Open Thread: Memory & Forgetting

From Tom Scocca’s always-excellent blog at Slate, two adjacent posts on the weaknesses of old media and the strength of the new:

Lying Propaganda-Ghoul Ari Fleischer Explains How Professional, Ethical Reporting Should Work
The Atlantic has a sort of yakkity-yakkity thing up online about how Professional Journalists handle material being on or off the record. The peg is that Rolling Stone story from—when was it, back in 2005?—that got that general who was running our success in Afghanistan dismissed for being insubordinate and for having drunk and mouthy aides. Professional Journalists are still bothered by these events because the irresponsible and non-staff-employed Rolling Stone reporter went and wrote up quotations and anecdotes that he witnessed happening, rather than negotiating with his sources to produce a polite and abridged and untrue version of things…

… which comes right after a post linking (via the Awl) James Bridle’s “On Wikipedia, Cultural Patrimony, and Historiography”:

… In a world obsessed with “facts”, a more nuanced comprehension of historical process would enable us to better weigh truth, whether it concerns the evidence for going to war, the proliferation of damaging conspiracy theories, the polarisation of debate on climate change, or so many other issues. This sounds utopian, and it is. But I do believe that we’re building systems that allow us to do this better, and one of our responsibilities should be to design and architect those systems to make this explicit, and to educate.
[…]
__
This particular book—or rather, set of books—is every edit made to a single Wikipedia article, The Iraq War, during the five years between the article’s inception in December 2004 and November 2009, a total of 12,000 changes and almost 7,000 pages.
__
It amounts to twelve volumes: the size of a single old-style encyclopaedia. It contains arguments over numbers, differences of opinion on relevance and political standpoints, and frequent moments when someone erases the whole thing and just writes “Saddam Hussein was a dickhead”.
__
This is historiography. This is what culture actually looks like: a process of argument, of dissenting and accreting opinion, of gradual and not always correct codification.
__
And for the first time in history, we’re building a system that, perhaps only for a brief time but certainly for the moment, is capable of recording every single one of those infinitely valuable pieces of information. Everything should have a history button.

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118 replies
  1. 1
    burnspbesq says:

    Perhaps everything should have a history button, but that seems no more likely than Sarah Palin being admitted to membership in the Anchorage chapter of Mensa.

    History has always been written by the winners, and I am struggling to find a reason to believe that that will change any time soon.

  2. 2
    cleek says:

    i don’t want a history button

  3. 3
    MikeJ says:

    (cur | prev) 13:17, 07 September 2010 127.0.0.1 (talk) (19,964 bytes) (→Drunk posting) (undo)

  4. 4
    MattR says:

    @burnspbesq: Nonetheless, I find myself empathizing with this person

    frequent moments when someone erases the whole thing and just writes “Saddam Hussein was a dickhead”.

  5. 5
    Eric S. says:

    In a local to me and a few others here, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley will not run for re-election. I suspect it is going to get ugly and I’m rubbing my hands together in anticipation of all the fun. Rahm has said in the past he’s interested in the job but wouldn’t run against King Daley.

    Let the good times roll!

  6. 6
    geg6 says:

    Well, and sometimes your history catches up with you. Case in point:

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyo.....-Daily-Kos

    Funnier than usual to me because, after years of refusing to wade into any comment threads on the GOS, I had a moment of boredom yesterday and waded into a thread where “Huey Long” was commenting and I knew right away that his comments weren’t sounding like someone who really was a liberal/progressive, but who had read up on the lexicon and thought he could “pass.” After reading a few of his comments, I realized that the screen name “Huey Long” was the tell. Ratfucker meet ratfucker.

  7. 7
    valdivia says:

    Damn it my Soros check is now in jeopardy because he is giving it all to Human Rights Watch (110 million actually)

  8. 8
    BGinCHI says:

    If you want to read a great, scholarly book on this kind of thing, in terms of the way Renaissance libraries were formed out of the medieval manuscript tradition (monastic) that preceded it, see Jennifer Summit’s Memory’s Library: Medieval Books in Early Modern England.

    For a slightly more historiographical account, you could also read Annabel Patterson’s Reading Holinshed’s Chronicles.

    Great post.

  9. 9
    burnspbesq says:

    If you have a bit of time on your hands and a taste for the surreal, I suggest that you head over to the Atlantic and read Goldberg’s account of his recent meetings with Fidel Castro.

