55 AM
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Marvel Whiteside "Jack" Parsons- Inventor of solid rocket fuel and disciple of Aleister Crowley

Joshua Speed- Abraham Lincoln's butt buddy and my great x3 grand uncle. (His sister married my great x3 grandfather).


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 9:57 AM
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A Molly Pitcher copycat.

My sister's wedding reception was at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:04 AM
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171: Still waters run deep.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:05 AM
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Hey, if we're doing obscure distant relatives, let me introduce my cousin three or four times removed, Thomas Sproule. Not a very nice chap.

One thing I learn from that article is that when they filibustered back in the day they fucking filibustered. Modern Republicans are wimps; they should blush for shame:

During a thirty-six day filibuster on the question of the government's naval bill, Sproule lost his patience after weeks of 24 hour sessions, and became the first Speaker ever to "name" a member of the House for disorderly conduct.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:10 AM
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169: Reminds me of the curbside* voter I helped in 2004: This woman who had just had back surgery, and was in excruciating pain, had her husband and father drive her to the polling place, as flat on her back as the passenger seat in their car would allow, so that she could cast a ballot for Kerry/Edwards. She was weeping with the pain, but insisted on staying until we could confirm that her ballot had been duly fed into the machine and counted. Not that it did much good, but still.

*In Minnesota, you can vote from your car if you are not able to enter the polling place. Two election judges of different parties have to help you.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:12 AM
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174: Ha! My dad worked there -- before either of us was born.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:13 AM
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||
Goddammit, I'm starting to believe that the Democrats are actively trying to get me to vote third party. And they're perilously close to succeeding.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:16 AM
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You're going to have trouble persuading me that this was an important goal for our singing teacher in 1957

Yeah, this doesn't seem consistent with the worldview of the nuns who taught me in the '60s.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:18 AM
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176: I like that he had to learn French. That must have really bothered him.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:23 AM
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179: I'm a little confused. Okay, I'm usually a lot confused. But if the Dems don't do anything, the Bush tax cuts, all of them, go away. Which is, in some sense, good; antistimulative, but more rational long term. Politically damaging for the Dems, because the middleclass tax cuts go away too, but once the Bush tax cuts are gone, we're starting from a saner baseline if we want to talk about cutting working and middle-class taxes.

But I may have my procedural facts garbled: I'm usually a couple of weeks behind what's happening in Congress. Spell out what's so bad here?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:25 AM
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But if the Dems don't do anything, the Bush tax cuts, all of them, go away.

That's not what they're going to do. They're going to come back after they get shellacked in November under a barrage of Democrats-are-raising-everybody's-taxes ads, and deal with them in a lame-duck session, so as to improbably get *negative* political advantage from the easiest layup available.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:33 AM
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Reinforcing yet again the apparently 100% accurate perception that the natural role for the Democratic Party is being the Republican Party's whipped dog.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:35 AM
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Ely S. Parker, adjutant general to U.S. Grant and first Native
American head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

His encounter with Robert E. Lee at Appomattox makes a great anecdote.


Posted by: Brainz | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:36 AM
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Frederick Jenkins, instigator of the Oppert Affair, 1867 voyage to the then-isolated kingdom of Korea.

According to my own research (not online), Jenkins had lived in Shanghai from an early age, worked as an interpreter for the various trading firms (white bilinguals being in high demand), went into business, and made enough to finance the expedition. Oppert (the expedition's Prussian captain) is better remembered, probably because he wrote a memoir decades later, but Jenkins had earlier tried to persuade the US consul-general to Shanghai, George Seward (nephew of William Seward) to open up Korea, so he was almost certainly the main responsible party.

See the Wikipedia page on Ernst Oppert; and a more detailed account here, starting about halfway down, for what actually happened. It was comically ill-advised, an attempt at private gunboat diplomacy via grave-robbing.

Oppert was later tried and convicted by the Prussian government (in the absence of diplomatic relations with Korea); Jenkins was tried by Seward in Shanghai, but acquitted for lack of evidence - the Chinese and Filipino sailors brought to testify clammed up.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:36 AM
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I know the Republicans aren't planning to do anything with their majority in either house of Congress except launch spurious investigations into nonexistent wrongdoing culminating in an impeachment battle circa July 2012, but my question is, can the Democrats stop them from doing that via the 60-vote majority requirement, like they can stop them from passing any legislation?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:37 AM
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The problem is they won;t even force a vote to extend the "middle-class" tax cuts because some of them fear that the Repubs will attack them for not trying to extend them all. A lot of it is based on the BS about "small businesses" evidenced in this answer from John Boehner:

Well, it may be three percent, but it's half of small business income. Because, obviously, the top three percent have half of the gross income for those companies that we would term small businesses. And this is why you don't want to punish these people at a time when you have a weak economy


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:38 AM
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Dammit, the second link should go here: http://www.koreanhistoryproject.org/Ket/C21/E2104.htm


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:38 AM
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I hadn't been following it too closely but caught some chatter about moving the ceiling to one million (that is, all those making under a million simoleons keep the Bush-era cuts). That idea seemed sort of clever marketing (if not great policy). Was it just a passing fancy?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:38 AM
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188: And they will get attacked on the point anyway. And won't even force the Repubs to vote against the middle-class extension.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:40 AM
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|| In the middle of an interesting article by Susan Faludi in Harper's about second-wave and third-wave feminists butting heads. Reminding me of recent thread here. Anyone read it? Or is this like bringing up The Atlantic around here?
|>


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:42 AM
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183 gets it. This is just jaw-droppingly inept -- bad politics and worse policy (does anyone not think that the $250,000+ bracket is going to get to keep its tax break at this point?) -- even for the Democrats. I'm gobsmacked.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:44 AM
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Isn't there some argument that the Dems might be right on the tactics here? They can still say that the Republicans are "holding your tax cuts hostage for their millionaire constituency" or however you want to put it: they don't need to force a vote for it to be absolutely clear that the Republicans were going to block it, they block everything. And maybe they can use the resultingly unwasted Senate time to do something useful.

