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Family planning

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.04.08

In my family, both of my older brothers married women and promptly joined thier spouses' family, and neglects ours. Extremely neglects our family. Both siblings describe something of a battle to get their spouse to come to our family gatherings, and end up with these absurd compromises like, "We'll see my family at least once a year," even though they both live in close proximity to the wives' respective families. Example: no grandkid has ever visited my parents. (Grandkids are all under three. But still.)

What is this? How do you raise a family that avoids this? I adore my nuclear and extended family. Aside from Grandma, it's a family that gets along well and has a wonderful time together. It's true that my parents are sort of hyper-accomodating, and so they don't demand visits as they might. But it's well known that my mom's dream is to have the nuclear family and spouses and grandkids get together for a weekend each summer. Both brothers have said, "Don't hold your breath."

On the other hand, my mom is thrilled that Jammies and I are expecting. I wasn't expecting this at all, and I'm totally basking in the attention.


 

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Mayday! Mayday!

Posted by LizardBreath
on 10.03.08

This is your bailout thread. I have reverted to the ignorant peasant suspicion of my forebears, and have no idea whether what happened today was good or bad, necessary or unnecessary.

But I'm sure the lot of you do.


 

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"You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em..."

Posted by LizardBreath
on 10.03.08

Hasn't anyone in the McCain campaign thought that the whole "Maverick" theme is setting him up for some Kenny-Rogers-based jibes when anything, like pulling out of Michigan, happens that makes it look as if he's in retreat?

More generally, why are country songs more likely to be funny, or at least aiming at verbal cleverness, than other current genres of popular music (come to think of it, rap is a giant, glaring, counterexample there.) All right, how come that among white-identified genres of popular music, country makes intentional verbal comedy a much bigger part of the mainstream than other genres do?

It's not that there aren't any funny rock songs, but if I'm in a car listening to whatever station I can get, on a country station literally ever other song is going for a laugh, and in another format it's more like one song in ten. Rural/southern/however you want to stereotype country music listeners aren't any funnier than anyone else (not any less funny, but not particularly funnier); why do they want their singers to be comedians; or why don't people who listen to other white-identified genres of pop music?


 

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You know what?

Posted by Ben
on 10.02.08

I say "nucular" on occasion, so y'all can stuff it.

What's more.

(Don't let me catch you saying "between you and I", or "the reason is because", though.)


 

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Why Oh Why Oh Why Oh Did He Ever Leave Michigan

Posted by Becks
on 10.02.08

The best news for the Obama campaign today isn't the debate -- it's McCain pulling out of Michigan. I don't understand why McCain let that leak out today and didn't hold the news until next week. Michigan, especially Detroit, has an incredible union-based political machine. If the Dems thought Michigan was ground they still had to defend, they might have spent this last weekend before voter registration ends making sure they signed up as many new Michigan voters as possible. But, since they don't, what they'll be doing (or should be doing) is refocusing that very effective ground game on Northwest Ohio where, through Monday, people can do same-day registration and early voting. And now the Detroit unions can spend all their time between now and the election focusing on early voting GOTV efforts in Ohio if they so choose.

McCain pulling out of Michigan could let Detroit win Ohio for Obama.


 

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I wanna post the debate thread!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.02.08

 

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The Deep End

Posted by Becks
on 10.02.08

NPR had a good primer earlier this week about how high-risk insurance pools, which are a centerpiece of the McCain health care plan, aren't effective. Unfortunately, there isn't a transcript but it's worth listening to. I never knew that state high-risk pools often have waiting periods before pre-existing conditions are covered. So, if you find out you have cancer and can't buy coverage through the free market, you can qualify for the state high-risk pool...which won't cover your cancer for 6-12 months.


 

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Biden's debate preparation.

Posted by Apostropher
on 10.02.08

Watch the slideshow.


 

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Actually, Banana Baby Food Is Delicious. I Sometimes Pack It For Lunch Instead Of Yogurt.

Posted by Becks
on 10.01.08

I shouldn't have to tell you this. Babies aren't allowed to eat better food than me.

