Open Thread: Blame Boehner!

I think the task of babysitting the excrable BoBo Brooks is beginning to get to Gail Collins. She’s turning mean:

This brings me to my theory about how to calm the flu panic. We can pin everything on John Boehner, the speaker of the House.

Think about it. One of the worst side-effects of illness is the feeling of a lack of control. Your symptoms seem to descend out of nowhere. Picking somebody to hold responsible gives a little more sense of order to the universe.

“Nothing will make you feel better like finding somebody to blame,” says a new Facebook app called “Help, My Friend Gave Me the Flu.” That app, which is sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, lets you prowl through the social network looking for which of your acquaintances got symptoms before you did.

This sounds like a terrible idea — you don’t want to ruin friendships over a transient ailment. John Boehner, on the other hand, is somebody you have never met. And the average case of the flu, no matter how unpleasant, is not as bad as two or three more fiscal cliffs.

Plus, so many people are angry at John Boehner already that he would never notice a few million more.

Of course, it was firmly believed by my Irish ancestors — especially the drunks — that beverage alcohol is both a defense against germs and a remedy for most ailments. If this is true, Speaker Boehner cannot possibly be a virus carrier… which makes his assignment to scapegoat status all the more appropriate, under Repub Rules. Repubs don’t believe in tainted scienterrific theories like ’cause & effect’; when bad things happen, they look for a target from their long list of “Stuff We Hate”. And since the flu temporarily reduces one’s IQ by at least 30 points, it’s obviously some kind of GOP plot…

Apart from the Flu / Norovirus Epidemic of 2013, what’s on the agenda for the weekend?

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66 replies
  1. 1
    Yurpean says:

    Aaron Swartz, progressive, tech activist, co-creator of RSS, amongst other things, committed suicide yesterday.

    http://tech.mit.edu/V132/N61/swartz.html

  2. 2
    Yurpean says:

    Aaron spent the last several years under the cloud of an indictment for allegedly downloading millions of academic research articles from JSTOR with the intension of making them public. For this, the DOJ said he could face up to 35 years in prison.

    http://www.justice.gov/usao/ma.....ronPR.html

    Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?

  3. 3
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Sorry about Mr. Swartz. Peace.

    I should work this weekend. Workweek was interrupted by the arrival of a new computer for me and then my flightiness while I tried to get used to the damn thing.

    Change, any kind, is so hard. I try to be flexible but sometimes the disruption tunnels in under my willpower and I just can’t help it.

    Anyway, things are settling down now.

    And yes, I chose this change. The old computer was having problems and this one runs like a dream. Lots of RAM. Purchased a refurbished from Amazon for a very reasonable price.

    Tell me again how I’m not getting older, I’m just getting better. Bah.

  4. 4
    Raven says:

    Ever read “A Drinking Life” by Pete Hammill? Great book about, among other things, Irish drunks.

  5. 5
    Phylllis says:

    Off to Greenville SC for the weekend for dinner at a brazilian steakhouse & then to a hockey game with friends.

  6. 6
    Betty Cracker says:

    Has anyone ever made homemade tomato juice? I’m not fond of it myself (unless it’s combined with vodka, horseradish, celery salt, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce in a Bloody Mary). But my hubby likes it.

    Since this is apparently going to be The Year Without A Winter, we’ve got a ginormous bumper crop of tomatoes. We’re running out of acquaintances upon whom to foist them off. Seriously, I pressed a bag on a plumber the other day. So, anyone know of a tomato juice recipe?

  7. 7
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    Thanks for the Collins link. I try not to miss her work. Does the mention Seamus in that one?
    The weekend? I hadn’t given it a thought. Apparently I’ll be at home rather than airplaning around.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Punchy says:

    Your superfluous use of the qualifier “especially” erroneously attempts to make a distinction where many would argue doesn’t actually exist….. :)

  10. 10
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Exqueeze me, but isn’t everything Obama’s fault?

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    … This brings me to my theory about how to calm the flu panic. We can pin everything on John Boehner, the speaker of the House.

    Can the flu virus be transmitted through tears? If so, blaming Boehner may not be all that far-fetched.

