Re: Fifty Years Later

1

I'm just a patsy.


Posted by: Opinionated Lee Harvey Oswald | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:55 AM
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Cyril Wecht has an office a couple of doors away. I'll run and ask.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:57 AM
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Based largely on interviews with Warren Commission staff lawyers, the book reveals how the investigation was immediately taken over by the very government agencies -- the CIA, FBI and Secret Service -- that had the most to hide when it came to the assassination.

Hey, look, question-begging!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:00 AM
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If you give beggars a question, they'll just spent it on fortified wine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:01 AM
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Probably Castro did it.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:01 AM
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At some point I realized that I don't need to have an opinion on every issue and that it would be kind of relaxing to not have one. The first thing I decided not to have an opinion about was the Kennedy assassination.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:07 AM
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They got to Rob.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:08 AM
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SERIOUSLY.


Posted by: OPINIONATED KIRK VS. PICARD | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:10 AM
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My view on it tends to be strongly coloured by which ever recent quasi-convincing TV documentary on the subject I've seen most recently. I just don't have the depth of knowledge for it to be otherwise. So, I think, if pushed, I'd probably go with 'Oswald did it' at the moment.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:13 AM
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Picard was obviously less of an asshole, but Kirk was more fun to watch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:13 AM
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That article was a nice blast from the past. Was it written by JFK assassination conspiracy theory guy from Slacker?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:16 AM
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In this article, Talbot's main belief seems to be that there was some United States government involvement in the assassination. His main evidence is (1) that the United States government was involved in a United State government investigation of the assassination of the leader of the United States government, and (2) that some U.S. government officers disagreed with the president on some policy issues. Maybe there's more in his book, but . . .

Generally, the only theory less plausible than the one in the Warren Report is every other theory anyone has come up with.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:17 AM
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I thought the emerging consensus in a previous thread was that Obama did it.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:17 AM
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I for real didn't know that there were still Boomers on board with the "Kennedy just loved peace so much!" argument.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:21 AM
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I read a book that made an interesting (and plausibly convincing) that JFK was shot by one of the Secret Service men protecting him (on accident, not on purpose -- the person heard Oswald's shots, was turning around in the back of a moving car to figure out what was going on, and accidentally discharged his gun, shooting Kennedy in the back of the head). I've liked that theory every since.

(The supporting evidence is: (1) The bullet that hit his head fragmented more than you would expect from the gun Oswald was using, but in a way that would be consistent with the AR-15 that the Service had. (2) If you look at the Zapruder film, there is a point at which the Service-man's position and angle of his rifle would match the angle of the entry wound. (3) They found three casings on the floor where Oswald was, but one of them was heavily dented, and this author thinks that Oswald had used that one to practice working the action quickly, and that he only fired two bullets during the live confrontation. (4) It's standard practice after any incident for Law Enforcement to put out a report cataloging all of the guns on the scene, and which if any of them were fired, and that was never done.

I'm surprised I still remember that; I read the book in college.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:22 AM
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14: You mean -- other than Oliver Stone?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:22 AM
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Don't know about others, but I think successful conspiracy.

No way was Jack Ruby acting independently. I don't know who was behind the curtain, I doubt that anyone does.

The CIA was a fairly freewheeling organization that saw itself (not unreasonably) as engaged in a holy war under Smith and Dulles. How quickly could a new director really effect change? Various US organized crime families were also fairly sophisticated-- they circumvented witness protection programs via MDs with gambling debts to find people with known physical ailments.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:23 AM
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16: Exactly! I thought everyone had a good chuckle about that and moved on.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:23 AM
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Ah, here's the book I liked.

Donahue first became interested in the story of the JFK assassination after being invited to participate in a recreation of the shooting as one of eleven invited marksmen and sharpshooters.[2] He demonstrated that it would have been possible for Lee Harvey Oswald to have fired three shots in the time specified by the Warren Commission, and was the only one of the eleven to do so. However the experience highlighted to Donahue other questions regarding the Warren report, and in particular the fact that the testimony of ballistics experts seemed to have been completely omitted from the Commission's evidence gathering.[4]

Donahue eventually decided that the bullet that struck Kennedy in the head had in fact been fired by Secret Service agent George Hickey from an AR-15 rifle carried in the car immediately following the President's vehicle. However he also decided that one of Oswald's shots had already critically and probably mortally wounded Kennedy before this shot was fired.[5]

His reconstruction of the trajectories of the shots that struck Kennedy and Governor Connally supported the single-bullet theory. Donahue decided that the impossible trajectory suggested by the Warren Commission was only necessary because there was an error in their positioning of Connally. He also concluded that this was Oswald's second shot, the first having missed owing to the misalignment of the rifle's telescopic sight but with a ricochet fragment slightly wounding Kennedy, and that Oswald had not fired a third shot, the third cartridge case found at the scene having been a bent and empty one used to keep the rifle's chamber clean. His examination of the intact bullet found at the Dallas hospital supported the claim that it was the one that had inflicted these wounds. [6]

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:24 AM
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15: So, did they figure out this is what happened, and then there was a cover up? Or?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:24 AM
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12.2 is my position. And 6.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:25 AM
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22

I myself think it was somebody from the Japanese destroyer that hit the PT-109 coming to finish the job.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:25 AM
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I more or less agree with 17.

I don't buy the Warren report, but I'm not convinced by any other detailed explanation either.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:28 AM
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24

As a 5-month old baby, I remember hearing the news and feeling guilty that I hadn't done more to prevent it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:28 AM
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What's the Unfogged consensus on what happened, anyway?

Kennedy wasn't assassinated. He was abducted by aliens from inside the earth (Denisovans), who were part of a conspiracy with Howard Hughes and Howard Hunt (and possibly Howard the Duck) to corner the Germanium market in advance, because the aliens' understanding of high temperature superconductors was fifty years ahead of the game.

Jacqui was in on it because Aristotle Onassis was already her secret lover by then, and he was working with Hughes on the Germanium scam. The guy who was shot was a look-alike patsy who had been promised a night of passion with his musical idol, Dinah Washington (who was disposed of on Dec. 14th) to impersonate the president.

Kennedy lived in the interior of the earth with Marilyn Munro, who had been held there in readiness since the previous year. They died in a suicide pact in Nov. 2000, on learning the result of that year's election. They had two children, known among humans as Eric Boucher and Ray Pepperell.

Oswald, who had been recruited by Hunt to fake the murder of the president, was in fact shot by Ruby, the only Castroite agent involved, but survived and was hired as Hughes' personal valet until his death.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:30 AM
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Also I just don't buy that Arlen Specter was smart enough to be the one man who came up with the correct (though facially implausible) theory. It's much more plausible to me that he was bullshitting.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:32 AM
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Everything in 25 is endorsed by (my cousin) Ron Wilson.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:32 AM
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NickS: the book is (probably) Mortal Error by Bonar Menninger* and I like its theory too. Or am amused by its presumption, anyway. I believe* the Secret Serviceman named in it, after years of not commenting, sued for libel and got a big settlement.

*Actually I don't recall the claim in yr (2) in this particular book, though: and iirc the car followng is not actually visible in Zapruder at the correct moment (could be quite wrong, not checking). The agent with the AR-15 is apparently visible in some later frames of another film, when the motorcade is speeding towards the hospital: a cut-out of this image appears on the cover, below the (of course) embossed letters of the title.
**= I read this once on the internet.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:35 AM
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29

I think most of the stuff about various governmental actors being involved fails the "governments can't keep secrets that well for that long" test. But one group that perhaps could keep secrets that well is the Mafia, and didn't some of them have it in for the Kennedys very specifically? I read this in Salon ages ago, I think.

I have no knowledge or opinion on any of the actual evidence.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:35 AM
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30

I thought the X-Files solved this. The coverup was to prevent people from learning that fictional characters can kill.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:36 AM
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31

"governments can't keep secrets that well for that long"

They've kept the aliens secret for longer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:36 AM
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32

James Ellroy's book on the assassination (American Tabloid) is pretty good as a depiction of the climate at the time, I think.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:37 AM
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re: 29

I think my sense, from the UK, is that governments are pretty good at keeping secrets for a long time, if they want to.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:39 AM
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34

I pretty much buy the Warren Comission theory of what happened. I have yet to encounter an alternative that didn't suffer from gaping flaws like assuming extraordinary competence on the part of some shadowy organization or other, or so many moving parts that someone would have squealed by now.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:45 AM
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35

I think my sense, from the UK, is that governments are pretty good at keeping secrets for a long time, if they want to.

Exactly. Look at Ultra. Thousands of people were involved and every one of them managed to avoid revealing the secret, not only during the war but for thirty years after it was finished.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:49 AM
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re: 35

Yeah, and in the US, to take another example, loads of NRO projects remained secret or remain secret, decades after they were developed.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:56 AM
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34. There's no obligation to produce all the details, which are lost.

Oswald shot Kennedy. It is possible that he had nothing to hide, acted alone. But in thta case, the basically unmotivated action of Jack Ruby is a really surprising coincidence, leaving aside anything that Ruby said.

However, if Oswald did have something to hide, Ruby's action is perfectly sensible, and the fact that he was never allowed to speak and died quickly in prison is also unsurprising. It wouldn't take all that much organisation to arm and direct two guys like this. No large sum of money involved, no falsification of records.

The Warren commision could well have been motivated by bureaucratic cowardice, no need to believe that they were controlled, small-minded and marginally competent is a sufficient explanation there. Again, not certainly a correct explanation, but we're talking here about what we think, and that's what seems likeliest to me.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:00 AM
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38

is a really surprising coincidence

How surprising? How many such really surprising coincidences can you think of over the course of the last century? How many surprises of that extent would you expect by random chance?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:07 AM
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39

Kathy Olmsted's book on conspiracy theories in American politics is worth reading, I think.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:08 AM
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40

Since the President is also part of the government -- and generally has quite a large contingent of very loyal people in his faction of the govt -- the issue is: how well can a government that's violently divided against itself keep a secret? Which is a bit different from something like Ultra.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:09 AM
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I think if there's one thing we've learned from American history, it's that unstable men with guns are incapable of killing people without the assistance of a vast conspiracy.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:12 AM
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42

It doesn't have to be a vast conspiracy, though: just a small one will do.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:13 AM
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43

The idea that Oswald had coconspirators that weren't caught is totally plausible, and is a radically different category than what usually passes for Kennedy conspiracy theories.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:14 AM
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44

Jack Ruby seemed pretty stable though.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:15 AM
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45

40 gets it right. There's also a huge difference between "not reported in the media" and "actually secret" and there's little-to-no way that, especially by this date, CIA involvement in the Kennedy killing could have been kept actually secret. And the Mafia, as we've learned, is even worse at secret keeping.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:17 AM
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46

It seems interesting to me that conspiracy theorists rely on esoteric knowledge to keep Occam's razor at bay. Which is to say, even in this thread, there are a number of people saying, "I don't have the specialized knowledge necessary to participate in this conversation." That's not the sort of thing people typically say about their own history and politics. But when it comes to the Kennedy assassination, and similar topics, one hears it all the time.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:18 AM
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43 is my view. But I don't have the specialized knowledge needed to participate in this conversation.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:19 AM
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41 is right on too.

43 is probably also right, though "co-conspirators" there is probably on the order of "there was some other nobody he told about the killing and who helped him buy a gun."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:19 AM
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To 38-41: There have been dozens of political assassinations in the US in the 20th century. This is the only one where the assassin was shot two days later. In contrast to most other political assassins, Ruby wasn't mentally ill or particularly politically active in his life prior to the assassination.

Yes, it is possible that this was a coincidence and that I'll be talking about the trilateral commision or something as I become senile. As I say, I do not believe that it is certain that this is the explanation. But I do not think that an elaborate conspiracy was necessary, only a small one combined with ordinary bureaucratic dysfunction.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:22 AM
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re: 46

For my part, I believe that politics is deeply conspiratorial, and there are evil bastards colluding with each other to fuck us over continually. You only have to look at the Bush-Blair era to see that that is clearly true.

