Open Thread

This is a good story if you want to read a good story. (via)

101 replies
  1. 1
    Betty Cracker says:

    Damn, Hillary Clinton is bringing it to the GOP Inquisitors right now. Damn the phone conference that is going to make me turn it off in a couple of minutes!

  2. 2
    dmsilev says:

    @Betty Cracker: Did she tell them to back off or they’ll get what Vince Foster got? Because if I were in her shoes, I’d totally be tempted to do that.

    There’s a good reason why I’m not a diplomat or politician.

  3. 3
    JasonF says:

    I don’t imagine Krauthammer, Bolton, and all the other jackasses who were screaming about “diplomatic flu” will be apologizing for their scurrilous accusations. If there were any justice in the world, they’d be shamed out of their pundit sinecures, but alas, they’ll get to stick around and continue their braying.

    But I think the Republicans are really going to regret shining such a spotlight on Benghazi in general and Secretary Clinton’s testimony in general, because she is eating the Republicans’ lunch right now. She’s coming across as a staunch defender of American lives, and of getting information out to the public as soon as possible; the Republicans are coming across as being more concerned about going after the administration than going after the bad guys.

  4. 4
    cathyx says:

    Wow, not even a hint.

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    McCain is not satisfied. The hearing hasn’t ended and he is just letting it be known he’s not satisfied. Where was the President during this time. I reject your answer to Sen. Johnson ..blah..blah..blah……

    edit..clinton looks bored. This would be a good time for McCain to pop a blood vessel…

  6. 6
    Just One More Canuck says:

    Christ, McCain is a dick

    In other news, the sun rose in the east today

  7. 7
    Raven says:

    @JPL: xin loi fuck head

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    @JPL: “Dear Senator McCain. I’m sorry you’re still bitter about getting your ass kicked by Obama back in 2008. Wait, no, I’m not at all sorry about that. In fact, I glory in your seething helpless resentment.”

  9. 9
    Mnemosyne says:


    It’s not a news story, just an interesting narrative by a guy who drives a bus in Seattle.

  10. 10
    aimai says:

    That is an amazing blog post, Mistermix. I’m touched and horrified by it all at the same time. My daughters take public transportation every day, however (and I did too back in the day) and I am really not happy that someone who can control themselves, won’t control themself and that public spaces that everyone needs to use are left as catchment areas for unmedicated or improperly medicated or just plain incredibly hostile people to act out in. We are all left feeling unsafe because this woman’s family and friends and church can’t or won’t act. I’ve spent plenty of time near people who are clearly crazy and it doesn’t phase me, but when I think of my 14 year old or my 16 year old dealing with these people I’m frightened. They don’t have the instincts you apparently need to avoid someone who can go from cursing you out to hitting on you to hitting you in the blink of an eye.

  11. 11
    Ash Can says:

    She’s resigning and knows she won’t have to deal with these morons anymore. Do they actually think she’ll play nice with them? …Oh yeah. That’s right. They’re morons.

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    Certain house members are probably concerned about this afternoon’s hearing. Hillary is prepared and ready to go.

  13. 13
    dww44 says:

    Totally off topic but this is an Open Thread. I linked to the Tom Junod post at Esquire from the link provided 2 posts below. It’s nearly unreadable

    . I am accessing from Moxilla and doing all the adjustments that my edit function allows, but still not easy reading. The text is too blurry and either way too large or too small. The left margin goes way too far to the left. There is zero white space to the left of the text. And the comments, which I used to read, are unreadable.

    It’s not any better in Internet Explorer. I guess this may be the year for me to seek some expert advice and purchase some new technology.

  14. 14
    amk says:

    Hillary kicking the thugs’ asses. Fucking ignorant idjits all.

  15. 15
    YellowJournalism says:

    She talks to McCain like he’s a four-year-old throwing a tantrum. Love her.

    What was that crap line about McCain “knowing” The ambassedor on one day in July? He was talking like he was bestest buddies 4evah with him.

  16. 16
    Peregrinus says:

    That blog post reminds me, the tiniest bit, of the buses in Milwaukee. Not because I ever rode the bus with anyone like LSBW – in two months of riding the bus twice a day for forty minutes each time I don’t think I ever heard more than isolated conversations – but because I found those rides, like this driver, an incredible place of anthropological study.

  17. 17
    japa21 says:

    I have been reading here and elsewhere comments about Hillary’s performance. This is not an isolated act. I think this is all a part of an orchestrated maneuver by the administration to make the GOP look small and petty (not that they don’t do a good job of that themselves). This is a nice follow up to the inauguration address which basically did the same thing. It appears to be working and I anticipate seeing more of it.