  10. 10
    J sub D says:

    Over at the website for the left of center rag The National Review’s website, Martin Peretz concludes a rambling, disjointed piece with

    But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.

    Got that? The first amendment is about privileges and he wonders if Muslims are “worthy” of them.

  11. 11
    valdivia says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I saw that. WTF is up with Fidel inviting Goldberg over. I am offended! ;)

  12. 12
    burnspbesq says:

    @valdivia:

    Soros’ interview with Inskeep on NPR this morning is well worth a listen. The gist of it is that HRW must evolve into a primarily non-American organization, because America has squandered it’s moral authority.

    Sad, but hard to argue against.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    geg6 says:

    And from our union brothers and sisters, a little bit of a reminder of what’s been happening in our country’s recent history:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

    Me likey.

  15. 15
    Joseph Nobles says:

    OT: Lawrence Wright’s one-man show “My Trip to Al-Qaeda” has been filmed for HBO and will debut tonight. It’s about his experiences and what he learned while writing the Pulitzer-Prize winning “The Looming Tower.” For my money, it’s the best account of where Al-Qaeda came from and how they did what they did. I’m preemptively recommending this documentary highly.

  16. 16
    burnspbesq says:

    @J sub D:

    I think we had this conversation a few days ago, and failed to reach a consensus on the question of whether Peretz is evil or merely stupid.

  17. 17
    BGinCHI says:

    @J sub D: doesn’t Marty know that without exactly the First Amendment protections he’s ignoring we would have had him clubbed like a seal ages ago?

    I thought elites were supposed to be smart.

  18. 18
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @J sub D: I hated giving up my digital subscription to TNR because I liked Chait and some of the other writers, but I really did feel the need to stop supporting Marty.

  19. 19
    valdivia says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Will check it out. I agree that the sentiment is sad but accurate.

  20. 20
    geg6 says:

    @J sub D:

    If it wouldn’t be taken as a serious threat by too many people around here without any sort of a sense of snark, I’d say that Marty Peretz’s life is pretty damn cheap, AFAIC. But since we have a lot of delicate flowers around here, I’ll just say fuck that racist piece of shit, Marty Peretz, and fuck anyone who lowers themselves to below-snail level in order to cash a paycheck signed by that piece of shit. The entire staff of the TNR should resign and the fact that they don’t tells me all I need to know about them.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    jeffreyw says:

    @Joseph Nobles: I have the DVR set and ready.

  23. 23
    J sub D says:

    Make that The New Republic vice The National Review in my 4:30pm comment.

    I always get the names of those two TNR’s confused.

  24. 24
    burnspbesq says:

    @valdivia:

    The concept of Fidel Castro with too much time on his hands is a little bit difficult to process.

  25. 25
    geg6 says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Agreed. Must see tv.

  26. 26
    Mark S. says:

    Almost all of what Hastings said appears to be based on the idea that HIS assumptions were shared by McChrystal and his staff. What seems clear in retrospect is that the agreement was vague enough that Hastings was free to interpret it to his journalistic advantage.

    I would assume that unless someone says the safe words like “off the record” or “deep throat,” it’s on the record. But what do I know? Here’s Tim Russert, the most beloved man in American history, on the subject:

    My personal policy is always off the record when talking to government officials unless specified.

  27. 27
    valdivia says:

    @burnspbesq:

    bored Uber-Presidente is bored?

  28. 28
    J sub D says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I think we had this conversation a few days ago, and failed to reach a consensus on the question of whether Peretz is evil or merely stupid.

    A dessert topping and a floor polish.

    Why the supposedly respectable New Republic would allow that sort of trash on their site is incomprehensible.

  29. 29
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @J sub D: Thinking about the block quote a bit more, it’s got that rather generic, I-am-a-Conservative-and-hate-X feel to it:

    But, frankly, ____x____ life is cheap, most notably to ___x____s. And among those ____x____s led by the _____y______ there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.

    Try these substitutions:
    x=African American, y=Jeremiah Wright
    x=Hispanic, y=(ok I can’t think of a prominent hispanic leader)

  30. 30
    burnspbesq says:

    @geg6:

    With the unemployment rate where it is, I do not insist on futile symbolic gestures from Chait or Cohn. Peretz is who he is, and nothing is likely to change that.