I'm not sure this is good tactics, but it seems arguable, and it doesn't seem like a substantive sellout.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:50 AM
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192: Haven't read it, but I like Faludi. Harpers is lousy about putting stuff online, aren't they?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:50 AM
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Admittedly part of the difficulty is saying who would be "minor", especially if someone's a huge presence in a smaller field. I find Vladimir Shukhov pretty cool, but he's probably very well known by anyone who dealt with structural engineering.

brings to mind Kronecker, famed (?) for his delta, threorem, lemma, etc.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:51 AM
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threorem s/b theorem (sorry, Kronecker)


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:53 AM
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195: Hm, I actually have no idea. I've subscribed for a couple of years and before that I would just buy it for train trips. So I've never really read it online.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:54 AM
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Isn't there some argument that the Dems might be right on the tactics here?
That just answers itself, doesn't it.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:54 AM
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Yeah, I just checked and it's subscribers only. I'm actually about to duck out to a bookstore to buy a birthday present, maybe I'll pick up a copy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:55 AM
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TPM also says this:

In what would be a surprising twist, one member of the Democratic leadership team suggested Dems might pivot away from the argument over upper-income tax cuts and press ahead with a separate raft of cuts before adjourning.

This seems okay to me. If I'm reading this correctly, the proposal is to take the Bush cuts off the table entirely, and substitute something else.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:55 AM
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199: Well, presumptively, yes. I'm just not following what makes it an obvious, rather than a possible, fuckup, but there's a good chance that it is and I'm just not seeing it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:56 AM
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200 - No doubt it's a good magazine and all, but that seems pretty chintzy for a birthday present.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:56 AM
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Alfred Milner, a man at whose feet can be laid, with only a touch of unfairness, the ultimate responsibility for both apartheid and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:57 AM
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They can still say that the Republicans are "holding your tax cuts hostage for their millionaire constituency" or however you want to put it

They can, but that's not what they're doing.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:58 AM
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201: That seems brilliant to me, if they do it. It rewrites the story as making the end of the Bush tax cuts the status quo, and new tax cuts for the lower end of the income distribution as a Democratic initiative.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:58 AM
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I'm not sure this is good tactics

It's ridiculous. They can't even craft a recognizable message, much less a useful one, and this was a total gimme. I had hopes that things wouldn't be as bad as feared come Election Day, but I'm starting to think it's actually going to be worse.

it doesn't seem like a substantive sellout

Wait for the lame-duck session. I'd bet money on it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 10:59 AM
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I think the tactical problem is here:
they don't need to force a vote for it to be absolutely clear that the Republicans were going to block it
And then when the issue gets revisited by chastened Dems or Republican majorities you run into the policy problem.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:02 AM
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208: The thing is, they're not going to pass the middle class tax cuts before the election either way: the Republicans won't let them. So they can't go into the midterms with an accomplishment to wave. They can have a failed vote, or a non-vote. The only way a failed vote does any good is if they actually sell it as the Republicans' fault, which they're terrible at -- see, e.g., the amount of shit Democrats are taking for failing on DADT. It's possible to sell a non-vote as the Republicans' fault if you say it loudly enough: after all, it's true that they would block the cuts, anyone who's paying attention knows that, and anyone who doesn't pay attention, the problem is yelling loud enough, not the facts you have to work with.

So, I don't think this is necessarily good tactics, but the real tactical issue is the election message, not the vote. Forcing the vote doesn't get you anything without messaging, failing to force it doesn't hurt you if your messaging is right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:08 AM
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207: You'll never win money betting that the Democrats are going to do the right thing, but Pelosi is a key player here, and I've got a lot of confidence not only in her motives, but in her savvy. My guess here is that she whips/sweet talks the House into doing something resembling the right thing before the election.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:09 AM
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Is this all actually certain? Is the only confirmation of this still the "anonymous Senate aide"? Because, while it seems likely to me at least that the story is true, that same reporter, with the same sorts of anonymous sourcing, has written that health care was dead, too. (Among other things.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:12 AM
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183: I'm gobsmacked. This is March of Folly-level incompetence. This lot couldn't spell "winning issue" if you spotted them all the consonants and an "i".


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:13 AM
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they're not going to pass the middle class tax cuts before the election either way: the Republicans won't let them

Which party controls congress these days again? (Nominally, I mean.)

I don't see how they could go wrong bringing two separate votes--one on the under $250 cuts, and one on the over $250 cuts. How exactly would Republicans prevent that? Would they filibuster one or both of the bills? No. Then the under $250 cuts would pass, and the over $250 cuts might or might not--and if they do, they get vetoed. (I wouldn't object to scheduling the timing such that any necessary veto could occur after the election.) This seems easy.