  18. 18
    Betty Cracker says:

    Jesus, Hillary shredded Barrasso just now. He implied that POTUS is dragging his feet on catching the Benghazi attackers and criticized the president for saying al Qaeda was decimated, and she dropped the OBL hammer on him without even saying “Bush” or “Osama.” BOOM.

    I’m so sorry I missed the McCain exchange. Stupid job!

  19. 19
    JPL says:

    The Hillary smack down will continue this afternoon. I need to run a few errands but this is just to much fun to watch.

  20. 20
    Betty Cracker says:

    Oh, here’s that horrible douche Rand Paul. Sic ’em, Hills!

  21. 21
    Comrade Jake says:

    Jackass Senator Paul is a jackass.

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    Rand Paul would fire Hillary if he were President. He is preparing his run for office.

  23. 23
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    I think this is all a part of an orchestrated maneuver by the administration to make the GOP look small and petty (not that they don’t do a good job of that themselves).

    It will be interesting to see how they weave this into their current “Obama made us do it,” narrative.

  24. 24
    Punchy says:

    This will not play well on TeaTard Radio. Old white men do not like being publically whooped by a woman, and Rush, Hannity, and New Boortz will carry that message today. By the end of the day, she’ll be a bitch, a harpy, a hag, and any other significantly derogatory pejorative.

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    Since I don’t read wing nut daily wtf was Rand Paul talking about? reference to Libya shipping arms to Turkey

  26. 26
    amk says:

    @JPL: Fuck. Going by today’s performance, she will be most likely the next prez and kicking that little fucker’s little nutz to the kerb.

  27. 27
    Comrade Jake says:

    Rand Paul apparently raised some right-wing conspiracy theory about Stevens shuttling weapons to Syria via Turkey.

    The fact that that asshat is a Senator tells you all you need to know about Kentucky.

  28. 28
    JPL says:

    @Comrade Jake: Wow.. I felt like I was in good company since Hillary appeared to be confused also. She referred him to that other agency.. The agency where they use water boarding, in order to get whackos to spill their guts out.

  29. 29
    Tone in DC says:

    Nathan’s story about driving the bus in Seattle rings very true to me. Anyone who has ridden on Metrobus has seen such. Especially on certain lines in the evening rush hour (I used to live near Florida Avenue near Capitol Hill, and the chaos that was the 90 bus would make Nathan shake his head).

  30. 30
    dmsilev says:

    @Punchy: As opposed to the tones of hushed respect that those blatherers have previously used with Secretary Clinton?

  31. 31
    👽 Martin says:

    That’s an awesome story. Should resonate with everyone who works with the public.

  32. 32
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Not a good story. It’s a very well written story from a gutless bus driver who is willing to subject his passengers to endless abuse from crazy people out of a misguided notion that everyone has the right to ride the bus.

  33. 33
    flukebucket says:

    I am in no position to know what is going on but I sure hope Hillary stomps their sorry asses into the ground.

  34. 34
    Bostondreams says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    I know. How dare he not discriminate in advance. Is she physically violent? No. She is loud and mean, but that is not a crime.

  35. 35
    Betty Cracker says:

    No man who wears a Tribble on his head can aspire to the presidency.

  36. 36

    From Twitter

    “Watching Hillary Clinton eye Marco Rubio as he begins questioning calls to mind the way a tiger eyes a gazelle.” credit: Anne Caprara

    Shorter Clinton: Get your act together guys. This shit is serious.

    If Hillary Clinton runs for President, she’s got my vote! The Republicans are getting hammered by her right now!

  37. 37
    amk says:

    @flukebucket: She did and it was fantastic. The thugs just managed to kick themselves in their collective nuts.

  38. 38
    aimai says:


    I don’t think this is quite the way I think about it. He seems to think that he can’t “ban her from the bus” because what if she behaves herself this one time? People are routinely punished for being recidivists and they are routinely banned from some spaces–especially private spaces–because of past behavior. The bus is a public space and so of course there should be a kind of heightened scrutiny for banning someone from using it for any reason but that doesn’t mean that past behavior, which in this case is a pretty good predictor of present behavior, isn’t one of those situaitons in which banning is appropriate.

    He seems to think he is a mental health professional and that his job is to therapeutically get her from place to place. But the bus isn’t a space for therapy and the other riders have rights too–rights to a safe and quiet space. Why is her crazy, agressive, and intrusive behavior any more permissible than a drunk who vomits on you?