Ravioli with sage butter, pecorino and crispy sage leaves? Sure, if we added some water to smooth out the pasta, which becomes gummy after it visits the food mill. A side dish of cannellini beans with rosemary oil, garlic confit and shallots that we mashed with a fork was a winner, but before mashing it we picked out the garlic cloves, fearing they'd be hard on the baby's stomach....
Lentils milled with caramelized onions and wilted arugula vanished in a few bites. Sole Milanese leftovers gave us a dynamite first effort with flaking up simple white fish. We couldn't keep pesto in stock, finding it a welcome complement to almost any vegetable, meat or bean.

 

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Brother I'd Like To Punch

Posted by Becks
on 10.01.08

Via his Facebook feed, I've learned that my college-aged brother thinks that Sarah Palin MILF humor is the funniest stuff ever. He's been posting a steady stream of it since she won the VP nomination. I'm going to be seeing him this weekend at a wedding and it will be the day after The Great Debate, so I'm sure it's going to come up.

How can I convey that stuff like this is sexist and uncool without inducing an eye roll and being dismissed or, alternatively, turning him into an insufferable Sensitive New Age Guy? How can you walk the line?


 

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Obamaing

Posted by Becks
on 10.01.08

I did some phone banking and took another shift in the mailroom. We sent out 100,000 mailers about how McCain's health care plan will raise your taxes by making employer-provided health care plans taxable. Also, you can't trust John McCain on health care because he wants nothing more than to bite you in the torso and give you a disease (by the looks of his picture, at least).

Two observations:

1. A significant number of the middle-aged volunteers are there because they've been laid off and can't find a new job and are looking for something to get them out of the house and be productive when not job hunting. In a way, Bush's tanking of the economy and job market has sown the seeds of the GOP's downfall, giving lots of people both the motivation and the free time to rally against them.

2. The paid workers in the mailroom totally make fun of us behind our backs, snickering at how tired we all are after a 4 hour shift of standing on a hard concrete floor, lifting and piling 50 lb. bags with loud noises droning on in the background and nothing to distract you from how boring the task is or how much your legs ache when they put in a full day's work there every single day. And they're totally right to do that.

So, WDYDTGOETW?


 

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All The Booze That's Fit to Pint

Posted by Stanley
on 09.30.08

I could respond to this, highlighting the fact that Governor Palin appears unable to name even one newspaper. And were I to do so, I'd tell you about this past weekend in North Carolina, where we struggled to find gas around the Charlotte area (we weren't the only ones).

We eventually found some, but they had only the 87-octane version and a limit of $40 per customer. As we got our $40 worth, I went inside to look for a newspaper and found none. Asking the owner of the gas station, I was informed that he doesn't read newspapers. It's only bad news anyway, he explained. And we were on our way.

But since I'm not going to go on about that, I'm much more interested in knowing if anyone's tried the new Budweiser American Ale—not because I anticipate it being very good; quite to the contrary, because I expect it to be something like Sam Adams Boston Lager, viz., okay, but not really what you'd get from a small craft-brewer. I haven't yet seen Bud's attempt at a microbrew available locally, and I'm curious.


 

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The Little Guy

Posted by Becks
on 09.30.08

A reader wrote a really long time ago but I'm only getting around to posting it now writes asking if people know of congressional races where donations could make a difference for candidates who deserve it. Ideas?


 

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Mailbag, Election Edition

Posted by Becks
on 09.29.08

Real letters to the editor from the heartland:

This Democrat ready for era of Sarah Palin
It has come to my attention that we are having, in this country, a Sarah Palin experience that seems to put us back in the Jackie Kennedy era.
When was the last time people oohh'd and aahh'd at a lady in the supreme spotlight, no matter what you thought of her? Reminds me of the era of Princess Diana and all that she did for her country and beyond.
Britain had its Lady Diana. What would be the matter with us reaching out to Sarah Palin and embracing the image of what good could come of this?