201 might be even better, depending on what's proposed, but I don't for a minute believe it. 207.4 sounds like the winner.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:15 AM
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209: Hmm, I was thinking a failed vote would help their messaging, but perhaps you're right. Really, if facts and reality were at all helpful the Republicsns would be trampled by ponies.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:16 AM
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I don't see how they could go wrong bringing two separate votes--one on the under $250 cuts, and one on the over $250 cuts. How exactly would Republicans prevent that? Would they filibuster one or both of the bills? No. Then the under $250 cuts would pass, and the over $250 cuts might or might not--and if they do, they get vetoed. (I wouldn't object to scheduling the timing such that any necessary veto could occur after the election.) This seems easy.

Maybe. I wouldn't put it past the Republicans to filibuster the under $250K cuts, and sell to their voters as a purely procedural way to fight for "Tax Cuts For Everybody!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:18 AM
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211: I do think at times we may be peering a bit too deeply into the internals of the sausage factory. If they pull of something good along the lines of 201 & 206 that would be refreshing. What is the appropriate message to pass on to our reps to urge them not to fuck up?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:19 AM
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And I'm really, really, really not sure the Democrats are being competent here. I'm just not sure that this specifically is particularly bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:19 AM
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187 -- No effect. Investigations are by committees, and run on a simple majority basis. And if the Senate doesn't switch, the House can still do all the investigations it wants.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:20 AM
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Michael Tomasky:

I suppose that aide could be right. But what he or she doesn't understand is that not having a vote just looks like surrender. It's not fighting for anything. Because everyone watching this debate understands that a vote after the elections is guaranteed to extend all the cuts and really embarrass Obama, because he's going to be put in a position of vetoing cuts for the middle class or signing a bill including all cuts, and he's obviously going to have to do the latter. It's short-sighted. It's selfish. It's weak. It's pathetic. And it's all too typical. Shall I go on?

I understand that the GOP will block a vote. Fine. Make them block it. Yes, five or six Democrats will block it with them. That's the real problem here, because Harry Reid doesn't want to hang these people out to dry. But why do five or six Democrats - who want to give tax cuts to the top 2% of earners - get to thwart the will of the 50-plus senators who would be happy to force this vote? That's our old friend the senate rules.

It's just so incredibly lame. I'm close to thinking let 'em lose, serves 'em right. Then I see the Bedlam inmates running on the other side and I remember the stakes. But honestly.

Maybe I should just write about college football.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:23 AM
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Because everyone watching this debate understands that a vote after the elections is guaranteed to extend all the cuts and really embarrass Obama, because he's going to be put in a position of vetoing cuts for the middle class or signing a bill including all cuts, and he's obviously going to have to do the latter.

This bit isn't obvious to me. Possible, but not 'guaranteed'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:26 AM
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And I don't see how a failed vote before the election makes that happen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:27 AM
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200: If you didn't already go, you're welcome to my copy. It's a fortune on the newsstand, like seven bucks. Yeesh.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:33 AM
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I wouldn't put it past the Republicans to filibuster the under $250K cuts, and sell to their voters as a purely procedural way to fight for "Tax Cuts For Everybody!"

So they'd be filibustering tax cuts for the middle class, in the name of giving tax cuts to everyone, when we're already voting on tax cuts for the wealthy? That seems hard to defend. Doable, maybe, if they weren't pressed on it (which, for reasons I don't understand, they wouldn't be). But I bet at least some members of their caucus would crack, and allow a vote. And Regardless, that position certainly seems harder to defend than just saying over and over than you want tax cuts for everybody, and that you're ready and willing to vote for them, but that those mean tax-hiking democrats in control of congress won't let you.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:33 AM
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So, I'm not exactly a legislative strategy maven or anything. I mean, Guy Fawkes and all that, right? But I guess what I'm missing is the reason that the Dems don't just bring every part of the legislative agenda to a vote, and let the Republicans filibuster them, one after the other. They could do that, right? So the news from now till the election would just be "Tax bill introduced, Republicans Filibuster"; "Highway bill introduced, Republicans Filibuster"; "Environment bill introduced, Republicans Filibuster" -- maybe there's Sooper Seekrit Important Congressional Biznis (TM) that would have to be postponed, but it seems like the public relations coup would be more than worth it. And with all that footage of Republican wankers wanking on about liberty and private property and stuff, you'd be sure to get some great footage of them saying and doing really stupid things. Plus those high-shutter-speed photos of them making really silly or disturbing faces. Those are always good too.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:34 AM
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220: Right, this confuses me. I can see how Republicans can block "cut taxes on the middle class, but not the wealthy", but if they do the choice is reduced to "cut taxes on everyone" versus "no tax cuts at all". Is it clear that Democrats, given that choice, would or should pass the "tax cuts for everyone" option?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:35 AM
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But I bet at least some members of their caucus would crack, and allow a vote.

This doesn't seem like a safe bet at all -- they've been rock solid on tactical stuff.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:38 AM
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Given the Democrats messaging incompetence, the strongest argument I can come up for forcing the Republicans and centrists to block something is that to not do so would, as remarked above, feel like surrender, further depressing turnout in their base.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:40 AM
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And Regardless, that position certainly seems harder to defend than just saying over and over than you want tax cuts for everybody, and that you're ready and willing to vote for them, but that those mean tax-hiking democrats in control of congress won't let you.

All they have to do is say: "This bill is a trick that will allow Democrats to raise taxes on small businesses: we're not going to let them do that. I'm filibustering until we have a bill that lets us cut taxes for EVERYONE!" The thing is, (if we overlook the equation of "small businesses" with "income over 250K, and "raise taxes" with "allow the Bush cuts to expire") that's straightforwardly true. That's why we'd want the Democrats to do it.

