Open Thread: Doing Well, Doing Good

Sometimes the good guys do win. Ryan Cooper, at the Washington Monthly, on “The Divergent Fates of Sarah Palin and Shirley Sherrod“:

With the recent retirement of Sarah Palin from her grotesquely lucrative career as a Fox commentator, I immediately thought of another person who was inadvertently catapulted to national prominence: Shirley Sherrod (backstory here). Not to compare the content of their thoughts or ideologies, of course, just the trajectory of their lives. Because Sherrod could have easily parleyed her burst of fame into one of those sumptuous TV commentator/author/lecturer careers, abandoning all her previous work and crisscrossing the country to give milquetoast addresses to executive retreats.

But she did not. Instead, even after both she and a nonprofit she works for got a sizable settlement from the USDA for discrimination in decades past, she didn’t change much. She still does the same thing she’s always done: help poor farmers in rural Georgia, where she grew up. I interviewed her for our latest issue…

Ms. Sherrod’s book, The Courage to Hope, is due out in paperback this summer, and is available for Kindle now.

58 replies
  1. 1
    Gwangung says:

    Shorter conclusion: Fuck you, Breitbart. And the chihuahua you rode in on (o’keefe, right?)

  2. 2
    ulee says:

    To be or not to be. That is the question.

  3. 3
    NotMax says:

    Was going to link to this when an Open Thread came up. Glad it got front page treatment.

    The poetic justice of the group’s being able to purchase the holdings formerly of the state’s largest slave owner is delicious.

  4. 4
    ulee says:

    Booze or pills or powder. That’s another goodbye to another good friend.

  5. 5

    Well, if it’s an open thread… I got the cover art for book three (Quite Contrary) from the publisher, and I’m waiting on samples for the audiobooks for the first and second. The constant sensation that I might have a heart attack from joy is slowing down writing the bonus short story they asked for as a publicity extra.

  6. 6

    The real “win” here is that Shirley Sherrod gets to spend her life being Shirley Sherrod, whereas Sarah Palin is stuck being Sarah Palin.

  7. 7
    ulee says:

    Alison. It’s another hard night. No health insurance. Job gone. Disability pending, as if they’d give it to someone with panic attacks. Girlfriend sleeping in bed, she really has no understanding as to how bad it is. And as far as anorexia, I weigh 132 at 5 foot 8 inches. I know that’s not that bad but I cannot eat short of forcing myself. I don’t mean to single you out, Alison, but you said I was looking for attention. I’m not. I’m just writing you because I think you know what I’m talking about.

  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    Per Sergeant Phil Esterhaus: “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”

    Steve Palumbi has a few rules when it comes to sushi. If something is labeled tuna, then it probably is, but stay away from the salmon, because it probably isn’t. More likely, it’s steelhead trout—a close relative of salmon, both of which start life in freshwater, migrate to the sea, and return to their natal stream to breed and die. But still: a trout. Shrimp is shrimp and crab is crab, unless it’s pollock. And don’t trust the white fish. That could be anything: tilapia, something else, who knows.
    The problem of mislabeled seafood, be it whales or fish, is not a new one. As far back as the 1930s, mackerel was being canned and sold as salmon, and anecdotes have always floated around of more exotic substitutions—of shark being shopped as swordfish, say, or skate wings for scallops. These days, thanks in part to the work Palumbi helped spearhead, the fish-eating public is used to a steady flow of sophisticated, DNA-based studies and exposés. A 2004 paper by Peter Marko, then of the University of North Carolina, found that 77 percent of red snapper bought in the United States was actually a cheaper, smaller species. In 2008, Palumbi found something similar with Pacific red snapper—the market name for a suite of species called rockfishes. In December, the conservation group Oceana released a report showing that nearly 40 percent of fish in New York restaurants was mislabeled, which followed a similar investigation in Los Angeles. In 2011, the Boston Globe found widespread fraud at area eateries, and a follow-up in 2012 showed that little had changed. And on and on.  Source

  9. 9
    Narcissus says:

    Is anyone else getting adverts for sex furniture or is it just me

  10. 10
    ulee says:

    I dont think Ill try to kill myself again. But I think I lie. I think I will do it. Im afraid because I know the pain it willl cause to those who I love. I’m really fucked up here. My girlfriend says I should go to the hospital but what will that help? HELP. I am in trouble.