    He actually knows, or believes he knows, that she can control herself–she theoretically does control herself in church–so she could control herself on the bus but she choses not to, or she choses to get on the bus in order to enjoy not controlling herself. I hate to use this language but he is enabling her to abuse the other bus travellers by condoning her behavior and not kicking her off the bus. He’s making a decision that her behavior is trivial, or that her pleasure at her behavior is greater than the other passenger’s pain. And I think that’s wrong.

  39. 39
    amk says:


    After being smacked by Sec Clinton Rand Paul checks his Gov’t healthcare to see if it covers penis replacement. Um nope call your Dad

  40. 40
    Roger Moore says:


    This would be a good time for McCain to pop a blood vessel…

    Any time would be a good time for him to pop a blood vessel, preferably his aortic arch.

  41. 41
    amk says:

    Yo mm. Mod because of tweet said manpart. Release now.

  42. 42
    Emma says:

    @Punchy: So? She’s been a lesbian murderess of her (male) lovers for years. A verbal punching bag for the old men who will never reach even the instep of her accomplishments. Who the hell cares anymore what they say?

  43. 43
    👽 Martin says:

    “Worst tragedy since 9/11”

    These guys just don’t get how stupid they look when they overreach. Benghazi was certainly not a good day, but it was far from the worst tragedy since 9/11, and everyone knows it.

  44. 44
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Go Hilary!!

    Dying to vote for her in 2016. She’ll be a great Prez.

  45. 45
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Yup. Why, that bus driver’s seat is even a better bully pulpit than Obama has, and he’s not using it!

  46. 46
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Just this.

    My loathing for McCain intensifies over time as he digs his hole into infamy ever deeper. I’ve posted before that this guy had a choice in the last decade of being an American hero or only serving as a bad example. He chose the latter when he embraced the deserting coward and the utter immorality of torture, something he personally experienced…and apparently learned nothing from.

  47. 47
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I have seen LSBW-like freakouts on buses, sometimes by people who seem to be well-known to the driver. It’s a tough question, what can be done about this, if anything: in large part it’s an issue of inadequate public mental health care, which is a severe problem in the United States, but there are some scary and disruptive people you’re never going to “fix” even if that were the right thing to do. And then you’re balancing tolerance for people who probably depend on the bus for their daily existence against the needs of everyone else.

    (For that matter, a friend of mine once rode an MBTA bus whose driver was carrying on for the whole ride about the energy beings made of green fire that he had a special talent to see, and he was seeing them in the road and steering around them. That driver didn’t come back after that day.)

  48. 48
    Ben Franklin says:

    Give ’em Hell, Hillary.

  49. 49
    flukebucket says:

    PLEASE keep folks like me posted on the happenings. I want her to bake and barbeque those fuckers. All of them.

  50. 50
    Jay C says:


    . By the end of the day, she’ll be a bitch, a harpy, a hag, and any other significantly derogatory pejorative.

    By the end of the day“? When did they ever stop? Having Hillary Clinton in the news again is a godsend to RW media – they can simply blow the dust off their old insult-sheets from the ’90s and start slagging her again with all the dumb-as-dirt glee they can muster.

    Of course, twenty years on, none of their crap is going to have much, if any, traction, and simply make the radio ranters look (even more) foolish; but there you go…
    I just hope enough of them can hang on long enough so that they will have to call Hillary the name that will really burn their backsides, i.e. “Madam President

  51. 51
    Interrobang says:

    @Bostondreams: I agree with the dissenters — here in my hometown, we have a programme explicitly on the bus (there are posters up ON the buses) called “Ride Respectfully,” and drivers routinely turf loud, abusive riders.

    Now if only they’d do something about those idiots who like to bring their SUV-sized strollers on the bus and take up all the ‘cap seats, and block the aisle halfway, making it bloody difficult for anybody who can’t walk well (particularly on a moving surface) to even ride the bus. Your baby does not need 90 pounds of superstructure!

  52. 52
    Roger Moore says:


    By the end of the day, she’ll be a bitch, a harpy, a hag, and any other significantly derogatory pejorative.

    Ooh, how scary. Hillary has no experience being on the receiving end of anti-woman insults from the GOP. That’ll break her heart, it will.

  53. 53
    aimai says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Buses and bus stations are some of the few public spaces left that aren’t adequately policed and they are always a target for people who have been forced out of family spaces and out of the increasingly overgrown private sphere such as businesses and malls. I think its no accident that, basically, no one interferes with people like LSBW as long as she’s just making low income/unimportant/public transportation type people suffer but the bus driver himself fears that in the event that the bus is filled with slightly more important white people he will actually have to kick her off the bus.