It'd still be harder to defend, but that doesn't make attacking the Republicans on that point self-executing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:42 AM
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Abigail Scott Duniway: farmer, shopkeeper, novelist, newspaper publisher and a key figure in making Oregon the seventh state to adopt women's suffrage. Bonus fact: while her family was traveling west on the Oregon Trail, her mother died of dysentery cholera.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:42 AM
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227 cont'd: I mean, look how most of us are reacting.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:43 AM
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229: They shouldn't have stopped to hunt near the miasma.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:47 AM
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228: and the response to R attacks about D's wanting to raise taxes is: we have introduced bills to keep every American's tax rate unchanged. R's are filibustering them.*

No, it's not self-executing, which is an odd standard to require, but it's about the easiest political messaging I can imagine. I don't see how any concerns you have about D's being able to fuck up the messaging (which are no doubt completely valid) wouldn't apply 10x to the current proposal.

* The optics get even better if you think R's would filibuster only the under 250K bill, although they're probably smarter than that.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:49 AM
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LizardBreath: I remember the Australian race from a biography of Taylor. I'm not a sports person and it was gripping anyway.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:54 AM
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232: The only point of it not being self-executing is that where we are now, the Democrats have a decent argument to make, if they'd sell it hard. And they're not selling it hard enough, or competently, so they're going to get pasted in November.

If they did something different tactically, they might have a somewhat easier message to sell. But they'd still have to sell it.

Given that they're not selling hard or competently now, I can't see that the effect their procedural decisions are going to have on the content of the message is all that big. The problem is the failure of messaging, not the legislative tactics. Policy accomplishments are independently important, but if you're not going to have the actual accomplishment, the procedural route to failure only matters in light of the effect it's actually going to have on the public conversation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:55 AM
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I think the most charitable interpretation of the decision is that the House Dems don't have the votes to extend the middle class cuts without the goodies for the top bracket. I can't claim to know anything about Pelosi's motivation for punting on the vote, but it's at least plausible that she thought she would lose it, what with 44 members of the caucus stumping for more tax cuts for the rich. She might well have feared that the Republicans would successfully attach an amendment to make permanent the cuts for the >$250K taxpayers, leaving leftward side of the caucus with the choice of voting to enshrine the worst of the Bush tax cuts forever, or voting for a "middle class tax increase".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:56 AM
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I just figured that the Dems were responding to recent reports that they might not in fact get shellacked in the midterms, so they're working to dispel that idea.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:00 PM
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236 makes sense to me.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:02 PM
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The lame duck session is going to be awful. If Republicans take a 2 seat majority in the House, we'll hear the word "mandate" in every sentence. Yeah, like in 2008 isn't going to mean shit to them, or to Versailles.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:04 PM
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235: 44 members of the caucus

My asshat rep among them. And it is clear to me that that position will not get him one extra vote. But he is absolutely set on running against Obama and Pelosi.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:16 PM
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I've only skimmed the thread, but to the OP: I'll always grateful to Unfogged for acquainting me with Tycho Brahe, his golden nose, and the tragic story of his drunken moose.

Apologies for interrupting serious political discussion; please carry on.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:21 PM
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I have to say that I don't think the politics of postponing the vote are necessarily all that bad for embattled Dems. Who would have voted for Stormcrow's 'asshat' and is now going to vote for the Republican? Or stay home, even.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:23 PM
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And it is clear to me that that position will not get him one extra vote.

My guess is that winning votes isn't the point. If you look at the 44, it's clear that a lot of them have vanishingly few constituents who would be affected by the upper income tax hike. But campaign contributors... that's a different story.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:33 PM
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Contributors, ideological voters, and personal tax burden.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:39 PM
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. . . as well as careers post-Congress, for those invited to resume private life.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:39 PM
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Also, social circle.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:42 PM
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Also, people who mistakenly believe they will one day assume their rightful place among the super-rich.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:44 PM
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Who would have voted for Stormcrow's 'asshat' and is now going to vote for the Republican? Or stay home, even.

The mind of the "median"/"swing" voter is a complete mystery to me. Republicans I understand. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of Republicanism--at least it's an ethos. But I geniunely feel like I have zero insight into the possible thought processes of undecided voters on these sort of issues. (I suspect they mostly have no thought processes on these issues--not knowing fundamentally which side you're on certainly suggests as much--and so they vote not based in any way on any of this stuff at all, but just more or less based on their general satisfaction with the overall ecnonomy, etc.)

So predicting their reaction to this sort of thing strikes me as damn near impossible, and for that reason it's hard for to call this a political disaster for embattled Democrats. But I just fail to see any conceivable messaging where this comes across better than going ahead and holding a vote.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:44 PM
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I suspect they mostly have no thought processes on these issues

Bingo.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:46 PM
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But I just fail to see any conceivable messaging where this comes across better than going ahead and holding a vote.

I can't see how it comes across better, but I could see it being pretty much a wash. And in terms of governance, they could certainly use the freed up time to do something useful. No guarantees that they will, but Senate time is a very valuable and limited thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:50 PM
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And in terms of governance, they could certainly use the freed up time to do something useful.

Now that's a bet I'd be willing to take! I'll give you 10-1 odds.


Posted by: Urple | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:56 PM
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(I suspect they mostly have no thought processes on these issues--not knowing fundamentally which side you're on certainly suggests as much--and so they vote not based in any way on any of this stuff at all, but just more or less based on their general satisfaction with the overall ecnonomy, etc.)