  31. 31
    burnspbesq says:

    @J sub D:

    Actually, it’s easily comprehensible. The guy writing the trash is the owner.

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:

    @Mark S.: Just saying “off the record” doesn’t make it so. It’s a request that a journalist can accept or decline.

    Anything a journalist sees or hears, anytime, anywhere, is on the record unless she agrees beforehand that it is not the case.

  33. 33

    … . The peg is that Rolling Stone story from—when was it, back in 2005? …

    ???

    I thought that Rolling Stone story was, like, three months ago. My how time flies.

  34. 34

    Hey kids remember that “historic GOP lead in a generic ballot” thingie? Yeah, not so much any more.

    Gee what happened? Think the polls are going all kerflewy cuz our media needs a horserace?

  35. 35
    artem1s says:

    How I wish the bible had a history button. It would be so fun to egg on fundies about which version they were currently touting as absolutely true. I wonder if Conservapedia’s history button is accessible to the masses?

  36. 36
  37. 37
    licensed to kill time says:

    This headline just made me start laughing:

    Fox calls for repeal of the 20th century

    …albeit in a rueful and bitter sort of way.

  38. 38
    Sentient Puddle says:

    OT: Who wants to bet that this gets reported? Gallup, a week after finding Republicans have a 10 point advantage on the generic ballot, now find it tied.

    Seriously, what the fuck kind of sample size are they using that gives them that much noise?

  39. 39
    J sub D says:

    @Sentient Puddle:
    I always lie to pollsters. I consider it a public service.

  40. 40
    valdivia says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    yes not even ONE of the lefty blogs yelling about this last week are headlining it now. so freaking sad.

  41. 41
    BGinCHI says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    who the hell answers the landline during the day or around dinnertime anyway? Older white people.

  42. 42
    bemused says:

    ot but Chris Matthews just played a clip from Obama’s speech and said he just got a thrill up his leg. Has no one told Matthews to drop the thrill up his leg bit yet?

  43. 43
    job (still waiting) says:

    @BGinCHI: Landline? Who can afford a landline?

  44. 44
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @BGinCHI: Land line, what’s that? Do people still have them?

  45. 45
    Corner Stone says:

    Regarding the recent “No Good Options” thread here, I thought I would just add that anyone who thinks a family has a “moral” obligation to the bank is crazy.
    Lawyers say judges are simply ignoring problematic or contradictory evidence and awarding the right to foreclose to institutions that have yet to prove they own the properties in question.

    HT Atrios

  46. 46
    BGinCHI says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    The people in those “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” commercials always do.

    Good to see you over here. It’s like seeing someone from the local at a bar in another ‘hood.

  47. 47
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @bemused: It’s better than sparkles, but yeah, the term is kind of old.

  48. 48

    @BGinCHI: Land line, what’s that? Do people still have them?

    We still have a landline. I don’t know why but we do. I have a cell phone, Skype on the ‘puter, and a land line. And I make like 4 phone calls a year cuz I hate the phone.

    Go figure.

  49. 49
    Corner Stone says:

    @bemused: He also just played his Politico sourced “Big Number” that zero House D’s are running ads featuring HCR.
    But I have to believe that’s just due to timing so far. Surely there’s a D leaning district somewhere that would be cheered up by seeing it talked about?

  50. 50

    Ooh! Ooh! Open Thread! Where I can do legitimately what I did illegitimately on one of DougJ’s threads earlier today!

    To wit:

    GAH!!

    MARTY PERETZ IS MAKING MY HEAD CAVE IN!!

    But, frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.

    GAH!! Here’s my very ranty response:

    http://emilylhauserinmyhead.wo…..cheap-wtf/

  51. 51

    @licensed to kill time: It certainly clarifies the matter, doesn’t it?

  52. 52
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Corner Stone: Probably timing. It’s a pretty absurd measure though. By another yardstick, health care is the biggest issue they’re running on.

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    We still have a landline, because cell phones don’t work after an earthquake. If you’re on the West Coast and don’t have access to a landline, you’re taking an awfully big risk.

  54. 54
    Suffern Ace says:

    @valdivia: And very few seem to be commenting on the President’s statement that he will not sign legislation privatizing social security. After nearly jumping off a cliff about that possibility for months. It’s just the stimulus is too small. Good grief.