  12. 12

    Just got my newly-designated antique Pontiac station wagon back from the body shop and will be taking pictures of it for posterity. Yes, friends, my 1988 Pontiac 6000 LE Safari, the denizen of suburbia and transport for soccer moms listening to Loverboy on the cassette player, complete with fake wood grain, is 25 years old and therefore an antique car according to the rules of the Antique Automobile Club of America.

    I’ve owned the car since it was new and I never thought of getting rid of it. (And yes, my other car is a Mustang.)

  13. 13
    The Pale Scot says:

    I wholly subscribe to the curative powers of the cruel. But the mistake many people make is believing that ANY drink will do. The choice must be Jameson’s 12yr old Irish Whiskey, no other will suffice.

    Three times I’ve been laid low by ailment’s and have cured by drinking an entire bottle of the 12yr Uisce Beatha. Hungover, yes. Better that than coughing your insides out on a job site in Jan.

    In retrospect I have think that results may not be so satisfactory if trying to get to an office job. Cold weather might be part of the cure.

    Add: being in your twenties might help too.

    OT: I just went over to my elderly neighbors to fix the intertubes so he can get his polka fix.

    Hey everbody lets Polka!
    http://www.live365.com/cgi-bin.....38;tm=3481

  14. 14
    Raven says:

    @Mustang Bobby: An 88 is an antique? Damn.

    eta, I guess I could have read the entire entry before I ran off at the mouth!

  15. 15
    max says:

    Of course, it was firmly believed by my Irish ancestors — especially the drunks — that beverage alcohol is both a defense against germs and a remedy for most ailments.

    Beer beat drinking the water in lots of places back in the day.

    Apart from the Flu / Norovirus Epidemic of 2013, what’s on the agenda for the weekend?

    Recovering from the flu. I was sick for almost four weeks with some kind of traveling group of colds/flu, and I got better for Xmas and New Year’s and now I have the *other* flu. (Goddammit, I was only in the post office for a few minutes and no one there was sick.)

    Beats the shit out of Norowalk, though. I already had that once and that’s an experience I do not care to repeat.

    max
    [‘Give it another couple of days and I should be all caught up on my natural immunizations for the next couple of years.’]

  16. 16
    Elizabelle says:

    It’s like the NYTimes is written in invisible ink this morning.

    It won’t stay loaded; page refreshes constantly. Cannot read more than a sentence or two at a time.

    That happening for others, too? (Not happening with any other site I’ve checked.)

    Happy Saturday.

  17. 17
    Raven says:

    @Elizabelle: Not me on the iPad.

  18. 18
    catclub says:

    @Mustang Bobby: What is the manufacture date on the plate in the door? It might not quite be 25 ( but soon!).
    (It could also have been made in fall 1987. Car model years and all that.)

    Congrats anyway.

  19. 19
    amk says:

    Yet another gun nut shot to death. Apparently this nut was a wingnutz ‘celebrity’ on the intertubes, was shot to death with a single bullet to the head, despite being surrounded by a gunz bonanza.

  20. 20
    Elizabelle says:

    @Raven:

    Interesting. I’ll try my iPhone in a few.

    The idea of staying off the NYTimes and doing something else appeals, though, too.

  21. 21
    Elizabelle says:

    @amk:

    Mordant LOL.

  22. 22
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Elizabelle:
    I’m not experiencing any problems with the New York Times site either. (Firefox on Windows laptop.) I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but are you a subscriber, or still under your ten-story monthly limit?

  23. 23
    Amir Khalid says:

    @amk:
    It’s been demonstrated again and again: all the guns in the world are no defence against a well-executed sneak attack.

  24. 24

    Conservative talk radio host Steve Gill is leaving radio. And good riddance.

    One down, about 500 gazillion nutjobs to go…

  25. 25
    p.a. says:

    Universal Syndicates just gutted my daily comics app for android by denying access. I will spend some part of the day generating rude, angry and ineffective emails to protest. And I will do this in the full knowledge that I will be in a worse mood when I’m done.

  26. 26

    @catclub: AACA says that the car becomes an antique on January 1 of the twenty-fifth year of the model year, regardless of build date. This one says “2/88”.

  27. 27
    PeakVT says:

    @Mustang Bobby: I thought cars in that age range were considered “vintage”.

  28. 28

    @PeakVT: Well, to be technical in carnerdspeak, “vintage” is anything pre-World War I (1914). This one is pre-Gulf War I.