It's just that in the case of the Kennedy assassination, I have the sense that there are lots of buffs who have a fairly deep knowledge of the evidence that's in the public domain, and then there are those like me, who've seen the odd TV documentary or read a magazine article, but have no deeper knowledge or interest than that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:22 AM
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Von Wafer is obviously in on the conspiracy, and is using the classic move of going "meta" to distract from the real issues. Wafer: you are personally responsible for murdering the President, and for millions of deaths in Vietnam. You caused THE DAY AMERICA LOST ITS INNOCENCE.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:23 AM
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For my part, I believe that politics is deeply conspiratorial, and there are evil bastards colluding with each other to fuck us over continually. You only have to look at the Bush-Blair era to see that that is clearly true.

I suppose a conspiracy doesn't have to be well-hidden, exactly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:24 AM
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53

Texas killed Kennedy. That place is like the town in Stephen King's "It".


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:25 AM
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54

52: Right, exactly. The Bush-Blair era conspiracies weren't secret, even when they weren't being aggressively reported in the media.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:25 AM
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re: 52

Well, we haven't found out yet who Blair's paymasters are, exactly, or how much he got paid and what the exact quid pro quo was.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:25 AM
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49.1: But when you're trying to decide the importance of a single rare event, I think you have to consider a wider pool than just "political assassinations".

I guess I shouldn't really try to turn this into a statistics thread.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:29 AM
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I lack the specialized knowledge necessary to understand 46.

I used to be impressed by the argument that shooting Kennedy from the Texas Book Depository was an impossible miracle shot, until I actually visited the museum at the Texas Book Depository. I could have hit Kennedy at that distance with an atlatl, let alone a rifle.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:30 AM
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58

No need to brag.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:31 AM
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59

OT: Need some help quick! Convince me why a third glass of whiskey would be a bad idea.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:31 AM
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60

Because drinking will distract you from the search for the real killer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:32 AM
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As Lyn/don La/rouche teaches us, Tony Blair's paymasters were also JFK's assassins, viz the Black Guelphs who run the (now secret) British Empire.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:32 AM
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59: Because you'll try to shoot Kennedy, but he's already dead.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:33 AM
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63

I withdraw my suggestion and endorse 60.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:33 AM
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64

I guess I shouldn't really try to turn this into a statistics thread.

Sure you should.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:34 AM
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65

For my part, I believe that politics is deeply conspiratorial, and there are evil bastards colluding with each other to fuck us over continually. You only have to look at the Bush-Blair era to see that that is clearly true.

This is pretty much the argument of Olmsted's book: that the government lies to and conspires against the people all the time, and therefore the people are justifiably rather suspicious. (But that doesn't mean that any particular conspiracy theory is right.) Regardless, something like a dialectic -- between a conspiring government and conspiracy theorists -- has emerged in American politics, and that dialectic has become an important part of the way American democracy, such as it is, functions.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:34 AM
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66

I thought 59 would require more context to answer, but Moby's 60 is really unimpeachable.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:35 AM
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re: 65

Yeah, I can buy that. There's lots of individual conspiracy theories that seem absurd, to me. But when the stakes in terms of money and power are so high, and the opportunities for collusion so readily available, of course the evil fucks are up to something.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:36 AM
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68

65: something non-ergodicity of conspiracy something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:39 AM
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69

I think absurdity helps the conspiracy theory function as a group marker. Somebody who says Obama was born in Kenya isn't going to be someone who changes his mind about the ACA if the exchanges start to work and he gets cheap health insurance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:42 AM
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Not having read Olmsted (so maybe this is explored), I'd inflect VW's summary to add that I believe life under free market capitalism -- the whole pervasive ideology of homo economicus, rational choice, rational agents -- is one which breeds paranoia; the sense that THOSE BLOKES OVER THERE (who seem to be thriving) MUST KNOW SOMETHING I DON'T. A sort of homespun asymmetry-of-knowledge argument: if the market functioned as I believe it must, I (enterprising hard-working me) would be doing better. Hence they're all in on it together (with this "they" shifting around depending on who the paranoid is.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:43 AM
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The thing that shakes my faith in a world not run by shadowy cabals of conspirators is the Propaganda Due case. It's Italy, so you sort of expect a certain amount of corruption and secret societies (and Bunga-Bunga parties!), but still.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:44 AM
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72

68 to 70, also the thing where the other lane on the highway is always going faster.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:45 AM
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73

71: dsquared's line was that, from about 1850-1930, a large number (majority in some states) of American white men were members of a secret society of some sort - mostly as a way of getting social security benefits - so why wouldn't you assume that Washington was being run by a cabal of funny handshake men behind closed doors? That was how your home town was run. You knew it was, because you were probably one of them.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:49 AM
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56. I disagree. There have been lots of successful assasinations-- Markov, Letelier, Hoffa. There have also been lots of mentally ill men with guns who shoot at politicians and other famous people. There is something to learn from looking at both kinds of events. Human behavior isn't ergodic.

For whatever it's worth, in my mind the other plausible explanation is terrorism, in agreement with 53.

For whatever it's worth on motivation, I don't think that I have an especially American perspective on this. I don't expect the US government to behave well, and beyond environmental or humanitarian consequences, don't really care if it fails to. That is, I don't see a minor successful assasination plot 50 years ago as a big deal that still explains everything today. I think this makes me different from many people in the US who pay a lot of attention to the details.

A fondness for conspiracy theories may only have showed up in the US after WWI, but it's older in Central Europe, I think in Russia also. Basically anywhere that there's been autocracy for a long time. Both actual conspiracies, some botched, some succesful, and paranoid folk belief thrive in such an environment. Coincidentally, wasn't the US government fairly shambolic until about WWII?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:50 AM
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75

68: maybe. Or maybe even probably. But she makes a pretty good case that real government conspiracies begat a raft of nonsensical conspiracy theorists, who, over time, forged what amount to dialectical relationships with government actors. To be clear, she's not saying conspiracy theories are a good thing, or that they're accurate, just that they're baked into the cake of American politics.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:53 AM
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76

How about the failed Bush-Haig led Trilateral Commission/CFR coup attempt? I mean do you really think it's a coincidence that the son of a senior Texas oil industry exec who was also a senior figure in the shadowy 'Fellowship' organization and a longtime major financial backer of Bush was the shooter? Or that Hinckley never was convicted?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:59 AM
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77

Isn't 74.1 an argument that human nature is ergodic?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:00 AM
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78

The assassination of Markov was aperiodic but not recurrent.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:05 AM
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79

Seems like everybody forgot it after the next one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:06 AM
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80

73 makes a lot of sense. I think it goes back further than 1850, though.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:06 AM
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81

73: If you're talking about societies that people joined for getting social security benefits in those kinds of numbers in that period, you're mostly talking about the Knights of Columbus and various ethnic/Catholic groups. Those weren't very secretive at all. They copied some of the trappings from the Masonic lodges*, because it was the thing to do, but they were far more open. There were secretive groups for a variety of other purposes, but those weren't the large-scale groups that people joined so their kids could eat if the mine collapsed.

* Which I always thought of as providing "leg-up" type of benefits instead of providing social-security type benefits.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:06 AM
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75 et al: The definition of "conspiracy" is very fuzzy at the boundaries. I mean, the world actually is run largely by non-public agreements between powerful people as to which the public lacks full or even partial knowledge. It really is, for real. That's absolutely true for the world of business, and is also (probably to a somewhat lesser extent than business, but still) true of politics and government. But that doesn't mean that specific, implausible *criminal* conspiracy theories, such as that the CIA murdered Kennedy and was able to keep it absolutely secret for 50 years, are correct -- that nonpublic deals between the powerful are real and very important doesn't mean that they are entirely unconstrained.

In other words Tierce's folk-knowledge about conspiracies is largely correct, but the JFK theorists are all also nuts.

Haven't read but will buy Olmstead's book, I assume she deals with similar issues


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:08 AM
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81: There are also a bunch of groups that aren't explicitly there for social security which have some of the trappings of Masonry. Fraternal orders of this and that, doing good works while providing some insidery advantages to members.

Also you had the KKK, which was huge for a while, to the point where membership was a necessity to get ahead in some places.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:11 AM
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I read Olmstead's book, based on an earlier recommendation from Von Wafer.

I don't remember much of it, but I'm fairly certain, she doesn't reveal who killed Kennedy.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:13 AM
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OK, one last comment and I'll drop out.

I see an excluded middle in the replies-- conspiracy theorists believe there are no accidents, I am not a conspiracy theorist, so Ruby must have been an accident.

Again, no mental illness prior (in contrast to Hinckley) and no apparent motivation. There wasn't one CIA with perfect coordination and information-- there were numerous independent bits that had been subject to only loose supervision for a decade. It's not necessary to believe that more than a few people did or knew anything.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:20 AM
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86

Any JFK conspiracy theory worth its salt would implicate the Illuminati and the Knights Templar.

Anything less is weak sauce.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:20 AM
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Olmstead's book looks like something I'd like, mostly because I am constantly frustrated at the way accusations of "conspiratorial thinking" can be used to shut down any skepticism about the integrity of public figures. "Colin Powell would never lie to the UN! What kind of conspiracy nut are you?"

One thing that particularly frustrates me is the way that people are perfectly willing to assert that conspiracies are happening overseas and then turn around and say that only a crazy person would think the same thing is happening here.

Of course Russian elections are rigged, but only a nut would allege vote fraud in the 2000 presidential elections.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:21 AM
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82: the book does deal with this issue, insofar as it covers a variety of conspiracy theories every bit as insane as the Kennedy assassination nonsense, noting that many of them were absolutely accurate. But in doing so, Olmsted isn't trying to say that the Kennedy conspiracy theories are accurate, just that people who subscribe(d) to them ha(d)ve good reason for doing so, and that those people have, maybe ironically, become an important part of the way American democracy functions.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:22 AM
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I want to move the Olmstead Window, which is the window of which conspiracy theories are acceptable to the public.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:25 AM
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88: Just because you're crazy doesn't mean there aren't real conspiracies. But then not again, just because there are real conspiracies doesn't mean that you aren't crazy.

This seems accurate, but not especially helpful.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:27 AM
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I've still got the shovel!!

I never really gave a fuck who killed Kennedy.

Good riddance. I liked Johnson much better, and America damn well needed to lose some innocence.

Reformed Bobby and Martin were different.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:27 AM
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90: fortunately for Olmsted, that's not the argument of the book! At all!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:28 AM
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Johnson killed a lot more people, and we know bob's all about the bloodshed.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:29 AM
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And speaking of books, I still have to get through three chapters of the world's most boring history of the US's wars with the Apaches. Have a good day, nutters. Remember not to shoot the president.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:30 AM
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It takes some talent to make the US's wars with the Apaches boring. You should mention that in the review.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:35 AM
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92: But it's right there in the title!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:36 AM
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I've seen no better evidence against the existence of government conspiracies than the Bush administration failing to plant evidence of WoMDs.
OTOH, the anthrax attacks.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:43 AM
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Hey, timely!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:52 AM
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Joe Biden was pretty obviously life insurance for Obama.

Vietnam? Who knows? Likely some expanded war.

Fucking JFK cut taxes for the very richest. Conservative fuck.

Without the 64 landslide and Johnson, and the polarization of the 60s that favored the Left that time, there is no way you get Civil Rights Laws, Great Society, Medicare, and most of the progress the radical Democrats enacted during the Nixon Administration.

They oughta build Lee Harvey a statue.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:54 AM
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It will never stop unnerving me how closely Bob's political views track those of my mother. Maybe I should be buying her anime on DVD for Christmas.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:55 AM
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99.1 worked better as a Dan Quayle joke.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:00 AM
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98: I love that there's no real explanation of motive. "Hey I'll just lock myself in this here little bag, why don't I?"