  55. 55
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: Indeed it does. Succinct!

  56. 56
    Corner Stone says:

    @Sentient Puddle: Yeah, another example of nonsense being used to drive a narrative.
    Doesn’t really mean anything, ISTM.

  57. 57
    bemused says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):
    Oh, he didn’t stop there. He seems to get more thrilled as he talks about getting a thrill up his leg. Whoever he was talking to said something about the tingle and Matthews corrected him. Evidently there is quite a difference between a thrill and a tingle. Who knew.

  58. 58
    Corner Stone says:

    @Suffern Ace:

    And very few seem to be commenting on the President’s statement that he will not sign legislation privatizing social security. After nearly jumping off a cliff about that possibility for months.

    “Privatizing” was never the concern.

  59. 59
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Mnemosyne: Do you have your ham radio license? If you are worried about an earthquake, I would recommend the only true system that will be functional in a disaster.

  60. 60
    El Cid says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking survey Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 2010, with a random sample of 1,651 registered voters, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
    __
    For results based on the total sample of registered voters, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

    From the link. Significantly larger sample size than needed for 95% confidence level at the margin of error.

  61. 61
  62. 62
    bemused says:

    @Corner Stone:
    I had the same thought. There was an article in the Mpls Star Tribune about parents very relieved that their insurance companies were going to kick in on insuring their early 20’s kids. There are some benefits taking effect now that the Dems could talk about.

  63. 63
    Sad_Dem says:

    “The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does a Westerner…We value life and human dignity. They don’t care about life and human dignity.”

    –William Westmoreland

  64. 64
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @El Cid: OK, yeah, missed that part. Still, something strikes me as being really out of whack with what they’re doing over there. They’ve been showing too many big swings for me to consider plausible.

  65. 65
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @licensed to kill time #37: Swear to god, I was positive that was going to link to The Onion.

  66. 66
    Ed in NJ says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    OT: Who wants to bet that this gets reported? Gallup, a week after finding Republicans have a 10 point advantage on the generic ballot, now find it tied.

    Seriously, what the fuck kind of sample size are they using that gives them that much noise?

    It just goes to show that no one really knows what’s going to happen in November, despite the media and Republicans’ best efforts to control the message that there is a Republican wave coming.

    Now that the serious season is starting, more and more stories highlighting what might happen in terms of legislation, investigations, redistricting, gridlock are popping up, just in time, hopefully, to shake progressives out of their doldrums.

  67. 67
    Bill Murray says:

    @J sub D: That’s pretty much the bog standard right wing view of the Bill of Rights. Justice Scalia (I think it was him anyway) has said that the Constitution outlines the limit of rights for people. Also that the Bill of Rights defines privileges extended by the government to the people (this may not have been Scalia)

  68. 68
    Corner Stone says:

    @bemused:

    There was an article in the Mpls Star Tribune about parents very relieved that their insurance companies were going to kick in on insuring their early 20’s kids.

    Not to derail this OT thread or anything but this factoid is what I find amusing when people talk about motivating 20 something yr old voters.
    Their parents are scared to death about health insurance, and love love love the extension in age. The 20 somethings do not consider it to be a big deal. That’s anecdotal, no polling or anything.

  69. 69
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Adverse selection by 20-somethings is a big part of the reason why a mandate is necessary.

  70. 70
    Suffern Ace says:

    @Sad_Dem: One almost expects him to add “And they don’t love their children as much as we do, either.” That line between galling bigotry and regular old smugness isn’t all that fine.

  71. 71
    roshan says:

    Probably the most important article you will read today, especially the folks with kids in school.

    Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits
    __
    In recent years, cognitive scientists have shown that a few simple techniques can reliably improve what matters most: how much a student learns from studying.
    __
    For instance, instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention. So does studying distinct but related skills or concepts in one sitting, rather than focusing intensely on a single thing.
    __
    But individual learning is another matter, and psychologists have discovered that some of the most hallowed advice on study habits is flat wrong. For instance, many study skills courses insist that students find a specific place, a study room or a quiet corner of the library, to take their work. The research finds just the opposite. In one classic 1978 experiment, psychologists found that college students who studied a list of 40 vocabulary words in two different rooms — one windowless and cluttered, the other modern, with a view on a courtyard — did far better on a test than students who studied the words twice, in the same room. Later studies have confirmed the finding, for a variety of topics.
    __
    Varying the type of material studied in a single sitting — alternating, for example, among vocabulary, reading and speaking in a new language — seems to leave a deeper impression on the brain than does concentrating on just one skill at a time.