  11. 11
    dance around in your bones says:


    ulee, I know how hard life – and things – can be. I just hope you can find the courage to keep on keepin’ on. You know you have a support group here at BJ, right?

    Gads. I have only words to lift you up – but keep on posting here and try to take some comfort from that, ok?

    One day at a time. Keep on truckin’

  12. 12
    Yutsano says:

    @ulee: GO. TO. THE. GOD. DAMNED. HOSPITAL. You are a clear danger to yourself.

  13. 13
    NotMax says:


    1) Get thee to a phone.

    2) Call your local suicide hotline.

    3) NOW. Right this very minute.

  14. 14
    Peter says:

    @ulee: You should follow her advice. It’s damn good advice. It may not seem right now like they can help you, but if nothing else they can keep you safe from yourself until this passes.

    Please. Go to the hospital.

  15. 15
    freelancer says:



    Dial this number. Now.

  16. 16
    piratedan says:

    yes, yes… my name is Dan and I have an addiction.. an addiction to SongPop on Facebook…sigh…

    feeling very fortunate to only be having white people problems compared to the stark realities so many of us face out there in the real damn world (obligatory shoutout to Firefly fans…Browncoats unite!)

    Since we’re talking good karma here with Ms. Sherrod, is it time for another Balloon Juice job line thread for seekers and knowers?

    and here’s an obscure shout out to my University days… when I was young and eclectic…

  17. 17
    dance around in your bones says:


    ulee, you’ve got a girlfriend AND you have a dog (a jack russell mix, right?) That’s more than a lot of people have – so, please, get some help with your mental pain.

    Listen to your girlfriend and go to the hospital – how can it hurt more than you already hurt? You are clearly reaching out for help/support on this site, so why not reach out for help at the hospital?

    Please do it, for your girlfriend and your dog and presumably for your family. But primarily for yourself.

  18. 18
    ulee says:

    I could get myself to a telephone, but I think I want to die. There is too much pain. I cannot eat anymore. I have lost my job because of anxiety attacks. My old dog died two days ago. I am afraid to leave my house. My girlfriend is at her end. Thankyou Balloon Juiciers for your support. I’ve been talking about this for weeks and I am so hesitant. A couple of nights ago, my girlfriend was saying to me,-just go to the hospital-. I don’t know what to do. The hosptial won’t do anything for me. I am on meds. I have an impulse to kill myself. I am talking because you all are a community, but I have no hope. Thank you for your good advice. Maybe I will take it. I just don’t want to go to the hosptial. I want to stay home with my dogs.

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Shirley Sherrod and Sarah Palin should both be judged by the content of their characters. Ms. Sherrod has little to be ashamed of. It’s pretty obvious that Ms. Palin feels no shame.

    This explains how one is filled with character, and the other is a void.

  20. 20
    dance around in your bones says:


    Well if you can get on the telephone then call the suicide hotline (1-800-273-TALK) and just start talking – what can it hurt? You can stay home with your dogs and just talk talk talk, right? Then maybe you can figure out a way to go on.

    Man, I feel for you. Just give it a try, ok?

  21. 21
    freelancer says:


    I could get myself to a telephone, but I think I want to die.

    That’s a shit idea. I have a lot of shit ideas. I don’t actually follow through with any of them.

    Thank you for your good advice. Maybe I will take it. I just don’t want to go to the hosptial. I want to stay home with my dogs.

    Stay home or Don’t stay home.
    Call the fucking number.

  22. 22
    PurpleGirl says:

    If you go the hospital, the one thing that will happen is that people will watch you and keep you from offing yourself. They’ll make sure you take your drugs and they will be there.

    ETA: If you don’t go to the hospital, then call the hotline number. The people are trained to listen and they want to help. You have the ability to help yourself, so do it.

  23. 23
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Great response.

  24. 24
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    First, I’ve been there. I know exactly what gun oil tastes like. Do not try that way out.