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:04 AM
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Who among us doesn't look at luggage and wonder "Would I fit in that? Only one way to find out."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:08 AM
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And who doesn't keep their luggage in the tub when not in use.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:09 AM
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I guess I should revise and extend a bit. I'm very skeptical about direct institutional (US government, Mafia, Soviet block) involvement in the shooting of Kennedy. I'm pretty much open to the idea of institutional involvement in the shooting of Oswald, to protect people not involved in the assassination, but in other shady stuff of one kind or another.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:25 AM
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Telling us when you're extending a bit is, I think, over-sharing.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:31 AM
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I'm pretty much open to the idea of institutional involvement in the shooting of Oswald, to protect people not involved in the assassination, but in other shady stuff of one kind or another.

What other shady stuff could Oswald have know about?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:33 AM
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On the subject of American paranoia, I had an odd experience riding the elevator up to my office this morning. As usual I was carrying a backpack. A woman came on the elevator after me and said someithing about how with all the terrorist attacks in the U.S. she just couldn't trust any one with a backpack. I had no idea how to reply to that. Fortunately, at that point the elevator stopped at her floor, and she left


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:41 AM
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Lots, if he had applied himself.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:41 AM
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109 to 107.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:43 AM
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108: "We will reach our destination together, Insha'Allah"


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:45 AM
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108 is so deeply weird.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:48 AM
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She had no way of knowing how many spies you could be carrying.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:48 AM
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"You call this a backpack? Let me show you... I can't even come close to fitting inside it."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:49 AM
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"I'll have to get naked for a fair test. One sec."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:53 AM
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All sorts of things. Drug dealing. Judges bribed with drug money. FBI/CIA guys who'd been turned by the KGB. A KGB handler living in Omaha. The Dallas Texans' secret plan to return.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:58 AM
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(116 last is actually the correct answer. It was the Hunts.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:00 PM
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I'm with lw in 111. Then I'd deny it totally convincingly if a SWAT truck arrived, and so have her taken in for observation. There is no end to the rampant stupidity roaming the earth these days.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:00 PM
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A woman came on the elevator after me and said someithing about how with all the terrorist attacks in the U.S. she just couldn't trust any one with a backpack.

She probably sells messenger bags.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:02 PM
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What other shady stuff could Oswald have known about?

The malevolent supernatural entity living in the sewers beneath Texas, feeding on the fear of children.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:14 PM
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On the Le Monde website right now, right below the British spy-in-a-bag story we have 'Le maire de Toronto n'exclut pas "d'autres cadavres dans son placard"' (The mayor of Toronto says there might be 'more skeletons in his closet'). Sounds pretty ominous.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:15 PM
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The mayor of Toronto says there might be 'more skeletons in his closet'

Man, that guy is something else.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:21 PM
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I go with Oswald, in the Repository, with the rifle. Can we look at the cards now?

I like the Illuminatus take on it more than any other, where essentially we learn that a cast of well, dozens, killed Kennedy, including John Dillinger as I recall.

You obviously can never prove the non-existence of a conspiracy but there have been some good take-downs of the more popular ones.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:21 PM
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122: He looks like Chris Farley and Benny Hill, combined.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:29 PM
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He really is the best. "It happened, but I was very intoxicated at the time" is the best defense ever.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:32 PM
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"Have I ever killed and eaten a teenage prostitute? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago. All I can do now is apologize and move on."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:35 PM
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His phrasing is better than that. "Probably in one my drunken stupors" is inspired.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:36 PM
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I like that when people ask him if he is addicted or has a problem he's like "what? no. obviously not."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:36 PM
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127 before seeing 126.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:37 PM
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If Canada were a real place, this would be sort of alarming.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:37 PM
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That was me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:37 PM
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He reminds me a lot of Buddy Cianci, except with less organized crime ties and more substance abuse.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:37 PM
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"If Ford were an employee, he'd have been fired for cause by now," the professor told me later.

"This is really a point I want my students to grasp - we hold politicians to a much lower standard of accountability for their conduct than we do a Wal-Mart cashier or McDonald's burger flipper."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/top-business-stories/what-could-happen-to-his-job-if-rob-ford-were-a-regular-city-employee/article15413421/


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:42 PM
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133: The 2nd paragraph is also supposed to be in italics.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:43 PM
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To be fair, it would be very much harder for a mayor to spit in my McDouble than it would be for a McDonald's worker to spit in my McDouble. And with the rising price of McDoubles, I want a spit-free McDouble.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:51 PM
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FRIAR BARNARDINE. Thou hast committed--
MAYOR OF TORONTO. Fornication: but that was in another country;
And besides, the wench is dead.


Posted by: Christopher Marlowe | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:52 PM
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He really does have a way with words.

He struggled at times. When his former budget chief, Councillor Mike Del Grande, mentioned Ford's 2006 promise to avoid public intoxication after an incident in which he was thrown out of the Air Canada Centre for drunken belligerence, Ford responded that he promised that it would not happen again -- "and," he said, "it has never happened again at the Air Canada Centre." Councillors and the members of the public who packed the public gallery burst into laughter.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:55 PM
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128: I like how they asked his mother and sister if he had a problem and the sister said, "He's not an addict, and I am an addict so I should know!" and his mom said, "Yeah, he has a problem. A weight problem!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:56 PM
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||
NMM2 John Taverner. (Not really my kind of thing, but unquestionably a major guy.)
|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:58 PM
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Canada Centre for drunken belligerence

Why aren't all the words in the title of the Centre capitalized?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 12:59 PM
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They were pissed when the wrote it and lost track half way through.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:04 PM
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11: That article was a nice blast from the past. Was it written by JFK assassination conspiracy theory guy from Slacker?

Apparently that guy, "Conspiracy A Go-Go Author" aka John Slate, is the city archivist of Dallas. Which must be one of the all-time great pairings of person to job.

http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2012/05/more-than-11000-of-dallass-jfk-related-documents-to-get-serious-digital-upgrade-in-time-for-50th-anniversary.html/?nclick_check=1


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:04 PM
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!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:07 PM
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141 -- Or they're Leafs fans.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:10 PM
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The likelihood that the Rob Ford story ends in a hail of bullets seems to be increasing, so there's that.

Hmm, Rob Ford...Robert Halford...probably just a coïncidence.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:34 PM
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Heh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:36 PM
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I have a deed for the Prince Edward Viaduct to sell anyone who thinks Rob Ford does Crossfit.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:42 PM
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Rob Ford tells lies about drug addiction and Crossfit?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:43 PM
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If he does Crossfit, it's in a drunken stupor.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:49 PM
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I am a fat, balding, 47 year old Canadian man, like the rest of you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:55 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctTVcYMYXLA


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 1:57 PM
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I AM NOT FAT


Posted by: OPINIONATED SPARTACUS | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:01 PM
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I AM NOT SPARTACUS. WAIT, WAS I SPARTACUS? IN ONE OF MY DRUNKEN STUPORS MAYBE I WAS SPARTACUS.


Posted by: OPINIONATED ROB FORD | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:03 PM
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I am trying to get my Torontonian friend on the phone so I can make fun of Rob Ford viva voce. I think I'll open with ten or fifteen minutes of disbelieving laughter, then start with the quotations.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:03 PM
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I am ah no longah illiterate!


Posted by: OPINIONATED DIAMOND JOE QUIMBY | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:04 PM
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My favorite Kennedy theory is that the driver of the limo did it with an electric gun firing shellfish poison into his brain. That's why the President's brains are missing, of course.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:13 PM
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On the topic of killing --

On Thursday, the state of Ohio is scheduled to inject a convicted child rapist and murderer named Ronald Phillips with a two-drug cocktail that begins with the sedative midazolam hydrochloride and ends with the painkiller hydromorphone. The two drugs have never been used in concert to kill a man, and as such, nobody knows how well they will work. There's a chance, then, that Phillips' death will be a painful and prolonged one, potentially violating the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. And yet the state of Ohio will proceed anyway, seemingly not caring that it's conducting a ghastly, inhumane lab experiment.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2013/11/13/ronald_phillips_lethal_injection_ohio_is_turning_capital_punishment_into.html

How about going back to a firing squad? Or a guillotine? Does it seem more civilized it it's hi-tech, even if we have idea what we're doing?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:15 PM
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Lethal injection is the perfect combination of brutality and squeamishness. It's desparately trying to be civilized about a fundamentally barbaric act. If pain and suffering are the issue, do it Chinese style with a bullet to the back of the head. Plus that's accompanied by nice gouts of blood so we can't pretend we're not doing something brutal.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:22 PM
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I oppose capital punishment, but, to my discomfort, I also oppose, and apparently the more strongly, the survival of men convicted of raping and murdering children. I suppose the least I can do is oppose their needless suffering in the name of some Midwestern twerps' fantasies of running for judge/attorney general/governor/the Senate/whatever.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:27 PM
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All kinds of people manage to die because of heroin overdoses. Why can't they use that?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:34 PM
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159 - I spent an hour this weekend reading about Anthony Graves, who was sent to death row in Texas for the crime of being the cousin of the wife of a dude who butchered a family in their sleep. (The murderer was pressured by the cops to name his accomplices, and the author of the articles hints pretty clearly that he was grasping for a name other than that of his wife.) After 18 years on death row, Graves was exonerated with the closely thing to "HOLY SHITBALLS" I have ever seen from a prosecutor.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:35 PM
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I'm pretty much with 159, up to a point. Conflicted about it, but coming down roughly on the side of the antis thanks to the ever more evident flaws in our criminal justice system. It seems like the states that have the death penalty are also those most likely to have shitty representation for the accused and prosecutors willing to withhold evidence. Reading Radley Balko's blog has brought me down on the side of letting people who need killing live in the interests of not killing wrongfully convicted people.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:35 PM
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Breaking news!

In an unprecedented move, Gov. John Kasich has postponed the execution of Akron child-killer Ronald Phillips scheduled for Thursday to determine if his organs can be harvested. It has been rescheduled for July 2, 2014. In a statement released this afternoon, Kasich halted Phillips' execution "so that medical experts can assess whether or not Phillips' non-vital organs or tissues can be donated to his mother or possibly others."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:41 PM
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"Based largely on interviews with Warren Commission staff lawyers, the book reveals how the investigation was immediately taken over by the very government agencies -- the CIA, FBI and Secret Service -- that had the most to hide when it came to the assassination. "

That's Olmsted's conclusion too. Olmsted is a legit human being trying to find the reasonable center, etc., etc. See "Dealey Plaza Irregulars" in her book.

There was a widespread belief among the big players that Communists were behind it, but they didn't want the consequences of that idea becoming public. Very few of the people incloved actually believed the lone gunman single bullet theory.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:42 PM
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163: That sounds like a transparent rationalization.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:46 PM
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That was me.

My present position is that we don't know and may never, and that there are too many loose ends to have any confidence at all in the lone gunman single bullet theory. My best guess is that it was a conspiracy of one of several sorts and that either they got away with it or they were eliminated quietly. Just a guess.

You don't have to solve a problem to reject the solution given. And kneejerk anticonspiracism is a very blunt weapon that is used far too much.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:47 PM
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Channel 4 is showing a documentary based on the "Mortal Error" theory right now -- that agent Geo/rge Hic/key fired the head-exploding bullet* from the following car when he lost his balance (motorcade accelerating) and by mistake loosed off a round right through the middle of JFK's head. And that much of the sinister activity round the autopsy was the Secret Service frantically covering its tracks etc etc. But I missed the first half, and it's typically annoyingly made.

