Early Morning Open Thread

There are a lot of great political cartoonists working in America today, but if I had to pick just one to follow, it would be Danziger.

Meanwhile, the POTUS visited an independent bookstore during his Iowa trip:

President Obama spent plenty of time in Iowa as a candidate. On Thursday, he had a little homecoming of sorts, making a surprise visit to the Prairie Lights bookstore, a business he had referred to during a campaign-style rally just an hour earlier. An account by the pool reporter, Carol Lee of Politico, who was traveling with Mr. Obama, offers the details.
“Well, this used to be my favorite place,” Obama told the owner as she showed him around.
He remarked how as president he can’t really mosey around bookstores anymore, and said the office comes with the good and bad.
Along his way, he picked up “No Apology” by Mitt Romney and “Courage and Consequence” by Karl Rove.
“What do you think, guys?” he asked the pool, holding up a hardback copy of each in his hands before setting them back down…
A few minutes later POTUS stepped up to the cash register with two books in his hands: “Journey to the River Sea” by Eva Ibbotson and “The Secret of Zoom” by Lynne Jonell for his daughters.
Obama pulled out five $20 bills to pay for the two books. Your pooler couldn’t hear the exact price but the two books didn’t cost that much.
Obama also bought a book for Gibbs, who was holding a large Star Wars pop-up book for his six-year-old son, Ethan…

Click on the link, because the photo of Obama is really good. Maybe I’m just a mean cynic, but if his handlers had ever found it necessary for Dubya to be seen in a bookstore, I suspect they’d have pre-swept the place to clean out any examples of doubleplus-ungood wrongthink from the opposition.

71 replies
  1. 1
    JSD says:

    Tom Toles is pretty good.


    And if you’ve ever worked in a corporate office (especially in the tech industry) no one has better captured the banality of that workplace better than Dilbert.

  2. 2
    kansi says:

    That Obama photo is a big helping of early morning awesome.

  3. 3
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    “Journey to the River Sea” by Eva Ibbotson

    Damn fine book. But you knew that.

  4. 4
    Shoe says:

    Obama: I’m in ur bookstore, pwning ur books

  5. 5
    Restrung says:

    thank you, Anne Laurie.

  6. 6
    PTirebiter says:

    Obama pulled out five $20 bills to pay for the two books. Your pooler couldn’t hear the exact price but the two books didn’t cost that much.

    WTF ? Or am I just being overly sensitive?

  7. 7
    Restrung says:

    thank you for the happy bedtime stories.
    I am not shitting you. OK.

  8. 8
    Cacti says:

    Fear, Greed, Racism, and Stupidity

    The Four Pillars of the modern Republican Party.

  9. 9
    MikeJ says:

    I am pleasantly surprised that the right wing goon squad has not yet befouled the Amazon reviews of the books he bought for his kids.

  10. 10
    El Cid says:

    New York Times’ Timothy Egan on the party of the ‘hissy fit’.

    In trying to explain his intemperate shout over a bill that in fact explicitly outlaws using public funds for abortion, Congressman Neugebauer said he was representing the views of people back home in Texas, as expressed in town hall meetings. By this logic, he’d throw his popcorn on somebody’s head if enough people did it in movie theaters in his district…

    …[P]ublic sentiment is a fickle thing. And no one can predict whether health care overhaul will work for most Americans, or add to the distrust people already have for the ruling and business classes.

    But it’s always better to be building something than destroying it. John McCain had a positive campaign slogan in 2008 — “Country First.” This week, he vowed “no cooperation for the rest of the year.” This is an adolescent living in the shell of a former statesman.

    The only things I’d disagree with are (1) the writer thinks he’s making some joke about Neugebauer, but he’s not; (2) quite a lot of adolescents I’ve known would have been 100x the leader of John McCain and would not have been the media kissup jerk he’s been for the last decade; and (3) I really don’t get why it’s so magical to hold up John McCain as some amazing statesman simply because he’s a crusty old Republican who on occasion has done something rational.