    One of the reasons I come down on the side of excluding LSBW from the bus after numerous outbursts is that I think its weird to wish away the right of other people using public transportation–those girls, the black guy, pregnant woman–to have a safe, clean, happy experience that doesn’t include being verbally assaulted by a crazy person. Why is this a privilige reserved only to people who can drive themselves in private cars or go only to well policed public areas? Jails aren’t the right place for crazy people but neither is a bus a hospital ward.

    Addendum to this comment: I was recently in a public space, a CVS, where a very young and extremely delusional girl was having loud conversations, like LSBW, half with herself and half with the very young pharmacy techs. She was also eating chocolates from a half opened bag which she had left on the floor and was stepping on, bending over periodically to eat the crushed chocolates off the wet, dirty, carpet. Everyone looked away but she kept it up for at least 40 minutes. Its somebody’s idea of freedom that there is no one to call to pick this woman up and get her therapy and a safe place to be but its not mine.

  54. 54
    aimai says:

    I’m in moderation for a post which no one will read anyway but oh well.

  55. 55

    My favorite comment from the Wonkette story on the hearings.

    Senator Ron Johnson:
    “Again, we were mislead there was supposedly protests and something spraying out of that, assault spraying out of that. That was easily ascertained that was not the fact and the american people could have known that within days and didn’t know that.”
    SoS Clinton:
    “How the fuck am I supposed answer that, you fucking bag of hammers?!?! What the fuck does that even mean???”

  56. 56
    sparrow says:

    @Interrobang: LOL! I have also been known to rant against the ABSURD ‘SUV’ baby carriages. When I was a kid in the 80s the whole thing weighed about 5 lbs, and was basically a metal frame with cloth swung over it. i don’t remember any major risks to life and limb resulting from this minimal design. I’m sure it was a lot cheaper, though.

  57. 57
    David in NY says:

    Re: The bus driver

    Geez, everybody’s got to find someone to blame. This time it’s the bus driver. That’s a pretty heavily regulated occupation. My guess is there’s serious restrictions on whether he can stop the bus to try to quiet the lady (fat chance), much less evict her forcibly from the bus. Quit being blamesters until you’ve read his employee manual, or thought a little about his situation, before you start casting stones around.

  58. 58
    JCT says:

    TPM has a HILARIOUS split-screen shot up of Hilary looking bored beyond belief while Paul is yapping.

    I continue to be amazed at the puerile level of this questioning. The stupidity is like a white hot sun.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    He can, however, aspire to a NBC reality show. Such is the fate of short fingered vulgarians.

  61. 61
    Poopyman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: McCain’s been a known sleaze since at least the Keating Five, for all you young’uns out there. (Also too, Alan Simpson)

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    “How the fuck am I supposed answer that, you fucking bag of hammers?!?!

    “Hillary, counsel for hammers on line two. Something about a defamation action”

  63. 63
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    He pretty much sealed his fate in the sleaze department when he ditched the woman who waited for him while he was in the Hanoi Hilton for a younger, wealthier chippie.

  64. 64
    JCT says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: And don’t forget that first wife was in a terrible accident while he was away. McCain was and is a slimeball.

  65. 65
    Hungry Joe says:

    I was a city bus driver for a couple of years, way back when. Ban riders? It’s a tough call; your job is to transport people safely, not assess their social skills and compatibility. That said, there was a homeless, mostly crazy guy who used to get on the 25 on Sixth and Robinson (in San Diego), heading downtown. As soon as I’d see him I’d slide my side window open, rain or shine, because I almost lost my breakfast — no really, I mean it, I almost lost my breakfast — the first time he stomped up the stairs to the fare box and that smell hit me. Passengers would leap from their seats and crowd into the back when he got on; I’d drive down Sixth with my head halfway out the window. One day he was at the stop by himself and I hesitated for 2/10 of a second, then slapped the pedal to the floor and blew right by him. Got a round of applause.

  66. 66
    Poopyman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yeah, but I don’t recall anyone saying much about that back in the day. I was reminded, however, that he was a POW.

  67. 67
    👽 Martin says:


    I hate to use this language but he is enabling her to abuse the other bus travellers by condoning her behavior and not kicking her off the bus. He’s making a decision that her behavior is trivial, or that her pleasure at her behavior is greater than the other passenger’s pain. And I think that’s wrong.