  72. 72
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: They have different priorities, and they evaluate risk differently. Some can argue improper weighting, but in my limited exposure, that’s just how it is.
    Not defending their empirical process, or lack thereof.

  73. 73
    bemused says:

    @Corner Stone:
    I probably didn’t give health insurance much thought in my single early 20’s either. Married with kids on the way is a different story.

  74. 74
    Roger Moore says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    If you are worried about an earthquake, I would recommend the only true system that will be functional in a disaster.

    Ham radio is great until the earthquake damages your antenna or a collapsing house crushes your transmitter. Meanwhile, the human voice will still work as long as there are people there to send and receive messages. So if you want a system that’s guaranteed to work, take yodeling lessons.

  75. 75
    valdivia says:

    @Suffern Ace:

    yep. totally with you on this.

  76. 76
    Stooleo says:

    Clarence Thomas is still an asshole.

  77. 77
    Corner Stone says:

    @roshan: I don’t have any studies bookmarked to cite, but there have been several that indicate people who multi task are less efficient.
    And they considerably over rate their ability to perform tasks.

    Just personally, I like to read when it’s quiet, study when it’s quiet and think when it’s quiet.
    I never get to do that with work, and as a single guy with a 5 yr old boy running around non stop I think we all know why I’m losing cognitive ability every day.
    Well, that and all the alcohol.

  78. 78
    El Cid says:

    The Iraq invasion & occupation paid for itself. And anything it did cost was Obama’s fault.

  79. 79
    John W. says:

    Scocca’s blog is the best thing to happen to Slate since (insert witty reference here).

  80. 80

    @burnspbesq: ACK!

    (Wow, that was a little too “Cathy” for me…).

    I always forget that links go bad when cut and pasted from one comment to another. It’s like they rot on the way to the store. Or something.

    Ahem.

    Here is me ranting about Marty Peretz saying that Muslim life is cheap (and undeserving of the First Amendment):

    http://emilylhauserinmyhead.wo.....cheap-wtf/

  81. 81

    @licensed to kill time: In fact, I like the succinctyness so much, I’mma go tweet it. You see if I don’t!

  82. 82
    moe99 says:

    You know, the teabaggers did have historical precedent.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Nothing

    If you know any Catholic tea baggers, you might tell them that they were first on the ‘persecute illegal immigrants list.’

  83. 83
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @John W.: Mickey Kaus took a leave of absence to wank full time run a Senate primary against Barbara Boxer?

  84. 84
    geg6 says:

    @roshan:

    As someone who has done research on learning styles and multiple intelligences (and even been published!), I have to say that this sounds like a very simplistic take on optimal learning environments. No one method or environment works for all or even most. In my research and in all my years in education, the best way to get anyone to learn is to present the material to a class and have the students study in a variety of ways in a variety of environments and have the students add active learning activities. Some students do need quiet spaces, some need to touch or taste or hear, some need to read or see. Some learn best in isolation, some as part of a group. And most need a combination of all these thing because we all have multiple intelligences and it is rare that an individual has one that is dominant. We usually learn best by appealing to all of our innate intelligences using learning strategies that appeal to each of them. By having students experiment with learning strategies, they eventually learn what works best for them. I didn’t read the article, but pointing to a study from 1978 (well before the recent plethora of research on this very matter that became possible with technology such as brain imaging and such) as an example does not incline me to take the article very seriously.

  85. 85
    Corner Stone says:

    If I had a time machine and an opportunity to take out one historical figure, who would it be?
    I’m going with Ronald Reagan.
    And where this nation, and possibly the world after us, is headed it may not be as selfish as it first sounds.

  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    There are many things I enjoy more than watching Chuckles, Todd and John Heilemann discuss the Democrats chances in this upcoming election.

  87. 87
    bemused says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Nope, definitely not gettting a thrill running up my leg.

  88. 88
    Mark S. says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Umm, Hitler?

  89. 89
    Anne Laurie says:

    @moe99:

    If you know any Catholic tea baggers, you might tell them that they were first on the ‘persecute illegal immigrants list.