*The original theory in Mortal Error very much stressed that Oswald had already fatally wounded Kennedy.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 2:54 PM
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166.last: I agree with that. It just seems that so many of the conspiracy theories about JFK's assassination (at least the ones that get put out there aggressively enough that I've heard of them) aren't people who just reject the single-bullet solution because of questions about details but people who are even more certain of their conclusions than the Warren Commission. They are certain it was militarists/communists/mobsters/etc. and not people doubting we'll ever know what happened.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 3:03 PM
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The two drugs have never been used in concert to kill a man, and as such, nobody knows how well they will work. There's a chance, then, that Phillips' death will be a painful and prolonged one

This is silly. We know how well they will work as long as there's lots of the stuff handy to infuse. He'll go out, and then he'll die, and then they'll stop the infusion. People manage that with drug combinations all the time.

I don't see much need for the death sentence tho', and there's more than enough abuse and incompetence in the system to make an irreversible sentence a bad idea. However, if it must happen, then I'll go with the bullet and coverage on the Death Channel.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 4:34 PM
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161 seems about normal for the ungodly tragedies found by the innocence project. I mostly hear about the Texas cases, to the point where it's starting to feel like that's because they are mostly Texas cases.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 4:45 PM
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161, 170: I spent, I dunno, a long time reading the hideous, awful story (but not as hideous and awful as it could have been, I guess!) of Michael Morton. This one is Texas.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 4:55 PM
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It certainly is a question of interest as to whether Lee Harvey Oswald, the Cuba-obsessed would-be Cuban defector who was in contact with the only anti-Castro movement in New Orleans to be made up entirely of pro-Castro spies, might have had some co-conspirators in assassinating Kennedy, shortly after Cuba had sworn revenge for an attempted assassination of Castro. But I'm sure that, despite having specifically been told not to find a Cuban connection, the Warren Commission would have done a thorough job.

Peter Dale Scott makes the excellent point that the tragedy of the amateur assassination buffs is that they've achieved an extraordinary and detailed mapping of nearly all the connexions between the criminal, intelligence, political and business worlds of the period, with a richness of detail that professional historians and political scientists hardly ever achieve, but they think they've failed because they can't solve a fifty year old whodunnit.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 5:07 PM
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Man, Rob Ford just keeps raising the bar. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/rob-ford-exceeding-personal-best

Totally worth clicking through to the full Toronto Star article.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 5:28 PM
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173 is so right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 5:52 PM
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I clearly need to have more drunken stupors.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:02 PM
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175: I know. I had no idea you could live like that and make it his age.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:03 PM
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For the life of me, I have never understood why I should care if shadowy actors conspired. Maybe outrage based on American Exceptionalism, but shit happens.

If the Russians or CIA or Castro, what the hell. The globe was one chaotic clusterfuck in the 60s, especially the MENA, and the Superpowers were bankrupting themselves attempting an appearance of influence or control of the periphery. There were a lot of players, from Suharto to Nasser. Kennedy could not make peace or disarm, wasn't gonna happen.

Cuba was not a big deal to me. Why should it be.

Mafia? Why should I care if they owned Vegas?

Now we have more of a shortage of independent and ornery actors, and I do think powers can make things happen, and reverse trends or direct events.

So the degree or level of Saudi involvement in 9/11, and how much who in the US knew about it, is more of a big deal, they just recently tried to get us into war with Syria. Money and power are accumulating under neoliberalism and American hegemony, not only in the US, and the lack of competition makes conspiracies much more dangerous.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:11 PM
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173 may be the best advice given on this blog.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:20 PM
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Longish Article on Saudi Arabia from Naked Capitalism yesterday. Apparently they will have to build an army from scratch to attack Syria, and are spending billions to do it.

Also bribed France to scuttle recent Iranian talks.

And does anybody doubt SA has nukes? (from Pakistan)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:22 PM
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Just to see some of this again:

At around 1 a.m., the mayor's group ordered poutine. Server Leonardo Navarro entered the Merchant Room, cordoned by curtains, and told police he saw Ford and a female turn toward each other with their heads down and back from the table. Navarro told police he heard two "sniffs" from both of them . . . Ford's aide, Brooks Barnett, thanked him for the poutine, told the waiter that if he ever needed anything to give him a call, handed him a business card and then said, "Don't tell anyone about what you saw here tonight." Navarro told police he was 80 per cent sure the mayor was using cocaine.

. . . .

At one point in the night, Ford turned on his staff after they prevented him from going outside to smoke marijuana and hashish, Ransom told police. Much of Ford's anger was directed at a female policy advisor who was called because her former colleagues thought Ford would listen to her. The mayor claimed to have slept with the former staffer and lewdly told her, "I'm going to eat you out" and "I banged your pussy," Ransom told police.

. . . .

The night "got a little out of control," Ford said on the show he hosted with his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, which has since been cancelled.
Ford said he would "slow down" on drinking, though it would not be realistic to stop completely.
"I shouldn't be running around City Hall with a half-empty bottle of brandy and having a party in my office," he said.

Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:25 PM
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I thought everyone knew that it was traditional to snort amphetamines with your poutine.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:46 PM
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While I am fascinated with the Rob Ford story I also find it terrible and fairly sad, but if it had somehow turned out that he had also snorted poutine honestly I'd vote for him.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 6:49 PM
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"He snorts poutine the only way it should be snorted: that is, ecstatically."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:01 PM
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I'd be surprised if the intelligence agencies were not involved. I don't know how much Kennedy loved peace, but I think there's evidence that he was less supportive of expansive military activities than his near alternatives.

I think there were probably organizations of some kind behind all of the historical assassinations. It's funny how readily we believe that individual crazies go around killing presidents. In different settings I don't think we'd so easily believe that individual crazy people just start killing presidents (or schoolchildren) at random, and I think the assumption should go against the individual crazy theory of political assassination.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:01 PM
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Whaddya expect from someone who lives in a town called "E to buy coke"?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:02 PM
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I don't see why this Ford guy is being attacked because he partied a little. IT WAS SAINT PATRICK'S DAY.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:03 PM
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184.1 to the Rob Ford subthread.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:05 PM
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NSA program GRAVYSNARF


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:05 PM
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130 to 182.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:07 PM
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Hey, going back 50 comments or so: it would be very much harder for a mayor to spit in my McDouble than it would be for a McDonald's worker to spit in my McDouble.

Depends on the mayor.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:09 PM
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Assume cylindrical mayor.

Relatedly, the McChicken is now cheaper than the McDouble. I wonder when those particular prices crossed. I guess you need to adjust for one slice of cheese so you can compare to the double cheeseburger so your time series goes back far enough.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 7:51 PM
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I also oppose, and apparently the more strongly, the survival of men convicted of raping and murdering children.

This is just another opinion, but I strongly disagree with this, although I'm not sure I can fully articulate why. First it's a general policy (that I need to get through the day more than probably many of the rest of you) that if a person is in a situation where it seems that things are so awful that hurting a child is going to make it better, life really sucks for that person. But also there's this weird privileging of "innocence" that seems dangerous to me, as if some lives are worth more than others and by fetishizing them we can magically save others or something.... And then you read about "child molesters" like Abebe Hehn (third section) and while his story doesn't necessarily express his own history of sexual abuse, it wouldn't be a surprise addition to that conversation.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:07 PM
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I did deep dives into JFK and related stuff twice. First in late 70s while piddling way stupid Grad School attempt on pot, bars, Rugby, and sitting in the basement of my not very fair city University reading source material on Oppenheimer, HUAC, Warren Commission, and Church Committee. Less on JFK per se*, and more on the whole "hidden" governmental subtext of those times--"plausible denial" is one hell of an interesting concept.

Second was in early 90s with alt.conspiracy.jfk as gateway drug. Left me pretty much in agreement with Emerson in 166. Too soon to know. Warren C. quite wrong and purposefully incurious per dsquared, but not necessarily wronger than any other story I've seen. Ruby's story clearly BS, but not sure where that leads.

*The House committee was around then as well. The impact of the first network showing** of the full footage of the Zapruder film in 1975 had significant impact especially in context of Watergate, Vietnam and all.

**Hosted by Geraldo Rivera!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:22 PM
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N.B. the new Pynchon is kind of glorious on living with the fundamental unknowability of conspiracy, if you're into that kind of thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:27 PM
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At some point I've been meaning to read some more, assuming there is some book or web collection that has a good compilation separating the wheat from the chaff, and none of the fucking theories.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:33 PM
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Was Rugby a star-crossed lover?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:34 PM
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194: On my list. (And not out of character for much of the rest of his stuff, of course). And yeah, I so enjoy things like Ron Rosenbaum's earlier stuff on things like Angleton. Travels With Dr. Death is a very collection of his stuff. I do also want to read Peter Dale Scott (had read some bits and pieces) and I should definitely pick up the Olmstead.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:37 PM
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Rugby was a 4+ days a week excuse. Fun, though. Mostly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:38 PM
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(And not out of character for much of the rest of his stuff, of course)

Not a bit, no. Could arguably have called it Vineland's Children.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:42 PM
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197 - TwDD is great, and there are very good essays to be found in The Secret Parts of Fortune, but Rosenbaum's recent output is an unreadable mess.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:48 PM
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166: And kneejerk anticonspiracism is a very blunt weapon that is used far too much.

Yes, this. One of the most amusing (annoying as hell) use of it was calling the 9/11 hijackers "madmen" as if it was not in fact a carefully-planned conspiracy to carry out the attacks; those two guys at the end of the bar in Florida that one time were actually part of an audacious, despicable plan.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 8:55 PM
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Jack Ruby was obviously unusual and has something that needs to be explained. Everybody else who shoots somebody famous gets three names: Lee Harvey Oswald, John Wilkes Booth, Mark David Chapman, Sirhan Kevin Sirhan, etc.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:07 PM
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Would you want it known your middle name is "Booby"?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:13 PM
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Did you see this, JP? And I guess Charley, too, if he's around.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:14 PM
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202: How do you explain Gavrilo Princip?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:18 PM
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Comic relief. But Wilhelm ruined the joke.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:29 PM
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204: That is nice. And reminds me of one of my favorite bits of JFK assassination trivia: George H W Bush, Zelig of the Elites, provided a tip about a possible assassination and may have been in Dallas:

At 1:45 p.m. Mr. George H. W. Bush, President of the Zapata Off-shore Drilling Company, Houston, Texas, residence 5525 Briar, Houston, telephonically furnished the following information to writer by long distance telephone call from Tyler, Texas.
BUSH stated that he wanted to be kept confidential but wanted to furnish hearsay that he recalled hearing in recent weeks, the day and source unknown. He stated that one James Parrot has been talking of killing the President when he comes to Houston.
BUSH stated that Parrot is possibly a student at the University of Houston and is active in political matters in the area. He stated that he felt Mrs. Fawley, telephone number SU 2-5239, or Arlene Smith, telephone number JA 9-9194 of the Harris County Republican Party Headquarters would be able to furnish additional information regarding the identity of Parrot.
BUSH stated that he was proceeding to Dallas, Texas, would remain in the Sheraton-Dallas Hotel and return to his residence on 11-23-63. His office telephone number is CA 2-0395.
(James Parrot was apparently a John Birch Society member.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:39 PM
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Other favorite trivia (I think maybe mentioned here before).

Woody Harrelson's dad once "confessed" to killing Kennedy. Almost certainly BS, but as a convicted killer of a Federal judge, he did have some degree of "credibility of capability" that others lacked.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:43 PM
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207: Zapata was almost certainly a CIA-associated company, Bush founded it together with a CIA agent who had "resigned" the year before. And re:204 he later had at least one Skull & Bones colleague as a partner.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:46 PM
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You're talking to yourself, JP. Deep breaths.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:50 PM
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I'm here. Drinking beer, eating pepperoni, and playing Civ 5.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:53 PM
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Practically Toronto-mayor level madness.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:54 PM
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210: Just wait. Haven't even got the motor revved up yet. Not sayin' much-- but it is helluva interesting if you are of the mind. I dunno, maybe Jews make bad historians; I mean they really got it wrong on their first big attempt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:56 PM
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204, 207: There is a part of me that likes to speculate on the Bushes as the true killer insider elites . Barbara Bush is about the most vicious woman in America and they probably only allowed Laura into the family because she had show that she had what it took by killing her ex-boyfriend (traffic accident, separate cars).