I think swing voters must be the most uninformed voters (in contrast to being misinformed). Therefore pretty much any strategy aimed at them is not going to reach them. They vote on the economy and the most nebulous of worthless gut instincts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 12:57 PM
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I think postponement is better than failure for attracting advocates of the President's policy, and postponement is better than a vote with Pelosi for attracting opponents of the President's policy. Republicans can make any claims they want about what Nancy Pelosi wants to do, but the thing is going to be any more involved that Rep. Asshat voted for a massive tax cut.

I can't think of any people in DC I trust more than the Speaker to read the politics right, and the vote count.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:01 PM
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I can't think of any people in DC I trust more than the Speaker to read the politics right, and the vote count.

If this story is correct, Pelosi's read on the politics is the same as that of Josh Marshall and most of us here.

That pretty much leaves my vote-counting explanation from 235.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:10 PM
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not knowing fundamentally which side you're on certainly suggests as much

Occasionally I wonder what I'd do if (in circumstances where there hadn't been a huge political realignment so the party names really didn't mean what they do now), I were looking at voting in an election where the Republican literally favored more policies I favor than the Democrat. I can't see this being likely to happen, but it'd be really disturbing, and I'm not sure how clear the difference it would have to be to override my party identification.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:12 PM
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pretty much any strategy aimed at them is not going to reach them

This is mostly true, but I do believe that one thing that gets through to them is which side looks weak, and Democrats manage to play that role regardless of their margin.

Anyhow, Facebook (which has drastically lowered my opinion of the average American, and that estimation was pretty low already) tells me that a large swath of "undecided" voters of my acquaintance hold as an article of faith that you should "vote for the person, not the party". Which is just about the worst yardstick possible for them since they almost certainly don't know any of the candidates and don't pay attention to politics generally.

In practice, this philosophy appears to largely result in voting for the candidate that looks the best on television.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:13 PM
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I were looking at voting in an election where the Republican literally favored more policies I favor than the Democrat. I can't see this being likely to happen, but it'd be really disturbing, and I'm not sure how clear the difference it would have to be to override my party identification

This is the case for me in this November's local mayoral election.* And it's not just on policy--every (publicly-available) indication is that he's vastly more personally competent and public-minded. But I feel like I must be getting scammed. I may not vote.

* Admittedly, this has more to do with the D being terrible than with the R being all that great.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:19 PM
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254: There's only one issue: Whom do you support for Speaker of the House? Get that one wrong, and I don't care what your other positions are. In Congressional elections, I'm a Yellow Dog Democrat.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:19 PM
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In practice, this philosophy appears to largely result in voting for the candidate that looks the best on television.

America must have a huge fetish for pot-bellied, balding white guys in suits. Which, you know, I'd find alarming were it to for self-interest.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:19 PM
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In 256 I think you should vote for the better would-be mayor. In voting for congress, however, every Republican will vote the same as every other Republican no matter what they claim to believe, so such a vote would be ridiculous.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:21 PM
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257: For Congress, yes. I'm sort of wondering what it would take to flip me for, say, Governor (luckily, while the Democrat I'm voting for this year is uninspiring, the Republican isn't anything that's going to give me second thoughts about sticking with my usual straight ticket). The thing is, choosing to affiliate with Republicans seems to indicate such globally bad judgment that even if a candidate's policy positions were better than the alternative, I can't see how I could trust them not to do something wildly insane in office.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:23 PM
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The thing is, choosing to affiliate with Republicans seems to indicate such globally bad judgment that even if a candidate's policy positions were better than the alternative, I can't see how I could trust them not to do something wildly insane in office.

This, to 259.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:25 PM
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Aren't there any procedural tricks to prevent the 'middle class tax cuts' and the 'struggling Henderson' ones from being combined in the same bill? Because then it wouldn't matter if Blue Dogs plus Repubs pass the party favors for contributors cuts, Obama could veto them.

254-5. It can make sense to be less partisan in executive branch posts on a local and state level. You can also do the vote the crook out thing in a deep, deep, Blue district like they finally did with Cold Cash Jefferson. You get the bastard out at the relatively low cost of two years of a Repub. Also, to LB - weren't you in MA for Weld's election where he was clearly the more liberal of the two candidates?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:26 PM
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I'm sort of wondering what it would take to flip me for, say, Governor

There was a good test case in your college years, if you were registered to vote there.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:27 PM
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261: You've never voted in a local election in Pittsburgh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:27 PM
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On the municipal level, "Choosing to affiliate with Republicans" generally means "Failing to be friends with the leaders of the local machine" in practice, doesn't it?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:29 PM
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Damn you, teraz!


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:29 PM
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261: I think in your shoes (and assuming you're right about the personal qualities of the candidates), I'd look at the Republican's background, and see if I could come up with some biographical excuse for him to be a Republican. I'm not sure what that would be, but some kind of family history, or something, that would give him a personal loyalty reason for being attached to an insane party. If I could find something that persuaded me, I might vote for him. Otherwise, randomly selected third party or write-in, just to keep turnout up and indicate that you're an available but disgruntled voter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:31 PM
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A gubernatorial candidate who was described as "a rabid Kantian"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:32 PM
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some biographical excuse for him to be a Republican

He's personally donated significant amounts of money to various anti-gay-rights causes. Does that count?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:34 PM
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I never voted in MA -- my first year I wasn't eighteen, and my second I can't actually remember if I voted, but if I did, it was at home for Dinkins. The fact that I can't remember suggests I didn't, but the fact that I don't remember feeling horribly guilty about not voting suggests I may have.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:35 PM
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269: Fuck him. Third party.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:36 PM
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Otherwise, randomly selected third party or write-in, just to keep turnout up and indicate that you're an available but disgruntled voter.