    The problem for public workers is severalfold:

    1) Most people in this job are there because of a sincere belief that only through public institutions does equality truly manifest. Buses in particular are how the poor often function in society as they’ve often been deliberately cut off from all other forms of transportation funding. As a result, they’re going to ask ‘how does this person get to their drug treatment program or mental health service if I take away the transportation of last resort?’ That’s a valid problem.
    2) We’re looking at a snapshot in time. Over the years you get an endless number of customers that will come and go. Some will appear only once, others will recur, and you’ll get problems from both sets. You can ban the one-time riders, but it’s not a punishment, because you cannot ban them from the whole system, just your one bus, so you have a fairness conflict – you ban the rowdy teenager from the bus, which they never intend to ride again, and then you ban the person who relies on that bus to get to a job or some service and effectively cut them off from all opportunities. Is that fair? And is that beneficial to society?
    3) Where do you draw the line on this behavior? Most of us would agree that this woman’s behavior is over a line, but there doesn’t seem to be any concern of violence. Public transportation is a government service and is legitimately covered by the first amendment. There is a free speech right on buses that doesn’t apply in an airplane – where the airline can ban you as they are a private enterprise, but the bus driver kicking you off for speech is an effective government ban on speech. Do we want bus drivers to be the arbitors of what speech is permitted and what speech is not? I don’t think so, and I don’t think we want to test that in the courts, because I’m almost positive the bus driver is going to lose that fight.

    Our institutions tend to not be generous to the most marginalized segments of the population – the poor, the mentally ill, the elderly, handicapped, and so on. They are routinely excluded from basic services like transportation and then further marginalized by right wing assholes that cut safety net funding because these people don’t have the means to own a car and drive everywhere. We need these institutions to be as generous as they can afford to be.

    I grew up in NYC in the 70s when the city was really in dire shape, and when my family was most poor. I spent hours sitting in the Port Authority with all the homeless and crazy people, and when I was 12 and all alone there (against my parents better instincts, but you accept certain risks when you’re poor) I certainly got screamed at by my fair share of light-skinned black ladies but it didn’t cause any harm to me. If anything it helped me appreciate the breadth of the problems we faced as a society and likely contributed quite a bit to why I wanted to work in the public sector.

  68. 68
    taylormattd says:

    That driver deserves a medal for driving the route 358. It may be the worst, most horrifying route in Seattle, going North and Southbound up and down Aurora.

    True story: it used to be the 359, but after a crazy person shot and killed the driver, and the bus went flying off of the Aurora bridge, Metro changed the route number to 358. I guess they thought we’d never know it was the same route.

  69. 69
    taylormattd says:

    And wow, that is an amazing blog.

  70. 70
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    That was an amazing story, and I’m somewhat taken aback by the fact that it took place in Seattle. I would have guessed LA, myself.

    The driver is an amazing person. I also salute those two girls who, in their own way, tried to reason with LSBW. I mean, they found the seams in the rant and went with them, then discovered that the seams mean nothing when you’re that unhinged.

    You know, like with the entire wingtard 27%.

  71. 71
    👽 Martin says:

    @aimai: I think people go out of their way to read your posts, btw. I know I do.

  72. 72
    gelfling545 says:

    @Hungry Joe: I would imagine that there might be some legal liability in the driver and thereby the bus company denying service to a person with mental illness on a routine basis as opposed to calling transportation security or the police to have her removed for specific acts at a specific time. Should any adverse publicity accrue to the bus company due to such an action I have no doubt that their first recourse would be to fire the driver.

    As far as her family/ church, etc. taking any action, unless she is a clear physical danger to herself or others there is no way they can compel her to do anything.

  73. 73
    Starfish says:

    @Interrobang: The new strollers are less of a tipping hazard because they have extra wheels. They are designed to accomodate the infant car seats that children have to use now until they are 75 even though no one has really studied what these things do for kids above age 2.

    Also, people are having children closer together in age since they are waiting until later to have them. Strollers that accomodate more children are just bigger.

  74. 74
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Meanwhile, in the great state of Jawja, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Insanitytown) has a few views on President Obama’s grasp of the Constitution.

  75. 75
    nastybrutishntall says:

    Chuck Schumer is a funny guy.

  76. 76
    gex says:

    The show last night was unbelievable. Simply unbelievable.

    Maria Bamford did, indeed, fly in to town just for me and Kate. Unbelievable.

    The place sold out. There were around 400 people there to pay tribute to Kate, support me, and laugh laugh laugh. It was surreal and wonderful and just perfect.

    I had the pleasure of meeting up with a Juicer who attended, which was wonderful. I’ve had these two worlds filled with unconditional support and they finally met up last night.

    The next couple of days will be slower. Getting ready for services this weekend and then I get started in finding my new normal. Not really looking forward to going back to the house to start that.

  77. 77
    👽 Martin says:

    @Starfish: Yeah, but anyone who takes a bus or plane or some such should have a $15 umbrella stroller for those occasions. We learned that the hard way when my son was wee and someone who was rightfully trying to get past our stroller nearly tipped it over. Whatever stability and protection it might have offered was rendered irrelevant when it’s sheer girth created a conflict where none would have occurred with a smaller footprint stroller.