The Hinckley thing for those who don't know, was that the Hinckleys were wealthy oil folks who supported Bus politically, and Hinckley's older brother, Scott, had a dinner date scheduled at the home of Neil Bush the day after the Reagan assassination attempt. Kid was deranged, but I think one must allow that the potential political consequences of his action might have flitted through his synapses and helped reaffirm target selection.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:57 PM
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Wikipedia article with history of Zapata (now part of Harbinger Group).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 9:58 PM
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If we had politicians who supported bus, maybe my ride would be less crowded.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:00 PM
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213: I mean you're the fucker who pasted that Yale link. Live with the consequences of your unwise actions.

Also racist what with "Barack Obama's staggering incompetence." (And I actually I'm sick to death of that fucking narrative--everyone go fuck themselves--in 6 months you'll look like the most whining-ass titty-babies ever.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:01 PM
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Let's take our lessons from Bill fucking Clinton on how to get health care reform in place.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:01 PM
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I love lamp bus.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:03 PM
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And where the fuck has VW limped off to when I need him.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:04 PM
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It was only that one morning that I went full dark side, and watched several hours of videos of Building 7 fall.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:06 PM
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Ha. I have a relevant story as to one of these details (but as to what? Keep guessing) that I will tell Stormcroe if we ever meet in person. Conspiracy!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:09 PM
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Does anybody want some pepperoni? Probably not kosher.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:10 PM
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222: In between trying to trick me into revealing that I was in fact a habitu├ę of fern bars back in the day.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:13 PM
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I'm here, drinking strong coffee.

Do any of youse guys know anything about the Bl\ack Mo\untain Institute? Somewhere in Nevada? They have a Witness Protection programme a friend recommended to me.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:14 PM
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I like to pretend I'm living in a bad John Irving novel and all the stuff here is preparing me for when I deploy it in some hackneyed way to save some immigrant children from dangerous RWNJ. Or maybe it's another commenter who will do the saving, and I'm but a minor character.


Posted by: David Copperfield | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:16 PM
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225: It sounded familiar, but upon googling realized I was thinking of Black Mountain College in North Carolina. BMI is apparently associated with UNLV (which I'm sure you discovered).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:20 PM
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227.last reads like a fat joke at the expense of UNLV.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:25 PM
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227: Yes, but the idea of a UNLV is strange to me. Does Rob Ford tutor there? And where are the mountains? Would I have to live in LV for nine months? etc.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:29 PM
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217.last was a bit harsh, but my God the ACA stuff is like to make my fucking head explode. For better or worse (and there's a lot of worse, for sure, most of it inherited) the Dems now "own" the healthcare system Get used to it,. And the freaking election is a year away. And the website is not the most staggering fuck-up in the history of man, and has been improving.

sigh


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:31 PM
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There are a bunch of not-tall-for-the-West mountains around LV. I think it would be a great place to spend nine months, since it's so dislocating anyway as a city.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:37 PM
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The BMI is a reasonably but not hugely well-regarded place for, among other things, writers to write. Would you be a fellow? If so, it's reputed to be a nice gig. Also, yes, it's in Las Vegas, which is, in too many ways to count, a weird place. Not necessarily horrible, mind you, but very weird, the sort of place that's maybe best viewed as an awesome example of post-modernity run amok. On the other hand, if you like the desert, you'd be in close proximity to lots of beautiful things.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:37 PM
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Las Vegas is pretty unbelievably awful but still, 231 gets it right.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:38 PM
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229: It does seem to be named for a prominent nearby mountain. But where there aren't mountains it is very flat, so unless you want to drive to LA they don't need to concern you, other than when a whole lot rain/snow falls on them and the ensuing flash flood kills you.

I actually spent some time many years ago at the house of a UNLV math professor. She was a Mormon, and I was a bit surprised at the amount of Mormonism among the civilians. Looking at some data, it looks like it is one of the least religious and "protestant" cities in the US. Mormon second after Catholicism (assume from Hispanics), and Judaism third.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:39 PM
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I think Bave's right that it would be a nice enough place to live and work for nine months -- if you like the desert. Were it me, I'd want to know that my time there had a clear end point.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:39 PM
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I spent a few surrreal days boat-camping on Lake Mead. Incongruous water in the idst of desert--very reminiscent of where they landed in PLanet of the Apes (filmed, I think, at Lake Powell in Utah. Also, the Hoover Dam doesn't look that big when viewed from a boat on the lake side of it.

I think it would be a fabulous place to spend a time-boxed gig.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:43 PM
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Pwned by Bave and everyone. But I added bonus irrelevant personal anecdotes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:44 PM
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230: I didn't take it at all seriously. If I should have, I'm sorry. That said, the ACA rollout is a huge debacle, and I'm genuinely not sure why you think otherwise.* Whether things will get better in time -- I'm sure they will! -- is beside the point. I say that because the ACA isn't just the signature piece of legislation for this president but for his party since...I don't know when. The Voting Rights Act? Something else? Honestly, I don't know. But I do know that it's absolutely shameful that the Obama administration has done such a catastrophically poor job of selling this thing and making sure that it was ready for prime time. How they could fuck this up in this way is totally beyond me.

* I mean, I get that the coverage of the rollout is driving you crazy, though I'm not sure why you pay any attention to that sort of thing. But the absurdly shitty coverage is, in my view, distinct from the fact that the Obama administration has done a terrible job selling the ACA to the public and apparently has done an even worse job creating the platforms through which the public will enroll.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:47 PM
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I'd like to be a fellow, yes. I have a great fondness for people who will pay me to write books in peace.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:48 PM
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I should add that I'm not trying to goad you and that I know you care really deeply about this stuff, and I respect the fact that you care as deeply as you do and also that you're as well informed as you are. I should also add that I'd like to be persuaded that this hasn't been a debacle, so maybe you can do that for me. Honestly, I'm not looking for a fight. I'd like to see things the way you do -- I'd be much, much happier -- but I really don't.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:49 PM
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239: I used to know someone who was a fellow there. She wrote what I think is a very good book in relative peace and enjoyed herself quite a lot. She found Vegas surreal, as most people do, but also spent a fair amount of her time wandering around the desert, which she enjoyed.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:52 PM
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239: I'd like to be a fellow

Well, you sure ain't no lady!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:53 PM
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Ah, yes, thank you for undermining my crude attempt at gender-determinist humor there.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:54 PM
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||
Remember what I was saying about bats taking over from those freaking fly-by-day theropods. Read it and weep.

A new study suggests that the brains of several small mammals, including those of the little brown bat, have grown bigger as humans have altered the animals' living conditions.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:56 PM
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241: that sounds like my sort of gig except for the well-known difficulties of trout fishing in a desert.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 10:56 PM
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244: I have already wept at the fate of the little brown bats and their white-nose disease.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:02 PM
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245: there's a very large, artificial lake rather nearby, fed by a rather large, natural river. Are there trout in that river? I bet there are.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:04 PM
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Yes, there are trout.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:04 PM
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240: Well, sure, the whole thing is liable to blow sky high! Never been done before! Hostile political climate! Hostile media full of assholes! Obama might be the most incompetent motherfucker this side of Mombasa! All of that. But I aggressively reject the knowing claims of those who think there was a clear better "nearby" path*. I'm willing to do a harsh-as-a-motherfucker retrospective at some point. Many valuable lessons to be learned. That time is not now. But all the "oh so fair" techno-liberals can blow it out their gaping distended assholes. Clay Johnson can have his purple-vein woodie because finally effed up Gov't IT procurement is getting its day in the sun, but do you think Darrell fucking Issa is actually some kind of ally in that? You don't think that is something better done nest year**?

IT'S A MONTH AND A HALF INTO TO ONE PART OF A MULTI-YEAR DEPLOYMENT OF SIGNIFICANT NEW POLICY IN A SIGNIFICANT AREA!! Benchmark the fucker against Medicare Part D. We are part of it. Even the "all is well (I hope)" liberal pundits are doing a pretty good imitation of Kevin Bacon in the Animal House parade.

*I mean single payer. Sure, yeah. But maybe shut up about that motherfucking shit for just a little while.

**To be fair he had a petition to try to keep the one dude he knew from having to testify--time better spent working on continual fixing. BTW, did I mention the web site is working pretty well.

I'll go quietly, officer.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:10 PM
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Were about half-a-week out from the Wall Street Journal declaring that people who get early cancers are "lucky duckies" beacause they get to use their medical insurance and sponge off the rest of us. And most of the MSM nodding their heards along. (In addition to screwing the pooch more thoroughly than imaginable on BENGHAZI!!!, CBS had a truly dreadful and wrong ACA "security" issue story that they sourced from partial transcripts they likely got via Darrel Issa. Igf I had to bet, I bet his staff (or the Oversight Committee staff) were somehow involved in the BENGHAZI!!! thing itself.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:16 PM
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249: you don't think they could have done a better job with the rollout? With publicizing and selling the program? It seems to me it would have been hard to do a worse job. As for the website, I don't know enough to know whether a better path was nearby (or whatever the fuck), but I can't imagine there wasn't. Yes, other product rollouts have been fucked up before, even recently. But the stakes were and are pretty high with this thing, and the administration should have done better.

Again, I'm not saying the coverage hasn't been absurd. I haven't paid attention -- part of my stay-sane-live-to-fight-another-day program -- but I'm sure it's been awful. Still, that's distinct from what seems to be self-evidently true: that the administration botched the rollout terribly.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:18 PM
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You know I agree with you about the godawful media, especially when it comes to Bengazi.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:20 PM
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+h


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:20 PM
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No I don't think I could have necessarily done better. Your results-oriented logic is deeply fallacious, and like most progressive professionals your knee-jerk self-image of aspirational competence clouds your thinking in unique high-complexity situations like this*

The battle is on; fght for fuck's sake! People like Ezra and Chris Hayes acting like they are at times like this are why fragging was invented.

*Look, I know I overstate and am being annoyingly hyperbolic. But we'll form a study committee later and find the true killer. Trust me on this.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:26 PM
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251: For instance, delaying the web site when problems cropped up in late September (something Obama has suggested he would have done if he had known--and which I suspect he lied about-). You going to do that in the middle of the freaking shutdown? Possibly embolden the Repubs? Maybe? Easy to fall off either side of that fence on that one? Better to not have been in that position at all, sure. Give me your plan. They have been harshly criticized for not showing some plans and "flowpaths" much earlier because it was something that had been used successfully against Clinton's attempt in the 90s. Bad call? Maybe? Maybe not.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:31 PM
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You know, just about every Dem who voted against the ACA lost in a primary (like my local asshole, Altmier) or the general. Would they have lost if they had voted the other way? Sure, probably. Maybe not though. So maybe do nothing like a good blue dog would. Then we wouldn't be in this mess today, that's for sure.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:33 PM
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My deep and multi-targeted bitterness, let me show you it.

I will shut up now (maybe). And we will revisit on May 14th. Mark your calendar.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:36 PM
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254-255: again, I understand that you're justifiably infuriated by the coverage and that its apparently impossible for you to separate what I'm saying from that context. But I think you're hearing my dismay articulated in Ezra Klein's voice. That doesn't seem fair to me, especially given that I don't read Ezra Klein or Chris Hayes.

I also think you're conflating what I'm saying with critiques of the ACA itself. That's wrong. I think the ACA falls well short of the ideal. But, as I suspect you know, I also think it's about the best Obama could have done and, as I said above, could still be the signature piece of legislation not just for his administration but for the party's last half century. And that's why I think it's so amazingly appalling that the rollout is turning into a complete clusterfuck. It reminds me of Hillary Clinton's team not understanding how the primaries worked in 2008.