I once voted for a Socialist, a Green, a Libertarian, and "XXX's ass" on the same ballot. If I'm even a little irked at you and you have no major party opposition, I'll vote for whoever else is there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:37 PM
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270: Duh, Dinkins won in '89, which explains why I didn't feel guilty. I must not have voted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:37 PM
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271: voting for the third party is the easy way out, though I may well do it. But I do still wish I could settle in my mind which of the two I'd prefer to see win the election (even if the best answer is obviously "neither").


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:41 PM
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A gubernatorial candidate who was described as "a rabid Kantian"?

Wrong for America.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:43 PM
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274: Well, there's a shade of difference between who you'd prefer to win the election, and who you'd prefer to be mayor for the next four years, and I can imagine going different ways on the two questions. If the R is really more competent and civic minded, he might make a better mayor as between your two options. But having Republicans who are heavy donors to anti-gay causes be successful candidates for anything is bad for society generally -- candidates should be afraid of being heavy donors to anti-gay causes because it's political poison. So I could see wanting the R to lose the election, while still thinking he'd make a better mayor.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 1:46 PM
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God, Silber was a fuckhead.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 2:03 PM
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You commies need to find a way to exploit this phenomenon: Average Americans are waaaay off on their estimates of income inequality.

http://www.people.hbs.edu/mnorton/norton%20ariely%20in%20press.pdf

The problem as I see it is that the government is a lousy candidate for just outcomes. Too easy to manipulate.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 2:05 PM
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As far as I can tell, the two dudes running for mayor of our town don't have any differences of opinion when it comes to how the city should be run and I think it's technically a non-partison posting, though I'm sure they're both Republicans. I'd been planning to vote for the one who runs a rental equipment business I know nothing about over the one whose computer repair store seems inadequate, but I don't have much else to go on and may ask around among gossipy older neighbors.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 2:19 PM
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vote for the one who runs a rental equipment business I know nothing about over the one whose computer repair store seems inadequate

Mouseover text.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 2:25 PM
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The problem as I see it is that the government is a lousy candidate for just outcomes.

TLL turns anarchist!


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 2:33 PM
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280: You can change it, you know.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 2:34 PM
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find a way to exploit this phenomenon: Average Americans are waaaay off on their estimates of . . .

I'll get on right on that as soon as I'm done squaring this circle.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 2:39 PM
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192: Yes, I've read it. I like the historical framework (I don't think she makes a completely convincing case for the contemporary relevance of the 1920s divide, but I thought it was an interesting way of looking at it).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 2:55 PM
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TLL turns anarchist

That's me with bob and Frowner up on the barricade.

Here's the thing- IT billionaires are basically the robber barons of this gilded age. But most of their wealth is in stock of their company, which means that other people want the stock as much as they do. I'm thinking that the need for publicly traded stock companies is less than it was, ie it does not take as much capital to start an IT company as it does to build a railroad. I mean the Facebook guy is a billionaire, and good for him. But Facebook is not exactly US steel, is it?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 2:58 PM
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But Facebook is not exactly US steel, is it?

But at least it's a product people use and enjoy. I say the first to be against the wall should be all the hedge fund types and their "financial innovations".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 3:02 PM
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first to be against the wall should be all the hedge fund types

There will always be speculators, especially when actual things can be represented and traded by bits of paper or pixels. A simple thing as title insurance allows a lender to know who owns a piece of property, thus freeing capital that otherwise is stranded. Selling the debt lets the banker lend more. These are "good" things. I seem to remember that as a culture Japan relies less on the stock market because it is seen as a form of gambling rather than investing. Something for nothing never ends well.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 3:22 PM
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At the end of The Shockwave Rider, there's an internet plebiscite where all incomes are going to be determined based on a simple algorithm based on (a) the level of education required for a job, (b) its inherent disagreeableness, and (c) its importance to society. It seems to me we could figure out the order of who is up against the wall based on something similar, where the criteria were: (a) the amount of wealth they control, (b) the degree of mendacity inherent in their occupation, and (c) the level of obnoxiousness with which they comport themselves. So yeah, the hedge fund types would be right up there with the televangelists, the pimps and the boy-band impresarios.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 3:31 PM
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(a) the level of education required for a job, (b) its inherent disagreeableness, and (c) its importance to society.

No accommodation for talent? What happens to the artists, athletes and other outliers?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 3:35 PM
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Maybe (a) is talent/education. I can't remember, and I can't be arsed to go upstairs and check in the book. But the athletes are going to fail on (b) and (c) anyway, so don't get too worked up about making it to soccer practice.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 3:38 PM
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(c) its importance to society

While not in the same league as garbageman for importance to society, professional athletes are paid beauceaux bucks because people like to watch, and they put the butts in the seats. Once you start messing with individual decisions on how to part with hard earned pay, then, eventually, you are the one who will end up against the wall Citizen Robespierre.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 3:53 PM
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They came first for the badmintonists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a badmintonist.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 3:59 PM
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I guess they came for Stanley. How do we find where they sent him? What is to be done?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 4:33 PM
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I think you are missing the point about the algorithm. Which is that it provides a convenient methodology for determining who is to be first up against the wall when the revolution comes. The income apportionment aspect is less interesting.