  78. 78
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:


    Just an observation that if you pull this shit in San Francisco, your ass will be permanently 86’ed from the transit system. Amazingly enough, the crazies that used to scream at the top of their lungs back in the late 80s and early 90s learned real quick that Muni wasn’t fucking around (took a few stabbed drivers and the union intervening to get there) and somehow they reached deep inside and discovered some impulse control, and no longer berate their fellow passengers or drivers.

    @aimai: Agree with your comment about the driver as therapist but especially this:

    One of the reasons I come down on the side of excluding LSBW from the bus after numerous outbursts is that I think its weird to wish away the right of other people using public transportation–those girls, the black guy, pregnant woman–to have a safe, clean, happy experience that doesn’t include being verbally assaulted by a crazy person. Why is this a privilige reserved only to people who can drive themselves in private cars or go only to well policed public areas?

    I was in a position where for five years I was dependent on public transportation. Do I deserve to be verbally abused every day for the crime of being poor? That’s what this driver is allowing this woman to do to all the rest of his passengers.

    Fundamentally no different than some wingnut screaming at some poor single mom about her taking and mooching while she’s trying to cash out at the grocery using EBT. Not one fucking bit.

  79. 79
    dmsilev says:

    @👽 Martin: The problem my brother and sister-in-law have is that they have twins. Which means that if you want to use an umbrella stroller, you need a double-wide, which then means that a lot of normal-width doors are no-go. So, generally they use the land cruiser. Which, even though it has the general steering ability of a battering ram (I’ve been tempted to nickname it ‘Grond’), at least fits through a normal door.

  80. 80
    aimai says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    I agree with this, of course (!) since you are agreeing with me. And I wanted to come back after reading the other comments to disagree with the idea (stated upthread) that we are bashing the poor bus driver. I really don’t think that we are. The bus driver is entitled to a safe place to work as well.

    I think the poster upthread who said that they “weren’t harmed” by hanging out at age 12 with the dopers and the lunatics in the Port Authority “because that’s what poor kids do” is seriously, seriously, delusional. Not crazy. I don’t mean that. I mean that “I had a fucked up childhood and it didn’t do me no harm” is usually accompanied with a series of tics. Its not an argument. A whole lot of kids who were left to fend for themselves around the dopers and bipolar nutcases of the world are harmed. And the LSBW of the world are harmed. Neglect of a problem doesn’t make it go away. LSBW is at risk of being attacked herself–probably a greater risk than the people she is verbally assaulting.

    No action is a plan of action forced on us by too little money in the health care system for mental health care and a toxic combination of liberal ideas about individual liberty and conservative ideas about neglect of poor people and the mentally ill.

  81. 81
    Betty Cracker says:

    I’ve been tempted to nickname it ‘Grond’

    Tee-hee. If, GOD FORBID!, I ever need a stroller again, I’d like to fashion a Wolf’s Head prow on it.

  82. 82
    sharl says:

    @gex: It’s great to hear that the show went so well. And yeah, you’ll have a tough time dealing with this new reality, but I hope that events like last night’s show give you memories that offer some comfort during those bleak periods.


  83. 83
    dmsilev says:

    @Betty Cracker: I think it only counts if you have some Great Beasts to draw it. Have you ever tried putting hauling harnesses on your dogs?

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    Paul in KY says:


  85. 85
    gravie says:

    I loved the post and have shared it with a friend in Seattle, a musician who writes about his world in much the same way the bus driver writes about his. Great stuff!

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    Paul in KY says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: They do have a right to ride the public bus (provided they can pay the fare).

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    Paul in KY says:

    @aimai: Being yelled at on a bus is sorta trivial (in the big picture).

    Your girls will have to learn to deal with public crazies anyway.

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    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @dww44: There are a nearly infinite number of adjustments to text in web browsers. It’s hard to know what to recommend.

    Ctrl + will increase a font size, Ctrl – will decrease it.

    You can also substitute your own fonts in Firefox and most other modern browsers. E.g.

    Tools -> Options -> Content -> Fonts & Colors (Advanced). (FF on Winders)

    If you really want to customize things, you can write custom CSS and have pages appear nearly exactly as you wish – e.g.

    But none of this will help much if your monitor or graphics card is acting up.

    I hope this helps a little. Good luck.