  29. 29
    NotMax says:

    Between cigars and alcohol, I manage to keep my interior toxic enough that sinister infectors either will not enter or else flee in panic.

    Last time I got the flu was maybe 20 years ago (perhaps more), during a period when I stopped smoking.

    What I cannot and never will understand is people who have the option of taking sick days and who still trudge to work when obviously ill, passing disease indiscriminately to and fro.

  30. 30
    Eric U. says:

    @amk: I have enjoyed watching that guy’s videos. I figure that type of person is fairly harmless. There is the same issue with drinking, which is that most people are harmless drunks and then there are the people that are ruining lives.

    There has actually been plenty of deaths along these lines, they just didn’t get much exposure. I recall the off-duty Pennsylvania prison guards that killed a man at a shooting range because they needed his cool gun for the revolution. People buy guns for “protection,” but they don’t realize they are putting a target squarely on their own head.

  31. 31
    Maude says:

    @max:
    Every time I run an errand, the thing, whatever it is comes back. It doesn’t go away.

  32. 32
    HinTN says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yes, do you plan to “put it up” or just have it fresh?

  33. 33
    debit says:

    My daughter and my boss had the flu (boss is still sick) and I keep popping zinc tablets hoping I shall avoid it.

    Despite leaving my IT days behind when I was hired to do payroll, I still am drafted into “helping”* whenever something needs fixing or updating. And so, despite this being Saturday, I am hopping on my bike to ride in to work and finish the upgrade/install/network on my boss’s new machine, upon the success of which hangs our entire tax season.

    * in which helping means doing everything myself, while my payroll customers scream in hysterics because I am not available to cater to their needs.

    ETA: Just to make my whinge complete, it’s 16F, feels like -1, winds at 21MPH, I’m hungry and there are wolves after me. And I can’t take my car because it’s in the shop.

  34. 34
    Emma says:

    @Betty Cracker: We always end up with several kinds of tomato sauce (italian, spanish, etc) in big batches and frozen. You could probably make the basics for your favorite stuff, puree and freeze it. Leave the vodka out until you need it :D

  35. 35
    Suffern ACE says:

    @The Pale Scot: nothing wrong with a little polka to start your day. It’s definitely not mainstream or popular. It’s like punk in that way. A lot of the best bands you’ve never heard of are polka bands.

  36. 36
    NotMax says:

    @Maude

    Not tying to instigate agita, but if it truly re-occurs every time you run an errand, you might think about having you car checked out for something either dead or otherwise injurious in it.

  37. 37
    honus says:

    Republicans apparently don’t condsider the sales tax to be a tax. Bobby Jindal wants to abolish income tax in Louisiana and raise the sales tax to make up the difference. In Virginia, Bob McDonnell wants to eliminate the gas tax, and make up the difference with, get this, a surtax on hybrids, and of course, a rise in the sales tax. I guess if it’s regressive and mostly paid by poor people, it’s not a tax.

  38. 38
    Jeff says:

    People buy guns for “protection,” but they don’t realize they are putting a target squarely on their own head.

    Firearms have a pretty good resale value on the street, almost as good as gold. And letting people know you have an extensive gun collection at home is like letting them know you collect gold coins. Two gun nut acquaintances of mine both had their gun collections stolen.

    Years ago, a local gun and coin shop was robbed during business hours. The business had at least 3 men on duty each between the age of 25 and 50, each with a pistol on their hip, each well-trained in how to use it. They still lost. The bad guys always have the initiative and if their gun is drawn, you lose.

  39. 39
    amk says:

    @honus: Rethug way of ‘widening the tax base’.

  40. 40
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @debit:

    it’s 16F, feels like -1, winds at 21MPH, I’m hungry and there are wolves after me. And I can’t take my car because it’s in the shop.

    It could be worse.

    You could be in your car and the radio stuck on “The Sarah Palin Show” where she talks about wolves eating Polygon, or whatever the name of her youngest is.

  41. 41
    PeakVT says:

    @Mustang Bobby: My auto terminology is out of whack, apparently.