As for my plan, it's not my job to have a plan. No, seriously, it's not. I'm not the President of the United States. I don't have endless numbers of smart people at my disposal to make things work. That said, even without the benefit of a brain trust, or an army of interns, I know the administration should have tested the fucking shit out of the thing. If they needed more money to de-bug it, they should have begged, borrowed, or stolen that money. If they needed to have contractors killed rather than allowing them to whine about how they weren't properly supported, then they should have killed them. But leaving all of that substance aside, they should have sold the fucking shit out of the thing. They should have gotten every talented marketing executive ever on the case. They should have mounted a campaign that made sense, that was relentless, that was targeted to young and healthy people. Did any of that happen? I'm told reliably -- by Ezra Klein -- that it did not.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:48 PM
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People like Ezra and Chris Hayes acting like they are at times like this are why fragging was invented.

Or people like me! Finding out which is half the fun.

But whatever you do, don't dither. Storm the beach or turn the boats around. We're bobbing in the surf right now, and queasy Dems would pass laws to keep bobbing away.

(And with that I ban myself until morning after one more closing thought in the next comment.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:52 PM
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Yes, it well might get better. In fact, it almost certainly will get better (not least because it would be hard for it to get any worse). And if it gets better quickly enough, all of this bullshit will be forgotten. But that's a completely different issue than whether it should have been this fucked up in the first place. Again, I was hoping you could demonstrate to me that it's not really that fucked up. Given that you keep arguing about other things, I'm going to assume that you can't do that. And given that you can't do that, I'm going to return to my regularly scheduled melancholy.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:53 PM
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258: Fair enough.

But I do know this, the self-image sustaining myth of liberal procedural competence is one manifestation of the dark rot at the very heart of the world.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:56 PM
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just about every Dem who voted against the ACA lost in a primary (like my local asshole, Altmier) or the general. Would they have lost if they had voted the other way? Sure, probably.

This kind of thing drives me crazy. If watering down and/or voting against a major bill like ACA isn't going to salvage your re-election, at least go out supporting the best bill you think can pass. Obviously this doesn't apply to people with genuinely conservative views on the ACA, but some of the people who were going to lose were probably positioning themselves for the revolving door, not acting out of personal belief or on constituents' behalves.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:56 PM
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260: OK. We'll talk more on May 14th.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-13-13 11:57 PM
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261: let me say again that I think they should have begged, borrowed, or stolen, that they should have killed or died to make the fucking thing work properly or at least to make people think that the fucking thing worked properly. Procedural liberal competence be damned.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:01 AM
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263: yes, next year in Jerusalem.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:03 AM
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Didn't we just have a long thread about how the Obama administration has fucked up just about every major policy initiative they've touched? I'm not at all surprised they fucked up this one too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:19 AM
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I actually spent some time many years ago at the house of a UNLV math professor. She was a Mormon, and I was a bit surprised at the amount of Mormonism among the civilians.

Really? Why? Las Vegas was founded by Mormons and has always had a strong Mormon presence. In fact, one story I've heard about why it became so successful as a gambling center is that when the mob built the casinos there (after being kicked out of Cuba) they hired Mormons to run them, because they could trust them to be honest and competent, which they were. I have no idea if this is actually true, but I like it as a story.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:23 AM
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Anyway, Vegas is a fascinating place in a lot of ways, and I certainly wouldn't mind living there for a few months.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:27 AM
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It was many, many years ago (I was 18) and was not aware of the history at the time. And the latter certainly appealed to Howard Hughes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:31 AM
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266: Let's just say not everyone agreed.

Also I hate everyone.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:33 AM
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269: Ah, okay. That seemed like an uncharacteristic lacuna given your general interests.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:33 AM
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On the Obamacare stuff, I think this take from Josh Marshall is good. I think I basically agree with it, and with JP. The current mess is a storm that can and should be weathered, and I'm pretty sure it will be.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:35 AM
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For what it's worth, I don't disagree with that at all. I just think it's shameful that the storm was allowed to brew in the first place. I feel like I'm not being clear, which I guess is par for the course.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:37 AM
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I don't disagree with that at all. I just think it's shameful that the storm was allowed to brew in the first place.

Fair enough, but I guess at this point it just feels like par for the course with this crew.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:46 AM
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Huh, I must've missed that thread. Link? Or detailed summary complete with a retelling of the best jokes?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 4:08 AM
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Good morning campers? What's up? I assume I didn't inadvertently hint that someone had committed suicide or anything like that. Stupid self-inflicted commenting wound right when I was having JFK assassination trivia fun. Speaking of which (but assume this one is more well-known), Nixon left Dallas the morning JFK arrived after attending a Pepsi-Cola convention there.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 6:29 AM
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I really don't know how harshly to judge the administration for the flawed rollout. It does look like a mess, but the insane level of opposition and obstruction from Republicans both pit a lot of constraints on the process, and make the resulting problems look worse than they are.

Obviously, things weren't done perfectly, but I don't think I've got the information to judge whether they were done as well as could be reasonably expected, under the lunatic circumstances.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 6:42 AM
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The current mess is a storm that can and should be weathered, and I'm pretty sure it will be.

Yeah. One month, two, or six, the website will be fixed, and very few people will even remember this, and even less will care. People who like to talk about politics are talking about it right now because it's politics.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 6:59 AM
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Well, since the group has apparently decided that Ezra has turned closet Republican (maybe he always was a mole) and only the paid hack Josh Marshall has any grip on reality, I expect them pretty quickly to start looking very suspiciously at WH spokesman Jay Carney. Such is the epistemic closure of the reality based community.

The Impending Destruction of the Democratic Party ...FDL, links to

Michael Olenik at Naked Capitalism and his comprehensive review of 132 Florida plans

Traitors, racists, and facists everyone of them! Bill Clinton and Congress too! They all reveal their neo-confed bars and stars when the waters get a little choppy.

The Affordable Care Act is unaffordable, and will kill the Party. Because Obama wouldn't raise taxes on the bottom 99.5%


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 7:09 AM
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Federal contracting is pretty fucked up, I think maybe because of military focus of early spending that led to the current rules. Applying rules designed for buying tank parts or uniforms to IT is a bad fit.

The ACA website is unfortunately normal for federal IT, maybe worse than average, but not shockingly bad. The rules need to be changed if better outcomes are to be expected on average.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 7:13 AM
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Olenik is very active in the NC comment thread, with much like this:

Q:Stupid question perhaps, but is the out-of-pocket maximum on top of the yearly deductible, or does it include the yearly deductible?

A:Not stupid at all! The out of pocket under ACA plans includes the yearly deductible but under pre-ACA plans sometimes includes but often excludes the deductible. So while $20K is bad that's all there is, as long as one does't accidentally end up with an out-of-network provider, though that's admittedly a challenge when one is anesthetized with no family members present. Only in healthcare is a bill for a service "purchased" while certifiably unconscious, billed by people who knew you were unconscious, enforceable.

For anyone who wants more than:"Kermit says it's great! Where's my checkbook?"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 7:15 AM
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I thought the link in 204 was a perfect encapsulation. What strikes me also about the Village is how it's like the military. It may think it can nation-build, but that's only true under ideal conditions, which almost never exist. It has considerable destructive power -- it's greatest powers are also self-destructive, and so cannot be safely deployed -- even if it can't always (or even that often) kill its specific targets. It's got very poor strategic sense, and all its insights about likely consequences of its actions are wrong.

The trouble with the botched rollout is that it doesn't matter what we now think the situation is going to look like in May; we're going to have another shutdown/debt crisis in January, and the Village Narrative has turned in a way that will make it much harder for Reid to hold his people together. I agree with the point about Dems who opposed the ACA getting beat in 2010, and much the same thing happened in 1994: triangulation doesn't really work that well for most members of Congress. But that doesn't prevent individuals from giving it a try, since it's probably the only shot the marginal red state Dem has got in an election like 1994 or 2010. It's damn tough to stay afloat when your coalition includes a bunch of people who don't turn out for off year elections. The answer has to be marketing, I suppose. And serious GOTV efforts, probably through party machinery, for people (a) not the President and (b) who one might not actually like all that much.

My position in the Obama sucks thread was that he keeps failing because he follows, and/or has, the Village mentality. He probably disagrees with JP about how big a cluster the rollout really is.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 7:18 AM
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282: I agree with this. The Republicans are now in a much better position to extract concession in January, if they're willing to negotiate.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 7:28 AM
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I agree about the comparisons between this rollout and others, and about big new IT projects generally. So why wasn't HHS etc spending the summer telling us that they were doing what they could, and sure, there would be glitches for the first month or two, but once the thing got going, it would be a better system than you had? Because they assumed good faith on the part of the people with the microphones?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 7:28 AM
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283 last is O's best hope: Cruz/TP overreach can save him.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 7:33 AM
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I have always relied on the unreasonableness of my enemies.


Posted by: JP O'Hara | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 8:02 AM
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Typical Comment from Liberals I've Been Reading As Someone Who Gets Around This one at Mark Thoma's

Are you sure? We currently have employer provided health insurance but, out of curiosity, I checked out the ACA compliant plans for 2014 on ehealthinsurance and just about had a stroke.

The cheapest Bronze plan had a premium that's 55% higher than what we pay today as our portion of the insurance package at work (we don't qualify for a subsidy). But that's not the worst problem. The real problem is that the deductible is so unbelievably high that, barring catastrophic illness or injury, the insurance company would never pay a dime and we would be responsible for both premiums of $10,450 a year and 100% of doctor's visits, medicine labs, etc.

The cheapest plan would require our spending $10,450 a year on premiums and up to $12,700 a year in deductibles for a family of 3. Worst case scenario means we spend more than $23,000 a year out of pocket before BC/BS spends a cent.

This is a sure path to financial disaster, WITHOUT a job loss. It's utterly impossible.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 8:02 AM
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The cheapest Bronze plan had a premium that's 55% higher than what we pay today as our portion of the insurance package at work.

Wait, so you're telling me that the full price for an individual plan will be higher than an employee's contribution to an employer-subsidized plan!?! Curse you, Obamacare!


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 8:12 AM
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So if they lose their job yet keep their current salary so don't get a subsidy they'd be screwed. Check.

Look the law sucks. half a law will suck far, far worse.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 8:13 AM
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"CaitlinO", typical consumer, continues in that thread"

"Do you understand that, by law, 80% of all premiums MUST go for healthcare costs?"

My understanding is that the rule applies across all subscribers.

So, let's say Blue Cross spends $250,000 in a year on a cancer patient. $250,000 is 80% of $312,500. So BC could have 30 families just like ours, spending $10,450 for, essentially, no insurance at all and still be within the 80% rule.

Meeting the 80% target does nothing to change the fact that 30 hard working families will be required to send a whole lot of money to an insurer for the privilege of paying 100% of their non-catastrophic medical costs themselves.

How many middle class families can take on a burden like that? We, and I suspect many others, would decide that so long as we're footing our own medical bills anyway, we might as well just pay the tax fine and pocket the premiums.

Far from reducing the number of Americans without insurance, it looks to me as though these worthless junk policies will merely substitute uninsured middle class Americans for uninsured working poor Americans.

Requiring a 3 person family to cough up more than $23,000 a year in premiums and deductibles before the parasitic insurer shells out a cent is not getting "burned a little."

It's flat out impossible. We earn nearly 2.5 times the median household income and we absolutely cannot afford health care costs that are the equivalent of a year in college or a new car or half a down payment for a house EVERY YEAR. Forever.

If we lose our employer provided health care, which I fear will happen in a year or two, we will be uninsured, will pay for routine medical costs and the tax fine out of pocket and will use bankruptcy as the solution to a health catastrophe. ACA doesn't offer us another option.

That which is unsustainable will not be sustained.

Look, I get it. But if single-payer was politically unviable, then so is this. And will be reversed after the political cost is paid by Democrats at the polls, with a whole fuckton of collateral damage to the progressive agenda.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 8:23 AM
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204,282:

I don't know. My job is literally working with The People on a weekly basis. Seriously, public meetings are my job. I vacillate between two thoughts, depending on whom I've talked to last.