    Well, Ben Franklin was dubious about the ability of those miserable German refugees to assimiliate, but I don’t think he actually tried to keep them from immigrating.

    When I was in parochial school, the nuns actually taught us about the Know-Nothings in the context of not slamming the door in the face of the next batch of scary furriners, but I guess more recent Church scholars have had to eliminate that lesson bloc to make room for “Why the Talibangelicals Are Now Our BFFs” pamphleteering.

  90. 90
    MikeJ says:

    @John W.: Conventional wisdom is that having Scocca makes Slate better, but I’ll now spend 800 words explaining how better writers *hurt* websites.

    Just practicing to be a typical Slater.

  91. 91
    Cain says:

    Kinda boring now.. I’ve been searching all over the internets looking for something to be outraged about.

    I need emo

    cain

  92. 92
    slightly_peeved says:

    Since it’s an Open Thread, Australia now has a government. Labor, in conjunction with the Australian Green Party and 2 independents, has reached a majority in the lower house:
    ABC news

    It should be pointed out that at the start of the campaign, Gillard massively out-polled her opponent, Tony “The Mad Monk” Abbot, but due to running a horrible campaign ended up in a dead heat in the election.

    The demographics of Australia are pretty different to the US, particularly with compulsory voting, but the recent election shows the importance of running a good campaign. Abbot’s known for his verbal gaffes and his confrontational attitude, but ran a good campaign by essentially keeping his mouth shut for 2 months. Considering how badly the Tea Party candidates have been campaigning so far, and their unwillingness to keep their mouth shut, that’s a cause for hope for the Democratic party.

  93. 93
    Cain says:

    @Corner Stone:

    If I had a time machine and an opportunity to take out one historical figure, who would it be?
    I’m going with Ronald Reagan.
    And where this nation, and possibly the world after us, is headed it may not be as selfish as it first sounds

    I would have shot Christopher Columbus. Best bang for buck. We delay the discovery of the new world, save a whole bunch of indians, and what not.

    It might be worse since by the time they did get to America, they would be a lot more technically advanced than the indians and it could be a lo more brutal.

    Hopefully, the dutch would discover the new world and we would be a lot better off.

    cain

  94. 94
    Cain says:

    @Eric S.:

    In a local to me and a few others here, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley will not run for re-election. I suspect it is going to get ugly and I’m rubbing my hands together in anticipation of all the fun. Rahm has said in the past he’s interested in the job but wouldn’t run against King Daley.

    Wow kind of an end of an era.. a Daley has been running Chicago for a long long time.

    cain

  95. 95
    stuckinred says:

    @Cain: There was sort of a gap in there from 76 to 89.

  96. 96
    FlipYrWhig says:

    It’s come up a few times here that Blue Dogs and conservative Democrats are the ones on the chopping block if there’s a Republican wave. Saw this on the Great Orange Satan:

    DCCC releases five polls with Dem incumbents hanging tough. It covers the races of Bobby Bright, Michael Arcuri, Larry Kissell, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, and Tom Perriello.

    AFAIK, four of these five are among the liberal blogosphere’s favorite whipping boys, Democrats who flip the bird at liberals over and over again. And they’re looking pretty solid for reelection. Perriello is close, but behind.

  97. 97
    Cain says:

    @stuckinred:

    @Cain: There was sort of a gap in there from 76 to 89.

    Oh really? huh.. never noticed I guess. We used to hit Chicago a lot in that time frame… Chicago was our destination especially Devon street for Indian groceries and **shudder** sari shopping.. there is one thing in the whole world I **hate** more than anything and that is sari shopping.. god, just murder me with a spoon while being water-boarded. Ugh.

    cain

  98. 98
    Cain says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    DCCC releases five polls with Dem incumbents hanging tough. It covers the races of Bobby Bright, Michael Arcuri, Larry Kissell, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, and Tom Perriello.

    I’m slightly worried about our governor’s race in Oregon. I’m going to have to start volunteering my time there.

    also it seems that Obama’s group is looking for a few volunteers to call people in other states. Since Oregon is pretty safely democratic at the congress level, I can probably work to get better democrats in other states. I encourage everyone else to start moving and helping the campaigns with some muscle. We got a country to save.

    cain

  99. 99
    TooManyJens says:

    @Cain: Now I have to ask: what’s so bad about sari shopping? Worse than any other shopping, anyway.