It's true, racial bias exists in campaigns
Once again the liberal news media attempt to skew the issues and inject race into this presidential election.
...
[T]here is a racial component in the presidential election of 2008. It is manifested by the polling numbers that The Blade cites in its front page story. The racial component is that nearly all blacks - 98 percent - report that they will be voting for Mr. Obama. Yes, indeed, I would call that a racial component when 98 percent of a particular ethnic group votes for a certain candidate.
But in classical liberal media fashion, the story twists the polling data to somehow suggest that white people are inherently racist or prejudiced. The article did not associate racism or prejudice with 98 percent of an ethnic group voting for a certain candidate. Instead, it suggested racism and prejudice when 55 percent of a sampling votes a particular way...
For president, there is no 'right to vote'
In her Aug. 22 opinion column, ("Action by Brunner needed to prevent 'caging' of voters") Donita Judge wrote, "I am sure most of us were taught in civics class that the foundation of our democracy, the hallmark of our power as a people, is our right to vote."
Unfortunately, Ms. Judge is right. Most of us were taught that in civics class. The problem is that we don't live in a democracy and there is no "right to vote" ... at least for president.
The United States are a republic (that's right, "are"), you know, "and to the republic for which it stands." You will not find the word democracy, not once, in the Constitution. Further, the Ohio legislature, like the other 49 state legislatures, would be perfectly within its rights to pick the Electoral College delegate slate to represent the state this December when Congress counts the electoral votes. This would be just the way the Founders intended it.
Candidates ignore Eisenhower's warning
I often wonder why the candidates never address hundreds of thousands of jobs "gone" if there is no war. President Eisenhower upon leaving office said, "Beware of an economy built on war."
Could it be the "sock puppets?"


 

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All asundry, for all intensive purposes.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.29.08

Up until this weekend, I thought there was a parallel alphabet, where the letters were spelled Ace, Beece, Ceece, Deece,... etc. Although I didn't think about it particularly directly. This alphabet was used for possessives, specifically possessive subscripts, which comes up all the time in math, of course. So I have been saying Ki and Mj as Kace of i and Emce of j for years and years, and then some more years. This weekend at a conference, it occurred to me that maybe other people say K sub i and M sub j. Who knew.


 

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Down Down Down

Posted by Becks
on 09.29.08

Goes the market.


 

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More To The Story

Posted by Becks
on 09.28.08

Part of Barack Obama, Sr.'s story that wasn't covered in his son's book. And that some people wonder if he even knew about when he wrote it. (I first heard this on NPR in a story I thought was more compelling than this article but I can't find it.):

On a hot July weekend nearly 40 years ago, Barack Obama Sr. was shopping on a busy Nairobi street when he ran into his friend and mentor Tom Mboya, one of Kenya's most charismatic political leaders. The two chatted for several minutes and Obama kidded him that his car was illegally parked.
"I told him, 'You are parked on a yellow line. You will get a ticket," Obama, the late father of the US presidential candidate, would later testify, according to press accounts at the time. And then the two men parted.
Minutes later, Mboya was shot twice and died in a pool of blood. It was a crime that convulsed the newly independent nation and would, in Obama's eyes, trigger a steep decline in his own promising career. Then 33, and a freshly minted government economist, he testified in the ensuing trial, an act which probably enraged those responsible for Mboya's assassination.

Obama, according to one friend, was convinced he had been targeted for murder after his testimony.
"He said he had been hit by a car not long ago and left for dead," said Pake Zane, 66, who attended the University of Hawaii with Obama and had not publicly discussed their 1974 conversation until now. "He did not say specifically who had done it, but he said it was the same people who killed Mboya."
In the heat of today's presidential campaign, the elder Obama is generally cast as the archetypal absent dad, a brilliant careerist ultimately consumed by women and alcohol, a man who shared little with his namesake son but a driving intellect and ambition.
That image of "The Old Man," as some of his eight children called him, is true, as far as it goes. He was indeed equal parts charm and arrogance. But what is left out is that the patriarch's downfall may have been rooted as much in an act of personal courage - the decision to testify - as it was in his personal weaknesses.


 

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Segregated Sundays

Posted by Becks
on 09.28.08

Another article I meant to post a while back: why are churches one of the institutions most difficult to integrate?


 

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