1. Jesus fuck, The People are horrible and should never be allowed anywhere near an important discussion. Narrow short-term interest approximates their position 96% of the time, and we could just ask the few who sometimes look beyond that, because we know who they are.

2. Jesus fuck, all our executive office wants to do is dole out information in a coy and guarded fashion to direct The People into coming to the conclusion they want. They are horrible and should be immediately transparent and trust The People.

I am become cynical. My friend and I were floating the hypothesis at the stupidity and narrow political conniving and manager speak moves exactly to the Deputy Director level. The agency Secretaries seem bright and direct. But the Deputy Directors I have seen are super annoying. But does that mean that Secretaries have to spend their time surrounded by bizarre manager speak in code words?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 8:36 AM
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And I do remember the argument that when "CaitlinO" loses her employer health insurance, her employer will immediately give her a 20% raise. Ezra promised.

With this economy and EPOP, that ain't gonna happen.

This thing is toast, and so are Democrats.

Had to fucking go to all-out war with insurance and providers from the start, to pull down costs, and if we lost, at least voters knew who we were fighting for.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 8:39 AM
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291. Lots of organizations are one or two people authorized to say "yes" surrounded by rings of people whose job is to say "no". Most public communication between organizations is between the people whose job is to say "no." No, the guy at the top would rather not decentralize.

I thought "Jesus fuck" was midwestern. Do you hear "Holy fuck" out where you live?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 8:44 AM
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So why wasn't HHS etc spending the summer telling us that they were doing what they could, and sure, there would be glitches for the first month or two, but once the thing got going, it would be a better system than you had? Because they assumed good faith on the part of the people with the microphones?

I'm not committed to what I'm going to say having been the best plan, but I think it might have looked like the best among bad alternatives. The knives were sharpened on all fronts for any sign of weakness in the implementation of the ACA. If they realized it was going to be either late or terribly glitchy (as it was), warning people ahead of time might just have given attackers more time to do damage. That is, if you know in August that there's no way the site will be running smoothly before December, you've got two options: soften the blow by confessing the problems ahead of time, and brace yourself for five months of all-out war, or keep shtum until you have make the embarrassingly flawed rollout in October, which is more shocking, but you only have to take the heat for three months.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 8:58 AM
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Insofar as I've enabled the McManusbot, JP, I'm genuinely sorry. That said, thinking about this a bit more, it seems to me that most of the political struggles of recent decades have amounted to "Government can work." versus "No it can't!" with the former position associated with the Democrats and the latter with the GOP. This is self-evidently obvious, I know. But it matters in this case, because we want to see what remains of the New Deal in place for future generations. And insofar as the ACA, like I said above, is the signature piece of legislation of the past half century (right?) for the "Government can work." side, the fact that it's actually not working at all well is hugely damaging: both politically and as a matter of policy.

In short, I shouldn't have been so dismissive of procedural liberal competence last night, because this whole debacle has been just the latest fight over the effectiveness of liberalism. If the ACA suggests to onlookers that liberalism can't work, that government is the problem and not the solution, then the GOP gets to gloat and continue to dismantle the welfare state.

Now, as I've already said, if it turns out that the ACA website and the program itself begins to work relatively quickly, I think all will be forgiven and probably forgotten in fairly short order. But the fact that the rollout has been such a gigantic mess -- and nobody, including my friends and my students who are trying to use the cursed thing, seems to be able to reassure me that it hasn't been a gigantic mess -- is really not good. Again, sorry about giving aid and comfort to McManus.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:04 AM
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Thinking... I bet I say Holy fuck to spontaneously express surprise. Jesus fuck is when I have a thought and am trying to be emphatic.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:05 AM
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If the ACA suggests to onlookers that liberalism can't work, that government is the problem and not the solution,

Liberalism can't work, but government is not the problem. Liberalism is the fucked idea that government can make capitalism work.

The answer is socialism, fuckers, and revolution to get there.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:11 AM
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And look at the two choices the neoliberal offered us in 295

a) Capitalist takeover of government.

b) nothing at all, libertarian cruelty

Those like me, who want NHS or Medicare-for-all or a health system like most of the civilized world has, do not exist for him. There's an enabler, an Obamabot.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:18 AM
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293.2: we get both out here. Personally I'm more likely to go with "holy fuck", but I use "Jesus fuck" from time to time.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:18 AM
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Shorter 295: comity with JP. Or as close as we're going to come. Things are bad at the moment, but if they get better quickly all will be well (enough). In the meantime, though this is a colossally stupid self-inflected wound, the Dems obviously need to ride it out.

But, as I said in the comment that got this whole mess started, if they don't ride it out -- because of a combination of Obama's errors, Clinton's self-regarding triangulation, the public's immense ignorance, Congressional Democrats' perfidy, and the GOP's strategic obstructionism -- it will be a perfect moment for me to stop thinking about politics once and for all.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:21 AM
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It's weird, bob, there was a time when being called a neoliberal by you would have gotten under my skin. But now that I'm convinced that you're nothing more than a poorly paid GOP bot wannabe, I just find it funny. Like, I literally laughed out loud at that comment, comrade!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:23 AM
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296.2 OK. Interpolated fucks, do those sound natural? Basically, CA is an exotic foreign place and I want the language to detectably drift to reflect that.

"The people are horrible and should never be allowed anywhere the fuck near a decision"


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:29 AM
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If the ACA suggests to onlookers that liberalism can't work, that government is the problem and not the solution, then the GOP gets to gloat and continue to dismantle the welfare state.
This is why the defense that "Of course the ACA is a mess; the federal government can't do IT" isn't the most helpful.
The other problem is that even if this gets fixed, and I still assume it will, it's never going to be hugely popular. People will continue to be screwed over by insurance companies and rates will continue to rise, anecdotes will be generated.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:34 AM
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Coming in late, but I don't see that anyone else mentioned Don DeLillo's Libra, so I will. It's avowedly a novel, he's making no truth claim for it, but I found his theory by far the best in tune with how I understand reality.

In the wake of the Bay of Pigs and JFK's rising dislike of the CIA, a small group of CIA officers decides that the man needs a good scare. They'll put together a plausible, but doomed, assassination attempt, with the shooter being one of the many dysfunctional weirdos they've got on tap for that kind of thing. He'll botch his job and go down, at the hands of Secret Service or the police or whoever, and leave behind a trail of evidence that very, very clearly suggests Soviet involvement. This will freak out the Kennedys, and they will wisely let the CIA go back to doing as it sees fit in the great war against communism with no more of this supervision bullshit.

The problem comes when it turns out the shooter is both a bit better than than the cabal realized and more filled with his own ideas than they'd realized. A lot of the Warren Commission and surrounding weirdness is the result of a desperate panicky attempt to cover up the fact that any such operation as the cabal's had ever been planned. It's not a contigency they gave any thought to, and they get it weird in only the way that egomaniacal commie-haters accustomed to too much power can.

That feels right to me, at least in terms of overall dynamics. These are the guys willing to put a lot of effort into proving Harold Wilson was a Soviet spy but who totally missed Philby and his buddies until far later than they should have, who looked up to serious paranoid nutcases like James Jesus Angleton, who were for that matter sure the Bay of Pigs was a good idea and would have worked if not for those meddling Kennedys and their dog. Whatever they thought they were doing, it was almost certainly a stupid idea [1], went wrong, and sent them into hasty covering up.

1: I didn't learn until later how much of a part of the right-wing problem he is, but I was impressed by Angelo Codevilla's Informing Statecraft, and by one idea in it in particular. Codevilla argues that policy made and carried out in secret is overall more likely to have flaws that handicap or destroy its chances of success than policy made in public. It's not just that widening the circle of observers whose criticism you feel obliged to heed is often a god idea, but that the very fact that you know you're helping make secret policy feeds a hubristic sense of your own correctness. As I gradually realized later just how bad the media establishment is, I realized that Gramsci was right, you can get that same effect operating out in the open if you just wall off any sense of shame or accountability.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:36 AM
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My strong belief is that no one -- except maybe three people in Washington and employees of health insurance companies for whom this is there job -- understands health insurance at even a basic "I kind of know what's going on" level. This lack of understandig includes doctors and people who are HR managers tasked with explaining health insurance to employees (and, to be clear, it includes me). At the same time everyone knows that health insurance is expensive, that the costs can bankrupt them and/or they will die without health care, so it's important. In this climate the opportunity for spreading FUD about healthcare is almost unlimited. I mean I basically think Obamacare is an OK idea and that these "problems" are bullshit, but that's really only because I have semi knowledgeable (but actually not that knowledgeable) liberal bloggers assuring me that this is the case and because everyone on the other side is a massive liar. But everyone is going on rumor and doubt and hearsay and relying on trusted intermediaries here. I don't think that excuses the administration's lack of a better PR strategy, exactly, but it's really an insane climate driven by the ridiculous complexity of providing health insurance in the way we do.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:40 AM
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There may never be another Rob Ford: "Olivia Gondek said that I wanted to eat her pussy, I never said that in my life to her. I would never do that. I'm happily married. I've got more than enough to eat at home."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:41 AM
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303. The places where the government can do IT that I know about have technically capable government employees who have some authority to plan, and who have the respect and ear of policy setters.

I think that the government can do IT, but not with the whole project belonging to a contractor, for the reasons I mentioned.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:42 AM
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306: It's like "Airplane!", but real and more obscene.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:47 AM
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People will continue to be screwed over by insurance companies

This, of course, was always the fatal flaw of the ACA.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:51 AM
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301: Try Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism, because I suspect you are in the TINA group. That's what you want everybody to think. You are trying to destroy any real Left. Neoliberal.

Or this Dialogue pdf, between Mark Fisher and Jeremy Gilbert: "Capitalist Realism and Neoliberal Hegemony:a dialogue"

Republican trolls don't read and link to stuff like that. Nobody buys your shit, waifu.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:52 AM
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. . . effed up Gov't IT procurement is getting its day in the sun, but do you think Darrell fucking Issa is actually some kind of ally in that? You don't think that is something better done nest year

I do agree with this point, and appreciate JP Stormcrow for continuing to make it -- in my opinion it is true both that, (a) this is only a moderately bad failure by the standards of launching an ambitious IT project on a fixed schedule and (b) it's a horrible mess. The question of which of those two things to emphasize is a political question right now, not a technical question and so I think it's right to emphasize, "things are screwed up, but in completely predictable ways and the appropriate thing to do is let them fix it."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 9:57 AM
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311 --That conflates the problem with the website -- which can be fixed, and surely will be, fairly quickly -- with the problem of a vocal and articulate minority willing to talk about how the ACA is costing them real money. It was (or should have been) always clear that some people were going to have to pay more for health insurance under the ACA, and going out on a limb to pretend it wasn't so was a mistake for which there's no easy technological fix.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:03 AM
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304: Thanks, Bruce, I'd forgotten that Libra was something that I'd anted to get around to reading. Resonates with* the Jack Ruby quote**: * ". . . [I]t is the most bizarre conspiracy in the history of the world. It'll come out at a future date." --Jack Ruby.

*Or maybe inspired by.

**Supposedly to a journalist while in jail. So take with appropriately-sized grain of salt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:14 AM
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It was (or should have been) always clear that some people were going to have to pay more for health insurance under the ACA, and going out on a limb to pretend it wasn't so was a mistake for which there's no easy technological fix.

Most of the actual stories I've seen have been debunked as lying, mistaken, or confused pretty quickly. I mean, theoretically there are such people, but do we have any numbers?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:16 AM
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Re Libra: I remember enjoying Norman Mailer's "Oswald's Tale" when it came out, despite, well, Norman Mailer etc etc.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:23 AM
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314: There was the one good Kaiser Permante plan in California that had ~30,000 customers IIRC, and I will guess most of whose costs will go up*. (Some will get subsidies, but I suspect the screening really skewed that towards UMC by ACA subsidy standards.) And it was nice insurance if you could get it and keep it.