Somebody should write an opera about Felix Dzerzhinsky. Probably had the most operatic life of any of the Bolsheviks.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 5:03 PM
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who is to be first up against the wall when the revolution comes

Meh- I plan on dying on the barricades. I'm not the guy who will sell you the rope by which you will hang me. 2nd Amendment, baby.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 5:07 PM
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who is to be first up against the wall when the revolution comes

Clean wall. Score!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 5:21 PM
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Why bother with the players? Who among us would turn down the chance to make millions a year putting a ball through a hoop?

Now the owners, who despite being super rich feel the need to con millions out of the public coffers for their stadiums and then turn around and complain about player greed? Against the wall!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 5:39 PM
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are paid beauceaux bucks

Google Translate tells me "ceaux" means "paintbrushes". I don't know how many bucks nice paintbrushes cost.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 5:47 PM
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Not so much, really.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:30 PM
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No accommodation for talent? What happens to the artists, athletes and other outliers?

You mean celebrities. It's true, my heart would bleed, were top athletes and pop superstars denied their fortunes. Who will speak for the poor hard-working Justin Biebers among us?


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 6:45 PM
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How can you say that about the Kurt Cobain of his generation?

http://www.someecards.com/2010/09/23/justin-bieber-compares-himself-to-kurt-cobain


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:25 PM
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I don't know how many bucks nice paintbrushes cost.
Beaucoup bucks.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 7:53 PM
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I'm just going straight for the original post topic here, which is pretty interesting. For favorite minor historical people of (minor) note, three come to mind off the top of my head:

Simon bar Kokhbah, whose Judaean revolt would make for a great sword-and-sandals movie.

Alfred Russell Wallace, the obscure also-ran of evolutionary theory whose achievements are eclipsed in posterity by Darwin.

Pope Sixtus V, the only Pope I can think of who can be credited with taking personal vigilante action against muggers in the Colosseum.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 8:18 PM
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Tying together two subthreads, how about Andrew Kehoe, a 1920s proto-Teabagger who blamed his bankruptcy on a school levy, got a job as school handyman, wired explosives into the structure, and then set off a car bomb amid the rescue efforts?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:29 PM
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303: The popes who were honestly and openly worldly and corrupt have always interested me. Pope Julius II, aka The Warrior Pope, going into armed battle bearing a sword, and apparently leading his troops against a Venetian city-state before making a triumphant, and carefully timed, return to Rome on Palm Sunday...such a crazy story, but I have to appreciate the Machiavellian machinations.

(As a kid, I got totally into the 'John Paul I was murdered' conspiracy theories for a while. Such a nice man, it just had to be true. But also, I was a sucker for the palace intrigue at the Vatican narrative).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-23-10 11:37 PM
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146: You were right. A root canal does involve a bunch of drilling which is followed by the use of some very small files. Also, my tooth is now like an old-timey golf ball in that it is filled with gutta percha.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 7:56 AM
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Oh, one more: Artur Virgilio Alves Reis, a 1920's Portuguese businessman who made huge amounts of near-perfect counterfeit money. I wrote about him here and later a bit more here.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 8:05 AM
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I thought of one this morning: Richard Greenblatt, the prototype smelly dropout hacker.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 8:18 AM
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links in 307 are fantastic.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 8:34 AM
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Yay for 307! I had heard of Reis* before, but had no idea there was a book about him. On a releated tip, what about Oscar Hartzell, the man who convinced tens of thousands of people that they were the heirs of Sir Francis Drake, or James Addison Reavis, the Baron of Arizona, who forged land claims for 18,000 square miles of land out west?

* I assumed it was from a book called Great Hoaxes and Famous Imposters that I've had since I was a kid; that must not be it, though, as it has Hartzell, Reavis, Cassie Chadwick, and Lord Gordon-Gordon, but not Reis.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 9:15 AM
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275 is very cute.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 9:20 AM
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You have to give Lord Gordon-Gordon props for putting one over on Jay Gould and almost triggering an American invasion of Canada while he was at it.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 9:28 AM
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To the OP, from the comment thread to today's MeFi post noting National Punctuation Day--Happy NPD, everyone! Don't get caught misusing a colon!--I learned of the 18th-century American businessman Timothy Dexter.

Because he was basically uneducated, his business sense was peculiar but extremely lucky. Somebody inspired him to send warming pans for sale to West Indies, a tropical area. His captain sold them as ladles for local molasses industry and made a good profit. Next Dexter sent wool mittens to the same place. Asian merchants bought them for export to Siberia.

His next venture was selling coal to Newcastle, which should have been a sure failure. His ships happened to arrive in the time of a coalminer's strike and potential customers were actually desperate...
At the age of 50 he decided to write a book about himself - A Pickle for the Knowing Ones or Plain Truth in a Homespun Dress. He wrote about himself and complained about politicians, clergy and his wife. The book contained 8,847 words and 33,864 letters, but absolutely no punctuation, and capital letters were sprinkled about at random...When people complained that it was hard to read, for the second edition he added an extra page - 13 lines of punctuation marks - asking readers to "peper and solt it as they plese".

Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 5:46 PM
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Unsurprisingly, the nebster already got to that one.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 5:50 PM
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Fucker.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 5:51 PM
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Hmm, just stumbled upon the previous incarnation (close enough) of this post here at Unfogged ...and EotAW:

Ari over at Edge of the West asks:
who's the most important...historical figure about whom most people know nothing? - Becks.

And a comment in the ensuing thread from Stanley: Definitely not obscure enough, but I just love saying Button Gwinnett's name aloud.