  11. 11
    TenguPhule says:

    When I think of all the Trees killed to display Mitt and Rove’s lies, it makes me sick.

  12. 12
    Joey Maloney says:

    That’s the first time in my life I’ve seen it reported that a President carried his own money. I have no idea what that might mean.

  13. 13

    Good morning, guys.

    You were serious about the “early morning” part of it, weren’t you?

    Joe Maloney – I agree. I was reading along and was quite surprised to see that Obama was carrying his own money for stuff. Most unusual!

    And for those who are interested in policy [policy wonks? is that the term?]:
    I found a place in the New York Times that actually explains some stuff: http://tinyurl.com/yk5r3zh

    I went by way of tinyurl because the original url was verrrrrry long.

    Maybe the question now is whether we are going to fix some of these things or are we going just go around pasting bandaids on this and that.

    [Did I mention that we have snow? Yuck!]

  14. 14
    Mum says:


    He also paid for the book for Gibbs’ six-year old son, so the total pre-tax would have been somewhere in the neighborhood of $70. Since “your pooler” didn’t notice that Obama was paying for THREE books, there could well have been something else he missed. As a matter of fact, we could probably bet on it.

  15. 15
    RedKitten says:

    More and more, the Republicans are starting to be portrayed for what they are: the party of negativity, fear, greed and regression.

    Where it’s an open thread, I’ll ask: does anybody have any good slow-cooker recipes that don’t require a bazillion ingredients? I head back to work in 10 days, and I think we’ll probably start to rely heavily on the slow cooker for our suppers.

  16. 16
    SRW1 says:

    As a comment on Mitt, that photo is in the same class as Biden’s ‘a noun, a verb and 9/11’ on Guliani.

  17. 17

    Fear and Confederate Yankee. Separated at birth?

  18. 18
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    I find it depressing that Politico qualifies as source for a pool report.

  19. 19
    Joey Maloney says:

    I’ll ask: does anybody have any good slow-cooker recipes that don’t require a bazillion ingredients?

    Sure. Truth is, in general you want to spice slow-cooked recipes much more lightly because the longer they’re in there, the stronger the flavors will come out.

    Like garlic?
    *2 bulbs worth of peeled garlic cloves
    *a 2-3 lb. roast, a boneless leg of lamb, or a smallish boneless turkey breast.
    *double-handful new potatoes
    *2 large onions, peeled and quartered
    *2 sprigs of just about any fresh herb you like EXCEPT for rosemary. It’s too strong and astringent for this application.

    Use the point of your knife to punch shallow holes all over the surface of the meat and shove in the garlic cloves. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. When very hot, sear the meat on all sides. Put it and the potatoes and onions into the cooker and add water. You don’t need to fill it up; halfway is plenty. Cook covered on “high” all day. Viola.

    For extra fanciness, rub the meat with coarse-ground mustard after searing, or add half a cup of dry white wine to the water.

    You can also add couscous (1:3 ratio to the amount of liquid) 10 minutes before serving.

    And may I suggest buying a package of the slow-cooker liner bags? They reduce cleanup to approximately nothing. Cheap at twice the price.

  20. 20
    JimF says:

    Country Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
    8 potatoes peeled and thinly sliced
    1 onion chopped
    1 lb ham fully cooked chopped into 1″ cubes
    1 package country style gravy mix
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    2 cups water
    2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

    Combine potatoes, onion and ham
    In a bowl mix gravy mix, soup and water. whisk until combine.
    Pour gravy over potatoes. Cover and cook on Low for 7 to 9 hours, high 3-4 hours. Top with cheese during the last 30 min.

    Note: to prevent darkening, toss sliced uncooked potatoes in a mixture of 1 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar; drain and proceed with recipe.