*It appears that BO, aka the Fount of All the World's Incompetence, is offering some manner of short-term "keep it" fix.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:25 AM
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314, 316: So, certainly no overall numbers, but it is going to be a fair-sized group, and as mentioned, people accustomed to winning when it comes to government attention.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:32 AM
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314:She is to have "THE MEETING" at the office today. Hear tell HSAs are an important point on the agenda. I expect her to come home bawling.

I have an honest to god Brown Recluse bite on my arm. Not a very bad one so far, and unlikely to have much necrosis. Maybe dime-sized. The pictures and stories on the Web are neat.

Jon Walker at FDL has been good on the ACA from the beginning.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:41 AM
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On the actual website for VW (actually less depressing than thinking about the real policy tangles, and politics, and polling, and the truth in Halford's 305 and apo's 309) some of my reaction might just be my own personal PTSRD (Post-Traumatic System Rollout Disorder) coming into play. There's the ones that need to be shot in the head (rare, and hopefully identified well in advance of touching a real use or customer), and ones that need to be fixed. This is the latter, and scrounging around I think there are some encouraging signs that that is happening.

1) The numbers were "disappointing" but not nothing when benchmarked against Massachusetts or medicare part D, or even Fed vs. California (a state where enrollees have "urgency" because they chose to make transfer to new plans on Jan 1, while I think the law allowed those to happen throughout 2014) enrollment to date. Fed 29K against pop. of ~216M for 1/7400 while in California it was 35K and 38M for 1/1100 rate. Bad but not zero.

2) They are starting to email folks who they know got stuck* (I think a few hundred thousand) to try again.

3) In yesterday's hearing there was back and forth over the rate of signups the site could sustain--it was out about 50% of target.

They are discovering some new downstream bottlenecks apparently, but not do not seem to be show-stoppers.

Finding out will be half the fun! But I think the actual uncorrected ills of the current system will be the actual issues from December forward.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:47 AM
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Oh, I read so much, I assume too much.

"The Meeting" will happen in the good companies trying to pre-emptively ease their employees into the shock effects, whatever they might be, of the "Cadillac Tax."

The HSA's are a standard way to manage co-pays and out-of-pockets. Not sure if companies can give employees a better deal if the employees hand more of their checks to the banksters and hedge-fund traders.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:49 AM
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I don't see that anyone else mentioned Don DeLillo's Libra

I assumed DeLillo's theory was that the real killer was a hyperliterate white male with a massive ego, an incomparable feel for the zeitgeist, and just enough self doubt to make the whole thing bearable.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:50 AM
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it was at about 50% of target trougput


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:50 AM
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322 a bad correction to 319. never mind. Do some work.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:51 AM
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The thing about the whole JFK deal for me is, I'd just like to know. This is the part of me that reads spoilers for movies I don't really intend to see. If I'm going to watch/read something, I'm happy to wait for the surprise, but either way, I just want the mystery solved*. Didactic, I know, but there it is.

Therefore, the appeal of JFK conspiracy theories, for me, is that if one is ever proven true, then "we'll never know" gets wiped away. Whereas, if the WC was basically correct, I'll never get that satisfaction.

*maybe this is why I don't hate the end of BSG; flawed as the finale may have been, it scratched my itch for a relatively concrete answer to most of the relevant questions. I don't need a perfect, or super-elegant answer, as long as there's an answer that isn't totally bogus.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 10:54 AM
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323.last: say it to my face, pal.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:00 AM
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324: Somewhat the same for me. Somehow if the answer is the WC plus we also learned a bunch of the interesting stuff behind the scenes that dsquared points to i's kind of "meh."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:19 AM
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325: You talking to me? 'Cuz I was talking to me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:20 AM
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The insurance world as she is:

Kamala Harris @KamalaHarris
CA has shut down 10 fraudulent, imitation @CoveredCA websites run by private brokers & companies bit.ly/HOSjHV


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:36 AM
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Wow, Obama's speech was truly horrible. Not that it matters, but still. Yeesh.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:47 AM
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(And yes, now I'm just goading you, JP. I'll stop!)


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:48 AM
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I welcome your goads!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:54 AM
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And he could really use more trougs.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:58 AM
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I'm also only now really noticing that the proposed Stormcrow Unit of turning the corner on Obamacare is the same as the Friedman Unit for Iraq. Is that bad? We'll know in 6 months!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 11:58 AM
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333 demonstrates beautiful self-awareness. Thomas Friedman you're not.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:03 PM
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Oh! I meant to say, back when I was reading the on-topic part of the thread:

oud's sarcasm aside, the idea of JFK being targeted by, let's call them, ultra-hawks resonated with me when I think of what's happened to our current president wrt national security. Atrios has joked that, when you become president, there's a MIB-style device they flash in your eyes, and you become assimilated to the entire nat'l security apparatus, no matter your priors.

I have no illusions that Kennedy was a dove*, but IMO it's entirely plausible that he was becoming disenchanted with the CIA's insane and counterproductive MO, and that that would be viewed as a big threat. Actually, a bigger threat than an Obama; for a Cold Warrior like Kennedy to reject aspects of the nat'l security apparatus would be damaging to the consensus, the same way people who've admitted being wrong about Iraq are more credible to Villagers than people who were right all along.

*although count me as part of the backlash to the backlash: people got so annoyed by swirly-eyed Boomers who thought JFK was a peacenik that they now dismiss all evidence - and there's plenty - that JFK was moving left relative to the ultra-hawks in his admin and the permanent positions. Not everyone to the right of Chomsky holds the same beliefs, and there's an awful lot of space between Hoover/Angleton and a conventional Cold Warrior.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:05 PM
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Oh! I meant to say, back when I was reading the on-topic part of the thread:

oud's sarcasm aside, the idea of JFK being targeted by, let's call them, ultra-hawks resonated with me when I think of what's happened to our current president wrt national security. Atrios has joked that, when you become president, there's a MIB-style device they flash in your eyes, and you become assimilated to the entire nat'l security apparatus, no matter your priors.

I have no illusions that Kennedy was a dove*, but IMO it's entirely plausible that he was becoming disenchanted with the CIA's insane and counterproductive MO, and that that would be viewed as a big threat. Actually, a bigger threat than an Obama; for a Cold Warrior like Kennedy to reject aspects of the nat'l security apparatus would be damaging to the consensus, the same way people who've admitted being wrong about Iraq are more credible to Villagers than people who were right all along.

*although count me as part of the backlash to the backlash: people got so annoyed by swirly-eyed Boomers who thought JFK was a peacenik that they now dismiss all evidence - and there's plenty - that JFK was moving left relative to the ultra-hawks in his admin and the permanent positions. Not everyone to the right of Chomsky holds the same beliefs, and there's an awful lot of space between Hoover/Angleton and a conventional Cold Warrior.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:05 PM
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It's a conspiracy!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:05 PM
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I welcome your goads!

You're missing an N.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 12:07 PM
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Jon Walker on the Obama speech. He always has been the best.

The idea private insurance exchanges will magically drive down price and improve quality through competition was based on the assumption that buying insurance could be made so incredibly simple that almost everyone would be able figure out which plan was best for them. For this kind of competition even theoretically to work the consumers needed to understand trade offs with the all the different options. If you can't buy insurance extremely simple the whole concept won't deliver.

One of the main reasons I had so little faith in the supposed promise of these exchanges is because I know ACA wouldn't make this process simple enough. This is why even in countries that use a system that appears to resemble the basic design of ACA, such as Switzerland, they require extreme plan standardization.

Obama didn't just admit he never fully understood his signature law, he seems to indirectly acknowledge that the whole thing is conceptually flawed.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 1:18 PM
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||> Imagine my surprise just now, while in the gift shop of the Molly Brown House Museum, to see a certain historian's talking head in a video that was playing. He was speaking about the history of the American West. Unfogged appears in real life! You are not all basement-dwellers after all!


Posted by: Count Fosco | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:30 PM
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You are not all basement-dwellers after all!

Maybe we're actually the cabal that murdered Kennedy, secretly running the world through coded blog comments.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:38 PM
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I've never seen that video. I'm sorry you had to.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:40 PM
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secretly running the world through coded blog comments

And interpretive museum displays.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:45 PM
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342: Two Historians, One Thesis.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 2:47 PM
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344: Two Philosophers, One Diaresis.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:04 PM
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One Philospher, 7 Fantastic Ways To Distinguish Between Sense And Nonsense, (And you gotta give Buzzfeed some self-awareness credit for this one.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-13 3:10 PM
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As the old adage has it, "Big doors sometimes swing on little hinges." John F. Kennedy's murder was a big door--had he lived, the subsequent decades might have looked very different--and Lee Harvey Oswald was a preposterously small hinge

What's the argument that a longer Kennedy presidency would have made a huge difference in history? I know there's a fantasy that we wouldn't have gotten all cocked up in Vietnam, but I have no idea what that rests on -- wasn't Kennedy a more avid cold warrior than LBJ? I don't see how progress on civil rights would have been any less violent or dramatic.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:44 AM
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Sorry, that's from this article. Which is good on debunking various second-gunman theories but doesn't really approach the idea that a single-shooter Oswald might have had conspirators.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 10:45 AM
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347: There's some concrete evidence that Kennedy was, in fact, growing skeptical of Vietnam. The value of that evidence is hotly debated, but it's not just supposition (that is, there are actual White House memos produced before 11/22/63 to that effect). And, because Kennedy was a cold warrior, he would have (presumably) had the credibility to stop the escalation. By contrast, LBJ didn't give a shit*, so he just rolled with what Kennedy's hawkish advisors told him to do.

Aside from Vietnam, if you want to credit the belief (I believe this one derives from RFK) that he was tired of the CIA's bullshit, imagine the equivalent of the Church Committee happening in 1965 instead of 1977, and now you've got a big door. 1963 was barely 15 years after the NSA and CIA were created; 25 years before Kennedy was shot, there was essentially no national intelligence apparatus at all. It might not have been too late to curb it.

Mind you, that's all speculative but, as I noted above, the backlash that says Kennedy was indistinguishable from Nixon because they both hated the Soviets seems... flawed. And of course, the premise of these theories more or less assumes that this was actually happening - that is, part of the evidence that Kennedy was ready to turn on the CIA is that the CIA killed him. Put that way, it sounds like... a conspiracy theory, but then so does COINTELPRO.

*did he do anything noteworthy in foreign relations aside from Vietnam?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-15-13 1:57 PM
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I just remembered the best explanation of the Kennedy assassination, even better than the Illuminatus Trilogy one. It was from the TV show Red Dwarf. Kennedy was assassinated by Kennedy himself, time-traveling from the future.

Red Dwarf had all of the best time travel episodes, since the idea is best played as a joke.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-18-13 4:15 PM
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||Sometimes my idiocy and childishness stuns even me. I just got an email from Magic Johnson with the subject line "Party At My House" and instead of thinking that it must be spam or a fundraiser (it turned out to be an 'win an improbable chance to come to my house by donating to the DSCC')my first thought was "Oh my God. It's finally happening."|>


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-18-13 4:34 PM
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351 is hilarious. I don't know why you hid it on a moribund thread.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-18-13 4:45 PM
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351 made me L, OL.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-18-13 4:45 PM
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352 was me.

It's very important to me that I get credit for that.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-18-13 4:52 PM
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||
And then I found $50.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-18-13 5:38 PM
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Also, started reading Libra and finding it entertaining. Got Bleeding Edge out from the library as well, but after 2 pages think I need to ease back in via Mason & Dixon or Against the Day. Not quite ready for Pynchon handling contemporary characters.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-18-13 5:43 PM
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351: If you win, you might be able to ask him what Larry Bird is like.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-18-13 5:50 PM
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