    Second, get to a hospital. Now. I know that you don’t want to. Do it anyway. If the hospital doesn’t work out then you can go forward from there, but give it a chance.

    We do not want to be missing you. Okay? If you can’t make yourself go for you then do it for us and for everyone else in your life.

  25. 25
    PurpleGirl says:

    It’s raining and the wind is howling outside. The now-three-year old windows do a good job of keeping the noise out but that’s how strong the wind is right now that I can hear the wind.

    I’m sleeping in the living room tonight/this morning because in the bedroom I can almost feel the building move from the wind. It felt strange looking out by the windows.

  26. 26
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Congratulations!

    My wife got her first rejection letter & is in quite a funk, almost despairing.

  27. 27
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ulee: Call your county or city suicide crisis line or just call a national one. NOW.

  28. 28
    ulee says:

    My girlfriend is sleeping. I know I am in trouble. I will call 1-800-talk-now or 1-800-273 talk. I would rather not and I know they will hospitilze me but I don’t think I have a choice. I’m afraid I’m going to kill myself. I really am afraid that my thinking is going to make me do it. Thank you all for listening to me. I will call the numbers and see what happens.

  29. 29
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Ulee, looking back at my comment maybe it sounds harsh. I have been there. You are in serious danger. You need to start talking to somebody right now who can help you.

    I am really angry on your behalf at those people who fired you. They broke the law which requires them to make reasonable accommodation. I have met people on disability with anxiety disorders but the system is really fucked up. Fuck that, fuck the system. All we really have in life is each other.

    No matter what happens, you have your dogs, your dogs have you, you love each other. There are people out there who love you and want to help you.

    I know you said you have no hope but it sounds like you are really good with animals. Maybe you could think about volunteering at a shelter or something like that? Maybe it’s too much too chew on at once but a goal for the future? You could foster pets with special needs, for example.

  30. 30
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ulee: Please do, good luck, and the hospital can also help get nutrition in you. It’s possible that your vitamins are really off, for example, and that is exacerbating whatever is going on in your head. It could also be the low blood sugar talking and you will feel better after a few hours on IV, who knows.

  31. 31
    ulee says:

    @Another Halocene Human: It is funny. I was cleaning out the trunk of my car and I saw a thick rope that would have done the job (rather than the clothesline that broke) My girlfriend laughed (because I was making a joke) but now I have that thick yellow rope downstairs. It’s a fucking nightmare. People know but they don’t know it. My doctor put me on super-duper Vitamin D for a few weeks. She doesn’t know I tried to hang myself between medication changes. I hid it from her. I was surprised that I made the attempt. No more. I will stop this, though I feel I want to, I’d like to live to be 100.

  32. 32
    Xenos says:

    @ulee: There is no point in repeating what the folks have been telling you. Call one of those numbers, above. If you are talking to someone, you are taking the most direct steps toward getting past this crisis.

    People are out there who can help, waiting for the phone to ring. Give something to do. You don’t want them getting bored, do you? Call.

  33. 33
    slightly_peeved says:


    My wife has been on meds for depression; a friend of mine has been on meds for schizophrenia. In both cases, the first medication they tried didn’t help much, or stopped helping. (in my wife’s case, the first med made her worse). But in both cases, they were able to find a different medication that did help.

    There’s a lot of different medications they can try. Even if the one that you’re on isn’t working, there are others they can try.

    So go to the hospital, or talk to someone. If the meds aren’t working, tell them.

    Take care mate – people around the world are thinking about you.

  34. 34
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    Ulee: You need someone’s help and it’s there for the asking. I took that help and I’m here today because of it. You know it’s the right thing to do, now get talking to someone right away.

  35. 35
    WereBear says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: You mentioned, many threads back, that I said something that helped you out on this publishing thang. So pleased!

    Because Sherrod could have easily parleyed her burst of fame into one of those sumptuous TV commentator/author/lecturer careers, abandoning all her previous work and crisscrossing the country to give milquetoast addresses to executive retreats.

    This is now a career path?