  21. 21
    Basilisc says:

    Enjoyed this piece from Bloomberg:

    More than 90 percent of Tea Party backers interviewed in a new Bloomberg National Poll say the U.S. is verging more toward socialism than capitalism, the federal government is trying to control too many aspects of private life and more decisions should be made at the state level.
    At the same time, 70 percent of those who sympathize with the Tea Party … want a federal government that fosters job creation.
    They also look to the government to rein in Wall Street, with almost half saying the government should do something about executive bonuses. Supporters are also conflicted over whether private-enterprise elements should be introduced into government programs like Social Security and Medicare.
    “The ideas that find nearly universal agreement among Tea Party supporters are rather vague,” says J. Ann Selzer, the pollster who created the survey. “You would think any idea that involves more government action would be anathema, and that is just not the case.”

    So you mean, they’re clueless nobodies with completely nonsensical beliefs who basically, let’s face it, just hate pointyheads, hippies, gays and black people? I wouldn’t have guessed.

  22. 22
    madmommy says:


    I like to make a yummy roast that is easy peasy-you can use either beef or pork, and can go with a cheaper cut because the crock pot will make it really tender.

    2 cans of cream of mushroom soup + 2 cans of water
    1 pkg. onion soup mix
    veggies of choice (taters, carrots, celery, etc) diced small

    Throw it in the pot, add a bit more water if you like a lot of gravy. Set it in the morning and when you get home from work the house smells delish! I serve it over noodles, but if you prefer rice that works too.

    Saw Samkitten is commando crawling. Your life is about to get busier by a factor of at least 100 :) I spent the beginning of the week in the hospital with my 6 y.o., he fell and broke his arm. Always figured that would be the kid to break bones, but was hoping we’d get farther along in his life than 6 before it happened!

  23. 23

    Since this is an OT: Bob Bennett (R-Utah) has been called up before the Purity Patrol.

    That’s right. Bob Fucking Bennett might not be good enough for the neo-goons.

    But remember hippies: You are SCARED TO DEATH that the teabaggers will insist that every GOP candidate meet their standards. You ABSOLUTELY HATE the idea that every GOP candidate will be at least as conservative as Steve King (R-Iä!).

    Come on, let’s work on our wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  24. 24
    jb says:

    I’m a former Iowa Citizen who grows nostalgic thinking of Prairie Lights. Mmm, books.

  25. 25
    Marc says:

    Reminds me of that scene from The West Wing. I think it was “In Excelsis Deo”…

  26. 26
    Therese says:


    Crockpot Chicken Tacos: http://bit.ly/dqofDo

  27. 27
    R-Jud says:


    does anybody have any good slow-cooker recipes that don’t require a bazillion ingredients? I head back to work in 10 days, and I think we’ll probably start to rely heavily on the slow cooker for our suppers.

    Congrats on the job! How are you dealing with child care? Mr Jud is planning to return to work part-time in the summer, and I already have a serious case of The Guilts regarding putting Bean in daycare.

    Recipes: Vaguely Italian Stew: Cut a pound of Italian sausage into bite-size rounds, sear briefly in a pan on all sides, dump into cooker along with 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce, 1 head peeled garlic cloves, splash of balsamic vinegar, a peeled and sliced onion, a peeled, de-seeded, and sliced red pepper. Cover with water or stock. Serve with salad and crusty bread.

  28. 28
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Agree with whoever mentioned Toles, for me it’s Toles, This Modern World, and Dilbert. Oh and Doonesbury, still. More hit and miss but still brilliant when he wants to be.

    I used to think I must be becoming addled by occasionally working in corporate environments (entirely by telecommuting, thank god) because I found Dilbert hilarious– then I realized, no, he’s actually just hilarious. Inventive, off the wall, unique sense of humor.

  29. 29
    SapphireCate says:

    A possible progressive challenger for Stephen Lynch (fuckwit-MA):


  30. 30
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor:

    Any good Dem possibilities there?

  31. 31
    fucen tarmal says:

    TLc is going to formally announce the name they chose for the sareality show with the palins…Inchoate, plus Hate.