  42. 42
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax:

    What I cannot and never will understand is people who have the option of taking sick days and who still trudge to work when obviously ill, passing disease indiscriminately to and fro

    In some offices, taking sick days and/or vacation is seen a sign of weakness and fucks up your career and/or continued job prospects. Yeah, that is a fucked-up corporate culture.

  43. 43
    NotMax says:

    @Suffern ACE

    Have an earned soft spot for polka music.

    The taverns many of us used to frequent during summer employment had 50 tunes on the jukebox: 2 Andrews Sisters records, 2 Mills Brothers records, 45 polkas, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.”

    Whenever anyone paid for the last, the bartender would turn the volume down as low as it could go.

    One of the places sold something called a boombass, which dozens of patrons would play along with the polkas (a pogo stick fitted with a pair of cymbals, a wood block, a tambourine and a cowbell, along with a drumstick to whack with).

    To this day, can still hear “Ja, Das Ist Ein Lichtensteiner Polka, Mein Freund” as if it were live.

    But 10¢ draft beer (or $1.75 a pitcher) made up for most of it.

  44. 44
    Trakker says:

    NYTimes has an article today that gun sales have been soaring since Obama’s re-election and even more now that gun control is being talked about. WTF is wrong with America? We’re number one in gun ownership, prisoners, and military spending. We suck at everything else and the rest of the world is speeding past us…..and so what is our national response? We buy more fking guns!!!!

    If only there was a strain of flu that would only take out idiots. I would demand a law against any vaccine for that strain, ever!

  45. 45
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Suffern ACE: in the Immortal words of B.Motyka (family), “all you need for a good party is a keg of beer and a polka band”

  46. 46
    The Pale Scot says:

    @NotMax: Ya, My experience with the polka is east coast immigrant/from east Europe. My neighbor is a Germanic from Ohio who’s proud of a specific form of Lutheranism. Grew up with Amish neighbors. I was surprised to find out Germans polka.

    Ivan has great stories, he’s a vet of the Battle of the Bulge, was present at the Nuremberg trials. Once explained how he de-ratted his wheat silo by dropping cyanide salts in sulfuric acid. And drained out a Gov. booze truck (some sort of food grade ethanol)that was disabled at the side of the road in the ’30s.

  47. 47
    Brachiator says:

    @debit:

    My daughter and my boss had the flu (boss is still sick) and I keep popping zinc tablets hoping I shall avoid it.

    Zinc is sketchy as helping with colds, and is useless against the flu. Hope you’ve had a flu shot.

    @Betty Cracker:

    Since this is apparently going to be The Year Without A Winter…

    In parts of California, it’s so cold that farmers are having to take extra measures to protect their crops and farm animals.

    in the Immortal words of B.Motyka (family), “all you need for a good party is a keg of beer and a polka band”

    I like polka dots.

  48. 48
    handsmile says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Polkacide, San Francisco’s punk polka band:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tbzfKUv3nk

    And one from their musical cousins, the sublime Gogol Bordello:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4_n2dzOCz4

  49. 49
    waratah says:

    @Betty Cracker: Once you taste home canned tomato juice you will be hooked.
    I generally used cherry tomatoes but usually threw in some regular size. Wash and clean, quarter large tomatoes, do not need to remove skin and cook till soft.
    Then run through sieve like this.

    http://www.canningsupply.com/p.....-equipment

    I mash the flesh and the juice through, the peelings do not go through. The reheat juice and process like whole tomatoes.

  50. 50
    debit says:

    @Brachiator: Lalalala I cannot hear you. The magical placebo effect will protect me.

  51. 51
    honus says:

    @The Pale Scot: West Virginia’s own Frankie Yankovich, (amazingly, no relation to Weird Al), accordian virtuoso and the acknowledged Polka King, was also a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, and grew up in Ohio.

  52. 52
    Maude says:

    @NotMax:
    I walk. Don’t own a car. It’s me that’s faulty.

  53. 53
    SFAW says:

    @PeakVT:

    My auto terminology is out of whack, apparently.

    Here’s a quick fix, to get it back in whack:

    When speaking to your mechanic, or any other automotive “expert” for that matter, he/she will be especially impressed if you tell him/her “My hovercraft is full of eels.”

    It has never failed me.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    G and I are going to go to our favorite Irish pub/restaurant tonight and have a little Irish wake for our two part-Irish dads.