  36. 36
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Good for Ms. Sherrod. Was hoping she would win in her lawsuit against Breitbart’s estate as well. Haven’t heard anything about that.

  37. 37

    @Another Halocene Human:
    It’s like applying for a particularly desired job – you get a LOT of rejection letters before you achieve anything. It’s a really complicated issue right now, and I’m too tired to be more helpful.

    You did. It’s been a winding road, and your advice was a key step in it. Thank you.

  38. 38
    Anya says:

    @ulee: I am sorry that you feel this way. I have never experienced anything like this and it’s hard for me to imagine it but I want you to feel well. I am sure you know that thoughts of suicide are often associated with a treatable mental health issues, and people do recover with the help of proper support. It’s my hope that the fact that you’re sharing with us your feelings mean that you will not act on those thoughts.

    I don’t know where you live, but please try and call a mobile crisis team in your area. You need help. Please seek it! Please take care of yourself. Call that number and talk to someone! Wake up your girlfriend and tell her abour your feelings and plans. Get rid of anything that you thougt of using. DO IT NOW!

    Sending positive thoughts your way…

  39. 39
    WereBear says:

    @ulee: I hope you have taken the better path we have urged you upon.

  40. 40
    aimai says:


    I too am very doubtful that Shirley Sherrod could have “parlayed” her wrongful firing into much of anything–have you noticed that she’s black?

    Years ago I was at the American Bar Foundation and there were eternal, very dull, discussions and lectures on topics of interest one of which was the subject of the pay off for lawsuits for wrongful firing or refusal to hire on racial grounds. The strong cohort of “law and economics” thinkers–the worst of all possible worlds–really argued, a la Posner, that there would soon cease to be any racial discrimination in hiring because of “all that good money being left on the table” from the obviously successful law suits black people would be bringing all the time. The normal people at the table would always turn around and just kind of stare at these guys–had they never lived in the real world at all?

    No: Shirley Sherrod could not have cashed in on her fame or her name. She certainly could have been offered endless chances to talk, for free, at various piddling liberal social events and perhaps even a Nation Cruise or two but money, real cash money? No.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    gene108 says:


    The hosptial won’t do anything for me. I am on meds.

    I found being committed after my suicide attempt to be a very relaxing experience. You get away from the stress of your day-to-day life and I learned a lot of really good coping skills for the future, when I got very depressed again.

  43. 43
    danielx says:

    Solved a mystery yesterday morning…I work at home. Have noticed that Zoey the Alpha Cat has been making a tremendous fuss upstairs for 5-10 minutes after everyone else leaves and I’m downstairs. All sorts of noise, thumps, continuous meowing,, etc etc. So yesterday I go up to see what’s going on, is she in difficulty, is there a problem with her litter box, whatever…no, she’s rolling around on the floor at the top of the stairs demanding a stomach rub, major purring and so forth.

    Then I notice a headband on the floor of the bathroom there in the upstairs hall, hmmm, not like Mrs. X or the daughter unit to leave one on the floor – let’s just check. Go back downstairs, more loud cat noises. Go back upstairs a half hour later – lo and behold, the headband has moved about three feet out in the hall. So one thump and loud announcement is the cat leaping up on the vanity, the loudest thump is her jumping down after knocking off the headband (17 pounds makes an impact) and all the cat exclamations are her chasing down the vicious headband and pinning it to the floor. Victory! This only happens when I’m the only one here, and only when I’m downstairs. I need to get a motion sensitive camera…

    Literary note: currently going through some of the Hap and Leonard books by Joe R. Lansdale. You have to love his gift for dialogue…

    “I’ve been burned so many times in love I’m not sure I want to go through it again.”
    “Yeah, but all your other relationships were stupid. This one isn’t.”
    “She set her husband’s head on fire, burned his car too.”
    “Don’t forget she beaned him with a shovel and he’s in a home somewhere trying to decide if blue socks go with a paper hat and a fart.”
    “There’s that.”
    “Maybe she should have left the car alone, Hap, but way I see it, far as his head’s concerned, sonofabitch had it comin’. Besides, she didn’t burn his whole head up, just some of it. Guy beats a woman on a daily basis, and one day she’s had enough, it’s okay she sets the guy’s head on fire.”
    “This coming from an arsonist.”