  32. 32
    debit says:

    @fucen tarmal: I can’t believe they’re actually doing this. I look forward to hearing about the ratings flop this will be, because I won’t be watching any of it.

  33. 33
    ExtremismInTheDefenseOfLiberty says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    I think Hitler also carried his own money.

  34. 34

    @Zuzu’s Petals: In Utah!?

    No really, I don’t know.

  35. 35
    zzyzx says:

    Wow another piece in my Obama is Jeb Bartlett argument. I never bought into the concept that the president at a rare book store would be “such good hay” but I guess I’m proven wrong.

  36. 36
    Snarky Pickles says:


    WTF ? Or am I just being overly sensitive?

    Not necessarily overly sensitive. I’m sure there’s grist for another “arrogant, throwing away the taxpayer’s money” case of faux outrage in there somewhere.

  37. 37
    Robin G says:

    @zzyzx: I was JUST about to say that Obama looks just like Bartlett did in the rare book store in season one’s Christmas episode.

    We’re kinda living The West Wing, and it makes me want to roll around on the floor, kick my legs, and squeal like a happy toddler.

  38. 38
    Juror #7 says:

    The White House has posted raw video from Prairie Lights. (I must say, I’m loving this whole modern technology thing.)

  39. 39
    Robin G says:

    @RedKitten: Frozen meat + onions + water + salt = roast.

    Vegetables + stock + salt = soup.

    There’s plenty of recipes to be had out there, but most of it’s pretty intuitive. Just throw in whatever you would normally put into your supper and put the lid on. It’s pretty hard to have it come out completely wrong. Just make sure it’s always on low and that you don’t turn it on until the last minute before leaving the house. If you’re going to be gone 8+ hours, add extra water.

  40. 40

    When you get home:

    1 pound pinto beans. Pick out stones, wash, put in pot.
    Add enough water to cover beans by two inches.
    Leave the pot turned off.

    Just before bed — hopefully about four hours later — add a quarter pound of salt pork or bacon and a bay leaf. If you want the extra work, add a chopped onion. If necessary, add water so the beans have more than an inch of cover.
    Turn pot on, on low.

    In the morning, between getting up and leaving for work, check the pot. Give the beans a stir, and if there’s less than an inch of what’s now broth add some more water. If you want to add other veggies and spices, now’s the time.

    Once home, it’s dinner time. If you have energy and time, cornbread takes about half an hour, as do biscuits, but a nice bowl of beans can be plenty by itself.

  41. 41
    Apsalar says:

    1 pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch thick rounds
    1 cup applesauce
    2 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
    2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

    Put it all into the crockpot and cook 6-8 hours on low.

    1 tenderloin is good for 4 servings. You can do 2 tenderloins at the same time, just add a bit more applesauce and 1 more sliced apple. It’s as good as any “pork chops and applesauce” that Alice ever made for Bobby Brady, and really easy. Serve with thick pieces of toast for sopping up the juice.

  42. 42
    Steaming Pile says:

    What do the Republicans do when Fear, Greed, Racism, and Stupidity no longer work? Move on to Insanity and Obstinance naturally.

  43. 43

    Basic red beans and rice. Assumes you own a 2-quart casserole dish and a microwave.

    See the pinto bean recipe above for your starting point. Substitute kidney beans for pinto beans. Do not add salt pork or bacon at first step.

    In the morning, add 1/2 pound of andouille or chorizo sausage. Once more, this is also where you add other veggies such as minced or chopped carrots and celery.

    This time you have to work after you get home. 1 cup of any rice but brown and 2 cups of water go into the casserole dish, which goes (without cover) into microwave. Microwave for 10 minutes. (Note, every microwave I’ve tried is a little different on time. I’ve gone everywhere from 9 to 12 minutes. Once you find your spot, note it somewhere.) The rice made this way is not chef-perfect. It is, however, consistently good.

    Variation: You can add pickled pork. If you do, you’ll want a quarter to half a pound, cubed or chunked, and you’ll add it at the salt pork/bacon stage — that is, when you turn on the pot before going to bed.