    It will be “little” because I’m a total lightweight and one glass of Magner’s will make me loopy. I would order a Manhattan in honor of my dad but I can’t stand ’em.

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    We had to bring out the down comforter last night. Apartments in Southern California are very poorly insulated.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    We had to bring out the down comforter last night. Apartments in Southern California are very poorly insulated.

    I had to come to work early this morning, and was outside for a bit. The cold somehow penetrated my shoes, which rarely happens during most Southern California winters. Gotta get some thicker socks.

    I hate it when my hands and feet feel cold. Just hate it.

  57. 57
    Mino says:

    I would be sorely tempted to vote against Cory Booker in a Dem primary. I think he’s an incipient Harold Ford.

  58. 58

    @Yurpean:
    Fuck.

    I’d give a rousing “fuck JSTOR”, but JSTOR (and MIT) wasn’t driving the prosecution (they apparently would have been happy with an apology and a please-dont-do that-again). But the Feds had decided to make an example of this one.

    Many of those “academic research documents” were in the public domain, BTW.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    Maude says:

    @Mino:
    He is indeed. He’s running for Lautenberg’s Senate seat. I won’t vote for him if he does get on the ballot.

  61. 61
    nastybrutishntall says:

    Here’s some free Chinese Medicine advice: chuan xin lian, Andrographis, is a nice, potent antiviral. Taken at the start, the first hint of a viral illness, it will usually knock it out. Get Plum Flower chuan xin lian tablets from an acupuncturist. If you order them online, they may be counterfeit. The tablets also have dandelion root and isatis root. It’s not a specific antiviral, so it doesn’t catch everything, so if you worsen it’s best to get a chinese formula specific to your illness from an herbalist / acupuncturist.

    In fact, they work so well that they probably will be pharmaceuticalized pretty soon like artemisia was, reduced to one constituent chemical, and then all the bugs will develop resistance. These formulas/herbs have been in use and working for millennia because they are complex and are hence difficult to form resistance to. But the pharma model will tease out the most profitable bits and destroy them one by one eventually. So use it now!

    Also, any kind of stomach flu, or even heavy drinking, will respond to huo xiang cheng chi pian pills. huo xiang is chinese patchouli, so the smell might make you feel a little sick if you smelled it a bit too often back in the day… ;) but if you take it while nauseous but not yet vomiting, you’ll suppress the vomiting and be able to function.

    And if you think it’s all hokum, ask the malaria parasites how they feel about qing hao. It was used against malaria since way before it was written about 2000 years ago in the first Chinese pharmacopeia. It is the frontline treatment against malaria now (and will be until all the bugs are resistant to it in 5 years).

  62. 62
    Ted & Hellen says:

    26 year-old hacker hounded to suicide by federal prosecuters.

    THIS is how the plutocracy enforces its rules in Obama’s America.

    George W Bush walks free and wealthy. Twenty six year old freedom of information activist is dead.

    Dick Cheney gets his 47th heart transplant and lives to be 347. Bradley Manning rots in jail.

    Hope and Change.

  63. 63
    SFAW says:

    @Yutsano:

    Anyone house hunting in Minnesota?

    The NRA fully supports a citizen’s Second Amendment right to hunt houses.

    Of course, an AR-15 won’t cut it when you want to bring down a rampaging house, you might need to upgrade to a 155 mm howitzer. Which Nino Scalia says we have the right to keep and bear.

  64. 64
    handsmile says:

    @Yurpean: , @Ted & Hellen:

    Thanks for highlighting Aaron Swartz’s deeply disturbing suicide. With the number of computer and tech geeks who post here (though in fact all who do owe Swartz some measure of gratitude), I’d like to think it would merit “front-page” attention.

    While I expect you’ve read them, here are links to Cory Doctorow’s (BoingBoing) and Larry Lessig’s (blog) poignant “obituaries” on their friend and comrade:

    http://boingboing.net/2013/01/.....wartz.html

    http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/.....r-as-bully

  65. 65
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Tax the poor to give to the rich!

    What can’t Bobby Jindal accomplish?

  66. 66
    seaboogie says:

    @debit: As I recall from childhood memories of “back in my day”, the hyperbole always included that the trudge to and fro was uphill in both directions – that is absolutely essential in completing your whinge.

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