  44. 44
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    I know ulee is not around now, but I just want to thank the BJ community for what you did. Reading this thread brought back some painful memories, but I’m thankful for this place. I hope ulee finds the help needed and lives a long, productive life.

  45. 45
    JPL says:

    Although I hate pay pal, I just made a small donation to keep the site running because of the quality of work the front pagers and tunch provide.
    ulee, I hope that you made the phone call and please take care.

  46. 46
    Tod Westlake says:

    Off topic, but is anyone else having trouble with the main page loading as the mobile version? It was doing it every so often, now it’s doing it all the time. This is in the Chrome browser, btw. Doesn’t seem to happen with Firefox.

  47. 47
    JPL says:

    @danielx: hmmm… If Gayle Trotter had her way, the woman would have an assault weapon and there would be no need for a massive blaze.

  48. 48
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Todd: Saw that last night. O’Donnell is pretty good at calling fools out. She couldn’t even admit that she was anti-choice in terms of abortion.

    P.S. Good to see how so many commenters have rallied around Ulee. Hope all the good advice has been taken.

  49. 49
    Punchy says:

    Any chance the House GOP decides to defund NASA as punishment for Mark Kelly’s views in gun safety regs?

  50. 50
    Amir Khalid says:

    Now that Kelly has retired from NASA’s astronaut corps, that would be a very petty and stupid thing to do. So yes, I think the House GOP might well do it.

  51. 51
    quannlace says:

    With the recent retirement of Sarah Palin from her grotesquely lucrative career as a Fox commentator,

    If only they were used on Fox as just ‘commentators’. I mean, everybody’s got an opinion. But Fox plugs these people as an expert on whatever kind of story they’re covering at the moment.

  52. 52
    JenJen says:

    If any of you are following the latest snarling from Our Lady Of Perpetual Outrage, don’t miss Wonkette.

  53. 53
    Cassidy says:

    So today has been a depressing day so far. I posted the story on FB about the young girl in Chicago who was murdered after having sung at the inauguration. The first response from a conservative “friend” was:

    “Yeah, Chicago should really make open carry and concealed carry illegal. That would definitely have prevented this from occurring.”

    I’m just so incredibly sick of these people. And you know, I’m trying real hard to not be my normal aggressive, assertive self with these people, because we have history, but I’ve run out of patience.

  54. 54
    handsmile says:


    Hope this link might help lift your spirits, “Bill Murray: Five Best Moments”:

    (Might have chosen a different five myself, but that’s part of what makes the man so indispensable.)

  55. 55

    @Cassidy: A very good friend of mine, has become a crazy home-schooling mom. The only way I can deal with her is through e-mail. It is very hard not to scream at her bs when I am speaking to her on the phone. I feel bad but I don’t know what else to do.

  56. 56
    Cassidy says:

    @handsmile: I’ll have to check it out later.

    @schrodinger’s cat: I posted his comment publicly for all to see and called it out. It’s not very dimplomatic, but oh well. Honestly, if these people can’t feel compassion over another senseless gun death, then they aren’t friends of mine anyway.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:


    You know how we can prevent those crimes in Chicago? By making idiot gun owners ‘fess up and admit that they lost a gun or had one stolen instead of letting them pretend nothing ever happened:

    In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, a South Side gang member admitted he and his crew almost exclusively arm themselves with stolen guns because they can’t afford to buy new ones. Some of those guns, he said, are stolen from freight trains sitting in South Side rail yards. Others are swiped from gun stores.

    And it would be really nice if we could prosecute crooked store owners who sell guns to straw purchasers, but apparently the Second Amendment says it’s A-OK for someone to buy a gun and then re-sell it to a criminal.

  58. 58
    kindness says:

    I’m curious. Most of you read Charles Pierce at his Esquire site right? I post there infrequently but I find about half my posts get deleted pretty soon after posting them. I mean, I understand some nannying is required at an MSM place (unlike the wildlands of Balloon Juice) like Esquire but have any of you had this experience too?

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