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    Ruckus says:

    Really a lot of the problem is the almost non existent public mental care we have in this country. Two things that would improve our lives immensely would be dental care and mental health. Fix those two things(even a little bit) and this would be a hugely better place. But of course we can’t do either of these because some rich fucker may have to wait an extra 3 seconds to buy his next Bentley or whatever it is that rich fucks buy they already have several of and don’t need anyway.

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    YellowJournalism says:

    @gex: you’re just lucky we don’t all live in the same place, otherwise you’d have all us crazy people there, some with pets in tow! So glad it went well for you!

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    Ruckus says:

    @Hungry Joe:
    Riding the el in Chicago once, 5:30ish, people in suits on the way home a drunk with a lit cig, and a half gal bottle of gallo gets on. Sits next to a woman reading a computer manual and starts hitting on her. About 1/2 the males in the car are ready to kick his ass off at the next stop when a guy asks, without looking up, isn’t this your stop? Drunk gets off without looking where he is, is left standing on the platform as the car pulls out. Dude got an ovation, goes on reading his paper like nothing happened.
    A much better way to deal with assholes.

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    cyntax says:


    I think you’re right about the fact that we don’t have adequate services for the mentally ill. That is something that should be addressed. And the other commuters do have the right to a safe environment.

    But I think the bus driver’s point of view is that if she hasn’t done something violent, or threatened violence, then he’s not comfortable denying her the basic service of getting from point A to point B. You accuse him, I think unfairly, of deeming himself a therapist. Aren’t you just disagreeing with where he’s drawing the line? Kicking her off the bus is also taking on the role of therapist when there hasn’t been an indication, either by action or threat, that she will become violent.

    From looking over his blog, he strikes me as a very cogent and thoughtful person; you could probably engage him in a constructive conversation about this.

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    dww44 says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: Thanks, I’ve copied and will try to make adjustments which I have been doing via the Edit and View functions. Did a recent Firefox upgrade that seems to have made the problems worse for all my blog reading but especially so for the Esquire Politics one.

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    aimai says:

    @Paul in KY:
    Oh you asshole. You try walking around in a little girl’s body with big breasts with crazy guys coming onto you and shrieking at you while backing you against the side of the bus. I’ve had to deal with plenty of crazy people–public spaces are not appropriate therapeutic spaces. This is not some kind of poor people against middle class people thing. Its the right of everyone to transit, unattacked and unafraid, through public spaces.

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    aimai says:


    No, I’m not accusing him “unfairly” of deeming himself a therapist. And I didn’t ask him to kick the woman off the bus in advance of her doing something wrong. But he is, in fact, acting as her enabler and treating the space of the bus as a place where good things can happen for this obviously extremely disturbed woman. And his piece–which was a brilliant piece of writing and reflects a beautifully conscientious person–definitely arrogated to himself the right to choose between the psychological needs of his various passengers. He admits that her attacks on people are extremely disturbing to some of his passengers–in fact he lets the girls off early because they don’t want to take the abuse and he tries to placate them and make them feel better and her enjoys the black passenger who pushes back on her. He’s as much a part of her crazy as she is. He is far more than merely a bus driver and he knows it. I applaud that, actually, but I think its inappropriate. I don’t think he should be forced to choose between passengers–I don’t know what the right balance is–but he is, in fact, choosing between the rights of the passengers and he’s priviliging hers out of sympathy and empathy for her. He doesn’t know that she isn’t harming the other passengers. I’d argue that he is and that he may not recognize the fact that other people may avoid his bus, or buses in general, at some cost because they don’t want to be subjected to the abuse.

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    Ruckus says:

    I think it is a fine line here. He can kick off an abusive, but regular rider, or put up with and try to be nice to her, maybe make her day a little better and by extension everyone else around her.
    My second point would be what are his limitations on who can ride the bus? Can he kick off anyone he dislikes? I doubt that he can.
    Our world would be a much nicer place if some people didn’t have their assholes on top of their shoulders but in the real world many do. What can we do about that?

  97. 97
    Paul in KY says:

    @aimai: The LSBW is not doing any of the stuff you just ranted to me about. Frottering, etc. is a whole nother ball game.

    IMO, if you are going to be a woman in the big city, navving around yourself, you have to be able to either ignore or shame the jerks & their leering comments. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to only ride the Aimai limosine (and that wouldn’t be any fun).

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    cyntax says:


    Well maybe you should talk to him about it then.

    I don’t entirely disagree with you, and you’re right: he is forced to choose. Kicking her off the bus is as much a choice as letting her stay on. I think the case could be made that putting her off the bus does the most good since it’s an individual’s need for transportation that’s being sacrificed for the benefit and comfort of others.