  44. 44
    ksmiami says:

    This story illustrates the best part about Obama. He is a normal person, that you know once he is done with politics, he will have a great life. This was one of the reasons I jumped on his bandwagon – the guy is a millenial at heart; WE know nothing is promised, nothing is ordained and we will adjust to that as it comes. The other pro pols act like it is the end, not the means.

  45. 45

    @RedKitten: Darling, if you give me a chance to get caught up, and maybe remind me this weekend, I’ll pull all my slowcooker recipes and send them to you. We’ll just need to exchange emails. Plus I’ve got a ton of less than 15 minute recipes. Also.

  46. 46
    davidj says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    That’s the first time in my life I’ve seen it reported that a President carried his own money. I have no idea what that might mean.

    About a year ago NBC ran a “Day in the President’s Life” show that included a lunch outing to a DC hamburger joint. Obama ordered takeout for some office staff not on the trip and apparently paid for those orders and his own himself.

  47. 47

    And last but not least, check the temperature of your crockpot. If it has multiple settings (like, low, high, warm, or such) check each of them.

    The crockpot can be though of as a top-loaded oven with a fixed temperature – or temperatures. Once you know what those temperatures are, you can use “oven” recipes in it instead without heating the house and all that sort of thing.

  48. 48
    RedKitten says:


    Congrats on the job! How are you dealing with child care? Mr Jud is planning to return to work part-time in the summer, and I already have a serious case of The Guilts regarding putting Bean in daycare.

    I definitely have the guilts, but I’d also have the guilts if I stayed home, because that would result in us not being able to afford food. So what can you do, right? My MIL was actually crying the other night about the idea of Sam going in daycare…she’s all worried about him going to some strange woman’s house. So that didn’t make me feel very good. I know he’ll be fine, though — this woman has been watching kids for years and years now, has excellent references, and I got very good vibes off of her. She had a bunch of extra kids there the day I met her, ’cause it was March break, and they all seemed very comfortable and casually affectionate with her — I don’t think that kids are that good at hiding it if something is not right, so that was pretty comforting. Plus, she lives less than 1km from my new workplace, so I’ll go and visit him on my lunch hour on a regular basis.

  49. 49
    RedKitten says:

    @Bad Horse’s Filly: Sounds good to me! I’m at redkitten1975 at gmail dot com.

  50. 50
    leinie says:

    I loved the end of that story – they ask Obama what he got Michelle, he thinks for a minute, then “Thanks for getting me in trouble.”

    Now to bookmark this thread for all the recipes.

  51. 51
    PTirebiter says:

    @Snarky Pickles: Yea, my immediate take was she was portraying Obama as out of touch, the G.H.W.Bush not knowing the price of bread thang.
    It just seemed like such a silly detail unless…
    Back in the day, when I traveled on business, it was standard to start out from the hotel with $100 in a front pant pocket, usually five twenties folded over. Unless you wanted to play pocket pool in front of a cabbie, you pulled out folded package and peeled off the appropriate amount. I’m probably over thinking it but surely she wouldn’t expect the president to use a credit card.

  52. 52
    WallytheWineGuy says:

    Victoria Walton , Children’s Librarian Extraordinaire, made the recommendations to the POTUS. As her husband, I bask in the reflected glory.

  53. 53
    Persia says:

    That kids’ book sounds awesome. And the look on his face in the photo…priceless.

  54. 54
    psychobroad says:

    Journey to the River Sea is one of our favorites. Island of the Aunts is another really good Ibbotson.

  55. 55
    Crusty Dem says:


    Agreed. Prairie Lights is a great choice (though there probably aren’t any other independent bookstores left in Iowa City..

    Obama pulled out five $20 bills to pay for the two books. Your pooler couldn’t hear the exact price but the two books didn’t cost that much.