"The first time as imitation, the second time as repetition."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 8:04 PM
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316: We're really going to nail that post the next time we do it, I tell you what.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 8:08 PM
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There's not very much information about George Pepper, who excavated Pueblo Bonito with Richard Wetherill in the 1890s, in my post about him (or anywhere else), but it seems relevant to this thread. There's also an exhibit about him at the New Orleans Museum of Art going on for the next month or so which sounds worth a look for anyone who might be in the area.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 9:38 PM
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Do we know anything about George Peppard?


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 9:52 PM
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I certainly don't.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-24-10 10:18 PM
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it would be unreasonable to suggest I read the whole thread, but some one must have linked this?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-26-10 10:28 PM
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They make a good notebook; Pilot Precise is the best walk-around-with pen. Let's fight.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-26-10 10:42 PM
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Lionel Mapelson, Procopius Waldfogel and Juan Lorenzo Hubbell walk into a bar.

Bartender says, "Where am I? Who are you people?"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:04 AM
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How about Jimi Heselden? Provided evidence that there is a god, and he's kind of an ass.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:12 AM
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Pilot Precise is the best walk-around-with pen.

This is true, but lately I'm only finding the retractable ones that are fatter and less aesthetically pleasing. It makes me grumpy.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:16 AM
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This is my walk-around-with pen when I don't want to have to worry about losing my pen. Since I'm a girl and generally carry a bag, I usually have more than one pen, though.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:23 AM
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I usually get mocked for having a bag, metrosexual manbag or otherwise; being qua bloke, somehow mysteriously supposed to either dematerialize one's shit into one's pockets, or resort to some rucksack type thing. So I've always got half a dozen pens on me, and a notepad, and a camera, and a couple of rolls of film, and a book or magazine to read, and ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:33 AM
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That's the downside of a bag. I mean, just because I have an iPad doesn't mean I shouldn't also have a library book since I don't like reading on an iPad in public, and if I can fit one knitting project I may as well bring a smaller one too in case I'm in a situation where socks work better than a sweater....


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:45 AM
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just because I have an iPad doesn't mean I shouldn't also have a library book since I don't like reading on an iPad in public

Solved!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:48 AM
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But people could still tell, because I'd be touching the screen. I have a few places where I can sit in dark corners and read on it and that's fine, but I think hiding it in a book would just make me more self-conscious.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:51 AM
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||

But Facebook is not exactly US steel, is it?

But at least it's a product people use and enjoy.

I now have a facebook page. A friend got sufficiently tired of my being anti-facebook as a stance that they set up an account in my name.

I appreciate this. I think that I will, ultimately, be glad to have a way to keep up with news about friends but, at the moment I'm still not quite sure what to make of the whole facebook thing.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:55 AM
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327: you still use wet film, ttaM?

As for the bag mockery problem - carry all your stuff in a musical instrument case. Lots of room, cheap, hard-wearing, and helps you get a seat on the bus. And people assume you're artistic.

Or alternatively, go for a chest rig. No one mocks a man in a chest rig.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 8:22 AM
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re: 332

Yes, I shoot a lot of film. I do digital, too, but most of my recreational photography is still film. It's part of the pleasure for me. I'm not a professional, so I have no real incentive not to use film since using film lets me use fun/interesting cameras, and have access to stuff that was once completely out of the price bracket of all but the richest amateurs, since top-notch film stuff, with the exception of a few super-collectible brands, is much much cheaper than it used to be. I develop it myself, so processing is cheap.

Also, until very very recently people weren't making digital cameras I could afford which do the things I want them to do. That's changed a bit, so maybe next year I'll splash on a new digital camera [my dSLR is about 3 or 4 years old now].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:01 AM
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I have a few places where I can sit in dark corners and read on it and that's fine

I'd think dark corners would be the worst, given the bluish reflection on your face. I suggest direct sunlight for inconspicuous iPad reading. Probably in a dog park, so people are distracted by all the dogs.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:25 AM
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Tricksy, Stanley, but you can't read an iPad in direct sunlight. It rebels and gives you little warning lights and plus you can't see the screen properly. (Though our dogpark has a shady bench where I have in fact sat and read unfogged while our goofass hound frolicked and proved yet again that she has no doggy social skills.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:28 AM
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goofass hound

A hunting breed with which I was unacquainted.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:50 AM
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336: goofass hound

A hyper-exclusive brand of extraordinarily precisely made, authentic denim clown costumes.

Or maybe nobody here has read that book.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:53 AM
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Zero History? I picked up a copy here and should probably pass it on to another interested reader, so obviously not you.

Anyway, she was a displaced canine after Hurricane Katrina, so we don't know her background. She's got some black on her tongue, which I think means chow. Some people think her coat coloring seems German Shepherd, which could well be true, and there's certainly some miscellaneous hound heritage. She's my first dog, so I don't know the niceties of breed and whatnot.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:04 AM
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To be clear, not that I'm trash-talking your reading abilities, Stanley. I just meant someone who hadn't read the book might like to.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:06 AM
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339: Not to trash-talk your reading abilities, Thorn, but I think you meant to direct that comment in Sifu's direction. (Also: that's one handsome dog photo, I must say.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:25 AM
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Oh, good point! Sorry, S-guys. Perhaps I'll pay more attention in the future.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:28 AM
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I've read that book!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:35 AM
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It's okay, we know you're all hopped up on goofballs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:35 AM
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I know, apo, and I'd have sent them to live on your farm for wayward opioids, except that I seem to need them now. (Or was that you? Maybe everything I ever knew about unfogged was wrong!)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:39 AM
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I hope apo starts referring to his home as the Apostrophic Analgesic Center for Wayward Goofballs.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:43 AM
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