    There seem to be some parallels between this issue and how community colleges function with an open enrollment policy. This woman’s behavior would obviously get her kicked out any classroom, but in any situation there are always the marginal cases (for public transportation Nathan sees her case as marginal, you don’t). So what to do with the marginal cases? They tend to be people who don’t have a lot of options and often don’t have much of a support structure. Cutting them off from schools and other public spaces may be necessary but it’s not hard to see why some people (particularly those who choose to work in those spaces) might see this as the course of last resort.

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    Rustydude says:

    Lived in Seattle for 25 years and used the bus system for all 25. And I love all the stories I have collected from those experiences. My guess is that I shared a ride with this woman at one point or another, though I don’t remember the particulars that the author spells out. Fact is, there are lots of characters riding the system and I love that I was forced to get out of my comfort zone. It truly makes me feel human when I’m forced to deal with challenging situations. It’s made me a better man. I thank the author for sharing this story that has universal themes.

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    dsale says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: As a bus commuter, I was about to respond to your comment… then I saw your alias. Yeah, pretty much.

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    sharl says:

    Nathan – the bus driver who authored the linked post – responded to a comment of mine over there, as well as addressing some of the issues brought up here after wandering over and reading the B-J comments. You can see his response over there (posted at 01/23/2013 9:06pm), but I’ve pasted it in below [I fixed my nym in this block quote, which Nathan initially misspelled (no biggie on that)]:

    Sharl- and the folks at B-J,
    And thank you for reading! I just read the entire list of responses on Balloon Juice. A great read, with many interesting opinions and stories in their own right- not to mention the humor of having the Hillary Clinton comments peppering in and eventually fusing with this discussion in a hilarious meta fashion! Great stuff.
    In answer to some of the queries summarized in your post here- in situations like this, my experience has taught me that intervening in a situation usually means escalating it. This can be very unwise. To leave her on the bus vs. kick her off the bus are both active decisions on my part, as a poster on BJ mentioned.
    What are the benefits of either action? We can discuss the benefits of the greater good and bring up valid points about maintaining decorum and ensuring that people are respected. However, a bus driver is not an enforcer, but a peacekeeper. (S)he can ask that customers leave. He cannot forcibly eject them. In the sense we are discussing, peacekeeping generally means deescalation. I engage LSBW in the way I do not as a faux therapist but as a peacekeeper.
    Now, all that is within the confines of the assumption that I can even kick her off the bus. The language of the rules on this is foggy and highly interpretable (and off-limits as something I can write about!). Any interpretation I might offer here would likely be followed by a corresponding counter-interpretation by one of my colleagues.
    Speaking in general terms, I offer the following not as a comment on policy but as a conclusion that any reader could arrive at-
    Suffice it to say that deciding which members of the public get to enjoy public spaces is a not a job the public, but the law. In Seattle bus drivers are not police officers. With reference to most transit systems, ejecting a customer is a time-consuming and problematic decision that exhausts a lot of resources that are almost always more sorely needed elsewhere, that sometimes does not mitigate the problem and occasionally amplifies it, and inconveniences many, sometimes hundreds, of people. Shutting down a bus is big, and is usually done when safety is endangered. A driver’s top priority is safety.
    What can be said without any ambiguity is that LSBW is most assuredly Not a safety issue. She presents no physical safety hazard to anyone in her vicinity- other than perhaps the remote possibility of ear damage from high decibel volume!
    Jest aside, all she does is make unpleasant noise. In perspective, this is a minor, if annoying, offense. I should mention something that isn’t directly apparent in the post- LSBW rarely rides a single bus for more than 5-10 minutes. The encounters I write about here are short.
    Some folks might think getting yelled at in public is a terrible thing and grounds for ruining one’s day. It isn’t. In light of the things that go on in the bus and elsewhere, such a thing is, dare I say it, a non-issue. A friend speaking on such matters once said that “public spaces are for everyone. And in public spaces, you have a constitutional right to be a jackass.”
    I appreciate the variety of opinions, and particularly enjoyed reading from those with backgrounds in public service themselves.
    Getting back to your response here- yes, if LSBW did that, I would enthusiastically intervene. Thank you, Sharl, and everyone else, for enjoying the post and giving some thought to the issue! Stop by on my bus if you visit Seattle!

    His final paragraph refers to some questions I posed over there:

    …’at what point does a bus driver decide that a passenger is being too disruptive to be allowed to remain on board? And how much discretion does the driver have in making this call?’

    …if LSBW were to, say, move over by someone and get in their face (say, within a couple inches or so) and start yelling, I assume that would be crossing the line, and you’d have to intervene, wouldn’t you?

    He seems like a delightful young man. May he keep being curious and continue to stay safe.

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