  100. 100
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    @Cain: Oh, how could you forget the great Harold Washington?

  101. 101
    stuckinred says:

    @Cain: I’ve tried to post the list of Chicago Mayors from the WIKI to no avail. Hit the google.

  102. 102
    stuckinred says:

    @Garrigus Carraig: And Jane

  103. 103
    Suffern ACE says:

    @stuckinred: i remember mayor Jane in the news so much when I was a kid. I thought she was mayor of my hometown in Wisconsin. When the actual mayor came to visit my 2nd grade class, I asked him if he worked for her.

  104. 104
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    Harold was just something else.

  105. 105
    slag says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Haha! I was gonna say since Mickey Kaus gave up goat-blowing for lent, but yours is better. Or at least more accurate since we all know that there’s one thing Kaus will never ever give up.

  106. 106
    stuckinred says:

    @Suffern ACE: That is funny!

  107. 107
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Garrigus Carraig: I thought Harold Washington was supposed to be a huge local hero. No?

    (OK, some of my information is based on the fact that Eddie Murphy’s Delirious–oh, dayamn, I just looked it up and that was 1983!–has a whole bit about black politicians, involving Harold Washington and Jesse Jackson.)

    ETA: Whoops, I thought you were being sarcastic when you described him as “the great Harold Washington.” Doh!

  108. 108
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Cain: Tell that to the Indonesians….

  109. 109
    Mnemosyne says:

    @stuckinred:

    Don’t forget Michael Bilandic, defeated by snow.

  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Fun fact: if not for Harold Washington, we probably wouldn’t have a black president in the White House right now. Obama moved to Chicago specifically because of him.

    And, yes, he’s pretty worshiped to this day in the city. The main branch of the public library is named after him.

  111. 111
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Yeah straight up. But snark is the default setting here.

  112. 112
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I had a vague memory of the brouhaha over this painting of Harold Washington: Mirth and Girth. That was more than 20 years ago. I am old.

  113. 113
    Cain says:

    @TooManyJens:

    @Cain: Now I have to ask: what’s so bad about sari shopping? Worse than any other shopping, anyway.

    Well for a guy (and 8 year old kid), it’s just staring at a bundle of cloth. Think going to So-Fro fabrics and purchasing fabric, it’s bout the same thing except you have to get a blouse to go with it. At least, with normal clothes you can check out the styles and what not.. but this is sari shopping, it’s just color and a couple yards of cloth. BORING. Plus, there doesn’t seem a particular point to it. Most people my mother’s age wore western clothings (including my mother) and yet, they still buy it. So if they purchased something they probably won’t wear it for months. Plus it’s cheaper in India, so why bother?

    Meh. They used to threaten us as kids when we were in India, cuz we were hyper active road runners.. but we were cooped up in the house for 3 months so any excuse to go out and relieve the boredom was worth it.. except for sari shopping. So, if my parents were going out, we’ll all be like, “i’m coming, I’m coming!” then my mom would sternly tell us, “no, we’re going sari shopping”.. aieeee.. sari shopping.. backpedaled… rather stay at home and burn ants with a magnifying glass.

    cain

  114. 114
    Cain says:

    @Garrigus Carraig:

    @Cain: Oh, how could you forget the great Harold Washington?

    I wasn’t paying attention I was only like just a teenager. I didn’t start understanding or caring about politics till I was about 16-17. In which case, I immediately started bashing Reagan. Hell even at that age I knew that voodoo economics was a non-starter and I didn’t even take high school economics then. But at least the republicans were fairly sane back then. The dems I always felt were a little crooked.

    cain

  115. 115
    Cain says:

    @stuckinred:

    @Cain: I’ve tried to post the list of Chicago Mayors from the WIKI to no avail. Hit the google.

    I’ll check it out.

    cain

  116. 116
    Cain says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    @Cain: Tell that to the Indonesians….

    They all sucked.. you just have to pick someone. If you look now, the people who have done the most damage are the British.. They really fucked things up back when.

    cain

  117. 117
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’m not saying their individual choices are irrational – just that they blow a huge hole in the actuarial math.

  118. 118
    Prospero says:

    OT: Who wants to bet that this gets reported? Gallup, a week after finding Republicans have a 10 point advantage on the generic ballot, now find it tied.

    That’s how: AAAACOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRNNNNN!

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