    I find it best, when paying for things, to have more money than the items cost. But that’s just how I roll…

  56. 56
    Crusty Dem says:


    Congrats! Could I request any suggestions she might have for my voracious 6 and 8 year old readers?

  57. 57
    scav says:

    @Crusty Dem: is book and crook not independent?

  58. 58
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    That’s the first time in my life I’ve seen it reported that a President carried his own money. I have no idea what that might mean.

    My favorite quote in the article:

    Obama also bought a book for Gibbs, who was holding a large Star Wars pop-up book for his six-year-old son, Ethan.

    It’s a little expensive, sir,” Gibbs said to his boss as he handed it over.

    POTUS showed the book to pool as the cashier rang it up for $37.44.

    Perhaps I’m being very naiive, but it seems kinda of refreshing to have people in top levels of our govt. who still think that a $37 book is a little expensive.

  59. 59
    IronyAbounds says:

    @JSD: Toles is the best. Intelligent snark.

  60. 60
    Crusty Dem says:


    Damn, book and crook? I haven’t thought about those bastards in 15-20 years…

    Takes me back to buying used textbooks for a minor savings ($120 instead of $130), finishing the semester and having them offer $10 for the same book in the same condition (sometimes barely opened).

    I ended up keeping most of my old textbooks out of pure spite…

  61. 61
    Sasha says:

    I’ve always been a fan of Clay Bennett since his stint with the St. Petersburg Times. He has a knack for addressing the absolute essence of an issue with understated humor and simplicity. (Cases in point.)

    Archive of older work.

    Newer cartoons.

  62. 62
    Opopanax says:

    Umm, Star Wars Geek Alert, but if it’s this Star Wars pop-up, it’s worth the price:


    It even has a Luke & Darth Vader pop-up at the end that have light sabers that really light up. My son has it and loves it.

  63. 63
    Zuzu's Petals says:


    Unless you wanted to play pocket pool in front of a cabbie, you pulled out folded package and peeled off the appropriate amount.

    Which, per the video @38, is exactly what he did.

    Though it looks like no reporter would be close enough to see exactly how much he had.

  64. 64
    fucen tarmal says:


    i think it will be a big launch, measured in how fast people turn it off and don’t go back…

  65. 65
    Zuzu's Petals says:


    I love this one.

  66. 66
    HumboldtBlue says:

    RedKitten …. 2 1/2 pound pork roast, jar of good sauerkraut, potatoes.

    Trim fat from pork, season as you wish, place in crock pot. Cover with sauerkraut, set pot to low and leave. Come back from work, boil up potatoes and mash, serve pork and sauerkraut over taters along with some fresh bread and butter and a salad.

  67. 67
    Crusty Dem says:

    Also, other pics on the Prairie Lights flicker page:


  68. 68
    YellowJournalism says:

    @RedKitten: If you have found a good care provider, you should never let anyone guilt you about it. (I did it with my first and now I go back in September, and I know it’s easier said than done to let go of the guilt, even when it’s someone you truly trust and feel is giving your son the best care possible.) Is it a day home or a licensed day care? Not sure how it is in your province, but some day homes are also part of an accreditation system here that is overseen in ways similar to how licensed daycare are overseen.

  69. 69
    Jerry 101 says:

    another day, another example of Obama-Fu.

    The picture is golden. Holding Romney and Rove’s books and laugh…no…looks almost trying not to bust a gut.

    Mock and laugh at them. That’s how he wins.

  70. 70

    @Juror #7: Thank you thank you thank you for providing this link. It made my day!

    What strikes me as I watch the video is how completely at ease Obama is with himself and with the people around him. Such a stark contrast to his predecessor, and a demeanor stemming from true self-confidence. I love the fact that he stopped in an independently-owned bookstore to buy books for his girls.

    @Sasha: Wow. I haven’t seen his work before. I’m digging it. Thanks!

  71. 71
    WallytheWineGuy says:

    @Crusty Dem
    send me a note and I’ll send you some bibliographies she has of best new books. I’m zinguy on gmail.

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